PS..I was at the press conference.... Simms didnt say much on the dais one way or another..the press release was definitely out of whack, though, yeah
Travis Simms' Olympic Lie
Run this story. It is all true. All facts.
Travis Simms' Olympic Lie
If a lie is told enough times, eventually everyone will believe it. It has been erroneously reported numerous times that Travis Simms, who once held the WBAís "regular" (imitation or duplicate) 154-pound title, and challenges Jose Rivera for the real version next month, was the 1996 Olympic alternate to Gold Medallist David Reid. The Rivera camp recently questioned Simmsí Olympic claim and so I feel a need to set the facts straight.
Simms failed to earn any spot on the team when he lost in the Olympic Trials, which had a double elimination. Jeffrey Clark, of Fort Bragg, N.C., defeated Simms 11-4 in the semis of the championship bracket. Simms was then put into the challengers bracket and lost an 8-6 decision to Michael Nunnally, "which ended his Olympic run," according to Julie Goldsticker, the director of media and public relations for USA Boxing, during an interview in 2003.
Nunnally went on to lose to Darnell Wilson. Clark lost to David Reid and thus, Wilson met Reid in the Olympic Box-offs. Reid, who would become the only member of the 1996 United States to win Olympic gold, defeated Wilson 20-5 to nab a spot on the Olympic squad. Wilson (not Simms) became the Olympic alternate to David Reid.
Simms, despite failing to make the Olympic team, told a newspaper in his hometown, the Norwalk Citizen-News: "It was an honor to go to Atlanta and represent my country That was an experience that is hard to talk about, as there isnít a word that will really describe it."
In addition to the Olympic Trials results, Goldsticker said she checked Simmsí Olympic alternate claim with Al Mitchell, the coach of the 1996 Olympic team. He reported Simms was never a member of the team, or an alternate.
Simms will be challenging Rivera for his belt but the WBA, after a lawsuit from Simms, has deemed Simms a "champion in recess." The Rivera-Simms bout is scheduled to air on Showtime January 6 as the chief support to the rematch between Samuel Peter and James Toney.
(Note from the Author: This writer of this story has kept this specific information under wraps for a few years but feels it must be revealed as Simms has another big bout scheduled to take place. No one should lie about being a member of an Olympic team.)
FROM THE ICEMAN DIARIES....
Now I know that many people who held an interest in my career often watched me with a great deal of frustration and if you are one of those people then here is an explanation for you:
Later in my career, beginning with the Lally fight, I was often criticized because of my tendency to so often wrap my gloves around my face and tuck my elbows in tight in that Starling peek-a-boo fashion. I had a very hard time making weight for that fight and when that was combined with my certain level of nervousness and stage fright that came with fighting under the bright lights of Atlantic City for the first time I instinctively thought I needed some extra help in there. Enter the peek-a-boo.
Sometimes in fights I would use that style without throwing a lot of punches back and would ultimately lose decisions because of it. People would say to me "Why do you do that so much? Whenever you throw punches you look great but you just don't throw enough." I know that it was very frustrating for fans -and especially the trainers- of mine to watch me let fights slip away that appeared to be winnable for me. The thing is, I started doing that in the late 80's after seeing hometown hero Starling (and Donald Curry) do it so well on TV and I got hooked on the fact that the defense allowed me to stay calm and deflect even the strongest of power shots. People often see myself or other fighters put our gloves up and block punches with them and they think you are just simply putting your hands up to your face, like anybody could do it, but picking off punches properly is something you have to be proficient at. It is definitely a skill and a technique and not something that any fighter can just do well. I have seen many fighters to try to emulate guys like Starling that did it well and it was obvious that they hadn't mastered the art of it. It is not as easy as it looks, trust me.
Anyway, It got to the point where I felt I had perfected it so well that I could spar or fight guys and they could throw all the punches they wanted and I wouldn't get hit cleanly more than a few times. Sometimes I could go through three or four rounds in the gym or in a fight having deflected almost all of my opponents blows and little by little, over time, I think I got so relaxed and comfortable with my defensive skills that I gradually threw fewer punches than I needed to as a result because, even without a lot of offense, I had no worries about my opponents offense. And when weight loss problems became an issue it was perfect for me because I always knew in the back of my mind that if I ran into trouble I wasn't going to be like other guys that were forced to take dozens of flush shots on their faces when they got tired. You can look back on any one of my professional fights, wins and losses, and even when I was defeated cleanly I really wasn't taking all that many flush shots in the face.
The very first time I ever used that style in a real fight was at the 1986 National PAL tournament in Buffalo against a real rough and tough Syrian kid from New York that was a sparring partner for Doug Dewitt by the name of Sal DiFiore. We both made it to the semifinals (he had scored a big upset over the top ten rated Donald Gray the day before) and the winner of our bout would advance to the 165 pound finals the following day. I started out using a lot of lateral movement in the fight, imitating Nino LaRocca, and he had a great deal of trouble hitting me. For two rounds I boxed him beautifully, making his miss so many punches and countering very sharply. I was bouncing up on my toes, dancing like Cassius Clay and feeling very loose, but what happened was that he kept constant pressure on me and by the third round my legs were fatigued and I found myself with my back to the ropes and Sal was all over me, letting loose with bunches of power shots. I instinctively put my gloves up to my face like Marlon always did and it was quickly apparent that my opponent couldn't hit me cleanly. Initially I was a bit worried because the energy had drained from my legs and I was forced to lay on the ropes but when I realized my defense wasn't going to allow him to take advantage of me it was as if I was looking at him through a bullet proof window, sticking my tongue out and taunting his inability to get me while I was fatigued. It was like I had a force field around me. All of a sudden, after he let loose with a flurry of shots that caught nothing but gloves, I instantly retaliated with a flurry of my own that landed flush on his face and headgear. This happened several times in a row, I could hear the crowd going crazy every time I did it, and I began realizing I was on to something here. I stayed on the ropes for the remainder of the round and not only won the fight going away but for the first time in my amateur career i had put on a performance that had apparently captured the entire crowds attention.
