Monthly Archives: August 2014

Jermain Taylor Arrested In Shooting Altercation

Very sad news to report as Jermain Taylor was arrested in connection with a shooting that left his cousin hospitalized in serious condition.

Details here:

http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2014/aug/26/sheriffs-office-intruder-shot-jermain-taylors-home/

Jermaine Taylor had a life in the mold of a classic All American type as any boy born in Arkansas could ever hope for. He was personable and telegenic, yet humble and disciplined, a working man’s hero who abundantly gave back to the community who had supported him. He rose through the competitive ranks of boxing as a skinny amateur onto Olympic medal honors before winning the most unified world title in history against Bernard Hopkins. Subsequent P4P accolades and various media honors further feathered out his nest. Taylor was married to a beautiful collegiate basketball player who shared his Southern and athletic roots and had started a family as any proper All American should.

Life was beautiful, the fish were jumping, his purses substantial, and he was highly regarded in the boxing industry. Who could ever ask for more?

Then he got tangled up with Kelly Pavlik in an explosive life and death classic and neither has ever been the same since though Taylor’s plunge from the heady heights was more immediate. Yet here he was again, poised in the queue of greatness to challenge new IBF champion Sam Soliman just down the river at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi only 6 weeks from now, but it looks to have all come tumbling down on him with the news of his arrest.

He’ll be going through the justice system for however long that takes with whatever restrictions they impose until his case comes to a conclusion. He has yet to regain a boxing license, so hopefully this is an opportunity disguised as a warning shot across the bow that he may need help in restructuring his life.

All our best to the extended Taylor family members…

All American Taylors

All American Taylors

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Klitschko/Pulev Fight Postponed~Wlad Injured

***Fight postponed due to Wladimir injury reported alternately as a hamstring pull or left bicep tear.

Sad but true perhaps this warning shot across the bow of the aging Klitschko juggernaut as he dragged Shannon Briggs across the landscape that left him shaking his right hand. Not much else in the story, but link here for confirmation:

http://www.espn.co.uk/boxing/sport/story/336929.html

Future Destiny In Waiting~Wladimir Klitschko vs Kubrat Pulev

***Fight postponed due to Wladimir injury reported alternately as a hamstring pull or left bicep tear. Sad but true perhaps this warning shot across the bow of the aging Klitschko juggernaut as he dragged Shannon Briggs across the landscape that left him shaking his right hand. Not much else in the story, but link here for confirmation:

http://www.espn.co.uk/boxing/sport/story/336929.html

Wladimir Klitschko is back in action to defend his myriad collection of world title belts against IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev at O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday, September 6th. He is coming off a successful defense against his WBO mandatory Alex Leapai who was well tenderized before being knocked out in the 6th round, but there’s much more at stake than just this upcoming title defense.

The Combatants

The Combatants

Klitschko is currently 23-2, 17 KOs in title fights coming into his his 26th title fight. Only the immortal Joe Louis was in more heavyweight title fights, sporting a 26-1 record with the 26 all consecutive wins, one record heavyweights will likely never break. A win against Pulev puts Wladimir within two title fights of tying Joe’s 26 title wins record and breaking his 27 total title fights record.

Records are fascinating reflections of the eras in which they occur and most will eventually be broken as the rules and culture changes, but boxing has a history of pulling the plug on modern fighters approaching Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 heavyweight record. The Joe Louis records may be even more revered as we may discover once Wlad tries to cross that threshold. This is the first recorded instance of a modern heavyweight champion also simultaneously approaching the Joe Louis final record of 66-3, 52 KO, dead square within his sights with Wlad currently at 62-3, 52 KO and still on top of his game. There will be much moaning and wringing of limp hands about this heavy division being soft by the grandsons of the same moaning critics of previous eras who were never satisfied with the greats who do pass through their eras, always preferring the good old days of their misguided besotted youth when the biggest impressions are made on the soft clay of their memory.

The perfect modern era example of that misanthropic thinking is the stellar record of two division champ Dariusz Michalczweski who was the long time “lineal” lightheavyweight champ according to the varied arcane claims kept by persnickety purist “boxing experts” as he waged one of the best title runs in history. He approached the Rocky Marciano career mark of 49-0 as he also made a bid to tie the Joe Louis record of 26 consecutive title wins. During his span of 9 years the aptly monikered “Tiger” defended his WBO lightheavy title while adding the WBO cruiserweight title that he never defended and the IBF, WBA, and “lineal” titles when he beat HOFer Virgil Hill.

The Fates could not have arranged for a more eventful challenge to boxing history, but being such fastidiously fickle sisters, they upped their ante on this poor Polish boy by booting him into Germany where he became a huge star with the expected accumulating hubris as he played out his preordained destiny before adoring fans.

They also made sure that Michalczweski was to be infamously and quite immediately stripped of his hard won WBA and IBF baubles that Roy Jones Jr then moved up to claim to much more acclaim that in turn secured his own lock as a first ballot International Boxing Hall of Famer that Dariusz currently remains locked out of. Roy fought many of the same fighters Dariusz fought, often after Dariusz had already taken care of business in advance. As Dariusz approached those legendary boxing milestones, he and his team obviously developed a sense of history and wanted affirmation from American media that historically define prevailing boxing media content. They flew to America for an HBO televised Jones title match where he publicly lobbies for a Jones unification fight to no avail. Jones and his HBO paymasters blithely snubbed what would have been the biggest money purse in Roy’s career. You could ask them why, but I doubt there will be any truth forthcoming. You see, all that big money was only if the fight were held in Germany with a German broadcaster that HBO either could not or would not match in a home setting for Roy. Nor would Roy travel abroad for a big fight much like the the current crop of acclaimed undefeated American P4Pers whose names are already forgotten in the span of time.

Instead Roy settled for the much touted Don King canned WBA heavyweight challenge against John Ruiz with King contractually keeping that title “in house” for well over a decade before his own inevitable decline finally saw him lose his grip. So King held the WBA heavy option on Roy for one year to no avail when Roy simply refused to defend, instead holding a King’s Court as suitors supplicated themselves before him with a dozen heavyweight and cruiserweight big fight offers before vacating the heavyweight title which, cough, cough, immediately reverted back to the justly maligned John Ruiz.  Roy did finally return and beat Antonio Tarver to an unexpected savaging by critics who finally saw their estimation of his otherworldly talents and career dashed on the rocks of their own misguided expectations of Roy cleaning out the heavyweight division.

‘T’ain’t ever easy being the best ever in the best of times when the times savagely turn on you.

The discouraged Dariusz instead held his historic bout against the light swatting Julio Gonzalez whom Roy had previously beaten in 12 lackluster rounds. Gonzalez was the best Dariusz could find under the circumstances, yet a poor substitute that showed in his own lackluster performance where he looked to be sleep walking underwater for the first half of the fight as the gentle pitty-pattering rain of Gonzalez racked up the points. Then the switch gets turns on as Dariusz finds his timing and desire to chase and pound on Gonzalez down the stretch. I thought Dariusz showed the heart of a champ under adverse conditions to win those rounds, but instead the judges denied him that fight and his place in history with a razor thin split decision loss.

Dariusz record here: Dariusz Michalczewski

The modestly equipped Gonzalez could do nothing with the belt but to promptly drop it to talented undefeated Hungarian Zsolt Erdei who had his own problems making big fights with Americans. So the great Roy Jones thus became something of arcane anomaly after all his storied dozens of title fights in never having once held the “Lineal” belt holder in any of the four divisions he held the belt.

So the extensive history of the above/\ is the backdrop setting in this upcoming international fistic play as we get back to the robust upcoming challenge ahead to Wlad’s own considerable legacy.

The 33 year old Bulgarian Pulev is a rugged 6-5, 250 lbs who doesn’t give away any size or strength worth noting. He has recently beat 3 “giant” heavyweights in a row, knocking out top 20 contenders Alexander Dimitrenko and Alexander Ustinov and then beating top 10 Tony Thompson by decision. Though his record pales compared to Wlad, only 20-0, 11 KO, he seems like the type of fighter who fights up or down to the importance of the fight and this his biggest fight ever.

The Klitschko brothers’ K2 Promotions won the IBF mandatory purse bid over Pulev promoter Saureland promotions which was the only way this fight could have been made since both are big German promotional rivals who seldom work with each other unless circumstances force them.

Sound familiar?

