|. . . THE CYBER BOXING ZONE JOURNAL||
January 24, 1998
SPIRITUAL ADVISER ON ALL MATTERS FISTIC:
HISTORY & RESEARCH:
Hank Kaplan, Tracy Callis, Matt Tegen
BoxngRules, Joe Bruno, Adrian Cusack, Derek Cusack, DscribeDC, Thomas Gerbasi, Dave Iamele, Phrank Da Slugger, Pusboil
Enrique Encinosa, Randy Gordon, Mike Moscone, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, Jim Trunzo, Barry Lindenman
- My Opening Farewell to the Dirty Boulevard
- To Canastota and Back
- Bruno on Boxing
- From Rags to Riches: Johnny Tapia
- Who's Who in Europe
- Otis Grant takes WBO title
- The Prince Who Wanted To Be King
- Who Will Stop The Reign (of Prince Naseem)??
- The Computer Fight
- Sonny Takes Chicago
- Interview with Bridgett "Baby Doll" Riley
- Arturo Gatti- An Appreciation
- Born to Be Champ??
- Fight Promotion
- Tyson-Holyfield III Lash-up
- January Ratings
by GorDoomRIP: Joe “Old Bones” Brown, Lightweight Champion Of The World (1956-1962)
RIP: Willie Pastrano, Light Heavyweight Champion Of The World (1963-1965)
RIP: Edwin Rosario, Lightweight & Jr. Welterweight title claimant
I wish I could begin the first issue of the new year in a more positive frame of mind about the sweet science.
But I can’t ...
Having witnessed the single most degrading act I’ve ever seen in a ring, when Iron Deficiency Mike, once & for all, showed the world what an atavistic punk he really is ... 1997 was almost a death knell for the “sport” of boxing.
Baseball great, Satchel Paige’s philosophy of, “Don’t look back, something might be gainin’ on you”, Is something I’ve always believed in . So I’ve shed ‘97 like a rattler sheds his skin, only to stare into the void of what looks to be a very bleak 1998.
Starting the year with back room political machinations that resulted in the scuttling of the proposed Holyfield - Lewis mega-match, has put a real damper on the sport. It now looks like Don King’s ultimate wet dream, Tyson - Holyfield lll, is actually going to come to fruition.
Oy Freakin’ Vey! ...
As we publish on the 24th of January, there are no big fights on the horizon to stir the blood & create anticipation. Right now, the only semi major fights on the books that are scheduled, is the Bernard Hopkins vs. (a way over the hill), Simon Brown. & what surely will rival “The Thrilla In Manila”, Lennox Lewis vs. Shannon Briggs
Man, I’m excited, are you?
One glimmer of light, even though there is no action currently available, is our new issue. Even if there are no good fights to watch, at least here is what we believe will prove to be an entertaining boxing read for our loyal readers.
First up is a really uplifting piece by yours truly on the current dismal state of the manly art of self defense ... Since the Hall Of Fame candidates have been announced (somebody explain to me why featherweight great, Eusebio Pedroza, didn’t get inducted!?), we’ve included a humorous piece by our stalwart web master, Pusboil, on his first hejira to Canastota a few years ago ... The inimitable Joe Bruno chews through some more boxing scenery in his column ... Our 12 year old boxing avatar, Boxng Rules turns in a profile on Johnny Tapia ...
Our fine Irisher correspondent, Derek Cusack, weighs in with some profiles on up & coming fighters from his side of the pond, and Adrian Cusack has a report on the Otis Grant-Ryan Rhodes bout... Former Ring Magazine editor & New York state boxing commissioner, Randy Gordon, contributes his ringside take on the exciting Hamed-Kelley brawl from last month ... Dave Iamele has a piece speculating on Hamed’s ring future ... & a new contributor, Chris Mulvey, checks in with an article on computer boxing ...
Jim Trunzo, the founder of the excellent Electronic Boxing Monthly web site, has generously contributed an article from his sites top notch magazine by well known free lance boxing writer, Eric Bottjer. Eric has recently started promoting fights & his article is a very interesting piece on what it takes to promote a boxing show ...
But that’s not all folks! KO magazine’s Barry Lindenman, who always looks at boxing from different perspectives turns in an article on the correlation between boxing & astrology!?... Like I said, he’s different ... Speaking of different, the CBZ’s answer to to H.L. Mencken, Dscribe DC, checks in with his jaundiced view of the seemingly inevitable Tyson-Holyfield lll absurdity ... Thomas Gerbasi contributes three pieces, one is a look back on the first Floyd Patterson - Sonny Liston fight, an interview with up & coming female boxer, Bridgett “Baby Face” Riley ... As a general rule, we don’t cover women’s boxing, but this is a pretty interesting read ... His last piece is an appreciation of Arturo Gatti ...
Wrapping up our issue are Phrank The Slugger’s January boxing ratings ... I don’t always totally agree with Phrank’s ratings, but they beat the hell out of anything else on the web or in print ...
So we hope you enjoy this month’s issue, next month our magazine will feature interviews with Chuck Bodak, the superb cornerman who has worked with fifty two world champions, among them Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar De La Hoya & Evander Holyfield. The other interview will be with Angel Manfredy, fresh off his upset of Arturo Gatti.
Once again, I’d like to put out a call for foreign correspondents. The CBZ is especially looking for writers from Latin America, the Far East & Africa.
MY OPENING FAREWELL TO THE DIRTY BOULEVARD
by GorDoomNo one here dreams of being a doctor
or a lawyer or anything ...
They dream of dealing on the dirty boulevard
Give me your tired your poor I’ll piss on ‘em
That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses
let’s club them to death & get it over
& just dump them on the boulevard ...
At it’s best, boxing is a maddening sport to follow & in the aftermath of Tyson - Holyfield ll, the Ol’ Spit Bucket has found that his passion for ambling down Bash Boulevard has been seriously lacking of late ...
The sport exists in this miasmic underworld populated by some seriously snarky freaks ... Avaricious con men, rapists, murderers, & junkies - thrive in a subculture that revolves around bloody violence (both in & out of the ring), & the lure of incredible riches, driven by a cancerous, dire, greed ... All of this funded by the deep pockets of a PPV system that gouges the consumer with grossly inflated prices.
The captains of this leaky ship are the promoters, led by the king hell mother of all promoters: Don King.
The Bucket singles out King only because he’s been the most successful & his life & crimes are so well documented ... but Arum, the Duva’s & Kushner are no better or worse than King - they just don’t have a clue about grabbing the pub.
The myriad of alphabet organizations & state commissions buzzing around the sport, like flies on a rotting carcass - are just lackeys for the promoters, waiting for the bag man & his ready cash to manipulate the ratings & the sanctioning of title fights.
The whole sport of boxing is like an eerie, living, breathing, bloody, film noir... From its organized crime roots to the marketing rip-offs of today.
They don’t fix fights anymore, they don’t have to ... The promoters own the sanctioning bodies, who appoint the judges, who always go with the “house” fighter.
Ya need proof? ... Three recent examples vividly stand out: Quartey - Lopez, Marquez - Mullings & Foreman - Briggs. In all three of these fights, Quartey, Mullings & Foreman won 9 of 12 rounds. You would have to be blind, or deeply compromised to see it any other way ...
Nowadays the crime is invoked by the promoters & the massive media advertising that they bombard a gullible public with.
I’ll give you two prime examples from this year alone: Sugar Ray Leonard - Hector Camacho & Oscar De La Hoya - Hector Camacho.
Any fight involving the “Macho Man” is a farce from the onset ... Both the Leonard & De La Hoya ‘fights” were touted with frantically vigorous hyperbole as mega - events ... & enough fools bought them to continue to fuel the charade.
The fact that either of these fights were PPV is beyond belief ... Oscar & Hector should have been an HBO fight, period ...
The Leonard - Camacho mockery, might have made for an interesting Tuesday night fight on the USA network ... & then there’s the fighters ... It used to be that boxers were the most courageous & disciplined athletes extant.
That day, sadly, is long gone ...
I hate to admit this, but all the b.s. started with Ali.
Young Cassius, was a born master of trash talk & as it’s first true avatar, he brought some tounge in cheek humor & flat out bizarreness to the equation.
Before Ali, athletes didn’t publicly trash talk & mouth off to the press, especially black athletes. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but before Ali, there was at least a veneer of decorum in sports.
Nowadays boxers (actually athletes from every sport), rant & rave before during & after fights - have you listened to a Roy Jones post - fight interview? It’s a flat out embarrassment to the sport ...
But that’s not the worst of it, most of them don’t come to fight anymore, or even bother to get in shape ...
It used to be that fighters were fighters ... Two guys gettin’ down & gettin’ it on once they stepped into the squared circle ... But nowadays, it’s more about protecting some ephemerally bogus rating by an organization as credible as a UFO sighting.
Take the welterweight division: With De La Hoya firmly entrenched as the linear & WBC welter weight champion & one of boxing’s biggest draws, the plethora of credible challengers in the division are howling like slavering, maddened hyenas, trying to entice “The Golden Boy” into a match.
These chest thumping “fighters” are so fixated on Oscar, they neglect to fight anybody else ... & then when they are negotiating, their functionary’s ask for Mike Tyson kind of money.
Does anybody remember as far back as the ‘80’s? Leonard, Hagler, Hearns & Duran commanded hefty purses for one reason only: They not only fought each other, they fought any credible fighter that stood in their way ... By creating a demand, they not only enriched themselves, but the whole sport of boxing.
Today, De La Hoya, Norris, Trinidad & Quartey are in roughly the same position as the aforementioned. With the exception of Oscar, none of them have fought a meaningful fight in well over a year! Trinidad hasn’t defended his IBF welter title against a legitimate contender since Oba Carr, two years ago last December 10th!
Yet despite not only not fighting each other, these guys don’t fight anybody with a pulse.
How do you create a public demand for a fighter when he never puts his butt on the line? How can you expect the public to shell out forty to fifty bucks to watch these “titans” of the ring, when frankly two of the four, Quartey & Trinidad have yet to prove themselves? & the third one, Norris, who is probably on the down side of his career, hasn’t engaged in a serious bout since he regained the jr. middleweight title from Simon Brown on May 7th 1994.
(Norris was the first to prove my theory, when he was blown out of the Oscar sweepstakes by journeyman, Keith Mullings ...)
So why are the welterweight & jr middle divisions supposedly so hot? As far as the Bucket is concerned, it is just another marketing rip-off brought to us by the concerned citizens that rule the sport ...
One of these concerned citizens, Larry Hazzard, just drove one of the most storied boxers in history, Big George Foreman, into a retirement with a loss to Shannon Briggs.
The scandalous decision of the Foreman - Briggs bout would normally have created a great hue & outcry ... But boxing has had one outrage after another levied on it since Don King & the WBC tried to blatantly rip the crown from Buster Douglas’ non to stable head following his 10th round demolition of Mike Tyson.
Since then the outrages have accelerated at a dizzying pace. Here are just a few of the scandalous actions of the 90’s: Chavez-Whitaker a draw??? Mike Tyson is incarcerated for rape & is released & hyped as a bigger star than ever ... Chavez regaining the title from Frankie Randall in an unconscionable heist by the WBC judges ... Riddick Bowe smacks Buster Mathis Jr. while he is on the canvas & the right honorable Larry Hazzard steps in & over rules referee Arthur Mercante’s DQ & the fight is declared No Contest ... Bowe also engages in two of the dirtiest fights in history with Andrew Golota & both fights end as DQ’s. The first one perpetrating the worst riot in Madison Square Garden history ...
But it doesn’t end there ... Tyson, in his rematch with Holyfield gets disqualified for munching on Evander’s ears ... Two weeks later, Lennox Lewis, who already has engaged in one of the most bizzare matches ever with Oliver McCall, wins by yet another DQ over Henry Akinwande who’s idea of fighting is to clutch on to Lewis as if he’s the last Tickle Me Elmo Doll on earth... & now we have the latest blatant rip - off, when Shannon Briggs is declared the winner & new linear heavyweight champion by a decision so bad that even Briggs didn’t believe it!
Boxing has hit its nadir ... Boxing is not a dying sport, it is already deader than a broke dicked dog. When the heavyweight championship of the world gets treated like a shell game instead of what it is (was?), which is the crown jewel of all of sports, maybe it is time to give up the ghost & put it out of its misery ...
As Wallace Matthews, the respected boxing writer for the New York Post wrote: “The simple truth about Saturday night is this: Shannon Briggs beat George Foreman because Larry Hazzard wanted him to.”
Matthews goes on to write that basically “...nothing happens in a New Jersey boxing ring unless Larry Hazzard wants it to.”
Apparently two of the judges in the fight, Calvin Claxton & Larry Layton, only credentials to be boxing judges are that they are friends of Hazzard’s.
Claxton, who is not licensed to be a judge anywhere on our planet other than in New Jersey had judged one previous bout, last year’s Witherspoon - Mercer fight. In a very close fight he somehow came up with a 97 - 91 score for Mercer - who coincidentally, like Briggs, is managed by Marc Roberts.
Layton had only judged one previous fight, involving Jesse Ferguson - guess what folks? Ferguson is also managed by Hazzard’s close cohort, Marc Roberts ...
Hazzard it seems, has had a feud going with Foreman’s promoters, the well known music biz impresarios, Irving Azoff & Jeff Wald, since the Foreman - Savarese fight last April. Reportedly he had to be pulled off Azoff in the ring after the fight ... Yeah, Larry Hazzard is a class act ...
According to Matthews, “... to avoid similar unpleasantness, Hazzard just canceled the rules meeting - coincidentally, the one time when a fighter’s camp get the chance to protest the choice of officials.”
This crap reeks ... & unfortunately there is no end in sight. & I’ve gotten to the point that I’ve become emotionally impervious to all the unethical vagaries of the sport ... I can’t even get it up to get a good mad -on anymore ...