After I won the decision I was walking from the ring to the dressing room and people were clapping and cheering for me and when I walked past this group of fighters I heard one of them loudly exclaim "Man, that's the white Sugar Ray right there!" It was a great feeling to have my peers and the audience compliment me so highly on a particular aspect of my game and from that point on I made it a point to block and catch punches on my gloves when the need arose.
Three months later I matched up in the Golden Gloves tournament with the very talented and strong Roberto Perez out of Hartford in a fight that was highly anticipated in Holyoke as we were both defending New England Champions and, in the nationals the previous year, he had scored a huge upset over the #1 ranked light middleweight in the country, a kid out of Monessan, Pennsylvania you may have heard of by the name of Michael Moorer.
Perez and I were actually good friends despite the fact that we had faced each other once previously in a fight that saw me win a decision and at the nationals where he beat Michael we were roommates and had a blast together for a whole week out in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Boxing is what it is, though, and here we were about to face each other for the right to advance to the Golden Gloves finals.
The fight was less than fifteen seconds old when I landed a sharp right hand that knocked him off balance and as he kind of stumbled to his right side away from me I jumped in and tried to capitalize as he blasted away in retaliation and from that moment on the fight was an all out WAR!! Numerous times in the fight saw the whole crowd jump to their feet and the electricity in the air that night at the Holyoke Boys Club was so wild that I felt like we were in one of the greatest fights of all time! I was loving every second of it, too, because it isn't too often that you find an opponent that has a style that meshes so perfectly with yours that the fight can fall in to such a back and forth war. This was such a time.
What eventually carried the fight was the fact that I started going back to the ropes and falling into my peek-a-boo style with great effect. Robert would blast away at my arms and gloves with big shots and, time and time again, as soon as he would stop his assault, I would blast back with big shots of my own. Just like in the DiFiore fight my shots were landing flush while his were mostly hitting gloves, arms and elbows. I was so excited during the fight, I felt so safe with my gloves up high, it was like I had an unpenetratable (Is that even a word? Either way, you know what I mean) force field protecting me from his punches and when the bell rang to end the fight it seemed like every person in the building shot up to their feet in unison, cheering and clapping in appreciation.
I was so hyped up knowing that I had won such a big fight in such fashion that I walked over to the ropes that faced the back of the arena and pointed my glove at my next opponent, Denie Irizzary, in a "You're next" gesture.
The very next day in the "Springfield-Union News" their Golden Gloves article carried a recap of my fight written by Carlo Imelio:
"The scene stealer turned out to be John Scully, the defending 165 pound WM and New England champion from Central City. Scully thrilled the crowd with an eye-catching war against Hartford reigning 156 pound champion Roberto Perez. The obviously skilled boxer-puncher did everything but put Perez away as he unleashed lightning like combinations to the head. Fighting in a departure from his usual style, Scully gave a clinic on how to fight off the ropes as he outlasted Perez for the hard fought victory. With his back to the ropes often in the bout against the aggressive and powerful Perez, Scully shot hard rights and lefts to the head before effectively covering up. Clearly it was the most exciting fight of the tournament and it was won by probably the best fighter, one who advanced to the national quarterfinals last year. Scully is currently ranked 10th in the nation at 165 pounds."
Reactions like that and the one I got from the guys in the audience after my similar victory in Buffalo at the PAL tournament made me feel like I was starting to come into my own as a fighter and the sudden recognition made me feel as though I was separating myself from the pack, so to speak. For better or worse, I began to implement the peek-a-boo style into my game more and more. Sometimes it worked very well for me but, unfortunately it didn't work so well on other occasions when I began to rely on it more and more, especially when I eventually came to rely on it when I was going into fights with so much trouble losing weight properly. At times it had morphed from a brilliant technique into a survival mode. It got to be where I had no fear of going in with anyone because even if I was weak from losing weight or for whatever reason I could always deflect shots with my gloves and arms rather than take them flush on the face or chin. Even in sparring, I became so adept at it that I could spar contenders and world champions while being totally out of shape and I still felt as though I had that built in force field protecting me the whole time.
Looking back I can say that I did possess a very good defense and even now every once in a while someone will come up to me and comment on it. It sucks, though, that not everybody realizes what I was doing in there. When I fought Nunn, for example, more than nine years after fighting DiFiore there were actually people sitting up high in the bleachers that night that thought Nunn was really putting it on me with all those punches he threw (over 1,000) but the reality is that I was picking off most of them on my gloves, arms and shoulders. I knew better because I was in there with the man. I felt good doing it and I had no fear of standing in front of him or any man that I ever fought, including in the gym against great fighters like Jones and Toney, because I knew I had mastered that aspect of my game. Almost every guy that I fought had a very low connect percentage against me, including my big fights against Nunn and Littles, and I almost always out landed the guys I fought, too, at least connect percentage wise if not in total punches. I felt that as long as I was picking off punches and landing at a good percentage I was doing fine in there.
I realize now that one problem, for example, was that I had gradually grown so accustomed and confident in my ability to not get hit flush on the mouth by these guys that I began to rely on it. I began to get way too comfortable in the ring because in my mind, if I could stay in there with you and make you hit nothing but gloves and arms than I was winning. My defense became my identity and, not to sound cocky or anything, but I had actually gotten to the point where I felt like I could spar or fight anybody in the world with no worries about taking their punches because in terms of getting hit flush on the face it wasn't really as much of an issue for me as it may have appeared. Sometimes people would say that they saw me fight and that I had a good chin and I while believe I did I also realize that many times in fights I wasn't getting hit as flush as it sometimes may have appeared because I could keep my gloves up in way that they were almost form fitted to my face and chin. Even guys that were known as hard punchers had punches that felt to me like they were powder puffs and I often went through many rounds with particular guys and I never could really say if they hit hard or not afterwards. I also liked when I would be in the gyms and guys would complain (or just make comments) to their coaches, telling them they couldn't hit me flush. Still, in a crazy way, it messed me up because I often didn't feel that real urgency to keep working and throwing a ton of punches back. I slowly became more and more complacent and satisfied.
