PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                              June 30, 2011


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The sad news came on Thursday (06/30) that boxing trainer James "Bouie" Fisher had passed away at age 83 after a long illness. 

Fisher lived in South Jersey but is best known as a fixture of the Philadelphia fight scene. Over the many years he worked in the sport, Bouie worked with Ivan Robinson, Jesse Ferguson, Hasim Rahman, and most famously, Bernard Hopkins.

Fisher and Hopkins started their association after Hopkins lost his first professional fight late in 1988. After the loss, Hopkins, then a light-heavyweight, looked to reboot his career and turned to the toothpick-chomping Fisher for direction. Together they returned to the ring in February 1990. The "new" Bernard Hopkins was a retooled middleweight, and under Fisher's guidance, he won twenty-two straight fights. The rest is history. Hopkins went on to win the IBF middleweight title, and eventually unified the world crown by defeating Keith Holmes (WBC) and Felix Trinidad (WBA) in 2001. That same year, Fisher was honored as the Trainer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association.

However the relationship between Hopkins and Fisher disintegrated after the Trinidad fight. Separation and lawsuits followed. They managed to reunite later for a few more fights, but more lawsuits and arguments again came.

After his final split with Hopkins, Fisher led a quite life of retirement. He rarely came out to the gyms or to the fights. But when he did, he was still the same old Bouie - quiet, good-natured, approachable, with those tinted glasses, that billowy gray hair, and that ever-present toothpick.

Fisher was one of the last examples of that endangered species known as the old-school Philadelphia boxing trainer. Now that he too is gone, that breed has narrowed even further and become even more precious. Bouie Fisher will be remembered as one of the proudest and best of the group. His contribution to the sport was huge - he developed  perhaps the greatest of all Philly fighters - certainly the most accomplished. For that alone, Bouie Fisher will always be remembered and respected.

He will also be missed. 




John DiSanto - News & Notes - June 30, 2011