By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the NRG Arena in Houston, Texas will be the host site for Jermall Charlo’s WBC Interim Middleweight Title Defense against Brandon Adams.
The fight card will be presented by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and will be televised live on Showtime.
The co-main event of the evening will be between Erickson Lubin and Zakaria Attou in a WBC Junior Middleweight Title eliminator.
The undercard will feature fighters such as Eduardo Ramirez, Claudio Marrero, Miguel Flores, Cesar Cantu, and Omar Juarez.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Erickson Lubin (20-1) vs. Zakaria Attou (29-6-2); WBC Junior Middleweight Eliminator
Erickson Lubin is a young professional with a decorated amateur background from the United States. Lubin is a former US PAL Champion and a US National Golden Gloves Champion. Zakaria Attou is fourteen years his elder and has no notable amateur background.
That alone tells you this fight is likely a big mismatch.
Attou will have a slight one and a half inch height advantage over Lubin and has been a more active fighter. The one knock against Lubin is that for a twenty three year old boxer he hasn’t been very active. He only fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017. Attou fought once in 2019, twice in 2018, and three times in 2017.
Lubin also has a clear edge in power. Attou only has seven stoppage victories while Lubin has stopped fifteen of his opponents.
Attou is riding a seven fight win streak, but he has beaten no notable opponents. His most impressive victories have come against Stefano Castellucci, Orlando Fiordigiglio, and Emanuele Della Rosa. His losses were to the unheralded Roberto Santos, Frank Haroche, Ludovic Duval, Jonathan Bertonnier, Faycal Karkour, and Francois Riopedre.
Lubin has defeated the likes of Ishe Smith, Jorge Cota, Juan Cabrera, and Alexis Camacho. His lone loss was a KO loss to Jermell Charlo.
This is a fight that Lubin should win easily.
Jermall Charlo (28-0) vs. Brandon Adams (21-2); WBC Interim Middleweight Title
The main event will be a title fight between the undefeated Jermall Charlo and the winner of Season Five of the Contender, Brandon Adams.
Both boxers are still in their athletic prime at the age of twenty nine years old. Charlo will have a three inch height advantage and about a three and a half inch reach advantage over Adams.
Charlo does appear to have an edge in power as he has stopped twenty one of his opponents while Adams has only stopped thierteen of his opponents.
Charlo fought twice in 2018 and once in 2017. Adams fought four times in 2018, due to his participation in the Contender, but did not fight at all in 2017 or in 2016.
Charlo also has an edge in amateur experience. He had a record of 65-6 as an amateur while Adams only fought as an amateur for two years.
Charlo’s list of defeated opponents includes Matvey Korobov, Huge Centeno Jr., Jorge Sebastian Heiland, Julian Williams, Austin Trout, Wilky Campfort, and Cornelius Bundrage.
Adams has defeated the likes of Shane Mosley Jr., Eric Walker, Ievgen Khytrov, and Tyrone Brunson. His losses were to John Thompson and Willie Monroe Jr.
Adams is a live dog and his win on the Contender included several good prospects, but Charlo is a much more experienced fighter with a significant height and reach advantage over Adams.
Charlo might not stop Adams, but he should win the decision.
By: William Holmes
Al Haymons’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) was broadcast live tonight from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and was televised live on the Showtime networks.
The main event of the night was a heavyweight showdown between current heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and challenger Dominic Breazeale.
The opening bout of the night was between Juan Heraldez (16-0) and Argenis Mendez (25-5-2) in the super lightweight division.
Mendez had many fights in the lightweight division and Heraldez spent most of his career fighting at 140 or 147lbs.
Heraldez was a highly touted prospect, but Mendez was a cagey veteran who presented a good challenge for Heraldez and was able to keep the fight at a slower pace early on.
Heraldez had a strong fifth round and was able to crack Mendez with some heavy shots in the middle of the round, but Mendez had his moments and landed a straight right hand that had blood coming from the nose of Heraldez.
Mendez was the one who pressed forward in the seventh round, but Heraldez showed good movement while circling away and appeared to be the slightly more accurate puncher.
Heraldez did have Mendez briefly trapped by the corner in the eighth, but appeared hesitant to really let loose and go for the knockdown.
Mendez had his moments in the ninth round, but Heraldez looked like he did enough to slightly win the later rounds.
A lot of rounds could have been sored for either fighter, but the judges scored it 97-93 for Mendez, and 95-95 on the other two scorecards.
The fight was ruled a majority draw.
The next bout of the night was between Gary Russell Jr. a (29-1) and Kiko Martinez (39-8-2) for the WBC Featherweight Title.
Russell was able to move in and out with ease in the opening two rounds and appeared to be able to pop shot Martinez at will. Russell’s combinations caused a mouse to form under the left eye of Martinez in the second.
Martinez was able to land some body shots in the third round, but Russell’s superior hand speed won him a majority of their exchanges. Russell turned up the power in the fourth round and forced a cut over Martinez’s eye to begin to bleed badly.
Russell’s jab was focused on the cut of Martinez’s eye in the fifth round and made it open up to a dangerous sized gash. The referee asked the ring side doctor to take a look at it, and he advised the referee to stop the fight.
Gary Russell Jr. wins by TKO at 2:52 of the fifth round.
The main event of the evening was between Deontay Wilder (40-0-1) and Dominic Breazeale (20-1) for the WBC Heavyweight Title.
Breazeale and Wilder were listed at identical heights but Wilder looked like he had a few inches on Breazeale at the referee introduction. Wilder looked extremely confident and gave Breazeale a death stare, who looked a little timid.
Wilder had a sharp jab early on and was able to connect with a two punch combination in the opening minute. A right hand form Wilder knocked Breazeale back a few steps who appeared to be stunned, but Breazeale landed two hard overhand rights that briefly stopped Wilder’s momentum.
Both fighters were in a clinch and Breazeale landed a few short punches before the referee separated them. Wilder than landed a booming right hand that sent Breazeale crashing to the mat.
Breazeale began to attempt to get up around the count of eight, but he was unable to get to his feet before ten and he was still badly hurt.
Deontay Wilder wins with a stunning knockout at of the 2:17 first round.
By: Ken Hissner
The Welterweight division is known to possibly be the most competitive with their five world champions. Hopefully in the near future they will fight one another to see who the “Real World Welterweight Champion Is”.
The most well- known is southpaw Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, 61-7-2 (39), of General Santos City, PH, who won his first world title back in December of 1998 though behind on points going into the eighth round. In that eighth round he knocked out Chatchai Sasakul, 32-1-1, of TH at the Tonsuk College Ground, Phuttamonthon, in TH, for the WBC World Flyweight Title.
“Pac Man” is a six division world champion. In his last defense of his WBA World Title he defeated former champ Adrien “The Problem” Broner, 33-3-1, at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV, in January.
Keith “One Time” Thurman, 29-0 (22), defended his WBA Super World Title in January winning a majority decision over Josesito Lopez, 36-7, at the Barclay Center, Brooklyn, NY. It was his first fight since March of 2017 when he won a unification bout over WBC champ Danny “Swift” Garcia, 33-0, at the Barclay Center but had the WBC vacated due to the layoff.
“One Time” defeated current WBC World Champ Shawn “Showtime” Porter, in June of 2016, at the Barclay Center. “Showtime” is now 30-2-1 (17), having won a split decision over Yordenis Ugas, 23-3, this past weekend in Carson, CA. This writer felt Porter won 120-108. There is no reason for a rematch. Since losing to “One Time” he has won four straight bouts and the WBC Title from Garcia in September of 2018, at the Barclay Center.
This Saturday the IBF World champion Errol “The Truth” Spence, Jr. 24-0 (21), of Desoto, TX, will defend his title against WBC World Lightweight champ Mikey Garcia, 39-0 (30), at the AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX. In “The Truth’s” last bout he knocked out Carlos Ocampo, 22-0, of MEX, in the first round in Frisco, TX. Garcia last fought in July of 2018 defeating Robert Easter, Jr., 24-0, at the Staples Center, in L.A.
The WBO World champ is 3-division world champion Terence “Bud” Crawford, 34-0 (25), of Omaha, NEB. He has an upcoming defense against former world champ Amir Kahn, 33-4, at Madison Square Garden, NYC, on April 20th. In “Bud’s” last fight he stopped Jose Benavidez, Jr., 27-0, in Omaha, in the twelfth and final round.
The five world champions do not have a unification bout scheduled at this time. Only Spence and Crawford have scheduled bouts. Crawford is promoted by Top Rank, Spence and Thurman by Golden Boy, Pacquiao by his own MP Promotions and Porter by TGB in his recent fight.
Most boxing authorities would probably say Crawford is the best. Thurman has proven to be the best prior to his layoff by many. Never bet against Pacquiao, and Spence is the future if he gets by Garcia. Porter is a long shot being the best but you never know.
Who do you think is the best welterweight Champ in the World?
By: Ken Hissner
This writer remembers reading about Brazil’s Eder Jofre seeing a dead chicken ran over by a vehicle in the middle of the road. He never ate meat again.
Jofre was 46-0-3 before this World Bantamweight champion was defeated. He added the WBC and WBA belts to his World belt. He had rematches with Argentina’s Ernesto Miranda, 15-3-1, who was living in Spain when they drew twice. He defeated Miranda twice when he was 40-3-4 for the South American Bantamweight title. Miranda ended his career with 99 wins. All four fights with Miranda were in Brazil. He drew with Manny Elias, 44-17-1, in November of 1965 between his only two losses to Flyweight champion Japan’s WBA, WBC and World champion Fighting Harada which both defeats were in Japan.
It took almost five years to defeat Elias, 51-21-2 in their rematch. It was in May of 1970. The first Harada fight ended in a split decision in Nagoya, Japan, in May of 1965. The rematch took place after the Elias draw in Nippon, Japan, in May of 1966.
Jofre’s third draw was against Uruguay’s Ruben Caceres, 11-1-5, in May of 1958 in Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay. In their rematch in July of 1959 Jofre knocked out Caceres in 7 rounds.
Jofre would only have his second bout outside of Brazil in August of 1960 when he defeated Mexico’s Jose “El Huitlacoche” Medel, 43-16-3, by 10th round knockout in a NBA Bantamweight eliminator at the Olympic Auditorium in L.A. In November he won the vacant NBA Bantamweight title knocking out Eloy “Emeterio” Sanchez, 25-12, in 6 rounds at the same facility. He had defenses against the former European champ then the Italian champ Piero Rollo, 53-6-6, stopping him in 9 rounds. He knocked out the OPBF champion Japan’s Sadao Yaoita, 43-9-2, in 10 rounds. He stopped the British champion Johnny Caldwell, 25-0, in the 10th round.
Jofre would travel back to the US in his next fight and win the Bantamweight World title stopping Mexico’s Herman Marques, 19-8-1, living in Stockton, CA, in the 10th round at the Cow Palace in Daly City, CA. Then give Medel a rematch knocking him out in 6 rounds.
Then Jofre would go to Japan for the first time knocking out Japan’s OPBF champion Katsutoshi Aoki, 33-1-1, in 3 rounds. Then travel to the Manila, in the Philippines, stopping Filipino Johnny Jamito, 33-2-2, who couldn’t come out for the last round after being knocked down in the previous round.
Next Jofre went to Bagota, Colombia, knocking out Bernardo Caraballo, 39-0-1, of Colombia in the 7th round. Next up was the first loss to Harada losing his title. After the second loss to Harada he moved up to featherweight. It took fifteen fights for him to win the WBC World Featherweight title by majority decision over Cuban Jose “Pocket Cassius Clay” Legra, 131-9-4, living in Spain, over 12 rounds in Brazil. Legra would have two fights after this losing to Nicaragua’s Alexis Arguello in his last fight by knockout.
In Jofre’s next two fights which were non-title he knocked out possibly Chile’s greatest fighter in Godfrey Stevens, 71-7-3, in 4 rounds. Then American Frankie Crawford, 38-17-5, was defeated over 10 rounds. In his first defense he would end the career of the former WBC champion Vicente “El Zurdo de Oro” Saldivar, 37-2.
Jofre would win six non-title fights before his final bout being a title defense defeating Mexican Octavio Gomez, 55-15-7, over 12 rounds. His final record was 72-2-4 (50) in October 8th 1976 at the age of 40. At age 82 Jofre is still seen at the fights in Brazil
More Boxing History
By: Sean Crose
“Yeah, I prefer being a professional,” Helen Joseph says over the phone. The 15-3-1 women’s bantamweight won the World Boxing Federation Intercontinental Female Bantamweight Title with a win over Elizabeth Anderson last November and is set to face the 13-1 Tyreshia Douglas later this month. There’s more to the New Haven, by way of Nigeria, fighter than just a background in boxing, however. “Karate and kickboxing, too,” she says of her skill set. Right now, though, it’s boxing that’s the woman’s focus. And it’s a focus that thoroughly intense. “I have worked so hard to come to this level today,” she says. “My goal is to be a world champion to be the world’s best.”
Just how determined is the 29 year old known as the “Iron Lady?” She came all the way from Africa to the United States to achieve hr dream. What’s more, Joseph travels from New Haven to New York, not exactly a hop, skip and a jump away, to train. “I train in New York City at my dad’s gym,” she claims. And her home is miles away on the Connecticut shoreline? “Yeah,” she says. “This is where I stay.” Joseph undoubtedly hopes to join other Connecticut notables, such as Marlon Starling, Chad Dawson, John Scully, and the great Willie Pep.
“After this fight,” she says of the impending Douglas bout, “they’re going to give me a chance to have a world title.” Some may say that’s wishful thinking, but Joseph makes it clear that she aims to make a statement when she steps into the ring to face Douglas on the 29th of this month. “I know the way this is going to end,” she says of the bout. “It’s going to shake the world.” Still, Joseph can’t help but feel somewhat avoided. “They don’t want to fight me,” she says of the top names in her weight realm.
So, what does Joseph feel about Douglas, the opponent she’s determined to make mark against? “I know she’s pretty good and she has a lot of fans,” says Joseph. Joseph exudes confidence in the days leading up to the match. “I believe in my God and I believe in myself,” she says. Provided all goes well, Joseph may have more fans who believe in her, as well. It’s hard not to pull for someone who travels so far, who works so hard, to attain a single goal. It may not by easy “to be the world’s best,” but it’s worth keeping in mind that some hungry fighter is always there to fill the top spot.
And that there are few hungrier than Joseph.
By: Eric Lunger
Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis has taken to Twitter in recent days, unleashing a barrage of criticism at the Showtime commentators for claiming that Lewis was not the “undisputed” champion of the world in 1999, since Vitali Klitschko held the WBO belt at that time. Lewis, 53, has become somewhat of an elder statesman in the boxing world, weighing in on the sport with his accustomed thoughtfulness and gravitas. His recent remarks on Twitter, while critical of Showtime, show the marks of someone who believes in rational and balanced dialogue. This is rare in our hyperlinked age, where hysteria is often mistaken for passion.
So, when someone of Lewis’ stature speaks out, and speaks out in a considered and thoughtful way, he deserves to be taken seriously. Lewis took exception to Showtime’s build up of the Wilder vs. Parker fight as a step on the path to the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Mike Tyson in 1988. In a nutshell, Lewis argues that the WBO belt was, in the 1990’s, an irrelevant belt, one that fighters either vacated at will or were not interested in pursuing if better options were available. “The politics of my era, and the amount of Mickey Mouse belts made it difficult to impossible to own every fringe belt there was at the time,” Lewis wrote on Twitter, “the WBO belt was not a major or coveted belt in my days.”
.@ShowtimeBoxing The politricks of my era and the amount of Mickey Mouse belts made it difficult to impossible to own every single fringe belt there was at the time, so I only focused on fighting the best of the best and collecting the major belts of the time.
— Lennox Lewis (@LennoxLewis) March 20, 2018
Showtime did respond, trying to walk the line between standing by their original assertion and giving Lennox the respect he deserves as a great champion and hall-of-famer. Arguing that in Tyson’s time there were only three “recognized” world title belts, Showtime via their Tumbler page further said, “In 1999, when Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield for the WBC, IBF, and WBA world titles, Vitali Klitschko held the WBO heavyweight belt. At that time, the WBO was widely recognized as a legitimate world sanctioning body.”
In a further effort to smooth the ruffled feathers, Showtime concluded: “having said that, we recognize that the term ‘undisputed’ is somewhat subjective… In no way do we intend to devalue or denigrate Lewis’ accomplishments, which stand as the greatest of his era.”
So, is this dispute about the definition of “undisputed” just quibbling over words? Words do matter, definitions matter. If Showtime wants to promote their fighter, Deontay Wilder, who has a real shot at unifying the heavyweight title, we can understand going to the well of hyperbole. But Lennox has the stronger argument here. Becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world is a feat unique in world sport — it’s a title that should be used accurately and with the spirit that it represents the pinnacle of boxing greatness. Adhering to the technical requirements of the alphabet soup of sanctioning bodies breeds cynicism and boredom from the broader boxing public.
Wilder? Joshua? Parker? Fury? Given the excitement over the possibility of unification in the heavyweight division, let’s celebrate Lennox Lewis as an undisputed champion, and let’s hope for another one in the near future.
By: Oliver McManus
In my last article, “The Current British Heavyweight Scene”, I lamented those outside the Top 10 globally as “questionable” and proceeded to take pot-shots at the likes of Tony Bellew, Dereck Chisora and David Price. But then I got thinking about past heavyweight Champions and because it’s far easier to moan than it is to laud and applaud, I decided to compile my worst heavyweight champions of ALL time.
“I walk this earth like a God”, you’d be forgiven for thinking he said “I walk this earth like a cod” given the manner in which he flopped to the floor against Anthony Joshua, a contest in which he promised to “step over” the, now unified champion then, challenger to his IBF title.
What we witnessed from the southpaw Saint Louis fighter was anything but Godly, in fact, a performance which makes even the most mortal of men look heavenly – £6million for getting flattened within two rounds by AJ is a fee large enough to sooth even Martin’s ego.
His ring walk alone saw him ridiculed beyond recovery with THAT purple gown and crown making him look less like royalty and more like King Stupid! If you’re not a British child from the 00’s, you probably won’t understand that reference, but King Stupid was a children’s TV show featuring a, predictably, stupid king.
Nonetheless it was the manner in which he lost to Anthony Joshua that marks him out as someone truly undeserving of the heavyweight champion moniker – a tame, reaching straight right hand which would have been withstood by any half-decent boxer sent Martin to the canvas but such was his arrogance, he refused to learn the lesson and was dropped yet again by a similar punch merely seconds later; a lack of motivation, aspiration and ambition for the “prince” willing to settle for pauper-like performances.
A champion through circumstance as opposed to credibility, Charles Martin only got his initial world title shot against, Ukrainian, Vyacheslav Glazkov as a result of Tyson Fury agreeing to a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko and, therefore, being unable to fulfil his mandatory obligations.
Glazkov was next in line with Martin being deemed the suitable challenger – The Czar fom Luhansk was an unparalleled favourite going into the fight – but was struck down in the third round when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament, causing him to retire as a result.
With that the belt was Martin’s and he was free to live the life of a champion, calling out anyone and everyone that would earn him millions – he milked it for a full 85 days before his reign came to an end, marking him out as the second briefest heavyweight kingpin in history.
Since then he’s been shot in the forearm during an early-hours altercation in Los Angeles and has been seen across social media declaring that kids should “not do drugs” whilst professing to smoke weed himself.
His return to the ring came 54 weeks since his humbling loss, taking place at Fitzgeralds Casino and Hotel, Tunica, as he faced veteran journeyman, The Bear, Byron Polley (at the time 30-20-1). A second round knockout saw him, unfathomably, slotted at Number 12 within the IBF rankings – he’s subsequently risen to ninth place, SEVENTH with the WBC.
The only other fight since that comeback was against Michael Marrone (21-7), in July of last year, who was fighting having lost eight of his last 11 fights, over the span of nine years. For a former champion looking to make a statement, he wasn’t picking particularly tricky opposition.
A first round knockout in the back pocket would suffice and be enough to see him restate his plans “like (they) were originally, undisputed champ.” Hmmm, deluded as ever.
The White Wolf from Belarus, Liakhovich held the WBO belt for the duration of a mere one fight back in 2006 before losing it to Shannon Briggs in his first attempted defence – someone else who I was leaning towards placing on this list.
Born in Vitebsk, Liakhovich certainly had the amateur credentials to warrant him being seen as a valid threat to those at the top of the professional ranks – having competed at the 1996 Olympics, losing out to eventual silver medallist Paea Wolfgramm, and taken home a bronze medal at the ’97 World Amateur Championships, the orthodox fighter turned pro the following year with a record of 145-15 in the amateurs.
Having moved to 15 and 0 within three years there could be no room for criticism as to the way the Belarusian had adapted to life in America and his first step us came on the 17th November 2001, on the undercard of Hasim Rahman vs Lennox Lewis II, against, fellow undefeated fighter, Friday Ahunanya in a fight where someone’s 0 had to go!
A relatively one sided fight saw Liakhovich win by unanimous decision (116-112, 118-110, 116-112) before, yet again, a spell in the relative nomadic strays of heavyweight near-contenders saw him there-and-thereabouts for five further years until his big shot came against Lamon Brewster for the WBO title in that classic big-fight location of Cleveland, Ohio.
Despite working his way to the world title shot the hard way, the awkward-looking White Wolf had already displayed frailties to contrast with his explosive knockout power; the main issue was his defensive capabilities which, to be honest, were lacking in the extremity and perhaps only unexploited due to the level of opposition faced – often keeping is hands low, Liakhovich’s chin was susceptible and this was found out in his fight against Maurice Harris some years before the bout with Brewster.
With all odds against him, the 29 year old came out punching in an enthralling fight that saw Brewster lose his vision from the left eye within the first round – perhaps unsurprising that Liakhovich would triumph but, nonetheless, an entertaining fight.
I’ll say very little on his bout with Shannon Briggs except to note that he was beaten with relative ease by an opponent who was five years his elder – the first 11 rounds were boring and defensive from Liakhovich before Briggs bounced to life, dropping him twice, sending him out of the ring once, causing the referee to wave off the bout.
It is, however, his career post-Briggs that has really rammed home his inadequacy at the highest level – defeats against Robert Helenius and Bryant Jennings, both in the ninth round, saw him drop drastically from his stock back at the beginning of his career into someone that was just an easy yet recognizable name to add to a record.
His performance against Deontay Wilder on the 9th August 2013 was the most alarming display of a past-it boxer I’ve seen in a long time, Wilder was still an unknown animal at the time but sent Liakhovich down to the floor, stiff as a board, convulsing on the canvas from a thunderous attack – a truly harrowing image.
And whilst he’s attempting to make a comeback – the now 41 year old beat Ramon Olivas in Mexico in November of last year, his first fight in three years – it is perhaps more evident than ever before that Liakhovich was never really at a world level and was guilty of letting his amateur pedigree get ahead of his actual ability.
The white wolf ain’t howlin’ no more.
Bermane Stiverne, Bermane Stiverne, oh it’s hard to know where to start when discussing the protracted saga that is the WBC Heavyweight title situation but nonetheless Stiverne found himself top of the cherry tree when the political merry-go-round matched him against Chris Arreola for the vacant title in 2014.
The title itself only became vacant as a result of Vitali Kilitschko’s retirement – ending the Ukranian’s five year domination of the division – and was to be fought on the 10th May at the Galen Center, Los Angeles.
Straight from the outset the result always seemed like a foregone conclusion – Stiverne went into the bout at 24-1-1 with victories over Ray Austin and Kertson Manswell being his stand out names whereas Arreola (the nipple) held a 34-2 record and a past failed drugs test.
Oh and there’s one other thing to mention, Stiverne and Arreola met just over a year before this world title fight for the WBC Silver title, a fight in which the Haitian cruised past Arreola by scorecards of 117-110, 117-110 and 118-109; who could possibly be the favourite?
When it came to the big night, the time for action as opposed to talk mere verbals, B. Ware managed to get the job done even more convincingly than the last time with a 6th round knockout to end the hopes of his American counterpart.
But thereon began the farce that has seen him placed on this list for it would appear to me that the only credentials Stiverne has for being seen as “elite” is that he, so far, has been the only boxer to take Deontay Wilder a full 12 rounds – as he did in January 2015.
That fight was nifty for Stiverne in that he had a ready-made excuse for when he, inevitably, succumbed to the Bronze Bomber and it’s not that his excuse was fake, it was very legitimate, but it was also convenient in that it somehow made everyone forget just how dire he was in that fight.
Diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis – a condition that causes rapid muscle breakdown – it was obvious that the 240lb fighter wasn’t at full fitness but by no means could it fully explain how slow, lacklustre and, to be honest, mopey he seemed across the 12 rounds of boxing. He didn’t push Wilder and Wilder didn’t push back.
But since that night he’s been selling it as though he would have one, he should have one and managed to blag himself a fight against Alexander Povetkin who, to be fair, is a brave opponent to face after just one comeback bout but Povetkin always looked like doing a job on Stiverne and I imagine the money was what got him on that plane to Russia.
As luck would have it Povetkin failed a drugs test – as by the way did Stiverne but no-one mentions that – which meant he was robbed again, allegedly. All this bad luck and constant talking made sure he maintained his position as mandatory challenger for the WBC title until Deontay Wilder agreed to take him on again in November of last year.
If you thought we hadn’t seen enough of B.Ware then November 4th was YOUR day, a pummelling first round knockout at the hands of his former foe saw Stiverne wave goodbye to his title shot with just one second left of the opening stanza; if Stiverne had any credibility left to purport his arguments as to why he should have beaten Wilder or, indeed, any other world level contender than that door was slammed firmly shut that night.
Hopefully, for all of us, the lock remains jammed.
At the beginning of this article I did say these would be the worst champions of all time so for this last one we’re going to have to stretch our minds back all the way back to 1933 – the days where 15 round bouts were still existent.
Primo Carnera may, on the face of it, look like a not too shabby boxer with a record of 88-14 but that flatters to deceive – The Ambling Alp appears to exist as a mere bizarre footnote for those immersed into the boxing culture rather than a former World Heavyweight Champion.
Unlike the other guys featured here Carnera actually had the cheek to defend his title successfully not just once but twice before losing via an 11th round knockout against Max Baer, a fight in which Carnera hit the canvas on 10 occasions.
Now that probably gives you a glimpse of how favourably he had been matched throughout career but also highlighted that whilst the Italian was an aggressive gung-ho fighter he really lacked any stand out quality apart from his size – often coming to the ring in excess of 270lbs.
It may even be that he only ever won the world title (NBA & NYSAC, as the governing bodies were called back then) due to a sheer freak incident; Carnera faced off with Jack Sharkey (36-9-2) in Queens, USA, on the 29th June 1933 for the two titles but it was Carnera’s last opponent, Ernie Schaaf, that Sharkey claimed had beaten him.
Schaaf died shortly after fighting Carnera and Sharkey claimed “I had no trouble with him in the second, but all of a sudden – and I can’t convince anybody of this – I see Schaaf in front of me. I saw Schaaf. A vision. The next thing I know, I’d lost the championship of the world”. Whether that’s true or not, we’ll never know, but it ensured the Italian would always go down in the history books as, quite possibly, the most bizarre world champion of all time.
Add atop all of that the constant allegations of “mob control” and connections with the mafia which saw him banned in California for, again ALLEGEDLY, fixing his bouts and you really start to garner why it’s hard to take him particularly seriously.
Having had his boxing career abruptly stopped owing to the Second World War, Carnera returned to the ring with five fights afterwards – three of which were losses to the same opponent – he turned his hand to wrestling and acting, two paths which suited him just as much as boxing did.
Nonetheless his ever-present role as a quirk of boxing has kept him present in the mind of many a fan which is more than most achieve so, for that, I doff my cap.
This’ll be brief, I’ll try to keep it to a sentence for each boxer;
Francesco Damiani – the first WBO world champion, won the title against Johnny du Plooy via a third round knockout in 1989, a champion through opportunity who only defended it once and looked hopelessly out of his depth against Ray Mercer.
Ruslan Chagaev – two time world champion fortunate enough to face Matt Skelton, Carl Drumond and Fres Oqueno in title fights, possessed good footwork but who’s chin was found wanting against Lucas Browne despite leading on the scorecards.
Corrie Sanders – let’s take nothing away from the South African who gained notoriety for his fluke win over Wladimir Kilitschko but, let’s be honest, that’s all it was – a fluke.
There we are then, hopefully you found that an entertaining read, I’ll try to be a bit more positive next time you read something of mine but, for now, let’s just appreciate the 3 heavyweight champions of the world – Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker, thank you for never being boring!
By: Dale Josephs
Khalid “Kal” Yafai finally revived Birmingham boxing by bringing world championship boxing back to the region earlier this year, with a lively card of extremely high quality bouts, as well as a WBA world title on the line.Suguru Murunaka was the preferred opponent for Yafai’s first voluntary defence; a durable Japanese fighter who’s never been stopped but had previously only ever fought in his home surroundings of Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.
Eddie Hearn, the figurehead of Matchroom Boxing, delivered once again with a truly enjoyable spectacle which witnessed local Brummies compete; younger brother Gamal Yafai, Sam Eggington and Frankie Gavin emerged victorious from their bouts. Still WBA super-flyweight world champion, Kal Yafai, headlined the Birmingham bill which enticed a rammed arena to cheer, jeer, and drink plenty of beer. The Barclaycard Arena, which sits next to Brindley Place overlooking the famous canals, was occupied by a energetic, vibrant crowd which, along with the lights, music and fighters, created a thrilling atmosphere.
Admittedly, fans wereentirely anticipating Yafai to unite both his raw talent and ferocious power to make easy work of Murunaka. Yet, the Japanese fighter showed heart, courage and commitment to ensure Kal had to work to retain his belt. Despite the contest lasting 12 rounds being seen as extra, unnecessary ring time, it did mean the super-flyweight champion was allowed to showcase his superior boxing ability. Over the distance, Murunaka was completely out-boxed.And, considering Yafai’s hands were immediately in ice following the fight, Murunaka proved he is very tough and durable and is able to take a volume of big punches. Kal was clearly a fan favourite in his home town and he made certain the fans observed a successful defence of his prestigious title.
Now, despite Yafai allowing his bruised hands to heal thoroughly before he advanced any further in his career, the next move in his so-far perfect career has now been plotted. Later this year, the Birmingham based boxer will encounter a Japanese fighter for the second successive fight, and yet another fighter with an unblemished record. The second defence of Yafai’s WBA super-flyweight title will see him share the ring with 25-year-old, Sho Ishida.
So, will this Japanese fighter be able to achieve what the previous one couldn’t and inflict a first defeat on Kal Yafai’s record?
Well, Yafai himself seems to think this will be his most difficult fight to date, and believes Ishida’s unusual height for a super-flyweight will potentially cause him problems. He told Sky Sports, “I’ve watched a few bits of him and the first thing about him is he is very tall. He’s very, very tall for a super-fly so I have no idea how he does that, but he actually looks very good as well.”
Alongside his incredible 5 foot 8 frame, which is 4 inches more than Yafai, he also possesses natural, fierce power which has enabled him to win 13 out of his 24 professional wins inside the allotted distance. But, it’s his range and boxing ability that could prove to be the difference, with a huge reach advantage of 10cm, Kal may discover an extreme difficulty in getting close enough to land his own decisive shots. Although, Yafai is a big body puncher and has showed time and time again his ability to land ferocious punches to his opponents’ ribs and midriff. With that in mind, if he can reduce the gap between himself and Ishida, hurtful body shots could take its toll on a taller, thinner opponent.
Providing Yafai successfully defends his title and retains the WBA super-flyweight belt, an obvious progression would be to establish himself in America and aim to unify the division. Even though Roman Gonzales was finally conquered by Srisaket Sor Runvisai, he remains a colossal name within the 115lbs division, and still has an opportunity to acquire revenge in his rematch with Runvisai. So, along with Roman Gonzales, other opponents which could assist Yafai in creating a legacy would be the other champions; IBF champion Jerwin Acajas, WBO title-holder Naoya Inoue or even WBC champion Srisaket Sor Runvisai if he beats Gonzales for the second time would set up massive clashes in the super-flyweight bracket.
When Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson Fought Pete Rademacher, A Champion Facing a Debuting Boxer
By: Ken Hissner
With all the big hoopla today about Floyd “Money” Mayweather 49-0 a month away from his match with Colin McGregor 0-0 who has no credible amateur experience since he was a youth this writer goes back when 1956 heavyweight Olympic Gold Medalist Pete Rademacher was also the All Army champion, All Service Champion, won the Olympic Trials and the Gold Medal for the USA. He was 1-1 against Zora Folley and had a 72-7 record in the amateurs.
On August 24, 1957 Rademacher with poor managerial advice made his debut in the professional ranks against the world heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, 32-1 in the home state of the challenger of Seattle, WA, havin Patterson on the canvas in the second round. By the sixth round Patterson had Rademacher down six times before the referee called a halt at 2:57 of the sixth in a scheduled fifteen rounds.
That was bad enough but in Rademacher’s second fight he takes on Folley, 40-2-2 whom he split in two fights in the amateurs and was knocked out in the fourth round eleven months later. In 1959 he won five straight and traveled to Germany in 1960 twice fighting in Europe knocking out Ulli Nitzschke 13-0 in seven rounds and two months later fighting to a draw with Ulli Ritter, 20-3-3.
Rademacher would go to the UK eighteen days later taking on contender Brian London 22-6 and was knocked out in seven rounds. In June of the same year he started a seven fight win streak defeating the likes of Lamar Clark, 42-1 by stoppage, three weeks later defeating George Chuvalo, 17-3-1, in Toronto, and Kirk Barrow with the same 17-3-1 record and five days later defeating German Willie Besmanoff, 44-23-7.
Rademacher opened up 1961 defeating Donnie Fleeman, 35-10-1 followed by a pair of knockout wins. Then he took on contender Doug Jones, 17-0, and was knocked out in five rounds. George Logan, 19-5-1, and former light heavyweight champion Archie Moore, 182-22-9 followed up with stoppage wins over him. Five weeks later he stopped Buddy Thurman, 35-8-1 but lost to European champion Karl Mildenberger, 29-1, by decision in Germany. He would finish his career with a victory over former middleweight champion Bo Bo Olsen, 87-12, in Honolulu by decision. His final record was 15-7-1 (8) turning pro at 28 and fighting in the fight for pay ranks for five years retiring at age 33.
So what experience does McGregor bring to the table against Mayweather in comparison to what Rademacher brought into the ring against Patterson? McGregor is in a no lose situation taking in millions while Mayweather gives boxing another shameful black eye taking on a UFC fighter in his debut. What will this prove for boxing?
More Boxing History
Canelo-GGG Sell Out T-Mobile Arena
By: Sean Crose
In what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, the much anticipated fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin has sold out the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Still, the fact that the host location sold out in what was essentially a matter of days is impressive. As Lance Pugmire of the LA Times states: “The sellout comes even before promoters have announced their co-main event and undercard, with lightweight champion Jorge Linares a possible participant.” Such details are telling. One could only imagine the size of the live crowd had the fight taken place at [email protected] Stadium near Dallas, as many had hoped it would.
No matter. The September 16th twelve round middleweight bout between the 37-0 Kazakh and the 49-1-1 Mexican superstar is set to go down in the “Mecca of Boxing” and nothing can change that now. Vegas is where the money is, and Canelo-GGG has already proven itself to be a big money affair, with ticket prices ranging into the thousands and many willing to pay into the better half of one hundred dollars to watch the festivities live on pay per view. “The boxing public fully understands that this is the biggest fight in many years,” gushed Oscar De La Hoya, who clearly had reason to be happy.
What makes today’s news positive for die hard fight fans is it shows the September 16th event is not going to be overwhelmed entirely by the Mayweather-McGregor circus a few weeks earlier – though that might well be something Mayweather himself wishes would happen. While the circus may indeed take a lot of air out of the room, it’s not going to take all of it. In fact, right now it’s looking like there’s two major happenings on the horizon: The Most Interesting Fight In Boxing and the Pop Culture Event Of The Summer.
The Pop Culture extravaganza will come first, absorbing tons of mainstream media, fan boy and general societal attention before the Interesting Fight arrives. This may mean the Interesting Fight won’t get the attention and energy it might have had two possible narcissists not decided to perform a surreal duet in the public spotlight. Yet things are looking good for Canelo-GGG, regardless. Those who prefer good boxing to oversize personalities – and the numbers of such people are legion – are clearly looking forward to a top level event after the headache of August 26th subsides.
Nigel Benn, What Are You Doing?
By: Greg Houghton
Former two-weight world champion Nigel Benn has recently stated that a contract has been drawn which secures a fight between himself (aged 53) and Steve Collins (aged 52) to take place this year.
Photo Credit: Nigel Benn Twitter Page
Now at the age of 53 Benn has transformed from the animal he used to be, into one of the most gentlemenly and respectful figures associated with the sport. Benn is a British boxing legend and appears to have a wonderful and loving relationship with his son, upcoming prospect Connor Benn. Heart warming scenes have shown the two after Connor Benn’s previous fights kissing and hugging in celebration. Nigel Benn appears to have gotten the balance just right in supporting his son whilst staying away from the limelight of Connor’s career, all the while giving him the room he needs to grow as an athlete and having the complete respect of his son. On camera, Nigel Benn is also an absolute joy to watch in interviews as someone whose wise words and tips for the younger generation of the sport sparkle with joy and pride at the man that his son is becomming.
It has been pressed for a while now that he and old foe Chris Eubank (AKA English) have been planning to fight for a third time. They are both now over the age of 50. Apparent complications in closing the deal (which are very believable based on Jr’s career so far) have meant that Benn has apparently withdrawn from the idea, and instead offered the fight to someone who has beaten them both, Steve Collins.
“For me it’s all about closure, it ain’t about the money. I just want to have a fight, and Steve obliged”
Collins stopped Benn twice when they fought, at a point where Benn was rumoured to be going through serious issues in his home life which hindered his performance. These performances, particularly his last one against Collins, are perhaps the catilyst for Benn wanting to take this fight. In a recent interview with IFL TV, Benn stated “For me it’s all about closure, it ain’t about the money. I just want to have a fight, and Steve obliged”. It’s not surprising Collins, aka The Celtic Warrior, took this fight as he not only beat Eubank and Benn twice, he long after retiring continued to try to book a fight with Roy Jones Jr.
This was one of the greatest eras in British boxing with the top three (Colins, Eubank, Benn) all dying to fight each other and doing so multiple times. The hostility and rivalry between these three, along with top contenders Henry Wharton and Michael Watson, was electric for boxing fans.This period in a way draws parallels to the essence of Ali, Frazier and Foreman in the early 70’s. Some would say that this era in which the three Brits starred is a world away from the state of boxing today, with fighters seemingly being able to vacate belts and back out of fights at will. However, this era happened more than twenty years ago, and these once great fighters, have aged.
History tells us, for the most part, that ageing fighters who were once legendary bring sad moments to the ring, which are difficult for boxing fans to swallow. Watching Bernard Hopkins get dismanteld by Joe Smith Jr, Muhammed Ali get punished by Larry Holmes, these are not fights which any boxing fan really wanted to see. Most recently, watching EnzoMaccarinelli knock Roy Jones Jr out in the fourth round of their fight in December 2015 was like watching your favorite pub burn to the ground in front of you.
If the fight between Benn and Collins were to get licensed, it is not a fight that many boxing fans would want to see at the age these two are at now. Several leaked videos of Nigel Benn in training at the age of 53 show him being lightning fast and looking exceptional for his age. In fact, Benn claims to be capable of “doing things now that he’s never done before”, due to his healthy and stress-free lifestyle of recent times.
Nigel Benn has grown old very gracefully and is a witty, charming and entertaining presence in his interviews. We beg, please Nigel let this fight go for you have nothing to prove. You are one of Britain’s boxing heroes and your work will always be remembered. Stay in shape, stay humble and continue your wonderful work in guiding your talented son to stardom. Let boxing fans continue to marvel in the magnificence that was the era of Middleweight and Super-Middleweight boxing of the 90’s. As Eddie Hutch famously said to Joe Frazier at the Thrilla in Manilla;
“No one will ever forget what you did here”.
Chayaphon Moonsri goes to 47-0 defeating Omari Kimweri!
By: Ken Hissner
WBC Minimumweight champion Chayaphon Moonsri, of Thailand, improved his record to 47-0 (17), defeating No. 4 contender Omari “Lion Boy” Kimweri, 16-4 (6), from Tanzania fighting out of Australia over 12 rounds.
Moonsri received a cut on his left eye lid in the first round which referee Bruce McTavish deducted a point from Kimweri. It was the seventh title defense for the champion and the second in 2017 along with a non-title win. 17 of his 47 wins were against opponents without winning records.
Scores were 117-110 and 118-109 twice. The bout was on June 3rd at the Provincial Stadium, Rayong, Thailand.
Moonsri continues to approach the 49-0 record held by Rocky Marciano and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Adonis Stevenson vs. Andrzej Fonfara, Jean Pascal vs. Eleider Alvarez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada Adonis Stevenson will take on Andrzej Fonfara for Adonis Stevenson’s WBC Light Heavyweight
Title in the main event of World Championship Boxing on Showtime.
Former world champion Jean Pascal will be the lead fight of the undercard as he takes on undefeated contender Eleider Alvarez.
Two other light heavyweight stalwarts, Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward, will meet in a few weeks on HBO Pay Per View. It seems logical that the winner of Saturday’s Stevenson and Fonfara bout will likely face the winner of the pay per view bout between Kovalev and Ward, at least it should happen for boxing fans worldwide.
The following is a preview of Saturday’s card.
Jean Pascal (31-4-1) vs. Eleider Alvarez (22-0); Light Heavyweight
Eleider Alvarez is an intriguing prospect with a successful amateur background that includes competing in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Pascal is an ex-champion that has faced some legends in the sport. He also had a successful amateur background and won the Canadian Amateur Championships seven times and competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Alvarez will have about an inch and a half height advantage as well as a three and a half inch reach advantage. They’re both nearing the end of their primes, with Pascal being thirty four years old and Alvarez being thirty three years old.
Pascal has defeated the likes of Ricardo Ramallo, Yunieski Gonzalez, Lucian Bute, George Blades, Chad Dawson, and Adrian Diaconu. His losses have come to Carl Froch, Bernard Hopkins, and Sergey Kovalev twice.
Alvarez opened up a lot of eyes with his knockout in his last bout against Lucian Bute. He has also defeated the likes of Robert Berridge, Isaac Chilemba, Ryno Liebenberg, and Edison Miranda. Alvarez has never tasted defeated.
Both boxers have average power, Pascal has stopped eighteen of his opponents while Alvarez has stopped eleven of his opponents.
Alvarez is an intriguing prospect, he’s undefeated with a deep amateur background but older than the age most people would consider someone to be a prospect. But his career trajectory is on the upswing, while Pascal’s appears to be on the downswing. For that reason this writer has to give the edge to Alvarez.
Adonis Stevenson (28-1) vs. Andrzej Fonfara (29-4); WBC Light Heavyweight Title
This bout is a rematch of their bout in May of 2014 that saw Stevenson win a close and tightly contested decision.
Since that bout Stevenson has gone on a tear, including winning three of his past four fights by stoppage. Fonfara was knocked out viciously and quickly by Joe Smith Jr., but was able to bounce back from that by defeating former world champion Chad Dawson.
Both boxers had moderate success as an amateur. Stevenson won the Canadian National Championship in 2005 and 2006. Fonfara competed regularly on the European circuit. Neither boxer competed in the Olympics.
Stevenson has considerable power and has stopped twenty three of his opponents. Fonfara has seventeen stoppage victories. Both boxers have at times been stopped. Stevenson was stopped by Darnell Boone while Fonfara was stopped twice.
Stevenson has defeated the likes of Thomas Williams Jr., Tommy Karpency, Sakio Bika, Dmitry Sukhotskiy, Andrzej Fonfara, Tony Bellew, Tavoris Cloud, Chad Dawson, and Donovan George. Fonfara has defeated the likes of Chad Dawson, Nathan Cleverly, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Gabriel Campillo, Tommy Karpency and Glen Johnson.
Stevenson started late as a professional but is currently thirty nine years old. Fonfara is ten years younger at the age of twenty nine. Stevenson will be giving up a three and a half inch height advantage. They have the same reach.
Their first bout was close, but Fonfara is coming off a knockout loss. If this bout goes the distance Fonfara has a chance at winning as stamina favors him. But this writer believes Stevenson will walk away the victor and hopefully chase after the winner of Ward and Kovalev.
Twin Power: The Charlo Brothers
By: Kirk Jackson
One half of the powerful twin tag team duo was on display this past weekend as Jermell Charlo29-0 (14 KO’s) successfully defended his WBC junior middleweight title, stopping Charles Hatley26-2-1 via 6th round knockout.
In his first defense of his WBC title against the no.1 contender, Charloshowcased a wide range of skills.Displaying offensive versatility;stiff jabs, accurate straight punches, counter left hooks, punching power and range-awareness.
Charlo rocked Hatleyin the 2nd round, dropped Hatley with a right hand in the 3rd round and ultimately finished him in the 6th round.
A boxing-brother tandem issomething we’ve witnessed in the sport as there are many successful examples throughout history.
Juan Manuel and Rafael Marquez, Koki, Daiki and Tomoki Kameda, Ricky and Matthew Hatton, Michael and Leon Spinks, Roger, Jeff and Floyd Mayweather Sr., Vitali and WladimirKlitschko who reigned as heavyweight kings for more than a decade.
The Charlo brothers appear to be the next tandem to take over and they are twins – the Charlo brothers are only the second set of twins to hold world titles at the same time.
The first is Khaosai Galaxy (junior bantamweight) and Khaokor Galaxy (bantamweight), of Thailand, briefly holding world titles simultaneously in the late 1980s.
Jermell aims to dominate the junior middleweight division now that his twin Jermall moved up to the middleweight division.
The younger twin brother (one minute younger) spoke of his ambitions post-fight after defeating Hatley. “They got a guy named JarretHurd that took my brother’s title – we could unify,” said Jermell Charlo.
Hurd 20-0 (14 KO’s) recently won the IBF junior middleweight title Jermall Charlo 25-0 (19 KO’s) vacated in February.
The possibility of facing and potentially defeating another undefeated champion, while adding an additional world title is a great accomplishment and feather on the cap.
The other champions in the division are stable mate Erislandy Lara (WBA) 22-2-2 (14 KO’s) and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (WBO) 48-1-1 (34 KO’s).
Lara and the Charlo brothers shared the same trainer, Ronnie Shields. Although Jermell is no longer with Shields, the prospect of Jermell and Lara fighting is less than likely.
It’s also unlikely we’ll see Jermell vs. Alvarez, with Alvarez facing Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at 164 lbs. and the Mexican star probably staying in the middleweight division after his clash with Chavez Cinco de Mayo weekend.
Canelo’s ascension towards middleweight does open the door for Jermall however.
Another notable name in the division is the former WBO junior middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade 24-0 (16 KO’s).
He currently holds a portion of the WBA title – one of the many fragments and is adamant on beating both Charlo brothers.
— Demetrius Andrade (@BooBooAndrade) September 29, 2016
— Demetrius Andrade (@BooBooAndrade) September 28, 2016
A fight between the two needs to happen. The winner has the opportunity to unify titles in the division and may establish himself as not only the best at 154, but as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in boxing.
Regarding Jermall at 160 lbs., he is ranked no.2 according to the WBC middleweight rankings and intends on becoming the mandatory challenger for Gennady Golovkin’s 37-0 (33 KO’s) WBC title. However he must defeat Argentinian Jorge Sebastian Heiland to secure that position.
Jermall had a solid run at 154, defeating a faded world titlist at the time Cornelius Bundrage, a strong former champion Austin Trout and one of the best, undefeated, world contenders Julian Williams.
The older twin brother was a terror at junior middleweight; technically sound, a nice blend of overall speed, punching power and athleticism.
If Jermall can carry these traits to middleweight, he’ll present problems to anyone.
Match-ups against Alvarez, Chavez, Golovkin sound intriguing on paper. Even match-ups against some of the other factors at middleweight; WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, former titlists Danny Jacobs, David Lemieux and Andy Lee, all sound like interesting fights.
It’s just a matter of manifesting. Can each brother put a strangle hold on their respective division?
Will this be the year the twin tag team takes over boxing?
Just How Good was Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson?
By: Ken Hissner
Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer rated Jack Johnson as the best heavyweight he ever saw. This writer would have to say he would be in anyone’s top five and possibly as high as No. 2.
Johnson was born in Galveston, TX, in March of 1878, and passed in June of 1946 at the age of 68 while living in Raleigh, NC. His record was 56-11-8 (36) and 15-0-3 NWS. He lost 5 of his last 7 matches between the ages of 48 and 53 when he retired in April of 1931.
Johnson’s height was 6’0½ with a first recorded weight of 185 in 1902 while the heaviest was 242 in 1916. In title defenses he was 7-0-2. His trainer was Henry “Pop” Blanken. His managers were George Little, Sam Fitzpatrick and Alex MacLean. Johnson was inducted into the IBHOF in 1990 and also inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame. His career started in 1897 and finished in 1931.
Johnson won his first 3 matches by knockout before losing to Klondike Haynes (was black) in 1899 by technical stoppage in 5 rounds due to exhaustion. He would go onto fight Haynes to a draw in 1900 in June and in December stop him by technical knockout in 14 rounds. In February of 1901 he was knocked out by Joe Choynski. In November of that hear he lost a decision in 20 rounds to Hank Griffin. They would fight 2 more times with both ending in a draw.
One of the best colored boxers was Sam McVea whom Johnson defeated in over 20 rounds in February and October of 2003. In April of 2004 Johnson would knockout McVea in the 20th round. In March of 2005 he would lose a close if not controversial bout to Marvin Hart who was suspected to have only vision in one eye. Just 4 months later Hart would win the vacant heavyweight crown stopping Jack Root. Then lose it on his first defense to Tommy Burns.
At the early part of his career Johnson being black was not allowed to fight white boxers which would change over time. In February of 1903 he won the “Colored Title” with a 20 round decision over Denver Ed Martin. One of the best colored boxers was Joe Jeannette whom Johnson fought 5 times. In their first meeting in May of 1905 Johnson W3NWS, In November he lost by DQ in 2. In December he W6NWS and in January of 1906 Won 3 and in March won in 15 in a defense of his “Colored Title”.
In April of 1906 Johnson defeated Sam “The Black Tar Baby” Langford, 32-4-15, over 15 rounds. Johnson being outweighed Langford 185 to 156 ½ knocking him down in the 6th round. It would be year’s later when then world champion Jack Dempsey would say “I only ducked one man and that was Sam Langford.”
In July of 1907 Johnson would knock out former 3-division champion Bob Fitzsimmons, 61-6-4, in 2 rounds. In November of 1907 he knocked out “Fireman” Jim Flynn, 33-8-13, 11 rounds which put him in line for a possible title fight with Burns. In July of 2008 he stopped Ben Taylor, 23-13-3, in the 8th round in the UK.
In order to get a title fight and being the first black to get that chance Johnson’s backers had to guarantee Burns 30k which was double what anyone ever got in a heavyweight title fight. Named “The Little Giant of Hanover” Burns, 42-2-8, was only 5’7″ and gave away 5½ inches in height to Johnson and only weighed 168½ to Johnson’s 194 and with a record of 36-5-7.Johnson stopped Burns in 14 rounds in Australia. It was the Canadian Burns third fight in the country “down under.”
In Johnson’s first title defense in May of 1909 he took on the former light heavyweight champion “Philadelphia” Jack O’Brien, ending in a draw 6 NWS. The decision was received by mixed feelings. Johnson came in at 205 to O’Brien’s 162½. In October of 1909 Johnson defended against Stanley “The Michigan Assassin” Ketchel, 48-3-4, who won the middleweight title in his in November of 2008. In the 12th round Ketchel dropped Johnson who had his hands to his side. Johnson immediately got up and tore into Ketchel knocking him out with a right to the chin. It was said Johnson had 2 of Ketchel’s teeth embedded into his glove from that blow.Johnson weighed in at 205½ and Ketchel 170¼.
In July of 2004 the former unbeaten heavyweight champion James J Jeffries, 19-0-2, who hadn’t fought in 5 years and 11 months while his weight reached 300 came out of retirement. He was more or less forced to come out as a “white hope” to stop Johnson. It lasted until the 15th round when the referee/promoter Tex Ricard waved it off if favor of Johnson after Jeffries was down twice.
Johnson had lived in Spain, Mexico and France. He was fluent in French and Spanish. He fought in those three countries along with Cuba and Canada. It would be 2 years since the Jeffries fight when Johnson returned to the ring. He gave a rematch to Flynn and won by DQ in 9 rounds. Johnson was arrested in 2012 and put into prison over the Mann Act and escaped through Canada and ended up in Paris, France.
In December of 1913 in France Johnson took on Battling Jim Johnson, 20-6-2, who was black and they waltz to a 20 round draw. In June of 2013 Johnson defeated Frank Moran, 21-6-2, over 20 rounds. In April of 1915 Johnson went to Havana, Cuba to fight the giant Jess Willard, 20-3-1. In the 26th round Johnson hit the canvas onto his back. He raised his arms to block out the sun. He didn’t beat the count and Willard became the new champion.
Johnson would move to Spain and score 3 wins. Then off to Mexico for 5 more wins. He would return to Cuba after an absence of 3 years to post 2 more wins. In 1924 he went to Canada to post a win. It would be another 2 years of inactivity when he got a win in Mexico. Just 4 weeks laterin Mexico he suffered his first defeat in 11 years since losing to Willard. He was 48 years old. His 13 fight winning streak was broken. He would lose 5 of his last 7 fights fighting up until the age of 53 when he defeated Brad Simmons, 28-13-3, after having lost to him twice.
Johnson’s career ended after 34 years. After retiring Johnson attempted to train future world champion Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis, but the managers felt it would be a mistake and passed.
As you can see Johnson defeated many men smaller than him. His career really ended with the Willard loss and we will never know if he took a dive or not. He may have been a better boxer prior to winning the title.His arrogance made him a very unpopular champion along with crossing the line marrying a pair of white women. He was without a doubt one of the greatest boxers in the history of boxing.