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Andre Purlette Still Believes, And So He Must Fight

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Happens all the time.

Boxer’s been off, on hiatus, out of the mix, for a year, a two, or more.

But the infection still rages within him.

He can’t kick it, won’t kick it.

It needs to play out.

Organically.

The desires within swim through his bloodstream, with his brain sending perioidic bursts of messaging.

Need to give it one more shot.

Can’t end on this note. Can do better. Must do better. Must fight again.

That state of mind can still be present long after the body starts being less of an ally, and more so the foe. More than the person across from you in the ring, it is you who is the one who will derail the comeback. Not because of a detriment in your character, but because of the inevitable erosion which time’s passage usually brings.That need to compete, to push oneself, to attempt the ascent which seemed inevitable when envisioned decades ago, when it seemed like the stars were aligned just so to insure success, fame, fortune, could be likened to infection, truly, because comebacks can be cruel. Brutal truth–most don’t end tidy. They end with the fighter slumped on his stool, common sense, vicious reality having been pummeled into him. Many of the best of them need that, need their hopefullness, that useful stubbornness, to be whaled out of them.

Comebacks can be thought of as a medicine, to treat a psychiatric condition which often verges on what can look from afar like a perverted compulsion…and the ingestion of the medicine can be bitter, to the athlete who receives the cold truth, that his time on the stage has passed, and to the family, the friends, the loved ones who see the fighters’ need to give it…one…more…shot.

But the fighter needs to know, people.

He cannot be told, he cannot be counseled, he cannot be coerced.

He knows he has one life to live–because even if he believes in reincarnation, who’s to say he won’t return as a butterfly?–and he knows that his story arc as a fighter has chapters yet to be written. And we can sit safely on the sideline, and opine, and judge, and predict…but we are not in the arena, and thus, on this subject, our opinions shouldn’t sway. The fighter has to glove up, and, armed with perhaps a bit less muscle mass, a bit more flecking of gray in the hair, but a neccessary reservoir of what doubters might term delusions, he views as fuel. It is optimism. And until the comeback plays out, and he sees for himself what he has left, and if the ascent will ever be complete, or he falls short, he deserves something from us…Respect for his process. Respect for his innate yearning. Respect for his right to fight, again.

Andre Purlette is a name some of you might remember. He fought as a heavyweight, from 1992-2009.

Born in Guyana, ring announcers called out his nickname–TOMBSTOOOONE!–against some decent names from back in the day. Jimmy Thunder, Purlette beat him (KO2) in 2001.

Elieser Castillo, Purlette couldn’t get the better of him, got stopped in the fifth round of their 2002 encounter.

Jeremy Williams, him and Purlette fought a tight scrap, which saw Williams gets the nod after ten rounds of a 2003 fight.

Look at Purlette’s Boxrec today and he has what I call a “Boxrec ugly” last chapter. Back to back losses, to Aaron Williams, in 2008, and then Harold Sconiers, in 2009. TKO2, TKO3. From afar, you could look at that Boxrec, and nod your head, and say, hey, this Purlette did the right thing. He lost two in a row. He saw the writing on that wall, and he made a wise choice, to hang ’em up before the two fight slide turned into three, four, five. But that’s from afar..

To make that judgement, you ideally have to ask the guy what happened. That is, if he wants to go there. Purlette, it turns out, does want to go there. He does want to explain those two losses. And damn right, he does want to do what we touched on before.

See what he has left.

See if he can complete the ascent.

Can do better. Must do better. Must fight again.

“I still believe I can do it,” Purlette, age 40, told me in a phoner, from Florida, where he lives.

“I believe in my heart, I can do it, with the right kind of preparation.”

Another Florida resident, sportwear designer Champ Dulcio, thinks Purlette can too. Dulcio is building his brand, Muscle Wear, and wants hungry athletes, in boxing, football, and beyond, to wear his merch.

He reached out to me, and asked me to chat with Purlette, who he is advising and backing. Dulcio seems to be someone whose eyes are wide open, yes, but who likes to traffic in the realm of why something can be achieved, not one who looks to tick off reasons why it won’t.

However, he got it that Purlette, after five years away, isn’t going to come back to the ring, dust off a light coat of rust dust, and get a crack at a Klitschko. Question is, does Purlette get that? Optimism is a good thing, but it needs to be tempered with a measure of pragmatism. I wondered, does Purlette’s comeback quest carry a whiff of excessive delusion, or is he right-minded?

“I tell you this, Mr. Tiger Woods,” Purlette told me, a few seconds after I introduced myself as ‘Michael Woods, of The Sweet Science, like Tiger Woods, no relation.’

“I’m mature to the point I can give you my word. If my word dont mean sh*t, I don’t mean sh*t. It is an uphill climb, but it’s not something that can’t be done. Look at George Foreman, that tells me it can be done.”

But, I pressed, how and why will it be different this time?

Purlette explained that back then, his in the ring inconsistency largely stemmed from the fact that he wasn’t able to go all in as a prizefighter. He was working as a nightclub bouncer in the leadup to the Sconiers fight, working 10 PM to 5 AM, training not enough. He worked the night before the fight, in fact, and hopped on a plane, assuming he’d go and knock out the guy with the sub .500 record out. This time around, he insisted, he will give the sport, and each and every foe, the respect it and they deserve.

I heard other things that left me believing a bit in Purlette, thinking that just maybe he can do what the odds say he won’t. His views on what the fans want, and what the majority of fighters I believe should enter the ring looking for, align with mine.

“I think every fighter should have that desire to knock the other guy out,” he told me, and explaining that back in Guyana, friends and guys in the hood know him as “Stone,” because he has hard hands. “They should look for it. I hit any guy the right way, I can hurt anybody.”

OK, if he can put that mindsight on display in the ring, in this era of heavyweights, who wouldn’t give the comebacker at the very least the benefit of the doubt of a long look?

He said he knows he can get it done on an even higher level than he did in his first go round, if he can get the backing to train fulltime. He recalls that he more than held his own training with Wladimir Klitschko before Wlad’s second bout with Lamon Brewster, in 2007.

From the video I watched, Purlette isn’t a mere headhunter. He agreed with that assessement when I shared that bit of scouting with him: “I worked with the late Angelo Dundee and he told us years ago, in 1996, ’97, kill the body, see the hands start falling, and the head will open.”

Add in that the guy can talk a little smack, never a bad thing in this information age, where you have to be able, ideally, to set yourself apart from the next guy with an ability to stir the buzz, in 140 characters or less.

“Right now the heavyweight state is garbage,” he said. “I just need the right people to come behind me, and I’m going to do my part.”

Purlette was candid, and admitted his missus isn’t so keen on the comeback idea. But he won’t be dissuaded, he told me. And let’s not gloss over another reason folks come back. This “every man for himself” world economy leaves many of us scrapping for crumbs while the titans–in all vocations and sectors– scarf most of the pie. Purlette would but of course like to make a mark in the division, and leverage himself into some decent money fights. No one should ever underplay the motivation which can be conjured when a man labors knowing the fruits will be of immense benefit to himself, and his loved ones.

Confession; I’m pulling a little bit for Purlette, and in fact, identify with him at a root level, being to being, when he says, in summation, “I’m a fighter in the ring and life; I’m going to find a way to make it work.”

Get in touch with Woods at MJWoods99@aol.com

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

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PRESS RELEASE: The hotly-anticipated World Boxing Super Series Season II Cruiserweight Final between Mairis Briedis and Yuniel Dorticos takes place behind-closed-doors in a film studio at Plazamedia Broadcasting Center in Munich, Germany on Saturday, 26 September. On the line: The Muhammad Ali Trophy, IBF World Title, and vacant Ring Magazine 200 lbs belt.

The final will be shown live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK.

“A final for the Muhammad Ali Trophy has proved to be something extraordinary. We have seen that it brings out the best in boxers which reflects the DNA of our tournament as to deliver and continue to deliver boxing at its very best to fans of the sport,” said Andreas Benz, CEO of Comosa, the event organizer.

“Plazamedia is a phenomenal solution, the studios are providing a controlled environment which is of huge benefit to us and the production team to keep everyone safe while also putting on a great show.

“At the same time, we have done everything to secure fair conditions for both teams, and to ensure they remain healthy and isolated until the action starts.”

Mairis Briedis, tournament No. 1 seed, qualified for the final through wins over Noel Mikaelian (UD) and Krzysztof Glowacki (TKO3), while Dorticos, No. 2 seed conquered Mateusz Masternak (UD) and Andrew Tabiti (KO10) to enter the 200 lbs decider.

“We are very happy about the announcement of the final,” said Latvia’s Mairis Briedis. “I love the fact that it will be in Munich as it reminds me of every time I went to train with the Klitschko brothers in Germany and the flights were always via Munich. Those are some great memories of the time spent with them there.”

Said Miami-based Cuban, Yuniel ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos, IBF World Cruiserweight Champion: “To all my fans worldwide, In Europe and especially in Munich, Germany: I am super happy the World Boxing Super Series final will take place in Munich, Germany, and I will see you all on Saturday, September 26th. The KO Doctor is back and ready to prescribe another dose of pain and take the Muhammad Ali Trophy back to Miami.”

Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of the WBSS, said: “On 26 September we will not only crown the best cruiserweight on the planet but also send a sign to the world that boxing is back with the first major transatlantic championship bout between the undisputed number one and two in their division.

The final is not only about honour and glory, but cementing a legacy. The winner will become a member of an exclusive ‘Ali Trophy Winner Club’ that includes Oleksandr Usyk, Callum Smith, Naoya Inoue and Josh Taylor. It doesn’t get much bigger in boxing, and we expect Briedis and Dorticos to have an absolute barnstormer!”

The Muhammad Ali Trophy was created by the late world-renowned artist Silvio Gazzaniga who also designed the iconic FIFA World Cup Trophy.

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

David A. Avila

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

Let’s call this week the Big Build Up.

Back in the 1920s to the 1950s the City of Angels was known as the place where Humphrey Bogart lived and played characters out of Raymond Chandler’s novels. Books like the “Big Sleep” and “Lady in a Lake” were made into movies based in Los Angeles.

Well, here we are back where boxing thrives, people or not.

Los Angeles kicks off the big boxing week starting with a televised fight card that features home grown featherweight Vic Pasillas at the Microsoft Theater in the downtown area. Fox Sports 1 will televise the Premier Boxing Championship card on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

Pasillas (15-0,8 KOs) faces Dominican fighter Ranfis Encarnacion (17-0, 13 KOs) in the co-main event at a fan-less event that begins a crowded week of boxing as we near the end of 2020.

“Coming out on top against Encarnación is going to catapult me into some big fights at featherweight. The division is wide open and I know with hard work I can take it over,” said Pasillas who is originally from Los Angeles. “This is by far the most important fight of my career. I’m coming with everything I got, because I know this is the turning point that will lead to bigger and better fights. I am ready to bring an exciting fight to the fans and get my hand raised in victory.”

Both Pasillas and Encarnacion are undefeated and unknown to most of the boxing world. A win changes everything especially when it’s difficult to even stage a boxing card.

Promoters are anxious to get their fighters in the ring by any means necessary.

On Thursday in Biloxi, Mississippi, super lightweight Michael Williams Jr. meets Thomas Miller in the headline attraction of a boxing card that will be streamed by UFC Fight Pass.

On Friday in southern Mexico, Serhii Bohachuk (17-0, 17 KOs) meets Alejandro Davila (21-1-2, 8 KOs) in Merida, Yucatan. No word if it will be streamed. The super welterweight from Ukraine has a 17-fight knockout streak and has become a main attraction in Hollywood, California for 360 Promotions.

“Serhii has become one of the most talked about rising stars in boxing,” said Tom Loeffler, promoter of 360 Promotions. “Boxing fans are excited to see if he can continue his knockout streak against Alejandro Davila, the toughest opponent he’s faced. He’s been training very hard with Manny Robles for this fight and if victorious, we’re certain there will be bigger opportunities for him in the near future.”

These are all tasty appetizers for the big buffet coming on Saturday.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Saturday morning, especially if you live in the California area, ESPN+ will showcase the IBF, WBA super lightweight world title fight between champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) and Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) in London. It will be streamed live on Sept. 26, Saturday morning, starting at 11 a.m PST.

This is an important match for Taylor (pictured on the left) who needs a win to nail down a unification clash with Jose Carlos Ramirez the WBC and WBO titlist. If Scotland’s Taylor emerges victorious the super lightweight clash will be one of the top fights of the year.

And if that fight happens to take place, then that winner more than likely meets WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford.

But first things first. Taylor needs to defeat Thailand’s Khongsong on Saturday.

“I didn’t want a warm-up fight, so getting straight back in there against my mandatory challenger is great, as it’s kept me fully focused. I want big fights in my career, so this is an important fight with my belts on the line,” said Taylor.

Charlos Pay-per-view

The Charlos brothers asked for it and they got it.

Long have the brothers from Houston, Texas asked for a pay-per-view fight card and it never seemed possible until now. The Charlos will headline a pay-per-view double-header on Saturday via Showtime.

Beginning at 4 p.m PT/ 7 p.m. ET the Showtime pay-per-view card begins with three top notch bouts:

WBO bantamweight titlist John Riel Casimero (29-4) vs Ghana’s Duke Micah (24-0, 19 KOs).

WBA super bantamweight titlist Brandon Figueroa (20-0-1, 15 KOs) vs Damien Vazquez (15-1-1, 8 KOs).

WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) v Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs).

Charlo was not impressed with Derevyanchenko’s performances against Daniel Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin because both were losses. He expects to dominate.

Derevyanchenko says he’s ready for Charlo.

“Golovkin is a very different fighter than Charlo, but Jacobs is similar stylistically, so that’s something I’ll be used to,” said Derevyanchenko. “This training camp has been very similar to camps for my previous fights though. We just brought in different sparring partners for this one. We’re using fighters who can show us what Charlo will bring to the ring.”

After a 30-minute intermission the second half of the boxing card begins.

Former bantamweight world champion Luis Nery (30-0, 24 KOs) moves up in weight to face Aaron Alameda (25-0, 13 KOs) for the vacant WBC super bantamweight world title. Both fighters are from Mexico.

Former super bantamweight titlists Danny Roman (27-3-1) and Juan Carlos Payano (21-3) meet in a 12-round bout.

In the grand finale WBC super welterweight titlist Jermell Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) challenges IBF and WBA super welterweight titlist Jeison Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) in a fight for all three belts.

“We lions,” said Charlo.

It’s a very big week for boxing that begins on Wednesday and ends Saturday.

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The Return of Wednesday Boxing Evokes Memories of a Golden Era

Arne K. Lang

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There’s a Wednesday card on the boxing docket this week. The card, which features several undefeated up-and-comers of the sort usually found on Showtime’s developmental series, “ShoBox: The New Generation,” will play out at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and air on Fox Sports 1.

Not to be out-done, “ShoBox” is returning. The long-running series, which suspended operations in March in obeisance to COVID-19 restrictions, returns on Oct. 7 with a show emanating from Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Casino. The contestants in the main go of the four-fight card, Charles Conwell and Wendy Toussaint, have identical 12-0 records.

It just so happens that Oct. 7 is also a Wednesday. And these upcoming Wednesday shows transported this reporter back to his boyhood when boxing was a fixture on radio and television on Wednesday nights. The Wednesday series sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon beer ran from 1950 to 1960, airing the first five years on CBS and then on ABC.

Fights were all over the TV dial during the 1950s, not that there was much competition. The Big Three — NBC, CBS, and ABC — ruled the airwaves with DuMont a very distant fourth and cable television well off into the future. (For a time, the short-lived DuMont network aired boxing shows on Mondays.)

When televisions first came out, they were a big-ticket item. In 1948, RCA’s cheapest model sold for $395. That’s the equivalent of $10,400 today. By 1954, the cost of the least expensive model had declined to $189 and it came in a bigger box, with a 17-inch screen compared with the 13-inch screen that was standard six years earlier.

With the cost of the coveted contraption beyond the means of many wage earners, saloonkeepers cashed in. Boxing fans flocked to the neighborhood tavern to get their boxing fix. The saloonkeeper could write off his television sets on his taxes as a business expense.

Those were the days, and I date myself, when every town had a TV repair shop and the repairman, like the family doctor, made house calls.

The Wednesday Night Fights were a spin-off of the Friday Night Fights on NBC. The matchmaker for both series (through 1958) was the International Boxing Club which was headquartered at Madison Square Garden. The president of the IBC was James D. Norris (who would come to be seen as a puppet for mobster Frankie Carbo, but that’s a story for another day).

James D. Norris inherited a vast fortune from his father, Canadian businessman James E. Norris. The elder Norris was a big wheel in the sport of hockey and had a financial interest in the arenas that housed NHL teams in Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis. He made these arenas available to his son and the Wednesday fight cards moved around, unlike the Friday fights which were pinned to Madison Square Garden.

Both series would eventually venture out at times into virgin territory, but the Wednesday series was the trailblazer. The first nationally televised boxing show from the West Coast was a Wednesday affair. Jimmy Carter defended his world lightweight title against LA fan favorite Art Aragon, the original Golden Boy, at the Olympic Auditorium on Nov. 14, 1951. Aragon had upset Carter in a non-title fight 11 weeks earlier, but Carter took him to school in the rematch, winning a lopsided decision.

The Friday boxing series, which took the name “Gillette Cavalcade of Sports,” would come to be more fondly remembered, but once the TV became a living room staple, which happened fast, the Wednesday series drew higher ratings. This was predictable as more folks stayed home on Wednesday nights than on Friday nights. And although the Friday series had a larger budget, some of the most important fights of the era were staged on Wednesdays.

One of the highlights of the 1951 season was Ezzard Charles’ world heavyweight title defense against Jersey Joe Walcott at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. It was Walcott’s fifth crack at the title and he was considered ancient at age 37, but he avenged his two previous losses to Charles with a thunderous one-punch knockout.

Carmen Basilio appeared in The Ring magazine Fight of the Year in five consecutive years (1955-1959). The first two — his second meeting with Tony DeMarco and his second meeting with Johnny Saxton – were televised on a Wednesday.

Although he would be quickly forgotten, the Wednesday series brought Bob Satterfield a cult following because of his unpredictability. He certainly left an impression on octogenarian boxing writer Ted Sares who recently named Satterfield his all-time favorite fighter.

To conjure up a portrait of Satterfield, think Deontay Wilder and then fix Wilder with a glass jaw. Satterfield, whose best weight was about 182 pounds, was a murderous puncher, but during his career he was stopped 13 times.

LA’s Clarence Henry and Pittsburgh’s Bob Baker were ranked #3 in the heavyweight division when they ventured to Chicago to tangle with Satterfield, Henry in 1952 and Baker the following year. Henry knocked out Satterfield in the opening round. Satterfield hit the canvas so hard, said a ringside reporter, the resin dust flew up.

The Satterfield-Baker fight would also end in the opening round. Baker out-weighed Satterfield by 34 pounds, but Satterfield flattened him. Later on, in a non-Wednesday fight, Satterfield knocked out Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams in the third round. Williams, 33-1 heading in, was the larger man by 25 pounds.

One bet on or against Bob Satterfield at one’s own peril.

The Wednesday Night Fights had a nice run before the series was cancelled and supplanted in its time slot by “The Naked City,” a critically acclaimed police drama series. Perhaps the return of boxing on Wednesdays augurs well for another mid-week boxing series, but we won’t hold our breath.

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

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Featured Articles3 weeks ago

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

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