Tag Archives: Thomas Hearns

Tony Ayala Jr, The Baby Bull~Now Dead

I always liked Tony, but only sorta. He was as intelligent and well spoken as any man could ever be, but his demons mixed him in with heroin which led to tragic youthful decisions that he could never fully free himself from. Criminal assault was always hanging over him like a dark cloud that followed him around.

Tony the teen aged phenom

Tony the teen aged phenom

I didn’t know that he was released from his 2nd prison term only a month ago in April. Supposedly he was helping run the family gym and training new fighters at where he was found dead, age 52.

Was undefeated in his last bout at age 19, 22-0 with 19 brutal knockouts, all lined up to fight the fab four, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran for huge money. Instead he served a long time in one of the toughest prisons in America, Rahway. Made a pretty good comeback after his first release from prison, but then the demons resurfaced and he was kicked back to the slammer. Supposedly a drug overdose by whatever means is suspected as the cause of death.

Record and bio here:

http://boxrec.com/media/index.php?title=Human:15471

What If: 1989 Roberto Duran vs 1991 James Toney

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

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

Fun Times

Fun Times

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

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

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

Lights Out Baby

Lights Out Baby

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

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

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

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

Zer0 Sum~~Nuevo Canelo Alvarez Battles Viejo Money Mayweather For PPVs

Since any Mayweather fight now begins and ends with PPV numbers, let us begin with the September 14th Saul Alvarez vs Floyd Mayweather bout being projected to break the De La Hoya/Mayweather PPV record of 2.4 million, or at least that’s the hyped target. Whether or not the resulting PPVs will be enough to adjust the negative red ledger of the much ballyhooed Mayweather Showtime contract into the black is unknown. Showtime wisely didn’t publicize losses from the Guerrero fight, perhaps anticipating this fight to make up their losses. 

150 lbs in training....

150 lbs in training….

Both fighters have almost identical undefeated records, Alvarez at 42-0-1, 30 KO to Mayweather’s 44-0, 26 KO, in theory an Las Vegas based dream fight, but look again. Both are pure boxers though Mayweather started off as a powerhouse of note and Alvarez has a healthy knockout punch when he choses. They both fought boxer types in their last bouts generally accorded as fairly dull in terms of fight action.  Mayweather refused to engage more than his footwork save for two modest rounds of action and Alvarez mostly feinted and countered a cautious counter puncher though he did score a nicely timed highlight knockdown that briefly got the San Antone crowd rocking.

Let us travel far far away to a distant galaxy of reality when once upon a time there was the Montreal classic between Panamanian legend Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard to conjure up another huge Latino vs USA fight. The 24 year old undefeated Leonard was still a little wet behind his Olympic Gold medal ears and not yet the American legend he would become, but he was making his second defense of his WBC title won off 21 year old wiz Wilfredo Benitez. The 29 year old wildman Duran was at his raging never to be seen again peak with 71 victories, mostly by KO after having dominated the lightweight division against a single loss avenged twice by knockouts for good measure, the days when boxers were still fighters, not the posers and preeners of today. 

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

The first Duran/Leonard pillar to post donnybrook got the juices roiling most everywhere within and outside of boxing, but frankly, I don’t see this fight in the same legendary vein in terms of international legacy or terms of ring action. Mayweather is well off his prime days no matter how much the Al Hayman Golden Boy News of the Ring World and Showtime want to promote him beyond his sell date, and in spite of the Mexican hype, Alvarez lacks the US public awareness of the heavily touted Gold Medalist Leonard or the international legend of Duran for this fight.

165 lbs in training

165 lbs in training

However, Alvarez is the latest thing to hit the boxing big stage at this point, so figure on the promotion to leverage his cherubic youth for all it’s worth since he doesn’t look the prototypical Mexican assassin to the rest of the world. It will be heresy if the usual antisocial media muffins littering the internet ever find out that the just turned 23 year old Canelo is actually further along in the fight game compared to Leonard and Mayweather when they had just turned 23. He’s also ahead of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and the great Duran when they had just turned 23.

