Connect with us

Articles of 2009

The Greatest Fighters Ever: Egregious Omissions/Inclusions, Part 2

Frank Lotierzo

Published

on

Along with the inexcusable names that were missing and included among  the greatest fighters ever list discussed in Part One, there are some other monumental mistakes and holes in the final ballot that I'll  touch on in this final installment.

The list was supposed to include the 10 greatest fighters in each of boxing's original eight divisions with the heavyweight division having 12 different fighters to pick from as the greatest. In case you missed the original, here is the story that started the whole debate. www.tss.ib.tv/boxing-article/6938/greatest/ In Part One I went into detail as to what I believe were the most outlandish omissions and inclusions. Below are some quick thoughts and reasons why the list  is hard for this writer to take seriously.

I welcome any debate by one and all of the panelists who believe I'm wrong. My e-mail is attached as always.

What is discussed below is just a quick overview and one could go into much more detail omitting and exchanging names. Some (Villa & Galaxy) have already been touched on by TSS and there's no need to repeat what's already been said.

Heavyweight: No Jim Jeffries?

Jim Jeffries (18-1-2) retired undefeated and didn't suffer his first defeat until coming out of a six year retirement,  losing to reigning heavyweight champ Jack Johnson. Jeffries beat better opposition in James J. Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons and Tom Sharkey than did John L. Sullivan who made the list. Jeffries fought at a measured pace but was willing to engage his opponent if pressured. He led with his left while fighting from a low-crouch and had seemingly endless stamina. He also scored the quickest knockout in lineal heavyweight title fight history taking just 55 seconds to stop Jack Finnegan. If the 12 greatest heavyweights in history are going to be named, Jeffries name must be on the list way before that of John L. Sullivan.

Light heavyweight: No Tommy Loughran?

Georges Carpentier (88-15-6) makes the list but Tommy Loughran (117-29-13) doesn't? Loughran won a 10 round decision over Carpentier in a light heavyweight bout the only time they fought. Although it may have been at a time when Carpentier was on the decline, there's no case for Carpentier over Loughran, who was a better overall fighter and beat better opposition than Carpentier. Loughran beat other greats and near greats like Mickey Walker, “Young” Stribling, Jimmy Slattery, Mike McTigue, King Levinsky and heavyweights Paulino Uzcudun, Arturo Godoy, Al Ettore and champions Max Baer, Jack Sharkey and James Braddock.

Loughran was a master boxer, and routinely made his opponent miss and then made him pay. He was a terrific counter-puncher, used every inch  of the ring, was a great feint-er and mixed his punches to the head and body brilliantly, always keeping his opponent guessing. With the exception of not being a great puncher, Loughran could do everything in the ring. Tommy Loughran is considered by practically every respected
boxing historian in the world as being among the ten greatest light heavyweight champions ever and most have him among the top six or seven. Georges Carpentier is seldom listed amongst them. It's one thing not to include Loughran, but to not include him and include Carpentier is out-right wrong.

Middleweight: Carmen Basilio is on but not Jake LaMotta or Dick Tiger?

Basilio belongs on the list among the greatest welterweights, not middleweights. Other than splitting two fights with Sugar Ray Robinson, most of Basilio's signature wins came while he was fighting at welterweight.

Jake LaMotta compiled a career record of 83-19-4. LaMotta was known for having a terrific chin, and like Jim Jeffries fought out of a low crouch. He applied a lot of pressure, brought the fight to his opponent and was exceptionally strong physically, despite not being a big puncher. He was best fighting on the inside and tried to force his opponents to fight and trade with him at close range. Jake is probably best known for handing undefeated welterweight great Sugar Ray Robinson his first defeat. In a career that lasted 13 years, LaMotta
not only beat Robinson,  he fought him six times, losing five of the six. Along with Robinson, he beat the likes of Marcel Cerdan for the middleweight championship, Fritzie Zivic, Holman Williams, Bob Satterfield, Tony Janiro, Laurent Dauthuille, Robert Villemain and Tiberio Mitri. LaMotta, due to his level of opposition and strength, more often than not makes the cut among the top ten greatest middleweights in history.

Dick Tiger was a physical beast and was only the second middleweight champ in history to defeat the reigning light heavyweight champion. He compiled a career record of 60-19-2 over a career that spanned 18 years. His best fighting weight ranged between 156-168 pounds. Tiger applied pressure but wasn't really a swarmer . He was more prone to fight in spurts and was probably at his best on the inside. Tiger really didn't posses a signature punch, but had power in both hands. The level of opposition he faced is first-tier. His career got off to a rough start due to mismanagement, but he scored wins over such fighters as former middleweight champ Terry Downes, Randy Sandy, Joey  Giardello, Holly Mims, Florentino Fernandez, Henry Hank, Gene Fullmer,  Hurricane Carter, Nino Benvenuti, Frankie DePaula, Andy Kendall and  Jose Torres, twice. Tiger, Like LaMotta  clearly belong on the list among greatest middleweights before Basilio.

Welterweight: Aaron Pryor is on, but (Barbados) Joe Walcott and Kid Gavilan are not?

Joe “The Barbados Demon” Walcott (99-33-25) is considered one of the  five greatest welterweights in history. Walcott was a short-in-stature fighter with long arms and dynamite in both hands and fought fighters between lightweight and heavyweight and even fought Sam Langford to a draw. Early in his career the original Joe Walcott scored a first round knockout over an opponent who weighed 180 pounds. Walcott was
welterweight champ from 1901-04 and actually coined the phrase “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.” He was considered a physical freak whose neck measured 18 inches and his chest expanded measured 41  inches, which is unheard of even today for a welterweight. Walcott's reputation as a puncher was so big that he said in the Police Gazette October 30, 1900 “since no welterweight or middleweight will fight me
I'm compelled to go to the next weight class,” and issued challenges to heavyweights Tom Sharkey, Gus Ruhlin and champion Jim Jeffries. Walcott has been ranked among the top five welterweights in many Ring Magazine polls, but failed to make the cut here.

Kid Gavilan (108-30-5) was never stopped once in 143 fights. Gavilan was a great boxer with fast hands and feet. He invented the “Bolo” punch and won the welterweight title shortly after Sugar Ray Robinson gave it up so Ray could challenge middleweight champ Jake LaMotta. Gavilan fought Robinson twice during Ray's peak and lost by close decision twice, once for the welterweight championship. Some referred
to Gavilan as Robinson without the devastating power. During his career Gavilan beat former or future champions Ike Williams, Carmen Basilio, Beau Jack, Johnny Bratton, and lost a highly controversial decision to Johnny Saxton for the welterweight title. Gavilan also beat fighters above welterweight such as Rocky Castellani, Tony Janiro,  Laurent Dauthuille, Eduardo Lausse, Tiger Jones, Chuck Davey,
Gasper Ortega, Chico Vejar and Ernie Durando. Gavilan is usually ranked among the top-10 greatest welterweights ever but missed the cut on the greatest fighter ever list.

Aaron Pryor (39-1) is without question one of the greatest fighters in history. That said, Pryor fought three (2-1) times as a welterweight and that was at the end of his career. Pryor is not in the conversation when it comes to naming the 10 greatest welterweight champions in history. As great as he was it's preposterous to include  him at 147 because his body of work there doesn't exist.

Lightweight: Floyd Mayweather is on, but Aaron Pryor is not?

As mentioned earlier it seems the criteria for the greatest fighter ever is more about being popular than it is about being a great fighter. With Floyd Mayweather's 39-0 inclusion it has the feel as if  the panel was trying to find a place for him. Mayweather has a terrific skill set, but he's not creative offensively and his punch variation is pretty vanilla. Yes, he's very good fundamentally and is hard to hit cleanly. Like Evander Holyfield was during his prime, he did nothing great but is outstanding at everything else. The difference being Holyfield moved up and fought better fighters and beat them. Mayweather's best wins at lightweight are over Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo. Corrales was undefeated but he's not on anybody's list of great lightweights, and in this author's opinion, Mayweather had to fight Castillo twice just to beat him once in the ring. The record book says he's 2-0 versus Castillo, but in my opinion he lost the first fight and knew it until after the decision was announced.

Aaron Pryor (39-1)  was a non-stop punching machine. Pryor threw punches from every angle and with legitimate knockout power in both hands. Pryor had incredible stamina and could take it to the head and body. For years he was avoided fighting as a lightweight. Finally after realizing he wasn't going to fight for the lightweight title, Pryor moved up and challenged defending champion Antonio Cervantes for the junior welterweight title in his 25th fight. Cervantes, who was only stopped once before fighting Pryor early in his career, was knocked out in the fourth round and lost the title to him. During Pryor's reign as junior welterweight champ he stopped the three division champ Alexis Arguello twice. In all Pryor made 10 successful defenses of the title, winning eight by stoppage. After taking a two year hiatus, Pryor came back fighting as a welterweight and lost for the only time in his career when he was stopped by Bobby Joe Young.

