The Other Boxing Hall of Fame: Graziano’s Across the Street
By: Patrick Mascoe
Walk into any sports bar today and you will notice they are just generic versions of each other. Often the only difference is their address. Hang a few hockey or football jerseys in the rafters and advertise the next UFC fight. Then turn all your televisions onto the sport’s channel, serve some average-tasting processed food, and you have yourself a sport’s bar.
If you are a boxing fan who wants to step back in time, when the only sport that really mattered was boxing, then I have a place for you. Head to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York. When you are finished there, walk across the street to Graziano’s World Famous Inn and Restaurant. I guarantee when you walk in you won’t be able to sit down. You will be drawn to the many pictures of boxing greats that flood every wall in the place. It is literally like stepping into another boxing hall of fame. The photos on the wall are fascinating: Joe Louis, Carman Basilio, Roberto Duran, and Jake La Motta, to name just a few, as well as a collection of original fight posters including a 1938 poster of Louis vs. Schmeling.
So who is responsible for preserving this rich heritage of boxing memorabilia? A lovely, gentleman by the name of Tony Graziano, who is both owner and head chef. In the small town of Canastota, this diminutive fellow possesses an almost mythical reputation. Born January 18, 1922, in Verona, New York, Tony still drives to work every day and works a full 8 hour shift in the kitchen. So what is Tony’s connection to boxing? He was Carmon Basilio’s first manager. He also managed Basilio’s nephew, Billy Backus, to a world title in 1970.
It is not just his connection to boxing royalty that makes Tony stand out in Canastota. It is also his service to his country and his community that have made him a legend. Tony served as a paratrooper with the 17th Airborne Division during World War II. He told me that being a paratrooper certainly had its risks. On one particular jump, he was stuck hanging in a tree. He was shot in the foot and had to pretend he was dead so that the enemy would stop shooting at him. After they left, he was able to escape. He also survived Normandy and later went on to liberate concentration camps where the survivors resembled living skeletons.
Upon his return from the war, Tony moved to Florida. Having boxed as an amateur and in the military, he decided to set up his first boxing gym in West Palm Beach. After getting married, he and his new bride headed back to Canastota where he set up boxing gyms there and in Syracuse, and Utica.
He was instrumental in the launch of Carman Basilio’s career, but it was Basilio’s nephew who he loved as a son. Billy Backus was really no more than a fringe contender when Welterweight Champion Jose Napoles chose him as an optional defence in 1970. Both he and his managers thought Backus would be an easy fight. However, in the first round, Backus landed a punch that opened a cut over the Champion’s eye. By the fourth round, the fight needed to be stopped and Backus was declared the new World Welterweight Champion.
As the years went by, Graziano’s became the place that the Hall of Famers would go for a meal and a few pints before the official induction ceremony. Mike Tyson was in a few months ago and asked, “Tony, where’s my picture?” “Mike, I have a picture of you up at the end of the bar – but you won’t like it cause you’re on your ass”. There at the end of the bar is a picture of Iron Mike on his back courtesy of Lennox Lewis. Tyson just laughed. Not even the former ‘baddest man on the planet’ can get mad at Tony.
All the while, as we spoke, Tony kept offering my wife and I food and kept saying “Don’t worry there’s no charge.” We had only just met and he was already showing his true colours. It’s probably why all those who work for him adore him.
According to Tony, some of the best boxers ever were guys who never made it out of the gym. They were too good and no one wanted to fight them. Back in the 40’s and 50’s, without a good manager, your career could be over before it ever got started. “Boxing today is not the same as it once was. In my day every kid boxed.”
Tony then asked me to come around the bar – “I want to show you something”. He pulled out a pair of 1922 bag gloves worn by the legendary Joe Louis. That’s what makes the place so darn interesting. Tony has boxing memorabilia everywhere and a story to go along with every item. He is everything that is good about boxing. To the youngest 97 year old you will ever meet, Happy Birthday Tony!
More Boxing History
British Warriors Review at York Hall
By: Oliver McManus
British Warriors were at the iconic York Hall last night as they continued their impressive 2018 with a thirteen fight card – originally slated for Elliot Matthews vacant Commonwealth title challenge, alongside Chris Kongo fighting for the Southern Area belt, injury forced those two bouts off but Chris continued as the headliner.
Against Adam Grabiec, 2Slick was looking to move to a perfect 10 and 0 and sought to channel his frustration with his opening flurry of punches – a strong left sent his opponent to the ropes before unleashing a wincing combination to the body of his man.
Any hope that Kongo would replicate his blistering performance last time out – dispatching his man within two minutes – were soon put to bed as the welterweight, looking in supreme shape, opted for a more patient game plan in order to ease his way around the ring.
The combinations kept coming and there was a particularly pleasing right uppercut in the centre of the ring. When opportunities arose he stamped his authority all over the contest, not just through shot selection, but with superior footwork, too.
Controlled aggression was the name of the game from Kongo who looked more impressive with each passing round; picking shots with ease, he looked relaxed in the shoulders and unfurled frighteningly accurate left jabs, enabling him to slam shots into the body before popping up to crack a couple at the head of Grabiec.
Seeking to exploit his uppercut, as the fight progressed, Kongo landed four in a row without reply and it really was proving to be a fine display of everything in his arsenal – the young man already ticking the “yup, he’s got it” box.
A classy outing from Kongo, Grabiec took to the floor in the 6th, writhing with pain, from an apparent knee problem but he arose to finish the fight – frequently kicking out his leg in gestation. It made little impact to Chris who looked in a serene state of mind, a very accomplished performance to claim every round on the card – 60-54.
Denzel Bentley, 5 and 0 in the middleweight division, was up against Daniel Urbanski, 21-24-3, a former Gennady Golovkin opponent of all people. With a monstrous crowd behind him, Bentley wasted no time in getting straight down to business as he exploded into the centre of the ring with a searching right hand dropping Urbanski almost immediately. Urbanski climbed up off the canvas but almost as quickly as he was up, BAM, he was down again as Bentley sent another combination of shots his way… a third time in the space of sixty one seconds would prove to enough with Urbanski being counted out of the contest in what was a brutal demonstration of power from “2Sharp”.
Speaking to me after the fight, Bentley said “I hit him with a right hand and he went down, at that moment I could tell it wouldn’t last long, and to be honest I thought “ah no, not another one” because I’ve got four knockouts, the last fight I had was the first that went the distance and I learnt so much from that so I was hoping for some more rounds”
“The thing is, it’s hard to take anything from those sixty seconds because it is what it is, I enjoyed my last fight (against Christian Hoskin Gomez) more than any of the knockouts because it let me do my thing and get the rounds. It’s nice to put on a lengthy show”.
“There’s something in these hands, Urbanski is older now, 12 years older than when he fought Golovkin, but I’m just saying, took him out quicker than GGG!”.
“I’m looking at the Southern Area, Linus Udofia vs Tey Lynn Jones, I don’t care who wins because I just want the belt. I’ve got no desire to fight them if they don’t have a belt because that’s all I want. So hopefully I’ll get rounds in when I’m next out, in December, and then build to bigger things”.
The penultimate bout of the evening saw a terrific contest between, two debutants, Mac Pemhiwa and Conor Hinds as both come out swinging with bad intentions. Hinds appeared to be more wild and violent with his shots whilst Pemhiwa made good use of the uppercut as his opponent looked to work the body.
The support was loud for both but it was the away fighter, Pemhiwa, who appeared to be more composed over the first couple rounds and with them both going on the attack, Hinds left his hands down low which enabled Pemhiwa to rally to claim a strong second round.
Into the third we went and more drama unfolded as Hinds, who appeared to be fatigued, made the most of his moment when Pemhiwa punched himself out. 1, 2, 3 unanswered shots pushed Mac back to the ropes before repeated, alternating shots to either side of the head saw his neck snap violently back and the referee stepped in to wave the contest off. Conor Hinds with a third round TKO.
Alfie Price bounced straight into his third professional contest, against Innocent Anywanu, in the same fashion in which he finished his last – throwing shots to the body and openly looking for the stoppage. Anyanwu looked rocked early on, surprised by the fast start of Price, and the young 140lb-er led with a ramrod right jab, frequenting that with a snapping left to break the guard of his experienced opponent.
Settling into a rhythm relatively soon, Price worked the angles for the remaining rounds and worked some nice combinations, launching several salvos of hooks from a slightly crouched position and looking comfortable throughout. 60-54 for Price as he moved to 3 and 0.
Price told me afterwards, “I think I boxed really nice, I was composed and I sat on my shots. To be honest with you Ollie, we speak about knockouts a lot me and you, I thought that I was patient in that fight. After the first couple minutes, I settled down and boxed for the points win. I did it in good fashion, I want a knockout victory but I’ve learnt that you make mistakes from that and I’ll take the knockout when it comes but I won’t go searching for it.”
Jez Smith took on Anthony Hardy over eight rounds in the welterweight division and Hardy looked fresh in the opening couple rounds – it was nip and tuck but the Hitman looked gritty and gutsy. Smith, in the third, started to crank up the tempo and boxed into his own style as he dropped his man twice – though one was ruled a push.
In the fourth round, Smith emerged looking to really work the jab and rarely missed the target as he out-manoeuvred a game opponent who, himself, was looking to work the angles and create opportunities of his own. Several shots to the eye of Hardy, who has just undergone laser eye surgery, seemed to do the toll and it was the fifth round that saw Smith really start to unwind. Hardy hit the canvas and didn’t beat the count on the second occasion; Jez Smith looked impressive and showed he packs serious power but Anthony Hardy put in a warriors display and remained magnanimous in defeat – both these fellas look to have a bright future.
Across the rest of the card, Mason Smith impressed on his debut as he mauled Rudolf Durica throughout the four rounds, looking far too strong for his man to claim the win by 40 points to 36; Mitchell Preedy signalled his intent early on and with a vocal support he secured a comfortable 40-36 win; Louis Lye, also making his debut, put in a phenomenal performance to knockout Norbert Szekeres in the second round thanks to scintillating body shots; Jan Balog landed a peach of a looping left to secure an upset win over Davis Pagan thanks to a second round KO; there were 40-36 points wins for both Fuuad “The Pirate” Husseen” and Alec Bishop whilst Taran Willett moved to 3 and 0 as a pro with a 40-35 victory and Richard Harrison won the “battle of journeyman” with a 40-37 victory over Haroon Karim.
A simply brilliant night of entertainment that produced thirteen absolutely cracking contests – we had knockouts, upsets, flamboyance, arrogance, a pirate ring walk, humility, serious prospects and major talent on display. You cannot ask for any more.
President Donald J. Trump Inducted into Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame
By: Ken Hissner
“Donald Trump couldn’t make it due to his day job,” said ACB HOF President Ray McCline. It brought quite a bit of laughter at the CLARIDGE a Radissan Hotel Sunday in Atlantic City, NJ.
Master of Ceremony NJB HOF President Henry Hascup and Ring Announcer Nino Del Buono did a fine job introducing the inductees. India Mercer, daughter of WBO Heavyweight champion Ray “Mercilus” Mercer did a great version of the National Anthem. Atlantic City Mayor Frank M. Gilliam Jr. also spoke.
The four “Special Contributors” were Trump, Mark G. Etess (accepting Don Hurley), former IBF President Marian Muhammad and former WBC President Jose Sulaiman (accepting Jill Diamond WBC Honoree). Officials being inducted who were present were judges Joseph Pasquale and Jean Williams.
Media inductees there were photographer Ray Bailey, and writers Bernard Fernandez and David Weinberg. Of the four Operations inductees Diane Fisher-Cristiano was there and had the audience in an uproar of laughter and got a great ovation when being introduced. She has been a long time promoter and was most worthy of her induction.
Fighters being inducted who were there were former Cruiser and Heavyweight champion Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield who accepted his award first. He had another engagement and wanted to get going first but took about 20 minutes in his acceptance speech which was a good one.
Mercer got a great round of applause when he was introduced for his induction. WBA Bantam champ “Joltin” Jeff Chandler, NABF champ Richie Kates and WBA Heavy champ Bruce “Atlantic City Express” Seldon were well received by the audience upon being introduced.
Hector Camacho Jr accepted for his father the late Hector “Macho Man”. Two division world champion Bobby ”Chappie” Czyz got a great ovation from the audience and had the them in stitches. He was followed by Vinny “Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza and they traded humorous jabs back and forth. Paz turned it into an R rated event and it can’t be in print the comments he said. He did say his most satisfying victory other than winning two world titles was stopping Dana Rosenblatt (in their first of two fights with Rosenblatt taking the second one).
