THE PUBLICATION THAT PACKS A PUNCH!

 

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This Website  is for the True Boxing Fan interested in both current events as well as Boxing’s rich history and assortment of the most colorful sporting and entertainment characters who ever lived!!

Unlike the typical and boring boxing websites on the internet, here readers will be introduced to a one-of-a-kind Boxing Website not seen anywhere else!! Included are pages highlighting up to date Boxing News Stories and Press Releases from the Boxing Twins featuring Boxing News Stories and Information on upcoming fightsInside Ringside column featuring a travelogue of the boxing world from small club shows to championship boxing promotions and Overseas Boxing Matches by Per-Ake Persson inside,  as well as various and numerous Stories featuring the USA Boxing News Bare Knuckle Corner  and historical and rare photographs of Fighters’ Training and Fight Gallery, and extraordinary and rarely seen film clips of the greatest boxing movies ever on film on the Best All-Time Boxing Movies page, and Joe Catena’s Ring Rage Column, and event a page on the legendary musical group The Beatles and Boxing, plus many more exciting and one-of-a-kind pages and features!!

Another one-of-a kind section of this website is The USA Boxing News Comics and Drawings Page. This includes an exciting collection of boxing comics, cartoons,  and drawings that offer a new and exciting page for the true history oriented boxing fan.

Boxing Historian, Author, and Hall of Famer,  Bert Sugar once said of The USA Boxing News, “They demonstrate an enthusiasm for the sport that has not been seen in a boxing publication in a long time. The USA Boxing News has become what the Police Gazette was over 100 years ago – namely the most informative, original, and entertaining boxing publication of its generation.” The same goes for this website.

If you are a real boxing fan – The USA Boxing News is the website you cannot live without!

This goes for boxing fans and to fighters and champions as well.  Recently,  former two-time boxing champion Bobby Czyz commented that, “All things considered, The USA Boxing News stands alone as the greatest boxing publication on the newsstands today, and so does the website.”

More champions, trainers, cut men, judges, cornermen, and promoters read The USA Boxing News than any other boxing publication, thereby making it one of the top sports periodicals in the world!

Boxing Hall of Fame Editors John and Alex Rinaldi present the fans of pugilism with a rich and extraordinary array of stories, videos, cartoons, comics, book reviews, columns, fight programs, tickets, photographs, interviews, stories, and writings from their award winning staff for the mutual enjoyment and benefit to the serious Boxing Fan!

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June 12: Jose Pedraza-Julian Rodriguez and Xander Zayas Confirmed for Shakur Stevenson-Jeremiah Nakathila Bill at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas

Stevenson-Nakathila and Pedraza-Rodriguez doubleheader to be televised LIVE on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
Tickets starting at $50 go on sale Friday at 12 p.m. PT.

LAS VEGAS (May 17, 2021) — Former two-weight world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza has set his aim on another title. Pedraza, from Cidra, Puerto Rico, will take on the undefeated Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez in a 10-round junior welterweight tilt Saturday, June 12 at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
 
Pedraza-Rodriguez will serve as the co-feature to the WBO interim junior lightweight title bout between Shakur Stevenson and Jeremiah Nakathila. Both bouts will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
 
The undercard will showcase the return of undefeated Puerto Rican welterweight prodigy Xander Zayas (8-0, 6 KOs) in a six-round bout. Zayas is coming off a first-round knockout on April 24 in Kissimmee, Florida.
 
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets priced at $200, $100, $75 and $50 go on sale Friday, May 14 at 12 p.m. PT, and can be purchased by visiting Etix.com.

“This is a classic matchup featuring a former world champion in Pedraza against a young kid in Rodriguez, who is eager to prove he belongs at the world level,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “I am also excited to see Xander Zayas, who has grown so much as a young man and a fighter since Top Rank signed him as a 16-year-old.”
 
Pedraza (28-3, 13 KOs) is 2-1 since moving up from lightweight, where he won the WBO world title over Ray Beltran before falling short in a unification matchup against Vasiliy Lomachenko. He had an inauspicious junior welterweight debut when he lost a one-sided decision to Jose “Chon” Zepeda, but he has since notched unanimous decisions over Mikkel LesPierre and Javier Molina. Ranked No. 6 by the WBO, Pedraza hopes a win over Rodriguez leads to another crack at world title glory.
 
“It has been almost a year without fighting.  I can’t wait to get back in the ring, to bring home another win that will bring happiness to my people,” Pedraza said. “I like that this fight is against a hungry contender like Julian Rodriguez. I always like the idea of facing the best opponents because they bring the best out of me. I know that with a big win on June 12, I will get closer to a world title shot. That’s what we are fighting for.”
 
Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs), from Bergen County, New Jersey, turned pro in 2013 following a storied amateur career that included a 2013 National Golden Gloves title and victories over the likes of former world champion Robert Easter Jr. He is 5-0 with four knockouts since returning from a nearly two-year layoff in July 2019, including a first-round knockout last August over the previously undefeated Anthony Laureano. Rodriguez has long called for a step-up bout, and if he beats Pedraza, he’ll immediately enter the ranks of the top 140-pound contenders.
 
Rodriguez said, “I know what I bring to the table. There’s not one thing in his arsenal that’s sharper than mine. He brings the experience, but he’s been broken a few times. This opportunity is a long time coming. I’m focused. It’s hard to look at my two children and not be determined to go in there and break that guy’s ribs.”

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Saying goodby to Uvalde’s world champion boxer – Shotgun Albarado

By Charley Robinson, UlvaldeLeaderNews

World boxing champion Oscar “Shotgun” Albarado, who died Wednesday at Amistad Nursing Home at the age of 72.

 

Born in Pecos, raised in Uvalde, the young man with humble beginnings etched his name alongside some of boxing’s greatest when he won the Junior Middleweight boxing title on June 4, 1974, in Nihon University Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.

 

Albarado reached the pinnacle of his profession when he knocked out Koichi Wajima at 1:53 of the 15th round. The 25-year-old Texan punished the 31-year-old champ with brutal body blows, but it was a long right that sent Wajima down for the compulsory eight count.

 

Moments later Wajima was on the canvas again desperately holding on to Albarado’s leg, but the title belt was already on its way to Uvalde.

 

 

In this Thursday, June 23, 2016, file photo, Oscar Albarado (seated) is joined for a picture by his son Jacob Albarado and grandsons Jacob Zachary (back) and Jordan Isaiah during a celebration held at Amistad Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The celebration was held to mark the 40th anniversary of Oscar Albardo Day in Uvalde. Albarado was fêted by family, friends, and fellow residents with refreshments and a viewing party to watch the former champion’s boxing matches.

 

It all started in the back of the American Legion Hall on West Main in Uvalde. He was a little boy with a big dream, and he loved boxing. He was a scrappy lad who would climb into the ring with anyone. He won three Golden Glove titles as a member of the Uvalde Boxing Club.

 

He was fearless, dedicated, determined and perhaps too competitive. If allowed, he would fight every night. He was only 15 when he had his first professional fight in San Antonio, knocking out Jenaro Morones in the third round.

 

When the boxing commission found out about it, they banned him from the ring until he reached legal age. That didn’t stop Albarado or his handlers as they went south of the border and booked fights.

 

Albarado became of age and the ban was lifted. The best that local managers could do were fights in San Antonio. Many kept telling Albarado that he needed to hook up with a promoter who could get him the fights needed to climb the ladder of success.

 

When he joined the Harry Kabakoff stable, he moved to Los Angeles, California, to the training facilities and the action. The fights began to come frequently, and the same people who had advised him to make a move suddenly realized he might be climbing into the ring too often. The future champ was fighting at least once a month.

Albarado was having fun. He would continue as long as the promoter booked the fights.

 

Albarado was becoming the crowd favorite at Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. He was the big draw, and promoters kept booking fights to fill the arena.

 

Three years in a row, he averaged 10 fights a year. His first big fight was against Hedgemon Lewis on April 10, 1969, in Los Angels. Albarado was undefeated in 24 fights at the time with 20 knockouts. Lewis won a 10-round decision, but the fight was so intense – Albarado almost floored Lewis – that it catapulted him into the top 10 of his class.

 

A major step was taken May 6, 1971, when the underdog Texan won a decision over Armando Muñiz in Los Angeles. Muñiz was highly ranked and fighting in his home town.

 

Albarado was unbeaten during the years 1972 and 1973, and a second win over Eddie Mazon in April of 1974 prepared and earned him a shot at Wajima and the championship.

 

A couple of times in his career Albarado seemed ready to hang up the gloves, but each time he resurrected himself and finally achieved what every boxer dreams.

 

One of the happiest days of Albarado’s life was June 20, 1974, sixteen days after becoming a world champion. He returned as a triumphant hero to his home town Uvalde.

 

Mayor Howard Langford proclaimed it “Oscar Albarado Day” and there was an appreciation dinner at the city fairgrounds.

 

Albarado held the title for 230 days and successfully defended it once before awarding Wajima a rematch. His boxing career ended in January of 1975, when Wajima recaptured the trophy.

 

There would be no rubber match. It was five years before Albarado boxed again and he was no longer the same fighter.

 

It seems like a steep price to pay for a short moment of glory, but he got his due in October of 2017, when he was inducted into the West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame. His children –  Jacob, Angela, Oscar Jr. and Emmanuel – traveled to North Hollywood to accept his award.

 

Albarado ended his 72-fight career with a record of 58-13-1 and scored 43 knockouts. In his prime, he was an all-out, bombs-away fighter with a lethal punch.

 

He was a hard banger and a crowd-pleaser who battled some of the best welterweights of his era. He was a favorite at the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium.

 

In this corner, wearing the red trunks, weighing 151 pounds, the Junior Middleweight Champion of the World, from Uvalde, Texas, USA – Oscar “Shotgun” Albarado.


https://www.uvaldeleadernews.com/articles/saying-goodby-to-uvaldes-world-champion-boxer-shotgun-albarado/

 

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“For Love of the Game”

By Ernie DiStefano

In 2015, after thirty years of experience as a criminal justice professional, of which I spent seventeen years working in a prison and witnessing the vast waste of human potential, I founded a non-profit organization, the Comeback Athletes & Artists Network, (CAAN, Inc.). Our mission was, and continues to be using athletics and the arts as a means of preventing crime, by assisting former prison inmates, those with a criminal history, and those most at-risk and vulnerable in our society.

Promising young fighter – Shaheed Holmes

We at CAAN, Inc. are so committed to our cause that we offer our time and effort as volunteers, receiving no financial compensation of any kind. Our reward will be seeing professional boxers’ lives and careers, and the sport of boxing as a whole, flourish by being able to provide boxers access to and financial assistance toward acquiring the following services (upon request of the athlete):

  1. Outside Referrals for Financial Investment/Financial Planning: We want to be able to provide boxers with access to outside financial planning and investment services that will give them a pathway for a happy and secure retirement and a means for ensuring a financial stability and security for themselves and their families.
  2. Outside Referrals for Legal Assistance: We want to be able to provide boxers with outside referrals for legal assistance on issues relevant to the fight game and their professional fight careers.
  3. Outside Referrals for Education/Vocational Training: We want to be able to provide boxers with access to outside educational programming and vocational training that will give them and their families a steady income, so they can survive while trying to advance in their professional fight careers.
  4. Outside Referrals for Physical, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Treatment: We want to be able to provide boxers with access to outside treatment interventions to address their physical and mental well-being, as well as any issues of addiction they may be experiencing.
  5. NOTE: Upon written request of a boxer, and when our organization has an adequate amount of revenue to do so, we will provide financial assistance to a boxer for any of the requested above services. CAAN, Inc. will provide said financial assistance for requested services directly to the service provider.

Here are testimonials from two of our athletes that represent the positive impact we want our services to achieve in people’s lives.

Ernie DiStefano and CAAN, Inc. gave me hope when I was hopeless…”-P.F. McCleary, Former Athlete and current Musical Artist.

“Thanks to the help of CAAN, Inc., I can afford my training fees and pursue my athletic dreams.”-Shaheed Holmes, Aspiring Boxer

My previous work as a boxing coach, co-manager, and mental training coach with professional and amateur boxers brought me to the belief that boxers are the most vulnerable and at-risk athletes in the sports world. I further believe the central cause of their vulnerability is poverty, for poverty creates desperation and strife, which lead to destructive life choices such as drug abuse, violence and crime. For these reasons, our organization’s athletic mission is focused on boxers. I also have a personal incentive for this mission. I have always loved the boxing game and have enormous respect for the Sweet Science, especially for the valiant warriors who practice it inside the ring! And as it is with every sport, when athletes are distracted by difficulties outside the ring or other venue of competition, their athletic performances suffer.

Promising young fighter – Preston Lum Jr.

In order to best serve the needs of professional boxers in these areas, I am in the process of communicating with boxers all over the world to obtain their feedback and recommendations with respect these and any other service interventions they may feel are needed. Therefore, if you are a professional boxer, or are aspiring to a career as a professional boxer, and are 18 years of age or older, please visit our CAAN, Inc. Facebook Group and send a request to join. You can also email us at happyathlete24@gmail.com. I am also in the process of pursuing funding and financial support from those who believe in our cause, because without it, we will never be able to provide the above services to boxers. For more information on our mission and our services, or to give a tax-deductible donation, please visit our website at www.caangroup.org.

Please consider doing so for the same reason that motivates us….Love of the Game!

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Undefeated Super Bantamweight Champions Luis Nery & Brandon Figueroa Square Off In High-Stakes World Title Showdown Saturday, May 15, Headlining Action Live on SHOWTIME from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California and Presented by Premier Boxing Champions
 
Former Unified Super Bantamweight Champion Danny Roman Battles Ricardo Espinoza Franco in Co-Main Event and Rising Super Featherweight Contender Xavier Martinez Takes on Juan Carlos Burgos To Kick Off Telecast at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
 Tickets on Sale Now!

CARSON, CALIF. (May 5, 2021) – Undefeated super bantamweight champions will meet for 122-pound supremacy when Luis Nery makes the first defense of his WBC world title against Brandon “Heartbreaker” Figueroa in the headline attraction of a three-fight card live on SHOWTIME Saturday, May 15 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
 
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will see former unified super bantamweight champion Danny Roman take on hard-hitting Ricardo Espinoza Franco in the 10-round co-main event, plus in the telecast opener undefeated super featherweight contender Xavier Martinez squares off against former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos in a 12-round WBA Super Featherweight Title Eliminator.
 
Nery vs. Figueroa will see the powerful two-division champion Nery pursue a signature win at super bantamweight, while the rising Figueroa looks to use his all-action style to earn a career-best victory and announce his presence amongst the sport’s elite. The winner of this fight will be in line to face WBO 122-pound champion Stephen Fulton later this year in a unification showdown.
 
The event is promoted by TGB Promotions. Martinez vs. Burgos is promoted in association with Mayweather Promotions.
 
“The super bantamweight division is one of boxing’s most intriguing, and this showdown between Nery and Figueroa will be a huge step towards declaring the king of the weight class,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “These two undefeated 122-pound champions will leave it all in the ring in front of the passionate Southern California fight fans on May 15. With two Mexican-warriors going toe-to-toe, this is a main event that you won’t want to miss a second of.”
 
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com. Dignity Health Sports Park will be open to fans in a limited capacity, with all guests remaining socially distanced and subject to local and state health guidelines throughout the event.
 
The Tijuana, Mexico native Nery (31-0, 24 KOs) became a two-division world champion in September as he won a wide unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Aaron Alameda to capture his WBC crown. The 26-year-old had held an 11-fight knockout streak entering that 122-pound title fight, establishing himself as a premier knockout artist at bantamweight during a run that included stoppages of former champions McJoe Arroyo and Juan Carlos Payano. Nery first became champion in 2017, when he went to Japan and stopped Shinsuke Yamanaka in his home country to capture the WBC bantamweight world title.
 
“This is one of the biggest fights of my career,” said Nery. “I am going to win this fight in spectacular fashion. I’m training hard every day to make sure I get the win on May 15. This is my time to make history for Mexico.”
 
The 24-year-old Figueroa (21-0-1, 16 KOs) returns to the ring after his most recent outing saw him stop Damien Vazquez in round 10 of their September 2020 clash. Figueroa applied his all-action style scoring knockouts over veteran contenders Moises Flores and Oscar Escandon to move his way up the 122-pound rankings. He captured the WBA’s interim super bantamweight title by stopping Yonfrez Parejo in April 2019, before eventually being elevated to “regular” champion. Figueroa has trained for this career-defining bout in Southern California, alongside his brother and former world champion Omar Figueroa.
 
“Training camp out here in California with Joel Diaz has been amazing,” said Figueroa. “I’m in tremendous shape and I’ll be ready to go on May 15. This is really one of the best training camps of my career. I know Nery is a tough fighter, maybe my toughest test to date. I’m 24 now, so it’s time for me to start fighting these world class fighters and prove to myself that I belong in there with the best fighters. I know Stephen Fulton is lined up for the winner of this fight, but I’m preparing 110% for Nery. I know he’s not just any fighter, so I’m doing everything I can to come away with the win on May 15.” 
 
