Tag Archives: muhammad ali

Wilt Chamberlain vs Ali~50th Year Anniversary Tribute

In 1967, Wilt Chamberlain contracted  to challenge Muhammad Ali for his undisputed heavyweight title in Madison Square Garden. ABC and Howard Cosell arranged a special sports segment with Ali and Wilt appearing jointly to announce the fight. Jim Brown was supposed to have been the promoter and had enough money lined up on the table that enticed the Ali team to enter into contract negotiations. The abbreviated story is that Ali’s manager, the Nation of Islam, son of Prophet Elijah Muhammad, Herbert Muhammad, passed on the deal without comment, so Ali refused to sign the contract as verified by the public ABC youtube footage shown here. Ali did put on a credible act of talking about a fight, yet couldn’t be induced to pen his John Henry to paper.

Instead, Ali’s last title defense of 1967 was a milquetoast affair against grizzled long time contender Zora Folley before being stripped of his titles in 1968 for refusing to be drafted into the US Army. That led to a 3 year exile from boxing and a pending case before the US Supreme Court before Ali was able to make his 1970 comeback against Jerry Quarry in Atlanta, Georgia. Not many boxing fans know a gang of Northeastern big city thugs crashed Ali’s elite Atlanta victory celebration filled with Atlanta’s most renown political icons,  media big shots, and various celebrities to rob the well heeled bunch at gunpoint. Got away with it for a huge harvest too, but slowly the underworld extracted a payback of sorts since these were just two bit punk gangsters, not the real gangsters who would never dream of pulling that kind of public relations nightmare heist. 

The 1960s through the 70s was quite an era for sports fans. Boxing’s big fights usually aired over “real” free terrestrial TV as did the Olympics, World Series, Superbowl and many of their regular season games. Then you had the Kentucky Derby, Indy 500 and Daytona 500 and so on. Ripe, passionate sports fans of all ages, sex, and races grew on trees into the furthest reaches of America ready to be plucked for viewing every sports weekend.

What could’ve been the biggest sports splash of the Century slowly ebbed out of existence. Oh, to be sure there was a brief flare up in 1971 had Ali pulled off the win against Joe Frazier in the Fight of the Century. The closed circuit fight was to be in the Houston Astrodome with posters actually printed up.

Ali instead got well whooped by Frazier, so Wilt canceled their contract since the heavyweight title was no longer Ali’s to defend as most of the money backing the deal also fled for greener pastures. I don’t know who the promoters were, but Jim Brown talks about the fight in his Siri interview below where he laughs about the Ali shouting “Timber” story that supposedly killed the fight. He may have been part of the promotion, or at least close enough to deny “The Timber” moment ever happened as reported. Ali once again entered  into his wanderings in the wilderness of being yesterday’s news even as he was ultimately reaffirmed with a favorable Supreme Court ruling and could now box free of Federal charges against him. Wilt was in his last two creaky knee years of an all time career in the National Basketball League, so he was less inclined to further pursue an assbackwards sport, boxing, rife with so many contractual problems and other boxing monkeyshines magnified by the political instability of Ali himself.

At any rate, Ali never had had full control over his career with Herr Herbert at the helm. Ali wisely recalled the fatal fate of  Malcolm X after getting crossed up with the NOI. He picked a later date after his retirement after NOI founder, Elijah Muhammad,  passed away before Ali felt safe to leave that sect.

Nonetheless, Wilt did his part in trying to make this fight, and he had more than just financial backers that included substantial boxing support from Cus D’Amato. The future HOF trainer had long made a study of the Ali style and was training Wilt in secrecy just how to leverage his immense gifts of size, strength, reach, athletic ability, and, yes, it must be stated frankly, Wilt was substantially more intelligent. Substantially! Ali may have been a naturally gifted fighter, yet he was physically inferior to Wilt with Ali further burdened by a limited boxing style that only he ever used to success that served him ill has he aged. Cus knew how to crack his style and famously showed Ali how in a documentary just how Frazier was going to break him down. That prophecy was fulfilled on March of 1971 in the Fight of the Century.

Ali fans naturally scoff and deride the notion of a basketball player being able to beat Ali, but they typically show ignorance in understanding just how gifted Wilt was compared to every other athlete in the world. He would’ve preferred track and field or the Harlem Globetrotters over pro basketball, and yet he set all those still unbroken basketball records because that’s where the money was. Now, seriously, think about it. For sure boxing promoters and trainers hounded him from day one as a pro with the Globetrotters, and eventually a rumor here or there would surface about him in training and of course his two contracts to fight Ali.

As stylistic matchups go, in some notable boxing “exhibitions” against athletes from other sports, Ali looked not only very poor, but vulnerable as well. Ali also looked vulnerable against legit contenders using their own personalized awkward boxing styles.

The Ali/Antonio Inoki fight in Tokyo netted Ali a cool $6 million, but also landed him in a Tokyo hospital on a critical condition after Inoki kicked his leg into a throbbing mess that threatened to send a fatal blood clot to his brain. This a fight where Ali had full access to boxing rules, yet Inoki was limited to only 10% of his arsenal and had to be pulled off  take downs of Ali by the American ref, Gene Lebell, a notoriously famed Judo expert and all around street and Hollywood tough guy.

Then there was the farcical encounter with 400 lb Gorilla Monsoon who quickly popped a vicious body slam on Ali that I’m certain was not supposed to be part of festivities. Ali luckily escaped without injury, but only because the match was immediately stopped.

And then the also ill advised exhibition against Denver defensive lineman, Lyle Alzado, who was likely pumped up on steroids. Ali had nothing to keep Alzado off him and was mauled throughout.

Most fighters are trained in a traditional, upright boxing style that overall is the best style to use in boxing, but boxing has always had a cast of “awkward-savants” who dished out serious punishment to great success. Ali used his own awkward style to great success against traditional fighters, but struggled mightily against other awkward fighters no matter who won. Just think Karl Mildenberger, Buster Mathis, Joe Frazier, Oscar Bonavena, Rudi Lubbers, George Foreman, Ken Norton, Chuck WepnerRon Lyle, Earnie Shavers, and Leon Spinks.

