Heavyweight Ron Stander, The Bluffs Butcher, Dies of Diabetes at 77, Fought Smokin’ Joe Frazier for World Title

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

 Former heavyweight contender Ron Stander, “The Bluffs Butcher”, who fought Smokin’ Joe Frazier for the world heavyweight title in 1972, and also fought Ken Norton, Scott LeDeux, Gerrie Coetzee, Thad Spencer, Manuel Ramos, Scott Frank, Jeff Merritt, James Tillis, Rodney Bobick, and Earnie Shavers during his 61 bout career, has died of diabetes at age 77 in his native Omaha, Nebraska.

 Fighting between 1969 and 1972, Stander compiled a career record of 37-21-3 with 28 knockouts. Stander opened his career 21-0-1 before fighting Frazier in Omaha on May 25, 1972, for Frazier’s World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council World Heavyweight title at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.  Frazier bloodied Stander’s face and stopped him after four rounds. Frazier incurred four deep gashes on his face: one on the eyelid; one on his cheek; and one on each side of his nose. Seeing Standard’s facial gashes and bloody carnage collateral damage form Frazier’s relentless hooks after 12 minutes, the ringside doctor wisely ordered the fight halted at the end of the fourth round. Said Stander about the bout in a 2005 interview “I wasn’t crying from the cuts. There were more than 10,000 people in the (Omaha) arena (cheering for me), and I thought I let them all down. (Smokin’ Joe) Frazier must have hit me with 90 left hooks. He was the favorite (as the defending world heavyweight champion) in the ring, and he proved why. But, if we fought in an alley or a barroom, I would have been the favorite.”

 Stander’s time with boxing faded when he bought a bar and went into business on his own. Stander later was a boxing referee, drove a concrete truck, worked as a bouncer for P.J. Clarke’s Saloon, and for 13 years, until it closed down in 2000, Stander worked as a machine operator at Vickers Inc., an Omaha-based manufacturer of hydraulic equipment. Stander is survived by his two children.