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Articles of 2007

Checking In With Roy Jones, Hanshaw, Hopkins

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LOS ANGELES-When the call came that Roy Jones Jr. and Anthony Hanshaw were meeting boxing writers and other media in Los Angeles to promote their upcoming fight, it was time to jump in my car and ignore the 100-degree heat that was descending on the Southern California landscape.

Jones was arriving that very Tuesday afternoon at LAX to meet the media at the offices of the LA Sentinel, the largest Black newspaper in the state. Another good reason for me to go is a great friend of mine grew up right around the corner from that location on Crenshaw Blvd. and Coliseum Avenue.

I had two good reasons and later discovered a third.

Inside the LA Sentinel the staff was busy doing their work as boxing writers waited for Jones to arrive. The Floridian had been told the press conference was set for 3 p.m., but we were told it was at noon.

A table-full of delicious food was set up by the Sentinel so waiting was a pleasure. About 1:30 Jones walked into the room looking ready for a high-powered business meeting. The former Pound for Pound champion wore a gray pinstripe suit and looked ready for negotiations.

In a way Jones is negotiating for this upcoming battle against Hanshaw who arrived early and waited too.

“He’s scared,” said Hanshaw about Jones a half hour earlier.

Murad Muhammad is co-promoting the fight along with Jones’s Square Ring Promotions for July 14 at Biloxi, Miss. Jones will meet Hanshaw in a 12-round light heavyweight limit at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.

Hanshaw does not hold back.

“I’m going to be the guy that retires Roy Jones,” said Hanshaw (21-0-1, 14 KOs), who usually boxes in the super middleweight division and trains in Las Vegas.

Don’t expect Hanshaw to hold back the hammer when he confronts the legendary Jones. The Ohio native is a great guy out of the ring, but within the ropes the “Tyger” has a mean streak as wide as the Tuscarawas River that runs alongside his town Massillon famous for high school football.

“You all don’t know me, but on July 14 you will know me,” said Hanshaw menacingly while looking at Jones who sat calmly to his right. “After July 14 you will have a retirement party.”

Jones sat through most of the conversations calm and reserved until it was his time to speak. He nearly jumped to his feet.

“My name is Roy Jones Jr. who ducks nobody,” said Jones in his cool but quick manner. “You want me, come get me. I’m right here.”

Jones last win against Prince Badi Ajamu was not taken seriously by most of America and especially the boxing media. Though he won the fight decisively, it was expected that the Pensacola flash win by nothing short of a spectacular knockout. It didn’t occur.

Not that Ajamu isn’t a credible fighter, but he’s not in that same special category that Jones once reigned over.

But it was the former heavyweight, light heavyweight, super middleweight and middleweight champions first win in three years. Who would imagine ever saying those words after witnessing Jones incredible display of boxing talent and athleticism against Julio Gonzalez in 2001.

Jones knows what happened.

“Now I have everyone where I want them. There are doubters,” said Jones. “Now I got to prove a point.”

Next

Outside the LA Sentinel offices one of the regulars at Wild Card Boxing Club was in attendance and said Bernard Hopkins was working out.

A few of us jumped in our car and headed north on Crenshaw Blvd. a few miles up to Hollywood.

There was Hopkins and his team of bodyguards, trainers and friends who travel with him wherever he goes. The Philadelphia fighter had barely arrived an already looked like he was ready for a 12-round war.

“Look at his footwork,” said Macka Foley, one of the boxing trainers. “That’s amazing.”

Hopkins worked inside the ring with John David Jackson a former middleweight champion and more importantly a southpaw. Perfect pairing when the next opponent is southpaw stylist Winky Wright.

Also working with Hopkins is Freddie Roach who knows a thing or two about southpaws like Manny Pacquiao, Bobby Pacquiao and AJ Banal.

“We’re just starting out,” says Roach.

Hopkins has a no nonsense attitude inside the gym and races through his routines with little chit chat.

Finally he’s finished.

When asked if he plans to spar with Roy Jones Jr. who is a few miles down the street he laughs.

“No, never sparring, but we can fight,” Hopkins said.

Wednesday traffic

On Wednesday morning through blistering traffic and blistering heat we arrived at the La Habra Boxing Club in Orange County to meet with Alfonso Gomez who has a scheduled fight against future Hall of Famer Arturo Gatti. The fight takes place in Atlantic City on July 14 and will be shown on HBO.

Inside the cool gym Gomez is warming up for his routine as we walk inside. Also in the boxing gym located in a dead end street near some railroad tracks is trainer David Martinez. He’s working with female boxing contender Julie Rubalcava who is preparing to knock some of the rust off. She fought in New Mexico recently against Monica Lovato and lost in that fighter’s hometown. It was their second confrontation. Rubalcava won their first meeting.

“I got so tired up there,” said Rubalcava, citing the high elevation the fight took place. “I couldn’t breathe.”

Martinez is now training the petite fighter who will fight at the 112-pound flyweight division.

“She knows a lot already,” Martinez said, who also trains another female fighter named Nadja Ropac.

Two hours later Gomez finally finishes up his work and talks about his upcoming showdown with Gatti. You can see the excitement in his eyes though he hides it with his cool sobering demeanor.

Within 10 minutes all pretense is gone.

“This is my big opportunity,” said Gomez whose participation in the Contender reality TV series brought him sudden fame worldwide.

Recently Gomez fought in a fight card featuring USA fighters from the Contender vs. Contenders from the United Kingdom. Gomez knocked out his opponent but more importantly, he was cheered from his entrance to his knockout victory.

“I was really surprised by their cheers,” said Gomez, undeniably the most popular boxer from any of the Contender shows. “I was real happy.”

After talking to Gomez for an hour it’s easy to see he’s a renaissance man. There’s more to Gomez than his brawling all-action style. But we’ll save that for another day soon.

From La Habra it’s about 45 minutes from South El Monte where Antonio Margarito is preparing for his big fight against Big Paul Williams.

For the first time in 2007 the gym is really hot as summer finally arrives to Southern California. Sure it’s usually 80 degrees in April, but in June the 90 degree temperatures hit Los Angeles and increase to 110 degrees in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Margarito is working hard on body punches with his trainer Javier Capetillo. Also in the gym is Maxboxing writer Steve Kim who’s scouting Margarito too.

It’s too late for sparring but Rodney Jones and another tall fighter named Austin Trout have been giving Margarito a Williams-like look.

The Tijuana boxer goes through his drills with that same passion whether he’s fighting Joshua Clottey or Shotgun Gomez. He looks more focused than usual and I guess that has to do with Williams.

Around 3:30 p.m. we leave South El Monte and head into Boyle Heights where Wendy Rodriguez is preparing for her big fight against Germany’s Regina Halmich. The fight is scheduled for July 28 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Rodriguez, the IBA light flyweight titleholder, moves up to the 112-pound division to see if she can be the first American fighter to topple the great Halmich.

It’s no easy task.

“I know she’s a good fighter. I’m going to do my best,” said Rodriguez, who lives in South Central L.A. “I’m pretty excited about this fight.”

We eat at Al & Bees Burrito stand across the street from the same gym that was home to Olympic gold medal winners Paul Gonzalez and Oscar De La Hoya for a short while.

Malignaggi vs. N’Dou

New York’s Paul Malignaggi (22-1, 5 KOs) meets Australia’s Lovemore N’Dou (45-8-1, 30 KOs) for the vacant IBF junior welterweight title on Saturday June 16 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.

N’Dou doesn’t have much luck fighting outside of Australia. In four fights inside the U.S. he’s lost five out of seven times. Now he’s facing the speedy Malignaggi whose 26-year-old legs may be too quick for the hard-hitting N’Dou.

The fight will be shown on HBO on Saturday.

Malignaggi’s loss to Miguel Cotto last year looks better and better. The fleet-footed New Yorker lasted all 12 rounds against the wrecking ball Cotto. He’s the only fighter to go the distance since N’Dou in 2004. That’s a coincidence.

Tyrone Harris at Harrah’s Rincon on Friday

Lightweight contender Tyrone Harris (19-3, 13 KOs) meets Pascali Adorno (10-5, at Harrah’s Rincon on Friday June 15.

Harris and Adorno are both southpaws so it should be an interesting match up.

Also on the card will be San Jacinto’s Ron Hurley against Fresno’s Jerry Mondragon in a featherweight contest. For more information call (877) 777-2457.

Santiago Perez in El Monte Card

Welterweight hopeful Santiago Perez will be the headlining fighter at Florentine Gardens in El Monte on Friday June 15. The event is promoted by One Tough Cookie Promotions.

Perez is the son of Sugar Ramos, the former featherweight great who fought out of Mexico after leaving Cuba in the early 1960s.

For more information call (760) 904-6134.

Articles of 2007

St-Pierre, Liddell, Clementi Win @ UFC 79

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LAS VEGAS-A reinvented Georges St. Pierre proved he’s ready for the true Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title with a dominating win over Matt Hughes and Chuck Liddell returned to the win column in his big showdown on Saturday.

St. Pierre took the final chapter in the trilogy with Hughes and now is the UFC interim champion at the 170-pound division.

Hughes just shook his head after tapping out before a sold out audience at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. It was called “Nemesis” and St. Pierre conquered his nemesis.

“Georges is just a better fighter,” said Hughes (43-6) who beat St. Pierre several years ago, but lost two years ago in a title match. “I just don’t know how much longer I got.”

St. Pierre (15-2) found Hughes using a left-handed stance to change up his attack, but the Canadian quickly adapted and used his quickness, skills and raw strength to take Hughes to the ground.

“If it wasn’t for my wrestling training I wouldn’t have been able to adjust,” said St. Pierre who had been preparing to represent Canada’s Olympic wrestling team.

Inside the Octagon the Canadian was never in danger. In fact, Hughes was the fighter teetering for the entire fight that ended in 4:54 of the second round.

It wasn’t supposed to be that way.

Hughes, known for his wrestling skills, just couldn’t solve St. Pierre’s quickness. Every move the Illinois fighter attempted was squashed.

St. Pierre is now promised a fight against the current UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra, who pulled out of the fight with Hughes because of injury.

“If I don’t get my belt back, I’m going to consider myself champion,” said St. Pierre filled in for Serra with less than a month of training.

After dominating the first round on top of Hughes, the second round was even worse as St. Pierre landed elbows and fists. Though the Illinois fighter escaped from underneath, he was quickly thrown down. Within seconds St. Pierre grabbed Hughes left arm and turned it into an inescapable arm bar.

Hughes screamed out: “I tap!”

St. Pierre now awaits Serra to recover from his back injury.

The semi-main event was no less intense.

The light heavyweight showdown between Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and Brazil’s Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva was a three-round punch out between two famous sluggers. In the end Liddell’s sharper punches in the first and third round decided the fight despite a knockdown in the second scored by Silva.

Silva (31-8-1) dominated the second round for four minutes and 30 seconds but Liddell rallied and took the Brazilian to the ground. Two judges were somehow impressed by Liddell’s last 30 seconds and inexplicably gave him that round.

With both fighters huffing and puffing, and Silva with a bad cut over his right eye, Liddell seemed the stronger puncher and landed a back-handed fist and a right hand that stunned the former Pride FC fighter Silva. But he survived the round.

The judges scored it 29-28, 30-27 twice for Liddell who won his first bout after back-to-back losses.

“I knew it was a big fight for everybody and especially for me to get back on track,” said Liddell (21-5). “He had a lot more than I thought he had.”

Silva, who was making his first UFC appearance, was gracious in defeat.

“He won,” said Silva. “I gave my best.”

Temecula’s Rameau Sokoudjou fell short against Brazil’s undefeated Lyoto Machida (12-0) in their light heavyweight contest. The Cameroon native was unable to use his punching power with effectiveness against the karate-trained fighter. Then, unexpectedly, Machida landed a left hand that dropped Sokoudjou (4-2) and proceeded to gain an arm triangle that forced a submission at 4:20 of the second round.

“I’ve been working on my ground game,” said Machida who wants a world title match. “I beat the Alaska assassin, the African assassin, what other assassins are left?”

A heavyweight bout featured two Southern Californians eager to punch out. But San Diego’s Eddie “Manic Hispanic” Sanchez’s experience proved decisive in beating Temecula’s Soa Palelei (8-2) with uppercuts for three rounds. With his nose bleeding profusely and sustaining three consecutive uppercuts, referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight at 3:24 of the third and final round for a technical knockout.

“He was out of gas,” said Sanchez (10-1). “He was always putting his head down.”

Undercard

A grudge fight between two Louisiana fighters ended in a decisive submission victory by Rich Clementi of Slidell over the favored Melvin Guillard of New Orleans. A rear naked choke at 4:40 seconds of the first round forced Guillard, who had been predicting domination, to tap out. Though the fight was definitively over, Guillard attempted to assault Clementi but referee Herb Dean grabbed the fighter.

“He still didn’t learn his lesson,” said Clementi after Guillard attempted to rush him after the fight. “I validated what he’s known for six years, I’m the better man.”

James “The Sandman” Irvin (13-5-1) was nearly put to sleep by an illegal knee to the eye from Brazil’s newcomer Luis Cane (8-1) in the first round of a light heavyweight fight. Unable to continue, Irvin was declared the winner by disqualification at 1:51. Cane seemed unaware that UFC rules disallow knees to the head while the person is on the ground. Some mixed martial arts organizations allow it.

Former Ultimate Fighter participant Manny Gamburyan (6-3) quickly took his fight to the ground with former boxer Nate Mohr (6-5). Once on the ground the lightweight used his quickness to grab an ankle and twist. Mohr screamed to stop the fight at 1:31 of the first round.

“I’m so sorry for you man,” said Gamburyan who suspects he broke Mohr’s leg. “Nate’s a great guy.”

San Diego’s Dean Lister (10-5) scraped out a unanimous decision win over Bulgaria’s punch-crazy Jordan Rachev (16-2) in a middleweight bout. The judges scored it 29-28 for Lister.

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Articles of 2007

Pavlik Or 'Money': Fighter of the Year Is…

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There’s nothing like the terror felt when you have a big black bear snarling and snorting and hunting you down, eager to stuff your tender head into his mouth, to make you run as fast as you’ve ever run.

Thanks, Dana White, aka the big black bear.

Thanks for waking up the semi-slumbering powers that be, and forcing them to acknowledge that boxing needed to step up its game, or be eaten alive, and shifted even further back in the sports world’s relevance race, in 2007.

With UFC threatening to snarf up those much lusted after PPV dollars, the suits went into overdrive, and worked smarter, and harder, to give fans compelling matchups.

They agreed to get along to get money, and they relegated the sanctioning bodies, with those moronic mandatories, and instead listened to you, the consumer, and booked the fights that made sense.

Nobody worked smarter or harder than the PR arms for HBO, and “Money” Mayweather, the artist formerly known as Pretty Boy Floyd. Through his appearance on the ABC reality dance competition “Dancing with the Stars,” and stubbornly effective marketing by HBO (24/7 before the De La Hoy and Hatton showdowns were masterful mini-movies which whet appetites of even non fight fans), “Money” emerged as a pay per view attraction who can take the baton as the premier earner from Oscar De La Hoya.

He transcended the sport, and boxing added another player to the mix of fighters that even non-fight fans in the US recognize the name of. Now there’s Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, and Floyd Mayweather…

Boxing, a sprawling mess of interests lacking a central organization that insures cohesiveness in marketing, and message, and mission, relies on a central figurehead to maintain its precarious perch in the mainstream sports information flow. Mayweather, a savvy marketer who has outgrown his periodic outbreaks of youthful indiscretions, is a superstar that fits our age to a T.

He knows exactly what buttons to push to keep his name in the papers-—or, more accurately today, on computer screens—and feeds us rabid presshounds of negativity and turmoil red meat, with his intra-familial beefs and 50 Cent-inspired rants proclaiming his peerlessness.

The only thing holding Mayweather back is his own talent, probably, as he owns too much of it. He blew out De La Hoya, and Hatton, and like Roy Jones in his heyday, he so dominates his opposition, that drama is missing from his fights. Most of us tune in to the sport to savor the drama that comes from one man reaching deep into the well of heart and guts to bring forth reserves even he didn’t know he possesses, and imposing his will on an opponent who had been imposing his will upon him. That sort of drama, as manufactured by the late Diego Corrales, is the variety that the sweet science can deliver like no other sport.

We saw it in excess in 2007, from my personal choice for 2007 Fighter of the Year, Ohio’s Kelly Pavlik.

He dug into his well, after getting knocked to the floor in the second round of his tussle with middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, and refused to lose.

All of us could apply his tenacity in staying on his feet, and roaring back to topple Taylor with a furious flurry in the seventh round of their Sept. 29 battle, in our own lives. We all could identify with, and root for, the TSS Fighter of the Year.

One could argue that Mayweather, with ultra high profile wins over De La Hoya and Hatton, who did as much as anyone to keep the sport relevant in the last 12 months, deserves the TSS FOTY honor. As referenced before, maybe his superior level of talent has set the bar too high for us nitpickers. We may be prone to be too hesitant to bestow praise on Floyd, because he makes it look too easy. Sorry, Money, it’s possible you are being penalized for just being too damned good. You certainly are the runaway frontrunner for Fighter of the Decade…

Pavlik, we didn’t know how good he was coming in to this year. We knew how good his promoter, Bob Arum, thought he was. But we reserved judgment, unwilling to make too much of wins over Lenord Pierre and Bronco McKart. We became believers, to a point, when the Ohio native showed boxing skill and a closer’s mentality with his January win over Jose Luis Zertuche (KO8), and true believers with his dominant march over Edison Miranda (TKO7), the heavily hyped Colombian who was no match for the Youngstown hitter’s work rate in their May match.

But we still withheld a measure of respect before Pavlik met Taylor, the middleweight king, in Atlantic City. Maybe we had been burned by (not as great as we were led to believe) white hopes in the past, and were worried that hype and marketing were his greatest attributes as a boxer. The respect came pouring forth when he stayed on his trembling legs in the second round of his September scrap with Taylor, and intensified when he closed the show with a KO crack in the seventh.

The fighter has to be rewarded for staying the course, and not allowing himself to be knocked off the title path since turning pro in 2000, and progressing at a sometimes snailish pace, and sticking with his no-name trainer Jack Loew even though some experts urged him to trade Loew in for a flashier model, and battling frail hands, and getting pinched for slugging an off-duty cop in 2005.

Pavlik’s rise in 2007 came the old fashioned way, via training his tail off, and staying on message mentally, and rising to the occasion when the situation offered a softer, easier choice.

There was no mega marketing machine bombarding our short attention spans with a campaign to make Kelly Pavlik into the torchbearer for the sport in 2007.

But the 2007 leg of his march to prominence reaffirms the best of what the sport has to offer, and reminds us that with talents like Pavlik, the sweet science will never crumble into obsolescence.

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Articles of 2007

Resolution Time For Harold Sconiers

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When Harold Sconiers of Tampa, Florida, looks in the mirror these days he doesn’t see the journeyman heavyweight with a 15-17-2 (10 KOs) record that most other people do.

What he sees is the dynamic, hard-hitting heavyweight who made it to the finals of the 1996 Olympic Trials, and began his pro career with six straight knockouts and one decision victory.

Since being stopped in the first round by then undefeated Bermane Stiverne, who had won all nine of his fights by knockout, in February 2007, Sconiers has completely reassessed his life and career.

He has come to understand what transformed him from an exciting amateur and fledgling young pro with seemingly limitless future to a nominal heavyweight who had at one point lost 10 fights in a row.

Now aligned with a new manager, David Selwyn of New York, he plans on utilizing that newfound knowledge to embark on what he believes will be the comeback story of 2008.

“I always knew I had a lot of talent, but I never let that talent completely develop,” said the 31-year-old Sconiers, who has lost to such notables as Clifford Etienne, Maurice Harris, Donovan “Razor” Ruddock, David Defiagbon, DaVarryl Williamson and Eric Kirkland.

“I had a lot of different problems, but my biggest problems were self doubt and self sabotage. I would do things to make sure I never rose above a certain level.”

During his intensive, exhaustive and brutally honest re-examination of himself, he chose to forego all of the negative aspects of his career and instead focus only on the positive. Through lots of reading and candid discussions with his former trainer Larry Berrien, he went about changing the mindset that made him so comfortable with losing.

The first thing he did was look at his complete record from a totally different perspective. Rather than just dwell on the losses, Sconiers lauded himself for beating six previously unbeaten or once beaten fighters. Among them was Ray Austin, who was 14-1 at the time and later challenged Wladimir Klitschko for the heavyweight title.

He also fought Edward Escobedo, who was 12-1, to a draw, and lost a split decision to Ruddock, who has always been a formidable ring presence.

When he examined his 10 fight losing streak, he realized that his opponents had a combined record of 164-32-8. Of the 32 losses, Harris, who had revitalized his once dismal career in much the same way Sconiers hopes to, had incurred 10 of them.

And the always competitive Sherman Williams, accounted for another 10, which means eight other opponents had only 12 losses between them. Several were undefeated at the time they faced Sconiers.

“Losing to all of those guys gave the boxing world the perception that I was washed up and just didn’t care anymore,” said Sconiers. “I realized I had to change that perception, and the only way to change it was to change my old habits and my old ways of thinking, dissect everything I’d been doing wrong, and working really hard to establish a new belief system.”

Tapping deep into his own psyche, Sconiers came to realize that much of his lack of self worth was rooted in childhood issues. As a kid he had a passive personality, and both of his parents were college graduates who held what he calls high ranking positions in the corporate world.

He was bright enough to skip grades in school and he scored high on IQ tests. In no way was he destined to become a boxer. His parents had told him on many occasions that he would be well-suited as psychiatrist or attorney.

His life changed when his father held a Mike Tyson fight party at the family home. To say that Sconiers was mesmerized would be a gross understatement.

“I was instantly locked in,” said Sconiers. “I told myself that I have to do this.”

Sconiers ventured to the Frontline Outreach Gym in Orlando, where he met Antonio Tarver, who was roaring through the amateur ranks en route to the 1996 Olympics. Because Tarver was a few years older than Sconiers, he became a surrogate big brother to him. To this day, Sconiers has the utmost respect for Tarver as both a fighter and a friend.

During Sconiers’ amateur career, which consisted of 77 fights, of which he lost 9, his mother continuously reminded him that, in her opinion, “boxing was for dummies.”

Still, he managed to win a silver medal in the 1996 U.S. Nationals, where he beat eventual Olympic representative and future heavyweight title challenger Calvin Brock, as well as the finals of the 1996 Olympic Trials. In that tournament he lost to Williamson and Lamon Brewster.

When his pro career began to get derailed, the young and immature Sconiers blamed everyone but himself for his shift in fortune.

“I thought the problem was outside me, and thought everyone was responsible but me,” he said. “I dumped Larry in order to self-manage myself. I left what had always kept me grounded. Some of the fights I lost I could or should have won. There’s no way I should have lost to Etienne, but all I did was show up. The Ruddock fight should have been mine.”

As Sconiers lost interest and motivation, he also began dabbling in drugs and alcohol. More times than not, he would take fights on short notice. Even if he had time to train, he never cared if his opponents were switched or where he was lacing them up. Resigned to the fact that he was just fighting for money, he didn’t train hard, if at all.

He’d also pick up a few dollars working as a sparring partner for the likes of Etienne, Shannon Briggs, Jameel McCline, Larry Donald and Kirk Johnson, but the passion was gone. Many of those fighters, as well as their trainers, told Sconiers to snap out of his trance because he was a lot better fighter than he gave himself credit for.

While working with Etienne, the esteemed trainer Don Turner told Sconiers he could make him heavyweight champion of the world if only he’d “get his (stuff) together.”

Sconiers said he was at his personal abyss in mid-2003, when he was stopped by Kirkland, who was 16-1, in the first round in Vallejo, California.

“That was a real bad time for me,” he said. “I was up all night using drugs and alcohol and just didn’t care about anything.”

Although it would be nearly four more years before Sconiers embarked on his personal renaissance, when he looks back on his sordid past that is his most vivid memory. He has learned to use that memory to his advantage.

“A lot of people go down the same route I did and destroy themselves completely,” he said. “I was close to that point around the time of the Kirkland fight, but managed to survive another four years. It is so obvious to me now that I was trying to destroy myself.”

Sconiers is the first to concede that once you fall into the role of an opponent, it is hard to extricate yourself.

“A lot of guys go through this and fall by the wayside,” he said. “Look at Emanuel Burton (Augustus). He’s an immensely talented guy who’s good enough to be competitive and probably beat anyone. But he is in that opponent role, which is hard to snap out of.”

Having done lots of reading on positive thinking and overcoming psychological roadblocks, as well as completely revising his physical training regimen, Sconiers believes he has snapped out of it.

Besides the steadfast support of his beloved wife of six years, Jennifer, who just earned her master’s degree, he believes that his association with Selwyn is a pivotal component to the success he foresees for himself.

They plan on having a momentous and memorable 2008.

“Harold says he is going to be the Cinderella Man of 2008,” said Selwyn. “We plan on keeping a very busy schedule. History has shown that heavyweights are always just a few wins away from redemption. At his best, Harold is very good. It is undeniable that he was his own worst enemy in the past. Now he believes in himself, Larry believes in him, and I believe in him. I’m really looking forward to working with him so he can reach his full potential.”

“We plan on a busy schedule and a lot of upsets,” added Sconiers. “After my first couple of wins, people will probably say they were a fluke. I’m not quite the Cinderella Man and I’m not quite Rocky, but I am an underdog who can make it. Hope sells in boxing, and I plan on being one of the biggest stories of the new year.”

Manager Dave Selwyn can be contacted at: Boxingkid@aol.com or 845-893-2829.

*photo courtesy Harold Sconiers

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