30 Years Later: Douglas vs. Tyson
By: Sean Crose
It’s hard to wrap one’s head around the fact that Tyson-Douglas, perhaps the greatest upset in the history of organized sports, went down thirty years ago on this date. If we were to go back thirty years beyond the Tyson-Douglas fight, Muhammad Ali – then Cassius Clay – wouldn’t have even turned pro yet. It really has been a long time, so long that it’s difficult to imagine today’s young boxing fans grasping what a big deal it was. Back then, in the dawn of the 1990s, an athlete could be a celebrity. Not just a famous figure in the sport’s world, but a national figure – scratch that – an INTERNATIONAL figure, one as well known as the most famous world leaders and entertainment icons. It may seem impossible to get one’s head around the fact that Tyson was as famous in his prime as Donald Trump, Barak Obama, and the Queen of England are today, but there it is. Along with basketball great Michael Jordan, Tyson transcended sports.
There was good reason for this, aside from the fact that the world wasn’t as fractious and niche centric as it is in 2020. For Tyson was terrifying. Terrifying. It’s said that Michael Spinks, his biggest, most esteemed opponent at the time, was essentially frozen stiff for the few seconds it took Tyson to mop the floor with him in their 1988 heavyweight title bout. Tyson didn’t beat opponents, he went through them. When he hit a man, it seemed like a piece of the man was being removed from his body. By 1990, Tyson was already well into showing public signs of the dysfunctional behavior he would soon become notorious for. Still, no one – no one – expected Tyson to lose a fight anytime in the near future. He was simply that dominant.
Enter one James “Buster” Douglas, a talented, if not particularly focused, heavyweight who flew to Japan to face Tyson in Tokyo with greater than 40-1 odds against him. It wasn’t that the public didn’t give Douglas much of a chance, he was given no chance at all. If the world thought of the 29–4-1 fighter at all, it was as a space filler, someone to keep the 37-0 Tyson busy until the chance to face rising heavyweight Evander Holyfield came along. Yet Douglas chose the occasion to be more focused than he ever had been. Having just lost his mother, the challenger was pouring all his energy into facing Tyson. What’s more, Tyson was having issues of his own at the time. He was dropped in training and no longer had the masterful Kevin Rooney in his corner. Looking back, it was a perfect storm.
The fact that it would be a different kind of night for undisputed heavyweight champ Tyson became evident in the first round, when Douglas put a masterful jab to work. The fighter known as Iron Mike had finally met a man he couldn’t push around. Not that it was going to be an easy night for Douglas. This was Mike Tyson, after all. Even a Tyson who wasn’t at his best was world’s better than most other fighters out there. In fact, Douglas went down in the eighth. The man got up, though, and continued to out box and beat Tyson up. Then in the tenth, the unthinkable happened: Tyson went down – and didn’t get up. There was a new heavyweight champion of the world…and the world expressed its shock.
It was the beginning of a long public slide for Tyson, both in and out of the ring. Arguments from team Tyson that Douglas had benefited from a “long count” after he had been dropped in the eighth went nowhere.
Although he regained the WBC and WBA heavyweight titles later in the 90s, Tyson was never to win another major fight. As for Douglas, he lost focus, showed up overweight for his first defense against Evander Holyfield later in 1990, and promptly got knocked out in the third. Still, there would always be his stunning win over Tyson. In a sense, Douglas would always have Tokyo.
Mike Tyson: Marijuana Businessman
By: Sean Crose
Although he’s long been known as a terror both in and out of the ring, Mike Tyson is now earning a reputation for something else – being a legal marijuana dealer. Scratch that. Being a big time legal marijuana dealer. According to an article in Market Watch, the former heavyweight titlists’ company, Tyson Ranch, earns half a million dollars a month in sales. The Tyson Ranch itself, located in California, may also be on the way to becoming a theme park – a theme park where the theme will be marijuana. No matter what one’s opinion of marijuana may be, there’s little doubt the venture has been bringing the now 53 year old Tyson plenty of new found attention.
Aside from being written of in such publications as Market Watch, Yahoo, and Weedmaps, Tyson’s product has been talked about by Howard Stern, and has been promoted by Tyson himself on the Today Show. “Tyson,” the Today Show narrator told viewers, “wants to grow a marijuana empire.” Tyson himself says on camera that he thinks “weed is the miracle drug of the future.” The individual once known as “the baddest man on the planet” argues that marijuana has been a savior of sorts for him. Not only does he credit it for breaking him of cocaine and booze, Tyson also feels marijuana has helped him successfully deal with mental health issues.
Whether or not Tyson’s claims will be universally accepted as truth, of course, remains to be seen. Since blasting onto the heavyweight scene in the mid 80s, the man has had more ups and downs than a roller coaster. Tyson, though, clearly wants the world to know he’s serious about the marijuana business, that he and Tyson Ranch, are more than simply jokey, stoner movie material. “I work every day,” he told Weedmaps. “I’m involved with all the decision making. It’s my baby.”
Tyson admitted to the publication that he smoked marijuana for his 2000 bout with Andrew Golota, and that he was originally fined for it, but that the fine was lifted due to a technicality. “I think all athletes should smoke marijuana if that’s what they choose to do,” Tyson – who is far keener than he’s been given credit for – told Weedmaps. “I’m not pushing it on anybody. I’m just telling people who are like me, who experience pain from a long career, cannabis.” Tyson also claimed that his life would have been a lot less tumultuous had he used marijuana in his younger years.
Since first entering the public consciousness in the mid 80s, Tyson has never failed to drop collective jaws. This remains true even now, long past the days when the fighter was known for dropping opponents. On a recent podcast, Tyson admitted that he and others on Tyson Ranch go through roughly forty thousand dollars’ worth of marijuana a month. At the very least, no one will ever be able to say this businessman doesn’t have the utmost belief in his own product.
Mike Lee Is Leaving No Stone Unturned
By: Hans Themistode
There are those who prepare themselves for their big moments, and there are those who take things to the next level.
For boxers, preparing for a contest is a rigorous regiment. Often times it includes hitting the heavy bag, working on footwork and of course sparring. Although this is considered the most important in terms of preparation, it isn’t the only thing.
Eating habits, controlling your weight, recovery and dieting are all just as important. For undefeated Super Middleweight contender Mike Lee, he sees the value of not just working on his fundamentals but also the nutritional side of things as well. On July 20th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Lee will be put to the ultimate test when he takes on fellow undefeated fighter, and current IBF belt holder Caleb Plant.
There is a reason why Plant (18-0, 10 KOs) is nicknamed “Sweet Hands”. His ability to outbox his opponents is second to none in the division. He also possesses very underrated power as he had it on full display in his last contest against former champion Jose Uzcategui. Plant was viewed as having no chance going into that contest. Not only did Plant unseat the former champion, but he did so in dominant fashion, dropping his man twice and winning a wide decision on the judges scorecards.
Lee is well aware of the abilities of Plant and has left no stone unturned in his preparation.
The former college all-conference linebacker was never supposed to be in this position. After attending Benet Academy in Lisle, Illinois, Lee transferred to the university of Notre Dame in 2006 and graduated with a degree in finance. The world was officially his oyster as he was offered a job on Wall Street shortly after his graduation.