Wilt, with his huge physical advantages, would be the King of Awkward. Wilt had already proven that he could outrun the NFL’s premiere running back of the era, Jim Brown, twice in a row in fact. Wilt turned pro early, an action that was forbidden in his day, but not for the Harlem Globetrotters whom Wilt loved for the rest of his days. He played a 7-1 guard, now think about all that crazy ball handling he got in as a key part of the comedy troop. While no doubt he met many intellectual equals or even greater than his own considerable intelligence, I doubt he ever met his physical equal in his life. If that athlete existed, he’d be in the public record, but nope, just the usual greats of every era, but no Wilts. There are only two other of the most celebrated all around athletes in their day that could match Wilt’s all around ability, yet both would be as equally dwarfed in size and strength as was Ali. The first being the greatest all around athlete ever in this world, Jim Thorpe, and Babe Ruth who still holds Major League Baseball pitching and hitting records, neither of whom lived long enough to meet with Wilt because of age differences. No doubt, they would be mightily impressed.

As to my opinion then and now, well then I was a punk kid pumped for the fight. What’s not to like about such a pairing? I was still raw and unstudied, but instinctively I knew Wilt had a decent chance. I still like the fight today knowing so much more about both Wilt and Ali. I didn’t know who would win when I was young, but now I strongly favor Wilt because of all those physical and mental advantages with Cus D’Amato lined up in his corner focusing on one specific Ali style only. Ali could not study Wilt boxing because there was zero tape, and more importantly, zero sparring partners who could replicate Wilt. Cus claimed that during his childhood Wilt boxed in the amateurs for a short duration, but no record exists that I know of.

Chamberlain loved physical challenges as his varied sport interests are a testament to, but what a shame the public didn’t get to see one of the greatest “what if?” fights in boxing. Cus D’Amato is supposed to have made him an offer to box Ali in 1965, the first of the 3 fights with Ali offered to Wilt. The Philly 76ers talked Chamberlain out of the match with more money, but the idea of the fight never died and gets talked about on boxing forums to this very day 50 years later.

Cus D’Amato trained Wilt Chamberlain vs Angelo Dundee trained Muhammad Ali, who ya got?

 

 

 

Advertisements

My Brother The Boxer, The Terry Daniel Story by Jeff Daniels

My Brother The Boxer, The Terry Daniel Story by Jeff Daniels

This interesting self published book follows 7 years of Texas heavyweight contender Terry Daniels from his brief debut with the Southern Methodist University Mustang football team to his title challenge of champion Joe Frazier in New Orleans the day before Superbowl V in 1972. 70 million viewers are estimated to have watched Frazier to defend against Daniels on free terrestial TV for context to today.

While not a pure biography, it can be seen as an authenic ethnographic record of a young man born into a loving middle class family during the Harry Truman presidency to mature during the Vietnam War torn, racial rioting America of the 1960s. Raised in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, he has to come to Texas for his first bar fights, first love and marriage, and rapid rise to stardom in boxing after a knee injury ended his football aspirations.

This coming of age in the mythologized ’60s is as much God, family, honor, and country as the machinations of a storied boxing era of Texas amateur boxing with Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, and of course Terry Daniels

http://www.mybrothertheboxer.com

Fatboy Andy Ruiz Steps Up Vs Franklin Lawrence

Andy Ruiz Jr, 28-0, 19 KO, steps up in class for the first time Vs Franklin  “Yah Yah” Lawrence, 22-2-2, 16 KO Saturday, September 10th @ Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino, Lemoore, California.

Yeah, Yah Yah may be a funny name, yet Lawrence had been highly regarded briefly during his 2010-11 years before entering a phase of torpor that sees his once top 10 boxrec ranking dip to 54th. He’ll be just a couple of weeks short of his 41st birthday on the day of the fight. He got a somewhat delayed start at age 30 for reasons I’m not privy to with little amateur background, so he had a lot of ground to make up to get to this point. He’s been in the mix from his first year when being knocked out by fellow novice and future WBC beltholder Bermane Stiverne, and later holding his own in a close decision loss to former WBC champ Oliver McCall, before knocking out former contender Lance Whitaker. His major problems have been periods of inactivity, again for reasons I’m not privy too, but then again, he’s recorded 9 straight knockouts since the McCall loss, so at least he’s a warm body for Ruiz who may heat up to actually put him into a fight.

Ruiz is also an unlikely looking heavyweight contender, being born in the Baja California border town of Mexicali, yet currently staying comfortably close to his roots with a hop, skip, and a jump across the border to nearby Imperial California. Like former contender Buster Mathis of the Muhammad Ali era, he turned pro at a roly, poly near 300 lbs, both sweet natured looking fellas hardly looking like any kind of fighters, and like Buster he has bounced his weight around trying to get a handle on it. For the past few fights I see he’s been at or under the 250 mark which sounds about right for him. Some folks were genetically predisposed to be fat, so no use in fighting mother nature when your bigger immediate fight is in the ring. Of course there is a healthy weight for him to be at that he seems to have reached. Anyone calling him a fatboy will be relying on his good humor, because make no mistake, this soon to be 27 year old kid knows how to handle himself in the ring. He’s beaten a couple of highly regarded prospects, a former belt holder and a former contender, so he and Lawrence are right about the same level of experience and success with Ruiz being the busier fighter in the 7 years he’s been fighting and, more obviously, being the money fighter with a future sure to include a lucrative title fight leveraged by the strongest, most experienced promoter in the business, Bob Arum of Top Rank.

Oh, did I mention that Andy also works with future HOF trainer Freddie Roach, so need I say more if the very busy Roach found time to prepare him for this bout?

The winner of this fight takes a major step forward, perhaps even straight to a title fight, so for the fighters the stakes could not be higher. I expect both to eventually end up in a slugfest looking to impress the judges if not take it out of their hands with a knock out.

