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Articles of 2005

What Exactly Happened To Jaidon Codrington?




The sight of Jaidon Codrington lying on the ropes, out cold from a punch, is tough to absorb. After he was rendered unconscious with a right hand in his fight with Allan Green on November 4, Codrington keeled over to one side and fell onto the ropes like a rag doll, his head lying grotesquely on the canvas while his legs were grounded inside the ring. It looked like he was trying to dive through the ropes and got caught.

The picture was frightening and devastating and supported the notion that boxing is a violent sport and everyone is susceptible to getting hit, but fighters like Codrington, who most people thought was as close to a sure thing as there is in boxing, are not supposed to get starched in 18 seconds of the first round.

Codrington was supposed to walk through Green and then raid the super middleweight division in a spastic fit of New York exuberance, the sentiment went. More than a month after he was knocked cold by Green, who was 17-0 (11 KO’s) entering the fight compared to Codrington, who was 9-0, all by knockout, Codrington had an explanation for what happened.

“I wasn’t warmed up, and I was a little sick anyway, so I don’t know if that delayed my reaction time when I got hit,” Codrington said in a phone interview. “But all it was – I got caught with a punch. If it happened in the second or third round, I guarantee it wouldn’t have had the same effect.”

Codrington believes he was in the ring with a scared fighter that night in Oklahoma, and he disputed the notion that he was caught off guard by the enormity of fighting on national television for the first time in his career. The bout was televised on Showtime.

“He was looking in the opposite direction when he hit me,” Codrington said. “But scared fighters are the most dangerous fighters – you ever hear of that before? Scared people lift up cars to get their mothers out from under them. Scared people are powerful. That was a scared man that caught me. My trainer told me he’s scared, and that he would do one of two things: either he’s going to run the entire fight or he’s going to run at me and not know what to do. When he came at me, I was expecting it, but at the same time I was kind of shocked because I got anxious. I threw a punch and was about to come back with a left hook, and he landed his first.”

At the fighter’s meeting, Steve Farhood, a boxing analyst who was working the fight with Nick Charles for Showtime, was struck by the grogginess of Codrington’s voice, the result of a sinus infection and by Green’s demeanor, which was confident to the point of being in a fantasy state.

“Green walked into the fighter’s meetings and said that we were going to be surprised with how he fought,” Farhood said. “‘I’m going to be in his face,’ he said. Then Allan leaves the room and everyone looked at each other like, ‘yah, right’ because we only knew him from how he fought before which was very cautious. What he did in this fight was shocking.”

The news of Codrington’s defeat was met with mostly silence along the gyms and offices that cater to boxing in New York. Perhaps the hushed reaction was a giant sigh of relief.

“I think that most people were just relieved to find out that he was ok,” Farhood said.

“When he went down, there was every reason to believe that he may be seriously hurt or could possibly even die, so people were just thankful that he was ok. When I saw him at the airport the next day in Tulsa, he was there by himself, and he said that he shouldn’t have taken the fight, not because he was overmatched but because he was sick and wasn’t feeling well. I thought that was pretty revealing.”

In just nine pro fights, Codrington had risen to the top of most everyone’s lists of fighters to keep and eye on. He was a darling of the news media and his ‘chin-checkers’ nickname that he shared with fellow pro Curtis Stephens, who were both known to wager on who could vanquish their opponents the fastest before fights, made him an instant celebrity within the boxing community.

His impressive stoppage over durable Levan Easley in August confirmed to his handlers that he was ready to move up and challenge some of the other young fighters in the division.

Allan Green seemed an easy mark.

Curtis Stevens had faced him in the amateurs, losing a narrow decision even though he had dropped Green in the match. He reported back to Codrington’s manager, Chris Gotti, that Green would be no problem for his fighter. Codrington was such a good amateur that Johnnie Woluewich, the former President of USA Boxing Metro, who died on December 12 from complications of a heart attack, once remarked that if he could invest in one fighter it would be Codrington.

His promoter, Lou DiBella, agreed to fight Green in Miami, Oklahoma, roughly 70 miles away from Green's hometown of Tulsa, a risky concession that DiBella didn’t think would influence the fight. Even Andre Rozier, Codrington’s austere co-trainer, forecasted doom for Green at an amateur show he put on a week before the fight in Brooklyn when he announced to the crowd with Codrington in attendance that “Allan Green will be destroyed.”

It had all the makings of a major upset.

Green’s camp, meanwhile, was somewhat surprised and a little upset that they were being picked to serve as a launching pad for Codrington’s career. Their initial reaction to being selected as an opponent was a reluctance to meet Codrington in the ring.

“Allan didn’t want to take the fight,” said Scott Burnett, Green’s trainer. “He didn’t want to fight him. He said ‘I’m going to hurt this kid. I don’t want to ruin his career.’ They didn’t realize how strong Allan was. He’s been fighting all these big guys in his career. We knew that if we could jump on him quickly and get him on the ropes, that he would cover up and we’d be able to land a big punch. Before the bell rang to begin the first round, I told Allan to go get him.”

What happened next was straight from the “theatre of the unexpected” line that Larry Merchant often delivers to describe the capriciousness of boxing. Green, normally a cautious fighter, darted from his corner like a kid running to unwrap his Christmas presents and tracked Codrington down against the ropes, hurting him badly with a left hook that buckled Codrington’s legs. With his hands almost a blur, Green landed a series of punches that ended with a right hand to Codrington’s head.

In the confusion of the melee that followed the fight, the injuries to Codrington were greatly exaggerated to Charles and Farhood who were calling the fight on the air. It was reported that Codrington had suffered a broken vertebrae when in reality he had suffered a concussion. Later that night, Farhood and DiBella emailed the correct medical information to boxing websites to amend the perception that Codrington was seriously hurt.

Now Codrington has to convince himself that he is ready to resume his career.

“I just got to get over this and get back to the gym, get back to the training,” Codrington said. “It happens to the best of them – Zab Judah, Ray Robinson, Lennox Lewis, Ruiz, the list goes on for days [of fighters who have been stopped]. I’ve watched that fight like fifty million times. You never think that you would be in that position, never thought that in a million years. I’ve been on the canvas just once in my career, and it was early on in the amateurs, and it was more because I was off-balance, but I wasn’t shook up or anything.”

The loss came at a bad time for Codrington. His manager was embroiled in a money laundering trial with his brother, and Codrington’s grandfather was sick. Shortly after the fight, Codrington found himself racing back and forth between visiting his grandfather in Bridgeport, Connecticut and being present at the trial in downtown Manhattan. The same day Irv and Chris Gotti were acquitted by a federal jury of money laundering charges on December 1, his grandfather Wilfred Uriah Codrington Sr. died of a heart disease at the age of 78.

“I supported them like they’ve supported me in my career,” he said. “It would have been the worse feeling in the world for me if they had been found guilty or innocent, and I wasn’t there to support or celebrate with them.”

The problems involving his manager and grandfather were distressing, but at least they distracted him from thinking about the fight. Codrington said he is already back in the gym training and anticipates making his return in March or April. He said he visited with three different doctors after the fight and all of them gave him a clean bill of health.

“I believe in myself and a bump in the road isn’t supposed to slow you down too much,” he said. “It’s just supposed to make you put things into perspective and get right back into the grind again.”

Shortly after the loss, a rumor began to circulate that he was retiring from boxing to return to school.

“I’m definitely thinking about going back to school, but I’m definitely not going to give up boxing,” he said. “That’s my bread and butter. That’s how I’m going to make my name. School – I’ve been thinking about that before this happened. That has nothing to do with what happened. I have a couple of ideas, nothing carved in stone, but I was in college before and I thought about nursing or being a gym teacher. I thought about being a juvenile probation officer – a wide variety of things.”

As for any lessons he learned from the fight, Codrington promises to tighten up defensively and work on his boxing skills. Burnett, Green’s trainer, who developed a fondness for Codrington and his trainers before the fight, had some advice of his own for Codrington: “He’s a nice kid, but his management and promoters and everyone around him don't need to sell to the public that he’s the baddest dude on the planet. Jaidon’s a good fighter by himself. He doesn’t need to intimidate anyone. Let his skills do that for him. People once said that Mike Tyson was the baddest man on the planet and a lot of good that did him.”

Articles of 2005

In Boxing News: Floyd Mayweather An All-Time Great, Valuev & More




A Shot of Boxing on the Last Day of the Year

The Guardian reports that talks have already taken place between Nicolay Valuev‘s co-promoters – Don King and Wilfried Sauerland – and Danny Williams‘ promoter Frank Warren for Nicolay Valuev to face Danny Williams. I’d suggest Danny Williams needs to worry about Matt Skelton (who Williams is reportedly scheduled to fight in February) before he entertains notions of facing the Beast From The East.

The Mirror in the UK looks forward to a big year in boxing for 2006. The Mirror considers what the future might bring for Joe Calzaghe, Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton, among others.

The Parksville Qualicum News has an interesting column on the travails of former Canadian Super Middleweight title holder Mark Woolnough. Woolnough’s career turned controversial – as widely reported in the Canadian press – at the beginning of this year when Woolnough and four other men were charged with manslaughter and assault after a fight outside a Parksville nightclub. The case returns to court next month. It’s an interesting read, as Woolnough is still looking to the future with hope.

Our own Marc Lichtenfeld provides plenty of food for thought with his Top Ten Wish List for boxing in the New Year. There’s plenty of good stuff here, but what really jumped out for me is Lichtenfeld’s opinion that a win over Zab Judah could have Floyd Mayweather knocking on the door of all-time great status. Seems to me this might be jumping the gun a little. Or is Marc right? Will it soon be time to call Floyd Mayweather Jr. an all-time great?

(More Boxing News Links at

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Articles of 2005

ShoBox Friday Night Fights





Hot bantamweight prospect Raul “The Cobra” Martinez heads back to Chicago next Friday night as he is featured in the co-main event of SHOBOX “THE NEW GENERATION,” an action packed evening of professional boxing presented by Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions,’ HOME OF THE BEST IN CHICAGO BOXING, Kathy Duva’s Main Events Inc., along with Miller Lite and TCF Bank.

The two-time national amateur champion sporting a perfect 12-0 record with 9 knockouts, six of which have come in the first round,  will take on Colombian Andres “Andy Boy” Ledesma, 13-1 (8 KOs) in a scheduled eight round bout.

Speaking after a training session at his home gym in Georgetown, Texas, Martinez said, “I’m truly looking forward to returning to Chicago. The fans were terrific in September, they were very supportive from the start of the fight,” an internationally televised first round knockout of Miguel Martinez on September 16th at the Aragon Ballroom.

Regarding his upcoming fight with Ledesma, “The Cobra” said, “I haven’t seen him fight, although I understand he’s fought at higher weights and will be naturally bigger than me. I’ve had great training for this fight and feel very confident. I really haven’t left the gym in months, just taking off Sunday’s and even then I get my running in. My thinking is that fights are won in the gym and complete preparation is the key.”

When asked about his being mentioned by Dan Rafael, ESPN’s boxing writer as one of the top prospect’s in the boxing world the 23-year-old San Antonio native said, ‘It’s a great compliment, but I still have much work to do. I want to be a champion for Main Events like Fernando Vargas and Arturo Gatti. But like Fernando said while he was in town, ‘be patient, work hard and your time will come.’”

Finishing the conversation, Martinez said, “I’m looking forward to starting out this year with a bang. I might have a couple less fights than the seven I had in 2005, but I’m looking to stepping up the competition, move up to ten-rounders and climb in the rankings.”

Headlining the evening is a ten-round welterweight showdown between boxing’s hottest prospect, unbeaten Joel Julio of Monteria, Columbia, and Ugandan native Roberto “The Doctor” Kamya. Julio, turning 21 years old the day before the fight, is 25-0 with 22 knockouts, twelve of which have come in the first two rounds. Kamya, now fighting out of West Palm Beach, Florida is 15-5 with four knockouts.

Tickets, starting at $30, are on sale in advance by calling 312-226-5800. Cicero Stadium is located at 1909 S. Laramie, at the corner of 19th and Laramie, just ten minutes south of the Eisenhower Expressway and ten minutes north of the Stevenson Expressway. Doors for this evening will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

The full bout lineup for the evening is:

Joel Julio vs. Roberto Kamya, ten rounds, welterweights

Raul Martinez vs. Andres Ledesma, eight rounds, bantamweights

Miguel Hernandez vs. Butch Hajicek, eight rounds, middleweights

David Pareja vs. Derek Andrews, eight rounds, light heavyweights

Mike Gonzales vs. Tony Kinney, four rounds, lightweights

Omar Reyes vs. Luis Navarro, five rounds, featherweights

Reynaldo Reyes vs. Ricardo Swift, four rounds, middleweights

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Articles of 2005

Pick ‘Em: Plenty of Big Upcoming Fights in ’06




Here’s the early call on many top matches scheduled for the first half of 2006: Happy New Year!

As the new calendar dawns, there are already a considerable amount of premium bouts on the horizon. Things don’t look to be bogged down by undetermined championships next year. In many cases the scheduled face-offs involve the best fighters in the division, or at least close enough for general bragging rights. If anybody else with proper qualifications signs up to force the issue, all the better.

It can be argued that some pairings could have taken place within a more optimal timeframe, or that some headliners carry distracting baggage, but there are certainly enough heavy hitters on deck. That nobody can deny.

It doesn’t matter whether one considers the proverbial glass half empty or half full; there’s still the same amount of juice in the vessel. It’s nice to know that even with a high number of cancellations, there will still be plenty of important contenders on tap.

With elite fighters in weight divisions from top to bottom on the agenda, it’s an equivalent to what fans in more mainstream sports expect in a consistent championship format.

Baseball fans can almost always count on a World Series. Some hoops fanatics say too much attention to playoffs distracts unmotivated NBA teams during their regular season. In college, they project Sweet Sixteens. Football fans know there’s always a Super Bowl ahead to raise advertising dollars and test the USA’s halftime morals.

So too, there is method in boxing’s current madness.

The midnight crystal ball hasn’t even been unveiled in Times Square and there are already a number of potential thrillers scheduled. Most feature contrasting personalities that almost guarantee going along for the ride will be worthwhile. Any subsequent drops will probably be cheered.

Don King jumps right out of the auld lang gate with a January 7th Showtime card featuring Zab Judah against Carlos Baldomir and Jean-Marc Mormeck in a cruiserweight unification against O’Neil Bell.

It will be the upset of the year, bar none, if Baldomir can tip the applecart before Judah gets to his scheduled super-showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Meanwhile, Mormeck is emerging and should keep on rolling against Bell, who can expose him if he’s not for real.

The proverbial Big Bang starts with a January 21st rematch of one of the finest fights of ‘05, when Erik Morales goes against Manny Pacquaio for the second time on HBO pay per view. The fact that Morales was upset by Zahir Raheem after beating Pacquaio was no real loss in box-office luster. Artful Raheem will get a spot on the undercard and hope his patience is rewarded.

Everyone figures Morales and Pacquaio will pick up where they left off. Like the first time, the rematch is a pick’em contest. Management distractions and glove restrictions cited as Pacquaio’s previous problems won’t matter this time. The two are very evenly matched and their styles will make for another whapathon. It could come down to corners, where Freddie Roach gets the edge since Morales will have a new trainer for the first time since replacing his father after the Raheem lesson.

February features four of the game’s most enduring attractions, in a pair of crucial matchups.

First up, Showtime presents the Jose Luis Castillo – Diego Corrales tiebreaker from El Paso on Feb 4th. This is another pick ‘em pair, barring any sideshow. In boxing that disclaimer may be a stretch, since the sideshow is part of the act and the charm.

As far as action inside the strands goes, every round these guys have fought has been great. There’s no reason to think that pattern won’t continue. Regarding the result, Castillo keeps the pressure on as he did in the second fight, but he’ll walk into trouble from a more reserved Corrales. We still don’t know which coin to flip.

February also holds a better late than never affair between two perennial favorites as Shane Mosley collides with Fernando Vargas on the 25th.  This fight could lead to a winning ticket in the Golden Boy sweepstakes for a fall bonanza against Oscar De La Hoya.

Vargas has been in tougher recently, based on comparable strength of opposition stats, but he’s seen little action. What weight they enter the ring at may have a lot to do with the result. If Vargas has to struggle at the scale, Mosley might have the battle in the bag after round nine.

It’s hard to imagine Mosley getting stopped early, but Vargas doesn’t have to hurt him, he just has to knock him down three times. With natural size, he may be able to do just that, but Mosley would have to box uncharacteristically flat.

Unless Mosley decides to heed the crowd, the most likely scenario is that Shane plays it safe, picks a few shots, and stays away enough to capture a comfortable, dull decision. An unbowed Vargas maintains his fan base but not his bettors.

March both comes in and goes out as a lion.

On March 4th Joe Calzaghe welcomes Jeff Lacy to Manchester UK for what may be the biggest blowout of the headlining bunch. Calzaghe gets the chance to prove his considerable home-based reputation once and for all, but if Lacy creams him as we expect, that glossy record will be severely tarnished.

All Calzaghe has to do is make a respectable stand, but that’s no small task against the rising Lacy. A motivated Calzaghe, songs of England ringing in his ears, could pull a big surprise if he can exploit Lacy’s relatively limited technical development, but that’s a longshot indeed.

It looks like Lacy can get by on power alone. He could soon emerge as a pound-for-pound leader. Old Joe’s hometown advantage will last about two left hooks.

March 11th has the Ides of history to beware for at least one old lion, with farewell (we’ll see) fireworks featuring Roy Jones Jr. against Bernard Hopkins. Less than two years ago they were considered untouchable all time greats. Now between them they’ve lost five in a row.

This goodbye fight is contracted at light heavyweight, for what seems like an oldies night. Hopkins is the senior at age 41 to Jones’s 37, but Roy seems more the grandpa figure, last seen hanging on against Antonio Tarver. Youth, as it were here, will prevail.

This bout was signed quickly as each principal, usually sticklers for favorable contract clauses, agreed to parity in a demonstration of businessman first and fighter second. They may both expect easy marks. How much the boys have left by the time they get down to business remains to be seen. The history books will show this as a climactic career bout between Hall of Famers.

At 175 pounds, Hopkins may be in for rude awakening. Jones may have been more thoroughly outfought recently, but he was rumbling with bigger, tougher men than Jermain Taylor or Howard Eastman. Respectable as he is, Taylor still falls short of the level of Tarver, at least for now. The difference is still fifteen pounds less pop.

It will be quite a feat if Hopkins can stay in the fight, even at Jones’s advanced age. Our stars point to Jones winning in overwhelming fashion.

On March 18th, James Toney meets Hasim Rahman in another pairing of seasoned war-horses.

Toney and Rahman already had their introductions, when they brawled in Mexico during a WBC gathering to bestow Rahman’s new belt. Between formalities, Toney got married, which could bring up the old questions about carnal training.

Let’s hope when they meet in the ring, they restore some of the fire missing from the heavyweights in ‘05.  Toney might have an edge in recent form, but Rahman shows fine tuning he previously lacked. The winner might get newly “crowned’ Nicolai Valuev, an easy payday outside Germany.

Rahman could be the heavyweight that finally makes Toney look like a blown up middleweight. But anything less than a top effort will probably lead to embarrassing night for the Rock and give Toney solid claim to being the true heavyweight champ.

This might not be the most artful fight of the new season, but it could well be the most grueling, and the closest. He who’s faced the better big boys gets the nod. Advantage Rahman.

March 25 features Marco Antonio Barrera, probably the strongest overall claimant to 130 pound honors. The likely opponent is said to be always tough Jesus Chavez.

Chavez seemed rejuvenated when he met Leavander Johnson, but Johnson’s tragic death may have taken some of the steam out of thoughtful Chavez, said to have received Johnson’s family blessing to continue in Leavander’s name. That could mean a lot of inspiration. Either way, if he does meet Chavez, who hung tough with one arm against Erik Morales, Barrera won’t get any slack. The Fates say Chavez, whose wife recently served in Iraq, is a live, live underdog.

Another clash to be King of the Hill finds Floyd Mayweather Jr, arguably the game’s finest practitioner, bumping heads with Zab Judah, one of very few boxers who rivals Mayweather in speed, skills, and brashness.

Their hoedown, scheduled for April 8th, is one of the top pound-for-pound pairings in recent years. Judah will need a career best performance to have a chance of victory. That’s not to say he can’t pull it off, but currently Mayweather is in a different galaxy in terms of punching power. Slow-motion replays may be the only way to follow the flying fists once these two whirlwinds unload.

Mayweather should be around a 4-1 favorite. Judah is good enough to make taking the odds an attractive proposition, since that’s probably as good of odds as one is likely to see on Floyd for a while. Mayweather will stop Judah in his tracks.

The first half of next year is set to conclude with the star power of Oscar De La Hoya, probably against noteworthy foil Ricardo Mayorga on May 6. There could be some snags before a contract is finalized, but if it comes off count on Mayorga for promotional sound bite nastiness. One of the questions is whether or not he’ll be able to get under Oscar’s skin, and it might actually be entertaining to see the classy, model perfect De La Hoya show he’s human and freak out against the Nicaraguan maniac.

Mayorga may have burnt his best bridges already. De La Hoya has not only the boxing skill to negate Mayorga’s offense, but enough power to end it early. If Mayorga rushes in and causes a cut, De La Hoya might get ruffled enough to duck into defense and Mayorga could get a decision that goes to the cards after six rounds or so. It will be wild for as long as it lasts.

Pro boxing, like many sports, had its share of problems during 2005, but there were also many positives. Most notably, as usual, was superior and inspiring action inside the strands. Unless there’s a mass freeze-up at the top, early 2006 figures to see decisive interaction among many well-known fighters.

If even fifty per cent of the aforementioned pairings come to fruition, it’s a strong likelihood the upcoming year has at least one very positive half. Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Brian Viloria, and Shannon Briggs, to name a few, are also on deck. No matter how you chose to look at or measure mass qualities, there’s still just as much good to be seen.

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