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No Neutral Corners

No Neutral Corners

6 years, 6 months ago Mike Moyers

Quincy native Tony Crebs finds his place inside the ring

So, how many former Quincy natives can you name who have worked with Will Smith and Clint Eastwood?  Give up?

I know just one.

His name is Tony Crebs.  Tony, 1974 QHS graduate, was back in Quincy last week to visit friends and family. He lives in Southern California where by day he’s in the furniture business.  But by night he can be found either ringside or in the ring as a judge or referee.  Boxing is his business and bidness has been good.

“When I moved to California years back I picked up the newspaper one day and there was a meeting of USA Boxing,” Crebs explained. “They were needing officials.  And so, I signed up.”

“It was a great training program,” he continued. “They start you out at the bottom and make you work your way up.   I started with the weigh ins with the doctor, filling out pass books like a clerk, then they teach you to keep time, then to judge.  And after you go through all that then they let you get in the ring.”

Crebs started inside the ring with 8-year-old boxers and quickly worked his way up the ladder.  There were Marine and Navy bases nearby who were always in need of boxing officials and Crebs answered the call.

“I was asked a number of times to referee what they called Smokers. My job was to keep the 2 guys in the ring with me from killing each other!” he laughed.

Over the years Crebs continued his assent in the boxing world.  His ring experience enabled him to referee in Italy and Mexico with the one of the amateur programs.   After 8 years officiating in the amateur ranks Tony moved up to the professional level in 1998.

And now the movie stuff.

“Yeah, I got lucky.  I found out that Hollywood likes to use real people, so a lot of times when you see a fire fighter or a cop-those are REAL fire fighters and cops.  So, they came to us for Ali with Will Smith in 2000 and I was lucky enough to play a guy named Tony Perez.  It was like being in a fantasy camp or something,” Crebs said.  (Crebs explains more here)

A few years later tinsel town would call again and Crebs found himself in Million Dollar Baby. The director was Clint Eastwood.

“That was great meeting Clint Eastwood and working with him,” Crebs remembered.  “But it was really different.  I went up one day; I got in the ring and I asked Mr. Eastwood what he wanted me to do.  He said, “do your thing.”  We did the shot in one take; 15-20 minutes and I was done.”  (Crebs explains more here)

Even though he’s north of age 60 there are no neutral corners for Tony Crebs.  He’s active in the furniture business by day and still manages to judge or officiate dozens of professional matches in California.  There are no plans to slow down.  There’s no reason to.

Every amateur boxer in the world knows three words: Stop-break-box.

For now, Tony Crebs will continue to focus on that last word-box.  It’s all he’s ever really wanted to do.  





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