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Articles of 2005

Don Elbaum Mixes It Up

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Someone had to give Don King his first big break in boxing, and that person is Don Elbaum.

He’s an elfin guy, seasoned and wizened, one of the fight game’s great rogues. He’s made a few friends over the years, as well as a few enemies, but Elbaum has lived and breathed boxing forever.

Don Elbaum was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and grew up an only child in Erie, Pennsylvania. He’s still pretty spry, so I asked if he played sports when he was young. “I actually played piano,” Elbaum told me. “My mother played some concert piano with both the Cincinnati Philharmonic and the Erie, PA Philharmonic, so I was playing Beethoven and Bach and jazz when I was six years old.”

But a lifetime spent tickling the ivories was not in the cards for Don Elbaum. When he was eight his uncle, a New England street fighter named Danny Greenstein, took him to see Willie Pep fight in New Bedford, Mass. It changed the little boy’s life.

“When I saw Willie Pep,” Elbaum remembered, “Paulie Jackson trapped Pep in the corner and I remember Jackson threw like a hundred punches – I’m sure it was probably like twenty or thirty or so – and Pep just slipped and blocked and Jackson never hit Pep with one shot. I was just sitting there with my eyes wide open and I told my uncle, ‘That’s the most beautiful music I have ever seen or heard.’ I said, ‘That’s all I’m going to do from now on.’”

Elbaum’s father, like his uncle, also had the hots for the game, and encouraged his son to pursue the dream. Don Elbaum started boxing when he was thirteen. “I faked my age and fought my first amateur fight when I was fifteen – which I won, luckily, by the way, because I was getting the sh** knocked out of me.” Elbaum kept fighting because “there was no question in my mind that I was going to be lightweight champion of the world by the time I was 21. I was going to be the next Benny Leonard. There was no question about that.” Elbaum laughed. “I guess I was wrong.”

Before he quit the amateurs, Elbaum had 50 fights, winning 40 and losing 10. “My plus as a fighter was an incredible chin – I think I got staggered twice in my life – and I was in incredible condition.” The old black magic of boxing was weaving its spell on a rambunctious teen. Elbaum said “I became mesmerized with the sport. I saw with these old-time fighters – the Dempseys, the Joe Louises, the Benny Leonards, the Bob Montgomerys – and these guys used to run in like army boots and they either used to run on the sand or on a hill.” So Elbaum “got some army boots and I started running, 5:30 in the morning, 2-2½ miles a day, five days a week, sprints, running backward, in sand, up hills. When I was 13, 14, 15, I could box 15 rounds and I never got tired.”

Don Elbaum began his matchmaking career the same year he started boxing amateur. Also at the age of 15, he tried to join a carnival. “I flipped over the boss’ daughter and left for the carnival,” Elbaum recalled with a grin, “and my folks were going nuts. Then at the age of 16, I went to see a Wild West show in Warren, Pennsylvania – Wild Bill whatever it was – and after the show I went down there, started talking to the owner, and joined.” Because he could ride a horse, because he had moxie, Elbaum had himself a neat little summer job. “I was an Indian. I was the only 16-year-old white Indian. Everyone else rode bareback, but I couldn’t, so I rode with a western saddle. I had a shotgun and I was robbing the stagecoach and I’d get shot.”

Sounds like perfect training for the fight game.

That year Elbaum visited Chicago with his father: “We went out to see his family there and I went to a gym and I met Jack Hurley, who was involved with Billy Petrolle and Harry Matthews. He was impressed with just the way I was talking and he watched me box and he said to me, ‘You can box. You’ve got a great left hand. If you’re ever interested in turning pro . . . being you’re Jewish and all that, that could be a plus.’ But I promised my folks I would go to college. That was part of the deal. I eventually went to four of them and never lasted a week in any of them. They wanted me to get an education, but I hated school. School’s just not my thing.”

School may not have been Elbaum’s thing, but he got his high school diploma when he was seventeen. “My date for the prom was a 26-year-old divorcee,” Elbaum recollected. “We did not go to the prom – it’s a long story – and two days later I moved to Chicago.”

There was a little more action in Chicago than in Erie, PA. Elbaum began promoting fights when he was 18 and was a promoter in demand for many years. He did a fight with Sonny Liston. He did a fight with Floyd Patterson. Elbaum did fights.