I know now though, that I should have developed much better counter punching skills off of the blocks like Curry, Livingstone Bramble, and Starling were masters at. (Or as I tell my fighters now, "Defense is a wonderful thing but you still have to hit your opponent to win.")
Just watched Azumah Nelson use this style against Pernell Whitaker on ESPN. Interesting stuff, thanks for the explanation. Also heard you John doing the voiceover for Lewis-Rahman, Great Job!
I always enjoy reading your interviews and your thoughts on this board.
Regarding Cardona: How far do you think he can come back? Do you think he has the guts for the game after all these years? What do you think of his punching power at Welterweight?
I'm from up here in Bangor, Maine and I know that Pito fought in Bangor on some Joey Gamache cards back in the early 90's.
I sparred with Pito not long ago..he is still very heavy handed. I am working hard on his balance, etc...... he seems to still want to fight so we'll see in his next few fights where we are at.
PS: THANKS FOR THE COMPLIMENT!!
MANY DETAILS ON MY BOOK IN HERE....
That was a very cool read. Thanks.
Just let me know when you're ready to sell and I can post up something in the CBZ Newswire page to let readers know how to order your book.
It's kind of crazy.... I was working on a chapter for my book that deals with Ali..... and reading about the early 1960's when all over the USA there was black and white only water fountains, restaurants etc....... peope kind of think automatically that this was such a long time ago but.... suppose a guy was working at a restaurant in Louisville back in say 1960 and he was in charge there, he was 24 years old, working days running the restaurant.... he regularly stopped blacks from eating there, told them to get out, most likely in cruel fashion....he grew up in a day when a black kid could get lynched for whistling at a white woman (Emmit Till) crazy think that the guy today is still here most likely...and he is only 70 years old!!! He's still walking around everyday... I wonder what guys like that , guys that told blacks to eat out in the alley, think of the country today.. with Oprah being a megastar LOL..... Barack Obama a presidential candidate....Terrel Owens...Ice T and CoCo..... rap music, hip hop videos.... LOL..... he must think he's in the twilight zone!! LOLOL I picture him at a supermarket checkout line and a young black girl, who is chewing gum and talking on her cell phone, is the clerk... he's in a hurry and wants to get out there to go somewhere but she's on the phone, rolling her eyes, laughing, telling him to "hold up a minute" LOLOLOL Awesome
Looking forward to buying your book when it comes out, you emailed me some passages regarding Roy Jones a few months back...great stuff. Your quote regarding the wait in the dressing room is pretty interesting as well. I got into boxing in my late 20's and had a few amature fights and the feeling of dread I got before a fight was amazing...remember asking myself what the hell am I doing here? I even had it more so when sparring pro's. But after the fights I never felt better in my life...as much fear as you build up prior to a fight you feel as much exileration afterwards.
DOn't want to compare a few fights I had with someone with as much experience as you've had in boxing but I have a basic understanding of what you mean.
Rifle..yeah, man.... I think you definitely do understand what I mean..it's like that feeling we get is...UNIVERSAL among those who make that wait in the dressing rooom
John Scully and The Iceman Diaries
By: Rich Bergeron
John "The Iceman" Scully compiled a 38-11 record as a professional boxer with 21 knockouts to his credit, but it is his contribution to the sport as a trainer that he might be best known for these days. In the ring, Scully only lost to formidable opponents and suffered seven of his 11 defeats near the end of a nearly 13-year career. He was only stopped once, by Drake Thadzi at the end of his career, in a fight held in Boston in 1998 that saw him severely depleted my drastic weight loss. Along the way he fought legends like Michael Nunn, Henry Maske, and Graciano Rocchigiani in some incredible 12-round slugfests and he used what he learned in all those battles with some of boxing's best to develop a unique and effective method of training.
In addition to his training duties, he also finds time these days to work on his book: The Ice Man Diaries. "I've always, since I was a kid, been a writer. In grade school I wrote two or three book reports a week," he said. "When I started boxing, for whatever reason, I used to keep notes. I'd go to a tournament and write down who was there, who fought who, who did what, who I met. As I got older, I first went on-line in 1999 and used to go to message boards and I'd talk about people that I knew, and people I met like Muhammad Ali, what it was like to spar with Roy Jones, Jr., and people loved it. They'd eat it up, and people used to email me and tell me I oughta' turn it all into a book, because people would pay for these kind of inside stories."
He went back and looked over his notes, and since he'd been keeping a diary since he was a kid, he realized he had an incredible amount of great content. "I've probably got 400 pages done already," he said. "People say you're supposed to cut it down, but this is a different kind of book. I've got a lot to say, and it's hard to cut down. Realistically, I'm done with the majority of it. Now I'm just trying to edit, shape it up, and delete and add stuff. Basically every chapter's about done. I'm just figuring out what to take out."
The key for the project is to make his take on the sport raise some eyebrows. "I want it to be interesting," he said. "I want people to read it and say, 'Wow, man, that's crazy!' I want people to read it and get a sense of what it is to be a boxer, to be in a fight. People watch fights, and they second-guess what the guy does in the ring, but people don't realize what it means to be a boxer. That's why I wanna' give my insight into it."
He's read plenty of boxing books, including "Raging Bull," (Jake LaMotta's story) and while he found them all entertaining, he never found one that truly explained what it was really like to be a fighter. He had a feeling people would enjoy the kind of book that would truly describe what it was like to be hit, what he was facing in fights, and the other aspects of the fight game people would love to read about.
He also decided to include some aspects of his career some other authors might try and obscure or gloss over. "Most people are not that honest, and they don't wanna' admit the things that I would admit in a book," he said.
As far as the fighters he's training, he's working with two amateur boxers as they get ready for the Golden Gloves final in late February. He also trains Mike Oliver (17-0, 8 KO's), the USBA Super Bantamweight champion. Scully's scrawny, but powerful, knockout artist will appear on Showtime in February when he takes on Gary Stark, Jr. who is also undefeated at 18-0 with 8 knockouts. The fight will be aired on SHOBOX on February 16. Scully also trains Jose Antonio Rivera (38-5-1, 24 KO's), who just lost his WBA Light Middleweight title to Travis Simms (25-0, 19 KO's).