I believe my reaction is like most fans: I’m just bored with the whole freakin’ mess ... & as a hard core evangelist for the sport for over forty years, if I feel that way, how can the casual fan feel any better??? ...
To Canastota and Back
Wednesday June 7,1995, I split out of work early and tell the boss "I’ll see you on Monday, I’m going to Canastota". I get home, pack my shit and call my friend Billy. "You gonna be ready when we get there??" I ask him. "You bet your ass, Pusboil" he says. "Cool we’re leaving now" I reply, and hang up the phone.
Start the car and we’re leaving New Jersey. An hour and a half later, we’re at his house in Pennsylvania. We move our stuff in to his car and it’s off to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and then the New York State Thruway which will lead to Canastota, home of the Boxing Hall of Fame.
Now we figured that from his house to the Hall would be about a 2 1/2 hour ride. Now either the maps we had were from Jupiter, or we just completely miscalculated. I would like to believe the maps were from Jupiter but, I think we just fucked up.
The most common phrase spoken in the car during the ride was " We have about another hour and a half to go". We said that about twenty times. So about four hours later we are approaching Canastota. We had made our plans in late April so we had a hard time finding a room for the weekend when we were making reservations .
So we wound up staying at a place that looked like the Bates motel on a bad day. But we didn’t really care, at least not my friend and I, our wives were let’s just say less than thrilled with the accommodations. After all, as you can guess this was our idea not their's. They were great though, thank you again.
So we see a sign up ahead on the thruway, my friend is driving and I lean out the window with my camera to take a picture. The sign says INT’L BOXING HALL OF FAME EXIT 34. I take the picture at about 40 MPH and slide back into my seat. High fives are exchanged between Billy and me, we’re almost there.
We had really been looking forward to this. We reach exit 34 and pull off the thruway. We see a building off to the right it looks like it says it’s the hall. But we thought it was way too small and it was kind of late so we said screw it let’s find the motel. So we find The Bates (that’s not the real name but hell it fits) and get our room. Not a horrible place but I’ve seen better on the Bowery.
Let me briefly describe Canastota itself. This town LIVES for the first week of June. We saw signs for garage sales that said "Welcome Boxing Fans". That scared me.
My wife and I are early risers, so the next morning we’re up at about 6:30, our companions are dead asleep. So we take the keys to their car and take a ride around to get acquainted with the town. There really isn’t much surrounding Canastota but it was nice to look at. We find our way back into town and find a 7-11 type place open. So we figure we’ll grab some coffees, get back to the room and go out for breakfast.
Well here’s were the fun began. We come out of the store and I see this guy jogging down the road. I say to my wife, "Shit, that looks like Iran Barkley". I stand outside the car waiting for him to get a little closer. Sure enough it was him. I yelled over to him, "Hey Blade", he looked up, sort of waved, and kept going. I knew I was in Boxing Land.
For your average everyday fan like me, that was cool. We go back to the room, wake up our friends and tell them the story. We go to this place for breakfast called C.J.’s. Now on the outside of the building it actually says, "WORST BREAKFAST AROUND". I have the picture to prove it. We figure this has to be the place to eat. It wasn’t that bad. Then off we go to the hall.
Surely enough, the building we thought was way too small, turned out to be the Hall. I don’t know what we expected, but we thought it was going to be a lot bigger. Now don’t get me wrong, it was nice, but in my opinion too small. We parked the car across the street, and walked over.
Outside the hall we start running into people left and right. Emile Griffith is standing there, talking with people, signing autographs and posing for pictures. I picked my jaw up off the friggin’ pavement and walked over. I was shocked at how open and accommodating he was. But I would soon realize that this was how it was here. He posed for pictures with me and then with Billy.
Next was Iran Barkley, same thing nice as all hell. Pictures, minor chit chat, not a hint of being put out or bothered. We then went into the hall, to see what it was like. Now I said it was small, but I will admit they packed quite a bit into that little building. I looked like some god damn tourist (I guess I was one) taking pictures left and right. Shit, I took two pictures of certain things just to make sure they came out.
We took pictures of the building, the sign outside the building, Me and Billy standing outside the main entrance, everything you could imagine. We chatted and got pictures with some real great names in the sport, Arthur Mercante Sr.,Carlos Ortiz, Jose Torres, Willie Pep, hell my friend was walking backwards and ran into Joe Frazier. An absolute fireplug of a man. He looked a lot bigger in person.
They had some kind of dais set up, and all these people I never thought I would ever see in person are up there. Bob Foster, Wilfredo Gomez, Leon Spinks, Aaron Pryor, Alexis Arguello and more. Leon and Wilfredo have definitely seen better days. Leon was pretty scary to look at. Now I don’t mean disfigured, but he was definitely not running on all cylinders if you know what I mean. That’s the worst thing a fight fan can see. But it can be a brutal sport, and if you are a fan and you don’t know that, you’re an idiot. So we accepted that and moved on.
Buster Mathis Jr. was speaking at the podium at one point and made a reference to Frazier beating the crap out of his father. It was pretty funny. We left the stage area when the event was over and we see Aaron Pryor walking towards us. I asked him if he would do a picture for us, he said he would. I guess he figured I meant just me so when my friend Billy came over, he looked at him and asked " Are you supposed to be in this picture?", we said yes and my wife took the picture. Here is the great part, we start to move away from the Hawk, and he pulls us back and says" Now, I don’t want to see that picture up on a dart board anywhere". The Hawk, joking with us like he actually knew who we were, probably one of the highlights of the weekend for me. Moments like that, boxing fans would kill for. Shit, I know I would.
The next day we had a breakfast buffet at Graziano’s, Gil Clancy sitting at the next table. You just don’t get that company at the local diner. I tell you, to be in that environment nothing but legends, icons, and just people you would just love to talk to for a few minutes is a beautiful goddamn thing. There was a memorabilia show also. I picked up a few items. Billy picked up an autographed glove signed by Big George Foreman and some other things. I bought an autographed program from the Foreman-Moorer fight. If you couldn’t tell we’re both Big George fans.
The only thing at the memorabilia show that pissed me off was this god damn neanderslob selling--- yes fucking SELLING videotapes of certain fights. That really bothered me. Some lazy slob with a VCR making money off this sport, without doing anything except pushing the bacon grease covered button on his remote. Now I tape a lot of fights, shit I tape almost every fight that comes on. And I would never ever think of charging someone a cent for a copy of a fight that they really want to see.
I loan tapes to people at work all the time. I got one guy who comes to me every Monday after a big fight on the weekend asking me if I taped it. I look at him and say "What the hell do you think" and tell him I’ll bring him in a copy the next day. Anyway back to Canastota, the memorabilia show had a lot of great stuff for your complete range of boxing fan, from the casual fan to the "my god, the fights are on, get out of my way" fan. Magazines, autographed gloves, pictures, programs. The only thing I didn’t see was an autographed protector. There are things to be thankful for in life. Truly a boxing fan’s wet dream.
I thought all the prices were fair, except for the slob with the tapes of course. There was a boxing exhibition at the Turning Stone Casino in the next town over. We went primarily to enjoy the show, and secondly it was real cheap. The "Main Event" was Buster Mathis Jr. against some guy who couldn’t carry Axel Schulz’s jockstrap. Sorry Larry for stealing from you.
Probably the most interesting scene of the night was when they brought about 15-20 living legends inside the ring. There was one point when Arguello was standing in the ring up against the ropes, and Pryor walked up to him. It looked like we had gone back in time. Pryor was jokingly throwing punches at Arguello against the ropes. Bring back any memories??.
I also noticed someone in the crowd that looked a little familiar. When my brain finally turned over and started running, I realized this guy was a "professional wrestler". A "professional wrestler" at a boxing exhibition, kind of like having Bob Dole at a sweet sixteen party.
After the exhibition was over, we are walking back to our car and see Sean O’Grady, who for some reason unbeknownst to me thought he was a legend. Sorry Sean, you are a better broadcaster than fighter. And you don’t make my top 50 as a broadcaster. I’m sorry to say that we left before the actual formal dinner and induction ceremonies but money was tight and we took what we could get. Which I might add was more than I had hoped for.
If you are a fight fan, and I mean a FIGHT fan, get to Canastota this year if you can. I couldn’t make it the last two last years and I wish I could have. This year things will be different I’ll tell my boss "I’ll see you Tuesday, I’m going to Canastota and seeing everything". Hope to see you there.
Bruno on Boxing
by Joe BrunoDung King Kills Holyfield-Lewis heavyweight title unification bout
Let’s file this one under the category -- The anatomy of a fight destroyed by greed.
The proposed Evander Holyfield -Lennox Lewis unification title fight was flushed right down the crapper because of the unrealistic expectations of Holyfield, plus the unmitigated greed of nefarious fight promoter Dung King.
In late December, the fight seemed to be all set to go, when Lewis’ promoter Panos Eliades announced he had come to an agreement with King for the fight to take place sometime in April. Lewis had agreed to a purse of $10 million, which seemed to be a little on the high side of reasonable, but, in light of the previous purses earned in heavyweight title fights, certainly not unjustifiable.
Then two days later, HBO said the fight was off, laying the blame straight on the shoulders of Holyfield’s forced-upon promoter ---the contemptuous wild-haired Dungster.
"The Grand Canyon was unbridgeable," said Seth “The Shrimp” Abraham, the supercilious height-challenged president of Time Warner Sports.
During the multi-hour meeting, in the midtown hotel room of Holyfield’s lawyer Jim Thomas, Abraham said he guaranteed King 650,000 pay-per-view sales, but King insisted on a pay-per-view guarantee of 1 million sales.
"King gets site revenue, international TV revenue and merchandising revenue," Abraham said. "I'm saying that number, plus 650,000 pay-per-view, was more than enough to make the fight. But it didn't take into account the profit Don wanted."
The Shrimp said King insisting that Time Warner guarantee one million buys was totally unrealistic, since the Holyfield-Moorer fight only did 550,000 buys, and lost Time Warner an estimated 8-10 million smackeroos.
Dino Duva, Lewis' American promoter, also laid the bulk of the blame on his arch-enemy King. "The bottom line is that King didn't want Holyfield-Lewis, not if he couldn't get a guaranteed $5 million profit for himself."
King immediately became irate, his hair deflated, and he screamed, “I never discussed a promotional fee for me. I only discussed what the event would cost. I knew when I came out with the truth, they would put a negative spin on it. The fight won't take place because HBO won't put up the money for the fight to take place."
Don’s nose kept getting longer as he added in his best prison-speak, "I never asked nobody for no money."
Shrimp Abraham whined back, "In conversations which I had directly with Don before the Monday meeting, Don told me what kind of profit he was looking for. It started at $8 million and worked its way down to $5 million."
All right kiddies, let’s stop the bawling and let’s start being realistic. Nobody is in the boxing business to lose money; not Time Warner, and certainly not the murderous ex-bookie King. At a guaranteed 650,000 buys at 40 bucks a pop, that’s a $26 million windfall right into the ex-con King’s pocket before he lays out a single cent in purses. Figure that the site revenues, International TV revenue, and the merchandising revenue adds up to another cool $4 million, King had around $30 million to divvy up among the two fighters and himself. Lewis had already agreed to $10 million, so that leaves $20 million more split between Holyfield and King. Since the Dungster isn’t the one getting punched in the head, if he gave Holyfield an $18 million purse, it still would net King with a $2 million profit, with the surly, big-winded thug assuming absolutely no risk.
So no matter which way you slice it, the problem is strictly between Evander Holyfield and Dung King, who suddenly became Holyfield’s promoter when King forced Holyfield to sign a promotional contract before Holyfield-Tyson I, which I remind you, nobody including King, expected Holyfield to win. If Holyfield had refused to sign that contract, King would’ve made good on his promise to kill that Tyson fight too, which in the light of subsequent events, would have been the best thing to happen to King’s felony-addictive buddy Bitin’ Mike Tyson.
A guaranteed twenty million bucks for a fighter and his promoter sounds more than sufficient to make any fight, but not in the greed-ravaged times we now endure. The only thing that makes sense is for King and Holyfield to come to some sort of agreement, but not if you factor in the X-quotient-- Mike Tyson. Maybe King killed the Holyfield-Lewis fight on purpose so that he can promote a Tyson-Holyfield III as soon as Bitin’ Mike gets his boxing license back in about six months. And that assumption means King is planning to play the paying public for suckers again, since in Holyfield-Tyson II we were all cheated out of what we paid our fifty bucks for; a heavyweight title fight, not the disgusting public maiming, which we eventually were forced to witness.
Dung King screwing the paying public? Fuhgeddabouddit!
Four lackluster heavyweight title fights to take place in the near future
Now that Holyfield-Lewis is indeed dead, both fighters have mandatory title defenses coming up; Lewis against Zeljko Mavrovic of Croatia in June, and Holyfield a WBA defense against Henry Akinwande, and an IBF defense against Vaughn Bean in June. Lewis will fight club fighter Shannon Briggs in March on HBO, the first all-dreadlocks title fight in the history of boxing.
I’d rather watch reruns of Rocky V.
Prince Naseem Hamed a big hit in America
HBO's showing of Prince Naseem Hamed's knockout of Kevin Kelley generated a walloping 10.1 Nielsen rating among its 25 million subscribers, well above HBO's 8.5 average boxing rating, which goes to show you that freak shows are still alive and well in the good old U.S of A.
HBO, under the direction of Seth “Shrimp” Abraham (one of the few men in America who can look the five-foot three-inch Prince straight in the eye), spent millions promoting Hamed, especially in New York City, where the Hamed-Kevin Kelley fight extravaganza took place. HBO put a huge fifty-foot snapshot of the bug-eyed, big-eared Prince over the Lincoln Tunnel, and another one over the flashing lights of Times Square, where the big ball tumbles down on New Years Eve. Hamed’s not-too-appealing mug was plastered on every bus stop in the Big Apple, and more than one early morning commuter was compelled to spit up half their bagel, along with a big blast of Starbucks coffee.