If Alvarez wins this fight, “if” being the major sticking point pending results, he would be well ahead of any listed above. He is in the same ballpark for now as all the great Latino fighters in that “boxing experts” never project a young 3rd world Latino fighter to be an all time great until after the fact becomes glaringly obvious by consensus opinion of three blind mice. The 17 year old Wilfredo Benitez was one obvious exception with monumental things being predicted for him that he ultimately never achieved in spite of his HOF accomplishments.

Just turned 23 year old phenoms ahead of Alvarez would include Mike Tyson who had completely unified 3+1 Ring belt , and incredibly Wilfredo Gomez who was 11-0, 11 KO in WBC title fights by the time he turned 23. Fellow Mexican Salvador Sanchez was closest to Alvarez, 8-0, 4 KO in WBC title fights by age 23, not bad company at all to be in league with not to mention the Sanchez record was almost identical when he turned 23, 42-1-1, 31 KO, veeerily eerie that one. By then Sanchez had also claimed the Gomez undefeated scalp by spectacular knockout if we want to consider just how quickly forgotten the sublime genius Sanchez has become in this modern era of tinman greats making millions upon millions for too often showing more bravado in their prefight pressers and ring entrances than their fights themselves.

“All knowing experts” were also saying that Alvarez was too young and inexperienced for Mayweather before the fight was announced, ignoring the perfect promotional track that Alvarez has been on for 3 years now designed exactly for the Mayweather challenge. The kid clearly has ambitions far beyond the speed at which he’s been developed, so now a chastened herd of experts scramble to give him his chances in order to get the promotional bandwagon moving. The slick Giampa News of the Ring World P4P Czar even maneuvered Alvarez into a Ring P4P slot once the fight was agreed much like they did for Robert Guerrero when he signed against Mayweather. They must have had a frightful shock when they came across my Ring P4P history of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather here that Pacquiao has only added to since:

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

Ring couldn’t be more disingenuous if they tried, but they do try hard in their dishonorable quest so late in the game to make up for the lost P4P years of Mayweather’s career.

In spooky contrast, the 36 year old Mayweather is eerily on the same track as the in and out of retirement version of Sugar Ray Leonard who chose a stink and run style to “defend” his ill begotten “WBC supermiddleweight title” against 38 year old Duran in their belated rubber match. There are are precious few fighters able to chase a Leonard or a Mayweather around the ring for 12 rounds for a clean KO as Robert Guerrero recently tried which is the only way a fighter can bypass the political decisions and preferential referee treatment star fighters receive, especially since this fight is being contested in Mayweather’s home, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. 

The 35 year old Leonard finally met his Waterloo when he came out of retirement the next year to challenge 23 year old young gun Terry Norris who delivered a beating and a half on Leonard he was lucky to survive. Eerie number correlations and fight styles aside, every fight and fighter is different even if career parallels can be drawn. Mayweather has been much cagier in his career to limit his physical damage and stays in training year round for his one fight, but now he’s going for his 2nd fight of the year, a huge leap for him.

Lest anyone think I’m “hating” on Mayweather, his record speaks for itself, a “perfect” 44-0, but exclusively a WBC union card fighter until recently, never having once unified a title and never holding more than 25% of the available titles in any of his 5 divisions of 21 title fights. Wladimir Klitschko has held all but the WBC title that his brother Vitali holds, 20-2 in title matches overall, considerably more impressive than Mayweather’s WBC fetish as an example of an era peer comparison. The same could also be said of Manny Pacquiao and Roy Jones Jr as two other multiple belt P4P stars, Jones especially owning just about every Lightheavy title fabricated by the worldwide ABCs.

Alvarez also happens to be WBC centered and with Golden Boy Promotions as is Mayweather, thus the impetus for making this fight conveniently inevitable in spite of a recent “promotional” spat the two fighters had earlier in the year. Alvarez is primarily a ring centered boxer/puncher who can slug, fight, or box as needed, but he’s never had to chase down a sprinter wearing track shoes in the supersized ring dimensions this fight will be contested, dimensions that likely will never be published but can be inferred when the fighters enter the ring. The fight could only be made at a 152 lb catchweight with no details on rehydration limits imposed on Alvarez.

