. . . THE CYBER BOXING ZONE JOURNAL
May, 1998
http://cyberboxingzone.com
SPIRITUAL ADVISER ON ALL MATTERS FISTIC:
Hank Kaplan
FOUNDER/PUBLISHER:
Michael DeLisa
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:
GorDoom
WEB MASTER & ASSOCIATE EDITOR:
Pusboil
COPY EDITOR:
Derek Cusack
HISTORY & RESEARCH:
Hank Kaplan, Tracy Callis, Matt Tegen
STAFF WRITERS:
BoxngRules, Chris Bushnell, Adrian Cusack, Derek Cusack, DscribeDC, Thomas Gerbasi, Dave Iamele, Phrank Da Slugger, Pusboil
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS:
Enrique Encinosa, Randy Gordon, Pedro Fernandez, Joe Koizumi, Mike Moscone, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, Jim Trunzo, Barry Lindenman

This Issue


Editorial

by GorDoom

I know many of you bookmark the CBZ Journal & come back once or month or so to peruse the magazine. But there is a wealth of boxing information in other sections of this site that is being constantly updated. I urge everyone to explore the many other sections of the CBZ.

One of those sections, Current News, has gone through a major overhaul with the recent additions of two reporters: Joe Koizumi & Pedro Fernandez. Joe has been the Far East correspondent for Ring Magazine for over 30 years! He also does double duty as WBC feather weight titlist, Luisito Espinoza’s manager. The 2nd correspondent, Pedro Fernandez, is a well known boxing writer & nationally syndicated boxing radio talk show host.

Both of them send in almost daily reports that can be found in the News Section. These are not to be missed if you want to stay current on the boxing scene. Check the section every day, for cutting edge boxing reports that you won’t find in the daily newspapers or ESPN.

Speaking of Pedro, we start this months issue with a compilation of some of Pedro’s more recent reports to let some of you readers know what you’ve been missing. Next, we have my own bad self weighing in with a report on the boxing programming on the Classic Sports Network. The Duke of Dublin, Derek Cusack, contributes part one of an extraordinary interview with “The Clones Cyclone”, former featherweight champion, Barry McGuigan.

Following that, we have the first of four yeoman like contributions by the unstoppable, Thomas Gerbasi ... First up is a fascinating interview with one of HBO’s head boxing mavens, Lou DiBella. Gerbasi’s other pieces are a very compelling & humanizing article on former heavyweight contender, Gerry Cooney, a report on a local Long Island club fight card & lastly part 2 of his computer boxing tournament, this time featuring the lightweight division.

But that’s not all folks! Dave Iamele turns in a incisive retrospective on the careers of the Glimmer Twins, Mike Tyson & Don King. Both staff stalwart, Chris Bushnell & associate editor & web master, the always scabrous Pusboil, wrote articles on the same subject: The always self effacing Roy Jones Jr. While they both make many similar points about Roy, I felt they were both fine articles & stylistically so different, I decided to include both in this issue ... Following their pieces on the under achieving Mr. Jones, we have a bio on a fighter that could never be called that, Henry Armstrong.

This was written by a 14 year old young man from Michigan named Jason Rosenberg. His father had written me for some info on Homicide Hank & we began a correspondence. I figured with a name like Rosenberg, there was a high probability that Jason wasn’t Afro-American. My curiosity was piqued as to why he would write about somebody as arcane as Hammerin’ Henry & I asked to see his finished copy. I thought he did a good job, so I present it to you here, and BoxngRules has an article on the late great, Salvador Sanchez.

Finally, we wrap it up with Phrank The Sluggers, April ratings. I pretty much agree with his rankings most of the time (They beat the hell out of any of the alphabets ratings!), but Phrank, when are you gonna realize that Frankie Liles IS the linear super middleweight champion of the world?

Well that’s it for this month, but once again I want to mention that the CBZ is looking for both an African & a Latin American correspondent ...

Enjoy!

GorDoom


Pedro Fernandez Reports

by Pedro Fernandez

In 1962 and 1963, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (Edgar-ina to his cross dressing pals) was the recipient of several tips that President Kennedy was about to be assassinated. However, Hoover didn't report it to anybody because he wanted Kennedy dead.

Well, for several months I have been told by a number of people that Joel De La Hoya, the father of Oscar De La Hoya, has been shopping his son around on the QT. I keep reporting these stories because my sources are "rock solid."

Last night, I'm laying in bed at 2:30 AM when the phone rings.

"Pedro, isn't it too bad about Bob (Arum)" was the first thing out of the male caller's mouth. As I pulled myself up to look at the clock, I asked. Did he die? Is he dead? "No, but he may as well be dead. Oscar and his old man just called off the September 18, fight with (Julio Cesar) Chavez. Bob's franchise player is taking a walk."

I find it hard to believe that Team De La Hoya would leave Arum, a former US Attorney who has overly protected the one armed WBC 147 lb. champion, and at the same time made him a zillionaire!

I'm being told Arum is the fall guy in this scenario. That Oscar is feeling the heat from columnists' like myself, and the knowledgable boxing fan who wants to see De La Hoya fight either Ike Quartey, Felix Trinidad, or Jose Luis Lopez.

As a promoter, Bob has made sure that anybody Oscar has fought thus far (with the exception of Pernell Whitaker and Miguel Gonzalez) has had little or no chance against "Daddy's Boy." In fact, Gonzalez was the only fighter Oscar has faced that wasn't much smaller, or much older than him.

And through all this, Arum has deflected the cries of the legitimate media to have Oscar meet Quartey, Lopez, or Trinidad. And he has done it with a smile. For in the calender year 1997 alone, Arum's deals put $40 million in the De La Hoya coffers.

I've told you how Don King supposedly offered Papa De La Hoya $65 million for a four fight pact a while back. And how a media giant, quite possibly Rupert Murdoch offered Oscar $55 million, and a TV show once he retires, for a four fight deal.

The difference between King, Murdoch, and Arum, is that King and Rupert want to see Oscar in "real" fights. Arum, on the hand is quite willing to pocket his $2 million check each time Oscar puts on an exhibition.

But the truth hurts. Like the wicked witch in the Cinderella story, Oscar peers into the piece of reflective glass above his bathroom sink each day and says. "Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Am I the fairest welterweight of all."

"No, son. You're just the richest."

TYSON-ROONEY BATTLE OVER $$

The "oral" agreement between Mike Tyson and his former trainer Kevin Rooney was said to be a valid agreement. And two years ago, a jury awarded Rooney $4.4 million in damages resulting from Tyson dumping Kevin in 1988, after Tyson's 91 second meeting with Michael Spinks.

But a higher court "stayed" the ruling and now the Court of Appeals must make a ruling as to whether the "oral contract" stands up. The federal court asked the judges on the state's highest court to render an interpretation about the New York state law that would help the federal court decide the Rooney-Tyson fiasco.

That will take place on May 5.

Rooney's $4.4. million judgment was thrown out early last year by Judge Thomas McAvoy who presided over the 1996 trial. The judge said the jury could not legally come back with a verdict in Rooney's favor.

The Judge's problem is the legal standing in New York of the oral assurance that the former heavyweight champion gave Rooney that he would train the boxer for as long as Mike was a boxer.

Judge McAvoy ruled the two had nothing more than an "at-will" contract, meaning that either man could terminate the pact at any time.

After the verdict was awarded to Rooney, Tyson had the balls to say the following.

"If Kevin would of only came to me and asked for $4 million, I would have given it to him."

SMOKIN'' JOE HOT OVER DRUNK DRIVING CHARGE

Joe Frazier has done some dumb things in his life. Like opting to fight George Foreman for short money instead of facing Ali in a rematch. Yesterday, a lot of people think Joe stepped deep into "do-do" when he said in a Philadelphia courtroom that he would fight the Drunk Driving charge that he was arrested for on April 7.

"He's not taking the program because he's totally innocent," said Frazier's daughter and attorney, Jacquelyn Frazier-Lyde. "The police officer made a mistake."

Decked out in a black double-breasted suit and Stetson hat, Frazier, 54, refused to enter a rehabilitation program that is offered to first time Drunk Driving offenders.

Participants in the program give up their right to a trial. Besides that, they lose their driver's license for a month, and must a driving class. Add on to that, two years of probation. And if the offender stays clean, the charge is removed from his record.

Joe put it like this. "I was going through the rules and regulations. I had no problem with the law. I have a problem with one man who said I did things I didn't do."

The cops claim Frazier was arrested because he was driving his 1989 Jaguar on the wrong side of the street. He was charged with Drunken Driving after a Breathealizer test. His blood alcohol level was between 0.05 and 0.10, which is legal in Pennsylvania.

The trial is set for June 17.

Pedro Fernandez

Notes: We are interested in your feelings regarding the news section at fighters.com Your comments are appreciated and can be forwarded to flash@inow.com And don't forget! "Ring Talk" can be heard live on the TALK AMERICA Radio Networks on both Saturday & Sunday nights at 11 PM ET with LIVE Internet audio at www.talkamerica.com On Sunday, Ring Talk is on the TALK AMERICA "2" Network for only one hour. Be advised, there is a difference between TALK 1 and TALK 2 aka "The Deuce." Both have audio sites at www.talkamerica.com Pedro Fernandez


THE CLASSIC SPORTS NETWORK

by GorDoom

The Ol’ Spit Bucket wants to lighten up a little this month & yak a little about something in the sweet science that is actually an unequivocal joy ... Unfortunately, it ain’t anythang that’s happening these days, it’s the terrific boxing programming, on the Classic Sports Network.

I just got channeled into the signal ‘bout a month or so ago & the Bucket is inna fistic taping frenzy of utter nirvanic bliss: Nobody is getting arrested, raped or pillaged. No chomping on cartilage, getting eviscerated by the Feds, failing drug tests, or just plain being a moronic, freakin’, A-hole.

It’s just fights ... & what fights!!!

Sugar Ray (the real one), Jake LaMotta, Carmen Basilio, Joe Louis, Clay/Ali, Jack Johnson & Sonny Liston, are just a few of the fighters who’s careers I’ve been able to re-examine. It has been a hurricane of fresh air to remind the Bucket why he loves this sport so deeply ... It’s been gettin’ so hard lately to justify it.

Not surprisingly, some fighters are as good or better than I remember them, & others definitely aren’t in the former category. Fighters like Jake La Motta & Rocky Graziano, are even cruder than remembered. Both of them exhibit no particular boxing skills other than an enormous capacity to absorb punishment & keep coming. Graziano of course, also had the advantage of a wrecking ball right hand.

Joe Louis, Sonny Liston, Archie Moore, Kid Gavilan & Roberto Duran, are among the fighters that have risen in the Bucket’s esteem of late.

Louis really was an almost perfect fighting machine. A little slow in the foot speed department, but a devastatingly accurate puncher. I’ve seen at least nine of his fights recently & while a lot of his competition wasn’t any better the assorted ham hocks, tomato cans & herrings that litter today’s heavyweight division; there is no doubt in my mind that Louis would have been a champion today.

Sonny Liston is as devastating as I remembered him. The one thing that jumps out in reviewing his fights, was that he was a much better boxer than he was ever given credit for. Over the years the recurring images we’ve seen of Liston, have been his debacles against Ali. But there was much more to Sonny Liston than those two fights. His epic wars against Cleveland Williams, his KO of the vastly under rated Zora Folley, his strategic duel with Eddie Machen & of course, his total annihilations of Floyd Patterson.

Archie Moore, not even factoring in his advanced age, was a marvel of technical artistry. The Ol’ Mongoose truly knew every trick in the book. Moore, along with Jersey Joe Walcott, Harold Johnson & Buddy McGuirt are among the most technically sound fighters I’ve ever seen.

Kid Gavilan would be boxing’s super star version of Michael Jordan, if he was fighting today. Hands down, the flashiest, most exciting welterweight I’ve ever seen. The brilliant slashing combinations, a blur of jabs, hooks, uppercuts, bolos & rights were truly a sight to behold ... Only two things held “The Keed” back from dominating his era, a lack of power & fighting at the same time as Sugar Ray Robinson, who was in the prime of his career.

Watching Roberto Duran in his prime as a lightweight, almost erases the aged, bloated, version that has been foisted on us in the 90’s. The sheer, atavistic savagery, of the young Duran was an awesome sight. For all the younger boxing fans who have been endlessly regaled with tales of the young, “Hands Of Stone”, they are true. & then there’s Sugar Ray Robinson. After watching about a dozen of his middleweight fights from the 50’s, when he was deep into his 30’s & past his prime, all I can say is that he REALLY was the greatest fighter, pound for pound, of all time.

If your cable company doesn’t carry the Classic Sports Network & you’re a boxing fan, start calling them & keep calling them until they start carrying it.

It will be well worth your effort.

GorDoom


BARRY MC GUIGAN INTERVIEW - PART ONE

by Derek Cusack

A couple of weeks ago I spoke to former world featherweight king BarryMc Guigan, and our conversation spanned many aspects of his career and boxing in general. Many will remember following the exciting, powerful, skillful young Irishman as he rose through the pro ranks and ultimately won the championship by ending the amazing reign of Eusebio Pedrosa - which spanned seven years and tewnty successful defences. He defended his title twice and then lost to Steve Cruz and the searing heat of the Las Vegas desert in June 1986.

