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The Raskin PPV Running Diary: Hopkins vs. Dawson (Part I)

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To a man, everyone in the boxing community agreed from the start: Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson shouldn’t have been on pay-per-view. But it was. There’s no undoing it. There’s no getting your $60 back (though surely some of you will write angry letters to Golden Boy and Gary Shaw and try). The damage is done, so let’s try to look for silver linings. Here’s one: If it hadn’t been on pay-per-view, you wouldn’t have the pleasure right now of reading one of my world-famous pay-per-view running diary columns! And these things are basically a $60 value that you’re getting for free, right? (Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. Do I hear five dollars? Two bucks? A nickel?)

In any case, I watched Saturday’s PPV with my usual cohorts. We had a small crew, but it was an all-star, no-fat collection of boxing writers: me, former Ring magazine editor-in-chief and future Boxing Hall of Famer Nigel Collins, the host with the most (and podcast co-host with the co-most) Bill Dettloff, and Bill’s dog, Duva. At 91 years of age in dog years, Duva is officially the oldest Duva in boxing, beating out Lou by two years. However, if it turns out Lou Duva is actually a shar pei, as many boxing insiders have long suspected, then he’s 623 in dog years and still can claim seniority.

But enough talk about canines. When they make a mess, all you need is a plastic bag to clean it up. The mess made by the Hopkins-Dawson PPV will be considerably more complicated to dispose of. Let the healing process begin with a two-part running diary (we’ll go up through the end of the undercard today, then deal with the main event and the post-main-event extracurriculars tomorrow):

9:05 p.m. EST: Usually in these running diaries I mock Dettloff for his late arrivals, but since he’s hosting, I steal his trademark move and knock on the door five minutes after the start of the broadcast. I hate to deprive running-diary readers of a description of those first five minutes, so let’s assume I missed Jim Lampley using the words “cogitative” and “superannuated” and Emanuel Steward busting out the phrase “the best I’ve ever saw” twice.

9:09: The big favorite in the opening bout, Paulie Malignaggi, gets wobbled by a right hand from unknown Orlando Lora in the first round. Gale Van Hoy makes it a 10-3 round in Lora’s favor.

9:31: One of Lora’s cornermen has thick wads of what appears to be gauze and tape wrapped around his first two fingers, making them look somewhat like white corndogs. Bill comments, “I thought that was something out of Bernard Hopkins’ wife’s bedroom drawer.” (If you don’t get that joke, it must mean you’re wasting your life away not listening to Ring Theory. But you can enjoy a three-minute free preview of the October 4 episode at the following link, then that joke will make sense: http://tinyurl.com/3rdrwt4.)

9:32: Harold Lederman delivers his first, “I gotta tell you something, Jim” of the evening. Now it’s officially an HBO Pay-Per-View event. For what it’s worth, Harold has Malignaggi up 5-1 through six rounds.

9:39: CompuBox stats show that Lora has landed in single digits in seven of the first eight rounds, while Malignaggi has landed more than 20 punches in seven of eight rounds. Moments later, Lampley calls out, “hard right hand by Malignaggi,” leading me to wonder: Should anyone ever call any punch Malignaggi lands “hard”?

9:41: An interesting conversation develops between Steward and Max Kellerman about whether punching to the body does more damage to fragile hands than punching to the head, and the gentlemen in the Dettloff living room all agree, Max is off-base on this one with his assessment that it’s safer to go downstairs. Lampley weighs in by comparing hitting a man’s elbow to punching a doorknob. Interestingly, Antonio Margarito once loaded his elbows with actual doorknobs for a fight.

9:46: Bill is talking about how much bigger Malignaggi is looking these days as a welterweight and shares his theory that “every boxer is on steroids.” (Note: The opinions of Mr. Dettloff do not reflect those of the author of this article or of anyone else associated with TheSweetScience.com. In fact, we suspect Mr. Dettloff made this statement while roid raging himself.)

9:48: After a reasonably entertaining 10th round that features the first real two-way slugging of the otherwise forgettable fight, Lederman announces his final scorecard, pausing momentarily to sneeze. I’ve often wondered why we don’t witness more live on-air sneezing. I feel like by the law of averages, at least once a week a SportsCenter anchor should sneeze while reading the teleprompter. It never seems to happen, though. There must be some sort of physiological explanation for how the human body repels the urge to sneeze in high-pressure situations.

9:49: Michael Buffer announces Malignaggi as the unanimous decision winner. I’m as excited for the prospect of Malignaggi vs. Devon Alexander as I was before the fight—which is to say, not at all. Ken Hershman’s first order of business at HBO: Just say no to Malignaggi vs. Alexander.

9:54: With Danny Garcia and Kendall Holt making their way to the ring, the conversation turns to the Ring Theory “Quick Picks” points at stake. My once-imposing lead of eight points over Dettloff has been whittled to just two, and I picked Holt to win this one by knockout (I let an actual coin flip make that decision for me), whereas Bill needs Garcia by decision. If indeed Garcia wins by decision, the Quick Picks score will be tied. High drama in suburban Allentown, Pennsylvania.

9:55: Buffer announces that this fight card is “presented by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, proudly freaking out families for 90 years.” Resisting … urge … to … make … plastic … surgery … joke …

9:59: The Staples Center crowd gives us our first loud “ooooh” of the evening after Holt lands a short right hand to the chin in the opening round. Little do I realize this will be about as close as I’m going to come to any Quick Picks points.

10:00: I notice that Manny Pacquiao is seated directly behind Richard Schaefer at ringside. My source seated nearby texts me a transcript of the conversation. Pacquiao: “My English is really coming along, I wrote an entire three-sentence email in English yesterday and there were only two grammatical mistakes.” Schaefer: “Impressive. Would you like a job as editor of The Ring magazine?”

10:02: We get our first Emanuel Steward “crispier” declaration of the show. If it wasn’t officially an HBO Pay-Per-View before, it definitely is now.

10:06: Garcia is really beginning to do some damage against Holt in round three. He’s also doing damage to my Quick Picks hopes. That’s what I get for picking against the Philly fighter. I should know by now that bad things NEVER happen in Philadelphia sports.

10:14: Duva the dog assumes a suggestive position on the floor, flat on his back, all four legs pointing toward the sky, nether regions exposed. “He looks like he’s been KO’d,” Nigel offers. It could be worse. We could be looking at Lou Duva in this position.

10:24: Ref Jack Reiss asks Holt and Garcia to punch their way out of a clinch, rather than officiously breaking them up the instant they draw close to one another. I like this Reiss fella.

10:26: Holt enjoys a very strong seventh round, but Lederman gives it to Garcia anyway, seemingly a case of Harold being in cruise-control mode. Bill’s expert analysis as a biased observer rooting for Garcia: “I love Harold Lederman. Impeccable.”

10:28: We have ourselves a little Mayweather Moment, as Garcia throws a punch when Holt isn’t ready; fortunately, Holt isn’t hurt. Reiss stops the action to warn the fighters to keep it clean, and Dettloff goes nuts, yelling that the ref should stay out of it and let the fighters display a little anger and throw punches if they feel like it. Oh well, I still like ya, Jack.

10:32: Holt lands a half-decent punch. I overreact, startling Duva out of his rigor mortis pose.

10:40: Garcia has Holt wobbling all over the place in the 11th round, and I’m now resigned to rooting for Garcia to knock Holt out so that Bill only gets one point in our picks competition. I’m rooting for anything, really, that will prevent the official result from being a Garcia decision win. I’m not above rooting for a Fan Man incident.

10:46: In his new segment in which he profiles the ringside judges, Lederman tells us that Wayne Hedgpeth, usually a referee (you may remember him recently stopping the Saul Alvarez-Alfonso Gomez fight a couple of punches early), has been called into judging action as a last-minute sub. This information proves meaningful when we learn that Hedgpeth scored the fight 115-113 for Holt in a bout in which it seemed fairly obvious that Garcia won at least eight rounds. If Ivan Goldman was still a boxing writer, Hedgpeth would definitely be getting a Magoo Award.

10:57: Jorge Linares and Antonio DeMarco are in the ring for the final undercard bout, and with Linares wearing pink gloves, Lampley speaks about breast-cancer awareness and how both Golden Boy and Shaw are supporting the cause. Everyone in the room makes their own Shaw/mammogram joke.

11:00: Nigel begins sharing stories about former Ring editor Nat Loubet (one of the guys behind the 1970s ratings scandal), including one that saw Loubet shoot a prisoner of war in the stomach and another that explains how Nat nearly lost an ear playing football. Loubet also met Presidents Kennedy and Nixon, ran all the way across the country, and impregnated Jenny Gump.

11:06: Linares lands a ridiculously fast uppercut from about two feet farther away than you should ever throw an uppercut, prompting Lamps to declare, “That was sick!” With Linares in total control early, this is threatening to be one of the least compelling PPV undercards in history.

11:11: It’s Dettloff’s favorite part of every PPV broadcast, the ref giving prefight instructions in the dressing room! Currently, Pat Russell is in Dawson’s dressing room. I’m not quite sure how this developed, but we all soon end up engaged in a discussion about the fact that boxing writer Tom Hauser wears his coat like a cape.

11:18: Linares-DeMarco is turning into a hell of a fight in the sixth round, with DeMarco coming on and Linares bleeding profusely from a cut on the bridge of his nose. I love how DeMarco yells, “Woo!” every time he gets hit. He’s behind in the fight, but starting to win the mental war.

11:19: Ref Russell is in Hopkins’ dressing room, explaining the rules. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Bernard knows the rules of boxing by now. (Unless there’s a rule about losing by TKO when you get thrown to the canvas and separate your shoulder. Oops, am I getting ahead of myself?)

11:27: Linares sustains a second bad cut, this one over the right eye. Soon thereafter, Kellerman comments, “The fight would feel a lot different had Linares’ face not fallen apart.” The once-handsome Venezuelan is about 75 percent of the way to looking like Gus Fring.

11:32: Nigel observes how when Linares’ cutman applies pressure to the eye, blood spurts from the cut on his nose. I’m not a doctor, but I think this sequence of events is coincidental.

11:38: In a thrilling, high-drama 11th round, DeMarco is landing one flush shot after another, and the ghoulishly bloody Linares is starting to look like he wants out. Ref Raul Caiz Sr. obliges and stops it with 28 seconds remaining in the round. I honestly can’t remember ever seeing that much blood pouring off a fighter’s face.

11:42: Buffer does one of my least favorite Buffer things, editorializing as he announces the result: “We’ve just seen one of the greatest displays of courage in the ring.” I’m not even sure if he’s talking about DeMarco or Linares. In any case, it was a stirring victory for DeMarco, the kind of fight that makes the price of the show worthwhile no matter what happens in the main event. (Or so I think at the time.)

11:47: With Hopkins-Dawson moments away, we’re shown highlights of Dewey Bozella’s undercard fight. I mention this strictly so that I can link to my Grantland feature from last week about Bozella and Hopkins (http://tinyurl.com/3cjgxne). Enjoy.

11:50: Amir Khan, tweeting about his stablemate Linares, uses the word “wiv” instead of “with.” And wiv that, I conclude Part I of the PPV running diary. Check back tomorrow for Part II—or as I like to think of it, “the part every boxing fan on the planet wishes never happened.”

Eric Raskin can be contacted at RaskinBoxing@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @EricRaskin and listen to new episodes of his podcast, Ring Theory, at http://ringtheory.podbean.com.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

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Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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Bob Arum Hails Terence Crawford (not Lomachenko) as Boxing’s Next Superstar

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Arum says Terence

Top Rank’s Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will become this generation’s Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao–elite boxers who became worldwide celebrity sensations. Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Pacquiao on the way to their historic crossover statuses expects big things from the undefeated Crawford over the next few years.

“He’s the best fighter in the United States, and he’s so charismatic,” said Arum. “He comes from middle America, and In the next year or so, he will be huge.”

Arum’s assertion is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Arum is also the promoter for Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. More importantly, Lomachenko seems to have a groundswell of support behind him both in the media and among fight fans.

Lomachenko has also been heavily featured through Top Rank’s television partnership with ESPN. While Crawford has achieved more in his career than Lomachenko (at least in my eyes) and, as noted by Arum, is a homegrown American talent, Lomachenko seems to be considered the more marketable commodity to that network judging by the amount of promotional materials ESPN has pumped out about the fighter over the last year.

The other reason Arum’s claim about Crawford is interesting is the performance of Canelo Alvarez over the weekend in his majority decision rematch win over Gennady Golovkin. Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, Alvarez is the clear PPV leader among all of boxing’s current commodities, and his status as boxing’s new money fighter should only grow stronger after the best win of his career.

Still, Crawford is one of the few very elite fighters in all of boxing. He’s ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

While Lomachenko and Alvarez are also candidates to become boxing’s next big thing, there’s no doubt Crawford is also one of the few boxers in the sport right now with the right things in place to become the next Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Omaha’s Crawford is in the midst of an historic run. When he stopped Jeff Horn in round 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in June, Crawford captured a world title in his third different weight class, welterweight. This after Crawford had already captured two lineal boxing championships, as well as multiple alphabet titles, in both the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

By any measure, Crawford is truly one of the best boxers in the sport. Not only does he look the part in the ring on fight night (something more and more writers seem to value most when voting for pound-for-pound lists), but the fighter has already accomplished so much in his career that it seems Arum is doing more than the fiduciary duty of promoting his fighter when he ascribes to Crawford such lofty praise.

Crawford, still just 30 years old, is already halfway to matching Mayweather and Pacquiao’s shared record of most lineal championships. Over the course of his career, Mayweather captured lineal championships at junior lightweight, lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight. Pacquiao won his as a flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, and junior welterweight.

In order for Crawford to grab lineal championship No. 3, most believe he’ll have to go through welterweight phenom Errol Spence. While promotional entanglements might keep this superfight on the shelf for a while, Arum said he had no problem pitting Crawford against Spence in what would be one of the best matchups in recent memory.

“Absolutely,” said Arum when asked about working with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, who represents Spence, to make the fight. Could any response from him be more exciting? Crawford vs. Spence might be the next superfight in boxing. Both fighters are among the very elite, and unlike what ultimately happened with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, who fought each other well past their peak years, both would be in the prime of their careers.

Winning that fight would certainly go a long way to making Arum’s vision of Crawford’s future come true. And who knows? Maybe Crawford really is the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Heck, for all we know, he could even be on his way to doing something more.

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A Kaleidoscope of Boxers Guaranteed to Provide Action: Past and Present

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Marvelous Marvin

To set the tone for this article, one needs only to watch the way in which Thomas Hearns came out in the first round against Marvelous Marvin Hagler. He was ready to rock and roll as was his fearsome looking opponent. The ensuing unmitigated savagery was the quintessential illustration of full-tilt boogie.

For most boxing fans, the anticipation of an all-out action bout gets the chills running down spines faster than anything else. But not all, as some prefer a tactical or clinical fight that someone like Mikey Garcia can orchestrate and others –but not many—enjoy a defensive gem via a Willie Pep, Nicolino Locche, or Pernell Whitaker. A few love a genuine blood fest that a Gabe Rosado-type can provide, and who doesn’t like seeing something special as in Sugar Ray Leonard, Kostya Tszyu, Terence Crawford or Vasiliy Lomachenko?

Chill-or-be-chilled types like Bob Satterfield and Tommy Morrison were super exciting. In this connection—a certain cadre of warriors, past and present, would come out charging and stalking as soon as the bell rang. Many demonstrated a marked disdain for defense and used a non-stop, no let-up pressure that discouraged their opponents, especially in the late rounds. The anticipation from the crowd was palpable because it sensed some form of destruction was on its way. The cheering would start during the instructions and sometimes did not let up until the concussive end.

This cadre included Rocky Marciano, Tony Ayala, Vicious Victor Galindez, Jeff Fenech, Roberto Duran, and Julio Cesar Chavez (who sapped the spirit of his opponents by ripping away at their mid-section). Also, Carl “The Cat”  Thompson , chill-or-be-chilled Ricardo “Pajarito” Moreno (60-12-1 with 59 KOs),  Ron Lyle, the ultra-violent Edwin Valero, the appropriately nicknamed JulianMr KO” Letterlough, James “The Outlaw” Hughes and his mindboggling ability to snatch victory from certain defeat, Thai stalking monster Khaosai Galaxy (47-1),  the first version of George Foreman (pictured with the aforementioned Lyle), Ji-Hoon “Volcano” Kim, Ruslan  Provodnikov, Orlando “Siri” Salido, Marcos Maidana, Lenny Z, Alfredo “Perro” Angulo, Mike Alvarado, Brandon Rios, and Mickey Roman (the later four are still fighting but past their primes).

Others who presently incite the anticipation of something special include (but are not limited to) Naoya “Monster” Inoue (16-0), Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr (24-0), Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1), Alex Saucedo (27-0), and, of course, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-1-1) who now has become slightly more tactical like his nemesis, Canelo Alvarez (50-1-1).

These stand out as representative.

Past

A prime Mike Tyson—and the emphasis is on prime– was the epitome of a boxer who guaranteed action. One simply would not leave his or her seat when “Iron Mike” was doing his highlight reel thing, and his blowout of Michael Spinks punctuated his standing at the top of all-action type fighters, even if the action was usually non-mutual.

Joe Frazier came out smokin’ and would not let up until either he or his opponent were done. For the most part, decisions were not in Joe’s DNA and his left hook was as malicious as a hook can be. With Joe, you just sat back and enjoyed the action. Frazier, wrote boxing historian Tracy Callis,  “was a strong, ‘swarmer’ style boxer who applied great pressure on his opponent and dealt out tremendous punishment with a relentless attack of lefts and rights; His left hook was especially stiff and quick when delivered during his bob-and-weave perpetual attack; he fought three minutes per round and never seemed to tire.”

Carlos “Escopeta” (Shotgun) Monzon (87-3-9) was a powerful and rangy Argentinean killing machine, built like an iron rod. Some said he pushed his punches. Well if he did, he pushed 87 opponents to defeat. He also became only the second man to stop former three-time world champion Emile Griffith, turning the trick in the 14th round. Blessed with great and deceptive stamina and a solid chin, he seemingly was an irresistible force. He was unbeaten over the last 81 bouts of his career, a span of 13 years, and defended his title 14 times. “One would need to write a book in order to do justice to comparing a fighter of Carlos Monzon’s calibre to his fellow all-time greats,” wrote Mike Casey.

Arturo Gatti and Irish Micky Ward were the quintessential action fighters. One is gone amidst controversy, and hopefully the other will not pay a price for his many ring wars. With these two, just count up the Fights-of-the-Year and the rest is history. Suffice it to say that Gatti and Ward will be forever linked in boxing lore.

Until his fateful fight with Nigel Benn (another all-action fighter), Gerald McClellan was absolutely, positively, a stalking monster with dynamite in his gloves. It was ferocity and fury at its highest level and it was something to behold. Sadly, his fight with Benn left him permanently disabled; his story remains a dark stain on boxing. As Ian McNeilly notes, “one man’s finest hour was the end of another man’s life as he knew it.”

Michael “The Great” Katsidis’s all-action style made thrilling fights a lock. The Kat” was willing to take three to deliver one. It was blood and guts to the last drop. Whether he too exacted a heavy price for this style remains to be seen.

Lucia Rijker, AKA “The Dutch Destroyer,” lived up to her moniker and destroyed everyone in her path. Again, it wasn’t “if,” it was “when.”

Christy Martin (49-7-3) put female boxing on the map in the ‘90s and she did it by going undefeated in 36 straight encounters, running roughshod over her opponents as evidenced by her 25 wins by stoppage during this run. She also managed to steal the show from a Mike Tyson main event in 1996 during her memorable and bloody battle with Deirdre Gogarty.

Present

Deontay Wilder, aka “The Bronze Bomber,” has a record of 40-0.  With 39 wins coming by KO—many in spectacular fashion, The “Bomber” brings with him that same sense of anticipation that Tyson did. It’s not if; it’s when and “when” can occur at any time. But unlike Tyson, there is a vulnerability that Luis Ortiz exposed that makes the excitement index go even higher.

Dillian Whyte (24-1) has seldom been in a dull affair. His vulnerability combined with his mode of attack ensures thrilling action and the possibility of a stoppage at any time. Unlike Dereck “Del-Boy” Chisora, Whyte is consistently aggressive and dangerous.

Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2) has slowed down considerably but his recent stoppage win over Lucas Matthysse offers hope that he can still conjure up his exciting whirlwind style of fast in-an-out movements that allowed him to win multiple titles over several future Hall of Fame opponents between 2005 and 2011. A rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr., if rumors are true, would allow Pac Man an opportunity to accomplish a number of extraordinary things including avenging a prior defeat and ruining Mayweather’s undefeated record. Time will tell.

Though he appears to have shot his wad, a prime Antonio Margarito was the classic stalk, stun, and kill fighter. Heck, he belonged on the Discovery Channel. His two blowouts of Kermit Cintron showed the “Tijuana Tornado” at his most brutal. His come-from-behind demolition of Miguel Cotto stands out for its drama and bloodletting—and subsequent speculative controversy.

David Lemieux (39-4) always brings the heat. His fights seldom end as scheduled. With KO power in both hands and a propensity to rehydrate by 20 pounds, he is the essence of danger and attendant excitement. “With the sheer power he carries, Lemieux will always have a shot at beating any middleweight, and he is almost always involved in good action fights,” says James Slater.

Amanda Serrano (35-1-1) is the only women’s boxer to win world titles in six divisions. The “Real Deal” is unique in that she has a high KO percentage (74 percent) which is rare for female boxers. Amanda is 120 seconds of guaranteed action for each round.

                                                         **********

While Iron Mike Tyson is THE MAN, Matthew Saad Muhammad also warrants special billing as he embodied what this article is all about. Steve Farhood summed up the essence of Saad Muhammad with an observation that would be appropriate for his tombstone: “Eddie Gregory (Mustafa Muhammad) has a better jab, Marvin Johnson wields more power, James Scott does more sit ups. But, Muhammad’s heart is the size of a turnbuckle, and it anchors his title reign.”

Who did I leave out? Whose name or names would you add to this list?

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