While the Canelo final legacy has many more years of hurdles to come, he gave early notice of his potential as a precocious 15 year old when he outpointed future IBF lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez and in the rematch two years later. Alvarez probably could have handled a title shot in 2010 when he easily defeated the likes of Mayweather sparring partner Lovemore N’dou after blasting out Carlos Baldomir whom Mayweather scarcely dented in a wide points decision. In 2011 he won his title by beating Matthew Hatton who had been an early frontrunner for a Mayweather fight the year before. That’s three Mayweather associated fighters in a row Alvarez has used to play pin the donkey on Mayweather on his way to the 154 lb WBC title.  

Using the Boxrec comparison of a fighter’s last 6 bouts, incredibly the Mayweather inactivity stretches way back to 2007 against Ricky Hatton.  In 2007 Saul Alvarez was just 17 years old, a year before his American debut on his way to adding 24 more wins to his undefeated record that now includes a 6-0 WBC title record for his last 6 fights. That includes two more title fights than Mayweather has been engaged his last 6 years, so these are two different worlds they currently operate in.

Since Mayweather has been extremely inactive compared to the hyperactivity of Alvarez, perhaps his last 3 fights would be a more informative “up to date” comparison: Mayweather last played Mr. Chickenman, “he’s everywhere, he’s everywhere” against Robert Guerrero to cop the decision after promising to go toe to toe. The only two fighting rounds were when Mayweather had the better 7th round than Guerrero had the better 8th round, otherwise Mayweather refused to engage and Guerrero couldn’t catch up to him. The year before he traded heavy artillery against Miguel Cotto in a fan classic to pull out the win, leading the herd of “experts” to conclude Mayweather’s legs would be suspect against Guerrero and he would be forced to fight, no kidding! Lastly, who can forget his choreographed farce with Victor Ortiz and Joe Cortez in a superb remake of the all time Muhammad Ali, Sonny Liston, Jersey Joe Walcott travesty? Thanks to that Academy performance Vic Ortiz got a big offer to star in the Expendables “muscled up” action cartoon fantasy that Hollywood specializes in, so he set aside boxing for acting, I kid you not!

Which Mayweather will show up come fight night depends much on the referee tapped for the fight and the selection of judges. Alvarez coasted an easy decision based on the WBC open scoring rules for his last fight against Austin Trout for example. Some criticized Alvarez for a lack of action compared to previous efforts, but why should a boxer take unnecessary risks with his eye butted open when the Mayweather fight been so long planned for?

We do know now the well experienced Kenny Bayless is the ref, but when I first tried to check his record, all I could get on Boxrec was a glossy promotional page promoting this fight.  I do know he messed up the Pacquiao/Marquez rematch when he failed to call the obvious 2nd knockdown after correctly calling the first knockdown, then to compounded his error, he had to grab the wobbly Marquez from sitting on Pacquiao’s corner stool to guide him to the Marquez corner so out on his feet poor Marquez was.

Nor could I check on the announced judges, Dave Moretti, CJ Ross and Craig Metcalfe after the same glossy promo interference popped up. Offhand I recall CJ Ross as one of the two butchers of the Pacquiao/Bradley much derided scoring. It’s a shame that the supposed independent organization of Boxrec has allowed these promotional ads to interfere with their operations, but such is a prime example of the reach of a big promoter and broadcaster, so I need not bother with any more research into the ring officials. It is what it is.

History will show that the legend of Mayweather automatically upgraded to the best American boxer 9 years ago after the legend of Roy Jones took a guided missile on the  tiny sliver of his exposed chin left open for Antonio Tarver to crack. It is unfortunate that Mayweather and current P4P American compatriot Andre Ward can scarcely be bothered to fight but once a year these days, but that seems to be OK with the new generation of American boxing media and fight fans who seem more oriented on talking about all the fighters they could beat rather than see them in action actually beating someone.

Today’s softer and kinder American punchers can’t compare to the straight up wars that Duran, Leonard, Hearns and Hagler waged in multiple fights with each other not so long ago featuring high level action in thrilling encounters. The last two prime American P4Pers who fought in the traditional Americanno quarter asked or given”  style were Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams, regrettably retired now before they ever had a chance to fully develop.

Such is the current American boxing scene that  Alvarez faces as the staked out sacrificial goat for another canned hunt that could ultimately see Mayweather tied with Rocky Marciano at 49-0. Look a little closer and you might just see Oscar de la Hoya duking it out with Al Hayman for future promotional stakes projected when the 81 years ancient Bob Arum finally rolls over to the great Valhalla in the sky. Golden Boy and Hayman would then be thrown into a perfect storm for control of boxing.