Pulev has managed to go a bit further in the prefight than previous Wlad opponents, claiming he, Pulev, is drug tested 6x per year and demanding Wlad take his same tests. Wlad only undergoes post fight drug testing under the auspices of the German Boxing Federation, approximately 2-3x per year dependent on his fight schedule, so no Olympic drug testing controversy this one. The recent Felix Sturm/Sam Soliman bombardment of vicious charges and counter charges over the legality of a nominal compound used in vitamins and supplements highlights the shameless incompetence of cartels and commissions who crudely rule over this untidy sport. If the illicit cartels and commishes ever establish themselves to be as well tested and competently trained as the fighters that they attempt to pass judgement on, then some day the public might take these clowns seriously. Yeah, fat chance that, but such is the way life is everywhere, so we the people of the world adjust to modern prefight and prework drug testing posturing the best we can.

The Cannon Iced!

The Cannon Iced!

And speaking of going further than normal in prefight posturing, a special mention must be made for the grotesquely abnormal pre-prefight posturing of Shannon Briggs in a frothing, rabid state of hysteria during the weeks to the lead up to this fight. He had been stalking Klitschko in his Florida training regimen with what looked like staged video setups, the first of which showed him taking off a shoe to throw at Wlad who was having his hands taped. OK, just some harmless goofy stuff that gets the usual suspects all riled up, but five weeks away from the Pulev fight Briggs stormed a restaurant Klitscko was dining at, screaming hysterically before grabbing his plate to wolf down Wlad’s meal. Wlad blithely joked around before pouring ice water over his bald noggin which flashed Briggs to sweep the table clear in a shattering violent explosion before a bodyguard wrapped him up to cart off outside where Briggs fled to the local hospital with cut hands and feet. Wlad may have cut or broken his right hand as well as he was looking at the palm and shaking something off.

So, Wlad has to effectively negotiate through Shannon “The Loose Cannon” Briggs first who may well be stalking him in his return to Germany as he has done in the past before Wlad can fight Pulev. We shall see soon enough if these were publicity set ups if and when Wlad schedules the desperate Briggs for his next fight. Video here:

At the very least the best heavyweight champion of this era will meet yet another of his main rivals, something that seldom happens in the US at the lesser weights they represent these days.

It should be noted that Wladimir’s brother Vitali was recently elected mayor of Kiev in Ukraine which is currently engaged in a tragically escalating border war against Russia. Hard to say how those political and war distractions add up, but Wlad should be the betting favorite by a good margin over Pulev who looks like he’s durable enough to be dangerous over all 12 rounds.

The usual anti social media monkeys male bonded in a fury of vitriol over Klitschko’s excessive holding against Russian Alexander Povetkin last year and then piled on over the quality of Alex Leapai as a fighter. Wlad looked like a proctologist grown weary of his profession as he gazed down upon Povetkin in a reflective pause before donning the rubber gloves for the perfunctory examination, but look a little closer and you can almost see a return to the original London Prize Ring Rules with 3 hard knockdowns and otherwise manhandling the surprisingly game Povetkin to toss him about the ring old school style into the ropes and onto the canvas like a rag doll. This Pulev fellow looks too strong and densely built for that, but at the end of the day, Wlad has been executing his various mandatory defenses by the textbook, meaning Pulev is likely well pulped by the end of their session however the means.

Is Pulev made of greater stuff than just another lumped up, lopsided heavybag twisting on the chains for Wladimir? Been much bigger upsets than this one which could be interesting on many fronts. Just you watch and wait and see history in the making…

The Essentials

The Essentials

What If: Prince Naseem Hamed vs Pretty Boy Floyd Mayweather

This another “What If” timeline scenario that could have very well been played out in reality. Floyd Mayweather was still Pretty Boy Floyd back between 2000-2002 where he was in some really tough bouts just as Naseem Hamed reached the apex of his Prince’s reign while struggling to make weight in the division below Mayweather. Neither have ever been my cup of tea personality wise, but the striking contrast of conflicting styles and egos simply cannot be topped. What if…?

The Pretty Boy

The Pretty Boy

From 2000-2002 Floyd Mayweather was in some grueling fights against tough no holds barred free swinging fighters as opposed to the typical touted posing talents of today. First there was bad blood with Drunken Master Emanuel Augustus, then a cupcake walkover against a weight drained Diego Corrales on his way to jail, then Carlos Hernandez who walked him down hard the whole of their fight, then Jose Luis Castillo twice BBQed a rack of his ribs as he knotted up his noggin, and then the swarming stings of Jesus Chavez whom he couldn’t keep off him.

