|. . . 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 GorDoomIt is with a deep sense of personal loss that I announce that my Fine Irisher Friend, Derek Cusackís, 2nd installment of his extraordinary interview with Barry McGuigan, will be his last for the CBZ.
This is a real, Mexican left hook to the liver, as Derek is not only our European correspondent & a helluva boxing writer, but a good friend as well ...
His taking leave of the CBZ, is symptomatic of Boxingís current malaise ... Ever since the "Munch In The Crunch", last June 28th, the sport has been reeling.
Derek has resigned because not only is he burnt out on the current state of modern boxing - there is nothing happening anyway thatís worth writing about. I canít say I blame him, Iíve felt the same way more than once since last June 28th.
As a matter of fact, even the CBZ is gonna take a short break. This July issue will be the last one for the summer. We will come back (hopefully refreshed) right after Labor Day. This does not mean the CBZ is shutting down though. We will still have daily updates in the news section by, Pedro Fernandez, Joe Koizumi & others. We will of course, also be providing next day fight reports as always for all major fights (if there are any ...).
If by some miracle, there are any pertinent events in boxing, any articles that are written will be announced & linked from our main page. Also, our History & Research department, led by Hank Kaplan, Michael DeLisa, Tracy Callis & Matt Tegen, will be constantly updating & adding records to our Boxing Encyclopedia section.
The Scourge of the New York Islands, Michael DeLisa, our Founder/Publisher, has volunteered to put together a Boxing History issue for August. At the end of this editorial, will be included his thoughts on this special issue of The Cyber Boxing Journal.
But despair not, dear readers, we still have the July issue which is chock full oí goodies for you to hopefully carry you through the Summer. If it gets too bad, you can always buy The Ring magazine, to read news thatís already three months old ...
First up, is Derekís 2nd installment of the Barry McGuigan interview. We follow with two very different articles about the recent ceremonies at The Hall Of Fame. CBZ stalwart, David Iamele gives his annual report from the doings at The Hall. This is followed by an article by our web master extraordinare, associate editor & the CBZís own, "Mr. Darkness On The Edge Of Town", the inimitable, Pusboil ... That can best be described as, "Fear & Loathing In Canastota".
Former Ring Magazine editor & New York State, Boxing Commissioner, Randy Gordon, weighs in with some of his musings on our beloved sport. This is followed by the first of three pieces by the hardest working boxing writer in the biz, Thomas Gerbasi. First up is his middleweight computer tournament. Letís say I find it interesting, but as with all his tournament pieces, some of the results truly wobble whatís left of my mind ...
Gerbasi follows this piece with a very interesting interview with rising star & current IBF lightweight champion, "Sugar" Shane Mosely.
Next up, is a remarkable article by first time contributor, Chuck Bogle, an attorney, who examines the consequences of all the new regulations in boxing. We certainly hope it wonít be Chuckís last contribution!
Like I said, Gerbasi is everywhere! His next piece is an interview with arguably the best woman boxer extant: Lucia Rijker. The CBZ is by no means a big proponent of womenís boxing, but Lucia is special. I can think of quite a few male boxers, who are supposed "contenders", in her weight division, whoís cans she would flatten ...
This is followed by a poem sent in by, Richard Thorn, who wrote it in 1960, at the age of 13, after watching the second Johanssonn-Patterson fight in Vegas.
One of our resident and dedicated historians, Tracy Callis, gives us a look at how all time boxing greats are ranked against each other.
We end the issue as always, with Phrank The Sluggers, well researched ratings as of the end of June.
As the old song sez, "Iíll see you in September...". In the mean time, I'll be watching the terrific boxing programming on The Classic Sports Network. Next Tuesday, (July 14), they're showing the Barney Ross-Jimmy McLarnin trilogy from the 30's. These days, it unfortunately doesn't get better than that ...
A Note from Mike DeLisa
As the Spitbucket has already mentioned in his editorial, we will be trying something different in our next issue -- our August issue will be devoted to boxing history. Wow! I heard the groans of those who grew up on a steady diet of Ring magazines. "Not another Jack Dempsey article," you scream, "not another rehash!." Well, of course not! You should know us better by now. There is a vast amount of history and information that is slowly crumbling to dust and we hope to be able to preserve some of that heritage.
There are some truly amazing fighters that are virtually forgotten. One such fighter will NOT be profiled next month simply because we don't have enough information on him -- Jack Walker aka Leone Jacovacci. Who? Well, he seems to have been the Marvin Hagler of his day, right down to the Italian accent!
Studded throughout the records of some of the best fighters of the 1920s the names Walker and Jacovacci appear. Most would not realize it was the same man, who changed his nae and citizenship in an unrequited quest for a World Middleweight Title.
Jack Walker, probably from Philly, served as a sailor on an American Man-of-War during WWI. Sometime in the early 1920s,he returned to Europe to pursue a career in the ring. He was managed by Francois "General" Deschamps, who also managed French favorite Georges Carpentier.
In 1925, he had a win (10) over Georges Rouget as well as several French fighters.
Around this time, Walker and Deschamps apparently became obsessed with the idea of having Walker become "European champion." Since Walker was an American, he needed to establish citizenship in Europe and choose Italy as his country. Well, Walker apparently established his residency in Italy and changed his name to Leone Jacovacci.
On Nov.18, 1926, he lost a 10-rounder to Marcel Thil in Nancy, France. Nevertheless, in1926-1927, he fought Belgian Rene DeVos (Continental European Middleweight Champion) 3 times and beat him each time.
As 1927 opened, Walker was established as one of Europe's top performers, and fought a 4-round exhibition with Carpentier to demonstrate his skills.
He was in Italy in late1927 and fought a draw with top middle Mario Bossino in Milan. On October 28, 1927, he kayoed Thil in the tenth round of a rematch.
The victory over future title-claimant Thil put Walker in line for a European title fight, with a clear path to a title shot at Mickey Walker should he win.
Early in1928, back in Paris, he won by kayo in the third over Rene Vermant,a French light-heavyweight.
In his next fight, on June 24,1928, Leone Jacovacci beat Mario Bosisio, Italian Champ, fo rthe Middleweight Championship of Europe, in Rome.
Walker then made a mistake. He traveled to England to meet much heavier Len Johnson, whom he had beaten once before. Walker lost, and talks of a title match took a backseat as Walker needed to re-solidify his credentials.
After a few more fights, Walker was back on top. But, in March of 1929, he lost a 15-round decision -- and his European Title -- to old-foe Marcel Thil. With that loss, Walker's ambitions for a world title fight apparently came to an end. Research has turned up only a handful of fights after that, the last in 1931.
That year, at Copenhagen, the Champion Middleweight of Denmark, Hans Holdt, won over Leone Jacovacci, alias Jack Walker, by a knockout in the fourth.
I have located just one more result, a brief, sad blurb buried in a 1931 issue of Ring:
"The main bout was between Carl Anderson and Jack Walker. The bout which was scheduled for ten rounds finished in the third session by Anderson knockingout the war worn Italian."
Jack Walker. A name nobody remembers. But he was a fighter and a man and his struggles are gripping, for me at least, some 70 years after he won his title.
Barry Mc Guigan Interview Part II
by Derek CusackThis month, we conclude our lengthy interview with Barry Mc Guigan. The former featherweight king speaks about boxing safety, Mike Tyson, the future of boxing on TV and the champions and prospects of today.
DC: You constantly devote your scarce time to charity work and work with the Professional Boxer's Association, both of which are unpaid. Why?
BMG: I don't want money for this work. It has always been my ambition to make the fight game fairer for the fighters and to make it more difficult for them to be exploited. Hopefully some of them will look back at their careers and say, "that was really good" instead of saying, "Jesus, what a disaster!"
DC: Do you think your foundation of the P.B.A. was motivated by your own experience as a pro?
BMG: There's no doubt about that - my experience certainly led me into what I'm doing, but there are so many guys currently in the same position as I was back then.
DC: The constant exploitation of fighters by Don King is widely documented but it is suspected by many that exploitation isn't confined to the other side of the Atlantic. Do you encounter many similar scenarios in Britain and Ireland?
BMG: I have to be careful what I say here, I don't want to point fingers at anybody. But to say that exploitation no longer exists in boxing or that it exists only in the US is wrong. It continues to go on, fighters tend to get the short end of the stick sometimes and I wish that weren't the case.
DC: We spoke earlier about Gerald Mc Clellan's fight against Nigel Benn. The tragic injuries sustained by Mc Clellan during this fight re - opened the debate about whether boxing should be banned.....
BMG: Well Mc Clellan isn't the only fighter to be seriously injured in recent years - don't forget Carl Wright, Michael Watson, and Rod Douglas. Having said that, because of the fact that he is blind and his hearing is impaired, Mc Clellan's case is probably the most severe.
DC: What do you think is the way forward for the safety of boxing and how would you answer the abolitionists?
BMG: Well, the abolitionists are completely wrong, and I don't think I need to get into that argument. Boxing is one of the least dangerous contact sports we have. There are so many other sports where contestants are killed and injured. You see jockeys breaking their necks falling off horses, only recently for example the captain of the Welsh rugby team was paralysed - a young man tragically cut down in his prime. All you have to do is ring up St. John's Ambulance or any emergency unit on any given week, and you'll find that a rugby player had their neck broken or their collarbone broken or have cerebral difficulties. My point is that boxing shouldn't be singled out. We all have a right to take part in whatever sport we want, even if there is a risk attached.
As administrators of boxing however, we have an obligation to protect these guys as much as we can. Now, how can we make boxing safer? We can make boxing safer by first of all setting a very high standard for referees. Secondly, we need to have anaestethists ringside rather than just paramedics. This is something we have been fighting for for a very long time, and it hasn't been set in place by the British Boxing Board of Control as yet. It's compulsory in Wales because Wales is a smaller area and the doctor over there, a guy called Ray Moncell, is absolutely fantastic. He has boxing safety down to a fine art: He has anaestethists there in case anything goes wrong The experts are there to administer a general anaestethic, the boxer is put into a controlled coma, he is brought to hospital, they get the job done - bang! This should be made mandatory throughout the country.
They should have anaestethists at every single one of the 350 - odd shows we have per year, and the Board of Control should pay for that. MRI scans have now become compulsory thanks to our hounding the Board of Control, which is a great thing. Monitoring of MRI scans has already been shown to be effective in Robbie Regan's case (Note: Then WBO bantamweight champion Regan was forced to retire earlier this year when he failed an MRI scan). Very sad for poor Robbie, but the guy even accepts it himself - he's at risk and he's not going to take the chance of suffering permanent brain damage. There's now going to be what's called psychometric testing, which means fighters must undergo a psychological test as well as a physical test. This is basically an IQ test where you compete only against yourself, and this will be put in place very soon.
Thanks to the P.B.A. hounding the Board of Control, they have accepted that MRI scans are a necessity and they've accepted psychometric testing. But a regulation which should be imposed also is that no professional boxing should be staged more than 30 minutes away from a neurosurgical hospital. Not all hospitals are neurosurgical, and any neurosurgeon will tell you that the fighter, the athlete, the accident victim, whatever, must get to them within what they call 'the golden hour.' If they don't get there within that hour, they have different degrees of brain damage.
That's what happened to Michael Watson - he was brought to Middlesex hospital, which isn't a neurosurgical hospital, and then he was brought down to St. Bart's, where Dr. Peter Hamilton - who is excellent - operated on him. Dr. Hamilton's expertise basically saved Watson's life, but had Watson been brought to the right hospital first time around the injury would not have been so bad. If the nearest neurosurgical hospital is less than half an hour away, and if the hospital is notified in advance that a boxing show will be taking place on any given evening nearby, then we safeguard the fighters.
