"Irish" Jerry Quarry (May 15, 1945 - January 3, 1999) was called by some the best heavyweight boxer to never win a world title. He was durable and smart, had a good punch, and owned a legendary chin. His one flaw was cuts, which stopped some of his fights and pestered him in others. Jerry had a good left hook, was a good body puncher, and a smart and quick counterpuncher. He was 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) and weighed 195 lb (88 kg) in his prime.
Quarry come to national attention by winning the 1965 National Golden Gloves championship at Madison Square Garden. He knocked out each of his opponents in the tournament, a feat never before or since matched. Quarry began his pro career in 1965 winning a decision against Gene Hamilton in Los Angeles, California. He had fourteen fights that first year alone, with 13 wins and one draw. His first loss came against respected veteran Eddie Machen in 1966, Jerry's 21st fight at just 21 years of age. He followed that loss with a slew of victories and became a ranked heavyweight in 1967. That year the W.B.A. (World Boxing Association) had a tournament to replace Muhammad Ali, who had been stripped as champion. Quarry was named to the eight-man field and became its star. He defeated former world champion Floyd Patterson and tournament favorite Thad Spencer before an upset in the final by Jimmy Ellis. Still highly ranked, he was given a title shot by Joe Frazier in 1969. Quarry lost the fight via seventh-round technical knockout despite a tremendous performance. He would also fight Ali when the champion returned in 1970. Quarry did well enough to earn a rematch in 1972, but lost both fights. He also lost a rematch to Frazier in 1974. Still, Quarry maintained his high rank by defeating several top opponents from 1970 thru 1974. George Foreman refused to give Quarry a title shot and said in later years that he purposely dodged him. Quarry was also a bit TV actor who appeared in several TV shows and would retire to work for A.B.C. (the American Broadcasting Company) in 1975. He earned over $5 million dollars as a fighter without ever being champion. Tragically, Quarry died suffering from dementia pugilistica, an affliction that has struck many ex-fighters. A foundation works in his honor to battle the disease.
Jerry Quarry was inducted to the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995. His pro record was 53-9-4 with 32 KOs. It includes wins over Floyd Patterson, Thad Spencer, Buster Mathis, Ron Lyle, and Earnie Shavers, all notable heavyweights. His brothers Mike Quarry and Bobby Quarry are also former boxers. Mike once lost to Bob Foster by knockout for the world light heavyweight title in 1974. Bobby fought 23 times as a professional heavyweight.