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45 Year Old Fres Oqendo Gets Title Shot After 50 Months of Inactivity


By: Ken Hissner

After watching the Anthony Joshua and Joe Parker unification title fight did you see who is getting a WBA title shot on September 29th in Cologne, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany?

The former two-time world title challenger has held minor titles such as USBA, NABF, WBA, WBC & WBO Latino belts. The 45 year-old Fres “The Big O” Oquendo, 37-8 (24), of Chicao, IL, hasn’t fought since July 6th of 2014 which is some 50 months. He is ranked No. 2 and will be fighting champion Manuel Charr, 31-4 (17), born in Lebanon who fights out of Germany who defeated Alexander “The Great” Ustinov, 34-1, for the vacant title in Germany on November 25th of 2017 and hasn’t fought since. It will be ten months since winning the title when he defends against Oquendo.

In Oquendo’s last bout he lost a majority decision to Ruslan Chagaev, 32-1-1, in Grozny, Russia. In Chagaev’s second defense he lost to Lucas Browne of Australia who gave the title up without a defense. Oquendo had won his first twenty-two fights including winning the NABF title. He defended it against David Tua and was stopped in the 9th round.

Russian Alexander “Russian Vityaz” Povetkin, 34-1 (24), back on May 30, 2014, knocked out Charr and is his No. 1 contender and being by-passed as usual. He holds the WBA Inter-Continental and the WBO International titles. The former 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist was in line to fight WBC champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder but failed a drug test. He then took two more, passing and failing again.
To give you an idea how the WBA ranks their heavyweights BJ Flores, 34-3-1, who was a cruiserweight up until 2017 when he defeated Jeremy Bates, 26-18-1, in February and in his last fight in June of 2017 in a scheduled six rounder defeated Nick Guivas, 13-6-2. Those two wins earned him the No. 6 spot in the WBA rankings?
This isn’t just with the WBA but with other organizations that keep certain boxers in the rankings after over a year of inactivity. But to keep Oquendo ranked after 50 months of inactivity and having lost his last fight you have to wonder what the other contenders are thinking.

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Twelve of the Greatest Pound for Pound Boxers from Boxing’s Early Days


By: Ken Hissner

There have been many lists of who were the greatest boxers of all-time! In this list I go back to the first 50+ years from 1900.

The majority of people would say the former welterweight and middleweight champion “Sugar” RAY ROBINSON who was 174-19-6 with 109 knockouts and only stopped once (by the heat).

In 1939 and 1940 Robinson was the New York Golden Gloves Champion. He was 85-2 with 69 knockouts as an amateur. He won his first 41 fights as a professional before losing to Jake LaMotta. He had previously beaten LaMotta and go on to defeat him three more times after his loss. He was 129-1-2 when he lost his second fight to Randy Turpin in the UK. He would reverse this loss in his next fight in the US.

Robinson was inducted into the IBHOF in 1990.

Another great that is mentioned as the very best by some was HENRY “Homicide Hank” ARMSTRONG who on titles at Featherweight, Welterweight and Lightweight in that order. He was 152-21-9 with 101 knockouts. In 1937 he won the Featherweight title. In 1938 he won the Welterweight title. In 1939 he won the Lightweight title.

He was inducted into the IBHOF in 1990.
WILLIE “Will o’ the Wisp” PEP has also been mentioned as the top boxer of all time. He was 229-11-1 with 65 knockouts.

He won his first 63 fights before losing to Sammy Angott. He was 134-1-1 before he lost to Sandy Saddler. He would reverse that loss but lose to Saddler twice after that. He was the World Featherweight Champion.

He was inducted into the IBHOF in 1990.

Regarded by many as the greatest heavyweight of all-time was JOE “The Brown Bomber” LOUIS, who was 66-3 with 52 knockouts. He had 25 successful title defenses. He won his first 24 fights losing for the first time to Max Schmeling. He would reverse this loss with a first round knockout. He was 52-1 when he lost to Ezzard Charles.

Ring Magazine had JACK “The Galveston Giant” JOHNSON, he was 56-11-8 with 35 knockouts. His record was also listed at 71-11-1. He was the first black heavyweight champion. Prior to that he held the Colored Title.

He was inducted into the IBHOF in 1990.

The heavyweight champion with the greatest record was Rocky Marciano, 49-0 with 43 knockouts. He defeated Joe Louis at the very end of the “Brown Bomber’s” career.

He was inducted into the IBHOF in 1990.

Sam “The Boston Bone Crusher” Langford, was 180-29-39, with 128 knockouts. He was the only fighter the great Jack Dempsey admitted to he didn’t want to fight. 213-43-53 was another record posted. He was as light as 140 and eventually got up to 192. He was also a Colored Champion. He was born in Canada but spent most of his boxing career in the US.

Harry “Pittsburgh Windmill” Greb was middleweight and light heavyweight champion. He was 107-8-3 with 48 knockouts. Some have him as 262-17-18. He was the only boxer to defeat heavyweight champion Gene Tunney. Greb was known to have a “glass eye”. A friend of mine Joe Shannon said they were on the Atlantic City Boardwalk when Greb’s eye fell out.

When he lost that eye is unknown.

He was inducted into the IBHOF in 1990.

Benny “The Ghetto Wizard” Leonard was the Lightweight and Welterweight Champion. He was 89-6-1 with 70 knockouts. 185-22-8 was also mentioned.

He was inducted into the IBHOF in 1990.

Joe “Old Master” Gans was the Lightweight Champion and was 145-10-16 with 100 knockouts. 158-12-21 was also mentioned.

He was inducted into the IBHOF in 1990.

Jack “Manassa Mauler” Dempsey was the Heavyweight Champion and was 54-6-9 with 44 knockouts.

He was inducted in to the IBHOF in 1990.
Mickey “Toy Bulldog” Walker was the Welterweight and Middleweight Champion and was 94-19-4 with 60 knockouts. 131-35-6 was another mentioned.

He was inducted into the IBHOF in 1990.

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Nigel Benn, What Are You Doing?


Nigel Benn, What Are You Doing?
By: Greg Houghton

Former two-weight world champion Nigel Benn has recently stated that a contract has been drawn which secures a fight between himself (aged 53) and Steve Collins (aged 52) to take place this year.

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Photo Credit: Nigel Benn Twitter Page

Now at the age of 53 Benn has transformed from the animal he used to be, into one of the most gentlemenly and respectful figures associated with the sport. Benn is a British boxing legend and appears to have a wonderful and loving relationship with his son, upcoming prospect Connor Benn. Heart warming scenes have shown the two after Connor Benn’s previous fights kissing and hugging in celebration. Nigel Benn appears to have gotten the balance just right in supporting his son whilst staying away from the limelight of Connor’s career, all the while giving him the room he needs to grow as an athlete and having the complete respect of his son. On camera, Nigel Benn is also an absolute joy to watch in interviews as someone whose wise words and tips for the younger generation of the sport sparkle with joy and pride at the man that his son is becomming.

It has been pressed for a while now that he and old foe Chris Eubank (AKA English) have been planning to fight for a third time. They are both now over the age of 50. Apparent complications in closing the deal (which are very believable based on Jr’s career so far) have meant that Benn has apparently withdrawn from the idea, and instead offered the fight to someone who has beaten them both, Steve Collins.

“For me it’s all about closure, it ain’t about the money. I just want to have a fight, and Steve obliged”

Collins stopped Benn twice when they fought, at a point where Benn was rumoured to be going through serious issues in his home life which hindered his performance. These performances, particularly his last one against Collins, are perhaps the catilyst for Benn wanting to take this fight. In a recent interview with IFL TV, Benn stated “For me it’s all about closure, it ain’t about the money. I just want to have a fight, and Steve obliged”. It’s not surprising Collins, aka The Celtic Warrior, took this fight as he not only beat Eubank and Benn twice, he long after retiring continued to try to book a fight with Roy Jones Jr.

This was one of the greatest eras in British boxing with the top three (Colins, Eubank, Benn) all dying to fight each other and doing so multiple times. The hostility and rivalry between these three, along with top contenders Henry Wharton and Michael Watson, was electric for boxing fans.This period in a way draws parallels to the essence of Ali, Frazier and Foreman in the early 70’s. Some would say that this era in which the three Brits starred is a world away from the state of boxing today, with fighters seemingly being able to vacate belts and back out of fights at will. However, this era happened more than twenty years ago, and these once great fighters, have aged.

History tells us, for the most part, that ageing fighters who were once legendary bring sad moments to the ring, which are difficult for boxing fans to swallow. Watching Bernard Hopkins get dismanteld by Joe Smith Jr, Muhammed Ali get punished by Larry Holmes, these are not fights which any boxing fan really wanted to see. Most recently, watching EnzoMaccarinelli knock Roy Jones Jr out in the fourth round of their fight in December 2015 was like watching your favorite pub burn to the ground in front of you.

If the fight between Benn and Collins were to get licensed, it is not a fight that many boxing fans would want to see at the age these two are at now. Several leaked videos of Nigel Benn in training at the age of 53 show him being lightning fast and looking exceptional for his age. In fact, Benn claims to be capable of “doing things now that he’s never done before”, due to his healthy and stress-free lifestyle of recent times.

Nigel Benn has grown old very gracefully and is a witty, charming and entertaining presence in his interviews. We beg, please Nigel let this fight go for you have nothing to prove. You are one of Britain’s boxing heroes and your work will always be remembered. Stay in shape, stay humble and continue your wonderful work in guiding your talented son to stardom. Let boxing fans continue to marvel in the magnificence that was the era of Middleweight and Super-Middleweight boxing of the 90’s. As Eddie Hutch famously said to Joe Frazier at the Thrilla in Manilla;
“No one will ever forget what you did here”.

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The Boys in Backpacks: A Coach’s View on the Mayweather vs. McGregor Fight


The Boys in Backpacks: A Coach’s View on the Mayweather vs. McGregor Fight
By: Bruce Babashan
Professional Boxing Trainer/Coach-USA Boxing Coach

I don’t begrudge anyone in any fighting sport the opportunity to make money. These men are talented in their respective sports and they put themselves at risk out there so let them get paid. I get it!

However, on that Saturday night in August as you gather around your TV’s in anticipation of the big fight between Conorr McGregor and Floyd Maywether, please take a moment and consider this.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor: A Boxing Match or a Circus?

One day a few years back a boy showed up at my gym with all of his worldly possessions in a backpack wanting to become a professional boxer. He had heard about me from a distant relative and came half-way around the world, leaving his wife and 3 year-old daughter behind, to come chase his dream. He knew two words of English…”me champion.”

He had risked it all and as we spoke I could see in his eyes the desperateness and willingness to do anything to achieve that dream. As I learned more about him I was humbled by his story and the incredible sacrifice and hardship he undertook just to arrive at my door…it brought tears to my eyes.

I tell you this because his story is not unique in boxing. In fact, it’s just the opposite and once you are part of this sport you see just how powerful and meaningful boxing is to these kids.

It’s been said that boxing is the sport of last resort and that young men who choose boxing as a career either make bad choices or have no other choices. There is a great deal of truth in that for many of these kids.

This willingness to suffer unspeakable pain, endure immeasurable hardship and overcome unthinkable heartache in the face of overwhelming opposition is one of boxing’s most enduring and compelling qualities. It’s the reason we admire boxers so much and it allows us to identify with the sport even if we have never been a boxer or stepped into the ring. We love boxing because of the struggle. We love Rocky because he is us.

In August as Conner McGregor steps into the ring we will know one thing, he has not struggled to be a boxer. Yes, I’m sure his story and struggle to be great in the MMA is compelling but we will know that his struggle was not a boxer’s story but that of an MMA fighter.

It will be in that moment when we realize that the spectacle of the event forgets and disrespects the millions of boys who traveled with backpacks across the world to chase their dreams. It forgets the pain and heartache suffered by the boys as they honed their craft while training in hot, dark ,dank, back-alley gyms across the world hoping and waiting for their one chance to jump up on the stage.

Here is the truth of it all. If you ever want to see who is at the top of the boxing ranks simply look at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale. These are the men most easily forgotten and disrespected in life. We respect and admire their journey but we are quick to abandon them for the money or for the first bright shiny object that comes along.

In many State Athletic (boxing) Commissions it would be difficult for this fight to even happen. How is it that a man with zero professional boxing matches can get approved to fight a 12 round bout against arguably the greatest fighter of our generation when a National Golden Gloves Champion can barley get a debut pro fight approved for 6 rounds against another debut fighter?

I like Conor McGregor. I respect what he has accomplished as an MMA fighter but my boys have suffered for boxing. They have given their heart and soul to the sport and left everything behind just to have a chance. I can’t forget them now.

Maybe it’s different for me because I’m a coach and I am to close to the struggle. Maybe I’m just “old school” and out of touch with today’s morality but for me I can’t enjoy the fight knowing what I know.

I expect the fight to be a one-sided bore-fest until McGregor finally gets chopped down late in the fight. I admire Conner McGregor for his bravery and talents but I won’t be watching and it won’t be because I disrespect him, but rather because I do respect all those other boys traveling the world with backpacks right now.

I’m not naive. I understand that the lifeblood of the State of Nevada is gambling and sport. I understand that this event will mean millions of dollars in needed revenue to the hotels and casinos. It’s good for the city and its people and why the hell not! I get it, but part of me was still hoping that the Nevada State Commission would give a nod to the boys with the backpacks by acknowledging the struggle and using this moment to honor the sport and show all those boys some respect for helping, in small part, to build that city.

Like I said, I’m not against anyone making money, but for me I will be thinking of that boy with the backpack and wondering when he will get his shot in the sport that he has sacrificed so much for and to which he has dedicated his life.

One final thing…that boy I mentioned at the onset of this article…the one who traveled across the world to train with me is now 13-0 and the current IBO International Bantamweight Champion. No matter what happens from here out, one thing is for certain, if/when he finally gets his chance under the big lights…he will have earned it. I can’t say that for Conner.

Enjoy the fight in August but pardon me if I sit this one out.

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Boxers Fighting Past 49 Years Old in the Modern Era of Boxing!


Boxers Fighting Past 49 Years Old in the Modern Era of Boxing!
By: Ken Hissner

We all know about people like Archie “Old Mongoose” Moore, 186-23-10, finishing up in March of 1963, fighting past 45 and who knows how old he and Sonny Liston were when they stopped fighting. The record book claims Moore was only 46 which sounds too young. Today there are some successful boxers in the past that seemed to think when George Foreman, 76-4, re-won the title at 45 they could do it too. They look at what’s around today and still think they are in the prime of their careers. Foreman was 48 retiring after his November 1997 fight.

hopkins

Today we have 48 year-old Roy Jones, Jr. who just defeating Bobby Gunn in Wilmington, DE, in February. Then there is 51 year-old Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins who split in two bouts with Jones. A rubber match in the making?

Possibly the oldest in modern times was SaoulMamby, PR, at age 60 finishing up in March of 2008.

Donovan “Razor” Ruddock, of Canada thought he still had what it takes at 53 in September of 2015.

Billy “Bronco” Wright,of Las Vegas at age 51 last fought in January of 2016 and might not be retired. Larry“The Easton Assassin” Holmes,was 52 finishing up in July of 2002 with “Butterbean”. Ron Lyle, was 54 finishing up in August 1995.Sal “Rocky” Cenicola, 19-2, was 52 returning to the ring after a 25 year lay-off. Dewey Bozella, on October in 2011 had his debut and only fight after serving 26 years in Sing-Sing Prison was released after being falsely imprisoned. Earnie Shavers, was 50 finishing up in November of 1995.

Others still fighting and over 50 are Andre Sidon, 45-11, of Germany who is 54 last fighting in November of 2016. Zoltan “Csepi” Petranyi, 53-22, of Hungary is 50 and recently fought in January of 2017. Summarizing this the oldest was SaoulMamby fighting at 60. Others over 50 are Levi Forte, 58, ZoranSekularac, 57, Andreas Sidon, 54, Ron Lyle, 54, Bob Adkisson, 54,Hairton Campos, 54,GoranDinic, 54, Donovan “Razor” Ruddock 53, Kenny Lane, 53, Sal Cenicola, 52, Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes, 52, Brian Durham, 52, Ronald Garr, 52, Johnny Reiffenstein, 52, Jose Carlos Amaral, 52,Jean-Pierre Coopman, 52, Billy “Bronco” Wright, 51, Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins 51, AlbertinoMotaPinheiro, 51, Anthony Cooks, 51,Raynard Darden, 51, Mark Weinman, 51, Alexander Nuri, 51, David Combs, 51, Adnan Oezcoban, 51,Earnie Shavers, 50, Bob Mirovic, 50,Jerry Evans, 50, Attila Huszka, 50, Terry Scott, 50,Herbert Odom, 50, Ron Wilson, 50, Chuck Shearns, 50, and Zoltan “Csepti” Petranyi is 50.

With the help of Historian Henry Hascup who is head of the NJ BHOF.

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