Top of the Food Chain, Joe Louis or Muhammad Ali?

 

These kind of discussions over the internet tend to favor moderns who are want to express opinions without context or factual basis as to why their hero is is #1.

Bert Sugar perhaps infamously chose Cleveland fullback Jim Brown for his all time greatest athlete. Never mind that teammate Marion Motley has a higher career rushing average and did it basketball hightops because no football cleats could be found then to fit his monstrous feet. Motley could also clear out the defense in support of his running back and quarterback, hard, gritty work that was beneath Brown, and Motley also pulled fulltime duty as linebacker, a two way, 60 minute player, something the coddled Brown was never good for. But of course Brown was also such a great lacrosse player, never mind that Wilt Chamberlain proved in two footraces that he was significantly faster than Brown and could turn him upside down to shake all his change loose at will not to mention being a collegiate, multi-event track and field star during his down time from basketball. Wilt a world class volleyball player in his retirement, the best in his day. Wilt didn’t even like basketball because of it’s stupid rules and the stupid media always pestering him, but it was the most lucrative option for him, so he made the best of it as a record setter both on offense and defense. Even did a stint with the Harlem Globetrotters before his NBA career, damned hard to top that.

Now modern media “experts” claim Michel Jordan is the best athlete ever, never mind he wasn’t even a mediocre division B minor league baseball player and only a modestly endowed golfer. Jim Thorpe, fresh off an Indian reservation, won both Pentathlon and Decathlon Olympic gold medals in Sweden, then played major league baseball for several years before co-founding and becoming the first ever star of the National Football League. It don’t get any better than that as an athlete, but moderns just shrug and say, Jim Who?

So, here we go, Bobby Mac’s Facts Update, just the facts ma’am, so:

What are the career records of Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali?

Joe 66-3, 52 KO vs Ali 56-5, 37 KO

OK, clearly Joe is vastly superior, but there are records and then there are RECORDS, so let’s delve deeper.

ProDebut:

Joe, age 20 yrs, 1 month, 22 days, coming off winning the United States National AAU tournament with a final record of 50-4, 43 KO, debuted @ 181 lbs against Jack Kracken, 27-7-3, in the “city of the big shoulders,” Chicago, July 4th, 1934, US Independence Day. Drops Kracken in the opening seconds and then blasts him through the ropes into the lap of the shocked Illinois commish to formally announce to the world the transformation from Joe Barrow to Joe Louis. Has there ever been a better boxing debut than that? Prior he was no more than a po’ sharecropper’s boy from Podunk, Alabama. The $59 depression purse went a long ways in those days, the most money he had ever earned in his life.

Ali, age 18 yrs, 9 months and 12 days, coming off Olympic Lightheavy Gold glory with a multitude of final ama record claims, debuts @ 192 lbs, October 29th, 1960, in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky against Tunney Hunsaker, 16-9-1, a Sunday School teacher and police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia. Ali touched up Hunsaker some with a bloody nose and cut eye for a 6 round unanimous decision and a healthy $2000 purse for the day. Solid hometown pro debut for such a young kid, but no comparison to the spectacular 4th of July fireworks set off by Joe.

Da Preem vs Joe Louis

Da Preem vs Joe Louis

Longest Title reign and record:

Joe 11 years, 252 days, 26-0, 23 KOs vs Ali three combined title runs of 3 years, 63 days + 3 years, 108 days + 284 days = 7 years, 90 days, 22-2. OK, but Joe had three more title fights, 1 competitive decision loss to Charles in his comeback and a knockout of Lee Savold who held the BBBC version of the split title + the last white heavy belt for a final title record of 27-1 vs Ali’s humiliation KO loss to Holmes for a final title record of 22-3.

Now, if we extend out the Ali years up to the first Frazier fight, they’d be just short of Joe, but, remember, Ali also relinquished his Ring belt early so his good buddy Jimmy Ellis could fight for it. Ring never awarded the belt to Ellis yet kept Ali as Champion through 1969. Joe is still superior and lost just as many prime years as Ali did under dangerous flying conditions in the US Army.

First and last Ring Top 10 ratings:

Joe #1 in his first year of eligibility, age 20 vs Ali #9 in his first year of eligibility, age 19.

Joe #5 when he challenged Champion Charles in 1950, age 36, and #6 against #2 Marciano in 1951, age 37. Ali was last ranked as Champion in 1978, age 36.

Joe clearly superior though Ali managed to slide into Ring ratings a year earlier than Joe because of his earlier debut.

HOF fights:

Joe 13 such fights, 10-3 9 KO vs Ali 14 such fights, 11-3, 8 KO. Joe with 2 KO losses vs Ali with 1 KO loss.

Joe earliest HOFer and win @ age 21 yr, 4 month, 11 days over Baer vs Ali earliest HOFer and win @ age 20 yr, 9 months, 28 days over Moore.

Joe last HOF win @ age 37 yr, 3 month and a day over Blivins vs Ali last HOF win @ age 34 yr, 8 months, 11 days over Ken Norton, a hotly disputed decision.

Ali with tiny edge in total HOF fight, Joe with KOs, and Ali with one less KO loss. Joe a few months older for first HOF fight vs Ali a bit younger, but Joe considerably older for last HOF win than Ali. They both lost their last HOF fights by KO, but Joe in his 8th fight over 10 months in his 37th year gave Marciano all he could handle for 8 rounds vs Ali out of retirement carried mercifully by Holmes trying to get the fight stopped with no damage to Ali. Joe definitely finished the stronger fighter overall.

Controversial fights:

Joe only had two, the first Buddy Baer and JJWalcott fights which he quickly avenged with savage KOs in the rematches vs far too many controversial fights for Ali, really too embarrassing to mention that he always benefited from every controversy. Big advantage Joe who consistently took care of business in a more professional way than did Ali who needed a lot of help from the suits.

Unified America behind him:

Joe

Split up America over him:

Ali

Won a Supreme Court Decision:

Ali, of course, major props and maybe the highlight of his life.

