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MAYWEATHER, LIKE SUPERMAN, NEEDS A LITTLE KRYPTONITE TO MAINTAIN INTEREST

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NEW YORK — Maybe it really happened, maybe it didn’t. But, the oft-recited and perhaps apocryphal story goes, Muhammad Ali was seated on a jet airliner when, just before takeoff, a female flight attendant reminded him to fasten his seat belt.

“Superman don’t need no seat belt,” Ali replied.

“Superman don’t need no airplane either,” the quick-thinking flight attendant retorted.

Like Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson and a precious few other gods of boxing, Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was here at the Marriott Marquis on Monday to kick off a five-city, four-day press tour to hype his Sept. 13 rematch with Argentina’s Marcos Maidana, is so exceptionally gifted that it sometimes might appear that he arrived from another planet for the express purpose of dazzling mere earthlings. Ali and the original Sugar Ray knew — or at least found out when their aura of invincibility was finally threatened — what the creators of Superman did when they began to run out of story ideas for a character that could fly at incredible speeds, had unimaginable strength and was impervious to any sort of physical pain.

Whether it’s in comic books or inside a roped-off swath of canvas, there has to be conflict and a reasonable amount of danger faced by the protagonist to maintain interest from a public constantly expecting fresh thrills. Thus did writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, who in tandem conceived Superman in the 1930s, decide that he needed to occasionally deal with strength-sapping kryptonite and an expanding cast of super-villains that included, among others, General Zod, Kryptonite Man, Metallo, Mister Mxyzptik, Ultra-Humanite and Ultraman. There was even an issue of DC Comics in which Superman tangled with, yep, Muhammad Ali.

It remains to be seen whether the 30-year-old Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs), can match or even exceed his performance against Mayweather (46-0, 26 KOs) of May 3, when the “Money” man was obliged to settle for a more-difficult-than-expected 12-round majority decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where he again will take on the Argentine brawler. It marks the 10th straight bout for the Grand Rapids, Mich., native to fight in his adopted hometown and at his preferred venue.

To hear Mayweather, who will defend his WBC, WBA and THE RING welterweight championships, what Maidana did that night as a 10-to-1 underdog was an illusion, a juxtaposition of dirty tactics allowed by the referee (Tony Weeks) and the inflated expectations of those who see anything other than absolute domination on Mayweather’s part as some sort of failure. And Mayweather is correct, in one sense. The higher you continually set the bar, the more difficult it is for even the most exceptional of flesh-and-blood human beings to clear it with the ease of Superman leaping over a tall building in a single bound.

So, has Floyd Mayweather Jr., at 37, become too good for his own good? Has he reached the point where mere victories on his part no longer are considered satisfactory by fight fans paying top dollar for seats in the arena or pay-per-view subscriptions?

“The perception out there is that Floyd’s been the best,” said Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “He didn’t just become the best; he’s been the best. Any kind of success anyone has against him, people tend to gravitate toward that.”

Mayweather, looking relaxed and very fit in a black T-shirt set off by shiny, expensive jewelry, agreed that he is frequently held to a higher standard than other fighters, thus the somewhat perplexing scorecard 114-114 scorecard submitted by judge Michael Pernick, whose colleagues, Burt Clements and Dave Moretti, had him defeating Maidana by comfortable margins of 117-111 and 116-112, respectively. It wasn’t the first time, he believes, that he’s been given less than his due. In the bout prior to his matchup with Maidana, when he stepped up in weight to challenge WBC and WBC super welterweight champ Canelo Alvarez, Craig Metcalfe and Moretti had him cruising by respective scores of 117-111 and 116-112 while the third judge, C.J. Ross, like Pernick, accorded him only a 114-114 standoff.

“I think we need to get some young judges,” said Mayweather, still amazed that he has had to come away with back-to-back majority decisions in fights he is convinced he clearly won and with no hint of controversy. “I think it’s just about being fair. As a fighter, Maidana know – he know – he didn’t win that fight. Even with (Jose Luis) Castillo in that first fight, if I felt like I lost, I would have said, `Yeah, I lost.’ Because I’m fair. But I know I beat him. I know it for a fact.”

It is notable that the rematch with Maidana marks only the second time Mayweather, who generally abhors the notion of do-overs, has grudgingly consented to swap punches with a previous victim. There are those – quite a few, actually – who are of the belief that the then-27-year-old Mayweather was the beneficiary of a gift decision as a challenger against WBC lightweight titlist Castillo on April 20, 2002. Castillo, outboxed in the early rounds, was to a degree able to bully Mayweather down the stretch. Mayweather, however, won a unanimous decision with scores of 116-111 and 115-111 (twice), which ran counter to the unofficial tabulations of HBO’s Harold Lederman and Larry Merchant, both of whom had Castillo retaining his championship.

Maidana, looking very much like a mild-mannered and bespectacled Clark Kent during his session with the media, said he and his team studied the tape of Mayweather-Castillo I at length and incorporated some of what they saw into their game plan against Floyd.

“We did look at and analyze that fight,” Maidana said. “It was a very close fight. We tried to implement a lot of the same things that Castillo did. But Mayweather is a great fighter. He has great defense and he’s not very easy to hit.”

And his repeat shot at the consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter?

“I think our plan of attack (the last time) was great,” he said. “I just got to add to it.” Added Robert Garcia, Maidana’s trainer: “(Marcos) thought—I thought – that Mayweather was going to be something different, something special. He isn’t, not really.”

Mayweather, who maintains that he never watches tape of upcoming opponents because he can adapt to anything he might encounter on the fly, gives the impression that any tinkering by Maidana is certain to end in disappointment. The guy he’s fighting always has to adjust to him, not the other way around. Hasn’t Maidana ever read a Superman comic book? The flying man from Krypton always prevails, as does the man from Grand Rapids with the fancy footwork and rapid-fire hands.

“Maidana’s a tough competitor, but I’m really not worried about nothing,” Mayweather said. “I don’t worry about no fighter. They’re all the same to me.”

So, is there anything that Maidana did or does well, that might prove nettlesome this time around?

“Fight dirty,” said Mayweather, who figured that Maidana won three rounds, tops, the first time around. “Is he a better fighter than Canelo? No. Is he a better fighter than (Miguel) Cotto? No. Is he a dirtier fighter? Yes. That’s safe to say. That’s the only thing that sets him apart. He wants to hold with one hand, he wants to elbow. I didn’t get a deep gash from a punch, I got a deep gash from a head-butt. Low blows all night. Twenty of them, at least. We can go on and on.”

But Mayweather, who will be fighting for the fourth time as part of a six-bout pay-per-view deal with CBS/Showtime that will yield him upwards of $200 million, is enough of a businessman to understand that having a close call against Maidana, or what passes for a close call, is apt to produce higher gross revenues for the rematch. That’s enough reason for him to consent to a Part II, which has unimaginatively been dubbed “Mayhem,” as did Stephen Espinoza, Showtime’s executive vice president and general manager of sports and event programming.

It has not gone unnoticed that Showtime did not release the number of PPV buys for Mayweather-Maidana I, which some contend is proof that Mayweather, whose fights have produced a record $700 million-plus in PPV sales, is losing some clout as his sport’s foremost can’t-miss attraction. That could owe to generally soft sales for all PPV bouts in a saturated market, and it might owe, at least in part, to the growing feeling that Mayweather is blowing through a procession of no-chance opponents who might as well be shooting rubber bullets at the Man of Steel. Some have pegged the PPV buy rate for Mayweather-Maidana I at 850,000, which falls below the threshold of a million buys believed in some quarters to be the break-even point for any PPV fight involving Mayweather in his current deal, which guarantees him a minimum of $32 million per outing.

“Those numbers (for Mayweather-Maidana I) have not been released,” Espinoza acknowledged. “There’s a very small circle of people that know what the numbers are. But the May 3 fight was the most exciting and entertaining bout of Mayweather’s career, certainly the toughest of his career. Yet, in the aftermath, all people wanted to talk about was pay-per-view buys. I think it’s negative for the event, negative for the sport, negative for our company, when people draw conclusions that aren’t merited and thus spread misinformation.

“There’s only one fighter in history that’s done over two million PPVs twice, and that’s documented. (Mayweather did 2.5 million buys for his fight with Oscar De La Hoya, and 2.2 million for his fight with Alvarez.) There’s no question Floyd is the No. 1 pay-per-view star, regardless of whether we released numbers for Mayweather-Maidana 1 or not. There’s no question he does bigger gates, he does more buys and he generates more attention than any other boxer in the sport.”

And Espinoza’s prediction for Part II?

“I’m expecting it to pick up right where it left off,” he said. “What we have typically seen in the past is Mayweather cruising in the later rounds, when he establishes dominance and kicks into rhythm. That wasn’t the case in the last fight. Some people felt that Mayweather won comfortably. Others thought it was a slimmer margin. Probably a minority felt that Maidana won. From a business standpoint, it is a major advantage to have a thrilling, very competitive fight to sell as a rematch. We’ve made no secret of the fact it is a challenge to market some of these events because, given Floyd’s history, there is a presumption he’s going to dominate anyone who’s in the ring with him.”

The one fighter who continues to offer the most intriguing option is, of course, Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao. But Pacquiao is aligned with Top Rank founder Bob Arum, whom Mayweather despises, and with HBO, twin obstacles that have proved insurmountable in the past and might continue to be too much to overcome. Should Mayweather get past Maidana again, and easily, that leaves a comparatively skimpy menu of entrée items that might include Amir Khan, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Kell Brook and Lucas Matthysse. All would be significant underdogs against a Mayweather that is even a reasonably close approximation of his familiar Superman persona.

Mayweather, who more and more is dropping hints that he is tiring of the demands placed upon him, is certain of only two things until he hangs up his gloves for keeps. One is that he remains the closest thing to a sure thing we have seen in boxing in some time. If he fulfills these last three bouts of his contract and remains undefeated, he’d be 49-0, and likely to be satisfied with that. He professes to have little interest in taking an additional fight, to go to 50-0 and surpass the record of the late, great heavyweight champion, Rocky Marciano.

“I never seen Marciano fight,” Mayweather said. “I seen some highlights. But this is the Mayweather era. All I can do is focus on the guy in front of me. Marciano had his time. Right now it’s my time. If my career was over today, I’d be happy with what I’ve accomplished. My job is not to go out there and break records. If it happens, it happens. If it don’t, it don’t.”

And that other certainty?

“You done seen this a thousand times,” he said. “`This guy is going to beat Floyd, he’s a young, hungry lion. He’s got power.’ But he’s not going to win, no matter who he is or who his trainer is. Each fight is the same result, and the same excuses. There’s so many excuses that they use. When I fought (Juan Manuel) Marquez, he was over the hill, washed up. Then he comes back to knock out Pacquiao and he’s pound-for-pound one of the best. They said I fought Cotto at a bad time for him. Now he’s the middleweight champ.

“I say this: Line ’em up like bowling pins so I can continue to knock ’em down.”

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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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