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Roy Jones-Bobby Gunn Another Reminder of How the Mighty Have Fallen



Some will come because they are curious, perhaps even morbidly so. Others will come because they remember how truly great one of the participants was, even if that greatness has dimmed into a mere shadow of its former brilliance.

Mostly, though, fight fans with more important ways to dispose of their disposable income will choose to sit this one out, even if the legendary but now-44-year-old Roy Jones Jr. somehow manages to reach far enough back in time to remind spectators, at least a little, of what once made him so very special.

They held a press conference in Philadelphia last Wednesday to formally announce the Dec. 4 matchup of Jones (56-8, 40 KOs) and Bobby “The Celtic Warrior” Gunn (21-5-1, 18 KOs) for the vacant WBU cruiserweight championship, a mostly meaningless trinket. The scheduled 12-rounder, if indeed it is staged, will take place at the cozy National Guard Armory in Northeast Philly, which figuratively is much further from Madison Square Garden, site of several of Jones’ marquee fights, than the 115 or so miles actual driving distance.

It is an indication of the current reality that the Jones-Gunn press conference was attended by only one reporter from a local newspaper and a handful of boxing web-site writers, but not by camera crews from any of the Philadelphia television stations or by the town’s more influential columnists. That was because another famous and aging athlete whose best days are well behind him, onetime 76ers superstar Allen Iverson, 38, was choking back tears at a similar media gathering and announcing that he had hoisted up his last jump shot.

Virginia native Iverson, of course, spent all or part of 12 of his 14 NBA seasons with the Sixers, firmly establishing himself as a hometown icon. But Jones, who hails from Pensacola, Fla., has never fought in Philadelphia, a place where he is known mostly for being a thorn in the side of Bernard Hopkins, the ageless Philly standout with whom Jones split a pair of decisions spaced over nearly 17 years, from May 22, 1993, to April 10, 2010.

Not that Jones (seen in above Hogan photo, getting ready to fight Bernard Hopkins in 2010) hasn’t considered fighting in Philadelphia in the past. Like the late standup comedian Henny Youngman, RJJ might have told the sparse turnout at Wednesday’s press conference that he was “glad to be here … but then, at my age, I’m glad to be anywhere.”

“I love the City of Brotherly Love,” Jones said with a touch less pomposity than most followers of his career are used to. “When (Gunn) said he wanted to fight Roy Jones Jr. and that it was going to be his last fight, that’s big to me. And I know that him being a gypsy, being a bare-knuckle champ, he has heart like no other. These are the type of fights that make legendary nights. They are dangerous the whole night long.

“I know this guy is game, and that from Round 1 to Round 12 he’s going to think he can win, and will be trying to land that one punch to take you out. That’s what I live for. That’s what I love. My job is trying to see how many hits I can put on him before he even tries to land that punch. As a 44-year-old, ain’t nobody can do that like I do.”

Matchmaker Don Elbaum (who can’t be the promoter of record, as he does not hold a promotional license with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission) beamed as Jones spoke. Elbaum has been down this path before, having staged Sugar Ray Robinson’s final bout – ironically, when Robinson was 44 –in which the greatest boxer of all time dropped a 10-round unanimous decision to Joey Archer on Nov. 10, 1965, in Pittsburgh.

Elbaum knows that name recognition sells, and Jones certainly has retained some of that. “The Bum,” as he is sometimes affectionately known, also knows the value of any interesting “hook” to lure paying customers, and he believes he has found one for Gunn, who, at least until now, probably was best known for his losing challenge of then-IBF cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek on July 11, 2009. But Gunn – who turns 40 on Christmas Day – became the first boxer to win a sanctioned bare-knuckle fight since 1989 when he defeated Richard Stewart on Aug. 5, 2011, thus winning the “vacant heavyweight title.”

“He’s the first bare-knuckle champion since John L. Sullivan!” Elbaum said of Gunn, who intends to retire after the bout with Jones, regardless of the outcome.

Gunn, to his credit, doesn’t pretend that he ever was the equal of the Jones that was voted Fighter of the Decade for the 1990s by the Boxing Writers Association of America. But that was then and this is now, and Gunn thinks that the considerable gap between himself and Jones not only has narrowed, but been successfully bridged.

”I came close to fighting Jones twice before,” Gunn recalled. “In 2006, when I had the IBA cruiserweight title, I was going to fight him, but that fell through. Two years ago, I again was supposed to fight him, but once more it didn’t happen. And that’s OK, because I believe now is the right time for me.