Ranked in the top five by all four sanctioning bodies at super bantamweight, Roman (27-3-1, 10 KOs) will look to continue on his path back toward another world title when he steps in the ring on May 15. The 30-year-old from Los Angeles most recently won an exciting 12-round unanimous decision over former champion Juan Carlos Payano last September. Roman first became world champion in 2017, when he stopped Shun Kubo for the WBA title. Roman would go on to unify titles by beating TJ Doheny for his IBF strap in 2019, before losing a narrow split decision to Murodjon Akhmadaliev in January 2020.
 
“I’m delighted to be fighting once again and can’t wait to step into the ring May 15 on SHOWTIME,” said Roman. “Ricardo Espinoza is a very tough fighter with a lot of heart. I know this fight is going to be another war and I’m fully prepared to go to battle. I’ve stayed in shape since my last fight, so fans can expect to see me throw a lot of punches. I’m going to make this fight a classic Mexican showdown.”
 
The 23-year-old Espinoza (25-3, 21 KOs) has fought professionally since 2015 and has won 15 of his last 16 fights heading into May 15. Fighting out of Tijuana, Mexico, Espinoza dropped a bantamweight interim title fight to current world champion John Riel Casimero in 2019 via a 12th round knockout in a fight that was virtually tied on the cards. Espinoza bounced back with two straight victories, including his most recent triumph, a unanimous decision win over previously unbeaten Brandon Valdes last August.
 
“I’m training as hard as I ever have for this opportunity on May 15,” said Espinoza. “I feel strong and prepared for anything Roman is going to throw at me. I know that he’s an accomplished fighter, but I have all of the tools to be victorious and win an exciting fight that the fans are going to love.”
 
A Mayweather Promotions prospect from Sacramento, Calif., Martínez (15-0, 11 KOs) has trained for this fight in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 23-year-old earned a career-best victory in his last outing, defeating veteran contender Claudio Marrero by unanimous decision in October on SHOWTIME. Previously, Martínez added three stoppage victories to his record in 2019 to run up a seven-fight knockout streak heading into the Marrero fight.
 
“I’ve felt great in camp and have already been preparing hard for this opponent,” said Martinez. “My last fight was an incredible experience. The biggest thing it taught me is just because you’re winning, don’t fall asleep at the wheel. That’s the same mentality I’m taking into this fight. I proved in my last fight that I can box and can hang with the best in the sport. This is a side many haven’t seen because I’ve been decapitating my previous opponents. The world is going to see how much versatility I carry in my skill set. May 15 is another day in the office, and it’s time to work!”
 
The Tijuana, Mexico native Burgos (34-4-2, 21 KOs) has faced an impressive resume of top fighters throughout his extensive career, dropping world title bouts to Mikey Garcia and Hozumi Hasegawa, in addition to a draw in a 130-pound title tilt against Roman Martinez. The 33-year-old ended up on the short end of decisions in challenges of unbeaten champion Devin Haney in 2018 and undefeated Hector Tanajara in January 2020. Most recently, he won a unanimous decision over Juan Ramon Bernal in March 2020.
 
“This is another opportunity for me to show that I have a lot left to give in the ring,” says Burgos. “Martínez doesn’t have a strong chin, as everyone saw when he got dropped twice by Claudio Marrero in his last fight. I’ve been training hard and waiting for an opportunity like this. Fans can expect an explosive performance on May 15.

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WBO Champion Emanuel Navarrete Retains Title after Vicious KO of Tough Challenger  Christopher Diaz

Rising superstar Edgar Berlanga drops Demond Nicholson four times en route to decision win

Story by Alexander R. Rinaldi and Joseph Rinaldi                                                 

KISSIMMEE, Fla. It was a great night of fighting at the Spurs Arena – the name itself sounding much like the backdrop of a western shootout or the outpost of a cavalry regiment, when boxers and their fists took up the visage of gunfighters and six-shooters with WBO Featherweight World Champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete leading the charge scoring a stunning and impressive knockout over the #6 ranked challenger Christopher Diaz.

What was most impressive about the knockout was that Navarrete was well ahead on the scorecards going into the twelfth and final round. Still, like the great gladiators and gunfighters of yesteryear, Navarrete left no room for doubt and put away his game and gallant challenger Diaz in a devastating, punishing fashion.       

Coming into the bout with a 80% knockout rate, Navarrete, who was also the former WBO Super Bantamweight champion having defended that title successfully five times, all of them ending by way of knockout, sent a loud and clear message to the rest of the featherweight champions that he is the new sheriff in town and the major one certainly to be reckoned with.

KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA – APRIL 24: Emanuel Navarrete knocks-down Christopher Diaz during their fight for the WBO featherweight title at the Silver Spurs Arena on April 24, 2021 in Kissimmee, Florida. 

And reckoning he did – right in front of Diaz’s hometown faithful.

What also the made the fight compelling and exciting was that the bout was between a Puerto Rican challenger against a Mexican champion – a Spanish Witch’s brew for a grand night of boxing.

Diaz, 125.8, was a seasoned and top notch challenger who entered the bout with an impressive ledger of 26-2 (16 KO’s) having never been previously knocked out and who fought a tough fight against Shakur Stevenson whom he suffered a points loss to in 2019.

Facing the lankier Navarrete, the challenger Diaz had his worked cut out for himself, especially when he entered the relatively small 18 foot ring – a true puncher’s den – against the grave digger fists of the Mexican champion.

 Emanuel Navarrete and Christopher Diaz exchange punches during their fight for the WBO featherweight title at the Silver Spurs Arena on April 24, 2021 in Kissimmee, Florida.

Wearing black trunk with white trim, Navarrete, 126, of San Juan Zitlaltepec, Mexico, wasted little time establishing his jab against the small challenger. With a 72 inch reach (8 inches longer than the challenger’s) the champion stabbed Diaz with lancer-like jabs, leaping left hooks, and jarring uppercuts. Diaz, of nearby  Orlando, Florida, meanwhile went after Navarrete with lefts and rights to the champion’s head and body.

In round two, Diaz hammered relentlessly to Navarrete’s body and at one point even rocked the Mexican with a hard right to the jaw.

Navarrete regrouped in round three, and began scoring with right hand leads and left hooks, eventually slicing Diaz with a piercing left that slashed a cut over the challenger’s right eye.

Emanuel Navarrete (L) landing a left uppercut to the chin of Christopher Diaz (R) .

To make matters worse for the challenger, in round four Navarrete started throwing his unorthodox left uppercut along with his potent jabs, left hooks, and right crosses. But with 42 seconds remaining in the round, it was the left uppercut that would strike pay dirt as it crashed under the Puerto Rican’s chin like an unseen grenade,  and sent him dropping hard and fast to the canvas. Though Diaz did not see the punch that struck him, he certainly felt it, as he stumbled to try and beat the referee’s count.

Up at the count of “nine” Diaz looked as if had he had been run over by a team of horses, as he used all the grit he had to stay upright until the bell sounded to end the round.

In round five, Diaz came out fast, aggressively tracking the Champion with a two-fisted attack as both fighters began throwing bombs at the other.

Diaz fared even better in the next two rounds, trapping Navarrete against the ropes and waling away at his head and body. The problem was that the champion withstood those blows and fought back trading punch for punch. Then when it looked like Diaz was holding his own, the referee took a point deduction for hitting Navarrete behind the back.

Then came round 8.

After some good action for the first two thirds of the round, at the 1:13 mark of the round, Navarrete scored once again with that lethal left uppercut that nearly tore Diaz’s head off his shoulders, which the champion followed with a right to the jaw that landed like gunfire from a Remington Block rifle, that crashed the challenger back to the canvas. Barely up at the count of eight, Diaz bravely continued, but it was if he was entering the buzz saw of a western lumber mill.  Before he could settle himself, Diaz was struck again by over ten thunderous punches from the champion, which dropped him back to the now familiar canvas on the ring floor. Again, he gamely rose as the round ended to spare him.

To his credit, Diaz never gave up, but continued to fight hard and nearly got back in the fight, especially after landing a hard left uppercut of his own in round eleven.

Going into the twelfth and final round, Navarrete was well ahead on the scorecards and Diaz need a knockout to win the fight and the title. Knowing this all too well, Diaz went after the champion with both guns blazing. He even caught the Mexican with a hard right to the jaw as he continued his onslaught with a do or die attitude. Unfortunately, Navarrete was not satisfied with only earning a decision; and battled back with the fury of a tornado and the deadly killer instinct of a rattle snake.

With less than a minute in the fight, Navarete did what true champions do – he went for the knockout. With a five punch combination starting with a right to temple and ending with one more vicious left uppercut to the jaw, Diaz smashed back to the canvas for the fourth and final time in the bout.

Once again, Diaz, with the courage of a lion rose back to his feet until his trainer Nelson Rodriguez mercifully stopped the bout at 2:49 of the twelfth and final round. 

“I think we did put on a worthy performance (of Mexico vs. Puerto Rico) because ‘Pitufo,’ I knew he was tough, I knew he was strong. And I knew he could hit hard, but he surpassed all my expectations. He brought out all the best in me and so I’ve got a lot of respect for Christopher ‘Pitufo’ Diaz,” said a jubilant Navarrete after the bout.”

“I was really impressed by ‘Pitufo’ because every time I hurt him, every time I dropped him, he came back stronger. He was a beast in there because he kept coming at me. He kept getting better even though I kept hurting him, and as the fight progressed, you’d expect him to get weaker but he kept getting stronger. I just couldn’t understand it. So I have the utmost respect for Christopher ‘Pitufo’ Diaz and what he did tonight.”

Diaz (26-3, 16 KOs) entered the fight having won two straight since a decision loss to Shakur Stevenson in a non-title bout. He landed 183 punches on Navarrete, but he was unable to seriously hurt the seasoned champion.

Diaz said, ” I’m very disappointed. I wanted to win. It’s a title shot. But next time. He’s a great fu—– fighter. He hit hard. We went to war. I made my best fight. I was in shape. Everything was good. 
 
“I’m not a weak fighter. I always bring my heart with me. I came here to fight. I said I want to box but that guy, he’s a problem. We come here to fight, too. He caught me. My coach loves me like a son, and he stopped the fight.”

In other action:

Super Middleweight: Edgar Berlanga (17-0, 16 KOs) UD 8 Demond Nicholson (23-4-1, 20 KOs). Scores: 79-68 and 79-69 2x.

There is a first time for everything.

“The streak” is no more, but Berlanga is still undefeated. Berlanga, who had 16 consecutive first-round knockouts entering the night, was extended the eight-round distance by Nicholson. He dropped Nicholson four times en route to the near-shutout, and the reading of the scorecards was academic.

Berlanga knocked down Nicholson with a left hook in the second round, a right hand in the third round, a left hook in the fifth round, and a right hand just before the bell sounded to end the eighth.

Berlanga said, “I feel amazing. It’s kind of fu—- up I had to go to the judges with all the people here. I know they wanted a first-round knockout, but I enjoyed getting the experience. 
 
“It was an awesome experience for me. I caught him with an amazing shot at 10 seconds of the last round. I wanted to get him out! But I didn’t, but I got the experience, especially in front of my Puerto Rican people. It was good.”

Junior Welterweight: Josue Vargas (19-1, 9 KOs) UD 10 Willie Shaw (13-3, 9 KOs). Scores: 98-92 and 99-91 2x.

Vargas, the Puerto Rican-born contender who now fights out of the Bronx, New York, survived a rough patch when he was buzzed in the opening round. He then proceeded to outbox Shaw, a native of Oakland, California. Vargas has won 13 consecutive bouts since a controversial disqualification loss early in his career.

Lightweight: Joseph Adorno (14-0-2, 12 KOs) MAJORITY DRAW 8 Jamaine Ortiz (14-0-1, 8 KOs). Scores: 76-74 Ortiz and 75-75 2x.

War. Eight rounds of fistic war. Adorno and Ortiz fought to a dead heat but combined to give boxing fans what will ultimately stand as one of 2021’s best fights. Adorno knocked down Ortiz with left hooks in the second and seventh rounds, but when Ortiz wasn’t on the canvas, he was muscling Adorno on the inside and ripping him with combinations. After nearly being knocked out in the seventh, Ortiz dominated the eighth round, sweeping the stanza on all three judges’ cards to salvage the draw.

Featherweight: Orlando Gonzalez (17-0, 10 KOs) UD 8 Juan Antonio Lopez (15-9, 6 KOs). Scores: 78-74 and 79-73 2x.

Orlando Gonzalez (L) lands a left hook to the jaw of Juan Antonio Lopez (R).

Puerto Rico’s Gonzalez didn’t have it easy against Lopez, but a determined effort and a boost from the partisan crowd was more than enough.

Welterweight: Xander Zayas (8-0, 6 KOs) TKO 1 Demarcus Layton (8-2-1, 5 KOs), :56.
 
Zayas tied his personal record for the shortest evening of his career, dispatching Arkansas native Layton in under a minute. A left hook started the onslaught, then another sweeping left planted Layton to the canvas. Referee Emil Lombardi saw enough and waved off the bout.
 
Zayas said, “This was amazing, something I was looking forward to for a long time. The last time I fought in front of a crowd, it was in Puerto Rico. Doing it here in Kissimmee, in front of my Puerto Rican fans, was memorable. First-round knockout, what else can I ask for?”

Junior Featherweight: Jeremy Adorno (5-0, 1 KO) MD 4 Ramiro Martinez (2-1-2, 1 KO). Scores: 38-38, 39-37 and 40-36. Adorno had the most difficult evening of his young career, returning from a 15-month layoff to edge Texas resident Martinez. Adorno was stunned in the second and fourth rounds, but his volume and clean punching told the story of the fight.

Junior Lightweight: Jaycob Gomez (2-0, 2 KOs) KO 1 Mobley Villegas (3-2, 2 KOs), 2:38. Puerto Rican phenom Gomez prevailed in less than a round, ending matters with a three-punch combination that put Villegas down for the 10-count.

(Undercard Action by Top Rank)

(Photos by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

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American Association for the Improvement of Boxing (AAIB)

Announces fundraising including a Boxing Memorabilia Auction

As most of you know I (Henry Hascup) recently became the President of the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing (AAIB). We award scholarships to young boxers that want to go to college But don’t have the money to do so. Over the last 10 years, thanks to the hard work of all our supporters, sponsors and the Board members, especially former President Paul Vegliante, we have awarded over $300,000, But because of the COVID-19 we can not run the BIG events that we have in the past so we have an ongoing auction on e-bay.
 
If your interested in some of the items you can go to the following site:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/aaibscholarships/m.html?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEFSXS%3AMESOI&_trksid=p2053788.m1543.l2654

If any of you use Amazon, you can designate AAIB Boxers Assistance Corp as your charity. 

Instructions are below.
 
How to sign up for AmazonSmile (aboutamazon.com)
 
You can also go to our web site to find out how you can become a member or even give a donation! No donation is too small!
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Majority Rules: Joe Smith Jr. Edges Maxim Vlasov to win Light Heavyweight World Title

 
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Boxing News Interviews with Legendary Fighters

Marvelous Marvin Hagler

Former World Middleweight Champion

By John and Alex Rinaldi

CLICK PHOTO TO READ MARVELOUS MARVIN HAGLER’S ACCOUNTS OF THE GREATEST FIGHTS OF HIS CAREER, INCLUDING HIS HISTORIC BOUTS WITH HIS FELLOW LEGENDS ROBERTO DURAN, THOMAS “HITMAN” HEARNS AND SUGAR RAY LEONARD

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Jimmy Connors  – The 1950s and 60s featherweight Jimmy Connors died on April 1, 2021, at the age of 84

By Henry Hascup

Connors began amateur boxing while a New Bedford Vocational School student, learning under school custodian Ozzie Bernard’s tutelage. Later, he joined the Air Force to escape a Continental Screw factory job.
Jimmy Connors | IBROAs an amateur, Connors became a National AAU Quarter-Finalist and All-Air Force World Wide Champion. On January 31, 1957, Connors turned pro with a 2nd round KO over Chris Alexander.  Most of his early bouts took place at Rollaway Arena in Revere, Massachusetts.  Jimmy had an impressive 14-0-1 record with eight kayoes. 

Unlike many prospects, Connors wasn’t being fed a steady diet of stiffs.  Johnny Johniken was a veteran of 33 fights, and Merrill Olmstead had 55 contests when they met Jimmy early in his career. Connors was really tested when he faced hard-punching Johnny Juliano in Revere.  Jimmy walked into a hard shot in the 3rd round. Jimmy’s next memory was Clem Crowley telling him it’s the start of the last round.  He was happy to receive a draw after six stanzas. 

Pappy Gault was the big early test of Jimmy’s career. Gault had 76 pro bouts, having fought Jimmy Carruthers for the World Bantamweight Title.  Connors won a hard-fought 8 round decision, but not before being severely tested by the Spartanburg, South Carolina veteran!  Due to his early success, Ring Magazine selected Jimmy as their featherweight prospect of the month in November 1957.

Next for Connors was a ten-rounder in Boston against undefeated Pat McCarthy, Jr., who had defeated him in the amateurs.  McCarthy was 19-0-1 with 10 KO’s.  Jimmy captured a 10 round decision and was rewarded with a bout against former featherweight champion Willie Pep. Connors considers it his career highlight. He compiled a professional record of 29-8-1 (KO 16/KO by 4). He never won a professional title but always remembered a coach’s advice to save his money and invest it wisely. He always said,” I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for boxing.”

