Connect with us

Featured Articles

This Week in Boxing History: New York’s ‘Night Mayor’ Emancipates the Sweet Science

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

This-Week-in-Boxing-History-New-York's-Night-Mayor-Emancipates-the-Sweet-Science

Sunday, May 24, marked the centennial of an important date in boxing history. On that date in 1920, the Governor of New York, Al Smith, signed into law a boxing bill sponsored by Sen. Jimmy Walker. The law changed the face of professional boxing, not only in New York, but around the country as the Walker Law became the template for boxing reform laws elsewhere.

James John “Jimmy” Walker, born in 1881 on the west side of Lower Manhattan, served 15 years in the New York State Legislature but would be best remembered as New York City’s colorful Jazz Age mayor. Before we give the man a closer look-see, let’s look at the law that he fathered and the conditions that existed before the law came into being.

From 1911 through 1917, professional boxing in New York was governed by the Frawley Law. It restricted bouts to licensed athletic clubs, in theory to protect the public from fly-by-night promoters, set the ceiling at 10 rounds, and stipulated that no decision could be rendered.

Gov. Charles Whitman, who assumed office in 1915, loathed prizefighting. For Whitman, the last straw came on Jan. 30, 2017. On that date, a young boxer making his pro debut suffered a fatal injury on a card in Albany. That very afternoon, not far from the boxing arena, state’s attorneys had grilled Fred Wenck, the chairman of the state athletic commission, regarding accusations that he had taken kickbacks from boxing promoters in return for certain favors.

Whitman persuaded the legislators to repeal the Frawley Law. For a three-year period beginning in the fall of 2017, New York had no boxing law whatsoever. The absence of any law was construed to mean that a licensed athletic club could continue to stage “scientific sparring exhibitions” for the edification of its members providing that no admission was charged. Big fights had a trickle-down economic effect and swelled the state treasury with tax money. Whitman, a Republican, was reproached for corking that spout. In the 1918 election he was unseated by Al Smith, a Tammany Democrat.

The main 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. The licensees were accountable to the boxing commission which had the power to approve matches, assign the officials, establish and collect fees, and revoke the license of wrong-doers. Matches were approved up to 15 rounds and decisions were allowed. Two ringside judges determined the winner and if they disagreed, the referee would act as the tie-breaker. A 5 percent tax was assessed on gate receipts.

Gov. Smith (pictured on the right; Walker on the left) was fond of Jimmy Walker with whom he had much in common, but he was reluctant to approve the Walker Law for fear of incurring the wrath of the Protestant clergy. An ambitious man, Al Smith aspired to be America’s first Roman Catholic president (he was the Democratic standard-bearer in 1928) and needed all the help he could get. Smith had already ruffled the feathers of many clergymen by signing into law a bill that allowed New York’s baseball teams to play on Sundays. That measure was also the handiwork of Jimmy Walker.

The Walker Law found an unlikely ally in J. Drexel Biddle, an eccentric millionaire and ex-Marine of Quaker Stock who had founded an international Bible society with a purported 200,000 members. An avid boxing fan, Biddle — as the story goes — reached out to the leading members of his society and asked them to send a telegram to Gov. Smith encouraging him to approve Jimmy Walker’s bill. Swamped with telegrams, the Governor acquiesced. In the eyes of the cynics, the senders operated out of fear that Biddle would cut off their supply of free Bibles.

Jimmy Walker

When Jimmy Walker ran for mayor of New York in 1925, he was pitted against Frank Waterman, the fountain pen magnate. It was no contest. In the final tally, Walker won by a margin of 402,123 votes.

When he ran for a second term, his opponent was Fiorello LaGuardia.

Handicappers noted that LaGuardia had a lot more going for him. Born in New York City to Italian immigrants – a lapsed Catholic father and a Jewish mother — LaGuardia, nominally an Episcopalian, was married to a woman who was descended from a long line of German Lutherans. He was a balanced ticket all by himself said the wags, seemingly the perfect choice to represent the melting pot that was New York. But Walker blew him out of the water, winning by a plurality of nearly 500,000, a record up to that time. If this had been a 15-round fight, Jimmy Walker would have won every round. (LaGuardia rebounded nicely; they would name an airport after him.)

Like all great Irish politicians, Jimmy Walker had a remarkable facility for remembering names. He also had the soul of troubadour. Before making his mark in politics, he was a Tin Pan Alley songwriter with one big hit to his name. He wrote the lyrics to “Will You Love Me in December as You Do in May?”, which would have topped the charts, had there been charts, in 1906.

Growing up on the west side of Lower Manhattan, an Irish stronghold in his day, it was perhaps inevitable that Walker would become a big boxing fan. He also loved the theater. As mayor, he attended the opening of every Broadway play. Reporters dubbed him the “Night Mayor.” His chief lieutenant, a man named Charles Kerrigan, became the “Day Mayor.” Another of Walker’s nicknames was “Beau James,” an allusion to the British dandy Beau Brummel. All of Walker’s clothes, which filled several closets, were custom-made.

