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

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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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Haney-Garcia Redux with the Focus on Harvey Dock

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Saturday’s skirmish between Ryan Garcia and WBC super lightweight champion Devin Haney was a messy affair, and yet a hugely entertaining fight fused with great drama. In the aftermath, Garcia and Haney were celebrated – the former for fooling all the experts and the latter for his gallant performance in a losing effort – but there were only brickbats for the third man in the ring, referee Harvey Dock.

Devin Haney was plainly ahead heading into the seventh frame when there was a sudden turnabout when Garcia put him on the canvas with his vaunted left hook. Moments later, Dock deducted a point from Garcia for a late punch coming out of a break. The deduction forced a temporary cease-fire that gave Haney a few precious seconds to regain his faculties. Before the round was over, Haney was on the deck twice more but these were ruled slips.

The deduction, which effectively negated the knockdown, struck many as too heavy-handed as Dock hadn’t previously issued a warning for this infraction. Moreover, many thought he could have taken a point away from Haney for excessive clinching. As for Haney’s second and third trips to the canvas in round seven, they struck this reporter – watching at home – as borderline, sufficient to give referee Dock the benefit of the doubt.

In a post-fight interview, Ryan Garcia faulted the referee for denying him the satisfaction of a TKO. “At the end of the day, Harvey Dock, I think he was tripping,” said Garcia. “He could have stopped that fight.”

Those that played the rounds proposition, placing their coin on the “under,” undoubtedly felt the same way.

The internet lit up with comments assailing Dock’s competence and/or his character. Some of the ponderings were whimsical, but they were swamped by the scurrilous screeching of dolts who find a conspiracy under every rock.

Stephen A. Smith, reputedly America’s highest-paid TV sports personality, was among those that felt a need to weigh-in: “This referee is absolutely terrible….Unreal! Horrible officiating,” tweeted Stephen A whose primary area of expertise is basketball.

Harvey Dock

Dock fought as an amateur and had one professional fight, winning a four-round decision over a fellow novice on a show at a non-gaming resort in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. He says that as an amateur he was merely average, but he was better than that, a New Jersey and regional amateur champion in 1993 and 1994 while a student New Jersey’s Essex County Community College where he majored in journalism.

A passionate fan of Sugar Ray Leonard, he started officiating amateur fights in 1998 and six years later, at age 32, had his first documented action at the professional level, working low-level cards in New Jersey. The top boxing referees, to a far greater extent than the top judges, had long apprenticeships, having worked their way up from the boonies and Dock is no exception.

Per boxrec, Haney vs Garcia was Harvey Dock’s 364th assignment in the pros and his forty-second world title fight. Some of those title fights were title in name only, they weren’t even main events, but, bit by bit, more lucrative offerings started coming his way.

On May 13, 2023, Dock worked his first fights in Nevada, a 4-rounder and then a 12-rounder on a card at the Cosmopolitan topped by the 140-pound title fight between Rolly Romero and Ismael Barroso. It was the first time that this reporter got to watch Dock in the flesh.

Ironically (in hindsight), the card would be remembered for the actions of a referee, in this case Tony Weeks who handled the main event. Barroso was winning the fight on all three cards when Weeks stepped in and waived it off in the ninth round after Romero cornered Barroso against the ropes and let loose a barrage of punches, none of which landed cleanly. Few “premature stoppages” were ever as garishly, nay ghoulishly, premature.

With all the brickbats raining down on Weeks, I felt a need to tamp down the noise by diverting attention away from Tony Weeks and toward Harvey Dock and took to the TSS Forum to share my thoughts. Referencing the 12-rounder, a robust junior welterweight affair between Batyr Akhmedov and Kenneth Sims Jr, I noted that Dock’s Las Vegas debut went smoothly. He glided effortlessly around the ring, making him inconspicuous, the mark of a good referee. (This post ran on May 15, two days after the fight.)

Folks at the Nevada State Athletic Commission were also paying attention. Dock was back in Las Vegas the following week to referee the lightweight title fight between Devin Haney and Vasyl Lomachenko and before the year was out, he would be tabbed to referee the biggest non-heavyweight fight of the year, the July 29 match in Las Vegas between Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr.

The Haney-Garcia fight wasn’t Harvey Dock’s best hour, I’ll concede that, but a closer look at his full body of work informs us that he is an outstanding referee.

While the Haney-Garcia bout was in progress, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman threw everyone a curve ball, tweeting on “X” that Devin Haney would keep his title if he lost the fight. Everyone, including the TV commentators, was under the impression that the title would become vacant in the event that Haney lost.

Sulaiman cited the precedent of Corrales-Castillo II.

FYI: The Corrales-Castillo rematch, originally scheduled for June 3, 2005 and aborted on the day prior when Castillo failed to make weight, finally came off on Oct. 8 of that year, notwithstanding the fact that Castillo failed to make weight once again, scaling three-and-a-half pounds above the lightweight limit. He knocked out Corrales in the fourth round with a left hook that Las Vegas Review-Journal boxing writer Kevin Iole, alluding to the movie “Blazing Saddles,” described as Mongo-esque (translation: the punch would have knocked out a horse). After initially insisting on a rubber match, which had scant chance of happening, WBC president Jose Sulaiman, Mauricio’s late father, ruled that Corrales could keep his title.

Whether or not you agree with Mauricio Sulaiman’s rationale, the timing of his announcement was certainly awkward.

Haney’s mandatory is Spanish southpaw Sandor Martin (42-3, 15 KOs), a cutie best known for his 2021 upset of Mikey Garcia. A bout between Haney and Martin has the earmarks of a dull fight.

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In a Shocker, Ryan Garcia Confounds the Experts and Upsets Devin Haney

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Its good to be crazy. Like a fox.

Ryan “KingRy” Garcia knocked down WBC super lightweight titlist Devin Haney three times to remind everyone of his fighting abilities in winning by majority decision on Saturday.

“I just knew what I could do,” Garcia said.

Fans will not forget the lanky kid from Victorville, California now.

Garcia (25-1, 20 KOs) fooled everyone in playing crazy weeks before the fight, then showed shocking power to hand Haney (30-1, 15 KOs) his first loss as a professional at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Haney’s WBC super lightweight title was not at stake for Garcia because he weighed three pounds over the limit.

After Garcia seemingly acting out of control on social media, Haney’s guard must have slipped in the first round during the first few seconds as Garcia connected with that hellish left hook and Haney, with a look of shock in his eyes, almost went down. He barely survived the first round.

“He caught me with it,” said Haney.

During the next few rounds, Haney proceeded to advance toward Garcia seemingly fully aware of the lethal left hook. He used feints and rights to score with a busier approach as Garcia seemed cocked and ready to counter with a left hook.

In the fourth round it seemed Haney was confident he had regained control of the fight, but every time he opened up with more than a two-punch combination Garcia reminded him whose hands were faster and more dangerous.

Though Garcia seldom jabbed he seemed bent on looking for the right moment to unleash his deadly left hook. And every time the Southern California fighter opened up with a combination he scored and Haney dare not exchange.

A few times Haney smiled as if signifying he escaped.

In the seventh round Haney looked to punish Garcia’s body and instead was met with a three-punch combination included a left hook to the chin and down went Haney slumped on the ground. He managed to beat the count and as soon as Garcia came within reach Haney wrapped his arms around him with a python grip. Despite the warnings by referee Harvey Dock, the fallen fighter would not release and Garcia impatiently fired a weak punch during the break. The referee deducted a point from Garcia though he could have deducted a point from Haney for not obeying his instructions to release his hold. Haney actually went down three times in the round but only one was counted by the referee.

From that point on Haney was very cautious but still looking to win by decision.

Though Garcia kept using a shoulder-roll defense that left his body exposed, he would retaliate with three and four punch combinations that usually Haney could defend against other fighters.. But Garcia’s blazing combinations were too fast to defend.

In the 10th round Haney looked to attack and was countered by Garcia’s right and a blinding left hook to the chin and another two blows that sent the former undisputed lightweight champion to the floor again.

It didn’t look good for Haney to survive.

Garcia walked into the 11th round still composed and never out-of-control He dared Haney to exchange and when within striking distance Garcia unleashed another lightning combination and down went Haney again with a defeated look.

Both fighters had fought each other as amateurs six times so there were no surprises between them. But Garcia’s power and speed were superior and that was the difference in a professional fight.

In the final round both were cautious with Garcia’s combination punching proving too dangerous for Haney to open up. Garcia celebrated early as the round ended confident of victory.

After 12 rounds Garcia was seen the victor by majority decision 112-112, 114-110, 115-109.

“You really thought I was crazy,” Garcia told the interviewer and the crowd. “You guys hated on me.”

Other Bouts

Arnold Barboza (30-0) won a curious split decision victory over United Kingdom’s Sean McComb (18-2) in a 10-round super lightweight fight. McComb’s long reach and busy southpaw style gave Barboza trouble. But he managed to win the fight though the crowd was not pleased.

Bektemir Melikuziev (14-1, 10 KOs) defeated France’s Pierre Dibombe (22-1-1) by technical decision after eight rounds due to a cut on his eye from an accidental head butt. It was a very competitive super middleweight fight.

Costa Rica’s David Jimenez (16-1, 11 KOs) outworked John “Scrappy Ramirez (13-1, 9 KOs) in a 12-round scrap to upset the Los Angeles based fighter. After a few close rounds Jimenez simply bullied his way inside and forced Ramirez against the ropes and unloaded his guns.

After 12 rounds two judges saw it 117-111 and 116-114 all for Jimenez.

“I’m a hard-working man from Cartago I come from nothing,” said Jimenez. “My corner told me I had to work inside.”

Charles Conwell (19-0, 14 KOs) stepped on the gas early with vicious body shots and uppercuts and blasted through the resilient Nathaniel Gallimore (22-8-1, 17 KOs) for several rounds. After a brutal fifth and sixth round the referee halted the one-side beating in favor of Conwell who was fighting for the first time under the Golden Boy banner.

Another winner was Sergiy Derevyanchenko (15-5) by decision over Vaughn Alexander (18-11-1) in a super middleweight match.

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Haney and Garcia: Bipolar Opposites

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Haney and Garcia: Bipolar Opposites

One young man flew halfway around the world to take on a world champion in his own living room; not once, but twice. The other young man quit prior to one fight, and then again during another one.

The first guy mentioned is an obedient son of an ultra-streetwise father.  The type of parent where, if he doesn’t know the answer (and more times than not he most likely does), he will know where to find it. The second guy doesn’t appear to have that quality guidance scenario going on for him, which is probably for the best, because he believes he has all the answers.

The first guy is on record as saying he wants to go down in boxing history as an all-time great.  The other guy?  He decided not to continue in a fight while he was still sporting an undefeated record.  You may think to yourself if there was ever a time to soldier through, right?

Then yesterday, that same guy missed making weight by 3.2 pounds, and seemed to be more than fine with it, to the point where he actually appeared to be quite pleased with himself.

If you haven’t heard, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia are going to share a boxing ring in a twelve round go for God knows what will be at stake by the time they actually punch off.  The fact that no one from Garcia’s team has stepped in and rescued him from these unfolding events, his own personal well-being, and/or not to mention Devin Haney is, well, troubling in and of itself.

Back in the amateur days, the record shows they split six fights.  They were boys back then, so it means zero.  If anything, you’d want to be the older of the two, and Ryan had over a three-month age advantage.  If you’ve only been on the planet for a total of 120 months or so, every extra month could be a big enough difference in strength and development. Now as world class professionals in their prime?  That’s different.  Younger is always better.  Devin is that guy.

Haney and Garcia fought six times for free but will fight only once as professionals.  Then one of them will continue with their march for historic greatness, while the other will head back to Kamp Krazy, where he’s the current Mayor.

It’s never smart to lay 8-1, 9-1 in boxing.  And if you see taking Garcia as a value bet with +500 to +600 and beyond, you don’t understand value and you evidently don’t like money.

There is, however, a wagering opportunity here.

Total Rounds:  Fight doesn’t go 10.5 rounds.

Take anything over +125.  It’s worth a unit on a scale of 5.  Logically, there are a lot of ways to cash this ticket: legitimate victory, meltdown, catching lightning in a bottle, etc.  Or simply the exiting stage left of a guy who may be already plotting his next career move.

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