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

Ted Sares

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In our latest quarterly survey, we asked our respondents this question: “What famous person — living or dead — could have been a successful boxer AND WHY?” The person picked could be a statesman, gangster, movie or TV star, business tycoon, or whatever, just so long as he or she was famous. More than 30 boxing notables weighed in with a selection. As is our custom, we have listed the respondents in alphabetical order.

JAMES AMATO-collector, author, writer, historian: For me it is Charles Bronson. You could see from his build he was dedicated to training. He also seemed to have that essential “killer instinct.” I think he would have been a rough customer. Honorable mentions to Robert DeNiro and Ryan O’Neal.

MATT ANDRZEJEWSKI-TSS writer: LeBron James. He is arguably the greatest athlete of our generation and could have succeeded at any sport he desired. If he had solely focused on boxing, who knows, there may never have been a Klitschko era in the heavyweight division.

DAVID AVILA-TSS West Coast Bureau Chief: I’d go with Ron Artest, now known as Metta World Peace. He seemed to relish the boxing game and recently trained and managed a fighter. As a player he was quick on the trigger and just a pretty good athlete.

BOB BENOIT-referee, judge, former fighter, founder of MA State Trooper Boxing Team: Robert DeNiro. I base my opinion on his hard work in training for the movie that showcased the life of Jake LaMotta. He worked his balls off to fill the part.

TRACY CALLIS-eminent boxing historian: I don’t know how well Sean Hannity, radio and TV talk show host, would do as a boxer, but he sure talks a lot about his MMA training and what he would do in certain circumstances (i.e., he would do such and such, wouldn’t take this, wouldn’t take that, etc.). It would be interesting to see what he really could do.

ANTHONY M. CARDINALE Esq.-famous defense attorney, boxing manager, advisor: I can think of only one guy, John Gotti. I was told by Tommy Gallagher, one of boxing’s good guys and a colorful character, that he would have been a great boxer but for that accident when he was a teenager that caused an injury to the toes on one foot that forced him to stop. He and Gotti grew up together in the same hardscrabble neighborhood in New York.

GUY CASALE-former fighter, retired detective: I believe Paul Newman would have been a successful boxer! His portrayal of Rocky Graziano in “Somebody Up There Likes Me” captured Rocky’s exact style. Moreover, Newman also demonstrated his athletic ability in other movies like “Slap Shot” where he portrayed a hockey player.

JILL DIAMOND-International Secretary, WBC: James Brown: Godfather of Soul. Hungry, agile, charismatic. Papa’s got a brand new bag!

BERNARD FERNANDEZTSS mainstay, lifetime Member of the BWAA, 2020 IBHOF inductee: I’ve always thought that tennis great Jimmy Connors played his sport like an Arturo Gatti-type fighter. He was pugnacious and played each point as if his life depended on it. I liked the way he hit the ball hard and flat, going for winners instead of playing a patient long game, waiting for his opponent to make an error. I could also go with tough-guy actor Stacey Keach who portrayed a worn-out fighter in “Fat City.” It helps that I thought he threw punches with correct form.

JERRY FITCH-writer, author, historian: Size and strength does not often translate to boxing skills. Few of those big tough guys could take a punch or had the coordination to succeed as a boxer. But one athlete that stood an excellent chance was former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown. Brown was a freak with a rare mixture of strength, speed, balance and toughness. The fact he never missed a game is testament to his toughness. During his career the opponents game plan always focused on Jim. He was gang tackled, punched, kicked, called names, had his eyes gouged and yet nobody ever really stopped him. Although most of his stats have long been surpassed (he only played nine years), his 5.2 average per carry and 104.3 yards per game numbers still rule. At Syracuse he earned ten varsity letters in football, lacrosse, track and field, and basketball. He is often called the greatest lacrosse player ever. Many call him the greatest athlete ever. He may very well have been –with the proper training — a very good boxer. I wouldn’t have bet against him.

JEFFREY FREEMAN-TSS writer: Boston Bruins Captain Zdeno Charo would’ve been a great fighter because he is a great fighter. The nearly seven-foot-tall defenseman is a feared enforcer ready to drop the gloves and battle on a moment’s notice. And “Z” deals out all that fear and intimidation while balancing on a sheet of ice. I can recall hearing that some of the Detroit Red Wings used to train boxing at KRONK gym. If Zdeno Chara had some formal training he’d surely beat Deontay Wilder.