When ranking the 10 greatest lightweights of all-time, it's difficult  to find a spot for Pryor because it's one of the deepest divisions and it is littered with great fighters, but he probably needs to be included.

On the other hand Mayweather only makes the list if you're either a huge fan of his, which should not come into play, or if you're trying to drum up interest in the voting. Pryor definitely over Mayweather at lightweight.

Featherweight: Jeff Fenech is on, but Johnny Dundee isn't?

Johnny Dundee (90-31-19)  is best known for his speed of foot and ring movement and he was only stopped twice in 22 years fighting the best of the best. He was crafty and could punch from anywhere in the ring. Dundee was an exceptional counter-puncher and was also known for his toughness. During his time he beat the best featherweights of his time and a lot of lightweights. Dundee fought Benny Leonard, one of the greatest lightweights in history, nine times and he fought the murderous punching Lew Tendler three times. Nat Fleischer, the founder of Ring magazine, ranked Dundee among the top five greatest featherweight champions in history, and as recently as 2005 the  International Boxing Research Organization ranked him fifth.

Jeff Fenech (29-3-1)  was a crowd pleasing fighter who was aggressive and threw punches in bunches. However, he did his best work fighting as a bantamweight. He was outstanding but no way does his body of work and opposition faced at featherweight merit him being on any list making up the greatest featherweights in history.

Bantamweight: Orlando Canizales is on, but not Terry McGovern?

Terry McGovern (65-6-7) was a genuine life-taker as a puncher and was avoided by many fighters between bantamweight and lightweight during his era. McGovern was a swarmer with a stocky build and threw every punch trying to end the fight. McGovern held his hands high and used a lot of head and upper-body movement, making it hard for his opponents to catch him clean. He was a short armed puncher and known for his non-stop aggression. McGovern won thebantamweight title at the age of 19. McGovern would later capture the featherweight title from George Dixon, who held it for almost 10 years, making 23 successful title defenses. Prior to fighting McGovern, Dixon was never off his feet, however McGovern dropped him twice en-route to giving the older fighter a one-sided beating.

Orlando Canizales (50-5-1)  was another modern fighter who fought all comers in his division. Canizales was an exceptional boxer puncher with more than adequate power in both hands. He is worthy of  consideration on a list of great bantamweights, but not before a fighter like McGovern. To include Canizales and not McGovern shows a gap in knowledge or that the voting is based on popularity.

Flyweight: Vic Darchinyan is on, but Fidel LaBarba isn't?

Since Pancho Villa has been covered, I'll go to another glaring omission; Fidel LaBarba (70-15-6) is a fighter who should've made the cut among the top-10. At least above Vic Darchinyan. Although LaBarba wasn't a puncher, he was an aggressive boxer and his level of opposition like most fighters of the early 20th Century is unquestioned. He also ended Frankie Genaro's five year title reign; Genaro had ended Villa's reign as flyweight champ. The ballot would've been stronger with the inclusion of Villa and LaBarba.

Vic Darchinyan (32-1-1)  is an incredibly strong guy. Darchyinyan is a southpaw. He's very patient and methodical because, until Nonito Donaire knocked him out, he didn't believe anyone could hurt him. He holds his hands by his sides and just wings punches from any angle.He's very heavy handed, but not an unusually hard puncher. He's more concussive than sharp, but his punches add up. Darchinyan never gets
tired, and the pressure never stops. He's got no subtlety whatsoever. But he's definitely a dangerous guy. Since being knocked out (althoughhe'd never admit it), he's begun boxing more–holding his hands higher, blocking punches, and moving his head. His defense is still his offense, but (unlike most all aggressive fighters who get brutally knocked out) he's actually better and more dangerous now. Darchinyan is a good fighter in his own way, but to call him a “great” is an incredible over-reach.

Regarding the Greatest Fighter Ever Contest, my biggest issue and fault with it was a lot of the names that belonged among the 12/10 finalists were missing, and there were some names that made up the list that in my opinion no way belong. The debate as to who is “the” greatest in each division isn't etched in stone, however I think to narrow it down, you must have the correct names in the mix. I think the greatest fighter ever ballot should've been declared a popularity contest moreso than the greatest fighter ever.

