Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thesz In Arizona

The legendary Lou Thesz might not be associated with Arizona in the eyes of most fans, but for several years, he lived in Tucson. He also invested in a furniture store when there and a son from one of his marriages became a gourmet chef in Phoenix.

Thesz had numerous Arizona matches in the 1950s and early 1960s, including one match where he made short work of Dr. Jerry Graham within a minute. Rumor has it the two got into a locker room argument and Graham decided, in his normally drunken state, he would take Thesz to task. That did not work so well.

Thesz made varied appearances at the old Phoenix Madison Square garden on 7th & Van Buren, where his name assured a packed house.

One of Lou's final Arizona hurrahs came in the early 1970s for Rod Fenton. At the Travel Lodge Theater, now Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, he faced and beat Jerry Kozak in a scientific encounter.

Thesz eventually moved to Virginia and was living there when he passed away. he wa sin his 80s at the time and still in relatively good shape. His cremated ashes were carried to Missouri and scattered in a couple different locations, including the location of the old Kiel arena and along a river bank.

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