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Quotes from the Hopkins-Dawson Press Tour

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408Here is a collection of quotes from Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson and others taking part in the Oct. 15 promotion which will unfold at the Staples Center in LA. The fighters were present at press conferences in California and New York this week.

BERNARD HOPKINS, WBC & Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Champion

“When you get tired of making history or tired of competing, you will get exposed.

“In basketball you can call time out. In football you can call timeout. In boxing either you fight or you quit.

“In my career I have gone 12-1 against southpaws. The only loss was to Joe Calzaghe, a fight which most people say I won. It was what it was. I love fighting southpaws because I am very unorthodox. I don’t do things regularly and I am not a regular fighter.

“When you look at my resume and then you look at Chad’s resume, it is like looking at Harvard and community college. No disrespect to community college.

“Age and wisdom cannot be compromised. I have a PhD in what I do. It says that I am 46 years old on my birth certificate. It can be argued that I m 10 years younger than I actually am.

“Me and Father Time are always debating whether it is time or not. I get cramps. I get aches. I am human and I am willing to take that chance. I am willing to walk that tight rope without a safety net. That is what fighting means to me. To be daring or to be dangerous takes courage.

“The light heavyweight division is alive right now. It isn’t because of my seven or eight pushups. It is because of the activity of my last two fights.

“I don’t want Chad to be the laid back Chad. I don’t need him laid back. To be laid back on an old man is not good; you are doing me a favor. I want you to give me something to work against so I can be better. I am a good dancer, if my partner is just okay, it makes me look bad.

[To Dawson] “Lets work together to see who whoops whose ass worse.

“Chumps do exist in boxing. This sport separates the chumps from champs.

“Chad Dawson has to prove that he belongs here and I have to prove that I’m special over and over again. I’m okay with that.

“I am looking forward to eventually breaking Archie Moore’s record of defending a title at the age of 47 or 48. I want that title. I want that record. I want that history.

“I didn’t expect Naazim to give me this money back [Richardson returned his compensation to Hopkins from the Pascal fight]. We can donate this money to a charity that Naazim feels should be supported. We can take this money and do something good. From you to me or me to you we will take this money and put it in a place where it can be productive for a worthy charity.”

“October 15 it is going down at STAPLES Center. History is going to be made again!

CHAD DAWSON, Former Light Heavyweight World Champion

“I want to thank Bernard for finally taking the fight. I want to thank Gary Shaw for believing in me even though I had a bad loss to Jean Pascal.

“I’m excited about my first pay-per-view fight. I have always wanted this fight. I have been chasing this fight for three years.

“A lot of people think I can’t punch. October 15, I am not going for a decision, I am going for a knockout.

“I don’t see any way Bernard can beat me. I have thought that for the last three years and I still think that now.

“Bernard better be on his A-game that night because I am going to be on mine.

“I am excited to be here. I feel better than ever. I’m problem free and stress free. I’m a new Chad.

“This is my ultimate dream. I’m excited.

“He can talk smack as much as he wants. Trash talking sells pay-per-view. I can trash talk, but I just don’t.

“I’m not concerned with what they say on the other side of the table. I’m concerned about them putting the belts around my waist on October 15.

“For me it’s all or nothing. I’m going to give it all or die trying.”

ANTONIO DEMARCO, WBC #1 Rated Lightweight Contender

“I want to work to be world champion. I want to be one of the best.”

JORGE LINARES, Former Two-Division World Champion & WBC #2 Rated Lightweight Contender

“It’s an honor to be fighting on a card with Bernard Hopkins. It’s going to be a great night and a great fight for me.

“It’s like a dream to be here today and have this opportunity to fight here in the U.S.”

KENDALL HOLT, Former World Champion

“I am happy to be here. Not only because I am fighting, but because I am sharing the stage with two great champions.

“I am happy Danny Garcia took this fight. In order to become the best you have to beat the best and I am one of the best.

“I looked at Garcia when he was coming up and I said this kid has a lot of potential. I can’t wait to see this kid in the future. Golden Boy Promotions has done a good job with him. They have gotten him the right fights…up until now.

“When people ask me what my game plan is, I say ‘I am planning on hitting him a lot more times than he hits me.’

“Chad is one of my favorite fighters. Bernard Hopkins, you mean a lot to the sport. I have always admired you. It is going to sadden my heart a little bit to see Chad walk away with that belt.

“Danny, you will be a great champion, but it won’t be on October 15.”

DANNY GARCIA, Undefeated Top Junior Welterweight Prospect

“At 10 years old, I started boxing. I have been boxing for 13 years. This has been one of my dreams to fight at this level, to fight on pay-per-view.

“Brother Naazim Richardson told me when I was very young that everybody gets their chance to eat at the table, not everyone gets to eat at once. He told me that one day you will get that chance, and I think this is my time to eat.

“I have come too far. I sacrificed my childhood and sacrificed what I had to get to this point. After how far I have come, losing is not an option.

“October 15 is my time and I want to be seen as one of the best junior welterweights out there and do it on HBO Pay-Per-View.”

NAAZIM RICHARDSON, Hopkins’ Trainer

“Chad Dawson is a great young fighter. I watched most of the kids grow up. I watched Kendall Holt, I watched Danny Garcia.

“This undercard is going to be awesome. I can’t wait for that.

“You cannot speak about this man [Bernard Hopkins] with anything other than respect.

“To say you don’t like Bernard Hopkins means you don’t like boxing.

“These kids grew up admiring Bernard Hopkins and learning from Bernard Hopkins.

“I have known Bernard for years. It has been an honor for me and the team to work with him. Seeing him in the ring and being a part of history was an honor. Bernard handed me my payment for the Pascal fight, but he was so outstanding and that was enough for me. [Richardson returns his payment to Hopkins].

“I believe in Chad. I believe he is a young light heavyweight. He might be the one of the most technically sound fighters Bernard has fought. Pascal was definitely the most dangerous.

“You cannot underestimate this man [Hopkins]. This is a living legend. This is a great athlete.”

ALEX ARIZA, Linares Strength and Conditioning Trainer

“We’re definitely not taking DeMarco lightly. We never do, but Jorge Linares will be ready.

“We haven’t seen a fighter like Jorge Linares in a long time with that speed power and boxing technique.”

ANGEL GARCIA, Danny Garcia’s Father & Trainer

“It has been a pleasure to see Danny grow up and to be a part of his career. This is the time for Danny ‘Swift’ to make a difference.

“When Danny was born, I knew he was going to be a champion. I knew he was going to be a fighter. He is going to be one fine champion which is what he was meant to be.

“He will become one of the top junior welterweights. We are not taking Kendall Holt lightly, but I hope he isn’t going to take Danny lightly either.

“These are American fighters. These are the ones you [to media] have to make relevant. They are the ones who wear the red, white and blue and represent our country.

“Danny is going to be the junior welterweight champion of the world. As long as I am breathing, that is going to happen.”

RICHARD SCHAEFER, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions

“This is a fight that has been in the making for quite a while. We are happy for the light heavyweight division. We are happy for the sport.

“We have done many fights at Golden Boy Promotions. I think we have come up with many good fight names. There was ‘The World Awaits’ and ‘Lightweight Lightning.’ I really think we really came up with the perfect title for this fight. ‘Believe It Or Not!’??
“Ripley’s Believe It Or Not is a global organization. I encourage those of you who have not been there to visit one of their museums around the country. They are going to promote this fight in their museums and we are very happy to have a real American brand involved in this fight with real American fighters.

“Bernard made believers out of all of us when he beat Kelly Pavlik. Believe me, everyone watching the fight will be believers come October 15.

“I get chills every time I introduce Bernard Hopkins. He is truly a legend.

“Some people don’t realize they’re witnessing history until after the fact. Bernard Hopkins is making history.

“‘Believe It Or Not!’ I think Bernard Hopkins has made believers out of all of us throughout his career.”

GARY SHAW, President & CEO of Gary Shaw Productions

“What Richard and I wanted to do more than anything was to give the fans a great pay-per-view undercard in addition to a great main event. Linares and DeMarco is a great fight. Holt vs. Garcia is a great fight and of then you have the main event.

“It is going to be one hell of a great card. For those going to STAPLES Center and for those of you who will watch it on pay-per-view, you are going to get your money’s worth. We guarantee it.

“We have been chasing Hopkins around the world for three years now. We are glad the cat caught the mouse.

“They [pointing at Golden Boy Promotions’ fighters] are the ‘believers’ and we are the ‘nots.’ This is going to be a big night for Gary Shaw Productions at STAPLES Center and you are going to find out why the believers don’t come true.

“Bernard has done a lot for this sport, but he might not get his due for all that he has done and I mean that.

“Chad is younger. Chad is faster and he is going to be working his jab. His jabs are going to be going up and down faster than Bernard can see them.

“Bernard, with all due respect, you aren’t getting in Chad’s head. It ain’t happening. When the bell rings, Chad is going to jump you’re ass right from the opening bell. You know that and your trainer knows that.”

ANDREA SILVERMAN, General Manager of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Hollywood Attraction

“Ripley’s is honored to be a part of Bernard’s journey as he is a true ‘Believe It Or Not!’

“Amongst Bernard’s endless list of achievements, at age 46, he is the world’s oldest champion in boxing history.

“In 1918, Robert Ripley, an illustrator for a small newspaper, published his first cartoon: Champs or Chumps? Now almost a hundred years later we’re going to find out who is the champ and who is the chump!

MICHAEL HIRSCH, General Manager of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium Times Square

“Bernard Hopkins’ career is a living breathing Believe It Or Not! including being the oldest person to win a world title. He fits all of the Believe It Or Not! characteristics.

“We are going to have Bernard immortalized in our museums across the world.

“We are really thrilled to be a part of this event. It is our first endeavor being a part of something like this.”

###

“Believe It or Not!: Hopkins vs. Dawson” is a 12-round bout for Hopkins’ WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Championship Titles. The event is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, AT&T and Ripley’s Believe It or Not, a new sponsor to the fight game who forged a relationship with Hopkins earlier this year when they made a wax figure of the future Hall of Famer, which will be unveiled during fight week in Los Angeles and displayed at a Ripley’s Odditorium in the future. DeMarco vs. Linares is presented in association with Teiken Promotions.

Tickets for Hopkins vs. Dawson, priced at $300, $150, $75 and $25, are on sale now and are available for purchase online at www.staplescenter.com, www.ticketmaster.com or via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (800)745-3000.

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Sebastian Fundora is a Towering Inferno whose Money Punch Rises from the Furnace

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His anatomical measurements alone almost certainly would stamp Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora as the most unusual super welterweight ever, but there are other spatial matters that help to identify the 24-year-old southpaw from Coachella, Calif., as something even more unique, and more dangerous, than standard-sized 154-pounders.

When Fundora  (19-0-1, 13 KOs) defends his  WBC interim super welter title Saturday night against rugged Mexican Carlos Ocampo (34-1, 22 KOs), in the PBC on Showtime main event at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., the matchup at first glance might suggest an NBA power forward posting up a point guard. Fundora is, depending on which listing you choose to believe, 6’5”, 6’5½” or 6’6”, but what’s a half-inch or so one way or the other when your opponent is 5’10½” and is giving away seven inches in reach to your condor-like wingspan of 80 inches?

Many fighters with physical advantages so seemingly apparent would opt to fight at a distance of their choosing, peppering the shorter man with boarding-house-reach jabs, the better to set up their own power shots while making it more difficult for the shorter guy to close the gap.

But Sebastian Fundora, who might be lean but hardly scrawny, does not fit anyone’s expectations other than his own and those of his Cuban-born father-trainer, Freddy Fundora. Jabs? The Fundoras know it’s necessary to have one as part of the overall package, but their preference is not to rely on it any more than is absolutely necessary. It is Sebastian’s signature shot, a ripping right uppercut thrown from tight quarters, that has elevated him to the position of mandatory WBC challenger to Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs), the undisputed super welter champion. Fundora lives, breathes, eats and sleeps with that megafight in mind, but before it can happen, he has to take care of business against Ocampo, who comes in on a 12-bout winning streak and presumably confident he can find a way to get chin-to-chest with the Towering Inferno, if not nose-to-nose.

It was that uppercut, a very damaging blow from below, that has been the gift that keeps on giving to Sebastian Fundora. He delivered one to the chin of highly regarded Erickson Lubin in the third round of their April 9 bout in Las Vegas for the WBC interim super welter belt, sending Lubin to the canvas, and he closed round nine with a couple of more just before the bell, prompting Lubin’s corner to signal that their man had had enough and would not be coming out for the 10th.

But Lubin had his moments as well, most notably in the seventh when he landed several telling blows, causing a shaken Fundora to take a knee and give himself a few precious seconds to recover from the most precarious spot he’d been in as a pro to date.

“I had the composure to use my brain and take a knee during that fight,” Fundora said, apparently as pleased by his presence of mind at that moment as he is of his trademark uppercuts that eventually closed the show. “I got hit with a good punch and I was, like, `Let me take a little breather,’ instead of getting hit like that again. I used my intelligence.”

Ocampo, whose only loss came on a one-round knockout against IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. on June 16, 2018, thereafter moved up to super welter and launched his dozen-fight winning streak. He no doubt is envisioning doing unto Fundora what Lubin did, only more emphatically and ultimately victoriously. But there is a price to be paid for entering that toe-to-toe danger zone. When Fundora connects to maximum effect with his weapon of choice, and he usually does at some point in every fight, he feels the outcome is all but preordained.

“It goes up and their faces are usually right there,” he said of his lengthening list of victims. “It’s as easy as that. The uppercut is my lucky punch. It lands most of the time, with everybody. Southpaw. Right hand. It doesn’t matter. Once I (land) that, I feel like the job’s done.”

Sebastian Fundora is one of six siblings, all of whom have boxed at one time or another. His 20-year-old sister, Gabriela (8-0, 4 KOs), takes on Mexico’s Naomi Apellanos Reyes (9-1, 5 KOs) in the scheduled 10-round lead-in to her really big brother’s marquee bout. Gabriela is tall for a female flyweight (5’9”) and while not exactly towering, might reasonably be described as a high-rise inferno. She, too, has been tutored to make liberal use of the uppercut.

“We call it a `hot shot,’” Freddy Fundora said of the punch that could soon make Sebastian, if you’ll pardon the expression, the next big thing in boxing. “Most of the fighters he’ll be facing are going to be shorter than him, and they’ll be charging him. They pretty much fall into the uppercut all by themselves.”

Punch statistics furnished by CompuBox illustrate just how busy a bee Sebastian is, in a general sense, and how reliant he is on that uppercut. They also tell a tale of a jab that is so seldom employed that cobwebs could be growing on it, a juxtaposition of resources that, on the face of it, defies logic. The Towering Inferno averages 72.1 punches a round, second in his weight class only to Brian Castano (75.5), but he is first in punches landed per round (24.4), first in connect percentage (33.4%), first in power punches thrown per round (54.8) and first in power punches landed per round (22.4).

The pie chart also reveals that boxing’s version of a praying mantis throws only 18 jabs a round, lowest among all super welters, only two of which actually connect. For an especially tall fighter with an 80-inch reach, that paucity of use and effectiveness of the jab would seem to be anomalies.

Should Fundora get past Ocampo, the waiting period will commence for a Charlo-Fundora showdown, which could be the special event fight fans will be clamoring to see, much as they are now for the Spence-Terence Crawford full unification extravaganza that has been boxing’s most drawn-out tease since the five-year slow dance before Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao finally squared off. But it better happen sooner rather than later, because super welterweights as tall as Fundora are not guaranteed to remain in that weight class in the long term.

“Right now I’m comfortable at 154,”Fundora said. “But who knows? Maybe after this fight I’ll jump up to 168. We’ll see what happens in the next few years. I walk around at this weight. I don’t shoot up too heavy during my breaks. The heaviest I’ve been is, like, seven pounds over. Never anything crazy.”

Bernard Fernandez, named to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the Observer category with the Class of 2020, was the recipient of numerous awards for writing excellence during his 28-year career as a sports writer for the Philadelphia Daily News. Fernandez’s first book, “Championship Rounds,” a compendium of previously published material, was released in May of last year. The sequel, “Championship Rounds, Round 2,” with a foreword by Jim Lampley, is currently out. The anthology can be ordered through Amazon.com and other book-selling websites and outlets.

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Rest In Peace Eder Jofre

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“I just thrill at that boy’s performance. He is a marvel of boxing perfection. There is nothing he cannot do.” – Barney Ross.

Between 1957 when he turned professional and 1965 when Fighting Harada caught up with him, Eder Jofre was 46-0-3. He reached heights that so few fighters have reached that you could probably name them without straining. He passed away this morning in Sau Paulo, Brazil, from pneumonia aged eighty-six. He had been hospitalised since March.

To say that his was a life well lived is an understatement.

Jofre was born in Sau Paulo in 1936, a decade that reflected this one in that it was a time of great political upheaval in his beloved Brazil, the thirties seeing the end of the Brazilian Republic, a communist uprising, a fascist uprising, and iterations of new constitutions peeled off like playing cards. It seemed to be sport, not politics that drove Jofre’s people though and his father had tried a fair hand at amateur boxing, later joining his brother to become a coach. The stars aligned and a fistic immortal rose from Brazil’s political ruins.

“At a young age,” wrote Chris Smith, author of the definitive Jofre biography Brazil’s First Boxing Champion, “[his father] put the gloves on Eder and started teaching him techniques and punching patterns…it wasn’t long before little Eder was jumping rope with the professionals.”

By the time he was seven years old, he was training like an amateur boxer and soberly asking his father’s permission to thrash school bullies. By the age of sixteen he was fighting as an amateur and in 1956 he was a part of the Brazilian Olympic team that travelled to Melbourne, Australia where he was eliminated before the medals by Chilean Claudio Barrientos – who would be stopped in eight rounds by Jofre when they met up again in the professional ranks.

Those professional ranks beckoned him a few months after his Olympic failure, the same time at which he decided to become a vegetarian, something he remained committed to until his death.  Early results were good. While Jofre was troubled by a tiny handful of South American draws, a local phenomenon that called for a wider separation of the fighters that was generally called for in the rest of the world, “O Galo De Ouro” as he would soon come to be known had set upon the road that would culminate in one of the finest runs in bantamweight and boxing history.

Another foible of the South American boxing landscape of the 1950s and 1960s was that in the unlikely event that you were able to free yourself from the massed banditry of the local toughs, you would often have to meet with ranked opposition before you were even allowed to contest for regional titles. Imagine the horror this notion would inflict upon the rather spoiled fighters of today, fighters who often achieve world championships without having to meet with the best.

For his part, Jofre ran up against the Filipino Leo Espinosa in June of 1959. Espinosa, a former flyweight, had extended the immortal Pascual Perez the full fifteen in 1956, even picking up a few rounds, before conquering a man who would soon be a fine champion in his own right, Pone Kingpetch, in 1957. He had a pedigree in excess of Jofre who had boxed just twenty-five contests.  Jofre admitted to his father before this fight that he was afraid, and his father suggested they cancel.

“No.  That’s the way it is.  Afraid or not, I am fighting.”

Such was his life.

It was not just Jofre’s career which was in its infancy but also the boxing in Brazil – Espinosa seems to have been only the second world-class fighter to visit the country and so as Eder went, so did boxing in Brazil. Jofre did not let his countrymen down. In the fifth he dropped the visiting Filipino with a gorgeous left hook – there is a famous photograph of Jofre bouncing, looking away from his fallen foe, his feet not touching the ground, frozen with both feet an inch above the canvas, floating. Espinosa got his disorganised legs under him and although he remained cool as Jofre’s battle-fever and inexperience showed, there was little likelihood of his winning after suffering such a blow. Jofre had graduated in a ten-round decision.

This set him loose on the trail of the South American Bantamweight title, a far more worthy, storied championship than it is today and held by the world-ranked Argentine Ernesto Miranda. For those who are not aware, Argentina-Brazil is as great a sporting rivalry as exists and his series with Miranda was the key rivalry of the first half of Jofre’s career. The two had met twice in 1957, registering a pair of draws before their respective careers diverged, and now they were to settle matters for the title. Their third fight, in February of 1960, was a strange affair in which Eder fought aggressively but was made to miss by Miranda, who never looked like winning but who boxed carefully enough to undermine Jofre’s offence.

This lack of aggression makes Miranda’s behaviour prior to their fourth encounter a few months later even stranger. Miranda behaved like a man fueled by hate, even stooping so low as to send insulting letters to Jofre’s wife and family. One must be wary of projecting on to great historical figures in unpicking their motives but here it seems to me is a key moment for Jofre. His bad intentions seem to me to have been unlocked by Miranda, not just in the fourth and final fight of their rivalry but for all time. Not even world-class opposition would be safe after this night.

It was not that Jofre was more aggressive than in their third fight, but rather he seems to have been more controlled. He missed less, countered more and made a backfoot fight impossible for Miranda.  They waged war with not a moment’s doubt as to the outcome. It was Jofre in three. After destroying his rival in the ring, Jofre the man found it within himself to forgive Miranda for some obscene pre-fight behaviour and even take him into his confidences.

It was inevitable now that Jofre would receive a shot at the title although for the privilege, Jofre had to travel to Los Angeles where he dominated and stopped the overmatched Eloy Sanchez in November of 1960. A brief and disturbing brush with the Italian Mafia aside, the championship fight went off without a hitch. Jofre cheerly named the bantamweight title a wedding gift for his wife-to-be.

In 1961 Jofre was matched with the world-class Italian Piero Rollo. Rollo had been beaten before, but never stopped by punches – so brutally did Jofre handle him that he was unable to answer the bell for the tenth. It was a sensational display of total dominance.

“I am never in a hurry,” Jofre explained, that control again.

“He is the best bantam in the world,” offered a barely recognisable Rollo.

I submit that Jofre was by this point already technically complete. When he met Johnny Caldwell the following year – Caldwell, too, made the awful mistake of making his contest with Jofre personal – he was as beautifully balanced as it is possible for a fighter to be, almost never out of punching position, delivering on boxing’s manual on shot after shot while also riffing on the classics. His uppercut, especially, was a thing of genuine beauty; Jofre could make space for that punch almost anywhere and throw it from unusual ranges and angles, making of it then a feint that certainly tied Caldwell in knots. An unbeaten Northern Irishman, it is hard to exaggerate just how tough this man was, but Jofre beat him so badly as to see him rescued by his distressed manager in the tenth.

The title picture, which had become confused by the retirement of Jose Becerra, was now clear – it was Jofre. Indisputably the world’s number one bantamweight, he would remain so for the first half of the 1960s, dismissing Herman Marquez, Kat Aoki, and, against the man most likely to rule if Jofre had never been born, he repeated his 1960 knockout of Jose Medel, this time in just six rounds. In 1964 he turned in his last great winning performance against Bernardo Caraballo, one of the most underrated bantamweights of all and the most underrated bantamweight of the era. Caraballo, out of Colombia, passed away himself earlier this year, and just as Jofre led the charge for boxing in Brazil, so did Caraballo in his country.

In the 1960s, in their primes, they duke it out ring-centre for control, both stylists, both big for the weight, both hungry for personal and national glory. This, I suspect, is not a fight any 118lb man could win against Jofre and soon enough Caraballo is moving away square, disorganised, harassed.  He succumbed in seven.

Jofre spans the eras. When he won his titles he was boxing for the old incarnations, the NYSAC, the NBA, by the time he lost them, he was defending the WBC and WBA championships, certainty ebbed even as his greatness flowed. The wonderful Fighting Harada was the man who came for him, by then tight at the weight and giving up a clear style advantage to his Japanese foe, Jofre was still able to make the rematch razor-thin after dropping a clear decision in the first fight. More glory awaited at featherweight in something of a second career, but Jofre’s best was behind him. He finally hung them up in 1976 during Muhammad Ali’s second reign; when he turned professional, Rocky Marciano had just retired.

This is a very short version of a very great ring-career. What is not posited here is his personal life. Eder’s was rich. He was happily married to Cidinha for more than fifty years; he had a close relationship with his children, who travelled with him, not least in his twilight years when Jofre revisited the site of his title-winning fight with Eloy Sanchez. He lived a life any one of us could be proud of after boxing, working in politics and Brazilian civil service, continuing to make friends right up until the very end.

I spoke to author Chris Smith about his enduring memory of Jofre, with whom he worked closely on their recently published book.

“A year ago, I had the pleasure of hosting him and his two kids and I asked him a few times “how are you feeling champ?” And he’d always respond “very, very happy.”  He told me he was the happiest person in the world.”

Beat that.

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Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Returns plus Local Philly Fight News

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Still coming out of a global pandemic which suspended the 2020 ceremony and forced a limited version of the celebratory weekend last year, 2022 marks not only a return to normalcy for the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF), but it gives a chance for fans to get the full interactive experience. This year, for the first time, all of the weekend’s festivities including the Induction Ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 9, will take place at one location, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

“This year we are really excited about the new things we have to offer fans, while we continue to deliver the type of access we’ve become known for,” states ACBHOF founder Ray McCline. “We want fans to understand that this weekend [second weekend of October] is going to be our home from now on. Working with Hard Rock has been special, and they’ve helped us with a lot of the logistics to really blend what they do [music entertainment] with the sports world and our event.” After listening to McCline passionately speaking about his goal to bring the sports legends and legendary fights back to life for the proud resort city that has a special role in boxing history, a sense of relief can be heard from McCline regarding the past obstacles the ACBHOF has dealt with.

“So far each of the past weekends have had their hiccups, those things happen when you’re hosting such a large event with so many moving pieces. This partnership allows for fans to come to one main site and stay immersed in all things boxing and music for the whole weekend,” says McCline. From the opening V.I.P. party on Friday night to the memorabilia show that will feature interactive displays with some of the sport’s legends teaching boxing basics, McCline wants the Hall of Fame Weekend to be known as the weekend when both fans and legendary boxers mingle in an up-close and personal way.

This year’s class includes Lennox Lewis, James Toney, Frank Fletcher, Kathy Duva (promoter), Kevin Rooney Sr. (trainer), and Pat Lynch (manager). Except for the V.I.P. party that starts the weekend and the Induction Ceremony that closes out the weekend, every other event is free and open to the public, notes McCline.

Some tickets remain for the kick-off party and ceremony. Fans interested in attending can visit ACBHOF for all the details.

____

Marshall Kauffman’s Kings Promotions is presenting a show tonight (Saturday, Oct. 1) at Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena featuring bantamweight standout Christian Carto (19-1, 13 KOs) taking on his toughest test since his return. He battles Argentina’s Hector Sosa (14-1, 8 KOs) the former South American super bantamweight champion. Carto is always in fan-friendly fights and with a victory over Sosa can reemerge as a potential world championship challenger soon.

Light heavyweight Atif Oberlton (6-0, 5 KOs) returns to action in the co-feature. Oberlton was an accomplished amateur and many local boxing observers are dubbing the Philadelphian a future world champion.

Next weekend, on Friday night October 7th, several staples in Philadelphia boxing return to the Xcite Event Center at Parx Casino in Bensalem. Joe Hand Promotions and Joey “Tank” Dawejko (22-10-4, 13 KOs) are teaming up with Hall of Fame promoter Russell Peltz for a night of action featuring some of the best local talent.

Dawejko, a long-time fringe heavyweight contender from the Tacony section of the city fought off any talk of retirement on Sept. 1 when he scored a fourth-round stoppage over Mike Marshall (6-3-1, 4 KOs). Dawejko was back in the ring for the first time in seven months after deciding to make one final push towards heavyweight glory.

Dawejko takes on veteran Terrell Jamal Woods (28-53-9, 20 KOs) of Forrest City, AR, in a scheduled eight-round bout. Prior to his victory over Marshall, Dawejko contemplated hanging up his gloves in favor of the roofing business that he established this year. However, after a lengthy conversation with promoter Russell Peltz, the two agreed to team up again for one last run in the sport. At just 32 years old, Dawejko has had a fruitful career and not just from a financial standpoint. He has competed all over the world and has never turned down an opportunity at a big fight, or to join top contenders and champions in their training camps.

Many of Dawejko’s major career opportunities were taken at the last minute. This last push by him is about finally reaching for the one thing missing from his professional career, a gold belt that he can display that signifies that he was at one point one of the best heavyweights on the planet. Against Marshall he displayed fast hands and pin-point accuracy and his fight against Woods on Oct. 7 should be no different in terms of action and his progression.

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