As far as the greatest fighter ever in boxing history? That distinction can only go to one man, Sugar Ray Robinson aka Walker Smith Jr.  In my opinion the debate begins with, Who is number two?

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

Advertisement

Articles of 2009

UFC 108 Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva

David A. Avila

Published

on

Former champion Rashad Evans meets Brazil’s venerable Thiago Silva in a non-title belt that can lead to a return match with the current champ, but first things first.

Evans (15-1-1) and Silva (14-1) meet in Ultimate Fighting Championship 108 in a light heavyweight bout on Saturday Jan. 2, at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. A win by either fighter could result in a world title bid. The fight card is being shown on pay-per-view television.

Events can change quickly in the Octagon and anybody can beat anybody in the 205-pound weight division. Just ask Silva or Evans.

Silva and Evans are both experienced and can vouch firsthand about the capriciousness of fighting in MMA and especially as a light heavyweight. On one day this man can beat that man and on another day, that man can beat this man. It can make you absolutely daffy.

Evans, 30, is the former UFC light heavyweight world champion who only defended his title on one occasion and lost by vicious knockout to current champion Lyoto Machida of Brazil. It’s the only defeat on his record.

Silva, 27, is a well-rounded MMA fighter from Sao Paolo, Brazil who is versed in jujitsu, Muy Thai and boxing. He can end a fight quickly in a choke hold just as easily as with a kick or a punch. His only loss came to who else: Machida.

Evans and Silva know a win can push open the door to a rematch with current UFC light heavyweight champion Machida.

“A win against Rashad would put me in the track against Lyoto,” said Silva, in a telephone conference call. “That's what – what I want to do.”

When Silva fought Machida the two Brazilians were both undefeated and feared in the MMA world. The fight took place in Las Vegas and with one second remaining in the first round a perfectly timed punch knocked Silva unconscious.

“I was humbled big time, man,” says Silva who fought Machida in January 2009. “I learned a lot from that fight.  I think I can correct the mistakes from that fight, not overlooking anything else right now, but just I want to get the chance to fight him again.”

For Evans it was a different circumstance. The upstate New Yorker held the UFC title and was defending it after stopping then champion Forrest Griffin by knockout. Still, many felt Machida was far too technically versed. Evans was stopped brutally in the second round.

“I've made it a point to not – to not get distracted on what I want to do, because you know Thiago (Silva) is a very hungry fighter,” said Evans who has not fought since losing the title to Machida last May. “My focus is just on Thiago so much.  You know I don't want to overlook him, you know, not even a little bit.”

Dana White, president of UFC, says the winner of this fight could conceivably fight Machida in the near future. Evans and especially Silva are motivated by the open window.

“I learned a lot from that fight. I think I can correct the mistakes from that fight,” says Silva. “Not overlooking anything else right now, but I just want to get the chance to fight him again.”

What a prize. The winner gets to face the man who beat him: Machida.

Continue Reading

Articles of 2009

Ten Boxing Wishes For 2010

Avatar

Published

on

As 2009 comes to a close, one reflects on what went well and what went wrong during the year in boxing. There were many highlights. Pacquiao vs. Cotto and Showtime’s Super Six tournament were part of the best that boxing had to offer. But there were some low points too therefore the industry has some work to do in order to keep generating fans. Here are some suggestions for 2010:

10. Better pay per view cards

Paying 40 to 50 bucks to watch the main event gets old real quick. Why do we have to sit through a horrible under-card to get to the main course? It’s like being fed spam appetizers before the Thanksgiving turkey. It seems that the pay per view promoters just don’t get it. Are they watching what they put on or do they only watch the “big fight” as everyone else is slowly being conditioned to do so?

9. Time to make Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight

Okay, I understand he’s the son of one of the greatest fighters that ever lived. But he’s had 42 fights against low to mid level competition and has never managed to look spectacular. It’s time to throw the 23 year old out of the nest to see if he can fly. My suggestion is a fight against Sergio Mora or maybe even Yuri Foreman. Neither of these guys can punch. They may outbox Junior but they won’t totally humiliate him.

