The Cyber Boxing Zone Journal
by GorDoom (email@example.com)It's with bittersweet emotions that we publish this issue of the Cyber Boxing Zone newsletter. On one hand, we have contributions from some of the most respected names in the sport. Men such as Hank Kaplan, Ferdie Pacheco, Enrique EnEncinosa, Randy Gordon & Jim Trunzo. All of them have peerless boxing credentials & it's very gratifying to have such heavy hitters contribute pieces for us to publish.
The bitter part comes from the death of one of the greatest champions of our time, Luis Manuel Rodrigues. The day before he died, I got Rodrigues' phone number from Hank Kaplan. Having lived in Mexico for many years, I speak fluent Spanish & I decided to give Rodrigues a call. He obviously was not feeling very well & our conversation was short. But I did get a chance to convey too him how admired he still was in the boxing community & that a number of writers & boxing people were mounting a campaign to get him elected to the Hall Of Fame. He seemed pleased by my news & the call soon ended. A few hours later, Luis Manuel Rodrigues was dead.
I have nothing but admiration for the job Ed Brophy & the people that work with him do in Canastota .... But if someone like Billy Graham is in the Hall Of Fame, then it is an outright crime that Rodrigues isn't ... It's time to rectify this mistake!
Last November I wrote a bio on Luis for the linear champions section. Since his death, the incomparable Hank Kaplan has helped put me in touch with the people that worked with & knew Luis best. It's been a true pleasure to speak with Angelo Dundee (Luis' manager & trainer), Ferdie Pacheco (his doctor & cornerman) & Enrique Encinosa the well-respected Miami boxing writer who knew Luis well. Both Pacheco & Encinosa contributed articles for this issue & agreed to contribute more in the future! Pacheco's piece entitled Luis' Bad Luck, is an excerpt from an upcoming book by Pacheco called The Doctor Fights Back. His article can be read in the book preview section of the Cyber Boxing Zone. Enrique Encinosa contributed two articles, one is a reprint from Hank Kaplan's World Wide Boxing Digest from the early 80's. The second is a poignant article Enrique wrote after attending Rodrigues' funeral.
The other good news we have to convey is that Randy Gordon, former USA & ESPN fight analyst, former editor of Ring Magazine, former New York State Athletic Commissioner & currently the director of boxing operations at the Foxwoods Casino, has also come aboard as a regular contributor for the Cyber Boxing Zone! His article this month is a fine piece on the Bowe-Golota lash-up at which he was a ringside spectator.
Anyhow, we hope you all enjoy what Mike & I feel is the best issue we've published yet!
GorDoom's Spit Bucket
¢As Joyce Carroll Oates, more eloquently explained it (Gotta remember this missive is comin' straight Catholic saints vis a vis the hierarchal order of boxing icons . . . Boxing, like the Church, is always under canonical reexamination. The upshot, is that Boxers & Saints, are case studies in revisionism. St. Christopher & Rocky Marciano get dissected & reevaluated . . . Which means anybody on this pitiful orb we call home, can get dissed anytime, anywhere . . . But the Bucket ain't here to diss, I just want to D-scribe (& I strive to be as historically accurate as possible), some of the career's of the great (& not so great), fighters that earned the immortal distinction of being World Champions.
Any man who climbs the 3 steps into the ring & through the ropes is already a champ in my book. Just the fact that you are standing practically naked before a crowd; set too face mortal combat, in an unforgiving discipline; before a merciless audience, makes me give respect too every fighter . . . It ain't like show biz, were the crowd is already in your corner & prepared to cheer you on -- it is an adversarial situation that sometimes has life in the balance . .
Too make a long dissertation a hell of a lot shorter . . . The Bucket would like to acknowledge his boxing Guru & spiritual adviser in all matters pugilistic; historian emeritus, Hank Kaplan, for his patience & kind advise in directing this not so humble scribe down the correct historical paths . . . So here are the biographies the Bucket has come up with this month . . . & remember, dear readers, the Cyber Boxing Zone is always searching for inspired aficionado's willing to contribute their own bio's on their favorite fighters . . .
Barney Ross, Tony Canzoneri & Jimmy McLarnin comprise the holy trinity of lighter weight fighters of the late 20's to mid-30's. They do so in the same sense that Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns & Marvin Hagler are symbolic of the 80's. Like the modern trio, Ross, Canzoneri & McLarnin engaged in a round robin of bouts that enthralled the sporting public. Demographically they were a publicists dream: A Jew, an Italian & a native son of Ireland.
Like Sugar Ray Leonard some 50 years later, Ross emerged as the dominant fighter after a grueling series of wars with the other two. Of all of the six boxers I have so far discussed, Barney Ross (real name: Beryl Rossofsky. Born: New York City, December 23, 1909), was the most implausible one to have emerged as a great fighter. Physically, he was not particularly blessed. His lack of power was exerbated by small hands & brittle bones on a slight frame with very slim arms. What was never measured however was his heart, which was boundless.
When Barney was 14 years old, two punks robbed the dairy that Barney's dad, Isadore, who was also a rabbi, operated in Chicago's West Side. Finding only nickels & dimes in the cash register the enraged louts shot & killed Barney's father.
His mother who struggled grievously too keep her brood together after the calamity, suffered a nervous breakdown & had to be taken care of by relatives. Barney & his older brother moved in with a cousin & the three younger siblings were placed in an orphanage. At this point, Ross became almost pathologically obsessed with reuniting his scattered family. He was so desperate to make a buck that he even turned to Chicago's main form of earning a living during the Roaring 20's . . . Racketeering. Barney was soon busted for running illegal crap games & went to work for various gangsters including "Scarface" Al Capone. During his brief apprenticeship, Ross decided he liked the work & wanted to join the mob full time.
The story may be apocryphal, but supposedly Capone himself, denied young Barney the entree to a life of crime. "Scarface" felt it wasn't appropriate for the son of a rabbi to become a "made" man. The story goes that he gave Ross a twenty dollar bill (more than a week's wages for many during the Depression), & told Barney too," . . . Get off the streets." When Barney began to protest, Capone snarled, "Beat it, before I get mad!"
With his options severely limited Barney turned to amateur boxing to raise some desperately needed shekels. Sometimes fighting as often as five times a week, almost always winning; Barney would hock the medals he won for three dollars apiece.
Barney trained at the Catholic Youth Center were the boxing coach was the very clever old-time fighter, Packy McFarland. Barney being a smart lad, wisely absorbed all the tricks of the trade that the old cutie, McFarland taught him.
Well schooled by the venerable Paky & inspired by the brilliant success of fellow Chicago ghettoite, Jackie Fields, Barney fought an estimated 250 amateur bouts culminating with his winning the intercity featherweight Golden Gloves title in 1929.
Ross turned pro shortly thereafter & from 1929 to 1932 he racked up an impressive 38-2-2 record. Then on August 26th he faced the redoubtable veteran, Ray Miller. Miller was a battle scarred veteran of over a hundred fights whose left hook was not only the scourge of the lightweight division; but was one of the best left hookers of all-time according to Hank Kaplan. While Miller was a top contender, more importantly, he was the baddest lightweight in Chicago. Young Barney, who many thought was in over his head, pounded out a victory in a grueling battle of left hooks. That was also the night that Ross proved he had a chin made out of granite -- as further testified to by his never being knocked down, much less KO'd during his long career.
