The Cyber Boxing Zone Journal

A/K/A The America Online Boxing Newsletter

Special Holyfield-Moorer II Edition


by Pusboil

Once again The Cyber Boxing Zone responds to the call to bring you our unfiltered reports on last night's action. For our earliest reports we have Joe Bruno (rumor has it he was up until five this morning working on it), Thomas Gerbasi, Dscribe DC, and a short piece from yours truly. We will have more reports coming throughout the day so please check back. A big thank you to all of our writers who contributed to this entire special edition.

Evander Holyfield-Michael Moorer II (Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV, Nov. 8, 1997)

by DscribeDC

Q: What do Michael Moorer and Marv Albert have in common?
A: They were both publicly embarrassed by ill-fitting teddies.

Q: What do Michael Moorer and Bill Clinton have in common?
A: They're going to have to spend years explaining why they reached for a Roach.

As IBF heavyweight king Michael Moorer strode to the ring at Las Vegas' Thomas and Mack Center, clad in a nondescript gray warm-up shirt, the PA speakers blared the sounds of MC Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock: "It takes two to make the thing go right/It takes two to make it out of sight..." Hard to imagine a more appropriate theme for this rematch of two heavyweight rulers whose careers have exhibited such dizzying highs and such lamentable lows.

Clearly Rob Base's sentiments were on the minds of the fight mob; would the Real Moorer and Holyfield show up for this bout? If both fighters were mentally and physically prepared, it would be the Attack at the Mack. If either man decided to resort to the sluggishness that had plagued his weakest moments (the Vaughn Bean mess for Moorer; the Bowe losses or perhaps the Bert Cooper near-disaster for Holyfield), the Rematch could turn into a Gyp on the Strip.

Holyfield, for his entry, strode in, bopping to gospel like Flip Wilson's old TV Rev. Leroy of the Church of What's Happenin' Now, his robe emblazoned with the bible verse Philippians: 4:13 ("I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me"). As it turns out, he would get all the strengthenething he would need.

This highly interesting rematch ultimately turned into eight rounds of virtually non-stop, vein-bulging, heart-pumping combat, with the game, but overfed and overmatched Moorer suffering five knockdowns en route to a tamely-protested but humane stoppage.

The strategic line on the bout set up Moorer's battering-ram jab vs. Holyfield's dogged in-fighting. In the early rounds, Holyfield appeared to have the best of things, actually winning the war of jabs in the first before Moorer nearly turned the tide with a punishing hook against the ropes near round's end. In the second stanza, Moorer's jab was still nowhere in evidence, but he seemed to use his considerable physical bulk to muscle a weakening Holyfield around the squared circle. By the third, despite a cut opened by an accidental clash of heads, Evander seemed to have things going mostly his way, ducking under Moorer's jab to launch damaging hooks to the body and uppercuts to the head.

Moorer showed signs of establishing the jab and turning the tide in rounds four through six, but the fight's first knockdown in the fifth round -- Holyfield felling Moorer with a straight right hand -- was a harbinger of a melee that may have been the wildest heavyweight set piece since Foreman-Frazier I. All we needed was someone to bellow "Dyown goes Moo-ruh! Dyown goes Moo-ruh!..." All told, Michael went down five times in this one, deeply disappointing given his competitiveness in the bout, but hardly surprising when one considers that Moorer's chin has always been suspect and he has been on the canvas more times in his heavyweight career than Jackson Pollock.

True, Moorer did fight relatively well (given his lackluster recent performances) and showed incredible heart climbing up off the floor five times, each time willing to continue. But the ringside wags went a bit overboard, in the opinion of this reporter, proclaiming a spike in Moorer's stock and a new marketability for the champion. Didn't anyone think it was funny that, after Freddie Roach's great camp, Michael waddled in at a hefty 223 pounds, some dozen pounds heavier than he was for his shameful performance against Mr. Bean? As Ayn Rand would have guessed, Atlas Shrugged.

Perhaps the most alarming part of the whole evening came during Jim Gray's post-fight interview with the almost psychotically-effusive Don King (with an HBO biopic on the horizon, does he feel that he has to out-Don King Ving Rhames?), when he strongly implied that the badly-needed and widely-desired Lennox Lewis unification bout would be shunted aside for yet another rematch with the Uneasy Rider, poor rage-afflicted, downhill-sliding, terminally-misunderstood Mike Tyson, who has already paid "more fines than all of history" and will be reinstated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission just as surely as Deion Sanders will sidestep a Sunday afternoon collision.

