Marty Jakubowski started boxing at age 9 at the Whiting Boxing Club because all kids were doing it. He had a 120-30 amateur record before going professional, winning numerous state titles in the Indiana and Chicago areas. He liked to fight more than he did train. That’s how he stayed in shape, boxing three or four times a week and sometimes back-to-back nights. His final record was 114-7 (33), with 14 No Contests from 1987 to 2005.
Jakubowski boxed in 18 states including Philadelphia when he defeated local favorite Anthony Boyle, 25-4, for the USBA lightweight title. Boyle didn’t think he could do it, but he did! “The fight almost caused a riot afterwards. He was a quick and elusive boxer,” said Boyle.
Jakubowski also has boxed a who’s who of boxing including the great Julio Caesar Chavez in 1992 and 1999. In their first meeting Jakubowski was 37-0, but Chavez was 83-0. That was in Las Vegas while the second meeting was in Mexico with no title on the line in either fight. He did fight for several world titles like in 1995 losing a decision to WBC champion Angel Gonzalez, 36-0, 1996 losing a decision to WBO champion Artur Grigorian, 20-0, in Germany and 1997 stopped in 7 to WBA champion Khalid Rahilou, 29-2, in Morroco. He won the USA Mid America and Mid West title’s in 1993. He even defeated his brother, Eric, in the 5th round in North Dakota in 1993.
After watching Jakubowski box, I think he was great. Not too many boxers could do or want to do what he has done in boxing today. The Jakubowski’s make Whiting, Indiana proud of what they’ve done. Marty has a lot of people to thank like Dennis Hardesty, Sean Gibbons, Pete Susens, among others.
Dave Ruff: Did you win any titles in the amateurs?
Marty Jakubowski: I did win numerous state titles, Chicago Park District titles, Tri-state and regional tournaments and it seems as though every national tournament I compete in, I lost to the eventual winner. I lost in the 1986 finals of the Chicago Golden Gloves open division at the age of 16 and the next year lost in the finals again.
DR: What was it like going to the Whiting Boxing Club?
MJ: My brother followed me to the gym when he was about 9 and I was 12. We always worked the hand pads at the house before that and he cold already fight before he ever walked in a gym. It was the greatest place in the world for a bunch of lower class kids to be. Everybody respected everybody and it was truly a second home and family for many years for many kids. The founder Dennis Hardesty deserves all the credit for building a gym in a city of less than 5,000 people and turning out some world class fighters. In the beginning he put together a team of trainers, fighters, (amateur and pro) matchmakers and promoters that really, looking back it was phenomenal. Of course things change over time and the team members that worked so closely together all went their own way. It’s really sad, but everything changes. The Whiting Boxing Club in the late 70’s and early 90’s was just the greatest experience for hundreds of kids and adults.
DR: Give me some insight on the fight with Anthony Boyle in Philly when you won the USBA title. It was the opening of the Convention Center and had Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Holyfield, Breland and Cosby in the audience along with myself.
MJ: It was just another fight for me. I trained really hard and even watched tapes. I saw him before the fight and walked up and introduced myself and he had no idea who I was! I knew right then and there I was going to win the fight. He thought I was just a Midwest kid with a gaudy record (75-1), which it was, but I had learned to fight in all the fights I had and he had no idea what to expect while I studied him pretty well. The fight went as expected. He was a second behind all night and I figured I won 9 out of 12 rounds. I make you miss, counter, make you miss and counter again. I never claimed to be the most exciting fighter or a puncher, but managed to do what I do and get the job done most of the time.
DR: How would you change boxing if you could and do you think MMA is taking over?
MJ: I would tell the so called regulators and commissioners let boxing people run boxing. A very large percent of them are some appointed goofball that has never been in a fight much less a professional boxing bout in their lives! They are killing boxing, especially the small venues and the club fighters. Professional fighters are grown men and we understand the risks involved in doing what we do. My recommendation would be please stop saving us from ourselves and let a person make a living. MMA is a great sport and the fan base is pretty solid. I don’t think it will ever take over boxing but the catch here is every kid that wrestled in high school could compete. They are tough sons of a gun’s and a lot of them are game as heck. The plus side is…everyone understands who wins a fight and that is exactly what it is. We watch a boxing match and the decision goes the opposite way of what you saw and you scratch your head. I am a fan of the sweet science by far, but admit MMA is intriguing to a lot of people.
DR: Do you have anything positive or negative to say about your career?
MJ: It took me all over this country, all over the world, taught me valuable life lessons and shaped and molded me into the person I am today. No regrets at all. I used to think I wish I would have won the world title and made that big money, but you know what, God knew I wasn’t ready for that and looking back, if I had a lot of money at that point in my life, I never would be at where I am today. I have a beautiful wife, three great kids, a couple of jobs that I enjoy and most importantly my Christianity, which I am doubtful ever would have happened if my life went in a different direction. Boxing to this day, at least the memories makes me smile and sometimes laugh out loud…wouldn’t have traded it for nothing!
DR: What was it like being one of the few to win over 100 fights?
MJ: It never comes to mind until someone brings it up. Listen I did what I love to do…box…whenever who ever and wherever I could. I had a lot of easy fights, never was keeping track of the record, just doing what I loved to do and learning my trade. You can’t beat fighting in front of a crowd, no headgear, referee, and judges for real life experience. I had the opportunity to fight the great Julio Cesar Chavez on Showtime televised throughout the world and my popularity went crazy. Every promoter in the Midwest wanted me on their cards. People seemed to like me and it just blossomed. Fighting twice a week (sometimes more), getting paid and enjoying every minute of it. After a while I was 76-1, really learned how to fight and beat Boyle in Philly and went on to fight for a few world titles and when it was all over, someone was actually keeping track of my record! Records don’t make fighters. Fights make fighters. Wins and losses don’t make a fighter, fights make fighters. Take the records and toss them.
DR: Do you think they’ll ever do a book or movie about you?
MJ: A movie or book? C’mon Dave I’m flattered you are doing an article on me! I really didn’t do anything worthy of a book or a movie. I just did what I liked to do and did it a lot. I just want everyone to be nice to everyone and tell everyone to try to do what you love to do.
Story was written by Dave Ruff