He returned as a super featherweight two years later and won three comeback fights before losing on a cut to Jim Mc Donnell in 1989 and hanging up his gloves. He was 28 when he retired, and his career record reads 32-3 (28). Barry has had his fair share of bad luck outside the ring, losing his father and his brother Dermot - both of whom were an integral part of his career. Dermot fought as an amateur himself and sparred with Barry throughout his professional career. Last year his daughter Danika was diagnosed as having leukemia, but thankfully she is currently responding well to treatment. Barry also lost a libel case to his long - time manager Barney Eastwood some years back, and their partnership was certainly a major thorn in the side of Mc Guigan's career.

However, his tremendous drive and ambition have carried him over the many potholes which await retiring fighters, and having pursued many different ventures he has found his niche as key boxing analyst for Sky TV. His most recent extra - curricular project involved working as boxing consultant for the movie "The Boxer", which hit the big screens last year.

For further information on topics covered here, you may wish to read "Eastwood Gym Goes West," from the October 1997 Cyber Boxing Journal, or "The Boxer - A Film Review" from the February 1998 Journal.

DC: What sparked off your interest in boxing as a child?

BMG: I was small and I didn't want to be bullied, I wanted a reputation as a tough guy. I found a pair of gloves in an old derelict building once and I took on the rest of the guys in the group I was with. They were all bigger than me and I handled them so I thought, "I could be pretty good at this!"

DC: Were there any fighters you looked up to?

BMG: Yes, from the start I looked up to Muhummad Ali – he was the one because he was so charismatic. Then I followed John Conteh for a while, he was pretty good also, very exciting. I remember seeing Carlos Palamino beating John H. Stracy, he was an exceptional fighter. I liked Dave Boy Green's style of fighting as a kid too. But I admired Ali greatly, most of all. I spotted Roberto Duran when I had already been boxing for a couple of years and he has been my idol ever since.

DC: You fought the best in the world as a rising pro, in what order would you rate your opponents?

BMG: The best fighter was Pedrosa but my hardest fight was the La Porte fight, funnily enough. The best night was against Pedrosa and the best fight was against La Porte. The most difficult opponent was probably Bernard Taylor – he was fast, elusive and hard to catch. Ironically, the least talented fighter I faced in a world title fight was the one who beat me – Steve Cruz. He just happened to catch me at the right time.

DC: Why do you say the La Porte fight was harder if Pedrosa was a better fighter?

BMG: Because La Porte had lost his title (to Gomez) and this was his second fight since. He was determined to project himself as a force to be reckoned with – to show he was good enough to regain his old title. CBS in America had featured me a number of times, and they wanted to see me tested by somebody who could really bang, someone who could really fight and was proper championship material. La Porte said himself that he had never prepared harder than he prepared for the fight against me. On paper, Pedrosa is a better fighter (than La Porte) and you'd have to agree that this is the case. But because of the clash of styles, the La Porte fight was really tough.

Styles make fights, and as far as La Porte was concerned I was the perfect opponent because I had a high workrate and I stayed in the firing range all the time. At some stage during the ten rounds, he knew he would get a chance to bang me and I knew it would be very difficult to get him out of there because he's so solid – I don't think he has ever been stopped. He fought up until a couple of years ago, he fought for the light welterweight title about three years ago. He was a magnificent fighter. Given these conclusions, I think La Porte was probably the hardest fight I ever had and I have no doubt that I fought better that night than I had fought before or afterwards.

DC: Another long – term pro was Azumah Nelson. Although you never clashed, there was much hype surrounding a fight between you and Nelson while you were rival champions...

BMG: Nelson was another class fighter, he's unquestionably one of the all - time greats. That was a fight that I thought would happen, especially in the second part of my career - if you like - after I had been out for two years due to my litigation with my ex - manager. When I came back into boxing I was a super featherweight, and I thought, "We'll most probably get it together this time." And that was what I was working towards when I suffered a cut eye and got stopped (against Jim Mc Donnell). I knew that it wasn't there anymore, so I decided to pack it in.

Even when we were both featherweight champions he (Nelson) was saying pretty nasty things about me and I was sure at some stage we would get together. However I'm not pretending that it would have been an easy fight – it would have been a very difficult fight. If you look at our records, you'd think "Nelson would have had too much for Mc Guigan." I look at one Neson opponent who was like me in many ways, except he didn't have my power: Jeff Fenech. Fenech beat Nelson the first time they fought. Nelson won the second match pretty comprehensively but the first time I thought Fenech won - he didn't get it, but he won the fight. So a match between me and Azumah would have been interesting, it would have been a great fight. But there's no doubt, he would have to have been favourite.

DC: Do you regret not having got the chance to fight him?

BMG: Well, I do, there are many things I regret, but that fight was one I would have liked to have had in my prime.

DC: Your popularity at home and abroad was unprecedented and not even sucessful Irish champions like Wayne Mc Cullough and Steve Collins have managed to capture the public imagination like you did. To what to you attribute this?

BMG: It's very nice of you to say so! I don't know what I would attribute it to, mabye I just came on the scene at the right time. I have great respect for both Wayne and Steve, and I'd like to think I was comparable to them as far as ability is concerned. I also had great time for my supporters and great respect for them, and I think they returned that by coming out to support me. But I don't know, to be honest, what the answer to that question is.

DC: What are the happiest memories from your career?

BMG: Winning the title in my father's lifetime and seeing him be a part of it by singing before the fights, Loftus Road (the venue of the Pedrosa fight), King's Hall (Belfast) the night I beat La Porte, King's Hall the night I beat Taylor, and all the world title fights. I have very fond memories of coming home to Belfast with my title, and particularly coming home to Dublin. The day I came down to Dublin was incredible – 400, 000 people came out to see me and it took me an hour and a half to get from O' Connell Street to the Mansion House (normally a five minute walk). That was marvellous, I couldn't believe they were all there to see me! I also drew a comparable crowd to the pub! Those were great nights…

DC: Regrets?

BMG: I have many regrets: Not fighting Nelson, and not fighting Fenech also - I would have liked to have fought him too. I'd like to have held onto my title for a bit longer and gone on a bit longer, but of course we can't talk about that! I'm sure I could have carried on as champion for considerably longer had my managerial wrangles not got in the way. Outside of boxing, I regret that my Father and my Brother are not here any more. And I suppose I regret not living at home any more, but that's just the way it is - I have work to do over here (in England).

DC: Do you miss home?

BMG: Yes, certainly. Particularly now as my little girl isn't well. She's well at the moment, but I'd love to have my family around me.

DC: Many people thought you retired too young - this move was widely respected but is increasingly uncommon in boxing. Many fighters carry on for too long...

BMG: Regretfully so, from my point of view. Not that they all become denigrated into embarrasment, but many do unfortunately. A lot more fighters should invest their time in education and life after the ring. But some of them are short - sighted and it just happens time and time again (fighters carrying on for too long). This is a real sadness for me because I started the Professional Boxers Association a couple of years ago, and quite honestly we're struggling at the moment because we don't have any financial support and we don't have support from the fighters. Boxing, by definition, doesn't lend itself to unity and a union because it's such an individual sport. We find it difficult to get guys together and boxing managers, becuase they view us with suspicion, paint a bad picture of us to their fighters. We have to deal with a great deal of apathy and indifference. It is regretful to me that many fighters don't take advantage of what we have to offer them. We're there, but they just don't avail of our services in general.

DC: What is on offer at the Professional Boxers Association?

BMG: Most importantly, education. We encourage boxers to play an active part in their careers and learn to handle their financial affairs in conjunction with their managers - let them know that they're entitled to see all the records and all the financial papers relating to them. But fighters, by in large, are not interested in the finer financial details. They're only interested in getting on with their careers and making money and leaving the paperwork - which is the most important aspect when all is said and done - to their managers. Many of them get, let's say, disappointed when it's all over.

Every aspect of boxing is very important to me, but most of all I care about the fighters. We saw Edwin Rosario being found dead by his Mum and Dad, just in his thirties. Mercedes was shot dead on the streets, Estaban De Jesus died in jail, Bowe's wife left him and he needs psychiatric help, Wilfredo Benitez needs 24 hour care....A lot of great fighters over here are sad shadows of themselves also. It's just a catalogue of disasters and a litany of sad stories. I simply wish more fighters would get proper advice and think about what happens when the curtain comes down on their careers. Too many of them don't, and end up bitter, twisted old men. And more importantly, the vast majority of fighters don't handle their money correctly. They don't get proper advice, and often don't get any financial advice at all. And to be fair to managers, many won't take advice.

DC: Do you ever regret retiring when you did, and can you understand the plight of the Riddick Bowe's, Frank Bruno's, etc...

BMG: I can understand it, we all miss the roar of the crowd. It's much more than that though, and mabye it's unfair of me to make that statement. However, there's such a void in a figher's life when he retires. Boxing consumes every minute of every day when you're active as a professional, and fighters should try make allowances for other things. A great many fighters are so involved in their careers that everything takes a back seat, including the family, and they spend long months away in camp and travelling from fight to fight. They really should consider that when they're fighting and think about when it's all over. I'm starting to repeat myself now, but the fact is that I honestly wish the P.B.A. had been around to talk to when I turned pro.

Fighters should consider spending 3 or 4 hours out of their day doing a computer course, or training as a mechanic, or doing an apprenticeship as a plasterer, or whatever. Four hours a day over a couple of years, even at your prime, would not be a large sacrifice. And it's great to be able to get away from boxing and to switch off. You've got plenty of educated guys boxing these days. It would just mean that when the shutters come down you're not left in a black hole, you have some light at the end of the tunnel. It is distressing for me because I can see it happening. I can spot the guys who will run into trouble, and I can pull them aside for five or ten minutes, but a lot won't take advice. I'm not trying to say that I'm perfect and that everybody should be like me, but they should try to have a little more foresight - stop being so cocooned in their own little twelve - month - ahead world: "Where's my next fight?" I know that sounds a little bit dictatorial, but I'm just being a realist.

DC: Do you have any comment to make on Jim Mc Donnell's return to boxing last month in Germany?

BMG: Yeah, I think it's idiotic. And that's an understatement. I think he's being totally foolish. He's pushing 38 now and he draws against a club fighter, he can make all the excuses in the world, he can say it was a bad decision, but where's he going for God's sake? He's going nowhere.

DC: You tried your hand at a lot of different professions after you retired: Formula One racing, chat show hosting, singing, working on "The Boxer" and working as a TV boxing analyst. Which of these did you enjoy most?

BMG: My career is boxing, all the rest were fun. This is serious, and we can all participate in fun from time to time. The TV chat show thing went, let's just say, wrong. As a young man I didn't have any experience in this field, but it's something I intend to go back to, and I'd like to be involved in light entertainment in some capacity in the future. But my life is boxing, and my career is as an analyst. I haven't got it right yet, I'm still improving and getting better as is the whole show on Sky TV. The concept of the show will change as time goes on in order to make it as good as possible.

Music, for example, is my passion. I love it and I'll always be really into music as I get great satisfaction from it. I'd like to be able to do something muscially in the future also, in a small way. The motor racing was great fun, but I was just being a big kid as far as that was concerned. I availed of the opportunities that presented themselves but I won't be doing that in the future because first of all I'm not good enough - I'm too brave on the track for my ability. Or to put it another way, I'm just crazy! I'd prefer to leave racing to the people who are skillful at it, but it was marvellous fun. I'm still crazy about formula one, I was just up 'till the early hours the other day watching the grand prix. I'm a real anorak for formula one and motor sport in general, but I'm just a spectator these days. I'm not involved in any form of motor sport, nor am I likely to be in the future.

DC: Tell us more about "The Boxer", and how it came about...

BMG: Well, working on "The Boxer" was marvelous and the movie industry is another thing I'd love to get involved in again. It was very time consuming, of course, but I enjoyed it greatly. The movie was inspired by my story - Jim Sheridan lived in Hell's Kithen in the early eighties and he was head of the Irish Arts Centre over there. He was obviously keeping an eye on the politics of Northern Ireland, and he heard a lot of negative stories. But one day he heard some guy say "leave the fighting to Mc Guigan", and he thought it a bit idealistic but he liked the idea. He saw me fighting, got to know me and ended up living with me for 6 months. He wrote my autobiography "Leave The Fighting To Mc Guigan", which was a bestseller over here. We parted company in 1986 and he said he intended to go into the movie industry and said that if he ever got a chance he would do a movie on me.

The story was not the story he wanted to tell, the guy that he featured as the main character had to have a political history. But it was very gratifying to me to know that it was inspired by my story. There are elements in it which resemble my story, like the love affair Danny Flynn had with Maggie and how boxing benefitted both communities as it was a non - sectarian club. Also the third fight in England where Danny fights the African and almost beats him to death. That actually did happen in my career, I had a tragic fight in 1982 when my opponent Young Ali died afterwards. That was a very traumatic time for me...

However, going back to the story, Daniel (Day Lewis) came to me in 1994, and we trained together since then. The first time we went to a fight together was Benn - Mc Clellan. I trained him pretty intensely and he got very good, he was sparring with some good fighters. He really put his heart and soul into it and I trained him on an ongoing basis during the months preceeding the movie. I was aware of everything that happened during the making of "The Boxer" - Jim would tell me how the script was unfolding and ask me what I thought about it as we didn't have a proper script right until the very end.

They told me they wanted three fights, and I had to find the opponents, so myself and some colleagues found the right guys. They sparred extensively with Daniel during the making of the movie and we did all the coreography during the day. Daniel would come in at 2 o' clock and spar, and I have to take my hat off to him, he was fantastic. The coreography was tough too, we had to train with the boys and Damien Denny (an actual pro, and one of Day Lewis' opponents in "The Boxer") had to lose two stone for the role. We would get up in the morning, have breakfast, go to the gym, work out the coreography, and work it out for an hour or so before Daniel would come along. Then Daniel would do a two hour stint of sparring and training and I'd go through a full routine with him. Then he'd go back out and we'd do the coreography again, show it to Daniel and he'd try to pick it up and practise it.

