Corpus Christi, Texas-based Warren brothers, Willie, Frankie, and Harold, all grew up to be fighters. While they may never have been world champions, they faced the hardest of men in a very deep – and tough era in the sport.
These brothers were old school in their approach to their chosen profession – simply this is what they did for a living. So, while (like any fighter) they wanted to get paid as much as they could, they answered the call to fight anywhere, anytime, and against anyone.
Willie “Sweet Water” Warren – is the oldest of the Warren brothers who set the template for the attitude the brothers would bring to the ring. He fought for a dozen years from 1967-to 1979 racking up a workman-like 44-46-3 (25 KO’s). While batting under 500, the numbers suggest just another opponent. The resume boasts an incredible who’s-who list of elite fighters that Warren stood toe to toe with in his rugged, aggressive style. Before retiring, Warren would step into the ring with Philadelphia iron Willie Monroe, Bobby Watts and Bennie Briscoe (twice), Buster’s dad – Billy Douglas, Stockton, California legend Yaqui Lopez, (ATG puncher) Sammy Nesmith, rugged Tony Chiaverini, middleweight legend Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Argentinian world champion Hugo Corro, Olympian “Sugar” Ray Seales, and world champions Vito Antuofermo and Fully Obell, to name just a few.
Incredibly in 46 defeats, Willie was only stopped on five occasions. He was halted by future world title challenger Nessem Max Cohen early in his career in Cohen’s hometown of Paris, by 63-fight world champion Sandro Mazzinghi in his hometown of Bologna, Italy, by Philadelphia tough guy Bennie Briscoe, by legendary KO artist Sammy Nesmith in Nesmith’s hometown, and late in his career by undefeated Curtis Parker in Parker’s hometown of Philadelphia. A true ‘have gloves, will travel’ opponent, in 93 career fights, Willie would fight 71 of them on the road. During his career, Willie would fight in Argentina, Venezuela, France, England, Italy, Canada, South Africa, and Mexico, along with fighting all over the United States.
While not blessed with anything to bring to the ring that would raise comparisons to Fred Astaire, he did possess a rugged and aggressive style that was both crowd-pleasing and effective. Willie’s relentless determination demanded that any fighter he faced be ready to go to work because he was coming at the first bell and wasn’t taking a backward step for anyone. The ultimate opponent – and I mean that as the ultimate compliment.
Frankie “Panchito” Warren – A popular network TV fighter who fought from 1982-1989, going 30-2 (20 KO’s) in the pros after a 269-11 amateur career. A USBA super lightweight champion, who also contended for the IBF world title, Frankie would record wins over some outstanding fighters before retiring. Frankie turned pro in 1982 and was 25-0 by 1988, recording wins over world title challengers Robert Elizondo and Ronnie Shields and world champions Sammy Fuentes, Buddy McGirt, and Gene Hatcher – before he fought for a world title! This was not a fighter looking for an easy road to the championship. In February of that year, he suffered his first loss in a shot at the IBF world super lightweight title against Buddy McGirt, getting stopped in the 12th round of his 15-round bout. He rebounded over the next year with five wins in six fights, including beating legend Micky Ward. He closed out his career after losing a 12-round decision to Loreto Garza in the summer of 1989; Garza would win a world title two fights later. An eye injury hastened the end of his career, but he accomplished much during his time in the ring. As is the Warren way, “Panchito” fought the best he could, every chance he got, and can look back on his career with pride.
Harold Warren – Fighting from 1985-to 2000, Harold would go 43-15 (21 KO’s), fight for a world title on two occasions, and face some of his division’s best in his time. And, he fought everyone! Before retiring, Harold would amass an impressive resume that included Tom Johnson, Tracy Harris Patterson, Kevin Kelly, Marty Jakubowski, Genaro Hernandez, Derrick Gainer, and Robert Garcia, to name just a few. Doggedly determined and extremely tough, you know he wasn’t looking for any soft touches when he fought undefeated world title challenger Courtney Hooper in his second fight. Harold would only get stopped in 3 of his 15 defeats, and they all came late in his career, (three of his last four bouts). Two of the three stoppages were to a world title challenger and a world champion.
Conversely, Warren gave an outstanding account of himself against some of boxing’s best – going the distance with world title challengers Courtney Hooper, Marty Jakubowski, and Lamont Pearson and world champions Genaro Hernandez, Derrick Gainer, Tracy Harris Patterson, Victoriana Sosa, and Kevin Kelly . Harold, like Frankie and Willie before him, wanted to test himself against the very best he could during his time. In his career, boxing would take Harold to fight in France, Kiev, and England, along with his bouts all over the United States.
Willie, Frankie, and Harold Warren were old-school contenders who faced anybody put in front of them – anywhere, anytime. All three brothers had a brawling, aggressive, swarming style that was never going to see anyone confuse them with Willie Pep. However, they were three rough and rugged fighting brothers who made for great fights for the fans, allowed them to compete with the best, and saw them earn the respect of every opponent they ever faced.