Connect with us

Articles of 2006

Luther “Slugger” White: Not seeing is believing

Published

on

In the 1940s plenty of excellent African-American boxers never got the opportunities and recognition they deserved. But in the April 1942 issue of The Ring magazine, editor-publisher Nat Fleischer singled out for praise six “colored lads” who, he said, “had come along with flying colors” in the welterweight and lightweight ranks over the previous 10 months.

They were Sugar Ray Robinson, Charley Burley, Bob Montgomery, Holman Williams, Jackie Wilson, and Luther “Slugger” White.

Robinson is today widely regarded as the greatest fighter ever to don gloves. Burley is considered by many the best fighter never to win a title. Bob Montgomery became world lightweight champion and, like the previous two, an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Another uncrowned champion, Holman Williams defeated Burley and Archie Moore. Jackie Wilson was the 1936 Olympic bantamweight silver medalist and later a top ranked lightweight and welterweight who, like Williams, is enshrined in the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

For some reason boxing has turned a blind eye to the accomplishments of Luther “Slugger” White, who literally did the same thing to most of his opponents during the eight year career that saw White rise as high as the number two spot in the Ring’s 135-pound rankings, and win recognition as lightweight champion in his home base of Maryland.

And who knows, if they’d left the lights out when L.A.’s Gilmore Stadium was hit by an electrical failure during White’s fight with Sammy Angott, it might’ve leveled the playing field enough for the mostly blind fighter to nab the NBA belt.

If that seems totally preposterous, what about a guy who could take out his right eye and play marbles with it but had no trouble passing pre-fight medical examinations?

White’s disability reportedly went back to 1938, but his career had gotten off on the wrong foot a year before that when in his first professional bout the native of Athens, Georgia was stopped in four rounds by the aforementioned Holman Williams. Williams was then a veteran of 44 fights, and was recognized as the ‘Negro Lightweight Champion’ by virtue of his defeat of Baby Tiger Flowers two years before he met White.

White rebounded, and at the end of ‘38 he was 9-3. But in one of those fights he suffered the detached retina that left his right eye completely sightless. The eldest of seven sons renowned as a boy for his ability to pick more cotton than anybody else, Slugger White, ­ who won his nickname felling a cotton field bully, used that same indomitability to keep going in the ring with only one working headlight. Not able to see well enough to box from a distance, he developed into a torrid, crowd-pleasing infighter whose incessant punching style brought to mind triple champion Henry Armstrong, someone, in the words of Nate

Phillips, The Ring’s Maryland correspondent, “who believes a great offense is a good defense, and a good offense is a great defense.”

Future 135-pound champion Montgomery, ­then ranked sixth as a welterweight by The Ring, ­won a unanimous decision over White in Baltimore on July 14, 1941, and afterwards said it was the toughest fight he’d ever had.

Baltimore became White’s home ground, where he subsequently beat well regarded Jimmy Leto, Joey Peralta, Dave Castilloux, Jimmy Hatcher, and former featherweight champion Leo Rodak to make Nat Fleischer’s list of ebony wonders. By late 1942, he was “one of the most feared 135-pounders in the country,” according to Ring correspondent Ike Morales, writing from New Orleans where in September White beat Gene Johnson and then, just two weeks later, he met former national amateur lightweight champion Willie Joyce in a 15-round bout for what was billed as the ‘Negro Lightweight Championship.’

Joyce won the decision, but Morales noted “many in the audience who thought

Slugger deserved no less than a draw.”

On January 4, 1943, White and Joyce fought again in Baltimore. After 15 thrilling rounds, the decision went to White, and with it recognition by the Maryland State Athletic Commission as lightweight champion.

Sammy Angott had retired as champion the previous November 13. The powerful

New York boxing commission said nothing doing to Maryland’s idea of White as champion, but invited the Slugger to participate in an elimination tournament to choose Angott’s successor, along with Beau Jack, Tippy Larkin, Allie Stoltz, Cleo Shans, Joey Peralta, Juan Zurita, Bob Montgomery, Maxie Shapiro and Willie Joyce.

Fine, said White’s manager, Sam Lampe, but under one condition: that White be exempted from the mandatory physical exam. Commission Chairman John J.

Phelan naturally demurred, for which Lampe called him so many bad names that

Phelan felt compelled to issue a public statement disclosing rumors about White’s bad eyes. “When informed that [White] would have to go to a dark room for an eye examination,” Phelan said, “White’s manager entrained with his charge for the Pacific Coast, rather than have the truth known.”

In California, White buzzsawed through Jorge Morelia, Jackie Byrd, Vern Bybee, Jose Mendoza, John Thomas, Julio Cesar Jimenez and Juan Zurita. The fights were all savage, with White always punching furiously on the inside and overwhelming his opponents.

Meanwhile, Angott unretired in early ‘43, and on October 27 of that year he and White fought for the National Boxing Association lightweight title at Gilmore Field in Los Angeles. It was the first outdoor show allowed after dark since the attack on Pearl Harbor almost two years before. “The electricians must have been out of practice,” wrote Harry Winkler in The Ring, “as the lighting system went dead just before the fourth round

… and it was over an hour before the bout could be continued.”

It was all Angott, who won the 15-round decision. “The colored buzzsaw was absolutely bewildered by Sammy’s unorthodox tactics,” wrote Winkler. “The champion would continually beat Slugger to the punch … and when Angott elected to wrestle instead of punch he handled White as though he were a rag doll. And at tying ‘em up, well, had Angott been around to tie up Houdini, that great escape artist would have lost his reputation.” They didn’t call Angott “The Clutch” for nothing.

But it surely helped that he was fighting a virtual blind man. By then, White’s left eye was badly deteriorated, too.

In his next fight, White lost a decision to future lightweight champion Ike Williams in Philadelphia. On July 14, 1944, White and Henry Armstrong waged a toe-to-toe war for 10 rounds at Hollywood Legion Stadium that was declared a draw. White then beat Vince Dell’Orto in Baltimore and headed back to the West Coast for a rubber match with Willie Joyce.

The day before the fight, Dr. A. E. Egerton got the shock of his life when, after White correctly read the eye chart during his mandatory physical exam, he looked into the fighter’s eyes with his pen-sized flashlight and discovered that White’s right one was a glassy.

“The patient has an artificial right eye. I would not advise that he be allowed to box because a blow over the left eye would be apt to cause a complete retinal detachment of the left eye and result in blindness,” reported the doc.

The California boxing commission promptly cancelled the Joyce fight, lifted

White’s license, and proclaimed in a statement, “This commission feels that it was through its diligence that White’s true condition was eventually discovered.” 

That had them slapping their knees in the press row.

“Slugger White’s been fisticuffing around these parts for years and passing physical examinations with flying colors,” wrote Al Wolf of the L.A. Times. “It had long been rumored that White’s vision was impaired, but the State Athletic Commission and its doctors apparently had been overlooking the minor item of sight in testing the fitness of fighters to fight. Wot a business!”

The Times reported that before the Armstrong fight White was examined and cleared to fight by not one but two commission doctors, prompting columnist Braven Dyer to recommend that the commission look around “for some new authorities on glass eyes.”

White had exchanged his long dead right eye for a glass one five weeks before the Ike Williams fight. At least that’s the story he’d given the draft board doctor when White reported that March for his pre-induction physical with a bandage over his empty eye socket. Given that and the fact that his remaining eye didn’t have much wattage anymore, the Army passed.

Now finally thumbed out of the ring, Slugger White (39-12-3) disappeared and was never heard from again.

That he fought as long and well as he did under the circumstances is mind-boggling, and the electors of one of the sports pantheons out there, even if only the Athletes With Disabilities Hall of Fame, ought to see the light and honor this staunchest of ring warriors.

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch

Published

on

Samuel Peter claims he has dynamites in my two hands?

Heavyweight contenders Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter and James Lights Out? Toney get it on a second time this Saturday from the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla. (Showtime).

The hard-slugging Peter, unlike Toney, is one of those strong, silent types notorious for letting their fists to the talking one the opening bell sounds, but the Nigeria Nightmare is as confident as ever and determined to turn Lights Out’s lights out for good.

I have got dynamites in my two hands,? said Peter, according the Lagos, Nigeria Vanguard, and I will crush James Toney once and for all. The Toney camp made the mistake of their lives by protesting and seeking a rematch. I am ready to teach him a bitter lesson.?

Sam Peter walked away with the W for Peter/Toney I at the Staples Center in LA last September, but it was by disputed split decision a verdict so disputed, there was even a dispute about the dispute which forced the WBC’s hand into mandating Saturday’s rematch.

Samuel Peter is the biggest thing to hit African boxing since Ghanaian superstar Azumah Nelson rocked the feather and junior welterweight divisions. The President of the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control, Prince Olaide Adeboye, admitted, according to allAfrica.com, We are rooting for Samuel Peter, of course. He is one boy we believe in to bring back the country’s lost glory in professional boxing. I am personally making arrangement to be at the ringside to see him fight Toney again. I was at the first fight in Los Angeles in September.

Peter has the brutal punch, and to me he was the clear winner of the first fight. But the WBC Board of Governors, of which I am a member, voted 21-10 for a rematch. There was nothing those of us Africans on the board could do in the circumstances. But I believe Peter will confirm he is better than Toney and will then go ahead to meet the champion and claim the belt for Nigeria and Africa.?

Continue Reading

Articles of 2006

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings for Asia

Published

on

There are claims that boxing is dying. Hogwash. The heavyweight division isn’t the only division in boxing and 2007 promises to be a banner year in boxing; especially for boxers hailing from Asia.

While Asia isn’t Vegas or Atlantic City, it is a region packed of diamonds in the rough; undiscovered gems and potential superstars who wait for their moment in the sun.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Asia

1) Manny Pacquiao – There’s no way to dispute Pacquiao is the best fighter in Asia, if not all of boxing. He’s exciting, he wins with Je Ne Sais Quois and is definitely “the man” in boxing.

2) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam – Although his competition leaves much to be desired, his longevity and skills are undeniable. He is currently Thailand’s only world champion and is undefeated in ten years. Need I say more?

3) Chris John – A victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, however controversial, shows he belongs at the top of the heap. He easily outpointed Renan Acosta to close out 2006 and should have no trouble defending against Jose Rojas in February. A fight with Pacquiao would not be a good move on his part but a rematch with Marquez would not hurt – especially if he defeats the Mexican again.

4) Hozumi Hasegawa – Hidden away in Japan, Hasegawa is a sharp punching southpaw who put former champion Veeraphol Sahaprom to sleep. He recently bested Genaro Garcia and his herky-jerky style will give fits to any one who steps in the ring with him.

5) Masomori Tokuyama – Tokuyama has never shied away from a good fight and although he only fought once in 2006 (UD12 Jose Navarro), he ledger shows wins over Katsushige Kawashima (twice), Gerry Penalosa (twice) and In Jin Chi (twice). A fight with Hozumi Hasegawa is a distinct possibility in 2007.

6) Nobuo Nashiro – With only seven fights under his belt he took on WBA champion Martin Castillo – and defeated him. Although he’s only fought a total of nine fights, nearly all have been against quality opposition. A victory in a rematch with Castillo would cement his claim as the king of the 115-pound division.

7) Yukata Niida – This light-hitting minimumweight defended his title twice in 2006, winning a technical decision against unbeaten Eriberto Gejon (Tech Win 10) and the other on points over Ronald Barrera (W 12). Scheduled to meet Katsunari Takayama early next year – the best has yet to come for this WBA belt holder.

8) In Jin Chi – Won back the title he lost to Takashi Koshimoto in January from Rudolfo Lopez. While there’s little uncertainty to his skills, at thirty-three, 2007 may provide some insight as to just how much he has left.

9) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai –Sor Nonthachai is an exciting, top-shelf fighter with an iron chin. Has no trouble making mincemeat of mid-level opposition and deserves a title shot in 2007. Time is running out.

10) Rey Bautista – He’s young, relatively inexperienced in big-time boxing, but will continue to shine in 2007. One of the better prospects in boxing, he should snag a title in 2007.

