Tunney Hunsaker

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Tunney Morgan Hunsaker (September 1, 1930 – April 27, 2005) was the police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia in 1960 when Hunsaker was Cassius Clay's (now Muhammed Ali) first opponent in a professional boxing bout. After the fight Hunsaker said, "Clay was as fast as lightning ... I tried every trick I knew to throw at him off balance but he was just too good". In a thumbnail profile of the fight the following January, young Cassius was reported as having remarked that Hunsaker's style was far different from what Clay had been exposed to as an amateur and Olympian; the young fighter admitted to nervousness going in, and that Hunsaker's aforementioned pro style, had given him trouble.[1] This respect appears genuine, as it was lasting—in his autobiography, Ali said Hunsaker dealt him one of the hardest body blows he ever took in his career. Ali and Hunsaker became good friends and stayed in touch over the years. Hunsaker said he did not agree with Ali's decision to refuse military service, but praised him as a great humanitarian and athlete.[2]

In the fight game, Hunsaker was a small heavyweight, perhaps better suited for light-heavy classification (175 lbs. limit); today, he would most likely compete as a cruiserweight (190 lbs. limit). He fought as a boxer-puncher, by his own telling. Hunsaker once appeared on the undercard at Madison Square Garden. Hunsaker ended up with a record of 17 wins with 15 defeats with 8 wins by way of KO (as of boxrec). His career ended after a boxing-related head injury suffered on April 6, 1962, in Beckley, West Virginia. Although rushed to a Beckley hospital, Hunsaker was in a coma for nine days and suffered the physical effects for the rest of his life. He was 74 when he died after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease. He was a Journeyman with more wins than defeats.

In his private life, Hunsaker was active in the Oak Hill Church of the Nazarene for many years, teaching a Sunday School class for fifth and sixth grade boys. He was three times named Sunday School Teacher of the Year. At the time of his death in 2005, he had been married to wife Patricia for over thirty years.

Hunsaker was the youngest police chief in the history of West Virginia, at age 27. He served as law enforcement to the people of Fayetteville, for 38 years. He was later inducted into the Law Enforcement Hall Of Fame. He was remembered as having performed many humanitarian gestures in his capacity, such as escorting the elderly home at dusk, or operating as a crossing guard to insure the safety of small children, standing on wait for buses entering town, etc. The Sheriff proved an inspiration to the children of Fayetteville. On a lighter note, a hobby of his was to turn the traffic signals off during rush hour and after the high school football games to direct traffic, something that became somewhat of a sport to him and an expected occurrence to residents.

In his youth, Sheriff Hunsaker served honorably in the United States Air Force, stationed at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX.

The Tunney Hunsaker Bridge (former U.S. 19 Bridge) crossing the New River Gorge has been named after him.

Professional boxing record[edit]

17 Wins (8 knockouts, 9 decisions), 15 Losses (7 knockouts, 8 decisions), 1 Draw [3]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 3-4-1 United States Joe Shelton KO 10 06/04/1962 United States Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center, Beckley, West Virginia Hunsaker knocked out at 2:43 of the tenth round. Hunsaker was in a coma for nine days following the fight.
Win 1-0 United States Thomas Dejarnette KO 1 24/02/1962 United States West Virginia State Penitentiary, Beckley, West Virginia
Loss 8-2 United States Sonny Banks KO 2 16/10/1961 United States Detroit, Michigan
Loss -- United States Thomas Dejarnette TKO 8 28/09/1961 United States West Virginia State Penitentiary, Beckley, West Virginia Referee stopped the bout at 2:10 of the eighth round.
Win 0-1 United States Herman Wilson TKO 6 22/08/1961 United States Fairgrounds Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky
Loss 13-0 United States Tod Herring UD 10 25/04/1961 United States City Auditorium, Houston, Texas
Loss 10-1 Argentina Alejandro Lavorante KO 5 21/03/1961 United States Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, Texas Hunsaker knocked out at 2:31 of the fifth round.
Loss -- United States Cassius Clay UD 6 29/10/1960 United States Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky 19-30, 24-30, 23-30.
Loss 17-0 United States Tom McNeeley TKO 9 12/04/1960 United States Boston Arena, Boston, Massachusetts Referee stopped the bout at 1:30 of the ninth round.
Loss 14-4-5 United States Johnny Jenkins SD 6 05/02/1960 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City
Loss 6-9-1 United States Jim O'Connell PTS 10 16/01/1960 United States Kenova, West Virginia
Loss 17-2-1 United States Hosea Chapman UD 12 14/11/1959 United States Memorial Auditorium, Fayetteville, West Virginia West Virginia Heavyweight Title.
Loss 26-17-5 United States Bert Whitehurst TKO 10 30/09/1959 United States Charlotte, North Carolina
Loss 13-2 United States Ernie Terrell PTS 8 24/07/1959 United States Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky
Win 18-7-1 United States Bennie Thomas PTS 8 01/07/1959 United States Louisville, Kentucky
Draw 17-2 United States Hosea Chapman PTS 12 20/06/1959 United States Ravenswood, West Virginia West Virginia Heavyweight Title. 54-54, 54-55, 58-55.
Win 5-3-1 United States Billy Walters KO 1 02/05/1959 United States Fayetteville, West Virginia
Win -- United States Terrell Pruitt UD 6 28/03/1959 United States Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky
Win -- Tiny Gibson KO 3 30/09/1958 United States Fayetteville, West Virginia
Win 1-2 United States Herbert Hair KO 2 16/08/1958 United States Memorial Auditorium, Fayetteville, West Virginia
Loss 22-9 United States Emil Brtko KO 2 23/06/1958 United States High School Stadium, Charleroi, Pennsylvania Hunsaker knocked out at 1:58 of the second round.
Win 1-1 United States Jim Saddler SD 6 09/06/1953 United States Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas
Win 16-7-1 United States O'Neal Crocker TKO 4 02/06/1953 United States Ringside Club, Houston, Texas
Win 3-0 United States Carl Griffin KO 1 20/04/1953 United States Dallas Sportatorium, Dallas, Texas Griffin knocked out at 1:11 of the first round.
Win 23-19-1 United States Joe Arthur SD 10 10/03/1953 United States Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas
Win 13-12-2 United States Rancherio Alonzo PTS 8 10/02/1953 United States Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas
Loss 12-12-2 United States Rancherio Alonzo PTS 6 30/12/1952 United States Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas
Loss 13-15-3 United States Whitey Berlier PTS 10 05/11/1952 United States Houston, Texas
Win 6-11-1 United States Pat Viola UD 6 20/10/1952 United States Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas
Win 1-1 United States Jesus Vargas KO 3 07/10/1952 United States Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas
Win 12-10-2 United States Rancherio Alonzo PTS 6 23/09/1952 United States Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas
Win 5-9-1 United States Pat Viola PTS 6 31/07/1952 United States Austin, Texas
Win 5-8-1 United States Pat Viola UD 4 22/07/1952 United States Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas

References[edit]

  1. ^ uncredited (January 1961). "Glove Action". The Ring. XXXIX (12): 66. 
  2. ^ Brunt, Stephen (2002). Facing Ali. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press. p. 301. ISBN 1-58574-829-3. 
  3. ^ http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=9362&cat=boxer

External links[edit]

Tunney Hunsaker at Find a Grave