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Home Boxing

Boxing Editorials

BIGGEST HEAVYWEIGHT UPSETS – WHY?

BIGGEST HEAVYWEIGHT UPSETS – WHY?

Today, I am looking at the three biggest upsets in heavyweight title fight history, and why they happened.  I will also examine why they were such big upsets to begin with.  History has a way of making us forget the element of surprise, as it stood at the time of these shocking events. Buster Douglas KO 10 Mike Tyson - A 42-1 underdog shocks the boxing world, pulling off the biggest upset in boxing history. Why the odds were so wide – It was Tyson!  He was the most famous athlete in the world at that time, a KO machine, who barely needed to break a sweat to defeat most contenders in a soft heavyweight division.  Douglas also had a tendency to display weaknesses in the chin, stamina, and heart departments.  He was also not a big puncher.  His size and impressive boxing ability were his only allies, and Tyson had vanquished far greater challengers. Why it happened – Douglas used his past defeats, as well as recent personal tragedies (his mother’s death, and son’s mother’s illness) as motivation to stand up to Tyson.  He also overcame his stamina and heart issues, which left only his chin.  Tyson was smothered on so many occasions, he could rarely find it.  Also, Tyson turned out to be the classic bully… whose heart was drained by his opponent’s lack of fear.  When “Iron Mike” could not intimidate, he became the follower.  It also didn’t help that Tyson’s corner was run by inexperienced Don King yes-men, who were completely unprepared to give Tyson decent advice.  Instead they tried to stop his swelling eye with a condom filled with ice water, and continuously implored him to "get inside and work".  Tyson stayed in the fight only to find his puncher’s chance… when even that big shot did not end the fight, he succumbed quickly thereafter. James J. Braddock W15 Max Baer - A 10-1 underdog, expected to be flattened, outboxes the feared, powerful champion. Why the odds were so wide – Braddock may have been on a hot streak, and had never been knocked out, but Baer was considered an unmoveable force.  Braddock was merely a light heavyweight who had exposed some over-rated contenders, to earn an unlikely shot.  Baer’s fists had claimed the lives of two men, and the scalps of many others, and it was thought that Braddock’s style lended him to suffer potentially serious damage.

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APRIL PREDICTIONS, PART 1

APRIL PREDICTIONS, PART 1
Marco Huck vs. Giacobbe Fragomeni
The first of two cruiserweight title fights this month.  It should be exciting while it lasts, but a question that will dog Fragomeni the rest of his career is, how much does he have left.  Huck also has a way recently of stopping fighters who usually hang tough.  Sauerland is likely positioning Huck and Cunningham to face each other in a rematch unification for the Ring Magazine title, so they are not likely to take any chances with either man.  Also, Zsolt Erdei looked painfully slow in lifting the WBC title from Fragomeni over a year ago, and a prime Huck is certain to give him even more problems.  Huck will dominate, and win by TKO, about round 8 or 9. Krystoff Wlodarczyk vs. Francisco Palacios. While it’s very difficult to win in Poland against Wlodarczyk, it has been done before.  Palacios has not exactly beaten a who’s who if capable contenders, yet Louis Azille, Donnell Wiggins, and Luis Pineda have been around for years, and both were KO’d easily by the Puerto Rican.  Wlodarczyk is always competitive, but rarely if ever dominant.  That makes him ripe for a defeat, against someone who knows how to turn it on.  Barring a lousy referee or judges, I am picking Palacios by late round KO. Palacios is a Don King fighter, and if he wins, we may actually see two unifications in the cruiserweight division soon.  Idle WBA champion Guillermo Jones vs. Palacios for the Carribbean unification, and Huck vs. Cunningham for the German one.  Imagine that!  A clear champ at 200lbs?  The winner of that tourney will certainly try to immediately move up to heavyweight.  They will also lose badly, but it is fun to watch a champion made, even if they do not last. Vladimir Klitschko vs. Derek Chisora. I can only hope Chisora was chosen as an opponent for his courage.  At least that way, we only need to watch 2 or 3 rounds of this mismatch.  Odds are, however, that he’ll run a bit before he succumbs.  Klitshcko by easy 5th round KO.

 

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BOXING MOVIES… BETTER FIGHTERS, WORSE MOVIE

BOXING MOVIES… BETTER FIGHTERS, WORSE MOVIE
It seems the best boxing movies are told of interesting, talented mid-level fighters.  Jake La Motta and Micky Ward now have, in my opinion, the two best boxing movies ever made about an actual fighter (Requiem For a Heavyweight” and “Rocky” were about fictional fighters).  These are men who were known for action, brawls, and their interesting lives off-screen often.  They often attract the best actors and directors to their life stories.  However, the top-level fighters in boxing history have had no such luck in having their stories told on the big screen.  Let’s look at a few examples. Jack Dempsey – One of the top ten heavyweights of all time (albeit a bit overrated by most).  Yet, the only attempt I can recall to even make a movie of his life was over 30 years ago.   The Treat Williams sleep-inducing CBS movie made in the late 70’s may have scared off anyone from attempting it again, but it is time.  While introspection into the life of Dempsey might have been the goal of that first movie, it ended up being an achievement that such an exciting life could be made so boring. Muhammad Ali – In 1977 he played himself in a squeaky clean version of his own life, but that was when his career was not yet over, and the good news was new to most people.  Naturally this movie was missing the gritty aspects, like the Liston controversies.  The Will Smith version in 2001 tried to tackle these aspects, but ended up pigeonholing Ali, and making a similar mistake as was made in Dempsey.  Don’t try to get in the head of a wild fighter with long pensive shots.  Show their crazy life, add interesting dialogue, and let us figure it out.  Instead the focus was on the great performances.   Anytime you try to tell the life of Ali using only 10 years, you’re going to fail.  Sadly, this movie was such a colossal failure, that no one will likely attempt a new one for many years.  Sugar Ray Robinson – Probably the greatest fighter ever, yet has their ever been a movie?  I am seriously asking, because I cannot recall one.  I’m sure there has been an attempt, but I am not researching it, because the point I am making is that if I have to look it up, it’s quite sad.

 

 

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FIGHT CLUB OC

FIGHT CLUB OC

In the inaugural card at The OC Fairgrounds ‘Hangar’ in Costa Mesa, Roy Engebrecht promotions moved it’s legendary “Battle in the Ballroom” cards out of the Irvine Marriott and into a new facility.  Among the sponsors were Tecate , SC Fuels, and the litigation legal firm of Callahan and Blaine.  Sellout crowd was 1,568.  Some of the new features included VIP booths surrounding the general seating, as well as a big screen featuring ads, film clips, and a live feed of all fight action. In the main event, Junior Welterweight Aris Ambriz, 15-1-1-8KO’s won an exciting eight-round decision over Huntington Park ’s Hector “Teco” Serrano 13-2-5KO’s.  Serrano had a large contingency in the crowd, sporting “teco” T-shirts, and chanting his name, but it failed to get the fighter motivated.  Other than rocking the Azusa native with a big right hand in the second, Serrano’s offense remained limited.  Ambriz controlled the action with boxing from a distance early, then turned on the action late.  In the last few rounds, Serrano’s offense was barely existent, as Ambriz pounded away.  Scores were 79-73 twice, and 77-75.  Convicted Artist scored 78-74. In heavyweight action, Sunrise , FL southpaw Quatrine Hill, 4-1-1KO, scored a one-sided four round decision over Phoenix ’s Chad Davis, 2-8.  Davis fought in retreat the entire four rounds, and while Hill appeared to have his foe hurt in the third and fourth rounds, Davis ’ defensive style allowed the fight to go the full distance.  In the cruiserweight co-main event.  Dallas, TX Brent Urban moved to 7-3-1-5KO’s with a 2nd round KO over Los Angeles ’ Joseph Jones.  Jones boxed well in round one, but was caught by a big right hand and ropped early in round two. 

 

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SLIGHTLY FAIRER COUNTRIES

SLIGHTLY FAIRER COUNTRIES

I often pick on Germany as the place where fighters can expect to be screwed if they do not fight for the correct promoter.  England is also a place you an go if you wish to have trigger happy refs wave it off any time the visiting fighter so much as wobbles slightly.  Canadian officials are not consistently bad, but they seem to trade off the ways that they reward hometown fighters.  Weird referees (Marlon Wright in Bute – Andrade 1), bad judging (Dingaan Thobela losing to Davey Hilton), etc.  Argentina ?  Don’t get me started on the robberies that go on there… starting with Wilfred Benitez’ money and passport.  However, here are a few examples of places where fighters can go, where fairness may not be a guarantee, but at least more likely to happen. Mexico – Don’t get me wrong… if you’re a tourist in that country, carry a machine gun.  If you are fighting a man with the surname Chavez, just go home.  Mexico and fairness are not often mentioned in the same breath.  However, ask South African Simphiwe Nonqawi about winning decisions in Mexico .  He has won multiple decisions there, over another beloved Mexican fighting family, the Arces.  Austin Trout just came away with a wide decision over Rigoberto Alvarez.  That is a fighter from another family that is rapidly gaining a following in Mexico .  He is the brother of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, but that correlation led to no favoritism from the judges.  Even when a fighter does get a lousy decision, like Matt Vanda losing to Chavez Jr. in their first match, the fans do not let their national pride stop them from voicing their disapproval.  Maybe that is scaring the judges straight. USA – I’m sure Felix Sturm and Axel Schulz would disagree.  However, given the country they come from, they have no right to complain.

 

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IRON CHINS WENT RUSTY IN 2010

IRON CHINS WENT RUSTY IN 2010

Fighters may switch trainers, styles, and even improve or diminish their punching ability as they age and progress.  The one thing that should remain fairly constant is punch receptivity.  It should, anyway, right?  Bone structure doesn’t alter as a fighter ages.  Sure, much of a fighters ‘chin’ is mental, as Jake La Motta insisted, and Oliver McCall practiced.  This would also explain why 80’s fighters like Gerrie Coetzee and Doug de Witt were considered rock-chinned in their earlier careers, only to be labeled weaker in the same category in their later ones.  Once you know you can be hurt, you're likelyhood of being hurt again is much greater.  This past year saw many fighters' supposed durability fail, and not slowly.  In a quick a blinding flash. Juan Urango – Sure, we expected him to be outboxed by superior fighters, but the fighter who had suffered no more than a couple flash knockdowns (usually at the hands of fighters who brutally KO other men), suddenly became human.  After being outboxed for most of the first 8 rounds, Urango was destroyed by one hard uppercut from Devon Alexander.  The fact that Alexander is not much of a puncher, made this all the more shocking. Paul Williams – “The Punisher” seemed like someone who wasn’t going to be able to utilize his amazing style for long.  Not the huge puncher most lanky fighters are, he made up for it with his activity, chin, and stamina… also foreign to many of the bigger fighters.  While his conditioning will likely not be in question, the chin will be what everyone is watching the next time Williams fights.

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CHRONIC HEADBUTTS

CHRONIC HEADBUTTS
After Devon Alexander became the 4th consecutive, and 6th known championship opponent overall, to be cut by a Timothy Bradley headbutt, we got to revisit an old, ugly question.  Is not preventing a foul, just as bad as intentionally causing it?  Famous foulers like Eusebio Pedroza, Terry Norris, and Joel Casamayor were not known for this particular foul.  In fact, while Casamayor was the king of foul subtlety… elbowing, and hitting slightly low, Norris was the king of flagrancy… hitting while down, after the bell, etc.  The only correlation to what we are dealing with in Bradley is Evander Holyfield.  Holyfield, particularly in his later career, was known for using his elbows, and particularly his head as a weapon.  It was this infraction that Tyson blamed for both of his losses to Holyfield.  The allegations eventually came from all of Holyfield’s later opponents, such as Ruiz and Rahman, the latter of which sported one of the ugliest forehead swellings in boxing history. Unlike Holyfield, however, Bradley is entering his prime.  He is not a big puncher, and wins his fights with aggressiveness.  It seems hardly likely that he could adjust his style, even if he was coming out of these head clashes the worse for wear.  The fact that he never does, however, is what is causing eyebrows to rise.  In every occurrence, Bradley walks away from head clashes injury free.  Ditto Holyfield.  While experts mocked Shane Mosley’s assertion that Vernon Forrest had studied how to headbutt Mosley, our judgment came from the fact that it wasn’t chronic.  The headbutt that dizzied Mosley in the first match with Forrest, appeared to be a single incident in Forrest’s career.  Even Vernon stepped back and held his head after that 2nd round clash that turned the tide of their 2002 match.  Not so with Bradley, who even joked about his baby’s ultrasound in the pre-fight films on HBO, stating that it was “a Bradley head”.  Certainly Bradley knows, as Holyfield did, that there is a good and bad place to be during a head clash, and he is always on the right side of it.  I am a big Bradley fan, and believe his relentlessness, conditioning, talent, and ring generalship are mostly responsible for his victories.  However, where do you draw the line?

 

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DIVISION CLEAN-UP, JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHTS

DIVISION CLEAN-UP, JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHTS

This division is in a mess for many reasons.  Multiple promoters, multiple belts, nothing unified, no one dominant champion, etc.  However, the biggest reason is that most participants are fighting in other divisions as well.  Paul Williams, Sergio Martinez, Manny Pacquiao, Ricardo Mayorga, and Shane Mosley are all dipping their toes in at 154, but not staying.  Add to that the frozen position of many exciting contenders whose careers keep stalling.  Alfredo Angulo is exciting, but has visa problems.  James Kirkland was in prison, and who knows what he has left.  Vanes Martirosyan is rotting on the vine.  Cornelius “K9” Bundrage can’t get a fight, even though he has a belt, and his promoter is promoting a card this Saturday in his hometown!  Sergei Dzindruk seems to have landed his big fight, finally, yet it may not be at 154lbs.  No quick tournament could clean up this mess, but here’s a way to crown a real champion.  This will make the stars either join the excitement, or run from the new pack leader.  I will start with 2 fights that are already happening: Sergio Martinez vs. Sergei Dzindruk - This fight only makes sense if it is held at 154 lbs.  Both men are natural junior middles, and it will not likely be that exciting, but Martinez no longer has a belt at 160 (except the one that counts the most), and can win one at 154lbs.  I believe he will win, by decision, albeit in a more difficult fight than many think.  “Maravilla” will then be the champion in most people’s minds, after doing so. Miguel Cotto vs. Ricardo Mayorga – Mayorga may just be a stepping stone, but only the very real fighters beat him, and the win will reestablish Cotto.  It will also cement him as a belt-holder.  I already picked this.  Cotto by TKO. Vanes Martirosyan vs. Cornelius Bundrage - Again, Don King, why is this guy not fighting?!  You missed the Detroit boat already, but now K9’s not even on the card (yet anyway) underneath Cotta-Mayorga?  Vanes needs a title shot.  K9 has a title, and an optional defense.  Let’s make this happen.  Bundrage is also capable of pulling off upsets, and Martirosyan is vulnerable for one.  In fact, even though Vanes is a better fighter, I would pick it.  Bundrage by late TKO or close decision.

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MARCH PREDICTIONS

MARCH PREDICTIONS

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Matthew Hatton – Perhaps they are getting sued to Alvarez fighting overmatched opponents with famous last names.  This way he will be prepared for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.  While I am not fully sold on Alvarez being the next big star, Hatton is nothing more than a tough fringe contender who can handle himself.  He is not a puncher, and neither was Baldomir.  We wonder if his promoters are hiding something about Alvarez.  Defense being a weakness thus far, Alvarez is being matched with men who will not test his chin, but allow him to improve.  Hatton will show toughness, but little else, until he is stopped… probably from body shots in round 6 or 7. Miguel Cotto vs. Ricardo Mayorga – Mayorga is not one of my favorite fighters, and has received many shots (including this one) that he did not earn.  Yet, his inactivity is hiding his improvements as much as his weaknesses.  He has showed better boxing skills against Fernando Vargas and Shane Mosley.  Dismiss his punchers chance, as he has never been nearly the puncher we thought he was, at the higher levels anyway.  He is certain to catch Cotto once or twice, and make it interesting… yet talent eventually surfaces in all Mayorga’s fights in which his opponent can punch back.  Cotto by TKO in round 9 or 10. David Lemeiux vs. Marco Antonio Rubio – I’m a little disappointed that the winner of this fight will get Zbik (and likely a German screwing) rather than Martinez, but this is still the sleeper match of the month.  If Rubio is smarter than Elvin Ayala was, he can provide all the tests that Lemeiux needs to pass.  He needs to have his chin, stamina, and recuperative powers tested if we are to be as excited about him as the Montreal faithful.  Rubio hung tough when overmatched against Pavlik, but he could not use his height and reach against “The Ghost”.  Not a problem here.  Lemeiux will get his chin tested, as Rubio is a bit of a puncher… but it is Lemeiux who will throw better combinations, and land far more often. 

 

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GERMAN EXPORTS

GERMAN EXPORTS

While the heavyweight division is certainly heading over to Europe more often than not, this is not something for which I can blame the participants.  Even American cruiserweights are finding a promotional home overseas, in order to avoid inactivity, and miniscule purses.  At least the Klitschkos have made many U.S. appearances before going back to where the money is.  In many divisions, however, the German promised-land of big crowds and big money, for facing limited opposition has been too tempting to resist.  Therefore I'd like to congratulate three fighters who have made the leap to our shores, proving sometimes it is about legacy, and not just the almighty dollar. Arthur Abraham - Sure, it didn't go well his last time here, but Abraham's appearances on our shores have been his most difficult tasks.  Prior to his rematch with Edison Miranda, the Colombian had come closer than anyone to beating 'King' Arthur, and I believe he actualy had done so.  Abraham was not only fighting in the U.S., but in Miranda's adopted hometown of Miami.  Abraham scored an explosive knockout, and erased any doubt of his superiority.  Since then, his away-game has faltered.  He was dominated and humiliated in his DQ loss to Andre Dirrell, but again... he was facing a formidable task.  In Dirrell, he faced an undefeated former Olympic medalist, in his home country, and state.  This is definitely a guy who could have stayed in the comfort of his own home, and looked unbeatable, but he stepped out of the easy path, and you have to appluad him for that. Sergei Dzindruk - He is certainly not wasting any time.  The undefeated junior middleweight belt-holder gave up 18 months of what precious time he has left, to come to the U.S. and fight for smaller money and crowds.  When he finally did come back, he showed complete dominance, and supreme ability, even if over a limited opponent in Daniel Dawson. 

 

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HEAVYWEIGHT BUSTS IN THE 21st CENTURY

HEAVYWEIGHT BUSTS IN THE 21st CENTURY

While I was optimistic in an earlier blog about the American heavyweight landscape, I think it only fair to visit the source of some of our pessimism.  Today I am looking at some recent heavyweight busts.  I am not talking about quality fighters who just couldn’t win a title (Morrison, Chambers, Arreola, Brock).  I mean guys who went from hope to hype in dramatic fashion.  These three went from very exciting to virtually nothing, and extremely quickly.
Derrick Jefferson – Even when winning, Jefferson was not exactly convincing anyone of being Joe Louis.  He was, however, a big, strong, power-punching, undefeated, all-around athlete with heart.  “Derrick Jefferson, I love you!” bellowed Larry Merchant after his dramatic KO win over Maurice Harris.  However, Jefferson followed this coming-out-party victory with losses in 3 of his next 4 fights.  He was stopped in all 3, and in very different ways.  Jefferson dominated David Izon, only to run out of gas in the 9th round.  He then was competitive with Oleg Maskaev, only to lose on a broken ankle in round 4.  Then, two fights later, he was obliterated by Vladimir Klitschko in only 2 rounds.  His post-fight speeches rationalizing his losses were almost as entertaining as his fights.  He even alluded to taking up golf following the Klitschko loss.  Instead, he ended up putting together a 5-fight winning streak.  However, he was now having a hard time with the level of fighters he had previously destroyed.  The illusion ended for good, with a 2-round KO loss to Davarryl Williamson in 2005. Michael Grant – Like Jefferson, there was a broken ankle excuse for his second loss (McCline).  Unlike Jefferson , Grant began to unravel, while still undefeated.  Only Andrew Golota’s lack of heart saved Grant from defeat in their 1999 clash.  Golota had dropped Grant twice, and was well ahead on the scorecards, when he responded to a suffered knockdown by quitting. 