Rivera showed true heart against Simms, getting off the canvas after a particularly brutal knockdown when most fighters would have taken the ten-count and given up. Scully hasn't spoken to Rivera since the loss. "He's been laying low, and he's back at work now," said Scully. "We'll see what he does. I haven't talked to him." He was able to really appreciate the style Simms brought to the fight and said it was "perfect to exploit Jose's style."
One of Scully's best moments as a trainer came in February of 2006 when Mike Oliver fought for the USBO title against Castulo Gonzalez. I call him Mike-Mike, and the thing about him is since he was a little kid, he always had the talent and skills to be good fighter, but he had no discipline and no focus," said Scully. "When we started training for that fight, I went to work on his mental game. I worked hard on him being a professional, and I wanted him to be a sharp professional. He looked like a world class professional in that fight, stopping Gonzalez in the ninth. In that fight he was finally able to do things people didn't think he could. We knew Castulo would be a tough fight, so we had to put him on another level, and I could see my influence in that fight."
Scully also used to work with another undefeated fighter: Chad Dawson, who is now ready to fight for the WBC title on February 3rd. Dawson will battle Tomasz Adamek (31-0, 21 KO's) in a battle of unbeatens with Adamek's belt at stake. "I got with Chad, and I could see he was naturally gifted and very skilled, but he was lacking some things as a pro. Things he hadn't developed yet," said Scully. "I really worked hard with him, and I feel I was responsible for some of his success, in particular with sharpening his jab, body shots and his overall approach to the professional game. In the fights I was with him, he showed great improvement. I look back on those days, and I feel proud of that."
His toughest moment as a trainer is harder to define. "Probably in a lot of fights, not just with Jose, in several fights, the toughest thing about being a trainer is just being in the corner feeling frustrated, knowing what a guy can do and he just doesn't do it," said Scully. "You know the guy's talents and strengths, and you see him do things in the gym a million times. But, in the fight, for one reason or another, it just don't come out."
It also gets Scully bent out of shape when he hears the crowd booing and hurling insults at a fighter he works with. He wishes sometimes he could tell the fans what his guy can really do and explain that it's just not his night. "Fighters you see on TV, you might think, 'yeah he's ok, nothing special,' but in the gym he's often spectacular," said Scully. "It just shows you how tough it is to actually perform under the bright lights. I get frustrated when a guy isn't really reaching his potential."
In his own career, he doesn't consider any particular win of his as amazing as a loss he suffered against Michael Nunn. "Just because of who he was, being a superstar and a great boxer, and for the fact that I fought very well," said Scully. "Most people think that was my best performance as a pro. One thing about Nunn that everybody knows, is that he's got great defense, and he's always slipping punches. According to Compubox, I landed 49 percent of my punches and I don't think anybody's ever landed that much against him."
He also enjoyed some great moments in the amateurs. "I had a lot of good memories," he said. He particularly feels proud of being able to qualify for the Olympics in 1988. Being one of the best in the United States when he first started boxing is an honor that never gets old for him.
As far as that one fight that still torments him, he looks back to his battle with Henry Maske when he fought for the IBF Light Heavyweight title in Leipzig, Germany. "It was frustrating more than anything. He was very tall, six foot four. It was hard to believe he only weighed 175 pounds," said Scully. "He was big, tall, and muscled. He also had a different style as a southpaw. He was patient, laid back, had a good jab, and just a methodical type of style."
In addition to the technical difficulties he faced with the actual fight itself, he also had to try to choke back personal demons. "When I went in, there were a lot of things going on," he said. "My mother was sick at home with cancer. She had to have both legs amputated, and she died four months after the fight. The entire time training and getting ready for the fight, I was dealing with that more than anything. That, combined with his skill, and having the whole crowd (14, 000 in attendance) on his side made it tough. The only ones for me were my two corner men."
He wrote a whole chapter about that fight in his book. "I just remember being in the hotel, and it was a beautiful room. There was velour, wall to wall carpeting. It was spectacular," he said. "Every night I was there, I was up 'till daylight including on the day of the fight. I'd stay up, and I just couldn't sleep. That's tough. I wanted to go to sleep, and I was actually saying to myself, 'I wanna' go to sleep,' and I started yelling it. That made me so crazy. There's a lot to being a competitor in a fight, more than the actual fight that people see."
The reason he gives for his love of the game applies to both fighting and training. He points to the camaraderie between boxers. "Anywhere I go, if I meet a guy who's a pro fighter, that would be it, we could talk for three or four hours," he said. In the gym, when you get them all in there training, about a half hour afterward everyone's sitting around talking about sparring or a fight they had. That kind of allegiance to each other you don't see too often. It must be the same thing with football players, but fighters speak a language all their own. Being around fighters, talking about fights, relating to each other, that's something I would never wanna' give up."
His advice to anyone trying to make it as a fighter revolves around a simple principle. "If I see a guy, and I don't know how tall, strong, or what kind of record he has, whatever, I can tell all fighters the same thing," he said. "Train harder. Be more focused than anyone else you know, and then you can't say you weren't ready. Look around when you go to the gym every day to train. Look around and see who's training the hardest, and you train harder than that guy. Do more sit-ups, push-ups, and run harder. Conditioning will give you a big edge, and it's the only thing you can control. You might not be the fastest, strongest, or most fluid guy in the ring, but you can definitely be in top physical condition."
Taking an outstanding physique and phenomenal stamina into the ring is essential, and with some talent to boot, Scully can make anyone with that package a champion. "If you're lucky enough to have all the skills, and you add that to your conditioning, you're gonna be a tough guy to beat," he said. "I don't put up with half-stepping it, going into the ring not physically or mentally ready. It's kind of like what happened for me in my own career. Physically, I just wasn't ready for some of my fights, and the people I was with didn't recognize that. A lot of times I lost too much weight for a fight, and I was weak and drawn. I needed someone to say, 'You're not ready, maybe we should back out.' With my fighters, they have to cover all the bases. I tell them they really need to go in prepared, or else they'll regret it." That's just one of the benefits of having some ring experience that Scully brings to his training technique.
He's taken all of his observations and created his own unique quirks that he uses to intensify the whole training process for his fighters. "I've trained with a lot of fighters, and I've been in camps and watched a lot of different people train. Most fighters do the same type of stuff: hit bags, do sit-ups, spar, and run," he said. "Nothing they do is really similar to a fight. Sparring isn't even as hard as a fight. Hitting the bag is not as hard as a fight. I know guys in average shape who can go 12 rounds hard on the bag, but they couldn't go that long in a fight. I try to do the type of training that gets you tired like a fight. When I do mitts, it's not just throwing punches at my hands. I have my guys stop suddenly and do push-ups, I wrestle with 'em, have 'em hit me, and other stuff that makes it feel like a real fight. It feels like a war. I see a guy do six rounds on a heavy bag, and they're not tired. The bell rings, and they're walking around like it's a walk in the park."
He maintains that a great fighter prepares with the mindset of someone going to war, not "an aerobic class." If a fighter isn't doing anything above and beyond the run of the mill workout, he's not going to be ready for what Scully knows it takes to compete on a professional level.
His greatest accomplishment in his career is being able to elevate his fighters to championship status. Bringing Rivera to his world championship and Oliver to the point where he was able to pick up the USBA belt have been the great intangible rewards he's always worked hard for. He's also hoping to add to his accomplishments by bringing a fighter to the Olympics.
His stable is pretty full right now, and he isn't planning on making much room for any other fighters at the moment. "I have Jose, Mike-Mike, and Israel "Pito" Cardona, who took some time off a few years ago, and is now 2-0 on his comeback. Between those three, and being an assistant trainer for M;oxt Remillard, who's 10-0 as a pro, between those guys, I have a full plate," he said. "If I have 20 fighters under my stand, I can't really help all of them."
He really enjoys working with what he has. He is so comfortable in his current position that he said he'd turn down a million-dollar offer to train another big-time fighter somewhere else. "I'd stay here with the guys I have already," he said.
The subject that really got Scully talking was the question of what major problems are plaguing the sport of boxing. "There's quite a few that stand out. One very obvious one is the number of sanctioning bodies," he said. "It's gotten past ridiculous. It was ridiculous five years ago, and now it's gone even further."
He explained that there used to be the WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO as the four main organizations overseeing the sport. From that foundation 16 other ones sprang up. In addition to the new upstarts like the IBO, IBA, and IBC, which he calls "bad enough," he asserts that what's worse is the amount of belts now available to boxers. "Now you have the regular champ, super champ, interim champ. They're making them up at a record pace," he said. "Just this morning, I saw to guys signed up to fight, and neither one of 'em's Spanish, and they're fighting for the WBC Latino title. I don't know how that works. You even have African champions now, and that doesn't mean it's from Africa, if you're African American, you could fight for the WBC African title."
The amusing and confusing jumble of available titles led him to make a joke in his book about the situation. "Man, they could have an African American fighter and a Spanish fighter from New York, and we'll have 'em fight for the unified and undisputed African-Latino title," he said.
He actually took the time to add up the total number of sanctioning bodies, their respective major championships, and all the offspring championships including the territorial ones like North American, International, and Intercontinental, etc., and he multiplied that final figure by the 17 or so weight classes. "With about 20 or so sanctioning bodies, there's literally thousands of belts," he said. "Everybody's got a belt. You look at the top 10 guys in every weight class, and every single one is a champion of something or other. International, Intercontinental, WBO, IBA, United States, North America, etc. It's insane."
The over-abundant supply of gaudy gold and silver straps out there for modern day boxers can be dangerous, Scully argues. The whole concept makes the splintered professional ranks easier to poke fun at, but what really gets Scully's goat is the ill-fitting pride the fighters who hold their belts take in the honor of winning them. "You got a guy like the North American champion according to some sanction body that just came out six months ago, and he's carrying his belt around like he's pound for pound or something," said Scully. "One judge actually told me he thinks it's a good thing. He tells me, 'You ever seen the look on a fighter's face when he wins a belt? Imagine the pride he feels when he holds that belt.'
I tell him "Come on, man. We're not in it to make fighters feel good, we're in it to prove who's the best."
Scully sees the trend hurting the sport and twisting the way it was designed. He sees the purpose of boxing as "not to make people feel good, but to find out who the elite is." He also points out that the world championship just doesn't mean anything anymore. "Ali, when he beat Foreman, he said, 'I shook up the world.' He was right. It was on the front page of Time, Sports Illustrated, the front page of the New York Times, the LA times, and the Chicago Tribune," he said. "It was a huge fight. Now, a guy could go and knock out Klitschko, and he wouldn't shake up Chicago let alone the world. Nobody would care. Nothing in boxing now will ever shake up the world, because too many people are a champion."
To put the whole spectacle in perspective he suggested imagining six Superbowl champions or four Major League Baseball champions. "Imagine a guy who's a billionaire and he says, 'I don't like the Olympics, so I'm gonna' just start my own.' He has his own every four years, Bob Barker could do it, and he calls it the Bob Barker Olympics. But, they still have the other Olympics. So some guy can walk around with his own Olympic gold medal now and technically say, 'I'm the Olympic champion.' and people will think to themselves "I thought Carl Lewis won the 100 yard dash. Who is this guy??"
Then you'd have to go through the whole process of explaining how he is the champion of the "other Olympics."
Boxing's the only game in the world, where you can start your own group," said Scully. "You can't start your own Major League Baseball or NBA. But, in boxing you can make your own championship and your own top 10. I could start my own organization and put you in as the number one cruiserweight. All I have to say is 'Hey, that's my opinion, and it's my ratings committee, so you have to accept that, because it's my group, and that was our opinion.' That's what it comes down to."
The whole circus that has resulted has cheapened the experience of watching boxing for Scully. "I hate it. I don't even have the same interest as far as being a fan," he said. "I see guy with a belt now, and I say, 'who cares, so what, everybody's got a belt.' Belts don't mean as much. It's one of the biggest sports crimes of the century, the way they've diluted them."
Adding to the way boxing has ruined itself from within, Scully is keeping an eye on mixed martial arts and the popularity explosion that sport's enjoying. That reality has him ready to give up on boxing's chances to get back to its glory days. "I don't watch it at all but I know that MMA's getting pretty strong, and even in my gym they have an MMA class a couple times a week," he said. "Every day more and more people are in it. Fightnews.com even started having articles on there about (Chuck) Liddell, and up until a few months ago, they never did. I don't know if boxing will recover the days of Leonard, Hagler, Duran, and the mega-super fights. A lot of prospective boxing fans went the other way."
Offering me one of the longest, most comprehensive looks at the sport of boxing since I interviewed Joey Gilbert last year, John Scully finally ran out of stuff to talk about. He also put just enough bait on the hook to make me want to bite when his book drops onto the market. If you want to learn more about him you can wait for it to be published or pop in on his MySpace site at: http://www.myspace.com/icemanjohnscully or his website at www.icemanjohnscully.com
Could mean nothing at the end of the day but.... I just read SHOWTIME's preview today of Mike-Mike's (Oliver, the kid I train) fight next week with Gary Stark and I was also VERY surprised to see Stark say he fought a MUCH better group of opponents that Mike-Mike did..... this (Luis Bolanos) represents his toughest opponent to date, a guy with a good looking record but a guy who was stopped four fights in a row before Starks beat him in what Steve Farhood said in his call of the fight was a bad decision. Adam Carrera, former NABF as well as world junior champion as amateur is a better opponent than ANYBODY Gary fought as a pro and Mike beat him sooooooooooooo clearly in his last fight for the USBA title that he defends against Stark next Friday. If everything is on the up and up, all things considered, I just don't see any way IN the ring that Mike Oliver can lose to Gary Stark.
Luis Bolano's (a real 115 pounder) last 6 fights, in order:
vs. Elio Rojas, L 8
vs. Gary Stark, L 8
vs. Juan Lopez, KOBY 2
vs. Carlos Tamara, KOBY 1
vs. Luis Perez, KOBY 6
vs. Mark Johnson, KOBY 4
Flashback. July, 1988. Concord, California, 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials: Almost as soon as I got out of the ring following my quarterfinal round victory over Joseph Hill I was approached by J.D. Brown, one of Sugar Ray Leonard's assistants, who slipped Ray's room number into my boxing shoe, telling me that after I showered and ate Ray wanted to see me in his suite.
So I eventually make my way up to the suite and I am let in to the living room area where I sit and wait with his advisor, Mike Trainer, until Ray comes out to meet me. We all end up sitting at the big dining room table just kind of casually chatting about things. Where I'm from, how I got into boxing, what do I think about my chances and things like that. Eventually, of course, the conversation gets around to the days bouts and although I won the fight over Hill (who was the # 3 rated amateur 165 pounder in the USA at the time) it wasn't a particularly scintillating performance on my part. It was more like a workmanlike victory where I used my strength and determination to grind out victory. Hill was very tall for a middleweight, 6 foot 4, and I was forced to pursue him rather than get on my toes and box.
Anyway I have to assume that Ray and Mr. Trainer had probably engaged in some previous conversations about me, maybe with thoughts that a strong showing there in the Olympic Trials might make me an appealing boxer that they may want to have something to do with once it came time for me to turn pro.
That day obviously marked the first time Mike Trainer had ever seen me fight and I kind of got the impression that Ray wanted him to know that there was more to me and my game than I showed that day. He told him something like "Mike, really, you should see this guy in the gym with Roy (Jones) and the guys! Outboxing some guys, being aggressive against others. You should have seen him in camp with us."
That was one of the first times it ever really struck me how much better I was in terms of what I could produce) in the gym than I was in the real fights.
Nelson didn't use that type of defence against Whitaker.
Hey Ice-Did you ever watch much of Harold Brazier?I thought he had a very similar defence to that of Starlings.In his bout vrs John Meekins I thought Harold put on a textbookboxing performance.
The reason why you can write so eloquantly is because you did what you just said. Congratulations!!! You have all of your mental facilities.
So what if you lost a few fights.
Interview with Iceman John Scully
By Phil Santos/www.overhandright.com
OR: How long have you been working with Matt Godfrey?
ICE: I actually worked as a second in the corner for his fights with Felix Cora and Derrick Brown but this is the first time I actually trained him for a fight. We have been together for about two months. We have Ross Enamaite (from www.rosstraining.com) working on his conditioning training and I handle all the boxing training and strategy, etc.
OR: What have you seen during training that leads you to believe that Godfrey can become a World Champion?
ICE: Well, I have actually known Matt for a good ten years now, since he was a junior olympic boxer back in 1996, and I have not only sparred with him before but in 2002 I worked his corner for the entire tournament when he won the National Golden Gloves out in Denver so I know him pretty well and I have always thought he had exceptional skills and reflexes that were above average. He has a very good grasp of boxing and its technique, too, he has what I call "boxing smarts" and that's something that a lot of boxers just do not have. He picks things up quickly because of it and has the athleticism to get away with a lot, too. If his jab continues to improve and his mental strength continues to stay up I think he is definitely a potential world champion.
OR: Was there anything that surprised you about Matt once you started working with him?
ICE: To be honest, the only thing that raised any eye brows with me was probably his lack of real hard training. By that I mean his lack of really and truly punishing himself to prepare for fights. I think a lot of the really talented guys tend to stray that way to a mindset where they do what they only need to do to get through fights, to do enough to win, but I already know that sooner or later you will be faced with a situation when every fiber of your body is in pain and suffering and you will have to dig down and find more than talent alone at the bottom of your bag of tricks.
And I can honestly say that for this fight Matt has suffered in the gym and that's the way it should be. Training isn't supposed to be a pleasure, you know?
OR: Godfrey scored his most impressive and significant win over Felix Cora Jr., then bested a tough Derrick Brown, in a very close fight. What specifically does Matt need to do in order to score the biggest win of his career and beat Jeremy Williams, a guy who has only 5 losses in 48 fights along with 35 KO's.
ICE: I think that Matt pretty much just has to do what he is capable of doing, he has to execute like he is supposed to. He has went a very, very long ways on natural ability and athleticism. He has so many skills and I believe he will use them like he always did but he will use them more efficiently now.
OR: A lot was made about Godfrey switching up and turning southpaw in his KO of Felix Cora Jr., many speculated that the move seemed to confuse Cora leading to the early stoppage. Do you believe that switching to southpaw was the key to that particular fight? Is transitioning from orthodox to southpaw during a fight something that you encourage your fighters to do? Why or Why not?
ICE: Matt is like me in that we are both ambidextrous in the ring and I don't really think that was something that he set out to do It was more something that unfolded as he was boxing asnd seeing things. The mind of a boxer is often like a computer in that sometimes it takes in all this data and instantly spits out an answer and I think Matt's instincts just told him to switch up and what happened happened. It's a beautiful thing if a person is able to fluidly switch stances any time he wants to because the fact is the 99 percent of the guys out there cannot do so.
OR: How did you and Matt end up working together? Did he approach you etc..?
ICE: It was a thing where his manager Brett Hallenback approached me about tit and, of course, I jumped at the opportunity. I was present in his corner on two previous occasions and, for what it is worth, I think I gave him solid advice in there. Maybe that had something with me getting the call, I'm not really sure.
OR: Was there anything in Matt's previous training regiment that you completely disagreed with? What are some changes that you have made since becoming Godfrey's trainer?
ICE: Well, to be honest, I have always felt something about Matt, and this goes back to his amateur days and I actually told him this to his face when he was getting ready for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. Watching Matt fight I always felt that he was sort of an underachiever, I wondered if he really knew how talented he was. Sometimes you see a guy who can box and has moves and is talented but he doesn't necessarily realize it as much as other people do and I think that was the case with him for a while there. I told him I felt that with a bit more drive and determination, some outward display of that, he could and should be on that olympic team. I worked his corner when he beat Devin Vargas clearly at the 2002 National Golden Gloves so I knew what he could do. In 2004, though, he lost to Vargas in the rematch and that was the end of it. I still felt with some more push he could have won and I kind of saw him heading down that same road as a professional so when we got together that was the first thing I spoke to him about, the first thing we went to work on.
You can look great and calm and relaxed in there, that's fine, but sometimes you need to dig down and show some anger, some determination, some drive, some spirit and emotions and to illustrate that for him I explained to him how as great and smooth as Sugar Ray Leonard was, when crunch time came against Tommy Hearns in the 1981 fight that he was losing going into the 14th, it was wild and furious overhand rights and lefts and not classic, text book combinations that initially got Tommy hurt and set him up for the KO.
I also went to work with him on his jab. I work hard on that with anyone that I train because the old cliche is very true that the most important punch in boxing is the jab. I felt like I did good work with Chad Dawson and Mike Oliver with their jabs and I think Matt is in that category, too, a guy with the potential for a fight controlling type of jab.
OR: Is Godfrey ready right now to compete with and be successful against the elite Cruisers in the world such as Bell, Mormeck and Haye (if he doesn't move back up to Heavy)?
ICE: Well, this fight might go a long ways towards answering that question. I think talent wise, skill wise, class wise, he certainly is.
OR: Does Matt have any future plans of moving up into the heavyweight division, or is the plan to remain at Cruiserweight for the foreseeable future?
ICE: In my opinion I believe he will remain at his current weight for quite a while.
OR: What is your prediction, and how do you see the fight unfolding.
ICE: Well, I find it hard to predict fights because so much depend son the day. Some will depend on how well I do in the corner that night, some will depend on how hard Jeremy feels like fighting that night. Most of it will depend on Matt, of course, because I believe he can and will dictate the fight from top to bottom. I believe his class and skills will expose Williams in many areas. At the end of the day I always have two words that sum up every pre-fight interview and every pre-fight prediction that I do and they are very simple.
Mr. Scully, How difficult is it for a fighter from North America to train for a fight at home and then leave for an overseas fight a week or two before? You hear people talk about the adjustment, time zones and stuff, what is that like? Is it a difficult process for a fighter? - Pat in Maine
ICE: I found it to be a mentally tough task to go there partly because of all the horror stories you've heard over the years. Did I get there in enough time? Will the time change affect me? Will the climate or the water or the food and the different altitude affect me? You find yourself asking a lot of questions. I don't know if it was nerves or jet lag or a combination of both but I know that when I fought Henry Maske for the IBF title back in 1996 in Germany there was not even one night there, including the night before the fight, that I was able to fall asleep before day break.
Please Ask the Iceman who he thought won the Leonard vs Hagler fight? I was reading about all time Ray took off prior to that fight and was hoping to hear Ice's take on how big a disadvantage that put Ray in going into that fight. Also, do you think the judges could have been swayed by some of the sentiment involved in Ray's come back that could have given him some close rounds? Peace, J-Stu in AC
ICE: I watched that fight live on closed circuit and I distinctly remember having Ray convincingly ahead after the 12 rounds were completed. I think most did. Now you have people saying how the more you watch the fight the stronger the case can be made the Hagler won but the fact is that you can only go by what you saw there live the first time. People might have been influenced by Ray and his persona but with or with or without that I thought he fought the better fight, period.
Hello John, did you get a chance to see Henry Maske's rematch with Virgil Hill? I'm a big fan of Hill's but it seemed he looked flat. How do you think Maske's legacy will sit now that he's reversed that loss? I think he's a good fighter, but over rated in some circles. What is your impression of him and his skills? - Greg in Grand Forks
ICE: I have the feeling that only in the hearts of German fans will it make much of a difference overall in Henry's legacy. It was a great accomplishment for sure and made for a great story but you cannot overlook the fact that Virgil is just about as old as Henry is and their fight was not for the outright title of the WBA at cruiserweight. I like the story and Henry's success with it but I think it would have had legitimate impact had he turned around and beaten Virgil sometime back in 1997.
Hello I'd like to ask Coach Scully how different the transition is from fighting as a amateur to fighting as a pro? I have over 40 amateur fights and am a distance fighter. A lot of my wins are by decision and I wonder what the transition is like warming up to the scoring system in the pros vs. that in the amateurs. - Jo Jo in Calgary
ICE: Well, I would say most amateur victories are by decision as opposed to the stoppage route but, either way, it is still only four rounds in length any way you slice it so to know for sure you are a distance fighter you would actually have to successfully defeat opponents over the longer distance of a pro fight. For me the biggest obstacle was getting used to the head butts that sometimes occur in professional fights. The amateur headgears protect against them but they are definitely no joke and something to watch out for. The fighting with no shirt and no headgear, other than the occasional clash of heads, was something I got used to pretty quickly.
Hello Ice, what is the best fight you have ever seen live bro? Who were the fighters and what made it such a great fight? For me it was Mickey Ward vs Emanuel Burton. What a war! - Chris in Idaho
ICE: I was there live when Bowe and Holyfield fought the first time and I would have to say that one carried the most action, excitement and anticipation of any bout I have ever been to live. I fought on the undercard in a 12 round fight against Tim Littles where I got badly cut in three places but I stayed at the arena for that fight before heading to get stitched up and I still say it is one of the best moves I ever made, not missing that fight.
Please ask Mr. Scully what he thinks of Tito Trinidad's decision to return after a layoff vs. Roy Jones. Tito no doubt thinks he can check Roy's chin, but how will he look at 168, and is he underestimating what Roy has left? Tito is a very stiff mechanical puncher, do you think Roy will be watching out for Tito's power and looking to counter? Who do you think will win? - Carter in Florida
ICE: I think it is likely a mistake to not only come back against Roy Jones in your fight at a heavier weight than you ever fought at before but it would also be an even bigger mistake to come back against Jones if you see him as damaged goods. Roy is obviously not the fighter he was in the mid-1990's but I think he still has a bit more left than most give him credit for. I would say it is a pretty sure bet that Roy will take his time and show Tito the proper respect as he waits for his chance to unleash his sizzling combinations. I don't like to bet on fights but I think Roy will fight a careful fight early on gradually gain confidence and accuracy as the rounds goby until he feels sure enough of himself to let go power shots in combinations. Tito will be a slow moving target most likely and Roy will win in clear fashion, I think.
Call me slow but I just put together that John is the same guy that does all the comentating on the Classic fights ... I'd just like to say that I really enjoy your work and touch John and have for quite a while ...
OK...your slow Thanks for the compliment, my man. Doing those fights was a lot of fun for me.Originally Posted by HE Grant
Yes, Brazier was definitely one of those guys who is forgotten in many ways but he was a real good boxer, a real smart fighter, who had a skill set that was much better than he will pobably be remembered for. Too bad that it falls that way for some guys, you know?Originally Posted by triplejab34
Also, besides Brazier and Starling, of course, you had Cobra Curry and Bramble. Today, obviously it is Winky Wright who excels at the style the best...Ike Quartey had it going on like that for a while, too.
Harold Brazier's win over john Meekins on ESPN was a wonderful fight and great win for Brazier.
All of Harold's good qualities were on display -- [lus he was a tenacious competitor.
I met John back in 1991 I believe when I was a guest speaker at the Rocky Marciano Foundation where I honored Willie Pep, Ken Norton and others.
We always stayed in touch and we are on the same page about many things in boxing especially refereeing, experience and most everything he writes about in his book.
I feel Ice is one of the best boxing commentators and I always enjoyed his take on things, as I respect him very much. He did the commentary on the fight I did with Holyfield and Mercer.
Always in shape, always gave his best and always brutally honest, my kind of guy.
Hey, Ron, you know...I also met you the day of JONES-BRANNON in NYC...I was with Stanley Levin and a few others, maybe in the hotel restaurant?? Do you remember? From what I remember, Roy Innis' son was there, too...maybe you were with him??
I was surpised, too, because you knew who I was right away...that was cool for me because I knew who you were from seeing you on TV all those times
Reply: I remember Ice and it was good to see you too. I remember Roy Innis coming up into the ring after the bout. At that restaurant Brannon's corner along with him made it a point to come over to me and kept asking me to promise them that I would not stop the fight if he got into trouble, that this was his main shot etc and to give him every possible chance because it "Ain't over till its over."Originally Posted by ICEMAN JOHN SCULLY
I eased their mind within reason and assured them both men would get that title fight type of chance from me. I remember their weigh in at the Motown Cafe and they got into a bit of a shoving match, the crowded cafe recoiled backwards in a sea of pushing too and I got pushed back from the stage smack into Mike Tyson's chest accidentally. I turned around to say excuse me, and he saw it was me as I knew him, I said Hi Mike, he goes, "Hey Ref, Hurricane's guy." I out to lightly touch his hand and he reached out to me and his tall bodyguard viciously pushed my hand away.
I instantly got so angry I grabbed his finger and twisted it back saying don't put your fucking hands on me, Tyson I thought would be angry at me but it was the complete opposite, he thought it amusing that a guy my age and size would want to fight his giant bodyguard, and he yelled at the guy, "What the fuck are you doing man, he's saying hello to me, I know him, he's the ref."
Tyson says to me loudly in front of the guy, "Ron you gonna fight him?" I go, only if I have to Mike." Tyson busts up laughing so hard tears are coming down his face. I say, Mike, it isn't funny man, because I was still pissed at this big dude. Mike kept laughing and said, "I know, I know."
He loved it because the guy was so much bigger and he found my genuine anger amusing because he knew I was serious.
The bodyguard just glared at me like he wanted to split my head with an axe. My son snapped the picture of this at this exact second and I still have it with Mike and the bodyguard in the photo.
There is more shit before the fights than in the ring.