Just think of the Roman Empire and the hundred plus “Ceasars, Augusti, Emperors, Popes and assorted sordid split titles of command they created after most every new leader was poisoned or stabbed to death when not run out of town skewered on a split rail. Boxing may be less vicious than the Roman Empire, but when big money is at stake, Ides of March power is leveraged until stability of leadership is reestablished.

Monkey business alert: Oscar De La Hoya had been providing spooky updates on his substance abuse recovery all while Mayweather skewered him at a press conference for being no more than a front man for GBP. Then De La Hoya entered drug rehab 4 days before the fight, leaving his number one star “unprotected” against the hometown Vegas fighter.

Incommunicado….really?

The sly Hayman has been using Golden Boy to promote his growing stable of fighters and on record as saying he could “easily” come to control boxing as he steadily moves to the forefront in stealth mode.  Golden Boy provides a handy tool to organize the complicated often nasty work of a fight card without the need for Hayman to set up shop for himself. As manager/advisor of Floyd Mayweather, his number one client makes both Hayman and De La Hoya more money for the year than the rest of their fights and fighters combined. That they finally sweet talked Mayweather into “speeding up” his career by dangling the Showtime plum indicates they can at least cooperate to obtain such a sweet goal, but Showtime is currently in financial dispute with Time Warner cable going into this fight. Maybe they can kiss and make up, when we can’t know.

Hmmmm…..

Oscar De La Hoya has been desperate for a mega star since his own star faded and may well have found him in Alvarez. This kid has managed to keep his head mostly screwed on outside of boxing and let his fists do the talking inside the ring. Oh, there was the unseemly publicized dustup with former fly champion Archie Solis who reportedly tried to make time with Canelo’s girlfriend and a child born out of wedlock, all pretty mild stuff for a young fighter who has literally had much of Mexico at his feet since he was a teen phenom. 

We could have some prefight fun by superimposing their last fights: The action starts with the usual light sparring to make the rubes think a legit boxing match is shaping up with some light tapping and movement. In the 2nd round Canelo backs to the ropes slipping and ducking imaginary punches as Money contorts his body bouncing off ropes on the other side of the ring running from his imaginary pursuer.

Certainly stranger scenarios have played out in boxing, but for boxing to have a shred of respect left, this, the “biggest” fight that can be made this year needs to be a legitimately officiated without the WWE choreographed farce of recent Showtime and Golden Boy involved “events.”

All that glitters....

All that glitters….

Speaking of WWE, here’s the WBC first ever first edition superduper special “solid gold” blarney belt for the coronation, promoted as having “two kilograms of gold” in it. Such blarney shall have to suffice as tribute by the WBC poohbahs of boxing to this “event.”

Superduper WBA Bauble

Superduper WBA Bauble

Not to be outbuffooned, the WBA answered by creating it’s own superduper bauble belt. This “event” pits their “co-super” beltholders against each other for the WBA superduper unification bauble. Yes folks, truth is stranger than fiction in the current boxing world.

Interestingly enough Mayweather shares an obsession with large bags of money just like the undefeated heavyweight Rocky Marciano if we want to examine further eerie connections. Marciano died in a tragic plane crash without anyone ever stepping forward to tell where he squirreled away his stash of millions in cash. His family was left impoverished dependent on various benefits and sympathetic contributors. No need to be a brain surgeon or genius forensic scientist to see that publicly stashing millions in cash in your home is a tragedy in waiting, but Mayweather does employ a squadron of NFL sized behemoths to guard his 150 lb prized perfect record from being folded, spindled or mutilated. Presumably that would include his greenery and gold.

The Golden Ring Zer0

The Golden Ring Zer0

Mayweather is currently closing in on the record of another “25% percenter” era peer Joe Calzaghe who posted a perfect 46-0 before retiring at age 36. Calzaghe unified at age 33 on his way to 21 title defenses before moving up to claim the Ring lightheavy title from Bernard Hopkins. Mayweather  has 13 title defenses of his credit though he did climb through 5 divisions to claim belts, but since has been silly gobslopping willy nilly around winning belts he never defends as he flits in and out of retirements or jail.  Further comparison shows Calzaghe also suffered from glass hands in his last years similar to Mayweather’s china hands, but a big difference between the two was that Calzaghe was almost completely ring center offensively oriented combination puncher whereas Mayweather uses defensive strategies as his major orientation of avoiding contact in a contact sport to more carefully select his punches.

