SEPTEMBER 2006


01 | Rinsing Off the Mouthpiece
By GorDoom

02 | Poem of the Month
By Tom Smario

03 | Pollack's Picks
By Adam Pollack

04 | Top Women Worth Watching
and Televising

By Adam Pollack

05 | Tournament of Champions: Boxing's Lineal Mathematics
By Cliff Rold

06 | Roberto Duran, Unplugged
By Juan C. Ayllon

07 | Appreciating Chuck
By Thomas Gerbasi

08 | Thistle in the Rose
By James Glen

09 | Anton "The Sheik" Greek
By Jerry Fitch

10 | Interview with Don Fraser
By Juan C. Ayllon

11 | Boxing's Good Book [PDF]
By Don Cogswell

12 | "John L. Sullivan: The Career of the First Gloved Heavyweight Champion" [PDF]
By Adam Pollack

13 | Three Book Reviews
By Katherine Dunn

14 | What's in a Name?
By Ted Sares

15 | Audio From the Archives [mp3]
The CBZ presents another classic boxing-themed radio show. This month we bring you an episode of Duffy's Tavern ("Where the elite meet to eat"), from April 13, 1951, starring Maxie Rosenbloom.


(Drag your mouse over each photo to reveal the caption, and click to enlarge.)

Editor's note: It's hard to write about an event like this. There was a TON of emotion in that absolutely packed ballroom of the Sportsmen's Lodge in Los Angeles. Boxing guys who hadn't seen one another in decades where hugging each other, crying -- & the feeling of love & respect was palpable in the air.

Why these things are so hard to write about is because of all that emotion. There's a VERY fine line between expressing sentiment & just being totally cornball. Greg Beyer worked that line like a pro.

I was personally blown away by Greg's terrific article. This was just Greg's third piece that he's written for us, & for a guy who's never written articles before, Greg is a stone-cold very gifted writer.

I'm proud of him not just as a writer, but for the man, friend, & boxing guy he is. He never fought; he has just followed the sport avidly since his teens. This is a guy who was such a boxing gym rat that after school he'd go down to the gyms just to see his favorite fighters train, such as Danny Lopez, Mando Ramos, Jose Napoles, & Ruben Olivares.

That's hard-core, folks ...

Greg is the kind of boxing aficionado that is truly the heart & soul of our beloved but brutal sport. I could never have written an article about the day as well as Greg did. He captured a wonderful event beautifully. & even though we ran this piece in the CBZ news, I think it's such a fine piece of work that it should be the guest editorial for this issue.

We haven't had that many guest editorials over the years. Hell, it's MY slot in this lash-up, & I don't give it up very often. But I can't think of a time where a guest editorial was more appropriate than now.

Lastly, I want to mention what a thrill it was for me to meet so many of my fighting heroes & fellow CBZers at this event. What was especially memorable for me was getting to meet CBZ inductee, the legendary Hap Navarro, & Frank Baltazar, another CBZer whose two sons, Frankie & Tony, were also getting inducted.

Not to mention, I got to meet a fellow CBZer & one of the great lightweights of all time, Rodolpho "El Gato" Gonzalez. Another of many special moments for me.

This was a day I will treasure for the rest of my life.

GorDoom



The California Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon

By GREG BEYER

STUDIO CITY, Calif., August 19, 2006 -- Singer-songwriter Willie Nelson once said in a song that his heroes have always been cowboys. For me, they have always been fighters.

For me, boxing is the highest form of athletic endeavor. Former professional boxer Frankie Baltazar told me at the California Boxing Hall of Fame luncheon this weekend that, just like me being in Little League or any other kid playing soccer, boxing was just the sport that he took up. He was raised in it, and to him it seemed natural. A statement of that kind helps me realize why I have idolized fighters for so many years.

In a baseball game, in football, basketball, sometimes athletes are injured. In boxing, it is a guarantee. These fighters that enter a ring to do combat, to put their courage and fighting hearts on display to an arena filled with fans, are in essence the most amazing of all athletes. We watch them, we cheer them on while they are still young enough and able enough to compete in this violent sport, and then to most of us they disappear. For me, since they were all heroes of mine, I wondered about them after they have left the arena for good. Are they okay? Do they have regrets? Has life awarded them in any way for the fact that they had the guts to put it all on the line for a bit of glory, for meager pay and the endless suffering they endured just to be able to compete in a sport so few would ever consider entering into?

On Saturday, August 19, 2006, at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, California, a select group of these courageous souls were honored for their achievements in the world of professional boxing in the state of California.

Honorees this year in the boxing category included Randy Shields, Hedgemon Lewis, Tony Baltazar, Frankie Baltazar Jr., Carlos Palomino, Gabriel Ruelas, Rafael Ruelas, and Jorge Paez.

Meeting the Baltazar brothers -- along with their father, trainer, manager, and CBZ stalwart Frank Baltazar Sr. -- was a special treat for CBZ editor-in-chief Stephen "The Ol' Spit Bucket" Gordon and me. We flew down from Washington State to finally get a chance to meet and honor the entire Baltazar family on their well-deserved day of glory. I have to say here how impressed I was with the beauty and graciousness of Frankie and Tony, as well as their entire family. Seated a few tables away from us, they made a special effort to come over and speak to the Bucket and I, and we appreciated their courtesy and good-natured conversation immensely.

In the nonboxer category, another CBZ regular being inducted into the hall was none other than the venerable former Hollywood legion stadium matchmaker Gabriel "Hap" Navarro. Pictured in the program was Hap in a circa-1950s photo showing a dashing young Hispanic in the mold of a Rudolf Valentino. While this stunning photo lit up that page of the program, I suddenly realized it would make it hard for us to search out Hap in the crowd before the ceremony began.

This dilemma was alleviated when none other than another of my lifelong idols Rodolfo "el Gato" Gonzalez came up to us and said, "Hap wants to meet you guys," and took us to his table where Hap, eyes tearing up, said how proud he was to finally meet us and how glad he was that we made the trip down. My heart swelled when he asked how long it had been since I had left my hometown of San Pedro, California. How wonderful that he remembered where I was born. What a day!

Former boxing promoter Don Fraser, who sponsored this event, put on an excellent show, which was evidenced by the huge crowd, filled with many respected and formerly honored boxing greats. Among them was my personal all-time favorite, Danny "Little Red" Lopez, and his lovely wife and lifelong friend, Bonnie. What a joy it was to be able to tell Danny that I followed his entire career and how glad I was to see that Danny, after all those wars, is still the same fine gentleman that I saw stepping into the ring to face Steve Frajole at the Olympic auditorium in his very first pro fight so many years ago.

What a particular joy it was for the Bucket and I to be able to hug and shake hands with our own Rodolfo Gonzalez and his wonderful companion Barbara. For them to be so glad to meet us was a heartfelt experience I will never forget.

These great fighters and wonderful people I met Saturday. They are well. They survived. What a beautiful day it was to see that so many of my heroes made it through that tough arena and that the Bucket and I were there to share this special day with them.

I got back to Washington early Sunday morning with memories confirming what I have always known: My heroes have always been fighters.

Greg Beyer is a contributing writer to the Cyber Boxing Zone. He can be reached at editors@cyberboxingzone.com.

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