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Articles of 2010

REDEMPTION ACHIEVED: Joey Gamache Wins His Last Fight

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Joey Gamache had engaged in hundreds of boxing matches before he stepped in to the ring at Madison Square Garden on February 26, 2000.  He was an ace as an amateur, and secured professional titles as a super featherweight and lightweight. His resume was solid as a rock, something he could look back on with pride as a graybeard. But then Gamache gloved up with Arturo Gatti, and his impressive pedigree became tainted. In the mind of fight fans, he was “that guy” who got demolished by Gatti. He was not a veteran of 58 pro bouts, a victor in 55 of those contests, but instead a victim, another notch in the belt of the “Human Highlight Machine” Gatti, the balls-out brawler. “KOBY-2” would be the last listing on his record, because Gatti's fists inflicted severe damage on Gamache, brain damage, to be exact.

He has headaches to this day, excruciating reminders of what went down on February 26, 2000. And they might not ever go away. But Joey Gamache was hoping that he'd receive a measure of relief, an acknowledgement that the beatdown he absorbed from Arturo Gatti at Madison Square Garden in 2001 didn't come about because he was in over his head, a mere opponent brought in to bolster Gatti's diminished reputation. For ten years, he hoped that people, friends, acquaintances, fight fans would get the real scoop on what went down on February 26, 2000, and more importantly, February 25, 2000.

Gamache maintained that the weigh in for his bout against Gatti, in which the Maine native was knocked out, in vicious, near lethal fashion, was overseen in a shoddy fashion, and contributed to Gatti being given an unfair weight advantage on fight night. For ten years, he didn't go out of his way to “educate” one and all about that weigh in, but he hoped that the truth would emerge the right way: through our legal system.  For ten years, Gamache battled the headaches, and the psychic pain that flared when he flashed back to February 26, 2000, and the time he spent in St. Vincent's hospital after the bout, being examined by neurosurgeons, as friends and family clustered around, hoping that he'd “only” suffered a concussion, and not a subdural hematoma.

For ten years, Gamache pursued justice. Not revenge. Not an alibi. But justice. For he, and for every boxer gloving up in New York, and the rest of the United States. He pursued the truth, and hoped that a judgment in his favor, a ruling that the New York State Athletic Commission had acted in a flippant, irregular, and downright irresponsible manner, would signal to the world that his loss wasn't merely what it appeared to be on his record. He hoped that a judge would find that the Commission hadn't just showed ineptitude, but in fact a grave disregard for the sport, for the rules and regulations which fighters rely upon, so moving forward, fighters could be assured that the playing field is level when they step in the ring and put their life on the line.

PUT THEIR LIFE ON THE LINE. He needed regulators entrusted to ensure fair play to get that deep in their gut. That lives are on the line when two men glove up. This ain't tiddlywinks. You don't “play” boxing. Gamache almost lost his life on February 26, 2000, as he was knocked down twice in the first round, and then in horrifically violent fashion, for the count, in the second round. With his quest to prove that the weigh in was conducted in a slipshod manner, Gamache wanted to clear up the public record, and send a message to commissions and authorities in all jurisdictions–this is a life and death sport, and you best take your responsibility to oversee the fighters with the utmost seriousness.

For the record, it was announced Friday afternoon, 29 hours before the fight, that Gamache weighed 140-1/4, and Gatti 141. Team Gamache, which included advisor Johnny Bos and trainer Jimmy Glenn,  contended that the scale never centered on 141 pounds, a single, and permissible, pound over the contracted weight limit. Bos saw that the scale didn't level out, and thundered at commissioner Tony Russo.  Bos was already concerned when commissioner Bob Duffy, who usually oversaw weigh ins, was shunted aside, and Russo, who lacked experience with the procedure,  grabbed the reins.  The weigh in for Oscar De La Hoya, the next night's headliner, was in dispute, as opponent Derrell Coley's cornerman Leonard Langley felt that De La Hoya didn't make weight, but was given a pass by Russo, right before Gatti hopped on the scale.