CLARENCE GEORGE-boxing writer, historian: Matinée idol Errol Flynn athletically leaps to mind. He was a natural, as is made clear by the way he moves about the ring in his portrayal of Gentleman Jim Corbett in “Gentleman Jim” (1942). Mushy Callahan helped prepare him for the role, true, but Flynn had been a gifted boxer going back to at least his young manhood.

LEE GROVES-writer, author and man behind CompuBox: The first name that came to mind was Michael Jordan. At 6-feet-6 inches, he would have fit in nicely with today’s super-sized heavyweights and he boasted that enviable blend of elite athletic talent, a ferocious pursuit of perfection, a matchless mean streak and the ability to rise to the most pressurized situations. He would not have tolerated anything but the very best, either from himself or from those around him.

HENRY HASCUP-historian; President of the NJ Boxing Hall of Fame: Pele. He had everything a boxer needed. His endurance was outstanding, his footwork was second to none, his head movement was out of this world and I would bet his hands were as well!

DR. STUART KIRSCHENBAUMformer head of the Michigan Boxing Commission: Hockey is the only professional sport other than boxing in which fighting is allowed. In the 1980’s and 90’s Detroit Red Wings player Bob Probert was legendary for his fights. In fact, VHS tapes of collections of his best fights were best sellers. In boxing fighters take caution to tape their hands and must wear gloves…more so to protect their hands rather than the opponent’s face. In hockey when they fight they drop their gloves and hit anything they can including the hard helmet. I guess not much different than Hearns did hitting Hagler’s hard head. Probert being the most feared enforcer in hockey sought the help of legendary boxing trainer Emanuel Steward at the world famous Kronk Gym in Detroit…just a stone’s throw from the Joe Louis Arena. Emanuel had the reputation of training others other than boxers…such as actor Wesley Snipes and rapper Marshall Mathers better known as Eminem. Probert was a constant fixture at Kronk and learned the finer points of boxing from the great Emanuel Steward. Probert truly could have made the transition in Steward’s opinion and who to better know than Emanuel.

JIM LAMPLEY-linchpin of the HBO Boxing announcing team; 2015 IBHOF inductee: Mikhail Baryshnikov, universally hailed in his world as one of history’s greatest dancers, probably could have been a successful boxer. He had the self-assurance and the awareness to become a star in multiple cultures. He had athletic grace and fiercely practiced hand and foot skills. And most likely he had hardship early and the insatiable drive that often proceeds from that. Even if he had no power at all, Baryshnikov would win fights simply by being Baryshnikov.

ARNE LANG-TSS editor-in-chief, author, historian: Fiorello LaGuardia, the three-term mayor of New York City (1934-1945) was a feisty little SOB. He certainly had the temperament to be a prizefighter. As the son of an Italian immigrant father and a Jewish mother, he would have undoubtedly been a big draw and he would have fed off the audience, ramping up his game. Plus, he had a name that rolled off the tongue and a cool nickname, and me – being an erstwhile club show ring announcer – would have loved to go back in time and get to introduce him: Fighting out of the blue corner, Fee-or-Ellll-O the Little Flowerrrrrr (pause) La Guardia.

RON LIPTON-NY and NJ Boxing Halls of Fame, writer, former fighter, retired police officer, pro referee: It would have to be Charles Bronson who maintained his physique and athleticism as displayed at age 54 in “Hard Times.” Jimmy Cagney also excelled in boxing and judo and would have made a decent fighter. Honorable mention would be Burt Lancaster who once punched former pro fighter Jack Palance so hard in the stomach he threw up. This happened on the set of “The Professionals” after Palance punched Lancaster in the arm. The gangster John “Sonny” Franzese, the TV actor powerful Leo Gordon as a 200lb cruiserweight, and politician Teddy Roosevelt come to mind as well.

ADEYINKA MAKINDE-author, UK barrister, contributor to The Cambridge Companion to Boxing: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of the Russian Federation. Putin, a practitioner of the sport of judo, has a combination of ruggedness and the calculating mind of a chess player, the raw attributes required for an involvement in any form of combat sports including boxing.

DAVID MARTINEZboxing historian / dmboxing.com: Here are three candidates: Charles Bronson, Nick Nolte, and Ryan O’Neal. But the question requires one, so it’s Ryan O’Neal. He was an outstanding amateur and competed in two Los Angeles Golden Gloves tournaments.  He had his own pro fighter, top welterweight Hedgemon Lewis. He was outstanding in the movie “The Main Event” with Barbra Streisand. With 100 percent focus and proper training, he would rise in boxing. I have seen short fight footage of him, a southpaw with promise and ring generalship.

ROBERT MLADINICH-former fighter, writer, author, actor, producer, retired detective, private investigator: Don’t laugh but my answer is Woody Allen. Check him out on You Tube boxing a kangaroo on an old variety show. He’s quick on his feet, has fast hands, and can throw a good punch. I see him as an effective but dull distance fighter. Also, Daniel Day-Lewis. He can do anything well if he puts his mind to it. He was sensational in “The Boxer.”

ERNEST MORALES (aka GINO FEBUS)-former fighter, writer, historian: There’s something about Harvey Keitel that suggests he could have been a Mickey Ward type. His gutsy demeaner and stone-cold piercing looks in movies such as “Cop Land” and “The Irishman”, for example, and his interviews.

 JOE PASQUALE-elite boxing judge: Ryan O’Neal in shape. Great power in either hand, great chin and quick reflexes

CLIFF ROLD-managing editor of Boxing Scene, writer, historian: Allen Iverson has the sort of athleticism, footwork, physical grit and explosiveness that probably would have translated well into boxing. He was generally good at every sport he tried.

FRED ROMANO-author, historian, and former ESPN researcher: Billy Martin, former player and manager of the New York Yankees. He was scrappy, as they used to say. Also had a big chip on his shoulder. I think he would come to fight, not dance. Might have made an entertaining lightweight or welterweight if he could cultivate discipline to match his intensity.

DANA ROSENBLATT-former world middleweight champion, commentator: If Dolph Lundgren counts as a famous person, then my vote goes to him. Not only did he have the physicality to potentially become a professional boxer, his intelligence is off the charts. Last time I checked, smarts means a lot as far as who wins in the ring. Read up on this guy. Lundgren may not be the most famous actor at the moment, however nobody can say “Ivan Drago who?” that was born before 1975. Great athlete and even greater mind.

TED SARES-TSS writer, historian: Charles Buchinsky, aka Bronson, grew up in a hardscrabble coal mining region of Pennsylvania amidst extreme poverty, was the 11th of 15 children, and later was a decorated combat veteran of World War Two. Film critic Stephen Hunter said that “Bronson ‘oozed male life-force, stoic toughness, capability, strength.’ and “always projected the charisma of ambiguity…” this background and an extraordinary and well-honed physique would have given him a solid platform for boxing. Serena Williams would be my next choice.

ICEMAN JOHN SCULLY-manager, trainer, commentator, writer, historian, former light heavyweight world title challenger: I’ve never been one to believe that anyone could be a great boxer just because they were great in some other endeavor. Someone will see a great football player with speed and athleticism and take that to mean that they could also have been a great boxer. But there are too many intangibles. You could take the greatest athlete on Earth who is fearless on a football field or a basketball court but he gets in a boxing ring, gets his nose broken sparring, and never comes back. This is not for everybody. And you will never know until you actually get in there under extreme conditions if you can succeed. In many, many cases the most successful boxers are not the ones that those around him thought would be before they got in there.

ALAN SWYER- film producer, historian, director of the West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame: The music world’s gain was the boxing community’s loss when James Brown’s amateur ring career was cut short because of a leg injury. But given his moves on-stage, his explosiveness, and his remarkable stamina, I can’t see how anyone in his weight class could have stood up to him.

RICK TORSNEY-boxing official, former fighter:  Charles Bronson. Born in a PA coal mining town, the eleventh of fifteen siblings. His father died when Charles was ten and he went to work in the mines where he earned one dollar per ton of coal mined. His family was so poor that they sometimes had no food and he had to wear his sisters’ clothes. He worked in the mines until WWII when he joined the Army Air Force, where he served as a aerial gunner on a B29 Superfortress. He flew 25 mission over Japanese occupied Islands and he was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat. Throughout the history of the sport, hungry fighters have been the best fighters. Bronson looked the part of a boxer and literally fought for his life during the war.

BOB TREIGER-writer, historian: Herschel Walker. This may be cheating because he did some MMA fighting. Walker had that rare combination of speed and power to go with his incredible athleticism and explosiveness. I don’t think he was ever less than 100-percent in great shape. Walker had to be disciplined as well. All that adds up to a successful boxer. If he’s not eligible because he did some MMA fighting, I’ll go with actor Charles Bronson because he was a tough SOB.

PETER WOOD- writer, author, former fighter:

Every mornin’ at the mine you could see him arrive
He stood six-foot-six and weighed two-forty-five
Kinda broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip
And everybody knew ya didn’t give no lip to big John
(Big John, big John)
Big bad John (big John)

Nobody seemed to know where John called home
He just drifted into town and stayed all alone
He didn’t say much, kinda quiet and shy
And if you spoke at all, you just said hi to Big John

{Big Bad John died prematurely.)

Now, they never reopened that worthless pit
They just placed a marble stand in front of it
These few words are written on that stand
At the bottom of this mine lies a big, big man
Big John

A bit like Sonny Liston

OBSERVATIONS: Charles Bronson (pictured in a still from the movie “Hard Times”) led the pack with SIX mentions. Ryan O’Neal came in second with multiple mentions.

If I had to pick one that stands out, it would be Henry Hascup’s selection of Pele, though Jim Lampley’s choice of Mikhail Baryshnikov is intriguing as is Adeyinka Makinde’s selection of Vladimir Putin.

Iceman John Scully took a contrary perspective and makes a solid case.

Thanks to all.

Ted Sares can be reached at tedsares@roadrunner.com

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Berchelt TKOs Valenzuela in Mexico City

David A. Avila

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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

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

Arne K. Lang

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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.

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Fast Results from the Bubble: Jason Moloney TKOs Baez

Arne K. Lang

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Top Rank was back inside the MGM Grand “Bubble” tonight for chapter six of their semi-weekly ESPN summer series. Jason Moloney, one-half of Australia’s Moloney twins, accomplished what his brother Andrew Moloney was unable to accomplish in this ring on Tuesday night, adding a “W” to his ledger and looking good doing it. It came at the expense of Mexicali’s Leonardo Baez.

It was Jason Moloney’s second start on U.S. soil after coming up just a tad short in a bid for the vacant IBF world bantamweight title at Orlando in October of 2018. Against Baez, he fought a smart tactical fight, blunting the Mexican’s superior reach by fighting him at close quarters. Baez fought from the third round on with a cut over his right eye and then suffered a cut over his left eye in the seventh round. By then the fight was becoming increasingly one-sided and Baez’s corner did not let him come out for round eight.

Jason Moloney improved to 21-1 with his 18th knockout. Leonardo Baez, who took the fight on short notice after Maloney’s original opponent Oscar Negrete was forced to withdraw with a detached retina, slumped to 18-3.

Co-Feature

In the 10-round co-feature, Abraham Nova advanced to 19-0 with a unanimous decision over Philadelphia’s Avery Sparrow but won no new fans with a lackadaisical performance. Nova, born in Puerto Rico to parents from the Dominican Republic and raised in Albany, NY, showed little but his jab through the first seven rounds until hurting Sparrow with a big right hand in the eighth. The judges had it 96-94, 97-93, and 99-91.

Sparrow (10-2), whose lone previous loss was by disqualification, was making his first start in 15 months. He was slated to fight Ryan Garcia in Los Angeles last Sept. 14 but never made it to the weigh-in after being arrested by U.S. marshals on a charge of threatening a woman with a gun after she threw his clothes out the window…

Other Bouts

In an 8-round featherweight contest, Puerto Rican southpaw Orlando Gonzalez advanced to 15-0 with a unanimous decision over Ecuador’s Luis Porozo (15-3). The scores were 76-74 and 77-73 twice.

Gonzalez wasn’t particularly impressive although he did score two knockdowns. He decked Porozo near the end of round two with a left hook following a straight left and decked him again near the end of round seven with a left uppercut to the body.

In a rather ho-hum fight, welterweight Vlad Panin improved to 8-1 with 6-round majority decision over San Antonio’s 36-year-old Benjamin Whitaker (13-4). Panin, a Belarusian who grew up in Las Vegas and earned a BA in English from UCLA, has a good back story but seemingly a limited upside in the fight game.

In an entertaining 6-round welterweight clash, Filipino campaigner Reymond Yanon improved to 11-5-1 with a split decision (59-55, 58-56, 56-58) over Clay Burns. A 33-year-old ex-Marine from Fort Worth, Burns declined to 9-8-2.

The opener, a heavyweight bout slated for six rounds, matched two Phoenix-based fighters in a rematch. Kingsley Ibeh, a former standout defensive lineman for the Washburn College Ichabods, avenged his lone defeat and improved to 4-1 with a fourth-round stoppage of Waldo Cortes (5-3). Ibeh, who at 286 had a 39-pound weight advantage, softened Cortes up with a series of uppercuts and Cortes was on his way down when he was tagged with a glancing left hand. He got to his feet, but referee Vic Drakulich waived it off. The official time was 1:41.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams for Top Rank

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