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Boxing Movies We Hope to See: Suggested Storylines from 50+ Boxing Notables

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The Fourth Quarterly TSS Survey: Part One (A-K) — The question for our final survey of 2019 was not an easy one. “If you were to make a boxing movie, what would the subject be? How might you title it (optional)?” There was an excellent collection of inputs from a larger than normal number of respondents, including many former fighters. Hence, we are running this story in two parts. The respondents are listed in alphabetical order.

BONES ADAMS — former world super bantamweight champion, elite trainer: A movie about me and my complex life. How many white guys do you know from Kentucky who went on to become a world champion?

RUSS ANBER — elite trainer, cornerman, and owner of Rival Boxing Equipment: Provided it would be given the budget it deserved, my movie would be called “On God’s Side” as it tells the tale of the parallels of both the Louis vs Schmeling fights and the rise of the Nazi regime and eventually World War II, while the world watched both intently.

I’d follow that with “No Quarrel,” the story of Ali’s stand against the establishment and the Viet Nam war, his subsequent suspension, the social divisiveness, and Ali’s subsequent return vs Joe Frazier in the most politically important fight since Louis vs Schmeling.

MATT ANDRZEJEWSKI –TSS boxing writer: I’d make a movie about Archie Moore. I’m surprised one has not yet been done. It would be a great story to tell the world of perseverance and determination. I’d title it “The Old Mongoose.”

DAVID AVILA — TSS West Coast Bureau Chief: I’d do a story on a guy named Luis Magana. He passed away 10 years ago in his late 90s. He was a former PR for the Olympic Auditorium and his dad was a PR for the Olympic when it was first built. He had so many stories to share about guys like Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis and Mexican fighters like Baby Arizmendi and Art Aragon. He was also a sort of playboy who knew many Hollywood starlets. Incredible guy.  “.…if you don’t know who Luis Magana is, then you’re not a real boxing writer”: Hector Zapata, Los Angeles Reporter

BOB BENOIT — former professional fighter, current pro referee and judge: It was the 60’s, and New England Pro boxing was roaring with a fight or two every week in New England.  Worcester- Portland – North Adams – Boston – and New Bedford were SOME of the fistic hotbeds. Our fighter, a 20-year-old white male from rural Maine was called on every week. Short on money and long on need, he had amassed 27 fights in 18 months. The last one was a brutal affair with Gene Cyclone Herrick. Following a bad beating and after paying his cornerman, he went home with $40. Then, Sam Silverman, the Promoter, needed to fill in a fight card at the last moment in Boston and called the fighter but received no answer. He had died from a brain injury 2 days after the Herrick fight. “Nobody Answered the Phone.”

JEFF BUMPUS — former fighter and writer: Danny “Little Red” Lopez was of Ute Indian, Mexican, and Irish heritage. He had been moved from one foster home to another, and coming off a Ute Indian Reservation in Utah, to become the WBC featherweight champion. Obvious title: “Little Red.”

TRACY CALLIS — eminent boxing historian: I’d make a movie about James J. Jeffries and use the book, “A Man Among Men,” by Kelly Nicholson, as the guide. Jeffries was a great champion and lost the only fight of his career in a comeback contest after a long five-year layoff.

STEVE CANTON — the face of boxing in South Florida: I’d do a documentary about the difference between Old School boxers and current boxers, the difference between old training methods and new, the difference between old trainers and current trainers and illustrate the demise of the technique of the Sweet Science with a plea to bringing back the old tried and proven methods.

GUY CASALE — former fighter and retired policeman/lawyer: Mine would concern Organized Crime’s continued influence on boxing. My title would be “Owned.”

MONTE COX — former fighter; noted boxing historian: Sam Langford. Since his most well-known nickname, The Boston Tar Baby, might not translate well in today’s world, and his other nicknames such as “The Boston Terror” might have someone thinking of the Boston marathon bombing, I’d just call it “Feared, the Sam Langford Story.” One of the most avoided boxers in history, he was never given the opportunity because he was too black and too good. Even Jack Johnson drew the color line against him once Sam hit the peak of his powers. Langford had 126 knockouts with nearly all the top heavyweights of his era on the victim list.

MICHAEL CULBERT — former super middleweight contender: I’d make a movie about the life and times of Hector Camacho and call it: “Too Macho.”

JOEY “TANK” DAWEJKO — heavyweight contender:  It would be about all the bad stuff that goes on in the boxing world! Title: “Corruption.”

DAVID DIAMANTEring announcer, actor, tv host, and sports announcer: Sam Langford. Call it “Fight to the Finish.” Keep it gritty and real, in the vein of “Fat City”.

JILL DIAMOND — WBC International Secretary; “WBC Cares” Chair: One of the greatest and most interesting champions and a hero whose legacy was tarnished by a questionable suicide; Alexis Argüello.

CHARLIE DWYER– former fighter, pro referee, and member of Marine Corps Boxing Hall of Fame: My story would be about Arturo Gatti and would be called “Blood and Guts.”

STEVE FARHOOD – TV commentator, former editor The Ring magazine and 2017 IBHOF inductee: Two movies: One, a biopic of Matthew Saad Muhammad. Two: A boxing parody, making fun of all the things in boxing that deserve to be made fun of (there are so many!).

MATT FARRAGO — former fighter and founder and President of RING 10: “When the Last Blow Lands.” The subject would be whether boxers suffer from CTE like in football or do they just end up Punchy which doesn’t sound so bad? I could pick 20 big name fighters that faded away to nothing and nobody said anything. My last trainer was Emile Griffith and I witnessed his deterioration into oblivion and death. Totally forgotten. The Quarry brothers. Same thing.

RICK FARRISfounder and President, West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame: I’d make a film like the cool one of which I am now a part; namely, a documentary about the Olympic Auditorium. And I am beyond excited about Steve DeBro’s brilliant film, “18th & Grand” which is in post-production and which is the Olympic Auditorium Project. As an aside, I’d never do an Ali-type film or a Rocky fantasy.

BERNARD FERNANDEZ — TSS mainstay and lifetime member of the BWAA: Flicks about two Philly fighters—Matthew Saad Muhammad and Bernard Hopkins—with terrific backstories that immediately come to mind. Saad was abandoned on a city street as a toddler by a relative, grew up to be a light heavyweight champion and one of the great action fighters. B-Hop did a prison stretch, lost his pro debut but went on to become the most enduring of champions, in two weight classes. But if push comes to shove, I might go with Craig Bodzianowski who lost his left leg from the knee down in a motorcycle accident, got fitted for a prosthetic leg and returned to the ring and did well enough to earn a shot at a cruiserweight title. See: https://tss.ib.tv/boxing/featured-boxing-articles-boxing-news-videos-rankings-and-results/17009-later-gator-bodzianwski-1-legs-a-1-big-heart.

JERRY FITCH — Cleveland’s Mr. Boxing; author, historian: I’d make a movie about Jimmy Bivins with the same title as my book “James Louis Bivins….The Man Who Would Be Champion.” Actually in 1999/2000 a couple from New York came to Cleveland several times and interviewed the family, Jimmy Bivins and me, shot a lot of footage, tracked down surviving opponents, etc. They were planning on doing a documentary film on Jimmy. Then, just like that, they disappeared. It would have been interesting as there were many neat side stories. 

SUE TL FOX — former world class female boxer, founder/president of WBAN™ and IWBHF: If I were to make a boxing movie, I would title the movie, “The Fighter Within.” It would be about the life and struggles of the 1970s to 1980s female boxer Lady Tyger Trimiar who struggled not only to be recognized inside the ring—- but outside the ring as she made countless efforts to get women’s boxing to be recognized and to improve the sport for not only herself but others.

JEFFREY FREEMAN — TSS writer: Having your words published, like entering a ring, puts your talent on display. And there’s nowhere to hide. The truth is revealed. And sometimes, the results can be disastrous.” ~ Erik Kernan Jr., Resurrecting The Champ. There needs to be a proper film made about the history of boxing writers. From Liebling to Collins to BFern and beyond, there is a very colorful story to be told about those who have penned boxing’s most colorful stories. The only other time such an endeavor was attempted was in 2007’s Resurrecting The Champ, an honest movie told through the eyes of a young fictional sports writer assigned to cover boxing while also uncovering some of its essential hidden truths.

CLARENCE GEORGE — writer and historian: Many years ago, there was talk of a movie on “Two Ton” Tony Galento, with Burt Young in the title role. It never came to pass, unfortunately, but I think it should. After all, Tony’s easily among boxing’s most colorful characters. As Young’s rapidly approaching 80, however, it would have to star somebody else. Not sure who, but I’m open to suggestions.

BUDDY GIBBS — author and historian: My movie would be on the great trainer Harry Wiley from the streets of Harlem; he fought as an amateur boxer until he became a trainer. Harry worked as a water boy for Jack Dempsey, worked in the camp of Harry Wills, and gawked at Sam Langford during his fighting days. As a trainer, Wiley molded Ray Robinson into arguably the greatest fighter that ever lived. Harry was also the reason why the Mob did not have their foot on Robinson’s throat during his career. He worked with Ambers, Armstrong, Baby Joe Gans, Ali, and many others. In 1932, he became the first African-American to train a U.S. Olympic boxing team; unfortunately, due to racial discrimination, he was replaced before the start of the event. He battled against prejudice as a matchmaker and promoter and even tried to help arrange bouts for Ali during his exile. He stood up against racial injustice in boxing, stood his ground against the Mob, helped mold some of the greatest fighters of all-time, and remained humble through it all.

HENRY HASCUP — boxing historian and President of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame: There are so many so I just can’t pick just one. Sam Langford, Harry Greb, Mickey Walker and Archie Moore would be the ones I would like to see. They all grew up in hard times and overcame problems that no fighter today would even think of. When we go over the best fighters of all-time, most young people don’t even know who these fighters are, so we should educate them by putting their stories up on the BIG screen!

CHUCK HASSON — historian, author. “HE FIGHTS FOR A LIVING.” A story about a club fighting journeyman who travels the country (and world) fighting everywhere he can get a fight. The experiences he encounters, both good and bad, and his chances of winning a close verdict are slim and none.

JACK HIRSCH — former President and now lifetime member of the BWAA: It’s amazing that a movie has never been made about one of the most flamboyant fighters in history, Sugar Ray Robinson. I’d make one and call it “SUGAR RAY.”

CRAIG HOUK — Founder/CEO Indiana Boxing Hall of Fame; fought 110 pro bouts: I’d do one called “Legacies,” and it would be about the price of fame if you really chase greatness.

BRUCE KIELTY — booking agent; boxing historian: For me, the obvious choice is a biopic of Stanley Ketchel

1) man who lived every minute like it was his last.

2) A man who had cojones as large as bowling balls.

3) A man who had a good heart for his family

4) A man who brought massive excitement every time that he entered a ring.

5) A man who reportedly was a ladies man of the first order.

6) A man who departed this world at only 24 (violently) yet is still remembered today.

7) A title has to sell a film to the public, so I’d title it “CRAZY STANLEY.”

STUART KIRSCHENBAUM — Boxing Commissioner Emeritus, State of Michigan: “ROXY”…the story of John Roxborough…a leading gambling racket boss, helped operate a policy and numbers business in Detroit. His $10 million annual business was at the center of a scandal that led to the indictment, prosecution and prison sentences of street hustlers, police officers as well as former Mayor Richard Reading of Detroit…all served prison time. “Roxy” co-managed world heavyweight champion Joe Louis whom he met in 1931 when the “Brown Bomber” was a teenager learning to box at Brewster Recreation Center.  

MARK KRAM JR — multi-award-winning feature writer and author: My aim is to arrange for the development of a limited series based on my book, “Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier.” From his childhood in the Jim Crow South to his wars in and out of the ring with Muhammad Ali, Joe lived an extraordinarily eventful life, one that was populated by an array of colorful characters such as Gypsy Joe Harris, Yank Durham, Eddie Futch and so on. Far more complex that even his fans understood him to be, his story is far larger in scope than a single biopic could comfortably accommodate. Given his signature style of never backing up, I’d call it “RELENTLESS.”

Editor’s Note: The photo is of Kirk Douglas from the 1949 RKO movie “Champion.” Douglas turns 103 on Dec. 9.

Ted Sares is a member of Ring 8 and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame and a lifetime member of Ring 10 which in 2019 honored him with the first annual Harold Lederman Award for Historian. He also is an Auxiliary Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). He still competes as a power lifter in the Master Class.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel  

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Former World Bantamweight Champion Richie Sandoval Passes Away at Age 63

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Richie Sandoval, who won the WBA and lineal bantamweight title in one of the biggest upsets of the 1980s and then, not quite two years later, suffered near-fatal injuries in a title defense, has passed away at the age of 63.

News circulated fast in the Las Vegas boxing community on Monday, July 22, the grapevine actuated by a tweet from Hall of Fame matchmaker Bruce Trampler: “Boxing and the Top Rank family lost one of our own last night in the passing of former WBA bantamweight champion Richie Sandoval. It hurts personally and professionally to know that Richie is gone at age 63. RIP campeon.”

Details are vague but the cause of death was apparently a sudden heart attack that Sandoval experienced while visiting the Southern California home of his son of the same name.

Richie Sandoval put the LA County community of Pomona, California, on the boxing map before Shane Mosley came along and gave the town a more frequently-cited mention in the sports section of the papers. He came from a fighting family. An older brother, Albert “Superfly” Sandoval, became a big draw at LA’s fabled Olympic Auditorium while building a 35-2-1 record that included a failed bid to capture Lupe Pintor’s world bantamweight title.

Richie was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic boxing team that was stranded when U.S. President Jimmy Carter (and many other world leaders) boycotted the event as a protest against Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan.

As a pro, Sandoval’s signature win was a 15th-round stoppage of Jeff Chandler. They fought on April 7, 1984 in Atlantic City. Chandler was making the tenth defense of his world bantamweight title.

Despite being a heavy underdog, Sandoval dominated the fight, winning almost every round until the referee stepped in and waived it off. Chandler, who was 33-1-2 heading in and had avenged his lone defeat, never fought again.

Sandoval made two successful defenses before risking his title against Gabby Canizales on the undercard of Hagler-Mugabi in the outdoor stadium at Caesars Palace. In round seven, Sandoval, who had a hellish time making the weight, was knocked down three times and suffered a seizure as he collapsed from the third knockdown. Stretchered out of the ring, he was rushed to the hospital where doctors reduced the swelling in his brain and beat the odds to save his life. This would be Richie’s lone defeat. He finished his pro career with a record of 29-1 (17 KOs).

Bob Arum cushioned some of the pain by giving Richie a $25,000 bonus and offering him a lifetime job at Top Rank which Richie accepted. And let the record show that Arum was good to his word.

A more elaborate portrait of Richie Sandoval was published in these pages in 2017. You can check it out HERE. May he rest in peace.

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Amanda Serrano and Jake Paul Vanquish Overmatched Foes in Tampa

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Amanda “the Real Deal” Serrano mowed through knockout puncher Stevie Morgan in less than two rounds on Saturday and Jake Paul soundly defeated bare knuckle champion Mike Perry by knockout too.

Paul and Serrano move on to bigger things.

“It’s feels great, it feels amazing. My 50th fight, my 31st knockout, I’m super blessed,” said Serrano.

Despite jumping up three weight divisions Serrano (47-2-1, 31 KOs) showed more than 17,000 fans and Morgan (14-2, 13 KOs) at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, how she was able to win seven weight divisions.

Fans and perhaps Katie Taylor breathed a sigh of relief that Serrano is truly back. In Serrano’s last fight she was forced to withdraw back in March due to an accident to her eye moments before a fight. Now the Puerto Rican and Irish super stars will meet in Texas on November 15.

Fans can expect a rematch of one of the greatest fights of all time.

Tonight, before walking into the boxing ring, Morgan had commented that of all the top female fighters Serrano was low hanging fruit. The Puerto Rican legend merely shrugged her shoulders and replied that she lets her fists do the talking.

Both fighters hesitated touching gloves but did. After that, Serrano immediately went into assassin’s mode and moved forward while punching like a finely tuned hemi-engine. Morgan tried to keep up but discovered Serrano was not easy to hit.

Serrano moved forward smoothly while slipping and punching. A stiff looking Morgan, whose legs seemed unbent, tried to fend off the Puerto Rican champion’s blows but was smacked repeatedly in the first round with lefts and rights.

When the bell rang to end the first round, it was obvious that Morgan was overmatched.

As the second round commenced Serrano immediately slipped into attack gear behind her southpaw defensive guard. Once again, she fired combinations while moving quickly forward against the taller Morgan.

It was even worse than the first round as Serrano unloaded a dozen unanswered blows forcing the referee to stop the fight at 38 seconds of the second round.

“I think these girls were mistaking my kindness for weakness,” said Serrano. “If you’re not on my level that’s what happens.”

Morgan quickly learned she’s not on the championship level.

“Stevie Morgan just started a little while ago. I knew it would have been a little too much for her,” said Serrano. “My hat goes off to her. It’s not easy.”

Now it’s on to Katie Taylor.

Jake Paul KOs Mike Perry

In the co-main event Jake Paul (10-1, 7 KOs) floored Mike Perry (6-1) the Bare Knuckle Champion in the first and second round of the cruiserweight fight. And then battered the smaller fighter with a jolting jab to the body and head that opened up cuts on the former MMA fighter.

Paul continued to show improvement and proved once again that whether its MMA or Bare Knuckle fighting, his boxing skills are superior to their combat champions.

“Man, he’s tough as nails. I’m sorry it took so long. Respect man. He’s the king of violence,” said Paul about his fallen foe whose nickname is the “King of Violence.”

Paul attacked the body with a strong left jab while circling slowly left and right. Perry stood straight up with a low guard and his chin up. Paul hit that chin repeatedly and eventually cracked it in the fifth round.

Perry survived.

In the sixth round the bigger blonde fighter Paul bludgeoned Perry with another left jab and then opened with a barrage of blows that blasted the bare knuckle fighter to the canvas. Though he beat the count, he stumbled and the referee stopped the fight at 1:12 of the sixth round.

“I kind of expected that,” said Paul.

Perry was honest about the outcome.

“I tried man, but the kid hit me hard,” said Perry.

Now it’s on to Mike Tyson on November 15 in Arlington, Texas.

“Mike. I love you. But this is my sport now. I’m so honored but I’m going to take your throne.”

Other Bouts

A lightweight battle between undefeated fighters saw Canada’s Lucas Bahdi (17-0, 15 KOs) lose every round until he unloaded a three-punch combination that rendered Ashton Sylve (11-1, 9 KOs) unconscious before he hit the canvas.

Sylve utilized his speed and counters for five rounds and seemed to cruise for five years. But Bahdi showed a good chin especially against lightning uppercuts that sneaked through the guard.

“He’s very twitchy and very quick. I was trying to get to his body early on,” said Bahdi. “He’s very fast and has good counter punches.

In the sixth round Sylve was opening up a little more with his hands down and Bahdi saw the opening and quickly launched a right followed by a left hook that knocked out Sylve before he hit the floor at 2:27 of the sixth round.

“I knew his head’s there in the center all the time,” said Bahdi. “I think I stole the show tonight.”

Prelim Bouts

A rematch between lightweights saw Corey Marksman (10-0-1) win by majority decision against Tony Aguilar (12-1-1) in a back-and-forth battle. Marksman out-worked Aguilar with an especially effective counter-right that scored repeatedly. Their first encounter last February ended in a draw.

Shadasia Green (14-1, 11 KOs) stumbled a bit but got the win against Natasha Spence (8-5-2) to win by unanimous decision in a super middleweight. It was her first fight since losing to Franchon Crews-Dezurn for the world title.

Green was cruising for most of the fight behind a sharp jab and rights to the body but during an offensive out burst Spence caught her with a counter right and floored her in the seventh. It was half punch and half slip, but she was knocked down.

Though Green did not get a knockout she emerged with the win 78-73, 77-74 twice.

“I had fun in there tonight,” said Green. “I belong at the top with the best.”

Alexis Chaparro (2-0) knocked out Kevin Hill (1-2) with a five-punch combination at 2:01 of the second round in a middleweight fight.

Angel Barrientes (12-1) defeated Edwin Rodriguez (12-9-2) by majority decision after six rounds in a super bantamweight fight. The scores were 57-57, 60-54 twice for Barrientes who resides in Las Vegas.

Photo credit: Esther Lin / MVP Promotions

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Nakatani Strengthens his Pound-for-Pound Credentials: Blasts Out Astrolabio

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Junto Nakatani is the best 118-pound boxer in the world. Tonight, in Tokyo, he reinforced that judgment with a first-round knockout of Vincent Astrolabio at Japan’s national sumo arena. A short left to the solar plexus left the Filipino writhing on the canvas. He tried to rise but fell back down, forcing referee Tom Taylor to waive it off. It was all over in less than three minutes, 2:37 to be precise. Nakatani (28-0, 21 KOs) was making the first defense of his WBO bantamweight title after previously winning title belts at 112 and 115.

Tall for the weight class at five-foot-seven-and-a-half, the 26-year-old Japanese southpaw produced his second highlight reel knockout in his last four fights. The first come in May of last year at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas where he scored a frightening, 12th-round one-punch knockout of Andrew Moloney.

Nakatani won’t have to travel far to unify the belt. The other three current bantamweight champions are also Japanese. Down the road, potentially, is a showdown with countryman Naoya Inoue. That match, should it transpire, would be the biggest domestic fight in Japanese boxing history. Astrolabio, who had been stopped only once previously and was making his second stab at a world title, declined to 18-5.

Other Title Fight

LA’s Anthony Olascuaga, a stablemate of Nakatani (both train in LA under the tutelage of Rudy Hernandez), won the vacant WBO flyweight title with a third-round stoppage of Riku Kanu. A left uppercut put Kano (22-5) on the deck for the full count. The official time was 2:50 of round three.

Olascuaga (7-1, 5 KOs) was rucked out of obscurity in April of last year when he dropped down a weight class and performed far better than expected, albeit in a losing effort, against Kenshiro Teraji, a fight that he took on 10 days’ notice. Despite his inexperience and the locale, the LA fighter entered the ring a consensus 3/1 favorite over Kanu.

Also

In his first 10-rounder, ever-improving Tenshin Nasukawa (4-0, 2 KOs) stopped U.S. invader Jonathan Rodriguez in the third round. Five unanswered punches climaxed by a straight left ended matters at the 1:49 mark. The bout was contested at a catchweight of 120 pounds.

Nasukawa, a baby-faced, 25-year-old southpaw, transitioned to boxing after becoming famous in Japan for his kickboxing exploits. His first foray into boxing was an exhibition with Floyd Mayweather who knocked him out in the opening round, but he’s made considerable progress since then.

Against Rodriguez, Nasakawa was dominant from the get-go. Rodriguez was in dire straits as the second round ended. The first fighter from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley to fight in Japan, Rodriguez (17-3-1) joins the ranks of one-hit wonders. He scored a shocking first-round KO of former title-holder Khalid Yafai, but then lost his very next fight en route to this affair.

The promotion lost a bit of luster when the title fight between WBO 115-pound belt-holder Kosei Tanaka and Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Rodriguez (no relation to Nasukawa’s opponent of the same name) fell out when Rodriguez weighed a staggering six pounds over the limit.

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