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THE FLURRY: On Manny-Bradley, Lee-Chavez, And More

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Pacquiao Bradley NY PC 120223 002aHere’s what’s on my mind this week:

Manny v. Timothy Bradley thoughts and predictions (June 9, HBO PPV)

This fight has more importance to the sport of boxing than any other scrap currently on the schedule. In all likelihood, Floyd Mayweather is going to handle Miguel Cotto. It could plausibly be a competitive fight, but I just don’t see Floyd losing it (he has too many ways to win, and he will hurt Miguel). Floyd hasn’t been in a barnburner (by design of his handpicking opponents) in a while, but he hasn’t shown any major weaknesses or signs of slowing down/regressing at all. While I won’t say Manny is regressing since Juan Manuel Marquez will always be a tough out for him stylistically, we haven’t seen Manny dominate a top opponent in years. Timothy Bradley is 100% a top opponent. Manny’s hand and foot speed is the stuff of legends, but Bradley is extremely fast with his hands. He’s a crafty fighter who intentionally leads with his head to make his opponents uncomfortable. As fast and solid as Timothy Bradley is, he is neither as fast nor as technically sound as Floyd Mayweather, so Manny better leave us all thinking there’s only one meaningful fight left for him. If Tim can make Manny look human, or even just good, Manny’s chances against Floyd don’t look nearly as bright as they did six months ago.

Manny’s footwork (his most impressive asset) should allow him to create angles that would effectively counter Bradley’s aggression and overhand right (by far his best punch). Bradley is both hungry and yet to taste defeat as a professional. If Manny fails to circle to his right and avoid that looping right hand, it could be a long night for him. Lastly, there’s a good chance Bradley strategically forces an inside fight by pressuring Manny, and as Lee Wylie pointed out, Freddie Roach-trained fighters aren’t particularly adept at fighting in close quarters. I think Manny’s movement should keep him out of trouble and create openings when Bradley overcommits himself with big right hands to secure a clear victory.

I’ll leave it at that… this fight has extreme significance, and it should be watched very closely to see if Manny has any signs of regression. If Manny still has what it takes to be considered in the conversation of P4P best, he’ll need to win this bout convincingly. I actually think Timothy Bradley would give Floyd a much tougher fight than he will give Manny stylistically. But that’s a moot point unless Bradley pulls off a major upset here (unlikely, not implausible). More to come… but don’t miss this fight.

Andy Lee v Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (June 16)

In all candidness, I haven’t seen too many JCC Jr. fights. All I’ve heard is that he’s not quite a world-class fighter and has been babied from a matchmaking standpoint. He is still young, and he fights pretty aggressively so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt until my eyes tell me differently. Conversely, I’ve seen several full Andy Lee fights. He can be a world champion, but not in a weight class occupied by Sergio Martinez. Lee’s a good southpaw, but he’s not a great one. In baseball terms, he’d be referred to as a 4-A guy (one who is too good for AAA, but cannot produce in the big leagues). He will easily dominate good fighters, but he can’t cut it with the division’s elite. He’s crafty, but not quite clever. He hits hard, but his power is hardly breathtaking.  He doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, but he also doesn’t do any one thing particularly well. Lee’s best weapon is that he has Manny Steward (still the best in the business) in his corner. He’s a perfect test for Junior because if you can’t beat Andy Lee, you prove two things: 1) You’re not a world class fighter and 2) You have no chance to beat Sergio Martinez (which, for the record, is the whole point of this match being made).

Again, I probably don’t know enough about Chavez to predict anything, but I suspect JCC will win this via iffy decision, and Bob Arum will (in a shocking turn of events) balk at making a Martinez matchup.

Hopkins-Dawson 2, (April 28, HBO)

I freaking love Bernard Hopkins. What he does at his age is as mind-boggling as it is impressive. Even as a young fighter, he never had the best God-given skill set to compete at the highest level. After Roy Jones, Jr. (who conversely has some of the most God-given boxing skills of all time) beat him in the ‘90s, he turned himself into a true student of the game to give himself competitive advantages. And it’s worked for almost two decades now. You simply cannot count him out of any fight because he finds ways to win, and he almost always finds ways to forcefully and tactically make his matches into ‘his type of fights’. I literally will not ever bet against him (similar to Randy Couture if you’re an MMA fan).

That said, I can’t in good conscience pick him to win this fight (but I wouldn’t put my reputation or money on it). Chad Dawson is a spectacular boxer. He is long, technically proficient, pretty powerful, and he simply knows how to box. Frankly, he is built to beat BHOP. The one thing Dawson hasn’t been able to do is turn the corner from great to elite. He hasn’t found that killer instinct to finish opponents. He is content to let his opponents hang around while he puts on a boxing clinic. In his first fight with Hopkins, Dawson had a nasty look in his eye I hadn’t ever seen from him. Something about fighting Hopkins is bringing out a beast in Dawson. If he can match his skills with intensity, he not only will introduce Bernard to Father Time, but he’ll start skyrocketing up the P4P lists.

