Fight Preview: Adam Kownacki Closer to a Title Shot but Needs to Get Past Robert Helenius
By: Rich Lopez
Premier Boxing Champions returns back to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York this Saturday. Three fights are scheduled to be televised on the Fox telecast and the focus will be on the heavyweight division. Three undefeated heavyweights are looking to make a name for themselves and all three will have worthy challengers.
In the main event, one of the most exciting heavyweights is back and now aiming closer to a world title shot. Adam “Babyface” Kownacki (20-0, 15 KO’s) of Poland, will be making his tenth appearance at the Barclays Center. Kownacki was a good amateur boxer who won the 2006 and 2009 New York Golden Gloves Championships. He started his professional career in 2009 and he had a brief absence from the sport from 2011-2012 due to injuries. He resumed his career in 2013 and he started to make a name for himself. In 2017, Kownacki really opened our eyes when he stopped fellow countrymen Artur Szpilka in an all-out Polish showdown. Kownacki made a huge statement and stopped Szpilka in the fourth round. He had a stellar 2019 with two impressive victories over Gerald Washington and Chris Arreola. His fight with Arreola was one of the best fights of 2019. Both men slugged it out for twelve rounds which produced a CompuBox heavyweight record of 667 punches landed and 2,172 punches thrown from both fighters combined. This is one of the reasons why Kownacki is must see TV. He is an action fighter that is aggressive. He also has power and he throws many punches.
On Saturday, he will be fighting in a WBA World Heavyweight Title Eliminator and his opponent will be Robert Helenius (29-3, 18 KO’s) of Finland. Helenius, who is known as “The Nordic Nightmare,” was actually a top heavyweight when Kownacki was just getting started in his pro career. Helenius secured victories over Samuel Peter, Siarhei Liakhovich, and Dereck Chisora in 2010 and 2011. He was being talked about as an opponent to possibly dethrone Wladimir Klitschko at that time. From 2012-2014, his career was set back due to injuries and layoffs. Since returning to the ring in 2015, Helenius has struggled to get back on top and has lost when stepping up in competition. Most recently, in his American debut last year, he was stopped by Gerald Washington in the eighth round. He did bounce back with a win in November against easy competition with a TKO over Mateus Roberto Osorio.
Kownacki will be looking for another knockout victory in his hometown in front of his Polish fans. He is getting closer to a bigger fight but he needs to get past Helenius first. As for the 36 year old Helenius, this will probably be his last shot in a big fight and he will try to make the most of it.
In the co-main event, Efe Ajagba (12-0, 10 KO’s) of Nigeria, looks to continue his rise in the heavyweight division. Ajagba is a former 2016 Olympian that has gotten a quick start to his professional career and has gained a lot of attention. Since he started his pro career in 2017, he has kept a busy schedule with most of his knockout victims not seeing past the fifth round. The 6’6” heavyweight is a fearsome puncher with a devastating right hand. Ajagba is also known to be involved in the shortest boxing match in history in 2018. His opponent Curtis Harper walked out of the ring in the first round when the bell rang which resulted in a disqualification win for Ajagba. In Ajagba’s last fight in December of last year, he had to battle through adversity. After dropping his opponent Iago Kiladze in the first round, Ajagba was dropped in the third round. Ultimately, Ajagba recovered and stopped Kiladze in the fifth round. On Saturday, Ajagba will square off with battle tested Razvan Cojanu (17-6, 9 KO’s) of Romania. Cojanu is 1-4 in his last five fights but on paper this will be a solid test for Ajagba. Cojanu has only lost to top fighters in his career.
In the opening bout of the telecast, Frank Sanchez (14-0, 11 KO’s) of Cuba, is also looking to continue his rise in the heavyweight division. Sanchez was a decorated amateur who got his start to his professional career in 2017. Sanchez has been on a quick start and has looked good so far in his career. He has shown quick hands and good power. He will take on his toughest opponent up to date. His opponent will be Joey “Tank” Dawejko (20-7-4, 11 KO’s) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Don’t be fooled by the record. Out of his seven losses, he was only stopped once earlier in his career which was to former heavyweight champion Charles Martin. Dawejko is solid and has good skills and should serve as a solid test for Sanchez.
Adam Kownacki Headlines at Barclay Center on March 7th
By: Hans Themistode
Adam Kownacki has been marching his way to the top of the Heavyweight division over the past few years. He might only be 30 years of age with just 20 fights in his career, but he has already claimed the scalps of former title challengers Gerald Washington and Artur Szpilka, stopping both men. Kownacki has shown that he isn’t far away from title contention in defeating former world champion Charles Martin.
After waging an absolute war against Chris Arreola in his last ring appearance, Kownacki will return to the ring for the first time in 2020 on March 7th, at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York. As a result of Kownacki making frequent appearances in his hometown’s boxing arena, he has gained a considerably large fanbase. His aforementioned fanbase has only grown in size when considering his last performance.
On August 3rd, 2019, Kownacki (20-0, 15 KOs) took on yet another former title challenger, this time in the form of Chris Arreola. The two stoutly built big men destroyed the record books as they combined to throw and land the most punches in a Heavyweight contest.
At this point, the Barclay Center could be renamed after Kownacki as this will be his tenth contest in the Brooklyn located building and his fifth straight. As for his opponent, that is yet to be revealed, but he won’t be short on options.
Throughout the ten year career of Kownacki, he has shown an ability to improve each and every time he has entered the ring. 2020 will be an important year for his career in terms of his title aspirations. The undefeated Kownacki holds a top five ranking in the WBA, IBF and WBO sanctioning bodies. He also maintains a top 10 spot in the WBC as well.
With unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua currently tied up with two mandatory challengers, his 2020 is all but booked. WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder and Lineal champion Tyson Fury have a date of their own scheduled for February 22nd.Regardless of the winner, there is belief that the two could face each other once more during the second half of the year.
Kownacki’s championship opportunity are seemingly bleak during the 2020 year. However, if he can continue his dominant run through the division, he will soon find himself in a mandatory position. For Kownacki, winning a world championship would be an accomplishment for not only himself but for his entire country.
“I’m going to be the first Polish Heavyweight champion of the world,” said Kownacki during a recent press conference.
His first step towards that goal will come on March 7th.
What’s Next For Adam Kownacki?
By: Hans Themistode
Adam Kownacki came, he saw, but he didn’t quite conquer Chris Arreola.
The undefeated Heavyweight contender headlined his first card at the Barclay Center, in Brooklyn, New York on August 3rd. Kownacki proved to be a fan favorite as more than 8,000 Polish fans came out in full support. Many were expecting a knockout. Instead, they got themselves a historical fight as both Kownacki and Arreola combined to through and land more punches in any other fight according to CompuBox. It was a fight of the year contender for sure.
Kownacki still has eyes set on fighting for a world title, but will need a few more fights before getting put in there with the best in the division. Let’s see who should be next for his bout.
Dominic Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs) is coming off a brutal first round knockout at the hands of current WBC champ, Deontay Wilder. It was the kind of knockout that will forever play in the minds of the fans on an endless loop. After a performance such as that one, Breazeale must be chomping at the bit to get back in there.
Kownacki is going to take a well needed break after his war with Chris Arreola, but when these two are both physically ready, a fight between the two should materialize. They are both big punchers and desperately want to jump into title contention. A win for either man can turn one of them into a true contender.
