Connect with us

Featured Articles

COMMISSIONER’S CORNER: A Tale of Two Divisions

Published

on

There is a lot more separating the heavyweight division from the middleweight division than some 40 pounds. It’s called talent.

On paper, Saturday night’s bash at Madison Square Garden should have been one of the sport’s biggest nights of the year. On paper, the heavyweight matchup between undefeated heavyweights Bryant Jennings (18-0) and Mike Perez (20-0-1), looked to be a phenomenal one. On paper, the matchup in a middleweight title fight between WBO champ Gennady Golovkin and former IBF champ Daniel Geale also looked to be a splendid matchup. Only the middleweight fight turned out to be a thriller, albeit a short one.

Going into Saturday night and on paper, both of the above fights looked like “Can’t miss” events. But fights take place in the ring, not on paper.

The Jennings-Perez match was supposed to be part of the rejuvenation of the heavyweight division. That same day, 3,300 miles away, in England, another heavyweight match was supposed to begin the rejuvenation: Tyson Fury vs Dereck Chisora II.

Then came last Monday. Chisora allegedly broke a hand during his last sparring session. We say “allegedly” because we were never shown an x-ray with his name on the film of the break. Bad break for Chisora. Bad break for the heavyweight division.

Some news of salvation of sorts for the heavyweight division followed. Alexander Ustinov–all 6′ 8½” and 305 pounds of him, along with his 29-1 (21 KO’s) record, would step in to replace Chisora.

All looked good until a day before the fight, when Tyson Fury’s uncle and former trainer–Hughie–was rushed to the hospital in serious condition. With that on his mind, Tyson pulled out of the fight.

While the heavyweight division still had lost a Tyson Fury fight, it was still getting the Jennings-Perez bout. It was a scheduled 12-rounder and billed as a title eliminator. The loser would go home, lick his wounds and regroup. The winner would go home and party. His next fight would be a promised title shot. Against who? Wladimir Klitschko? Bermane Stiverne? Klitschko, the IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO Heavyweight Champion is in heavy training for a September 6 defense against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev. Stiverne is closing in on announcing a late Fall date for a defense against 31-0 (31) Deontay Wilder.

Mike Perez is the same Mike Perez who faced Magomed Abdusalamov last November 2 in New York’s Madison Square Garden. This was Perez’ second outing since that tragic night, a night which has left Abdusalamov with brain damage and in a Westchester, New York, rehab center. A few months after the fight, Perez fought to a draw against Carlos Takam. He looked listless in the fight. It often happens to fighters coming off tragic endings in their prior bout. Sometimes, the fire never rekindles in their fighting spirit. It was wondered if it would rekindle in Perez. It doesn’t look that way. He was 20 pounds above his prime fighting weight and wore the weight around his middle.

Still, fans anticipated a slugfest between the two unbeaten, Jennings and Perez. The only problem is, neither heavyweight came to act like a heavyweight. Neither man was willing to throw punches with, as Mike Tyson used to say, “Bad Intentions.” Jennings and Perez were more desirous to hold, maul, head butt, move and pose than they were to fight like heavyweights, the biggest, strongest, hardest-hitting men in our sport. Jennings-Perez was this years’ “Wladimir Klitschko-Alexander Povetkin fight…12 rounds of little action. Klitschko-Povetkin made Mike Tyson-Bonecrusher Smith–another clinch-filled heavyweight 12-rounder–look like a slugfest. During the course of the bout, the crowd—an announced 8,572—was so quiet and still that they looked like a watercolor painting. A cheer went up when ring announcer Michael Buffer’s voice boomed over the MSG P.A. system, “THIS is the 12th and final round.”

In that final round, referee Harvey Dock took a point away from Perez for continuing to punch after his command of “Stop!” The one-point loss was crucial to the outcome of the fight. Judge Tom Schreck had it 114-113 for Perez. Judge Joe Pasquale had it 115-112 for Jennings. Judge Glenn Feldman had it 114-113 for Jennings, but it would have been 114-114 on his card without the point deduction, making the fight a draw instead of a split decision win for Jennings.

Don’t blame Dock for taking a point from Perez as the reason for Perez losing, however. Perez lost because his fire is gone, perhaps and probably extinguished forever.

Following the forgettable heavyweight match came the middleweight title fight and a view of the rapidly-growing-to-legendary-status Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.

I had no doubt GGG would win, but not this fast, not this easily, not this impressively. I thought he’d be tested–even a little bit–by Geale, a world class fighter.

GGG is in a league by himself. With every outing, against every world-class talent he is put in with, you will see it more and more.

On Friday, I spoke to our esteemed Editor, Michael Woods, following the official weigh-in. He noted that, for the first time, GGG was not his usual, jovial self. There was no joking with reporters. There was no posing for the cameras. There was no warm handshake for Geale–just a look of a stone-faced killer.

“Could Golovkin be feeling some nervousness?” I asked Woodsy.

“You never know what’s going through a man’s mind,” said our Editor. “But I will say this–I have never seen this side of him before. Maybe because, as a pro, Triple G is facing one of his toughest opponents.”

Once the bell rang, you would have never known it.

GGG toyed with Geale. He measured him from the start, felt his power and felt his strength. HE sized up his speed and timing. It didn’t take long.

The fight was over 10 minutes and 47 seconds after the opening bell (and that includes the rest periods after the first and second rounds). The undefeated GGG had notched his 30th victory, his 27th knockout, his 17th consecutive knockout and his 11th defense of his WBA Middleweight Championship. In a sport where championships are handed out like hors’ doeuvres at a wedding, GGG’s title is one which truly means something.

The power-packed 3rd round TKO–which left Geale standing like a drunk outside Madison Square Garden at 3:00 a.m.–also sent the 8,572 fans in attendance out of The Garden talking glowingly about the performance they had just seen.

“This Triple GGG is for (expletive) real,” said a fan who had spent $400 for a ringside seat. “I had to be close. I wanted to feel the power, which I’ve been told you can, if you’re close enough,” said the fan. “So I got close enough.”

So, did he feel the power?

“I absolutely did!” he said. “I absolutely did! The guy is incredible!”

Another fan felt the same way about Golovkin.

“He is the best champion in boxing, bar none!” said the fan as he departed The Garden with a few friends. “Bar none!”

The fans just may be right.

On September 1, 2012, we–the North American boxing fans–got our first look at Golovkin. I had known about him and had seen some videos on him, so was somewhat prepared for what to expect. My friend Charlie Fitch was selected to be the referee for Golovkin’s U.S. debut on HBO. His opponent was rugged Gregorz Proksa, from Poland, who brought a 29-1 record into the fight and a reputation as an iron-jawed slugger who had never been dropped. Charlie and I spoke about the fight, which was held at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York. He said he knew about the toughness of Proksa and the high skill level of GGG. He said he was ready for anything. He was. He handled GGG’s five-round, one-sided shellacking and breakdown of Proksa magnificently, finally waving things off in the fifth round.

Afterwards, Fitch told me, “Maybe it’s too early to say this, but I have a feeling I just reffed a guy who is going to go down in history as a great fighter.”

It wasn’t too early, Charlie. GGG is indeed a great fighter. The best from him is still yet to come…and it will. Golovkin, who has said he will fight from super welterweight (154 lbs.) to super middleweight (168 lbs.), now has some of boxing’s mega-fights to talk about. How about GGG against Carl Froch? Julio Cesar Chavez? Peter Quillin? Then, of course, are fights bigger than any boxing has seen in years: GGG v Andre Ward…against Miguel Cotto…and against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Against Mayweather or Cotto, let’s just select Yankee Stadium as the venue. The place will be sold out. Configured for boxing, the capacity would be around 60,000.

So, it was GGG on Saturday night who sent ’em home happy and talking of greatness and of how GGG owned the middleweight division.

Maybe GGG can become a heavyweight. Heaven knows that division could use some lifting up–especially after Saturday.

So, instead of getting two great heavyweight fights on Saturday, we got none. Instead of getting three great fights on the same night–two in New York and one in England–we got one great performance in New York and none in England.

That great performance came from a great fighter–a middleweight named Gennady. He has left us with so many possibilities that it’s mind-boggling.

The heavyweight division left us with nothing.

There may be 40 pounds between the middleweight and heavyweight divisions, but it seems like they are 40 years away.

Forty light years!

                                                                                ***

As I mentioned, don’t blame referee Harvey Dock for causing Mike Perez to lose to Bryant Jennings. What you guys don’t see is the elaborate pre-fight instructions given to each fighter in his dressing room by the referee. The ref goes over EVERYTHING. At the start of the fight, all you hear, when the fighters are brought to mid-ring, is the ref say, “Gentlemen, we went over the rules in the dressing. I expect you to obey them.” He may add a little something here or there, have the fighters touch gloves (which they do not have to do), send them back to their respective corners, get into the center of the ring, look at one fighter, turn and look at the other fighter, then look at the timekeeper and give the signal to ring the bell. He does NOT have to drop warning upon warning on them in order to take a point away. I hate to see a point taken away in the last round, but I felt the deduction was warranted. Both men knew the rules. Both men understood the rules. Then, why did Perez fall into that 12th round clinch, drive the top of his head into Jenning’s face, and punch witth his southpaw left as ref Dock repeatedly was yelling “STOP!”

I know. You’re gonna’ tell me Perez didn’t hear the command. Let me say that I heard it at ringside…and because I have spent much of my career wearing headsets, I don’t have the sharpest hearing in the world. If I heard it, Perez heard it. Then why did he head-butt Jennings? Why did he punch with the left after the command–which Dock said a few times–jarring Jenning’s mouthpiece loose? Perez didn’t lose the fight there. He lost it by his right jab-left cross-head butt and hold tactics throughout the fight. Harvey Dock is a damn good ref. He did a good job in a rough, physical fight. Perez didn’t need anybody’s help in losing the fight. He did that by himself. We can only hope he rests, searches his soul for some answers, perhaps talks to a guy like Ray Mancini, who lived through his own boxing nightmare, then either continues his boxing career with passion or moves onto another line of work with much success.

***

Lots of celebs were on hand at MSG on Saturday. Included were actors Tony Danza, Andy Karl and Margo Seibert. Karl and Seibert play the roles of Rocky Balboa and Adrian in the Broadway hit, “Rocky the Musical”…Promoter Lou DiBella has been filming a role in an upcoming movie…Prayers to former cruiserweight champion & now heavyweight contender Steve Cunningham and his wife, Livvy, as they await word–which can come at any moment–on a heart transplant operation for their daughter, Kennedy, who is 9. Kennedy was born with a condition called HLHS, which basically is a malfunctioning left ventricle. She has already undergone two heart surgery operations and now awaits a transplant. When the call comes from the hospital in Pittsburgh that a heart has been found, the Cunninghams have four hours to get Kennedy to the hospital and into surgery. They must then live in Pittsburgh for at least six months, the expected time Kennedy will be in the hospital and in follow-up care. Anyone wishing to make a donation–nothing is too big or too small–can do so by going on the internet to HeartbyFaith.com. Please help young Kennedy in any way you can.

***

BOOK NOOK: I just got “Friday Night Fighter,” the biography of Gaspar “Indio” Ortega, whose son, Mike, is currently one of the world’s top referees. Written Troy Rondinone, the book follows post-WWII boxing on TV, the “Gillette Friday Night Fights” and Ortega, who made so many appearances on those cards that his name was on the lips of every American who watched the show. Published by University of Illinois Press, you can find it in bookstores and at amazon.com. It’s a great read and tells us a lot about a great action fighter and a great family man–Gaspar Ortega.

***

Got a surprise call the other day from one of the most colorful characters in the history of boxing—Bruce The Mouse Strauss. Strauss served as an opponent for many promoters. His willingness to fight virtually anybody on a moment’s notice saved a show. His record was 77-53-6, but you can probably add on 20 more fights under assumed names. He fought in main events and undercards, against world-class fighters, future champions and local heros. He was as close to a WWE character as boxing has ever had. One time, he was stopped in Alabama. Three nights later, he was in a ring in Indiana. A reporter, who had been at the Alabama card, was also at the card in Indiana.

“Hey, weren’t you in Alabama the other night?” asked the reporter.

“No!” said Strauss. “I’m the Mouse. You saw my twin brother, Moose.”

The reporter bought it.

Mouse is doing great in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, and wants everyone to know he’s proud of localite Terence Crawford.

                                                                                 ***

Good luck to Sonya Lamonakis, the friendly voice on the phone at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, New York, as she’ll be fighting Carlette Ewell in the Caribbean this Saturday for the vacant IBO Female Heavyweight Title. The two fought to a draw two years ago in New York…Ring 8 had its yearly Summer BBQ in Glen Cove, L.I., The food was terrific and so was the turnout. Ring 8 is the largest Veteran Boxer’s Association in the world….David Berlin looks to be doing a great job in his new position as Executive Director of the New York State Athletic Commission. But have smiles been replaced by frowns. From press row, one of the writers turned and said to me, “Hey, Commish, look at that row of New York State Athletic Commission staffers. They don’t look too happy.” One glance at them showed him to be correct. Some looked almost sad. Some looked angry. Some looked indifferent. None looked happy. Smile, guys! It’s a fun job! Been there, done that!

WATCH RELATED VIDEOS ON BOXINGCHANNEL.TV

Advertisement

Featured Articles

Boxing at the Paris Olympics: Looking Ahead and Looking Back

Published

on

Boxing-at-the-Paris-Olympics-Looking-Ahead-and-Looking-Back

One hundred years ago, Paris was the host city for the Summer Olympics. What goes around, comes around.

In the upcoming Paris Games, boxers will compete for medals in 13 categories. The number remains unchanged from Tokyo, but the ratio has been modified. In Tokyo, there were eight weight classes for men and five for women. The men have lost one and the women have gained one, so in 2024 it is seven and six.

Eight American boxers made it through the qualifying tournaments and will represent Uncle Sam in the City of Lights.

The U.S. boxing contingent in Paris

Men

Roscoe Hill, flyweight (51 kg), Spring TX

Jahmal Harvey, featherweight (57 kg), Oxon Hill, MD

Omari Jones, middleweight (71 kg), Orlando, FL

Joshua Edwards, super heavyweight, Houston, TX

Women

Jennifer Lozano, flyweight (50 kg), Laredo, Tx

Alyssa Mendoza, featherweight (57 kg), Caldwell, ID

Jajaira Gonzalez, lightweight (60 kg), Montclair, CA

Morelle McCane, welterweight (66 kg), Cleveland, OH

Paris, 1924

At the Paris Summer Games of 1924, boxers competed for medals in the eight standard weight classes. The competition was restricted to men. Female boxers were excluded until the 2012 Games in London where the women were sorted into three weight classes: flyweight, lightweight, and middleweight.

Twenty-seven nations sent one or more boxers to the 1924 Games. In total, there were 181 competitors. The United States and Great Britain had the largest squads. Each sent 16 men into the tournament, the maximum allowable as each nation was allowed two entrants in each of the weight classes.

The United States and Great Britain each walked away with two gold medals. The other gold medal winners represented Denmark, Norway, Belgium, and South Africa. But the U.S. team garnered the most medals, six overall including two silver and two bronze, two more than the runner-up, Great Britain.

What’s interesting is that three of the six U.S. medalists came out of the same gym, the Los Angeles Athletic Club. They were proteges of the club’s boxing instructor George Blake who would go on to become one of America’s top referees. The trio included both gold medalists, flyweight Fidel LaBarba and featherweight Jackie Fields, and silver medalist Joe Salas who had the misfortune of meeting Fields in the finals.

LaBarba and Fields were mature beyond their years. LaBarba was 18 years old and hadn’t yet completed high school when he secured a berth on the U.S. Olympic team. Fields, a high school dropout, was even younger. He was 16 years, five months, and 11 days old on the day that he won his gold medal. That remains the record for the youngest boxer of any nationality to win Olympic gold.

Fields and LaBarba both went on to win world titles at the professional level. Let’s take a look at their post-Paris careers. We will start with Fields and save the brilliant LaBarba for another day.

Jackie Fields  

Jackie Fields was born Jacob Finkelstein in the Maxwell Street ghetto of Chicago. His father, an immigrant from Russia and a butcher by trade, moved the family to Los Angeles when Jackie was 14 years old.

Jackie Fields

Jackie Fields

Fields turned pro in February of 1925. Despite his tender age, he was fast-tracked owing to his Olympic pedigree. But his manager Gig Rooney blundered when he put Jackie in against Jimmy McLarnin in only his seventh pro fight. A baby-faced assassin, born in Northern Ireland and raised in Canada, McLarnin, destined to be remembered as an all-time great, was more advanced than Jackie and blasted him out in the second round.

Fields rebounded to win his next 16 fights. His signature win during this run was a 12-round newspaper decision over Sammy Mandell, the Rockford Sheik. Mandell was the reigning world lightweight champion, but because this was officially a no-decision fight, a concession to Mandell, the title could not change hands unless Fields knocked him out.

Fields’ skein ended at New York’s Polo Grounds where he was out-pointed across 10 rounds by Louis “Kid” Kaplan, a 108-fight veteran and former world featherweight title-holder. But Fields built his way back into contention and claimed the world welterweight title in March of 1929 by winning a 10-round decision over Young Jack Thompson at the Chicago Coliseum. They fought for the title vacated by Joe Dundee who was stripped of the belt for failing to defend his title in a timely manner.

The jubilation that Fields felt in winning the title was tempered by an ugly incident in the eighth round when a race riot broke out in the balcony. One man died when he jumped or was pushed off the balcony and scores were injured; “more than thirty” according to one report. Many ringsiders, to avoid flying objects, took refuge inside the ropes but the contest continued after the disturbance was quelled and the ring was cleared.

Fields made the first defense of the title against Joe Dundee. They fought at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit before an estimated 25,000.

Fields had Dundee on the canvas twice before Dundee was disqualified in the second round for a low blow. The punch was clearly intentional. Fields, to his great distress, wasn’t wearing a protective cup. Heading in, Joe Dundee was still recognized as the champion in New York, so one could say that Jackie Fields unified the title.

After a series of non-title fights, Fields lost the belt to old rival Young Jack Thompson. At the conclusion of the 15-round contest, Young Jack was a bloody mess – he would need to go to a hospital to have his lacerations repaired –but Thompson, who also came up the ladder in California rings, was fairly deemed the winner. This would be the last collaboration between Fields and Gig Rooney. The wily Jack “Doc” Kearns, who had managed Jack Dempsey and was then involved with Mickey Walker, horned right in and became Jackie’s new manager.

Kearns maneuvered Fields into a match with Lou Brouillard who had wrested the title from Thompson four months earlier and Fields rose to the occasion, winning a unanimous 10-round decision in Chicago to become a two-time world welterweight champion. It was a furious battle, wrote the correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. “[Fields] hit Brouillard with everything but the water bucket.”

After another series of non-title fights, Fields risked his belt against Young Corbett III. They fought at the baseball park in San Francisco before an estimated 15,000 on the afternoon of Feb. 22, 1933.

Fields was damaged goods. He had suffered a detached retina in his right eye in a minor auto accident and there was no cure for it. Corbett III (Rafaele Giordano) was a southpaw which was all wrong for a boxer with blurred vision in his right eye. Jackie fought back valiantly after losing the first five rounds, but lost the decision. The referee’s card (6-3-1 for Corbett III) appeared a tad generous to the loser.

Fields retired after one more fight. A closer look at his final record (72-9-2, 31 KOs) shows that he had 19 fights with 10 men who held a world title at some point in their career, including six future Hall of Famers (Jimmy McLarnin, Louis “Kid” Kaplan, Sammy Mandell, “Gorilla” Jones, Lou Brouillard, and Young Corbett III), and was 12-6-1 in these encounters. He was stopped only once, that by the great McLarnin in Jackie’s seventh pro fight.

Jackie Fields Post-Boxing

Fields wasn’t in good shape financially when he left the sport. His various investments were shambled by the stock market crash of 1929. For a time, he lived in Pennsylvania, first in Pittsburgh and then in Philadelphia where he was a distributor for the Wurlitzer juke box company and a sales executive with a distillery.

In 1957, he purchased an interest in a gambling establishment, the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. (Note: In Nevada, prior to 1967, public corporations were prohibited from owning or operating a property that housed a casino. Anyone purchasing one or more shares, called points, had to submit to a background check which did little to stanch the influence of the mob.)

Fields eventually sold his shares, but remained with the Tropicana in a public relations capacity. During the 1970s, he served on the Nevada State Athletic Commission. He passed away in 1987 at age 79 at a nursing home in Las Vegas after being hospitalized for a heart ailment. In 2004, he was inducted posthumously into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

For all that he accomplished as a pro, Fields always insisted that his proudest moment came in Paris. “As I stood there, with the band playing the Star Spangled Banner, I cried like a baby, I was that thrilled.”

PHOTO: 2024 U.S. Olympian Roscoe Hill

To comment on this story in the Forum CLICK HERE

 

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Arne’s Almanac: More Chaos for Ryan Garcia and a Note on Don King’s Impotent ‘Whip’

Published

on

Arne's-Almanac-More-Chaos-for-Ryan-Garcia-and-a-Note-on-Don-King's-Impotent-'Whip'

Arne’s Almanac: More Chaos for Ryan Garcia and a Note on Don King’s Impotent ‘Whip’

The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Hotel is the flip side of a Motel 6. For the fun of it, we went to the hotel’s website and checked the rates for this coming weekend. For a party of two, the cheapest room has a base rate of $1248 per night. That’s before taxes. With taxes, the tab swells to $3,016 for a two-night stay on Friday and Saturday.

In a classy joint like this, one surmises that it would be fairly easy to rack up a $15,000 bill for incidentals if one got too frisky and broke a few things. Ryan Garcia would know.

On Saturday afternoon, June 8, Garcia was removed from the hotel in police handcuffs and subsequently charged with felony vandalism according to TMZ. By California law, any vandalism above $400 qualifies as a felony. Reports say Garcia trashed his room and a hallway to the tune of $15,000.

The boxer had been staying at the Waldorf Astoria since at least Wednesday when family members requested a welfare check, believing that he may be in some kind of distress. It isn’t known at this time if he shared the room with anyone. Reports say that he appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs as he was being led away from the property wearing what appeared to be a motorcycle helmet.

Garcia had been acting erratically even before he upset previously undefeated Devin Haney on April 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. His wonderful performance was tarnished by the fact that he came in overweight and was thus ineligible to strip Haney of his WBC world super lightweight title belt, and his reputation was sullied to a far greater extent when it came out that he had tested positive for a banned PED.

Since that memorable night in Brooklyn, Garcia has come to learn that his mother has breast cancer. This has apparently caused him considerable worry. “Ryan has been open about his struggles with mental health over the years, and at this time he is dealing with an immense emotional burden,” said Garcia’s attorney Darin Chavez. “The support and understanding from fans and the public are crucial as he navigates these personal challenges.”

By all accounts, Ryan Garcia, who turns 26 in August, has the largest social media following of any boxer in the English-speaking world. He is said to have 12 million followers on Instagram. While he was at the hotel, Garcia used his platform to assert that he hadn’t been paid all the money that was owed to him from the Haney fight. “Me too,” chimed in Devin Haney, which prompted this formal statement from Garcia’s promoter Golden Boy, the lead promoter of the April 30 event: “As we have always done with all our fighters, Golden Boy paid Ryan and Devin exactly what they are owed under their contracts. As with all PPV events, revenue comes in over time and additional payments will be made when more money is received. If they aren’t aware of this fact, we would hope that their managers are. Or perhaps Ryan and Devin should pay more attention to their contracts than their social media feeds.”

“The Whip”

Back in the days when the foremost boxing arena in the world was in the basement of London’s posh National Sporting Club – we’re going all the way back to the 1890s – the man whose unofficial job title was that of a whip was a key component of the operation. It was the whip’s responsibility to see that the show went on without awkward delays in the action. He lorded over the dressing room, making certain that each boxer was ready to go the moment he was summoned to the ring. It was important for the satisfaction of the patrons to maintain a seamless pace.

Boxing promoters still depend on whips today, although the name is no longer used. But if Don King employed a whip for his last show, the fellow certainly didn’t curry much sway with the talent. There were interminable delays leading up to the main event between Blair Cobbs and Adrien Broner, long recesses filled with idle chatter between panelists Tre’Sean Wiggins and Albert Haynesworth. Wiggins is a welterweight boxer who presumably has some sort of personal services contract with Don King. He was initially slated to fight on this card and when that fight fell out, he was shifted over to the broadcasting department. Haynesworth is a former all-pro NFL defensive tackle. Don’t look for him to replace Michael Strahan on those NFL telecasts anytime soon.

These unscheduled intermissions were not entirely unexpected. Adrien Broner showed up late at the press conference two days earlier where he added some sauce to the most cringe-worthy boxing press conference ever, quite an achievement considering that the bar had been set so high. Broner turned pro with the firm expectation that he would eventually surpass Floyd Mayweather Jr. in career earnings. He emulates Floyd in one regard; he moves through the world on Mayweather Time.

The most bizarre moment in this five-fight Friday Night telecast (a $40 pay-pre-view) came when the ring announcer, at the behest of King, asked the crowd to stand in solemn remembrance of Jose Sulaiman while the timekeeper hit the gong 10 times. The 10-bell memorial is a nice tradition in boxing, but Sulaiman, the former president of the World Boxing Council, passed away on Jan.16, 2014. Egads, the man’s been dead for 10 years.

The 10-round welterweight contest between Cobbs and Broner was for the “People’s Championship.” For the record, Cobbs won a unanimous decision. Scoring at home, I gave Broner one round.

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Arne K. Lang is editor-in-chief of The Sweet Science. He is the author of five books including “Prizefighting: An American History” released by McFarland in 2008 and re-released in a paperback edition in 2020.

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Canastota Chronicles 2024

Published

on

Canastota-Chronicles-2024

I have been attending at least some part of Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend each year it has been held since 2014. Once again, I made my annual trip to Canastota for three days from Thursday until Saturday. As usual I came back home to Buffalo with memories that will last a lifetime.

Before I get started, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the big reasons I return to Canastota every year. From the folks who work at the Hall of Fame, to the volunteers, to the fans, I have made so many great friends over the years. The open and receptive nature of the Canastota people is something truly special. You feel welcome from the moment you set foot on the grounds until you leave. As always, this year I rekindled old friendships and made many new ones.

With that said, here is my personal experience from the three days I spent in Canastota this past weekend

Thursday

Kind of like a kid at Christmas I did not get much sleep Wednesday night and was up very early on Thursday. I left the house before 7:00 in the morning for the approximate  two-and-a-half-hour drive from Buffalo to Canastota. I was on the grounds before 10:00.

After saying hello to many people, I focused in on the ringside lectures which started around 1:00. This year I made it a goal to attend all of them and did just that.

Jackie Kallen kicked things off and talked about how she had to overcome many challenges in a male-dominated sport to get to where she needed to get in her career. She also spoke glowingly of Emanuel Steward who helped get her into the sport and guided her along the way.

Ivan Calderon was next and spoke that he was genuinely surprised to get inducted. He stated that because of his style in the ring along with having limited knockouts, he didn’t think he’d ever get the support needed to get in the Hall of Fame.

Several attendees then got on stage for the opening bell ceremony which was rung by Ricky Hatton.

Finally, the day closed out with Julian Jackson and Jesse James Leija. Both described overcoming challenges in the ring with Leija talking about how he overcame adversity to beat Francisco Bojado and Jackson describing how he found the energy to rally back against Herol Graham.

After the day’s festivities on the Hall of Fame Grounds, I headed over to Turning Stone Resort & Casino. Turning Stone hosts many events for the weekend and is a natural gathering place for those in attendance for Hall of Fame Weekend.

Since there are so many boxing people condensed in such a relatively small area there is a good chance of randomly bumping into someone in the sport. As was my luck, after I arrived at Turning Stone I took a seat in a small lounge that was unoccupied. A few moments later Ricky Hatton came walking into the same area and I got a dream chance to have a short private talk with one of my all-time favorite fighters.

Friday

Michael Moorer kicked things off Friday and though he didn’t go into a lot of details on various topics he did talk about his days at Kronk as well as his relationship with Emanuel Steward.

Jane Couch and Ana Maria Torres were next. Both discussed the challenges they faced breaking into the sport and getting any sort of recognition from the public. Couch was brought to tears while stating that she often fought without getting paid. When pressed as to why she wanted to continue her path in boxing, she responded that it was because she wanted to prove she could make it.

Butterbean was next up. He gave an inspirational talk about how he recently overcame not being able to walk for several years and rededicated his life to getting healthy again. Butterbean also spoke some about his contest with Larry Holmes and said that while he may not have liked Holmes during the build-up to the event, they have since become good friends.

The fist casting was next where the fighters have their fists molded to be housed for eternity at the Hall of Fame.

As the fist casting ended, I waited for my father-in-law to arrive to head on back to Turning Stone to attend the fights that evening. While waiting I started chatting with an individual who looked somewhat familiar to me. After talking for a little bit I got his name, Perry Ballard.

Perry was a professional boxer with a record of 27-2-1 with 20 KO’s and many fight fans may remember him for his fight with Hector Camacho that took place toward the tail end of Camacho’s career. Perry was accompanied by his son Chase to Canastota. Chase is also a professional boxer with a record of 4-1 with 4 KO’s and is currently campaigning as a featherweight. It’s these kind of conversations that I really enjoy during HOF weekend as Perry told me some great stories about his career and Chase talked to me about some of his pro fights. For a fan like me, interactions are priceless.

Saturday

It was back to the HOF Grounds bright and early on Saturday. There is a card/memorabilia show that takes place concurrent with the Ringside Lectures but I wanted to keep to my goal of attending to all the lectures.

Ray Mercer and Lamon Brewster started off the day. Mercer discussed how he recently quit alcohol and had gotten into much better shape.

Brewster spoke very eloquently about specific moments in his career. Of note he talked about his fight with Kali Meehan which was the first title defense for Brewster of the WBO heavyweight title he won from Wladimir Klitschko.  Brewster said Meehan was a former sparring partner and while they worked together Brewster had gotten to know Meehan’s family. According to Brewster when he arrived at the Mandalay Bay a few days before the fight Meehan’s family was there in the hotel lobby and Meehan’s kids all ran over to hug him. Brewster said that played on his mind when he got in the ring with Meehan and advised all boxers to never fight their former sparring partners.

Jim Lampley and Ricky Hatton were next on stage. This was certainly one of the best Ringside Lectures I have ever attended. Hatton talked about some of the partying and what made him such a popular figure in the UK. Lampley told a great story about his time at ABC working with Howard Cosell.

Hatton and Lampley

Hatton and Lampley

The referees took the stage after and this panel included Mark Nelson who answered questions regarding how he handled the recent Oleksandr Usyk-Tyson Fury heavyweight title unification fight. Erik Morales then followed and talked about various fights in his HOF career.

Finally, it was Sebastian and Gabriela Fundora’s turn to talk to the fans. While their talk was entertaining, even including Sebastian reminding everyone that he first called out Errol Spence Jr. two years ago here in Canastota during a similar talk, it was what happened afterward that stood out.

The Fundora Siblings

The Fundora Siblings

Usually after participants finish their time on stage, they head off to an area to sign autographs. As noted, the Fundoras’ were last and many people waited around to get their autograph/photo opportunity once their talk concluded. It was a pretty lengthy line and usually participants sign for a little time before heading off.

For well over an hour the Fundoras’ sat and honored every single fan request. And they did not leave the grounds until every fan that wanted to meet them did so. It was quite impressive to witness and they showed why they are such great ambassadors for the sport.

That was it for me. Another year down and already making my plans for 2025. I encourage any boxing fan who has yet to do so to make the trip to Canastota just once for Hall of Fame Weekend. I guarantee it will be an experience that will include so many memories that you will want to keep coming back to Canastota year in and year out.

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading
Advertisement
At-Long-Last-Marvelous-Marvin-Hagler-to-Finally-Get-His-Statue-in-the-City-of-Champions
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

At Long Last: Marvelous Marvin Hagler to Finally Get His Statue in the ‘City of Champions’

Ireland's-McKenna-Brothers-are-Poised-to-Make-Big-Waves-in-the-Squared-Circle
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Ireland’s McKenna Brothers are Poised to Make Big Waves in the Squared Circle

Oleksandr-Usyk-from-a-Historical-Perspective
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Oleksandr Usyk from a Historical Perspective 

Christian-Mbilli-has-the-Wow-Factor-Dismisses-Mark-Heffron-in-40-Seconds
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Christian Mbilli has the Wow Factor: Dismisses Mark Heffron in 40 Seconds

Avila-Perspective-Chap-284-Tyson-Fury-Oleksandr-Usyk-and-Much-More
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 284: Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, and Much More

Another-Victory-for-Ukraine-as-Berinchyk-Upsets-Navarrete-in-San-Diego
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Another Victory for Ukraine as Berinchyk Upsets Navarrete in San Diego

Fury-Usyk-Who-Wins-and-Why-The-Official-TSS-Prediction-Page
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Fury vs. Usyk: Who Wins and Why? – The Official TSS Prediction Page

Undisputed-Usyk-Defeats-Fury-Plua-Undercard-Results-from-Riyadh
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

UNDISPUTED ! – Usyk Defeats Fury ! – Plus Undercard Results from Riyadh

Will-Kabayel-vs-Sanchez-Prove-to-be-the-Best-Heavyweight-Fight-This-Weekend?
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Will Kabayel vs Sanchez Prove to be the Best Heavyweight Fight This Weekend?

Boxinjg-Odds-and-Ends-A-Bountiful-June-and-a-Cult-Fighter-Returns-from-Prisonj
Featured Articles1 week ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: A Bountiful June and a Cult Fighter Returns from Prison

The-Inoue-and-Serrano-Championship-Warches
Featured Articles6 days ago

The Inoue and Serrano Championship Watches

Big-Bang-KOs-the-Bronze-Bomber-in-the-Heavyweight-Finale-of-a-Splendid-Show-in-Saudi-Arabia
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

‘Big Bang’ KOs the Bronze Bomber in the Heavyweight Finale of a Splendid Card in Saudi Arabia

In-a-One-Sided-Beatdown-Batyr-Jukenbayev-TKOs-Shopworn-Ivan-Redkach
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

In a One-Sided Beatdown, Batyr Jukembayev TKOs Shopworn Ivan Redkach

How-Soon-Before-We-Know-the-Fate-of-Ryan-Garcia-and-Will-the-Result-Stand?
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

How Soon Before We Know the Fate of Ryan Garcia and Will the Result Stand?

Gay-Talese-an-Icon-of-the-New-Journalism-Wrote-Extensively-About-Boxing
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Gay Talese, an Icon of the ‘New Journalism,’ Wrote Extensively About Boxing

Okolie-Demolishes-Rozanski-to-Jump-Start-a-Busy-Boxing-Weekend
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Okolie Demolishes Rozanski to Jump-Start a Busy Boxing Weekend

Ireland's-Callum-Walsh-KOs-Carlos-Ortiz-at-the-Chumash-Casino
Featured Articles5 days ago

Ireland’s Callum Walsh KOs Carlos Ortiz at the Chumash Casino

zhilei-Zhang-and-Deontay-Wilder-Meet-at-the-Final-Crossroads
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Zhilei Zhang and Deontay Wilder Meet at the Final Crossroads

Avila-Perspective-Chap-285-Heavyweights-Clash-in-Saudi-Arabia-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 285: Heavyweights Clash in Saudi Arabia and More

Sweet-Revenge-for-the-Cat-Catterall-Outpoints-Taylor-in-a-Fan-Friendly-Fight
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Sweet Revenge for the ‘Cat’: Catterall Outpoints Taylor in a Fan-Friendly Fight

Boxing-at-the-Paris-Olympics-Looking-Ahead-and-Looking-Back
Featured Articles2 days ago

Boxing at the Paris Olympics: Looking Ahead and Looking Back

Arne's-Almanac-More-Chaos-for-Ryan-Garcia-and-a-Note-on-Don-King's-Impotent-'Whip'
Featured Articles3 days ago

Arne’s Almanac: More Chaos for Ryan Garcia and a Note on Don King’s Impotent ‘Whip’

Canastota-Chronicles-2024
Featured Articles3 days ago

Canastota Chronicles 2024

Boxing-Notes-and-Nuggets-from-Thomas-Hauser
Featured Articles4 days ago

Boxing Notes and Nuggets from Thomas Hauser

Xander-Zayas-Wins-a-Lopsided-Decision-Over-Patrick-Teixeira
Featured Articles4 days ago

Xander Zayas Wins a Lopsided Decision over Patrick Teixeira

Ireland's-Callum-Walsh-KOs-Carlos-Ortiz-at-the-Chumash-Casino
Featured Articles5 days ago

Ireland’s Callum Walsh KOs Carlos Ortiz at the Chumash Casino

Resukts-from-Florida-Where-Blair-Cobbs-Proved-Superior-to-Adrien-Broner
Featured Articles5 days ago

Results from Florida Where Blair Cobbs Proved Superior to Adrien Broner

The-Inoue-and-Serrano-Championship-Warches
Featured Articles6 days ago

The Inoue and Serrano Championship Watches

Avila-Prospectus-Chap-287-360-Promotions-Don-King-and-More-Action
Featured Articles6 days ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 289: 360 Promotions, Don King and More Action

Boxinjg-Odds-and-Ends-A-Bountiful-June-and-a-Cult-Fighter-Returns-from-Prisonj
Featured Articles1 week ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: A Bountiful June and a Cult Fighter Returns from Prison

Big-Bang-KOs-the-Bronze-Bomber-in-the-Heavyweight-Finale-of-a-Splendid-Show-in-Saudi-Arabia
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

‘Big Bang’ KOs the Bronze Bomber in the Heavyweight Finale of a Splendid Card in Saudi Arabia

Avila-Perspective-Chap-285-Heavyweights-Clash-in-Saudi-Arabia-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 285: Heavyweights Clash in Saudi Arabia and More

Ireland's-McKenna-Brothers-are-Poised-to-Make-Big-Waves-in-the-Squared-Circle
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Ireland’s McKenna Brothers are Poised to Make Big Waves in the Squared Circle

Gay-Talese-an-Icon-of-the-New-Journalism-Wrote-Extensively-About-Boxing
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Gay Talese, an Icon of the ‘New Journalism,’ Wrote Extensively About Boxing

zhilei-Zhang-and-Deontay-Wilder-Meet-at-the-Final-Crossroads
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Zhilei Zhang and Deontay Wilder Meet at the Final Crossroads

Christian-Mbilli-has-the-Wow-Factor-Dismisses-Mark-Heffron-in-40-Seconds
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Christian Mbilli has the Wow Factor: Dismisses Mark Heffron in 40 Seconds

Sweet-Revenge-for-the-Cat-Catterall-Outpoints-Taylor-in-a-Fan-Friendly-Fight
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Sweet Revenge for the ‘Cat’: Catterall Outpoints Taylor in a Fan-Friendly Fight

Okolie-Demolishes-Rozanski-to-Jump-Start-a-Busy-Boxing-Weekend
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Okolie Demolishes Rozanski to Jump-Start a Busy Boxing Weekend

How-Soon-Before-We-Know-the-Fate-of-Ryan-Garcia-and-Will-the-Result-Stand?
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

How Soon Before We Know the Fate of Ryan Garcia and Will the Result Stand?

In-a-One-Sided-Beatdown-Batyr-Jukenbayev-TKOs-Shopworn-Ivan-Redkach
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

In a One-Sided Beatdown, Batyr Jukembayev TKOs Shopworn Ivan Redkach

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement