John Scully’s Fight To Help Former Boxers In Need
By: Sean Crose
“I can’t remember exactly when,” John Scully tells me after I ask him when exactly it was that he started leading the fight to help boxers in need. “What I do remember is, I saw that Wilfred Benitez was in a bit of trouble, and I saw his sister taking care of him every day.” Benitez had been a fighter of enormous note. Known as the “Bible of Boxing,” he became the youngest champion in history at the age of 17 before moving on to face such luminaries as Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Tommy Hearns (all fights were competitive, and he bested Duran). Seeing that an old hero of his was in trouble, Scully, a noted amateur star, professional light heavyweight force, broadcaster, and trainer, found himself wanting to help.
“I’ve always had a lot of different memorabilia I’ve collected from different times,” he says. “I always wanted to sell it for myself.” Yet the charitable part of his nature took hold, and the Connecticut native found himself selling his possessions to help Benitez. The rest, as they say, is history. “It just kind of snowballed from there,” he claims. By using his countless contacts within the sport, Scully has become boxing’s unofficial go to guy for fighters in need of a helping hand, a man who can bring in big names to aid fighters who have fallen on hard times. “I can have a guy in five minutes sign a picture for me that can turn over to fifty bucks,” he states. Those fifty dollar pics add up, thanks to the regular generosity of known fighters…known fighters who Scully says are always eager to help. “They’ve been no trouble (to receive help from),” Scully says of his ring peers. “Roy Jones. Iran Barkley. Mark Breland.” These men, along with others, have been more than willing to do their part.
At the moment, Scully is trying to help such individuals as Benitez, Gerald McClellan, Prichard Colon, and even Michael Nunn, who is experiencing being released from prison and, as Scully puts it, is “trying to regroup.” No easy task. “I have a card collection,” Scully says. “I had like six or seven Michael Nunn cards.” By having Nunn sign those cards, 100 percent of the proceeds can then go back to the former middleweight powerhouse. “It’s amazing to me,” Scully says, “how the internet brings the world together.” He talks of how, not all that long ago, one had to actually had to request a signature through the mail. “ Now,” Scully says, “it’s almost instant.”
Of course, there’s more than just online sales. Scully has also been behind such events as a major 2017 New York City based affair to raise money for McClellan who, like Benitez, is being cared for by his sister. “I don’t pat myself on the back,” Scully says, “only because I really like it.” An engaging conversationalist, Scully admits he hasn’t thought of how much time he has put in to helping his peers. An active trainer of note – he’s soon to be back to work with WBC and IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beiterbiev – Scully is just happy to keep on his current path. “I’m lucky that I’m in this position,” he says, “ (that) I’m able to work it.”
“I think it’s going to get bigger,” he predicts of the work he’s begun. “It’s like a movement.”
Callum Smith Looking To Impress Against John Ryder
By: Sean Crose
Liverpool M&S Bank Arena will host Saturday’s scheduled 12 round showdown between WBA super middleweight titlist Callum Smith and fellow Brit John Ryder. Smith is highly regarded, with a record of twenty-six wins and no losses. With victories over the likes of George Groves and Hassan N’Dam, Smith is also considered a man who can face some of the sport’s bigger challenges. What’s more, Smith himself is more than willing to step up to the figurative plate. “I believe I’m the No 1 in that (super middleweight) division,” Smith is recently quoted as saying by Sky Sports, “so he’ll have to come and beat me to take that place”
Photo Credit: Joe Gallagher Twitter Account
It’s easy to guess who Smith was referring to in the above quote. For Canelo Alvarez jumped up to super middleweight and snagged a title for himself by besting Rocky Fielding late last year. Not that Smith is relying on a fight with Canelo to define himself and his career. “I’m not going to waste my career waiting for a fight that might never happen,” Smith added. “If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, there’s still plenty of other big fights.” Some of those other fights may include the likes of fellow champions David Benavidez, Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant, as Smith has indicated a willingness to unify the super middleweight division.
“That’s what I want,” Smith told Sky, “to collect as many belts as I can. To cement myself as the best on the planet.” Still, though, there’s the matter of London’s Ryder, who Smith is going to face this weekend. Although he’s clearly an underdog, the 28-4 fighter is getting a title shot in a year where upsets are in the air. “”It’s a massive opportunity for him,” Sky quotes Smith as saying of his opponent. “He’ll have had the best training camp he’s ever had and he’ll be coming to give it his all.”
Although he doesn’t have the most prestigious resume, the 31 year old Ryder is riding – pardon the pun – a four fight winning streak that began back in 2017 when he knocked out Patrick Nielson at Wembley. Although he’s viewed as essentially being a tuneup for a rising star, Ryder has taken to knocking opponents out on a regular basis since losing to Rocky Fielding in 2017 by split decision.
Yet Smith and Ryder aren’t the only attractions on Saturday’s card – which will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service. The 10-1-0 Anthony Fowler will be facing the 8-0 Harry Scarff for the World Boxing Association International Super Welterweight Title, which is currently vacant, in a scheduled 10 rounder. James Tennyson, who some may remember being stopped by Tevin Farmer back in 2018, will also be on the card. The 25-3 fighter will be stepping in the ring to face the 20-2-2 Craig Evans in a 12 round lightweight affair.
Although the undercard isn’t stellar and the main event is expected to be one sided, Saturday’s Smith-Ryder card can be seen as something of a tuneup in its own right, as it will air several hours before the heavyweight title pay per view fight between Deontay Wilder, and Luis Ortiz.
Interview with John Lepak, Former Kronk Gym Trainee and Promoter
By: Marley Malenfant
A phone call to a newspaper editor is all it took for a young Detroit native to work with some of boxing’s most brilliant minds and notorious businessmen.
John Lepak, 16 at the time, called Detroit Free Press editor George Puscus, boldly asking for an introduction to the industry.
Puscus granted Lepak three phone numbers—Kronk Gym trainer Emanuel Steward, promoters Don King and Bill Kozerski.
Puscus warned him that contacting Steward wouldn’t be easy.
Undiscouraged, Lepak made his calls but was ignored by Steward and King.
He made one last call to the name he was unfamiliar with, Kozerski. Lepak was then able to charm the veteran promoter.
He apprenticed under Kozerski. One of his earliest gigs was to walk the B-side fighters under Kozerski’s Fight Night promotions during less viewed fight programs like USA Tuesday Night Fights and ESPN Friday Night Fights.
This led Lepak to become a trainee in the original Kronk Gym. While fighting pro wasn’t his forte, Lepak’s Kronk Gym experiences ushered him to becoming a director of operations for the gym, assisting the promotions team, running Steward’s personal affairs and a lifetime of stories in the business. He said he is no longer a fan of the sport but spends time chronicling stories about the years he’s spent in Kronk Gym and the relationships he’s made in the business.
MM: What was growing up in Detroit during that time?
JL: Growing up in Detroit back then was… night and day to what it was today. Back then, Detroit was always in contention for being the murder capital of the world. [These were] different times. You had some very notorious street legends if you will, back then. You had this myth that the media created like this “White Boy Rick” story. You had guys like “Maserati Rick.” They reported that he was a bodyguard for Tommy Hearns and that’s not true. He was a member of the entourage at times but you know uhh… Rick was that guy wearing $2,000 suits back in the ‘80s. It was crazy, it was just different times and I was a kid. I wasn’t really around all of this then. A lot of these stories were passed on to me by a lot of those directly involved. For example, and not to say Rick by name, but he was very close to one of my mentors [Kozerski]. When Bill got involved with Kronk, he was a business manager. He was originally a photographer. He took the first press photo of Thomas Hearns. When it was presented to Bill for the opportunity to become the promoter for the Kronk team and also all the financial liabilities and risk that came with that, Bill took that on. When the late Mike Ilitch helped finance the fights and get things moving—on Monday when they’d calculate the losses for building up all of the young guys at the Little Caesars fight series, Bill would have to go out and cover these losses and we’ll just say it was brown paper bag money from the underground economy that would keep things floating.
MM: When did you know you wanted to get involved with boxing?
JL: I wanted to box. I was intrigued by the sport and the business. Let me back it up, I was in seventh grade, and I actually told—and this is how I got my first interaction with some of Tyson’s people—I told my mom I was staying with my dad, I told my dad I was staying with my mom this weekend. I caught a Greyhound bus. Went to Atlantic City. [I] went to the Tyson-Biggs fight, got a poster, [and] found out who won hanging out on the boardwalk. I’m too young to get a ticket. I didn’t have any money like that or nothing. And I fucking came back to Detroit. Made it back in time. Nobody even knew I was gone. That was my first little adventure into boxing. That’s how I got cool with Mario Costa who owns the Ringside Lounge in Jersey City. Fast forward to… about the ninth grade, I decided I’m getting into this fight game. Some way, shape or form, I’m getting in. I was bit by the fucking bug. And so I called George Puscus, he was the Detroit News writer at the time and this was far pre-internet. He was the big boxing writer. I said, “I want to be in the boxing business.” And he says, “OK, Kid. What’s your story?” So I told him and he’s like, “Well, getting through Emanuel is difficult.”
