“Sugar” Ray Leonard Followed in the Footsteps of “Sugar” Ray Robinson
By: Ken Hissner
The greatest pound for pound fighter in boxing, “Sugar” Ray Robinson, was 85-0 (69) as an amateur with possible 2 losses under his given name of Walker Smith, Jr. His record was 174-19-6 (109) as a pro holding both Welterweight and Middleweight titles with a career spanning 1940-1965. His only stoppage defeat was challenging for the Light Heavyweight title against Joey Maxim when the outdoor heat got the best of him after thirteen rounds though ahead on all scorecards.
Robinson was trained by Soldier Jones, Harry Wiley and Pee Wee Beale. His managers were Curt Horrmann and George Gainsford. His residence was in Harlem, NY, while being born Vidalia, GA, in May of 1931. His death was in April of 1989 at age 67. He was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1981 and the IBHOF in 1990.
“Sugar” Ray Leonard was the modern day best pound for pound boxer in this writer’s opinion from 1977-1997 after winning the 1976 Olympic Gold Medal. At Olympics he defeated boxers from Sweden, Soviet Union, Great Britain, E. Germany, Poland (reversing a 1974 loss in Poland) & Cuba. He won the 1975 Pan Am Gold Medal. His amateur record was 145-5 (75) and inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985.
After the 1976 Olympics Leonard announced he was retiring from boxing. He planned to go to the University of Maryland. However, when his mother suffered a heart attack and his father was stricken by meningitis and tuberculosis, Leonard decided to turn professional to make money for his family.
As a professional Leonard held the WBC & WBA Welterweight, WBA Light Middleweight, WBC Middleweight, WBC Super Middleweight and WBC Light Heavyweight Titles. Inducted into the IBHOF 1997.
Leonard’s biggest professional wins were over Wilfred Benitez (Welter Champ), Roberto Duran (2 out of 3) (Welter), Thomas Hearns (also a draw) Welter champ, Ayub Kalule Jr Middle champ, Marvin Hagler Middle champ and Donny Lalonde Super Middle and Light Heavyweight champ.
Leonard won his first twenty-seven fights including winning the WBC World Welterweight Title in November of 1979. He defeated Dave “Boy” Green in his first defense before losing to Duran in a WBC Welterweight title defense in June of 1980. In November he won the title back from Duran. He made four defenses at welterweight.
Leonard stopped Ayub Kalule who was 36-0 for the WBA World Super Welterweight title in June of 1981 but never defended the title. Three months after a February 1982 title defense of his WBA and WBC title’s defense against Bruce Finch, 28-3-1, it was discovered Leonard had a detached retina. He wouldn’t return to the ring until May of 1984 (27 months) defeating Kevin Howard, 20-4-1, after coming off the canvas.
Leonard didn’t fight again for thirty-five months returning to the ring in April of 1987 to defeat WBC World Middleweight champion “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, 62-2-2, for his WBC World Middleweight title by split decision putting Hagler into permanent retirement.
In November 1987 Leonard moved up to win the WBC World Super Middleweight and WBC World Light Heavyweight titles from Donny Lalonde, 31-2. In June of 1989 he defended his WBC World Super Middleweight title with a draw in his rematch with Hearns, 46-3.
In December of 1989 in Leonard’s third fight with Duran he defended his WBC World Super Middleweight title for the second time with a decision win.
It would be fourteen months in February of 1991 when Leonard returned to the ring dropping back to Super Welterweight losing to WBC World Champion “Terrible” Terry Norris by decision. After six years and a month Leonard came back again losing by stoppage for the lone time in his career to Hector “Macho” Camacho, 62-3-1, in the fifth round. Camacho’s IBC Middleweight title was at stake. Leonard finished his professional career with a 36-3-1 (25) record.
Among his trainers were Angelo Dundee, Dave Jacobs, Janks Morton, Pepe Correa and Adrian Davis. His lone manager was Mike Trainer.
In became a HBO commentator from 1978 to 1990. From 2001 to 2004 he had a promotional company, SRL Boxing. In 2004 he became the host of the boxing reality series The Contender. He was born in May of 1956 in Wilmington, NC, and resided in Palmer Park, MD, throughout his boxing career.
More Boxing History
ShoBox Results: Jaron “Boots” Ennis Stops Ray “Tito” Serrano in Philly
By: Ken Hissner
Hard Hitting Promotions in association with Victory Promotions on a card at South Philly’s 2300 Arena Friday night televised live on ShoBox in an all Philly Main Event before a packed house.
In the main event Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 22-0 (20), destroyed Ray “Tito” Serrano, 24-6 (10), at 1:12 of the second round.
In the first round Ennis came out landing a solid right to the chin of Serrano. Ennis had Serrano backing up the entire round bewildered with the hand speed of Ennis who had him holding on at the bell. In the second round Ennis switching from southpaw to orthodox dropped Serrano with a left hook on the chin. Serrano beat the count but was out of it. Ennis dropped Serrano a second time with a right hand. He jumped on Serrano dropping him with a flurry for a third knockdown ending the mismatch.
Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
In the co-feature Kenny Sims, Jr., 13-2-1 (4), of Chicago, IL, lost a lopsided decision to Sammy Teah, 15-2-1 (7), from Liberia, residing in Philly, over 8 rounds.
In the first round there was no feeling out as both fighters were throwing punches in bunches. Teah used an effective right while Sims used a good left. Round could have gone either way. In round two both fighters mostly used a body attack. Teah rocked Sims with a right hand on the chin. Sims fought back but was hurt. Big round for Teah.
In the third round Teah worked well inside while Sims seemed to play into his hands trying to switch back and forth from orthodox to southpaw but with little effect. In the fourth round Teah used uppercuts to the body hurting Sims. Teah simply outworked the out of town fighter Sims.
In the fifth round Teah kept the pressure on the back pedaling Sims. It was another good round for Teah. Referee Benjy Esteves, Jr., warned Sims at the end of the round for using a back hander. In the sixth round Teah rocked Sims with a combination to the head. Teah landed a double left hook to the body of Sims who came back with a chopping right to the head. Teah had Sims in trouble the last ten seconds of the round as the bell sounded.
In the seventh round Teah kept the jab in the face of Sims who was coming forward looking for the big punch being far behind in the fight. Teah was still the better of the two round after round. In the eighth and final round Teah came out looking for the knockout but Sims knowing he needed one stood his ground. Teah never looked better in this writers eyes.
Scores were Braswell and Weisfeld 77-75 and Poturaj 79-73 This writer had it 79-73.
Super bantam Arnold “Arni” Khegai, 14-0-1 (9), of Philly, defeated Jorge Diaz, 19-6-1 (10), of New Brunswick, NJ over 8 rounds.
In the first three rounds Diaz worked the body of Khegai. Diaz in the fourth round drew blood over the left eye of Khegai. Cut-man Joey Eye went to work on it between rounds.
In the fifth round Khegai finally started landing solid punches to the head of the ever ducking Diaz. Referee Rosato gave several warnings to Khegai for pushing the head of Diaz down but never took a point away. In the sixth round Khegai landed a solid left to the chin of Diaz dropping him. Diaz weathered the storm getting through the round.
In the seventh round Khegai had his best round trying to capitalize on the previous rounds knockdown. Diaz kept in the round as best he could. In the eighth and final round Khegai continued using dirty tactics and receiving warnings but landed solid punches to the fading Diaz. At the end of the round Khegai had Diaz out on his feet being saved by the bell.
Scores were LaRosa 79-72 while Weisfeld and Poturaj scored it 77-74. This writer had it 76-75 with the knockdown the difference.
Philly Lightweight Branden “The Gift” Pizarro, 13-1 (6), defeated Jerome Rodriguez, 7-11-3 (2), out of Allentown, PA, over 6 rounds for the NBA belt.
In the first round Pizarro landed several lead rights to the chin of southpaw Rodriguez. Pizarro landed a 3-punch combination to the body and head of Rodriguez. In the second round a right hook from Rodriguez put a welt under the left eye of Pizarro. Pizarro ended the round with a double left hook to the chin of Rodriguez. Cut-man Joey Eye went to work on the welt of Pizarro’s between rounds.
In the third round inside being held by Rodriguez Pizarro landed three chopping rights to the head. Rodriguez used his jab while Pizarro was throwing twice as many in return followed by rights to the head. In the fourth round Pizarro landed half a dozen unanswered punches. After landing a combination Pizarro got his head snapped back by a Rodriguez jab. Pizarro with his hands to his side ended the round with a combination to the chin of Rodriguez.
In the fifth round Pizarro landed a combination to the head but got caught with a Rodriguez right hook on the chin. Pizarro turned southpaw for about ten secons before returning to orthodox. In the sixth and final round both opened up getting the fans into it. Rodriguez landed a hard uppercut to the chin of Pizarro. Pizarro ended the round with a combination to the chin of Rodriguez.
Scores were LaRosa 60-54 while Braswell and Poturaj as well as this writer had it 59-55. Esteves was the ref.
Super Featherweight Gadwin “Abayarde” Rosa, 9-0 (7) of Ocala, FL, deated German Meraz, 61-51 (38), of Sonora, MEX, over 6 rounds for the NBA title.
