Monthly Archives: October 2015

Terence Crawford vs Dierry Jean in Omaha

Terence Crawford , now 26-0, 18 KO, defends his freshly minted WBO junior welterweight title against Dierry Jean, now 29-1, 20 KO, Saturday, October 24th at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Nebraska.

The 33 year old Jean is a native of Haiti based in Montréal, Québec as are many other Haitians and other foreign fighters. I haven’t seen much of him, but clearly he comes to fight with 20 knockouts. He’s also quick handed and fast afoot, so this looks like a solid, game matchup for true fighting fans who enjoy not only the sweet science of true fighters, but also fast action and those virtuoso moments of impact when the drunken chicken dances start.

The 28 year old Crawford, who is promoted by Top Rank, has obviously been enjoying his hometown development by Bob Arum who has traditionally grown local followings first even as he is following the path of big fights in big venues down the road. Already on the table is a projected fight with Manny Pacquiao in March of 2016, as big a fight as there is. I personally think that’s way too much for Crawford who is still gaining experience at the higher levels, but then again we don’t know if Pacquiao’s shoulder problems have been corrected by his recent surgery. Regardless, be a good fight to take if offered not to mention exceedingly lucrative, but it’s not a done deal yet as Top rank mulls over other offers and projected PPVs for Manny, most prominently Amir Khan.

Still, not shabby pickin’s in store for the po’boy out of Omaha, but first things first, so now we got a certain mean Mr. Jean wanting to lay his keen hands on Crawford. Should be an interesting fight that I obviously favor Crawford in…enjoy…

Crawford vs Jean

Crawford vs Jean

Fall Fireworks~Gennedy Golovkin vs David Lemieux

The somewhat under appreciated David Lemieux has surprisingly agreed to put up his freshly minted IBF middleweight bauble against the WBC/WBA baubles of new age juggernaut Gennady Golovkin in what promises to be a fan friendly slug’em up. That would be at Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, Saturday, October 17th, supposedly on HBO PPV which ain’t shabby fare for an Armenian-Frenchman from Montreal and a refuge from Kazakhstan. Them fur’nrs is takin’ over American Boxing, and thank goodness for that or we would never have any decent fights in the US.

That said, Lemieux, who gamely fought his way back from ignominy after a couple of stinging losses, me thinks he’s well overmatched here. He used to be listed as having only has a 64 inch reach, meaning he has to be in pretty close to land any punches regardless of what his short reach really is. Golovkin is unfortunately for him the superior long distance sharpshooter who likely boxes in a technical, counterpunching way to let his natural power eventually take out Lemieux who will be charging in like a bull, but now a more mature and nuanced bull, so Golovkin needs to be very careful. It’s a shame really to see Lemieux sacrificed so early in his career just as he reached the top echlon, but then I get the feeling he’s near the best he’ll ever be and may not be planning on a long future in boxing. Then again he may prove to be the bull in this china closet, shattering the expectations of all his naysayers as he as been doing most of his career.

So take the money now and leave the rest to sort itself out later in the fight as the saying goes by real fighters, a dying breed in the boxing world these days.

The Hawaiian Punch

The Hawaiian Punch

The supporting undercard is a very dynamic and perhaps somewhat mysterious bout between the acclaimed, fast rising, undefeated, newly crowned Ring #1 P4P…whew…that would be Roman Chocolatito Gonzalez, and the always popular fan favorite, the Hawaiian Punch, Brian Viloria. The highly credentialed Viloria tends to fight very hot or very cold, usually up to the level of his opponent, so it’s hard to predict the nature of outcome other than to note Chocolatito will be a substantial favorite to defend his WBC flyweight title for the very good reason of consistency and youth. He has become the proverbial beast, and he sure better be ready come fight night, because if Viloria can work up a head of steam early, there may be no stopping him. I’m guessing this could also well be the fight of the night if not the year if Viloria is really dialed in.

