Former Philly boxing champ killed in Camden accident

In March 1985, Larry Holmes, left, battles David Bey during a bout in Las Vegas. Bey, a former heavyweight boxing champ from Philadelphia nicknamed

In March 1985, Larry Holmes, left, battles David Bey during a bout in Las Vegas. Bey, a former heavyweight boxing champ from Philadelphia nicknamed "Hand Grenade," died Thursday in a construction accident in Camden. (AP Photo/File)

A former heavyweight boxing champ who was defeated by Larry Holmes died last week in a construction accident in Camden.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said David Bey of Philadelphia was struck by a piece of metal and killed Thursday while working on a mixed-use real estate development project in Camden.

His union says the 60-year-old was a second-generation pile driver.

Tony Bianchini, a spokesman for the the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters Local 179, called him a “world-class boxer.”

“He was elected into the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame this year, and a lot of his union brothers and sisters celebrated it with him,” he said. “It was definitely a tragic accident that happened, and we’re definitely going to miss him.”

The Los Angeles Times wrote in the 1980s that Bey didn’t look like “a Greek statue like many fighters, but instead like a turn-of-the century Irish bartender with his shirt off and his hair parted down the middle.”

At the height of his career, Bey won praise for declining a $175,000 offer to fight in South Africa because he thought it would give the pro-apartheid regime credibility.

Bey made his professional boxing debut in 1981 and he went on to defeat Greg Page in 1984 for the United States Boxing Association’s heavyweight championship.

He went 10 rounds with Holmes for the International Boxing Federation title in 1985, losing to Holmes by technical knockout.

 

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