Connect with us

Featured Articles

The Inevitable Triple Crown of Emanuel Navarrete: Demystifying Alphabet Titles

Published

on

The-Inevitable-Triple-Crown-of-Emanuel Navarrete-Demystifying-Alphabet-Titles

The Inevitable Triple Crown of Emanuel Navarrete: Demystifying Alphabet Titles

The thing which most needs to be understood concerning alphabet sanctioning bodies and the fighters who wear their belts is that the relationship is primarily one of customer and supplier.  Fighters pay to wear the alphabet belts that so profligate in the sport of boxing and they are in receipt of a service.  The service is twofold. Firstly, they are supplied with hardware. Belts for the “WBO Asia Pacific” middleweight title holder. Belts for the “World Boxing Council Silver flyweight title holder. Belts for the “World Boxing Association International” cruiserweight title holder. Belts for everyone.

Depending upon who you feel like recognising there can be around a thousand title belts floating around the world of boxing at any given time and the great percentage of these are not “world titles” but regional titles, pre-title titles (you read that right) and completely made-up titles for special occasions. Whenever you see a title, someone is paying a portion of their fight fee to the relevant sanctioning body. This is why fringe companies like the WBF and IBO spring into existence – where there is a belt there is cash.

This brings us to the second function served by the thousand belts sucking money out of boxing: they do make financial sense for the fighters and are directly profitable in the case of “world” titles.  Take the case of Padraig McCrory (16-0) out of Belfast.  He is a fine 175lb prospect with good power he has not yet quite harnessed into a fulsome skillset fighting just below national title level often on Michael Conlan undercards.  He’s also the light-heavyweight champion of the world according to the IBO, who crowned him for defeating Lean Bunn, a German who had never contested a fight longer than eight rounds before. He folded to McCrory in six.

Now McCrory can put “world light-heavyweight champion” on his fight-posters. For those that consider the IBO a body of minor reputation, that is fair, but boxing should not kid itself that IBO means more to most members of the paying public than WBA does – and nor should it, in this writer’s opinion. They are all in the same business and if it seems the fighter makes the title, keep in mind that Oleksandr Usyk wears an IBO heavyweight crown and Gennady Golovkin an IBO middleweight strap.

I was interested to see then that Emanuel Navarrete was set to step up to his third weight class and box for a “title” in the shape of the WBO 130lb world championship. The reigning 126lb WBO title holder, Navarrete is a fine example of a modern-day boxing customer to the bodies who are meant to police them. He has been paying the WBO for years.

I have to say here that there is no implication that Navarrete has done anything illegal nor even anything morally wrong within the culture of the industry he inhabits. Everyone pays sanctioning fees. Anthony Joshua, who is boxing’s second biggest earner since Floyd Mayweather’s retirement, is rumoured to have sunk well over a million dollars into sanctioning fees. Generally, champions and challengers will pay 2-3% of their fight purse to a roof of around $250,000 depending upon which ABC they are working with; some alphabets charge a registration fee to promoters, also. This means that for the likes of Joshua, Canelo Alvarez, and Floyd Mayweather the sanctioning fees can become quite prohibitive. Mayweather himself dropped belts to avoid paying these monies. The wonderful Erik Morales at one point completely ceased co-operating with his suppliers.

But generally, fighters do as Navarrete does and they pay for the gold. The proliferation of minor regional titles I describe in paragraph one was something that Navarrete neatly sidestepped. That is because he was very much the opponent for his 2018 fight with Isaac Dogboe, who had paid for regional title belts since 2015 at one point somehow being named both the WBO “African Featherweight” champion and the WBO “Oriental Featherweight” champion. Dogboe is British but was born in Ghana. Paying for these titles got him onto the WBO on-ramp, establishing him as a customer of this organisation and allowing relationships to be built between the WBO and Dogboe’s promotional organisation – again, if this sounds like a form of corruption, it should be noted that this is normal, no accusations of legal wrongdoing are being made.

When Dogboe surprisingly dropped his 122lb title to Navarrete, the WBO had a new customer – and a good one. Navarrete boxes in America and on American television, which is still the best way to enhance a purse without a pay-per-view audience. His most recent paydays are estimated at around a million dollars. This meant that when Navarrete decided that he could no longer make 122lbs, the WBO had a problem, namely that it was losing money on Navarrete’s purses as he no longer held a WBO strap. Navarrete also had a problem – he couldn’t leverage television or the paying public with a “world championship.” So, after boxing a fighter named Uriel Lopez Juarez who had lost his last three fights, Navarrete was deemed for a title shot at 126lbs, against another WBO customer, Ruben Villa, who had been paying to wield a regional WBO strap for the past year.

Villa was in no way qualified to face Navarrete. There is absolutely no question of the WBO fixing fights, but there they mandated a contest that would have genuinely shocked had it produced a Navarrete loss. This type of match-making is as old as the sport, where lesser fighters are sacrificed at the alters of the sport’s cash cows to fatten their records and progress their careers: but it is not, until recently, that this became normal for sanctioned “world title” fights.

Villa had never boxed over twelve rounds before in his career. Although he was clearly able to defend himself, Villa was dumped twice by Navarrete who won a clear points decision win. What we saw this Friday night in Glendale was a repeat of this exercise as Navarrete, once more struggling with the weight limit in his new division, departed for pastures new and 130lbs. The soft opponent this time would be Liam Wilson, an Australian, like Villa before him a loyal WBO customer having wielded both their “WBO Asia Pacific” 130lb title and their “WBO International” 130lb title in his short career (now 11-2). This is the first piece of the alphabet puzzle when trying to decipher who the most valued customers of an alphabet organisation are: is the championship match against a soft opponent who is expected to lose?

Look closer though, and you can sometimes see more.

Liam Wilson was astonished at the weigh-in when he was announced at just over 126lbs, nearly four pounds below the divisional weight-limit.

“Something happened with the scales,” he told Australian media.  “I’m sure they’ve been tampered with. I weighed in 20 minutes prior to the weigh in. I was just under weight. I went on the official scales for the official weigh-in and I was four pounds under, magically. So, in twenty minutes I lost four pounds, two kilos in Australian weight.”

Fighters sometimes sit in saunas forgoing water and sweating the best part of themselves into a tightly wrapped arrangement of plastic to lose this sort of weight. It is an enormous difference for Wilson, a man who has not weighed in close to 126lbs since the Oceanian Youth & Junior Championship – in 2012.

“I think he’s come in overweight and they tampered with the scales to make it seem like he made it.”

This is a significant accusation, and one that has not been proven. From the WBO’s own regulations:

The President of the Organization shall attend or designate a WBO Supervisor to attend every World Championship contest sanctioned by the WBO. The duties of said Supervisor shall be to represent the WBO at the Championship Match and prefight events including the weigh in…if a World Champion fails to make the prescribed weight for his category, the Champion shall lose the title at the scales, and the Championship shall then and there be declared vacant, whether or not the challenger makes weight.

The WBO then, is responsible for making sure the weigh in is conducted fairly to both parties.  Currently, there is no evidence that this was not the case.

Happily, the fight itself was a good one and a competitive affair before Navarrete lifted the vacant strap by technical knockout in the ninth. Navarrete, with limited experience of the 130lb punch was caught with a flush left hook in the fourth which Wilson followed up with good pressure and punching to ditch his man. Navarrete had the experience to spit the gumshield out while receiving a standing eight, clearly in trouble; Wilson did not have the experience to follow up against a hurt Navarrete who had bought himself some extra time.

That is why good customers tend to get inexperienced opponents when fighting for a favoured organisation’s strap. Imagine Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov or Roger Gutierrez chasing a hurt Navarrete across the ring in what, after all, is supposed to be a world-title fight. That is the key. There was nothing wrong with making Navarrete-Wilson; it was a good fight conducted in what were difficult circumstances for the Australian and one he nearly won, but for a world-title to be perpetrated upon the boxing public at the end of it is unreasonable.

It is also inevitable. As soon as the people who are policing the fighters become a service industry for those fighters, the type of easy night we repeatedly see for WBO favourites becomes nothing less than a part of the fabric of the sport. Even so, a fighter becoming a triple-crown champion by defeating not one but two fighters who have never boxed the championship distance seems shocking, even for this sport.

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Featured Articles

Boxing at the Paris Olympics: Looking Ahead and Looking Back

Published

on

Boxing-at-the-Paris-Olympics-Looking-Ahead-and-Looking-Back

One hundred years ago, Paris was the host city for the Summer Olympics. What goes around, comes around.

In the upcoming Paris Games, boxers will compete for medals in 13 categories. The number remains unchanged from Tokyo, but the ratio has been modified. In Tokyo, there were eight weight classes for men and five for women. The men have lost one and the women have gained one, so in 2024 it is seven and six.

Eight American boxers made it through the qualifying tournaments and will represent Uncle Sam in the City of Lights.

The U.S. boxing contingent in Paris

Men

Roscoe Hill, flyweight (51 kg), Spring TX

Jahmal Harvey, featherweight (57 kg), Oxon Hill, MD

Omari Jones, middleweight (71 kg), Orlando, FL

Joshua Edwards, super heavyweight, Houston, TX

Women

Jennifer Lozano, flyweight (50 kg), Laredo, Tx

Alyssa Mendoza, featherweight (57 kg), Caldwell, ID

Jajaira Gonzalez, lightweight (60 kg), Montclair, CA

Morelle McCane, welterweight (66 kg), Cleveland, OH

Paris, 1924

At the Paris Summer Games of 1924, boxers competed for medals in the eight standard weight classes. The competition was restricted to men. Female boxers were excluded until the 2012 Games in London where the women were sorted into three weight classes: flyweight, lightweight, and middleweight.

Twenty-seven nations sent one or more boxers to the 1924 Games. In total, there were 181 competitors. The United States and Great Britain had the largest squads. Each sent 16 men into the tournament, the maximum allowable as each nation was allowed two entrants in each of the weight classes.

The United States and Great Britain each walked away with two gold medals. The other gold medal winners represented Denmark, Norway, Belgium, and South Africa. But the U.S. team garnered the most medals, six overall including two silver and two bronze, two more than the runner-up, Great Britain.

What’s interesting is that three of the six U.S. medalists came out of the same gym, the Los Angeles Athletic Club. They were proteges of the club’s boxing instructor George Blake who would go on to become one of America’s top referees. The trio included both gold medalists, flyweight Fidel LaBarba and featherweight Jackie Fields, and silver medalist Joe Salas who had the misfortune of meeting Fields in the finals.

LaBarba and Fields were mature beyond their years. LaBarba was 18 years old and hadn’t yet completed high school when he secured a berth on the U.S. Olympic team. Fields, a high school dropout, was even younger. He was 16 years, five months, and 11 days old on the day that he won his gold medal. That remains the record for the youngest boxer of any nationality to win Olympic gold.

Fields and LaBarba both went on to win world titles at the professional level. Let’s take a look at their post-Paris careers. We will start with Fields and save the brilliant LaBarba for another day.

Jackie Fields  

Jackie Fields was born Jacob Finkelstein in the Maxwell Street ghetto of Chicago. His father, an immigrant from Russia and a butcher by trade, moved the family to Los Angeles when Jackie was 14 years old.

Jackie Fields

Jackie Fields

Fields turned pro in February of 1925. Despite his tender age, he was fast-tracked owing to his Olympic pedigree. But his manager Gig Rooney blundered when he put Jackie in against Jimmy McLarnin in only his seventh pro fight. A baby-faced assassin, born in Northern Ireland and raised in Canada, McLarnin, destined to be remembered as an all-time great, was more advanced than Jackie and blasted him out in the second round.

Fields rebounded to win his next 16 fights. His signature win during this run was a 12-round newspaper decision over Sammy Mandell, the Rockford Sheik. Mandell was the reigning world lightweight champion, but because this was officially a no-decision fight, a concession to Mandell, the title could not change hands unless Fields knocked him out.

Fields’ skein ended at New York’s Polo Grounds where he was out-pointed across 10 rounds by Louis “Kid” Kaplan, a 108-fight veteran and former world featherweight title-holder. But Fields built his way back into contention and claimed the world welterweight title in March of 1929 by winning a 10-round decision over Young Jack Thompson at the Chicago Coliseum. They fought for the title vacated by Joe Dundee who was stripped of the belt for failing to defend his title in a timely manner.

The jubilation that Fields felt in winning the title was tempered by an ugly incident in the eighth round when a race riot broke out in the balcony. One man died when he jumped or was pushed off the balcony and scores were injured; “more than thirty” according to one report. Many ringsiders, to avoid flying objects, took refuge inside the ropes but the contest continued after the disturbance was quelled and the ring was cleared.

Fields made the first defense of the title against Joe Dundee. They fought at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit before an estimated 25,000.

Fields had Dundee on the canvas twice before Dundee was disqualified in the second round for a low blow. The punch was clearly intentional. Fields, to his great distress, wasn’t wearing a protective cup. Heading in, Joe Dundee was still recognized as the champion in New York, so one could say that Jackie Fields unified the title.

