Connect with us

Featured Articles

Pacman Advisor Koncz Tips His Hat To Floyd

Published

on

He’s Manny Pacquiao’s right hand guy, the man who communicates Manny’s wants to other parties, be it Top Rank, Manny’s promoter, and in the case of the leadup to this super fight that got made after about six years, #MayweatherPacquiao.

And like I think it’s fair to say all who were heavily involved in the dealmaking process to get #MayPac off the runway, Michael Koncz is relieved.

I spoke to the Manny envoy late Friday, and he told me he felt a sense of relief. “It’s been a long six years! Yes, I’m very satisfied,” he told me in a phoner. “I’m very happy.”

He wasn’t willing to go on the record with some of the stuff I asked, like terms, because of a confidentiality agreement in the contract. But I did get him to admit that he thinks that if Manny and Floyd didn’t meet at that NBA game, there is a real good chance there would be no fight May 2.

Koncz had met Floyd a bunch of times, but “Money” and Manny had never met face to face. That face time was good, allowed them both to comprehend, he said, that the other man really wanted the fight. “Eye to eye,” he said, “It was convincing that the other wanted it.”

Koncz noted that Mayweather was basically a mensch through the process, and said, “he’s always very courteous to us.”

“The fan got what they wanted,” he continued. “Now we will see who is the pound for pound best.”

Koncz said PED testing will be in place, with the two using the same tester that Floyd has been using. “We’ve done testing the last five or six fights, so we’re not concerned about anything. Manny has never done anything illegal.” Floyd has been tested by USADA in past fights…

The PPV price hasn’t been decided, one TV exec told me, but Koncz was pretty sure it would be about $90, and $99 for high-def. The split, rumored to be 60-40 in Floyd’s favor, was a no go zone for discussion, he said. But, he said, his guy really, really wanted to make the fight, so he acquiesced to terms and conditions in proper, you could say, “B side” fashion.

He did allow that there is no rematch clause, but didn’t want to traffic much further into that detail. One might think that as long as one fight was being hashed out, might as well do two. But my thinking is, what if Manny wins? He’d have A side leverage in the sequel, so wouldn’t he want to take full advantage of that fact?

Manny, he told me, has been jogging and playing hoops at a more high cardio pace the last few weeks, to start getting his body ready for camp. Koncz spoke to him once before the deal was made live by Floyd, and after. Pacman is ready to get rocking, he said, and will likely come to America to begin preparing with Coach Roach in “a week to ten days.”

I’m hoping there is a press stop here, in NYC, but Kooncz said he’s thinking they will do one in LA, and then one in Vegas, fight week. Why spend hundreds of thousands on that, he figures, when so much hyping has already been done, and calls and teleconferences can be held?

Koncz again took the opportunity to give props to Floyd, for his decency. “I tip my hat to Floyd, he had many options, more options than us, probably,” he said. “I tip my hat to him.”

Follow Woods on the Twitter:

WATCH RELATED VIDEOS ON BOXINGCHANNEL.TV

Advertisement

Featured Articles

‘How To Box’ by Joe Louis: Part 6 of a 6-Part Series – Putting It All Together

Published

on

How-to-Box-by-Joe-Louis-Part-6-of-a-6-Part-Series

‘How To Box’ by Joe Louis: Part 6 of a 6-Part Series – Putting It All Together

“You got to be a killer, otherwise I’m getting too old to waste time on you.”—Jack Blackburn

Much has been said concerning the Joe Louis duels with Max Schmeling. It was proof that Louis was vulnerable to right hands. It was proof that Louis wasn’t vulnerable to right hands. It was a victory for America over the Nazis. But Schmeling wasn’t a Nazi. It was boxing’s biggest fight. But it wasn’t about boxing. It was what made Louis a hero. But he was already a hero.

One of Abraham Lincoln’s most successful biographers, Roy Basler, wrote that “to know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity.” Is there a more telling example of this truth in sports than Louis-Schmeling II? Sometimes the tale can obscure the truth. To put it another way: when was the last time you just wondered at it? Wondered at what Joe Louis did to Max Schmeling on a night when, admittedly, the world was on the brink of war and the African-American was on the road to reclaiming himself from the white power structure in the USA? When was the last time you ignored all those very important things and just marvelled at that fight, the recording of which reporter Henry McLemore called “the most faithful recording ever made of human savagery”?

I’m going to invite you here, please, to wonder at it again.

In one moment.

First, we must take a look at Joe’s best performance.

Buddy Baer

The bigger, less celebrated of the Baer brothers had his own rematch with Joe Louis at the beginning of 1942. The first fight had ended in the controversy of a DQ win for Louis and, as he always did when there was the merest hint of scepticism after a title fight, Joe arranged to meet the Giant Californian once again.

