The Cyber Boxing Zone Journal
by Mike DeLisaWelcome to my first issue as editor of this newsletter. I want to thank all who contributed to this issue. Please let me know what kind of material you want to see in future issues. And, if you want to share your thoughts on the sport with others, this newsletter is your forum. Finally, I wish to note that a few days ago (June 25, 1995) was Jack Dempsey's 100th birthday. I did not see a single post on any of the several boxing boards or in any newspaper marking this date. So, I just want to say, "Happy birthday, Jack."
THE 1995 INDUCTEES TO THE INTERNATIONAL BOXING HALL OF FAME
by Michael C. DeLisaThe mission of the International Boxing Hall of Fame is to "honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of those who excelled, provide an educational experience for [its] many visitors, and operate [its] facility in a manner that enhances the image of the sport." There are four categories for induction: (1) nonparticipants who have made a contribution to the sport; (2) pioneers -- boxers whose last bout was prior to 1893; (3) Old-timers who fought between 1893 and 1942; and (4) moderns, that is, boxers who have been retired for at least five years and whose first contest was after 1942.
This year, fifteen men were inducted into the Hall of Fame. The best way to learn about these men is to visit the Hall in Canastota, New York. I have placed several photographs in the AOL boxing download library and can be viewed in conjunction with this newetter. My notes on each person inducted follow:
MAX BAER (1909-1959): Baer fought from 1929 through 1941 and won the heavyweight championship by knocking out Primo Carnera in eleven rounds. He lost the title to the "Cinderella Man" Jim Braddock in fifteen desultory rounds on June 13, 1935. Three months later, Joe Louis knocked him out in four rounds. And, yes, it was his son, Max Baer, Jr. who played Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies.
CUS D'AMATO (1908-1985): D'Amato was an eccentric trainer-manager now best known for his association with a young Mike Tyson. He also worked with Jose Torres and Floyd Patterson. Torres summed up D'Amato at the induction ceremonies: "Cus showed that you can be honest and decent and have integrity and still be in boxing."
JACK "THE GIANT KILLER" DILLON (1891-1972): Dillon became known as the "Giant Killer" because of his many victories over larger men. He fought an incredible 245 fights in his career which ended in 1923. The light heavyweight division did not have a recognized champion when Dillon claimed it following his knockout win over Hugo Kelly in 1912. He gained universal recognition after beating Al Norton in 1914. He lost the title to Battling Levinsky in 1916, whom he fought 10 times.
WILFREDO "BAZOOKA" GOMEZ (b. 1956): Gomez won championships at 122, 126, and 130 pounds. His 1982 knockout victory over Lupe Pintor was one of the most brutal and exciting fights of the decade. Salvador Sanchez defeated him in a matchup of two great fighters. His record was 44 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw with 42 knockouts. Gomez, proud of his Puerto Rican heritage, honored his homeland in his acceptance speech: "This award is not for me, it is for Puerto Rico. Thank you."
MASAHIKO "FIGHTING" HARADA ( b. 1943): To be honest, the only thing I knew about Fighting Harada prior to the Induction was that he held two disputed decisions over Eder Jofre. He kayoed Pone Kingpetch for the Flyweight title in 1962. Harada moved up in weight and won the Bantamweight title from Jofre in May 1965. He lost his Bantamweight title to Lionel Rose in 1968, but retired after two losses to Featherweight king Johnny Famechon with a record of 55 winds, 7 losses and 22 knockouts. Harada, although he speaks no English, was very cordial and willing to sign autographs. He often signed as "Fighting Harada," but if asked to do so, he would inscribe his name in Japanese. Harada seemed truly pleased at being honored and donated to the Hall a robe from his fighting days.
BOB MONTGOMERY (b. 1919): Bobcat Montgomery was an exceptionally quick-fisted lightweight who fought many great matches with Beau Jack, Ike Williams, and others. He won recognition by the N.B.A. as its champion after beating Beau Jack in 1943, but lost it in a rematch later that year. In the days when suspensions were not automatic, Montgomery lost via knockout to Al "Bummy" Davis in 63 seconds. Less than a month later, he fought a rubber match with Jack and re-won the title. Montgomery was accompanied to the Hall of Fame weekend by his son, and both were friendly and willing to meet the fans.