Bute-Froch (May 26 on EPIX)

First of all, props to EPIX. Whether it’s budget-related or not, HBO and Showtime do not book all of the great fights, and far too many mediocre fights end up on PPVs that nobody in the US should buy. EPIX is really filling a sizeable void by getting in the fight business. I think there’s real opportunity in matchmaking to book very marketable, fan-friendly fights on a network like EPIX. The issue is that I don’t have EPIX (I have Comcast cable), and can’t watch EPIX on TV. I doubt I’m in the minority here, and it’s really frustrating. (Sigh). I can log on to watch a stream on EPIXHD.com, of course.

This is another intriguing fight so I’m glad EPIX is televising it (at least to some households). Carl Froch is a gamer. The guy comes to fight, is typically is involved in action fights, and is always going to be a tough fight for any opponent. His fierce showing in the Showtime Super Six tournament was a great introduction to US fans (myself included). Standing across the apron from him will be Lucian Bute, who is poised to introduce himself to the world in this fight as a top-10 P4P fighter. Bute is a very slick fighter for this weight class, and he can really punch, too. The major question mark around Bute is why have his handlers never matched him with elite opposition? It’s not like he doesn’t draw in Montreal, so is there something they know that we don’t?

In any event, if Bute can get by Froch, an Andre Ward matchup will seemingly be inevitable, and that will be great for boxing since it would pair two of the finest technical boxers on the planet regardless of weight class. Boxing needs more superstars, and Bute/Ward could fit the bill. I like Bute to beat Froch clearly and emerge as a contender to Andre Ward’s hold on the division. Very few people can keep up with Ward, but I think he and Bute would put on a boxing clinic that even the average fan could appreciate.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

ON: Tomasz Adamek

This poor guy is in no-mans land. He decisively lost to the aforementioned Chad Dawson (whom he probably can’t beat) a few years ago, and instead of quitting had a career rejuvenation as a heavyweight. He tore through heavyweight contenders (in very impressive fashion) to get a deserved title shot against Vitali Klitschko where he was shut out and outclassed. He has no chance/style to defeat one of the Klitschko brothers. All this poor guy does is win fights and fight in a crowd-pleasing style, but he’s simply stuck in between two weight classes that he cannot win titles in. If he handles Eddie Chambers on June 16, maybe he’ll serve as the de facto finals exam for Seth Mitchell before he gets thrown to the Klitschko wolves? On the record, I’d take Adamek in that fight.

ON: Robert Garcia: How good is this guy?

Am I the only one who doesn’t see this guy as the elite trainer he’s widely regarded as? I’m just not sold on him, but he’s getting a plethora of top talent right now. Brandon Rios is one of my favorite fighters to watch, but how has he gotten better in the last two years under Garcia’s tutelage? What new wrinkles in his game has he shown? Would you really bet on Rios against Juan Manuel Marquez (god, please make this fight)? I wouldn’t. And granted Antonio Margarito was a shot fighter after the Mosley drubbing, but did he show one ounce of improvement under Garcia? Maybe I missed it. Nonito Donaire is a phenomenal talent, but his recent showings have been less than remarkable, no? Yet, this guy keeps getting more top-tier fighters. Marcos Maidana is moving over to his camp, and Kelly Pavlik has relocated there for various reasons. In fairness, I will say that Pavlik looked good in his most recent fight showcasing a tight left hook that I hadn’t seen from him before. I think Maidana will be a fair benchmark of how good Garcia really is as a trainer. Maidana is an extremely powerful natural puncher (one of the only things a trainer can’t teach, but can enhance) for his weight, but his lack of technical expertise and tactical adjustments has cost him in multiple fights. This is something a good trainer can fix. A great trainer would harness Maidana’s power and turn him into a world champion. Time will tell.

On the topic of trainers, I definitely think Emanuel Steward is still the best. As I mentioned, Andy Lee is not the most skilled fighter of all time by any means. Steward has still managed to get him into a legitimate title fight, and on the verge of stardom. Manny took Wladimir Klitschko under his wing, and he has created a truly remarkable heavyweight champion. He defense is nearly impenetrable. This can definitely be attributed to Manny Steward. He realized that Wlad didn’t have great defensive instincts, so he structured his offensive attack to serve as his best defense. And it works brilliantly. He’s almost never hit anymore, and his machine-like offense is nearly flawless. It’s Manny’s best work in years.