Well naturally, I called Don King first. I talked to his wife. She was a very kind woman but I never heard back from Don. Not till years later. Years later, I did a lot of back-and-forth with Don. I worked with his right-hand man Sterling McPherson. Emanuel knew who I was but I wasn’t really on his radar yet. He noticed me but back then it was still…you’re talking Hearns-Leonard 2 time frame. So, there’s still some money rolling in, there’s still some action and nobody is fucking letting anyone through that door because god forbid you come in and take a couple of crumbs off of someone else’s table. A lot of people were hating and blocking you back in those days. So the last guy I call is Bill Kozerski and I didn’t know who he was. Still to this day a lot of people don’t know who is but he’s one of the best damn promoters in the history of this sport.
MM: What was the culture in Kronk Gym during your time there?
JL: I was in this unique position where Bill knew I was cool and I’m still a fan of Emanuel. [I was] still in awe of Emanuel, he could do no wrong. And, not to get into a lot of things, but they fell out financially. As did a lot of people in that business. And Bill kind of hip me to some things years later. But that’s where I wanted to be. I wanted to have my Kronk jacket. I believed in the Kronk comeback. But I was still able to go and work for Bill. And by this time I started to take on a little more tasks here and there. I’m talking go-for shit. I’m going to the airport to go pickup John Davimos, Michael Moore’s manager. I’m coordinating the weigh-in. But I’m learning more about the business and because I’m still training in the gym, the fighters know me. So now I’m in this unique position. I’m the middle man for the fighters and the promoters and the managers. Since the fighters like me, I’m one of them but at the same time, I got my suit on and I’m going in the back office in the account room and I can get business done. I can convey or relay certain messages or things that are going on that these guys may have trouble doing.
MM: I saw your [boxing] record (1-0). Did you never want to have a career as a pro fighter?
JL: No. [laughs] My glory stories were in the gym. Like, sparring Mark Breland, or Marlon Thomas, you know guys like that. It was great. It was priceless. But my calling was the business. I stayed working with Emanuel. He convinced me to have one pro fight, which I’m glad he did. He’s like, “You gotta go get it out your system.” ‘Cause I already quit. He was like, “Go back. Get in shape. Just go knock some motherfucker out so you can go put a picture on your wall and nobody can ever take that from you.”
But my calling was the business. I already knew. Emanuel said, “I’m a teach you how to train and I’m a teach you this business.”
And I had Bill teaching me on the other side, the promotional business. Now Walter Smith would, we would always joke about this, he’d say, “Baby, if we could ever just get some money, people come down here and watch you shadow box, we’d all get a million dollars.”
I could move. They nicknamed me “smooth.” I could fucking move. I could move like $2,000,000 in that ring. But to put it all together, that just wasn’t my thing. I don’t bullshit. I tell people ‘I was one percent of the fucking talent of the guys I trained with.’ So I would have only went so far.
MM: How did you earn Emanuel Steward’s trust?
JL: When I was there, there was no one there. No one. Everyone had left. Emanuel was on the early stages of a very difficult financial time for him. And I had a business background. I had been working for my dad since I was a kid. So I knew how to run an office. I knew how to manage an office. And you know trust… growing up around the men I was raised under, if you weren’t to be trusted, you’d be in a ditch somewhere. And Lahney Perry, Mrs. Lahney, she brought me in the office one day at Emanuel’s house [He had disclosed some things]. Mrs. Lhaney was like, “Look, I can’t do this anymore. It’s too stressful. I can’t deal with it. I understand you’re excited. You think this is great. But this isn’t all that you think it is. And you’re gonna have to be willing to go sometimes weeks without money. It’s tough right now.” And I didn’t care. I was in. And she taught me the system that Emanuel used in his office. I became his, I guess you could say office manager so to speak. Because I was handling [everything]. It wasn’t a 9-5. It was a 24/7, 365. I ended up basically moving in with Emanuel. And it first Emanuel may have been testing me. He knew I was still cool with Bill. I’m not saying he was jealous of Bill but Bill was successful. Bill was promoting Michael Moore who was now the undisputed belt holder in the heavyweight division. Well, that was Emanuel’s fighter. But Emanuel didn’t have him anymore. We’re at this point we’re at the Laquinta Suites in Las Vegas training Jeff Fenech and ain’t nobody there.
It’s me and Emanuel Steward. This is a true story. But Emanuel is like, “Come on, let’s go make some money.”
We walk over to this little bullshit-ass casino. Play blackjack and win a few hands. Walk over to Ruth Chris Steak House across from the old Top Rank offices and have us a nice steak dinner, a couple glasses of wine.
I listen to Emanuel hold court telling stories. He’s telling me all these legendary tales. He was telling me about strategies and things that went into certain fights.
So, I was nothing more than a tiny spoke in a wheel. In the big fucking wheel of the Kronk organization with Emanuel for that matter. But I was there when no one else was. So I’m a young, excited, ambitious kid. And I’m the only one there? I was a sponge! I soaked it all up.
MM: How did you transition in the promotional side of the business?
JL: Emanuel wanted to get back to promoting some shows because there was no Kronk team left. [He] never got back to having the big Kronk team again because he lacked the promotional power. And that is a credit to Bill Kozerski because without a good promoter, you ain’t building no product. There was several fights you would see “The return of Kronk! The return of Kronk!”
It’s one fight. You don’t hear shit for another year. Bill kept rolling. Bill was building Bronco McKart, Derrick Jefferson, Chris Byrd who eventually became Heavyweight champion after Michael Moore became Heavyweight Champion. Bill’s program kept rolling. Kronk… let’s be honest, after that breakup of what they call the class of ‘88, whatever came out of that gym again? It was a real Detroit born-and-bred product. So we’re getting ready to start what Emanuel called “Kronk 2.” And times were lean. We had Dannell Nicholson, who was probably the biggest name we had, who was being banked rolled by some real heavy hitters down in Chicago. And then we had Michael Clark who was a very talented lightweight at the time. And just a couple of other young guys. That was it. The gym was empty. We did a couple of small shows that were financial disasters. It was frustrating, I remember seeing Emanuel. Because at the time he didn’t like that title “Hired gun.”
I’m just speaking from my own viewpoint on this. But you go from being the man—Thomas Hearns’ trainer to all these big-time fights to Kronk dynasty—and then they’re branding you as the hired gun. I don’t care if you are working for [Oscar] De La Hoya or this guy and Chavez and Lennox [Lewis], [Evander] Holyfield. His love and his passion [are] what he built with Kronk Gym. So that’s where he was always happiest. At least from what I saw. If there was a title to this, I’d tell you to name it this. There is no barrier of entry to the boxing business. And that’s what makes it the greatest fucking thing in the world… but also the worst thing in the world. ‘Cause look, here I am, a fucking 16-year-old kid. I call a newspaper writer, and the next thing you know I’m working for Bill Kozerski and Emanuel Steward. What sets of qualifications did I have to do the shit that I did? But then at the same time, that also allows some moron to go watch some Youtube videos, buy him a pair of pads and some pool noodles and go to the gym and train some kid. Because that kid’s life is in his hands!
MM: I did a story a while back on Antonio Gates [entering the promotional business]. He played football for the Chargers and he’s from Detroit. What do you think of these guys trying to get into the game now that want to build gyms or may want to promote?
JL: [Laughs] I’m going to start with the best advice anyone ever given me in my life. Tom Vacca, the great matchmaker said, “You’d be better off, kid, buying a ringside ticket and a flight and a hotel room to every fight you ever dreamed of going to in your life, and you’ll come out ahead financially.”
So, Antonio Gates, I know for a fact, it wasn’t like he came up with this idea he was talked into this idea. Just like him and a series of people before and even after him, as this investor that buys into the idea. He’s going to be the next big thing. See, nobody ever holds these interviews accountable. And that’s the thing that frustrates me. After the collapse, let’s go back and talk to them. What happened? Why didn’t you stay in the business? How was your experience in the fight business, you want to share that? So why don’t they talk about the people you worked with that got you into this deal to begin with? Let’s see what type of things you have to say about those people now.