A huge man in any era, Buddy tipped the scales at 250 and scraped the ceiling at a little more than 6’6. As noted by the St.Petersburg Times, “a fellow of Baer’s size in good condition, and equipped with the usual quota of arms, legs and eyes must be conceded a chance in any bout, particularly if he has courage and a punch.”

Buddy had both in abundance, but he was not a natural fighter. “We have the feeling he would rather be out picking violets,” is how the Times chose to illustrate the point. While this is a bit much we all know what he means. Louis, who would famously be fighting for free that night in support of the Navy Relief Fund, was a natural gladiator. Buddy Baer was not.

If Max Schmeling is clearly the tougher of the two opponents and Louis wreaked similar havoc on each of them, what is it that makes this Joe’s greatest performance? Baer’s size? Might it be suggested that herein lies the key to arguing Louis the master of all modern super-heavies as he destroys one in this encounter? It’s a reasonable point, but no, it is not that. It was my own favourite line from How to Box by Joe Louis that brought me to this conclusion.

“There are two basic methods of attack,” the1948 manual tells us, “either by force or by skill. The attack by force is used only by the slugger who depends only upon hitting power. The attack by skill is used by the boxer who relies upon his cleverness in feinting, correct leading, drawing and in-fighting.”

This is a fine division, at once elegant and incomplete, of the boxer’s physical abilities versus his technical ability, his gifts as an athlete as weighed against his skill as a boxer. While Joe’s destruction of Schmeling is his most devastating display, he relies often in that short fight upon his natural gifts, his speed, his power. Joe fights ugly for short, vicious stretches against Baer, too, but not before he has demonstrated for us the height of his art.

Louis and his ghostwriter, Edward J. Mallory, describe the various feints Louis employed in his championship years and most interesting among them is the left jab to the body, the lie, and then the right uppercut to the head, the truth. It is a difficult move from a technical perspective, calling upon the weight to be transferred from the left foot to the right and for the fighter to move from long distance to the inside, downstairs to up, all without getting caught. Louis pulls this move off against a fresh Baer, twenty-five seconds into the fight.

Baer came out aggressively and Louis was momentarily crowded out of the fight, driven and harried back to his own corner first by Baer’s length, then his size. Buddy’s physical advantages overcame Joe’s technical superiority, for just a moment. They circle, and Louis takes a short step back, employing the draw, before throwing a nothing left hook. Louis notices that the challenger’s tactic upon being jabbed are to dip, then make a grab and try to tie the champion up on the inside, allowing him to use his size and weight to bear down on him. A fine plan for a big man, but in fact the fight is now lost.

A few seconds later Louis is shuffling back and away from Baer once more and as Baer moves forwards Louis throws another jab. Again, Baer dips and tries to crowd but Louis has no intention of landing the jab. Instead, he holsters his left, takes a step to the outside with his left foot and even as Baer draws himself into his shell and prepares his grab, Louis uncorks his right uppercut, slipping his weight across his body as a part of the natural movement of the punch, the absolute perfection of this skill. The punch is not a finisher but note Baer’s reaction when Louis jabs at him once more, moments later. Instead of trying to menace the champion with his size or a counter, he backs up directly; shy of the uppercut that the jab disguised last time around. This is the ultimate realisation of the feint—to imbue in the jab, a hammer blow at the best of times the virtual attributes of the uppercut. Baer has now to abandon his pre-fight plan for Joe’s most important punch, that jab.

Skill has determined that his superior size is now worthless.

Paraffin to the wound seconds later as Louis pulls the trick off once more, this time after following through on the jab. A right-handed uppercut to the jaw—the hardest punch to land from a technical perspective—turns the trick again and now Baer is hurt. Louis plants a left hook behind the glove just above the ear and then he is ready to unleash the combinations that made him famous.

People say Joe Louis has slow feet. There is something to this, although hopefully it has been explained in the proper context in Part 1—The Foundation of Skill. Even then, however, we discuss his speed relative to those opponents who run. Well footwork is not merely a byword for a foot race. I defy anyone who takes the time to pay close enough attention to the speed at which Louis adjusts his feet now as Baer retreats across the ring to name him slow.

Out of position for a left hook as Baer is going away slightly outside his right foot, Louis shimmies—there is no other word for it—a quick step forwards, channelling all his power through his left leg and hips. This allows him to land that deadly, rare, straight right and behind it, even though he each time has to shimmy and hop forwards, he lands a left hook and then that rolling right cross. With each punch he is covering ground and with each punch he touches down long enough to get the torque through his hips and crack home hard punches, knockout punches. Perhaps the most startling thing about this sequence is that if you press pause at the moment these blows are landing, they look as though Louis were punching from a stationary position. His balance is perfect, his rushing attack is in no way affecting the value of his punches, yet he takes literally no time to get set. He is a cobra packing a shotgun.