So considering this over-the-top promotion of the frog-face Prince, it’s not too surprising that HBO’s numbers came up big for Hamed’s first fight on this side of the Atlantic.
Now for the bad news.
It was plainly clear in Hamed’s fourth round knockout of the worn-out Kelly that the Prince is eminently easy to swat to the canvas (Hamed’s fanny hit the deck three times, and possibly four against Kelly). Hamed’s defense consists of him contorting his body back and forth from the waist up, with his hands down; not a real good recipe for success. Hamed has a princely punch for sure, but that alone will not propel him over top-flight, harder-hitting opponents such as junior lightweight champion Arturo Gatti. Hamed may be the best of a weak lot of featherweights, but any thought of him moving up in weight to fight the likes of Oscar de la Hoya is silly, and downright suicidal.
Face it fellows, Hamed is a hard-hitting, self-promoting freak show, and after HBO feeds Frog-face a few more feeble insects like Kennedy McKinny and Junior Jones, the inevitable move up in weight will unquestionably demote Hamed from a bogus prince to a lowly buck private.
Mike Tyson to pursue a new career in professional wrestling
Well, if the ear fits, wear it.
A story in the New York Daily News said that Biting’ Mike Tyson may participate in "Wrestlemania XIV" on March 29 in Boston, as, get this, a referee. Having Mike Tyson as a wrestling referee points out just what a bogus “sports” wrestling is. What is Mike going to tell the wrestlers before the match? No kicking; no eye-gouging and no (wink, wink) biting.
But the real hypocrisy is flowing like molasses from the lowly town of Las Vegas. Donald Haight, the Las Vegas boxing commission's legal adviser, said concerning Tyson’s change of vocation, in light of the convicted rapist’s revoked boxing license revocation which the ex-con will try to have reinstated in July, “Any attempt by Mr. Tyson to circumvent the spirit and intention of the commission would not be viewed favorably.”
Yeah, right. Tyson getting his boxing license back in July in Vegas is as certain as the loaded dice in a mob-run crap game. Las Vegas has built its city’s foundation of the backs of suckers dripping with cash, and Mike Tyson draws those saps into town even better than Wayne Newton. Las Vegas’ biggest draw will be back in business as soon as possible, and to those who don’t believe that is true, Dung King has a hair styling company he like to sell you controlling stock in.
Lord Larry Hazzard declared not guilty as charged
In a kangaroo court Dung King would envy, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Division’s director Frank Catania said there was no merit to the claims of George Foreman’s promoters Irving Azoff and Jeffrey Wald that Boxing Commissioner Lord Larry Hazzard conspired with two judges to give Shannon Briggs a 12-round decision in the Nov. 22 heavyweight bout against Foreman.
“They made a lot of allegations but they can't substantiate any part of it," Catania said. "Unless they can give me something more specific and in more detail, there's nothing left to look into."
In a fight everyone with eyes and even Ray Charles thought Foreman won easily, Judges Calvin Claxton and Larry Layton scored the fight 116-112 and 117-113 for Briggs, respectively, while the third non-investigated judge, Steve Weisfeld, scored it a draw, 114-114.
Well, what did anyone expect, when the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement was asked to investigate one of it’s own members? It was like Richard Nixon asking G. Gordon Liddy to investigate the supposed break in at Watergate.
The real issue is not the alleged criminality, but the obvious incompetency of boxing commissioner Lord Larry, who appointed two novice, never-before-heard-of judges like Claxton and Layton to work a televised heavyweight title fight. If Hazzard is not a crook, then he’s a nincompoop, and he should be summarily dismissed. But I guess Frank Catania doesn’t want the like of Al Sharpton and Louis “Calypso Louie” Farrakhan picketing his lucrative gambling tables in Atlantic City.
At best, it’s a no-guts display by Catania, a fellow Italian-American I would never call a paisan.
At worst, it’s a clear vision of disgraced, soon-to-resign President Richard Nixon pleading, “I am not a crook.”
FROM RAGS TO RICHES: JOHNNY TAPIA
by BoxngrulesIf you only know the story of Johnny Tapia's boxing career, you have alot to learn. The IBF/WBO Jr. Bantamweight Champion was not always the pound for pound entrant and undefeated boxing sensation. Johnny was born early in 1967, at the time his father was already dead. By the time he was 3 years old, he was an orphan, for his mother had been raped, hung, and stabbed.
When he was 7, he was in a school bus that drove over a cliff, he was lucky to live. When Tapia was a teen, he came to a gym to be a fighter. He was introduced to Danny Romero, Sr.
Romero became his manager during his amateur years, Romero's son was another boxing prospect on the rise, neighborhood rival Danny Romero, Jr. The two met once in the amateurs, Tapia outpointing Romero by a narrow points verdict. There was still a rivalry between the two.
When Tapia turned 21 years old, he became a proffesional boxer, in his pro debut he drew with Efran Chavez. But after that bout Tapia continued to improve, he was 14-0-1 when he outpointed future star Jesus Chong.
In late 1990, Tapia was suspended by all boxing commissions for a drug addiction for 3½ years. In 1992, Tapia married a young woman Theresa. Still having problems with drugs, Tapia beat and attempted to kill his wife. In 1993, he quit drugs suddenly, Theresa had been helping him all the way.
When he resumed his boxing career in 1994, Theresa became his manager. In his 44-fight career he has gotten his nose broken at least 20 times. In mid-1995 he struggled to outpoint Arthur Johnson, probably his first big test.
On December 1, 1995, he was facing a journeyman Willy Salazar. Salazar was the only man to beat Danny Romero in the proffesional ranks. Tapia's record was currently 36 wins, no losses, 2 draws, and 18 KO's. He stopped Salazar in 9 rounds.
In early 1996, Tapia fought on the debut of HBO's Boxing After Dark, stopping Giovanni Andrade in 2 rounds. 6 fights later he was facing Danny Romero, who was now a 2-time world champion. The two were unifying the IBF and WBO Jr. Bantamweight titles. In a questionable decision, Tapia took the two belts home by unanimously outpointing slugger Romero.
Many people didn't think Tapia could beat Romero. Tapia had gone from a hopeless orphan at age 3, to a 2-time champion with a record of 42-0-2, at age 30. A very inspiring story for an inspiring man.
WHO'S WHO IN EUROPE
by Derek CusackFEATHERWEIGHTS
One To Watch: Naseem Hamed
This man needs no introduction. I merely wish to make three points on the subject of Naz:
1. When he retires we shall utter his name in the same breath as Muhummad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson. So enjoy him while he’s around.
2. He showed against Jose Badillo (on October 11) and again against Kelley that he possesses superb fighting heart to compliment his defensive skills, unconventional angles, speed and tremendous power. In my book this makes him the full article.
3. One can speculate upon attractive matches involving Hamed, but no matter who he fights, and no matter how well they performed previously, his delightfully unorthodox skills will reduce them to apparent novices. I believe his inadequacies in the Kelley fight were a result of his decision to engage in a 'war' rather than use his boxing skills.
Naz is now unbeaten in 29 starts, and has only needed the judges’ favour twice. His next fight is in late March, and my bet is that it will be a rematch with Kevin Kelley, who came so close to dethroning the Prince in December.
Keep An Eye On: Paul Ingle
Paul Ingle exploded onto the scene right at the beginning of 1997 when he wore down former world champion Colin Mc Millan in what was an excellent fight.
Since this British title win, Ingle’s pressure - oriented skills have proved too much for two challengers. Most recently - on October 11 - he stopped former British and Commonwealth champion Jon Jo Irwin to win a Lonsdale Belt outright (an honour bestowed on a fighter who wins three consecutive British title fights and the richest prize in British boxing).
Ingle’s determination and grit are impressive, but being at the wrong weight division at the wrong time (see first featured featherweight) may prevent the Englishman from winning a world crown. His record reads 17-0 (12).
Keep An Eye On: Paul Griffin
Dubliner Paul Griffin made history as an amateur when he became Ireland’s first ever European champion. He also boxed in the 1992 Olympics.
Although the unbeaten 26 - year - old is still a ‘baby’ as a pro, he appears to have carried his silky boxing skills through to the paid ranks successfully. An arm injury prevented him from fighting Welsh prospect Dean Pithie on October 11, which was unfortunate as a win over Pithie would have catapulted him up the rankings. He will get his chance however and is now scheduled to fight Pithie on February 28.
Griffin, who has chalked up 12 consecutive wins, trains in the Brendan Ingle camp in the good company of world champion Naseem Hamed and many exciting future stars like himself. I expect great things from him.
One To Watch: Julien Lorcy
Former Amateur star Julien Lorcy was dismayed on October 4 when his second world title attempt ended in a draw - just like the first!
This double clash with Mexican southpaw Arnulfo Castillo for the vacant WBO title failed to settle the argument and it now looks as if they will meet again - although it is unlikely the unbeaten Frenchman will be granted hometown advantage for a third time.
Fight fans wouldn't complain at the prospect of another rematch - both Lorcy - Castillo fights were highly exciting, particularly the first. Skilled boxer/counterpuncher Lorcy felt he did enough to win both fights, but Castillo now seems mysteriously out of the equation - Barry Jones won the WBO title in December by beating Ruben Palacio and will now defend against Lorcy next month.
I have a strong feeling Lorcy will be WBO champion after his next fight. He has already made the history books...
Lorcy’s record reads 36 - 0 - 2.
Keep An Eye On: Justin Juuko
I am cheating to an extent in including Justin Juuko in this column. Although he is based in England, Justin is not European due to his Ugandan heritage. However if I am to grant myself licence to bend the nationality of just one fighter, Juuko is certainly well worth bringing to your attention.
How this slick operator has not boxed for some form of world title yet is a puzzle to me. He is adaptable, powerful and boasts a tremendously varied arsenal of punches. As you can imagine, he is splendid to watch when on form.
The 25 - year - old hit form on October 9 when he first fought in his hometown of Kampala. 7, 000 proud supporters saw Justin dazzle Vladimir Matkiuski over twelve rounds. Interestingly, former world champion Cornellius Boza - Edwards was in the African’s corner.
His record reads 30 - 1 - 1 (24).
Keep An Eye On: Djamel Lifa
Lifa won the vacant European title in April of this year when fellow Frenchman Moussa Sangare was stopped on a cut eye in the sixth round.
He is a quick counterpuncher, and can now move into the limelight on the back of his title win. At 28 however the Parisian must move fast.
One To Watch: Orzoubek Nazarov
Nazarov was extremely lucky to retain his unbeaten record in his last outing on October 4. Despite laying Oscar Lopez out cold (in a non - title fight) with a left hook thrown after the referee called “break,” Nazarov was declared the winner by a fourth round stoppage.
Orzoubek (or can I please call him “Orzie” for short?) has been widely regarded as the world’s no. 1 lightweight since Oscar De La Hoya departed this division. At 30 and with six WBA title defences under his belt, one would assume Orzie’s ambition is to make hay while the sun shines.
Matches with George Scott, Stevie Johnson and Shane Mosley would both arouse public excitement and prove lucrative for the participating fighters. Nazarov’s record reads 25 - 0.
Keep An Eye On: George Scott
Swede George Scott took a pounding in his only loss - when challenging for Jake Rodriguez’ IBF welterweight title - but has since resurrected his career back at lightweight through an impressive points win over Rafael Ruelas.
Since moving to Miami, 30 - year - old Scott has picked up the WBU title. It’s not all bad news however as this move also allowed him the opportunity to exhibit his southpaw skills to a wider audience. As a result, Scott is now among the world’s top lightweights.
His record reads 31 - 1.
Keep An Eye On: Artur Grigorian
German - based Uzbekistani Grigorian defended his title on October 11 when he unanimously outpointed late substitute David Armstrong.
The unbeaten 29 - year - old southpaw appears to be a very good all - round boxer but is untested at the highest level despite holding the WBO version of the world title. As this division is arguably the strongest as far as European fighters are concerned, Artur can prove his mettle without venturing too far afield.
His record reads 23 - 0 (14).
GRANT TAKES WBO TITLE
by Adrian Cusack
Otis Grant became WBO middleweight champion on his second attempt when he outpointed the previously unbeaten Ryan Rhodes in Sheffield on December 13th.
Grant's first crack at the title came against Lonnie Bradley last March. The draw verdict in the fight was generally considered to be harsh on Grant, and he left little room for doubt on this occasion.
He fought the perfect fight against the flashy Rhodes, who is a close friend and stablemate of Naseem Hamed. Grant's sharpness and accuracy were impressive and he controlled the fight throughout. The Canadian has traded blows with the likes of Quincey Taylor, Gilbert Baptist and Bradley, and the gulf in experience between him and the untested Rhodes was vastly apparent.
The fight was an entertaining, skilful contest rather than a war of attrition. Rhodes had his moments, but the judges' scores of 116-114, 115-113 and 115-114 were ridiculously close. I scored it 188-112 for Grant - who also works as a counsellor in Montreal High School and considers this job more important than his role as a professional fighter.
At only 21, Rhodes is certainly young enough to rebound from this setback. However he should consider investing in some Willie Pep videos because, as Grant proved, his defence has more holes than an average sieve.
The Prince Who Wanted to be King
by Randy GordonOnce upon a time--isn't this the way all fairy tales begin!--there lived a Prince. His name was Naseem Hamed. He was born in a far away place called Yemen. Prince Naseem grew up poor, but, because he was such an accomplished warrior, he quickly rose in popularity and in stature. Soon he was slaying his dragons in the magical kingdom of Her Majesty, The Queen of England. When he was 25, The Prince was ready to journey to America, the "Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave and the Corporate Offices of HBO."
