Connect with us

Featured Articles

UPDATED–24/7 RECAP: Floyd Slams PETA, Merchant, Is Chill With Dad

Published

on

floyd24-7I really, truly do not think it is out of the question that after he hangs up the gloves, Floyd Mayweather heads over to Vince McMahon’s WWE, because the man has the heel persona down super-pat. In the opening to the latest HBO 24/7 mini-series, Mayweather faced the camera and said, “I’m gonna tell the fans this. If Floyd “Money” Mayweather is not on 24/7, don’t even bother watching. Because when I’m on 24/7, it’s ‘you must watch TV.’

He then turns his gaze to the left, and asks his pal, the rap artist 50 Cent, to chime in support. Fiddy duly does, noting that the ratings drop when Mayweather isn’t involved. Yes, one can picture this duo taking the act on the road for WWE, riling up the unwashed masses in arenas coast to coast…though Floyd might not care for 300 days on the road and independent contractor status as one of McMahon’s crew.

Anyway, we will still have the 35 year-old Mayweather around in our sphere for a few more years, I’m guessing, because I haven’t seen any physical slippage in the man. “We run the show, baby. We is the show! Let us take over,” Mayweather commanded an unseen questioner.

Miguel Cotto is basically fine with that, in the promotional side of the May 5 bout, which pairs the Puerto Rican legend, the game’s reigning humble warrior, with his philosophical opposite, the pound for pound ace Mayweather. We see Cotto in the ring with trainer Pedro Diaz, working the bag and the 31-year-old scrapper says, “I don’t need to talk about Floyd. He’s the kind of guy who always needs and wants all the attention.” He is busy not shining the spotlight on himself, he says, but thinking through the bout in his head, thinking of ways to win. This fight, he says, is the best opportunity to show the world what he is made of. Fair to say, I think, that at the end of the night, most of us will be thinking the same of Cotto that we do know. That he is a proud warrior, doesn’t possess a hint of dog in him, but that he is not of the same caliber as Mayweather.

The show flashes back to Cotto’s to-this-point career definer, his Dec. 3, 2011 vanquishment of Antonio Margarito, the game’s reigning back-hat, who was busted in 2009 for trying to use illegal aids to better his punching power in a fight against Shane Mosley. A no-brainer, from a production standpoint, since Cotto’s low-key nature doesn’t scream “The camera likes this guy!” An image of his looks-like-he-had-a-baseball-bat-used-on-him face at the end of the first fight with Margarito always has impact on a viewer. Cotto discusses the scrap, and says he truly savored the moment, and that the win helped restore his confidence in himself. This is a re-born Cotto, we’re told.

At the Mayweather Boxing Club in Vegas, we see Floyd training. We hear about his impending jail stint, which will begin June 1. He says he’s happy the judge moved the sentence from January to the summer, to let him have his May bout, and says he’s not worried about the term. “I don’t even think about it,” he maintains. You will have to decide if that is bravado, or delusion vocalized, or that Floyd indeed isn’t mentally affected by the looming incarceration.

(My amateur shrink take: Floyd and his dad have a contentious relationship. I wonder if maybe this stint could actually help get them closer, because now Floyd will have something in common with his dad, who was released in 1997 after a 5 and a half year term for drug trafficking. I do not specifically recall Floyd ever lording it over his dad that he’s a convicted felon, but if he’s ever tried to hurt his dad for not being there for him, by citing the stint, well, that option won’t be available. This term could actually help bond the men. But my gut tells me Floyd can’t be looking forward to the jail time, the humiliation of having your freedom, to ride in flashy cars, and flash wads, and such, taken away. It has to weigh on him, I have to think and has to be a distraction, something that takes away from his stellar focus.

In a 1998 NY Times piece, Senior said, ''I remember him visiting me in jail many times, and I could tell by the expression on his face what he was thinking: 'Daddy, you're caged up like an animal.' ''

Mayweather Jr. said: ''I wanted to cry, seeing him like that, but I was supposed to be a man. So I didn't.''

If it made him want to cry when he was a teen and young man, well, my guess is that it will push buttons today. Maybe not all bad buttons, but buttons will be pushed. End amateur shrink take.)

Fiddy weighs in on the jail term. The pal, who was busted for drugs twice, three weeks apart, in 1994, and served seven months in boot camp, says one day is a day too many to spend locked up. He thinks Floyd won’t be thinking about the discomfort you feel being locked up, and that the term might help Floyd smarten up and live a more examined life. Leonard Ellerbe weighs in, and says Floyd took a plea so his family wouldn’t go through more, and that he knows the facts of the case don’t deserve a stint, basically.

Floyd says he’s in there “to eff you,” that he is “built for this. I like the smell of the gloves.”

In Orlando, Florida, Cotto is up before sunrise, and the whole team, including best pal Bryan Perez, who looks like he has lost over 150 pounds in the last year or so, is up at 4:30 AM. Cotto calls Diaz a “mastermind,” and gives him credit for the Dec. 3 showing, which was their first fight together. Diaz says Cotto is lightened by the Margarito win. “We know we’ll win,” the trainer says.

Floyd then talks up training. He says at camp the ring is called “The Doghouse.” It gets crowded around the ring when he’s sparring, just like at a fight between pitbulls. “I don’t want to get in trouble by..what’s the people called, PETA? I don’t want to get in trouble with the PETA people., the animal rights people, but s—t, I don’t give an eff, cause I wear mink coats. I’m gonna wear chinchilla, and I’m gonna rock mink coats,” he says, noting that many who lobby against wearing animal fur and skin also eat meat. (Not sure the stats on that, but I have to think the number of PETA folks who eat meat are REALLY small. PETA, can you weigh in here?)

(TUESDAY NOTE: I reached out to PETA on Monday afternoon, and got a response from them. Read here.)

We see a recap of Mayweather’s last bout, against Victor Ortiz in September. The leaping headbutt, the kiss and the two piece are shown. Trainer Roger Mayweather says he got what he had coming to him.

Floyd’s showdown with Larry Merchant is shown. “I wish I was fifty years younger and I’d kick your ass!” Merchant said after Floyd opined that he should be fired. Ten Larry Merchants, all age 21, could fight him, Mayweather says on 24/7, and lose.

If Merchant does work the Cotto bout, Mayweather says he won’t talk to him and will instead head to the dressing room and get his pay and hang with Fiddy.

We see Cotto, wife Melissa and the kids hanging out, enjoying family time, contrasting with Mayweather’s theatrical behavior. Melissa says she was proud of hubby for beating Margarito.

Back at the Mayweather gym, Floyd Sr. shows up, for the first time since he and Floyd got into a heated verbal scrap before the Ortiz bout. Then, Senior threatened to whup his son, and his son said dad was never any good in the ring. This time, hugs are exchanged between Senior and the Team, and he and Floyd embrace in a chilly, perfunctory manner. Senior says Floyd never apologized to him for the blowup. “At the end of the day he’s still my son anyway. Still my blood. I do think about him every day, but I live, and let live. All I do is attend my own business and leave everybody’s business alone. And I think that is the best thing for me to do.”

To sum up, Floyd says May 5 is business as usual. He’ll give the fans what they want. Cotto can fall on his face, his butt or wave a flag of surrender on May 5, he says. Cotto says Floyd never faced a fighter like him. Floyd disagrees: “I’m a winner! I’m a winner! Come May 5th I will win! I was born to win, and I will die a winner, you better believe that!”

Readers, your thoughts on the ep?

Follow us on Twitter here.

{youtube}AbiBA9SvG7g{/youtube}

{youtube}oSE4o7jVfFE{/youtube}

Comment on this article

Featured Articles

Fighters from Tijuana are on a Roll; Can Alexandro Santiago Keep Up the Momentum?

Published

on

Fighters-from-Tijauna-are-on-a-Roll-Can-Alexandro-Santiago-Keep-Up-the-Momentum

Fighters from Tijuana are on a Roll; Can Alexandro Santiago Keep Up the Momentum?

Last Thursday, a Golden Boy Promotions card in California produced an early entrant for Upset of the Year. In the main event, unsung Jesus “Ricky” Perez out-pointed former U.S. Olympian and former two-division title-holder Joseph “Jojo” Diaz.

Perez hails from Tijuana. Heading in, he had lost five of his last nine and had never won a match slated for more than eight rounds. He started fast and held on to win a split nod (ancient ringside judge Lou Moret awarded Perez nine of the 10 rounds).

The fast-growing, hardscrabble city of Tijuana, which sits at the northwest tip of the Baja peninsula, has produced a steady stream of good boxers over the years (Erik Morales, a Hall of Famer, and Antonio Margarito, a two-time world welterweight champion, come quickly to mind), but is currently enjoying arguably the best run in the city’s boxing history. And the distaff side is sharing in the prosperity. Flyweight Kenia Enriquez (28-1, 11 KOs) and her younger sister Tania Rodriguez (21-1, 10 KOs), a light flyweight, are knocking on the door of world title fights (Kenia holds an interim belt).

Last December, when pundits at the leading U.S. boxing websites brainstormed to come up with the 2023 Fight of the Year, two bouts stood out above all others: the Feb. 18 match between super bantamweights Luis Nery and Azat Hovhannisyan and the June 10 super middleweight contest between Jaime Munguia and Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

The Nery-Hovhannisyan match was a riveting, see-saw rumble that ended with Nery winning by TKO in the 11th round. Munguia scored a knockdown in the 12th to overcome Derevyanchenko, eking out a razor-thin but unanimous decision. Both victors have since added another “W” to their respective ledgers. Nery (35-1, 27 KOs) KOed Filipino veteran Froilan Saludar. Munguia (43-0, 34 KOs) dominated and stopped England’s John Ryder.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Luis Nery and Jaime Munguia were both born and raised in Tijuana. And we will be hearing a lot more about them. Although unofficial, Nery has an agreement in place to fight superstar Naoya Inoue in Tokyo in May and, according to various reports, Nery is now the frontrunner to be Canelo Alvarez’s next opponent.

The month after Munguia-Derevyanchenko, Tijuana’s Alexandro Santiago (pictured) scored his signature win and won the vacant WBC world bantamweight title with an upset of the great Filipino fighter Nonito Donaire. Santiago won a clear-cut decision on the card topped by the mega-fight between Terence Crawford and Errol Spence.

Santiago (28-3-5, 14 KOs) has a formidable challenge for his first title defense which comes on Saturday in Tokyo. In the opposite corner will be undefeated Junto Nakatani (26-0, 19 KOs) who is moving up in weight after winning world titles at 112 and 115. Nakatani can really crack as he showed with his brutal, one-punch knockout of Andrew Moloney.

There are two other title fights on the card which will air in the U.S. on ESPN+. Needless to say, one will have to get out of bed early to catch all the action. The first bell is slated for 4 am ET, 1 pm PT.

Santiago will be a heavy underdog against his Japanese opponent who will have a 5-inch height advantage. However, if recent history is any guide, one should not be too quick to dismiss his chances.

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

 

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Who Murdered Peter Bufala? A ‘Whodunit’ with a Boxing Backdrop

Published

on

Who-Murdered-Peter-Bufala-A-Whodunit-with-a-Boxing-Backdrop

On Friday, Oct. 8, 1976, Peter Bufala returned home from work just as a new day was dawning. The Las Vegas baccarat dealer pulled his Cadillac into his circular driveway, exited his car, walked toward his front door, and was felled by two bullets from a 9 mm handgun, one entering his chest and the other his brain. A neighbor fetching his morning newspaper found him lying in a pool of blood on his front lawn. He was dead when the police arrived. He was 33 years old and left behind a wife and two young daughters.

A 12-year resident of the fast-growing southern Nevada gambling mecca, Bufala grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania, a blue collar suburb of Philadelphia. He had come here to rekindle his boxing career.

A Middle Atlantic amateur featherweight champion, he had begun his pro career on a high note, winning a 4-round decision over a fellow novice on a show at New York’s St. Nicholas Arena that included Rubin “Hurricane” Carter who would go on to fight for the world middleweight title but would be best remembered for the many years he spent behind prison walls for his alleged involvement in a triple homicide.

Following his New York engagement, Bufala fought in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia. As a pro, he never fought in his home state and there was a reason for it. In 1961, while undergoing a routine medical examination at an amateur show, he was diagnosed with a heart murmur. The Pennsylvania Boxing Commission rescinded his license. He subsequently underwent a series of tests at Temple University Medical Hospital and was given a clean bill of health, but the Pennsylvania authorities were unyielding and, bit by bit, in a day when news traveled slowly, other jurisdictions fell into line.

Nevada was the Wild West. The regulators there had looser standards and Bufala resumed his career on Sept. 2, 1964 at the Castaways, out-pointing his opponent in a 5-round match to improve his ledger to 7-3. The publicity man misspelled his name, adding an extra “f”, and he would remain Pete Buffala whenever his name appeared in the sports section of the local papers.

Fifty years ago, in 1964, approximately 165,000 people resided in all of sprawling Clark County, home to Las Vegas. The thought that Vegas would someday host a Formula 1 Grand Prix or a Super Bowl, two of the grandest sports spectacles in the world, was preposterous. The only local sport that ever made the national news wire was boxing.

The fulcrum was Bill Miller, a hot-headed boxing junkie from Elmira, New York, who owned a saloon on the Las Vegas Strip that he out-fitted with a boxing gym in the basement. Miller’s “Strip Fight of the Week,” which bounced from one little casino to another during a run that lasted well over a decade, bucked the national trend. Small fight clubs, with very few exceptions, had fallen by the wayside, a development triggered by the mass production of televisions.

Miller was hardly immune to all the little hassles that plague a grass-roots boxing promoter. Matches were constantly falling out. But he had several things working in his favor. As opportunities dried up elsewhere, journeymen boxers were drawn here by the promise of steady work. And although Miller couldn’t afford to pay enough to make boxing a full-time profession, good-paying jobs were plentiful in the construction and hospitality industries.

To be certain, there were also push factors. Chester, Pennsylvania, a shipbuilding hub during World War II, had fallen on hard times, plagued by unemployment and racial strife. Lowell, Massachusetts, a city known for its vibrant amateur boxing culture, was likewise hurting with row after row of textile factories sitting vacant. Lowell produced Eddie Andrews, a hard-hitting middleweight who would be the first fighter to make promoter Miller any significant money without having to take him on the road to a larger precinct or overseas.

Andrews supplemented his ring earnings dealing blackjack at Caesars Palace. For a time, Ralph Dupas was a co-worker. A former world title-holder at 154 pounds, Dupas settled in Las Vegas in the mid-1960s as his career was winding down and remained here until his encroaching dementia passed the tipping point and family members brought him home to his native New Orleans to live out his final days.

Returning to Peter Bufala, he worked his way up the ladder on Miller’s promotions, eventually topping the marquee for a fight with Johnny Brooks. They fought at the Hacienda, a grind joint at the south end of the Strip (where Mandalay Bay now sits) on April 13, 1965. Brooks was nothing special, but he was better than his 17-6-3 record. He would go on to last the distance in 10-round fights with future Hall of Famers Emile Griffith and Carlos Monzon.

Bufala was bloodied in the third round and knocked down in the fourth, but mounted a furious rally and at the end of the 10 rounds the judges could not pick a winner and the match went into the books as a draw. Working on the “5-point-must” system, the scores were 46-44 Bufala, 46-45 Brooks, and 46-46. (Trivia time: The 46-46 tally was turned in by ringside judge Harry Reid who would go on to become the most powerful man in the U.S. Senate. Nowadays, visitors flying in to Las Vegas arrive at Harry Reid International Airport.)

Had Bufala won the bout, his next fight would have been a 12-rounder against Reno’s Dave Patterson, the Nevada Lightweight Champion. But when he returned to the ring the following month, it was in a 6-rounder against an unsung fighter from Los Angeles named Davey White and, in a shocker, White blasted him out in the second round.

Bufala announced his retirement after this fight. It warranted scarcely a mention in the Las Vegas papers, but the folks back in Chester hadn’t forgotten him. “Pete Bufala Quits Boxing for Health,” read the bold headline on the sports page of the June 9, 1965 issue of the Delaware County Daily Times. The accompanying story said that Buffala, “Chester’s most promising professional fighter,” had emerged from his most recent bout with a blot clot in his neck and was troubled by chronic back problems. (Buffala would have one more fight before quitting the sport for good. He won his final fight, a 6-rounder, bringing his final record, per boxrec, to 16-5-2.)

Bufala never returned to Chester. He married a local girl and, in short order, was a father of three, two girls and a boy who tragically died at 16 months when he crawled into a plastic laundry bag and suffocated as his mother was distracted writing checks.

In December of 1973, the MGM Grand opened on the southeast corner of the busiest intersection on the Las Vegas Strip. This was the city’s original MGM Grand that would take the name Bally’s and was recently re-branded the Horseshoe. With 2,100 rooms, a 1,200-seat showroom and a jai alai fronton, the MGM Grand made its competitors look puny by comparison. Peter Bufala was there on opening night, dealing baccarat.

In terms of the money put at risk, baccarat is the crème-de-crème of card games. It attracts the whales, the high-rollers that leave the biggest tips. On a good night at a high-end establishment like the MGM Grand, it wasn’t uncommon for a dealer to rake in $500 in gratuities. Bufala worked the graveyard shift (likely 9 pm to 5 am; it varied by hotel), the most coveted shift for a dealer in a day when visitors to Las Vegas were more nocturnal than they are today.

One didn’t get to be a baccarat dealer in a ritzy joint by working his way up from the bottom. One had to know the right people. In the vernacular, one got juiced into the job. And the juicer might expect a kick-back.

One of the most influential people in Las Vegas was an outsider who tried to keep a low profile, Gaspare “Jasper” Speciale. A transplanted New York bookmaker, Speciale co-owned and managed the Tower of Pizza restaurant which sat a stone’s throw from the MGM Grand on the opposite side of the street. Speciale opened doors for dozens of people seeking employment in the hospitality industry. If one was new in town and needed work in a hurry, Jasper was the man to see.

Until the arrival in Las Vegas of the notorious Tony Spilotro, Speciale was the city’s premier private money lender. He would eventually serve four years in a federal prison for loan-sharking.

Whenever there was a murder in Las Vegas that had the earmarks of a mob hit, speculation always centered on Gaspare Speciale. It mattered not that he was active in his church and donated lavishly to local charities. Moreover, he had a warm spot in his heart for prizefighters. In the spacious backyard of his home, chockablock with mementos of his boyhood in New York City, there was a replica of Stillman’s Gym complete with a punching bag and rubbing tables.

Another theory, although one that acquired less currency, pointed the finger at Bufala’s father-in-law who was the beneficiary of Peter’s life insurance policy. The two were partners in a small sporting goods store where it was rumored that one could purchase an unregistered firearm.

On the day that Peter Bufala was assassinated, the story about it in the Las Vegas Sun, an afternoon paper, said that the former boxer had no bad habits – he didn’t drink, smoke, gamble or chase women — and that he was well-liked by everyone that knew him. But, said a police detective, “Someone wanted him dead and eventually we’re going to find out who that someone is and why.”

Forty-seven years after the fact, the who and the why remain as baffling as ever. If Peter Bufala were alive today, he would be 80 years old. This is a mystery that will likely never be solved.

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

 

 

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

The Hauser Report: Foster-Nova at MSG and Other Notes

Published

on

The-Hauser-Report-Foster-Nova-at-MSG-and-Other-Notes

The Hauser Report: Foster-Nova at MSG and Other Notes

Boxing returned to Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, courtesy of Top Rank and ESPN. The festivities started at 5:30 PM and lasted until close to midnight. That meant there was plenty of time to talk with boxers and boxing enthusiasts like Rosie Perez, Gerry Cooney, and (drumroll please) former lineal heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs.

Briggs was in the house as part of an effort to lay the groundwork for a boxing gym and a documentary about the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Who does Shannon think is the best of today’s heavyweights?

“I don’t know,” Briggs answered. “I thought it was Tyson Fury, but his fight against Ngannou was weird. And Wilder against Parker; that was weird too. Joshua; you never know where his head is at. And I’m still not sure about Usyk as a heavyweight. Like I said, it’s weird.”

Briggs also said that he has signed a contract for an eight-round boxing match against former UFC champion Rampage Jackson to be contested on June 1 in Qatar and that he is slated to receive a purse of $5,000,000. I hope Shannon gets a letter of credit from a reliable bank sooner rather than later.

As for the fights at hand; the nine-bout card went pretty much as expected. Some of the “A-side” fighters were there because they’re prospects; others because they’re ticket-sellers. Top Rank has two Hall of Fame matchmakers – Bruce Trampler and Brad Goodman – so the favorites went nine for nine.

Arnold Gonzalez won a decision over Charles Stanford who was one of the opponents brought in a while back to get knocked out by Evan Holyfield.

Ofacio Falcon, who has been steered clear of fighters who might test him, fought Edward Ceballos (who couldn’t test him). Falcon won every round on each judges’ scorecard.

Isaah Flaherty (who can fight going forward and going forward) was cut high on the forehead by an accidental clash of heads in round one and forced the action against Julien Baptiste en route to a six-round shutout decision.

Referee Benjy Esteves let a fight between Euri Cedeno and Antonio Todd go on too long before saving Todd from further damage by halting the beating in round five.

Later, referee Shada Murdaugh let an overmatched Moses Johnson hit the canvas five times in the first round (the knockdown that started it all was mistakenly called a push, so there were only four official knockdowns) before waiving off things in favor of Italian heavyweight Guido Vianello late in the stanza.

Andres Cortes was battering Bryan Chevalier around the ring when Chevalier’s corner appropriately waved a white towel late in round four.

The best prospects on the card were Bruce “Shu-Shu” Carrington and Delante “Tiger” Johnson.

Johnson (11-0, 5 KOs) squared off against Paulo Cesar Galdino (13-7-2, 9 KOs, 4 KOs by). Galdino had won only one of his last five fights, and that was against an opponent with three wins in 13 outings. Referee Ricky Gonzalez wisely called a halt to the action with Galdino taking a beating in round one.

Carrington (10-0, 6 KOs) is a slick stylish fighter. Bernard Torres (18-1, 8 KOs) had been chosen as his opponent because he’s one-dimensional, slower than Shu-Shu, and doesn’t have much of a punch. As the fight wore on, Torres (a 10-to-1 underdog) had the look of a man who was thinking, “I have no idea how to solve this puzzle that’s in front of me.” Late in round four, Carrington (who can whack when he sets down on his punches) launched a brutal right hand that deposited Torres face down, unconscious on the canvas.

The main event matched O’Shaquie Foster (21-1, 12 KOs) against Abraham Nova (23-1, 16 KOs, 1 KO by).

Foster won the vacant WBC 130-pound title by decision over Rey Vargas last year and, trailing badly on the judges’ scorecards, salvaged his belt with a dramatic twelfth-round knockout of Eduardo Hernandez three months ago. He deserves credit for working his way up from B-side status in several earlier outings to where he is today.

Nova was an 8-to-1 underdog. But Foster-Nova turned into a hard, grinding fight with neither man able to establish dominance over the other. Referee Steve Willis did a good job of controlling the action without inserting himself in the flow more than necessary. I had Foster winning by one point with a flash knockdown that he scored in round twelve being the difference. The judges favored O’Shaquie with a 116-111, 115-112, 113-114 split verdict.

—-

Kansas City’s dramatic overtime victory over San Francisco in last Sunday’s Super Bowl drew the largest viewing audience in the history of television. So it’s safe to assume that many of you who are reading this column watched the game. With that in mind, I’d like to comment on the furor surrounding 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan’s much-criticized decision to receive the ball first after winning the coin toss at the start of overtime.

The NFL’s overtime format for playoff games differs from the rules used during the regular season. Each team is guaranteed one possession in a playoff game unless the defense scores a touchdown or safety on the other team’s first possession. If the game is tied after each team has possessed the ball once, the next score wins.

Shanahan elected to receive the kick-off at the start of overtime. San Francisco marched down the field, but their drive stalled at the Chief’s 9-yardline and the 49ers settled for a 27-yard field goal.

Then it was Kansas City’s turn. And even though the Chiefs were trailing, they had a slight tactical edge because they knew what they had to do; tie or win. Punting wasn’t an option. So when Kansas City was faced with a fourth-down-and-one situation on its own 34-yard-line, the Chiefs went for the first down and Patrick Mahomes kept the drive alive with an 8-yard run. Ten plays later, Kansas City scored the winning touchdown.

Did Shanahan “blow it”?

No.

If the game had been tied after the teams had one possession each, the next score of any kind would have won. And the 49ers would have had the ball first on each exchange of possessions from that point on until the end of the second overtime. That would have been a significant advantage.

Also, consider the fact that Kansas City had scored only one touchdown in sixty minutes of play prior to the overtime.

Shanahan and the 49ers lost the game. They didn’t “blow it” with what I think was a reasonable coin-toss decision.

—-

The future of Sports Illustrated is in doubt. Last month (on January 19), a series of unpaid financial obligations reached critical mass and massive layoffs decimated its editorial staff. SI is likely to survive in some form, perhaps as an online-only publication. But its glory years are in the past.

Sports Illustrated was first published in 1954. Spectator sports were on the verge of exploding in popularity in tandem with the expansion of television. SI rode that wave. It was one of the first national publications to understand and exploit the growing popularity of pro football. Its editorial staff recognized Muhammad Ali’s prowess as a fighter and his importance as a social and political figure while most mainstream publications still referred to him as “Cassius Clay.” Long-form articles and in-depth reporting made it a “writers’ magazine” of the highest order. Wordsmiths like Frank Deford, Herbert Warren Wind, Paul Zimmerman, Dan Jenkins, Jim Murray, William Nack, Robert Creamer, Tex Maule, Jack Olsen, Roy Blount Jr., Walter Bingham, and Rick Reilly plied their trade for SI. Its print circulation peaked at more than three million subscribers. The annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue (inaugurated in 1964) became a national institution.

Boxing (according to the SI archive) was featured on the magazine’s cover 138 times. Forty of those covers belonged to Muhammad Ali. Only Michael Jordan (with fifty covers) surpassed that total. Other cover subjects from the sweet science (listed alphabetically) included Carmen Basilio, Nino Benvenuti, Riddick Bowe, George Chuvalo, Gerry Cooney, Oscar De La Hoya, Buster Douglas, Roberto Duran, Joe Frazier, Marvis Frazier, Gene Fullmer, Joey Giardello, Marvin Hagler, Gypsy Joe Harris, Roy Harris, Thomas Hearns, Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield, Ingemar Johansson, Sonny Liston, Danny Lopez, Ray Mancini, Rocky Marciano, Christy Martin, Floyd Mayweather, Tom McNeeley, Carlos Monzon, Ken Norton, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Patterson, Sugar Ray Robinson, Earnie Shavers, Leon Spinks, Michael Spinks, Mike Tyson, Chuck Wepner, and Pernell Whitaker. To that list, one could add Don King and (most recently) Jake Paul.

From its inception, SI chose a “sportsman of the year” (later referred to on occasion as its “sportswoman” or “sports team” of the year). Three boxers were accorded that honor: Ingemar Johansson (in 1959), Muhammad Ali (1974), and Sugar Ray Leonard (1981).

But in recent years, the economics of publishing have changed. And the instant flow of information in a digital age made a sports weekly less relevant. In 2018, Sports Illustrated became the property of Meredith Corporation which acquired Time Inc. (SI’s parent company). A series of licensing agreements and resales involving the magazine followed. In 2020, it transitioned from a weekly to a monthly publication. Meanwhile, the quality of its editorial content was declining.

Worse, SI seemed to be losing its moral compass. For some subscribers, the final straw came when the magazine designated Deion Sanders as its 2023 “Sportsman of the Year”.

That honor (as defined by Sports Illustrated) is bestowed annually upon the athlete or team whose performance most embodies “the spirit of sportsmanship and achievement.” In its article celebrating the choice of Sanders, SI talked at length about how Deion had “transformed a moribund Colorado football program” and “transformed a community.” Nothing was said about his removing more than sixty scholarship players from the team roster (young men who had enrolled at Colorado in good faith) and replacing them with players brought to the university through the transfer portal.

Mark Whicker (whose credits include the BWAA’s Nat Fleischer Award for Career Excellence in Boxing Journalism) put the matter in perspective when he wrote, “SI was celebrating an egomaniacal huckster who ran off dozens of players who didn’t fit his template, with his son’s media company taping every move. In doing so, he dislocated lives and relationships. Some refugees said that Sanders never even bothered to learn their names.”

The selection of Sanders might have engendered a lot of publicity and “clicks” for SI. But did he really (Colorado finished the season with a 4-and-8 record) embody “the spirit of sportsmanship and achievement” more than Shohei Ohtani (whose 2023 season was unmatched in baseball history), Nikola Jokic (arguably the best big man ever who led the Denver Nuggets to the 2023 NBA crown), and Novak Djokovic (who cemented his status as the best tennis player of all time in 2023)?

I grew up with Sports Illustrated. I began reading the magazine when I was a boy. It has been in my home ever since. In 1991, I crossed an item off my “bucket list” when I wrote an article that was published in SI. On numerous occasions, I’ve relied on its archives for research. I miss the magazine that it was.

That magazine isn’t coming back.

Thomas Hauser’s email address is thomashauserwriter@gmail.com. His next book – MY MOTHER and Me – is a personal memoir that will be published by Admission Press this spring and is available for pre-order at Amazon.com. https://www.amazon.com/My-Mother-Me-Thomas-Hauser/dp/1955836191/ref=sr_1_1?crid=5C0TEN4M9ZAH&keywords=thomas+hauser&qid=1707662513&sprefix=thomas+hauser,aps,80&sr=8-1

In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism. In 2019, Hauser was selected for boxing’s highest honor – induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Looking-Back-at-Willie-Pep-Through-the-Keyhole-of-a-Stormy-Day-at-the Orange-Bowl
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Looking Back at Willie Pep Through the Keyhole of a Stormy Night in the Orange Bowl

Kenshiro-Teraji-Nips-Carlos-Canizales-in-a-Scorcher-Akui-Wins-Too-in-Osaka
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Kenshiro Teraji Nips Carlos Canizales in a Scorcher; Akui Wins Too in Osaka

Jaime-Munguia-Hopes-for-Another-Fight-of-the-Year-Performance
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Jaime Munguia Hopes for Another Fight of the Year Performance

Conor-Benn-Crosses-the-Pond-toDefeat-Peter-Dobson-in-Las-Vegas
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Conor Benn Crosses the Pond to Defeat Peter Dobson in Las Vegas

Avila-Perspective-Chap-270-Roy-Jones-Jr-300-Promoyions-Munguia-and-sumo
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 270: Roy Jones Jr., 360 Promotions, Munguia and Sumo

With-an-Assist-from-Al-Silvani-Carl-Weathers-was-Magical-as-Apollo-Creed
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

With an Assist from Al Silvani, Carl Weathers was Magical as Apollo Creed

Jaime-Munguia-Scores-a-Definitive-KO-Over-John-Ryder
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Jaime Munguia Scores a Definitive KO Over John Ryder

Avila-Perspective-Chap-271-Tim-Tszyu-in-L.A.-and-More
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 271: Tim Tszyu in L.A. and More

Eric-Bazinyan-Improves-to-32-0-on-a-Flaccid-Night-of-Boxing-in-Montreal
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Erik Bazinyan Improves to 32-0 on a Flaccid Night of Boxing in Montreal

Undefeated-Omar-Trinidad-Wins-a-Regional-Title-at-the-Commerce-Casino
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Undefeated Omar Trinidad Wins a Regional Title at the Commerce Casino

Oscar-De-La-Hoya-at-Mandalay-Bay-Then-and-Now
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Oscar De La Hoya at Mandalay Bay: Then and Now

New-Books-by-Bernard-Fernandez-and-Thomas-Hauser-are-Must-Haves-for-True-Boxing-Fans
Featured Articles1 week ago

New Books by Bernard Fernandez and Thomas Hauser are Must-Haves for True Boxing Fans

Results-from-Las-Vegas-where-Teofimo-Lopez-Retained-his-Title-in-a-Dull-Fight
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Results from Las Vegas where Teofimo Lopez Retained his Title in a Dull Fight

Avila-Perspective-Chap-272-Super-Lightweights-Teofimo-Lopez-Tito-Mendoza-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 272: Super Lightweights – Teofimo Lopez, Tito Mercado and More

Usyk-vs-Fury-Unravels
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Usyk vs. Fury Unravels

The-Hauser-Report-Foster-Nova-at-MSG-and-Other-Notes
Featured Articles4 days ago

The Hauser Report: Foster-Nova at MSG and Other Notes

Who-Murdered-Peter-Bufala-A-Whodunit-with-a-Boxing-Backdrop
Featured Articles2 days ago

Who Murdered Peter Bufala? A ‘Whodunit’ with a Boxing Backdrop

Jesus-Perez-Upsets-Jojo-Diaz-Wins-an-Unpopular-Decision
Featured Articles6 days ago

Jesus Perez Upends Jojo Diaz; Wins an Unpopular Decision

Avils-Perspective-Chap-273-Jojo-Diaz-O'Shaquie-Foster-and-More
Featured Articles1 week ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 273: Jojo Diaz, O’Shaquie Foster and More

Fridau-Night-Fights-Nontshinga-Wins-by-TKO-in-Oaxaca-O'Shaquie by SD at MSG
Featured Articles5 days ago

Friday Night Fights: Nontshinga Wins by TKO in Oaxaca; O’Shaquie by SD at MSG

Fighters-from-Tijauna-are-on-a-Roll-Can-Alexandro-Santiago-Keep-Up-the-Momentum
Featured Articles2 hours ago

Fighters from Tijuana are on a Roll; Can Alexandro Santiago Keep Up the Momentum?

Who-Murdered-Peter-Bufala-A-Whodunit-with-a-Boxing-Backdrop
Featured Articles2 days ago

Who Murdered Peter Bufala? A ‘Whodunit’ with a Boxing Backdrop

The-Hauser-Report-Foster-Nova-at-MSG-and-Other-Notes
Featured Articles4 days ago

The Hauser Report: Foster-Nova at MSG and Other Notes

Fridau-Night-Fights-Nontshinga-Wins-by-TKO-in-Oaxaca-O'Shaquie by SD at MSG
Featured Articles5 days ago

Friday Night Fights: Nontshinga Wins by TKO in Oaxaca; O’Shaquie by SD at MSG

Jesus-Perez-Upsets-Jojo-Diaz-Wins-an-Unpopular-Decision
Featured Articles6 days ago

Jesus Perez Upends Jojo Diaz; Wins an Unpopular Decision

Avils-Perspective-Chap-273-Jojo-Diaz-O'Shaquie-Foster-and-More
Featured Articles1 week ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 273: Jojo Diaz, O’Shaquie Foster and More

New-Books-by-Bernard-Fernandez-and-Thomas-Hauser-are-Must-Haves-for-True-Boxing-Fans
Featured Articles1 week ago

New Books by Bernard Fernandez and Thomas Hauser are Must-Haves for True Boxing Fans

Oscar-De-La-Hoya-at-Mandalay-Bay-Then-and-Now
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Oscar De La Hoya at Mandalay Bay: Then and Now

Results-from-Las-Vegas-where-Teofimo-Lopez-Retained-his-Title-in-a-Dull-Fight
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Results from Las Vegas where Teofimo Lopez Retained his Title in a Dull Fight

Avila-Perspective-Chap-272-Super-Lightweights-Teofimo-Lopez-Tito-Mendoza-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 272: Super Lightweights – Teofimo Lopez, Tito Mercado and More

With-an-Assist-from-Al-Silvani-Carl-Weathers-was-Magical-as-Apollo-Creed
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

With an Assist from Al Silvani, Carl Weathers was Magical as Apollo Creed

Conor-Benn-Crosses-the-Pond-toDefeat-Peter-Dobson-in-Las-Vegas
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Conor Benn Crosses the Pond to Defeat Peter Dobson in Las Vegas

Usyk-vs-Fury-Unravels
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Usyk vs. Fury Unravels

Avila-Perspective-Chap-271-Tim-Tszyu-in-L.A.-and-More
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 271: Tim Tszyu in L.A. and More

Looking-Back-at-Willie-Pep-Through-the-Keyhole-of-a-Stormy-Day-at-the Orange-Bowl
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Looking Back at Willie Pep Through the Keyhole of a Stormy Night in the Orange Bowl

Jaime-Munguia-Scores-a-Definitive-KO-Over-John-Ryder
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Jaime Munguia Scores a Definitive KO Over John Ryder

Undefeated-Omar-Trinidad-Wins-a-Regional-Title-at-the-Commerce-Casino
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Undefeated Omar Trinidad Wins a Regional Title at the Commerce Casino

Jaime-Munguia-Hopes-for-Another-Fight-of-the-Year-Performance
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Jaime Munguia Hopes for Another Fight of the Year Performance

Eric-Bazinyan-Improves-to-32-0-on-a-Flaccid-Night-of-Boxing-in-Montreal
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Erik Bazinyan Improves to 32-0 on a Flaccid Night of Boxing in Montreal

Avila-Perspective-Chap-270-Roy-Jones-Jr-300-Promoyions-Munguia-and-sumo
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 270: Roy Jones Jr., 360 Promotions, Munguia and Sumo

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement