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RASKIN’S RANTS: Mares, Moreno, Martirosyan, Mikey & More

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002 Abner Mares vs Anselmo MorenoAfter that 120-106 card, we have added Dr. James Gen-Kim to our watch list. May his spambox be flooded with offers for Lasik surgery.

I have a very strict rule in place: Whenever 15 live fights air on premium cable in a 26-hour span, I write a “Raskin’s Rants” column. No exceptions. So here goes with a Leo-Santa-Cruz-like non-stop assault of scattered thoughts at the end of a hectic, DVR-space-sapping weekend of boxing:

· Let’s start with the unofficial main event of the weekend, Abner Mares vs. Anselmo Moreno to determine the mandatory challenger to junior feather champ Nonito Donaire (if you take all the alphabet belts out of the equation and simplify things, that’s what this fight was). I scored the fight 115-111 for Mares, and I thought if anything (based upon the Twitterverse’s scoring) I was being a tad Mares-friendly in my judging. Apparently my idea of “Mares-friendly” was a gentlemanly handshake compared to the dry-hump of “Mares-friendly” that was the official scoring. Look, the decision went to the right guy. But just because the right guy got it doesn’t mean a bad scorecard should be swept under the rug, and Dr. James Jen-Kin’s 120-106 in Mares’ favor has to be in the running for the worst scorecard ever. I’m not exaggerating for effect. No individual card in Pacquiao-Bradley or Williams-Lara or anything Gale Van Hoy has ever done was worse than giving Mares every single round. Is Jen-Kin old and incompetent? I think I speak for everyone when I say I hope that's the explanation for his scorecard.

· The worst part of Jen-Kin’s scorecard is that it prevented me from leading with this: I think this was the best all-around performance of Mares’ career. Given the level of opposition, even taking into account the late fade, Mares has never looked better. He might be in the pound-for-pound top 10 now; he’s at least in the discussion.

· In addition to cementing his status as a pound-for-pound candidate, Mares also cemented his status as a dirty fighter. It’s a designation the boxing world has been hesitant to attach to him because he’s a pint-sized, clean-cut pretty boy. His look seems incongruous with the reality that he bends the rules as much as Bernard Hopkins. But that is the reality. Mares’ instinct when he sees an opening for a cheap shot is to take it every time, whether that means firing a low blow, an elbow, or my personal favorite, a blatant straight right hand to the kidney. Yet somehow it was Moreno who suffered a point deduction! Al Bernstein had every right to be apoplectic about that. I haven’t seen Al this bent out of shape since NBC’s Smash went on an extended hiatus.

· A further note on Mares’ dirty tactics and Bernstein’s response to them: I thought Al nailed it during the discussion of low blows when he acknowledged that, yes, Moreno was pulling Mares’ head down, but if you start to throw a punch after your head has been pulled down, you need to adjust your aim. Maybe Mares wasn’t throwing intentional low blows. But at the very least, his attitude was, “I’m going to let this punch fly and I don’t care if it lands somewhere illegal.”

· Meanwhile, huge credit to Moreno for battling back in a fight in which, at points during rounds five and six, it looked like he was going to get stopped. He came up short, but his work over the second half of the fight prevented his stock from dropping.

· As for the weekend’s other controversially scored fight, I’m going to say something that I haven’t really seen anyone else say: The draw between Erislandy Lara and Vanes Martirosyan was an all-out robbery. Lara took Martirosyan to school. I gave Martirosyan one round. I could see giving him two or three. But to give him more than that is to reward ineffective plodding and wild swinging and missing. All night long, Vanes flailed toward his target and Lara picked him off with quick, short, counter right hooks. I hate to use CompuBox stats as a justification or rebuttal of a result, but in this case, they speak to what was happening in the ring. Lara landed 74 punches, Martirosyan just 33. Those numbers reflect the kind of fight it was. One guy was getting a modest amount done offensively, and the other guy was getting nothing done offensively. From the first round, the robbery was in progress, as Lara dictated every single moment of the round—he was quicker, displayed superior defense, and landed more punches (11-3, according to the punch counters)—yet Harold Lederman somehow gave the round to Martirosyan, and so did two of the judges. I refuse to blame Lara for his inability to impress the judges. I blame the judges who either can’t tell what’s landing or don’t care what’s landing.

· With all that said, Dave Moretti did the right thing by scoring the partial ninth round even. If you want to castigate him for giving four of the first eight rounds to Martirosyan, be my guest. But to try to declare a winner in a round that lasts 26 seconds is absurd, and Moretti was the only judge with the common sense to call it a 10-10 round. Frankly, I’m not a fan of the “score the partial round” rule in the first place. Either ditch the rule, modify it so it only applies if at least half the round is completed, or encourage judges to go 10-10 if nothing of consequence happens in the aborted round.

· HBO’s Max Kellerman summed up my feelings about Lara when he told him after the fight, “I haven’t seen you lose yet, but you can’t get the wins!” That was a good line. On the flip side, “kissing your sister”—come on, you’re better than that, Max. (I will say in Max’s defense that it’s a live broadcast and if a cliché is the first thing that comes to mind, sometimes you have to go with it. The same excuse does not apply to writing. I will not name names, but those of you who express yourselves in clichés know who you are.)

· While on the topic of commentators, Lou DiBella was fairly entertaining in his Epix debut. He’s a natural. That said, I must poke two holes in the DiBella-color-analyst experiment. First, I’m surprised someone who’s been around boxing this long so vastly overrates the role of size in a fight (Lou did the same thing when he was on Ring Theory a couple of months ago and insisted Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s size scared him going into the Sergio Martinez fight). And second, the conflict of interest inherent in Lou being an active promoter makes it so that he can’t make this a remotely regular gig. A network like HBO could never use him because other promoters would be outraged. And even in this specific spot on Epix, he inevitably found himself in awkward situations where he had to make decisions as to whether or not to reference fighters in his stable, such as Tor Hamer. DiBella as broadcaster is simply not a sustainable arrangement.

· I’ll have more to say about Wladimir Klitschko and the heavyweight division in another article on another site later this week, but for now, two quick thoughts: First, Wlad’s win over Mariusz Wach was the most entertaining fight either Klitschko brother has been a part of in more than seven years. So, congrats to all involved in Klitschko-Wach, I guess. And second, can we please stop trying to assign the Klitschko brothers (or any other active fighters) a ranking among the all-time greats before their careers are complete? What if that random fifth-round right hand from Wach had kayoed Wladimir? We’d all be re-writing his legacy today. As you may recall if you were watching boxing a little over a decade ago, when Lennox Lewis got flattened by Hasim Rahman everyone with a keyboard or a microphone was tearing Lennox’s legacy apart. Then he won three fights and retired, and now he’s in almost everyone’s all-time heavyweight top 10. To say when Wladimir Klitschko fights that we’re watching one of the 10 greatest heavyweights ever is foolish—just as it would be to declare that he isn’t one of the 10 greatest heavyweights ever. He’s one of the two greatest heavyweights in the game right now. Let’s hold off on any further analysis until after he retires.

· Rough weekend for Wach. First he has to settle for second place in his heavyweight title fight, then he has to settle for third place in the Scariest Face of the Weekend contest, behind the new-look Alfredo Angulo and what’s left of Mickey Rourke.

· I’ve decided that Mikey Garcia is the Boardwalk Empire of boxing. You always feel like greatness is around the corner, but instead what you get is just good enough to keep your interest. There are inevitable slow stretches, and they’re often followed by even slower stretches, and then, just when you’ve started to accept mild disappointment, something spectacular happens. Garcia’s fight with Jonathan Barros gave us what most Garcia fights give us: an explosive ending to a steady, workmanlike performance.

· Anyone else find that “no mas” from Barros a bit peculiar? Either he doesn’t have a whole lot of heart (which I don’t believe is the case) or he was a lot more effed up than he appeared after that hook knocked him down.

· Just came up with a brilliant idea for a terrible movie: A kid with cancer receives Alfredo Angulo’s hair thanks to Locks of Love, and the hair provides special powers and turns the kid into the baddest S.O.B. in the schoolyard. (Well, you know, until he runs into the kid who received Kermit Cintron’s hair.)

· In all seriousness, I didn’t realize how much I missed Angulo until the bell rang on Saturday night. Boxing is much, much better off with “El Perro” around.

· Saturday night confirmed that, whether Showtime provides HBO with any video clips or not, Leo Santa Cruz does indeed deserve a spot on Jim Lampley’s “Gatti List.” He’s right up there near Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado, and Victor Ortiz among the most consistently entertaining fighters on the planet. And I love the fact that Santa Cruz goes about his business with a smile on his face half the time.

· I thought the combination of Mauro Ranallo, Al Bernstein, and Paulie Malignaggi worked much better the second time around. Bernstein was actually given opportunities to speak on occasion this time, and Malignaggi dialed down the screaming considerably. The content of what Malignaggi has to say is undeniably strong; if he can perfect the delivery, he’ll be as good in this role as Antonio Tarver was.

· Having offered that praise, a note of constructive criticism to all of the three-man crews working Saturday, on Showtime, HBO, and Epix: Occasional silence is permitted. The mere sight of two guys punching each other can, for at least a few seconds, qualify as entertainment all by itself.

· I like Nathan Cleverly. But all the Joe Calzaghe comparisons aren’t doing him any favors. And I get why Cleverly would want to fight Bernard Hopkins. But I don’t see the logic in B-Hop wanting to fight him. Why would a 48-year-old (by the time they might fight) future Hall of Famer want to face a good boxer half his age with no name value? Sorry, but I don’t see Hopkins chasing alphabet trinkets at this stage in his career. He wanted Jean Pascal because it was the right style matchup and because it was for a real, lineal championship. Neither of those boxes are checked in the case of Cleverly, and therefore, I don’t for one second believe this fight will happen.

· My personal favorite prospect in boxing: Jesse Magdaleno. (Apologies for the Larry-King-in-USA-Today-like brevity and randomness of that “Rants” entry.)

· It was depressing—but wholly understandable—to see how much less fanfare there was for Friday night’s Olympians’ debut as compared to a similar HBO show at the Theater at Madison Square Garden that I attended in 2000. As for the quality of the matchmaking on this “special” edition of ShoBox, it’s pretty much what you expect for pro debuts. I’m fine with it. But if these guys want to have more set-up fights like these going forward (and they should), let them do it off TV. We don’t need an entire army of Demetrius Andrades clogging up our airwaves.

· The only guy among the five debuting Olympians who really impressed me was Errol Spence. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I fear that Rau’Shee Warren spent four years too many honing an amateur style.

· Gary Russell Jr. is either being horribly mismanaged, or his handlers know something about him that we don’t.

· We have another intriguing weekend of fights awaiting us, and the best of them will be Hernan “Tyson” Marquez vs. Brian Viloria on WealthTV. This is the biggest hurdle left standing between Rios-Alvarado and Fight of the Year honors.

· I was going to pick Johnathon Banks to upset Seth Mitchell this Saturday night. Then I found out it was this Johnathon Banks. Not this one.

· In honor of Veterans Day, I invite you to enjoy this Ring Theory clip in which Bill Dettloff, Tim Starks, and I pay tribute to (alleged) war veteran Norman Stone. If you enjoy this, I encourage you to pony up a few bucks and subscribe to the podcast. It’s what the proud men and women who have served our country in combat would want you to do.

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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