There have been many fighters, but only 1 'Wildman'


POSTED: Saturday, May 02, 2009

The last time I saw him, he was where he always was at 11:30 on a Saturday night.





        Michael Carrere fought all of his pro fights in Hawaii. His career:

1980: Duane Molina
        Won, third-round KO


1980: Rafael Zamora
        Won, first-round KO


1980: Harold Neveau
        Won, decision


1980: Jose Rivera
        Won, third-round KO


1980: Edric Kerr
        Won, second-round KO


1981: Henry Drummond
        Won fifth-round KO


1981: Pedro Guerrero
        Won, decision


1981: Pedro Guerrero
        Won, fifth-round TKO


1981: Henry Drummond
        Won, decision


1981: Rigoberto Lopez
        Won, decision


1981: Tony Cerda
        Won, fourth-round TKO


1981: Mario Acuna
        Won, third-round KO


1982: Jimmy Jackson
        Lost, eighth-round TKO


1983: Don Askew
        Won, second-round KO


1984: Bradd Lally
        Won, decision Source: Boxrec.com




A back booth at Mama Mia's—a pizza joint at Puck's Alley where you could get anything you wanted, sometimes even a hot slice. The kind of place where you have a great time into the morning ... and when you see it in the daylight you swear you'll never go there again. The roaches can have it.

That feeling would always wear off by sunset, and I kept returning. For the cheap beer and the great pizza and ravioli. There was a cute waitress for a while, too. But mostly, to visit Mike “;Wildman”; Carrere.

I'd say it was his office, but can't confirm or deny that Wildman was running a business out of that booth. I kept going back because of what we had in common, and because of the fascinating world of his that I'd never experience first-hand.

Mike, who graduated from Castle, was a distance runner in track and sports editor of his high school newspaper. Coincidentally, so was I, at Pearl City. We'd even had the same nickname, but that's where all similarities ended. I was given the moniker as an ironic joke by a high school friend and thankfully it didn't stick for long; Mike, though, truly was a Wildman.

He was fascinated by the newspaper business, so we'd always talk about that for at least a few minutes. And then we'd get around to boxing. That's where he'd made his mark. Mike “;Wildman”; Carrere was and still is the most entertaining fighter I've ever seen.

He was a character only the '80s could produce. Hair like Greg Allman, in the ring he often acted like Curly of the Three Stooges, stutter-steps and crazy roundhouse swings. Wildman was a cartoon, but with enough boxing talent and heart to go 14-1 as a pro.

Unfortunately, his timing was bad. Boxing in Hawaii was dying, and not even a consummate showman with a big hook and rock 'n' roll hair could save it. Not even a world champion, Jesus Salud, could do it.

Born earlier, and maybe Carrere could've gone places. Born later? This guy was made for MMA and reality TV. Could've been Jason “;Mayhem”; Miller.

Today is 10 years to the day that Mike Carrere died. He was just 44. It got two lines in the Star-Bulletin.

I was away then, so I never got to pay my respects to a man who entertained me, as a boxer, and with whom I later shared a friendship.

We'd have a lot to talk about now. We might be watching Manny Pacquiao fight Ricky Hatton together tonight.

Certainly, we would discuss the idea of Pacquiao and Brian Viloria headlining a card in Hawaii to resuscitate the boxing game here. Maybe even come up with a grandiose, half-baked dream to promote it ourselves—the kind of thing that sounds workable at 11:30 on a Saturday night.

If Mike were alive now, we could ponder if MMA is to boxing what the Internet is to newsprint—something to adapt to, something that can either kill the old ways or give them new life.

Boxing, like journalism, is at a crossroads—or, some would say, already run over by a train.

Mama Mia's is no more. My time in the back booths of dives with colorful characters is considerably less now. Probably a good thing.

There are many fighters better than Mike “;Wildman”; Carrere was at his peak. There were then.

But, to me, none more fun and intriguing—in and out of the ring.