Tyson has already begun to prepare us for his return to the ring, giving a silly interview with ABC analyst Alex Wallau in which he proclaimed how unfairly hounded and persecuted he is by we nasty moralists (okay, everyone....on!...AWWWWWWWW...). Now we have DK arguing his case on live TV. But, let's ask ourselves...despite King's assertions, were there REALLY any unanswered questions after Holyfield-Tyson II? If so, what could they be? What body parts will Tyson chew off next time he gets his ass whupped? Where on the canvas will he finally fall? Will John Horne and Rory Holloway show up at ringside dressed as dandies of the Edwardian court? I think the major question is King's: "How much milk is left in this here cow?" And, rather than suffer the rationality of a unified title, King will use YOUR PPV dollars to answer it. As Motown Mike might have put it, "it's the same old song..."

While we're on the subject of future PPV cards, can I express what I feel is the sentiment of the entire boxing community when I petition the Boxing Gods: NO MORE CRUISERWEIGHTS ON PAY-PER-VIEW! PLEASE! The last time this many Cruisers were on late-night television, they were chasing a white Ford Bronco. It couldn't be clearer why there is little interest in this weigh station of a division, especially given the sad bouts offered to fill out this broadcast.

Up until tonight, I had been feeling pretty darn good about being 36. I was looking good, my weight was down, I was running again and I had started to tell people..."age is just a number, you're as young as ya feel!" After tonight's card, I have downed a highball glass full of Metamucil and cod-liver oil, borrowed some Depenz and dug out my grandparents' old "Matlock" and "Murder, She Wrote" tapes. Make no mistake, peoples, 36 is positively Jurassic. Just as 36-year old ex-IBF cruiserweight king Uriah Grant, who made untested Imamu Mayfield look like a mid-70s Ali, vainly chasing and flailing while Mayfield bipped and bopped his way to a unanimous title decision. Or, you could ask 36-year old WBA featherweight champ Wilfredo Vazquez, who did his best impression of 126 pounds of Kal Kan while unknown Nicaraguan Genaro Rios zipped and flitted, then pummelled, the Puerto Rican three-division titlist right into hoary old age, utterly outclassing the more celebrated bomber over virtually every one of 12 rounds. (Oh yeah, three WBA wingnuts at ringside somehow scored it for Vazquez, to the utter shock of everyone watching who was not named "Vazquez." This reporter scored it 116-112 for Rios.)

(Did anyone else notice that, while the ringside judging fluctuated from competent to fanciful, the online scoring by viewers watching at home was completely on-the-money in every case? Just as an experiment, perhaps they should let home PC owners score an upcoming card. The results would have to be significantly more reliable and accurate than the whimsical "Vegas decisions" that have become such a common problem in the sport.)

In the only other undercard fight, Fabrice Tiozzo took the WBA cruiserweight belt from Nate "Mister" Miller, who fought more like Merv Griffin's old front-row talk-show fixture, MRS. Miller. This one was about as artistically-fulfilling as a Saints-Bears scrimmage. Miller predicted he would only have to fight two rounds, and seems to have prepared accordingly. And, as the folks back in Tiozzo's hometown would say, I ain't Lyon. (A tiny hip-hop poem on this bout:

Public: "N.M.? Eeeeeeeeee...!!!!!

Yeah, OK, e.e. cummings it ain't. What do you want for nothing? "The Wasteland?")

And lastly, make no mistake, WE LOVE DR. FERDIE PACHECO HERE AT THE CBZ. Absolutely LOVE the guy...and it's almost understandable that he should tell Steve Albert "back to you, Marv...," but how do you confuse Uriah Grant for the fictional character Uriah Heep??? Now, that's one for the books! What's next? A third title match between Lennox Lewis and Oliver McTwist? And if he cries this time, you KNOW he's "Fagin".... --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Holyfield-Moorer II

by Pusboil

EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT!!! HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT AND NOTHING HAPPENED!! Well, I’m happy to report that nothing happened tonight. That is to say none of the things that we have come to expect during the fight happened.

Nobody bit anybody. Nobody landed 12 punch combinations south of the border. Nobody snapped in the ring. Nobody stood there and held there opponent the entire fight.

No, we got to see an actual heavyweight title fight. And a damn good fight it was.

It’s safe to say that both fighters could have been looking at this fight differently from any previous bouts they had. Moorer was the one to watch. Since Teddy Atlas left, no one was sure what, if anything, could get him motivated. Before the fight Moorer said, “ I could never be motivated by something like that”, referring to Atlas’ antics during his last few bouts. Evander showed no signs of being affected by his last fight with Tyson. Moorer looked better without Teddy Atlas.

So the not-so anticipated rematch began. Moorer stated pumping the jab that had kept Holyfield so off balance in their first fight. But things looked a little different, it was effective but not as effective this time. Holyfield landed an uppercut in the first round that proved to be a harbinger of things to come. Moorer was fighting well, he kept pressure on Evander and made him work.

Near the end of the fifth round, Moorer landed a left to the side of Holyfield’s head and appeared to stagger Holyfield slightly. With about twenty seconds left in the round, Holyfield responded with a three punch combination. Upper cut, left hook,and a straight right that put Moorer on his knees. He got up at the count of eight and fought remarkably well for the rest of the round.

Holyfield was looking tired since the fourth but always seemed to find energy.

In the seventh Moorer went down twice, and each time got up and by the time the ref Mitch Halpern restarted the fight, Moorer looked fine. A little wobbly, but not too bad. The same thing happens in the eigth, Moorer gets knocked down twice, bringing us to a grand total of five for the fight. And once again got up both times cursing at himself for getting knocked down. But he looked like he could continue each time. The fact that he got from the last knockdown and looked so ready to go stunned me.

I was starting to think that maybe, just maybe,Moorer was going to pull this out. I had these flashes of Holyfield just tiring and fading. Then I saw Moorer just knocking him out. I don;t know why but seeing Moorer get up the way he did he just seemed to determined to lose.

But at the end of the eigth round Dr. Flip Homansky said Moorer should not continue. You can see his point since Moorer had been down five times. But I’ve seen fighters in worse shape who haven’t been knocked down at all. Moorer complained about the stoppage and from the looks of him, deservedly so. Evander wins by TKO at the end of the eigth round.

Evander proved he still has the “warrior spirit”, and that maybe just maybe he did have a bad shoulder in their first fight. Moorer proved that he is one tough son of a bitch with a little “warrior spirit” of his own, who can hit and get hit, but still come back. Michael Moorer should be looked at in a higher light with this loss than through most of his victories. And with the calmness in his new corner provided by Freddie Roach, he found a good source of motivation. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Fat Man Fadeth

by Joe Bruno

After watching Evander Holyfield destroying a blimp named Michael Moorer last night, certain things became clear as crystal. They were:

1. Moorer losing Teddy Atlas as his trainer was like Samson losing his hair to Delilah. Moorer constantly whined before the fight that Atlas’s hands-on style was inhibiting Moorer’s ability to fight. Moorer said that new trainer Freddy Roach “allowed Michael to be Michael.” Well, stupid, that’s the damn problem.

Roach seemed almost timid in the corner, and how in God’s name did Roach trainer let his fighter come into the ring so fat and clearly out-of-shape. Obviously, “Michael being Michael” means the whiny, morose, Moorer can eat as much as he wants, and train as little as he feels is necessary. Moorer was a good puncher at 175 pounds, but at a whopping 223, he was nothing more than an immobile punching bag intent on eating punches like Moorer gobbles up Big Macs. Holyfield repeatedly ripped in left hooks and right hands into Moorer’s middle, and at times, his gloves seemed to disappear into Moorer’s wide core of wobbly lard. 2. Someone must put a muzzle on “Fright Doctor” Ferdie Pacheco and quick. Ferdie, or Freddy, as most fighters have addressed this retard for years, constantly assaults the human ears with one ridiculous statement after another, but that’s not his biggest transgression. Having three announcers is bad enough, but it was hard to watch the action taking place on the screen with Ferdie, Steve Albert and Bobby Czyz repeatedly having their own war of words while the boxers are doing their damnest to entertain us. Watch the old fights on Classic Sports Network and you’ll hear boxing commentary as it ‘s supposed to be. Most of the pre-1970’s fights were telecast with one commentator only, the great Don Dunphy, and Dunphy said little, if anything, while the fighters were fighting. Dunphy would say things like, “I’m not saying anything right now, because you can plainly see the great action that’s taking place.” This ain’t radio guy. We don’t need you bombarding us with words, during the action. Morons, we’ve got eyes. Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Jose Feliciano aren’t the only people who have bought this fight on pay-per-view. Wait till the action stops, or the round is over, then open up your big traps. And to make things worse, Pacheco is guilty of the same sin as the late Humble Howard Cosell, when he tells us the exactly the OPPOSITE of what our eyes are telling us we see. For years Pacheco has been nothing but a shill for Don King. What this quack doctor needs is Dr. Kervorkian quick.

3. Contrary to what Moore said after the fight about his ability to continue, Dr. Flip Homansky quite possibly saved Moorer’s life. In my 45 years of watching boxing I’ve never seen a fighter get knocked down five times, each time by a devastating barrage of punches. The only fights that came close was Patterson-Johanson I, and Foreman-Frazier I, but in those two fights, several of the knockdowns took place because either Patterson, or Frazier, could barely stand in then first place. I’ve personally been at three fights where fighters have been killed. (Willie Classen, Freddie Bowman, and Gino Perez) and have viewed several others on the tube. Moorer was an accident waiting to happen and Holyfield was cleaning up on him, with one sickening two-fisted barrage after another. Moorer had no answer for Holyfield, and if the fight would’ve lasted into the ninth round, I could be writing an obituary here instead of a post-fight report.

4. There’s on thing only on the warped mind of Don King, and that’s a third Holyfield-Tyson fight. When asked by Jim Gray about a possible Holyfield-Lennox Lewis heavyweight unification fight, King blasted Gray with, “The fight the world is waiting for is Holyfield Tyson III!” Yeah right, Don, but only if the third one is on free TV. In the last fight, the paying public was cheated out of a boxing match, because Tyson, either got hungry, or totally lost his mind. We paid for a boxing match and got a human mutilation instead. We deserve either a refund, or a third match free of charge. Don’t hold your breath. We have just as much a chance of that happening as Don King getting a buzz cut and joining the Marines. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Heart, Knockdowns, and a Scourge named King (another night in Vegas)

by Thomas Gerbasi

As IBF champ Michael Moorer made his way to the ring last night to take on WBA title holder Evander Holyfield, I felt that all my predictions for a lousy fight were coming true. Moorer's entrance music was "It Takes Two", as in it takes two to make a fight (we all know Michael's recent history as a reluctant warrior), and he wore a sweatshirt with the words "Big Dog" written across it.

But seconds before the bell ended round one, my fears had disappeared. For Moorer came to fight last night, and while he didn't walk away with a victory, he did dispel all questions about his heart and desire. Financially that may not mean much to him, but respect is something money can't buy.

Moving behind a potent right jab, Moorer threw more meaningful punches in this eight round fight than he had thrown in 36 rounds against Schulz, Botha, and Bean ( a veritable heavyweight Murderer's Row). And Evander was more than willing to wage war, landing some bombs of his own, as a fight actually broke out in the heavyweight division. In the third, Holyfield suffered a cut over his right eye from an accidental butt, and the doctor was immediately up on the ring apron to check it out.

What happened to the days of Henry Cooper, Chuck Wepner, and Sean O'Grady? These guys held blood drives during their fights. A note to the powers that be: Let the fighters decide things. But I digress.

After the butt, Holyfield stepped up the pace, and the tide seemed to be shifting. Then a funny thing happened. Moorer fought back. And fought back effectively, frustrating Holyfield with his jab in the fourth frame.

In the fifth though, a sudden, brutal right hand changed the fight. Moorer went down hard, but he rose to his feet, and was swinging at the bell. I scored the sixth round even, and blood seemed to be bothering Holyfield, as he pawed at his eye. But after the first knockdown of the seventh, the result of the fight was academic. Moorer would go down three more times over the next round and a half, but each time he would rise, hands aloft and ready to fight.

Michael Moorer was ready to sacrifice everything to win this fight. No Teddy Atlas screaming in his ear, his son wasn't on the cell phone telling Daddy to fight, just pride, just a will to win.

It's so rare these days that when someone exhibits it (like Holyfield already has) it's a big deal, something to be praised. And fortunately we got to see two fighters who make it alright to call yourself a boxing fan.

Anyway, the fight was stopped by the ring doctor after the eighth round, and I find no fault in the stoppage. Moorer was getting wobbled by every Holyfield right hand, and five knockdowns put the fight out of reach on the scorecards.

Sometimes it is better to live to fight another day, especially when your stock will rise like Moorer's has. I can just see a Moorer-Tyson fight next year. That should be a shootout.

As for the Real Deal, Evander sure knows how to give you your money's worth. Yet how many wars does he have left in him? Not many, but I don't forsee a unification clash with Lennox Lewis turning into a Pier Six brawl. Despite an impressive win over Andrew Golota, I'm not convinced that Lewis has enough heart to beat Holyfield.

My early pick is Evander by late round TKO. But don't hold your breath waiting for a Holyfield-Lewis clash. In a post fight interview, Don King gave lip service to a unification bout, but held all his "charm and personality" for talk of Holyfield-Tyson III.

Will we ever get rid of these two? But don't worry, even King couldn't destroy my evening. I saw a heavyweight championship fight worthy of that title, and for the first time in a while, a fighter who showed even more heart than Evander Holyfield. ---------------------------------------------------------------------
Thomas Gerbasi
Editor - Sidelines
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