PASQUAL PEREZ (1926-1977): Perez won the Olympic Gold Medal as a Flyweight in 1948. He turned pro in 1952 and won the Flyweight title in 1954, the first Argentinean to win a world championship. He remained unbeaten in his first 51 fights. Perez held the title until his April 1960 loss to Pone Kingpetch. Despite a 28-fight win streak following a second loss to Kingpetch, he never regained the crown. He retired on April 11, 1964 with a final record of 83-7-1.
JOHNNY KILBANE (1889-1957): Kilbane defeated Abe Attell in 1912 for the featherweight title. He held it until Eugene Criqui kayoed him in 1923, his last fight. The only other man to knock him out was Benny Leonard. Kilbane became active in politics after his career ended and was elected to several posts in Ohio.
JACK McAULIFFE (1866-1937): McAuliffe is one of the few champions to have retired undefeated. (Send me an E-mail identifying the others and you'll get an honorable mention next issue.) McAuliffe was one of the "Three Jacks" -- Dempsey and Skelly rounded out the trio. The "Napoleon of the Prize Ring" last defended his Lightweight title on September 5, 1892, in the opening bout of the Carnival of Champions held in New Orleans. He retired in September 1897.
ARTHUR MERCANTE (b. 1920): Mercante is one of the best and most respected referees in the history of the ring. He has refereed more than one hundred championship fights including Ali-Frazier I. He has refereed professionally since 1954 and continues to work bouts around the world.
GILBERT ODD (b. 1902): The ninety-three-year-old Odd could not attend the Induction. Odd is one of the premier historians of boxing, having written over a dozen books, including The Encyclopedia of Boxing. His work over the decades has provided a substantial and valuable contribution to boxing. My favorite Odd sentence is his description of Wille Pastrano as "[s]o fond of spaghetti than he had a physique more like a swimmer's than a boxer's." Huh?
JACK SOLOMONS (1900-1979): Solomons promoted fights in England beginning in 1931. His best known promotion was the Robinson-Turpin fight.
TOM JOHNSON (1750-1797): Johnson is credited with restoring respectability to the sport, which had been victim of questionable decisions and fixed fights. (Does this sound familiar?) In Puglistica, Johnson is described as follows: "His strength, science and 'bottom' gave him rank superior to all his contemporaries. But his greatest excellence was his surprising coolness and judgment." His 1789 victory over 328 pound Isaac Perrin was commemorated in a bronze medallion. He retired after losing to "Big Ben" Brain in 1791. Curiously, although he is credited with improving the prizefighting's respectability, it is his controversial actions during the first Mendoza-Humpries match that is his enduring legacy. In that fight, Johnson was serving as second to Richard Humphries. Mendoza the "Jew" knocked Humphries sprawling and he sagged helplessly against the rail surrounding the stage. The "Light of Israel" launched what should have been the knockout blow. Mendoza described what happened next in his memoirs: "[A]t a very critical period of the battle, I aimed a blow, which, in all probability, would have proved decisive, had not his second Johnson unfairly caught the same, and thereby deprived me of a very favorable chance of gaining the victory." To the consternation of many, the umpire ruled that Johnson acted appropriately. Mendoza lost the fight a half-hour later after falling on the rain-soaked stage, which caused "excruciating pain" in his "loins." This incident is immortalized in the print entitled "Foul Play, or Humphries and Johnson a Match for Mendoza."
JEM "THE BLACK DIAMOND" WARD (1800-1884): I am really not certain exactly why the Hall elected Ward. He took a dive in two of his early fights and probably was involved in one other. Ward's last fight (a 77-minute victory over Simon Byrne), was described by fellow 1995 Inductee Gilbert Odd as "a disgraceful affair." The contemporary view of that fight was expressed in verse which commemorated Byrne's 1833 loss to Deaf Burke: "On Thursday, May the 30th day, brave Simon took the ring./ Backed by Jem Ward the champion, likewise by gallant Spring,' to fight Burke two hundred pounds, a man of courage bold,/ To stop reports that with Ward the battle he had sold." In addition, Ward was not exactly a man of his word. Ward had agreed to turn over his championship belt to the winner of the Byrne-Burke fight, but when his fighter lost, (Byrne died following the fight), Ward reneged on his promise and kept the belt. On a separate note, the Press Kit distributed by the Hall claims that Ward was the first fighter to be presented with a championship belt. This is incorrect -- Tom Cribb had been presented with a belt in 1822.