See, no one ever does the follow up. The story goes away and then it’s the next new thing to come along. Antonio gates—I know this for a fact—those fights lost a substantial amount of money. And I know that from the inside. My friend was a two-term commissioner. I still talk to Bronco who’s a commissioner now. I’ll tell you what Bronco said to me, and I don’t think Bronco will mind me repeating it and I won’t use the name of who he said it to, but he said this to one of the local players in the fight business. He said, “I won’t get off my fucking couch to come downtown on a Friday night to see your fights.”
Why? Why, when the A-side blows out the B-side? The A-side is basically forced to sell tickets to be on the show. The majority are mismatch blowouts. Again, in the last 15 years, name me a fighter who’s come out of a program here that’s done shit? You can’t say Tony Harrison because he went with PBC. He went with Al Haymon. K9 [Cornelius Brundage]? No. K9 because of “The Contender” and he left Detroit, he did his thing. Who else? Vernon Paris? Vernon Paris is a prime example of a young fighter or a young prospect who had some talent and, who was built upon these shows fighting a very weak, B-side opposition. He fought Zab Judah and instead of beating Zab, he gave Zab his seventh birth or eighth life in the fight game. And Zab is my man. Zab is one of the few guys I talk to on the daily. I talk to Zab at least once a week. But it’s a fucking joke. I don’t follow boxing in Detroit like I used to. No knock against these young guys. I just don’t see where this is going when you got a guy who’s 39-0 in Detroit but he’s 0-9 on the road. And maybe that’s an extreme but there’s some reality to what I just said.
MM: I saw you said the other day, guys in Hip-Hop, besides J. Prince, who else has done anything with this?
JL: Oh man, they all wanted to be players. And J. is my man. Like J. and I always got along great. Antonio Lenoard was a good, good guy to me. You know J., and again this is just talking about certain circles that you walk in, a lot of people get into this petty gossip bullshit I’ve experienced a lot in boxing, especially in Detroit… I’ve had people say things about me and I never met the person. But I remember when Winky [Wright] beat Sugar Shane [Mosley]. But it was just J.’s booth and Winky’s booth in the back corner of this club and J. welcomed me in this circle. And back then, if you knew J., like… you weren’t getting close to them. J. always showed me so much respect. J. was a gentleman amongst gentlemen. Another man of high integrity. And him and Antonio were two special people to me as far as who I’ve met in my travels in boxing.
MM: You write a blog documenting your time in the Kronk gym called the “Kronk Chronicles.” I read the story about your time working the Tyson-Lewis promo in Memphis and how hard that was. Do you plan on writing a book?
JL: Umm… it is kind of in the works. Here’s the thing. Humbly speaking, who the fuck am I to write a book? Like what kind of stories do I got? In the business, I was a tiny spoke in a mighty wheel. I just played my part. As far as my experiences, I’m just a gatekeeper to some great tales. Nothing more. My best friend Darryl and I, we tinkered on the idea for a long time. I’ve had a couple of documentary deals presented to me based on the Kronk Chronicles. But to go into the Kronk story, I mean please who am I? I was there for a couple of years out of the entire time frame of that great dynasty. But you gotta be willing to go to the dark places and not a lot of people are willing to go there because they want to protect the shiny gold. But I’m sorry, you gotta be able to go to those dark places and that’s why a lot of my writing hardcore places. I had talked about that but I backed out. I had two deals. One was an ESPN 30 For 30 and another was a company overseas. Darryl and I are creating a concept. We’re not trying to air out anyone’s personal business. There [are] just certain things you keep close and you take them to the grave. It is what it is. But we’re trying to find a platform to talk life and boxing, and how it interacts. Right now we’re kicking around the notes and then the concept of maybe putting a podcast together. Bringing on people like Shannon Briggs and other interesting people we’ve met in our travels. I’ll be honest, I don’t have a lot of interest in the new school of boxing that’s happening that’s being covered enough. I mean my god, there’s a 1,001 Twitter reporters right now. That ain’t me. But we’re trying to piece it together. I got to find that place where I’m comfortable to go there.
Sergey Kovalev’s Former Trainer John David Jackson Breaks Down Canelo Alvarez Fight
By: Hans Themistode
With the news of current Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) deciding to move up in weight and challenge WBO Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs), it has left everyone with an opinion.
Giving a full breakdown of this fight is a difficult one. Canelo has never campaigned at the Light Heavyweight division. How will his body hold up now that he has decided to move up not one, but two divisions? With that being said, Kovalev has been in several wars as of late, Canelo could be catching the current champion at just the right time.
One man who has his own opinions on this contest is former trainer of Kovalev, John David Jackson. He and Kovalev had a successful run together before parting ways back in 2017. Kovalev may not be the fighter he once was but he is sill a hand full for anyone.
“It’s still a bit of a risk,” said Jackson. “The last thing that will leave Kovalev is his punch and he can box when he wants to.”
Make no mistake about it, this is a dangerous fight for Canelo as he will have a four inch height and two inch reach disadvantage. Still, even with those advantages for Kovalev, Jackson see’s an avenue that Canelo could take to victory.
“Canelo and his team are smart so they’ll look too close that distance as soon as possible because Kovalev has a good jab. If they don’t then they’ll be in trouble. Once Canelo gets inside than its going to be trouble for Kovalev. If you watch him closely he doesn’t really have an inside game. Kovalev really has a hard time keeping guys off of him. His body is weak. Whenever you see a guy drinking after a fight than you know he has a problem. Canelo is a very good body puncher. Even the young kid Yarde was going to the body well but he just got caught. At this stage in Kovalev’s career, it’s hard to teach a guy with just one training camp how to fight on the inside. Once Canelo gets in close it’ll cause a lot of problems for Kovalev.”
When the news of this fight taking place broke, it wasn’t surprising to anyone. What was a shock however, was that there is no weight clauses. Even Jackson was a bit stunned by it but he also acknowledged that Canelo is a fighter who doesn’t need or want those advantages.
“A lot of guys in the history of boxing have jumped up and down in weight, but they would typically have weight clauses. What that does is, it helps the smaller fighter who is coming up. With Canelo he’ll fight you at your weight. You have to give him a lot of credit for that.”
As for who Jackson expects to win this contest, he was slightly hesitant, but he anticipates Canelo to be successful in his endeavorers at the Light Heavyweight division.
“I think it’s a tough matchup for Canelo but I think he’ll pull it off. Sergey is older, his life outside of boxing is terrible, he’s been in a lot of wars and he doesn’t seem like he is as passionate and hungry anymore. I think this fight is his cashing out fight.”
ShoBox Preview: Angelo “El Chinito” Leo & Neil “The Beast” John Tabanao Look to Shine
By: Ken Hissner
Sam’s Hotel and Gambling Hall will host a ShoBox event on Friday night. This card will feature eight bouts and will be promoted by Mayweather Promotions.
The main event will feature featherweight Angelo “El Chinito” Leo of Las Vegas, Nevada facing off against Neil “The Best” John Tabanao of Cebu, Philippines.
Photo Credit: Sam’s Town Las Vegas Twitter Account
This will be Leo’s first scheduled ten rounder after winning sixteen straight. Tabanao has won his last four bouts and will be making his US debut.
Leo, 16-0 (8), started his career at bantamweight and eventually moved up to featherweight. Tabanao, 17-4 (11), started out at super bantamweight and has even gone up to super lightweight two fights ago.
The co-feature will have Xavier Martinez, 13-0 (9), of Sacramento, CA, who has stopped his last five opponent’s. He will be taking on John “Mulawin” Vincent Moralde, 21-2 (11), of General Santos City, PH.
Last year he defeated Ismail “Sharp Shooter” Muwendo, 19-0. This bout is scheduled for 10 rounds. Another bout on the card will feature ten round welterweight showdown between Cameron “Suave” Krael, 15-13-3 (4), of Las Vegas, and Angel “Hit Man” Hernandez, 15-12-2 (9), of McAllen, TX.
There will also be three eight rounder’s on the card with Super Featherweight Andres Cortes, 10-0 (6), of Las Vegas, will be taking on Jamal Dyer, 9-1 (5), of Baltimore, MD. Welterweight Sanjarbek Rakhmanov, 11-1-1 (5), of UZB, out of Las Vegas, will be taking on Keith “The Bount” Hunter, 9-0 (7), of Las Vegas. Super Middleweight Kevin “The Second Coming” Newman II, 8-1-1 (4), of Las Vegas, will be taking on Cesar “Principe” Lopez Ugarte, 8-3 (6), of Augascalientes, MEX.
In a pair of six rounder’s Lightweight Kingdamon “Don’t Blink” Antoine, 8-0 (7), of Akron, OH, will be taking on Raheem Abdullah, 3-1 (0), of Colorado Springs, CO. With Super Lightweight Maurice “Ambitious” Lee, 9-1-2 (5), of Woodland Hills, CA, with a to be announced opponent.
John Skipper Plans to Lead DAZN to the Top of Boxing
By: William Holmes
When DAZN first announced their plans to enter the US market, their plan was met with skepticism. Their service was built around combat sports, which often featured a loyal fan base but is considered by many to be a niche sport.
DAZN was able to secure a deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing to broadcast 32 events a year, with sixteen fight cards to take place in the United States and sixteen fight cards to take place in the United Kingdom.
DAZN also locked up deals with the World Boxing Super Series, Bellator, and Combate Americas to strengthen the quality and quantity of content on their service, but they were still missing a key piece to bolster their appeal to the American viewing public. In order to get that piece they had to rely on their biggest asset.
Enter John Skipper.
Photo Credit: John Skipper Twitter Account (@JohnSkipperDAZN)
John Skipper served as ESPN’s President for over six years and was instrumental in ESPN’s dominance in the sports market and established several important long term relationships. He resigned from ESPN in late 2017 in response to threats of blackmail and in order to address alleged substance abuse issues related to cocaine. But he re-emerged in May of this year he later re-emerged to serve as the Executive Chairman for the sports media company Perform Group, the group in control of the streaming subscription service DAZN.
When John Skipper worked for ESPN, one of the smaller deals that he was able to strike was with Golden Boy Promotions to air boxing on their network.
It was a smaller deal, but it allowed Skipper to establish a relationship with Golden Boy Promotions and gave him knowledge of the details of Golden Boy’s prior deal with ESPN.
This gave Skipper significant insight into the value of Canelo Alvarez. He had to leverage DAZN’s success in international markets, their financial backing, and his own experience in order to finalize a deal with Golden Boy Promotions while being able to insist on an exclusive deal.
A short meeting quickly tuned into an intense three day negotiating period that ended with a $365 Million dollar deal to stream Canelo’s next 11 fights as well as the rights to Golden Boy’s other fighters.
Canelo had interest from other outlets, including Showtime, Fox, and Turner sports; but it was Skipper who was able to close the deal.
DAZN’s deal with Golden Boy Promotions has tilted the balance of power in boxing in their favor.
Eddie Hearn immediately saw the great value that DAZN’s deal with Canelo brought.
He stated, “DAZN is embracing the era of streaming….delivering a great deal for fight fans, obviously with the Canelo deal. $84.99 for a fight is absolute madness. The Canelo move is a big move, where fight fans can now turn around at pay per view price points like $60, $80, and $100 and say no more.”
Eddie Hearn also recognizes what signing Canelo means for some of his fighters, like Demetrius Andrade and Billy Joe Saunders, and how DAZN is now the place for the middleweight division.
“They have to be with DAZN, some people thought that was arrogant, it’s just common sense. Our fighters fight on DAZN, and therefore you got to be on DAZN to fight, and really if you’re a middleweight you should be looking at our platform.”
Two of the biggest draws in boxing are arguably Canelo Alvarez and Anthony Joshua. They’re both signed to DAZN.
DAZN isn’t done making big splashes in the combat sports world.
John Bauza is Confident He is the Next Boxing Star to Come Out of Puerto Rico
By: Bryant Romero
Talented young prospect John Bauza is very confident he is the next exciting young fighter to come out of Puerto Rico. With the recent retirement of Miguel Cotto, the island is searching for the next big talent that has the potential to become a star in the U.S. with the ability to fill out arenas in the east coast during the most important days of Puerto Rican boxing, which is during the Puerto Rican day Parade festivities every June. There is now only 1 current world champion from the Island, but John Bauza (9-0, 5 KOs) disagrees with the concern the boxing fans have with the current state of Puerto Rican boxing.
“There’s a lot talent coming out of Puerto Rico, but some of them (fighters) still have that old style,” Bauza said.
Photo Credit: John Bauza Twitter Account
“Everyday boxing change and a lot of Puerto Ricans still have the old style. There are a lot of good fighters and there are still a lot of them that still have that old school style.
“But I’m one of the best prospects to come out of Puerto Rico,” he told me.
The 20-year-old from Puerto Rico who now resides in North Bergen, New Jersey, always knew since he was a child that he would become a professional prize fighter.
“I always wanted to do it. I wanted to turn professional since I was 15,” Bauza said. “But here in the United States you can’t be a professional until you’re 18, but I was ready to go since I was 15, 16 already,” he told me.
John was first influenced to box by his father Juan Bauza who himself was an amateur boxer during his younger days. John would go on to have a successful amateur career, winning many accolades and becoming the No.1 ranked amateur boxer at 141 pounds in the United States.
Now that he’s two years into his professional career, I asked how would he describe his boxing style to the fans that have yet to see him and what has been the biggest difference between the amateurs and the professionals?
“My style comes from a bunch of different fighters. I like Roy Jones, I like Mayweather. I have a style that’s mixed from a bunch of different boxers.
“The biggest difference is that in the amateurs I used to fight more aggressive and throw more punches because that’s the amateur style,” Bauza explained. “But when you go pro, you have to be more patient and have a more relaxed fight because there are more rounds.”
Bauza is currently signed to Roc Nation sports as he returns to the ring this Friday at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany, New Jersey where he will take on Hugo Padilla (5-13, 2 KOs) of Mexico. John is a fighter that likes to study his opponents and he’s very well aware of what Padilla will bring to the table come fight night.
“I’m looking to box him because he’s a fighter that comes forward all the time and he also a tough fighter,” Bauza said.
“He’s not a fighter you’re going to hit and he loses focus. The Mexicans they come to fight, they go to war, so I’m looking to just box him because I know he just comes forward and he just wanna fight.
“So I’m just going to box him. If I can get the knockout, I get the knockout, but I’m just looking to win and outbox him,” he said.
If all goes well this Friday in Whippany, Bauza sees himself knocking on the championship door much sooner rather than later and he also has the ambition to not only become a world champion, but to pick up straps in multiple divisions.
“I see myself as champion in maybe a year or year in a half,” he said. “My manager tells me that I have to learn a couple of more things. Be more patient, I just turned 20 in April and he just told me to wait a little more so I can get more experience.
“I’m looking to be a champion in maybe 4 or 5 divisions,” Bauza said.
You can contact and follow Bryant Romero on Twitter @BoxingTruth88
PBC on FS1 Results: Vargas and Molina are Victorious
By: Ken Hissner
TGB Promotions over Premier Boxing Champions USA Fox Sports 1 Friday promoted four ten’s that any could be a main event at the Pioneer Event Center in Lancaster, CA.
Photo Credit: Pete Young: Premier Boxing Champions
Returning after 13 months the two-time division world champion Jessie “Ruthless” Vargas, 28-2 (10), of Las Vegas, NV, shut out an unwilling Aaron “La Joya” Herrera, 33-8-1 (22), of Yucatan, MEX, over 10 lopsided rounds.
In the first round both boxers were feeling each other out with Vargas easily outworking Herrera who hardly threw any punches. At the end of the round Vargas landed a right to the head of Herrera. In the second round Vargas opened up with a double left hook to the head of the defense minded Herrera. Herrera spent the first several minutes looking like he was shadow boxing with hardly throwing anything at Vargas.
In the third round it was more of all Vargas. For some reason Herrera is doing more bob and weaving than throwing punches. In the fourth and fifth rounds Vargas continued to box and land left hooks to the head of the defensive minded Herrera. In the sixth round while inside Herrera finally went to the body of Vargas with several body shots. Vargas came right back working the jab and halfway through the round Vargas landed a left and right dropping Herrera. Referee Jack Reiss gave him a good look and allowed Herrera to continue. Vargas didn’t go in for the finish allowing Herrera to get through the round.
In the seventh round Vargas with new trainer the former Hall of Fame boxer Michael McCallum fought very relaxed not rushing himself. His jab continued to set up Herrera. Herrera landed several body punches but was countered by a Vargas left hook to the head. In the eighth round Vargas kept the one sided bout at the end of his jab while Herrera showed a lot of wasted energy with little punching.
In the ninth round Vargas followed his jab with a left hook to the head of Herrera. Herrera had fought the entire fight like a man with his hands tied. Vargas started with a right of a 3-punch combination to the head of Herrera. Herrera landed a rare left hook to the head of Vargas who countered him with a combination to the head. In the tenth and final round Vargas looked to end it opening up on Herrera. A double left hook from Vargas with the second one rocking Herrera moved him back several steps.
The three judges and this writer had it 100-89. “First of All I am happy returning on PBC. I plan to improve with my next fight and was disappointed not stopping Herrera who kept coming forward. I look forward to coming back in March God willing”, said Vargas. Being off for 13 months Vargas went back to college.
In the Co-Main Event Welterweight Diego “La Joya” Garbriel Chaves, 26-3-1 (22), of Bueno Aires, ARG, was stopped by Jamal “Shango” James, 22-1 (10), Minneapolis, MN, at 2:12 of the third round.
In the first round there was no feeling out with both fighters throwing bombs. The taller James used a good jab while backing up. Chaves was coming forward landing with both hands. In the second round Chaves landed a double left hook making James holding on. With a minute left in the round James finally landed a big right to the head of Chaves. Chaves comes back with left hooks to the body of James.
In the third round the shorter Chaves jumped into James landing a left hook to the chin. James was using a good jab backing Chaves up. James landed five rights to the head of Chaves ending it with a vicious left hook to the mid-section dropping Chaves for the count.
John “The Gladiator” Molina, Jr., 30-7-3 (24), of Covina, CA, came back from a knockdown to stop Ukranian southpaw Ivan Redkach, 23-2 (16), of L.A., CA, at 1:27 of the fourth round.
In the first round Molina moved forward but hardly threw a punch with the southpaw Redkach outworking him. It was halfway through the round before Molina threw a right but missed hitting the ropes. Redkach landed a good left to the chin shortly afterwards. At the end of the round Molina hit Redkach on the left shoulder and Redkach went down but referee Eddie Hernandez, Sr. called it a slip. In the second round Molina got more accurate but Redkach got the better of it. In less than a minute left in the round Redkach dropped Molina after a dozen punches with only one coming back from Molina with Redkach landing a left followed by a right to the chin.
In the third round Redkach landed a straight left to the chin of Molina making him hold on. Molina was throwing wide punches hitting air. Suddenly Molina feinted several rights and threw one on the chin of Redkach dropping him knocking his mouthpiece out. Referee Hernandez tried putting the mouthpiece back in but the corner wouldn’t come up so Hernandez put it in. It gave Redkach some time to re-coup. Molina jumped on him landed wild wide punches that Redkach didn’t seem to be able to duck. In the fourth round Molina came out firing hurting Redkach with one right hand after another to the head. Redkach tried fighting back but was overwhelmed by Molina right hands. A left drove Redkach into the referee and down he went. The referee waved it off.
It was a slugfest with Molina showing his age at 35 but Redkach couldn’t match him with his power.
Super welterweight Nigerian Wale “Lucky Boy” Omotoso, 27-3 (21), of Oxnard, CA, won a hard fought decision over Freddy “The Rail” Hernandez, 34-9 (22), of Mexico City, MEX, over 10 rounds.
In the first round both boxers were using their jabs while Omotoso was missing with right hands. Shortly afterwards he was landing a left hook to the chin of Hernandez. In the second round after several misses with his right Omotoso landed one on the chin of Hernandez. Hernandez was landing with the jab until an Omotoso left hook to the chin of Hernandez. Hernandez landed a solid left hook to the chin of Omotoso. Then Hernandez pinned Omotoso in the corner landing well until Omotoso knocked out Hernandez’s mouthpiece with a left hook to the chin. It was a very close round.
In the third round Hernandez landed a solid straight right to the chin of Omotoso. After a clash of heads referee Jack Reiss checked both boxers. Omotoso went after Hernandez landing several right hands to the head. In the fourth round Omotoso being the smaller of the two had been counter punching which wasn’t his normal aggressive style. When he did come forward he did much better. Hernandez had some swelling near the left eye at the end of the round.
In the fifth round Hernandez was still the aggressor using his jab at all times. Omotoso needed to pick up his offense in the round. With less than a minute to go Hernandez was landing well backing Omotoso into a corner with no return punching. Halfway through the round it was close with Hernandez possibly holding an edge. In the sixth round Omotoso came out firing and backing Hernandez up in the first half of the round. With about a minute left in the round both boxers landed right hands to each others head. Hernandez landed a good right cross to the head of Omotoso who landed the final punch of the round a left hook to the chin.
In the seventh round the action began to pick up with Hernandez landing long rights over a good jab. Omotoso was landing with left hooks and throwing more in the past two rounds. In the eighth round Hernandez was doubling up on his jab and landed a good left uppercut to the chin of Omotoso. A left followed by a right from Omotoso had Hernandez hurt falling back and holding on when Omotoso moved in. It was a big round for Omotoso in the second half. At the end of the round Hernandez seemed confused thinking it was an eight round bout not a ten.
In the ninth round both were mixing it up good with Omotoso having an edge. Near the end of the round Omotoso accidently clashed heads with Hernandez who came out of it with a cut on the outside of his left eye. In the tenth and final round Hernandez may have sensed he was behind throwing long rights to the head of Omotoso. The fight was mostly all head punches from both.
It was a somewhat sloppy fight with neither boxer looking to be a threat to any of the champions in the super welterweight division.
Judges scores were 100-90, 97-93 and 96-94 same as this writers.
John Scully To Host Fundraiser For Gerald McClellan August 5th
By: Sean Crose
If you were a boxing fan in or around Springfield, Massachusetts in the late 80s-early 90s, you knew exactly who John Scully was. Hailing from right down the road, across the Connecticut border, Scully was known to train in Springfield and was the shining star of the area scene. Scully wasn’t just a local fighter, he was a local fighter with a bright future. Back then, such things meant something – just as they do now. Sure enough, Scully went on to quite the successful career at light heavyweight. Nowadays, Scully, also known as “Iceman,” is a trainer of high note, yet he’s also known for something that’s perhaps even more important…helping out former fighters in need.
On August 5th, Scully will be hosting a benefit for Gerald McClellan, an amazing middleweight champion from the 90s who suffered permanent brain damage after a brutal fight with Britain’s Nigel Benn in 1995. “Gerald and I were amateurs together back in the 80s,” says Scully. “I’ve been in touch with his sister(s) and they take care of him at home all on their own.” Sure enough, McClellan’s siblings have taken responsibility for their bother’s well being. Needless to say, such an endeavor can be quite costly.
Hall of Fame Broadcaster Steve Farhood puts it succinctly: there’s no financial safety nets in boxing. “In team sports,” Farhood points out, “there are pensions.” Unfortunately, there are no pensions for fighters. Farhood rightly argues that short term memories can make things all the more unacceptable. “There’s an initial outcry,” he states, referring to times when fighters get severely hurt – or even killed. Yet “the person’s problems and issues don’t fade.” Farhood also adds that “there are financial concerns, as well.”
Cue Scully and the fundraiser he’s hosting for McClellan on August 5th at Moniques Lounge 108 in New York City. The event is free to the public and will feature “raffles and signatures of gloves.” To Scully, the whole thing has come about organically. “Basically I’ve always done these amateur boxing reunions,” he says. “I have former amateur boxers get together and hang out.” To Scully, using these events to help out former peers like McClellan only made sense. “It’s come to that – where I can raise money and help these guys out,” he says. “I decided to do a fundraiser for him (McClellan) in conjunction with a reunion.”
Stories like McClellan’s have been of great personal interest to Farhood, who is quick to praise Scully for his charitable work. “John is great,” says the popular Showtime analyst. For Farhood, who; as an expert, has witnessed more than his fair share of ring related tragedies, the case of McClellan has been something of a personal crusade over the years. “I didn’t know him well,” he says of the former champ, admitting that he was inspired by famed fight photographer Teddy Blackburn to help McClellan and his family out. “Blackburn,” says Farhood, “championed the cause early.”
Boxing is the greatest sport on earth, not only for the brilliance that can be seen regularly in the ring, but oftentimes for what transpires outside of it. Thanks to men like Scully, fans will be able to take part in some of the brilliance that takes place outside of it this summer. The Fundraiser on the fifth of August won’t only be fun, it will be for an absolutely terrific cause.
Here’s the info:
Fundraiser for Gerald McClellan
Hosted by John “Iceman” Scully
August 5th, 2017
Monique’s Lounge 108
181 East 108th St.
Spanish Harlem, NYC
Doors open at 1 PM
Private donations may be sent to:
Gerald McClellan Trust
839 E. Wyandotte
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Results: Perez Squeaks By Lopez, Ellis Defeats Sosa
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Results: Perez Squeaks By Lopez, Ellis Defeats Sosa
By: William Holmes
On Thursday night Golden Boy Promotions televised a card from the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on ESPN Networks.
ESPN used to televised Friday Night Fights until Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions came along. However, ESPN appears to have stopped televising PBC events and the PBC has since taken over.
Photo Credit: Emily Harney/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions Photos
Eddie Gomez (20-2) faced Dennis Dauti (14-2) in the welterweight division.
Gomez is from nearby Bronx, New York and was once considered by many to be a high level prospect but two losses to Rashidi Ellis and Francisco Santana has since damaged his stock.
Gomez had a tougher bout than expected against Dauti, but he showed that he’s still a good technician and won the decision with scores of 79-73, 77-74, and 77-74.
The co-main event of the night was between Rashidi Ellis (18-0) and John Karl Sosa (13-3) in the welterweight division.
Sosa started the bout off aggressively and was throwing wild punches, but he was unable to find his target. Ellis remained calm and was able to use his hand speed and elusive movement to keep Sosa uncomfortable and landing clean quick shots.
Sosa was able to hurt Ellis in the second round which forced Ellis to hold on, but Ellis was able to recover by the third round and take over the fight. Ellis was in control in the middle rounds but he did have a brief scare in the eighth round from hard uppercuts. Ellis however showed he was willing to change power shots with Sosa in the ninth and did enough in the tenth to likely win the final round.
Ellis won the majority decision with scores of 95-95 and 97-93 on the remaining two cards.
The main event of the evening was between Michael Perez (25-2-2) and Marcelino Lopez (32-2-1) in the junior welterweight division.
Perez was landing the cleaner punches in the early parts of the fight but Lopez was the aggressor and was pressing the pace. Perez did better work when Lopez was in tight, but Lopez was clearly the more aggressive fighter.
Perez was taking some hard shots in the final moments of the fourth round and Lopez continued to land hard blows in the fifth round. Perez went back to sticking and moving in the sixth round and was able to keep Lopez off balance.
Lopez connected with a beautiful left hook in the eighth round that sent Perez to the mat. Perez was able to beat the count and recover, but by the ninth round his right eye was damaged and had a cut above it.
Lopez was the more aggressive boxer and landed the harder shots, but Perez showed more movement and defensive ability.
It was a close bout that could have been scored either way, but the judges scored it 96-93 for Lopez, and 97-92 and 96-93 for Perez.
Did A Boxing Match Give Birth To Pop Culture?
Did A Boxing Match Give Birth To Pop Culture?
By: Sean Crose
After having been regarded as heavyweight champion of the world for about a full decade, John L Sullivan was still the man to beat in 1892. While it was true the guy hadn’t had a major fight for himself since 1889, Sullivan was still “the champ,” and, until bested, would remain “the champ” until he finally retired. No matter that he didn’t defend his title against black fighters. No matter that he didn’t defend his title against anyone at all for years on end. It was a different era, one where popular culture as we know it seems to have been on the cusp of being born. Sports icons, too, appear to have been a new development of the time.
And so, since Sullivan was basically the sole founding father of sports celebrities – and perhaps even all celebrities – the guy could pretty much do as he pleased until someone proved to be the better man in the ring. Yet boxing, like time, waits for no man, and there was no denying the fact that John L was now in his thirties and had led quite a hard, boozy life for himself on top of it. He had money. He had fame. He had influence. He undoubtedly still had power in his fists. Sullivan did not, however, have much time left in his reign as the dominant figure in the fight game. For up and coming fighter James J Corbett was calling.
The days of tough guys beating the hell out of each other with bare knuckles were over. The days of physical contests being held on barges away from the grasp of authorities were done, as well. In other words, the world that made Sullivan famous was fading away. To be sure, it was Sullivan himself who chose to fight under the Marquis of Queensbury rules when he agreed to face Corbett in September of that year. That meant the fight would go down in a ring, with three minute rounds and with both fighters wearing padded gloves.
What’s more, the bout would be held at night, in an indoor arena equipped with electronic lighting. Make no mistake about it, the Sullivan-Corbett bout may have rung in the dawn of modern American pop culture. Sport, spectacle and the latest in technological advancement were employed. To be sure, the lead up to the match was such a big deal that round by round updates were to be delivered to Times Square in New York City, so that the world could be kept up to snuff on the action in New Orleans, where the fight was to be held. America at the time was in the midst of a Presidential election. Guess what event, however, is said to have generated bigger headlines?
In truth, it’s hard to think of any other boxing match, or Super Bowl, or modern Olympic Games, or World Series that could match the significance of this single contest between two men from a looked down upon ethnic background. Yet Sullivan and Corbett, unalike accept for the fact that both were Americans of Irish stock who fought for a living, might well have ushered in a new era. Never mind the gamblers who placed money on the fight, masses of people were now keenly interested in a single event which had no direct bearing on their everyday lives. Attention was now being paid to something that didn’t directly involve politics, war, the overall state of the economy or scientific advancement. The times, quite simply, were changing.
As was the sport of boxing. Sullivan was a world class tough guy, but Corbett was a BOXER. More than anyone else, the San Francisco native drew the line between brawler and sportsman. Corbett’s style may not have made for good fighting, but it made for great boxing. Sullivan was essentially a fighter. Corbett was essentially a skilled boxer who employed a scientific and psychological approach to his craft in order to maximize the rules of the prize ring. Considering Sullivan’s age and lifestyle, the bout, for all intents and purposes, was over before it even began.
As Corbett went on to state in his autobiography, however, it was Sullivan, the bigger man with the meaner reputation, who was the betting favorite of the two. When the match finally began on the evening of September 7th, though, it soon became clear who the night belonged to. For Corbett employed footwork and timing to thoroughly frustrate his opponent for round after round. What’s more, when he unloaded on the famed champion, Sullivan felt it. Sure enough, in the 21st round, Corbett gave Sullivan everything he had. Sullivan went to the floor, the referee counted to ten…and an age was over. James J Corbett, who weighed less than one hundred eighty pounds, was now heavyweight champion of the world.
Corbett, ironically enough, was turned off by the crowd’s fickleness. The fans had started off being Sullivan’s supporters, Corbett later wrote. The fact that they were now cheering for the victor after Sullivan had been bested simply seemed tasteless to the newly crowned champ. It’s worth noting that Corbett also had the good grace to go on to write in his autobiography that the Sullivan he defeated in New Orleans was not the Sullivan of earlier times. As for Sullivan, he addressed the crowd after the fight to announce he was glad to have been bested by an American. For Sullivan, despite his flaws, was game enough to admit he’d been beaten, and grateful enough to give credit to the country that offered opportunity for men such as he and Corbett to find true success in. `
He may have been an alcoholic, a racist and a braggart, but Sullivan managed to leave the ring in good taste. It was, simply put, the man’s greatest moment.
Defeat brought out the best in him. As for Corbett, it was his moment in the sun. And, in more than one sense, it was boxing’s moment in the sun, as well. For a new type of athlete had arguably dragged boxing across the line from brawling to legitimate sport. And a quite popular one at that.
More Boxing History
Bare Knuckle Brutality: The Sullivan-Kilrain Fight
Bare Knuckle Brutality: The Sullivan-Kilrain Fight
By: Sean Crose
Fame became John Lawrence Sullivan. Born in the 1850s in the Boston area to Irish parents, Sullivan wasn’t the type of person one would expect to go on to great things. To be sure, the Irish weren’t taken to kindly back then. And an Irishman who was good with his fists might have well have been laughed or shrieked out of polite society. Sullivan, however, was a self promoter. Even more importantly, the young man could back up his words with action. And so, an obscure product of Massachusetts would go on to become America’s first great sports celebrity. Names like Ali, Jordan, Ruth, Bryant and countless others have surely followed after him, but Sullivan looks to have been the original.
First off, Sullivan knew his craft, which was boxing. Here was a man who engaged in bare knuckle combat and laid out opponent after opponent, year in and year out, in a sport which was essentially illegal at the time. It was a hard way to make a living, true, but Sullivan was good at it. He was also good – scratch that, he was great – at making his presence felt. To be sure, Sullivan let the world know, whether through tough talk, or through tough looking photographs, that he was the roughest son of a bitch on earth. Again, the man was a forerunner. For Sullivan started a tradition that men like Jack Johnson, Ali and, less impressively, Adrien Broner would successfully follow years afterwards.
What’s more – Sullivan was willing to prove what a hard case he was in the ring. And, after he knocked out fellow hard case Paddy Ryan in Mississippi in 1879, the Boston Strong Boy, as Sullivan was called, became widely renowned as Heavyweight Champion of the World. The man toured. He offered money to anyone who could knock him out (he always won). He went to Europe and fought there. Oh, and he drank. And drank. And drank.
Things eventually got so bad that it’s said a priest was once called to Sullivan’s bedside. After a point, it became clear the man was no longer at his best.
What’s more, there was tough competition on the horizon. Jake Kilrain was a lean scrapper, who – like Sullivan – was a product of the Boston area. Kilrain was also known as a terrific wrestler, which was important in the era of bare knuckle fighting, as competitors were allowed to toss each other to the ground. Newspaper man Richard K Fox, an individual who was no fan of Sullivan’s, subsequently decided that Kilrain, not Sullivan, was the true heavyweight champ. Needless to say, a fight was arranged that would settle matters.
Sullivan, however, was far from fighting shape. To the man’s credit, though, he was smart enough to take Kilrain seriously. Therefore, he employed the help of William Muldoon, an early version of what we today would call a strength and conditioning coach. Heading to Muldoon’s New York farm, Sullivan kept from going on benders, ate wisely, and walked long distances while also engaging in such exercises as wrestling with Muldoon and bag work. In short, the man got himself into fighting shape. The training would prove to be well needed.
The two men finally met on July 8th, 1889 in Missouri, at a farm in a town called Richburg. Being under the London Prize Ring rules, the bout was fought with bare knuckles. The temperature that day was over one hundred degrees. Oh, and the fight lasted seventy-six rounds and ran over two hours from start to finish. It was a brutal affair indeed, with both men essentially becoming endurance incarnate.
According to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Sullivan – more the striker of the two – took Kilrain down twice in the beginning, only to be dropped by his game opponent in the third. From there on out, however, it was all Sullivan. To be sure, the Boston Strong Boy was able to land on his opponent, and that proved to be all the difference. Kilrain, however, was not a man to give up – not, apparently, under any circumstances. To be sure, the bout turned into a grotesque affair, Sullivan got a cut on his foot. He also apparently got on top of Kilrain and tried choking him. What’s more, Sullivan is said to have absorbed whiskey that had been mixed with tea in between rounds.
Indeed, at one point, we’re told that Sullivan threw up, only to claim that he had merely vomited tea while maintaining the whiskey in his system. Such, it seems, was the scene on that sweltering July day. Ultimately, the bout was stopped by Kilrain’s corner between the 76th and 77th rounds, after a doctor in the audience reportedly made it clear that he believed Kilrain would die if he were to continue fighting. Needless to say, Kilrain was said to be quite displeased with his camps’ decision. Thus ended what’s considered the last of the major bare knuckle matches.
Yet, while boxing was still largely an illegal affair nationwide, the Sullivan-Kilrain fight was indeed a big deal. Lots of people showed up to that farm in Missouri. Lots of money changed hands. The fight had generated significant publicity, as well. To be sure, famed reporter Nelly Bly had interviewed Sullivan in training camp beforehand. Whether the powers that be liked it or not, boxing had become a force to be reckoned with. Things, however, were going to change for the sport. Sullivan-Kilrain was nothing if not an insanely harsh and, yes, dangerous affair.
Boxing, in short, would need to become a true sport and not a barbaric enterprise if it were ever to be embraced by American society in general. Better rules would have to be regularly employed. Matters like fighter safety would have to be of greater concern. Boxing could still be tough and grueling, but it would have to be more than two men brutalizing each other if it were to become at all respectable…or technical. Sullivan may have been in his exhausted glory after the Kilrain fight…but it would be the final shining moment of the man’s career, as well as of his raw style of boxing.
More Boxing History
Terence Crawford wins by 8th round TKO
Terence Crawford wins by 8th round TKO
By: Matthew N. Becher
Live from the Century Link Center in Omaha, Nebraska, HBO Sports presented a World Championship Boxing event. With an undercard consisting of major players in the Lightweight division, Mason Menard (32-1) will have to get through gatekeeper and former title contender Ray
The main event involves the Pride of Omaha, former fighter of the year and current pound for pound lister, Terence Crawford(29-0) againstheavy hitting John Molina Jr. (29-6). Molina,unfortunately, did not make the 140lb limit and will no longer be able to win Crawfords WBC/WBO/Ring titles.
Ray Beltran v. Mason Menard (Lightweight):
Both fighters put in a lot of heavy work early in the fight. Beltran fighting for the second time at the Century Link, his first being a decision loss to the champion, Terence Crawford. Neither guy knows how to fight going backwards and are looking to punish their opponent.
Beltran who has been in the ring with the likes of Lundy, Kim, Burns and was the former sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao, was not taking this fight lightly, coming out with a very intense style.
Menard, who is a fighter that is normally able to confuse and counter his opponents well, has been set to follow Beltran and cover up against the veteran Beltrans hard shots. Menard was able to land some tough punches in the early rounds and did earn some respect from Beltrans chin.
The pace of the first three rounds was frenetic to say the least. The fourth round showed both fighters pick and choose when they would start to throw
heavy hands. Beltran may have a slight lead, but Menard is definitely not backing down.
Beltran very much was the aggressor and used certain veteran techniques to make this a very very tough and uncomfortable fight. Midway through the fight Beltran was making it apparent that he was in control and would not leave Omaha as a loser again.
Menard showed heart, taking on a fighter with much more experience and power.
Unfortunatley, Beltran was not only the better fighter, but may have been on
his absolute A game.
In the seventh round a counter left hook was what it took for Ray Beltran to end the fight. Menard was clearly over his head, and Ray Beltran has once again
added his name to the list of top Lightweight Contenders.
Beltran KO7 :51
Terence Crawford v. John Molina Jr. (Jr. Welterweight):
Molina came into the ring not looking very good. He came in overweight and was limited in his rehydration clause…it absolutely showed. Terence Crawford came
to the ring as the Lineal and Unified Jr. Welterweight champion in front of his hometown, he started off quickly, sharp and could see the wounded opponent in front of him immediately.
Crawford landed a few big shots early then made Molina follow him around the ring , letting Molina run into a straight right. Molina’s only chance from the first round would be a lucky punch.
Crawford was just too sharp.
The best quote was by HBO announcers saying “Throw Caution to the Wind”, which is exactly what John Molina had to do. He landed his best shot in the 3rd round,
but also got carved up by the technician that is Bud Crawford.
This fight truly looked like a fighter from the 1950s taking on a top pound for pound fighter of today, which Crawford is. Molina was throwing wild punches and
rarely covered up. Crawford was able to work easy as a southpaw, which he switched to one minute into the first round, and picked Molina apart.
In the fifth round Molina was doing more of the same, following Crawford around the ring, running into punches. Crawford was content with being the untouched
Molina lived up to his name, Warrior, but unfortunatley it was in a non competitive way. Crawford completed his win from pillar to post, never once for a moment
looking in any type of trouble. Crawford will throw his name into the mix for this years fighter of the year and retain his place on the pound for pound list. Is a showdown with the living legend Pacquiao next, we’ll see.
Crawford TKO8 2:32
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Parker vs. Ruiz, Beltran vs. Menard, Terence Crawford vs. John Molina
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Parker vs. Ruiz, Beltran vs. Menard, Terence Crawford vs. John Molina
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night HBO and Top Rank Promotions will team up to televise three bouts from two different locations.
Terence Crawford will defend his WBO and WBC Junior Welterweight titles in the main event of the evening against John Molina live from Omaha, Nebraska. Additionally, lightweight contender Raymundo Beltran will compete against rising prospect Mason Menard as the co-main event of the Nebraska card.
It was also recently announced that Top Rank will promote Joseph Parker in the United States; and HBO has decided to show the WBO Heavyweight Title Bout between Parker and Ruiz on a same day tape delay from Auckland, New Zealand.
The following is a preview of all three televised bouts.
Joseph Parker (21-0) vs. Andy Ruiz (29-0); WBO Heavyweight Title
Joseph Parker will be fighting in his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand and will be the favorite coming into this bout.
He has already fought four times in 2016, and four of his past five fights have been by TKO/KO. He is twenty four years old and is three years younger than his opponent. He will also have a two inch height advantage and a two inch reach advantage on Ruiz. Ruiz has also been fairly active and has fought three times in 2016.
Joseph Parker has the heavier hands of the two boxers. He has stopped eighteen of his opponents, and four of his past five fights have ended by TKO/KO. Ruiz has stopped nineteen of his opponents, but only two of his past five opponents failed to go the distance.
They both have had moderate success as an amateur. Ruiz was a Mexican National Amateur Champion and Parker medaled in several international competitions as an amateur.
Parker has a slight edge in quality of opposition. He has defeated the likes of Alexander Dimitrenko, Carlos Takam, and Bowie Tupou. Ruiz has defeated the likes of an aged Ray Austin and Siarhei Liakhovich.
Ruiz is a good enough of a boxer to last all twelve rounds, but it will be extremely difficult for him to pull out a victory in Parker’s home country of New Zealand.
Raymundo Beltran (31-7-1) vs. Mason Menard (32-1); Lightweights
The opening bout of the night in Omaha, Nebraska will be between Ray Beltran and Mason Menard in the lightweight division.
Beltran is a former sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao and is a rugged, tough, durable opponent. He’s much better than his record suggests and is known for having excellent stamina.
However, Beltran is thirty five years old and will be seven years older than his opponent, Mason Menard. Beltran will have about a two inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
Menard does have a slight edge in power. He has twenty four knockouts on his record while Beltran only has nineteen.
Menard became well known with some upset victories on national television, including wins over Bahodir Mamadjonov and Eudy Bernardo. But prior to those wins he faced mainly non-descript opponents and most of his bouts were in his home state of Louisiana.
Beltran has defeated the likes of Ivan Najera, Arash Usmanee, Ji-Hoon Kim, and Henry Lundy. He also has several losses, but most of them have come against good opposition. He has lost to the likes of Terence Crawford, Luis Ramos Jr., and Sharif Bogere.
Neither boxer was very active in the past two years. They both fought twice in 2016 and once in 2015. Neither boxer experienced a great deal of success on the international stage as an amateur.
Menard has surprised many with his two latest victories, but Beltran is a big step up in competition for him and isn’t past his prime yet. This should be a fight that Beltran wins through a hard fought decision.
Terence Crawford (29-0) vs. John Molina (29-6); WBO/WBC Junior Welterweight Titles
Terence Crawford is one of Top Rank Promotions’ biggest stars and has been a rumored opponent for Manny Pacquiao in the future.
Crawford regularly fights in Omaha and will have a nearly sold out venue cheering him on.
He’s twenty nine years old and is in the middle of his athletic prime. He’s four years younger than Molina, but will be giving up about two and a half inches in height as well as an inch in reach.
Crawford has been fairly active for a champion and fought twice in 2016 and twice in 2015. Molina has only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Crawford has twenty stoppage victories and three of his past five fights did not go the distance. Molina has twenty three stoppage wins, but has gone 3-3 in his past six fights.
Molina is always a dangerous fighter, and this was evident in his last upset victory over the hard hitting Provodnikov. He has also defeated the likes of Mickey Bey, Dannie Williams, and Henry Lundy. However, Molina also has an impressive list of opponents that he has lost to. These fighters include Antonio DeMarco, Andrey Klimov, Lucas Matthysse, Humberto Soto, and Adrien Broner.
Crawford has never been defeated and has been slowly increasing the level of competition that he faces in the ring. He has defeated the likes of Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Dierry Jean, Thomas Dulorme, Raymondo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andre Klimov.
Crawford was also very successful as an amateur on the national level, and has even won a Police Athletic League Boxing Championship.
This is a fight that very few expect Crawford to lose. He’s a more technically skilled boxer than the last man that Molina beat and should be able to stop Molina.
Molina has been known for upsetting the apple cart from time to time, but Saturday is unlikely.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Results: Charlo Brothers and Lara Emerge Victorious
Showtime World Championship Boxing Results:
By: William Holmes
Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions televised three title fights in the junior middleweight division as the WBA, IBF, and WBC belts were up for grabs. Five the top six fighters in the junior middleweight division competed on tonight’s card.
Showtime networks televised the bouts live from the Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada. However, despite the fact three world titles were on the line a lot of empty seats were seen inside the venue.
Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/Showtime
Jermell Charlo (27-0) and John Jackson (20-2) opened up tonight’s broadcast with for the WBC Junior Middleweight Title.
Charlo, a large favorite, was giving up a few inches in height to Jackson. Jackson used his jab effectively in the opening round and even had Charlo briefly caught in the corner. Jackson attacked more to the body in the second round and was able to end the round with a strong counter right on a forward moving Charlo.
Charlo continued to have trouble finding his rhythm in the third round as Jackson was the more accurate puncher and was landing some good shots to the body. Charlo tried in vain to chase Jackson around the ring and trap him, but Jackson was throwing and landing more combinations than his opponent.
Charlo landed his first hard clean shot of the night in the fifth round with a sweeping left hook in the fifth round that got the attention of Jackson. Charlo was also able to put together a good body head right hook combination near the end of the round.
Jackson was able to go back to his lateral movement in the sixth round and was able to touch Charlo often with quick jabs and crosses before moving out of the way. Charlo was much more aggressive in the seventh round and was able to land some hard right crosses to the chin of Jackson, but Jackson was still able to land combinations of his own.
Charlo was able to get in close to Jackson in the opening minute of the ieghth round and blasted him with a right hook that had Jackson frozen and unable to defend himself, and he then followed it up with a left hook that hard Jackson falling back into the corner and out on his feet.
The referee quickly jumped in and stopped the fight before Jackson could get hurt any more. Jermell Charlo won by TKO at 0:51 of the eighth round.
Jermall Charlo (23-0) faced Austin Trout (30-2) in the co-main event of the night for the IBF Junior Middleweight Title.
Trout has been in the ring with high level competition such as Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto, but he was in the ring with a taller and younger boxer with a high level ceiling.
Jermall Charlo is considered by many to be the stronger puncher of the twin brothers.
Charlo had a strong jab in the opening round and Trout was throwing his jab to the body and connected with a left uppercut to the chin. Their feet got tangled up and Trout slipped to the mat. Charlo was able to land a good straight right lead in the final minute of the round.
The second round was close to call, but Charlo landed the hardest punch of the round with a short left hook. Trout however, was able to land more punches, especially to the body. The difference in power was evident in the third round, as Charlo was able to land several hard right hands to the cin of Trout which got the crowd roaring in approval.
Trout showed good head movement in the fourth round and was able to pepper Charlo from the outside. Trout stunned Charlo in the fifth round with a lead right hook, and he remained elusive enough to avoid the hard shots of Charlo. Charlo came on in the second half of the fifth round and was able to cause some swelling around the right eye of Trout.
It was clear that Charlo was not afraid of Trout’s power in the sixth round and he continued to come forward and was able to land some clubbing right hands.
Trout was able to land some solid counter left crosses and short uppercuts in the seventh round, but you could tell that Trout was very cautious of the power of Charlo. Charlo was able to land a hard straight right hand in the final seconds, but still, the seventh round was a good round for Austin Trout.
They both stepped off the gas pedal a little bit in the eighth round, but Trout was looking more confident in throwing and landing his combinations. Charlo stepped up his aggression in the ninth round and was effective with his heavy jabs.
A cut opened up over the right eye of Austin Trout in the tenth round, and boxers landed their fair share of punches, but Charlo was definitely landing the harder shots.
Trout likely needed a knockout in the final two rounds to win the bout. But he fought well and could have won these rounds on some of the judges’ scorecards.
Unexpectedly, the judges scored the bout in favor of Jermall Charlo with scores of 115-113, 116-112, and 116-112.
The main event of the night was between Erislandy Lara (22-2-2) and Vanes Martirosyan (36-2-1) in a rematch for the WBA Junior Middleweight Title.
Lara, a southpaw, was using a lot of up and down movement and was active with his jab in the opening round. Martirosyan was most effective when he threw to the body, but Lara landed more to the head.
The second and third rounds were slow, but the slow pace favored the style of Lara who was able to pop shot Martirosyan and move safely out of the way.
Lara was aggressive at the start of round, and a hematoma started to form on the head of Martirosyan. Martirosyan was warned again in the fourth round to keep his body punches up.
The fifth round featured more action than the previous round, with Lara’s best punch being the straight left to the head and Martirosyan’s best punches being the hooks to the body. The same theme repeated itself in the sixth round, but Martirosyan’s body punches were beginning to land with more frequency.
In the sixth round, Lara’s high guard was getting banged by the shots of Martirosyan and some were sneaking through. Martirosyan’s activity was much higher than Lara in this round.
The seventh round was close but Martirosyan was able to land some good body shots. Lara opened up the eighth round with quick combinations and more aggression. Lara landed clean to the nose of Martirosyan with a hard straight left hand near the end of the round.
Martirosyan fought a good ninth round but constantly coming forward and attacking to the body and threatening the chin with short quick uppercuts. Martirosyan had Lara fighting while moving backwards in the tenth round by pressing the pace and banging hard hooks to the body and head of his opponent. A clash of heads occurred in the tenth and Martirosyan hit Lara with a low blow and received a hard warning for the referee.
Martirosyan hit Lara with another low blow in the eleventh round and was deducted a point by the referee. Martirosyan was infuriated, and fought with fury for the remainder of the round but was unable to hurt Lara. Martirosyan went hard for the knockout in the final round and likely won it, but Lara fought defensively and safely and was never in danger of getting knocked down.
Erislandy Lara retained his title with scores of 115-112, 116-111, and 116-111.