When the time came to retire from the ring, he opened his first business, “The Luncheonette,” followed by Jimmy Connors Town Tavern, JC’s Office, Split Decision, The Main Event, Jimmy Connors Lane Tavern, 37 Union St., Jimmy Connors Irish Pub, and The Garden. He enjoyed greeting his customers, usually with a friendly “Hi Champ, How ya doing?” and a light punch to the shoulder. He was a great storyteller and was generally at the center of any event. His parting words would always include, “Keep your head down and your hands up! “. His other love was animals, his many dogs were treated royally, and he spared nothing to make their life the best. He enjoyed his home, traveling, eating ice cream, and spending time with his many good friends and family.

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Still On Top: Jamel Herring Knocks Out Carl Frampton
Herring stops Frampton in 6 to retain junior lightweight world titleCLICK PHOTO TO READ STORY

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Former Undisputed Middleweight Champion, Icon,  and Ring Legend Marvelous Marvin Hagler passes away at age 66

By Alex and John Rinaldi

It is a sad day in the world of sports – the great Marvelous Marvin Hagler passed away. He was 66 years old.

Hagler’s wife, Kay, confirmed the news saying, “I am sorry to make a very sad announcement. Today unfortunately my beloved husband Marvelous Marvin passed away unexpectedly at his home here in New Hampshire.”

In a life that saw him rise from the depths of despair, poverty, and violence, Hagler emerged as one of the most iconic and feared middleweight champions of all time, and eventually became a living legend and one of The Four Kings alongside Roberto Duran, Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, and Sugar Ray Leonard.

Of the Legends, Hagler would later say, “The likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, and Tommy Hearns were true champions. There were some incredible fights between us, and I was happy to give them all an opportunity to fight me.”

The four of them, also collectively known as the Four Legends, were astonishingly coined that moniker while they were all still active fighters and dangerous adversaries of each other.

As with the Mercury Seven Astronauts who started America’s Space Program, the Four Legends also carried in their soul and being the same “right stuff” that would transcend them to greatness; and within time, the Legends, like the Astronauts,  would all eventually stake their own claim to the stars.

Unlike many charmed athletes in less dangerous sports, Hagler and his fellow Legends earned their bones the hard way – they all came, they all went, and they all conquered. They also captured the hearts and minds of a generation of sports enthusiasts who reveled in their sheer strength, tenacity, conditioning, punching power, boxing acumen, and, most of all,  the ability to violently knock out anyone who stood in their way.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler after his victory and title defense of the World Middleweight Title over Thomas “Hitman” Hearns in 1985.

They also brought the big purse money down to the lower weights in a manner that was never seen before. It was as if four supermen of Krypton landed on Earth and became boxers.

While the fictional Cark Kent found Metropolis, a young Marvin Hagler, after the violent and deadly Newark, New Jersey riots of 1967, made his way to Brockton, Massachusetts.

After acclimating to New England, in 1969 Hagler took up boxing after walking into a gym owned by brothers Pat and Goody Petronelli, who soon became his lifelong trainers and managers.

So great was his natural talent that in 1973, only four years since putting on a pair of boxing gloves, Hagler would win the National AAU 165-pound title.

Hagler (R) and Hearns (R) in their Classic ring battle in 1985.

It would be the beginning of a ride that would take him to heights where few men had gone before or after; and by the end of his career, he would engage in some of the most memorable fights ever seen in the colorful history of boxing. 

But before all that happened, he first had to get noticed by the boxing powers that be.

For a long while, Hagler had difficulty finding high-profile opponents willing to face him. He even had a chance meeting with former Heavyweight Champion and ring great Smokin’ Joe Frazier who told Hagler frankly, ‘You have three strikes against you, you’re black, you’re a southpaw, and you’re good.”

Fortunately, besides his advice,  Frazier also offered Hagler on two weeks’ notice, an opportunity to fight Willie “The Worm” Monroe, who was being trained by Frazier. Though Hagler lost the decision, the fight was very close and Monroe agreed to give Marvin a second match. In the rematch, Hagler knocked out Monroe in 12 rounds. He then later TKO’d The Worm in two rounds in their third and final bout.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler smashing Vito Antuofermo in their first fight that ended in a draw.

Hagler’s fortunes picked up even more when the famed promoter Bob Arum signed him up after Marvin’s ten round decision win over top contender ‘Bad’ Bennie Briscoe in 1978.

This would turn out to be the major break in his career.

One year and six fights later, Hagler was finally offered a shot at the Middleweight Champion Vito Antuofermo on November 30, 1979. After fifteen grueling rounds, the fight was ultimately declared a draw and Vito retained his title.

Hagler, disappointed, but nonplussed, won his next three fights –  two by knockout. This securely placed him once again as the number one ranked middleweight contender.

Since he was the top contender, he automatically earned a crack at then current Middleweight Champion Alan Minter who recently defeated Antuofermo for the title.

Roberto Duran (L) and Marvelous Marvin Hagler (R) trading punches in their 1983 bout.

In front of a sold-out crowd of Minter fans at the Wembley Arena in London, Marvin decimated Minter in three rounds to become the undisputed Middleweight Champion of the World. So upset was the crowd that they pelted Hagler with bottles and debris forcing him and his handlers out of the ring in fear of their lives. Though he was not awarded his title belt on the spot in the ring, with the win and the new title, Hagler would immediately change the entire landscape of the Middleweight division. Under his tenure, the middleweights would go from a relatively unpopular division to a huge marquee name division.

Hagler, like many great fighters before him, trained very hard for his fights. He also  had a an usual training regimen.  He would set up his training on Cape Cod and stay in motels that had closed for the winter. For his “road work” he would often wear actual army boots, calling running shoes “sissy shoes.” As Hagler said, “You’re supposed to seclude yourself. All the great champions did the same. Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali up on his mountain at Deer Lake. They put themselves in jail. I put myself in jail….Every fighter has got be dedicated, learn how to sacrifice, know what the devotion is all about, make sure you’re paying attention and studying your art.”

With the undisputed Middleweight title in hand, Hagler defended his crown successfully seven times, all wins coming by way of stoppage. Suffice to say, at that juncture of his career, Marvelous Marvin appeared totally invincible.

Then he made a decision that would eventually place him at the table to the join the Gods of the sport – he decided to defend his title against the iconic three-division World Champion Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Duran, who was the then reigning WBA Junior Middleweight Champion on November 10, 1983 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

In a bout that turned out to be an exciting, close,  back and forth fight, Roberto Durán was not only the first challenger to last the distance with Hagler in a world-championship bout, but against all odds, he was also winning the fight going into the 14th round.  Duran was ahead by one point on two scorecards and even on the third. Fortunately for Hagler, with his left eye swollen and cut, and with Duran sporting a broken right hand, Marvelous Marvin was able to come on strong in the last two rounds to win the fight on a razor close fifteen round decision.

Because of the closeness of the outcome, the Duran fight like a Genie wish, opened the door for the other two Legends, Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard to walk through. As fate would have it, the three fights with these three legends would ultimately change the course of Hagler’s championship reign, as well as his place in boxing history.

After winning two more title defenses by KO, Hagler took on the dangerous Thomas “Hitman” Hearns on April 15, 1985 in Las Vegas, in a bout  billed simply as “The Fight” (then later “The War”) and it lived up to both of its titles.

As if a fuse was ignited, at the sound of the bell for one, fireworks flew as Thomas Hearns went after Hagler throwing a volley of hard and dangerous punches in an all-out offensive to knock Marvin out. Though Hagler fired back punch for punch, within minutes into the bout, Hearns stunned the champion and opened a cut on Hagler’s head that soon drenched his face in a bloody crimson mask. This give and take, furious fast-paced punching continued in round two as blood began to flow like a river down Hagler’s face. Fearing the referee might stop the fight, in round three Hagler tagged Hearns with a terrific four punch combination culminating with a left to the jaw that dropped Hearns to the canvas, causing the referee to stop the fight when Hearns rose and appeared unable to continue.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler in training.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler in training.

“Tommy’s a good fighter,” Hagler said afterward, “but he’s cocky. I had something for him.”

Though the fight lasted only lasted eight minutes, it is widely  regarded as a boxing classic and one of the greatest fight of all-time. It would also turn out to be Hagler’s crowning achievement in the ring.

As fight commentator Al Michaels said, “It didn’t go very far, but it was a beauty!”

And a beauty it was.

Hagler agreed. “A champion shows who he is by what he does when he’s tested,” remarked Marvelous Marvin. “ When a person gets up and says ‘I can still do it’, he’s a champion. If they cut my bald head open, they will find one big boxing glove. That’s all I am. I live it.”

Two fights later, Hagler took on the third Legend –  Sugar Ray Leonard on April 6, 1987 in Las Vegas.

Billed as the Super Fight, Hagler battled Leonard in an exciting head to head contest for twelve punch-laden rounds with Leonard winning slightly by way of a split decision – a ruling that Hagler would forever disagree with.

Leonard won much of the early going, especially the first four rounds when Hagler fought righty instead of his natural southpaw stance. After he switched back to southpaw, Hagler then came on in the later rounds. The problem for Hagler was that he agreed to a large ring and only twelve rounds, when fifteen rounds were still being fought. Both pre-fight decisions would subsequently cost him greatly.

Two official ringside judges scored it for Leonard –  JoJo Guerra  scored 118-110 and Judge Dave Moretti scored it 115-113: Meanwhile, the third judge Lou Filippo, scored it 115-113 for Hagler.

Sugar Ray Leonard (L) v. Marvelous Marvin Hagler (R) in their 1987 bout.

Sugar Ray Leonard (L) v. Marvelous Marvin Hagler (R) in their 1987 bout.

“I feel in my heart I’m still the champ,” Hagler had said after losing his title to Leonard. “I really hate the fact that they took it from me, and gave it to, of all people, Sugar Ray Leonard. He is a phony. He’s been protected all his life. Besides, if he hadn’t become a boxer, he could have done other things. Me? I had nowhere else to go.”

Although the decision was disputed, Leonard refused to grant Hagler an immediate rematch, and Hagler retired a year later. He never fought again.Overall, Hagler made twelve undefeated title defenses and holds the highest KO% of all undisputed middleweight champions at 78%. Additionally, his reign of six years and seven months as undisputed middleweight champion is the second longest of the last century, behind only Tony Zale, who reigned during WWII.

Hearing of the news of Hagler’s passing, promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank said, “Marvelous Marvin Hagler was among the greatest athletes that Top Rank ever promoted. He was a man of honor and a man of his word, and he performed in the ring with unparalleled determination. He was a true athlete and a true man. I will miss him greatly.”

After the loss to Leonard, Hagler eventually moved to Italy, where he became a well-known action star in films. His roles include a US Marine in the films Indio and Indio 2. In 1996, he also starred alongside Giselle Blondet in Virtual Weapon.

Among his accolades, Hagler was a first rung Boxing Hall of Famer as well as was voted the Fighter of the Decade of the 1980’s.

As for his fights, Marvelous Marvin Hagler later declared to The USA Boxing News that Roberto Duran was his toughest opponent. He also revealed that his battle with Thomas Hearns was the match that he was able to finally prove his greatness in.

Middleweight Champion Marevlous Marvin Hagler with one of his prized cars

Middleweight Champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler with one of his prized cars.

(On a PERSONAL NOTE, Hagler was always friendly with us and was also a big fan of The USA Boxing News. He even granted us one of the few detailed interviews of his career.)

Hagler died leaving behind his second wife Kaye and five children and an estate reportedly valued in the millions.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler was one of those fighters that everyone took notice of. He never ventured a step backward and trained like a machine gearing up for battle. He was relentless, punishing, exciting, and sought to destroy his opponent in every single fight.

A recent photo of Roberto Duran (L), Sugar Ray Leonard (C), and Marvelous Marvin Hagler (R).

A recent photo of old foes Roberto Duran (L), Sugar Ray Leonard (C), and Marvelous Marvin Hagler (R).

He was one of the greatest fighters who ever laced on a pair of gloves and he will live forever in boxing lore, as well as in the thoughts of his millions of fans.

He will be missed greatly. He was an honor to his sport, his family, and to his country.

He was also true to his code, he was a battler who never gave up, and in the end he and his career lived up to the name he will forever be known forMARVELOUS.

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STILL King Artur: Beterbiev KOs Adam Deines in Round 10

Beterbiev retains WBC/IBF Light Heavyweight World Titles

MOSCOW (March 20, 2021) —Boxing’s preeminent knockout artist didn’t disappoint his partisan fans. Russia’s Artur Beterbiev, in his first bout in 17 months, knocked out Adam Deines in the 10th round to retain his WBC and IBF light heavyweight world titles Saturday at Megasport Arena in Moscow.

Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs) authored a fitting encore to his October 2019 TKO over Oleksandr Gvozdyk, the bout that solidified his place as the world’s best light heavyweight. Three fight dates — one against Meng Fanlong and two against Deines — were postponed before Beterbiev finally returned to the ring. Beterbiev maintained his status as boxing’s only world champion with a 100 percent knockout rate, returning home to the nation he represented at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. At 36 years old, it appears “King Artur” still has plenty of time left to reign.

Beterbiev clipped Deines (19-2-1, 10 KOs) with a left hook in the opening round, knocking the German to the canvas. The steady pressure of Beterbiev wore down Deines, who was in retreat mode for most of the fight. Then, in the 10th round, a sledgehammer left hook put Deines down again. Deines’ corner stopped the slaughter, and the crowd got the knockout they so craved.

Beterbiev now sets his sights on a potential unification matchup with the winner of the April 10 vacant WBO light heavyweight world title showdown between Joe Smith Jr. and Maxim Vlasov, which will air live on ESPN and ESPN+.

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Canelo Alvarez stops unheralded and unworthy challenger Avni Yildirim in 3

-An Editorial-

Story by Ron John Rinaldi

February 27 – Miami Gardens, Florida. Canelo Alvarez has proved once again that he is a steamroller in the sport of boxing as he successfully defended his super middleweight titles before 15,000 fight fans in attendance at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. In an all-out offensive display of power punches and overall ring generalship, Canelo landed virtually every punch in his arsenal at the body and head of the listless and hapless challenger Avni Yildirim, from Istanbul, Turkey, who offered virtually no offense at all.

Yildirim fought with the ferocity of a nervous bride and the courage of a lamb, which would have served him well had he been a majorette or a baton twirler. Unfortunately for all, since he happened to be a reported top contender, who earned around $2.5 million for his challenge, there was simply no excuse for his performance or lack thereof.

Inactive since Feb. 2019, Yildirim (21-3, 12 KO’s) landed the title shot against Alvarez after the WBC designated him mandatory challenger, after losing a disputed split-decision loss against Anthony Dirrell on a technicality regarding an early stoppage due to cuts. Considering that in that last match Yildirim put up a pretty good showing of himself, one wonders whether he also used up all his guts in that bout; and a year later his basket of courage seemed to be totally empty.

Alvarez and Yildirim both weighed 167 pounds, a pound under the super-middleweight limit. But it did not matter, for the weight was the only thing the boxers actually shared in common.

Alvarez, who earned approximately $20 million for the bout, entered the fight as a -6000 favorite, according to Caesars Sportsbook. Though after seeing the fight, even those odds seemed to have been quite over generous to the challenger.

In the first two rounds, Canelo landed with thudding left hooks and right hands to the jaw and body of the timid Turkish contender. For some reason, nearly ever punch landed as if Yildirim was holding up a green traffic light.

In the third round things got even worse for the challenger. With a little over two minutes left in the round, Canelo connected with a left jab-straight right combination that landed on the bulls eye of Yildirim’s chin and knocked him immediately and suddenly to the canvas. Although he did rise, somewhere deep in his psyche he must have saw a glimpse of his future, which would have been him eventually re-establishing his friendship with the canvas wrapped in a blanket of blood and pain.

Between rounds, trainer Joel Diaz pleaded with Yildirim to show more after the lackluster three rounds.

“I’m going to give you one more f—ing round,” Diaz told Yildirim in the corner.

Why he ever said that to a fighter who earned such a large purse and was fighting for a world title, seemed to be not only odd and disingenuous, but also successfully gave his charge a easy way out through the exit door, while disregarding the feelings and the expectations of the live crowd both in attendance as well as those who paid for it on PPV, all of whom expected to see a real fight – not a coward’s carnival.

Besides the trainer, right before round four was to begin, another member of Yildirim’s corner went up to the apron and asked for the fight to be stopped, though there were nine rounds left to go in the fight.

Although the challenger did not look a bit hurt, Yildirim’s corner surprisingly, like a Women’s Temperance Society during Prohibition, threw in the towel at the end of the third round, for no real reason besides their apparent desire to embrace the secret cult of the Chicken Hearted.

With the win, Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 Kos) picked up a TKO victory to retain his WBC and WBA super middleweight belts.

“I wanted to have a great fight here,” Alvarez, speaking through an interpreter, told the crowd, which was capped at 15,000 because of COVID-19 restrictions. “I needed to knock him out, and that’s what I did. That’s what I had to do.”

According to CompuBox stats, the fight was as lopsided as it looked. Alvarez out landed Yildirim 67-11, including a 58-4 edge in power punches. In the third round, Alvarez threw 53 power punches as if he was fighting a gym heavy bag with a pulse.

Alvarez picked up his second victory in three months and retained two of the four belts in the 168-pound division.

