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The Best Alley Fight Companion?

Ted Sares

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Sports commentator Pat Summerall once said, “If I’m gonna fight in the alley, I want [Scott] LeDoux with me.” Known as “The Fighting Frenchman,” LeDoux was indeed a rough, tough, 6’2”, 220 lb. road warrior out of Minnesota who fought the very best during the golden age of heavyweights in the 70s—a time when big boppers like Frazier, Ali, Quarry, Norton, Foreman, Shavers, Chuvalo, Terrell, Weaver, Jeff Merritt, Mac Foster, Joe Bugner, Leroy Jones, Jimmy Young, and Jimmy Ellis, among others, roamed the landscape. LeDoux fought tough guys because he was a tough guy during an era of tough guy heavyweights.

He also was a genuine nice guy and that probably disqualifies him from being a prime alley companion, Pat Summerall notwithstanding.

Others, of course, come to mind like Big George Foreman (first version), Sonny Liston (any version), Iron Mike Tyson, Earnie Shavers, Deontay Wilder, and 6’9” giant Tyson Fury. Each is suitable.

Speaking of giants, the 7’2″ Nikolai “The Russian Giant” Valuev has the ability to impress upon others a sinister demeanor threatening enough to scare away most potential alley opponents; yet his yen for writing poetry gives pause to his suitability. Also working against this monster is the fact that in 2011 he was elected to the Russian Parliament.

If this writer needed a companion when potentially engaging in an alley fight in, say, Chicago or New York City, he might consider Joe “The Boss” Hipp, also called by the less politically correct “Indian” Joe Hipp.

A fringe contender Back in the Day, Hipp, a member of the Blackfoot Tribe, was rough, tough, and durable. He was a gritty southpaw heavyweight out of Yakima, Washington, and the type of guy you didn’t want to meet in an unfriendly bar. He had plenty of heart, a strong chin, and exuded an extraordinary malevolence in the ring.

He was 24-2 and on a three-fight winning streak when he met Tommy “The Duke” Morrison in Reno, Nevada on a hot sunny afternoon in June 1992. Tommy (32-1) was on a four-fight winning streak of his own and was a strong favorite in what promised to be a pier six brawl. In the end, the fight exceeded expectations.

While Hipp lost in a bone-breaking, bloodletting non-stop ring war that featured shattered cheek bones, a broken jaw, fractured hands, and severe cuts, he exhibited traits that clearly would make him a marvelous companion to take with you into the alley. The late Tommy Morrison wouldn’t be all that bad either.

The President

But wait. Joe must step aside for royalty—he must make way for none other than the President, Ikemefula Charles “Ike” Ibeabuchi.

Pat Summerall wasn’t broadcasting when this heavyweight out of Nigeria burst onto the scene but if he had been, he might have changed his mind about Scott LeDoux.

Ike did his thing from 1994 to 1999, compiling a 20-0 mark with 15 wins coming by way of stoppage. Although he scored a rattling stoppage of Chris Byrd in what turned out to be Ike’s final pro fight, his 1997 upset of David Tua remains the signature moment of his ring career.

In this one, the 6’2″, 244 pound Nigerian with a reach of 77 inches, opened his tool box to reveal Tyson-like hand speed, controlled ferocity, solid footwork, devastating power, counter-punching ability and a rock-sold chin (he was able to walk through Tua’s best left hooks all night).

Both men threw heavy stuff and neither took a backward step. In the process, Ibeabuchi and Tua set a CompuStat heavyweight division record with 1,730 punches thrown. Ike also set the individual CompuStat record by throwing an incredible 975 punches, an average of 81 per round.

Ike had put the division on notice. After knocking out the previously undefeated Byrd, a slick southpaw, no one wanted to fight him. Quoting Lou DiBella, people were saying, “This guy’s a ****** animal. What do I need him for?” This, of course, is one of several good reasons why Ike bumps Joe Hipp from consideration.

The Demons

But there is more — much more, as Ike’s inner demons began to emerge and actualized what everyone hoped would not happen.

A couple of months after the Tua win, Ike was arrested for kidnapping the 15-year-old son of his former girlfriend and crashing his car into a concrete pillar on a Texas highway, badly injuring the boy. He pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, was sentenced to three months in jail, and paid a $500,000 civil settlement.

In July 1999, he was accused of attempted sexual assault of a Las Vegas escort in his hotel room at The Mirage casino. Other assaults then came to light and Ike was eventually sent to a state mental facility where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After an extremely lengthy trail, he was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment.

Ike’s trainer Curtis Cokes saw the warning signs. Cokes is quoted as saying: “His biggest problem is that he just doesn’t obey the rules. He wants to break the law…He needs help, and he and his family don’t see that. He thinks everybody’s after him. If Ike looks in the mirror, he’ll see the real problem. Something’s wrong with Ike…”

The most thorough account of the rise and fall of Ike “The President” Ibeabuchi is found in Eric Raskin’s excellent 2017 HBO From the Vaultarticle titled “Unrealized: The Story of Ike Ibeabuchi, The Great Lost Heavyweight.” It is written as an oral history.

Lou DiBella relates: “He was a prodigy. He had amazing power. He had fierce determination and he had no fear of anybody, and he believed that he was the king, that nobody could beat him. He’d walk into the ring and you would almost have this vision of a bull coming at a matador with the steam coming out of the nostrils. Unfortunately, here was a very scary man both in and out of the ring. And it’s unfortunate that we’ll never know what could have been.”

Former boxing publicist Greg Juckett says,There was a paranoia there. I don’t know what the clinical neurosis, the definition of it would be. But there was definitely a paranoia with Ike….He was very untrustworthy of people and something would occasionally scare him. He was a very quiet guy. Quiet to the point where it was a little unsettling.”

Other quotes are more disturbing. Sage matchmaker Eric Bottjer recalls saying to his boss, Ibeabuchi’s promoter, the late Cedric Kushner, “This guy’s crazy. He’s going to hurt somebody. I don’t want it to be me or you or anybody else. But he’s quite capable of killing somebody.”

In 2014, having served out his term, Ike made a much-publicized move to reignite his career, only to be picked up again by ICE. In 2016, he got arrested in Arizona for a probation violation and remains on a lifetime probation in that state.

Ike is back behind bars. It has been reported that he is due for release from the Arizona State Penal System later this month, whereupon he may be deported. Whatever the case, it seems unlikely that he will ever fight again.

Like Joe Hipp, Ike exhibited traits that clearly would make him a great companion to take with you in an alley fight, but his were clearly different. They were dangerous traits possibly fueled by paranoia and attendant mental issues. Still, if The Ringmagazine named him “Boxing’s Most Dangerous Man,” as it did in 1999, then I don’t need any more convincing. He’s my pick.

Ted Sares is a lifetime member of Ring 10, a member of Ring 8, 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 Master Class.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel  

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Tyson and Jones Box to an Unofficial Draw in a Predictable Stinker

Arne K. Lang

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The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, an American institution, went belly-up in 2017, but a different kind of circus played to an empty house at the Staples Center in Los Angeles tonight. The main attraction wasn’t Jumbo the elephant but Iron Mike Tyson in his first ring appearance in 15 years. In the opposite corner was Roy Jones Jr, who at age 51 was the younger man by three years.

Tyson vs. Jones was the main piece of a 4-hour boxing and music festival live-streamed in the U.S. on the TysononTriller.com app at a list price of $49.95. This was the first live event on “Triller” which allows people to create their own music videos and was designed as a rival to China-owned TikTok, one of the biggest recent success stories in the internet world.

The California State Athletic Commission, which sanctioned the match, insisted that Tyson vs. Jones would be an exhibition. They would fight 8 two-minute rounds with 12-ounce gloves and if there were a knockdown, the referee would not give a count and the bout would or would not continue at his discretion. The rounds would not be scored and no winner would be named.

Of course, the promoter chafed at these restraints and did his best to create the impression that this was a legitimate prizefight. Retired boxers Vinny Pazienza, Chad Dawson, and Christy Martin were lassoed to serve as judges, scoring the fight from a remote location, and the WBC commissioned an honorary belt to present to the winner.

The advance hype was enormous. A clickbait-obsessed media lapped it up including photoshop-enhanced images of Mike Tyson’s physique.

In the second round, Tyson landed a double left hook and that was the only indelible moment in the match. By the third round, both looked and sounded tired and by the sixth round Jones was thoroughly gassed out and took to clinching to make it to the final bell.

For the record, the scores were 79-73 for Tyson (Martin), 80-76 for Jones (Pazienza), and 76-76 (Dawson). On the internet, the clear consensus was that Tyson had the best of it.

Mike Tyson, 50-6, 2 NC (44 KOs) last fought in June of 2005 when he was stopped by third-rater Kevin McBride. Roy Jones (66-9, 47 KOs) was active as recently as 2018 and won his last four, but against hand-picked opponents including a boxer making his pro debut. His last fight of significance came in 2011 when he was brutally KOed by Dennis Lebedev in Moscow.

Jones, who weighed 210 ½ tonight, weighed 157 when he made his pro debut in 1989. In his prime, he was pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, but that was back in the previous century.

Both fighters were reportedly guaranteed $1 million with Tyson’s take potentially reaching $10 million if certain financial targets were met.

Other Bouts

YouTube sensation Jake Paul, who we reluctantly concede has more than a modicum of talent in the fisticuffing department, knocked out Nate Robinson in the second round and it was a clean knockout with Robinson knocked out cold. The 36-year-old Robinson, the former NBA point guard who was a three-time slam dunk champion during his 11-year NBA career, is a well-rounded athlete, good enough to start as a cornerback in football during his freshman year at the University of Washington, but his athleticism didn’t translate to the squared circle as he looked like a common bar brawler.

Former two-division belt-holder Badou Jack (22-3-4), who said he appeared on the card as a favor to his friend Mike Tyson, was a clear-cut winner over hard-trying but out-classed Blake McKernan in an 8-round cruiserweight match.

At age 37, Jack’s career is winding down. He tipped the scales at 188 ¾, 14 pounds more than in his previous engagement vs. Jean Pascal. McKernan, a natural cruiserweight from Sacramento, was undefeated coming in (13-0), but was over his in over his head against Jack, a former Olympian and veteran of seven world title fights.

In a good action fight, Worcester, Massachusetts lightweight Jamaine Ortiz, a carpenter by trade, improved to 14-0 (8) with a seventh-round stoppage of Sulaiman Segawa (13-3-1), a Maryland-based Ugandan.

In the first bout on the program, Fort Worth featherweight Edward Vazquez improved to 9-0 (1) with an 8-round split decision over Jamaine Ortiz stablemate Irvin Gonzalez (14-3).

Heavyweight Juiseppe “Joe” Cusumano improved to 19-3 (17) with a sixth-round stoppage of late sub Gregory Corbin (15-4). It was the fourth straight loss for the 40-year-old Corbin who came in at a beefy 291 ¾ pounds.

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Fast Results from London: Joe Joyce Stops Daniel Dubois in the 10th

Arne K. Lang

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The historic Church House which sits in the shadow of Westminster Abbey was the site of tonight’s clash in London between unbeaten heavyweights Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce. The bout lacked the gloss of a world title fight, but didn’t need it. The oft-postponed match, originally slated for the 02 Arena in London on April 11 with promoter Frank Warren anticipating a sellout, was fairly hyped as the most anticipated fight since Fury-Wilder II which was the last big fight before the coronavirus clampdown.

Dubois, 15-0 with 14 KOs heading in, was a consensus 7/2 favorite in man-to-man betting, He was younger, faster and punched harder, but ultimately it would be his “O” that had to go. Joe Joyce, an inch taller at six-foot-six and 15 pounds heavier at 259, emerged victorious with a 10th-round stoppage in what was a good back-and-forth fight with a divided opinion as to who had the edge through the completed rounds.

Joyce really didn’t do much but throw a jab, but he landed that jab consistently and it was a hard, thudding jab that caused Dubois’s left eye to start swelling during the mid-rounds of the fight. The damaged eye eventually shut and when Joyce reached it with another hard jab in the 10th, Dubois surrendered by taking a knee. The presumption was that he had suffered a broken orbital bone.

The 35-year-old Joyce, nicknamed Juggernaut, is of Scotch-Irish and Nigerian descent. He lost by split decision to Tony Yoka in the semifinals of the 2016 Olympics and had to settle for a silver medal. Prior to turning pro, he was 12-1 in the semi-pro World Series of Boxing with his lone defeat coming at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk. With today’s career-defining win, he upped his pro ledger to 12-0 (11).

Other Bouts

Top-rated WBC super lightweight contender Jack Catterall (26-0) won a predictably one-sided 10-round triumph over 33-year-old Tunisian Abderrazak Houya (14-3). Catterall scored two knockdowns en route to winning by a 99-90 score. This was a stay-busy fight for the Lancashire man who was the mandatory challenger for title-holder Jose Carlos Ramirez and accepted step-aside money with the promise that he would meet the winner of the unification fight between Ramirez and Josh Taylor which is expected to come off in February.

The lead-in fight was a 10-round contest in the super welterweight division between 21-year-old Hamzah Sheeraz and 33-year-old Guido Nicolas Pitto. The fight was monotonous until Sheeraz (12-0, 8 KOs) kicked it into a higher career in the final stanza and brought about the stoppage. Pitto, from Spain by way of Argentina, declined to 26-8-2. The official time was 1:11 of round 10.

In an 8-round cruiserweight bout, Jack Massey improved to 17-1 (8) with a 79-74 referee’s decision over Mohammad Ali Farid (16-2-1). Massey was making his first start since losing a close 12-round decision to Richard Raikporhe in December of 2019 for the vacant BBBofC title. The well-traveled, one-dimensional Farid had scored 16 knockouts in his previous 18 fights while answering the bell for only 33 rounds.

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

David A. Avila

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neither was able to pull out ahead with any conviction.

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

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

Rosado was certain he was the true winner.

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

Indeed, he does.

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

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

Other Bouts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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