The British born Joe Joyce (10-0, 9 KOs) is nicknamed the “Juggernaut” for a reason. He is a very big man. If Joyce and Kownacki were to get matched up with one another, Kownacki would be at a three inch height disadvantage as well as a five inch reach disadvantage.
Both men are in similar positions. They are undefeated and steadily climbing up the ranks. They also want the same thing and that is a title shot. Putting these two in the ring against one another seems a bit premature at this point but it would allow one of them to vault the other in the eyes of the public in terms of who is the better young fighter.
Losing does not feel great. It’s even worse when it happens back to back. That is exactly what happened to former WBO Heavyweight title holder, Joseph Parker (26-2, 20 KOs). His losses shouldn’t be condemning, as he lost to both Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte. Two highly rated fighters.
Still a loss is a loss. Since then, Parker has bounced back with wins over Alexander Flores and Alex Leapai, stopping both men. Parker he seemingly got his grove back. Kownacki wants to be fast tracked to a title. If this is true, then a win against Joseph Parker will provide him with just that.
Adam Kownacki and Chris Arreola Discuss Their Showdown
By: Hans Themistode
The Heavyweights are taking over Brooklyn New York, as both Adam Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs) and Chris Arreola (38-5-1, 33 KOs) will headline the Barclay Center, this coming Saturday on August 3rd.
With the Heavyweight division now seemingly wide open, this will be perfect opportunity for both men to make a statement. For Kownacki it is especially memorable for him to be headlining a card in his hometown of Brooklyn.
“I feel blessed. I grew up there, I grew up in Brooklyn,” said Kownacki. “It’s a big deal to be the headliner. Having all my friends, all my family, my community being there having my back. It’s very rewarding.”
Kownacki’s story may have a feel good theme to it, but his opponent, Chris Arreola, won’t allow there to be a happy ending.
“I’m looking to knock him out,” said Arreola during a recent media conversation. “He’s a really good fighter but right now he’s in my way. I still have championship goals in my head and I know that if I can beat this guy then I’ll get another crack at a world title.”
For Kownacki, he has placed himself on a specific pathway. Current WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder is who the undefeated Kownacki currently has his eyes set on. Arreola will represent the third opponent that both Kownacki and Wilder have fought in their respective careers.
Kownacki does not want to simply stop Arreola, but he wants to do so in a much more dominant fashion than what Wilder did to him when they matched up in 2016. In that contest Wilder dropped Arreola in the fourth and stopped him in the eighth round.
“I have been with two guys that Deontay Wilder fought with Artur Szpilka and Gerald Washington,” said Kownacki. “It took Wilder ten rounds to knock out Artur Szpilka in a very competitive fight when I just walked right through him. And the same thing with Gerald Washington. I knocked him out in two rounds. My next fight against Chris Arreola, another fight Wilder and I have in common, and I plan to do the same thing, walk right through him. I think if I could beat him in a better fashion than Deontay beat him before, then that’s a good statement!”
A shot at a title would undoubtedly be awaiting the winner of this contest. Kownacki just might be coming into this contest even more motivated than ever. Earlier this week he revealed that he had received a phone call a few months ago to be an opponent for former unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s U.S. debut. Kownacki turned down the fight. Stating that he was not in shape at that moment.
We all have seen what has happened since then as Andy Ruiz took the opportunity and went on to knock Joshua out in the seventh round. Kownacki does have a few regrets about missing out on his shot, and vows to never allow that to happen again.
“I’m making sure I stay in shape from now on. When I seen Andy Ruiz pull off the upset against Joshua I was just thinking that it should have been me. I only turned down the fight because it was short notice and I was not in shape at that time. I’ll make sure I am ready at all times now.”
With a motivated Kownacki, Arreola seems to be in a world of trouble come fight night. Still, this is a fight he can’t afford to lose. If he does however, come up short against Kownacki, then this will mark the end of his 16 year pro career.
“If I lose this fight, I will retire, plain and simple” said Arreola.
With so much riding on the line, expect this contest to be bombs away from the opening bell.
What’s Next for Deontay Wilder?
By: Hans Themistode
Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) told every and anyone that would listen, that he would kill Dominic Breazeale. (20-2, 18 KOs). On Saturday night, May 18th 2019 at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York, he nearly did just that. Wilder completely destroyed Breazeale with a devastating right hand in the opening round. Breazeale was out cold before he even touched the canvas. We can all expect to see Wilder back in the ring later this year, but against who?
Keep reading and we’ll give you the best possible opponents.
Outside of his showdown with Tyson Fury, WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has dominated his competition. Never has he looked to be in any real trouble, that was true until he stepped in the ring with Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) on March 3rd, 2018. It was a great contest, one that saw Wilder visibly hurt for the first in his career. Ortiz landed several monster shots that had Wilder in serious trouble. Not only was Wilder hurt, but he seemed to be getting outboxed as well. The problem for Ortiz is that he ran into the right hand of Wilder. From there it was goodnight. A rematch between these two would produce great fire works once again. Ortiz is one of the very few boxers in the world that stands a chance against Wilder. Let’s book the rematch as soon as possible.
The Brooklyn born Adam Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs) has quickly become a fan favorite, and for good reason. His come forward all action style has led to some exciting fights. Although he only has 19 fights, he has picked up some high quality wins including, knockouts of former title challengers Gerald Washington and Artur Szpilka. He also outpointed ex brief belt holder Charles Martin. The time has come for Kownacki to get this shot. Not many has what it takes to be a legitimate threat to Wilder, Kownacki is one of those very few.
Even with Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury batting to a draw in December of 2018, current unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) is still the man we all want to see face Wilder next. For as great of a fighter that Fury is, he just isn’t a big puncher. A match between Joshua and Wilder would undoubtedly end in a knockout. Both men are considered to be the best in the division. It’s time to end the debate.
What’s Next for Adam Kownacki?
By: Hans Themistode
The large footsteps you hear right now are those of Adam Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs).
This past Saturday night he absolutely steamrolled former title challenger Gerald Washington (19-3-1, 12 KOs) in only two rounds. Few expected Washington to come away with the victory but even fewer expected Kownacki to get by him with such ease. Washington isn’t a title contender but he is someone who has fought some of the best in the division and gave a good account for himself.
In his 2017 bout with current WBC champ Deontay Wilder it took him five rounds to dispatch of Washington. Current Heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller got rid of him in eight. Kownackis performance was much more dominant. Not only is Kownacki looking better and better in every fight but he is also becoming a huge fan favorite.
The undefeated contender is a fighter to keep an eye on. The question is who should he take on next? He isn’t quite ready just yet for a title shot but he’s close.
So who exactly should he take on next to take another step towards landing that title shot he’s calling for? Take a look at who we feel are the next best options for Kownackis next fight.
Joseph Parker (25-2, 19 KOs) has fallen on hard times as of late. Just as recent as last year he was the undefeated WBO champion. Fast forward one year later and he no longer carries around that title nor does he sport that undefeated record. Back to back losses to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte is nothing to be ashamed of but he needs a win over a good opponent.
Adam Kownacki has fought decent competition up to this point in his career but none come close to the calibre of Parker. Not only does he have good boxing ability and more than respectable power but he showed in both his fights against Joshua and Whyte that you’ll need to hit him with a Mack truck in order to put him down and out.
In short, Kownacki won’t find an easy opponent in Parker. Both of these guys need each other at this point in their careers. A win for either guy can vault them to the next in line for a title shot.
Sure Alexander Povetkin (34-2, 24 KOs) was knocked out in his last bout when he challenged current unified champion Anthony Joshua but he is still one of the very best in the Heavyweight division. Even with Povetkin getting a bit long in the tooth at age 39 he can still cause major problems for Kownacki if they ever found themselves matched up.
Povetkin has only lost to some of the very best in Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko. If Kownacki not only scored a victory over Povetkin but did so in devastating fashion that would present him with the biggest win in his career.
If Kownacki truly wants to show that he should be mentioned as a serious title threat than a matchup with Luis Ortiz (30-1, 26 KOs) is what he should be aiming for. Ortiz lone blemish on his record came via tenth round stoppage at the hands of WBC champion Deontay Wilder. In that fight Ortiz gave Wilder all he can handle, proving that not only is he a great boxer but that he is also one helluva puncher as he had Wilder seriously hurt several times throughout the contest.
A win over Ortiz will grab the attention of everyone in the division. Kownacki has been able to mow down his competition thus far. Ortiz on the other hand would be a completely different story. If Kownacki wants to be next in line for a title shot than a win over Ortiz can provide him with just that.
Adam Kownacki: “I Always Come Forward”
By: Sean Crose
In the summer of 2017, at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, Brooklyn – by way of Poland – native Adam Kownacki met with fellow heavyweight Artur Szpilka in a scheduled 10 round affair. Szpilka, who had just battled WBC powerhouse Deontay Wilder, didn’t make it past the fourth round. Fast forward to last summer at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. On his home turf, Kownacki stepped in the ring to face former IBF heavyweight champ Charles Martin. That fight went to the cards, but it was Kownacki who walked away with the UD win.
Now Kownacki, 18-0, is set to face well known heavyweight contender Gerald Washington, 19-2-1, on the undercard of the Keith Thurman – Josesito Lopez fight on January 26th. Kownacki, who fights with Al Haymon’s PBC, will once again be fighting at Barclay’s. “I love it, you know,” he says about fighting on his home turf once again. Kownacki also enjoys being apart of PBC. “It’s great,” he says. “I’ve been with Al and PBC for five years.” To Kownacki, there’s obvious benefits to being part of the same stable as Wilder, Thurman, and many others, “especially with exposure.”
As a young man, Kownacki first got the boxing bug watching fellow Pole Andrew Golata. “Watching him really drove me to boxing,” he says. There were no boxing gyms near Kownacki’s home, but “there was a gym in Astoria, Queens.” After building a solid foundation, it was on to (the famous Brooklyn gym) Gleasons, (and) winning the Golden Gloves.” The rest, as they say, is history. Still, the man is willing to give credit to those around him. “I’ve got a really good team behind me,” he says, adding that right now he wants his career to continue along “the best route available.”
And now the route is leading him to the tall and formidable Washington. “Camp is going great,” says Kownacki, who says he is “working on doubling, tripling the jab.” Kownacki also claims he’s been having “great sparring” in the leadup to the Washington fight. Although, with 14 out of his 18 wins coming by knockout, he can be viewed as a power puncher, Kownacki views things realistically. “You’ve got to keep winning,” he says. “Of course you want to get the knockout.” Still, “the win is most important.” Not that Kownacki is ever going to be primarily a defensive minded fighter.
“I always comes forward,” he says. That strategy has proven to be good for Kownacki…and good for fans of exciting fights, as well.
Crolla and Burns set for “Battle of Britain”
By: Thomas B Nicholls
British Lightweight stars Anthony Crolla and Ricky Burns are set to do battle at a packed Manchester Arena on October 7th.
Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn announced the bout earlier this week and Sky Sports will broadcast the crossroads clash.
Both Crolla & Burns have been relieved of their world titles in 2017 and with their careers in jeopardy, it’s a simple “must win” for both men.
48 fight veteran Scot, Ricky Burns was convincingly beaten in his unification fight with Julius Indongo back in April, the Namibian southpaw outclassed Burns with a slick performance and is now set to tackle P4P star Terence Crawford.
Similarly, Mancunian Crolla lost his rematch with Jorge Linares in March as he had no answer for the Venezuelan’s s elite and elusive fighting style. Linares is now set to defend his world honours against British Olympian Luke Campbell at the end of September.
Burns will no doubt be backed by the partisan “Tartan Army” as he bids to find his former glory. Burns is Scotland’s first and only three-weight world champion and at 34, he knows he must win if his career is to get back on track.
Burns said “It’s going to be a great fight, there was a lot of talk in recent weeks, the response we got was unbelievable. People want to see it and now the deal is done I’m looking forward to it.”
“It doesn’t bother me where I fight, there will be a good crowd coming down from Scotland. It’s a fight the fans have been getting up for and I’m sure they will turn up in their numbers.
“When I held world titles at super-featherweight and lightweight, Crolla’s name was always mentioned but it never happened.
“He’s a great guy and a great fighter, I don’t think you’ll get much trash talk in the build-up. The best man will win on the night.”
Bookmakers SkyBet have installed Crolla as the pre-fight favourite, perhaps favouring the youthfulness of the Manchester man. Both fighters will be desperate for the win as a defeat could determine the end of their career.
Speaking of the importance of the fight, Crolla said “All I want to do is be involved in big fights and Ricky Burns is a three-weight world champion. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He’s a great fighter and only lost to the very best.”
“I’m looking forward to going to battle and putting on a display for the fans. Camp started a few weeks ago and I’m in a good place. “It’s at a good time for both of us. A win puts us back in the mix for titles. I’m not going to say the loser has nowhere to go, but it’s going to be a tough road back. We’re both coming off losing our world titles and the incentive is to win the fight and get back in the frame.”
Despite there being no title on the line, this has the foundations to be a fight for the ages. Both men conduct themselves impeccably outside of the ring and there was little trash talking in the press conference, it’s clear to see that their energy will be channelled in to resurrecting /prolonging their careers.
If I was to give my prediction, for whatever it’s worth, I predict Ricky Burns the victor in a barnstorming 12 round war.
Boxing Thoughts on an Eventful Summer
Boxing Thoughts on an Eventful Summer
By Adam J. Pollack
Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn. It is sad that all of the outrage about the alleged robbery actually robs Horn of the accolades that he rightfully deserves. That was a close fight, not a robbery, and Horn fought the perfect fight. Overall, he dictated and was more in control of matters than Pacquiao. Horn had awkward head movement, in-and-out side-to-side footwork, altering the tempos and rhythms of the fight, attacking ferociously, mauling and outworking Pac on the inside, pulling his head down (which Referee Mark Nelson allowed), occasionally butting, then moving and ducking again, showing his versatility. Horn fought the better fight, and had the superior generalship and energy in the contest. Except for the 9th round, Pac never could time or get a read on him, and his range was off. His energy levels overall were fairly low, and lower than they needed to be when he most needed energy late in the fight, when most thought Horn would fade from all of his work. But Horn was in great, superior shape, and Pac was not. All three judges had it for Horn unanimously.
Pacquiao did almost no fighting on the inside, but that is where he needed to work, because he was the shorter fighter with shorter arms, and often was falling short or missing from the outside owing to Horn’s footwork, head movement, and superior height and reach. But Pac was getting manhandled by Horn’s strength, particularly since Pac mostly tried to hold on the inside, rarely worked while there, rarely countered when close, and used a passive defense, which only encouraged Horn.
Let’s face it. Pac has gone up a lot of weight divisions over his lifetime. He looked like a blown-up lightweight fighting a thickly built middleweight in there. The size disparity was quite obvious. Horn’s height, reach, size and strength were big factors in the fight.
Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev. First of all, due credit must be given to Ward for being one of the most courageous champions in the sport. He always has been willing to fight the best out there, and he has proven it consistently, against guys still at the top of their games, which is more than one can say for a lot of so-called champions in this sport. That alone places him at the top or near the top of the pound-for-pound list. His resume features the who’s who of his division’s elites, from Kessler, Abraham, Froch, Dawson, and now Kovalev, not once, but twice. Even some of the lesser-known guys he has fought, like Edwin Rodriguez and Sullivan Barrera, have been real fighters who would be tough outs for anyone but Ward.
As for the Kovalev rematch, before the fight I said that if Kovalev thinks he can just go in there and overpower Ward, and not engage in some real honest reflection about some of his mistakes in the first fight, he was doomed to lose again. Andre Ward is a very smart fighter. Regardless of his poor start in the first fight, he was the one who made the adjustments to make that fight close, whereas after Ward adjusted, Kovalev did not. It likely would be the case that Ward, having learned a great deal from the first fight, would come into the second with a better game plan. I said that if Kovalev did not work on his inside game, footwork, relaxation, punch volume and gears, he was going to lose by an even wider margin this time, though I believed it would be via decision.
In the rematch, after the first few rounds, Kovalev looked lethargic, listless, and confused. He had even less energy than in the first fight. He made no adjustments, mentally was not all there, and seemed more fatigued than the relatively slow pace would have made one think he would be. Now some of his fatigue might have been owing to the occasional low blow, which oddly enough, Referee Tony Weeks either failed to see or failed to warn Ward about. Getting hit low tends to wear you down. But we all know that if the referee does not help you, you need to help yourself. But Kovalev did very little to help himself in any way.
Conversely, Ward’s defense was near perfect, he landed the cleaner crisper blows, particularly to the body, but also several solid jabs and lead rights to the chin. Kovalev clearly was hurt by the body blows, and he was affected by some solid blows to the chin. Like the first fight, after a competitive first 3 rounds, as of the 4th round, one could tell that Ward had adjusted and slightly taken over, and felt more comfortable, whereas Kovalev seemed more confused. By the middle of the fight, it certainly appeared that Ward was en route to another victory.
All that said, it doesn’t change the fact that Ward landed several low blows in the 7th and 8th rounds, and the final blow which doubled over Kovalev and led referee Tony Weeks to stop the contest, was low. True, Kovalev had been hurt by a right to the chin, but he was finished with a low blow. It should not have been stopped at that point. Kovalev should have been given a recovery period and the action allowed to resume, per the unified rules. The referee deprived Kovalev the opportunity to recover from the foul blow, Ward the opportunity to win cleanly and without controversy, and the fans the benefit of their bargain.
Kovalev subsequently has issued a statement that making weight has affected his endurance, and it might be time to move up to cruiserweight. We shall see.
Perhaps the more controversial fight was on the undercard: Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Moises Flores. Rigondeaux should have been disqualified. He clearly and flagrantly held and hit, which set up the knockout blow, which was thrown and landed after the bell rang. How in the world anyone could watch that and say Rigondeaux deserves to win by knockout is beyond me. It is a reflection of the utter lack of integrity in this sport. Sure they changed it days later to a no contest, but one has to wonder how they got it so wrong on fight night. The result that night was absolutely wrong. If you don’t want to be disqualified, don’t commit flagrant harm fouls. The reluctance to disqualify a name fighter for egregious breaches of the rules is in part why boxing does not have the same level of respect as a sport.
The July 15 fight card at the Forum in Los Angeles might not have the biggest names in boxing, but there are some really good match-ups that should prove entertaining.
Miguel Berchelt vs. Takashi Miura. Both guys come to fight. Junior lightweight Miura is a bit more of the unpolished tough brawler, and Berchelt a bit more of the boxer, but Berchelt also has the power to hurt as well, having scored 28 knockouts in his 31 victories. Berchelt hasn’t lost a fight in over three years, his only defeat, and is coming off a KO11 victory over then undefeated Francisco Vargas. Southpaw Miura, 31-3-2, has 24 knockout victories to his credit, and is coming off a KO12 over 56-11 Miguel Roman. He has a common opponent with Berchelt, having been stopped in 9 rounds by Francisco Vargas in a fight in which both fighters were down. Naturally Berchelt is the clear favorite, but Miura is no easy out.
Joe Smith, Jr., 23-1, 19 KOs, vs. Sullivan Barrera, 19-1, 14 KOs. This might well be the best and most intriguing match-up on the card. This will be a true test for Smith. There still are a lot of question-marks surrounding him. Right or wrong, folks can find ways to explain away his recent big victories – Fonfara got caught cold, Hopkins was 50 years old, had been beaten up by Kovalev, and hadn’t fought in two years. There is no doubt that Smith is a very heavy-handed puncher who probably can hurt anyone he hits. But does he have the power, skill, and condition needed to beat Barrera, a guy who went a competitive 12 rounds with Andre Ward in his only loss, and who has knockout victories over sturdy guys like Karo Murat and Vyacheslav Shabransky? That question makes this fight very intriguing. There definitely is a real aura of danger for Smith in this one.
Terence Crawford, 31-0, 22 KOs, might well be the actual best pound-for-pound fighter in the world right now, and he’s fighting to become the first undisputed and undefeated champion in his weight division in quite a long time. On August 19, he will be taking on undefeated southpaw Julius Indongo, 22-0, 11 KOs, who is awkward, tall, long, and strong, and should not be underestimated. This should be a worthwhile junior welterweight matchup. Watching Crawford is like watching poetry in motion. But Indongo is the type of guy who will do whatever it takes to muck it all up and make it ugly, if he can.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr., 49-0, 26 KOs, vs. Connor McGregor, pro boxing debut, on August 26. You know, it makes me laugh and roll my eyes a little just to write that a guy with 49 pro boxing fights is fighting a guy making his pro boxing debut. It reminds me of when Floyd Patterson defended his world heavyweight championship against then pro debuting Pete Rademacher. But you know, as ridiculous as that fight was in its inception, at least Rademacher had actual boxing experience, and had won an Olympic gold medal, in boxing.
To the best of my knowledge, Connor McGregor is an MMA fighter. Sure, stand-up boxing is an element of MMA, but it isn’t what the sport is. Thinking this is a real fight is like taking the best ping pong player in the world and matching him in a tennis match with Roger Federer, or vice versa. Or taking the best bicyclist and putting him on a track to run against the world’s best 10,000 meter runner. At first blush, some might say ‘Maybe, they are similar,’ but anyone who understands the real differences between the sports understands it is more like apples and oranges than one might think. McGregor has no more chance to defeat Floyd in boxing than Floyd has to defeat McGregor in MMA.
Sure, McGregor will last some rounds, owing to the fact that Floyd is extremely careful, cautious, defensive-minded, and minimalist offensively. But don’t let that fool you or give you the wrong impression about McGregor’s performance. Floyd’s caution is all the more reason why McGregor has almost zero chance – Floyd won’t give him the opportunity to land even a lucky punch. He’s going to methodically pick him apart and bust him up.
The fight is non-competitive in its inception. If folks want to buy that, and there is a market for that, then so be it. If you purchase and pay for it, all you are doing is encouraging more ridiculous fights like this to occur. Floyd is a businessman who wants to make the most money for the least risk, so if the fight earns him a lot of money, from a business perspective, one cannot fault him. It certainly is the least risk possible. It will be the easiest money he has earned in a long time, perhaps ever. But from a sporting perspective, he deserves excoriation.
Mayweather is banking on the fact that there is a market for the freak show, the side show, the curiosity. This isn’t boxing as much as it is show business. This is like a circus, with promotion which will be akin to wrestlemania, and like the ringleader and circus master P.T. Barnum once said, “There is a sucker born every minute.” Back in 1910, when Jack Johnson defeated James J. Jeffries, who had been the betting favorite despite not having fought in six years, one observer wrote, “We fool ourselves every day more than other people fool us.” This fight is a fight to fool fools who will help fool themselves.
Perhaps some MMA folks will watch to see how well an MMA fighter can do with an elite boxer, and some boxing folks will watch to see the boxer pummel the MMA fighter. Some might liken it to Rocky. Some folks will be hoping that McGregor, like Rocky, shocks the world with his performance. But we all know what happens in real life.
Japan’s world superflyweight champion Naoya Inoue, 13-0, 11 KOs, is one of the best, most talented pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but amongst the least known top fighters. He will be fighting Antonio Nieves, 17-2-2 on September 9 in California. Check him out. You are in for a real treat.
Mike Tyson’s Appeals of His Rape Conviction, Revisited
Mike Tyson’s Appeals of His Rape Conviction, Revisited
By Adam J. Pollack
To this day, debate continues regarding whether or not former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson received a fair trial which lead to his conviction for sexually assaulting Desiree Washington. Perhaps the best information regarding the debate is from the appellate court decisions themselves.
Refusal to Allow Impeaching Witnesses to Testify
In his appeal,Mike Tyson argued that the trial court erred when it refused to permit him to call as witnesses three women who came forward during the course of the trial: Carla Martin, Pam Lawrence, and R Renee Neal, all of whom would have contradicted Desiree Washington’s version of events.
Martin was anticipated to testify that Martin and Lawrence were in a car parked in front of the Canterbury Hotel at approximately 1:40 a.m. on July 19, 1991, waiting for a friend, Renee Neal. While there, Martin observed a limousine pull in front of the hotel. Martin saw a man and a woman “hugging and kissing” in the backseat of the limousine (who turned out to be Tyson and Washington).Ms. Martin exclaimed to Ms. Lawrence that the two were all over each other. Martin would testify that she then observed the African-American woman with shoulder-length curly hair and Tyson, whom Martin immediately recognized, exit the backseat of the limousine and enter the hotel. As Tyson and the woman entered the hotel together, Martin saw Renee Neal, who was exiting the hotel, bump into the couple. Martin also observed that, as the couple entered the hotel, the woman “move[d] toward Mr. Tyson until their upper bodies appeared to be touching, and she appeared to put her arm in Mr. Tyson’s.”
Lawrence, if called as a witness, would testify that she heard Ms. Martin remark that the two people in the limousine were all over one another. Ms. Lawrence looked over and saw two persons sitting in the backseat of the limousine in close proximity to one another.
Neal’s testimony would be that she “observed the man and woman [who had exited a gold limousine] holding hands as they entered the hotel.”
Their testimony would have contradicted Desiree Washington’s version of events, for she testified that Tyson hugged and kissed her when she first got into the limousine at her hotel, but no further physical contact occurred in the limousine thereafter, and that she walked into his hotel behind him, not arm-in-arm or holding hands.
The trial judge ruled that the witnesses had come forward too late, and that the Defendant took too long to notify the Court about their existence and intent to use them. The trial began on January 27, 1992. The witnesses came forward to the defense team on January 30, 1992. The prosecution was first notified about the witnesses on February 2, 1992.
In Tyson v. State, 619 N.E.2d 276 (Ind.App. 2 Dist., 1993), in a 2 to 1 vote, the Indiana Court of Appeals refused to reverse his conviction and grant Tyson a new trial. The Court agreed that it was clear that the anticipated testimonywould have contradicted the testimony of Washington that there was no physical contact between her and Tyson after the limousine left her hotel.
Nevertheless, as impeaching evidence, the Courtof Appeals held that the excluded testimony was cumulative. Washington was impeached on other points, including the details of the rape. For example, fellow Miss Black America pageant contestant Madeline Whittington testified that Washington told her she was going out with Tyson and stated, “This is Mike Tyson. He’s got a lot of money. He’s dumb. You see what Robin Givens got out of him.”
Pasha Oliver, one of Washington’s roommates during the pageant, testified that Washington told her Tyson restrained her during the rape by pinning her wrists together and covering her mouth with his arm or hand, and that she asked Tyson to take her home after the rape and he refused, which made her angry. Again, Washington expressly denied both of these things.
Further, there was additional testimony that Washington gave conflicting accounts of how the incidents in question occurred.
The majority noted that the dissent argued that the excluded testimony was not cumulative, but “is different in kind and character from other evidence adduced at trial.” It made this statement based upon the conclusion that “the manner in which Tyson and D.W. acted toward each other shortly before the acts complained of has extreme relevance to whether or not Tyson might have reasonably believed, from all the surrounding circumstances and events, that D.W. consented even though as a factual matter she did not consent.”
Yet, ultimately the Court of Appeals held that the evidence of the conduct that occurred between Tyson and Washington in the limousine before they entered the hotel and their conduct as they entered the hotel was not crucial, considering the spectrum of evidence that corroborated the determination that Tyson reasonably and honestly believed Washington would consent to sexual conduct in the future, and the spectrum of impeaching evidence that was admitted during the course of the trial, including Washington’s inconsistent descriptions of the critical details of the conduct that occurred in Tyson’s hotel room. Therefore, the Court of Appeals held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the testimony of Martin, Lawrence, and Neal was not vital to Tyson’s defense.
Exclusion of Evidence of Desiree Washington’s Prior Sexual History and Incidents With Her Parents
Tyson also argued that the State’s examination of Washington, as well as its opening and closing arguments, left the jury with the impression that she was a “sexual innocent whose religious beliefs prohibited any premarital sex and who was far too naive to understand the implications of going to Tyson’s hotel room in the middle of the night.” Tyson cited portions of Washington’s testimony which he asserted created an impression of innocence, including that she was active in her church, a doer of good deeds, and an award-winning student. He contended that the State’s characterization of her during opening and closing arguments as a “kid” with “eyes this big” who put on her “jammies” before bed and who expected to go home “the same girl” after her date with Tyson further enhanced this image.
Hence, he argued that he should have been able to challenge and impeach this impression of an “angelic image” by cross-examining her about her sexual history and prior sexual conduct. However, the Court of Appeals held that Tyson’s legal counsel failed to preserve the issue, even though it specifically requested to be allowed to enter such evidence into the record, and the judge refused.
Tyson further argued that the trial court erred in preventing him from referring to incidents between Washington and her parents which would have given her a motive to fabricate the rape charge. Again, the Court of Appeals held that counsel failed to preserve the issue properly, even though his counsel had requested to admit the evidence and make an offer of proof, which request was denied.
Admission of Hearsay Evidence
Tyson argued that the trial court erred by admitting into evidence an audio tape of the phone call Washington placed to 911 24 hours after he allegedly raped her. The Court of Appeals ruled that at most, it was harmless error.
Erroneous Jury Instructions
Tyson argued that the trial court should have provided the jury with several requested jury instructions, which was prejudicial to him. He wanted instructions regarding mistake of fact and reasonable belief. He argued that even if in fact Washington in her own mind was not consenting, if a reasonable person in Tyson’s position mistakenly believed that she was consenting, then he could not be found guilty.
Tyson testified, “I believe that we had both made it clear earlier that day what was going to happen. … I’m sure we made it clear.” Tyson testified that earlier in the day, soon after he had met Washington, he explained to her “that I wanted to fuck her,” and she responded, “Sure, just give me a call.” At nearly 2 a.m., he picked her up from her hotel, she went with him to his hotel, and they went into his hotel room and had sex.
He said Washington responded in a positive manner to his kissing in the limousine while riding to his hotel, and that while he was kissing her in the hotel room she was “dropping her jacket, you know, getting her jacket off quick.” He also testified that he complied with Washington’s request not to ejaculate in her and that he asked her to stay the night.He further testified:
Q.: Did you undress her?
A.: I did.
* * * * * *
Q.: What happened then, Mr. Tyson?
A.: As I’m kissing her, she’s moving fast. I’m kissing her. She dropping [sic] her jacket…. I’m kissing on her neck and I’m kissing her around the ears, the back of her neck, her chest, her nipples, her stomach, and I believe she had a white shirt on as well. She’s trying to get that off. So I came back while she was taking it off and she had taken off those shorts–she had some shorts. She took off her shorts. I took my shirt off at the time. She had took [sic] off her underwear and the underwear dropped to her knees, and I pulled the underwears [sic] off, and then I took off–I had shorts that I had took off [sic]. I continued kissing on her body.
Q.: Then what happened?
* * * * * *
A.: We were having oral sex a little while, and she had told me to stop, and she had told me to come up, come up. She said, “No, come up.”
Q.: Meaning what?
A.: Indicating that she wanted me to insert my penis in her.
* * * * * *
Q.: And what did you do then?
A.: She had told me not to come in her. She said, “Don’t come in me, don’t come in me. I’m not on the pill,” and I pulled back and I ejaculated on her stomach and her leg.
Washington testified that when Tyson saw she was crying during the rape and after the two acts of criminal deviate conduct (oral and digital sex), he asked if she wanted to “get on top,” to which she responded in the affirmative without “then explaining to him that she agreed to go on top only because she thought it would enable her to get away,” and that she asked Tyson to, “Please put a condom on” and said, “I don’t need a baby.” Tyson argued that such statements would give a reasonable person the belief that she was consenting, even if she was not.
Washington’s testimony on direct examination included:
A.: I walked out of the room, out of the bathroom … and then I glanced over and I saw the Defendant in his underwear….
Q.: What was your reaction?
A.: I was terrified.
Q.: What did you say?
A.: “It’s time for me to leave.”
Q.: Like that?
Q.: And his response?
A.: “Come here.” And he grabbed my arm, and then he was, like, “Don’t fight me. Come here,” and then he stuck his tongue in my mouth.
Q.: What did you do?
A.: Just pulled back…. He started saying, “Don’t fight me.” I tried to fight him…. It was like hitting a wall. It didn’t do anything.
Q.: What did he do next?
A.: He started taking off that outer jacket that I had on. He started taking that off, and I’m like, “Get off me. Stop. Get off me,” and he just kept going. Then the next thing I knew, he put me down on the bed or slammed me actually down on the bed, and he started grabbing the rest of the stuff down, and he kept kissing me and kept saying, “Don’t fight me, don’t fight me, relax, don’t fight me.”
Q.: Did you try to negotiate with him?
A.: Yeah. That was after he put his hands in me, his fingers, in my vagina.
Q.: Okay, How did he get his hand down there?
A.: He was between my legs, and he just put his fingers in there, started jamming them in really, really hard, and that’s when tears started to come to my eyes, and I was, like, “Owww, please, stop.”
Q.: Did you mention to him that you were worried about pregnancy?
A.: Yeah. That was–he started to pull out his penis, and he was over me, and I just freaked out and I started saying anything because I knew that hitting him and stuff wasn’t going to help me. So, I just started saying anything that I could think of, like, “Please, I have a future ahead of me. Please, I have college. I can’t have a baby. What are you doing?” You know, “Please put a condom on.” I was just–anything to get him off of me so that I could get out of there, and he was just, like, “Well, I don’t have anything and I know that you don’t.” I’m like, “Please, I don’t need a baby. I don’t need a baby.” I was begging him. I was saying anything that I could say to him, and nothing worked. He was just, like, “So we’ll have a baby,” and he just jammed himself in me…. [H]e exposed his penis.
Q.: What did he do then?
A.: He jammed it in my vagina.
Q.: What did you do?
A.: I screamed out–not screamed, but I was like, “Owww,” and then I just started crying and I–
Q.: Pain again?
Q.: Did you tell him you hurt?
A.: Yes…. It was just excruciating. It just hurt. He just slammed himself in me. It just felt like someone was ripping me apart. I don’t know how to explain it. It just hurt.
Q.: Okay. What efforts, if any, did you make to try to get loose, to try to get away?
A.: I was trying to punch him and stuff like that. I was trying to back up. I was trying to do a lot of things. Nothing worked.
Q.: Okay. What’s he doing while you’re trying to do all this?
A.: He was telling me not to fight him, and then he started saying, “Don’t fight me, mommy. Don’t fight me,” and he just kept going. He just kept slamming himself really hard.
Q.: Did you change position?
A.: At one point, he said, “Oh, you’re crying,” and he stopped for a second and his voice started to, like, be a little bit normal again, and then he just turned evil again, and really mean, and his eyes got all mean, and he just kept going really hard, and then he goes, like, “Well, do you want to be on top?” and I thought I could get away. So I said, “Yeah,” and I was crying when I said it, and he flipped over. Then I tried to get away, and he was, like, “I told you not to fight me,” and he slammed me back down again and rolled back over again.
Q.: Okay. Do you have any idea as to how long he remained inside of you?
A.: Until he was done…. Until he ejaculated.
Q.: Did you see him do that?
Q.: Tell us what he did.
A.: He pulled back and there was stuff coming out, and he said, “I told you I wouldn’t come in you. Don’t you love me now.”
Q.: He said, “Don’t you love me now?” and what was your response?
A.: I just looked at him like I was disgusted.
Tyson argued that “[a] properly instructed jury could have found (or entertained a reasonable doubt) that these exchanges could have led a reasonable person to believe that Desiree Washington consented, even if in her own mind she may not have been consenting.” The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s rejection of his proposed jury instructions, holding that the facts did not merit such instructions.
Prejudicial Closing Argument
The defense argued that prosecutor Greg Garrison improperly prejudiced the jury when in closing argument he read edited portions of U.S. Supreme Court Justice White’s dissenting opinion in United States v. Wade,388 U.S. 218 (1967). The portions read stated,
“Law enforcement officers have the obligation to convict the guilty and to make sure that they do not convict the innocent. They must be dedicated to making the criminal trial a procedure for the ascertainment of the true facts surrounding the commission of a crime. To this extent our so-called adversary system is not adversary at all, nor should it be. But defense counsel has no comparable obligation to ascertain or present the truth. Our system assigns him a different mission. He must be and is interested in preventing the conviction of the innocent, but absent a voluntary plea of guilty, we also insist that he defend his client whether he is innocent or guilty. The State has the obligation to present the evidence. The defense counsel needs to present nothing, even if he knows what the truth is. He need not furnish any witness to the police or reveal any confidence of his client or furnish any other information to help the prosecution’s case. If he can confuse a witness, even a truthful one, or make him appear at a disadvantage, unsure, or indecisive, that will be his normal course. Our interest in not convicting the innocent permits counsel to put the State to its proof, to put the State’s case in worse [sic] possible light regardless of what he thinks or knows to be the truth. In this respect, as part of our modified adversary system and as part of the duty imposed upon honorable defense counsel, we countenance or require conduct which in many instances has little, if any, relationship to the search for the truth.”
The Court of Appeals held that the objection was not preserved properly, because Tyson’s counsel objected only to the prosecutor reading case law in general, not the particular case.
Selection of the Judge by the Prosecutor
Tyson argued that he was denied due process because the prosecutor was able to select the trial judge who would preside over his case. He argued that the current system of assigning criminal cases to particular divisions in Marion County erroneously permits the prosecutor to determine the particular room within the criminal division to which a case is assigned, for the prosecutor knows which judge handles cases in which room. It was fundamentally unfair to allow the prosecutor to choose the judge he wanted;the inference being that a different judge might have issued different rulings throughout the trial.
On July 29, 1991, the Marion County prosecutor filed a petition requesting that a special grand jury be convened to investigate Washington’s allegations against Tyson. Pursuant to Indiana law, IC 35-24-2-14 (1988), the prosecutor could file this petition with any judge in Marion County; and he chose to file it with Judge Gifford, who was presiding in Room 4 of the criminal division. In this way, the prosecutor selected the particular room and, in the absence of a valid motion for change of judge, selected Judge Patricia Gifford as the presiding judge.
The Court of Appeals ruled that because Tyson failed to show that he was prejudiced in any way by the selection of the particular room or judge, he was not deprived of his due process rights.
And yet, the Court of Appeals also said,
“However, we strongly urge the criminal division of the Marion County Superior Court to change the method by which cases are assigned to the rooms in the division. The existing system of filing cases is totally inappropriate and must be abandoned in favor of a system in which the prosecutor cannot control the assignment of a case to a particular judge. Presently, the criminal division of the Marion County Superior Court lacks the appearance of impartiality that is required to maintain the confidence of the public and the accused in the system.”
Despite this “totally inappropriate” method which “lacked the appearance of impartiality” required to maintain the confidence of the public and the accused in the system, Tyson’s conviction was not reversed.
The Dissenting Opinion
In his strong dissent from the majority opinion, Judge Patrick Sullivan argued that Tyson’s conviction should be reversed and he should have been granted a new trial. He believed that Tyson had not been afforded a fair trial or a level playing field. “My review of the entire record in the cause leads me to the inescapable conclusion that he did not receive the requisite fairness which is essential to our system of criminal justice.”
This judge believed that the three excluded witnesses for the defense should have been allowed to testify. Defense counsel could not have revealed the witnesses sooner, because they were not yet known. Further, they had a duty to conduct a reasonable investigation before seeking to add witnesses. They acted reasonably and diligently.
“Not only was there no discovery order breach, there was no delay, substantial or otherwise. Even if there were some degree of unexplained delay, given the absence of bad faith upon the part of the defense, the State at most would be entitled to a continuance. … Failure to request a continuance constitutes a waiver of an alleged discovery breach. … Not only did the State not seek a continuance, it categorically stated that it did not want a continuance.”
This judge recognized the potential importance of the excluded testimony:
“The State’s position with respect to the prejudice to its presentation of evidence becomes somewhat schizophrenic, and most certainly inconsistent. On the one hand, the State attempts to diminish the importance of the testimony of the three witnesses by asserting that it would have had minimal impact upon the issues and was meaningless as merely cumulative. On the other hand, the State has acknowledged that the excluded testimony might have grave implications for a successful prosecution. It so indicated by emphasizing the great lengths to which the State would have to go to combat this testimony. It is clear that the State did not think the evidence to be merely cumulative. The State was very concerned “given the impact of these witnesses on this case, given the notoriety of this case, given what this case is all about…. These witnesses clearly would have been telling a story wholly different than the story we had.” …
As earlier noted, we are restricted in validating the ruling of the trial court to the reasons she gave. The trial court did not base its exclusion of the testimony upon a determination that the proffered evidence would merely be cumulative. The majority here, however, utilizes a conclusion to that effect to affirm the ruling. In doing so it errs.”
The dissenting judge also believed the majority confused the differences between cumulative and corroborative evidence in its justifications.
“It is my view that the majority erroneously or inadvertently uses the term “cumulative” interchangeably with the term “corroborative”. Cumulative evidence is that which goes to prove what has already been established by other evidence. … Corroborative evidence tends to corroborate or to confirm while cumulative evidence merely augments or tends to prove what has already been proved. … Evidence which brings to life some new and independent truth of a different character, although it tends to prove the same proposition or ground of claim before insisted on, is not cumulative, within the true meaning of the rule….
The testimony sought to be admitted here was different in kind and character from other evidence adduced at trial. It went to an issue or issues and to facts or observations not covered by other evidence. It was not cumulative. It may have been in the nature of corroboration with respect to the crucial facts surrounding and immediately preceding the sexual acts but that very aspect of corroboration is what made the exclusion of the evidence prejudicial to the defense.”
The dissenting judge took the majority to task for calling the evidence merely impeaching, as if that was not crucially important to the defense, and also noted that Tyson’s proposed jury instructions regarding mistake of fact should have been provided to the jury:
“One aspect of the majority opinion considers the excluded evidence as merely impeaching in nature and holds that it was merely cumulative of evidence which impeached D.W. “on other points”. … I strongly disagree. Even if the offered evidence were to be construed solely as impeaching, impeachment upon one issue is not cumulative of impeachment upon other issues. …
The evidence of record, to which the excluded evidence is thought by the majority to be cumulative, demonstrates that the jury was entitled to believe that there was consensual sexual contact in the hotel room. There was testimony to that effect from Reverend Katherine Newlin, who attended D.W. at the hospital. … At a very minimum, such testimony gives rise to a strong and reasonable inference of consensual sexual contact in the hotel room. It is baffling indeed, therefore, that the majority proceeds to cavalierly discount the defendant’s reasonable belief contention.
The manner in which Tyson and D.W. acted toward each other shortly before the acts complained of has great relevance to whether or not Tyson, at the time, might have reasonably believed, from all the surrounding circumstances and events, that D.W. was consenting–even though as a factual matter she did not consent. …
The issue is not whether Tyson reasonably believed that D.W. would consent. It is whether he reasonably believed that she was consenting. In this sense, then, the exclusion of the testimony from Martin, Neal and Lawrence was particularly prejudicial and that prejudice was magnified by the failure to give instructions with respect to mistake of fact, reasonable belief or to instruct that the degree of culpability, i.e., knowing, was applicable to the essential element of compelling force.
In holding that the evidence excluded was “only minimally corroborative of Tyson’s testimony” with respect to D.W.’s receptiveness to Tyson’s physical advances, the majority usurps the jury function. It is totally inappropriate for this court to convert speculation as to the credit and weight which a jury would give certain evidence or the impact of such evidence upon their consideration of other evidence into a holding as a matter of law.
Without question there was error in excluding the testimony of Ms. Martin, Ms. Neal and Ms. Lawrence. Without question that error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.”
This judge believed that “the excluded testimony of Ms. Martin, Ms. Neal and Ms. Lawrence would have added to the factual mix before the jury and may have reasonably tipped the deliberative balance in favor of acquittal.”
Tyson’s Second Appeal
In Tyson v. State, 626 N.E.2d 482 (Ind.App. 2 Dist., 1993), Mike Tyson alleged that his conviction should be reversed as a result of newly discovered evidence, which was that all along Washington had planned to sue Tyson in civil court, despite previous claims to the contrary.
However, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that Tyson’s counsel had failed to ask Washington if she expected to receive any monetary benefits from her experience; if she had retained a lawyer named Ed Gerstein to pursue a civil suit; if she had any written agreement with Gerstein; if she had contemplated bringing a civil suit; if she had the present intent to sue Tyson; if she had discussed selling her media rights with anyone; if she wanted to sell or had contemplated selling her media rights; or if she believed she could exploit her experiences with Tyson in any other way.
Nevertheless, Tyson argued that his attorney’s lack of diligence should be excused because Washington and her parents, in their depositions and at trial, testified perjuriously, falsely, or misleadingly in order to obscure his ability to discover the family’s financial motives. In particular, Tyson claimed he was unable to put the “critical fact” before the jury that Washington had consulted with attorney Ed Gerstein “with a view towards instituting a civil action against Tyson” because “[t]he Washingtons took the position, at their depositions and before the jury at trial, that Gerstein … was retained only for defensive purposes….”
Although Judge Sullivan concurred with the majority in this ruling, he noted his belief that indeed, “D.W. and her parents gave misleading testimony.”
“While I agree that Tyson’s counsel failed to use reasonable diligence to discover the full details of the retainer agreement between D.W. and Edward Gerstein, I am unable to agree with the majority that the testimony of D.W. and her parents was not misleading. Although perhaps many of the various answers given with respect to the relationship with Gerstein were literal responses to the questions as phrased, and although the witnesses certainly had no duty to volunteer information, in light of the facts known by the witnesses, the answers were misleading.
D.W.’s answers carried the clear implication that Gerstein was retained only to “help me through this”, i.e., the criminal trial, and that when the trial was over, her parents would pay him. Additionally, she belied the fact that she was the client when she testified that Gerstein was counsel for the family. More importantly, when asked whether there had been any discussions between Gerstein and the family concerning compensation, she unequivocally said: “No.” …
Mrs. Washington testified that Gerstein was counsel for the family but that there was no written agreement relating to the relationship. In light of the fact that Mrs. Washington was a signator to the retainer agreement between Desiree Washington and Gerstein, that answer was also misleading.
Mr. Washington, also a signator to the agreement between D.W. and Gerstein, stated that he had retained Gerstein’s services but categorically stated that the purpose was “to help ward off the media”… He also denied that any consideration whatsoever had been given to the possibility of a civil suit against Tyson. … Further, he denied that he had a contingency fee agreement with Gerstein and stated that his only agreement was to pay expenses. Again, in the context of the facts, the natural and logical implication of the testimony of all three witnesses was that there was no contingent fee agreement with Gerstein with regard to representation in civil proceedings.
In point of fact, the retainer agreement was entered into and signed on August 1, 1991. Although Donald C. Washington and Mary B. Washington were signators, as well as D.W., the agreement clearly states that D.W. is the only client–not the “family” and not Mr. and/or Mrs. Washington. It also clearly spells out that the purpose of the agreement is not to get D.W. or the family through the criminal trial or to “ward off the media,” but rather was to procure legal representation regarding possible civil liability on the part of Tyson and others as a result of the “incident” of July 19, 1991.
If the information given by these witnesses were the only information available to defense counsel, the deposition and trial answers would have been sufficiently misleading as to indicate that further inquiry or issuance of a subpoena ducestecum would be wasteful and unavailing.”
Nevertheless, this judge believed that based upon the knowledge already possessed, Tyson’s trial counsel simply did not ask the right questions. Hence, the lack of due diligence defeated Tyson’s “newly discovered evidence” argument, despite the fact that his counsel had been misled.
The Indiana Supreme Court declined to consider or hear Tyson’s appeal at all, deadlocked at 2-2 in its vote whether to consider the case for further review (the fifth judge recused himself). A majority vote was needed. Hence, the Court of Appeals’ decision stood.
Author Adam J. Pollack is the owner of winbykopublications.com, has written several books about early heavyweight champions, is a boxing referee and judge, and is a practicing attorney in Iowa City, Iowa.
Atlantic City and Trenton Shows in New Jersey Friday and Saturday!
Atlantic City and Trenton Shows in New Jersey Friday and Saturday!
By: Ken Hissner
New Jersey boxing is off to a fast start with two shows scheduled this week. Friday at Bally’s Event Center, in Atlantic City with 11 bouts scheduled over Sho Box. The main event features two topsuper bantamweights in Adam “Mantequillo” Lopez, 16-0-1 (8), of San Antonio, TX, against Daniel “Baby Face Assassin” Roman, 21-2-1 (7), of Garden Grove, CA.
The co-feature has Ronald Ellis, 13-0-1 (10), out of Lynn, MASS against Philly’s Christopher Brooker, 11-2 (5), in a cruiserweight bout. Two other Philly boxers on the card are Keenan Smith, 9-0 (3), returning after 14 months of inactivity. Also, top former amateur star super heavyweight Darmani “Tight” Rock, 6-0 (4) making his first fight near home.
Top New Jersey prospect Leroy “Lucious” Davila, 4-0 (2), of New Brunswick is againstAnthony Taylor, 4-0 (1), of Warren, OH. Stephon “Bossman” Young, 15-0-3 (6), of Chicago, IL, is against Elton Dharry, 20-5-1 (13), of Guyana living in Brooklyn, NY. FinallyKenneth “Showstopper” Sims, Jr., 10-0 (3), of St. Louis, MO, is against Emmanuel “Renegade”, 15-1-1 (5), of San Diego, CA.
In Trenton Saturday at the Sun National Bank Center, Rene Aiken of Boss Lady Promotions, and Honorable Mayor Eric Jackson returns for her second show at this facility“Bridge Wars” featuring her nephew the return of 3 division champion “Super” Zab Judah, 42-9 (29), headlines against Jorge Luis Munguia, 13-7 (5), of Hondoras. “I’m coming in at 143 and expect to go down to 140”. The co-feature has Derrick “Take it to the Bank” Webster, 21-1 (11), against Thomas Awimbono, 25-5-1 (21), of Accra, GH, for the vacant USBO super middleweight title. Trenton’s own cruiserweight Mike Hilton, 4-0 (4), returns back to this facility again. Camden’s Vidal Rivera, 4-0 (3), in the featherweight division meets James Early, 2-1 (0), of Seat Pleasant, MD. Also, on the undercard middleweight Jimmy Kelleher, 2-0 (2), of Scranton, PA, Philly’s Donald Smith, 3-0 (2), and Darin Holiday, of Philly making his debut against the grandson of “The Easton Assassin” Larry Holmes. In a female bout Carla Torres, 5-3 (0), of PR and Cleveland, OH, is featured. This will be a pro-am with boxers from NJ, NY and PA.