Tiger was my childhood hero, a true warrior.

It had been revoked because of what the athleticcommission called his ''undesirable connections.'' Word was out thatGiardello's management was mob controlled, or at least mob connected.

In 1962, Dick Tiger won the world middle weight boxing championship.


Tiger inspired lots of Nigerians to go into boxing.

Only four or five reporters had shown up, and we waited outsidethe door to a 50th Street dressing room while the tap and slide of ajump rope sounded from inside.

Where is Power Mike, our master wrestler?

But that doesn'tentirely describe it: There was a dusky, deep plum color to his skin,and even where he glistened with perspiration there were gray patchesthat looked dry, very much like the skin of the fruit.

"The Lion of Mid-West."The match was declared a draw, although I thought Wonder Boy won.

''But that is not the entire story,'' Tiger explained patiently.

In 1963, my family moved to Agbor (mid-western Nigeria) and I loved to watch favourite local boxer, "Wonder Boy," practice with his trainees at his backyard.

''They offered me more money if I would fight him in Atlantic City.

Jose Torres (right) punches Dick Tiger
New York City
May 16, 1967

Dick Tiger and Bob Foster spar
New York City
May 24, 1968

Bob Foster punching Dick Tiger
New York City
May 27, 1968

Dick Tiger knocked down by Bob Foster.

I didn't realize he wasspeaking directly to me.

Fighters like James Corbett, Jack Dempsey, BennyLeonard, Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano and MuhammadAli not only were heroes of their times but also put their unique,mythic stamps on very different generations of male Americanconsciousness.

I had been staring at his chest.

A knowledgeable boxing critic might rank him a cutabove ''hell of a fighter.'' However, if you judged the entire man,boxer and human being, few could match Richard Ihetu, the African whofought under the nom de guerre Dick Tiger.

Dick Tiger was an honorary Biafran army officer and tried to rally US support for Biafra.

It didn't figure to be an easy evening forTiger.

He was 35, and 15 months earlier he had lost his middleweightchampionship in Atlantic City to Joey Giardello on what was concededto have been, by everyone but Giardello people, a warped hometowndecision.

I am also looking for photos and information on thefollowing sports heroes that inspired me.

He was the darkest man I had ever seen.

Significantly, each time Giardello smothered Tiger's attack andappeared to hook the dark arms, referee Johnny LoBianco quicklystepped in and had them fighting again.

Who in your opinion is the greatest goalkeeper Nigerian has ever produced?

The euphemistic ''problem'' waswell understood.

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