In general terms, we need to make the gloves smaller and we need to make the composition of the gloves harder - they should be packed with harder, more dense, shock absorbent foam, maybe even felt, depending on what the experts say. We need to put more focus on the gloves. I did an experiment recently with a girl called Dr. Sandra Bell who developed a computerised head which had a skull in the same shape as a human skull with electrodes attached to the inside of it. The electrodes relayed messages back to a computerised recorder and the inside of the head reacted in exactly the same way as a human head reacts to a punch. I wore four different gloves to see how they differed: Amateur gloves (bigger, more bulbous gloves), smaller gloves, normal professional gloves and Reyes gloves. The results were interesting, but not conclusive unfortunately. The bigger gloves did more deep damage to the brain - they damaged the back of the brain more than the smaller gloves, but the shock from the Reyes gloves to the front of the brain was dramatic in comparison to the amateur gloves. The amateur gloves caused less initial shock but more deep damage. What I'm saying basically is that I think the bigger gloves are actually counterproductive. They do more damage than smaller gloves.
We put a headguard onto the computerised head, and hit it with these big 10 oz. amateur gloves. There was more deep damage to the base of the brain than there was when we took the headguard off. So what does that tell you? We have to concentrate on the content of a boxing glove - this is something which has never been looked at in any great detail.
I'm not an advocate for rounds being shorter and breaks being longer, I think that's wrong. Twelve rounds is certainly short enough - you've got to draw the line somewhere. If we go along with Jose Sullaiman's proposal then world title fights will eventually become shorter as well. I don't want to see the dissipation of boxing, and it will if we go down that road.
DC: Boxing has evolved a lot, even since you retired, and most would say it has evolved for the worse. In your rise to becoming world champion you were forced to meet truly dangerous opponents in order to prove yourself, which is not usually the case today. Are you glad you fought in the era which you did?
BMG: In many ways I am, but from a monetary point of view I wish I were around nowadays. I know I would have made a lot of money, and the fighters are just not as good - certainly in my division. However, there was more validity attached to the title back then thanks to the fact that there were only two titles and a third one which had just appeared and wasn't being taken seriously. We also fought for fifteen rounds. I liked the championship distance, 0I liked the fact that we were only fighting for a couple of titles and I wish boxing would go back to that. I'm not saying that there are no good fighters around nowadays, but there are guys walking around now with world titles that would certainly not have been champions in my day. The way we're going, we'll end up having more fighters with titles than without titles, and it's becoming a joke.
So what I have asked the people at Sky to do is to recognise only four titles (WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO). To hold some of the titles coming out nowadays is less worthy than being called champion of the street. I think it's a disgrace - I can't stand the sight of these guys strutting around emblazoned with their WB-whatever or IB-whatever.
DC: What do you think of the growth of Pay - Per - View and the virtual disappearance of boxing from terrestrial TV over here?
BMG: That's another story, and it's something which concerns me a great deal despite the fact that I work for Sky TV. Sky are the best in the business, and in many ways they've done for boxing what terrestrial TV was never prepared to do. They give boxing time, they show live events on a weekly basis, we have a magazine show every week, and we put on a second boxing show during the week if we feel it's credible. We give fighters the chance to appear on network television every single week. We follow fighters, we do library footage on them, we build up a profile on them, we spend time on fighters and we give the show over completely to boxing. This is unlike terrestrial TV, who would join a fight in round four. We go from start to finish, we believe in boxing, and it has become an integral part of Sky Sports. And say what you like about Sky Sports, they work their asses off. I work with a team of ten guys, and we work like hell to make sure these kids get a chance to make a name for themselves. We give them an opportunity, and all credit to them if they take it.
DC: Were you surprised at the figures released for last year which showed the highest viewing figures for boxing to be not Naz on Sky, but a non - title fight featuring light middleweight Paul Burke which was shown delayed on terrestrial TV?
BMG: Yes, but I think figures can be manipulated. You have to allow for the amount of people in a pub, the amount of guys who would have had their mates around to their houses to watch the fights. I'd like to see boxing back on terrestrial TV, I'd like to see the heads of sport from the terrestrial TV stations taking boxing seriously again. Unfortunately most sports have now disappeared from terrestrial TV and are being shown on satellite TV. Terrestrial stations just weren't prepared to put enough time and money into boxing in the first place. Even in provincial areas, they weren't prepared to help build up the smaller fighters that are the Eubanks, Benns and Naz's of tomorrow.
I can understand why Frank Warren signed up with Sky - the terrestrial stations were putting his shows on at 12 midnight, they weren't giving him any time, and he was becoming increasingly frustrated. I remember talking to the head of sport at the BBC when Wayne (Mc Cullough) was coming along, and I said, "what's going on? What is it with you guys? Why don't you spend some money, give these fighters some time and in no time you'll have a hero again who will be drawing ten, twelve million people." When I fought Pedrosa in 1985 I drew twenty million viewers - think about that, twenty million people. When Eubank was fighting on terrestrial TV he was regularly drawing twelve million people, and when he fought Benn they drew sixteen million. How can TV chiefs say that's not a profitable enterprise?
I made this argument to the head of sport at the BBC, and he said, "well, boxing's not a priority anymore." So I said, "you're making a big mistake." And you know what it was? It wasn't that boxing was no longer a priority, it was that he had already lost it (to Sky). Just like the terrestrial TV stations have lost nearly every other sport. I mean, you can't argue with the big buck, and that's the problem. I know Sky is supposedly going out to only 30% of the TV audience, but I don't believe that and I think people will inevitably come around to buying Sky and it will probably level out at around 45 or 50% of the television audience. It will become cheaper, and terrestrial TV will become so devoid of proper live sports that people of only peripheral interest will have to buy satellite TV to see what's going on. This is a sad dilemma, but it's the reality.
DC: Are you optimistic about the future of boxing given how it has metamorphisised?
BMG: No problem - boxing will always be big time, it will always be huge. People like to watch fellas fighting. It's a violent world out there, and there'll always be voyeurs. People like to see a spectacle and there's no greater spectacle than big-time boxing. And no matter what people say, it's the greatest, most exciting one - on - one sport in the world. Ask Sky TV, they'll tell you: The five biggest audiences they've ever had were for boxing shows.
DC: Mike Tyson is the most famous boxer in the world, and he's been making news for all the wrong reasons. What did you think of his rematch with Holyfield, his suspension by the NASC, his venture into pro wrestling and his recent attempt to cut ties with Don King?
BMG: Well, he should have cut ties with King a long time ago, he should never have signed with him again when he was released from prison. Having said that however, I think King, no matter who he gets involved with, has a stranglehold over them. He doesn't sign short - term contracts, he signs long - term contracts. He's a big player, and you can see the reasons why Tyson would have found it attractive to sign with him. But you can't buy experience - if Tyson had stood back and looked at things from a distance...he was always going to be bigger than Don King, he didn't need King to be massive again. But they got on well together.
Let's take away Don King for a second and talk about Tyson - Tyson was never going to be the same when he got out of prison. To my mind, he was sliding downhill before his incarceration. Even against Razor Ruddock the second time around he looked shabby, he didn't look sharp, he didn't have the head movement or quick combinations and he was relying too much on one big punch. Four years in the slammer wasn't going to do him any good.
He came back to boxing, and saw how desperate the heavyweight division had become - Frank Bruno had become world heavyweight champion! He had a couple of good wins over nondescript opposition and then he ran into Holyfield. Everyone has their bogeyman out there, and I think Holyfield would always have beaten Tyson. He took away his speed - he was just as fast as Tyson. This was the one advantage Tyson had over all these other guys, he has a low centre of gravity. He was extremely powerful, and he was fast. He'd make opponents miss and catch them ten times where normal heavyweights would only counter once or twice. Tyson pounded his opponents from body to head with rapid-fire combinations. That's why Tyson ploughed through most heavyweights, but Holyfield had moved up from light heavyweight to cruiserweight and then to heavyweight and he was just as quick as Tyson. And he wasn't intimidated by him in any way.
That second fight with Holyfield was horrible. What Tyson did in the ring just destroyed people's view of him. Many people were just sickened by it. For me too, I had so much respect for the guy, I never thought he would do something like that. There are unwritten rules within boxing rules, and you just don't step over them. But Tyson broke all the rules that night. He was going to get beaten, and he was going to get beaten in similar fashion to the first time so he got himself disqualified. And it was premeditated - he spat his gumshield out when he came out for the two preceding rounds, and when the referee spotted it he thought, "well, I'll do it with the gumshield in." So he did have it in mind, which I find shocking.
Maybe it's a good thing now he has gotten rid of Rory Holloway and John Horne. I know these guys were just hangers-on. People are blowing his involvement with WWF wrestling out of proportion though, there's nothing wrong with that. It's just a bit of fun - I had fun with motor car racing, and I enjoyed it. Apparently Tyson is a fan of WWF wrestling, but that's all choreography, don't take any of that to heart. I think the real issue is whether he gets his licence back or whether he should be allowed have his licence back.
DC: This is regarded as a foregone conclusion....
BMG: Of course it is, from a financial point of view at least. But don't forget that King will now go out of his way to blacken Tyson's name because of the fact that Tyson is now suing King. King has allegedly taken $45m. off Tyson! I read that he took $9m. from his last fight off the top. The issue of a promoter holding options over fighters is a pivotal one in this case. I spoke to a Boston journalist called Jim Brady last week and he said that options on fighters are illegal in the state of Nevada and the state of New Jersey. But I spoke to Matt Tinley tonight and he says it's more difficult than that - what the promoters use is called a 'personal service contract,' which overrides the options laws. The fighters sign the options and then sign this contract which negates any state legislation.
DC: Do you think Naseem Hamed has the potential to become an all - time great?
BMG: He has the potential to become a very good fighter. But the thing about Naz is that he needs to change his PR man. You know and I know that he doesn't have a PR man, but you know what I'm getting at. He needs to be more humble and less cocky and conceited. But he's a great fighter, and I'm sure he'll go on to become an outstanding fighter. He may jump a division, he may jump two divisions, but because he fights with such recklessness I don't think he can go beyond lightweight.
DC: Can he live with the likes of Gatti and Manfredy?
BMG: He can cope with Gatti because anyone who he's faster than, he will beat. Manfredy is quick, he has a good chin. He's not the most explosive of punchers, but he has a reasonable shot. I don't know if Naz could beat Manfredy, but I think he can beat Gatti because Gatti's very vulnerable and he's slow. He's a heavy-handed guy but he's slow.
DC: From your work with Sky and work within boxing you must have spotted a few young prospects. Who should we look out for in the future from Ireland and the UK?
BMG: Richard Hatton at light welterweight: Exceptionally talented, he's going to be a top fighter; Spencer Oliver is the next big thing over here, he's at super bantamweight*; Richie Evatt is a hard-punching featherweight, he could do well; There's a guy called Scott Henderson from Glasgow who is a very good featherweight; At light welterweight we have Mark Winters who is developing into a very good fighter - he could be European champion, and might even fight for the world title. He lacks a bit of power, but he's a beautiful boxer - good skills and quick hands; Howard Eastman is worth watching at middleweight, he's going to be good; Cathal O' Grady is a good prospect at cruiserweight, although he's still a baby as a professional; Damaen Kelly at flyweight is not a great puncher, but he's a very good thinking boxer. He's very determined, very fit and has great experience from the amateur ranks which will help him as a pro; At heavyweight we have Danny Williams who has a great deal of potential; Wayne Llewlyn is also a big, tough heavyweight; Michael Sprott is another heavyweight coming through. The only reservation I have about him though is that 217lbs. is a little light for a heavyweight, and maybe he's not rugged enough.
DC: Wayne Mc Cullough is another fighter from Northern Ireland who has been compared to you a lot. Do you think he can pick up the pieces of his career and regain a world title?
BMG: I think he can, but he needs to get on with it.
DC: Who would you go out of your way to watch fighting?
BMG: Ricardo Lopez; De La Hoya against Trinidad; Roy Jones Jr. against any cruiserweight, preferably a good one. I'd like to see him clean up the light heavyweights first though, and despite what people say I think he can go on to fight Holyfield. The other guys may be too big at heavyweight, but I think Holyfield will suit him because he's quick, and he's the sort of guy who is going to give Holyfield trouble.
DC: Are you happy in your current role as boxing analyst and columnist, and do you have any more exciting projects coming up?
BMG: I am very happy in what I'm doing. Because my wee girl's not well, I don't want to stray too far away. I'd like to get another role in a show on terrestrial TV, I think I have more to offer than just my boxing knowledge. However, I love boxing and I love doing what I do. The ultimate job is to do what you enjoy and get paid for it. I have that, and please God it will continue.
We wish Barry continued success in his career and his vital role as President of the P.B.A., and we thank him for giving up his time to speak to the Cyber Boxing Journal.
* This interview was conducted before Spencer Oliver sustained the well - publicised injury which will sadly prevent him from fighting again.
"A Hall of a Good Time" the fourth annual Hall of Fame report.
by Dave IameleThis year, the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) had a tough act to follow with 97ís induction of Sugar Ray Leonard and Don King. When 98ís inductees were announced as Lou Duva, Mathew Saad Muhammad, Miquel Canto and Antonio Cervantes, it seemed like this year might be one of the Hallsís "off" years. Although all the inductees were great boxing stars, there were no super stars of the Ray Leonard, Don King, Ali class of last year.
But my mind was put to rest when I received my mailing from the hall of the list of attending guests. Old favorites and frequent returning boxers included:Archie Moore Marvelous Marvin Hagler Carmen Basilio Aaron Pryor Gene Fullmer Alexis Argello Joey Giardello Ken Norton Willie Pep Ruben Olivares Emile Griffith Gerry Cooney Carlos Ortiz Buddy McGirt Bob Foster Joe Frazier Billy Backus Arthur Mercante Jose Torres Emanuel Steward Floyd Patterson Kevin Kelly Eddie Futch Sean OíGrady Tracy Harris Patterson
Along with:Lou Duva Arturo Gatti Christy Martin Matthew Saad Muhammad David Reid Felix Trinidad Miquel Canto Mark Breland Johnny Tapia Antonio Cervantes Beau Jack Danny Aiello as Parade Grand Marshall
With this impressive list of boxers, plus movie star, Danny Aiello, it appeared as if the Hall pulled out all stops to make this yearís celebration bigger and better than ever. There was some disappointment as some fighters couldnít make it including 98í inductee, Cervantes and guests Ė Arturo Gotti, Willie Pep, David Reid and Sean OíGrady but this was countered by guests of Lou Duva Ė David "The Terminator" Tua and Pernel "Sweet Pea" Whitaker!
I arrived Thursday afternoon with my friend and fellow boxing fan/cigar enthusiast, Larry Krauss, in plenty of time for the opening ceremony. This is the official kick-off to the four days of festivities and is usually attended by a few of the "old timers" that are early bird arrivals and (if youíre lucky) one inductee or a current boxing celebrity.
This year, attending the opening ceremony were Lou Duva, Hector "Macho" Camacho, Carmen Basilio, Eddie Futch, Joe Frazier and Tracy Harris Patterson. I was impressed already. This was the most boxing personalities I can remember on hand from the get-go.
After the opening ceremony, it was time for a little livation at the local watering hole, Grazianoís, which is the unofficial hangout of everyone "in the know". Before the start of the welcome cookout, I snapped a couple of photos of Larry with Johnny Tapia and we enjoyed a couple of area favorite Basilio/Buda Italian style sausage sandwiches with all the fixinís. Also on hand at the cook-out were Ė Jose Torres, Aaron Pryor, Carlos Ortiz, Christy Martin, Arthur Mercante and probably more I didnít catch in the throng. After hanging out for a couple of hours, we returned to Grazianoís for a couple of quick night caps before retiring early (itís a long weekend!) and I had Mark Breland autograph a Polaroid of him and me that Larry had snapped for me. If the rest of my trip was going to be as enjoyable as my first day, I was in for a great time!
I arrived in Canastota on a rainy Friday morning and after having breakfast at the local diner, I met up with my crew Ė Joe "Canastota" and Joe "B". We went to the Hall and grabbed a couple of autographs and listened to a couple of "ringside talks" with Buddy McGirt and Lou Duva. The rain was coming down pretty good so we headed over to Grazianoís for a couple of cold ones and to smoke a couple of cigars. I learned soon after arriving that Johnny Tapia was going to be leaving shortly because he had just been notified about a fight scheduled for him in early July and he wanted to get back into training. Because Tapia is a personal favorite of mine I had requested an interview with him via fax about a month prior to his arrival and Johnny and his wife Teresa had graciously agreed to do it. Now I was worried I wouldnít get my chance! But the Tapiaís made time for the interview before they left. They are both super people and they have my thanks for being so accommodating.
After the interview, I had a great (as usual) dinner at Grazianoís and a couple of brews and a stogie or two before meeting my lovely wife at the Turning Stone Casino Resort a few miles down the road in Oneida, NY for a boxing card headlined by "Macho" Camacho. Our seats were great (thanks to Mark Emmery). In the main event, Hector pummeled the game but out gunned Tommy Smalls of W. Virginia till his face was a bloody mess and the referee finally stopped the mismatch. The bouts on the card were nothing compelling but for the first pro card here, it was a good start and appreciated by the local boxing fans who filled the outdoor tent and cheered and booed enthusiastically throughout. While at the bout, I snapped a nice Polaroid of Lou Duva with his young heavyweight charge, David Tua, and I handed it to David to sign. I was going to have Lou sign it also but when Tua handed it back he had written over the entire white portion of the photo! He asked if I would snap another picture of him and Lou for himself, and I happily complied. After the bout, Joe Frazier and the knockouts entertained fans with Joeís vocal stylings of "Mustang Sally" and other songs. Later at Grazianoís, Joe joined local talent for a couple of quick numbers as Matthew Saad, Buddy McGirt, Burt Sugar, Kevin Kelly and lots of boxing fans danced the night away. Kevin Kelly signed a "KO close-up" poster of himself for me to cap-off another great day at the hall.
Saturday I arrived in town with my brother, Joe, and we began our day at the Boxing Collectibleís show at the local school. I purchased a nice "Lewis vs. Briggs" cap for a reasonable $10.00. Saturday evening, the Hall puts on a VIP cocktail party ($50.00) and a banquet of championís ($100.00) but being that we didnít want to part with our hard earned dough, we sat out the lousy weather at Grazianoís putting a few away and having a few smokes. Before and after the events, many of the fighters were on the scene relaxing and having a good time visiting with the many fans from all over the world, signing autographs and posing for photos. Alexis Arguello, Aaron Pryor, M.S.M., Miquel Canto, Ruben Olivares, Gerry Cooney, Carmen Basilio, Emile Griffith, Bob Foster, Kevin Kelly and more were on hand at various times. This is what makes the Hall of Fame weekend so special, being able to mix with your ring favorites and meeting all the great fans from across the US and also from such far away locals as Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Japan, England, Australia and many more. We stayed late into the night as the partying was fast and fierce with boxers and fans a like drinking, smoking, dancing and just having an all around good time.
On Sunday morning, I got a couple of autographs from MSM and Aaron Pryor before the parade of champions through Canastota. This year, my wife was involved in the parade as a friend of our family, Paula Waffle, was this yearís Miss Madison County and Malonie acted as her chaperone. This was great for me as she got all the fighters in the parade to sign this yearís induction program for me (thanks, hon!).
After the parade, everyone headed to the Hall for the Induction Ceremony where this yearís class was honored. After all the local-yokels did their bit, this years Grand Marshall, Danny Aiello, talked about his love for boxing and how many of the great fighters he had grown up watching were gathered here today together. He mentioned how he got up at 5:00 a.m. to drive up from NYC to be here for his close friend, Lou Duvaís induction. Lou Duva mentioned that he wanted to remembered not as a great trainer like Eddie Futch and Emanuel Steward (who were both present) but as, "a guy who fought for his fighters" and expressed his amusement at being inducted in as a non-participant, "Non-participant? Can you imagine me in a fight and Iím a non-participant? Thatís unbelievable!Ö", said the bombastic fight guy. Matthew Saad Muhammad gave a moving speech and seemed a little overwhelmed by the honor as he thanked everyone even his parents who he said, "Ö made me and then they erased me Ö". (Before becoming light heavyweight champion, Matthew was an orphan from Philadelphia who was named after Saint Matthew and Franklin for the street he was found on before he changed his last name from Franklin to Saad Muhammad).
Miquel Canto made a short speech from his heart and said he was happy to be inducted but wasnít sure if he deserved it (he done!).
Antonio Cervantes could not be present due to what one Hall insider told me were "legal" problems.
After the Induction ceremony I gave a cigar to Danny Aiello, who thanked me graciously but said he wasnít a smoker but would give it to a friend. I congratulated Lou Duva and Miquel and Matthew and headed back to Grazianoís for one last meal and a couple of cold ones and a good cigar or two. This is one of the best times to get any autographs or photos that are still needed, and I got Joe Frazier to sign his autobiography for me. I also got some photos with Ruben Olivares and Miquel Canto. Most of the mob is gone by this time and Bob Foster, Joe Frazier, Canto, Olivares, Ken Norton and Gerry Cooney were all around and very generous with the fans that were still there.
One suggestion to the Hall of Fame: Donít increase the number of events scheduled during this weekend! Accessibility is one of the great things about the Hall that fans and reporters enjoy, any extra events would put added pressure on the boxing personalities to be elsewhere than visiting and unwinding from their rigorous weekend schedule.
So, if you are a fight fan and would like a chance to meet some of the great fighters, get pictures, autographs, or just talk boxing over a cold beer (or soda), come to Canastota in June for the Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. You wonít be sorry, Iíve been going now for over five years and have never had a bad time. You can contact the Hall by calling (315) 697-7095.
Thanks to: Larry Krauss, Lars Tetens, Bob Smith, Malonie, Paula, Ed Brophy and the entire Hall of Fame staff, Tony Graziano, and all the fighters Ė especially Johnny Tapia and Matthew Saad Muhammad.
The Hall of Fame and other Boxing Businesses
by PusboilThree years ago I made my inaugural trip to Canastota, New York, to the Boxing Hall of Fame. As you may have read in our January 1998 edition, I was taken aback by the trip.
This year I returned, and just like boxing things have changed. I saw far fewer fighters and other boxing professionals. I saw quite a few people who thought they were involved but obviously were not. The biggest difference I saw was in the Memorabilia Show on Saturday. More vendors selling things for prices that would boggle the mind.
The prices I was quoted for items floored me. There was a book with some great boxing photos in it put out by HBO. I first saw it outside the hall in front of an autographed Ray Leonard glove. I asked the lady behind the table how much the book was. She told me I had to buy the glove for $100 and Iíd get the book for free. Then I saw the book inside at the Memorabilia show by itself and the price I was quoted for the book ALONE was $75. So I did the math and figured Rayís autograph was worth $25, the fairest price I had seen for anything.
There also was a poster from George Foremanís infamous Toronto Five exhibition. Being a fan of Big George, I inquired as to the price. $900. I would like to apologize to the gentleman who was standing next me to when I was told this price. I think I may have broken his foot with my falling jaw.
My friend the neanderslob who I wrote about in my last report was back too. God how I missed him. He had even more crap this year. There were a lot of respectable vendors who were trading or selling things at decent prices. But the few who were obviously not fans of boxing and just making a dime off of it, were well represented.
The amount of people that were wearing MGM Grand, Showtime, WBU and other jackets was amazing. One guy I saw was wearing his MGM Grand jacket inside the hotel for over two hours. Guess he must be important. I on the other hand wore a simple t-shirt that said "Cat, the other white meat". It was a big hit with a couple of blackjack dealers. By the way, I believe Blackjack should be an official school course, with itís name being "Ass-Whipping 101". God knows I spent enough time taking this class.
Let me preface anything further I say about my trip. My trip was originally planned as simply a Hall of Fame excursion. Well, I had a lot of crap in my head the few weeks leading up to the trip and it primarily became just a place to get away, and boxing really became a secondary thing to do while up there.
I believe that Ed Brophy and the rest of the IBHOF staff do a wonderful job in putting together the weekend. I saw a lot of volunteers that were helping out with things and the atmosphere overall was great. But due to other circumstances, I guess it just wasnít the same for me the second time around.
There was less of what I wanted to see and more of what I couldnít stand. The person I saw the most of was Hector Camacho. He was everywhere. I was afraid to go in the bathroom at my hotel, because I thought he might pop out of my shower. I found it particularly amusing that at 10:30 in the evening, when I went down to the casino to pay my dues, I see Hector and his cronies hanging out in the lobby.
The next morning I go down to the restaurant to have breakfast, and there is Hector on the phone at the maitre dí table where Iím waiting to be seated. Real low profile kind guy. If I heard the phrase "Macho Time" one more time, I would have thrown up.
The other person who I saw the most was Lou Duva, a 1998 inductee. Now Iíll admit Iím no fan of Lou when heís in the ring, his antics are right up there with the Acaries Bros. One of my funniest memories of Lou, is watching him charge across the ring at Roger Mayweather, during his bout with Louís fighter, Vinny Pazienza. You see this big mob of people and out comes Lou with blood trickling down his face. But outside the ring, Lou is probably one of boxingís best people. He really cares for the fighters in his stable. Heís a funny guy who knows his boxing, and really gives a damn about the sport. We could use a few more like Lou.
There were some really good moments too. I met Eddie Futch at the hall grounds, super guy Eddie is. But man did he look every day as old as he is. Canít believe this guy has been in boxing as long as he has. More power to him.
Other notables were Joe Frazier, Arthur Mercante Sr., Billy Soose, Johnny Tapia, Mark Breland, Marvis Frazier and Ruben Olivares.
But compared to my trip three years ago, it paled in comparison. Boxing now is a mere shadow of itís former self.
It seems that boxing is in a downward spiral.
Watching the fights now, I see things I canít believe. We also donít get to see the fights we should. Look over the last five to ten years and think of all the bouts that were supposed to happen but never did.
Bowe-Lewis, Holyfield-Tyson circa 1991, I know Holyifeld and Tyson have fought since but imagine that fight when it was originally scheduled. Other bouts include any of the current welter kings against Oscar De La Hoya.
What passes now for a pay-per-view card is unbelievable. Lou Savarese vs. Buster "Somebody pass me a pizza" Douglas is a pay-per-view headliner?? I donít think so. Weíre talking Tuesday Night Fights at best.
All the big press boxing has gotten lately has been about the dark side of the sport. Shannon Briggsí ridiculous decision over Foreman, the whole Tyson fiasco, and most recently Julio Cesar Chavezí refusal to take a post-fight drug test. Boxing is not usually a place where you find beautiful things to write about, but hell, itís gotta be better than this.
I miss the days of watching the fights and seeing respectable people performing their craft. I miss fighters like Marlon Starling, Marvin Hagler, the younger J.C. Chavez and others who fought their hearts out and win or lose were still champions.
Today all the matters to fighters is not whose in the ring with them, but which dead presidents are filling their bank accounts. Old time fighters like Willie Pep, Sandy Saddler and Sugar Ray Robinson would fight the same guy again and again to see who was the best. Sure they got paid but it wasnít the particular reason they fought an opponent.
We used to have elimination matches, now we have step aside money. We used to have a world champion, now we have a dozen or so at last count. Whoever thought this would benefit boxing was wrong. How may world champions do we have to have at a certain weight before every fight is a title fight ?
There used to be the fighter and his cornermen in the ring for introductions. Now we have the Hamed lightshow only rivaled by watching Pink Floydís laser show at the Hayden Planetarium stoned out of our minds. We have entourageís that are bigger then Presidential security staff and Yory Boy Campas had some chicken head wearing dumbass shaking a rattle to chase bad spirits out of the ring this year.
We used to see title fights on broadcast TV on the weekend. Then we moved to ESPN and USA. Then onto HBO and Showtime. Now any group of guys can get a three letter acronym with a B in the middle and we have to shell money to see it on pay-per-view. Who the hell is the IBA??
I guess I have gotten a little cynical about boxing. When the Ol' Spit Bucket, our Machiavellian manipulator of an editor, GorDoom, lets you know youíre cynical, you can rest assured you are. Who would know better??
A SMORGASBORD OF SUMMER BOXING THOUGHTS
by Randy GordonIt's nice to see Vinny Pazienza back with Foxwoods, where he had such a great relationship. Vinny was a fixture at the gaming giant since its opening in 1992. However, a battle with their tribal infrastructure in 1994 led to his departure from the property, and neither of the two men who headed Foxwoods' boxing department over the next three years (Bobby Young and yours truly) were allowed to do much more than say hello to Paz without enraging the finicky tribal hierachy. However, now that tribal member Thomas "The Whip" Whipple is in charge of the boxing department, what could they say to Whipple when he began dealing with both Paz and his promoter, Art Pelullo (another formerly-banned boxing subject recently re-instated by the horrible Mashantucket Pequot Boxing Commission)? They could say nothing, not to Big Tom. So, both Pelullo and Paz are back, and it's great to see, because it's good for boxing in the area. Now, just let Paz survive a bout against Glenwood Brown on July 26 at Foxwoods. Should Paz win, a natural money-maker at Foxwoods would then be a rematch of Paz against Dana Rosenblatt. That one will fill the Foxwoods Bingo Hall and be a winner all the way around. Way to go, "Whip."
Didn't know this and I find it interesting, but Vinny Paz' July 26 date on ESPN was, incredibly, the Pazmanian Devil's first appearance on that network. My first feeling was, "Nah, it can't be!" But then, when I thought about it, it made sense. Paz spent his early years fighting on NBC, then flip-flopped between a lot of dates on USA and a few on Pay-Per-View.
Top Rank's east coast matchmaker Ron "The Attitude" Katz was recently in a pushing, yelling, obscenity-filled near-brawl with nice guy cornerman Miguel Diaz. I wasn't there to see it, but know three eyewitnesses who were. Each tell me that in the minute or so the fight lasted (before it was broken up), Diaz got off to a blazing start, overwhelming and out-shouting the bigger, much-heavier, loud-mouthed and short-fused Katz.
Herb Goldman recently and incorrectly answered a question in his IBD. The question was, "Who is today's oldest active referee?" Herb answered with "Arthur Mercante Sr., who is 76." Close, but no cigar, Herb. If you listen to Arthur (he tells people he's younger), then he indeed is 76...or 75...or 74...depending on the day you ask him. In actuality, the Hall-of-Fame ref will be 80 in January.
Pedro Fernandez is doing such a fine job with his radio show, "Ring Talk," which can be heard every Sunday night on stations across the country. It's so refreshing to hear Pedro, rather than read some of the negative drivvle which so many of today's group of so-called boxing writers produce...Speaking of boxing writers, the best boxing-related story I've read this year was turned in by Boston's Ron Borges at the end of June. It really was a touching story about a sensitive young man named Riddick Bowe and how boxing made him--and eventually broke him into little pieces.
I am among the many who think Bert Sugar is doing a magnificent job with his new "Fight Game" magazine. With Steve Farhood now spearheading Sugar's "Budweiser Ratings," the magazine will undoubtedly become the Rolls Royce of boxing magazines.
There's a lot of eye-popping, head-shaking things going on and being said in boxing. Some of it I believe, some of it I don't. Here now are a few of the things which I'll be shaking my head over through much of the summer.
I DON'T BELIEVE:
Mike Tyson's people have even mentioned Joe Bugner as a future opponent.
The Oscar de la Hoya-Julio Cesar Chavez fight will actually happen.
That if it does take place, it will be the mega-event Bob Arum says--and hopes-- it will!
Christy Martin still won't talk about facing Lucia Rijker in what is a more-talked about fight than virtually any bout between two men (with the exception of Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis).
How suddenly Michael Grant has developed into "the future heavyweight champion."
How I find The Ring so bland without Steve Farhood at the helm.
That the asking price for the gloves Roberto Duran wore in his title-winning fight against Ken Buchanan is $15,000.
That Roberto Duran is still fighting.
That George Foreman is still fighting.
That Larry Holmes is still fighting.
That James "Bonecrusher" Smith is still fighting.
That Joe Bugner is still fighting.
That any commission will ever license Simon Brown to fight again.
That USA's "Tuesday Night Fights" are really going off the air very soon.
That another network won't pick up the "TNF" and continue where USA left off.
How much Cedric Kushner can eat!!!
That Roger Maris and Babe Ruth's records will be around much longer (I know this is non-boxing related, but admit, many of us are watching and counting!).
Okay, now that I got all that out of the way, I feel better. Check out that second item, the one about Oscar de la hoya-J.C. Chavez. Before Julio "Crybaby's" fight at Foxwoods back in June I thought it might turn into an interesting battle, but when I saw him in the ring that night I knew it was over. Oscar will be an overwhelming favorite in September. Not even the most diehard Chavez fans will waste many pesos betting on their terribly-faded hero, no matter how lopsided the odds. He stood no chance in good shape. He stands less chance now!
Up above, I was going to put in my "I Can't Believe" about heavyweight Larry Donald bolting from his longtime managers, Steve Nelson and Bob Mittleman, for Carl and Don King. But then, yes I can believe it. DK still has tremendous influence inside the WBC & WBA, and promised Larry "I'm Just Another Muhammad Ali Wannabe" Donald a number one rating if he bolted. So, the ultra-"tough" Donald, who was once bitch-slapped at a press conference by Riddick Bowe and merely stood there and whimpered, now finds himself atop the world's heavyweight and awaiting a shot at a title. Heaven help us all!
From what I've seen of him as a pro, I am ready to rank Shane Mosley in with today's top Pound-for-Pound fighters...Pernell Whitaker has successfully cleaned up his act and is ready to resume his career. You've got to wonder what skills remain inside the once-amazingly-talented "Sweet Pea."
Kudos to Brian Demorest, one of the best young trainers out there. Unsung Demorest, who works the corners of many of the boxers of manager Stan Hoffman, will one day be regarded as one of the game's elite trainers. Boxing needs more young trainers like him.
