Scrolling through “Iceman” John Scully’s Facebook page, you get a glimpse of a unique guy. A boxing “lifer”, Scully’s fighting career consisted of 74 amateur fights, and 49 professional fights. He was a world ranked light heavyweight fighter, and upon retiring, he has remained in boxing as a trainer, historian and commentator. Facebook details Scully’s daily humorous journey through life: engaging in thought provoking questions such as who tithes to their church, the details of his infamous Banned List, Walgreen’s visits, and exploits during the day his wife need never discover- changing one detergent for a cheaper one, the broken figurine, the woman should never control the remote, and more. But the main content of his daily thread is boxing- past, present and future, which by accident, helps preserve the history of boxing and always encourages conversation and even debates.
“Originally it was always just kind of a way to talk to myself about boxing,” Scully said. “I had no idea I would accumulate a real following, so to speak, in social media.” Inadvertently, Scully was generating more interest. “I just used to post different memories and facts about the game for myself and a few close friends who are big boxing fans and slowly but surely I started having people ask me to post more things in the way of memories, pictures and anecdotes. Now not a single day goes by without at least one initiated boxing conversation going on,” he said.
The bond between boxers is unique, and something Scully holds in high regard, which he believes should be recognized and shared.
“Ever since I was an amateur boxer in the 1980’s I have always been fascinated with the boxers and our camaraderie. I can recall so many times when I would run into someone, somewhere who I used to box with or a guy I once fought and it was really something special because in many cases I had never really even spoken to these guys other than to say “Good fight” after we fought,” he said. From those minutes in the ring, even with years in between, Scully realized the camaraderie developed. “When I would run into them somewhere years later it would be like two brothers or two old college roommates reuniting after so many years. It was like we were great friends with history even though all we had ever done was fight each other somewhere.”
Keeping in touch in earlier decades wasn’t as easy as it is now, so Scully explained, he did it the old fashioned way. “It was also a thing where before the Internet came into being I used to keep in touch with different guys through the mail and it kind of was brought to my attention by Emmanuel Steward of all people over in Germany, in 1997 when he told me how he had never seen anyone keep in touch with so many boxers as I did,” Scully remembered, and continued. “It was actually in the ring after I had just fought his boxer, Graciano Rocciginani, in Berlin and he came over to me and mentioned how Kady King and different people had always told him “hello” for me and he really seemed to get a kick out of it.”
The memory stayed with Steward until he and Scully met again, and he recalled Steward’s comments. “In 2012 when he was working for HBO and I was training Chad Dawson to fight Bernard Hopkins in Atlantic City. Emanuel mentioned it at the pre-fight meeting and then again on the air during the fight that no one in the game connected more people than I did, or something similar to that. That’s when it kind of hit me. I remember looking through my phone after and it had never dawned on me until then how many former boxers phone numbers and e-mails I possessed.”
Then for Scully, an idea began to form. “It wasn’t long afterward that I started reaching out to the guys in mass emails and texts and started asking about who would like to meet up somewhere, sometime. Long story short, since that time I’ve had seven or eight very successful events in Las Vegas, New York City, both casinos in Connecticut (Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun) and Lowell, Massachusetts where everyone from my first ever amateur opponent in 1983 (Isidro Roman) to Roy Jones Jr. and Mike McCallum have shown up. I’ve had so many, too many to mention. But great names stand out, guys like Micky Ward, Lamon Brewster, Ray Olivera, Alex Ramos, Marlon Starling, Montell Griffin and so many others. Even rappers R.A. The Rugged Man and Flava’ Flav have shown up to lend support to it all. If all goes well, the next one will be in Los Angeles in late September.”
Aside from reuniting fighters and boxing enthusiasts, these reunions have also shown a benevolent side. Through his many communications, Scully learned about the desperate health issues surrounding former champ Wilfred Benitez, and was all too familiar with the similar ongoing situation of Gerald McClellan.
“Basically, it’s just a thing where a couple years ago I was in touch with someone who knew Wilfred Benitez and they were telling me how bad off he was,” Scully said. “So I posted them and the response was very impressive.” And as in everything boxing, the news traveled fast. “Everything kind of snowballed from there,” Scully recalled. “Boxing people really are great. I’ve had different people over the last couple of years send me stuff in the mail or hand it right to me at different events, items for me to sell and give the proceeds to different boxers in need.” It wasn’t long before others in boxing were lending a helping hand, Scully revealed. “I’ve branched out with friends in the game like Milton Luban and Eddie Montalvo who have contributed in different ways in order to help guys out, in particular Wilfred and Gerald McClellan. Milton has given me items at no cost to have signed and he’s helped me get some very good signatures on them, and Eddie has helped greatly with a couple events in Harlem over the last couple of years that have brought a lot of awareness to both Gerald and Wilfred.”
A full life from boxing, keeping it’s history alive and well, giving back to the sport through relationships formed on both sides of the ropes since the 1980’s have given Scully success and longevity in an industry where it don’t come easy. Advice comes freely and often from all corners when you’re in the game, but Scully credits words of wisdom from a revered veteran and “The Greatest” for what he considers, the best advice he’s been given in boxing:
“I’ve mentioned many times over the years how reading a particular excerpt from Muhammad Ali’s book, “The Greatest” greatly influenced me to never get involved with alcohol or drugs, but I also have to credit the great legend Archie Moore who influenced me through correspondence for 15 years through the mail, exchanging letters. And one line in one of his early letters to me back in the 1980’s has always stayed with me: “Treat your body as a champion should, for it is the one you will have until death calls you home.”
Keep up with “Iceman” John Scully on Facebook. Scroll through, enjoy the comments, maybe even meet up at one of his reunions or lend a helping hand to someone he’s helping. You might be glad you did! Facebook.com/IcemanJohnScully.
About the Editor
Army Veteran and former Professional Boxer Simon Ruvalcaba started boxing at the age of ten and Had a 71 fight amateur career which featured a 139 lbs. 1998 8th U.S. Army Boxing Championship out of Camp Casey, Korea and a spot on the prestigious Army Boxing Team at Fort Hood, TX. After a journeyman pro career of 18 fights, which included sparring sessions with many champions and contenders including Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell “Sweat Pea” Whitaker, Simon started writing and has contributed to many publications and websites including fighthype.com, pound4pound.com, Tahoe Daily Tribune (South Lake Tahoe, CA), Nevada Appeal (Carson City, NV) and also writes a monthly boxing column for Tahoeonstage.com. He has also been the Boxing Instructor for Ken Shamrock and The Lions Den and MMA and Bareknuckle star Paige VanZant’s first boxing coach!
Born and Raised in South Lake Tahoe, California he now resides in Sun Valley, Nevada and spends as much time as possible with his Sons Gabriel and Oscar! Beyond boxing, Simon is an all around sports fanatic and is passionate about the teams that he roots for!