By Thomas Gerbasi - For nearly 16 years, the USA Network’s Tuesday Night Fights series was a refuge for the serious boxing fan, and for an entire generation of aficionados, “Saigon” Skipper Kelp was our Arturo Gatti before “Thunder” became the human highlight reel of the sport.
Blessed with a debilitating left hook, speed, and an offensive mindset that overruled any serious thought of defense, Kelp was the guy who didn’t disappoint, the one who made it worth your while every time you tuned in. In other words, he was that rarity or rarities: a made for television fighter.
“You know what it was, where I may have lacked the boxing technique at the time because I relied a lot on speed, tenacity and power, I figure if a guy was a better boxer than me, I was gonna overwhelm him,” said Kelp. “And if I got a guy hurt, I wanted to finish it. I wanted to get him out of there.”
If he even sensed he had you on your back foot, Kelp would unleash combinations from all angles, almost always capped off with that left hook. And if he caught you clean, you usually took a nap.
Of course, careers like that don’t usually last too long, and Kelp’s run as a pro lasted just 29 fights from 1990 to 1998. He never held or fought for a world title either, but what makes Kelp a boxing success story is that a) he is still remembered today for his exciting fights and style, and b) when he walked away, he stayed away. And staying away – especially after leaving the sport at the age of 28 - may be even harder than winning a world championship. Not that it was easy for him. [Click Here To Read More