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Has the U.S. Lost its Presence in Boxing? Part Two of Our Latest Survey

Ted Sares




More than 50 boxing notables shared their thoughts in our latest TSS survey. As is our custom, we listed the respondents alphabetically. Those with last names beginning with the letters “A” through “L” were included in PART ONE. Here’s PART TWO. We welcome your feedback.

PAUL MAGNO-writer and author: The decline of boxing in the U.S. has opened the door for expansion across the globe. So, really, it’s kind of like a good for you, not-so-great for us scenario. At the very least, though, it establishes the fact that boxing is still a sport that can reach the mainstream if presented correctly. American fight fans just have to roll with the punches and accept that they’re no longer the center of the fistic universe. They’ll have to get used to watching fights at odd hours at “away” venues. The American fight game can learn from all of this and rebuild based on those lessons—if it decides one day to smarten up.

ADEYINKA MAKINDEbarrister, writer and contributor to the Cambridge Companion to Boxing: The decline in fighters from Western developed countries after the Second World War saw a corresponding rise from poorer parts of the globe. The rise of the Griffiths and the Paret’s confirmed that trend. Also, if the U.S. does not hold any of the Heavyweight titles, that’s indicative that it is “no longer a major player in professional boxing.” Also reflecting this “re-adjustment” is the box office success of non-American boxers in their homelands. Anthony Joshua can fill stadiums in Britain and command huge guarantees from Saudi sponsors. However, in terms of financial muscle, the situation is less clear as DAZN is a multinational brand with huge American input. ESPN and PBS are still in there. There are fewer American boxing superstars, but the US continues to be a major player as a centre for raising monies as well as locations such as Las Vegas and NYC.

LAYLA McCARTER-WIBF welterweight champion and former world title-holder in multiple divisions: Perhaps the U.S. has lost its presence as the major player in pro boxing, but I believe this trend to be temporary. Promoters and networks come and go. Great ones like King and Arum are aging out of the sport. The UK is having its run now, but I’m confident that new promoters will emerge in the U.S. and once again be successful.

KELSEY McCARSON-TSS writer: I think the U.S. will remain the fulcrum of professional boxing for the foreseeable future but that the rise in global audiences that are able to digitally cross borders will reveal more competition than ever for U.S.-based promotional companies. It would seem like that’s a good thing. One of my favorite things about boxing over the last few years is Eddie Hearn’s rise to global prominence. In the old days, Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya had a virtual monopoly through their partnerships with HBO. Now, there are many more ways fighters can get paid to fight on TV and streaming platforms.


“…how can we profess to be a major player when the sport is on life support here in the United States with no vaccine to save it?” Dr. Stuart Kirschenbaum

SCOOP MALINOWSKI-writer, author, creator of BIOFILE: America no longer produces the abundance of great champions it once did. The best fighters are developed in other nations, particularly Eastern Europe. American tennis is in a similar situation.

JASON MARCHETTI-boxing writer: I disagree. The US is still a major player in professional boxing, although there continues to be inconsistencies of what promoters and fighters say versus what they agree to. The sanctioning bodies and promoters control which fights get made instead of the fans, and its killing the sport in the US.

LARRY MERCHANT-legendary HBO commentator; 2009 IBHOF inductee: Trick question. Boxing hasn’t been a mainstream sport in the U.S. for decades, yet four networks show boxing regularly and we have more consequential fighters and fights in the lightweight, welterweight and middleweight divisions by far than any other country. And even though we may have to wait for another comeback by George Foreman to make a heavyweight impact on casual fans, most heavyweight championship fights recently have been staged, yes, in the U.S. That said, Great Britain and probably Mexico reign as the pound-for-pound champions for their “presence”—or passion— and that does count for a lot.

ROBERT MLADINICHFormer fighter, retired NYC Detective, author, writer, and actor. It’s sad but the United States has taken a back seat to Europe in attracting fans to live shows. Wilder vs. Fury 2 could have brought nearly 100,000 fans to an arena in England. Years ago that fight would have broken attendance records here.