The fight was the first of what Alvarez hopes will be a productive year seeking unification fights. Alvarez will next fight Billy Joe Saunders, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) titleholder on May 8 for Cinco de Mayo. Caleb Plant holds the IBF title – the fourth sanctioning body belt.

Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) has held the WBO super middleweight belt since he beat Shefat Isufi in May 2019.

“I want to make history,” Alvarez said in the post-fight interview. “I want to be one of the best in the world.”

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Bare-Knuckle Corner

“BIG BEN” CAUNT

   Immortalized by the Most Famous Bell and Clock in the World

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Two-Time Champion Anthony Dirrell & Tough Contender Kyrone Davis Battle to Split Draw in WBC 168-Pound Title Elimination Match On FOX PBC FIGHT NIGHT Saturday Night in Los AngelES

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Oscar Valdez Demolishes and Dethrones Miguel Berchelt to capture the WBC Jr. Lightweight Title to become the new Mexican King

Gabriel Flores Jr. scores impressive KO over Jayson Velez in Co-Feature

By Alex and John Rinaldi

LAS VEGAS — In the world of sports there are highs and there are lows. Then there are those events that transcend history, nature, and glory, to become something bigger, something monumental, something that fifty years from now you would would want to climb into a time machine and embark upon a time travel trip,  just to go back to revisit it.

Oscar Valez’s stunning knockout victory over WBC Jr. Lightweight Champion Miguel Berchelt is definitely one such event.

Like a an Indian shaman or a medieval wizard, Oscar Valdez predicted before the fight that, “Anytime there are two Mexican fighters in the ring there is always fireworks.” Well, check off the chalkboard,  for that seemingly overestimated prediction in reality turned out to be quite an understatement.

LAS VEGAS, NV – FEBRUARY 20: Oscar Valdez knocks-out Miguel Berchelt during their fight for the WBC super featherweight title at the MGM Grand Conference Center on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

In truth, though both Oscar Valez and Miguel Berchelt promised an all-Mexican clash for the ages – in this case, they actually both delivered. After an exciting, perched at the edge of your seat bout, Valdez violently knocked out Berchelt with a jolting death star left hook at the end of the 10th round to capture the WBC Jr. Lightweight World Championship from Berchelt, who was making his seventh title defense. 

The hook landed like the hammer of Thor on Berchelt’s jaw, as he fell face-first to the canvas, unconscious and unmoving, prompting referee Russell Mora to immediately wave off the fight.

The anticipation of the fight, between the undefeated former WBO Featherweight Champion Oscar Valdez and the reigning WBC Jr. Lightweight Champion Miguel Berchelt, who was recognized as one of the top pound for pound-for-pound champions out there,  was so huge, especially in Mexico,  that prior to the fight even Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Mexican boxing legend Julio Ceasar Chavez, waged in and predicted a victory for Berchelt, who was also the betting favorite going into the bout (Berchelt was a -340 favorite, while Valdez was offered at +270). Berchelt, himself wearing white trunks with blue trim and matching gloves, felt the same as he revealed before the fight, “I’m going to release the poison,” referring to his knockout power and killer instinct.

LAS VEGAS, NV – FEBRUARY 20: Miguel Berchelt and Oscar Valdez exchange punches during their fight for the WBC super featherweight title at the MGM Grand Conference Center on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Once the bell rang, it was clear that Valdez, 130, using quick hands and swift movement,  appeared to have an anecdote for that “poison.” He also looked far from an underdog as he opened the fight peppering the hard hitting champion Berchelt, 130,  and spearing him with hard jabs and right hands to the head and body along with jarring lefts hooks. Though Berchelt was the aggressor, it was Valdez who managed to land the greater volume of punches in the first three rounds.

In round four, Berchelt began picking up the pace and countered the swift Valdez with solid combinations, as well as began applying more pressure and effectively cutting off the ring. 

Then came Valdez’s left hooks.

LAS VEGAS, NV – FEBRUARY 20: Oscar Valdez knocks-down Miguel Berchelt during their fight for the WBC super featherweight title at the MGM Grand Conference Center on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

With just a little over a minute remaining in the fourth round, Valdez unleashed a terrific left hook that landed flush on Berchelt’s chin and caused him to stop dead in his tracks and immediately clinch with the former WBO Featherweight Champion. Seeing this, Valdez, wearing gold trunks with black trim,  upped his output and connected with a another hard left hook that caused Berchelt to stagger and stumble. Realizing Berchelt was hurt, the challenger Valdez went after the champion and scored a left-right combination to the head and body that smashed Berchelt hard into the ropes. Realizing that the ropes actually saved Berchelt  from a trip to the canvas, referee Russell Mora quickly ruled and declared it to be a technical knockdown and commenced a standing eight count.  

The standing count sufficiently spared Berchelt from further punishment as the bell rang to end the round.

To his credit, and a tribute to his courage, Berchelt (38-2, 34 KOs) managed to steady himself and continued to pressure Valdez (29-0, 23 KOs) over the course of the middle rounds of the bout. Because of his extensive output early on, Valdez appeared to tire and slow down as Berchelt began an assault of his own landing with power punches from both hands. In round seven, Berchelt even landed a thudding right to the jaw as Valdez was forced to get on his bicycle and avoid the bigger fighter’s blows.

LAS VEGAS, NV – FEBRUARY 20: Miguel Berchelt and Oscar Valdez exchange punches during their fight for the WBC super featherweight title at the MGM Grand Conference Center on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

In round nine, Valdez turned the tide once again and landed a chin-splitting right uppercut to the jaw followed by a combination that dropped the champion hard and fast to the canvas. After taking an eight count, Berchelt again somehow willed himself to survive the round.

At the completion of round 9, especially after scoring two knockdown rounds on his ledger, and with only three rounds left in the bout, it seemed that Valdez was in an enviable  position to simply coast to a points victory. But for true champions like Valdez, that option never came into play. He had a point to make and a grudge to vanquish with everyone who doubted him and his chances at victory. He was not going to end this fight – the fight of his life – on a period – he was gunning for an exclamation point!

With that thought in his head he answered the bell for round 10.

Like a panther, Valdez leaped at Berchelt as if he was his prey.

LAS VEGAS, NV – FEBRUARY 20: Oscar Valdez is victorious as he defeats Miguel Berchelt for the WBC super featherweight title at the MGM Grand Conference Center on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Slamming the champion around the ring from pillar to post, and from one rope to another, Valdez, like a man possessed, quickly and viciously shedded the wraps of Dr.Jekyll to become the remorseless and dangerous Mr Hyde, attacking the champion with punches that reaped and breathed  of destruction. Surprisingly, Berchelt like the great champion he is, hung on bravely. But guts alone cannot stop someone standing in the eye of a tornado from being blown away.

Still, displaying true grit, and with only a few seconds remaining in the round, the champion Berchelt almost pulled it off and survived. The problem was there was a few seconds too many, and with a sole second remaining Vargas launched one last left hook which exploded with the terror and force of a hydrogen bomb on Berchelt’s jaw.  Like James Cagney at the end of the 1931 film The Public Enemy, Berchelt crashed face first to the canvas probably unconscious from the point of impact.

Though he never saw the punch coming, odds are he will never ever forget it. 

The end came at 2:59 of round 10.

With the win, Valdez remains unbeaten as he increases his record to 29-0 (23 KO’s).

After the bout, a jubilant Valdez said, “There’s nothing better in life than proving people wrong. I have a list of people who doubted me. My idols (referring to Chavez) doubted me. Boxing analysts doubted me. They said Berchelt was going to knock me out. I have a message to everybody: Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. I always thought I could.” 
 
“I want to take this belt home,” the new champ added. “And I’m happy for that. Any champion out there… I heard Shakur Stevenson wants to fight. Let’s do it. I just want to keep on fighting and give the fans what they want.”

Flores Dominates Velez in Co-Feature

It’s time to crown Stockton’s King. Gabriel Flores Jr., the junior lightweight sensation from Stockton, California, made an emphatic statement, knocking out former world title challenger Jayson Velez in the sixth round. Flores (20-0, 7 KOs) knocked down Velez twice in the sixth, punctuating the victory with a left hook at 1:47 of round 6.

Flores (20-0, 7 KOs) became only the second man to stop Velez (29-8-1, 20 KOs), who was knocked out in 10 rounds by Oscar Valdez last July.

LAS VEGAS, NV – FEBRUARY 20: Gabriel Flores Jr stops Jayson Velez during their fight at the MGM Grand Conference Center on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Flores said, “I could’ve done it earlier. I was playing with my food. [Trainer Gabriel Flores Sr.] told me I just gotta press it. Nothing was really going on those first five rounds, to be honest. I was just feeling him out. 

“I would love to get the winner of Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton. I’d love that. I’m going to keep on working, and my performances are going to get better and better.”

LAS VEGAS, NV – FEBRUARY 20: Gabriel Flores Jr and Jayson Velez exchange punches during their fight at the MGM Grand Conference Center on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

In undercard bouts:

Middleweight: 
Esquiva Falcao (28-0, 20 KOs) TKO4 Artur Akavov (20-4, 9 KOs). Falcao, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist from Brazil, picked up the most significant win of his career with a one-sided drubbing of two-time middleweight world title challenger Akavov. After a rough opening round, Falcao was in command until Akavov’s corner stopped the fight following the fourth round. All three judges had Falcao ahead 39-37 at the time of the stoppage.


Jr. Welterweight: Elvis Rodriguez (11-0-1, 10 KOs) UD 8 Luis Alberto Veron (18-3-2, 9 KOs). Scores: 79-73 2x and 78-74. Rodriguez made his name as an explosive puncher, but showed his maturity and boxing acumen against Veron, a former WBO Latino belt-holder who has never been stopped as a pro. Rodriguez stunned Veron several times with right hooks, but the Argentine veteran was able to withstand the onslaught.

Rodriguez said, “This was my first scheduled eight-round fight, and I actually think I got a lot of good experience. Each fight, you acquire something different, and for this fight, I think the experience of going the rounds actually helped me out.
 
“It’s a great experience going the full eight rounds. It’s back to the gym to work on several things, specifically I know I needed to let my hands go a little more. When I did do that, I was able to hurt him. But in the end, I think it was a great experience. He’s a natural welterweight. He’s never been stopped, so I knew it would be a tough challenge, but you know I will go back to the gym and work harder to continue to grow in this sport.”

Welterweight: Xander Zayas (7-0, 1KO) UD 6 James Martin (6-2, 0 KOs). Scores: 60-54 3x. The 18-year-old Zayas went past the first round for the first time in nearly a year, outboxing the Philadelphia native Martin en route to the shutout victory.

Zayas said, “As a young fighter, you need these types of fights. I haven’t been out of the first round in nearly a year, so for me to get six round in, that was important.”

Middleweight: Javier Martinez (3-0, 1 KO) TKO 1 Billy Wagner (3-2, 1 KO), 1:51. Martinez, a southpaw from Milwaukee, unloaded on Wagner, stunning the Montana native early in the first round with a right hook. The one-way traffic was stopped shortly thereafter, and Martinez added a ‘1’ to the knockout column.

Jr. Welterweight: Omar Rosario (3-0, 1 KO) KO 2 Uriel Villanueva (1-1), 2:38. Former Puerto Rican amateur superstar Rosario notched the first stoppage win of his career, as two knockdowns in the second round prompted referee Robert Hoyle to stop the fight.

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)

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Legendary Heavyweight Boxing Champion and 1976 Olympic Gold medalist Leon Spinks dies of cancer at age 67

Story by Alexander Rinaldi and Joseph Rinaldi

LAS VEGAS (AP) — It is a sad for boxing fans and sports enthusiasts around world – former Heavyweight champion and 1976 Olympic Gold Medalist Leon Spinks died after battling prostate and other cancers. He was 67 years old.

Leon was one of the nicest athletes who ever lived. He was friendly and very approachable to fans. More than that, he was proud to be an American and even prouder to be a member of the Unites States Marine Corps.

His life was not an easy one.

Spinks was born July 11, 1953, in St. Louis, and raised in virtual poverty along with his brother Michael.

Michael Spinks (L) and Leon Spinks (R) wearing their Olympic Gold medals in a ceremony in St, Louis, MS in 1986.

Michael Spinks (L) and Leon Spinks (R) wearing their Olympic Gold medals in a ceremony in St, Louis, MS in 1986.

With very little outlets available for him, Spinks decided to enlist in the Marine Corps, with the thought of being a fighting marine. Instead he soon realized that his personality was initially ill-fitted for service and he was soon having problems adjusting to military life. For instance, instead of completing boot camp in 13 weeks, it took Leon a full six months to finish it at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California.

Thankfully, Leon and his drill instructors persevered, and Spinks finally graduated from Platoon 3090 in December 1973.

Not long after, when he joined the All-Marine boxing team at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina he realized that the fighting he would do would not be in lands far off and away, but in boxing rings .

This  photo taken in August 1976 US boxer Leon Spinks punches opponent Cuba’s Sixto Soria during the 81kg finals of the Summer Olympic Games in Montreal.

This turned out to be a good fit on account of his tremendous talent, toughness, drive and energy.

When Spinks first climbed into the boxing ring at Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps assistant coach J.C. Davis, immediately knew he had a true talent in his ranks. Within just 15 seconds, Spinks knocked his opponent out cold.

 “I mean Leon did that combination — boom, boom — and this guy was out,” Davis said then. “I looked at the time, and I looked at [the head coach], and I said, ‘S—, we’ve got a champion.'”

Spinks served in the United States Marine Corps from 1973 to 1976 and ended up with the rank of corporal.  In that relatively short span of three years, Spinks quickly gained the reputation of being one of the best amateur boxers in the world, eventually registering an amateur ledger of 178–7 with 133 knockouts.

This included becoming a Gold Medalist in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, which saw five members of the boxing team capture Gold medals, including Leon’s brother Michael and fellow teammate Sugar Ray Leonard.

Spinks (R) nailing champion Muhammad Al (L) i in their 1978 fight where Spinks captured the heavyweight crown.

Spinks (R) nailing champion Muhammad Ali (L) in their 1978 fight where Spinks captured the heavyweight crown.

After the Olympics, Spinks and his brother Michael turned professional; and less than two years later, Leon took on the legendary Muhammad Ali for the Heavyweight Championship of the world.

In 1978, Ali was just coming off a tough and rough  fight with Earnie Shavers, which many thought Shavers had won,  and he refused a mandatory bout against Ken Norton, whom he had already fought three times, with Norton winning the first, Ali winning the second, and Norton getting robbed in the third fight at New York’s Yankee Stadium in 1976. Since Norton appeared to have Ali’s number, Muhammad apparently opted for an easier fight, and since Spinks was an Olympic hero, he had an internationally known name.

The fight was televised across America on ABC, and even though he knew he would be stripped of his WBC version of the title for taking another fight and not fighting Norton, Ali did it nevertheless.

Spinks, who was such a big underdog that most sports books did not even take bets on the fight.

Spinks holding up the Champiinship Belt

Spinks holding up the Championship Belt

In one of boxing’s greatest upsets, Spinks won a split decision over Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali after going 15 rounds at the Las Vegas Hilton on February 15, 1978, in Las Vegas. What made the win even more shocking was that Spinks became the linear heavyweight champ after participating in only eight professional bouts. He was also the only man ever to take a world title away from Ali in the ring since Muhammad’s  other losses were either in nontitle bouts or in world title fights where Ali was the challenger.

With his non-stop punching and unorthodox style, Spinks smothered Ali with punches over fifteen rounds and it proved to be recipe for success against the aging, but still effective Ali.

“In that fight everything clicked,” promoter Bob Arum said. “He [Leon] came in with a game plan and he beat Ali. It wasn’t that Ali wasn’t at his best, but Leon shocked everybody with how good Leon was.”

Suddenly, Spinks was the heavyweight champion of the world at the age of 25.

“I’m not The Greatest,” Spinks said afterward. “Just the latest.”

Arum reported that he was in the dressing room with Ali after the fight, and said Ali directed him to sign Spinks to a quick rematch.

The two met seven months later at the Superdome in New Orleans, with Ali taking the decision this time before a record indoor boxing crowd of 72,000 and a national television audience estimated at 90 million people.  The prime-time fight on CBS actually set television viewing records at the time, with nearly half the country tuning in.

Ali took the rematch more seriously than he did the first fight, winning a decision though Spinks was competitive throughtout the fifteen rounds. Spinks might have been better, Arum said, “but he enjoyed the life of being heavyweight champion too much and partied much of the time between fights.”

Spinks getting inducted into the All-Marine Boxing Hall of Fame

“Leon posed in a bathtub with a glass of champagne smoking a cigar. He suddenly had an entourage as big as one that Ali had,” Arum said. “We were all staying at the same hotel in New Orleans for the rematch and one morning I was coming down to breakfast and Leon got in the elevator and collapsed on the floor. Obviously he had been out drinking and I said, `Leon, are you crazy, you’re fighting in just a few days.’ He said `What do you mean? I’m just coming in from roadwork.’”

Spinks would never regain the title again and eventually finished his career in 1995 with a record of 26-17-3 (14 KO’s). Besides beating Ali, Spinks also defeated top heavyweights such as Alfio Righetti, Alfredo Evangelista, Bernardo Mercado, and Jesse Burnett.

In 2016, Spinks was inducted into the All-Marine Boxing Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission Hall of Fame in Jacksonville, North Carolina on April 12, 2018.

Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Bailey attended the 2018 induction and watched his old friend get inducted.

“First thing that I want to say is that several years ago we inducted Leon into the Hall of Fame of the Marine Corps,” Bailey said. “One of the things that I remember him saying is that ‘I may not have been the best in certain aspects of the sport, but I was a Marine.’ He never lost sight of his foundation and how he came up in the Marine Corps. Leon is still a character and he is still a massive man with his hands and shoulders.”

Bailey said he admired the grit and determination that Spinks had in the ring.

“I could only imagine what it was like to be hit by him. Glad he was on our team,” he said. “I saw him numerous times fight, and he had something called the Spinks Jinx. He got into his boxing stance and double stomped his front foot, distracting his opponent. They would look and then his overhand right punch would hit them with the left hook taking them down. He had this unorthodox way of bouncing forward that would throw you off in the ring. There are a lot of world class boxers that represented the Marine Corps.”

Ali and Spinks in action

Spinks and Ali in action

Besides Spinks, former Heavyweight Champion and fellow Marine, Ken Norton, was inducted two years later in 2018 to the All-Marine Boxing 2018 Hall of Fame. Although they were somewhat rivals, though never met in the ring, both Ken and Leon maintained a strong friendship with each other long after their boxing careers.

Like Spinks, Norton also defeated Ali and later reigned as the World Boxing Council’s (WBC) heavyweight champion, when Spinks held the WBA version, since the WBC stripped him for not fighting Norton for the title.

Later, Spinks along with his brother, Michael, who also later won the Heavyweight title himself by defeating then champion Larry Holmes, were both inducted in the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in 2017.

Spinks, with a big grin that often showed off his missing front teeth, was popular among boxing fans for both his win over Ali and his fun loving, friendliness, and easygoing personality. Though he later came upon some hard financial and physical times, Spinks was always well enough to do autograph sessions and other events late in his life.

“He was a good soul,” said Gene Kilroy, who was Ali’s business manager when he fought Spinks and became friends with the fighter.

Among the notable people in Spinks’ early entourage after beating Ali was Lawrence Tureaud, who would later be known as the actor Mr. T and served as bodyguard for the champion.

After moving to Las Vegas, Spinks was married to Brenda Glur Spinks in 2011. The two were often seen at boxing-related activities, including Spinks’ 2017 induction into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.

“He was happy go lucky, the salt of the earth,” Arum said, chuckling at the memories. “Leon was nutty but you couldn’t get angry at the guy. He never meant any harm to anyone. You couldn’t help but love him even though you shook your head at how he acted.”

According to a release from a public relations firm, Spinks’ wife, Brenda Glur Spinks, and a few close friends and other family members were by his side when he passed away.

He was a great man who rose from poor and desperate means to become both an Olympic Gold medalist and the Heavyweight Champion of the World. That leaves him as a member in a rare, illustrious and notable company among the Gods where very few men could ever dare to join.

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Unbeaten Caleb Plant overwhelms challenger Caleb Truax to retain IBF Super Middleweight Title

By Alex and John Rinaldi

January 30 – Los Angeles, CA. In a great shutout performance, world champion Caleb Plant retained his IBF super middleweight title with a unanimous one-sided decision win over challenger and former champion Caleb Truax.

Caleb Plant – still the IBF Super Middleweight Champion

The fact they were fighting at the Shrine Auditorium in the Expo Hall could not be more fitting, since without having any fans on hand it was as silent as a morgue on a Saturday night.

That is the problem when there are no fans on hand – the fighters cannot get juiced up by the crowd.

Imagine Muhammad Ali fighting George Foreman in Zaire in 1974 and there was no one chanting “ALI, ALI, ALI” non-stop for the entire fight.

To his credit, the tough Caleb Plant, 167 ½, went after the challenger Caleb Truax, 167 ¾, right from the opening bell. In an impressive display of fast hands and combinations to the head and body, Plant, of Nashville, Tennessee, pasted Truax who was intent to plod forward throwing less punches than the corner florist.

When the hard rock group Metallica sang the following words from their song Enter Sandman:

Exit light
Enter night
Take my hand
We’re off to Never Neverland

They must have been referring to Truax who, with his trance-like performance, seemed to whisper himself off to a sleepy place in Neverland.

Plant, meanwhile did what he could, which was quite a lot. He constantly speared Truax’s face with the jab, so much so that it appeared that there was a strange magnetic pull that constantly slammed Plant’s gloved fist consistently into Truax’s chin.

Caleb Plant (R)  planting an overhand right to challenger Caleb Taux's head.

Caleb Plant (R) planting an overhand right to challenger Caleb Truax’s head.

The problem was, that for some uncanny reason, especially since he was a former champion with a pretty big punch as proven by his 19 KO’s coming into the fight, Truax, of Osseo, Minnesota,  never upped the aggression past that of a one-legged goat. Maybe it was due to Plant’s spectacular swiftness, both with his hands and feet, particularly when he employed frequent side to side movement that tended to baffle the challenger.

With big fights looming on the horizon against the likes of fellow title holders Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders, Plant dryly remarked before the fight that he had “everything to lose,” probably referring to losing those huge paydays if he actually lost the fight.

Well, lose he did not. Instead he did the boxer’s version of throwing a no-hitter by shutting out Truax for twelve rounds as all three judges scored it for the Tennessean Plant by score of 120-108.

But three cheers for Plant. He came, he went, and he conquered.

Although he entered into the bout a betting favorite of -2500 to Truax at +1000, Plant fought very much like the gifted champion he is. People in Nashville probably scored big on the bets, every single one of them probably going for their hometown star.

After a quick first round, Plant began to unleash some real power in round two doubling up with the left hook to the head and body; and occasionally landing a left hook-uppercut that knocked Truax’s head back so far it appeared as if the challengers head was connected to his neck by a hinge.

By round four,  the damage was starting to show on Truax’s face as blood began to paint his face in a dark shade of crimson as if Plant dipped his gloves into a red inkwell.

While Truax did pick up the pace a little in round eight, merely going from first gear to a still slow second gear, it simply was not enough to turn the tide in the fight, and it never did.

By the fight’s end even the church mice in attendance all thought that Plant won big as he increased his record to a still undefeated 21-0 (12 KO’s).

With the loss Truax dropped to (31-5-2, 19 KO).

Plant said afterward that he hurt his hand early in the fight, causing him to be “a little hesitant at times,” but overall he was pleased with his performance.

“I want to become the first undisputed super middleweight champion of all time,” said Plant, who has his eyes on a potential May bout between titleholders Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders. “Whoever is in the way of that doesn’t matter…I feel that I’m the best super middleweight in the world,” boasted Plant.

The question is “who is next”.

The winner of an Alvarez-Saunders fight would make the grand slam opponent, since big dollars will shower both Plant and Alvarez.  It would also become a complete unification title fight, since Alvarez owns both the WBA and WBC belts, while Saunders is the WBO titleholder

Of course Alvarez still needs to first defeat Avni Yildirim on Feb. 27.

With these tough fighters on the perch of the division, the super middleweight matchups just got a lot more exciting.

In a co-main event featuring heavyweights, Michael Coffie (12-0, 9 KO) landed a jarring left uppercut to knock Darmani Rock (17-1, 12 KO) down for the first time in the third round. Rock got up after a 9-count, and then seconds later Coffie landed a left hook to Rock’s head, knocking him down for a second time and ending the fight.

On the undercard, undefeated 20-year-old Joey Spencer (12-0, 9 KO) knocked out Isiah Seldon (14-4-1) in the first round of a middleweight fight, sending him twice to canvas.

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Boxing News Stories and Press Releases from

The Boxing TwinsCLICK PICTURE TO READ ALL UP TO THE MINUTE BOXING STORIES AND PRESS RELEASES

 

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Josh Taylor-Jose Ramirez will fight at MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the undisputed unified junior welterweight championship on May 8

February 3 – Las Vegas, Nevada. Finally, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has apparent;y worked out the details for the anticipated 140-pound unification fight between IBF and WBA champion Josh Taylor (17-0) and WBC and WBO champion Jose Ramirez (26-0).

Arum said he’s “looking forward” to having fans in attendance “in accordance with strict standards imposed by the state of Nevada.”

Arum said Taylor is already working on a obtaining a Visa and that the purses between the two ex-Olympians will be equal.

“From our side of the table, we are happy moving forward with Taylor-Ramirez,” said Jamie Conlan, vice president of MTK Global, which advises Taylor and also has a relationship with Ramirez’s manager, Rick Mirigian.

Mirigian, however, said deal is not yet locked up with his client.

“I’m optimistic, but negotiations continue,” Mirigian said. Another interested party is undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez, who has said he wants to fight the winner to become the only undisputed four-belt champion at both 135 and 140 pounds.

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41-0 Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez all in for WBC Interim

World light heavyweight clash with “Sir” Marcus Browne  

CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW STORY

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THE USA BOXING NEWS INTERVIEW

 STEVE CANTON

President of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame

CLICK PHOTO TO READ INTERVIEW

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The USA Boxing News

Book Review

 

 

BY JOHN AND ALEX RINALDI

CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW BOOK REVIEW

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Boxing Historian and one of the Greatest Ambassadors of the Sport –  Henry Hascup suffers one more loss

By Alex and John Rinaldi

Henry Hascup just notified us of the passing of his sister Betty. This comes off the recent and tragic death of his beloved son.

This is Henry Hacup in his own words:

I could not wait for 2020 to come to an end, as I have lost so many friends and the loss of my son Henry was the most Painful thing that ever happened to me!

Well it took all of 34 hours into the New Year when I received another phone call just after 10 AM on January 2nd telling me that my sister Betty Mabey passed away earlier in the morning.

She leaves her husband Bill, sons Billy and Jerry and 3 grandkids!

R.I.P. Betty

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FIGHTERS TRAINING AND FIGHT GALLERY PAGE

 

Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor

Muhammad Ali

Robert Duran (L) and Iran “The Blade” Barkley (R) before their 1989 Middleweight Title Fights, which became the 1989 Fight of the Year.

 

https://theusaboxingnews.com/photos/

Sugar Ray Robinson (L) beating Kid Gavilan (R).

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Jack Dempsey (R) in training

Jack Dempsey (R) in training

Roberto Duran (C) with the Boxing Twins training in 1982.

Roberto Duran (C) with the Boxing Twins training in 1982.

Joe Choyski made his debut in November 1888 with a points win over George Bush. He went on to have a successful career and despite beating a number of highly rated opponents he never got a shot at the world title. His record was 57-14-6 with 39 knockouts.

Joe Choyski made his debut in November 1888 with a points win over George Bush. He went on to have a successful career and despite beating a number of highly rated opponents he never got a shot at the world title. His record was 57-14-6 with 39 knockouts.

Heavyweight Champion Jess Willard in training

Heavyweight Champion Jess Willard in training

Joe Louis (L) vs. Billy Conn (R)

Joe Louis (L) vs. Billy Conn (R)

Johnny Wilson (L) vs. Harry Greb (R) on April 24, 1925 at the Mechanics Building in Boston, MA. Greb won by decision.

Tiger Flowers poses with opponent Leo Lomski prior to their fight on January 22, 1927 at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, CA.

Middleweight Champion Harry Greb working out with the speed bag.

Middleweight Champion Harry Greb working out with the speed bag.

 
Rocky Marcian (R) nailing Joe Louis (L) with a right to the stomach in their October 26, 1951 bout in Madison Square Garden. Rocky won by TKO in round 8.

Rocky Marciano (R) nailing Joe Louis (L) with a right to the stomach in their October 26, 1951 bout in Madison Square Garden. Rocky won by TKO in round 8.

Harry Greb (L) and Gene Tunney (R)  pose for pictures

Harry Greb (L) and Gene Tunney (R) pose for pictures before the start of their May 22, 1922 bout in New York’s madison Square garden , which saw Greb hand the fighting marine Gene Tunney his first professional loss.

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Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. exhibition match ends in Draw

 

By Ron John Rinaldi and Joseph Rinaldi

The Exhibition match between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr., which was just a notch or two better than a curio piece, ended in a draw.

Luckily for the two fighters they now have even more money to draw from – considering that Tyson earned at least $10 million and Roy Jones Jr. earned about $3 million.

Jones entered the ring wearing white trunks with gold and purple trim in reverence to fallen LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant who played basketball in the same Staples Center that housed the bout.

Jones and Tyson after the bout.

Tyson, like the Tyson of old, entered wearing only black trunks and a towel, with his trademark black shoes with no socks.

With a combined total of 105 years of age, and the two fighters squaring off  over eight, two-minute rounds, they both fared surprisingly well in both appearance and the willingness to throw punches.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 28: Mike Tyson throws a punch in the fourth round against Roy Jones Jr. during Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr. presented by Triller at Staples Center on November 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Triller)

The problem was the two minute rounds prevented Tyson’s powerful body attack from making a real impact in the fight as well as letting the two – mostly Jones – to clinch and hold on. to the credit of Tyson and Jones, both of them actually wanted three minute rounds, but were apparently overruled by the California Athletic Commission.

Tyson, who said prior to the fight that “The gods of war have summoned me again,” appeared to throw the more punches paying particularly attention to body shots and left hooks to the head. Jones, meanwhile, countered fairly well and managed to withstand some of Mike’s bigger shots.

He even showboated a bit and landed with some fairly accurate combinations

After the fight Jones, whose stomach seemed clearly sore and hurt, so much so that he literally wrapped his hands around his midsection, said, “He [Tyson] hurt me wherever he hit me. He punches hard everywhere.”

Tyson seemed to pile up most of the early rounds, landing the cleaner punches and punching Jones on his sides while in the clinch. Jones appeared the more tired of the two, but he still fought gamely back into his reservoir of snappy combinations and cute footwork.

Jones’ late work served to score him enough late rounds to earn the win on one scorecard and a draw on the other. With Tyson winning the third scorecard, the fight was left a somewhat unsatisfying draw.

Among the four announcers were Sugar Ray Leonard and the rapper Snoop Dogg, who was relatively entertaining, especially the line when he said that Tyson and Jones reminded him of two uncles fighting at a barbecue.

While Tyson said he was happy with the result, Jones was less thrilled at the bout’s end saying, “I wear draws, I don’t do draws.”

After the fight, Tyson told interviewer Jim Gray that he planned to fight more exhibitions.

The problem is that the fans who separated from their wallets the $50 they spent on the fight may consider this exhibition to be nothing more than a one and out. Time will tell.

Another concern was that the rappers, who supplied the entertainment before the fight, seemed to drag out their performances to the extent that they seemed boring and long winded. One rapper grabbed for his private parts so much, in a near unbearable performance, that you wished someone would have invoked the old vaudeville hook and pulled him off the stage.

“I’m used to doing it for three minutes,” Tyson said of the rounds. “Sometimes, those two minutes felt like three minutes. I’m happy I got this under my belt to keep doing this and go further.”

“This is bigger than fighting and winning the championship,” Tyson said of competing in exhibitions where he donates money to charity. “We’re humanitarians and we’re helping people.”

In the co-main event, YouTube sensation (whatever that means) and former Ohio State Place Finisher in high school wrestling, Jake Paul showed a lot of pluck and a pretty solid punch when he scored a devastating  knockout over former NBA star Nate Robinson in the second round.

Paul knocked down the hapless Robinson twice before knocking him out cold on the canvas with a terrific right hook. Paul is now 2-0 as a pro with a pair of knockouts and looking forward to continuing his boxing career.

Fight card, results

  • Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. results in an unofficial split draw
  • Jake Paul def. Nate Robinsonvia second-round TKO
  • Badou Jack def. Blake McKernan via unanimous decision (80-72, 80-72,

 80-72)

  • Jamaine Ortiz def. Sulaiman Segawa via seventh-round TKO

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FAMOUS FIGHT PROGRAMS TICKETS AND FIGHT POSTERS

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Terence Crawford vs. Kell Brook: Top Boxing Telecast Across all TV Networks since January 2019

Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN saw pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) retain his WBO welterweight world title with a fourth-round TKO over former welterweight world champion Kell Brook, in a main event from the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  The fight delivered big on viewership, ranking as the top boxing telecast across all TV networks since January 2019.
 
Top Things to Know
  • Crawford vs Brook averaged 1,758,000 viewers, making it the most viewed boxing telecast across on all TV networks since January 2019.
  •  
  • The main event was also the most viewed boxing telecast on cable since December 2018 (Lomachenko vs. Pedraza on ESPN: 1,889,000)
  •  
  • The fight rating peaked during the 11:45 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET quarter hour with 2.1 million viewers
  •  
  • Through seven Saturday night telecasts on ESPN so far this year, Top Rank on ESPN has averaged 1,033,000 viewers, up 44% from 11 Saturday night telecasts in 2019
  •  
  • Adults 18-49 are up 54% year-over-year
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  • Crawford vs. Brook ranked No. 1 as the most socially engaged boxing telecast across TV over the last two years, with over 306,000 total social interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
  • Crawford vs. Brook had a strong performance on social media, becoming the most socially engaged telecast across TV over the last two years, with over 306,000 social interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
  •  
  • Lomachenko vs. Lopez and Crawford vs. Brook have been the most socially engaged boxing telecasts across TV in consecutive months over the last two years.
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  • Top Rank on ESPN has featured an action-packed fall schedule highlighted by some of the leaders of boxing’s electric youth movement, including stunning performances by the new undisputed lightweight king Teofimo Lopez, WBO female junior lightweight world champion Mikaela Mayer and WBA/IBF unified bantamweight world champion Naoya Inoue. Rising star Shakur Stevenson, the undefeated former featherweight world champion from Newark, N.J., is set to close out the year in a 10-round junior lightweight main event against Toka Kahn Clary, Saturday, Dec. 12, from MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
 Source: Nielsen, Nielsen Social Content Ratings 
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A Fun-packed Winter Induction Ceremony for the Class of 2020 Florida Boxing Hall of Fame Inductees featuring former world champions Robert “Preacherman” Daniels and Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy

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Members of the Rocky Marciano family in front of THE USA BOXING NEWS exhibit at the Marciano Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts.