Then we'd have tea, go to the gym for another two hour session, and it was really tough work. As the fight scenes became closer, we went through the coreography extensively with Daniel - round by round, punch by punch and move by move. Because we agreed that we didn't want to make it like so many other Hollywood movies that had so much exaggerated boxing effects, we decided that we would take it back a step. We inculded the half - hits, the misses and mixed actual sparring with coreography. So a lot of it is proper sparring and most of the salient points in the fights were coreographed.

DC: How do you rate Daniel Day Lewis as a boxer?

BMG: Well, as a fighter, he was a good club fighter at the end of it all. I'm sure people will say, "how could he be that good," but I worked with him for long enough and I know how good he is. I've seen him stun and floor guys in the gym, and I've seen him get hurt himself and come back. I've seen him roll his head, skipping around the ring and keeping out of trouble. I know the middleweights who travel around providing opposition for young prospects and sometimes upset the applecart. Daniel could easily mix with those guys right now. Right after the movie was made, when he was at his best, he could have gone in and fought professionally. Eliminate the top fifteen middleweights in Britain, and the rest he could have fought easily - and beaten the majority of them.

DC: How much does he love the sport?

BMG: He's mad about it, totally and utterly besotted with boxing. He's now an encyclopedia on boxing - not only does he know the up - and - coming fighters, but he also knows the champions of a hundred years ago. I've never seen anybody articulate the way Daniel can, and he's such an intelligent bloke. He can make boxing sound so artistic, he can say the things fighters can't say because they aren't as intelligent and articulate as Daniel. They are often frustrated because they can't put into words why they like the game, but Daniel was able to do that for many of them (in a Sky TV interview, during which Day Lewis made an amazingly insightful case for boxing and reminded us all why we follow the sport so closely).

DC: We touched on the similarity between Danny Flynn's relationship with Maggie in "The Boxer", and your relationship and marriage to Sandra...

BMG: Sandra and I have been in love since we first met, we grew up together. I think that was something which struck Jim also, as he wanted to mirror the relationship between him and his wife Fran also. Most of these filmmakers are actually telling their own stories, and there are direct similarities between Sandra and I, Jim and Fran and the characters in the movie - apart from the fact that Sandra is a protestant and Maggie is an IRA prisoner's wife!

DC: Did you feel the movie was an accurate reflection of life in contemporary Belfast?

BMG: Well it was a little too severe at times, but you need some artistic licence. In many ways, it was very similar.

DC: Did you encounter any hostility similar to that experienced by Danny Flynn in the movie, given that your wife was from the other side of the sectarian divide?

BMG: No, none whatsoever. The obvious difference is that Danny was seeing a prisoner's wife, and as far as I know Sandra wasn't married! I didn't experience any problems, certainly nobody ever said anything directly to me about it. I'm sure there were Republican - minded people who didn't like the idea of me marrying a Protestant, but those guys never worried me in the past and are not likely to worry me in the future either. The extremists wouldn't come and support me as a fighter because they thought I was "Barry the Brit," but they never concerned me.

Everybody's entitled to their opinion, but I never wanted any support from the extremist elements of the sectarian movements in the first place.

* NOTE: Barry won the British and European titles as a rising pro, and his contesting the British title angered some Republican - minded Irish people. Every successful sportsman who is even vaguely connected with Britain (look at Lennox Lewis, who fought for Canada in the Olympics) is embraced by the British public and heralded by them as one of their own (until they lose - just wait for Lennox Lewis to suddenly become a Canadian again when his reign at the top ends). Barry was no exception to this rule, and his being called "British" by everybody in England (even Margaret Thatcher) along with the fact that he held the British title led to him being dubbed "Barry the Brit" by the bitter - minded.

Tune in next time, when Barry goes on to speak about the fighters of today, the state of boxing today and much more..........


Gerry Cooney: Finally a Champion...In Life

by Thomas Gerbasi

Standing at an imposing 6-6, former heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney pounds out a machine gun rhythm on the speedbag at New York's Downtown Athletic Club. At the sound of the bell, Cooney wipes his brow, walks over to me, and while extending his hand, asks "Where are your trunks?" I look back at him, puzzled. He continues, "I thought you wanted to find out about boxing up close and personal." Before the shock could register on my face, Cooney laughs and shakes my hand again. Such is Gentleman Gerry.

Here is someone who comes off as nice in person as advertised. When I arranged an interview with him, I didn't receive the number of an agent or publicist, he gave me his home phone number. He is someone who mingles freely among the people, always quick with a joke, an autograph, or a smile. And judging by the ovation he received at the recent Golden Gloves finals, he remains one of the most popular fighters to never have won a title. Why? "I talk straight, I've gone through some things, and I've been able to stand up and walk through them. I think people respect that. I always felt it was really important that wherever I was going, when someone was kind of shy to come over and say hello, I would stick my hand out and say, hey, come on, let's talk a little bit. And that's really important. That's part of what goes with boxing." This guy's a fighter?

It's kind of easy to forget that in the 80's, Cooney was one of the most feared heavyweights in the world. Remember how he sliced up Jimmy Young's face in four rounds? Or his one round demolitions of Ron Lyle and Ken Norton, the latter taking only 54 seconds? No, it seems that Cooney is only remembered for his three losses, knockout defeats to Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, and George Foreman. And that's unfortunate, because Cooney was a decent heavyweight whose left hook brought excitement and scores of fans to the sport. And you can't tell me that Cooney would not have been champion if he had fought the likes of Greg Page, Tony Tubbs, or the rest of the interchangeable fighters who wore belts in the 80's. In fact, a fight with Trevor Berbick was in negotiation before Berbick decided to enter the HBO heavyweight tournament. And we all know that Berbick lost his WBC crown in that tournament to a young destroyer named Tyson.

But there should be no shame in losing to a prime Larry Holmes, should there? Cooney reflects back. "I was a kid who got thrown into that spotlight, and I really didn't have the tools to handle a lot of it. I didn't think I was going to lose. But there were a lot of things going on. There was a lot of pressure on me. Growing up, my father told us that he gave us tools to survive. And a lot of negativity. 'You're no good. You're a failure. You're not going to amount to anything.' And I carried that with me. So when I lost to Holmes, I kind of felt that. And I went into a depression, instead of realizing I just went 13 rounds with one of the greatest heavyweight champions in the world. I didn't have anybody to guide me. I didn't trust anybody. I didn't believe in myself. It was tough. If I could be 25 again..."

So are there any regrets, any sour grapes regarding that period? "I can talk till I'm blue in the face about it. I had what I had and I dealt with it the best way that I could. It wasn't always great. I made some mistakes. I wish I hadn't. But I had to turn the page. That part of my life is over with."

But with fighters like Foreman, Duran, and Holmes still active, does the 41 year old Cooney ever get the urge to start swinging again on the Senior Circuit? "A little while ago, I was getting in shape. I was boxing 10-12 rounds a couple of days a week, and somebody called me about fighting Holmes. Offered me a substantial amount of money. And Holmes was interested in doing some stuff, so I was entertaining it for a while. But I have two little boys (9 yrs & 4 months), I have a beautiful wife, and I have a nice life. Being human, I want to believe I can still do what I did when I was 25, except I'm a little smarter now. But you can't. The clock slows you down. You feel like you want to do it, but it don't work as well. So I accepted the fact that for this lifetime, my boxing career in the ring, is over."

So after compiling a 28-3 lifetime record, making a substantial amount of money for a non-champion, and kicking alcohol and drug problems, what fills Gerry Cooney's days now that the final bell has rung?

He currently trains fighters in New York City, but more importantly, he has launched FIST, which is the Fighters Institute for Support and Training. What does FIST do? "FIST helps fighters with the transitional period when they're leaving boxing, to the period of getting back into life. And it's a difficult time for every fighter. In boxing, like in all sports, you get used to the roar of the crowd. When that's gone, you're all alone. What you thought was supposed to be is not, and you need to take care of your family, and if you're not married, have a family. And boxing's in the dark ages as far as that's concerned." As part of its duties FIST will help with job training and other forms of support, as well as trying to keep ex-fighters in the public eye through fund raisers and a proposed training camp / housing complex.

But fighters are a prideful group. Wouldn't there be a reluctance from a fighter to seek aid from FIST? "We're all proud people, and when the dust settles, we need help. It may take some people longer than others to realize that. But they will accept the help because it's to help them get on with their lives."

And while boxing has had more than its share of tragedies, it is great to see a happy ending. And Cooney's story is one of the best. A fighter who took an up and down career, made a few dollars, got out with his senses intact, started a family, and is now giving back to the sport he loves. Plus he's as popular as he's ever been. As the movie says, this is "as good as it gets".

But I couldn't leave the interview without asking Gerry what his greatest moment in the ring had been. It was no surprise. "When I knocked out Kenny Norton, I believe I could have knocked out anybody that night. Anybody. That was the moment for me. I was primed that night. I was ready to go. It didn't matter who it was. And I looked at Kenny Norton in the center of the ring, I thought man, he ain't that big." 54 seconds later, Gerry Cooney was on top of the world. It may have taken him 17 years to get back there, but isn't the taste sweeter the second time around?


Lou DiBella - Senior Vice President - HBO Sports

Interview conducted by Thomas Gerbasi

Lou DiBella has a dream job. Given a multi-million dollar budget, DiBella gets to make the fights we all get to enjoy on HBO. Manfredy-Gatti, Barrera-McKinney, Hamed-Kelley. You can blame Lou DiBella for each one of those fights.

So while it would be easy to see DiBella as inhabiting rarefied air above the rest of us, he is just a boxing fan, just like you and me.

Opinionated, outspoken, candid. Three words you don't expect to hear describing the man International Boxing Digest voted the third most influential person in boxing. But it's true. DiBella's love and entusiasm for the sport is evident from the moment you start talking to him, and it is a refreshing change in this sometimes sordid sport.

But enough from me, I give you Lou DiBella...

TG - What attracted you to boxing?

LD - I grew up a boxing fan. My two grandfathers were both Italian immigrants. Their sports were boxing and baseball. So I grew up watching fights from the time I could remember. Muhammad Ali was my hero. I've been a boxing fan most of my life. I think that what attracts me so much to boxing is I think it's, in a lot of ways, where it's operating properly, where the organizations are not corrupting it, where the promoters are not corrupting it, I think it's sport in its purest form. It's mano a mano. I think you see more poetry in boxing, more theater, more emotion, more courage than in any other sport. So when it's operating correctly, personally I believe it's the greatest sport on Earth. Unfortunately, too often, it doesn't work right.

TG - Do you still have time to be a fan, or has the business end taken some of that away from you?

LD - Sometimes when you work in sports, and when you work in a sport you love, you get a little bit jaded. I think my eyes are a lot more open than they were before I worked in the business. I think my opinions of certain people have changed since I got into the business. But, I'm still a fan. I think that's probably why, if people think I'm doing a pretty good job, that probably has a lot to do with it. I still am a big fan.

TG - So this is a dream job for a boxing fan?

LD - Yeah, I'd say it is.

TG - What are the basic nuts and bolts of making a fight for HBO?

LD - It took a long time for HBO to get to this point, and I think the sport in general is getting to this point, and that point is to ignore titles, to ignore belts, to ignore alphabet soups, and make the best matchups possible. Also, not to discount a guy because he's lost a fight. If a guy knows how to fight, and he fights another good fighter, and he loses in a good fight, we don't ignore that guy any longer. That guy is still viable. Arturo Gatti is not off our radar screen because he lost to Angel Manfredy. Right now, what goes into it from my point of view is, first, the quality of the fighters involved. You have two good fighters, do you have a competitive matchup? Do the styles mesh? A perfect example, Chris Byrd is a terrific fighter, except his style is such that it's difficult to watch if Chris is matched up with another guy who tends to box and move and run around the ring. If Chris is matched up with a guy whose style is to come straight ahead, then it's a compelling matchup. I'd probably have a great hesitation to make Chris Byrd against a runner, but I wouldn't have a great hesitation to make Chris Byrd against David Tua. I think all those factors come in. Basically I'm in the business of trying to make the best fights possible, featuring the best fighters available, and that's pretty much it.

TG - What is more important from your end of things, the ratings for a fight or the matchup?

LD - There are certain deals that HBO has to have, because the fighters involved are the biggest stars in the business. Oscar DeLa Hoya. I can't expect to get Oscar in a Superfight live on HBO. The cost is prohibitive. He does too much Pay-per-View business. So I have to accept the fact that I'm going to get his mandatories live on HBO. That being said, the public responds to a terrific fight. The public responds to a Manfredy-Gatti, even though neither guy is Oscar DeLa Hoya. The public responds to Tapia-Romero, even though neither guy is Oscar DeLa Hoya. I'd say it's a balancing act, that you're looking to get a rating, but you're also looking to make the best fight possible. Interestingly, I think the boxing public is a little bit smarter than people often give them credit for being. And I think the success of Boxing After Dark has shown that to a degree. If you make compelling matchups, if they're channel surfing and they see World War III, a brawl between two evenly matched fighters with good skill, they're gonna watch. And you get the rating anyway. So, it's a bit of a balancing act. You still want Oscar DeLa Hoya, you still want Lennox Lewis, you want the heavyweight champion, you want Holyfield if you can get him. But you have to recognize you're not going to get the greatest matchups with those fighters live on pay television. And that's why I still want to make the Shane Mosley - Stevie Johnston fights, the Manfredy-Gatti rematches, the Tapia-Romero fights. Those still have great appeal. Vince Phillips against the right guy at 140. I still go after those kind of fights because if you make a good matchup, and the fight turns out to be what you expected in the ring, they will come. If you build it, they will come.

TG - What's the best part of your job?

LD - I love boxing, and it's a whole lot of fun to be a major player in a sport you grew up loving. There's also a lot of frustration. I love boxing, I hate the corruption. I hate the sleaziness, I hate the alphabets. I just looked at the WBA rankings. Number four heavyweight in the world, Jade Scott. As far as I know, the guy's not even a heavyweight. He wasn't a particularly good light heavyweight. Number four in the world? Who has he fought? Who has he beaten? Jade Scott doesn't belong in the top 25. That's a travesty. Number 11 in the world and able to fight for a WBA world heavyweight title, Greg Page. Something's wrong. Just look at those two. That set of ratings with those two guys in it, in my mind, that's proof enough for the fact that the WBA doesn't know what they're doing. And I wouldn't use Greg Page on my network. I don't care if he's ranked in the top 12. That's a frustration. I love the sport and I think things have to be cleaned up. Changes have to be made. That's why I'm so happy with a lot of the work that Senator John McCain has done and the legislation on health and safety that's already been instituted. But also the investigations that are now going on on the way promoters conduct their business, in option contracts and the functioning of the organizations, because those things need to be looked at. If you love the sport, you want to see it get better, because right now it is sick. And it is sick whether or not Don King gets put out of business. It's still sick. Don King is not the root of all the problems that exist in boxing. Boxing was corrupt before Don, and boxing will be corrupt after Don unless the necessary changes are made.

TG - Once the fight is made, are you finished from your end of things, or is there more to be done?

LD - Unfortunately, Bob Arum once had a quote that often turns out to be true. Arum said "When you sign the contract, that's when the negotiating starts." There are always bumps in the road. The majority of the deal is done in making the matchup, and getting the contract done. But this is not a business in which things always run so smoothly. There are injuries, opponents fall out, organizations throw wrenches into deals. So, no, my work doesn't stop, but basically, the majority of it occurs prior to the contract being signed.

TG - As an example, what are your thoughts on the Pernell Whitaker situation, in which his fight with Ike Quartey was cancelled?

LD - That's incredibly disappointing. But you know what, you look at that and say to yourself, okay, we lost a prizefight, but Pete Whitaker's got to get his life together, and that's a whole lot more important than fighting right now. Pete's been very important to HBO for a very long time, and really our thoughts right now are just with him getting well. Unfortunately, that was a major, major fight for us, and it went away. We did the best we could, and we scampered and put together a Virgil Hill - Roy Jones fight for April 25th, which I think will be a pretty good fight.

TG - Evander Holyfield blames HBO for the Lennox Lewis fight not happening. What's your take on the situation?

LD - That's not fair of Evander. I don't buy, despite the fact that Lennox has spoken a lot about Holyfield being scared, etc, I know Evander too well, Evander's not scared of anybody. So it has nothing to do with him being afraid to fight Lewis. But I just think that his expectations of what the economics should have been on that fight were way out of line, and of course I don't believe his promoter really wanted to make the fight. I don't think Don wanted to make the fight because Don did not control Lennox Lewis if Lewis was to win. And I think those reasons are really why the fight didn't happen. We offered Evander a deal where we were willing to guarantee revenue equivalent to 100,000 buys more than the Holyfield - Moorer fight actually did. And we told him that we were willing to make no money. That 100 percent of the money above that would go to them. And they turned that deal down. If they turn that deal down, there was nothing more we could do to try to make that fight. So, Evander's blaming us. I think he's wrong.

TG - Do you see the fight ever happening?

LD - I don't know. I hope so. We just did Shannon Briggs against Lennox Lewis live on HBO, which turned out to be a better fight than anyone thought. But also, people didn't have to pay 40 bucks for that fight, it was live on HBO. I have a hard time believing that the public is going to be willing to pay for Holyfield - Akinwande or Holyfield against Vaughn Bean. Frankly, I don't think they're going to be willing to pay for Lennox Lewis against Zeljko Mavrovic or Lennox Lewis against Jade Scott. So, is the fight gonna happen? I don't know, but it damn well should.

TG - Has HBO put any pressure on Bob Arum to match up Oscar DeLa Hoya with a more dangerous opponent?

LD - Charpentier, our hands are tied on because he's the number one contender and a mandatory. We prefer to have a better fight live on HBO, but hey, it's live on HBO, we're not charging the public for it. Charpentier is a durable, tough guy. Unfortunately, the WBC felt that this guy, who doesn't belong, in my view, in the Top Ten, should be a mandatory challenger. He shouldn't be, but yes, we're doing the fight. With respect to the Pay Per View stuff that Oscar's been doing, we would like to see the biggest fights possible, but ultimately, the promoter and the fighter control the opponents, especially with respect to a Pay Per View fight. I think Oscar's fought, for the most part, quality opposition. I don't think a Trinidad fight's happening right now because Trinidad's with King. Yeah, we talk to Bob, we'd like to see the biggest fights possible for Oscar. Again the public has a lot to say about who Oscar fights by how much of their money they're going to shell out and for whom. And so far Oscar's performance on Pay Per View has been very, very strong, and if they continue to do big numbers without having to jettison up the quality of the opposition, you may not see him fight an Ike Quartey anytime so soon. However, if the Yori Boy Campases and the Keith Mullings and that level of fighter doesn't sell against Oscar, then you'll see something else. But I've got to tell you, Keith Mullings and Campas against Oscar are not bad fights. They're pretty good fights.

TG - Or even a Jose Luis Lopez

LD - Jose Luis Lopez is an interesting situation because he's an incredibly dangerous guy. He's right up there in the top echelon of welterweights. He's had some problems with marajuana, which cost him his WBO title, and cost him some stature. I think that the risk / reward for Oscar to fight Lopez right now is not such that you're going to see that fight. Because it's incredibly high risk, and the public doesn't know enough about Lopez to be demanding the fight. Lopez needs some more exposure.

TG - Do you consider Roy Jones' tenure with HBO to be a disappointment?

LD - It's Roy's life, and ultimately Roy decides how often he wants to fight, and ultimately who he wants to fight. Is it a disappointment? On occasion I've been disappointed by inactivity, I've been disappointed by not being able to make the matchups I've wanted to make. The flip side of that is I recognize how good this guy is. This guy is a phenomenal talent, and I want that talent to be featured on HBO. For all the disappointment I think he's a good kid. I like Roy, I think he's a tremendously talented athlete, and I'd rather have that relationship than not have it, even if it's on his terms.

TG - Do you believe Riddick Bowe will make a comeback, and if so, would HBO air it, given the rumors about his health?

LD - I don't really have to get to part two. I sincerely hope that Riddick doesn't come back. I told Riddick that as recently as Friday night. Riddick's a really good person, he's going through some personal problems. He's had some problems with his family and his marriage, and I think he's been a bit depressed about it. He's a good person, I think he's going to overcome those problems. As a friend, I don't want to see him fight again. The entire organization loves Riddick, but I don't think anyone here wants to see him fight again, and hopefully we won't have to answer question number two. Right now we're doing nothing to try and encourage him to get into the ring.

TG - If Mike Tyson is able to free himself from Don King, would HBO pursue him?

LD - There's another issue. Even if he frees himself from King, he has some kind of contractual obligation to Showtime. We're not in the business of messing around with other peoples' contracts. If Mike Tyson is free to talk to us, and negotiate with us, and free to fight for us, given the level of his popularity, we'd be crazy not to be interested, and of course we would be interested.

TG - So the past would not come into play?

LD - Well it would come into play in the sense that even if he was available to us, we would not want to be part of a circus act. But Mike appears to be taking some control of his life right now, and if Mike is really serious about taking control of his life and getting his career back on course and if he recognizes that he's got to show people that he can fight, yeah, if he was available to us and there wasn't any impediment with a contract someplace else, of course we would be interested.

TG - What was going through your mind when Prince Naseem Hamed got knocked down by Kevin Kelley?

LD - I told Bob Yelen of ESPN by the dressing rooms before the fight started; he asked me what I thought was going to happen, and I said Naz is gonna get off the canvas and knock Kevin out. Now I didn't think he was gonna get off the canvas multiple times, but I believed going in that Kevin Kelley and Naz were the two best featherweights in the world. I believed that before I made that fight. So I didn't expect it to be a cakewalk, I expected it to be a war. And it was even more of a war than I had anticipated. So what went through my head? Hey, if Kevin would have beaten him, Kevin's been part of the HBO family for a long time, then we would have run with Kevin. And again, if Naz had lost in that fight he wouldn't be through, the same way Kevin's not through. So a lot of people were saying "you looked like you were going to lose your lunch, and you were turning white" and everything else, and that really wasn't the case. I expected a tough fight. I was not surprised by the outcome. And if things had gone the other way, then you would have seen a huge rematch, except it would have been Kelley vs. Hamed, instead of a likely rematch, Hamed vs. Kelley, that you'll see this Summer, hopefully.

TG - How does the King / Frank Warren decision affect HBO and its relationship with Hamed?

LD - It does not affect our contract with Hamed. It affects arrangements between Warren and King, it affects distribution of money between them, but we have a valid contract, notwithstanding the dispute.

TG - Hamed was marketed more aggressively than the other HBO fighters...

LD - Well, that's not really quite true. He was marketed more aggressively than some of them. We've done major campaigns of that nature with DeLa Hoya, bigger campaigns with DeLa Hoya, with Roy Jones, with Lennox Lewis. So to some extent it's an illusion that we marketed that more heavily than we have with our other stars. We really didn't. To some extent, Naz is such a showman that he gives you a little bit more meat to work with than some other fighters do. He's a little bit over the top, and that's fun to work with. That gives the public something to take a look at and say wow, I haven't seen something like this before. That's why I think there was a perception that we did so much more for Naz in that fight than we've done for our other fighters. The truth is we had a much bigger marketing campaign for DeLa Hoya against Kamau. We've done very big marketing campaigns behind Roy Jones and Lennox Lewis in the past. It's just that the timing on that show, his showmanship, his schtick, I think things just caught on, and it was sort of like a snowball rolling down a hill, and it picked up a lot of momentum. We really didn't do more for him than we've done on occasion for our other stars.

TG - Did you catch any heat from your other fighters regarding this?

LD - People did make comments. But the truth of the matter was we just went back and said hey we did it for you on this fight and that fight. Sometimes the public responds more to one guy than they do to another. Oscar DeLa Hoya's a huge attraction, immense attraction. But DeLa Hoya against Kamau is not a fight that's gonna capture the imagination of as many people. However, Oscar is clearly, still in this country, a bigger star than Naseem is. When you deal with a lot of athletes, you're gonna upset some people, sometimes for reasons, sometimes for no reason. You can't worry about it all the time. And frankly they didn't really have any right to be upset because our stars had seen the same kind of treatment from HBO.

TG - Were you surprised at the turnout for the Hamed-Kelley fight at the Garden?

LD - No. I told Dave Checketts that he was going to do 10,000 plus people. And I told Paul Munich at the Garden that that was going to happen. I think they doubted it. But I knew it was going to catch on. This kid is a showman. Once you have this kid in New York for a week, you're gonna get a lot of ink, you're gonna get a lot of television exposure. We did a big rating on HBO, there was a huge crowd there, and honestly, that's why we chased the guy so hard, that's why so much of an effort was made by HBO to sign him because we knew he could be an attraction.

TG - Thoughts on Hamed as a fighter

LD - I don't see anyone at 126 who beats him. Angel Vasquez, if he lands flush. You see, if you can punch hard enough, and you hit the kid flush, you have a chance, maybe he doesn't get up. However, if he hits you first, you're going. He's like that group Chumbawumba, "I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down". Well, someone's got to keep him down. And frankly, if you can punch, and you can get up from being knocked down, you're an exciting fighter. And this kid's an exciting fighter. And until he loses, he's right up there, in my view, as one of the most exciting fighters in the world, and one of the better fighters in the world.

TG - What about his arrogance?

LD - He doesn't have a mean and nasty arrogance. He has a cocky, tongue in cheek arrogance about him. I happen to like the kid very much personally. If you know Naseem, you're gonna like him. He's a nice kid to be around. He's fun. There are a lot of guys out there that the public has a perception as being these lovely, wonderful guys, I'd rather hang out with Naz.

TG - HBO just signed David Reid. Is there a temptation to push him along faster than he normally would be pushed, being that he only has under ten fights?

LD - No, there really isn't. I'm not pushing him at all. The truth of the matter is I'm willing to move with David as quickly as the people around him are. I think David's going to have a real problem with that eye. And that eye has been a problem in a number of fights. He had a very rough time on USA Network in one of his recent fights because that eye was giving him problems. I don't know if that eye is going to cause the people around him to want to move him a little bit more quickly. I think that David is a very exciting fighter and he's got a lot of talent. He's our only Olympic Gold medalist. I think it was the right thing for us to do the deal with him, and he hasn't disappointed us. His fights have been exciting. And I'm looking forward to seeing how far he can take it, and whether he can achieve a world championship, and maybe establish himself as a big fight for Oscar DeLa Hoya or Felix Trinidad or one of those guys.

TG - HBO hasn't shown any women's fights. Is there any reason for that?

LD - I wouldn't hold my breath at the moment. We have not issued a general dictum saying we will never do a women's fight. But right now, if you look at what's out there, the quality of the fights...there are some very good women fighters. There are some women who I think have spectacular talent. I think Lucia Rijker is a phenomonally talented woman. But there are an awful lot of mismatches in women's boxing, and there's a lack of a talent pool. There's a lack of criteria for determining who makes a good fight against whom. The overall quality of women's boxing, the women's boxing game is frankly mediocre. We're in the business of doing the best fights with the best fighters, and right now, women's boxing doesn't fit that criteria. I'd like to see an establishment of Olympic women's boxing, strong amateur women's boxing, and a larger talent pool to choose from. Right now, you stand a very good chance when you do a women's match of seeing a mismatch. Additionally, far too often, look at Christy Martin's fights. You see her in the ring against women who are clearly not in her weight class. And they would not allow that level of mismatch in the men's game. I'm a student of boxing, I do this for a living, I watch women's fights, I pay attention to the female fighters out there. We've had conversations internally debating the issue. Right now, you're not going to see a women's fight on HBO in the immediate future, and I think the reasons are strong. There are more compelling reasons not to feature women's boxing than there are to feature it. That could change, hopefully it will. I have respect for women who are in the game. I have respect for the people who are trying to establish the legitimacy of women's boxing. I just don't think they're there yet.

TG - What would you say to someone who thinks boxing should be banned?

LD - I'd say that they don't know or understand the sport. The aim of boxing is not to have someone hurt. It's to hit and avoid being hit. It's a game that involves mental acumen as well as physical acumen. It's been around since the beginning of time and hopefully it will be around forever. I do, however, agree with the people who say the sport needs greater regulation than it now has, and I think that's across the board. In the areas of health and safety. I think that fighters should have mandatory MRI's on a regular basis. I think that a guy who has a less than perfect health situation should not be allowed in the ring. Vaughn Bean is supposedly the number one ranked heavyweight in the world. Now that's a joke, but that's a whole other conversation. But Vaughn Bean's been in the ring recently with guys who have had like less than ten pro fights, and have records like 3-7. Those fights shouldn't be allowed. Mismatches like that result in people getting hurt. Additionally, I think there has to be a standard set of criteria for when a referee stops a fight. If a fighter is winning every round of the fight, and is clearly heads and tails superior to his opposition, the fight should be stopped. The idea of letting a guy finish a fight, no, if he's not going to stand a chance of winning, don't let a guy sustain 10 to 12 rounds of punishment. These organizations and their mandatory bouts, and the ludicrousness of the ratings that exist right now, that's got to be changed. Things have to be changed. But the idea that the sport should be done away with, that's not proper, that's unfair. There are many sports equally or more dangerous than boxing. As many people are killed on racetracks. There are serious health and safety issues with football. I think that there's a certain assumption of risk with any contact sport, boxing included. But I think that you would never have Muhammad Ali without boxing, you wouldn't have Evander Holyfield, you wouldn't have so many of the great athletes that have given so much to the world of sports and to our society. Regulation? Yes. Banning boxing? Don't even think about it.

TG - What's been your most exciting moment in boxing?

LD - There have been a lot of them. Tyson going down for the last time against Douglas. The knockout against Douglas was stunning. The tenth round of Bowe-Holyfield I, which I still think was the greatest round in heavyweight boxing I've ever seen, and the greatest display of courage by any athlete. Evander's display of courage in that tenth round was extraordinary. I've had so many of them. Interestingly, maybe the best night I had in boxing was in a small show at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden when Gatti fought Wilson Rodriguez and Junior Jones fought Canizales. Now I thought that that was one of the most spectacular televison boxing shows I had ever seen. And I was just so happy. Also we launched Boxing After Dark, our first main event was Barrera - McKinney and that crowd, it was like electricity. So I've had a lot of great moments.

TG - What's your greatest disappointment?

LD - There have been a lot of those too. You see a lot of them. So many fights that should've happened but didn't happen. Bowe-Lewis never happening. Bowe-Tyson never happening. Lewis-Holyfield not happening right now. I wasn't directly involved, it wasn't an HBO fight, but the whole circus with the second Holyfield-Tyson fight was just disappointing for someone who works in this business. I've seen some decisons that made me say "what are people watching?" The Marquez-Mullings fight is one example. Mullings won that fight. I've been to a number of fights where I walked out saying "Hey, the guy who they gave the win to didn't win that fight." We had a little fight on After Dark that was completely inconsequential, Vince Phillips fought Romallis Ellis. I thought Vince Phillips won that fight. But I tell you what, there was a little vindication. We gave Vince an opportunity because we thought he won that fight. We put him in with Kostya Tszyu, and in one of the great stories of boxing redemption in recent years, Vince beat Kostya Tszyu and won a world title. And that was one of the good moments. This is also one of the beauties of boxing. It's high theatre. There is a lot of emotion. There are a lot of surprises, both good and bad. You can say a lot of things about boxing, but that it's boring is not one of them.


MIKE TYSON & DON KING: A RETROSPECTIVE

by Dave Iamele

--How two of Boxing’s biggest players got together--

I. INTRO:

Don King was a small time number’s runner on the streets of Cleveland in the 50’s and 60’s. In 1997, Don King was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame as one of the greatest fight promoters of all time.

Mike Tyson was born June 30, 1966 just a few months after King stomped and pistol whipped Sam Garrett to death outside a Cleveland Barroom over a $200 debt. On November 22, 1986, Tyson Ko’s WBC heavyweight champion, Trevor Burbick in the second round to become the youngest heavyweight champ ever at age 20. Within a years time, he will unify all three (WBA, WBC, IBF) titles and become the first unified heavyweight champ since Muhammad Ali.

How did two of boxing’s biggest figures get together? We will look into the pasts of both men and see where their paths crossed, what factors brought them together, and how they now appear to be going separate ways.

II. DON:

Don King was released from Ohio’s Marion Correctional Institution on September 30, 1971. Don had served a few years for the murder of Garrett before he greased the right political palm to get himself “pardoned”.

In August of 1972, with a little help from his friends, Don convinced Muhammad Ali to take part in a benefit for a black hospital in Ohio. There are conflicting reports over how much money actually ever made it to the hospital and how much ended up in Don’s pocket, but from these humble beginnings, Don King entered the boxing world and things would never be the same again.

Since most of the fighters were black, a black promoter only seemed to make sense and Don King with his stand up straight hair, dubious command of the English language, bombastic personality, and nose to the grindstone work ethic muscled himself to the top of the heap.

Don started his empire in boxing with heavyweights since they made the most money and were the fighters most often in the lime light. In the early 70’s, Don got control of hard punching Ernie Shavers, before cementing his position in the boxing world by signing Ali and Foreman to fight the rumble in the jungle for the, at the time, unheard of price of $5 million each! King also began handling the career of former Ali sparring partner Larry Holmes. A wise move indeed since once Holmes captured the heavyweight title, he would remain champion for seven straight years, a feat only topped by Joe Louis who held the title for 11 years.

In 1976 - 1977, Don King talked ABC sports into putting on a boxing tournament that went belly up half way through when it was discovered that King had bought ratings for fighters and falsified boxers records. In 1978, Don controlled seven of the top 10 heavyweights. During this time, King arranged a “WBC title elimination” bout between Ernie Shavers and Larry Holmes on ABC. Since King “owned” both fighters, he couldn’t lose. This is a situation that would take place on several occasions and continues to this day. Holmes defeated Shavers and went on the beat “paper champ” Ken Norton in a thrilling bout to become the new heavyweight champion. Starting with this bout, Don King would control the heavyweight crown for 12 consecutive years until Tyson lost to Buster Douglas in 1980.

By the beginning of 1979, King controlled the following fights: Champion: Larry Holmes, # 1 contender Ken Norton, # 2 contender Jimmy Young, # 3 Ernie Shavers, # 4 Leon Spinks, # 6 Alfredo Evangelista, # 10 Scott Le Deux, # 15 Stan Ward, plus Michael Dokes and Kevin Issac.

In the 1980’s, Don King promoted Ali’s last two bouts, the unfortunate Ali vs. Holmes and Ali vs. Burbick. The heavy’s in the D.K. stable during this time period to hold the title included:

Gerrie Coetzee      Greg Page      Mike Dokes
Tony Tubbs      Mike Weaver      Tony Tucker
Tim Witherspoon      Bone Crusher Smith     

The fans were less than inspired by this group of over weight and under motivated forgettable faces. The fans wanted a heavyweight champ they could be proud of or at least one they could recognize and holding the belt for more than one defense would be nice. After the reign of Ali, Larry Holmes could never capture the public’s admiration, and the group of 80’s title swapers were even less well received.

Don King had to do something . . . and he did. In the Spring of 1986, Don approached HBO about televising a heavyweight elimination tournament to once again unify the title at the conclusion of the tournament. In theory, a great idea - one man who beats all the rest gets to be the one heavyweight champion and D.K. “owning” most of the fighters who have any chance of winning didn’t break his heart. This heavyweight tournament is what brings the old promoter and the young heavyweight sensation together.

III. MIKE:

Mike began boxing in reform schools and continued boxing in his early teens under the custody of legendary trainer Cus D’Amato. One of the most interesting moments from Tyson’s amateur days captured on film is of a young Tyson before a bout sobbing on D’Amato’s chief trainer, Teddy Atlas’ shoulder saying, “no one will like me if I lose” (Tyson won in the 1st round).

Cuss’s plan was to have his young heavy win an olympic medal but this was derailed when Henry Tillman won a disputed decision over Tyson for the spot on the team. (Evander Holyfield would go on to win a bronze medal that year as a light heavyweight). So Cus switched to “plan B” which was to turn Tyson pro. In 1985 and 1986, Tyson beat: Jessie Fergusan on ABC. Afterwards, Tyson says “I was trying to push his nose bone up to his brain”, James “Quick” Tillis, Mitch “Blood” Green (a King fighter) on HBO (during this time, Tyson signs a three fight deal with HBO for half a million per fight. Tyson is the first boxer to sign a contract directly to TV in boxing history), Marvin Frazier, and Jose Ribalta.

IV. THE BEGINNING:

This brings us back to Don’s tournament. King was having trouble putting asses into seats for a bout featuring WBA champ, Michael Spinks vs. European champ, Steffen Tangstad so he graciously agreed to co-feature # 1 contender, Mike Tyson vs. Alfonso Ratliff. Tyson Ko’d Ratliff in his first bout in Las Vegas and “officially” joined King’s tournament. King was no dummy, Tyson was already creating a stir among boxing fans and was drawing a good crowd. Cus D’Amato had been dead almost exactly year when his protege became the youngest heavyweight champion ever at age 20 when he Ko’d Trevor Burbick in the 2nd round. In 1987, James “Bone Clutcher” Smith held on for a 12 round loss giving Tyson his WBA title and Tyson also began his rocky relationship with TV actress Robin Givens. Tyson Ko’d former champ Pinklon Thomas in six rounds half way through the year to stay busy until an August match up with IBF Champ Tony “TNT” Tucker.

Tyson won a 12 round decision becoming the first unified heavyweight champion since Ali 10 years earlier. Don King was right in the middle of the celebration, setting up photo - ops with Tyson wearing a garish robe and crown holding a plastic scepter being the new, unified heavyweight ruler.

In January of ‘88, Tyson Ko’d former champ, Larry Holmes in four rounds. In February, he wed Robin Givens. In March, Tyson Ko’d former champ, Tony Tubbs in two rounds and Jimmy Jacobs passed away creating another void in Tyson’s professional life. (Jacobs was a partner of D’Amato’s concerning Tyson).

V. THICK AS THIEVES . . .

Don King began a strong campaign to gain control of Tyson. In June, Tyson Ko’d former champ Michael Spinks in 91 seconds in what many boxing insiders consider the peak of his talent. Tyson would spend most of 1988 out of action because of a fractured hand injured during a late night street scuffle with “Blood” Green. (Green was upset over being paid 1/10th of Tyson for their bout and also claimed he was promised a rematch). Also, later in the year, Tyson crashed a car into a tree in what was reported in the press as a suicide attempt due to his deteriorating relationship with Robin Givens. King cemented himself into Tyson’s inner circle during the Tyson/Given’s divorce and Bill Cayton was squeezed out of the picture. After Kevin Rooney was fired, the last of the Cus D’Amato crew was gone from the new Don King version of Mike Tyson. King and Tyson were inseparable during this time with Tyson even moving into King’s Ohio mansion. On October 21, 1988, Tyson signed an exclusive four year contract with Don King. Tyson Ko’d England’s robotic heavyweight, Frank Bruno in five rounds early in ‘89. Tyson next signed to fight Razor Ruddock in Canada in November, but the fight never happened as Tyson pulled out of the bout three weeks before the scheduled date. Health reasons were the official excuse but insiders were whispering that sparring partner, Greg Page, was slapping Tyson around the ring.

February of 1990 would bring Tyson his first loss as a pro when an over 20 to 1 underdog named James “Buster” Douglas Ko’d Tyson in the 10th round. Coming back from being knocked down himself in the 8th round, “Buster” shocked the world and became the new heavyweight champion of the world!

Interestingly, in retrospect, is that during the buildup to the Douglas bout instead of training Tyson was accompanying Don King to meetings to discuss a “match” with Hulk Hogan of WWF wrestling fame. After Douglas was declared winner, King tried to convince whoever would listen that Tyson was the victim of a “long count” on his knockdown of Buster in the 8th. So, therefore, to King’s logic, Tyson was still champ or at the very least, deserved an immediate rematch. How good was the King version of Tyson’s corner during the Douglas bout? The vision of Tyson sitting in the corner with his lumped up face being attended to by a ballon filled with water speaks volumes.

VI. THE END PART I:

After two insignificant bouts with Razor Ruddock and more than eight months after the Douglas bout, Tyson was still owed over two million dollars from the fight from Don King. But in 1992, Mike would have more than money to worry about as he went on trial for rape in Indianapolis. Tyson was found guilty an was incarcerated until March of 1995. During Tyson’s stay in the stir, rumors swirled as to who would be Tyson’s promoter upon his release. Accusations of financial improprieties on King’s part (with Tyson’s dough) were played out in newspaper headlines. It was even speculated by some that Tyson was broke or close to it. Considering his massive ring earnings, a mind boggling thought to be sure. Tyson surprised many when he elected to retain the services of “the worlds greatest promoter” upon his release. Tyson never even listened to any other offers.

VII. THE END PART II:

After Tyson’s release from prison, his relationship with D.K. seemed strained. Even with the list of soft touches lined up for Tyson to mow through (McNeely, Mathis, Bruno and Seldon), Tyson seemed always irritated with King and bored in general. In November of 1996, King masterfully served up the shot Evander Holyfield to Tyson and the “Return to Glory” was kaput. King quickly scurried around to secure a rematch to calm his bewildered ex-champ assuring him that Evander’s victory was fluke. The rematch with the famous bite ending has been well documented and all that needs to be said is Tyson was banned immediately and “indefinitely” from boxing (he can apply for reinstatement after one year - July of ‘98).

This leads us up to present where King is now riding the “rebirth” of Holyfield and counting the money that a Tyson/Holyfield III bout would pull in. In the winter of ‘98, it was reported that King and Tyson would take part in the latest Wrestlemania. Before the dust could settle from his news flash, it was reported that there was a street scuffle between King and Tyson, with Tyson kicking King out of a car into a gutter. Then in March of ‘98, the bomb dropped that Tyson was suing King for cheating his out of $100 million. Meanwhile, King is currently involved in a lawsuit with the government over an insurance fraud allegation.

VIII. DRAW YOUR OWN . . . CONCLUSION:

So it looks like the end of the King/Tyson relationship, right? Don’t be too sure! In boxing, anything can happen. Don’t be too surprised if Mike Tyson strikes heavyweight gold again and Don King is right here in the picture smiling and hugging his good buddy, Mike. It’ll be de ja vu all over again.


He Calls Himself Roy Jones Jr.

by Pusboil

"I have to look at what’s best for Roy Jones", he said when asked what was next after his victory over Virgil Hill. Ugh. I don’t know why, but to hear certain people speak of themselves in the third person annoys the hell out of me. Roy does this constantly. Maybe this part of the reason that I don’t believe that Roy is as good as his supporters and mostly himself say he is.

Roy hit the big time when he upset James Toney in 1994. I was impressed but held some reservations since Toney seemed out of it before the bell. Nonetheless, Roy was the man. You couldn’t blame him for the way Toney fought and it just might have been Toney’s justified fear that made him not show up that night.

Roy went on to beat Antoine Byrd, Vinny Paz, Tony Thornton, and Merqui Sosa all within the distance. Paz lasted the longest, going six rounds. Apparently easy victories were getting boring to Roy. It was with his next fight that he really made me start to dislike him. He announced that he was going to play in a semi-pro basketball game the day of his fight with Eric Lucas.

What’s wrong with this picture?? Personally, I thought Roy was slapping boxing in the face. Boxing has enough problems without this kind of crap. It was particularly bad in my opinion since the fighter doing this was considered one of the best in the world. Roy went on to win with a twelfth round TKO against the obviously overmatched Lucas. Roy believed that he was better than boxing. Sorry Roy, you are great for the sport but, boxing survived before you and will survive when you retire to perform with the next incarnation of the Flying Wallendas.

After this fight came a KO of Bryant Brannon and twelve round decision over an aging Mike McCallum who at any age though, is a tough opponent.

The hoopla has not stopped though, in fact it has gotten worse. Jones was DQ’d in his first fight with Montell Griffin. A fight he was losing in my opinion. In this event Jones hit Griffin when he was down and lost the fight. In the post fight interview he mentioned that things just happened too fast, he thought Griffin was not down but getting up, etc.

The ironic part of this diatribe by Jones is that on the most recent HBO card before the Griffin fight, Jim Lampley asked Jones about how quick he was in the ring. Jones answered (in the third person of course), he is quick because he is always thinking ahead and have complete control over what he’s doing. Guess the Griffin fiasco was temporary insanity.

Well, he came back and flattened Griffin in the rematch with a first round KO. Once again proclaiming himself to be the best. Which brings us up to present date and last week’s fight against Virgil Hill.

Since Jones’ two fights with Griffin, a new loud, brash face has entered the world of boxing also claiming to be one of the best. His name, Naseem Hamed. It seems Roy does not like to be upstaged. Hamed has fought two "name" opponents since Jones’ last bout with Griffin. Both having memorable ring entrances. What could Roy possibly do to beat those entrances??

I can see it now, the Jones’ camp deciding what to do for the Hill fight. Those massive craniums at work finally come up with a plan. And here it is:

Murad Muhammad (Jones’ new promoter) says okay we have to come with a name for this lame duck fight against Hill. All the great fights have names, and since Roy is fighting this must be a great fight right?? Hmmm what can we call it??

Hours pass with suggestions, the first one—"The Battle of Virgil Hill", naah too much emphasis on someone other than Roy. Okay let’s see what else we got, how about " The Real Gulf War!!!" since the fight is in the gulf port of Mississippi. Sounds great!! That’s what they did. I guess it didn’t matter that this name might offend anyone who fought or had family who fought or even worse was wounded, or god forbid killed, in the Gulf War.

That’s settled, now what ?? How about the walk to the ring?? Hamed looked pretty impressive with all those fireworks,dancing and music. He must be good if he has all that, and Roy is the best so we have to do better. Hey Roy, you think you’re a rap star, right?? How ‘bout you rap the song while walking into the ring?? That’ll be way cool and blow Hamed’s performance away and you can prove you’re the better fighter by singing your way towards the ring?? Give that man a raise, great idea.

Ok, what’s left to do to prepare for the fight. Well, don’t they announce the fighters records during the introduction?? Yeah they do, why?? Well, Roy has a loss on his record from that DQ against Griffin. Shit!! You’re right, we have to do something, everyone back into the think tank, we must not let Roy’s good name be shamed!!!

So back in they go, and what did they come up with?? They had Michael Buffer say that the loss was controversial and Roy had never been beaten by a fighter. Puuhhleeaase. All this hype to make Roy seem like a demi-god. What next??

All Roy talks about now is that he doesn’t get paid enough money to fight. I do believe that fighters should be paid more than any other athlete due to the risks they take. But if Roy is going to harp on it the way he does, maybe he should be a baseball player, basketball player, or some other team sport where you can pretty much write your own ticket. Those players get the money Roy Jones Jr. is so desperately looking for.

There is no one on Roy’s immediate dance card. This is part of his problematic situation. Let him go fight Michalczewski in Germany or anyone for that matter. Stop talking about how there’s no one to fight and demanding exorbitant purses. Victories over McCallum, Toney, Pazienza and Eric Lucas do not let you write your own ticket.

And what’s with the 177 pound weight limit, and moving weigh-in times up or back?? Seems Roy doesn’t want to face the fact that somebody maybe a little bigger than him. This coming from the man who was going to fight Hasim Rahman and Buster Douglas. What was he going to do there?? Have them weigh in at 190??

I’ll admit there’s no big name fighter out there for him, but there are fighters out there. Can’t believe that with Roy’s swollen noggin, he doesn’t see one thing. With his grand stature, he will command pay days. Maybe not ten million, but more than most. Don’t get greedy.

Is he the king of the middle, super middle, and light heavy divisions?? Absolutely, and not because there is a dearth of opposition, but because of his talent. Roy has probably the quickest hands of any fighter today. Combine that with his overall quickness and punching power and you have the recipe for success. So he’s the best of the best right???

Wrong. If Roy Jones retired today, Canastota would not be calling. At least I’d hope not. He still needs to fight, and in his defense, I will say it’s not as easy for him. He missed the Hagler, Leonard, Hearns, and Duran era. An era where legends were born in all of those names. He doesn’t have the same opportunities those fighters did. But he does have the ability to make a ton more money than they did, fighting less capable opposition.

Roy, if you want the respect you’ve been screaming for, fight for it. No more "not enough money". Face the fact, if you don’t have another marquee name, you’re only going to make half as much. But if you’re fighting, you’re earning money. And a hell of a lot more than you’re opponents and most of the other fighters. Not all of them, most of them.

If that’s not good enough, I don’t know what to tell you. If he wants to retire, so be it. As the commercial says, "Just do it". Stop threatening to quit unless you get more money, either fight or get out.

I know Roy doesn’t care what I think, but if he continues to fight when he’s not "into it", he runs the risk of getting hurt.

When James Toney beat Michael Nunn, he became the best middleweight of his time. Toney was considered one of the best until he lost to Jones. Lots of fighters are considered "the best" until they lose to someone. The true greats are still considered great after defeat. Look at Ali, 56-5 he finished. Still considered one of the best with five losses.

Marvin Hagler, one of the best middleweights of all time had three losses. Sugar Ray Robinson had 19 losses. Granted he had a hell of a lot more fights but still, losses don’t make your career, it’s your victories and how you handle yourself that do.


The Champ on Sunday

by Chris Bushnell

It is Sunday morning. The champion wakes up in the familiar surroundings of his hometown. The new car he was awarded prior to his most recent bout sits idle in his already-crowded garage. Although he fought only the night before, he is no worse for wear and tear. He escaped his latest test with nary a scratch. His opponent, despite being a champion for most of the last decade, was no match for the young superstar’s prowess. He had made it look easy, just as he had so many times before. As the $3 million dollars he pocketed earns it’s first day of interest, the champion considers his future. His career has no place to go but forward....or does it?

If your name is Naseem Hamed, then the crisp morning air in Sheffield is ripe with opportunity. But if your name is Roy Jones, Jr., then the humid Pensacola winds are thick with confusion. Boxing’s two most unconventional, charismatic, and outspoken champions are on different paths. Although they both dominate their respective divisions, one man is clearly on his way up, while another is coming dangerously close to being on his way out.

Ever since his coming-of-age fight with James Toney, the career of Roy Jones has been more closely associated with Medusa’s stare than Midas’ touch. His career has not grown in proportion to his talent. To look at the reasons why, we need look no further than Roy himself.

Jones has consistently shot himself in the foot at every turn. Once winning the IBF Super Middleweight title, Roy took on some less than stellar competition. The ease with which he disposed opponents was poorly accentuated by the average fighters he occasionally found across the ring from him. Worse, still, Jones himself became bored in the ring. And the lack of motivation spread. When his attempt to generate interest extended to the basketball court, where he would play a professional league game the same day as a title defense, he again failed to meet expectations by turning in an unexciting technical performance against the hand-picked Eric Lucas. Jones’ further attempts to market himself as a music-writing, clothes-designing, multi-sport prodigy were offset by Roy’s odd insistence on referring to himself in the third person.

Roy Jones had a wonderful chance to renew himself with a step up to the Light Heavyweight division. However, Jones’ first foray into the land of the 175 pounders was another non-challenge in the 40 year old Mike McCallum. Fighting for and winning an “interim” title, for which Jones had paid a special $50,000 sanctioning fee to the WBC, smacked of the devious boxing establishment maneuvering Jones had long attempted to avoid. Losing his first title defense by disqualification was a scenario made even worse when Roy’s legitimate complaints about referee Tony Perez’s tardiness were tarnished by his excuse-ridden post-fight rant.

With the loss behind him, Roy Jones had another opportunity to advance his career to the level of fame and fortune he seeks with a lucrative rematch. A promoters dream (ex-champion attempts to erase his lone blemish against the underdog who beat him) was turned into a nightmare as the pay-per-view was broadcast on a Thursday night. The undercard, filled with Roy’s cronies at his insistence, was fought in front of a tiny crowd. Making the most out of a night in which he would only take home a small percentage of the anemic pay-per-view sales, Roy Jones yet again gave himself a wonderful opportunity to find his acclaim by demolishing Griffen in less than a round.

With his next fight undecided, what does Roy do? He drops his world title, announces that he’s going to fight at Heavyweight, then announces that he’s going to fight at Cruiserweight, then announces he’s going to stay put at 175. When George Foreman balked at fighting Hasim Rahman, Jones volunteered to take his spot. When Foreman ended up with Briggs to keep the HBO date, Jones rescinded his offer to fight Rahman. Miraculously, $5 million was offered to Jones to fight heavyweight punching bag Jeremey Williams. More miraculously still was Jones’ counter-offer for $10 million, more than three times his biggest-ever payday. Jones’ penchant for large paychecks was greater than his penchant for easy paychecks as he also was offered and refused $3 million to fight the spent Michael Nunn. And finally, Jones gets within moments of signing to fight Buster Douglas before changing his mind at the advice of his long-estranged father. Another in the long list of opportunities lost.

And now again, Roy Jones finds himself at the crossroads. Having mowed down his largest opponent to date in Virgil Hill, Roy is again able to parlay his latest highlight-reel kayo into the career he feels he deserves. And already, he shows signs of blowing it. Instead of announcing that he would attempt to keep his WBC title by fighting Graziano Rocchigiani or that he would fly to Germany to take on linear champion Dariusz Michalczewski, Jones instead announces that his next opponent would be determined by a poll at his website. His talk of a heavyweight title fight has been replaced by an even more ludicrous call out to Oscar DelaHoya to meet him at 160.

Contrast Jones with The Boxer Currently Known As Prince. Naseem Hamed, it seems, can do no wrong. The young Brit has just as much ego, just as much charisma, and just as much love for currency as does his Light Heavyweight counterpart, yet his career seems to show no signs of stopping.

Since winning the WBO title, Hamed has had no problems selling tickets to his fights. His hype machine seems unstoppable. Hamed has been able to overcome the stigma that big-event fights take place at 147 and up. His flashy ring entrances have won him as many detractors as admirers, and yet his in-ring performances guarantee that both groups will be watching when he next fights.

He has been able to remain motivated, thus allowing him to give the performances boxing fans crave. And when he’s off his game, as he was against Kevin Kelley, his stock nonetheless continues to rise. Consider him the blue chip of the boxing game.

Like Jones, Hamed has signed a multi-fight, multi-million dollar deal with HBO. Unlike Jones, Hamed has openly expressed a desire to take on all comers. While Jones accepts, reproposes, and eventually reneges on deal after deal, Hamed continues to accept the opposition put in front of him. His future schedule has more names on it than DelaHoya’s, and unlike Oscar, Hamed seems eager to face them all. His refreshing attitude gives him more credibility than the belts the WBO keeps awarding him. It’s an attitude that’s reaping huge rewards.

It is Sunday night now. As the champion falls to sleep, Monday approaches. The first business day after the fight, his agents, managers, lawyers and promoter will begin the frantic search for the next big opportunity. Will the champion accept it? The answer, not unlike the will to win, lies within the fighter. Only he can determine his path. Only he can make the dreams that fill his slumber come true.


Local Heroes II: Explosion in Staten Island

by Thomas Gerbasi

It was just another night of pro boxing on April 25, in Staten Island, NY. During Explosion Promotions' seven fight card, a full house was treated to: a couple of local boys making good, a future star, a kickboxer who forgot what sport he was now in, and plenty of blood. You won't see this kind of stuff at the ballpark.

Kicking things off was a four round light heavyweight bout between Queens' Douglas Moore and debuting hometown boy, Henry Raftrey. Raftrey used a stiff jab to build an early lead before fatigue set in. Moore took advantage, making a strong comeback, and at the final bell, the outcome was in doubt. It was a tough fight to score (I had it even 39-39), but Raftrey eked out a split decision win.

Junior middleweight Travis Simms, who has star written all over him, scored a fourth round TKO over a game Elijah "Pit Bull" McNeil. Simms, whose last fight lasted all of 12 seconds, had to hang in there a little longer this time, but he was not any less impressive. He hurt McNeil everytime he landed his lightning and thunder left hook, and he fought off fatigue to score a knockdown and two standing eight counts en route to victory. Simms is now 3-0 with 3 kayos, and on his way to the six rounders.

5-0 Maurapaz Auguste kept his unbeaten streak going with a methodical third round TKO over Yori Boy Campas look alike Cristobal Colon in a battle of super middleweights. Colon was the aggressor throughout, but Auguste's faster, sharper punches proved to be the difference. Two knockdowns prompted referee Benji Esteves to call a halt to matters at 27 seconds of the third.

In the crowd pleaser of the night, Newark, New Jersey's Kahlid Muhammad took on, get this: white, Italian, wearing red, white, and blue trunks, and from Staten Island...Dennis Adornato in a super middleweight tussle. Three guesses as to who the crowd wanted to win? Adornato stalked Muhammad from the opening bell, throwing a lot of punches, many of which landed on Kahlid's arms. By the end of the first, Adornato was bleeding from the nose. Welcome to the pros. The second round held more of the same, with Muhammad content to lay on the ropes and take punches. Adornato was starting to tire, and early in the third, Muhammad struck, dropping the crowd favorite witha big right hand. Adornato was dazed, staring out into the crowd, but he held on, and even fought back at the bell. Muhammad opened the fourth with another big right, but Adornato answered with one of his own, and Kahlid was hurt. He received a standing eight count, but it was not enough. At 1:55, the fight was stopped. The crowd erupted for the local boy.

Light heavyweights Orlando Rivera and Victor Calderon squared off next. Rivera, a world champion kickboxer, was making his boxing debut, and late in round one, he forgot what sport he was in, raising his leg to kick Calderon. This brought smiles from all involved. Back to boxing. In another tough fight to score, Rivera chased Calderon all over the ring for four rounds. In the process, Calderon was able to land some crisp counterpunches on Rivera, who seems as if he's got a ways to go before matching his kickboxing success in boxing. At the end of four, I had Rivera up 39-37. One judge agreed with me, but the other two had the fight scored even. Thus, a majority draw.

The next matchup, an eight rounder between welterweights Terry Sutherland and the always tough Robert Alvarez, turned out to be the best fight of the night. It was a classic boxer vs brawler matchup, which turned into a bloody battle of wills. Sutherland, a stand up boxer-puncher, established his jab immediately. Alvarez answered with some good hooks, but a quick 1-2 opened a nasty cut over Alvarez' left eye. In the second, another 1-2 staggered Alvarez, and a quick followup dropped him to the canvas. Late in the round, Alvarez was finally able to get close to Sutherland, and an accidental head butt opened up Terry's left eye. The third round showed Alvarez succeeding in turning the fight into a brawl. Sutherland refused to back down though, and a great body shot practically won the round for him. At the end of the round, both men were covered in blood. Both corners did an excellent job of stopping the blood fow after the third, and after an even fourth round, Sutherland started to take control, bringing the fight back out to long range. Like a matador, Sutherland picked Alvarez apart, dropping him once more in the eighth, and the decision was merely a formality. All three judges scored it a shutout (80-70) for Sutherland, now 21-3 (10).

In the main event, the drained crowd was still able to find the strength to scream "Lumberjack" for light heavyweight favorite Louis Llovet. Llovet took on Brooklyn's Brian Davis in a fight that could have been held in a phone booth. WHile not the most exciting fight you'd want to see, you had to be impressed by the brutal bodywork exhibited by Llovet. Like his nickname, he chopped and chopped at Davis' midsection, and by the fifth round, Davis was just looking to survive. Late in the seventh, Llovet moved his attack upstairs, and early in the eighth and final round, a standing eight count prompted Benji Esteves to halt the contest.

Another night at the fights. You can't beat it anywhere.


HOMICIDE IN THE RING

by Jason Rosenberg

On December 12, 1912 in Columbus, Mississippi a man with great strength was born. A man who brought the word "simultaneously" to the world of boxing. This man was named Henry Jackson. Though he had a big heart, Henry Jackson had a bundle of problems. His life is an example of a suffering hero. A man who fought to survive and eventually discovered peace within.

Henry was the eleventh of 13 children. The Jacksons survived by working as sharecroppers on a cotton plantation. When Henry was four, they moved to St. Louis to pursue a better life. Since the family of 13 was so large, money problems began to develop. Henry tried his best to raise extra money for his parents. He went through various jobs as a child. After high school, he joined a railroad gang, he strengthened his muscles by swinging the sledgehammer. Henry also made money by fighting on the streets.

At the age of 19 Henry began his amateur career under the name Melody Jackson. In 1931, he had his first two professional fights. His start was inauspicious -- he was kayoed in his first fight in just 3 rounds.

Henry then moved to California to resume his amateur career, changing his name to Henry Armstrong, the name of a good friend. As Armstrong, he won over 80 amateur fights but failed to clinch a spot on the 1932 Olympic team. Thus, Armstrong turned professional -- for a second time! Once again, he got off to a slow stasrt, losing his first two fights. Slowly, however, he began to learn his craft.

Henry's career got a boost when fight fan and famous singer Al Jolson noticed him. Jolson admired Armstrong's ambition and will power. He introduced Henry to fight manager, Eddie Mead, who took him to New York.

By 1937 Armstrong was at the top of his game. That year, Armstrong beat Petey Sarron to win the featherweight title. Homicide Hank nearly committed homicide as he pounded Sarron with blow after blow. In the same year Homicide Hank whipped Barney Ross in Madison Square Bowl to win the welterweight title. Then in May of 1938 he fought his most brutal fight ever against Lou Ambers for the lightweight championship. Though he won on a split decision, they rushed him to surgery from ringside. He had swallowed about a quart of his own blood and his lower lip hung down to his chin.

These three titles he won in a span of a year gave him the mark of the only man to win three championship titles simultaneously. To this day Henry Armstrong’s record has never been touched.

Armstrong’s next big fight found him trying to defend his welterweight title by fighting Cerifino Garcia. He successfully defeated Garcia with his powerful blackout punch. On August 22, 1939, Henry had to fight Lou Ambers in a rematch. Heading into this crucial fight Armstrong’s record was 46 consecutive wins, including seven successful defenses of his welterweight title. During his rematch Armstrong lost points and a 15th round decision, the judges gave Ambers the fight. The loss took his lightweight crown from him.

Armstrong’s next goal was to win his fourth world championship, the middleweight title. This fight was the "rematch," once more he was fighting Garcia. It was an amazing fight. Since Armstrong only weighed 139 pounds and Garcia weighed 152 pounds, everyone thought Garcia was just going to handle Armstrong and defeat him but that is not what happened. Armstrong struck Garcia with blow after blow and in turn was hit with blow after blow. At the end the judges called the fight a 10-round draw which denied Henry his fourth title.

One of his last strong rumbles was against Fritzie Zivic. On October 4, 1940, Henry Armstrong lost against him in a 15 round decision. It was a brutal fight, but in the end Armstrong had so many cuts by his eye he could not see Zivic. Then in January of the following year Armstrong fought Zivic in a rematch and was defeated again. Then finally another rematch took place in San Francisco. Armstrong tied his best by putting all of his strength and weight into every punch. Every other strike was Homicide Hank’s famous blackout punch. Then in the 10th round Armstrong won his welterweight title back from Zivic. Fifteen months later he lost his title for good in a fight with Freddie Cochrane.

Over the next five years Armstrong tried to hold his featherweight title. He won most of his fights but soon started to lose the finesse he once had.

When he did retire, Armstrong was penniless. He made about a million dollars in his professional career, but spent it all. Armstrong spent it drinking and gambling as he was an alcoholic and a wild gambler. After retirement Armstrong started a new career by finding peace within and with god. Henry became a Baptist minister. He devoted all of his time to helping under privileged young people through an organization called Youthtown which was located in Desert Wells, Arizona. After a life in the ring and with god, Armstrong died in October 24, 1988.

Henry Armstrong made many small and few large contributions to the world. One of them is that he is the only man in history to win three titles simultaneously. The titles were featherweight, lightweight and welterweight (in that order). Another significant contribution was to children. Before he died, he tried to improve and provide a better life to unfortunate children.
RESOURCE PAGE 1.) McCallum, John D. "Henry Armstrong." The Encyclopedia of World Boxing Champions. Radmor, Pa.: 1975. 211-213
2.) Morrison, Ian. Boxing the Records. Enfield, England: Guiness. 1980.
3.) Arnold, Peter. History of Boxing. Secaweus, N.J.: Chartwell Books. 1985
. 4.) "Henry Armstrong." Encyclopedia Americana, Deluxe Library Edition. 2. (1991)


Salvador Sanchez

by BoxngRules

When people hear the name "Salvador Sanchez", they automatically think of an unstoppable Featherweight whose run to superstardom was destroyed when a collision of cars put him to rest at the prime age of 23.

Sanchez was born January 26, 1959 in Santiago Tianguistenco, Mexico. Sanchez turned pro at age 16 and looked to have a bright career ahead of him as he KO'd Al Gardeno in 3 rounds. He reached a pivotal 18-0 start (17 KO's) before facing the first, and only, blemish against Antonio Becerra in a bid for the Mexican Bantamweight title.

In 1979, THE RING placed him eigth in the Featherweight rankings after stopping Top-10 Richard Rozelle in 3 rounds, he was almost guaranteed to be a champion at that time.

Soon after, he secured a 33-1-1 record and a title shot with colorful WBC Featherweight titlist Danny "Little Red" Lopez. After pummeling the champion for 12 rounds, the referee finally stopped the slaughter in Round 13.

Sanchez then defeated 6 Top-10 fighters in a row, including a return match with Lopez, Juan LaPorte, and Roberto Castanon. But his best was yet to come.

His next fight was a career's best, and what many considered the Best Fight in the '80's. His opponent was WBA Jr. Featherweight Champion Wilfredo "Bazooka" Gomez. Gomez was favored to beat the Mexican Sanchez as he came in at an impressive 32-0-1 record (32 KO's).

Sanchez came out and drilled into Gomez, dropping him three times en route to a 8th Round KO of the 24-year-old Puerto Rican.

Still only 23, Sanchez had followed a brilliant 7-year career but little did anyone know that the last-minute substitute Azumah Nelson would be his last opponent.

Sanchez had been looking forward to a mega-fight with Alexis Arguello when he ran into the little-known Ghanaian, who dropped Sanchez before he was knocked down and out in Round 15. Nelson later became a 2-time Jr. Lightweight Champion, but his whole career was launched by his loss to Sanchez.

3 weeks after his KO of Nelson, Sanchez' porsche collided with a pick-up truck and it turned into death for the Little Giant on August 12, 1982. Some believe this occurance was the only thing that could possibly have dethroned him. It was definitely a sad moment in boxing as one of the greatest Mexican fighters of all-time fell to an automobile accident.

His final record was 44-1-1, with 32 opponents succumbing to the power-punches of this great champion. Hope you enjoyed this man's views on him, until next time...


THE ALL-TIME LIGHTWEIGHT TOURNAMENT (...INCLUDING GREAT JR. LIGHTWEIGHTS)

by Thomas Gerbasi

FIRST ROUND

ROBERTO DURAN TKO6 Battling Nelson

OSCAR DE LA HOYA TKO7 Joe Brown

LOU AMBERS TKO14(swelling) Alexis Arguello

HENRY ARMSTRONG KO13 Sammy Serrano

BENNY LEONARD TKO8(swelling) Bazooka Limon

ALFREDO ESCALERA TKO3 Azumah Nelson

ORZUBEK NAZAROV TKO4cuts Rocky Lockridge

BEN VILLAFLOR W15(U) James Watt

BILLY PETROLLE W15(U) Esteban DeJesus

JOE GANS W15(U) Carlos Ortiz

IKE WILLIAMS W15(U) Bob Montgomery

RAY MANCINI TKO5(swelling) Miguel Gonzalez

BOBBY CHACON W15(U) Ismael Laguna

CORNELIUS BOZA-EDWARDS KO11 Beau Jack

KEN BUCHANAN W15(S) Hilmer Kenty

TONY CANZONERI W15(S) Jem Driscoll

SECOND ROUND

ROBERTO DURAN TKO10(swelling) Lou Ambers

OSCAR DE LA HOYA W15(U) Billy Petrolle

HENRY ARMSTRONG KO1 Orzubek Nazarov

BENNY LEONARD TKO13swelling Ray Mancini

TONY CANZONERI W15(U) Alfredo Escalera

BEN VILLAFLOR W15(U) Ken Buchanan

JOE GANS W15(U) Cornelius Boza-Edwards

IKE WILLIAMS TKO6 Bobby Chacon

QUARTERFINALS

ROBERTO DURAN VS. IKE WILLIAMS

Williams came out aggressively against Duran, and scored some big blows in the first 5 minutes of action. But then a left hook by Duran deposited Williams on the seat of his pants. Williams took an eight count, but never seemed to recover from the knockdown. Ike was game, and took a few rounds along the way, but there was no doubt who the winner was at the end of fifteen. DURAN W15(U) Williams.

OSCAR DE LA HOYA VS. JOE GANS

Gans smoked from the opening bell, and smothered the Golden Boy. DeLa Hoya got rocked early, and it just got worse. Ref Arthur Mercante looked to be stopping the fight, when a left right combination put Oscar down for a ten count at the 2:14 mark of round two. GANS KO1 DeLaHoya

HENRY ARMSTRONG VS. BEN VILLAFLOR

Armstrong lived up to his billing as the human windmill, throwing punches in bunches at the junior lightweight Villaflor. A perfect right cross dropped Villaflor in round two for a nine count, and the fight looked to be over. But Villaflor fought back, showing great heart. After clinching for most of the next three rounds, Villaflor unleashed a savage left hook which put Armstrong on his back. Hammerin Hank was up at 7 but was shaken up, and held on to survive the round. Both men then stood toe to toe in the seventh, with Armstrong teeing off on his exhausted opponent. Finally, Ruby Goldstein called a halt to the proceedings at 2:52 of the seventh. ARMSTRONG TKO7 Villaflor

BENNY LEONARD VS. TONY CANZONERI

In a scientific matchup between two great technincians, Leonard dominated. Benny scored a third round knockdown of Canzoneri, and was never threatened in the fight, winning a decision by the scores of 147-137, 147-139, 146-140. LEONARD W15(U) Canzoneri.

SEMIFINALS

ROBERTO DURAN VS. JOE GANS

This fight would prove to be one of the most competitive and evenly matched bouts of the entire tournament, regardless of division. The first two rounds were downright boring as both fighters felt each other out. By the third though, Gans started zeroing in on Duran with power shots, and "Manos de Piedra" answered back with energy sapping body blows. The fourth and fifth rounds featured many control changes, as each man took his turn in the spotlight. A big double hook by Duran in the sixth hurt Gans and had him in trouble on the ropes, but the bell intervened. Each round seemed to be following the same pattern of Gans in control, Duran in control, and made the fight difficult to score. By the end of 15, no one knew what to think. The decision: 144-143, 145-143, 144-142 for the winner...Joe Gans. GANS W15(U) Duran

BENNY LEONARD VS. HENRY ARMSTRONG

After Gans-Duran, people were actually expecting this fight to be a better one, a classic boxer -puncher matchup between two all-time greats. As usual Armstrong came out throwing and landed a hard straight right just 20 seconds into the bout. Leonard seemed to be a little flustered by Hank’s onslaught, but by the second he started landing with some regularity, opening a nasty gash over Armstrong’s left eye. Not known as a brawler, Leonard nonetheless stood his ground with Armstrong and the two traded home run blows. In the fifth, an off balance Armstrong was sent to the canvas by an overhand right. He got up at 8, but was wobbly. The surgeon(Leonard) proceeded to drop Hank again, this time for a three count. The bell rang, but the damage had been done on the scorecards, a 10-7 round across the board. Leonard controlled the middle rounds, but as the championship rounds rolled around, it was Armstrong who was picking up steam. At the end of the fight it was too close to call. The decision: 147-141 Leonard, 144-141 Armstrong, 146-143 for the winner Benny Leonard. LEONARD W15(S) Armstrong.

FINAL - UNDISPUTED ALL-TIME LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

JOE GANS VS. BENNY LEONARD

Leonard, not wanting to get into a toe to toe situation as he did against Armstrong, stood outside and used his boxing skills against the hard punching Gans. The strategy worked to perfection, but for the second month in a row we were not treated to an exciting final match. The only real excitement of the bout occurred in the final round when a Leonard overhand right sent Gans to the canvas at the bell ending the fight. The decision was a mere formality: 148-138, 149-136, 146-140. Your winner and ALL-TIME LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION......BENNY LEONARD!!!


Apr Ratings (as of 17 Apr)

by Phrank Da Slugger

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 mistakingly 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.

Heavyweights

Champion: Evander Holyfield (WBA & IBF)

1. Lennox Lewis (WBC)
2. Larry Donald
3. Michael Moorer
4. Ray Mercer
5. Brian Nielsen (IBO)
6. David Tua
7. Andrew Golota
8. Michael Grant (IBC)
9. Hasim Rahman
10. Chris Byrd

Active this mth: Lewis, Byrd, Golota (out: Witherspoon-lost, Briggs-lost)

Crusierweights

Champion: Fabrice Tiozzo (WBA)

1. Juan Carlos Gomez (WBC)
2. Marcelo Dominguez
3. Carl Thompson (WBO)
4. Nate Miller
5. Imamu Mayfield (IBF)
6. Robert Daniels (IBC)
7. Johnny Nelson
8. Chris Eubank
9. Saul Montana
10. Don Diego Poeder (WBU)

Active this mth: Mayfield, Thompson, Eubank (out: Dunstan-lost)

Lt. Heavyweights

Champion: Dariusz Michalczewski (WBO)

1. Roy Jones
2. Graciano Rocchigiani (WBC)
3. Lou Del Valle (WBA)
4. Virgil Hill
5. Reggie Johnson (IBF)
6. Ole Klemetsen
7. Montell Griffin
8. Michael Nunn
9. Ken Bowman
10. Mohammed Siluvangui

Active this mth: Michalczewski, Rocchigiani, Nunn, Siluvangui, Griffin

Super Middleweights

Champion: TITLE VACANT

1. Charles Brewer (IBF)
2. Joe Calzaghe (WBO)
3. Frank Liles (WBA)
4. Thomas Tate
5. Richie Woodhall (WBC)
6. Robin Reid
7. Jorge Castro
8. Dean Francis
9. Roberto Duran
10. Joseph Kiwanuka

Active this mth: Woodhall, Brewer, Liles, Reid (out: Malinga-lost and retired, Graham-lost)

Middleweights

Champion: Bernard Hopkins (IBF)

1. Otis Grant (WBO)
2. Keith Holmes (WBC)
3. William Joppy (WBA)
4. Silvio Branco (WBU)
5. Antwun Echols
6. Aaron Davis
7. Robert Allen
8. Robert McCracken
9. Andrew Council
10. Hassine Cherifi

Active this mth: Echols (out: Bradley-inactive)

Jr. Middleweights

Champion: Keith Mullings (WBC)

1. Terry Norris
2. Luis Ramon Campas (IBF)
3. Laurent Boudouani (WBA)
4. Winky Wright (WBO)
5. Bronco McKart (IBA)
6. Verno Phillips (WBU)
7. Tony Marshall
8. Raul Marquez
9. Shibata Flores
10. Emmett Linton (IBA)

Active this mth: Campas, McKart, Marshall, (out: Stephens-lost)

Welterweights

Champion: Oscar de la Hoya (WBC)

1. Ike Quartey (WBA)
2. Felix Trinidad (IBF)
3. Jose Luis Lopez
4. Pernell Whitaker
5. Oba Carr
6. Derrell Coley
7. Shannon Taylor
8. Vernon Forrest
9. Edgar Ruiz
10. Ahmed Kotiev (WBO)

Active this mth: Trinidad, Carr, Forrest

Jr. Welterweights

Champion: TITLE VACANT

1. Vince Phillips (IBF)
2. Khalid Rahilou (WBA)
3. Julio Cesar Chavez
4. Miguel Angel Gonzalez
5. Kostya Tszyu
6. Soren Sondergaard (IBC)
7. Rafael Ruelas
8. Antonio Diaz
9. Reggie Green
10. Diobelys Hurtado

Active this mth: Tszyu, Diaz, Sondergaard (twice), Ruelas

Lightweights

Champion: TITLE VACANT

1. Shane Mosley (IBF)
2. Stevie Johnston (WBC)
3. Orzubek Nazarov (WBA)
4. Israel Cardona
5. Cesar Bazan
6. Phillip Holiday
7. John-John Molina
8. Artur Grigorijan (WBO)
9. Arturo Gatti
10. Jesse James Leija

Active this mth: Nazarov

Jr. Lightweights

Champion: Genaro Hernandez (WBC)

1. Angel Manfredy (WBU)
2. Yongsoo Choi (WBA)
3. Tracy Harris Patterson
4. Gabe Ruelas
5. Robert Garcia (IBF)
6. Anatoly Alexandrov
7. Jesus Chavez
8. Julien Lorcy
9. Derrick Gainer
10. Arnulfo Castillo

Active this mth: none (out: Nelson-inactive)

Featherweights

Champion: Luisito Espinosa (WBC)

1. Naseem Hamed (WBO & WBU)
2. Cesar Soto
3. Kevin Kelley
4. Wilfredo Vazquez
5. Fred Norwood (WBA)
6. Angel Vazquez
7. Juan Marquez
8. Hector Lizarraga (IBF)
9. Genaro Rios
10. Paul Ingle

Active this mth: Hamed, WVazquez, Norwood, Ingle

Jr. Featherweights

Champion: Kennedy McKinney (WBO & IBC)

1. Vuyani Bungu (IBF)
2. Junior Jones
3. Marco Antonio Barrera
4. Erik Morales (WBC)
5. Enrique Sanchez (WBA)
6. Hector Acero-Sanchez
7. Danny Romero
8. Wayne McCullough
9. Cassius Baloyi
10. Carlos Navarro (WBU)

Active this mth: Morales, McCullough (out: Cermeno-moved up in weight)

Bantamweights

Champion: TITLE VACANT

1. Johnny Bredahl (IBO)
2. Jorge Julio (WBO)
3. Nana Konadu (WBA)
4. Joichiro Tatsuyoshi (WBC)
5. Tim Austin (IBF)
6. Paulie Ayala
7. Cuahtemoc Gomez
8. Mbubelo Botile
9. Adan Vargas
10. Dario Azuaga

Active this mth: Julio, Bredahl, Austin, Botile (out: Maldonado-lost)

Jr. Bantamweights

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. Veeraphol Sahaprom
8. Julio Gamboa
9. Genaro Garcia
10. Luis Bolano

Active this mth: Sahaprom (out: Benavides-inactive)

Flyweights

Champion: Chartchai Sasakul (WBC)

1. Mark Johnson (IBF)
2. Jose Bonilla (WBA)
3. Carlos Salazar (WBO)
4. David Guerault
5. Jesper Jensen
6. Raul Juarez
7. Alejandro Montiel
8. Saen Sow Ploenchit
9. Ysaias Zamudio
10. Arthur Johnson

Active this mth: Salazar, Jensen, Juarez

Jr. Flyweights

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. Carlos Murillo

Active this mth: Gamboa

Strawweights

Champion: Ricardo Lopez (WBC)

1. Rosendo Alvarez (WBA)
2. Zolani Petelo (IBF)
3. Rocky Lin
4. Ratanapol Voraphin
5. Ronnie Magramo
6. Lindi Memani
7. Alex Sanchez
8. Eric Jamili (WBO)
9. Songkram Porpaoin
10. Satoru Abe

Active this mth: Petelo, Lin

World Champions: 13 (of 17)


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