Reusse: Ex-Viking an (un)real knockout

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 16, 2013 - 7:24 PM

Ray Edwards' new career has included two ridiculous bouts that stand out even by boxing's laughable standards.

Sunday marks the 122nd anniversary of the first boxing title fight to be held in Minnesota. Chicago's Tommy Ryan defeated St. Paul's Danny Needham in the 76th round to win the world welterweight title. The elongated battle was held at the Twin City Athletic Club in Minneapolis.

It was a week ago that a bout with a local angle last gained attention. No witnesses remain from the events of Feb. 17, 1891, but it can be safely assumed Needham showed more grit than did Nicholas Capes, the loser of the recent fisticuffs.

That fight was actually held across the border -- in Fargo -- on Feb. 9, but the fact that it featured Ray Edwards, the former Vikings defensive end, was a source of Minnesota curiosity.

Capes, a short, bald, chubby Iowan, entered with three first-round knockout losses in three bouts and quickly made it 4-for-4 with a comedic backward vault to the ring's floor. What made this special was Capes went into his vault one second after Edwards' punch missed his face by a foot.

The North Dakota boxing commissioner suspended Capes from further activity -- roughly the equivalent of the triathlon commissioner suspending a short, bald, chubby sportswriter from further Ironman competition.

What was mostly missed here was Edwards being a mere 15 days removed from a KO victory with as much high comedy as the Fargo event. That fight was Jan. 25 in Hinckley, with Cory "Spare Tire'' Briggs as Edwards' foe.

Watching the video on YouTube I would put the Spare Tire at 460, 470 pounds. This Edwards classic ended in 40 seconds, when Briggs took a couple of shots to the gut and knelt against the ropes, unable to rise due to pain and/or bulk.

There are two choices for folks who have followed Minnesota's boxing scene for a few decades: Laugh or cry.

I choose laughter.

I watched Capes and smiled in recollection of Derrick Dukes' boxing debut. I watched the Spare Tire go "ugh'' and smiled in recollection of my friend Ray Whebbe's boxing debut in far away Macao.

Unlike short, bald, chubby Nick Capes, Dukes was 6-3 and chiseled, and had come to the Twin Cities to learn pro wrestling from Eddie Sharkey. In the spring of 1991, much-publicized NFLer Mark Gastineau was going to launch a pro boxing career. Dukes signed up as the opponent for the bout in Salem, Va.

The description: "Gastineau came out of his corner and threw a left hook. Dukes vaulted into the air, landed on his back and was counted out at the 12-second mark of the first round.''

Sharkey, the wrestling teacher, addressed the controversy that followed Dukes' quick exit: "It was a perfect landing. Derrick broke his fall with his hands, just like he has been taught. The problem came because it was the wrong sport.''

Whebbe was a friend of Duke, Sharkey and everyone in the second tier of boxing and wrestling around here. Anywhere on the fringe, there was Ray, spinning yarns.

The best of those came in 1994, when Whebbe tagged along with the three local fighters who had been recruited for the card in Macao. This was a Harold Smith promotion; Smith had done prison time for his financial dealings as a U.S. boxing promoter.

When another fighter bailed on his scheduled bout with Macao heavyweight Li Hou Quing, Whebbe was asked if he had boxed. Ray was hesitant until told there was $1,000 to be earned, he said, "Yeah, I'm a boxer. I'll take the fight.''

Ray had lost 200 pounds in several years of dieting. He was now a less-than-taut 191 pounds and not an impressive sight as a foe for Quing, called "the strongest man in China.''

Whebbe claimed to have "hit him with 20 good shots in the first two minutes.'' The other version was that Ray was running away and Quing knocked him out with one punch to the back of the head.

Whebbe left this veil of tears in 2003, or he could be Ray Edwards' next worthy opponent.

Boxing ... you can't live with it, but you can't get all the laughs without it.

For instance: Gene Fesenmaier was an off-the-wall promoter in the 1970s. A colleague of mine was named the new boxing writer at the St. Paul newspapers. Fez responded by sending an envelope that contained $50.

When the cash was returned, Fez glared at the young sportswriter and said:

"That's the trouble with you, pal. You would rather be right than President.''

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM.

  • related content

  • North Dakota suspends boxer for diving against Ray Edwards

    Wednesday February 13, 2013

    North Dakota's fight commissioner has suspended an Iowa boxer for allegedly taking a dive 13 seconds into a bout against former Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards.

  • Ray Edwards stood in a neutral corner after knocking down T.J. Gibson during a bout.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 66 3rd Qtr 7:34
New Orleans 73
Indiana 62 3rd Qtr 7:04
Orlando 65
LA Clippers 70 3rd Qtr 6:14
Phoenix 64
Minnesota 61 3rd Qtr 7:08
Atlanta 70
Detroit 25 2nd Qtr
Toronto 26
Milwaukee 24 2nd Qtr
San Antonio 21
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 13 3rd Prd 12:42
Team Foligno 9
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 38 2nd Half 18:08
NC State 45
Belmont 28 2nd Half
Tennessee St 30
Creighton 9 1st Half 6:23
Villanova 19
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Washington 7:30 PM
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 56 2nd Half 8:48
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9




question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question