Asian Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pound for Pound:

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #2

Jr. Lightweight

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #1
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9

Featherweight

Chris John (Indonesia) #1
In Jin Chi (Korea) #3
Takashi Koshimoto (Japan) #5
Hioyuki Enoki (Japan) #7

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4

Bantamweight

Hozumi Hasegawa (Japan) #2
Veeraphol Sahaprom (Japan) #3
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (Thailand) #6
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Thailand) #10

Jr. Bantamweight

Nobuo Nashiro (Japan) #1
Katsushige Kawashima (Japan) #7
Pramuansak Phosuwan (Thailand) #10

Flyweight

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Thailand) #1
Takefumi Sakata (Japan) #7
Daisuke Naito (Japan) #10

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1

Minimumweight

Yukata Naiida (Japan) #2
Eagle Kyowa (Japan/Thai) #4
Katsunari Takayama (Japan) #5
Rodel Mayol (Philippines) #7

Boxing in Thailand

There’s no shortage of boxers in Thailand. With a huge pool of Muay Thai fighters to draw from and several talented amateur boxing prospects turning pro after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Thailand seems destined to remain a boxing powerhouse in Asia.

The country is known for having tough, determined and disciplined fighters who give their all whenever the step in to the ring. However, consistently losing while fighting abroad and padding their records with no-hopers has done nothing to enhance their reputation.

Whether because of a lack of marketability, a lack of funds or their unwillingness to travel abroad, the vast majority of boxers from Thailand remain a mystery to fans in the west. If anything though, the boxing scene involving Thai fighters will be active. In fact, it’s one of the most active in the world; since 2000, the number of fights has nearly doubled in the country.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand – August 2006

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
2) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym
3) Somsak Sithchatchawal
4) Wandee Singwancha
5) Sirimongkol Singwancha
6) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai
7) Veeraphol Sahaprom
8) Pramuansak Phosuwan
9) Terdsak Jandaeng
10) Oleydong Sithamerchai

Current Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Flyweight) – Definitely the top dog in Thailand

2) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (Super Lightweight) – He’s a seasoned fighter who has proven himself in the big-time. He’s one Thai who can fight outside of Asia. He has an abundance of skills and one-punch power. His overall ability and ease in dispatching anyone other than championship caliber get him the runners-up spot.

3) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Super Bantamweight) – After losing to Vladimir Sidorenko he’s bounced back. He’s young, he can punch, but the former interim champion needs to prove himself against a name fighter.

4) Somsak Sithchatchawal (Super Bantamweight) – Was his win over Monshipour a fluke or was Celestino Caballero just that good? Did Sithchatchawal catch Monshipour at the right time and can he rebound from the devastating loss? The jury is still out.

5) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

5) Sirimongkol Singwancha (Super Lightweight) – Get this guy a fight. He’s better than Jose Armando Santa Cruz and would have beat up Inada had the fight taken place. He’ll fight anyone but his biggest obstacle is staying motivated fighting tomato cans in Thailand. Like many Thais, he needs a fight against a name opponent.
6) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

7) Pramuansak Phosuwan (Super Flyweight) – A genuine tough guy. Always calm and focused no matter how heated the battle. But at thirty-eight, he’ll be in trouble should he fight one of the division’s elite.
8) Veeraphol Sahaprom (Bantamweight) – Will be lucky to get another crack at the title. Although he has a puncher’s chance of winning a belt, that’s about all he has left at this point. A third shot at Hasegawa is unlikely.

9) Oleydong Sithamerchai (Minimumweight) – He’s fought better than the usual opponents faced by Thais at his level and he moves up one spot with the departure of Terdsak Jandaeng. He lacks the punch and is in the wrong division to become a superstar. He’ll need to defeat a name opponent to convince me.

10) Saenghiran Lookbanyai / Napapol Kittisakchokchai (Super Bantamweight) – These two square-off in early March, supposedly to see who deserves a shot at Israel Vasquez. Kittisakchokchai has the edge in experience but some feel Lookbanyai has the edge in heart and is the favorite.

Neither has defeated a top twenty fighter and yet are ranked number one and two respectively in the WBC’s world.

In Kittisakchokchoi’s lone shot at the big-time, he was TKO’d in 10 by Oscar Larios. His dreadful performance against Larios and lack of quality opposition leads me to believe Saenghiran might have more of a shot at beating him than some suspect. Regardless, neither of them lasts longer than six rounds with Israel Vasquez.

Honorable Mention: Wethya Sakmuangklang, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Devid Lookmahanak, Nethra Sasiprapa, Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, Pornsawan Kratingdaenggym

Thai Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam: #1 Flyweight
Pramuansak Phosuwan: #10 Jr. Bantamweight
Veeraphol Sahaprom: #3 Bantamweight
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin: #6 Bantamweight
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym: #10 Bantamweight
Somsak Sithchatchawal: #3 Jr. Featherweight
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9 Lightweight

Continue Reading

Articles of 2006

Iceman Stops Tito Ortiz Win Streak

Published

on

LAS VEGAS—UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “Iceman” Liddell’s fists proved too much for Huntington Beach’s Tito Ortiz who was stopped in the third round before a sold out crowd at the MGM Garden Arena on Saturday.

The punching machine Liddell (20-3, 13 KOs) repeated his victory in UFC 66 over the much-improved grappler Ortiz who has improved his punching and blocking. Ortiz was trying to avenge his loss of April 2004.

Despite all the new weapons displayed by Ortiz it wasn’t enough as Liddell pummeled the former champion and retained his title with a technical knockout at 3:59 of the third round. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout.

“This was the most satisfying victory of my career,” said Liddell, 36, of Santa Barbara. “Tito came back real tough.”

Ortiz (15-5, 8 KOs), a former wrestler, worked on his boxing technique knowing he would need it against the former boxer Liddell. But Liddell’s experience allowed him to find the right moment to pounce on Ortiz.

“I had him hurt, I just kept throwing punches,” said Liddell who also knocked down Ortiz in the first round with a left hook.

Ortiz was gracious in defeat.

“Chuck is the best fighter Pound for Pound in the (mixed martial arts) world,” said Ortiz, 31, who suffered a gash on the side of his left eye from a punch. “I’m disgusted by myself. I let my fans down.”

Other bouts

Underdog Keith Jardine (12-3-1) knocked out Forrest Griffin (13-4) at 4:41 of the first round in their light heavyweight showdown. A right uppercut followed by a left hook wobbled Griffin who was sent to the floor by a barrage of punches. On the ground Jardine landed right after right until referee John McCarthy stopped the fight for a technical knockout.

“I couldn’t believe he was hurt,” said Jardine about Griffin who is known for his resiliency. “I was so nervous coming into this fight, but now I know I belong here.”

Canada’s Jason McDonald (18-7) choked out Chris Leben (15-3) in a middleweight bout that was up for grabs. Though Leben seemed to control the fight with stunning left hands, once the fight went to the ground McDonald managed a chokehold at 4:03 of the second round. Referee Steve Mazagatti saw Leben was unconscious and stopped the fight.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (12-5) caught Brazil’s Mario Cruz (2-2) with a sneak right hand while both were tangled on the ground. Then the Belarusian pummeled Cruz until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 3:15 of the first round.

Third season winner of the Ultimate Fighter television reality season Michael Bisping (12-0) of Great Britain won by technical knockout over Eric Shafer (9-2-2) at 4:29 of the first round. A knee knocked Shafer groggy then Bisping knocked him to the ground and pounded him. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bludgeoning.

Thiago Alves (16-4) caught Peru’s Tony De Souza (15-5) with a knee as he attempted to dive for his legs in a welterweight contest. After that it was pretty much over as Alves pummeled De Souza at 1:10 of the second round forcing referee John McCarthy to halt the bout.

Gabriel Gonzago (7-1) proved too strong for Carmelo Marrero (6-1) in a heavyweight bout. At 3:22 of the first round Gonzago of Massachusetts manipulated his way into arm bar forcing Pennsylvania’s Marrero to tap out.

Japan’s Yushin Okami (19-3) pounded Georgia’s Rory Singer (11-6) into submission at 4:03 of the third round of a middleweight bout. Okami seemed the more-rounded fighter with effective kicks to the head and more accurate punching.

Christian Wellisch (8-2) jumped to a quick start with an accurate left hook that rattled Australia’s Anthony Perosh (5-3) in a heavyweight bout. During the first round it seemed the Sacramento fighter might end the fight but the Aussie hung tough. Wellisch won by unanimous decision.

Continue Reading

Trending