In attendance were NJ Boxing Commissioner and IBHOF Referee Larry Hazzard, Sr., former Olympic, Light Heavy and Heavy champion Michael “Spinx Jinx” Spinks, 3-division world champ Iran “The Blade” Barkley, WBO Light Welter DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley, champ Legendary matchmaker Don Elbaum, Referee Alan Huggins, Olympic and WBA World Welter champ Mark Breland, NJ and PA inductee cut-man Joey Eye, trainer Aaron Snowell, judge George Hill, writers Danny Serratelli of Brick City Boxing, Frank Bartolini of Boxing News, Joe Santoliquito of Ring Magazine and this writer.
2nd Annual Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Inductions Sunday at Historical Claridge Hotel & Casino
By: Ken Hissner
There will be 21 inductees Sunday going into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame at the Claridge Hotel & Casino. It was quite an event in 2017 and it looks like it will be another good night.
In the Boxers category there will be WBU Super Cruiserweight, WBA Cruiserweight and IBF World Light Heavyweight Champion Bobby Czyz, WBA Heavyweight Champion Bruce “The Atlantic City Express” Seldon, WBA, WBC & IBF Cruiserweight and Heavyweight Champion Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield, WBC Super Featherweight, WBC Lightweight and WBO Light Welterweight Champion Hector “Macho” Camacho, WBA Bantamweight Champion “Joltin” Jeff Chandler, IBF Lightweight and WBA Light Middleweight Champion Vinny “Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza, WBO Heavyweight Champion Ray “Merciless” Mercer and NABF Champion Richie Kates.
In the Trainers and Cut Man category will be trainers Carmen Graziano, George Benton and cut man Ralph Citro. In the Operation category will be promoters Bob Arum, Dan Duva, Diane Fischer-Cristiano, and Ring Announcer Ed Darian.
In the Officials category will be Judges Jean Williams and Joe Pasquale. Also, Former Heavyweight Champion and NJ Boxing Commissioner “Jersey” Joe Walcott. In the Media category will be writers Bernard Fernandez and David Weinberg. Also, photographer Ray Bailey.
There will be numerous guests including Hector Camacho, Jr., Mauricio Sulaiman, President of the WBC, Michael Spinks, Larry Holmes, Riddick Bowe, Mark Breland, Marlon Starling, Iran Barkley, DeMarcus Corley, John Scully, Larry Hazzard, Sr., Steve Smoger, Dave Bontempo, Freddie Roach, Aaron Snowell, Plaxico Burruss, Eddie Alvarez, Clinton Portis, Jill Diamond and Mayor Frank M. Gilliam, Jr.
Sweet 16 Inducted into Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame
By: Ken Hissner
The 2018 Inductees were announced at the Ring One Veteran Boxer’s Association monthly meeting Saturday by Chairman John DiSanto. There will be 16 boxing people inducted into the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame in May at their annual banquet.
Heading the list will be former middleweight contender Frank “The Animal” Fletcher, 18-6-1 (12). He won USBA and ESPN titles. One of the opponents he knocked out Ernie Singletary, 26-6 (8), will also be inducted. Both are in the Modern Boxers category. Singletary defeated Tony Braxton, Teddy Mann and Al Styles.
Also in that category inducted are Bethlehem’s Angel Cruz, 26-6-2 (7), who defeated one-time world champions Alfredo Escalara and Saoul Mamby. This writer’s first boxing main event promotion in 1981 with Cruz and Sammy Goss in a draw. Pittsburgh’s Johnny Morris, 27-11 (16), was the PA State Middleweight champion. He defeated Tony Dupas, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and split with George Benton. Flyweight Larry Torpey, 14-4-1 (2), won a National AAU Championship in 1941. They are the 5 inductees in the Vintage category.
Inducted in the Modern Boxers category are led by Mike “No Joke” Stewart, 48-8-3 (25), from DE, who fought in PA some 18 times. He held the USBA title and defeated Ivan Robinson, Terron Millett, Chucky T and Ebo Elder. Featherweight Tony “Dynamite” Green, 23-6-1 (15), was the PA State champion and fought for the WBC featherweight title. He defeated Myron Taylor, Julian Solis, Tommy Barnes and Harold Rhodes.
Super Middleweight Marvin Mack, 18-8-1 (10), fought for the IBF world title in South Korea losing a disputed decision to Chong-Pal Park. He won the WBC Continental Americas title knocking out “Poncho” Carter. Mark Holmes, 38-1 (17), of Easton defeated one-time world champion “Buster” Drayton, Ben Serrano and Mike Baker. The brother of Frank Fletcher inducted is Anthony Fletcher, 24-4-1 (8), who was the PA State lightweight champion. He defeated one-time world champions Freddie Pendleton and Livingstone Bramble.
In the Non-Boxers category they were led by cut-man Stan Maliszewski, and followed by trainer “Pop” Bates, promoter Mike Acri, Dr. George Bonner and trainer Willie Reddish, Jr.
In the Old Timer’s category the lone inductee was former world heavyweight champion “Jersey” Joe Walcott, 51-18-2 (32). He defeated Ezzard Charles, Harold Johnson, Joey Maxim, Jimmy Bivins and Curtis Sheppard.
This meeting went well. This writers Friday didn’t go so well waiting for former WBC 2-division world champion Danny “Swift” Garcia to make an appearance at his gym for close to an hour with other members of the press. He finally showed 50 minutes late and went directly to his dressing room and was still there at 3pm when I left.
Then straight to the press conference for Saturday’s boxing event at the 2300 Arena. Boxing Director Greg Sirb decided to put the weigh-in in place of the press conference which was scheduled for 5:30 and at 6:30 it was still not started as this writer left the 2300 Arena. When there are obligations made by Garcia and Hard Hitting Promotions pushed aside by Sirb it isn’t fair to the public or the working press but that’s Philadelphia’s boxing for you.
Why Some of Boxing’s Most Famous Fighters Don’t Belong in the Hall of Fame
By: Patrick Mascoe
Being great and being famous are two very different things. However, one of the characteristics that often go along with greatness is fame. Sometimes being famous leads to the assumption that one is great, but they are not one and the same. For example, when a baseball player is inducted into Cooperstown there is certain unwritten criterion that the player is expected to achieve. In a sense, baseball has deemed that certain numbers quantify one as being great. It may be 3000 hits or 500 home runs. In hockey, 500 goals will get you into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In these sports, excitement, charisma, and entertainment value do not define greatness – statistics do.
Entry into the International Boxing Hall of Fame is a lot more subjective. Statistics are still important, but charisma, courage, and bravery are also highly valued. As a result, not every boxer in the International Boxing Hall of Fame was great. Some were just very good. What allows them to be mentioned, in the same breath as the likes of Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and Joe Louis, are their intangibles.
Statistics can not measure a man’s will to win or his ability to take a punch. They don’t gage fan excitement or exhilaration. For example, Floyd Mayweather is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. He exhibited greatness in the ring, was a multiple world champion, and remained undefeated throughout his career. Mayweather also possessed God-given talent that made it hard for the average fan to relate to.
When he clashed with Arturo Gatti, Mayweather made him look like an amateur fighter. Yet it was Gatti who could sell out venues and made every fight must-see-TV. The technically superior Mayweather was labelled “boring.” We as fans could relate to the Arturo Gatti’s of the world. We saw him labour and could appreciate his bravery and his tenacity. Floyd is boxing royalty while Gatti was boxing’s common man. Floyd Mayweather was great. Arturo Gatti was good, but made us feel great.
Arturo Gatti was not a great fighter. Nevertheless, in 2012 he was enshrined into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Gatti was not the only good fighter to enter the Hall. Other fighters also captured our attention. They shined so bright, we were mesmerized and captivated by their talents but failed to see their inefficiencies.
Here is my countdown of boxers who were very good, but not great, who rode a wave of excitement and adulation into the International Boxing Hall of Fame:
5. Matthew Saad Muhammad: In the late 70’s and early 80’s, Matthew Saad Muhammad was one of the most exciting fighters in boxing. He held the WBC World Light Heavyweight title from 1979 – 1981 and defended it eight times. He finished his career with a record of 49 wins, 16 losses and 3 draws. He was known as an all-action fighter, who was incredibly resilient. Just when it looked like he was on the verge of defeat, he would mount a magical comeback and win.
Muhammad was an excellent finisher and possessed considerable power. His one substantial weakness was his permeable defence. He fought every match as if he were working out on a heavy bag: all offense – no defence. His style made him fun to watch, but it also made him very easy to hit. Every fight, no matter how strong or weak the opposition, was a life and death struggle.
When we break down what Muhammad did in the ring, you have to wonder why he is in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. First of all, he lost a quarter of his fights. Yes, eight of his losses came at the end of his career, but they are still losses. Almost twenty fights into his professional career; he was still being matched against fighters with losing records. Even after winning a world title and right up to his retirement, he fought boxers with losing records.
Muhammad did defend his title eight times. However, none of those title challengers stood out as being exceptional. In one of his most illustrious fights, in 1980, against Yaqui Lopez, he was hit with twenty unanswered punches. He was on the verge of having the fight stopped, only to come back and knock out Lopez in the 14th round. Ring Magazine declared it the “Fight of the Year.” Yaqui Lopez was a solid fighter but he was a fighter who, during his career, challenged for a world title five times and lost all five fights.
The only truly great fighter Muhammad ever faced was Dwight Muhammed Qawi. They fought twice. Qawi won the first match and took Muhammad’s Light Heavyweight Title by way of a ten round TKO. In the return match, Qawi won again, this time in six.
Muhammad defeated a number of good fighters, but he never beat a great fighter. Many of his victories were against weaker competition and when he did fight good fighters, he had his hands full. He also lost 16 times during his career. Did he have the heart of a champion? Was he entertaining? Was he incredibly courageous? Yes. Yes. Yes. Was he a great fighter? No.
4. Arturo Gatti: He was known as an absolutely fearless all-action fighter. Much like Matthew Saad Muhammad, Gatti had a supernatural ability to endure punishment while always pressing forward. He held the IBF Jr. Lightweight Title from 1995-1998 and the WBC Super Lightweight Title from 2004-2005. He retired with a record of 40 – 9.
Gatti was involved in the Ring’s “Fight of the Year” on four different occasions. He defeated Gabriel Ruelas, was defeated by Ivan Robinson, and had both a victory and a loss against Micky Ward. These fights were character defining, monumental battles for Gatti, but the men he faced were themselves not great boxers. They were like him, good solid professionals.
His will, power, and iron chin always made him a formidable opponent. However, he was easy to hit and was often out-boxed even in victory. In Gatti’s first defence of his IBF Junior Lightweight Title against Wilson Rodriguez, he was completely schooled and had been taking a hellacious beating before coming back to stop Rodriguez in a desperation finish. Against Angel Manfredy, another good fighter, but never a champion, Gatti was again completely out boxed and the fight was stopped in the eighth round.
When Gatti actually faced Hall of Fame level competition, he came up considerably short. He fought Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather. Neither fight was even close. Against Oscar, the fight was stopped in five rounds and against Floyd, the fight was stopped in six. These outcomes showed that although Arturo was a great fighter to watch, he simply did not posses the same calibre of skill as the elite fighters of the day.
Arturo Gatti may very well have been one of the most exciting fighters of his generation. He possessed a great chin, great power, and a great heart. Despite those valiant qualities, he was not one of the all-time greatest boxers in history.
3. Ray Mancini: If you judged Mancini only by his boxing style, you would swear that he and Arturo Gatti came from the same family. Like Gatti, Mancini was an in your face, aggressive pressure fighter. He had decent power and a granite chin. Whatever he lacked in skill, he made up for with unbelievable heart. Mancini held the WBA Lightweight Title from 1982-1984 and retired with a record of 29 – 5.
Mancini garnered national attention, not only for his entertaining fighting style, but because of a heart-rending background story. His father, veteran boxer Lenny “Boom Boom” Mancini, missed his opportunity to fight for a world title because of WWII. Ray, who idolized his father, took up boxing with the idea that he could finish what his father had started.
After compiling a 20-0 record, Mancini was given the opportunity to fight for a world title. Unfortunately, it was against Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello, arguably one of the greatest boxers of his era. Mancini fought bravely and took the fight to Arguello, but was eventually stopped in the 14th round. For the media and for boxing fans, this only made Mancini’s story more compelling. He won his next two fights and was again given a title shot, this time against Arturo Frias for the WBA Lightweight Title.
Mancini stopped Frias in the first round after almost being stopped himself. His fairy tale life story had now taken on the happy ending that all fans had wished for. Along with being a good fighter, Mancini always appeared to be a genuinely good guy. He went on to defend his title four times against the likes of Ernesto Espana, Duk-koo Kim, Orlando Romero, and Bobby Chacon and fought two non-title fights against George Feeney and Johnny Torres. Bobby Chacon was the only recognizable fighter Mancini faced as champion, and he was a natural featherweight who had moved up in weight for this fight. This would be Mancini’s last professional victory.
Eventually, Mancini lost his title, as well as a rematch to Livingston Bramble. He then lost bouts to Hector Camacho and Greg Haugen before retiring. Mancini was both exciting and entertaining. During his career he faced off against three Hall of Famers. He lost to two of them and defeated one. Mancini’s sentimental story was greater than his skills. I can’t help but think that without the story, he wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. Instead, he would be regarded as being very similar to the likes of Vinny Pazienza, an entertaining fighter who is on the outside of the Hall looking in.
2. Prince Naseem Hamed: He was known for his elaborate ring entrances, his unorthodox boxing style, and his one punch knock out power. Nassem reigned as the WBO Featherweight Champion from 1995 – 2000. He retired from boxing with an impeccable record of 36-1. Always a polarizing figure, some feel he was one of the greatest featherweights of all time, while others including his former promoter see him as one of boxing’s greatest underachievers.
Prince Naseem’s story is not about what he accomplished, but rather about what he never tried to accomplish. He defended his WBO Title a total of fifteen times. This was back in a time when the WBO was even more insignificant than it is now. His resume of title defences was a who’s who of no-name, average fighters; Said Lawal, Daniel Alicea, Remigio Molina, Tom Johnson, and Jose Badillo. Prince Naseem never fought the best fighters available at the time of his reign. The fighters he never faced tell us more about him than the fighters he defeated; Azumah Nelson, Jeff Fenech, Gabriel Ruelas, Arturo Gatti, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Diego Corrales, and Johnny Tapia.
Prince Naseem fought the vast majority of his fights in the UK, where fans obviously seemed unbothered by the lack of aggressive matchmaking. It was only when he came to the United States that the Prince was really tested. He knocked out a very good opponent in Kevin Kelly in the 4th round of their epic battle at Madison Square Gardens. Despite the victory, Kelly was able to expose Naseem’s defensive shortcomings as he put him on the canvas three times.
In 2001, Prince Naseem finally engaged in a high profile fight against a world-class opponent, Marco Antonio Barrera. Barrera had agreed to move up in weight in order to fight the larger Naseem. How did the Prince fare against a legitimate Hall of Fame fighter? He was given a complete boxing lesson. Not only did Barrera beat Prince Naseem physically, it looked like he beat the will to fight right out of him. When Barrera lost to Junior Jones, he demanded an immediate rematch. When he lost to Erik Morales he came back and fought him two more times. What did Prince Naseem do after losing to Barrera? He fought someone named Manuel Calvo, was booed by his hometown fans for his poor performance, and never boxed again.
Prince Naseem was far more flash than substance. Yes, he had a great record, but so did Butterbean. It’s not his many victories over subpar opponents that we should measure him by. It is his one loss and all the fighters he avoided that really define his legacy. Yes, he was famous, more for his ring entrances than anything else. That should get him on “Dancing with the Stars”, but not in the Boxing Hall of Fame.
1. Mike Tyson – From 1985 – 2005, Mike Tyson was the biggest name in boxing. Much like Prince Naseem, Tyson was a polarizing figure, both inside and outside of the ring. Once dubbed “the baddest man on the planet”, Tyson was the Heavyweight Champion from 1986-1990 and again in 1996. He was an intimidating force who possessed great power and fought like a ravenous predator. Tyson was well on his way to greatness. He became the youngest man ever to hold the heavyweight title and by February 10, 1990, he had a record of 37-0 with 33 knock outs.
Dramatically, the very next day, everything would change for Tyson and his cloak of invincibility would be shredded by Buster Douglas. Douglas was a tall rangy fighter with an excellent jab. He was a skilled fighter who often lacked motivation, yet against Tyson he refused to be intimidated. Despite being a 42-1 underdog, Douglas knocked Tyson out in the 10th round. It was at this point in his career that Tyson’s quest for greatness ended. No longer the intimidating figure he once was, his life began to fall apart.
He engaged in, and won two tough fights against Razor Ruddock. Then in July of 1991, he was arrested and convicted of rape. He spent the next three years incarcerated at the Plainfield Correctional Facility. Upon his release, he returned to the ring and defeated Frank Bruno to become the WBC Heavyweight Champion. The victory helped set up a much anticipated and long awaited fight against Evander Holyfield.
Going into the Holyfield fight, Tyson was considered a heavy favourite. Evander Holyfield was 34 years old and was thought to be washed up. Much like Buster Douglas, Holyfield was not apprehensive about facing Iron Mike and his celebrated reputation. By the end of the night, it was Holyfield’s reputation that had been boosted after stopping Tyson in the 11th round.
Their immediate rematch lasted only three rounds. Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear not once, but twice and was subsequently disqualified. This was the action of a man who chose quitting over fighting. As a result of his actions, Tyson had become a pariah. Numerous boxing commissions refused to grant him a license to box. In 2002, in Pyramid Arena in Memphis, Tyson once again challenged for the heavyweight title. This time he faced off against Lennox Lewis. Lewis dominated the match, winning by knockout in the 8th.
Throughout his career, Tyson fought four Hall of Fame fighters. He defeated Michael Spinks, a great light heavyweight masquerading as a heavyweight and a well past his prime Larry Holmes, who came out of retirement for an appealing pay cheque. He was thoroughly beaten by Lennox Lewis and lost to Evander Holyfield twice – once by knockout and once by disqualification (which was nothing more than a way to quit rather than being knocked out again).
Why is Mike Tyson in the Hall of Fame? The most memorable thing he ever did in a ring was to bite a man’s ear off. Tyson had a great start to his career however, along the way he was exposed as nothing more than a bully and a quitter. Tyson did not just quit against Holyfield. He also quit in the last fight of his career against journey man boxer Kevin McBride. Tyson could have been great; in the end I don’t believe he was even one of the top three best heavyweight fighters of his era. Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, and Riddick Bowe were all superior to Tyson.
In conclusion, all five fighters mentioned on this list had one thing in common; they were aggressive warriors that endeared themselves to boxing fans. They were all great to watch, but they themselves were not necessarily great. Based on the intangible qualities of courage, bravery, and determination, I believe there is an argument to be made on behalf of Matthew Saad Muhammad, Arturo Gatti, and Ray Mancini, being in the Hall of Fame. However, there should be no room in the Boxing Hall of Fame for imposters like Prince Naseem Hamad and quitters like Mike Tyson, no matter how famous they were.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Groves, Arum, Holyfield, Hernandez, Eubank, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 21st to November 28th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Holyfield and Arum Headline 2018 Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Class
Evander Holyfield and Bob Arum headline the 2018 inductees into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.
The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) has announced its 25 member 2018 Induction Class, which also includes President Donald J. Trump. This epic event will take place at The Claridge, a Radisson Hotel located at Park Place & Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey on June 1 – 3, 2018.
Atlantic City, New Jersey Mayor-Elect Frank M. Gilliam Jr. commented, “The future of boxing in Atlantic City is brighter than ever. Being the newly elected Mayor of the City of Atlantic City, New Jersey it gives me great honor to be a part of bringing the 2nd Annual Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend back to our Great City. I believe boxing and Atlantic City has always been a natural fit and we see it returning to its glory days, and under my administration, we plan on welcoming it back wholeheartedly: Congratulations to the ACBHOF “2018” Inductees!”
The Claridge Hotel serves as the signature Corporate Sponsor for this knockout weekend, “The Claridge is proud to be in partnership with the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and to continue to promote professional boxing’s exceptional history in Atlantic City,” says Cem Erenler, Vice President/ Operations & Business Development for TMJ Properties, the owner and developer of The Claridge. The iconic hotel, which is now part of the global Radisson brand first opened in 1930. “Hosting this signature event is in the best traditions of The Claridge, which for more than 80 years has been Atlantic City’s center for exciting events in sports and entertainment,” Mr. Erenler said.
Evander Holyfield stated: “I have many great memories fighting in Atlantic City, and I am honored to be inducted into its Hall of Fame.”
The 2nd Annual Induction Ceremony & Celebration Weekend will honor some of the world’s most prominent trailblazers from the sport of boxing: President Donald J. Trump, José Sulaimán, and Bob Arum are just a few names who will be enshrined with the 2018 induction class. Also expected to be in attendance; current and former boxing champions, and VIP Guests for a fun-filled weekend that’s highlighted by a black-tie evening, and the acclaimed, unforgettable Induction Ceremony.
“The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame is here to stay! The epic success of our 2017 Inaugural Induction weekend was pivotal to our brand value in the boxing and business community,” said Rodrick Green Vice President and Business Strategist for ACBHOF. “We are excited about the economic and sports entertainment impact the ACBHOF will continue to have in Atlantic City. Thank you for your support and be reassured that at the 2018 Induction Celebration the bar will be raised even higher.
Over the next several weeks there will be updates on the schedule of events, room packages and expected VIP appearances on the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and the Claridge Hotel websites and social media platforms.
“We’re excited about the ACBHOF 2018 Induction Class; I believe our nomination committee did an incredible job in selecting a diverse and richly deserving group of individuals. I’m extremely proud of this class because it contains three remarkable women: Diane Fischer-Cristiano, Jean Williams, and Marian Muhammad. The ACBHOF team along with our partners and sponsors are looking forward to June where we will pay homage to our 2018 inductees,” said Ray McCline ACBHOF President and Founder.
Tickets for Groves-Eubank Jr. Sold Out in Seven Minutes
It took seven minutes to sell out the Ali Trophy semi-final bout between WBA Super World Champion George Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) and IBO-Champ Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1,20 KOs) at the Manchester Arena on February 17, 2018.
Europe’s largest purpose-built indoor arena will be at capacity to witness what promises to be the biggest Super Middleweight night in years.
“This is a sensational start to the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series and the quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy,” said Roberto Dalmiglio, Comosa’s CEO.
“I said before we went on sale that the fight between Groves and Eubank Jr. represents the boxing event fans cannot afford to miss, and I am happy to say that I was right.”
Said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer: “This is clearly the fight everyone wanted and I am sure this super-fight will capture not only a nation but a generation of fight fans.”
“The build-up is going to be huge and we can’t wait to go to Manchester for a sold out event between two spectacular rivals and world-class fighters.”
“We will work hard over the coming weeks to release extra tickets to meet the huge demand for this fight.”
The build-up to the all-British grudge match begins today when Groves and Eubank Jr. come face-to-face at a kickoff press conference at 2 pm in London.
ITV will be live streaming the press conference on ITV Box Office, YouTube and Facebook.
The Ali Trophy super middleweight semi-final between George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr. will be live on ITV Box Office on February 17.
Lucas Matthysse and Jorge Linares to Headline HBO Card at Los Angeles Forum
Two of the world’s most exciting fighters, Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) and Jorge “El Nino De Oro” Linares (43-3, 27 KOs), will kick off the 2018 boxing year with a bang as they compete in separate world championship bouts on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, California. This special double main event will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:20 p.m. ET/PT.
The first co-main event will see the 35-year-old Matthysse, an absolutely thunderous puncher out of Chubut, Argentina, facing undefeated Thai superstar Tewa Kiram (38-0. 28 KOs) in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Welterweight World Championship.
“I am honored to be able to fight for a world championship in just my second fight at welterweight,” said Matthysse, a former interim world champion at 140 pounds who has defeated the likes of former two-division champion Lamont “Havoc” Peterson, formerWBO Junior Welterweight Champion Ruslan “The Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov and former three-division titlist Humberto “La Zorrita” Soto. “I understand I am facing a younger, undefeated opponent, but I am confident that ‘The Machine’ will emerge victorious.”
Since turning pro at the age of 15, Kiram has torn through an astounding 38 opponents, with 28 of them never hearing the final bell. He won the interim PABA Welterweight Championship in just his sixth fight and defended it – and the full PABA Welterweight title – more than 30 times over seven years. This will mark his first fight outside of Thailand.
“I understand not many people know me in the U.S., but they are in for a big surprise on Jan. 27,” Kiram said. “I have never been defeated, and I am fully confident that I will return to Thailand with the WBA Welterweight World Championship around my waist.”
In the second co-main event, Linares, a 32-year-old Venezuelan considered one of the top fighters in the world, will make his second trip to the ‘Fabulous’ Forum in a row to defend his multiple lightweight world championships against the once-defeated Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs).
“I have travelled all over the world to win and defend my titles, and I am looking forward to having my hand raised in victory once again in America,” said Linares, the three-division world champion who holds victories over world champions and contenders such as Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla, Kevin “Mighty” Mitchell and Gamaliel “El Platano” Diaz. “I know that Gesta has speed and power, but he hasn’t been at this level before, and on Jan. 27, he’ll know what it’s like to face a world champion.”
Gesta, a 30-year-old from the Philippines, has not tasted defeat in six fights, beating quality opponents including Gilberto “El Flaco” Gonzalez and former contender Martin “El Brochas” Honorio. Gesta is getting his second shot at a world championship more than five years after dropping a unanimous decision to Miguel “Titere” Vazquez for the IBF World Lightweight Championship.
“I know firsthand how long it takes to get a shot at a world championship, and I will not allow this opportunity to pass me by,” Gesta said. “I understand Linares is a great fighter, but I know I have the skills, speed, power, and great coaching which will get my hand raised in victory.”
“What a way to kick of 2018 – with two of the top fighters in the sport taking on younger, hungry challengers,” said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO and Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions. “It’s not often you get two main events on one card, but that is what we will have on Jan. 27 at the “Fabulous” Forum. This card will help keep the momentum that boxing established in 2017.”
“This is a very important fight for Argentine boxing, for Lucas Matthysse and for Arano Box,” said Mario Arano of Arano Boxing. “Matthysse is ready to be a world champion, and we are more than sure that his win will make huge waves throughout the entirety of the Republic of Argentina and South America.”
“Thailand has never had a Welterweight World champion before,” said Taweesin Terry Laosuwanwat, Manager and Promoter of Kiram. “We are making history here, and Tewa [Kiram] will do anything to win this fight. Tewa has never lost before, and he will keep his undefeated record against Matthysse.”
The remainder of the undercard and the ticket information for this stacked event will be announced shortly.
Jose Lopez to Take on Avery Sparrow in New Co-Main Event on November 30th ESPN Show
Super featherweight contender José “Wonder Boy” López (18-1-1, 13 KOs) of Carolina, Puerto Rico will now take on Avery Sparrow (8-1, 3 KOs) in the new co-main event of the Nov. 30 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. The event will also feature the headlining debut of Lamont Roach, Jr. (15-0, 6 KOs) as he defends his WBC Youth Super Featherweight Title against Rey “Flash” Pérez (21-8, 6 KOs) in the 10-round main event. ESPN3 (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish) will air the fights live at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. Undercard will stream on ESPN3 at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fight at 11 p.m.ET/8 p.m. PT.
López, a 23-year-old contender who is coming off a four-fight win streak, has earned two regional titles since making his debut in Sept. 2011. In 2014, Lopez defeated veteran Leivi Brea to win the Interim WBC Fecarbox Super Bantamweight Title via first-round technical knockout. Two years later, López captured the WBO International Super Featherweight Title by defeating Edgar López Sasso via stunning second-round knockout. López was originally scheduled to fight against Miguel “Miguelito” González, but González was forced to pull out due to an injury suffered in his left arm when sparring.
Sparrow, who is also 23-years-old will took to take advantage of his first co-main event opportunity. The Philadelphian is coming off a four-fight win streak, defeating two undefeated prospects in his last two fights.
Fairfield, California’s Manuel “Tino” Ávila (22-1, 8 KOs) will take on Nick Otieno (31-12, 13 KOs) of Nairobi, Kenya in an eight-round featherweight fight. Ávila will return after his only defeat, which was in a tough battle against Joseph Diaz, Jr. on the Canelo vs. Chávez Jr. undercard in May of this year. The featherweight contender is looking to get back into the 126-pound mix before the year ends.
In the night’s swing bout, George Rincón (2-0) of Dallas, Texas will take on Jihad Wise (3-3, 1 KO) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a four-round 140-pound clash. Rincón’s brother, Alex Rincón, was originally scheduled to be in the swing bout, but the welterweight prospect who is currently signed to Golden Boy Promotions was forced to pull out and undergo surgery as he has been diagnosed with appendicitis.
Luther Smith (9-1, 8 KOs) of Alexandria, Virginia will open the night of boxing in a four-round bout in the cruiserweight division against an opponent that will be announced shortly.
Roach, Jr. vs. Pérez is a 10-round super featherweight fight for the WBC Youth Super Featherweight Title and is presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy “Never Stop, Never Settle.” ESPN3 (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish) will air the fights live from MGM National Harbor at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fight at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT.
Tickets for Roach, Jr. vs Pérez are on sale and are priced at $75 VIP, $75, $55 and $35, not including taxes or fees. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call the Ticketmaster Contact Center at (800) 745-3000. Tickets will also be available for purchase online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.goldenboytickets.com.
Nico Hernandez Injured, Fight Posptoned
Due to an injury suffered by 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez last week at training camp, this Saturday night’s “KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” card, presented by KO Night Boxing LLC, has been postponed until February 10, at the same venue, Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
The 21-year-old Hernandez was scheduled to headline the event in his hometown against Hungarian flyweight champion Jozsef “Little Red” Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs) in the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas flyweight championship.
The promoter plans to keep the card intact, as much as possible, and he is hopeful that Ajtai is available to challenge Hernandez for the IBA Americas title.
“Injuries are an unfortunate part of boxing, but the good news is that Nico will be 100-percent ready to go February 10th,” promoter John Andersen said. “I know that Nico feels that he’s letting everybody down but, at the end of the day, all that really counts is his health. He’s a tough kid who has his entire pro career ahead of him.”
“Over the last six months, Nico has become like family to the Hartman Arena staff,” said Hartman Arena Executive Director, Ben Bolander. “We wish the best for him and hope for a speedy recovery, so we can see him back here in February fighting for the title.”
TIckets to the December 2nd event will still be honored at the February 10 event. If ticket holders, are unable to attend the new event date, full refunds will be offered at the point of purchase. Tickets will remain on sale for the February 10, 2018 event date.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Golovkin, Reynoso, Connecticut Hall of Fame, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of August 8th to August 15th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Eddy Reynoso and Abel Sanchez Conference Call Quotes for Canelo vs. Golovkin
Eddy Reynoso, head trainer for Canelo Alvarez, and Abel Sanchez, head trainer for Gennady Golovkin, recently held a media conference call to discuss the upcoming bout between both of their fighters. Below is a few select quotes from that conference call.
Q. Obviously, the competition is between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez, but I know that trainers are competitive, also, and certainly want to win for their own careers and obviously for their fighters’ careers. I want to know from your perspective, when you say it’s the two best fighters in boxing in a big, big fight that we have on September 16, how do you look at it in terms of the competition between yourself and your opposing trainer, Eddy Reynoso?
ABEL SANCHEZ: I think at this point if you consider those two fighters the best fighters in boxing, these are the two best trainers in boxing, also. Eddy and Chepo have done a great job with Canelo, and I think we have done a great job with Gennady.
The winner on the 16th is not necessarily the best fighter in boxing, but the best fighter that night. Same with the trainers. I think that the competition between us needs to be there so that we can prepare our guys to be the best they can be that night.
Q. Can you also tell me, we’ve seen Gennady knockout so many opponents, obviously didn’t get the knockout in the fight with Danny in March but he had a 23-knockout streak before that. But Canelo has had some spectacular knockouts himself in his recent fights; not necessarily Chavez fight but prior to that.
Both guys are looked at as punchers in this fight and they are both obviously very good boxers. When you look at the matchup, do you think this is more of a fight where Gennady is going to be the guy to be the biggest puncher or is he going to be the one to have to get the win to out-box Canelo? How do you view this matchup?
ABEL SANCHEZ: I see both guys being aggressive and I see Gennady being more physical. I see Gennady trying to dictate the pace. Canelo has proven that he’s a warrior. We’re looking for a tough fight.
I think that both guys are going to hurt each other, and they may go down. But I think we will be treated to a throwback fight like in the mid 80s when the four kings, the five kings, were around.
Q. You say you might see Gennady get knocked down. In his entire professional career and amateur career, there was no evidence of him being seriously hurt in a fight or even close to going down. Is that because you have that much respect for Canelo’s punching power, or are you just trying to hype this up a little bit?
ABEL SANCHEZ:No, no, I have respect not only for his punching power, but I have respect for Eddy and Chepo doing the things that are necessary to counteract some of the things that we’re going to be doing.
I think it’s a fight where it’s going to be a chess match at the beginning and then once you get past that point where they are trying to see what each other is doing, they are going to go at each other. And it’s going to be up to us in the corner to make sure we dictate what we want done and make sure that we come up with a different plan if the first one is not working.
Q. Similar to what I asked Abel as is related to the competition that exists between the trainer, Abel Sanchez was the 2015 Trainer of the Year, has got a lot of credit for the work he’s done, not only with Gennady but for some other fighters. Eddy has never been the Trainer of the Year. I think a lot of the people think the winner of this fight might be the Fighter of the Year. How big of a deal is it for Eddy to compete against another outstanding trainer like Abel Sanchez and maybe etch himself as a possible trainer of the year if his man gets the big victory?
EDDY REYNOSO: Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you. Look, at the end of the day, the most important thing for us is that our fighter wins. We’re doing everything necessary. We’re preparing so that happens come fight night.
Look, at the end of the day, with the results come all the recognitions and everything else will come with it. But the most important thing for us is to win September 16.
Q. To both Abel and Eddy, look, in the past, Freddie Roach, Mayweather Senior, they have all gotten the attention of the boxing world as some of the best trainer, but today, all eyes, all focus, is on Eddy Reynoso and Abel Sanchez. How important is it and how motivating is it that you guys are the top trainers right now and all eyes are on you?
ABEL SANCHEZ: Well, first of all, I’m extremely proud that two Mexicans are guiding the two best fighters in the sport and we are going to be meeting each other for supremacy on the 16th. I will be extremely happy that the fans recognize the fact that it’s not only Canelo as a Mexican, but Gennady has a Mexican style, but Eddy and I are both very proud Mexicans.
EDDY REYNOSO: We’re very, very happy to what we have achieved and happy doing what we love. And we’ve got to keep advancing, keep doing what we do best, and that’s winning and advancing; so that one day, hopefully not too in the distant future, we can be considered as one of the best in the game.
Q. Eddy, when GGG was introduced to mainstream, the American public, he was introduced with the label of “Mexican-style.” And that could be with influence, obviously, of his trainer being Mexican, Abel Sanchez. But the question is: Do you see him as a Mexican-style fighter?
EDDY REYNOSO: Yeah, you know, it obviously has some things of the Mexican style, because his trainer, there’s influence there. He’s taught him some Mexican style of fights. But let’s not forget at the end of the day, he’s from Kazakhstan; that’s where his roots are, and although he may have a little bit of the Mexican style that he’s been taught, at the end of the day, he can’t have the full Mexican style.
Q. To Abel, do you think that after September 16, after the fight, the winner will be considered pound for pound No. 1 in boxing?
ABEL SANCHEZ: I don’t think that’s something for me to say. I think that the journalists and the media at large and the fans will have their opinion. But I think that fight on the 16th, we have the two best boxers in the sport going at each other, so they can determine that.
But going back to what you asked Eddy, I think the Mexican style — part of the Mexican style that Golovkin has adapted, that the fans really, really like is the fact of his aggressiveness. It reminds us of some of the fighters of the past, great Mexicans of the past, like Julio Cesar Chavez and some of Olivares’ fights, and some of the old-timers that they used to give us those great, entertaining fights.
CANADA AMATEUR STAR LAVIOLETTE
HOPES TO ENHANCE HIS REPUTATION
AGAINST SPARROW SEPT. 8 IN PHILLY
Junior lightweight boxer Joey Laviolette may have a big reputation in Canada, but he is a virtual unknown in the United States. The 29-year-old native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, hopes to change that when he takes on Avery Sparrow, of Philadelphia, PA, in the scheduled eight-round main event Friday evening, Sept. 8, at the 2300 Arena.
The Sparrow-Laviolette contest tops a 10-bout card which begins at 7.30 pm.
Laviolette may be only 6-0, 4 K0s, as a pro, but he had a prolific amateur career in which he won 85 out of 111 bouts and four Canadian National Championships. He also was a member of the Canadian National Team from 2009 to 2011.
“My father used to train, although he never competed as a boxer, so he took me and my brother Matt to the gym when I was 10 years old and I just never left and that’s how I got started,” Laviolette said.
“When I was in high school I played recreational basketball and ice hockey but I never competed on a school team or in an official league.”
As for going up against a talented fighter like Sparrow (7-1, 3 K0s), Laviolette does not appear to be intimidated or fearful.
“It’s a big opportunity to showcase my skills against a good fighter,” Laviolette said. “This will be my first professional fight outside of Canada, but going to somebody else’s hometown to fight never bothered me as an amateur and I don’t think it will bother me as a professional.
“I competed in the Francophone Games in Lebanon (for French-speaking countries) and the Panama Games in Mexico and in various tournaments in Ecuador, Venezuela, Mexico and the United States a couple of times and I won the Ringside Tournament there in 2009.
“I feel I’m right where I need to be at 6-0 and this is a perfect point in my career to have a true test against Sparrow.”
A pro since 2012, Laviolette has boxed twice this year against a pair of Mexican featherweights. He out-pointed Juan Manuel Benitez over four rounds and stopped Emmanuel Villamar in six. Both fights were in New Brunswick, Canada.
Away from the ring, Laviolette works as a carpenter during the day and he also is a musician, occasionally taking part in small acoustic performances in local pubs in Nova Scotia. He plays the guitar and refers to himself as an intermediate piano player. His favorite Canadian fighter is Arturo Gatti, but his all-time favorite is Sugar Ray Leonard.
Laviolette has been married to his wife, Lisa, since 2012, and they have a 4-year-old daughter, Breah.
“I know there is a lot of buzz in Philadelphia and the boxing community about this fight with Avery Sparrow, a true test for me,” Sparrow said. “I feel truly blessed to have the family I have and the ability to compete in a sport that has captivated me since my dad first took me to the Citadel Boxing Gym when I was 10. This next fight with Sparrow is everything I have been training for up to this point.”
CES Boxing, FightNight Live to Partner for August 26th Pre MayMac Show Free on Facebook
Fight fans who want to whet their appetite prior to Mayweather-McGregor will be able to do so on Saturday, Aug. 26, thanks to a new partnership between veteran promoter Jimmy Burchfield Sr. and the FIGHTNIGHT LIVE Facebook series. CES Boxing and the tech-forward, fan-friendly Facebook broadcast platform are set to deliver once again – this time from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut – from 6-9 p.m. ET on that Saturday before action heats up in the desert later that night.
Highlighting the CES Boxing card at Foxwoods’ Premier Ballroom is New London, Conn., native Jimmy Williams (13-0-1, 5 KOs), as he defends his WBC-USNBC Welterweight Title against veteran Bronx N.Y. pugilist Issouf Kinda (18-4, 7 KOs). Also appearing on the card: New London’s Cristobal Marrero (4-0, 3 KOs), Hartford’s Richard Rivera (2-0, 2 KOs) and Jose Rivera (3-1, 3 KOs), Miguel Ortiz (2-0, 1 KO) of Springfield, Mass., and others.
“CES Boxing starts the fireworks with a live, action-packed card at Foxwoods Resort Casino leading up to the Mayweather-MacGregor PPV,” proudly states CES President Burchfield Sr. “We are extremely excited to be partnering with Linacre Media to broadcast this event worldwide on the FIGHTNIGHT LIVE Facebook page.”
Tickets are priced at $55, $90, $155 and $325 and can be purchased online at cesboxing.com, foxwoods.com, or ticketmaster.com, or by phone at 401-724-2253 or 800-200-2882. As an added bonus, all CES ticket holders receive a free, reserved seat to the exclusive Pay Per View showing of Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor in Foxwoods’ Grand Theater.
“We’re happy to be involved in what will be a great night for fight fans all over the globe,” said Mark Fratto, Principal of Linacre Media. “In addition to the great crowd that Jimmy Burchfield Sr. and Team CES is sure to deliver with a packed, local card and the May-Mac PPV following on the big screen at Foxwoods, we’re thrilled to deliver all of the action from coast-to-coast and around the world through our Facebook FIGHTNIGHT LIVE channel. We hope a lot of boxing and MMA fans having fight parties will enjoy our free New England Facebook show on any device before turning their attention toward the desert and Showtime.”
The numbers on the FIGHTNIGHT LIVE series have showed promise and potential for the new platform. The July Roy Jones Jr. “Desert Showdown” from Phoenix, the May “Slugfest at the Sun” from Mohegan Sun and the June “Rosemont Rumble” from Chicago drew audiences of 65,000, 44,000 and 31,000, respectively, with more than 6,000 of hours of LIVE video consumed by Facebook users. In addition to the raw viewership numbers, the fully-interactive, fan-friendly productions have seen more than 27,000 collective live post engagements, including more than 15,500 “likes” or “loves,” more than 9,000 comments and 1,600-plus shares.
Facebook FIGHTNIGHT LIVE has been delivered to fans absolutely free since its May 2017 launch courtesy of corporate partners like Barbour One 9, Talent Management and Entertainment Production (www.barbourone9.com) and Northeastern Fine Jewelry (www.nefj.com).
On Saturday night, August 26, live from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Conn., fans can expect a high-impact, multi-camera streaming experience complete with graphics, animations, replays, interviews and an announce team anchored by blow-by-blow announcer Michael Woods of the TalkBox Podcast, NYFights.com and The Ring and analyst Xavier Porter of BrooklynFights.com, Notorious Boxing and the “Shoot the 5” radio show. To provide spectators with a fully-interactive ringside experience, commentators will ask and respond to questions from the Facebook audience throughout the broadcast.
Created and produced by Linacre Media out of New York City, the FIGHTNIGHT LIVE series features multiple camera angles, graphics, replays and behind-the-scenes access and interviews. The streamed shows are available globally wherever Facebook is available. The initiative not only enables fans from around the world to tune in, but also gives up-and-coming fighters a global platform to showcase their abilities, gives promoters an accessible “broadcast” solution and gives sponsors the ability to reach a mass audience via branded content.
More FIGHTNIGHT LIVE dates will be officially announced in the coming weeks.
FIGHTNIGHT LIVE is available online at: https://www.facebook.com/FaceFIGHTNIGHTLIVE/
Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Announced
The Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame (CBHOF) has announced its six-member Class of 2017 to be inducted during the 13TH annual CBHOF Gala Induction Dinner on Saturday night, October 28, in the Uncas Ballroom at Mohegan Sun.
The new CBHOF inductees are pioneer boxer “Professor” Charles Hadley, ring physician Dr. Tony Alessi, international boxing judge Clark Sammartino, referee/judge Dick Flaherty, boxing writer Dan Parker and boxer/boxing contributor Hugh Devlin, Sr.
“We continue to break barriers at CBHOF as we induct ‘Professor’ Charles Hadley who may have been the best ‘pound-for-pound fighter of his era,” CBHOF president John Laudati said. Like many black athletes of this period, he never received the recognition he richly deserved. The CBHOF will rectify that this year. Other members of this year’s class are equally deserving and represent all aspects of this great sport. Dr. Alessi is not just an accomplished ring physician but also a world-renowned sports doctor. Clark Sammartino is one of the best judges in boxing. Dan Parker is an International Boxing Hall of Famer whose career as a reporter is unparalleled in any sport. Hughie Devlin Sr.’s contributions to this sport in Connecticut are immeasurable. We look forward to seeing boxing fans of all ages at this year’s dinner. It will be a wonderful evening for our inductees, our award winners, and especially for their family and friends.”
Fighting out of his adopted hometown of Bridgeport, Tennessee-native “Professor” Charles Hadley (25-13-6, 14 KOs) was the reigning World Colored Heavyweight Champion from 1881-1883. His professional career was from 1869 to 1891.
A familiar figure at ringside for major fights at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino, Dr. Tony Alessi is a graduate of the University of Rome who moved to the Nutmeg State after completing his residency and neuro-muscular fellowship at the University fo Michigan. Alessi is a neurological consultant to the Connecticut State Boxing Commission, as well as the NFL Players Association and New York Yankees Player Development. He is based in Norwich, where he CEO for a medical management company.
At the height of career as a boxing judge, Clark Sammartino would average 100 bouts a year, including 10 world championships. A Providence native and Brown University graduate, he started judging boxing matches after he retired as an oral surgeon. The 80-year-old Sammartino has judge fights involving some of boxing biggest stars such as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Oscar de la Hoya, Julio Cesar Chavez and many others.
An accomplished referee/judge from Braintree, Massachusetts, who now lives in Glastonbury, CT, Dick Flaherty has worked numerous notable fights featuring Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson, Vernon Forrest and Sal “Canelo” Alvarez, among the more notables. Flaherty is best known for judging the first of three Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward fights, held at Mohegan Sun, voted the 2002 Fight of the Year), in which Dick scored the Round of the Year (ninth), 10-7 for Ward, and the fight, 94-93, in Ward’s favor. His score proved to be the difference as Ward won a 10-round split decision.
Waterbury, CT-native Dan Parker was a Waterbury sportswriter back in the early part of the 20th Century, whose articles in the New York Daily Mirror later exposed corruption in boxing. He exposed International Boxing Club (IBC) corruption and, due to Parker’s crusade, it was disbanded. Parker is induced in the prestigious International Boxing Hall of Fame, as well as the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Hugh Devlin, Sr. (22-13) made his professional boxing debut in 1927 at the age of 18, stopping Johnny Lorenzo in New Bedford, Mass. He developed into one of New England’s top featherweights, fighting across Connecticut in New Haven, West Haven, Waterbury and New London. Devlin’s contributions to the Norwich boxing community made him an icon in southeastern Connecticut. He opened a restaurant in New London where menus were shaped like boxing gloves.
Individual Connecticut award winners were also announced: Jimmy Williams, Conn. Professional Boxer of the Year; Kevin Bonilla, Conn. Amateur Boxer of the Year; Hector Rosario, Contribution to Boxing; Danny Schiavone, Professional Boxing Official of the Year; Sachs Medina, Amateur Boxing Official of the Year:
Tickets for the CBHOF 13th annual Gala Induction Dinner, reasonably priced at $90.00, will soon go on sale and be available to purchase by calling Kim Baker at Mohegan Sun (1.860.862.7377) or Sherman Cain at the Manchester Journal Inquirer (1.800.237.3606 X321). Doors open at 5:30 p.m. ET, cocktails from 6:00- p.m. ET (cash bar), followed by a full sit-down dinner.
Go online to www.ctboxinghof.org for additional information about the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame, its 13th annual Gala Inductee Dinner, event sponsorship opportunities, or past CBHOF inductees.
The Legend of Salvador Sanchez
By: Kirk Jackson
Salvador “Chava” Sanchez 44-1-1 (32 KO’s) was an amazing fighter accurately fitting the mantra, “A talent gone too soon.” He passed away 35 years ago, yet his influence still permeates throughout the boxing world.
On August 12, 1982, Sanchez perished in a collision involving his white 1981 Porsche and two trucks on a highway north of Queretaro, Mexico.
Trainers, fighters, fans still to this day remark on the extraordinary skill set of Sanchez and wonder what could have been.
Although he passed long before I was even thought of, I can’t help but look back and pay respect to one of boxing’s greatest fighters. Plus Sanchez possessed a cool curly fro.
The Hall of Famer was a complete boxer possessing speed, power, an endless supply of energy and excellent counter-punching abilities.
Analyzing Sanchez’s style, one of his greatest strengths was his balance and footwork. This allowed Sanchez to thrive offensively and defensively as he was renowned as a great counter-puncher.
When observing Sanchez, one may say, “He has a tendency to move and bounce around a lot.” And what may appear as wasted movement, is actually Sanchez finding his rhythm, range and timing his opponents.
Sanchez was always able to effectively transfer his weight from the back foot to the front foot, transitioning from offense to defense seamlessly.
This required balance, maintaining proper distance between his feet, bending of the knees, shifting weight; intricate stuff. The movements are subtle but masterful when a lens is placed on the significance.
These movements along with balance allowed Sanchez to thrive off punching in between the exchanges; a rare skill not many fighters possess.
For example, long reigning middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin rarely counter punches his opponents. He doesn’t really have to.
Golovkin is so effective from an offensive standpoint with his ability cut the ring off and force fighters into retreat mode with his precision and power punching.
When fighters actually attempt to fight back or better yet initiate the attack, they can push back Golovkin and temporarily nullify his momentum.
Examples include former welterweight champion Kell Brook and former middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs.
When someone throws combinations at Golovkin, he has a tendency to shell up with his high guard, not utilizing head movement or trying to punch in between the exchange.
One of Sanchez’s patented moves was to dip down and shoot a punch from a low angle; an awkward punch often catching opponents by surprise.
From a defensive standpoint, although an elite counter-puncher, Sanchez had a tendency to get hit every now and then.
What Sanchez did effectively however, was roll with the incoming punches; by rolling with the punches, the defender can lessen the impact and mitigate the damage.
Comparatively speaking, Floyd Mayweather for instance is a different type of counter-puncher. Mayweather has a series of defensive tactics and tricks to smother punches and effectively dodge attacks.
Mayweather is prone to dodge the incoming punch with a pull-back countering motion; straightening his spine and snapping his neck back, pulling his head out of range and countering (typically with a right hand) in return.
Many times when Sanchez would avoid a punch he would come back with a series of punches (as opposed to one) in return.
Even while eating a punch, he is bouncing off his toes, springing into action and hurling several punches back in return.
Sanchez also had a tendency (much like Mayweather) to use his forearm for offensive and defensive purposes. It’s probable the self-proclaimed “TBE” intently studied Sanchez in his younger years.
Standing 5’ 7” with a 68 inch reach he was monster at featherweight. Due to his ability to slip punches and his mastery of range, Sanchez was essentially effective in close-quarters, within the pocket and from the outside.
Along with blazing hand speed, Sanchez appeared to have an endless supply of energy. He is one of the more well-conditioned athletes you’ll ever see. For any anime nerds out there, his level of endurance is similar to the Nine-tailed fox in Naruto.
It can be said, one attains greatness through experience and Sanchez certainly started young.
Sanchez turned professional at the young age of 16; similar to boxing prodigy Wilfred Benitez (turned pro at age 15) and current great fighter in the making Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (turned pro at age 15).
Five years into his professional career at the age of 21, Sanchez captured gold winning the WBC Featherweight Championship by stopping Danny Lopez in thirteen rounds on February 2, 1980.
Sanchez would knock Lopez out again four months later.
Over the course of 29 months, including 9 title defenses, Sanchez essentially faced and defeated the best fighters in the featherweight division. Ruben Castillo, Juan Laporte and Patrick Ford were impressive fighters.
Sanchez’s busy schedule matched his busy style in the ring.
Lopez, Wilfredo Gomez and Azumah Nelson are the most notable names and impressive wins on the resume.
His highest profile fight was arguably against the WBC super-bantamweight champion Gomez. The Puerto Rican star 32-0-1 (32 KOs) was undefeated at the time and stopped in eight rounds; serving as one of the quintessential bouts in the Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry.
1981 was a big year for Sanchez as he shared The Ring honors as “Fighter of the year” along with Sugar Ray Leonard.
Sanchez successfully defended his WBC featherweight title for the ninth and final time stopping Nelson in fifteen rounds at Madison Square Garden in New York City on July 21, 1982.
Unfortunately less than a month later, tragedy struck and Sanchez lost his life.
We can only wonder the path and series of fights that awaited Sanchez. A rematch with Nelson or Gomez was a possibility.
Or even greater aspirations and a meeting against another legend Alexis Arguello was a possibility. Sky was the limit for Sanchez.
Sanchez undoubtedly had a large impact on boxing, influencing the likes of Mayweather, Julio Cesar Chavez, Ricardo Lopez, Juan Manuel Marquez and countless others.
All we can do now is speculate the what if’s and celebrate the moments he created in the thing. As a fan of the sweet science, I’d like to thank Salvador Sanchez for all of his contributions.
Top Rank on ESPN Results: Lomachenko Breaks Down Marriaga, Beltran Decisions Vasquez
By: William Holmes
Top Rank Promotions continued their relationship with ESPN tonight by placing one of boxing’s pound for pound superstars, Vasyl Lomachenko, on the main event in a WBO Junior Lightweight Title Bout.
The Microsoft theater in Los Angeles, California was the host site for tonight’s card with an announced attendance of 4,102. The NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame ended late and the first undercard fight was shown on ESPN2.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Arnold Barboza Jr. (16-0) and Jonathan Chicas (15-2) started off the telecast halfway through the bout and both boxers scored a knockdown by the sixth round.
The crowd responded well to this bout as Chicas was going for an upset and had Barboza hurt several times throughout the bout.
The final scores were 76-74, 77-73, and 78-72 for Arnold Barboza Jr,
The next bout of the night was between Raymundo Beltran (33-7-1) and Bryan Vasquez (36-2) in the lightweight division.
Vasquez came in overweight and was unable to fight for Beltran’s titles. However, Beltran looked significantly bigger than Vasquez inside the ring.
Both boxers started off in the orthodox stance in the first round and Beltran was showing good head movement while landing his straight right hands and counter lefts. Vasquez switched stances during the first round, but was not effective with it.
Beltran went to the body more I the second round and landed several hard shots in the last thirty seconds. Vasquez tripped Beltran at the end of the round.
Vasquez started off the third round strong but Beltran took over in the second half of the round. Beltran’s best combination of this round started off with two hooks to the body followed by a left hook to the head.
Vasquez was able to land an impressive wind up right uppercut on Beltran in the fourth round, but Beltran walked right through it and seemed unaffected. Beltran had Vasquez backing up with jabs to the body and head in the fifth round but may have been out landed by Vasquez during their exchanges.
Vasquez appeared to be more willing to exchange in the sixth round, but Beltran’s punches were noticeably more effective and had more pop behind them. Beltran landed an impressive right hook around the high guard of Vasquez in the seventh and looked to be establishing firm control of the fight.
Vasquez had a decent eighth round and proved to be elusive for Beltran and at the start of the ninth round Beltran had a cut by his right eye.
Vasquez and Beltran clashed heads in the tenth and Vasquez probably needed a knockout to win. The blood was obscuring the vision of Beltran but he was able to avoid succumbing to a last round knockdown.
Beltran was bloodied but walked away with a close win. The final scores were 95-95, 96-94, and 96-94.
The main event of the evening was between WBO Junior Lightweight Champion Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1) and Miguel Marriaga (25-2).
Both boxers showed a lot of upper body movement in the opening round but Lomachenko was the boxer that was applying the pressure. Marriaga was able to land the early punches but Lomachenko began to land some good combinations as the round came to an end.
The pressure by Lomachenko continued in the second round and he was able to land hard left uppercuts and punches from all angles.
Marriaga was tagged with hard lefts to the head and body in the third round as Lomachenko was starting to settle into his grove. Lomachenko landed two consecutive straight left hands on Marriaga that sent him to the mat. Marriaga was able to get back to his feet and Lomachenko willingly backed into a corner and waived Marriaga forward. Marriaga came forward and threw several punches at Lomachenko, but was not able to land anything of significance.
Lomachenko’s pressure continued into the fifth round but he suffered a cut near his left eye due to a clash of heads.
Lomachenko’s pressure and hand speed had Marriaga back pedaling while getting peppered from all angles in the sixth and seventh rounds. Marriaga looked like he was hurt in the sixth round from a consistent body attack by Lomachenko.
Lomachenko looked like he was going for the stoppage in the seventh round as he was landing heavy shots and taking a lot of risks. Lomachenko was able to score a late round knockdown and Marriaga looked mentally defeated as he went back to his corner.
Marriaga’s corner told the referee their fighter was unable to continue before the start of the eighth round.
Vasyl Lomachenko dazzles once again with a 7th round TKO.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Golovkin, Pacquiao, Shields, Atlantic City, Hernandez, and more..
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Golovkin, Pacquiao, Shields, Atlantic City, Hernandez, and more..
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of June 13th to June 20th covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Canelo vs. Golovkin Tickets on Sale June 22nd
Tickets for the Saturday, Sept. 16 showdown for supremacy between lineal and RING Magazine Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) and IBO/IBF/WBA/WBC Middleweight World Champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), for which fans have been clamoring, will go on sale Thursday, June 22 at 10:00 a.m. PT / 1:00 p.m. ET. In what may be boxing’s best, most competitive fight in 2017, the mega-event will feature two of the most popular and powerful fighters in the storied middleweight division fighting for ultimate supremacy and glory.
Tickets for Canelo vs. Golovkin are priced at $5,000, $2,500, $2,000, $1,500, $800, $700, $500 and $300, not including applicable service charges and taxes. There will be a limit of 10 per person at the $5,000, $2,500, $2,000, $1,500, $800, $700 price levels and a limit of two (2) per person at the $500 and $300 price levels. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849). Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.t-mobilearena.com or www.axs.com.
Canelo vs. Golovkin is a 12-round fight for the middleweight championship of the world presented by Golden Boy Promotions and GGG Promotions and sponsored by Tecate, BORN BOLD, Hennessy, Never Stop, Never Settle, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Tsesnabank and Capital Holding. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®
Claressa Shields Dominates to Win WBC Silver Belt
In just her first eight-round fight, Claressa “T-Rex” Shields scored a spectacular unanimous decision victory last Friday, June 16, at the Masonic Temple in Detroit to win the WBC Silver Super Middleweight Title.
Shields (3-0, 1KO) dominated tough Sydney “Ginger the Ninja” LeBlanc (4-2-1), winning all eight rounds on all three judges’ scorecards en route to adding the WBC Silver belt to her NABF Middleweight Championship belt. LeBlanc was simply no match for the blazing fists of crowd favorite Shields, who has convincingly established herself as a world championship-class contender in women’s boxing after just three professional fights.
Shields’ bout was the main event of a jam-packed Detroit Brawl event which set a new gate record for promoter Dmitriy Salita’s popular Detroit-based series.
“Claressa is one of the best boxers in the world!” said Dmitriy Salita. “Regardless of gender, her skills and experience are that of the elite fighters in the world. She is improving with each fight and the sky is the limit. Claressa is ready for the top fighters in her division and we will work on making a big championship fight happen next.”
In the 10-round co-main event, transplanted Detroit cruiserweight Alexey Zubov moved to 15-1, 9 KOs with a surprisingly easy 10-round decision over Detroit’s highly regarded Demetrius Banks (9-1, 4 KOs).
From the opening bell, the superior work rate of Zubov told the story, as the confused Banks had no answers for the big Russian’s jab. All three judges scored the fight 99-91. There were no knockdowns.
“Two of the best cruiserweight prospects in the world met in Detroit,” continued Salita. “The winner is now a real contender, ready to fight the best in the world. Alexey is much improved since his time training with Sugar Hill at the Kronk Boxing Gym. The magic of Kronk is alive and came to life in Alexey’s performance. Great things on the horizon for him!”
Another of Salita’s growing stable of promising contenders, Detroit bantamweight Ja’Rico O’Quinn (7-0, 5KOs) had too many tools for the outgunned David Martino (2-3, 2 KOs) and won by dominant unanimous decision (60-54, all three judges). A talent to watch, O’Quinn basically walked the determined Martino into his lightning-fast shots for six rounds.
“Ja’Rico’s defense was superb in his fight. His opponent was rarely able to even touch him. He is going to be a force at 118 lbs. in the not-too-distant future.”
Another surging contender from the Salita stable, junior welterweight wrecking ball Bakhtiyar Eyubov (13-0, 11 KOs) needed just 1:41 of round one to chew up and spit out Mexico’s Cesar Soriano. Eyubov targeted the body of Soriano and took away his breath with thudding left hoods to the liver that ended things quickly. Eyubov is an animal.
“Bakhtiyar went up a weight class because no one will fight him. This fight showed why,” said Salita. “He is too strong for most fighters to stay in with for very long. He will be in a big fight in the near future. He’s ready.”
ESPN and ESPN Deportes to Exclusively Air Manny Pacquiao Fight Live from Brisbane, Australia
Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, boxing’s only eight-division world champion and the only sitting Senator to capture a world championship belt, will add another first to his burgeoning list of Hall of Fame-caliber accomplishments with his live debut on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (also streaming live on the ESPN app) on Saturday, July 1 at 10:00 p.m. ET. The fight will be called ringside by ESPN commentators Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas. They will be joined by guest analyst Timothy Bradley, Jr., a former two-division world champion recently trained by Teddy Atlas who has met Pacquiao three times in the ring, winning their first match in a decision. ESPN Deportes will pair Jorge Eduardo Sanchez and Juan Manuel Marquez to call the main event in Spanish, with prefight commentary from Pablo Viruega, Leopoldo Gonzalez, Claudia Trejos and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao, the Boxing Writers Association of America’s reigning Fighter of the Decade, will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown against undefeated No. 1 contender and Brisbane’s favorite son Jeff “The Hornet” Horn at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. This will be the first time Pacquiao has not fought on pay-per-view since Sept. 10, 2005, when he stopped Hector Velazquez in the sixth round — 12 years and four weight divisions ago.
ESPN’s coverage of “The Battle of Brisbane” will begin on Friday, June 30th, and includes live coverage of the Pacquiao and Horn weigh-in at 7 p.m. ET within SportsCenter on ESPN and within Golpe a Golpe on ESPN Deportes. During the week of June 26, classic Pacquiao fights will also be available on demand and streaming via the ESPN app, on both ESPN and ESPN Deportes, including Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton (5/2/2009), Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez (11/12/11) and Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley (4/12/14).
The July 1 telecast will also feature Irish Olympic hero Michael Conlan (2-0, 2 KOs), from Belfast, in a six-round featherweight bout against Jarrett “Juarez” Owen (5-4-3,2 Kos), of Brisbane, and International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight world champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas (24-1-1, 16 KOs), of Cavite City, Philippines, defending his title against top-rated contender Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1, 8 KOs), of Kobe, Japan. The live telecast will open with an eight-round middleweight rumble between Shane Mosley, Jr. (10-1, 7 KOs), of Pomona, Calif. and son of former three-division world champion “Sugar”
Shane Mosley, and David Toussaint (10-0, 8 KOs), of Canberra, Australia.
Olympic Bronze Medalist Nico Hernandez Stops Jose Rodriguez in the Third Round
Wichita hero and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, Nico Hernandez, dominated Jose “Mexican Diablo” Rodriguez in last night’s “KO Night Boxing: Rapid Fire” main event, which aired on CBS Sports Network live from Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
“KO Night Boxing: Rapid Fire” was a presentation of KO Night Boxing LLC. TITLE Boxing is the official apparel and gloves partner for Knockout Night Boxing.
The 21-year-old Hernandez (2-0, 2 KOs) came out fast, rapidly firing combinations that consistently landed to his opponent’s head and body. Hernandez was as electric in the ring as the sky outside, battering the over-matched Rodriguez, finally dropping him midway through the second round.
The extremely sharp Hernandez floored Rodriguez again in the third with a right-left combination but the tough Mexican rose again. The onslaught continued briefly as the Olympian pounded Rodriguez (2-1, 2 KOs), knocking him down for the third time and final time as referee Kevin Champion counted him out at 2:38.
“I came out with a victory, it can’t get better than that,” Hernandez said after the fight. “I put him down a few times. I was happy with my performance. I was trying to get out of her to celebrate with my family and friends.
“I didn’t expect him to keep coming, getting up and still coming forward. I’ll talk to my promoter and coaches and see what’s next.”
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Inducts 24 Charter Class Members
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) Inaugural Induction weekend held on May 26, 27 and 28th was a smorgasbord of boxing royalty, celebrity guests and legions of boxing fans. ACBHOF mission is to create visibility and awareness through annual inductions ceremonies; boxing champions, as well as the boxing community at-large will have their names enshrined into immortality by being inducted into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.
“Watching my vision come together with the assistance of Rodrick Green, the VP of Business Strategy, and Angela Crockett our Communications Director, along with the rest of my team and countless other supporters and fans across the country, who’ve embraced this endeavor has been overwhelmingly impressive.” – Ray McCline, Founder & President
The trio of events, which were sponsored by the Claridge – a Radisson Hotel, kicked-off May 26th with a pre-reception and welcome address in the VÜE Rooftop Bar. The 150 guests included: Red Carpet Host Whitney Ullman, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, Councilman Frank Gilliam, Dr. Nina Radcliff, Flo Anthony, Aaron Snowell, Lillo Brancato, Alan Goldberg, Ray Mercer, Mark Breland, Iran Barkley, Iceman John Scully, Tracy Patterson, Milton Luban, Chuck Zito, Grandy Twins, sponsors and stakeholders alike.
“The Claridge – a Radisson Hotel was proud to have hosted Atlantic City’s first Boxing Hall of Fame induction class. It’s events like this that make hospitality and history come to life in this city. From the Fight Fan Expo to the Gala it was a pleasure to see new faces and passion throughout a weekend of exceptional events. We look forward to hosting the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame events for years to come at The Claridge – a Radisson Hotel.”- Cem Erenler, V.P. of Hotel Operations & Business Development
On May 27, the festivities continued into the Fight Fan Experience, a festive boxing themed environment that included a Boxing Fantasy Camp, Pop-Up Barber Shop, Jack Johnson Exhibit Icons of Boxing, The Legacy Exists Joe Frazier Scholarship Fund, James O’Neal Sculptures, The Press of Atlantic City Exhibit, Food vendors and music by DJ Young Hitta.
The evening of May 27th concluded with an Honoree Gala in the Art Gallery celebrating “Women in Boxing.” Host for the evening, Nino Del Buono. Honorees included: Cathy Burke, Marian Muhammad, Joan Pierce, Renee Aiken and Althea “Vern” Saunders.
The culminating Induction celebration concluded Sunday, May 28th with a little over 500 guests. The master of ceremonies for the ceremony, President of NJ Boxing Hall of Fame, Henry Hascup. The star-studded Charter Class members included: Don King, Michael Spinks, Larry Hazzard, Steve Smoger, Mike Rossman, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Frank Gelb, Don Elbaum, J Russell Peltz, Dave Bontempo, Ken Condon, Robert Lee, Sr., Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson.
“I would like to sincerely congratulate Mr. Ray McCline, Roy Foreman, Rodrick Green, Angela Crockett and all of the wonderful people responsible for the great Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame weekend which took place on May 26th, 27th, and 28th. The event was an astounding success and it allowed many of us, who attended, the opportunity to relive some of the exciting moments of our past boxing history. The establishment of the ACBHOF will also ensure that the great legacy of Atlantic City Boxing, will be remembered and celebrated for many years to come!! Once again congratulations and I look forward with great anticipation to next year’s celebration. God Bless!!” – Commissioner Larry Hazzard, NJ State Athletic Control Board
Posthumous Inductees: Arturo Gatti (received by Sofia Bella Gatti); Leavander Johnson (received by his Son); Mathew Saad Muhammad (received by Mustafa Ameen); Lou Duva (received by Dino Duva); Jack Obermayer (received by his daughter Ellen Kaplan); Bert Sugar; Dennis Gomes (received by his daughter Danielle Gomes and Mrs. Gomes); Mike Hall, Sr. (received by his son Mike Hall, Jr.) and Dr, Frank Doggett (received by his daughter Yvonne “Missy” Doggett).
“It was such an incredible honor to be part of such a historic event. We had a blast at the HARD Kickoff party with Michael Spinks and Ray Mercer. It was so amazing to see all the young kids enjoying the Boxing experience. They are the new generation of Atlantic City Boxing. The Highlight of the weekend for us was the Gala, it was truly a memorable evening. Congratulations to Ray McCline and the inductees on a successful Inaugural Induction. The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame will be a staple destination for Boxing Fans in the years to come.” – Gregory V. Posella, President & Co-founder HARD Beverage
Former Miss America, Suzette Charles, Chicken Bone Beach Jazz Band and saxophonist Parris provided entertainment for the evening. Entertainment was coordinated by Kevin Crump.
Title Sponsors: Hard Lifestyle Beverages, Designer Wraps and Hammer Fiber Optics. The Atlantic City Police Athletic League is ACBHOF’s charitable arm. Keebler Media was the official ACBHOF videographer.
Other sponsors and supporters: City of Atlantic City; Triax 57; 2300 Arena; FantaSea Resorts; Adams Boxing; Rumble TV Network; Tina Davido Promotions; Abrams Boxing, Adams Boxing, Plush Vodka, Punzoné Organic Vodka, House of Genesis and WBC.
While the menus consisted of scrumptious passed hors d’oeuvres and signature drinks, the Honoree cake designed by Cake King of Queens and the unveiling of Commemorative Paintings by Nicolosi were stunning show stoppers.
Another extraordinary highlight from the weekend was when Arturo Gatti’s 11-year old daughter Sofia Bella Gatti accepted her father’s award alongside his longtime friends Chuck Zito and Mike Sciarra.
Ann Wolfe Interview: “I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep!”
Ann Wolfe Interview: “I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep.”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Ann Wolfe is best known as “the baddest woman on the planet”. She was a professional boxer from 1998-2006. Wolfe amassed a professional record of 24 wins, 1 loss (which she avenged, twice) and 16 wins by way of knockout. She did all this while holding 4 weight class titles simultaneously. Ann Wolfe’s story is one of poverty, crime and destitution. Boxing became her salvation and she became, arguably, the greatest female fighter of all time.
Most recently, Ms. Wolfe starred in the box office smash hit “Wonder Woman”, where she was specifically casted by director Patty Jenkins to play the role of “Artemis”. Jenkins announced on Twitter when Wolfe got the part, “Who else should be one of the greatest warrior Amazons, but the best female boxer in history”.
We were able to speak with Ann Wolfe about her humble beginnings, her thoughts on the state of boxing, Wonder Woman, and being a role model for young females.
Boxing Insider: What was it like filming a big blockbuster movie? Did you enjoy the filmmaking process?
Ann Wolfe: It was OK. As long as I have something to do, I’m happy.
Boxing Insider: Did the people on set know you are this great boxer or did they just think you were some unknown actor?
Ann Wolfe: No, Patty Jenkins personally looked for me. She wanted me to play Artemis. Her husband was a Thai boxer and they wanted me. So she looked for me, so I didn’t cast for Artemis.
The other actors knew who I was, because Patty filled them in. Gal (Gadot) would walk up and talk to me, she was really nice. Chris (Pine) was also very nice. Gal looked at me and then at Patty Jenkins and said “that is Artemis”. They knew, and it was weird because they are actors and big Hollywood stars and they were excited to meet me.
Boxing Insider: Did any of your boxing training help translate to your role as Artemis?
Ann Wolfe: Yes, all of it did. Because using a sword, in boxing you are taught to keep your hands in tight, but with the weapons they wanted you to be more open. It was easy because I was able to use the balance that I have,to use the Axe really well.
Boxing Insider: As an ambassador for female boxing, why do you think it hasn’t caught on in the same way that the UFC female fighters have?
Ann Wolfe: Number one, the UFC is a little more engaging. It’s a new sport itself, so you don’t have to have a lot of skill. Boxing is the sweet science. So if you want to begin in the grass roots of boxing where women are on the same level as guys, you are talking hundreds of years. Men have been boxing everyday all day for a hundred years. So it will take some time. You will need to bring more young girls into the gym starting at 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. And it would have to be 100,000 of them. If you look at MMA, you don’t have an amateur MMA. You have some of these young men like James Kirkland who had 140 amateur fights, I had 3. My skill level was I was just powerful as hell, I didn’t know how to actually box in the beginning. I was just punching them, the skill level wasn’t there. You will have one or two females that are really skillful, but who are they gonna box to get better. MMA is just more exciting because you kick and throw people on the ground and whatever. But people tuned into a fighter like me because I put people to sleep.
Boxing Insider: Who are some of your favorite fighters?
Ann Wolfe: Its gonna sound weird, but Glenn Johnson is one of my favorite fighters, because he was one of those throwback fighters that could lose a fight, and then come back and win. I like Andre Ward, I like Alfredo Angulo, he had a great passion. Most people would think that I don’t like Floyd Mayweather, but I like Floyd. He understood on how to keep winning, I don’t care what anyone says, he kept the passion in his boxing and in his training to win. A lot of people lose that. They get the money and they don’t want to train and Mayweather trained the same as when he had no money and persisted to win. And my favorite fighter is the greatest fighter to ever walk on this earth, and that is Sugar Ray Robinson.
Boxing Insider: Do you expect a call from the Hall of Fame pretty soon?
Ann Wolfe: No, I am already inducted into the female boxing hall of fame and I don’t know if the International Boxing Hall of Fame has any females in it. I don’t know and if I don’t, I’m ok with it. At this time in my life I understand that. I never want to say I’m the greatest fighter as a female, but if you go back and look at my career. I have 3 or 4 amateur fights and in two and a half years I cleaned out the entire, from welterweight to Super Heavyweight. Everybody doesn’t understand that I was going down to 152, up to 175, down to 168. I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep. If you look at what I was doing and how I did it, I just don’t see no one doing what I did. I held and defended 8 titles in 4 different weight classes. That is like a 106 pounder fighting someone at 175. If I would have just stayed at Jr. Middleweight I wouldn’t have made it exciting, because I’m 150lbs and I’m fighting the Super Heavyweight champion of the world and knocking her out. That’s what people don’t realize, we were never the same size. So I was putting middleweights, Light heavy’s, heavies and Super Heavy’s to sleep. And it got to a point where no one would fight me, so I retired. I will never box again because I went 2 years and no one would fight me at all, zero. That’s when I started training fighters.
Boxing Insider: So what is next for Ann Wolfe? Will we see you return to training fighters or is acting now a serious thing?
Ann Wolfe: I really want to turn toward the acting, because I liked it and a lot of kids can get, what people don’t realize I have put 160 kids through school. I had a gym full of children. Some of those kids slept in the gym. Some of those kids lived in the gyms. I went to those kids schools. I think with the training, I can’t make a fighter have that passion that I have, and it takes years to develop a fighter. Right now I don’t have it in my heart to pour out all of me into that one person, because you don’t know if they are gonna have that same passion when it’s time to have it. I’ve never trained anyone that I haven’t known as a child. I knew Kirkland when he was 12. Every one of them I started training when they were kids. This is not about just the fight game for me. It is a sport for troubled children that are drawn to violence and that type of life. Boxing has that violence part in it, but it also has structure and dedication and the whole nine yards. You get that little bit of violence that you were drawn towards, but it can save a lot of kids.
Boxing Insider: Whatever happened to Vonda Ward after that famous KO?
Ann Wolfe: She had to go to the hospital. I sent a lot of ladies to the hospital. If you go and look at my record, a lot of the people I knocked out never fought again, or maybe one time and that was it. Valerie Mahfood was my only loss and I came back and beat her twice. She said that was the hardest she had ever been hit in her natural life, man or woman.
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Celebration a Big Success!
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Celebration a Big Success!
By: Ken Hissner
Ray McCline’s idea of creating the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame was a big success over the weekend. Especially on Sunday night with 24 inductee’s before a large crowd at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City!
Master of Ceremonies was the New Jersey Hall of Fames President Henry Hascup who did an excellent job. There were some excellent acceptances starting with legendary matchmaker Don Elbaum’s stories. He has worked in over a thousand shows over the years. “This is incredible. My mentor J Russell Peltz is here and the man I got started Don King!” He went onto say how Jimmy Carter was running for president at the time and how King called him Jimmy and Carter called King “President!” In King’s hometown of Cleveland Carter won big taking not only the black vote but the Jewish vote. King took credit for both! He brought in then Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) for an exhibition to help a children’s hospital.
Hascup first brought up Mike Hall, Jr. whose father Mike was being inducted. He trained world champion Virgil Hill amongst others. This writer saw him earlier and said “it’s good to see you are still alive” not knowing I was talking to the deceased’s son. Another Atlantic City native Bill Johnson came forth whose brother Leavander was the IBF lightweight champion winning in Italy and passed away shortly after a battle in NV losing his title but going out like a warrior! “My brother loved the sport and the people involved with it,” said Johnson. Hascup said “Leavander gave his life for the sport!”
Althea Saunders sang the national anthem. She is still an active boxer from Atlantic City. As expected Larry “The Easton Assasin” didn’t show and “Iron” Mike Tyson didn’t either but was seen via video accepting his induction from AZ. Inductee Ken Condon known for his PPV work talked about being in Barbados when he left his wife upstairs to go downstairs in the hotel to watch Spinks-Holmes II. It caused an obvious argument he said.
Michael Spinks drew the most attention afterwards signing autographs, getting pictures taken by many fans of his and being interviewed. Press members included AC Press writer David Weinberg, John DiSanto of Philly Boxing History, Bernard Fernandez formerly with the Philadelphia News, Joe
Sangrito formerly of Ring Magazine, Frank Bartolini of the Rinaldi Brothers newspaper, Marc Abrams and his beautiful wife, with Abrams doing an excellent job with the PR work for the event. Keebler Media was taping the event and this writer representing Boxing Insider.
Representing his father Lou Duva was Dino Duva still an active manager saying “today would have been my father’s 95th birthday.” Duva put on the first world title bout in Atlantic City with Joey Giardello fighting Dick Tiger. “My father always said never forget your roots,” said Duva.
Accepting for the absent Holmes was one of “Smoking” Joe Frazier’s daughters Weatta.
An emotional wife and daughter of the head physician in Atlantic City was none other than Dr. Frank Doggett. “He graduated from Howard Universities Medical School in 1948 and was chief surgeon for the Atlantic Police and Fireman. He referred to the boxers as his boxers. If he was here he would simply say thank you.”
Nicoli the artist was on hand showing a portrait of Don King which went up for bid with no takers. One of the VP’s of the board who did the electing was Rodnick Green VP Strategy & Business Development for the ACBHOF who proclaimed how another well-known inductee Steve “Double S” Smoger who was inducted into the IBHOF in 2016 helped the kids at the AC PAL! Smoger known to be one of the best speakers in the business talked about how Elbaum ran weekly shows at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino for five years and how he worked many of them as a referee. He has received many awards and is one of the best of all time.
Fan and press favorite writer Jack “KO” Obermayer who passed away approximately a year ago was well represented by Freddy Blumstein one of the best timekeepers in the business who said “my wife curses the day I met KO because I am away from home so much.” Eric Bottjer one of the best well known matchmakers in the business called Obermayer his best friend. Obermayer’s daughter and his partner Darlene, who flew in from Wyoming, saying “he was the love of my life!”
Roy Foreman another VP who managed his brother George and who lives in the area and is now promoting shows in Houston, TX, was well received by the audience saying “without the boxers we wouldn’t be here!”
Mustafa Ameen spoke in behalf of inductee Matthew Saad Muhammad how the nuns found him on the Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Parkway at the age of 4 left there by his brother at his mother’s request due to having too many kids. Saad’s adopted brother Joe Johnson was in attendance. Ameen talked how Saad put up a 10k award if anyone would come forward telling him who would know anything about his identity. As it turned out someone did and told him his real name was Antonio Loach. They appeared on Good Morning America and Saad was not too fond of being called Antonio. Ameem talked of Saad’s religion of being a Muslim. When Saad passed away there was a funeral at a mosque and then at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Saad told me personally during an interview “I’m no longer a Muslim.”
Elbaum spoke how he got King into the business as the first black promoter and took him to New York introducing him to Madison Square Garden’s promoter and matchmaker. King said “they are all white!” Elbaum told him “don’t say that again for we are all Americans adding Kings famous known phrase Only In America!” Elbaum went onto say how Tropicana gave him a two year contract, living quarters and agreed to run every Tuesday night.
Current NJ Commissioner of boxing Larry Hazzard, Sr. did an excellent job speaking of how he spent 13 years in the amateurs working as a referee and becoming one of the tops in the world and becoming commissioner. After leaving office the current governor of NJ Chris Christy brought Hazzard back for his old job.
Smoger talked about starting out as a timekeeper from 1978 to 1982 and starting to ref in 1984 and becoming the referee in a world title fight just two years later. He said how he worked shows for Peltz, King, Frank Gelb and Duva. He gave a large amount of credit to Deputy Commissioner Bob Lee who couldn’t make the event. “He treated me like gold,” said Smoger. He also gave a lot of credit and would expect the next induction to be the then commissioner and former heavyweight champion “Jersey” Joe Walcott. He went onto say except for referee Pat Russell he was the longest serving referee in the country.
Former world light heavyweight champion Mike “The Jewish Bomber” Rossman accepted his award and walked off the stage without saying a word. He had his Local 30 Roofers jacket on and the roofers bought 40 tickets.
Dave Bontempo another inductee spoke well and how ESPN recruited him from AC and how the game has changed since the Atlantic City Press had him cover boxing. He went onto say how boxers like Bennie Serrano became well known fighting at the Tropicana for Elbaum. He added it was 20 years ago today he met his wife Suzie and being married for 32 years.
Peltz, a well-known matchmaker and promoter as well as being one of the few promoters doing his own matchmaking spoke as well as anyone at the podium. He ran shows while attending Temple University at the age of 22 in 1969 and brought in “Bad” Bennie Briscoe on his first show. He said “we didn’t need any med’s in those days only a boxer with a heartbeat or without.” How in 1970 he brought in IBHOF trainer George Benton to headline a show and paid him 1k while the show itself cost $800 to run prior to this. Benton’s manager insisted Benton’s return but Benton was not to be found at the gym he trained so Peltz got another headliner. When Benton showed up with his old yellow suitcase weeks before the event Peltz told him he was replaced because he wasn’t ever in the gym. Benton called his manager Gramby who got Peltz on the phone and said “isn’t your word good enough?”
Peltz remembered that and once brought in Gramby’s prize attraction heavyweight Tex Cobb to headline. He was to get 20k but got a bigger offer of 500k from MSG and Peltz reminded him of “isn’t your word any good?” Cobb fought for Peltz. Peltz said Cobb once said “I didn’t lose to Larry Holmes, I just lost the first 15 rounds.”
Gelb talked about how over 500 shows were run in AC from 1982-85 and how “Russell stole half of my stories.” Gelb’s sons were also in attendance. He said “when the NFL went on strike NBC decided to put on boxing in its place and how inductee Arturo Gatti sold out the Boardwalk Hall six consecutive times. Gatti’s beautiful daughter Sophia was there who was 3 when her father passed away. She spoke well of her father and how blessed she was to have him for a father.
King gave credit to Arthur Goldberg as “his boss who called King the light of the boardwalk starting him off at Bally’s.”
Chuck Zito formerly a Hell’s Angel’s biker accepted for Gatti. “He fought here 23 times and got Fighter of the Year from Ring Magazine 5 times. Bill Johnson talked about his brother winning his first 23 (including a draw) fights. “My oldest son’s wanted to box and the youngest was Leavander.
Former world heavyweight champion Bruce “Atlantic City Express” Seldon and Qawi were two who learned to box at the PAL.
Former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi said “someone saw my work on the streets of Camden and fought with their fists, no guns.” Spinks who defeated him along with being the first present light heavyweight champion to win the heavyweight title from Holmes thanked his Lord and Savior. The Lord worked through me and gave him all the honor and glory.
Hazzard had played the part in the Ali movie of Zack Clayton. He thanked McCline and Foreman and gave thanks to his wife Patricia along with their family. “She married me and the sport of boxing,” said Hazzard. “We had 3 fights in one day by USA Boxing, CBS all at different places like the Tropicana and the Boardwalk. Hazzard went on to say “it was better to stop a fight a little early than too late.”
Lindsay Tucker of the IBF spoke in accepting Lee’s award who was President of the first IBF with Tucker saying “Bob couldn’t make it tonight but was elated.”
King would be the final speaker giving one of his shortest speeches. “I started in Atlantic City in 1972 thanks to Elbaum. We had 8 world title bouts in Atlantic City promoted for and about the people. I started at the top with Ali,” said King. He said how current President Donald Trump helped him and what a great job he is doing now as President.
Current mayor Don Guardian spoke to close the event.
Once 48-0 Lee Sala of Donora, PA, Inducted Into PA BHOF!
Once 48-0 Lee Sala of Donora, PA, Inducted Into PA BHOF!
By: Ken Hissner
Donora, PA, home of one of the greatest baseball players in the history of the game was Stan “The Man” Musial who played from 1941 to 1963. He would overshadow another Donora resident who would become a professional boxer in 1946.
In 1944 Donora’s Lee Sala served two years in the US Navy on the battleship Iowa during World War II and would turn professional in the sport of boxing in 1946. He won his first 48 fights taking a 48-0 record into the ring in February of 1949 against Tony DeMicco, 46-24-5, of Schenectady, NY, in Buffalo, whom he defeated in October of 1948, losing this time for the first time by majority decision. Just 13 days later they had a rematch in Pittsburgh, PA, and Sala took a 10 round decision win in the rubber match.
Sala was 61-1, in August of 1950 when he took on deaf mute Gene “Silent” Hairston, 36-6-2, in Scranton, PA, losing a 10 round decision. He won 6 in a row after this then facing Joey DeJohn whom he knocked out in August of 1950 and was 67-2 when in September of 1951 he lost to DeJohn, 67-8-2, of Syracuse by knockout in 2 in Syracuse. Then 4 wins later at 71-3 he would lose in 10 rounds to Billy Kilgore, 21-11-3, of Delan, FL, in May of 1952 in Miami, FL. He would go onto win 3 more when at 74-4 facingthe future middleweight champion in November of 1952 Carl“BoBo” Olson, 53-6, in San Francisco, CA, getting knocked out in 2 rounds. A pair of wins later he would end his career with a pair of losses in September of 1953 and retire with a record of 76-7 with 48 knockouts at the age of 26. Some of his highlight wins had been over Sonny Horne 71-16, Georgie Small 35-4 and in their first meeting Joey DeJohn 61-4-2.
After retiring from boxing Sala and his wife Adeline would move to Tampa, FL. He would become a referee. In December of 2012 at the age of 85 Sala would pass away.
More Boxing History
A Weekend to Remember at Atlantic City’s Boxing Hall of Fame!
A Weekend to Remember at Atlantic City’s Boxing Hall of Fame!
Coming to Atlantic City the weekend of May 26, 27 and 28 is a weekend to remember among boxing royality as the 2017 Atlantic City inductees will be inducted into their Hall of Fame. The Claridge a Radison hotel will be the place to go.
The inductees go on and on such as “Iron” Mike Tyson, *Arturo “Thunder” Gatti, *Leavander Johnson, Michael Spinks, *Matthew Saad Muhammad, Larry “the Easton Assassin” Holmes, Mike “the Jewish Bomber” Rossman, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, *Lou Duva, Mike Hall Sr. *Bill Johnson, Don King, Frank Gelb, Russell Peltz, Don Elbaum, Larry Hazzard Sr., Dr. Frank Doggett, Steve “Double SS” Smoger, Dave Bontempo, *Jack “KO” Obemayer, *Bert Sugar, *Bob Lee, Ken Condon and Dennis Gomes. *posthemous
The ACBHOF was established in 2014 and at the Vue the doors open at 5pm to 8pm on Friday May 26th. Also the same day presented will be “The Art of Music & Boxing” at the Celebrity Theatre doors open at 7pm and show starts at 8pm to 11pm.
On Saturday May 27th “Fight Fan Experience” at the Conference Center doors open at 9:00am and will run from 10am to 4pm. “2017 Honoree Gala” at the Art Gallery doors open at 7:00pm and event 7:15 to 11pm.
On Sunday May 28th “Inaugural Induction Ceremony” at Brighton Park from 9:00am to 1pm. Go to www.acbhof.com for information.