Whatever the results on the night, this is an all action card with some serious hurt being doled out as limp bodies splatter the canvas for the count, the history of boxing packed in nutshell this one.

When Two Worlds Collide

When Two Worlds Collide

Thomas Hauser Howitzer Across Mayweather/NSAC/USADA Bow

This the latest in a Thomas Hauser series of exposures of the widening cracks in the Mayweather/NSAC/USADA drug testing protocol.

In chronological order going backwards all the way to the original September 9th article that shook the boxing world to it’s roots.

One of many of my previous musings on the current state of drug testing in the world here:

Finally, September 9th article here:

Lookin’ mighty bad for boxing and much worse for team Mayweather, but again, he’s proven to have enough high level suits backing him to make the NSAC and USADA his minions to do his beck and call as needed. Still has to negotiate the half billion dollar lawsuit Golden Boy and Top Rank has filed against his sugardaddy Al Haymon not to mention the 32 separate lawsuits filed against he and Manny for failure to disclose Manny’s bad shoulder going into the fight. 

New Gen Joseph Parker vs Old Gen Kali Meehan

One of the top heavyweight prospects goin’ today, the 23 year old Joseph Parker, 15-0, 13 KO, steps across a couple of decades to go against the 45 year old Kali Meehan, 42-5, 32 KO, for a veritable blizzard of African/Oriental titles in a 12 rounder, Thursday, October 15th @ Trust Arena, Auckland, New Zealand.

Going way back to when Parker was just a schoolboy, Meehan lost a very hotly contested split decision against WBO titlest Lamon Brewster in Las Vegas. Outraged fans raised holy hell, increasingly fed up with mounting Don King promoted outrages. Fast forward 11 years later and nothing has changed in boxing save a few fresh new faces creating new officiating outrages like the TUE 49-0 “record.”  This time though, crooked Americans are not likely to have any say in this outcome given the exotic location and foreign titles at stake. Both are native Aucklanders, so both will be favorites as the fan friendly old lion takes on the popular young lion.

Meehan will be the best fighter Parker has ever fought and he’s got some size to him as well. He’s ranked 29th on Boxrec at the time of the fight, only 11 spots behind Parker. He’s still crafty, can box or slug, so Parker needs some good nuance on top of a good night to see him off as Meehan won’t go lightly. 

Auckland vs Auckland

Auckland vs Auckland

Nat Fleischer On The Push To Make Ali Great

After the magnificent performance, skill, heart, and courage of Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali in the 1971 Fight of the Century that roused not only a country, but the rest of the world, there was an heavy push back on Nat Fleischer to revise his All Time Top 10 Heavyweight rankings. 

Nat, of course, was the founding father of gathering and cataloging fighter records, and in time because of the seminal nature of his work, his copious contributions, his ringside witness to so many great fights, he and Ring Magazine became synonymous as The Bible of Boxing, so any of his pronouncements and observations were literally taken as being passed as the Word of God. Boxing fans studied his edicts religiously as Nat coasted along secure in being at top of his game.

But the landscape soon changed when Ali was convicted of dodging the draft and suspended from boxing for 3 1/2 years as he battled all the way to the US Supreme Court. The push to make Ali great began to gather steam during this Ali lull. Miraculously, Ali’s conviction was overturned and he was allowed to return to boxing.

Then the unthinkable. Down goes Ali. Frazier whoops Ali.

A very interesting period piece of journalism followed as Fleischer holds his ground, not stubbornly, but rather in well thought out logical explanations that may have given succor to the larger base of boxing fans, but did nothing to satisfy Ali supporters. They incredibly insisted their man won the Fight of the Century and demanded that Ali be put in Nat’s top 10, a veritable flood filling his mailbox every month.