After a series of non-title fights, Fields lost the belt to old rival Young Jack Thompson. At the conclusion of the 15-round contest, Young Jack was a bloody mess – he would need to go to a hospital to have his lacerations repaired –but Thompson, who also came up the ladder in California rings, was fairly deemed the winner. This would be the last collaboration between Fields and Gig Rooney. The wily Jack “Doc” Kearns, who had managed Jack Dempsey and was then involved with Mickey Walker, horned right in and became Jackie’s new manager.

Kearns maneuvered Fields into a match with Lou Brouillard who had wrested the title from Thompson four months earlier and Fields rose to the occasion, winning a unanimous 10-round decision in Chicago to become a two-time world welterweight champion. It was a furious battle, wrote the correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. “[Fields] hit Brouillard with everything but the water bucket.”

After another series of non-title fights, Fields risked his belt against Young Corbett III. They fought at the baseball park in San Francisco before an estimated 15,000 on the afternoon of Feb. 22, 1933.

Fields was damaged goods. He had suffered a detached retina in his right eye in a minor auto accident and there was no cure for it. Corbett III (Rafaele Giordano) was a southpaw which was all wrong for a boxer with blurred vision in his right eye. Jackie fought back valiantly after losing the first five rounds, but lost the decision. The referee’s card (6-3-1 for Corbett III) appeared a tad generous to the loser.

Fields retired after one more fight. A closer look at his final record (72-9-2, 31 KOs) shows that he had 19 fights with 10 men who held a world title at some point in their career, including six future Hall of Famers (Jimmy McLarnin, Louis “Kid” Kaplan, Sammy Mandell, “Gorilla” Jones, Lou Brouillard, and Young Corbett III), and was 12-6-1 in these encounters. He was stopped only once, that by the great McLarnin in Jackie’s seventh pro fight.

Jackie Fields Post-Boxing

Fields wasn’t in good shape financially when he left the sport. His various investments were shambled by the stock market crash of 1929. For a time, he lived in Pennsylvania, first in Pittsburgh and then in Philadelphia where he was a distributor for the Wurlitzer juke box company and a sales executive with a distillery.

In 1957, he purchased an interest in a gambling establishment, the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. (Note: In Nevada, prior to 1967, public corporations were prohibited from owning or operating a property that housed a casino. Anyone purchasing one or more shares, called points, had to submit to a background check which did little to stanch the influence of the mob.)

Fields eventually sold his shares, but remained with the Tropicana in a public relations capacity. During the 1970s, he served on the Nevada State Athletic Commission. He passed away in 1987 at age 79 at a nursing home in Las Vegas after being hospitalized for a heart ailment. In 2004, he was inducted posthumously into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

For all that he accomplished as a pro, Fields always insisted that his proudest moment came in Paris. “As I stood there, with the band playing the Star Spangled Banner, I cried like a baby, I was that thrilled.”

PHOTO: 2024 U.S. Olympian Roscoe Hill

To comment on this story in the Forum CLICK HERE

 

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Arne’s Almanac: More Chaos for Ryan Garcia and a Note on Don King’s Impotent ‘Whip’

Published

on

Arne's-Almanac-More-Chaos-for-Ryan-Garcia-and-a-Note-on-Don-King's-Impotent-'Whip'

Arne’s Almanac: More Chaos for Ryan Garcia and a Note on Don King’s Impotent ‘Whip’

The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Hotel is the flip side of a Motel 6. For the fun of it, we went to the hotel’s website and checked the rates for this coming weekend. For a party of two, the cheapest room has a base rate of $1248 per night. That’s before taxes. With taxes, the tab swells to $3,016 for a two-night stay on Friday and Saturday.

In a classy joint like this, one surmises that it would be fairly easy to rack up a $15,000 bill for incidentals if one got too frisky and broke a few things. Ryan Garcia would know.

On Saturday afternoon, June 8, Garcia was removed from the hotel in police handcuffs and subsequently charged with felony vandalism according to TMZ. By California law, any vandalism above $400 qualifies as a felony. Reports say Garcia trashed his room and a hallway to the tune of $15,000.

The boxer had been staying at the Waldorf Astoria since at least Wednesday when family members requested a welfare check, believing that he may be in some kind of distress. It isn’t known at this time if he shared the room with anyone. Reports say that he appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs as he was being led away from the property wearing what appeared to be a motorcycle helmet.

Garcia had been acting erratically even before he upset previously undefeated Devin Haney on April 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. His wonderful performance was tarnished by the fact that he came in overweight and was thus ineligible to strip Haney of his WBC world super lightweight title belt, and his reputation was sullied to a far greater extent when it came out that he had tested positive for a banned PED.

Since that memorable night in Brooklyn, Garcia has come to learn that his mother has breast cancer. This has apparently caused him considerable worry. “Ryan has been open about his struggles with mental health over the years, and at this time he is dealing with an immense emotional burden,” said Garcia’s attorney Darin Chavez. “The support and understanding from fans and the public are crucial as he navigates these personal challenges.”

By all accounts, Ryan Garcia, who turns 26 in August, has the largest social media following of any boxer in the English-speaking world. He is said to have 12 million followers on Instagram. While he was at the hotel, Garcia used his platform to assert that he hadn’t been paid all the money that was owed to him from the Haney fight. “Me too,” chimed in Devin Haney, which prompted this formal statement from Garcia’s promoter Golden Boy, the lead promoter of the April 30 event: “As we have always done with all our fighters, Golden Boy paid Ryan and Devin exactly what they are owed under their contracts. As with all PPV events, revenue comes in over time and additional payments will be made when more money is received. If they aren’t aware of this fact, we would hope that their managers are. Or perhaps Ryan and Devin should pay more attention to their contracts than their social media feeds.”

“The Whip”

Back in the days when the foremost boxing arena in the world was in the basement of London’s posh National Sporting Club – we’re going all the way back to the 1890s – the man whose unofficial job title was that of a whip was a key component of the operation. It was the whip’s responsibility to see that the show went on without awkward delays in the action. He lorded over the dressing room, making certain that each boxer was ready to go the moment he was summoned to the ring. It was important for the satisfaction of the patrons to maintain a seamless pace.

Boxing promoters still depend on whips today, although the name is no longer used. But if Don King employed a whip for his last show, the fellow certainly didn’t curry much sway with the talent. There were interminable delays leading up to the main event between Blair Cobbs and Adrien Broner, long recesses filled with idle chatter between panelists Tre’Sean Wiggins and Albert Haynesworth. Wiggins is a welterweight boxer who presumably has some sort of personal services contract with Don King. He was initially slated to fight on this card and when that fight fell out, he was shifted over to the broadcasting department. Haynesworth is a former all-pro NFL defensive tackle. Don’t look for him to replace Michael Strahan on those NFL telecasts anytime soon.

These unscheduled intermissions were not entirely unexpected. Adrien Broner showed up late at the press conference two days earlier where he added some sauce to the most cringe-worthy boxing press conference ever, quite an achievement considering that the bar had been set so high. Broner turned pro with the firm expectation that he would eventually surpass Floyd Mayweather Jr. in career earnings. He emulates Floyd in one regard; he moves through the world on Mayweather Time.

The most bizarre moment in this five-fight Friday Night telecast (a $40 pay-pre-view) came when the ring announcer, at the behest of King, asked the crowd to stand in solemn remembrance of Jose Sulaiman while the timekeeper hit the gong 10 times. The 10-bell memorial is a nice tradition in boxing, but Sulaiman, the former president of the World Boxing Council, passed away on Jan.16, 2014. Egads, the man’s been dead for 10 years.

The 10-round welterweight contest between Cobbs and Broner was for the “People’s Championship.” For the record, Cobbs won a unanimous decision. Scoring at home, I gave Broner one round.

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Arne K. Lang is editor-in-chief of The Sweet Science. He is the author of five books including “Prizefighting: An American History” released by McFarland in 2008 and re-released in a paperback edition in 2020.

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Canastota Chronicles 2024

Published

on

Canastota-Chronicles-2024

I have been attending at least some part of Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend each year it has been held since 2014. Once again, I made my annual trip to Canastota for three days from Thursday until Saturday. As usual I came back home to Buffalo with memories that will last a lifetime.

Before I get started, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the big reasons I return to Canastota every year. From the folks who work at the Hall of Fame, to the volunteers, to the fans, I have made so many great friends over the years. The open and receptive nature of the Canastota people is something truly special. You feel welcome from the moment you set foot on the grounds until you leave. As always, this year I rekindled old friendships and made many new ones.

With that said, here is my personal experience from the three days I spent in Canastota this past weekend

Thursday

Kind of like a kid at Christmas I did not get much sleep Wednesday night and was up very early on Thursday. I left the house before 7:00 in the morning for the approximate  two-and-a-half-hour drive from Buffalo to Canastota. I was on the grounds before 10:00.