By the time The Prince journeyed to America, where the greatest warriors of all time came from, he was being called by his disciples, "The Greatest Fighter in the World." He was 28-0 with 26 knockouts. The Prince himself had said, over and over, that he was well on his way to becoming the greatest fighter of all time. There were many people who chose to believe him.
Indeed, in New York City, the colossus of all cities, the Prince's likeness was plastered at major points into and out of the city.
It was in a great arena in New York City called Madison Square Garden that Prince Naseem Hamed faced the toughest challenge of his career. A local warrior named Kevin Kelley stood strong and unafraid as the cameras of HBO prepared to show their scheduled 12-round battle for Naseem's WBO featherweight title to the world.
In Kelley, Naseem certainly met his verbal match for the first time. At a press conference a few days before their fight, Naseem told Kelley and the huge throng of media, "After I beat you, I promise to give you a job hanging my posters. Just make sure there are no creases in them."
Kelley just smiled and said, "After I kick your ass, you'll be able to get a job driving a cab or working at a 7-11 here in New York." And on and on it went. The talk was fun and gave boxing writers some fresh material, but nothing mattered until the night of December 19. That's when Hamed and Kelley squared off (after a 10-minute silhouette dance and slow strut to the ring by Hamed, capped with a forward somersault over the top ropes).
Kelley came out fast in round one, his probing southpaw jab looking for openings. But Hamed came out faster and his southpaw jab snake-licked Kelley's face again and again. Hamed did a shimmy and shake of his shoulders after Kelley landed two quick rights one minute into the battle. At the midway point in the round, Hamed switched to an orthodox stance, but changed back seconds later.
With one minute to go, Kelley retreated towards his own corner with Hamed in pursuit. Hamed unleashed a right which missed, then another. It, too, missed. Then, with his hands low he pulled back, his chin up, rather than down. Kelley fired a hard overhand right. It landed flush on the chin. BANG! Down went Hamed on his princely trunks. He jumped up, more surprised and embarrassed than hurt. In the round's final seconds, Kelley proceeded to move rather than take any chances.
It was all Kelley--who worked behind a hard jab--in the first 45 seconds of round two. Kelley was sharpshooting and finding the range. Then, The Prince missed badly with a wild right hook. Off-balance, he slipped and began to go down. As he was slipping, Kelley stepped in with a perfectly-timed right hook of his own. It found Hamed's chin. Down went The Prince, both his gloves touching the canvas. He was up immediately as referee Benji Esteves administered the mandatory eight-count.
Unlike his reaction after dropping Hamed in round one, Kelley became over-anxious and tore after his opponent. The two mixed it up and 12,000 fans roared their approval.
In his anxiousness, it was now Kelley who found himself off-balance. As he stumbled, Hamed pushed Kelley away with his right hand, which was wrapped around the back of Kelley's neck. Kelley slammed into a corner in a squatting position. Hamed tore after him and drilled home a left to the chin. Kelley complained, but to no avail. While the crowd roared, thinking it was a knockdown, referee Esteves made the right call in ruling it a slip.
Hamed got back up on his toes and showed speed which is impressive even by featherweight standards. Then, he switched from southpaw to orthodox stance. From that stance he fired a lead right to the chin. BANG! It was now Kelley's turn to hit the floor. He looked up at Hamed and acknowledged the knockdown with a pump of his left fist.
Kelley was up at five but wore a glassy-eyed look. Just over one minute remained. The Prince fired a hard right hook aimed at Kelley's chin, but the veteran New York fighter, who had lost just once in 50 previous battles, easily avoided the punch.
The two mixed it up for the remainder of the round, both putting everything on their shots. The crowd had just been treated to two of the fiercest rounds of featherweight championship boxing they had ever seen.
Perhaps thinking of Hamed's prediction of disaster for him in round three, Kelley proceeded steadily but cautiously throughout the three minutes, using his jab to control the action. Hamed was unable to get through Kelley's concentrated defense and continuous, deliberate, powerful offense.
However, Kelley is, perhaps more so than Hamed, a warrior. He will sacrifice his body, and has done so throughout his career, in an effort to make a fight more exciting. In round four, he abandoned caution and began to pressure Hamed more.
Hamed responded by countering beautifully. With 1:35 left on the clock, two quick Hamed lefts to the head dropped Kelley on his right side. He was up at five, once again glassy-eyed.
Hamed tried to finish the job and jumped on his injured prey. A hard right snapped Kelley's head and the end seemed near. However, the warrior in Kelley now surfaced. Kelley planted his feet and launched his own grenades at the quick, unorthodox Hamed. A sharp right hook landed on The Prince's chin and he wobbled, stumbled and started on a trip to the canvas. He quickly righted himself and prepared to defend against another Kelley assault. However, referee Esteves ruled that Hamed's right glove had touched the canvas and correctly called a knockdown. Just over one minute remained.
The crowd was in a frenzy. After the mandatory eight-count, Kelley went all out trying for the knockout. A hard left-right snapped Hamed's head. The Prince pulled away and took a deep breath. He fired a few shots which missed. Then came the ending. Swiftly. Suddenly.
A picture-perfect Hamed left shot out. It caught Kelley on the side of the jaw and he went down flat on his back. He struggled to his knees, then to all fours. He arose a moment after Esteves had reached "Ten."
The Prince was 29-0 in what had been the toughest war of his career. Hamed certainly proved he is tough. And durable. And fast. And powerful. He is an injection of excitement that boxing sorely needs. However, HBO's Jim Lampley, who has never given to being a cheerleader, over-stated that Hamed "was everything he said he was--and more."
Hamed is not the greatest fighter in the world and most certainly not the greatest fighter of all time. He is outstanding, flashy and exciting. He is also flawed, especially on defense. That chin of his continues to flap around like the British flag on a windy day. Trainer Brendan Ingle must work hard to correct that flaw. Otherwise, another puncher like Kelley--maybe even Kevin himself if he can talk himself into a rematch--will drop Hamed and keep him on the floor.
But The Prince survived his trip to America and his war in the big arena in New York City. He returned home bigger than ever, his mega-million dollar HBO contract in hand. Until he meets Kennedy McKinney, a fourth-round KO winner of Junior Jones on the undercard, The Prince will rule and be adored by his loyal followers.
Until somebody proves otherwise, Prince Naseem Hamed is the best featherweight in the world. And, like in all fairy tales, the book is closed by telling you he will live happily ever after.
Who will stop the reign (of Prince Naseem Hamed)?"
by David IamelePrince Naseem Hamed's (now 29-0 w/27 KO's) royal coffers will show a $2 million (US) credit after his four rounds of work against Kevin "the Flushing flash" Kelly. But his US debut was undoubtedly a tougher go than the English pugilist bargained for. What is one to make of the self-styled Prince after a four round battle royal with a fighter many "experts" consider to be ring worn? Instead of answering the boxing fans questions, this bout seemed to raise more queries about the extent of Hamed's talents in the squared circle. The trips to the canvas were obviously not part of Naseem's travel itinerary and make many wonder about his chin and porous defense and akward style (to say the least).
This writer is of the opinion that if the New York bout was Hamed's first test, he passed it, not with flying colors, mind you, but a win is a win, as they say. I would give Naseem a grade of b-. While he did hit the deck on a couple of occasions, he seemed to have his wits about him throughout as opposed to Kelly, who didn't weather the storm quite as well. Many may credit the win of Hamed to Kelley not fighting a strategically smart fight. I don't believe this to be the case. Kelly wanted to win this fight for many reasons, two of the prominent ones being:
(1) To prove to HBO & the boxing press that he was the better man.
(2) To upser the lucrative big money HBO deal from the Prince.
If Kevin didn't win the bout it certainly wasn't for lack of trying, and I doubt any change in the strategy would have altered the outcome. Ask Tom "Boom Boom" Johnson.
So stating that Hamed is (arguably) "the goods" who currently on the boxing scene can provide his royal highness with enough of a tussle to snatch his crown, not to mention his belt? Hamed is currently the WBO featherweight champ, however, a glance at their list of top ten in this weight class doesn't exactly provide any big money match ups. Ditto for their top ten junior lightweight division.
In the IBF, their featherweight division is equally empty of top dollar match ups. However, if Kennedy McKinney would care to move up a couple of pounds at least he would provide a "name" opponent for the Prince. Enrique Sanchez is listed at #8, but he needs a lot more seasoning to be considered any kind of threat. If the Prince moves up in weight in the near future, IBF junior lightweight champion, Arturo Gatti, would provide an excellent test for Hamed. However, it's well documented that Arturo is on his way up in weight in the very near future and this bout may, unfortunately, never materialize. If Gatti's next foe, Angel Manfredy, is fortunate enough to get by Arturo, he would also make an excellent advisary.
The WBA has Wilfred Vazquez as their 126 lb. champion and although he is a bit long in the tooth, he has proven that he shouldn't be counted out. Moving up or down a weight class in the WBA doesn't bring up any big names.
The WBC has Luisito Espinosa currently holding their version of the title and a bout with him might be comparable to a bout with his WBA counterpart, Vazquez. In the WBC 122 lb. class a couple of possible foes appear in champion Eric Morales and #1 contender Wayne McCullough. But I wouldn't expect Morales to just vacate his title for a chance at the Prince. If McCullough doesn't square-off against Morales, there's a much better chance of him making the jump in weight. But if he couldn't defeat aging warrior, Daniel Zaragoza, how much of a chance against a young lion like Hammed does he have?
Moving up to scan the WBC super featherweight class gives us champion, Genero Hernandez, and #3 contender, Jesus Chavez is an intriguing fighter. However, Hernandez doesn't pack the punch to keep Hamed at bay and Chavez is kind of a question mark at present due to lack of TV exposure.
Their are a couple of other names sort of floating around in a sort of TwilightZone: Yuyani Bunqu, Antonio Cermeno, Marco Antonio Barrera, Freddie Norwood, Juan Manual Marquez, Derrick Gainer, Orlando Canizales, Welcome Ncita, Yong Soo Choi, Tracy Patterson, & Gabe Ruelas. But for a variety of reasons, you probably won't see these names on the Prince's hit list in the near future.
So after going through the rankings of the WBO, IBF, WBA, & WBC from 122 to 130 lbs, what have we come up with?
McKinney is the obvious choice for a bout in the near future, both fighters are coming off exciting victories on the same card. If the bout happens, look for Kennedy to give the Prince a tougher bout then Kelly did, and the Prince will, no doubt, have any kind of "first big fight in the US" nervousness out of his system and show a little bit of a more orthodox(at least for him) style. Still, years of wear and tear in and out of the ring have doubtless taken there toll on Kennedy. Look for Hamed to TKO him in 6-7 rounds.
Both Arturo Gatti and Wayne McCullough would be exciting bouts with bunches of punches being thrown. Zaragoza Showed that McCullough can be out fought but maybe Wayne's matured. Gatti might have the edge in strength or at least have similar firepower and he's proven he's almost impossible to out gut. Predictions: McCullough gets cut up and stopped in 5, Gatti, in a shocker, gets nailed early and gets Ko'd inside of 3 rounds, for two reasons 1)years of struggling to make 130 lb. limit 2)if Hamed hurts you, he's an excellent finisher.
So if these three formidable foes can't defeat the Prince - who will end his reign? My guess is no one... within the next couple of years at least. I see only one flaw in Hamed, and that is his belief that his talent is a gift from God promoting him to shun training. Perhaps if one of the previously mentioned opponents or even some unknown foe really tests Hamed or even (gasp!) defeats him, he will realize that it can only be a benefit to train thoroughly. Evander Holyfield has similar beliefs, does he train? We both know the answer to that. Prince Naseem Hamed, love him or hate him, only he can stop his reign....for now.
(...Notice I didn't even mention the flamboyant 10 minute ring entrances! Not bad.)
The Computer Fight
by Chris Mulvey
Whatever the current state of the game, whether filled with excitement or filled with yawns, fans are always drawn to boxing's past. How one legendary champion would have fared against another is endlessly debated. What if Sugar Ray Robinson had met Stanley Ketchel? What if Joe Louis had squared off against Jack Johnson? And, in what might be the most popular "What if" of all, what if Muhammad Ali had tested his speed and science against the power and tenacity of Rocky Marciano? Who would have come out on top?
Of course, it's all speculation, mere conjecture. There's just no way to predict the outcome of a super fight between these two great champions, is there?
Back in the late sixties a broadcast executive by the name of Murray Woroner thought he had the solution. By feeding the strengths and weaknesses of each fighter, as compiled by a panel of experts, into a state-of-the-art computer, a winner could be determined.
Woroner had done it before, on radio. A tournament featuring sixteen world heavyweight champions conducted in 1968, saw Rocky Marciano emerge as the winner by knocking out Jack Dempsey in the final bout. Following the success of the tournament, Woroner was anxious to take things a step further. In order to cash in on the lucrative closed circuit television market, Woroner needed a couple of warm bodies. Actually, his choices were limited. A dust-up between Jersey Joe Walcott and Ingemar Johansson wouldn't have generated the kind of revenue that interested Woroner, but a Ali-Marciano match-up fit the bill perfectly.
Rocky Marciano, with a record of 49-0-0 had the distinction of being the only heavyweight champion in history to retire undefeated . A crowd- pleasing slugger with the shortest reach in heavyweight championship history, Marciano needed to work in close to get the maximum leverage on his power punches. This rough-and tumble-style worked well for Marciano, as he knocked out 46 of 49 opponents, but it undoubtedly contributed to the many cuts and bruises he received throughout his career.
Stylistically, Ali was the exact opposite of Marciano. He shied away from infighting, preferring to control the action from the outside with a long left jab and quick lateral movement. It was speed rather than brute power that separated Ali from the rest, speed so great that it allowed him to dispense with conventional boxing wisdom. Fighting with his hands down around his hips, Ali pulled his head back to avoid punches rather than duck or block them with his gloves. According to the experts, these tactics should have gotten him killed. But when it came to his own style, Ali knew best. At the time of the computer fight, Ali had compiled a record of twenty-nine victories without defeat, including nine title defenses.
