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SPRINGS TOLEDO, VETERANS HEAD LIST OF BWAA WRITING CONTEST WINNERS

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SPRINGS TOLEDO, VETERANS HEAD LIST OF BWAA WRITING CONTEST WINNERS

Boxing essayist Springs Toledo, a regular contributor toTheSweetScience.com, was the top winner in the 14th annual Boxing Writers Association of America writing contest, which drew a near-record number of entries and entrants.

Toledo took first places in Feature (Over 1,500 Words) and in Investigative Reporting, as well as seconds in Column and Feature (Under 1,500 Words). His four-award haul upped his total number in the BWAA writing competition to 20.

He and other BWAA writing contest winners, as well as in boxing photography (the results of which not yet been announced), will be recognized at the 90thannual BWAA Awards Dinner, which will be held April 24 at Capitale in New York City, the night before the Wladimir Klitschko-Bryant Jennings heavyweight championship bout in Madison Square Garden. Hailed as the “Academy Awards of Boxing,” the BWAA Awards Dinner will be emceed by Brooklyn Nets announcer David Diamonte and will also salute a host of honorees and special guests, a list topped by 2014 Fighter of the Year Terence Crawford.

At 44, Toledo, a Boston native who now lives in Plymouth, Mass., is the youngest in a lineup of veteran journalists who dominated the contest. Other first places went to Kieran Mulvaney, of HBOBoxing.com, in Event Coverage; Jerry Izenberg, columnist emeritus for the Newark Star-Ledger, in Column; Thomas Hauser, of TheSweetScience.com, in News Story, and Bill Dwyre, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, in Feature (Under 1,500 Words).

Izenberg, 84, a Korean War veteran, began writing at the Star-Ledger in 1951 while still a student at Rutgers University. An inductee into the New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame, he is the author of 13 books and is one of only two writers to have covered every Super Bowl.

Dwyre, 70, is a Notre Dame graduate who previously worked at the Milwaukee Journal before arriving at the Times in 1981. He is the recipient of the Red Smith Award from the Associated Press Sports Editors in 1996. In addition to his first place award, he took a third in Column and an Honorable Mention in Event Coverage.

Hauser, 69, is a New York City native and Columbia Law School graduate who has authored 41 books, 20 of which have been about boxing. He augmented his first place award with a second in Investigative Reporting.

Mulvaney, 47, who was born in England and now lives in Bristol, Vermont, has a devoted following for his boxing coverage, but he also is an acclaimed writer about wildlife and the environment. He added an Honorable Mention in Feature (Over 1,500 Words) to his first place.

Among other multiple award winners are Ivan G. Goldman (seconds in Column and News Story), Eric Raskin (thirds in Investigative Reporting and Event Coverage).

The BWAA Awards Dinner is open to the public. Ticket information can be found at www.bwaa.org.

The full list of award winners:

2014 BERNIE WINNERS

________________________

BOXING EVENT COVERAGE

First Place :

KIERAN MULVANEY, “Kovalev Brings Down Curtain in Hopkins’ Lengthy Reign,” InsideHBOBoxing.com, November 9, 2014

Second Place :

DAVID P. GREISMAN, “Cotto-Martinez: A Revival, A Requiem,” BoxingScene.com, June 9, 2014

Third Place (Tie) :

BERNARD FERNANDEZ, “Just Call New Champ Algieri ‘Hands of Stony Brook’,” TheSweetScience.com, June 16, 2014

ERIC RASKIN, “Better Call Saul: Alvarez Finds the Right Opponent,” Grantland, March 10, 2014

Honorable Mention: Adam Berlin, Boxing.com ; Bill Dwyre, The Los Angeles Times; Lyle Fitzsimmons, BleacherReport.com ; Cliff Rold, BoxingScene.com ; Joseph Santoliquito, Sherdog.com ;T.K. Stewart,Examiner.com

________________________

BOXING COLUMN

First Place :

JERRY IZENBERG, “40 Years Ago, Muhammad Ali Shocked George Foreman – And I Was There,” Newark Star-Ledger, October 29, 2014

Second Place (Tie) :

ADAM BERLIN, “Non-Superlative: This Year’s Ballot for Boxing Hall of Fame,” Boxing.com , October 20, 2014

IVAN G. GOLDMAN, “Golovkin-Geale Bout Shows N.Y. Commission Still A Bloody Mess,” BoxingInsider.com , July 28, 2014

SPRINGS TOLEDO, “Wonderland,” TheSweetScience.com , June 30, 2014

Third Place :

BILL DWYRE, “Klitschko Takes On the Fight in Kiev,” TheLos Angeles Times, February 22, 2014

Honorable Mention : Bernard Fernandez, TheSweetScience.com ; Lyle Fitzsimmons, TheBleacherReport.com : Norm Frauenheim, 15Rounds.com ; David P. Greisman, BoxingScene.com

________________________

BOXING NEWS STORY

First Place :

THOMAS HAUSER, “Sergio Martinez vs. Miguel Cotto,” TheSweetScience.com , June 11, 2014

Second Place (Tie) :

ADAM BERLIN, “Choosing His Chariot: Hopkins Takes On Kovalev,” Boxing.com, August 3, 2014

IVAN G. GOLDMAN, “Dan Goossen, Fun-Loving Fight Promoter, Dies at 64,” BoxingInsider.com , September 29, 2014

Third Place (Tie) :

BILL DWYRE, “Mayweather Just Can’t Seem To Find the Right Words,” The Los Angeles Times, September 11, 2014

NORM FRAUENHEIM, “Glovegate Breaks Out Before Mayweather-Maidana,” 15Rounds.com , May 3, 2014

Honorable Mention: Bernard Fernandez, TheSweetScience.com ; Lyle Fitzsimmons, CBSSports.com ; Lance Pugmire, The Los Angeles Times ; Joseph Santoliquito,RingTV.com ; David Weinberg, The Press of Atlantic City

________________________

BOXING FEATURE (Under 1,500 words)

First Place :

BILL DWYRE, “Crying For the Beloved Country,” The Los Angeles Times, February 11, 2014

Second Place :

SPRINGS TOLEDO, “Stugots,” TheSweetScience.com , April 25, 2014

Third Place :

MICHAEL ROSENTHAL, “Victor Ortiz: Ability Is There, Questions Linger,” The Ring, November 5, 2014

Honorable Mention: Ivan G. Goldman, BoxingInsider.com; David P. Greisman, BoxingScene.com; Thomas Hauser, TheSweetScience.com; Zachary Levin, Athletes Quarterly; Gordon Marino,The Ring; Lance Pugmire, The Los Angeles Times; Joseph Santoliquito, RingTV.com; Mark Whicker, Truthdig.com

________________________

BOXING FEATURE (Over 1,500 words)

First Place :

SPRINGS TOLEDO, “A Wrinkle in Time,” TheSweetScience.com, November 13, 2014

Second Place :

JEFF MacGREGOR, “Bernard Hopkins Fights Father Time,” ESPN.com, April 19, 2014

Third Place :

TIM SMITH, “Mike Perez: Title Shot Ahead, Disabled Foe Behind,” BleacherReport.com, July 24, 2014

Honorable Mention: Adam Berlin, Boxing.com; Bernard Fernandez, The Ring; Thomas Gerbasi, BoxingScene.com; Lee Groves, RingTV.com; Kieran Mulvaney, Boxing News; Carlo Rotella,The New York Times Magazine; Joseph Santoliquito, The Ring; Michael Woods, TheSweetScience.com

________________________

BOXING INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING

First Place :

SPRINGS TOLEDO, “Battle Hymn: The Untold Story of Little Tiger Wade,” TheSweetScience.com, March 17, 19, 24, 27, 31, April 3, 7, 9, 14, 16, 2014

Second Place :

THOMAS HAUSER, “What Is Al Haymon Planning?,” BoxingScene.com, July 7, 2014

Third Place (Tie) :

THOM LOVERRO, “FBI Suspected 1964 Ali-Liston Fight Was Rigged By Mob,” The Washington Times, February 24, 2014

ERIC RASKIN, “42 to 1,” Playboy, January/February 2015 (on Newsstands December 2014

Honorable Mention: Norm Frauenheim, The Ring; David Weinberg, The Press of Atlantic City

2014 BERNIES JUDGES:

TOMMY DEAS, Executive Sports Editor, Tuscaloosa News; 2nd Vice President Associated Press Sports Editors

DAVE KINDRED, Former Sports Columnist, Louisville Courier-Journal, Washington Post, Atlanta Journal Constitution

DOUG KRIKORIAN, Former Sports Columnist, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Long Beach Press

BRYCE MILLER, Retired Sports Columnist, Des Moines Register

JOHN SCHULIAN, Former Sports Columnist, Chicago Sun Times; 1984 Nat Fleischer Award Winner ED SCHUYLER , Retired Boxing Writer, Associated Press; 2010 Inductee, International Boxing Hall of Fame; 1979 Nat Fleischer Award Winner

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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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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