As always, this Newsletter will strive to bring you the most up-to-date and entertainiing news in boxing. We will have ringside reporters for many of the upcoming events, and expect to add a surprise or two. Ciao, Mike
The Heavyweight division (hell, the whole sport), is carried on the shoulders of Iron Mike Tyson. Put aside the soap opera that is Mike Tyson & what you are left with is perhaps the most awesome heavyweight fighting machine of the century ... This is not easy for the Bucket to admit, considering the not-too-high esteem he places on Tyson's character & associates - but evaluated strictly as a fighter Mighty Mike meets all criteria -- his coming back from 3 plus years in prison to regain the WBC portion of the heavyweight title within 6 months is the stuff of legend & let's face it not since Ali has a fighter imprinted himself beyond the narrow confines of the sport like Iron Mike. Yeah, I know Ray Leonard carried the sport between Ali's decline & Tyson's rise but his astonishingly white bread image was mostly a media creation ... Sugar Ray Leonard always played the media game & it payed off big for him -- both Ali & Tyson for wildly disparate reasons forged their own way to the stature they achieved.
With the exception of the Douglas fiasco, Tyson has knocked out or soundly beaten everyone he's faced. Not since Joe Louis has a heavyweight inspired so much fear & loathing from their opponents & dominated the division for as long a time. Ali & Larry Holmes were all-time greats but neither consistently crushed opponents -- instead, they finessed them out of their jocks ... Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano, Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier & George Foreman also had their reigns of terror; but Dempsey's fights were few & far between once he was crowned & the other four were at their peaks for only a relatively short time.
Louis, like Tyson with Douglas, faced his Waterloo vs. Schmeling early in his career; but he recovered to dominate the heavyweights for the next 11 years. Tyson with the aberration of Douglas has dominated his foes in even a more thorough fashion than Louis did his ... and arguably Tyson has faced at least as good, if not a better class of opponent. I know to the old timers this is sacrilege, but let me give some examples: The fighter Louis won the title from, Jim Braddock was a shot, blown-up lightheavy & life-long journeyman who got lucky against Max Baer. As limited as Trevor Berbick was as WBC champion, the Bucket's gotta believe he would have easily put away the inferior Braddock. Other than Lee Ramage, Schmeling, Arturo Godoy, Billy Conn (basically a super middleweight,) Jersey Joe Walcott & Ezzard Charles (another blown-up lightheavyweight,) the bulk of Louis' opponents quite & very deserved to be in what was then known as the Brown Bombers "Bum Of The Month Club." I don't think fighters such as Johnny Paychek, Tony Galento (the Butterbean of his day,) Abe Simon, Jack Roper, Tony Musto, Lou Nova etc. would have much impact on the heavyweights today. This is not to denigrate Joe Louis, who was a magnificent fighter in his era, but rather to correct the false twists & turns that always make up revisionism street ...
As for the rest of today's heavyweights, the division is hardly barren. With Riddick Bowe, Lennox Lewis & Michael Moorer, Tyson has three compelling match-ups & those four fighters make up a strong upper level for the division. Of the remaining veterans, Ray Mercer (off his showing against Holyfield,) Tim Witherspoon & possibly (although hopefully not,) Evander Holyfield & Larry Holmes can still give stern tests to the young up & comers.
Speaking of the younger heavy's, out of a crop that includes David Tua, Henry Akiwande, Larry Donald, Andrew Golgota, Courage Tashabala & Jeremy Williams among others; perhaps one or two of them might emerge as future top contenders. In the meantime, despite all the sniveling the heavyweight division seems to be in pretty good shape ... PART 2 NEXT MONTH
With the recent Rivera fight, it became clear that one of the purest boxing talents to ever grace the fistic stage has entered his decline ... & the fight game being the fickle bitch it is, also introduced a ferociously impressive fighter in Ike Quartey ... I Like Ike! He looked stronger than the chairs in Marlon Brando's house & he's got the predatory look of the prime Cornelius Boza Edwards & that's helluva good company to keep ...
