PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                    October 04, 2010


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The 3rd Annual Briscoe Awards were presented on Monday night at the Veteran Boxers Hall in Philadelphia. It was a festive night for the most part, with crowd-pleasing ring warrior Rogers Mtagwa taking home the Briscoe as "2009 Philly Fighter of the Year", amateur star Miguel Cartagena winning the "Everett Brothers Award", and ring legend Stanley "Kitten" Hayward presiding over a museum exhibit dedicated to his life and career. But the presentation of the "2009 Philly Fight of the Year" brought a solemn finish to the evening. The fight honored was the epic Blue Horizon battle of last year between Philly's Teon Kennedy and Chicago's Francisco Rodriguez. It was a memorable and great fight. But the event was marred by tragedy when Rodriguez died two days later. At the Briscoe Awards, Kennedy accepted his award with caution. He cracked a smile once, when prodded to do so by his team. But this was no celebration. The Rodriguez Family - father Evaristo and brothers Alex and Tito - fresh from their flight in from the Windy City, took the stage to accept their brother's Briscoe Award. They were grateful for the honor, but you could feel the weight of their emotions. The two camps - Kennedy and Rodriguez - eventually turned toward each other and exchanged quiet, careful and awkward respects. There was no resolution; no catharsis. Just a difficult moment and some terrible memories.

Francisco Rodriguez is part of our boxing history now. The Briscoe Award will help us to remember the sacrifice he made in the ring. And that is the ultimate goal of this award - to remember and honor those who have contributed to the sport's great history.

Teon Kennedy looks like a future world champion, and at age 24, a likely multi-Briscoe Award winner. Only time will tell. But he has already contributed a solid chapter to Philly's Boxing History book. Rogers Mtagwa has given us so many thrills over the years, that it can be said that acknowledging him is long over due. He seemed truly happy when he accepted his award along with his team - manager Joe Parella and trainer, Bobby "Boogaloo" Watts. Mtagwa held his Briscoe high above his head and flashed a gigantic smile.

Kitten Hayward hasn't strayed very far from the limelight since he hung up his gloves in 1977. He is still a fixture in Philadelphia. From his work in the City courts, to various sporting events and banquets, Hayward has stayed well on our radar. But this was a special night for the legend. Upstairs at the VBA Hall, a collection of fight posters, photographs, banners, and artwork reminded everyone of his colorful days in and out of the ring. His original 1960's ring robe and one of his famous suits (complete with "Mr. Kitten" embroidery on the shirt cuff) were also displayed. Hayward even served as tour guide for many visitors of the exhibit.

The crowd was made up of boxing fans and numerous fighters and other participants of the sport. In attendance were Jeff Chandler, current cruiserweight champ Steve Cunningham, Bobby "Boogaloo" Watts, Henry "Toothpick" Brown, Charlie "Choo Choo" Brown, Stanley "Kitten" Hayward, Robert "Bam Bam" Hines, Curtis Parker, Anthony Boyle, Mike Picciotti, Eddie Everett, Wade Hinnant, Randy Hinnant, Gee Cullmer, Garrett Wilson, Bryant Jennings, Kamarah Pasley, Teon Kennedy, Rogers Mtagwa, Miguel Cartagena, Simon "One Punch" Carr, Fred Jenkins, Mitch Allen, J Russell Peltz, cut man Joey Eye, boxing scribes George Hanson, Ken Hissner, Bernard Fernandez, Mark Kram, Dan Rubin, Mark Abrams, Kurt Wolfheimer, Philly Keith, The Shadow Boxer, PA Boxing HOF Chairman John Gallagher, NJ Boxing Hall of Fame Chairman Henry Hascup, VBA-Ring 1 (Phila.) President Charles Sgrillo, VBA-Ring 8 (NY) President Matt Farrago, and many more.

Philly Fighter of the Year Rogers Mtagwa lifts his Briscoe high.


Rogers Mtagwa


Team Mtagwa: Joe Parella, Bobby Watts & Rogers


Teon Kennedy surrounded by Wade Hinnant, Doc Nowicki, & Randy Hinnant


Teon Kennedy, winner of the Fight of the Year


Alex Rodriguez addresses the crowd with his father Evaristo and brother Tito


Evaristo Rodriguez father of Francisco "Paco" Rodriguez


Eddie Everett presents Miguel Cartagena with the "Everett Brothers Award"


Stanley "Kitten" Hayward stands next to his robe at the Hayward Exhibit





John DiSanto - Northeast Philly (Port Richmond) - October 04, 2010