Identical twins Rock and Tiger Allen, two of the most accomplished and best-known amateur boxers ever to come out of Philadelphia, suffered serious injuries in a one-vehicle crash Tuesday night.
As the Daily News went to press last night, Tiger, the driver, was in the intensive care unit at Hahnemann University Hospital, while Rock was admitted to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Both had to be extricated from their sport utility vehicle, a 1996 Ford Explorer, and were transported by helicopters to the hospitals, which are major trauma centers.
In keeping with hospital policy, medical personnel declined to divulge the nature of the 29-year-old twins' injuries. Their father, Naazim Richardson, and mother, Aya Allen, were unavailable for comment.
According to a report filed with Montgomery Township police, Tiger, of the 6100 block of Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, veered out of the right lane of Bethlehem Pike and the Explorer struck a tree, leaving him and Rock, of the 2400 block of North 30th Street, Philadelphia, pinned in the wreckage.
The road was closed between Broad Street, Hatfield Township, and the five-points intersection until 1:47 a.m. yesterday.
Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins, a longtime friend of the Allens, had just arrived in Shanghai, China, for a 6-day business conference when he learned of the news. The newly crowned WBC light-heavyweight champion, who is trained by Richardson, expressed shock and dismay when told about the accident.
"Oh, no," said Hopkins when contacted yesterday, or 4:30 a.m. today, Shanghai time. "I've known Rock and Tiger since they were little kids who only came up to, like, my knees. They're the most decorated amateur fighters in Philadelphia since Meldrick Taylor won [the 1984 Olympic gold medal in Los Angeles]."
The twins have been newsmakers since they were in elementary school, churning out upward of 500 pushups at a time and winning numerous local, state and national tournaments. Rock represented the United States in the 141-pound weight class at the 2004 Athens Olympics, losing in the opening round.
But for all that they achieved as amateurs, the twins were perhaps best known for being disqualified at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials in Tampa, Fla. Tiger, who was to compete in the 125-pound weight class, came in 4 1/2 pounds overweight and was the only one of 96 competitors to fail to make weight. Rock, entered in the 132-pound weight class, soon joined him on the sideline when USA Boxing officials claimed Tiger had attempted to weigh in for him.
A grievance filed by Richardson with USA Boxing was disallowed after neither he nor his sons appeared to give their side of the story.
Rock continued to try to fulfill his Olympic dream and earned his berth on the 2004 U.S. team, but Tiger turned his back on boxing for several years, citing burnout.
Tiger turned pro in 2006 and went 3-0, with two knockouts. His last ring appearance was as a cruiserweight in 2008. Although he never issued a statement to that effect, for all practical purposes, he was retired from the ring.
Rock is 15-0 as a welterweight, with seven victories inside the distance, but he also has been largely inactive of late, in part because of nagging injuries suffered in training. In his most recent outing, he scored a six-round, unanimous decision over Adan Hernandez on April 10, 2009, in Tucson, Ariz.
The accident remains under investigation. *