A VIEW FROM THE HALL: THE 1995 INTERNATIONAL BOXING HALL OF FAME INDUCTION WEEKEND
by David IameleAs a serious fan of the sweet science who lives within driving distance of the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, not being at this year's induction would bring make me question my love of the sport, not to mention my manhood, sanity, and other things.
I arrived in Canastota for Induction weekend on Thursday, June 8. The first thing immediately noticeable is the genuine kindness and small town charm of the town's people. It's like something out of a movie or book. It seems almost too good to be true. Tony Graziano, owner of Graziano's Casa Mia Italian-American restaurant and motor lodge, is the undisputed champ of kindness and generosity. I consider him to be the unofficial M.C. for the long weekend.
I attended the opening ceremony festivities on Thursday afternoon and obtained autographs from Emile Griffith and Willie Pep. Then it was off to Graziano's for dinner. After a delicious meal, I made my way to the spot for "fans in the know" -- behind the restaurant at the motel where most of the fighters stay while in town. This is the place to get signatures and photos without all the crowds and commotion of the functions at the Hall. I managed to corral Iran "the Blade" Barkley here for a couple of autographs. After the opening ceremony, the boxers, inductees, and fans had a cookout at the American Legion in town. I stopped by and got Arthur Mercante's signature. I figured it was time to call it quits for the night. I had accomplished more than I thought possible.
I arrived at the hall on Friday morning in time for a "ringside talk" with Iran Barkley. Then I went back over to "the spot" for a couple of autographs from Gene Fullmer and Carmen Basilio. These old timers are easily approachable and always willing to give fans some of their time. Early Friday evening was decision time. There is an Exhibition boxing event scheduled at the Turning Stone Casino in Oneida. To go or not to go? That is the question. To me, exhibition boxing is like non-alcoholic beer. You can drink it, but what's the point? The card features a three round bout with Buster Mathis, Jr. (yawn). I opt to pass on the casino show and try to pick up some more autographs. But first I walk over to the hall and smoke a cigar on this beautiful early evening. The Hall is deserted at this hour, so I take a walk out back where the stage is set up for the boxers to make their speeches. I stroll up on stage, step up to the podium, and let my imagination go, recalling all of the great fighters who have stood in this same spot.
Anyway, back to the real world. After the exhibition boxing is over, many of the fighters head back to Graziano's to have a nightcap before turning in. I must admit it was a nice feeling to have Willie Pep in the booth next to me, Emile Griffith sitting at my table, and Mike Carbajal and Iran Barkley at the table next to me. A short time later Joe Frazier, Bob Foster, and Leon Spinks make their respective appearances. Foster and Spinks settle in at the piano bar, where smoking Joe entertains the crowd with a few songs. Man, it doesn't get any better than this! Now that I have everyone I need in one place, I leisurely pick up autographs, one by one.
There are three main events scheduled for Saturday: a boxing memorabilia show at Canastota High School, a $50 a ticket cocktail reception at the hall, and a $100 a ticket Banquet at the Rusty Rail, another local restaurant. At the High School, I picked up a Tyson vs. William's cap for $10 and a set of Ringlord's cards for $3.00. One of the things I enjoyed most of all during this weekend is running into the boxing writers. This year I get a chance to chat with Steve Farhood, Ed Mahoney, and Robert Mandrich during the show. Just before the cocktail reception I grab some quick pictures with Buddy McGirt, Iran, Alexis, Leon, and Gomez. The cocktail party and banquet are nice events, if you have the scratch, but I'm doing so well autograph-wise, this year I plan to skip both. Now it's time for me and my crew to stake our claim at the bar for the "Raw Power" PPV (Ruddock vs. Morrison).
Suddenly a curve ball is thrown, when a memorabilia dealer hands me a free ticket to the banquet. After I picked my jaw off the floor, I asked him what gives? He explains to me that he's here with his wife but has only one ticket. He says he doesn't want it to go to waste so he gives it to me. I told you the people were nice!
So now it's off to the dinner after all. At the banquet I get some autographs of people I haven't seen up to this point -- Sean O'Grady, Danny Romero, and Masahiko "Fighting" Harada. The highlight of the banquet was getting a Polaroid photo of Sherman (George Jefferson) Helmsley with Leon Spinks. This is something Leon wanted very badly, and I was happy to oblige. His ear-to-ear smile and enthusiastic appreciation made it more than worth my last picture.
I head out early to get back to the bar for the fight (what the hell, I didn't pay anything) My brother and the rest of our friends have done an outstanding job of holding down our territory, and as the card begins I've got one of the best seats in the house. To top things off, I've got a big ol' Cuban cigar a new acquaintance of mine had bestowed upon me earlier in the day. I must say it was very interesting watching this PPV being surrounded by a few hundred people, including Carbajal, Spinks, Arguello, Gomez, Farhood, and Mahoney, among others. After Ruddock finally achieves his goal of getting himself kayoed, it's time to head home for the night. I have to be fresh for tomorrow's grand finale.
Sunday is the fist casting, parade, induction ceremony, and farewell party. The induction ceremony is the only event I ended up springing for $10 bucks for a seat. Mr. big spender! It turned out to be a sweltering hot day, but I was so caught up in the event that I hardly noticed.
Kevin Rooney and Jose Torres tell some nice stories for Cus D'Amato's induction. Wilfredo Gomez and Harada donated robes from their careers. Arthur Mercante steals the show with a great, well thought-out speech; he's definitely a class act and is in wonderful shape. He looks, acts, and converses like a man at least twenty years younger than his 75 years.
After everything winds down, its back to Graziano's one last time. There, I enjoyed one of my best times of my trip. Having already gotten all of the autographs and photos I wanted, all the pressure is off, I can relax and enjoy some cold beer and good conversation.
I talked at some length with Alexis Arguello, Leon Spinks, and Wilfredo Gomez (thru his interpreter, Gilbert Garzola). I found them all to be friendly, humble, and down-to-earth. They all really appreciated the attention and admiration that the fans in Canastota showered on them. I personally saw Alexis sign a stack of about twenty of his cards for one enterprising young man. I would have signed two and told the kid to beat it.
Well, as life returns to normal in Canastota and I get back to my usual routine, I think back on my time in that small town and smile to myself. I got a lot of great autographs, photographs, and unforgettable memories. For four days in June, I was as close to heaven as a boxing fan can get. The International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota New York. See you there next year.
"Riddick Bowe will never beat me!" That is what Jorge Luis Gonzalez was claiming over and over before their fight last Saturday night. I guess now, Jorge wished that Saturday night had never come. On Saturday night, Bowe made Jorge eat his words, and more! About 150 plus punches more! One after another.
BAD DEFENSE AND BAD HAIR
By Trent Stude
In the first round, Gonzalez came out strong behind his left-handed jab, keeping Bowe at a distance. This is what Jorge planned to do all fight long. But soon, Bowe was able to make him forget what his game plan was all about. Was it that his hatred for Riddick got to him? Or was it because he had never been pressured the way Bowe was pressuring him? A little bit of both?
No matter what it was, Gonzalez lacked the defensive skills while Bowe was winging big shots at Jorge's head. It seems to me that Gonzalez had never been in this position before, and that he literally did not know what to do! He was simply a sitting duck for Bowe's power punches, which left Bowe extremely happy.
One big right by Bowe to Jorge's temple put the giant down for the count in the sixth.
Could it be that Jorge should have chosen to fight a similar fighter to Riddick before taking on Bowe? Yes, that should have been the case. A fighter like Carl "The Truth" Williams, or Razor Ruddock, or Tony Tucker would have been a wise choice for Team Gonzalez. But now, of course, it is too late for that. No longer is Gonzalez an undefeated commodity. But that doesn't mean he is damaged goods either. If he takes this experience in a positive way, he should be able to come back stronger. But to do so, he must fight quality opponents in the future, especially ones that will help him gain skills in the defensive department.
One thing is for sure, Gonzalez has the abilities to become a quality fighter, but the road he needs to face in the near future should not be all candy, like that of his past. He needs to accept a fine trainer and discipline himself to obeying that trainer. Look for Gonzalez to come back, but it is up to him to decide whether or not he is serious about becoming a great fighter or if he merely wants to stay average.
by Melanie Ley("Grandma's do love boxing. Just ask me.").
Even though I no longer use AOL as my online server, I am pleased to be able to continue to contribute to the Boxing Newsletter.
The Pan American Games have come and gone, with the United States winning two gold medals. David Reid, 147 Lbs., and Antonio Tarver, 178 Lbs., made it to the top, with Tarver beating a Cuban along the way. Tarver also repeated again at the recent World Championships by winning the USA's only gold medal.
Beginning June 20, at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, are the Junior Olympic National Championships. 15- and 16-year-old athletes who boxed their way through local and regional competitions will get in the ring to determine who is the best in the nation in 17 weight classes. I have the pleasure of going this year to judge.
Next on the horizon for the big boys is the Olympic Festival in Colorado Springs, CO. The boxing competition will be held over four days (four in each of the 12 weight classes), with the finals being held the evening of the 27th.
I promise to have more information in the upcoming issues -- results, bios on the top boxers, and interesting bits and pieces as we head toward the 1996 Olympic Games.
FIRST PERSON SPOTLIGHT ON DENNIS MILTON[Editor's note: Each month I will ask a boxer or former boxer to provide an account of their personal life and a brief comment on the state of the game as they see it. I am pleased to provide the following by former middleweight contender Dennis Milton.]
My boxing career started after seeing the 1976 Olympic boxing team. As an amateur I won 4 New York Golden Gloves and four National Titles while compiling a record of 97-13. Along the way I beat four guys that would go on to become world champions: Iran Barkley, Reggie Johnson, Michael Nunn, and Frank Tate. As a professional I had a record of 15-5-1, beating such fighters as Gerald McClellan, Michael Olajide, and Robbie Simms along the way.
I retired in 1993 and opened up RINGSIDE TRAVEL this year. It is the only travel agency in the world that specializes in setting up packages for the big fight in Las Vegas and Atlantic City for the boxing world. The next big boxing event takes place on August 19 in Las Vegas, when Mike Tyson returns to the ring against Peter McNeeley at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. If you plan on going, give RINGSIDE TRAVEL a call at (718) 589-2797 to make all your reservations and we will save you time and money.
On another note, I was asked by Mike DeLisa to explain how to beat Roy Jones since no fighter is truly unbeatable. Well, here it is. After I tell you, you are going to ask, " why didn't I think of that?" Yes, Roy has hand speed, yes Roy has foot speed and the uncanny ability to elude punches that makes you think back to Muhammad Ali. But don't worry, my plan will definitely work. Roy Jones is very beatable. You see, I worked with him for his fight with James Toney and it was then that I devised the plan. I was in the ring with Roy on a daily basis and learned what his strong and weak points are. All you have to do is wait 15 -- no make that 20 years to be on the safe side -- and have your son fight him who should be about 20 to 25 years old by year 2015. Roy Jones beats everybody until that time.
by Jerry Antonio EsquibleBoxing has made a semi-comeback, at least as far as the major television networks are concerned. There are several reasons why two of the major networks have decided to telecast some major league boxing bouts this summer, we can debate those reasons for better or worse later on. The best consequence, boxing fans can see some boxing on "free" television. Since the departure of network boxing from ABC, CBS, and NBC, boxing's popularity has teeter-tawed in its ratings. Most of the major fights in the 70's and early 80's were shown on major network television. Boxing was more or less a "real" sport in the opinion of most sports fans. Today boxing is in limbo, lingering somewhere between world championship wrestling and the martial arts. This is truly sad, since pro-wrestling is entertainment and predetermined and the martial arts have always been an interesting and legitimate sport but with little fanfare beyond those who follow the sport.
Meanwhile, boxing fans have had to endure (some more than others). Boxing has never left our hearts, although it has left the hearts of many of the followers who casually observe the sport. If you are reading this article, you probably are a true boxing fan and cheer the decision for ABC and CBS to broadcast some fights this summer. For those fight fans who who have communicated electronically, whether by America Online Internet Boxing or any other electronic media it is definitely news to cheer. We have kept together and showed our support for the sport of all sports, the pugilistically pure sport that is boxing. Sure USA, ESPN, HBO, Showtime, and Univision have done a great job at keeping this sport alive. We owe them our gratitude. If it wasn't for these networks or pay-per-view, we wouldn't have seen any boxing. These networks are still the pillars of televised boxing. The significance of free networks is that, those without cable can get into the sport. Inviting this group opens up doors to revitalize the public's opinion of boxing and entice new fans to join in.
Certain events, such as CBS losing football and the long baseball strike, have helped boxing. Clearly, the baseball strike brought bad blood between the fans and the sport. Fans are looking for other sports to fill the void. What a great opportunity this could be for boxing. Hockey and basketball have just ended and we have a whole summer of boring baseball to watch or some exciting boxing to behold, you take your pick. I know mine. This free boxing can get some people to subscribe to a cable company and pick up some of the better fights on HBO and Showtime. We all know how PPV can be costly, let's organize boxing fans in our areas and watch the fights together. That's how we have been doing it in southwest Detroit for years. Bringing boxing fans together can only make the sport more appealing to the casual observer.
We can start with CBS. Last weekend they offered a great card that included WBO champion James Toney retaining his belt with a 5th round knockout of Freddie Delgado. The undercard had Hector Arroyo and Manuel Gomez gunning it out and Gomez beating the number one ranked contender by KO in 10. CBS also plans to televise Lennox Lewis against Justine Fortune. Terry Ray and Kenny Keene's rematch from last year on July 9. Tommy Hearns defends his lightly regarded WBU cruiserweight belt in July, followed by Hector Camacho on August 6, just some of the upcoming CBS bouts. You can argue about the quality, perhaps no one really cares about a Ray-Keene or an over-the-hill Hearns bout. They may not be the best of quality, it's the point that boxing is back on the same field as baseball at least.
ABC, which was scheduled to take to the boxing scene last fall with Oscar De La Hoya, has finally made its way back to the boxing scene. While Howard Cosell has passed on, this doesn't mean ABC's boxing tradition has to pass away. I just finished seeing a great bout with IBF jr.welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu defending his title against two-time former champion Roger Mayweather in a twelve-round decision. That was world class action for free. The ABC boxing series is a trial run. Let's hope it continues for a long time to come. See you next month in the Computer Canvas.
reviews: REVIEWS: reviews: REVIEWS: reviews: REVIEWS:
MINI-REVIEWHEAVYHITTERS is a monthly newsletter devoted to the heavyweight division. The June issue features Eric "Butterbean" Esch on the cover. If you can't figure out what Butterbean looks like, just look at any advertisement for the wonder bra. The issue contains mostly fight results and several short articles including a one-page feature on Jeremy Williams which reprints his complete fight record. Fans fixated on the fatties can feast on the fight facts in this Fanzine. Readers are encouraged to contribute by writing articles and submitting information. First of the month monthly publication with up-to-date fight info and up-and-coming bouts. Advertising space is also available for the serious boxing collector. Subscriptions are $6.60 for three months. You can contact Heavyhitters through E-mail at PAUNCHO@AOL.COM or by writing to Trent Stude, 7843 Riley # 325, Overland Park, KS 66204.
BOOK REVIEWBLESS ME, FATHER, by Mark Kriegel (Doubleday 1995),
reviewed by B. Gould Miller
MINI-REVIEW: Boxing Collectors' NewsIf you consider yourself a serious boxing fan you must subscribe to BCN. Each issue is stuffed with advertisements of boxing collectibles for sale from dealers across the nation. Issue 83 for example has early issues of the Ring, many programs and tickets, and hard-to-get autographs. Even if you don't actively collect, BCN usually features several articles of interest. The current issue has an interview with former lightweight champion Carlos Ortiz. Subscriptions are $19 annually; $24 for first class mail. You can contact BCN at 3316 Luallen Dr., Carrollton, TX 75007.
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