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Tyson’s Bludgeoning of Biggs Another Example of Boxing’s Crueler Side



Compassion? Oh, sure, there is lots of it in boxing, if you know where to look. There is the memory of a concerned Floyd Patterson kneeling over the knocked-out Ingemar Johansson, Ingo’s left quivering uncontrollably, after the Swede had been felled by Floyd’s leaping left hook in the second of their three classic confrontations. There is WBC heavyweight champion Larry Holmes, in the process of stopping outclassed challenger Marvis Frazier in the very first round, signaling with his right hand to referee Mills Lane to step in and save Larry’s young friend from taking additional punishment.

“I met (Marvis) when he was a little-bitty kid,” Holmes, at the post fight press conference following the Nov. 25, 1983, bout in Las Vegas, said of the son of Joe Frazier, whom Holmes had long held in the highest esteem. “I was working with Joe as his sparring partner. That was one of the happiest moments of my life. I was like a kid in a candy store. It gave me a great thrill, even when Joe broke my ribs. We remained friends until the day they put him in the ground.”

But while the crucible of the ring has forged much mutual respect and more than a few lasting friendships, it also must be noted that animosity also can be the unforgiving residue of the hardest sport. Some fighters enjoy inflicting pain if they dislike their opponent or believe he has somehow done them wrong. Sometimes there doesn’t even have to be a reason for intentionally prolonging a beatdown; some great champions simply have a sadistic streak that served them well, in a professional sense.

Case in point: the Oct. 16, 1987, meeting of undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and 1984 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Tyrell Biggs in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. Tyson was seething even before the opening bell, and determined to do as much damage as was humanly possible to Biggs until the referee or ring doctor intervened.

“I was going to make him pay with his health for everything he said,” Tyson said of the revenge motive that prompted him to ease off whenever it appeared the battered Biggs was ready to go. “I could have knocked him out in the third round, but I wanted to do it very slowly. I wanted him to remember this for a long time.”

Biggs remembered, all right. Decked twice, he suffered two cuts that required 22 stitches to close – 19 above his left eye, three in his chin.

“I didn’t say anything that should have angered him,” Biggs said, incredulous that Tyson had made his destruction such a personal matter. “All I said was that I was confident I could beat him.

“There’s good guys and bad guys in wrestling, like Hulk Hogan and Ivan the Terrible. Well, I think Mike Tyson is the Ivan the Terrible of boxing.”

Truth be told, Tyson’s resentment of Biggs far predated anything that went on in the weeks preceding their actual meeting in the ring. They both were at the Olympic Trials in 1984, when Tyson was a callow teenager still in the process of refining his skills. Henry Tillman, who would not make it out of the first round against Tyson as a pro, instead was the United States’ heavyweight representative in Los Angeles.

In Tyson’s book, “Undisputed Truth,” he claims that Biggs belittled him at the Olympic Trials. When a woman approached Biggs to wish him and his newly certified teammates luck in the Olympics, and Biggs, nodding at Tyson, allegedly said, “He certainly ain’t getting on that plane.”

Any resentment Tyson may have harbored toward Biggs bubbled up after the fight was announced, with Biggs and chatty cornerman Lou Duva expressing their belief that Tyson was overrated and beatable.

“He’s never fought anyone like me,” Biggs said at the final prefight press conference. “I don’t know this Tyson, the way you guys (media) talk about him. I know Tyson from way back when. He’s strong, but his strength will not hurt me.”

It might have been typical bluster on the part of Biggs and Duva to hype the event, but Tyson was building up a rage inside himself that would be unleashed like a volcano on fight night.

“I want to hurt him bad,” he said of his plan for Biggs. And so he did.

“When I was hitting him with body punches, I heard him actually crying in there, making woman gestures,” a smirking Tyson said. “I knew that he was breaking down. I was very calm and I was thinking about Roberto Duran, how he used to cut down the runners and just wear them down. I had that frame of mind when I was in the ring. I wasn’t even thinking about (targeting Biggs’) cut. I was thinking about hitting him to the body – softening him up.”

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Tyson would reference Duran, whose mercilessness as he went about his work had made him Tyson’s hero and role model. What Tyson had tried to do to Biggs, and largely succeeded in achieving, was what Duran, the “Hands of Stone,” had done to a pretty good lightweight named Ray Lampkin when he sought to dethrone Duran, the WBA 135-pound titlist, on March 2, 1975, in Panama City, Panama.

As was the case with Biggs a dozen years later, Lampkin had made some seemingly innocuous remarks about how he thought Duran might be ready to be taken. And, as Tyson did against Biggs, the imperious Duran, who once said, “I’m not God, but something similar,” had used that as fuel for his fury.

“They were trying to make Duran out to be this Superman character,” Lampkin had said in the lead-up to the fight. “He’s human, and when you cut him he bleeds, just like I do. They’re acting like he can’t be beat, but I saw Esteban (DeJesus) do it.”

Unfortunately for Lampkin, he wasn’t Esteban DeJesus on a night that he needed to be more than he was. Duran, who also was a master of backing off when an opponent was on the verge of toppling, finally closed the deal in the 14th round. So damaged was Lampkin that he was unconscious for over an hour, and remained hospitalized for five days.

“I was not in my best condition,” Duran said in assessing his brutally effective performance. “Today I sent him to the hospital. Next time I’ll put him in the morgue.” It was a quote that forever defined Duran as a remorseless assailant. And while Lampkin recovered enough to resume his career, he was never the same.

“That was the fight that sent me downhill into retirement,” he said. “I never recuperated. I wanted to make myself believe that I did, but I kept getting hurt.”

Before he did what he did to Biggs, Tyson worked faster but just as devastatingly against Marvis Frazier on July 26, 1986, in Glen Falls, N.Y., four months prior to the 20-year-old Tyson winning his first heavyweight championship. The fight lasted just a half-minute, with Tyson going after Frazier like a ravenous wolf going after a slab of raw meat. But that was just the way he always fought, right? Well, maybe so, but there are those who believed then, and still do, that Tyson had more motivation than usual to make a statement against the son of the great Smokin’ Joe.

An unfailingly polite sort who is now a minister, Marvis didn’t really say anything that might have served to inflame Tyson. But Joe did, although his comments on how Marvis would handle Tyson was interpreted by some as how the elder Frazier thought he would do if only he could go back in time and be the one swapping haymakers with the young Iron Mike.

“I don’t see who (Tyson) really has beaten,” Joe said is dismissing Tyson as a false creation of the Cus D’Amato/Jimmy Jacobs hype machine. “You need to sit him down and teach him things instead of having him fight all the time against somebody who ain’t nobody. Putting him in the ring and having him knock out somebody who needs to be in the house cooking, it don’t make any sense. I don’t know how that’s going to make him champion.

“Marvis will be moving all the time. When he jumps in to fight, he’ll fight. He won’t be standing there holding hands and playing around.”

Beau Williford, who had trained Tyson victims James “Quick” Tillis and Lorenzo Boyd, understood how Tyson would react to Joe’s taunting. There would be hell to pay, and Marvis was the one who would do the paying.

“Tyson will eat him alive, spit him out and step on him,” Williford said of what Marvis could expect. “And if the old man keeps running his mouth, Mike will knock him out, too.”

A prime-on-prime matchup of Joe Frazier and Tyson, so similar in style and physical attributes, would be on any fight fan’s list of dream fights, if only wishing could make it so. But Smokin’ Joe did get it on three times with Muhammad Ali, who also gets a couple of nods as someone who could find the darker recesses within himself as the occasion warranted.

One such instance was Ali’s 12th-round stoppage of Floyd Patterson in Nov. 22, 1965, in Las Vegas, Ali’s second defense of his heavyweight championship and the first after he had scored that controversial first-round knockout of Sonny Liston in their rematch in Lewiston, Maine.

Ali, of course, had changed his name from Cassius Clay at that point, although Patterson was unwilling to identify him as such.

“I have been told Clay has every right to follow any religion he chooses, and I agree,” Patterson said. “But by the same token, I have the right to call the Black Muslims a menace to the United States and a menace to the Negro race … I do not believe God put us here to hate one another. Cassius Clay must be beaten and the Black Muslims’ scourge removed from boxing.”

Ali set out to not only defeat Patterson, but to humiliate him and to make him suffer for his temerity. Time and again Ali seemingly had Patterson teetering on the abyss, and time and again Ali backed off to allow the former champ time to recover and thus be pounded on some more.

By the 12th round, even Ali’s trainer, Angelo Dundee, had tired of the cat-and-mouse game. “Knock him out, for chrissake,” Dundee implored his fighter, who decided to do as requested. That 12th-round stoppage could have and probably would have come much earlier had Ali not been toying with Patterson, or had Floyd not been so obstinate in the face of certain defeat.

“It was hurting me to watch,” said referee Harry Krause, who wanted to step in numerous times but was hesitant to do so because Patterson was doing all he could to try to fight back. “Patterson was hopelessly outclassed. He lobbed his punches like a feeble old woman.”

Another Ali opponent, Ernie Terrell, would discover, as Patterson had, that there were consequences to referring to Ali as “Clay,” even if it was mostly unintentional.

Prior to their Feb. 6, 1967, bout in Houston’s Astrodome, Terrell, the WBA heavyweight champion, said the name that could set Ali off as nothing else could.

“I wasn’t trying to insult him,” Terrell is quoted as saying in “Muhammad Ali” His Life and Times,” by author Thomas Hauser. “He’d been Cassius Clay to me all the time before when I knew him. Then he told me, `My name’s Muhammad Ali.’ And I said fine, but by then he was going, `Why can’t you call me Muhammad Ali? You’re just an Uncle Tom.’

“Well, like I said, I didn’t mean no harm. But when I saw that calling him `Clay’ bugged him, I kept it going. To me it was just part of building up the promotion.”

But what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander. Although Ali would say his calling Joe Frazier a “gorilla” and “ignorant” was simply a means of building up the promotion of their fights, Frazier didn’t think that should have been the case. And neither did Ali when Terrell made the mistake of calling him Clay. From the eighth round on, Ali taunted Terrell, shouting time and again, “What’s my name?,” followed by bursts of blows to Terrell’s badly swollen eyes.

Tex Maule, writing in “Sports Illustrated,” concluded that Ali had engaged in “a wonderful demonstration of boxing skill and a barbarous display of cruelty.”

It is both elements – the compassion and sportsmanship, to be sure, but also the undeniable element of meanness – that go into the bubbling brew that makes boxing so compelling a reflection of the human condition. As Puerto Rican poet Martin Espada once noted, “Violence is terribly seductive; all of us, especially males, are trained to gaze upon violence until it becomes beautiful.”


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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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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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