A little over two weeks after the Miller fight, Barney faced Frankie Petrolle on September 15th (KO-2). This bout was significant because Frankie was the great Billy "The Fargo Express" Petrolle's brother. This created a natural rivalry & Billy was matched with Barney six months later. Before facing Petrolle, Ross dispatched five foes; the most notable being the very tough former featherweight champion (1929-1932), Battling "Bat" Battallino (yet another classic moniker!).
The bout with Billy Petrolle was the turning point of Ross' career. Petrolle, along with Sam Langford, Lew Tendler & Charley Burley was one of the greatest fighters to have never won a championship. No champion or top contender wanted to fight him . . . Ever. Ross bested Petrolle (W-10), in a torrid match that had Chicago fight fans buzzing for months.
That fight earned Barney a shot against the reigning lightweight & jr. welterweight champion, Tony Canzoneri, who at the time was considered the best fighter pound for pound in the game. Ross narrowly edged Canzoneri (W-10), in Chicago, on June 23, 1933 & won both titles; becoming the first fighter since the beginning of the Queensbury Rules era to win two titles simultaneously.
Many years later, Ross was quoted as saying, "Winning the titles was almost an anti-climax. My big thrill came a few weeks before the fight. That was when I was able to take the younger kids out of the orphanage asylum & reunite them with Mom". Barney had moved his family into a spacious apartment with the rent pre-paid. This was the fulfillment of a vow that had obsessed him since the tragic events that had scattered his family. This meant more too him than any titles. That was the kind of man that Barney Ross was . . .
Never one to waste time, Ross defended his jr. welter title on July 26th in Kansas City against rugged Johnny Farr (KO-6). Since the first fight with Canzoneri, there had been a lot of speculation -- especially from the New York press -- that Canzoneri had been jobbed by a hometown decision. Ross, who never ducked anybody, gave Canzoneri a rematch on Tony's home turf in New York City. The return bout, on September 12th, before more than 40,000 roaring, stomping fans in the Polo Grounds, was a major Big Apple event. The celebrity's in the crowd included members of the Presidential Cabinet, governors, mayors, famous mobsters & movie, radio & recording stars.
This time scheduled for 15 rounds, the fight was a brutal, bloody, bout. It wasn't until the last few rounds, when Ross had Canzoneri out on his feet, that Barney was able to develop a clear cut edge. After the fight, Ross indicated that he was glad he had not knocked out the gallant Canzoneri. Immediately following the fight, Ross relinquished the lightweight title due to weight problems. (This brings up an interesting question: If the jr. titles were so disparaged in those days, why did Ross hang on to the jr. welterweight title? The claim of weight problems is questionable since Ross later defended his welterweight title more than once, fighting at 137-138 lbs. Not only did he hang on to the supposedly spurious title, but he defended it regularly during most of his reign as welterweight champion).
My guide into the mysteries & inequities of our beloved sport, the incomparable boxing historian, Hank Kaplan, has as usual, straightened out my chemically induced flights of imagination. He suggests that the I'm way off base (this has never been suggested before!), & that Ross wasn't hanging on to a then spurious title, but that the proto-Arum's (my analogy, not Hank's), were using the hook of a title match much like modern day promoters & the TV network's use specious WB-what-ever titles to promote their telecasts . . .
At any rate, Ross followed his 2nd conclusive victory over Canzoneri by defending the jr. welterweight title against Sammy Fuller on November 17th in Chicago (W-10).
On January 24th, 1934, Ross gave Billy Petrolle a rematch in New York (W-10). He followed this with a string of jr. welter title defenses against the likes of Pete Nebo (W-10), Frankie Klick (W-10) & Bobby Pacho (W-10); before facing "Baby face" Jimmy McLarnin for the welterweight title on May 28th in New York City.
Despite Barney's victories over Canzoneri, who at the time was considered the best fighter pound for pound, McLarnin had come to be recognized as Canzoneri's successor as the best fighter in the game. McLarnin was a great fighter who beat ten world champions during his storied career. He seemed to specialize in flattening Jewish fighters & he'd already KO'd the likes of, Jackie Fields, Joey Sangor, Kid Kaplan, Sid Terris, Joey Glick, Ruby Goldstein & a come backing Benny Leonard.
Because of McLarnin's propensity for flattening Jewish opponents (similar to Roger Maywether's rep as a Mexican destroyer in the 80's), Jewish fight fans turned out in record numbers in anticipation for this fight.
60,000 fans attended the fight in the Long Island Bowl & were treated to one of the great fights in history. Both fighters went at it hammer & tongs with Ross gaining a slight edge with his speed, despite being out weighed by 10 pounds, which frustrated McLarnin who was unable to reach Ross' chin with his vaunted right. Finally in the 9th round he caught Ross with the right & down he went. Angry because he had never been down before, Ross jumped up without a count & tore into McLarnin. Forty five seconds later McLarnin was on the canvass as a result of two vicious left hooks. McLarnin also roze without a count & recklessly attacked Ross, who used his considerable defensive skills to avoid McLarnin's haymakers until the end of the round. By the end of the fight McLarnin was a bloody mess & the decision was given to Ross, although the scores were controversial. One judge awarded 11 rounds to Ross, 2 to McLarnin & 2 even. The second judge had it 9 rounds for McLarnin, 1 round for Ross & 5 even. The referee"s scoring was even more bizarre, 1 round for McLarnin, 13 rounds for Ross & 1 even! Talk about seeing things differently!
On September 17th, 1934, Ross gave McLarnin a return bout & Ross lost another controversial split decision over 15 rounds. Of the 29 reporters covering the fight, 22 of them had Ross winning.
Ross still had his jr. welterweight title & continued defending it for the rest of the year & the next until he was rematched with McLarnin for the rubber bout exactly one year from the date he first won it.
Like the other two, the rubber match was a bruising savage struggle. In the 6th round Ross badly broke his right thumb. Fighting the rest of the fight in agony, Barney persevered & had McLarnin's number; this time he won a convincing unanimous decision in 15. Barney also was the first fighter to ever win a title twice on the same date.
Following this fight Ross relinquished the jr. welter title to campaign exclusively as a welterweight. Ross proceeded to beat the very tough bolo punching Ceferino Garcia twice in 10 round non-title bouts & defended his title against Izzy Janazzo (W-15).
On September 23rd 1937 Ross granted Garcia a title shot. Ross fought with a severely bone bruised left hand, but was still able to out smart & out speed his slow thinking but much harder hitting opponent. After 11 rounds Ross had the fight well in hand when he was caught by a crushing bolo uppercut in the 12th. Ross' knees buckled, but he managed too hang on. In the 14th Garcia landed powerful combinations that badly bloodied Ross' face & almost put him away. By this time Ross was fighting on courage & instinct alone, but somehow he mustered a fusillade of punches in the 15th to pull out the decision.
