November 2000
CBZ Masthead
Today's News
Current Champs
World Rankings
Fight Schedule

WAIL! The CBZ Journal
WAIL! back issues
WAIL! Sampler


Former Lineal Champions
Title Claimants
Former Contenders
White Hopes
Black Dynamite
High Art & Lowbrow Culture
Olympic Champions
Journeymen & Tomato Cans
Cornermen & Goodfellas
Laws, Rules & Regulations
English Bareknuckle Champs
American Bareknuckle Champs

Need an older story? Visit the CBZ Archives.


James Mullins: 

A Journeyman Opponent Who Comes to Fight 

by David L. Hudson, Jr.

In the sport of boxing, most fighters do not fight for a world title, become a top contender or garner extravagant purses.  Most boxers ply their craft in front of small crowds for meager pay at less than glamorous locations.

Most boxing cards consist of hometown fighters against out-of-towners. The unspoken rule of thumb is that the hometown boxers will pad their record at the expense of the journeymen.

Super middleweight James Mullins from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is one such journeyman. He sports a record of 6-63-2 with 1 no-contest. He loses many of his fights by decision in other fighters' hometowns. Close fights are usually awarded to the hometown fighter. (The term "hometown decisions" was not made up out of thin air.)

Mullins has seen it all in the ring -  and usually from a disadvantage. He's faced fighters with much better skills in their hometown. But, unlike many journeymen, James Mullins comes to fight. "I always come to fight," he says. "I have a lot of heart. I usually lose by decision."

His trainer and manager Billy Mitchell says of his fighter: "We know he's not world-class. He's awkward and limited on skills but he'll make you fight. In fact, on many cards, he's involved in the fight of the night."

Mitchell often exhorts Mullins in his fights by calling him by his nickname "Volcano." "I call him Volcano because you never know when he's going to erupt."

At a recent fight in Nashville against light-heavyweight Dennis McKinney, Mullins lost the first four rounds. However, in the final two rounds, Mullins' activity began to be rewarded. He won the last round on all three cards but lost a 6-round decision.

Though his career is littered with losses, Mullins does throw lots of punches and puts in an honest night on the job. He often absorbs large amounts of punishment before going down.

At a fight card this September in Nashville, I witnessed a card full of boring mismatches. However, in the last fight of the evening, Michael David Rogers (18-2) entered the ring against Mullins. The two staged a four-round war with Mullins drawing blood in the first round.

However, the larger Rogers was able to score a knockdown in the final round and secure a unanimous decision. The pattern of fighting larger fighters is one that Mullins has faced often in his career. For example, in April 1997, Mullins lost a four-round decision to a then-undefeated heavyweight Frankie Wood, who outweighed by more than 30 pounds. Later that year he fought
heavyweight Samson Cohen and was stopped in the second round.

Though he almost always loses, Mullins can occasionally pull a big surprise. Perhaps Mullins' most noteworthy fight came relatively early in his career in 1992.  Mullins entered the ring in Forest City, North Carolina, with prospect David Izeqwire for what was supposed to be another easy win for the then 5-0 (5 kayoes) Izeqwire. Mullins gave the undefeated prospect all he could handle. In the ring the bout was declared a draw. Officials later changed the bout to a decision win for Izeqwire.

Mitchell says that at that time, the state did not have a state boxing commission to which he could appeal.  

In October 1997, Mullins faced cruiserweight James Hayes in Nashville. Hayes entered the contest with a record of 17-1 with 15 kayoes. In the first round, Hayes suffered a gash above his eye and the fight was stopped. Ringside officials ruled it a no-contest. Mitchell and Mullins insist that Mullins opened Hayes up with a punch.

One might ask why a fighter with a terrible record and limited skills keeps absorbing punishment in the ring for small purses.

"I fight for the love of it and to make a little money," he admits. "The sport of boxing has allowed me to meet a lot of people and travel all over the world." 

"Boxing also kept me out of trouble," Mullins says. "If young kids can't go to the gym and learn boxing, some of them will take their fighting to the streets."

Mullins says his goal is to "fight four more years till I'm 35 and then become a trainer. I think I can help some young kids from going down the wrong path. Boxing prevented me from going down the wrong path and I'd like to pass that along to some other young people."

--- David L. Hudson, Jr. is an attorney, writer and boxing judge in Tennessee. He can be reached at dhudson@fac.org 

Schedule News Current Champs WAIL! Encyclopedia Links Store Home
2000 CBZ Media, Inc. -- All Rights Reserved.
[Return to Top]