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Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Shawn Porter and Ryan Garcia lead boxers in win over UFC on television’s Celebrity Family Feud

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Bare-Knuckle Corner

 

William Perry

William Perry in his fistic prime.

The British Pugilist Who Perpetually Beat Up Foes

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There is a New Lightweight Sheriff in Town

Teofimo Lopez Topples Vasiliy Lomachenko to become the undisputed Lightweight Champion of the world
Barboza Decisions Saucedo in the Co-Feature

 

By Alexander R. Rinaldi

LAS VEGAS (October 17, 2020) — There is a new undisputed lightweight king in this crazy year of 2020 – and it is 23 year old Teofimo Lopez, of Brooklyn, New York.

Against virtually all odds (Lomachenko was a solid 4-1 betting favorite going into the bout), the young Lopez rather easily wrested away all the lightweight belts by defeating the highly heralded Vasiliy Lomachenko, of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine, by unanimous decision in a superstar-making performance Saturday evening from the MGM Grand Conference Center.

Lopez (R) hammering Lomachenko (L) with a hard right upppercut.

With the glorious win, Lopez (16-0, 12 KO’s) became the youngest undisputed champion (23) in the four-belt (WBA, WBO, IBF, and WBC) era.

Not only did he defeat the once formidable Lomachenko, Lopez actually won by wide margins (119-109, 118-110 and 116-112), fulfilling the rather strange prophecy of his father/trainer, Teofimo Lopez Sr., who predicted, like a gypsy fortune teller, quite some time ago, that his son would become the undisputed champion by his 16th professional fight. With the apparent success of his fortune telling,  his father may soon have his face plastered on crystal balls and gypsy tents throughout the globe.

Lomachenko (L) stabbing Lopez (R) with a left to the stomach.

After the surprising loss, Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs – 20-2, 10 KO including World Series of Boxing Contests), a three-weight world champion, saw his 13-bout winning streak come to an end.

The reasons for the outcome are still being weighed, but as for the Russian Lomachenko, the problem was that he came into the bout sluggish and without any real fire in either his belly or his fists.

It was probably due to the fact that he had not entered the prize ring in fighting trunks in over 14 months. In his last bout, Lomachenko faced fellow 2012 Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell on August 31, 2019, at the O2 Arena in London, England. There, in front of a sold-out crowd of over 18,000, Lomachenko not only retained the WBA and WBO titles, he also captured the vacant WBC lightweight title by defeating Campbell by unanimous decision.

Both fighters mix it up in round seven.

Well, fast forward those nearly 14 months and entering the ring against the reigning IBF lightweight champion Lopez, Lomachenko appeared as if he had either awakened from being in suspended animation or from a deep hibernation. Either way he threw less punches than than a man tied to a wagon.

While Lopez came out brave, quick, and confident, stabbing the elusive Lomachenko with swift  jabs and combinations to the head and body, Lomachenko started out with the fury of a pastor at a prayer meeting.

Lopez (R) on the attack.

To make matters worse, his PunchStat numbers were similar to those of a sheep herder as he landed only 25 punches of a mere 58 thrown in rounds one to six. Though he did pick up the pace significantly in rounds seven through twelve, still by the fight’s end he only landed a total of 141 punches out of 321 thrown, compared to Lopez who landed 183 punches out of 659 thrown.

To his credit, Lopez maintained his pressure and was the aggressor throughout the bout. Even when Lomachenko eventually came back to life in the second half of the bout, Lopez met him nearly punch for punch and never ever backed down. Nor was he ever intimidated by Lomachenko, especially  when the the older fighter bounced combinations off Lopez’s jaw out of his southpaw stance, particularly in rounds six and eleven, and started giving him various angles and bouncy footwork.

Both fighters landing leather at the other.

Both fighters landing leather at the other.

“I had to dig deep, man,” said a jubilant Lopez after the bout. “I’m thankful. I’m grateful. And each and every day, I take that in. I thank God first because I couldn’t do it without him.”

As for sticking to his game plan in the second half of the bout, Lopez remarked, “I’m a fighter. I gotta dig in deep. I knew he was coming. I didn’t know if they had him up on the scorecards or not, and I love to fight. I can bang, too. I don’t care, man. I’ll take one to give one. That’s what a true champion does. I find a way to win…You just gotta keep pressuring him, press the gas, stick the jab and don’t really give him that opportunity to set up. Every time he did want to throw, I had something ready for him.”

All cheers for the young Lopez. Unlike many others who have faced Lomachenko in the past and came up empty handed, Lopez grabbed the brass ring after throwing down the gauntlet in round one and never looked back. His perseverance, skill, and guts should be applauded throughout the ages.

As for Lomachenko, he will have to go back to the drawing board, something that he has not had to do in many years. “I think in the first half of the fight, he got more rounds than I did,” Lomachenko said. “But then in the second half of the fight, I took it over and I was much better. I want to go home and to review the fight to see. I can’t comment right now much about it. But I definitely am not agreeing with the scorecards. At the moment I think (I won the fight). But the result is the result. I’m not going to argue right now.”

Lomanchenko will most likely return. The great ones always do.

The USA Boxing News scored the bout 115-113 for Lopez.

Barboza Decisions Saucedo

In a battle of junior welterweight contenders, the unbeaten Arnold Barboza Jr. (25-0, 10 KOs) notched the most significant win of his career, surviving a knockdown to defeat former world title challenger Alex “El Cholo” Saucedo (30-2, 19 KOs) via 10-round unanimous decision. Barboza, ranked in the top 10 by two of the major sanctioning bodies, now has his sights on a world title shot.

Barboza said, “This was like a championship fight to me. It’s all because of my father {head trainer Arnold Barboza Sr.}, not me. I did this for kids and my father. My dream is to get a house for my kids. I came that much closer today.
 
“I want a championship fight. No more messing around. No more tune-up fights.”

KO King Berlanga Does it Again

He did it again. Super middleweight destroyer Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga knocked out Lanell Bellows in 79  seconds, the 15th first-round knockout to begin his career. Bellows (20-6-3, 13 KOs) had never been knocked out in an eight-year pro career. After the knockout, Berlanga climbed to a neutral corner and proclaimed to the Bubble audience, “I’m a fuc*ing monster!”

Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga (R) knocking out Lanell Bellows (L).

Berlanga said, “I saw with the first shot that I cut him open and the look in his eyes, he didn’t want to be in there. From the beginning, once I got in the ring, I looked in his eyes… he didn’t want to be in there. So I had to get him out.”

This Berlanga is certainly a fighter to keep an eye on. He has tools of a ring assassin and a punch like a mule. All he needs is more time in the ring to sharpen his skills so he can hang in there with the top contenders that he will inevitably be meeting in the next year or so.

In the undercard bouts:

Jr. Welterweight: Josue Vargas (18-1, 9 KOs) UD 10 Kendo Castaneda (17-3, 8 KOs). Scores: 100-89, 99-91, 98-90. Vargas graduated to contender status with a one-sided domination over Castaneda, who was coming off a competitive decision loss to Jose “Chon” Zepeda. He has won 12 straight fights since a disqualification defeat.


Vargas said, “He was a tough customer, tougher than I thought he was going to be, but my father told me to stay composed, stay calm. I dropped him, but that doesn’t mean nothing, just stay relaxed because that’s how I got disqualified when I was 18 years old.
 
“I’m very close to fighting these guys, like Zepeda, Pedraza, any of these guys. You name it, I’ll get in there with them.”

Featherweight: Jose Enrique Vivas (20-1, 11 KOs) TKO 1 John Vincent Moralde (23-4, 13 KOs), 1:16. Vivas blitzed Moralde, knocking down the Filipino contender twice en route to the early stoppage. The second knockdown was a body blow that prompted referee Celestino Ruiz to halt the fight without a count.

Welterweight: Quinton Randall (7-0, 2 KOs) UD 6 Jan Carlos Rivera (4-1, 4 KOs). Scores: 58-56 2X and 59-55. In a battle of unbeatens, Randall swept the last four rounds on two of the judges’ scorecards to prevail.

Welterweight: Jahi Tucker (2-0, 1 KO) UD 4 Charles Garner (1-1). Scores: 40-36, 3X. The 17-year-old Tucker, who scored a first-round knockout in his professional debut last month, went the distance and cruised to a decision win against Garner, a native of Buffalo, N.Y.

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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Roberto Duran and President Donald Trump
Past and Present

President Donald Trump and Roberto Duran on the 2020 Campaign Trail.

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Fight of the Year: Zepeda KOs Baranchyk in Five

Eight knockdowns scored in this instant classic

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)
LAS VEGAS (October 3, 2020) — Eight knockdowns. Fight of the Year.

Jose Zepeda knocked out Ivan Baranchyk in the fifth round of their junior welterweight instant classic Saturday evening at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. Both men hit the canvas four times, but it was a left hand from Zepeda, a two-time world title challenger, that ended the fight.
Jose Zepeda (R) knocking down out Ivan Baranchyk (L).

Jose Zepeda (R) knocking down out Ivan Baranchyk (L).

Baranchyk (20-2, 13 KOs), a former IBF junior welterweight world champion, scored a pair of knockdowns in the opening round, and then the two traded knockdowns in the second. Zepeda used his counterpunching skills to knock down Baranchyk in the third and fourth rounds, but Baranchyk roared back and planted Zepeda (33-2, 26 KOs) on the canvas early in the fifth. Soon after Zepeda rose to this feet, the knockout hammer dropped.

Zepeda said, “I feel great because I won the fight. It was a hard fight, and I’m thinking, ‘Man, boxing is hard. It’s no easy game.’ Boxing, it’s tough, and you have to give it 100 percent because it’s a hard sport.
 
“Both of us are climbing up, and somebody had to stay. I was able to win the fight, and I told him, ‘Thanks for the fight. It was a great fight.’
Jose Zepeda (R) slamming Ivan Baranchyk (L). with a jarring left.

Jose Zepeda (R) slamming Ivan Baranchyk (L). with a jarring left.

“I know I’m tough. I didn’t know how tough I was. Tonight, I showed myself, too. I’ve never been in a fight like this. It was a great learning experience.”

Flores Improves to 19-0

Gabriel Flores Jr. had a wake-up call in the first round, when a left hook from Ryan Kielczweski  stunned him for a brief moment. Flores regrouped from that hiccup and boxed circles around Kielczweski en route to a 10-round unanimous decision (100-90, 99-91 and 98-92) in the lightweight co-feature.

Gabriel Flores Jr. (R) vs Ryan Kielczweski (L)

Flores (19-0, 6 KOs), the 20-year-old prodigy from Stockton, Calif., spoke of his desire to contend at junior lightweight sooner than later. Kielczweski (30-5, 11 KOs) dropped to 1-2 in his last three fights, but the 31-year-old Massachusetts native has yet to be stopped as a professional.

Flores said, “{I was not} buzzed at all. Not buzzed at all. I was a little bit off balance on my heel, which is rare. I’m always on my toes.
 
“I gotta stay in the pocket more. I need to stay on myself to stay in the pocket. I’m in the pocket landing shots, and then I feel like, ‘I’m bored here.’”

In undercard bouts:

Heavyweight: Guido Vianello (7-0-1, 7 KOs) Majority Draw, 6 Rounds,  Kingsley Ibeh (5-1-1, 4 KOs). Scores: 59-55 Ibeh and 57-57 2X. Vianello’s winning and KO streaks came to an end against Ibeh, who won a pair of fights inside the “Bubble” over the summer. Ibeh buzzed Vianello on several occasions and swept the first two rounds. Vianello, who suffered the first cut of his career, won the sixth round on all three judges’ cards to salvage the draw. 


Featherweight: Duke Ragan (2-0, 1 KO) UD 4 John Moraga (1-2, 1 KO). Scorecards: 40-36 3X. Ragan went the distance for the first time in his young career and bested Moraga, a former UFC title challenger. Ragan, from Cincinnati, signed with Top Rank earlier this year and scored a first-round knockout in his pro debut in August.

Junior Lightweight: Frevian Gonzalez (4-0, 1 KO) MD 4 Carlos Marrero (2-4-1). Scorecards: 38-38 and 40-36 2X. Gonzalez defeated the most experienced foe of his young career and cruised to victory despite the lone draw scorecard.

Heavyweight: Mitchell Sipe (1-0, 1 KO) TKO 1 Jimmy Barnes (1-1, 1 KO), :43. MMA veteran Sipe made a smooth transition to the pugilistic ranks, knocking down Barnes in the opening seconds of the fight and hitting his beleaguered opponent at will after he rose to his feet. In less than a minute, it was over.

Featherweight: Haven Brady Jr. (1-0, 1 KO) TKO 4 Gorwar Karyah (2-2, 2 KOs), 2:27. Brady closed the show in style in his pro debut, stopping Karyah with just 33 seconds remaining in their scheduled four-round fight. Brady was deducted a point in the second round for a low blow, while Karyah had a point taken away in the fourth round for repeated holding.

Welterweight: JJ Mariano (3-0, 2 KOs) TKO 1 Matthew Reed (1-1, 1 KO), 1:27. Mariano, from Reno, Nev., knocked down Reed early in the opening round and then pinned him against the ropes. A barrage of blows prompted referee Robert Hoyle to stop the fight.
Short Work: Josh Taylor Blows Out Apinun Khongsong in 1 Round
Taylor retains WBA & IBF Junior Welterweight World Titles

LONDON (September 26, 2020) — Josh Taylor made an emphatic statement in his first fight as a unified world champion, defending his WBA and IBF junior welterweight world titles with a first-round stoppage over mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong from BT Studio at York Hall.

The time of the stoppage was 2:41, as Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) brutalized Khongsong (16-1, 13 KOs) with a left hand to the liver. He is now in line to face WBC/WBO world champion Jose Ramirez in early 2021 for the undisputed championship.

Taylor said, “One hundred percent, I want Ramirez next. He’s a very good champion, unbeaten like myself, hungry, on top of his game. I thought the {Viktor} Postol fight, it wasn’t a very good performance at all. I do feel he can perform better than that given the circumstances. Again, I wasn’t impressed with what I’ve seen from him. Again, I want that fight now. I believe I’ll whoop his ass all day long. 

“I’ve never seen anything from him that I haven’t seen before, so yeah, I want that fight as soon as possible. Obviously, I know the situation with {Ramirez’s WBO} mandatory, but hopefully, we can sort of get that worked out. I would like, for selfish and personal reasons, to get that fight next. I deserve it. I’ve been in big fight after big fight for my last four fights. Not ducked anyone. Never ducked a tournament like someone else. I’m game. I’ll fight the best whenever they want. To be honest, I would rather wait until the fans are back for that fight. It’s a huge fight. It’s one of the biggest fights at the minute for all the belts.”

In undercard bouts:

Bantamweight
: Charlie Edwards (16-1, 6 KOs) PTS 10 Kyle Williams (11-3, 3 KOs). Referee Scorecard: 99-91. Former WBC flyweight world champion Edwards is now a bantamweight contender, as he outboxed noted spoiler Williams in the co-feature. Edwards moved up following his no contest against Julio Cesar Martinez last August, which ended after Martinez struck Edwards while he was on the canvas.


Junior Featherweight: Ionut Baluta (14-2, 3 KOs) TKO 3 Davey Oliver Joyce (12-2, 9 KOs). The year of the upset continues for Baluta, as the Romanian-born boxer-puncher bested former world champion TJ Doheny in March. Baluta knocked down Joyce with a left hook in the third round and unloaded with a follow-up combination, prompting referee Steve Gray to stop the fight.

Junior MiddleweightGeorge Davey (3-0) PTS 4 Jeff Thomas (12-8-3, 1 KO). Referee Scorecard: 40-36.

Junior Welterweight Eithan James (4-0) PTS 4 Kris Pilkington (2-8-1). Referee Scorecard: 40-36.

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Bare-Knuckle Corner

JOHN GULLY

England Boxing Champion

An English Renaissance Man

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The USA Boxing News

Book Review

 

Reviewed by John Rinaldi

The legendary heavyweights of the late 19th Century have always held a fascination with me.  The colorful figures of a bygone era engaged in fisticuffs at a time when the old-fashioned Victorian period was merging into the early modern Edwardian period is always interesting to read about.  The heavyweights at the time were a talented lot who were prepared to fight with bare fists, or 3-oz gloves in bouts that were set for 3 rounds all the way up to infinity.

 Author Ron J. Jackson took on enthralling subject in penning a tome about a pugilistic contest between two local San Franciso fighters. The notables on hand are Joseph Bartlett Choynski and James John Corbett, or better known as Joe “The California Terror” Choynski and “Gentleman” Jim Corbett.  Both men were born in San Francisco, Choynski on September 1, 1866, and Corbett on November 8, 1868. 

Jackson begins his book by describing the time period of the late 1880s in San Francisco in all its glorious detail.  Of all the fighters in area, the two standouts were Choynski and Corbett.

Corbett sparring with Jeffries as he prepares to challenge heavyweight king Jack Johnson.

At the time in San Franciso, boxing contests were either legal “exhibitions” at lavish Athletic Clubs, or illegal prizefights at such locales as cleared wooded areas, barns, farm fields, or just about anywhere a 16 ft. ring could be erected, including a barge!

Corbett and Choynski are depicted as fearless individuals who were afraid of no one.  Each had their share of fans, which is why the city was anxiously awaiting the bout between the two gladiators.

The Author gives the reader an understanding of each pugilist.  Choynski was known as a quiet, vicious two-fisted slugger, while Corbett was the brash, “Fancy Dan” fighter, who used his dazzling footwork and ring smarts, as much as his fists.  Although Joe was considered the bigger puncher of the two, Corbett packed a wallop in his right hand and left hook, and had a spearing left jab that he smashed into the face of his foes.

Joe Choynski

“Fight to the Finish – The Barge Battle of 1889” goes into all the events that lead the reader into the ultimate Armageddon. Along the way there is intrigue, excitement and humor.  By the time the two combatants eventually meet at the barge in the quiet port town of Benecia,  CA, the readers are on the edge of their seats awaiting the action.

The description of the ultimate battle that was scheduled as a “fight to the finish” – whereas its conclusion would be when one fighter was unable to continue the hostilities, is written in such striking detail that this reviewer felt he was on the barge witnessing one of the greatest and most brutal battles ever seen in the prize ring.  This reviewer was aware of the fight, but through his intense research, the Author found so many nuggets of material that have never been written in a book before, which transforms the event into something really special, and even more blood-thirsty!

The movie Gentleman Jim  from 1941 depicts the Barge Battle of 1889 with Errol Flynn portraying James J. Corbett.

After the memorable engagement, both fighters would go on to have illustrious careers.  Corbett’s next big bout was on May 21, 1891 at the California Athletic Club in another “fight to the finish” against the top-ranked heavyweight challenger of the time, Peter “The Black Prince” Jackson, a Black fighter that reigning heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan avoided. Although Jackson, 197, was the bigger and more experienced fighter, Corbett, 185, took all Jackson could handle and was on the verge of winning before the bout was stopped after 61 grueling rounds and called a No-Contest.

L-R George Lloyd and Errol Flynn depicting Choynski and Corbett during the Barge Battle scene in Gentleman Jim. 

On September 7, 1892 at the Olympic Club in New Orleans, LA, Corbett, 178, would KO the 4-1 favorite, heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan, 212, in 21 rounds to capture the title and become one of the most famous fighters of all time.

James Corbett in his boxing prime.

As for Choynski, although he never received a shot at the Heavyweight Championship, he did fight four men who would be future heavyweight kings.  On November 30, 1897, Choynski, 167, took on James J. Jeffries, 219, in a 20-round contest at the National Athletic Club in San Francisco, CA. Although most felt that Choynski had done enough against the undefeated giant Jeffries, the bout was declared a draw.  It was reported that Jeffries said that Choynski was the hardest puncher he ever faced and at one point of the fight, Joe drove a right hand that smashed into Jeffries’ mouth, driving his lower lip into his front two teeth, which needed a lip incision to ease the pain. Although Jeffries would KO Bob Fitzsimmons two years later to capture the Heavyweight Title, he would never give Choynski a shot.

Against two future heavyweight kings, Joe fought a 6-round draw against Bob Fitzsimmons on June 17, 1894 and a 6-round draw with Marvin Hart on November 16, 1903.

The biggest win of Choynski’s career was against the future heavyweight legend Jack “The Galveston Giant” Johnson.  On February 25, 1901, Choynski KO’d Johnson in the third round with a right hand to the jaw in Johnson’s hometown of Galveston, TX, at the Harmony Hall.

Joe Choynski sparring with James Jeffries as he gets ready to take on Jack Johnson in 1910.

Both Corbett and Choynski would later train Jim Jeffries for his comeback fight against heavyweight champion Jack Johnson that took place on July 4, 1910 in Reno, NV.  In looking at the pitiful way Jeffries was beaten in 15 rounds by Johnson, it appears that both Corbett and Choynski could have given a stiffer challenge!

Joe Choynski posed shot.

Although Corbett had died in 1933, in 1942, Warner Brothers came out with the film “Gentleman Jim” with Errol  Flynn wonderfully portraying Corbett.  Choynski, who would later die the following year in 1943, was able to see his bout with Corbett portrayed on the silver screen.  The movie version of the barge fight was pretty well done with George Lloyd playing Choynski.

Mr. Jackson has done an amazing job with this book, which has turned out to be one of my all-time favorites.  The story of the ferocious confrontation with all of its thrilling detail between two men who would become fistic immortals is a must-read for any boxing fan.  It is simply unforgettable.

This book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The book can be purchased in paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble bookstores, Barnes and Noble’s website, and at bookstores around the globe.

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Roberto Duran vs. Sugar Ray Leonard I

The Brawl in Montreal

June 20, 1980

  • -Thoughts 40 Years Later-

WBC Welterweight Title: Roberto Duran (L) in action vs Sugar Ray Leonard (R) during fight at Olympic Stadium. (CLICK PHOTO OF THE FIGHT TO VIEW VIDEO THE FIGHT FEATURING FAMED ANNOUNCER HOWARD COSELL)

By John Rinaldi, Salvatore Alaimo, and Alex Rinaldi

On June 20, 1980, three cousins, future USA Boxing News Editors and Publishers John and Alex Rinaldi and their cousin Salvatore Alaimo, who became Head Writer for The USA Boxing News, were on hand for the Immortal Roberto Duran vs. Sugar Ray Leonard Brawl in Montreal, along with Joseph Rinaldi, the founder of The USA Boxing News.

Leonard, 145, entered the bout a 9-5 favorite and was guaranteed $7.5 million and 80% of the closed-circuit revenue.
 
Duran, 146, was guaranteed $1.5 million and zero per cent of the closed-circuit revenue (the promoters were received the remaining 20% of the closed circuit revenue).
 
The UPI polled 30 sportswriters prior to the fight, with 13 predicting Leonard (5 by decision win, 8 by KO win), while 17 picked Duran to win (16 by knockout win, 1 by decision win).
 
The fight was held at the Olympic Stadium before a crowd of 46,317 fans.
 
The fight took place on June 20, 1980 and the re-broadcast on ABC’s Wide World of Sports was telecast on July 29, 1980.
 
Throughout the thrilling 15-round bout, Leonard averaged 50 punches per round, with 18 connecting, while Duran averaged 60 punches per round, with 21 connecting.
 

Of course, the four of them all picked to Duran to win.

In turned out to be a watershed moment for the four of them as they would afterwards take the excitement of that fight and start the publishing of The USA Boxing News two years later in 1982.

Below are some thoughts of the surviving three – John Rinaldi, Salvatore Alaimo, and Alex Rinaldi, forty years after that landmark fight, from e-mail correspondences.

It is a great indication and collection of what fight fans do throughout the world discussing fights of the past.

 
WBC Welterweight Title: Roberto Duran (R) in action vs Sugar Ray Leonard during fight at Olympic Stadium. Montreal, Canada 6/20/1980

WBC Welterweight Title: Roberto Duran (L) in action vs Sugar Ray Leonard (R) during fight at Olympic Stadium. Montreal, Canada 6/20/1980

John Rinaldi

Well, tonight represents the 40th Anniversary of the Best Night Ever of my lifetime, with Roberto Duran’s win over Sugar Ray Leonard. In all my years of watching fights, no bout I have ever seen beats it. The only one that would have come close was if Joe Frazier came out for the 15th round against Muhammad Ali in the “Thriller in Manila” to KO Ali. Since that did not happen, then Duran’s win is the highlight of my life.

People can say all they want about hypes for boxing events and anticipation. All I can remember in my life are three bouts that had the world’s interest, and actually exceeded everyone’s expectations – and those were Frazier-Ali I, Ali-Frazier III and Duran-Leonard I.

On that night on June 20, 2020, all I remember is my beloved father, you two guys and Sal’s friends going crazy as Duran showed up in the best condition of his life to face off with Sugar Ray Leonard. Later the way Leonard took apart Hearns and Hagler, it makes Duran’s great win even more impressive. NO ONE in the history of the welterweight division (also go from lightweight to middleweight) would have beaten Duran that night.

Credit must be given to Leonard for lasting out the full 15 rounds, when I believe if it were Tommy Hearns that night, Hearns would have been KO’d.

Of course another thing that made that night special was the presence of my beloved Dad right there with us cheering at every punch Duran smashed into Leonard. Afterwards, when we were all hugging each other, I have never been so happy. I think you guys and my father felt the same way.

It is sad that our parents are gone and Duran has grown old and no longer fights. I believe that no fighter has ever taken his place with the mixture of charisma, ferocity and punching power that he had.

So as this day goes on, I think of you guys, Duran and my father. For one brief evening, everything in the world stopped and we were mesmerized for 60 minutes. It is rare when after all the planning and anticipation, that an outcome could turn out so perfect. Life is not like that, but that night certainly was.

It took only one fearsome boxer and all of us together to make the ultimate lifetime memory.

Leonard (L) and Duran (R) slugging it out.

 Salvatore Alaimo

Reading the boxing magazines and seeing the interviews leading up to the fight built up so my anticipation and excitement in me about that fight, at age 15. It was definitely one of the greatest nights of my life, too. Yes, he was in awesome shape and was relentless. I don’t think anyone would have beaten him that night either. The judges’ scorecards did not come close to reflecting the fight.

Yes, we felt the same way as your Dad. It was great to have him with us and I enjoyed seeing how elated he was.  I was on a high for several days afterwards. The Garden was sold out, and I remember the railing next to me shaking when the crowd cheered. Epic, titanic and thrilling.

There hasn’t been anyone like Duran since and there will never be. His accomplishments were remarkable. My Dad used to have a saying about people he admired very much, like your Dad that he shared with me. “Son, they don’t make them like that anymore.” They don’t. 

We have heard many times that Sugar Ray’s ego got in the way and he decided to brawl with Duran instead of boxing, as if the assumption was if be boxed he would have won. Rarely, if ever is it mentioned that Leonard had no choice that night in Montreal. He wasn’t dictating the fight, Duran was by relentlessly stalking him and cutting off the ring. That’s the more accurate narrative, so I think the American sportswriters got it wrong. Think about Ali, the all-time master at being a boxer. Certain fighters, like Frazier and a few others pressured him enough that Ali’s ability to dictate the fight, especially pacing, was taken away.

I want to express again my appreciation for you pushing us to go to that fight. To see our hero and idol perform at the height of his powers was awesome. 

Thanks for reminding us of how great that June night at the Garden for what was then the most anticipated sporting event of that time. It broke the all-time closed circuit record for any fight.

We will reflect again on June 16, 2023 for the 40th anniversary of another special evening.

Duran R) stabbing Leonard (L) with a thunderous right.

 Alex Rinaldi

The fight was certainly the greatest night of my life too.

It was one of those nights where all the stars align to form something wonderful.

It also involved arguably two of the greatest boxers who ever laced on a pair of gloves. To make a great fight it takes two special fighters to engage in an all-out combat war.

That’s what made this one monumental. They both gave and both took powerful punches for 15 thrilling rounds.

Duran was at best of bests, virtually unbeatable that night. No one in any era would have been able to beat him. He had the speed, punching power, and great defense to demolish all comers, which he did to Leonard.

What made it mostly memorable was that our father was there. Before the fight some big guys behind us were touting how Sugar Ray was going to kill Duran.

Then when Duran staggered Leonard in round 2 my dad turned to them and shouted, “There’s your Sugar Ray!!”

It is the comment that has become folklore in our family, and has forever immortalized my father in the hearts and minds of our family and to the readers of The USA Boxing News.

Life is filled with so many ups and downs and many losses, but on one night 40 years ago Roberto Duran carried the torch to victory in the greatest fight and night of his legendary career. With that notable and astonishing victory, he took all of us with him to bask and share in the glory, a glory so brilliant and everlasting that had it never happened our lives would have never been the same.

How could we not be grateful forever to Roberto Duran when he gave us so much joy that his wins have become benchmark events of our lives.

Duran daring Leonard to hit him in round 15.

Duran (L) daring Leonard (R) to hit him in round 15.

Salvatore Alaimo

I remember those guys sitting behind us.

On the significance of Duran’s place in our life and of that fight and that night, Amen Cousin John.

John Rinaldi

Thanks for your great stories. Of Course, I put on YouTube and watched the full Wide World of Sports replay of it with Howard Cosell with the pre- and post-fight interviews. Duran is funny in them.  Cosell did the best commentary of that fight. Besides that great left hook in Round Two, Duran staggered Leonard a few times with right hands in subsequent rounds.

Later when he fought Moore and Barkley, the three of us where there in person at ringside to make up the #2 and #3 greatest nights of our lives.

WBC Welterweight Title: Roberto Duran victorious with promoter Don King after winning fight vs Sugar Ray Leonard with unanimous decision at Olympic Stadium. Montreal, Canada 6/20/1980

Epilogue

Joseph Rinaldi passed away in September 1983.

Roberto Duran would supply us with the next two great events of our lives – Roberto Duran vs. Davey Moore in 1983 and Roberto Duran vs. Iran “The Blade” Barkley in 1989.

Leonard-Duran 7-Up Commercial (CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW VIDEO)

Prior to the fight beginning the legendary broadcaster Howard Cosell, after mentioning Sugar Ray Leonard’s great achievements coming into the fight,  wryly remarked, “… Duran, Leonard hasn’t faced the likes of him.”  

Well, it is fair to say that no one who ever graced the pized the ring at any time in the history of the sport, ever faced the likes of a fighter like that June 20, 1980 Roberto Duran.

ESPN airs BE WATER  a 30 For 30 documentary on  Bruce Lee 

Bruce Lee - Be Like Water CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW UPCOMING SHOW)

Bruce Lee – Be Like Water (CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW UPCOMING SHOW)

By Alexander Rinaldi and Joseph Rinaldi

With sports disappearing from the airways quicker than tourists from a leper colony, the sports network giant ESPN has been scrambling trying to fill its entertainment time slots with anything even remotely resembling sports.

Thankfully for them, the network’s June’s schedule heads into kind of martial arts territory with the documentary Be Water, which has been described as “an intimate look at the life and motivations of martial arts legend Bruce Lee.”

According to reports, “Be Water is a gripping, fascinating, intimate look at not just the final, defining years of Lee’s life, but the complex, often difficult, and seismic journey that led to Lee’s ultimate emergence as a singular icon in the histories of film, martial arts, and even the connection between the eastern and western worlds.”

The movie was initially intended to be screened at the South by Southwest film festival back in March after a premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, but the entire event was canceled due to this horrible COVID virus. Because of this, instead of the limited handful that would have been viewing the documentary at these limited viewed film festivals,  now everyone will enjoy the television premiere of the film directed by Bao Nguyen on June 7.

The film chronicles Lee’s earliest days, as the son of a Chinese opera star born while his father was on tour in San Francisco, and then raised in Hong Kong over what became at times a troubled childhood.

Bruce Lee then was sent to live in America at the age of 18, and he began teaching Kung Fu in Seattle, and soon established a following that included his future wife, Linda. His ambition ever rising, Lee eventually made his way to Los Angeles, where he took a crack at breaking into American film and television.

Former USA Boxing News Head Writer Salvatore Alaimo stands in front of Bruce Lee Statue in Hong Kong. (CLICK PHOTO TO SEE BRUCE LEE INTERVIEW FROM 1971)

Although Lee found some success as an actor in such iconic shows as The Green Hornet, where his super hero character of Kato became a relative household name to children and adults in America, and especially in Asian countries such as Hong Kong, somehow stupid Hollywood was not yet ready for an Asian leading man.  When he was eventually offered a lucrative movie deal in Hong Kong, Lee returned to his former homeland to make the films that would in fact go on to make him a legend. His success in Hong Kong soon swept across the ocean to America where his success became a supernova, especially after the posthumous release of the movie Enter The Dragon in 1973 that catapulted him to realms of an eternal iconic flame . 

Be Water is told entirely by the family, friends, and collaborators who knew Bruce Lee best, with an extraordinary trove of archive film providing an evocative, immersive visual tapestry that captures Lee’s charisma, his passion, his philosophy, and the eternal beauty and wonder of his art.

So enduring has his fame remained that two statues, one in Hong Kong, and the other in Los Angeles’ Chinatown section, have been erected to honor in perpetuity the truly original and one and only Bruce Lee.

The legendary Bruce Lee and his boxing background and legacy

From the squared ring – to Kato in The Green Hornet – and finally Enter the Dragon

Story by Alex and John Rinaldi

Without question, the greatest and most famous Kung Fu fighter and Martial Arts artist of all-time was Bruce Lee (1940-1973). So much so, that even 47 years after his untimely death, his name, likeness, and legend still remain in the psyche and minds of the public. He was and still remains the eternal tough guy, with hands and feet that were faster than light, athleticism beyond that of most gifted athletes and an attitude that knows only how to win and win big.