Naseem Hamed was struggling to make weight in this time frame in the same ol’, same ol’ story of the boxing establishment artificially trying to keep fighters below their naturally healthy weights. He finally retired because he hated having to always lose the weight and had made enough money, amazingly more than Pretty Boy who was not nearly such a shooting star as the Prince back then.

What if instead Hamed had moved up a division to challenge Mayweather during this time frame of their mutual struggles. Hamed would spend less time focused on the misery of losing weight and more time training on the joy of taking it to Mayweather. Conversely Mayweather could look forward to a little guy, only 5-4, wanting to challenge him.

Prince the Conqueror

Prince the Conqueror

Hamed was as tough as anyone Mayweather ever fought. He was quicker than all of them and more talented than all of them combined with a style Mayweather could never train for.

Well?

Hot Blast From The Past~Lennox Lewis vs Evander Holyfield I

I confess that I didn’t care for the first Lennox Lewis vs Evander Holyfield fight in the day and thus never had any reason to revisit it other than in sometimes spirited verbal debate arising over such controversial decisions. Finally, 15 years later I pulled it up today for a stylistic comparison of the last “great” American heavyweight as he wound down his career.

In boxing what goes around comes around as the more things change the more they remain the same and every other lame duck adage you can conjure up. Boxing “officials” back then stifled the righteous unification of the titles that Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield each held.

I only wanted see the fight, not to listen to blowhard announcers or review drunken punch monkey stats all strategically placed in to disrupt the basic sounds and sights of the fight. The average viewer soon becomes duped into thinking he is in the magnificent present of all knowing boxing experts emceeing the typical broadcast entertainment extravaganza. Me thinks that this particular fight  set the modern productions of the many international title events “promoted” by the entertainment industry moguls that have followed.

Lewis, Mercante, Holyfield

Lewis, Mercante, Holyfield

Holyfield is the last “great” American heavy at the end of his productive years propped up in Madison Square Garden as his “international” rival Lewis agrees to fly across the Atlantic for the big unification bout everyone and their granny wants to see. The judges are from South Africa, UK, and US with New York based Arthur Mercante Jr. the referee. Big George, Larry and Lamps are the Moe, Larry, and Curly announcing trio with the last great heavyweight trainer Emanuel Steward in the Lewis corner. Roy Jones Jr is set up at another studio and still on top of the boxing world as his braggadocio shoots off the charts. Everyone looks impossibly  young and healthy, yet shockingly Steward is no longer with us. Life is fickle and certainly not as permanent as it sometimes seems during our day to day struggles that seem unceasing before we tune in for ol’ reliable to get the juices roiling, the birthright of Americans, a big match heavyweight duke’em up.

Mercante impossibly slips a missed Real Deal left hook early on that most certainly would have sent him into the 3rd row had it connected as he demonstrated great reflexes and physicality in this grappling, big man affair. The fight turned out to be much better than I remembered though it petered out the last two rounds that doubtless increased the latitude of the scoring as well as dampened my memory of the fight. It was more informative this time around because of the context of the passage of time, so I ended up watching the whole broadcast instead of just the fight.

The broadcast ended up extremely raw and forthright as the hosts and participants struggled to make sense of the incomprehensible.

Lamps is all over the “stench” of the scoring as soon as the scorecards are announced. The setup was the typical Don King promoted modis operandi in the day and still the same format used in many big international fights today. British judge brought in to stay mum with the draw scoring while the American female judge has it for Holyfield and the South African judge for Lewis, the perfect foil for the perfect draw denouement pre-orchestrated by all time scoundrel Don King.

Noteworthy are the vast boos from the majority 21,000 American crowd who certainly have no history of ever taking a shine to Lewis. The reported 7500 Brits flying over to attend the fight can be heard all through taking up the Lewis chant. Had no idea Lewis was “that” popular with Brits in the day though I knew he had a good following.

Emmanuel Steward point blank: “This is is killing boxing.”