Walker was in great demand as a toastmaster and after-dinner speaker. In 1942, with the war heating up in Europe, Walker presented the Edward J. Neil Memorial Trophy to Joe Louis at the annual dinner of the Boxing Writers Association. The award was given to the person who “has done the most for boxing in the preceding year.”

“Joe,” said Walker, looking directly at the boxer, “when you donated your purse from the Buddy Baer fight to Army and Navy Relief, you laid a rose on the grave of Abraham Lincoln.”

There were a lot of hard-boiled characters at that gathering and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

On July 5, 1932, in his capacity as mayor, Walker officiated at the wedding of his great friend Damon Runyon and Runyon’s trophy bride, the exotic Spanish dancer Patrice Del Grande. The nuptials were held at the home of New York American sports editor Bill Frayne. Runyon, like Walker an inveterate night owl, and Frayne would later hook up with Broadway ticket broker Mike Jacobs, a fledgling boxing promoter, in the formation of the 20th Century Sporting Club, a clear conflict of interest.

Jimmy Walker, who was tight with the speakeasy crowd, was guilty of a lot of conflicts of interest during his tenure as mayor, far too many to touch upon in this story. It did not redound well to him that Madison Square Garden matchmakers James J. Johnston and Dan McKetrick had an office at City Hall.

The dirty laundry came out in the hearings of the Seabury Commission, a body established by Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt. Facing impeachment, Walker resigned and left town for an extended stay in Europe. He was accompanied by his mistress and future wife Betty Compton, a stunningly attractive actress and singer. They tied the knot in Cannes, France, on April 18, 1933. He was 52 years old and she was 29. It was his second marriage and her third.

She did not love him in December as she had in May. She divorced him after seven years of marriage.

When Walker returned from Europe, he was considerably lighter in the pocket. In a burst of compassion, Fiorello LaGuardia, his successor, created a sinecure for him, a job as an arbitrator of disputes between garment manufacturers and their unionized workers. It paid $20,000 a year, good money in those days but hardly enough to allow Walker to keep up appearances. During his mayoral years, he purchased an impressive 6,500-square-foot home in the tony Long Island suburb of Old Westbury, a place that he hardly ever occupied. After Betty Compton flew the coop, he moved in with his sister and her two sons in a home in a middle class neighborhood in Pleasantville, New York, 30 miles north of the city. As for going out on the town, he limited himself to the Friday Night Fights at Madison Square Garden and a late dinner afterward with a few old friends.

He and Betty Compton had adopted two children, little babies when they brought them into their world. As Walker grew older and started having health problems, it bothered him greatly that he would not be able to leave them an inheritance. He reached out to Gene Fowler, a friend of long standing, and arranged for Fowler to write his life story with an eye toward selling it to Hollywood; for a writer, that’s where the big money was. Fowler had previously written a biography of the famous actor John Barrymore.

The biography was titled “Beau James” and it did indeed spawn a movie. Bob Hope, in a rare straight role, portrayed Walker. But Walker died before the manuscript was finished.

It isn’t a stretch to compare the arc of Jimmy Walker’s life with that of a prizefighter. He built up his fan base as a state legislator, similar to a boxer working his way up the ladder to a title shot. His days as a title-holder, meaning his days as the mayor of one of the greatest cities in the world, were frothy days that would seemingly never end. But, of course, they did end and, in his dotage, like an old fighter, Walker rued that he hadn’t squirreled away more of his money when things were going good.

Walker died on Nov. 16, 1946 at age 65 of a brain aneurism after being in a coma for 36 hours. At his funeral service, a high requiem mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the sidewalk outside was jammed with people for whom there was no room in the church. Estimates ran as high as 5,000. A reporter noted the presence of several old Irish women with tears in their eyes clutching rosary beads.

The man they remembered was the dashing fellow that personified the spirit of Broadway in the Roaring 20’s, not the man that left office in disgrace and became another symbol of municipal corruption. And in that way too, the arc of Walker’s life was like that of a prizefighter. As we grow older, the good memories come flooding back and we forgive the sports heroes of our youth for letting us down as their careers unravelled.

There was always a lag before a new piece of legislation took effect. Signed into law on May 24, the Walker Boxing Law took effect on Sept. 1, 1920. James J. “Jimmy” Walker was posthumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame with the class of 1992.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Featured Articles

The Top Ten Lightweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Matt McGrain

Published

on

The-Top-Ten-Lightweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019

The lightweight decade 2010-2019 was a disaster. Far and away the weakest list I have compiled so far it was also far and away the most difficult to compile. Two excellent fighters, fit to grace any list, open at nine and ten but they made the tiniest handful of appearances at the poundage in the decade. Eight to four are populated by interchangeable lightweights whose ordering is confused by a 2012 robbery that has seen the “loser” of that contest edge in front of the “winner” adding to an already confused picture. The result is our seeing fighters who engender a sense of “what’s he doing there?” as high as number four.

Towering over this hot mess are the top two for the decadal division, two giants of the sport about whom it is a pleasure to write, and a clear number three.

