The Cyber Boxing Zone Journal

          :December 28, 1996                  :
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By GorDoom ( A PROPOSAL FOR BOXING: TIGER WOODS & THE BLUEPRINT FOR HOW A SPORT REINVENTS ITSELF-- OR MAYBE BOXING REALLY IS TOO STUPID TO NOTICE ... Until Tiger Woods turned pro, the Ol' Spit Bucket, despite having a golf pro for a father-in-law, had never watched a complete round of golf in his life. I've followed the sport thru newspapers but have never found it to be very compelling. Why the sudden change? Well . . . Basically, the Bucket still feels the same way about golf that he always has: A self indulgent sport for really badly dressed, garish, white yuppies . . . But there's magic in the way young Tiger plays the sport. He is such a marvelously gifted & self-possessed young man that he's almost impossible to ignore . . . Somehow he's overcome the mind boggling hype, the ka-jillion dollar deal with Nike & surfaced as the youngest (only twenty years old), & most talented professional athlete in sports today. The best part, is that he's managed to do this without the by now cliched trash talking, breast beating belched that is almost mandatory for today's modern sports star. What Tiger Woods will probably most be remembered for is his sociological impact on golf. Tiger's dad is Afro-American, his mom is Filipino. Two races you don't normally see at say, the Master's Tournament in Augusta Georgia; unless they're serving drinks or washing dishes . . . Golf has been the ultimate racist sport & Tiger Woods is in the process of crashing down all those racial barriers as forcefully as the Wall came down in Berlin. I'm sure that when sports historians look back on the links 50 years from now; Golf, which along with tennis & skiing are the most elitist uninclusive sports going . . . Tiger is going to be remembered as a combination of Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson & Arthur Ashe. He is going to open up golf to a lot of people, most importantly impoverished inner city youth thru programs being put in place thru his relationship with Nike. He did the impossible -- he actually has made golf cool ! So what the hell does any of this have to do with Boxing? Sadly, nothing. But there is a lesson to be learned here . . . Golf's infrastructure could have rejected Woods, but wisely it didn't. Instead Golf (to it's eternal betterment), has embraced Tiger & lovingly brought him into the fold. I'm sure there is jealousy & resentment among his fellow pro's, but they have been smart enough to realize that this kid was the future of the sport & his success would only spread to include them. Of course, if Tiger hadn't produced right out of the gate this would all be moot ... So, dear reader, at this point you are probably wondering if the Bucket has lost what's left of his addled mind & just what the hell he is doing writing about golf in the middle of a boxing rag . . . It's because boxing has two athletes as gifted as Woods in their respective sport: Oscar De La Hoya & Roy Jones Jr. In any other sport, two young, well spoken, good looking & vastly talented champions like those two would be marketed & promoted to the nth degree like Tiger has. I know Roy has some sort of deal with Nike & Oscar with his fluency in both English & Spanish is starting to be a spokesperson for a few products, but when you contrast this with what is being done with Woods & other sports stars it's laughable. Hell, when you compare them to Sugar Ray Leonard when he came out, there is no comparison. Oscar has a lot of the same advantages as Sugar Ray. The looks, the gold medal, the instant success as a pro -- & he even has an advantage over Ray -- he's bilingual & crosses over cultures. Yet even with all that going for Oscar, his public recognition factor pales (no pun intended), in comparison to Ray at the same juncture of his career. Boxing needs to reinvent itself in the same way that Golf is doing today. Like B-Ball did with the arrival of Magic & Byrd; or it's going to die a slow, miserable death. The main obstacle for this happening is obvious . . . Boxing has no central governing body like all other major sports do. Without this the sport is doomed. There can be no marketing plan put in place when there is nobody responsible for guiding the sport into the 21st century. How this is supposed to be accomplished? Well, the Bucket has a not-so-modest proposal which we'll get to in a moment, because something has to be done, & soon. The always astute Charlie Steiner of ESPN has a very thought- provoking article posted on ESPN's Sport Zone on the web. It's entitled "Boxing Still In Critical Shape" I feel it's a "must read", & that every major business player in Boxing should read it. In the article Steiner makes three strong points. The first is how traditionally, boxers have always come out of the ghettos; whether they be Irish, Italian, Jewish, Black or Hispanic. Boxing isn't picky, it's welcomes any downtrodden person without regard to race, color or creed. The problem for boxing, is that the downtrodden have more options these days. It's a lot easier too shoot hoops or play football than it is to get whacked in the face for a living . . . Hell, if you stop to think about it, it's easier to sell crack or pimp than to be a fighter & unless your really bad at it, it's probably more lucrative -- although there does tend to be a pretty heavy downside to a life of crime . . . Anyway, Steiner's point is that the once teeming boxing gyms are now running on empty. Which brings me back to Tiger Woods, as he's showing under privileged urban youth yet another way out of squalor . . . Seiner's second point is that boxing's fan base is steadily growing older without any new, young fans coming in to support it. He points out that he hardly ever see's fans at the fights that are under the age of 30. He's right, the only young people at fights are the fighters (& their families), round card girls & the bimbo's that the high rollers drag to the fights so that they'll look good. The reason there are no young fans coming into the sport is that they hardly ever get exposed to it on network TV. & the media, except for when it has to cover major fights like Tyson-Holyfield, treats boxing as the slavering, mentally challenged relative of Sports -- consigned to being locked in the media attic were it can be constrained until the next time . . . The simple fact is, how can Boxing bring in younger fans when they never get to see it or read about it? It's impossible to get emotionally involved (I'm talking strictly as a fan), with a sports figure if you never get to see him or even read about him. It would be like getting crazy over a rock & roll band that you had never heard. . . Outta the question. Steiner's third point is the total lack of credibility of the sport & the chaos that governs it. Too many Alphabets & nobody believes a word that comes out of any of them. Charley's article is hard-hitting & makes very valid, albeit negative, points about boxing. He's right, less & less people are watching & even fewer young men are embracing the sport as an athletic career. So what the hell can be done with this twisted lash-up? Well . . . Yeah, the Ol' Spit Bucket's got a damn good idea that would work if all the greedy party's involved could step up to the plate & do the right thang . . . Here it is, all major sports have either commissioners or some form of governing body. What the NFL, NBA & MLB are, is governing bodies put in place by the owners of the franchises. All those owners realized if there wasn't a powerful, centralized sanctioning organization, their respective sports would be in anarchic chaos. Which is exactly the situation we have in boxing today. Now Boxing doesn't have franchise owners like other sports, but in the fight game the promoters function as defacto owners. My idea is this: If somehow a little altruism for the sport could be injected into the cancer of rampant greed; Don King, Bob Arum, Dino Duva, Cedric Kushner & the other major boxing promoters would get together & appoint an impartial Commissioners Office for boxing. It would be like the independent investigators that Congress is so infatuated with. The only way this could work would be by giving true power to the commissioner. He couldn't be in any of these promoters pocket's or the whole thing would collapse like a house of cards. There would also have to be an iron clad contract that states that the promoters couldn't replace or end the commission for a set amount of time, say, 7 years. With a commission in place, boxing could go about truly transforming & reorganizing into a viable sport. It can be done. Remember B-Ball right before Magic & Byrd arrived on the scene? It was a faltering sport. B-Ball Commissioner, David Stern has done an incredible job of remaking the at the time, very tattered image of the NBA. He implemented rational labor agreements & the marketing effort of the NBA has been nothing short of astounding. Who could be boxing's David Stern? I nominate two candidates: Randy Gordon & Mills Lane. We'll start with Gordon. First let me state that while the Cyber Boxing Zone is grateful that Randy has been gracious enough to become a regular contributor for our magazine that is pretty much the extent of the tie-in between us. I've spoken on the phone with Randy quite a few times, but I've never actually met him. The reason I propose him for the commissioners gig is not due to friendship but because his credentials for the gig are impeccable. He knows boxing inside & out & his resume is outstanding & incredibly varied. He has broadcast boxing for both the ESPN & USA networks. He is the former editor of Ring Magazine. Gordon also has hands on experience with the job as he is the former New York State Athletic Commissioner. Currently he is the director of boxing operations for the Foxwoods Casino; in essence he's a boxing promoter. Along with his outstanding resume, Randy has a very engaging personality & is very media savvy. He would be an excellent spokesperson for the sport. Mills Lane brings an altogether different dynamic to the table. His credentials are equally impressive. A former marine, boxer, attorney, district attorney & currently a hard nosed circuit judge in Nevada. All this, plus he's flat out the best referee in boxing! For me it would be very hard to choose between them. Both are men of unquestioned integrity & high principle. It would be a matter of style. Gordon would be more the Pete Rozelle type, facile with the media & very inventive at marketing. Lane would probably be more the Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, or Harry Truman type of commissioner. He would guide boxing with a firm, very moral no belched approach. Maybe there would be a position for both men, with Lane taking care of boxing's internal affairs & Gordon handling the external media & marketing demands. Unfortunately this idea is my own private pipe dream, but the handwriting is on the wall pointing at the demise of boxing. The signs are unmistakable: the aging & dwindling fan base; fewer fighters coming into the sport; & the complete erosion of credibility & interest from the general sporting public. Think about it, if a commission could be formed all the alphabet soups would immediately become obsolete. We could have one champion per division & ratings that would reflect some badly needed reality. But Selah . . . It most probably will never happen. It would take vision by a group of people whose idea of cooperation is sticking your hands in somebody else's pocket. Of course, all this happening is about as likely as Newt Gingrich trying to cooperate with Clinton. Slim to none . . . But Boxing desperately needs a solution to seemingly insurmountable problems. I will say my solution is more practical than the sport's pipe dream of someday having a federally run commission. It is my observation that the only thing the Federal Government is good at is collecting income taxes . . . Yet they still don't know how to spend it wisely. There is not & there never is going to be boxing with a federally governed central commission . . . Not gonna happen my friend. The solution I've proposed would work & could be implemented very quickly. The news of boxing finally cleaning itself would be an incredible public relations coup & would be a giant step forward in repairing the sport's yawning chasm of a credibility gap. ================================================================= Bowe-Golota II By Randy Gordon ( Just when we thought Polish jokes had gone away, along comes Andrew Golota. He'll do anything not to win a fight. All he had to do was go on vacation for three minutes in the 10th round against Riddick Bowe and the fight was his. Three minutes. One hundred eighty seconds. Jab, grab and move. Jab, grab and move. Hands high. Step back. Throw a punch here and there, just to keep Bowe honest. Then, the bell would have rung and Golota would have had himself a one-sided decision victory over the man he beat up but was disqualified against last July 11 in Madison Square Garden. But no, Golota couldn't do that. He had to, just had to, take out one final assault against Bowe's family jewels. At that point, referee Eddie Cotton, much like New York referee Wayne Kelly some five months before, had no choice but to hang a DQ on the incredibly brainless street thug from Warsaw, Poland. Rather than your typical post-fight story, I decided to give readers of the "Cyber Boxing Zone" a different look at one of the most incredible heavyweight fights I have ever had the pleasure, er, make that stomach, to cover. It made the co-feature, an exciting heavyweight battle between Ray Mercer and "Terrible" Tim Witherspoon, look like a game of pattycake. The look you are about to get is from the tape recorded notes I made during the fight. As I listened to them later, I decided the notes themselves wrote their own story. So, from the first row of the $500 ringside seats at the Atlantic City Convention Center, here are my views and thoughts, as I recorded them, the night of December 14, 1996. I've made no changes in the following text. Where my words are all in capitals (BOWE IS DOWN!), I'm yelling. What you are about to read is the exact way I recorded my thoughts (and even those of my wife, Roni, who has grown to respect, like, enjoy and yes, even love, the "Sweet Science," which in this main event, was anything but sweet and nothing resembling scientific). * * * Riddick Bowe is first into the ring, entering to the strains of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA"...He's wearing quite a serious look on his face, unlike the smug, cocky look I saw in Madison Square Garden...Andrew Golota is right behind him. His look is just as serious...He looks like he wants to do some serious damage tonight...Let's listen to ring announcer Michael Buffer: "...this is the rematch we've all been waiting for (pause). Lllllllllllllllllet's get ready to rumblllllllle."