Gerald “The Jedi” Nobles of Philadelphia was one of the biggest power punchers ever out of the city of Philadelphia along with Sonny Liston and “Smokin” Joe Frazier. He turned professional in October of 1995. In an interview with writer George Hanson he questioned Nobles turning professional when he could have gone to the Olympics. “My trainer Jimmy Arthur said you can’t eat trophies so I turned professional to help feed my family” said Nobles.
“I was supposed to get something big after stopping former champion Bruce “Atlantic City Express” Seldon but it never happened,” said Nobles. He was in training camp with Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield and did quite well.” In his fight with Seldon he broke a rib and a facial bone.
Nobles ran off nine consecutive stoppages of which two were knockouts with one over Maurice Harris, 7-7-2. The same Harris he lost a 3 round decision to in the Thunderbolt tourney which does not get recognized by boxing authorities. A double left hook put Harris down and out for the count. All but one was held in the legendary Blue Horizon.
Seldon was held to a decision by Allentown’s “Sting” Ray McCarthy, 7-10-1, over six rounds in Atlantic City’s Convention Hall on the undercard of Arturo Gatti and Tracy Harris Patterson. “I dropped him five or six times and he wouldn’t stay down, said Seldon.
Nobles won six fights in both 1996 and 1997. In 1997 he ended the year stopping Samson Cohen, 14-8-1, in the first round at the Blue Horizon. Two months later in the Pepsi Arena, Albany, NY, he stopped
Greg Pickrom, 10-3-1, in the fifth round. It would be a year before he returned to the ring in December of 1998 stopping Mitchell Rose, 2-8-1, at the Trump Taj Mahal, in Atlantic City, in three rounds. The following month Nobles won an eight round decision over John Kiser, 14-19-4, at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall.
Being off for some twenty-one months Nobles won another decision over eight rounds defeating Agustin Corpus, 8-9-3, at the Mohegan Sun Casino, in Uncasville, CT. He would only have two bouts in 2000. He would open up 2001 with his third straight fight in just over three months defeating Sedreck Fields, 12-11 over ten rounds at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas, NV. “I dropped him twice and broke both my hands in the third round. Only one was operated on,” said Nobles.
Nobles suffered another long lay-off of twenty months stopping Dennis McKinney, 18-24-1, in the second round at the Plex, North Charleston, S.C. In November Nobles would appear in Cedric Kushner’s Thunderbox tournament of three round fights. Noble would lose a decision to former opponent Maurice Harris who in an official bout knocked him out. Former champion “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon would also lose in the first round of the tourney. Harris would go onto defeat Israel Garcia who defeated Witherspoon and win the tournament with a win over Tony Thompson earning a $100,000.
Nobles only fight in June of 2003 was as the co-feature in an eight round decision over Ron Guerrero, 16-6-3, at the First Union Spectrum, in Philadelphia, in the co-feature.
In 2004 Nobles had three impressive wins starting with a first round knockout over Willie Williams, 16-6, in Madison Square Garden, NY.
Just four weeks later he scored his biggest career win stopping former IBF world champion Bruce “The Atlantic City Express” Seldon, 35-4, in the ninth round at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, in Las Vegas, NV. There were three twelve round bouts after his fight. Seldon had two stoppage wins after losing his title to Mike Tyson then lost to Nobles.
Four months later Nobles was back in North Charleston, S.C. stopping Curtis Taylor, 11-9-1, in the first round. His weight was a career high of 275 at the time. This led to his WBA Inter-Continental title fight with Nikolav Valuev, 38-0, and back down to 245.
This would be the only loss in the career of Nobles and it had a highly controversial ending and the fans in Bayern, Germany let the referee Mikael Hook know he did a disservice to Nobles. In the first round Valuev forced six clinches. He was thrown to the canvas with but a warning from referee Hook to Valuev which should have cost him a point. Nobles got up limping before he walked it off. In the second round Nobles lost a point for a low blow. He would fight southpaw in most of the rounds.
The third round was a big round for Nobles who scored with three left hooks to the head of Valuev hurting him. Valuev forced five clinches in the round knowing he was in for a fight. In the fourth round the referee Hook took two points from Nobles for low blows. That was highly unusual for rarely is there more than a point taken at a time. Valuev forced two clinches. Valuev’s trunks were well above his navel and at 7 foot it was difficult for Nobles to get many clean shots to the head. Nobles rushed Valuev low to go into a clinch and Valuev grabbed him tossing him aside when suddenly the referee Hook called
the fight off by disqualification. The fans were not happy with this ending at 0:42 of the round. “We checked the judge’s cards afterwards and they all had me ahead,” said Nobles.
In Nobles corner were trainer Jimmy Arthur seconded by Rev Thompson and Willie Foulk (cut man). Thompson complained severely to the referee for what was the call for the fight to be stopped. The Swedish referee Hook should have been suspended for this action. Also in the ring afterwards was the son of Don King, Carl King standing in the corner of Nobles. If this wasn’t a “pay-off” by the referee than I will sell you a bridge in Manhattan!
It would be another lay-off by Nobles of twenty-three months when he returned again to North Charleston, S.C. at a career high 293 stopping Wallace McDaniel, 7-15-1, in the first round. Three months later in January of 2007 he would have his final bout of his career stopping Andy Sample, 34-14-2, in the first round at the Cuban Club, in Tampa, FL.
Nobles lost approximately six years of inactivity in his twelve year career. He ended with a 26-1 record with twenty-one by stoppage. There were several comebacks rumored over the past ten years. “One time I got as heavy as four-hundred pounds,” said Nobles.
Nobles is now 46 and mentioned former WBO champion Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs who is 45 and Fres “Big O” Oquendo who is 45 and hasn’t fought in three years yet was considered to fight Briggs for the vacant WBA title. Go figure! So don’t count out Nobles who though away for ten years still remembers the return of “Big” George Foreman at 45.
Today Nobles is a book writer, entitled “My friends, My Allies, My Enemies”.
KEN HISSNER: Your punching power is a legend in Philadelphia. What kind of amateur record and how many knockouts did you have?
GERALD NOBLES: I had about 36 fights and about 32 knockouts.
KEN HISSNER: In viewing your only loss, that to Nicolai Valuev, I notice Carl King in the ring. Was he your promoter at the time?
GERALD NOBLES: Don King was at the time.
KEN HISSSNER: Did you find yourself in those well-known Philly gym wars and if you did against whom?
GERALD NOBLES: It was like an everyday job.
KEN HISSNER: Half of your 26 wins were in Philadelphia with 10 of them at the legendary Blue Horizon and 3 unknown places. Was the Blue special to you?
GERALD NOBLES: The Blue was always special to me. Everyone wanted to fight at the Blue. If you were a Philadelphia fighter and didn’t fight at the Blue you were not a Philadelphia fighter.
KEN HISSNER: Was the Bruce “Atlantic City Express” Seldon knockout in Las Vegas your biggest victory?
GERALD NOBLES: Yes, because he was a champion but Maurice Harris was a tougher fight.
KEN HISSNER: From 1998 thru 2002 you fought once a year except twice in 2000. Why fighting mostly once a year?
GERALD NOBLES: No one wanted to fight a puncher and I was part of the problem due to gaining weight. When I was an amateur I dropped Michael Grant in the gym.
KEN HISSNER: Who was managing you during your career?
GERALD NOBLES: Ivan Cohen was first taking me to 14-0. He was a smart guy and I liked his sons Joey and Brian and if I stayed with him I probably would have done better.
KEN HISSNER: Who was your promoter besides King?
GERALD NOBLES: First Kushner, then King and then Silver Hawk.
KEN HISSNER: Why did you wait 2 years after the loss to Valuev to fight again?
GERALD NOBLES: Don King shelved me. I wanted out of the contract.
KEN HISSNER: In the last 10 years how many comebacks have been announced you were coming back and didn’t?
GERALD NOBLES: One. Greg Sirb lied and said I flunked my medicals.
KEN HISSNER: You are 46 and out of the fight game for 10 years. Are you coming to the Marion Anderson gym just to lose weight?
GERALD NOBLES: Yes, but I still want to fight.
KEN HISSNER: What would you do different in your past career if you could change it?
GERALD NOBLES: Manage myself.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer the questions.
GERALD NOBLES: No problem. Thank you. I appreciate it