Not only did Lee turn it down, but he also turned to boxing. Although he was mostly known as a football player, Lee was no stranger to boxing as he won the 2009 Chicago Golden Gloves. His pro career has started off stellar. A record consisting of 21 wins with no losses would suggest that Lee has found his home in the ring.
For as successful as Lee has been in his short career, he decided to take things up a notch with his biggest showdown coming just days away.
Cal State Fullerton University performance expert Andy Galpin has worked with Lee in order to enhance his performance and fitness for his upcoming title fight. For Lee, coming from the Light Heavyweight division down to the Super Middleweight class can prove to be a difficult transition, but one that he is having no problem adjusting too.
“Andy has helped me physically and mentally with this fight. I have never fought at 168 so going down one weight class can be difficult if you are not properly prepared,” says Lee. “When I selected Andy, I was looking for his expertise on the human body and physical performance.”
According to Lee, his new found partnership with Lee is working wonders for him and his development as a fighter.
“Andy has helped me cut the weight while feeling strong and fast. His approach from nutrition, supplements, training regiments, and recovery modalities has been incredible,” adds Lee. “He is one of the best in the world for a reason and it shows in his work and results of his athletes.”
It might seem like an unconventional training method, but Galpin’s results speak for themselves as he has worked with some of the best athletes in the world such as 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist in women’s freestyle wrestling, Helen Maroulis. He has also most notably helped trained arguably the most popular Mixed Martial Arts fighter in the world, in Conor McGregor.
The science behind Lee’s training methods are impressive. Bringing in world renowned sports performance expert Andy Galpin should pay dividends. With that being said however, Galpin won’t be able to help Lee once he enters that squared circle. Lee will be facing one of, if not the very best fighter in the entire Super Middleweight division. With or without Galpins help, it will be a difficult task come fight night.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman and Caleb Plant vs. Mike Lee Los Angeles Press Conference Quotes
Eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao and unbeaten welterweight world champion Keith Thurman, plus unbeaten super middleweight champion Caleb Plant and unbeaten Mike Lee,squared-off for the second day in a row Wednesday, this time at a Los Angeles press conference as they previewed their respective showdowns taking place Saturday July 20 presented by Premier Boxing Champions and FOX Sports from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao and Thurman will battle in a welterweight world title attraction that headlines a PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Plant will make the first defense of his title against the unbeaten Lee in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes preceding the Pay-Per-View and beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by MP Promotions, Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased online through AXS.com, charge by phone at 866-740-7711 or in person at any MGM Resorts International box office. Plant vs. Lee is presented by TGB Promotions and Sweethands Promotions.
Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday from The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles:
“It’s easy for my opponents to talk before the fight, and I’m used to everything they say. But when we get to the ring, it changes, and it will change on July 20.
“I chose Keith Thurman because he’s a great fighter, he’s undefeated and because we can give a good fight to the fans. I want to make the fans happy on that night and show that I can still go toe-to-toe with any opponent.
“He said he’s young, but we’ll see who looks young in the ring on July 20. I’m going to let my fists say everything for me.
“We will work hard in training camp like always for this fight. We’re not going to take Keith Thurman lightly or underestimate him. He’s a world champion. I’m thankful for what he’s been saying, because it’s giving me motivation to prove that at 40-years-old, I feel 29.
“Keith Thurman is aggressive and throws a lot of punches. I’m hoping on July 20 he will follow through with what he says and fight toe-to-toe with me.
“The fans need to watch this fight because it’s a once in a lifetime fight. It’s going to be a Fight of the Year and full of action from start to finish. I’m ready to get it on July 20.
“Most of my opponents are bigger than me and I beat them all. When we get into the ring, it doesn’t matter. This has happened before and it will happen again against Thurman.
“My experience will be very important for this fight. It’s going to be useful against an undefeated fighter. I’m going to give him the experience of losing for the first time.
“I’m still having fun and enjoying the sport. I’m excited to go straight to the gym after this and start focusing on training for the fight.”
“It’s a blessing to be on this stage and have a fight of this magnitude. I’m an all-American fighter, an all-American champion and come July 20, I’m going to stay champion.
“Manny is a world class fighter. He’s a gentleman inside and outside of the ring. I look forward to trading punches with a living legend. But one thing’s for sure, he’s not walking away with my title.
“All Manny does is hop around in the ring. I’m not going to lose to a bunny rabbit. He’s not Tupac, but he does a little hip hop and he’s not going to stop until he gets dropped.
“Manny is a world class fighter, not a world class boxer. I’m going to trip him up in the ring and he won’t know what direction to turn to. I know who I am as a fighter, and it will be proven come July 20.
“I’m destroying the legend of Manny Pacquiao. His legacy ends on July 20 and mine begins. He’s an inspiration to many people throughout the world and everyone respects him, but I’m respectfully going to finish him.
“This is a big fight as far as the stage goes, but it’s a big fight against a little guy. He’s a veteran and I’ve dismantled veterans in the past. I believe I would have destroyed Manny Pacquiao five years ago. I’ve always been ready for this fight. He’s never fought someone like me with this kind of lateral movement, speed and power. I’m coming for him.
“I was in the gym four weeks ago starting some preparations. I wanted to get the ball rolling and use the momentum from my last training camp for this opportunity. Who better to showcase my skills and talent against than Manny Pacquiao? He chose me because it will be a guaranteed action fight.
“I think this is one of the best Manny Pacquiao fights in a long time. I’m going to bring it. Pacquiao did not get reminded in his last fight what it feels like to be up against a real champion. I’m the youngest, fastest, hungriest fighter that he’s ever been in the ring with. July 20, it’s the ‘Keith Thurman show’.”
“I never consider myself the A-side because my history says that I shouldn’t even be here. As beautiful as the belt is, it’s about more to me than that. It’s about legacy for me. I’ve been carrying myself as a world champion since the day I started this journey, so this is nothing new to me.
“I’m the whole package. I have speed, I have footwork, I have power, I have the heart and the will to win. Until you find someone else who’s all that, I’m going to keep having my hand raised.
“Where I’m from, there’s confrontation every day. This is nothing new to me. There are times I was told that I wouldn’t make it. Nobody paved the way for me like I’m from New York or Los Angeles. I paved my own way.
“Mike Lee is in uncharted territory. I’m curious on how he plans on beating me. Does he plan on roughing me up and trying to knock me out like my last opponent? Can he do that better than Jose Uzcategui? Is he going to try to outbox me with his hand and foot speed? Because there’s no person from 160 to 175 who could do that.
“I’ve been committed to the same thing for the last 18 years straight. Rain, sleet or snow, I stayed committed. I’m bred for this. I was created for this. It’s the only thing I’ve done my whole life. On July 20, I’ll be keeping the thing that I’ve worked my whole entire life for.
“At every decision that has to be made, you can go left or you can go right. From the genesis of my being, every time it was the moment to make a tough decision, I went the same way. Because I do not bend or fold for anything. No matter what’s tossed my way, this journey must go on for me. He said he has nothing to lose, but I have everything to lose.
“All the motivational videos that he watches and books that he reads, I’m the very essence and meaning of that. I’m the pinnacle of all those things he’s studied. You can’t learn mental fortitude in a book. Those things are earned, they’re not learned.”
“This is a dream come true for me. I’ve been through so much and there were days where I thought my dream was over. I’ve chased this since I was eight-years-old and I’m thankful for this chance to go after a dream that others thought I couldn’t reach.
“The beauty of this sport is that it’s only me and Caleb in there. Everyone else can only talk. I’ve been in the ring through adversity and stuck it out, because that’s the kind of person I am. I know that if I come on July 20 as the best Mike Lee possible, that I can win.
“I’ve been in the gym working every day. Doctors told me at one point that I wouldn’t fight again, but I’m still standing right here. I pushed through my pain to get here.
“I’m excited to be here in Los Angles, where we hold training camp. I’m bringing the belt back to Chicago, but Los Angeles is a second home to me.
“Today is the culmination of years of sacrifice, hard work and discipline. I’m undefeated for a reason but I feel people underestimate me and I like that. I’ve been underestimated my whole career. I’ve thrived off people say I couldn’t do it.
“I respect Caleb Plant. He’s the champion for a reason and I respect any fighter who can step into that ring. You have to be a different kind of animal to do that in front of all those people, and I am that animal.
“I’m coming with power, strength, speed and I’m going to give it everything I have. I’m going to become the new IBF Super Middleweight World Champion.”
RICHARD STURM, President of Las Vegas Live Entertainment & Sports
“I’d like to welcome back Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman, two of the world’s best fighters, back to Las Vegas and MGM Grand. Manny returns to the ring at MGM Grand following his convincing win in January while Keith will fight in Las Vegas for the first time in four years, looking to remain undefeated.
“We’re truly excited to be hosting this sensational event at MGM Grand and we look forward to seeing everybody in July.”
BILL WANGER, Executive Vice President of Programming, Research & Content Strategy for FOX Sports
“Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman is a living legend, versus a legend in the making. We’re excited to deliver an unprecedented night of boxing on July 20 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“Manny is one of boxing’s biggest stars. Keith Thurman is an undefeated world champion and a huge ratings draw. We’re excited to bring viewers inside the ropes and up close to the action on fight night, and produce extensive behind the scenes preview programming that will air across the FOX networks.
“FOX Sports is thrilled to have a battle on July 20 with such a compelling storyline to kick off a great night of championship boxing with the IBF champion Caleb Plant against the undefeated Mike Lee.
“In January, Caleb Plant headlined the most-watched boxing event ever on FS1. Now he’s fighting on the FOX network for the first time as the main event. At FOX Sports, big events that capture America’s attention are in our DNA. This fight certainly fits that bill.
“Our goal with the PBC deal is to build these fighters into household names, and we’re well on our way. We expect a great show on July 20 in Las Vegas.”
Mike Altamura Building a Budding Stable
By: Ken Hissner
In April of 2018 this writer met and was quite impressed with Australia’s Mike Altamura CEO of MJA Platinum. He brought in one of his 23 boxers, Ghana’s Isaac Dogboe, to challenge for the WBO World Super Bantamweight title in Philadelphia. Altamura advises Dogboe alongside manager, father and trainer Paul Dogboe.
Dogboe would win the title that night against Jessie Magdaleno, then 25-0, with an eleventh round knockout improving his record to 19-0. Dogboe, though from Accra, Ghana, resides in London, UK. In his first defense he scored a first round stoppage over Japan’s Hidenori Otake, 31-2-3, in Glendale, AZ. In Dogboe’s next defense he lost his title to Emanuel Navarrete by decision at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Other boxers Altamura directs include southpaw Paul “Showtime” Fleming, 26-0 (7), of Sydney, Australia. In December he defeated Thailand’s 2-time world champion Panya Uthok, 52-5.
Another is Luke “Action” Jackson, 17-1 (7), of Hobart, Australia, a 2-time Olympian. His only loss was challenging for the interim WBO World Featherweight title to Carl Frampton, 25-1, in August.
Then there are two former world champions. One is former IBO Lightweight champion Lenny “Lenny Zappa” Zappavigna, 37-4 (27), of Leppington, Australia, whose fought in the US in 4 of his last 5 fights.
The other former world champion is Billy “The Kid” Dibb, 43-5 (24), of Sydney, Australia, who held the IBF World Featherweight title. In his last fight he was defeated by Tevin “American Idol” Farmer, 25-4-1, of the US, for the vacant IBF World Super Lightweight title by decision.
Red hot southpaw TJ “Power” Doheny, 20-0 (14), is the Irish born IBF Super Bantamweight champion residing in Bondi Junction, Australia. He went to Japan to beat their champion Ryosuke Iwasa, then 25-2, taking his world title. Doheny is scheduled to defend his title January 18th at New York’s Madison Square Garden Theater.
Another world champion is Moruti “Babyface” Mthalane, 37-2 (25), of Kwa Zulu-Natal, South Africa, the IBF World Flyweight champion. He won the title in July defeating Pakistan’s Muhammad “Falcon” Waseem, 8-0, out of Seoul, South Korea. In his first defense in December he stopped Japan’s Masahiro Sakamoto, 13-1, in Japan.
No. 4 WBO Super Middleweight Rohan Murdock, 24-1 (17), of Nerang, Australia, in December defeated Argentina’s Rolando “Peligro” Mansilla, 14-5-1, in Brisbane, Australia.
No. 7 IBF Featherweight Nathaniel “Cheeky” May, 20-1 (11), of Bunbury, Australia. In December of 2017 he stopped Brazil’s Aelio Mesquita, then 16-0, for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title. In his lone fight in 2018 he defeated Russia’s Ruslan Berchuk, 11-8, in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Last but not least is Jack Brubaker, 15-2-1 (7) of Cronulla, Australia, the former OPBF Welterweight champion.
Tai Tuiniua is their matchmaker. “As a promoter, you live and die by the fights you make and Tai has been instrumental in saving a number of my shows,” said Jake Ellis. Anthony Cocks is their author/guru Public Relations man, who along with this writer worked years for Doghouse Boxing. MJA Paltinum looks to operate 4-6 events in the Asia Pacific region in 2019.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Jennings vs. Dimitrenko, Hart vs. Gavronski
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night at the Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey Top Rank Promotions will promote an eight fight boxing card to be televised on ESPN.
The main event and co-main event of the evening will likely have future title bout implications. Bryant Jennings will face Alexander Dimitrenko in a heavyweight showdown in the main event of the evening and Jesse Hart will face Mike Gavronski in the super middleweight division.
The undercard is packed with local prospects and rising contenders which will help bring in fans from nearby areas to Atlantic City. Shakur Stevenson from Trenton, New Jersey, Jason Sosa from Camden, New Jersey, Christian Carto from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Thomas LaManna from Millville, New Jersey are all fighters with local ties that could be up for a title shot in the near future.
The following is a preview of the two main fights of the night.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Jesse Hart (24-1) vs. Mike Gavronski (24-2-1); Super Middleweights
Jesse “Hard Work” Hart is the son of legendary Philadelphia Boxer Eugene “Cyclone” Hart and recently lost a close decision to current WBO Super Middleweight World Champion, Gilberto Ramirez.
Hart, to his credit, has remained active since that loss and is back to his winning ways. He fought twice in 2018, twice in 2017, and twice in 2016. Four of his past five wins have been by KO/TKO.
Gavronski is a good boxer with a decent record. However, he is three years older than Hart and will be giving up about three inches in height and six and a half inches in reach.
He also fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016. Gavronski did not fight yet in 2018.
Jesse Hart also has an edge in power over Gavronski. He has twenty stoppage victories while Gavronski has fifteen. Hart has also never been stopped while Gavronski has been stopped once.
Hart also has the edge in amateur experience. He won the 2011 National Golden Gloves Championship and placed 2nd in the 2012 US Olympic Trials. Gavronski has no notable amateur accomplishments to speak of.
Hart has beaten the likes of Demond Nicholson, Thomas Awimbono, Alan Campa, Andrew Hernandez, and Aaron Pryor Jr. His lone loss was a close decision to Gilberto Ramirez.
Gavronski has beaten the likes of Andrew Hernandez, Thomas Awimbono, and Brian Vera. His losses were to Dashon Johnson and Tureano Johnson.
Dashon Johnson is a man that Hart beat in 2016.
Hart appears to have too much fire power for Gavronski to handle.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Bryant Jennings (23-2) vs. Alexander Dimitrenko (41-3); Heavyweights
Bryant Jennings is a solid heavyweight boxer who previously fought for the title but came up short against Wladimir Klitschko.
He’s fought twice in 2018 and twice in 2017 and is looking for another title shot.
Jennings is facing a boxer that many consider to be past his prime in Alexander Dimitrenko.
Jennings, at the age of thirty three, is three years younger than Dimitrenko. He will also be giving up about four inches in height, but Jennings will have a one inch reach advantage. Both boxers aren’t necessarily known for their power. Dimitrenko has twenty six stoppage victories while Jennings has thirteen.
Both boxers have been stopped in their career. Dimitrenko has two stoppage losses while Jennings only has one.
Jennings had a brief amateur career but it was rather successful. He made it to the finals of the 2009 PAL Nationals and was a National Runner Up in the Golden Gloves National Championship. He also defeated former UFC Heavyweight Champion , Stipe Miocic, as an amateur. To this writer’s knowledge, Dimitrenko has no notable amateur accomplishments.
Jennings losses were to Wladimir Klitschko and Luis Ortiz. He has defeated the likes of Joey Dawejko, Akhror Muralimov, Don Haynesworth, Mike Perez, Artur Szpilka, Andrey Fedosov, Bowie Tupou, Steve Collins, Siarhei Liakhovich, and Maurice Byarm,
Dimitrenko fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016 but has yet to fight in 2018. His losses were to Joseph Parker, Kubrat Pulev, and Eddie Chambers. He has defeated the likes of Derric Rossy, Albert Sosnowski, Adrian Granat, and Miljan Rovcanin.
His win over Miljan Rovcanin is contested by many though and that was his last bout. The bout was originally ruled a split draw, but Dimitrenko team protested the result. It was later ruled a win for Dimitrenko because Rovcanin had three points deducted and accordingly he should have been disqualified after the third point deduction.
Jennings experience in fighting a taller elite fighter like Klitschko might prove valuable in Saturday’s fight. Dimitrenko won his last bout, but didn’t look particularly good doing so. Jennings isn’t known for his power, but he should be able to box intelligently and win a decision.
Interview with Miles Shinkwin: Chasing the British Title
By: Oliver McManus
Miles Shinkwin has seen a lot in boxing, a professional for six years, his career has had a fair few ups and downs with a bruising Southern Area title fight in only his seventh contest – against Joel McIntyre – really putting his name on the map before a British title challenge, two years later, ended in defeat to Hosea Burton.
His most recent fight, in March, ended in controversy with Liam Conroy landing a series of shots to the back of Miles Shinkwin’s head (though, for what it’s worth, Liam says they were legal) calling a halt to the contest.
Enjoying training again and with a wonderful family behind, Hertfordshire’s light-heavyweight is back in his groove and on the way to title fights – his first, for the English, hopefully coming on September 14th.
I caught up with him last week and here’s what he had to say –
How did you first get into boxing?
My grandad was used to box in the navy, my dad had five brothers who all boxed amateur and my dad, two uncle’s turned pro then my dad took over the amateur club that they were all at and when I was very, very young I went along and here I am now.
I knew your dad had the potential to be quite a good professional boxer, was it always destined for you, then, to turn pro?
Do you know what, I was at Watford for a couple years when I was about 12, football, and my dad said to me one day “I don’t care what you pick but you need to pick one” because the training night’s clashed, playing a game would clash too and he said boxing and football are both sports you can’t mess about with, because I was quite good at both, so I said I wanted to be a boxer.
He goes “don’t say that because of me, do whatever you want and me and your mum will support you”, so I chose boxing and I don’t think I’ve played more than five games since then and I was 12 at the time.
In the amateurs, you were a five-time national champion, I believe?
Yeah, five or six, something like that.
When you turned pro, did that amateur pedigree help you?
It’s hard to say it as a statement for everyone but for me I was very amateur in my style and if you look at fighters like Tom Stalker, for instance, his style was also very amateur and the pro ranks didn’t agree with him – no disrespect – and up until now it hasn’t completely agreed with me either so I think I spent too long trying to get out of my old style as opposed to trying to tweak it.
Until I joined Don I had tried to entertain people too much but because I’m not a puncher I felt like I had to have scraps and entertain people but that’s not my style, my losses have come through me scrapping.
If I could go back to when I started as a pro I’d definitely try to stick more to my amateur style.
It is quite a cliché that you learn more from your losses – have you found that to be true?
It is cliché, yeah, the first one I learned that if you lose your head then you lose the fight – I knew that before but this was the first time I experienced it – it’s really hard to say. When I beat Joel McIntyre for the Southern Area title – I was 7 and 0, 10 rounder at York Hall – absolutely boiling, broke my rib and I got cut and if I’d have lost that fight I would have learnt the exact same amount as if I won it because I went through it all.
Losses where there is an actual moment where you lose the fight, if that makes sense, like with Burton after the fifth round when I decided I was going to try and beat him up, that’s where I lost the fight. So you can learn things from the type of fight.
The Jake Ball loss just came at the wrong time for me, McIntyre rematch I shouldn’t have been boxing at the time because I hated the sport at the time and the last fight (against Conroy), I can’t really call it a loss really because it was illegal blows.
I’m glad you brought that up because let’s talk about the fight with Liam Conroy, tell me about it from your perspective…
The funny thing was that when we drove up on Wednesday, it’s quite a drive from here to Preston, and we were chatting away and he said “I’m going to pull the referee up before the fight, I’ve watched his fights and it’s a trait to punch to the back of the head”. I won’t lie, I hadn’t really watched much of his fights but we were in the changing rooms with the ref doing his usual pre-fight talk and these were his exact words, “I know you’ve been around for a long, long time, I’m not going to teach you to suck eggs but three things – obey my commands at all times, keep them above the belt and under no circumstances do you hit to the back of the head, it pisses him off and it pisses me off so don’t f***ing do it.”
Don was like “ah, sorted”… first round I hit him with a body shot and he hit me in the back of the head with a counter hook, square on the back of the head, top of my neck. The referee said stop and he said, to me, “keep your punches up” and the second round started but before it really got underway it was finished.
Anyone with a brain could see they weren’t legal punches.
Before the fight, how confident were you in winning?
I’m a notoriously slow starter, people with styles like mine genuinely are and when we’re cold it’s not great but going in I was fairly confident. I’ve stopped doing this now but after my fights, I used to tell myself what level I should be but I’ve stopped that now because I can’t take, well I haven’t managed so far, my gym performances into the ring and we can’t work out why that is. I’ve sparred all kinds of people – Groves, Lee, Cleverly – I was a world amateur, boxed Demetrius Andrade, lost 18-16 in a fight we fought I won comfortably so it’s not a question of IF I can do it, I know I can.
We were confident and the first round was first gear, he was missing me and I thought once I got warmed up I’d win it fairly easily but then, obviously, the second round happened.
Why do you think he doesn’t want the rematch? Surely from his point of view if he won fair and square the first time he can do it a second?
He can’t think that, if he’s got a pulse, Stevie Wonder could have told you they weren’t legal punches, before he blocked me on Twitter I sent him a photo of one of the punches and it was literally square to the back of my neck and he said it was legal. He knows it’s not true, after the fight I was gutted and everyone was telling me it was disgusting. On the night I said I wouldn’t talk about it so I couldn’t say something in haste that I’d regret and I was getting sent clips, I was thinking “that’s terrible” but Alex Steedman, the commentator, messaged me on Twitter saying “I’m so sorry we didn’t pull it up in the commentary, we couldn’t see it from the angle we were sat at but now I’ve seen it back it was horrendous”.
I knew myself it wasn’t legal but having him say it affirmed what I was thinking because at first it was just family and friends who, generally, try to pick you up but to have him, as an impartial guy, saying it just confirmed it in my mind.
If he were to come out and say “look, I threw some shots, I didn’t mean to” then that’s a different story. I do think that if you’ve hurt someone you should punch wherever until the ref says stop and it’s the referee’s job to say stop but there weren’t any warnings or anything like that.
Are you going to continue to chase the fight or this just drawing a line under it?
The macho man in me would say I want to fight him at all costs but we got an inkling he vacated a while back and I said to Steve (Goodwin), I don’t care if it’s for the belt or not, just get me the fight. I want to prove to everyone I’m better than him. He’s given away his bargaining chip, no-one is going to want to fight him now.
I’ll be fighting for the vacant title, I want to get back to British title level at least and this is the quickest way of doing it. Steve is sorting out an opponent and going through the board.
I was going to ask you about Steve Goodwin. How much of an impact has he had on your career?
I signed with Frank Warren in my second and I weren’t getting a lot of fights and then I did an interview when I was meant to box at Wembley Arena with the fight that Cleverly postponed three times. When you’re a four round fighter training eight weeks to get paid, relative, peanuts and selling tickets, covering costs, for it to keep getting put back is really tough.
In an interview, I sold a bunch of tickets, I did an interview with my local paper and I said, “I’m not happy but I understand if the main event, the whole card is off, I understand but it doesn’t stop me from being unhappy”. They ran the story as “Shinkwin unhappy with Warren” or something like that and I imagine one of them saw the headline without reading the story and they just didn’t put me on the shows.
Steve came up to me and said, “come fight on my shows, tell me the dates you want and I’ll put you on”. As it happens on the day of the weigh-in (Joel) McIntyre’s medical had run out so Steve, out of his own pocket, paid for a private doctor and everything to get it done on the day so he could be cleared. You tell me how many people would do that?
I resigned with Warren – god knows why, but I did – but Steve has always been on the phone to me and when I wanted a new manager, Steve was my first call and everything has been great since. He’s done a lot of things for me.
And when you fight on TV, do you feel a difference?
I’ll be honest with you I felt pressure with the Burton fight – for the first time in my life, in boxing, I was nervous in the changing room. Not really because of the opponent, I knew I could beat him, but the occasion got to me a little bit and it took me a while to come to terms with that because I’m, genuinely, quite a positive person.
If you don’t mind me asking, what do you make of Anthony Yarde?
It’s hard to say, he’s not fighting the best of opponents but he’s beating what’s in front of him and whilst everyone is talking about Buatsi, Buatsi has probably had 100 amateur fights, been to the Olympics, Yarde has had something like 15 so if he can get paid and learn on the job then I don’t see the need to rush him.
He looks the part, he looks the part. The big test would have been Burton, would have been a great test, people feel like Burton would have beaten him.
I was offered the fight once after I lost to McIntyre, I had “retired”, I hadn’t been in the gym and I was about 15stone and I got asked if I wanted to fight him and all I said was “fuck off” because they didn’t want to give me a fight to get back in, the McIntyre fight was meant to be in London, on a Warren show, and they promised they’d win the purse bids and then Steve won it in Portsmouth and I had to go fight in a nightclub and then Warren’s team tried to use me as cannon-fodder for Yarde. Just wasn’t going to happen.
If we look at your career what would you say has been your best performance?
Purely through what happened, I’d say McIntyre (the first one) – broke my rib – my first ten rounder and up against an unbeaten opponent but if you watch me spar you’d say “where’s this bloke been?. But I’ve not been as good as I can be.
How long do you reckon you’ve got left in the sport?
Light heavyweights can go, what, 34, 35 if they want to so I’ve got a few years, I don’t want to be in it forever, you don’t get any prettier or any more clever by being a boxer. Fight night is the easy part, it’s the sparring, the training, losing weight that’s the hard part.
You’ve said there have been points where you simply hated boxing. So, what is it that’s kept you going?
It was, I suppose, a sense of underachievement at one point. I would have regretted it if I gave up and I keep wanting the British title, that’s what I’m going for and I’ve got two young daughters who I don’t want to say “I boxed for a little bit but I gave up because I got beat a couple times” to, now I’ve moved on and things are more positive, I’m enjoying it. My gym is literally 10 minutes from my house whereas before I was traveling to Essex today.
A lot of things have changed, I’ve matured, enjoying training, loads of factors.
September 14th was your scheduled fight date, is that still it?
I wish I could tell you more but yeah, that’s what I’m training for.
In 12 months time where would you want to be?
I’ve given up planning in advance because it gets me nowhere but if I didn’t win at least a British title, in my career, I would have massively under-achieved so make of that what you will, if that’s next year then that’s great but if not I’ll keep working.
I’ve not had a lot of luck in my career, I’ve always had to travel – Burton in Manchester, McIntyre in Portsmouth, Jake Ball on a Matchroom show, Conroy in Preston – so it would nice to be the home fighter for once and put in a performance that I have got the talent to do. Just put in a good performance and take a look at the landscape of the British division.
Finally then mate, what sort of a sweet would you be?
I reckon I’d be something soft in the middle, hard on the outside. A mento, I’m a tough guy but I’m also a softie. Mini refresher, as well.
Mike Tyson Breaks Ground on 40-acre Marijuana Farm in California
By Bryanna Fissori
The “Baddest Man on the Planet” has announced that his next business venture will be in the cannabis industry. Former champion, Mike Tyson started off the New Year with a groundbreaking celebration on his 40-acre parcel of land in the small town of California City, California. “Tyson Ranch” is set to be a marijuana grower’s paradise.
January 1, 2018 marked the legalization of recreational marijuana in California. Now patrons 21 and older can purchase marijuana for recreational use and grow up to six plants per individual. Only 90 recreational business licenses have been allotted at this point, which is a small number given the state’s population. The industry is expected to generate $3.7 billion in its first year and $5.1 billion in 2019.
Tyson Ranch will be more than just a grow facility, though 20 acres are to be allotted for climate controlled cultivation. Tyson and partners Robert Hickman and Jay Strommen also plan on founding the “Tyson Cultivation School,” where people can take hands-on marijuana growing lessons from Tyson himself.
The former boxer is a long time proponent for medical marijuana, which has been legal in California for over 20 years. Tyson Ranch plans to conduct research to further define the benefits of cannabis for medical use. There is even a strain of marijuana named after Tyson.
After his career, Tyson admitted to using marijuana (an much harder drugs) during his matches. He tested positive after his October 2000 match against Andrew Golota, but has admitted to using the substance on multiple occasions. Many sports still have a zero-tolerance on marijuana, but some such as mixed martial arts are state specific with higher limits in states that have legalized cannabis.
“Tupac always wanted me to smoke weed with him, and I never did it, and I wish I did. That’s my biggest regret.” –Mike Tyson
Tyson Ranch is founded under the company name “Tyson Holistics,” which is said to be operated by a team of military veterans. Tyson has also trademarked the name “Iron Mike Genetics.”
That is not all that will be available on the company’s 40-acre marijuana amusement park-like mecca. Tyson Ranch will also feature a:
•Hydro-feed plant and supply store
•Corporate retreat facilities
•Premium “glamping” campgrounds and cabins (camping with luxuries)
•Garden with a water feature
There is no word yet on an official opening, which may be a ways out considering that the ground has only now been broken.
Tyson is not the only celebrity looking to get in on the “green rush.” Snoop Dog, Wiz Khalifa, Whoopie Goldberg, Woody Harrelson, Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong, Cliff Robinson, Richard Branson and Roseanne Barr are all on board with legalization of marijuana. Many have developed their own strains, contributed to research efforts or showed interest in opening their own dispensaries. With California entering the market, the possibilities will be open to a whole new market of celebrities, many of which may interested in a marijuana based business closer to home.
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.
Ramírez vs. Reed and Beterbiev vs. Kölling Headline ESPN Card
By: Eric Lunger
Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed (23-0, 12 KOs) looks to make a statement in the super lightweight division this Saturday night as he takes on Jose Carlos Ramírez (20-0, 15 KOs), an undefeated number 3 world ranked contender and former 2012 US Olympian. Reed, a five-foot six southpaw from Waldorf, MD, had a stellar amateur career. He has been brought along carefully as a professional. Now, with Terence Crawford moving up to welterweight, the 140-pound division is open for a number of fighters to make an impact, and 24-year-old Reed hopes to be one of them.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
Ramírez, 25, hails from Avenal, CA, and is riding a three fight KO streak. With significant amateur background as well, and with trainer Freddie Roach in his corner, Ramírez made the transition to the professional ranks with ease. At five-foot ten, Ramírez is tall and rangy, and he will look to maximize his height and six-inch reach advantage. With a classic Mexican style, expect the California native to stand in the middle of the ring and throw. In his last outing, Ramírez stopped Jake Giuriceo (20-5-1, 5 KOs) with an onslaught of left hooks to the body and punishing overhand rights.
Mike Reed, on the other hand, is a calm and deliberate fighter. He likes to figure out his opponent in the ring, and then go to work on perceived weaknesses. The matchup is an intriguing one: aggressive puncher in Ramírez versus deliberate southpaw tactician in Reed. Conditioning and experience in the late rounds could be issues for both fighters. Reed has had only two ten-round bouts (both went the distance and both were unanimous decisions), whereas Ramírez has gone the distance only once in his professional career. Headlining an ESPN card will also add pressure and nerves for both guys. There is a lot at stake: both fighters undefeated, both looking for a title shot in the wide open super lightweight division.
In the co-main event, Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs), a Russian-born fighter who resides in Montréal, Canada, takes on Enrico Kölling (23-1, 6 KOs) of Berlin, Germany, for the vacant IBF light heavyweight world title. Beterbiev, as his record indicates, is a fearsome knockout puncher, and he has claimed that former champion Andre Ward vacated the title rather than face his mandatory title challenge. Be that as it may, Kölling has fought only in Germany, and once in South Africa. He will have his hands full Saturday night, as Beterbiev packs dangerous power in both hands. What Kölling does have in his favor is experience, which he will need, having gone the full twelve-round distance three times in his career. The German is also well versed in the European amateur ranks, which may prepare him for a fighter of Beterbiev’s caliber. Whether he is prepared for Beterbiev’s pressure and power is another question.
The venue is the Save Mart Center in Fresno, CA, making this a home fight for Ramírez, who sold out the building last December. Tickets may be purchased at select Save Mart Supermarkets, online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 800 or at the Save Mart Center Box Office.
Both fights will be televised live and exclusively at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App.
WBSS Results: Briedis Defeats Perez By Decision
By: Ste Rowen
On Saturday night the Baltic country of Latvia hosted its first ever world championship fight as the World Boxing Super Series came to town. However, neither the pre-fight hype, nor the electric atmosphere inside Arena Riga could turn this highly anticipated match-up into an exciting fight.
The third quarter final of the Cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series saw WBC World Champion Mairis Briedis step into the ring with former heavyweight contender Mike ‘The Rebel’ Perez, with Oleksandr Usyk awaiting the winner in the semifinals.
The early rounds set the tone for what descended into an ugly scrap. In round one ‘The Rebel’ seemed the busier fighter, throwing more frequently and forcing Mairis onto the backfoot.
Round two was when the Latvian started to lay the groundwork for his own game plan. This time Briedis seemed comfortable on the backfoot, initiating a jab and hold tactic that continued relentlessly throughout the fight. The bout looked like it would set alight in round three as Briedis was cut on his left eye by a head clash, which the referee ruled Perez to be at fault for and docked the Cuban a point. For a brief period, Briedis seemed apprehensive, even causing a second-head clash which seemed to effect Perez more than it did the champion.
From round five however, the Latvian regained his composure and dominated right into the championship rounds. His holding wasn’t pretty but it was a strong enough base to work off as he started to land more frequently. By round nine, and arguably earlier, Mike Perez, 22-2-1 heading into tonight, seemed all out of ideas and was caught by a big right uppercut underneath the chin which, although he seemed to recover quickly, definitely shook him up. Enough for him to incorporate Briedis’ tactics of holding long enough to avoid any further damage.
In round ten Briedis was finally docked a point for persistent holding after much protest and frustration from Perez but by then the Latvian had an air of superiority about him. Perez began to rush forward with no real effect and he needed a knockout going into the final round. It never looked like coming.
There was the question of whether Mike’s power would have the desired effect coming down in weight, but in truth we still don’t know if it can. Briedis frustrated Perez throughout, never taking a clean hit from the Cuban nor veering away from his own game plan. Jab-Hold with the occasional combination flurry or eye-catching shot was enough to see Briedis pick up a clear points win, 116-110, 115-111, 114-112.
It’s hard to watch Briedis, now 23-0-0. Tonight, along with his last outing against Marco Huck to win the WBC title, prove why, but up next is tournament, fan favorite, Usyk. It’s a match-up touted for early 2018 and as well as a place in the WBSS final, Usyk’s WBO and Briedis’ WBC Cruiserweight world titles will be at stake. There’s enough there for us to forget about how tonight played out and salivate over how good the upcoming semifinal should be.
Krzysztof Glowacki v Leonardo Bruzzese
The main undercard bout of the night saw World Boxing Super Series reserve, and former WBO World Cruiserweight world champion Krzysztof Glowacki, 27-1-0 before tonight, ease to a stoppage win over Italian Leonardo Bruzzese (18-3-0).
The Polish southpaw dominated from the first bell, landing almost every time with a perfect left hand. And the domination continued through the second. Bruzese, who had fought all but one of his fights outside of Italy, began to land slightly more but it wasn’t a problem Glowacki couldn’t deal with.
The Pole almost ended it at the end of the second and then again through rounds three and fourth. His punches consistently sending Bruzzese onto the ropes, with only a solid chin keeping Leonardo in the fight. But he was never truly ‘in’ the fight as Glowacki hammered at his opponent with precision, power and most tellingly, ease.
Krzysztof finally landed a punch with the desired effect, firing a left hook in round five which dropped Bruzzesse and then again soon after, forcing the Italian to drop down on both knees as the referee waved the bout off.
Glowacki would’ve been a worthy participant in the World Boxing Super Series with or without tonight’s win but what tonight shows is that he’s a clear number of levels above the fringe fighter status. Let’s hope he’s not called upon but if he is, people would be wise to not overlook him as a world class contender at the 200lb limit.
Some of the Pet Peeves Boxing Writers are Concerned About
By Ken Hissner
This writer has been writing for approximately 10 years. I sometimes say “the only thing more crooked than boxing is politics”. For example we see commissions that are not the most honest favoring certain people over others. By messing with managerial contracts favoring the managers and one sided hearings are a pair of examples what happens. One for instance in PA was holding a hearing for a boxer who was not allowed to have anyone but an attorney which he had. The manager came in with a non-attorney and was allowed an unlicensed backer to be allowed to listen in on an intercom. Obviously the boxer lost. The Boxing Director ruled in this case.
Pertaining to a referee I always remember Mills Lane when he did the rematch between Holyfield and Tyson. Lane knew Tyson had fouled Holyfield biting his ear and when over to the then Nevada commission head who more or less said “how would you stop a fight of this magnitude for this MINOR infraction?”
I believe that same commission head went to a much more violent sport like MMA after that. Mills returns and tells the fighters to continue and Tyson proceeds knowing he didn’t get penalized for what he did takes it one step or should I say 10 times further and bites off a piece of Holyfield’s ear knowing he is losing and will not be able to overcome Holyfield for victory. Mills had actually gone to the Tyson corner after the first infraction and they seemed to threaten him if he stopped the fight. Mills wasn’t a referee much longer after that fight.
Another example being Nevada who seem to have the most prestigious fights yet when referee Robert Byrd allowed Andre Ward to initiate 46 clinches against Sergey Kovalev and was never deducted “one point” just several warnings. That was in their first fight. All three judges had Ward ahead by a point so if just one point was deducted by Byrd for holding it would have been a draw and Kovalev would have retained his title. I had Kovalev ahead by 5 points based on 8-4 in rounds plus the knockdown. Go to www.youtube.com and see what I mean.
Byrd is without question the slowest referee to react of the Nevada referees. Was he being racist in his actions favoring the black fighter over the white fighter? Why Kovalev’s management or promoter allowed a black referee since Kovalev had the 3 titles and Ward none is beyond me. I suggested once to a manager who had the black fighter against a Spanish fighter to get a neutral person such as a white referee. The fight was great and close and the referee made no difference and their fighter won a decision.
It’s been my experience when I was a matchmaker for a short period of time a ring physician came over prior to the fight and told the referee who by the way now serves as a commissioner to stop the fight if the one fighter in particular “looks” like he is hurt. I told the ring physician “you can’t tell a referee that in advance”. The fight was stopped in the first round without that fighter being cut or knocked down. The promoter had to have a hearing based on too many stoppages on this promoter’s card. The top promoter who had just as many stoppages as this one was also suspended for 30 days.
The commissioner Jimmy Binns, Sr. held that meeting. I was told by the promoter Bob Connelly not to attend. I attended and sat at the table directly across from Binns. When I spoke up and informed Binns that the referee at the table Rudy Battles (now PA Boxing Commissioner) was told by Dr. Davidson to stop the fight if the boxer even looks hurt Binns said “what do you know about boxing?” I replied “maybe you would know something about boxing if you were to come to the weigh-in.” I had my matchmaker’s license revoked for that remark.
When Binns was replaced by Harold McCall he came to me during a boxing event and said “come into my office for I want to reinstate your matchmaker’s license”. I never did go in and never did matchmaking again. It is the hardest position of fights for the match-up may look good on paper but you never know how the fight is going to be.
Pennsylvania had a good secretary on the commission in Frank Walker. He worked behind the desk not running the shows. Now during Binns time he and Walker’s assistant were sent to work out of Harrisburg some 100 miles away instead of Philadelphia where the commission office was. Both Walker and his assistant suffered health problems and were replaced by Binns. Binns put Greg Sirb in charge as Boxing Secretary and he changed his title to Boxing Director. He runs all the events unless two are on the same night while the three commissioner’s sit there never correcting anything he does. When I let it be known in my report the entire press were told by a promoter you’ll never to sit at ringside again the promoter should have the right to where the press sits and not the Boxing Director.
This writer has found infractions on commission members and brought it to the attention of the state without any action being taken or even considered. It’s not what you know but who you know in this business too many times. I will continue to write what I see and not what the promoter or commissioner wants to see.
This writer has been banned from press row by two promoters because they “don‘t like what I write”. Guess what? That hasn’t stopped me from writing up their shows as I see them!” When Philadelphia had back to back shows with 14 bouts and 13 ended it knockouts in a bunch of mismatches this writer questioned it causing one of the promoters say “you should write what you see” while the other pulled my press credentials.
Recently in VA a rarity happened when Lamont White, 0-7, scored a knockout win over Roger Belch 8-0 at Norfolk on May 13th. Why the commission approved of the fight in the first place is strange but the way it turned out was even stranger.
Just thought I would “air out” some of the things writers can be faced with when they are “honest to a fault!”
Will the Real “Iron Mike” Please Stand Up?: Mike Tyson Hit with Trademark Infringement Lawsuit
Will the Real “Iron Mike” Please Stand Up?: Mike Tyson Hit with Trademark Infringement Lawsuit
by Bryanna Fissori
What’s in a name? Apparently the make-or-break of a career according to “Iron Mike” Landrum Sr. who flied suit on June 30th for trademark infringement against Mike Tyson with whom he shares the same ring name.
This is round two for the “Iron Mikes.” Both fighters now retired and in their 50’s have had vastly difference careers, though Landrum insists that this is strongly because of the confusion of who is who between the two men. Landrum is reportedly 6-4-1 in his professional career, though that record is not available on boxrecs and is hardly similar to Tyson’s record of 44-5-2. In 2010 Landrum attempted a similar suit, but it was dismissed for lack of merit. At the time, a case was also brought by Landrum against the Spike TV series “Knockout Sportsworld” for using the “Iron Mike” name but was dismissed early due to lack of timeliness in process service. Neither case ever saw a jury.
Seven years later, and 30 years or so since last competing, Landrum is giving it another shot. This most recent cause of action was filed June 30, 2017 in the Nevada Ninth Circuit District Court. The case calls for $55 million in damages and an injunction to cease use of the name by Tyson. Apparently the value of the “Iron Mike” label has gone down since the 2010 lawsuit, which requested $115 million. There even seems to be some suggestion through Landrum’s social media and YouTube channel, that he would be interested in real ring battle of the “Iron Mikes.”
There is no specific federal statue of limitations on trademark infringement cases and the limitation is left to state policy, but generally Nevada uses a four year statute (Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. et al v. High Impact Design & Entertainment, et al).
The common law Doctrine of Laches defense is also available in Nevada when the defending party’s circumstances have been significantly changed due a delay in bringing the cause of action. So, maybe if Landrum would have sued 30 years ago, before “Iron Mike” Tyson became a household name he would have a much more realistic chance, but given the application of the doctrine it is unlikely.
Neither the legal nor athletic cards seem to be stacked Landrum’s favor.
The World Boxing Super Series Begins
The World Boxing Super Series Begins
By: Matthew N. Becher
Over the past weekend, the newly created World Boxing Super Series held its very first draft, for its very first tournament. The premise of the new tournament is an open competition for any professional boxer that is ranked in the top 15 of the major sanctioning bodies systems.
In theory the best fighters would face off against one another, until the last man was standing, thus making him the #1 boxer in that weight class. Simple. That is the easy part, the hard part is getting the best fighters to all participate in such a tournament, with everyone having different promoters and so forth. Fortunately, it seems to have worked out for the initial Cruiserweight Tournament.
The seeding of the tournament went as follows. The top 4 fighters were ranked 1-4 by the WBSS, with the four belt holders getting the top rankings.
1: Oleksander Usyk (WBO)
2: Murat Gassiev (IBF)
3: Mairis Briedis (WBC)
4: Yunier Dorticos (WBA)
Then from 1-4, the fighter was allowed to pick or draft his opponent from a group of 4 boxers, for their first round fight. (An exception was made for Gassiev, who had a mandatory against Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. That fight was picked for him)
The first round of the tournament looks like this.
Oleksander Usyk (12-0 10KO) v. Marco Huck (40-4-1 27KO)
Murat Gassiev (24-0 17KO) v. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1 37KO)
Mairis Briedis (22-0 18KO) v. Mike Perez (22-2-1 14KO)
Yunier Dorticos (21-0 20KO) v. Dmitry Kudryashov (21-1 21KO)
Literally the best of the best in the Cruiserweight division will be competing against each other, until one is standing with all the belts, the inaugural Muhammad Ali Trophy and possibly a $1 million dollar bonus for advancing though semifinals and the championship round.
The tournament is slated to begin in early September and rap up by Mary of next year. The location of the fights have yet to be determined and will be placed in locations that match up well for each fight.
“To unify a division and spotlight a division that has clearly been underappreciated, even though the fights in the ring are always among the most exciting in the sport, irrespective of the division, that those four champions, if you look at the record – they are all undefeated. Most of their wins, the vast majority have come by knockout. So these are all big punchers, undefeated. I’m really excited,” said Richard Schaefer, the Chairman of the Americas for Comosa, who helped put this field together alongside fellow promoter Kalle Sauerland (the Chief Boxing Officer for Comosa).
This is a very exciting tournament for boxing and especially for the roll out of the new World Boxing Super Series. With formats like this, expect many division to start falling in line and possibly getting to see the best match up against the best in the near future.
Mike Tyson Interview: “I’m not looking to be a chairperson, I’m not looking to be ambassador”
Mike Tyson Interview: “I’m not looking to be a chairperson, I’m not looking to be ambassador”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Mike Tyson is the most recognizable face on the planet. He rose to boxing stardom in the early 80s, becoming the youngest heavyweight champion ever. His insane punching power, brashness and bravado made him a household name. It also made him public enemy number one and the Baddest Man on the Planet.
Tyson has since grown up, he is currently 50 years old and raising his family in the suburbs of Henderson, Nevada. He has very little involvement in the sport that made him a superstar and keeps busy with work and different ventures. He is currently starring on the Fox television program “Super Human”. His cartoon series “Mike Tyson Mysteries” is set to begin its 3rd season on The Cartoon Network. Mike also just released a new book “Iron Ambition: My life with Cus D’Amato”.
Mike can be seen every once and a while at a boxing match, but very rarely is he in the public eye as he once so heavily was. Yesterday afternoon I was able to speak with Mike one on one and ask him a few questions about his early life in the sport, what he thinks of things now, and what the future may hold for him.
Boxing Insider: What was the boxing scene like in the Hudson Valley and Catskills in your teenage years?
Mike Tyson: All excitement. It was very exciting and I always looked forward to it and it was a really great part of my life.
Boxing Insider: Since you are a boxing historian, do you have any idols that may not have gotten the recognition they deserved?
Mike Tyson: A lot of guys like Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano, Larry Holmes, guys like that.
Boxing Insider: In your career as a fighter, is there anything you would have liked to change?
Mike Tyson: Shit, wish I won them all.
Boxing Insider: Can todays state of boxing return to its glory days?
Mike Tyson: I think so. Well, we have a great heavyweight out now named Anthony Joshua. And I think he can change the whole thing around.
Boxing Insider: It’s been a year since the passing of the great Muhammad Ali. Ali used his celebrity to speak up on many social views. Do you see yourself ever stepping into the now empty spot that Ali has left?
Mike Tyson: Well that is not what I want to do in life. What I want to do in life is just be a respectful man and just take care of my children and guide my family in the right direction. I’m not looking to be a chairperson, I’m not looking to be ambassador or anything in that capacity.
Boxing Insider: Right now, who would you say is your favorite fighter to watch?
Mike Tyson: Wow, I got Errol Spence as one of them. I like the Charlo brothers, I like to see them fight. I like to watch Shawn Porter fight. I love watching Lomachenko, he is my favorite fighter so far.
Boxing Insider: Who do you have as an overrated fighter?
Mike Tyson: Overrated? I don’t know, they are all fighting real good now. They just need to fight each other, that’s all
Boxing Insider: The biggest fight that is happening right now is Canelo vs. GGG, but the biggest fight being talked about is Mayweather vs. McGregor. What do you think that fight does to Mayweather’s legacy?
Mike Tyson: I don’t know, its gonna make him a lot of money and that’s what he likes to do. So he’ll make a lot of money in that fight. That’s the best thing to happen for boxing.
Boxing Insider: Do you think boxing took more from you then you got in return?
Mike Tyson: No, it gave me everything that I took from it. It was all fair.
Boxing Insider: Anything going on with you in the boxing world?
Mike Tyson: No boxing stuff, just television and movies and TV.