After saying hello to many people, I focused in on the ringside lectures which started around 1:00. This year I made it a goal to attend all of them and did just that.

Jackie Kallen kicked things off and talked about how she had to overcome many challenges in a male-dominated sport to get to where she needed to get in her career. She also spoke glowingly of Emanuel Steward who helped get her into the sport and guided her along the way.

Ivan Calderon was next and spoke that he was genuinely surprised to get inducted. He stated that because of his style in the ring along with having limited knockouts, he didn’t think he’d ever get the support needed to get in the Hall of Fame.

Several attendees then got on stage for the opening bell ceremony which was rung by Ricky Hatton.

Finally, the day closed out with Julian Jackson and Jesse James Leija. Both described overcoming challenges in the ring with Leija talking about how he overcame adversity to beat Francisco Bojado and Jackson describing how he found the energy to rally back against Herol Graham.

After the day’s festivities on the Hall of Fame Grounds, I headed over to Turning Stone Resort & Casino. Turning Stone hosts many events for the weekend and is a natural gathering place for those in attendance for Hall of Fame Weekend.

Since there are so many boxing people condensed in such a relatively small area there is a good chance of randomly bumping into someone in the sport. As was my luck, after I arrived at Turning Stone I took a seat in a small lounge that was unoccupied. A few moments later Ricky Hatton came walking into the same area and I got a dream chance to have a short private talk with one of my all-time favorite fighters.

Friday

Michael Moorer kicked things off Friday and though he didn’t go into a lot of details on various topics he did talk about his days at Kronk as well as his relationship with Emanuel Steward.

Jane Couch and Ana Maria Torres were next. Both discussed the challenges they faced breaking into the sport and getting any sort of recognition from the public. Couch was brought to tears while stating that she often fought without getting paid. When pressed as to why she wanted to continue her path in boxing, she responded that it was because she wanted to prove she could make it.

Butterbean was next up. He gave an inspirational talk about how he recently overcame not being able to walk for several years and rededicated his life to getting healthy again. Butterbean also spoke some about his contest with Larry Holmes and said that while he may not have liked Holmes during the build-up to the event, they have since become good friends.

The fist casting was next where the fighters have their fists molded to be housed for eternity at the Hall of Fame.

As the fist casting ended, I waited for my father-in-law to arrive to head on back to Turning Stone to attend the fights that evening. While waiting I started chatting with an individual who looked somewhat familiar to me. After talking for a little bit I got his name, Perry Ballard.

Perry was a professional boxer with a record of 27-2-1 with 20 KO’s and many fight fans may remember him for his fight with Hector Camacho that took place toward the tail end of Camacho’s career. Perry was accompanied by his son Chase to Canastota. Chase is also a professional boxer with a record of 4-1 with 4 KO’s and is currently campaigning as a featherweight. It’s these kind of conversations that I really enjoy during HOF weekend as Perry told me some great stories about his career and Chase talked to me about some of his pro fights. For a fan like me, interactions are priceless.

Saturday

It was back to the HOF Grounds bright and early on Saturday. There is a card/memorabilia show that takes place concurrent with the Ringside Lectures but I wanted to keep to my goal of attending to all the lectures.

Ray Mercer and Lamon Brewster started off the day. Mercer discussed how he recently quit alcohol and had gotten into much better shape.

Brewster spoke very eloquently about specific moments in his career. Of note he talked about his fight with Kali Meehan which was the first title defense for Brewster of the WBO heavyweight title he won from Wladimir Klitschko.  Brewster said Meehan was a former sparring partner and while they worked together Brewster had gotten to know Meehan’s family. According to Brewster when he arrived at the Mandalay Bay a few days before the fight Meehan’s family was there in the hotel lobby and Meehan’s kids all ran over to hug him. Brewster said that played on his mind when he got in the ring with Meehan and advised all boxers to never fight their former sparring partners.

Jim Lampley and Ricky Hatton were next on stage. This was certainly one of the best Ringside Lectures I have ever attended. Hatton talked about some of the partying and what made him such a popular figure in the UK. Lampley told a great story about his time at ABC working with Howard Cosell.

Hatton and Lampley

Hatton and Lampley

The referees took the stage after and this panel included Mark Nelson who answered questions regarding how he handled the recent Oleksandr Usyk-Tyson Fury heavyweight title unification fight. Erik Morales then followed and talked about various fights in his HOF career.

Finally, it was Sebastian and Gabriela Fundora’s turn to talk to the fans. While their talk was entertaining, even including Sebastian reminding everyone that he first called out Errol Spence Jr. two years ago here in Canastota during a similar talk, it was what happened afterward that stood out.