Young Cassius

Young Cassius “The Greatest” Clay

Summoned to the White House by the President for consultation on impending military desegregation policy:

Joe, the one and only.

Inspiration for the two most prominent black civil rights spokesmen in history:

Both Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela count Joe Louis as providing the inspiration for a higher dignity and purpose of what their people people might achieve if allowed their civil rights.

Who loses to Leon?

Ali, of course. Joe on his worst day in shackles and blindfolded could never lose to Leon.

Now, lest this take on a wholly one sided analysis, in general most fans would agree that Joe Frazier and George Foreman are better than the best Joe took on, but Ali never really showed he was better than Frazier. Most can finally admit Joe whooped the holy jinn out of him the first fight, and did it in spite of referee Mercante near poking out his only good eye midway through the fight. The second fight was competitive and close, and the third a happenstance of incredible good fortune when Frazier’s scout couldn’t make it from Ali’s corner to Frazier’s corner to tell them Ali was quitting. Joe was on his feet bouncing around like a rubber ball waiting to be unleashed when Eddie Futch pulled the plug as Ali stood up and collapsed. Nor could the terribly grievous conditions in Zaire that all favored Ali ever be replicated, thus no rematch with George who only spent 9 seconds on the canvas in his first career knockdown, yet was counted out. Compare to Ali who collapsed seconds later for a 30 count that took his legions to elevate him over to his corner.

Yeah, and maybe Sonny Liston was better than Joe’s best too, but Joe could easily beat a fighter who quit on his stool and take a dive as well as the next guy, so let’s keep it real…over and out.

 

 

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.

WBC Emeritus Vitali Klitschko Returns For Historic Scrum of 20 Heavyweight Champs

WBC Emeritus Champion Vitali Klitschko is supposed to be on his way to a historic scrum of near two dozen former heavyweight champions Saturday, September 5th. Former Vitali victim, the permanently topless Shannon Briggs, 58-6-1, 51 KO, goes against Michael Marrone, 21-4, 15 KO, in the main event of this heavyweight brouhaha at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

The Mayor of Kiev has had his hands full since elections with the ongoing Russian military conflicts over Ukrainian sovereignty. He was seen last week in Kiev watching Ukrainian compatriot and fellow boxer Oleksandr Usyk demolish South African Johnny Muller, so I assume K2 Promotions he runs with his brother Wlad are doing well these days.

Projected  former world heavyweight champions slated to attend include reigning champ Wladimir Klitschko, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Michael Spinks, Tony Tucker, Roy Jones Jr., Michael Moorer, Ray Mercer, Hasim Rahman, Tony Tubbs, James “Bonecrusher” Smith, Chris Byrd, John Ruiz, Mike Weaver, Evander Holyfield, Tim Witherspoon, Larry Holmes, Riddick Bowe, Pinklon Thomas, Michael Bentt, Lamon Brewster, Leon Spinks and Bruce Seldon.

Neon Leon Spinks will be the most senior of the champs dating back to his shock of Muhammad Ali in 1978  who is likely unable to attend due to his poor health. Other projected absences would be Herbie Hide(jail sentence,) James Toney(stripped by IBF after positive steroid test,) and David Haye(recovering pinky toe.)

In particular the new owner of “regular” WBC heavy strap, Deontay Wilder may also be missing in action even though he’s only a hop and skip away in Alabama(Sugardaddy Al Haymon, his overseer, passed on a $2 million dollar Shannon Briggs offer to challenge Wilder for considerably less against a Frenchman in Alabama. I don’t make this stuff up folks, only in boxing)

Can’t say I know many of the details, but presumably there will be a meet and greet type banquet with requisite speeches prior to the boxing matches. Probably some autograph and picture sessions, the usual splashy stuff that would befit this historic occasion. It’s telling how many “champs” have been packed in this 37 year span, yet less than a handful could be said to have been dominant, and only Wlad can be said to have cleaned out the division, a couple of three times now as he is tying and breaking Joe Louis heavyweight records.

Boxing 101~~How To Score Ugly, Part II~~Alvarez vs Mayweather

This followup pertains to the recent Alvarez/Mayweather “outrage” that has sent a long time boxing judge scrambling to ignominious retirement while the resident guvn’r was rudely roused from oversight of his Den of Gaming and Trolloptry by swarms of angry complainants using his name in vain. Anyone needing to catch up on the longtime scoring dilemmas facing the modern era of boxing can review my first draft on the subject here concerning the Shane Mosley vs Sergio Mora tempest in a teapot. It was a typical scoring controversy that got the usual antisocial ninnies boiling over in forever misplaced outrage for about a week before their tiny attention spans had found a new outrage to run off to knock over more gravestones:

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/

There is no doubt that boxing, notwithstanding record revenues by Alvarez vs Mayweather, well, boxing has a problem of legitimacy as older American fans are dying out faster than new ones are coming aboard by an alarming margin. There are fewer American fighters left in the sport, probably due to fewer kids wishing to leap into a career of corruption where there is almost no money to be made except at the very top. The UFC shines in today’s New World Order as boxing moves to the pro wrestling format of  prefight promotional themes of conflict. Even old timers are fleeing modern matchups to pine over lost glory years when the fighting actually took place in the ring without a 3 ring circus of announcers corrupting the experience.

Moreover, if an average kid does decide to turn pro, chances are forever that the deck will be stacked against them in the referee enforcement of rules and the assignment of points by the judges anytime they face fighters associated with the larger promoters. By modern marketing standards, company products are always promoted #1, as such the ancient and forever poorly managed sport of boxing has been moving to canned fights reminiscent of old truck commercials between Ford and Chevy. One truck would attempt to climb a pyramid stack of loose rocks and fail half way up, so then the featured truck cruises breezily up to the top of the pile to show us all how champions comport themselves in “difficult” contests.

