Rest In Peace Frank Jimenez 1943-2012

Rest In Peace Frank Jimenez 1943-2012
8 years, 4 months ago 0
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Francisco Ramon Jimenez, better known to local boxing fans as Frank Jimenez, passed away on Thursday, January 12th. He had recently celebrated his 69th birthday. Jimenez was an accomplished amateur boxer from southern Minnesota, where he and his boxing brother, Fred, first made headlines. Never one to duck anyone, Frank agreed to face Nick Castillo, the 1968 Upper Midwest Golden Glove champion, in his first professional boxing match. He would drop a close 4 round decision to Castillo, but challenged him to an immediate rematch, where the verdict for superiority remained fuzzy, as the two viscously fought to a Draw. He then went on a 3-fight winning streak, before losing a questionable decision to undefeated prospect, Jerry Turner over 5 rounds in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Turner’s hometown.
His disputed loss to Turner progressed Frank up the fistic ladder in the minds of local promoters, as Frank’s fast-paced, exciting style, and take no prisoners attitude had developed him a nice following in Minnesota boxing circles. Promoter Ben Sternberg, began booking Frank for 5 and 6 round affairs to test his mettle. Over the course of his next 4 fights, Jimenez went 3-1 to close out 1970.
1971 would prove to be the most active year of his career, as he saw action 10 times, going an impressive 6-2-2, his only two losses coming to some very decent fighters while on the road in Chicago and New York, in Gene Wells and James Parks, respectively. He also secured a 5 round Draw against the undefeated Gene Coon down in Coon’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
The 1972 campaign would prove to be one with tough challenges. He began the year against former 2-time Upper Midwest Golden Gloves champion, Mike Morgan down in Rochester. Morgan was now 6-1 as a professional, and was considered as a smooth, technically sound boxer, and one of Minneapolis’ best prospects. The fight was scheduled for 5 rounds and the action brought the fans at the Mayo Civic Auditorium to their feet many times. Some had it for Morgan, and others saw Jimenez winning the fight. In the end, the judges saw it as a Draw.
Frank was then offered a nice payday against rising star, John L. Sullivan in Las Vegas. No, not the infamous John L. that made boxing famous in the 1800′s, but this Sullivan was no joke either. He was 8-0 (6 KO’s) and was a fearsome puncher. Minnesota wished Frank well and was pulling for him, thinking that perhaps Frank’s toughness and experience might be enough to overcome the powerful, but inexperienced Sullivan, but it was not to be, as Sullivan overpowered him in 2 heats. Sullivan went on to fight other big names such as: Vito Antuofermo, Sugar Ray Seales, and Denny Moyer.
Jimenez fought 4 more times in 1972, and two were tough ones in particular. He again agreed to travel to the home state of Gene Coon, and put on another impressive performance in Nebraska, this time winning a unanimous decision. But after losing in an upset to Billy Goodwin back home in Saint Paul, Frank began to realize that his skills as a fighter were slipping, and his career was coming to a close. Still, he accepted another fight with rival, Mike Morgan in September, and though competitive, lost the 6 round affair, which was on the undercard of the much hyped, Pat O’Connor-Andy Kendall main event at the old Met Center.
After the loss, Frank retired with a respectable record of 13-8-5 (3 KO’s). He later moved to Florida where he once came out of retirement in 1977 and scored a KO victory in the first round over Eddie Walker, putting his final record at 14-8-5 (4 KO’s), for a total of 27 professional fights. The news of his passing came home quickly to Minnesota fight fans who knew him and covered his career. One such person is former Pioneer Press sportswriter and current Secretary of the Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame, Jim Wells. Wells said, “I was on the Blue Earth region Golden Gloves team with Frank and Freddie in the 1963 Upper Midwest Tournament. Years later, I covered the brothers for the Pioneer Press after they turned professional. Both were good high school wrestlers, too, well-rounded athletes. Frank was a pressure-fighter who liked to take the fight to his opponents and worked best crowding an opponent, with his head on an opponent’s chest. He was always well-conditioned, a serious athlete. A man of few words, Frank was serious-minded about any undertaking. It is truly saddening to hear of his death.”

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