“I could not carry Roy Jones’ jockstrap five or 10 years ago. I admit it. But his time has passed, and it’s my time now. I’m a full-fledged cruiserweight and a puncher, and a puncher always has a puncher’s chance.”

Gunn said he is training as if the Roy Jones Jr. of many people’s memories, the one who held legitimate world titles at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight, makes a surprise re-appearance.

“He might not be all that he was, but on any given night a great champion like Roy ones might show up and look as good as he ever did,” Gunn continued. “You never know. But I’m not coming just to say that I was there. I’ve paid my dues. I’ve had a long, crazy career, been involved in my share of controversial fights. But this one … it just feels right to me. And I don’t doubt for a minute that I am going to come out on top.”

The mere thought of a fringe guy like Gunn defeating a prime Roy Jones Jr. is incomprehensible, but that Jones left the building years ago and really hasn’t been glimpsed since. That Jones dropped his hands and leaned straight back from punches, which are violations of the most basic tenets of boxing, but he was able to get away with it because of his extraordinary reflexes. Like the young, lithe Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali, Jones, technically speaking, did everything wrong but found a way to make it turn out right.

Jones’ slide was shockingly sudden and seemingly irreversible. He lost three consecutive bouts from June 2004 to October 2005, a pair of the defeats (one on a second-round stoppage) against Antonio Tarver sandwiched around a brutal, nine-round beatdown by Glen Johnson.

When it was suggested to Jones that his unorthodox style had betrayed him as his reflexes slowed, he said the losing streak owed more to his getting away from the distinctive traits that had set him apart.

“With my hands up, I am no good,” he said before a victory over Jeff Lacy on Aug. 15, 2009. “That is not what I was put here to do. I had to go back, re-drop my hands, get ’em back down to my side. Get my mouthpiece back out so I can stick my tongue at people and piss ’em off before I knocked ’em out. That’s what I used to do and that’s what I’m best at.”

Jones more or less reiterated those comments prior to a scheduled fight against journeyman Manny Siaca, for the NABO cruiser title, which was to have been held on Dec. 9, 2009, at the Liacouras Center on the Temple University campus in Philadelphia. But that fight never happened, delaying for nearly four years Jones’ pledge to strut his stuff before Philly fight fans in a city that, he said, “if it’s not the best place for boxing, it’s one of the best. It’s home of so many legends.”

Curiously, again using the tactics he claims to have gotten away from, Jones endured another three-bout losing streak from December 2009 to May 2011 – knockout losses to Danny Green and Denis Ledbedev plus a unanimous-decision loss in the long-delayed rematch with Hopkins. He has since cobbled together back-to-back wins, over Max Alexander and Pawel Glazewski, but he is 7-7 dating back to the knockout by Tarver, four of those defeats coming inside the distance.

What Jones apparently wants is to build some momentum leading up to an oft-proposed pairing with mixed martial arts great Anderson “Spider” Silva of Brazil, whom many believe is the foremost MMA fighter of all time. That bout would not be in the Octagon, but in the ring, which presumably would enhance Jones’ chances, considering the stumbles Ray Mercer and James Toney had when attempting to cross over into a different type of fighting. Silva – who is skilled in Jiu-Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai, Judo and Capoeira – has said he is amenable to squaring off with Jones in a boxing match.

But what if Jones loses to Gunn? To Silva, who is 1-1 as a boxer? Is RJJ’s legacy and place in boxing history so secure that they can’t be tarnished by his continuing to fight at a noticeably diminished level?

Seth Abraham, the former head of HBO Sports, weighed in on that issue in April 2006. “His drive was to do things that were of interest to him,” Abraham said, “but not necessarily to fight the very best middleweights, super middleweights and light heavyweights who were out there. I think Roy’s legacy in the sport absolutely will suffer because he chose not to do everything he could to make himself as great as he might have been.”

Then again, Jones can hardly be faulted for chasing past glories. It is a tale that is repeated over and over, like a spinning cat trying to capture its own tail.

“You always think of yourself as the best you ever were,” Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard said of his own many comebacks from retirements that didn’t stick. “That’s human nature. And that’s not just how highly successful people think. Everybody thinks that way.

“Most guys come back for money. They need another payday and there are people around them feeding their egos, telling them how good they still are. Maybe they come back because they don’t know anything but boxing, and they’re apprehensive about entering the next phase of their lives that doesn’t include it.

“But even if money is not an issue, and you have other options, you never lose that belief in yourself as a fighter, particularly if you’ve been to the very top of the mountain. (Being retired) eats at you. It’s hard to find anything else that can give you that high.”

Even if achieved high is actually sort of low, and it comes in a cramped National Guard Armory in Philly instead of in glitzy venues in Las Vegas and New York.


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Saul Sanchez Wins in Ontario, CA



ONTARIO, CA- Saul Sanchez remained undefeated after a tumultuous battle against Mexico’s Fernando Saavedra to win by majority decision to the dismay of a small crowd on Friday.

In a battle of bantamweights at the Doubletree Hotel, it was Pacoima’s Sanchez (11-0, 6 KOs) who started quicker but San Luis Potosi’s Saavedra (7-6, 3 KOs) closed the gap in the latter half of the fight in front of a boisterous crowd of maybe 400 fans.

Sanchez nearly floored Saavedra in the first 20 seconds of the fight when a three-punch combination had the Mexican fighter wobbled. It spurred Sanchez to go on the attack, ultimately leading to a toe-to-toe battle.

The quicker hands and feet of Sanchez proved troubling for Saavedra, who needed the Southern Californian to stand still. That seldom happened in the first four rounds.

But though neither boxer seemed to tire, Sanchez began getting trapped against the ropes and allowing Saavedra to connect with powerful blows. The last three rounds were especially close and Sanchez was able to slip more blows than Saavedra. But each never ready to quit.

After eight bantamweight rounds, two judges scored it 77-75 for Sanchez and one had it 76-76 a draw. Sanchez was deemed the winner by majority decision.

Many fans were angry by the decision.

Other bouts

Corona’s Louie Lopez (5-0, 3 KOs) remained undefeated with a solid performance over Bakersfield’s Ray Cervera (0-2), a resilient super welterweight. Lopez was able to use his quick left hooks to score in every round but Cervera had a good chin and was able to counter with rights. No knockdowns were scored in the four round fight and all three judges scored the fight 40-36.

Oscar Torrez (3-0, 1 KO) knocked down Richard Soto (0-1) in the last round to assure a victory by unanimous decision in an entertaining heavyweight fight. Torrez fights out of Rialto, CA and is trained by Henry Ramirez who also trains Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola. The two heavyweights seemed evenly matched for the first two rounds, with Soto having his best round in the second when he continually landed one-two combinations with good effect. But Torrez resumed control of the fight in the third by using the jab, then mixing up his attack. In the fourth round, Torrez unleashed a 10-punch barrage that dropped Soto in the corner. The fighter from Northern California got up and survived the round but was unable to turn things around. Two judges scored it 39-36 and another had it 40-35, all for Torrez.

Anthony Franco (3-1-1) took time to warm up before scoring a knockdown and defeating Kansas fighter Antonio L. Hernandez (1-4) by decision after four rounds in a super welterweight contest. In the third round, Franco slipped under a left by Hernandez who tripped and when he turned was met by a perfect left that knocked down the Kansas boxer. Though he wasn’t hurt, it changed the complexion of a close fight in favor of Franco who lives in Redlands, CA. All three judges scored it for Franco 38-35, 39-36, 38-37.

Tijuana’s Rafael Rivera (26-2-2, 17 KOs) ripped into Guanajuato’s Jose Ramos (11-15-1, 8 KOs) with a savage attack to win by knockout in the first round. A barrage of blows sent Ramos backward dangling over the ropes. Referee Ray Corona ruled it a knockdown and let the fight continue. Rivera resumed the attack and blistered the taller Ramos with blinding punches forcing the fight to be stopped at 1:51 of the first round. It was Rivera’s first fight since losing to Joet Gonzalez by split decision last July in Los Angeles.

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Pacquiao-Broner: A Perfect Fight for Pacquiao and the Good Guy Wins



Various sites are reporting that eight division titlist Manny Pacquiao 60-7-2 (39) will meet four division title winner Adrien Broner 33-3-1 (24) in December or January with Manny’s WBA regular welterweight title on the line. The fight hasn’t been confirmed yet but here’s how you know it’ll happen, and that is the fight makes dollars and sense for the super-star involved and that’s Manny Pacquiao.

Pacquiao signed with adviser/promoter Al Haymon – with the hope of getting a rematch with Floyd Mayweather in 2019. Haymon is tied to Mayweather and Broner and most of the top welterweights in the sport – including world champions Errol Spence, Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. Manny lost a unanimous decision to Mayweather in May of 2015 and has longed for a rematch ever since. And ironically, neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao want any parts of taking on a young gun boxer in his prime. Both Terence Crawford, the WBO title holder, and Errol Spence, the IBF titlist, would take apart and embarrass both of them and there’s a sound case to make that both would’ve been okay tangling with Floyd and Manny even during their prime.

However, Mayweather and Pacquiao are businessman first and fighters second at this time and that’s been the case for quite a while. Manny only has interest in facing Mayweather again because he seeks revenge and Floyd will be 42 and coming off a long period of being inactive by the time they face off. As for Mayweather, he’d rather partake in big money fiascos where he can continue to gouge the public in WWE gimmicks against elite MMA fighters like Conor McGregor, his last opponent, or McGregor’s recent conqueror Khabid Nurmagomedov.

The only real boxer Floyd would entertain fighting is Pacquiao, who at this stage is only a moderate threat to Floyd because Mayweather hasn’t been in the gym much and has been preoccupied with spending his money. That and Pacquiao has a style that Floyd knows he can handle and Manny holds a version of the welterweight title. Granted, Floyd would probably make more money facing Nurmagomedov and Pacquiao is more or less his plan B if Manny gets by Broner. The problem with Mayweather facing Nurmagomedov is that Nurmagodev’s MMA fights don’t attract big interest and just maybe after the McGregor farce, both boxing and MMA fans are fed up with Mayweather’s faux fights and rip-offs – and with him then rubbing it in their faces by bragging how much money he made. So perhaps fans have wised up and will only consider paying to see Floyd fight another boxer – therefore Pacquiao becomes relevant to him.

With it no longer a secret that Mayweather and Pacquiao are only interested in robbing the public, enter Adrien Broner. If there’s another fighter who has been rewarded with big fights after posting underwhelming performances every time he has faced an upper-tier fighter, I don’t know of him. Broner is 3-2-1 in his last six bouts, having faced two championship caliber opponents in Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia. He lost on the judges’ cards by a collective 16 points versus Porter and 14 against Garcia….in other words he didn’t compete and after the first third of those fights you could’ve turned to something else and you wouldn’t have missed a thing…other than Broner scoring a knockdown over a coasting and careless Porter in the 12th round.

Broner, 29, is a highly skilled boxer, and when he fights he shows flashes of what he could’ve been but never was. Adrien’s problem is he has a low boxing IQ and never cared to expand it. He’s let his weight balloon up and he’s lazy. Actually, Broner doesn’t like to fight and does it because he’s pretty good at it and he likes the notoriety it brings him. Other than that, he’s a contented loser and that makes him perfect for an aging Pacquiao.

When they get in the ring Manny can count on Broner fighting no more than 30 seconds per round and posing and loafing for the remaining 2:30. Adrien will talk up a great fight, saying he knows time is running out and he needs a sensational showing, but once again his words won’t translate into deeds…they never do. Pacquiao, knowing that a potential Mayweather rematch hinges on how he looks, will show up prepared and ready for battle. Manny has been around the block a few times and knows nothing will escalate the interest in another fight with Mayweather like a good showing and perhaps him being the first to stop Broner inside the distance.

Hopefully boxing fans won’t be asked to shell out PPV dollars to watch Pacquiao vs. Broner. But it’s boxing, so nothing should come as a surprise. The only given here is that Broner doesn’t hold any advantage over Pacquiao in size or skill, which isn’t normally the case with Manny. Moreover, he’s facing a fighter who will fold and break the first-time things get tough, and if we know one thing about Pacquiao it’s that he doesn’t make it easy for anybody. And I expect him to feed off of Broner’s weak constitution as the fight progresses. In addition to that this is the perfect good guy versus bad guy match up.

The one thing that might add intrigue to Pacquiao-Broner is that Broner is an easy guy to root against and a ton of fans would love to see nice guy Manny Pacquiao beat him up and humiliate him. And if the fight comes to fruition, count on that being how it unfolds. Yes, Pacquiao fights the perfect guy in order to set up a rematch with Mayweather and Broner will exit the ring a loser once again, only with a little more money to flush down the toilet.

Frank Lotierzo can be reached at

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Irish Jason Quigley Keeps NABF Title at Fantasy Springs



INDIO, Calif.- Jason Quigley returned to fight in Southern California after nearly two years away and found it tough going in defeating Mexico’s veteran Freddie Hernandez by unanimous decision to retain the NABF middleweight title on Thursday.

Nearly every round was contentious.

Quigley (15-0, 11 KOs) had decided to train in England after spending several years in Southern California. Though he beat Hernandez (34-10, 22 KOs) he must have forgot how to fight inside as that’s where the troubles began at Fantasy Springs Casino. The fight was televised on ESPN.

After spending the first several rounds picking apart 39-year-old Hernandez from the outside, when the Mexican fighter crowded Quigley, the Irish fighter found it difficult to maintain his punch advantage.

Hernandez used his crafty inside work to both score and muffle the punches incoming from Quigley. In the sixth and seventh round the Mexican fighter began mounting considerable damage on his foes’ face. Whether it was weariness or some other factor, Hernandez was scoring big with well-placed left hooks and lead rights.

The crowd began shouting “Fred-die, Fred-die” as the veteran landed flush blows. A look of concern crossed Quigley’s face.

Both fighters looked tired by the ninth round, but the older fighter Hernandez somehow seemed fresher especially while fighting on the inside. Then Quigley began separating himself and scoring with pot shots. That seemed to stop the rushes of Hernandez.

In the final round Quigley’s fans began shouting his name and the Irish fighter though weary managed to fire some combinations while on the move. Both fighters were exhausted when the final bell rang.

One judge scored it 99-91, the other two had it 98-92 all for Quigley.

“I feel great, I knew coming in this was a big test for me,” said Quigley.

Yes it was.


New York’s Eddie Gomez (22-3, 12 KOs) was supposed to be joined with his dad for the fight against Japan’s Shoki Sakai (22-9-2, 12 KOs) in Indio, but unexpectedly his father passed away this past weekend. The fight still went on.

Gomez won every round against the game Sakai who was trained by Mexico’s famed Nacho Beristain. The welterweight Gomez from the Bronx used his speed and movement to keep away from Sakai’s big blows. After eight rounds all three judges saw it 80-72 for Gomez.

“It was very hard. He (father) was supposed to come out Saturday night. He took a week off of work. He was supposed to fly out and Saturday was the day he had died,” said Gomez after the fight. “I got to bite down. He was in camp with me. He had his input. He would have been proud today. I love you pops.”

Other bouts

Coachella’s Rommell Caballero (4-0, 3 KOs) floored Hugo Padron twice to win by knockout at 1:25 of the first round in a super featherweight match. Caballero, the 19-year-old brother of former super bantamweight champion Randy Caballero, connected with a counter left hook during an initial exchange that sent Pardo to the floor. He got up tentatively and was met with a crisp right through the gloves for a second knockdown. Referee Tom Taylor took a look at Pardo and waved the fight over.

“My first fight on ESPN I just want to thank everybody. All I’m doing is training. I’m getting ready and staying sharp,” said Caballero who was a former sparring partner for Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. “Training with him (Gonzalez) is one of the greatest experiences I ever had.”

After losing most every round Ray Perez (24-10, 8 KOs) made a stand and connected with an overhand left that staggered Chimpa Gonzalez (19-3, 15 KOs) and then the Filipino fired another overhand left through the guard and down went Gonzalez. Though he beat the count, Gonzalez seemed light headed and when the fight resumed Perez connected with more blows and the fight was called at 2:15 of the seventh round. Perez was deemed the winner by knockout.

It was a rematch of a fight that took place last February at the same venue. In that contest Perez won by unanimous decision.

Gonzalez trained with Joel and Antonio Diaz in Indio for this match. And though the lanky lightweight was far ahead on the score cards, he seldom moved his head and paid for it. Before that, he was ahead by attacking the body of Perez who protected his body for the last three rounds. But once Gonzalez slowed Perez revved up his attack and finished Gonzalez.

In a featherweight clash Edgar Ortega survived a first round knockdown against Recky Dulay (11-4, 8 KOs) and rallied to win by unanimous decision after six rounds by scores 57-56, and 58-55 twice.

Southpaw lightweight Angel Ruiz (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out Dominican Republic’s Jonathan Fortuna (8-3) at 1:40 of the fourth round. Ruiz, 21, fights out of Tijuana, Mexico.

Super featherweight Elnur Abduraimov (2-0) knocked out Giovannie Gonzalez (5-3) at 2:38 of the second round. Abduraimov, 24, is originally from Uzbekistan.

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