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Atlas Was Never in Military, But Remains Sternest Drill Instructor in Boxing

Bernard Fernandez

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Teddy Atlas never served in the armed forces of the United States, but the longtime ESPN boxing commentator and occasional trainer always has felt a special affinity for the regimentation that is a major part of a soldier’s life. In many ways Atlas is a drill instructor or commanding officer who brooks no dissent on those occasions when he issues a Staten Island-accented order. Whenever Atlas aligns himself with a fighter, a process which he undertakes now only after painstaking investigation, his first directive is always that it’s his way or the highway.

It was only after such a laborious study of his newest pupil, Timothy Bradley Jr., that Atlas, 59, decided to return to the corner. It probably is no coincidence that Bradley (32-1-1, 12 KOs), who defends his 147-pound strap against Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (33-2-1, 24 KOs) in the HBO-televised main event on Nov. 7 at the recently renovated Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, has dubbed himself “Desert Storm,” which suggests military precision, attention to detail and coolness under fire.

OK, so the 32-year-old Bradley also never wore a uniform or toted a rifle. His nickname, he says, owes in part to the fact he makes his home in the desert – that would be Palm Springs, Calif. – and in part because of his action-heavy style and respect for those who serve or have served their country with honor and distinction.

The pairing of Atlas and Bradley has the feel of an orderly chain of command that any veteran of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard would recognize. When they begin preparations for the Rios bout, it’s Atlas who will be pulling rank because, well, that’s the way it has to be whenever he becomes involved with a fighter.

“It’s a big responsibility,” Atlas said of taking on a fighter for the first time since he parted ways, acrimoniously, with Alexander Povetkin in January 2012. “That’s the way I’ve always looked at these things. You’ve got somebody’s career – and their life, to an extent – in your hands. They put their trust in you so you got to be sure you can get the job done and done right.

“I spent several days thinking about it (accepting Bradley’s request for Atlas to train him). I went back and forth, going over so many things. It wasn’t an easy decision. It would have been very easy to say no instead of yes. I was hesitant at first, but what I knew about the kid in terms of his character – not only in the ring, but in his personal life – was a factor.

“Actually, my daughter Nicole helped convince me to do this. She also had a part in my deciding to train Povetkin. With Povetkin, I said no several times and he and his people continued to ask. Nicole said, `Why don’t you go to Russia and at least give it a chance? Because that’s who you are, Dad. You’re a really good commentator, but in your heart you’re still a teacher and a trainer.’”

Toward the end, after 2½ years together in which Atlas helped take Povetkin to the WBA “regular” heavyweight title, the fighter began to chafe at some of the trainer’s dictums. Povetkin didn’t want to travel from Russia to the U.S. to train as he been doing, which was a precondition of their working together because of Atlas’ broadcasting commitments to ESPN. Nor did Povetkin agree – or, at least, his manager, Vladimir Hryunov didn’t – with Atlas’ assessment that the still-learning fighter had not progressed enough to accept a title bout with IBF/WBO/WBA/lineal champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2010. Povetkin did wind up challenging Klitschko on Oct. 5, 2013, with Alexander Zimin as his chief second, and he demonstrated that he still wasn’t ready in being easily outpointed by Floyd Mayweathersque margins.

Atlas came away from the experience feeling “betrayed,” but then he had been down that road before and understood that loyalty in boxing is a fragile commodity. One notable example of the friction that is the byproduct of a relationship gone sour is the nasty falling-out in the early 1980s between Atlas and future light heavyweight champion Donny Lalonde.

“He ran things like an Army camp,” Lalonde complained of Atlas’ demanding training methods. Atlas doesn’t dispute that assessment. In fact, he’s rather proud of it. What was that recruiting slogan from a few years ago? Oh, yeah. There’s strong, and there’s Army strong.

“Donny Lalonde is not wrong,” Atlas said. “I do run things like an Army camp. But I will never apologize for doing things the way I did, and still do. And that way served Lalonde damn well. Yeah, I was in charge and there was a reason I was in charge. I was the trainer, and I had the responsibility.

“The strange thing is that Lalonde literally begged me to train him. He came all the way from Canada on his own dime. I told him no. He came to Gleason’s Gym (in Brooklyn, N.Y.) where I was training other fighters and he just pursued me. But I didn’t follow my best instincts, which was that there was something about him I just couldn’t trust.”

Atlas learned his craft during seven years of apprenticeship under the legendary Cus D’Amato in Catskill, N.Y. The pay wasn’t good – actually, nothing – but the education he received from the man who had guided Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres to world championships was so invaluable that maybe a price tag shouldn’t be attached to it.

“I have respect for the sport,” Atlas said. “I spent all that time learning my craft and making no money with Cus. I don’t regret spending those seven years in the gym. You lock yourself away, if you will, to make that commitment and that sacrifice.”

But although Atlas loved D’Amato almost like another father, he began to see another side to the old man after a teenaged Mike Tyson showed up, renewing Cus’ dream of having another heavyweight champion. A petulant Tyson acted out at times, but wasn’t reprimanded for it. Atlas, primarily responsible for training the young slugger, personally barred him from participating in an upcoming amateur tournament by way of punishment, then was stunned to see Tyson walk through the door anyway, with D’Amato’s approval. Atlas’ authority in the gym had been undercut, and he was left with the realization that there is no such thing as a trainer’s absolute control, unless both parties mutually consent to such an arrangement and stick to it no matter what.

Other fighters have drifted in and out of Atlas’ life, more often adhering to his mandates for only so long until they came to the conclusion that they were the bosses, not the ones to be bossed around. And any proposed changes in the relationship, Atlas made it clear, were non-negotiable.

“Before I had that safety net of the commentating, which I’ve had for 18 years, I felt that way to an extent,” he said of the pressure some trainers feel to stick with recalcitrant fighters who provide their primary or sole source of income. “I might have to think about something two or more times before I said no.”

Perhaps the most memorable example of Atlas at his prickly best was the night that Michael Moorer was in the process of dethroning IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield on April 22, 1994, in Las Vegas. Moorer was winning, all right, but not following Atlas’ instructions to the letter.

“I just sat on the stool and said, `You don’t want to fight. You don’t want to win this damn thing, so I’ll fight,’” Atlas said at the time. “Get outside, give me the water and I’ll take your place.’ And I made him say to me that he wanted to fight before I would get up. I said, `You don’t want to fight.’ He said, `No, I do.’ Thank God.”

So what was it about Bradley, who recently parted ways with his longtime trainer, Joel Diaz, that swayed Atlas into again slipping into the trainer’s role he has been so reluctant to assume?

“He was a guest on my radio show (on Sirius XM) a couple of months ago,” Atlas recalled. “It was right after his fight with (Jessie) Vargas. There was a controversial ending to that fight in that (Bradley) got nailed and hurt by a really big right hand with about 30 seconds left in the last round. With Vargas going after him, the referee, Pat Russell, erroneously stopped the fight. He heard the 10-second clapper and he thought it was the bell. Everybody – including Vargas and Bradley – that the fight had been stopped and Vargas had won. Vargas even started celebrating.

“We talked about whether Bradley could have survived another 10 seconds, and being the gladiator he is, he said he could have. And then I asked him a question: `Do you know why you got hurt?’ He said, `Well, I got hit with a right hand, Teddy.’ I said, `Of course, but do you know WHY?’ He said, `No, Would you tell me?’

“I told him he had his left hand low, but he had a James Toney-type shoulder roll before he went to throw his own right hand. The problem was he did it a little prematurely sometimes before he got Vargas’ right hand out of the way. Basically, Timmy was telegraphing that his own right hand was coming. It gave Vargas a clear runway to catch him when his left hand was down.”

Bradley went back home to Palm Springs, studied the tape of the fight, spotted the problem and wondered why no one else had detected it. Not long after that, he called Atlas to ask if he would consider becoming his new chief second.

Burned in the past, Atlas was unsure whether he wanted to expose himself to another flame of disappointment.

“It’s become very easy for me to say no, especially after what happened with Povetkin,” Atlas said. “It would have been easy to say no again. But I was going out to California anyway, to do the PBC on ESPN fight between (Abner) Mares and (Leo) Santa Cruz. I spent two days after that fight with Bradley. I broke down tape of his fights with Vargas and (Ruslan) Provodnikov like I would for ESPN viewers. I pointed out some things to him that he hadn’t realized.

“I went home and spent several more days thinking about it. I went back and forth on so many things. I talked to my family again. Then I called Timmy up and said, `OK.’”