He was promoting a card in Buffalo in the early ‘70s when he got an important call.

Elbaum remembered it well: “I’m at the Buffalo Auditorium and it’s about five o’clock. The manager of the place and a couple three other people were there as I was setting up the show. Then I had a phone call in the office. The manager said, ‘Don, it’s for you.’ I said, ‘Who the hell knows I’m here?’ I pick up the phone and it’s Clarence Rodgers.”

Rodgers was an acquaintance from Chicago, “a prosecutor who used to go to my fights at the Cleveland Arena. He was one of the few people who never asked for seats. He always bought. And this guy would buy ten, twenty, thirty seats! And once in a while we would just happen to bump into each other and we’d have a drink or two. I think we had a couple of dinners together.”

Elbaum recalled the conversation. Rodgers said, “Don, I’m in my office with a fellow by the name of Don King. Don is putting together a show for a black hospital that is going under and he wants to raise money for it and he would like to talk to you.”

Don Elbaum took the call. That's when he heard Don King on the line: “‘DON EL-BAUM!’ I mean I think the whole building heard it,” Elbaum said. “The phone must have jumped a mile from my ear. And he says again: ‘DON EL-BAUM!’ Then he tells me he’s running a show in Cleveland for a black hospital that’s going under: ‘You don’t want it to go under, do you?’ I said ‘I guess not.’ He said, ‘I’m bringing Cassius Clay in to do an exhibition. But I can’t do a show in Cleveland without DON EL-BAUM!’ Then he asks, ‘How much do you charge?’ I said ‘Five-thousand. I want half up front.’ Within a minute he had me down to $1500. So he says, ‘When are you coming back?’ I said ‘I’ll be back Monday.’ He said, ‘Don, you’re coming back tonight, because we’re not leaving the office until you get back here.’ I told him I’m staying through the weekend.”

Then Clarence got back on the phone. “He said, ‘Don, listen to me. I cannot leave this office until you get here. If you don’t come ‘til Monday we are staying here and sleeping here ‘til Monday.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ He said, ‘You understand what I’m saying?’ I said ‘Are you serious?’ He says: ‘I’m dead serious.’ Eleven o’clock that night I’m back there in his office. That’s where I first met Don King.”

King had nothing to do with boxing at the time.

“He was a major numbers guy that was a bit of a fight fan,” Elbaum said. “But you gotta understand. He’s one of the greatest promoters God ever created. And he’s one of the greatest con men and hustlers God ever created.”

King’s ability to almost always get his way is a mark of the man, and I wonder if Elbaum can reveal Don’s secret.

“There’s an intimidation there,” Elbaum said. “But I’ll tell you one thing: if you argue with him, you fight with him face-to-face, he will back down. I’ve seen that three times very strongly. If you start screaming at him, it’s just boom! He’s in tough when he’s in front and in charge, and very few people have the balls to go head to head with him. But when they do, he’ll scream and call you this and that. If you scream back and stay on him, then all of the sudden – forget about it – I’m seeing the guy like a lamb. I mean, just backing off. But he intimidates you. Plus he’s got the gift of gab that no one’s got. Whatever he has just made him what he is today.”

We all know what King is today. What was he yesterday?

“He was already a millionaire before boxing. And the intriguing thing is when he came out of jail they gave him his share of $3 million. He came out of prison – and he had $3 million. But the interesting thing is, the period of time I was with him, all of the sudden I started seeing what he was like. But with me, the roughly year and a half I was with him, or close to that, everything he said he would do financially he did. I told him I needed $5000 – no ifs, ands or buts, it was in my hands, no question.”

What, then, was the problem with DK?

“He started screwing other people and that’s what turned me off. He tells people that he left me. Forget it. I walked away from him. He’ll argue this, but I just started seeing what he was doing. A couple of incidents happened which turned me just so off.”

Elbaum has been around and has put on fight cards everywhere.

“I’ve done Cleveland,” he said. “I’ve done Vegas. I’ve done Atlantic City. I’ve done Florida, New Orleans, California. I did the first show in 100 years in Aspen, Colorado in 1993. I had a card in Denver. I’ve done Canada, Montreal, Toronto, Paris. I mean I’ve taken fighters all over the world. I’ve been involved in co-promotions in Argentina, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic . . . everywhere but Mars.”

In some ways it sounds like the life.

“One of my biggest ‘faults’ is money has never been my God,” Elbaum said. “I enjoy life pretty much. A couple of people have said, ‘You should be a multimillionaire.’ I just shake my head and leave it at that.”

Boxing has had more than its share of ups and downs over the years. I wondered what Elbaum thought about the way things are.

“I tell people it’s the worse I’ve ever seen it,” Elbaum replied, “but it is so bad that it is good. By that I mean, take any talent – I don’t even mean he has to be a talented fighter, but you’ll get someone with charisma – and they do come along – and, boy, boxing’s back on its feet. And, by the way, no matter how bad it is, look at the numbers that they do for the De La Hoyas and Mike Tyson.”

Tyson haunts every boxing conversation, just as he seems to haunt boxing itself.

“Tyson is still the biggest draw in boxing. I mean he’s like – forget about a train wreck – he’s like a goddamned bomb,” Elbaum said. “I mean people are there to see him get killed. But a hot exciting kid with charisma that you can’t believe can turn things around. An Arturo Gatti comes along? I mean this is fantastic. There’s going to be another Micky Ward, just an exciting club fighter who rose to the occasion. But a De La Hoya comes along, a Gerry Cooney comes along, a Duane Bobick comes along, and all the sudden people are tuning in and watching.”

Most insiders agree. We build the future on the ruins of the past.

“Boxing will never die. As long as there are two people on earth, it will be here now. I have all The Ring magazines from 1942 on. There’s always been ‘boxing needs, boxing needs.’ Alright, it’s got the roller coaster. I mean when a Rocky Graziano comes along? Forget about it. Sugar Ray Robinson comes along? Wow! The greatest description of boxing – and I love this – is that it’s the red-light district of sports. But, you know, the red-light district always intrigues people,” said Elbaum intriguingly. “It’s like I don’t want to be seen going there, but I wanna be there. Boxing has that kind of underground feel to it.”

Elbaum has been in the game since he was in knickers, so I asked if he had any advice for fighters, promoters and matchmakers starting out.

“Let’s start with the fighter. If they’ve got talent and they’re willing to dedicate themselves, they’ve got an opportunity – unless they’re the CEO of a miniature Fortune 500 company – they’ve got an opportunity to make a tremendous amount of money and be set for life. But outside of maybe some of these crazy salaries, the NFL and some of these superstars, there’s no business you can make that kind of money and make it to the top like you can in boxing. There’s such a select few. There’s fewer boxers than there are guys trying to go into football or trying to go into baseball. It’s not like 10,000 to 1. I mean in boxing you’ve got a shot. If you’re a manager or promoter, you’ve got to have some money behind you because, man,” Elbaum said, “you can blow your brains out. Just don’t get conned by everybody and it can be very rewarding.”

Don Elbaum is right. Boxing can be very rewarding.

Articles of 2005

In Boxing News: Floyd Mayweather An All-Time Great, Valuev & More

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A Shot of Boxing on the Last Day of the Year

The Guardian reports that talks have already taken place between Nicolay Valuev‘s co-promoters – Don King and Wilfried Sauerland – and Danny Williams‘ promoter Frank Warren for Nicolay Valuev to face Danny Williams. I’d suggest Danny Williams needs to worry about Matt Skelton (who Williams is reportedly scheduled to fight in February) before he entertains notions of facing the Beast From The East.

The Mirror in the UK looks forward to a big year in boxing for 2006. The Mirror considers what the future might bring for Joe Calzaghe, Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton, among others.

The Parksville Qualicum News has an interesting column on the travails of former Canadian Super Middleweight title holder Mark Woolnough. Woolnough’s career turned controversial – as widely reported in the Canadian press – at the beginning of this year when Woolnough and four other men were charged with manslaughter and assault after a fight outside a Parksville nightclub. The case returns to court next month. It’s an interesting read, as Woolnough is still looking to the future with hope.

Our own Marc Lichtenfeld provides plenty of food for thought with his Top Ten Wish List for boxing in the New Year. There’s plenty of good stuff here, but what really jumped out for me is Lichtenfeld’s opinion that a win over Zab Judah could have Floyd Mayweather knocking on the door of all-time great status. Seems to me this might be jumping the gun a little. Or is Marc right? Will it soon be time to call Floyd Mayweather Jr. an all-time great?

(More Boxing News Links at TheSweetScience.com)

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Articles of 2005

ShoBox Friday Night Fights

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Hot bantamweight prospect Raul “The Cobra” Martinez heads back to Chicago next Friday night as he is featured in the co-main event of SHOBOX “THE NEW GENERATION,” an action packed evening of professional boxing presented by Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions,’ HOME OF THE BEST IN CHICAGO BOXING, Kathy Duva’s Main Events Inc., along with Miller Lite and TCF Bank.

The two-time national amateur champion sporting a perfect 12-0 record with 9 knockouts, six of which have come in the first round,  will take on Colombian Andres “Andy Boy” Ledesma, 13-1 (8 KOs) in a scheduled eight round bout.

Speaking after a training session at his home gym in Georgetown, Texas, Martinez said, “I’m truly looking forward to returning to Chicago. The fans were terrific in September, they were very supportive from the start of the fight,” an internationally televised first round knockout of Miguel Martinez on September 16th at the Aragon Ballroom.

Regarding his upcoming fight with Ledesma, “The Cobra” said, “I haven’t seen him fight, although I understand he’s fought at higher weights and will be naturally bigger than me. I’ve had great training for this fight and feel very confident. I really haven’t left the gym in months, just taking off Sunday’s and even then I get my running in. My thinking is that fights are won in the gym and complete preparation is the key.”

When asked about his being mentioned by Dan Rafael, ESPN’s boxing writer as one of the top prospect’s in the boxing world the 23-year-old San Antonio native said, ‘It’s a great compliment, but I still have much work to do. I want to be a champion for Main Events like Fernando Vargas and Arturo Gatti. But like Fernando said while he was in town, ‘be patient, work hard and your time will come.’”

Finishing the conversation, Martinez said, “I’m looking forward to starting out this year with a bang. I might have a couple less fights than the seven I had in 2005, but I’m looking to stepping up the competition, move up to ten-rounders and climb in the rankings.”

Headlining the evening is a ten-round welterweight showdown between boxing’s hottest prospect, unbeaten Joel Julio of Monteria, Columbia, and Ugandan native Roberto “The Doctor” Kamya. Julio, turning 21 years old the day before the fight, is 25-0 with 22 knockouts, twelve of which have come in the first two rounds. Kamya, now fighting out of West Palm Beach, Florida is 15-5 with four knockouts.

Tickets, starting at $30, are on sale in advance by calling 312-226-5800. Cicero Stadium is located at 1909 S. Laramie, at the corner of 19th and Laramie, just ten minutes south of the Eisenhower Expressway and ten minutes north of the Stevenson Expressway. Doors for this evening will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

The full bout lineup for the evening is:

Joel Julio vs. Roberto Kamya, ten rounds, welterweights

Raul Martinez vs. Andres Ledesma, eight rounds, bantamweights

Miguel Hernandez vs. Butch Hajicek, eight rounds, middleweights

David Pareja vs. Derek Andrews, eight rounds, light heavyweights

Mike Gonzales vs. Tony Kinney, four rounds, lightweights

Omar Reyes vs. Luis Navarro, five rounds, featherweights

Reynaldo Reyes vs. Ricardo Swift, four rounds, middleweights

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Articles of 2005

Pick ‘Em: Plenty of Big Upcoming Fights in ’06

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Here’s the early call on many top matches scheduled for the first half of 2006: Happy New Year!

As the new calendar dawns, there are already a considerable amount of premium bouts on the horizon. Things don’t look to be bogged down by undetermined championships next year. In many cases the scheduled face-offs involve the best fighters in the division, or at least close enough for general bragging rights. If anybody else with proper qualifications signs up to force the issue, all the better.

It can be argued that some pairings could have taken place within a more optimal timeframe, or that some headliners carry distracting baggage, but there are certainly enough heavy hitters on deck. That nobody can deny.

It doesn’t matter whether one considers the proverbial glass half empty or half full; there’s still the same amount of juice in the vessel. It’s nice to know that even with a high number of cancellations, there will still be plenty of important contenders on tap.

With elite fighters in weight divisions from top to bottom on the agenda, it’s an equivalent to what fans in more mainstream sports expect in a consistent championship format.

Baseball fans can almost always count on a World Series. Some hoops fanatics say too much attention to playoffs distracts unmotivated NBA teams during their regular season. In college, they project Sweet Sixteens. Football fans know there’s always a Super Bowl ahead to raise advertising dollars and test the USA’s halftime morals.

So too, there is method in boxing’s current madness.

The midnight crystal ball hasn’t even been unveiled in Times Square and there are already a number of potential thrillers scheduled. Most feature contrasting personalities that almost guarantee going along for the ride will be worthwhile. Any subsequent drops will probably be cheered.

Don King jumps right out of the auld lang gate with a January 7th Showtime card featuring Zab Judah against Carlos Baldomir and Jean-Marc Mormeck in a cruiserweight unification against O’Neil Bell.

It will be the upset of the year, bar none, if Baldomir can tip the applecart before Judah gets to his scheduled super-showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Meanwhile, Mormeck is emerging and should keep on rolling against Bell, who can expose him if he’s not for real.

The proverbial Big Bang starts with a January 21st rematch of one of the finest fights of ‘05, when Erik Morales goes against Manny Pacquaio for the second time on HBO pay per view. The fact that Morales was upset by Zahir Raheem after beating Pacquaio was no real loss in box-office luster. Artful Raheem will get a spot on the undercard and hope his patience is rewarded.

Everyone figures Morales and Pacquaio will pick up where they left off. Like the first time, the rematch is a pick’em contest. Management distractions and glove restrictions cited as Pacquaio’s previous problems won’t matter this time. The two are very evenly matched and their styles will make for another whapathon. It could come down to corners, where Freddie Roach gets the edge since Morales will have a new trainer for the first time since replacing his father after the Raheem lesson.

February features four of the game’s most enduring attractions, in a pair of crucial matchups.

First up, Showtime presents the Jose Luis Castillo – Diego Corrales tiebreaker from El Paso on Feb 4th. This is another pick ‘em pair, barring any sideshow. In boxing that disclaimer may be a stretch, since the sideshow is part of the act and the charm.

As far as action inside the strands goes, every round these guys have fought has been great. There’s no reason to think that pattern won’t continue. Regarding the result, Castillo keeps the pressure on as he did in the second fight, but he’ll walk into trouble from a more reserved Corrales. We still don’t know which coin to flip.

February also holds a better late than never affair between two perennial favorites as Shane Mosley collides with Fernando Vargas on the 25th.  This fight could lead to a winning ticket in the Golden Boy sweepstakes for a fall bonanza against Oscar De La Hoya.

Vargas has been in tougher recently, based on comparable strength of opposition stats, but he’s seen little action. What weight they enter the ring at may have a lot to do with the result. If Vargas has to struggle at the scale, Mosley might have the battle in the bag after round nine.

It’s hard to imagine Mosley getting stopped early, but Vargas doesn’t have to hurt him, he just has to knock him down three times. With natural size, he may be able to do just that, but Mosley would have to box uncharacteristically flat.

Unless Mosley decides to heed the crowd, the most likely scenario is that Shane plays it safe, picks a few shots, and stays away enough to capture a comfortable, dull decision. An unbowed Vargas maintains his fan base but not his bettors.

March both comes in and goes out as a lion.

On March 4th Joe Calzaghe welcomes Jeff Lacy to Manchester UK for what may be the biggest blowout of the headlining bunch. Calzaghe gets the chance to prove his considerable home-based reputation once and for all, but if Lacy creams him as we expect, that glossy record will be severely tarnished.

All Calzaghe has to do is make a respectable stand, but that’s no small task against the rising Lacy. A motivated Calzaghe, songs of England ringing in his ears, could pull a big surprise if he can exploit Lacy’s relatively limited technical development, but that’s a longshot indeed.

It looks like Lacy can get by on power alone. He could soon emerge as a pound-for-pound leader. Old Joe’s hometown advantage will last about two left hooks.

March 11th has the Ides of history to beware for at least one old lion, with farewell (we’ll see) fireworks featuring Roy Jones Jr. against Bernard Hopkins. Less than two years ago they were considered untouchable all time greats. Now between them they’ve lost five in a row.

This goodbye fight is contracted at light heavyweight, for what seems like an oldies night. Hopkins is the senior at age 41 to Jones’s 37, but Roy seems more the grandpa figure, last seen hanging on against Antonio Tarver. Youth, as it were here, will prevail.

This bout was signed quickly as each principal, usually sticklers for favorable contract clauses, agreed to parity in a demonstration of businessman first and fighter second. They may both expect easy marks. How much the boys have left by the time they get down to business remains to be seen. The history books will show this as a climactic career bout between Hall of Famers.

At 175 pounds, Hopkins may be in for rude awakening. Jones may have been more thoroughly outfought recently, but he was rumbling with bigger, tougher men than Jermain Taylor or Howard Eastman. Respectable as he is, Taylor still falls short of the level of Tarver, at least for now. The difference is still fifteen pounds less pop.

It will be quite a feat if Hopkins can stay in the fight, even at Jones’s advanced age. Our stars point to Jones winning in overwhelming fashion.

On March 18th, James Toney meets Hasim Rahman in another pairing of seasoned war-horses.

Toney and Rahman already had their introductions, when they brawled in Mexico during a WBC gathering to bestow Rahman’s new belt. Between formalities, Toney got married, which could bring up the old questions about carnal training.

Let’s hope when they meet in the ring, they restore some of the fire missing from the heavyweights in ‘05.  Toney might have an edge in recent form, but Rahman shows fine tuning he previously lacked. The winner might get newly “crowned’ Nicolai Valuev, an easy payday outside Germany.

Rahman could be the heavyweight that finally makes Toney look like a blown up middleweight. But anything less than a top effort will probably lead to embarrassing night for the Rock and give Toney solid claim to being the true heavyweight champ.

This might not be the most artful fight of the new season, but it could well be the most grueling, and the closest. He who’s faced the better big boys gets the nod. Advantage Rahman.

March 25 features Marco Antonio Barrera, probably the strongest overall claimant to 130 pound honors. The likely opponent is said to be always tough Jesus Chavez.

Chavez seemed rejuvenated when he met Leavander Johnson, but Johnson’s tragic death may have taken some of the steam out of thoughtful Chavez, said to have received Johnson’s family blessing to continue in Leavander’s name. That could mean a lot of inspiration. Either way, if he does meet Chavez, who hung tough with one arm against Erik Morales, Barrera won’t get any slack. The Fates say Chavez, whose wife recently served in Iraq, is a live, live underdog.

Another clash to be King of the Hill finds Floyd Mayweather Jr, arguably the game’s finest practitioner, bumping heads with Zab Judah, one of very few boxers who rivals Mayweather in speed, skills, and brashness.

Their hoedown, scheduled for April 8th, is one of the top pound-for-pound pairings in recent years. Judah will need a career best performance to have a chance of victory. That’s not to say he can’t pull it off, but currently Mayweather is in a different galaxy in terms of punching power. Slow-motion replays may be the only way to follow the flying fists once these two whirlwinds unload.

Mayweather should be around a 4-1 favorite. Judah is good enough to make taking the odds an attractive proposition, since that’s probably as good of odds as one is likely to see on Floyd for a while. Mayweather will stop Judah in his tracks.

The first half of next year is set to conclude with the star power of Oscar De La Hoya, probably against noteworthy foil Ricardo Mayorga on May 6. There could be some snags before a contract is finalized, but if it comes off count on Mayorga for promotional sound bite nastiness. One of the questions is whether or not he’ll be able to get under Oscar’s skin, and it might actually be entertaining to see the classy, model perfect De La Hoya show he’s human and freak out against the Nicaraguan maniac.

Mayorga may have burnt his best bridges already. De La Hoya has not only the boxing skill to negate Mayorga’s offense, but enough power to end it early. If Mayorga rushes in and causes a cut, De La Hoya might get ruffled enough to duck into defense and Mayorga could get a decision that goes to the cards after six rounds or so. It will be wild for as long as it lasts.

Pro boxing, like many sports, had its share of problems during 2005, but there were also many positives. Most notably, as usual, was superior and inspiring action inside the strands. Unless there’s a mass freeze-up at the top, early 2006 figures to see decisive interaction among many well-known fighters.

If even fifty per cent of the aforementioned pairings come to fruition, it’s a strong likelihood the upcoming year has at least one very positive half. Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Brian Viloria, and Shannon Briggs, to name a few, are also on deck. No matter how you chose to look at or measure mass qualities, there’s still just as much good to be seen.

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