Saving Money Investment

Saving Money Investment

In a world run by Marketing…getting back to Alvarez/Mayweather, the vilest of the directed bile has blasted judge C J Ross full broadside to the backwater docks for repairs and probable retirement, all for scoring a 114-114 draw on her card which did not affect the victory for Mayweather, not one single bit. In contrast, last year Manny Pacquiao was “robbed” by both Ms Ross and Duane Ford in scoring that actually did alter a seemingly wide unanimous win for Pacquiao into a split decision loss that drastically altered future big fight fight negotiations.

So how could such a trivial scoring anomaly in the Alvarez/Mayweather “event” become upgraded to such importance?

I’d guess you’d have to start with some basic facts: Official fight scores were 117-111, 116-112, and 114-114 with Mayweather winning a majority decision. Each fighter starts a 12 round fight with 360 points or 120 points per each of the 3 judges cards, that’s 10 points for each round. The way boxing does it’s scoring is ass-backwards from the way almost every other sport is scored where athletes have to “win” points to win their contests. In boxing, athletes lose points, so in that respect it’s much like the well known punitive politics of amateur ice skating and gymnastics where the 10 point mandatory is used to mark down athlete performances before being collected and totaled for an average score.

Mayweather “lost” 13 points in the fight to end up with 347 points out of the 360 point maximum. Alvarez “lost” 23 points to end up with 337 points out of the 360 point maximum. So Mayweather ended up with 96.3% of his maximum and Alvarez ended up with 93.6% of his maximum, the difference in the fight being that Mayweather was 2.7% better than Alvarez. The academic difference suggests the zone between an A+ test result and an A test result if we use 90-100% scores as traditionally being an A test score. This is hardly the dominance suggested by the media who seldom had any problems reporting the perfect 44-0 official record of Mayweather coming into the fight as though he were perfectly unblemished during his career. No fighter gets through a long career without some controversies, and Mayweather has some doozies.

This fella, Bobby Hunter goes to great lengths to tabulate consensus fight scores, and of 86 “press” scores, the average was 119-109 for Mayweather. That would be 357 of 360 maximum points compared to 327 of 360 maximum points for Canelo, or 99.2% for Mayweather to 90.8% to Alvarez, a larger spread of victory, but still in the “A” academic range for both fighters.  

http://www.boxingnewsonline.net/latest/feature/floyd-mayweather-scored-a-clear-winner-over-saul-alvarez-by-86-members-of-press

The typical boxing fan might say that boxing is actually scored round by round, sorta true that, but only indirectly. As mentioned, each fighter is assigned a 10 point maximum value to start a round with on each judge’s card. I don’t make this up, it’s just happens to be the big white elephant in the room that boxing media and fans ignore, that the scoring in boxing is not only counter-intuitive, but contains unneeded padded points that are utterly useless  until someone wishes to add an element of smoke and mirrors to hide the deceptions and misdirections that magicians, carny barkers, and card gamblers also use to deceive the common rube. Moreover, time and time again we see the scoring is overly complex for some of the more arithmetically challenged judges who sometimes miscalculate their totals that cause delays in announcing the results, sometimes even resulting in a recalculation of the announced result that leads to ever more fan distrust in venues big and small around the world.

Re-calculable scorecards. Yeah! Who wouldn’t like to recalculate their own bank balances when they don’t like the results?

True round by round scoring hasn’t been used for some time, but perhaps the greatest ever round by round scored fight was the 1971 Fight of the Century, Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier in Madison Square Garden. Joe Frazier won that dramatic 15 round classic by scores of 9-6, 11-4, and an amazing 8-6 by referee Arthur Mercante under rules of the day when refs were part of the scoring process. I seem to recall Mercante having to use “supplemental rules” to enact the tiebreaker. Nontransparent supplemental rules of scoring such as this are likely one reason round by round went the dodo bird route of extinction, but let’s contrast the scores of this slugfest often called the greatest single fight in history.

Frazier won 28 total points(rounds) to Ali’s 16 points(rounds), a margin of victory of 75%, quite a bit the more compelling result. Yet Ali supporters were claiming he was robbed, not because of a trifling scoring error, but rather that “The Man” had it in for him to be beat, a popular political expression expressing deep divisions within America emanating out of that era. These days, most agree Frazier won the fight hands down, but modern fans have no such arbitration by wiser, cooler heads. That usually comes after they go senile and die out. Since Mayweather may well have fought his best fight against his best opponent of record, let’s look closer at the fight later on.

There are a myriad number of rules selectively enforced to officiate or score a bout, in effect a form of “movable goalposts” for treatment and evaluation of different fighters that fans are either blindingly unaware of or simply apathetic about, take your pick. In this case, had the referee and judges been given different instructions, the bout might well have been controlled in the other direction for Alvarez by whatever margin, yet the outrage would have been about the same. Been much worse pillar to post beatdown robberies in boxing history than this tepid stylist soiree, that’s for sure. These folks crying in their beer simply have no context to rationally discuss a fight.

Or do they? What’s missing?

Well, as Juan Manuel Lopez mentioned after being blasted to the deck by Orando Salido in their rematch, he suspected the referee who “prematurely” stopped the fight had bet on the Salido stoppage. Lopez was promptly suspended and fined, yet the ugly little can of worms remains kicked over and squirming. There are few if any regulations pertaining to boxing teams and other boxing insiders placing wagers on involved fights much less any oversight. Nobody screams louder in boxing than “players” losing their main stake plus their projected winnings because of a “bad” referee or judging decision, and guess what?

Vegas and international bookies at large saw the most business they’ll have for many years that somewhat made up for the thrice canceled Pacquiao/Mayweather Superfight fights with even bigger players and revenue streams. Still, stupendous amounts were bet on this fight with the best odds given on the exact round and result prediction. Since Mayweather tends to rack up unanimous decisions like clockwork, there you go, the projected mass of the betting being put on that outcome. The unexpected majority decision tossed a monkey wrench into that payout, hence the stampede of howler monkeys on the suits that run boxing. Before the fight we also saw the rumor stampede that the fight would be scored a draw so they could stage the lucrative rematch for another big flood of bets lost forever. Great for business though.