But it wasn’t the 32-year-old Bradley’s star status or potential for improvement that was the deciding factor for Atlas. He’s turned down other talented fighters without so much as a second thought. There was something about Bradley, though, that resonated.

“You are who you are,” Atlas said. “And what you are as a fighter is connected to who you are as a person, and that goes to your background, you past, your upbringing. I liked the way Timmy carried himself, with respect and a certain quiet toughness. He had a standard of conduct that was obvious and, quite frankly, you see less and less in society today.”

Bradley, the father of three children with his manager-wife, Monica, and the stepfather of two of her kids from a previous marriage, understands that he and Atlas share a bond that at least partly transcends boxing.

“Teddy don’t have a million fighters. Teddy was retired,” Bradley noted. “I told him, `Hey, man, you can’t hide all that knowledge. You got to pass it on.

“The reason why Teddy is doing this is because of the person that I am. I’m a family guy; he’s the same way. He’s also a guy with a high boxing IQ. He hasn’t trained fighters in years, but he’s trained some of the best in the world.

“He has the time. He’s going to work it out with his schedule. I’m his only fighter. It’s a great fit, man. I can learn a lot from Teddy.”

So it’s back to boot camp for Atlas, whose military experience, such as it is, has been limited to occasionally working with the West Point boxing team and his friendship with two-time Super Bowl winning coach Bill Parcells, who was an assistant at Army and the head coach at the Air Force Academy before moving on to the NFL.

“Someone told me that when Parcells left the Giants and Ray Handley took over, some of the players were asked at training camp what the difference between them was,” Atlas said. “They said, `Oh, it’s much better now, much nicer, much easier, much more player-friendly. Handley is not a dictator like Parcells was.’ It was very similar to what Lalonde said about me.

“Yeah, it was much better until the season started and they weren’t winning. Then those guys found out it wasn’t better. It was misery and a disaster.”

So what happens the next time a fighter in need of a make-over seeks out Atlas? Is there training life for him beyond Timothy Bradley Jr.?

“I saw how Timmy was in his house, as a husband and father,” Atlas said. “I saw what’s important to him, and to me. I decided if I was going to come back and train, it was going to be for a person like this.

“Timmy said, `Anything you ask me to do, I’ll do.’ I could tell it wasn’t just lip service. I think I’m pretty good at being able to read people. Lalonde told me some of the same things, but I didn’t follow my best instincts then, which was that there was something about him that I just shouldn’t trust.

“My experience with him affected me. I said to myself, `The next time someone comes to me unsolicited, I’m going to pay more attention to my instincts. So here we are, 30 years later. When Timmy told me he’d do what I told him to do, no questions asked, I believed it. There is a truthfulness to him. It’s kind of refreshing, really.”

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Weekend Boxing Recap: The Mikey Garcia Stunner and More

Arne K. Lang

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Weekend Boxing Recap: The Mikey Garcia Stunner and More

Boxing was all over the map on the third Saturday of October with many of the shows pulled together on short notice as promoters took advantage of relaxed COVID constraints to return to business as usual. When the smoke cleared, a monster upset in Fresno overshadowed the other events.

Mikey Garcia, a shoo-in to make the Hall of Fame, was on the wrong side of it. Spain’s Sandor Martin, in his USA debut, won a well-deserved decision over Garcia at a Triple-A baseball park in Fresno.

Garcia, a former four-division belt-holder, was 40-1 coming in with his only loss coming at the hands of Errol Spence. Martin, a 28-year-old southpaw, brought a nice record with him from Europe (38-2) but with only 13 wins coming by way of stoppage it was plain that he wasn’t a heavy hitter. His only chance was to out-box Garcia and that seemed far-fetched.

But Martin did exactly that, counter-punching effectively to win a 10-round majority decision. Two judges had it 97-93 with the third turning in a 95-95 tally.

Neither Garcia nor Martin were natural welterweights. The bout was fought at a catch-weight of 145 pounds. After the bout, the Spaniard indicated a preference for dropping back to 140 where enticing opportunities await.

There was another upset, albeit a much milder one, in the co-feature where Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez improved to 25-3-1 (14) while shearing the WBO world flyweight title from the shoulders of Mexicali’s Elwin Soto (19-2).

Soto was making his fourth defense of the title and rode into the match with a 17-fight winning streak. Gonzalez, a southpaw, had formerly fought for the WBO world flyweight title, getting stopped in seven rounds by Kosei Tanaka in Nagoya, Japan.

One of the judges favored Soto 116-112, but he was properly out-voted by his colleagues who had it 116-112 the other way.

Riga, Latvia

The first major fight on Saturday took place in Riga, Latvia, where hometown hero Mairis Briedis successfully defended his IBF cruiserweight title with a third-round stoppage of Germany’s Artur Mann who was on the deck three times before the match was halted at the 1:54 mark.

Briedis (28-1, 20 KOs) was making his first start since dismantling KO artist Yuniel Dorticos in the finals of season two of the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament. He scored the first of his three knockdowns in the waning seconds of round two when he deposited Mann (17-2) on the canvas with a straight right hand.

Although boosters of fast-rising WBO champ Lawrence Okolie would disagree, the Latvian is widely regarded as the best cruiserweight in the world. His only setback came when he lost a narrow decision to current WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champ Oleksandr Usyk in this ring in January of 2018. Now 36 years old, Briedis has yet to appear in a main event outside Europe. That’s undoubtedly about to change and a rematch with Usyk is well within the realm of possibility.

Newcastle, England

Chris Eubank Jr, whose fight two weeks ago in London with late sub Anati Muratov was cancelled at the 11th hour when Muratov failed his medical exam, was added to this Matchroom card and his bout with Wanik Awdijan became the de facto main event. A 26-year-old German, born in Armenia, Awdijan was 28-1 and had won 21 straight (against very limited opposition), but he was no match for Eubank Jr who broke him down with body shots, likely breaking his ribs and forcing him to quit on his stool after five frames.

Eubank Jr, 32, improved to 31-2 (23) His only defeats came at the hands of former world title-holder George Groves and BJ Saunders. He dedicated this fight to his late brother Sebastian Eubank who died in July while swimming in the Persian Gulf.

In other bouts, Hughie Fury, the cousin of Tyson Fury, stayed relevant in the heavyweight division with a stoppage of well-traveled German Christian Hammer and Savannah Marshall successfully defended her WBO world middleweight title with a second-round TKO of Lolita Muzeya.

Akin to Eubank-Awdijan, the Fury-Hammer fight also ended with the loser bowing out after five frames. A biceps injury allegedly caused Hammer to say “no mas,” but Fury, in what was arguably his career-best performance, was well ahead on the cards.

The Marshall-Muzeya fight was a battle of unbeatens, but Muzeya’s 16-0 record was suspicious as the Zambian had never fought outside the continent of Africa. She came out blazing, but Marshall, who improved to 11-0 (9) had her number and retained her title.

Brooklyn

In the featured bout of a TrillerVerz show at Barclays Center, Long Island’s Cletus Seldin, the Hebrew Hammer, knocked out William Silva in the seventh round. It was the fifth-straight win for the 35-year-old Seldin, a junior welterweight who was making his first start in 20 months.

Silva, a 34-year-old Brazilian who fights out of Florida, brought a 28-3 record. His previous losses had come at the hands of Felix Verdejo, Teofimo Lopez, and Arnold Barboza Jr. Seldin improved to 26-1 (22 KOs).

In other bouts, junior welterweight Petros Ananyan, a Brooklyn-based Armenian, improved to 16-2-2 (7) with a 10-round majority decision over local fighter Daniel Gonzalez (20-3-1) and Will Madera of Albany, NY, scored a mild upset when he stopped Jamshidbek Najmitdinov who was pulled out after five rounds with an apparent shoulder injury.

Najmitdinov, from Uzbekistan, was making his U.S. debut but he brought a 17-1 record blemished only by former world title-holder Viktor Postol. Madera improved to 17-1-3.

Photo credit: Ed Mulholand / Matchroom

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Emanuel Navarrete Retains WBO Featherweight Title in a San Diego Firefight

David A. Avila

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SAN DIEGO-WBO featherweight titlist Emanuel Navarrete won by unanimous decision over Joet Gonzalez in a slugfest that had fans cheering nonstop on Friday night. Fans were mesmerized by the savagery.

More than 2,000 fans saw Mexico City’s Navarrete (35-1, 29 KOs) and Southern California’s Gonzalez (24-2, 14 KOs) bounce brutal shots off each other for 12 successive rounds at Pechanga Sports Arena.

Both Navarrete and Gonzalez were about equal in height with the champion maybe a slight taller, but not by much. As soon as the first bell rang the two featherweights opened up in furious fashion.

Gonzalez was making his second attempt to grab a world title. His first attempt fell short a year ago. He was eager to atone for the defeat by clobbering Navarrete. Body shots were the weapon of choice.

The Mexican fighter Navarrete was accustomed to battling shorter fighters, this time the two were equal in size and in fury. Blows were flying in bunches and by the third round Gonzalez suffered a cut on his right cheek.

At several points Navarrete would connect with a solid blow and eagerly seek to finish the fight. Each time it happened Gonzalez would fight back even more furiously and beat back the champions attacks.

Gonzalez also connected with big shots and moved in for the kill only find Navarrete take a stand and fire back. Neither was able to truly gain a significant edge. After 12 rounds of nonstop action the decision was given to the judges. One scored it 118-110, two others saw it 116-112 all for Navarrete.

Fans were pleased by the decision and even more pleased by the breath-taking action they had witnessed.

Welterweights

Local fighter Giovani Santillan (28-0, 15 KOs) remained undefeated by unanimous decision after 10 rounds versus Tijuana’s Angel Ruiz (17-2, 12 KOs). The two southpaws were evenly matched.

San Diego’s Santillan was able to outwork Ruiz in almost every round. Though Ruiz has heavy hands he was not able to hurt Santillan even with uppercuts. It was clear very early in the fight that Santillan was the more technical and busier of the two. No knockdowns were scored.

After 10 rounds two judges scored it 100-90 for Santillan and a third saw it 99-91.

Other Results

Lindolfo Delgado (14-0, 12 KOs) battered and knocked down fellow Mexican Juan Garcia Mendez (21-5-2) in the last round of an 8-round super lightweight bout, but could not score the knockout win.

Delgado, a Mexican Olympian, was the quicker and stronger fighter yet discovered Garcia Mendez has a solid chin. All three judges scored it 80-71 for Delgado.

Puerto Rico’s Henry Lebron (14-0, 9 KOs) defeated Manuel Rey Rojas (21-6) by decision after eight rounds in a lightweight match.

Javier Martinez (5-0, 2 KOs) soundly defeated Darryl Jones (4-3-1) by decision after six rounds in a middleweight clash. Jones was tough.

Las Vegas bantamweight Floyd Diaz (3-0) knocked down Tucson’s Jose Ramirez (1-1) in the first round but was unable to end the fight early. Diaz won by decision.

Heavyweight Antonio Mireles (1-0) knocked out Demonte Randle (2-2) at 2:07 of the first round.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank for Getty Images

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Book Review

Russell Peltz’s “Thirty Dollars and a Cut Eye”: Book Review by Thomas Hauser

Thomas Hauser

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Russell Peltz’s “Thirty Dollars and a Cut Eye”: Book Review by Thomas Hauser

Russell Peltz has been promoting fights for fifty years and is as much a part of the fabric of Philadelphia boxing as Philly gym wars and Philly fighters. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004 and deservedly so. Now Peltz has written a memoir entitled Thirty Dollars and a Cut Eye that chronicles his many years in the sweet science.

Peltz started in boxing before it was, in his words, “bastardized by the alphabet groups” and at a time when “world titles still meant something.”

“I fell in love with boxing when I was twelve,” he writes, “saw my first live fight at fourteen, decided to make it my life, and never looked back.” He promoted his first fight card in 1969 at age 22.

Peltz came of age in boxing at a time when promoters – particularly small promoters – survived or died based on the live gate. Peltz Boxing Promotions had long runs at the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia and both Harrah’s Marina and the Sands  in Atlantic City. His journey through the sweet science included a seven-year stint as director of boxing for The Spectrum in Philadelphia. At the turn of the century, he was a matchmaker for ESPN.

Along the way, Peltz’s office in Philadelphia was fire-bombed. He was robbed at gunpoint while selling tickets in his office for a fight card at the Blue Horizon and threatened in creative ways more times than one might imagine. He once had a fight fall out when one of the fighters was arrested on the day of the weigh-in. No wonder he quotes promoter Marty Kramer, who declared, “The only thing I wish on my worst enemy is that he becomes a small-club boxing promoter.”

Now Peltz has put pen to paper – or finger to keyboard. “The internet is often a misinformation highway,” he writes. “I want to set the record straight as to what actually went on in boxing in the Philadelphia area since the late-1960s. I’m tired of reading tweets or Facebook posts or Instagram accounts from people who were not around and have no idea what went on but write like they do.”

Thirty Dollars and a Cut Eye is filled with characters (inside and outside the ring) who give boxing its texture. As Peltz acknowledges, his own judgment was sometimes faulty. Russell once turned down the opportunity to promote Marvin Hagler on a long-term basis. There are countless anecdotes about shady referees, bad judging, and other injustices. Middleweight Bennie Briscoe figures prominently in the story, as do other Philadelphia fighters like Willie “The Worm” Monroe, Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, Stanley “Kitten” Hayward, and Matthew Franklin (later Matthew Saad Muhammad). Perhaps the best fight Peltz ever promoted  was the 1977 classic when Franklin knocked out Marvin Johnson in the twelfth round.

There’s humor. After Larry Holmes pitched a shutout against Randall “Tex” Cobb in 1982, Cobb proclaimed, “Larry never beat me. He just won the first fifteen rounds.”

And there are poignant notes. Writing about Tanzanian-born Rogers Mtagwa (who boxed out of Philadelphia), Peltz recalls, “He couldn’t pass an eye exam because he didn’t understand the alphabet.”

Remembering the Blue Horizon, Peltz fondly recounts, “”The Blue Horizon was a fight fan’s nirvana. The ring was 15-feet-9-inches squared inside the ropes. No fighter came to the Blue Horizon to pad his record. Fans wanted good fights, not slaughters of second-raters.”

That ethos was personified by future bantamweight champion Jeff Chandler who, after knocking out an obviously inept opponent, told Peltz, “Don’t ever embarrass me like that again in front of my fans.”

Thereafter, whenever a manager asked Peltz to put his fighter in soft to “get me six wins in a row,” Russell thought of Chandler. “I enjoyed promoting fights more than promoting fighters,” he writes. “If I was interested in promoting fighters, I would have been a manager.”

That brings us to Peltz the writer.

The first thing to be said here is that this is a book for boxing junkies, not the casual fan. Peltz is detail-oriented. But do readers really need to know what tickets prices were for the April 6, 1976, fight between Bennie Briscoe and Eugene Hart? The book tends to get bogged down in details. And after a while, the fights and fighters blur together in the telling.

It brings to mind the relationship between Gene Tunney and George Bernard Shaw. The noted playwright and heavyweight great developed a genuine friendship. But Shaw’s fondness for Tunney stopped short of uncritical admiration. In 1932, the former champion authored his autobiography (A Man Must Fight) and proudly presented a copy to his intellectual mentor. Shaw read the book and responded with a letter that read in part, “Just as one prayer meeting is very like another, one fight is very like another. At a certain point, I wanted to skip to Dempsey.”

Reading Thirty Dollars and a Cut Eye, at a certain point I wanted to skip to Hagler.

There’s also one jarring note. Peltz recounts how, when Mike Jones fought Randall Bailey for the vacant IBF welterweight title in Las Vegas in 2012, Peltz bet five hundred dollars against Jones (his own fighter) at the MGM Sports Book and collected two thousand dollars when Bailey (trailing badly on the judges’ scorecards) knocked Jones out in the eleventh round.

“It was a tradition from my days with Bennie Briscoe,” Russell explains. “I’d bet against my fighter, hoping to lose the bet and win the fight.”

I think Russell Peltz is honest. I mean that sincerely. And I think he was rooting for Mike Jones to beat Randall Bailey. But I don’t think that promoters should bet on fights involving their own fighters. And it’s worse if they bet against their own fighters. Regardless of the motivation, it looks bad. Or phrased differently: Suppose Don King had bet on Buster Douglas to beat Mike Tyson in Tokyo?

Philadelphia was once a great fight town. in 1926, the first fight between Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney drew 120,000 fans to Sesquicentennial Stadium. Twenty-six years later, Rocky Marciano knocked out Jersey Joe Walcott at same site (renamed Municipal Stadium) to claim the heavyweight throne.

Peltz takes pride in saying, “I was part of Philadelphia’s last golden age of boxing.”

An important part.

Thomas Hauser’s email address is thomashauserwriter@gmail.com. His most recent book – Broken Dreams: Another Year Inside Boxing – was published by the University of Arkansas Press this autumn. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism. In 2019, he was selected for boxing’s highest honor – induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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