In the first two rounds Rosa was on the offense going to the body of Meraz. Rosa landed a solid left hook to the chin of Meraz in the second round. In the third round there was too much clinching as referee Rosato handled it appropriately. Finally with 10 seconds to go Meraz got in his best punch of the night a left hook to the chin of Rosa.
In the fourth round Meraz unloaded with overhand rights to the head of Rosa. Rosa came back evening the score for the most part. In the fifth round Meraz switched to southpaw holding off Rosa for the most part. In the sixth and final round Meraz became the aggressor landing uppercuts to the body of Rosa. Meraz missed with an uppercut and was countered by a Rosa right to the chin.
Scores were LaRosa and Weisfeld 59-55, David Braswell 60-54 with this writer having it 59-55. Rosato was the ref.
Super Welterweight Kieran Hooks, 3-2-1 (1), of Philly, was stopped by Gledwin “Chico” Ortiz, 6-2 (5), of the Bronx, NY, at 2:27 of round one.
In the first round Ortiz landed a devistating right to the chin of Hooks who went down face first. Referee Esteves wisely immediately waved it over!
Super Featherweight Christian Tapia, 7-0 (6), of Coamo, PR, stopped Darnell Pettis, 3-13 (0), of Cleveland, OH, who couldn’t come out for the fourth round.
In the first two rounds it went back and forth. In the third and fourth Tapia took over hurting Pettis. By the end of the fourth referee Rosata with the advice of the ring physician stopped it in favor of Tapia.
Light Heavyweight Benjamin Sinakin, 2-0 (1), of Philly stopped southpaw Darren Gibbs, 1-6 (1), of Ferndale, MI, at 2:23 of the first round.
In the first round Sinakin dropped Gibbs with a right to the chin. Gibbs beat the count but Sinakin jumped on him having him hurt in a corner when referee Esteves wisely called a halt.
Cruiserweight David Stevens, out of Reading, PA, 1-0 (1), stopped Judd Brown, 0-2-1, (0), of Johnson City, TN, at 2:56, of the first round.In the first round Stevens was bombing Brown with solid shots landing a left hook followed by a straight right for a knockdown. The second knockdown was a right uppercut causing referee Rosato to call a halt.
Ray “Tito” Serrano Edged by Malik “Iceman” Hawkins at Fillmore
By: Ken Hissner
Hard Hitting Promotions returned to the beautiful Fillmore in Philadelphia for the second time since their debut there a year ago. They put on an exciting 8 bout card Friday night before a sold out crowd.
In the Main Event Welterweight Ray “Tito” Serrano, 24-5 (10), of Philadelphia, PA, lost a close exciting decision to Malik “Iceman” Hawkins, 13-0 (9), of Baltimore, MD, over 10 rounds.
In the first round it was evident Serrano was stronger but Hawkins quicker. In the second round Hawkins continued using his effective jab and elusive defense causing Serrano problems. In the third round Serrano started getting in body shots on Hawkins. Serrano ended the round with a border line left hook followed by another left hook.
In the fourth round Serrano started by landing a left hook to the chin of Hawkins who shook his head like it wasn’t as hard as it looked. The rest of the round both fighters mixed it up well. Hawkins was landing right uppercuts while Serrano landed left hooks. In the fifth round Serrano landed a stiff jab knocking back the head of Hawkins. A right uppercut to the chin from Hawkins made Serrano hold. Hawkins ended the round with a double left hook to the head of Serrano.
In the sixth round Serrano started things off with a left hook to the chin of Hawkins. Hawkins came back with right uppercuts to the chin. Serrano rocked Hawkins with a right to the chin just prior to the bell. In the seventh round Hawkins was ripping right uppercuts to the body and chin of Serrano. Serrano came right back but Hawkins got the better of it in the round.
In the eighth round both fighters landed left hooks to the chin at the same time. Serrano landed a solid right to the chin of Hawkins. In the ninth round Hawkins landed a right followed by a left to the chin rocking Serrano. Serrano came back landing a pair of rights to the chin. Just prior to the bell, Serrano landed another pair of rights to the chin of Hawkins.
In the tenth and final round with the fight on the line both landed left hooks to the body. Serrano landed a right followed by a left to the chin of Hawkins. Whether Serrano did enough to pull out a draw would be determined and in the hands of the judges.
Judge Lynne Carter scored it 98-92, Justin Rosenstein 96-94 and Dewey LaRosa 97-93. This writer had it 96-94. Referee was Shawn Clark.
Super Bantamweight southpaw Tramaine “Mighty Midget” Williams, 15-0 (5), of New Haven, CT, easily defeated Antonio “Tony” Rodriguez, 12-21-1 (5), of Durango, MEX, over 6 rounds.
In the first round the shorter southpaw Williams was on the attack landing four straight left hands to the body and head of Rodriguez. Several more times the “slick” Williams landed lead left hands to the chin of Rodriguez and evaded return punches. In the second round a straight left from Williams to the chin drove Rodriguez into the ropes. Rodriguez landed a right to the body of Williams which may have been the best punch he landed up until then.
In the third round Williams landed a 3-punch combination to the body and head of Rodriguez. Whenever Rodriguez and Williams clinch Rodriguez gets in some of his best punches against the much faster Williams. In the fifth round Williams landed lead left’s to the chin of Rodriguez three different times. Rodriguez came back landing four unanswered punches that didn’t seem to have much effect on Williams. Williams landed a combination to the chin of Rodriguez who came back with a right of his own.
The sixth and final round inside Rodriguez is able to get right uppercuts to the body of Williams. Rodriguez landed a lead right hook to the side of the head of Williams. The ring physician was brought in by Referee Ron Bashir to check a cut along the right eyebrow of Rodriguez that the referee said it was from a punch. The action ending the last twenty seconds was furious up until the bell.
Judges Constatino 60-53, Rubenstein 59-55 and LaRosa 58-56. This writer had it 60-54.
Super Middleweight Ronald “Akeem” Ellis, 15-0-2 (10), of Lynn, MASS, defeated Taneal Goyco, 9-11-1 (4), of Philadelphia, PA, over 6 exciting rounds of action.
In the first round Ellis stormed out of his corner landing right hand after right hand to the chin of Goyco who mostly covered up taking punch after punch. In the second round it went almost the same way until the final minute when Goyco backed Ellis against the ropes. There was no quit in Goyco.
In the third round Ellis slowed down ad started boxing using his jab. Goyco had Ellis holding on after landing several wide left hooks to the head. Both boxers threw and landed left hooks to the chin with Goyco’s ending the round. The fans loved the finish. In the fourth round a right hand from Ellis dropped Goyco who was up immediately but took the 8 count from Referee Clark. Goyco continued bobbing and weaving trying to get away from the punch Ellis was throwing and out of nowhere Goyco rocked Ellis with a wild left hook to the chin just prior to the bell.
In the fifth round Ellis was on the attack but Goyco “fighting on instinct” was dangerous with every wild punch he threw. The round ended in a close one but Ellis seemed to have the edge. In the sixth and final round Ellis would land a jab knocking the head of Goyco back only to have Goyco coming back with a punch of his own. Midway through the round the boxers bumped heads causing half a minute of stoppage. Both fighters exchanged solid left hooks to the head in this very exciting crowd pleasing match right up until the end.
Judge Carter 59-55, LaRosa and Constatino 60-53 as did this writer.
Super Lightweight southpaw Jeremy “King” Cuevas, 8-0 (6), of Philadelphia, PA, came back from a knockdown to defeat Efrain “Macho” Cruz, 4-5-1 (1), of Viequs, PR, in another exciting 6.
In the first round Cuevas pushed forward backing Cruz up who was throwing back wildly. Both fighters exchanged left hooks with Cuevas ending up with a left to the chin of Cruz. In the second round Cuevas ran into a Cruz right hand and down he went for the first time in his short career. He struggled up beating the count of Referee Clark and worked his way back and had Cruz in trouble several times though Cruz was always dangerous.
In the third round it was mostly all Cuevas who was back in form with his many fans rooting him on. In the fourth round both fighters had the fans cheering on with Cuevas taking the round with mostly right hooks and following with left’s to the chin of the ever fighting back Cruz.
In the fifth round Cuevas landed a lead left making Cruz duck into a right to the head. Cuevas rocked Cruz with a straight left to the chin. It was Cruz coming forward knowing he was behind but ran into a Cuevas left to the chin. In the sixth and final round Cruz landed a solid left hook to the chin of Cuevas. Cuevas came back landing a double jab to the chin with Cruz coming back with a right to the chin. Cuevas landed a combination to the head of Cruz who once again came right back. This was following the exciting Goyco-Ellis bout keeping the fans cheering.
Judges Carter had it 59-55, Rubenstein 59-55 and LaRosa 59-55 with this writer having it 58-55.
Heavyweight Darmani “Rock Solid” Rock, 11-0 (7), of Philadelphia, PA, knockout out Ronny Hale, 4-12 (4), of Austin, TX, in 1:07 of the second round of a scheduled 6.
In the first round Hale came out swinging but the former top amateur Rock was ready for him. Hale making his second appearance in Philadelphia after scoring a knockout win against an opponent making his debut was in with a different kind of opponent tonight. In the second round Rock landed vicious body shots before finally dropping Hale for the count by Referee Ron Bashir.
Super Lightweight Branden “The Gift” Pizarro, 9-1 (4), of Philadelphia, PA, came back big after suffering his first loss defeating Pablo Cupul, 9-24 (5), of San Diego, CA, over 4 rounds scheduled for 6 cut to a 4.
In the first round Pizarro started off tossing Cupul to the canvas getting warned by referee Clark. From that point on Pizarro handled the shorter Cupul for the most part. In the second round Pizarro continued dominating Cupul hurting him with a combination to the head. Pizarro ended the round with a left hook to the chin of Cupul.
In the third round Pizarro was all over Cupal hurting him with left hook body shots. Referee Clark warned Cupal for hitting behind the head.
All three judges and this writer had it 40-36.
Super Lightweight Sam “Tsunami” Teah, 13-2-1 (5), of Liberia living in Philadelphia, PA, stopped Orlando Rizo, 19-13 (11), of Vieques, PR, at 2:33 of the first round in a scheduled 6.
In the first round Teah dropped Rizo with body shots three times before Referee Bashir called a halt.
In the first bout of the night Super Welterweight Joey Alday, Jr., 7-0 (7), of Odessa, TX, stopped southpaw Michael Crain, 1-2 (0), of Smyrna, DE, at 1:28 of the third round of a scheduled for 4.
In the first round the taller Alday used his reach well while Crain occasionally got inside with some good body work. In the second round Alday’s timing seemed to get on track landing a good left hook on the southpaw Crain’s side of the head. He would follow up several seconds later with a good lead right hand to the chin of Crain. Crain used his jab to get inside with a body shot but can’t seem to reach the taller Alday’s chin. A combination left right from Alday to the chin of Crain dropped him. The bell sounded as Crain got up from referee Shawn Clark’s mandatory 8 count.
In the third round Alday continued the attack with solid left hooks to the body and head. Finally a left hook from Alday to the chin of Crain dropped him to a knee. Referee Clark wisely called a halt as Crain got to his feet.
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.
PBC on Showtime Preview: Garcia vs. Rios, Benavidez vs. Gavril, Ugas vs. Robinson
By: B.A. Cass
On Saturday, February 17, Premier Boxing Champions brings us a tripleheader that includes an IBF eliminator fight and the title shot for WBC Super Middleweight belt. The SHOWTIME coverage is set to begin at 10 PM EST.
The main event will be between the matched Danny Garcia and Brian Rios. The co-main event will the rematch between David Benavidez and Ronald Gavril. And the first televised fight will be between Yordenis Ugas and Ray Robinson.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime
Yordenis Ugas (20-3) vs. Ray Robinson (24-2); Welterweight
After losing to Shawn Porter in 2010, Robinson has stacked up 13 consecutive wins. The talent he has faced has not been exceptional. Nevertheless, he will step into the ring on Saturday night feeling supremely confident. “I’m an old-school fighter,” he said on Wednesday at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. “I love fighting guys that look good on paper and nobody knows who’s going to win and it’s up to his camp and my camp. I haven’t been this excited for a fight in a long time.” Robinson expects Ugas to give him hell, and he expects to give him hell back.
The Cuban-born Ugas, who fights out of Miami, rose to some prominence after winning bronze at the 2008 Olympics. As a professional, he has suffered three losses. “I know what’s at stake,” he said on Wednesday. “It is the biggest fight of my career.”
This is about as even as boxing fights get. Robinson is 32; Ugas is 31. And neither fighter can claim a significant height or reach advantage.
However, the prize for winning is essentially an opportunity to meet defeat: this is an IBF 147-pound eliminator, and the victor will face Errol Spence Jr.
David Benavidez (19-0) vs. Ronald Gavril (18-2); Super Middleweight
When Benavidez defeated Gavril last September by split decision, he won the WBC Super Middleweight title and became the youngest ever world champion in the super middleweight division. “Winning the title changed my confidence but it changed my work too,” he said on Wednesday at the press conference for the fight. “Now I know everybody is gunning for my title and I don’t want to let it go. All the work and sacrifice it took for me to get this – I’m not going to let it go.”
One of only two men who has gone the distance with Benavidez, the older Gavril (he’s got ten years on Benavidez) surprised a lot of fight fans last time around. It was a close fight. Gavril got rocked in the eleventh round but came back the twelfth round with a blow that knocked Benavidez on his ass. As a late replacement, Gavril had only four weeks to prepare for his first fight with Benavidez. He had a full ten-week training camp this time around. If he wins, he’ll be able to bring WBC belt back to his home country of Romania. “I’m not looking for a knockout,” he said on Wednesday. “I’m looking to win every round.”
Benavidez doesn’t intend to give up his championship belt. “I don’t think Gavril can do any better than he did in the last fight. He’s a one trick pony and he doesn’t have many tricks left. He’s getting old.”
The WBC did not mandate this fight, which means Benavidez took it willingly. There can be only one reason for that: he wants to put all doubts about his supremacy to rest. “I’m thinking it will be a knockout around Round 5,” he said. “It’s going to be a combination of the body and chin.”
Danny Garcia (33-1) vs. Brandon Rios (34-3-1); Welterweight
Garcia is still talking about Keith Thurman, who delivered Garcia his only professional loss. “I don’t blame Keith Thurman for not wanting to fight me again,” he said at the press conference Wednesday. “I wouldn’t want to fight me two times in a row.” Garcia hasn’t fought since losing to Garcia, which means when he steps into the ring he’ll be coming off an 11-month hiatus. He has an opportunity to impress, and he doesn’t intend to lose.
After being by dominated by Timothy Bradley Jr. in 2015, Rios retired from the sport. However, he came back 19 months later to defeat Aaron Herrera. Rios took a lot of shots before he finally KO’d Herrera. If he’s smart, Garcia will look to exploit this vulnerability.
Although Garcia is the clear favorite, Rios isn’t coming for just a paycheck. He a pressure fighter and knows how to make necessary adjustments. He’s ready to fight, and he’s excited to face Garcia. “One thing I like is he doesn’t move or run,” Rios said of Garcia. “He likes to bang it out, and that suits my style better. But if he does run, we’ll be ready for that too.”
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
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.
A Hagler-Leonard Story
By: Marley Malenfant
In my old man’s gym hangs a framed picture of Marvin “Marvelous” Hagler with the black and blue trunks, the trunks he wore in the fight against Sugar Ray Leonard 30 years ago.
Anytime I visit his gym and look at that picture, I think of my Pops sucking his teeth and said “that decision was bullshit. Hagler won that fight.”
The result of the fight is often discussed between my parents. Pops was ride-or-die with Hagler and my mom loved her some “Sugar” Ray Leonard, so they could never come to an agreement on who won the fight.
My Pops is from Rhode Island and always felt like Hagler was kin. My mother watched Leonard’s fights on TV before cable television monopolized the sport.
“The Green Hill boxing gym” opened in 2001. My pops called this part of the room the “wall of fame.” On the right is a framed picture of “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler and “Sugar” Ray Leonard.
My parents met in the Army and boxing is likely what drew them together. While serving in the military, my old man was an amateur boxer.
Hagler, also a New Englander by way of Brockton, Massachusetts had this no nonsense image about him. In the build up to the Leonard fight, he wore a hat at a news conference with the word “WAR” embolden above the brim.
I think that’s what my old man liked about Hagler the most. Hagler disregarded his opponents.
New York Times columnist Phil Berger appropriately called him “Boxing’s Angry Man.” While I wouldn’t call my pops angry, I’d say he always approached boxing and training his students in a no bullshit way. My old man is like Julius (played by Terry Crews), the character that represented Chris Rock’s fictional father in the TV show “Everybody Hates Chris.”
Like Hagler, my pops grew up poor.
My old man saw Hagler as someone who made it out. More so than the power, skills and savagery that Hagler possessed, was the every-man feel that my pops and other fans admired.
Hagler came in each fight like therew was a repressed memory of a bully, and that bully did something awful to Hagler in his childhood and now he’s looking to take it out on whatever man is in front of him.
This is the behavior I sense from him but I had to watch Hagler-Leonard for myself again, by myself.
Hagler’s approach to most of of his fights was to remain mean. From the training camps and promotions, all the way through fight night, Hagler’s demeanor was bully-like. It was cartoonish, like the X-Men’s Wolverine or Dragon Ball Z’s Vegeta.
Hagler once called his Cape Cod training camp “jail.”
Columnist Michael Katz wrote about how Hagler skipped seeing his wife and new-born baby daughter because it would make him too soft before his fight with William “Caveman” Lee.
“Nah,” replied Hagler. “I don’t want to kiss no babies. I gotta be mean.”
Anger can be a valuable psychological weapon in the ring but in this fight against Leonard, it held him back. Hagler started the fight in a conventional stance even though it was known that Leonard struggled with southpaws.
Hagler chased him all fight long and Sugar Ray’s clinch’s frustrated Hagler. He made Hagler badly miss what seemed like easy set ups for power punches, and he outworked Hagler by using his legs and speed and working the ring.
While Hagler muscled his way through Leonard’s flurries, Sugar Ray never panicked. His legs were tired but still battled and got off flurries and quick combinations on the stoic Hagler.
I scored the fight 115-114 for Leonard.
Sorry pops, but you can’t win this one. Mom was right.
She usually is.
More Boxing History
Top Rank on ESPN Results: Lomachenko Breaks Down Marriaga, Beltran Decisions Vasquez
By: William Holmes
Top Rank Promotions continued their relationship with ESPN tonight by placing one of boxing’s pound for pound superstars, Vasyl Lomachenko, on the main event in a WBO Junior Lightweight Title Bout.
The Microsoft theater in Los Angeles, California was the host site for tonight’s card with an announced attendance of 4,102. The NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame ended late and the first undercard fight was shown on ESPN2.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Arnold Barboza Jr. (16-0) and Jonathan Chicas (15-2) started off the telecast halfway through the bout and both boxers scored a knockdown by the sixth round.
The crowd responded well to this bout as Chicas was going for an upset and had Barboza hurt several times throughout the bout.
The final scores were 76-74, 77-73, and 78-72 for Arnold Barboza Jr,
The next bout of the night was between Raymundo Beltran (33-7-1) and Bryan Vasquez (36-2) in the lightweight division.
Vasquez came in overweight and was unable to fight for Beltran’s titles. However, Beltran looked significantly bigger than Vasquez inside the ring.
Both boxers started off in the orthodox stance in the first round and Beltran was showing good head movement while landing his straight right hands and counter lefts. Vasquez switched stances during the first round, but was not effective with it.
Beltran went to the body more I the second round and landed several hard shots in the last thirty seconds. Vasquez tripped Beltran at the end of the round.
Vasquez started off the third round strong but Beltran took over in the second half of the round. Beltran’s best combination of this round started off with two hooks to the body followed by a left hook to the head.
Vasquez was able to land an impressive wind up right uppercut on Beltran in the fourth round, but Beltran walked right through it and seemed unaffected. Beltran had Vasquez backing up with jabs to the body and head in the fifth round but may have been out landed by Vasquez during their exchanges.
Vasquez appeared to be more willing to exchange in the sixth round, but Beltran’s punches were noticeably more effective and had more pop behind them. Beltran landed an impressive right hook around the high guard of Vasquez in the seventh and looked to be establishing firm control of the fight.
Vasquez had a decent eighth round and proved to be elusive for Beltran and at the start of the ninth round Beltran had a cut by his right eye.
Vasquez and Beltran clashed heads in the tenth and Vasquez probably needed a knockout to win. The blood was obscuring the vision of Beltran but he was able to avoid succumbing to a last round knockdown.
Beltran was bloodied but walked away with a close win. The final scores were 95-95, 96-94, and 96-94.
The main event of the evening was between WBO Junior Lightweight Champion Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1) and Miguel Marriaga (25-2).
Both boxers showed a lot of upper body movement in the opening round but Lomachenko was the boxer that was applying the pressure. Marriaga was able to land the early punches but Lomachenko began to land some good combinations as the round came to an end.
The pressure by Lomachenko continued in the second round and he was able to land hard left uppercuts and punches from all angles.
Marriaga was tagged with hard lefts to the head and body in the third round as Lomachenko was starting to settle into his grove. Lomachenko landed two consecutive straight left hands on Marriaga that sent him to the mat. Marriaga was able to get back to his feet and Lomachenko willingly backed into a corner and waived Marriaga forward. Marriaga came forward and threw several punches at Lomachenko, but was not able to land anything of significance.
Lomachenko’s pressure continued into the fifth round but he suffered a cut near his left eye due to a clash of heads.
Lomachenko’s pressure and hand speed had Marriaga back pedaling while getting peppered from all angles in the sixth and seventh rounds. Marriaga looked like he was hurt in the sixth round from a consistent body attack by Lomachenko.
Lomachenko looked like he was going for the stoppage in the seventh round as he was landing heavy shots and taking a lot of risks. Lomachenko was able to score a late round knockdown and Marriaga looked mentally defeated as he went back to his corner.
Marriaga’s corner told the referee their fighter was unable to continue before the start of the eighth round.
Vasyl Lomachenko dazzles once again with a 7th round TKO.
“New” Ray Robinson Wins at Tropicana in Atlantic City Friday
“New” Ray Robinson Wins at Tropicana in Atlantic City Friday
By: Ken Hissner
Hard Hitting Promotions with Manny Rivera and Will Ruiz brought their Philadelphia promotion to Atlantic City’s Tropicana Hotel & Casino Friday night featuring Philadelphia’s “New” Ray Robinson and a cast of young talent who will be the future of Philadelphia boxing!
Welterweight southpaw “New” Ray Robinson, 24-2 (12), of Philadelphia, defeated by technical decision Columbian Breidis “Braidys” Prescott, 30-11 (22), of Miami, FL, into the seventh round.
In the first two rounds Prescott was the aggressor while Robinson showed pin point counter punching. In the third round it was Robinson backing up Prescott with a solid jab and hurting him with a right hook to the chin near the end of the round.
In the fourth round both rocked one another at the same time. Robinson was out punching Prescott. In the fifth and sixth rounds Robinson became much more aggressive in trying to take Prescott out. In what referee Harvey Dock ruled a clash of heads in the seventh round Prescott went down and didn’t make any effort to get up. The EMT’s had to remove Prescott from the ring. The judges went to the scorecards. Robinson hasn’t lost since 2010. His trainer “Bozy” Ennis seemed quite pleased as was his manager David McWater.
All 3 judges and this writer had it 70-63.
Luis “Popeye” Lebron, 9-0-1 (4), of San Juan, PR, defeated in a real battle Manuel “El Zombie” Botti, 22-1-1 (18), of DR, for the WBA Fedelatin featherweight title, over 10 rounds.
In the opening round it was all Botti. In the second round Lebron came back to control while both gave a good account of themselves. In the third round it went back and forth with Lebron pulling it out. In the fourth and fifth rounds both were rocked. Botti kept coming forward getting the better of the two inside.
In the sixth and seventh rounds they continue to take turns getting the better of the action. It turned into a war as uppercuts from both boxers were flying. Neither would give an inch in a real slugfest. In the eighth round Lebron landed three left hooks to the head of Botti. As Botti came back he was stunned by a Lebron left hook to the head.
In the ninth round it continued to be a savage fight. In the tenth and final round Lebron seemed to have pulled it out.
Judge Carter had it 98-92, Constatino 99-91 and Cheeks 100-90. This writer had it much much closer at 96-94.
Super lightweight Liberian Samuel “Tsunami” Teah, 11-1-1 (5), of Philadelphia, knocked out Dominican Ken Alvarez, 8-6-2 (3), of PR, at 1:48 of the third round.
In the first two rounds both boxers mixed it up well especially to the body. In the third round Teah landed a hard right to the head of Alvarez. Seconds later Teah landed a chopping right to the head of Alvarez and out he went.
Bantamweight Christian Carto, 10-0 (10), of Philadelphia, continued his knockout streak and now up to 10 as he stopped Juan Guzman, 22-8 (12), of DR, 2:30 of the first round.
In the first round Carto dropped Guzman twice to a knee while referee Lee never acknowledged them. In between those Carto scored a knockdown. The unofficial fourth knockdown referee Lee couldn’t miss as Guzman went down and referee Lee finally called a halt.
17 year old lightweight Branden Pizarro, 6-0 (3), of Philadelphia, in a brilliant performance stopped Angel Hernandez, 2-4 (1), of PR, at 0:26 of the sixth.
In the opening round Pizarro controlled with good body work but Hernandez got in several of his own but was completely outclassed. In the second round it was all Pizarro landing pin point punches breaking Hernandez down. In the third round though Hernandez got several good body shots in Pizarro completely controlled the round working both body and head with punches.
In the fourth round Pizarro showed his skills while on the ropes landing uppercuts. A pair of uppercuts by Pizarro hurt Hernandez backing him up several steps. In the fifth round Hernandez tried pushing Pizarro over the ropes getting a warning from referee Lee. Pizarro landed 3 left hooks to the body of Hernandez on several occasions. A left hook from Pizarro to the chin of Hernandez dropped him. He got up and held on as the bell sounded. In the sixth and final round a vicious body shot made Hernandez step back and drop to a knee taking the full count from referee Lee. It was a brilliant performance from Pizarro.
Bantamweight Ariel Lopez, 7-0 (5), of Pueblo, MEX, won a split decision over Charles Clark, 1-3-1 (1), of Dallas, TX, in a 6.
In the opening round after a minute of no punching Lopez landed a double right hook to the head of Clark. In the second round things started heating up with Lopez using his combinations and Clark landing a solid lead right to the head. In the third round Clark drove Lopez into a neutral corner landing well until a punch went south of the border. Lopez landed a 3-punch combination with Clark coming back with a solid left hook to the head of Lopez.
In the fourth round Lopez landed a solid double left hook to the body of Clark who countered with a solid left hook to the head of Lopez. In the fifth round a Clark left hook to the head rocked Lopez. Clark had a point taken away for a low blow after several previous warnings from referee Eddie Claudio. In the sixth and final round both looked tired.
Judge Barnes had it 58-55 and George Hill 57-56 for Lopez while Rubenstein 57-56 for Clark. This writer had it 58-55 Lopez.
Featherweight Jose “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, 8-0-1 (2), of New York City, in a hard fought fight won a split decision over Mexico’s Guadalupe “Lupe” Arroyo, 2-5 (0), of Huntington Beach, CA, in a 6.
In the first two rounds Arroyo came in low throwing wild punches as Gonzalez the southpaw picked him off with uppercuts. In the third and fourth rounds Gonzalez was warned several times for infractions. He hurt Arroyo several times with body shots. In the fifth round Arroyo did much better while Gonzalez continued to get away with pushing off without warning from referee Claudio. In the sixth and final round Arroyo landed a solid uppercut to the chin of Gonzalez knocking his head back. It got sloppy in the final round with both boxers tiring.
Judge Barnes had it 58-56, Rubenstein 59-55 for Gonzalez and Hill 58-56 for Arroyo. This writer had it 59-55 for Gonzalez.
Jeremy Cuevas, 4-0 (3), of Philly knocked out Jonathan Valarezo, 0-2 (0), of Ecuador at 2:08 of the first round.
In the first round both mixed it up well until an overhand left from Cuevas to the head of Valarez and down he went and out.
Welterweight Mark Dawson, 4-0-1 (3), of Philadelphia won over William Hill, 2-4 (0), of Detroit, MI, in a bloody 4.
In the opening round it was too much holding. In the second round Dawson landed a right hook causing a cut on the upper eye lid of Hill. Dawson was using a good uppercut when Hill came in low. In the third round the blood is covering the face of Hill on the left side. Dawson due to a head butt had a cut over his left eye. In the fourth the ring physician took a long look at Dawson who was obviously ahead before she allowed the fight to continue. In the final round Hill was chasing Dawson knowing he was behind and ran into a straight left to the chin from Dawson. Hill’s left eye was closed by the end of the round.
Judges Barnes, Hill and Rubenstein and this writer had it 40-36.
It was a good and competitive show for Hard Hitting’s first NJ event.
More Atlantic City Boxing
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Celebration a Big Success!
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Celebration a Big Success!
By: Ken Hissner
Ray McCline’s idea of creating the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame was a big success over the weekend. Especially on Sunday night with 24 inductee’s before a large crowd at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City!
Master of Ceremonies was the New Jersey Hall of Fames President Henry Hascup who did an excellent job. There were some excellent acceptances starting with legendary matchmaker Don Elbaum’s stories. He has worked in over a thousand shows over the years. “This is incredible. My mentor J Russell Peltz is here and the man I got started Don King!” He went onto say how Jimmy Carter was running for president at the time and how King called him Jimmy and Carter called King “President!” In King’s hometown of Cleveland Carter won big taking not only the black vote but the Jewish vote. King took credit for both! He brought in then Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) for an exhibition to help a children’s hospital.
Hascup first brought up Mike Hall, Jr. whose father Mike was being inducted. He trained world champion Virgil Hill amongst others. This writer saw him earlier and said “it’s good to see you are still alive” not knowing I was talking to the deceased’s son. Another Atlantic City native Bill Johnson came forth whose brother Leavander was the IBF lightweight champion winning in Italy and passed away shortly after a battle in NV losing his title but going out like a warrior! “My brother loved the sport and the people involved with it,” said Johnson. Hascup said “Leavander gave his life for the sport!”
Althea Saunders sang the national anthem. She is still an active boxer from Atlantic City. As expected Larry “The Easton Assasin” didn’t show and “Iron” Mike Tyson didn’t either but was seen via video accepting his induction from AZ. Inductee Ken Condon known for his PPV work talked about being in Barbados when he left his wife upstairs to go downstairs in the hotel to watch Spinks-Holmes II. It caused an obvious argument he said.
Michael Spinks drew the most attention afterwards signing autographs, getting pictures taken by many fans of his and being interviewed. Press members included AC Press writer David Weinberg, John DiSanto of Philly Boxing History, Bernard Fernandez formerly with the Philadelphia News, Joe
Sangrito formerly of Ring Magazine, Frank Bartolini of the Rinaldi Brothers newspaper, Marc Abrams and his beautiful wife, with Abrams doing an excellent job with the PR work for the event. Keebler Media was taping the event and this writer representing Boxing Insider.
Representing his father Lou Duva was Dino Duva still an active manager saying “today would have been my father’s 95th birthday.” Duva put on the first world title bout in Atlantic City with Joey Giardello fighting Dick Tiger. “My father always said never forget your roots,” said Duva.
Accepting for the absent Holmes was one of “Smoking” Joe Frazier’s daughters Weatta.
An emotional wife and daughter of the head physician in Atlantic City was none other than Dr. Frank Doggett. “He graduated from Howard Universities Medical School in 1948 and was chief surgeon for the Atlantic Police and Fireman. He referred to the boxers as his boxers. If he was here he would simply say thank you.”
Nicoli the artist was on hand showing a portrait of Don King which went up for bid with no takers. One of the VP’s of the board who did the electing was Rodnick Green VP Strategy & Business Development for the ACBHOF who proclaimed how another well-known inductee Steve “Double S” Smoger who was inducted into the IBHOF in 2016 helped the kids at the AC PAL! Smoger known to be one of the best speakers in the business talked about how Elbaum ran weekly shows at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino for five years and how he worked many of them as a referee. He has received many awards and is one of the best of all time.
Fan and press favorite writer Jack “KO” Obermayer who passed away approximately a year ago was well represented by Freddy Blumstein one of the best timekeepers in the business who said “my wife curses the day I met KO because I am away from home so much.” Eric Bottjer one of the best well known matchmakers in the business called Obermayer his best friend. Obermayer’s daughter and his partner Darlene, who flew in from Wyoming, saying “he was the love of my life!”
Roy Foreman another VP who managed his brother George and who lives in the area and is now promoting shows in Houston, TX, was well received by the audience saying “without the boxers we wouldn’t be here!”
Mustafa Ameen spoke in behalf of inductee Matthew Saad Muhammad how the nuns found him on the Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Parkway at the age of 4 left there by his brother at his mother’s request due to having too many kids. Saad’s adopted brother Joe Johnson was in attendance. Ameen talked how Saad put up a 10k award if anyone would come forward telling him who would know anything about his identity. As it turned out someone did and told him his real name was Antonio Loach. They appeared on Good Morning America and Saad was not too fond of being called Antonio. Ameem talked of Saad’s religion of being a Muslim. When Saad passed away there was a funeral at a mosque and then at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Saad told me personally during an interview “I’m no longer a Muslim.”
Elbaum spoke how he got King into the business as the first black promoter and took him to New York introducing him to Madison Square Garden’s promoter and matchmaker. King said “they are all white!” Elbaum told him “don’t say that again for we are all Americans adding Kings famous known phrase Only In America!” Elbaum went onto say how Tropicana gave him a two year contract, living quarters and agreed to run every Tuesday night.
Current NJ Commissioner of boxing Larry Hazzard, Sr. did an excellent job speaking of how he spent 13 years in the amateurs working as a referee and becoming one of the tops in the world and becoming commissioner. After leaving office the current governor of NJ Chris Christy brought Hazzard back for his old job.
Smoger talked about starting out as a timekeeper from 1978 to 1982 and starting to ref in 1984 and becoming the referee in a world title fight just two years later. He said how he worked shows for Peltz, King, Frank Gelb and Duva. He gave a large amount of credit to Deputy Commissioner Bob Lee who couldn’t make the event. “He treated me like gold,” said Smoger. He also gave a lot of credit and would expect the next induction to be the then commissioner and former heavyweight champion “Jersey” Joe Walcott. He went onto say except for referee Pat Russell he was the longest serving referee in the country.
Former world light heavyweight champion Mike “The Jewish Bomber” Rossman accepted his award and walked off the stage without saying a word. He had his Local 30 Roofers jacket on and the roofers bought 40 tickets.
Dave Bontempo another inductee spoke well and how ESPN recruited him from AC and how the game has changed since the Atlantic City Press had him cover boxing. He went onto say how boxers like Bennie Serrano became well known fighting at the Tropicana for Elbaum. He added it was 20 years ago today he met his wife Suzie and being married for 32 years.
Peltz, a well-known matchmaker and promoter as well as being one of the few promoters doing his own matchmaking spoke as well as anyone at the podium. He ran shows while attending Temple University at the age of 22 in 1969 and brought in “Bad” Bennie Briscoe on his first show. He said “we didn’t need any med’s in those days only a boxer with a heartbeat or without.” How in 1970 he brought in IBHOF trainer George Benton to headline a show and paid him 1k while the show itself cost $800 to run prior to this. Benton’s manager insisted Benton’s return but Benton was not to be found at the gym he trained so Peltz got another headliner. When Benton showed up with his old yellow suitcase weeks before the event Peltz told him he was replaced because he wasn’t ever in the gym. Benton called his manager Gramby who got Peltz on the phone and said “isn’t your word good enough?”
Peltz remembered that and once brought in Gramby’s prize attraction heavyweight Tex Cobb to headline. He was to get 20k but got a bigger offer of 500k from MSG and Peltz reminded him of “isn’t your word any good?” Cobb fought for Peltz. Peltz said Cobb once said “I didn’t lose to Larry Holmes, I just lost the first 15 rounds.”
Gelb talked about how over 500 shows were run in AC from 1982-85 and how “Russell stole half of my stories.” Gelb’s sons were also in attendance. He said “when the NFL went on strike NBC decided to put on boxing in its place and how inductee Arturo Gatti sold out the Boardwalk Hall six consecutive times. Gatti’s beautiful daughter Sophia was there who was 3 when her father passed away. She spoke well of her father and how blessed she was to have him for a father.
King gave credit to Arthur Goldberg as “his boss who called King the light of the boardwalk starting him off at Bally’s.”
Chuck Zito formerly a Hell’s Angel’s biker accepted for Gatti. “He fought here 23 times and got Fighter of the Year from Ring Magazine 5 times. Bill Johnson talked about his brother winning his first 23 (including a draw) fights. “My oldest son’s wanted to box and the youngest was Leavander.
Former world heavyweight champion Bruce “Atlantic City Express” Seldon and Qawi were two who learned to box at the PAL.
Former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi said “someone saw my work on the streets of Camden and fought with their fists, no guns.” Spinks who defeated him along with being the first present light heavyweight champion to win the heavyweight title from Holmes thanked his Lord and Savior. The Lord worked through me and gave him all the honor and glory.
Hazzard had played the part in the Ali movie of Zack Clayton. He thanked McCline and Foreman and gave thanks to his wife Patricia along with their family. “She married me and the sport of boxing,” said Hazzard. “We had 3 fights in one day by USA Boxing, CBS all at different places like the Tropicana and the Boardwalk. Hazzard went on to say “it was better to stop a fight a little early than too late.”
Lindsay Tucker of the IBF spoke in accepting Lee’s award who was President of the first IBF with Tucker saying “Bob couldn’t make it tonight but was elated.”
King would be the final speaker giving one of his shortest speeches. “I started in Atlantic City in 1972 thanks to Elbaum. We had 8 world title bouts in Atlantic City promoted for and about the people. I started at the top with Ali,” said King. He said how current President Donald Trump helped him and what a great job he is doing now as President.
Current mayor Don Guardian spoke to close the event.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Beltran Flattens Maicelo, Crawford Dazzles in Impressive Performance
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Beltran Flattens Maicelo,
By: William Holmes
The ultra-talented and underappreciated Terence Crawford headlined tonight’s HBO World Championship Boxing Card live from Madison Square Garden in New York City as he took on former Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz.
The untelevised undercard featured some of Top Rank’s best prospects, including gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov and the man many consider to be the best prospect from the US Olympic Boxing team of 2016, Shakur Stevenson.
There were no notable upsets on the undercard.
Unfortunately for Top Rank, Terence Crawford’s ability to draw in New York City appears to be questionable, as the top section of Madison Square Garden was empty and there were numerous empty seats in the lower section of the arena.
The first bout on the televised card was between Jonathan Maicelo (25-2) and Ray Beltran (32-7-1) for the NABF, NABO, WBA International, and in an IBF World Title Elimination Bout in the lightweight division.
Maicelo, surprisingly, had a large number of fans in attendance and they were very vocal during the ring entrance and announcements.
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and Beltran was clearly the bigger fighter. Beltran pressed forward in the opening round while the crowd loudly chanted “Peru, Peru!” for their boxer Jonathan Maicelo. Maicelo was able to score a surprise knockdown on Beltran from a combination to the body and an accidental head-butt in the first. The clash of heads opened up a cut over the left eye of Maicelo and the left eye of Beltran. Beltran was able to hurt Maicelo with a left hook at the end of the round.
Beltran pressed forward to start the second round and opened up with an early left hook. Maicelo was able to respond with a solid four punch combination followed by a hard shot to the body. Maicelo looked energized and landed another combination on Beltran by the ropes. However, beltran later responded with a vicious left hook that sent the back of Maicelo’s head crashing hard on the mat.
Maicelo was out cold and the referee immediately stopped the bout. Ray Beltran wins by a vicious knockout at 1:25 of the second round.
The main event of the night was between Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz (19-1) and Terence Crawford (30-0) for the WBO and WBC Super Lightweight World Titles.
Crawford, who had a noticeable height advantage, was active with his jab early on and chose to come out in a southpaw stance against the Diaz, who is a natural southpaw. Diaz was short with most of his punches and reached for his left hook while Crawford was active with his jab.
Diaz was able to land a good left hook early in the second round and later fell to the mat with a pushdown afterwards. Crawford was sharp with his jab for most of the second round and landed a sharp double uppercut combination in the middle of the round. Diaz was able to land a hard right hook near the end of the second that caught Crawford off guard.
Crawford hard a commanding third round and opened it up with a crisp counter left uppercut on a charging Diaz. Crawford’s accuracy with his jab continued in the third round and he was able to land several hard two punch combinations on Diaz.
Diaz was warned for a low blow in the fourth round, but more concerning for him was that Crawford’s accuracy showed no signs of letting up while Diaz’s face was beginning to show signs of swelling from Crawfrod’s accurate assaults.
Crawford dominated the fifth round which was punctuated by a left cross right jab combination and a hard left uppercut.
Crawford toyed with Diaz in the sixth round and seemingly touched Diaz with his gloves whenever he wanted to. Diaz was able to land some good punches in the seventh round and they had several good exchanges, but Crawford appeared to get the better of Diaz.
There was some trash talk between both boxers in the eighth and ninth rounds, but Crawford was landing combinations at will and the intensity of his punches showed no signs of slowing down. He had Diaz momentarily stunned in the ninth round with a hard left cross to the temple of Diaz.
Ringside doctors took a hard look at the eyes of Diaz before the start of the tenth round but decided to let him continue. Crawford took no pity on the plight of Diaz and battered him from ring post to ring post in the tenth round and toyed with him, again.
Diaz walked back to his corner at the end of the tenth round looking like a defeated man and his corner wisely decided to call of the fight.
Terence Crawford wins by TKO at the end of the tenth round in an impressive and dominant performance.
Undercard Quick Results:
Steve Nelson (7-0) defeated Gilberto Rubio (7-5) by TKO at 0:36 of the second round in the light heavyweight division.
Henry Lebron (2-0) defeated Johnny Estrada (0-2) by TKO at 0:52 of the second round in the super featherweight division.
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (2-0) defeated Agustine Mauras (6-3-3) by decision with scores of 80-72 on all three scorecards in the super lightweight division.
Konstantin Ponomarev (32-0) defeated Edward Paredes (37-7-1) by decision with scores of 78-74 on all three scorecards in the super welterweight division.
Teofimo Lopez III (5-0) defeated Ronald Rivas (5-6-2) by knockout at 2:21 of the second round in the lightweight division.
Tong Hui Li (9-1) defeated Daniel Calzada (14-17-3) by decision in the super welterweight division with scores of 60-54 on all three scorecards.
Shakur Stevenson (2-0) defeated Carlos Suarez (6-4-2) in the featherweight division wins by TKO at 2:35 of the first round.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, McGregor, Yafai, Barthelemy, Robinson, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, McGregor, Yafai, Barthelemy, Robinson, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 9th to May 16th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Lorenzo Fertitta Gives Blessing for Mayweather vs. McGregor
Lorenza Fertitta, former co-owner of the UFC, recently told TMZ that he supports Dana White’s plan to pay Floyd Mayweather $100 million and Conor McGregor $75 million if they fight and believes they deserve it.
Lorenza Fertitta, along with his brother Frank, invested $2 million into the UFC in 2001 and sold it for $4 billion in 2016.
Read more at http://www.tmz.com/2017/05/13/lorenzo-fertitta-ufc-mayweather-mcgregor/
B. Riley & Co. Presents the 8th Annual “Big Fighters, Big Cause” Charity Boxing Night Benefiting the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation
Sugar Ray Leonard and celebrity guests including Bill Bellamy (Event Host & Actor/Comedian), Bo Jackson (Former NFL/MLB Athlete), Chris Spencer (Actor, Black-ish), Cindy Crawford, Craig Robinson (Actor/Comedian), David James Elliott (Actor, Secrets and Lies), En Vogue (R&B/Pop Vocal Group), Holly Robinson Peete (Actress, Chicago Fire), Johnny Gill (Recording Artist), Judge Greg Mathis (TV Personality), Laila Ali Conway (Former Professional Boxer), Magic Johnson, Matthew Rutler, Mia St. John (Professional Boxer), Oscar De La Hoya (Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO), Rande Gerber, Rodney Peete (Former NFL Athlete), Sergio Mora (Professional Boxer), Terry Norris (Former Professional Boxer), Tina Knowles Lawson, Tommy Davidson (Actor/Comedian), and Usher (Actor/Recording Artist). *All attendees subject to change.
On Wednesday, May 24, B. Riley & Co. will present the 8th Annual “Big Fighters, Big Cause” Charity Boxing Night benefiting the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation at The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Hosted by actor and comedian Bill Bellamy, the evening will feature live professional boxing presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The live fights will begin at 6:30 PM through 9:00 PM and the main event of the evening features Kevin Rivers, Jr. vs. Mario Macias in a featherweight bout scheduled for six rounds.
The evening will feature a National Anthem performance by En Vogue, as well as a live & silent auction display, which will include iconic memorabilia and other one-of-a-kind items and experiences to benefit this important cause.
Additionally, the event will honor nine-year-old Jackson Blair with the 2017 Golden Glove Award for his extraordinary dedication and hard work to raise money and awareness for type 1 (T1D) diabetes.
Proceeds from the exclusive event will support the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation and their mission to fund life-changing research, care and awareness for pediatric type 1 & 2 diabetes and to help children live healthier lives through diet and exercise.
The 8th Annual “Big Fighters, Big Cause” Charity Boxing Night is presented by B. Riley & Co., a leading investment bank which provides corporate finance, research, and sales and trading to corporate, institutional and high net worth individual clients.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
4:30pm Media Check-in Begins
5:00pm Red Carpet Arrivals & Silent Auction Begin
6:30pm Fights & Live Auction Begin
Note: Fight Card Subject to Change
• Fight 1: Rafael Gramajo vs. TBA, Super Bantanweights for 6 Rounds
• Fight 2: Marvin Cabrera vs. Quantavious Green, Middleweights for 6 Rounds
• Fight 3: Luis Coria vs. TBA, Featherweights for 4 Rounds
• Fight 4: Kevin Rivers, Jr. vs. Mario Macias, Featherweights for 6 Rounds
7:00pm Welcome Remarks/National Anthem/Award Presentation
9:00pm Event Ends (approx.)
The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, 1700 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Rances Barthelemy Training Camp Quotes
Rances Barthelemy is set to face Kiryl Relikh in a WBA 140 pound title eliminator on Saturday May 20th on Showtime from the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. Below are a few select quotes from a recent press conference.
1) How is training camp going? How have you benefitted from sparring and training alongside of your brother Leduan and Yordenis Ugas and have their recent performances been an indication of how you expect to perform?
“Training camp is going really well. Training alongside of my brother and Yordenis under the tutelage of Ismael Salas is the best thing that could happen in my career. They keep me focused and motivated to get better every day. Yordenis and I have been helping each other during our camps, he’s an Olympic athlete so having him to train with is really beneficial. We have a new strength and conditioning coach as well who has us in the best shape possible. I know May 20 you guys will see the best Rances Barthelemy yet.”
2) What would it mean to you to become the first three-division world champion from Cuba?
“It would mean the world to me, after all that it took to defect from Cuba, the near death experiences, the imprisonments, leaving my loved ones behind, it would all have been worth it. I want to inspire the youth that come after me as well, let them know to never give up on their dreams no matter the conditions you live in or what the naysayers may say. Me winning a third world title and making history for a Cuban would prove that.”
3) What did you take away from Relikh’s loss to Ricky Burns?
“I didn’t get to watch the fight but watched the highlights and it seemed like a very entertaining fight. People were saying that it probably should have gone the other way even, so it seems like he put on a good performance.”
4) How would you characterize Relikh’s style and how do you see this fight playing out?
“He likes to come forward a lot and attack. I’m prepared for that if that’s what he plans to do come fight night but I also anticipate having to make adjustments. I always prepare to adjust to whatever my opponent brings. Being a cerebral fighter is a skill that has helped me succeed inside the ring.”
5) Can you address your 11-month layoff and how your training has been geared towards shaking off any ring rust you may have?
“There will be no ring rust come May 20 as we have been in the gym non-stop since my last fight against Mickey Bey. We took a few weeks off to visit Cuba for the first time since my defection. Aside from that I made sure to stay active and I’ve been training hard to be prepared when my name got called. The 11-month layoff happened for reasons out of my control. My management team has been trying to get the best opponents and unfortunately it took longer than we expected but we are here now and I’m as prepared as I have ever been.”
6) How did you trip back to Cuba come about and what was it like to be back in your home country?
“It was very emotional and a long eight years since I had been back. I didn’t know if I’d be able to go back or not. But I visited the Cuban embassy in Washington D.C. and they told me I’d finally be able to go back to visit my loved ones. It was nothing but nerves until I got over there. It was an emotional time and everyone welcomed me back with open arms in my hometown of Havana. It’s something I will never forget, especially for the way I was received.”
7) How do you rate your skills and progression as a fighter considering your last three dominant wins over top quality opposition? Do you feel that you are at the peak of your career?
“I am definitely at my peak physically, and I’m looking to match that on paper this year. I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring. I don’t like to rate myself, I leave that to the people and the media. They’ve taken notice and that’s why I am where I am today, but I am expecting big things to happen this year.”
8) Why did you feel it was time to rise in weight, especially considering the wealth of talent at 135 right now? Who do you consider to be the top 135 fighter now that you are gone?
“My body was asking for it, 135 was taking too much of a physical toll on me. It may not have been noticeable, but I struggled to make weight during my last fight at 135 and felt I lost some of my power because of the drainage. Since I moved up to 140 I definitely have felt a lot better. It was the right move. Plus, I now have the chance to go after a third world title in a third division, which would be the first time for any boxer from Cuba.”
9) Why did you make the decision to move from Miami to Las Vegas and how do you think it has benefited you?
“To be honest, there is nothing better for a Cuban than to be living in Miami, because the weather is just right and what we are used to. But at the same time it presents a lot of distractions too. So moving to the boxing hub of the United States is better for me so I don’t get wrapped up in anything extra other than boxing. Plus, there are so many sparring partners here and I can go up to Mt. Charleston and get my runs in up there.”
Oscar Escandon Training Camp Quotes
Top 126-pound challenger Oscar Escandon shares his thoughts on training camp and more ahead of his first world title opportunity against WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr. Saturday, May 20 on SHOWTIME from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
Coverage on SHOWTIME begins at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and features super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui battling for the IBF Super Middleweight World Championship plus two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy taking on Kiryl Relikh in a 140-pound world title eliminator. In the telecast opener, from Copper Box Arena in London, Gervonta Davis puts his IBF Jr. Lightweight Title on the line against Liam Walsh.
Tickets for the live event at MGM National Harbor, promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $200, $150, $100 and $50, and are now on sale. To purchase tickets go to http://mgmnationalharbor.com/.
Here is what Escandon had to say from Las Vegas before he wraps camp and heads east to headline at MGM National Harbor in Maryland:
On his recent training camp:
“Training camp started off in Gilroy, California where we got a lot of good sparring in the Bay Area. But then we moved camp to Las Vegas where we are training in high elevation. We are running up at Mt. Charleston where the elevation is 8400 feet. All in all, it has been a fantastic camp.”
On fighting in his first main event on SHOWTIME:
“It’s a dream come true to be fighting on SHOWTIME, especially in the main event for a world title. I believe the fans watching will enjoy my fighting style. I always bring excitement to the ring. This will be a fan-friendly fight to watch.”
On facing his opponent, champion Gary Russell Jr:
“Gary Russell Jr. is one of the best fighters in the division. I know it’s not going to be an easy task to defeat him but I’m confident in my ability to come out victorious. I will dig deep and impose my will on him.”
On training with head coach Ruben Guerrero:
“Together Ruben and I get along very well. He’s always there for me when I need him. We are doing everything to get better and we’ll be ready to go. We have a nice game plan that we will display on fight night.”
On what a victory will do for his career:
“This is the biggest fight of my career and a win will lead to bigger and better things, like unification bouts. To capture the WBC world title will be an honor for my team and my people of Colombia. I need to win this fight and capture that WBC title. I can see myself in major fights with a victory.”
Kal Yafai Retains WBA Flyweight Title with Decision Victory
On Saturday, Kal Yafai thrilled his hometown fans in Birmingham, England, and made the first the defense of the WBA Super Flyweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Suguru Muranaka.
The bout headlined another tremendous day of action AWE-A Wealth of Entertainment.
“I am thrilled to be able to bring this action-packed cards to the American fight fans,” said Charles Herring, President of AWE-A Wealth of Entertainment.
“In recent months, The super-flyweight division has been one of the divisions that has featured terrific fights, and today Kal Yafai proved that he is one of the elite in the division. Sam Eggington carried on the momentum of stopping Paulie Malignaggi, and won in another thrilling fight. We have a great Spring and Summer fight schedule that we will be excited to share with the fans very shortly.”
Yafai looked like he was going to have an early day as he sent his Japanese challenger down to the canvas in round two. Muranka proved sturdy and even had a few moments in the fight. Yafai was deducted a point in round eight for low blows, but he was comfortably ahead, and won by scores of 119-107 twice and 118-108.
Yafai is 22-0. Muranaka is 25-3.
Who Was the Best P4P “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker or Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr?
Who Was the Best P4P “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker or Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr?
By: Ken Hissner
This writer has met “Sugar” Ray Leonard several times, Aaron “The Hawk” once and Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker once. I never met Floyd “Money” Mayweather. All are IBHOF inductees except Mayweather who has to wait five years after retiring before induction. He hasn’t fought since 2015.
As far as an amateur Leonard would be in a class of his own compared to the other three though Whitaker also won an Olympic Gold Medal but against lesser opposition.Leonard was from Palmer Park, MD.
Let’s take a look at Leonard first with an amateur record of 145-5 (75) winning the 1976 Olympic Gold Medal before turning professional on possibly the greatest Olympic team in the history of the Games. He won the 1975 Pan American Games the previous year defeating Cubans for both Gold Medals. He was inducted into the Olympic HOF in 1985 and the IBHOF in 1997 fighting from 1977 thru 1997 with a 36-3-1 (25) record.
In talking with Manny Steward who helped this writer judge 1976 vs 1984 Olympic teams we both agreed Leonard was a better amateur than a professional. Steward told me due to hand injuries as a professional. His manager was Mike Trainer and his trainers were Dave Jacobs, Janks Morton, Adrian Davis, Angelo Dundee and Pepe Correa.
Leonard won the WBC & WBA welterweight titles, WBA Junior middleweight, WBC’s middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight titles. Highlights winning world titles by stopping Wildfredo Benitez, winning two of three from Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran, stopping and drawing with Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns, stopping AyubKalule, defeating “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler and stopping Donny Lalondetwice.
Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, 39-1 (36), was from Cincinnati, OH. He was 204-16 in the amateurs winning AAU and Golden Gloves titles while being a Silver Medalist in the 1975 Pan Am Games and a 1976 Olympic alternate losing to future Gold Medalist and Van Barker winner Howard Davis. In talking to Davis over the phone I told him I thought he lost against Pryor in the Olympic Trials. He didn’t agree. Pryor won the 1976 Golden Gloves defeating Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns.
At the Pan Am Games in 1975 Olympic members Chuck “White Chocolate” Walker and Davey Armstrong agreed Leonard just got the best of Pryor in sparring in unforgettable performances by both.
Pryor was the IBF and WBA light welterweight champion. He was 35-0 and was inactive for 2½ years coming back and tasting his only career defeat to Bobby Joe Young then winning his last three fights. He fought from 1976 thru 1990. His most notable wins were over Antonio “Kid Pambele” Cervantes, Dujuan Johnson and over Alexis Arguello twice.His manager was Buddy LaRosa and trained by Panama Lewis.
Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker as a professional was 40-4-1 (17), and as anamateur 201-14.In 1982 he was the Silver Medalist in the World Amateur championships reversing the loss by defeating the same Cuban for the Pan Am Games 1983 Gold Medal. The Russians and Cubans didn’t compete in the 1984 Olympics where Whitaker won the 1984 Olympic Gold Medal in the lightweight division.
Whitaker held the WBA, WBC and IBF titles as a lightweight and a light welterweight. His first attempt for the WBC lightweight title was his first career loss to Jose Luis Ramirez but defeated Ramirez the following year for his first world title. He defeated Azuma Nelson, Jorge Paez, BuddyMcGirt twice and drew with Julio Cesar Chavez. He lost to Oscar “Golden Boy” De la Hoya and Felix “Tito” Trinidad. He fought from 1984 thru 2001.
Whitaker was managed by Shelly Finkel while trained by George Benton and Lou Duva as a professional. He was inducted into the IBHOF in 2007. He would become a trainer after retiring.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr.,was 49-0 (26), as a professional winning the WBC super featherweight, lightweight and light welterweight titles. He won the IBF, WBC, WBA and WBO titles as a welterweight and the WBA & WBC light middleweight titles.
He was managed by Floyd Mayweather, Sr., James Prince and Al Haymon. He was trained by Roger Mayweather, and Mayweather, Sr. He was promoted by Top Rank, Goossen Tutor Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions.
Mayweather was 84-8 as an amateur winning the 1996 Golden Gloves and the Bronze Medal in the 1996 Olympic Games. As a professional he fought from 1996 thru 2015.
In this writers opinion “Sugar” Ray Leonard was the better P4P boxer than the other three. What do you think?
Muhammad Ali’s Offer of a Million to “Sugar” Ray Robinson Rejected!
Muhammad Ali’s Offer of a Million to “Sugar” Ray Robinson Rejected!
By: Ken Hissner
It was after Muhammad Ali won the world title in 1964 over then champion Sonny Liston that he announced he had joined the Nation of Islam.
Considered by most historians as the greatest pound for pound boxer in the history of boxing was “Sugar” Ray Robinson the former welterweight and middleweight champion.
After winning the title Ali was invited to join Robinson on the island of Jamaica in 1965 as a celebrity trainer for one of Robinson’s fights. In March Robinson was fighting Philadelphia’s Jimmy Beecham in Kingston.
As the story goes there were two figures mentioned. Ali either offered Robinson a million dollars or $700,000 if he would become a Muslim. The money would come from Muslims donating $1.00 each. Robinson informed Ali that he could not accept such an offer being a Christian.
It’s been reported recently that the FBI has made public the racist remarks Ali made against white people. One thing not mentioned is that his trainer was Italian Angelo Dundee and his cut man a white Cuban named Ferdie Pacheco. Wali Muhammad was the assistant trainer along with Bundini Brown.
In December of 1990 Ali was responsible for bringing home 15 hostages from Iraq which included both black and white.
Pacheco would inject needles into Ali’s tender hands when Ali’s manager Herbert Muhammad requested he put a halt to it. Pacheco advised if he didn’t do this “Frazier would kick his ass!”
Why People Are Still Talking About The Hagler-Leonard Fight 30 Years Later
Why People Are Still Talking About The Hagler-Leonard Fight 30 Years Later
By: Sean Crose
In all honesty, I’m surprised the fight is still such a big deal. As the media of the time pointed out, it wasn’t the most thrilling affair. What’s more, the bout occurred just before the zenith of the Mike Tyson era. And while it’s true Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard were the two biggest names in boxing at the time, the magnificent age of pugilism they represented was clearly on the way out when the two men finally met in the ring on April 6th, 1987. Upon some retrospection, however, it makes sense that the Hagler-Leonard middleweight championship fight remains alive and well in the public consciousness to this day.
For those who don’t know, Sugar Ray Leonard was the darling of the boxing world, if not the entire sports world, from the late seventies, through the early eighties. A former Olympian with a winning smile and a skill set to burn, the man epitomized what it meant to be an all American success story. After winning the welterweight title back from the meanspirited Roberto Duran in classic stand up to the bully fashion, Leonard said he was happy to win the championship for America. He meant it. And in an era where patriotism wasn’t confused with xenophobia, that sort of thing meant something to the public.
Leonard’s polar opposite was Marvelous Marvin Hagler. The word Marvelous was actually part of his legal name. He put it in there himself (apparently Marvin Hagler simply wouldn’t do). A gritty product of Brockton, Massachusetts (which gave him a kinship with one Rocky Marciano) Hagler had to come up the hard way, through grueling affair after grueling affair. When the man finally won the middleweight title strap, the British audience who witnessed the fight live and in person tossed bottles into the ring. But Hagler wasn’t to be denied. He wasn’t showered with accolades, he earned them.
Yet it wasn’t until Hagler actually bested a rejuvenated Duran in a fifteen round war that attention was finally paid. And, after beating former Leonard nemesis and all time legend Tommy Hearns in what is still the greatest single sporting event I’ve ever seen, it was Hagler, not Leonard, who was on top of the boxing world. Where was Leonard? Well, eye problems had taken him out of the sport – at least for a while. For it’s said that after Leonard watched Hagler struggle against the valiant John Mugabi a year after the epic Hagler-Hearns bout, Leonard realized he could beat the man.
And beat Hagler Leonard did, in one of the biggest upsets in the history of boxing and also of sports in general. Yet that’s not why the fight is still such a hot topic all these years later. There’s a lot more to the story than just that.
For many people feel Hagler got robbed that night, that the 12 round decision victory went to the wrong man. Yet that’s still not why the fight is such a hot topic in 2017. The real reason Hagler-Leonard resonates as it does three decades later is because a golden child bested a working class Joe in a way many found to be unfair. And that sort of thing can hit home.
Had Leonard knocked Hagler out, the bout would remain a classic – but it wouldn’t be seen as the giant enigma it remains to this day. Look at it this way: If Hagler had been awarded the decision that night instead of Leonard, the fight would still have been controversial, but it wouldn’t have irked as many people as it does now.
The fact that the match consisted of Hagler chasing Leonard around the ring while Leonard fired off quick bursts naturally made it open to interpretation.
In a lot of ways, a person’s opinion of the contest could very well be based on his or her preferred style of fighting. Those who like aggression would be inclined to give the nod to Hagler.
Those who like stylists, on the other hand…
This is simply one of those cases where a real consensus will most likely never be reached. Hagler retired after the bout, denying Leonard the chance to erase any question marks. In a sense, both Hagler and Leonard will forever be seen as they are in still photos from that night – frozen in time, engaged in combat, equals in all ways, save for individual opinions, the golden child and his blue color nemesis. It wasn’t a great fight, but it was most certainly a memorable one, in large part because many feel it was emblematic of life itself, a thing where the golden child forever emerges victorious, deservedly or not.