Monthly Archives: December 2010

Open Letter to the National Film Registry & Clint Eastwood

~~Additional copies sent to the Library of Congress and “boxing” senators John McCain and Harry Reid.

~~Clint Eastwood has been in at least two substantial “boxing” films, but has no publically accessible email address.

=====================================================

dross@loc.gov
Attn: Donna Ross

RE: 1897 Heavyweight Title Fight between Jim Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons

Dear Ms. Ross,

I would like to rectify a major oversight in the National Film Registry’s list of films chosen for preservation.

The prime directive of the National Film Preservation Act of 1988 “Directs the Librarian of Congress to establish a National Film Registry to register films that are culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

I have recently perused the Film Registry list of films chosen for preservation from 1989-2009, a two decade compilation, and I could not find the 1897 Heavyweight Title Fight between Jim Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons.

Solar Plexus Punch

Solar Plexus Punch

Please forgive my lack of “qualifications” or “diplomacy” as I have no connection to the film industry nor am I a lobbyist or politician. I am cut from a more common cloth, that of being a common American citizen, so in that vein it is no surprise these days to see a government bureaucracy ignore the most valuable contributions of Americans and their history.

I do note that some novelty shorts such as Rip Van Winkle, The Kiss, and perhaps others were chosen from the same cinematographic experimental era, so it confounds the known laws of the universe to see that the Crown Jewel of Thomas Edison’s Black Maria Studio was not chosen.

Perhaps you were unaware of the importance of boxing to the history of this country and it’s original contribution as a live, dramatic action subject of compelling interest that folks of all walks of life wanted to see enough to flock to theaters decades before Hollywood came along and started rewriting history.

A more detailed history of this fight and it’s making can be found in my 113rd anniversary tribute here:
https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/113rd-anniversary-of-corbett-vs-fitzsimmons-the-first-ever-blockbuster/

Or you can study up on the subject easy enough as I did. It ain’t rocket science.

This first ever championship fight release substantially predated the concept of “blockbuster” which the NFR has erroneously attributed The Great Train Robbery as the first ever. The fight also predated the concept of movie theaters and international releases. This and subsequent filmed title fights involving Jim Jeffries shortly thereafter became a spectacular financial impetus to the development of cinema and the original blueprint for the basic business model used in the development of movie making.

Before Corbett/Fitzsimmons, Edison produced the “Gentleman Jim” Corbett & Peter Courtney boxing film and several boxing shorts before that. Edison built special kinetoscopes to handle the 6 x 1 minute  boxing footage, a big upgrade from the stock 20 sec machines in use for his novelty shorts. Then we get into the film upgrades needed to handle a full sized ring and full length championship match which could go for 20-25 rds, in short, full length cinema footage long before movies.

I could go on, but……..

How in 2 decades worth of work the NFC managed to overlook the core history of filmmaking is a question for another time and place.

The question for now is when will this oversight be corrected?

Thank you for your time,

…….Bobby Mac……

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Joe Louis—Born on the 4th of July

Dateline-4TH of JULY, 1934:

Mighty Young Joe

Mighty Young Joe

Alabama sharecropper’s son, Joe Louis was birthed as a professional boxer at Bacon’s Arena, Chicago, Illinois, forever altering the history of the known world.

Need I remind anyone the miserable state of affairs in the world in 1934, particularly gruesome in Asia, Britain and Europe?

The storied Joe Louis  left hook made it’s debut, knocking down Jack Kracken, 10-6, to open the first round. One good punch shortly thereafter and the world was officially put  on alert when Louis knocked Kracken OUT of the ring into the lap of the startled Illinois Athletic Commissioner overseeing the bout. The ruckus stirred up so much havoc that the poor timekeep never got out of the gate to record the time of the first round KO.

Nobody needed to wave the Red, White, and Blue or strike up the Brass Band. The fireworks he staged in the ring were impressive enough to be remembered forever.

Joe earned $52 for his efforts, a pittance by inflated modern standards, but nothing for a sharecropper’s boy to sneer at in those morbid Depression era years, yet so much greater riches and acclaim awaited in the wings than he could ever imagine in his wildest dreams.

Some 20 years prior, Joseph Louis Barrow made a more typical entry as a bouncing baby boy in Lafayette, Alabama, May 13th, 1914 from the union of Munroe Barrow and Lillie (Reese) Barrow, the seventh of eight children. He weighed 11 pounds at birth, already a heavyweight. The champion, Jack Johnson was in his last year as an exile in France. The next year he would lose his title in Cuba to big Jesse Willard, leaving the door ajar for Louis to slam shut some 22 years later.

The purpose of this article is not a blow by blow account of Joe’s rise to the top of the heap. You can peruse his chronological record here, read the fight reports, and click on his bio: Joe Louis

No sir, I bring up that hot 4th of July introduction of Joe Louis to cheer your countenance and warm your cockles on these frigid winter days and lend perspective why he is usually considered the greatest pure heavyweight in history.

The entire fate of the Free World, indeed, the entire world of high and mighty down to common folk and other sharecropper’s sons and daughters resided in the dynamite of his fists not even 4 yrs later, June 22, 1938.

Joe & Max

Joe & Max

70 million folks in every imaginable time zone and of every imaginable nationality, race, religion, and class across the world listened to THE FIGHT, the first ever truly international broadcast of a championship fight.

By Jove, can JOE LOUIS GET ANY BIGGER THAN THE UNIVERSAL TRUTH without the Sun exploding in OUTRAGEOUS RIGHTEOUSNESS? 

Creation

Creation

Some intriguing Joe Louis ring essentials defy all logic:

~~Louis finished his debut year in the Ring rankings.

~~First full year of boxing and Louis finishes as Ring #1 with James Braddock being the new champ.

~~Third full year of boxing and Louis, barely a month after turning 23, wins the title, already sporting a record of 4-1, 4 KOs against future HOFers.

~~Joe was still in his prime when he volunteered for the US Army at the start of World War II resulting in 3+ yrs of professional boxing inactivity, yet remained invincible in his return to the ring with a 4-0, 3 KO title defense record, 3 of those wins being against future HOFers.

~~Fourteenth year of boxing and Joe Louis retires as unbeaten, untied, universally beloved champion, still holding the current never to be broken record of 25 defenses and near 12 yrs as champ. His record was an incredible 58-1, 50 KO. He had just turned 34 and beaten all of his competition out of sight for the immediate future.

Of all the championship modern heavies passing through the gates of time since, only Wladimir Klitschko has come close to that record, currently age 34 and 55-3, 49 KO. Take almost 4 years out of his career to match Louis, and he wouldn’t even be close.

~~Louis makes comeback after two years retirement at age 36, taking on The Great Champion of the day without a tuneup, Ezzard Charles, and dropping a hard fought decision. Joe soldiers on, winning 8 straight against era contenders in becoming Ring #1, beating yet another future HOFer, Jimmy Bivins, before succumbing an all time legend, Rocky Marciano, putting up a tough fight before going out on his shield.

~~Included in the above post retirement streak was Lee Savold who was the BBB of C recognized Heavyweight Champion of the World, making Louis the first to regain a portion of his heavyweight title. Regrettably, the BBB of C decided to “strip” Joe by recognizing Ezzard Charles the very next day. Savold was also the last known holder of the “white heavyweight title,” a title Joe never claimed nor wanted, but was entitled to by merit.

Final record of 66-3, 52 KO.

G I JOE

G I JOE

While in the US Army, Joe Louis not only ran interference for the Robinson twins, Jackie and Sugar Ray, but he mentored them much as Joe had been mentored by Jack Blackburn and John Roxborough. Without Joe Louis both fiery competitors would have likely ended up in the brig and the sports world deprived of their matured greatness when they emerged from the US Army with honorable discharges.

Joe Louis was awarded the Legion of Merit medal in 1945 for meritorious service during dangerous war conditions endured on both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters after logging more than 21,000 miles and staging 96 boxing exhibitions before two million servicemen, a defacto free pass out of the service. I became acquainted with one of those elderly grizzled service fighters in my youth, a still in fighting trim ex-Navy heavyweight champ, Mr. King, who swelled in obvious pride when he recounted his exhibition with Joe.

The boost in morale Joe Louis gave to the troops was incalculable. He reputedly fought an exhibition at Cheesefoot Head, a very large natural amphitheatre in the Hampshire countryside just outside Winchester, England in front of tens of thousands of gathered Allied troops just days before the massive D-Day invasion of Normandy.

So, when President Harry Truman was turning over the intractable issue of military integration in 1949, Joe Louis was one of the few men whose counsel he solicited, and you better believe that the naturally reticent Joe gave Mr. President the full measure his Army experiences and opinions.

If ever a man was the embodiment of Teddy Roosevelt’s philosophy of walking softly and carrying a big stick, Joe Louis would be that man.

Nelson Mandela cites Ghandi and Joe Louis as his greatest influences growing into his own manhood as does Martin Luther King.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0451527534/ref=sib_rdr_dp/104-3205997-1576710

As the pellet dropped into the container, and the gas curled upward, through the microphone came these words: “Save me, Joe Louis. Save me, Joe Louis. Save me, Joe Louis.”

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5337959

“Every time I hear the name Joe Louis my nose starts to bleed.”- Tommy Farr

Joe Louis by his nature had a very compact, relaxed style both in and out of the ring, never prone to great flashy shows of extemporaneous physical prowess or braggadocio, yet his simple observations are as timeless as his abbreviated knockout punches:

“He can run, but he can’t hide.”

“Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit.”

“Everyone wants to go the heaven, but nobody wants to die.”

When mocked for his Bum of the Month record by the new champ, Muhammad Ali, Joe kept it simple and on target…

“I’d make you one of my bums too.”

And with my personal favorite, Joe knocked simplicity on it’s noggin when queried by a brusque reporter who noted that Joe didn’t like getting hit to the body…

”Who do?”

When Joe Louis finally passed away a month before his 67th birthday, then President Ronald Reagan ran interference and secured him an esteemed burial plot just below the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery where he was buried with full military honors.

Obituary: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/joelouis.htm

Posthumously he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Of course, in Detroit, he has an arena named after him with a massive sculpture of his arm and fist, and this year a, 8’ tall bronze statue of Joe was erected at the county courthouse of his birthplace.

There are so many more complexities to the story of Joe Louis from his tragic battles with the IRS and shaky accountants, to the long list of his wives, women, and his friends that layered themselves into the fabric of his greatness, it becomes like trying to bottle lightning whilst reading The Iliad and The Odyssey Through The Looking Glass.

His magnificent boxing records and influence outside the ring may dim in the glittering here today, forgotten tomorrow bling of modern public consciousness, but Joe Louis can never be eclipsed in history.

…………………1 9 3 7 ~ 1 9 4 9 ………………

1937 ~ 1949

1937 ~ 1949

And The Winner Is—Come On Down Oleksandr Subin!

Boxrec is a whacky anomaly, the most comprehensive and technical boxing website in history, yet a study in contradictions of the unfathomable, indecipherable programing rules they use for their rankings. 

As we hurtle towards the new 2011 year, most of boxing is oblivious to a knockdown, knuckle busting Battle Royale for the all time worst ranked heavyweight in history. One by one the contenders fight their way into fistic history only to be knocked out by the latest pretender to the title of The Lourde of The Least of The Most Prestigious Flagship Division in boxing history.

When I first logged in to Boxrec for a lead, 12/14, a certain obscure British horizontal heavyweight, Herbet Cheetham, 0(0)-2(2)-0, occupied the lowest rung, pegged at 22,137th of 22,137 total heavyweights. A few days later, I noticed that boxrec had completely rejiggered their formulae and current ranks, so I checked in among The Least again, and sho’nuff, a certain Edgar Turpin, 00(0)-6(5)-0, had supplanted the honourable Mr. Cheetham.

Feeling the need of a possible update for this End of the Decade Classic, and lo and behold, Todd Walker he of a 00(0)-5(5)-0 record, well, Mr. Walker occupies the current lowest rung of all rated heavyweights on record as having fought, but, NO~NO~HO~HO~HO~ol’ Sainty Nicky had come bearing gifts of mirth and joy on Christmas Day, so Mr. Walker was supplanted by Tyrone Churchill of South Africa, 3(2)-5(3)-0 out of 22,165 heayweights now, even mo’ leastest than before!

So, yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, but wait, there’s more!

Santy also had his storied elf workshop make up a nice, shiny, brandspankin’ new 22,166 slot for a certain Enrique Escobedo out of Old El Paso way, qualifications being 0(0)-4(4)-0. Poor Mr. Churchill is nowhere in sight anymore the competition at this level has gotten so ferocious.

If only the currently top ranked heavies competed as hard as the leastest, indeed if all the divisions did, we might have the most golden era of boxing in history.

So, in the interest of Shakespheare informing us of brevity being the soul of wit, I shall endeavor to report tomorrow’s leastest of the worstest and put this pig to rest.

FASCINATING!

Enrique Escobedo was still in charge of last place at the opening bell to 12/26, yet the never say die hard charging Tyrone Churchill staged an unprecedented comeback from the forgotten backwater black swamps of ignominy to knock Mr. Escobedo off his shiny new 22,166 place, but alas, the day after Christmas brings some of the most bittersweet highs and lows that a human being can bear.

A new name, a new gunslinger unable to shoot straight has entered the fray and established his own unprecedented category of one, that being 22,167.

Enter Oleksandr Subin, 6(1)-15(7)-0. How fitting that the worstest heavy ever is Ukrainian to counter balance the current top ratings of Wlad and Vitali Klitschko.

Never fear if your favourite is out of the running as of this publication date.

I do intend to monitor Boxrec on New Year’s eve to report on the final update as of 12:00 midnight, Greenwich Village time in tribute to Boxrec being a British founded and run website.

We must have an official leastest of the worstest to finish the first decade of the 3rd millennium on record for future gens to ponder don’t you know?

……….And the Official Loooser is: PENDING….

Yet rumours abound with various sightings reported~ 

Where's my secret sauce?

In Training With Symmetrics

In Training With Symmetrics

OK~Stroke of Midnight~1/1/11, the New Year celebrations are in full swing because of the official worstest of the leastest of any heavyweight that ever existed according to Boxrec.

They created a new category for this newest loooser, so lets hope someone gets the word out to this dear chap so he can leave a pic of himself in fighting trim in my comments section for publication.

The All-Time Loooser:

#22178 Peter Jaako 00(0)-1(0)-0 of Sweden, 1996-1996

Fighter of the Year–Yup, Manny Again!

Muay Thai Manny
Muay Thai Manny

Manny Pacquiao has dominated this category the previous 4 years, winning both the Ring and BWAA Fighter of the Year awards in 2006, 2008, and 2009, so it’s quite possible coming off of two dominant beatdowns of longtime highly ranked contenders Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito, he might be their frontrunner for 2010.

He even has his own venue now, the plush and sparkling freshly minted Dallas Cowboy Stadium, the premiere sports arena in the world where he’s attracted some 90,000 fans this year while minting his own pot of gold in between getting elected to the Congress in his native Philippines.

Manny was even nominated for consideration of a Nobel Peace prize!

http://www.rabbit-punch.net/manny-pacquiao-nominated-for-nobel-peace-prize.html

Is there anything this dynamic little firecracker can’t do?

Well, maybe Freddie Roach is secure in his job after also winning the same year 3 of 4 Trainer of the Year Ring awards, ya think?

That sorted, I’d like to look at some great fighters at this point in time who are worthy of consideration if anybody is tired of Pacquiao hogging the spotlight.

Juan Manuel Lopez, 3-0, 3 KO

Started the year moving up in weight against the consensus #1 featherweight, Steven Luevano, and put on a super solid boxing beatdown on #1, followed by another KO of contender Rafael Concepcion, and finished against formidable Ring legend, Rafael Marquez, knocking him out. About as good as it gets for one year, but there is plenty more to come.

Fernando Montiel, 4-0, 4 KO

Coming off his signature career win over the dominant Hozumi Hasegawa, Montiel filled in the rest of the year against fringe level contenders, but, Lordy, Lordy, now it’s gonna a new 2011 defense against the highly regarded P4Per, young Nonito Donaire, the other Filipino Flash.

Giovani Segura, 4-0, 4 KO

This little junior flyweight champ is coming off his signature career win over the dominant, undefeated, decade long champ, Ivan Calderon. Segura, like Montiel, filled the rest of year knockouts over fringe class contenders. He continues to move up or down to look for bigger fights. He’s within 5lbs of Fernando Montiel now, and what a Mexicano bullring classic that would be.

Sergio Martinez, 2-0, 1 KO

I can’t believe I initially left out Maravilla, remembering his sole loss since 2000 to Paul Williams, but I’ve rectified that now that I noticed their first fight was in December of 2009. What is truly remarkable about Martinez is the way he is coming on late in his career to tackle two of boxing’s certified monsters, the twin towers Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams. The recent Williams rematch was an all time type of booming one punch knockout that will mark Martinez in the great pantheon forever. Nobody had come close to beating Pavlik in the middleweight division in spite of Kelly’s well documented alcohol dependence that unfortunately combined with a Micky Mouse corner that couldn’t handle a cut that blinded him in the later rounds just as he was beginning to time Martinez. Maravilla is a strong darkhorse type of candidate, and he’s penciled in for a defense next March, 12th at Madison Square Garden, so we’ll see how he handles his title reign soon enough.

Wlad Klitschko, 2-0, 2 KO

Two comprehensive beatdowns followed by concussive highlight knockouts of two highly ranked prime contenders, Eddie Chambers and Samuel Peter, the big Ring Champ is only just now receiving credit in the Ring and Boxrec P4P charts. Then there is the frightening specter of his bigger brother backing him up.

No wonder the few remaining contenders not yet obliterated by the brothers are fleeing to distant hills and dales and caves to escape certain bombardment and demise.

I dunno, I see Fighter of the Year awards up for grabs this year as boxing is likely to be taking Manny Pacquiao for granted after he’s pretty much cleared out the welters of any big fights and most of the contenders. There may even be a kneejerk boxing insider backlash from Golden Boy supporters after Shane Mosley was announced as his next fight. Mosley did a Judas and scampered away from his partnership with Golden Boy one supposes if he was free to make a deal with Arum that cut out GB.

I’d like to see Juan Manuel Lopez get some better recognition from Ring Magazine in particular. It’s been slow considering his achievements, but maybe not when you consider his promoter, Bob Arum, is Golden Boy Promotions primary rival and Oscar owns Ring magazine.

Then we have the underdog of all underdogs, the true ageless marvel, Glen Johnson. I’d be thrilled if he sneaked it, but he and the little guys are almost always given short shrift.

BTW, just a historical tidbit that I enjoy immensely, the first ever BWAA Fighter of the Year award went to Jack Dempsey in 1938, eleven years after his last official fight, The Long Count against Gene Tunney.

Now, that is some serious R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

Knockout of the Year– Sergio Martinez KO2 Paul Williams

~((BooM))~ The CHAMP:

Como se dice, "Adios, Amigo?"

Como se dice, "Adios, Amigo?"

Sergio Martinez shattered the glass ceiling that has kept him from the pinnacle of boxing by doing the unthinkable, airmailing the concussive force of a single short looping left handed grenade that blasted the immovable, unstoppable Paul Williams straight into dreamless Bolivia. Both were highly ranked in their multiple divisions for some time now and consensus type P4Pers, so this rematch was highly anticipated. The towering Williams come out hard with an evil blood in his eye glint to him as he went about the task of pounding Martinez into dust bunnies. Perhaps the only criticism might be it was too short of a fight with no chance for ebb and flow or drama, but it was a shocking, turnabout type of moment and absolutely the highest level signature KO of a fine bunch for me, one for the ages.

All 2 rounds of the fight here with the KO just after 5:30 mark. There seems to be a sound lag, so you will hear a huge bomb go off with the crowd roaring about 1 second before it happens on the tape.

The Worthy Contenders:

Fernando Montiel TKO4 Hozumi Hasegawa

The Swarm

The Swarm

Fernando Montiel put together a 6 second highlight clip of his career with a stunning left hook that sent the monstrous Hozumi Hasegawa stumbling back to the ropes where Montiel leaped in to snap off a flash combination that caused the ref, Laurence Cole to stop the fight in the last second of round 4. Both highly ranked in their divisions and fringe P4Pers with Montiel stepping up in weight and flying all the way over to Japan to take on a dominant champ who had a string of KO defenses. What mars this bout for me is the poor reputation of the ref, Laurence Cole, who has uncanny habits of terrible timing among many bad habits, stopping what had been 4 rounds of a Hasegawa textbook masterclass performance after 6 of the last 7 seconds that remained of the 4th round. The champ was just starting to recover when Cole steps in, losing the one minute’s more rest time due him.

Longtime Japanese boxing icon, Joe Kozumi, reported alternately that Hasegawa suffered a fractured rib or fractured jaw either in training or during the fight, but, regardless, that was a booming counter left hook that stumbled Hasegawa and a brilliant flash combo that forced the stoppage of the unstoppable. I would also add that had to have been one of the most gentlemanly technical fights fought at such a high level with nary a thing for the ref to do, both showing complete respect to the other for any minor incidents common in lefty/righty clashes. Hasegawa was very tight at the weight and only trying to break the Japanese record for consecutive defenses. He subsequently moved up two full divisions to featherweight to stage a rough tough masterclass over a bigger, stronger, younger undefeated contender for that WBC title in spite of suffering a terrible cut from a butt early on. He must have been really tight at banty to jump 2 full divisions with such a strong performance.

Rounds 3-4 with the final punches just after the 6:00 mark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpUf_mqg9Sg&feature=related

Glencoffe Johnson KO8 Alan Green

Put a Knot on Your Noggin That Grandpa Soap Won't Wash Out!

Put a Knot on Your Noggin That Grandpa Soap Won't Wash Out!

I like that ol’ man Johnson took this bout on somewhat short notice and made a weight he hadn’t been out for a decade and then knocked out a prime contender who had never been stopped. Thing is that Green was coming off a one of the most technical lopsided losses I’ve ever seen against Ward and was not a highly regarded contender, but still, it’s the Road Warrior for the HOF for me. Nobody comes close to his decade long quality of competition, not to mention being well into his 40s and still willing to travel and cede unfavorable conditions and short money just to get a crack at the cream of his division. He’s become the signature ol’ timer of boxing, more so than any of his contemporaries.

All 30 seconds of round 8, a complete carpet bombing:

Wlad Klitschko had 2 stunning highlight reel knock em dead K-Os of Chambers in the last 5 seconds of the 12th and Samuel Peter at 1:22 of the 10th.

Diced, Then Iced

Diced, Then IcedThe downside is there was no drama of a tough fight or necessity other than Manny Steward challenging Klitschko to stop his methodical beatings and go for it. Still, nobody had ever iced these guys stone cold before, so a combination of being young, highly ranked and rock solid durability type of contenders to be so utterly dominated before the icing, it’s quite an accomplishment in one of the great dominating heavyweight careers.

Entire 12th rd with the KO just after the 3:00 mark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhKcVDfp9F8

My complete respect for the poor, unfortunate victims of these bombings. Takes a brave man to enter the ring and risk his physical and emotional integrity to end up on the down side of the latest highlight clip for schoolboys to giggle over, but such is the risk and nature of boxing.

The Timeless Travesties of Bernard Hopkins

Seldom have I seen modern legends shoot themselves in the foot more than the “alleged” Executioner, Bernard Hopkins. Only the incomparable Mike Tyson and then Floyd Mayweather Jr have done worse.

Yes, I am questioning the veracity of a soon to be 46 years old “Grandpa” as he is now promoting himself after stealing all that shimmers in Montreal and all that glimmers within Jean Pascal last night, ruining a fine comeback. After a very shaky start, Hopkins created yet another stink to his career by whining about the judging that denied him the history of being the oldest fighter to gain a major title that was Jean Pascal’s, the Ring, WBC and “vacant” WBC “Diamond” belt.

The Cards

The Cards

The only thing he has been “executing” in the ring are the rules of boxing and truth and integrity out of the ring. You have to go back some 6 years and 11 fights ago to find a stoppage on his record, an abysmal 9% knockout ratio. The irony of being knocked down twice in the opening stanzas by Pascal’s own identical 9% abysmal knockout ratio over his last 11 fights is a great irony passing over the dim noggins of the usual suspects whining over this fight.

Let’s not forget that Hopkins kicked off his whining early after the first knockdown caused by a Pascal right hand just behind the ear, a legal shot that the ref thankfully recognized.  

Before going further, I’d like to commend the referee, Michael Griffin, a Canadian as I understand. Canadian refs like all hometown refs have a terrible reputation, but his was one of the better efforts I’ve seen this year.

Looking at the record when his decline first begin, Hopkins has a 7 of 9 fights whine ratio starting with the Jermain Taylor series, 78%, so he’s WAY more adept at whining in the ring than “executing” fighters, which doubtless is the real root of his whining. His record in these fights is 5-3-1, 0 KO, so it ain’t Freudian rocket science to figure this is an ongoing middle aged crisis so common in American males as their physical veracity inevitably starts heading downhill.

The end result is a fighter who openly brags about butting open a huge cut on Winky Wright and then mugging him Philly style, yet never once entertained a rematch with Wright who many thought beat Hopkins, nor with Tarver who has a chillingly formidable rematch record, and now Hopkins is whining for a rematch in a fight he didn’t lose?

Has he no sense of shame, or has the magnanimity of being a modern day “legend” completely overridden his sense of honor? According to him, he never lost a fight.

I entered the Hopkins era as most fight fans probably do, willing to judge him with an open mind as I came more familiar with him, so I don’t regard these observations as prejudicial given the legend of the man and the time I spent catching up to the earliest part of his career. Nor will I bother with the host of problems I have with him in older days, since it’s his move to the “lightheavy” division that has boosted his career that he is currently whining about.

My Boo-Boo

My Boo-Boo

Again, make no mistake, I credit him for putting up a nice scrap last night, but the man simply has a swiss cheese number of holes to his “A game” these days to blindly ignore like run of the mill judges who are only accountable to highly subjective standards that give them a free pass to contradict themselves. Carl Froch, Adrian Dicanu and Chad Dawson gave Pascal much closer, more problematic fights than Hopkins did, and Pascal also faded down the stretch in those fights.

I’ve previously addressed the judging issue here after one of the umpteenth “scoring controversies” for any interested:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/boxing-101-how-to-score-ugly-or-mora-vs-mosley-the-no-win-non-fight-of-the-year/

I’d give anything if boxing could straighten out it’s officiating to make it a more visually credible sport, but instead we have the obnoxious Compubox and clones punching out equally dubious “punch stats” that only grow the cesspool and add to the controversy that sees Hopkins and Golden Boy Promotions impugning the integrity of Canadian boxing.

Speaking of impugning integrity, it’s well know that Manny Pacquiao has a pending slander lawsuit against Floyd Mayweather Jr and Golden Boy Promotions, so what has Golden Boy done about claiming to clean up the sport of boxing with Olympic Drug testing? Hopkins is coming off a torpid performance against a career journeyman, Enrique Ornelas, and then a travesty against Roy Jones Jr, and now he’s stronger than a warm garlic malt in a championship fight after starting with 2 clean knockdowns on shaky legs?

A cynic might further fan those flames by adding that Hopkins obviously has problems with “slick African-Haitian-Canadian-Montreal” boxers and would have just as much or more problems with “slick Whiteboy-Romanian-Canadian-Montreal” boxers.

See how easy that was? No wonder Grandpa Hopkins has moved from boxing to whining!

