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Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Honoring Hopkins, Goossen, Chacon and Others

David A. Avila

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Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Honoring Hopkins, Goossen, Chacon and Others

When people think of Nevada they mostly envision Las Vegas. But the elongated “Silver State” stretches nearly as far in length as its “Golden State” neighbor California.

Nevada also possesses as many riches in the sport of boxing going all the way back to 1897 when Bob Fitzsimmons wrested the heavyweight title from Jim Corbett in Carson City and including the famous fight in Reno in July of 1910 when the great Jack Johnson faced off against Jim Jeffries.

Since that epic battle that saw Johnson win by knockout, many other historic prize fights emblazoned the boxing rings from Reno to Las Vegas for more than a century. Nevada has a very rich prizefighting history.

More than a dozen prizefighters, judges and boxing notables will be honored and celebrated at the Seventh Annual Induction Ceremony by the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame. All of the two-day events take place at the Red Rock Resort and Casino in Las Vegas beginning Friday, Aug. 9.

In alphabetical order, here are the fighters being inducted:

Joel Casamayor – the Cuban southpaw known as “El Cepillo,” or the “the Brush,” arrived in the US with a more aggressive style than most of his fellow Cubans. Fearless and determined, his battles with Acelino Freitas, Diego Corrales and Juan Manuel Marquez are among the fiercest and bloodiest fights ever seen. Anyone who ever saw Casamayor in the boxing ring knew it would be memorable. He now resides in Las Vegas and is a trainer.

Bobby Chacon – the native Los Angeles prizefighter known as “Schoolboy” passed away several years ago in 2016. He engaged in only a few battles in Nevada, but they were unforgettable. After participating in the Fight of the Year in 1982, Chacon then fought Cornelius Boza-Edwards in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace in the 1983 Fight of the Year. Few could match the pure guts and determination of the super featherweight Chacon. He was also one of the most beloved fighters the sport has ever known.

Humberto Gonzalez – the diminutive light flyweight from Mexico City known as “Chiquita” was part of a generation that propelled the little guys to million dollar fights. His battles with Arizona’s Michael Carbajal – especially their first encounter at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas in 1993 – were historic in bringing American attention to the light flyweight division. Chiquita is now a promoter.

Leroy Haley – the super lightweight was born in Arkansas but Las Vegas became a permanent base of operations for the fighter known as “Irish” Leroy Haley. Many of his fights took place at the old Silver Slipper in Las Vegas and were televised. For a while he fought almost weekly in the year 1973. He was an important cog in making Las Vegas a fight town. He captured the world title against the ultra-slick Saoul Mamby in 1982 and also won the rematch. Haley retired in 1985 and still lives in Las Vegas.

Bernard Hopkins – is one of the best middleweights to ever lace up the gloves. The Philadelphia fighter was one of the most scientific and disciplined boxers the sport has ever known. He proved it in his epic showdown against Puerto Rico’s Felix Trinidad then went on to the light heavyweight division and won a world title in the heavier weight class too while in his 40s. One of boxing’s most amazing athletes he fought many of the best such as Oscar De La Hoya and Joe Calzaghe. Now both Hopkins and De La Hoya are part of the same boxing company Golden Boy Promotions.

Juan Manuel Marquez – the Mexico City prizefighter remains one of his country’s most under-rated fighters of all time. Perhaps because his style was very scientific and precise, he is not appreciated as one of Mexico’s finest prizefighters. Who can forget his four intense battles against Manny Pacquiao that all took place in mega fights held in Las Vegas? Marquez won world titles in the featherweight, super featherweight, and lightweight divisions.

Wayne McCullough – the “Pocket Rocket” from Belfast, Ireland was always a crowd favorite with his high intensity prizefighting style. He captured the bantamweight world title in Japan but later made Las Vegas his home base. He fought a number of world title bouts in Nevada including his final world title challenge against Oscar Larios in 2005. McCullough is also a very beloved fighter outside of the ring and was recently training boxers in Southern California.

Terry Norris – the super welterweight was one of Abel Sanchez’s earliest champions and was known for his speed and electric power. Known as “Terrible” Terry Norris, the San Diego-based prizefighter could end a fight with a single punch and often did. He defeated a number of big punchers and champions such as John “the Beast” Mugabi, Sugar Ray Leonard, Donald Curry, and Simon Brown. He was always worth watching because knockouts were his specialty. But if he needed to box he was fully capable of providing that too.

Vinny Pazienza – the Rhode Island prizefighter has one of the more incredible stories in a sport filled with incredible stories. Paz won world titles as a lightweight and a super welterweight and fought as heavy as a light heavyweight and won. In 1991 he was involved in a serious car accident and suffered a broken neck. It was thought his career was over but Paz returned 13 months later and continued fighting. Among those Paz fought are Greg Haugen, Hector Camacho, Roy Jones Jr. and Roberto Duran. He had one incredible boxing career.

Hasim Rahman – the heavyweight champion shocked the boxing world when he knocked out Lennox Lewis in the fifth round in South Africa. Though he lost the rematch seven months later, Rahman proved to be an always dangerous heavyweight in a career that began in 1994 and ended in 2014. Among those he battled were David Tua, Trevor Berbick, Corrie Sanders and James Toney. Known as “the Rock” he was in the heavyweight mix throughout his career.

Winky Wright – the Florida native never was flashy, powerful or speedy, but whoever he fought he brought trouble with a capital T. From super welterweight to super middleweight Wright brought his close guard style against some of the fiercest fighters and defused their power. Among those he fought were Fernando Vargas, Shane Mosley, Ike Quartey, Bernard Hopkins and Felix Trinidad. After dominating the Puerto Rican legend Trinidad retired a week later. Wright was always a tough nut to crack.

Non-Fighters

Dan Goossen – the Southern California-based promoter loved the sport of boxing and brought many of the best fights in history to both his native state and to Nevada. Goossen passed away in September 2014 and was beloved by all those who knew him. One of his proudest moments was staging James Toney’s upset knockout win over heavyweight legend Evander Holyfield in 2003. He also launched the careers of Andre Ward, Chris Arreola and Paul Williams.

Duane Ford – judged over 600 fights in Nevada and worldwide including Japan, Poland, Mexico, Germany, Panama and Thailand. Among those he oversaw in the prize ring were Wilfredo Gomez, Larry Holmes, Oscar De La Hoya, Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard.

Dr. Edwin “Flip” Homansky – was a ringside physician for thousands of bouts including the Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield battle in 1997. He also inspected fighters such as Muhammad Ali, Julio Cesar Chavez, Tommy Hearns, Felix Trinidad and thousands of others.

Floyd Mayweather Sr. – the father of Floyd Mayweather Jr. has long been a distinguished teacher of prizefighting beginning with his own son and including other future Boxing Hall of Fame fighters such as Oscar De La Hoya. His knowledge of the sweet science has been long sought by many and he continues to be a strong influence in the sport.

Marc Risman – the Las Vegas-based attorney represented Grammy and Emmy winners along with Olympians and boxing stars in his lengthy career. He also represented Don King and Julio Cesar Chavez and has long been a fan of the sport.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

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Boxing Odds and Ends: Ramirez-Postol, Taylor-Serrano and More

Arne K. Lang

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It takes a strong constitution to be a boxing promoter because things always go wrong. The only law that governs boxing is Murphy’s Law.

Carl Frampton’s first fight under the Top Rank banner was slated for Aug. 10 of last year in Philadelphia. With the fight five days away, Frampton suffered a freak injury while sitting in a hotel lobby. A boy playing behind a curtain knocked over a seven-foot pillar which fell on Frampton’s left hand, fracturing it.

This was the second time that a Frampton fight was knocked out by a freak injury. Two years earlier, a homecoming fight in Belfast had to be scrapped when Frampton’s opponent, Andres Gutierrez, slipped in the shower in his hotel on the eve of the battle and suffered severe facial injuries.

The latest bout to fall out because of an odd development is Jose Ramirez’s Feb. 2 WBC/WBO lightweight title defense against Viktor Postol at a Chinese golf resort south of Hong Kong. The event fell victim to the coronavirus, more exactly the fear it has instilled.

The virus, which produces flu-like symptoms that are resistant to conventional antibiotics, apparently originated at an outdoor food market in the city of Wuhan where live animals are sold. The numbers vary with each new story, but according to one account there have been 444 confirmed cases in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital city, and 653 cases worldwide including two in the United States, a man in his 30’s living near Seattle and a Chicago woman in her 60’s.

The fear of a pandemic (an epidemic becomes a pandemic when it spreads across multiple geographic regions of the world) has led to some drastic measures. The Chinese government has reportedly put 12 cities on lockdown, blocking traffic in and out. At many airports, visitors arriving from China are being screened. There are now thermal cameras than can record a person’s body temperature remotely.

Jose Ramirez (pictured with his promoter Bob Arum) was scheduled to leave for China yesterday (Jan. 23) but was intercepted. Viktor Postol is already there and apparently stranded until an outgoing flight can be arranged.

The Ramirez-Postol fight was to air on ESPN. No make-up date has been set.

– – –

British promoter Eddie Hearn says he’s close to finalizing a fight between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano. Hearn says the fight will take place in the U.S. in April. It figures that Madison Square Garden is the frontrunner.

If the fight comes off on schedule, this will be the biggest women’s fight in history!

That’s because the odds attached to the fight figure to be in the “pick-‘em” range and that guarantees that boxing writers and others in the boxing community will be surveyed to get their picks – about which there figures to be considerable disagreement – and that will greatly enhance the pre-fight buzz.

Taylor, 33, last fought in November in Manchester, England, advancing her record to 15-0 (6 KOs) with a unanimous decision over Christina Linardatou, a fighter from Greece via the Dominican Republic. It was Taylor’s first fight at 140 after previously unifying the lightweight title with a hard-fought decision over Belgium’s Delfine Persoon.

Amanda Serrano, a 31-year-old southpaw, born in Puerto Rico and raised in Brooklyn, has won titles in five weight divisions. She last fought as a featherweight, turning away gritty Heather Hardy, but has competed as high as 140. Boasting a 37-1-1 record, she’s won 23 straight, 18 by stoppage, 10 in the opening round

What sets women boxers apart from their male counterparts is that the women have a significantly lower knockout ratio. Amanda Serrano is the glaring exception.

Despite a less eye-catching record, Taylor has arguably fought the stiffer competition considering her extensive amateur background. As a pro, her victims include Cindy Serrano, Amanda’s older sister by six years. Taylor whitewashed her in a match at Boston Garden, prompting the elder Serrano sister to call it a career.

– – –

The most bizarre (non)story to appear in a boxing web site this week involved former unified heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe. A man representing Bowe, identified as Eli Karabell, was frustrated because Eddie Hearn wasn’t returning his calls. Karabell had offered Hearn the right of first refusal on Bowe’s next fight.

Bowe, now 51 years old, last fought in a boxing ring in 2008 when he returned to the sport after a three-and-half year absence for an 8-round bout in Germany. In 2013, he appeared in a kickboxing fight in Thailand where he was stopped in the second round after being knocked down five times by leg kicks.

“Will there be another chapter to write for Bowe?” concluded the author of this piece.

Egads, let’s hope not.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

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Boxing Odds and Ends: Crawford, Canelo, Caleb Plant and More

Arne K. Lang

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Boxing Odds and Ends: Crawford, Canelo, Caleb Plant and More

Although a lot of disinformation comes out of the mouths of boxing promoters, Bob Arum was apparently serious when he broached the idea of a two-fight series between Terence Crawford and Conor McGregor, the first fight to be conducted under MMA rules and the second under boxing rules.

Crawford is amenable. “I just have to have the proper time to prepare myself,” he told ESPN’s Dan Rafael. “…I haven’t been in that (wrestling) environment in a long time, but most definitely I feel I can compete with anyone given the proper time to train on the MMA side, being that I have a wrestling background.”

Crawford, 32, last wrestled in middle school so he would certainly need a refresher course. However, he would have a better chance of defeating Conor McGregor in an MMA match than McGregor would have of defeating him in a boxing match. So, if Arum’s proposed two-fight series ever comes off, the tailpiece may be unnecessary.

– – –

As first reported by ESPN’s Steve Kim, Andy Ruiz Jr. has dumped trainer Manny Robles. According to Kim’s report, Ruiz’s father informed Robles of the decision and said it was Al Haymon’s idea.

Andy Ruiz appears to be one of those people that can gain weight just looking at food. He weighed 297 ½ pounds for his pro debut at age 19, carried 268 pounds for his first meeting with Anthony Joshua, and ballooned up to 283 ½ for the rematch after leading reporters to believe that he had actually slimmed down for the sequel.

Ruiz, noted Kim, went from a feel-good story to a cautionary tale in just six months.

– – –

Who ya’ gonna believe?

A certain disreputable web site, bragging that it had an exclusive, told its readers that Canelo Alvarez had settled on Billy Joe Saunders as his next opponent and that they would meet on Cinco de Mayo in Las Vegas. The next day, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, a far more trustworthy source, reported that Ryota Murata had emerged as the frontrunner and that negotiations were underway to stage the fight in Japan.

Perhaps it makes sense for Canelo to promote his brand in a new market. However, if he fights Murata, who holds a WBA belt, he would reportedly be dropping back to 160 and at age 29 he appears to have outgrown the weight class.

Stay tuned.

– – –

If Caleb Plant were an NBA player, his name would be Kevin Love. Plant, who recently married FOX/PBC reporter Jordan Hardy, is the only U.S.-born, non-Hispanic white person among the various champions in the 17 weight divisions.

Plant, who hails from tiny Ashland City, Tenn. (23 miles from Nashville) defends his IBF super middleweight title on Feb. 15 at Nashville’s 20,000-seat Bridgestone Arena. In the opposite corner will be Germany’s Vincent Feigenbutz who will be making his U.S. debut.

The 24-year-old Feigenbutz, who turned pro at age 16, has won 10 straight and 30 of his last 31. He represents a big step up in class from Plant’s last opponent, Mike Lee, who was in way over his head.

– – –

A sad note from South Africa: Five days after the death of trailblazer Peter Mathebula, his widow, Emma Gabaitsiwe Mathebula, died suddenly of an apparent heart attack. Peter Mathebula’s funeral, originally set for Saturday, has been pushed back until Tuesday and will now be a joint funeral.

Mathebula, who won the WBA world flyweight title in 1980, basically died a pauper, having sold all of  his boxing memorabilia to keep his head above water. His heirs had reached out to the government for assistance in defraying the costs of his burial.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 82: Jason Quigley Returns to SoCal and More

David A. Avila

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Southern California prizefighting heats up with Jason Quigley headlining a fight card in Orange County and then, two days later, another fight card takes place in the heart of Los Angeles.

Ireland’s Quigley (17-1, 13 KOs) faces Mexico’s Fernando Marin (16-4-3, 12 KOs) on Thursday Jan. 23, at the OC Hangar in Costa Mesa, Calif. DAZN will stream the Golden Boy Promotions fight card live.

Quigley, 28, seeks to reclaim territory lost when he suffered a defeat last July against Tureano Johnson. Ironically, Marin would lose 10 days later in Hollywood to super welterweight contender Serhii Bohachuk.

For several years Quigley had trained in Southern California but decided to change trainers and location. He moved to Great Britain and still prepares near his native country but primarily fights in the U.S.

At one time Quigley clamored for a match against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin or Saul “Canelo” Alvarez but now finds himself trying to prove he belongs in the upper tier of the middleweight division. It’s loaded with talent.

Also on the same fight card will be popular North Hollywood super welterweight Ferdinand Kerobyan who was headed to contender status when he ran into Blair “the Flair” Cobbs. At the time Cobbs was an unknown quantity but no longer.

Kerobyan (13-1, 8 KOs) meets Azael Cosio (21-8-2) in an eight-round clash in the semi-main event at OC Hangar. Doors open at 5 p.m.

Red Boxing International

On Saturday Jan. 27, Red Boxing International hosts its first boxing card of the year at Leonardo’s Night Club located at 6617 Wilson Ave. L.A. 90001. Doors open at 5 p.m.

Super welterweight Bryan Flores (13-1, 6 KOs) meets Brandon Baue (15-17) in the main event  in the first event of the year for the ambitious promotion company. For the past two years Flores fought primarily in Tijuana, Mexico where he racked up six wins. Now he’s back on Southern California soil.

Another match features lightweights Angel Israel Rodriguez (5-0) facing off against Braulio Avila (3-6) in a six-round fight.

Rodriguez fights out of Pico Rivera, Calif. but recently fought in Costa Rica where he won by first round knockout in November. He will be fighting Avila who just fought two weeks ago at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, Calif.

It’s a long fight card with 11 bouts on the schedule.

JRock and Rosario

Boxing fans received another lesson on never underestimating a ranked contender regardless of the name recognition.

Jeison Rosario knocked out Julian “J Rock” Williams who was making the first defense of the WBA and IBF super welterweight world titles he won last year in my selection as “Fight of the Year.”

Rosario walked in with little recognition and was thought to be a soggy piece of bread for Williams. The long armed Dominican fighter walloped Williams in front of his hometown fans in Philadelphia. It was yet another warning for fans to understand that anyone who steps in the boxing ring ranked as a contender can do the unthinkable. In this case Rosario knocked out the champion in five rounds.

Many felt Williams was far too skilled, especially on the inside where he showcased those skills last May against former titlist Jarret Hurd. It was a remarkable display of the art of inside fighting. But against Rosario, he never got a chance to exhibit those skills.

The loaded super welterweight division has another dangerous champion in Rosario.

Fights to Watch

Thurs. 6 p.m. DAZN – Jason Quigley (17-1) vs Fernando Marin (16-4-3).

Sat. 6 p.m. Showtime – Danny Garcia (35-2) vs Ivan Redkach (23-4-1).

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

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