By: Donna Jo
To rise to the top of the boxing world, an athlete must be intelligent, physically fit, dedicated, aware, and, as many former champs have attested to, a little bit lucky. Because so much is demanded of boxers—because there’s always a younger, hungrier, and more skillful opponent on the horizon—some high-level competitors fly under the radar; that is, their accomplishments and capabilities are overlooked as a result of the sport’s breakneck speed.
Today’s starts soak up the entirety of the spotlight, while yesterday’s stars don’t usually receive much respect.
Let’s take a quick look at three of the most underrated boxers of all time—boxers who recorded magnificent achievements and made their mark, but who don’t necessarily receive their due from contemporary pundits.
Jake “The Bronx Bull” LaMotta was the subject of Martin Scorsese’s famed Raging Bull film, and in many ways, his out-of-ring pursuits overshadowed his boxing achievements. Consequently, LaMotta is remembered today as something of a media figure.
He was a media figure, to be sure, but there’s no denying that LaMotta was also a legendary practitioner of the sweet science. The New York native channeled his aggression and troublesome personal habits into training, and with the help of his brother and an unrelenting will, he became one of the most notable boxers of Forties and Fifties.
LaMotta wasn’t knocked down or stopped with strikes until the twilight of his career; he fought Sugar Ray Robinson six times, in what was one of the most fantastic rivalries in boxing; and he gave a number of skillful opponents a very, very hard time in the ring.
Take a quick trip to YouTube to see LaMotta’s refusal to quit in action.
There’s a lot more to George Foreman’s achievements than his multi-million-dollar grills.
Throughout his 28-year boxing career—which spanned from the time he was 20 until he was nearly 49—Foreman was finished just once, by none other than Muhammad Ali, who also happened to snap Foreman’s 40-0 professional record. 68 of Foreman’s 76 wins came via knockout, and overall, he lost just five matches—roughly six percent of the fights he accepted throughout three decades!
The quality of Foreman’s career is further amplified by the fact that he made a successful comeback, which came when he was nearing 50 years of age. At 47 (almost 48) years old, Foreman topped Crawford Grimsley for the WBU and IBA heavyweight titles—Grimsley, a 23-year-old star who hadn’t been defeated! In short, comebacks like this almost never happen in the “real world”–or in the movies!
It can safely be stated that George Foreman, even in his ripe old age, can safely dispatch younger opponents; the man doesn’t need a bodyguard, a home security system, or any other type of protection. He’s got it under control!
Evander Holyfield has had his share of ups and downs in and out of the ring, but taken as a whole, his boxing career is terribly underrated.
Most people remember when Mike Tyson infamously bit Holyfield’s ear, but few remember when Holyfield defeated Tyson via TKO in their first fight, which came at a time when Tyson was viciously dominating the competition. The same is true of Holyfield’s one-in-a-million bout against George Foreman. Similarly, Holyfield’s riveting series with John Ruiz isn’t often mentioned, nor is the fact that Holyfield managed to do what so many of history’s greatest boxers were unable to: retire on a win.
Hopefully this list provides some newer boxing fans with the information and foundation they need to learn about the sport’s most underrated competitors. Boxing’s history is rich, and in between today’s many exciting matches, viewers should flip on the computer and relive the many exhilarating contests that the twentieth century brought with it.
Thanks for reading, and here’s to the magic and appeal of the sweet science!
By: Ken Hissner
On November 5th in 1994 at the MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada, “Big” George Foreman regained the IBF and WBA Heavyweight title knocking out Michael Moorer in the 10th round. He was behind on point from the judges with scores of 88-83 twice and 86-85. Shortly after the fight Foreman was stripped of the WBA title for refusing to fight Tony Tucker.
One of the fighters Foreman influenced most was now 44 year old Shannon “Cannon” Briggs, 29-1, who was the last opponent in Foreman’s 81 fight career. It was thought Foreman was lucky to get by Germany’s Axel Schulz, 21-1-1, in April of 1995 and most felt he deserved the decision over Briggs losing 117-113, 116-112 and 114-114.
Briggs last fought on November 4th 2016 improving his record to 60-6-1 (53). He has been 9-0 since turning 40. He chased Wladimir “Dr. Steelhammer” Klitschko then champion for years. He won the WBO title on November 4th 2006 stopping Siarhei “White Wolf” Liakhovich. Liakkhovich in his last bout at 42 in October of 2017 stopped Ramon “Pantera” Olivas, 14-7, of Sonora, Mexico, in the 3rd round of a scheduled 6, in Sonora, Mexico.
Former WBC Heavyweight champion Oliver “The Atomic Bull” McCall, 57-14 (37), at 49 lost his last fight in April of 2014 to Marcin “Rex” Rekowski, 13-1, over 10 rounds in Poland, in a rematch that McCall won in February. He was 15-7 after the age of 40. He won the title in September of 1994.
Fres “The Big O” Oquendo, 37-8 (24), at 45 is scheduled to fight for the WBA World title on September 29th at Cologne, Germany, when he meets champion Manuel Charr, 31-4 (17), though Oquendo hasn’t fought in four years. He lost a disputed decision to Chris Byrd in September of 2003 for his IBF World title.
Like Oquendo 45 year-old southpaw Amir “Hardcore” Mansour, 23-2-1 (16), is still chasing a title opportunity. He has won 7 minor titles and has been in the world ratings. His last fight was in November 2017 ending in a NC3 over a clash of heads against Russia’s Sergey Kuzmin, 11-0, in Moscow.
Billy “Bronco” Wright, 52-4 (43), of Las Vegas, last fought in January of 2016 at the age of 51. He hadn’t lost since 1998 to Tony Tucker. He won his last 22 fights since then of which 9 of his last 11 fights were in Bolivia. He won the WBC FECARBOX, WBO Latino and interim PABA titles.
All of these heavyweights felt they could match what George Foreman did at age 45 winning the heavyweight title.
By: Sean Crose
“We can change.”
So says famed former HBO commentator Larry Merchant at the end of Foreman, an intriguing documentary on the life of legendary boxer turned pop culture icon George Foreman, which airs Wednesday night at 8 PM on EPIX. One of the interesting things about Foreman is that his life basically falls into a neat narrative. From brutal street kid, to brutal fighter, to sincere Christian, to the star of perhaps the single best comeback story in all of sports, to life as a permanent fixture in American culture, the Houston, Texas native’s tale has essentially been begging to become a film for years. Needless to say, Foreman the documentary doesn’t disappoint.
Foreman’s son, George Jr., is the force behind the film and his choice of Chris Perkel as writer and director is an effective one. Rather than employing a narrator, Ken Burns style, Perkel allows Foreman and those individuals who have been a part of his universe to tell the story themselves. The footage, some of it famous, some of it little seen, accompanies the storytelling in a precise, fast-paced manner that makes for entertaining viewing. The movie rarely lags.
What gives the film it’s strength, though, is its theme of change. For Foreman truly became a changed man after entering his darkest moment. It was a change that was as abrupt as it has proven to be lasting. Yet Foreman essentially starts from the beginning, showcasing “Big George’s” rise from street thug to heavyweight champion of the world, an all American tale of one young man’s rise from poverty to the good life. Then comes that famous loss to Muhammad Ali in Zaire in 1974 and the subsequent psychological fallout. It’s at that point that we see Foreman the villain, dying in his locker room after a 1977 loss to Jimmy Young.
Yet it’s also at that exact moment that the film presents the man’s turning point. Foreman does a very effective job focusing on its subject’s now famous religious experience, so effective that it should be viewed rather than read about. Whatever one makes of the events of that long ago evening, there’s little doubt they brought about a profound shift in Foreman the man, and that they made him a much nicer guy in general, a fact evidenced by the film’s numerous recollections of family and friends.
Naturally, the second part of Foreman goes on to tell the prolonged happy ending millions now know as if it were the plot of a classic film – how the fat, aging Foreman, now a Christian cleric, took up fighting again and eventually, very improbably, managed, at forty-five, to win back the heavyweight title he had lost to Muhammad Ali over two decades earlier before moving on to become an entrepreneur and ubiquitous celebrity. Sure enough, Foreman’s story is so well known as to be spoiler free.
Yet the people behind Foreman the film wrap things up quite impressively by returning to the theme of change at the end of their documentary. For those who know Foreman the fighter know that he didn’t just change as a person, but ultimately went on to change as a ring tactician, as well. And the filmmakers rise to the occasion by letting the viewer know just how that first change inevitably led to the second.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Gamboa, Golden Boy, Peterson, Linares, Lara, Foreman, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 17th to January 24th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Yuriorkis Gamboa Joins Golden Boy Promotions
Former Olympic Gold Medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa has signed with Golden Boy Promotions to a multi fight deal. He was previously signed with 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions.
Gamboa is currently thirty five years old and has been very inactive since he left Top Rank Promotions. He is scheduled to fight Rene Alvarado on the undercard of the March 11th bout between David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens.
This card will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark.
WBA Champion David Avanesyan to Battle Lamont Peterson in Welterweight Title Defense
WBA Welterweight Champion David Avanesyan (22-1-1, 11 KOs) will defend his title against former two-time world champion Lamont Peterson (34-3-1, 17 KOs) in a 12-round matchup that serves as the co-main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Saturday, February 18 from the Cintas Center at Xavier University in Cincinnati.
Televised coverage on SHOWTIME begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with unbeaten light heavyweight contender “Sir” Marcus Browne (18-0, 13 KOs) meeting hard-hitting former title challenger Thomas “Top Dog” Williams Jr. (20-2, 14 KOs) in a 10-round showdown. The event is headlined by former four-division world champion Adrien Broner taking on hard-hitting contender Adrian Granados.
“It is a great pleasure for me to be defending my world title in the U.S. against a very good opponent in Lamont Peterson,” said Avanesyan. “I am the champion and come February 18 I will remain champion. This fight gives me a great opportunity to let the U.S. know what I’m about and put me in a position to fight the top fighters in the division. This will be a difficult defense but I am ready to show everyone how good I am.”
“I’m extremely excited about getting back in the ring and fighting on SHOWTIME again,” said Peterson. “I’ve been working hard in the gym and I’m ready to give my fans the kind of show they deserve. I know this guy is coming in with a lot of confidence from that belt, but I believe I’m the better fighter and I’ll prove it on February 18.”
“I’m ready to go to work and fight,” said Browne. “It doesn’t matter if I am the underdog; so be it. Let me be the underdog. I just want to beat this guy up. This is who I wanted to fight. I am fired up about this one and I can’t wait until February 18.”
“On February 18, I’m not leaving anything up to the judges,” said Williams Jr. “I think Marcus has gotten some gifts in the past, so I’m not leaving this up to anyone but myself. I wanted to stay in the mix. I don’t need a tune-up. I’ve been fighting since I was five-years-old. I just need to get in there and fight. I think this is going to be a really good battle.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by About Billions Promotions and Mayweather Promotions in association with TGB Promotions and K1 Boxing, are priced at $250, $100, $75, $50 and $30, not including applicable fees, and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
Linares vs. Crolla to Televise on Showtime
Showtime has televised a large number of fights in recent years, and they just announced that they will be televising a lightweight title rematch between Anthoyn Crolla and Jorge Linares on March 25th.
This is a rematch from their September 24th bout that Linares won by a close decision in a fan friendly fight. This bout will be televised in the United States on Showtime and live on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.
Lara vs. Foreman Generates Impressive Ratings on Spike TV
Erislandy Lara, the WBA/IBO 154-pound champion, scored two knockouts in his match against Yuri Foreman in Miami on Premier Championship Boxing on Spike TV last Friday night. One in the ring to retain his world titles and another in the ratings. An average of 547,000 viewers, with a peak audience of 707,000, tuned in to watch Lara land a devastating uppercut that knocked out former world champion Foreman in the fourth round.
Spike TV’s viewership ratings for Lara vs. Foreman scored 11% higher than their last Friday night telecast, which showcased Danny Jacobs vs Sergio Mora. Look for Erislandy Lara to return to the ring sometime before summer.
“I want to thank Spike TV and everyone involved with the promotion for giving me the opportunity to fight in Miami, in front of all my fans.” said Erislandy Lara. “The last time I fought in Miami I got the knockout and that’s exactly what I wanted to do in this fight. I accomplished that goal and the fans got to see someone go down. Everyone loves the knockout. I’m happy to have delivered a positive rating for Spike TV. I can’t wait to return to the ring.”
Gerry Cooney to Appear in Spring Lake, NJ on March 12th
The Irish Centre, along with Peter Grandich Company and Trinity Financial, Sports & Entertainment Management Company, will proudly welcome former world heavyweight title challenger Gerry Cooney to the town of Spring Lake, N.J. on Sunday, March 12. Appearing as part of an Irish Celebration, Cooney will be present from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Irish Centre, which is located at 1120 Third Avenue in Spring Lake.
“Gerry Cooney is a dear friend of mine who wholeheartedly lives up to his nickname, Gentleman Gerry,” said Peter Grandich, owner of Peter Grandich Company and Trinity Financial, Sports & Entertainment Management Company. “For good reason, Gerry became a beloved figure when he was a professional boxer, and the affection that still surrounds him today becomes even greater when an individual is blessed enough to meet him in person. We welcome everybody to come experience my sentiments for themselves when he visits us on March 12 in the Heart of the Irish Riviera in Spring Lake, New Jersey.”
The first 100 visitors on March 12 will receive a free autographed photo of Gerry Cooney. Additionally, all are welcome to bring items to get autographed that afternoon, as well as take photos with him.
Before turning professional, Cooney was a decorated amateur fighter who won tournaments in England, Wales and Scotland, in addition to being a two-time New York Golden Gloves champion. He then won his first 25 bouts as a professional prizefighter, with none more impressive than his 54-second destruction of former world champion Ken Norton at Madison Square Garden in 1981. The crushing victory earned Cooney a date the following year with WBC Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes, where he gave a valiant 13-round performance against the unbeaten Holmes. After the fight, Cooney continued to box until his 1990 professional finale against George Foreman.
Despite his imposing 6-foot-6 posture, Cooney still remains one of the most beloved figures associated with the sport of boxing, regularly appearing at major fights in the region with Randy Gordon, former New York State Athletic Commissioner and his co-host on SiriusXM’s At The Fights.
Located at 219 Morris Avenue in Spring Lake, Peter Grandich Company and Trinity Financial, Sports & Entertainment Management Company provides business, retirement and estate planning services to individuals, business owners and professional athletes. Through a strategic alliance with York-Jersey Underwriters, the company offers professional advice and risk management services to business and personal insurance clients.
Burgin vs. Sparrow on March 10th in All Philly Rumble
The Burgin-Sparrow fight tops a nine-bout card at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. First fight is 7.30 pm. Tickets are priced at $40, $50 and $75 and they are on sale at the offices of Peltz Boxing (215-765-0922) and at www.peltzboxing.com or www.2300Arena.com. The card is being promoted by Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc., BAM Boxing and Joe Hand Promotions. It will be streamed live by www.glf.com and televised on delay by Comcast Sports Net.
Rabbi (Yuri Foreman) Should Have Been in Temple
By: Ronald Neal Goldman
What might eventually portend as a career ending match, Yuri Foreman (34-3, 10 KOs), was knocked out for the second first time in his career, at 1;47 of the fourth round at the Amphitheater at Hialeah Park South Florida. Dubbed The Fighting Rabbi, Foreman’s ring savvy with his ability to slip punches, and quick thinking on his feet, was no match for Erislandy Lara, (24–2-2, 14 KOs) one of the most avoided fighters in the game. Implementing Metallica’s iconic title song Seek and Destroy, as his game strategy , Lara disposed of the Israeli fighter- originally from the Soviet Union- with a perfectly timed left uppercut that left Yuri incapable to continue on his quest for a second world title. While neither fighter is known for devastating punching power, it was the Cuban born Lara, best, known for setting traps and delivering and scoring with remarkable accuracy, which made the difference. Referee Samuel Burgos’s uncontested stoppage of the fight, places the orthodox rabbinical student in the unenviable quandary of some heavy soul searching contemplation.
As orthodox Jew,Yuri’s foray into the squared circle is not without precedent. Having been a publicist for former number one welterweight challenger, Dmitriy (Star of David) Salita, (35-2-1) the issues of maintaining religious convictions, while at the same time pursuing the WBA welterweight title was more than simply a case of cognitive dissonance, conflicting beliefs and, by extension, where to implement your energies. Salita, a devoted follower of the Chabad religious sect, formerly of what is now considered the Ukraine then supplanted in Brooklyn, New York, was the avatar to a multitude of Jewish orthodoxy who looked at Dmitriy as more than the stereotypical Jew who favored the philosophical over the physical, books over boxing, as it were. I recall one Saturday when the Jewish Sabbath ended around 7:30 p.m. and he was scheduled to fight in the Garden that same evening. He quite literally went from his sartorially appropriate Sabbath garb to his boxing trunks, from praying to punching.
For Yuri, his dream of securing a world title was played out on the Major Degan on June 5, 2010. Racing the clock, he was escorted by police cruisers to Yankee Stadium -directly following the end of the Sabbath- in his showdown with Miguel Cotto in a super welterweight challenge for the WBA Super Welterweight Championship. As divinity reared its unapologetically spiritual adjudication, it was not meant to be as Mr. Forerman lost via a TKO in in the ninth round.
Yuri Foreman’s issues, this writer believes, was and is, his inability to reconcile the spiritual with the ethical, who, and, more importantly, what he is. If, as I believe in Yuri’s case, he is unable to put his reconciliation of opposites to rest and find a a path whereby his vocation and his asceticism can comfortably coexist, he may never realize his full potential of either.
Ronald Neal Goldman
professor of English
Touro College and University System
Lara Knocks Out Foreman
By: Sean Crose
Anthony Dirrell (29-1-1) fought Norbert Nemesapati (24-3) in Miami Friday in a super middleweight affair that was part of a PBC card airing live on Spike. Dirrell looked a bit sharper in the first, his punches landing harder and cleaner. Things got more physical in the second, with both men pressing against each other. Still, the round belonged to the effective puncher Dirrell. Nemesapati landed clean a few times towards the end of the second, to be sure, but Dirrell’s beard was too strong. Needless to say, Dirrell ended the round banging away at his opponent.
Dirrell’s big punches started taking their toll in the third. Indeed, by the end of the round, the game Nemesapati looked in trouble. To be sure, the man had provided no answers for Dirrell up to that point in the bout. Things began to get brutal in the fourth. Dirrell thudded away while Nemesapati did nothing more than stay on his feet. It was time for the man’s corner to decide whether or not it was time to call it a night.
By the fifth, Dirrell was mocking his man, holding his hands behind his back and daring him to swing. Nemesapati, however, was still standing. He was taking an endless beating, but he was standing. By the sixth round, Dirrell actually seemed to be slowing down. Nemesapati may not have been capitalizing on the situation, but Dirrell was no longer able to keep slugging away at will. Fortunately, Nemesapati’s corner stopped the proceedings after the sixth. It was the right decision to make. Their man had simply had enough.
The second televised fight of the evening featured Juan Carlos Payano (17-1) and Isao Carranza (15-7-1) in a bantamweight affair. Payano landed some solid shots in the first. Carranza may have had the height advantage, but it didn’t do much for the man in round one (though Carranza did push forward hard in the final seconds). The second round showed good movement on the part of Payano, as well as more effective punching, thanks in part to a very effective southpaw jab.
Payano continued to glide along through the middle rounds. In truth, the one sided nature of the fight made the bout monotonous. Indeed, the referee had seen all he needed to by the 7th, and put Carranza out of his misery by wisely stopping the bout. It was now time for the main event between IBO and WBA super welterweight champ Erislandy Lara (23-2-2) and the former WBA world super welterweight champ, Yuri Foreman (34-2).
Round one, frankly, was close, though Lara may have edged it. The second round was also a tentative affair. People expecting Lara to blow Foreman out were so far sadly mistaken, though Lara did get a clean shot in during the final seconds of the round. Lara started taking control in the third – though a slip ruled as a knockdown against Foreman was a bit unfair. A thunderous uppercut took Foreman down in the fourth – and that was that. The referee stopped the fight as a wobbly Foreman gamely tried to get up and stabilize himself. It looked like Foreman may have hurt his leg – which had given him trouble in the past – but it was impossible to confirm at the time.
Ronda Rousey Returns After “Biggest Upset in Combat Sports History”? Not By a Long Way
By: Matt O’Brien
Friday night sees the long-awaited comeback of“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey following her shocking defeat to Holly Holm last November, in a result infamously described by UFC commentator Joe Rogan as, “the biggest upset in combat sports history”. Prior to her defeat,Rousey had demolished a string of 12 opponentswith only one of them making it out of the first round – a devastating record by any standard, and there’s no doubt that Holm’s knockout was a truly enormous upset, with the challenger overcoming odds of up to 12-1 against her.
That being said, it takes two people to make a fight, and the bookies’ published odds are not the only ingredient that goes into a big upset – the wider context of the underdog’s role is also vital. Ronda’s record was indeed formidable, but keen observers had noted that it could be a far more difficult task than anything she had faced before, with Holm being a former world-boxing champion and arguably the first bona fide world-class striker “Rowdy” had faced off against.
So while Rogan’s assertion that it was the “biggest upset of all time” might be right as far as UFC or even MMA history goes, once we include the sweet science the scale of Ronda’s defeat falls a few rungs down the list of “greatest ever upsets”. Here are five of my favourite shocks in boxing history that eclipse Holly Holm’s upset victory over Ronda Rousey:
1. James Douglas KO10 Mike Tyson, Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship, February 1990
This is the grand-daddy of upsets: not just the biggest upset in the history of boxing; not even the biggest upset in the history of combat sports. This one is arguably the biggest upset in the history of sports, period.
The reason for the scale of Douglas’ shock was twofold: firstly, “Iron” Mike was a destructive force the like of which had rarely, if ever, been witnessed before. Carrying an undefeated 37-fight record, all but four of Tyson’s victims had been knocked out, 17 of them in the first round. Tyson made a habit of making accomplished world-class boxers look like bunny rabbits caught in the headlights of a freight train. Secondly, Tyson’s awesome aura was set against Douglas’ far less-than-fearful persona. A competent yet unspectacular heavyweight, Douglas’ physique was rippled rather than ripped andhis style plodding rather than punishing.
Weeks before the contest though, Douglas’ mother had died, providing him with the kind of motivation and discipline he’d previously lacked. Meanwhile Tyson had fallen into the age-old trap of believing his own hype; his preparations consisted largely of hosting Japanese women in his hotel room and he was knocked down in sparring by Greg Page.
Even so, a listless Tyson was able to floor the challenger and almost pulled off a knockout victory in the eighth round. Douglas beat the count and continued to pummel the champion with a solid jab and powerful right hand. In the tenth, “Buster” unloaded a vicious combination punctuated by a huge right uppercut that sent Tyson sprawling. As he scrambled to put the gumshield back into his mouth, referee Octavio Meyran waved the finish and signaled the greatest upset in history, as the 42-1 outsider stunned the world.
*To his credit, Joe Rogan later admitted that this was actually a bigger upset than Rousey-Holm.
2. Evander Holyfield TKO11 Mike Tyson, WBA Heavyweight Championship, November 1996
It is a testament to Tyson’s fearsome aura and the magnetic grip he held on the public consciousness that six years after the Douglas defeat and following three years of incarceration, he was yet again considered invincible – despite Douglas’ evidence to the contrary. Tyson had demolished four challengers in just eight rounds since his release from prison, though he had yet to face anyone offeringmuch resistance. Frank Bruno looked scared stiff as he walked to the ring and Bruce Seldon put forward probably the meekest capitulation in the history of heavyweight championship boxing, surrendering in just 109 seconds. Evander Holyfield was a different proposition altogether, though few credited him with this distinction at the time.
Once again, the monumental scale of Holyfield’s upset was not just a measure of how highly Tyson was regarded – it also came from a foolish under-estimation of what “The Real Deal” had left to offer. A glut in recent performances in the ring, including a KO defeat to arch nemesis Riddick Bowe and a health scare regarding a heart condition had effectively erased memories of Holyfield’s fighting skills and warrior spirit.Many pundits argued that Holyfield was not just going to lose, but that he was in danger of being seriously injured.
The former champ opened as a 25-1 underdog, but his ironclad self-belief, granite chin and counter-punching strategy troubled “Iron” Mike from the outset. When Holyfield took Tyson’s vaunted power punches, retained his composure and kept firing back, it soon became evident that “the Baddest Man on the Planet” had no back-up plan. They say a picture tells a thousand words, but when Tyson was lifted off his feet by a left uppercut in the sixth round, far less than that were needed to describe the look on his face. Holyfield proceeded to administer a beat down until a dejected Tyson was finally rescued by referee Mitch Halpern in the eleventh round.
3. Hasim Rahman KO5 Lennox Lewis, WBC/IBF/Lineal World Heavyweight Championship, April 2001
Lennox Lewis had been knocked out before, but going into his fight with Hasim Rahman he was in the process of establishing himself as one of the most dominant heavyweight champions in history. He’d already made 12 defences over two reigns as WBC championand was making the fourth defence of the lineal and unified title he won against Evander Holyfield. He had also cut a swathe through potential heirs to the throne, blasting Michael Grant in two rounds and thoroughly outboxing dangerous New Zealander David Tua.
Unfortunately, Lewis had also spent time during preparation for his title defense schmoozing on the Hollywood film set of Ocean’s Eleven, while unheralded challenger Hasim “The Rock” Rahman grafted in the intense heat and high-altitude of a South African boxing gym.But while Rahman was a motivated and respectable contender, he’d done little in his career to indicate he posed a serious threat. Indeed, two years prior he had been brutally knocked out by Oleg Maskaev.
In the ring though, the difference in each man’s preparation showed, as a complacent Lewis blew heavily and struggled to assert himself. In the early rounds, there were warning signs that Rahman’s overhand right posed danger, but even so the end came suddenly and unexpectedly in the fifth round, as Lewis backed against the ropes and the 20-1 outsider unleashed a haymaker that landed flush on the jaw. The champion crumpled into a heap and minutes later was still in disbelief about what had occurred. To his credit, Lewis returned the favour when properly focused for the immediate rematch, knocking out Rahman in the fourth round to reclaim his title.
4. Muhammad Ali KO8 George Foreman, World Heavyweight Championship, October 1974
The 4-1 odds on Ali for this fight really don’t do justice to the monumental scale of the task he overcame on this momentous night. Foreman – much like Tyson years later – was considered to be an unstoppable force that had brutally manhandled some of the most dangerous heavyweights in the world. Joe Frazier, the undefeated heavyweight champion, conqueror of Muhammad Ali and one of the finest fighters the division had ever seen, was bounced around the ring like a rag doll and brutally stopped in two rounds.Ken Norton, a fighter who’d also taken Ali to the wire on two occasions (going 1-1 with The Greatest) was similarly dispatched by Foreman in less than 6 minutes.
In contrast, Ali was 10 years removed from his initial title-winning effort against Sonny Liston, had barely squeezed by Norton in their second fight, and looked sluggish in a dull rematch victory over Frazier.
A 32-year-old Ali offered his usual, charismatic, confident predictions before the bout, but few took him seriously, and even his own camp appeared to fear the worst. Norman Mailer described the atmosphere in Ali’s dressing room as, “like a corner in a hospital where relatives wait for word of the operation.” The dark mood failed to stop the irrepressible Ali, who boxed one of the most brilliant, bold fights ever witnessed to recapture the Heavyweight Championship and cement in his place in history with a truly unbelievable upset of epic proportions.
5. Ray Leonard W12 Marvin Hagler, WBC Middleweight Championship, April 1987
In 1982 “Sugar” Ray had retired following surgery to repair a detached retina, returning to the ring in 1984 in what should have been a routine victory over Kevin Howard, but announced his retirement again following the fight after suffering his first ever career-knockdown. Now, having only boxed once in five years, Leonard was moving up two weight classes from his favoured welterweight division to take on one of the greatest middleweight champions of all-time. It looked liked Mission Impossible on Viagra.
“Marvelous” Marvin Hagler hadn’t lost a boxing match since dropping a majority decision to Bobby Watts over a decade earlier, had won 13 consecutive middleweight title matches, and was ranked as the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by KOMagazine. It’s therefore a testament to Leonard’s star power that he opened only as a 4-1 underdog, and had even shortened these odds to 3-1 by the time of the fight. Among the “experts”, few gave the challenger a chance though, with 18 in a poll of 21 writers picking Hagler to prevail.
The eventual split decision in Sugar Ray’s favour is still bitterly disputed to this day. While there is a strong argument that Hagler did enough to win, there is no denying the success of Leonard’s psychological games, and the fact that he pulled one of the greatest examples of mind over matter in the history of boxing.
The fights above comprise my personal favourite selection of huge boxing upsets greater than Holm’s defeat of Ronda Rousey, though there’s arguably a host of others than should make the cut. Here’s a brief selection of the best of the rest…
Randy Turpin W15 Ray Robinson, World Middleweight Championship, July 1951
Englishman Turpin probably caught the original “Sugar” Ray at the perfect time, as he came to the end of a busy European tour. Still, defeating arguably the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time was a stunning achievement.
Cassius Clay TKO7 Sonny Liston, World Heavyweight Championship, February 1964
On paper the 8-1 odds were even steeper than when the older version of Clay [Ali] defeated George Foreman, as the Greatest “Shook up the World” for the first time in his amazing career.
Frankie Randall W12 Julio Cesar Chavez, WBC Super Lightweight Championship, January 1994
Chavez was lucky to escape with a draw against Pernell Whitaker four months earlier, but was still officially undefeated after 90 fights, 27 of them for world titles, and he entered the fight as a massive 18-1 favourite.
Max Schmeling KO12 Joe Louis, June 1936
The young, undefeated “Brown Bomber” was widely perceived as unbeatable, but the German had studied his style and exploited his weaknesses to great effect. A more experienced Louis destroyed Schmeling in a single round in their famous rematch two years later.
Lloyd Honeyghan TKO6 Donald Curry, Undisputed Welterweight Championship, September 1986
Curry was considered one of the elite fighters in the sport and was being groomed for super-stardom, but he was struggling desperately to make the weight limit. Meanwhile Honeyghan paid short shrift to the champion’s undefeated record and bet $5,000 on himself at odds of 5-1, shocking the bookies and the boxing world in the process.
More Boxing History
When Ali Fought Foreman
By: Jordan Seward
42 years ago to the day Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman in the rumble in the jungle in what turned out to be one of the most significant boxing events in history, arguably, turned out to be the most significant victory of Muhammad ‘The Greatest’ Ali’s glittering career.
On October 30 1974, Muhammad Ali produced an 8th round knockout of the favoured George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in what is now regarded as one of the greatest sporting events of the 20th century.
With the odds stacked against him, with a fearsome opponent in front of him, and, with plenty of miles on the clock – Ali didn’t just win the WBC and WBA world heavyweight titles that night, he cemented his place among the greats. And it easily could have been oh so different.
Born as Cassisus Marcellus Clay, Jr, in Louisville, Kentucky on January 14, 1942, he went on to achieve gold at the Olympic games in Rome 1960. At the age of 22 after beating Sonny Liston and claiming the WBC and WBA world heavyweight titles for the first time he converted to Islam and changed his name from Cassius Clay, which he regarded as his ‘slave name’ to Muhammad Ali.
With the United States at war with Vietnam, Ali refused to be inducted into the U.S. Army on April 28, 1967, famously saying “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong”. He was convicted of draft evasion, fined $10,000 as well as being stripped of his belts and received a three-and-a-half-year suspension from boxing and a five-year prison sentence, though the latter was appealed and overturned.
He regained his boxing licence in 1970 and began his reinvention and climb back to the top with comeback fights against Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena. But while Ali was out of contention Joe ‘Smokin’ Frazier, an emerging talent took full advantage and claimed the world titles against Jimmy Ellis in February 1970. Ali didn’t have to wait long for his shot to claim those prized belts back though, but it was Frazier, who came out on top, dishing out Ali’s first defeat with a unanimous decision victory in 1971 to retain the belts.
Frazier would have a taste of his own medicine two years later when gold medallist from the 1968 Olympics George Foreman, knocked him down six times on route to a second round TKO. When Foreman took on Ken Norton on 26 March 1974, Norton and Frazier, bearing in mind the latter who had just been demolished by Foreman, were the only men to have defeated Ali. Norton received the same treatment as Frazier and was stopped inside two rounds.
At the age of just 25 the freakish power and sheer size of Foreman was why he was deemed as an overwhelming favourite when he and the then 32-year-old Muhammad Ali shared a ring. He was 40-0 with 37 KO’s and Ali had just avenged his two defeats by beating Norton and then Frazier in Madison Square Garden. It was all set for the rumble in the jungle.
Funny enough it was one of Don King’s first ventures as a boxing promoter and he was joined by music businessman Jerry Masucci to arrange the fight. A three-night-long music festival dedicated to the fight took place as scheduled on September 22–24 1974. It included performances from James Brown, Celia Cruz and the Fania All-Stars, B.B. King, Miriam Makeba, The Spinners, Bill Withers, The Crusaders, and Manu Dibango.
With 60,000 fans packed inside of the 20th May Stadium, surprisingly, Ali started the fight in aggressive fashion – something that seemed to favour Foreman’s style. In the build up to the fight Ali wasn’t shy of admitting he had a secret plan for Foreman and in the second round he administered it. He began to frequently lean on the ropes and cover up as his opponent began to unload, the majority of the punches landing on the arms and body. Foreman was throwing regularly but his punches were not scoring and all the while he was exerting valuable energy.
Ali later dubbed this tactic as the ‘rope-a-dope’. Ali ensured he wasn’t wasteful and every opportunity he got he landed shots to the head as ‘Big George’ Foreman’s face visibly began to puff. He began to taunt his opponent as he out-wrestled and maneuvered him in clinches. Foreman’s frustration was an agent of his own demise as he began to throw more
powerful punches but to little effect.
Fast hard jabs and crosses from Ali began to pay dividends as he wobbled his opponent in the fourth. Foreman remained on the front foot and kept coming forward but started to look weary after the end of the fifth round. As the fight progressed it was the former world champion and underdog who was in control and in the eight he landed a solid 5-punch combination sent Foreman crashing to the canvas. He got up at the nine count but referee Zach Clayton waved it off and at 32-years-old Muhammad Ali had regained the world heavyweight titles.
The fight was awarded the 1974 Ring Magazine Fight of the Year. The against all the odds story of Ali conquering a young and stronger champion, the diverse cultural influence and the major hype of this fight are some of the reasons why this fight will always be remembered. Both Foreman and Ali achieved so much in their careers but this victory in this fight meant ‘The Greatest’ could shout out to the world with full conviction he is the greatest and that’s what he’s remembered as.
Fellow Athletes, Along With Politicians And Other Notables, Weigh In On “The Greatest”
By: Sean Crose
With the world reeling from the news of Muhammad Ali’s death, Boxing Insider has decided to pay homage to “The Greatest” by offering the reader a collection of quotes and Tweets from family, friends, colleagues and notable admirers of the legendary fighter. Enjoy
1. “The world has lost an incredible legend, I have lost a phenomenal friend and mentor. Much love” Larry Holmes
2. “He shook up the world, and the world’s better for it. Rest in peace, Champ.” President Barak Obama
3. “Muhammad Ali is dead at 74! A truly great champion and a wonderful guy. He will be missed by all!” Donald Trump
4. “Until Ali no one said ‘I’m beautiful’ he was royalty, yet common man was his pal. That is beauty. Greatest kind” George Foreman
5. “God came for his champion. So long great one.” Mike Tyson
6. “RIP @muhammadali, a legend who transcended sport and was a true champion for all.” Oscar de la Hoya
7. “My heart is deeply saddened yet both appreciative and relieved that the greatest is now resting in the greatest place.” Roy Jones Jr
8. “I mourn the passing of MuhammadAli. He was indeed “The Greatest.” An American legend & a true Champion for the world.” Larry King
9. “The Greatest Man that ever lived. Daddy my best friend & my Hero You R no longer suffering & now in a better place.” Rasheda Ali
10. “We lost a giant today. You will always be GOAT. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Ali family. May God bless them.” Manny Pacquiao
11. “Today my heart goes out to a pioneer, a true legend, and a hero by all means!” Floyd Mayweather
12. “A giant among men, Ali displayed a greatness in talent, courage & conviction, that most of us will EVER be able to truly comprehend.” Lennox Lewis
13. “Rip to the champ.” Nate Diaz
14. “Nobody will ever come close to this mans greatness. And if they do, they better wake up and apologize.” Conor McGregor
15. “Muhammad Ali has died at 74. #RIP to ‘The Greatest.’ A sad day for the world.” Dan Rafael
16. “Rip the greatest of all times in many different ways.” Tyson Fury
17. “Strong prayers up & loving energy for The Greatest. There will never be another quite like him…” Mario Lopez
18. “RIP to the GOAT. A man of character, faith, dignity and professionalism. You’ll continue to inspire us to make this world a better place.” Wladimir Klitschko
19. “A joy to have known #Ali, my hero; I was privileged. May God embrace him and bring comfort to his family. His mark on this world is ETERNAL.” Lou DiBella
20. “A true great has left us. @MuhammadAli transformed this country and impacted the world with his spirit.” Bob Arum
21. “A man who shook up the world has passed on to the next stage of existence. Muhammad Ali was one of the most unique and original forces in culture and one of the most spectacularly talented boxers that ever laced up the gloves.” Joe Rogan
22. “This Man. This King. This Hero. This Human! Words cannot express. He shook up the World! God Bless Him.” Madonna
23. “RIP Champ A true honor to have met you many times over the yrs as you always will be#TheGreatestOfAllTime” Bruce Buffer
24. “You didn’t have to be a Boxing fan to realize his greatness, wit & bravery. Went to jail- NOT Viet Nam!” Mark Hamill
25. “We Lost a LEGEND RIP ALI!!!!!!!” Adrien Broner
26. “You will always be my hero … #MuhammadAli” Lionel Richie”
27. “Besides being the greatest boxer, he was a beautiful, gentle man with a great sense of humour” Paul McCartney
28. “Fantastic man who I came to know well.… He was the real Apollo Creed!” Sylvester Stallone
29. “Ali taught us to dream, to dare and fight for what we believe” Piers Morgan
30. “The Greatest is gone. @MuhammadAli changed the world as a fighter, humanitarian, teacher and force for peace and understanding. A champion.” Matt Lauer
31. “The Greatest. In boxing and in life, an inspiration to mankind.” Gennady Golovkin
32. “This one hurts. I have so much to say, but don’t know how to say it…but for now, you will be missed & I appreciate you so much. #Ali” Andre Ward
33. “RIP #MuhammedAli. Truly the greatest of all time. Your legacy extends beyond sports.” Mark Wahlberg
34. “This man inspired me. The Champ. Rest in peace. 2016 is a rough one.” Idris Elba
35. “Muhammad Ali, we are all stronger because of the light you shared with us. Rest in peace G.O.A.T. I love you.” LL Cool J
36. “You changed our sport and your vision impact the world. Your legacy will always be with Remembered #TheGreatest @MuhammadAli” Miguel Cotto
37. “Knew this day would come yet can’t express how my heart feels. #RIPAli #GOAT. My condolences to his family. #boxing” Rosie Perez
38. “Muhammad Ali was the greatest, not only an extraordinary athlete but a man of great courage and humanity.” Bernie Sanders
39. “We lost another legend last nite. Thank u for all u did – u will be missed. #RIPMuhammadAli” David Ortiz
40. “Thank you for touching so many lives. You have always been a huge inspiration for me and will be greatly missed. The greatest of all time.” Holly Holm
41. “RIP Muhammad Ali u elevated the art of the fight in the ring &out of it,a truly funny man,&remains the greatest my condolences to the family” Whoopi Goldberg
42. “RIP @MuhammadAli You fought a great fight!” Luanne de Lesseps
43. “You will be missed #MuhammadAli” Freddie Roach
44. “Condolences to the Ali family. I cherish the memories of the times I spent with The Greatest. Perhaps the most remarkable man I ever met.” Jimmy Lennon Jr.
45. “I woke up this morning with a tear coming down my cheek, an ache in my chest along with an appreciation of a man, fighter and friend That I truly admired, idolized and loved in Muhammad Ali. My true feelings have not totally surfaced yet because No One beats Muhammad Ali.” Sugar Ray Leonard
Boxing Insider Notebook: Bute, Bey, PBC, Williams, Foreman, Charlo, Webster, Andrade, and more
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 24th to May 31st, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Lucian Bute’s Anti-Doping Statement
Lucian Bute was informed of the results of the anti-doping test done after his World Boxing Council (WBC) world title fight against Badou Jack, April 30, in Washington, D.C.
As reported in a statement sent by the WBC, the Washington D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission informed them that Bute tested positive for Ostarine, in an A sample analysis, after the bout.
”I am surprised and sorry about this. I don’t understand what led to this positive result, Bute said. “I have always passed every anti-doping test that I was asked to take since I won a world title. More recently for my fight against James DeGale, in Quebec City, last November, I was tested eight times from before my training camp until after my fight. I have never taken any illegal products. I have a complete trust in my team. There will be an analysis of the B sample and I am sure that this result will be negative.”
”GYM has always been strongly in favor of a strict anti-doping policy to keep the sport of boxing clean,” GYM president Yvon Michel remarked. “We are really surprised by this first result and we now hope that the B sample proves that the first result was wrong. Until then, we support Lucian Bute.”
There will be no further comments on this subject until the publication of Bute’s B sample result.
PBC to Have a Heavy Slate of Fights for the Month of June
The following bouts are scheduled to take place during the month of June under the PBC Banner.
Friday, June 3 -Rances Barthelemy vs. Mickey Bey (Lightweight World Championship); Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Alberto Guevara from Hollywood, Fla., on Spike (9 p.m. ET/PT).
Saturday, June 4 -Artur Beterbiev vs. Ezequiel Maderna; Bryant Perrella vs. David Grayton from Montreal, Canada on ESPN (11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT).
Saturday, June 11 -John Molina, Jr. vs. Ruslan Provodnikov from Verona, NY on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Sunday, June 12 -Phil Lo Greco vs. Joseph Elegele; Steve Lovett vs. Craig Baker from Lakeland, Fla., on Bounce TV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Saturday, June 18 -Andrzej Fonfara vs. Joe Smith, Jr.; Juan Carlos Payano vs. Rau’shee Warren; Erickson Lubin vs. Daniel Sandoval from Chicago on NBC (8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT).
Saturday, June 25 -Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter; Jesus Cuellar vs. Abner Mares from Barclays Center in Brooklyn on CBS (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Saturday, June 25 – Justin DeLoach vs. Junior Castillo; Ryan Karl vs. Luis Solis in San Antonio on NBCSN (11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT).
Tuesday, June 28 – Edner Cherry-Lydell Rhodes; Omar Douglas-Alexei Collado from Bethlehem, PA on FS1 and FOX Deportes (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Julian Williams Ready for Jermall Charlo
On May 21, three of the four world championships in the hot junior middleweight division were contested as Erislandy Lara defended his WBA title with a unanimous decision over Vanes Martirosyan; Jermall Charlo defended his IBF title with a unanimous decision over former champion Austin Trout and Jermell Charlo scored a come-from-behind stoppage over John Jackson to capture the WBC belt.
Sitting ringside was IBF number-one ranked contender, undefeated Julian “J Rock”Williams. Williams was a very interested observer and was interviewed on the SHOWTIME ® broadcast with his thoughts on the happenings of the evening.
“Jermell did his thing. I thought he was losing but Jermell has a clutch gene. He comes through in close fights. He knows what it’s like to be in tough. He’s doing well under Derrick James. He looked better on TV than he did live at the fight. He was losing but he was walking Jackson down. The sand was running out of the hour glass for Jackson. Jermell can punch better than his record indicates. And that style would be better for him because people always called him boring but it was nothing boring about the KO,” said Williams.
“Lara did what he always does. He boxed and moved and he won.”
” I honestly didn’t think Trout would last with Jermall. I was surprised at how competitive that fight was. Jermall has every advantage over Trout on paper but fights aren’t won on paper. Trout proved something. I was actually going to congratulate him but I heard him say to Jermall “smack J Rock for me”. I don’t know what’s up with these guys. He had a chance to fight me for a whole year and he asked another man to smack me. But that’s old news Trout is out of the picture.”
With that being, said the undefeated fighter from Philadelphia is focused in bring back the hardware back to the “City of Brotherly Love.”
“My focus is on Jermall Charlo. It’s going to be a great fight. I think he’s a heck of a fighter. This is legacy defining. This is a real number-one contender against a real champion. This is a real mandatory. This is like Bernard Hopkins having to defend against Jermain Taylor. Or Jermain Taylor having to defend against Kelly Pavlik. Or Felix Trinidad having to fight Oba Carr. This is a real fight and I’m excited. I’m excited to test my skills against one of the best young fighters in the game.
Even though, Williams was ringside, he just wanted to observe and take mental notes of the perspective future opponents.
“I didn’t get in the ring like Charles Hatley did because that’s not my style. Hatley is a talented fighter. I remember him from the amateurs but to each his own. Jermall and Jermell deserve respect and most importantly I know the difference between the two brothers. Hatley got in the ring with Jermall who has to fight me, instead of Jermell who has to fight him. That was Jermall’s moment to shine he had just won a tough fight. Everybody knows he has to fight me. There would be no need for me to get in the ring.”
Even though Williams has been avoided, the powers that be in boxing can not keep Williams from realizing his dreams, and that opportunity will be coming sooner rather than later.
“From my understanding we have to come to an agreement in June. I believe in the IBF. They seem to enforce their mandatory bouts. The IBF did not rank me number-one, not to have me fight for their belt. Jermall said making weight wasn’t that bad. He hired a chef. I know he’s prideful. He’s a champion. He feels he’s better than me, I feel I’m better than him. There is only one way to prove it. Let’s fight.”
I can’t get into details but I believe the fight will be in September as the co- main to a BIG card. I’m super excited to finally get this opportunity.
Richar Abril and Yuri Foreman to Headline In Separate Bouts for Upcoming Broadway Boxing Card
On Friday, June 3, Broadway Boxing returns to the beautiful Resorts World Casino New York City in Queens, NY, featuring former world champions Richar Abril (19-3-1, 8KO’s) and Yuri Foreman (33-2, 9KO’s) headlining in separate bouts. With 70,000 square feet of event space Resorts’ World’s Central Park frequently features up-and-coming musical artists, trade shows and matches with acts from around the world!
The exciting 10-bout card is presented by DiBella Entertainment and New Legend Boxing and sponsored by Nissan of Queens. Abril is set to take on the always-tough, former world title challenger and now resurgent contender Jerry Belmontes (21-8, 6KO’s) in a 10-round super lightweight showdown, while Foreman squares off against Jason Davis in an eight-round junior middleweight matchup.
Team Bone: We Were Robbed Shamelessly
The manager of junior welterweight contender Erick Bone feels that his fighter was not given a fair shake this past Saturday night against former IBF Lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez in San Antonio.
The bout headlined a Premier Boxing Champions card on FS1, was scored in favor of Vazquez by tallies of 99-91, 97-93 and 96-94.
Bone did well when countering and when he decided to force the action, landed the harder shots.
Bone was very effective with the right hand showed good foot work and landed some good body shots.
“Erick won that fight on Saturday night,” said Bone’s manager Eli Mackay.
“It was unimaginable that Vazquez won that fight and for one judge to only give Erick only one round just shows that the judges had their mind made up on what they wanted to see. The only problem is that Vazquez did not do what they wanted to see and it is a shame that a fighter like Erick, who has fought three world champions in his last three bouts (two on short notice) gets deprived of a breakthrough win that could help set up his career.”
“Erick clearly beat Vazquez to the punch all night and he fought a good fight Vasquez barely did anything. These type of out comes even on main event fights hurt the sport”
Bone of Manabi, Ecuador has a record of 16-4 with eight knockouts.
Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade Fighting Way Back to the Top
Undefeated super welterweight Demetrious “Boo Boo” Andrade is in a good place as he prepares for his June 11 showdown versus Willie “The Great” Nelson on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y.
Approaching the peak of his professional boxing career, the 28-year-old Andrade (22-0, 15 KOs) has moved past a frustrating three-year stretch that, after he won a 12-round decision over Vanes Masrtirosyan for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) 154-pound world title, found him fighting only twice. One was his only title defense, in which he won impressively by way of a seventh-round stoppage of then WBO No. 1 mandatory title challenger Brian Rose. But, due to promotional issues, Andrade was later stripped by the WBO for inactivity. His last fight was this past October when he recorded a second-round knockout of Dario Fabian Pucheta for the WBO International belt.
Now, Andrade has a new three-year promotional contract that gives his company, A Team Promotions, 50 percent of his promotional rights to go along with 25 percent each for Banner Promotions and Star Boxing.
“I’ve always been in a good place, mentally, because I have confidence in myself,” said Andrade on what he went through during his long stretch outside of the ring. “I continued training hard. The politics of boxing, well, I’m not 100 percent there yet. Not until I’m actually in the ring and fighting will I actually know if that’s worked out for me.
“I’m satisfied in my future, showcasing myself in the ring. I own 50 percent of myself and that – being a promoter – is a big factor. I know everything now, including all the real numbers, and I’ve learned about the ins and outs of this business. I’m also meeting the right network of people to help my career.”
Andrade is thrilled to be fighting on SHOWTIME for the second time during his career, the first back in 2013 on ShoBox: The New Generation against Freddy Hernandez. “The top 154-pounders are with SHOWTIME. I’d like to thank SHOWTIME for giving me this amazing opportunity.”
Derrick Webster to Headline D and D Promotions Presents Rumble at the Rink on June 4th
On Saturday night June 4th, a brand new boxing series will be launched as D and D Promotions presents its inaugural “Rumble at the Rink” Boxing series that will take place at The Grundy Arena in Bristol, Pa.
Scheduled to appear in the six-round main event will be super middleweight Derrick Webster.
Webster of Glassboro, New Jersey has a record of 19-1 with 10 knockouts and will be looking to get back in the win column after an eleven-month layoff.
Webster won his first nineteen bouts, which was highlighted by a 22-second knockout over 23-1 Obodai Sai. He is coming off his first professional blemish when he was stopped by undefeated Arif Magomedov on July 17, 2015.
Also scheduled to appear will be super welterweight Elijah Vines (1-0, 1 KO) of Philadelphia; super bantamweight Vidal Rivera (3-0, 3 KO’s) of Camden, New Jersey and two-time National Golden Gloves champion Mike Hilton (1-0, 1 KO) of Philadelphia.
All four will have their opponents announced shortly plus six High-Level amateur bouts will be part of a special night of boxing.
Rances Barthelemy and Mickey Bey Discuss their Upcoming Fight on June 3rd
Rances Barthelemy and Mickey Bey are scheduled to face each other on a PBC on Spike card on Friday, June 3rd. They recently discussed their upcoming bout.
What advantages do you believe you have because of your training team?
Rances Barthelemy: “To me, Ismael is the best trainer in the world. He was the lead trainer of the Cuban National Team at the time that Cuban amateur boxing was having its most success. He is truly underrated and I do not know why.
“Having gone through different trainers throughout my career, I am glad that I found Salas. We clicked right off the bat, and him being a Cuban and having a successful background both in the Cuban amateur system and in the pros, he’s been able to incorporate the best from both worlds in his training methods. He has also been able to bring out abilities in me that others were not able to and it has made me a completely different fighter.”
Mickey Bey: “Floyd Sr. has been my trainer for about 12 years. We’ve been together since I was a teenager and before I turned pro. He is an old school trainer and he knows the science of boxing.
“Being around the other Mayweather Promotions fighters provides a lot of energy to training because everybody is striving to be the best they can be. Whenever that’s the case it’s always a positive thing because the trainers know that’s what you’re after. Floyd Sr. and Floyd are the reason I moved to Las Vegas. It’s been a blessing to be able to train with him for so long. We gelled from the beginning and I have definitely grown a lot as a fighter.”
What does fighting for this belt mean to you?
RB: “I don’t really focus on this being another title defense. I just focus on it being another fight that I must win impressively so that I can get to the big fights. There is no added pressure from it being a title defense. I just want everyone to see the boxing ability that I have so that I can get the big fights that I want and deserve.”
MB: “Winning back this belt is really important to me. I still feel like it’s mine. He’s just been keeping it warm for me. I had to deal with the injuries but now I don’t have to worry about babying my hand or anything like that.”
What do you think this fight will be like stylistically?
RB: “I plan on this being a great fight between two great boxers. He has a great amateur and pro background, as do I, and hopefully that makes for a great show.”
MB: “You never really know until you’re in the ring but it’s going to be a fight between two skilled boxers. I have seen some footage but not too much because I don’t really watch much tape. I saw him fight for my vacant belt but I can’t get caught up in that because I’m different than anybody he’s ever fought. I’m a lot more difficult than he probably thinks.”
What skill advantages do you believe you have over your opponent?
RB: “I feel I am the better all-around fighter. I have the reach, height and power over him. I feel he has shown in the past that he can’t take a good punch, so we will see if he can take mine.”
MB: “I bring it all. I can do everything that can be done in the ring. Every single department, period. I do think he’s a good fighter, I give him his props, he’s a two-time world champion, but I don’t think he can
Why do you believe you’ll be victorious on June 3?
RB: “I feel I am levels above Mickey Bey in all aspects of the game. I am comfortable with my training and I plan on returning to Miami with my second world title. The adrenaline of fighting in front of my Cuban people will add fuel to my fire and propel me to victory. I am on a mission to be great and leave an imprint in the sport and Mickey Bey is in the way.”
MB: “I’m a better fighter. It’s that simple.”