Fortunately for Woroner, both Ali and Marciano were willing participants. Ali agreed because he desperately needed the money. His financial problems could be traced back to 1966 when reclassification of his draft status from 1-Y to 1-A caused him to utter the most infamous anti-war statement in history: "I ain't got no quarrel with those Viet Cong."
For the next year the sporting public wondered what would happen when Ali was asked to step forward and take the oath.
The wondering stopped on May 8th, 1967 when Ali stood along side twenty six other young men at the induction center in Houston Texas. One by one they stepped forward as their names were called. Then came the moment of truth.
"Muhammad Ali", the induction officer called out.
Ali didn't move a muscle.
He was then taken aside and informed of the possible consequences of refusing military induction: a five thousand dollar fine and a prison term of up to five years.
Once again the induction officer called out, "Muhammad Ali".
Once again, he didn't move a muscle.
Within the hour, the New York State Athletic Commission, apparently not great believers in presumed innocence, revoked his boxing license and withdrew championship recognition. The N.Y.S.A.C. was a powerful force in boxing at the time, and every state commission followed their lead, which left Ali, who would be indicted ten days later for draft evasion, facing incredibly high legal fees without a way to pay them. Willing to do just about anything to earn a buck, Ali lectured on the college circuit and even appeared on Broadway in the play Buck White. Fighting, of course, was what he really wanted to do and Woroner¹s offer was the next best thing. And though suspicious of Woroner ( many highly-regarded black champions in his radio tournament did poorly, including Ali himself who was out-pointed by the plodding Jim Jeffries) he simply couldn't afford to turn down his offer of ten thousand dollars.
As for Marciano, who fought long before the age of inflated purses, his post-boxing career as a free lance businessman had been less than a howling success. As a fighter he couldn't lose, but as an entrepreneur he was snakebit. Whether it be a restaurant in New Jersey or a potato field in Iowa, one deal after another went down the tubes. And while Marciano was never in the kind of legal bind that plagued Ali, Woroner's offer of ten thousand- the same as Ali's- was just too good to pass up. With both men in agreement, the most famous "what if" in boxing would soon be answered.
Still, there were problems. The appearances of both fighters would be essential to the success of the promotion. It was important that Ali looked like the same sleek boxing master that destroyed Sonny Liston, and it was equally important that Marciano look like the same fighting machine that took the title from Jersey Joe Walcott with a single right hand back in 1952. Though not in fighting shape, it was presumed that Ali, at age 28, would project the youthful vigor that the paying public would demand. But for Rocky, appearances were more problematic.
Away from the ring fourteen years, Rocky had gained a great deal of weight and had lost a great deal of hair, causing him to look much older than his 46 years. But after nine months of intensive training (and a brand-new hairpiece), Rocky seemed a reasonable facsimile of the champion he once had been. Ironically, when the two men faced off in ring center to receive the referee's instructions, Marciano sported a trimmer waistline than Ali's. It was obvious that the middle-aged Marciano had taken the match far more seriously than his younger opponent.
The "fight" took place in a Miami gym during the summer of 1969. Seventy one-minute segments were filmed, then spliced into three minute rounds. The action was shot against a black backdrop, with Woroner attending to as many details as possible so the event would seem as though it were really happening. Crowd noise and the sound of blows being struck were dubbed in during the editing process. Angelo Dundee, Ali's long time trainer, worked his corner, while Mel Ziegler filled in for Rocky's trainer, Charlie Goldman, who passed away a few months before filming began. A make-up artist , armed with a catsup bottle, was on hand to simulate Marciano's inevitable cut brows. Seven different endings were filmed, some with Ali winning, some with Marciano winning. The ending used in the film, a carefully guarded secret, would be determined by a NCR 315 computer.
On January 20th, 1970, the fight for the "all-time heavyweight championship" played in over six hundred locations around the country.
It began in predictable fashion, with Ali controlling the action with lateral foot work and a long left jab, and Marciano countering with a body attack whenever he could get close enough. After five rounds "blood" ran from Marciano's nose and eyes and he trailed Ali by a score of three rounds to two. Marciano rallied in the seventh with a body attack that hurt Ali, but then was floored by an Ali right in the eighth round.
But for Ali, things went south as the fight progressed. In the tenth, Marciano cornered Ali and dropped him with a flurry of body shots. Ali was still floundering on the canvas when the bell saved him at the count of five.
Marciano had a close call in the eleventh when referee Chris Dundee halted the action in order to examine his "cuts", and for a brief moment it appeared that the fight would be awarded to Ali on a TKO. But Dundee decided the cuts were not serious enough to stop the fight and waved them both back into action. From that point on, Marciano was in charge. Though Ali managed to rally from time to time, Marciano maintained relentless pressure and refused to let up for even a moment.
And then it happened. In the thirteenth round, with catsup gushing from both brows, Rocky Marciano became the greatest heavyweight champion of all time by trapping Ali along the ropes and knocking him out with a left hook to the jaw.
At least that's the way it ended in the United States. English promoters found the result a bit far-fetched and requested the film with a different ending. Mindful of the overseas market, Woroner complied, and English fans saw Ali winning on a stoppage due to cuts.
Many Americans, including quite a few reporters were more than happy with the original result. A newspaper man from Rocky's home state of Massachusetts wrote that the film made it clear that Marciano would have licked Ali anytime, anywhere.
Naturally, Ali disagreed. Though he joked that 'a guy from Mississippi must have been running that machine," he was clearly hurt by the result. This became evident during a post-fight appearance on the Dick Cavet Show when Ali called the film a "Hollywood fake" and "a real phony all the way."
Though determined from the outset that the computer fight would be pure theater, complete with carefully crafted choreography and pulled punches, it has been alleged that things occasionally got out of hand, with playful taps turning into punches of real power. At one point, according to Woroner, Ali took such a battering that he refused to continue until he was guaranteed an additional two thousand dollars. And Ferdie Pacheco, a fixture in Ali's camp and the ring doctor in the film, claims a body shot dropped him for real.
If true, these moments must have wound up on the cutting room floor. Ali has said that no real punches were thrown, and even the most casual viewing of the film supports his claim. On numerous occasions daylight is visible between the gloves and their intended targets. More violence can be seen in a typical episode of Geraldo.
The "Super Fight" , though financially successful, did little to settle the argument as to who was the better man. Those who favored Marciano before the computer fight were pleased with the result, and believed it accurately portrayed the talents of both men, while Ali fans dismissed the entire event as chicanery and point to his real-life battle with George Foreman in 1974 as proof. If Foreman, perhaps the strongest, most powerful man in heavyweight history couldn¹t knock out Ali when he had him on the ropes, then how could Marciano have done so?
In any case, the film was a great commercial success and provides boxing fans with a pleasant final memory of Marciano, who was killed tragically in a plane crash three weeks after filming. As for Ali, most of his greatest triumphs were still ahead. It was in these real, authentic fights, like the "Rumble in the Jungle" with George Foreman, and the "Thrilla in Manila" with Joe Frazier, that Ali laid claim to the title of "All-time Heavyweight Champion".
BORN TO BE CHAMP?
A LOOK AT THE CHAMPS AND THEIR ZODIAC SIGNS
by Barry LindenmanSome people swear by them. Others attribute their sometimes uncanny accuracy to pure chance or coincidence. Still others view their forecast as merely an after the fact achievement of a self-fulfilling prophecy. These daily prognostications are included in most newspapers across the country and countless books about horoscopes and zodiac signs are published each year.
Whatever your attitude towards them, it's hard to deny the fact that much time, effort and money is invested in this pseudo scientific phenomenon. What better area to explore the validity of some of the various personality claims of the zodiac signs, than with some of the greatest boxing champions of all time. After all, each world champion has their own unique personality and style, right? Let's see if the characteristics of these champions are consistent with their zodiac signs.
Let's start off with the two greatest namesakes of the sweet science, "Sugar" Ray Robinson and "Sugar" Ray Leonard. Would it be surprising to learn that both of these legendary boxers were born under the same astrological sign of Taurus? Ray Robinson was born Walker Smith on May 3, 1920 and Ray Charles Leonard was born on May 17, 1956.
People born under the sign of Taurus are thought to be like bulls. Like the bull, they are said to be strong, steady, stubborn and slow to anger. This anger is often harbored internally. However, when they do become angry, their rage turns furious and relentless. In examining the careers of both of the "Sugar" men, one realizes that their nicknames do not tell the whole story of their boxing styles. In addition to being the master boxers with the "sweet" personalities, they were also tremendous punchers when they had to be. Both were capable of unleashing ferocious attacks when pushed to the brink. Their "bull like" qualities surfaced in many of the great wars that they had with people like Lamotta, Basilio, Hearns, and LaLonde.
Another aspect of the stubborn nature that the Taurus person possesses are the many retirements and comebacks that Robinson and Leonard were famous for. Stubbornly refusing to go away, their careers were seemingly resurrected on a regular basis. Two other classic examples of boxers having the strong and steady "bull like" characteristics of a Taurus were Joe Louis, born May 13, 1914, and Charles "Sonny" Liston, born May 8, 1932. Both of these great heavyweight champs are remembered for having calm, undaunted boxing styles with the controlled anger of the Taurus bull.
It seems logical that the following boxers, Jake Lamotta, Roberto Duran and Mike Tyson were all born under the sign of Cancer. Cancers have the reputation of being sensitive, moody, and touchy. They can be spiteful at times and often harbor fearful grudges. They are said to be unreasonable at times and while displaying a hard, tough exterior, are highly emotional and sensitive on the inside. Their insecurity often lends them to be very self-disciplined. Jealousy is often associated with the Cancer personality. Anyone who saw the movie "Raging Bull" can attest to the Cancer - like characteristics displayed by Jake Lamotta during his boxing career.
The reputations that both Duran and Tyson have for total disdain of their opponents is almost legendary. Their ring personas are fueled with the emotional hatred brought about by their jealousies, insecurities and self - deprivations, characteristics of the Cancer person. Just ask people like Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Evander Holyfield and Razor Ruddock what it was like to be alone in the ring with these classic examples of the typical Cancer.
When Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, he was born under the sign of Capricorn. Capricorns have the reputation of being cautious and practical when it comes to self - preservation. Ali's boxing style relied heavily on his ability to stick and move. Rather than stand still and mix it up with his opponents, Ali would dance. Utilizing this strategy certainly served to confuse and frustrate his opponents while at the same time preserving his body. "The Greatest" was always conscious about keeping his pretty face pretty.
The symbol for Capricorns is the goat because they are said to be as "sure - footed" as a goat. Only a Capricorn with the surefootedness of an Ali could have come up with a gimmick like the "Ali shuffle" and utilize it as successfully as he did.
Because of their reputation for being ambitious, Capricorns often make good leaders. It was Ali whose leadership qualities made his popularity transcend the sport of boxing to symbolize standing up for individual rights during the turbulent 1960's. The origins of both the civil rights movement and women's movement can be traced back to the '60's when people like Ali and others demonstrated the importance of standing firm for what you believe, despite the consequences.
Even now as he endures the struggles living with Parkinson Syndrome, Ali has taken the lead role in furthering research for finding a cure for the disease. Both in and out of the ring, Muhammad Ali demonstrates the classic characteristics typical of a true Capricorn.
The great Jack Johnson, born March 31, 1878, is a typical example of a person born under the sign of Aries. The symbol for the sign of Aries is the ram. Like the ram, Aries people tend to be bold and assertive. They are aggressive, impulsive, daring, and most importantly, like the ram, they like to fight.
During the era when Johnson ruled the heavyweight division, I think it would be safe to say that he possessed these ram - like qualities. In a time when the black athlete was not an accepted part of American sports, Johnson disturbed the white dominance of heavyweight boxing by winning the title from Tommy Burns. He flaunted his role as heavyweight champion as no white champion had ever done before. Always brash and bold, Johnson's Aries qualities served to define his persona inside the ring, and often got him in trouble outside of it.
When Larry Holmes was born on November 5, 1949, he was born under the astrological sign of Scorpio. Like the scorpion, Scorpios are excitable and headstrong. Although a natural boxer, Holmes often found himself on the receiving end of heavy punches thrown by people such as Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers and Renaldo Snipes. Whenever he was knocked down, Holmes would react. Not like the natural boxer that he was, but like the hot-tempered Scorpio that he was born. This often meant a retaliatory slugging contest with his opponent. His stubborn passion made his fights more entertaining for fans whenever he was forced to engage in intense toe - to - toe action with his opponents.
Although they possess an intense passion, Scorpios are often seen as nothing more than resentful, vindictive and obstinate. This was a side of Larry Holmes often seen. Because he always had to live in the shadow of Ali, Holmes often made clear his feelings about never getting the respect and credit he deserved as being one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time. Despite having defended the heavyweight title more times than anyone since Joe Louis, Holmes could never match Ali's popularity.
Holmes' resentful side surfaced in his relationship with the media and boxing establishment. He often lashed out his frustrations at whomever would listen. This dark side of his Scorpio personality was particularly evident following his two losses to Michael Spinks. His infamous quotes of "Rocky Marciano couldn't carry my jockstrap," and when he told the judges, the promoters and the referee to "kiss his big black behind," are perfect examples of the Scorpion persona.
Evander Holyfield, on the other hand, is generally thought of as being pleasant and harmonious. He displays the tact and "good sport" qualities generally characteristic of a Libra. One need only to look at his recent fight with Mike Tyson as evidence of this. Only a true Libra would not have retaliated for Tyson's heinous biting episodes.
Born on October 19, 1962, Holyfield is seen as friendly and content, always trying to maintain a sense of equilibrium and reciprocation. The scale, the symbol for the zodiac sign of Libra, symbolizes their need for balance in their lives. This aspect of Holyfield's Libran qualities is evident in the way he fights as well. More specifically, in the way he fights best.