I really wish Roy Jones Jr. had two or three opponents who could test him and take him to the limit in a great fight, then do it again in a rematch. Unfortunately, I don't see any such opponents out there. By the way. Many of you laughed a few months back at a Roy Jones-Buster Douglas fight. Are you laughing now?
Look for Prince Naseem Hamed, who is recovering from an injured hand, to lace Ďem up again in late October. Speculation is that he'll be fighting at Cashman Field--the 12,000 seat ballpark in Las Vegas--home of the Las Vegas Stars. No opponent has been chosen, though it'll probably be somebody along the line of a Marco Antonio Barrera.
I still wish we had a Federal Boxing Commission. My vote would go to Nevada's Marc Ratner to head the commission. Pennsylvania's Greg Sirb is another fine choice.
Well, fight buffs, it's about time for me to head off to the gym. Enjoy the rest of the summer. I'll be close by my computer at all times, so e-mail me any time you want at RANMAN6582.
See ya' in September.
THE ALL-TIME MIDDLEWEIGHT TOURNAMENT (including Junior Middleweights)
by Thomas GerbasiFIRST ROUND
SUGAR RAY ROBINSON W15(U) Dick Tiger
ROY JONES JR. TKO12 Randy Turpin
GENE FULLMER W15(U) Tony Ayala Jr
BENNIE BRISCOE KO15 John Mugabi
MARVIN HAGLER W15(U) Nino Benvenuti
CARMEN BASILIO W15(U) Thomas Hearns
JAMES TONEY KO15 Stanley Ketchel
CARLOS MONZON W15(U) Tony Zale
KID MC COY TKO4 Maurice Hope
CHARLIE BURLEY TKO4(cuts) Jake LaMotta
MARCEL CERDAN W15(S) Emile Griffith
HARRY GREB W15(U) Rocky Graziano
SUGAR RAY LEONARD W15(U) Tommy Gibbons
LES DARCY KO3 Ayub Kalule
BILLY PAPKE TKO13 Terry Norris
MICKEY WALKER TKO7(swelling) Rodrigo Valdez
SUGAR RAY ROBINSON TKO11 Gene Fullmer
ROY JONES JR TKO7 Bennie Briscoe
CARMEN BASILIO W15(S) Marvin Hagler
CARLOS MONZON W15(U) James Toney
KID MC COY W15(S) Charlie Burley
MICKEY WALKER TKO7 Marcel Cerdan
HARRY GREB KO4 Billy Papke
SUGAR RAY LEONARD W15(U) Les Darcy
SUGAR RAY ROBINSON VS. CARMEN BASILIO
After vanquishing old foe Gene Fullmer in the second round, Sugar Ray looked to add another to his list in Carmen Basilio, who was coming off an upset win over Marvin Hagler. Robinson wasted no time, peppering Basilio with a constant flurry of lefts and rights. Carmen looked lost, but he found his way late in the second, as a looping left caught Sugar on the point of the chin, sending him down for a four count. Ray bounced back in the next round, opening a gash over Basilioís right eye and prompting the fans to call for a stoppage. Carmen showed the heart of a lion though, continuing to come forward and take punishment. Finally, in the 11th, Basilioís legs gave out and he went down for a nine count. He staggered up, but it was just a matter of time. Robinson continued to tee off until referee Ruby Goldstein pulled Ray off the battered Basilio at 1:12 of the 12th. ROBINSON TKO12(swelling) Basilio
ROY JONES JR. VS. KID McCOY
Youíve got to give McCoy credit. He knew he was overmatched, so he had a plan of his own. He ran out, clinched and started to maul Jones. The ref warned the Kid for a low blow and for holding and hitting, and Jones looked confused. But the second was a different story. Jones pounded McCoy from long range, and the ref stopped stopped it at the 2:54 mark. JONES JR. TKO2 McCoy
CARLOS MONZON VS. MICKEY WALKER
The lanky Monzon dropped the short Walker within seconds of the opening bell for an 8 count, and the fans expected a quick ending, but Mickey survived the round. Monzon seemed to be a bit lazy in the next two rounds, and Walker stole them, in the process landing some solid blows. By the ninth, it was obvious that the Toy Bulldog was outworking Monzon and winning the fight. But a lightning fast right changed things quickly. Walker didnít have the size to hold off Monzon, and by the 2 minute mark, Arthur Mercante wisely stepped in. MONZON TKO9 Walker
HARRY GREB VS. SUGAR RAY LEONARD
Grit vs. Glitz. Leonard came out dancing and talking to the stoic Greb, who gave away the first round. In the second, Greb got even, clutching Ray, hitting him low, and opening a cut under his left eye. Leonard tried to stick to his game plan, but Greb had goaded him into a brawl, much like Roberto Duran had done in Montreal in 1980. Both fighters had their moments, but by the seventh Greb had turned Leonardís eyes into swollen slits. After the round, Angelo Dundee stopped the fight, all the while protesting that the swelling was caused by Grebís dirty tactics. GREB TKO7(swelling) Leonard
HARRY GREB VS. SUGAR RAY ROBINSON
Sugar Ray definitely watched the film of the Greb-Leonard match, as Robinson refused to be drawn into a brawl with Greb. Harry taunted Ray, but only received a gash over his eye for his trouble. Greb finally caught up to Ray in the eighth and scored some big blows, but wound up losing the round due to his usage of an open glove. This classic matchup continued to be entertaining, if one-sided, and Sugar Ray won a hard earned unanimous decision. ROBINSON W15(U) Greb
ROY JONES JR. VS. CARLOS MONZON
While Robinson was expected to outlast Greb, the board in Vegas had this one as "pick-em". Monzon stunned the crowd and Jones, by opening the fight on the offensive, almost dropping a hurt Jones on a couple of occasions. Jones got his legs back under him in the second, and once again, a lazy Monzon allowed Roy to take the lead. Monzon hit the floor in the fifth, and it looked like it might be over, but he survived the onslaught. Carlos seemed to have lost his timing, but he regained it in the eighth as both men went toe to toe. But it was Monzonís last stand. Exhausted, he was dropped twice in the twelfth, the second time for a count of ten. JONES JR. KO12 Monzon
FINAL - UNDISPUTED ALL-TIME MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
SUGAR RAY ROBINSON VS. ROY JONES JR.
Once again, Vegas couldnít pick a favorite for this fight, and for the first five minutes it was dead even, boxing at its best. Then Jones dropped Sugar for a 6 count and the crowd hushed...is Jones this good? The answer was yes for the next four rounds, as Roy continually got off first and drilled Robinson. But Jonesí ego got the best of him, as Ray mounted his comeback offensive. Round after round, Robinson rallied, and by the 14th, it was anybodyís fight. Well, Sugar Ray showed his experience and true greatness, winning the final two frames handily, and winning a close but unanimous decision. Your winner and ALL-TIME MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION...SUGAR RAY ROBINSON!!!
"Sugar" Shane Mosley - IBF Lightweight Champion
Interview conducted by Thomas GerbasiTG - Let me get the most important question out of the way. How was it working on a video game (EA Sports' Knockout Kings)?
SM - It was fun. I had fun with those little balls they put on, the motion sensors. We went down there and they picked up a lot of my moves for other fighters as well as mine. And then we had that EA function in May and I got a chance to play myself against a lot of different people and I had fun.
TG - Did you win?
SM - Basically I won all of them. I lost to my fiancee, but that was the only one. She beat me up.
TG - The three fighters being marketed with the game are Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar DeLa Hoya, and yourself. How does it feel to be put in with those guys?
SM - It's very exciting. I always thought that one day I'm gonna be right there where people recognize me as a great fighter, pound for pound, and my dreams are coming true. And here I am.
TG - Describe your fighting style to someone who had never seen you fight before?
SM - Me and my father, we like to call it "Power Boxing", because we fight at a certain level where if the guy can't keep up to the tempo that I'm at then he's going to fall to the wayside, and he's gonna get knocked out or stopped. And then if he maintains that, then I just step it up a step higher, and go to the next level. It's basically boxing real hard. Throwing a lot of crisp, sharp punches hard and fast.
TG - What kind of training regimen do you have to go through to maintain that pace?
SM - My father is very uptempo, and I've always been energetic since I was younger, so what we do is just max out the workout. When I'm working out I work out real hard and fast. I make sure all my punches are accurate and strong. If I work out that way, then I'm going to fight that way. I think that has a lot to do with how you fight. If you work out a certain way, you know, you work out easy and stuff, then when you get to the fight your muscles respond that way. You might start off kind of fast, but then you slow down to the tempo that you normally work out at. I try to work out at a fast tempo.
TG - You've been fighting since you were eight years old. Do you feel that you're risking burnout after all these fights, pro and amateur?
SM - Well, I love the sport so much, so I don't think I'll burn out. But, I am getting older. Well, I'm 26, I'm not that old (laughs). I feel that as far as my boxing career is concerned, I feel old for a boxer, yet my age is young, and that's because I've been there so long. But I love the sport so much that it's hard to leave. I don't think I'll get burned out that quickly. I think it will be ten more years before I might start showing the wear and tear.
TG - So you think you've got another ten years in the ring?
SM - Yeah, about another ten years.
TG - Do you feel that you've missed out on some of your teenage years because of boxing?
SM - Oh no. I had a lot of fun as a teen. Right now, I have buddies in New York that lived out in California with me, and they'll be at the fight. Everytime I fight we have a reunion, because I fought my last three fights out here in the East. So every time I fight either in Connecticut, Atlantic City, or right now, Philadelphia, they come out and support me. And then after the fight we have fun and we reminisce.
TG - Ever since you've been fighting on the east coast, you've seen your recognition level rise among the average boxing fan. Do you attribute this to being in the East?
SM - Definitely. The east coast has the great promoters. You have great writers. There are more writers covering boxing on the east coast that FOLLOW boxing. On the west coast you have more of the Latino writers, and it's kind of hard if you're not Latino. It's hard because that's all they cover. So out here I get a lot of coverage and a lot of respect. I feel at home, and I come to the east coast all the time. About a year ago I stayed out here with my friends a little bit, and we went to all the beaches, I just had fun in the summer. I had a ball out here.
TG - So I guess we'll be seeing more of you.
SM - Oh yeah. Definitely.
TG - Is it harder for you to get motivated for a smaller fight like this one against Ruiz?
SM - Yeah, I think it's kind of hard because sometimes you look past the fighter that you're getting ready to fight. And then when you get into the ring it's like, this guy's really trying to win the title, he's not just coming to sit in. So sometimes it's hard. But I've always trained hard, and I've been training hard. I'm just ready to get in there and fight this fight. Look the best I can possibly look, fight the best fight I can possibly fight, and then enjoy some of my summer (laughs).
TG -What did it do to you mentally to see both Orzubek Nazarov and Stevie Johnston lose their recent fights?
SM - It was weird. Nazarov, I had seen him once, and he's supposed to be this big, explosive Russian, tearing down walls, and then he loses to Jean Baptiste Mendy. Okay. So now I'm like, well, maybe he's not that good, cause Steve Johnston beat Mendy. And then Steve on the other hand comes, and he doesn't look like he's mentally into that fight, though it could have gone either way, and he allows Cesar Bazan to get a decision off of him. So it's like what's going on here? And that kind of makes me worried for my fight (laughs). I wonder what kind of hocus pocus is gonna go on here? But I trained very well and right now I'm focused and I'm just ready to get in there and do my stuff.
TG - Angel Manfredy said in a recent interview with the CBZ that Wilfrido Ruiz was one of the hardest punchers he ever faced.
