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Philly Fury: The Night Tim Rabon and William Jones Tore the House Down

Hammerjones_medium In anticipation of tomorrow night's return of big-time boxing to Philadelphia, Ted Sares looks back on a war of a fight from 1992 that took place in the City of Brotherly Love.

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There are many ways one can describe the Philadelphia boxing landscape. I think one good way I can go about it is to describe an incredible fight I once witnessed at the legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia on March 10, 1992. The atmosphere was pure boxing. It was hotter than hell inside but chilly outside. The smell of foamy beer, cheap after shave lotion, and even cheaper cigars coalesced with the odor of steaming hot dogs and popcorn to provide just the right pungency for a Philly boxing show.

As part of a bigger venue, welterweight Tim Rabon, out of Broussard, Louisiana, met Philadelphian William "The Hammer" Jones in a 4-rounder that was televised on Tuesday Night fights. Those who were fortunate enough to see this one will never forget it. Rabon was 13-7-2 at the time. Jones was 18-0 but his only notable win was a KO over tough Rafael Williams, and his overall level of opposition was very poor. In fact, only five opponents had winning records. As well, most of the Hammer's fights took place in the friendly confines of the Blue Horizon.

Rabon had gone up against a far better level of opposition, but had only fair success. He was knocked out by both Santos Cardona and Tyrone Moore, fought a draw with the then undefeated Chad Parker (19-0), split a pair of SD's with Jason Watters, and lost on points to Kevin Pompey, Reggie Miller and the very capable Aussie road warrior Jeff "Flash" Malcolm in a 12 rounder for the IBC Welterweight Title. Malcolm was 77-21-10 coming in. One other thing, Rabon was a celebrated amateur and a National Golden Gloves Champion in 1984 (along with such notables as Ronnie Essett, Virgil Hill, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson). On paper, the undefeated Jones looked ripe for the picking and Rabon looked like a very live underdog.

The Fight

The fight proved to be a closet classic extraordinaire. Both fighters were tall and skinny and immediately teed off on each other with long and looping shots that had malice aforethought written all over them. The punishment absorbed by both in the first two rounds was alarming, and those at ringside were sprayed by the sweat as each thundering shot came down the pike with pinpoint accuracy and malefic impact. Then, in the incredible third round, things heated up even more as "The Hammer" lived up to his nickname by decking and punishing Rabon in the early going and appeared to be on his way to a decisive finish.

Miraculously, as Jones moved in for the kill, Rabon caught him with a perfectly timed hook that staggered him and had him hanging on. Just like that, the tide had turned. Rabon then floored him and when he got up, stalked him down like a Tiger sensing a fresh kill and decked him again. But in so doing, he used up serious energy and Jones, who somehow weathered the onslaught, seemed to sense it. Rabon had punched himself out and was now helplessly gassed and ready to be hammered into submission as the tide incredibly had turned again. But time was running out. With just seconds to go in the round, Jones walked down the southerner and backed him into a corner where he took him out with a single debilitating shot to the liver. The bell had rung but Tim could not get up. He was counted out four seconds after the round was over.

These nine minutes of unmitigated mayhem featured everything: give and take, ebb and flow, courage, determination and ferocity. The third round had to be seen to be believed.

The Aftermath

Rabon would lose most of his remaining fights against very creditable opposition and finished with a record of 14-12-2. Jones would never be the same losing two of his next four. Both defeats came at the hands of another ultra tough fighter and Blue Horizon regular by the name of Eric Holland. His final record was 21-2 and he retired in 1994 after being KOd by Holland in 1995.

The careers of both would be defined by what happened that night. They call it the "Legendary Blue Horizon" and fights like this one contributed greatly to that Moniker.

Postscript: Timmy Rabon passed away not too long ago from Lou Gehrig's disease, but he retained his great humor and bubbling personality to the end. He was as sweet a kid as you would ever want to know. He was special.

This was and is what Philadelphia boxing is all about. This was Philly fury.

(Photo from

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