|. . . THE CYBER BOXING ZONE JOURNAL||
SPIRITUAL ADVISER ON ALL MATTERS FISTIC:
HISTORY & RESEARCH:
Hank Kaplan, Tracy Callis, Matt Tegen
BoxngRules, Adrian Cusack, Derek Cusack, DscribeDC, Thomas Gerbasi, Dave Iamele, Phrank Da Slugger, Pusboil
Enrique Encinosa, Randy Gordon, Mike Moscone, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, Jim Trunzo, Barry Lindenman
- Explosion on Long Island by Mike DeLisa
- If You Can't Eat 'em Join 'em by Pusboil
- Using the "N" Word by Pedro Fernandez
- From Corner to Corner by Randy Gordon
- Interview with Angel Manfredy by Thomas Gerbasi
- Dempsey-Louis by Gene Tunney
- Joe Louis: For All Time by BoxngRules
- The Boxer: A Film Review by Derek Cusack
- The Great Naz Debate by Derek Cusack and Joe Bruno
- Dirty Boulevard Pt. 2 by GorDoom
- Interview with Chuck Bodak by Thomas Gerbasi
- Promoters War in Europe by Daniel Van De Wiele
- February Ratings by Phrank Da Slugger
by GorDoomBoy, do we have a great issue for our readers this month!
We begin by warning everybody, that The Scourge Of The New York Islands, are not so beloved, founder/publisher is back!
Mike DeLisa, my partner in this lash-up we call the Cyber Boxing Zone, has been missing in action since the “Munch In The Crunch”, more commonly known as Holyfield-Tyson ll. He was so blown out by Spare Change Mike’s eating habits, that he’s been in a deep boxing depression in the intervening eight months since Ironic Mike developed a taste for human cartilage ...
Can’t say I blame him, our beloved sport has been reeling since last June 28. DeLisa has devoted the last few months to intensive research on the history of the sport. & boy howdy, it has paid off!
Check out our Boxing History section & you will see the fruits of Mike’s, Tracy Callis’ & Mike Tegen’s labors ... These guys, along with our fistic, spiritual adviser, Hank Kaplan, are the best historical research team operating in boxing today ...
But I digress ... We also have two new contributors, one is Pedro Fernandez, the well known boxing writer for Flash/Boxing Update, who also has a great boxing radio show on Talk/America.
The other new writer, Daniel Van De Wiele, is a pal of our European boxing maven, Derek Cusak, who has contributed an article on the promoter wars in Europe.
The rest of this issue is written by our usual crew of suspects ... But I do have to mention two extraordinary pieces that are included.
One was sent to me by the good doctor, Ferdie Pacheco. It’s a Saturday Evening Post article, written in 1939, by get this, Gene Tunney! It deals with a mythic dream match-up between the “Brown Bomber”, Joe Louis, & the Manassa Mauler, Jack Dempsey. This is a fascinating period piece that illustrates Tunney’s innate racism ...
However, the centerpiece of this issue, is an incredible interview, conducted by Thomas Gerbasi, with the Yoda of boxing, the venerable Chuck Bodak.
If ever a man deserved to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame, based on his long & meritorious service to the sport - that man is Chuck Bodak.
The CBZ, beginning next month, will feature a new column entitled, “Off The Top Of My Head”: ask Chuck Bodak. What this will be, is Chuck answering boxing questions from our writers & our readers. I invite all of you to send in questions for Chuck & we will feature the good ones monthly.
So enjoy the new issue folks, keep your chin tucked, & keep punching!
New in the Cyber Boxing Zone
By The Research Staff
I know that many readers of this e-mag simply bookmark the page and download the newest issues as they are posted. By doing so you are missing out on lots of great stuff on our page. In recent weeks, we have added or updated the following:
Please check out our on-line encyclopedia of "Boxing History", including a list of all Bareknuckle Champions (including an evolving section on American Bare-knuckle champs) and many updated records for Queensberry champions. Our records for such well-known fighters as Jim Corbett, Bob Fitsimmons, Max Baer, also include many otherwise unlisted bouts and exhibitions. Our records of more obscure champs such as The Dixie Kid are also impeccable.
Our new section on Black Dynamite contains biographies and records of such greats as Panama Joe Gans, Kid Norfolk, and Young Jack Thompson.
Explosion on Long Island (Feb. 10, 1998)
by Mike DeLisaOne of the truly enjoyable experiences a fight fan can have is attending a well-run club fight. In New York, especially on Long Island, a good fight card is the exception rather than the rule. On Tuesday, February 10, 1998, however, Explosion Promotions showed why its events are a sure bet for action and enjoyment.
The event was held at the imposing "Vanderbilt" a restaurant/nightclub in Plainview, New York -- a scant 3 minutes from my house. At the entrance to the hall, a table was set up with a free program and some other promotional material. There was a list of fights for that night and a flyer for the upcoming card on March 12 -- interestingly Derek Panza, a local favorite, was listed as 3-0 on the program and 4-0 for the next fight. I guess he was expected to win!
There is a bar on both sides of the ring so I grabbed a Jack on the rocks and settled in to review who would be fighting.
The six-bout card was to be headlined by Kevin Lueshing, who had dropped Felix Trinidad in a recent title bout. Also appearing would be 4-time Golden Glove Champ Bryan Adams, hard-hitting and popular Derek Panza, and one of my favorites Michael Corleone, who enters the ring to the theme from "The Godfather."
To fully appreciate the joys of a good club fight, you have to get there early and watch all of the fights. Most often the best fights are on the undercard.
Bout 1: Khalid Muhammad v. Maurepaz Auguste, middleweights.
The first bout got off promptly. Auguste, from Irvington, NJ, dropped Muhammad twice with countershots in the first round. Muhammad, however, after some urging from his cornermen, got back in the fight and competed fairly well until being dropped again in the fourth and final round. Auguste got the deserving unanimous decision. More importantly, however, Khalid didn't quit.
After the first bout warm-up I scouted the crowd, which was rapidly filling in. Sitting behind me was Long Island favorite Richie Melito, who would be headlining the March 12 card. Buddy McGirt, Mark Breland, Zab Judah, Jake the Snake Rodriquez, Lawrence Cley-Bey, and Cathy Collins all circulated among the crowd. Later on, I spotted former commissioner and all-around good guy Randy Gordon and we sent a few minutes chatting about the Cyber Boxing Zone and other boxing items.
Bout 2: Derek Panza v. Scott "Streetfighter" Chestnut, heavies.
Derek Panza already has a fan following after just 4 pro bouts. He is also a ranked kick-boxer, undefeated in 8 contests. The 215-pound Panza was up against Mike Dokes look-alike Scottie Chestnut. Panza, a calm looking dude, came out bombing and the crown was immediately into the fight. Chestnut decided to make a stand and the two went punch for punch for several moments. Panza go clubbed high on the head and stumbled forward while Chestnut cuffed at him. The ref called it a slip and the two continued. Panza forced Chestnut to the far side of the ropes and began exchanging again. Chestnut beat him t the punch and Panza badly hurt slumped to his haunches.
Derek got up very slowly and glassy eyed as Chestnut moved in for the finish. A lack of harmony then ensued. The two exchanged hard punches. Panza was down again. In another exchange, he went down again on a slip. After the second knockdown, Chestnut seemed out of gas. Suddenly, Panza landed several hard shots and the crowd jumped to its feet in unison. Chestnut turned away, and the referee administered a standing 8 count. (The standing 8 is one of the annoying parts of NY's rules). Panza was on him again -- punch after punch reined in on a slumping Chestnut. The ref administered another 8-count, then stopped the fight at 2:58 of round one. WHEW!
My only regret at the stoppage is that it go into the second round so I could get a better look at the round card girls.
Bout 3. Robert Alvarez v. Mark Joseph, Jr. welters.
Alvarez and Joseph are scheduled for 6 rounds. Joseph and Alvarez are both fairly sharp in the first, but Alvarez shows a tendency to follow to the right, a tendency that will cost him the fight.
Alvarez starts to land harder shots in the take control in the second round, but both fighters continue to work hard.
Between the second and third rounds, one of the round card girls enters the ring with a very tight dress. Her walk, coupled with the fact that her arms are over her head with the round card causes her dress to start hitching up over her ass. Luckily, she makes two circuits around the ring so that by the time she passes again, her dress is around her waist and I get a very pleasant view of all of her assets.
Announcer Pat Waldron then got off the best line of the night: "On March 12 Richie Melito will also be letting it all hang out in the ring!" Waldron is perhaps the wittiest announcer in the ring today and on any card he calls he usually has a few zingers.
Joseph slowly pulls ahead and wins the unanimous decision.
Bout 4: Jose Fernandez v. Michael Corleone, jr. middles.
The slow horns of the Godfather Theme roll over the audience as Michael Corleone slowly walks to the ring. Corleone, who started out as a junior welter, is a cute little fighter who usually puts on a good performance. He has very good skills and timing, so I don't know how he lost to another Long Island fighter, Richard Kiley.
Corleone has a tough guy in front of him in Fernandez, who has traveled down from the Bronx with the intent to win. Corleone, though, maintains a good pace and pulls some old-timer tricks out of the bag. In the fourth, Corleone stands flat-footed, weaving his shoulders in center ring. Fernandez moves in and is dumped by a counter right. By the 8th, Corleone, although clearly ahead, has received a whole series of debilitating body shots. After the bell ends the fight, the Godfather leans over the top rope, shakes his head and says "I ain’t never fighting that guy again!"
The decision for Corleone is unanimous.
Bout 5. Joseph Figueroa v. Bryan Adams, lightweights.
For all the grittiness and clever skills shown by Corleone, it was the exact opposite in this fight, featuring 4-time glove champ Bryan Adams. The tall Adams, who fights with a smirk, was matched with a fireplug named Joe Figueroa. Adams, trained by Mark Breland, gets hit way too much and although he has amateur skills, is sorely lacking what is needed to succeed as a pro. He was staggered by a wild left from Figueroa and later by an uppercut. Adams won just about every round but looked lousy in doing so.
After seeing Panza and Corleone use all of their will and ability to win, it was sort of disappointing to see an obviously talented athlete pose and prance around for the win.
Bout 6. Kevin Lueshing v. Benji Singleton, middles.
The main event featured Lueshing, from Kent, England and opponent Benji Singleton, who has over 25 losses. What should have been a showcase for Lueshing turned out to be a dud as Singleton clinched frequently before retiring with a claimed shoulder separation at 2:56 of the third round. Referee Wayne Kelly but it best when informing the ringside judges his reason for stopping the fight : "He quit." Afterwards it was discovered that Singleton had indeed severely injured his shoulder, possibly ending his long career.
All in all, an excellent local card and I look forward to the next fight on March 12. (See our upcoming fights section for ticket info.)
If You Can’t Eat ‘Em Join 'Em
by PusboilHere is the latest of strange events surrounding Mike Tyson’s career. Former Evander Holyfield manager Shelly Finkel, has confirmed that he is joining Irv Azoff and Jeff Wald as Tyson’s newest advisers.
Of course there will be the threat of litigation by Don King. But keep in mind all of the allegations made against King the last few weeks regarding the handling of Tyson’s cash flow. If any of these are close to being true, King might not want to have that come up in a court of law. If it does, I would love to see Mills Lane behind the bench. I can picture it now. "Mr. King are you ready?, Mr. Tyson are you ready? LET"S GET IT ON!!!". That I would pay to see on pay-per-view.
In my humble opinion, anything is better for Tyson than what he has now. Tyson once said he would rather be ripped off by a black man than a white man. Well, I guess he is starting to see it’s not the black or the white, but the green that makes the difference.
Horne and Holloway would be gone. Let’s all have a moment of silence. Yeah right. These guys have been a joke from the beginning. With their $1,000 Armani suits and lovely hats, at least we know they will be able to dress nice for their next job interviews. I wonder if they only come in the matched set or if they could be separated.
Don King would have to start paying attention to something other than drumming up visions of Tyson-Holyfield III. Showtime and Kingvision would lose their biggest draw. Another moment of silence please. The networks deserve this simply for the way they promote Tyson and his previous antics.
Let’s tally up the scorecards and see who wins. First of all you have Horne and Holloway out of a lucrative no-work job. Next is King’s biggest meal ticket earning dinner’s at Windows of the World for someone else. And lastly you have Tyson who may actually earn more of his own money, and have better people surrounding him to give him good advice and keep him out of trouble and I dare say it, make him a better person.
And the winner is: Boxing by a unanimous decision.
I hate to make Tyson seem like a victim here, because he is ultimately responsible for his actions. But he obviously needs guidance in his professional and personal life. At age 32, he may be getting to the point of no return. If he cannot be given another chance as a fighter, he does deserve another chance as a human being.
Using the "N" Word
by Pedro FernandezI remember drawing the wrath of a Black Captain when I was working for the Sheriff's Department in San Francisco years ago because I mentioned both "Joe Louis and Uncle Tom" in the same sentence. Since race is such a volatile issue, one that most writers avoid like HIV, I have decided to do a column about it from a famous Black mans perspective.
While I was in China with Muhammad Ali in 1994, I put the issue of race before a man who had become so disillusioned with the division between blacks and whites in this country, he threw his l960 Olympic Gold Medal into a Kentucky river.
"Louisville was a place where Niggers knew not to step out of line. Being a loud mouth kid, I found that out winning the medal didn't make me white. " said Ali as we sat in a Mercedes in traffic.
"I thought-hoped that the world would change. But prejudice because of color is.. it's worse in some places..You still read about lawn burnings, the Klan, White people say they are scared of Niggers, but it's the Nigger who should be afraid. Niggers don't have the power or the money."
People think that all Muslims hate White folks. Comment on that. "As a Muslim, I am not a racist. I don't follow (Louis) Farakhan. There are many Muslims who do not follow Farakhan, and are still devoted."
You spent time with Malcolm (X) and you knew Martin (Luther King). Do you think if they were not assassinated that race relations would be better now? "Malcolm had been to Mecca. He saw that Muslims were not all black. Malcolm believed Blacks and Whites could...learn to live in peace. That's why he was shot."
There is a lot of controversy on who ordered the assassination of Malcolm. Farakhan, The Mafia, and White extremists using Black gunman are the three suspect groups named most often. Who do you think did it? "The Mafia? Why would the Mafia kill Malcolm?" Ali asked. Because he wanted to shutdown the Numbers rackets, and the pushing of Dope to Black citizens in Harlem. He was a threat to their livelihood.
"You're not as dumb as you look." What about Farakhan, was he involved? "I don't know who, I just think there were people who wanted Malcolm dead. All the people who were for racial equality were killed in the 60's. Malcolm, Martin, the Kennedys."
Was Joe Louis an Uncle Tom? A moment of thought before Ali says. "Not in that Step and Fetch way. But he was a tool of the white government. He thought being champ would make him white. He found out...he was just another Nigger. Just like you. To some white men, anything other than white is a nigger. Not all people think that way...alot of powerful people with money. This country was founded on racism. It will never go away."
Do you ever second guess becoming a Muslim? "No. If I wasn't a Muslim, I wouldn't be famous. I'd be just another old fighter trying to live off the past. I travel and spread the word on Allah, the plague (Aids) and preach Peace." Are you at peace with yourself? Ali laughed. "Nigger please. You spent all this time with me, and you ask something stupid. You are as dumb as you look."
It turns out Muhammad Ali, the most renowned Black man on the planet uses the "N" word more than OJ Simpson witness Mark Fuhrman.
FROM CORNER TO CORNER
by Randy GordonRather than give you one item or story to sink your teeth into, I decided--with so much going on--to turn this month's writing into a boxing notes column, a veritable smorgasbord of fistic delight.
Am I the only person in boxing who gives Shannon Briggs even the tiniest of chances to defeat Lennox Lewis on March 28? It certainly seems that way. Lewis is good. In fact, he's real good. But look at what he's done lately. He's beaten a psycho case in Andrew Golota, a scared-as-a-bunny rabbit Henry Akinwande, who held Lewis as tight as you held your lover on Valentine's Day and Oliver McCall, who mentally unraveled right there in front of Lewis and referee Mills Lane and millions watching on HBO.
In September 1994, when McCall had it all together, he stopped Lewis in the second round. As I said, Lewis is real good. But is he the next great heavyweight champion? Heck, I'm not sure he'll be as good as Riddick Bowe was for the period between 1991-1993. Remember, Shannon Briggs can punch and George Foreman can take as hefty a lick as any heavyweight champion ever. Lewis does not have a George Foreman chin. The chin he possesses can and has been dented. Lewis' offensive tools are impressive and getting better with every outing. His jab is major league all the way. Together, those tools may be too much for Briggs to deal with.
Yet, it's the power of Briggs which intrigues me. It just takes one of his wrecking balls to turn a fight in his direction. It's true he's relatively untested. It's just as true his chin may be shakier and more dentable than Lewis' British squash. Yet, somehow, someway, I'm not writing Briggs off. Remember what happened in 1990, when we all wrote a guy by the name of James "Buster" Douglas off against an undefeated powerhouse named Mike Tyson?
I've been asked a lot lately, where's the "Pocket Rocket," Wayne McCullough? Actually, he's been fighting, though not in the ring. He's been at war with his promoter, Mat Tinley, who claims to have an ironclad contract with McCullough. As of this month, McCullough has been on the shelf for just over one year. A pity, as he is truly one of the sport's more exciting warriors.
Pernell Whitaker vs. Ike Quartey on April 25 figures to be a dandy, matching up one of history's slickest and smartest champions with an unbeaten champion who possesses one-punch KO power in both fists. Many of my friends are saying Quartey in this one. Well, for one final night, I'll go with the man who has amazed me with his incredible boxing skills since before the 1984 Olympics where he won a gold medal.
If I wore a hat, I'd tip it to Bert "The Hat" Sugar, who has come out with boxing's newest magazine, "Bert Sugar's Fight Game." It's 76 pages of slick paper and full color and chock full of stories written by some of the biggest names in boxing journalism. Uh, but Bert, just who is The Pug?
While on the topic of boxing magazines, I think Herbert G. Goldman does a sensational job with International Boxing Digest. However, what was he thinking when he put together his latest issue? On the cover is--no, not Oscar De La Hoya or Roy Jones or even Muhammad Ali (who always was a seller)--Harry Wills. I'll say it again. Harry Wills. How many of today's boxers know who Harry Wills was? I'll tell you how many. None. Why, at a recent fight card on Long Island, I asked all 12 of the boxers on the card how many had heard of Wills. None of them did. Of the 12, only eight knew who Willie Pep was, only four ever heard of Carlos Monzon and only three knew who Victor Galindez was. Five knew of Jose Napoles. But Harry Wills on the cover? Is Goldman purposely trying to keep sales low? As it is, you can hardly find his great magazine on the stands. Now this. I'm surprised!
I have always been a fan and supporter of female boxing. However, just 20 years ago, there were few who wanted it. Today, it's in demand and growing rapidly. Why, ESPN even dedicated their Sunday, February 15th card exclusively to professional female boxing. And you know what? They provided more action than I've seen on an all-male card in quite a long time. Love that 39-year-old Dora Webber. Dora lost a 10-round split-decision to Gina Guidi, but fought her heart out and even looked to win the battle. I don't remember the last time two males went at it for 10 rounds with the same ferocity. I really hope ESPN gives us an encore of that sensational show.
While of the topic of female boxing, the world's top two females--Lucia Rijker and Christy Martin--were offered a $1.5 million package to split. The numbers were fine to Rijker and to her manager, Stan Hoffman, but not to Ms. Martin and her promoter, Don King. Actually, we've heard King accepted the numbers but Martin still balked. I've also heard that Hoffman offered to take $250,000 from Rijker's end and give it to Martin, allowing her to earn a cool million, but still she shook her head. It's too bad, because a Rijker-Martin fight is a great one (I like it better than Lennox Lewis-Shannon Briggs and a host of other bouts featured marquis males) and should take place. From this corner, it looks as if the holdup is coming from Martin's side. As Joe Louis used to say about his opponents, "They can run, but they can't hide."
I hope what I'm hearing is not true, that the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board has issued a boxer's license to Luis Resto. This is the same Luis Resto who had his license revoked by the New York State Athletic Commission after he and trainer Panama Lewis were found guilty of tampering with Resto's gloves the night of June 16, 1983 at Madison Square Garden. In that fight, against previously undefeated Billy Collins Jr., Collins suffered irreparable eye damage, thus ending his promising career. A distraught Collins turned to alcohol and drugs and, nine months after the fight, took his life. A subsequent hearing found both Lewis and Resto guilty of tampering with the outcome of a professional prizefight and their licenses were revoked. Lewis was indicted on the charges, found guilty and sent to jail for five years. He has been unable to secure a trainer's license in the United States (with the exception of Florida and Pennsylvania) and Resto has been repeatedly turned down by state after state for a boxer's license. If it is true that Resto has been granted his boxer's license, it is an embarrassing and disgraceful mark on the long and storied history of the New Jersey Commission.
Looks like referee Mills Lane is going to become a judge. No, not a fight judge, a TV judge, like Judge Judy, handling real cases. He recently closed the deal with the television packagers and his show will begin early this summer. Because television loves showmanship, I'm wondering if Lane will start each hearing by asking, "Any questions from the plaintiff? Any questions from the defendant?" You know what's next. "Let's get it on!"
When is Felix Trinidad going to step to the plate and show us just how good he is?...If Roberto Duran continues to fight into the year 2000, he will become the first man ever to fight in five different decades. Manos de Piedra, who will be 47 in June, turned pro in 1967.
I really want to see more of Sugar Shane Mosley. The IBF Lightweight Champion, who is just 26, looks to be the sports' next great fighter. Apparently, he can do it all. Time will certainly tell.
It's a shame we don't get to see more of boxing's best all-around fighter, Roy Jones, Jr...Expect Mike Tyson to join forces with ex-basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson, then Johnson to join forces with British promoter Frank Warren. And expect the Nevada State Athletic Commission to give Tyson his license back when he reapplies in July.
Expect flashy Prince Naseem Hamed to face any, some or all of these names over the next year: Arturo Gatti, Kevin Kelley, Kennedy McKinney, Junior Jones, Marco Barrera, Azumah Nelson and Gabriel Ruelas. Don't strain your eyes looking for the name of Angel Manfredy on the Hamed opponent list. Won't happen! The Hamed people thought Manfredy looked like Superman against hard-hitting Arturo Gatti and will fight Manfredy only if they have to.
Expect a world title for David Tua in 1998. This powerhouse, who has lost only once--to Ike Ibeabuchi on decision--will overwhelm just about all the heavyweights on the scene today...Ditto for Michael Grant. This big guy is for real and is rapidly improving.
I look forward to watching and covering as much boxing as I can in 1998. I have a feeling this year is going to be a sensational one.
Angel "El Diablo" Manfredy
Interview conducted by Thomas GerbasiOne of boxing's best kept secrets, junior lightweight Angel Manfredy burst into the public eye on January 17th, as he dismantled Arturo Gatti with a convincing eighth round TKO. Now holding all the aces, Manfredy has established himself as one of boxing's pound for pound best, with big money fights with Hamed, Hernandez, and Gatti in his future. The CyberBoxing Zone welcomes the WBU junior lightweight champion, who took time out of his hectic schedule to answer a few questions.
TG - How did you get started in boxing?
AM - When I was a boy in Gary, I would always get into fights. At the age of six, we moved to East Chicago, and I got into a fight after school one day. My father, fed up with my fighting, took me to a boxing gym to keep me off the streets.
TG - After a couple of early losses, were you discouraged, and if so, how did you bounce back?
AM - No, I knew in my heart I could be a winner. I felt I beat myself after those losses. They changed me because I didn't like to lose, and I became more focused on boxing.
TG - When did you realize that you had the potential in boxing to become a champion?
AM - I've known all my life that I could become a champion, but after the car accident I began to take it more seriously.
TG - What is your ultimate goal in boxing?
AM - To become the best junior lightweight of All-Time.
TG - Who are some of your favorite fighters, past and present?
AM - Roberto Duran, Julio Caesar Chavez, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, and Evander Holyfield.
TG - How did you hook up with John Taylor and Sam Colonna (Angel's co-trainers)?
AM - Taylor has been with me all my life. He began coaching me when I was eleven with the Gary Police Athletic League. I began working with Sam after my second loss. It was time for a change in the right direction.
TG - How does your faith come into play, knowing that you're in a business where the object is to knock your opponent out?
AM - I'll be praying for both of us so we both come out well. I always pray for me and my opponent. It doesn't take play whether he's a Christian and I'm not. I don't care. God bless him, God bless me, and let's do it. It is a big part of my life. It gives me strength to accomplish what I do in the ring.
TG - You have three children. If your son came to you when he got older and wanted to be a fighter, what would your reaction be? Would you encourage or discourage it?
AM - It's up to my son to decide, but he will know he will have his father by his side. I know the business of boxing and I will make it easier for him without having to go through the things I have been through.
TG - You're of Puerto Rican descent. What's your following like over there?
AM - I have found that I have a huge following in Puerto Rico now that everyone knows I am of Puerto Rican descent. I am very proud to represent my race.
THE ARTURO GATTI FIGHT
TG - What was the damage to your hand, and how long will it keep you out of action?
AM - I severely sprained my hand during the fight, and made it worse by continuing to hit Gatti with it. I will need 3-4 weeks of rehab to strengthen it back to normal.
TG - Was the Gatti fight tougher or easier than you thought it would be?
AM - It was everything I expected it to be, and I came prepared. Exactly what you saw.
TG - You chased Gatti for a long time. Has beating him been everything you thought it would be, or has there been a letdown?
AM - It has been worth the wait. I sacrificed a lot to get into a match with Gatti, and now my career will benefit from that win.
TG - Will there be a rematch? Will you fight him differently? How do you think he'll try to change to fight you?
AM - I believe there will be a rematch, but further down the road. I have some other opponents I have to get out of the way first. I think our game plan worked perfectly and next time I will have a healthy hand and ribcage. I think Gatti will come with the same plan, too.
TG - Has it bothered you that a lot of the attention on your performance has been overshadowed by talk of the cut Gatti suffered?
AM - No, it was my boxing skills and ability to turn over my punches that cut Gatti. Gatti's cut was closed for most of the fight - during rounds I won. Fighters have to learn to win with or without cuts - in boxing anything can happen. Gatti will probably get cut during our rematch and he has to consider that chance.
TG - Is he the hardest puncher you've faced?
AM - He has a pretty good punch, but Wilfredo Ruiz was pretty strong too.
TG - What are your thoughts on the Prince?
AM - The Prince is a joke. England has very few good fighters, and when they get one, they treat them like Gods. The Prince hasn't been tested, and has fought handpicked guys long past their primes, and at the end of their careers.
TG - What was your take on the Hamed-Kelley fight, and what did Kelley do wrong against Hamed?
AM - Kelley had a chance to win the fight, but all the attention surrounding the Prince got into his head and distracted him. He lost his patience in the fight.
TG - Would you mind fighting him in England?
AM - I do not care where I fight the Prince. Fighting him in England will only make me stronger. I enjoy coming to people's hometowns without any fans or support. It makes me more focused.
TG - How do you feel about his long ring entrances, and how would you react to it if you fight him?
AM - I enjoy his entrances, but they are kinda long. I will enjoy his music while he walks to the ring. It won't change my focus, and he'll still lose the fight.
TG - Juan Ortiz?
AM - Juan was one of my early boxing coaches, and I learned a lot about how to throw punches and the Mexican style of boxing.
TG - Tom Johnson?
AM - Tom is at the end of his career, but a person who has great experience and boxing skills.
TG - Charles McClelland?
AM - Charles is one of those opponents that helped me become more focused on boxing. Even though he was a ten round fighter in my first pro fight, I believe it helped me become who I am today.
TG - Genaro Hernandez?
AM - A junior lightweight champ who takes easy fights to keep his belt, and does not fight any risky fights. He will continue to avoid me.
TG - Floyd Mayweather?
AM - A fighter who thinks he is great, but hasn't fought anyone yet. Record proves nothing. May be a good fighter if he beats some quality opponents.
TG - Oscar DeLa Hoya?
AM - Needs to fight the best in his division to prove he is the best in the world. His promoter gives him easy fights, like Genaro.
TG - Felix Trinidad?
AM - The best fighter in his weight class, and he can beat DeLa Hoya.
TG - Evander Holyfield?
AM - Best heavyweight fighter in the world today.
TG - Roy Jones Jr?
AM - Great fighter, but he needs to fight the best in his weight class before becoming a heavyweight. Too focused on money.
TG - Mike Tyson?
AM - Mike will never be as great as he was at 21. He got mixed up with the wrong people (promoter).
TG - Roberto Duran and Julio Caesar Chavez?
AM - Two of the greatest fighters of All Time. Both should retire. Chavez does not seem as interested or focused in boxing anymore.
TG - You're one of the best marketed fighters today (website, merchandise, etc). Why is this important to you, and is this something that you've seen lacking in boxing today?
AM - It's important because it helps promote me outside of boxing. More fighters should try to market themselves between fights.
For more info on Angel Manfredy, check out his official website at http://www.eldiabloboxing.com
by Gene TunneyEditor’s Note: Could Jack Dempsey in his prime have defeated Joe Louis? Gene Tunney, himself a great heavyweight champion of the past, and twice conqueror of Dempsey, believes so. Here is a remarkable description of such a "dream fight", exactly as Gene wrote it.
Tonight the long anticipated and widely heralded contest between the young White Hope, Jack Dempsey, and the great colored fighter, Joe Louis, for the world’s heavyweight championship was fought out here in Soldier Field before a crowd that reached every corner of that huge amphitheater.
It was a wild, frenzied, maniacal audience that screamed and shouted from the backs of their benches, the backs of their neighbors, or whatever they were able to climb to, when Louis landed that first vicious right to Dempsey’s left cheek bone just 15 seconds after the bell signaled these two great gladiators on to what this scribe considers the most thrilling and savage short fight in modern history.
One has to go back to the Homeric contest between Ulysses and Irus, the Beggar, to find it’s equal. For let it be known by all that never before have two gladiators with such capacity for destruction been pitted against each other. A well deserved, but at times elusive victory went to the youngster from Utah.
For the most part of the two and a half minutes the contest lasted, it was uncertain to which of the gladiators the stately Goddess of Victory was going to extend her shapely hand. It was a close call for the victor, closer than this writer thought it would be. But to Jack Dempsey must go all the credit and all the laurels that accompany such great achievement.
I dare say, had Dempsey not had the experience of his Firpo fight, he might not have come through. In my opinion the respite he got waiting for the referee to count nine permitted him to gather himself together for his greatest win. And he needed every second of that count. There is always something cheap about saying, "I told you so," but this reporter will ask his reader’s indulgence if he seems to strut a little.
Ever since the match was made, we felt and said Dempsey would win. We have found that to most observers of thing pugilistic, the "present eye praises the present object." "They judge of what has been and cannot conceive of anything that is to be." Most experts said Louis’ boxing skill and terrific straight punching would conquer the bobbing, weaving, hooking Dempsey. They cited his victories over cumbersome Carnera, amateurish Baer, unorthodox Galento, fast and light-hitting Bob Pastor, et al. Peculiarly enough, your scribe saw enough in these contests to convince him that if Dempsey could get into the shape he was in against Firpo last year, he would upset Louis. The faults we saw in Louis in his great fights were the ones we felt would bring about his defeat.
It has been our belief that no opponent of Dempsey’s could ever become confused and expect to remain vertical long; nor could an opponent wanting in resistance expect to stay off the floor after receiving one of the left hooks Mr. Dempsey throws around at all times with ill-natured abandon. Had Louis’ resistance been commensurate with the force of his own blow, he would have won. Joe was victimized by his lack of resistance and his tendency to complete confusion.
As the bell rang, the men cautiously advanced toward each other. Louis had his guard high with his left hand extended, while Dempsey assumed a crouch which made him look somewhat awkward as he tried to bury his chin behind his left shoulder. As they got within striking distance, Louis feinted with his left, leaning back his upper body as he did so. Dempsey responded to the feint by bobbing his head to the side and stepping back a half step.
It was evident they respected each other---- great caution here!! Dempsey moved back to position; as he so Louis stuck a straight left forward which landed on Jack’s left eyebrow. In a flash Dempsey’s left was cutting upward toward Louis’ jaw, but the blow was parried by Louis’ right glove which he was holding in a high position as though anticipating this return of Dempsey’s. They clinched. Dempsey again attempted a left hook, but Louis tied him up.
After the referee broke them, Dempsey took a half step back, and with the speed and spring of a ballet dancer flung himself back at Louis, his left cutting a vindictive gash in the highly illuminated atmosphere in the general direction of Mr. Louis’ jaw. Striking out with the suddenness and poison of a cobra came Joe’s dreadful right. For a split second all was suspense, then we heard and felt the loud thud of Louis; fist against Dempsey’s left cheek bone.
The deadly right of Louis, probably the hardest punch ever seen in a ring when working right, got inside Dempsey’s wide left hook and hurled Dempsey six feet through the air. He landed on his right shoulder blade, with the soles of his feet pointed up at Louis’ face. It was a devastating blow, and while powerful enough to precipitate a 192 ½ pound man six feet, fortunately for Dempsey, it did not deprive him of his fighting faculties.
Just as soon as Jack could get to a kneeling position he did so. He was all attention to the referee, Patty Halsey, as this able arbiter counted off the nine seconds which were able to give him a new lease on life. Few thought as Dempsey rose that he would weather the relentless storm ahead.
Had Louis not missed the left hook he threw as Dempsey squared off after rising, or the terrific right hand that followed, Mr. Dempsey undoubtedly would not have been in such good health at the end of the fray. As Dempsey slipped under the right that was lettered T.N.T. and clinched he could have hardly been made the favorite. Yet as they broke from that very clinch he landed a vicious left hook on Louis’ temple hat showed Dempsey was still much in the fight.
The blow had an amazing effect on Louis. It seemed as though the color of his skin changed, the pigment took on a lighter hue. They were clinched again with Louis doing the holding. Dempsey reached his right hand around Louis’ shoulder and started raining deadening rabbit blows on the back of his neck. Louis was anxious to stop this attack. He knew it was doing him no good. He reached up and drew Dempsey’s arm down. The referee parted them.
Louis stepped back cautiously, seeming a tiny bit unsteady. Dempsey was wobbly, apparently not over the effects of that knockdown. They were at long range for just an instant. Dempsey advanced, offering his head for Louis to poke at, and then slipping or pulling away. Louis continued to break ground, boxing cautiously and waiting for another chance for that deadly right. It came.
Dempsey advanced. As he got close, Louis let it go straight form the shoulder and like lightning. It passed over Dempsey’s head as Jack dropped under it and moved close with a left uppercut meant for the liver. Jack’s blow was low. It landed on Louis’ right hip. The referee cautioned Dempsey and looked inquiringly at Louis. Joe signaled all was well.
Louis was angry, but apparently still slightly woozy. They fell into another clinch without either landing a blow, but both exchanged vicious blows at close quarters. Dempsey was cautioned again to his keep his blows up. They broke. As they squared off, Louis dropped a left hook on Dempsey’s right temple. There was lots of power an snap in the punch, for Dempsey’s knees bent. Quick as a flash, Louis’ right shot out and instinctively Dempsey’s head dropped.
The blow landed smack on the top of his head, but it had such force that Dempsey pitched forward as though hit by a club, and catching Louis around the waist, saved himself from falling. Louis tried to wrestle Dempsey away, and, though his legs were wobbly, Dempsey held on until the referee intervened. As they broke, neither man stepped back and both swung vicious wide left hooks. Dempsey’s landed first with a terrific thud against Louis’ jaw.
It was a dying man’s punch and Jack had in it everything he could muster. Louis dropped as though his legs had been cut from under him. The crowd, which had been terribly excited up to this moment, went completely mad. As Louis sat like a fallen ox we had the illusion that the upper part of his head was spinning like a top. If not literally, it did spin figuratively, for all consciousness seemed to have left him. His only urge was to climb to his feet.
Joe arose before the referee counted three. Dempsey sprang like a tiger as soon as Louis was up. He missed a left swing that nearly dragged him to the floor. When he righted himself, he stumbled back to Louis, who was standing erect and woefully woozy. Dempsey led with a long right hand that landed on the side of Louis’ head above the ear. Louis reeled from the force of the blow. Both were functioning now on sheer instinct, in an abysmal struggle for survival.
As Dempsey closed in, Louis, in a desperate effort, threw his right in the direction of Dempsey’s head. It was a game gesture which seemed to say, "I’ll go down fighting." Coming close again, Dempsey locked Louis’ right arm with his own left, and pulling him forward as he retreated, rained a series of vicious blows on the back of Louis’ neck. Louis stumbled badly and only a great fighting heart kept him from falling. The referee stepped in, pushed Jack back.
Dempsey’s weary body seemed fired by the instinct that told him the kill was imminent, for as soon as the referee was out of the way, Dempsey leaped in with an overhand right that landed behind Louis’ left ear. With the landing of the blow the "call of the wild" in Louis was silenced, and the abysmal urge in Dempsey was gratified. Louis fell face down, where he was counted out in exactly two and a half minutes after the historic contest began.
Joe Louis: For All Time
by BoxngRulesI was so inspired by the biographical film "Joe Louis: For All Time", that I decided to do a piece on this great champion.
Louis was an incredible fighter but was unfortunately still living in the time of the household rule "If you wanna be Heavyweight Champion, you've gotta be White".
Joe Louis Barrow was born in Lafayette, Alabama in 1914. Louis' family was considerably large and poor. Barrow moved to Detroit where the great Sugar Ray Robinson resided as a child and he lost his fighter to a mental hospital at an early age.
Barrow's mother signed young Joe up for ballet lessons, after only the first day he hated it. On the advice of his friend, Barrow went to the gym instead and shortened his name to Joe Louis so his mother would not learn of his boxing, in his first Amateur Bout he was knocked down 7 times but few after that.
When Mrs. Barrow learned he had been missing so many Dance Classes she asked him why, he responded "Mama, I wanna be a fighter." She then said "OK, if you want to be a fighter I'll help you."
In 1934, after winning the AAU Light Heavyweight title, he retired from Amateur Boxing with a record of 53-3 to go to the professional ranks.
Louis stopped James Kracken in 1 round in his pro debut and built up a record of 11 wins, no losses, and 9 KO's when he faced his first big test against Lee Ramage, the Californian Heavyweight Champion who had never been knocked out. Louis destroyed that by stopping him in the eighth with a thunderous left hook.
After winning 10 more fights, 8 by KO; Louis faced the towering Primo Carnera, former heavyweight champion. Carnera was best-known for fixing bouts, but could not get close to Louis and was stopped in 6 rounds. After knocking out the overmatched King Levinsky in 1 round, he faced another former champion Max Baer.
Baer was a devastating puncher, but entered the fight with a lack of training and was destroyed in 4 brutal rounds. He claimed afterward "I saw 3 Joe Louis' in there, and my legs would not stand."
Louis was in line for a shot at heavyweight champion Jimmy Braddock right when German Champion Max Schmeling moved in. Louis lost his first in 28 fights when he was knocked down twice & stopped by Schmeling in 12 rounds.
But Louis jumped back and destroyed another former champion Jack Sharkey in 3 rounds. After walking through 7 more challengers, he was in line for a shot at Jimmy Braddock and the heavyweight title.
Braddock had won the title by outpointing an ill-prepared Max Baer over 15 rounds, and had been considered a "paper champion". Braddock was supposed to face Max Schmeling in June of 1937, but because of circumstances he faced Louis instead.
Braddock stunned the crowd by knocking down "The Brown Bomber" in the first round with a left hook. Louis eventually wore down and stopped the champion in the eighth.
Louis still didn't feel right about his title belt, and needed to give Schmeling a rematch. After defending his title 3 times, the stage was set for Louis-Schmeling II. June 22, 1938.
Louis went out quick and nailed Schmeling, soon it was all Louis as Schmeling lays on the ropes. He then got off and went down off of a left hook. The Bomber put Schmeling on the mat 2 more times before the fight was finally stopped only 125 seconds into the fight.
Louis stopped Hall of Famer John Henry Lewis in 1 round the next year and also knocked out Jack Roper, Tony Galento, and Bob Pastor all in 1939.
Louis' record now stood at an amazing 44-1 with 40 knockouts. Over the next 16 months of his title reign, he stopped 7 of his 9 next challengers. The next challenger to step up was Light Heavyweight Champion Billy Conn.
Conn was a talented young Irishman with a good mix of power and cockiness. He gave Louis a heckuva fight for 12 rounds and staggered Louis badly in the 12th and 13th. Louis came back from all of that to stop Conn while behind on points in the thirteenth round.
After 3 more knockouts, Louis enlisted in the Army for World War II and would not defend his title for 4 more years. Instead he gave exhibition matches to fellow Armymen. It was later claimed he had 2 title defenses and did not receive a penny for them, one was for the Army Relief and one for the Navy Relief.
Finally in 1946, the rematch everyone was waiting for, Louis-Conn II. Unlike the first fight, Conn never got into the fight and was stopped in 8 rounds.
The rapidly aging Louis gave knockout artist Tami Mauriello a shot at the title later in 1946. Louis, 32, overcame a slow start to knock out Mauriello in the first round.
Louis was apparently coming into his later years when he faced a young talented Jersey Joe Walcott. Walcott dropped Louis twice but could not finish him off and lost a very controversial 15-round split decision.
Naturally, a rematch occurred 6 months later. Never fight Louis twice! The same thing was about to happen, Louis had been dropped but came back to knock out Walcott in the 11th.
Louis decided he had had enough and retired an undefeated champion in 1948. Ezzard Charles later claimed the title by beating Jersey Joe Walcott in 1949. Louis owed the IRS thousands in interest alone and was forced out of retirement to face the young & hungry Charles. Charles battered Louis in a one-sided bout and won on a unanimous decision.
Louis still continued to fight though, and beat run-of-the-mill heavyweights like Cesar Brion and Lee Savold. In 1951, Louis faced a powerful white hope named Rocky Marciano in what would be Louis' last bout. In this tragic bout, Louis was dropped twice and lost via 8-round stoppage. This proved nothing toward Marciano's part, who beat a good-as-retired man.
Joe Louis finally retired, and this time for good. Louis still owed thousands and thousands of dollars ($55,000 in interest alone!). Poor Joe was forced to go into wrestling and faced Cowboy Rocky Lee. Cowboy cracked his ribs which led to heart damage.
Louis was one of those people who would give you his last $40 if you really needed it. Louis moved to Las Vegas and bet on golf games he just didn't perfect as well as he did in boxing. Louis became so desperate he became a greeter and at Caesars Palace. What he was paid he gambled on, and he was very unlucky.
Louis became a referee of boxing matches and was in fact at ringside the night before he died. He was at the Larry Holmes-Trevor Berbick match. The night after, he died of heart failure April 11, 1981.
Sad ending for a great guy, Let his name stand among boxing circles forever. Thank you for listening to me babble on and on about one of the best champions of all-time :)
"THE BOXER:" A FILM REVIEW
by Derek Cusack"The Boxer" is a film which was shot and finished in Ireland but made for Hollywood. It stars Daniel Day Lewis and Emily Watson and is directed by Jim Sheridan, the Dubliner who assembled "In The Name Of The Father" and "My Left Foot" among others. Indeed, "The Boxer" has been described, not inaccurately, as "In The Name Of The Father II" by some critics.
So what has "The Boxer" got to do with boxing? Well, Barry Mc Guigan was involved in the project from day one - well before day one as it happens, more of which later - and is credited as "boxing consultant."
Daniel Day Lewis' character is Danny Flynn, a Belfast man who was jailed for 12 years for activities linked to his IRA involvement as a youth. He was reckoned to be the best fighter in Ulster by his amateur trainer, and when released decides he wants to fight as a pro.
The pro game doesn't treat the 32 - year - old Flynn too kindly, which is refreshing to see in a top movie. The last thing we need is a blockbuster which sucks in a few more Julian Jacksons and Sugar Rays and convinces them that "it could be you!" Flynn loses his first fight - a four rounder - on points, wins the rematch and travels to England for a fight against an African which he also loses. And that, my friends, is where the curtain falls on Danny Boy's pro career.
The scene at the English fight was by far the best in the movie - especially from the perspective of a fight fan. It is set as an evening of "dinner boxing," a phenomenon which has always been exclusively British and is still very common.
These evenings feature the scum de la scum getting together around lamplit tables, dressed in tuxedos and with be - jeweled women in tow. Mutton dressed as lamb, basically. Their appearance and polite applause belies their craving for blood, guts and brutality. "The Boxer" depicted this whole charade extremely accurately, even down to the "nobbins" ritual - where the dining audience throw coins into the ring (or in many cases give coins to their wives to throw) after a contest which satisfied their blood lust sufficiently. The "nobbins" are then collected by the trainer of the winning fighter. This ritual is basically a statement symbolising the besuited ones' imagined superiority over the lowly fighters and trainers: Money is thrown and collected as it would be to a wino on the street corner.
In "The Boxer," Flynn wobbles his African opponent so severely that he is in no position to tell anyone how many arms he has, let alone box on. Despite this fact, the referee wants to show the crowd some x-rated material and orders Flynn to carry on his assault. When Flynn realises the state his foe is in and the fact that the referee has no intention of coming to his rescue anytime soon, he refuses to hit the African and is in turn disqualified. He leaves the room to the disdainful glares of the audience.
It never ceases to amaze me how these crowds feign respectability time after time when they might as well don jeans and sweaters and get on a plane to The Blue Horizon. I don't mean to knock the Blue Horizon - hell, BH regulars are pacifists compared to these people. And at least they don't pretend to be interested in seeing anything but exciting brawls.
It was at one of these "dinner boxing" evenings that Barry Mc Guigan beat an African fighter named Young Ali in the early eighties. Perhaps due to the crowd's desire to see brutality while dining, and the referee's according wish to please them, Young Ali died as a result of the injuries sustained in this fight. I wonder if Mc Guigan used this film to take a stab at the audiences of such events?
Speaking of the ol' "Clones Cyclone," Barry told me back in 1994 when we went to the Benn - Mc Clellan fight together that Day Lewis was to play Mc Guigan himself in an upcoming biopic. Daniel was at ringside with us for Benn - Mc Clellan, and Barry sang the praises of the actor's left hook! Sensitive matters in the life of Mc Guigan - i.e. The whole Barney Eastwood affair, documented in these pages recently - derailed the biopic idea, and "The Boxer" is what we got instead. Some have written that this film is loosely based on Barry's life, but the life story of Danny Flynn bears a stronger resemblance to that of Lenny Bruce than Mc Guigan's.
An interesting fact about Day Lewis' involvement in this film is that he spent three years training as a fighter before making it. He has sparred with British welterweight champion Geoff Mc Creesh (when Mc Creesh was preparing for a European title challenge recently), and Mc Guigan has gone as far as to say Day Lewis could compete with Britain's top 10 in his weight division!
Even more interesting is the fact that Day Lewis became so involved in the game as a labour of love rather than for the purposes of obsessive research into his role. He wanted to try his hand at boxing in real life, but his high public profile put a block on that idea. Don't tell Don King though, Day Lewis v. Tyson could make a top PPV earner in a few years when washed - up Mike is twiddling his thumbs and sparring with tiger cubs for a living. "Tyson wants a piece of Daniel, and Daniel's footwork ain't too good as he's only got the left one," King would say. I'm sure.
The fight scenes in "The Boxer" are about as realistic as you are likely to see outside of real boxing. Unlike the "Rocky"s and their ilk, every shot doesn't send the opponent flailing across the ring. "The Boxer" shows the clinches, misses, fouls - the full nine yards. This is due to Mc Guigan's involvement and the fact that only about 50% of the fight scenes are choreographed - the rest of the fighting is real!
Anyway, back to the movie: "The Boxer" is essentially a love story. The underlying theme is primarily political: Flynn emerges from prison to discover that his childhood sweetheart has married his best friend, an IRA member who is now in prison himself. Danny falls in love with his sweetheart (Emily Thompson) again, and finds himself under threat from the Republican Movement, who don't take too kindly to men becoming involved with prisoners' wives.
Be you a fight fan or a movie fan, "The Boxer" has something for everyone. So guys, this is definitely one to bring the girlfriend to - while you're keenly assessing Day Lewis' fighting skills, your finer half will be contentedly engrossed in the romantic plot. If only we could keep our spouses this happy when watching the real fights!
The Great Naz Debate: Crossed Wires Over The Atlantic
by Joe Bruno and Derek CusackIntroduction by Derek Cusack: This e-mail debate was initiated by a message from Joe Bruno to myself after the publication of the January AOL Journal. My esteemed colleague was, I’m sure, not alone in being shocked at the high expectations I voiced of Naseem Hamed in this edition. Unlike others however, the normally introverted Joe plucked up enough courage to write a meek message to me saying so. This sparked a discussion which was very entertaining from my point of view, and I hope readers will find it equally enjoyable.
JB: Prince Naseem Hamed in the same breath as Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson????? Take a couple of deep breaths. The guy can punch but he can't fight a lick. No defense. No chin. Kevin Kelley is a shot fighter and he knocked down Hamed three and possibly four times. Hamed has no hope against good fighters like Angel Manfredy or Arturo Gatti. And even if he's the best featherweight around, that says more about the sorry lot of 126-pound fighters in the world today.
Didn't you ever hear about Willie Pep? Salvador Sanchez? Sandy Saddler? Wilfredo Gomez? Mediocre featherweight champs like Juan LaPorte would've destroyed Hamed easily. The Prince guy is all hype and no substance. I'm amazed how people in Britain really think this guy is the goods. He reminds me of Hector Camacho without the talent.
From this moment on, I demand that you stay far away from those Guinness Stouts.
DC: Is this the fiery Joe Bruno - Boxing News correspondence series starting again?
Of course I've heard of and seen Sanchez, Gomez, Saddler and Pep. Now, I have a question for you: How many Naz fights have you seen upon which to form your judgement of him?
The purpose of the EBM series I'm doing (from which this slightly revised piece, first published in October, was taken) is to introduce the rest of the world to the best European fighters in each division. I opened my Naz profile as I did to catch the attention of the reader and do my bit to whoop up the Naz fella in the States. How was I to know that Seth Abraham would later save me the bother of ever having to do so for Naz again?
For now, I know he couldn't live with the 4 great little big men you mentioned. But neither did they excel in every single fight during their careers. As you well know, greatness is not earned by one victory. Greatness can only be earned by ploughing through the best available fighters during one's career. With this HBO contract Naz has the chance to do just that and, at his age, more.
And in the long term, I think Naz is the goods. I think he could have used a different gameplan against Kelley and the press would be singing a different tune when referring to him now.
In 1997 I saw him mesmerise Tom Johnson and Jose Badillo last year (neither fighter laid a substantial glove on him in a total of 14 rounds) with his boxing skills, and I expect to be mesmerised further in '98.
And when he does retire, if I have been proven wrong I will be first to take my hat off and say so. But I have followed Naz's career since he fought in Dublin in 1993, and I base my views on his unquestionable natural ability and willingness to improve and keep learning.
For now, however, even if he didn't look magnificent against Kelley he is a welcome asset to the sport because: 1) He has guts unlike too many modern day dive - merchants, 2) He puts asses on seats as your HBO viewing figures reference testifies. And more importantly, he puts young asses on seats. He has brought a new audience to the game in the UK, and I believe he will do likewise in the US. Of how many fighters can that be said? 3) He gives us hacks something to write about - you yourself have seen fit to write 2 pieces on the subject of Naz within the space of a month.
In short, he reminds me of Camacho WITH ability.
JB: You make some good points. I've only seen Hamed fight twice, and quite frankly, he looked very ordinary. (Except for his grand entrance, of course) He has no defense and he sticks his chin out. And worse, I hear he doesn't like to train, which if this is true, it's his worse fault of all.
But even if Hamed turns out to be the best featherweight/lightweight in the world today, comparing him to Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson, or even mentioning Hamed in the same sentence with the two, is a little far out. Comparing Hamed to other little greats like Pep may be more logical, but still quite ridiculous.
Let's wait and see. If I'm wrong about Hamed, I'll eat crow without even taking off the feathers. Got any salt?
DC: Yep, all we can do is wait and see.
I also heard he doesn't train, but I don't believe it for one moment. If he had that mentality he would have stayed on the mat when Kelley put him there. Besides which, he loves the game and genuinely wants to back up his swagger in the ring. I think his next opponent (unless it's Kelley again) might just believe all the negative press, get lulled into a false sense of security and get a painful shock.
If nothing else, Naz is exciting, he has showed an inclination to fight quality opposition, and I look forward to seeing his next fight. There's not a whole lot of fighters I can say that for in 1998.
As a matter of interest, you say you have seen Naz twice. Which fight did you see apart from the Kelley one? My bet is that it was the Medina fight...
JB: Yes, it was the Medina fight. And in all the pre-fight hype from HBO, it was Hamed's manager that said his fighter doesn't like to train. I mean ring training. Not jogging, or endurance training. Hamed thinks he's blessed from God and that he doesn't need rounds training in the ring before a fight. That's why his defense sucks. He doesn't think he needs to work on it.
I will be shocked, not surprised, if Hamed is the real goods. He's too easy to hit and his attitude about leaning how to get better is crazy. He's a good puncher, but that all I see positive about his game. Even De la Hoya is always saying that he needs to improve his technique in the ring. Hamed's attitude is "I am great. God will protect me." Someone should cue him in that God loves his opponent too.
DC: Let’s just have this discussion in a year. The reason why I guessed you had only seen the Medina and Kelley fights was because these are the two worst performances Hamed has turned in - particularly as far as eating leather is concerned.
Yes, I know, you can argue that it happened against 2 of the best Naz has faced, and you may be right. Let's see.
The thing is, I have seen him turn in some beautiful hit - and - not - get - hit performances: especially against Steve Robinson and Tom Johnson. As you have not seen these fights you are bound to be mystified at what all the fuss is about.
Tell you what though: As our correspondence re: Hamed has gone on for a while, I reckon our letters put back-to-back would make an interesting column in the next CBZ journal. It would be an apt follow-up to both of our Naz pieces in the Jan. journal. It would also set in stone which one of us has to eat cake when Naz has proven his greatness/flopped miserably.
Got any salt?
JB: Del, we have to eat crow not cake. Salt on cake? Ugh.
DC: Where's the shame in eating cake without salt? What do you think of my idea to publish our e-mails as a column?
JB: Nah, the less written about them big-eared Prince the better. That is, until he beats Willie Pep, or flys faster than Dumbo.(ha ha)
DC: Well Joe, you have written quite a bit about him...A mention in your Gatti-Manfredy report and two sections in your Dec. & Jan. columns...
The other thing is, I was hoping we could publish this as a novelty item. My headline was going to be: "Joe Bruno writes lots about Naz and doesn't mention his abundance in earage once". But I guess that's all out the window now!
JB: He's short and ugly too!!!
DIRTY BLVD. pt. 2: THE BUS IS RUNNING ON FUMES
by GorDoomYou can’t depend on the goodly hearted
the goodly hearted made lamp shades & soap
You can’t depend on the Sacrament
no Father, no Holy Ghost ...
You can’t depend on no miracle
You can’t depend on air
You can’t depend on a wise man
You can’t find them because
they’re not there ...
You can depend on cruelty
crudity of thought & sound
You can depend on the
worst always happening ...
You need a Busload of Faith to get by
Watch it baby ...
Busload Of Faith
We live in The Age Of Vulgarity ... S’mtimes it wakes peeps up & disconcerts ‘em ... Shakes ‘em up & makes ‘em pay attention - & boy howdy, that’s a good thang ...
S’mtimes, as in our current, international, Hip - Hop, Gangsta, MTV/ Fashion/Cult Of Celebrity - shallow mania, the reality gets buried & the consequences are seriously grim ...
White, Corporate, America, has co-opted the bleak everyday survival of our inner cities into a musical, fashion & video craze, that is way more than just this month’s mode ... It is a prevalent, serious, mind set, that is as pervasive & encompassing as the 60’s hippie ideal that influenced this tired scribe ...
There is one humongous difference though, the idealistic crap that myself & a large part of my drug addled generation got caught up in - was way more benevolent than the harsh realities we ... & most importantly, these younger generations are burdened with.
Back in the day, it was about peace, love, music & getting laid ... Relatively harmless stuff, even though it was shocking as hell amidst the abomination that was the Viet Nam War & the inner city riots of the 60’s following the assassinations of Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King & Robert Kennedy ....
Somehow, in the middle of what was America’s greatest crisis since the Civil War, an idealistic hope for the future was born ...
But that was way back then ... We’re nearing the freakin’ end of the 20th Century Blues, & that kind of hopeful, happy, horse manure has no place in modern life ... We live inna Hip/Hop Cultcha - & the rules have changed ...
When a society absorbs street culture into the mainstream as a fashion or music statement, it unknowingly, also absorbs the baggage that comes with it ..... In my day it was about, peace, love & tie dye ... Today, it’s more about dying an extremely violent death.
The music (Rap), the fashion, the bad ‘tudes & the violence are now beginning to encroach on some of the enclaves of Corporate America’s biggest cash cow fantasies: Politics, The U.S. Armed Forces, Show Biz & Sports ...
Recently, the Ol’ Spit Bucket ,watched an ESPN, “Outside The Lines” documentary, entitled, “Turf Wars, Gangs & Sports” that not only gave me the willies, it grinded some of my spinal nether regions ...
Hey, the Bucket is normally the very essence of cynicism ... I be to cool to be shocked; but this time, I’m deeply apprehensive about future’s outcome ...
The recent Carlisimo/Sprewell paroxysm, along with ESPN’s chilling documentary, has suddenly brought to the forefront a burgeoning national crisis ... The disenfranchised, poor huddled masses, are starting to shove the Statue of Liberty right back up the Status Quo’s tightly puckered anus ...
Yeah, well ... Believe it or not, my beloved readers, this whole spiel has a lot to do with the boxing microcosm we are ostensibly dealing with, down here, in the real big empty ...
We are spiraling way past down the Dumbing Of America ... The misguided, idealistic dreams of the 60’s, along with Martin Luther King’s vision of the future, are deader than a forty five dollar junkie hooker, abandoned in a gutter on MLK Boulevard, anywhere in the USA ...
Sports, all of them, are as infected as the rest of our culture ... There’s this ominous, cancerous, “Show Me The Money & I’ll Show You Some ‘Tude” mentality, before there’s any, “Let me show you chump! What I can do ...” It ain’t about athletic ability anymore, it’s about how large you can flap y’r lips to get media attention ... How much smack you can T Talk ...
The majority of American athletes are African American. Nowhere is this more true than in the sport of boxing. Arguably, boxing is the most integrated of all sports. In boxing, many of the major power players are Black: Don King, Larry Hazzard, Muraad Muhammad, Butch Lewis, & Emanuel Steward are just a few of the many that have achieved upper echelon positions ...
You won’t find the equivalent of a Don King or a Larry Hazzard as power players in the other major sports (Thank God!), but this is just an example of the parity that minorities have achieved in boxing ...
Which brings us back to the Age Of Vulgarity: No, this is not going to be a screed on the uncouth actions of Don King or Larry Hazzard, or a diatribe on the encroachment of Gangsta mentality in sports ... Instead its about the loutishness of some of the fans ...
In my capacity as editor in chief of the Cyber Boxing Zone, I received an E-mail that stunned me. I’m used to receiving all kinds of off the wall posts from readers that disagree with the positions I take - that comes with the territory.
The Bucket has been called all kinds of nasty thangs (some of them well deserved), but this particular post really took the cake ...
The letter in essence accused me (& all white boxing writers), of racism & graft. The writers position was that the reason Oscar De La Hoya gets so much favorable press & such overwhelming response from even the most casual of fans, was blatant racism - & that Bob Arum pays off (!!!) boxing writers to write so positively about Oscar.
His premise was that racism is the reason Oscar is hailed as the # 1 fighter pound for pound, as opposed to Roy Jones Jr.
I would reprint this misguided gentleman’s introductory letter, but it was so rambling & incoherent in it’s dysfunctional rage, that I had to read it three times before I caught the gist ...Instead, I will reprint my letter back to him that answers all his accusations point by point:
I plan on giving you a detailed answer to your e-mail, but first, let me clear up a few misconceptions you are operating under:
1-An arrogant, cheap, bastard, like Bob Arum doesn't pay ANY writers to give Oscar good write ups. They write what they write & nobody pays them except their respective publications. Here at the Cyber Boxing Zone nobody has been paid so much as one thin dime for any of their writing efforts, whether they are writing about Oscar, or anybody else. I find you accusing us of taking bribes to write good reviews of Oscar's performances very insulting ...
2- I have never written that Oscar is a great fighter, he has potential, but he's a long way from being an all-time great - Canastota is going to have to wait for a while ...
3- I have to say I find your accusation that the CBZ is racist because it writes favorably about Oscar to be not only insulting, but ludicrous. You have obviously not taken the time to read through our back & current issues or you would realize just how stupid a statement like that is ...
Okay, now as to the respective merits of Oscar & Roy: There is no doubt in my mind that Roy Jones Jr. is without a doubt the most physically gifted boxer I've ever seen this side of the young Cassius Clay ... That however, is where the comparison ends.
Roy is a head case. His ego is so out of control that he has turned off most of the boxing writers who cover him & many of his fans as well.
Case in point: The shameless exhibition of megalomania he displayed after crushing Montel Griffin in their rematch. It was a spectacular performance marred by Roy's post-fight rantings & ravings ...
The reason fighters like Evander & Oscar & athletes like Cal Ripken, Tiger Woods, Ken Griffey Jr, Mark McGuire, Michael Jordan, Barry Sanders & Jerry Rice are so well received by the media & the fans is that they don't act like totally self involved, breast beating A-holes every time there is a microphone placed in front of them ...
This is especially sad in Roy's case because he IS a very bright & well spoken young man. He should know better. Roy's not some Gangsta wannabe jerk-off like Tyson or Sprewell, he's a well educated guy who comes from a strong family background.
Roy obviously knows the difference between right & wrong, which was why his whining excuses after the Griffin DQ were so distasteful.
Roy's statement that "... The referee didn't pull me off in time." is beneath comment. Did you see the recent jr. Jones-McKinney fight? When Jones knocked McKinney down he was winding up to deliver a finishing blow. As soon as he realized McKinney was down, he pulled his punch & walked away ... LIKE YOUR SUPPOSED TO DO!!! ... Unless your Roy Jones or Riddick Bowe.
How do you excuse Roy's blatant two punch KO of Griffin after he was already on the canvas? Or do you think that not only Roy, but Tyson & Sprewell were justified in their actions? Does being an African-American athlete mean you can do anything you want? Are there one set of rules for Black athletes & another set for other athletes?
I'd like to think not. Because if that's true, what is the point in having sports contests at all?
Back to Roy ... Probably the biggest difference between Oscar & Roy, is that Oscar sells tickets & puts asses in the seats. Roy doesn't. In his highly anticipated (at least by me) rematch with Griffin, at the Foxwoods Casino, there seemed to be hundreds of paying patrons cleverly disguised as empty seats ... You might credit that to racism, but I think it has more to do with Roy's abrasive personality.
One last point about Roy, for all his chest thumping - he doesn't fight anybody. In 97 he lost by DQ to Griffin in March & then demolished him in the rematch in August. By comparison, Oscar fought 5 times in 97.
There were some intriguing matches available for Roy such as Virgil Hill, Henry Maske & Darius Michalczewski, but he refused to fight any of them after demanding $10 million per fight!!! ... For a guy that couldn't fill the small Foxwoods Casino he definitely has an over inflated view of himself ...
So where does Roy go from here? He's talking about fighting at heavyweight ... Now there's a clever concept! Pound for Pound, Roy is a better fighter than any heavyweight out there, but Pound for Pound he's gonna get pounded through the ring when one of those big fellas connects.
If Roy fights at heavyweight he’s gonna get drilled harder than a drunken, squealing, coed at a frat party.
It's called the law of physics.
Looking back over Roy's career I see nothing but wasted opportunity .. After the 88 Olympics, Roy, who was managed by his father at the time, spent the next 4 1/2 years fighting a bunch of nobody's that did nothing to further his career. When he finally faced Toney in 94, he was facing a fighter who was a shell of his former self. Since then, in fights against the likes of Merqui Sosa, Tony Thornton, Bryan Brannan, Eric Lucas & Mike McCallum he's really done nothing to further his career.
Roy should forget about the heavyweights & concentrate on cleaning out his own division. If Roy buckled down & did that, the press, the fans & the mega-purses would all come to him & he would get the recognition he would then truly deserve.
It's gimmicks like playing B Ball before the Lucas fight & fantasies about competing at heavyweight, along with his megalomaniacal diatribes that have turned the public & the press off, not racism. Roy is a five foot ten, blown up middleweight, he should pick on guys his own size & comport himself with a little dignity & then & only then will he get his just due - otherwise he's just another big mouthed out of control ego trying to gain attention in all the wrong ways ...
Okay, now it is Oscar's turn to be examined. In some respects I agree with you in that Oscar has been elevated to a status that he does not yet deserve. However, Oscar fights & fights regularly. As you pointed out many of his opponents have been smaller & in some cases over the hill - but Oscar, unlike Roy, doesn't fight DOWN to his opponents abilities - he eliminates them.
Oscar is roughly at the same point in his career that Sugar Ray Leonard was before he fought Tommy Hearns the first time. Do I think Oscar could beat the young Sugar Ray? Not in a million years ... In fact, Tommy Hearns or the Duran of the first Leonard fight would have demolished him. I don't think Oscar could have beaten Benitez or even a prime Donald Curry or Marlon Starling. That doesn't mean Oscar is a fraud - just that he is not on that level as a fighter ...
Oscar, Trinidad & Quartey are for these times a make shift equivalent of Leonard, Hearns & Duran. The current trio is definitely not on the same fistic level as the aforementioned but that is because of the times we live in.
The first trio all fought each other & any credible opponent that was available. The politics of boxing today make that almost impossible. Trinidad being promoted by Don King & Oscar being promoted by Arum puts up a seemingly impossible roadblock to making the fight. Hell, look what's happening to the proposed Lewis-Holyfield fight, as much as everyone wants to see it, at this point its in the crapper due to rival promoters & competing TV networks.
So where do I stand on both Roy & Oscar respectively?
I pretty much feel the same way about both of them: Fighters with unlimited potential, who have yet to realize that potential. Oscar has a running head start because he fights far more often & he's a lot more user-friendly to both the media & the fans.
Roy, in my mind, is the potentially far better fighter. If Roy can ever get his act together & just fight the credible contenders in his own weight class & do so with a little dignity, he could go down as one of the greatest fighters of all time; but it's not going to happen until he matures & stops acting like a total blow hard.
Oscar, if the fights can be made against, Trinidad, Quartey etc. & he gives Whitaker a rematch & beats him decisively, as well as Trinidad & Quartey will have earned his just rewards ...
When you get down to it, boxing is lucky to have two such talents fighting today. Maybe you should learn to appreciate BOTH of them & you would enjoy the sport a lot more ... Besides it's gotta be more fun than looking for hidden racism under every ring post ...
Now I thought that was a pretty reasonable response considering how outside the envelope his accusations were ... The Bucket was feelin’ pretty good about his self righteousness when he got another missive from this wacko ...
His second rambling, incoherent, tirade, basically said that 1- I don’t know anything about boxing ... 2- Since I’m white, I’m not qualified to comment on African American boxers ... 3- That myself, & all white boxing writers, have in effect joined in a conspiracy to elevate De La Hoya as the best fighter in the world at the expense of Black fighters like Roy Jones .... 4- That no matter what I said, all white boxing writers are graft ridden racists that are being paid off by Bob Arum to further the careers of fighters that aren’t black ....
Yeah, right ... All of us white boxing writers only exist to further our racist views & put down African American boxers .... Give me a freakin’ break!!!
So I wrote him back:
Did you READ my letter? Where did I say Oscar was the best fighter pound for pound? Where did I say he was a "great fighter"? Where did I say he was a better fighter than Roy Jones? & by the way Tyson paid Lennox Lewis 4 million dollars to step aside so he could fight Bruce Seldon. If that's not "ducking" what is???
You sir, are so blinded by YOUR racial prejudices that discoursing with you is like trying to have a coherent conversation with Lester Maddox ...
You are so full of hatred you seemingly have to put a racial spin on everything anybody says or writes. You inner bile is so backed up you are not even rational.
It must be hard to maintain a job & actually have to interact with people who don't maintain your very frighting racial views.
At this point in my life, I don't have the time to waste exchanging e- mail with someone who I quite frankly, think is a bigoted lunatic on a par with David Dukes.
Please don't write me back
S’anyways, the point of this whole discourse is I’m wondering: Am I some kind of unknowing racist? Or am I, as I believe myself to be, a boxing journalist who just calls ‘em as he see’s ‘em?
As far as I’m concerned, the sport of boxing & all of the fighters are a brotherhood. I don’t give a good god damn if a guy is white, black or Martian. It’s irrelevant. All I care about is if he’s a warrior ... Anybody who has ever stood in a ring has courage. I’ve been there & I know there is nothing tougher than standing practically naked, staring across the ring at another man who’s only intention is to take your freakin’ head off ...
Let me tell ya folks, it is just about the loneliest, scariest sitch I can think of. The brotherhood I feel with all fighters has nothing to do with race, we all bleed the same color & that color is blood red ...
I would be very interested in hearing the thoughts about this article from any of you readers that would care to comment. I will respond to any reasonably intelligent posts ...
RINSING OFF THE MOUTH PIECEBest personal news of the month for the Ol’ Spit Bucket: I finally got the Classic Sports Network ... Whatta fistic bonanza!!! The first day I had it, I watched Floyd Patterson-Ingemar Johansson II for breakfast. Later that day I watched the incredibly surreal pairing of Rocky Marciano & Za Za Gabor, analyzing the second Robinson-Basilio fight!!!
For a night cap, I watched 3 early Roberto Duran fights, including, his first against Esteban DeJesus (DeJesus W-10), in 1972. This was a fight I had never seen.
I think I’ve died & gone to network heaven!
The Bucket finds it astounding that fighters like Trinidad & Jones are always screaming about the lack of money, motivation & respect that they receive ... But they never fight anybody! Inactivity has destroyed many a career, ask Terry Norris, who’s last real fight before he fought Keith Mullings, in December of 97, was his May 7th, 1994, rematch with Simon Brown. Fighters need to fight & keep their skills honed or they get blown out by over achievers like Mullings ...
Fights I’d pay to see: Angel Manfredy - Nassem Hamed, Keith Mullings -Yory Boy Campas, McKinney - Jones II McKinney - Barrera II ... & hey, why not a Hamed - Kelley rematch?
Benji Estevez, is rapidly becoming one of my favorite referee’s. The young man’s comportment in the ring is exemplary ... Another outstanding ref is Eddie Cotton, who proved his mettle & composure during the shit storm that was the riotous, first Bowe-Golota foul fest.
Be very interesting to see what moves the Arturo Gatti camp comes up with after his upset loss to the devilish, Angel Manfredy. This corner sez: Take a minimum of six months off to recuperate. As exciting as Gatti is, I really, for his future health’s sake, don’t want to see him rushed back into the ring ...
I’m very disappointed that the Holyfield - Lewis mega - fight is off the boards. Boxing is in such dismal shape that the fight would have injected some desperately needed interest in the sport ... The match up was a natural & after the Tyson fiasco it would have been a breath of fresh air to have two decent, honorable, guys fight for a change.
Has anybody besides me noticed the welcome absence of Judges, Claxton & Layton at the New Jersey fights lately? Ever since those two clowns did in Big George against Briggs, the right honorable, Larry Hazzard, hasn’t seen fit to give his close cohorts any assignments. I guess they only work fights involving Marc Robert’s fighters ...
The Bucket’s gotta admit that in a perverse way, I’m really looking forward to the Chavez-Gonzales lash-up on March 7. Conventional wisdom is that Chavez, who is truly, The Lion In The Winter, is totally shot ... Hard to argue with ... but Chavez ( & I’ve never been a real proponent of his), is a cagey fighter.
At one time Julio was the dominant lighter weight fighter in the world. Some even rated him the #1 fighter pound for pound. Personally, I always questioned the great majority of his opposition, but you can’t argue with his career record. Chavez is deservedly a Hall Of Fame fighter.
But that’s all in the past now ... Even in his prime, the fighters that gave him trouble, Rocky Lockridge, Meldrick Taylor, Pernell Whitaker, Frankie Randall & Oscar De La Hoya - where all slick boxers.
Miguel Angel Gonzales is not. He’s a straight ahead plodder, who in Chavez’s hey day, would have been prime fodder ... Don’t get me wrong, Gonzales, is a young, strong, durable fighter, & on paper this fight should be no contest. For the last few years, Julio has been slow, unmotivated & easily susceptible too cuts.
Logic tells us that all these factors don’t bode well for Julio’s, Last Show Down At The (boxing) OD Corral.
But what if the 35 year old warrior can get it up one last time???
Stranger things have happened ... Does anybody remember, Tyson - Holyfield l? Hagler - Leonard? The Rumble In The Jungle?... H,E, Double Hockey Sticks, Bat Man!!! ... Boxing is replete with examples of totally shot former greats, rising up from the ashes, for one last grand hurrah ... The question is, does Chavez have enough cojones to rise to the occasion, or is the dismal Julio, we’ve viewed since the September 10, 1993 Sweet Pea showdown the real deal???
Anyone’s guess ... But as a boxing romantic, I’d like to believe, “The Lion Of Culiacan”, can suck it up & give us a performance that even if he doesn’t win, will be a fitting epitaph to his (in my opinion, over blown), legend.
Well, that’s it for this month, there hasn’t been a lot happening to write about lately. The dearth of action & interest in the fight game is at an all - time low these days ... I’d like to believe it has to get better, ‘cause I don’t see how it could get much worse ...
Interview conducted by Thomas GerbasiDespite its seedy reputation and the sordid actions of a few, boxing still has some good guys left. Chuck Bodak would definitely fall into the good guy category. Known worldwide for his practice of placing his fighters' pictures on his forehead while he works their corners, Chuck is nonetheless one of the sport's most respected trainers and cutmen. Well, let me rephrase that. Chuck doesn't consider what he does training. To him, training is associated with animals. He teaches human beings. And what a teacher he has been. In one capacity or another, Chuck has worked with 52 World Champions. From marquee names like Muhammad Ali, Julio Caesar Chavez, and Evander Holyfield, to the unknowns fighting four rounders in the Forum, Chuck has been in the corner.
And even with a hectic schedule like that, Chuck is always quick with a kind word or an autograph for a fan. How many interviewees will sit by patiently as an interviewer fumbles with a new tape? Chuck does: "Don't worry. I'm home. I ain't going anywhere." And when I brought up every interviewer's nightmare, a blank tape, Chuck responded "If it doesn't come out, we'll do it again." Luckily, the interview came out fine, and we now get a glimpse into the mind of a great teacher, a walking boxing history book, and one of the sport's good guys. And next month, we will do it again, with more of my conversation with Chuck Bodak.
TG - How did you get started in Boxing?
CB - Well, I was raised during the depression, and the way of life was: acquiring something, fighting for it, and maintaining it. I was a tough, rugged kid, always into something, and I loved contact in all sports, and especially boxing. That's how I got into boxing. I loved it.
TG - So you boxed yourself?
CB - Yes, I boxed for about eight years. I had about 135-140 fights in the amateurs, never turned pro. I started out when I was 13 years old. I was always mature for my age. When I was 13 I could pass for a 16, 17, 18 year old kid. I hung around with older guys, and I wanted to fight. There was no novice, no beginners, no nothing at that time. In fact, the first five guys I fought were Gold Glove champions. That was the way of life then, during the depression.
I had no desire to turn pro because I wanted to teach, plus it was almost impossible to make anything unless you were a real outstanding fighter, a contender or a champion. There wasn't that kind of money around professionally during the depression. And in the amateurs, you could fight twice in one night, you could fight seven days a week. They had fights every day of the week all over the Midwest. On Saturdays and Sundays they had picnics, different outside events, and stuff like that where they always had a boxing show. So, as a result, I practically supported a family with the money that I made.
TG - So you were able to make money as an amateur?
CB - In those days, when you fought they'd give you medals and awards of different types, and you'd turn 'em in and get money for 'em.
TG - How did you go from amateur fighting into training?
CB - That's what I always wanted to do. When I quit I went back to the guy that taught me. He was a great teacher, a great psychologist, and I went back to him, and I was his assistant. I always loved it because I had a lot of respect for people that gave me all their knowledge in different sports. In school, I was an all-around athlete, plus boxing, and I always had a desire to teach because I'd observe them and I look back at what they've done, and the things that they've done to help kids. That's what I've wanted to do. I look forward to it.
TG - Once you started training, who was the first fighter you had exclusively to yourself?
CB - In the amateurs, I had a lot of kids locally. All the top notch kids, cause I was at the CYO where I started out in Gary, Indiana. Then I made a big name for myself and I was selected on the Chicago Tribune Gold Glove coaching staff, which handled inner city, international, and stuff like that. And I got to know a lot of these guys that I had on teams. Also later on I worked with a lot of these guys that turned pro. From the amateurs, the pros, working as a cutman, and on the training staff, I worked with 52 World Champions.
TG - What is more important as a teacher, the physical or the psychological aspect?
CB - Mental and psychological, yes sir. Because anybody can get in shape. Anyone can have the requirements as far as the body is concerned, the different intricacies that are necessary to develop and educate an athlete. But the mental aspect is a big thing. Like I tell a guy, if I raise my finger, I don't raise it up instinctively or automatically, I raise it up because mentally I sent a message through my body, raise my finger. It's really that simple. Even if you're working with a guy who's, so to speak, an illiterate. How much simpler could it be?
TG - Do you believe training is a lost art today?
CB - Teaching is a lost art. There are very few teachers around. Everybody's a trainer, and to me, not to condemn anybody or anything else, but just the word in itself, training, is associated with animals. Training is domination, dictating, giving instructions, stuff like that. When you teach, you educate. To me, that's the difference.
Every pupil that I ever worked with, I told them, I was very explicit, I said it's all mental. You teach. I use a mechanic as an example. He goes to a trade school, and they teach you everything that there is about the tools; what goes where, how to use it. They teach you the machinery. And it's the same thing with boxing or any sport. You give the guy the tools to work with. He's the guy that does the work. Like these guys, especially in the old days, "Shit man, I taught this guy everything he knows, man." and all this damn crap, that's bullshit. You teach a guy that has a good mentality, picks it up, and in time, a lot of them even surpass the teacher. Cause like with me, the average guy, that will probably be insulted, if a student surpassed him, I'd be honored, cause "man, I must've done a hell of a job. This guy's better than I am." And that's the truth.
TG - Who do you consider some of the best teachers, past and present?
CB - Well, there's a lot of them. A guy in New York who worked with the NY CYO, a guy by the name of Pete Mello, was a great teacher, and a great psychologist. He was on the NY Golden Gloves coaching staff besides the CYO.
It's like anything else, you've got to have some ability, and you have to have time. Some guys think that you can get a guy in a short period of time, run him through a short routine, give him a pair of gloves, put him in there, and box, and that's bullshit. Like I tried to explain to a student. It's like you start off in kindergarten, and you work your way up through the grades. When you get in high school, you're pretty well set. You go to college, it's an advancement. You get out and you're a finished product, and that's the way it is, especially in boxing, or any sport, really. But more so in boxing because boxing is so intricate and it's all one on one, and you really have to be well educated in order to compete.
TG - As a sport, boxing doesn't have the greatest reputation. Has anything happened that made you want to pack it in?
CB - Never. No. You know why? Because even besides the boxing, I spent time in youth work too. I worked with handicapped kids. I worked with retarded kids. In the program in the CYO I always had a lot of these kids that would come down to the center. I was the recreational director of a center and I also had sports. Naturally, boxing was the number one sport. A lot of these kids would come down, and I started classes for them. A lot of their parents would come down cause right after the war, when the CYO opened up this particular center in one part of the town, and we were the first ones in the whole damn town that had a TV set. It was donated by some furniture mogul in Gary, Indiana and everybody and his brother, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers came down to watch the football game, boxing, and everything else. So it was quite a place. And some of them had retarded kids, they'd bring them down. They'd fool around in the gym, for example, next thing you know, I started a class and worked with them.
So beside boxing I was very interested in youth work because even boxing, I used to explain to guys "I'm not teaching you boxing in the sense that it's boxing, I'm teaching you life. All the facets that we work with, that we deal with, that I'm educating you in, are things that you're going to be taking in everyday life with you. Because an athletic lifespan is very short. The thing that's going to be important is you going out into the world and putting all this stuff to use where people accept you, where people are willing to do something for you. Not being a big stupid lug where you're lucky to get a job as a porter or something.
TG - Do you ever run into fighters who don't want to listen or be taught?
CB - Yeah, you have all types of kids. And there's a way to beat around that. For example, a lot of ridicule and humor, cause with ridicule you draw a person's attention, you stun 'em and then insert humor to where the guy can laugh about it. And then you can get serious about things and the guy will accept it. But you get guys that are headstrong. For example, like you're teaching them something, the type of guy, if you were able to read minds, it's almost like you do read the mind, and you walk away from the guy. And the guy starts thinking, then you ignore the guy completely, and you're working with everybody else in the gym. The guy finally walks up and he says "Hey man, I notice you're walking around, working with all these guys, you talk to me for a short while, and then that was it, you ignore me and everything else." I said "No". I want to spend time with these guys cause they don't know, and they're willing to accept my knowledge. But you, you're smarter than I am. You don't need me. I'll just stand there and watch." "No, no, man" You know, they start with all kinds of excuses and stuff like that. Then you know you've sold yourself. Psychologically you defeated a guy. He's willing to go along.
TG - Any problems with a fighter's entourages?
CB - No. But I've had experiences with these guys around. After a couple of times these guys read the handwriting on the wall and they back off and then you hit 'em every once in a while and they get the message.
TG - What are your thoughts on Muhammad Ali as a fighter?
CB - Here's the way I categorize him. They always talk about the greatest. There's no such thing, not in my book. It's like when they tell me "You're one of the greatest cutmen in the world" I said bullshit. I may be one of the best, but as far as the greatest, there's no such thing. Because for every guy that's considered great or the greatest, there are people out in the world, with the exception of Ali, and I'll explain that later, there are people behind you that are as good, if not better. There are thousands of them. So how can one be considered the greatest?
But Ali was different. Ali had perfected instincts and you could categorize him as one of the greatest because he was so different. Everything was there plus he nurtured it with the type of person that he was and the different escapades in his life. So that's why you could possibly say that he really was the greatest. But in boxing, Ali was one of the greatest instinctive fighters. Joe Louis was one of the greatest fundamental and basic fighters that ever lived. In other words, if you were to teach and you run films of Joe Louis; tell a kid "when you watch this film, everything this guy does, you do, because this is basics and fundamentals to perfection." Willie Pep, Sugar Ray Robinson, guys of that caliber, they're very creative. They were great. Willie Pep, for example, he done things you never saw anybody do. Everyone he fought, it was amazing the things he'd done. Sugar Ray Robinson was the same way. Very creative. The guy was just a fantastic, perfected machine. That's really my analysis of the people in different categories.
TG - Barney Ross?
CB - Barney Ross was a great technician. Plus a lot of those guys like Barney held three titles. But today there's so much to offer a fighter, so much to gain, that I don't know what it is, plus modern technology, modern education, everything else. Things are elevated because when you explain it to people you explain it in terms like a car. You can't compare a car in the 30's, the 40's, the 50's, with the cars in the 80's and 90's. There's got to be improvement. Time don't stand still. Technology gets greater and greater, year in, year out. Plus the mentality today. Look at all the technology you have. All the geniuses, the brains that are responsible for stuff like that. In every phase of life. It's the same thing with sports. There's got to be a difference, although there are certain phases of life that were as good during them days as they are today. But they never had the exposure to a lot of the things that they have today which enhances a lot of the kids today.
TG - So you believe that today's athletes are better than those years ago?
CB - I'd have to say so because its been proven record wise in all sports. They break records constantly. And that's got to be, because you have a better man, a super individual. There's a lot of technology associated with sports that enhances their ability so you have to face facts. You've got to call a spade a spade.
TG - Rocky Marciano?
CB - Rocky Marciano was a devout, dedicated, tremendously conditioned athlete. Tough as nails. Hit like a mule. He could hit you on the arms, the shoulders, in the chest and hurt you and stun you. But they had a tape where him and Ali fought an exhibition, and he won the decision over Ali. Now if you're really knowledgeable about boxing and compare the two, in a regular match, with both of them even in their primes, Ali would have toyed with Marciano. Sizewise, ability, and everything else, the technology. Big difference. Ali was very scientific. Marciano was just a rough, tough, aggressive fighter. Very little technique, very little technology, but determination and the ability to punch and absorb punches. He was a Superman. You've got to give him credit and respect. The people that he fought, the record that he amassed. What else can you say? There's nothing negative, other than when you go into technology.
It's like IQ's for example. There's five people with high IQ's and one may be smarter than all the rest of them or vice versa. Yet they're all in the same category. But I studied this tape and the ability of the two. There would have been no question that Ali would have had a field day with Marciano. And a lot of it too, you hear this so often, it's one of the oldest cliches in boxing, "who'd he fight?" He fought so and so, who was an old man, and all this bullshit. Well, so did every other champion coming up or winning a title, or defending the title. It's the same damn thing, the guys that were around, he fought em all and beat em all, regardless. After the same guy winds up losing the title, the same damn thing. They match up with up and coming fighters, who are potentially great, and you just haven't got it anymore and you get beat.
TG - Sonny Liston?
CB - The guy had one of the greatest jabs. In fact, his jab was like throwing a right hand or a hook. He was so powerful, the way he threw them seemed like he had everything behind him. Where most good technicians, they pop that jab out, it's nice and relaxed and snappy, with zip to it. But he was the type of guy, he hit you with the jab, he hurt you. And he was a much better boxer than a lot of people give him credit for.
TG - How do you compare the 50's and 60's, when the mob ran boxing, to today, when the alphabets run it?
CB - In those days, they controlled everything, the fighters, the managers, the promoters. And they done whatever they wanted. You know a lot of these guys today, even though they might as well be the mafia too with the way they control everything and the fighters, it's a legitimate in a sense because it is legitimate, nothing shady, although in comparison there's a lot of similarity in my opinion.
TG - Do you think the alphabets are good or bad for boxing?
CB - I think it's good. I'll tell you why. When you have 1,2,3 organizations, they will accommodate the clique, the certain guys that they push in the ratings to become champions, and if a guy's not in with them, then what chance does he got of becoming a champion? Now with all these organizations that are around, good or bad, however you want to see it, to me it's good, because you get an opportunity to make a lot more money than he would trying to fight his way into the 1,2, or 3 organizations that control everything and the fighters. He has an opportunity to beat that clique.
TG - So having multiple champions doesn't bother you?
CB - No. Plus there's gonna be a time where these guys are gonna be fighting one another, and you end up with true champions, like Tyson. He won all three of the titles.
TG - Tyson?
CB - The thing is, I don't think he had an opportunity to be taught. Believe me, all the people that I know that he had been associated with are people that helped him, they did more harm than good. Plus, a lot of these guys I know personally, I wouldn't let them teach my dog. And that's a problem, cause here's a guy that is completely a psychological problem. His environment, his background. From the reformatory he comes up with Cus D'Amato. They only done so much with him, psychologically. It was all boxing. Instead of having some great psychologist to work with this guy, become associated with him, real close. Nothing. It was all boxing. All these crude trainers is what I call them, that worked with him, and that's the result of it. But it's mostly the people that were associated with King because a lot of them guys I've worked with myself and I know what the results are. I know their philosophy. Half of them weren't even trainers.
TG - Tony Canzoneri?
CB - Great, great, great fighter. I have to laugh. You hear this a million times "God, this guy keeps dropping his left hand, he's getting hit with right hands." To me, that's bullshit. You're getting hit with right hands because you don't do anything about sliding away from it, catching it, or slipping it, and countering over it. That's the reason he gets hit, not because he dropped his hands. Tony Canzoneri used to carry his hands down around his waist. And the things that he done, both offensively and defensively, and countering, was unbelievable. It doesn't make any difference where your hands are at as long as you make a move to do something about the offensive part of punching. That's the object.
Another thing you hear, a guy says "move your head". You don't move your head. Like I used to explain to students, it's the same principle as firing a rifle. You don't move your head, you don't blink your eyes or anything, right? In boxing that's the first thing you teach. This is your general position. You never move your head. You move your body. Because your eyes are glued on to your opponent. When you move your body, you never take your eyes off your opponent. These are all simple things. All common sense. Just like all technology, when you break it down, it's all simplicity, all common sense, but it comes from a genius, because it goes beyond that. But that's the basic principle, the basic thought of it.
TG - Tony Zale?
CB - I grew up with Tony. I was on amateur teams with Tony. Tony Zale was not a technician at all. He knew enough about boxing to where he looked like a boxer. But one of the toughest damn Pollocks you'd ever seen in your life, and a tremendous puncher, and especially a body puncher. That was his greatest asset.
TG - Billy Conn?
CB - A master technician, and a typical Irishman that belongs in boxing, with all the tools and mentality that go with it.
TG - Ray Leonard?
CB - In my opinion, when they refer to greatness, I think they're way out of line. He fought everybody that came along, but he never had a record of super fighters like a lot of them old-timers who fought 4,5,6 times a month. And they had wars with guys that were rated, guys who were champions, ex-champions. You can't say that about Sugar Ray Leonard. Plus he was a TV darling, and let's face it, boxing is a business. And who are you gonna support, a guy who can't draw flies, or a guy who can draw? That's the object. And he was a super darling, and they had the talent around. His opponents were also champions for these fights, and they made millions and millions. Like Tommy Hearns, Duran, Marvin Hagler, guys like them. And in my opinion, the time him and Hagler fought, Hagler won that fight. And when he fought Tommy Hearns the second time, Hearns, in my opinion, won that fight. But like I say, it's a business. One guy can draw, and one guy can't.
TG - Roberto Duran?
CB - Duran was a good journeyman. He had a little of everything. Nothing sensational, other than he accomplished a lot. Because it had to be, because of his environment, his background growing up. And that's why, when I hear a lot of these guys during the time after the fight, and even today, from time to time, say that he had no guts, that turns my stomach. Here's a guy that was born and raised in poverty, lived in the streets, fought for everything he had, fought to defend it. And all through life, in different phases, would do the things, in reference to that, that made him what he was.
TG - Julio Caesar Chavez?
CB - Well, he's not one of my favorites. I worked with him and I have very little respect for him because of the type of person he is. He's not a good person and it's sad because he's a national hero, he's an idol, an icon, and he should be the opposite because I feel if you have the ability to do what you're doing, to accomplish what you're doing, you should have these other assets to go with it. But when you talk about an outstanding athlete, he was an outstanding athlete. That I'll give him credit for. He won three titles. He was the champion for many years.
TG - Do you think fighters like Chavez and Duran have hung around too long?
CB - Yeah. It's the same old thing. They made millions and they blew it. What other do they have going for them but what they're doing? Nothing. Whereas a smart guy looked around, feathered his nest with people that he met, and the possibility that when he's through, he'll wind up with a decent job. And these guys have none of that. Plus they blew all their damn money and the only resource left is boxing.
TG - Roy Jones?
CB - Very talented. Good athlete. But in my opinion, he's over exaggerated in reference to talent. He does so many things that are amateurish and why he doesn't progress to a different level is beyond me because he's got talent. He's proved that. He just does a lot of things that are completely amateurish and he gets by with it because he's talented.
TG - How do you think he'll do if he jumps to heavyweight?
CB - Well, that's hard to say because he's jumping from 175 to heavyweight, which run well into the 200's. It's hard to say because even though he puts weight on, he puts it on normally. Like a lot of times you'll hear this old cliche "Well, he's a natural light heavyweight that blew up". Bullshit. You can't make the light heavyweight division, you're a heavyweight, whether it's a pound, two pounds, or whatever. But how much can he mature weightwise, plus the ability to compensate for all the disadvantages that he'll have with guys like that, who knows? But still, there ain't that many great heavyweights around. He, in a sense, could very well be that he has a lot of perfected instincts.
TG - Speaking of amateurish, what are your thoughts on Prince Naseem Hamed?
CB - Crude, unorthodox, awkward, but very effective. And a guy with confidence unimaginable. The guy says he could beat anybody, he's the greatest, he's this, he's that, and all along he's proved it, right? You can't contradict it. If you could foresee the future, will he cave in like some overnight sensation? Will he get better with his unorthodox, crude, and unethical methods? Who knows?
There are so many question marks in regards to how smart you are, an analyzing guys. It's like picking a winner. You could be the most knowledgeable guy in the world and you pick a guy, and some guy who don't know a left hand from a right hand, will pick out a guy like he knew what was gonna happen. "This guy can't lose. In fact, I'm betting $10,000 on the guy" and all he's doing is guessing. Where you know the technology, and it didn't turn out that way.
TG - Evander Holyfield?
CB - Holyfield? Another one of my great friends. I had to sue him to get paid one time. One of the cheapest guys in boxing. But a great athlete.
TG - Jorge Paez?
CB - Paez is as smart, as clever as you and I, as normal as you and I. Being born and raised in a circus environment, he has done so many things on a circus level, that he brought that into boxing, and became a sensation. People love him, even today. I worked a show at the Forum last night and Paez was there. People were lined up for autographs, taking pictures and everything. And he's on his last lap. Him, like the rest of them too, blew everything he made, and the only thing he knows is boxing.
And incidentally, he's responsible for my trademark. He was always dreaming up things to wear, clothing, the face, the head, haircuts and everything else, and he always used to get on my ass, him and his manager, and the guys in the entourage, about me duplicating what he does. I said "bullshit. I'm no goddamned clown" And Paez was always ribbing me, he says "pendejo", which is like jerk or character, or something like that. "Whatsa matter? You wanna be Paez, no?" So then it got to a point where they were so persistent that I start doing this stuff. And it became a big hit. In this respect, people accepted it. They enjoyed it, and they got a big bang out of it.
Like a lot of times they come up to me and want to know "what are you gonna wear?" and stuff like that, or "Let me have what you've got on your head for a souvenir." I said OK. And it got so popular that I'd work with other fighters, like basically there are 3 or 4 stables that I work with top priority and I get hired here and there for different guys and a lot of times with preliminary fighters, which I never charge, "Yeah, if I'm not booked, I'll work with you." And I'd be in the dressing room, especially the Latinos, they'd be saying something in Spanish that I didn't understand, and I'd ask one of the guys who spoke fluent English, "What the hell is he saying?" "Well he's kind of perturbed that you're not gonna have anything on your head for him." "Hell, I don't know. You want me to do something, I'll do it." And then I'd get a couple of pictures, I use two inch tape, put it on my forehead and I get tape with his name on it, and he's as happy as a lark.
And the public's the same way. I feel that I'm not a crackpot. Like that article that was in the paper, he says one of the big screwballs in boxing, or something like that, Chuck Bodak. And I'm not a screwball, I'm not a character. I'm doing something that the public wants, the public enjoys. I'm giving back something that I've taken away from boxing, and that's the purpose. I could care less about ego. It's like autographs and taking pictures. A lot of times I take more pictures and sign more autographs than some of the guys on the cards. And I always thank the individual that comes up to me, or I have something funny to say to the person, and the guy looks at me like I'm crazy. He says "No, thank you." "Bullshit" I said, "I'm not doing you a favor, you're doing me a favor. Plus , if it wasn't for you guys, they'd pass me up like a dirty shirt." And that's the truth.
TG - Oscar DeLa Hoya?
CB - Oscar is a very, very intelligent kid. Oscar is very talented. His philosophy is that he can do anything. There isn't anything that's impossible with him. In reference to confidence, he's not cocky. He's not abusive. He's so extremely talented.
TG - How do you feel about him changing trainers?
CB - I don't know why that is. Here's a guy that's been talented all his life. He's been in demand as far as the people are concerned. And you bring all these guys in, for what? And my philosophy is this: a guy is made, literally, when he's born. Like a parent, you start teaching this kid, you start developing mentality and gestures and everything else till he gets to a point where he matured enough to where he can function mentally. Then he goes to school. He is being educated by teachers who are professors, in high school, in college, and everything else. This is where a person is made.
It's like Dundee. Dundee with "My man, Ali, my man this" and shit like that, well when Ali was an amateur, there was not one guy, there were hundreds of guys that predicted that he'd be a champion, a great champion one on these days. It was so obvious, he was so talented. He was made all along, when he first started with Joe Martin in Louisville, 12,13 years old. And as he progressed, even in his youth, 15, 16, 17, 18 years old, the guy was destined to be great.
TG - Where do you see Oscar going in his development? Do you see him going down as one of the greats?
CB - I think if nothing goes wrong. At the way he's progressed, with the accomplishments, and everything else, yeah. I think that he's got the structure, to possibly even be a middleweight or light heavyweight. He's won four titles already and he could be one of the All-Time greats. Sure. The big thing in all of them, if you really notice, the type of person they are, that's the important thing. Anybody can be an athlete. Anybody can perform as an athlete, but what kind of person are you? That's the big thing.
TG - So that's not an act, the smiling, personable DeLa Hoya?
CB - No. He's a super person, a real terrific kid. Even if he were to fire me tomorrow, I would never bum rap him. And yet, like I left Chavez. I worked with him 4 1/2, 5 years. I don't bum rap him, but I don't have anything nice to say about him, because there isn't. But with Oscar, like I say, even if he were to fire me tomorrow, I could do nothing but praise the guy, because he is a good person. And I feel this way.
TG - If you could pick one fighter through history to work with, who would it be?
CB - Well, I worked with one of the greatest, Ali. You can't go beyond that. Cause the guy was so great, and like I say, not only as an athlete, but as a person. Unbelievable. There's nobody to compare with him. And that's a fact. They claim, that besides Jesus Christ and God, he is the most revered, the most talked about, and the most in demand on earth. And that is the truth. Cause I've been in situations like when I was with Muhammad Ali Sports. We made quite a few trips when Ali was with us. Some he done exhibitions, some he made personal appearances to promote the show because he was affiliated with the organization, Muhammad Ali Sports. We went to Jakarta, for example, and there must have been hundreds of thousands of people just around the airport, and it was all fenced off, they wouldn't let anybody in. And they were all over the place, chanting "Ali, Ali, Ali". Then he went to the mosque in downtown Jakarta and they estimated that there were half a million, three quarters of a million people. I've been on trips to Africa. For example when I worked with Ali, I'd wear an Ali T-Shirt or cap, and also when I worked with Muhammad Ali sports, and the peace corps built training centers, they built schools, and stuff like that in the heart of the jungle. And as soon as they saw me, here you are, no communication, nothing, you're in the jungle. These kids were chanting "Ali, Ali, Ali", and practically ripping the stuff off me. I gave away all the stuff that I wore. When I was on that tour in Africa, I came home with just the clothes I had on my back, just ordinary clothes. They chanted. Unbelievable.
PROMOTERS WAR IN EUROPE
by Daniel Van De WieleIt looks more and more as if a war is developing between the two main promotional groups in Europe.This could be disastrous for the sport in this continent. Let me explain...
The two groups at war are (A) Warren,Kohl and Acaries in the red corner, and (B) Maloney and Sauerland in the blue.
It all started on Dec. 16, 1997 when then European cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson (promoted by A-Warren) pulled out of a fight with mandatory challenger Alexander Gurov (now with B-Maloney, formerly promoted by A-Acaries). Acaries was upset that Maloney intended to promote his old fighter in France and ....Nelson pulled out.
Next, British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Julius Francis (B-Maloney) pulled out of his fight for the vacant WBC International title against Klitschko (A-Kohl). Francis has been offered less than half of the purse he was guaranteed for the Klitschko fight to fight on the undercard of Axel Schulz (B-Sauerland) - Scott Welch (A-Warren), the latter fight being for the vacant EBU heavyweight title on Feb 28.
The "B-Team" fear that Welch (A-Warren) will pull out of this match and they hope that the EBU will then allow Francis (B-Maloney) to step in and face Schulz (B-Sauerland) to keep the TV date.
However, it is unlikely that the EBU will accept Francis as a contestant for the title without first offering the opportunity to higher - rated boxers like Willi Fischer (A-Kohl) and Wladimir Klitschko (A-Kohl).............
If Welch does not pull out and Schulz wins then he will make his first defence against Francis to compensate for the lost money. If Welch wins, Francis will engage in two non - title fights for Sauerland to recover the financial loss.
Following the situation should prove very interesting....
A similar tale emerged from France, involving promoters Bernard Roos and Gerard Teysseron.
Teysseron signed two fighters from Berlin for his promotion on Tuesday 3rd February in Pont Audemer. Just a week before his promotion, he was told that the two Germans would not go to France because their manager (Vivien Kumm) had been told that she would never get any work from Bernard Roos or Olaf Schröder (the agent she is using) if the two boxers took part in Teysseron's promotion.
Schröder was the messenger to Vivien Kumm, and Teysseron did not stand a chance of finding anybody else in Germany at such short notice. Roos and Teysseron are regularly engaged in competition for Eurosport (a European TV Network) Boxing Promotions....
STOP PRESS: Scott Welch has pulled out of the Schultz fight with a "back injury" and will be replaced by.....yes, you guessed it, Julius Francis. Watch this space!
by Phrank Da SluggerFeb Ratings (as of 10 Feb) There are 3 criteria I use to rate fighters: Quality of Opposition, Performance and Activity. I am ranking the best from 1 to 10; this is to see who deserves a title shot. I rate all 18 divisions, a time-consuming activity to say the least. Therefore, commentary only appears every 3rd month. Some mistakenly think the Champion in each division is the guy who I think is the best. This is not the case. There are 2 criteria by which I determine Champions: the 1st is lineage (Oscar de la Hoya beat Pernell Whitaker who beat Buddy McGirt who beat Simon Brown); and the 2nd is defeating another fighter also ranked in the top 3 in the division - this is how Evander Holyfield is the Champ. There is an exception: Bernard Hopkins is that rare titlist who has reigned a long time and defeated many contenders. Hopkins is the dominant fighter in his weight class and has won, mostly via KO, against a number of different contenders. You could say I'm rewarding him for long and meritorious service.
Champion: Evander Holyfield (WBA & IBF)
1. Lennox Lewis (WBC)
2. Larry Donald
3. Michael Moorer
4. Brian Nielsen (IBO)
5. David Tua
6. Andrew Golota
7. Michael Grant (IBC)
8. Tim Witherspoon
9. Shannon Briggs
10. Hasim Rahman
Since last time...Donald beat Witherspoon and rises perhaps a tad too high, but you must ask who deserves to be ranked ahead of him? Moorer lost and Ray Mercer exits after more than a yr of inactivity...Nielsen and Tua rise through activity and attrition...Grant blows out David Izon and enters a strong #7...Rahman active...Chris Byrd? Please - call me when he defeats a live body.
Champion: Fabrice Tiozzo (WBA)
1. Marcelo Dominguez (WBC)
2. Carl Thompson (WBO)
3. Nate Miller
4. Robert Daniels (IBC)
5. James Toney (IBO)
6. Juan Carlos Gomez
7. Johnny Nelson
8. Imamu Mayfield (IBF)
9. Don Diego Poeder (WBU)
10. David Izeqwire
Glad to hear that Dominguez-Gomez will have come off by the time you see this...Daniels active and moves ahead of idle -and probably Heavyweight- Toney. Daniels is set to face Poeder in Mar on USA... Poeder enters after a tough win this month - young guys need those kinds of fights...Poeder displaces inactive Akim Tafer...Adolfo Washington exits after a loss, and Izeqwire reenters with a string of wins.
Champion: Dariusz Michalczewski (WBO)
1. Roy Jones
2. Lou Del Valle (WBA)
3. Graciano Rocchigiani
4. Virgil Hill
5. Reggie Johnson (IBF)
6. Merqui Sosa
7. Ole Klemetsen
8. Michael Nunn
9. Montell Griffin
10. Mohammed Siluvangui
Big news here was Johnson's return after 18 months off and blowout of William Guthrie, winning the IBF title...Klemetsen active... Rocchigiani and Nunn were to vie for the WBC belt Jones dropped this month, but it will now happen in Mar after "Rocky" came down with a fever...Jones doesn't seem to know in what weight class he will compete in. Unless he fights -somewhere- he begins to fall next time...Idle Ricky Frazier exits and is replaced by Siluvangui - but maybe not for long as he faces Klemetsen in a rematch in Mar.
Champion: TITLE VACANT
1. Joe Calzaghe (WBO)
2. Frank Liles (WBA)
3. Charles Brewer (IBF)
4. Thomas Tate
5. Thulane Malinga (WBC)
6. Robin Reid
7. Herol Graham
8. Roberto Duran
9. Jorge Castro
10. Dean Francis
Reid upset by the ageless Malinga, and the South African's return displaces Joseph Kiwanuka...Liles hasn't been heard of in 7 months, and drops a notch to the active Calzaghe...Graham looked pretty good in decisioning Vinnie Pazienza and will challenge Brewer in Mar...Duran and Castro active...Missing in Action Henry Wharton exits...Francis in with an impressive stoppage of Frederic Seillier.
Champion: Bernard Hopkins (IBF)
1. Otis Grant (WBO)
2. Keith Holmes (WBC)
3. William Joppy (WBA)
4. Lonnie Bradley
5. Aaron Davis
6. Silvio Branco (WBU)
7. Antwun Echols
8. Robert Allen
9. Andrew Council
10. Robert McCracken
Wow, so much has happened here recently...Biggest news is Hopkins ascends to the throne - with his stoppage of Simon Brown (who exits) Hopkins is simply the best here and possesses a far more impressive title defense resume than the other 3 belt-holders. Let's hope he gets the opportunity to defend his crown against Holmes, Grant and Joppy...Speaking of Holmes, he returns with an impressive KO of Paul Vaden...Grant won the WBO title and moves ahead of inactive Bradley...Joppy corrected the mistake the judges made in his 1st fight with Julio Cesar Green and regained the 'BA belt...Council returns as a result of attrition...Branco active and continues to climb the ladder...Echols enters after his amazing effort, stopping Brian Barbosa- "The Bull," for now at least, leaves...Allen enters with a devastating KO over fringe contender Lloyd Bryan. He also holds a win over Council...Where's Bradley? Davis?...Peter Venancio leaves as he's been out of the ring since May...And I installed McCracken not so much because he deserves it but because there is no one else.
Champion: Keith Mullings (WBC)
1. Laurent Boudouani (WBA)
2. Terry Norris
3. Winky Wright (WBO)
4. Luis Ramon Campas (IBF)
5. Verno Phillips (WBU)
6. Bronco McKart (IBA)
7. Raul Marquez
8. Emmett Linton (IBA)
9. Shibata Flores
10. Anthony Stephens
Lots of title activity since last time...Mullings upset Norris and Campas exposed Marquez...Wright active and Boudouani, maybe the best fighter here, gets back in the ring this month...Felix Trinidad exits as it appears he'll stay at 147 lbs a bit longer...Julian Jackson acquitted himself well till Phillips took him out. Phillips, who looked very good, rises...Flores drops and will be gone next month unless he fights...McKart needs to become active as well... Stephens returns...for now ( he challenges Campas next month).
Champion: Oscar de la Hoya (WBC)
1. Ike Quartey (WBA)
2. Jose Luis Lopez
3. Pernell Whitaker
4. Felix Trinidad (IBF)
5. Oba Carr
6. Vernon Forrest
7. Derrell Coley
8. Shannon Taylor
9. Alessandro Duran (WBU)
10. Edgar Ruiz
De la Hoya defended his title in Dec and will again next month- he's a fighting Champion, the way it should be...Trinidad drops -gasp!- below Whitaker. He hasn't fought in 6 months and in over a yr at this weight. He has a title defense lined up for Mar, but vs. a nobody. What a waste of a superior fighter...Carr remains active... Duran replaces Pater Malinga after getting revenge...Ruiz enters, displacing Michael Lowe, after KOing Larry Dixon. Ruiz advances to the Forum's Welterweight tourney finals.
Champion: TITLE VACANT
1. Vince Phillips (IBF)
2. Khalid Rahilou (WBA)
3. Kostya Tszyu
4. Julio Cesar Chavez
5. Alfonso Sanchez
6. Reggie Green
7. Rafael Ruelas
8. Miguel Angel Gonzalez
9. Soren Sondergaard (IBC)
10. Diobelys Hurtado
The good news is that Chavez-Gonzalez will finally happen in Mar, filling the vacant WBC title...Another great match-up in Mar features Phillips-Sanchez, and it'll be televised on HBO...Green has fallen due to inactivity, but returned this month...Carlos Gonzalez has gone missing and exits...Ahmed Santos, who looked solid, falls after losing to Antonio Diaz. Perhaps he'll return one day... Sondergaard enters (about a yr after I predicted he would). He is world class material...And anyone who saw Hurtado's destruction of Aaron Zarate knows why he debuts at #10.
Champion: TITLE VACANT
1. Shane Mosley (IBF)
2. Orzubek Nazarov (WBA)
3. Stevie Johnston (WBC)
4. Israel Cardona
5. Phillip Holiday
6. Cesar Bazan
7. John-John Molina
8. George Scott (WBU)
9. Jesse James Leija
10. Artur Grigorijan (WBO)
Nazarov falls as Mosley rises - the former due to his MIA status and the latter because of his impressive KO of former-#9 Demetrio Ceballos...Isn't it about time for Nazarov's annual title defense?... Not just the Russian, but Holiday, too, is horribly inactive...Molina had to pull out of a fight with Cardona (who won vs. the sub) - hopefully they'll reschedule!...Scott finally returns with a title challenge of Johnston this month...Leija enters with a solid win over Joel Perez in a war...Idle David Tetteh exits and Grigorijan replaces him.
Champion: Genaro Hernandez (WBC)
1. Angel Manfredy (WBU)
2. Arturo Gatti (IBF)
3. Azumah Nelson
4. Gabe Ruelas
5. Yongsoo Choi (WBA)
6. Tracy Harris Patterson
7. Derrick Gainer
8. Jesus Chavez
9. Anatoly Alexandrov
10. Julien Lorcy
It saddens me to say this is probably the great 'Zumah's last month. He hasn't fought in nearly a yr...Jeez - the 135-lb weight class is idle, but this division is downright stagnant. Nelson, Ruelas, Gainer and Chavez have all been out of the ring for too long a time... Manfredy took over the #1 spot with his win over Gatti and Arturo dropped a couple notches, only to switch places with Nelson this month. But I'm not sure if Manfredy and Gatti are even still Jr. Lights...Justin Juuko displaced by the rising Lorcy...I hope Ruelas returns soon.
Champion: Luisito Espinosa (WBC)
1. Naseem Hamed (WBO & WBU)
2. Wilfredo Vazquez (WBA)
3. Cesar Soto
4. Kevin Kelley
5. Angel Vazquez
6. Juan Marquez
7. Hector Lizarraga (IBF)
8. Genaro Rios
9. Fred Norwood
10. Paul Ingle
Since last time the Hamed-Kelley war took place, but Kelley remains highly ranked because he was so impressive in defeat...AVazquez's hands healed and he returned to destroy someone else. He should get a title shot this yr - if it's vs. Vazquez or Espinosa, he'll win via KO. If it's against Hamed, we'll have World War III on our hands... Marquez remains active...Orlando Canizales leaves after many months of inactivity...Lizarraga won the IBF title in impressive fashion and debuts at #7...And we have a good match-up on the horizon as Norwood will fight Rios in Mar on HBO.
Champion: Kennedy McKinney (WBO & IBC)
1. Vuyani Bungu (IBF)
2. Junior Jones
3. Marco Antonio Barrera
4. Erik Morales (WBC)
5. Antonio Cermeno
6. Enrique Sanchez (WBA)
7. Hector Acero-Sanchez
8. Danny Romero
9. Cassius Baloyi (WBU)
10. Spencer Oliver
Nice to see a weight division where the fighters actually
fight...McKinney of course won the Championship from Jones...Cermeno probably will not be here next month as he's challenging Wilfredo Vazquez (in a rematch) at 126 lbs...Barrera finally returns this mth...Sanchez claims the WBA title with a win over capable Rafael Del Valle...Romero debuts here after rising from the Jr. Bantam division...Adan Vargas and Marius Frias both were displaced...Oliver enters after KOing veteran Fabrice Benichou.
Champion: TITLE VACANT
1. Johnny Bredahl (IBO)
2. Nana Konadu (WBA)
3. Jorge Julio (WBO)
4. Joichiro Tatsuyoshi (WBC)
5. Tim Austin (IBF)
6. Paulie Ayala
7. Mbubelo Botile
8. Cuahtemoc Gomez
9. Daorung Siriwat (Chuvatana)
10. Oscar Maldonado
Jeez - Konadu and Austin slip due to inactivity and the guys they took their titles from (Siriwat and Botile) also drop due to idleness. Did all these guys retire and just not tell us?...Bredahl continues to fight on a regular basis and impress...Another welcome face, Tatsuyoshi, enters with a blowout of ordinary Sirimongkol Singmanassuk, claiming the WBC belt...Gomez fought after these were compiled...Maldonado another guy here who needs to fight.
Champion: Gerry Penalosa (WBC)
1. Johnny Tapia (WBO & IBF)
2. Samson Dutch Boy Gym (WBF)
3. Satoshi Iida (WBA)
4. Joel Luna-Zarate
5. Yokthai Sit Oar
6. Takato Toguchi
7. Julio Gamboa
8. Veeraphol Sahaprom
9. Luis Benavides
10. Adonis Cruz
Iida won his rematch with Sit Oar, claiming the 'BA title...Zarate active...Where's Toguchi? He needs a match...Luis Bolanos and Oscar Arcinega both exit due to not fighting...And it's slim pickings, but Benavides and Cruz enter.
Champion: Chartchai Sasakul (WBC)
1. Mark Johnson (IBF)
2. Jose Bonilla (WBA)
3. Arthur Johnson
4. Carlos Salazar (WBO)
5. Raul Juarez
6. David Guerault
7. Jesper Jensen
8. Jose Lopez
9. Julio Coronel
10. Alejandro Montiel
Johnson-Johnson is just days away! Rarely do we have a quality match-up like this, and the result will be reflected next time...Ex-Champion Yuri Arbachkov retired and thus exits...Guerault KOed Adi Lewis (formerly #9) and moves up accordingly...Zamudio leaves as he's been idle for too long...And Montiel falls for the same reason. Juarez needs to fight again soon, too...Lopez and Coronel both enter.
Champion: Saman Sorjaturong (WBC)
1. Jake Matlala (IBA)
2. Mauricio Pastrana (IBF)
3. Pichit Chor Siriwat (WBA)
4. Juan Cordoba (WBO)
5. Melchor Cob-Castro
6. Joma Gamboa
7. Jesus Chong
8. Edgar Cardenas
9. Kaaj Chartbandit
10. Shiro Yahiro
Pastrana finally returned and was impressive in re-annexing the IBF belt...Sorjaturong active...Cordoba won the 'BO title from Cob Castro...Keiji Yamaguchi leaves after being slaughtered by 112-lb titlist Jose Bonilla...Yo-Sam Choi exits due to (what else) inactivity...And I'd like to see Cardenas in the ring again soon.
Champion: Ricardo Lopez (WBC)
1. Rosendo Alvarez (WBA)
2. Rocky Lin
3. Zolani Lepetelo (IBF)
4. Ratanapol Voraphin
5. Lindi Memani
6. Ronnie Magramo
7. Alex Sanchez
8. Eric Jamili (WBO)
9. Songkram Porpaoin
10. Satoru Abe
Man, what a sorry division. They should merge it with the Jr. Fly weight class (hmm)...The only good news is that we'll see Lopez-Alvarez in Mar (under Chavez-Mago)...Andy Tabanas, Fah Sung Pongsawang and Osvaldo Guerrero, all MIA, leave after months and months of inactivity...Add to that the fact that Lin, Memani, Magramo and Sanchez are all very idle and this division begs to be labeled the worst in the sport...Abe enters with a good KO of Rudy Gilos and Porpaoin (brother of ex-titlist Chana) debuts as well.
World Champions: 13 (of 17)
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