Aside from PPVs, I see Mayweather’s greatest boxing “legacy” of being pretty much a self trained fighter not needing much fight input other than someone to work the pads for him. His family of trainers, Floyd Mayweather Sr and uncle Roger Mayweather, they are not the HOF trainers most all time greats were fortunate to hook up with. Their corner advice is usually either unrelated to any problem or incomprehensible Mayweatherese dialect not readily translated. Where would Muhammed Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard be without Angelo Dundee for example, or Thomas Hearns without Emmanuel Steward? Trainers like that are like having another ring general at your side to break down strategy or replenish sagging fortitude.

The worst boxing legacy of Mayweather will be his insistence on drug testing changes that have thrown boxing into a sewer of bogus drug testing experimentations that have been laughable in their oversight. The resulting freefall has allowed the infamous BALCO associated duo of Victor Conte and Angel Heredia into training camps to foist their majic elixirs of performance on selected fighters. Mayweather and his promotional team have yet to answer for Mayweather Promotion fighters Mickey Bey and J’Leon Love being busted by standard drug testing procedures,  nor have they answered well publicized allegations of failed drug tests by Thomas Hauser here:

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

Noteworthy of mention are the two other biggest fights of the year being staged after Mayweather/Alvarez. Two weeks later the top British heavyweights square off in jolly olde England as Tyson Fury and Mr. David Haye vie for contender supremacy. One week after that many belted heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko defends against Russian Alexander Povetkin in Moscow. There is nary a single American heavyweight in Ring rankings. Aging welterweight Mayweather is the last untarnished American legend standing between the history of boxing and near American oblivion. Most of the top fighters these days with American addresses are Eastern Europeans and latino nationals, a sure sign of the future face of boxing, and there isn’t a whole bunch of them either.

We’ll have to see which boxing jurisdiction, the US, the UK, or Russia will stage the type of reputable classic that would boost the faltering boxing corpse on the gurney. The time is now to forsake these posturing three ring circuses that have driven the newer generation of fans to the UFC and other MMA related martial sports, but will American boxing ever learn or will it continue in decline with the average sporting fan. Mayweather paydays have outsized the actual fighting of his career, but Americans have spoken with their pocketbooks, so be it.

Check in September 14th on Showtime to find out if the featured undercard of Danny Garcia vs Lucas Martin Matthysse outfights the main feature of the suits. It sure could happen that way.

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.

Floyd Mayweather Jr, What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Boxing as a mug's game

Boxing as a mug’s game

Just looking at the  mug shot taken this week from the Clark County Detention CenterFloyd appears quite happy and pleased with himself, reminding me of ye olde children’s nursery rhyme about little Jack Horner sitting in his corner eating his Christmas pie. He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum.

And said, “What a good boy am I!”

Still fresh off his signature victory in May over Shane Mosley where it’s estimated he earned some 15-20 million dollars, every day is Christmas in Floyd World, and what could be better than having your mug shot plastered across the world’s media for free publicity?

It’s a thug’s world in the new world order after all, so Floyd Jr or his uncle Roger being arrested for battering women is scarcely news anymore. More like a tool that gives them the street cred they need to maintain the veneer of their manhood while they sit on his perfect 41-0 record hoping to hatch another batch of golden eggs in yet another comeback fight next year against another poor fighter desperate to give away some 80% of the purse just to earn a couple of million as Juan Manuel Marquez did.

Nothing wrong with a fighter leveraging his position to secure the most lucrative purses, that’s the history of boxing, indeed, the history of economics. Curiously though, Mayweather has a history of turning down career high purses to wait out for lower risk fights not to mention his retirements in advance of the most lucrative purses at the point in time when he was at his earnings apex.

Regardless, his critics aren’t charged with having to live his own life, so he’s entitled to live his life as he sees fit with as many retirements, comebacks, arrests, and profane videos produced as he sees fit. He has been at boxing since he was a little tyke, worked hard, and as of the finish of the Marquez fight last September, presumably caught up on his taxes after Uncle Sam seized his purse for that fight to clear out his taxes in arrears.

And if it doesn’t bother Floyd that his actions have cost him lucrative endorsement deals as sponsors drop him like a red hot rock, why should it bother his critics?

And if it doesn’t bother him to have his children witness the assault on their mother as has been reported, well, as previously mentioned, that buys him more of street cred in the thug’s world he enjoys running in, so look at the mug shot, he’s pleased as punch to add on to his long rap sheet.

Philthy Rich
Philthy Rich

If he’s willing to pay the price for crossing the line by pitting himself against the greater public interest that comes into play anytime the welfare of children is threatened or anytime law enforcement has to put themselves at risk to answer the nightmare of police everywhere, the dreaded domestic dispute call, well again, these are Floyd’s calls whether his critics like it or not.

For the Mayweather family, Floyd Mayweather has been The Rock that has lifted the family boat.

He supports his mother and even his father now that previous disputes with Floyd Sr have been smoothed over. His children have had access to the best of whatever Floyd wants to provide towards their development, becoming a privileged class that few children in the world have ever experienced. Uncle Roger in the role of his longtime trainer has also piggybacked on Floyd’s fame and accomplishments.

Why Floyd has even been quite generous with God, thanking Him profusely after his victories, so who says there’s anything wrong with this picture?

Of course, with critics being a dime a dozen or so by many millions, there is still no shortage of Manny Pacquiao fans frothing in fury over his refusal to fight Manny in one of the biggest fights in history. Instead, Mayweather accused Manny of using drugs to enhance his performances and taped a video to easily defeat Manny outside the ring within the self contained confines of Floyd’s shiny noggin.

If Floyd doesn’t mind insulting that vast part of the boxing world that has made Manny the consensus fighter of the decade which also makes him the best fighter at the start of the 3rd millennium, an accolade that will only grow in importance as Manny has also become the first active boxer to be elected to his country’s highest legislative body, the first to win a world title in 7 divisions and going for his 8th divisional world title this coming November 13th, well, that too is Floyd’s call. 

No sir, if Floyd can endure the accumulating irony of turning down yet another date against Manny, and doesn’t mind if Manny picks up Floyd’s old WBC junior middleweight belt he won in a split decision against Oscar de la Hoya, his critics can never make Floyd do something he obviously doesn’t want to do, so they should just sit back and enjoy the Manny express while they have him and let sleeping dogs lay where they may.

Manny is nearing the end of a master plan of fights and retirement that he and his promoter, Bob Arum have laid out. This was projected to be his last year.

Floyd will be 34 yrs old early next year, and after near 30 yrs of boxing, 299 professional rounds completed, near 100 amateur fights, thousands of sparring rounds, and a lifetime of training, this looks to be his way of slowly backing out of boxing in spurts and jerks while maintaining his all important street cred.

Senator Manny

Senator Manny

Few understand that it is impossible for Manny to be at his physical peak as a newly elected congressman. His impoverished Pilipino constituents are looking to him to improve their access to education, healthcare, and opportunities in life, things much larger in scope than being the best fighter of the new millennium. And then there is the always present danger of political assassination and his family to worry about, keeping them safe.

But, what of Floyd’s family? What becomes of them if Floyd is convicted and sentenced to an extended prison sentence?

His long time lawyer, Richard Wright, claims he did no wrong and has managed to keep Floyd out of the Big House in his previous scrapes with the law, so we shall see where it all shakes out.

A Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather fight would no longer be the two at their best when it mattered the most to boxing, and more importantly, when it really mattered to the general public who only tune in to watch fights that command public interest. Let’s face cold facts here, the drug accusations, myriad negotiations going nowhere, and Floyd’s latest entanglement with the law, the public at large doesn’t understand it so has tuned out.

No doubt the fight would still make great money, might still be a spectacle, and might even set the earnings record. It would also smack of Sugar RayLeonard’s comeback fights against Roberto Duran and Thomas Hearns when everybody was well past their best form, great money, but not the classic fight for the boxing purists nor much of a spectacle as it turned out.

The Big One That Got Away

The Big One That Got Away

It’s not the all time classic it could’ve been. The tides of time wait on no man, an immutable physical law of the universe. 

…………..The Big One that got away………….