Barney finally came to the end of his championship days on May 31st 1938. On that day he faced a human hurricane named Henry Armstrong. Armstrong who was the featherweight champion was jumping 4 divisions too take on Ross. From an artistic standpoint it was a totally one sided fight. Barney held his own for the first 3 rounds. By the middle of the fight it had turned into a massacre. Ross' managers wanted to stop the fight, but Ross pleaded with them thru swollen bloody lips, "If you stop it," he said, "I'll never talk to you again!"
Famed referee Arthur Donovan, went to Ross' corner following the 11th, 12th & 13th rounds & Barney begged him to let the fight go on, "I've got to go out like a champion," he pleaded, "Let me finish. I have never been knocked out."
Armstrong later divulged that he carried Ross for the last 3 rounds. "How are you feeling?" he asked Ross in the 13th. "I'm dead," replied Barney. "Allright," snapped Armstrong, "just shoot your left, but if you shoot your right, you're dead!"
All Ross could do was lean on Armstrong the last 3 rounds. Following the unanimous decision loss, Ross retired. He had 81 fights, winning 73 & only losing 4.
After his retirement, Ross seemed content as a proprietor of a very successful Chicago lounge that bore his name. When World War II broke out in 1941, Barney who was 33 at the time & too old for the military draft insisted on enlisting & joined the Marines. The war & the events that unfolded forever changed Ross' life. Combat gave Ross yet another opportunity to prove what a valiant warrior he was. Against insurmountable odds, he & 4 other Marines defended a fox hole against squads of Japanese soldiers. In an article for the Jewish Digest in 1968, Father Frederick Gehring, who was the Catholic chaplain stationed on Guadalcanal with Ross, gave the closest thing we have to a first hand account about what happened:
"In the fierce fire fight the other four . . . were seriously injured. They found refuge in a shell hole, where Barney, although eventually wounded himself, proceeded to hold off the enemy force, two of his wounded companions loaded while he fired. When reinforcements finally rescued them, the Marines had been in their hole for thirteen hours. Around them lay twenty two enemy dead. Two of the Marines had died & the other two had to undergo amputations. Barney had shrapnel in his legs & sides & was shaken with fever."
Corporal Ross was promoted too Sergeant on the spot & was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross & a Presidential Citation from President Roosevelt. Barney was confined to a Guadalcanal hospital for many months while he was treated for wounds, dysentery, malaria, migraines & otalgia. Sympathetic corpsmen administered large quantities of morphine too help alleviate Ross' suffering. Unfortunately this had the consequence of heavy narcotic addiction.
By the time he was released, Barney's dark hair had turned grey & he still suffered painful bouts of malaria as well a the demons of addiction. Ross remained heavily addicted for four years. During those years he lived the terrible life of a junkie; stealing morphine tablets from hospitals & doctors his life devolve into a nightmare of needles, syringes & droppers. The merciless drug dealers bled Barney's savings dry. He estimated he went thru half a million dollars feeding his habit. Eventually Ross lost everything, his lounge, his wife & his self esteem. Finally he bottomed out & voluntarily turned himself over to a government recovery facility in Lexington Kentucky & after six months of treatment he was cured of his addiction & released. A few years later the movie Monkey On My Back was released starring Cameron Mitchell as Barney. The movie purported to show Ross' life a drug addict. Barney denounced the movie as, ". . . filth, bilge & cheap sensation. Ross threatened to sue United Artists for $5 million dollars, but settled out of court for $10,000.
When his health was restored, Barney went into the gun running business unsuccessfully, trying to smuggle arms into Israel during the 1948 War Of Independence. Finally too make ends meet, he got a job through a friend as Secretary-Treasurer in charge of labor relations for the Eureka Shipbuilding Corporation in Newburgh New York. In his spare time he toured the lecture circuit, lecturing on the evils of drug addiction. After finally finding a measure of peace in his life, Ross developed throat cancer & after a long, painful battle, his arduous life came to an end in Chicago, on January 17th, 1967 . . .
Barney Ross represented Every Man. To the sport of boxing, Barney Ross exemplified everything that is noble in this bloody, back stabbing, brutal arena we call a sport . . . Barney Ross, roze above his impoverished ghetto existence to become a shining example of the American Dream at it's best & it's most unforgiving . . . Today's sports heroes could learn a lesson from Ross: No matter how hot you are today . . . Life & the tumbling dice, the Bitch Angel keeps rolling . . . has an eternal way of chillin' your ass out . . .
BENNY "LITTLE FISH' BASS
Regarding Benny Bass, Jack Dempsey was quoted as saying: "He is the greatest fighter of his weight & inches I have ever set my eyes upon." At a diminutive 4' 11', Benny possessed a bull neck & extraordinary musculature around his shoulders & biceps. He was a powerful force & rarely fought at over 130 pounds. Bass was one of the hardest punchers ever in the featherweight & jr. lightweight divisions. Contemporary Ring Magazine writer, Francis Albertani, described Benny as "a deadly puncher, cool as the proverbial pebble under fire & a masterful boxer."
Born December 4th 1904 in Kiev, Russia. The Bass family emigrated to the U.S. in 1906 settling in Philadelphia. By the age of 15, Benny began his amateur career, winning 95 out of an estimated 100 bouts. He earned a shot at representing the U.S. in the Olympics but lost a heated decision to future world flyweight champion Frankie Genaro in the box-offs in New York City. Genaro went on to win the gold medal at flyweight.
Benny turned pro in 1923 under the tutelage of Phil Glassman who also handled the quintessential Philadelphia fighter, the great Lew Tendler. Within a year he was fighting main events against the cream of the featherweight division. Before the end of his first year as a pro, he faced & held his own with top contenders like Johnny Dixon (ND-10), Pete Sarmiento (ND-10), losing only to the ferocious "Mexican Bobcat" Bobby Garcia in a close decision (L-6).
Over the next three years Benny rocked & socked his way to an outstanding record of 53-4 with 1 NC, 2-Draws & 13 ND. At this point (1927), the great featherweight champion, Lewis "Kid" Kaplan resigned the featherweight title due to weight problems. Benny was matched with the other top rated contender, Morris Kaplan, whose nom de guerre was Red Chapman. Chapman was a mauling bruising in-fighter who had previously lost to Bass (WF-1).
By the time Benny & Chapman squared off for the vacant featherweight title on September 19th in Philadelphia; Bass had evolved into a great fighter who had already cleaned out the featherweight division, as proven by solid victories over top contenders like: Mickey Doyle (KO-5 , Eddie Anderson (D-10, W-10, W-12), Joey Glick (W-10. NC-3, W-10), & Babe Herman (W-10, ND-12). Harold Ribalow, in his book, The Jew In American Sports, wrote this about the Bass-Chapman fight: "Its savagery, its skill & its pace have seldom been equaled by anyone."
As if to belie the maelstrom to come, the fight started slowly. Over the first two rounds the opponents cautiously felt each other out. In the third, the pace was accelerated greatly & maintained for the rest of the fight. Brawling on the inside, they inadvertently clashed heads & Bass' right eyelid was severely lacerated. Chapman began trying to zero in on the damaged orb, but Benny used his considerable store of boxing skills too keep Chapman at bay & avoid further severe damage too the eyelid. By the 7th round, giving as good as he was getting, Benny opened a severe gash over one of Chapman's eyes.
In the annals of fistiana the 9th round of the fight ranks as one of the great rounds in history; right up there with Dempsey-Willard (round 1), Dempsey-Firpo (round 1), Louis-Schmelling II (round 1 , Hagler-Hearns (round-1) & Holyfield-Bowe I (round 10).
Both fighters exploded out of their respective corners at the bell. Colliding mid-ring, they both threw wild looping overhand rights that landed simultaneously. Both fighters fell to the canvass as if pole axed. Double knockdowns are rare events in boxing & the crowd & referee were stunned. The referee began the count & Benny shakily roze from the canvass on quivering legs at the count of two. The glassy eyed & very hurt Chapman managed to get to his feet at the count of nine. Immediately after this amazing turn of events, both thoroughly dazed fighters, operating on pure fighting instinct threw themselves at each other in a furiously sustained barrage of leather. At the end of the exchange Benny landed another wild right hand & Chapman went down hard. Too the amazement of the 30,000 fans who had filled Shibes Park, Chapman somehow managed to regain his feet before the count of 10 & again the fighters threw themselves at each other in a hellaciously wild exchange that was maintained until the conclusion of the round.
By the mid-point of the 10th round both fighters were bloodied, grisly zombies, fighting on empty, with nothing but sheer will too maintain them. Author Harold Ribalow, describes the scene at the end of the fight: " Bass was in bad shape. His eye was badly bruised & his own blood was mixed with Chapman's blood . . . Chapman was completely covered with dried blood, which glistened where his perspiration met with blood. His teeth were out in a perpetual snarl & he moved with the deliberation of a sleepwalker. He threw punches he was unconscious of throwing & Bass ducked them with a casualness born of fatigue. Yet Bass seemed a bit more alert than Chapman & when the bell rang he seemed more human, more alive." Upon winning the well deserved decision Benny Bass became the 9th featherweight champion of the world.
Incredibly, less than a month later on October 17th Benny hopped into the ring against the very tough Mike Ballerino (W-10). He closed out the year with two fights in December. On the 9th he met Johnny Farr (W-10), & on the 13th Johnny Sheppard (W-10).
Never one to sit around resting on his laurels, Benny engaged in three matches the next January, beginning on the 3rd! On February 10th he defended his title against the immortal Tony Canzoneri in New York City. Even though he lost a 15 round decision along with his title, Bass covered himself with fistic glory in a display of courage & stamina seldom seen before or since in the squared circle. During the third round of the encounter Bass somehow got his collarbone broken. This kind of injury is excruciatingly painful making even something as simple as clenching your fists & holding them up agonizing.
Benny somehow not only mustered the will too fight on for another 12 rounds; but from the 10th round on, he mounted a furious rally & almost pulled out of an extremely close 15 round split decision loss! Too accomplish this, against a fighter in his prime who was as great as Canzoneri, is a remarkable feat.
Following the loss of his title Benny took four months off to recuperate. His return to the ring against a fighter he had previously beaten named Peter Nebo was unsuccessful (L-10). His next bout on September 10th was more successful. The fighter he met, Harry Blitman, was a hot, undefeated & rapidly rising contender. The fight, billed as being for the combined featherweight titles of Pennsylvania & the Jewish championship of Philadelphia was a real grudge match. Blitman, a rugged southpaw, discarded all pretenses of boxing skill & went after Benny as if he was the starving lion of Judah & attempted to go toe to toe with the original "Bad" Benny from Philly. This proved a terminal mistake for young Harry. Benny slowed him to a crawl in the very first round with damaging left hooks to the liver, by the 6th round Blitman was totally on queer street when Benny landed two thudding overhand rights to the head & flattened Blitman. Harry was unconscious for a long time after his handlers dragged him back to his corner. Harry Blitman fought on for three more years, but was never the same again after the beating he absorbed from Benny.
On December 19th 1929 Benny challenges flashy boxer/puncher Todd Morgan for his jr. lightweight title. Morgan was an excellent fighter who had held the crown for four years defending it successfully 15 times.
For the majority of the first round Morgan held the tiny "Little Fish" at bay stabbing him with lightning lefts. Right before the end of the round Morgan caught Benny with a thundering right cross that sent him reeling into the ropes. Seconds before the bell, Morgan slammed home another right that badly hurt Benny who was barely able to stagger back to his corner.
Once again displaying his remarkable recuperative powers, Benny roared out of his corner at the bell for round 2. He bulled Morgan around the ring & then dropped him with a heavy right cross flush on the jaw. Morgan struggled to his feat at the count of nine only too be met by an even more thunderous right hand. At the count of ten, Benny "Little Fish" Bass was the new world jr. lightweight champion.
Benny didn't defend his crown in 1930. Fighting regularly his highlight of the year was a ten round decision over future jr.welterweight champion Johnny Jadick & the low light was a 10 round decision loss in a non-title rematch with Tony Canzoneri.
The first KO loss of Benny's career came in his first defense of his title against Kid Chocolate on July 15th 1931( His only other KO loss was 6 years later when he was way past his prime against Henry Armstrong ( KO by 4),). Benny was more than holding his own against Chocolate when a very deep gash was opened over Benny's left eye & the contest was stopped in the 7th.
Benny never got a chance to regain his title & although he fought on for another ten years his career as a first echelon prizefighter was pretty much over. He retired after two consecutive 10 round losses in 1940. After all the years of blood & effort Benny was dead broke. As Benny put it: "Everybody who needed money got it from me".
Benny was no dummy however & even though he lacked much formal scholastic training he had a sharp mind as shown by his fluency in five different languages. Applying himself with the same resolve he had displayed in the ring, Benny passed a Civil Service exam & worked a desk job for the Philadelphia traffic courts for many years.
Benny "The Little Fish" Bass died of heart complications on June 25th 1974. Among the world champions he face during his boxing career were: Tony Canzoneri (L-15, L-10), Todd Morgan (KO-2), Johnny Jadick (W-10, W-10), Bud Taylor (KO-2), Kid Chocolate (TKO BY 7), Petey Sarron (LF-6, L-10) Red Cochrane (W-10) & Henry Armstrong (KO by 4).
He is enshrined in the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall Of Fame & The Jewish Sports Hall Of Fame In Israel.
FREDDIE "RED" COCHRANE
Despite (or maybe because of), his rather mundane career as a professional fighter; Freddie Cochrane did achieve one immutable mark in boxing history . . . He ranks in the all-time top ten of the most pedestrian fighters too ever become a true linear world champion.
Like modern day mutts like Billy Backus (welterweight), Jorge Vaca (welterweight) & Michael Moorer (heavyweight), among unfortunately too many others; Freddie the Red was somehow in the right place at the right time with the right connections . . .
What can you say about a boxer who had lost 30 fights before he won the welterweight title??? His title winning effort (?) against Fritzie Zivic on July 29th 1941 was one of the most blatantly fixed title bouts in history . . . Freddie's manager, the crafty Willie Glizenberg, was heavily rumored too have more than a passing acquaintance with the bent-nose crowd . . .
