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Proposals for Boxing Movies: Part Two (L-W) of Our Latest TSS Survey

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The question for our final quarterly survey of 2019 was this: “If you were to make a boxing movie, what would the subject be? How might you title it (optional)?” This question touched a nerve with many of our respondents as it generated our best response ever; nearly 60 people made suggestions, some very detailed. The turnout dictated that we publish the results of the survey in two parts. If you missed Part One, check it out here.

JIM LAMPLEY– linchpin of the HBO announcing team for 31 years; 2015 IBHOF inductee: The heavyweight nineties, from Tyson-Spinks in ‘88 to Lewis-Tyson in ‘02, with all the characters and the crazy ups and downs that subject entails.

ARNE LANG-TSS editor-in-chief, author, historian: The great sportswriter John Lardner authored two magazine pieces that are among the most anthologized stories in all of sports. His story about the Dempsey-Gibbons debacle in Shelby, Montana, ran in the The New Yorker in 1948. Lardner’s profile of Stanley Ketchel, the Michigan Assassin, appeared in True magazine in 1954. Both have the makings of excellent movies. If forced to choose, I might go with “Shelby.” This would be the perfect vehicle for George Roy Hill who directed “The Sting” with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, one of my all-time favorites. Unfortunately, Mr. Hill is deceased.

JIMMY LANGE — former fighter and promoter: I’d do a movie about a professional “opponent”…. someone who is a legit pro who knows he is brought in to lose. Not a fixed fight but a fight to help a prospect along. There are many interesting journeymen like Emanuel Augustus, Gerald Reed, Bruce “The Mouse” Straus, Reggie Strickland and hundreds more. This also would provide insight into the business of boxing.

RON LIPTON — member of NJ Boxing Hall of Fame, former fighter, retired police officer; pro referee: The movie I want to be made is one that WILL be made on my book still in progress, which is private and copyrighted intellectual property. Part of my book embraces the visceral behind-the-scenes accounts of my career as a referee in professional boxing, what I have witnessed as to what influences the assignment making process in big fights, the politics involved and how it has influenced the outcome of the big fights, along with in-the-ring experiences. There is also an interest in a separate high-profile documentary as to the actual boxing backgrounds of the people involved, how they arrived in that position and how they personally handled it. All on invulnerable legal ground buttressed with actual film footage.

PAUL MAGNO — author, writer and boxing official in Mexico: There are lots of movies to be made, lots of interesting characters and stories. I’ve always imagined, though, a great movie coming from the life and times of “The Drunken Master” Emanuel Augustus. What a character, what a career! I’d want the movie to touch on everything—fixes, robberies, triumphs, and the real-life battles of a fighter who never had the “right” connections and who kept getting pulled to the side of the road on his ride to the top.

DON MAJESKI — matchmaker, historian and affiliated with RING 8 and the NYSBHOF: I’d do a movie about Joe Gans. He was considered, by many, as greatest lightweight of the first half of the 20th Century and on par with Duran, Benny Leonard and the undefeated Packey McFarland as the greatest lightweight of all time. His bout with Battling Nelson in Goldfield, Nevada was one of the most historically significant in boxing. It was a $40,000 promotion where film rights were essential to the gate and it ushered in the career of Tex Rickard. He was victimized by racism, was involved in a notorious alleged “fix” against Terry McGovern, was the highest paid athlete in America at one point and died at the age of 37 – one of the most revered boxers of all time.

ADEYINKA MAKINDEU.K. barrister, author and contributor to the Cambridge Companion to Boxing: I’d make a movie on Frankie DePaula, the Jersey City-born pugilist who was murdered in 1970. It would be a stunning, true-life drama of hubris, corruption, betrayal, and murder set against the backdrop of the sport of boxing and the world of the Mafia. DePaula was the archetypal juvenile delinquent; a kid from “Dead End” who is good-looking and charismatic. A street fighter cum pro-boxer who numbers Sinatra among his admirers. Frankie Valli and Joe Namath are close friends. But he’s a tortured soul and prone to trouble. Add in the mix a cast of characters such as the Humphrey Bogart-look-a-like priest who seeks to reform the adolescent wastrel, the physically irresistible ‘Mafia Princess’ who effortlessly lures him to his doom, ‘Jimmy Nap’, the gambling kingpin who is a force in the boxing world in the 1960s, and FBI agents who probe his involvement in a fixed world title bout and we have a dramatic rendition of the ‘American Dream’ gone wrong. Based on the book “JERSEY BOY: The Life and Mob Slaying of Frankie DePaula,” a movie would bear the raw components of “Rocky” meets “Raging Bull” on the “Mean Street(s)” of Jersey City.

SCOOP MALINOWSKI — boxing writer and author, Mr. “Biofile”: “Andrew Golota: The Uncrowned Champion.” A Don King quote after the Ruiz and Byrd robberies. A fascinating, intriguing character in and out of the ring. Maybe the understatement of the decade.

LARRY MERCHANT– HBO boxing commentator emeritus; 2009 IBHOF inductee: I’d want a feature-length documentary on Tyson Fury. His life as an Irish Traveler (gypsy), raised in a clan of fighters. His professional career, climaxed by fights vs. W. Klitschko and D. Wilder (including rematch to come). His problems after Klitschko: addiction, weight. His difficulty adapting to social norms of Britain after gaining fame. His big, colorful personality. His comeback.

ROBERT MLADINICH — writer, author, former fighter. I have two choices. One would be called “Hard Luck,” about the travels and travails of the fighting Quarry family. The second would be “Misdemeanor Homicide,” about the circumstances surrounding heavyweight Tim “Doc” Anderson shooting to death his manager, Rick “Elvis” Parker.

ERNEST MORALES (aka Geno Febus) — former fighter, writer: The events and controversy leading up to the one of boxing’s most famous and scariest knockouts of our time. Marquez vs Manny 4 and aftermath!! First a review of the rivalry, the three close/controversial endings, including the national pride and opinions of both countries and heritages before the fight. Then the AFTERMATH in the ring and dressing rooms, the scenes of the fighter, fans and Mexicans celebrating and the teams, fans and country in mourning after the final, forever-remembered fight.

HARRY OTTY – boxing historian; his newest book is “The Tragedy of the Hogue Twins”:  I would have to go with Charley Burley – uncrowned welterweight and middleweight champion of the
world who campaigned from 1936 to 1950.

The life of Burley – who campaigned from 1936 to 1950 – is a great story. As a star amateur, he was
invited to box-off for a berth at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. However, he declined to take part due to the
racial and religious persecution taking part in Nazi Germany at the time. He attended an alternate event in Barcelona and ended up being one of the first Americans to be in the middle of the Spanish Civil War.

Originally fighting out of Pittsburgh, Burley beat local favorites Fritzie Zivic (twice) and Billy Soose and fought many of the top black fighters of the day, including Archie Moore – dropping Archie three times en-route to a comfortable 10 round win in Hollywood in 1944.

Burley was avoided by many top-flight fighters as he was deemed a high-risk for a low reward. He eventually had to take on a job with the city and worked as a garbage man for many years. Burley was the
inspiration for Pittsburgh playwright August Wilson’s main character (Troy Maxon) in the play ‘Fences’  – recently made into a movie with Denzel Washington in the lead role.

CARLOS PALOMINO– former World Welterweight Champion and 2004 IBHOF inductee: I have a deal with a production Company to do my life story. The title is “Palomino.”

GENE PANTALONE — historian, writer and author of “Boxing Ring to Battlefield: The Life of War Hero” Lew Jenkins: Lew Jenkins. Hall of Fame writer W.C. Heinz, who died in 2006, kept trying to get someone to do it, he thought Clint Eastwood would be best. Heinz was in touch with Jenkins’ family until the end. John Huston wanted to do it in the 60s. Also, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Garner met with Jenkins to discuss a movie, but it never happened.

DENNIS RAPPAPORT — former co-manager of Gerry Cooney, among others; elite promoter: These are just a few from the top of my head. The Hitman’s Son, the story of former heavyweight Jack O’Halloran, boxer, actor and son of Albert Anastasia. The Pearl of the Ghetto, the life and times of Benny Leonard. The Fighting Hobo, the Jack Dempsey Story, the Fighting Socialite, the Gene Tunney Story. The Collector, The Life and Death of Sonny Liston. Sweet as Sugar, The Ray Robinson Story. And from Hell And Back-The Orphan; The World Champion; The Scintillating Drama and The Return to Heartache, Heartbreak and Agony; that was The Living Nightmare—the Story of Saad Muhammad.

JOHN RASPANTI– lead writer/editor for MaxBoxing; author: A movie about the colorful and talented Billy Conn would be fantastic. Billy not only came close to beating Joe Louis, but fell in love at first sight, and also got into a fist fight with his future father-in-law! (among other things). Most people have forgotten that Billy was light heavyweight champion of the world. He beat Melio Bettina, Gus Lesnevich, Bob Pastor, Lee Savold and Tony Zale. His love affair with future and forever wife Mary was extraordinary. They were completely devoted to each other. His friendship with Louis endured till Louis passed away. His life had many ups and downs, but Conn fought till the end. ​​Carmine Vingo, who fought Rocky Marciano in 1949, and almost died, is also someone who’s a movie in the making. I’m likely going to write about him.

FRED ROMANO — boxing historian, author and former HBO Boxing consultant: A biography of Sugar Ray Robinson is long overdue. Perhaps the greatest boxer ever, he had a dynamic personality, and was also a WW 2 vet and a fair entertainer to boot. It defies logic as to why his story has not made it to the big screen. Although a couple of Louis films have been made, it has been a remarkable 65 years since the last. Like Robbie, his story is begging to be told by the modern filmmaker. Title would be “Pound for Pound.”

LEE SAMUELS — legendary Top Rank publicist; 2019 IBHOF inductee: A movie about Caesars Palace the Home of Champions – with mega fights held for years in a 24,000 outdoor arena headlined by Muhammad Ali, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hitman Hearns with Hagler vs Hearns arguably the best, most heated brutal action fight of our time. Title would be “Hail Caesar!”

TED SARES — TSS writer: Tony Veranis often sparred with Joe “The Baron” Barboza, Eddie “Bulldog” Connors, Jimmy Connors (Eddie’s brother), Rocco “Rocky” DiSiglio, George Holden, and Americo “Rico” Sacramone. Southie’s Tommy Sullivan also found his way into this mix. The thing about these guys was that in addition to being well known Boston area boxers, each was brutally murdered between 1966 and 1976. Tony was an extremely active fighter but also brash. He mouthed off once too often and was blown away by James Martorano-aka “The Basin Street Butcher.” The twists and turns in this one match those of “The Friends of Eddie Coyle.” Title: “The Friends of Tony Veranis.”

ICEMAN JOHN SCULLY — all things in boxing: I’d like to see a movie about Alexis Arguello and his involvement in fighting against the powers in Nicaragua. Title: “The Humble Warrior”

PETER SILKOV — writer and keeper of “The Boxing Glove”: There are many untold stories in boxing and I think the film industry tends to go for the more mundane stories.  If I had to choose just one fighter for a biopic/film, it would be Matthew Saad Muhammad, and I’d call it something like ‘Saad: The Story of Boxing’s Miracle Fighter”…  close second would be Bobby Chacon “The School Boy”..

MIKE SILVER — author, historian: There is a great movie (documentary) to be made of my book, “The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science”–but I’d re-title it for the movies as, “What the Hell Happened to Boxing!”

ALAN SWYER — filmmaker, writer, and producer of the acclaimed El Boxeo: I’d depict the life of a great boxer who was forced by politics to relocate to another country and reinvent himself from Cuban to Mexican, all the while demonstrating how and why boxing is called “The Sweet Science.” The man? Jose Napoles. The title? “Mantequilla.”

DON TRELLA — boxing Judge, member of CT Boxing Hall of Fame: I’d say Arturo Gatti. He was a fan favorite because of his lion sized heart in the ring. The ending of course would continue to leave us in suspense as to what really happened to end his life. Hard to believe that a fighter such as Gatti who never had any “quit” in him would take his own life. Maybe the title should be “Never Say Die – the Arturo Gatti Story”

HAROLD WESTON — former fighter and two-time world title challenger: Two people that a movie should be told: My “big brother” Emile Griffith and me, Harold Weston. Two great stories are there waiting to be filmed.

PETER WOODauthor, writer and former fighter: The film’s title: Broken Boxers. Two eight-year-old boys—innocent Raoul, (growing up in Tehran, Iran), and happy-go-lucky Jack, (growing up in Topeka, Kansas)—meet 15 years later in a boxing ring. Neither boy is still innocent or happy-go-lucky–or emotionally healthy. Why? Raoul is the victim of an American drone attack in Tehran, and Jack is the casualty of a heinous terrorist attack in Topeka.  Raoul is now missing half his left arm, and Jack is missing his right leg. Despite their grim handicaps, both boys were drawn to boxing in order to learn how to fight and, to purge the poison of anger, hate, fear and sadness within themselves. Two nations—and the entire world—watch as these two damaged, yet gallant men, advance to the finals of a bloody boxing match. The bell rings! At the end of the fight, these two broken boxers embrace each other, and become an inspiration to the world. Their fight, somehow, goes a long way to purge the political poison of anger, hate, fear in the world.

Observations: No particular fighter or story stood out although Mathew Saad Muhammad, Sugar Ray Robinson, Sam Langford, Alexis Arguello, and Arturo Gatti were mentioned more than once.

The seedy side of boxing (and the business of boxing) got its “due.” Bob Benoit’s response captured this dimension perfectly.

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). In 2019, he received Ring 10’s Harold Lederman Award for Historian. 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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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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In a Massive Upset, Dakota Linger TKOs Kurt Scoby on a Friday Night in Atlanta

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Although it was an 8-rounder on a show with two “tens,” Kurt Scoby’s match with Dakota Linger was accorded main event status on tonight’s card at the Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta. This had everything to do with Scoby (pronounced Scooby), a former record-setting college running back who was considered one of the brightest prospects in the 140-pound weight class. “[Scoby] works harder than almost anyone I’ve ever seen,” said veteran New York promoter Lou DIBella in a conversation with Keith Idec. “But he’s literally getting better after every fight and he’s got the hammer of Thor, man. He can punch through walls.”

The Duarte, California product who has relocated to Brooklyn and trains at Gleason’s Gym, was undefeated (13-0) heading in and was expected to make Linger his ninth straight knockout victim. But Linger, a 29-year-old Buckhannon, West Virginia policemen whose first ring engagements were in Toughman competitions, wasn’t intimidated by Scoby’s press clippings or by Scoby’s bodybuilder physique.

Linger, who improved to 14-6-3 with his tenth win inside the distance, took the fight right to Scoby and repeatedly found a home for his overhand right. In the sixth round, after Linger strafed the ever-retreating Scoby with a barrage of punches, referee Malik Walid determined that he had seen enough and waived it off. The decision seemed a tad premature, but neither Scoby nor his cornermen offered anything in the way of a protest.

Tournament results

In the first installment of an 8-man super welterweight tournament, Brandon Adams returned to boxing after his second three-year layoff and showed no ring rust whatsoever. Adams, a 34-year-old family-man who grew up in the Watts district of LA, dismissed Ismael Villareal with a wicked punch to the liver in the waning seconds of round three. The official time was 2:59.

A former wold title challenger, Adams who improved to 23-3 (16 KOs), has become the king of boxing tournaments. He first attracted notice in 2018 when he won the fifth edition of “The Contender” series, scoring a wide 10-round decision over Shane Mosley Jr in the championship round.

Villareal, a second-generation prizefighter from the Bronx whose dad fought the likes of Hector Camacho, declined to 13-3.

Adams next opponent will be Francisco Veron who will bring a record of 14-0-1 (10).

In an energetic 10-rounder, Veron, a Florida-based Argentine with a strong amateur pedigree, scored a unanimous decision over Mexico-born, LA southpaw Angel Ruiz (18-3-1). The judges had it 100-90, 99-91, and 96-94.

Ruiz certainly had his moments, but Veron launched and landed many more punches despite fighting the last six rounds with a damaged eye.

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