One need only recall his bouts with Bert Cooper and Riddick Bowe to better understand this. Holyfield always seems to fight better, to "suck it up" and fight harder, after he has been hurt. The hurting of Holyfield acts like a wake up call for him. In his Libran way of always seeking balance, the action in his fights is always balanced by a Holyfield counterattack after his opponent seemingly had him on the ropes. In both the Cooper and Bowe fights, Holyfield came back with furious attacks, where a lesser man would have been out on his feet. The natural Libran desire for balance and equilibrium is a Holyfield trademark.
The classic Virgo personality is said to be efficiently industrious and logical; practical and unemotional. Virgos rarely get overexcited. They are seen as down to earth, hard working blue collar types with a "no nonsense" attitude. Rocky Marciano was born Rocco Marchegiano on September 1, 1923 under the astrological sign of Virgo. His ring style clearly demonstrates the pragmatic, diligent work ethic that this Virgo got from his Brockton, Massachusetts roots.
His Virgo trait of being hard working with no use for waste or excess translates into his mechanical hard punching ring style with little or no flash or fanfare. Solid, hard punching was seen as the best way to get the job done by Marciano. This is the way a Virgo would view the logical way to fight.
Virgos also have a reputation for being carefully exact and meticulous. This also appears consistent with the Rocky Marciano outside the ring as well. He had a reputation for carefully watching his pennies and never throwing away money frivolously. Marciano was the classic Virgo: hard working, carefully logical, and efficient.
It seems obvious that no matter how much faith you put into horoscopes and the twelve signs of the zodiac, there is at least something to be said for the above mentioned champions and their astrological traits. Both their characteristics in the ring and their persona outside the ring appear to be consistent with their respective zodiac signs.
Whether it is Muhammad Ali being as "sure-footed" as the Capricorn goat, or the "good sport" nature of Evander Holyfield "balancing" a fight with a Libran counterattack, the stars have definitely had an influence on the careers of these great champions. Without taking for granted the sacrifice and discipline, intense training and pain that these individuals have gone through, perhaps the stars have had something to do with their rise to greatness. After all, if you talk with the opponents of these champions, I'll bet they'll tell you that after being hit by a Mike Tyson left hook or a Joe Louis right hand, that they indeed saw stars!
Sonny takes Chicago
by Thomas Gerbasi"Sonny New Champ". So read the headline of the New York Daily News on Wednesday, September 26, 1962. The night before, Sonny Liston blitzed Floyd Patterson in 126 seconds to win sports' most prized possession, the Heavyweight Championship of the World. No WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, WBU titles. Just one undisputed crown. And by the looks of things, it seemed like Sonny would reign for as long as he wanted.
September 17, 1962 - The pre-fight medical examination turned into a shouting match between the two fighter's camps over the type of gloves to be worn in the fight. Dan Florio, Patterson's chief second, wanted both fighters to wear the gloves ordered by the fight's promoters. But Liston's people wanted Sonny to wear gloves which were custom made to fit his large fists. Athletic commission chairman Joe Triner ruled that Liston could wear the custom made gloves. But Patterson's manager, Cus D'Amato, didn't let it die. And finally, Triner relented, and said that he would review the matter further. The fighters? Patterson and Liston both sat silently.
September 19, 1962 - Daily News writer Gene Ward makes a trip to Liston's training camp in Aurora, Illinois. "He started out with more sparring partners, but two of 'em quit and one of 'em got his ribs stove in." says Jack Nilon, Sonny's adviser. One of those sparmates, Jimmy McCarter, concurs "He hit Fenado Cox on the arm the other day and knocked him flat. Wherever he hits you it hurts."
Spectators are charged 99 cents to watch Liston work out, and they're not disappointed. He opens with four rounds of shadow boxing with 175 pounder Allan Thomas. Next came three rounds on the heavy bag, three rounds on the speed bag, and his signature training method, his rope skipping to the strains of Jimmy Brown and the Flames' "Night Train". The record plays for 3 minutes and 35 seconds. Liston goes through six playings. To finish up, Liston gets a medicine ball hurled at his stomach a number of times, and performs 64 situps on a specially designed board. An onlooker remarked "How will Patterson go about hurting this man?" Liston next meets the press, and he's his usual pleasant self when asked if Patterson will be the toughest opponent he's faced. "Can I tell if this winter's gonna be cold? No. And I can't tell if Patterson's gonna be tough. I might get rid of him quick. He might get rid of me quick."
September 22, 1962 - It's close to fight night, and both men are on edge. Liston greets his press agent with an unsmiling "Hello, you miserable rat" after the agent brought the press to camp. And Patterson is just as snippy. Floyd gets asked "Are you awed by Liston's massiveness?" His response? "I'm not fighting his massiveness, I'm fighting him. Liston, he talks too much, so I think my confidence is different from his. His is on the surface. To support it he seems to have to keep talking about what he will do to me."The Tale of the Tape Patterson Liston 27 Age 28 189 Weight 212 6-0 Height 6-1 16 1/2 Neck 17 1/2 40" Chest(Nor) 44" 42" Chest(Exp) 46 1/2" 32 1/2" Waist 33" 14 1/2" Biceps 16 1/2" 12 3/4" Fist 14" 21 1/2" Thigh 25 1/2" 6" Wrist 8 1/2" 15 1/2" Calf 16" 9 1/2" Ankle 12"
September 24, 1962 - The glove controversy strikes again. While both camps argued back and forth, Liston finally puts an end to matters with a disgusted "Oh, they're all right". So Sonny will wear eight ounce Everlast gloves on fight night, as will Patterson. Also in effect for the fight will be the five point must scoring system, and the mandatory eight count. The card will start at 8:30pm Chicago time, with the main event coming off at 9:40pm.
The line on the fight is Liston as favorite, with the odds being 8-5. But the sports writers of the nation are firmly in Floyd's corner, tabbing him as a victor, 51-32. The Daily News staff picks Liston by a 4-3 margin. Jimmy Powers, DIck Young, and Bruce Stark all like Patterson by kayo, in six, ten, and eight rounds respectively.
A cartoon in the News depicts Patterson landing a right on Liston, with the caption "The Liston Myth". Below reads the following: "Tonight in Chicago, Floyd Patterson will attempt to answer a question of long standing: Is Sonny Liston a genuine ogre or is he a fairy tale phony, hiding behind a scowl and a sneer? My guess is the latter, and it will take Floyd just eight rounds to prove it!"
September 25, 1962 - Before a crowd of 18,894 at Chicago's Comiskey Park, Sonny Liston knocked the heavyweight crown off Floyd Patterson's head with a quick one round knockout. Liston landed the first punch of the fight, a right to the head. Floyd immediately clinched. Floyd missed a wild left, and Liston retaliated with a left of his own, which landed. Liston continued to move forward, landing shots on Patterson. A left to the head, then the body, and another right and left put Patterson down. Floyd went into a crouch, shaking his head as referee Frank Sikora counted him out at the 2:06 mark.
Back in the dressing room, it was obvious that the title had not calmed Sonny much. Irked by the questions from the press, he commented "This is worse than the fight. I'd like to go out there and fight him some more." Did Patterson hurt Sonny? "Yeah, he hurt me when it looked as though he was going to get up at nine. But he couldn't make it. I expected to get him early. He was a good champion. I hope that the public will forget the past and give me a chance to be a good champion too."
The Patterson locker room was as upbeat as a funeral. Cus D'Amato, who didn't want Patterson to fight Liston, sat with Floyd's mother Annabelle, both wearing anguished looks on their faces. Annabelle also wanted her son in the ring with Sonny again. "I want Floyd to fight him again. I don't think he would have won even if he had beaten the count and gotten up." What about Patterson himself? Did he hear the count? "Not clearly. I thought I heard him say eight, and I jumped up. I thought I made it." But Floyd did say that he planned to invoke the rematch clause in the contract. Liston-Patterson II would be made...with the same result.
This fight was the richest one-time sporting event ever. Patterson's take? 1.7 million dollars. The new champ went home with $400,000, the most ever for a first time heavyweight challenger.
You want to add insult to injury for Patterson? Floyd and his people tried to leave Comiskey via the ushers' room, to avoid the crowd. They subsequently found themselves locked in the room. a hammer and a metal pipe was unable to break the lock, so a hacksaw had to do. Patterson stood by watching, holding his head. Talk about a long night.
Bridgett "Baby Doll" Riley - Don't Let the Name Fool You
Interview conducted by Thomas GerbasiMention women's boxing to a serious fight buff, and you will get one of two emotions. Love or hate. There seems to be no middle ground among the fight community when it comes to ladies in the ring, but that may change soon. Fighters like Christy Martin and Lucia Rijker are winning fans with each fight, and a new breed of ladies are coming into the public eye due to some outstanding performances. Tracy Byrd, Kathy Collins, Yvonne Trevino, and Jill Matthews are just a few of these women. And you can add Bridgett "Baby Doll" Riley to this list. One punch kayo power, boundless energy, and impressive technique make Bridgett a fighter to watch. Not a lady fighter, but a fighter. On February 15, Bridgett will challenge for the bantamweight crown held by the aforementioned Trevino. This fight will be televised by ESPN2. Tune in. You may surprise yourself.
DI:Give us a little background on yourself.
BR:I was a serious gymnast from ages 9 -15. My life was school & gymnastics. I stopped because I fell in Love w/ Karate when I saw my brother's competitions. I got my blackbelt in 2 separate styles of the martial arts. I was rated #1 in my region in BlackBelt forms (Katas) & sparring. I loved the fighting part so much ... I went into Kick Boxing. I currently hold 5 World Titles in Kick Boxing. Now I'm focusing on Boxing & I love it with all my heart. I moved from St. Louis, leaving all my friends & family to chase my dreams in California where I live now.
DI:How and why did you decide on boxing?
BR:It's been my dream to fight on BIG BOXING shows since my competitive martial arts days. People thought I was a few cards short of a full deck to think that could ever be a reality. I knew in my heart of hearts that one day it would happen. LOOK NOW - YEA . I love boxing. I think it's the most awesome sport. Physically, emotionally, & mentally. A lot goes on. What a challenge. I never feel more alive! It's my heart's passion.
DI:What's a tougher sport, kickboxing or boxing? What are the differences between the two, besides the obvious?
BR:I think both in separate ways. Kick Boxing is brutal on your entire body. Your feet & shins hurt & bruise up from beating people & your thighs hurt from getting kicked in them. Your entire body takes a lot of abuse (what a wonderful thing - ya gotta love it) & in Boxing ... WOW! It's so action packed. Non stop. Busy Busy Busy .. fists are flying. There's just so much more action.
DI:What's a typical day in the gym like for you, when in training for a fight?
BR:I run in the mornings. I have 2 trainers, Lily Rodriguez & Gabriel Gonzalez. I spar a lot depending how close the fight is. I do bag work, focus mitt work, speed bag, double end bag, jump rope, defense drills, & exercise. It's intense, but worth it.
DI:Do you spar with men, or do you have women sparring partners when preparing for a fight?
BR:I spar with men regularly. They bring me to a whole other level. One time I sparred with Hector Lopez and he does this double punch to the face (just to get you frustrated) so I kicked him (& we were just Boxing!) It was so funny cause he kicked me back. He's very funny. One time Genaro "Chicanito" Hernandez was giving me all my sparring when I was going to fight Bonnie Canino (she's a lefty) so he (Chicanito) sparred with me southpaw - He kept stepping on my foot & holding me while punching me - I was like HEY! -- well I beat Bonnie - 12 rounds. Genaro shows me lots of tricks.
DI:What was your toughest fight, and why?
BR:My toughest fight was my I.S.K.A world title win over Russia's Natalia Larionocia. We were in Montreal and she weighed a good 12 LBS more than me. It was either give up the pounds (Because she was not willing to lose any of it) or not fight. It may have not been the smartest thing to do, but I wanted that fight. I trained too hard. (In Kickboxing - especially away out of town, they can get away with bending the rules) so we fought, she had a big advantage. It was a tough fight, but I clearly won. I was proud. I got down in that fight !
DI:You're fighting Yvonne Trevino on 2/15 for the Bantamweight title. You've beaten her before. Will you prepare differently for her? What do you expect from the fight? Is there added pressure, being that this fight will be nationally televised?
BR:Yes, I fought Yvonne before, she's improved tremendously. But I've improved that plus a whole lot more. I'm learning so much now. Things are really coming together & I am so young - so LOOK out Bantamweights!!! I treat every opponent like they're King Kong - we never under or overestimate anyone. NEVER. I'm not afraid of death, so why should I fear any person in the ring against me? It's either them or me -- I'll tell ya one thing - it's gonna be me! I expect a win from this fight. I will have to work very hard in this fight, but I will be victorious! I'm sure she feels the same way (that's the joy & excitement of boinxg) But no matter what she's got, I have more! There's pressure, but I feed off that. I Love it & I use it!
DI:After your last fight, you challenged Mia St. John. What's the story behind the challenge?
BR:I challenged Mia St. John because soooo many people keep seeing her publicized & campaigning as the toughest Professional Bantamweight out there. That's a pretty bold statement coming from this girl, when I've never ever even heard about her (she has a supposed extravagant Tae-Kwon-Do background) I encourage all females in the sport of Boxing. But Mia & her people are silly for carrying on about her in that manner. To me, she looks like an amateur. I don't like when people take advantage of the media & manipulate the public - this is why I've challenged her. If she says what she says she is - she should gladly accept my challenge. Then the people will see what time it is while I take Mia to school.
DI:Who are some of your favorite boxers, male and female?
BR:I like Kathy Collins - I think she's good and has a good future in boxing. I think my trainer Lily Rodriguez was one of the best of all time. I like Genaro "Chicanito" Hernandez (not just because he's a very good friend), but he is extremely intelligent in the ring, very difficult to hit and an all around champion in & out of the ring. I like Juan Manuel Marquez - wow - he gets sooo much leverage on his punches. I think he's so good. I like little Ricardo Lopez - Now this guy is amazing - that's beautiful boxing - he does it all & he can crack - WOW. Arnulfo Castillo is non stop in the ring - I admire his heart. I like how busy he is in the rounds. I strive to be like that. I like Evander Holyfield - I lost my voice screaming the 1st time he fought Tyson. WOW! That put the I in inspiration.
DI:What are your thoughts on Christy Martin and Lucia Rijker?
BR:I think Christy Martin is very powerful and dynamic. She's done a lot for women's boxing - she beat me to the punch there. She was at the right place at the right time - But as long as someone opens the door - that's all I care about. I think her attitude lacks where she seems to only care about herself. I understand we all need to take care of our own - But I want to see women's boxing really take off. The more it does, the more I do. I would like to see her competition stepped up. Also, it looked like she had a tough time (FINALLY) going 8 Rounds. She was fatigued & she's a "champion" (all by herself). That must be real difficult to be the champion of a sanction that's made up of ... um umm umm... an entire one person - herself. I don't respect that. I think champions should at least fight 10 Rounds. The I.F.B.A is legit. They have several weight divisions and a Top 10 in each of them. To me that's a real sancioning body. Lucia Rijker has been around forever, so it's good to see her getting the notoriety & exposure she deserves. She's very strong & improving her boxing with each fight. The Buck doesn't stop with Lucia though. There's Tracy Byrd, Kathy Collins, Laura Serrano - There are a lot of good women around that weight.
DI:Do you believe the IFBA can compete with the likes of Don King and Bob Arum in terms of exposure?
BR:Well Don King & Bob Arum have HUGE cards. No doubt about that. But, as for giving the people legit, competitive fights, the public needs to turn to the I.F.B.A. if they really want to see women's boxing at its legitimate best. Rick Kulis and Event Entertainment are making ALL the noise with awesome shows.
DI:Tell us about your relationship with trainer Lily Rodriguez.
BR:I moved to California about 5 years ago. I knew no one. I'm from St. Louis, MO. I knew of the Famous Jet Center. I came out & met Benny "The Jet" Urquidez & I was introduced to his sister, Lily. We instantly hit it off! Way cool. She helped me find an apartment & we've been together ever since. The Jet center was world known & it had been one of my dreams to come there. Lucia Rijker trained a short time at the Jet Center but stated "there's room enough for one female here" (me --- was who she was referring to. Lily and I worked for a short time with Freddie Roach some time ago for a fight. He is very good and has a huge heart. I have a lot of respect for Freddie But we fell in love with L.A. Boxing - so we moved on. Later I saw that Lucia went to Freddie Roach. Now Lily & I asked Gabriel Gonzalez to join our team. It's been good and we work together great. Every day I'm learning so much and Gabriel trains "Chucho" Castillo #2 in the world, & his son Roger - who is a rising star. Lily is a huge influence in my life. She's my family & we are best friends. She helps me in the ring - but she hleps me outside too. She's one in a million & I hold her dear to my heart. We have something so special & so unique --- I thank God for my Blessings. Her husband, William "Blinky" Rodriguez is my manager. They are my family & I cherish what we have.
DI:Money and politics are not factors. If you could fight one fight, who would it be against, and why?
BR:I'd fight Yvonne - which is happening YEA! I want that title! It's got my name on it. Sorry Yvonne, you can't mess with destiny!
DI:What is the biggest obstacle facing women's boxing, and how would you overcome it?
BR:Obstacle - $$$ - Show me the money - one day I just hope to make money at this - more money. I love this sport, but I need to think about my future as well. Acceptance. Please people, you are who make it possible - support women's boxing. Get behind us. I know you'll love it!! Your support pushes me to strive harder & perform better.
DI:What was your family's reaction to your decision to fight?
BR:When my dad was alive ( he died from cancer a little over 2 1/2 years ago) he was my biggest fan. He jumped in the ring first when I finished a fight. He bragged so much. He loved it. Now he's with me always & I want to make him proud. He had amazing courage when he was dying. I think about that all the time before a fight. My mom likes it. She's a paramedic - she gets nervous - but really excited too. My stepdad (Pappa Bear) is wonderful. My brothers are fired up! Patrick (my younger Bro) is the one who got me in Karate (where it all began). So I owe him a big THANKS. I love my family sooooo much.
DI:Do you have any fears when you step into the ring (injuries, etc)?
BR:I have no fears. I get nervous, but never fear. I have a good chin & big heart, you can't be taught that. You either have that, or you don't. I'm not worried about a girl's punching power. The only person that can beat me, is myself. That's why I train hard. I want to perform the best I can. I think it's good to be nervous, that keeps me on the edge, where I need to be. It all goes away anyway when that bell rings, & then .. It's on!!!
DI:What's on the horizon for Bridgett Riley?
BR:No limits. I want to just keep getting better and better. I have goals on top of goals on top of goals. God willing - I'll get what I want, if of course it's meant to be. I leave my life in the Lord's hands. I lay the ground work, HE guides me and takes care of the rest. I have strong faith & I'm definitely going for it all, Keeping my soul, NOT compromising my morals; and staying true to my heart.
Arturo Gatti - An Appreciation
by Thomas Gerbasi"Just don't ask me to stop being a man" -Rocky Balboa
Joe Gatti looked with disdain upon Angel Manfredy, as the young lightweight told a group of boxing writers what he planned to do to Joe's brother. "I'm gonna take his heart" said Manfredy. Four days later, Gatti stood on the ring apron in the Atlantic City Convention Center, towel in hand. His brother, Arturo, stood disgustedly, blood covering his face, his left eyelid torn open. But take his heart? Never.
Gatti stalked around the ring following the eighth round of his 12 rounder against Manfredy. He didn't want it to end. Despite being knocked down, despite a serious eye injury, and despite having a determined, accurate punching opponent in front of him, there was no end to the fight in the 25 year old from Jersey City. While the Andrew Golotas, Henry Akinwandes, and Mike Tysons of the boxing world find a way to foul, hug, and bite their way out of fights, Gatti goes out of his way to make fights dramatic and crowd pleasing. While the two best pound for pound fighters, Roy Jones Jr, and Oscar DeLa Hoya refuse to fight anyone who isn't old, crippled, a has been or a never was, Gatti doesn't ask who he's fighting, he just asks where. It's a cliche, but Arturo is a throwback to a better era. Gatti fights for three minutes of every round, and he refuses to die. A walking Rocky movie, he doesn't feel he's been in a fight until he's taken a couple hundred punches. Unfortunately, the mainstream press would rather talk about Mike Tyson and Wrestlemania than Gatti.
Much was made of Arturo's first million dollar purse, which ironically was the loss to Manfredy. Why did it take this long? We've got Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield refusing to fight because $20 million isn't enough money. Gatti will never see $20 million in his career. Yet he is the most exciting fighter in boxing today. After talking with a few friends about the fight, not one mentioned Manfredy's excellent performance. All that anyone could talk about was "Thunder". His heart, his determination, his face-first, action packed style. Will this loss hurt him? Not a bit.
"There ain't gonna be no rematch" -Apollo Creed
When asked about a rematch, Angel Manfredy talked about fighting English sensation Prince Naseem Hamed. Something about Gatti not putting his title belt on the line. Don't believe it. These two will war again, and don't be surprised if it's not the last time. This has the makings of a genuine ring rivalry, one which the sport sorely needs. But if there won't be a rematch, could you blame Manfredy? How would you feel if you opened up your opponent's eye, knocked him down, repeatedly drilled him with right hands, and he still kept coming? Gatti knows one direction, forward. That has to be a daunting prospect for any opponent.
And what about Gatti's future? Will his left eyelid open up with the first right he receives from an opponent? And how many wars does he have left in him? When talking about Gatti, my mind says that maybe he should hang 'em up while he still has all his marbles, but my heart says that I wish he could fight until he's 50. He is every fan's guilty pleasure. He is one of the very few fighters whose fights haven't been taped over in my video collection, and he's the one fighter who has made me give a second thought to stepping into the ring again myself (if my wife is reading this, just kidding, honey). "Thunder", thanks for a great couple of years, and hopefully many more. And if that cloning doctor is reading this, boxing would like to order a couple dozen Arturo Gattis.
by Eric BottjerEver wonder what it takes to promote a boxing show? Well, if you're not backed by TV it takes dozens of hours, lots of volunteer help and a lack of brains. Seriously, although the last requirement was just in jest, club show promoters do not promote for money. They do it to build fighters, they do it for ego and they do it as a labor of love. The next time you go to a club show and fling criticisms at the fights in general, review below what promoters go through. Let's promote a show from scratch.
THE VENUE. Step one is to secure a sight. Not easy, as you cannot plan shows much more than 2 months in advance and many venues are booked solid for months. Also, promoters must check the competition - you don't want to run the same night as USA Tuesday Night Fights, nor against a pay-per-view or HBO extravaganza.
Also, consider other sports. I've seen more than one promoter blow their brains out financially because they forgot about the World Series in late October. Once you get a venue, cash flow comes next. Most sites aren't cheap and they labor that comes with it isn't either. Plus, promoters often have to rent their own chairs, tables and bleachers seats.
THE BOXERS. Many times tales are told of managers and promoters lying to fighters, stealing from fighters and basically just treating fighters like dirt. Overall, the most amoral whores in boxing are the fighters themselves. More than 90 percent will use a manager or promoter for cash flow, easy "set-up" fights before bolting to another at the drop of a $100 bill. A signed bout agreement means nothing to a boxer, as very few commissions will take the trouble to investigate the reason a fighter pulls out of a promotion. Pull-outs are more common than not. Look at the next poster of a club show and count how many of the fighters named on the poster actually fight. If a local promoter's lucky, it will be half.
THE COMMISSION. Once a promoter finds a venue and fights to create a show, it must secure a date from the state boxing commission. Most commissions are run by political appointees, so often a promoter is regulated by a man who has little knowledge of boxing, and certainly no knowledge of the pitfalls of promoting. Many commissioners simply judge fighters by their records, and throw out fights that would be competitive and allow fights that are mismatches. A promoter accepts the unpredictability of fighters; they loathe the unpredictability of commissions.
PUBLICITY. Once a date is secured, the promoter must let the public know about the show. Newspapers and radio must be contacted, faxes sent out, ads placed (more money spent). Fighters, even managers, are poor in getting the word out themselves. Many promoters have given posters and flyers to those involved, only to have the leaflets deposited in trash cans or stuffed in the trunks of cars.
NUTS AND BOLTS. A promoter must secure the basics of a show - rent a ring, make sure it comes with stools, round cards and spit buckets. Rent or buy gloves (check with the commission to see if 8-ounce or 10-ounce gloves are required). Rent a sound system, hire a DJ and ring announcer and – very important - get good round card girls. Guys will make a local club show a "can't miss" event if the round girls are primo.
BEER. Even more important than round girls. Promoters must apply for a liquor license, usually at least three weeks before a promotion.
HIRE HELP. Someone needs to serve the beer, sell tickets, usher ticket buyers to seats, work the doors and exit as security.
LAST-MINUTE ITEMS. Fighters will pull out, typically with less than 48 hours before the first bell. Promoters will be on the phone all night haggling with booking agents over a couple hundred dollars to bring in a sub who will last perhaps two rounds with the local favorite. The booking agent will win out and collect his extra $200 (none of which the fighter himself will see).
FIGHT NIGHT. Something bad will happen. If it's winter, there will be an ice storm. If it's summer, the air conditioning at the venue will break. The sound system will blow, the ring girls will get lost on the way to the arena, the local favorite will want an extra $500 to step into the ring and the commission will throw out at least one bout. That done, the show will go on and a few hundred fans will plunk down $20 for three hours entertainment (and hundreds of work hours by the promotion).
THE AFTERMATH. The promoter will lose money. Add up the costs of the above and you're talking $15,000-$20,000, depending on what state you're in. If a club show sells 500 tickets, that's good. But 500 multiplied by $20 does not equal $15,000-$20,000.
Remember the above the next time you attend a club show. And if it's a good show, make it a point to thank the promoter afterward.
The Tyson-Holyfield III Lash-up
by Dscribe DCI know you, GorDoom. Your enthusiasm knows no bounds. In your mind, you are already putting together the "special edition" for the inevitable Holyfield-Tyson III, that fight that has been a lead-pipe cinch ever since Don King started hyping it in the minutes immediately after Michael Moorer was counted out. Maybe I'm flattering myself, but I'll just bet you see a place for me in that issue. Well, just to save us the hassle of wrangling on the eve of publication, let me take a few minutes to explain to you why I won't be plopping down $75 or $100 or whatever indecent price Don King expects us to surrender along with our last shred of dignity.
1. This Will Be a Lousy Fight: Mike Tyson has been in a state of steady decline ever since the Buster Douglas debacle in 1990. Anyone remember all the ink that was spilled way back then -- and it seems like a generation ago, doesn't it? -- about how Tyson didn't bob and weave anymore, how he was getting easier to hit, how his training was getting sloppy, how he was no longer the dominant fighter who demolished Michael Spinks? Well, that was B.D.: before Desiree.
What have we seen since he got out of the joint? Not a lot. A couple of walkovers against fighters too inept (McNeeley) or scared (Seldon) to defend themselves. When he got into the ring with a first-class heavy, he was dismantled just like he had been in Tokyo. It could have been an instant replay. Even after what should have been a wake-up call, the rematch was no different (except for the psycho episode that spared Mike a trip to the canvas). So now, after a mandatory one-year vacation, Don is going to throw Mike in with Evander one more time..
