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Winning but Losing: Illustrations from the Flip Side

Ted Sares

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winning but losing

“Losing but Winning” was the title of one of my most recent TSS stories. The theme was that sometimes a fighter loses but leaves the ring more respected than when he entered it. One of the examples cited was Paulie Malignaggi’s courageous performance in losing to heavily favored Miguel Cotto.

But what about the flip side; that is, when a fighter wins but leaves the ring with less than that with which he entered? A recent one comes to mind.

Teófimo López vs. Diego Magdaleno

Maybe Lopez’s moniker should be “Terrifying Teófimo” based on the way he rendered Mason Menard unconscious and then how he savagely knocked out veteran Magdaleno who deserved better from his “brave” corner and from recalcitrant referee Gregorio Alvarez.

And then, wrote boxing reporter Scott Christ, “Lopez also stirred up some controversy after the fight, doing a huge celebration (including an incredible backflip) in the ring, leading to Diego’s brother Jessie, a former super bantamweight titleholder, trying to go after Lopez. Jessie was held back successfully, meaning we got no in-ring riot at least.”

It was a sophomoric way to celebrate a great win.

Showing disrespect to a beaten fighter is not the way to win over fans and many on social media reacted harshly to Lopez’s theatrics. When a boxer disrespects an opponent, he or she disrespects boxing. Teofimo needs to rein it in.

Jermall Charlo vs. Julian Williams (Dec. 10, 2016)

Charlo retained his IBF junior middleweight title by stopping the undefeated Williams in the fifth round after having dominated throughout. Williams went over to congratulate Charlo, but Charlo refused and said, “I don’t want your congratulations, I want your apology.” The crowd then began to boo Charlo and that little attitudinal hiccup has stayed with him ever since.

Jermell Charlo vs. Erickson Lubin (Oct. 14, 2017)

After his sudden KO of highly touted Lubin, Jermell Charlo, Jarmall’s twin brother, strutted around the ring like a peacock in jubilation. At some point during Jermell’s celebration, he even got involved in a bit of a fracas with members of Erickson Lubin’s entourage.

Maybe it’s in their genes, but the Charlo twins, while super talented, always seem to be edgy and cocky and that persona can scar them with a reputation of poor sportsmanship.  Disdain for an opponent, if kept under wraps, can work for a fighter, but the key is to keep it suppressed.

Vinny Pazienza vs. Dana Rosenblatt (Aug. 23, 1996)

Dangerous” Dana is articulate, gentlemanly, affable and was a college student to boot (he is now an announcer on NESN) and that seemed to fuel Vinny’s over-the-top dislike for him. “My hatred for him is true,” said the flamboyant Pazienza….”I could break every bone in his body and feel no remorse. He’s a condescending little punk with that community college degree and I hate every ounce of him. I hate him for all the s— he said about me back when I was supporting him. He hasn’t earned the right to talk like that. He ain’t been there, done that.”

Author Eric Hoffer once said: “You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.” Maybe Rosenblatt was paying attention.

At any rate, Dana did a number on Paz during the first three rounds and was in control until he was caught by an overhand right and that was that as Paz floored him and then mugged him until the fight was stopped– but Vinny kept on going after him and had to be pulled away before a ring riot started. Later, he was fined $5,000 and suspended for 90 days by New Jersey boxing commissioner Larry Hazzard for punching referee Tony Orlando who had stepped in to stop the fight and was floored by Paz in an attempt to add more punishment to his already beaten foe. It was ugly and did nothing to buff Pazienza’s already well-hewn abrasive style.

As for Dana, he said to TV commentator Sean O’Grady during the post-fight interview that “the better man won tonight and I give him credit for doing all the things he said he was going to do.”

Rosenblatt won the rematch.

Ann Wolfe vs Vonda Ward (May 8, 2004)

After the 5’9” Wolfe scored the most spectacular KO in female boxing history and one of the most spectacular of all time, male or female, she danced for joy but way too close to her stricken 6’6” foe. Ann should have kept her celebration at a respectful distance. This was not one of her better moments.

Ann later said, “(Ward) pissed me off. That’s why she ended up getting knocked out like that. She told people, ‘I’m gonna be outside signing autographs after this fight.’ ”

An overly gaunt Ward sustained a neck concussion when she fell and was hospitalized. Amazingly, however, Vonda came back to win her final five bouts and finished her career with a 23-1 mark.

Legendary football coach Paul Brown once said “If you get into the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”

A couple of obvious offenders (and Mike Tyson is not one of them) have been omitted from this story but the fuel that turbo-charged their theatrics was pure hype and that doesn’t belong given the context of the aforementioned.

Can you name some others?

Ted Sares is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and Strongman competitors and plans to compete in at least three events in 2019. He is a lifetime member of Ring 10, and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame. He also is an Auxiliary Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA).

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Pico Rivera Summer Fights See Cruz, Vega and Flores Win

David A. Avila

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Pico-Rivera-Summer-Fights-See-Cruz-Vega-and-Flores Win

PICO RIVERA, Ca.-Along the San Gabriel River on a soft summer evening Red Boxing Promotions brought another slew of hot local prospects to the forefront on Saturday.

Chino’s Daniel “Cuetito” Cruz (3-0) burst into the fight like an energy bomb and simply overwhelmed southpaw Phillip Bounds (0-4) with lightning combinations to win by unanimous decision. More than 700 fans saw the Red Boxing fight card.

Though it was only his third pro fight, the high intensity prizefighter Cruz (pictured on the left) exhibited a level of confidence that allowed him to attack with impunity for the first two rounds.

Cruz switched to southpaw and had even more success against the lefty Bounds. The speed of Cruz proved too much to overcome for Bounds who tried different approaches but couldn’t find an antidote for Cruz who won by unanimous decision 40-36 on all three cards in the super lightweight match.

“I’m excited, I wanted to put on a good show,” said Cruz, 20. “I’m coming for all of the big names. Cuetito is here.”

Andre Marquez (2-1) overwhelmed the much taller Alvin Brown (0-8) from Louisiana with a whirlwind style that ended in knockout in the fourth and final round of their super featherweight match. A left hook caught Brown flush and Marquez followed up with four more blows forcing Brown to take a knee at 1:41 of the fourth round. Marquez was ruled the winner by knockout by referee Sharon Sands.

“My plan was to work his body,” said Marquez. “It worked out perfectly.”

Welterweights Bradley Pena (0-0-1) and Ed Nunez (0-0-1) blasted each other for four rounds with Pena starting fast and Nunez ending strong. No knockdowns were scored in the fight that started the night and ended in a draw.

Main Bouts

A light flyweight clash saw Axel Vega (13-2-1, 8 KOs) of Ensenada, Mexico knock out Tijuana’s Giovanni Noriega (2-5-2) with a triple left hook in the second round. Vega, 19, trained out of Compton for this fight.

Welterweight prospect Steven Rodriguez (8-0) suffered a cut on his forehead due to a clash of heads but still managed to out-perform Las Vegas fighter Ryan Picou (3-12-1) after four rounds. All three judges scored the fight 40-36 in favor of Rodriguez. But Picou gave a stubborn defense against the constant rushes of Rodriguez and was able to score on occasion.

Santa Barbara’s Angel Flores (6-0, 4 KOs) defeated Mexico’s Roberto Almazan (9-12) by unanimous decision after six rounds in a super lightweight contest. Flores knocked down Almazan twice in the last round to clinch the win and get the victory by a landslide.

In the audience was former world champion Arturo Frias of East Los Angeles who won the WBA world lightweight title in 1982 and fought numerous times at LA’s  fabled Olympic Auditorium. Also in attendance was current super flyweight contender Adelaida “La Cobra” Ruiz of Los Angeles who is scheduled to fight on October 12 at the same Pico Rivera Sports Arena. Red Boxing Promotions will be staging the event.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Fast Results from Russia: Kovalev KOs Yarde in the 11th

Arne K. Lang

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Fast-Results-from-Russia-Kovalev-KOs-Yarde-in-the-11th

The consensus of opinion regarding tonight’s fight at Chelyabinsk between Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde was that….well, there was no consensus, save that it would not bode well for Yarde if both fighters were still standing at the final bell. Fighting in his hometown, and with a monster payday reportedly looming against Canelo Alvarez should he win, “Krusher” was unlikely to get the worst of it if the fight went to the scorecards. But there would be no controversial decision. In a fight that started slowly and then shifted Yarde’s way, Kovalev stemmed the momentum, took charge in the 10th, and then closed the show in the next round with a scorching left hand that left Yarde flat on his back, gasping for air.

In handicapping the fight, Kovalev certainly had more check marks in the plus column. A former three belt champion and the reigning WBO 175-pound title-holder, Kovalev would be appearing in his 16th world title fight, his second with Hall of Fame trainer Buddy McGirt, with whom he had great rapport. By contrast, Yarde, although undefeated (18-0), had answered the bell for only 51 rounds and had defeated only nine fighters with winning records. Moreover, the Englishman had fought only 12 amateur fights before turning pro.

However, at age 36, Kovalev was getting long in the tooth and in some of his more recent fights he had stamina issues. Moreover, there was a school of thought that Yarde was a beast. In his 30 fights, amateur and pro, he had scored 28 knockouts.

Yarde’s first good round was the seventh and he followed that up with a very strong eighth in which he hurt Kovalev and had the Krusher looking tired. But the assumption that he had paced himself brilliantly proved to be a mirage. As the bout moved into the home stretch, it was the younger man that was more fatigued.

Kovalev backed Yarde against the ropes and hurt him in the 10th. The Russian repeatedly had success with his hard left jab (shades of Larry Holmes) and it was a jab that ended it. Yarde was too exhausted to make it to his feet and was counted out.

Kovalev reportedly has already agreed to meet Canelo in November or December. Tonight he may have added an extra zero to his purse.

Kovalev vs. Canelo, likely at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, will be a blockbuster. Let the hype begin.

Co-Feature

The co-feature between knockout artists Aleksei Papin and Ilunga Makabu wasn’t expected to last the distance, but it went the full 12 and was a highly entertaining affair climaxed by a great 12th round. When the smoke cleared, Ilunga, who went to post a slight favorite, improved to 26-2 (24) by dint of winning a majority decision. It was the second straight win on Russian soil for the Congolese southpaw who fights out of Johannesburg. In his previous go, he stopped Dmitry Kudryashov in the fifth round at Ekaterinburg.

Papin was 11-0 going in with 10 knockouts but the 31-year-old Russian, a former kickboxing champion, was moving up in class against Makabu, a former world title challenger. In the 12th, Makabu scored a knockdown with a straight left after buzzing Papin with a left-right combination, but Papin wasn’t badly hurt and came back to rock him in the final seconds. The knockdown seemingly spelled the difference as two judges had it 115-113 with the third scoring it even (113-113).

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Tanaka and Hatanaka Stay Undefeated in Nagoya

Arne K. Lang

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Kiyoshi Hatanaka, the former world super bantamweight champion, now runs a boxing gym and promotes fights in his hometown of Nagoya. The top fighters in his gym are 24-year-old Kosei Tanaka, who has already won world titles in three weight classes, and Kento Hatanaka, Kyoshi’s 21-year-old son. Both were in action today and both were victorious, but not without anxious moments.

Tanaka, the reigning WBO 112-pound champion, improved to 14-0 (8 KOs) with a seventh-round TKO of Jonathan Gonzalez (22-3-1) in an action-packed bout. There were five knockdowns in all, four by Tanaka, before the referee waved it off with merely a second remaining in the seventh stanza.

Gonzalez took a knee after being hurt by a body punch in round three. But he returned the favor, knocking Tanaka down with a counterpunch in the next stanza, and seemingly had the fight in hand when he dominated the fifth. But Tanaka regained the momentum and scored three knockdowns in Round 7 to close the show.

Kosei Tanaka is overshadowed as a sports personality by countryman Naoya “Monster” Inoue, but is carving out quite a legacy. At age 19, in only his fifth pro fight, he defeated WBO minimumweight (105 pound) champion Julian Yadras of Mexico. He then gathered in titles at 108 and 112, accomplishing the hat trick in only his 12th pro fight, tying Vasiliy Lomachenko’s record.

With only a few pounds separating each of the lowest weight classes, Tanaka likely isn’t done jumping up in weight. There’s already talk of a showdown with 115-pound title-holder Kazuto Ioka. But Tanaka has indicated that he wants to expand his opportunities overseas, following the example of Inoue. There are still holes in his defense, but that makes for exciting fights and a match between him and someone like “Chocolatito” Gonzalez would be worth the price of admission.

Jonathan Gonzalez, a southpaw with a good amateur pedigree, had fought his previous three fights in Kissimmee, Florida. When in his native Puerto Rico, he trains in the same gym as former super bantamweight and featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez. We certainly haven’t seen the last of him.

The 10-round co-feature between super flyweights Kento Hatanaka and Jaysever Abcede was also a crowd pleaser that saw both combatants score knockdowns. Hatanaka improved to 10-0 but was extended the distance for the first time in his pro career. Abcede, a noted spoiler from the Philippines, saw his winning streak end at four and fell to 19-9. The scores were 95-93, 96-93, and 96-92.

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