WAIL! | The CBZ Journal | September 2004
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Rinsing off the Mouthpiece
By GorDoom

Current Champions, Top Contenders, and Fighters to Watch Out For
By Adam Pollack

Hopkins-De La Hoya:
A True Boxing Super Bowl

By Dean Vios

They Sure Don't Get Any Easier
By Orion Foote

The Best Argentinean Fighters
Of All Time, Class by Class

By MartŪn Cameron

Hand Speed Among Big Fellows
By Don Cogswell

Flashback to the 2003 Hall of
Fame Inductions

Pictorial by Dan Hanley

Vince Martinez
By Dan Cuoco

Black Dynamite: Len Johnson
By Rob Howard

Wes Ramey
By Tracy Callis and Keith Palmer

Henry Hank, One of Boxing's Forgotten Warriors
By Dan Cuoco

Joe Gans, the Old Master

Joe Gans: Championship Years
Two Articles By Monte Cox

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


RINSING OFF THE MOUTHPIECE

by GorDoom

 

 

First off, the Olí Spit Bucket wants to give HUGE props to Dan Klepner, Dean Vios and Todd Hodgson, without whom the last two issues of WAIL! would never have been published.

These three young guys have really reenergized the CBZ with their talents and enthusiasm. All of them first started by posting on the CBZ Boxing Board and then volunteering to help out.

I owe you guys, youíre the best!


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There have been some things Iíve been wanting to get off my chest lately:

 

WEIGHT CLASSES


Isnít anybody besides me outraged at the fact that two fighters enter a ring for a junior-lightweight title bout and one of them comes in as a junior-welter and the other a full-fledged welter?

 

This kind of sitch isnít an aberrationóit has become de rigueur. Itís so common that hardly anybody notices or comments on it. In fact, if it werenít for HBO providing empirical proof before each match, it wouldnít even be an (albeit somehow minor) issue.

Same-day weigh-ins got tossed by the wayside back in 1981, when Eddie Mustapha Muhammad came in overweight for a light-heavyweight unification match with Michael Spinks. Back in the day, this was a legit superfight with all the attendant hoopla.

Spinks refused to go through with the fight, even after Eddie proposed just making it a nontitle go. Spinks was pissed because, as he said, he sacrificed and trained hard to make the weight, and if Muhammad couldnít bother to do the same, then screw it ...

The promoter, HBO, the alphabets and the commissions decided that in the future, all weigh-ins would be the day before, so that a cancellation like this would never happen again.

This is real b.s., and it was never more clear to me than after rewatching the second middleweight title bout between Emile Griffith and Nino Bevenuti, which took place in 1967.

The fight was outdoors at Shea Stadium, and they both weighed in the day of the fight. Benvenuti weighed 160 pounds and Griffith weighed 155 pounds. There was inclement weather that afternoon, and the fight got postponed to the next day.

The next day, they weighed in again, and Benvenuti weighed 159! and Emile weighed 154! Thatís unheard of today, when we regularly see fighters put on 10 to 20 pounds between the weigh-in and the fight.

I think something has to be done to make sure fighters are fighting at least NEAR their natural weight. Remember the Gatti-Gamache fight? Gatti came in as a middleweight and Gamache as a junior-welter, and Gatti damn near killed him.

We should go back to same day weigh-ins. The b.s. about fighters being too dehydrated doesnít wash. Fight at your natural weight and you wonít be dehydrated. I really donít know what the solution is, but having fighters weigh a weight class or three above the title theyíre fighting for is absurd.

The dehydration talk was just a bunch of blah, blah, blah... The main concern was lost revenue, screwed-up TV schedules and the huge expenses for the advertising, the venue and the people hired to work the show.

The promoters are on the hook for all that. And yeah, Iím cynical, but I believe thatís the real reason for the current mess today. Plus, I donít think anybody foresaw or cared about the consequences.

It really is fundamentally WRONG when a welterweight and a junior-welterweight are vying for a junior-lightweight title.

 

RING LOGOS


Unlike athletes in other sports, boxers get squat when it comes to their rights and protection. Itís hard enough JUST to get into a ring to fight somebody, and itís outrageous that they now have to worry about their footing.

Not only do Miller Lite and Budweiser have big logos in the center of the ring, but they also have logos in all four corners.

 

Unbelievable! Maybe Iím noticing them more lately but I donít think Iíve ever seen five [!!!] logos in a boxing ring before. Talk about overkill ... But then, to make matters even worse, there are also ESPN2 logos along all four sides of the ring. In other words, there is virtually no place that the fighters donít have at least one foot on a logo at any given time during the fight.

 

This is patently ridiculous with the advent of technology. Television networks can project images onto the field of play during telecasts using camera tricks. (For example, the yellow first-down line on football broadcasts.) Canít the networks engineer the broadcasts so that the logo images appear on the screen without physically being stuck on the canvas itself? Alternatively, canít some sort of protective coating be placed on the canvas that would give fighters traction when crossing a logo?

Of course, this would mean the networks would have to pony up some extra cash to implement this. Whatís it going to take? A fighter like Oscar or Hopkins slipping and breaking a leg during a major PPV? Or will some common sense suddenly course through the network executivesí veins and actually lodge in their brain pans?

 

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In closing, I have to comment on the body blow boxing has suffered with the recent KOís of Oscar De La Hoya and Roy Jones. The sad fact is that they were really the only two major stars boxing has at this point. Who else is there that can command the media attention, ticket sales and PPV buys?

Add Ol' Leg-Iron Mike's recent loss to the mix and the three biggest names in boxing are on the skids. There are no prospects coming up that create the huge media waves that those three always bring to a fight.

 

No matter how anyone might feel about them, it's apparent that with nothing coming up from the last Olympics and no younger fighters taking their place, boxing is reeling at this juncture.

 

As for the fights, I give huge credit for Oscar for even taking the fight not to mention that he CAME to fight. But Bernard was a bridge too far for Oscar, who did his utmost but ultimately went down to the bigger man.

 

Unlike Roy, Oscar stepped up to the plate and fought everybody the public wanted to see him against. Although there are many reasons to dislike Oscar, there is no getting around that heís been a true warrior willing to meet any challenge.

 

One thing that bothers me about the fight is the laziness of the media in describing the final fatal blow. Every media outlet has pronounced it as a classic left hook to the liver.

 

Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Oscar was hit by a punch on the back of the floating rib and kidney. This is a paralyzing punch and the same sweet spot that Roy hit Virgil Hill on. But the media, including people like Bert Sugar and Max Kellerman are all parroting the hook-to-the-liver balderdash.

 

Most newspaper reporters know squa-doosh about boxing, but I know Max and Bert know better. I mean, itís just about impossible to hit somebody in the liver when he is bent over like Oscar was.

 

Royís sitch is a different case. Manny Steward probably put it best:

 

ďWhat really concerns me is that Iíve never seen an elite fighter go out like thatóever. Not [Sugar Ray] Robinson, not Ali, not anybody. He was knocked out twice. I donít mean TKOídóI mean knocked out before he even hit the floor.Ē

 

That pretty much says it all. Royís comedown and failure is something that doesnít happen to elite fighters: Leonard, Hearns, Hagler, Chavez, Azumah, Pea, Foreman,and so on.

 

People are going to get mad, because people are in denial. But Royís failure IS monumental, and thereís no getting around it. When he faced adversity, he folded.

 

Jon Saraceno brought up a good question in a USA Today column: What would have happened if Roy had faced adversity earlier in his career? Thatís a question that will float over Royís legacy like a shroud. Because when push came to shove against Johnson, he showed no fire, no heart, no fighting spirit.

 

Itís like Roy was the bully on the block (much like Mike Tyson), and when the bubble was punctured, there was no there, there. Hell, Tyson showed WAY more fire against Williams.

 

This is a stain on Royís career and there is no getting around it. The years of fighting beat cops and garbage men and the rest of the trash-heap alphabet contenders caught up with him. When somebody actually fought back hard, he simply didnít know what to do and couldnít handle it.

 

Ali, Leonard and Pea: When their talents devolved, they tried to adjust and they still fought back and tried to win.

 

Roy didnít. And no matter how many excuses anybody comes up with there is NO getting around that fact. I see no reason that Roy shouldnít be judged by the same standards we judge other greats.

 

Jonesí refusal to fight Tarver again immediately was telling. Lennox Lewis has been hammered by the critics for twice being KOíd. But he came back and avenged both losses, which is something Roy wonít or canít do. If we are going to criticize Lewis, then thereís no reason Roy shouldnít be held accountable for his failures ...

 

Royís main problem is that he was so physically gifted that, like the young Cassius Clay, he got away with his lack of fundamentals. For instance, Roy never really learned how to really use a jab. He was so fast that he could use left hooks instead.

 

And Roy got sloppy. As soon as the reflexes degraded, he had nothing to fall back on. There was no Plan B, because he never learned how to properly fight.

 

He simply doesnít KNOW how to adjust his style. As all the great fighters got older, they adjusted. Todd Hodgson has brought up Erik Morales and the subtle adjustments heís made over the past few years. You can say the same for Marco Antonio Barrera. Go back a few years and there is Chiquita Gonzales. His first fight with Michael Carbajal was one of the great wars of the í90s, but he got stopped. In his next two fights with Carbajal, he radically changed his brawling style, adjusted, and won the next two bouts via tactical decisions.

 

Thatís what great fighters do: They find a way to win. Roy couldnít, because he lacked the fundamentals. Roy couldíve won the Johnson fight if he had jabbed and moved and given angles. Instead, he mostly stayed on the ropes, because he couldnít handle the pressure of a fighter that wasnít scared.

 

Ya gotta have a Plan B and a Plan C, or youíll end up crashing and burning.

 

One last thing: I rewatched the second Tarver fight, and up until the KO, Roy looked the same as ever. He won the first round easily and looked good until he got caught. I really think this loss was more a case of hubris and lack of proper boxing fundamentals than that Roy is shot. 

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Well, thatís it for now. I hope everybody enjoys the new issue and we will be back next month.

 

GorDoom



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