Down Goes Ali, Down Goes Ali

Down Goes Ali, Down Goes Ali

Now as we have over 40 years of hindsight, it’s easy for moderns to look at Nat’s list and see how silly it looks, but back then he was one of the few willing to publish such a list at the risk of great personal criticism. One thing to note is the fighters on his list were long retired, meaning no way was Nat going to rate some young whippersnapper just entering the middle of his career. Since he passed in 1972, he never got to see Ali upset George Foreman in Zaire, so we can’t say how that might of altered his view of things, though I suspect very little as to adding a currently active heavyweight to his list. We can say within a year or two after the Foreman upset as I recollect, Ring came out with a revised list that had Ali at or near the top of the 10 in a vast rearrangement of Nat’s list. In the encapsulated words of the immortal Chuck Berry and Hank Williams, “Roll over Beethoven ’cause the big dog’s moving in”

In Nat’s own words:

As I have had it listed in The Ring Record Book for some years, my all-time rating of heavyweights is as follows: 1. Jack Johnson, 2. Jim Jeffries, 3. Bob Fitzsimmons, 4. Jack Dempsey, 5. James J. Corbett, 6. Joe Louis, 7. Sam Langford, 8. Gene Tunney, 9. Max Schmeling, 10. Rocky Marciano.

I started the annual ranking of heavyweights in the 1953 with only six listed: 1. Jack Johnson, 2. Jim Jeffries, 3. Bob Fitzsimmons, 4. Jack Dempsey, 5. James J. Corbett, 6. Joe Louis.

In later years I found it necessary to expand the ratings in all classes to top 10, with these top listings: heavyweights, Jack Johnson; light heavies, Kid McCoy; middleweights, Stan Ketchel; welters, Joe Walcott; lightweights, Joe Gans; feathers, Terry McGovern; bantams, George Dixon; flyweights, Jimmy Wilde.

For some time now I have been under great pressure from some readers of The Ring magazine and of The Ring Record Book, as well, to revise my ratings, especially in the heavyweight division.

Here is a strange facet to this pressure move. It has concerned, chiefly, Cassius Clay.

Never before in the history of the ratings did I find myself pressured to revise the listing of a heavyweight, right on top of a defeat.

There was considerable pressure to include Clay among the Top 10 during his 3 1/2-year interlude of inactivity.

But the campaign became stronger after Clay had returned with knockout victories over Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena. The demand on behalf of Clay became strongest after he had been beaten by world champion Joe Frazier in a 15-round contest that saw Cassius decked in the final heat.

Clay’s fight with Frazier left thousands of his admirers, who had seen the contest over television, protesting that Clay had won and that the unanimous decision of referee Arthur Mercante and judges Artie Aidala and Bill Recht, was a hoax, or worse.

Before we go any farther, let us dispose of this point. Frazier was declared the winner without a dissenting vote because he was the winner with unanimous force and unbiased conviction.

Clay never hurt Frazier. He messed up Joe’s left eye and made it look as if there had been an indecisive result, or a definite verdict in favor of Clay. Clay’s gloves reached Frazier more often than Frazier’s punches reached Clay. But Cassius lacked force.

Clay was hurt, especially in the 11th and 15th rounds. Clay came near being knocked out in the play-acting 11th. Clay’s constant retreat to the ropes was the tipoff on the fight.

I sat in the first press row in the Garden and emphatically saw Clay beaten. However, we have thousands of Clay backers insisting that he had established himself as one of the all time Top 10.

I did not regard Ali as a member of the leading 10 before he got into his argument with the Federal Courts. I did not see, in the Clay record as it stood after his seven-round knockout of Zora Folley in New York on March 22, 1967, any reason for my revising the heavyweight listing to include Cassius among the all-time 10. Nor did the Quarry, Bonavena, and Frazier fights impress me to the point at which I found myself considering ousting one of my Great 10 to make room for Clay.

Suppose I suffered an aberration and decided to include Clay among the top 10. This would mean ousting Marciano to make room for Ali as my all-time number l0. That would be farcical. Clay never could have beaten Marciano. Clay’s record is not the superior of the one the tragic Rocky left behind him when he retired from boxing unbeaten.

I even had something to do with Clay’s winning the Olympic light heavyweight championship in Rome in 1960. I spotted him for a likely Gold Medal, but I did not like the way he was training–or rather, not training. Cassius was entertaining the gals of the Italian capital, with gags and harmonica playing, and forgetting what he had been entered for.

I gave him a lecture and a warning. Maybe it had something to do with his victory. Maybe he would have won just the same. But I doubt if my talk did any harm.

After Cassius had won the title I felt that we had another Floyd Patterson in the making. He did not have Patterson’s speed of hands at that time, but he had more speed of foot. And more animation, which, of course, is an understatement. Floyd never has been a paragon of vivacity.

As Clay left the Olympic ring a champion, I saw him growing fast into a heavyweight. And I treated myself to a dream. I said to myself, “This kid could go far. It all depends on his attitude, his ability to tackle his job earnestly and seriously. Some of his laughter could be a real asset.” Ultimately it was.

Neither animus nor bias, neither bigotry nor misjudgment, can be cited against me in my relations with Cassius Clay. After he had been found guilty of a felony by a Federal jury in Houston, and Judge Joe Ingraham had sentenced Ali to five years in a penitentiary and a fine of $10,000, there was a rush to take the title from the draft-refusing champion.

The Ring magazine refused to join in the campaign against Clay, a stand now thoroughly vindicated. The Ring insisted that Cassius was entitled to his day in court, and that his title could be taken from him only if he lost it in the ring, or he retired from boxing, as Marciano, Tunney, and Jeffries had done before him.

Pressure on The Ring was tremendous. But this magazine would not recede one iota from its never relaxed policy of fighting for Law and Order.

Only when Muhammad Ali announced that he would fight no more and asked permission to give The Ring world championship belt to the winner of the Frazier-Jimmy Ellis fight, did The Ring declare the title vacated and drop Clay from the ratings.

With Clay’s return to the ring, The Ring revived his rating among the top 10 heavyweights. Not until Frazier knocked out Ellis in five rounds did The Ring allocate the vacant world title to Joe.

I do not mean to derogate Clay as a boxer. I am thoroughly cognizant of every fistic attribute he throws into the arena, every impressive quality he displayed on his way to the title and in fighting off the challenges of Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, George Chuvalo, Henry Cooper, Brian London, Karl Mildenberger, Cleveland Williams, Ernie Terrell, and Zora Folley.

When Ali went into his 3 1/2-year retirement, he had not yet achieved his personal crest. Nor did the fights with Quarry, Bonavena and Frazier, which marked his return to action, send him any farther in the direction of fulfillment of claims of his loyal supporters.

The way Cassius Clay stands, he does not qualify for rating with the greatest heavyweights of all time. Nor, the way the future shapes up for him, is he likely to qualify. Now his hands are quick. His footwork is quick. His punch is not the type that is calculated to stop a man forthwith, no matter what he did to Sonny Liston in their second encounter, at Lewiston, Maine.

Cassius has got to wear down his opponent. He has got to flick his glove into the eyes of the opposition, the way he did against Frazier. He has a style all his own. But its sui generis quality does not make him one of the top 10.

I want to give credit to Clay for punching boxing out of the doldrums into which it fell with the rise of Liston to the championship. Liston could not get a license in New York. Liston had a bad personal record. Liston was emphatically not good for boxing. Into the midst of this title situation came the effervescent kid from Louisville, favored by conditions, by his potential, by his personality and his clean personal record.

The situation called for a Clay and, fortunately, the situation was favored with one. He was the counterpart, in boxing, of Babe Ruth in baseball, after the Black Sox Scandal.

Through superior punching power, Frazier is Clay’s current better as a ringster. But Frazier has yet to develop the overall influence that Clay exercised. Nor does it appear likely that Joe will ever be to boxing what Cassius was when he became the world champion and when he stirred up world boxing with his exploits against the best opposition available pending the development of Frazier, another Olympic hero.

I have the utmost admiration for Cassius Clay as a ring technician. Certainly not for his attitude toward the United States and its armed forces. Of that mess he is legally clear.

I do not see Cassius Clay as a candidate for a place among the top 10 heavyweights. Nor may Frazier, his conqueror, eventually force me to revise my all-time heavyweight ratings.

Gut Check Time For Amir Mansour vs Gerald Washington

The 43 year old fringe contender Amir Mansour fights up and coming novice, the 33 year old Gerald Washington in the northwest corner of the US of A, Tuesday, October 13th @ Little Creek Casino Resort, Shelton, Washington.

Mansour passed his biggest test against the longtime problematic contender, Steve Cunningham, beating the holy ding dongs out of him and knocking him down twice in the 5th only to see the ref, Steve Smoger, decide to join the dark side and give Cunningham extra time to recover as has been happening a lot with refs the past few years. A ten count extends into 15 or 20 seconds or even more now as boxing continues to enforce a different set of rules in the ring than are on the books whenever they choose. Nor did he count the 3rd knockdown later in the fight even as Cunningham was reeling about on spaghetti legs when he finally got up.

Any wonder why American fans have been fleeing in droves from lowest fringe sport of all the fringe sports when it can’t properly regulate itself for fair results?

Of course Mansour has himself partially to blame by being an felony ex-con two times over. He made the mistake of whomping one of the “nicer” fighters in the US of A. Cunningham while very game, frankly looked shot and continues to drop bouts right and left, but not this time against Mansour. Judges gifted him with a fairly wide decision, and fairplay, he did come back in the 10th and last round to drop Mansour for a flash knockdown that was a genuine slip causing a glove to touch so to rub salt into Mansour’s wounds from having to fight both the ref and Cunningham.

So now comes Washington as one of sugar daddy Al Haymon’s special projects being groomed to fight his super duper special project. That would be Deontay Wilder, the recent “winner” of the WBC “regular” belt in a canned fight against Bermane Stiverne who “mysteriously” entered the ring dangerously dehydrated, so dehydrated he was hospitalized for tests after 12 rounds of relatively light action in climate controlled environs…YEAH, RIGHT, only in boxing folks. Washington is still largely untested, but he does have some good attributes in size, 6-6, 250 lbs, with strength from a football background and a dynamic, interesting style that has been successful so far, 16-0, 11 KO. Assisted by the backing of Haymon, the modern day Wizard of Oz who controls boxing in a Vegas bunker out of sight where the sun don’t shine, Washington may well turn to be The Next American Heavy that the public has been clamoring for to restore the stained honor of American boxing, but then again pro football and basketball players have never played a significant role in boxing for a good reason. They  can’t box at the higher levels.

The southpaw Mansour is around 6 foot and generally a solid 220 or so lbs, so he has his hands full getting inside without getting clipped, but his style is like a very busy left handed Mike Tyson with plenty of power, speed, and moves in spite of his advanced age. If he steps in to land one of his combos, could also be Washington quickly goes timber via the Seth Mitchell route and disappears from the boxing landscape.

Cunningham vs Mansour

Cunningham vs Mansour

I certainly don’t discount Washington in a fair fight, but, sadly, this may prove be another Haymon canned fight. The officiating in boxing has gotten so bad they can get away with anything these days. Mansour has proven in the ring to be good enough for a title shot, but unless he’s signed with Haymon, it won’t be against the softest belt holder going today, Deontay Wilder. Mansour not only has to fight Father Time and Washington, but also the suits lined up against him as well as the officials. Can he do it?

The Hue & The Cry To Ban Boxing

Not all boxing in this example mind you, just cadet boxing training at the elite Army, Navy, and Air Force academies.

A certain ex military captain now sitting as chairman on the civilian advisory board at Westpoint, Brenda Sue Fulton, seems to be leading the charge. Concussions are being blamed as being too numerous, some 20-25% of the academy concussions from boxing, but as befits the typical tabloid press mentality of the media these days, there no mention about banning the other 75-80% of training leading to concussions, nor were those other activities revealed. Facts are in the real world, US military training exercises kill and maim hundreds every year, but no mention of that in this article to provide any risk context at all.

Now, not to demean an honorably discharged officer and up and coming do gooder purporting to be looking after the best interests of our young officer/warriors in waiting, but how about Ms. Fulton look into banning war and disbanding the US Military Industry that is the biggest financial drain in this country, responsible for executing unceasing wars all over the middle east since the start of the new millennium. Hundreds of thousands US service folks are now dead, incapacitated or otherwise mentally and physically scarred for life not to mention the millions of foreign deaths, horrendous injuries, and population upheavals. Then we have the hamhanded US destruction of much their much needed infrastructure. Oh, and how’s about all the Islamic terrorist groups sworn to the destruction of America that their political masters in Washington DC have created by using the military as pawns in a high stakes international power game benefiting the elite One Percenters of the world?

No way Jose, it ain’t never gonna go down like that, too many trillion$ at stake for a lifetime of personal luxury and power mongering.

No sir, that would be far too difficult not to mention imperil her cushy big shot position that 99.9% of Americans could never hold no matter their qualifications. Best to pick a basket of the low hanging fruit and pronounce easy feel good success and sweet dreams at night after the hundred well feted and lubricated dinners and balls held yearly in Washington DC as all bask shamelessly in their despicable deeds. All’s well that ends well for these types of folks no matter the cost in American and foreign lives and futures.

One mother working at the Pentagon, outraged over her son being concussed by boxing, plaintively asked, “All the research and prevention going on in the Department of Defense right now on this, and we are still forcing kids to give other kids head injuries? Have we learned nothing from 10 years of war?”

Again, noting the millions of tragedies in this millennium of US propagated war in the middle east not to mention trillion$ wasted internationally, I say, “No, you people have learned nothing from 10 years of war, nor from thousands of years of war, nor anything of history other than to invent new strategies and devices to kill, maim, destroy, and seize power. 

Noted boxing author Thomas Hauser makes his case for keeping boxing here:

Lest I come across as Scrooge, let me note I have always personally given the highest respect to our honorable veterans who too often end up sleeping on the streets in this supposed patriotic country because they can’t find jobs. Ask Washington and Big Inc, “Why is that?”

One of the problems these academies and other basic training camps have is many young men coming in have a serious weight and inactivity problem such that the military has had to “expand” their physical weight ranges. So how do you train folks who have never trained physically at any sport and spent a lifetime indoors eating and playing video games? How do you teach a klutz how to box?

An Incalcuable Debt

An Incalcuable Debt

The answer is very carefully with longer training camps that should be looked into. I’d say specifically their boxing programs could be looked at carefully for improvements as some women are now also being trained. They’ve already made adjustments according to the article, but maybe they need to be closer matched in weights and delay any sparring until they get the feel for the moves and strategies involved. Get some US amateur coaches in there. Ama boxing in the US is just about dead already, so now is the time to partner up to use their dying knowledge.

I agree with the points Hauser makes about boxing teaching how to deal with personal fears and physical challenges, after all, most people are simply not brave by human design, preferring to flee rather than fight. Boxing can teach them something very elementary about fighting and themselves that will prove useful in combat as needed.

Our Best

Our Best

These cadets will be leading the charge, and the last thing our troops need is some candy ass blowhard freezing up when the action gets too hot and heavy as has happened too many times in the past. Yes, we can do better training our officers, but it’s going to take better military leaders at the top. I do believe our lower ranking officers have surpassed the military brass at the top where the most egregious mistakes are made. Don’t blame boxing.