For the record, the 3 big fights I watched this Saturday, all my winners got shot to smithereens by the “judges.” I do score every fight that I watch according to the ABC rules to scoring fights, but I layer in a more objective science that allows me to identify most controversies by scoring close, indeterminate rounds as even, yeah, heresy! The more subjective guidelines used by the judges as I enumerated in my above link forces them to “pick” a winner in those “even” rounds.

How convenient!

Denis Lebedev clearly wasn’t credited for his vicious body shots that broke at least one of the super tough Marco Huck’s ribs, yet the stoic Russian preferred not to object  to the hometown decision, knowing that it’s rare to have a fight overturned and he might not want to anger any future judges with politically incorrect venting.

Pascal faded down the stretch as is his style, yet was not credited for his early dominance that greatly exceeded any of Hopkins few best rounds which should have put Pascal in a lead only overcome by knockout.

39 yr old Francisco Lorenzo made a fan of me for life by taking the Erik Morales fight on short notice and winning most every minute of every round and really taking it to another modern legend trying to reclaim past glory who only had one brief moment of success when he scored a flash knockdown. Morales is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions who need Morales available for the aging Juan Manuel Marquez if he cannot secure a fight against Manny Pacquiao.

It’s all about the Benjamin$ in boxing folks. That’s the history of prizefighting. Modern networks, promoters and ABCs control the Benjamin$, the way it was, is, and always shall be with spare exceptions.

Look for a much bigger promoted Pascal/Hopkins rematch in Vegas coming soon with the next Hopkins controversy being stewed up as we speak. He has been party to some of the worst stinkers of this era and means to add to his cesspool.

Fight of the Year—Jhonny Gonzalez TKO6 Jackson Asiku

I’m surprised that I’ve heard no mention yet of the major Fight of the Year awards by Ring, BWAA, and ESPN. Perhaps that’s in deference to this Saturday’s coming match ups which could theoretically see Bernard Hopkins become the oldest fighter to win a major title or could see an all time fire fight between Marcos Huck and Denis Lebedev.

Typically, the earliest boxing months of the year get overlooked in deference to the all too common short memory span gene that afflicts most of the human species that includes the subspecies, Homo Hackeris, the boxing cogsnetti.

BIG NAME FIGHTS also always have priority over little fights, so with these factors in mind, likeliest frontrunners are Marquez vs Kasidis, TKO 9, and Khan vs Maidana, UD 12, both good action fights of recent vintage.

There are of course any number of all action dramatic fight of the year types in any given year, and as in any beauty contest, usually your personal favorite loses out. I can accept such routine defeat, but imagine my disappointment in finding out that perhaps the greatest ever modern fight staged under the Marquis of Queensbury rules, Alexis Arguello vs Aaron Pryor, their first fight, it amazingly lost out to Bobby Chacon UD 15 Rafael Limon IV, their 4th installment.

At least that was a great fight and Bobby Chacon also won the next year against Cornelius Boza Edwards. Chacon was one of my favorite fighters and game as can be so I’m happy such a great fighter of his day found his place in the sun, but still.

The sheer combination of technical boxing, slugging, ebb and flow, pace, endurance, heart, and dueling ringmanship exhibited by two among the greatest fighters to ever match up against each other in their primes, Arguello/Pryor ticks all the boxes including a minor or major controversy depending on your point of view about the “Black Bottle.”

But enough meandering warm and fuzzy reminiscing, in the here and now of this year, Jhonny Gonzalez and Jackson Asiku staged one of the most dramatic fights I’ve ever seen.

Gonzales is a scrappy Mexican warrior and championship fighter coming out of the banty division. He came up the hard way through the Mexican system, turning pro at age 17 and losing his first two fights before fighting his way to his current 47-7, 41 KO record.

Bulled to the ropes, Jhonny decks Jackson

Bulled to the ropes, Jhonny decks Jackson

His only three losses since 2002 have been to big punching great championship fighters, Israel Vazquez, Gerry Penalosa, and Toshiaki Nishioka, fights he was dominating before succumbing.

Jackson Asiku has a similar background, coming up as a tough Ugandan block of ebony fighting out of Australia who was also rode hard and put up wet early on. Action Jackson went on a six year win streak against some solid competition that netted him the British Commonwealth title. Technically he was the bigger man as a lifelong featherweight and a hard as nails pressure fighter never having been knocked out.

Jhonny Gonzalez had previously been knocked out, but he had also notched wins against the best such as Mark Johnson and Mexican legend Fernando Montiel who is currently a Ring Banty champ and P4Per, and now Gonzalez was moving up after a devastating knockout loss.

Asiku leaped at him like a leopard, but Gonzalez can fight inside or out, and he banged Asiku every which way, yet still Asiku attacked at a ferocious pace and the drama was set.

Could Gonzalez last in a bigger division or had he reached his limits of a after a long hard fought career against some of the best, 53 fights?

The answer came after Jhonny bounced Asiku off the canvas several times and had him finally listing like a ship looking for the right spot to go down with all hands on deck. The pace and urgency of the fight was incredible, and truth be told, Gonzalez is one of the very best all action type of fighters today with plenty of previous thrillers.

Going, going, GONE!

Going, going, GONE!

Where the establishment frontrunners fall short, ie: Golden Boy, starts with one of the worst refereeing efforts this year by Joe Cortez, interfering at every stage when the action grew compelling, even attempting to hold up Khan at a dire moment of dimming consciousness as Maidana stood over him.

Marquez/Katsidis was a more leisurely fight, pretty much a technical fight save for Katsidis knocking down Marquez hard for the umpteenth time in his career which had spectators wondering if the old man had come to the end of the road. Marquez roared back, but then the ref stopped the fight with Katsidis still game, bulling forward, another ref transgression possibly affecting the outcome.

We will see if Golden Boy Promotions gets one of their big stars in the fight of the year. Juan Manuel Marquez vs Juan Diaz won last years Ring FOY with the Marquez name dominating the past 3 years after brother Rafael took honors the 2 years previous with his efforts against Israel Vasquez.  The Marquez brothers also won the BWAA FOY the last two years, Rafael and then Juan Manuel respectively.

Pictures and words will have to suffice in lieu of the Jhonny Gonzalez/Jackson Asiku fight video which was terminated because of copyright violations. This little gemstone is safely buried now in some big business bureaucratic file never to be seen again one supposes.

That Jhonny Gonzalez is also promoted by Golden Boy is rich irony indeed.

So, it’s Jhonny Gonzalez and Jackson Asiku this year for me, a high drama, all action fight of perfect contrasting styles with little referee interference save for issuing counts on Asiku. Truth be told, I doubt the fight will even be considered it falls so far out of the cogsnetti radar, but I have to pay tribute to these two game warriors who are the real face of boxing at it’s best.

Next in the queue, Knockout of the Year and Fighter of the Year……..>>>>>>>>>

A Fighter’s Fight–Marco Huck vs Denis Lebedev

The cruiserweight division has been long maligned as a refuge for overweight lightheavies or undersized, heavies, but Marco Huck and Denis Lebedev will be the same ring sizes of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in their Fight of the Century.

Be there.....What ever recognition their careers may lack with the general public, make no mistake, these are some seriously strong fighters who can bang with the best. All the public attention will be on the hyped Pascal/Hopkins clash in Montreal this Saturday, but it’s almost guaranteed this is the fight real fighters are gonna watch for a treat.

Be there…..

 

Denis the Menace

Denis the Menace

Denis Lebedev is a throwback to rugged frame of Sailor Tom Sharkey at the turn of the 19th century. He doesn’t impress physically with his size and cut, but he absolutely imposes himself his opponent in the most nightmarish way possible, knocking out 8 straight opponents since his comeback in 2008 after a bizarre 4 yr layoff from boxing. They could only last a collective  27 rounds, or about 3 rounds apiece, so clearly the sabbatical did him a world of good as well as moving up to the cruiser division.

#1

#1

Käpt’n Huck turned pro in 2004, so his is a classical journey of a solid championship fighter, taking about 5 yrs to secure a title and now with 4 defenses notched. As you can see, this boy has some size on him, bigger and stronger than anyone he has faced, and at 30-1, 23 KO, he’s racked up a great deal of experience for a 26 yr old and been in with a collection of the best.

Huck is gonna need it because Lebedev is a murderous southpaw coming off his best win yet, a 2nd round KO of highly regarded Alexander Alexeev in the style of Mike Tyson’s storied knockout of Trevor Berbick.

This will be irresistible force colliding with irresistible force with both having unmovable chins, so someone has to crack, but who?

Huck is well experienced in 12 round fights, so one need not be a seer to look at Lebedev’s lack of extended rounds during his comeback to figure that dragging him into the later championship rounds is where you might want to drown him. That would be safer than trying to exchange with him early, but Huck is a fighter’s fighter so he loves a good mano a mano collision. Can he contain his enthusiasm and box?

Huck has shown some more boxing discipline in his defenses and he seems to be totally dedicated to boxing and wanting to hang around for some good number of years, so he might play cagey hard to get with Lebedev. I’m sure that’s what his trainers want out of him.

Lebedev I know less of which is not surprising since he’s contested so few rounds in his comeback. He has a bandy legged awkward menace to him in the ring although there is nothing fancy in what he does but simply stand in front and pick rights and lefts until he hits his bullseye. It would appear he has that awkward sense of timing that opponents cannot train for compounded by his southpaw stance, something they can only experience the fatal results in the ring. Don’t know how good Lebedev is at chasing, cutting off the ring, fighting off the ropes, fighting inside, mauling and grappling, or moving inside the range of the rangy Huck who will be popping him from outside.

Even the ring stare down will be a deadly treat, so stay tuned this Saturday and we’ll find out in German time at Max Schmeling Halle, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin.

Montreal Shimmers As Pascal Glimmers, But Hopkins To Steal The Shine?

Jean Pascal is the latest shining star coming out of a golden era of Montreal fighters, and he means to risk all that glimmers against the aging ring legend, Bernard Hopkins, who can strip the shine off the Sun when his spoiling neurons are all firing in correct sequence.

The best action of this fight might well be the prefight quotes:

Hopkins:  “There is no magic trick to this. December 18 you are going to see me win this fight. Not just go the distance, but win by TKO or stoppage.”

Pascal: ”I went to high school and I had great grades. I went to college and I have my diploma. What I know about you is you’re dangerous and you’re deadly but you’re dirty. That’s three Ds, so you failed the class.”

For Hopkins the prize is becoming the oldest fighter, one month short of 46 years, to claim a stake to a major title with Pascal holding the WBC, IBO, and Ring belts with the glittering vacant WBC “Diamond” belt being tossed in for grabs as well.

Be a nice bounty of booty for the old man if he can pull it off, but the sad truth is that with respect for two notable exceptions, the old man hasn’t been all that for a fair number of years now. He’s coming off of a disgraceful travesty against Roy Jones and a torpid performance against Enrique Ornelas who at least managed to leverage his own loss to the ring legend into a title challenge to WBO supermiddleweight champ, Robert Stieglitz.

The notable exceptions where Hopkins wowed the boxing cogsnetti sufficiently to maintain himself in the always mysterious myriad of boxing rankings are a signature masterclass against middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik at a 170lb catchweight in 2008, and his lifting the Ring belts off an aging, bloated Antonio Tarver in 2006. He has steadfastly refused to face any of the legitimately ranked lightheavies in the division since he dethroned Tarver, and now he’s going against a prime aged one in Jean Pascal in the Lion’s own den.

Pretty Enough For Now

Pretty Enough For Now

Pascal is quite the surprising choice given that Hopkins turned down big money against Danny Green to fight a Roy Jones coming off a devastating 1st round knockout loss to Green. Hopkins may not be all that anymore, but he’s still got a cagey predator’s mind and he sees what I see, huge holes in Pascal’s style that can be exploited.

It also helps his risk/reward decision making process that this is about the last big money option left to him, and it fell into his lap, so why not?

Let’s take a look at the weaknesses of Pascal that Hopkins means to exploit, but first we should acknowledge Pascal’s strengths, that of being prime aged, durable, strong, quick and talented with a fiery fighter’s heart. In short, a handful for anyone in the ring.

In Pascal’s only loss against Carl Froch, he fought in bursts and became visibly fatigued as the fight progressed, lacking any consistency. Froch pulled away by fighting a steady, disciplined basic boxing plan that piled on the points at the end. That fight was closely contested as were his fights against Diaconu and Dawson, meaning that Pascal has yet to show any significant class that would vault him over his peers. Most recently, he was quite fortunate to get an opportune hometown Technical Decision ruling at a point where Dawson had Pascal hurt yet again and ready to go.

Pascal’s style of using great bursts of activity combined with his helter skelter ring movement and skittish jumping about that left him fatigued and off balance are all targets to be zeroed in on by Boxing Judo Grandmaster Hopkins. One could almost envision him orchestrating Pascal to leap through the ropes to bung up his previously dinged up shoulder on the arena floor ala Kermit “The Froggie” Cintron.

Hopkins means to use that shoulder injury and lack of balance as fulcrum points to yank his shoulder out during the inside fighting and pop his signature flash right hand to send the off balanced Pascal tumbling to the canvas for scoring knockdowns. Typically Hopkins slows the fight to his pace by use of the “walk-around”, getting the other fighter to follow him around which he controls by flash right hand counters and then resting on the ropes in the defensive mode, soaking up opponent energy.

Pascal will be forced by the home venue and the advanced age of Hopkins to be the aggressor, but it remains to be seen if he can fight a controlled, consistent fight plan with some nuance to offset the spoiling Hopkins tactics. It could be an easy fight with a good chance for a knockout such are his natural physical attributes over Hopkins, or it could be another classic Hopkins stinker, the choice is Pascal’s.

Hopkins has stated that he will knock out Pascal, but Hopkins ain’t the Archie Moore legend he fancies himself as, barely able to ding a bag of popcorn these days, so it would be a slap in the professional face of Pascal if he allows the old man to clown him.

Can Pasqual man up to the unenviable task ahead, or is he just another pretty boy sporting some shiny baubles for ol’ Gollum to steal from him?

Que sera, sera, what will be, will be, so we shall see what we shall see, que sera, sera…..

Freddie Roach’s Latest Wild Card to Trump Mayweather

Freddie Roach has been the hottest trainer in boxing for some few years now that his star pupil, Manny Pacquiao, has ascended to the highest boxing honors available in the sport, but Roach also runs his Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles where he trains a number of up and coming prospects, contenders, and champs.

Not the least among them is young Amir Khan fresh off his hard fought victory over the HUGE punching terror, Argentinean Marcos Maidana.

Tres Amigos

Tres Amigos

Not withstanding the Joe Cortez fortuitously planned horror of officiating that protected Khan late in the fight when his lights precipitously flickered near the off switch, Khan did managed to scrape across the Maidana finish line to officially become boxing’s next most popular choice to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr after stablemate Manny Pacquiao.

It may be that Khan has also officially become the likeliest frontrunner to actually make that fight happen since he is in the Golden Boy Promotions stable, the only class of fighter Mayweather has chosen to fight for some 5 years.

Mayweather is “officially” taking yet another temporary retirement from the sport, so we don’t know when he will ever fight again or IF he ever fights again given the more than half dozen felony charges against him that could put him in some 35 yrs behind bars.

If Money May ever fights again, it seems ever more remote that it would be against Pacquiao who is promoted by Mayweather’s arch enemy, Bob Arum, whose fighters Mayweather has repeatedly asserted he will never fight, yet has no problems negotiating agreed upon terms for the fight he will never fight.

With the latest Khan victory notched, Freddie Roach can now hunker down at Fort Wild Card to develop two different strategies using two different fighters to beat Mayweather, effectively holding the keys to the two most lucrative Mayweather fights available to Floyd. Roach finds himself in a position of power perhaps never before afforded to boxing trainers in the history of boxing.

Roach is more than a trainer though with a link to the storied past as a bad ass lightweight with no punch mentored by the late Eddie Futch. Roach has become a rare combination of manager, mentor, advisor and friend to many of his fighters, so holds a big sway over any prefight proceedings.

Amir Khan most likely will be defending if not pursuing unification in his next junior welter bout, but the big story aside from the debunked chin of china perception is that Khan is willing to move up in weight to face Mayweather who has actually expressed an interest in fighting Khan.

Roach wants that fight. It may be presumptuous to say that all roads to the biggest two fights in boxing history pass through Freddie Roach, but, indeed, that seems to be the situation at this point.

Amazing, but true, a modern day Svengali in fisticuffs for the ages, and it’s no accident that his latest pupil, UFC p4p #1 Georges St. Pierre, used his boxing to score a devastating shutout of his most serious challenge yet.

No word or photos have yet surfaced of Freddie Roach walking on water yet, so stay tuned.

Ya never know what’s next in Freddie World.