SM - He kind of has a style like Demetrio Ceballos. Actually, Demetrio might be a little bit stronger than him, I think, but it could go either way. This guy is a comer, and he likes to throw those body shots. I just think that I'm probably too strong for him. I am too fast for him. And the footwork will probably give him a lot of trouble. I notice that when Manfredy did a lot of moving he threw the guy off. Especially moving to the right, because he likes to wing the left hooks. It's gonna be a rough night. I watched the tape and I know that he's open for a lot of right hands.
TG - Are you just being nice when you say it's going to be a rough night?
SM - Well, it's gonna be a rough night for him (laughs). I'm gonna have fun. I'm in shape, I'm ready to go, I'm ready to have some fun.
TG - Has it been difficult for you to get fights lately?
SM - It's starting to look like the Roy Jones thing, and I'm like, I really don't want it like that. I want to be able to fight somebody. Frankly, I want to be able to make some money (laughs). Seriously, I need to get those good fights, so I can be better noticed around the world.
TG - Arturo Gatti?
SM - That would be a great fight. I like that one. I've been asking for it.
TG - Angel Manfredy?
SM - Me and Manfredy are buddies, but if they pay the right money I don't see why not. (pauses) That's a fight I would take on business.
TG - Do you see yourself staying at 135?
SM - Now that's the problem. I could fight at 140 and you really couldn't tell, but 135, I'm trying to stay there as long as I can to get all I can out of the lightweight division. If there's nothing there, I'll probably have to move up to 140. I'd like to fight for the 140 title, moving straight up from lightweight to the title. I can fight Miguel Angel Gonzalez or Chavez or one of these guys.
TG - Would 140 be it for you, or would you go even higher?
SM - Well, if I'm in it for ten years, who knows, you might see me at 154 (laughs). Then the 2004 Olympic team will beat up on me.
TG - So you don't forsee staying another year at 135 to possibly wait for Prince Naseem Hamed?
SM - Another year at lightweight for Hamed? Oh man, that would be hard. But if he moves up to 135, I'd probably have to take that.
TG - What do you think of him?
SM - He's a good fighter, but I think that if he takes a jump that big to come up and fight me, I'd have to take that victory.
TG - Do you have any fears in the ring (injuries, etc)?
SM - I don't fear that I'll have any long term damage. I think that I take care of my body very well. I don't get into the ring high, or on drugs or whatever, cause that can mess up you up mentally. I think that a lot of people that do that, there's more pressure on their brain and they just go over the edge. A lot of that happens to fighters when they do that. But some fighters, they just take too many punches, period.
TG - "Sugar". Where did that come from?
SM - It came from when I was younger and working in the local gym. I was very fast and quick footed, I moved around the ring very well, and they just started calling me "Sugar". "Sugar, Sugar". First they were calling me "Sugar Ray", and then they said " No, no, 'Sugar Shane' it sounds good." And I was nicknamed "Sugar" Shane ever since.
TG - You met Sugar Ray Robinson at one of your early fights. What was that like?
SM - I met Sugar Ray Robinson when I was like ten or eleven. It was great. I'm not sure if he was sick, because it was kind of hard for him to write autographs back then. His wife was with him all the time. But it was great meeting a legend. He got the name started "Pound for Pound". I sat there and we talked, I talked to his wife, and he enjoyed the fights that were in Chino that day. I had fun.
TG - You've been getting compared to Robinson, to Roberto Duran, and Roy Jones has called you the greatest lightweight of all-time. How does it feel when you hear that?
SM - It feels good. Knowing that I worked very hard all these years, being compared to a lot of the greats like Sugar Ray Robinson and Roberto Duran and Ray Leonard and all those top guys, and I'm among those guys, that feels great.
TG - You've had almost 300 combined fights (pro and amateur), and you've never been knocked down. Do you attribute that to chin, speed, or luck?
SM - (laughs) I think a little bit of luck, and I have some good whiskers on me. I don't really get hit much. I move very well, I'm quick footed and I have a strong build. It can happen. I've been dinged before and I'd snap out of it real quick.
TG - Who's the hardest puncher you've faced?
SM - Well, the only time I've really been dinged is in sparring (laughs). I've never really been dinged in a fight real hard. But I'd say that the hardest puncher or the hardest fight I've fought was Manuel Gomez, as a professional.
TG - Your father's your trainer. That's usually bad news in boxing. What's different about your relationship with your father that will break this mold?
SM - Communication. Being able to communicate with each other. Being able to talk out all our problems. We're father-son, but we're like brothers as well. We'll argue a point together, but we'll come to a conclusion. It's not if we're like son-father, it's like a brother and an older brother. It's always been that way. That's what makes it so good. And he always tells me the truth. What I'm doing wrong, in the gym, or in the fight, or whatever. He's gonna let me know, whether I like it or not.
TG - You have a son. What would you say if your son came to you one day and said "I want to be a fighter."?
SM - I would say go right ahead. I'll train you and make sure you learn all the proper technique and everything you need to know to be a fighter. But you have to be mentally strong to be able to get in the ring and be very competitive.
TG - What do you think of women's boxing?
SM - I think it's good. They get out there, and it's good exercise for them, I know that. It's competitive and they're improving and becoming a lot better. Like basketball. Women basketball players are evolving into another era.
TG - What would you say to someone who thinks boxing should be banned?
SM - I would say that they don't understand the sport. Anything a person doesn't understand they want to get rid of. Once you've done it, you understand it. If you don't do it, you don't understand it, you just want to get rid of it. I would tell them to try it first before you pass judgement.
by Chuck BogleIt all happened with astonishing speed. Within the space of a few days in early June, an entire championship boxing card melted down. Of most moment for the sport, at least ostensibly, was the cancellation of the Holyfield/Akinwande WBA heavyweight championship bout after Akinwande tested positive for Hepatitis B, a generally non-fatal but relatively infectious blood disease. Virtually concurrently, heavyweight Ray Mercer's fight was canceled after Mercer failed an unspecified blood test and was somewhat cryptically declared "medically ineligible" Finally, a woman's bout featuring Christy Martin was called off when her opponent, Mexican lightweight Maria de las Nieva Garcia, discovered that, of all things, she was pregnant. Somewhat ironically, Roberto Duran, who lost what may have been his final title shot, and who at his advanced age should be doing nothing more strenuous than chasing his grandchildren, was one of the only fighters on the card declared fit and ready.
The Madison Square Garden cancellations were a product of one of the most stringent regulatory regimes for boxing in the United States. A multi-million dollar operation into which had gone months of planning, enormous expenses for advertising and training, and the total dedication of the fighters for multiple weeks, and which was one of the first truly major boxing events of the year, was brought to a screeching halt simply due to some bad blood test results. The odd thing is that if these fights had taken place in a different state, they may very well have gone off without a hitch. That got me to thinking about the current regulatory environment for boxing, and whether that environment will continue to be appropriate given the state of flux that the sport is in today.
There is no one "league" or governing body that sets the ground rules for individual boxing matches or for the course of the sport as a whole. Rather, boxing is governed by a patchwork of rules that varies from state to state and from fight to fight. Approximately 44 states (and several Native American reservations) have their own boxing or athletic commission that determines eligibility requirements for fighters and provides rules governing the types of precautions (medical or otherwise) that must be taken or present at fights taking place in the state. In general, no legal fight may take place in such a state unless all relevant regulatory requirements have been complied with or waived by the state itself. These types of regulations govern basic eligibility; they set a floor beneath which no fight or fighter is permitted to sink. The state-by-state system arguably worked reasonably well when most of the boxing shows available were concentrated in a few states with an extensive history of, and the resources to commit to, boxing regulation.
As the New York Times reported recently, however, boxing is becoming rapidly decentralized, and the profit margin in the sport, except with respect to the most elite fighters, is declining. The percentage of total boxing shows taking place in New York, New Jersey and Nevada has been almost halved (from 21% to 12%) in the past decade. States such as Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, meanwhile, are seeing an explosion in the number of boxing shows taking place. Tennessee, for instance, had more boxing events (64) last year than Nevada or New Jersey, and Indiana had as many as New York (30). All of this is happening as boxing is fading from the national consciousness. It has all but disappeared even from national cable television and Las Vegas, which hopes to position itself as a family vacation spot, is rapidly becoming a less hospitable place for the sport. Gradually but steadily, the high-profile (and big-money) fights at major venues are being displaced by $100-per-round fights at local bars.
One may, of course, make an argument that this decentralization can be good for boxers. As the influence of an elite group of promoters, ranking organizations and venues lessens, the sport theoretically becomes more democratic and open, with more fighters being given a chance to build a record or reputation or to make an impact by fighting for, say, the IBA continental Americas super-featherweight championship (or some such nonsense). I leave it to the reader to determine whether that particular argument has merit, or whether the current qualitative chaos represents merely the sport's death throes.
However, even if the argument were true, there are other, less desirable consequences of decentralization for the sport. For instance, one absolutely clear consequence of more matches taking place for less money in states with less experience regulating boxing is that the extensive health and safety rules typical of New York, New Jersey and Nevada will apply to only a small minority of shows in the coming years. In fact, if the Holyfield/Akinwande bout had taken place in Tennessee, it would have gone forward as scheduled, because the state doesn't require fighters to get blood tests prior to fights (or CAT scans, or EKGs, all of which New York does require on an at least annual basis). Tennessee spent approximately 5% of what New York spent to promote almost twice as many boxing events last year. Many of the other states now experiencing a surge in boxing shows spend little more on regulation than Tennessee. That means fewer personnel to police whatever rules exist to prevent underqualified fighters from fighting, perhaps less experienced or qualified doctors at ringside, more cursory physical exams at the start of fights, and so forth. Add to this the relatively lower purses available in these venues, and you have a situation in which (mostly minority) fighters are subjecting themselves to extraordinarily hazardous situations for what amounts to just loose change.
Ultimately, this state of affairs will have a direct, and negative, effect on the quality of boxing. When the sport becomes the medical equivalent of Russian roulette, only the very desperate or the very dull will want to participate. The result will be an increasing number of mismatches and, as a result of declining competition, a decreasing number of quality fighters. Eventually, even the hardest-core fan will resist paying $15 to see yet another semi-promising kid whack out yet another forty-five year old with no skills who had been knocked out earlier in the week, even if the fight IS for the BBW Whatever-Americas Junior Super Welterweight championship. When that happens, whatever is left of the sport wouldn't be worth saving.
The current state of boxing regulation cries out for reform. A sport that produced Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammed Ali shouldn't be allowed to end its days with the symbol of a middle-aged man pounded to his hands and knees, again and again, for a couple of bucks. Further, it seems to me that for any reform to have a chance of success, it must address the declining standards with respect to both eligibility and of quality.
The chief problem with the current eligibility regime is the federal system, which assigns responsibility for most "health and welfare" legislation to the individual states. If states are free to express different levels of concern for the health of their fighters through their eligibility requirements, particularly in an era when the profit margin on boxing shows is declining, the almost inevitable result will be a "race to the bottom," in which the states with the loosest regulatory environments will become the most favored among the new promoters and the underclass of fighters they represent. Boxers and promoters will travel to where the fights are, and that fact simply isn't accounted for in a state-by-state system.
The Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996, which will have been in effect for a year as of the time this issue of the CBZ is posted, is at best a partial solution to the problems I've described. At most, the PBSA is designed to coordinate information among the state commissions and establishes a weak form of "full faith and credit" for the suspension decisions of other states.
Under the PBSA, boxers are required to register with a registry established by the commission in their state of residence, which must be informed of the results of each fight. Each boxing commission further is required to establish "procedures" to review the professional records of boxers, to deny a boxer's license "where appropriate," and to ensure that any boxer under suspension for a particular set of reasons (including multiple knockout losses, injury, failure of a drug test or the use of an alias), whether the suspension was handed down by that state or by another state, is prohibited from fighting. The ultimate decision as to whether a fighter should be suspended, however, even for one of the enumerated reasons, ultimately rests with the state boxing commission in its sole discretion. The PBSA does establish a minimal set of requirements that must be met prior to any boxing match (health exam and health insurance for the fighter, doctors and emergency personnel present during the fight), but even these requirements may be met by satisfying an "alternative requirement" set by the state commission that provides "equivalent" protection of boxers.
The PBSA, while a good first attempt at nationwide boxing legislation, is far too limited to do more than prevent the worst abuses -- such as fighters getting suspended in one state and fighting the next night in another. More stringent rules are necessary to counter the forces of decentralization at work in the sport. The rationale for these rules, which should be established at the federal level, is no more controversial than the rationale for other workplace health and safety regulations, such as OSHA. Boxing is, in many ways, an inherently dangerous occupation, equally as dangerous as working with hazardous chemicals or large machinery. Further, the boxers themselves generally have too little bargaining power to press for these requirements themselves, even if they were inclined or foresighted enough to do so. Promoters have no incentive to supply extensive medical screening prior to bouts, because that cuts into their profit margin, and states generally don't have the funds or the will to provide adequate medical screening on their own. In other words, no one intimately involved with the sport is going to adopt more stringent requirements unless forced to
What I believe the sport needs is a national set of standards governing medical eligibility for professional boxing. The standards should be substantive, relatively restrictive and should be governed and monitored at the national level, although the individual states could participate in setting up any monitoring body. A number of baseline requirements should be met prior to any legal boxing match, including blood tests, a complete and thorough physical exam, and regular CAT scans and EKGs, particularly after a knockout loss or particularly tough fight. A more extensive set of requirements, while going to medical eligibility, would also serve to improve the caliber and quality of boxing. There should be an upper weight limit on heavyweight fighters. Any fighter that gets knocked out, absent special circumstances (a flash knockdown or something similar), should get a mandatory one year's suspension, and any fighter that gets knocked out three times in a short space of time (say a year or two), or that suffers a longer string of losses in the same period, should have his license revoked for good.
Arguments could be raised against this sort of legislation. First, more extensive medical testing will cost money, and ultimately that will result both in a decline in the number of boxing shows available and in an increased cost to the fan for those that remain. The $15 boxing show accordingly may become a $25 or $30 boxing show. In the short run, that may be an issue for some fans. I believe, however, that the type of die-hard fans that would shell out even fifteen dollars for the kind of show now being put on in states such as Tennessee would continue to do so even if the price rose substantially, and that ultimately, such fans would be rewarded in the form of more competitive matches. Further, as standards are toughened, there will be some states in which no boxing shows will take place at all, leaving the local fan, in an era of minimal television coverage, without a source for the sport. My response would be that there is a very thin line that separates legitimate boxing from a violent spectacle of blood, and that as a society we have no interest in promoting the latter, even if there are some who would be willing to pay to see it. Finally, one might argue that such requirements, in the guise of "protecting" boxers, actually will make it harder for some fighters currently plying the trade to find work, depriving some fighters of their only means of making a living. My response would be that there are some occupations that are simply too dangerous to permit unqualified people to take part in. Older, less skilled fighters simply have to find easier ways of making a living. Given the pittance for which these fighters typically fight, it shouldn't be hard in today's economy.
By addressing the current problems with boxing in terms of public health and safety, interested and proactive national leaders such as John McCain, (R--AZ and the chief proponent of the PBSA) and Richard Bryan (Dem.--NV), who have recently introduced a new bill aimed at curbing abuses among promoters, could make a dramatic impact on both the safety and the quality of the sport. It could be, of course, that there is no saving the "sweet science"; it may be doomed to wither finally away -- its heavily stylized brand of violence too much for fans of the gentler pastimes and not sufficiently garish for fans of professional wrestling or "extreme" fighting. But at the least, we should try and assure that it dies a dignified death.
Interview conducted by Thomas GerbasiTG - How have you dealt with the added media attention? Do you like it, dislike it?
LR - I love it. It's part of the sport. Without that, how would it be if you would fight in a place with no audience and no press?
TG - Have you found that being with Bob Arum has helped you in that respect?
LR - I think that every promoter, the word says it, promotes their fighters. So I think that it's wonderful to be with a promoter who's behind you and promotes you to the best of his ability. I think any fighter would love that.
TG - Do you think that being with Arum has stopped a Christy Martin fight from going through?
LR - No. I challenged Christy Martin last Saturday (May 30) at a press conference, and she wants to fight. At least that's what she says.
TG - You've been involved in athletics since you took up Judo at age six. Do you feel that you missed out on the life of a normal teenager?
LR - Definitely.
TG - Is that a regret?
LR - No. It's a good thing for me because it gave me direction in life. It gave me discipline and focus. The minus of course is that you would like to have teenage years, and play and fool around. But people make a lot of mistakes in those years that they regret for the rest of their lives. I've seen soccer players hang out with girls too much. They were really talented, and they could have been multi-millionaires, and now they're scratching their money together to pay the bills. If you sacrifice those years you can have a much easier life later on. When you have an easy life earlier on, you've got to work harder later on, or maybe for a longer period. Especially as an athlete, those years are crucial.
TG - So is this your motivation?
LR - Definitely. My motivation is to give everything I have for a couple of more years to create my future.
TG - I read in Inside Kung-Fu that you've been taking acting lessons.
LR - Yes. I took acting classes. I stopped recently because it's a committment and a focus. But I'll pick them up, next week probably, but at a slower pace. It's very intense.
TG - What roles would you see yourself playing?
LR - I'd like to play anything. A real actress can play anything, and that's a challenge. Being vulnerable is a challenge for me as a female fighter, because vulnerability is not allowed in boxing.
TG - Do you have any fears when you step into the ring?
LR - Not when I step in the ring. In training and in my life of course, it crosses my mind that boxing is not a joke, that some people get hurt. I always believe that I'm protected, so before I'll ever really get hurt I'll stop. I believe that something will happen that will put me on a different track. But when I look at other boxers sometimes, yeah, it crosses my mind that I'm in there, taking the same risks.
TG - Do you run into a danger of being overconfident in the ring?
LR - I hope I'll never be overconfident. I hope I'll stay humble and really stick to knowing what my skills are and what I can and can't do, and I hope I'll keep getting opponents that will keep me sharp.
TG - What's been your toughest fight to date?
LR - My toughest fight is to make it in LA.
TG - Let me narrow that down. Toughest fight in the ring.
LR - With myself probably.
TG - You're getting around this question.
LR - I have no idea. You're in different stages everytime you fight. I know my toughest preparation was when Freddie (Roach, Lucia's trainer) went overseas to train an English or an Irish fighter, and I was left on my own. I went into training camp and I switched trainers three times, and it was very confusing to prepare. I went into that fight kind of like without a steering wheel. I believe you have a team when you have a great trainer like Freddie. It's easy to adjust when you have someone helping you to adjust.
TG - So to you, boxing is a team effort, and not just you alone?
LR - I don't think any fighter could do it by themselves. They can, but you can do a better job with a team around you. And by team, I mean management, trainer, fighter, nutritionist, and family, or people that you care about. It's a team. And without their support and sacrifice or compromise, it's not possible.
TG - What's your family's reaction to your fighting?
LR - I can't speak for my family because I don't really know what their heart tells them. I only know what they show me, and what they've shown me so far is that they're really proud of me and what I've accomplished here on my own in America.
TG - Do you see yourself as a role model to other women fighters?
LR - I like to do what I do and I like to be good in what I do. I like to live my life to the best I can, and I like to be the best person that I can be. If people like to take an example of that, that's wonderful, and if they don't, then okay. I always encourage people to be the best they can be in whatever they do, but not to become like me because everyone's unique.
TG - How frustrating is it that Christy Martin won't fight you?
LR - Well, it's very frustrating. And why? Because I'd rather have her tell me in my face "I don't want to fight you", and then I have peace. Then I move on and I have total peace with it. But the moment she starts screaming at me "I'll fight you anytime. I'll fight you in the streets if I have to", it's just BS and that frustrates me.
Now I do want to fight her. I met her last Saturday. Before it was just the press telling me you should and you can beat her. You can only beat someone the moment that you beat them. That's when you know you've beat them. It's all words, and statistics, and on paper, but the moment you're in the ring with that person on that particular date, that decides who is going to win. I think we owe our boxing fans that fight. That's all. And I think she definitely owes her fans that fight. But if she's caught up in the whole business of boxing, that's okay. But just tell me. She doesn't need to tell me in the press. I understand that she has her image. Just tell me "I don't want to fight you. I don't see any whatever in it". Fine. I'll drop it.
TG - What was it like when you two met for the first time?
LR - It was really interesting. I was very humble and stayed very close to myself. I said that King told me that you don't want to fight me. Is this true? Stand up, be a woman, be a strong woman and face me. And let's go, let's roll. She responded a little heavily "I am a woman, I sure am a woman, I'll fight you anytime" blah, blah, blah. And I'm like "Okay. Well it's clear, you say you're not afraid, and I've been misinformed. And you're right, it is a business. And because it's a business it's a great fight." And then, when she stepped down from the stage, I wanted to shake her hand. She just went off, and we almost got into a fight. But she ran off, because I really wanted to fight her at that moment. I felt so insulted.
TG - When Martin made those insulting comments about you on HBO a while back, what was your initial reaction?
LR - Well, I'd like her to say that in my face, and then I could challenge her right there. That's what I thought. I don't care what people say when they don't know me and they have their whatever, out of fear. But the moment someone insults me to my face, then they have a problem. I know I'm a very humble person, and I have a lot of control, but she went a little far last Saturday, and I'm very anxious to fight her now because of that.
TG - What do you think of her as a fighter?
LR - As a fighter I think she's tough. I think she's focused and determined. She's scared and that's good because it makes her sharp. I think she's improving her defense and her boxing skills tremendously. I give her that she opened the first door for women's boxing. She made women's boxing recognized. That's it. You can't live off that forever. There are thousands of girls out there training really hard to become champions, and they deserve a chance when they're ready.
TG - Would you view your career as missing something if you never get to fight Martin?
LR - No. I don't miss it. There will always be people that you would like to fight but you can't because of politics or whatever circumstances. Right now, I really want to fight her really bad. But that's just because of last Saturday, and I'm real fired up. And I'm maybe a little bit emotional about it. I take it personally. And it's nice when it's like a real fight. I'm really fired up about it. So that's good. That will be great in our press conference towards the fight. I'm excited that I met her. I really am. Before it was just like "Oh you should fight Christy Martin. I know you can beat her" And I'm like, well, you don't know until you're in there if you can really beat someone.
TG - Do you worry that someone will beat her before you get to her?
LR - No, I don't worry about anything. I don't really care. I think that it will be a great fight no matter if she wins or loses (Lucia is referring to the cancelled Martin-Garcia fight on June 6). Even if she loses I want to fight her.I don't care. It's just something personal. It's not a belt or something. She doesn't have anything that I want. I just want to fight her.
TG - What would you say to someone who wants to ban boxing, and women's boxing in particular?
LR - If they say women's boxing in particular, I'd say what's your problem? Because if you want to ban boxing, ban boxing. But why are women more special than men, or less special, or however you want to look at it? If you want to ban boxing and you have statistics that prove that there's a lot of brain damage involved, fine. I have no problem with it. I'll be unemployed. I can totally understand that.
Sometimes when I go to fights, and they bang each other, they really damage each other, and it hurts me too. It's not just making a living. I love the sport. I love the focus. I love the training. I love growing and becoming better, and you can do that in anything, of course, but this is kind of special. There's two people involved, there's pain involved, there's a risk involved, there's fear involved, control involved, coordination, determination, focus, you name it. There's so much involved that's beautiful about the sport. And when you just look at it, I mean it hurts me too when I look at it, but when I go through it, the whole six weeks of training and the growth in one fight after another, a championship, then it's a very unique experience. And to take that away from people, you have to have a good reason. And if brain damage is the reason, that's okay with me. I have no problem with that if they would do that. There are other sports that people could do. If they ban it, they'll go and be creative in other areas of their lives. It's not the end of the world. It's just that a lot of people from backgrounds with no money have an opportunity when they have a lot of willpower, to make a good living. You might hurt those people.
The Big Fight
by Richard ThornIngemar Johansson Vs Floyd Patterson -1960
Not many times you can date with a pen
what you were doing or where you had been
after months or years whatever the case
The mind is cleared and memories erased
but one long ago memory comes back to me
Of a summer In Sherman at 210 Maxey
I sat in the car in the heat of the night
listening to radio to hear the big fight
In 59 Patterson had been decked to the floor
by a Swede known as "The Hammer of Thor"
In the third round Johansson led with a right
that connected with Floyd and ended the fight
Like the Mighty Titanic Floyd would go down
And the boxer from Sweden walked away with his crown
The Swede took the title in minutes, less than ten
and now he was back to do it again
His "toonder and lighting" were ready to strike
just a rerun of the previous fight
for no champ had ever regained his crown
after losing his title and knocked to the ground
No one thought Patterson would even survive
much less K-O the big Swede in five
But that is what happen that steamy hot night
as I sat in the car to hear the big fight
A leaping left hook sent the Swede to the floor
as the crowd in the seats let out with a roar
Somewhere the birds are singing
and children are playing about
But in Gothenburg are long face Swedens
For Patterson knock Ingemar out
Ranking the All-Time Boxing Greats
by Tracy CallisWhy do people rank the all-time boxing greats the way they do? The reasons for doing so are quite varied.
The age of the individual assigning the ranks often has a bearing on the position given to different men. If a person is a follower of boxing, he is aware of the fighters of his own time. His evaluation of their abilities is rather objective. Most boxing publications do an adequate job of covering the activities taking place in the boxing world. However, the large bulk of this coverage is about contemporary pugilists with the result being that fans tend to exaggerate the skills of the fighters in their time in relation to those of other eras.
The effect of age continues through the years as well. In many instances, an individual continues to rate the good fighters of his generation over those to come (and those of the past). John Durant, author of The Heavyweight Champions, disclosed in private correspondence (1977) to this writer "When the sportswriters of today grow old, they will rate the fighters of their youth above all that will appear in the future"
Jimmy Cannon (1978 p 157) writes:
"Memory deforms the past. The old champions are cherished by nostalgic men who were young when they were. The kids will be that way about Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) and Joe Frazier in a couple of years. The heavyweight title fight incites recollections that are often either slanderous or reverent with the flattery of lies. It is a personal matter, and a sports reporter's descriptions of athletes are influenced as much by feeling as by truth."
The knowledge and understanding of boxing an individual possesses is another factor in determining how he will rank the men. An experienced person in this field is aware of strengths and weaknesses in the various men and their styles, techniques, etc. This definitely affects the ranks assigned. A person who is not familiar with the "ins-and-outs" of the sport will likely assign ranks differently.
Preference for style can also figure in. Some people prefer the Slugger or Swarmer with his power and endurance. Others like the Classic Boxer with his speed and motion. Still, others reason that the Boxer-Puncher with his all-around ability is best. There are strong arguments for each style. There have been great fighters of each type.
Prevailing philosophies as to the relative merits of various eras in history also affect the rankings. In former years, fighters of the past were highly regarded and viewed as more rugged and durable, harder hitting, and better conditioned. They were considered superior. In recent years, the modern boxers are considered superior with better motion, improved skills, and greater power. The persuasion of the individual towards these arguments definitely affects the rankings.
Further, the race of the individual making selections as well as that of the fighters considered might be a factor. Black fighters dominate boxing today. For example, in the Heavyweight Division, only six champions since 1937 have been white (if you include Francesco Damiani, Tommy Morrison, and Frans Botha). A white man has been champion for only about eight years of the last sixty-one. Therefore, many people concede that blacks are superior fighters.
Sociologists do not agree. They say it is a matter of conditioning, mental as well as physical. A rougher lifestyle makes better fighters. Since blacks generally come from the low socio-economic sphere, they are the "have-nots" of recent years. However, this was not always the case. During the early years of this country, nearly everyone struggled to make it. In the period of fifty to one hundred years ago, the white society also did without and produced many exceptional fighters.
Weinberg and Arond (1952 p 460) point out that boxing has been dominated by different ethnic groups through the years and write:
"The tradition of an ethnic group, as well as its temporary location at the bottom of the scale, may affect the proportion of its boys who become boxers"
Finally, the sex and personality of a person could be an influence in the choices made. Attraction to a certain pugilist or an affinity to one's nature and attitude could affect the ultimate selections.
It should be noted that the ever-increasing coverage of fights by radio and films since the twenties with the addition of television since the fifties has caused widespread popularity of the good fighters during those years.
For the most part, as the years pass the more recent names rise to the top in rankings and the older ones drop in esteem and rank. Very probably, the best fighters of any period in history could fight with each other on a highly competitive and "near-equal" basis.
Cannon, J. and Cannon, T.
1978. Nobody Asked Me, But ... (The World of Jimmy Cannon). New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston
1976. The Heavyweight Champions. New York: Hastings House Publishers.
Weinberg, S.K. and Arond, H.
1952. The Occupational Culture of the Boxer (contained in The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 57, pp 460-469 March 1952)
June Ratings (as of 20 June)
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. David Tua
6. Brian Nielsen (IBO)
7. Michael Grant (IBC)
8. Andrew Golota
9. Hasim Rahman
10. Chris Byrd
Active this mth: Grant, Byrd, Tua
Champion: Fabrice Tiozzo (WBA)
1. Juan Carlos Gomez (WBC)
2. Marcelo Dominguez
3. Carl Thompson (WBO)
4. Robert Daniels (IBO)
5. Nate Miller
6. Imamu Mayfield (IBF)
7. Johnny Nelson
8. Chris Eubank
9. Saul Montana
10. David Izeqwire
Active this mth: Gomez
Lt. Heavyweights(175 lbs) Champion: Dariusz Michalczewski (WBO)
1. Roy Jones (WBC)
2. Graciano Rocchigiani
3. Reggie Johnson (IBF)
4. Lou Del Valle (WBA)
5. Montell Griffin
6. Ole Klemetsen
7. Virgil Hill
8. Michael Nunn
9. Derrick Harmon
10. Mohammed Siluvangui
Active this mth: Harmon, Johnson, Klemetsen, Griffin (out: Bowman-lost)
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. Thulane Malinga
7. Robin Reid
8. Jorge Castro
9. Dean Francis
10. Mads Larsen (IBO)
Active this mth: Malinga (out: Duran-inactive)
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. Robert Allen
8. Robert McCracken
9. Andrew Council
10. Peter Venancio
Active this mth: Grant, Venancio, Council (out: Davis-inactive)
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)
Active this mth: Campas, Boudouani, Marshall, McKart
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. Shannon Taylor
7. Derrell Coley
8. Vernon Forrest
9. Edgar Ruiz
10. Ahmed Kotiev (WBO)
Active this mth: de la Hoya, Kotiev, Taylor
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. Carlos Gonzalez (WBO)
10. Diobelys Hurtado
Active this mth: Gonzalez, Hurtado, Ruelas, Sondergaard (out: Green-displaced)
Lightweights(135 lbs) Champion: TITLE VACANT
1. Shane Mosley (IBF)
2. Cesar Bazan (WBC)
3. Stevie Johnston
4. Jean-Baptiste Mendy (WBA)
5. Orzubek Nazarov
6. Israel Cardona
7. Phillip Holiday
8. Artur Grigorijan (WBO)
9. Arturo Gatti
10. Jesse James Leija
Active this mth: Bazan, Johnston, Mendy, Nazarov (out: Crayton-displaced)
Jr. Lightweights(130 lbs) Champion: Genaro Hernandez (WBC)
1. Angel Manfredy (WBU)
2. Yongsoo Choi (WBA)
3. Tracy Harris Patterson
4. Gabe Ruelas
5. Anatoly Alexandrov (WBO)
6. Robert Garcia (IBF)
7. Derrick Gainer
8. Jesus Chavez
9. Arnulfo Castillo
10. Julien Lorcy
Active this mth: Hernandez, Manfredy, Alexandrov, Lorcy, Gainer, Patterson
Featherweights(126 lbs) Champion: Luisito Espinosa (WBC)
1. Naseem Hamed (WBO)
2. Fred Norwood (WBA)
3. Cesar Soto
4. Kevin Kelley
5. Wilfredo Vazquez
6. Juan Marquez
7. Angel Vazquez
8. Manuel Medina (IBF)
9. Cassius Baloyi (WBU)
10. Paul Ingle
Active this mth: Norwood, Soto (twice), Ingle, Marquez, Baloyi (out: Rios-lost)
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. Wayne McCullough
8. Danny Romero
9. Guty Espadas
10. Carlos Navarro (WBU)
Active this mth: Bungu, Barrera, McCullough, Morales, Espadas (out: Baloyi-moved up in weight)
Bantamweights(118 lbs) Champion: TITLE VACANT
1. Johnny Bredahl (WBU)
2. Jorge Julio (WBO)
3. Nana Konadu (WBA)
4. Joichiro Tatsuyoshi (WBC)
5. Tim Austin (IBF)
6. Paulie Ayala
7. Cuahtemoc Gomez
8. Mbubelo Botile
9. Adan Vargas
10. Dario Azuaga
Active this mth: Bredahl, Konadu, Austin, Ayala, Azuaga
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. Julio Cesar Cardona
Active this mth: Cardona (out: Garcia-displaced)
Flyweights(112 lbs) Champion: Chartchai Sasakul (WBC)
1. Mark Johnson (IBF)
2. Carlos Salazar (WBO)
3. Hugo Soto (WBA)
4. Jose Bonilla
4. David Guerault
5. Alejandro Montiel
6. Saen Sow Ploenchit
7. Vuyani Nene
8. Jesper Jensen (IBC)
9. Raul Juarez
10. Ysaias Zamudio
Active this mth: Soto, Bonilla, Montiel, Ploenchit, Nene, Jensen (out: Johnson-displaced)
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. Oscar Andrade
10. Tomas Rivera
Active this mth: Cordoba, Cob-Castro (out: Cardenas-inactive)
Champion: Ricardo Lopez (WBC)
1. Rosendo Alvarez (WBA)
2. Zolani Petelo (IBF)
3. Rocky Lin
4. Ratanapol Voraphin
5. Kermin Guardia (WBO)
5. Ronnie Magramo
6. Andy Tabanas
7. Satoru Abe
8. Songkram Porpaoin
9. Juan Herrera
10. Jose Aguirre
Active this mth: Guardia, Abe, Voraphin (out: Jamili-lost)
World Champions: 13 (of 17)
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