Fast forward>>> Shawn Porter vs Kell Brook>>> and we had California based referee Pat Russel as the 3rd man in the ring, the British judge mum again with a draw as the two American judges showed their “impartiality” by going all for the British Brook who is now suddenly mooted for all these artificial “superfights” boxing is desperate to make. The poorly attended crowd of 3000 didn’t have much to cheer about in this poor card that also featured touted American flagship heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder fighting a prelim in front of maybe a few hundred spectators who cheered on his TBA opponent. Sad to see boxing come down to such a low level that the long maligned Lewis/Holyfield fight actually looks good in comparison even if the past it Holyfield fought a poor fight.

Lewis/Holyfield I:

What If: 1989 Roberto Duran vs 1991 James Toney

James Toney has been a bloated tub of goo at heavyweight for so long that folks may not realize that he and Roberto Duran were in the same division, middleweights for a brief overlap of their careers. Toney had yet to crack the top rankings when Duran schooled Iran Barkley, but a couple of years later he was in the mix just as Duran started to fade, so what if we match the newly minted middleweight IBF champ Toney against the Duran who tamed a much more ferocious primed IBF champ Iran Barkley than the cyclops version that Toney would go on to butcher later?

Is that even a fair fight though? Sure, Duran was just short of his 38th birthday with near 90 pro bouts, long past the expiration date of a dedicated professional much less that of an unrepentant legendary party beast that Duran was. Fight Doc Ferdie Pacheco talks of seeing him around this time pushing around an incredible 200 lbs, yet only a few months later was down to 160 for a big fight. Duran and Toney both shared a withering arrogance towards other fighters in and outside the ring  and could have easily shared their fat man walking around clothes with each other. These two could have almost been twins separated at birth but for a couple of decades between their births and a few thousand miles of geography, but a closer look reveals stark boxing distinctions.

Fun Times

Fun Times

Duran broke all the rules as easily as he broke other fighters and certainly the Mr T ghetto befouled persona of Toney in the prefight would rouse him beyond the normal call of fight duty. Toney is 17 years younger and 1991 saw him turn 23 in perhaps his best year ever, starting with a knockout over the undefeated #1 Ring rated IBF champ Michael Nunn, followed by a hotly contested split decision over Reggie Johnson, another knockout of Francesco Dell’Aquila before closing with a draw against HOFer Mike McCallum. Toney was not quite yet in traditional prime years of 25-29 years but he was physically touching the years when Duran was a ranked middleweight.

Duran had to undergo a major metamorphosis after disgracing himself before the boxing community in the “No Mas” travesty against Sugar Ray Leonard. He was unable to secure the rubber match and seemed to have lost his ferocity, sleepwalking through bouts at 154 lbs as he slowly learned how to fight bigger, stronger fighters who could take his punches better than lightweights could. Arguably his best fight ever during this time was a close loss to the all time great Marvin Hagler who was behind on the cards going into the championship rounds. It took a highly aggressive surge to secure the win over the now tiring Duran who was becoming a more stationary target for the bigger, stronger Hagler. Marvin spared not one ounce of sympathy for the sneering Duran who had been frustrating Hagler with a new bag of tricks he had had never been exposed to before.

A strangely despondent looking Duran then lost by stunning knockout to Tommy Hearns, but surprisingly recovered well to go on a 6 year tear culminating in the 1989 schooling of the best version of Iran Barkley that ever existed. OK, purists will note the slip up against Hagler half brother Robbie Sims, but that was an out and out Vegas robbery to keep the younger Sims propped up for bigger promotions that he never had the talent to fulfill. Sims lost every significant bout after being “exposed” in the Duran fight, yet Duran was still able to reach new heights with his win over the massively sized Barkley who was oddly enough coming off his own greatest heights with a quick knockout over Duran nemesis Thomas Hearns.  Duran then lost a lopsided decision in the rubber match to Sugar Ray Leonard, a disgraceful opportunistic bout that saw Leonard run the full 12 rounds of his first defense of the disgracefully won WBC supermiddleweight title. Duran could take heart at near age 40 that Leonard was still wary of engaging him directly after their epic 1980 encounter in Montreal, yet still managed to cut Leonard up over both eyes as a reminder of those beat’em up days Leonard never wanted to return to again.

Lights Out Baby

Lights Out Baby

James Toney for all his faults is the antithesis of Leonard. Being a bully at heart going up against a smaller fighter, he’d storm straight into Duran’s wheelhouse which is where he would FAIL! 

Toney was never the polished boxer he was made out to be and in 1991 even less so,  but rather more fully sown with the ageless oats of youthful invincibility. As further example of his lack of boxing prowess, in the heyday of his prime middle to lightheavyweight career he consistently lost to lesser boxers than Duran.  Micheal Nunn, Roy Jones, Montell Griffin, Drake Thadzi, Dave Tibieri and Montell Griffin boxed him silly. Nunn was a top fighter and big notch for Toney’s career, but it was Toney’s all time great chin and unceasing pressure that wore out Nunn that secured that fight, not his boxing ability. The Tibieri fight became the case in point of the corruption of boxing after the derided Toney decision launched a Congressional investigation into boxing.

And speaking of of the Jones classic, this Duran match up would turn out to be a much more action packed version of Roy Jones outclassing Toney at every turn since Duran is a combination puncher compared to the potshotting Jones. Sure, the oddmakers would have made Toney the big favorite as they did Barkley. Toney and Barkley younger, bigger, stronger fighters on an upswing and Duran still not yet redeemed the full measure of respect lost from the No Mas travesty. Any fantasy fight has to respect the realities of the time frames we are matching them in. However, as a time traveler through the assistance of perusing their records and their fights, I would have the advantage over cagey oddsmakers who in spite of their savvy in being able to make a living setting odds, too often get it spectacularly wrong when huge upsets happen.

Well now, there it is, a fight that was logistically and naturally so close, yet so far away as it turned in the day, yet here and now back in the queue loaded up for today. It’s all Duran for me six days a week and twice on Sunday. 

Memorial Dateline: August 12th, 1982, Salvador Sanchez

It was on this date near the time of this posting, the predawn morning of August 12th some 32 years ago that perhaps the finest boxing talent that Mexico has ever birthed passed violently from this world when his Porsche 928 recklessly attempted to pass a freight truck at a high rate of speed. Salvador “Chava” Sanchez was only 23 years old, an interesting numeric palindromic juxtaposition with the 32 years from today that oddly adds up to the congressionally imposed era safety speed limit of 55 mph in neighboring Texas and the other US states.

Had Sanchez been traveling at 55 he might have maintained control of his Porsche, but then again perhaps Chava was never meant to be confined to such mundane mortal limits, especially while in a rush for a rendezvous with his mistress. After all, he like any great Mexican champ had need of a beautifully amorous  senorita to quicken his pulse and relieve the pain of his grueling training camp, running some 8-10 miles in the mountains six days a week before sparring, even during the blistering Mexican summers.

R.I.P.

R.I.P.

And strangely enough Salvador Sanchez now has a highly touted Mexican  boxing peer of sorts in this palindromic year 32 years later who just compiled an identical 44-1-1, 32 KO  record by age 23 with the slightest of a variant, 44-1-1, 31 KO. That would be Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who has just now managed to make 24 years of age and is looking for his next big fight in Las Vegas.

Thankfully Canelo survived his much speedier 200 mph Maserati to perhaps add on another legendary layer of boxing history to the rich tapestry of Mexican boxing that Sanchez was front and center in establishing. The level of stardom that these fighters attain often extracts a heavy price as it ultimately did Sanchez. There is often no rhyme nor reason nor any purpose to who lives, who thrives, and who dies. We all hang by a twisting threadbare string of mortality that The Fates have us dancing on for their amusement.

Oh my, and such amusement and such spectacular spectacle did Chava provide for us who stood in mute awe after every fight. The numbers don’t lie, 10-0, 5 KO title record with four of those knockouts against Hall of Famers. It was as if he saved his best performances for his best competitors, each brilliant stand alone classics against Danny “Little Red” Lopez twice, Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez, and Azuma “The Professor” Nelson.  There are only a handful of fighters in history who might match such young excellence as Chava acheived almost effortlessly in the middle of the toughest action imaginable. He was possessed of a magical sublime quality in those moments that defies the known physical limits of mankind as should Immortals always be so blessed.

After witnessing the brutal 15 round firefight against Azuma Nelson, the best pure boxer who ever existed in this world, Willie Pep, remarked in palpable relief, “I’m glad he (Salvador Sanchez) wasn’t around in my era,” and thus Chavo entered into the Great Pantheon of Boxing where he was always destined to reside.

L'il Red vs Chava

L’il Red vs Chava

Hasta La Vista Wilfredo Gomez

Hasta La Vista Wilfredo Gomez

Sal Sanchez summons up his last round of boxing...

Sal Sanchez summons up his last round of boxing…

The end of Boxing as we knew it...

The end of Boxing as we knew it…

 

 

 

Could Deontay Wilder Even Beat Hughie Fury?

The last men’s US Olympic boxing medalist is the 2010 Bronze medalist, Deontay Wilder. He’s 28 years of age now and sports one of the most contrived records in boxing today, 31 wins, zer0 defeats, 31 knockouts over his 6 year career without ever having beaten a legit top 20 opponent, yet somehow recently managed to worm his way into a consensus top 10 ranking.  Not only, but he’s the WBC mandatory challenger to boot.

You can read about the Wilder opponent selection here in another fantasy bout I proposed years back with Hughie Fury’s older cousin, the top ten ranked Tyson Fury who also sports a perfect 22-0 record, but earned the hard way against enough top guys that they could no longer keep him from cracking the ranks many moons ago.

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/reality-%e2%80%98what-if%e2%80%99-fantasy-tyson-fury-vs-deontay-wilder-2/

The 19 year old Hughie Fury made his 2013 debut in Montreal, Canada, knocking out a more highly ranked heavy than most of Wilder’s opponents have been, meaning that with almost no amateur credentials, the much younger Hughie Fury started off higher ranked than Wilder started and currently sports a boxrec ranking of 115th which is higher than that of Wilder for most of his 6 year career. Hughie may have some size over Wilder as well and is still filling up and out.

Career record here:

http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=643611&cat=boxer

The crux of this fight is that Wilder as of this date, August 9th, has yet to declare who his scheduled August 16th TBA opponent is with only a week to go. How a top ten fighter can still be fighting Gary Russell type TBAs so deep into his career can be explained away on the advice of manager, promoter, the daylight, nightlight, and always bright lights avoiding Al Haymon whose aversion to public contact extends to fighters under his care.

Could the vastly more experienced and mature Wilder even beat the 19 year old Hugie Fury in a real fight as opposed to the usual Wilder canned setups that he has feasted on? Crimony, he couldn’t even knockout infamous internet troll Charlie Zelenoff in their ill advised grudge match held earlier this year.

Olympic Bronze

Olympic Bronze

I don’t have a clue since Wilder simply has yet to be legitimately tested, nor has Hughie Fury which is to be expected after only one year. Deontay Wilder vs Hughie Fury would make a big headline stadium fight in England, but would the Wilder minders ever dare such a risky proposition against a fighter with a pulse?

OK, we get that Wilder has to stay busy while he awaits his WBC title shot from Bermane Stiverne who is promoted by the infamous Don King. Sure, we know that King will get that defense stalled until late into 2015, so why is Wilder still going after short notice TBA fighters?

Pity about all that, but such is the current state of the sagging flagship hope of American boxing.

Any Real Americans Left To Save The Joe Louis Legacy?

I’ll be straight to the point here. Are there any real Americans left willing to step up to the scratch line to fight for the legacy that Joe Louis left this country for the benefit of all?

The humble Detroit Brewster Wheeler Recreation Center is the spot where Joe Louis made his boxing debut at age 17 not to mention the debuts many other unsung poor working class kids in the Detroit area. The building dates to 1929, finished as a beacon of hope in the year of the Great Stock Market crash that kicked off the Great Depression that in turn kicked over the common working class into the gutters of life like abandoned dogs.

Architecturally there is nothing particularly special about the building other than being an early example of a soundly designed recreational structure that would be duplicated in communities across the country. What is far more than special is that a share cropper’s son from Alabama got his first start in the larger life through this community based project and would go on to become the greatest ever heavyweight and role model American in this otherwise murderously miserable international era that culminated in the worst blood bath in history, World War II.

The building has fallen into shameful disrepair as the ravaged city of Detroit declared bankruptcy while the American auto industry continues to slump and lose market share. Check out this Google map of the nearby playground of the well to do, the island of Belle Isle Park where the nouveau rich kept their yachts. Note the plethora of the sunken outlines of abandoned yachts still tied to their slips in the harbor.

These are large seagoing vessels as befits their recreational traverses across the chain of Great Lakes, seas really of the purest fresh water in the world, all for naught when when the capitalist economy that birthed them as toys for the rich killed them in collapse.

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3502141,-82.9721264,282m/data=!3m1!1e3

There is no explanation for the derelict dilapidation of Detroit and this historic rec center other than American capitalism has failed miserably and fled the 83% black demographics, nor will they be returning to any extent that counts. As a reminder, before the advent of modern “western” development, these lands were a veritable Native American paradise of rich hunting and fishing grounds and fertile deep soils, all heavily timbered in some of the finest woodlands known to man with more fresh water than any other culture in the world could ever contemplate much less have abundant access to, yet look at it after modern  development has finished choking the life out of it.

Derelict Photo Gallery here:

http://www.sherlockphoto.com/gallery/?location=4

But for a few favorable circumstances regarding his sharecropper family and geography, Joe Louis could have easily been lost in the sausage grinder economy that defined the US of A then and now. Another American hero of the era, Audie Murphy was the physical antithesis of the black heavyweight champion. While sharing a sharecropper background in Texas, Murphy was incredibly slight and white, generously listed as 5-3, 110-115 lbs soaking weight, yet he was the most magnificent warrior on the battlefield the world has ever seen since Achilles. Unlike Joe who had a daddy in his life, Audie’s sharecropper daddy abandoned the large family when he was a small child, leaving Audie to drift around being kicked from one low rent job to the next in scrappy support of his family until he enlisted at the start of America’s entrance into WWII. Even so he was too young and too small for the minimum requirements and had to fight and fast talk his way into the army, but once there his deeds of heroism start to read like some kind of mythical cartoon character, far beyond those of a dozen heroes combined. World War II was won on the backs of poor rural depression era boys like Medal of Honor recipients Joe and Audie who had smarts that can’t be taught by books and abilities that could not be measured by schools, yet such heart they displayed for all to see in their unsurpassed deeds.

The distilled magnificence of Joe Louis here:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/joe-louis%E2%80%94born-on-the-4th-of-july-2/

Both Joe and Audie have bronze statues erected in their honor as well as significant other naming memorials such as golf courses, hospitals, ect, but like the common man’s president, Andrew Jackson, the crude little shacks they were birthed in could never last more than a few years before rotting out and blowing over. Some of Murphy’s greatest battlefield moments have been preserved and memorialized in Europe, so surely Joe Louis is as deserving in his adopted city of Detroit after all he did for America in terribly trying times.

There are spacious open grounds surrounding the rec center that could include a hike and bike path around a park setting with a softball field and football/soccer field joined together for youth and public recreational activities as was intended. It’s a no brainer but for lack of funds and small minded, mean spirited civic planners and developers they have operating these days. The adjacent blocks have already been razed and in the process of being redeveloped, but for what purpose without a respect for the storied history of this area?

To be abandoned and sunk in harbor during the next economic collapse? 

We’ll see soon enough if there are any true Americans willing to man up to rebuild what used to be their birthright, the storied stuff of legends in the making in their very own communities as the building can go no further without a complete overhaul.

Joe Louis

Joe Louis

 

 

El Inca~Edwin Valero~27-0, 27KO~Ready For IBHOF?

When the question of the highest knockout percentages among champions in boxing comes up, one name always stands well apart from the others. That would be El Inca, Edwin Valero of Venezuela, with three perfect cubes of three, 27 fights, 27 wins, and 27 KOs,  not to mention the zer0 factor of no losses, all accomplished by age 28.

He was a two division champ holding the WBA superfeatherweight title and then WBC lightweight title with a final 8-0, 8 KO title record. Average title bout ended midway through the 6th round, the rest of his 19 nontitle fights ending on average early in the 2nd round.

He was loyal beyond belief to Venezuela which is one of the more beautiful yet dangerous paradises of the world and to his El Presidente Hugo Chavez:

Venezuela de Verdad

Venezuela de Verdad

Valero is eligible for induction in the IBHOF next year, but can he ever make it in light of his murderously destructive self annihilation that left his two little girls without a mother and a father?