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Still No Consensus on Rocky Marciano’s Place in Boxing History

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Aug. 31 marks the 45th anniversary of the day when Rocky Marciano died in the crash of a small plane in an Iowa cornfield. The only heavyweight champion to quit the ring while undefeated — he was 49-0, with 43 knockouts, following his final bout, a ninth-round knockout of the great Archie Moore on Sept. 21, 1955 — Marciano was on his way to a celebration of his 46th birthday the following day, Sept. 1, in Des Moines, but he and the Cessna 172’s other two occupants, both of whom also perished, never got there.

More than four decades later, boxing historians and fight fans of a certain age who actually saw Marciano bludgeon his way to the top are still divided as to whether the “Brockton Blockbuster,” just 32 when he announced his retirement on April 27, 1956, is truly among the best of the best, or an inelegant but sturdy brawler who was fortunate enough to come along during a fallow period in the heavyweight division that fell between the more regal reigns of Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali.

Opinions as to Marciano’s place in the all-time heavyweight pecking order are as strongly stated, and as widely diverse, as any that can be found in the fight game. His crushing overhand right, which he had dubbed the “Suzie Q,” has to rate as one of the most potent weapons in the arsenal of any fighter. But, some critics sniped, that big right hand, as well as Marciano’s relentless determination to succeed and seeming imperviousness to pain, were the only real assets of a short (5-10¼) and short-armed man (his reach of 68 inches is 4 inches shorter than welterweight Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s) whose original goal was to become a catcher in baseball’s big leagues. That dream died when Marciano, a decent hitter with a bat in his hands, was sent home without a contract from a Chicago Cubs tryout camp in Fayetteville, N.C., in 1947 because of – get this – a weak throwing arm.

Even when he won, Marciano was sometimes targeted for barbs that stung his pride as much as the punches he received from gloved opponents. In writing of Marciano’s emphatic stoppage of Moore, the 175-pound champion who was moving up in weight, Nat Fleischer, founder of The Ring, noted that the winner was “crude, wild-swinging, awkward and missed heavily.”

After his eighth-round TKO of a 37-year-old Joe Louis on Oct. 26, 1952, in Madison Square Garden, Arthur Daley was almost contemptuous in his dismissal of the then-29-year-old Marciano as a worthy heir to the twice-removed crown of the faded “Brown Bomber.”

“The Louis of 10 years ago would have felled Rocky with one punch,” Daley wrote. “Louis losing is more important than Marciano winning.”

Even Marciano’s very astute trainer, Charley Goldman, had to admit that his man had rough edges that could never be completely sanded smooth by any chief second, no matter how much time and effort was put into the attempt. Marciano had only taken up boxing in the Army to get out of kitchen duty and other less-than-desirable assignments, and although he won the 1946 Armed Forces boxing tournament, he was just 8-4 as an amateur, getting by almost solely on crude, raw power.

In recalling his first glimpse of “prospect” Marciano, Goldman jotted down all his negatives into a notebook: wild punches, poor balance, legs too far apart, stride too long, non-existent defense, over-reliance on his right hand and a disinclination to throw combinations, among other things. But when the kid connected, he somehow made magic.

“Marciano was so awkward we just stood there and laughed,” Golden was quoted as saying in author Bert Randolph Sugar’s 2005 book, “Boxing’s Greatest Fighters.” “He didn’t stand right, he didn’t throw a punch right. He didn’t do anything right.”

Later on, as Marciano continued to knock everyone stiff, Goldman, who had previously been the manager-trainer of middleweight titlist Al McCoy, allowed that “I got a guy who’s short, stoop-shouldered and balding with two left feet. (Rocky’s victims) all look better than he does as far as moves are concerned, but they don’t look so good (laying) on the canvas.”

So what is the most accurate assessment of what Rocky was, or wasn’t?

Sugar, always opinionated and frequently controversial, had Marciano at No. 14 on his list of the 100 greatest fighters of all time, and the fifth-best heavyweight, behind Louis (4), Ali (7), Jack Dempsey (9), Jack Johnson (10) and Gene Tunney (13). Other renowned big men who fell in behind The Rock were Sam Langford (16), Ezzard Charles (24), George Foreman (31), Joe Frazier (37), Evander Holyfield (42), Larry Holmes (45), John L. Sullivan (54), Bob Fitzsimmons (66), Jim Corbett (69), Sonny Liston (73), Jersey Joe Walcott (79), Peter Jackson (80), James J. Jeffries (84) and – obviously, a lot of fight fans will dispute back-of-the-line status – Mike Tyson (100).

“As indestructible as any fighter in history, Marciano walked into, and through, thousands of hard, clean jolting shots in the manner of a human steamroller, wrecking his opponents with baseball-bat swings to the arms, the midsection, the head, and just about anything else within reach,” Sugar wrote. “Always ready to give two or three punches to land one, the determined Marciano melted down the guards of his opponents, and with the shortest arms of any champion in the history of the heavyweight division, hewed them down to size.”

Moore, who was on a 21-bout winning streak when he challenged Marciano, wasn’t about to dispute Sugar’s assessment. “The Mongoose” holds the all-time professional record with 131 knockout victories, so he knows a thing or two about what it feels like to deliver and to be on the wrong end of a takeout shot. And Marciano, he marveled, rose above all the big bangers of his acquaintance.

“Marciano is far and away the strongest man I’ve ever encountered in almost 20 years of fighting,” Moore said in an article that appeared in the New York Times the day after the bout. “And believe me, I’ve met some tough ones.”

The Rocky Marciano story is pure Americana, regardless of where the so-called experts are apt to place him on their best-of lists. The grandson of Italian immigrants, the young Rocky – whose birth name was Rocco Marchegiano; it was changed by his manager, Al Weill, because Weill thought the shortened version was easier to pronounce and to fit in newspaper headlines – grew up knowing only that he didn’t want to work in the shoe factory where his father, Pierino, worked long hours for short wages under dismal conditions.

Perhaps Marciano’s burgeoning popularity owed in part to the exciting nature of his no-frills, all-thrills style; he was involved in The Ring’s Fight of the Year in three consecutive years, from 1952 through ’54, scoring knockouts of Jersey Joe Walcott, Roland La Starza and Ezzard Charles (the last two were rematches). Maybe it was because he was seen in some quarters as a “White Hope,” the man who would end a 17-year domination of the heavyweight division by black fighters that had begun with Louis and extended on to Charles and then Walcott. There also was the constant expectation of sudden lightning, a thunderbolt in the late going of bouts Marciano was trailing on the scorecards, with his undefeated record further endangered with each passing round.

Such was the case in his challenge of Walcott, who had wrested the championship from Charles on a seventh-round knockout on July 18, 1951, in Pittsburgh, the putaway blow a perfectly timed, walk-in left hook that was and still remains one of the most aesthetically perfect punches in boxing history. For all the world, it looked as if Jersey Joe was headed to an even more significant triumph, increasing his points lead over the bull-strong Marciano as the fight, scheduled for 15 rounds on Sept. 23, 1952, in Philadelphia’s Municipal Stadium, headed into the 13th. Marciano clearly needed a knockout to claim the title, and he knew it. So, you would have thought, did Walcott.

But Walcott wanted to chisel boulder that had been The Rock down to a pebble, and he attempted to put an exclamation point to his seemingly imminent success in that fateful stanza by stepping up the pace even more. Instead he was sent down and out by what might have been the most spectacular one-punch knockout ever, a short – maybe six inches – right to the jaw that landed with the force of a meteor slamming into the earth. Walcott, whose face was distorted into that of an anguished gargoyle at the point of impact, was unconscious as he slid down the ropes. Referee Charlie Daggett went through with the formality of a count, but he could have tolled to 100 and Walcott wouldn’t have risen in time.

After vanquishing Moore, however, the inner fire that had always burned so hot into Marciano began to cool. His retirement stuck after he defeated Moore, who had decked him in Round 2, although Rocky was sorely tempted to go for win No. 50 after Sweden’s Ingemar Johansson lifted the heavyweight title from Floyd Patterson on a third-round TKO on June 26, 1959, in Yankee Stadium.

“I don’t want to be remembered as a beaten champion,” said Marciano, who understood how great the difference was between 49-0 and 49-1, for the purpose of retaining the unique legacy he had consecrated with his blood. And so he walked away from a seven-figure payday that would have added a bundle to the $4 million or so in career earnings he had amassed at a time when a million dollars went a hell of a lot further than it does now.

There would be one more moment of semi-glory for Marciano, however. A Miami-based entrepreneur named Murry Woroner in 1967 came up with the idea of a “fantasy boxing tournament” to determine the best heavyweight of all time, the results of which would be spit out by something called the NCR 315 computer. The data on 16 all-time greats fed into the gadget, admittedly primitive by today’s standards, and in the final Marciano emerged as the winner via 13th-round knockout of Jack Dempsey.

Muhammad Ali – who was in the midst of his three-year suspension from boxing for refusing to be inducted into the Army and whom the computer had deemed a quarterfinals loser to James J. Jeffries – filed a $1 million lawsuit against Woroner for defamation. Ali claimed that Woromer had, in effect, stolen his good name by rigging the computer to have him lost to someone he claims he could have beaten a hundred times in a hundred tries.

Woroner slipped the legal punch by offering Ali a filmed fantasy fight against Marciano, who was 45 and had not fought in 13 years. Both men signed on, and the filming took place in early 1969 with a flabby Ali nearly 40 pounds over his best fighting weight and Marciano, wearing a toupee for vanity’s sake, 45 pounds lighter thanks to a crash diet. Seventy one-minute rounds were filmed, including seven different endings. Neither Ali nor Marciano, it was said, was told beforehand which outcome would used in the telecast, to be shown in some 1,500 closed-circuit locations around the world.

A Philadelphia Inquirer reporter, Arnold Davis, told Ali – who was cash-strapped and who reportedly accepted Woroner’s offer of $9,999 to participate – that he was crazy if he thought the final cut would have him winning.

“The end is supposed to be a mystery? To whom?” Davis asked Ali. “Marciano will beat you bloody. And it will sell like hell in South Africa, to say nothing of Indiana and Alabama.”

As Davis had predicted, Marciano did win, coming from behind to win by a knockout in the 13th round, just as he had done in his title-winning bout with Walcott. An unusually gracious Ali, speaking to Howard Cosell on ABC’s Wide World of Sports in 1976, said, “I think on my best day and his best day I would have beaten him, (but) probably not knocked him out. I think he was better than Joe Frazier, and you know what Joe Frazier did to me.”

Three months after the Ali-Marciano “fight” became a cause celebre, Rocky’s plane crashed in that Iowa cornfield and his legend was forever set, no longer susceptible to the alteration of ongoing events.

So, again, the question must be asked: How good was The Rock? Better than his detractors insist, or worse than his admirers claim?

Given Marciano’s squatty build and comparative lack of heft – his highest weight for any fight was 192½ pounds – his most obvious reference points are Frazier and Tyson, similarly constructed close-to-the-ground power punchers.

Boxing writer Monte D. Cox said transposing Frazier’s opponents with Marciano’s tells you all you need to know. “Is there one person that Marciano beat that Joe Frazier would not beat?” he asked. “The answer is clearly no. Joe Frazier would have little trouble with Marciano’s opponents and would easily have gone 49-0 against them … Had the two all-time greats switched eras, Frazier would have been 49-0 and Marciano would likely have had losses to Ali and Foreman on his record.”

But the floating of hypotheticals is easy. It is human nature to remember what we care to remember, to believe what we want to believe, and we will furiously forward our point of view with those holding a contradictory position. So let Peter Marciano, whom I interviewed in 2006, offer his thoughts on his older brother in response to all the Monte Coxes who would cast aspersions upon Rocky’s memory.

“Any fighter you might mention – and I like to believe I’m not being prejudiced – could not have beaten Rocky,” Peter said. “I honestly believe that. The only way I can ever imagine him losing is on an accidental head-butt, a head cut or something like that. Forget size. Rocky was tremendously strong. His strength was, and I hate to use the word, but it was almost superhuman. Big guys were made for him. The bigger they were, the easier it was for Rocky to tire them out and then to knock them out.

“Muhammad Ali was terrific, but it wasn’t just his speed and mobility that made him a great champion. It was his mental strength. He believed, as Rocky did, that he could not be beaten. The difference between them is that Ali told everyone how good he was and Rocky, who was a very humble man, did not feel he had to come out and say it. It was enough that he knew it.

“The other difference, of course, is that Rocky was never beaten.”

Which brings us back to that 49-0 record which remains the unassailable summit that all other heavyweight champions have endeavored to scale without success. Larry Holmes came closest, getting to 48-0 before he was dethroned on a close but unanimous 15-round decision to Michael Spinks on Sept. 21, 1985, in Las Vegas – ironically, but not coincidentally, the 30th anniversary of Marciano’s 49th and farewell win against Moore.

At the postfight press conference, a miffed Holmes said, “Rocky Marciano couldn’t carry my jockstrap,” a rather indelicate statement considering the fact that Peter Marciano was on hand to offer a congratulatory handshake he really didn’t want to extend, and now didn’t have to.

“Quite honestly, I never want to see Rocky’s record broken,” Peter said. “As a boxing fan, if someone is good enough to ever do it, I would tip my cap to him. But I think the chances of that happening is almost non-existent given the current landscape. The best fighters don’t fight more than two or three times a year once they achieve pay-per-view status. That makes it difficult for the elite guys to even have 50 fights, much less to win them all.”

Marciano’s sheen of perfection is not entirely resistant to the shadow of doubt. In his first fight with La Starza, who was 37-0 at the time, The Rock won a decision that was more than a little disputed. And if title fights went 12 rounds in his day, instead of 15, he would never have gotten the chance to starch Walcott in Round 13. As another Rocky – that would be Graziano – once said, “Somebody up there likes me.” And that may well have been the case for Marciano, who didn’t get to 49-0 easily, but got there nonetheless.

The fight game is primordial, and that is reason enough to have an affinity toward the Marcianos and the Fraziers and the Tysons, who give it all that they have for as long as they have it. They strike a chord within us, the sound of a wolf howl, reminding us that at our core we perhaps aren’t really as prim and proper as genteel society might prefer.

“Rocky is not in there to outpoint anybody with an exhibition of boxing skill,” Ed Fitzgerald, one of the top sports writers of the Marciano era, observed. “He is a primitive fighter who stalks his prey until he can belt him with that frightening right-hand crusher. He is one of the easiest fighters in the ring to hit. You can, as with an enraged grizzly bear, slow him down and make him shake his head if you hit him hard enough to wound him, but you can’t make him back up. Slowly, relentlessly, he moves in on you. Sooner or later, he clubs you down.”

Rest in peace, Mr. Marciano, and know that a little bit of you lives on in certain select fighters who know that even the sweet science sometimes needs an infusion of sweet savagery.

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Avila Perspective, Chap, 263: Regis Prograis and Devin Haney target San Francisco

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Avila Perspective, Chap, 263: Regis Prograis and Devin Haney target San Francisco

Back in the 60s San Francisco was home to Flower Children, free love and open concerts.

Not today.

Now it’s more cauliflower ears, gentrification and professional fighting.

Welcome to San Francisco and welcome to the battle between WBC super lightweight titlist Regis Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs) and former undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) on Saturday Dec. 9, at the Chase Center.

DAZN pay-per-view will stream the Matchroom Boxing card that includes Ebanie Bridges versus Miyo Yoshida.

It’s been a long time since San Francisco hosted a big-time event like this. Back in the 1890s until the 1950s the Golden Gate city was a leader in prize fighting. Gentleman Jim Corbett, Abe Attell, and Willie Ritchie, among others, were world champions from the city back more than 100 years ago.

I even have a relative who lived and fought in San Francisco from 1915 to 1930 among other cities. It’s good to see the bay city back hosting pugilism.

Prograis and Haney are kind of throwback fighters.

The challenger Haney has that classic smooth boxing style that kind of reminds me of the great Sugar Ray Robinson. He doesn’t have that shocking power that enabled Robinson to dominate the welterweight and middleweight divisions during the 40s and 50s, but he’s smooth.

The champion Prograis hails from New Orleans and kind of reminds me of Aaron Pryor, a beast of the super lightweight division during his heyday in the 70s and 80s. Who can forget Pryor and Alexis Arguello’s two epic battles? Today’s champion has some of those fierce qualities of Pryor.

Mix them together and what will we get?

Prograis, 34, has been put on the back-burner for years after losing a very close battle to Scotland’s Josh Taylor in 2019. No other world titlist wanted to risk facing the native of New Orleans who left due to Hurricane Katrina. He’s fast, fearless, has a good jaw and cracks hard.

“I’m going to hurt that boy,” says Prograis with dead seriousness.

Haney, 25, was born in San Francisco and lived across the bridge in Oakland until the age of 14 when he moved to Las Vegas. Due to his age, he began his pro career in Mexico. Ten of his pro fights took place in cantinas, small arenas and gymnasiums against unknown but dangerous fighters. When he turned 18, he ventured back home and has remained undefeated with his blend of stylistic boxing and athleticism.

“Regis is going to be trying to knock me out and that’s exactly what I need him to be trying to do,” said Haney who seeks to add a super lightweight division title to his resume. “I’m going to be stronger and faster than ever. I’m going to dominate him.”

Throughout the media week, Haney and crew have been badgering and taunting the current champion Prograis. Is that a good idea?

“I’m going to hurt that boy,” Prograis reiterated.

Amanda abandons WBC

Puerto Rico’s Amanda Serrano, the undisputed featherweight world champion tossed aside the WBC featherweight title because the organization refuses to budge on its two-minute rounds for women’s boxing.

“If a sanctioning body doesn’t want to give me and my fellow fighters the choice to fight the same as the men, then I will not be fighting for that sanctioning body,” the seven-division world champion stated.

“The WBC has refused to evolve the sport for equality. So I am relinquishing their title,” said Serrano, the first ever undisputed featherweight world champion.

How many other WBC titlists will follow her lead?

Already Mikaela Mayer has asked for three-minute rounds in her upcoming match with Natasha Jonas. Both publicly said they want three-minute rounds. Will the promoter for BOXXER fulfill their request?

So far, it’s really only been the WBC and various promoters who keep women at two-minute rounds.

Serrano has lit the match.

La Cobra in Long Beach

Super flyweight contender Adelaida “La Cobra” Ruiz (14-0-1) and Mexico’s Mayela Perez (19-26-4) meet eight rounds at Thunder Studios in Long Beach, Calif. on Saturday Dec. 9. The Los Angeles fighter is one of the best kept secrets in pro boxing.

Ruiz is one of those fighters that the elite vividly know about her abilities and take a pass. She is the interim super flyweight titlist, which means she is the top ranked super flyweight without a world title.

PBC on Amazon

Premier Boxing Champions with its abundance of stars such as Jermell Charlo, David Benavidez and Errol Spence Jr. just signed a multi-year deal with Amazon Prime Video to feature its more than 150 fighters on the media platform, it was announced on Thursday, Dec. 7.

Showtime announced last month that it was ending its broadcasts of boxing this year. It had been 37 years and included some of the most historic fights ever witnessed. That has ended.

Amazon stated it will be streaming boxing in 2024.

Fights to Watch

Sat. DAZN pay-per-view 5 p.m. Regis Prograis (29-1) vs Devin Haney (30-0); Ebanie Bridges (9-1) vs Miyo Yoshida (16-4); Andy Cruz (1-0) vs Jovanni Straffon (26-5-1).

Sat. ESPN 7 p.m. Robeisy Ramirez (13-1) vs Rafael Espinosa (21-0).

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Seasons Beatings from Philly where Local Fighters of Note are in Action This Weekend

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Seasons Beatings from Philly where Local Fighters of Note are in Action This Weekend

Tomorrow night (Friday, Dec. 8) begins a nice stretch of live boxing in the Philadelphia area after a relatively quiet fall schedule. These shows will wrap a bow on the 2023 fight schedule for the Delaware Valley with a slate of shows already scheduled for the early part of the upcoming new year.

This sudden boom, well overdue, is good for the Delaware Valley, for its fighters and its fight fans. So, while these shows aren’t large-scale, they are a great way for fight fans to learn about fighters they may see competing on those larger shows in the future.

Let’s look at what exactly fans are in for with the final shows of 2023.

Friday, December 8th – Wind Creek Events Center, Bethlehem, PA (Kings Promotions)

Jesse Hart (29-3) vs. Jeyson Minda (14-7-1) tops a massive 11-fight card. For years now, Marshall Kauffman’s Kings Promotions has put on successful shows in the Philadelphia region. Not only do they hit the mark from a commercial standpoint, but his shows always have entertaining fights where the result could go either way and this show should be no different.

Jesse Hart (pictured with Jarrett Hurd) finds himself somewhat in limbo in the sport. Staying active and keeping his tools sharp is crucial for Hart to continue to keep his name out there and work his way back into the rankings.

A powerful fighter who often finds himself in engaging battles, Hart’s three defeats happened against only two fighters — Gilberto Ramirez (twice) and Joe Smith, both former world champions. Since his last setback in 2020, Hart has won three fights on the local scene while enduring some setbacks outside of the ring due to hand injuries. Released from his contract with Top Rank, Hart finds himself in the position where his name and pedigree (he’s the son of former middleweight standout Eugene “Cyclone” Hart) coupled with a string of quality victories could open the door to another crack at a marquee name in the super middleweight or light heavyweight division.

Former super welterweight king Jarrett Hurd (24-3) takes on Tyi Edmonds (14-5). In his most recent fight back in March, Hurd returned to the ring after a long absence and was shockingly stopped in the tenth round by Armando Resendiz.  Against Edmonds, Hurd looks to prove that he still has elite-level abilities as he too tries to work his way back to the top. A much-needed victory would start that process while a third defeat in a row, especially if it’s physically taxing, would all but mark the end of having his name mentioned anywhere near the division’s best.

Julian Gonzalez (11-0-1) is a talented Kings Promotions fighter who packs a punch, especially for a super featherweight. The 22-year-old Reading, PA native continues his growth against Texas journeyman Juan Antonio Lopez (17-15-1). If successful, Gonzalez will set himself up for a bright 2024 that should see him face quality fringe contenders as well as other prospects which will lead to bigger fights down the road.

Saturday, December 9th – Showboat Hotel, Atlantic City, NJ (Champions Sports and Entertainment)

Philadelphia fan favorite Joey “The Tank” Dawejko (26-10-4, 14 KOs) is staying busy in the twilight of his career. He’s 3-0 thus far in 2023 which includes two exciting victories over Colby Madison (their first fight, a bruising tiff, will most likely be the 2023 Philadelphia Fight of the Year). On Saturday he returns to the ring to defend his WBC USA heavyweight title in an 8-round battle vs. Jesse Bryan (21-7-2, 16 KOs) of Jefferson City, Missouri. This fight headlines a nine-bout show by CSE which is trying to revive boxing on the boardwalk.

In the co-main, Glassboro, NJ native Derrick Webster (29-4-1) will take on the always durable Cleotis Pendarvis (22-19-2) in an 8-round battle of super middleweights.

Liverpool, NY super lightweight Bryce Mills (13-1, 4 KO) looks to add to his 7-fight winning streak when he battles the durable Tackie Annan (15-10) in a fight scheduled for six rounds. Mills has continued to grow his fan base in the northeast by taking part in action-packed fights from the opening bell. His fans tend to travel well and Saturday looks to be no different as a large contingent of his fans are expected to turn up in Atlantic City to support their young charge. It also helps that Mills, like Dawejko, has teamed up with Hall-of-Fame promoter J. Russell Peltz to help guide his professional career.

Edward Donovan (7-0), a super welterweight prospect from Limerick, Ireland, puts his undefeated record on the line when he battles tough Jetter Burgos (6-1, 5 KO) from the Bronx, NY. Puerto Rican lightweight Joey Borrero (11-1, 9 KO), along with super middleweight prospect Cali Box (2-0) from Franklin Township, NJ, will appear in separate fights.

Date TBD– 2300 Arena, Philadelphia, PA (R&B Promotions)

Tevin Farmer (32-5-1) and Patrick Okine (21-6-2) were slated to meet in the main event last Friday, Dec. 1, on a show at the always-fun 2300 Arena. At the last minute, the show was postponed. An e-mail announcing the unfortunate postponement stated that the show would be rescheduled soon. While a new date has yet to be locked in, all signs point toward the show coming to fruition at the close of 2023 or early in 2024.

A former IBF world super featherweight champion, Tevin Farmer was set to make his third appearance of 2023 as he continues to shake off the ring rust that formed after a much-needed break and continue his push toward becoming a two-time world title-holder. It’s crazy to think, but it’s already been more than three full years since Farmer lost his title to Jojo Diaz in January of 2020.

Farmer, who had a late start in the sport, turned pro without the glitz and glamour that accompanies a highly decorated amateur, but fought his way to the top, beating the odds to achieve his life’s dream of championship glory. His break from the sport following his defeat to Diaz was needed to reenergize him from both a physical and mental standpoint.

In Okine he will find himself in the ring with a sturdy opponent that has faced some of the top contenders in and around the lightweight division. “I wanted Tevin [Farmer] to stay active and keep sharpening his tools and Okine provides that opportunity for him,” stated Alex Barbosa, the promoter/matchmaker. “Okine is always tough and comes to win, which is just what Tevin needs at this point of his career.”

With the lightweight division having had a changing of the guard at the top in terms of the championships, Farmer, 33, just may get that second chance at the top of the mountain. And if he continues to stay active while racking up solid victories, it may come sooner rather than later.

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The IBHOF Class of 2024 includes Ricky Hatton, Michael Moorer, and Ivan Calderon

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The IBHOF Class of 2024 includes Ricky Hatton, Michael Moorer, and Ivan Calderon

The International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum in Canastota, New York, has unveiled its newest class of inductees. The Class of 2024 includes Ricky “The Hitman” HattonMichael “Double M” MoorerIvan “Iron Boy” Calderon and Diego “Chico” Corrales (posthumous) in the men’s Modern category; Jane “The Fleetwood Assassin” Couch and “La Guerrera” Ana Maria Torres in the Women’s modern category; trainer Kenny Adams, manager Jackie Kallen, and publicist Fred Sternburg in the Non-Participant category; journalist Wallace Matthews and broadcaster Nick Charles (posthumous) in the Observer category; Luis Angel Firpo (posthumous) in the Old Timer category and Theresa Kibby (posthumous) in the women’s Trailblazer category.

The inductees will be formally enshrined during the annual Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. The 2024 event, a four-day jamboree, commences on Thursday, June 6.

The IBHOF is located at Exit 34 of the New York Thruway. Hours of operation are Monday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Biographies on the Class of 2024 can be found on www.ibhof.com

Fred Sternburg was previously honored with the Marvin Kohn Good Guy Award by the Boxing Writers Association of America, an honor bestowed upon him in 2004. Rick Folstad interviewed Sternburg for a story that appeared on these pages in December of 2005.

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