Sunday, September 03, 2006

Keeny Teran

Keeny Teran was the uncle of one of my best friends, Mike Teran, who is also Godfather to my oldest daughter, Meranda, his father is Manny Teran of Pico Rivera, California, and just by coincidence, my mother grew up with the Teran family in Boyle Heights, in East Los Angeles. Keeny spent a lot of time in and out of prison, due to his struggles with heroin. I met him several times and he was a pretty nice guy, in fact while in high school, I helped Mike paint his uncle Keeny's house in East L.A., that would have been about 1971, he was working on a autobiography or a screenplay at that time, and the manuscript was lying around and I scanned through it for a few minutes. His life story would have made a hell of a movie. He was also an extra in the "The Ring", an old boxing movie that takes place, in Los Angeles during the 1940's. He was a popular fighter back in the day. He fought as a Flyweight and Bantamweight, and is part of Los Angeles boxing history. He deserves to be remembered by boxing fans.

Check out Keeny's Career Record at

    Anonymous said...

    keeny teran was a hero of mine as a young boy growing up in Pico Rivera. I would like information on his life, success and failures and his family. In many ways I followed in his foot steps. I hope his life had a good ending.

    Frank Baltazar said...

    I met Keeny Teran at the Teamsters gym in L.a. back around 1949, boxed with him a few times and help him get ready for his fight with Gil Cadilli, later when my sons, Frankie and Tony Baltazar were fighting pro at the Olympic the 1970s-80s Keeny would go and see them fight.

    Anonymous said...

    The Little One
    Ignacio V. (for nothing) Teran was undersized from the day he was born in 1933. As he grew up in the slums of Los Angeles, where his mother supported the family as a railroad car worker, he was always too little and too good-looking to get along with the rest of the boys. So he learned to fight.

    He learned other things. Accused of stabbing a boy in a brawl, he spent time in the Preston School of Industry (a reform school), where "I learned everything dirty there is to know about life." At Preston, he also learned about heroin. At the age of 16, soon after getting out of Preston, he took his first "pop" of heroin as casually as another youngster might take a bottle of soda. He did it because the bigger boys wouldn't take him to the beach with them unless he did.

    But "Keeny" (a corruption of the Spanish for "little one") Teran, was also and up & coming bantamweight (118 lbs.) boxer. As an amateur, he was beaten only once. As a professional, Keeny was hailed as a coming champion (16 wins, one draw) ; last year he won the boxing writers' "Fighter of the Year" award. Then, one night, his heroin-ravaged body failed to respond. Keeny took a savage beating from Hawaii's Tommy Umeda, a man he had beaten twice before.

    The beating put Keeny on heroin more heavily than ever. Soon he was pawning his possessions to buy the stuff. Although he was devoted to his wife Sally and daughter Celia, Keeny could not quit the habit. He decided to commit suicide. Then Los Angeles Mirror Reporter Lou Larkin, tipped off to the story, caught up with 19-year-old Keeny Teran.

    Keeny had tried the wrenching, agonizing struggle to shake the habit once before, and had fled from a Texas cure center after two weeks. This time, with Reporter Larkin's encouragement, the little round-faced Mexican-American boy went to a boxers' training camp and fought himself back into shape. Last week, on the eve of his first comeback fight, the Mirror broke the story all over Page One.

    Keeny was so ashamed and so frightened by the publicity that he threatened to punch Reporter Larkin. The afternoon before the fight, one of Keeny's cynical compatriots sneered: "Going to take some junk into the ring with ya?"

    But that night, with 6,500 fans rooting for him, Keeny, his nose smashed, his left hand sprained, came off the canvas after a sixth-round, eight-count knockdown and won a unanimous decision over his old tormentor, Tommy Umeda. By week's end Keeny was swamped with offers from Chicago, Honolulu. Mexico and the Philippines. But Keeny, hoping he has the habit licked at last, is setting his sights on the top. Says Keeny: "I'd really like to fight in the Garden. That's it — the big apple. I'd die if I got to fight there."

    Anonymous said...

    Keeny Teran to be inducted into the "California Boxing Hall of Fame" June 21 2008

    Anonymous said...

    The reporter,Lou Larkin, was my uncle. I'm sure he intended nothing but encouragement for Keeny. He had a hard life growing up during the Depression himself.

    anthony sanchez said...

    Hi my name is Anthony J. Sanchez. I grew up in Boyle Hieghts. I also was a fan of Keeny Teran, but in a different context. My uncle Danny Gallardo, was a good a friend of Kenny's, in the prison life. Growing up my grandmother (Danny's mother) used to give me the Folsom and San Quitin prison monthly news letters that were sent to us by my uncle Danny.

    My uncle Danny was also a boxer. I don't know if he was as well known as Keeny, or where they met.
    However, in the news letter from San Quintin, I remember that it said that if Danny Gallardo and Keeny Teran ever met in the ring, it would be a blood bath. Well, they ended it in a draw....but it was an indeed a blood bath!

    In 1976 at my uncle Danny Gallardo's funeral, a nice looking gentleman that resembled a boxer, turned to me, and suprisingly introduced himself as Keeny Teran.

    I used to follow them both. Danny Gallardo followed in his older brother's footsteps, David Gallardo (aka Davey Gallardo)who was inducted into the 2009California Boxing Hall of Fame, just prior to his death on January 9th, 2010.

    I wish with all my heart, I could have taken my uncle Davey Gallardo to the ceremony at Steven's Steak House. I will be sending this link to his family. If you would like to contact me to obtain pictures of Davey Gallardo, please do. I am listed as one of the site's followers as ajofdiamondbar. Also, if you have any information on Danny Gallardo, please post it.

    I would like to close with God Bless, and Rest in peace

    Charlene said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Anonymous said...

    Hi my name is Megan. I'm the granddaughter of keeny teran, my mom is his youngest daughter Lisa and I just want to say thank you to the author of this page. Im curious to know more about his life, I don't know if you have any more information you can.send me but if you do my E-mail. Is I'd appreciate it. Thank you!

    Chuck said...

    Randy, Thank you for the great articles about Keeny. He was a great fighter, albeit "before my day." He also serves as a reminder of what the down side of heroin can be.

    Like you, I grew up in Pico Rivera with the Terans as my friends. I played softball with Mike one year, even. Great family.

    Anonymous said...

    How many kids did Davey Gallardo have claimed and unclaimed?

    Joseph Sabel said...

    Hello Megan,
    My Name is Steve Valencia
    My Mother is Elidia Valenzuela.
    I have pitures Keeny gave my Mother and Father.
    It says to my Aunt and Uncle.
    Best wishes,
    Steve (J.S.Valencia)

    Joseph Sabel said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Anonymous said...

    How do I get ahold of you?

    Gabe Teran

    Anonymous said...

    Keeny Had many people fooled from the very beginning of life....His hands were deadly weapons were they not? That man you all call him a great fighter and a great guy....I seen him beat his own mother on many occasions....make her cry ...on many occasions....take every penny she worked so hard for...on many occasions....all her properties, she bought with her hard earned money...on many occasions....The champ was my Grandmother Jessie Teran...

    Anonymous said...

    Wow! Perfect sentiment at the end; so very powerful...I'd me proud to work it in as part of my diatribe. Thanks

    ben lopez said...

    In grew up on Temple St. and was in Preston in 1953 a few yrs. after Keeny was there. I too started using heroin at the age of 16. I use to go to the Main St. gym and the Micky Finn youth foundation to train. I would see Keeny at the 7th St. gym working out as well as on Main St. We had just a nodding acquaintance until I was arrested in 1956 and went to Soledad Prison. I ran into Keeny there and for the first time we got to know each other better. I had two homeboys from Temple who were also there. Diego Lozano ( Huero ) who got in an argument with Keeny over a record player, keeny knocked Huero out with one punch! The other homie was Danny Duran a bit older than Keeny but who fought the same weigh class . they put on a 3 round exhibition fight on the yard. For yrs. people in "the game" had been accusing Keeny of being a rat (informer) for LAPD. I remember him getting up on the bleachers in the yard and yelling out loud , " If Iam a rat , who did I snitch on? who here can tell me the people I put in jail? No body had anything to say! I dont know if they were afraid of Keeny , I doubt that but no one there said anything. He and Danny fought a good 3 rounder, Danny with a broken jaw from the first round. It was a draw.