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“Notes and Nuggets” from Thomas Hauser

Thomas Hauser

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Bill

What does a journalist do when he retires following a long and storied career that includes 25 years as sports editor for the Los Angeles Times? In Bill Dwyre’s case, he starts a publishing company.

When Dwyre was boy, he loved to read. The Hardy Boys and Chip Hilton (two popular series for young readers of that era) topped his list of favorites.

“But kids today don’t read as much as they used to,” Dwyer says. “I have grandchildren who are fourteen and twelve. They’re smart kids, good students. But they spend too much time on their devices. I’m afraid that children will stop picking up books and reading. And I’d like to do my part to see that doesn’t happen.”

Toward that end, backed by a venture capital investor, Dwyre has founded Back Story Publishing. His target audience is middle-grade readers from ages eight through thirteen. “The books will be challenging for an eight or nine-year old,” he acknowledges. “But I’m hoping to help them form good reading habits early.”

Dwyre is Back Story’s chief executive officer. Operating titanic inflatable slide pursuant to a three-year business plan, he intends to publish three books in year one, five books in year two, and five more in year three. The template he hopes to follow calls for the author of each book to receive a flat $10,000 fee for all rights.

The books will be devoted to sports and, in Dwyre’s words, “tell compelling stories of sportsmen, sportswomen, and teams who have achieved excellence while overcoming challenges that might have stopped others.” The person who is the subject of each book will be asked to sit for three interview sessions. In exchange, Back Story will donate $5,000 to a charity of his or her choosing.

Dwyre wrote his company’s first book. Hard to Heart is a 17,000-word biography of multi-division champion Tim Bradley that was published in October. In a departure from what Dwyre anticipates will be the norm, a 70,000-word memoir by former Major League Baseball player Ron Fairly written for the adult market is in the pipeline. Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout will be the next young-adult subject.

It’s hard to make money as an independent publisher. But Dwyre is heartened by his experience to date. It’s difficult to get publicity for books. But recently, a local rotary club in Palm Desert offered him a platform for Hard to Heart at one of its breakfasts. The catch was that the organizers wanted Tim Bradley to appear at the breakfast too. And the breakfast was scheduled for 7:00 AM.

No problem. Not only did Bradley agree to be there; he arrived at 6:45 AM.

*     *     *

The New York State Athletic Commission lost a valuable asset when Keith Sullivan resigned as a deputy commissioner on November 13.

Sullivan joined the NYSAC in 2012. A lawyer by trade, he brought an understanding of the sport and business of boxing in addition to his legal acumen to the commission. He knows who the players are, both at the commission and in the boxing community at large.

Before joining the NYSAC, Sullivan represented Joey Gamache in a lawsuit against the NYSAC that stemmed from irregularities at the weigh-in prior to the fighter’s February 26, 2000, bout against Arturo Gatti at Madison Square Garden. Gamache was brutally knocked out in that bout and suffered a career-ending brain bleed.

In the past, Sullivan’s has also represented fighters in contractual matters. His decision to leave his per diem position with the NYSAC was spurred in part by the desire to become more involved in boxing as a practicing attorney.

Sullivan is widely respected within the boxing community. The NYSAC’s loss is a potential gain for fighters and anyone else who’s looking for an honest competent lawyer with knowledge of boxing.

*     *     *

I was going through some old files recently and came across several thoughts that Emanuel Steward shared with me that I’d never used in articles. Now is as good a time as any to relate them:

*           “There are no standards for being a trainer anymore. Just throw a towel over your shoulder and say you’re a trainer. It’s like being a writer for a boxing website. Anyone can do it.”

*           “I was watching a fight the other night, and the trainer kept telling his fighter to double-up on the jab. I wanted holler, ‘How can he double up on the jab when he can’t land the first one?’”

*           “In the dressing room before a fight, you can ask your fighter if he feels good. But he’ll always tell you ‘yes.’  So unless you know your fighter very well, you don’t know if he’s feeling good or not.”

Emanuel died five years ago. The day it happened, Larry Merchant told me, “I haven’t been this sad since my father died.”

Emanuel Steward was important to boxing. A lot of people miss him.

*     *     *

Am I the only one who casts a jaundiced eye at the pro forma “Training Camp Notes” that are spoon fed to the media in the weeks leading up to every televised fight? Everything is always going well. Every fighter is highly motivated. Every fighter is in the best shape of his life.

Just once, I’d like to go online and read, “Training camp has sucked. I’m heavier than I should be and don’t think I’ll be able to make weight. I stopped sparring last week because my sparring partners were beating the crap out of me. And I’m sick of my trainer complaining that I’m drinking too much beer.”

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at thauser@rcn.com. His most recent book – There Will Always Be Boxing – was just published by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.

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Daniel Jacobs Edges Past Gabe Rosado on a Matchroom card in Florida

David A. Avila

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Former world champion Daniel Jacobs needed the last round to win by split decision against upset-minded Gabe Rosado and keep his place in line on Friday for lucrative super middleweight matchups.

But when the ring announcer erroneously announced the winner was from Philadelphia, confusion reigned for a moment until Jacobs was correctly called the winner.

Brooklyn’s Jacobs (37-3, 30 KOs) jumped out ahead against Philly fighter Rosado (25-13-1, 14 KOs) and held on for the win in front of no fans at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. For a second, many thought Rosado had won.

Both were careful during the first three rounds measuring each other’s distance and looking for openings to counter. There were very few.

It was the kind of fight expected by those who know boxing: two veterans with immense experience against top-flight world champions. Mistakes were few.

Jacobs, a former middleweight world champion, had fought Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in close but losing efforts.

Rosado had battled Golovkin too, six years ago in a bloody affair that ended in a loss. He had also lost to other champions like Peter Quillin and Jermell Charlo. But none were able to knock him out.

Both were aware of each other’s reputation. Bitter words had been exchanged for years and now they finally got their chance to prove their mettle and they did.

Though Jacobs was recognized as a knockout puncher, Rosado’s resilience was just as well known. Both neutralized each other for most of the fight with their feints and jabs to the body. Neither was willing to leave openings for each other.

Jacobs scored big with a left uppercut at the end of the seventh round. While Rosado wowed viewers with a sizzling right cross in the 11th round.

It was 1950s style, boxing with intelligence. Each found it difficult to land combinations, let alone find openings to score knockout blows. Instead, they had to be satisfied with scoring enough to convince three judges the actual winner.

Neither was able to pull out ahead with any conviction.

After 12 rounds one judge saw Rosado the winner 115-113 while two others saw Jacobs the winner 115-113 to give him the win by split decision.

“It felt just a little weird. It felt like a sparring match,” said Jacobs about fighting without fans in the audience. “This wasn’t a valiant effort.”

Rosado was certain he was the true winner.

“I thought I won the fight. I surprised him,” said Rosado who trained with Freddie Roach for this fight. “I’m a veteran, I know how to fight.”

Indeed, he does.

Jacobs now stands poised to fight one of many super middleweight champions in need of a marquee name.

“I live to see another day,” he said honestly.

Other Bouts

Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Yeleussinov (10-0, 6 KOs) proved he was not an easy touch and knocked out former world champion Julius Indongo (23-3, 12 KOs) to march forward in the welterweight division while grabbing the vacant IBF Inter-Continental title.

In a fight featuring southpaw versus southpaw Yeleussinov caught Indongo with a roundhouse left the first time they exchanged and down went the former super lightweight world champion. Indongo beat the count and survived the round.

Indongo wasn’t as lucky in the second round as Yeleussinov again connected with a left and down went the fighter from Namibia again. He would not get up at 1:24 of round two giving the knockout win for Yeleussinov.

A battle between undefeated heavyweights saw Azerbaijan’s Mahammadrasul Majidov (3-0, 3 KOs) use roundhouse rights to stagger the heavier Sahret Delgado (8-1) to win by knockout in the third round. Majidov actually helped Delgado get to his stool after knocking him out on his feet at 47 seconds of the third round.

Emmanuel Tagoe (32-1) defeated Mason Menard (36-5) by majority decision after a 10- round lightweight fight that saw a lot of clinching and leaning.

Nikita “White Chocolate” Ababiy (10-0) out-fought Detroit’s Brandon Maddox (7-4-1) to win by unanimous decision after six rounds in a middleweight clash. Ababiy hurt Maddox with body shots but found Maddox more resilient than expected.

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Pradabsri Upsets Menayothin, Ends the Longest Unbeaten Streak of Modern Times

Arne K. Lang

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During the wee hours in the Americas, a big upset was brewing in Thailand. In Nakhon Sawan, a city roughly 150 miles north of Bangkok, Panya Pradabsri (aka Petchmanee CP Freshmart) out-pointed Wanheng Menayothin (aka Chayaphon Moonsri) in a domestic clash with international significance. Manayothin entered the bout with a 54-0 (18) record and was making the 13th defense of his WBC world minimumweight title.

Pradabsri had been defeated only once in 35 previous starts, but only 11 of his 34 victories had come against fighters with winning records. According to ringside reports, he kept Menayothin at bay with good fundamentals, a stiff jab, and good lateral movement. All three judges had it 115-113. The fight wasn’t without controversy as Menayothin finished stronger and many folks scoring off the live video thought that he had done just enough to retain his title.

How good was/is Menayothin? That’s a question that serious boxing fans will likely debate for decades.

In the summer of 2019, Menayothin signed a co-promotional deal with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. At time, GBP president Eric Gomez described him as one of the best fighters in the world. “We really want to bring him to the U.S. so people can see how talented he really is,” Gomez told England’s Sky Sports.

Menayothin was expected to make his U.S. debut in April of this year, but the pandemic ruined that plan. Earlier this year, he announced his retirement, but rescinded it after only two days.

Scottish boxing historian Matt McGrain, who has an exclusive arrangement with this web site, had lukewarm opinion of the Thai mighty-mite although he rated him the second-best 105-pound boxer of the decade, trailing only his countryman Thammanoon Niyomtrong (aka Knockout CP Freshmart).

“He is disciplined, strong, brings good pressure and is armed with a very decent range of punches,” said McGrain, “(but his record) is comprised mostly of men any competent fighter would be expected to beat.”

Although only one boxer from Thailand has been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (Khaosai Galaxy, class of 1999), the Southeast Asia nation has produced some outstanding boxers over the years – Chartchoi Chionoi, Sot Chitalada, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai to name just a few. The difference between these fighters and Wanheng Menayothin is that they all left the comfort zone of their homeland to score one or more important wins on foreign soil.

Menayothin may yet display his wares in a U.S. ring. But at age 35, an advanced age for small fighters in particular, we won’t get to see him at his best and now that his bubble has been burst, disinviting further comparisons to Mayweather and Marciano, the curiosity factor has been tempered.

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Yoka vs. Hammer Kicks Off the Thanksgiving Weekend Slate on ESPN+

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PRESS RELEASE— Tony Yoka, the dynamic heavyweight punching Parisian, aims to impress in his ESPN platform debut. Yoka, who won a super heavyweight gold medal for France at the 2016 Rio Olympics, will fight veteran Christian Hammer in a 10-rounder Friday at H Arena in Nantes, France.

Yoka-Hammer will stream live and exclusively this Friday, Nov. 27 in the United States on ESPN+ beginning at 2:55 p.m. ET/11:55 a.m. PT.

The ESPN+ stream will also include the return of unbeaten 2016 French Olympic gold medalist Estelle Yoka-Mossely against Pasa Malagic in an eight-round lightweight bout. Yoka and Yoka-Mossely, who have been married since 2018, welcomed their second child in May.

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Earlier this year, Yoka inked a promotional agreement with Top Rank, which will co-promote him with Ringstar France.

“Tony Yoka’s potential is limitless, and he is a grounded young man who is motivated to be a great professional fighter,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “France has never had a world heavyweight champion, and I believe Tony is the one to bring the sport’s biggest honor home.”

The 28-year-old Yoka’s stellar amateur run included a berth at the 2012 London Olympics and gold medals at the 2015 World Championships and 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Before his triumph in Rio, he’d already defeated the likes of former heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker and current undefeated prospects Joe Joyce and Ivan Dychko. At the Rio Olympics, he defeated Croatian standout Filip Hrgović in the semifinals and edged Joyce in the gold medal match.

As a professional, Yoka (8-0, 7 KOs) made his debut in June 2017 with a second-round stoppage over the previously undefeated Travis Clark. Apart from a decision win over Jonathan Rice in his second outing, Yoka has stopped every foe, including durable Englishman David “White Rhino” Allen and former European champion Alexander Dimitrenko. He made his 2020 debut Sept. 25 and stopped former world title challenger Johann Duhaupas in one round.

Hammer (25-6, 15 KOs) has fought many of the leading heavyweight names during his 12-year career, falling short against Tyson Fury, Luis Ortiz and Alexander Povetkin. He’s notched myriad upset victories, including a highlight-reel knockout over David Price and a 2016 split decision over Erkan Teper for the WBO European belt. In March 2019, he went the 10-round distance against Ortiz and has not been stopped since Fury forced him to retire on his stool after eight rounds in their February 2015 clash.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

 

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