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Graduation Night For Anthony Joshua?



If you hail from the United Kingdom, you learn to suffer with your heavyweights.

Bob Fitzsimmons abandoned these shores so young that we can point to him, perhaps, as proof of the British heart and fighting stock even if we must admit that it was not our fighting culture that birthed him. Lennox Lewis was a great, great heavyweight and we clutched him to our collective bosom with a hunger that spoke of the hurt that lay between he and Fitzsimmons, and we still do – but his nationality is a complex issue, a fact betrayed by his accent, his dual British and Canadian nationality, the fact he boxed for the latter as an amateur and his persistent and understandable hailing of his Jamaican roots. Whatever we have to say to one another about the great Lewis now, it is a fact that we at no time counted him a hero in the same way that we did Frank Bruno, not while he was fighting.

Frank Bruno, big Frank, sometime pantomime dame and perennial contender, was a legitimate cross-over star in Britain. Beloved by all, he was brutalised into semi-consciousness while still standing by Lewis, “The Lion” preposterously interrupted in the middle of this ritual slaughter by referee Mickey Vann, who warned Lewis about heeling before letting him lose once more on a Bruno completely incapable of defending himself. Perhaps Vann, like the rest of us, had become used to the site of Frank being harpooned on the ropes by a venomous Pequod, having previously watched Tim Witherspoon, James Smith and most deadly of, Mike Tyson, brutalise him in a similar fashion. It would be hard, hard to call Bruno a failure, especially as he eventually raised a strap, if not the legitimate championship, but it is fair to say he did not do what we expected of him while we pretended to box his opponents in the school playground. Perhaps “glorious failure” is the best way to say it; a man who had the balls to try, try and try again despite his shortcomings.

In fact, by the time Bruno turned professional the glorious failure was the great tradition of the British heavyweight. Think of Welshman Tommy Farr and his spectacular effort versus Joe Louis, the only man to take the Bomber the distance in his first nine title fights. Beaten over the distance, Farr was lauded for his loss in Britain, just as Londoner Don Cockell was eighteen years later for his effort versus Rocky Marciano. Henry Cooper became the king of the glorious failures when he successfully dropped Muhammad Ali with a steaming left-hook before bursting all over him in a bloody geyser, his face torn to a mask of gore not once, but twice, by the man they call The Greatest. These men exceeded our low expectations against great champions.

Since Lewis, the exceeding of expectations is a distant and wondrous dream.

We were burned most badly by Audley Harrison. A six-foot-five Olympic gold-medal winning southpaw with an 86” reach and a line in patter which would have persuaded even the 1940s New York fight press of his credentials as a future world champion, Harrison first destroyed boxing in Britain on free-to-air TV by accepting millions from the publicly funded BBC and then proceeding to fight a series of what can only be described, politely, as total bums, before also undermining pay-per-view with a bizarre non-effort against David Haye on Sky Box Office. Harrison landed literally one punch in that fight. He was paid £1.5m.

Speaking of bizarre non-efforts, David Haye’s against Wladimir Klitschko was one of the more embarrassing of recent times. Haye could have just slinked off shamefaced after that fight, offering his physical and technical inferiority as an excuse for the most one-sided loss in HW boxing since Haye-Harrison a few months earlier, but instead he elected to stand on the post-fight press-conference table and display what can only be described as a mildly bruised pinky-toe – the real reason for the loss. Haye was a good fighter, but his confounding attempt at Klitschko failed even to reach the minimum standard of glorious failure during a world-title shot. In combination with Harrison’s mad antics it summarised a bleak time for British boxing.

Fortunately, a healing balm was warring its way through the British ranks in Liverpool: 6’8 scouser David Price weighed in at 250lbs and rescued us from Harrison with a first round knockout of that fraud in 2012. A confession: I never bought Harrison, but I bought Price. Massive like bridges are big, Price seemed to loom over the heavyweight division and this laid the scales across my eyes. When he was obliterated twice in back-to-back fights by evergreen veteran Tony Thompson, who stopped him first in two rounds and then in five, it came as quite a shock. When his promoter, Frank Maloney, later announced that he wanted to live as a woman and was to be referred to from then on as Kellie Maloney, I saw it as representative of the affect this final and most humiliating failure by a British heavyweight upon the British boxing establishment. It was enough to make me want to don a dress myself.

With all my hopes pegged upon Tyson Fury I at first refused to believe that Anthony Joshua would be anything other than the latest in a long line of disappointments.

I hope the reader will forgive the late arrival of Anthony Joshua into an article which purports to be about him, but I think a little context is warranted. Further to that, consider this: in no way is the competition matched by Anthony Joshua at this point better than the competition matched by David Price before he was destroyed by Tony Thompson. The creaking Russian Denis Bakhtov (38-9 going in) is his best opponent up until this point, although certainly he looked less than a world beater beating up poor old Danny Williams – another brave British heavyweight who was brutally annihilated in a tilt at a strap against Vitali Klitschko but who nevertheless likely falls into the “glorious failure” category for his one-armed efforts against Mark Potter, and the wonderful night he stopped Mike Tyson.

Bakhtov, at just 5’11, would have slipped neatly alongside the competition that allowed Price to deceive us so. 15-0 puncher Tom Dallas was 6’6 and had knocked out eleven of fifteen victims coming into his dust-up with Price but Price put him away in just two. When Price took on Sam Sexton, he knocked him out much more quickly than the only other man to stop him, Dereck Chisora who had beaten him in six and nine rounds. Chisora, a social cannonball more famous for his freakish February 2012 street-brawl with David Haye (“I will physically shoot you!”) than anything he actually did in the ring, is perhaps another brave British underachiever. A human non-sequitur, nothing Chisora says really makes sense, but he was all heart in the ring, taking his lumps from Vitali Klitschko and Tyson Fury alike. Mooted as a future opponent for Joshua, Chisora is more qualified than the man who is facing Britain’s latest heavyweight hope this Saturday night in London, Kevin Johnson; Chisora beat Johnson in twelve one-sided rounds early last year.

It was a steady, dull pressure that brought Chisora that win over “Kingpin”, as the American did what he did best: survive. Promoters of prospects and comebackers like him because he can’t punch (just fourteen stoppages in thirty-six fights, none of them in the world class) but he provides a good work-out in a distance fight (having never been stopped and the likes of Vitali Klitschko and Tyson Fury have both been successfully negotiated). A flicking, fast jab keeps opponents honest, a dipping, furtive head-movement, often in the direction of the inside where he seeks to smother his opponent’s best work, keeps him from the worst of the enemy’s violent attentions, a cute, mobile guard protects the most tender parts of his anatomy; but he doesn’t actually do much of anything. Sometimes he sends in a short right hand, and he can punch to the body well but in general he avoids risk. Technically sure single shots in nothing like the volume necessary to win rounds against competent opponents is the order of the day.

These shortcomings are the question mark in the title of this article; the body of the piece lies in Johnson’s ability to go the distance.

Joshua looks the part he is to play. Part Calvin Klein underwear model, part tombstone, the 6’6 245lb Joshua has a body carved from granite and has muscles in all the places that Johnson uses to store food. But those muscles burn fuel. They make demands upon Joshua’s intake of oxygen that in turns demands one of two other things: a great engine or an ability to control the pace. So far Joshua shows absolutely nothing of the latter; he is a seek and destroy missile, top tier ballistic offensive weaponry that looks more like it comes straight out of America’s cold war machine rather than a product of the British system.

Against the aforementioned Bakhtov he had only the most cursory of looks before he started dropping hurt. He comes square when he wants to kill something, alarming, but given his reach and speed, perhaps he will continue to get away with it; and oh, he is fast. If I take nothing else from watching him, I take that. His hand-speed is absurd for a man of his size and the speed with which the second punch joins a first is legitimately terrifying. He lands a very hard jab, and then before that message of pain is even absorbed by the opponent’s nervous system, a message of disaster joins it as the right-hand thunders in. Sometimes it’s to the chest – other times it’s to the top of the head. Bless poor Bakhtov, sometimes he eats it directly to the face, an experience that appears to me to be as shattering as any that can be enjoyed in a boxing ring. Obscenely, Joshua sometimes smiles as the opponent gives ground, the sound of the world, I’m sure, a distant echo to him.

Joshua is no choir boy, you see. There are dark strains. He talks openly of death. He was involved as a younger man in drug dealing. He sometimes smiles as he brutalises his opponents. He feints with his feet. This last speaks of artistry, not darkness, but it hints at real hope for fulfilment of what is still, at just 12-0, only potential.

Bakhtov went back to his corner at the end of the first, cut, swollen and in some deep cavern far away from the advice of his trainer. Joshua was on his feet bouncing, eight-pack rippling, before the bell for the second. Bakhtov finished the fight on his feet, but his final minute in the ring was disturbing to watch.

Jason Gavern and Konstantin Airich both managed three rounds against him but that’s as far as it has gone. In many ways, matching him with Johnson is as ambitious as matching Price with Thompson; Price did not have the naturalistic tendencies to deal with Thompson – Joshua clearly does, but does he have the stamina to do twelve?

The other question, of course, is for Johnson: does he fancy spending twelve rounds in the same ring with this animal; and if he does, can he do it?

In that sense, Joshua and his people are onto a win-win. If Johnson lasts the distance, their fighter has twelve rounds under his belt and a big tick in a very important box; if Joshua stops him, a feat beyond Vitali Klitschko, they know they have a legitimate destroyer on their hands. In that sense, yes, this can be seen as a graduation night for the twenty-five year old – as long as he doesn’t gas and fall down.

Of course, Johnson isn’t going to answer the other question, the one about whether our latest “future world champion” can get hit on the chin and keep his feet. That people who should know better are already naming him as such without having either of these questions answered is perhaps a little irresponsible but completely understandable, even if it is a little surprising given the lessons that should have been learned in the past decade. Joshua is not just special, he looks incredible; he looks like a fight-rat’s dream. Everything – everything a heavyweight should have, he has it. Apart from the most important things. Where those are concerned, sadly, we just don’t know yet – and we might get hurt in finding out.

But we British fight fans will chance it. After all, isn’t that what love is? Believing, with all your heart, in something that you just can’t know – until you do, by which point it is too late to get your hands up?

I’ll pick Joshua to stop Johnson in eight.

At which point we’ll know more.

But still not quite enough.

Feature Articles

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



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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Feature Articles

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



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



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.


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.


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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