Name: Richard "Richie" Kates, Sr.
Birthplace: Savannah, GA
Nationality: US American
Hometown: Bridgeton, New Jersey, USA
From: Bridgeton, NJ
Professional Boxing Career: Kates was a talented boxer who "came up" during Philadelphia's last Golden Age in the 1970s, but played second fiddle to the big punchers. In his early boxing years, he lived in Bridgeton, but either hitchhiked or jogged to Millville to train every day. His amateur record was 57-7. He lied about his age and turned pro when he was 16. He was a light heavyweight and fought from 1969-1983. He was vastly underrated and he did not lose until his 18th fight when Eddie "Red Top" Owens stopped him in seven rounds at The Arena. He won his next 14, avenged the loss to Owens, beat Don Fullmer, Jose Gonzales, Jimmy Dupree, and went to South Africa where he outpointed Pierre Fourie. He was back there May 22, 1976 and was shafted in the infamous WBA title fight with Victor Galindez, who was so badly cut in the third round that the ref stopped the fight--for more than 15 minutes. WBA "officials" ruled it was from a head butt and insisted the fight continue, which it did until the 15th round when Galindez won by knockout. In a rematch in Rome, Galindez won on points. Kates' 1978 fight with Matthew Saad Muhammad (Franklin) at The Spectrum was a thriller. Each man was down before Saad won by K0 in the sixth round. Kates continued and won 10 of his last 12 fights, beating Carlos Marks, Murray Sutherland, Mario Rosa and Jerry Celestine. In 1983, his final year, he fought twice, outpointing Jeff Lampkin and Jerry "The Bull" Martin in a fight that should have taken place years earlier. Kates finished at 43-6, 22 K0s. He was 30 when he quit and he said he had lost his desire. Kates was co-managed by Tony and Bonnie Coccaro of Millville, NJ, along with Joe Gramby of Philadelphia, PA, and trained by Letty Petway of Vineland, NJ.
Family: His parents John and Alice Kates migrated to New Jersey soon after he was born. Since then, he has been a lifelong resident of Cumberland County. He has five brothers, three sisters, and (two brothers deceased). Richard resides in Vineland, NJ with his wife, Gloria. He has three sons; Richard, Jr., Ryan, Randall, two daughters; Patricia and Richeda; and four grandchildren; Sianni, Shawn, Azmir, and Simone. He is dedicated, not only to his children, but has always mentored, supported, and showed a continuous interest in his younger siblings as they were growing up. He continues to support his entire family in the same manner including nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews.
Work: Richard worked for Cumberland County and the State of New Jersey in numerous capacities for 35 years until his retirement in 2008. At the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department he worked as Recreation Supervisor. He has worked for the Department of Human Services as a Senior Therapy Program Assistant at Ancora State Hospital and NJ Veterans Memorial Home. His positions at the Department of Corrections have included, Assistant Recreation Supervisor, Recreation Supervisor, and Hearing Officer. He retired from Southern State Correctional Facility as a Program Development Specialist in 2008. He currently works for Vineland Public Schools as a substitute security officer.
Community: He is a member of Union Baptist Temple, Bridgeton, NJ where he served on the Deacon Board and,presently Manpower Male Chorus. Richard is a Vineland District 4 Ward Leader and a member of the Cumberland County Democratic Executive Committee. He coordinated the Vineland Police Athletic League boxing program, volunteers as a coach/trainer, and is a member of the Bridgeton Hall of Fame All-Sports Committee and Cumberland County Recreation Committee. He is devoted and committed to community youths and believes that "because someone reached out to him, he should also give back to our youth." Richard likes to have fun and enjoys being around the youth, but is known as a coach/trainer from the "old school" and because of the serious nature of the sport of boxing, he believes very much in being disciplined. He has also served on the Martin Luther King Academy Board of Directors, Vineland Police Athletic League Board of Directors, has appeared at schools and youth groups, helping instill self-determination and proving an inspiration to the local youth.
Awards: Richard was honored and recognized as one of the Atlantic City Boxing Legends – 2012; Bridgeton African American Union Association of South Jersey Community Service Award Recipient – 2012; Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee – 2011; Champions in the Legendary Blue Horizon Museum – 2009; inducted into Bridgeton High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame – 2007; NAACP – Greater Vineland Branch 2115 – 2005 Freedom Fund Banquet Recipient (Community); AAU Coach of the Year – 2004; NJ Sports Hall of Fame Inductee – 1996; NJ Veteran's Home Employee Award – 1994; Bridgeton All Sports Hall of Fame Inductee – 1991; Light Heavyweight #1 Contender and fought for the Light Heavyweight World Championship – 1976, 1977, and won the North American Light Heavyweight Championship – 1973.