8. No more ridiculous Pay Per View mismatches

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Juan Manuel Marquez should’ve never been made. It was a ridiculous fight when it was announced and it was more ridiculous when it took place. Unable to bring Manny Pacquiao to the bargaining table for a third match against Juan Manuel Marquez, someone figured that pairing up the 135 pound champion against a natural 147 pounder like Mayweather would be a great idea. The pay per view generated over a million buys but the fact that millions of people were treated to an incredibly boring mismatch is what’s truly worrisome. I can guarantee you one thing about this card. The sport of boxing lost fans once the show was over and done with. Talk about short term thinking.

7. Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola shows up for a fight in amazing shape

It was painful to see Chris Arreola take a beating from the Ukrainian giant, Vitali Klitscho. The champion certainly earned his “Dr. Ironfist” moniker as he plowed his powerful shots into the former #1 WBC heavyweight contender’s face. He reddened and bloodied the young Mexican American with an assortment of weapons and foot movement seldom seen on a six foot seven inch heavyweight. Arreola was brave and unrelenting in battle. He never stopped coming forward and took chances when he could. His work in the ring at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles wasn’t the problem. Where Arreola let himself down was outside the ring. His unwillingness to condition himself into a finely tuned athlete cost him certain immortality as the first ever heavyweight champion of Mexican descent. Arreola has the heart and skills but it was his mental fortitude that broke down. Anyone who’s followed the Riverside fighter knows that his best weight is somewhere in the 230 pound range. It certainly isn’t at the 252 pounds he registered on the scale at the Staples Center.  Those fifteen to twenty extra pounds might have made all the difference in the world. Maybe he would’ve been a little quicker, maybe he could’ve sustained a faster pace in order to tire out the champion. In his most recent fight against Brian Minto, Arreola weighed in at a career high 263. It looks like “The Nightmare” isn’t willing to change for anyone. At this pace, the only nightmares he’ll be providing will be to the management of Hometown Buffets all across Riverside.  Just kidding “Nightmare”!

6. More respect for the lighter weights

Real boxing fans know that the most exciting fighters in the sport are usually found toiling in weight divisions south of 154 pounds. Pacquiao, Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Edwin Valero, Israel Vazquez, Juan Ma Lopez, Vic Darchinyan, Rafael Marquez and countless others have been the real driving force behind this sport. It’s those great fighters that have made boxing fanatics out of casual fans. The heavyweights may get all the money and glory but it’s the little guys who make the sport shine and it’s time they received greater compensation. It’s dismaying to think that a mediocre heavyweight can make three or four times as much as the great Rafael Marquez.

5. An American Heavyweight champion

Speaking of heavyweights, two Americans tried and failed at dethroning Vitali Klitschko this year. Both Kevin Johnson and Chris Arreola did their best to wrestle the belt away from “Dr. Klitschko” but came up short since they were easily outclassed. What happened to the great American Heavyweight? Where’s our new Joe Frazier or Ali? Even a new Gerry Cooney or a Ken Norton would do at this point. I’ve got a feeling that the only way we’re going to see an American champion is if Klitschko retires. My money is on Arreola. Although undisciplined and rough outside the ring, he’s got tons (no pun intended) of natural talent. He’s without a doubt the most talented American heavyweight on the scene.

4. More ShoBox

The Showtime Cable network gave us the best boxing on TV for the price of a cable television subscription. Their ShoBox series has been a proven hit for Senior VP of Sports Programming Ken Hershman. The concept is simple yet brilliant. Match up two up and comers with great records and let’s see what happens. Sometimes the results are surprising. Many have passed the ShoBox test and went on to bigger and better things. Others have been exposed as having padded records and eventually their careers stall and take a dive.

3. More safety in Mexico so I can attend a show without a gun battle breaking out

Having lived near the Tijuana border all my life I’m dismayed at the war zone that the city has evolved into. Every day there are reports of shootings fueled by the drug war trade. Believe it or not, there was a time when Tijuana was safe and most wouldn’t have thought twice about crossing the border for some seafood and nightlife. No more. Having covered several boxing cards on Revolucion Avenue many years ago, I got a taste of just how important the sport is to Mexican fans. It’s also important to me but not that important. For now I’ll stick to covering shows at the Pechanga Casino and in the less dangerous city of L.A. I never thought I’d say that.

2. Pac Man vs. Mayweather

This is the fight everyone wants to see. Seeing how Mayweather dominated Pac Man’s arch enemy, Juan Manuel Marquez, you have to wonder if the Filipino can handle Lil’ Floyd’s speed and size. One thing is for sure, betting against Pacquiao doesn’t usually work out for me. It never has. There’s no future in it. So if the fight gets done it’s Pacquiao by TKO in ten.

1. And finally

One final wish is reserved for all the readers of TheSweetScience.com I wish you all a healthy and happy 2010. Thank you for your continued loyalty to the site. It’s very much appreciated.

Continue Reading

Articles of 2009

A Very Special New Year's Day Column

Avatar

Published

on

It has been just over four months since Nick Charles, the play-by-play announcer for Shobox: The New Generation, was diagnosed with stage IV bladder cancer and forced to take a medical hiatus from the monthly show that has aired since 2001.

Since then he has undergone grueling chemotherapy treatments that have resulted in him losing all of his hair as he forces himself to live as normal of a life as possible. Through sheer force of will, as well as the strength and support that he receives from his wonderfully loving family and his strong Christian faith, the 63-year-old Charles has managed to keep his weight up while not falling prey to the always lingering threats of depression, cynicism and negativity.

If one was unaware that he was battling such an insidious disease, you’d never know from talking on the phone to him that he has been to hell and back. He has lost none of the inspiring energy that has endeared him to members of the boxing community and legions of worldwide viewers.

“I’m doing great,” Charles said during a telephone conversation on December 30th. “I’ve been off the chemo for a month, and the doctors have told me that I’m 80 percent in remission. I’m going to see them again in three months. It may come back, but if it takes one year, or two years, or however long, I’m going to make the most of the good time.”

As physically and emotionally wrenching as the grim diagnosis and subsequent treatment has been, even for someone as perpetually positive as Charles, the longtime announcer said a lot of good things have come from it.

Having been married three times, Charles is the father of four children: Jason, 38, Melissa, 34, Charlotte, 22, and Giovanna, 3 ½.

While Charles is not big on regrets, he is the first to admit that he wasn’t always there for his older children. For many years he traveled the world as a CNN correspondent, often putting the demands of his career above all else, including those closest to him. Nowhere was the strain more evident than in his relationship with Melissa.

Having been divorced from Melissa’s mother since 1977, Charles said his relationship with that daughter has been especially “hot and cold, all of our lives.”

His illness has enabled them to forge a relationship that has been “based on a massive amount of forgiveness and understanding.”

“This has had a tremendous healing effect on both of us,” said Charles. “My illness has had a fortifying effect on a lot of things, the most important of which is my relationships with my family.”

That also includes his first wife, with whom he has had an often acrimonious relationship over the past three decades.

“It took a long time for the scab to become a scar, but we had lunch one day and it was so great to once again see the gentle, soft sides of each other,” he explained. “The whole divorce process creates a hardness that doesn’t always go away.”

Charles is also the grandfather to three children, some of whom are about the same age as his youngest daughter. He jokes that he has a “nuclear 21st century family” because of the similar ages of two generations of children. One of the hardest things for him has been the realization that he can’t always play with them in manner in which he would like.

“The hemoglobin is the fuel in your tank, so when it’s low you can’t will yourself to do things no matter how much you want to,” said Charles. “You can’t just sleep it off or work through it. I don’t want the kids to wonder why I can’t play in the backyard with them, or kick a soccer ball, or throw them in the air.”

Particularly difficult is when Giovanna reminds her father of how handsome he is, but then innocently asks him what happened to his hair, eyebrows and lashes.

“You try to keep things on a need to know basis, which is not easy when dealing with curious kids,” said Charles.

While Charles might look like the kind of guy that things have often come easy to, the reality is that his beginnings were far from auspicious. But, he says, his often challenging Chicago childhood blessed him with the steely resolve that has helped him so much during the arduous journey he is now on.

“I had it pretty rough growing up,” he explained. “I remember the lights and the heat being shut off and eating mustard sandwiches. I went to work at 13 and always had insecurities about the future. But I always expected and saw the best in people, so when I got sick, never once did I say 'Why me?”

Since taking a leave of absence from Shobox, the outpouring of support from the boxing community has warmed Charles’s heart. For a guy that is battling for his life, he actually considers himself fortunate to be surrounded by so much goodness in both his personal and professional lives.

“I always hear that boxing people are ruthless, but I couldn’t disagree more,” said Charles. “I’ve probably received about 1,000 e-mails, and people are always following in sending their best wishes. From the relatively unknown people in boxing to many of the more famous people, there has been an outpouring of true affection.”

