PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - August 12, 2016  
Home Boxers Fights Arenas Non-Boxers Gyms Relics More About Contact


Story by J Russell Peltz


Sad to report that Victor Carmen Pappa, who boxed exclusively for me from 1977 to 1982, passed away yesterday at the young age of 59. Victor, a junior welterweight, was one of a trio of three tough kids who trained under Marty Feldman at the gym over the Upper Darby Firehouse on West Chester Pike near 69th & Market.

It was Mic (Micky Diflo), Pic (Mike Picciotti) and Vic (Victor Pappa), They boxed regularly at the 69th Street Forum, a converted movie house (69th Street Theatre) which held more than 2,000 seats and we used to pack 'em there from 1977 thru 1980. We often billed him as Victor Pappas, the Fighting Greek, adding the "S" on the end.

Victor was an underachiever and should have made more out of his career (22-3, 15 KOs), but he never was as dedicated as he should have been. He could punch and he had heart and the night (Nov. 14, 1979) he literally crawled off the canvas in the sixth round to knock out Arseneo Green, of Allentown, in the seventh was one of the great comeback victories in the history of boxing at The Spectrum.

The poster from Pappa's professional debut

Unfortunately, that video does not exist I just watched a video of him blasting out Herb Darity, of Hartford, CT, at Resorts International in Atlantic City in 1982. It was typical Victor--go right at your guy and get him out of there.

His last fight for me later in 1982 (he made a comeback 11 years later and won twice) saw him lose a 10-round split decision to Freddie Reyes, of Philly, in an all-out brawl at The Claridge in AC. I don't want to watch that one because it reminds me of the unlimited potential he had that was wasted. Freddie Reyes was a wonderful guy and I used to run into him when he was working at City Hall. Victor had more firepower but Freddie was more dedicated.

The poster from Pappa's second pro bout

I remember how well Victor fought in 1981 when we matched him with future world champ Johnny Bumphus on NBC-TV from the Playboy Club in McAfee, NJ. I was nervous--as usual--going into that fight but Marty told me not to worry and Victor gave Bumphus all he could handle, losing an eight-round decision. Victor never once asked me to "get me six wins in a row" like a lot of today's fighters do.

The poster from Pappa's third pro bout

Through all those years, Victor was as nice and friendly to me as any fighter ever was. For that matter, so were Mic and Pic. Victor always had a big smile and a big laugh when he'd see me and his passing is a reminder of how much I miss those times when me and Marty and Mic and Pic and Vic were one big family.


Editor's Note:  Funeral services for Victor Pappa will be held on Wednesday, August 17, 2016, at the Rigby Harting & Hagan Funeral Home, in Media, PA (15 East 4th Street, Media, PA 19013), 3-6 PM.

Pappa was born on June 21, 1957, and died August 12, 2016. He was 59. Pappa is survived by two daughters, Carmen Pappa and Sandra Pappa, and one grandson.




J Russell Peltz - Philadelphia - August 13, 2016