Anyhow, "Red" turned pro in '33 & maintained his undercard status for years. Even losing a fight to the once great, but by then totally shot, former featherweight & jr. lightweight champion Benny "Little Fish" Bass in 1937.
Cochrane was a fighter with no discernible talents. He wasn't a slick boxer or a KO puncher -- or a gutsy fighter like a Greb, Berg, LaMotta, Fullmer, Basilio or Antuofermo -- who overcame their physical deficiencies with sheer guts & will. Cochrane was a nonentity & let's be blunt about it . . . a mobbed up fighter who also fortuitously had World War II extend his dismal career . . . For example, after he won the welterweight title, he engaged in an over the weight non-title fight with another mobbed up fighter, lightweight champion, Lew Jenkins, in which he won a 10 round decision. He followed that up with another 10 round decision the same year (1941), against no-hoper Bobby Britton on December 19th in Miami (a favored wintering spa for the mob).
Cochrane started 1942 with a wimpy bang, losing a 10 round decision to Garvey Young in Boston. Then on September 15th, in NYC, Freddie (or the powers that be), granted Fritzie Zivic a non-title rematch. Zivic proceeded to clean Freddie's clock for ten brutal rounds & won a unanimous 10 round decision. At that point, Cochrane must have decided discretion was the better part of valor & joined the Navy -- realizing fighting the Nipponese would be safer than defending his title . . . Which he didn't do until February 1 1946 against the rugged Marty Servo (KO by 4), who only had 15 KO's in 56 fights. Cochrane had prepared for this titanic effort by suffering two devastating non-title KO's against Rocky Graziano (KO by 10, KO by 10).
Born in Chicago, legend has it that Jackie Fields (real name Jacob Finkelstein), took his ring name from either a Chicago department store, or in honor of an obscure fighter named Marty Fields. Jackie, an Olympic gold medal winner in 1924 at featherweight, turned pro shortly thereafter.
Fighting mostly out of Los Angeles, Fields won 8 of his first 9 bouts, his lone blemish being a draw. Since Jackie was a gold medalist his career began with a measure of fanfare & instant identification. Buoyed by his early success & the temptation of a $5000 purse (very large shekels for a basically prelim fighter in 1925), the 17 year old prototype L.A. "Golden Boy", made the huge mistake of stepping way up in class & jumping into the ring with one of boxing's most revered all -- time great's, "Babyface" Jimmy McLarnin on November 12 1925. At that point, McLarnin had 34 pro bouts with only one loss, mainly against top flight competition. "Babyface" brutalized Fields with five knockdowns in 2 rounds; finally putting Jackie away for the count with a vicious right cross that permanently smashed him to the canvass. That was the first & only time, in a sterling 10 year career that Fields would lose by KO.
By 1927, Fields had grown into the lightweight division & on April 4th he fought the current world lightweight champion, Sammy Mandell in a 12 round no-decision bout. Mandell had refused to put his title on the line, which turned out to be a good call, because according to contemporary accounts Fields won handily. Jackie won the rest of his bouts that year with the exception of his bout with former featherweight champion, the great, Lewis "Kid" Kaplan (L-10). His highlight bout that year was a convincing non-title 10 round decision on November 22 over current jr. welterweight champion & fierce rival for the affections of the L.A. fight crowd, Mushy Callahan. By years end, the still growing 20 year old lad was a full fledged welterweight.
Facing nothing but top of the line competition, Fields also won all but one of his bouts in 1928. The lone loss was to nemesis Sammy Mandell in another non-title bout (L-10). The year's high points were two victories over future middleweight champion Vince Dundee (W-10, W-10) & another 10 round decision over future welterweight champion, Young Jack Thompson.
1929 was the beginning of Jackie's championship run . . . He started on January 28th with a victory over top contender Jack McCarthy in Chicago (W-10) & quickly followed up with wins over Baby Joe Gans (W-10, February 15) & Al Van Ryan (KO-5 March 8), before winning the N.B.A. version of the welterweight title against the by now familiar Young Jack Thompson on March 25th in Chicago (W-10). Then on July 25th in Motown, Fields unified the welterweight championship against the linear titlist, Joe Dundee, in one of the strangest fights in the annals of fistiana . . .
Jackie totally dominated the abbreviated fight. He floored Dundee once in the first round & proceeded to bounce him off the canvass four more times in the first part of round 2. After his fifth knockdown in that dismal (for Joe Dundee), round; Pal Joey, in front of 25,000 disbelieving paying customers crawled across the ring on his hands & knees until he got right in front of Jackie & sucker punched him right in the family jewels (there were no protective cups during the "Roaring 20's"). Jackie twisted & flopped around the ring like a gutted carp before he blacked out from the pain & was awarded the world welterweight title (W-F2).
Dundee claimed he was so out of it he didn't know what he was doing . . . Yeah, right. Jackie however, nailed the issue succinctly, "That bum & his buddies had bet money on the fight." Dundee knew he was a goner & he also knew if the fight ended on a foul, all bets were off.
To keep it in the family, for his first defense, Jackie took on Joe's brother Vince, yet again. The soon to be crowned middleweight champion fared even worse in this bout than he did in the previous two. Fields battered Dundee from pillar to post, knocking him down in the 6th on route to a lopsided 10 round decision.
His final fight of 1929, on December 13th in Boston was against another future middleweight title claimant Gorilla Jones (Where did they come up with these names!??) This bout was declared a no contest in the 7th round. Apparently Gorilla felt more inclined to be a lamb that night & was seemingly not capable of raising his gloves in anger. The Bean Town fight crowd, never known for their reticence in displaying their displeasure, began to jeer & shake the rafters with their stamping feet. According to reporters at ringside, Jackie was pressing the fight, but was ineffective against the hibernating Gorilla. Referee Joe O'Connor, disgusted with the lack of effort, called a halt to the miserable proceedings in the 7th & declared the fight No Contest. The shit really hit the fan in the press the next day & the State Boxing Commission withheld both fighters purses & suspended them from fighting in Massachusetts for a year. The ruling was later overturned.
On May 9 1930, in Detroit, Fields lost his welterweight title by decision to familiar rival Young Jack Thompson in 15 grueling rounds. Thompson, another great fighter who like Jackie, has fallen thru the cracks & is forgotten today -- was commonly referred too as "The greatest little black man since Joe Gans". Thompson, a superb boxer & murderous puncher fought a tough, smart battle & out dueled the clever Fields.
Jackie seriously considered retirement after this fight; but when his new manager, the infamous Jack "Doc" Kearns promised him another title shot Fields reconsidered. Subsequently, Thompson lost his title to French-Canadian strong boy Lou Brouillard. Now focused on the Canuck, they were matched on January 28 1932 in Chicago. Jackie totally outclassed Brouillard, knocking him to the canvass in the 8th on route to a 10 round title winning decision.
The way Jackie lost his title the second time was as bizarre as the way he first gained it. On February 22nd 1930 during his first reign as welterweight champion Jackie lost a 10 round non-title decision to Young Corbett lll in San Francisco. Jackie was bitterly adamant that he had been jobbed by a hometown decision. Finally, three years to the day later, Jackie granted Corbett a rematch -- again, in San Francisco. Fields & his wily manager, "Doc" Kearns agreed to the bout in San Francisco only because of the huge (by Depression era standards), $45,000 purse. In order to ensure that he wouldn't again be a victim of a hometown decision, Kearns insisted on well know L.A. referee Lt. Jack Kennedy. Kennedy was noted at the time for the impeccable honesty of his decisions.
Corbett, who was a converted southpaw & at that time considered too be one of the all-time great counter punchers; had the best of it in the early going, but Jackie rallied strongly in the second half of the fight. Many years later Jackie told the famed writer Peter Heller the story: "We thought we won it. Then the referee raised Corbett's hand. We were stunned. Back in the locker room, Kearns asked the referee why he gave the title to Corbett. He said he made a mistake, that he meant to raise my hand in victory, but grabbed Corbett's instead. With that, Kearns punched the referee in the mouth & knocked him cold right there in the dressing room."
Jackie who was a gallant warrior & never one to make excuses, had defended his title completely blind in one eye. The year before Fields had been in a bad car accident & his eye had rapidly deteriorated into blindness.
Fields fought only one more time, on May 2nd 1933 he beat top contender Young Peter Jackson (W-10). After this fight he was offered a title shot against middleweight champion Vince Dundee, who he had already bested three times. But the loss of the eye, coupled with the death of his beloved mother, left Jackie physically & emotionally unable to endure the rigors of the fight game & he retired with a record of: W -71 L- 8 D-2 ND-2 NC-1 28 KO. During his outstanding career Jackie faced 11 world champions: Jimmy McLarnin (KO by 2), Louis "Kid" Kaplan (L-10), Mushy Callahan (W-10), Sammy Mandell (ND-12, L-10), Vince Dundee (W-10, W-10, W-10), Joe Dundee (WF-2), Young Jack Thompson (W-10, W-10, L-15), Gorilla Jones (W-10, NC-7), Tommy Freeman (KO-5, Lou Brouillard (W-10) & Young Corbett lll (L-10, L-10).
Jackie had earned an estimated $500,000 during his career which he had wisely invested in real estate. However, due to the conditions during the Depression, Fields like millions of others was financially wiped out. To keep body & soul together, Jackie was forced to seek employment for the first time in his life. Always a pragmatic fellow, Jackie first landed a job as an assistant unit manager for 20th Century Fox & in the latter half of the '30's as a film editor for MGM.
By the 1940's he was selling jukeboxes for Wurlitzer in Pennsylvania, but after the advent of Television the bottom dropped out of that particular business. Always one too land on his feet, Fields became a business representative for J&B Scotch in the mid-west.
In the late 1950's Fields bought a large share of stock in the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. Although he sold his shares a few years later he remained as Public Relations Director for the hotel. Jackie also served for many years as Chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Jackie Fields died in Los Angeles on June 3rd 1987 at the age of 79. Fields was a great fighter who faced everybody available during his illustrious career. This is borne out by the 11 champions that he faced. Jackie was the original L.A. "Golden Boy". Oscar De La Hoya would be well served using Jackie Fields as a role model too help guide his own career . . .
Jackie Fields was elected to the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 1977 & the Jewish Sports Hall Of Fame in Israel, in 1979.
YOUNG JACK THOMPSON
Boxing is the cruelest sport. The fighters toil for the most part in anonymity; literally offering up their bodies for the insatiably bloodthirsty crowds. The mostly abysmal conditions the fighters endure in order to practice their craft would be intolerable for athletes in other sports. Yet the fighters persevere, a tribute to the essence of men who are trying too fight their way out of the miserable miasma of their human condition.
Perhaps the worse conditions ever faced by boxers were those that African-American's endured in the eras between the heavyweight championship reigns of Jack Johnson which began on December 26th 1908 & Joe Louis' 1st round destruction of Max Schmelling on June 22nd 1938.
Johnson, a free spirit that flaunted the "white man's rules" by living an edge city life that included marrying a string of white women. Johnson so enraged the mores of the day that he released a wave of racial hatred & divisiveness that wasn't seen again until the Civil Rights Movement of the 50's & 60's & the OJ trial in the mid-90's. Which brings me to one of those great Afro-American fighters that fought under those terrible conditions; but has further suffered the indignity of being forgotten in the bloody mitts of time . . .
"The Frisco Flash", Young Jack Thompson (real name Cecil Lewis Thompson), was born in San Francisco on August 17 1904. Since record keeping was sketchy at best in those days; it appears he began his pro career in 1922 in San Francisco with a two round KO over one Bud Kelly. Over the next 10 years, Young Jack proceeded to terrorize the welterweight division. Thompson was said to be, "The greatest little black man since the days of Joe Gans." Praise of the highest order indeed . . . But Thompson backed it up with a mastery of the art of boxing & a display of dynamite in both fists. Out of his 61 recorded career victories, 43 were by KO. An outstanding knockout percentage considering the high caliber of opposition he constantly faced. Black fighters were not given gimme fights in those days. In fact, the majority of Young Jack's 28 decision losses (he was never KO'd), were either against sterling competition or were outright robberies involving his opponent's hometown officials.
Thompson first gained real notice when he KO'd the reigning welterweight champion, Joe Dundee in the 2nd round on August 30th 1928. He was matched against the great Jackie Fields, for the vacant N.B.A. welterweight title in Jackie's native Chicago on March 25th 1929 only to lose a controversial 10 round decision.
For the next year Thompson kept campaigning to relatively dismal results winning five fight losing five (all on the road), with one no decision bout. After losing yet another controversial decision in his only New York City appearance to the great Jimmy McLarnin (L-15), he was amazingly given a title shot against Jackie Fields in Detroit on May 9th 1930. Over 15 blistering rounds Thompson was finally able too eke out a close on the road decision for the title. Jack defended his title against tough Tommy Freeman on September 5th of that same year losing a 15 round decision in Cleveland. Jack came back to brutally regain the title with a 12th round KO of Freeman, also in Cleveland on April 14th 1931.
On July 23rd he faced French-Canadian strong boy Lou Brouillard, in Boston, losing a very controversial 10 round decision for the title. Rematched exactly three months later, again in Boston, Thompson suffered the same fate (L-15).
Thompson campaigned for only one more year with mixed results. Discouraged by the bad hometown decisions & the inequity of being a black fighter during the Depression, Young Jack Thompson retired on May 25th 1932 after winning a 6 round decision over a nonentity in Seattle named Leonard Bennett.
Career Record: W-62 L-28 D-13 ND-1 KO-43 ********
THE INMATES, REALLY DO RUN THE ASYLUM
As Sly Stone once sang: "THERE'S a RIOT GOIN' ON!" . . . Only this time, it was in Madison Square Garden. The Big Apple really did herself proud last night. Showing all the class of a two bit hooker in a wrong side of the tracks cat house fight. The Bucket hasn't seen anything like this since "Fan Man"; but that incident was much more contained. This was more like a European or Latin American soccer riot. The last time the Ol' Spit Bucket saw anything like this was in Mexico City, back in 1958 when soon-to-be featherweight champion, Davey Moore fought Roberto "Chango" (Monkey Man), Garcia in the Plaza De Toros bullring. Moore, without a shadow of a doubt, won a decisive 10 round unanimous decision & the place went ape shit . . . I was only an 8 year old Lil' Bucket back then & the memories of the pandemonium which ensued are forever seared into my brain pan . . . The fight was on a Sunday -- May 25th, 1958 to be exact & when the decision was announced, the crowd in the upper levels of the bullring began wadding up thick Sunday newspapers, lighting them on fire & flinging them toward the ring. Why they did this, I don't know . . . but that was the spark that flared into a full scale riot & Lil' Bucket, since he was sitting ringside with a bunch of gringo's -- namely my parents & their friends -- quickly became the concentric center of an ugly maelstrom . . . Being just a little punk (as opposed to the freakin' giant I've become -- yeah, right . . .), the details will always remain hazy, but guided by my father & Moore's manager, Willie Ketchum (who had been not only my father's manager when he was a fighter, but also guided former lightweight champion, Lew Jenkins' career), we somehow escaped into one of the chutes the bulls came out of & ended up in the relative haven that was Moore's chaotic dressing room . . . To this day, I don't know how Lil' Bucket got outta there alive & unfortunately, that was only the first, of many, nearly departing this mortal coil experience's, the Bucket has had to endure during his rather tenuous hold on what us human frijoles call life . . . Flash-Forward 38 years to the Golgothaesque bone yard, we all know & cherish as Madison Square Garden. And once again, I confront chaos, in it's most basic, primal form . . . Thankfully, I wasn't there in person -- I watched from the remove of my TV set . . . but even with that electronic distance it was too close . . . Too painful. . . Too real . . .
8/4/96 The Ol' Spit Bucket is totally aware that the press is supposed to call clear cut criminals like Nixon, Ollie North & OJ, alleged miscreants . . . or suffer the consequences of protracted lawsuits. I don't give a shit -- I'll state it in plain English -- in my opinion, Rock Newman is lower on the evolutionary chain than pond scum. In my opinion, this is a mother fucker who manipulates situations in a severely twisted way to suit his own ends . . . Don King may take the cake, but Newman is a real piece of work . . . He shoves the whole cake in our faces . . . Newman's machinations go way beyond boxing, his failed manipulations with Washington D.C. mayor. Marion Barry to land sweetheart contracts with the District Of Colombia's (that's not a typo), sewage & telephone services, is naked in it's atavistic greed . . . Suffice it for me to say, that Newman & Marion Barry, have their nostrils buried so deep up each other's bung hole's, they mouth breath together . . .
Newman is a world class manipulator, right up there with scum like OJ, McCarthy & Agnew. His appearance on ESPN, all dressed up in his Sunday go to meeting clothes, rather than his usual Afro-centric garb was hilarious! It was the most cloying attempt at spin doctoring the Ol' Spit Bucket has seen, since Presidential press secretary, Ron Ziegler, used to do his sweaty tap dance for the media during the salad days of Watergate.
Anyhow, the shit really hit the fan that Friday, when the New York Athletic Commission temporarily suspended Newman's & Lou Duva's licenses. The Duva suspension is a bit surprising, as Ol' Pizza Face has been a lot more out there on countless occasions. The Bucket has a suspicion that the Duva suspension was a hedge against Newman using the race card against the commission. After all, they not only suspended Newman, but they are withholding a million dead presidents from Bowe's purse. Nothing pisses off a bunko artist like Newman more than taking a hit were it really hurts . . . the Wallet. Hell, if I was Bowe, I'd make The Rock take the hit out of his percentage of the fight; but that would be too much to hope for . . . It's obvious by now, that Big Daddy, buys Newman's bullshit.
There is some good that can come out of this convoluted lash-up. If the State Athletic Commissions stick to their guns regarding Newman's suspension from boxing; it could force the twisted little pit bull out of the sport . . . but Selah, I'm only dreaming . . . The powers that be in my beloved sport, never do the right thing & that's the shame of this basically noble athletic endeavor ... ********
THE 1996 OLYM-PITS
The Ol' Spit Bucket is mighty glad that the Olympics are finally over. The viscous America pumping festival of corporate greed has left town at least until this week's Republican convention. The Olympics have devolved into a media co-option like Christmas, Valentines Day & other assorted holidays. The rampant corporate greed during the Olympics (& the Republican convention), make the Superbowl seem a modest festival of hyperbole & avarice in comparison.
For the Bucket, the Olympics were especially galling. For some reason, during every Olympiad, boxing promoters cease operations & scurry into the woodwork until the whole absurd lash-up is way over . . . I would imagine there are plenty of boxing fans out there, especially during this fallow period for fights, that would have jumped at the chance to catch a good PPV match over the last 6 weeks or so of summer. I don't know about you, but I found the Olympics more depressing than inspirational.
Obviously, for the multi-cultural myriad of athletes participating, this is a glorious moment in their lives -- & they deserve every accolade & dead president they can squeeze out of the experience -- my problem is not with the athletes who have devoted years of their lives for this one brief moment . . . it's the greedy swine who have run this noble endeavor with all the grace & style of a frenzied used car lot salesman during a midnight madness sale.
When I look at Kerri Shrug (sic) & her diminutive ilk; I see legalized dwarf tossing . . . When I see the Dream Team beating up on hapless opponents; I see a farce . . . Next up, we are gonna have major league hockey & baseball players competing . . . If we can beat up on other countries with pros, why not Tyson representing us in the heavyweight division? Or Azumah Nelson representing the jr. lightweights for Ghana . . . It's beyond absurd! Whatever happened to the amateur ideal of the Olym-pits? If you think the Dream Team can really beat up on the Filipino team . . . Just wait until Tyson gets in the ring with some scared 17 year old from the Bikini Islands . . . & speaking of boxing (after all, that is what this column is about), I love boxing & what I saw at the 'Pits was pillow fighting with incredibly inept judging.
Boxing used to be one of the high profile, flag ship events at the 'Pits. These days it's relegated to the real big empty of network scheduling . . . Which is probably for the best, since what we are seeing (when we get too), is not boxing -- or competent officiating for that matter. Ever since the bleeding hearts encumbered the boxers with head gear & gloves the size of cotton candy clouds there has been one essential ingredient missing from the mix . . . PAIN. It's almost impossible to really whack a guy with all the gear the fighters are laden down with & without the elements of danger, pain & consequences I'd rather watch two chicks mud wrestling -- at least there's some drama . . .
(The Ol' Spit Bucket wants to apologize to every Gyno-American he might have offended by using the expression chicks. It was only used as an expression of poetic license & was not meant as a blank indictment of your oh so sensitive, gender.) ********
That this fight was being contested for even a meaningless portion of the heavyweight title is beyond belief. Moorer has had one fight, a desultory 10 round decision win over journeyman Melvin Foster, in May of '95 & that was his first & only fight since losing the real heavyweight title to Big George in November of '94. What has Moorer done too deserve fighting for even this dreary title belt? . . . Which brings us to Axel Schulz. Here's a moke who fought a string of nobodies before facing Foreman on April 22nd 1995. He put up a vaguely valiant effort against a guy old enough to be his father & lost a close, controversial decision. The IBF then proceeded to strip Big George & decreed that Schultz & one of the most dismal heavyweights I've ever seen, Frans Botha, fight for the vacated title. Botha won another close & controversial decision in a truly god-awful fight. Subsequently, Botha was stripped for steroid use & voila! . . . We get today's epic, which reeks so much, HBO didn't want too touch it & foisted it off on ABC. At least it's free . . . Now that I think about it, this is actually a great deal when you consider that tonight's Duran-Camacho farce costs $26.95 were I live. Talk about reekage, this PPV non-event smells too high heaven! Last night, in a conversation with esteemed boxing historian, Hank Kaplan, I asked him what he thought about this lash-up & his comment says it best, "I wouldn't walk across the street to see that fight" . . . But I digress, it's Moorer-Schulz we're talkin' . . .
Michael Moorer has always been a head case. He veers wildly from a well spoken, self contained young man into a wild ass street brawler dumb enough to belt out a cop, fracturing his jaw. Moorer's association with Teddy Atlas seemingly has tempered Michael's erratic nature, but also may have dampened the raging fires within Moorer which made him an exciting KO artist in the early portion of his career. Even after his rise to heavyweight his punch outs with Alex Stewart & Bert Cooper were two of the most exciting heavyweight brawls of the 90's. Unfortunately since those two bouts the majority of his fights have been lethargic non-efforts.
As for the fight itself, Schulz looked like he was wound very tight before the opening bell & once the fight began Moorer was more aggressive & out jabbed Schulz. Schulz seemed lethargic & responded with sporadic flurries that did no damage. This was the pattern for the first 6 rounds which Moorer dominated.
Moorer visibly lost steam in the 7th round & let Schulz back into the fight over the next four round. This is not to imply that Schulz began to take over the fight, only that he began to show a semblance of a pulse. Moorer was at no time in any danger & while Schulz's increased his punch ratio, his crude mauling presented no real problems for Moorer. At best, he might have stolen a couple of rounds.
Moorer regained control of the fight during the 11th round by being more active with his precise, piston like jab. From that point on, with a mix of right uppercuts & straight lefts Moorer easily won the last two rounds.
One judge had it 115-114 Schulz, the other two voted for Moorer 115-113 & 116-113. I didn't think it was that close & I had the fight 8-2-2 in rounds for Moorer.
In the aftermath of this mildly entertaining fight, Schulz probably goes back to the scrap heap after losing three straight title fights. Moorer however, is now set for a big money fight with Tyson, or serious challenges from Bowe & Lewis. Off what I have observed the last few years I don't think Moorer could take Tim Witherspoon, much less the aforementioned trio. Moorer lacks the brio & fire he once possessed & without it, he's a rather pedestrian heavyweight. He was in against a true journeyman & not at any point did Moorer have Schulz in any real trouble. This is not the kind of effort that makes for heavyweight champions. Moorer may get richer behind his new "title", but the only mark he's going to leave on boxing history is that he was the first southpaw heavyweight champion. *********
RINSING OFF THE MOUTHPIECE
June was not the greatest month in the history of boxing. The Chavez-De La Hoya fight was a total anti-climax. The Roy Jones Jr. fight was a dud & Moorer-Schulz was laughable as a heavyweight title fight. Unfortunately we don't have much to look forward to. With the Olympics happening in late summer, it effectively knocks out any major competition in the professional ranks until this fall. Somehow, Tyson-Seldon doesn't make my blood race & the two biggest fights proposed for later in year, don't do much for the Ol' Spit Bucket either. De La Hoya-Gonzales is a mismatch & the proposed Tyson-Holyfield fight would be a crime . . .That there would be any public interest in this fight wobbles the Bucket. Yes I know Holyfield is still one of the most recognizable names in boxing . . . & money talks, but this fight could severely damage the sport. The level of skill & stamina erosion Evander has shown for the last two years is a very dangerous proposition against Tyson. The way Holyfield has looked against Moorer, Bowe & Czyz makes this fight a disaster waiting to happen. Holyfield has seemed incapable of sustaining physically for more than three rounds recently. If he is a depleted as he seems, Tyson could hurt him badly. If a fighter as much in the public eye as Evander suffered a life threatening crisis ala Jimmy Garcia or Gerald McClennan, it would be the ultimate public relations disaster for boxing. a disaster the sport might never recover from . . .
Bob Arum has announced that his close circuit broadcast of the Chavez -- De La Hoya fight (?) was a great success . . . Strange isn't it, that he also announced that his next few fights would all be on PPV . . . Speaking of De La Hoya, his future certainly does look golden don't it . . . Unlike Basketball Jones, he has quite a few very lucrative & highly competitive fights for us fans too look forward to. If he can maintain his power as he rises in weight, he's got a damn good shot against Whitaker, Trinidad, Quartey or Norris. Oscar is the real deal & like Sugar Ray Leonard before him, he's had to surmount the glitz & hype of a gold medal & a made for the media personality, too prove his worth as a fighter. In the last year he has vanquished five former or current world champions in a row. Yeah, sure . . . There's been complaints (even from this corner), that he was fighting smaller opponents, but the quality of fighters he faced renders that argument as specious. Remember the Eloy Rojas-Wilfredo Vasquez fight a couple of months ago? Rojas had all the physical advantages, size, power, reach & most importantly, youth. Rojas dominated most of the fight but Vasquez kept coming on & he eventually destroyed Rojas . . . The point is, it ain't necessarily so, that a good big man beats a good little man. Oscar De La Hoya didn't win all those fights because he was bigger. He won those fights because he was better . . . If you still think Oscar is nothing but flash/dash hype, think again pal . . . He's a unique talent & all of us fight fans should appreciate his skills while we can. De La Hoya isn't going to be around for 40 to 60 fights. He'll accomplish the goals he has set for himself in the next 2 or three years & then he'll be gone . .. & believe the Ol' Spit Bucket when he sez Oscar will leave a void.
Speaking of voids . . . How much longer can Iron Mike avoid fighting a viable heavyweight? With his sixth cancellation of a major bout (could it have been lack of ticket & PPV sales; coupled with fighting for media space with Baseball's All Star game & the Olympics?). . . Tyson has set the time table back for fighting an opponent with a semblance of a pulse at least another few months . . . ********
1-SUGAR RAY ROBINSON
2-SUGAR RAY LEONARD
7- KID GAVILAN
HONORABLE MENTION: Don Curry, Wilfred Benitez, Pipino Cuevas, Johnny Saxton, Carlos Palomino, Simon Brown, Roberto Duran.
Well . . . That's it for this month & once again I'd like to remind readers that anyone with any comments, disparaging remarks or praise is invited to send them along via e-mail (GorDoom@aol.com ). I will respond to any reasonably intelligent correspondence. Back at you next month!
Newsletter continued in part 2
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