The Fundora Siblings

The Fundora Siblings

Usually after participants finish their time on stage, they head off to an area to sign autographs. As noted, the Fundoras’ were last and many people waited around to get their autograph/photo opportunity once their talk concluded. It was a pretty lengthy line and usually participants sign for a little time before heading off.

For well over an hour the Fundoras’ sat and honored every single fan request. And they did not leave the grounds until every fan that wanted to meet them did so. It was quite impressive to witness and they showed why they are such great ambassadors for the sport.

That was it for me. Another year down and already making my plans for 2025. I encourage any boxing fan who has yet to do so to make the trip to Canastota just once for Hall of Fame Weekend. I guarantee it will be an experience that will include so many memories that you will want to keep coming back to Canastota year in and year out.

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading
Advertisement
At-Long-Last-Marvelous-Marvin-Hagler-to-Finally-Get-His-Statue-in-the-City-of-Champions
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

At Long Last: Marvelous Marvin Hagler to Finally Get His Statue in the ‘City of Champions’

Ireland's-McKenna-Brothers-are-Poised-to-Make-Big-Waves-in-the-Squared-Circle
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Ireland’s McKenna Brothers are Poised to Make Big Waves in the Squared Circle

Oleksandr-Usyk-from-a-Historical-Perspective
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Oleksandr Usyk from a Historical Perspective 

Christian-Mbilli-has-the-Wow-Factor-Dismisses-Mark-Heffron-in-40-Seconds
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Christian Mbilli has the Wow Factor: Dismisses Mark Heffron in 40 Seconds

Avila-Perspective-Chap-284-Tyson-Fury-Oleksandr-Usyk-and-Much-More
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 284: Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, and Much More

Another-Victory-for-Ukraine-as-Berinchyk-Upsets-Navarrete-in-San-Diego
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Another Victory for Ukraine as Berinchyk Upsets Navarrete in San Diego

Fury-Usyk-Who-Wins-and-Why-The-Official-TSS-Prediction-Page
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Fury vs. Usyk: Who Wins and Why? – The Official TSS Prediction Page

Undisputed-Usyk-Defeats-Fury-Plua-Undercard-Results-from-Riyadh
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

UNDISPUTED ! – Usyk Defeats Fury ! – Plus Undercard Results from Riyadh

Will-Kabayel-vs-Sanchez-Prove-to-be-the-Best-Heavyweight-Fight-This-Weekend?
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Will Kabayel vs Sanchez Prove to be the Best Heavyweight Fight This Weekend?

Boxinjg-Odds-and-Ends-A-Bountiful-June-and-a-Cult-Fighter-Returns-from-Prisonj
Featured Articles1 week ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: A Bountiful June and a Cult Fighter Returns from Prison

The-Inoue-and-Serrano-Championship-Warches
Featured Articles6 days ago

The Inoue and Serrano Championship Watches

Big-Bang-KOs-the-Bronze-Bomber-in-the-Heavyweight-Finale-of-a-Splendid-Show-in-Saudi-Arabia
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

‘Big Bang’ KOs the Bronze Bomber in the Heavyweight Finale of a Splendid Card in Saudi Arabia

In-a-One-Sided-Beatdown-Batyr-Jukenbayev-TKOs-Shopworn-Ivan-Redkach
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

In a One-Sided Beatdown, Batyr Jukembayev TKOs Shopworn Ivan Redkach

How-Soon-Before-We-Know-the-Fate-of-Ryan-Garcia-and-Will-the-Result-Stand?
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

How Soon Before We Know the Fate of Ryan Garcia and Will the Result Stand?

Gay-Talese-an-Icon-of-the-New-Journalism-Wrote-Extensively-About-Boxing
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Gay Talese, an Icon of the ‘New Journalism,’ Wrote Extensively About Boxing

Okolie-Demolishes-Rozanski-to-Jump-Start-a-Busy-Boxing-Weekend
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Okolie Demolishes Rozanski to Jump-Start a Busy Boxing Weekend

Ireland's-Callum-Walsh-KOs-Carlos-Ortiz-at-the-Chumash-Casino
Featured Articles5 days ago

Ireland’s Callum Walsh KOs Carlos Ortiz at the Chumash Casino

zhilei-Zhang-and-Deontay-Wilder-Meet-at-the-Final-Crossroads
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Zhilei Zhang and Deontay Wilder Meet at the Final Crossroads