“Weigh Gatti again,” Bos yelled to Russo after not seeing the scale settle at 141 pounds, or under.

Russo barked back at Bos: “Shut up!”

The matter was over, the dispute was not open for discussion, in the minds of Russo, or chairman Mel Southard, who exited the weigh in hastily.

HBO weighed both fighters before the walked up the four steps at MSG the next night, and Gamache was 144 pounds. Gatti had puffed up to 160 pounds, unofficially. This, despite the fact that the NYSAC rulebook stated that in a welterweight bout, no more than 12 pounds can separate the fighters. A welterweight was battling a junior middleweight, in effect, and Gamache was stunned when he saw Gatti in the ring that fateful evening.

“I've fought a lot of good guys, but for the first time in my career, when Gatti took of his robe, I was shocked,” Gamache said after. “I mean, the size, the presence that he had. I thought, 'Wait a minute, I'm fighting that guy?'” Of course, no rule existed that prevented a monumental weight gain in between the official weigh in and fight night, a glaring glitch in the system that plagues the fight game to this day.

The ex boxer, who now lives in New York City, waited patiently as a case lodged against the New York State Athletic Commission moved forward at a turtle's pace. He pleaded his case in the New York Court of Claims last July, and was pleased at the case laid out by his attorney, Keith Sullivan.

Sullivan too was cautiously optimistic that Judge Melvin Schweitzer would see the situation as they did, that the weigh in for the bout, held the day before, was farcical; that Gatti never made the junior welterweight limit; that state officials, including Tony Russo and NYSCA chairman Southard, didn't follow correct protocol at the weigh in, and allowed Gatti to enter the Madison Square Garden ring with an unfair edge.

Gamache and Sullivan bided their time after the week-long trial wrapped up, as Schweitzer pored over testimony. They crossed their fingers, and hoped mightily that Schweitzer would note that testimony from Southard seemed to change significantly from a deposition and his time on the witness stand; and that the judge would lean heavily on video of the weigh in, and the testimony from Gamache advisor Bos, who testified that Gatti never made weight, and that he was warned explicitly not to make trouble by Russo after he showed his disgust at the manner in which Gatti “made weight.” The state argued that Gamache could have chosen to pull out out of his fight with Gatti, if he felt the deck was stacked against him, and countered that a skill edge, or reach or height advantage was the catalyst for a Gatti win.

Through it all, as the videotape of the brutal rubout was played, and replayed, and played again, Gamache sat stoic. His wife Sissy cringed, and dropped her head into her hands as the court saw the image of Gatti, looking a weight class or two bigger than Gamache, smash the game Mainer around the ring, and heard the announcers describe the beating her husband was taking.

Gamache never for a minute blamed Gatti, who did his job on fight not, which was to inflict damage upon his foe in a violent and conclusive fashion. “He was a fighter, just doing what he's supposed to do,” Gamache said. “The commission was supposed to protect us fighters.” Tragically, Gatti was found dead in Brazil, under still murky circumstances, in July 2009, while the trial took place.

The system, overseen in this case by men who seemingly had less than proper regard for the gravity of the event, of the sport, had been compromised; and Gamache needed, for himself and fellow pugilists who trusted the system and its overseers, to shine a light on the shameful manner in which rules and regulations were, in his mind, disregarded. He and his attorney didn't dwell on some political certainties, unpleasant ones, which would make their case a harder sell. In order to prove that the state was negligent, and obtain damages, the case would be presented in the Court of Claims, in front of a judge put upon the bench by the Governor. Strange set-up, no? No aspersions being cast on anyone, but ponder this arrangement. Is it in the best interest of the judge presiding over a case such as this to award a vast settlement to a plaintiff, and thus award that plaintiff funds from the state coffer? In a perfect world, a judge would be freed from any motive of self preservation, and would not fear that his or her record would be examined and that his or her term would be more or less likely to be elongated if he or she didn't award vast damages to plaintiffs.

Is anyone reading this under the impression that this is a perfect world?

Is anyone reading this not cognizant of the fact that the state budget is teetering on the brink, and that the state is struggling to stay solvent? Some attorneys shudder at trying to pry a settlement from the Court of Claims, viewing that branch as “kangaroo court” of sorts. Clearly, there would be no “home court advantage” for Sullivan and Gamache. With that daunting task at hand, Sullivan and Gamache pressed on. The case was laid out, and both were satisfied that they made clear what needed to be made clear. And they waited…

Gamache is a full-time boxing trainer now. The New York resident stayed busy, trying to build his client list. In fact, he was in the gym when he got a phone call from Sullivan. It was Thursday afternoon.

“Joey, the verdict came in,” Sullivan said, and drew a deep breath. “It's a mixed verdict. The judge ruled that the state was negligent. He said that what happened at the weigh in was akin to a 'fast shuffle.'  He said that commission members were lax in the performance of their duties. ….But you're not going to get any money.” Just then the bell in the gym rang. Gamache was silent for a second. Sullivan expected that he'd move away into a quiet office, and get the full lowdown on the decision, a 47 pager from Schweitzer.

“Keith, I gotta go,” Gamache said.  “I'm training this kid right now. He's on the heavy bag. Listen, you did a great job, thank you so much. We'll talk later.”

Ponder this…Gamache wasn't thinking about his case, his redemption, the reasons for the lack of damages. He was thinking about some green prospect's form on the heavy bag.

TSS reached out to Gamache Friday. We could hear his smile on the phone.

“I'm very, very happy,” he said. “We succeeded. We proved they were negligent. I'm going to go out with my wife tonight and celebrate.”

The lack of damages didn't weigh him down, he said.

“It's never been about the money. I've never been that attracted to money.”

Imagine that…As we read on a daily basis about the sickening Wall Street greedmongers who accrue billions and billions with their fancy flim flam trading methods, this guy really could not care less that the judge didn't ascertain that the shady weigh in could be construed as a substantial factor in the beating he absorbed.

Important point: the judge didn't have to be convinced that the weigh in shenanigans, and the weight disparity was the SOLE CAUSE for the pummeling. He only needed to be convinced that it was a strong factor. He had wiggle room, and could have determined that these were two boxers of similar ability, and that a slight Gatti reach and height edge weren't overwhelming factors in his blowout win. Of course, on occasions when a righteous weigh in had occurred, Gatti had won in similar fashion, so it's probably not fair to label the decision an egregious abomination. Sullivan, while disappointed, does not.

Sullivan talked to TSS Friday, and shared his reaction when he called Gamache with the good news-bad news verdict on Thursday.

“This spoke to the integrity of Joey Gamache, and laid out exactly what this case really meant to him,” Sullivan said. “It wasn't about the money. And believe me, for most people it is. For 99% it's about the money. Joey never even allowed me to discuss a settlement with the state.”

The attorney said he was proud of the fighter for staying in this battle for the duration.

“People looked at Joey as the guy who fought Arturo Gatti. Now they'll look at him as the guy who stood up to the State Athletic Commission. That's going to be his legacy. He came out a champion again.”

So justice has been served. Maybe it's not an overwhelmingly appetizing entree. Some questions still linger. For one thing, why did Russo tell Duffy to get lost, and do the weigh in? A reason for Russo seeming to favor Gatti, while whispered about in boxing circles, has never been proven, and likely will not be. Russo died from cancer in October 2008. Bos, so vocal about what he perceived as a “rigged” weigh in, hasn't been shy that fallout from his public stance on the matter has hurt him vocationally; he says he's been persona non grata in New York fight circles for years because he railed against that commission. Will the judgment allow him to be vindicated, and make doubters realize that just maybe his rantings over the years have resulted in a lessening of his professional options as a matchmaker?

More certain is the effect the ruling will have on Gamache.

“I feel I'll be able to put the Gatti fight behind me,” he told TSS. “I'll put it behind me for sure. It's a win for me.”

Articles of 2010

Judah To Fight Mbuza March 5 In NJ

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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

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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

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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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