Oh Yeah & True Confessions: The NSAC commish Bill Brady asserted that his office was no longer going to be a “rubber stamp” for fight venues, presumably unlike the previous NSAC “rubber stamped sanctions of Mayweather “events” these oh so many years. Just check out the two Joe Cortez refereed Mayweather fights for a snapshot of rubber stamped Vegas “in action.”

As I projected in my prefight, the opening round was a cautious feeling out where little was accomplished until just before the bell ended the round. Mayweather leaped inside with a perfectly vicious Bernard Hopkins’ style upperbutt to the jaw of Alvarez, a blatant foul everyone but referee Kenny Bayless could see. No message in a bottle this, but rather a bottle crashed over his noggin that let Alvarez know he was out of his element and away from home. Mayweather could do what ever he wanted with impunity, so he followed up in the 4th round by locking up Alvarez left arm with both arms as he wrapped up his body trying to pull it out of socket Bernard Hopkins style. Alvarez tapped him on the thigh with his free right hand, reflexively leading Bayless to jump in for the break, pushing Alvarez back as he severely admonished him for the “low blow.” Then he went over to Mayweather for a much friendlier pow wow. Alvarez had been struggling with the baffling timing of the Mayweather defense, but when he started getting in some good rights to the body, one finally hit the Mayweather kidney while in his classic “show the back defense” that he’s gotten away with the whole of his career. It’s illegal to deliberately turn your back in boxing, so Bayless issued more dire warnings Canelo instead of correcting Mayweather. Reminds me of the complaints not so many years back when fighters were warned by German refs for hitting the last undefeated wonder Sven Ottke in the jaw or the stomach, I kid you not.

I myself chose  not to score this fight because it was clear before the fight that Alvarez needed a concussive all time knockout to win. As I’ve found like clockwork from so many of my previous efforts, every controversy revolves around the number of even rounds that I score that boxing judges are forbidden to score as such. Typically the “Home” or “Money” fighter, both descriptors fitting Mayweather in his fights, he gets those rounds by default, but on occasion the judges give don’t care to go that route. Previously CJ Ross was widely pilloried for preferring the “slick, black, awkward, reverse footwork style of undefeated” Timothy Bradley over the offensive firepower of Manny Pacquiao, so duly ravaged by  antisocial media misanthropes, she scored some those even rounds for Canelo this time around. There were only two rounds difference between her another Mayweather judge, normally a perfectly acceptable range of difference. Of course this being the Las Vegas gambling destination of the world, any judge or ref can be seen as suspect when it comes to their roles as history has shown us repeatedly.

How about the “boxing media,” nearly all dismissing Alvarez well before the fight was ever signed. How many lost their meager wages on the match?

Media transparency has never existed, but Ring transparency would be a big improvement, like having all the officials and promotional teams list their wagers on fight they’re involved in as well as the full disclosure of contract conditions for the fight, like gloves, catch and rehydration limits, ring size, fast, slow, or medium speed canvas, purse particulars, all of which play a role in the outcome to various degrees, yet usually squirreled away from the unwashed public. Of course the “insiders” could just move to having their friends or relatives place their bets, but at least they would be driven to an illegal netherworld befitting their natures.

Getting back to the maddening puzzle that is Mayweather, here are some fight shots representative of his style that the boxing press has gone screaming Colonel Bob agaga over:

Blind Man Touching

Blind Man Touching

To Fight or How to Score Ugly?

To Fight or How to Score Ugly?
Below The Beltline Boxing or Alternative Lifestyle Flick?

Below The Beltline Boxing or Alternative Lifestyle Flick?

Thank goodness for Mayweather’s hometown Grand Rapids Press photos or someone might accuse me of photoshopping which would be easier than scoring a Mayweather fight. Mayweather won the fight, no doubt after the kid was stifled by Bayless early when Mayweather was at his freshest, fastest, and most puzzling. However the number of hurtful punches landed by either was exceedingly low because of their defensive natures. I’m remember when Miguel Cotto visually came out almost unscathed against the busted up Mayweather.

Punched?

Punched?

Even feather fisted Pauli Maglinaggi managed to bust up a much younger, fresher Cotto in their fight long ago, so what kind of impact do most of Mayweather’s punches have other than as flash and glitter?

Boxing needs a major comeback with the larger public who now prefer more easily understood team sports like basketball, football, and baseball. I dare say most would rather even cruise down to the local rec fields for, gasp, co-ed kickball for easily understood rules and first rate viewing. Broadcasters could put chokers and muzzles on announcers to allow real fight audio that could distinguish between silent love taps and thunderclap hammer shots for the edification of the public. Then state commishes and ABCs could come up with simplified, transparent scoring and scrap recalculable duffed scorecards with negligible point differences that define the loser more than the winner.

In other words, instead of using modern assbackward 10 point must scoring, every fighter should start off at the zero ledger like God intended athletic contests to start, even golf and track and field for crimony’s sake!

They could keep their current one point assessments for “rounds won, knockdowns scored, and assessed fouls awarded to come up with a point total that may not solve the weekly cries of “robbery,” but would remove the unwanted flab points that flabby overseers of boxing have used to cover up their obtuse tamperings of fights. Translating Alvarez/Mayweather, we’d get scores of 9-3, 8-4, and 6-6, totaling 23 of 36 maximum points for Mayweather and 13 or 33 maximum points for Alvarez, making Mayweather the winner by a 77% margin which is substantial. Yet I read many in the “media” scored 100% for Mayweather, typically the mindset of those who have failed in their journalistic duty to even handedly report on an athletic event. If Mayweather were really 100% good, he would have no need of catchweights and rehydration limits with the opposing fighter having to drag the ref around as a ball and chain for the full 12 rounds.

And if Mayweather, his promoter, and his handlers were really cleaning up boxing, they’d answer why his Mayweather Promotions fighters have failed drug tests and why Mayweather refuses to answer failed drug testing allegations against him.

http://www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/the-ped-mess-part-one

Meanwhile, back at the hideout:

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/all-star-boxing-given-court-go-ahead-to-seek-punitive-damages-against-golden-boy-for-their-signing-of-canelo-alvarez-227250

Pacquiao vs Marquez 4 The Money

Pacquiao vs Marquez 4 The Money at MGM Grand, Saturday, December 8th is the shorthand of all you need to know.

`36 Rounds & Counting

36 Rounds & Counting

I did become excited about this fight when Bob Arum bigged up a Mexico City venue, just the place to make Marquez step out of his shell and try for once to really take it to Pacquiao, and just the sort of challenge that Pacquiao loves, a Mexican Bullring packed to the hilt with El Locos screaming for  mano a mano Mexican style boxing that the Filipino relishes. Imagine the contagion spreading around the world on fight night with HBO and Larry Merchant broadcasting from Mexico City as tens of millions storm the worldwide broadcasters for a stream of the fight on whatever set ups they’re using!

Nope, ain’t gonna happen that way.

I gather the numbers didn’t work since Marquez has been a Vegas fighter for most of his career and lacks the overwhelming Mexican support that Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales enjoyed. Marquez is a Top Rank fighter now, so Arum gave him a trial run  in Mexico City against Ukrainian Serhiy Fedchenko for the WBO junior welter title. Marquez aggressively outpointed Fedchenko for his 4th divisional title.

Pacquiao has also become something of a Vegas fighter with Arum carefully booking him at MGM Grand, Floyd Mayweather Jr’s home for the last several years. Mayweather might decide to take the plunge and make a Pacquiao fight on the spur of the moment, so Arum maybe looks to keep the Grand booked for all future Pacquiao dates.

The Trilogy

The Trilogy

As you can see, Marquez was well packed and ripped for the rubber match in a fashion that he has never been thanks to Angela Heredia, one of many infamous trainers part of the BALCO scandal. Somehow he avoided the convictions and jail time others in the scandal were handed, probably by plea deal in exchange for favorable prosecution testimony.

Regardless of whether or not Marquez has fallen into the PEDs trap, his conditioning has been at career bests against Pacquiao. I had hopes that he could provide a good fight against Mayweather when he moved up two divisions a few years back, but then he started taking his frothy health cocktails drawn from a spigot hooked up to his own private pistola, well, I winced and hoped I wouldn’t heave. Then the comic book endurance and strength training of him throwing around large rocks at altitude evaporated whatever chance he had against the crafty Mayweather.

Pacquiao is taking on his third P4P fight in a row with Timothy Bradley sandwiched between Marquez, and, boy howdy, what a surprise wake up call against the undefeated physical phenom. Pacquiao took it big time to Bradley for 9 rounds, hitting him so hard that the shock waves popped tendons in Bradley’s ankles loose from their moorings. Incredibly Bradley didn’t go down in spite of sporting the usual Pacquiao souvenirs of a lumped up, mashed out of place face before convalescing in a wheelchair after the fight ended.

Even more incredibly, the Vegas judges awarded Bradley the split decision in a fight nobody thought was even close. The outrage was such that the WBO commissioned 5 veteran judges to review the fight and awarded Pacquiao the unanimous decision, yet Bradley still holds the WBO title. Bob Arum called for an investigation of himself, wanting to distance himself from the grievous improprieties of the Nevada commission who stacked the judges.

Bradley did physically extend out Pacquiao’s conditioning more than any fighter yet. The 9th round is what turned around the fight for Bradley as he was completely exhausted, a sitting duck for legendary straight left hands that made Pacquiao the most celebrated fighter since Muhammad Ali. Right at the point of the knockout, Pacquiao hit the wall and went into slower and slower motion until they were standing there looking at each other in disbelief. Neither had anything left to mount a decent assault for the rest of the fight, yet Bradley won the judges over while the rest of boxing told him that he really didn’t win the fight. Yeah, thanks guys.

The decision was a headscratcher until you consider the source. This is boxing in Vegas that’s moving closer to pro wrestling in plot line and choreography, see  the Ortiz/Mayweather outrage, and in outcomes, see any of dozens of their fights every year where the judging defies all logic.

There always has been a long standing prejudice against big sluggers like Pacquiao when they fail to knock out their opponent as was expected. Big Vegas Players lose huge sums no matter how technically nuanced Pacquiao has become under Freddie Roach, so it means nothing to judges who know the bottomline. The Marquez and Bradley fights were the easiest fights Pacquiao has had in ages as evidenced by his postfight choirboy looks as opposed to his typical mangled features after he lays down ferocious beatings and knockouts as the most celebrated offensive fighter of the decade. All the lumps were transferred to Bradley and Marquez.

Pacquiao didn’t help his concentration by the revelations of his marital woes hours before the Marquez fight when he was supposedly served divorce papers. His concentration further lapsed before the Bradley fight when he came out against gay marriage in the home state of the powerful Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a liberal democrat in support of gay marriage who Pacquiao had previously campaigned for. Boxing results shouldn’t be determined by politics, but the reality has always been that if the referee and/or judges want, they can determine the outcome of any fight, not the fighters, and the Nevada Commish is a political appointment.

Pacquiao suffered his first officiating outrage with the Agapito Sanchez  Technical Draw when the Dominican Billy Goat butted his way out of the fight. I’ve never seen a better example of a fighter that should have been DQed after it was obvious butting was the only offensive tool in his arsenal. Then the admitted scoring error in the first Marquez fight that would have given Pacquiao the split decision instead of a draw. Then the missed 2nd knockdown by referee  Kenny Bayless in the rematch that should have been at least a unanimous decision for Pacquiao if not a knockout when Marquez walked to Pacquiao’s corner, clearly out on his feet. Bayless is also the ref for the 4th installment, so we’ll see if he can get it right this time around.

Maybe Marquez can borrow some of the fight from diehard JMMarquez fans who continue to litter the internet with bitter claims of victory over Pacquiao. He really does need some extra fight to him IF he REALLY wants to beat Pacquiao.

The Rubber was a stylistic technical disappointment for both. Marquez throw a some furious popcorn flurries off the backfoot that never put a dent into Pacquiao’s features, whereas Pacquiao leading right hooks swiped Marquez’s left eye half closed and his straight lefts lumped up his right side, but he never really went after Marquez nor did he ever hurt him or knock him down like previous encounters.

Pacquiao for his part needs to understand the sympathies that Vegas holds for Marquez and bring back some of his aggressive offense that made him such a legend. No need to abandon technical boxing, just step up the intensity a few notches or risk another controversial decision that might not go his way.

It should also be noted that Pacquiao continues to break his own record for the most Ring P4P fights, the Marquez rubber being his 11th and Marquez will vault into sole ownership of 2nd place with his 5th P4P fight. He’s currently tied with Mayweather for 2nd place with 4 each.

FYI, you can read about the compelling parallel P4P histories of Pacquiao and Mayweather here:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/modern-p4p-rankings-manny-pacquiao-vs-floyd-mayweather-jr/

Another interesting development going into this fight is that after Mayweather was released from prison, he quietly paid out a private settlement with a public apology to Pacquiao in exchange for dropping the lawsuit that Mayweather had lost every round in. The IRONY is now Mayweather has been hit with hard rumors about 3 positive drug tests that were hushed up by Golden Boy Promotions and the  USADA drug testing cartel. Here’s the skinny by Thomas Hauser that pretty much backs up what I’ve been saying about the poor reporting in the boxing media about drug testing, plus plenty of new revelations:

http://www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/the-ped-mess-part-one

Yes, most anywhere we look in the boxing world, there’s a lot of cynicism over the 4th fight between Pacquiao and Marquez. It doesn’t seem possible they could top their previous PPV total, yet there should be plenty of interest in the fight come first bell.

Who wants to miss what could be the best fight by far between these warrior adversaries? Not a chance. 

A Legend Passes–Manny Steward, R.I.P.

Emmanuel “Manny” Steward was announced as passing away on October 25th after 68 wonderfully vital years. Diverticulitis was mentioned as the culprit that took him down, an insidious grouping of gaseous distensions in the long maze of intestinal tract plumbing that many have fallen prey to over the years.

Those Were The Days

Those Were The Days

Steward was the most up front and center cornerman/trainer/commentator in boxing today, quickly taking up the slack left after Angelo Dundee‘s run with Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard. His list of credits are impressive in spite of being on the losing end of two of the most exciting and high level bouts in boxing history.

The first was when the undefeated Tommy Hearns outboxed and outfoxed boxing’s flashmaster Sugar Ray Leonard before succumbing to a 14th round TKO stoppage on his feet against the ropes. The second being the most intense all out brawl in modern boxing when Hearns and middleweight marvel Marvin Hagler engaged in a vicious pillar to post slugfest, leaving Hearns pounded to the canvas before arising on shaky legs midway through the 3rd round, a TKO stoppage by the ref. Both fights were the highest profile bouts as can be staged at Caesars PalaceLas VegasNevada

Manny also won more than his fair share with two of the most dominant heavyweights ever in Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko, along with a host of other fantastic fighters that you can review on his Wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Steward

While greatly appreciated, no wiki article could ever explain what his Kronk Gym and charity work meant to disadvantaged youths everywhere and boxing.

Manny Steward, a Giant Beacon flashing out his wit and wisdom to all who entered his sphere, now enters the Great Pantheon of Boxing to be cherished forever, God Bless.

Manuel Charr Tapped For Vitali Klitschko Rehabilitation

This Vitali comeback is from left shoulder rehabilitation after holding back charging Dereck Chisora with the remaining right arm earlier this year. Vitali made some noises last year about 2012 being his last in boxing, so he scheduled a favored Kiev soccer stadium venue in tribute to his avid Ukrainian support. It goes without saying that as a Kiev mayoral candidate in upcoming elections, the fight can also be seen as a political platform to upgrade his profile with voters. Upsets happen often in politics however, his Ukrainian political opponents coordinated their collective muscle to get his fight booted in favor of a rock concert.

Fast forward, and now the fight is scheduled for September 8th at the Olimpiyskiy in Moscow. The Russian capital has become a new mecca of professional boxing in Eastern Europe as befits the rich boxing history of Russia and the surrounding Eastern European states.

Vitali vs Charr

Vitali vs Charr

Manuel Charr is an excellent young prospect, age 27 with a record of 21-0, 11 KO, but he’s never beaten a ranked fighter. He has the usual faded names of former prospects and contenders on his record while fighting his way up the rankings in Germany. His background is unusual though, having been born in Lebanon, not a place with much if any boxing history to my knowledge.

His weight runs around 235-250 range, perhaps a little heavy for his 6-4 frame, but pretty much the standard for heavyweights these days who only have to go 12 rounds at most these days. The thinking is that fighters and their trainers may feel the need for more mass to stay on their feet in the new era of scored knockdowns where a flash knockdown or touched glove count the same as a hard knockdown.

This fight was made possible because Charr has a WBC #7 ranking and was signable since he is now self promoted. The WBC #1 Chris Arreola wasn’t ready to commit to a challenge after being strafed out of sight by Vitali in 2009.

On paper and in reality, Charr chances lay somewhere between rail thin slim and none. It’s worth noting that historically, there have been some great fighters upset by untested prospects, particularly ailing great fighters. Perhaps also Charr has untapped potential just waiting for the right moment in time to express itself as when Neon Leon Spinks upset the mighty Muhammad Ali so many moons ago in the last millennium.

Regardless, we won’t be seeing Vitali Klitschko in the ring too much longer, but maybe he’s hedging his retirement in anticipation of bigger bouts to come with his recent comments. His mind’s eye says it’s retirement time, but his pocket book says it always has room for another run of the Klitschko mint.

Not a bad dilemma to be caught in. We should all be so lucky.