Pernell, is unique to boxing history - no other prize fighter has ever sailed thru his career without ever once facing an extremely personal Armageddon of pure peril ... No great fighter that the Bucket can recall, Gans, McGovern, Langford, Ketchel, Johnson, Dempsey, Wills, Tunney, Leonard, Greb, Walker, Chocolate, Petrolle, Ross, McClarnin, Berg, Armstrong, Louis, Zale, LaMotta, Burley, Robinson, Marciano, Moore, Fullmer, Basilio, Liston, Loi, Ortiz, Griffith, Rodriguez, Jofre, Harada, Clay, Ali, Tiger, Foster, Benvenuti, Napoles, Monzon, Duran, Olivares, Zarate, Frazier, Foreman, Holmes, Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Arguello, Pedrosa, Nelson & anybody else I might have missed (the Bucket ain't infallible), at one time or another in their career's faced the grim reaper in the ring ... Talkin' do or die, life in the balance ... but Pernell, has never crossed that particular Rubicon ... until the Rivera fight. Against a very ordinary fighter named Wilfredo Rivera ... Okay, the Bucket might be stretching a point here, but in the 12 plus years & all 19 of his title bouts that I've watched, never has the Pea been so damaged. Even Julio Cesar Chavez & Azumah Nelson, two fellow combatants, also guaranteed to be enshrined in the Hall of fame along with Pernell, didn't remotely put the kind of hurt on Sweet Pea that a journeyman like Rivera did. This don't bode well ... now Pernell wasn't beat up & battered like say, Mancini was against Bramble in their two bouts, but Rivera definitely laid some kinda lickin' on Whitaker.
Sweet Pea is a fighter who had arguably never lost a fight, not to mention that until the Rivera fight, he might have not lost 12 championship rounds in all of the 90's ... & there is no need to argue that in Whitaker's 19 championship bouts, the Ol' Spit Bucket is sure that no fighter in history has ever lost fewer rounds ...
Not to hammer at a point (Yeah, right ... the Bucket would never do that.), but Pernell Whitaker is unique in that he has never been in the danger zone or ever came close to peril before. Hopefully the Rivera fight was an aberration & a wake up call. Maybe if Sweet Pea partys less & focuses on his conditioning & the arduous task at hand, he can meet & surmount the imposing challenges that Trinidad, Quartey & Terry Norris present. If he doesn't, The Pea won't have a snowball's chance in hell against the afore mentioned trio...
Gotta Have A Gripe dept.: The lack of major fights this year -- as of this post(4/20/96) there has been basically bupkus as far as action in my beloved sport ... Time is running out on some of our favorite fighters & potential match-up's ... any fight involving Sweet Pea better be made pronto 'cause off his showing with Rivera the time has come to make the potential matches with Norris, Trinidad, Quartey etc. ... Chavez's destiny will be imprinted on June 7 vs. De La Hoya, but say he overcomes Oscar, (highly unlikely), what's next? The Bucket, given this scenario, would give his left nut to see Randall-Chavez III ... It's time for Roy Jones Jr. to take a risk, step up to the plate & hit a homer -- brain-dead defenses against the lack of comp in his division jez aint gonna cut it ... Also time for Whitaker & Holyfield (especially) to reevaluate their careers ... Remember Scotty Olson? One of the most exciting flyweights of the early 90's & an ESPN staple, Olson disappeared ... Inevitably Mike Tyson got himself mired in sleazy accusations again though he won't be charged criminally. Didn't anybody in his herd of heavy breathing flunky's ever think that hanging out in low rent disco's while on parole might not be such a good idea?... If Mighty Mike screws up again, the Indiana courts will probably send him back to the House Of Many Slammers to finish out his term ... & that would be an utter calamity for Boxing.
Speaking of calamities, has anybody checked out the ratings of the alphabet soups lately? There are so many egregious errors I wouldn't even know where to begin. Speaking of egregious errors dept. The new issue of Ring Magazine has the first article I've ever seen on boxing & the internet written by AOL's Jim Trunzo. He wrote a fairly comprehensive article with a good portion of it dealing with AOL. That's all fine & dandy but he never mentioned our Web Site & dismissed this newsletter with one brief sentence as a compendium of stuff taken off rec.sport.boxing. Hey Jim! Wake up & do some research! As much as the Bucket loves to rag on DeLisa (totally deserved by the way), I've gotta admit he has put together the best web site & cyber-boxing newsletter out on the web. He's got serious boxing writers contributing from England, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Japan, as well as the good ol' USA. Hell, I'd put a writer like our own DscribeDC, up against Trunzo (computers at 20 paces) any day...
It would be an egregious error on my part if I failed to mention that in that same issue of Ring Magazine there was a great feature called The Top 50 Fighters Of The Last 50 Years. Granted, any listing like that is subjective & open to a lot of debate but Steve Farhood & the rest of the boxing mavens down at the magazine did a great job in compiling their list. My only bitch (are you as amazed as I am that I only have one?!) is that they left the great Luis Manuel Rodrigues off the list. They had him in a tie at 51 with Harold Johnson (he's in my top ten all time light heavy list), Rodrigo Valdes, Don Curry, Jeff Chandler, Nicolino Loche & Joe Brown (elected to the Hall Of Fame this year). I think they missed the boat & fell off the dock on this pick. Luis Manuel was flat out one of the greatest welterweights of all time! Now, the Ol' Spit Bucket isn't gonna go on a rant here, but suffice it to say, that anyone wishing to find out more about the great career of Luis Manuel Rodrigues should check out my column in the Nov. 95 issue of this cyber-rag ... By the way, The Ring's top ten list was: 1- Sugar Ray Robinson; 2- Muhamaad Ali; 3- Roberto Duran; 4- Willie Pep; 5- Sugar Ray Leonard; 6- Julio Cesar Chavez; 7- Carlos Monzon; 8- Alexis Arguello; 9- Eder Jofre; 10- Ike Williams. The Bucket would have removed Chavez from the top ten & replaced him with Archie Moore (# 16). I also would have moved Jofre up to 6th, but hey! You could also make an argument for Marciano, Hagler, Foster or almost anyone in the top 25 belonging in the top ten. That's how good a job they did. Farhood & his posse obviously put a lot of thought & research into the difficult task of compiling this list ...
Last month I did the Heavyweights, now it's the Light Heavyweights turn:
I have only recently begun to follow the sport of boxing with enthusiasm. I have become familiar with several magazines and web sites. I am disappointed to see so much profanity in your writing. Aside from the four-lettered words, your writing is above-average in the world of boxing journalism. I realize the style of writing found on the web will typically be more casual than that in print, but when a writer of your caliber uses profanity the way you do, the effect is to communicate to the reader, "I'm less intelligent than the rest of my writing indicates." For some of your readers, that might be fine. For others, like myself, it is undesirable.
Thank-you, (Name withheld by the Bucket; I'm not trying to embarrass anyone)
Mr. (name withheld)
I just received your post regarding the raunchiness of my column. I'm sorry if my writing style offends you, but selah ... there is not much I can do about it. First you have to understand that the Spit Bucket is a writing persona I have created to be an alternative to the rather dry & boring style of most boxing journalism. Think of the writings of Hunter Thompson or the acerbic commentary of a Dennis Miller or George Carlin & you might understand where I'm coming from ... Yes, my style gets crude at times but I am dealing with a sport that the great sportswriter, Red Smith, characterized as the "Red Light District Of Sports." That is even more true today than when he wrote it in the late 50's. As a former corner man (my father managed fighters when I was a kid & I actually used to carry the spit bucket into the ring), & amateur boxer I know only too well the crudity & brutality of my beloved sport.
The reason the sport is in such a shambles is the powers that be that run it with the subtlety of Hitler ransacking Poland. If I'm constantly railing at these people, I feel I have good reason. The Don Kings and Bob Arums of the boxing world feed off the living flesh of the boxers & then discard them like garbage once they've suited their purposes. The boxers are pawns in a power play they don't even comprehend. This angers me greatly ... & my writing is no cruder than the machinations of these modern day low rent Machiavelli's.
I write my column with the idea of intentionally provoking my readers to take a moment to think about the exploitation of the athletes. If I anger some people & get them to write me back (as you did), then I've done my job. One last point: The definition of profanity is to use God's name in vain. I don't do that. I may be crude & vulgar at times ... but I am not profane.
Anyhow, I did enjoy reading your letter, even though it was rather critical, but hey! Everybody's got a right to an opinion ... even me. Actually, what I liked the best, was that it provoked you to respond to me. That's what my column is all about. I would like to hear back from you again so we can continue this dialogue ...
Some time has passed since I wrote the first portion of this column & today (5/1/96), I exchanged posts with Jim Trunzo. The Bucket would like to put aside a possible misconception that might have been implied. Trunz (his aol name), is not only a very good boxing writer as his articles in Ring Magazine have shown over the years; he is also a serious boxing historian who has conducted The Ring's What If computer match ups impeccably.
Jim is a good guy & has a sense of humor as shown in the letter he sent me. It is only fair that the Bucket gives him a chance to get in his shots in. Though I do have to say that comparing me to that low life Jim Baggs, who writes for World Boxing, is below the belt. Ouch!...
Date: Wed, May 1, 1996 5:03 PM EDT
Subj: Re: Your Article In Ring
First of all, I found it admirable that you took the time to send me the column first and allow the opportunity for a reply. However, it's obvious that you took the lack of column space on your website/newsletter personally. Here are few factors that you might want to consider (especially if you ever decide to write for a national publication): (1) there's a word count -- they won't let you write endlessly and this particular topic could have gone on and on. As I mentioned, sites come and go with regularity so it would be impossible to give equal (and fair) coverage to every place mentioning boxing via an electronic medium; (2) the piece gets edited. Certain materials are clipped due to the word count; (3) an opinion is an opinion is an opinion. That being the case, I have no problem with you airing yours. I enjoy your comments when I have a chance to peruse them and I think that many of the pieces found are certainly of both interest and value. So tilt at windmills all you like and defend your little corner of the electronic boxing world with all the bluster that you usually muster. No offense was meant by not giving you more space, just like no offense was meant to the dozens of spots that failed to receive even that much. It wasn't a lack of research; it was a simply a lack of space. As for you personally, I respect the knowledge that you show in your ramblings. However, either you and Jim Baggs are one and the same or one of you is doing a hell of a rip-off on the other. A suggestion: keep the solid boxing information and the conviction that you have but get an original routine. One Jim Baggs is one too many. Two is unthinkable.
Thanks again for allowing for a fair fight,
I'm sorry if you're a Chavez fan, but he just isn't what he used to be. Chavez has been deteriorating ever since the dubious draw with Whitikar. He was clearly beaten by Randall in their first encounter, and it looked as though he would be beaten again in their second fight, before he seemingly quit. The 'No Mas' in the second Randall affair brings up the question. . . Is his heart deteriorating with his skills? And, despite winning a decision from David Kamau, he didn't wow his critics with a lackluster performance.
In contrast, "The Golden Boy" gives a better account of himself each time he steps through the ropes. He learned a tough lesson in the Molina fight, one which will surely benefit him in the long run and especially on June 7th. He pummeled Jorge Paez, who had been regarded as a fighter with a good chin. He outclassed undefeated veteran Genaro Hernandez, and he easily dispatched of lightweight king, Rafeal Rueles. His most recent victory was another major step. He defeated Darryl Tyson, which in itself doesn't sound all that impressive, but if you look at who Tyson has fought, and that he had only been stopped once (by Freddie Pendleton), makes this victory mean a little bit more. Tyson's ledger is filled with big names such as; Miguel Angel Gonzales, Rueles, Roger Mayweather, and Reggie Green.
In the final battle, De La Hoya's speed will be far too much for the aging Chavez. Chavez will try to get inside and land some of his patented hooks to the body, but awaiting him will be a quick counter to the head from De La Hoya. Chavez will fall into a defensive mode and Oscar will take the offense with quick, stinging combos. I see the end coming around the fourth round, and don't be surprised if J.C. Superstar is on the mat when it comes.
**Pazienza's name has also been tossed around as a possible opponent for the winner of Steve Collins and Nigel Benn. Vinny will have a good shot at either of those fighters. Benn is declining fast, and Collins turned in a lackluster performance in his last defense. Paz didn't look great in his last fight, but who can blame him. Not many people look good against Roy Jones.
**Mike Tyson's June fight against Bruce Seldon may be for the W.B.A. title ONLY. The W.B.C. title is currently Tyson's but there are now pending court cases involving Lennox Lewis, who was promised a shot way back when.
**The rumored Randall-Trinidad clash has now been canceled. Randall will now get another shot at Juan Coggi, the best actor in boxing. Trinidad will square off against Freddie Pendleton, who will move up from 140. Look for Randall and Trinidad to score victories.
**KO Mag's Disappearing Fighter Award Winner Ray Oliviera has resurfaced. He was incarcerated for six months because he missed a couple of probation meetings. He has since reeled off two victories, and is now hoping to fight Darryl Tyson on TV.
That's it for now! Remember to protect yourself at all times, and send me your questions or comments.
Here are the reports of the title defenses each champion had quite recently. They both defended their title successfully, and they both talked about the unification bout after the fight.
Espino started strongly and pressured Kawashima early on, but the elusive southpaw Kawashima boxed beautifully and with quick head movement and footwork avoided most of the punches that Espino threw. Espino slowed down a bit in the 4th, and Kawashima began to force the action. Kawashima had Espino hurt in the 8th, 10th, and 12th with counter-punches to the chin. The 10th round was especially big for Kawashima. He punished Espino from all angles, and rocked him several times. All judges scored this round 10-8 although there were no knockdowns. And, at the end of the 12th, he had Espino seriously hurt, but failed to finish him off.
The fight was pretty one sided, and judges had it 120-107, 119-110, and 118-109, all in favor of Kawashima.
Goitia, a southpaw, controlled the fight with strong lefts and right jabs, and took the first few rounds easily. He had Iida hurt in the 1st round with a strong left to the chin. Iida had his moment in the 4th, landing body shots and right hooks to the chin, but Goitia rallied back and rocked Iida with a straight left to the head. Goitia then dropped Iida with a big right hook that landed on the chin cleanly. Iida somehow got up and survived the round, but Goitia stopped him in the 5th with some flurries. Goitia now improved to 15-0(12), and Iida dropped to 20-1(10).
"I'm satisfied with my performance tonight. It was a beautiful boxing match." said Goitia, "I think I can beat Kawashima because I'm taller and stronger than Kawashima. I will knock him out within 4 rounds if we get to fight each other."
McCullough is about the most exciting fighter out there right now. But his skills are not top 10 P4P skills. I don't see him moving up to 122 and beating Barerra or Hamed. He throws a lot of punches but his power is only average. His defense, while improving, is still not very good. He just squares up to his opponent too much and takes punches. But his fights are great to watch. He is fighting on the June 7th undercard and then moving up to 122. I don't predict he will have a very long career. Since he doesn't have too much power he must grind out every win and he takes a lot of punishment to get those wins.
Bueno looked pretty good. His power seemed good after moving up from 115. I was surprised that he even got 1 judge to score for him over in Ireland. I figured he had no chance to win but by KO.
The first fight on the card featured Cory Johnson vs. Shanon Taylor from Australia. Taylor was hyped as a power puncher but he looked pretty poor to me. I thought he lost most of the rounds to the slick boxer Johnson. Taylor did score a knockdown in the 10th to get a draw. (In Ireland, only the ref scores). I thought Johnson easily outboxed the slow plodding Taylor for 7 out of 9 rounds before the last round. Even scoring it 10-8 I still had Johnson ahead a few points. But it was also a pretty good fight.
Johnson seems to be a pretty good fighter. His only loss was to Stevie Johnston who is VERY good. Taylor was very slow and his power is good but his defense and movement are horrible.
Also good news, sort of -- King and Fox have severed their relationship, with the last Fox broadcast being on 23 Mar. That's good because the cards really sucked. King was unhappy w/Fox and so fed them absolute shit matches until Fox said enough. It really sucks, though, because of what could have been. Considering the time slot, if the shows had been half-decent, they probably would have lasted...
HBO's "Night of the Young Heavyweights" was a big success, and the next one will be shown in August or September. This is great, but even better would be the original idea of a tournament, and who wouldn't froth at the mouth to see Golota-Tua?
Danny Romero, Sr.(trainer of his son) says they are at 115 lbs for now and are aiming for a shot at the IBF title (which is held by Carlos Salazar). Hey, Daniel: MAKE THE TAPIA FIGHT. How stupid can one be to screw up the megafight twice? No one cares about Salazar. He needs to make Tapia-Romero ASAP...
Jeff Ryan said something in the June issue of KO that I thoroughly agree with: "the junking of Foreman-Moorer II isn't going to bring tears to my eyes. In case you were wondering what would have happened, let me tell you: A cautious Moorer would have jabbed his way to a decision win over a guy who moved as though he was wearing a full body cast. Afterward, Moorer would have remained inactive for 15 months while awaiting a Tyson fight, and Foreman would have announced that he was retiring -- after just a few more paydays. There, now you know. And you didn't have to part with $34.95 to find out"...
Looking forward to Domingiez-Wamba (Wamba's retirement). Active top Crusierweight Marcelo Dominguez has been fighting and beating the best 190-pounders out there, while WBC titlist Wamba has remained idle with an injury for over a year . Last time they met (Wamba's last fight) was in Dec '94 when Dominguez got royally screwed out of a decision win. Look for him to exact revenge...
Lots of good fights on the horizon (or, if not good, then interesting):
7 May: Lonnie Bradley-Rbt Allen
14 May: James Toney-Terry McGroom (on USA)
1 Jun: Azumah Nelson-Jesse James Leija (winner to face Gabe Ruelas in the fall)
7 Jun: McCullough-Luigi Camputaro (replaces John Michael Johnson)
Jun: Larry Holmes-Brian Nielsen (rumored)
this year: Regilio Tuur-Jorge Paez (rumored)
More potential good news: Dino Duva of Main Events is trying to put together a monthly boxing show on a network, and Budweiser is buying air time...
In case anyone didn't see it, here's USA's TNF's e-mail address. Tell 'em no mas Duran fights, please: email@example.com [Editor's note -- my e-mail has bounced back from this address. Can anyone confirm that it is correct?]...
Despite saying that the Tatsuyoshi fight would be his last, WBC Jr.Feather titlist Daniel Zaragoza now has an interesting schedule proposed: a May date with unretired former-titlist Yasuei Yakushiji, an August megafight against WBC Bantam titlist Wayne McCullough and maybe a fall meeting, with Featherweight Champion Luisito Espinoza. Great fights, but he won't get past McCullough...
Duran-Camacho? We're told it'll happen on PPV on 18 May in Miami, and they even had a press conference to announce it with the predictable scuffle. It says they'll meet at 160 lbs. Prediction: Duran will kill himself to make 160, pay the fine and weigh in waaaayyy over the limit. And Camacho will win an easy, boring decision...
John-John Molina says if the money were right, he'd drop back to 130 to challenge Champion Azumah Nelson. That's funny, cuz he wanted nothing to do with Nelson when they were both titlists in the Jr. Light division. I'd love to see 'Zumah knock Molina's hairpiece off...
Never seen Whitaker at the end of a fight in a corner taking shots and not firing back (reminded me of Leonard at the end of the Hagler fight). Loved seeing Rivera put Pee Wee in a headlock and hit him like his ugly step-child (like W does to everyone else).
Also loved hearing Merchant call him "Pee Wee" to his face. . . My opinion is that Rivera isn't that good, but that Whitaker has slipped a lot. Trinidad and/or Quartey are a lockover him. . . If nothing else, this fight proved that Jones is absolutely the best. I tried to imagine Rivera in round 10 vs. Jones, and he just wouldn't still be there. . . and Rivera GAVE the fight away by being a cigar store indian early on. . .
The 1st fight: despite the fact that Quartey was overwhelming, you had to be impressed with Phillips too. He really showed that is a solid contender, and that makes Quartey's win that much more impressive. Talk about calm under a barrage. And what power! Screw Whitaker-Quartey -- give me Quartey-Trinidad!
Moorer and Schulz will fight probably on 22 Jun in Germany (where the money is) for the now-vacant (and tainted) IBF crown. It may be televised on ABC Wide World of Sports. . .
Naseem Hamed says this year he'll knock out his #1 contender, Daniel Alicea, in 3 rounds, Tom Johnson in less than that and Azumah Nelson in 8. I can't wait for 'Zumah to shut this braggart's mouth. . .
Can't believe I forgot to mention this -- this year's Hall of Fame inductees are as follows (in order of most votes received). oderns: Wilfred Benitez, Joe Brown, Aaron Pryor, Manuel Ortiz. Old-Timers: Tommy Burns, Jack Delaney, Fidel La Barba, Yound Stribling, Kid Williams. Pioneers: John Morrissey. Non-Participants: William Muldoon (trainer), Dan Parker (writer), Emanuel Steward (trainer). Congratulations, all...
Madison Square Garden kingfish John Cirillo is quite pleased with the turnout of their recents and says they'll host more shows. Great news for fans. . .
The De La Hoya fight -- win, lose or draw -- won't be Chavez' last fight. He likes the relationship he has with Bob Arum and enjoys the fame. . .
Speaking with my friend Eric Bottjer (writer, columnist) recently we discussed Foreman as Broadcaster. Eric: "The guy is on another planet. HBO should get rid of him. He's embarrassing and unprofessional. When he is funny, it's usually unintentional". .
In an interview former-titlist Quincy Taylor gave when he still had his title, he said some interesting things. 1st he asserted that his win over Julian Jackson was against the "linear Middleweight Champion." Quincy, there IS NO linear title-holder. Ray Leonard retired that. Jackson won a title that was vacant against one of the most undeserving title challengers ever in Augusto Cardimone (sp?). In fact, Jackson was thoroughly undeserving, having been blown out by Gerald McClellan in his previous fight. But Taylor did have some good analysis for us: "I don't think a whole lot of Lonnie Bradley. He's been protected and the guys he's fighting are not worthy world contenders. Bradley is a brave fighter as long as he's in there with someone who can't fight." Hear, hear. And now that Taylor's not the WBC titlist anymore, perhaps he should consider a challenge to Bradley. . .
Speaking of Bradley, his manager, the infamous Dave Wolf, master of protecting fighters, said, "Lonnie is the most talented fighter in his division. Dana Rosen'rat turned down our challenge 3 times. Steve Collins ducked us for 6 months and then moved up to 168. Lonnie will fight Roy Jones at 160 pounds and knock him out." Right -- keep protecting him, Dave. If he's really the best, then why has he never faced a Top 10 fighter?
Can you believe there was only ONE world title fight in Mexico in '95 (WBO Fly)? King used to do more triple that in 1 night. . .
What a sham: to replace De La Hoya after his vacating the WBO Light title, the crap organization is matching Antonio Rivera and Artour Gregorian. Who?!?!
The legendary Gleason's Gym has gone international. There is now a Gleason's in Rotterdam, and soon to be in Moskow, Seoul and Liverpool. . .
Tentative plans for Roy Jones to engage in an exhibition fight on 23 May at MSG's Paramount Arena. Opponent is to be Richard Grasso, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. The bout will benefit the NY Metro Olympic Games Fund. I know this is an exhibition, but better call the coroner anyway. . .
Veteran oddsmaker Herb Lambeck calls Miguel Angel Gonzalez "the most overrated Champion in boxing." (Well, OK, he said that before Gonzalez vacated). I agree, and if he ever gets his much-wanted meeting with Chavez, JCC will destroy him. . .
Venerable boxing writer Jack Fiske has a good idea for a way for Mike Tyson to upgrade his public image: "donate a huge tax deductible sum -- like a million dollars -- to the convalescent fund of paralyzed boxer Gerald McClellan." But you why he won't do something like this? Cuz he's a thug. And if he's guilty of the charge levied against by the woman in Chicago then he's the STUPIDEST thug I've ever heard of. With the microscope on you at all times, he'd have to be. But I do fully expect him to commit a similar crime cuz he's thoroughly unrepentant, and still an arrogant punk. And I for one can not understand why if you are unrepentant, you get out of prison early. He served roughly half of his sentence. If it ain't this time, look for him to slip up at some point and go back in the hole. . .
And finally here's something cool I heard Dick Tiger say. He was asked why he always looked at his opponents' hands, and never in their eyes. "Nobody ever hit me with their eyes". . .
OK, allow me to rant for a minute. The subject is the ratings of these stupid, corrupt, shameless alphabet organizations. Let's start with the WBC, the self-proclaimed organization of "safety, fairness and equality." Even though he won, was it fair to rank Tyson as the #1 contender right out of prison? Lennox Lewis paid a SANCTIONING FEE to those crooks and stayed active against top comp while Tyson beat 2 journeymen. Not even Ray Leonard or Muhammad Ali were afforded this favor. A look at the Heavyweight rankings of the WBC reveals no Bowe. Further, it reveals Tony Tucker, Jeremy Williams and Larry Donald in their Top 10. Who's getting the money here?
Onto to the IBF, and we find an even more appalling set of circumstances. Botha is or isn't their titlist (who cares), Buster Mathis is in the Top 5. Further, you'll find Corrie Sanders, Golota (before his recent win on HBO), Vaughn Bean and Obed Sullivan in their Top 12! No sign of Michael Moorer, a future title challenger. And Lewis at #9 (BEHIND Sanders!). . .
The WBO has someone named David Izonritei in their Top 10. The WBF sports Adilson Rodrigues as their Champion (the guy says he wants a rematch w/Foreman. What a joke -- does anyone remember how easily Foreman dispatched Rodrigues in 2 rounds a number of years back?). The IBC rates Trevor Berbick. (Oh yeah, the IBC says this of their Welter titlist, Hector Camacho: "Camacho is rapidly running out of opposition." OK. Camacho hasn't faced a decent opponent in 3 years). And we'll skip the WBU. Their Heavyweight Champion, George "MIA" Foreman hasn't fought in a year. And he hasn't been impressive in 3 years. And this is the organization that foisted the "Super Crusierweight" division on us.
Yongsoo Choi-Orlando Soto, Choi's WBA Jr. Light title (11 May).
Choi won this title after Genaro Hernandez vacated, KOing veteran Victor Hugo Paz. To classify Choi as one of the least regarded title-holders in the sport is a vast understatement. He is a good puncher, has good stamina and is tough. But Paz is the only recognizable name on his record -- Choi's last defense was a too-close decision over a nobody. Soto is favored, has far more experience, good power and has been the 10- and 12-round distance a number of times. His 2 losses were to Tom Johnson and Miguel Arrozal -- the latter a DQ loss in a fight he was winning handily. The locale (Korea) makes it tough, but I think Soto's experience and overall talent will lead him to the title. . .
'Nuff said. . .
Zahir Raheem, 20 years old, began boxing in 1988 and has very little experience at the national and international level in his 8 years of competing. He won the 1992 Junior Olympic Championships at 85 Lbs. and stopped his opponent at the USA-Ireland Junior Olympic Dual (85 Lbs.) He also boxed at the Junior Olympic level (age 14-15) in the 1992 PAL Championships at 90 Lbs. and lost in the quarterfinals. In 1995, he won the Bronze medal at the U.S. Championships and the U.S. Olympic Festival and won the Gold medal at the PAL National Championships to earn his spot at the Olympic Trials. He also won the USA-England Dual. Zahir has speed and good technical skills, but very little strength. I don't see a medal at Atlanta for Raheem.
As those of us who know and love boxing are aware, anything can happen in the squared circle and often does. My predictions could be right on or all wet -- depending on the draw and the motivation of our team. Whatever the outcome, I wish each and every one of them well and all we can ask is that they do their best.
Champion: Riddick Bowe (WBO)
Odd month -- some weight classes had loads of activity, while others had none. Here, everyone is waiting for Tyson. That, of course, is if he can stay out of jail. Bowe and Seldon have been idle for months in hope of a megafight. . . Akinwande and McCall fought last month, regrettably not against each other. McCall has now fought twice in 2 months, the same amount of times he fought all of last year. Since then, though, he was busted for possession of pot. Brilliant. . . Good to see 3 guys active next month (Lewis, Holyfield, Witherspoon) and 2 guys fight each other in June (Moorer-Schulz). . .Back to Seldon -- I don't care that he MIGHT fight Tyson. He hasn't had a bout since last summer, so he drops a notch. Active Akinwande (Seldon's #1 contender) moves ahead. . . Reassessment: I switched Bruno and Schulz. Schulz was screwed in last 2 bouts, while Bruno behaved like a dog in losing to Tyson.
Champion: Nate Miller (WBA)
Champion: Henry Maske (IBF)
Champion: Roy Jones (IBF)
NADA -- and nothing on the table, either, except a possible Collins-Benn fight this summer. . . No word, even, from Jones. His mandatory challenger is Brannon, but that fight doesn't excite many people. I, for one, would rather see Jones go north and knock-out my favorite fighter, Virgil Hill, on his way to a huge unification match with Henry Maske. . . Liles, inactive now for months, drops another notch. . . Ray Close, MIA, drops out. . . Nardiello makes it back in, replacing Close.
Champion: TITLE VACANT
I grudgingly raised Rosenblatt to the Top 10. There is NO ONE ELSE, regrettably. His retiring of Howard Davis was thoroughly expected and continues his dominance over sub-par and over-the-hill opposition, but like I said, no one else was active. For shame. . . Reggie Johnson exits after 6 months of inactivity. . . Davis is right behind him, dropping another notch. This is his last month here. . . Castro also on the watch list. Is these guys still fighting professionally?. . . Bradley makes another meaningless defense against the chronically inactive Lonnie Beasley. When is he ever gonna fight anyone good?. . . Where's Pyatt?. . . Takehara makes his first defense against the overrated William Joppy in June. Let's hope Hopkins gets his wish and unifies, and soon.
Champion: Terry Norris (WBC & IBF)
Well, after all the activity last month, these guys deserved a rest. Nothing happened here this time, but since 7 of these guys fought in February, they're forgiven (for now). . . Rosi, inactive for many months now, drops a notch. . . Vaden joins in the plummet next month. Wonder if we'll ever see him again?. . . Vasquez has one of those shameless WBA title defenses scheduled next month. Hopefully next up for him will be Champion Norris or his #1 contender, Wright. Even better would McKart vs. his #1 contender, also Wright.
Champion: Pernell Whitaker (WBC)
OK, at this point, I'd say that Trinidad and Quartey are a lock over Whitaker if Pee Wee ever meets either one in the ring. But the one I really want is Trinidad-Quartey. Excuse me if I'm salivating. . . Quartey was a picture of calmness in the ring as he weathered the storm that was Vince Phillips. As I figured, it was a GREAT fight. If Ike meets and beats his #1 contender Carr (as he surely would), I'll have no other option than to rank him ahead of Trinidad. . . Phillips doesn't drop far -- till the KO, he looked great. . . Wow -- where'd Lopez come from? He absolutely destroyed previous-titlist Eammon Loughran, taking him out in 51 seconds. Loughran exits. Lopez' mandatory challenger is Campas, and what a fight that will be. . . Stone continues his activity. . . And finally, the Champion. Looks like the end of an era when an unheralded fighter like Wilfredo Rivera can show up, do his imitation of a statue for 6 rounds, and still lose by a mere few points. If Whitaker knows what's good for him, he'll avoid a knock-out at the hands of the top 2 contenders here.
Champion: Julio Cesar Chavez (WBC)
Of course everyone's waiting for Chavez-De La Hoya. . . Coggi, what happened to the rematch for Randall?. . . Parisi makes a tough 1st defense for his WBO title when he faces Carlos Bolillo Gonzalez, in what is a quality match. . . Tszyu said he wants to defend his title 5 times this year. Being that he's only defended once so far, he'd better get going. . . Rahilou and Thobela were active. . . Murray also active, defeating 2-time titlist Tony Lopezin a closer-then-O'Grady-scored fight. Murray was frighteningly susceptible to the overhand right.
Champion: TITLE VACANT
Orzubek had an easy defense when he stopped another unheard-of challenger. The fight happened after these ratings were compiled, but it won't affect anything here. . . Murphy-Mendy happens finally and Molina has a fight scheduled, but there's little else on the horizon. . . Robinson finally comes back on 21 May on USA. . . I would have dropped Ruelas due to a lack of activity, but no one below him is active, either. He's gone next month. . . Totteh, also idle, begins to fall next time, and Bazan joins him soon. . . Rumor has it Holiday will defend against All-Timer Jeff Fenech, in a fight that would establish one or the other as a top contender here.
Champion: Azumah Nelson (WBC)
Champion: Luisito Espinoza (WBC)
-- Nino Benvenuti, I Benvenuti (1967)
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