...For the record, I like Golota's weight--239 pounds. Also for the record, I DON'T like Bowe's weight--235 pounds. I have a feeling he may have lost too much weight too quickly. The longer this fight goes, so may go his chances. ROUND ONE: Bowe is trying to work his jab...he's falling short...Is it me or does Bowe look almost frail and drawn?...Bang! Golota connects with a stiff jab, snapping Bowe's head...Bowe tries a right to the head and misses...He wasn't even close with that shot...It was painfully slow...Bang! Another hard Golota jab to the face...Golota putting on pressure, but is cautious as he does...Golota looks faster than I remember him to be. Bowe finally lands his jab, but not hard. It looked to just touch Golota's face...Bell! Interesting round. I'll give this one to Golota. ROUND TWO: The two are trading jabs...Both moving, circling the other...Both firing hard jabs...Golota's punches look to be harder...Big right to the ear by Golota. Bowe staggers! Stumbles! HE'S DOWN. RIDDICK BOWE IS DOWN ON ALL FOURS! He's up at four...Golota pursuing Bowe. Chasing. Throwing...Bowe attempts a hook...He's fighting to survive...Two big body punches by Golota...About one minute to go...BIG OVERHAND RIGHT by Bowe nails Golota...Bowe with his back on the ropes...GOLOTA JUST BUTTED BOWE. HE JUST BUTTED BOWE ON PURPOSE...AN INTENTIONAL HEAD BUTT!...Referee Eddie Cotton separates the two. He calls time. He's taking a point from Golota. Cotton is taking one point for the intentional butt. He would not be wrong if he deducted two points...There looks to be a cut on Golota's left eye...I think he cut himself with the intentional butt!...The action resumes...The two hammer each other...Bowe has his back on the ropes...BELL! Cotton jumps between the fighters. ROUND THREE: Bowe comes out fighting, firing hard punches...Most of them miss...Now they are back to trading jabs...Bowe with a long, grazing right off the left side of Golota's face...Two hard jabs by Golota land...Golota rips a hard hook to the body...One minute gone in the round...Golota goes low with a left...Golota jabs...Bowe is being beaten to the punch...Blood is again showing around Golota's left eye...Bowe lands some stiff jabs...The two are trading bombs at the bell...This one is really heating up! ROUND FOUR: Bowe out jabbing. He seems to be into his rhythm...Bowe trying to mix up his punches, using both hands to the head and body...A hard right by Bowe to the ear. Golota is hurt. GOLOTA IS HURT! GOLOTA IS STUMBLING. HE'S READY TO GO! BOWE WITH A LEFT TO THE HEAD. A RIGHT. MISSES A LEFT. A HARD RIGHT UPPERCUT NAILS GOLOTA, WHO'S STUMBLING, CLUTCHING. THEY ARE AGAINST THE ROPES. A LEFT-RIGHT BY BOWE AND DOWN GOES GOLOTA...GOLOTA IS DOWN, NOT FROM ONE PUNCH, BUT FROM PERHAPS 15 BLOWS. He's up at four and blood is streaming from the cut on his left eyelid...Under two minutes to go...TREMENDOUS RIGHT UPPERCUT BY BOWE, who is throwing and throwing...Golota goes low with a right-left combination...Both are taking deep breaths...Golota goes low again...Both look very worn...Bowe with his back to the ropes...Golota goes low with a right-left and Cotton steps in. He walks over to admonish Golota, who puts his head down and on Cotton's chest. Cotton puts both hands on Golota's head and tells him to look up. He is warning him about the low blows. The corner of Golota is motioning for him to keep his punches up...The action resumes...They are leaning on each other and pushing each other...Golota is bleeding from under his lower lip...It looks like it's a severe cut...Bowe is backed to the ropes...A right-left-right by Golota again goes low, AND BOWE GOES DOWN. BOWE IS DOWN FROM THE LOW SHOTS! SHADES OF JULY 11. IT'S HAPPENING AGAIN! EDDIE COTTON IS IN THERE. BOWE IS GRIMACING. HE GETS UP SLOWLY. COTTON IS DEDUCTING A POINT. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS ANDREW GOLOTA? I'VE NEVER SEEN SO MANY LOW BLOWS, SO MANY FOULS, COMMITTED BY ONE FIGHTER. COMMISSIONER LARRY HAZZARD IS ON HIS FEET...Bowe walks it off...Cotton asks him how he is. Bowe nods. The action resumes. Bowe throws two light jabs. Golota lands a hard right to the face just before the bell. ROUND FIVE: Both have been cautious in the first minute...Now they begin opening it up...Blood is showing around Golota's left eye...A HARD right to the cheek by Golota. Bowe stumbles. He looks hurt. Bowe falls against ropes...Golota moves in...Another right hurts Bowe. Bowe is in trouble. OH! Two tremendous shots to the body by Golota. Bowe staggers forward off the ropes...HE'S GOING DOWN! HE'S DOWN ON HIS FACE! THIS MIGHT BE IT! BOWE IS FACE DOWN. THE COUNT IS FOUR...FIVE...SIX..HE'S PUSHING HIMSELP UP! HE'S UP AT SEVEN...Bowe staggers back to the ropes with under one minute remaining...Golota looks spent, though...He switches to southpaw, but not doing anything. Watch the clock! Watch the clock...40 seconds! Golota pawing with the jab...misses a right...33 seconds...A hook by Golota misses...Bowe still on ropes...Bowe holding his left out...A left hook wobbles Bowe...Another hook lands...two rights to the face...A hard right by Golota...Under 10 seconds...Another right by Golota...OH! Golota threw a right then tried to lace Bowe... Bowe doing nothing...OH! A big hook followed by a right to the head both land by Golota...BELL! Bowe is in serious trouble! How he got through this round is the question of the year, next to perhaps only the question, "Why is Andrew Golota so persistent in employing dirty tactics?" Give this round to Golota 10-7. ROUND SIX: Bowe moves to the ropes almost right away as Golota comes out hard with jabs...They swap jabs and measure each other...Out of a clinch Bowe bends and gets clipped with a rabbit punch from Golota...Referee Cotton steps in and has a long admonition for Golota...They move back head to head with most of the punches blocked...So far, this is a tame round compared to the other ones...1:10 to go...Golota lands a right to the ear, followed by a hook to the jaw. Bowe is taking some very heavy blows...they trade from short distance...the crowd is going minute to go...Golota lands a hook to the ear as Bowe misses his follow-up hook...Golota now is moving back. Why is he doing this?...:43 seconds to go...They are boxing from long range...Golota is coming out of every exchange on top, putting shots together...A hard Left-right by Bowe with :25 to go...two rights by Golota...They are tied up with :20 to go...Both guys are boxing, jabbing, circling...Golota lands a long right to the head just before the bell. ROUND SEVEN: Bowe lands a solid jab. Golota returns the jab...Bowe misses a left hand but lands his follow-up right to the face...Golota bulls Bowe into Bowe's corner...2:22 to go...A hook by Golota lands to the head, now a right...2:15 to go...Bowe hangs on...A left-right and another left-right by Golota ( "Randy, how much can Bowe take of this? I'm getting scared for him!" says Roni). Bowe goes back to the ropes. His legs look gone...A hard right to the body by Golota. He misses a left, now lands a hard right to the face...Midway in the round...It's all Golota as he lands a right to the body and a right to the head...Bowe not moving off the ropes...Bowe is being worked over with two hands...1:10 to go...They fall into a clinch...Bowe now moves to mid-ring...Two lefts and a right by Bowe miss...Bowe is short again with two lefts...Golota lands a jab...51 seconds remain...Bowe moves back to the ropes...both look spent...Now Bowe slides off the ropes and moves back to mid-ring...Bowe lands a jab with 13 seconds to go...A long right to the jaw by Golota lands. Now a hook...BOWE IS HURT! HE STAGGERS! FALLS INTO THE ROPES! GOLOTA DRIVES BOTH HANDS TO THE MIDSECTION AT THE BELL! HOW MUCH MORE CAN BOWE TAKE? ROUND EIGHT: Bowe out jabbing...Golota snaps Bowe's head with a hard jab...I'm watching the clock every time they step back. Every second is now crucial...Golota lands a lead right...2:24 to go...Golota with a right-left to Bowe's head...They get back to boxing...Golota misses a left but the right lands...Another right by Golota...Both land lefts...Bowe lands a terrific righ to the head...1:47 to go...Golota comes back with his own right...They trade inside...Bowe with a right to the jaw...Golota lands three rights to the chin. None were too hard, but they all scored...Bowe jabs and lands. A Bowe right lands...Bowe misses another right...Bowe holds on against the ropes. He now pushes Golota back. Golota falls against the ropes...His cut left eye is bleeding again...Bowe leans on Golota with 52 seconds remaining...Eddie Cotton separates them...Golota with a right to the body...46 seconds...They are in close with Golota getting the best with combinations...Bowe falls into a clinch...Cotton breaks them up...25 seconds remain...Golota misses a right...Golota comes back with a jab to the face...They are in mid-ring...A right to the body by Bowe...Bowe blocks a hook at the bell. ROUND NINE: Golota lands a jab...Bowe's jab falls short...the two are in mid-ring...A left-right by Bowe scores to the face...Golota lands a right, then has a hook blocked...A right by Golota connects to the face...2:33...They are in mid-ring, but now Bowe is moving back to the ropes...Golota is working the body, now goes to the head with a right...Golota is throwing lots of punches...Most are missing, but a few hard lefts landed...Bowe moves off the ropes to mid-ring...Bowe lands a right to the face...They clinch...Golota bangs a left-right-left-right to the body...Now a hook to the head...1:38...Golota switches to southpaw and lands to lead lefts to the head...Bowe backs into a neutral corner...Bowe picking off shots...Golota throwing, looking to end it...Both are drained...Bowe lands a right, A BOOMING RIGHT TO THE FACE! GOLOTA STAGGERS BACK...1:21...Incredibly, he comes right back...the y work toward mid-ring...Both are throwing and landing inside shots...Golota goes low with a right...1:05...Bowe moves forward in an arms-crossed defense...Golota takes a hard right uppercut to the face...:52...Bowe misses a left...Golota misses two lefts and a right...Golota misses a wild hook...41 seconds remain...Bowe lands a looping right to the head...Two low blows by Golota...They grab and fall into a clinch in Golota's corner..Cotton breaks them...They move back to the middle...Golota lands a left-right-left. All are low. BOWE GOES DOWN ! HE'S DOWN FROM THE LOW SHOTS! RIDDICK IS DOWN AND IN PAIN! REFEREE COTTON TURNS TO GOLOTA. COTTON IS WAVING HIS HANDS! I THINK HE'S DISQUALIFYING GOLOTA. I THINK HE'S DISQUALIFYING GOLOTA! HE IS! IT'S OVER! I CAN'T BELIEVE ANDREW GOLOTA HAS DONE IT AGAIN! RIDDICK BOWE IS STILL DOWN AND VERY MUCH IN PAIN. THERE ARE POLICE EVERYWHERE I LOOK. THERE WILL BE NO POST-FIGHT SCENE TONIGHT. WHAT A TERRIBLE ENDING, THOUGH, TO A GREAT HEAVYWEIGHT FIGHT! * * * Where the heavyweight scene goes from here is anyone's guess. Will Evander Holyfield fight on? If he does, who will be next? Will Mike Tyson ever be his formerly awesome self? And who's next for him? Michael Moorer? Will Riddick Bowe ever have the same intensity after this beating? Who will he return against? And when? What contender will ever have the courage to step into the ring against the strong, hard-hitting and ultra-dirty Golota? Riddick Bowe has now had three brutally-hard fights in a row (Evander Holyfield and two against Golota). Those three were a career-and-a-half worth of punishment. I've known him since his early New York Golden Gloves days, and he is starting to verbally show us the effects of those fights (and the other two Holyfield fights, as well as three dozen other pro fights). It seems lately all I'm doing is calling for fighters to retire. Well, that's how I feel. Evander Holyfield should pack it in. So should Riddick Bowe. So should George Foreman (who will be 48 in a few weeks). Sugar Ray Leonard should stay retired. Sorry. I'm looking at the future, not at the millions of dollars those fighters will count if they keep fighting. Let Bowe and Holyfield keep fighting and they'll have no idea in 10 years how much money they have--or even what money is. They are multi-millionaires many times over. As for Andrew Golota, I, as a former President of the Association of Boxing Commissions, intend to ask the next jurisdiction he fights in to withhold 100 percent of his purse if he continues to fight with total disregard to the Marquis of Queensbury rules and to the rules of that jurisdiction. When he starts fighting for free is when he'll start to clean up his act. As for Holyfield and Bowe--coming off the greatest performances of their sensational careers--I pray they can hang their gloves on the wall and let people remember them as the outstanding champions and performers they always have been. It's time the heavyweight division--and all of boxing--stopped moving backwards and started looking towards the future. ================================================================= KOSTYA TSZYU PROFILE By Darren Galea The Kostya Tszyu Web Site Kostya Tszyu was born on September 19, 1969 in Serov, Russia. Once part of the former Soviet Union, the city of Serov is located east of Moscow, within the Ural Mountains. It is an icy and desolate place a centre for Russian industry. Within this impoverished setting, Kostya Tszyu learned his trade. The first child of a factory worker Boris and home-maker Valentina, young Kostya started sparring at the local gym at age 9; by his teens, he was already a seasoned competitor. Kostya amassed an amateur record of 270 wins, 12 losses. Many of his defeats came early in his career and he has reversed most of them. Kostya has not lost a bout since 1989. He was six times Russian amateur champion, three times European amateur champion and twice voted the most outstanding boxer at the European tournaments. Kostya's first major international boxing appearance was in 1990 at the Goodwill Games in Seattle, Washington as part of the Russian National Team. Tszyu easily made it through to the finals and defeated Russian team mate Aleksander Banin to claim the gold medal in the 139 lbs division. When Tszyu arrived in Sydney in 1991 to compete in the World Amateur Championships big things were expected of him. Tszyu didn't fail to deliver by defeating crafty American Vernon Forrest in the gold medal match. His astonishing victory in Sydney was also the turning point in his career. On witnessing Tszyu's victory over Forrest, three times world champion Jeff Fenech commented, "As a fighter I have not seen any better." Equally impressed with Kostya's performance were master trainer Johnny Lewis (whom guided Australians Jeff Fenech and Jeff Harding to world titles) and boxing promoter Bill Mordey. Fenech was there when, over dinner in Sydney with an interpreter present, Mordey and Lewis convinced Tszyu to return to Australia and turn professional after his 1991 World Amateur victory. "His decision to come back to Australia and turn pro was the best thing he has ever done," says Fenech. Tszyu's professional debut took place on the Azumah Nelson-Jeff Fenech II under-card in Melbourne in March of 1992. His opponent that day was Darrell Hiles who was the former Australian featherweight champ. Tszyu demolished him inside of two minutes with a barrage of punches. Ring-siders and millions viewing the bout all over the world were amazed at the strength and speed of this 140 pounder from Russia. There is an interesting anecdote to Kostya's professional debut which shall be described briefly: Kostya arrived in Sydney, Australia with fiancee Natasha in January of 1992, at that stage he had very little grasp of the English language. In his corner prior to his pro debut against Hiles his trainer Johnny Lewis was wary of his opponent and stressed to Kostya to make a good start and "win the first round". At that instance Tszyu leaped from his stool and proceeded to destroy Hiles. After knocking his opponent out cold after two minutes, Lewis asked Tszyu "Why the hurry?" Tszyu replied bluntly "Because you told me to win in the first round!" Talk about a communication breakdown. In the main event that day the Professor proved too strong a warrior and stopped a courageous Fenech in the 8th. But it was not the man from Accra that everyone was talking about during the post fight festivities -- it was the pig-tailed bomber from Siberia. With the exception of former champions: Juan LaPorte (W-10) and Livingstone Bramble (W-10), Tszyu only needed a total of 15 rounds to demolish his next seven opponents. Stopping perennial contender Sammy Fuentes (KO-1), and making his professional debut in the USA by also halting Steven Larrimore (KO-2). It was now time for the US television to take notice and in 1994 Kostya ventured to Tampa, Florida to be show-cased on USA's Tuesday Night Fights. His opponent was tough Mexican Hector Lopez. In only his eleventh professional outing many would ask why Tszyu would want to face such a renowned tough guy, Tszyu's cold reply was "Because I'm a fighter, I fight". It was certainly a tough test for Tszyu who won by a unanimous decision. Lopez had nothing but admiration for his conqueror, both are now close friends and since then Lopez has visited Sydney on several occasions to work with Tszyu. Tszyu made light work of rangy Angel Hernadez (KO-7) and southpaw Pedro Sanchez (KO-4) in his next two fights to ensure a title shot against IBF Junior Welterweight Champ Jake Rodriguez, who had recently won the title from Charles Murray. Rodriguez crashed to the canvas from a Tszyu right chop during the opening seconds of the bout, but got up to fight on. It took a further four knock-downs in round six before referee Richard Steele would stop the bout, declaring Kostya Tszyu the winner and new IBF Junior Welterweight Champion. In his only other appearance in 1995 Kostya defeated former champion Roger Mayweather in what was a boring bout. Mayweather, in survival mode clinched Tszyu throughout the entire fight, Kostya winning every round and thus claiming a unanimous decision. Kostya's next defense was against unbeaten Columbian Hugo Pineda, the IBF is number one contender. Late in 1995 controversy struck the Tszyu camp as promoter Bill Mordey was ousted and replaced by Vlad Warton. The new management team lost the purse bid to Pineda's manager William Chams for the defense. So the IBF scheduled the bout to take place on Pineda's home turf: Cartagena, Columbia. The city of Cartagena was in a state of emergency and Kostya felt it unsafe to travel to Columbia. The IBF disagreed and declared that Tszyu would not come to any harm in Columbia and threatened to strip him of his title. IBF President Bobby Lee declared that Pineda and South African Jan Bergman would fight for the vacant title in Columbia on November of 1995. Luckily Tszyu's management filed a court injunction to prevent the strip and Tszyu was reinstated as champion, with his defense against Pineda rescheduled to take place in Sydney, Australia. The bout was certainly a tough one for Tszyu who suffered a flash knockdown in the opening round. Kostya said this "woke him up" and he went on to knock out the rangy Columbian in round eleven. Kostya's gritty performance against his Columbian foe lead trainer Johnny Lewis to believe that "This was Kostya's best performance of his career." Kostyais next outing in 1996 was a four-round demolition job of flashy American Corey Johnson, but his next bout, a mandatory defense against South African Jan Bergman, was seen as a much tougher test. Bergman (32-0) recently annexed the South African junior welterweight title and was touted by the press to be the best fighter out of South Africa. He displayed excellent power and speed and had amassed 24 victories by KO. Certainly a tough foe for the Russian born Australian. The challenger began well as he employed a hit-and-run style to eclipse Tszyu and win the first two rounds. Tszyu stalked his opponent and began to catch up to him and land some telling blows. By the fourth round Kostya was well on top and began to rattle his opponent with a series of solid rights and lefts. Tszyu's eye was gashed early in the sixth round by an accidental head-butt. It seemed the bout would go to the cards, but ringside doctor Lou Lewis examined the wound and ordered Tszyu to continue. This was the catalyst for Tszyu who unleashed several unanswered punches which nailed Bergman to the canvas in devastating fashion. After the bout Tszyu praised his beaten opponent and expressed an interest to challenge the divisions top fighters: Oscar de la Hoya, Frankie Randall and Julio Cesar Chavez. Bergman's trainer Kenny Adams and promoter Cedric Kushner responded by stating that Tszyu would knock out de la Hoya if the two ever meet. It was seen by many as Kostya's last fight in Australia and he went out in devastating form. Late in 1996 Tszyu signed to fight with Bob Arum and the Top-Rank organization. At this point in his career Tszyu needs exposure in the lucrative US market and his scheduled bout against the IBF's number nine contender Leonardo Mas on the de la Hoya/Gonzalez under-card hopes to ensure this. Tszyu is already a household name within his adopted country of Australia and it only seems a matter of time that the name Kostya Tszyu will be on the lips of fight fans all over the world. ================================================================= FIGHTING WORDS by Jim Trunzo Did you ever feel as if you were suddenly thrust into the scene of a movie? On December 14th at the Atlantic City Convention Hall as I sat ringside at the Riddick Bowe-Andrew Golota fight, I suddenly found my head rapidly swiveling side to side, trying to lose a sense of disorientation. Bowe had just entered the ring to the throbbing beat of the Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA", pandering shamelessly but effectively to the New Jersey crowd. No sooner had the house stopped rocking when the soft, melodious but no less stirring notes of the Polish National Anthem began to permeate the building. Thousands of voices lent strength to the beautiful music as Golota's brethren rose to their feet, swelling with pride. I was in the middle of a "Rocky" movie! And while Bowe was an improbable Rocky, Golota's "Ivan Drago" look added to the illusion. Larry Merchant made a statement about the entrance of the fighters into the ring being a throwback to medieval pageantry. Never was he more accurate than on this night. As guests of HBO/CompuBox, Inc., my brother and I had been sitting in front of the $500.00 seats all evening, no more than twenty-five feet from the ring itself. However, as the tension filled the air, I began to wonder whether or not I was where I really wanted to be. As excited as I was for the fight to unfold, I couldn't rid myself of the memories of the ghastly spectacle that had erupted after the first Bowe-Golota fight. As if reading my mind, Bob Cannobio (CompuBox/Punch Stats) leaned over and said only half-jokingly, "I know that you're our guests but if the shit hits the fan, it's every man for himself!" To give a blow-by-blow of the fight would be a waste of cyberspace as well as your time. If you're reading this, you undoubtedly know what transpired. However, now that I've been attending live bouts on a semi-regular basis, I've come to fully understand both the advantages and, believe it or not, drawbacks of being ringside. One of the interesting paradoxes of watching the bouts from a worm's eye view involves what one sees and what one overlooks. Understand this. Attending a major boxing event easily surpasses from an emotional standpoint not only watching the fight at home but also viewing other sporting events live. I've been to Pittsburgh Steeler play-off games as they traveled the road to the Super Bowl and the electricity in the air was nothing to the near hysteria that took place during the Bowe-Golota fight. Whether it's because of the very primal vein that is tapped when one watches two fighters pummel each other or whether it's the fact that the action and violence take place in such a confined area, I can't really say. But the 12,000 screaming voices in the Convention Hall sent chills through me that 50,000 black and gold clad fans at Three Rivers Stadium couldn't match. While anyone who views the fight live, on pay-per-view, on HBO reply or on a borrowed tape will have certain images indelibly burned into his mind -- Bowe lurching sideways before crumbling to the floor, Golota grabbing for Bowe's legs as fell to the canvas in the fourth, Bowe writhing in pain from more low blows -- the camera missed any number of subtle but dramatic moments. First of all -- and I realize that this is a bit of a digression -- you have to comprehend the difference in sound, being there live versus watching on television. The noise made by the impact of the punches literally makes you wince and gives a much truer sense of how much punishment is being dealt and received. No matter how bad it looked on television, the shots that both fighters -- but particularly Riddick Bowe -- took were worse than you can imagine. The distorting effect of the punches, emphasized by the spray flying off the fighter's head, and accented by the thudding sound of punch crushing bone and flesh is both exciting and frightening in an instant. The little things: Riddick Bowe audibly gasping for air after his magnificent fourth round performance and then having to be directed to his corner by Eddie Cotton; Lou Duva punching Golota in the chest and screaming "No lower than this, do you understand?"; Rock Newman (hard to believe) semi-restrained and comforting Bowe's wife; an elderly Polish man inconspicuously slipping by security, unfolding a crumpled sign written in Polish and making it halfway around the ring apron before being taken away; and most poignantly, Golota, bleeding and exhausted, punching himself in the face and moaning "I stupid, I stupid. Dumb, dumb!" All of these and myriad others make being ringside the indisputably best way to view a fight. But keep in mind, I'm in the best of all possible worlds in my situation. I have the fight right in front of me, unlike those fans whose heads touched the ceiling of the Atlantic City Convention Hall; and I have a row of television monitors in front of me to pick up instant replays. Those without all of the aforementioned advantages miss things that technology makes sure you at home don't. This fact was driven home after I'd juxtaposed a number of conversations. I was discussing the Witherspoon-Mercer fight with The Ring editor, Steve Farhood and he asked me who I thought had won the fight. Without hesitation, I said that everyone around me, including Harold Lederman, had Witherspoon ahead by several points. "Funny," Farhood replied. "I had the fight even and five people on my side all had Mercer winning by a couple of points." He went on to explain that he'd ". . . seen that happen more than once. Depending upon the side of the ring you sat at, you often received emphatic variation on the outcome." Yet seven out of ten people to whom I spoke who watched the fight on television had it for Mercer. I can only assume that the omniscient view provided by television made Mercer's performance standout more than it did watching it live. Another important moment that I missed in spite of my viewing advantage was Thel Torrance telling Bowe after the seventh round that Torrance would stop the fight if Bowe didn't show something. Whether or not he would have isn't the point. The drama of hearing him say it and then watching the next round unfold is what matters. A small minus marked on my side of the ledger. The Bowe-Golota fight itself? Well, trying to avoid redundancy, a number of points can made: First, Bowe came in over-trained. His courage not withstanding, Bowe left his fight in the gym. At 235 pounds, Big Daddy looked gaunt. His cheeks were sunken and as the old Bucket stated so eloquently in a recent conversation, "Bowe's whole damn head looked two sizes too small!" The last five pounds that Bowe dropped, according to a source that wished to remain unnamed, occurred only 24 hours before the weigh-in. Bowe's lack of stamina and strength is an even greater testimony to his heart, something that's been called into question from time to time; however, it doesn't diminish the fact that Bowe's training was suspect. Would Eddie Futch have let Bowe come into the ring at 235? Next, there's a glaring misconception about many of the low-blows that Golota throws. Now before you start screaming, let me explain. There's no question that the blows are flagrantly low; there's no question that Golota deserved what he received; there's not even a question that he resorts to dirty tactics when he loses control. However, the idea that many have about how Golota launches his patented groin shot is a bit ludicrous. People who either haven't seen him fight or haven't paid attention to anything but where the punch lands have a distorted image of Golota. They seem to think that he holds his gloves chin high, then bends at the knees and waist and fires some kind of uppercut-bolo punch hybrid into his opponent's testicles. Not quite. Take the three punch sequence that led to Golota's disqualification again Bowe, for example. Both fighters had just received the ten second warning. Bowe launched a flurry of punches, trying to close strong. Golota, whose sweat-soaked gloves must have weighed about two pounds apiece, was exhausted. This is a huge man and his arms are proportionately large. Holding his hands no more than waist-high to begin with, Golota responds to Bowe's attack in an almost flailing manner. Golota's punches were delivered either sideways or laces up! And, no question, low. Yes, Bowe was even more exhausted. Bowe was even more desperate. And he didn't foul Golota (at least not in that round!). I'm not trying to excuse Golota's actions. However, there are certain mitigating factors when analyzing Golota's penchant for nut busting. Finally, I firmly believe that under different circumstances the fight never gets to the ninth round. To begin with, I believe that Golota would have stopped Bowe in the second round had the referee not given Bowe an inordinate amount of time to recover from the Golota head-butt. I think that the stoppage, point deduction and short lecture given to Golota was a knee-jerk reaction to the events that transpired in and after Bowe-Golota I. There's no doubt in my mind that Bowe was allowed to recover thanks to Cotton's actions. An argument can be made that it might not have made a difference because Golota displayed an astonishing lack of ability to finish off Bowe after he knocked Bowe down later in the fight. Still, Bowe was hurt worse in the second and Golota was much fresher. In addition, there were several points during the bout where Bowe appeared helpless and Golota was teeing off with thundering head shots. Ringsiders were screaming at Cotton to stop the fight -- even Bowe supporters. Cotton's willingness to give Bowe the benefit of the doubt was very brave on Cotton's part and usually Bowe responded with a spurt of action or Golota simply grew arm-weary from clubbing Bowe. Nevertheless, that doesn't dull the point that I'm trying to make. Another referee, another fight -- game over and Golota becomes the hottest property around instead of adding to his reputation as a loose cannon at best and a dirty fighter at worst. Did Eddie Cotton do a poor job, refereeing his first major bout? Tough call. I definitely thought so when I was at the fight. However, watching the replay on HBO, Cotton comes off better. The delay in the second round didn't seem as long as it did originally, Bowe gave evidence of life even as he stoically took a beating, and it was a pressure situation for any referee let alone one without big fight experience. Under the circumstances, give Cotton a B-/C+. Parting Shots: Here's some unabashed self-promotion. Look for the newest version of our computer boxing simulation in your local Electronic Boutique or order it directly from APBA Game Company at 800-334-2722. This is virtually the same program that will be used to "unify the titles" in an upcoming The Ring Magazine article which will, of course, be written by yours truly. Honestly, its a nice product if you own an IBM/compatible, have a Pentium system with at least 8 MB of RAM. If you don't like the way we've rated the fighters, go in and edit them. If you don't see a fighter you like, add him yourself. The product is very versatile if not graphically oriented. You can autoschedule fights: fight 100 different bouts in ten minutes or fight the same fight 100 times. The game contains a 16-man tournament scheduler that is interactive (let the computer fight some of the bouts or all of the bouts). Full print routines, 700+ all-time fighters and 800 yearly updated new fighters make any match a reality. Here's hoping that your holiday either is (are -- depending upon when you read this -- a happy one and that your upcoming year is a knockout -- with you throwing the punch, of course! ==================================================== =============== Gloves Off! ===================== ===================================================== By David Farrell Beating on the Boardwalk, or a Low Down Dirty Shame... ====================================================== I choose not to comment much about the Bowe-Golota rematch. Only that I never care to see either fighter again, and that I hope everyone realizes all this crap about an in shape, focused Bowe (Big Daddy? Big Fatty?) being the best fighter in the world makes about as much sense as claiming Mike Tyson would've destroyed Muhammed Ali. I have no idea what the future could possibly hold for Golota. Bowe will probably take 12 to 18 months off and return for one last giant payday against whoever is the Man at that point. The Holy-Tyson II winner will probably attempt to partially unify against Michael Moorer, perceived to be a relatively easy task. The winner should take on the Lewis-McCall winner, but may opt for more $$$ and less risk by fighting Bowe. This would be a shame, as Lewis has toiled at the top for 4 years without a legitimate title shot, while both Tyson and Bowe have discarded belts rather than fight him. Speaking of Lewis, here's one possibility I could actually see: Lewis-Golota. The reasoning is as follows: Lewis is still seething about Bowe ducking him for four years, and that most people feel Bowe would've beaten him. He now realizes he will NEVER get a shot at his archrival. Lennox has never feared any man, and his solution to the Bowe problem is to take on the man who destroyed Riddick twice. If he wins, presumably some of the accolades Bowe has held all these years will come his way. HBO would gladly sign up, as these are their last two top heavyweights. And Don King will want them to fight an eliminator before risking his titleholder against them. This was the whole point of the unification tournament King proposed months ago; Tyson had a (judged at the time) easy draw with Holyfield and Moorer while in the other bracket Bowe, Lewis, and Golota would reduce to only one opponent Tyson would have to face at the end. Of course, if Tyson loses along the way, the rules change. . . For the record, I believe Lewis would have beaten Bowe in '96 or '92. But Lewis, like Bowe, matches up poorly versus Golota. Requiem for a Heavyweight: Courage Tshabalala ============================================= Many people around the world were glad to see Courage lose, as they felt he was an untalented pretender. To paraphrase my buddy Mark when the knockout occurred, "YAAAAAAAA!!! LOOOSER!! YOU SUCK!!! I KNEW YOU WERE A DISGRACE!!! GET OUTTA THE DAMN SPORT!!!!!! WWWWOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" My take on the situation was somewhat different; I felt a deep and unmistakable sorrow at the loss. Not for the fighter, about whom I didn't care one way or the other, but for the sport. We need some young prospects to be as good as Larry Merchant first described Tshbalala to be a couple of years ago. Who do we have left? Courage and Briggs KO'd, Golota may have KO'd himself. . . is Mike freagin' Grant going to be promoted as a young lion now?!? David Tua has certainly impressed, but by himself can hardly make up the future of boxing's marquee division. And I find it pretty depressing. Maske: No Marciano ================== Thanks to Virgil Hill we won't be deluged with the debate about Henry Maske retiring undefeated, as he suggested he would, and comparisons with Rocky Marciano, the only other man to retire undefeated as champion. Still, it got me thinking. . . we're bound to see another one someday, or more likely several more. It could be Roy Jones, Ricardo Lopez, or perhaps one of D.L. Hoya/Quartey/Trinidad. A fighter who, like Carlos Monzon, retires while still on top (but without the early career losses). Of course, it could be a marginal fighter who wins a title, makes a few mill in defenses while ducking top competition, and leaves the sport a rich man before being exposed. Which brings me to my conclusion: Whoever next retires undefeated will have an extremely tough time earning close to the Rock's status in this day of watered-down boxing records. Consider the number of 3, 4, and 5 time champions in recent years. It's hard to believe that 3 years ago, Patterson, Ali, and 'Spoon were the only repeat heavyweight champs in boxing history. Since then the number has more than doubled (Holyfield, Foreman, Moorer, Tyson, Lewis or McCall next month). Though it's tough for fighters to call it quits while still on top, expect a few Maske types to do it in the next ten years or so. And expect them to be crucified for it much the same way Witherspoon caught so much flak for becoming a two-time paper champ. Junior Jones: Like Jones Junior was supposed to be ================================================== Now this was a top notch fight, unlike the sorry spectacle that followed it (see below). Jones had been written off as either a washed up has-been or a never was, and M.A. Barrera was the new Mexican star of the sport, ranked as high as #3 on some lb. 4 lb. lists. Well, guess what? Jones still knows how to fight. Good skills, stiff punch, fast, long reach. . . maybe his girlfriend had just dumped him back in '94 when he lost those two fights. As for Barrera, he never really got going, but I attribute this to difficulties attacking inside of Jones' jab and quick crosses. A major player in this fight that also needs to be mentioned is the third man in the ring, Max Parker. Absolutely THE WORST job of refereeing I've ever seen. Starting in the 2nd round when the rabbit punches multiplied like, well, rabbits, things spiraled farther and farther out of control. By the shocking and confusing finish I had Jones up 3-1, and winning the fifth, when all hell broke loose. Barrera was cut by what may have been a punch or a clash of heads. When fighting resumed, they traded off missing haymakers when Barrera stepped right into the best one Jones could throw. He managed to beat the count and, badly messed up, walked away from the ref rather than step back in to resume. Parker inexplicably allowed Barrera 21 seconds between the KD and when Jones was allowed back on him. No wonder Jones felt the need to continue flurrying when the bell rang a few seconds later. As the referee attempted to separate them, Barrera went down, clutched Jones' leg like a bear trap, the Mexican's corner entered the ring and threw water at Jones, whose corner entered and began celebrating a stoppage that had never been called. . . what a mess, and all of it the referee's fault. Although it was certainly a controversial ending, Junior Jones was the fighter that was robbed if anyone was. . . robbed of the chance to score a clean stoppage. At any rate, it was a great fight, and we now have one more top notch fighter in a region of the weight spectrum already brimming with talent. Jones - McCallum: This fight sucked ==================================== Sorry for the blunt, unimaginative title to this section but I can't think of another way to sum it up. This fight was like watching ballroom dancing -- way, WAY too much respect and admiration in there. This is going to sound strange, but I question if this was really a serious, competitive fight at all. Did anyone notice the shocked look on McCallum's face when Jones rocked him shortly before the final bell? It was like, "Heyyy, Mon!! I tot we wuzn't trying to do dot to each udder!" Or in other words, McCallum knew he couldn't beat Jones, and Jones liked McCallum too much to try to hurt him, so there was an unspoken agreement that McCallum wouldn't seriously try for an upset, while Jones wouldn't go for an embarrassing blowout. Sure as hell looked like that, anyway. I wonder how many times Roy Jones will go 12 lackluster rounds with fighters like 39 year old McCallum or Eric Lucas before observers demote him from the #1 lb. 4 lb. spot. While Jones searches in vain for a halfway decent opponent, Oscar D.L.H. has scheduled a #2 vs. #3 match up with Pernell Whittaker next year. Don't get too comfy on that throne, Roy. As a final note, anyone hear McCallum's corner say to their fighter, "Give 'em an excuse to give it to you", referring to the WBC judges. Another sterling example of our favorite governing bodies' impartiality. =============================================================== THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS by . . . But as usual, they weren't. In a fight with more twists & turns than a Quentin Tarantino script, Riddick Bowe & Andrew Golota defied all odds & converted what should have been one of the all-time great heavyweight fights into surreal theater. How do you explain Golota's twice over nihilistic self-destruction? How do you justify Bowe's trashing of one of the potentially greatest heavyweight careers??? Impossible . . . The Ol' Spit Bucket won't go into detail about the actual fight; especially considering the two fine articles by Randy Gordon & Jim Trunzo who were ringside -- not to mention the hilariously accurate verse supplied by the razor wit of DscribeDC. Instead, I want to discuss the detritus fallout from this dadaistic lash-up. This fight had everything drama, pageantry & sub-plots galore. But boiled down to it's essence, ultimately it was Shakespearian tragedy. On one hand you have Bowe, the young avatar as heavyweight champion, a man who reigned supreme but squandered his talents to the Gods of No-discipline, Home Cooking, Crappy Advice & Hubris. Then you have Golota the primordial Eastern European Hun/Warrior seeking redemption in the Brave New World. Only his atavistic instincts ultimately bring him to grief & doom. High drama, spectacle & tragedy. Hell, it's the stuff of a treacly TV movie of the week . . . But this wasn't a script, this was a real life catastrophe. Worse, it was a freakin' king hell screw-up for my beloved sport. In a post-fight conversation, Jim Trunzo hipped me to a different point of view. He feels that an event that draws main-stream attention to the sport is ultimately a good thang, especially for a sport so bereft of media presence as boxing. I respectfully beg to differ with Trunz, a well versed chronicler of the sweet science for Ring Magazine. Yeah, hardcore fans are juiced (the Bucket quite & very included), but the general sporting public is turned off. The Tyson-Holyfield fight was a triumph of the spirit. A moment in time right up there with Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak. In other words, an example of the Human Condition at it's best. Bowe-Golota I & II, while equally dramatic, is an example of the Human Condition at it's worst. There was nothing uplifting about this experience . . . Yeah, it was high drama -- but did anybody come away from this event feeling good about it? With the exception of the promoter, TVKO, the fighters & their coteries bank accounts; tell me, who benefited by this experience? Certainly not the sport's public image . . . "May Your Hands Always Be Busy May Your Feet Always Be Swift May You Have A Strong Foundation When The Winds Of Change They Shift ..." -- "Forever Young," Bob Dylan, 1974. I've always liked Riddick Bowe . . . & those sentiments expressed by Dylan, I sincerely wish for Big Daddy. But he's never had a strong foundation (except for his mother & Eddie Futch). & the insidious mean spiritedness provided by his mentor the black hole of boxing, Rock Newman, is what eventually brought his house crashing down. On one level, Newman was a true Svengali. He created Riddick Bowe & if for nothing else he must be given credit for believing in a fighter that had disgraced himself during the '88 Olympics. At that point, nobody in boxing wanted to deal with Bowe, much less believe in him. Rock Newman had a vision & carried it thru . . . First he convinced the sage of boxing, Eddie Futch, to give the kid a chance & take him on & then bucking the powers that be, he positioned the young man for a shot at the heavyweight championship of the world. No mean feat . . . & an accomplishment that should be commended. But that's where the worm turned. Newman, suddenly bloated with self importance, a fat bank account & press clippings galore, decided he was above the rules (scant as they may be) & traditions of boxing. The Ol' Spit Bucket will never be able to forgive (much less forget), that Rock Newman, the self proclaimed "genius of boxing", who managed the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, could so cavalierly have Bowe discard into a trash can one third of the crown jewel of sports. Even today, no championship in sports carries more significance than the title of undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Not even a Super Bowl ring, or the green jacket of the Masters carries as much import. The heavyweight champion is the Main Man. Ask Ken Norton Jr. if he would rather have his Super Bowl rings or the heavyweight championship of the world. We all know the answer to that one . . . "While Sittin' Here A Thousand Miles From Home/There's A Hole In Your Wisdom ...Two Holes In Your Head/Where The Light's Supposed To Get By ... Time To Lock & Load/Time To Get Control Time To Search The Soul & Start Again ..." -- "Lock & Load," Bob Seger, 1994. With Golota, there are no answers. Even Lou Duva, a man never at a loss for words, didn't know what to say. The normally hyper-pugnacious Duva was so deflated by the events that all he could do was shake his head in bafflement & apologize to the fans. Golota is arguably the best white heavyweight since Marciano & he blew it . . . Again! Duva, none the less concerned for Bowe & the beatings he's taken, suggested he be neurologically checked out due to the inordinate amount of head blows he's been taking. Duva's right. During the post fight interview, Bowe's speech was so slurred it was alarming. I checked out Bowe's post fight interviews after the Holyfield fights, which were also hammer & tong wars & the difference is shocking. Bowe has always been a well spoken, quick with-the-quip kinda guy & the difference in him after this fight is cause for great concern . . . Bowe has no one to blame but himself for his present situation. An athlete in a discipline as arduous as boxing can't let himself go to seed between fights like he has. You don't suddenly shed 40-50 pounds & expect to compete on a championship level. Much was made about Bowe weighing in at 235, the same as his first fight with Holyfield, but it was a false indicator. Instead of being fairly buff as he was for Holyfield he looked diminished & weak. He appeared to these eyes to be in the same shape as the first fight with Golota, only smaller. His skin was loose & flaccid, striped with stretch marks from constant weight changes. He looked just like he fought-slow, reflexes shot, no snap to his punches, a shadow of his former self, ready for the big fall. Which makes his comeback from the second round knockdown even more amazing. When he roared back to down Golota in the fourth, I was stunned. Never in my wildest imagination would I have believed that Big Daddy could show such a fighting heart. I just didn't think he still had it in him. Unfortunately, that was his swan song, he had no gas left in the tank & from that point on he absorbed one of the most brutal beatings I've ever seen, comparable to the carnage are Willard v. Dempsey, Carnera v. Baer, Foreman v. Lyle & The Thrilla In Manila. It was awesome in it's brutality. The kind of beating a fighter never recovers from. After the fight Riddick was asked if he wanted to fight Golota a third time. "Hey", he slurred, "I just look dumb, but I'm not stupid". Wrong Big Daddy, you are a dumb fuck & a lost cause, & if you don't believe the Ol' Spit Bucket, just ask Eddie Futch ... Toney-Griffin 12/7/96 Just watched James Toney grind out what I thought was a very dull but stolidly convincing decision over Montell Griffin. On my card James had won by four rounds, 8 to 4. But then came the official decision, a runaway unanimous decision for Griffin. What fight were these freakin' judges watching anyway? Ahhrrg . . . But getting pissed is just a waste of time; nothings ever going to change -- & that's what's slowly strangling boxing to death. Boxing has no direction, no vision, no sportsmanship, no nada . . . The single unifying force in the sport is greed. & Gordon Gekko was wrong! Greed is not good . . . Look at baseball & the pathetic display Jerry Reisen-dick & his fellow brain dead owners have lavished us with. First he blocks the ratification of the Baseball Labor agreement because of its supposed inequities & then he hands 55 million big ones to Albert Belle. At that point even his fellow oafish swine (Baseball's ownership), started screaming like hogs being eviscerated in the slaughter house & revolted by quickly ratifying the labor agreement. Greed is not good! Baseball used to be the working man's sport, but it has now been priced out of reach. As they used to say about George Bush, "It's a vision thing". Yeah, well . . . It's the major players in the sports world not being able to see or feel anything but greed that is bringing sports down . . . But I digress (this is news?), it's James Toney we're talkin' & his mediocre effort tonight. At one time James Toney was on a path to become an all time great in the middle & super middle divisions. Instead his fall from grace was incredibly swift & he has since become a suety shadow of his former self. Toney looks terrible these days . . . Mrs. Bucket came home in the middle of the broadcast stared at the screen & asked "Is that James Toney? He looks like a completely different guy . . . " She hadn't seen him since the Roy Jones fight two years ago & was shocked by his appearance. Frankly, James looks like he doesn't give a shit anymore. He looks out of shape. His reflexes are shot. & he's lost the marvelous defensive skills that were his trademark. Toney also used to be able to adjust his style depending on his opponent. Those days are long gone . . . All that aside, Toney did do just enough to win the fight last night; but it was not to be-& the Nevada judges stole the fight from him. Maybe in retrospect it will be a good thing . . . If he had won, he might of really believed he was prepared for a fight against Roy Jones Jr.. Don't laugh, Toney still has a marketable name -- remember the fight was on HBO -- & somebody would have put the fight together. In a rematch, with the Toney I saw last night, Roy might be indicted for manslaughter. Granted, it is almost impossible too look good against a fighter as awkward as Montell Griffin, but if Toney had used his jab more to get inside, he could have administered a severe enough body attack to slow down the peripatetic Griffin & TKO him in the latter rounds . . . Sadly, Toney just doesn't seem to have it in him anymore. & it's as big a waste of talent as Aaron Pryor's drug abuse. Only with Toney it's not drugs, it's a combination of gluttony, a complete lack of discipline & hubris. Here's hoping he can somehow regain his focus. He was once a marvelous fighter & he is still a young man & he has never taken a real beating. The raw tools are probably still there, buried under a ton of fast food containers & it's up to James Toney to dig himself out of the real big empty he has created for himself ... THE JJ'S BIG NIGHT The Bucket is starting to wonder if he knows a freakin' thang 'bout boxing . . . First it was Evander blowing everything I knew totally outta the water & now here's Jr. Jones to reinforce my lack of self esteem as a prognosticator. . . Before both the Holyfield & Jr. Jones fights I had bull sessions with fellow scribe for this rag, Jim Trunzo, who is also Ring Magazine's computer boxing maven & we both agreed Holyfield was heading for disaster & Barrera was gonna dismantle "Poison" Jones. I called McCallum-Jones Jr. as a tko for Roy in the 8th, Trunz called it Roy ko4. Well . . . We all know how on the money we were on those calls . . . So y'all don't think I'm a complete dummy, I did pick Clinton to win the election!. . . The Barrera-Jones bout was a revelation. There was no way anybody in that weight class was going to dominate & obliterate Marco Antonio like the aptly nicknamed "Poison" did. Junior, like Holyfield before him, was viewed as a shot fighter going into this bout. Like Holyfield, who he trained with under the tutelage of Tommy Brooks (Brooks has to be acknowledged as trainer of the year), he fought a smart fight against the seemingly bewildered Barrera who responded as badly as Tyson did to Holyfield. Marco Antonio was never really in this fight. He seemed bewildered & unprepared for the resistance Jones put up. After the head butt it seemed as if he was going to pull a Chavez ala Julio's second fight with Frankie Randall. From that point on it appeared all Barrera wanted to do was get the hell outta there. After Junior' blasted him to the canvass the end was inevitable. There was confusion at the end of the fight as to whether the ref stopped the fight or dq'd Barrera because of his cornerman's entrance into the ring -- but the point was moot anyway & if the fight had gone on Barrera looked to be in for a real beating. Jr. & Tommy Parks have to be commended for a brilliantly executed fight plan. His dismantling of Barrera was a real shocker; especially when you consider the terrific effort Marco Antonio displayed in his effort against Kennedy McKinney. The Ol' Spit Bucket takes umbrage in the fact that a talent as uniquely gifted as Roy Jones Jr., has had to resort to gimmicks to help promote his last few fights. First it was playing B Ball the day of his fight against Eric Lucas. Then he wanted to defend his title against two opponents on the same day . . . Thankfully, even the severely twisted IBF took a pass on that misguided concept . . . Then for his defense against Brian Bannon he came up with the really weak idea of holding a live (very slanted & edited), press conference immediately before the fight. One would think that with an opponent as viable as the venerable Mike McCallum, Roy wouldn't need to resort to this belched. But this is the 90's, the decade that finally proved America to be totally shameless. Don't believe the Ol' Bucket? Just ask OJ, or Newt, or Ollie, or the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. . . . But I digress . . . For this promotion some genius in the sound booth came up with the idea of miking Roy's trunks so the at-home audience could really relish the sound of leather smacking flesh during the fight. Yeah, well . . . Let's just say it didn't change the direction of modern TV boxing broadcasting . . . This was the fourth fight that I've seen Jones give an opponent too much respect. For some reason, when Roy faces a fighter whose abilities are above average he seemingly goes into a shell. Before McCallum, the three fighters were: Jorge Castro, Bernard Hopkins & James Toney. In all three of those fights instead of throwing caution to the winds & really putting the big hurt on these guys, he instead clutched caution to his breast like Linus & his blanket. Granted, of the three, Toney was ostensibly a very tough & dangerous opponent. But the Toney that showed up that night was a fat ghost of his former self & that was apparent after 4 rounds had elapsed. Roy should have stopped Toney that night & he didn't because he was too cautious. Mike McCallum was a different proposition. Here was a formerly great 3 division titlist (notice I used titlist & not champion. McCallum was never a linear champ), who will undoubtably be inducted into the Hall Of Fame. But the "Body Snatcher's" halcyon days as a great fighter are well behind him. At first I thought it was McCallum's caginess that was nullifying Roy's speed but after the fourth round it was apparent that the Body Snatcher was running on empty. What Roy was faced with was a fighter one day older than dirt who was rusty from 17 months of inactivity & basically has nothing left. Instead of going after him & running him right out of the ring, Roy instead felt compelled out of "respect" to play patty cake with a warrior who was obviously going to the well at least once to often. Can anybody imagine Hagler, Hearns, Duran or Leonard doing that with an opponent? I admire Roy Jones Jr.'s talents. He is arguably the best fighter in the world when he wants to be; but the efforts against Lucas & McCallum & all the gimmicks before the fights make me wonder if this guy really wants to fight. You don't get in the ring & carry a fighter -- even one as respected as the aged McCallum. You go in there prepared to take care of business, or you don't belong in the ring. Compassion & concern are wonderful traits outside the squared circle, but misplaced emotions inside the ropes. Roy would be better served to concentrate on fighting up to his abilities instead of relying on gimmicks & undue concern. RINSING OFF THE MOUTH PIECE It's that time of year again, so here is the Old Spit Bucket's 3rd annual year end review: Basically, except for Evander Holyfield's stunning upset over Iron Mike; this would have to be considered a down year for my beloved sport. With few exceptions most fights & match ups were truly uninspired or never happened. Let's start where it always begins; the heavyweights: Tyson stormed thru Bruno & Seldon only to be nakedly exposed in front of millions of peeps by Holyfield. Was the Bucket shocked by these turn of events? Not quite, almost exactly a year ago I wrote (& you can check it out in the Zone's archives)," . . . of what the Ol' Spit Bucket has seen in Tyson's two fights so far, the jury is still way out . . . The one big difference the Bucket see's that is glaringly apparent in Iron Mike's two comeback fights, is the way he's been out muscled & shoved around in the ring. I can't remember any opponent ever mauling & backing up Tyson . . . McNeely & Mathis, immediately jumped on Tyson fearlessly . . . If they had been more skilled, either one of them might have caused some serious damage. If the past, that kind of foolhardy strategy was unthinkable . . . Iron Mike Tyson, was simply the baddest mo' fo' presently residing on this smoggy orb . . . you didn't fuck with him, you just tried to survive & hope for the best . . . " Yeah, well . . . That was then & this be now & as Bobby Z once sang "The Times They Are A Changing", & in my own view, way for the better when a thug like Mean Mikey has to eat some humble cow pie . . . It's almost as gratifying as seeing the Rock Newman of Congress, the Gingky guy take it in the pie hole from the media & the public like he's dished it out the last couple three years . . . Oh yeah, this is my freakin' forum & I'll use it shamelessly if I want to, but I'm digressing like an Indy car blasting off the track & into the stands . . . It takes a while, but I do remember it be boxing we're talkin' . . . Currently, Holyfield must be considered the Main Man but how long he'll be able to hold on to that mantle is a subject of conjecture . . . Tyson, Lewis, Moorer, Mercer, Witherspoon & Golota all can provide stern tests for anyone. Bowe, sadly must be considered history at this point. In the lighter weights, there were some awesome fights, Gatti v. Rodriguez, Kelly v. Gainer, Vasquez v. Rojas & a few others . . . But in the high profile welter division none of the fights we expected involving Whitaker, Trinidad or Quartey ever happened. Another much anticipated fight, Norris v. Trinidad also turned out to be nothing but hot air. At this time the most intriguing match-ups that are likely to happen are between 122-130 lbs. where a plethora of exciting fighters like Nelson, Vasquez, Hamed, Gatti, Kelly, Gainer, McCullough, Barrera, McKinney, Patterson, Jones, Bungu, Espinosa & a few others reside. Within these weight classes are the matches that are most likely to be realized. The biggest disappointments for the Bucket are Roy Jones Jr.'s inability to find competitive opponents & the dismal fight between De La Hoya (thru no fault of his own) & Chavez. When Oscar moves up to welter there will be no shortage of quality opponents, but Roy is stuck in limbo, Virgil Hill v. Roy Jones Jr. does not get the Ol' Spit Bucket foaming over in excitement . . . My pick for fight of the year has to be Tyson v. Holyfield, but I would be remiss if I didn't give honorable mention to Bowe v. Golota I & II, Gatti v. Rodriguez & Vasquez v. Rojas. Fighter of the year: Evander Holyfield (who else?). KO of the year: Wilfredo Vasquez's brutal stoppage of Eloy Rojas. Comeback of the year: Evander Holyfield. Most exciting newcomer on the scene: Naseem Hamed. Most garish ring entrances: Naseem Hamed. Poor sportsmanship award: Vinnie Paz v. Rosen-splat. Fight I'd most like to see in '97: Terry Norris v. Felix Trinidad Fighters I'd most like to see retire: Foreman, Holyfield, Bowe, Holmes, Duran, Maywhether, Bramble. Fighter I'd most like to see stay retired: Sugar Ray Leonard. Fondest hope for 97: That the great Luis Manuel Rodrigues finally gets his due and is inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Well . . . That's it for '96 & once again I'd like to remind readers that anyone with any comments, disparaging remarks or praise is invited to send them along via e-mail ( I will respond to any reasonably intelligent correspondence. Back at you February '97! ================================================================= SITHBANGPRACHAN BROTHERS BECOME THE 13TH SET OF BROTHERS TO WIN WORLD BOXING CHAMPIONSHIP by: (Shun Matsuoka) In his second try at a world title, Phichit C. Siriwat (a.k.a. Phichitnoi Sithbangprachan) won the WBA jr. flyweight title by knocking out Keiji Yamaguchi in the 2nd round with a single right hook to the chin. Phichit(noi) is a younger brother of Phichit Sithbangprachan who is a former IBF flyweight champion. Phichit and Phichitnoi Sithbangprachan are the 13th set of brothers to win world championships. Other brothers who won world championships are: (1) Ricardo & Rene Arredondo (2) Abe & Monte Attell (3) Gaby & Orlando Canizalez (4) Ricardo & Prudencio Cardona (5) Bruce & Donald Curry (6) Joe & Johnny Dundee (7) Ernesto & Crisanto Espana (8) Khaosai & Kaokor Galaxy (9) Orlin & Terry Norris (10) Rafael & Gabe Ruelas (11) Leon & Michael Spinks (12) Christophe & Fabrice Tiozzo If you recognize WBO in the early 90's as a world title, Jimmi and Johnny Bredahl could be counted as well. They won the titles on the same day. Khaosai & Kaokor Galaxy are the only twin brothers who won world championships, but reports have it that Songkram Porpaoin who is a twin brother of a former WBA strawweight champ, Chana Porpaoin, is scheduled to fight Rosendo Alvarez for his WBA strawweight title. If he wins, they will become the second set of twin brothers and the 15th set brothers to win world championships. ================================================================ IT'S A WONDERFUL FIGHT: Some Christmas Sonnets Composed on The Occasion of Ye Olde Bowe-Golota Rematch by Dave G. (DscribeDC) I. The crowd applauded Riddick, former champ That evening in July at MSG. Yet, in the crowd, the Polish eyes went damp At stout contender Andrew's ring entry. A fearsome Pole, a giant block of stone Brought up in Eastern Europe, raised in want, Ill-graced with brains, rich in testosterone, Bit fighters like the ring was restaurant. Few pundits thought that Bowe would break a sweat Dispatching this unheralded young buck. Golota's skills were primitive; and yet, Promoters drooled discussing this bohunk. He had the urge to constantly attack, Was heavyweight -- and, mainly -- wasn't black! II. The fight unfolded quite unlike the plan, Golota double-jabbing tubby Bowe, Yet thrice defying boxing's well-taught ban On punches to the region down below. The younger man was winning every round When, in the seventh, one more salvo strayed Below the border; Riddick hit the ground. The referee was visibly dismayed. With no course left but giving Bowe the bout, The man in charge disqualified the Pole. From Riddick's minions, angry cries went out. They charged, like Foreman hits a casserole. Ringside punters started rioting. A cell phone made Golota's noggin ring. III. The questions raised were numerous and grave. Was Riddick done as ruler of the roost? Could Andy be so powerful and brave That his career would earn a needed boost? Or did King Bowe so haughtily ignore The challenge of the young, untested pug He gorged himself, so often screaming "More!" The food had made him groggy, like a drug? And who set off the riot? "No, not I," Professed Rock Newman, looking left and right, "Bad energy was there, tensions were high, Besides, the D.A. chose not to indict!" The shameful scene left boxing black and blue; The only answer: Bowe-Golota II! IV. Golota worked with Duva on technique, Bowe lived on pills and water, growing thin. When writers asked, Golota would not speak. Bowe promised to hurt Andrew's next of kin. Bowe's camp and wise old Eddie parted ways Proclaiming youth the order of the day. Futch shook his head: "I'm wasting my last days!" And found himself new talent to display. New York suggested Newman take a hike And pay the state two hundred-fifty gee's. The writers felt next time Andrew would strike He'd fell the weathered Bowe with greater ease. In Bowe's old fans such troubling thoughts were bred, That even DC's mayor Barry'd his head. V. When fight night came around, the stage was set. The rich and famous came and paid their dough To see if Polish Andrew could pull yet Another heartless thrashing of Old Bowe. "I'm not Snow White," Golota disavowed. "It's personal this time," his foe replied. A hundred plainclothes policeman worked the crowd, No fans with foreign objects got inside. The undercard was worthy; fights were brisk And anxious expectation filled the room. Two amateurs won debuts without risk; Ray Mercer nabbed a close one over Spoon. The one thing every fan wondered about: "If there's another riot, which way out?" VI. At last, the fateful reckoning had come. The man from Brownsville sauntered down the aisle. Bruce Springsteen sang an anthem loud and dumb Designed Bowe's Polish nemesis to rile. Golota entered to his native song, The Polish flags were fervently unfurled While tipsy fight fans tried to sing along Throats tightened in Chicago and the world. The ref was Eddie Cotton, new and large Who hoped the roughhouse tactics to contain. "Now, don't forget," he cautioned, "I'm in charge. Below the belt is off-limits terrain." And so, the fight world waited for the bell To end the war adjourned when Riddick fell. VII. The fight began just as the first had stopped, Golota's jab outdoing Riddick's left. Into Bowe's face Golota's glove would pop. Of speed and power Bowe seemed all bereft. Frame two saw Riddick dumped right on his trunks A right hand landing just above the ear. Big Daddy swooned like one of K Street's drunks And everyone could see the end was near. Though Andrew milled and punched as if possessed, He could not earn the treasured TKO. He butted heads; the ref gave Bowe a rest. From Andy's own eye blood began to flow. Though caution Andy clearly had forsook He still let Riddick wriggle off the hook. VIII. What sage could have predicted by round four The tide would so decisively reverse? Blood from Golota's eyelid still did pour And his condition went from bad to worse. A knockdown left him pinned along the ropes The black lights swirling grimly into view. Embattled Andrew pins his final hopes On one low blow; ref Cotton splits the two. The ruse succeeds! Golota grabs a breath Though his offense costs him a precious point. The crowd foresees a battle to the death; The scribes confer, unsure who to anoint. Who knew how this titanic fight would go? Trump bet on simultaneous KO. IX. Golota grabbed the reins in stanza five And Bowe bobbed up and down just like a buoy. The stands were charged and buzzing like a hive. Bowe's corner splashed his face and hollered "Phooey! Connect with punches or we're going home!" Golota seemed exhausted but intent. With every punch to Riddick's furrowed dome His tattooed family seemed to cry "Relent!" The rounds were hard on poor Riddick Lamont His blows diminished, legs grew weak and limp. The Duva's man pressed on, he seemed to want To make the former champ quit like a wimp. His thought as Riddick hid behind his mitts: "To fall on tattoos of my wife or kids?" X. Then, in the ninth, a wond'rous thing occurred. A knockout seemed divinely preordained. From Washington, fans gaped without a word At Riddick Bowe's expression sorely pained. The angels, sensing Christmas, lent a hand And, feeling Bowe's supporters' silent plaints, Pulled tricks that experts still don't understand Out from their bags of heav'nly jabs and feints. While fans in Brooklyn openly despaired Golota backed Bowe up against the twine And Riddick, his capacities impaired, Seemed doomed to never make it through round nine. Then, Andy, as if dumb, forgot to box And launched three hooks right into Riddick's rocks. XI. Bowe tumbled once again, just like a tree. The crowd condemned Golota's nasty dirt. Ed Cotton said "deduction number three! The fight is stopped! Poor Riddick is inert!" Golota's corner stared in disbelief That, in control, and leading on all cards, Bad habits had crept in just like a thief And left them whipping boys for boxing's bards. No songs are sung in Krakow's quiet streets No car horns sound beneath Chicago's El, No polkas will propel the dancing feet Of rev'lers at the Taj Mahal hotel. Yet even as the final time bell rings A Brownsville angel finally earns his wings! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO RIDDICK BOWE, THE RICHEST GUY IN TOWN! =============================================================

Who's your favorite?

By Dave Iamele Although my love for boxing borders on obsession, there is always a discernible pause whenever someone asks me who my favorite boxer is. Why? Perhaps it is the era of the sport in which I became a fan. As a youngster, I was in awe of the greatest Muhammad Ali. Seeing him in the twilight of his career losing to Spinks, Holmes and Burbic, I can remember a great sadness coming over me, almost like having a friend get some strange and debilitating disease. The next pugilist to catch my fancy was a lean, mean, fighting machine out of the motor city of Detroit, the Hit-Man Thomas Hearns. What young boxing fan wouldn't be captivated by a fighter with a handle like that? Fighting out of Mann Stewart's Kronk gym, this dark dreadnought of destruction was truly a wonder to behold. Where did this stick-legged bomber get such power? He collected title belts in different weight classes like I collected baseball cards. Yet for all of Hearn's great victories in the ring, two of his defeats have always stood out more in my mind. The first was watching the fighter I loved to hate, Ray Leonard, snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat by KO'ing Tommy in the 14th round of their first encounter. The second will always be etched in my brain. The classic Hearns/Haggler war, perhaps the greatest three rounds of fighting ever. I will never forget the sight of Tommy draped over first haggler's shoulder, then referee Richard Steele's. But the most graphic sight was that of Hearns, clearly removed from his senses, being carried, like an infant, back to his corner. I still get all misty whenever I see a replay. As the years passed, many favorites came and went, some great, some not so great and some were even flash-in-the-pans. With the beginning to the 90's, most of my focus shifted to the heavyweight division. This wasn't on purpose, it just seemed like there wasn't all that many good match ups being put together in the lower classes (with some clear exceptions, of course). Also with less boxing on free tv, it seemed like the big guys were all you saw on the tube or read about. I mean, it's not like there was a zillion intriguing match ups in the heavyweight class, but at least there was always the chance that someone would turn a fight around with one well-placed clout, something that titillates any true fan. So, who was the boxer that I figured would rule the division in the 90's? "Razor" Ruddock. I'll give you a minute or two to stop laughing before I go on. Ready? When I first set eyes on this Jamaican giant, he was knocking fighters out colder than an Alaskan streaker. I thought, "man, this guy has it all -- size, power, boxing skills, etc. . ." Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, Razor forgot he had a right arm. What a jab was also seemed to slip his mind. But hey, nobody's perfect, right? I still figured he had the power to go all the way in that odd left handed hook/upper cut he threw called, "the smash". So you can imagine my chagrin when Ruddock was left sprawled on the canvas, like some puppet with it's strings cut, by Lennox Lewis. Who then proceeded to get whacked out by "the atomic screwball", Oliver McCall. But as Tyson continued notching all the heavy's available on his title belts, my attention returned to the lower weight classes. Sure, it was fun watching Mike blast everyone out, (seeing Trevor Burbick reeling all over the ring like some kind of drunken sailor, was especially a hoot). But after a while, it seemed like there would be no one who could begin to test the limit of his skills. So who next? a young middleweight bomber by the name of Gerald McClellan. Could this guy hit? Does Don King like money? Benn vs. McClellan promised to be one of the best fights of Gerald's young career and perhaps it was. One thing's for sure, it was his last. Roy Jones vs. Gerald would have been the Haggler/Hearns of the 90's. Roy told me himself that he considered McClellan to be the only opponent around who would have tested his abilities. Now Gerald's fight is for survival and he will never lead a normal life. About this time, I deliberately decided it wasn't such a good idea to have a favorite. I mean, what's the point? Just so you could see them disappoint you by fighting on well past their prime and being beaten silly by a fighter who wouldn't have been their sparring partner when they were younger? or see them beaten silly because they didn't train properly, or they just don't have the fire anymore to beat a young, top caliber foe? Who wants to see their hero being smacked around, clubbed to the canvas, eyes blinking erratically, slipping down the ring ropes and into a coma? I would venture, no one. It's also especially great when a ring announcer -- supposedly, "the fight doctor", questions their heart and wonders why they quit for no reason. T"The hell with this. Who would want the curse of being my favorite", I thought. Things slowly began to change when a young cruiserweight champion decided to campaign in the heavyweight division. Evander "Real Deal" Holyfield wasn't the first fighter to decide to abandon the abysses of the cruiserweights to make some real cash in the heavyweight division, but he eventually turned out to be the best. But I'm getting ahead of myself. From the beginning of his division-jump, Holy showed promise -- he was an accomplished champion, an awesome physical specimen, trained religiously )no pun intended), and could really brawl (See Holy vs. Dawl), he also seemed to have a warrior's heart. Now, right here, I have to admit that while I liked Vander at this point (who wouldn't), I didn't think he would fare too well in the land of the giants. A blown up cruiserweight who didn't have the power or the chin to compete with the big boys seemed to be the consensus, and I was inclined to agree. Even after winning time and time again, when he got his shot at the title against Buster Douglas, I didn't think he could do it. "Who did he ever beat?" I said. Then when he beat the Pillsbury Doughboy -- I mean Douglas -- I felt it was more a matter of big Bus beating himself. Still, I had to give the guy some credit, he beat the man, who beat the man, who beat all the men. So then, who did I root for when Holy took on Big George Foreman? Foreman. I was wrong. Evander vs. Holmes? Bet on Larry. Wrong again. When the Tyson fight was signed (the first time) I figured "Iron" Mike was a sure thing to take back the belts that Evander was holding from him. I mean "crack smokin" Burt Cooper almost laid out Holy, for crying out loud! But then something strange began to happen. Somewhere around the time they carted off Tyson in cuffs and Evander was beating everyone they put in front of him, my begrudging respect turned to a genuine admiration. This guy was the Rodney Dangerfield of boxing. No one gave him credit for anything. "Who did he beat? A couple of fossils and a drug addict", was what the press said about him. Evander was the ultimate underdog champion, everyone diss'ed him, and before I even knew what was happening, he became -- gasp! -- my favorite. Being a boxing fan, you know what happened next -- the curse of the Iamele favorite struck in the form of one Riddick "Big Daddy" Bowe. How they all shouted, "now we'll see what happens when Holy fights a "real" heavyweight, someone who's bigger and stronger and younger." I watched in horror as it all happened again, just as it had so many times before, my man getting battered. I moaned as "big Daddy" pummeled Evander down to his knees, drool spewing from the diminutive champion's mouthpiece. Then the inexplicable occurred, he took it and came back. He took an ungodly beating and actually rallied back to pound a man who couldn't believe his eyes. But my brief moment of elation was quickly snuffed by the judges' swift and unmerciful exchanging of champions. "How could they?!" I screamed. "My guy was robbed!" I protested. "My God, if that was Ali in there against Bowe, he'd have won a unanimous decision -- ask Ken Norton!!!" I watched the tape again and again thinking that they should have called it a draw just for the courage Evander showed. Yes, I was clearly in denial. When the cries of retire began from near and fa, friends and enemies united to beg the former champ to call it a day. Oh he got a modicum of respect, more than he received in all his other heavyweight fights in which he triumphed. Still, they said it again, "he's too small, not enough power, can't take a heavyweight punch, Bowe exposed him." So what did I do when my hero lost, when everyone was down on him, telling him to quit? I abandoned him. Yes, I'm ashamed to admit it, but I gave up on the Holy warrior. When the rematch was signed, I figured this time, Bowe will probably knock him out. Even with Commander "Vander" obtaining the services of Emmanuel Stewart and Big Daddy ballooning up to an even Bigger Daddy. I thought the chances were slim and none, as they say. "Duva's been with Evander from the beginning, a change can't be good now, and a couple extra pounds on Bowe isn't going to change anything " were my feelings. But just like everyone else, I underestimated the incredible heart and desire of Evander. Still, even in victory, the press would not give him his just desserts or the credit and respect he deserved. They blamed Bowe for being out of shape (which he was), they blamed "fan-man", they blamed the cold. There was too much blame and not enough credit. What if Bowe came in shape and they fought indoors? The outcome would have been the same. He was not to be denied. So now what? Did I jump back on the band wagon? You bet! Evander was the MAN! He kicked Bowe's ass! Now he would rule the division until Tyson got out of jail, then he would proceed to kick his ass!! This hysteria lasted until Evander's very next fight. Now, if ever there was a sure thing, it was that Evander was going to KO Michael Moorer. No doubt about it, this would be his easiest fight since Burt Cooper. Well, surprise, surprise! At the end of the fight, Moorer's the new champion, and I felt like I just saw Evander having a coronary in the ring for 8 or so rounds. Now I had to reluctantly join the chorus of voices calling for Evander's retirement. He looked clearly unhealthy, and I certainly didn't want him to end up like Gerald McClellan or worse. When the Bowe-Holyfield III fight was signed, I knew Bowe was not going to make the same mistake twice and come in out of shape against Evander again. I also knew, judging from his performance against Moorer, Holy was in no shape to fight Bowe. Well, the knock down of Bowe withstanding, Evander looked like a pale facade of his former self, and the best I hoped for was a win and retirement. After the loss, I thought surely this is it! Evander seems like an intelligent man. He won't go on when he knows there's nothing left in the tank. He's a rich man. . . enough's enough, right? The less said about the Czyz "fight" the better. When the Tyson/Holyfield bout was announced, I thought this is what Ali fans felt when his fight with Big Bad George Foreman was announced. Was I worried Evander would be hurt? That would be an understatement. I didn't figure he'd last more than 1 or 2 rounds. Not only because of the Tyson Mystique, I knew Evander would not be afraid, but because of what I felt was an obvious "atrophy" of Holy's stamina. I even heard rumors of steroid abuse causing his "stiff heart condition". This coming at the Hall of Fame right from the mouth of the brother of a former Holyfield opponent and former heavyweight champion. When people asked me who I thought would win the bout, I said, "well, I'd like Holyfield to win, but I think Tyson will knock him out in one round." Reading the New York papers surely didn't set my mind at ease. I half expected the articles to be in the obituary sections listing Evander's new wife as next-of-kin. Well, I was wrong, again. But I enjoy a great deal of happiness in the fact that 99.9% of the world was wrong right along with me. Besides, the best man won. My guy, my favorite. I give no discredit to Evander by talking about Mike Tyson's many troubles from business, to personal, to professional. He was not so much less than people thought, Evander Holyfield was so much more. So who's my favorite. Evander "Real Deal" Holyfield -- man, haven't you been paying attention? He's the man! He kicked Tyson's ass! He'll rule the division! Unify the titles! Beat Moorer, gain revenge on Bowe, beat Akinwande to become the first champion to unify the WBO, WBC, WBA and IBF titles! At least until he has that one fight too many, or gets bored with the sport, or suddenly grows old before our eyes (as I thought I saw in the Bowe III and Moorer bouts) or until someone new comes along who wants it just a little bit more, maybe former sparring mate David Tua or Bowe's pal, Andrew Golota. But for now, Holy is my favorite. The guy's got it all, he's the world's biggest over achiever. I hope they save a nice spot in Canastota for Evander because 5 years after he retires, they'll need it.* So who's your favorite? ================================================================= WORLD INTERNET BOXING ALLIANCE By: WIBA Prez EricVT ( The WIBA (World Internet Boxing Alliance) is a fantasy boxing league where you create fighters and manage their careers, personalities, personnel life, money situation and etc. The WIBA uses the APBA boxing simulator to get the outcomes of all its bouts. And many things play a major role in your boxers performance throughout his or HER career! Well if this sounds interesting to you then sign up! Here's the form and we're still accepting some fighters! Right now we only have a Heavyweight and Female division and you can create a fighter for both or just one of these if you want! Name of boxer(with nickname included): Is your fighter a: 1.Boxer 2.Slugger 3.Either (If you pick either it gives you a slight advantage and you'll be given 2 less points to give to your fighters categories below) Now you have 25 points (or 23 points if you selected either above) to put into the following categories: Ring Generalship: Punching Power: Boxing Skills: Chin Rating: Endurance: Overall Skills: Is your fighter a: 1.Lefty 2.Righty Is your boxer: 1.White 2.Black 3.Hispanic 4.Asian (don't ask me it's in the program I'm using!) Now there are 2 sections below where you have to dish out 15 points and at least 5 points in each section! Section 1 Ability not to have cuts: Absorbs Punishment: Killer Instinct: Aggressiveness: Endurance: Defense: Fast Starter: Corner fighting: Section 2 Punching Accuracy (Important): Counter Punching: Fighters hometown: That's it!!! Here's some rules and stuff! There is normally one card a week -- Thursday Night Fights! I use APBA simulator to get all outcomes! Role playing is a key in this league! If you role play a lot (and do it well) you'll be able to improve your boxers! You'll learn how to role play after a week of being here! There will be a money system in place and we're thinking of even a betting system!!! There will also be rankings and the such! Well that's all I can think of so sign up and have fun!!! WIBA Prez EricVT Well thanks again everyone and sign up soon cause I don't have a ton of space left! And happy holidays from everyone at WIBA! ================================================================ HENRY MASKE vs. VIRGIL HILL By: (Steffen.Kuhnt) MUNICH, GERMANY. On the evening of Saturday, November 23th, Germany`s Henry Maske and Virgil Hill from the USA were scheduled to meet in the ring for the unification of their IBF & WBA Light Heavyweight world titles. Maske had planned this to be his farewell match (`My greatest dream is to retire as an undefeated world champion.`). As usual, a whole bunch of stars and wannabe-stars were showing up at ring-side, surrounded by patriotic fans on the cheaper places. The rest of the nation was at home watching TV, where the fight was not broadcasted but celebrated. You had to go through a real pain of 2 hours(!) of incredibly boring pre-fight-reports (including 4 minutes !!) where Hill was introduced) and interviews with the stars mentioned above. Some of them even knew the name of `Henry`s opponent`, probably they`ve read it before entering the hall. But a real boxing-fan has learned to ignore that kind of stuff, especially if he is looking forward to watch an unification bout, even if both fighters are not commonly associated with an exciting style, to say the least. The whole event, the most expensive boxing match ever to take place in Germany, was planned perfectly: great show for the people; Maske wins; everybody goes home after having an outstanding good time). There was absolutely nothing that could have gone wrong, right?? Wrong! *** After the usual embarrassing show-act and Michael Buffer trying to speak German (He really shouldn`t do that . . .), everybody was ready to rumble and the match `we`ve all been waiting for` started. In the first rounds, Maske hardly threw a punch, while Hill was slightly more active, trying to work the body. Still, there was absolutely no action to excite the audience. All those rounds were very close, but Hill somehow managed to gain an advantage of 2 (well, maybe 3) rounds at the end of round 5. Just when everybody wanted to ask what the hell Maske was waiting for, he came out and took away round 6 with some clear hits. Sadly enough, this was by far the best round of the whole match, and the only one Maske won on my card. From then on, the picture was always the same: Some single actions, but more holding and pushing -- extremely boring. Hill had his head low several times while Maske pushed it even lower. There were only a few clear actions. Maske`s "If you don`t do anything, you don`t make any mistakes" strategy obviously turned out to be a mistake in itself, so from the beginning of round 10, all Hill had to do was to save it. He did, but in a rather unattractive fashion, by holding, turning away and things like that, while Maske seemed to wait for Hill to get tired and asleep, for this was his only chance to turn things around. After the final bell, I had it for Hill with 2 rounds. First, Michael Buffer obviously again had some trouble reading the scores and announced an unanimous decision for Hill, which was turned into a split decision later on. Somehow one judge had it 112:116 for Maske(!), while another one had it just the same for Hill. But the worst part was still to come. After the decision was announced, the crowd immediately started to hiss and boo, and, after a short interview, a pack of bodyguards had to hurry to get Hill out of the arena. Maske for his part dropped to his knees and started crying like a little baby, while `Time to say goodbye` was played in the background. Embarrassing as it was, it seemed to have a strong effect on the people in the hall. Even Michael Buffer spilled some tears, caught in a great camera shot. So, everybody celebrated the loser, while the new unified IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight champion had to flee out of the arena. Talk about sportsmanship! After rinsing off the tears, the former champion held his usual speech, making more than some hints that he thought he was screwed. (Fortunately, some days after the fight it seems like he has made up his mind as he announced that he agrees with the decision now. And, despite the rumors, he doesn`t seem to plan a comeback -- for now. *** The next day, a friend asked me about the result of the match. First, I wanted to say `Hill won`, but then I thought again and replied "Maske lost." And that`s the point, because Maske showed his worst performance in years. If they did it again, he would probably win, but he had his chance and he completely blew it. This is definitely no victory Hill should be very proud of. Still, he joins Terry Norris, who was the sports only current unified champion so far. (I`m really looking forward to Phrank`s comment when he has to rank Hill as the division`s new champion.) So what`s next for Hill? He plans to defend against David Vedder. NOT! Just joking, really!!! Before the fight, he said he wanted to fight Jones if he won. Yeah sure. Well, it would be a big payday but I don`t believe this until the contracts are signed. But let`s hope it happens. Somehow I suspect I would be great fun . . . =============================================================== THE DAY I FACED ALI By Michael DeLisa ( I fought Muhammad Ali in 1980 on national TV. Don't remember it? Well, it happened just after the Dwight Davison vs. Curtis Parker match at Caesar's Palace. I went to the fights with my father and mother. We hail from Williamsburg, where my father owned a luncheonette for over 35 years. On any given day, such fighters as Danny Giovanelli, Carmine Fiore, Lulu Costantino, and others would be in there hanging out, eating tripe, and drinking coffee. My Dad, by all accounts a terrific fighter in his own right, taught me to box with a Brooklyn attitude. Basically that meant approaching a fight with the belief that anyone would "go" if hit right and your job was to do the hitting. Well, we go to the fights. Outside, it is sweltering and then-champ Larry Holmes walks up as we wait in line to be let in. My father gives me an elbow and I know what he means. I walk up to Holmes and say "Larry! We are sweltering out here! You are the Champ, tell them to let us in." Holmes turns to a rent-a-cop and says "let 'em in." And, sure enough, in we go. Once inside I scurry to my seat at the edge of the bleachers, about 10 feet off ground level. Excellent seats. They adjoin the walkway to the dressing rooms so the fighters have to pass by. Holmes walks by, and I lean down and hand him a program, which he signs. His hands serve as a desk while he writes. Soon after, a roar goes through the crowd. Ali is making his entrance. He is there to promote the upcoming Holmes-Ali fight. The crowd is on its feat screaming Ali! Ali! Ali! Muhammad stands in the aisle, milking it in while the crowd chants. Everyone loves him. I lean over above his head, cup my hands to my mouth, and boo! I don't know how Ali heard me above the roar, but he looks up at me, shakes a fist, bites his bottom lip, and generally pretends to be angry. I laugh and Ali makes his way to ringside. After that, Sugar Ray Leonard comes in. He has just lost to Roberto Duran and walks in unnoticed. Except by me. I boo. Soon, the fights are on. I recall siting next to Daniel Munoz and his family. Munoz is to face Lonnie Smith, who is making his professional debut. Munoz is pleasant and very nervous. He doesn't last a round. After the main event, Ali stands and makes his way out from ringside. As he walks by, the crowd is on its feet, screaming Ali! Ali! and cheering. Love is in the air. I lean over, and boo again. Ali stops. Looks up at me, with a look as if to say, "are you still here?" I lean over the rail and shout -- "Joe Frazier kicked your ass!" Ali hears me. His eyes bulge. He tears off his jacket. Screams, and CLIMBS UP THE BLEACHERS AFTER ME! He makes his way to the landing below, and starts up the stairs. My father, who has been watching in silence leans over to me and says very softly but seriously "Here he comes. Get him." Well, I don't know how many of you have a dad like mine, but when he says get him, I get him. I jump from my seat and race to the landing (clever guy I am I don't want to be accosted on the steps.) As I rush Ali, I figure, hell, maybe I can get in one good shot and he'll "go." Yeah, right. Ali and I square off. The crowd is absolutely out of control. The network cameras scurry to position themselves, while klieg lights suddenly illuminate us. One problem, though. Ali seems pissed. We square off. Wow! This dude is huge! I get low, Frazier style. And then it happens. Ali starts to punch. At my head. No, that is not quite correct. He punches . . . at my hair. It is like standing in front of a force of nature. I stay low, but Ali throws . . . and throws . . . and throws. Each punch clips my hair. I feel a gale in front of me. I hear the whipwhip of Ali's starched white shirt as he throws jab, hook (didn't know he had one!) right left right uppercut (WHEW! that was close) left, right . . . . . . . . The crowd presses in on us. Someone grabs me from behind, and Ali is grabbed by some of his entourage. Ali is virtually apoplectic, trying to get at me. I, of course, am brave once again. (I told you I was from Brooklyn). Finally Ali stops his histrionics, starts to laugh, and we embrace. Man, this dude is huge! Ali leaves and everyone including me is in a great mood. Except my dad. He is angrier than Ali feigned to be. "I told you to get him." Before I have a chance to answer, Ray Leonard comes by. Hey! A guy my own size. I start to boo. Leonard stops and looks up at me. I shout "Duran kicked your ass!" Munoz's family laughs for the first time in hours. Leonard whispers to one of his bodyguards (black dude wearing a cowboy hat). The bodyguard comes up while Leonard scurries away. "Sugar Ray says shut up." The crowd pushes him down the stairs and, finally, I get to laugh. =============================================================== November Ratings (as of 15 Nov) By: (Phrank Da Slugger) Editor/Publisher, Bob's Feints HEAVYWEIGHTS Champion: Evander Holyfield (WBA) 1. Riddick Bowe 2. Lennox Lewis 3. Michael Moorer (IBF) 4. Mike Tyson 5. Andrew Golota 6. Henry Akinwande (WBO) 7. Tim Witherspoon 8. Oliver McCall 9. Ray Mercer 10. David Tua The most controversial move I've made in a long time (since stripping Foreman) is to replace Bowe as the Champion w/ Holyfield. Bowe was on his way to a KO loss against Golota and Holyfield beat the previous-#1 contender here, so here it is. . . As for the fight, what is there to say? All the Tyson-ites who thought he was as good as ever were wrong, and all the hysterics calling for Holyfield to retire were wrong, too. 2 yrs ago we went through a similar thing when Foreman beat Moorer, albeit to a lesser degree. But this was even bigger, one for the ages. Also nice to have a good man as Champion again . . . Akinwande and Moorer also defended their titles, Akinwande the more impressive though both scored stoppages. . . More good stuff coming up: Bowe-Golota II (setting up Bowe-Holyfield IV?), Mercer-Spoon and, in Jan, Lewis-McCall II. CRUSIERWEIGHTS Champion: Nate Miller (WBA) 1. Marcelo Dominguez (WBC) 2. Adolfo Washington (IBF) 3. Ralf Rocchigiani (WBO) 4. Chris Okoh 5. Alexander Gurov 6. Fabrice Tiozzo 7. Carl Thompson 8. Akim Tafer 9. Torsten May 10. Juan Carlos Gomez After months of delay, I hear that Miller-Tiozzo will happen on 11 Jan. Keep your fingers crossed . . . Dominguez' Oct title defense was canceled, but no big deal, as it was against an unknown. Next up: Gurov . . . Gomez fought, as did perennially-active Okoh, who moves ahead of idle Gurov . . . Where's Thompson? He hasn't fought in mths and risks losing his place in the Top 10 unless he becomes active. LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS Champion: Henry Maske (IBF) 1. James Toney (WBU) 2. Graciano Rocchigiani 3. Virgil Hill (WBA) 4. Dariusz Michalczewski (WBO) 5. Montell Griffin 6. Eddy Smulders 7. Lou Del Valle 8. Merqui Sosa 9. Mohammad Siluvangui 10. Rocky Gannon Look for changes here next mth: we have Maske-Hill, Toney-Griffin and Michalczewski-Smulders in Dec . . . Yep, I said Michalczewski-Smulders -- Evidently Tiger wasn't so hot to face Rocchigiani again in a match he's sure to lose . . . Del Valle and Griffin scored wins in stay-busy fights . . . Chris Eubank is back as a Lt. Heavy. I'd love to see him work his way up and become a contender here. SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS Champion: Roy Jones (IBF) 1. Steve Collins (WBO) 2. Frank Liles (WBA) 3. Henry Wharton 4. Robin Reid (WBC) 5. Thulane Malinga 6. Joseph Kiwanuka 7. Michael Nunn 8. Vincent Nardiello 9. Vinnie Pazienza 10. Charles Brewer Well, I'd say Jones finally has a solid match-up at this weight: Collins. What a tough guy . . . Benn quits and retires -- 3 losses in a row is an odd way to end his career . . . Kiwanuka impressive in taking out Segundo Mercado, and moves up 2 notches . . . Where's Nunn? Probably incarcerated, but he needs to get active nevertheless . . . Wharton active, and Brewer returns w/a win . . . Remember Luciano Torres? He was ranked here for awhile, but dropped after mths of inactivity. Well, this mth he lost to a guy who is 9-7-3. I would bet his idleness played no small part in this embarrassing loss. MIDDLEWEIGHTS Champion: TITLE VACANT 1. Bernard Hopkins (IBF) 2. Lonnie Bradley (WBO) 3. Keith Holmes (WBC) 4. John David Jackson 5. Simon Brown (IBC) 6. William Joppy (WBA) 7. Jorge Castro 8. Andrew Council 9. Anthony Stephens 10. Shinji Takehara Holmes and Joppy underwhelmed me, especially the former. From what they showed, Hopkins would handle both on the same night . . . What's up w/JD Jackson? I keep hearing he's everyone's mandatory challenger (he's #1 in the WBA and IBF and #5 in the WBC -- and unranked by the WBO. Go figure). When's he gonna get his deserved title shot? . . . Council in as the former highly-rated Jr. Middle blasted out solid Alan Watts. Impressive . . . Council displaces Aaron Davis . . . Takehara unheard from since losing his title to Joppy. He'll exit next mth if he doesn't fight. JR. MIDDLEWEIGHTS Champion: Terry Norris (WBC & IBF) 1. Winky Wright (WBO) 2. Laurent Boudouani (WBA) 3. Carl Daniels 4. Bronco McKart 5. Paul Vaden 6. Julio Cesar Vasquez 7. Emmett Linton 8. Vincent Pettway 9. Gianfranco Rosi 10. Buddy McGirt Looming Norris-Felix Trinidad mega-fight overshadows everything else here . . . Andrew Council exits to 160 -- McGirt in to replace him . . . Wright, Pettway and Vaden all were active . . . McKart mysteriously idle since losing his title to Wright. He drops starting next mth unless he fights . . . This division is full of ex-titlists (Daniels, McKart, Pettway, Vasquez, McGirt and Rosi), and needs new blood. WELTERWEIGHTS Champion: Pernell Whitaker (WBC) 1. Ike Quartey (WBA) 2. Felix Trinidad (IBF) 3. Jose Luis Lopez (WBO) 4. Pat Coleman 5. Oba Carr 6. Vince Phillips 7. Tony Martin 8. Luis Ramon Campas 9. Derrell Coley 10. Adrian Stone After the great mth we had in Oct, this division deserved a respite. Only Stone and Phillips fought in Oct . . . Word from the WBO is that Lopez tested positive for something (they didn't say what), and will be stripped of his title. Unfortunately, he also may lose the impressive result when he Koed Campas as well . . . The biggest thing on the horizon here (hell, the biggest thing in the sport) is Trinidad-Norris in Feb. Can't wait. JR. WELTERWEIGHTS Champion: Oscar de la Hoya (WBC) 1. Frankie Randall (WBA) 2. Kostya Tszyu (IBF) 3. Julio Cesar Chavez 4. Charles Murray 5. Giovanni Parisi (WBO) 6. Juan Coggi 7. Dingaan Thobela 8. Miguel Angel Gonzalez 9. Khalid Rahilou 10. Rafael Ruelas Nothing to report this mth, but much coming up: Chavez fights again in Dec. against fringe contender Mickey Ward, the Champion defends against Gonzalez and Rahilou challenges Randall in Jan. and there's the rumored Tszyu-Murray bout after the new yr. LIGHTWEIGHTS Champion: TITLE VACANT 1. George Scott (WBU) 2. Phillip Holiday (IBF) 3. Orzubek Nazarov (WBA) 4. Stevie Johnston 5. Jean-Baptiste Mendy (WBC) 6. John-John Molina 7. Cesar Bazan 8. Ivan Robinson 9. Demetrio Ceballos 10. Billy Irwin Nazarov, idle since an Apr. win over a WBA stooge contender and w/no defenses scheduled, drops again, as Holiday overtakes him. Holiday enjoyed a gimme defense over an unrated fighter, but has a solid challenge coming from Robinson (on HBO) in Dec. Look for Holiday to take over the #1 spot after he defeats the Philadelphian . . . Anyone heard from Molina? Also idle for a long time, he drops a notch . . . Mendy's defense against the deserving Johnston was unfortunately delayed . . . Scott active w/a win . . . Ceballos wins, too, and moves ahead of Irwin. JR. LIGHTWEIGHTS Champion: Azumah Nelson (WBC) 1. Regilio Tuur (WBO) 2. Arturo Gatti (IBF) 3. Tracy Harris Patterson 4. Jungsoo Choi (WBA) 5. Anatoly Alexandrov 6. Robert Garcia 7. Jacobin Yoma 8. Angel Manfredy (WBU) 9. Harold Warren 10. Julian Wheeler What happened to Nelson-Hernandez? It disappeared, but I'm not unhappy to see Genaro The Heart Hernandez not get his unearned title shot. What I am is ready to see is another appearance by The Professor (who woulda thrashed Hernandez) . . . Warren and Wheeler move in to displace Jose Vida Ramos and Justin Juuko. Wheeler upset Jorge Paez w/a good win, and Warren looked great outworking up-and-comer Johnny Brown. Add to that his controversial loss to Patterson earlier this yr, and Warren is a solid new contender. FEATHERWEIGHTS Champion: Luisito Espinoza (WBC) 1. Tom Johnson (IBF) 2. Wilfredo Vasquez (WBA) 3. Naseem Hamed (WBO) 4. Kevin Kelley (WBU) 5. Angel Vasquez 6. Jose Badillo 7. Derrick Gainer 8. Orlando Canizales 9. Manuel Medina 10. Juan Marquez Good month here . . . Angel Vasquez moves up a notch w/a very impressive blast-out of former-contender Miguel Arrozal. There's a new contender on the scene . . . Canizales in w/a good revenge stoppage of Sergio Reyes (another wife/girlfriend-beater gets his due) . . . Espinoza, Marquez and Hamed also scored stay-busy wins . . . Canizales' ascendancy displaces Cesar Soto . . . Where's Badillo? He drops starting next month if he doesn't fight. ====================================================== End Quote: "Sanctioning bodies aren't helping boxing any longer. I think it's got to the point where they're hurting the sport. I think they should be eliminated." -- by Randy Gordon, quoted in "Tiberi The Uncrowned Champion" (1992). =====================================================
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