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Articles of 2010




Known as The Ultimate, Paul Vaden had success in and out of the ring. As an amateur he amassed a 327-10 record, still considered the highest winning percentage in amateur boxing history. His professional career, however, was marked by both triumph and tragedy. In 1995, Vaden, a 3-1 underdog, took Vincent Pettways IBF Light Middleweight title. Four months later he would lose that title to heated rival Terry Norris. Vaden would fight on but it was a 1999 bout with Stephan Johnson that ended in tragedy and basically ended Vadens career. Fifteen days after the bout, Johnson died of injuries sustained in the ring. Vaden was never the same and soon retired from the ring. Unlike so many fighters, success has followed Vaden after boxing. Today he is CEO of Multi-Paul Incorporated. He also spends time on community outreach and volunteering for the San Diego Chapter for Juvenile Diabetes Research, the Jackie Robinson YMCA, and the Big Brothers/Big Sisters programs. He also speaks to corporations about the personal commitment and drive that enabled him to achieve success in his boxing career, his business career and his personal life. Vaden calls this commitment to discipline “Answer the Bell. Check him out at

SM: Paul, thanks for talking to me. Could you tell me what Multi-Paul Inc. is?
PV: Before I retired I created Multi-Paul, because I always wanted to be a multi-dimensional and talented guy. At least I try to be now. Multi-Paul goes beyond the ring. Corporate speaking and motivational speaking is a big part of it. Right now I am also completing my book and that will be followed by a play and musical. There are a lot of things I’m going to be starting through the ‘Answer the Bell Foundation. When I started Multi-Paul in 1995, while I was still fighting, I was always looking for other avenues after the boxing game was over. If you just say that I was a very talented and accomplished boxer, then I haven’t done my job. First of all I have been thoroughly blessed and am extremely thankful for that. I have always tried to be a very good person.

SM: When did you start the “Ultimate Workout?
PV: I actually created that as a hobby. Shawn, to be honest with you, when my son was born, I wanted to be around for him. That was my only child and I wanted to be there for him. Around 1997 I was thinking of a plan and I wasn’t in any hurry to get back into the ring. I was always a very ritual orientated guy. Back then I use to get up in the morning, run on the golf course and then read three newspapers. By 11am I went inside to watch “The Young and the Restless. This was my routine. The joke that my wife had was that I was around the house too much. I really started to think and plot about what to do next. Not for a business but for a hobby.
Tae Bo was big at the time and I started to think about doing something totally different. I read on the back of a Tae Bo disc where a woman who had taken the class said afterwards that she no longer felt intimidated when walking alone after the class. When I read that I thought that’s really false security because it’s a great workout but it doesn’t put you ahead as far as self-defense. The journey was always what I loved about boxing. Most people don’t see that journey and I wanted them to see it. I was so scared to start the “Ultimate Workout because I didn’t know if I would be able to do it and if I could do it, would I be able to do it well. My first guy I tried it on was a homeless guy in his thirties who was a recovering alcoholic. I worked him out and I was able to talk to him and change him. I knew I would never see him again but what was important was that I loved doing it. That’s where it all started. I started making flyers and coming up with different ideas and developed a good number of clientele. I loved doing it so much I didn’t go back to the ring for eighteen months. I put the hobby on hold and finally went back and that’s when the Stephan Johnson fight happened. I knew after that what my calling was. After I retired I knew what I wanted to do and I wanted to do it first class. Right now I am also with the Quallcomm Company. I head their global health and wellness initiatives. I devise budgets and try to get people to embrace physical activity. It’s an extreme blessing and I don’t take it for granted.

SM: Were you always a health-conscious guy and with such a positive outlook?
PV: I was definitely always positive. I believe in finding a way to win. I believe in the physical and mental aspect of it. I try and get a message to people. Not everyone can covey that message. I want to use what I have experienced to help touch in a lot of ways.

SM: When did you start boxing?
PV: I started in 1976. Muhammad Ali was the reason I started to box. You have Superman, Batman and all the Superheroes. Muhammad Ali was my Superhero. And he still is. When I first saw him I couldn’t explain it but it was like something I had never seen before. I was always a mama’s boy, still am. I got my start at the Jackie Robinson YMCA. My father wanted me to get involved there. I took a tour and in the back there was a boxing ring. I asked if I could get involved in boxing and my dad thought it was a joke. My dad gave me a two week trial period. Around that time I saw Sugar Ray Leonard fighting, the Olympics I think. Leonard was a huge inspiration to me. And I just kept boxing and got good at it. I did the additional things that needed to be done to become a world champ.

SM: You had a great amateur career with 337 fights and 327 of them wins. You must have fought all the time and had little time for anything else?
PV: A lot of the tournaments back then were week-long tournaments. I got five to six fights sometimes in a week. We went all over to box. My dad taught me some simple facts of life back that I always remembered. He said it’s a lot easier to get into trouble then get out of it. It seemed simplistic but it always stuck with me. I just never wanted to disappoint my mom and dad. I never wanted to make that call from jail to see if they would come and get me.

SM: Let me ask you about your title win over Vincent Pettway in August 1995. You were behind on all scorecards going into that final round weren’t you?
PV: Well yes, but I really have never brought that up. Everything worked out like it should have worked out. I never thought I was behind. I guess that’s the positive aspect I have. It’s what I dreamed of since I was eight years old. There are so many people who will never get the opportunity and so I am truly blessed.

SM: What was all the bad blood between you and Terry Norris before you guys fought in December 1995?
PV: You know what’s funny about that and I’ll just say this and take it a step further. “Terrible Terry Norris, I have nothing but tremendous love for him. I wish him nothing but heaven and great things. I went through a period when I was wrong. I learned my lesson and it happened the right way. For whatever reason and it’s not really important, but I wish him nothing but the best and when I see him I greet him with love and openness. I am honored and privileged to have shared the ring with him. He’s a hall of famer and a great four-time world champion.

SM: Was he just the better fighter or were you prepared for that fight?
PV: There are a lot of things that happened before that fight. But I’ll just say that the right thing happened. Some people said I was scared. But that makes no sense because if youre scared you find the exit route. I lost so much weight for that fight. I got to the point where there was just nothing there, nothing left. The right thing happened. I have a lot of respect for Terry.

SM: Is the Stephan Johnson fight, on Nov. 20th, 1999 in Atlantic City still hard to talk about, what did that do to you?
PV: It caused my exit from boxing. It also took me to a point where I was scared to live. I went through a horrible time in that year, 1999. I would also lose two very important people to me to suicide, my cousin and my uncle. That was just a terrible year with that and the Stephan Johnson fight. The worse thing that could have happened to me would be something like that. I just never dreamed that I would ever have been in a situation like that. So I was really done as a fighter at that point. I remember being scared of death lurking out there for me, trying to get me back for what had happened. I just knew death was trying to get me. I remember
requesting all these tests from my doctor because I was convinced I was going to die. I needed another fight to answer the question as to whether or not I was going to die in the ring. I just had to come back and find out the answers.

SM: Was that the reason you took the Jose Alfredo Flores fight on April 15, 2000 in Las Vegas?
PV: That was the only reason. It was one of the hardest training camps I ever had to do. I had to lose a lot of weight. It was tough emotionally as well. I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I remember getting hit in like the fourth round and fighting back. But the interesting thing was that I was fighting to live. The last quarter of the fight or so I was competitive. When I heard the scorecards I was sad I lost but happy that I was alive. There was no doubt that it would be my last fight. It was after that fight that I began to recuperate emotionally and started to generate good things as a person, a father and as a businessman. That’s why my book is called “Answer the Bell. It’s for people who are dealing with aspects in their life, that are facing challenges or when they are feeling underwater. They can put in that mouthpiece, get off the stool and answer the bell.

SM: Have you been involved in boxing after you retired or any future plans to?
PV: I love boxing but I don’t have any real passion to be involved in the boxing game. A big reason is because I hate to see dreams unfulfilled. There are such few people who get to reach that pinnacle and I would hate to see people work their tails off and fall way short. That would break my heart because I like to see people win.

SM: Paul, any final words?
PV: The amount of support has been unbelievable. I truly thank everyone for their support and loyalty and they really inspired me when things were tough and I needed to keep going. And my works not done, I feel like I have just begun, and hopefully you’ll see brilliant things from me. Boxing has been very hard on a lot of people but I’ve retained all my faculties and am in excellent health. Good things are happening for me now, I have been truly blessed.

SM: Paul thanks for speaking with me.
PV: Shawn, it’s been a pleasure, take care.

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Articles of 2010

Judah To Fight Mbuza March 5 In NJ




Totowa, NJ – Kathy Duva, Main Events CEO, announced their promotional firm won the purse bid held at IBF headquarters in East Orange, NJ, Thursday. The bid was for the right to hold the IBF's junior welterweight title fight between Zab Judah of Brooklyn, NY and Las Vegas, and South Africa's Kaizer Mabuza.

IBF Championships Chairman, Lindsay Tucker explained, “It is a 50-50 split of the earnings between the two fighters. Kaizer is ranked No. 1 by the IBF, and Judah is No. 2. Where the fight will be held is up to the winning bidder.”

Judah (39-6, 26 KOs) is promoted by Main Events and his own firm Super Judah Promotions, and Branco Milenkovic, of South Africa, promotes Mabuza (23-6-3, 14 KOs).

Kathy Duva confirmed the fight will take place at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, late February or early March this year as part of Main Events' Brick City Boxing Series.  (Saturday Update: the fight is March 5th, in NJ at the Pru Center. The bout will be part of a PPV card.)

“We are very happy that Zab has the opportunity to fight for the IBF Junior Welterweight title right here in New Jersey.  Winning this fight will put Zab right in the mix with the winner of Bradley-Alexander and Amir Khan.” Duva elaborated, ” Zab will work very hard to win this fight so that he will be one step closer to his ultimate goal of unifying all of the Junior Welterweight titles by the end of 2011!”

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Articles of 2010

UFC 125 Preview: Frankie Edgar Vs. Gray Maynard



Few predicted Frankie Edgar would grab the UFC lightweight championship last year but he did. Most felt he would eventually win it but Edgar not only took the title, he beat one of the best mixed martial artists in history to do it.

Edgar (13-1) has emerged from the milieu of nondescript MMA fighters to become one of the more brilliant performers for Ultimate Fighting Championship. Next comes a rematch with Gray “The Bully” Maynard (11-0) tomorrow at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas. UFC 125 will be televised on pay-per-view.

All it took was not one, but two victories over BJ Penn.

If you’re not familiar with Penn, he’s one of the most versatile fighters in MMA history and had been nearly unbeatable in the 155-pound lightweight division. That is until he clashed with Edgar. Until he met New Jersey’s Edgar, the Hawaiian fighter chopped down lightweight opponents with ease. It was only the heavier welterweights he had problems against. Namely: Canada’s Georges St. Pierre.

Edgar showed poise, speed and grit in defeating Penn in back-to-back fights. The world took notice.

“You know, if I keep winning fights, the respect will come eventually,” said Edgar during a conference call.

Now Edgar will find out if he can avenge the only loss on his record.

“I just think I grew as a fighter. You know, mentally, you know, physically I, you know, possess differently skills, increased – you know, I think I boxed and got better, my Jiu-Jitsu got better and, you know, just have much more experience now,” Edgar says.

Maynard seeks to find out if Edgar has added any more fighting tools to his repertoire. Back in April 2008, the artillery shelled out was not enough to beat the Las Vegas fighter.

“It’s a perfect time. He had the chance and, you know, he took it and the time is now for me and I’m prepared,” said Maynard (11-0). “Any time you’re going up against the top in the world, you evolve and change and so I’m prepared for a new fight, so it will be good. I’m pumped for it.”

Though Maynard’s record indicates he is unbeaten that’s not entirely true. He did suffer a defeat to Nate Diaz during The Ultimate Fighter series and subsequently avenged that loss last January.

The UFC lightweight title is in Maynard’s bull’s eye.

“Looking to take the belt for sure,” said Maynard. “We’ll see on January 1.”

Edgar versus Maynard should be a good one.

Other bouts:

Nate Diaz (13-5) faces Dong Hyun Kim (13-0-1) in another welterweight tussle. Diaz is the only fighter with a win over Maynard. Anyone watching TUF remembers Maynard tapping out from a Diaz guillotine choke. The Modesto fighter has a tough fight against South Korea’s Kim.

Chris Leben (21-6) fights Brian Stann (9-3) in a middleweight fight. Leben is a veteran of MMA and if an opponent is not ready for a rough and tumble fight, well, that fighter is not going to win. Stann dropped down from light heavyweight and we’ll see if the cut in weight benefits the Marine.

Brandon Vera (11-5) meets Thiago Silva (14-2) in a light heavyweight match up. Vera is trying to rally back to the promising fighter he was tabbed several years back. Silva is a very tough customer and eager to crash the elite. A victory by either fighter could mean a ticket to the big time.

Clay Guida (27-8) versus Takanori Gomi (32-6) in a lightweight bout. Guida has become one of the most feared fighters without a title. No one has an easy time with the long-haired fighter. Gomi lost to Kenny Florian but knocked out Tyson Griffin. Can he survive Guida?

Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis (22-8) clashes with Jeremy Stephens (18-6) in another lightweight fight. Davis is a go-for-broke kind of fighter and is looking to get back in the win column after a tumultuous battle with Nate Diaz last August. Stephens needs a win too. In his last bout he lost to Melvin Guillard.

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Articles of 2010

Borges Looks Back, And Forward With Hope




As the end of another year approaches, there’s no need to invoke Charles Dickens to describe what went on in boxing. It was neither the best of times nor the worst of times. It was just too much time spent on The Fight That Never Took Place.

For the second straight year the sport could not deliver The Fight, the only one fans universally wanted and even casual fans craved – the mix between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao.  No one has to be singled out for blame for that failure because this time there’s plenty to go around on both sides. The larger issue is what does it say about a sport when it cannot deliver its top event?

What would the NFL be without the Super Bowl? Where would major league baseball be without the World Series? Golf without the Masters? College basketball without March Madness?

They would all be less than they could be and so it was with boxing this year. Having said that, the sport was not without its signature moments. It was not bereft of nights that left those of us with an abiding (and often unrequited) love for prize fighting with good reason to hope for the future.

Three times promoter Bob Arum took the sport into massive stadium venues just like the good (very) old days and each time boxing drew a far larger crowd than its many critics expected. Twice those fights involved the sport’s leading ambassador, Pacquiao, who brought in crowds of 40,000 to 50,000 fans into Cowboys Stadium against inferior opponents Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito. Imagine what he might have done had Mayweather been in the opposite corner?

While both fights were, as expected, lopsided affairs, they showcased the one boxer who has transcended his sport’s confining walls to become a cultural icon and world celebrity. Pacquiao alone put boxing (or at least one boxer) on the cover of TIME and into the pages of such varied publications as Esquire, GQ, The Wall Street Journal, the American Airlines in-flight magazine and even Atlantic Monthly.

As history has proven time and again, that is what happens when boxing has a compelling personality to sell it and Pacquiao is that. Mayweather is such a person as well,  but for different reasons.

The one night he appeared in a boxing ring, he set the year’s pay-per-view standard against Shane Mosley while also leaving a first hint of dark mystery when he was staggered by two stinging right hands in the second round.

Mayweather was momentarily in trouble for the first time in his career but the moment passed quickly and Mosley never had another. By the end he had been made to look old and futile, a faded athlete who’d had his chance and was unable to do anything with it. So it goes in this harsh sport when the sands are running out of the hour glass.

As always there were some surprising upsets, most notably Jason Litzau’s domination of an uninterested and out of shape Celestino Caballero and Sergio Martinez’s one-punch demolishment of Paul Williams. The latter was not so much an upset as it was a stunning reminder that when someone makes a mistake against a highly skilled opponent in this sport they don’t end up embarrassed. They end up unconscious.

SHOWTIME did all it could to further the future of the sport, offering up a continuation of its interminably long but still bold Super Six super middleweight tournament as well as the launching of a short form bantamweight tournament which already gave fans to two stirring and surprising finishes with Joseph Agbeko decisioning Jhonny Perez and Abner Mares upsetting Victor Darchinyan in a battle of contusions.

While the Super Six has had its problems – including several of the original six pulling out – it also lifted the profile of former Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward from nearly unknown to the cusp of universal recognized as the best super middleweight in the world this side of Lucian Bute. If Ward continues winning he’ll get to Bute soon enough because that’s why SHOWTIME signed a TV deal with the Canadian and America may get its next boxing star if Ward proves to be what I think he is – which is still underrated and underappreciated.

HBO and HBO pay-per-view put on 23 shows, few of them compelling and many of them paying big money to the wrong people while doing little or nothing to grow the sport that has helped make their network rich. But they did have the knockout of the year – Martinez’s second round destruction of Williams – and some fights in the lower weight classes that were left you wanting more.

Two new names popped up who are causing the kind of fan reaction that also gives us hope for 2011 – American Brandon Rios and Mexican Saul Alvarez. They are two of the sport’s brightest young prospects because each comes to the arena the old-fashioned way – carrying nothing but bad intentions.
Aggression and knockouts still sell boxing faster than anything else and each exhibited plenty of both this year and left fans wanting to see more. Alvarez is already a star in Mexico without having yet won a world title and Rios is the definition of “promise.’’ Whether the star will continue to shine and promise will be fulfilled may be answered next year and so we wait anxiously to find out.

Backed by Golden Boy Promotions, there is no reason 2011 shouldn’t be Alvarez’s year and if it is people will notice and remember him because he has a crowd-pleasing style that is all about what sells most.

That is what boxing needs more of – fresh faces and new stars… so as fans we should root for guys like Alvarez, Ward, Rios and young Brit Amir Khan, who is a star in England but still a question mark with a questionable chin but a fighter’s heart here in the U.S.

Those guys and others not yet as well known are the future of boxing, a sport that for too long has been recycling the likes of Mosley (as it will again in May for one last beating against Pacquiao in a fight that's a joke), Bernard Hopkins (who can still fight although it is unclear why he bothers or where it’s all headed), Roy Jones and, sadly, even 48-year-old Evander Holyfield, who continues to delude himself but not many other people into believing he will soon unify the heavyweight title again.
If fighters like Ward, Alvarez, Rios, Khan, WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto and middleweight king Sergio Martinez continue their rise they could be the antidote for the art of the retread that Arum and Golden Boy have been forcing fans to buy the past few years at the expense of what boxing needs most – fresh faces.

The heavyweight division, which many believe determines the relevancy of boxing to the larger world, remains a vast desert of disinterest here in the US. The Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, hold 75 per cent of the title belts but few peoples’ imaginations in the US, although to be fair they are European superstars and don’t really need U.S. cable TV money to thrive economically.

Each defended their titles twice this year, Vitali against lame competition (Albert Sosnowski and Shannon Briggs) and Wladimir against better fighters (Sam Peter and Eddie Chambers) but not competitive ones. Sadly, there is no American on the horizon to challenge them, a comment on the division and on our country, where the athletes who used to be Joe Louis or Muhammad Ali now opt for the easier and frankly safer road of the NFL or the NBA. Who can blame them considering all the nonsense a fighter has to go through to just make a living these days?

The one heavyweight match that would be compelling and might lift the sport up for at least a night would be either of the Klitschkos facing lippy WBA champion David Haye. The fast-talking Brit claims to not be ducking them but he’s had more maladies befall him after shouting from the rooftops how much he wants to challenge them that you have to wonder if Haye is simply a case of big hat no cattle syndrome.

For the sake of the sport, we should all be lighting candles each night in hopes our prayers will be answered and Haye will finally agree to meet one of them. It may not prove to be much of a fight but at least it will give us something to talk about for a few months.

Whatever Haye and the Klitschkos decide the fighter with the most upside at the moment however seems to be Sergio Martinez.  He has matinee idol looks, a big enough punch to put Paul Williams to sleep with one shot and a work ethic second to none. The Argentine fighter had a year for himself, starting with a drubbing of Kelly Pavlik followed by his demolishment of Williams. Those kinds of victories, coupled with his Oscar De La Hoya-like looks, are the type of things that if HBO or SHOWTIME would get behind him could allow Martinez to capture the attention of both fight fans and more casual ones.

In general, Hispanics fighters continued to dominate much of the sport’s front pages with Juan Manuel Marquez’s two victories in lightweight title fights leading that storyline. His war with Michael Katsidis is a strong candidate for Fight of the Year and his technical skill and calm demeanor make him the uncrowned challenger to Pacquiao. The two have unfinished business that should be settled this year if Arum stops standing in the way.

Two other fighters who gave us moments to remember in 2010 were Juan Manuel Lopez, who knocked out three solid opponents including highly respected Mexican warrior Rafael Marquez, and Giovani Segura, who won four times (that’s three years work for Mayweather) in 2010, all by knockout. Along the way, Segura defeated one of the great minimum weight fighters in history, slick Ivan Calderon, to win the belt on Aug. 28.

Lastly, boxing gave us another magical cinematic moment as well with the release of “The Fighter,’’ a film based on the life and hard times of junior welterweight scrapper Micky Ward. The film has won rave reviews and many awards and seems likely to have several of its actors nominated for Academy Awards, most notable Christian Bale for his sadly humorous portrayal of Ward’s troubled half brother, former fighter Dickie Ecklund.

Boxing has a long history of providing the framework for memorable movies and it did it again with “The Fighter,’’ a film that did more for boxing than any promoter did all year.

All in all, it wasn’t the best of years for boxing but it was a good year that picked up speed in the final months and, like that great golf shot you finally hit out of the rough on the 18th, left us with reasons to hope for a better year in 2011. If somehow it gives us Mayweather-Pacquiao, the emergence of Alvarez and Rios, the ascension of Martinez and Haye vs. the best available Klitschko in addition to the kind of solid performances that always come along, it could be a year to remember.

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