|. . . THE CYBER BOXING ZONE JOURNAL||
|SPIRITUAL ADVISER ON ALL MATTERS FISTIC:
WEB MASTER & ASSOCIATE EDITOR:
HISTORY & RESEARCH:
Hank Kaplan, Tracy Callis, Matt Tegen
BoxngRules, Chris Bushnell, Adrian Cusack, Derek Cusack, DscribeDC, Thomas Gerbasi, Dave Iamele, Phrank Da Slugger, Pusboil
Enrique Encinosa, Randy Gordon, Pedro Fernandez, Joe Koizumi, Mike Moscone, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, Jim Trunzo, Barry Lindenman
by GorDoomWell, we’re half way through one of the most miserable years for fights I’ve ever seen. It’s gotten so bad that the upcoming Holyfield-Akinwande & Joppy-Duran fight card somehow qualifies as a major PPV event. It’s gotten real ugly out there folks & the view from this bunker is that it ain’t gonna get better anytime soon ...
At this point there isn’t one upcoming fight on the books that qualifies as a “must see”. But at least there are two things to look forward to in these dismal fistic times: The great boxing coverage on Classic Sports Network & the new issue of the CBZ Journal.
by GorDoomIt’s with a tip of the Fedora & a swig of a strong cocktail or three, that the Ol’ Spit Bucket noted the passing of one, Francis Albert Sinatra ... Sinatra was all things too all men (& women), undoubtedly the entertainment icon of the 20th Century.
But, Francis Albert, was much more than just that.
Frank Sinatra, was a giant presence in American culture for six decades. To certain generations of American testosterone & estrogen, Frank defined what it was to be a Man ... & more importantly, a Cool, Man ... & also, the Dark Menace, on the edge of town.
Inscrutable, obvious, charming, obdurate, the best of friends, the biggest freakin’ A-hole you ever ran across ... & yet, Mr. Sensitivity ... Sinatra skated all definition & characterization, all that obvious stuff.
Let’s face it, he was the living embodiment of millions of post-World War ll, All-American, Wet Dreams: The Come Back Kid, The Golden Pipes ... Hell, he had Ava Gardner, for a wife.
Right about this point, all of my loyal CBZ readers, are probably wondering if the Bucket has finally tipped over & all the synapses have finally snapped. What the hell does a eulogy about Ol’ Blue Eyes gotsta do with boxing???
Yeah, well ... Boxing never had a better friend than Frank Sinatra, but we’ll get to that inna New York, New York, minute.
Sinatra. Where do you start? ... Well, I’ll start from the point of view of an unrepentant Rocker, who basically never gave a good God damn about Frank Sinatra & his pre-fabricated Rat Pack.
But ... The Man, commanded respect. It was unavoidable. I’m a stone cold, rock & roll kinda guy .... I make my living within the music biz, & lounge acts & singers are the antithesis of what I do. But Frank, no matter how unfashionable he may have been at certain points throughout the decades, has endured ...
Pop Star: Sinatra created the term.
A man of stunning contradictions, on one hand, rumors of alleged mob ties, on the other, a man who personally raised & donated over a billion dollars for charity ... A man who could be crass & rude in public, often using his fists to make a point. But Sinatra was also a very influential Civil Rights activist. He single handedly opened more doors for black performers than anyone else of his era.
Long before Jackie Robinson hit the major leagues, Sinatra had made it a stipulation in his performing contracts that all his black band members had to be able to stay & eat at the same hotels & establishments that he sang at. Sinatra was the first white performer to ever try to break down racial barriers on that hard core a level.
It is a testament to the sheer influence & the kind of clout that Sinatra wielded, that he personally integrated Las Vegas. Think about it. No entertainer today has anywhere near that kind of power & prestige.
Before I get to Sinatra’s boxing connection, I’ll relay my favorite tale about him: One lost evening, in the post-war 40’s, Sinatra decided to escort Lena Horne, to New York City’s famed Stork Club, for cocktails & dinner. Our younger readers probably only know Ms. Horne as the old lady that sings the GAP commercial on television ... But back in the day, Lena Horne, was not only one of the great jazz singers, she was also one of the world’s most beautiful women.
S’ no problem, except that Ms. Horne is African-American & The Stork Club didn't allow “colored folks” in those days.
The Maitre ‘D started stuttering & fumbling with his menus trying to avoid confronting Sinatra & denying him entrance. Sinatra asked him what the problem was, & the flustered functionary blurted out, “Sir, could you tell me who made the reservation?”
Sinatra sneered at him & said, “Lincoln.”
Needless to say, The Stork Club, was soon an integrated establishment. Sinatra always did things, well, you know ...
Ya gotta like a guy like that. Talk about Cool ... Hell, when Sinatra had his mid-life crisis in the 60’s, what did he do? He marries a 19 year old Mia Farrow. Crisis? What Crisis?
Okay, you boxing boys have been very patient ... Here’s how Francis Albert, connects with the sweet science: Starting in the 40’s, Sinatra owned a piece of & quietly co-managed quite a few fighters. Best known among them was, former heavyweight contender, Tami Mauriello, who fought Joe Louis for the title on September 18, 1946, (KO by 1).
From the 1940’s through the 1970’s, if you look carefully at fight films of the major bouts from that era, you can usually spot Sinatra & his cronies sitting ringside.
Sinatra was such a big fan & booster of boxing (his father had been a fighter), that Life Magazine assigned him to photograph “The Fight Of The Century”, Ali-Frazier l. Sinatra did an outstanding job of vividly capturing the highlights of that epic battle.
But the thing that endears the man, to this wizened scribe, is how Sinatra, with absolutely no publicity or fanfare, financially helped out many fighters in their declining years.
That Sinatra paid medical bills for operations for Joe Louis in his decline is known, but that Sinatra was the reason Louis got hired by the Casino’s as a “greeter”, in the first place, is not.
But it’s not just Joe Louis. Among the many he took care of in times of trouble, were Sugar Ray Robinson & Henry Armstrong.
Louis, Robinson & Armstrong. For helping out those immortals in their time of need, Frank Sinatra, well deserves a tip of the fedora from the boxing community.
The morning after his death, I was watching CNN’s terrific anchor, Bobbi Battista, do an in depth report on Sinatra’s life. When she finished her report, she was obviously moved. She looked directly at the camera & surprised the hell outta me when she said: “He could have called me a “Broad”, anytime ...”
Even the name sang ...
Frazier Didn't Get Props
by Pedro FernandezThis is a story first published last year in FLASH Magazine.
For a long time, former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier and myself did not speak. It was because that when we did, Joe would in the course of the conversation, rip Muhammad Ali.
Last year at the Olympic Trials in Oakland, CA, Joe and I spoke at lenth. I finally understood to an extent what exactly it was like to be Ali's foil. Even when he beat Ali in March of 1971, I'll be the first to acknowledge that Joe Frazier didn't get the respect he deserved.
Recently Smokin' Joe appeared on Ring Talk and covered the landscape of boxing from Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield vs Mike Tyson, and more.
RT-How is the family. They're fine, thank God.
RT- I heard you were TKO'd by a lawnmower in the backyard. How's your foot?
JF-Well, I pulled the lawnmower back too far, and it cut the whole toe off.
RT-I did not realize it was that serious.
JF-It's just one of those things. But I'm back to moving again. My wheels are going.
RT-Did Vaughn Bean's performance against Michael Moorer bring you down?
JF-No. The kid is young. He'll be back.
RT-Does Bean work hard enough in the gym for you?
JF-Pedro, you know I'm a hard working guy. If he wasn't giving his all, I wouldn't be there. He's not the one who is hard to work with. It's Butch. (Bean's promoter/manager Butch Lewis) He's a pusher.
RT-One of the best Joe Frazier stories I ever heard was from Calvin Grove who told me one day you got hot and cleared out the gym. Grove left with his boxing shoes on. Others in towells and trunks.
JF-(laughing) For what? That musta' been the day the fire alarm went off in the gym, you know I've been there 30 years or more. Butch is my partner in the gym. He's always ben there, and we run a strict gym.
RT-What do you think about George Foreman fighting still?
JF-George got the job done. Look, Tyson, Holyfield, Don King, nobody is mentioning old George's name. If he is as bad as you say he is, how come none of these guys want to fight him?
RT-You consider George the linear champion?
JF-Until he loses in the ring, yeah.
RT-What's your take on Oliver McCall?
JF-I got to laugh man. I never seen anything like it. Butch says he had a nervous breakdown or something. Pedro, I don't have the answer for that.
RT-Is there still bad blood between you and Ali?
JF-I would say over the years he has said different things. But now, we are over that hill. All that bad talk and stuff is in the past. As far as I'm concerned I did go on Howard Stern and said some things that I appologized for later. I said something wrong and I hope my apology was accepted. But now it's over. The guy is not feeling well. Right now he needs more love than any bad talk.
RT-Tell the truth Joe, Ali could really piss you off, couldn't he?
JF-(more laughter) Any guy can get you wound up, you know what I mean. And he was the kind of guy that would get you wound up and make you lose your focus.
RT-That ABC Wide World of Sports telecast where you and Ali were wrestling around and he thought it was a joke. You were dead serious.
JF-I was serious, but that was then. You're talking 30 years later.
RT-Who is going to win the Holyfield-Tyson rematch?
JF-I don't know what's going to happen.
RT-You're not picking a winner?
JF-No, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy it. It's best for me to keep my lips quiet. There is a lot of people out there with opinions, so I don't want to be the guy to encourage people to bet on either guy.
RT-Does Tyson remind you of Joe Frazier?
JF-I would say Mike is doing a fine job, when it comes to the power in his punches, but I don't think Mike is quite as active as me as far as the legs-you know what I mean. He moves fast hands, but I had everything moving at the same time, my head, my hands, and my legs.
RT-There are alot of people who think you would of taken Tyson out.
JF-I wouldn't have any problems against him throwing the smoke, but he might have a little water to slow the smoke down-you know what I mean.
RT-You feel that left hook would previal over Tyson?
JF-I don't think anybody had a better left hook than me. Pedro, besides the hook I kept everything moving, and it was hard for you to keep your timing with me bobbing and weaving.
RT-How did you feel after knocking Ali down in the 15th round and then being declared the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world?
JF-I thanked God and my first trainer Yank Durham, and my second trainer (Eddie) Futch, who is still around. I remember all the time I used to sit and have discussions with Yank who used to say. 'God damn it. You just get in his chest and keep pumping, and you'll whip this sucker. He won't be able to handle the heat.' Yank was right. I miss him.
RT-There's been a lot of talk lately about the effects of low blows. If the cup is fitted right would a fighter suffer tremendous pain from a low blow.
JF-It hurts, but don't think it's as bad as guys make it out to be. If the equipment is worn right, there should not be that much of a problem When they invented the cup, they used to test them with a baseball bat and guys were still standing, so I would say there is some acting going on today.
It's About Time
by Randy Gordon
It was March, 1977. Muhammad Ali was the reigning heavyweight champion of the world. The leading challengers to that crown were the 28-year-old former heavyweight king, George Foreman, and the formidable 27-year-old contender from Easton, PA, Larry Holmes.
At the time, Foreman had lost only once--to Muhammad Ali--in 47 fights. Holmes had fought 24 times. He had never lost. With a punishing right hand, a left jab which was like a battering ram and a pre-fight glare which would have frightened Sonny Liston, Holmes was being groomed by promoter Don King as the heir apparent to Ali. Indeed, King had showcased Holmes on the undercard of four of Ali's title defenses.
It was now March 17. King had put together a card in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In his role as the feature undercard fighter, Holmes was in against veteran Horacio Robinson. The televised main event was a dandy, matching Foreman against the slick Philadelphia veteran, 28-year-old Jimmy Young.
Young had earned this shot by outpointing Ron Lyle over 12 rounds four months earlier, his third victory in a row since losing a highly-disputed 15-round decision to Ali in April, 1976.
Only once before had Foreman and Holmes fought on the same card. On that particular afternoon in Toronto--April 26, 1975--Holmes stopped Robert Yarborough in the third round of a prelim few paid any attention to. You see, Foreman was in the main event, televised by ABC. He was to face five journeymen heavyweight, one after the other, each in a scheduled three-rounder. The five men were Charlie Polite, Boone Kirkman, Terry Daniels, Jerry Judge and Alonzo Johnson. In January, 1970, Foreman had KO'd Polite in the fourth round. Ten months later, he flattened Kirkman in the second. The bouts were to be called "Exhibitions." Foreman was calling them "Showcases," hoping to use the show to somehow goad and embarrass Muhammad Ali into giving him a rematch of their "Rumble in the Jungle".
Ali was at ringside and provided commentary with ABC's Howard Cosell. Foreman's plan backfired. In none of the bouts did he convince anyone that he was indeed a different fighter than the one who had been taken apart--piece by piece--by Ali six months earlier. From ringside, Ali taunted him and mocked him. Foreman came unglued on television, yelling and ranting down to Ali at ringside as Cosell told a national audience, "Have pity on poor George Foreman. The scene you're seeing here today is sad. It's pathetic. This is not the same man who carried the American flag around the ring in Mexico City nearly seven years ago and in no way is this the same man who utterly destroyed Joe Frazier a little over two years ago. What has happened to George Foreman?"
Foreman boxed only twice more in exhibitions the remainder of the year, continuing to brood over the loss to Ali. In January 1976, he finally returned to action. In that bout, he stopped Ron Lyle in the fourth round of one of heavyweight history's most exciting bouts. Prior to the ending, the bout had been a punch-filled, knockdown affair, with each man making two trips to the canvas.
Against Lyle, Foreman brought a new attitude, along with a new trainer and advisor--Gil Clancy. Clancy had told Foreman to forget the loss to Ali. He explained to Foreman that fighters win and fighters lose, that he should move on and get back in the ring. Foreman listened. Following the "Fight of the Year" against Lyle, Foreman stopped Frazier in a rematch, this time in round five, Scott LeDoux in round three and John "Dino" Dennis in four. He began 1977 with a fourth-round stoppage of veteran Pedro Agosta. It was now time to meet Jimmy Young.
King had told me it was his plan to match the winners of the Foreman-Young and Holmes-Robinson fights within a few months. He had planned on those winners being Larry Holmes and George Foreman. Holmes upheld his end of King's plan. In his second fight since breaking his right hand in a bout against big Roy Williams 11 months earlier, Holmes unveiled the most powerful jab the heavyweight division had seen since the days of Liston. Robinson fell in round five. Then came Foreman against the light-hitting Young.
In one of the surprise endings of all time, Young danced away with the split-decision. In even more of a surprise, Foreman retired following the fight. Clancy couldn't talk him out of retirement. Nor could King. Or Ali. Or Holmes. Foreman had found religion, he said, in the dressing room after the fight. Clancy called it "heat exhaustion." Foreman said it was "a calling, a revelation." For George Foreman, boxing was a thing of the past.
Popular opinion was that he'd take a few months off, then get back in the ring. Those few months turned into years. Ali had since lost the title, regained the title and retired with the title. Larry Holmes had fulfilled the prophecy for him and become heavyweight champion, and a great one, at that. Foreman? He had become Rev. George Foreman years earlier and was strictly a man of the cloth.
In 1986, Houston millionaire businesswoman Josephine Abercrombie had taken out her promoter's license and was putting on shows in and around the Houston area with her Houston Boxing Association. Her shows were televised nationally and I was surprised and honored when she called and asked if I'd like to be one of her two television commentators. The other, she said, was George Foreman.
Over the next few months, I announced several fight cards with George, who, by now, was Big George--all 330 pounds of him. During one pre-fight chat, we got to talking of "Fights I'd Like To See." He asked me if I could make one fight, what fight would it be? He was surprised to hear my answer, for it wasn't Joe Louis vs. Sonny Liston or Muhammad Ali vs. Rocky Marciano or any other legendary mind-match. The match I told George I wish I could make was Larry Holmes vs. George Foreman.
"You'd really want to see that?" asked George alost incredulously.
"I wouldn't," said Foreman. I was surprised.
"Why not?" I asked him.
"Larry's jab," he stated, matter-of-factly. "Who needs that jab. I don't. It's one thing to watch that jab from a ringside seat or on television. It's another to watch it while you're standing in front of it and it's heading your way!"
"You're just being kind," I told Foreman.
"I'm not being kind," said Foreman with a smile. "I'm being smart. That's not a fight I would want. That's not a fight I would take." Then he joked, "Jimmy Young did me a favor by beating me."
So, the fight which was close to being made in the late 1970's and the fight I so badly wanted to see would never happen, at least according to Foreman.
Soon after he came back, in March 1987, against Steve Zouski, I spoke to Foreman again.
"Maybe now you and Larry can finally get it on," I said. At the time, Holmes was in retirement, having lost for the second straight time on a controversial decision to Michael Spinks. However, I knew Holmes had been pondering a comeback.
"There you go again," laughed Foreman, "trying to match me against Holmes. I told you already, I don't want no part of that man or his jab."
Soon after, Holmes launched his comeback. It lasted one fight and into the fourth round against the unbeaten heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson. Holmes was just past his 38th birthday. Back into retirement--inactivity is a better word-- he went. For three years he stayed inactive. During that time, Foreman fought the incredible amount of 20 fights, winning every one.
Seeing Foreman rack up win after win and rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars, the "Easton Assassin" returned to activity in 1991.
"I'd love to fight the old man," said Holmes, who is 10-months Foreman's junior.
When asked about Holmes' remarks, Foreman just shrugged and said, "I've got a whole schedule mapped out for me." That schedule took him to fights against just about everybody except Larry Holmes, because Holmes was still dangerous and without a title.
"Who needs Larry?" asked George. "You know how I feel about fighting that man."
Today, George Foreman is a commentator for HBO and a pitch man for Meineke Mufflers and his own brand of a burger grill. Holmes is a businessman in Easton, coming off a highly-disputed 12-round decision loss to Brian Nielsen, in Nielsen's backyard of Denmark.
Promoter Roger Levitt has approached both Foreman and Holmes and made them offers they, well, could refuse, but found difficult to say "No" to. And so, sometime this Fall, George Foreman and Larry Holmes will finally square off, some 21 years after a bout between the two of them was first discussed. Even today, as it would have been back then, it's an interesting fight.
It's about time!
Life is a Stage
by Derek CusackThe fallout from Saturday 18th April surprisingly didn't feature conversation about Naseem Hamed, but tongues are wagging about a man who was winning world titles when Naz was a child: Chris Eubank.
While the main event on the 18th was Hamed's effortless decimation of Wilfredo Vasquez, Eubank appeared on the undercard in a vain attempt to win the WBO cruiserweight title. Hamed's win was ruthlessly one – sided, but fight fans on this side of the pond have followed Naz for long enough not to have been surprised by his impressiveness on the night.
Eubank on the other hand spent most of his career posing his way through a forgettable series of title defenses against nondescript opposition. It almost appears as if he now realizes what talent he possesses and has finally decided to use it. His last two fights, against WBO super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe and WBO cruiserweight champion Carl Thompson were the most exciting fights Eubank has featured in since his two - fight series' against Michael Watson and Nigel Benn earlier this decade.
Unfortunately for him, his legs and reflexes are not what they once were. Neither is his psyche. On Saturday Chris fought twelve hard rounds, lost a unanimous points decision and spent the night in hospital looking like he'd been mugged in a dark alleyway. A few years ago he would have knocked Thompson out early and drove home to his wife and children.
Picture this: An American footballer takes possession of the ball and weaves skillfully through a field of players. When he reaches the end zone he stops, turns around and hands the ball to an opposing player. He still has nightmares about the last time he scored a touchdown, and he daren't cross that line again.
Since Eubank stopped Michael Watson and watched the tragedy which followed, he has never been able to finish a hurt opponent. He could have stopped Thompson on at least three occasions Saturday, but chose not to. No matter how much his team are losing by, or how much work he had to do to get to the end zone, he just can't score that touchdown.
Eubank is a notorious eccentric. When he got the all clear to leave hospital after the Thompson fight he ordered a £5, 000 designer suit to be delivered to the hospital in a limousine, put it on and checked out. One sports writer saw him stopping at a service station for petrol some years back. After filling up, Eubank paid for his petrol and bought a bottle of spring water. He then proceeded to pour a drop of the spring water onto his hands, rub them clean and throw the rest of the luxury H2O away.
He owns twin, mock - Tudor mansions in Brighton, England, the grounds of which are decorated by a fleet of vehicles. Apart from his famous 12 - wheel American truck (which earned him a parking ticket when he drove it to a press conference for the Calzaghe fight and parked it on a city street) and his Harley Davidson motorcycle, he has an Aston Martin Volonte and a brace of Range Rovers. He bought the title "Lord Of Brighton" (which means nothing apart from, seriously, the inheritance of 4,000 herring and 3 cows per annum!) for $45, 000, and once tried unsuccessfully to buy Brighton beach (a public property) and make it his own – imagine the uproar it would cause if Mike Tyson tried to buy San Francisco bay and kick the residents of San Francisco off his new land!
I believe that Chris is not so much eccentric and flamboyant as desperate for attention and acceptance. He is an honest man, and while many of his comments on boxing have repelled people, the fact is that they are often true. He says what other fighters won't.
Having survived his exhilarating wars with Benn and Watson, Eubank struck a £10m. deal (then huge money for a British super middleweight) with Sky TV to defend his title ten times in a year. This series is forgettable apart from his last defense against Steve Collins, which he lost in Cork, Ireland. This fight became the reason why Steve Collins left promoter Barry Hearn and why Hearn sued Collins, unsuccessfully, for breach of contract.
Hearn promoted both Collins and Eubank, and it was alleged during the court case that he went to great lengths, again unsuccessfully, to ensure that his big money contract man won the fight. It was alleged that the referee was told who Hearn wanted to win the fight and had his hotel room vandalized, along with other hospitable acts. He hasn't refereed a WBO fight since. But don't forget that this is the same Barry Hearn who handles Jose Luis Lopez, the man who earned a draw against Ike Quartey 48 hours after the initial decision was announced.
My favorite story surrounding the fight was recounted by Tony Quinn. Quinn, a Dubliner, had been hired by Collins to help him prepare mentally for the daunting task of challenging the then unbeaten Eubank. Quinn believed Collins had confidence problems, and he focused on making Steve believe he could win. Just before the weigh – in, he told Collins to reply to any questions by shouting "I'm gonna win" at the top of his voice.
It was no secret that Collins had had problems making the weight, and come weigh – in time he was still 1lb over. Eubank, upon spotting Collins, said, "you're leaving it very late to get your weight down Collins." With that, Collins stormed over to Eubank and roared "I'm gonna win!" As Quinn said, if you ever saw a black man turning white it was Eubank that day. Quinn was within earshot when Eubank turned to his trainer (Ronnie Davies) and said, "I've been boxing for years and I've never seen anybody up for a fight that much." Davies replied by saying Collins looked like a man hypnotized. Next, a British sports broadcaster approached Quinn for an interview, and Quinn happily gave an interview on how he had hypnotized Collins for this fight (he hadn't) and how Collins could not lose. Eubank and Davies looked on, open – mouthed.
These mind – games may or may not have affected Eubank's performance, but either way he did suffer his first pro defeat. He was outpointed again in a rematch with Collins, and announced his retirement. A year later he made a comeback as a light heavyweight based in, wait for it, Egypt. And he promoted his own fights in the East, even being spotted putting up posters for one of his fights! After two bouts there however he realized it was not the way to go and returned to his old base in England. The title shot against Calzaghe arose when Collins himself retired and vacated Chris' old belt, but Joe was just too young, fast and powerful for the gallant old pro.
Chris' last two fights have been supporting contests to Naseem Hamed main events. There has been a considerable amount of needle between Hamed and his fellow showman. It has been alleged that Eubank copied Hamed's flamboyant tricks after seeing the young protégé training in his Sheffield gym, although one would assume the opposite given the age difference between the two. Although they once got on well, Naz is now in a position to steal Chris' treasured limelight and this has driven a wedge between the two.
Naz was seen by many taunting Eubank from ringside during his challenge for Calzaghe's title, and Eubank even paused at one stage in the fight to turn and shout, "shut up Naseem!" The rivalry came to a head at Christmas when Eubank and Naz had their much – publicized airport bust – up. Eubank, when recounting the incident, was asked if he hit Hamed. He quite humorously replied, "I raised my hand to slap him. I wouldn't hit him – he's what? Five foot two?" What was that Prodigy song called again?
Although Naz watched Eubank losing twice on cards which saw the Prince winning, there is no doubt that Eubank stole the show on both occasions. His sheer courage and heart gained him more admirers in defeat than he ever earned while he was winning. It is said that Steve Collins became the most popular Irishman in Britain the night he dethroned Eubank. Most fight fans only sat through Eubank title fights in the hope that he would lose. Now that he is losing, cheer him on.
It is his craving to stay in the limelight for as long as possible which may be the undoing of Eubank. His heart, rock solid chin and slowing legs are a recipe for brain damage, and he absorbed more punishment in his last two fights than ever before in his career. His recent popularity is doubtless feeding the Eubank ego however, and this giant fix of his favorite drug is undoubtedly what draws him back time and time again. That and maybe a large tax bill...
I would like to see Chris retire with his faculties intact and pave a new path in life. Having said that however, we writers have no right to tell a fighter what to do or how to do it. Whether Eubank retires or carries on is his decision, he is well aware of the risks and is being paid respectably for practicing his trade. And maybe he feels the limelight is worth the risk.
I wonder if he was watching the televised boxing from York Hall in London last Saturday (May 2). Topping the bill was super bantamweight Spencer Oliver, who was expected to make easy work of his fourth European title defence, but who ended the night tragically on a life support machine. His hungry opponent, Serge Devakov, boxed superbly and rocked Oliver several times before stopping him in the tenth. Though Oliver had been off the floor as early as the first round, the right hook which he caught in the tenth carried a definite air of finality.
Oliver rose from the canvas only to collapse again and was stretchered from the ring unconscious having received a good 20 minutes of medical attention. Though the sport is undoubtedly becoming safer, it becomes harder to justify with each new tragedy. Oliver has been featured on these pages as "one to watch" in the super bantamweight division, was named "Young British Boxer of the Year" by the Boxing Writer's Club and I had him marked as a certain future world champion. He won the European title after just ten fights, and has since dismissed top shelf opposition such as Vincenzo Belcastro and Jose Luis Bueno. Oliver's exciting style earned him many followers, but his career has been brought to a sickening end.
Michael Watson was rushed to hospital after his fateful loss to Chris Eubank - the wrong hospital. He had to be carried back into the ambulance and driven to a hospital that had nuero - surgical facilities. Oliver was turned away from Charing Cross Hospital on Saturday as no surgeons were free to operate on him, and he had to be taken to the National Neurological Hospital in Bloomsbury. The longer the period between the fighter losing consciousness and being operated upon, the greater the potential for lasting brain damage. So when will ringside medics realise what a good idea it is to get on the phone and arrange for adequate staff and facilities to be available in the right hospital before sending a fighter off in an ambulance?
I was impressed at the resources available at the York Hall on Saturday - even an anaestethist was present at ringside. But when disaster strikes, everything needs to be put quickly into place for the sake of boxers and boxing. A blood clot was removed from 22 - year - old Oliver's brain and thankfully he has come off his ventilator and has been speaking to family members from his hospital bed. For the sake of Spencer, his girlfriend and their two - year - old son, let's hope he makes a full recovery.
Another loss to the sport is P.J. Gallagher. The 25 - year - old was forced to take a break from the ring and relinquish his British title fourteen months ago thanks to a condition which depleted his testosterone levels. He dominated the super featherweight division at domestic level and had earned no. 1 status in Europe by the time his condition - possibly a result of over - training - took hold.
P.J. has failed to recover fully and announced his retirement from boxing on May 1st. He will be remembered as one of the most exciting British fighters of the 90's, and he never failed to provide his loyal fans with value for money. We wish him a successful future, in which he plans to become a boxing trainer.
The All-Time Welterweight Tournament (including Junior Welterweights)
by Thomas GerbasiFIRST ROUND
JOSE NAPOLES KO3 Saesnak Muangsurin
SUGAR RAY ROBINSON KO7 Bruno Arcari
AARON PRYOR TKO12cuts Carlos Palomino
HENRY ARMSTRONG TKO3 Luis Rodriguez
EMILE GRIFFITH W15(U) Roberto Duran
THOMAS HEARNS TKO5(swelling) Davey Green
SUGAR RAY LEONARD TKO4 Clyde Gray
TOMMY RYAN KO8 Billy Graham
FELIX TRINIDAD W15(U) Billy Gibbons
KID GAVILAN W15(U) Wilfred Benitez
PIPINO CUEVAS TKO4 Donald Curry
CARMEN BASILIO W15(U) Barney Ross
ANTONIO CERVANTES W15(U) Art Aragon
FRANKIE RANDALL TKO6cuts Ike Quartey
PERNELL WHITAKER W15(U) John Stracey
JIMMY McLARNIN W15(U) Julio Caesar Chavez
JOSE NAPOLES W15(U) Emile Griffith
SUGAR RAY ROBINSON TKO5 Thomas Hearns
KID GAVILAN W15(U) Aaron Pryor
HENRY ARMSTRONG TKO2 Carmen Basilio
SUGAR RAY LEONARD W15(U) Frankie Randall
JIMMY McLARNIN WDisq9 Tommy Ryan
PERNELL WHITAKER TKO7cuts Felix Trinidad
ANTONIO CERVANTES W15(U) Pipino Cuevas
JOSE NAPOLES VS. KID GAVILAN
Napoles showed that he meant business early, connecting with some heavy shots early. The Kid hung around though, and landed his patented bolo punch on a number of occasions in the middle rounds. By the tenth, Gavilan was tiring, and Jose started piling on the points. Gavilan looked the worse for wear after the fight, with cuts over his eye and in his mouth. The decision: 145-143, 146-143, 145-140. NAPOLES W15(U) Gavilan
SUGAR RAY ROBINSON VS. JIMMY McLARNIN
Mc Larnin looked to keep his string of upsets going against Sugar Ray. Jimmy started fast, and was eager to mix it up. Robinson looked lazy, and didn’t mount much of an offensive until late in the third. By the seventh, both were trading punches on the inside, with neither fighter taking a backward step. The 10th through 12th rounds were slow, but a stinging left hook opened a large gash over Ray’s right eye in the 13th. Seeing his own blood, Sugar Ray opened up on McLarnin, winning the last two rounds handily. The decision: 145-144 McLarnin, 145-144, 146-142 Robinson. ROBINSON W15(S) McLarnin
HENRY ARMSTRONG VS. PERNELL WHITAKER
This was one of the most highly anticipated bouts of the tourney. As usual, Armstrong windmilled his way to Whitaker in the first, and quickly had him in trouble. Whitaker weathered the storm, but was obviously uncomfortable with being forced to fight. In the third, Whitaker landed a solid hook right on the button, but Hammerin Hank kept wading in, in the process landing a four punch combination that forced Pernell to hold on. Armstrong continued to close the distance, and Whitaker was slowing down. In the seventh, with Sweet Pea’s eyes rapidly closing, Armstrong scored a knockdown. Whitaker took punishment for another round and a half, before trainer Lou Duva stopped the fight. ARMSTRONG TKO8swelling Whitaker
SUGAR RAY LEONARD VS. ANTONIO CERVANTES
"Kid Pambele" shocked all observers by being the only Junior Welter to make it to the Quarterfinals. He looked to make the most of his chance against Ray Leonard. Leonard was hurt in the first two rounds, and the fight looked like an upset in the making. But a lightning fast left hook in the third round changed Cervantes’ plans. Antonio was dropped twice, and the bell saved him from certain defeat. Cervantes gamely tried to fight back, but his legs were just not there. Sugar Ray continued to stalk, and finally, an eight punch combo ended the fight at 2:24 of the seventh. LEONARD KO7 Cervantes
JOSE NAPOLES VS. SUGAR RAY LEONARD
Sugar vs. Butter. Ray looked to continue his power punching ways in round one, dropping Napoles for a six count with a quick overhand right. Napoles recovered quickly though, and the two boxers engaged in a brawl for the next four rounds, with each man landing his share of haymakers. Leonard got Napoles in trouble again in the sixth, and Jose returned the favor in the seventh. By now Leonard’s right eye was starting to close, courtesy of "Mantequilla"’s left hand. Sugar led the fight halfway through, but then Napoles made a run. In the ninth, Leonard hit the canvas and looked as surprised as the capacity crowd. Napoles’ body punches began to wear Ray down, and Sugar’s eyes continued to look bad. Leonard’s vision was obviously affected, as he began to miss more and more punches. Leonard once again heard trainer Angelo Dundee say "You’re blowing it kid", before round thirteen, and Sugar Ray tried to mount one last offensive. It was not to be. Napoles had radar on his gloves, and the fight was stopped by ringside doctor Flip Homansky between rounds. NAPOLES TKO13swelling Leonard.
SUGAR RAY ROBINSON VS. HENRY ARMSTRONG
It would be hard to top the excitement of the Napoles-Leonard fight, but with Henry Armstrong, you’re guaranteed action. As Hank rushed in, Robinson drilled him with an overhand right. Sugar expected him to fall, but he instead popped Ray with a couple of hard combinations, hurting him. Sugar Ray wisely used his jab to keep Armstrong away, but he still wound up getting hit with some haymakers. At the end of the third, Ray landed a brutal three punch combo which made Armstrong take his first backward step. But the resilient Armstrong kept smokin’, hurting Ray with a combo of his own at the end of the fifth. The pattern continued, but then a counterpunch by Armstrong dropped Ray for an eight count in round eight. Robinson looked dazed and tired in the ninth, but he stood toe to toe with Hank, and scored some big shots. Sugar Ray met Armstrong in the middle of the ring to start round ten, and landed his first two shots, depositing Henry on the seat of his pants. Armstrong staggered up at the count of nine, but he might as well have stayed down. Ray, a brilliant finisher, forced the intervention of referee Ruby Goldstein at the 2:26 mark. The scores at the time of the stoppage: 87-83, 88-83,88-84 all for Armstrong. ROBINSON TKO10 Armstrong
FINAL - UNDISPUTED ALL-TIME WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
JOSE NAPOLES VS. SUGAR RAY ROBINSON
As in the other fights, there was little feeling out process between these two boxing legends. Napoles landed a short uppercut, hurting Robinson, and Ray answered with a hard combo of his own. Napoles opted to box in the second, but Ray had other ideas, finding the range with the left hook, and using it to his advantage. Sugar Ray ‘s shots took the steam out of Napoles’ attack, and by the third, Jose was in bad shape, unable to hold Robinson off . A quick barrage of punches sent Napoles down for a ten count at the 1:51 mark of the third. Your winner and ALL-TIME WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION...SUGAR RAY ROBINSON!!!
An El Niño Year In Boxing
by Chris BushnellThe last year has been a bad one for boxing. Not just a regular, run of the mill bad year. A really bad year. An El Niño year, if you will.
One of boxing's many cliches reads "As goes the heavyweight division, so goes the sport." And like all cliches, beyond the catch-phrase lies the cold hard truth. Boxing's current winter began in the heavyweight division one year ago when Hurricane Tyson took a bite out of the coastline of Evander Holyfield's ear. Since that disgrace the sport has limped into 1997 with a host of challenge-evading champions, questionable decisions, and more than the usual political bickering. Big megafights have been replaced by ludicrous matchups involving undeserving challengers and champions both. As usual, hovering somewhere near the eye of this unrelenting storm is the superfantabulous grandmaster of pompositiousness, Don King.
Those of us seeking a forecast for clearer skies had better not put away our mittens yet. The Ice Storm of bad boxing cards is heading to your horizon on June 6. On that night, for $39.95 you can watch four boxing matchups that one by one exemplify boxing's biggest problems: worthless mandatory challengers, aging fighters endangering their health for one more payday, and champions uninterested in testing themselves or fighting the best available opposition.
At the top of the heap is the main-event. Boxing's one ray of sunlight, the honorable warrior Evander Holyfield, is lacing up the gloves and heading into the one-time mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden. His challenger is 6'7" Henry Akinwande. Yes, that's right, Henry Akinwande. The same man who disgraced himself and his sport by being disqualified last year for hugging Lennox Lewis like a long lost relative at a family reunion.
For reasons too convoluted to rehash in this space, the WBA named Akinwande the #1 contender after a bout with blown up cruiserweight Orlin Norris. By mandating that Holyfield face Akinwande or be stripped of his belt, the WBA thrust upon the boxing public a bout which no one really wants to see. Not even Holyfield, who has repeatedly told reporters that if he had his choice, he wouldn't be fighting Akinwande at all.
Indeed Holyfield should have little trouble with his taller opponent. Although Akinwande holds 5" inch height and 9" reach advantages, he's ill suited for the type of attack Holyfield brings into the ring. Akinwande, a former WBO heavyweight champion who's 33-1-1 record can safely be described as "padded", does sport a sharp jab. However he has shown only occasional power in his career and will have a hard time slowing down a man who's taken the best from Tyson, Foreman, and Bowe.
Akinwande's biggest asset has been the guidance he's received from veteran trainer Don Turner, who unlike Eddie Futch, chose not to sit out the heavyweight fight between two of his charges. Turner will be in Holyfield's corner June 6. Kronk-founder Emanuel Steward is Henry's hired gun for the night. Those that think Steward will be any more effective in preventing Akinwande from hugging should think again. After being disqualified against Lewis for excessive holding, Henry wasted no time in hugging Orlin Norris so much that he again was penalized, albeit only a point. Akinwande may be determined to reestablish the reputation he has tarnished, but when Holyfield's body attack begins to land on Henry's particularly narrow torso, look for the holding and hugging to resurface.
Holyfield may have lucked out with Akinwande as an opponent. He'll pocket a quick $10 million for his efforts while simultaneously fighting a perfect tuneup for the towering Lennox Lewis. Only problem is that we have to watch it.
Also on the Don King card is newly recrowned WBA middleweight champion William Joppy. Rather than unify against one of the other 160 pound champions King has under contract, his opponent is non other than the 47 year old Manos de Piedras, Roberto Duran. Another matchup that makes boxing fans shake their heads in disbelief.
Roberto Duran, more than 15 years removed from his prime, is coming back into the ring for the same reason that most every aged champion continues to battle: money. The millions Duran made in the 1980's have been squandered and the greatest lightweight of all time reportedly owes millions more to the most powerful alphabet organization around: the I.R.S. The $250,000 he'll make this night will be seized by the feds before he can even see it.
Joppy has promised to show no mercy on Duran, and well he shouldn't. They will be fighting in the exact same ring in which Duran surprised pundits by defeating the heavily favored junior middleweight champion Davey Moore. But that fight was 15 years ago. Just making weight will be no small task for Duran, whose between-fight weight gains are legendary. After struggling to make 168 in his last fight, one can only wonder what type of physical condition Duran will be in at 160. William Joppy can box or bang and he may get an opportunity to do both if Duran cannot summon the strength to keep Joppy off of him.
Robert Duran was added to the pay-per-view card to sell tickets. It's estimated that an additional 2,000-6,000 seats in Madison Square Garden may be sold to Latin fans of Duran's who will come just to see the once great superstar. It's unfortunate that they'll have to see him take a beating...and not get paid.
Two fighters who are getting paid are Johnny Tapia and Christy Martin. No, they're not fighting each other (although it might be a good pairing). They are both fighting relative unknowns in bouts that can at best be called "tune-ups". Johnny Tapia's two world titles will not be on the line when he takes on his former (and possibly future) sparring partner Carlos Hernandez. The 10 round fight is another in the big money set-ups Don King has provided for Tapia. After making $200,000 against his toughest opponent in Danny Romero, King has paid Tapia more than that in each of three subsequent bouts against less than world class competition. With big matchups against Pensalosa, Too Sharp Johnson and Romero on the horizon, Tapia and King seem content to coast.
Also coasting is Christy Martin. As the novelty of women's boxing wears off, Christy Martin remains a novelty nonetheless. Despite being offered between $500,000 and $1,000,000 to fight Lucia Rijker, Martin refuses to acknowledge the one challenger with any name recognition whatsoever. Preferring to fight the unknowns King keeps coming up with (this time it's Belgium's Daniella Somers) instead of Rijker, Martin may be holding back the sport she brought to the forefront. The Showtime announcing team never wastes an opportunity to remind us that the WBC issued belt she wears is only considered an "honorary" title. The sanctioning bodies that do recognize female champions, including the enigmatic duo of the WIBF and the IWBF, have been unable to secure fights between their champions and Martin. And so Martin continues to appear on King's pay per views as a sideshow attraction rather than a champion who takes on the biggest fights and the best opponents. But who can blame her? All of her male counterparts on this card seem to be in the same sinking ship.
And so it goes in boxing's El Niño year. The biggest and most expensive pay-per-view boxing event of the year is full of matchups that not only fail the boxing fan, but the sport itself. Boxing limps forward. The week after Don King's New York debacle, boxing's other marquee name, Oscar DelaHoya, faces a mandatory challenger so lightly regarded that Vegas sports books have labelled the fight an exhibition. At press time, the doubleheader of Hamed/McKinney and Gatti/Kelley is being scrapped due to injury, Larry Holmes and George Foreman are signed to fight for the senior title, and Mike Tyson is headed back into the ring.
Button your coats. It's going to be a long winter.
Cobb on Campus
by Dave IameleTex entered the small college auditorium and after film clips of: Tex vs. Shavers, Dokes, and Holmes - an interview with Howard Cosell prior to the Holmes bout and some snippets of some of Tex’s more familiar TV and movie work, he tore into the crowd of college kids, fight fans, movie buffs, and assorted interested onlookers with the same full tilt, 100%, go for broke attitude that he employed against all of his 50 + ring opponents and when he was done, when he had said his piece and answered all questions . . . they gave him a standing ovation. If Tex Cobb had been half as good at boxing as he is at entertaining a crowd he would have been heavyweight champ, easy.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s if you had a heavyweight fighter who needed a tomato can to punch around for a round or two and then fold faster than a lawn chair, Tex Cobb’s name would definitely not come up in the conversation. He fought some of the best of his generation - Ernie Shavers, Ken Norton, the Spinks brothers, Larry Holmes, etc. He won some, he lost some, sometimes he was robbed and through it all he never took a backward step in the ring and no matter how battered or bloody he got (and he got plenty of both) you always got the impression that there was no where else he’d rather be then in the ring swinging and sweating, hitting and being hit. A living Rockem’ Sockem’ robot.
So Tex fought, won, lost and pretty much did whatever he felt like. Like most boxers, he never got close to all the money he should have and when it all seemed to be over in the ring, Tex went to Hollywood and was in some films (Raising Arizona, Ace Ventura - Pet Detective, Uncommon Valor, The Golden Child) some good, some not so good, but hey, it was money in the pocket. Of course, there was the inevitable comeback . . . Ten victories in a row and talk of a match up with Tommy Morrison were all obliterated when the Tex Express was derailed by a dubious piece of reporting in Sports Illustrated at the end of 1993 that inferred that Tex and a slick fight promoter, Rick “Elvis” Parker (who was later murdered by another boxer) paid a overweight journey man named Sonney Barch to go down and stay down. A hard pill to swallow having seen Tex take on the top tier of heavyweights, and a situation he adamantly denies to this day. A lawsuit was filed and Tex expects the suit to finally come to trial some time this year. After the suit was filed the big bouts dried up, commercials were pulled off the air and movie parts were mysteriously left on the editing room floor.
It would be an understatement to say Tex has been through a lot. How has he withstood life’s hardships? Surprisingly well. He has a good woman in his life now (Janet) and friends that care about him, a new movie coming out, and if SI would just admit that they made a boo-boo, you could bet your lunch money you’d see Tex back in the ring - never mind his age or who the opponent is - Let’s party bro!
What follows is Tex, in his own wonderful words, telling how he got into boxing, the movies, and other interesting tales. A reporter’s job was never easier than interviewing this Goliath with a heart of gold.
DI: “How did you get into boxing in the first place?”
TC: “That’s an interesting story. I was into Karate and the martial arts and in the early to mid 70’s, what they’d do is have this karate vs. boxing stuff going on and the karate guys would just get murdered. . . I mean, one round knock out, coma, death, everything. They were just getting beat to death . . it was horrible. They set me up with a guy who was a golden gloves champion and a kick boxer, ninja, deadly guy too . . . so they thought he was the next big time life taker and we got together and things didn’t turn out quite like they thought, as a matter of fact, he laid down on the floor real still for a while. “They said why don’t you be a boxer? Learn to keep your feet on the ground and punch people in the mouth and you can make millions of dollars and we’ll send you to Philadelphia and you can train on Joe Frasier’s gym and everything . . .” I’d never been to Philadelphia and it sounded like a good idea so I went with it.”
DI: “Looking at the clip from the Holmes bout, I noticed Eddie Futch was working Larry’s corner, do you feel your career could’ve benefited from having someone like that in your corner? Good trainer, good management, people who cared about you and were real knowledgeable about boxing?”
TC: “Well you know, there’s been that discussion and it’s been said that I was the most mismanaged fighter in the history of the sport. I guess that’s partly because where as most fighters get a hundred amateur fights before they even think about turning pro, I had the privilege of fighting . . . . in my first 50 rounds of fighting, I’d already been in with Shavers, Norton, and Dokes. So I benefited greatly from what they call fearless management. My managers had guts.”
DI: “Did Martial Arts have a large impact on your personal and spiritual development.”
TC: “That’s a very interesting question. Certainly it’s had a large impact on my personal development. As far as my spiritual development, I was very influenced by Eastern philosophies & religion. After I dropped out of college, I started traveling around the country. I was 19 years old and I decided to find me something that worked, like being cool. Being cool worked, it got you out of trouble and you got a lot of good things happening for you but I never had more than maybe a C- in cool. Being smart worked for you. It got you out of a lot of trouble and got you a lot of good things and although I was actually pretty quick, I didn’t count it for much ‘cause it came real easy to me. I could memorize large sections of data and regurgitate it back to you but it didn’t bring me any happiness. But believe me, being smart isn’t nearly as good as being wise. Then there was having money, it got you out of a lot of trouble and got you a lot of good things and I never had two nickels.. . but there was being bad . . . and being bad applied across the board. Because you could take a rich, cool, smart guy and you could have him doing anything you could possibly conceive of because you were bad. So I thought, hey I found me the secret of the temple, I’ll go out and get me a Pass Master in bad, and I did. And there ain’t nobody bad believe me, I looked. I fought for world titles in boxing, karate, I fought bar wars, street corners, most everything living and half the stuff dead and darling it don’t matter there ain’t nobody bad, I know, I looked . . . just God.”
DI: “I imagine there were times in your career when you were approached to be a ‘great white hope’ like Gerry Cooney and to a lesser extent Tommy Morrison. How did you respond to that?”
TC: “I was approached on a lot of occasions. A lot of folks out there want a white boy to win, because it means more money. A lot of people are involved in some form of racial, stereotypical, homegrown brand of ignorance that I don’t ascribe to or want to be a part of. I was also approached about laying down, also about what I could or couldn’t do. With my own subtle charm I let then understand that they could go make love to themselves. You can’t intimidate me or buy me with money. I’m not afraid of being broke . . don’t I know.
DI: “What was going through your mind during the stare down before the fight with Holmes? You had kind of a smirk on your face. What were you thinking?”
TC: “I got ‘em now. Of course, that’s what was going through my mind in the fifteenth round . . . he can’t take the pace (laughs). I got ‘em now, it’s a matter of time. That’s what you do, you commit, you go, you keep your hands up, you keep jabbing, you don’t quit. You die but you don’t quit, this way, you only fail once, then it don’t matter, hell, you’re dead.” (laughs)
DI: “Is there anything new with your lawsuit against Sports Illustrated and is that what’s preventing you from boxing now?”
TC: “That is certainly the reason why I’m not boxing now, because of that article. As a matter of fact, I had 10 straight wins in a row and I was scheduled to fight Tommy Morrison for a world title in August of ‘93 when the article came out. The libel suit should finally come to trial this year, I’m extremely excited about that.”
DI: “Do you still follow boxing on television? Who do you like to watch?”
TC: “I still follow the sport. I like to watch whoever’s on. I don’t know, Holyfield, some of the lightweight guys, Roy Jones. I’ll watch any fight I can catch on.”
DI: “How did you become involved in the movie business?”
TC: “Before fights, they have press conferences and during these, because I had absolutely no respect for spoken communication or words in general at that point in my life and I was trying to communicate a great philosophical truth that nobody ever quite got but me. I would stand up during the press conferences and I would call everybody everything but white people. I mean I would call them every obscene, profane, politically incorrect term that you could call anybody and they thought, hell, this boy’s funny. Look at ‘em - he’s funny. And so they laughed and thought that was real humorous, so they had me on Johnny Carson, because he thought I was funny too. From there it just kind of catapulted into the fact that if I could act that big a fool in front of a tv camera, I probably won’t be too shy in front of a movie camera. That’s how it all started.”
DI: “Why were you black balled from Hollywood?”
TC: “It’s all tied into the suit with Sports Illustrated. Time Warner they own 70% of the communication business. Although I might be cast in a part like in “Liar, liar” suddenly, scenes are cut, excuses are made, they decide to suddenly ‘go another way’ in Hollywood speak.”
DI: “Why won’t Sports Illustrated admit that they just made a mistake?”
TC: “Good question!”
DI: “Finally - It’s July, you get a call - Tyson’s been reinstated and they want you for the first comeback fight. Do you do it?”
TC: “Hell, yes. God, you’re making my nipples hard, don’t tease me like this (laughs).”
After the show was over, people lined up for photos and autographs or just to tell Tex how much they enjoyed his visit. In the 1980’s, Tex was a heavyweight title contender, in the 90’s he’s a champion good guy. I wish him all the luck in the world and hope he continues to spread his contagious laughter and his message of “concentrate through distraction” runs through my mind like a mantra. Tex Cobb is truly more than meets the eye.
TG's Golden Gloves Diary
by Thomas GerbasiFirst they question your sanity ("are you crazy?"). Then your homelife ("Why are you doing this? You have a family."). And finally, your financial status ("I hope you have enough life insurance."). What would provoke such reactions from your family and friends? A jungle safari? A tour of duty in Bosnia? Nah, that would be too simple. What prompted such reactions was my decision to enter the 1997 New York Golden Gloves.
Pretty simple when you think about it, except when you take into account the fact that I was a married, 28 year old father, who had never been in a boxing ring before, and whose mother had never even hit him. Yikes.
But even considering that, it doesn't mean to say that I didn't have experience. See, I won the world heavyweight title when I was 16 (in my bedroom). And not only was I the youngest champ ever, but I shattered Joe Louis' record of 25 consecutive defenses, and I won every one of my fights by knockout. So I was no novice. But now, 12 years later, it was time to make my journey out of the bedroom and onto the World (or at least New York) stage. And what better place to pick than the 75th anniversary of the Gloves, the oldest and most prestigious amateur boing tournament in the world. The journey begins...
FIRST, YOU NEED A GYM...
Of course, an endeavor like this is going to cost some money, and I really didn't fancy putting out big bucks for gym dues. In steps my father, who was finally going to realize his dream of a heavyweight champ in the family. Luckily, he knew Tony Canarozzi, the owner of Wall Street Boxing. He told Tony about what I wanted to do, and within a couple of days I was in the gym (FREE) for my first meeting with the man who was going to mold my raw talent into championship material. And there, on my first day, I took the hardest shot I would ever take in my life...I would have to change my diet. As Tony ran off the foods that I couldn't eat, I sunk deeper and deeper into my chair. I would have cried, but fighters don't cry. I soon realized that I could basically eat a dry baked potato and lettuce. Yum. He told me to come back to the gym after the weekend, but to start running immediately. His parting words? "I'll know if you haven't been running."
I never understood people who just run. To me, running should be reserved for A) when someone is chasing you, B) if you have to use the bathroom badly, or C) when grabbing something from the fridge between rounds. Some people like to run. I don't. The reason I did it is because I pictured someone pounding on my head in the ring. Nothing like motivation. I ran two miles a day (okay, not every day), and strangely, the pounds started flying off. I had soon lost ten pounds, and I was down to a healthy 220. Twenty more pounds, and I'd be down to heavyweight.
BACK TO THE GYM
Wall Street Boxing was a nice enough place to train. Being that it was in the Wall Street area, there was a preponderance of yuppies in the gym, but they were a cool crowd. There was also a complete lack of attitude, which was refreshing. On my first day in the gym I was taught the basics: jabs, hooks, 1-2's, etc. After winning all those bedroom titles I had this stuff downpat, so for now I was just getting refined, getting my stamina up, and suffering through the pain of keeping my hands up for three minutes. Believe me, on TV it looks easy, but in reality, keeping your hands up is a killer on your shoulders until you develop the right muscles there. This was my first major obstacle.
THE FIRST SPARRING SESSION
After a few weeks of the basics, Tony asked me to come in early for my next workout. Why? "I got someone coming in. You'll move with him a bit." Move with him? To the uninformed (like me), "moving" with someone is sparring. Arrrgghh. This was it. My first time in the ring. Now this was the scary time. See, no one knows how they'll react to getting hit until it happens. And it's not like a streetfight. In a streetfight, the action is quick and unpredictable. In boxing, you know you're getting hit. You can be a cross between Willie Pep and Pernell Whitaker, and you're still gonna take shots. So these thoughts flooded my head as I waited for the next day to come. How embarassing would it be to get hit with one shot and fall down? I could write pages on the questions that came into my head over those next 24 hours. But soon enough, the time had come. Tony introduced me to my opponent, a thin, lanky guy, and we shook hands. Strange, the rites of these modern day gladiators. "Hey, buddy, how ya doin? In two minutes I'm going to try and take your head off your shoulders." The bell rang. We circled each other, and soon I threw the first shot, as it was obvious my opponent wasn't going to. After landing a couple of jabs, I ate my first punch, an overhand right flush on the nose. I felt the chill down my neck, but I had survived. Suddenly, all my anxieties lifted. It was a good three rounds, and I was finally confident that this was going to be a successful journey. For the record, if you're wondering what it feels like to get hit in the ring, it's like this: there's no pain, it's just like a dull thump. Like getting hit in the head with a basketball. Repeatedly. Have a nice day.
BACK TO THE GLOVES
Around this time, the Daily News started printing the Gloves applications. I filled mine out, and this time it actually made it to the mailbox, as opposed to it sitting in my hand. I had checked off the heavyweight box on the application, but my weight loss had stalled at 215, and it was obvious that I wasn't going to get under 200 without considerable suffering and energy loss. So, despite being told by Tony that I wasn't going to be allowed to fight at super-heavyweight ("They're too big and they hit too hard."), there I was, a SUPER - heavyweight..
Once your application is processed, you get called to take a physical. The physicals were held on a rainy Sunday morning in Queens. My father gave me a ride there, and I chuckled as I saw parents giving their 16,17,18 year old kids rides to the hall. Here was my father, at 60, playing the role of "soccer mom" to his 28 year old son.
Inside the hall, the scene could best be described as a meat market. Young men being led around from one station to the next: questionairres, eye exams, physicals, weigh ins, blood tests, urine tests, certifications, etc. It all became a blur. One funny story: In front of me on the weigh in line was a thirty something accountant-ish looking guy. He stepped on the scale. "How old are you?" asked the gruff man monitoring the scale. "33" the man sheepishly responded. "33?!? Man, you too old. Them young boys are gonna kick your ass." The man dejectedly stepped off the scale. Luckily, I received no comments from the weigh-in man. So now it was done. I passed my physical. I got my USA Boxing passbook. I was in the Golden Gloves.
MORE SPARRING AND WHITE COLLAR BOXING
My sparring continued and I was a bit more at ease in the ring, though the butterflies always circled my stomach when I was called in. In one session I almost scored my first knockdown when I faked a jab and shot an overhand right to my opponent's jaw. He staggered back into the ropes while I admired my handiwork. There's dynamite in these fists, I thought. One Saturday morning, Tony had me work with this one guy, who looked like he was in his early 50's. "I'll take it easy on the old guy" I figured. Three rounds later, it seemed like I was looking out through the earhole on my headgear. Your most important lesson: never underestimate your opponent.
It was around this time that Tony told me that he signed me up for a "White Collar Boxing" night at Brooklyn's world famous Gleason's Gym. Unfortunately, I was given no opportunity to protest this decision. Now here's the story on these "White Collar" cards. Anyone can get in for a $20 fee, and you get matched up according to weight. The matches are live, meaning that you're not holding back as in sparring, but the referees are quick to make sure that no one gets maimed.
I arrived early with my father to Gleason's and waited for Tony. Tony came, went to talk to someone, and came back with a disgusted look on his face. "You may not get to fight tonight" he said. "There's a rumor that USA Boxing will disqualify anyone from the Gloves who fights here tonight. Plus there are no heavyweights here either." "Aw, man" I tried to look disappointed, but getting hit in the head was not my idea of a fun way to spend a Friday night. Around a half hour passed, and Tony returned. "Get warmed up, we found someone for you to fight." Great. I saw the guy, and he didn't look like anything special. See, he didn't look like a fighter. He looked like a "white collar" boxer. I could take him. I got dressed, and made sure he saw me as I warmed up. "Act like you've been there before" I thought. I was ready. Around this time, I looked in the ring. In these events, you bring your own headgear. There was a guy in there with that shiny, flimsy, martial arts headgear. Boom. Within a minute, he had a busted nose and the fight was over. My confidence dipped just a bit after that. Soon, I was summoned into the ring, my first real fight. The announcer looked at me and I was going to be introduced to the world for the first time. "Wearing blue trunks...Jorge Rodriguez!!!" Jorge Rodriguez??? The predominantly Latino crowd roared their approval for me, the great Puerto Rican hope. Now I knew that USA Boxing couldn't give me a hard time. Suddenly I didn't exist, as they called me by the wrong name. The bell rang, and I came out in my familiar stalking mode. Suddenly, I thought I was fighting Larry Holmes, as I couldn't get out of the way of this guy's jab. I continued to get hit, and around 30 seconds into the round, my red light came on; I was out of gas. I made it through the round, and then I realized what it took to be a fighter. It took guts, it took going on when you had nothing left to give. And I knew I was not going to give in. In the second, I finally cornered my opponent and pounded him as he covered up. In the third, I got my second wind and was starting to land even more frequently. If I was scoring, he probably would have gotten the decision, but I wasn't totally disappointed with my performance. I even got a trophy. It was just like Little League, everyone plays and gets a prize, even the guy who got the broken nose. As I left the ring, the referee came to me and said "If you lose a little more weight, you'll be a real good fighter" He should have just said "If you weren't so damned slow, you wouldn't get hit so much." But I appreciated his kindness.
The time had come. All the sacrifice, all the sweat, all the bland food, had come to this. February 3rd at Blessed Sacrament church. This was going to be my big moment. My wife and father picked me up from work, and we took the seemingly endless ride to the Brooklyn/Queens border. As we waited in the parking lot to enter the church hall, my father turned to me and said "Get an attitude. Knock this guy's head off and let's go home early." Well, I got it half right.
Once you sign in and weigh in, it's all waiting. And watching. I sized up the other guys in the room, and realized that I was the smallest one there. Strike One. Then Tony tells me that my opponent's name is Disel "Truck" Means. Strike Two. Then he tells me "I saw him warm up, he looks slow." "Well, what am I?" Strike Three. Finally, I get the call. The USA Boxing official checks my gloves, mouthpiece, and cup, and it's up the stairs, the longest flight I've ever walked. My new friend Disel and I wait behind a curtain until we're called to the ring. I try to give an impassive, unimpressed look, and while I was nervous, I was also pretty confident. I figured that I had taken enough shots to know that I can at least take a punch, so if he can't knock me out, I've got a good chance to win. We get athe signal and we walk to the ring. My wife is in the front row with a worried look on her face. I touch her hand and enter the ring. The referee gives me my instructions and I get introduced (by my proper name, no less). I strut to the middle of the ring, touch gloves with Means, and the bell rings. BLANK. The next thing I remember is being in an ambulance. Luckily, my wife had our video camera going, so I can piece together what happened. I came out after Means, jabbing him, then I threw the punch that got me in trouble. Now I threw this punch in the gym with the same result, and no intelligent human would ever throw this punch, but I did...a lead right to the body. Boom, Boom, out go the lights. Now some fighters are born with a killer instinct. I was born with no instinct. Once my arm was extended, I knew I was in trouble. Means crashed a left hook to the side of my head, and that's probably where I blacked out. I proceeded to hang around through a standing eight count and 63 seconds, before a final shot put me face down and unconscious in the first round. I'm told that I did regain consciousness after 40 seconds, and that I sat up and told jokes to the paramedics after getting up. I don't remember a thing. I woke up in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, where I proceeded to go through the usual battery of tests to make sure that I had no brain damage, at least any more than I had before I started fighting. I passed with flying colors.
Unfortunately, my fighting career was over. After the USA Boxing rep took my passbook, gave me $5 for carfare home, and a 75th anniversary patch, my wife threatened to leave me if I fought again. So I'm now retired; writing, not fighting.
I still look at the tape of the fight though. And each time I watch it, I do a little better. I think that the next time I watch it, I'm gonna win.
ATHLETES - BIGGER, FASTER, AND STRONGER. ARE THEY BETTER ? WHAT ABOUT BOXERS ?
by Tracy CallisINTRODUCTION
Are athletes of today better than those of the past ? Was Muhammad Ali the greatest heavyweight ever ? Is Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player ever ? Is Mark McGwire the greatest homerun hitter ever ?
The argument that athletes are bigger, faster, and stronger is heard frequently today and there is little doubt that this is true. It is also heard that because they are bigger, faster, and stronger - they are better - and many of the top performers in today's sports are rated better than their predecessors. But, are they really ?
One must be careful in making a judgment. Various sports require different skills, comply with different rules, and are played in different ways, In some sports, man competes against nature on a time or distance basis. In other sports, man competes against man on an action/reaction basis and style of play becomes more important than time or distance.
BIGGER, FASTER, AND STRONGER
A magnificent book, The Super Athletes, written by David Willoughby and published in 1974, analyzes athletic performances in many sports and is referenced in this article.
Willoughby writes "... the records of modern athletes, sport, industry, and medical science combine to show that the civilized portion of the human race is bigger, stronger, and healthier in general today than ever before in history." (Introduction, The Super Athletes)
All one has to do is check the height and weight statistics to see that the athletes are larger. Perhaps, the strongest argument that modern athletes are better is the continuous setting of new records in track, field, and swimming events where precise measurements of performances can be made.
Willoughby states "The reason why date of performance is important is because with the passage of time there is an increase in population, and the larger the population the greater the probability of an extraordinary record. In short, athletic records, like those of height and weight, or any other expressions of human diversity that can be measured, range in magnitude in ratio to the size of the population from which the record is drawn. Accordingly, in a large population of competitors (no matter what the events), the best performance should be expected to be of high caliber, and vice-versa." (page 585, The Super Athletes)
Further, Willoughby contends "A second factor that should be taken into account in the "weight" events is the size of the performer. This means not only his bodyweight, but also his height. Since greater height and weight assist a performer in such events as weightlifting, the shot put, the hammer throw, the 56-pound weight throw, and even the lightweight javelin throw ..." (pages 585-586, The Super Athletes)
MAN AGAINST NATURE
In "Man Against Nature" events such as track, field, and swimming, the best technique coupled with specific athletic abilities bring about better performance. Judgment is clear on time and distance. Putting the shot sixty-five feet is better than putting it sixty. Running one hundred meters in 10.5 seconds is better than running it in 10.7 seconds.
As time passes and people get bigger, faster, and stronger and utilize better techniques, athletic performances improve. Times get lower and distances farther. So, do the athletes get better over the years in these sports? It appears that they do.
Yet, even in these "Man Against Nature" sports, there are rules changes and innovations which assist the human in his battle against the physical world - starting blocks, fiberglass poles, corked tracks and springy boards for launching broad jumps, etc. So, factors other than pure athletic ability creep into the picture and complicate the task of comparing athletes.
A dangerous mistake in judgment may occur. A generalization might take place - since athletes perform better than they used to in "Man Against Nature" sports (i.e. a recent 65 foot shot put is better than the old 60 foot put), they perform better in all sports.
MAN AGAINST MAN
In "Man Against Man" sports or "Team Against Team" sports (which ultimately boil down to "Man Against Man"), performance is based upon a reaction by one competitor to an action by the other competitor (and not simply a case of running fast or throwing an object a great distance). Speed, power, and quickness offer advantages but often are not as important as "savvy", anticipation, and the correct action/reaction.
In baseball, a "Team Against Team" sport (really "Man Against Man"), when a batter faces pitchers, certainly sixty-one homeruns in a season is a better number than sixty. But, did the performer do better ? The number was not attained by strictly competing against nature so much as it was by a man competing against other men on an action/reaction basis. In boxing, a 75 percent knockout ratio is better than 70 percent but it is accomplished by a man competing against other men on an action/reaction basis too.
It can be argued that in "Man Against Man" competition, big numbers do not truly indicate a superior athlete or better performance but just the opposite. It is easier to beat a weaker or lesser-skilled man than it is to beat a stronger or better-skilled man. It is easier to rack up numbers against lesser-skilled men than against higher-skilled ones. An athlete is more likely to break records against weaker opposition than against better opposition. Only in "Man Against Nature" sports does lesser time and greater height and distance definitely mean better.
In "Man Against Nature" sports, a change in technique can be an improvement in that it enables a man to do better in his quest for a faster time or greater distance. In "Man Against Man" sports, technique also can improve performance and is very closely related to the "style" of play.
Depending upon the sport, style can be a dominant factor. It often offsets "bigger, faster, and stronger".
As difficult as it is to compare athletic performances over the years in "Man Against Man" or "Team Against Team" sports such as boxing, baseball, basketball, and football, any comparison is confounded further by the styles used by the men.
Willoughby addresses this as it relates to boxing - "... the matter of differing styles ... makes fighters (boxers vs. sluggers ) so difficult to rate. Instead of more or less uniform techniques - such as apply in running, jumping, swimming, and other athletic events - that can be measured, in boxing (and for that matter wrestling, judo, etc.) no such exact measurement is possible. In these man-to-man encounters, unless a decisive victory - such as a knockout or a fall - is scored, the decision as to the winner rests with the referee and the judges. And, needless to say, the official decision is frequently rejected by the majority - sometimes the great majority - of spectators and followers." (page 355, The Super Athletes)
Today, athletes are bigger, faster, and stronger but it all depends upon the sport as to whether they are truly better than those of the past. Different sports have different rules and different objectives (jump, run, throw, etc.). One example was Michael Jordan in baseball. He was bigger. Was he better? Another example is Deion Sanders in baseball. He is faster. Is he better? What about Jorge Luis Gonzalez in boxing? He is bigger. Is he better?
The skills needed to succeed in a given sport must be such that they enable a man to compete successfully against others. A man who has an abundance of a particular skill may be better than others who possess better "all-around" skills. A standout athlete in one sport may be simply average in another. And, as strange as it seems, the daily activities of a particular period in past history may have equipped individuals better for a certain type of competition than today's activities.
It is the opinion of this writer that the best athletes of all-time could compete with each other on a "near-equal" basis with slight advantages "here and there" going to certain men who possessed "this or that" skill or attribute (depending upon the sport and how the various traits matched up). The modern athlete is not necessarily better than his predecessors.
Rules of the game, mental discipline, and style affect outcomes of competition as often as size, speed, quickness, agility, strength, and stamina do.
HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO BOXERS ?
Boxing is a "Man Against Man" sport in which being bigger, faster, and stronger offers an advantage. But, style offsets this physical edge. So, in this sport, those who combine physical advantages with good technique have the upper hand.
Is the modern fighter the only man to possess the physical advantages or the skills ? No. There have been men with size, speed, and strength throughout history. In addition, various styles have been developed and utilized. Many exceptional fighters have appeared over the past 120 years.
Could Muhammad Ali of the 1960s fight the athletes of today? "Yes" - and be better. Go back thirty or forty years before Ali. Could Joe Louis of the 1930s or Jack Dempsey of the 1920s fight with the men of the 1960s or 1990s? Again, a resounding "yes" - and be better! Go back further. Could Jim Jeffries of the early 1900s or Jack Johnson of the teens fight with men of the 1930s or 1960s or 1990s ? Once more, "yes" - and be better
Two recent examples of older fighters proving their merit against the modern men are George Foreman and Larry Holmes (of the 1970s and 1980s). They held their own against the fighters of today and pounded most of them.
For style to offset the physical advantages, one must possess the technique, mental discipline, and physical conditioning.
Technique is the better (or best) way of doing this or that. It came about as a way to use an individual's particular combination of height, weight, speed, and strength in an effort to beat the physical advantage or skills of an opponent. Foot movement, head movement, bobbing-and-weaving, crouching, hand feints, doubling up on jabs, straight punches, etc. are examples of technique.
Most techniques used by today's fighters were well-known by the 1920s and used regularly by fighters since then. Little if any advantage is seen here for the modern fighters over the early fighters.
Weights are utilized by boxers today in training much more than ever. A strength advantage is seen for the modern fighter due to his more frequent use of weights. But, care must be exercised to prevent the fighter from becoming too heavily muscled or "stiff" because limber arm and shoulder movement is a valuable asset which a fighter does not want to lose.
Weights were used in the old days too as evidenced by many old films but not to the extent that they are used today. However, years ago much manual labor was carried out by everyone, including boxers who worked at other jobs. So, hard work, chopping, digging, moving, lifting, carrying, positioning for leverage - on a daily basis - provided skills which those boxers utilized in the ring. This fact might serve to counter the strength advantage of the modern fighters.
The "hungry" athlete is a worthy adversary and is usually a product of the "have-not" environment from which he comes. A study conducted by Weinberg and Arond and reported in The American Journal of Sociology (1952) states that most fighters (and, consequently, most good fighters) are likely to come from poor families which are at the bottom of the socio-economic scale.
The modern fighter who comes from this background possesses this "advantage". But, as one looks back through history, it is seen that more and more families - black, white, and otherwise - came from poorer socio-economic levels. So, it seems that the earlier years of our history produced more "hungry" fighters and provided this advantage to its fighters.
The society of earlier years in this nation (and most other nations) insisted upon strict adherence to its rules. This attitude prevailed in athletics as well. An athlete who was trained in a certain manner to fight a certain way generally followed the rules while in training and fought his fight as planned.
"Absolute" insistence to follow the rules by those in charge developed an "absolute" resolution to do so on the part of the fighter. This, in turn, cultivated an "absolute" will - an indomitable will - in many cases. So, it seems that an earlier time in our history produced men of a greater "will" and has the advantage here.
Furthermore, many of today's boxers fight "dumb". They follow their opponent around almost in a straight-line, they do not cut off the ring, they fight in a straight-up stance, they hardly ever crouch, and they position themselves at a range which is perfect for the opponent to strike. No wonder Ali was able to jab his foes so easily (which is not a putdown to him).
The rather lax mental attitude of today's society has affected its trainers and boxers. Many boxers today fail to train adequately and abandon their fight plan in the course of a fight. Many times, the poor physical condition is obvious. Many trainers do not insist upon rigid adherence to his rules of training. Many give in to the whims of the lazy or rich or ranked pugilist.
Consequently, the men are not as well conditioned physically as they could/should be. Those who are in good shape usually win. If an athlete is bigger and heavier and not in condition, he will be a sitting duck when he becomes tired. Many boxers have fat bellies hanging over their trunks and, consequently, they tire after three or four rounds.
Boxing is a sport in which "bigger, faster, and stronger" provides a definite advantage but does not necessarily equate to being better. As useful as height, weight, speed, and strength are, they are not as important as the correct action/reaction which is generally associated with style and technique.
A fighter needs savvy, mental discipline, physical conditioning and stamina. The modern fighters seem to have an edge in strength and a slight edge in technique. The fighters of the past appear to have the advantage in mental discipline, physical conditioning, stamina, and hunger.
It is the opinion of this writer that fighters of the past were better.
TUESDAY NIGHT FIGHTS
by Knuckle JunctionOne of the most disappointing pieces of recent news for boxing fans has been the announcement of the cancellation of the popular series of boxing on the USA network. The last time that USA monkeyed around with this show, a vociferous public forced the management at that network to return the show to a two hour format after a ridiculous attempt at a one hour slot. Now the subgeniuses are at it again, and despite good ratings, and complaints from loyal boxing fans, it appears that the show, after 17 years, will run its course and take a 10 count in August of this year. Boxing will go on, however, and there are other networks out there. Therefore I urge all boxing fans to do two things.
First, let's take a positive tack, and send mail somewhere where it may do some good. According to reports from Pedro Fernandez, among others the Fox Network and Turner Broadcasting (either TBS or TNT) have both expressed an interest in starting a regular show. Let's write to them, tell them how much we would like a weekly boxing show to continue, and let them know how good a job was turned in by Sean O'Grady and Al Albert as announcers, and especially Brad Jacobs as producer. I think it would be perfect if these three were hired by Fox or TBS and the show continued on Tuesday nights. The show brought many exciting moments to boxing fans for many years, and I want to personally thank everyone that worked on and FOR Tuesday Night Fights. For your convenience, here are some email address links to get you started.
For Fox Sports: email@example.com
For TNT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Secondly, if you are upset by this decision of USA network, tell your local cable operator about it, and in fact tell them to DROP THIS NETWORK just as it dropped its boxing viewers. I know that it may be a far-fetched idea, and that there may not be much response on the part of the cable operators.
This does not mean that the effort is not worth it, however, don't just lay back on the ropes and absorb this mistreatment-FIRE BACK AND COUNTERPUNCH THOSE NO-GOOD, WALKER TEXAS RANGER SHOWING, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYING SLIME SUCKING, NOT SAVED BY THE BELL AIRHEADED BAYWATCHERS, MAY THEY CHOKE ON THEIR SILK STALKINGS AT THE WESTMINSTER DOG F***ING SHOW.
Holyfield TKO5 over Akinwande
It will take about this long for Holyfield to make Akinwande stop hugging. Evander- if this pretender doesn't hug in the first round, do us all a favor and starch him.
Where are you? The best fighters in and around your weight class are mixing it up, and you would probably take care of any of them.
by Thomas GerbasiIn one of the best pieces of news to hit boxing in a while, Electronic Arts, the world's largest interactive entertainment software company, announced the Fall release of Knockout Kings, a boxing game for the PC and Sony Playstation.
Big deal, you might say, but let's look at what this means to the sport.
Publicity - And good pub at that. EA Sports (Electronic Arts' sports game franchise) will promote this game tirelessly, and at the same time, it will be promoting the sport. Do you think it will hurt boxing to have promotional campaigns centered around the fighters included in the game, fighters like DeLa Hoya, Holyfield, Lewis, and Shane Mosley? I didn't think so. This game may do more to bring boxing back into the public eye than twenty good Pay-Per-View cards. Which brings me to my second point.
The Under-25 crowd -While many adults (including myself) play video and computer games, the majority of the audience would have to be kids, teenagers, and young adults under 25. Let's face facts. Boxing is not one of the more popular sports among the young. While baseball and boxing were the only sports loved by the kids years ago, that's not the case today. Both baseball and boxing have suffered in the visibility department, and video games have had a large part to play in that. As editor of a sports gaming publication, I've seen the trends of the industry, and I've seen basketball, football, and hockey take a lion's share of the market. My nephew can name for you the 12th man on the bench for the LA Clippers, the backup center for the Colts, and the third line left winger for the Islanders. Why? Video games. If Knockout Kings can become a hit among the under 25 crowd, kids will soon be tuning in to see who Shane Mosley is or who Lennox Lewis is fighting next. Is this bad for boxing? Absolutely not. So you can see why I'm excited. Boxing may be in for a renaissance of sorts if Knockout Kings can be successful.
And just so the old-timers and purists aren't alienated, the game also includes greats of the past. Guys like Ali, Leonard, Liston, Louis, Marciano, Dempsey,Pryor, and Arguello. This will also get people to talking about the greats of the past. When I told my nephew excitedly that Jake LaMotta was going to be in the game, I received a blank stare as a response. Who? Kids know the Babe Ruths and Dr. J's of the sports world. Maybe now they can start knowing boxing's past greats.
But all of this is moot if the game is lousy. How does the product stack up now? Well, it looks great, as you can tell by the screenshots. Leonard, DeLa Hoya, and Mosley worked with EA Sports as consultants on the game, and each fighter was motion captured, so the movements of the fighters are lifelike. And the fighters are not the only realistic ones in the game. Sean O' Grady and Al Albert of USA's Tuesday Night Fights provide the blow by blow and color commentary, Jimmy Lennon Jr. is your ring announcer, and Mills Lane is the referee, complete with his trademark "Let's Get it On." And the fights will be held in a realistic rendering of the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden.
I don't know about you, but it's going to be a long summer, waiting for this one. But then again, as boxing fans, we're used to waiting for the big events.
GOLDDIGGERS OF 1998: AT LAST, THE MUSICAL THAT BOXING DESERVES!
by DscribeDCEditor's Note: While many in the Broadway community saw the quick demise of the Paul Simon/Derek Walcott/Mark Morris production "The Capeman" as a sign that musical theatregoers had lost their taste for musicals based on real-life charlatans, we here at the CBZ think that statement is premature. After all, where are the larger-than-life bounders and rogues in American society, if not the world of boxing? Where better to find the next Elmer Gantry? In the Broadway spirit of all-American myth-making, we present, for the consideration of any would-be Broadway impressarios with an extra couple mil lying around in the family vault, an excerpt from DscribeDC's exciting new musical dissecting the inner workings of the boxing world: DR. JACKAL AND MR. HYPE. Enjoy. We're saving you two on the aisle.
DR. JACKAL AND MR. HYPE (Book and lyrics: DscribeDC)
Overture (Entire Cast):
THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE KO BUSINESS (Sung to the tune of "There's No Business Like Show Business")
Oh, there's no business like KO business
Like no business we know
You can send the cable buy rates soaring
If you like ears just nibble off a tip
Our judges may be blind, but never boring
When they are scoring
There's no folks like KO folks
For cash, they never say "no,"
Your heavyweight contender may be front page news
But just make sure he lays down when he's told to lose
Or they'll replace his boxing boots with ce-ment shoes
And shout "look out below..."
Let's go on with the show!
There's no biz like KO biz
Like no business we know
Everything about it is appealing
Rob 'em naked if you got the guts
Leave them Ivy League accountants reeling
While you are stealing
Their fighter's cuts
There's no crooks like KO crooks
Their ethics are so "faux"
You might be filling ballrooms at Steve Wynn's Mirage
Or boxing Elk's Club smokers at a Podunk lodge
But your left hook won't help to get you out of Dodge
When you're hauled in by 5-0
But let's go on with the showwwww........
Act I: New York City, Summer 1996
The offices of DON CRINGE PRODUCTIONS, opulent, oak-paneled, a typical workday. Office functionaries mill about arranging schedules, signing contracts, etc. Business is good. At stage center, enter the regal-looking DON CRINGE, attired in a natty black tuxedo, his shock of silver hair standing straight up like a crown. As if on cue, the masses part, leaving him alone in the spotlight at center stage:
SCAM-A-LOT (Sung to the tune of "Camelot")
A law was passed a distant moon ago here
Reforms to help improve the fighter's lot
But efforts to comply are rather slow here
We're paid to manage and to stage the fights here
A double dip, it matters not a jot!
The boxers rarely read or know their rights here
I know it gives a person pause
Just read the smallest fine-print clause
The bell it never rings 'till after sunset
That's when the action turns so very hot
Be sure the fans aren't members of the gun set
There's crime and drugs and other general mayhem
If you're a star, we'll wipe up every blot
In short, there's simply not
A more convenient spot
For crim-i-nal be-ha-vi-or
I know it seems a bit bizarre
But felons paid for this cigar!
The writers throw me all the dirt they rake up
They say that this is wrestling without plot
But boxing saves on costumes and on make-up
Miss Bloodworth! Please come here! In only three weeks my number one fighter Mike Tiresome will be stepping into the ring for the first time after three years' incarceration. It's imperative that the accoutrements of fistic dominion be appropriately arrayed when he returns! How are those contracts coming?
Well, Mr. Cringe, things are coming along. So far we've managed to secure a promoter's fee of $14 million, a site fee of $8 million, television rights fees of $3 million, overseas satellite payments of $10 million.
Excellent. What about Mr. Tiresome's end?
His fee amounts to $30 million, from which we've deducted the promoter's fee, the manager's fees, and various training expenses, including the rental of three floors of the Ritz hotel, eight limousines, and a dedicated SST at Newark Airport. That might be a bit hard to justify...
Why is that?
Newark Airport doesn't HAVE an SST.
Well, get the French on the phone. Tell 'em to build one! We can't have our champ using one of those run-of-the-mill jets! And if we need some good old boys at the Federal Aeronautical Administration to approve it, we'll buy some of them, too! It's all tax deductible! What a country!
There's only one thing we don't have for Mr. Tiresome, Mr. Cringe...
What could that possibly be? Don Cringe thinks of every eventuality!
An opponent, Mr. Cringe!
Ah, a mere formalistic formality, my dear. Why here comes our answer right now!
Stage left, enter JOSE SULLIED-MAN, attired in a handsome double-breasted suit with a silk sash reading "El Presidente: WBG." He is surrounded by a clique of bureaucrats who hang on his every word.
Yes, just the man I want to see. Surely, the World Boxing Group has a suitable contender of such splendiferous mettle that he will invigorate Mike Tiresome to the very pith of his marrow. Surely you can spot such a man. Jose, can you see?
Don, on the occasion of the return of boxing's savior, I have located just the fighter to, er, ummm, how shall I say...showcase Mr. Tiresome's abilities without...overtaxing him the first time out. Jaime! Salvador! Show our esteemed guests in!
Enter stage left PETER QUICK-KNEELY and his manager VINNIE PICAYUNE. Quick-kneely is a burly hulk of a guy who walks with a slight stoop and looks around, wide-eyed. Picayune's attention is absorbed by a Racing Form and a fistful of scratch lottery tickets.
Welcome to the big time, gents. How would the two of you fine and esteemed fellows like to earn, well, let's say $5,000.
What do I have to do? I won't break nobody's legs. And I won't wear one of those mascot outfits.
And we don't do none of that funny stuff like in those motel pay-per-view movies neither. We're strictly on the up-and-up now.
No, no, gentlemen, nothing as morally inturpitudinous as all that! We hear that young Peter is quite a stylish boxer!
Oh, fighting. For the love of Mike...why didn't ya say so? Show him some moves, Petey...
Quick-Kneely shadow-boxes awkwardly, throws a jab at a coat rack and entangles himself, sending himself careening loudly to the floor.
Okay, enough with the cutie stuff. Show 'em what yus can do in front of the cameras.
I'm Peter Quick-kneely
I'm mean and I'm quick
And if you don't think so
Than just suck my...
...YES, well, that's very nice. I think we can arrange a session with a writer to pen some more melodious and telegenically-appropriate quatrains. But, yes, yes, I think he'll do just fine. Just fine...
Cringe paces around Quick-kneely, studying him like a fox
I BELIEVE IN YOU (Sung to the tune of "I Believe in You")
Gotta stop that man!
Gotta stop that man, cold!
Or he'll stop me!
Big lug! Big palooka!
Thinks he hits like a bazooka!
Gotta stop, gotta stop, gotta stop that man!
CRINGE: (affectionately, to Quick-kneely)
Well, there you are
There's that face
That face that, somehow, I trust
It may embarrass you to hear me say it
But it was made for my fighter to bust!
You've got the fiz-zy head
You might find on a cheap barroom mug
With the pointy chin
And the grin of a true four-round pug
I believe in you!
I believe in you!
You've got the bulbous gut
And the butt of a George Herman Ruth
And the stumbling trot
Of a sot drunk on gin and vermouth
I believe in you!
I believe in you!
And when my faith in tomato cans
All but falls apart
I've but to see you work a heavy bag
And I take heart
I take heart...
You've got the wobbly jowl and the growl
Of a Hub nightclub tough
The bewildered scowl
Of a stiff who has had quite enough
I believe in you
I believe in you!....
Yes, my fine young gladiator, you will fit the bill most magnificently! (Pats his face affectionately, at which Quick-kneely crumbles like a scarecrow, dropping on his back, unconscious.)
Hey, whaddaya tryin'a do? Moider my meal ticket, ya slimy bastard? That's gonna be an extra $500!...
Caramba! Don, and the fight is only weeks away! Where are we ever going to find another soft-touch opponent for Pig-Iron Mike?
Don't worry, Presidente...Where there's a will, there's a way...
Miss Bloodworth, show in the gentleman in my waiting room. Yes, Jose, a man in my vertiginous and lofty position needs to plan for every contingency. I've taken the liberty of flying someone in for precisely such a situation...
Who? I can't stand the suspense...Lummox Lewis?
No, a man whose very name is synonymous with durability and pugilistic longevity.
All look to stage left. Enter LARRY REST-HOLMES, a pudgy but jovial-looking old man in bifocals. He's in good shape for his age, but he waddles a bit and, when he turns around, we can see his stretch-waist slacks expose a tiny crack of plumber's butt.
Don, it's been a long time.
Yes, it's great to see you again...Champ! What made you decide to come back after all this time?
The bank. It wants some of that money you still owe me from my last fights.
Well, be that as it may. Water under the bridge, as they say. Let's look toward the bright, shining future we have together. I'll tell you, the kids today just don't have it. It ain't like the old days when guys really knew how to take a shot. Nowadays, one good body shot and a career is over. I'll tell you how I feel about us working together again...
DIE-HARDS ARE A MAN'S BEST FRIEND (Sung to the tune of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend")
Oh, the belt 'round his waist may be just Continental
But die-hards are a man's best friend.
When he punches, the contact might be incidental
But die-hards are a man's best friend.
Trunks ride higher and styles grow dire
But the geezers try hard to contend
Though the kids call him Grampa
He still draws crowds in Tampa
Cause die-hards are a man's best friend
I may train with a fork in the neighborhood diner
But die-hards are a man's best friend
I may need Ray Ban shades just to hide Tuesday's shiner
But die-hards are a man's best friend
My skills might be faded and the press might be jaded
But I'm cheap when it comes time to spend!
I might be looking poxy
But I'll headline in Biloxi
'Cause die-hards are a man's best friend!
CRINGE and REST-HOLMES and CHORUS LINE
His best moments might lie in the mid-nineteen-eighties
But die-hards are a man's best friend
He might have an addiction to booze or the ladies
But die-hards are a man's best friend
His highlights are classic and his age is Jurassic
And we know that he's been 'round the bend
But, fat, bald and pear-shape
You must never question their shape
'Cause die-hards are a man's best
An ink-stained wretch and fan's best
Die-hard's are a man's...best...friend!.............
That's good enough for me, Don, where do I sign?
Cringe hands him a pen and, with a wink to Sullied-Man, we see his fingers are crossed behind his back.
Act One, Scene Two: Three weeks later, fight night
Bloodworth and Johnson, another Cringe aide, sit around a radio, listening to the Tiresome-Rest Holmes fight offstage. In the corner, Sullied-Man paces nervously
...And here in Round Five, Tiresome appears to be in trouble. Who would have thought that this aging warrior Larry Rest-Holmes would summon such reservoirs of tenacity, such reserves of steely determination. It's Tiresome who seems tired at this point. His eyes are swollen like golf balls.
I knew we should have stuck with Quick-kneely. He would have touched gloves, come out and thrown a jab and we would be watching Sigfried and Roy by now.
Oh, pipe down, Jose. It wouldn't have worked anyway. Quick-kneely flunked his physical. He couldn't read the eye chart.
Nonsense. His vision was perfect!
I know. He could SEE it, he just couldn't READ it.
...Oh, and a hard jab to the face leaves Tiresome reeling. The ref is giving him a standing eight...no, wait, ...it's a standing twelve, thirteen...And they're back at it. A cross, a hook to the body, and Tiresome is down! Tiresome is down! The ref is stopping it! It's over! It's over! We have a new idol! A geriatric Jack Johnson! A mature Marciano! A grandfatherly Graziano!
My God, he won! Do you know what that means?
We get to save money on the hookers?
It's a disaster. Don! Don! (Cringe emerges from stage right, as the sounds of a raucous party die down) What's going to happen now?
I just don't know. We might have to downsize, minimize, economize, even cut staff. Here. (Pulls out wad of bills.) Go buy yourselves something nice to remember me by...
Bloodworth and Johnson leave, crestfallen.
Don, Don. Can it be? Is this the end of the trail, amigo? Is this the ruin of all that we've worked so hard to create? Dios mio!
Oh, stop that Telemundo soap opera jive, man. You know me better than that! I ain't gonna get caught flat-footed. I just sold them a sob story so I could renegotiate their salaries. We're gonna be saved by a promoter's REAL best friend...
Surely you mean...
Options, padrone, options...Look at Larry's contract! I get to promote his next 15 fights, and he don't even know it yet! And first up is...THE REMATCH! Shall we call it "Age Before Beauty?" or "Youth's Moment of Truth?"
"The Old Man and the 'G'"...
Now you're thinking, man, now you're thinking! Come on, let's get some of that bubbly before it goes flatter than Pig-Iron Mike!
They exit laughing, stage right. At stage left, a lone spotlight illuminates Larry Rest-Holmes' dressing room. Despite his victory, he looks sad and weary and holds aloft a copy of Don Cringe's contract.
OLD MAN REIVER (sung to the tune of "Old Man River")
There's an old man called Promoter
That's who I'd like to be
Who cares if I KO his man
When he also got his hooks in me?
That Old Man Reiver
He must know something
Through high-priced lawyers
He don't say nothin'
But Old Man Reiver
He just keeps rakin' it in....
REST-HOLMES, CAST AND CHORUS:
He don't take punches
He don't take buttin'
And them that takes 'em
Ends up with nuttin'
But Old Man Reiver
Orchestra swells. Fade Out.
by Barry LindenmanAs the "Senior" boxing tour continues, something occurred to me as I listened to the fight introductions: the nicknames of the older fighters don't seem to fit anymore. If we, the boxing public, continue to "support" the efforts of these once great champions, I think the one stipulation should be that they must change their nicknames to reflect the erosion of their once great skills. I have come up with what I think are more appropriate nicknames for fighters who have fought or continue to fight way past their prime.Fighter Popular Nickname Proposed Nickname James Smith Bonecrusher Osteoperosis Joe Frazier Smokin' Coughin' Roberto Duran Hands of Stone Hands of Fossils Mike Tyson Iron Mike Rusty Mike Riddick Bowe Big Daddy Grand Daddy Michael Dokes Dynamite Firecracker Iran Barkley Blade Butter Knife Michael Olajide Silk Flannel Muhammad Ali The Greatest The Grayest Virgil Hill Quicksilver Silver Larry Holmes The Easton Assassin The AARP Assassin Azumah Nelson The Professor The Professor Emeritus Thomas Hearns Hit Man Stiff Man Randall Cobb Tex Rx Hector Camacho Macho Man Viagra Man Wilfredo Gomez Bazooka BB Gun John Mugabi Beast Least James Douglas Buster Bust James Toney Lights Out Dim Bulb
BOXING and ALL THAT "JAZZ"
It is a trend that appears to have started with Vinny Pazienza and continues today with Prince Naseem Hamed. No, it's not the flashy introductions, eye catching outfits and unorthodox show boating styles. It's the concept of adopting a nickname that has, for lack of a better term, a little "pizzazz" to it. In the cases of The Pazmanian Devil and The Prince, who are respectively known as Paz and Naz, the nicknames make sense and seem to fit. However, I have discovered countless other examples in the past and present boxing world of fighters who could have adopted similar nicknames. Here they are from A to Z, well, almost:Azumah Nelson Az Carmen Basilio Baz Jorge Castro Caz Dariusz Michalczewski Daz Fabrice Tiozzo Faz Rocky Graziano Graz Hasim Rahman Haz Roland LaStarza Laz Raul Marquez Maz Naseem Hamed Naz Vinny Pazienza Paz Razor Ruddock Raz Salvador Sanchez Saz Wilfredo Vazquez Vaz Tommy Yarosz Yaz Daniel Zaragoza Zaz
After years of speculation, myth and rumors, the truth can finally be revealed about Don King's hair. Despite his claims of divine power or gravity deviance, I'm here to tell you the truth about the most famous hairstyle in the world. It seems that for years now, Don King has been one of the participants in clinical studies of the two most successful drugs targeted at the male population: Rogaine and Viagra. Now we finally know what happens when you combine a hair growth medicine with an anti-impotence drug.
Rumors of a rematch between Oscar De La Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez have now surfaced. When asked to comment about his loss to De La Hoya in their first bout, Chavez explained that he was the victim of a bad decision. After being reminded that he lost on a TKO to De La Hoya in the third round, Chavez further explained, it was a "bad decision" to fight him.
Speaking of De La Hoya, who along with being one of the two best fighters in the world today (Roy Jones being the other), is also the most marketable personality the sport of boxing has seen in years. However, despite showing up in deodorant ads and those "got milk?" promotions, I think marketers are missing the boat on how to fully capitalize on the vast appeal of De La Hoya. De La Hoya would be the perfect spokesman for the Oscar Mayer company. In fact, to help promote the cause, I've come up with the perfect jingle for him:
The Ballad of Oscar De La Hoya
(sung to the tune of "I Wish I Was An Oscar Mayer Weiner")
Oh, I wish I fought like Oscar De La Hoya,
That is what I'd truly like to do, ooh ooh,
'Cause if I fought like Oscar De La Hoya,
Every one would watch on "pay - per - view ! "
May Ratings (as of 10 May)
by Phrank Da SluggerThere are 3 criteria I use to rate fighters: Quality of Opposition, Performance and Activity. I am ranking the best from 1 to 10; this is to see who deserves a title shot. I rate all 18 divisions, a time-consuming activity to say the least. Therefore, commentary only appears every 3rd 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(over 195 lbs)
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
Since last time...Tim Witherspoon exits after losing to Jimmy Thunder...Donald, Rahman, Tua and Golota all active this mth...Nielsen is still out w/an injury...I finally had to do it - rank Byrd. I don't deny his ability, but he has yet to beat anyone of significance. But due to attrition and activity, he enters. And frankly, who else is there to rate - Thunder, Akinwande, Schulz, Izon?...Watch out for Vitali Klitschko , who looks awesome at this early point of his career. This mth he blew out Julius Francis, a guy who went the distance w/Axel Sculz, in 2 rds. I'll enjoy watching him progress.
Champion: Fabrice Tiozzo (WBA)
1. Juan Carlos Gomez (WBC)
2. Marcelo Dominguez
3. Carl Thompson (WBO)
4. Robert Daniels (IBC)
5. Nate Miller
6. Imamu Mayfield (IBF)
7. Johnny Nelson
8. Chris Eubank
9. Saul Montana
10. David Izeqwire
Some changes here...1st, Gomez ascends to #1 after his great win over the solid Dominguez...2nd, Daniels jumps up a couple notches after his big KO of Don Diego Poeder, who exits (but probally not for long)... And Eubank enters after his surprisingly strong challenge of Thompson. And it looks like they'll do it again in July...James Toney exits after too many mths of inactivity...Poeder's exit means Izeqwire returns, still winning regularly...And Tiozzo affirmed his place w/his overwhelming win over Terry Ray.
Lt. Heavyweights(175 lbs)
Champion: Dariusz Michalczewski (WBO)
1. Roy Jones
2. Graciano Rocchigiani (WBC)
3. Lou Del Valle (WBA)
4. Reggie Johnson (IBF)
5. Ole Klemetsen
6. Virgil Hill
7. Montell Griffin
8. Michael Nunn
9. Ken Bowman
10. Mohammed Siluvangui
I think Hill is just now able to stand erect after that rib-breaking shot from jones. Ouch...Jones reminded us that he's still around and able to cause damage in a big way...Hill doesn't drop far - can you place a guy who did well for a couple rds below another who couldn't get past the 1st 3 minutes w/Jones (Griffin)? Or below another who just lost (Nunn)? It was a difficult enough decision to drop him below Klemetsen, but after that KO, he had to fall at least a couple notches...Since last time, Bowman entered after stopping longtime contender Merqui Sosa... I list Rocchigiani as the WBC titlist because the Mexican organization announced his fight w/Nunn (in Mar) as being for the vacant title. Now they say -get this- that
boththe German and Jones are co-titlists. Whatever. Hopefully they'll let us know when they get it straightened out.
Super Middleweights(168 lbs)
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. Mads Larsen (IBO)
Brewer jetisons to #1 after his stirring win over previously-ranked Herol Graham. Liles also defended his title against a nobody and looked like crap...Calzaghe is a strong #2, his latest fight being a stoppage of iron-chinned Juan Carlos Gimenez...Woodhall enters after upsetting and retiring Thulane Malinga...Joseph Kiwanuka stopped by Tate, and added to that a loss to journeyman Demetrius Davis... Replacing the Ugandan is Larsen, who is very active and can move up quickly in a poor division like this...Tate and Castro active...This should be Duran's last mth here as he's challenging for the WBA 160- lb title (for some unknown reason). Leaves me w/quite a dilemna in figuring out who to replace him w/next mth.
Champion: Bernard Hopkins (IBF)
1. Otis Grant (WBO)
2. William Joppy (WBA)
3. Hassine Cherifi (WBC)
4. Keith Holmes
5. Silvio Branco (WBU)
6. Antwun Echols
7. Aaron Davis
8. Robert Allen
9. Robert McCracken
10. Andrew Council
These are truly the darkest days this division has seen in yrs, perhaps ever. Hopkins is the only guy here to get excited about. You've got the Champion, and Grant is a solid #1 contender, and then the void till you get to the rest is vast...Hopkins defends against Allen in late May, and after he KOs him a familiar dilemna at this weight will rear its ugly head again: who to rank?...Cherifi entered last mth and then defeated Holmes, and so rises...Lonnie Bradley, out for a yr, exits...Echols continues to impress...Davis and Council slip due to inactivity.
Jr. Middleweights(154 lbs)
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)
Campas rises after demolishing Anthony Stephens, who exits...Tony Marshall enters a strong #7 w/his big win over Anthony Jones. Marshall looked great, and maybe he's finally coming into his own... Norris returns in late May...Boudouani, who was lucky to keep his title against unheralded Guillermo Jones, faces the contender again. Kudos to Boudouani, who is doing the right thing in granting an immediate rematch...Linton wins...Flores and McKart got back in the ring and scored wins as well...And you may not see David Reid's name here, but you may soon - his KO of Nick Rupa showed he's rising fast.
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)
Trinidad came back and the ratings are righted - his inactivity dropped him to #4 and he was on the brink of elimination, but his impressive title defense in Apr shoots him back to #2...Lopez active as usual... Ruiz rises after his impressive KO of Giorbelys Barthelmy, winning the Forum's Welter tournament...Ruiz-Taylor would be a barnburner! 2 tough bangers going at it would make for an exciting, and brutal, night...Kotiev enters after a surprising and impressive annexation of the vacant WBO title...Alessandro Duran leaves, and then loses to upcoming Michelle Piccirillo, an Italian who is a guy to watch for... If rumors of a de la Hoya-Trinidad bout come true, boxing fans will get to see the best fight out there - and we deserve it.
Jr. Welterweights(140 lbs) 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 (IBA)
9. Reggie Green
10. Diobelys Hurtado
Chavez-Gonzalez finally came off and both rise a bit after their Draw...Phillips cemented his place at #1 w/his blowout of ex-contender Alfonso Sanchez...Rahilou also successful in defending his title against Jean-Baptiste Mendy...Tszyu active, as were Ruelas and Green...Diaz very impressive and debuts at #8. His win over former contender Ahmed Santos was solid, but his blowout of veteran Alberto Cortes was downright amazing...Sondergaard continues to be very active, fighting twice in 2 weeks last mth...With Chavez probally going north to challenge de la Hoya again, look for Gonzalez and Tszyu to vie for the long-vacant WBC title.
Lightweights(135 lbs) 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. Artur Grigorijan (WBO)
8. Arturo Gatti
9. Jesse James Leija
10. James Crayton
There's 3 solid titlists here, but the best is Mosley, who is active and this mth booted another fighter out of the Top 10. 1st Demetrio Ceballos, now John-John Molina and he's set to defend again in late June. I like it...Holiday, Leija and newcomer Crayton all active...Johnston moved ahead of sometimes-active Nazarov w/his win over George Scott, who exits...Grigorijan moves up a bit w/his blowout of Marco Rudolph...Gatti entered since last time as he'll compete here from now on (after his cut heals, probally this summer)...Don't know if Leija will be here next mth as he's scheduled to fight -again- Azumah Nelson in July, presumably at 130 lbs.
Jr. Lightweights(130 lbs)
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
After mths of stagnation (and names like Ruelas, Chavez and Gainer dropping due to inactivity and Azumah Nelson dropping out due to same), this division is finally showing some signs of life. Chavez and Gainer fought, and I'm pleased Nelson and Ruelas return in July... Choi rises due to steady activity...Ditto Patterson...Lorcy has been active and looks likely to face Alexandrov for the vacant WBO title...Castillo in w/Nelson's departure...An unranked fighter at this weight, Barry Jones, was stripped of the 'BO when he failed a neurological test in Britain. Thus the vacancy match between Lorcy and the Russian.
Champion: Luisito Espinosa (WBC)
1. Naseem Hamed (WBO)
2. Cesar Soto
3. Kevin Kelley
4. Wilfredo Vazquez
5. Fred Norwood (WBA)
6. Angel Vazquez
7. Juan Marquez
8. Genaro Rios
9. Manuel Medina (IBF)
10. Paul Ingle
So much for the crap about Hamed being afraid of Hector Lizarraga. Ex-Champ Medina wins another title and drums the Californian out of the Top 10...Norwood shocked many when he defeated Antonio Cermeno for the vacant WBA title...And of course Hamed stopped WVazquez in yet another impressive fight...Kelley active and pining for another shot at the Prince.
Jr. Featherweights(122 lbs)
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)
Little happening here right now...Barrera came back and Morales has been active...Baloyi and Navarro won this mth...Cermeno went north but lost...And McCullough's return displaces Spencer Oliver, who unfortunately later lost and ended up in a coma in a hospital. He recovered, but his career is likely over...Things should pick up soon as Sanchez, McKinney and Bungu have fights coming up, as do Barrera, McCullough and Acero-Sanchez.
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
Julio overtakes Konadu w/an impressive KO of ex-titlist Daniel Jimenez. Julio is possibly the best fighter in a division w/lots of solid fighters...Bredahl continues to win, Austin actually fought and Vargas won this mth...Konadu and Tatsuyoshi will defend soon, and so will Austin again...Oscar Maldonado (who gave Julio a good fight last yr) exits after being upset by a stiff. Azuaga replaces him...Botile also came back and won, a welcome sign from this talented ex-titlist.
Jr. Bantamweights(115 lbs)
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. Luis Bolanos
10. Genaro Garcia
Busy mth. Penalosa and Luna-Zarate clashed heads and their fight was ended before it got started, in rd 2. They should rematch this summer...Iida scored an impressive win in defeating Hiroki Ioka... Pleased to say that Dutch Boy Gym is recovering from his car accident and will fight again, probally in July...Toguchi and Bolanos active this mth...Luis Benavides and Adonis Cruz both exit after too much inactivity, but Bolanos and Garcia enter as strong contenders.
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
As I said last time, the result of Johnson-Johnson is reflected here. (What a right hook!)...Sasakul impressively retained his title w/a KO of one-time contender Young-Soon Chang...Juarez dropped below active Guerault and Jensen, but finally fought recently...Montiel and Zamudio returned as well -against each other- and both looked good...Also returning is ex-titlist Ploenchit, displacing Julio Coronel. Jose Lopez also displaced by Zamudio.
Jr. Flyweights(108 lbs)
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. Kaaj Chartbandit
8. Carlos Murillo
9. Edgar Cardenas
10. Oscar Andrade
Pastrana made his 1st defense and showed again he's a good fighter...Siriwat active, as was Matlala...Longtime contender and ex-titlist Jesus Chong exits after losing his 2nd fight in a row, this time to a journeyman...Cardenas drops and is inactive... Chartbandit moves up a bit after his impressive challenge of Siriwat...Shiro Yahiro gone after being blown out by Champion Sorjaturong...And it looks like Michael Carbajal will return in June. Even though he's over the hill, he brings back some much-needed excitement here.
Champion: Ricardo Lopez (WBC)
1. Rosendo Alvarez (WBA)
2. Zolani Petelo (IBF)
3. Rocky Lin
4. Ratanapol Voraphin
5. Ronnie Magramo
6. Andy Tabanas
7. Eric Jamili (WBO)
8. Songkram Porpaoin
9. Satoru Abe
10. Juan Herrera
At the top of this sorry weight class are 2 excellent fighters, and Lopez and Alvarez put on a good show while it lasted. Alvarez showed the world what I've been saying here for over a yr now: he's a world class titlist...The WBO reared its' ugly head again, this time in stripping (again) Lopez. Brilliant. They tried to take away the title earlier this yr, and crowned Jamili. But a letter from Lopez' lawyer convinced them to leave well enough alone till Lopez -gasp- fought Alvarez. Keeping in line w/all the alphabet organizations' unwritten rule of stripping anyone who has the gall to unify, the WBO bestowed Jamili w/their (worthless) belt...Very happy to see Tabanas return, especially since I had to eject Alex Sanchez and Lindi Memani, both MIA for many mths...And Abe and Lin were active. The latter may challenge Alvarez in June.
World Champions: 13 (of 17)
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