Avila-Perspective-Chap-285-Heavyweights-Clash-in-Saudi-Arabia-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 285: Heavyweights Clash in Saudi Arabia and More

Sweet-Revenge-for-the-Cat-Catterall-Outpoints-Taylor-in-a-Fan-Friendly-Fight
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Sweet Revenge for the ‘Cat’: Catterall Outpoints Taylor in a Fan-Friendly Fight

Boxing-at-the-Paris-Olympics-Looking-Ahead-and-Looking-Back
Featured Articles2 days ago

Boxing at the Paris Olympics: Looking Ahead and Looking Back

Arne's-Almanac-More-Chaos-for-Ryan-Garcia-and-a-Note-on-Don-King's-Impotent-'Whip'
Featured Articles3 days ago

Arne’s Almanac: More Chaos for Ryan Garcia and a Note on Don King’s Impotent ‘Whip’

Canastota-Chronicles-2024
Featured Articles3 days ago

Canastota Chronicles 2024

Boxing-Notes-and-Nuggets-from-Thomas-Hauser
Featured Articles4 days ago

Boxing Notes and Nuggets from Thomas Hauser

Xander-Zayas-Wins-a-Lopsided-Decision-Over-Patrick-Teixeira
Featured Articles4 days ago

Xander Zayas Wins a Lopsided Decision over Patrick Teixeira

Ireland's-Callum-Walsh-KOs-Carlos-Ortiz-at-the-Chumash-Casino
Featured Articles5 days ago

Ireland’s Callum Walsh KOs Carlos Ortiz at the Chumash Casino

Resukts-from-Florida-Where-Blair-Cobbs-Proved-Superior-to-Adrien-Broner
Featured Articles5 days ago

Results from Florida Where Blair Cobbs Proved Superior to Adrien Broner

The-Inoue-and-Serrano-Championship-Warches
Featured Articles6 days ago

The Inoue and Serrano Championship Watches

Avila-Prospectus-Chap-287-360-Promotions-Don-King-and-More-Action
Featured Articles6 days ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 289: 360 Promotions, Don King and More Action

Boxinjg-Odds-and-Ends-A-Bountiful-June-and-a-Cult-Fighter-Returns-from-Prisonj
Featured Articles1 week ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: A Bountiful June and a Cult Fighter Returns from Prison

Big-Bang-KOs-the-Bronze-Bomber-in-the-Heavyweight-Finale-of-a-Splendid-Show-in-Saudi-Arabia
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

‘Big Bang’ KOs the Bronze Bomber in the Heavyweight Finale of a Splendid Card in Saudi Arabia

Avila-Perspective-Chap-285-Heavyweights-Clash-in-Saudi-Arabia-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 285: Heavyweights Clash in Saudi Arabia and More

Ireland's-McKenna-Brothers-are-Poised-to-Make-Big-Waves-in-the-Squared-Circle
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Ireland’s McKenna Brothers are Poised to Make Big Waves in the Squared Circle

Gay-Talese-an-Icon-of-the-New-Journalism-Wrote-Extensively-About-Boxing
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Gay Talese, an Icon of the ‘New Journalism,’ Wrote Extensively About Boxing

zhilei-Zhang-and-Deontay-Wilder-Meet-at-the-Final-Crossroads
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Zhilei Zhang and Deontay Wilder Meet at the Final Crossroads

Christian-Mbilli-has-the-Wow-Factor-Dismisses-Mark-Heffron-in-40-Seconds
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Christian Mbilli has the Wow Factor: Dismisses Mark Heffron in 40 Seconds

Sweet-Revenge-for-the-Cat-Catterall-Outpoints-Taylor-in-a-Fan-Friendly-Fight
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Sweet Revenge for the ‘Cat’: Catterall Outpoints Taylor in a Fan-Friendly Fight

Okolie-Demolishes-Rozanski-to-Jump-Start-a-Busy-Boxing-Weekend
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Okolie Demolishes Rozanski to Jump-Start a Busy Boxing Weekend

How-Soon-Before-We-Know-the-Fate-of-Ryan-Garcia-and-Will-the-Result-Stand?
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

How Soon Before We Know the Fate of Ryan Garcia and Will the Result Stand?

In-a-One-Sided-Beatdown-Batyr-Jukenbayev-TKOs-Shopworn-Ivan-Redkach
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

In a One-Sided Beatdown, Batyr Jukembayev TKOs Shopworn Ivan Redkach

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement