Remembering British Heavyweight Champ Gary Mason
by James Slater - Talk about a fighter who once occupied his fair share of the spotlight disappearing completely from view. Who has seen or heard a thing from the once very popular former British heavyweight champion Gary Mason lately? At one time on one UK T.V station or another almost constantly - both during and after his active career - the big Londoner who was born in Jamaica in 1962 was a genuine household name in Britain.
Article posted on 07.06.2009
A very capable and enjoyable to watch in-studio expert on Sky Sports' Ringside boxing show in the 1990s, Mason looked set to enjoy a long running career as a T.V pundit.. But, unlike ex-fighters such as Glenn McCrory and other Brits who went into commentating fights, big Gary stopped working for some reason. What reason? Not being in full possession of the facts, and therefore not wanting to put out erroneous info, I did hear a rumour a number of years back about Gary having uttered bad language (using the dreaded C word no less) when he mistakenly thought the T.V cameras at Sky were switched off. Is this why Mason's T.V career disappeared as rapidly as his profile?
I liked Mason. He was a limited but brave and strong fighter, and he had a good, easygoing way about him. Never quite as popular as Frank Bruno - a rival fighter who Gary occasionally had opposing views to - Mason may have actually been the better heavyweight. Gary never got as far as big Frank, but bad luck had a lot to do with it - eye problems in particular bringing Mason the broken mirrors. But let's not forget, Mason was only ever beaten once as a pro - by the emerging Lennox Lewis, in 1991. Even here, Mason was not knocked out. Battered and half blinded, he was TKO'd in the 7th round, but he never went down. Mason had a good chin, that's for sure. Better than Bruno's? I'd say so.
But, despite his ability to take a decent shot upstairs, Mason's career was all but over after the loss to Lewis. Due to his detached retina, Gary was a spent force in the U.K. Two fights did follow, in the U.S three years after his sole defeat, but this comeback, such as it was, soon came to an end. Finally retiring with a fine record of 37-1(34), the former British champ concentrated on his T.V work - along with a brief stint playing for Rugby team The London Broncos. Mason also ran a jewellery store called "Punch 'N' Jewellery" for a while.
But in the past few years we have seen nothing of Mason. Indeed, he would certainly be a great subject for a where are they now article. A useful fighter in his day, who managed wins over decent men like Tyrell Biggs, Alonzo Ratliff, James Tillis and Hughroy Currie, Mason also displayed a fine knowledge of the fight game when he was working for Sky. It is a shame Gary is not enjoying some time in the public eye today - I for one would welcome him back as a commentator on his former sport and I suspect I wouldn't be the only one.
Whatever he's doing with himself nowadays, let's hope Gary Mason is in good health and is happy with his life. And if he reads this article, he will see he has not been forgotten.
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