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Forty-six Boxing Notables Wax Nostalgic in the Latest TSS Survey

Ted Sares

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TSS Survey

Welcome to the second TSS Quarterly Survey of 2019. Our survey question this time was “If you could have a ringside seat to any boxing event in history, which fight would you choose?” There were many duplicate picks but also some unexpected choices. Enjoy.

BONES ADAMS — trainer, former WBA world super bantamweight champion: Ali vs. Foreman. Ali at his best.

RUSS ANBER — elite trainer, cornerman, and owner of Rival Boxing Equipment: The first fight that popped into my mind was the June 22, 1938 rematch between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. Considering the outcome of the first fight, coupled with the social and political implications which surrounded the rematch, I would dare say that it was the most important fight in the history of boxing. What I wouldn’t have given to be there!

MATT ANDRZEJEWSKI — TSS boxing writer: Harry Greb vs. Mickey Walker. They were two of the greatest ever fighting for the middleweight title. It was reportedly a classic give and take battle that featured plenty of sustained action as well as an incredible performance by Greb whom I consider to be the greatest fighter of all time.

DAVID AVILA — TSS West Coast Bureau Chief: I’d love to have been ringside for Jack Dempsey vs Gene Tunney and the long count in Chicago at a time when Al Capone ruled the city. That was a pretty emotional fight that people argued about for many decades. It was Jack Dempsey’s last fight and Gene Tunney fought only one more time.

TRACY CALLIS – eminent boxing historian: I’d love to be at ringside for the Tommy Ryan-Tommy West fight of March 4, 1901 in Louisville, Kentucky. It was the third time they had fought. This contest was not a boxing match as we know it, it was truly a fight. Blood, butting, other fouls, etc. Would love to be at ringside yes, but not too close for there was blood splattered everywhere. Ryan complained to the ref that West was butting. The ref told him to butt him back. They kept fighting.

STEVE CANTON — President of Florida Boxing Hall of Fame, author: The second Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling bout because of its importance and significance during World War II. The utter destruction of Schmeling and redemption by Joe Louis was unbelievable and I could only imagine the feelings of those in attendance. It was one for the ages.

JILL DIAMOND — International Secretary, WBC With the golden anniversary of Ali/Frazier I coming up March 8th, 2021, if I went back in time, could I wish for any other ticket? History! Glamour! Champions!

CHARLIE DWYER — former professional referee and member of U.S. Marine Corps Boxing Hall of Fame: Ali-Frazier I. In my estimation, it was the biggest mega fight ever.

STEVE FARHOOD — Showtime announcer, former editor of The Ring magazine and 2017 IBHOF inductee: That’s an easy one: The Rumble in the Jungle. Incredibly significant. Unique. Dramatic. And since I covered only the last two fights of Ali’s career, both of which were losses, I would like to have seen him win!

RICK FARRIS — President and founder at West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame: I’d like to have sat ringside for the last Ike Williams-Beau Jack lightweight title bout. The one where Williams is battering the defenseless Beau Jack in the corner, then held Beau up by the throat and turning to the ref  said, “What do you want me to do, kill the man?”

BERNARD FERNANDEZ — TSS Mainstay and lifetime member of the BWAA: March 8, 1971, Madison Square Garden, Joe Frazier’s 15-round unanimous decision over Muhammad Ali in arguably the most-anticipated boxing match, and maybe even sport event, of all time. I was the young sports editor of a newspaper in south Louisiana  at the time, my days at ringside at major fights still a bit off in the future. But anyone who cared about boxing, and I did, wanted to be in the Garden in New York for this one.

If I am allowed two honorable mentions, I’d go with Roberto Duran UD15 Sugar Ray Leonard on June 20, 1980, in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium and Aaron Pryor TKO 14 Alexis Arguello on Nov. 12, 1982, in Miami’s Orange Bowl. But, really, there are a lot more I could mention.

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“You know, you’re in here with the God tonight” – Ali

“If you are God, you’re in the wrong place tonight – Frazier

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 JEFFREY FREEMAN (aka KO Digest) — TSS boxing writer: Hagler-Hearns, brief enough? Eight minutes. I’ve got my popcorn and I’m ready to rumble.

RANDY GORDON — former head of the New York State Athletic Commission, SiriusXM radio host, and author of Glove Affair, his recently released memoir: I’d absolutely have to be in Havana, Cuba, on April 5, 1915, for the Jack Johnson-Jess Willard heavyweight title fight. I have to see for myself if Johnson took a plunge in the Havana heat, or was really beaten by the far-less-talented Willard.

LEE GROVES — writer, author and the wizard of CompuBox: The first fight that came to mind was the rematch against Rocky Graziano and Tony Zale at Chicago Stadium on July 16, 1947. That’s because the fight has been described as among the most thrilling in the history of the sport, yet the only footage is grainy, brief and shot from the crowd. Was this fight everything that it was portrayed? Being there would settle that question for me.

HENRY HASCUP — boxing historian and President of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame: Harry Greb when he beat Gene Tunney. There is no film that we know of where Greb is actually in a boxing match so I would love to see how he beat one of the All-time Greats!

CHUCK HASSON — noted boxing historian and co-author of Philadelphia’s Boxing Heritage: I can’t help it. I would like to relive the time my dad took me to Atlantic City for my 17th birthday present to watch my idol Joey Giardello win the middleweight title with his career masterpiece beating Dick Tiger for the middleweight championship. The euphoria I experienced that night I would like to relive one more time. Nothing since in boxing has given me the pleasure of that night.

JACK HIRSCH — former President and now lifetime member of the BWAA: The Jack Johnson-Jim Jeffries fight in Reno, Nevada, on July 4, 1910. It was arguably the most historical event in sports history. I would have been fascinated to see the attitudes of those at ringside.

KEVIN IOLE — Yahoo combat sports journalist: March 8, 1971, Ali-Frazier I. The biggest sporting event of my lifetime. Where else would I rather be?

MIGUEL ITURRATE — matchmaker, judge, promoter and TSS writer: The first Billy Papke fight with Stanley Ketchel in Milwaukee on June 4, 1908. The fight is well documented and there was a who’s who of athletes there, including Frank Gotch, the champion wrestler. Ketchel was defending his world middleweight title and the two would go on to fight three more times. But oh to be there for that first one….

STUART KIRSCHENBAUM — former head of the Michigan Boxing Commission: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, June 22, 1938. Boxing transcended the sport that evening and was on the world stage for the most important social and political ramifications. During my term as Boxing Commissioner in Michigan little did I know that my own life would become intertwined with the Brown Bomber. From meeting him ringside and time spent with him at a victory party following Hilmer Kenty from the Kronk Gym becoming the first world champion from Detroit since Joe Louis.  Later on, I would become the personal guardian for Joe’s widow Martha till her death and burial next to Joe in Arlington Cemetery. Joe’s best childhood friend Freddie Guinyard gave me the glove that Joe had given him …the glove that knocked out Schmeling.  On Guinyard’s wishes, along with the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, we donated that glove which proudly stands in a granite and plexiglass showcase in Detroit dubbed “The Glove That Floored Nazi Germany”. From Joe’s hand….to Max’s chin…to my home…to the City of Detroit…a proud journey indeed.

BRUCE KIELTY — matchmaker, historian: Ali vs Frazier #1. No explanation necessary.

JIM LAMPLEY — linchpin of the HBO Boxing announcing team for 31 years, 2015 IBHOF inductee: Louis vs Schmeling II. One of a tiny handful of famous sports events whose sociopolitical impacts rocked the world. First time ever a majority of white Americans rooted for a black man to beat a white man. Stands alone for me.

ARNE LANG — TSS editor-in-chief, author, historian: I missed the first fight between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo. It happened at a time when I was out of the boxing loop. Several of my friends were ringside and they all say it was the greatest fight they ever saw. I regret that I missed it.

JIMMY LANGE — former boxer and promoter: In a close call with Ali-Frazier 1, I would choose Louis vs Schmeling 2. It was one of the most significant events in sports history. A black man carried the U.S. on his shoulders to keep his title from the envoy of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Max was undeserving of such a villainous tag. After everything Joe Louis did for this country, the government turned on him and he died with much less dignity than he should have.

RON LIPTON — former fighter, retired police officer, pro referee and inductee into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame: I’d pick the one I missed but wanted to see very much–the shootout with Charlie “Devil” Green and Frankie DePaula where Charlie stopped Frankie in two in M.S.G.  I’d also liked to have been at ringside for Jose “Chegui” Torres v Charlie “Devil” Green. I was sitting near Green when they came and got him to fill in for Jimmy Ralston. That was something to see when he floored Torres and they had to drag Jose back to the corner, he came out next round and stopped Charlie. I wish I had been closer to ringside which I usually always was.

ADEYINKA MAKINDE – UK barrister, author and contributor to the Cambridge Companion to Boxing: I’d liked to have been seated alongside Clark Gable and Douglas Fairbanks in Yankee Stadium for the return match in 1938 between the “Brown Bomber”, Joe Louis, and the “Black Uhlan”, Max Schmeling. A truly historic night given Louis’ clinical and brutal revenge in a heavyweight title bout, as well as the significance of defeating the (unwilling) Nazi poster boy of Aryan racial supremacy.

SCOOP MALINOWSKI – writer, architect of Biofile: I’d go back and see the fight that was the most important of my childhood-one I saw on closed circuit TV at Totowa Ice World. This fight took over my life at age 14 and it turned out exactly as I hoped and wished. June 20, 1980, Montreal, Duran over Leonard.. It was Duran’s highest moment. And if I could go into the Ted Sares Time Machine, second stop would be Duran vs. Moore at MSG. I’d like to have sat next to Mike Tyson up in the nosebleed seats. He told me he was doing “Duran Duran Duran” chants. Unbelievable atmosphere that night. Third trip…Dempsey vs. Willard. Love Dempsey in that fight, and my hat would fit right in at ringside.

DAVID MARTINEZ – historian: James J. Corbett vs. Peter Jackson, May 21, 1891, San Francisco, CA. This was a most exhausting fight of wills to the end.  After 61 grueling rounds, the referee called this historic heavyweight bout to a halt – the decision officially ruled a draw!

ROBERT MLADINICH– former  fighter, writer, author: Dempsey-Willard. Outdoors on the 4th of July with Dempsey, the Mike Tyson of his time, fighting a giant. Can’t imagine a more exciting event.

ERNESTO MORALES (aka GINO FEBUS) — former fighter, writer: Louis vs Schmeling rematch to capture the fight and all the atmosphere leading up to it; the crowd, the buzz, the anticipation, ring walk, introduction… ALL! I’ve wondered about the political environment at the time: pro American, anti-Hitler/Nazi, anti-Negro, the KKK..and the Battle for World Boxing Supremacy! Along with the fears that Max would take the heavyweight crown to Germany and the horrifying thought of it NEVER returning!! Remember, Max had already KO’d Joe and even made it look somewhat easy. America had plenty to lose, especially Black America! But Joe pounding Max as he clung to the ropes and his trip to the canvas must’ve been awesome, a sight to forever behold. Don’t believe there was a complaint in the Stadium that night because it ended so quickly, only cheers and sighs of relief!! Wish I could have been there.

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“Louis measures him. Right to the body. Left up to the jaw and Schmeling is down. The count is 5, 5, 6, 7, 8…The fight is over on a technical knockout. Max Schmeling is beaten in the first round!” –William Broadwater (AFRO)

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CHRIS MORRIS — former boxer, writer: Hearns v Leonard 1. That epic fight hooked me on the sport. Our guy lost that night, but Hearns had an impact on me. So much so, my first son is named Santana Hearns.

JOSEPH PASQUALE — boxing judge: I’d go back again to my ringside seat 1979 MSG, NYC. Duran/Palomino and Weaver/Holmes. MSG Boxing at its best!  Not a judge then, just a fan. Still a fan.

RUSSELL PELTZ – venerable boxing promotor and 2004 IBHOF inductee: Johnson vs. Jeffries.

ADAM POLLACK—author, publisher, and boxing official: Any John L. Sullivan fight in the early 1880s because there is no film of him fighting, so we can’t know for sure exactly what he looked like in action in his prime other than via written accounts.

FREDERICK ROMANO — author and former ESPN researcher: While being at Ali-Frazier I or Dempsey-Firpo would be a thrill, I would use this one wish from the boxing Jeanie to experience something we have never seen- something not on film. Sullivan-Corbett, Johnson-Langford,  Greb’s victory over Tunney or  Zale-Graziano I,  would make me very happy. This morning I am in the mood for Johnson-Langford.

DANA ROSENBLATT — former world middleweight champion, commentator, inspirational speaker: Rosenblatt vs Pazienza 2. Far and away my favorite fight of all time.

LEE SAMUELSTop Rank publicist emeritus and 2019 IBHOF Inductee: That’s easy. Hagler vs Hearns in one of the most all out explosive battles of our time – think about that one every day.

TED SARES — TSS boxing writer: Louis vs Schmeling 2 because of the intense social and political backdrop. Close second is Christy Martin vs. Deirdre Gogarty (March 16, 1996). Blood and guts undercard war that stole the show from Tyson-Bruno and put women back on the boxing map.

 TOM SCHRECK — boxing judge: Do I have to pick one? 1. Ali v Frazier I, the enormity of the event would have been something to experience. It transcended boxing. 2. Hagler v Leonard, Sugar Ray’s performance was genius 3. Tunney v Dempsey I, brawn v brains.

ICEMAN JOHN SCULLY — manager, trainer, commentator, writer, historian, former boxer: I’m always torn between the first Ali-Frazier fight and the first Leonard – Hearns fight. For me those are my two biggest and the ones I would revel in being able to attend.

PETER SILKOV – boxing writer: There are so many to choose from, but my feeling at the moment would be Ali vs Foreman. Ali’s greatest night and the most extraordinary fight for the heavyweight title ever!

MIKE SILVER — author, writer, historian: A ringside seat to the Sullivan vs. Corbett fight. Huge historic importance. A seismic event for boxing’s future. And who isn’t curious to see the great John L. actually fighting!

ALAN SWYER — filmmaker, writer, and producer of the acclaimed El Boxeo: I chose the match in which welterweight Carmen Basilio won a split-decision over middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson. Though Robinson was to my mind the greatest fighter of all time, he was not at that point in his career at his best. Nonetheless, the battle — the fight of the year in 1957 — was the quintessential demonstration of will, stamina, endurance, and above all courage from two noble warriors.

GARY “DIGITAL” WILLIAMS — the voice of “Boxing on the Beltway”: I‘d loved to have been ringside for Ali-Frazier 1 and to have witnessed all the hoopla and the cultural and social significance surrounding that bout. I was only seven years old when that bout took place.

BEAU WILLIFORD — former boxer, trainer and manager and the face of boxing in Louisiana: Joe Frazier v Jerry Quarry at Madison Square Garden!!!

PETER WOOD — writer, author, former fighter: The fight I would watch is a hideous spectacle–and not politically correct…It would be the battle-royal in which Tom Molineaux, a Virginian slave, fought other hapless slaves, in which to earn his freedom and ultimately a shot at the heavyweight title. (Editor’s note: What has been written about Tom Molineaux’s days in America — before he went off to England — lacks any sort of rigorous documentation and is perhaps best understood as folklore. The conventional wisdom regarding inter-plantation slave fights has also been challenged.)

BOB YALEN —  holder of numerous executive positions in the boxing broadcasting industry and currently President of MTK Global: There are so many to choose from with so many reasons…Corbett-Sullivan to see the birth of modern boxing, Dempsey-Willard to check Jack’s gloves, Tunney-Dempsey to time the long count, the list goes on…but I think I may choose the Willard-Johnson fight in Havana so I could finally put to rest what really happened at the end of the fight from my own perspective (and talk to everyone I could).

Observations: Like a boxing match, this one pitted the old vs the not-so-old. Ali vs. Frazier 1 and Louis vs. Schmeling 2 garnered the most mentions, but Dempsey, Tunney, Johnson and Sullivan also got their due, as did Hearns and Hagler. In the end, it came down to The Fight of the Century (1971) vs. the Louis -Schmeling rematch (1938).

One mild surprise was that only a few mentioned Harry Greb who has been hailed by far more than a few as being the best of the best. However, there is no live footage to back this up. Henry Hascup and Fred Romano mentioned Greb in this vein with both referring to Greb’s sole victory over Gene Tunney in 1922.

Ted Sares is a lifetime member of Ring 10, and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame. He also is an Auxiliary Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). He is an active power lifter and Strongman competitor in the Grand Master class and plans to compete in 2019.

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Abel Sanchez Candidly Shares His Feelings About GGG and Andy Ruiz

Arne K. Lang

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The noted trainer Abel Sanchez has taken his lumps lately, but he was as congenial as ever as he conversed with this reporter during a lull in the action on last Saturday’s show at the MGM Grand Garden. Earlier in the evening, one of Sanchez’s newest proteges, Guido Vianello, had advanced his record to 4-0 with a second round stoppage of sacrificial lamb Keenan Hickmon. A six-foot-six heavyweight from Italy, Vianello was “awarded a scholarship” to Sanchez’s boxing academy by Bob Arum after signing with Arum’s Top Rank organization in November of last year.

Our talk inevitably turned to his fractured relationship with Gennady Golovkin. When we visited “The Summit,” the name of Sanchez’s training facility in Big Bear, California, in March of 2016, the fighter from Kazakhstan and his Mexican-American coach appeared to have an unbreakable bond. When in training, GGG resided in the compound that Sanchez built as a combination dormitory and training facility, a 5,200 square foot complex with a gym in the lower level. Sanchez spoke highly of GGG back then, not just as a boxer but as a person. Despite his growing fame, said Sanchez, GGG was as unspoiled as the day they first met in March of 2010.

In his first fight under Sanchez’s tutelage, Golovkin went to Panama City and won the WBA middleweight title with a 58-second blowout of Milton Nunez. He would go on to unify the title while tying Bernard Hopkins’ record for successful middleweight title defenses (20).

In April, GGG severed the relationship. This came shortly after he signed a three-year, six-fight deal with DAZN worth a reported $100 million. He subsequently hooked up with Johnathon Banks, a protégé of Emanuel Steward. Banks was in GGG’s corner not quite two weeks ago when GGG bombed out overmatched Steve Rolls.

The break-up was over money. When GGG signed his lucrative deal with DAZN, his German advisors decided that henceforth Sanchez would receive a flat rate instead of his customary percentage. “Take it or leave it,” they told Abel. He left it.

“Money (often) corrupts character and values,” said Sanchez, who was deeply wounded when GGG turned his back on him. And although we didn’t delve into it, he likely had flashbacks to 1992 when the very same thing had happened to him with Terry Norris.

Terry Norris was Abel’s first prominent fighter. He trained Terry and his older brother Orlin Norris, a budding word cruiserweight champion, for the late Joe Sayatovich at Sayatovich’s training facility on a 30-acre ranch in the high desert community of Campo, California, five miles from the Mexican border. Sayatovich owned a construction company, as did Sanchez, a second generation California home builder.

In July of 1989, Terry Norris was bombed out in two rounds by Julian Jackson in Atlantic City in a bid for Jackson’s WBA 154-pound title. But Sanchez orchestrated a rebound and Norris went on to carve out a Hall of Fame career, preceding Julian Jackson into the International Boxing Hall of Fame by 14 years.

Norris was a world champion, but yet one of the lesser known champions until winning a lopsided 12-round decision over Sugar Ray Leonard on Feb. 9, 1991, at Madison Square Garden, plunging Sugar Ray into a six-year retirement. That increased Norris’s marketability enormously and spelled the beginning of the end of the Norris-Sanchez partnership. In November of the following year, Sanchez received a letter co-signed by Sayatovich and Norris (whose signature was apparently forged) telling him that he had been dismissed.

A story in the San Diego Union-Tribune quoted Sayatovich as saying that Abel had to go because he had become “too greedy,” balking at taking a smaller percentage of Terry Norris’s purses now that the fighter had punched his way into the upper echelon of wage earners. But the break-up did not disturb Sanchez’s relationship with Orlin Norris, or with the father and official co-trainer of the Norris brothers, both of whom jumped to Abel’s defense, saying he had remained loyal to Sayatovich and that Sayatovich ought to have reciprocated that loyalty.

There’s an old saying in boxing that a trainer or manager should never become too emotionally attached to a fighter as that fighter will break his heart someday. Abel Sanchez knows the feeling.

Terry Norris, detached from Sanchez, lost his WBC diadem in his 11th title defense when he suffered a fourth round stoppage at the hands of Simon Brown in Puebla, Mexico. A win over Brown would have propelled Norris into a match with Pernell Whitaker, and had he succeeded in beating Whitaker, he would have been the runaway pick for the top spot on the pound-for-pound lists.

Abel Sanchez wasn’t surprised that Norris was upended by Simon Brown, a huge underdog. “We watch him in the gym and he’s gotten away from basic fundamentals,” he told LA Times writer Tim Kawakami. “He’s going out there winging and trying to bomb everyone out. And when you do that you’re going to get hit.”

We mean no disrespect to Johnathan Banks, a fine trainer, but we can’t help but wonder if Gennady Golovkin’s career will take the same turn.

ANDY RUIZ

Abel Sanchez first met Andy Ruiz when Ruiz, an aspiring Olympian, was 17 years old. Ruiz’s father brought Andy to Abel’s gym. When they put the boy on the scale, he weighed 307 pounds. Ten years later, Sanchez would train Ruiz for Ruiz’s match with Joseph Parker in Auckland, New Zealand. Several fights later, Ruiz bought out his contract with Top Rank, signed with Premier Boxing Champions, and acquired a new trainer, Manny Robles.

We wondered what went through Abel’s mind as Andy Ruiz was chewing up Anthony Joshua and then rapturously celebrating with his cornermen in an unforgettable scene at Madison Square Garden. Did Abel think to himself, “well, darn, if I had played my cards right, that could have been me.”

To the contrary, Sanchez thought it was wonderful. “It was good for boxing,” he said, “I’m so happy for Andy and Manny.”

Sanchez agreed with our assessment that the quick turnaround after his bout with six-foot-seven, 260-pound behemoth Alexander Dimitrenko was actually a blessing in disguise. “On paper,” said Sanchez, “he had only five weeks to prepare but it was more like 14 weeks. Andy didn’t have time to go out and party.”

“Andy would not be denied,” said Sanchez who hopes that Ruiz brings the same mindset to the rematch. “I hope that his victory over Joshua doesn’t come to be seen as a fluke,” he said, “because Andy can really fight.” He doesn’t pack the biggest punch, noted Sanchez, but he can stop an opponent in his tracks with four- and five-punch combinations, a rare attribute in a heavyweight.

As what to expect in the rematch, Sanchez said, “Andy Ruiz will have to be even better than the first time around.”

Photo credit: Tom Hogan / Hogan photos / Golden Boy Promotions

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The Gypsy King: Enjoy Him While You Can

Ted Sares

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Gypsy King

Tyson Fury —The Gypsy King– possesses a sharp Irish wit. True, he’s putting everybody on half the time, but that’s what blarney is all about. He’s a born showman and is rarely at a loss for words or afraid to throw stuff out there. Heavyweight boxing hasn’t had this type in a long time—maybe not since Ali.

Curiously, the forgoing was written before he went into the deep depths of hell brought about by depression and substance abuse. He was pretty much written off as a one-off phenom. In fact, things got so bad that David Haye once said, in response to Fury’s homophobic tweets,: “It seems @Tyson_Fury needs to ease up on his ‘Medication’ or seek an Exorcist, or he’ll get sectioned at this rate #StraightJacketRequired”

Fast Forward

But lo and behold, that was then and this is now and he has made one of the greatest comebacks in sports history (with a nod to George Foreman and Tiger Woods) showing a will and determination rarely seen anywhere. This should not be downplayed. When combined with his ability to get up from Deontay Wilder’s best shot in the final round of their fight, that determination—that will, borders on the surreal.

And he is an entirely different person. This is not the same person who told reporters they can s**k his balls. No, this Fury donated his entire purse from the Wilder fight to several UK charities that specialize in providing housing for recovering addicts and alcoholics. Said Fury, “I did give away my last purse, but I don’t do charity work for a pat on the back…I do it to help people, but I do not want praise for it, I don’t want to be called a do-gooder.”

This is not a Nikolai Valuev or a Primo Canera. The new Fury is fast, fights backwards, forwards, orthodox, southpaw, and has great upper body movement. He fights in a relaxed and fluid manner, but is a ruthless closer. This Fury enjoys what he does unlike fellow-Brit Anthony Joshua who seemed visibly uncomfortable in New York City recently. Heck, Fury is made for The Big Apple.

Anyone who is 6’9” and can switch stances and slip seven punches in a row much like Pernell Whitaker was able to do and then immediately come back with a deadly volley to initiate the beginning of a ruthless end (with Schwarz bloodied and under brutal attack, the bout was waved off), warrants the attention of every serious boxing fan.

After referee Kenny Bayless finished his count, Fury came across the ring after the poor German like something out of a horror movie as he closed the show. It bears a second and third look.

“I got a big man out of there by switching it up. He caught me with a couple but you can’t go swimming and not get wet.” said Fury (now 28-0-1). As an aside, the Gypsy King went to Schwarz’s locker room to console him after the fight.

“He needed to make a statement tonight. When he walks to that ring, he becomes someone else. All that he has in the back of his head, is Deontay Wilder. He wants that revenge. He showed strength, power, determination and that killer instinct.” — Tyson’s father John Fury.

He made that statement.

The Future

Now attention turns to his next fight with Kubrat Pulev, his IBF mandatory, his most like likely opponent. (Of course, Pulev must refrain from kissing his female interviewers.) Such a matchup would be more competitive and even risky. As Caryn Tate of Boxing.com says, “The sooner Fury and the rest of the heavyweights at the top of the division fight each other, the better. The plethora of tune-ups in this sport have got to stop.”

In a sport/business that overwhelms us with nonstop legal bickering and suspected/real use of PEDs, this affable and candid giant is a breath of badly needed fresh air.

“I was in the car on the way with my wife and I said ‘I think we’ve made it Paris’. She said why and I said ‘We’re headlining in Vegas! This is it!’” — Tyson Fury

Later, he said, I came here to have fun and enjoy myself. I don’t take it too seriously. I thought I put on a good show and the fans got what they paid for.”

Ted Sares is a member of Ring 8, a lifetime member of Ring 10, and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame. He also is an Auxiliary Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). He is an active power lifter and Strongman competitor in the Grand Master class.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

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Three Punch Combo: Looking Ahead to the 2020 IBHOF Class and More

Matt Andrzejewski

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THREE PUNCH COMBO — Last weekend, the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY, held its annual induction ceremony. Julian Jackson, Donald Curry and James “Buddy” McGirt were enshrined in the modern category. With the 2019 induction weekend now complete, it is now time to look forward to the 2020 class in the modern category.

For those not familiar with the process, each year three boxers are elected in the modern category. No more and no less. The modern category is comprised of fighters who had their last bout no earlier than 1989 and have been retired from the sport for five years. So to be considered for the 2020 ballot, the boxer’s last fight would need to be no later than 2014.

Last year’s class was dominated by holdovers who weren’t elected to the IBHOF the first time they were eligible and appeared on the ballot multiple times before finally getting inducted. We also saw something similar in 2016. But for the class of 2020, we have a strong list of first time eligible candidates and given the current voting criteria it is probable that the class of 2020 will be comprised of fighters from this list.

The five notable first time eligible candidates are Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KO’s), Sergio Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KO’s), Carl Froch (33-2, 24 KO’s), Jorge Arce (64-8-2, 49 KO’s) and Marcos Maidana (35-5, 31 KO’s).

Of the five, I think Arce and Maidana can safely be eliminated from serious consideration for the class of 2020. They don’t have near the resumes of the other three.

Juan Manuel Marquez (pictured) would seem to be a lock. He is a former multi-division champion who fought in some of the most prominent fights of his era and holds wins against some of the best fighters of his generation. This includes wins over Hall of Famer Marco Antonio Barrera and future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao.

Sergio Martinez is also a lock. The Argentine may have been a late bloomer but he had a dominant four-year middleweight title reign after defeating Kelly Pavlik in 2010 for the title. During this reign he scored an emphatic second round knockout of Paul Williams which avenged a previous loss and won a decisive 12-round decision over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

I sense there will be some debate regarding Froch but I think he will get the nod his first time around. He is a former 168-pound champion and has an incredibly deep resume that includes wins against many of the best in the division of his era. Of his two losses, one was avenged to Mikkel Kessler and the other was to future first ballot Hall of Famer Andre Ward. The resume just speaks for itself and should be more than enough to earn Froch enshrinement on his first go-around.

Of the holdovers, the two most likely to push Froch for the third and final spot are Rafael Marquez (41-9, 37 KO’s) and Vinny Paz (50-10, 30 KO’s). Marquez garnered a lot of support in his first year of eligibility last year and a lot were surprised when he did not make the final cut. With his brother likely getting inducted this coming year, there could be a push to put the brothers in together. As for Paz, he also picked up some steam last year and seemed to sway more voters to his side.

The Case For Yaqui Lopez

Every year I like to touch upon some fighters who I feel have gone overlooked by IBHOF voters. In past years for example, I have made cases for both Kevin Kelley and Junior Jones. This year, I wanted to go back a little further to a different era and point out a fighter who I think deserves serious consideration in Yaqui Lopez (61-15, 39 KO’s).

Lopez never won a world title and I am quickly reminded of that whenever I bring up his candidacy. He fought in an era that not only did not have an abundance of title belts but also featured some of the all-time greats of the light heavyweight division. Lopez lost two close decisions in world title bids to Hall of Famer Victor Galindez. Lopez also was competitive on two occasions in challenging Matthew Saad Muhammad for his light heavyweight title. Their second fight in 1980 was the Ring Magazine Fight of the Year. And Lopez also gave future Hall of Famer Michael Spinks a test before being stopped in the seventh round.

The losses were competitive to these all-time greats. In any other era Lopez would have been a world champion. But there are yet many good wins on his resume, most notably a sixth round stoppage of Mike Rossman in March of 1978. Six months later, Rossman would knock out the aforementioned Galindez to become the light heavyweight champion.

There is another side to the argument for Lopez. Some people hate when I mention this but entertainment matters when considering candidates qualifications. The floodgates were opened by voters in this regard with the elections of Arturo Gatti and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and there is no going back. Lopez was not only a very accomplished fighter but one of the most exciting fighters of his era, he was involved in many memorable wars. Add this fact to his resume and Lopez more than meets all the criteria to be inducted into the IBHOF.

Under The Radar Fight

 ShoBox returns on Friday from the WinnaVegas Casino & Resort in Sloan, Iowa with a tripleheader featuring six fighters with a combined record of 91-1. Though I am very interested in all the fights, I am especially interested in the main event, a 154-pound contest between fast rising prospect Sebastian Fundora (12-0, 8 KO’s) and Hector Manuel Zepeda (17-0, 4 KO’s).

Fundora stands 6’7” tall and is appropriately nicknamed “The Towering Inferno.” For a man who stands that tall, he is incredibly athletic and fluid inside the ring. Working from a southpaw stance, Fundora likes to use his height to pepper his opponents from the outside with a sharp right jab. He will work very fluid, heavy handed combinations behind that jab and makes his opposition pay a heavy toll when they attempt to close the distance. And if opponents do manage to get inside, Fundora has shown himself to be a very accomplished fighter at close range.

Defensively, Fundora has some things to clean up. He tends to get involved in exchanges and when he does so will stand straight up with his chin exposed. He’s been clipped clean on a few occasions and that will need to be corrected as he moves up in caliber of competition.

There is not a lot of video available on Zepeda but from what I have seen he is a technically astute fighter. He is a boxer puncher by trade who will use frequent lateral movement working behind the left jab from the orthodox stance. Zepeda likes to be first instead of looking for counters and from the fights I have seen has shown to be a volume puncher. As the record indicates, however, he is not a big puncher.

If Zepeda fights the way that I have seen on video, I think we are going to get a fast paced, good action fight. Fundora is clearly the “A” side here and is supposed to win. But make no mistake, Zepeda can fight and this is a step up in class for Fundora.

This is a classic ShoBox fight in which the “A” side could get pushed and I am very interested to see this one on Friday.

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