Charles said that the Top Rank organization has been exceedingly kind and gracious. He was touched beyond description when he learned that officials in Oklahoma got special permission to have a seamstress sew “Keep Fighting Nick” onto their sleeves. He chokes up when talking about cut man Stitch Duran giving up an endorsement opportunity so he could put Charles’s name on his outfit. He never tires of hearing shout-outs from fighters on television.

Charles has always been a people person with an inordinate faith in the goodness of his fellow man. Battling this illness has only made his already strong faith in humanity even stronger.

“Adversity is a great teacher, and it really teaches you who your genuine friends are,” said Charles. “I have a lot of friends.”

He also has a remarkable wife, Cory, a CNN producer to whom he has been married for 11 years. She is the daughter of an electrician, a self-made woman who exudes all of the warmth of her native Brooklyn. She has reinforced her husband’s spiritual base by her love, optimism and strength of character.

“If I get down, she reminds me to not get too caught up,” said Charles. “I believe in eternity, and that has put me pretty much at peace.”

More than anything else, Charles wants to get himself back behind a microphone sooner rather than later, and hopefully on Shobox. He is the first to admit that viewers “don’t watch the series to see Nick Charles,” but he is proud of the fact that he was “part of the identity” of such a popular show.

“And people love comeback stories,” added Charles. “That’s the message I’m getting from the people out there.”

In boxing the word “champion” is often overused because it pertains only to winning belts and receiving worldwide recognition for being the best at your craft. The reality is that life’s real champions have other qualities, such as the innate ability to treat people well and always make them feel better about themselves, especially when the recipients of the goodwill are in no position to give them anything back.

By that standard of measure, Charles is as much, if not more of a champion than all of the boxers he has covered during the nine years that Shobox has been on the air.

I know I speak for scores of others when I say, “Happy New Year, Champ. We hope that you are the comeback story of the year in 2010.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Boxing-As-An-Escape-From-Societal-Madness
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Boxing As An Escape From Societal Madness

Avila-Perspective-Chap-103-The-50th-Anniversary-of-LA-Riots
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 103: The 50th Anniversary of East L.A. Riots

Daniel-Dubois-Mows-Down-Another-Sacrificial-Lamb
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Daniel Dubois Mows Down Another Sacrificial Lamb

Despite-a-Lackluster-Effort--Jose-Carlos-Ramirez-Retains-His-Title-Belts
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Despite a Lackluster Effort, Jose Carlos Ramirez Retains His Title Belts

25-Years-Ago-Today-Buster-Mathis-the-Dancing-Bear-Took-His-Earthly-10-count
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

25 Years Ago Today, Buster Mathis, the Dancing Bear, Took His Earthly 10-Count

Avila-Perspective-Chap-104-Collaborative=Endeavors-Canelo's-Lawsuit-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 104: Collaborative Endeavors, Canelo’s Lawsuit and More

Beat-The-Press-Awkward-Moments-With-Problematic-Boxers-A-TSS-Classic
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Beat The Press: Awkward Moments With Problematic Boxers (A TSS Classic)

The-Top-Ten-Bantamweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Top Ten Bantamweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Price-and-Programming-Lineup-for-Sept-26-Charlo-Twins-PPV-Doubleheader
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Price and Programming Lineup for Sept. 26 Charlo Twins PPV Doubleheader

Erislandy-Lara-Turns-Away-Spunky-Greg-Vendetti
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Erislandy Lara Turns Away Spunky Greg Vendetti

RIP-Former-World-Middleweight-Champion-Alan-Minter
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

R.I.P. Former World Middleweight Champion Alan Minter

The-Mean-Machine-and-Joet-Gonzalez-Win-Inside-the-Bubble
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The ‘Mean Machine’ and Joet Gonzalez Win Inside the Bubble

Canelo-Alvarez-Sues-Golden-Boy-and-DAZN-for-Breach-of-Contract
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Canelo Alvarez Sues Golden Boy and DAZN for Breach of Contract

Meekins-vs-Kawoya-File-It-Under-Bizarre
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Meekins vs. Kawoya: File It Under Bizarre

Title-Fights-on-Saturday-and-Sunday-Burnish-the-Labor-Day-Weekend-Boxing-Menu
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Title Fights on ESPN and FOX Burnish the Labor Day Weekend Boxing Menu

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Herring-Retains-His-Title-in-a-Messy-Fight
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Fast Results from the ‘Bubble’: Herring Retains His Title in a Messy Fight

Award-Winning-Writer-John-Schulian-Reflects-on-his-Days-on-the-Boxing-Beat
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Award-Winning Writer John Schulian Reflects on His Days on the Boxing Beat

Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-The-Sept-26-Horn-of-Plenty-and-Other-Notes
Featured Articles1 week ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: The Sept. 26 Horn of Plenty and Other Notes

Yordenis-Ugas-Outpoints-Abel-Ramos-to-Join-the-Ranks-of-WBA-Title-holders
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Yorgenis Ugas Outpoints Abel Ramos to Join the Ranks of WBA Title-holders

Anthony-Yarde-Improves-to-20-1-With-His-19th-KO
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Anthony Yarde Improves to 20-1 With His 19th KO

Tony-Yoka-Makes-Quick-Work-of-Duhaupas-Yoka's-Wife-Wins-Too
Featured Articles9 hours ago

Tony Yoka Makes Quick Work of Duhaupas; Yoka’s Wife Wins Too

Season-2-of-the-World-Boxing-Super-Series-Concludes-on-Saturday-in-Munich
Featured Articles2 days ago

Season 2 of the World Boxing Super Series Concludes on Saturday in Munich

Avila-Perspective-Chap-106-Return-of-LA-Boxing-Josh-Taylor-Charlos-and-More
Featured Articles3 days ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 106: Return of LA Boxing, Josh Taylor, Charlos and More

The-Return-of-Wednesday-Boxing-Evokes-Memories-of-a-Golden-Era
Featured Articles4 days ago

The Return of Wednesday Boxing Evokes Memories of a Golden Era

Erickson-Lubin-Wins-But-Misplaced-His-Hammer
Featured Articles6 days ago

Erickson Lubin Wins, But Misplaced His Hammer

Fast-Results-from-the-MGM-Bubble-Pedraza-Outclasses-Molina-Plus-Undercard
Featured Articles6 days ago

Fast Results from the MGM Bubble: Pedraza Outclasses Molina Plus Undercard

Avila-Perspective-Chap-105-Angry-Welterweights-and-More.jpg
Featured Articles1 week ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 105: Angry Welterweights and More

Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-The-Sept-26-Horn-of-Plenty-and-Other-Notes
Featured Articles1 week ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: The Sept. 26 Horn of Plenty and Other Notes

Meekins-vs-Kawoya-File-It-Under-Bizarre
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Meekins vs. Kawoya: File It Under Bizarre

Price-and-Programming-Lineup-for-Sept-26-Charlo-Twins-PPV-Doubleheader
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Price and Programming Lineup for Sept. 26 Charlo Twins PPV Doubleheader

The-Mean-Machine-and-Joet-Gonzalez-Win-Inside-the-Bubble
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The ‘Mean Machine’ and Joet Gonzalez Win Inside the Bubble

Anthony-Yarde-Improves-to-20-1-With-His-19th-KO
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Anthony Yarde Improves to 20-1 With His 19th KO

The-Top-Ten-Bantamweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Top Ten Bantamweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Avila-Perspective-Chap-104-Collaborative=Endeavors-Canelo's-Lawsuit-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 104: Collaborative Endeavors, Canelo’s Lawsuit and More

RIP-Former-World-Middleweight-Champion-Alan-Minter
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

R.I.P. Former World Middleweight Champion Alan Minter

Canelo-Alvarez-Sues-Golden-Boy-and-DAZN-for-Breach-of-Contract
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Canelo Alvarez Sues Golden Boy and DAZN for Breach of Contract

Award-Winning-Writer-John-Schulian-Reflects-on-his-Days-on-the-Boxing-Beat
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Award-Winning Writer John Schulian Reflects on His Days on the Boxing Beat

Yordenis-Ugas-Outpoints-Abel-Ramos-to-Join-the-Ranks-of-WBA-Title-holders
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Yorgenis Ugas Outpoints Abel Ramos to Join the Ranks of WBA Title-holders

25-Years-Ago-Today-Buster-Mathis-the-Dancing-Bear-Took-His-Earthly-10-count
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

25 Years Ago Today, Buster Mathis, the Dancing Bear, Took His Earthly 10-Count

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Herring-Retains-His-Title-in-a-Messy-Fight
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Fast Results from the ‘Bubble’: Herring Retains His Title in a Messy Fight

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement