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Andy Ganigan: The Hawaiian Punch!

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Andy Ganigan: The Hawaiian Punch!

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He was one of the most dangerous lightweights of his era. Andrew Ganigan of Hawaii was not blessed with the best of chins. His live by the sword, die by the sword style of fighting made him a crowd-pleasing favorite. In most cases Andy got to his opponent first thus allowing him to fight to the top of the ratings.

A nineteen-year-old Ganigan turned professional in 1972. Through 1977 he won his first 25 fights. He won 23 by KO! Among his feats were a two round demolition of Tury “The Fury” Pineda and an eighth round stoppage of Vincente Mijares Saldivar for the NABF lightweight crown. In 1978 Andy met Chicago’s rough and tough Johnny Lira. The tenacious Lira outlasted Ganigan to score a stoppage victory. This fight was for the USBA lightweight title.

In 1979 Andy defeated Mijares Saldivar again for the NABF title. Then in a major upset, Roberto Vasquez halted Ganigan in seven rounds. In a 1980 rematch Andy turned the tables stopping Vasquez in seven. In 1981 highly regarded Rodolfo “Gato” Gonzalez (not the ”Gato” who was WBC champion in the 70′s) outscored Ganigan. Popular Sean O’Grady had failed in a bloody attempt to win the WBC lightweight title from Jim Watt. Later Sean challenged WBA title holder Hilmer Kenty. In a true “closet classic”, O’Grady outscored Kenty to win the title. Due to complicated boxing politics Sean either gave up or was stripped of recognition by the WBA. Enter Sean’s father Pat O’Grady who formed the World Athletic Association (WAA). Sean would defend that title against Ganigan. It was a disaster for O’Grady who was floored three times by the explosive Ganigan. The fight ended in round two with Sean shell shocked.
 
Andy had no use for the WAA title but used the victory over O’Grady as a springboard to a 1982 title fight with champion Alexis Arguello. The great Arguello had won the WBC lightweight title by defeating Watt. Ganigan shocked the crowd and Arguello by flooring Alexis in the first round. Arguello had power equal to or better then Ganigan’s though. Soon Alexis overpowered Andy and stopped the game Hawaiian in round five. In 1983 Ganigan would challenge the clever Kronkster Jimmy Paul for the USBA lightweight crown. Paul would halt Ganigan in round six and Andy would hang up the gloves.
 
Andy had lost three of his last four fights but no one who witnessed it will forget his two round slaughter of O’Grady. In all Ganigan had 39 fights. His final record was 34-5 with 30 big knockouts. During his tenure as a contender he was a force to be reckoned with!

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