Despite the foibles of lightweight there were also some excellent fights to run the ruler across on the way to ordering them. So, without further apologies here are the top ten lightweights for the last decade.

Ratings are by Ring between 2010 and 2012 and TBRB from 2013 to 2019.

10 – Juan Manuel Marquez

Peak Ranking: Ch. Record for the Decade: 6-2 Ranked For: 18% of the decade

I am arguably reaching in placing Juan Manuel Marquez at ten given the limited contribution he made to the lightweight decade, but it must be borne in mind that Marquez was the decade’s first legitimate, lineal lightweight champion. Lightweight gave us but three champions in the decade and certainly room can be made for all of them here.

Marquez had previously stopped the younger, fresher, purportedly stronger Juan Diaz in nine rounds in 2009 in what I rate his career’s best performance until that time but nominated to re-match him in July of 2010, probably unnecessarily. Marquez was once more brilliant, his jab never better, Diaz clearly wary of the uppercut that had hurt him so in their first fight.

Marquez mopped up his lightweight title run against Michael Katsidis in November of that same year. Marquez didn’t just beat the younger, stronger Katsidis, he became just the second man to stop the Australian, the quickest ever to do so.

This fight was also noteworthy as being veteran broadcaster Jim Lampley’s finest moment and we will give him the final word on Marquez at lightweight, and as we won’t be seeing him again in this series, Marquez generally (my italics):

“If it comes down to the question of whether you can courageously apply your technique…bet on Juan Manuel Marquez. He knows how to do that better than anyone in boxing.”

09 – Mikey Garcia

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 22-1 Ranked For: 27% of the decade

Mikey Garcia is a splendid fighter but one who seems to have spread himself a little thin divisionally speaking. He swept into lightweight, established himself as the number one contender, remained divisionally ranked until the end of 2019 but fought hardly a contest within 135lbs.

The work he did do there though, was significant, two fights enough to establish him as one of the pre-eminent lightweights of the timeframe.

Most impressive was his January 2017 knockout victory over Dejan Zlaticanin. Zlaticanin, himself coming off impressive back-to-back stoppages of Franklin Mamani and Ivan Redkach, was an undefeated strapholder; Mikey established his world class jab within seconds and lost not a minute of the eight they completed. The uppercut and hook combination for the knockout made for the best stoppage of the lightweight decade.

Robert Easter, himself a contender for the number ten spot, was a second undefeated fighter who was ranked in the top five laid low by Garcia. Easter though, offered stiffer resistance, doing well with his own jab and even winning a few rounds on the way to a lop-sided decision loss. Garcia fought an aggressive, disciplined fight against a much taller and longer opponent leaving no doubt as to the winner, dropping Easter with a gorgeous, penetrating right hand in the third.

Lightweight certainly would have benefited from more Garcia but what he gave was good enough to see him creep in at nine.

08 – Ricky Burns

Peak Ranking: 2 Record for the Decade: 16-6-1 Ranked For: 32% of the decade

Ricky Burns traded on heart and durability but the thrashing that the great Terence Crawford handed him in March 2014 is not one he recovered from. Dejan Zlaticanin sent him scurrying from the division in his very next fight.

In the months before his brave decision to match Crawford, however, Burns turned in one of the more impressive runs of the lightweight decade between 2011 and the summer of 2013. It began with Michael Katsidis, the former lightweight titleholder who had been laid low by Juan Manuel Marquez one year earlier. Katsidis never recovered from the beating Marquez laid upon him, but descriptions of him as shot proved as wide of the mark as those who installed Katsidis as a favourite.  Katsidis turned in a fine pressure performance and Burns needed the combination of jab and body attack he deployed to win a much, much closer fight than the judges saw. Ricky’s remains one of the most underrated jabs of the decade at lightweight or elsewhere.

Ranked contender Moses Paulus went next and here Burns turned in perhaps his best defensive performance. A victim of the fashionable “earmuffs” approach to defence, Burns showed himself here capable of parrying and blocking as well as shutting the shop and waiting. He arguably put these two strata of his skillset – the careful offence, the dynamic defence – together just once in his career, against Kevin Mitchell, then still ranked among the world’s ten best lightweights.  Burns countered well that night and although far from difficult to hit he made himself hard to hit clean. It was probably the difference-maker as he drew Mitchell into a war he could not hope to win, dusting him off in four exciting rounds.

Finally, he stopped Jose Gonzalez in nine before going off a cliff in a fashion more familiar in speedsters than technically adept workhorses.

07 – Antonio DeMarco

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 10-7 Ranked For: 28% of the decade

Antonio DeMarco fights on and in fact has two fights planned this year. This has been to the great detriment of his paper record.

In the early part of the decade, the part which he fought at lightweight, he lost just twice, once to the doomed figure of Edwin Valero and once to Adrien Broner, both of whom beat him clean but DeMarco is in possession of a pair of wins that make Broner’s ranking above him questionable still.  Key among them is his 2011 stoppage of Jorge Linares.

On the surface, this is the type of win to rappel into the farthest reaches of this list. Linares would become one of the finest lightweights of the decade and his name carries meaning whatever the context; but it is the context of this fight that prevents DeMarco climbing much farther.

Linares had never boxed twelve rounds when he met DeMarco and despite dominating early, he was cut up badly by DeMarco’s clean punching born of consistent pressure. Suffering the attentions of a faster, more talented fighter, DeMarco did the only thing he could, stepping in the fire zone and pressing; eventually Linares began to give ground. When a lacerating straight broke his nose in the sixth, the whole fight changed and when DeMarco cut him over the right eye in the seventh, his night became desperate. Suffused with blood, Linares was compromised in the eleventh from footwork to defence to his beautiful, gliding offence; the referee, perhaps prompted in part by the blood pouring from the face of Linares, stopped the fight.

It needs to be remembered who Linares was at this point of his career. He had been stopped in a round in 2009 and would be stopped in two with facial damage in his very next fight. This was the Linares that DeMarco broke down, not the storied veteran that Vasily Lomachenko would face years later. It is an impressive win, but DeMarco needs more for the spot.

Fortunately, he has it. After taking out gatekeeper Miguel Roman in five, DeMarco was matched with John Molina in a fight billed as an exciting shootout between evenly matched and exciting fighters. DeMarco blasted him out in a round. His power-punches were booming equalisers that laid more talented fighters low.

06 – Adrien Broner

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 20-4 Ranked For: 18% of the decade

It is unpleasant to see Adrien Broner, a serial failure at the highest level and seemingly a horror of a human being ranked above the likes of Garcia and Marquez, but assessing legacy must be blind.  Broner is well into double figures for contests at lightweight and picked up the same number of ranked contenders as the two part-time decadal lightweights ranked at nine and ten – so he belongs, there is no debate to be had about that.

And, to be fair to him, his biggest win is a beauty, being his 2012 victory over Antonio DeMarco.  DeMarco may have been on the slide but marginally. He remained a cagey, balanced, firmly planted southpaw, difficult to fight and harder to beat. Broner out-waited DeMarco and countered him, took a narrow lead in the early rounds before throwing more heavy punches the later the fight went. It became a beatdown, DeMarco failing to find the timing that would counter his opponent’s speed earlier in his career.

Three months later, Broner was nearly as impressive blasting out number eight contender Gavin Rees in just five rounds. In the aftermath Rees called him the best fighter he had ever met and predicted he would go all the way to the top. That hasn’t happened – for reasons too many to cogitate here – but he did enough to rank among the ten most accomplished lightweights of the decade.

05 – Brandon Rios

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 12-5 Ranked For: 18% of the decade

Things have been messy and difficult up until this point – now that get very messy and very difficult.  Brandon Rios was awarded an official decision over Richar Abril in 2012 but he did not beat him; this was an outright robbery. Rios is not credited for that win here.

That fight is dealt with in detail in the entry below; for the moment, take my word for it and we will look at why it is reasonable for Rios to rank top five despite the Abril fight being treated here as a loss.

First and foremost is his defeat of the excellent Miguel Costa, world’s number one contender in February of 2011, lain low by a career’s best performance from Rios. Costa bossed Rios early, moving off him and tattooing him with power punches; Rios followed stoically but lost every one of the first five rounds. Focused and prepared, Rios seemed merely inconvenienced by the powerful punches of a world class competitor and there was something inevitable about what remains a dramatic collapse from Costa in the mid-rounds; in the tenth, battered and unresponsive, he was rescued by the referee as Rios clubbed him into submission with meathook shots.

Either side, Rios turned in impressive stoppage victories over ranked men Anthony Peterson and John Murray. Best-for-best, this adds up to near parity between Rios and Broner, but Rios claimed more quality names at the poundage; it edges Rios in front of his fellow American despite the Abril fight.

04 – Richar Abril

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 8-2-1 Ranked For: 44% of the decade

If you scour the internet, you might be able to find the single ringside scorecard that had Richar Abril’s 2012 fight with Brandon Rios a draw; every other scorecard by ringsiders had the fight for Abril, some of them by margins as wide as 120-108.

Every ringsider, that is, outside of two of the officials paid to score the fights.

What we can only hope was the abject stupidity of Glenn Trowbridge and the infamous Adalaide Byrd (both still judging fights today folks) cost Abril the win that night but here, I am taking the rare step of ignoring the official decision, something I have only done on one other occasion in the course of this series. Almost all ringsiders agree, and the film demonstrably shows, this was an Abril win.

It was not an exciting fight, partly due to its one-sidedness. Abril shelled up in close and Rios, who failed to make weight, threw cuffing shots apparently incapable of penetrating. In the second half of the fight, Abril closed with great awareness, carefully to consistently outland Rios in every round, defensively sound, offensively alive to opportunity.

Either side of his defeat of Rios, Abril defeated the same man who defined Brandon’s lightweight run, Miguel Acosta, and contender Sharif Bogere in a filthy, badly refereed contest. In essence, his legacy at the weight echoes that of Rios almost exactly, with one exception: he beat Rios.

Abril is not an inspiring figure. He boxed in a dry, careful fashion that did not endear him to fans but he excelled at controlling his opponents and there is no way to rank him below Rios given how dominant he was over him in their fight. That puts him in the top four.

03 – Jorge Linares

Peak Ranking: 2 Record for the Decade: 20-4 Ranked For: 35% of the decade

Jorge Linares was “one for the most fantastic boxers I have ever saw in my life” according to the great Emanuel Steward and you can see what he means. Linares is as beautifully balanced, as well co-ordinated as any lightweight seen this decade, outside of the top two. Lithe, quick-handed, and a fine selector of punches, he began the decade anointed by the then pre-eminent Freddie Roach, spending his spare time sparring with the legendary Manny Pacquiao.

Then it went wildly wrong. Linares had his faced ripped apart by the punches of Antonio DeMarco in 2011 and then Sergio Thompson in 2012. It was a long way from these losses back to the top but Linares made it, in the main by travelling to the UK and battering her best lightweights. His winning streak ran to thirteen fights.

Key among them was his 2015 victory over Kevin Mitchell. Mitchell, who had restored himself from both personal and professional strife with a quite remarkable performance against Daniel Estrada, was once again ranked among the world’s top ten. Linares has struggled when hurt throughout his career, but when dropped by Mitchell in the fifth, Linares, who had been struggling a little in the third and fourth, remained concentrated. He didn’t enjoy the rest of that fifth round, but he escaped it and instead of crumbling he crumbled Mitchell, cutting him up and stepping in to take over in the eighth then patiently closing the blinds in the tenth.

It was a fine turning of the corner by a fighter who would go on to deliver on some of his seemingly limitless potential, firstly against an inspired Anthony Crolla, once more in the UK, who he beat close then, re-matched and dropped on the way to a wide decision victory. Finally, Linares, a road-warrior if ever there was one, invited Luke Campbell over to the USA and squeaked past him in a brilliant strategic joust.

Linares was a real enigma. Skin so thin it might as well be used to pack the meat that constitutes his face, he has literally fallen apart in the ring; soft of chin, he has been blown out. The fighter that Manny Steward saw all those years before probably never emerged, but he still appears special enough to edge out Abril.

Take note though, he is not a “natural” divisional decadal number three and there is real distance between Linares and the fighter that ranks number two.

02 – Terence Crawford

Peak Ranking: Ch. Record for the Decade: 26-0 Ranked For: 15% of the decade

Terence Crawford is a genius in the ring, and we watched the emergence of that genius at lightweight. 2014 was the year and almost all the meaningful damage that the Nebraskan did to the 135lb division was done in that year.

I was glued to his March dissection of Scotsman Ricky Burns and it was painful to watch my countryman dismantled so completely, Burns complaining about Crawford’s control of distance and angles in a gracious post-fight interview. In truth, Burns had boxed beautifully to make so many of the rounds in what was a clear, wide victory for Crawford so close, but we did not know then what we know now: Crawford is one of the best fighters in the world.

At the end of 2014 when he welcomed number two contender Ray Beltran to his native Omaha, this was clear. Beltran had outfought and arguably been robbed of a victory over Ricky Burns when he visited Scotland for what was a hotly disputed draw but there were multiple classes between he and Crawford when they met that November. Crawford did mostly what he liked, and what he liked, from round two, was to box as a southpaw, jabbing with impunity, bringing Beltran forwards onto punches and in doing so shutting his opponent’s offence down almost completely. In the final round Beltran, who had not won a single round on my scorecard, threw around twenty punches, even though his only route to victory was by knockout.

In between his wide defeats of Burns and Beltran, he dispatched Yuriokis Gamboa in the ninth.  These were three technical mis-matches in one year against quality opposition after which he departed for 140lbs.

This is enough to make him a clear number two, but in all honesty were his numbers and opposition not enough to get him over that line, it would still be difficult to see him lower. Crawford was imperious.

01 – Vasily Lomachenko

Peak Ranking: Ch. Record for the Decade: 14-1 Ranked For: 15% of the decade

Ranked for almost an identical number of weeks throughout the 2010s, Vasily Lomachenko was also given, like Terrence Crawford, to taking a close look at his opposition in the opening round.

Another thing these two have in common is that their visitations to 135lbs were relatively brief. We will meet no other divisional decadal number one with so few fights at the poundage – having only met legitimately ranked men at the poundage however, Lomachenko has done enough to clearly seal up the number one spot. He has but one peer and has clearly edged that peer out.

Gatecrashing the division meeting none other than Jorge Linares helped. This had the appearance of rash, even careless matchmaking, a duel, essentially, to determine the finest lightweight of the decade. It appeared careless matchmaking, certainly, when Lomachenko was dropped in the sixth walking carelessly onto a straight punch that clearly hurt him.

But Lomachenko isn’t like other fighters. He had learned over the course of a monumental amateur career that he had the innate toughness to support his genius; Lomachenko re-took his feet and blasted Linares out in the tenth.