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AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHTS… WE STILL HAVE A CHANCE

AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHTS… WE STILL HAVE A CHANCE

I am the last person to “rah rah” about America being the best, or to bash it for being the worst.  I find most of the talk trendy, no matter the subject.  So, when my fellow boxing fans start summing up the bleakness of the American heavyweight picture, I like to remind them that we are still only a big victory or two away from a whole new trend.  Here are 3 fighters who are worthy of carrying the torch in the post-Klitschko era. Seth Mitchell – He is the fighter who came from the background with which most people are placing their American hopes – Football.  Yes, a fighter with a football injury, who turns to boxing and saves the day.  This is the story we hear often.  The flaws in this logic are numerous, most notably the lack of developmental years that his European counterparts will have spent honing their own skills.  The fighter called “Mayhem”, however, spent a few years in the amateurs, and at 28 years old, is just reaching his maturity.  A 20-0-1 record boasts recent victories over the division’s journeyman gatekeepers like Taurus Sykes and Derek Bryant.  The results have remained as dominant as they were in his early career.  He avenged his only blemish, and has not relied solely on power.  The D.C-area native has not been regionally protected either, as he has frequently journeyed to the SW desert for matches since the beginning of his career.  He is also young enough, especially nowadays, to lose once or twice and still have time to learn from it.  He is promoted by Golden Boy, and while no one is picking him to upset the Klitschkos, his development does give hope to those who wish for a U.S. made World Heavyweight champion, once they retire.

 

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So You Think You Want To Be An Aging Ex-Champ?

So You Think You Want To Be An Aging Ex-Champ?

Last weekend, former 4 time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, 43-10-2 (28),  took on fringe contender Sherman Williams. 34-11-2 (19) in an attempt to defend something called the World Boxing Federation Heavyweight title. The “fight” ended in Holyfield quitting after suffering a run of the mill cut over his left eye. This fight made me think about the former heavyweight champions still active today. Back in the 1980's, when we had more champions than challengers, which pissed me off, now, it makes me sad. I have compiled a list of heavyweight fighters that continue to fight, but probably need to retire. I realize the quest for the dollar is still alluring, but haven’t we learned a lesson from the sad tale of the late Greg Page? Here we go with a list of former heavyweight champions that need to climb out of the ring and collect retirement: Evander Holyfield - Probably the best boxer of the 90's. Evander made his way from cruiserweight champion, up to heavyweight champion of the world. Evander was the greatest fighter in the world for a short time, and during that short time, the heavyweight division was very competitive. Since Evander lost the crown, there has never been an unanimous champion. In his latest fight with journeyman Sherman Williams, he took a NC after a cut stopped the fight. Frans Botha - Frans, 47-5-3 (28), was a fringe heavyweight contender, but he did win the NABF title. In his most recent fight, Botha was KO’d by Evander Holyfield in the eighth round. He was recently rejected by the British Boxing Board of Control as an opponent for heavyweight prospect Tyson Fury and his rematch with Holyfield is in jeopardy of cancellation, depending on how Holyfield’s “cut” heals up. What can we expect from Frans? Probably a couple more fights, but hopefully not.

 

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Bradley Defeats Alexander In Technical Fashion!

Bradley Defeats Alexander In Technical Fashion!

Saturday night at the Silverdome in Pontiac Michigan, two of the best light welterweights in boxing met up for an early “fight of the year”. WBO champion Tim Bradley, 26-0 (11) and WBC champion Devon Alexander, 21-0 (13) stepped into the ring to decide who is the best and who will possibly be taking on Amir Khan later in 2011.  Hyped as a fight between speed and boxing ability, Tim Bradley took command early, trying to move around to nullify Alexanders speed. During round one it was more of a “feeling out” round, but Bradley landed some good shots at the end of the round. Alexander seemed to rebound in the second, winning the round closely by employing his speed to cut off his opponent. Bradley came out in third round and quickly too charge by out boxing Alexander, but towards the middle of the round the two fighters clashed heads which opened up a cut over the right eye of Alexander. The referee quickly alerted the ringside that the cut was caused by an unintentional head butt, which would play a big part in the end.  Round four saw Alexander coming back and it looked like he would start to use his speed to take over the fight. That wasn’t to happen as Bradley took over the next 3 rounds, hitting Alexander with hard, but not real powerful punches. The punches, had a power puncher landed them, would have dropped Alexander, but it just seemed to bother Alexander, not hurt him. The cut over Alexander’s right eye kept expanding during the fight as the ringside physician kept a close eye. Rounds eight and nine were close, but won by Bradley. Two more head butts in round eight started to frustrate Alexander and looked like it may have started a cut in the outer corner of his eye. The championship rounds started off promising as both men rushed to the center of the ring and looked energetic. Bradley was wisely still boxing Alexander, but as both men tried to land a big punch simultaneously, their heads came together and clashed, opening a cut on the left side of Bradley’s head. Alexander reacted by jumping away and screaming. He ran towards the corner as the referee call for time and the ringside physician. The doctor tried to examine Alexander and his eyes, but Alexander stated that he could not open his eyes due to the stinging in his eyes and in the cut. The doctor then alerted the referee that the fight would be halted. Because the cut that was bothering

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HEAVYWEIGHT BUSTS IN THE 21st CENTURY

HEAVYWEIGHT BUSTS IN THE 21st CENTURY

While I was optimistic in an earlier blog about the American heavyweight landscape, I think it only fair to visit the source of some of our pessimism.  Today I am looking at some recent heavyweight busts.  I am not talking about quality fighters who just couldn’t win a title (Morrison, Chambers, Arreola, Brock).  I mean guys who went from hope to hype in dramatic fashion.  These three went from very exciting to virtually nothing, and extremely quickly.
 
Derrick Jefferson – Even when winning, Jefferson was not exactly convincing anyone of being Joe Louis.  He was, however, a big, strong, power-punching, undefeated, all-around athlete with heart.  “Derrick Jefferson, I love you!” bellowed Larry Merchant after his dramatic KO win over Maurice Harris.  However, Jefferson followed this coming-out-party victory with losses in 3 of his next 4 fights.  He was stopped in all 3, and in very different ways.  Jefferson dominated David Izon, only to run out of gas in the 9th round.  He then was competitive with Oleg Maskaev, only to lose on a broken ankle in round 4.  Then, two fights later, he was obliterated by Vladimir Klitschko in only 2 rounds.  His post-fight speeches rationalizing his losses were almost as entertaining as his fights.  He even alluded to taking up golf following the Klitschko loss.  Instead, he ended up putting together a 5-fight winning streak.  However, he was now having a hard time with the level of fighters he had previously destroyed.  The illusion ended for good, with a 2-round KO loss to Davarryl Williamson in 2005.

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Kendall Holt Back In Ring After Tough 2 Years!

Kendall Holt Back In Ring After Tough 2 Years!

The past two years, 2009 and 2010, have been very tough for former WBO light welterweight champion Kendall Holt. Holt, 25-4 (13), has lost two consecutive fights, one in 2009 and one in 2010, the latter being an IBF eliminator fight which Holt was a heavy favorite, but wound up being battered and retired in his corner at the end of fifth round. Holt also had to deal with a money laundering charge that he is now completing a pre-trial intervention program that if he has trouble completing, could result in him spending three to five years in prison. January 29th, with hopefully all of that behind him, Holt steps back in the ring to try to kick start his career. He will be taking on former WBC Latino light welterweight title holder Lenin Arroyo, 20-14 (4), on the undercard of the Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander WBO/WBC showdown. Arroyo will provide some tough opposition to Holt; as well as give him a decent name on his record should he win the fight. Arroyo has been in against some stiff competition during his career including a win over former WBO light welterweight title holder Ener Julio and taking fighters Mike Jones, James De La Rosa and Randall Bailey the distance. A win by Holt will halt a two year winless streak and probably begin his rise back into title contention. Holt has been in some tough fights over the years, starting with a shocking 1st round TKO by the hands of unheralded Thomas Davis in 2004. Holt rebounded from that loss and won seven straight, including a stoppage of the previously unbeaten David Diaz and a UD over “Mighty” Mike Arnaoutis in a WBO light welterweight elimination bout.  That win brought Holt to one of his two controversial fights with Ricardo Torres. In the first bout, Holt was in control of the fight, knocking Torres down in round six, but stepped into a Torres left hook and was dropped.  

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One More Shot, Or One Too Many?

One More Shot, Or One Too Many?

This Saturday night, former heavyweight king Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield will climb back into the ring in an attempt to continue his climb back to another world championship. At Colonial Hall, the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Holyfield, 43-10-2 (28), will take on perennial opponent Sherman “The Tank” Williams, 34-11 (19), which will be broadcast on the Integrated Sports Network PPV for $29.95. The fight will be a defense of Holyfield’s World Boxing Federation heavyweight title which he won an 8th round TKO over former world title challenger Frans Botha. This climb back into the ring has Holyfield continue to campaign for another shot for a legitimate title against one of the Klitschko’s or David Haye. The last time Holyfield was given a legitimate shot, Holyfield dropped a very controversial majority decision to then WBA heavyweight title holder Nicolay Valuev in December of 2008. That fight, although not one of the better heavyweight fights I have ever seen, was taken out of Holyfield’s deserving hands when Valuev was “gifted” with a victory. That fight took place in Switzerland and anyone who has followed my radio show knows what I think of decisions against American fighters in Europe and how poorly the American fighter is treated, especially if it goes to a decision. Since then, Holyfield has only fought once, the aforementioned TKO over Botha. Now, in a step up in opponents, Holyfield will take on Sherman Williams. Wow, sorry, I couldn’t get through that last sentence without laughing. Williams is hardly a step up for anyone except a young heavyweight that is on his way up, certainly not a fading former world champion and certain hall of famer like Holyfield. At one point, rumor had Holyfield taking on a number of different fighters, including a very unbelievable fourth fight with another former champion Riddick Bowe.

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Fight of The Year Candidate Starts Early In 2011

Fight of The Year Candidate Starts Early In 2011

Usually a boxing match that can be called a “Fight of the Year” does not come around until late February or early March. That is usually due to the fighters wrapping up the previous year with fights in November or early December. When we look back, some of the best fights of any year even happen as late as June. 2011 has already bucked that trend, as next weekend two fighters that are on top of their game, will meet in the ring. January 29th, at the Silverdome in Pontiac Michigan (wow, that place is still open? Another story I guess), current WBC and former IBF light welterweight champion Devon Alexander, 23-0 (13), will take on WBO light welterweight champion Timothy Bradley, 26-0 1 NC (11), in what will be a great fight. In a BS move, the WBC has stated it would not honor Bradley as champion, should he win the fight. The winner of this fight will most likely move into the top five of the unofficial “pound for pound” rankings. The loser will still be a very relevant member of the light welterweight division. A look at the fighters show that Timothy Bradley is a more polished fighter, defeating top fighters like Luis Abregu, Lamont Peterson, Edner Cherry, Junior Witter and Kendall Holt. Two of those men (Holt and Witter) were world champions, one (Cherry) held a minor title but has faced and beaten many ex-champions and tough opponents and two of the fighters (Abregu and Peterson) were “up and coming” world beaters. For the most part, Bradley had no problem in handling any of these men.

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The Rise of a Mexican American Heavyweight – David "Nino" Rodriguez Interview

The Rise of a Mexican American Heavyweight – David

Heavyweight boxing appears to be on a decline and in desperate need of a charismatic champion who can bring back flair into the division. The fierce unpredictability of heavyweight boxers of the past is what brought excitement and luster to the sport, making boxing what it is today. European boxers who now dominate the heavyweight division haven’t been able to bring boxing back to where it once was. Boxers such as the Klitschko’s are often viewed as boring with little to no knockout power. There is a growing need for American heavyweights with charm, fire and personality to bring back what was once the most popular boxing division in the world. Considering this unfortunate trend, we’ve documented the career of David “Nino” Rodriguez, an undefeated Mexican American Heavyweight boxer with great boxing potential, style and personality. Rodriguez has amassed a record of 33 wins with 31 KO's and he believes he can bring back heavyweight boxing. Rodriguez is currently ranked # 1 by WBO Latino, #10 NABF, #12 WBA, and #15 NABO.  If Rodriguez succeeds he will be the 1st heavyweight champion of Mexican decent and the 1st American heavyweight world champion in many years. To accomplish this Rodriguez felt that he had to make some difficult changes in training and management. 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Regarding Jurgen Brahmer’s last-minute pullout of his match with Beibut Shumenov… did anyone really think a German promoter was going to allow a unification match?  Away from home?  Against a favored fighter?!  If you believe that, I’d like to introduce you the Don King fighter who fights 5 times a year. Floyd Mayweather should fight Sergio Martinez.  Unless Sebastian Zbik is a lot better than the record of his opponents indicates, there will be a June/July date open for the Middleweight champion.  If Mayweather beats the number 3 pound-for-pound fighter, he’ll have beaten higher ranked p4p fighters than Pacquiao has been beating of late (Martinez and Marquez).  Floyd will also have actually beaten a world champion well outside of his own natural weight class.  That is something Pacquiao had previously perfected.  Difference here is that Martinez is peaking.  What better way to shut up the critics, right before you get sent up the river? Victor Ortiz will end up a lot better than he is looking now.  He is learning.  He is not protected.  He is in a hot division.  He is a southpaw with good skills and power, who has lost/drawn in some controversial ways.  He has 2 losses, and 2 draws.  It sounds like I am talking about an up-and-coming Marvin Hagler doesn’t it? 

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LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT?

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT?

Ahhh, yes… more wishful thinking.  This division has experienced many recent shake-ups.  While the usual goal of recent tournaments has been to crown one champion, neither the Bantamweight nor Super Middleweights will do so.  They are still worth doing, for all the action, and high quality match-ups they provide.  Even a division with a clear champion still often has a mess of talent that need to face each other.  The Light Heavies are one such example.  Here is my idea for an eight-man single elimination tournament, which can be completed by December, provided no injuries or postponements take place.  This may seem like overkill, as Pascal, Cloud, Hopkins, and Dawson may decide the best without adding four more names.  However, I would remind everyone that Andre Ward was nowhere near the front runner he is now in the Super Six.  I feel the efforts being made by the other Light Heavies to call each other out, and actually fight each other, warrant their inclusion. Beibut Shumenov vs. Jurgen Brahmer – This fight is happening already, and is a tough one to call.  Shumenov’s weaknesses are noticeable, but he is developing well in his young career, and beat a legit top-ten fighter in Vyechslav Uzelkov, his last time out.  Brahmer has fought exclusively in Germany (except one trip to Hungary ) over his 11 year career.  That, combined with losses to limited Mario Veit and Hugo Garay, suggest he simply lucked into the belt that Zsolt Erdei vacated.   

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FIGHTERS WHO BEAT A FUTURE 'GREAT' EARLY ON

FIGHTERS WHO BEAT A FUTURE 'GREAT' EARLY ON

Many writers, including myself have explored the phenomena of fighters who had rough starts to the pro game, yet usually we never examine the fighters who defeated them.  Occasionally they go on to successful careers themselves.  For instance, heavyweights James Broad, and Howard Smith certainly did not enjoy the success that their debuting kayo victims Mike Weaver and Bonecrusher Smith (respectively) earned, yet they became contenders for a short time.  Today, I will look at three young prospects who beat future great fighters, and went absolutely nowhere quickly. Rosendo Sanchez – After losing his own professional debut in 1996, this young California bantamweight won two fights, also by fur round decision, before stepping away for 4 years.  When he finally returned to the ring in 2001, the opponent was a 1-0 Nonito Donaire.  Sanchez won a 5-round decision over Donaire… and until Donaire beat Concepcion recently, Sanchez was the only opponent of ‘The Filipino Flash’ to not be stopped or dropped by him!  Sanchez won another fight two months later.  This, surprisingly, is where the story ends, at least in boxing.  Sanchez never fought again, and Donaire has not lost since.  He is a multi-division champion, a top 10 pound-for-pounder, and likely future hall-of-famer. 

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FEBRUARY PREDICTIONS

FEBRUARY PREDICTIONS

This is a slow month, but those usually lend themselves to high action, big upsets, and unexpected stars.  The scramble for the spotlight falls solely on those who perform in a slow month, regardless of name.  This is because the names are all taking time off, even in other sports.  Remember, this was the month that Douglas beat Tyson.  Fernando Montiel vs. Nonito Donaire – This is the biggest fight of the month of February, in the fastest moving division.  By the end of April, we will have not only the winner of this match-up, but the winner of the Showtime Bantamweight tournament.  Network and promoter problems may prohibit a match-up between them, but let’s jump off that bridge when we come to it.  Montiel’s new power has him scoring big early-round knockouts, over legitimate top contenders.  Donaire has remained largely untouchable since his explosive entrance into the championship picture, over Darchinyan  3 ½ years ago.  Will this match-up come down to chins, or strategies?  It benefits Montiel to go to war, but he gets his victories with speed and technical ability, as much as knockout power.  I believe he has never been countered as powerfully as Donaire is capable of doing, and that will add a new element to the fight.  Donaire figures to get hit harder than he has in some time.  However, his reaction the last time it happened, was to score an explosive knockout.  I think that will happen again here.  Montiel’s heart will keep him coming forward, but his intelligence will not be enough to overcome physical disadvantages.  Donaire by 7th round KO in an entertaining slugfest. Sergio Mora vs. Brian Vera

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2010 AWARDS, PART 2

2010 AWARDS, PART 2

FIGHTER OF THE YEAR - If he had stopped Bernard Hopkins in 3, Jean Pascal would be here, no question, but a badly-fading performance lops him out of the running.  That leaves no one else in my mind, except Sergio Martinez.  In his first fight ever at Middleweight, he lifted the title from Kelly Pavlik.  It was Pavlik’s first loss at his natural weight.   Martinez also had to get off the canvas from a knockdown, and adjust his style, once Pavlik had initially figured him out.  He followed this up by getting revenge over his only recent loss, with a stunning one-punch KO over Paul Williams.  Though few are talking about it yet, he is likely the leading contender for a Mayweather match, if Floyd can stay out of jail.  Even if no one else comes calling at 154, Martinez has a host of exciting contenders to his 160lb crown.  Not bad for a guy who is closer to 40 than 30. Honorable mention – Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Lopez, Andre Ward. COMEBACK OF THE YEAR  - Juan Manuel Marquez – Sure, Juan Diaz has seen his best days, and Michael Katsidis was never a championship-caliber fighter, but they are brawlers who guarantee a tough night for anyone.  Marquez had seemingly had enough tough nights, but it turned out he still had more than enough left in the tank.  Marquez was already in his mid 30’s, having had many wars, when he suffered the first clear-cut loss of his career.  Marquez was beaten up and dominated by Floyd Mayweather, and if he had decided to hang up his gloves after that, no one would have blamed him. 

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GREATEST CRUISERS OF ALL TIME?? PART 1

GREATEST CRUISERS OF ALL TIME??  PART 1

I know I’ve done this before years ago, with the cruiserweights who actually existed in the 30 year-old division.  Now, let us do a retrospective on old-time fighters who would have been cruiserweights today.  I will not speculate as to how they would have done today… rather how they would have fared had such a division have existed during their era.  I am not going back to the days 100 years ago when virtually every heavyweight was under 190lbs.  Rather, I wish to discuss those who might have been handicapped by this division not existing.  In my first entries, these men all existed back-to-back, and would have provided a golden era for cruiserweights in the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Ezzard Charles - If many historians list him as the greatest light heavyweight of all time, and he beat many great hall-of-fame heavyweights, odds are we may have been looking at the world’s best cruiserweight.  Charles was not exactly facing a prime Louis or Walcott, but he dominated Louis, and many believe he deserved the decision in all 3 fights with Walcott in which he was not caught with a perfect left hook (fight 3).  Charles himself was past his prime, when he became the only fighter to go the distance during Marciano’s championship reign.  In fact, he came closer than anyone to beating Marciano in the rematch, when Marciano’s nose split open.  Only his willingness to get close to finish the job, got him KO’d in 8 rounds.  Light heavyweights dodged him, so he never won the title there, but if there were a division for 190lb-ers during his era, it’s hard to envision anyone but Marciano beating him… and during Charles’ prime, perhaps no one.

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Match-up Brings On Disappointment

Match-up Brings On Disappointment

Is there anything more frustrating for a boxing fan than hearing about the potential bout between Manny Pacquiao and Sugar Shane Mosely? It is like sitting down and watching a movie and the person behind you whispers in your ear on how it ends. Even worse, it is as if you’re watching the Super Bowl and you already know the outcome. For average fans a bout between Manny Pacquiao and Sugar Shane Mosely sounds like a great fight. Matter of fact, a good friend called me as soon as the bout was official for May 7th. She is not your biggest boxing fan but one that pays attention when a big name announces a big fight. As for my excitement just imagine a Bill Belichick press conference after winning the second game of the regular season. Bahhh Humbug. I may sound the like the Grinch who stole Christmas but this is just as good as trusting Don King with your money. This fight is supposed to be Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao. The fight that Mayweather continues to duck as his life is spiraling out of control. The Politician vs. the Convict, the Best vs. the Best, the fight for the ages that every fan yearns to see. The fight that saves boxing and brings fans to their feet after every jab that connects. Instead we get another slap in the face and an average fight at best.

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Jeff Lacy Loses, So What Happens Next?

Jeff Lacy Loses, So What Happens Next?

On December 12th,  in downtown St. Petersburg Fl, former IBF super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy, 25-4 (17), stepped back into the ring for the first time in over a year, taking time off to heal after rotator cuff surgery. The fighter that Lacy picked was a very rugged Philly fighter and a veteran of boxing, Dhafir Smith, 24-19-7 (4), who had been in the ring with fighters like Andre Ward and Larry Marks. A fighter with the record that Smith stepped into the ring with was seen as a safer bet than most, but still a bit dangerous for Lacy, considering he would be facing some tough ring rust. The fight started out well for Lacy who was able to hunt down Smith and apply pressure in the first round. Lacy looked like the fighter of old, constant jabs to the body and his famous left hook working well at peppering the body and face of Smith. Winning the first round and on this pace, it looked like Lacy would be on his way to a workman like victory. Then the second round happened. The comfortable Lacy started to look like he was lost as he chased Smith around the ring. The rest of the fight seemed to get worse for Lacy as he went after Smith, but was unable to catch up with him. Lacy seemed to have lost the tracking aggressive style that he had once possessed prior to a devastating loss to Joe Calzaghe and a shoulder injury that required surgery. In the end, the judges’ scorecards showed how far Lacy has fallen from his world title as Smith won all three score cards 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112.

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Floyd Jr’s Next Fight? In the Courtroom

Floyd Jr’s Next Fight? In the Courtroom

On January 24th 2011, the boxing public may see something happen that has never been done before, a KO of Floyd Mayweather Jr. On that date, Floyd Jr. is due in the courtroom to answer charges of felony counts of coercion, robbery and grand larceny -- as well as four misdemeanors, in an incident involving his children and their mother, Josie Harris. Harris alleges that Floyd Jr. beat her, threatened more harm and stole her cell phone. He allegedly then made threats to beat his sons, should they called the police or left the house. He was released on $3000 bail. Should he be found guilty on all charges, it could cost Floyd up to 34 years in prison. You would think with all of this on his plate, Floyd would try to be low key and not make any waves. Apparently we don’t know Floyd Jr. On November 15th, Floyd Jr. had an altercation in which he allegedly battered a security guard from his homeowners association over parking tickets the guard placed on cars outside the fighters home. Police allege that Floyd Jr. stopped the 21 year old guard and refused to allow him to leave the cul-de-sac where the fighter lives. He allegedly confronted the guard telling him that he had “no business touching his personal property”. During the confrontation it was reported that the former champion repeatedly poked the guard in the face with his finger. The police responded and took photos of the area, which was reddened and a bit swollen. Floyd Jr. denies the charges through his attorney Karen Winckler. He was arrested on December 17th on these charges and was once again released on bail.

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2010 AWARDS, PART 1

2010 AWARDS, PART 1

FIGHT OF THE YEAR
Mikkel Kessler W12 Carl Froch – Contested at the highest level, with consistent action, ebbs and flows, and a questionable verdict.  Neither man was able to have the control he is typically used to… and that tension made for an exciting 12 rounds.  Both men also appeared to be getting hit by the hardest puncher he had faced, yet chin and toughness kept them from showing any real weakness.  I had Kessler winning 115-113.  Only one of the judges had it that close, which makes you wonder if Froch had really deserved the verdict, would he have been screwed?  It seemed the straighter punches, and better jab of Kessler made the difference, if not the hometown crowd.  Top it off by both combatants showing class at the bouts end, and you have my fight of the year.  By the end of 2010, Froch had dominated Arthur Abraham to right his own ship, while Kessler had dropped out of the Super Six altogether, due to injury. UPSET OF THE YEAR - Jason Litzau W10 Celestino Caballero – Litzau was a live underdog, as Caballero was moving eight pounds above his most successful weight, and Litzau had always been a good offensive fighter.  However, Caballero’s recent destruction of Steve Molitor, followed by the stampede of challengers avoiding him, gave ‘Pelenchin’ an aura of invincibility.  

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The Brown Symphony in Leather

The Brown Symphony in Leather

The Legacy of Boxer Tony (Herrera) Campbell

A Short Essay by Thomas W. McKay

Tony ‘Herrera’ Campbell was affectionately labeled ‘The Brown Symphony in Leather’ by the New York Times in the 1930’s. He was a virtual virtuoso in the ring and he hit his foes with the low and high notes of his boxing repertoire in and around the squared circle as if in tune to a metronome. The Times sports writer must have been a fan of Mozart as he carefully analyzed Herrera’s classic style of movements that included a fast swarming start to overwhelm an opponent, to a slower pace with emphasis on establishing a confusing game strategy over the long haul of a fight, and then as a seemingly lull set in, unleashing rapid-fire combinations that thundered home on his foes like an earthquake. Or as the writer may have implied, it was ‘Allegro-Dagio-Rondo.’ To be sure, Tony Herrera was one of the top classical boxers in fistic history.  He was an uncrowned champion who was rated in the top-ten featherweights for most of his long career. Tony fought in the days of official and non-official boxing matches. There is a limited record of his amateur bouts but he was such a savvy learner and winner that he captured the eye of some of the professional managers back east. The Great Depression with all its agony was devastating the country and millions of people, including the Campbell family, were near destitute. The family had settled in El Paso after moving from Ft. Worth, Texas where Tony was born on May 1st, 1908. His Mother was Mexican and his father a Scottish American. His Mother didn’t approve of her son turning professional so some quick skullduggery by Tony and his team led to just using his Mom’s maiden name instead of his last given name. And so it was that the boxer, Tony Campbell, now Tony Herrera, entered the squared circle as a professional for the first time in Omaha, Nebraska on February 27th, 1930. His opponent in his maiden debut was Eddie ‘Kid’ Wagner, a seasoned old ring pro with a record of 49-31-9. Tony was fearless and his skills prevailed as he KO’s the Kid in the 4th round. And his career was off to a winning start.

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Hopkins Robbed Of History In Controversial Draw

Hopkins Robbed Of History In Controversial Draw

Saturday night in Montreal, Quebec Canada, Bernard Hopkins stepped into the ring as a huge underdog, having 18 years on his opponent and fighting Jean Pascal’s backyard. The task that Hopkins was tasked with, defeating his younger opponent for the WBC light heavyweight championship and doing it as the oldest fighter to be in position to win a major title. The stage was set for Jean Pascal, 26-1-1 (16), to make his statement over the former world champion. It seemed that would be the case in the first three rounds as Bernard, 51-5-1 (32),  was knocked down twice, once in the first and again in the third round. The first knockdown seemed to be more of a push, but was still counted as a knockdown. That hole was a pretty deep dig for the 45 year old fighter, but a hole that Hopkins has been in before. The fifth round looked to be a turning point for Hopkins as he realized that the younger fighter may have overlooked the body shot. The “head first” game plan seemed to dry up completely in the sixth round as the Hopkins motor started to run. Hopkins, always a smart fighter, took advantage of his opponents game plan and started to pressure Pascal. At the end of that round, Showtime’s Jim Gray spoke with former world champion Glen Johnson (a great friend of the Fightin’ Words Radio Network and mine) who stated that Hopkins would start to take over the fight and win it in the late rounds. Those words, at least for me, turned out to be prophetic, as Hopkins started to take over the fight. Rounds 5 through 8 went Hopkins way easily, as the former champion chased his younger opponent down and beat him to the punch, throwing combinations with precision. Pascal, who continued to back away, tried to counter punch, but that plan seemed to only re-energize his 45 year old opponent. Round 9 saw Pascal get back into his groove, but it only lasted that round as Hopkins again took over the fight, winning the next three rounds.

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DIVISION CLEAN-UP, FEATHERWEIGHTS

DIVISION CLEAN-UP, FEATHERWEIGHTS

The featherweight division is a mess.  It’s the kind of mess that you wake up to on a Sunday morning, after a great party.  It’s for a good reason, but still a mess.  The talent-rich 126lb-ers have made every move possible without actually pitting the young guns against each other.  While this has meant fighters like Orlando Salido and Steven Luevano have gotten into the mix, along with old pros like Rafael Marquez, there is a clear avoidance of what fans want to see.  They want to see Juanma, Gamboa, and now to a lesser extent Caballero.  While everyone is advocating tournaments now, and I agree, I have long been doing this “clean-up” recommendation for divisions, and will keep the format the same.  Here is my idea for a single elimination, Super 8.  While Top Rank doesn’t want to do all of the work only to benefit promoters of other fighters (rightfully so), there should be enough Latino last names here to make them feel it is worth the gamble. Juanma Lopez vs. Elio Rojas – A chance for Lopez to unify belts, and take on a fighter who wuill make it exciting, if not very competitive.  While this may look like more delaying of the inevitable, when we have a tournament, where we are guaranteed the best to face each other, we can simply watch these kinds of fights and enjoy them.  Rojas is hungry, but I believe he will not provide much that Juanma hasn’t seen before.  His opponents list is not impressive, and he has a fairly recent loss to spoiler Gamaliel Diaz.  Lopez by middle-round TKO.

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

IS IT JUST ME, OR...
 
...was Darchinyan vs. Mares more of a draw than Peterson vs. Ortiz?  I had Vicious Victor winning that one by a few points.  Now, he has a bizarre story to tell about virtually every blemish on his record.  He seems to be getting better all the time, and is very young, so these hiccups are probably making him a better fighter.  Maybe the all-Garden City brawl with Brandon Rios isn't so unattractive to him now. ...did Darchinyan have an extra bitter night?  Now, not only did he lose a close one, but he also loses a chance for revenge after Agbeko regained his crown.  Nobody is mentioning it, either, but Darchinyan's punch and chin are not the same at 118lbs.  When Mares can outbrawl you, your intimidation factor is gone.  He still has good boxing skills, but don't look for any more dominant performances at the highest level from him. ... was the HBO commentary team deliberately withholding credit to Amir Khan for standing up to Maidana's bombs?  Sure, he fought in retreat the last few rounds, but he took several shots flush on the chin, and only was seriously wobbled once.  He was also battling fatigue by that time.  He even did all of this while barely knowing how to clinch, and if Maidana was less sloppy, that could have been a deadly mistake.

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Jeff Lacy Takes A Step Back Into The Ring

Jeff Lacy Takes A Step Back Into The Ring

Saturday night, at the outdoor concert venue called Jannus Live in downtown St. Petersburg Fl, former IBF/WBO super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy will step back into the ring for the first time since his corner stopped his bout with another former champion, Roy Jones Jr, in August of 2009. The fight venue is a bit of a step down for a fighter that once fought on PPV in Vegas, but it is a step back into greatness for a fighter that truly is a nice guy. For this fight, Lacy 25-3 (17), will take on a tough veteran out of Philadelphia, Dhafir Smith 23-19-7 (4). Lacy is looking to make a run at the super middleweight title again. His career has been like a roller coaster ride as he has been to the top of his division and in top shape before taking on another champion, Joe Calzaghe, and absorbing a career changing beating at his hands. In his first fight back, Lacy took on Vitaliy Tyspko and won a majority decision.  After that fight, it was revealed that Lacy had suffered a torn rotator cuff early in the fight which limited his fighting. He then took a year off before he returned to the ring. Lacy’s career after that was never the same, winning fights against guys like Peter Manfredo and Epifanio Mendoza before heading into a crossroads fight against former middleweight champion Jermaine Taylor. In that fight, it seemed that Jeff Lacy was lost and it showed on the judge’s scorecard as they awarded Taylor a wide unanimous decision. Lacy bounced back in a win against fringe contender Otis Griffin which led to the fight against Roy Jones Jr. In the fight, Lacy seemed to be slower than we have seen him and Roy Jones was able to tee off on him, leaving his corner no choice but to stop the fight at the end of the tenth round.

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JANUARY PREDICTIONS

JANUARY PREDICTIONS

Timothy Bradley vs. Devon Alexander – This is a hard one to call.  I am just glad it’s happening.  Alexander and Bradley have shown the right amount of both prowess and vulnerability to make this anyone’s fight.  The tipping point for me seems to be the high work rate Bradley is capable of over a long fight.  Overcoming knockdowns to outwork Kendall Holt, and negating Holt’s boxing ability is what is setting the blueprint in my mind.  I can see Alexander’s power being too much, and even his boxing ability making it a tough night.  However, Kotelnik exposed some holes, and I believe Bradley will be more efficient in exploiting them.  What little power Bradley had is gone at the higher level, however forcing otherwise talented boxers into looking to land a big shot, is how he beat Holt, Peterson, and Witter.  Bradley by close unanimous decision. And could somebody please tell me if Cornelius “K9” Bundrage is on this card?  He won the IBF 154 belt from Cory Spinks, a Don King fighter.  This means King probably has at least options on him, if not full promotion rights.  Alexander is a King fighter, so why not have Bundrage defend the belt in his hometown ( Detroit ), on the undercard.  I believe his mandatory is also Sechew Powell, with whom he had that crazy 22-second double knockdown fight.  It makes perfect sense.  That’s why it won’t happen.  Don King fighters fight once a year, or less, unless they are budding stars.  Enjoy the bench, K9. Beibut Shumenov vs. BJürgen Brähmer - This is a pairing of two lower top 10 fighters, in a division that is very interesting right now.

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Yo Paulie, the Hall of Fame! Can You Believe It?

Yo Paulie, the Hall of Fame! Can You Believe It?

Growing up in the Philadelphia area in the mid 70’s was a special time. The Flyers were winning Stanley Cups, Phillies were always on the verge of the World Series, Eagles were improving, and the 76er’s were always in the running for the NBA title. I loved growing up around that magical sports city, watching my sports hero’s up close and personal as my father was friends with many of the players. It would be nothing for my brother, sister and I to spend time around the Flyers Ed Van Impe or Dave Schultz. With all of that, it was one singular man that captured my attention more than any other in 1976. His name was Rocky Balboa. Along with the magic of the Philly sports teams, 1976 was also a magical historical time in the city. America was celebrating its 200th birthday and I lived in the area were the country was born. The celebrations were huge and long, but what I remember the most of the bicentennial year was my grandfather, Jim McGowan, taking my brother and I to the theater at the Tri-State mall in Claymont Delaware to see an unknown actor named Sylvester Stallone in a movie called “Rocky” Not only would the movie suck me in as a fan of the fictional Rocky Balboa, it would also begin my love affair with the sport of boxing. From the age of 10, I was hooked thanks to a southpaw who is plucked from obscurity to fight the world heavyweight champion on New Year’s Day 1976.

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GOLD MEDAL BUSTS, PART 1

GOLD MEDAL BUSTS, PART 1

This is my first blog in a series where I give some rememberance to the former Olympic Gold medalists whose pro careers did not match their amateur achievements.  To me, a “Bust” is someone who tried and failed.  I define failure as not winning any world titles, and/or losing to sub-par competition.  Therefore, one who did not turn pro doesn’t count, nor does one who turned pro briefly and decided to leave (Wille de Wit, Leo Randolph).  It also does not take into account those for whom expectations were too lofty, and they still succeeded well beyond most (Mark Breland).  This topic will make you think of others, and please suggest them.  But these are the first two that came to my mind. Henry Tillman – He beat Mike Tyson on two close decisions to earn his way on to the 1984 Olympic team.  Then managed to win the gold medal in front of his hometown fans in Los Angeles .  Sounds like a great story, but in hindsight, I’m sure Tillman wishes it ended there.  Had there been a 205lb division, maybe Tillman would have done very well, however, his amateur style hid something that was quickly revealed as he was moved up the cruiserweight ladder very fast.  He had a weak chin.  He also had a style too sloppy for the pros, and never switched trainers from the man who guided him to amateur glory. 

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After Crushing Margarito, Pacquiao Has Many Options

After Crushing Margarito, Pacquiao Has Many Options

Manny Pacquiao’s, 52-3-2 (38), bruising win over Antonio Margarito, 38-7 (27), has the boxing world wondering who will be the next foe to step in front of boxing’s biggest star. Many are still calling for the showdown between him and Floyd Mayweather Jr, 41-0 (25), a showdown that may never happen as Mayweather faces a court date for 3 felonies and 4 misdemeanor charges in Nevada. If convicted, he faces up to 34 years in prison. This combined with an inability to get both sides to agree on the proper blood testing procedures, really makes the match up a faint possibility. That said, money talks (no pun intended as “Money” Mayweather never shuts up, even getting himself into all kinds of trouble with his blabbering) and that could trump any problems needed to work out the bout. Even without that fight in the future for Pacquiao, he has several viable fights he could take. The following is a list of fights available for Pac-man’s next fight:  Sergio Martinez:  Martinez, 46-2-2 (25), is fresh off a devastating knockout victory over Paul Williams on 11/20. Martinez was the first person to crack the iron chin of Williams and provides any opponent a stiff test. With a combination of power and great speed, Martinez may confuse Pacquiao for the first half of the bout, possibly even building up a lead. Pacquiao would have to be very careful when wading in to throw combinations on Martinez as it could cost him. On the downside, this fight would have to be done at a catch weight and trying to get to an agreement on the weight may be a hurdle. Martinez will also take a lot of punches in order to land, which would play into Pacquiao’s advantage.

 

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The Passing of Boxing Hall of Famer Pete Cervin

The Passing of Boxing Hall of Famer Pete Cervin

Margie Cervin of Bainbridge Island, Wahington, called me to pass on the sad news that former El Paso boxer, Pete Cervin, her husband, had passed away November 15th, 2010. Pete died of complications from pnuemonia at age eighty. ...She told me that Pete was unable to make any phone calls or send letters the many months of his illness. However, he wanted his wife to notify Tom McKay, Jesse Fonseca, Dr. Raul Rivera, and any of the living old timers to express his friendship and ever lasting love for El Paso and his many loved ones, friends, and acquaintances. He also requested that his Los Angeles Boxing Group be notified should he pass on. He met regularly with Art (Golden Boy) Aragon, Enrique Bolanos, Oscar De LA Hoya and a host of other great boxers from the Los Angeles area. Pete was an amateur boxing star in the 1940's and won many titles in El Paso and later in New York. He turned professional in New York after ringing up a stunning 62-5 amateur boxing record. His professional career began in New York and he lost nearly half of his first twenty fights as there was pressure from the underworld to make certain that certain fighters won bouts. He made the move to more friendly Los Angeles where he was able to perform at a commendable level of fitness and skill and established himself as a welterweight and middleweight contender. He also was a favorite in Arizona and in 1950 he won the USA State Middleweight Championship. When TV was in its infancy in black and white, Pete was one of the first Mexican/American guests on many of the Los Angeles based programs.

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

We've now seen Andre Ward win in dominating fashion against three top 10 super-middleweights, in completely different ways.  Outboxing Kessler, outslugging Green, and outmauling Bika.  To see Bika complaining about headbutts was actually hilarious.  Now he knows how it feels. Even though it was a boxing display, Froch's power and reach made the difference against Abraham.  He could not walk through the Englishman's shots, and was off balance all night.  He was also completely out of range, something Abraham is usually able to correct as the fight goes on.  If the Armenian is dominated by Ward, it will have as much to do with lack of confidence as anything else.

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FIGHTERS WHO SHOULD HANG ‘EM UP

FIGHTERS WHO SHOULD HANG ‘EM UP

I haven’t done one of these for awhile, but I don’t like to call out the same person repeatedly who doesn’t get the message.  Therefore, you won’t be seeing Roy Jones or Antwun Echols on this list, even thought it’s obvious.  Guys like that fight on for their own reasons.  I call them out once, then leave it alone.  I am adding three new entries who make this list due to recent performances, age, career momentum, etc. Ivan Calderon – Can he still fight?  Yes, but like Pernell Whittaker before him, very few undersized slicksters are going to make much noise past 35 years old.  Even Trinidad couldn’t pound some sense into Whittaker, much like Rafael Marquez couldn’t pound sense into Mark ‘Too Sharp” Johnson.  They’d never legitimately lost before… so why stop after one?  Let’s hope Calderon doesn’t exercise a rematch clause agaisnt Giovanni Segura, and gets the message sooner.   Willie Pep may have pulled off a similar miracle against a bigger stronger opponent in Sandy Saddler, but just opened the door to get beat up in 2 more fights.  He dominated the lower weight classes for years, with every disadvantage except speed and pure talent.  There is nothing left to do, except take too much punishment.

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POUND PER POUND GREATS, PART 2

POUND PER POUND GREATS, PART 2

In the discussion of the greatest all-time fighters... there are the usual suspects that enter the top 3.  Most have Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, and Sugar Ray Robinson in those spots.  There may be disagreement as to the order, but rarely are there others in the top 3 spots.  When looking at the next few names down the list, there are of course a few I'd put in different places.  In my not-so-humble option, here is a list of a few names who often rank higher than they should.  I already compiled a list of a few that rate too low.  To start, let's look at my criteria for what makes an all-time great:  
 1) Offensive ability (should have top shelf speed, power, combinations, the basics of "hit and not get hit" at the highest level)
2) Defense (self explanatory)
3) Chin (when you got through that defense, did anything happen?)
4) Adaptability (did he win fights that he should not have won, by adjusting... even going against his own nature?)
5) Heart (when pushed, did he show a champion's mettle?)
6) Quality of opposition (who was there to push him?)
 ROCKY MARCIANO, JACK DEMPSEY, JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ

 

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WHERE DO THEY GO FROM HERE?

WHERE DO THEY GO FROM HERE?

After the weekend’s events, a big question has been raised.  Where does many Pacquiao go from here?  I think the answer to this question depends on a few factors.  As much as Bob Arum would love it, nobody wants to see Cotto-Pacquiao 2.  He is a master of spin, as he made people think Margarito stood a chance with all the Manny distractions, rah rah Mexico blah blah blah.  He is only human, however.  There are only two realistic options for Manny Pacquiao, and one of them depends on this weekend’s events. If Paul Williams defeats Sergio Martinez this Saturday, as I suspect he will, option one is gone.  That would be to fight Martinez for the Middleweight championship.  While casual boxing fans may have been fooled into thinking Pacquiao became an actual champion last Saturday, here is an opportunity to not only win a belt in a ninth division, but to beat a legitimate champion to do so.  Plus the size disadvantage Pacquiao went through against Margarito would be no worse than it would be against Martinez . “Maravilla” may be a Middleweight champion, but he is really a Junior Middleweight.  Also, he is a boxer, and not a huge puncher.  Pacquiao would probably be the only opponent of Martinez ’s career who had a speed advantage over him.  It’s a very winnable fight for Pacquiao.  It is also a way to go out with the Henry Armstrong comparisons intact, without ever facing Mayweather.  Throw this plan out the window if Williams wins.  Williams vs. Pavlik becomes the big fight at Middleweight, and Manny is simply too small to fight one of those guys.

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Pacquiao’s Statement Leaves Margarito Bruised!

Pacquiao’s Statement Leaves Margarito Bruised!

For the first time this year, fans filling Cowboys stadium saw a win. Of course it was not the Cowboys, but it was a huge win none the less. On a night full of suspense, Manny Pacquiao stepped into the ring against the biggest, in size, fighter so far in his career Antonio Margarito. The fight split many fight fans in who they thought would win, the quicker, better Pacquiao or the bigger possibly more powerful Margarito. The only thing that was left was to ring the bell. Even before the fight started there was drama as an associate of Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach spotted what he described as an Ephedra type substance in Margarito’s locker room and they immediately complained to the commission. It was decided by the commission that any illegal substances would show up in the post fight urinalysis. After all of the hoopla died and round one began, the beating began and history was made once again.

 

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Undercards Provide A Great Opening Show!

Undercards Provide A Great Opening Show!

Jones Wins Close Decision in A Slugfest
On the last undercard fight prior to the main event of the night, the Pacquiao - Margarito showdown, Philadelphia’s Mike Jones, 23-0 (18), met up with Antonio Margarito’s main sparring partner Jesus Soto Karass, 24-5-3 (16), and it proved to be as tough a fight as it sounded on paper. Fighting for three minor belts, Jones came out swinging in the first round and had referee Rafael Ramos looking very closely as he pounded Karass along the ropes, but somehow Karass survived the onslaught and it seemed that Jones had used a lot of energy to try to finish off his opponent.  Rigondeaux Escapes With Split Decision Victory!

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Convicted Artist Magazine Catches Up With Scotty “The Bulldog” Olson.

Convicted Artist Magazine Catches Up With Scotty “The Bulldog” Olson.

I have been a fight fan for many years now. Growing up in the city of Philadelphia, it is sort of bred into you to be a fight fan. Fighters like Matthew Saad Muhammad, Tim Witherspoon, Charlie “Choo Choo” Brown, Meldrick Taylor and Joe Frazier were staples of the Philadelphia scene when I was growing up. My dad Butch, an avid fight fan, dragged my brother Frank and I from the Blue Horizon, to the Arena and over to the Spectrum (after it opened) to watch the greatest group of fighters in the world at that time. Given the team that I still love today, the Philadelphia Flyers, were named the “Broad Street Bullies” and were beating the hell out of everyone in their path, the city’s toughness is cemented into history. Philly is the toughest city in the world by far and growing up there made me appreciate the tougher, slugging style of boxers. Fast forward to the 1990's when a fighter named Scotty “The Bulldog” Olson came onto the fight scene, fresh from Canada. The style of slugging that Scotty brought to boxing caught the attention of me, and all of the friends that got together to watch “USA Tuesday Night Fights” and “ESPN Friday Night Fights” in the 1990's. Scotty actually caught so much attention from our group that we started an unofficial Scotty “The Bulldog” Olson fan club at my house and had “watch” party’s when he fought, attended by as many as 150 people, all cheering on Olson. Scotty fought for 12 years and suffered many broken hands over his punching power and non-stop, push ahead style. Recently I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with a man who I followed his whole career, a true legend to me, Scotty Olson.

Bob Carroll (BC): Scotty, first I want to thank you for taking time out to speak with someone who has been quite a fan of yours for many years!
Scotty Olson (SO): Oh wow, thank you and it is great to be able to speak with you. I never knew that people still remembered my fighting days, but I am honored!

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POUND PER POUND GREATS, Part 1

POUND PER POUND GREATS, Part 1

In the discussion of the greatest all-time fighters... there are the usual suspects that enter the top 3.  Most have Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, and Sugar Ray Robinson in those spots.  There may be disagreement as to the order, but rarely are there others in the top 3 spots.  When looking at the next few names down the list, there are of course a few I'd put in different places.  In my not-so-humble option, here is a list of a few names who often rank lower than they should.  I will later list a few that rate too high.  To start, let's look at my criteria for what makes an all-time great:  
 1) Offensive ability (should have top shelf speed, power, combinations, the basics of "hit and not get hit" at the highest level)
2) Defense (self explanatory)
3) Chin (when you got through that defense, did anything happen?)
4) Adaptability (did he win fights that he should not have won, by adjusting... even going against his own nature?)
5) Heart (when pushed, did he show a champion's mettle?)
6) Quality of opposition (who was there to push him?)

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Referee Mark Nelson had two very bizarre stoppages Friday Night on Shobox.  Not that I think either of the wrong men won, but James McGirt Jr. was clearly capable fo reaching the final bell, and was in no way hurt when the bout was called.  Nelson also gave Kevin Engel too much time to recover... and then once Engel had receover, Nelson stopped the fight!  Some poeple don't really absorb the classic message/mantra of referees.  "These people came to see the fighters, not the ref!" Speaking of referee discretion, there was a lot of rabbit punching controversy this weekend.  Allan Green and Rafael Marquez to a lesser extent both complained of being hit in the back of the head.  Let me clear this up right now.  If your back is turned, and you are intentionally clubbed by your opponent, that is a rabbit punch.  If a legal punch is thrown, and before it gets there, you turn and get caught behind the ear, that is your fault. Speaking of Green, he now has excuses for 3 losses.  I think the bloom is off the rose here.  He just doesn't quite have what it takes at the higher level.  Good power, good offesnive skills... but no chin, and too many bad habits. Speaking of bad habits, did anyone else notice that Juanma Lopez seemed to take over the fight when Rafael Marquez started burrowing his head into Lopez's midsection? 

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Glen Johnson Continues to Defy Age

Glen Johnson Continues to Defy Age

Saturday night, during the debut of his Showtime Super Six Tourney, 41 year old Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson, 51-14-2 (35), proved that age really is just a number by stopping his opponent, 31 year old Alan Green, 29-3 (20), in the eighth round. The win ensures a spot in the tournaments semi-finals, which also includes fighters Andre Ward (22-0, 13 KO’s), Arthur Abraham (31-1, 25 KO’s) and Carl Froch (26-1, 20 KO’s), with the pairing to be set after Abraham and Froch meet up to fight for the vacant WBC super middleweight title on November 27th. Johnson, whose aggressive style was present throughout the fight, seemed to stun Green in round two and kept up the pressure until landing a combination and putting Green down for the count at the 22 second mark of the 8th round. Green, clearly hurt, immediately started to complain about a possible rabbit punch causing him to be floored and then struggled to make it to his feet before referee Robert Byrd waved off the fight. Green continued to protest the stoppage as Johnson came over and hugged his opponent. Most surprising about the stoppage was that the eighth round had started out as a very good round for Green.

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What Do Brett Farve and Jose Sulaiman Have In Common?

What Do Brett Farve and Jose Sulaiman Have In Common?

The news coming out of Cancun Mexico, where the WBC was in the third day of the 48th annual convention was a bit of a shock. In the middle of a public meeting, long time WBC president Jose Sulaiman announced that he will resign from his position effective immediately. The announcement brought gasps from the crowd. Long time friend Don King took the microphone from Sulaiman and stated that if this was indeed a fact, he too was done with the sport of boxing. After the outbursts, Sulaiman, King and fellow promoters Tom Loeffler and Ahmet Öner, went back up to Sulaiman’s suite, in an effort to work out what they needed to do to keep Sulaiman in his position. A couple of hours later, the WBC announced that a deal to have Sulaiman come back out of “retirement” and be reinstated to WBC president had been worked out between King, Loeffler, Öner and WBC General Secretary Mauricio Sulaiman. Jose Sulaiman explained his statement and brief “retirement” was in fact based on the strains of the financial woes the WBC has faced since losing a lawsuit to former WBC light heavyweight champion Graciano Rocchigiani in 2003. The lawsuit stemmed from 1998, when Roy Jones relinquished the title. That set up a WBC sanctioned championship fight between Rocchigiani and former world champion Michael Nunn, a fight that Rocchigiani won. The next day, Jones Jr. stated that he had changed his mind and the WBC reinstated Jones Jr. as light heavyweight champion.

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IT'S NOT THE SAME FOR RIGONDEAUX

IT'S NOT THE SAME FOR RIGONDEAUX

A recent article congratulated Guillermo Rigondeaux for going for a world title in only his seventh pro bout.  While taking this step in his career is certainly admirable, the names used to correlate this attempt (Leon Spinks, Jeff Fenech, Muangchai Kittkasem, Veerapol Sahaprom, Davey Moore) are a bit misleading to most readers.  Other than Fenech, these succesful attempts were made at a time when there were only the WBC and WBA titles.  No interims, no silvers, no supers, no WBO, WBF, IBC, UBO, RSVP, ASAP, OK titles. The similarities are there, too.  These men were, like Rigondeaux, typically decorated amateurs, with Olympic appearances (Spinks, Fenech, Moore likely would have been, if not for a 1980 boycott).  As many an analyst have pointed out, many of the challenges of the pro ring can be handled during an extensive amatuer career (physical maturity, traveling, scoring issues, finding the right style and trainer, etc).  However, many of the aspects of professional sports are not addressed... such as rounds, headgear (except in the case of 70's Olympians, who fought pre-headgear), and pacing for longer fights. The rest of the bunch, and in fact the most common source of early champions, is a two-fighting sport culture. 

 

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LATE ENTRY NOVEMBER PREDICTIONS

LATE ENTRY NOVEMBER PREDICTIONS

Andre Ward vs. Sakio Bika - Although not a part of the Super Six, kudos to Ward for taking on the toughest fighter available.  Bute is killing time rather than taking on challenges that are left, but who can blame him?  He has either already beaten them (Bika, Andrade), or reached out to them and been rejected (Balzsay, Stieglitz).  Bika may be coming off a loss, but it was a DQ loss on the way to what was likely to be a KO win.  He's still the toughest test available for Ward in an injury-plagued division and tournament.  Ward is in a position where a dominant win will still elevate his status, and make him the front runner, even while not risking his Super Six status.  While Bika is a durable puncher, his most dominant losses have come against the fastest, most talented fighters he's fought (Bute and Calzaghe).  Glen Johnson vs. Allan Green, Tavoris Cloud vs. Fulgencio Zuniga

 

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TOURNAMENT WITH NO WINNER

TOURNAMENT WITH NO WINNER

So, Shannon Briggs stunk out the joint, threatened his own health, and was given too many chances in losing every minute of every round against Vitali Kltischko.  People may recall this was my prediction, but I predicted the corner or referee would take him out after round seven.  I guess if people were doing their jobs, maybe my prediction would have been more accurate. However, the honest truth is that he shouldn't have been in there in the first place... nor does Derek Chisora belong in their with Wladimir, as will be the case in December.  Briggs did not nothing to prove he deserved this title shot.  His qualifications since his WBO title loss to Sultan Ibragimov were four first-round knockouts over journeymen fighters.  Lately, it seems that going rounds has been the goal in fights against the Klitschkos.  This will happen even with the most legit contenders, but you are adding to the likelihood, by allowing two dominant champions to defend against even weaker challengers.

 

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GLENDALE GLORY 3 - Ringside

GLENDALE GLORY 3 - Ringside

For only the 3rd time in 63 years, Glendale, CA played host to professional boxing, at the Glendale Civic Auditorium. In a battle for the vacant NABO Bantamweight Title, Khabir Suleymanov scored an impressive come-from-behind 9 round KO over Javier "El Girito" Gallo.  A close action fight for much for the first 8 1/2 rounds, Gallo was the pursuer, while Suleymanov attempted to counterpunch.  Suleymanov began implementing a body attack in round seven, which seemed to turn the tide in his favor, yet Gallo kept coming forward, applying pressure.  Gallo ahead on two of the judges scroecards, when 'The Crazy Russian" ended matters with a looping right hand.  Gallo rose, but could not respond to referee Raul Caiz Jr's instructions.  Time was 2:59 of the 9th. Suleymanov, of Los Angeles by way of Russia, moves to 11-0- (5KOs), while Gallo, of Buena Park by way of Tijuana, drops to 16-3-1 (9 KOs).

 

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BRIGGS GIVEN SPECIAL TREATMENT?

BRIGGS GIVEN SPECIAL TREATMENT?

I have repeatedly railed against referee's and corners stopping fights too soon, but I was reminded recently that it can go the other way.  Shannon Briggs joined a long line of inept opponents in being completely dominated by a Klitschko brother.  Although the race to find new and interesting ways to do so is a tight one, Briggs brought back a little Oliver McCall magic against Vitali for his version. True, Briggs is a sane man, unlike McCall.  He has also gone passive in many losses (and even wins), so it didn't look that bizarre.  He is also a public asthma sufferer, whose passivity is usually blamed on his ailment.  Vitali Klitschko can also be blamed for not stepping on the gas a bit more when he realized he was under no threat.  He many not be as safety-first as his younger brother, and with good reason... he has a better chin, but he didn't take every advantage presented to him here.  Even though Briggs is a bomber, at a certain point, a fighter must change his behavior when he smells blood. 

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SITTING ON A LEAD

SITTING ON A LEAD

The open scoring debate is one with two very powerful arguments.  On the one hand, scores being known might lead to the practice of “coasting”.  This entails sitting on a lead that one has accumulated.  On the other hand, the participants and crowd knows the score in every other sport, so why not boxing?  No one complains about the coasting that takes place then.  I’ll admit, at first I did not like open scoring.  I believed the complaints after fights like Samuel Peter vs. Vitali Klitschko, and O’Neill Bell vs. Jean-Marc Mormeck 2.  These were two fights said to have been affected by open scoring.  However, upon further examination, I feel this practice is actually a good thing for boxing, provided some additional changes be made. For one thing, Mormeck may have slightly let up the charge once he knew he was ahead against O’Neill Bell.  However, these two warriors gave us 18 incredible rounds.  So what if the last 4 were only B+ in action. 

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

The Super Six Super Middleweight Tourney has fallen apart.  Three of the original particpants are gone, and they are now digging up old light heavyweights to keep it going.  Interest is waning, even though there are still great fights to be made.  Now we know there are too many variables to make a two-year tournament possible.  Bravo to the Bantamweights.  They are doing it right.  P.S. Andre Ward is still going to take it all... if Sauerland doesn't steal it. If Andre Dirrell is indeed neurologically damaged from his fight with Arthur Abraham, I hope he sues him for all he is worth.  The idea that injury occuring during the fight is a dismissal for all accountability needs to be revised.  What happens in the throws of a fight should be limited to legal blows.  Damage sustained outside of legal behavior should be criminally prosecutable.  I'd add charges to the doctors who allowed Dirrell's entourage access to him, so they could keep rubbing and shaking his head like morons.

 

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SCORING ERROR?

SCORING ERROR?
In light of the recent "errors" incurred in Germany , where contender Matt Zegan was shockingly upset by Boris Berg, I wanted to clarify a seemingly obvious point. Basically, what happened is 3-0 unheralded Boris Berg came in for a tune-up fight (in an opponent role) for Zegan. Zegan is one of the top ranked contenders to a belt held by none other than Timothy Bradley. Well, by most accounts, Berg boxed Zegan's ears off, and won a big upset. This should be an exciting leap in the rankings for a now 4-0 fighter, while Zegan should go back to the drawing board. But this is boxing, where the bizarre is only held back by the balls of those attempting to make it a reality. Therefore, after two days, a "scoring error" was discovered, and the result was changed to a draw. First off, what on earth took two days to discover? Secondly, since it was a whitewash decision, what mistake was made, and on how many scorecards? Thirdly, why were the proper channels not gone through to review this? While these questions may seem like I am giving the promoters/commissioners involved a chance to defend themselves, I am not. We all know what is going on here. Flagrant corruption to rob a young fighter of a heard-earned victory in the name of business interests.

 

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UNHERALDED UNBEATENS

UNHERALDED UNBEATENS

The following is a list of modern fighters (and one from the past) who have been deemed as finished, despite having never actually lost in the ring. Harry Simon, 25-0 (17 KOs), Legal problems forced the Namibian from the ring at 23-0.  A perpretrator of 2 separate vehicular homicide incidents, Simon's erratic driving cost 5 people their lives, and his own livelihood.  His career included the WBO Middleweight and Junior Middleweight titles.  While he may have needed questionable assistance to defeat Winky Wright prior to his incarceration, he even needed it to defeat a young journeyman fighter after his release.  This happened via controversial 8 round decision, upon his return to the ring after a 5 year absence.  He took another 3 years off following that shameful performance, before notching a meaningless win early this year.  Maybe he has not retired, but he is finished, and lost his prime years in a couple of very exciting divisions. Paul Spadafora, 44-0-1 (18 KOs ) – He is probably the most accomplished fighter on this list. While Simon won belts in two divisions, his “win” over Winky Wright

 

 

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SEPT AND OCT PREDICTIONS, BONUS

SEPT AND OCT PREDICTIONS, BONUS

Krystoff Wlodarczyk vs. Jason Robinson - This is a fight being made to kill time before a Cruiserweight tournament, or other attractive options (see below).  Robinson is only being given the shot because he is not viewed as a threat.  After seeing what was done to protect Wlodarczyk against Steve Cunningham, I would imagine the same precautions are in place here.  However, I dont think they will be necessary.  Wlodarczyk is not a puncher at the higher levels, but should outclass Robinson completely.  So completely, that it may even be stopped late, but I pick a wide UD for the Polish champion.
Roy Jones vs. Danny Santiago - Believe it or not, I see the intelligence in what Jones is doing.  If he wins the NABF Cruiserweight title, which I heard was on the line here, he will be ranked to fight WBC Champion Krystoff Wlodarczyk.  While he would be an underdog in that fight, if he gives away enough money, he can have it in Pensacola like this one. 

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