ON: Young Holyfield/Foreman being kryptonite for Wladimir Klitschko (both Klitschkos for that matter)

In the spirit of hypothetical matchmaking (I recently read some TSS posts on Roy Jones vs. Manny/Floyd—both we’re well-written and correct—and countless Manny v. Floyd predictions including my own: http://www.tss.ib.tv/forums/showthread.php?5834-Pacquiao-Would-Beat-Mayweather), I’ve been thinking of how current stars would do against past fighters within their weight class. I think both of the Klitschko brothers are phenomenal. Wladimir is almost untouchable, and he is technically brilliant. If it weren’t for his suspect chin, he’d be a lock to beat 99% of heavyweights of all time. Vitali is equally dominant, and he uses his size/fluid punch sequences to perfection. Everyone naturally thinks of a prime Mike Tyson as a potential nightmare for these two, but I don’t see that. Tyson’s unmatched power and upper body movement posed problems for everyone, but I think the size differential would be too much for him to overcome. Since Vitali and Wladimir both use their jabs and control the ring so well, I just don’t see Tyson landing much at all. Granted it was not the prime Tyson, but the way Lennox Lewis dominated him with jabs and straight right hands is exactly how the Klitschkos fight. I digress.

A young Evander Holyfield would be a real terror for either Klitschko. When he first moved up to the division, his movement (both upper body and footwork) was incredible for a fighter of his size. There are no ‘athletes’ like that in boxing anymore. His physique, his quickness, his explosiveness… you just don’t see it in the heavyweight division anymore. You see it on NFL fields. Julius Peppers could’ve been a guy to give the Klitschkos a run. Maybe even Patrick Willis or LeBron James (Could you imagine LeBron in a ring with his reach/explosive athleticism? Still, I get the feeling he’d quit on his stool at some point in a close fight).

Back to The Real Deal. Youtube some old Holyfield fights and you’ll see what I mean. He jabbed, he moved, he threw combinations. I don’t see either Klitschko being able to find him with their potent jabs, and without their jabs, throwing one right hand at a time won’t win you fights against a fighter like a prime Evander Holyfield.

I’ll also say this: I’d pay a lot more to see 1975 version of George Foreman against Wladimir Klitschko than I would to see Manny v. Floyd. George was carved from stone before getting into the grill business, and he was one of the all time heavy hitters. Not to mention he was big enough to not be at a severe size disadvantage (which is the determining factor in so many of the Klitschko brothers’ fights). Just sayin.

ON: Why Brandon Rios v Juan Manuel Marquez could be a once in a lifetime action fight if things go as planned

I’m hoping with every ounce of wishful thinking that I have that Brandon Rios and Juan Manuel Marquez don’t have any hiccups in their respective fights this weekend (though I think it’s ridiculous that it’s a PPV). Supposedly, there’s a good chance that the two will meet at the Cowboy’s Stadium in Dallas contingent on their respect victories this weekend. This will almost certainly be a phenomenal action fight for the ages. It’s a classic aggressor v. counter-puncher fight and will likely look like one of Juan Manuel’s signature wins against Juan Diaz and Michael Katsidis. Rios is tough as nails, and he’s certainly vulnerable to being hit. Marquez seems genuinely angered by the last Pacquiao decision (as opposed to upset), and I’d love to see a fiery version of him against Rios. For a technical boxing enthusiast, there is nothing better than watching Marquez against good, aggressive fighters like Rios.

It’s the same reason his fights against Manny Pacquiao have all been incredibly exciting, close, and memorable battles. Juan Manuel Marquez is not afraid of anyone, or being hit by anyone. He will not back down, and he is so goshdarn crafty at creating angles for clean, powerful counter-punches. He does not have the elite athleticism of a Manny Pacquiao, yet he manages to give him fits by being mentally and physically tough, technically brilliant, and absolutely fearless. Another reason this potential Rios fight is so exciting is that it sets the stage for Marquez-PacMan 4. While this isn’t as sexy as Floyd-PacMan 1, it’s a lot more realistic at this point. And the fact of the matter is, I’ll pay to see Manny fight Juan Manuel Marquez the tenth time. For years I’ve held that their respective styles are built for one another. They will never have a boring fight. They will never have a one-sided fight. They are truly worthy adversaries.

Rios might just be aggressive and powerful enough to send Marquez into retirement, but I’d bet the other way. Marquez is so accurate and smart. I think he would stop Rios.

Next week’s thought starters: Evolution of boxing in MMA, Need to Dissolve Weight Classes, Is Adrien Broner the real deal (spoiler: yes), Ortiz-Berto picks

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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.

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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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