DIEGO MORILLA-boxing writer; Copy Editor of The Ring en Español : Sometimes certain countries gain more ground at certain times, depending on the level of activity of their fighters. Japan is now enjoying huge success. The quality of their fighters in those lower divisions is off the charts. That’s just an example of one country “exploding” in a particular region. Since the most visible weight class is the heavyweights, fans tend to assess the value of boxing in general depending on the quality displayed in that division. The U.K now rules the heavyweights with as many as five in the top 10. It used to be Eastern Europe and the Klitschko’s. Now it’s England. This surge may be responsible for this notion that the US is losing ground in boxing, but the level of quality in the U.S. is so deep that it’s only a matter of time before it bounces back to the top and claims at least half of the pound-for-pound names, as well as a similar number of names in the list of best paid and most relevant athletes in the world.

ERNESTO MORALES (aka GENO FEBUS)-writer, former fighter: For decades the Western Hemisphere fighters & trainers, managers, promoters, and fans were spoiled believing they had a never-ending superiority. When a U.S. fighter lost abroad it was considered a fluke/upset. As time went, non-U.S. fighters trained harder, their hunger grew, and became CONFIDENT that they were just as good if not better, with the main reason for their success being their extensive and superior amateur programs. Heavyweight is the most influential division worldwide, and it’s OWNED by Europe.

LUIS PABON- elite referee: Undoubtedly the Europeans have been gaining ground, especially the larger weights. Uzbekistan, Russia, Ukraine, they are very good, but even in the USA the 130, 135, 147, 160 are the best divisions, and the Mexican-Americans, who are USA, they are also very good. I think it is global. Europe, Japan, Mexico, they are very good but even together they do not beat the USA.

JOE PASQUALE-professional judge: Team sports are supported & easier. And since WW2 there are fewer inner city gyms. Less media attention for amateur boxing world & Olympic events has resulted in fewer participants and professional contenders from the USA. Boxing has become more global like the world economy. Talent is emerging from countries where there is more national and government support for boxing. China has massive amateur boxing programs with thousands of boxers supported and educated. The USA barely does that for their amateur team sports and nothing for boxing except at a minimum on the Olympic level.

DENNIS RAPPAPORT: former co-manager of Gerry Cooney, among others; elite promoter: Historically the best fighters were from the U.S. In recent years the Eastern Europeans, Germany and England have made major strides. England has produced some excellent fighters and the sport’s popularity has been overwhelming. The Russians, Ukrainians and former members of the USSR are very hungry and determined and have impressive amateur pedigrees. The Latins have always been a major force and now with the emergence of The Philippines, pose even more competition. Bottom Line is the momentum, at least for now, has shifted away from US dominance.

JOHN RASPANTI-lead writer/editor for MaxBoxing; author: I don’t agree. Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles are major players in promoting and staging the most important fights. Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder fought last month in Vegas. Fight three will probably be back in Sin City. Vasyl Lomachencko and Teofimo will likely fight in New York in a few months. Major fights are scheduled in Southern California. The United States is a big time player in the sweet science and will continue to be in the foreseeable future.

CLIFF ROLD-writer and Managing Editor of BOXING SCENE: How could it have lost its presence? By and large, the US is still the richest market in the sport. This is where the greatest fortunes are possible. As long as this is true, it will be a premier part of the game.

FRED ROMANO-boxing historian, author and former HBO Boxing consultant: There certainly is a broader representation of quality fighters from places outside the United States compared with a couple of decades ago. Boxing is also more global in terms of financial control and preferred venues as well. Nevertheless, the US boxing presence is still stout, and the US will remain a major player in the sport in all respects.

DANA ROSENBLATT-former World Middleweight Champion; inspirational speaker and commentator: The U.S. is close to losing its lead in worldwide boxing due to boxing not being as widely present in the Boys Clubs. The loss of weekly fights on the major networks is also another reason why we have slipped in terms of our dominance of the sport.

TED SARES-TSS writer: The U.S. is behind at the top and especially so in the heavyweight division. It never was much of a force at the bottom divisions where Asians and Latinos thrive. It’s in the middle that the U.S. will maintain a competitive, if not  premier, spot with other nations. Fighters like Crawford, Tank, Spence, Thurman, Porter, Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia, Plant, Andrade, the Charlos, Hurd, Williams, Harrison, Lubin, Prograis, Hooker, Zepeda, Diaz, JR., Farmer, and Colbert ensure this.

RICHARD SCHWARTZ-elite cut-man and RING 10 board member: The rest of the world is catching up to the U.S. just like in basketball.  We still produce some of the world’s best like Mayweather, Crawford, Spence, the Garcia’s, Wilder, etc. Boxing has always been populated by those from the lowest socio-economic group and will continue to be, but many good athletes are going into other athletic endeavors. Many world champs and great fighters are now coming out of European countries. When I was growing up, I could only think of Ingemar Johansson. New York is no longer the mecca of boxing; that title has been taken over by Las Vegas, but the sport will continue to survive the world over.

ICEMAN JOHN SCULLY-former world title challenger; you name it in boxing, he’s done it!: I wouldn’t say that the USA has lost its presence entirely as the major player in the game but we have been joined by the most serious competition we have ever had. The U.K. may actually be number one right now but that doesn’t mean the U.S. has been wiped off the boxing map. Many countries who were not able to turn out professionals back in the 80’s like Cuba and Russia are now seeing some of their greatest amateurs turning pro and they are simply achieving what many great Americans have done in the past. We are not off the map; we have just been joined by many others, that’s all.

MIKE SILVER- author, writer, historian: Until the USA has an undisputed world heavyweight champion, it will appear to have lost dominance over the sport. Although certainly not as dominant a major player as in previous decades, the USA still holds 15 of the 37 title belts from featherweight to heavyweight. That’s 40 percent, which isn’t bad. I don’t include the six weight classes from light flyweight to bantamweight because there just aren’t enough small Americans competing in those divisions, nor is there much interest in them.

ALAN SWYERfilm producer, creator “El Boxeo”: Though boxing has gotten a recent surge thanks to the heavyweight division — first Ruiz’s upset win, then Fury mauling Wilder — the powers that be have accepted its status as a niche sport. Bud Crawford may well be the best fighter in the world, but outside of fight fans, who knows about him? Or Lomachenko? How many newspapers even cover boxing regularly? Far too much changed when the Olympics — the spawning ground for Ali, Leonard, Oscar, and others — not merely de-emphasized it, but worse turned it into fencing. As I showed in my documentary “El Boxeo,” the popularity of the sport today owes largely to Latinos, followed by Brits and Eastern Europeans. Other than Mayweather (plus Andy Ruiz during his fifteen minutes of fame), what boxer has captured the imagination of the casual American sports fan of late?

RICHARD TORSNEY-former fighter; boxing official: (1) Boxing has always been practiced by the downtrodden. Young people in the US have more opportunities than in the past. Education is broadly available. US athletes can choose sports such as basketball, football, soccer, baseball, etc., that affords them reduced or even free college tuition. Boxing does not. Thus, we have fewer practitioners.  (2) In days gone by the US media treated boxing as an important sport. It doesn’t any longer. Without publicity, interest is lost, fans don’t fill arenas and young folks don’t get to see their names and photos in the paper. Without media coverage it’s like a tree falling in the woods…, it makes no noise.

BOB TRIEGER-boxing publicist: I agree that America has lost some of its presence, but not all of it. Every trend in boxing has been in cycle and I’m confident that Americans will once again rule. NYC and LV remain two of the top markets in the world. It will be interesting to watch how America responds to the Coronavirus pandemic. America still produces many of the best boxers and that will not change,

GARY “DIGITAL” WILLIAMS-the voice of Boxing in the Beltway: I think it depends on the weight class.  We are starting to lose credibility in the heavyweight division definitely. However, from 140-160, I think the US is in good shape.

PETER WOOD-author, former fighter, NY Boxing Hall of Fame inductee: I will answer this question with another question: If the US has lost its presence as a major player in professional boxing, who has replaced us?…I rest my case.


The responses were pretty much evenly divided between “agree” and “disagree.”

Surprisingly (at least to me), many felt that as long as the U.S. does not rule the heavyweight division, it does not rule boxing.

I thought Brian “The Bizz” Bizzack summed up the downward trend of U.S. Boxing very well, but Larry Merchant made the case for the U.S. and many agree with his analysis if not his conclusion.

Iceman John Scully and many others opined that other countries have simply caught up with the U.S–and that’s a difficult one to debate.

Clearly, media coverage has been especially poor. Rich Torsney nailed it when he says, “Without media coverage it’s like a tree falling in the woods…, it makes no noise.”

Once again, my heartfelt thanks to everyone that contributed, particularly in these difficult times.

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Art of Boxing Series: Sergio ‘The Latin Snake’ Mora of East L.A.

David A. Avila




Art of Boxing Series: Sergio ‘The Latin Snake’ Mora of East L.A.

Not all prizefighters are built or fight the same. This is a series devoted to those who mastered the art of boxing.

Meet Sergio Mora the “Latin Snake”.

Thumping neighborhood boys in an East Los Angeles backyard led to eventually winning a reality television tournament called The Contender, to winning a world championship and now sitting as an expert analyst for DAZN’s boxing series.

It’s been an extraordinary journey for Mora, the boxer from East L.A. who traded punches against neighbors and relatives as a teen for fun.

“We called it barbecue boxing,” said Mora of his inauspicious discovery of his talent. “We used to box each other when I was a kid in junior high. We made videos of the fights. You can look it up. I was knocking out older guys.”

A few boxing experts advised that he should look deeper into the sport and he did. After a few hits and misses looking for a gym, he found a perfect location at a Montebello gym. He hooked up with a trainer named Dean Campos and advisor in John Montelongo and they made history together.

“I owe it all to Dean and John,” said Mora now 39.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Mora’s natural abilities included quickness, agility and the ability to absorb punishment. He also relished competition and proving others wrong.

But the East L.A. youngster finally put all of his traits together artistically when he followed the advice of the young trainer Campos whose radical boxing ideas fit perfectly.

“Nobody believed in his unorthodox ideas but they worked for me,” said Mora.

For several years Mora and Campos and Montelongo befuddled the amateur competition, first in Southern California and then nationally. He made the semi-finals of the 2000 Olympic Trials and fought to a draw with Darnell Wilson. Somebody decided to determine the winner by who threw the most punches. Wilson threw more punches and moved forward.

It was a severe disappointment for Mora.

The Contender

After three years of dwelling in the amateur boxing world Mora and his team entered the non-structured prizefighting universe not knowing what to expect.

Though Campos taught an unorthodox style of fighting to Mora, the youngster didn’t feel confident in using its assets to full capacity in the beginning.

“It wasn’t until I fought a guy named Charles Blake that I used everything that Dino (Campos) taught me,” said Mora who fought the undefeated Blake at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim in 2001. “I did everything he told me and I won pretty easily.”

It was also the first time I spotted Mora and quickly determined he would be difficult to beat especially with that fighting style that utilized his speed and agility. I had never seen or heard of Mora before but he stood out.

Two months later he fought again at the Pond and then in June 2001 he fought a hard-charging opponent named Warren “War Dog” Kronberger. It was a middleweight fight set for six rounds but War Dog kept running into Mora’s punches and was stopped in three.

After the fight I met the team and discovered Mora was from East L.A. near my family’s home. I don’t know if he remembers, but I told him he was going to be a world champion someday. It was the first time I ever said that to a fighter though I had been a boxing reporter since 1985.

For the next several years Mora kept knocking off opposition with his crouching tiger style and soon a television production company came calling. Actually, it was a radio announcement during a morning Hip Hop show calling for all boxers interested in making $1 million dollars in a television tournament.

“I was driving in the morning listening to Big Boy when he made the announcement,” said Dean Campos who trains Mora. “I couldn’t believe what I heard and I told Sergio and John about it. They didn’t believe me at first until we went to San Diego to spar somebody and they asked if we were going to try out.”

A reality television show called the Contender pit young talented fighters against each other and housed them together in a studio-made home. Week by week the NBC network telecast the show to millions of living rooms across the country.

After months of auditions and tryouts Mora was among those selected.

Filming was done in Pasadena and those prizefighters who participated were Peter Manfredo Jr., Ishe Smith, Alfonso Gomez, Jesse Brinkley and several others including Mora.

The fights were taped and later shown to the public in edited form. But few outside of the production crew knew who the winners were for many weeks. The finals of the first season took place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The winner would take home $1 million dollars and a free truck among other things including a promotion deal.

Fans of boxing did not like watching edited fights but despite the many criticisms from hardcore fans, when the finals took place on May 24, 2005, thousands of fans showed up in Las Vegas to watch Manfredo battle Mora in the championship fight.

Manfredo’s fans arrived in droves and shouted “Pi-Ta!” “Pi-Ta” which confused many who were not familiar with the New England accent. Manfredo fans were shouting the first name Peter but it comes out as Pi-Ta. Southern California fans arrived but were muted in comparison to the East Coast fans.

It was a surprise to see Manfredo in the semi-final because he had lost earlier to Alfonso Gomez. But he returned as a wild card participant and vanquished his way to the finals against Mora who had defeated Najai Turpin, Ishe Smith, and Jesse Brinkley to get to the finals.

In the finals the boisterous crowd saw Mora defuse Manfredo’s attacks and win the seven-round middleweight The Contender championship fight by unanimous decision. Mora went from unknown boxer to a nationally and internationally recognized prizefighter in not just the boxing world, but households everywhere.

The East L.A. youngster who was 24 years old at the time, suddenly morphed from impoverished boxer to bankable fighter. His team also benefited from the massive exposure. It also remained the same three members from start to finish with Dean Campos serving a trainer and manager, John Montelongo as assistant trainer and benefactor and Mora the fighter.

“Rolando Arrellano who worked as a manager and promoter said he couldn’t believe we had been together that long with no changes,” said Campos, who managed Mora’s fighting career without a written contract. “Nobody else does that, but we never wrote anything down.”

Montelongo, a motorcycle police officer, always took care of the team’s needs especially in terms of equipment and facilities. In the beginning Mora would train at the Montebello Police headquarters small gym.

Forrest, Mosley and More

For several years Mora continued fighting under the Contender promotions banner and always sought better competition. After a 10-round draw against Elvin Ayala in Carson, the East L.A. native decided to accept any world title match.

“I didn’t want to slip up so I figured let’s just go for a big fight,” said Mora. “That’s when we got the offer for Vernon Forrest, may he rest in peace.”

When the fight was announced only two boxing writers picked Mora to win. Those two were the only journalists familiar with the boxing abilities of the stance switching fighter. It was not seen as a competitive fight by other writers or announcers.

“Vernon Forrest really under-estimated me,” said Mora who had sparred Forrest once at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood years earlier. “It was my one of my most satisfying wins because I proved I was good enough to beat one of the best.”

Mora utilized his crouching style to perfection and basically stymied most of Forrest’s attacks. Though it appeared the East L.A. boxer won clearly, one judge saw it a draw but two saw Mora out-performing the champion.

After capturing the WBC super welterweight title Mora went on a celebration binge according to his own words. Three months later they fought again.

“We had a rematch clause and I partied too much,” said Mora. “I was in no way ready for Vernon Forrest in the second fight. He beat me good in the rematch.”

Two years later Mora accepted a fight against Sugar Shane Mosley at the Staples Center on September 2010. It remains the biggest disappointment in Mora’s career.

Mosley and Mora battled 12 rounds in a slow-moving battle in which both engaged in counter-punching. There was a weight problem Mora suffered that resulted in him weighing 157 pounds instead of the 154 contracted weight.

“There was something wrong with the scale in the hotel for the B side of the fight card,” said Mora. “Almost everyone on the B-side missed their weight.”

Regardless of losing weight before the fight, Mora felt he was far enough ahead in the fight to win handily against Mosley.

“I should have listened to my corner,” said Mora. “Dino told me that I needed to throw more punches, that it could be a close fight. But I thought I was comfortably ahead. It was a huge mistake on my part. I lost a lot of money because of it.”

Sergio measures Shane

Sergio measures Shane

After 12 rounds the fight was scored a split-decision draw. The HBO commentators eviscerated Mora and not Mosley.

Mora remained a viable contender for the remainder of his career and on August 2015 he was offered a shot at the WBA middleweight title against Daniel Jacobs at Brooklyn, New York. He eagerly accepted the fight.

“He really underestimated me and thought he would run over me,” said Mora of their clash at Barclays Center. “He knocked me down with a punch. I’ve never been hit that hard before. But then I knocked him down when he ran into my punch. It was a perfectly placed left hook.”

The fight proceeded but in the second round the two middleweights got entangled and Mora went down to the floor writhing in pain from a severe ankle injury. He could not go on.

“Jacobs leaned on me with his full body and it just tore my ligament,” said Mora.

The fight was ruled a knockout win for Jacobs and though they would meet again Mora’s leg had seen better days. He lost in the rematch badly a year later by technical knockout in the seventh round.

“I had no legs anymore,” said Mora regarding the rematch held a year later. “It was my worst training camp. I don’t think I ever looked good even in sparring. But Jacobs was the better man and was definitely the hardest puncher I ever faced.”

Mora fought once more against his old pal Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo. They had sparred many times over the years especially when they both trained at the same gyms in South El Monte and in Montebello.

“I love Angulo but it was a fight,” said Mora. “I won the first half of the fight and he won the second half of the fight. But fans will tell you it was one of the most entertaining fights I’ve ever been in.”

Mora won the fight that night on April 2018 and it was the final time Mora entered the prize ring.


One day Mora received an unlisted phone call and answering it led to another change in his boxing life.

“I never answer unknown numbers but for some reason I answered it. I’m glad I did,” said Mora.

That phone call was from John Learing of Perform Group who wanted him as an analyst for the DAZN boxing series. They put Mora on a live broadcast for a prize fight and ever since that night he has been a regular analyst on DAZN’s boxing shows.

“It’s been one of the most satisfying experiences I’ve ever had,” said Mora. “Not only do I get to stay in boxing, I love what I do and I love the challenges. It’s hard work and I’m learning every day.”

Mora has steadily established himself as an acute analyst whose own ring intelligence plays out with his new work as a boxing journalist. He’s always been a quick study especially when it pertains to the sweet science.

“Now I’m learning the other side of boxing,” said Mora who had 36 pro bouts in an 18-year career as a prizefighter. “I really love it.”

Few would have predicted that the East L.A. kid who didn’t pack a big punch would last in this business. Instead, Mora mastered the art of boxing that allowed him to match blows against some of the best that ever fought. And he won.

Photos credit: Al Applerose

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Re-visiting the Walker Law of 1920 which Transformed Boxing

Arne K. Lang




One hundred years ago this week, on March 24, 1920, a boxing reform bill sponsored by Sen. James J. Walker passed the New York State Senate. The bill ultimately became law and its provisions came to be adopted by law-makers in other states, bringing some uniformity to the most anarchic of popular sports. And what better time to re-visit this transformative legislation than now, the centennial?

Prizfighting was an outlaw sport in the Empire State until 1896 when the legislature passed the Horton Law which allowed bouts up to 25 rounds with five-ounce gloves in buildings owned or leased by a chartered athletic club. New York was a beehive of world class boxing during the days of the Horton Law, but the hubbub was short-lived. A spate of fixed fights and ring fatalities sparked a cry for reform and the law was repealed in 1900.

The Lewis Law, which supplanted the Horton Law, reduced the maximum number of rounds from 25 to 10 and stipulated that no decision would be rendered. The Lewis Law also restricted patronage to members of the athletic club sponsoring the event.

The Frawley Law of 1911 re-opened the fights to the general public but otherwise left the provisions of the Lewis Law pretty much intact. The most important fight in New York during the Frawley Law days was Jess Willard’s defense of his world heavyweight title against Frank Moran at Madison Square Garden in 1916. The fight went the distance, the full 10 rounds, and Willard had the best of it although you wouldn’t know that from the official decision as there was none.

During the last years of the nineteen-teens, several boxing reform bills were presented to the New York legislature. In fact, the Walker Bill was one of four that was taken under consideration. When it finally came to pass, the no-decision rule had been struck down by a 1919 amendment to the Frawley Law that gave the referee the authority to designate the winner.

A key feature of the Walker Law was that everyone involved in a boxing match — from the lowliest spit-bucket carrier to the promoter — had to be licensed. This included managers, matchmakers, referees, judges, ring doctors; even the ring announcer. The licensees were accountable to the boxing commission, a panel appointed by the governor. The commission had the power to approve matches, assign the officials, and establish and collect fees.

The Walker Law approved matches up to 15 rounds and allowed official decisions. Two judges would determine the winner and if they disagreed, the referee would act as the tie-breaker.

Previous laws allowed prizefighting under the guise of sparring exhibitions. The Walker Law made no distinction and this took the police out of the equation. Historically, it was the Sheriff’s responsibility to determine if a bout should be stopped because it had become too one-sided; too brutal. And if, pray tell, one of the contestants died as a result of blows received, his opponent and his opponent’s chief second and perhaps others would be arrested and charged with manslaughter.

Under the Walker Law, the decision of whether to stop a match rested with the referee or the ring physician or the highest-ranking boxing official at ringside. A boxer could now fight full bore without worrying that he could be charged with a crime.

After passing the Senate, the Walker Law passed the Assembly by a margin of 91-46. It was signed into law by Gov. Al Smith on May 24, 1920 and took effect on Sept.1. This ignited a great flurry of boxing in the Empire State. By March of 1924, the state had licensed 6,123 boxers.

The Walker Law became the template that lawmakers in other jurisdictions followed when they introduced their own boxing bills. Cynics would have it that the most attractive feature of the Walker Law to those that embraced it was the tax imposed on gate receipts. In New York under the guidelines of the Walker Law, it was 5 percent.

This wasn’t too far off the mark. The drive to legalize boxing picked up steam in the Depression when state coffers were depleted and new sources of revenue were needed to cushion the fallout. By 1934, boxing was legal in every state in the union, but not in every county. Nowhere was the Walker Law adopted word for word – every politician had to put his own little spin on it, tweaking this and that – but the map of boxing, from an organizational standpoint, became less disjointed.

For the record, the first boxing show under the imprimatur of the Walker Law was held on Sept. 17, 1920 at Madison Square Garden. Joe Welling fought Johnny Dundee in the featured bout. It was the eighth meeting between the veteran lightweights. Welling won a unanimous decision, which is to say that both judges gave the bout to him (their scores were not made known). Ten weeks later, after two intervening bouts, Welling returned to Madison Square Garden to face lightweight champion Benny Leonard. This would go into the books as the first title fight under the Walker Law. Welling was stopped in the 14th round.

James J. “Jimmy” Walker spent 15 years in Albany, the first four as an Assemblyman, but would be best remembered as New York City’s flamboyant Jazz Age mayor. He served two terms, defeating his opponents in landslides, but was forced to resign before his second term expired, leaving office in disgrace. In January of 1941, at the third annual dinner of the Boxing Writers Association, Walker was honored for his “long and meritorious service” to the sport and in 1992 he would be enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Walker (pictured) was a fascinating man, the big city version, in many respects, of Louisiana’s colorful Huey “Kingfish” Long. In a future article, we’ll peel back the layers and take a closer look at the man who did so much to popularize boxing.

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Think you know boxing? Then Man Up and Take Our New Trivia Test

Arne K. Lang



Thin-you-know-boxing?-Then-Man-Up-and-Take-Our-New Trivia-Test

Beneath his salty exterior, Roger Mayweather had the soul of a scholar when the subject turned to the history of boxing. We suspect that Mayweather, who left us on March 17, would have fared pretty well on this 15-question multiple-choice trivia quiz and we dedicate it to him.

All good trivia tests should have a connecting thread. Here the common theme is “places,” more exactly U.S. cities and towns.

This isn’t an easy quiz. We have too much respect for our readers to dumb it down. Get more than half right and give yourself a passing grade. Twelve or more correct answers and proceed to the head of the class.

Here’s the catch: To find the correct answers, you need to go to our FORUM (Click Here). There this trivia test will repeat with the correct answers caboosed to the final question.

  1. In 1970, Muhammad Ali returned to the ring after a 43-month absence to fight Jerry Quarry in this city:

(a) Miami

(b) Atlanta

(c) Houston

(d) Landover, Maryland


  1. Rocky Kansas and Frank Erne, recent inductees into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the Old-Timer category, were products of this city:

(a) Buffalo

(b) Hartford

(c) Scranton

(d) Portland, Maine


  1. The July 1, 1931 match between heavyweight title-holder Max Schmeling and Young Stribling was the icebreaker event in the largest stadium ever built to house a baseball team. What city?

(a) Detroit

(b) Cleveland

(c) St. Louis

(d) Milwaukee


  1. Jake LaMotta was from the Bronx, but he acquired his most avid following in this city where he lifted the world middleweight title from Marcel Cerdan.

(a) Detroit

(b) Chicago

(c) Cleveland

(d) Syracuse


5.  Jess Willard was called the Pottawatomie Giant because he hailed from Pottawatomie County. What state?

(a) Oklahoma

(b) Kansas

(c) Montana

(d) West Virginia


  1. There is a statue of former welterweight champion Young Corbett III, born Raffaele Giordano, in this California city.

(a) Oakland

(b) Bakersfield

(c) Anaheim

(d) Fresno


  1. Elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011, this iron-chinned bantamweight was stopped only once in 163 documented fights. Fill in the blank:

______ Pal Moore.

(a) Laredo

(b) Memphis

(c) Peoria

(d) Pasadena


  1. More of the same. Fill in the blank.

(a) George Lavigne, the ______ Kid            Boston

(b) Jack Johnson, the ______ Giant            Joplin

(c) Jeff Clark, the _______     Ghost           Saginaw

(d) Jack Sharkey, the _______ Gob            Galveston


9. In the 1930s, there was a second Madison Square Garden in this southwestern city. Future light heavyweight champion John Henry Lewis had several of his early fights here:

(a) Albuquerque

(b) El Paso

(c) Pueblo

(d) Phoenix


  1. Match the fighter with his nickname.

(a) Max Baer                  (1) Astoria Assassin

(b) Paul Berlenbach      (2) Fargo Express

(c) Billy Petrolle            (3) Livermore Larruper

(d) Bud Taylor              (4) Terre Haute Terror


  1. Match these boxers with the city with which they are associated.

(a) Fritzie Zivic and Charley Burley         (1) San Francisco

(b) Johnny Coulon and Ernie Terrell       (2) New Orleans

(c) Abe Attell and Fred Apostoli               (3) Chicago

(d) Pete Herman and Willie Pastrano      (4) Pittsburgh

12. The first great prizefight in Nevada, pitting James J. Corbett against Bob Fitzsimmons, was held here:

a. Goldfield

b. Carson City

c. Reno

d. Las Vegas


13. On March 28, 1991, Sugar Ray Leonard headlined a boxing show at the new Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY. Who was his opponent?

(a) Larry Bonds

(b) Wilfred Benitez

(c) Donny Lalonde

(d) Floyd Mayweather Sr.


  1. Match these Hall of Fame boxing writers with the city in which they spent the bulk of their newspaper careers:


(a) Jack Fiske                   (1) New York

(b) Michael Katz              (2) Philadelphia

(c) Jerry Izenberg            (3) San Francisco

(d) Bernard Fernandez    (4) Newark


  1. Match these Hall of Fame boxing promoters with the city that served as their headquarters:

(a) Herman Taylor         (1) Boston

(b) Rip Valenti               (2) Philadelphia

(c) Sam Ichinose           (3) Los Angeles

(d) George Parnassus    (4) Honolulu

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