View Full Version : Smokin' Joe Frazier's Requiem For Heavyweights
08-11-2006, 01:10 PM
‘Smokin Joe’ Frazier’s requiem for heavyweights
from Agence France-Presse
LONDON -- Former world champion Joe Frazier on Friday lamented the desperately poor state of modern heavyweight boxing, claiming fighters are being let down by current training methods.
"These guys don't train right," said 62-year-old 'Smokin' Joe,' who was trained by Eddie Futch and was world heavyweight champion for three years in the 1970s.
“Some trainers today have never had gloves on in their lives. Back in the old days, trainers would know the fight game and know what to tell the guys to do. With boxing more than any other sport, you really have to know what you're talking about,” he said.
"I don't see anyone who's going to bring back the glory days. It's sad, but I'm only one of a few voices expressing concern," he told the BBC.
Frazier also blamed the administration of the sport which allows a host of sanctioning bodies.
"All these crazy sanctioning belts they've got -- do you know who (the world champion) is?"
The answer is that there are currently four world champions.
Nikolay Valuev of Russia holds the WBA belt, Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine is the IBF champion while the WBO king is Serguei Lyakhovich of Belarus.
By Sunday morning, it could be an all-eastern European show if Kazakh-born Oleg Maskaev takes American Hasim Rahman's WBC crown.
Emmanuel Steward, the man who trained former champions Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield and now handles Klitschko, believes potential great American heavyweights prefer to concentrate on the NFL or the NBA.
"The kids are attracted to football and basketball as they know they can make unbelievable money," said Steward.
08-11-2006, 01:19 PM
Thought 1: Joe Frazier's right.
Thought 2: Maskaev is a naturalized American citizen and if he wins, an American will still hold one belt, regardless of his ethnical background.
Thought 3: I tend to agree in part with Emmanuel Stewad. Something needs to be done to get young athletes interested in boxing, such as haveing boxing teams in high school and colleges with scholarships offered to deserving athletes as in other sports......which could then be followed up by professional options for the best because the best would be no secret and could be "fought over" financially, thus offering the promise of a financially successful pro career as well as a well established fan base.
08-11-2006, 04:30 PM
The problem with that plan is that young athletes are going to follow the money and the opportunities. With basketball, there are organized leagues all over the world that will pay even second-tier players $750,000 - $1,000,000. And leagues have rules and regulations and officers to make sure they're followed and unions to look out for the players. Same, to a lesser extent, with football. With boxing, these college stars would be entering a game where, at most, only 2-3 organizations could afford to pay what a basketball player makes. The opportunities for collusion rather than competition are rife. On top of that, they would be subject to the chicanery of corrupt ratings bodies, and the supervision of often-inept state commissions. Add the growing certainty of brain damage or more serious injury and it's a pretty unappealing picture, any way you slice it.
Boxing has always attracted society's most desperate. As society prospers, the number of young americans eager to make their living boxing declines. Our gain is the sport's loss.
08-11-2006, 04:42 PM
Very, very, well put, 'Scribe!
08-11-2006, 04:50 PM
Great fighters happen by and large by tough environments and tough times.I see very little hope for an explosion of great American fighters in this soft and lazy era of American history.To me that's a big factor in the decline of American boxing as well.
08-11-2006, 06:00 PM
I really do agee with all of you concerning the state of the sport and it's probable future. I am just stretcing my gray matter in an attempt to come up with a probable solution...or, at least a feasible one...such as a Boxing Union formed by fighters, retired fighters, and supporters in general for the advancement of the sport in health care, retirement pension, insurance, and possible scholarships and the "team" aspect I mentioned.
Maybe I'm too idealistic, too naive, or too damn stubborn to let the sport die before me without offering any idea that I think is possible. Do you guys really think such a concept is beyond success of any kind?
Give it too me straight. I can take it.
08-11-2006, 06:24 PM
It's already been tried twice that I remember ... Once when Jim Norris controlled boxing with the IBC in the 40's & 50's. He was basically the "clean" figurehead for the mob controlled IBC & it was Frankie Carbo with assistance from Blinky Palermo who really called the shots.
If memory serves, it was Ray Arcel, in the early '50's, who was trying to form some kind of union. He ended up being severly beaten & spending time in the hospital & retiring from boxing. Again, if memory serves, he stayed retired until the early 70's when Duran came along.
The 2nd time was either in the late 80's or early 90's. I don't remember much about it except it didn't get anywhere.
Former middle contender, Alex Ramos, has an admirable foundation he started to help retired boxers & that has been in existence for quite some time now. But I can't tell you how successful it's been because I don't know. But even if Ramos' foundation is a huge success it really doesn't help the current miasma that is the not-so-sweet science.
08-11-2006, 06:41 PM
Thank you for the backstory. I was familiar with Blinky and the IBC and remember hearing part of why Ray Arcel left the sport; but didn't know that was the exact reason.
Oh well. It was a thought. Thank you, again.
08-11-2006, 07:22 PM
I love boxing with all my heart but I will take a strong economy and less people out of work over more American born champions anyday.
Jack Dempsey said it best in what I think was the 1960's, "what boxing needs today is another depression".
I hope it doesn't get it.
08-11-2006, 09:49 PM
Boxing did very well during the 1920s and the late 1940s,
both prosperous eras in the United States. Yes, it may
be true that societal change had something to do with
professional boxing going downhill starting around 1950,
but I feel that the advent of television had a major
effect, too. In the United States, the number of boxing
clubs decreased dramatically during the 1950s.
Another thing to consider is that boxing HAD some very
rough times during the GREAT DEPRESSION. When fans
didn't have to money to go to the fights, boxing clubs
had a very tough time of it.
- Chuck Johnston
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