R.I.P. Howard Winstone
1960's British & European Featherweight Champion
Boxing is beset by many ills but the most insidious one is the
terrible decisions in major fights. Nothing undermines the credibility of the
sweet science more. For instance, say a novice fight fan watches a fight like
the recent Tapia-Ayala rematch. At the end of the fight it's quite & very
obvious who won; but invariably we get a putrid decision that does more to
turn off fans than a dozen IBF scandals.
For a newcomer to the sport, or the "event" sports fan
who only tunes in
for what the general sports media touts as a major fight. Decisions like,
Chavez-Whitaker, Holyfield-Lewis I, or Tapia-Ayala -to name just three of
seemingly dozens in the last decade - do irreparable damage to the sport.
Casual fans don't really care about the soap opera of the promoters, the
venality of the alphabets or the chaos that is the state of modern boxing.
All they want is a good, fair, fight, with competent
verdicts when the bouts go the distance ... Nothing devalues the sport more
than blatant, reeking, decisions by judges who are either, blind, incredibly
inept or deeply compromised ...
The Ol' Spit Bucket has been deep into boxing since 1956 &
countless hours studying the history of the squared circle. I deeply respect
many of the champions & contenders from the past but I'm not one to
to the theory that modern fighters simply don't stack up against the greats
In every era, if you examine the records, there have been ten to
fighters that would have been champions or top contenders in any decade of
the last century. A careful perusal of today's title belt holders &
contenders also reveals twenty fighters who qualify for this distinction.
One caveat. All the fighters the Bucket lists are at or very near
primes. This disqualifies fighters like, Leg-Iron Mike, Evander Holyfield,
Bernard Hopkins or Pernell Whitaker who are on the downside of their careers.
Lennox Lewis: No matter what you think of the big lug, he's
worth over the last 10 years. He would give any heavyweight champ, of any
era, an extremely difficult fight.
David Tua: When he's in shape & focused - a very dangerous
great killer instinct.
The middleweight divisions: Since Roy Jones is supposedly
down to super middleweight, this leaves the cruiser & light heavy
Roy Jones: Despite my well documented antipathy for Mr. Jones, he
class act of the divisions & if properly motivated could probably beat
of the champions of the past. The key is, properly motivated.
Felix Trinidad: At worst, the third best fighter pound for pound
Well on his way to a well deserved place in the Hall Of Fame.
Fernando Vargas: His fight with Tito will be his crucible. A
very tough & exciting fighter. Would have been at least a top contender in
William Joppy: While he has yet to have a defining moment in his
Joppy is a tall, lanky, superb boxer, with very fast hands & decent power.
his best night he'd give anybody trouble.
The choices are obvious, Shane Mosley & Oscar De La Hoya.
Kostya Tszyu: Is a very well proven commodity. With the
exception of the
Vince Phillips fight, he has dominated the division.
Zab Judah: He is definitely a work in progress ... Tszyu will be
next year. Like Jones & Hamed, Judah displays numbing speed & power.
has all the tools & will be a great one .... Once he displays some
The Lightweights: There aren't any ...
The Jr. Lightweights & Featherweights:
Without a doubt the hottest divisions in boxing right now.
Diego Corrales, Naseem Hamed, Floyd Mayweather, Marco Antonio Barrera &
Morales are all potential all-time greats.
The Jr Featherweights & Bantams:
Johnny Tapia: This a fighter that would have flourished in
any era. Tapia
is the real deal, lacking only a big punch.
Paulie Ayala: His rematch with Tapia was clearly, in my view, a
Paulie's got the goods to have been a contender at any time.
Mark Johnson: Now that he has his prison term behind him, he has
tools to win a title belt again.
Mauricio Pastrana: Overcame a horrendous childhood to become a
This is one, tough, swarming fighter without an ounce of give ... If he gets
knocked down, he will be back. Not to be underestimated.
Flyweight, Jr. & Straw weight.
Ricardo Lopez: While slightly past his prime, still a major
boxing. A certain Hall Of Famer.
Rosendo Alvarez: Proved his worth in two matches with Lopez.
The Bucket wrote this examination because it's common to hear -
from older fans - that the fighters today aren't worth squat ... Yeah, well
... A little research proves that boxing's cupboards are hardly bare. There
are plenty of dynamic fighters today that could more than hold their own with
champions & contenders from the past.
The Ol' Spit Bucket feels that this is one of our most
with a great mix of stories & interviews involving present day boxing
& one TV celebrity, as well as ones about boxing's rich & storied
One of the stories, The Hatchet Man, is by Rocky Alkazoff.
will remember him as the winner of the Sonny Liston essay contest a few
months back. His vivid account of Liston's seamier impulses was a must read.
This time he returns with an absolutely incredible story about
1940's heavyweight contender, Curtis Hatchetman Sheppard. This is one story
that after you read it, I guarantee you'll never forget it!
We also are joined by a new writer this issue, Mohammed Khan, who
contributes an interesting take on Leg-Iron Mike Tyson. Mr. Khan also has a
where you can find other fine boxing articles to peruse.
Also, I'd like to let our readers know that the CBZ has yet
author on it's staff. Last month Tom Gerbasi came out with an excellent
boxing book, Ring Ramblings, this month, the irascible, Joe Bruno (who also
contribute an article this month), has a terrific new novel entitled, Angel
Of Death. This is a noirish serial killer novel with a real Big Apple
to it. Those interested in checking it out can find it through the links
Lastly, I would like to mention that the U.S. Marines have
landed on the
shores of the CBZ ... Lance Cpl. Damian McGee, who is stationed in Okinawa has
written an interesting boxing piece about service boxing. Thanks to Sgt.
Pauline Franklin/Consolidated Public Affairs Office for sending it in.
So that's about it for this month, enjoy the new issue &
don't waste fifty
bucks on Tyson - Golota!
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