“Use the weight of the body in every punch,” (my italics) advises How to Box and it is a tenet Louis is married to. My expectation upon placing it under the microscope was that I would have to issue a warning similar to the one I described when analysing Joe’s straight right hand—that it bore sweet fruit when it worked but that it was to detail-specific to be really viable in the ring, and that countermeasures must be employed. To my astonishment I found that Louis threw power punches (if not always his jab) in this fashion without compromising his balance on offense. It is my suspicion that this is a unique skillset above 200 lbs. and that you would have to work to find fighters who can fight like this in even the smallest divisions.

Though the fight is only a minute old, referee Frank Fullam takes his first close look at Baer as he wobbles back to Joe’s short rope behind a left-right combination to the jaw and a right to the body that Louis lands after ducking into a clinch as Baer tried to throw his first punches in some seconds. Louis is made to miss in turn as Baer bores him back and away from the ropes, missing first with the right uppercut and then the left hook. These are the most difficult punches to remain composed behind, but Louis does so, remaining in punching position.

Head-to-head in a maul, Louis appears the loser as he slowly gives ground during an exchange of meaningless shots, but a split second later, he has moved out of the maul that Baer remains bowed solemnly into, and Louis begins the assault again. A bobbing top caught in two opposing tides—his, and the punches Joe is driving home—Baer’s size is now nothing less than a handicap in the face of the genius of Joe’s box-punching.

For the first knockdown Louis slips the non-existent jab he expects when he is on his way in, jabs to the stomach and bombs a right cross over his defence. Watch carefully and you will see Baer’s high guard rappelled right and down by the famous Louis follow-through before snapping back into place as Baer collapses in an enormous heap on the canvas, forty-pound weight advantage and all, the first time he has looked big since that first uppercut landed.

It’s hard to admire a man shooting fish in a barrel but take a moment to appreciate the blinds being drawn and the man Leroy Simerly (Herald-Journal) called “strictly a sixteen-inch gunner” in full flow.

Baer was magnanimous in defeat clutching Joe’s head in his oversized paws, almost comically huge next to the man labelled in newspapers the following morning as “the most destructive puncher the fight game has ever seen.”

Baer figured Louis to be champion for some time to come.

“Maybe my next child will be a son and I can raise him up to do the job.”

Three days later, Louis would pass his army physical. He would never reach the heights of the Buddy Baer fight again. It is a frightening thought, but it is possible that boxing never saw the very best of its greatest champion.

Max Schmeling

“Ain’t no sense foolin’ around like I did last time.”

Louis said more than once in the run up to the fight that he would end Max Schmeling in a single round. For the most part this was dismissed as hyperbole by a press which did not break ranks to predict anything earlier than a third-round knockout. Hyperbole was the furthest thing from the minds of Louis and Blackburn, however. This was a plan with its foundation built firmly upon the scientific reasoning that Schmeling had become so famous for.

When Joe Louis attended the welterweight title fight between Henry Armstrong and Barney Ross, it was not as a fan, although he was one, but as a disciple. It is possible that Armstrong was the only man in the history of the fight game capable of teaching Louis about controlled destructive violence in the ring, but the story goes that he did—and that along with handler Eddie Mead, he convinced Louis and Blackburn that a direct, rushing assault was the best strategy.

And the story had more than just a hint of truth to it. First Joe was seen at Henry’s training camp and then Henry was seen at Joe’s. Louis did not speak of it directly, but Blackburn was less equivocal:

“Last time Chappie fought just the way Schmeling wanted him to. This time it’ll be different. Chappie’s going to learn from Armstrong. He’s going to set a fast pace right from the start.”

Max Machon, trainer to Schmeling, did not see the danger, encouraging Louis to do just that:

“He would be as awkward as a school girl on her first pair of ice skates!”

Schmeling, meanwhile, wasn’t paying attention or had seen a bluff where there was none:

“I think in the first round we will just feel each other out.”

According to the World Telegram, “Schmeling will make no mistake in strategy. Louis doesn’t know what the word means.” This was the prevailing attitude at the time, but in fact a reversal of this equation was happening right under the noses of the dismissive newspapermen. Even those that sniffed out a possible tactical dimension to the Louis battle plan were disdainful of it. Perhaps they were right, and perhaps Blackburn and Mead were the masterminds behind the directness of the violence about to erupt in Yankee Stadium. But the fact is that Louis had been obsessively watching the first Schmeling fight, originally with a journalist (who could not believe that Blackburn had never shown it to the champion and had in fact discouraged him from seeing it), then with his trainer and finally alone.

Over and over again.

“I know how to fight Max now.”

Louis was to fight Schmeling in the opposite style, as far as How to Box is concerned, to the one he would use to destroy Buddy Baer. There, he fought by skill, here it was to be by force—speed, power.

Louis doesn’t stalk or attempt to draw a lead from Schmeling. At the first bell, he is after him straight away and when Schmeling tries to move, Joe moves with him, still in the small steps and still behind that ramrod jab but with more urgency than is normal. The hard jab and a closet left hook are landed before Max moves out of range, but the leaping left hook he uses to drive Max before him is a new flavor of Louis, especially against an unharmed world-class opponent. Louis had reportedly shadowboxed for forty to fifty minutes before emerging from his dressing room wearing two gowns to keep his body warm. Now he was making both Schmeling and Machon foolish in their pre-fight predictions. Not only was Louis wasting absolutely no time in feeling Schmeling out, but he also bore very little resemblance to a schoolgirl on ice skates. He looked more like coiled galvanized steel brought miraculously and terrifyingly to life.

Referee Arthur Donovan would later claim that this left hook caused Max’s face to swell and changed his pallor to a “faint bluish green.”

maxresdefault 2

The hook also carried him inside, but rather than moving for space Louis dug his heels in and pushed against Schmeling, denying him room, landing three hard uppercuts, pulling out and then stabbing back in with the one-two. When Schmeling puts his left glove over Joe’s right, cupping his own body protectively with his free arm, Louis reverted to his old habits, making room for himself as he punched, adjusting tactically to Schmeling’s increasingly desperate defensive manoeuvres.

After the German lands his only significant punch of the fight—a right hand as the champion moved away—Louis stalked a rattled Schmeling to the far rope and drew the inevitable pressure lead, before going to work with both hands to the midsection and switching upstairs. When Schmeling tries to hide up close after another one-two, Louis pushes him back and away, giving himself room for his aggressive rushes. Here, then, was the culmination of the tactical switch as he drove Schmeling back with the uppercut then invoked the most famous fistic assault between Dempsey and Tyson, hammering Schmeling back with both fists, the German catapulting away but seemingly caught in the Bomber’s horrifying gravity as he catches the rope for support with his right gloves and catapults himself right back into the kill zone. Louis is swarming all over him and Schmeling, now half turned away, is nothing more than a slab of meat and one that the champion goes to work upon in earnest, a butcher wielding two cleavers, finally landing perhaps his most famous punch, a right hand just above the kidney that fractured the transverse process of the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae, tearing the muscles surrounding it in the process. The scream that erupted from Schmeling was “half animal, half human” and according to David Margolick author of Beyond Glory: Max Schmeling and Joe Louis was so bloodcurdling that many patrons on that side of the ring reached for their hats as though compelled to retreat. If it occurred, this was a primal reaction but Louis, for me, was not giving the primal showing of legend.

“He is a jungle man,” wrote journalist Henry McLenmore. “As completely primitive as any savage out to destroy the thing he hates. He fought instinctively and not by any man-made pattern.”

This is not true. Louis had re-armed himself with some new tools for this fight and had shown a strategic surety the German came nowhere near matching—Schmeling was outthought for all that he was also slaughtered. When necessary, Louis switched between pure aggression and his drawing, counterpunching style with seamless ease and although he used his physical rather than his technical brilliance to master Schmeling, I would argue that “the hand of man” is more apparent in this performance than any other one of his fights.

“I thought in my mind, “How’s that Mr. Super-race? I was glad he was hurt,” said Louis in response to questions about his thoughts on the punch that had broken Schmeling’s back. Now he did cut loose, battering Max like he was a heavy bag and indeed from this point on the challenger put up about as much resistance. The final punch, when it came, had the same affect upon Schmeling’s face as a baseball bat would an apple, according to the Herald Tribune. The fight ended in confusion and uproar as first the towel, then Max Machon himself stormed the ring but Schmeling was as knocked out as any fighter had ever been. Louis had wiped the floor with him.

His reward, outside of the $400,000 he had just banked, was to be compared in the next few days in the press to every dangerous animal that walked the earth. Lions, tigers, bears, snakes, hawks and most of all panthers were what the champion was like and the racial climate in which he fought makes us look back and shake our heads at the casual racism. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and John F. Kennedy were all in America’s glittering future. But I do not think it was a matter of race—or not only of race.

It is a fact, however, that some of the pressmen that talked about Louis in these terms were black.

Louis himself, by virtue of his skill in the ring would take a hand in steering his race toward calmer waters.

It’s us.

We all look at Louis and see something primal because there is something primal within all of us. He speaks to it.

And that’s fine. Boxing needs its violence every bit as much as it needs its heroes. If this series of articles was about anything it was about stripping away that projection, that stardust, that lie and looking at the fighter underneath, because that is a beautiful thing that all too often is overlooked. Louis had one of the best jabs, one of the best skillsets, was one of the best counterpunchers, one of the best boxers at any weight, ever—and I hope I have shown that his supposed tactical rigidity and strategic naivety is something we have projected onto this “animal” this “killer” this “bomber,” too, for all that these were not his greatest strengths. He had help and Blackburn was an important part of arguably the greatest story our sport has ever known but as Joe Louis said, “Once that bell rings, you are on your own.

“It’s just you and the other guy.”

And I sure wouldn’t want to be the other guy.

For those of you who have taken the considerable time to read these articles on Joe Louis from the first word to the last—thank you.

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Action Galore in the U.K. on Saturday — Title Fights at Three Separate Venues

Published

on

Action-Galore-in-the-UK-on-Saturday-Title-Gights-at-Three-Separate-Venues

Action Galore in the U.K. on Saturday — Title Fights at Three Separate Venues

England’s premier promoters – Eddie Hearn (Matchroom), Frank Warren (Queensberry), and the new kid on the block, Ben Shalom (BOXXER) — have competing shows this Saturday. The headline attractions shape up as competitive fights, especially the battle in Belfast where hometown hero Michael Conlan (18-1, 9 KOs) is a very slight favorite over Mexican spoiler Luis Alberto Lopez.

Belfast, Northern Ireland (ESPN+}

This fight is expected to kick off first with the ring walks at 9 pm local time (4 pm ET). At stake is the IBF world featherweight title which Lopez (27-2, 15 KOs) won with a well-earned majority decision over Josh Warrington in hostile Leeds. It was Lopez’s 10th straight triumph. The Mexicali campaigner has been training in Las Vegas under Kay Koroma.

Conlan, the two-time Olympian, fought for the WBA version of this title in March of last year in Nottingham.

His war with Leigh Wood was the sort of fight that shortens a fighter’s career, but Conlan has shown no ill-effects. His lopsided decision over Miguel Marriaga in his last start followed a first-round blast-out of Karim Guerfi.

Also…

In a fight slated for 12, Liverpool’s Nick Ball (17-0, 10 KOs) squares off against South Africa’s Ludumo Lamati (21-0-1, 11 KOs). The five-foot-four “Wrecking” Ball, with his buzzsaw style, has been called Britain’s most exciting fighter. In a companion 12-rounder, Belfast’s Anthony “Apache” Cacace (20-1, 7 KOs) meets Damian Wrzesinski (26-2-2), a 38-year-old Pole. Cacace has been a road warrior. This is his first fight in his hometown in eight years.

Manchester (DAZN)

In a rematch for the WBA world featherweight title, Mexico City’s Mauricio Lara (26-2-1 (19 KOs) squares off against Leigh Wood (26-3, 16 KOs).

Fourteen weeks ago, Lara went into Wood’s backyard in Nottingham and stopped him in the seventh round. Lara was behind on the cards when he felled Wood with crunching left hook. Wood beat the count but his trainer Ben Davison tossed in the towel which struck many, especially Wood, as premature as less than 10 seconds remained in the round. In a previous trip to England, Lara stopped Josh Warrington in Leeds.

At last glance, Mauricio Lara, the younger man by 10 years, was a 3/1 favorite to take the measure of Wood once again.

Co-Feature

In his first appearance since his controversial defeat to Josh Taylor in Glasgow in February of last year, Jack Catterall (26-1,15 KOs) opposes Irish southpaw Darragh  Foley (22-4-1, 16 KOs). The Sportsman called the Catterall-Taylor fight, a split decision win for Taylor, the most controversial fight in British boxing history.

Unlike Catterall, who may have some ring rust, Foley was in action 10 weeks ago, scoring his signature win with a third-round stoppage of favored Robbie Davies Jr.

Also

Adding spice to the card – assuming a suitable opponent can be found – is Terri Harper who was slated to fight Cecilia Braekhus last Saturday in the co-feature to Taylor vs. Cameron in Dublin. That match fell out when Braekhus developed flu-like symptoms following the weight-in.

The 26-year-old Harper (13-1-1, 6 KOs) owns the WBA 154-pound world title after previously holding the WBC belt at 130 pounds.

Bournemouth

Lawrence Okolie (19-0, 14 KOs) makes the fourth defense of his WBO world cruiserweight title against Chris Billam-Smith (17-1, 12 KOs).

Okolie, who blows hot and cold in terms of delivering a fan-family fight, returns to the ring two months after winning a snoozer in a mandatory defense against New Zealand’s David Light.

These two are well-acquainted, having sparred hundreds of rounds when both were trained by Shane McGuigan. Okolie has since abandoned McGuigan in favor of SugarHill Steward. Billam-Smith is on a nice roll – he’s won eight straight – and he will have home field advantage at Vitality Stadium where extra seats have been added in expectation of a sellout, but Lawrence Okolie, at last glance, was a 4/1 favorite.

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

The Haney-Lomachenko Tempest Smacks of Hagler-Leonard; Dave Moretti Factored in Both

Published

on

The-Haney-Lomachenko-Tempest-Smacks-of-Hagler-Leonard--Dave Moretti-Factored-into-Both

Veteran Las Vegas judge Dave Moretti found himself in the crosshairs once again last Saturday night. Moretti had the widest score in the Haney-Lomachenko fight. He gave Loma only four rounds, one round fewer than each of his cohorts, Tim Cheatham and David Sutherland. To say that the unanimous decision favoring Haney was unpopular would be putting it mildly. “Whoever thinks Loma didn’t win does not know sh** about boxing,” tweeted Oscar De La Hoya from his ringside seat.

A closer look at Moretti’s scorecard revealed that he awarded Round 10 to Devin Haney. This was arguably Vasily Lomachenko’s best round. If Moretti had scored the round for Haney, this wouldn’t have changed the outcome. However, it would have deflected the brickbats. The most caustic charged the 78-year-old arbiter with corruption.

David Moretti, a native of Niagara Falls, NY, moved to Las Vegas in 1975 after losing his job at Carborundum, a company that manufactures semiconductors of the kind used in auto body shops. He started judging fights in 1977 when boxing matches in Nevada were scored on the “five-point must” system. He gradually moved up the ladder to where he came to be regarded as the top boxing judge in the Silver State. In 2019, his name appeared on the ballot for the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the non-participant category. By rule, his name will remain there for 10 years if he isn’t voted in beforehand. If he makes it into the Hall, he would be the second Las Vegas judge to be so honored following the late Jerry Roth who was enshrined in 2017.

This isn’t the first time that Dave Moretti finds himself in the crosshairs. The Nevada State Athletic Commission launched an investigation of him following the “The Super Fight” between Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler in 1987.

Five days before this fight, Moretti and Billy Baxter were observed conversing in the waiting area of the airport in Atlanta that would take the name Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. They were awaiting their connecting fight to Las Vegas after spending the previous night in Norfolk, Virginia, where Pernell Whitaker successfully defended his NABF lightweight title with a unanimous decision over Roger Mayweather. Dave Moretti was one of the judges. His scorecard was concordant with the others.

Sugar Ray Leonard, a 3/1 underdog in Las Vegas on the final day of betting, defeated Marvin Hagler, winning a split decision. Dave Moretti scored the fight for Leonard 115-113. Mexican judge Jo Jo Guerra also favored Leonard. His tally, 118-110, was preposterous. The dissenting judge, Lou Filippo, had it 115-113 for Hagler.

Marvin Hagler thought he was robbed and quit the sport in disgust, moving to Italy. Many sympathized with him. Thirty-six years after the fact, the debate continues to rage. Did Marvin Hagler get a raw deal?

About that conversation between Moretti and Baxter in Atlanta, a rumor surfaced that Moretti and Baxter were discussing a business deal. This would have been a conflict of interest for Moretti as Billy Baxter was Roger Mayweather’s manager. The rumor made the rounds after it became known that Baxter, a high stakes gambler, had made a big score on the fight. The rumor had it that Baxter bet $300,000 on Sugar Ray.

The commission conducted a thorough investigation and determined that the allegations were unfounded, that Dave Moretti did nothing that would have compromised his objectivity. Moretti allowed that he had considered starting a series of club fights in Las Vegas and asked Baxter for his feedback (Moretti never did venture into the promotional side of boxing). Billy Baxter testified that his wager on Sugar Ray Leonard was $30,000, not $300,000, and said he made the wager months in advance of the fight when the odds against Leonard were juicier. A survey of Las Vegas sportsbook operators found no irregularities in the pattern of wagering.

Dave Moretti

Dave Moretti

Unlike that glorious night under the stars at Caesars Palace in 1987, the underdog didn’t prevail this past Saturday night at the MGM Grand. But the similarities are striking. In both cases you had a smaller man who was seemingly past his prime taking on a challenge that was seemingly a bridge too far for him. It was David against Goliath and whenever a David makes headway in a grueling battle against a formidable foe, he picks up rooters along the way. That’s what happened Saturday night. Those in the audience that were neutral and even some that were fans of Devin Haney found themselves liking Lomachenko more and more as the fight progressed.

This reporter had it 7-5 for Lomachenko, a tally that jibed with most of the other scribes in attendance. But this was no robbery. And for those that haven’t yet seen the replay, I reiterate that one cannot objectively judge a fight off the television without muting the sound because the talking heads tend to crank up the decibels whenever the underdog has fine moments.

One bad night by a sports official can spoil an otherwise impressive body of work. No one ever talks about the times when Dave Moretti’s scorecard was the smartest of the three. To take but one example, most folks thought that Gennady Golovkin had done enough to warrant the decision in his first match with Canelo Alvarez. Moretti concurred; he had it 115-113 for GGG. But the bout ended in a draw when Adalaide Byrd channeled Jo Jo Guerra and had Canelo winning lopsidedly.

Although boxing judges are handsomely paid for a big fight (my goodness, this isn’t brain surgery), they need a thick skin and that’s especially true nowadays when any know-it-all with a computer and a mouse can spew venom and have it go viral. And I believe there is something else at work that ratchets up the torrent of abuse whenever a boxing judge or referee has a bad night. On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal law that gave Nevada a monopoly on sports gambling, opening the floodgates. More folks gamble on boxing nowadays then ever before. I have no doubt that many of those that raged loud on social media when the decision went against Loma had money at risk. To them, Dave Moretti and his two cohorts were more than just warped, they were pickpockets.

Let’s wrap up this story with a quote from the noted boxing historian Lee Groves. Talking to upstate New York sportswriter Ernie Green for a 2019 story, Groves had nothing but good things to say about Dave Moretti. “He’s universally respected for the great job he does,” said Groves. “You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has a bad word to say about him as either the judge or the man.”

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images (Haney is standing on the scale, exaggerating his physical advantage).

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Arne K. Lang’s third boxing book, titled “George Dixon, Terry McGovern and the Culture of Boxing in America, 1890-1910,” rolled off the press in September. Published by McFarland, the book can be ordered directly from the publisher or via Amazon.

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
The-Haney-Lomachenko-Tempest-Smacks-of-Hagler-Leonard--Dave Moretti-Factored-into-Both
Featured Articles5 days ago

The Haney-Lomachenko Tempest Smacks of Hagler-Leonard; Dave Moretti Factored in Both

In-the-Homestretch-of-His-Career-Philadelphia's-Tank-Keeps-on-Rolling
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

In the Homestretch of His Career, Philadelphia’s Joey “Tank” Dawejko Keeps on Rolling

Avila-Perspective-Xhap-237-Battles-for-Undisputed-Status-in-Dublin-and-Las-Vegas
Featured Articles1 week ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 237: Battles for Undisputed Status in Dublin and Las Vegas

Avila-Perspective-Chap-235-Canelo-Alvarez-Silk-Pajamas-and-More
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 235: Canelo Alvarez, Silk Pajamas and More

Romero-Controveesially-TKOs-Barroso-Sims-Nips-Akhmedov-in-a-Barnburner
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Romero Controversially TKOs Barroso; Sims Nips Akhmedov in a Barnburner

Nine-TSS-Writers-Analyze-the-Haney-Lomachenko-Fight
Featured Articles1 week ago

Nine TSS Writers Analyze the Haney-Lomachenko Fight

Underdog-Victor-Morales-and-Undefeated-William-Zepeda-Score-Fast-KOs-in-Texas
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Underdog Victor Morales and Undefeated William Zepeda Score Fast KOs in Texas

Former-LA-Times-Scribe-Steve-Springer-Reflects-on-his-Days-on-the-Boxing-Beat
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Former LA Times Scribe Steve Springer Reflects on His Days on the Boxing Beat

Devin-Haney-Stays-Unbeaten-More-Controversy-in-Las-Vegas-Ring
Featured Articles7 days ago

Devin Haney Stays Unbeaten; More Controversy in a Las Vegas Ring

South-African-Southpaw-is--the-Best-Fighter-in-his-Weight-Class
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

South African Southpaw Kevin Lerena is the Best Fighter in his Weight Class

TSS-Salutes-Lance-Pugmire-the-2023-Nat-Fleischer-Award-Winner
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

TSS Salutes Lance Pugmire, the 2023 Nat Fleischer Award Winner

The-Hauser-Report-The-DAZN-Experiment
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

The Hauser Report: The DAZN Experiment

Guadalajara-Notebook-Long-Before-Canelo-There-Was-Juan-Zurita
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Guadalajara Notebook: Long Before Canelo, There Was Juan Zurita

Moloney=vs-Astrolabio-on-Saturday-has-the-Mark-of-an-Old-fashioned-Dust-Up
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Moloney vs Astrolabio on Saturday has the Mark of an Old-fashioned Dust-Up

Avila-Perspective-Chap-235-Las-Vegas-Aftermath-
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 235: Las Vegas Aftermath

How-to-Box-by-Joe-Louis-Paet-2-The-Jab-and-the-Hook
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

How To Box by Joe Louis: Part 2 – The Jab and the Hook

How-to-Box-by-Joe-Louis-Part-6-of-a-6-Part-Series
Featured Articles3 days ago

‘How To Box’ by Joe Louis: Part 6 of a 6-Part Series – Putting It All Together

Alimkhanuly-Destroys-Butler-and-Jason-Moloney-Outpoints-Astrolabio-on-Stockton
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Alimkhanuly Destroys Butler and Jason Moloney Outpoints Astrolabio in Stockton

Ralph-Boston-and-Muhammad-Ali
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Ralph Boston and Muhammad Ali

Canelo-Alvarez-Dominates-but-Goes-the-Distance-with-Stubborn-John-Ryder
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Canelo Alvarez Dominates but Goes the Distance with Stubborn John Ryder

How-to-Box-by-Joe-Louis-Part-6-of-a-6-Part-Series
Featured Articles3 days ago

‘How To Box’ by Joe Louis: Part 6 of a 6-Part Series – Putting It All Together

Action-Galore-in-the-UK-on-Saturday-Title-Gights-at-Three-Separate-Venues
Featured Articles4 days ago

Action Galore in the U.K. on Saturday — Title Fights at Three Separate Venues

The-Haney-Lomachenko-Tempest-Smacks-of-Hagler-Leonard--Dave Moretti-Factored-into-Both
Featured Articles5 days ago

The Haney-Lomachenko Tempest Smacks of Hagler-Leonard; Dave Moretti Factored in Both

Devin-Haney-Stays-Unbeaten-More-Controversy-in-Las-Vegas-Ring
Featured Articles7 days ago

Devin Haney Stays Unbeaten; More Controversy in a Las Vegas Ring

Chantelle-Cameron-Defeats-Katie-Taylor-in-Ireland
Featured Articles1 week ago

Chantelle Cameron Defeats Katie Taylor in Ireland

Avila-Perspective-Xhap-237-Battles-for-Undisputed-Status-in-Dublin-and-Las-Vegas
Featured Articles1 week ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 237: Battles for Undisputed Status in Dublin and Las Vegas

How-to-Box-by-Joe-Louis-Part-5-Defense
Featured Articles1 week ago

‘How To Box’ by Joe Louis: Part 5 – Defense

Nine-TSS-Writers-Analyze-the-Haney-Lomachenko-Fight
Featured Articles1 week ago

Nine TSS Writers Analyze the Haney-Lomachenko Fight

South-African-Southpaw-is--the-Best-Fighter-in-his-Weight-Class
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

South African Southpaw Kevin Lerena is the Best Fighter in his Weight Class

The-Sweet-Science-Rankings-Week-of-May-15th 2023
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Sweet Science Rankings: Week of May 15th, 2023

Two-Fascinating-Tussles-Gird-Saturday's-Lomachenko-Haney-Showdown
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Two Fascinating Tussles Gird Saturday’s Lomachenko-Haney Showdown

Romero-Controveesially-TKOs-Barroso-Sims-Nips-Akhmedov-in-a-Barnburner
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Romero Controversially TKOs Barroso; Sims Nips Akhmedov in a Barnburner

Alimkhanuly-Destroys-Butler-and-Jason-Moloney-Outpoints-Astrolabio-on-Stockton
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Alimkhanuly Destroys Butler and Jason Moloney Outpoints Astrolabio in Stockton

How-Good-Was-Ill-Fated-Lither-McCarty-The-Best-of-the-White-Hopes
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

How Good Was Ill-Fated Luther McCarty, the Best of the ‘White Hopes’?

Avila-Perspective-Chap226-Jaime-Munguia-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

 Avila Perspective, Chap. 236: Jaime Munguia and More

Super-Lightweights-Take-Center-Stage-at-the-Cosmo-on-Saturday
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Super Lightweights Take Center Stage at the Cosmo on Saturday

How-to-Box-by-Joe-Louis-Part-4-Bodywork-and-the-Uppercut
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

‘How To Box’ by Joe Louis: Part 4 – Bodywork and the Uppercut

The-Sweet-Science-Rankings-Week-of-May-8th-2023
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

The Sweet Science Rankings: Week of May 8th, 2023

Ralph-Boston-and-Muhammad-Ali
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Ralph Boston and Muhammad Ali

Moloney=vs-Astrolabio-on-Saturday-has-the-Mark-of-an-Old-fashioned-Dust-Up
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Moloney vs Astrolabio on Saturday has the Mark of an Old-fashioned Dust-Up

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement