Lorraine Chargin, wife and boxing partner of Don Chargin, posthumously joins husband in hall of fame
Lorraine Chargin will be the second woman to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on June 10.
The first was Aileen Eaton, the great promoter at the Olympic Auditorium from 1940-1980. Mrs. Eaton was a mentor to Lorraine, who served as building manager at the Olympic from 1964-1984.
Her partner, in life and business, was hall of fame promoter and matchmaker Don “War-A-Week” Chargin. He was inducted in The Hall in 2001 and many believe Lorraine should have been inducted the same year.
Don was the matchmaker and Lorraine handled all finances and logistics, including ticketing, media credentials, boxer camp coordination and building management.
Don and Lorraine traveled the world together for fights and conventions. One was never seen without the other. They were the perfect match. Like Mr. and Mrs. Jack Sprat, Sears and Roebuck, Crosby and Hope, Ricky and Lucy, and Angelo and Ali.
Lorraine was born in New Haven, Connecticut, one of 13 children. She died of cancer in 2010 at age 79.
Don and Lorraine promoted in Northern California in the 1960s and ‘70s. Their world champions included hall of famer Bobby Chacon, Tony “The Tiger” Lopez, Loreto Garza, and Willie Jorrin.
Lorraine became to be known as “The Enforcer” of the Chargin duo. Chargin said she once won a stare-down with Don King as the bombastic promoter tried barging in for free with an entourage of 10 at Sacramento’s Arco Arena to watch heavyweight Lennox Lewis fight on a Chargin-promoted card.
“If they don’t come in, I’m not coming in!” King barked at Lorraine.
Her reply: “See you later, Don.”
Someone rushed to ringside inform Don of the altercation.
“No problem, Lorraine can handle it.”
And she did.
Brash former middleweight and light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins had many heated debates with Lorraine, but she was there for him when he needed a pre-fight injection of vitamin B-12 before his upset of Kelly Pavlik. “No one there knew how to give one,” Chargin recalled.
“You got the shot?” Lorraine asked. “I’ll give it to him.”
“We walk into the room and Bernard says ‘Oh God, not you!’ and she says ‘Drop your pants, Old Man!’ He thanked her publicly at the post-fight press conference.”
Don’s home in Cambria on California’s Central Coast has almost every wall covered in boxing memorabilia, akin to a small museum to boxing. But the image that dominates the collection are those of his beloved “Lor.”
“Every day, I miss her like crazy,” Chargin said. “I go through a real lonesome period about 4:00 in the afternoon because that’s when we had our talks. No telephones. No television. Just us.
“Now when 4:00 comes, I’ll just go to bed, just to get out of this front room where we used to be.”
Don will be celebrating his 90th birthday and 69 years as a promoter during the four-day International Boxing Hall of Fame induction weekend that runs from Thursday, June 7, through Sunday, June 10, in Canastota, New York.
“We’ll have a big dinner table of family and friends and it will be special,” said Don. “But my heart will be longing for my sweet Lorraine.”