.Why should the outcome be any different from the first two clashes? What signs have we seen of a resurgent Tyson? Sure, Mike still has a puncher's chance, but if Evander shows up for this fight, and he always does, it should be a foregone conclusion. Remember when King used to protect his meal ticket? He must sense that there's not much milk left in the cow. Why else feed Mike to the lions and damage his box office clout irreparably?
2. This Is NOT the Fight the World Needs To See: There is only one heavyweight fight I want to see after Holyfield-Moorer II, and that's Holyfield-Lewis. The bout to unify the heavyweight title. The clash of the two best available heavyweights. This is the fight with the historical ramifications. Anything less just won't get my money anymore. Hey, man, I work...
3. I Am Very Disappointed in Evander: Holyfield was supposed to be the stand-up guy in this crazy heavyweight circus, wasn't he? The biblical warrior? The guy with the principles? Yet when the chance came to make good on his commitment to unify the titles, Crusader Vander hits the bricks and Bean-Counter Vander takes over. What's the guaranteed PPV buy rate? What's my bottom line? These "negotiations" smelled funny from the begnning, like a charade. How can Evander demand a guaranteed $20 million after SET lost $10 million on Holyfield-Moorer II?
Don't get me wrong, nobody should put their lives on the line for nothing, but $15 million ain't hay, particularly to a guy who's already set for life. Couldn't Evander have taken $15 million to give the people a real champion again (at least until the alphabet bozos started doing their "strip" tease act)? Funny how the boxing biz can make even the holiest rollers start worshipping Mammon, isn't it?
I would have expected this from some of the sport's most notable greedheads, but from Holyfield? Maybe boxing has become so much the back-seat high school slut of sports that its honor just isn't worth fighting for anymore; just take the money and "thank ya, ma'am"...out the back door.
Vander's refusal to take on Lewis would be hard enough to swallow if he had just gone Motown and said "I need money/That's what I want" but couching his decision to fight Tyson in religious terms ("I want to give Mike a chance to redeem himself") is really galling. Is the only way Mike could "redeem" himself to make $20 million for Evander Holyfield? This one goes in the Gimme A Break File, right next to the Whitaker-Chavez "draw" and Shannon Briggs' "win" over Big George Foreman.
4. Mike Tyson is Getting Pretty Ripe, Too: For too long we've had to suffer through Tyson's athletic decline while non-boxing scandals made up for the absence of significant wins. IMHO, the underhanded attempt to cheat Buster Douglas out of the title was Strike One, the rape conviction was Strike Two, and the ear incident was Strike Three. In case you came in late, that's an OUT. Factor in Also-ran Mike's impending WWF stint and you get a sideshow act that's getting pretty stale. Hells bells, can't anybody develop a good young prospect in this division? Even Giligan's Island didn't coast this long on reruns.
5. The Marketing Campaign For This Affair is Already Revolting: Don King was quoted recently as saying this fight would be about "blood" and comparing it to Roman gladiatorial combats. This represents a new low for a sport that seems to come up with new lows just about daily. Every fight fan knows the sport is bloody, brutal, sometimes lethal. But, perhaps naively, we cling to the notion that there is still some art to it when it's practiced at high levels. We fool ourselves into thinking that virtues like courage, style, discipline, and, yes, sportsmanship still have some role to play. This sleazy promtional rap is a development that should concern everyone who cares about the future of boxing. The sport may be spiralling down the drain, but I won't be laughing, snorting and high-fiving it on its way. This is just too low class. Public Enemy once asked "how low can you go?" My answer: not this far.
6. This is Nobody's Classic "Series": The great series in heavyweight boxing all had one thing in common: suspense. The fighters split the first two and the unresolved struggle for dominance demanded a rematch. Check the history books. Ali-Frazier, Ali-Norton, Bowe-Holyfield. What's the "unfinished business" here? Don King would have you believe that there's a legion of hardcore fight fans somewhere clamoring for this to resolve things "once and for all." To my mind, they've been resolved. The only people clamoring for H-T III are the accountants who will tally the obscene profits, the casinos who will be back in high-roller heaven, and a lot of Jerry Springer and Ultimate Fighting fans who are itching to see what appendage Mike will bite off next.
7. This Whole Situation is Disrespectful to Lennox Lewis: What has Tyson done to deserve another shot at Holyfield, other then losing to him twice in a row? Once he beats the pants off of Shannon Briggs, Lennox Lewis will be the one and only linear titlist. Fact. He will have beat the man who beat the man who beat the man.
For all the lumps Lennox has taken in the American press (including the CBZ care of yours truly, mea culpa...) he has done the best that can be expected with the fighters who would face him. The only blot is a lucky Sunday punch -- later avenged -- landed by Oliver McCall. Lewis can hardly be blamed for his lackluster showings against Akinwande and McCall in the rematch. Was he supposed to fight out of both the blue and red corners at the same time?
If Lennox is as much of a dog as the anglophobes would have us believe, why has he gotten rich on the step-aside money of the top-flight US boxers who wouldn't face him? And if you're going to hold the fluke McCall KO against him, remember that a 42-to-1 underdog had Tyson on all fours scrambling for his mouthpiece, and that a second-tier clubfighter named Bert Cooper came one puff of wind shy of KOing Holyfield during his first title reign.
Lewis dispatched Ruddock much more easily than Tyson did, and handled Golota when Bowe couldn't. Assuming he beats Briggs, Lewis sits on my heavyweight throne. That would make Holyfield-Tyson III the consolation game, the Citrus Bowl of boxing. And those don't belong on PPV. At least not at my house.
8. If Not Now, When?: King is making noises about Holyfield-Lewis happening down the road apiece, after this upcoming mega-event. Who is he kidding? We all know what happens to superfights that don't get made when the time is right. Remember what a sure thing Bowe-Lewis was? Superbouts delayed are all too frequently superbouts denied.
What if Don King gave a fight and nobody came? No matter who wins Holyfield-Tyson III, everybody comes out smelling like month-old kimchi. This is a perfect example of how to kill a goose that lays golden eggs. It's contemptuous toward the sport, its fans, its history. Folks involved in staging this thing had better make a trillion bucks. With boxing largely exiled from network TV and daily newspapers, unable to develop young crossover stars that will attract young fans and intent on alienating its old fans with cheesy decisions and shortsighted matchmaking, this kind of mega-payday is going to become as rare as a unified champion. Or mainstream respect.
And if I really feel the need to witness some bloody Ear Fu, I'll walk over to Blockbuster and rent Reservoir Dogs the night of the bout. All the sleaze and mayhem for a fraction of the price. And better songs.
Jan Ratings (as of 18 Jan)
by Phrank Da SluggerThere are 3 criteria I use to rate fighters: Quality of Opposition, Performance and Activity. I am ranking the best from 1 to 10; this is to see who deserves a title shot. I rate all 18 divisions, a time-consuming activity to say the least. Therefore, commentary only appears every 3rd mth.
Champion: Evander Holyfield (WBA & IBF)
1. Lennox Lewis (WBC)
2. Larry Donald
3. Michael Moorer
4. Brian Nielsen (IBO)
5. David Tua
6. Andrew Golota
7. Michael Grant
8. Tim Witherspoon
9. Shannon Briggs
10. Hasim Rahman
Active this mth: Grant (out: Izon-lost)
Champion: Fabrice Tiozzo (WBA)
1. Marcelo Dominguez (WBC)
2. Carl Thompson (WBO)
3. Nate Miller
4. Robert Daniels (IBC)
5. James Toney (IBO)
6. Juan Carlos Gomez
7. Johnny Nelson
8. Imamu Mayfield (IBF)
9. Akim Tafer
10. David Izeqwire
Active this mth: Izeqwire (out: Washington-lost)
Champion: Dariusz Michalczewski (WBO)
1. Roy Jones
2. Lou Del Valle (WBA)
3. Graciano Rocchigiani
4. Virgil Hill
5. Merqui Sosa
6. Ole Klemetsen
7. Michael Nunn
8. Montell Griffin
9. William Guthrie (IBF)
10. Mohammed Siluvangui
Active this mth: Griffin (out: Frazier-inactive)
Champion: TITLE VACANT
1. Frank Liles (WBA)
2. Joe Calzaghe (WBO)
3. Charles Brewer (IBF)
4. Thomas Tate
5. Thulane Malinga (WBC)
6. Robin Reid
7. Herol Graham
8. Roberto Duran
9. Jorge Castro
10. Dean Francis
Active this mth: none
Champion: TITLE VACANT
1. Bernard Hopkins (IBF)
2. Otis Grant (WBO)
3. Keith Holmes (WBC)
4. Lonnie Bradley
5. William Joppy
6. Aaron Davis
7. Simon Brown
8. Silvio Branco (WBU)
9. Andrew Council
10. Brian Barbosa
Active this mth: none (out: Venancio-inactive)
Champion: Keith Mullings (WBC)
1. Felix Trinidad
2. Laurent Boudouani (WBA)
3. Terry Norris
4. Winky Wright (WBO)
5. Luis Ramon Campas (IBF)
6. Bronco McKart (IBA)
7. Verno Phillips (WBU)
8. Raul Marquez
9. Shibata Flores
10. Emmett Linton (IBA)
Active this mth: Boudouani
Champion: Oscar de la Hoya (WBC)
1. Ike Quartey (WBA)
2. Jose Luis Lopez
3. Pernell Whitaker
4. Felix Trinidad (IBF)
5. Oba Carr
6. Vernon Forrest
7. Derrell Coley
8. Shannon Taylor
9. Alessandro Duran (WBU)
10. Michael Lowe (WBO)
Active this mth: none
Champion: TITLE VACANT
1. Vince Phillips (IBF)
2. Khalid Rahilou (WBA)
3. Kostya Tszyu
4. Julio Cesar Chavez
5. Alfonso Sanchez
6. Reggie Green
7. Rafael Ruelas
8. Miguel Angel Gonzalez
9. Carlos Gonzalez
10. Soren Sondergaard (IBC)
Active this mth: Phillips, Tszyu, Sanchez, Ruelas
Champion: TITLE VACANT
1. Orzubek Nazarov (WBA)
2. Stevie Johnston (WBC)
3. Shane Mosley (IBF)
4. Israel Cardona
5. Phillip Holiday
6. Cesar Bazan
7. John-John Molina
8. George Scott (WBU)
9. Demetrio Ceballos
10. Artur Grigorijan (WBO)
Active this mth: Cardona (out: Tetteh-inactive)
Champion: Genaro Hernandez (WBC)
1. Angel Manfredy (WBU)
2. Azumah Nelson
3. Arturo Gatti (IBF)
4. Gabe Ruelas
5. Yongsoo Choi (WBA)
6. Tracy Harris Patterson
7. Derrick Gainer
8. Jesus Chavez
9. Anatoly Alexandrov
10. Julien Lorcy
Active this mth: Manfredy, Gatti, Patterson, Lorcy (out: Juuko-displaced)
Champion: Luisito Espinoza (WBC)
1. Naseem Hamed (WBO & WBU)
2. Wilfredo Vazquez (WBA)
3. Cesar Soto
4. Kevin Kelley
5. Angel Vazquez
6. Juan Marquez
7. Hector Lizarraga (IBF)
8. Genaro Rios
9. Fred Norwood
10. Paul Ingle
Active this mth: none
Champion: Kennedy McKinney (WBO & IBC)
1. Vuyani Bungu (IBF)
2. Junior Jones
3. Marco Antonio Barrera
4. Erik Morales (WBC)
5. Antonio Cermeno
6. Hector Acero-Sanchez
7. Danny Romero
8. Enrique Sanchez
9. Cassius Baloyi (WBU)
10. Adan Vargas
Active this mth: none
Champion: TITLE VACANT
1. Johnny Bredahl (IBO)
2. Nana Konadu (WBA)
3. Tim Austin (IBF)
4. Jorge Julio (WBO)
5. Joichiro Tatsuyoshi (WBC)
6. Mbubelo Botile
7. Paulie Ayala
8. Daorung Siriwat (Chuvatana)
9. Cuahtemoc Gomez
10. Oscar Maldonado
Active this mth: none
Champion: Gerry Penalosa (WBC)
1. Johnny Tapia (WBO & IBF)
2. Samson Dutch Boy Gym (WBF)
3. Satoshi Iida (WBA)
4. Joel Luna-Zarate
5. Yokthai Sit Oar
6. Takato Toguchi
7. Oscar Arcinega
8. Julio Gamboa
9. Veeraphol Sahaprom
10. Luis Bolanos
Active this mth: Iida, Sit Oar, Toguchi, Sahaprom
Champion: Chartchai Sasakul (WBC)
1. Mark Johnson (IBF)
2. Jose Bonilla (WBA)
3. Arthur Johnson
4. Carlos Salazar (WBO)
5. Yuri Arbachakov
6. Raul Juarez
7. David Guerault
8. Ysaias Zamudio
9. Jesper Jensen
10. Alejandro Montiel
Active this mth: none
Champion: Saman Sorjaturong (WBC)
1. Jake Matlala (IBA)
2. Mauricio Pastrana (IBF)
3. Pichit Chor Siriwat (WBA)
4. Juan Cordoba (WBO)
5. Melchor Cob-Castro
6. Joma Gamboa
7. Jesus Chong
8. Edgar Cardenas
9. Kaaj Chartbandit
10. Shiro Yahiro
Active this mth: Cordoba, Cob-Castro, Gamboa (out: Roga-displaced)
Champion: Ricardo Lopez (WBC)
1. Rosendo Alvarez (WBA)
2. Rocky Lin
3. Zolani Lepetelo (IBF)
4. Andy Tabanas
5. Ratanapol Voraphin
6. Lindi Memani
7. Alex Sanchez
8. Ronnie Magramo
9. Eric Jamili (WBO)
10. Osvaldo Guerrero
Active this mth: Lepetelo, Voraphin (out: Porpaoin-inactive)
World Champions: 12 (of 17)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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