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Forty-six Boxing Notables Wax Nostalgic in the Latest TSS Survey

Ted Sares

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TSS Survey

Welcome to the second TSS Quarterly Survey of 2019. Our survey question this time was “If you could have a ringside seat to any boxing event in history, which fight would you choose?” There were many duplicate picks but also some unexpected choices. Enjoy.

BONES ADAMS — trainer, former WBA world super bantamweight champion: Ali vs. Foreman. Ali at his best.

RUSS ANBER — elite trainer, cornerman, and owner of Rival Boxing Equipment: The first fight that popped into my mind was the June 22, 1938 rematch between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. Considering the outcome of the first fight, coupled with the social and political implications which surrounded the rematch, I would dare say that it was the most important fight in the history of boxing. What I wouldn’t have given to be there!

MATT ANDRZEJEWSKI — TSS boxing writer: Harry Greb vs. Mickey Walker. They were two of the greatest ever fighting for the middleweight title. It was reportedly a classic give and take battle that featured plenty of sustained action as well as an incredible performance by Greb whom I consider to be the greatest fighter of all time.

DAVID AVILA — TSS West Coast Bureau Chief: I’d love to have been ringside for Jack Dempsey vs Gene Tunney and the long count in Chicago at a time when Al Capone ruled the city. That was a pretty emotional fight that people argued about for many decades. It was Jack Dempsey’s last fight and Gene Tunney fought only one more time.

TRACY CALLIS – eminent boxing historian: I’d love to be at ringside for the Tommy Ryan-Tommy West fight of March 4, 1901 in Louisville, Kentucky. It was the third time they had fought. This contest was not a boxing match as we know it, it was truly a fight. Blood, butting, other fouls, etc. Would love to be at ringside yes, but not too close for there was blood splattered everywhere. Ryan complained to the ref that West was butting. The ref told him to butt him back. They kept fighting.

STEVE CANTON — President of Florida Boxing Hall of Fame, author: The second Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling bout because of its importance and significance during World War II. The utter destruction of Schmeling and redemption by Joe Louis was unbelievable and I could only imagine the feelings of those in attendance. It was one for the ages.

JILL DIAMOND — International Secretary, WBC With the golden anniversary of Ali/Frazier I coming up March 8th, 2021, if I went back in time, could I wish for any other ticket? History! Glamour! Champions!

CHARLIE DWYER — former professional referee and member of U.S. Marine Corps Boxing Hall of Fame: Ali-Frazier I. In my estimation, it was the biggest mega fight ever.

STEVE FARHOOD — Showtime announcer, former editor of The Ring magazine and 2017 IBHOF inductee: That’s an easy one: The Rumble in the Jungle. Incredibly significant. Unique. Dramatic. And since I covered only the last two fights of Ali’s career, both of which were losses, I would like to have seen him win!

RICK FARRIS — President and founder at West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame: I’d like to have sat ringside for the last Ike Williams-Beau Jack lightweight title bout. The one where Williams is battering the defenseless Beau Jack in the corner, then held Beau up by the throat and turning to the ref  said, “What do you want me to do, kill the man?”

BERNARD FERNANDEZ — TSS Mainstay and lifetime member of the BWAA: March 8, 1971, Madison Square Garden, Joe Frazier’s 15-round unanimous decision over Muhammad Ali in arguably the most-anticipated boxing match, and maybe even sport event, of all time. I was the young sports editor of a newspaper in south Louisiana  at the time, my days at ringside at major fights still a bit off in the future. But anyone who cared about boxing, and I did, wanted to be in the Garden in New York for this one.

If I am allowed two honorable mentions, I’d go with Roberto Duran UD15 Sugar Ray Leonard on June 20, 1980, in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium and Aaron Pryor TKO 14 Alexis Arguello on Nov. 12, 1982, in Miami’s Orange Bowl. But, really, there are a lot more I could mention.

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“You know, you’re in here with the God tonight” – Ali

“If you are God, you’re in the wrong place tonight – Frazier

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 JEFFREY FREEMAN (aka KO Digest) — TSS boxing writer: Hagler-Hearns, brief enough? Eight minutes. I’ve got my popcorn and I’m ready to rumble.

RANDY GORDON — former head of the New York State Athletic Commission, SiriusXM radio host, and author of Glove Affair, his recently released memoir: I’d absolutely have to be in Havana, Cuba, on April 5, 1915, for the Jack Johnson-Jess Willard heavyweight title fight. I have to see for myself if Johnson took a plunge in the Havana heat, or was really beaten by the far-less-talented Willard.

LEE GROVES — writer, author and the wizard of CompuBox: The first fight that came to mind was the rematch against Rocky Graziano and Tony Zale at Chicago Stadium on July 16, 1947. That’s because the fight has been described as among the most thrilling in the history of the sport, yet the only footage is grainy, brief and shot from the crowd. Was this fight everything that it was portrayed? Being there would settle that question for me.

HENRY HASCUP — boxing historian and President of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame: Harry Greb when he beat Gene Tunney. There is no film that we know of where Greb is actually in a boxing match so I would love to see how he beat one of the All-time Greats!

CHUCK HASSON — noted boxing historian and co-author of Philadelphia’s Boxing Heritage: I can’t help it. I would like to relive the time my dad took me to Atlantic City for my 17th birthday present to watch my idol Joey Giardello win the middleweight title with his career masterpiece beating Dick Tiger for the middleweight championship. The euphoria I experienced that night I would like to relive one more time. Nothing since in boxing has given me the pleasure of that night.

JACK HIRSCH — former President and now lifetime member of the BWAA: The Jack Johnson-Jim Jeffries fight in Reno, Nevada, on July 4, 1910. It was arguably the most historical event in sports history. I would have been fascinated to see the attitudes of those at ringside.

KEVIN IOLE — Yahoo combat sports journalist: March 8, 1971, Ali-Frazier I. The biggest sporting event of my lifetime. Where else would I rather be?

MIGUEL ITURRATE — matchmaker, judge, promoter and TSS writer: The first Billy Papke fight with Stanley Ketchel in Milwaukee on June 4, 1908. The fight is well documented and there was a who’s who of athletes there, including Frank Gotch, the champion wrestler. Ketchel was defending his world middleweight title and the two would go on to fight three more times. But oh to be there for that first one….

STUART KIRSCHENBAUM — former head of the Michigan Boxing Commission: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, June 22, 1938. Boxing transcended the sport that evening and was on the world stage for the most important social and political ramifications. During my term as Boxing Commissioner in Michigan little did I know that my own life would become intertwined with the Brown Bomber. From meeting him ringside and time spent with him at a victory party following Hilmer Kenty from the Kronk Gym becoming the first world champion from Detroit since Joe Louis.  Later on, I would become the personal guardian for Joe’s widow Martha till her death and burial next to Joe in Arlington Cemetery. Joe’s best childhood friend Freddie Guinyard gave me the glove that Joe had given him …the glove that knocked out Schmeling.  On Guinyard’s wishes, along with the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, we donated that glove which proudly stands in a granite and plexiglass showcase in Detroit dubbed “The Glove That Floored Nazi Germany”. From Joe’s hand….to Max’s chin…to my home…to the City of Detroit…a proud journey indeed.

BRUCE KIELTY — matchmaker, historian: Ali vs Frazier #1. No explanation necessary.

JIM LAMPLEY — linchpin of the HBO Boxing announcing team for 31 years, 2015 IBHOF inductee: Louis vs Schmeling II. One of a tiny handful of famous sports events whose sociopolitical impacts rocked the world. First time ever a majority of white Americans rooted for a black man to beat a white man. Stands alone for me.

ARNE LANG — TSS editor-in-chief, author, historian: I missed the first fight between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo. It happened at a time when I was out of the boxing loop. Several of my friends were ringside and they all say it was the greatest fight they ever saw. I regret that I missed it.

JIMMY LANGE — former boxer and promoter: In a close call with Ali-Frazier 1, I would choose Louis vs Schmeling 2. It was one of the most significant events in sports history. A black man carried the U.S. on his shoulders to keep his title from the envoy of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Max was undeserving of such a villainous tag. After everything Joe Louis did for this country, the government turned on him and he died with much less dignity than he should have.

RON LIPTON — former fighter, retired police officer, pro referee and inductee into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame: I’d pick the one I missed but wanted to see very much–the shootout with Charlie “Devil” Green and Frankie DePaula where Charlie stopped Frankie in two in M.S.G.  I’d also liked to have been at ringside for Jose “Chegui” Torres v Charlie “Devil” Green. I was sitting near Green when they came and got him to fill in for Jimmy Ralston. That was something to see when he floored Torres and they had to drag Jose back to the corner, he came out next round and stopped Charlie. I wish I had been closer to ringside which I usually always was.

ADEYINKA MAKINDE – UK barrister, author and contributor to the Cambridge Companion to Boxing: I’d liked to have been seated alongside Clark Gable and Douglas Fairbanks in Yankee Stadium for the return match in 1938 between the “Brown Bomber”, Joe Louis, and the “Black Uhlan”, Max Schmeling. A truly historic night given Louis’ clinical and brutal revenge in a heavyweight title bout, as well as the significance of defeating the (unwilling) Nazi poster boy of Aryan racial supremacy.

SCOOP MALINOWSKI – writer, architect of Biofile: I’d go back and see the fight that was the most important of my childhood-one I saw on closed circuit TV at Totowa Ice World. This fight took over my life at age 14 and it turned out exactly as I hoped and wished. June 20, 1980, Montreal, Duran over Leonard.. It was Duran’s highest moment. And if I could go into the Ted Sares Time Machine, second stop would be Duran vs. Moore at MSG. I’d like to have sat next to Mike Tyson up in the nosebleed seats. He told me he was doing “Duran Duran Duran” chants. Unbelievable atmosphere that night. Third trip…Dempsey vs. Willard. Love Dempsey in that fight, and my hat would fit right in at ringside.

DAVID MARTINEZ – historian: James J. Corbett vs. Peter Jackson, May 21, 1891, San Francisco, CA. This was a most exhausting fight of wills to the end.  After 61 grueling rounds, the referee called this historic heavyweight bout to a halt – the decision officially ruled a draw!

ROBERT MLADINICH– former  fighter, writer, author: Dempsey-Willard. Outdoors on the 4th of July with Dempsey, the Mike Tyson of his time, fighting a giant. Can’t imagine a more exciting event.

ERNESTO MORALES (aka GINO FEBUS) — former fighter, writer: Louis vs Schmeling rematch to capture the fight and all the atmosphere leading up to it; the crowd, the buzz, the anticipation, ring walk, introduction… ALL! I’ve wondered about the political environment at the time: pro American, anti-Hitler/Nazi, anti-Negro, the KKK..and the Battle for World Boxing Supremacy! Along with the fears that Max would take the heavyweight crown to Germany and the horrifying thought of it NEVER returning!! Remember, Max had already KO’d Joe and even made it look somewhat easy. America had plenty to lose, especially Black America! But Joe pounding Max as he clung to the ropes and his trip to the canvas must’ve been awesome, a sight to forever behold. Don’t believe there was a complaint in the Stadium that night because it ended so quickly, only cheers and sighs of relief!! Wish I could have been there.

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“Louis measures him. Right to the body. Left up to the jaw and Schmeling is down. The count is 5, 5, 6, 7, 8…The fight is over on a technical knockout. Max Schmeling is beaten in the first round!” –William Broadwater (AFRO)

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CHRIS MORRIS — former boxer, writer: Hearns v Leonard 1. That epic fight hooked me on the sport. Our guy lost that night, but Hearns had an impact on me. So much so, my first son is named Santana Hearns.

JOSEPH PASQUALE — boxing judge: I’d go back again to my ringside seat 1979 MSG, NYC. Duran/Palomino and Weaver/Holmes. MSG Boxing at its best!  Not a judge then, just a fan. Still a fan.

RUSSELL PELTZ – venerable boxing promotor and 2004 IBHOF inductee: Johnson vs. Jeffries.

ADAM POLLACK—author, publisher, and boxing official: Any John L. Sullivan fight in the early 1880s because there is no film of him fighting, so we can’t know for sure exactly what he looked like in action in his prime other than via written accounts.

FREDERICK ROMANO — author and former ESPN researcher: While being at Ali-Frazier I or Dempsey-Firpo would be a thrill, I would use this one wish from the boxing Jeanie to experience something we have never seen- something not on film. Sullivan-Corbett, Johnson-Langford,  Greb’s victory over Tunney or  Zale-Graziano I,  would make me very happy. This morning I am in the mood for Johnson-Langford.

DANA ROSENBLATT — former world middleweight champion, commentator, inspirational speaker: Rosenblatt vs Pazienza 2. Far and away my favorite fight of all time.

LEE SAMUELSTop Rank publicist emeritus and 2019 IBHOF Inductee: That’s easy. Hagler vs Hearns in one of the most all out explosive battles of our time – think about that one every day.

TED SARES — TSS boxing writer: Louis vs Schmeling 2 because of the intense social and political backdrop. Close second is Christy Martin vs. Deirdre Gogarty (March 16, 1996). Blood and guts undercard war that stole the show from Tyson-Bruno and put women back on the boxing map.

 TOM SCHRECK — boxing judge: Do I have to pick one? 1. Ali v Frazier I, the enormity of the event would have been something to experience. It transcended boxing. 2. Hagler v Leonard, Sugar Ray’s performance was genius 3. Tunney v Dempsey I, brawn v brains.

ICEMAN JOHN SCULLY — manager, trainer, commentator, writer, historian, former boxer: I’m always torn between the first Ali-Frazier fight and the first Leonard – Hearns fight. For me those are my two biggest and the ones I would revel in being able to attend.

PETER SILKOV – boxing writer: There are so many to choose from, but my feeling at the moment would be Ali vs Foreman. Ali’s greatest night and the most extraordinary fight for the heavyweight title ever!

MIKE SILVER — author, writer, historian: A ringside seat to the Sullivan vs. Corbett fight. Huge historic importance. A seismic event for boxing’s future. And who isn’t curious to see the great John L. actually fighting!

ALAN SWYER — filmmaker, writer, and producer of the acclaimed El Boxeo: I chose the match in which welterweight Carmen Basilio won a split-decision over middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson. Though Robinson was to my mind the greatest fighter of all time, he was not at that point in his career at his best. Nonetheless, the battle — the fight of the year in 1957 — was the quintessential demonstration of will, stamina, endurance, and above all courage from two noble warriors.

GARY “DIGITAL” WILLIAMS — the voice of “Boxing on the Beltway”: I‘d loved to have been ringside for Ali-Frazier 1 and to have witnessed all the hoopla and the cultural and social significance surrounding that bout. I was only seven years old when that bout took place.

BEAU WILLIFORD — former boxer, trainer and manager and the face of boxing in Louisiana: Joe Frazier v Jerry Quarry at Madison Square Garden!!!

PETER WOOD — writer, author, former fighter: The fight I would watch is a hideous spectacle–and not politically correct…It would be the battle-royal in which Tom Molineaux, a Virginian slave, fought other hapless slaves, in which to earn his freedom and ultimately a shot at the heavyweight title. (Editor’s note: What has been written about Tom Molineaux’s days in America — before he went off to England — lacks any sort of rigorous documentation and is perhaps best understood as folklore. The conventional wisdom regarding inter-plantation slave fights has also been challenged.)

BOB YALEN —  holder of numerous executive positions in the boxing broadcasting industry and currently President of MTK Global: There are so many to choose from with so many reasons…Corbett-Sullivan to see the birth of modern boxing, Dempsey-Willard to check Jack’s gloves, Tunney-Dempsey to time the long count, the list goes on…but I think I may choose the Willard-Johnson fight in Havana so I could finally put to rest what really happened at the end of the fight from my own perspective (and talk to everyone I could).

Observations: Like a boxing match, this one pitted the old vs the not-so-old. Ali vs. Frazier 1 and Louis vs. Schmeling 2 garnered the most mentions, but Dempsey, Tunney, Johnson and Sullivan also got their due, as did Hearns and Hagler. In the end, it came down to The Fight of the Century (1971) vs. the Louis -Schmeling rematch (1938).

One mild surprise was that only a few mentioned Harry Greb who has been hailed by far more than a few as being the best of the best. However, there is no live footage to back this up. Henry Hascup and Fred Romano mentioned Greb in this vein with both referring to Greb’s sole victory over Gene Tunney in 1922.

Ted Sares 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). He is an active power lifter and Strongman competitor in the Grand Master class and plans to compete in 2019.

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The Hauser Report: Fight Notes on Mexican Independence Day Weekend

Thomas Hauser

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Boxing is accustomed to having a major fight in Las Vegas as the centerpiece of Mexican Independence Day Weekend. This year, Canelo Alvarez was penciled in as the star attraction. But Canelo and his presumed challenger, Gennady Golovkin, couldn’t come to terms, and boxing’s PPV-streaming-video king decided that he would enter the ring next against Sergey Kovalev on November 2. That left a holiday void to fill and three separate promotions vying to fill it.

The action began on Friday, September 13, at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. Three bouts were billed as featured attractions on a Matchroom USA card streamed on DAZN.

First up, as expected, Michael Hunter (17-1, 12 KOs) outslicked Sergey Kuzmin (15-0, 11 KOs). Kuzman had an extensive amateur background in the Russian amateur system but is a one-dimensional fighter. For most of the fight, he plodded forward while Hunter potshotted him at will in what looked like a spirited sparring session en route to a 117-110, 117-110, 117-110 triumph.

Next, Amanda Serrano (36-1-1, 27 KOs), who has won belts in weight classes ranging from 118 to 135 pounds, challenged WBO 126-pound beltholder Heather Hardy (22-0, 4 KOs). It was expected to be an ugly beatdown with Hardy on the receiving end. The only open issue for most fight fans was how long Heather would last.

Hardy only knows one way to fight. Moving forward, which she has been able to do in the past against stationary opponents who had less of a punch that she did. All of her previous fights had been made for her to win. Questionable hometown judging carried her across the finish line on several occasions when it appeared as though she had fallen short.

At the final pre-fight press conference for Hardy-Serrano, Heather proclaimed, “I’m the toughest girl I know.”

But tough alone doesn’t win fights. Against Serrano, Hardy took a pounding in a lopsided first round that two of the judges correctly scored 10-8 in Amanda’s favor. Round two was more of the same. Serrano was the more skilled, faster, stronger fighter and a sharper puncher. Heather hung tough. But she was hanging from a thread.

Over the next eight rounds, Hardy showed courage and heart. For the first time in her career, she was in the ring against an opponent who hadn’t been chosen because it was presumed that Heather would beat her. She survived and legitimately won a few rounds against Serrano in the process.

The final scorecards were 98-91, 98-91, 98-92 in Serrano’s favor. Each woman received an $80,000 purse. Hardy earned every penny of it. And she earned respect for her effort in a way that none of the “W”s on her ring record had brought her.

The main event showcased lightweight Devin Haney (22-0, 14 KOs) against Zaur Abdulaev (11-0, 7 KOs). Haney is 20 years young and a hot prospect. Abdulaev, age 25, is a solid fighter but in a different league than Haney.

Devin entered the ring as a 20-to-1 favorite. At this point in his career, he appears to be the whole package with speed, power, explosiveness, and good ring skills. Physically and mentally, he’s mature beyond his years as a fighter but still has the enthusiasm of youth. Over the course of four rounds, he gave Abdullaev nothing to work with, broke the Russian down, and fractured Zaur’s cheekbone. Abdullaev’s corner called a halt to the proceedings after the fourth stanza.

Haney has The Look that fighters like Shane Mosley and Roy Jones Jr. had when they were young. He and boxing are in their honeymoon years. As for the immediate future; Devin has been calling out Vasyl Lomachenko. But given the different promotional entities and networks involved, the chances of that fight happening anytime soon are nil.

Twenty years ago, fight fans could have looked forward to Haney being meaningfully challenged at each level as he moved forward in an attempt to prove how good he is. In today’s fragmented boxing world, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

On Saturday, the scene shifted to Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, for another DAZN telecast. This one was promoted by Golden Boy and was supposed to showcase 21-year-old lightweight Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15 KOs), who’s being marketed as a heartthrob who can fight, against light-punching Avery Sparrow (10-1, 3 KOs). That match evaporated one day before its scheduled date when Sparrow was arrested and taken into custody on an outstanding arrest warrant issued after he allegedly brandished a handgun in a domestic dispute this past April.

The main event wasn’t much of a contest either with Jaime Munguia (33-0, 26 KOs) defending his WBO 154-pound belt against Patrick Allotey (40-3, 30 KOs) of Ghana.

Munguia had nice wins last year against Sadam Ali and Liam Smith. Then, five months ago, he was undressed by Dennis Hogan (although the judges in Monterrey, Mexico, found a way to give Jaime a dubious home country majority decision). Allotey’s record looked good until one checked the quality of his opponents on BoxRec.com. Munguia was a 30-to-1 favorite.

When the fight began, Allotey seemed most comfortable on his bicycle and decidedly uncomfortable when he was getting hit by the hooks that Munguia pounded repeatedly into his body. Two minutes into round three, one of those hooks put him on the canvas. A combination dropped him for the second time just before the bell. Patrick seemed disinclined to come out of his corner for round four but was nudged back into the conflict. Two minutes later, he took a knee after another hook to the body and his corner stopped the bout.

The third significant fight card of Mexican Independence Day weekend was the biggest of the three. Promoted by Top Rank and streamed on ESPN+, it featured Tyson Fury vs. Otto Wallin at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Like the other two shows, this one disappointed at the gate. The Hulu Theater had been reconfigured on Friday night so the rear sections were curtained off. There were more empty seats than seats with people in them at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday.

When Fury fought Tom Schwarz at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on June 15, Top Rank had announced a crowd of 9,012. But according to final receipts submitted to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, only 5,489 tickets were sold for that event with another 1,187 complimentary tickets being given away. The announced attendance for Fury-Wallin was 8,249. T-Mobile arena seats 20,000 for boxing.

ESPN+’s featured three-fight stream didn’t begin until 11:00 PM eastern time. Jose Zepeda (30-2, 25 KOs, 1 KO by) won a 97-93, 97-93, 97-93 decision over former beltholder Jose Pedraza (26-2, 13 KOs, 1 KO by). Then WBO 122-pound titlist Emanuel Navarrete (28-1, 24 KOs) cruised to a fourth-round stoppage of Juan Miguel Elorde (28-1, 15 KOs). That set the stage for Fury-Wallin.

There are plenty of “world heavyweight championship” belts to go around these days. Claimants during the past four years have included Manuel Charr, Joseph Parker, Ruslan Chagaev, Lucas Browne, Charles Martin, and Bermane Stiverne. Fury (who entered the ring with a 28-0, 20 KOs record) is currently being marketed as the “lineal” heavyweight champion and can trace his lineal roots all the way back to Wladimir Klitschko (which falls short of going back to John L. Sullivan). The best things said about Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs) during fight week were that he was probably better than Tom Schwarz (Fury’s most recent opponent) and that, as noted by Keith Idec of Boxing Scene, Wallin was “perfectly polite” during the fight-week festivities.

Bob Arum, who shares a promotional interest in Fury with Frank Warren, praised Fury as the second coming of The Greatest and advised the media, “People are seeing things that they haven’t seen since Muhammad Ali. You’re seeing a great fighter who can connect to the people and he’s a real showman.”

Fury (born, raised, and still living in the United Kingdom) got into the spirit of things and proclaimed, “I am going to change my name for the weekend to El Rey Gitano [which translates from Spanish to English as “The Gypsy King”]. And he further declared, “Isn’t it a great thing that a total outsider is showing so much love, passion, and respect for the Mexican people. At the minute, they are being oppressed by the people here [in the United States]. Building a wall, chucking ‘em all out, and treating them terrible. I don’t know what is going on, but it is nice to see a total stranger, heavyweight champion of the world, coming here and respecting people and paying homage to their beliefs and special days. I’ve got the Mexican shorts, the Mexican gloves, the Mexican mask, the Mexican music, the Mexican flag. I have Mexicans as part of my training team. There is a lot of honor and respect in fighting on this date.”

That elicited a response from WBA-IBF-WBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz, who declared on social media, “Tyson Fury’s talking sh**. He’s representing Mexico – he’s not even Mexican, what kind of sh** is that? A British f***in, he ain’t even Mexican, wearing the f***ing Mexican flag, messed up man. Stay in your lane.”

Meanwhile, with no existing World Boxing Council title at stake, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman stepped in and announced that Fury-Wallin would be contested for a special “Mayan belt” that was also offered to the winner of Munguia-Allotey. Maybe someday boxing will have interim Mayan belts and Mayan belts in recess as well.

Fury was a 25-to-1 betting favorite. For two rounds, everything went according to plan. Then, in round three, a looping left by Wallin opened a horrible, deep gash along Tyson’s right eyebrow. The cut gave the fight high drama. There was a real chance that it would worsen to the point where there was no alternative to stopping the bout. Despite the efforts of cutman Jorge Capetillo, blood streamed from the wound for the rest of the fight.

Knowing that he was in danger, Fury abandoned what he likes to think of as finesse boxing and began to brawl, coming forward and trying to impose his 6-foot-9-inch, 254-pound bulk on his opponent. By round eight, Wallin was exhausted. Tyson was teeing off from a distance and, when he came inside, bullying Otto around.

Wallin fought as well as he could. But he was being pounded around the ring and getting beaten down. Then, remarkably, 38 seconds into round twelve, he whacked Fury with a good left hand and, suddenly – if only temporarily – Tyson was holding on.

The final scorecards read 118-110, 117-111, 116-112 in Fury’s favor.

“I was happy that he was cut,” Wallin said afterward. “But I wish I could of capitalized a little more on it.”

And a final thought . . . When there are three heavyweight “world champions” (which is what boxing has now), there is no heavyweight champion at all.

Thomas Hauser’s email address is thomashauserwriter@gmail.com. His next book – A Dangerous Journey; Another Year Inside Boxing– will be published this autumn 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.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams for Top Rank (note Fury’s jumbo-sized sombrero)

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Mexico’s Jaime Munguia KOs Allotey and Franchon Crews Unifies

David A. Avila

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LOS ANGELES-Mexico’s Jaime Munguia walked into the warm and humid outdoor arena like a conquering hero and walked out the same way after knocking out Patrick Allotey to retain the WBO super welterweight title on Saturday.

The large, mostly Mexican, Independence weekend crowd was ecstatic.

Munguia (34-0, 27 KOs) showed the more than 7,000 fans at Dignity Health Sports Park that he learned a few things from his new trainer and that was a bad thing for Ghana’s Allotey (40-4, 30 KOs). The tall Tijuana fighter seemed calm and focused in this possible last defense of his super welterweight title.

“I don’t know yet, I’ll have to meet with my team to decide,” said Munguia about evacuating the weight division to move up to middleweight.

Allotey probably wishes Munguia left yesterday.

For a short while, Allotey used movement and pot shots to catch the aggressive Mexican fighter during the first two rounds. Both landed blows but not enough to quench the thirst of the pro-Mexican crowd there to see a knockout.

Things turned around quickly in the third round as Munguia, who is now trained by former Mexican great Erik Morales, began catching up to Allotey, in particular with bludgeoning body shots. A three punch Munguia combination dropped the Ghanaian for the count. He got up and was met with a blistering five-punch combination, including one that sent him across the ring for another knockdown. Allotey beat the count near the end of the round.

The fight could have ended in the previous round but it was allowed to continue. A left hook to the body of Allotey sent him to the floor after a delayed reaction. The Ghanaian’s corner asked the referee Jack Reiss to halt the fight at 2:18 of round four, giving the knockout win to Munguia.

Cheers erupted from the large Mexican crowd.

“Step by step, I’ve learned a lot from all the fighters that I’ve fought before,” said Munguia who lives in Tijuana. “This is Mexican Independence Day and I feel really good and I’m ready to go further for more.”

Franchon Crews   

Franchon Crews Dezurn (6-1) won by unanimous decision but this time it was a more impressive Maricela Cornejo (13-4, 5 KOs) who showed up in the sudden rematch that was put together in two days. Impressive or not, Crews walked away with both the WBC and WBO super middleweight world titles.

Both women warriors exchanged thunderous blows that bounced off each other to the delight of the crowd, but neither would go down. By the middle rounds, Cornejo slowed visibly but still had enough to stay in the fight competitively. It was a much better performance than their first clash a year ago in Las Vegas that saw Crews win the WBC title by decision.

Once Cornejo slowed, Crews slowed her pace too but had more energy and was able to use her jab and combinations. Toward the last few rounds there was a lot of holding but both connected with solid blows until the end.

After 10 rounds two judges scored it 98-92 and a third 97-93 for Crews.

It was a remarkable performance by both fighters who were not originally scheduled to meet. But when the original Mexican opponent Alejandra Jimenez was unable to obtain a visa, Golden Boy Promotions asked Cornejo and she gladly obliged just two days ago.

“I got out here thinking I was going to fight one person, a person who had been bullying me on the internet. Alejandra Jimenez, if you want this one, you can come get it too. I’m not here for a good time, I’m here for a long time. This is the land of the warriors, not the posers, not the models,” said Crews. “I want to be respected just like the men are respected. I’m going to step up to the plate and take the challenges. I don’t go into any match thinking I’m entitled to anything.”

Duno

Romero Duno (21-1, 16 KOs) underwent some minor drama before even stepping into the ring, but it didn’t stop him from winning by knockout against Los Angeles tough guy Ivan Delgado (13-3-2, 6 KOs) in their on and off and on again lightweight fight.

When sizzling prospect Ryan Garcia’s opponent Avery Sparrow was arrested and unable to fight, it was suggested that Duno should be Sparrow’s replacement. That didn’t go well with Garcia’s team and was abruptly shot down. The Duno-Delgado fight then went back on the drawing board, as originally planned, but Delgado came in more than four pounds overweight.

It didn’t matter.

Duno battered Delgado in the first round but the local fighter managed to use his experience to fend off further damage by the heavy-handed Filipino. After that it was a game of cat and mouse. Through most of the fight, Duno landed more blows but Delgado used some slick counters to score and keep the strong puncher from landing the killer blow. Still it wasn’t enough, and at the end of the seventh round the corner decided to end the fight, giving Duno the win by knockout.

“I was just doing my job,” said Duno. “I know Delgado is a tough fighter.”

Regarding Ryan Garcia, “I know Ryan Garcia wants to fight me. He’s a top boxer.”

Other Bouts

Joselito Velasquez (11-0, 9 KOs) knocked out fellow Mexican Francisco Bonilla (6-7-3, 3 KOs) in a battle between North and South Mexican flyweights. Velasquez floored Bonilla in the second round when he beat Bonilla to the punch with a left hook. Finally, in the fourth round during a Bonilla rally, Velasquez connected with a left-right combination the sent the Chihuahua fighter to the floor. Referee Sharon Sand immediately waved the fight over at 2:54 of the fourth round.

A battle between undefeated super middleweights saw the very tall Diego Pacheco (6-0, 5 KOs) win by knockout over Oakland’s Terry Fernandez (3-1, 3 KOs). Pacheco used his size to keep Fernandez at bay then pummeled him with long rang rights and shots to the body. At the end of the second round, Pacheco battered Fernandez with 18 consecutive blows from one corner to the other. In the third round, Pacheco connected with a three-punch combination that snapped back Fernandez’s head violently and though he did not go down, the referee Eddie Hernandez wisely stopped the fight at 41 seconds of the third round.

Rafael Gramajo (11-2-2, 3 KOs) won by knockout over Daniel Olea (13-9-2) at the end of the fourth round when he could not continue in their lightweight contest.

Alejandro Reyes (1-0) won his pro debut by knockout over Mexico’s Jorge Padron (3-5, 3 KOs) with a left hook to the body at 1:55 of the second round of a lightweight match. New referee J Guillermo counted out Sonora’s Padron.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Fast Results from Las Vegas: Tyson Fury Overcomes Doughty Otto Wallin

Arne K. Lang

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Fast-Results-from-Las-Vegas-Tyson-Fury-Overcomes-Doughty-Otto-Wallin

LAS VEGAS, NV — Otto Wallin proved to be a more formidable opponent than Tyson Fury’s last victim, Tom Schwarz, by a long shot. One could sense that this wouldn’t be a walkover for the Gypsy King when Wallin backed Fury into a neutral corner in round two and got off a good volley of punches.

Wallin opened what became a very nasty gash over Fury’s right eye in round four. Fury pawed at it continually throughout the fight which went the full distance. Fury seemed to think that the cut resulted from a clash of heads, but the replay indicated otherwise. Near the end of round six, Wallin rubbed the cut with the laces of his gloves, earning a stern but silent rebuke from Fury and referee Tony Weeks who did not deduct a point.

Fury prefers to fight off the back foot until he has his opponent hurt, but with the cut he fought with more of a sense of urgency, pressing forward. The fight turned messy over the final third as the contest turned into somewhat of a hug-fest.

Wallin, who came in undefeated (20-0), landed some hard shots in the final round, but by then he needed a knockout to win. The final scores were 116-112, 117-111, and 118-110. The 118-110 tally was overly severe, distorting the fact that this was a hard fight for the Gypsy King  who improved his ledger to 29-0-1.

The promoters say the rematch with Deontay Wilder, the second bout of a planned trilogy, is set for February but Wallin may have wrecked those plans. It would seem that Fury will need more time to heal that cut.

Co-Feature

Based on raw numbers, it figured that the fight between defending WBO world 122-pound champion Emanuel Navarrete and Juan Miguel Elorde would be competitive. Both had identical records (28-1) and both were riding long winning streaks; 23 straight wins for Navarrete and 18 straight for Elorde. But the grandson of Filipino boxing legend Flash Elorde was out of his league. Navarette, who is a big featherweight, was too strong for him. Near the end of round three, Elorde received a standing 8-count when he landed against the ropes, which kept him upright. Twenty-six seconds into the next round it was all over, with referee Russell Mora halting the bout to protect Elorde from taking more punishment.

The victorious Navarette, from Mexico City, was making the third defense of the title he won from Isaac Dogboe. Las Vegas hasn’t been good to Elorde whose lone prior defeat came at nearby Mandalay Bay in a 4-round contest.

Other Bouts

In a mild upset, Jose Zepeda, won a 10-round unanimous decision over Jose Pedraza. A 2008 Olympian for Puerto Rico and former two-division belt-holder, Pedraza declined to 26-3.

Zepeda (33-2), a native Californian who entered the ring draped in the Mexican flag, did his best work early and late. In the middle rounds it appeared that Pedraza was taking control with superior marksmanship but he couldn’t sustain it. The seventh round was furious as were the waning moments of the 10th. All three judges had it 97-93.

In an 8-round featherweight bout, Isaac Lowe, a fellow Traveler and stablemate of Tyson Fury, remained undefeated with an 8-round unanimous decision over Mexico City’s Ruben Hernandez. The scores were 78-74 and 77-75 twice.

Lowe, who showed good boxing skills but isn’t a hard puncher, improved to 19-0-3 (6 KOs). Hernandez falls to 25-5-2.

In the first walk-out fight, Guido Vianello, a 6’4″, 240-pound heavyweight from Rome, Italy, improved to 5-0 (5 KOs) at the expense of Cassius Anderson,  a 35-year-old former Toledo U. linebacker, whose corner pulled him out after the fourth round. Vianello knocked Anderson down in the first few seconds of the fight, but Anderson wasn’t of a mind to leave that quick.

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