He certainly hasn’t looked back. Jose Pedraza, the world’s number three lightweight at that time, made it through a nightmarish eleventh to take Lomachenko the distance in 2018 but it was a wide, hurtful loss for the brave, world class Puerto Rican. Anthony Crolla went next and was stopped in just four rounds, his first stoppage loss since 2012. Luke Campbell, ranked number seven just as Crolla had been, seemed to be having a better evening but he won just two rounds and was on the receiving end of some savage combinations in making it to the final bell.

Lomachenko learns his man’s range then abuses it, hovering just within or just outside it, using his quick reflexes and beautiful, consistent slipping to keep him safe while he deploys what has become one of the best body-attacks in the sport. Predicting him is impossible, which forces fighters to try to take the play away from him, which leaves them open for the widest variety of counters in boxing this century.

It is mildly frustrating then that he and Crawford never met in the ring. Had it happened, that ring would have contained as much skill as any since Roberto Duran defeated Ray Leonard.

The other lists:

Heavyweight

Cruiserweight

Light-Heavyweight

Super-Middleweight

Middleweight

Light-Middleweight

Welterweight

Light-Welterweight

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Berchelt TKOs Valenzuela in Mexico City

David A. Avila

Published

on

Berchelt-TKOs-Valenzuela-in-Mexico-City

Mexico’s Miguel Berchelt hammered his way to a decisive knockout victory over fellow Mexican Eleazar Valenzuela in a non-title light fight on Saturday.

After nearly nine months off, WBC super featherweight titlist Berchelt (38-1, 34 KOs) unraveled a withering body attack including numerous low blows but Valenzuela remained upright in front of a sparse TV studio audience until he could take it no longer.

Berchelt used a seven-punch combination to knock the senses out of the very tough Valenzuela who hails from Sinaloa. The referee saw enough and stopped the fight with Valenzuela leaning against the ropes with a dazed look.

The champion from Cancun used a triple left hook in the first round to floor Valenzuela and it looked like the fight would not last more than two rounds. But Valenzuela, a sturdy veteran, bored into Berchelt to keep him off balance and was able to stop the momentum.

It did not last.

A vicious attack to the body sapped the energy from Valenzuela who has fought many elite fighters in the past, but none like Berchelt. He was able to batter the veteran round after round.

Valenzuela sought to reverse the momentum with some combinations of his own. Berchelt opened up with some combinations from the outside and cracked his foe with some skull-numbing blows that clearly affected Valenzuela’s senses. The referee wisely stopped the fight at 1:03 of the sixth round to give the win to Berchelt by knockout.

The victory opens the door to a potential clash with featherweight world titlist Oscar Valdez of Nogales, Mexico who has a fight of his own planned next month. Both champions are promoted by Top Rank.

Other Bouts       

Omar Aguilar (18-0, 17 KOs) bushwacked veteran Dante Jardon (32-7, 23 KOs) within a minute of the first round to win by technical knockout. A barrage of blows by Ensenada’s Aguilar opened up the fight and a four-punch combination forced the referee to stop the super lightweight fight with Mexico City’s Jardon against the ropes.

A battle between super bantamweights saw the taller Alan Picasso (14-1) out-hustle Florentino Perez (14-6-2) in an eight round clash between Mexican fighters. Mexico City’s Picasso fought effectively inside against the shorter Perez of Monterrey and was able to maintain a consistent pace. Neither fighter approved the use of a jab but Picasso was more effective inside with body shots and uppercuts and dominated the last half of the fight.  The six judges scored in favor of Picasso.

The WBC instituted the extra judges as a means of tabulating score cards efficiently. Three judges scored from the television studios and another three judges scored from the USA. It was the second time WBC judges officiated remotely and all six scorecards were official.

Photo credit: Zanfer Promotions

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Boxing Odds and Ends: Big Baby Miller, Roberto Duran and More

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-Big-Baby-Miller-Roberto Duran-and-More

Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller just can’t keep his hands out of the cookie jar. It was announced today (Saturday, June 27) that the jumbo-sized heavyweight from Brooklyn tested positive for a banned substance, forcing him out of a July 9 fight at the MGM Grand “Bubble” against Jerry Forrest. The story was broken by Mike Coppinger of The Athletic who breaks more hard news stories than any other boxing writer.

Miller, needless to say is a repeat offender. He failed three different PED tests in a span of three days for three different banned substances leading into his planned June 2019 match at Madison Square Garden with WBA/IBF/WBO world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. That cost him the fight and a reported $5 million-plus payday. Andy Ruiz filled the void and scored an historic upset.

When the first test came back positive, Miller wailed that he was the victim of a faulty test. “My team and I stand for integrity, decency and honesty and will fight this with everything we have,” he said in a prepared statement. He later changed his tune. “I messed up,” he said.

In a story that appeared on these pages, Thomas Hauser noted that Big Baby had a history of PED use dating to 2014. In that year, he was slapped with a nine-month suspension by the California Athletic Commission following a kickboxing event in Los Angeles.

Counting this latest revelation, it’s five strikes for Big Baby. He’s taking quite a roasting right now on social media. Some of the harshest criticism is coming from his fellow boxers.

Assuming that Top Rank can’t find a replacement for Miller, this is another tough break for Jerry Forrest, a 32-year-old southpaw from Virginia with a 26-3 (20) record. Forrest was scheduled to fight hot prospect Filip Hrgovic on April 17 on a card at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, a show swept away by the coronavirus outbreak. Forrest has been matched very soft throughout his career, but he acquitted himself well in his lone previous TV appearance, losing a split decision to undefeated Jermaine Franklin on “Showtime: The New Generation.” The decision was controversial.

There’s talk now that Carlos Takam is angling to replace Big Baby. The French-Cameroonian, a former world title challenger who turns 40 in December, was billed out of Henderson, Nevada, in his last ring appearance that saw him winning a unanimous decision over fellow greybeard Fabio Maldonado in Huntington, NY.

—-

When it comes to Murphy’s Law (“anything that can go wrong, will”), there’s no sport quite like boxing. Just ask Bob Arum. The most mouth-watering matchup in his ESPN “summer series” fell out this week when Eleider Alvarez suffered a shoulder injury in training, forcing a postponement of his July 16 date with Joe Smith Jr. The match between Alvarez (25-1, 13 KOs) and Smith (25-3, 20 KOs) would have been a 12-rounder with the winner guaranteed a shot at the vacant WBO light heavyweight title, a diadem that Alvarez previously owned.

Joe Smith Jr, a Long Island construction worker once dismissed as nothing more than a club fighter, won legions of new fans in his last start, a one-sided (to everyone except one myopic judge) win over Jesse Hart in Atlantic City.

Cancelled matches have become a recurrent theme in ESPN’s semi-weekly boxing series. The very first card in the series lost what shaped up as its most competitive fight when Mikaela Mayer tested positive for COVID-19, scuttling her bout with Helen Joseph. In subsequent weeks, the manager of Mikkel Les Pierre tested positive for COVID-19 as did WBO junior lightweight champion Jamel Herring. Those bad test results forced the postponement of two main events. Then earlier this week, hot lightweight prospect Joseph Adorno was lopped off Tuesday’s card after feeling sick after coming in overweight at the previous day’s weigh-in.

The undercards of the Tuesday/Thursday ESPN fights have left something to be desired, but that’s understandable. As Bob Arum noted in a conversation with veteran boxing scribe Keith Idec, Top Rank’s matchmakers Bruce Trampler and Brad “Abdul” Goodman have had a hard time fleshing out the cards because with so many gyms closed there’s a shortage of boxers who are in shape to fight on short notice. Then there are the COVID-19 travel restrictions and (something Arum did not acknowledge) budgetary restrictions more severe than an ordinary Top Rank card. Most of the undercard fighters have come from neighboring states such as Utah, saving Top Rank the cost of air fare. Fighters from faraway places, with some exceptions, were already training in Las Vegas.

Kudos to the entire Top Rank staff for keeping boxing alive during these challenging times.

It’s old news now, but Panamanian boxing legend Roberto Duran, 69, tested positive for the coronavirus and was hospitalized in Panama City with a viral infection. There’s been no update on his condition but his son Robin Duran wrote on Instagram that his father is not having any symptoms beyond those associated with a common cold. We will update you when new details become available.

Duran’s hospitalization came just a few days after the 40th anniversary of his first fight with Sugar Ray Leonard in what would say was Duran’s finest hour. They met on June 20, 1980 at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

Duran won a unanimous decision. Converting the “10-point must” system into rounds, Duran prevailed by scores of 3-2-10, 6-5-4, and 6-4-5. As Yogi would have said, you could look it up.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading
Advertisement
R.I.P.-Pete-Rademacher-Olumpic-Champ-Fought-Floyd-Patterson-in-his-Pro-Debut
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

R.I.P. Pete Rademacher: Olympic Champ; Fought Floyd Patterson in his Pro Debut

Imagining-Famous-People-as-Prizefighters-Check-Out-Our-Latest-TSS-Survey
Featured Articles5 days ago

Imagining Famous People as Prizefighters: Check Out Our Latest TSS Survey

Postscript-to-a-Bad-Night-in-Vegas
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Postscript to a Bad Night in Vegas

Rest-in-Peace-Curtis-Cokes
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Rest in Peace, Curtis Cokes

Avila-Perspective-Chap-97-No-Reporters-in-Age-of-Pendemonium
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 97: No Reporters in Age of Pandemonium

Fury-vs-Joshua-in-2021-It's-a-Big-Can-of-Worms
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Fury vs. Joshua in 2021: It’s a Big Can of Worms

Top-Rank-Confirms-the-Lineup-for-their-First-Two-June-Shows
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

It’s Official: Top Rank Confirms the Lineups for their First Two June Shows

Berchelt-TKOs-Valenzuela-in-Mexico-City
Featured Articles1 day ago

Berchelt TKOs Valenzuela in Mexico City

Gabriel-Flores-Who-Attracted-a-Stupendous-Wager-Moves-into-the-Main-Event
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Gabriel Flores, Who Attracted a Stupendous Wager, Moves into the Main Event

Top-Rank-is-Marching-Boxing-Back-to-Las-Vegas
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Top Rank is Marching Boxing Back to Las Vegas

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Plania-Upsets-Greer-Santillan-Nips-DeMarco
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Plania Upsets Greer; Santillan Nips DeMarco

As-Expected-Navarrete-Steamrolls-Lopez-in-their-Studio-Fight-in-Mexico-City
Featured Articles1 week ago

As Expected, Navarrete Steamrolls Lopez in their Studio Fight in Mexico City

Fast-Results-from-Las-Vegas-Shakur-Stevenson-Collapses-Caraballo-with-a-Body-Punch
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Fast Results from Las Vegas: Shakur Collapses Caraballo with a Body Punch

Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-Big-Baby-Miller-Roberto Duran-and-More
Featured Articles2 days ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: Big Baby Miller, Roberto Duran and More

R-I-P-William-Gildea-1939-2020
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

R.I.P. William Gildea (1939-2020)

Fast-Results-from-The-Bubble-Magdaleno-Tops-Vicente-in-a-Messy-Fight
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Fast Results from The Bubble: Magdaleno Tops Vicente in a Messy Fight

Jck-Kid-Berg-This-Is-The-One
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Jack ‘Kid’ Berg: This Is The Guy

The-Top-Ten-Light-Welterweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

The Top Ten Light-Welterweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

It's-Hall-of-Fame-Week-in-Canastota-Another-Week-That-Could-Have-Been
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

It’s Hall of Fame Week in Canastota, Another Week That Could Have Been

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Franco-Upends-Moloney-Wins-WBA-Title
Featured Articles5 days ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Franco Upends Moloney; Wins WBA Belt

The-Top-Ten-Lightweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles58 mins ago

The Top Ten Lightweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Berchelt-TKOs-Valenzuela-in-Mexico-City
Featured Articles1 day ago

Berchelt TKOs Valenzuela in Mexico City

Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-Big-Baby-Miller-Roberto Duran-and-More
Featured Articles2 days ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: Big Baby Miller, Roberto Duran and More

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Jason-Moloney-TKOs-Baez
Featured Articles3 days ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Jason Moloney TKOs Baez

Imagining-Famous-People-as-Prizefighters-Check-Out-Our-Latest-TSS-Survey
Featured Articles5 days ago

Imagining Famous People as Prizefighters: Check Out Our Latest TSS Survey

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Franco-Upends-Moloney-Wins-WBA-Title
Featured Articles5 days ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Franco Upends Moloney; Wins WBA Belt

As-Expected-Navarrete-Steamrolls-Lopez-in-their-Studio-Fight-in-Mexico-City
Featured Articles1 week ago

As Expected, Navarrete Steamrolls Lopez in their Studio Fight in Mexico City

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Flores-Blanks-Ruiz-Collard-Mauls-Kaminsky
Featured Articles1 week ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Flores Blanks Ruiz; Collard Mauls Kaminsky

Gabriel-Flores-Who-Attracted-a-Stupendous-Wager-Moves-into-the-Main-Event
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Gabriel Flores, Who Attracted a Stupendous Wager, Moves into the Main Event

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Plania-Upsets-Greer-Santillan-Nips-DeMarco
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Plania Upsets Greer; Santillan Nips DeMarco

R-I-P-William-Gildea-1939-2020
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

R.I.P. William Gildea (1939-2020)

Fury-vs-Joshua-in-2021-It's-a-Big-Can-of-Worms
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Fury vs. Joshua in 2021: It’s a Big Can of Worms

Avila-Perspective-Chap-97-No-Reporters-in-Age-of-Pendemonium
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 97: No Reporters in Age of Pandemonium

Fast-Results-from-The-Bubble-Magdaleno-Tops-Vicente-in-a-Messy-Fight
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Fast Results from The Bubble: Magdaleno Tops Vicente in a Messy Fight

Fast-Results-from-Las-Vegas-Shakur-Stevenson-Collapses-Caraballo-with-a-Body-Punch
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Fast Results from Las Vegas: Shakur Collapses Caraballo with a Body Punch

It's-Hall-of-Fame-Week-in-Canastota-Another-Week-That-Could-Have-Been
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

It’s Hall of Fame Week in Canastota, Another Week That Could Have Been

R.I.P.-Pete-Rademacher-Olumpic-Champ-Fought-Floyd-Patterson-in-his-Pro-Debut
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

R.I.P. Pete Rademacher: Olympic Champ; Fought Floyd Patterson in his Pro Debut

Top-Rank-is-Marching-Boxing-Back-to-Las-Vegas
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Top Rank is Marching Boxing Back to Las Vegas

Postscript-to-a-Bad-Night-in-Vegas
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Postscript to a Bad Night in Vegas

The-Top-Ten-Light-Welterweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

The Top Ten Light-Welterweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement