The Cyber Boxing Zone Journal
by GorDoomThe Ol' Spit Bucket thought that after the Bowe-Golota debacles last year that boxing couldn't possibly ever sink lower in the public's estimation ... Yeah, right ... & included in this issue are articles dealing with boxing's flat out worst night ever ...
We've got what we think will be a very entertaining issue for you this month. Among the articles included are Joe Bruno's scathing screed on last month's happenings, the welcome return of DscribeDC with two hilarious satires that are not to be missed! Dave Iamele's interviews with newly inducted hall of famer, Jose Torres & another one with Danny Romero . Also weighing inform this issue Is our fine Irisher friend, Derek Cusack with a ton of Irish, British & European boxing news. But that ain't all Folks! Pusboil again joins in as does Next Ali.
We're also very pleased to include an article on Jack Renault by boxing historian, Larry Roberts. In our review section There's an article on the New Ali video. Ring Magazine's boxing computer maven, Jim Trunzo contributes a review of boxing judge, Al Wilensky's indispensable tome on how to judge a fight. This is an invaluable manual & should be required reading for every official in America. I've been involved with boxing for 40 years & I learned a lot about judging a fight from this book ... Who say's you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
We are also pleased to help announce the CBZ's good friend & regular contributor, Jim Trunzo's excellent new boxing web site. This is going to be one of the great sites on the web. If you are into interactive boxing games this will definitely be the place for you! The EBM is much more than just a boxing gaming page as there are many other areas on it that will be of interest.
I'm including a press release that Trunz sent us which explains in detail the vision that he has for his terrific new site:
An Introduction - Because you are an integral part of the boxing community, we would like to introduce ourselves and our new product to you. The Electronic Boxing Monthly (EBM), Comp-U-Sports latest boxing-related endeavor, is a marriage between a venerable sport and cutting edge technology. The result of this union is an exciting, innovative approach to the traditional method of disseminating sports information. The purpose of EBM is first and foremost to provide both current and historic information about the sport of boxing and do so in as varied a format as possible. However, EBM also proposes to go beyond the conventional by making parts of the "magazine" interactive. Through the use of contests, a version of our sophisticated computer boxing simulation, boxing trivia quizzes, and fantasy boxing leagues, boxing fans can not only stay abreast of what's happening in the world of boxing, they can -- vicariously -- become an active part of the fight game. The Format - EBM will, for the most part, mirror a conventional publication. Each month, the magazine will be "delivered" to computers everywhere via our exclusive Web Site. Instead of going to the mailbox or to a local newsstand, both subscribers and non-subscribers can log onto EBM by accessing our site at www.boxmag.com through their internet account (AOL, MS Network, CompuServe or a local internet provider). Once there, a plethora of boxing information will be at the user's disposal. Approximately one-third of the material resident will be available to anyone who wishes to browse our boxing monthly. The other two-thirds will be password protected and obtainable by subscribers only. How will boxing fans know to look for EBM? Besides conventional advertising, our marketing agents will have established links with all major existing boxing sites, procured premium placement with all internet search engines (including Yahoo, Excite, Webcrawler, etc.), given sneak peaks of the site to the various World Wide Web magazines, and announced our presence to all related computer news groups. Subscribers versus Non-Subscribers - We are well aware of the built in bias against paying for something present on the internet. A major part of the internet's lure is the fact that so much of the information and entertainment available there is free. However, 75% of the information available is rehashed and repetitive. It's easily obtained through daily papers, television news, and magazines; and it's presented almost identically at every site. The most popular internet addresses are those that deliver something unique and/or something comprehensive. Web sites that can boast either or both of those qualities are worth paying for and people are doing just that. EBM has no intention of trying to charge money (and, as you'll soon discover, the fee is nominal) for something that boxing fans can get for free. We have no intention of even offering the standard boxing fare like schedules and results. There are fifty places that fans can receive that information with a click of the mouse. The content that we plan to offer will be one of a kind. Even the basic boxing articles and interviews will be original, not reprints of existing columns and news. A subscription to EBM will run $10.00 for a 3 month subscription, $18.00 for a 6 month subscription and $24.00 for a yearly (12 issues) subscription, making it less costly than most boxing publications currently on the market. And once you take a look at the content, you'll see that subscribers are going to receive their money's worth. Content - What follows is an annotated list of the major features that will appear each month in EBM. Features followed by an (S) will be available to subscribers only: Boxing Columns (S): EBM has corralled three of the top boxing writers in the country to do regular columns for our interactive magazine. Jack Obermayer, Eric Bottjer and Bruce Williams (all frequent contributors to major boxing publications) will host their own columns no-holds-barred columns and EBM readers can be assured of insightful, even controversial opinions on our favorite sport. Bruce Williams' "Down Mexico Way" featuring the most up-to-date boxing news from south of the border and Texas should be a truly unique column. Fantasy Boxing League (S): This pay-to-play interactive activity will allow subscribers to "draft" a stable of all-time great fighters, arrange matches and earn points towards great prizes. Match boxing savvy and an eye for talent as you train, hire and fire fighters, and manage your way to the top. Computer Fight of the Month (S): Subscribers will be able to select the strategies in the EBM Fight of the Month. Using an on-line, streamlined version of our sophisticated computer simulations, EBM will select the best fight of the month or a "Dream Fight" chosen by our readers and then allow the user to select strategies and get a blow-by-blow, round-by-round read out of the fight. Fight the match as often as you like. EBM Gold Sheet (S): Boxing picks and pans, featuring computer generated odds and analysis, should provide both entertainment and information to all boxing fans, especially those who like to make a wager on upcoming bouts. Each month, the Gold Sheet will tout a "Main Event", 2 "Co-Features", and 7 "Preliminaries". A running total of correct and incorrect predictions will prove just how accurate the computer is when it comes to picking winners. Boxing by the Numbers (S): In a sport where statistics are often misleading, the most accurate and informative numbers come from CompuBox Punch Stats. These hard-to-find numbers are now available exclusively to EBM. Each month, the fight game's two number crunchers, Bob Cannobio and Logan Hobson will supply the fascinating numbers that help give a truer picture about a fighter's ability or what really took place in a bout. APBA Pro Boxing Support Page (S): The top computer boxing simulation on the market is APBA Pro Boxing for Windows; the top boxing board game is the dice and paper version of the same product. We developed both games and EBM offers us the opportunity to provide monthly support for both products. Updates, patches, new fighter statistics, and upcoming improvements are just a few features that will be found at this location. Face to Face (S): EBM will have access to the best and brightest fighters, promoters, managers, trainers, referees and boxing insiders. Each month, EBM will corner one of boxing's hottest personalities and grill them in an exclusive EBM Interview. Memories and Memorabilia: Don Scott, producer of the Boxing Collector's News, brings his expertise on boxing cards, posters, autographs and other collector items to the "electronic pages" of EBM. Boxing Trivia Game: Ten "rounds" of fascinating boxing trivia, featuring statistics, both current and historic questions, and famous and often hilarious quotes, will test your boxing acumen. Our scoring system will let you know if you scored a knockout or if you ended up on your back! Top Ten Boxing Links: Convenient links to our top ten rated internet boxing sites. Visit The Cyber Boxing Zone, Boxing on the Web and eight other spots all with the click of a button. EBM Boxing Contest (S): Do you think that you can pick winners? How they'll emerge victorious? What round? If so, then maybe you'll win the autographed Tyson photo or the set of Bill Clayton's Greatest Knockout tapes. If you're a subscriber, it's free to enter. And So Much More: Email privileges, an exclusive column by "The Old Spit Bucket" and other valuable boxing material. The Electronic Boxing Magazine Never Stops Growing! As our customer base continues to grow so will EBM. New features will be added while existing features will be enhanced. One thing that will never change, however, is our pledge to deliver boxing fans the most for their money in the way of information and entertainment. Comp-U-Sports Comp-U-Sports is a two-man operation that has been in existence in one form or another for the last twenty years. The company started out as T.J. Publishing when brothers Jim and Tom Trunzo developed what would be the first of five different versions of their professional boxing simulation. Over the last two decades, the game has manifested itself as Truco Boxing, Title Bout, Title Fight for DOS, Title Fight Pro Boxing for Windows, and now APBA Pro Boxing for Windows and the APBA Pro Boxing board game. In addition Jim writes a boxing column for the local newspaper and is a frequent contributor to The Ring Magazine. Jim's work has also appeared in Lou Sahadi's Boxing Today and International Boxing Digest (formerly Boxing Illustrated). Editorial & Advertising: 412-845-9775 Accounting/Fax: 412-639-8514 Email: Achilles@nb.net www.boxmag.comWell, that's it for this month, enjoy the new issue!
Jim Jeffries -- an all-time great
by IBRO71@aol.comPeople are always pointing out that boxing techniques have changed over the years and that the more recent fighters have that advantage. Also, they explain that the athletes are bigger, stronger, and faster.
Well, the rules of a sport make the athlete. A given set of rules (and objectives) dictate the skills needed to excel. In fighting, there are certain attributes that a man can possess which overrule improved techniques as well as bigger, stronger, and faster men.
In boxing, a man with a solid chin, power, and stamina is something to be reckoned with. Look at the success of Rocky Marciano, Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and Mike Tyson since the fifties. If you study the films of Jim Jeffries, newspaper accounts, and his reputation among those who saw them all up through the early days of Cassius Clay, you must realize that Jeffries was a natural, physical phenomenon!
He was big and strong and threw sledge-hammer blows like Foreman and Marciano. He was bigger and stronger than Rocky and had better footwork and overall speed than Foreman. He fought from a crouch and sprang forward quickly with dangerous hooks and swings. His jab was hard too like George's.
That crouch, like Frazier's, enabled him to catch lighter, quicker men off guard and eventually nail them too. Unlike Liston (who was awesome), Jeffries did not tire and fumble around in the mid and late rounds of a fight. His chin was probably his greatest asset and is probably unequalled in boxing history - yes, better than Rocky's, Ali's, Chuvalo's, Mercer's, etc. That would be an advantage against Tyson.
Fighting in a period when hard manual labor was at its peak, Jeffries was always in magnificent physical condition for a fight (even when he was a true "shell" inside, he toned himself outside - vs Johnson). He was rugged beyond belief, owned a granite chin, and absorbed punishment without blinking. Further, he was patient and did not punch himself out. As a fight wore on, he seemed to gain strength and possess unlimited endurance.
He was much like Andrew Golota today. But, Golota does not hit like Jeffries, does not have quite the Jeffries' chin, and lacks the long-term stamina of Jeffries. Look what Golota did to Bowe. Jeffries was much better than Golota.
In summary, Jeffries would whip any man that went in to trade punches - Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, Liston, etc. His biggest problem would be the hit-and-run guy but do not forget that Jeffries was more than a mere slugger. He cut off the ring a lot better that those guys who "trailed" Ali around the ring in almost the same footsteps. And, he was not a straight up target as many of them were, either!
So, Jeffries MUST be in the top 1-3 Heavyweights of All-Time. In my opinion, he gets #1.
Ali? His record was 56-5 and should have been 52-9. He lost to Young no question but as usual talked his way to a win BEFORE the fight. He lost all three fights to Norton but gotthe verdict twice. What a con. Had it not been for Dundee's glove trick to give him more time in the corner, he would have lost by KO to Cooper. He had questionable wins over Doug Jones and Joe Frazier (bout #2 regardless of what the writers say). Let's see, his record could have been 50-11.
Oh yes, he won the Heavyweight Championship three times. Well, to do that one must lose it twice. All the GREAT fighters who won that title held it until they were over the hill. Not him.
He lost it in his prime. Greatest ? No !
Again. I pick Jeffries over Ali (#5 all-time)
Joe Bruno's Inside Boxing
In case anyone with half a brain still thinks Don "Dung" King is "The World's Greatest Promoter", let me clear the cobwebs from your brain once and for all.
The World's Worst Promoter
A great promoter, if there is any such animal, is supposed to provide to the public with top notch entertainment at a fair price. Yet, the last three heavyweight title bouts of any worth all ended in a disgrace called disqualification, and the common thread that ran through each fight is the former, and soon-to-be heavyweight champion felon Dung King.
On February 7, 1997, Lennox Lewis successfully defended his WBC heavyweight crown with a fifth round disqualification against a totally deranged and whimpering shell of an ex-heavyweight champion Oliver McCall. McCall had been a cocaine addict for years, and just scant weeks before the fight, McCall was a patient at a rehabilitation hospital in Nashville Tennessee. When he climbed into the ring at the Las Vegas Hilton against Lewis, McCall was in fact still an outpatient.
Before the fight Home Box Office executive Lou DiBella begged King for a different opponent for Lewis, fearing McCall might suffer the breakdown that was subsequently witnessed by an international audience. After the fight, Lewis' manager Frank McCall blamed King for shoving McCall into the right when King knew McCall was suffering from severe withdrawals after many years of using cocaine.
"McCall could've been killed," Maloney said. "King is nothing but a slave trader, a human flesh trader of the highest degree. It's attempted murder, that's what it is. King had no sympathy for Oliver McCall. He knew and he didn't care."
To show how wacked out McCall was, he later told a Nevada commission psychiatrist that he was just trying to fool Lewis with a little rope-a-dope ala Muhammad Ali. The Nevada commission withheld his $3.07 million purse, and subsequently fined McCall $250,000, and suspended him for one year. That meant King took his reported one half managerial cut of McCall's remaining $2.75 million purse and stuffed it into his greedy pockets. Is there any wonder why King let the fight go on, despite McCall's condition? Like King once kiddingly (?) said, "If money is the root of all evil, then I better grab me some more of those roots."
Fast forward to the Evander Holyfield- Mike Tyson Bite-a-Thon at the MGM Grand in Vegas on June 28, 1997. I'll comment later in this column on the Tyson's munchies, but the rest of the fight card that was shoved down the public's throat at $54.95 a bite was damn tough to swallow.
The first mismatch was Miguel Angel Gonzalez' knockout over terrible inept Roberto "The Hawaiian Pineapple" Granciosa. Gonzalez' record going into the fight was 42-1 with 32 KO's, his only loss being a six round TKO the hands of the great Oscar De la Hoya. Gonzales was ranked number two junior welterweight contender by both the WBA and WBC. Granciosa's record was reported at 31-17, but was probably much worse. Still, with the money the public was paying, King's could've come up with someone more competent to feed Gonzales other than Granciosa, who went down faster than a pina colada at the new Copacabana. The official time was 3:00 of round three, but the only reason the fight lasted so long was that it took three rounds for Gonzalez to get interested.
The next horrible mismatch served up by King was Julio Chavez Caesar (99-1-2) against Larry "The Roadrunner" LaCoursierre. Chavez literally chased LaCoursierre around the ring for ten rounds before garnering a unanimous ten-round decision. The fight was so bad, the Vegas crowd booed from the second round to the finish line. Chavez won all ten rounds on two judge's scorecards, and nine on the third. Somehow judge number three gave LaCoursierre a round, probably for breaking the world record in the ten-round dash.
The disparity in the amounts of the two fighter's purse told more than the naked eye could possibly see. Because the amount paid each fighter is a matter of public record, it was later discovered that Chavez made a whopping $900,000 for his hundredth win, and LaCoursierre a measly twenty grand. , a whopping forty five times less than Chavez.
But upon closer examination, the reason for the disparity in pay falls definitely under the category of "Money makes the blind man see, senor'."
Chavez was the major witness against Dung King last year in King's first federal trial for insurance fraud. Even though Chavez' testimony was damaging to King (they were not palsy-walsy at the time), King was given a reprieve with a hung jury, 10-2 in favor of conviction. The second trial starts in September, and King is counting on Chavez' testimony to be slightly less incriminating than it was in the first trial. So, it's quite obvious, King, the shameless former jailbird, filled Chavez' pocket with nine hundred grand for a non-title fight against a non-entity like LaCoursierre in order to keep King from spending next Christmas back in jail.
Chavez' purse should've been a hundred grand at most, but King's springing for the extra eight hundred grand smacks of possible illegalities. Already the scuttlebutt out of New York has the prosecutor of King's case looking quite carefully into the possibility of witness tampering charges being filed against King.
The third heavyweight title fiasco was Lennox Lewis' fifth round disqualification over another fool in Dung King's stable called Henry Akinwande. Akinwande started the title fight in the Caesars Tahoe showroom with the "deer in the headlight" look, and carried that look all the way into the fifth round, before referee Mills Lane disqualified Akinwande for holding and not fighting.
"I did the best I could to let the fight go on," Lane said. "But the time comes when enough is enough, and that was enough."
"This is the fight that could close the door for Don King, " said Dennis Lewis, Lennox Lewis' brother and business manager. "And we'd like to me the ones to do that." Since boxing commissions don't have the guts to put the screws to a punk like King, the Federal Courts this fall in New York City could be Dung King's last stand. I sincerely hope King winds up like General Custer minus the arrows.That would be like, "Awesome, dude," for boxing fans all over the world.
Nevada State Commission Has No Guts
Make no mistake about it, the one year revocation of Mike Tyson's license by the Nevada State Boxing Commission was nothing but a slap on the wrist, and anyone who thinks Tyson won't get his license back after one year, there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell them. Yet, the non action they took against Henry Akinwande for refusing to fight in the ring against Lennox Lewis was even more of a joke.
Nevada boxing officials voted on July 21 not to take any further disciplinary action against Akinwande, who was disqualified for repeated holding in the fifth round of the July 12 fight at Lake Tahoe. They said that the disqualification was enough punishment in itself.
Akinwande gets to keep his one million dollar purse (Don King reportedly gets half), and the paying fans get fucked again.
The next time you even think about forking over your hard earned cash for a pay per view fight, or investing fifteen bucks a month for HBO, or Showtime, remember the great esteem the Nevada Boxing Commission holds for its paying customers. To them, you're just cash-spending fools. And you know what? They may be right.
Mixed Nuts Dominate Boxing
Ladies and gentlemen, it is now official. Certified psychos have truly taking over the sport of boxing.
Wacco number one: Johnny Tapia.
On July 19, Tapia, a 30-year old ex-convict and frequent drug addict, clowned his way to a unanimous 12-round decision over his hated Albuquerque, New Mexico, rival Danny Romero at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, taking away Romero's IBF junior bantamweight title in the process. Tapia is now 41-0 with 24 K0's. Romero fell to 30-2 with 27 K0's.
There was such bad blood between the two fighters, before the fight Tapia told HBO commentator Larry Merchant, "I hate Romero."
The 23-year old Romero, a clean cut kid-next-door type, refused to be drawn into the cesspool created by Tapia, but when the bell rang starting the fight, Tapia's unorthodox hi jinx in the ring confused Romero, and maybe the three judges at ringside too. The lettering on the back of Tapia's trunks said : "Mi Vida Loco (My Crazy Life), " but , "Mi Loco," would've been more accurate.
For twelve rounds Tapia repeatedly made funny faces at Romero, cha-chad around the ring like a psycho, mugged to the crowd, and yelled into the camera between rounds, "I love you Albuquerque!"
When Tapia decided to stop and fight, his punches were mostly left hooks to the body. Romero threw more punches, landed more punches, and landed the harder punches, yet lost on all three scorecards, 116-112, 116-112 and 115-113. This scribe scored the fight 115-113 for Romero, but each round was so close, a draw would've been the best decision.
After the fight, Romero tried to be gracious, but he told Merchant, "I thought I won. There were a few things that maybe I could have done a little bit better. That's the way it goes. It didn't come out like it should have, but more power to him. He's the guy now, so I'm going to go back and see what I'm going to do."
Tapia tried to bury the hatchet, but wound up shoving it deeper into Romero's back. "Everything is done and said. Let bygones be bygones. We made it (the fight) bigger than ever, and the best man won."
Next case. Wacco number two-- "Prince" Naseem Hamed.
Formerly from Yemen, Hamed is now the biggest blast in London since the German blitzkrieg of World War II. Televised nationally on ABC's Wide World of Sports from Wembley, England, Hamed, the British Hector Camacho, won easily with a second round TKO over inept Juan Geraldo Cabrera of Argentina. Cabrera was a late substitute, taking over for countryman Pastor Maurin who suffered a cut eye in training. Julio Inglesias would've been a better choice.
Taking a page from the movie Rocky II, Hamed took a full five minutes to dance into the ring amidst a smoking pyrotechnic display more suitable for World Wide Wrestling rather than Wide World of Sports. Wearing a pair of tight leopard-skin trunks, Camacho----er...Hamed shook his behind and gyrated his pelvic area like Gypsy Rosalie waltzing down a strip joint runway.
After Hamed wiggled his thing while leaning on the ring ropes before entering the ring, ABC's color commentator Dan Dierdorf amusedly said, "If I were Cabrera, I think I'd take a shot at Hamed right now."
Cabrera should've listened to Dierdorf, and quick.
Hamed predicted he would KO Cabrera in the second round, and that he did. In fact, Cabrera was so outclassed, if Hamed wanted to, he could've wacked out Cabrera right after the opening bell. It was hard to tell if Hamed was that good or Cabrera that bad. After a boring round one, the southpaw Hamed landed three leaping right uppercuts aimed from Northern Ireland that somehow found the plodding Cabrera's chin. Cabrera's legs turned to jello and his face spurted blood. Hamed followed with a straight left, and Moret did us all, and especially Cabrera, a favor by stopping the fight before Cabrera got killed.
After the fight, ABC commentator Alex Walleu asked Hamed, "All that stuff before the fight, was that you, or are you just trying to publicize yourself for the American audience?" Hamed said, "No. That's me." Then he added, "The Prince is the best fighter in the world, and in 98 I'll be great."
Johnny Tapia and Prince Naseem Hamed. Two of boxing shinning stars. Two extremely talented fighters, but two certified psychos nevertheless.
Can Dennis Rodman in boxing gloves be far behind?
Wittle Mikey Got a Boo Boo?
For those who still think Mike Tyson is such a tough guy, here's this little tidbit from Angelo Dundee, former trainer of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and middleweight champion Carmen Basilio.
Speaking of the cut Tyson received from an unintentional clashing of heads in Holyfield-Tyson II, Dundee said, "I was surprised at Tyson's reaction when he got back to his corner after the second round. The doctor was called in to examine the cut, and when he touched it, Tyson gave a yelp like a scream. In all my experiences, I never heard a fighter react like that from a cut. Hell, when I was with Basilio, there you saw cuts. He had much worse cuts than the one Tyson had, and I never heard a whimper out of him."
Then again, Basilio never went to jail for raping anyone either.
Where Have We Been, Where Do We Go From Here
By firstname.lastname@example.org (pusboil)Although Tysonís infamous chomp is probably one of the most disgusting and vile acts the sweet science has seen lately, it is by far not the first. Boxing with itís inherent nature for violence, opens itself up for freak things like this to happen. Not to say that Tysonís act should be tolerated or accepted, just that it needed to be handled properly for boxingís sake.
The decision was to fine Tyson the maximum $3 million dollars from his $30 million dollar purse and revoke his license for a period of no less than one year. The revocation seems to be a good decision making Tyson have to apply to be able to fight again. Tysonís lawyer Oscar Goodman like Tysonís chances of being reinstated after a year. Counting on ď when everythingís cooled down and the world thinking about other thingsĒ. This seems typical of Tysonís camp, not facing what was done just how to get around it so they donít have to go back to their day jobs. The 10% maximum penalty rule should really be looked into. I donít have an exact alternative but when you are talking a fighter making $500 for a fight a 10% rule seems adequate but when you look at $30 million the penalty is frivolous. Unfortunately boxing has to survive through events such as this one. Letís not forget Panama Lewis and the glove doctoring, there was a true tragedy probably worse than this due to a later death albeit unrelated to injuries suffered during that fight. Well judgement day came and Tyson went, at least for a year anyway. Weíll see what happens down the line. I shudder to think of this ďsuspensionĒ turning into a however long hype to Mike Tysonís return to the ring. Showtime should also be ashamed of their promotion of the replay of Holyfield-Tyson II, at a time when a little a little concern would have gone a long way all they did was brag about how well it would do in the ratings. Oh well I guess if Mother Theresa ran boxing we wouldnít have as much to talk about.
HEAVYWEIGHT WALTZ ACCUSED OF IMPERSONATING FIGHT
by email@example.com (Derek Cusack)Mills Lane needed no biting to rule his second disqualification in as many weeks, just no fighting. Having been watching a splendid evening of boxing in London, I could smell the stink of this world heavyweight title 'fight' from here.
Boxing needed a 'smelling salts' fight tonight - in the first major heavyweight contest since the Las Vegas farce last month - but instead dealt the public yet another thumping left hook. The referee put the viewers out of their misery and declared the contest a joke.
Personally, I've seen more aggression between couples dancing in nightclub 'slow sets.' Perhaps Akinwande opted to do his training in these nightclubs rather than in the gym. I recall Lewis becoming the butt of many jokes when he said he fazed Oliver Mc Call earlier this year by entering the ring in "gladiators" white shorts and boots. Mabye there's more to this than we gave him credit for: Akinwande's mental health sure seemed to be wrecked by something!
So Lennox Lewis is still the WBC heavyweight champion by default. While the non - fight was not his fault, Lewis looked as graceful as a bull in a china shop tonight. Moreover, I am sick and tired of hearing his post - fight protestations that "everyone is dodging me." Just who do I recall accepting $4m. to avoid fighting Mike Tyson last year and then springing onto TV screens everywhere as soon as Tyson lost to say "that could have been me....."?
Akinwande is not the loser tonight. He has been paid a ridiculous amount of money for a few minutes of cuddling and waltzing. The loser is, once again, boxing and boxing fans. Here in Ireland we could only see this parody on subscription Sky TV. This is also the case in the UK and, to the best of my knowledge, the US. But a subscription fee is a pittance in comparison with the hard - earned cash paid out by poor ticket holders. Once bitten, twice shy.
UK REPORTS FROM LONDON OLYMPIA BILL (12 JULY 1997)
(by Derek Cusack)SPENCER OLIVER retained his European super bantamweight title by unanimously outpointing SERGE POILBLAN over twelve rounds. The Englishman (22) became the quickest - ever European champion (in terms of professional fights fought) last May, and this makes him a quicker developer than even Naseem Hamed.
'The Omen' upset all predictions then, and was denied the opportunity to take the recommended course of a few easy defences when the E.B.U. immediately ordered him to defend against this French southpaw in a mandatory defence within 90 days of winning the title.
It was evident from the start that the Frenchman held the advantage in power. Oliver (now 12-0) evened out the scales however with his accuracy, footwork and classy combinations. As you may have deduced by now, it was a thrilling contest. Poilblan's previous attempt to win this title ended in a draw with Vincenzo Belcastro. Belcastro went on to lose the crown to Hamed, and indeed is one of only two men who lasted the distance with the Sheffield Prince.
Spencer's combination of varied skills and fighting grit remind me of a young Barry Mc Guigan. Watch this space: Oliver is going all the way.
------ Croatian ZELJKO MAVROVIC (28) ran his record to 26-0 (21) and retained his European heavyweight title by stopping LAJOS EROS in five rounds.
Mavrovic - who was previously ranked WBC no. 2 and must now become mandatory challenger to Lennox Lewis following his win and no. 1 Henry Akinwande's defeat tonight - was off the boil in his fifth defence but was still too strong for the Hungarian.
------ The remarkable HEROL GRAHAM caused this writer to grin from ear to ear tonight. Of all the fighters I would have liked to see causing an upset this year, Herol ranked no. 1. By stopping previously unbeaten Canadian CHRIS JOHNSON - a bona fide world class contender - Graham (37) proved everyone wrong. To put this result into perspective, it was no less surprising to the average British boxing follower than Holyfield's win over Tyson last year.
Herol controlled the pace from the first bell, when he pulled an old trick out of the hat by extending his right glove to meet Johnson's while launching a sneaky left. Such were the Sheffield southpaw's skills in his prime that he sparred 'betting' rounds in gym rings with anybody who would partake. Graham tied his hands around his back, and to win the bet the other man had to land a single punch on the elusive target during the course of the round. Believe it or not, Graham made quite a profit from these sessions.
Failing in world title attempts against Mike Mc Callum (by split decision) in 1989 and Julian Jackson (by late knockout, having built up a massive points lead) in 1990, Graham was one of boxing's true 'nearly men'. Many felt that his reflexes had faded dramatically by the time he retired in 1992, and when he made a comeback late last year the news was met with resounding disapproval from both the public and his former trainers Brendan Ingle and Glyn Rhodes.
Tonight however we saw a vintage 'Bomber' Graham administer a boxing lesson to the 1992 Olympian. By the time Graham floored Johnson in round seven, the Canadian had completely run out of ideas and his expression was reminiscent of Mike Tyson's in the later rounds of his November match against Holyfield.
'Bomber' hurt Johnson again in the eighth, and this time the referee stepped in. Graham's record now reads 47-5 (28) while Johnson - who must have learned more from this fight than all his previous contests combined - falls to 18-1 (8).
What is irrelevant is that Graham takes the vacant WBC International super middleweight crown by virtue of this win. What is relevant is that he can reproduce this form consistently he would provide any of the world title holders at 168lbs with a stern challenge, and perhaps finally remove the 'nearly' from his 'nearly man' label.
------ Scottish southpaw GARY JACOBS (31) looked appalling tonight in dropping a 12 round decision to Russian YURI EPIFANTSEV. Mabye Jacobs' tank has finally run dry in his 53rd fight, but the former British, Commonwealth and European champion didn't show even a trace of his old skills.
The Scot's defence was non - existent, and the man who once challenged Pernell Whitaker at welterweight was tagged repeatedly by Epifantsev - who in reality is a very ordinary fighter.
This dull fight was for the vacant IBF Inter - Continental middleweight championship. This was a bad joke: Apart from the validity of the title (it is rumoured you can win one of these by meeting an accepted weight limit and collecting 10 ring - pulls from soft drink cans), both men are light middleweights.
------ PATRICK MULLINGS took just one minute and fifty - nine seconds to put paid to FRANCKY LEROY and win the vacant WBC International super bantamweight title.
The unbeaten French youngster was floored early on when southpaw Mullings dominated a fiery slugfest sparked by the opening bell. The Englishman - whose only defeat in a thirteen fight professional career came in a close war with Spencer Oliver five months ago - continued unloading his fast bombs until the referee called a halt to the fight and gave Mullings his first title.
A TV PILOT WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE: TWO "CLUTCH" PERFORMERS DO A LITTLE DANCE, FAKE A LITTLE GLOVE, GET DOWN TONIGHT...
By DscribeDC@aol.com[Lights, music up. Soundtrack is Vicki Sue Robinson singing "Turn the Beat Around." The host enters, a short, fit but thickening man with thinning hair, possibly an ex-athlete. He is dressed in polyester disco finery.]
Host: Hello, everybody. I'm Ray [does the bump with his hips] "Boom Boom" Mancini, and welcome to Box Fever '97, the glitziest, fabbest dance party on the air. Put on your your your boogie shoes and let's make some Saturday Night Fever. Let's meet our judges...Gary Burghoff...Nicolette Larson...and,...Robbie Knievel [polite, if confused, applause]. Now, let's get down with our first, baaaaad contestants...
[Two enormous-looking black men walk into the shot, wearing XXXL polyester prom tuxedos over the top of which they sport, curiously enough, boxing trunks and foul protectors.]
Ray: And who might you be, sir?
LL: Lennox Lewis.
Ray: And where are you from?
LL: Well, it's quite complex actually. Originally, East London, England, but, later, when my countrymen would not accept my athletic achievements, Canada, where I boxed for an Olympic gold medal, followed by London again, which tenancy is interspersed with frequent vacations to my spiritual home, Jamaica. Actually, I now cut quite a figure around the Court of St. James and...
Ray: Uh, yeah, well, that's a bit more info than we needed at the moment, there, Lummox...
LL: That's Lennox. Like the fine china.
Ray: Whatever. And who's this big hunka hunka boxing love?
HA: Henry Akinwande.
Ray: Yipes, that's a mouthful. And where do you hail from, Hankster?
Ray: Where in Nigeria?
HA: My village was too small to have a name. And we were poor, very poor. We were so poor that...
Ray: I know, I know....your uncle had to get married for the rice. Listen, I do the jokes on this show. Getting back to business, what are we going to see from you two gents?
LL: To the accompaniment of "These Arms of Mine," Mr. Akinwande and myself will present the Tahoe TV Torpor Tango. It made quite a sensation at the Palace.
Ray: Ooooh. Buckingham Palace?
LL: No, Caesar's Palace.
Ray: Well, alrighty then...Henry Achin'back and Lummox Lewis trippin' the black lights fantastic with the Tahoe TV Torpor Tango. Give it up for these guys! [Applause]
[The two men fall into a klutzy embrace and walk each other around haphazardly in no particular direction or rhythm. Occasionally, their feet tangle and they tumble loudly to the floor. They break, lunge at each other again like tubby backwoods drunks in a barroom brawl over a jug of moonshine, and fumble into another awkward bearhug. Soon, they are crashing into walls, knocking over cameras, scenery and, occasionally, people. Mancini desperately tries to intervene.]
Ray: Hey, come on you guys...step back!!!
[The carnage continues, as the studio audience hoots and jeers, raining puka shell bracelets, mood rings, platform shoes and other detritus at the three men. Panic is about to ensue when a cadre of network executives enters, led by an elegantly-suited bald man who bears a spooky resemblance to Mills Lane.]
Exec. #1: That's it. Pull the plug. This show is cancelled.
Ray: Aw, c'mon, youse guys...How many of these comebacks do I have left?
[Test pattern with musical bed music of "You Really Got a Hold on Me," then, fade to black]
THE END? DON'T BET ON IT.....
Teepee's UK updates
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Tony Phelps)NORWICH SPORTS CENTRE - 12th July
Boxing matches do occur at other venues then the MGM. In Norwich on Saturday fans were treated to a great night of action:
PELE REID v KENNEDY (Intercontinental Heavyweight) Pele Reid continued his barnstorming path through the heavyweight ranks with another first round win that left Kennedy looking for cover and unable to find it. Pele has the speed of a super-middleweight and his kickboxing origins are reflected in the unusual angles of attack he finds. A step up in class should now confirm his potential as a world ranking heavyweight.
ALBON v BUGNER Jr (4 Rnd Heavyweight) Yes folks, the Son of Joe is back after 3 years out of the ring. With an upright defensive style reminiscent of his fathers, Joe Jr is never likely to see the glories that his father attained, but could have a good journeyman's career. He takes his shots well and has a reliable jab that is somewhat lacking in power. Work in the gym could remedy this and it was a comfortable points decision for 'the chip off the block that never falls far' (as he was introduced.)
THAXTON v KKHATCHATRIAN (WBO/IBF Intercontinental Light-welterweight championship). One of Barry McGuigans 'Picks of the Year', Thaxton likes to finish fights fast. He came out looking for a fast finish, but the Armenian (who now gights out of Hamburg) tucked himself in, and while Thaxton clearly won the round, he found himself wasting energy on empty air a lot of the time. He slowed down just a little in the 2nd round and picked his shots with a little more care. This approach paid off and the Armenian soon found himself on the canvas from a perectly placed left hook. The Armenian was clearly shaken, and seconds later, a replica of the first blow span his head through 90 degrees and put him straight back on the canvas, and the fight was over 41 secs into Rnd 2. Thaxton looks open himself at times, but is a great prospect nontheless - hopefully he should get a shot at Paresi later in the year.
HIDE v TUCKER (WBO World Heavyweight championship) Hide acquitted himself well in what was probably the most important fight in his career. Hide's win by the three knockdown rule was, I believe, televised in the States, so I'll leave you to form your own conclusions on this one. Well done Herbie, though.
WELCH v YELISTRATO (Ukraine) Regarded by many as a 'rehabilitation' fight, Welch wanted to look good after the Akinwande debacle, which Welch himself has admitted was a farce. He bustled the Armenian out of the fight for a 1.04 stoppage in round 1 and it was a convincing win for the fighter who wants to put the shame of his match with Akinwande behind him. "It doesn't matter what went wrong. Forget it. It's history" he replied when asked about the night he'd sooner forget.
PIPER v NIZARD (France) - 8 Rnd Light-heavyweight.
What should have been a simple marking time fight for Piper turned out to be a dull and prolonged affair. Piper won easily enough on points but failed to inspire the audience or himself. He looked slow and flat footed, his defence wide open and when backing away from Nizard held his chin high and open. He found the Frenchman's defence difficult to work through but at least didn't allow himself to become frustrated. He acknowledged his poor performance later, saying "You get good days and bad days - this was just a bad day. That's life"
GLASGOW - 12th July
The Fighting Fireman failed to douse Collins' desire to retain his title in Glasgow tonight in a fight that was not without incident. The first surprise came in 12 seconds of the opening round. Both fighters were determined to stamp their authority early on and Cummings won the opening exchange as Collins was put on the canvas for only the 3rd time in his career. It was a glancing blow and Collins was straight up from it, but it signalled to the partisan crowd that the American, who weighed in at 7lb less than Collins, was not there for an easy pay-day.
But pressure is grist to the mill of the kilted Irishman and he signalled his intent that he intended to keep his crown by piling the pressure on. Cummings was soon marked up and towards the end of the round a solid right had him on the canvas too.
Whether having Collins down had Cummings convinced he could go toe-to-toe, or whether the Collins knock-down rattled his composure will probably never be known, but from the opening of round 2 it was trench warfare. Neither fighter seemed to give even a cursory nod towards defence, but when the name of the game is attrition, Collins is always likely to be an eventual winner.
Cummings presented too much of a target to the Celtic Warrior who landed blow after blow to the hapless Cummings who withstood the onslaught bravely but with only one result likely. Towards the end of round 3 referee Francis picked his moment well and put an end to the risk of serious injury and rescued the courageous American from his predicament.
Collins paid tribute saying he had underestimated the strength of Cummings and that he hit harder than Benn or Eubank, and the brave effort won the respect of the Glasgow crowd.
Wembley Arena - 19th July
A great night of boxing for the challengers (on the whole) from Wembley in London, where Naseem Hamed defended his title against the relatively unknown Argentinian Juan Cabrera. Fight of the night had to be Kevin Leushing's defence of his British welterweight belt, but the evening opened with:-
David STARIE v Dean FRANCIS (British super-middleweight championship). A crossroads fight for both fighters, Starie couldn't seem to get himself into the right gear for this important fight. Perhaps it was over confidence, or perhaps it was just a bad night, the normally sparkling Starie failed to impress. Dean Francis stuck to the job in hand, biding his time and doing enough to attract the eye and pinch the rounds. He stepped up the pace in the 6th and took the fight on a TKO 2m38s into the round. If it was overconfidence that cost Starie the fight, hopefully he will benefit from the lesson and should soon be back. Francis said after the fight that it was so sweet to win that "my teeth are going to fall out." Starie now 14-1 (10 ko) - Francis 18-1 (15 ko)
Danny WILLIAMS v Roger McKENZIE (8 rnd Heavyweight) The normally svelte unbeaten prospect Williams looked a little bit flabby as he entered the ring for this 8 rounder, and indeed, has put on 29 lbs since his last fight in May of this year. Obviously a man who needs to keep a serious eye on the calories; nevertheless, the veteran McKenzie presented few problems to the ambitious youngster. McKenzie was hurt in the first few seconds of the opening round and was stopped 38 secs into round 2. Williams as a prospect may be a little in the shadow of the colourful and flamboyant Pele Reid, but in some ways may prove to be a more steady and predictable workman. Definitely one to watch for in the future, and he should now be looking for a major step up in class.
Naseem HAMED v Juan CABRERA (WBO/IBF featherweight championship) No surprises here. Hamed picked his favourite round 2 and toyed with Cabrera for the first round. He did land a couple of his famous corkscrew uppercuts which the Argentinian bravely sucked up however; one in particular looked to have landed with about the same forcer as the one which spelled lights-out for Billy Hardy. Hamed stepped up the pace in the 2nd and despite not putting the Argentinian on the canvas, it was clear that the fight was becoming embarrassingly one-sided, and the referee quite rightly came to the rescue of the badly marked-up Cabrera before serious injury was caused. Despite being broadcast live across the States, the one-sided performance is unlikely to impress the US doubters who Hamed wants to win over, but a competent performance nevertheless. Hamed now 27-0 (25 ko) - Cabrera 24-3 (20 ko)
Kevin LEUSHING v Geoff McREESH (British welterweight championship) Without doubt the best fight and mostly closely contested battle of the night. McReesh had seriously considered pulling out of this fight as 5 weeks ago his Mother was killed in a serious car accident that also left his father in intensive care. During the week that followed the accident, the distraught boxer lost over a stone in weight, but after careful reflection he decided he might not very easily get another title shot - he must be thanking his lucky stars that he finally decided to go ahead with the fight. Despite a nasty cut in round 2 following a clash of heads he dominated Leushing throughout the first half of the fight, refusing to let him work behind his jab, and constantly drawing him into a gruelling battle. Just as the bell signalled the end of round 4 a solid blow had Leushing falling heavily, but by considerable fortune he found himself sitting on the bottom rope and no knock-down was scored. McReesh has never been past the 7th round and towards the latter rounds Leushing dogged determination was beginning to tell and he started pulling back a few rounds. The stage looked all set for a close points finish. McReesh's cut had re-opened and he was under some serious pressure in the 10th when suddenly, from nowhere, he found the punch he was lookiing for. Leushing went down and was clearly shaky when he continued. McReesh just had to step up the pace and seize his advantage and it was enough to convince referee Richie Davis to call an end to the fight and declare McReesh the new British welterweight champion. His father was at the ringside to share his victory and the win must have greatly cheered the pair after the so recent disaster and near death of his father. Leushing now 19-3 (16 ko) - McReesh 17-4 (6 ko)
Where Do We Go From Here?
by Michael Gibbons (NextAli@aol.com)As I sit here writing the the sport of boxings heeavyweight division is going through probaly its worse period ever . The last 4 times the heavyeight crown has been on the line we had a basket case flip out (Oliver McCall), a snoozer (Michael Moorer vs. Vaugh Bean), an ear biter (Mike Tyson), and a hugger(Akinwande).
So in the wake of all this , were do we go from here .Now that the media is finished acting interested in cleaning up boxing , when it just really wanted to re play the Tyson bite . Why haven't the clips of Akinwande being pried apart from Lennox Lewis been shown constantly . Where is the Larry King interview with Mills Lane .
Bad news there will be no interviews because this situation was not graphic enough for the media to show and will not boost ratings. All in all when the media is out bashing boxing for its dirt , the media is the dirty one really .Hell , the media is only going to show the bad things about boxing . I guess running a piece on how Buster Douglass recovering from a near death with diabetes , is now in the best shape of his life en route to another world title would be ridiculous. No , they would rather talk about Mike Tyson being banned and how his bite was just appalling . Well then if its so apalling stop running re-plays night and day and can the interviews with Mills Lane and Evander Holyfield on how the believe Mike Tyson should be punished.
If the media will not help us then what can we do . We have no juice ball to turn to or we cant limit the quarters or shot clocks to speed up offense . We dont have the media willing to write cheesy storys on how great so and so is . Then the next night he is picked up for harrasing a teenager ,but that always seems to make the back corners pages along with Buster Douglas recording a victory .You should no why , its because boxers havent generally got along with the media and its easier for the media to make Ken Griffey look like a nice guy than Ray Mercer.
So it looks like we are on our own again , or until someone does something graphic enought to get the medias attention . I bet they would just love to get a story on a death in the ring . Since we have 0 help from the media , how about Larry Merchant .
Yes , Larry Merchant , his comments aftert the Lewis fight about Don King was the best thing we have heard in along time out of the heavyweight division .Some may say he speaks out to much but in a sports such as boxing we need that . He sounded sincere in his remarks and actually sounded like he was interested in helping the sports change for the better. Althought I can bet you that the next time the media is looking for a word on boxing they will turn to Don King instead of Merchant because of the ratings of King.
I guess since we dont dictate the medias schedule we will never get no real storys on boxing . We will just continue to hear about "Bite Night " and other black eyes for this great sport . So all we can hope for is that the Larry Merchants of the world continue to speak their mind and the American Journals stay out of our buisness . Just keep our ears to the ground and we might catch some good news and pray that Golota-Mercer put on a good show .
JACK RENAULT for induction in the HOF
By email@example.com (Larry Roberts)Before the collective memory blots out his name completely, I'd like to nominate Jack Renault the Chatham, Quebec heavyweight of the 1920s for inclusion in boxing's Hall of Fame.
Jack Renault was a top rated contender during the Dempsey-Tunney era. After an excellent amateur career, the former policeman turned pro under the wing of veteran boxing man Leo P. Flynn. Renault stood 6'1" tall and usually tipped the Fairbanks at 195 lbs. with a powerful, yet athletic build. His first recorded pro bout was a 12-round loss to Battling Levinsky, a fighter with about 10 years experience in the pro ranks. In his very next bout he went in against none other than Harry Greb the Pittsburgh Windmill. He went the distance in a No Decision 10-rounder.
During the next ten years he took on everyone and anyone in the heavyweight division, even fighters champions ducked like Big George Godfrey (KO 1). In 1922 he fought a 3 rd. "exhibition" with Jack Dempsey that convinced Dempsey's people not to consider him as a future opponent.
In 1923 he fought 14 bouts without a loss against a parade of 20's contenders: Gene Tunney, Godfrey, Jack Burke, Fred Fulton, Tony Fierro, Tiny Tim Herman, Soldier Jones (For the Canadian Hwyt. Title), Tom Cowler. On Nov.2 of that year he derailed the title aspirations of top prospect Floyd Johnson with a 15th round KO.
Renault swept through 1924 with a string of KOs and easy decisions before taking a suspicious loss by decision to Quinton Romero Rojas, the local "house fighter", at Boston Gardens. (He avenged this loss by knocking out the tough Chilean in 4 at St.Louis)
His next loss was some months later, again in Boston, to local heartthrob Jack Sharkey. Again a decision. Sharkey would never fight him again.
Renault bounced back and remained in the top ten for several years, but never got his shot at the big one.
Still, in my mind, Jack Renault was a force in the 1920s and deserves to be remembered and honoured by the Hall of Fame.
THE TOOTH, THE WHOLE TOOTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TOOTH: MIKE TYSON BITES THE FAN THAT FEEDS HIM
(Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson, MGM Grand Garden, Las Vegas, June 28, 1997)
"When the going gets tough, the weird turn pro," -- Hunter S. ThompsonJune 29, 1997; 3:01 a.m.: Every so often there comes an event that, due to its sheer unprecedented oddity, defies immediate comment. The crash of the Hindenburg, the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, the Oklahoma City Bombing....And now, the "sport" of boxing, which has become the sporting world's haven for the crooked, the cranks and the out-and-out crazy, has given us yet another.
In recent years, the ever-dwindling coterie of serious fight fans have seen a parade of outrages unprecedented outside the self-mocking fantasy asylum of big-league wrestling. We've seen champions fake injuries to hold on to meaningless paper titles, title belts thrown into garbage cans, champions stripped of titles over technicalities no lawyer could explain, allegations of in-ring fight-fixing, pay-per-view mismatches against boobish fairground brawlers, managers starting major riots over low blows, championship matches disrupted by sideshow morons in homemade gliders, champions refusing to fight through technicolor-televised nervous breakdowns, phony postponements, step-asides, horrendous decisions, grandstanding congressmen introducing hopeless federal bills over bad decisions affecting home-district fighters, fighters maimed and killed in the ring, and...as they say in the rock and roll biz, those were just the opening acts...
Tonight's tilt in Vegas between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, for sheer head-scratching, eye-popping, patience-trying, crazy-making, bull-goose looniness, took the bleedin' biscuit. It beat Jack Dempsey and Tex Rickard cleaning out an entire Montana cow town. It beat Max Schmeling winning the title from Jack Sharkey on a foul. It beat all. And in the process, it shredded whatever tiny fig leaf of credibility this poor jailhouse-bitch of a sport may have still had left. It was a sight to behold.
Nothing in any of the pre-fight hoopla could possibly have presaged the kind of insanity we saw in the ring. The preliminary nonsense was so routine. Evander talked about Jesus and the great shape he was in. Don King dribbled forth a steady stream of glossalia about what a stupendous, super-colossal spectacle he was capable of putting on. Mike, much calmer and more detached than a man in the fight of his life should have been, prattled on about his respect for Holyfield, his refocused dedication and the joys of family life. Spike Lee hung around the edges, scratching his head and looking for material.
Then, almost on cue, the craziness began. The fight that was billed as "The Woodstock of Boxing" turned into its Altamont, innocence and optimism was permanently sacrificed. First, it was laff-riot "manager" John Horne petitioning the Nevada State Athletic Commission to remove ref Mitch Halpern from the contest, claiming the first fight had been too physical for him to control, and that it would be disadvantageous to use the same referee for both the original contest and the rematch. Huh? Wasn't this the same Mitch Halpern who, when Iron Mike's legs looked like overcooked ziti and he was utterly defenseless in the 11th frame of the first fight, stepped in with perfect timing and kept Iron Mike from becoming Iron-LUNG Mike? Horne's sophomoric move made no sense; it was a transparent attempt to rattle the Holyfield camp, to distract the champ's attention from the contest in the ring and to initiate a round of mindless head games with the opposition, something that a mentally- and physically-sound Tyson had never had to resort to. Clearly, the Tyson camp was not clicking on all cylinders.
Then, the fight. For those of you who may have been cryogenically frozen for the past 24 hours, Michael Gerard Tyson, once the universally-acknowledged Baddest Man on the Planet, was DQ'ed in the third round for biting -- I shit you not -- BITING Evander Holyfield on two occasions, after spitting out his mouthpiece for maximum effectiveness, after being penalized TWO points for an initial infraction, and after being warned by Mills Lane (probably the only remaining man in the boxing business who can still face himself in the mirror when he shaves) that another nip would mean the showers.
"Is this guy nuts?" you might ask. Good (and not in the least rhetorical) question. All we can be sure of is that, on the night that should have been the sport's biggest-ever showcase, Chinese newsmen had to come up with ways to say "psychopath" in five different regional dialects.
From the opening bell, the Tyson loyalists were still desperately clutching their dreams of an early KO. But time wounds all heels, and in boxing, few fighters have ever been improved by the addition of a few months to their ages. Holyfield, who was singing spirituals in the dressing room -- more Mahalia Jackson than Julian Jackson -- seemed confident that we would see a replay of his first TKO -- only quicker -- and events appeared to be unfolding according to the script of Vander's particular passion play. The side-to-side motion and head movement that the Tyson camp promised to revive from MT's glory days were nowhere to be found. Holyfield got the best of Tyson in the first round, nullifying his power by clutching and generally moving Tyson backward. Mike tried to wing some big shots, but both men's punches whistled over the top. A thin, but discernible advantage to Holyfield. For Michael, it must have felt like deja vu all over again. In the second, a clash of heads cut Tyson over the right eye, a spot near the one in which he had been cut during training. Holyfield continued to physically impose his will and move Tyson around the ring. As all fight-watchers know, a bleeding Tyson is a helpless Tyson, and Mike looked to the referee for help, something that winners almost never do. In general, he seemed to be in a trance, sleepwalking, a spectator at his own dismantling. Two rounds gone and Tyson already two points in the hole. Quite possibly, I thought, an early night.
In the third round, Tyson seemed rejuvenated, and actually initiated his best exchanges of the fight. He appeared to be clawing his way back into the contest when the two clinched, Holyfield coming out (literally) hopping mad, jumping up and down and gesticulating like a Tasmanian Devil. Soon, we saw the reason, a major gash on his right ear suffered when Tyson chomped down on it like it was a Thanksgiving turkey leg. Even Mills Lane looked puzzled. To his credit, Evander opted to continue -- cementing his warrior reputation -- and Lane took the almost unprecedented step of penalizing Tyson TWO points for his unfortunate ear d'oeuvre. In the clamp of a jaw, Mike went from a potential one-point deficit to a well-nigh insurmountable four-point hole. Could he have seen his seat at the head of boxing's banquet table being removed once and for all, and snapped? A second clinch, just instants later, saw Mike nibble yet again at Commander Vander's other ear, prompting another furious response and, ultimately, leaving a perplexed and nonplussed Lane no choice but to award the contest to the dumbstruck champion. He simply had no other way to [Vincent Van] go.
Hey Mike, how lobe can you go? When we thought things could get no more bizarre, they did. CNNSI's Nick Charles reports that Iron Mike took a swing at a Nevada policeman, not the brightest move for a man on parole from a felony conviction. Charles also claimed that Tyson issued death threats. Ah, and the interviews....First, the comments of Horne. Don King has always found patsy paper managers (on occasion, King's own son) for fighters King owned and controlled, and Horne fits the bill perfectly. With his smug expression, his wardrobe of comically-ornate and "stylish" pimp gear and his glib explanations for Team Tyson's crimes against rationality, he is the very picture of self-parody. Listening to him apologize for Tyson's bizarre and inexcusable fouls by comparing accidental clashes of heads with intentional cannibalism must have left half the audience crumbling in hysterics; the other half slapping their foreheads in disbelief. Horne claimed that Holyfield reacted to his "nicks" like a "bitch," and it could not have been clearer; Tyson sealed a good portion of his fate when he placed his career in the hands of dimwitted neighborhood yes-men like his Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Dumber, Horne and Rory Holloway. Horne's elaborate and self-righteous defense of his meal ticket leads me to believe that he and Holloway will be pawning their gold teeth and eating ketchup sandwiches weeks after Tyson retires and King stops returning their cell phone calls. Much more plausible was Holyfield's explanation, that Mike saw himself in a fight he couldn't win and (like sprinter Michael Johnson with his "pulled muscle" against Donovan Bailey) took a distasteful, but face-saving way out of a checkmate situation.
It was all so sickeningly predictable. Tyson and his team acted perfectly in synch with the zeitgeist of the 90s, an age when second chances are limitless, there is an excuse for every anti-social act and no celebrity with enough cash to afford a flack need ever have to accept responsibility for stupid or boorish acts. The weeks to come will, no doubt, bring more denials and excuses, complaints about Mills Lane's officiating, allegations of prejudice from boxing insiders out to "get" Tyson, protestations that Tyson was reacting like he was taught "on the street," fighting for "survival" the only way he knew how. It says volumes of negative things about our society that he and his lackeys will be able to make such arguments with straight faces; it would truly be a miserable comment if they found fans/media willing to buy such doggerel.
In response to the debacle, the Nevada Commission temporarily suspended Tyson and held up his purse, pending a July 1 emergency session to consider the whole mess. One doubts that Mike's money will stay frozen very long, because, unlike Mike Himself, the sanctions of boxing's various ruling bodies have no teeth. (The talk tonight was that the Commission could, at most, hold up the greater of 10% or $250,000, still leaving Tyson a cool $27 or so million for trashing an entire sport, as well as his own reputation.) Make no mistake; Tyson will worm out of this. Boxing simply needs him too badly. He has always been a highly-marketable bad boy and the irony of this whole shameful spectacle is that a certain segment of the boxing population (ie, idiots, the kind of people who go to Indy for the crashes) will see Tyson's freakish appeal as more potent than ever before. To them, he will be the Wild Man, the Man They Could Not Tame, the man-child who harnessed the raw, elemental power of the ghetto and turned it on the glib bureaucrats of boxing. Boxing will become even more dependent on the very uninformed troglodytes it could most do without. The rest will have to re-evaluate whether this sideshow, this senseless abbatoir of sportsmanship, is really worth giving our money to. Many fans will drop this poor addled sport like a doper relative who filches drug dosh from the family wallets. And who can blame them?
For this writer, one of the chief ironies is Mike's role in turning me onto, and off of, boxing. It was a Tyson beating (the fucked-up but inspiring victory of 42-to-1 underdog Buster Douglas) that first got me interested in boxing, and it will be a Tyson beating (this fucked-up and lamentable loss to Holyfield) that will drive the last nail into boxing's plywood coffin.
More important than the state of the sport is the mental health of boxing's Jimmy Piersall, Mike Tyson. No man can see into the heart of another or judge him until he's "walked a mile in his shoes," but it isn't an incredible leap of the imagination to feel that a man who can talk placidly about child-rearing with Roy Firestone one minute, then savagely chew a piece of flesh the size of a Jefferson nickel from an opponent's body like -- quite literally -- a wild animal the next, has some serious rage and other emotional issues to deal with. (Anyone want to re-interview that nightclub patron who claims she had Tyson's teethmarks on her?) Let's hope that Mike has the innate survival instinct to disregard the okey-dokes of his camp-follower parasites and get some serious counselling for himself. His real fight -- a fight much tougher than 12 rounds with Holyfield -- will be getting his life in order, blotting out the legacy of his violent upbringing, letting fade the clang of jail-cell doors, and getting himself right for his wife and his children, before the Tyson fortune burns up in a conflagration of smashed Bentleys, criminal defense costs and civil suit settlements. A word of advice: Mike, start now. It will only get harder. The next decade's premier tussle may very well be Tyson vs. Monica Turner, CourtTV's first-ever pay-per-view.
How can we prevent this sort of garbage in the future? Meaningful punishments, enforced sport-wide would be a decent start. Tough, central regulation is desperately needed to save boxing...if it can be saved at all. A mental AND physical healthcare plan for boxers (many of whom come from questionable family backgrounds and have adopted fisticuffs as a way to work out their unique psychological issues) would be a positive step. And fans need to stop enabling mismatches, bad sportsmanship, backroom chicanery and outright criminality with our pay-per-view and live-gate dollars. Boxing has been crying for help for decades. Maybe now, the fans, the rating organizations, Congress and the state commissions are finally ready to lend an ear. Or two.
Danny Romero Interview
By Dave IamaleAnyone who follows the sweet science knows the story on Danny Romero and Johnny Tapia. Two fighters from Albuquerque, New Mexico with contrasting styles and personalities. Danny, 30-1 (27), is "the white knight", "the good guy", clean cut, soft spoken, out of the Ray Leonard/Oscar de la Hoya mold. Johnny, 40-0-2 (24), comes from the darker side of town, the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak. Not exactly clean cut, despite his nickname of "the baby faced assassin". Tapia was suspended from boxing for 3 1/2 years due to drug problems. Johnny is Gotham City to Danny's Metropolis.
The only sad thing about these two fighters meeting is that it cannot be in Albuquerque due to financial considerations. Tapia valiantly tried to keep the bout in his old stomping grounds known as "The Pit" or the campus of the University of New Mexico, perhaps, because he, being the more emotional fighter, would've been able to draw a little something extra from the always frantic local support. But the bout ended up in Vegas, where all the big fights seem to end up in the US. Don't be surprised if that is the only disappointment in a match up that has just about everything going for it.
The history of the Tapia/Romero rivalry is more than a "this town is too small for the both of us" type of scenario. It goes back to when Johnny was an amateur fighter and Danny Romero Sr. was his trainer. Back then, Johnny felt close to the Romero family, but those feelings began to change. Perhaps culminating in Johnny's return to the ring in 1994 after his suspension when it seemed the Romero's once warm feelings had turned icy. Whatever the reasons, there is genuine bad blood here which, more often than not, makes for good action inside the squared-circle.
These two fighters are so evenly matched that the odds are basically pick em. It all depends on which type of fighter you prefer. I'll say this about the bout -- I'm a betting man, and I wouldn't put up one hard earned dollar on this match up.
I had the good fortune to get a few minutes of the IBF junior bantamweight champ's time when he was in Canastota for the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. Danny was happy to be invited back for a second time to the biggest little fight town in the world, but his trip was not all pleasure as he stuck to his training for his up-coming bout doing road work and some light sparring.
What follows is the chat I had with Danny on Thursday evening of June the 12th after he had just completed his daily road work. Joining me in the conversation is my good friend, Joe "Canastota" Pecerello and a member of the Romero camp.
DI: "What made you return to the Hall of Fame this year?"
DR: "I was excited to be invited for one, so I decided to come back."
DI: "You've got a big fight coming up July 18 with Johnny Tapia, are you disappointed at all that the fight is not going to take place in Albuquerque?"
DR: "Yeah, you know, somewhat, but in that situation, we really have no say."
DI: "It's all a dollars and cents thing?"
DR: "Oh, definitely. I want to get paid what I want, and the other people involved want their money so the fight ended up in Vegas."
DI: "This is a fight that a lot of the fans have been wanting to see for a while, what finally made this fight come about?"
DR: "We set a path for ourselves that we follow and Tapia's in that path. It's something that I have to get out of my way. There are big fights ahead like that fight and many more. That's what I need to do, take care of business."
DI: "How hard was it for you to come back from the eye injury?"
DR: "That was probably one of the most difficult things I've had to deal with in my whole life. An injury like that has been a big help in a bad way, I guess. At the same time, when it seemed like everything was crashing down, it made me realize what my skills were and what I needed to do to improve them. Obviously, I went into the fight unprepared and paid the price. It makes you better when you overcome something like this."
DI: "Was there a time after the injury where you said, geez, maybe there might be something else I might be interested in doing besides this?"
DR: "Oh, definitely. Even after wins in a hard, tough fight, sitting back in the dressing room relaxing thinking, does the win really compensate for the pain? You have to get over it, I mean, I love this sport."
DR: "Let me tell you a little story. Two years ago when I came here, I had an odd encounter, a wonderful encounter, with Wilfredo Gomez. he was giving me instructions on how to fight, how to win. You know - stand like this, throw like this. It was just an awkward situation but it made me feel good. Those type of things you can't buy. Last time I came, I got to hang around a lot with Ken Norton. Great person. This has been awesome coming here and this time it's even better.
JP: "You made a pretty sizable contribution to the Boxing Hall of Fame. I wish more fighters, promoters, etc. would do that."
DR: "This is our livelihood. I mean I've been boxing since I was 5 years old. I'm still a young kid, still in my 20's and everybody who is here has contributed their life, I don't care what anyone says. I know I have, as short a life as it's been so far. To help out, to have some kind of home for us. It is a real dream for me to come here, I thought it would be in the future. I didn't think it would happen now. It's awesome. I love it."
DI: "I must say you have one of the most interesting signatures I've ever seen. I got your autograph when you were here two years ago, and Fighting Harada had also signed, I think it was my press pass cause it was handy - hanging around my neck - anyway, those two signatures next to each other look like some kind of bizarre hieroglyphics. It looked like graffiti."
DR: "It changes. I try to keep it the same, but I can't."
DI: "You've got a tag."
DI: "Is there a little more excitement, a little more buzz for you about this fight compared to previous bouts?"
DR: "Oh, definitely. I mean this is gonna be the fight of the year and there's gonna be one fighter of the year, and it's gonna be me."
DI: "So who's belt is gonna be at stake here? It's not gonna be a unification bout, is it?"
DR: "Both belts are on the line, mine and his. I'm coming away with both. I'm not gonna lose. That's what it's all about, attitude. You gonna go in there and win, win, win. That's why I train so hard."
DI: "Is this as big a grudge match as the boxing media makes it out to be?"
DR: "You know in a lot of sense, it's not. They got the problem (Tapia's camp). I'm here to beat everybody and anybody in my weight class, grudge or not. I mean, yeah, when I go into the ring, I go in thinking the guy has taken everything away from me in the sense that I'm up in training camp - I haven't eaten pizzas, I haven't seen my girlfriend, my dog, I haven't seen my home. You know, I put it all in one, and I'm fighting not just for that, there's my title and the pride of being a great champion. That's the only type of grudge I have. I don't hate the guy, that's not what it's all about, I'm just there to do my job, man."
JP: "In your home town, is the rivalry as intense as it's made out to be? It's almost like a gang thing."
DR: "No, it's really not that bad. Of course, there are fans of both fighters, but it's that way with all competition in sports, just like with Tyson & Holyfield or the Yankees & Redsox. It's just more intense there because it's my hometown. We'll show em - I have no problem about that."
DI: "What do you think when you hear about a young, talented fighter like Michael Carbajal beating up police officers in parking lots and the violence that seems to surround him?" DR: "In this situation, I think I . . . I have no . . . you know, I like the guy. I know him real, real well but that's what he . . . I mean that's his personal life. Obviously, that situation is not a good one to be in but my opinion doesn't count on that, and I'm not gonna make it count."
DI: "Without being judgmental, you can obviously see the guy is troubled. He looks unhappy in the ring, he can't seem to put it all together like he once did, he's switched promoters a few times . . ."
DR: "It's hard to say. I'm sure there are a lot of things going on that people don't know about."
DR: "Yeah, exactly. Who knows his dog could've died? (laughs) Maybe he's having a rough time. I rally like him though. I've been friends with him before any of this. I was hanging out with him when we were 14 years old."
DI: "I'm not trying to bad mouth him at all, believe me. I met him a few years ago and he was a great guy. He signed a couple of cards for me and we took some photos. He was very cordial, very soft spoken. He sat just kind of taking everything in, drinking a soda. I thought geez, this is the guy they make out to be like a 110 lb. Al Capone? With the drive-by's and everything and corpses on his front lawn.
DR: "Yeah, yeah, it just happens, you know? You just get stuck in that mode and never get out. Just never get there. And, I guess if you do, you better have great attorney's." (laughs)
DI: "You mentioned talking with Gomez, when you see some of the guys walking around here and they . . . I don't know how to say this, but there is some obvious damage from years of boxing . . "
DR: "Talking about it . . . it's sad. It's really, really sad. I mean, it's a tough sport, it happens. They're still human beings. They're great people. I know exactly what you're saying though."
DI: "Is there a part of you that sees this and says - man, I want to make my money, secure my future as quick as possible so I can get out of this sport and still be able to communicate with my children?"
DR: "Oh, definitely. I mean I've talked it over with my people. I want to be able to read to my kids and know what's happening around me, so yeah, definitely."
DI: "But naturally, there must be another part that says, I want to make defenses of my belt and unify and fight all these great fighters, and get into the Hall of Fame . . ."
DR: "Oh, definitely. I mean, I want to do well. This is my sport, this is what I like to do. This is my balance in life and it's always been there. I don't ever want to be in that situation (being impaired) but at the same time, I don't want to just leave the sport. This is the type of situation where you need the right people around you to tell you if your skills are diminishing and it's time to get out. I know the feeling, I want to be fighting forever, as well."
DI: "Do you feel you have the opposition out there to make you a great fighter? Say, after the Tapia fight, who's next?"
DR: "Well, there's tons, from Mbulelo Botile, Junior Jones, Naseem Haded, there's a lot. There's a lot for me because my natural weight is not 115 lbs., or 118 lbs., or 122 lbs. because after fights, I go well above that. I do have trouble now making weight. I do it the right way though with nutritionist and all that but at the same time, this is not the weight I'm gonna be at. I mean, fighting in the amateurs at 16 years old, I weighed 119 lbs. I made the sacrifice because I want to win titles at different weights. I have a lot to look forward to. I'll tell you, they put me too close to Arby's (fast food restaurant) though." (laughs)
DI: "I hate to keep picking on Carbajal but that seems to be one of his big problems now, no name competition. After Gonzalez retired, he really didn't have that big money fighter out there to psyche himself up."
DR: "It's hard. You need the other guy. But everybody can fight no matter where you're from. Those guys you never heard from Thailand or where ever with names you can't pronounce, they're tough, believe me. But we all know there are only a handful of name fighters that bring in the big money. I'm happy I'm in that category, but I know exactly what you mean. Michael is a little guy. Eating like crazy, the most he could weigh is 110 lbs. I eat like that, I'd shoot up to 150 lbs. just like that, then I'm in trouble, man." (laughs)
JP: "What do you think of Sugar Ray's comeback attempt?"
DR: "He made a bad decision. He must have forgot the Norris fight. You're not going to get any better after seven years."
DI: "What did you think about Kostya losing to Phillips?"
DR: "I didn't get to see the fight yet. I was really upset I didn't get to see it. Vince is a tough guy, he's no push over. They picked the wrong fighter."
DI: "Who do you like in the upcoming Tyson/Holyfield bout?"
DR: "I've always been a big admirer of Tyson. He brings the word fight to boxing, the attitude. I want him to win."
DI: "Well, champ, I don't want to take up too much of your time, I know you're in training and it's getting late. Best of luck to you in your up-coming bout and thank you for your time."
DR: "Thank you. I'll be here the whole weekend so I'll probably run into you again."
THE REMAINS OF THE FRAY ... OR, THE FEAST OF LIFE ROLLS ON & YOU ARE THE MEAL ...June/28/97The Bucket's world got wobbled off it's axis t'night. During the course of my hard nose the highway kinda life - there have always been a few absolutes that I've clung too ...
The Bucket is a godless, faithless, kinda guy. I don't believe in religion. I don't believe in goverment. I don't believe in nirvana. I don't believe in RePuglicans. I don't believe in bullshit. I believe that life is a con, boy howdy, tits from granola ...
Hell ... I don't believe in much of a whole lotta thangs But ... I've always believed in the human spirit. I believe in love & women & the eternal hopes of children yet to be born ... I believe in a lotta corny kinda thangs ...
I've always wanted & strived to believe in the Human Condition in all it's tattered, sanguine displays ... but I've never understood how I can live in this most blessed, affluent nation in the history of this pitiful orb & yet it's populated with peeps that are
hungry for food, knowledge, attention & a decent shot at the brass ring ... Yeah, well ... This night's bad ass wind blew me across the great divide ... It took my breath away & through this world I've stumbled ... & I was the one who held , roughed & clinched with the sport of my dreams ... that I can no more justify, I feel like I gotta close my eyes & walk away ...
Ever since I was 7 years old .... deep into the way back machine, talkin' 1956, boxing & the struggle it obviously evokes ... has been a bloody, deep & true part of my own bad self ...
Boxing has always been a part of what the Ol' Spit Bucket is... & now it's a huge hole in what I'm not ...
Iron Mike Tyson was supposed to be the ultimate realization of what the sweet science & manhood were about ... but I'm leaving the party the same way I came ... Full of rancor, wide eyed stupidity, & I guess, what's called lost innocence ... but I can't really blame boxing, or Ironic Mike Tyson ...
Deep down inside I always knew boxing was the ultimate blood sport. & at the same time I knew life, la vida loca(italics), or whatever the hell y' wanna call it, was just a dream ... A dream within a dream & the only peep I should be pissed off at is my own bad self ... We live in a society that's litigated past liberation ... Where every bullshit excuse is legal ground for redemption & these days my dark nights are my companions 'cause I know the truth is enslaved in spin doctors ... & when I lissen to John Horne spout 'bout head butts & Evander acting like a "Little Bitch" , It drifts my sanity away ...
There is no blame. No one is at fault. There never are any consequences. No matter how bad y' fuck up, y' still ain't done no wrong ...
Y' can blame Mike or Don or the stupidity that motivated alla us t' spend those hard earned bucks .... I can't call what I saw a fight, but I can call it the end of sportsmanship.
July/8/97The "fight" actually lived up too it's billing ... No one can say there hasn't been an overload of Sound & Fury ... The nightly news everywhere around the world, Prime Time Live, Dateline, Larry King, MSNBC's Internight, & even Burden Of Proof & Crossfire!!!
Never in the Ol' Spit Bucket's wildest dreams did he imagine boxing would ever get this kind of media attention.
Unfortunately it was all negative.
There's an old show biz axiom: "It doesn't matter what they say & write about you as long as they spell your name right".
The media attention the sport received went even beyond Super Bowl levels. Every single TV talk show, news program & newspaper blared the salacious news of Ironic Mike's last supper all around the wide, weird world to an incredulous audience of untold billions ...
But instead of being elated by the attention boxing was receiving, I'm bummed out like a broke dick dog.
July12/97The soap opera of Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas (italics) is finally a done deal. By now we've all had time to digest the carnage & cartilage - & the smoke & the torrents of verbal horse manure are finally clearing ...
So what are boxing & us fans supposed to make of all these events? Well ... It was an eerie rendering of cartilage viewed around the world ... but it was basically a misanthropic A-hole blowing whatever shreds of dignity he had left onto the canvass staining his name forever; in the worst exhibition of atavistic terrorisim that a boxer could possibly display....
Boxing needs organization!
By Gambol20@aol.comThe next few months will bring us includes Roy Jones Jr. versus Virgil Hill, and Andrew Golata versus Lenox Lewis. These are just some of the fights you will see on free television on a regular basis. Did that grab your attention? This should be a typical month for boxing. Instead, we get Mike Tyson versus Bruce Seldon and pay big bucks for it. Tired of the bullshit? You are not the only one.
The boxing community needs one central body to run the sport and unite the boxing community. Basketball has the NBA, football has the NFL, baseball has the MBA, and hockey has the NHL. Currently, boxing has the WBC, WBA and IBF. Plus, several smaller governing bodies, such as the WBO. These organizations are anchors, holding down boxing. This new governing body would need to carry out several steps for boxing regain its past glory. First, rank fighters in way that does not insult the intelligence of fans. Second, set a disbursement of purse schedule that divides the purse of a fight according to the fighter's rank in respect to his opponent's rank. Third, five percent of the total purse will be given to new body to pay for administrative expenses, a base salary to ranked fighters, marketing, and to set up a retirement fund. Fourth, offer top notch boxing fights on free television on a weekly basis. Fifth, reduce the number of weight divisions to 10. Finally, elect a commissioner with creditability and stature to take the sport into the twenty-first century.
The first step is to rank fighters in a way that does not insult the intelligence of the public. The current ranking system is a joke. A boxer's connections are as important as his boxing performances. Being champ does not mean shit now. This new governing body will rank fighters intelligently based on performances inside the ring. Every six months, new ratings will be released. A ranked fighter must fight someone within four slots of his current rank within these six month intervals. For example, the number five ranked fighter must fight at least one fight against someone between the ranks of one and nine. At the end of the six month interval, fighters that meet these standards will be assessed by a special panel and ranked from one to twenty based on their performances over the last six months and their previous ranking. Also, fighters that were previously not rated, can submit their names for review and possible placement into the top twenty. This system gives the voters structure yet allows for some flexibility.
The new governing body will establish a disbursement of purse schedule based on the fighters rank in respect with his opponent's rank. In other words, when a number two ranked fighter takes on a number ten ranked fighter, the number two will get a higher percentage of the total purse. Boxing has lost too many great fights due to egos of promoters and fighters. Negotiations will be simple and fair. If you want more money, work your ass up the ranks. The third step calls for five percent of the total purse of each fight to be paid to the new governing body to cover certain expenses. There are four major expenses. First, a $40,000 bonus paid directly to any fighter every time they appear in the top twenty. This is similar to the concept of revenue sharing that is prevalent in other sports. It would also allow lesser known boxers to dedicate their full attention to training rather then having to find other means of employment. Second, the new governing body will need revenue to deal with the administrative expenses they incur such as salaries to employees, insurance, etc. Third, a new marketing program will be launched to let the public become familiar with Oscar De La Hoya, David Tua, Roy Jones Jr., and other charismatic and exciting boxers. This is similar to the way the NBA made Michael Jordan a household name. The final expense would be to set up a retirement fund. Many retired fighters today are suffering the effects of their boxing careers and do not have the financial capabilities to cope.
The next step is to present boxing on free television on a weekly basis. There is Monday Night Football, why can't there be Wednesday Night Boxing. Similar programs currently exist on ESPN and USA, but the quality of fights are horrendous. Its tough being a boxing fan today. You have to wait weeks, often months between great fights and then you got to pay an arm and a leg. Under this system, great fights will be plentiful and free.
The fifth step is to reduce the number of weight divisions to ten. Presently, there is about fifty champions due to seventeen weight divisions and three major governing bodies. It is unreasonable to ask boxing fans to follow this maze of confusion. Under this new system there are ten champions, that's it! Imagine the intrigue of having Terry Norris, Ike Quartey, Felix Trinidad, Pernel Whitaker, Oscar De La Hoya and Kostya Tszyu in the same weight division. It would be a dream come true for boxing fans. The weight divisions would be broken up in the following manner:
The final step would be to elect a commissioner that has creditability and stature. Someone who has the respect of not only the boxing world, but the sports world as well. A Proposal For Boxing, by GorDoom, speaks about the topic of commissioner in detail. The Ol' Spit Bucket said that boxing needs a David Stern to revitalize the sport. Boxing needs someone that will take the sport into the twenty-first century. Someone with a long large plan, imagination, and integrity. Someone with enough balls to stand up to the anchors that hold down our sport.
- 109 and below
- 200 and up.
People will say that this is all fantasy and that it will never happen. Well, the people running boxing today will not adhere to these standards out of the kindness of their hearts. Rather, they will listen to us because we demand their attention. With the advent of new methods of communication such as the internet, it is easier then ever to become assembled. It is also important to remember that products do not evolve by themselves. They evolve because of consumer demands. Boxing is the product and we are the consumers. When we make our demands, boxing will evolve.
An Interview with 1997 International Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee: Jose Torres
By: David IameleJose Torres was born May 3, 1936 in Playa-Ponce, Puerto Rico. Jose began boxing in the U.S. Army at the age of 18. In the 1956 Olympics, he won the light middleweight Silver medal, losing a split decision to three-time champion Laszlo Papp of Hungary.
Jose turned pro in 1957 under the tutelage of Hall of Fame trainer, Cus D'Amato, and was undefeated in his first 27 bouts. Torres' pro debut was on May 24, 1958, which he won by first round KO. Between 1958 and 1963, the only blemishes on Jose's record were a 10 round draw with future welterweight champion Benny Paret (Sept. 26, 1959) and a KO 5 loss to Florentino Fernandez (May 26, 1963). Winning all of his next eight fights, including a first round KO of Bobo Olson, landed him a title shot against light heavyweight champ Willie Pastrano on March 30, 1965.
At NY's Madison Square Garden, Jose Torres became champion of the world by battering on Pastrano for 9 rounds, until he could not answer the bell for the 10th round.
Jose successfully defended the title three times before losing it on December 16, 1966 to 37 year old Dick Tiger on a close decision after 15 rounds. Jose lost the rematch, won two more bouts and retired from the ring with a record of 41 - 3 - 1 with 29 KO's in 1969. After his career in the ring ended, Jose stayed in the fight game as an author and writer. He has written two boxing biographies, "Sting Like a Bee", about Muhammad Ali, and "Fire & Fear", about Mike Tyson. Torres was also chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission (1983 - 1988) and President of the WBO (1993-1995).
Jose Torres became the fourth Puerto Rican fighter elected into the Hall of Fame in the modern category. Preceding him were: Carlos Ortiz, Wilfredo Gomez and Wilfred Benitez. These are the known facts about Jose Torres. They can be found in any boxing book. What follows you will not find in any book as we had the opportunity to have a lengthy in-depth discussion with Jose on many topics on the eve of his induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in beautiful Canastota, NY on June 14, 1997. Assisting me in the interview is my esteemed editor of the Cyberboxing Journal, Mike DeLisa.
DI: "First of all Jose, congratulations once again on your induction into the Hall of Fame."
JT: "Thank you very much."
DI: "Did you come from a large family?"
JT: "I was one of seven children, I was the second oldest. My youngest brother drowned in Puerto Rico about 7 years ago."
DI: "Did your whole family come to the US?"
JT: "My father developed Parkinson's disease around the time I became champion. He was one of the first people with Parkinson's in the world, one of the first 15, to get the experimental drug eldopa, which I saw Ali take years later. That's why I knew before anyone else that Ali had Parkinson's because they were taking the same medication."
MD: "What kind of a fighter was Laszlo Papp?"
JT: "He was a very experienced fighter. He had won a gold medal in 1948 and a gold medal in 1952. I never knew that when I boxed him, I was never told. He was a left handed fighter, a little shorter than me. I remember having an easy fight with him when the fight began and then in the middle of the second round, he hit me with a right hook, and I got mad. I won the first round, and I was winning the second when he hit me with that right. I got mad. It didn't hurt me but the people jumped up, and I got mad, and I started chasing him trying to get him back, and then he began, very calmly, to jab and move, jab and move, and I could not catch him. That made the fight very close, to the extent that when they announced that I had lost by one point. I thought that he had beaten me. It was just a matter of experience. That fight was my 28th fight."
DI: "What got you into boxing?"
JT: "Strangely, the Army. I wanted to be in the Army because I wanted to look important and sophisticated, you know, with the uniform. Two weeks into the Army, I realized that it was the worst thing in the world (laughing). I did not like the Army. Dummies were telling me what to do. I got sick and then, to be more specific, I got depressed,, and they took me to a hospital to check me out. In the hospital, I was shadow boxing, I was being the court jester for the other patients. I used to walk on my hands up and down stairs, shadow box and do exercises. Someone who was very keen of boxing and sports saw me and told me I should go to special services. I went to special services, and I wanted to be a track and field athlete and they told me the season was over. I wanted to be a basketball player, the season was over. Baseball, same thing. So I said, `what season is it?' Well, boxing's going to be starting in a couple of weeks. So I told the guy, `can I take the application with me and think about it?' So I thought, geez, I'm not a boxer but I used to love to fist fight, so I filled out the application and began boxing. I knocked the first guy out, because I was a natural puncher. Then I knocked the second guy out and then all of my friends said, `oh man, you're the future champion of the world', they believed that. I said, `oh, yeah'. The third fight, I knocked that guy out. Then I fought for the Antilia's in the Caribbean, the welterweight championship, and I knocked the guy out to become champion of the Antilia's. So they said they were sending me to fight in Panama to fight for the Caribbean championship. So I went to Panama, and I got real scared with this opponent. I thought I could not beat this guy, he looked too strong to me, and too smart. And I came out and boom, he hurt me with the first punch. The first time in my life that I was shaken up by a punch, and I said that's to be expected, the guy's much better than me any ways. At the end of the second round, I decided I'm not gonna give up, I'm not gonna make it easy for the guy, I'm gonna try to knock him out. I don't think there's anything wrong with getting knocked out when you're trying to knock the other guy out. So I start hitting and hitting the guy and the guy would not punch back. Unconsciously, I had intimidated the guy. I came back to the corner and my trainer was very excited. In the third round, I came out punching, and I hurt him to the body, and I hurt him in the head, and he was not punching back, and I said, `wait a minute, maybe this guys not as good as I thought', and I went all out and I won. I beat the guy. That taught me that I should not have an opinion. I could not assume things just looking at the guy."
DI: "At this point in time, are you telling yourself, `I got to get out of the Army and do something with this boxing career'?"
JT: "No. But after that, I began to realize that maybe I was good enough to beat guys. I remained in the service. They shipped me back to Fort Dix in New York then to Fort Mead in Maryland where I met a guy who really took interest in me. His name was Pat Nappy from Syracuse, and he was the best coach. He was an Olympic coach and then he started concentrating on me, and I won a second Army championship. In my ninth fight, I beat the Pan American champion, Paul Wright. We became friends after. Then in the all Army championship, I fought a guy named Ed Crook. I knocked Crook out in a sensational fight. I loved that fight because he was the first guy who made me think in the ring. I mean I was not afraid of him, I knew he was good, but I knew he had some faults, and I knew I could knock him out.
So I knocked the guy out in the third round, and I could have knocked him out in the second or even in the first round. When I came back to the corner, Nappy says, `You just knocked out the best pound-for-pound fighter the Army has had in the last five years.' The guy had won the All Army championship for the past four years. This was in 1956, they were waiting for the Olympics. In the trials, I was knocking everyone out, then in the finals, I fought Crook and won an easy three round decision because he was scared of me and he won't fight me. Then I went to the Olympic games and that's when I fought Laszlo Papp in the final. I fought John "Cowboy" McCormick from London in a very tough fight. He was left handed. Then I knocked out the Italian guy, then the Australian guy, then I fought Papp. Then they all predicted me to win, but I didn't know Laszlo's background. After the third round, I walked back to the corner, I was sad because I figured I've lost the fight. If Nappy had been there, I would have beaten Papp. After that, I was discharged from the Army and came to New York after Cus D'Amato sent me a letter telling me he wanted to train me . . ."
DI: "Cus searched you out?"
JT: "Yeah. Then the main thing that brought me to New York was her (indicating his wife). My brother married her sister, and I was offered a lot of money by Clay's (Ali's) people, $15,000, which was a lot of money then, 1956. Then when Cus sent me the letter, I thought she's in New York, I'm gonna come to New York for no money. (laughs) So I came to NY mainly cause of her. I was 20 then. My father loved Cus. I loved Cus. There were never any papers signed, it was a verbal agreement. He said, "whenever you feel that you don't like me, you can walk away!' Cus had the heavyweight champion at the time, Floyd Patterson, and he used Floyd to advance me. When Floyd fought, I fought on the undercard. I used to box with Floyd, and I learned so much from Floyd. Luckily, Floyd was a small heavyweight. (laughs) He was such a great fighter."
DI: "Now when you started out with Cus, you were a middleweight but you couldn't get any big fights at that weight and moved up to light heavyweight?"
JT: "No. Not because I couldn't get any fights. I was a heavy middleweight, I was only 20, I was growing."
MD: "Didn't you have some sort of dispute with Paul Pender at that time where you were supposed to fight him?"
JT: "It was not a dispute. Now I'm going to tell you something that few people know, but you asked the question, and I'm going to answer. After Floyd had fought Ingemar Johansson (second fight) and there was some trouble with the monies and the government kept the money from Floyd. Floyd owed Cus something like $225,000 at the time and Cus wanted to use $100,000 of the $225,000 to guarantee Pender a fight with me. Floyd had a lot of money in the bank so Cus went to Floyd and said, `Floyd, you owe me $225.000 so can I get $100,000 to guarantee Pender?' Floyd said, `no'. So, that was Floyd's money, and I lost the chance to fight for the middleweight championship and then a year later, I fought Pastrano for the light heavy title. I had made friends at the time with a black real estate man from Brooklyn, and he put up the $100,000 for Pastrano so I could fight for the championship. When we gave him the money, he brought $100,000 to the Garden (MSG) in a paper bag and that's how I got the opportunity to fight Pastrano. And I became champion."
MD: "Did you ever talk to Floyd about the money at that time?"
JT: "No. Never. I was not happy with Floyd but I knew he had the right to not give Cus the money for me, I mean it was his money. But if the situation was reversed, I would've done it for him. I was never really mad at Floyd for that. I was more pissed off at Floyd because when I was sparring with him, when he was going to fight Roy Harris, there was a press conference and the media was there, and there was and exchange, and I hit Floyd, and he went down. He got up and we kept boxing, he had gone down on one knee, that's all. At the press conference, they asked me what I hit him with when he went down. I said, `I didn't knock him down, he slipped.' The guy says, `yeah?' I say; `yeah, I just happened to be throwing a punch, and he slipped, so it looked like I knocked him down, but he just slipped!' I was lying, protecting his position as heavyweight champion of the world. Then a book called `Victory Over Myself' came out six or seven months after that. Milton Gross wrote the book with Floyd, and in the book he said I was boxing with him and that he went down and at the press conference I said that he slipped but I winked my eyes to the press. Floyd said that. I got so mad that I called him up and said, `Floyd, can I see you?' He said, `I know what you want me for, Jose, I know.' I said, `why did you say that?' I said to him, `look Floyd, you know I knocked you down, I know I knocked you down, but I told the press I did not knock you down. And I did not wink my eye. So why, why did you say that?' Floyd didn't say anything. But boy I was mad, cause I know he said that. I didn't like the fact that he wouldn't give Cus the $100,000 but I wasn't mad. I was mad at this thing because it was a lie."
DI: "Now, when you were fighting as a middleweight, you had won about 27 fights in a row before you first loss . . ."
JT: "Yes, something like that. My first loss was against Florentino Fernandez in Puerto Rico."
DI: "Was that loss a big shock to you?"
JT: "No. Because I was a kid then. Actually, I had a draw before that with a Cuban fighter by the name of Benny "Kid" Paret. The guy who died fighting Emile Griffith. I drew with him in a fight I thought I won. But they expected me to knock him out and because I didn't, they punished me by giving me the draw. That was my assumption at the time. In the Fernandez fight, I never hit a guy more than I hit him. Clean punches. Combination punches. He just refused to budge. I hit him and hit him and in other fights, the guys would go, you know? Him? He just came back mad. He knocked me down in the first round, and then I got up and that's when I hit him and hit him but he refused to go down. Then I think in the sixth round, he hit me with a jab in the eye, and I got dizzy and they stopped the fight because the referee was very good and he didn't want me to get hurt. No complaint. (Actually, it was the fifth round) He didn't hit me with clean shots, but the one when he knocked me down, otherwise, I'd have been knocked out. But I hit him so much and he didn't care that night."
DI: "So then after just one loss and a draw, you put together another string of victories and then went and fought Bobo Olson. It that right?"
JT: "Bobo Olson as a light heavyweight."
DI: "That's what set you up for the Pastrano fight?"
JT: "Yes. After that, I got the Pastrano fight."
DI: "You KO'd Olson in the first round, didn't you?"
JT: "Yes. Bobo Olson was one of my idols. He used to fight beautifully. I loved his style of fighting. In fact, I think I imitated Olson when I first started fighting, and then Cus perfected my peek-a-boo style. Joey Fariello was my trainer, who was a student of Cus, one of his trainers. I always forget to mention Joey, who taught me mechanically. Cus spoke to me a lot, helped me psychologically."
DI: "Cus was very good with the mental part of training."
JT: "Yeah, Cus and Joey coordinated their work together. That's when I really grew up. I was lucky because all my trainers - Nappy, Cus, Joey all helped me and knew that the mental aspect was so important. But Cus had that perfected."
DI: "Now the Pastrano fight at the Garden, you won in the ninth round, took place in March of `65. Now I wasn't born until October of `65 . . ."
JT: "Oh, shit." (laughs)
DI: " . . . but in the films and pictures I've seen of the fight of the crowd carrying you out and they seemed so elated, there was a big Puerto Rican following there . . ."
JT: "Yes, that's true. There was a lack of a Puerto Rican hero at the time, and I became their hero. I understood, intellectually, at the time, what was going on, even though I hated to be treated like a hero by the Puerto Rican's. Because I said, `I'm not a better human being than you are, you know? But I couldn't communicate that to them. They loved me as a hero. I became champion because of them. They were my inspiration, not the money. The Nationalism, the patriotism, the Puerto Rican thing, the Latino thing. You know some Cubans that were friends of mine got pissed off because I said Puerto Rican people and they said no man the Hispanic people! We were there too." DI: "Was that the most exhilarating moment of your career? Having won the championship, having the crowd carry you out like that?"
JT: "See I was 28 then, when I was 19, I went to the Olympics. The march in the Olympics, that was exhilarating. I thought I was going to pass out from the experience. Even though I was marching with the US team, I was hanging out with the Puerto Rican team. Because I was in the Army and because Puerto Rico gave permission to the U.S. for me to represent them, there has to be a negotiation, you know. I'm not the first one, tennis players will do that a lot. The Army asked Puerto Rico and they said, `we have our champion'. But everyone says I was the first Puerto Rican to win a silver medal, and I want to clarify that I was on the U.S. team. I would've loved to represent Puerto Rico but I was in the United States, but I feel as proud."
DI: "I saw in a boxing book a picture of you with the Dundee's and it was referring to a $25,000 contract. What was that in reference to?"
JT: "What happened with the Dundee's was that before I got the Pastrano fight, I had to give the Dundee's $10,000 not $25,000 to guarantee that if Willie lost, I would give him a rematch or forfeit the 10 grand. But the money was paid back because he didn't want a rematch. (laughs) It could have been $25,000 but I think it was $10,000.
DI: "Now in the same book, and I have to ask you about this, there is a picture of Jose Torres singing on the Ed Sullivan show. Tell me a little about this?"
JT: "Yes, that's true - that's true. (laughing) I was the first Latino to sing on the Ed Sullivan show. I forget the name of the agent, he's a big time agent, who told me I can get you a couple of thousand bucks for singing on the show. So I went on the show with a famous trio from Puerto Rico and it went beautifully. But I was shaking, because I had no control over that. Then my agent calls me two days later and says he has a contract for me to sing at the opening of the New Paramount theater on Broadway (in NYC). So I sang for a week with the top Latino singers in the world. Charo's first trip to the US in 1965. I made good money for my singing. A few thousand dollars, which was good money back then. Two weeks before I won the title, the Puerto Rican government, wanted me to go to Puerto Rico but I could not go because I was singing on the Ed Sullivan Show Sunday night. Back then, t.v. was live, so I left for Puerto Rico Monday morning. There was 150,000 people at the airport to see me, and I spent the whole day walking in the streets of Puerto Rico. For the first time in history, they took the camera out on to the streets and followed me."
DI: "You must have been some singer?"
JT: "(laughing quite a lot) No. No. They knew me as a fighter, period."
MD: "When did you start to think seriously about writing?"
JT: "Even before I became champion. Pete Hamil, who is the editor of the Daily News now, is the one from the beginning who told me boxing is a short thing. In writing, you can be 90 years old and still write. He gave me a lot of confidence. He gave me a beautiful new typewriter as a gift. I began writing while I was still fighting. I wrote a piece and won a prize and no one believed I wrote it. They all thought it was Pete, even though he didn't do shit. (laughing) When they thought it was him, and I wrote the whole thing, that's when I knew I could do a good job (as a writer). Then I just wrote every once in a while. I didn't care if they paid me or not."
MD: "How did you get introduced to Norman Mailer?"
JT: "Peter Hamil. He introduced me to Norman in around 1962. He gave me books, Hemingway. For the first time in my life, I began to read books, novels, that were not text books from school. I was 20. I was really taken by Hemingway and Norman. More by Norman because Hemingway compared to Norman was very simple. Pete always said when you write you write to the masses. So you have to write for all of them to understand. Mailer was not that way except I understood him so fucking clearly. I said to Pete maybe Mailer is as clear as Hemingway except on a different level. Mailer stimulated me more than Hemingway. Norman and I still have lunch together. He's terrific."
DI: "When you lost the title in 1966 to Dick Tiger, was that a very devastating thing for you?"
JT: "It was not devastating to me. You know why? Because when I became champion, I lost interest. I was writing. I was having arguments with Cus. He was telling me `your friends are ruining your career' meaning Pete and Norman and Bud Schaumburg. He says, `you don't want to be a fighter anymore'. I said `Cus, I've become champion of the World, what else do you want me to do?' `Beat Muhammad Ali', he says. I said, `yeah, that's a good challenge.' But then I fought Tom McNeeley in Puerto Rico (Peter McNeeley's father), and I wound up in the hospital with an inflamed pancreas. I almost died. So Cus gave up the idea of fighting Ali after that. He saw that I was losing interest. I was not the same fighter after I became champion."
DI: "You were already thinking about retiring?"
JT: "I just lost interest. I remember I used to run 10 miles a day, I'd drop it to three miles. You know stuff like that. So even though you get in shape, it shows your losing interest."
DI: "We've both been coming to Canastota for a number of years now, and I want to ask you a question that I ask only out of real curiosity, because you're both a boxer and an articulate man. How do you explain the difference between say, a lot of the old timers here: Archie Moore, Willie Pep, Carmen, etc. . . . they're sharp, witty, great with the fans, good memories - Then the tragedies of these younger guys . . ."
DI: ". . . like Jerry Quarry. Some of these guys are in bad shape. How can one person show so much marked deterioration and another not be effected nearly so much."
JT: "And also to add to that, when people see Muhammad Ali and say, look, he's punchy, whatever. Remember, he got hit less than all of his contemporaries. Everyone of the heavyweights in the era of Ali got hit 60 times more than he did. He got hit only at the end of his career. But Norton, Frazier, those guys, they got hit 3, 4, 5 times more than Ali, Jesus. How come they don't have Parkinson's disease?!?! My father, who passed away six years ago, had Parkinson's disease for 27 years and the reason why they don't blame boxing is only because he never boxed. If he had been a boxer, they would've said it was the boxing (laughs). When I first came here, two things happened to me and Cus used to use them as examples all the time. We went to a funeral of this very old guy and Cus says `this guy was never a great fighter, he was a `banger' and he got knocked down 35 times in one fight and he got knocked out eight times in a row in two weeks!' You know this was in the 1920's and 1930's. When he died, he was 105 years old! He died of old age. I couldn't believe it -- this guy gets beat to shit in the ring and dies of old age. Amazing.
Then one time, I'm talking to a friend of Rocky Graziano's, and I said, `Rocky talks funny'.' He says to me, `you know, we grew up together (Rocky and him) and if you listened to him before he started fighting, you wouldn't have been able to understand him. Since he's been boxing, he talks a little better.' (laughs)
So as a result of those experiences, I'll tell you what I did. When Ali went to Africa to fight Foreman, I went to the Bowery in NY to interview bums. I talked to 35 or 40 bums. By the way, I would say 80% to 85% of these bums knew me. They'd see me and say, `hey - Jose Torres'. I told them I wanted to talk to them abut the fight and they knew about it. Everyone knew. I talked to them and 50% of them picked Ali! Fifty percent of them picked Foreman. So the last line of the article I wrote for the NY Post said, `the funny thing about this is that 50% of the bums in the Bowery are going to be right' (laughs) and then you have guys like Pacheco and Albert who are supposed to be experts if they say who will win. So half of the bums are right. So the point I was making is that, what, only one guy picked Ali to win (journalist) but half the bums were right! I thought Foreman was going to win. In the first round, I knew that Ali would beat Foreman, and I'll never forget that. I was very happy. I wanted Ali to win because he was my favorite but I thought he would get knocked out. That fight taught me, I used to think Ali was unbeatable. He's so fucking smart. He's an artist, a magician. He does everything wrong! He used to pull back from punches. That is equal to you being on train tracks with the train coming and you don't want to be hit so you move to one side to get off the tracks. Ali moved back. And the train never caught him. He's a fucking magician, that's the way I explain it. So when this fight happened, I forget this whole philosophy. Then after about two minutes into the first round, I said to myself, Ali cannot lose this fight."
DI: "What if Foreman had the mental make-up that he has now?"
JT: "I wrote a piece on that for a magazine. I claimed that Foreman is a better fighter now than when he was young."
DI: "He's so relaxed now in the ring. Before he was so stiff and tight."
JT: "That's right. Exactly. Well, now at this point in time, he's not the best fighter. He has too much money and he's not a kid anymore. The reason all those old fighters are coming back is George. This question of these guys being allowed to fight is real conflict to me. I believe that Robert Duran could still beat 60% to 65% of the fighters available today. (laughs) I would have trouble as a commissioner turning down anyone for a boxing license because we are superseded by our constitutional rights. We cannot discriminate."
DI: "What is your feelings on all the controversy and hoopla about Don getting inducted to the Hall of Fame?"
JT: "Don King is the premiere promoter of the last 20 years. You cannot ignore that. In those 20 years fighters, some fighters, have suffered because of Don King and it is not King per say. Let me give you an example: Cus D'Amato was being interviewed one time, and he was asked what he thought of Bob Arum. Cus says, `Bob Arum is the worst human being in the sport of boxing.' They said, `Cus, what do you mean?', `what about Don King?' He says, `I have not dealt with Don King but God cannot make the same mistake twice.' Now taking that into consideration, Cus was such a decent guy with his fighters . . . by the way, let me add here, Cus never . . . I made close to a million bucks as a fighter in 11 years with Cus and he never took a penny of any of my purses. Never. Because he was making money with Floyd. He used to say, `if I took your money, I'd have to give it to the IRS anyhow.' When he died, I was there. He said that about Arum because of a deal Cus had with him involving Tyson and Arum backed out. Cus said, `you have a contract, you can't back out.' So Arum says, `sue me!' Lou Duva, one of my favorite boxing guys, Arum and King, and any other boxing promoter, they are there because of business, not because they love fighters. They function based on boxing not boxers. Boxing is what makes money for them. Champions come and go, but boxing remains. The only thing is with Don King, he brags about it. The other guys, they keep quiet about it. They have been sued by fighters also, not just Don King. But it's not fair for a promoter to make more on a fight than a fighter. That's absurd. But I am going to let you know that I am working on something now. I'm working on organizing boxing. I'm getting so much help. There's a man from Minnesota, Paul Johnson, who works for the ALF CIO and he has been working for the past several years on unionizing boxing. To give the fighters a voice, power, autonomy, independence and I say, `oh, I hope before I die, I can see that.' I'm thinking very seriously about talking about that in my speech tomorrow. (He did) I believe that the promoters, t.v., the boxing organizations - they should not mind that. Because it gives a voice to the fighters who have always just been manipulated."
DI: "That sounds a lot better than the Federal regulation that is being talked about now. How could involving the government help clear anything up?"
JT: "The Federal regulation never even mentioned promoters. It only stated that commissioners being part of an international organization is a conflict of interest. The WBO, of which I was president, is working on getting rid of all these guys."
DI: "Now, speaking of promoters, Don King's has got his golden egg coming up - Tyson/Holyfield II. Do you think there's any way Tyson can pull himself together and win that fight?"
JT: "Yeah. I'm sure that's gonna happen. I love Evander Holyfield. I probably have some feeling in my heart for Mike Tyson, who I met when he was 12 years old. I was the first champion he met besides Muhammad Ali, who he met when he was in jail. He used to love my wife's cooking, he used to come to my house and stay with us before he was champion, while he was champion, after he was champion. I don't know if I am still attached to him."
DI: "What do you think Cus D'Amato would think about Mike Tyson now?"
JT: "I don't talk to Tyson because I think he betrayed Cus, not because of anything else. To me it is inconceivable that any fighter who was trained by Cus could betray him."
DI: "If Tyson loses this rematch and he just ended up on a downhill spiral and retired or just ended up not being able to compete at the level he once did, can you think of a greater waste of talent?"
JT: "Oh my God. He had the potential to be incredible. He had the potential to be even as great as Muhammad Ali."
DI: "Many people believed before his incarceration that he was right up there with the all time greats. But if he loses this fight . . ."
JT: "Oh no, that's it, he's a bum. Absolutely, absolutely."
DI: "Jose, again, congratulations and thank you so much for your time."
JT: "You're very welcome."
I want to again thank Jose Torres for his generosity and also my boxing goomba, Mike "Mad dog" DeLisa for assisting me in this interview.
Recent TV Fights
by HvyWeight@aol.comFormer WBC Featherweight champ Kevin Kelly used a short right hand to knock out Orlando Fernandez in the tenth round and retain the " fringe " WBU Featherweight title Saturday at Sam's town Casino in Tunica, MS. Kelly's record runs to 47-1-2 with 31 KO's. Fernandez falls to 22-9-0 with 13 KO'S.
Also on the card, Native Canadien and rising heavyweight contender Kirk Johnson keeps an unblimished record by a seventh round TKO of journey man Louis Monaco. ( Most noted for knocking out Buster Douglas after the bell rang. )
Live on ABC Sunday, in Biloxi, MS., Buster Douglas looked impressive in TKOing Quinn Navvare, who held his own against Larry Holmes in recent months, in a bout I felt Navvare won.
On that same card a very impressive featherweight southpaw named Freddie " Lil' Hagler " Norwood defeated Darryl Pinkney in ten dominating rounds, throwing every punch you can name, and remains undefeated.
That's the story down south.
Until next time...
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