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KATHY DUVA SPEAKS OUT ON … WELL, EVERYTHING (PART 3)

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Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
—Albert Einstein

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
—-George Santyana

A lot of familiar sayings pop into a listener’s mind when Kathy Duva speaks out about boxing matters then and now. She has been in the business for more than 35 years, first as a publicist for her husband Dan’s promotional company, Main Events, and after his passing in 1996, as its president. She has been to the top of the highest mountain, when Main Events’ deep roster featured such stars as Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, Meldrick Taylor and Mark Breland, and later as more of a secondary player with a depleted stable, scoping out less treacherous hills to ascend. But Main Events and Duva are staging a comeback of sorts, with WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev as the brightest hope for renewed relevance.

When Duva ruminates about her company’s and family’s oldest and most bitter rival, Don King, it is with a curious mixture of pent-up venom as well as what almost sounds like near-sympathy for a one-time giant of the industry who has tumbled far from his own glory days. What satisfaction is there to be drawn from victories at the negotiating table unless they sometimes come at the expense of the fire-breathing dragon that so frequently has made your life miserable? Remember, Kathy once dressed up her then-toddler of a son, Bryan, with a fright wig and a gold-glittered, cardboard DKP-logo pendant for a trick-or-treating tour of her neighborhood. It was a sight gag worthy of the best of Mel Brooks, and a reflection of the mother’s utter contempt for the electric-haired model for the Halloween caricature as well as a sort of grudging admiration.

King, at 82, is still around and harrumphing his heh-heh-hehs and “Only in America!” mantra. And while it might not be his last stand, win or lose, his fighter, Bermane Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs) takes on Chris Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs) Saturday night in Los Angeles for the WBC heavyweight championship vacated by the now-retired Vitali Klitschko. Should Stiverne win – and, remember, he already holds a wide unanimous decision Arreola in their first meeting, on April 27, 2013 — King’s faltering operation could take on at least some of the trappings of its former status as one of the fight game’s major power brokers.

I interviewed Duva for a story I had planned to do for TSS a couple of weeks ago, but – she’d certainly hate to admit this – she did her own version of King’s rambling, stream-of-consciousness brand of verbosity, at such length and with such conviction, that she filled up eight legal pages with interesting quotes. What to do? Condense all that material into a Cliff’s Note single column? Or spread the wealth over a three-part series, the truth of which, or possibly the lack thereof, to be discerned by TSS’ knowledgable readers? I chose the latter.

What did surprise me was Duva’s frequent references not only to King as the head of a diminished Evil Empire, but as the main character in a cautionary tale that more recent wheeler-dealers – Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, adviser-to-the-stars Al Haymon and Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza –seem intent on reprising.

Main Events’ marquee attractions from the good old days almost exclusively appeared on HBO or HBO Pay-Per-View, and Kovalev has graduated from dates on NBC SportsNet, which has contracted for Duva’s company to furnish the matchups since “Fight Night” debuted on Jan. 21, 2012, to HBO. It’s no surprise that, in her assessments of the HBO business model in comparison to Showtime’s, she sees HBO as having the superior format. Make of that what you will. It’s only one person’s opinion and, well, it might be construed as more than a little self-serving. Remember, Duva filed a lawsuit in late April against Showtime, Golden Boy Promotions, WBA light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson, his adviser Haymon and promoter Yvon Michel. It is Duva’s contention that there is a legally binding contract between Main Events and Michel to promote a Kovalev-Stevenson bout, on HBO, which appeared to be quashed when Haymon took Stevenson to Showtime.

But that doesn’t mean that a perhaps biased point of view isn’t entirely without merit, and Duva makes no bones of her belief that Showtime’s make-or-break, multimillion-dollar bet on Floyd Mayweather Jr., Golden Boy and Haymon is reminiscent of a similar bet-the-house wager made by King two decades ago, with ultimately disastrous results.

“You can literally trace the decline of Don King as a major promoter to the day he made that deal,” Duva said of King’s jumping from HBO to Showtime, taking with him such ring luminaries as Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez. “His operation went straight down from there. It was a mistake on his part, I think it was a mistake on Showtime’s part. And now the same mistakes are being made all over again.

“Mayweather is being paid a tremendous amount of money (he’s three fights into a six-fight deal that potentially could bring him upwards of $250 million), and it’s putting Showtime at risk financially. It’s not just coming out of their budget that they’ve allocated to buy fights. They’ve got to make money every time he gets in the ring. Whether or not that was a good business decision on their part, I can’t say until the deal’s over, I suppose. They certainly got a lot of attention, and I’m willing to bet, a lot of new subscribers, at least initially.

“The problem, as far as I can see it, is that people aren’t watching Showtime because Floyd Mayweather is fighting on pay-per-view or because Canelo (Alvarez) is fighting on pay-per-view. Or Amir Khan or Adrien Broner. These are the people who are getting their highest ratings, and more and more they’re fight on pay-per-view now. They have a very different business model than HBO had back then.

“Clearly, their business model is to build fighters up to pay-per-view and that’s where they make their money, or not. That’s a perfectly legitimate business model. HBO’s is more – I think – to develop talent, to hopefully put on entertaining fights with that talent, which was what they were trying to do with Kovalev and Stevenson.”

To Duva’s way of thinking, HBO’s model is analogous to a baseball team – say, the St. Louis Cardinals – building through a strong farm system while Showtime taking the approach of the late George Steinbrenner’s free-spending New York Yankees, throwing wads of cash at big-ticket free agents. It’s a bold step for Showtime, which apparently is no longer content to play Avis to HBO’s Hertz.

“The people who got the ratings on Showtime are the people who were built up on HBO,” Duva continued. “They only recently poached another HBO fighter in Stevenson. Their whole business model is, `We’ll poach some top guys from HBO and put them on pay-per-view.’ It was unthinkable that Showtime could do that back then (in the 1990s) because HBO’s budget was much bigger.

“King was able to make the deal he did with Showtime based on Mike Tyson being that sort of pay-per-view attraction. Chavez was a tremendous fighter who, frankly, was buried on Tyson undercards for years when he should have been a bigger star in his own right. But you can’t build a superstar on Showtime. You just can’t, no matter how hard you try.

“What’s interesting to me is how long can this continue? How many more HBO fighters can Showtime poach? At what point will they have too much inventory? I don’t know.”

The principals, of course, are different now than they were then. King’s role presumably is now being filled by Haymon and/or Schaefer, while Espinoza is sitting in the chair once occupied by his twice-removed predecessor as executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports and Event Programming, the late Jay Larkin. Mayweather is cast in the role of the new Tyson, the bell cow whom PPV customers are expected to follow no matter whom he fights or how well he fights them.

“This is so much what King tried to do in the ’90s,” Duva said. “He was saying, `I want my own network. I want to call all the shots. I want to do whatever I want.’ It was a situation that was very beneficial to him in the beginning, but in the end he isolated himself. Now, you can see the same thing starting to happen again.

“What stopped King from signing every fighter in the world was that even he had a limited budget and, let’s face it, he was Don King. People were wary of signing with him. It wasn’t that difficult to keep our fighters from going over to him. Generally, it went in the opposite direction.”

It all makes for a soap opera that, unlike actual daytime soap operas with story lines that go on and on and on, figures to have some sort of definitive conclusion. Whether that turns out to be sooner or later, who can say?

“I think the end game for Golden Boy and Al Haymon is to go back and get every date on HBO, too,” Duva said. “The lack of competition is not good in any business. I don’t think that Showtime’s interests should be so closely aligned with Haymon’s and Golden Boy’s. But they are. Ultimately, if HBO capitulates, it means that they give the HBO dates to Showtime, too. And where does that leave Showtime?”

What boxing needs, Duva said, is someone with the patience, persistence and clout to move mountains when necessary. Someone like, say, former HBO Sports boss Seth Abraham.

“Back then, Seth was almost like the commissioner of boxing,” she noted. “Think about it. He came from (baseball commissioner) Bowie Kuhn’s office. He had that mindset. The way Seth used to operate, because I went to a lot of those meetings with my husband, he’d put everybody in a room and not let them out until he had an agreement.

“Now, there was a time when Seth was accused of being way too cozy with Don King. There was an executive with his company who resigned over it, or perhaps he was pushed out. Well, there also was a time when King walked away from Seth, but, still, Seth worked with him when he had to. He didn’t welcome King back with open arms ever again, and there was a lot of bad blood. There always is when you say, `I’m taking my bat and ball across the street.’
“ We once crossed the street ourselves when we made Whitaker-Chavez on Showtime Pay-Per-View because that was the only way to get a fight our guy desperately wanted. To this day, I don’t know that Seth would say he’s forgiven (Whitaker’s manager) Shelly Finkel and maybe my husband for that. That was seen as an enormous affront and I don’t think it helped us in the least in our relationship with HBO. But that was one fight, and you could get past it.

“But to take your whole business across the street? Think about it. HBO enabled Golden Boy’s very existence. They literally pushed Main Events aside at a time after Dan had died and our stock had begun to dwindle. We were not in a good position. At the turn of the millennium when Lennox Lewis was heading into his last days, as was Arturo Gatti, and Whitaker had retired, those dates that used to go to Main Events started going to Golden Boy.”

So the combatants have changed, but the old battle rages on. It’s a war of attrition, with conflicting strategies and visions of how it will all play out, eventually. Maybe Showtime has the right answers this time. Maybe it doesn’t. To Duva’s way of thinking, if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

“HBO’s got a machine there,” she offered. “They can build more talent. It’s a rare fighter who comes along who is so valuable that he can’t be replaced. It happens maybe once or twice in a generation. Floyd Mayweather is one of those fighters, no doubt. But there’s nobody else over there who’s a Floyd Mayweather.

“How many guys like that have there been in the pay-per-view era? Tyson. Holyfield. De La Hoya. There aren’t too many of them.

“At some point I think HBO will buy fights from Golden Boy again. At some point I think Showtime will buy fights from other promotional companies. I really think that’s the only things that makes sense in the long run.”

For now, though, expect the status quo to remain.

“Richard gave an interview that was related to me the other day,” Duva said. “He said, `I don’t agree with (Bob) Arum’s idea that you go to China and Russia and bring back talent from there. But if they build up somebody that’s attractive to us,’ we’ll just take him.’ If a network wants to empower someone with that attitude, someone who sets himself up to put other people out of business, you will see the demise of the boxing as it exists today. Except that I don’t think (Golden Boy and Showtime) can put HBO out of business.

“I’ve been going to meetings at HBO for 10 years and I told them that this was going to happen. It got pooh-poohed every time. If I went to meetings at Showtime, which I don’t, I would tell them the same thing. They’re looking at boxing as if it observes the laws of economics, as if it obeys the laws of supply and demand. It doesn’t. It never has.”

Read the parts 1 and 2 here :

Kathy Duva Speaks Out On…Well, Everything (Part 1)

Kathy Duva Speaks Out On…Well, Everything (Part 2)

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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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