Friday, August 5, 2011

Blues for the Blue







As reported in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer, "The Legendary Blue Horizon" is slated to be sold and converted to a hotel. To say this is a tragedy in the boxing world is an understatement. For 50 years the Blue Horizon has been showcasing great boxing matches. Indeed, Ring Magazine called the Blue the best place in the world to watch a boxing match.
Sure, it was a dump in later years due to the neglect of current owners.The HVAC was non-existent, you needed a surgical mask to go to the head for a leak, the concession stand was pathetic and the parking was a joke. But once the bell rang and the fisticuffs commenced, the atmosphere was magical. I have been going to fights at the Blue since the early 90's. My fighter has been in the ring and scored 2 victories there. My son met Eddie Chambers there one night and got his picture taken with the Heavyweight contender as reported here. I even saw a fighter die there on November 20 2009 when Francisco Rodriguez suffered life-ending head injury after an epic bout against Teon Kennedy. My son was with me that night as well....and he will never forget that night.
Now, some politically connected developers have wrangled a $6 million dollar State grant to gut the joint and make a hotel. I am saddened....so is fellow Blogger Brohamma who e-mailed me yesterday expressing his feelings about the loss of the Blue. The whole boxing community will mourn this loss. Berhard Hopkins fought here, so did Arturo Gatti. Countless up and coming Club fighters bled and sweated and strived for greatness in that ring.
I am personally angered because several months ago I was representing a group of Russiana investors who made a significant offer to by the facility and re-hab it and make it live up to it's potential. These Russians were involved in boxing and had several top flight fighters in their stable and wanted to renovate the Blue and showcase fights once again.
The place has been shuttered for months because the present owners got into tax problems and Liquor Control Board problems...they were selling beer without a license and one night in May 2009 the LCB raided the joint and confiscated all the beer....you can imagine how the crowd reacted to that scenario.The mismanagement of the facility is shocking in this writer's opinion. When a historic venue like this is gone....Philadlephia loses something that will never be replaced.

5 comments:

Brohammas said...

My favorite Blue story...mixed with traddyness:
Penn used to have a yearly event where students from the law school fight the business school. Lots of production value, lots of punching.
While watching a fight a couple years ago I saw a young man wearing a pair of patchwork madras pants. This was the first time I have seen these sort of things on a human and not on display in a RL store. Dude also wore a blue blazer with no shirt.
In the middle of one of the bouts Mr. madras lept from the balcony INTO THE RING! He was unhurt till the security caught him.

Where else could one get so close to the action while sitting in the cheap seats?

Sad day... go ahead and mock our City Tintin...today we deserve it.

M.Lane said...

This totally STINKS. My wife and I went to the Blue for a card some years ago and it was a sporting classic experience. No more.

Shame on the hotel builders.

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

Preppy 101 said...

Sadly, this disregard for traditions and "history" of sort is becoming the norm. How these developers can go through life tearing down memory after memory is unconscionable to me. Sorry to hear this. xoxo

Anonymous said...

You impress me as a pretty sharp lawyer.

Would some kind of "historic landmark" designation be helpful?

I guess turning The Blue into a hotel isn't quite the same as demolishing it, but does Philadelphia really need another hotel?

Main Line Sportsman said...

Anon, the Building already has a Penna. History Marker as a fight venue...but the building itself is not historic...so no help there...although it is a good suggestion.