He is not only considered one of the most influential pop icons of the 20th century, but fellow martial arts artist and action film star Jackie Chan, who also had a small part in the film Enter the Dragon, compared Bruce Lee to a “super hero.”

Kareem Abdul Jabbar vs. Bruce Lee in Game of Death. (CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW FIGHT SCENE)

That is why it is not unusual to see his poster, usually the one from his legendary film Enter the Dragon, adorn the walls of college dormitories, frat houses, and martial arts centers across the world.

Bruce Lee’s nickname from childhood to all through adulthood was the “Little Dragon,” and he studied Wing Chun Kung Fu with Yip Man and later revolutionized martial arts with jeet kune do. His version of martial arts was exciting and it thrilled audiences from his days as Kato in the famous 1960’s television series The Green Hornet to his final film The Game of Death. Of course, it was not the martial arts he utilized that made him famous – it was he who made martial arts famous.

More importantly, it was also his lifelong love of and respect of the sport of boxing that helped him to establish his singular and unique form of fighting.

Van Williams and Bruce Lee as the Green Hornet and Kato. (CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW VIDEO OF GREEN HORNET FIGHT FOOTAGE)

Dan lnosanto and Richard Bustillo, two of Bruce Lee’s most famous students, described the connection between boxing and Bruce Lee’s jeet kune do. “That’s how Bruce Lee developed jeet kune do. He put all the arts together,” said Bustillo. “Kicking distance, he taught, comes first. You have the longest reach with your feet. Close the kicking range and you’re in hand distance. Bruce Lee was first a martial artist, and he went out of his way to prove that he really had a method of fighting, that it was as disciplined and more scientific than the older, classical arts.”

Dan Inosanto agreed, “Most people aren’t aware of it, but Bruce Lee was very into boxing. Scientific boxing,” said Inosanto.

The “Little Dragon” competed in boxing matches throughout high school and compiled a record of 8-0 (8 KOs).  In 1958, while a high school student at St. Francis Xavier in Hong Kong, Bruce Lee had a reputation of getting into fights in and out of school. He also had a reputation of never losing a single one of them. Because of this Brother Edward, who was one of Lee’s teachers, suggested that Bruce join the school’s boxing team so that the youngster could better channel his fighting spirit in a more productive and positive way.

Batman and Robin with the Green Hornet and Kato. (CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW VIDEO OF GREEN HORNET AND KATO AND BATMAN AND ROBIN)

Loving the sport of boxing as he did, Lee joined the team. Before Bruce became a member of the team, his high school’s arch rival was another private school named King George V School made up entirely of British boys who had embraced boxing since they were toddlers. They also were famous for taunting and making fun of the Chinese youths who were enrolled at St. Francis Xavier.

Because of this, the King George V School’s boxing team continually reigned as the boxing champions of the province.

The most gifted boxer of them all was Gary Elms, a British tough, who was not only undefeated, but also considered the best high school boxer in the entire country. He also happened to be at the weight of St. Francis Xavier’s newest boxing recruit Bruce Lee.

Although Bruce Lee was a member of the boxing team, he still continued his martial arts training with Wong Shun Leung and Wing Chun. By the time the Boxing Tournament began on March 29, 1958, Lee was in superb condition. The preliminary matches were first and continued until only two boys were left in each weight class. Then, the two remaining boys would fight for the championship.

Bruce Lee in a real fight. (CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW VIDEO OF BRUCE LEE’S TOP TEN MOMENTS)

Bruce Lee fought three preliminary bouts and won them Dan Inosanto agreed, “Most people aren’t aware of it, but Bruce Lee was very into boxing. Scientific boxing,” said Inosanto.

The “Little Dragon” competed in boxing matches throughout high school and compiled a record of 8-0 (8 KO’s).  In 1958, while a high school student at St. Francis Xavier in Hong Kong, Bruce Lee had a reputation of getting into fights in and out of school. He also had a distinction of never losing a single one of them. Because of this, Brother Edward, who was one of Lee’s teachers, suggested that Bruce join the school’s boxing team so that the youngster could better channel his natural fighting spirit in a more productive and positive way.

Loving the sport of boxing as he did, Lee joined the team.  Before Bruce was a member of the squad, his high school’s arch rival was another private school named King George V School, made up primarily of cocky British boys, who had embraced boxing since they were toddlers. They also were famous for taunting and making fun of the Chinese youths who were enrolled at St. Francis Xavier. Because of this, the King George V School’s boxing team continually reigned as the pugilistic champions of the province.

Bruce Lee statue in Los Angeles' Chinatown

Bruce Lee statue in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. (CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW A SCENE FROM ENTER THE DRAGON MOVIE)

The most gifted boxer of them all was Gary Elms, a British tough, who was not only undefeated, but also considered the best high school boxer in the entire country. He also happened to be at the same weight of St. Francis Xavier’s newest boxing recruit – Bruce Lee.

Although Bruce was a member of the boxing team, he still continued his martial arts training with Wong Shun Leung and Wing Chun. As a result, by the time the Boxing Tournament began on March 29, 1958, Lee was in superb condition. The preliminary matches were first and continued until only two boys were left in each weight class. Then, the two remaining boxers would fight for the championship.

GreeN Hornet and Kato. (CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW ANOTHER SCENE FROM THE ICONIC TV SHOW)

GreeN Hornet and Kato. (CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW ANOTHER SCENE FROM THE ICONIC TV SHOW)

Lee fought three preliminary bouts and won them all by first-round knockouts! This brought him to the final bout against none other than the dreaded Gary Elms, who was feared by everyone, everyone that is, except for Bruce Lee.Knowing that Bruce was new to boxing, never having seen him before at a tournament, or in a match prior to the 1958 Championships, Elms felt confident that his superior experience and boxing skills would help to win the title for the fourth straight year, and once again he believed that he would vanquish his foe by a devastating knockout.

Elms went after Lee in the first round crowding him to the ropes and trying to land the big knockout punch. Bruce was initially surprised by the excessive aggression and tried to back up out of harm’s way.

Bruce Lee statue in Hong Kong at night. Photo by Sal Alaimo. (Click photo to see  Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris – Full Fight)

In round two, Lee figured out his rival’s strategy and used Wing Chun learned blocks to make Elms miss, or hit only his gloves. He also began to counter punch the Brit, who was beginning to become frustrated at failing to hit his target.

In round three, Bruce, using his superior hand speed, went for the knockout. Before a  crowd of students and adults on hand, Lee, showing blazing hand quickness and with no mercy, went after Elms and blasted him with punches that Gary later said were “so fast they seemed like blurs.” To the shock of those on hand, especially the British contingent who was there to watch Elms win for the fourth straight time, Lee brutally knocked the Brit down and out to the canvas for the count of ‘ten.”

Bruce Lee from the movie Enter The Dragon. (CLICK PHOTO TO SEE A FOOTAGE FROM THE FILM).

Bruce Lee from the movie Enter The Dragon. (CLICK PHOTO TO SEE A FOOTAGE FROM THE FILM).

On account of Bruce’s win, his school went on to win the Boxing Title for the very first time and made the Chinese boys proud that one of their own had been so victorious, especially over a British lad.

When Bruce Lee eventually left Hong Kong to go to America in 1959, he left as both the 1958 School Boxing Champion and the 1958 Crown Colony Cha Cha Champion of Hong Kong

As an adult, Bruce Lee further studied boxing techniques, which he claimed later influenced his Jeet Kune Do punches. In his book The Tao of Jeet Kune Do, which is a compilation of his personal notes, Lee wrote that he relied heavily on boxing principles in his martial arts. Lee referenced Jack Dempsey and Edwin L. Haislet’s book titled Boxing (1940) at least twenty times, and Lee also reportedly owned more than a hundred boxing books in his own private library.

Bruce Lee from the movie Enter The Dragon. (CLICK PHOTO TO SEE A FOOTAGE FROM THE FILM).

Bruce Lee in flight. (CLICK PHOTO TO SEE THE BEST OF BRUCE LEE).

Besides a vast boxing book collection, Bruce Lee owned one of the largest collections of fight films in the country and would often invite friends over to view them with him. It was said that Lee knew punches and styles of all the great and legendary champions from Kid Gavilan’s “bolo punch” to the six-inch punches of Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano, to the dazzling footwork of Willie Pep and Muhammad Ali.

According former heavyweight contender and Superman Villain Jack O’Halloran, who was also a very close friend of Bruce Lee, whenever a boxing move caught his interest, Lee, who was a southpaw, would rewind the film, then stand and turn his back to watch it in a mirror, and practice it till he got it right. Besides that, O’Halloran remarked that, “Bruce Lee would venture into the toughest areas of various cities and start a fight with gang members in order to enhance his fighting skills. Sometimes he would beat up more than ten guys at a time.”

On account of his boxing background, Bruce Lee radically changed martial arts forever. He was the first martial arts artist to disregard the traditional stance and, instead, engage and use a boxer’s stance. Lee, in effect, soon developed a new and dynamic style that would literally transcend martial arts fighting forever and also be and remain forever his trademark stance and fighting style. The very same one that would make Bruce Lee an icon for the ages.

As Bruce said about both life and his fighting style, “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”

Bruce Lee - Amazing Superhuman Speed. CLICK PHOTO TO SEE VIDEO OF HIS SPEED)

Bruce Lee – Amazing Superhuman Speed. CLICK PHOTO TO SEE VIDEO OF HIS SPEED)

The Sweet Science of boxing, as it has done throughout history, caused the emergence of a Chinese Superstar. Never before in the history of Motion Pictures or sports, had an Asian athlete and film actor ever ascend into the stratosphere of commercial and cultural success. In turn, he changed Western culture and the landscape therein forever.

Lee learned from Western culture, especially from boxing, and then confronted it. “In the United States,” he said, “Something about the Oriental, the true Oriental, should be shown.” And because of Bruce Lee, it was.

When children of the 1960’s watched television’s The Green Hornet, they were amazed by the fighting style of Kato played by Bruce Lee. He did things no one had ever seen before and everyone soon wanted to be just like him. He was the main focus of The Green Hornet and why most tuned into the show. Later on, when it was re-broadcast in Hong Kong as The Kato Show, Lee’s popularity exploded and he went there to begin what would soon become the emergence and birth of Kung Fu movies.

When American film companies saw the success of his Hong King films that were being shown in America, they decided to have Lee star in the American produced Enter the Dragon. With his fighting exploits, rock hard body, and nunchucks expertise, Bruce Lee became a legend, then eventually an icon, where he remains to this day.

Lee once said, “The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.” Because of his fame and his exploits, his life became a life worth remembering, and with it he achieved the key to immortality.

____________

‘… I think I’ve put up a good fight’: Dallas boxing icon and former World Welterweight champion and Boxing Hall of Famer Curtis Cokes dies at 82

By Henry Hascup

Courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

Curtis Cokes, Dallas’ first world champion and the undisputed soul of the city’s boxing scene for more than a half-century, died Friday of heart failure at 82.

Cokes had been in hospice for a week, said Erwin “Sparky” Sparks, his partner at the Home of Champions gym.

Curtis Cokes

Former Undisputed Welterweight Champion Curtis Cokes

Back in the day before titles were divided and sub-divided, Cokes held the world welterweight title from 1966-69. Quincy Taylor, who trained under Cokes, and DeSoto’s Errol Spence are the only Dallas-area boxers to win world titles since.

Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003, Cokes, a classic counterpuncher at 5-8, 147 pounds, wasn’t wildly popular among fight fans because he wasn’t a brawler. That was by design.

“The name of the sport is boxing, not fighting,” Cokes told The Dallas Morning News in 2013. “You can play football, you can play basketball, but you can’t play boxing. It’s serious business where you can get hurt every time you step into the ring.

“It’s an art to hit and not be hit.”

Artist or not, Cokes could hit.

 “He wanted the other guy to make a mistake,” said Steve Crosson, a longtime ring official. “And when he unloaded that right hand, he was devastating.”

Cokes came of age in an era when black fighters weren’t allowed to compete in Golden Gloves. His progress also was likely hindered by the fact that he didn’t work under a world-class trainer or promoter.

Cokes got by on his natural athleticism — he was all-state in basketball as well as baseball at Booker T. Washington, played shortstop on a traveling semipro baseball team and once got a tryout with the Dodgers — and his intuitive ring smarts.

Fighting primarily at the old Sportatorium or Memorial Auditorium, Cokes worked his way up the ladder slowly. He had 27 bouts in Texas, including one in Mexico, before earning a spot on a big-time card. He lost to Luis Rodriguez but gained a fan in Rodriguez’s trainer, Angelo Dundee, who also worked with a young heavyweight named Cassius Clay. Dundee told Cokes he’d like to train him, too, but he’d have to move to Miami. Cokes would also receive invitations to train in St. Louis, Houston and Los Angeles. He remained in his hometown instead.

On Aug. 24, 1966, he finally got his big chance: a unanimous 15-round decision over Manny Gonzalez for the vacant World Boxing Association welterweight title. He added the World Boxing Council title three months later when he won a 15-round unanimous decision over France’s Jean Josselin at Memorial Auditorium.

Cokes got by on his natural athleticism — he was all-state in basketball as well as baseball at Booker T. Washington, played shortstop on a traveling semipro baseball team and once got a tryout with the Dodgers — and his intuitive ring smarts.

Fighting primarily at the old Sportatorium or Memorial Auditorium, Cokes worked his way up the ladder slowly. He had 27 bouts in Texas, including one in Mexico, before earning a spot on a big-time card. He lost to Luis Rodriguez but gained a fan in Rodriguez’s trainer, Angelo Dundee, who also worked with a young heavyweight named Cassius Clay. Dundee told Cokes he’d like to train him, too, but he’d have to move to Miami. Cokes would also receive invitations to train in St. Louis, Houston and Los Angeles. He remained in his hometown instead.

On Aug. 24, 1966, he finally got his big chance: a unanimous 15-round decision over Manny Gonzalez for the vacant World Boxing Association welterweight title. He added the World Boxing Council title three months later when he won a 15-round unanimous decision over France’s Jean Josselin at Memorial Auditorium.

Nearly 50 years after the fact, Dickie Cole, who refereed Cokes’ win, called the night of Nov. 28, 1966, “maybe the most memorable in Dallas’ boxing history.”

“Curtis wasn’t a punk kid who won the title,” Cole told The News in 2013. “He was almost 30 years old and had paid his dues. He struggled to get there. Dallas never did him any favors. And there he was with that hammer he had for a right hand, winning as our champion.”

Only 6,000 showed up at Memorial Auditorium to see the hometown champ add another belt. The city’s ruling class was slow to embrace its first world champ. Only after the intervention of the Dallas Cowboys and the team’s black players in particular did the city fete Cokes with a parade.

“If he had been white,” former Cowboy Willie Townes told The News in 1987, “I’m sure he would have been the toast of the town.”

Cokes fought 13 times while he held the title before losing to Jose Napoles at the Forum in Los Angeles on April 18, 1969. His right eye closed, Cokes was unable to get up for the bell for the 14th round. He lost the rematch, too.

“He didn’t whip me so good the first time,” Cokes joked to Laurence Cole, “so I went back for seconds.”

Laurence Cole, Dickie’s son, trained under Cokes before embarking on a career as a world-class referee.

“He was a classy man,” Laurence Cole said. “Look at the times he grew through, what he struggled through, yet he was never bitter.”

Said Crosson: “He was always a consummate gentleman, without ego. Just a very fine person.”

Cokes went 62-14-4, according to boxrec.com. Once his career was over, Cokes trained many young fighters at his gym, including Kirk Johnson, a Canadian heavyweight who challenged for the WBA title in 2002. Cokes even owned a Dallas nightclub. But financial problems plagued him. The Internal Revenue Service once confiscated his entire purse, $11,000, to pay back taxes. Near the end of a career that covered 80 fights, he filed for bankruptcy.

He took it all in stride, including the slights, and said he had no regrets.

“I have done things my way my whole life because that’s the way it had to be,” he said in 2013. “On the other hand, I never had to take orders from anyone.

“And I think I’ve put up a good fight.”

Cokes is survived by two brothers, Joe and Robert, a sister, Mary Helen Cokes, and five children. Funeral services are pending.

 ____________

 

Australian boxing legend Hector Thompson who gamely fought and challenged the great Roberto Duran for the world Lightweight championship on June 2, 1973 and Antonio Cervantes  for the Super Lightweight Title on November 15, 1975,  passed away at age 70

By Brendan Bradford

Australian boxing is in mourning after the passing of the legendary Hector Thompson in Brisbane early on Wednesday morning. A former Australian and Commonwealth Light-Welterweight Champion, Thompson fought 87 times in a 10-year professional career. 

He was 70 years old.

World Title Challenger Hector Thompson held the Australian and Commonwealth Light Welterweight Title from 1972 until 1977.

Hector Thompson
A slick ring practitioner and a powerful body puncher, Thompson fought for world titles on two seperate occasions, including a bruising 1973 encounter with Roberto Duran.  Thompson’s battle with Duran came on the back of a 26-fight unbeaten run in which he won the Australian super-lightweight title, the Australasian lightweight title and the Commonwealth super-lightweight belt. 

It was during this run that Thompson became an Australian fan favorite, with a pair of wars opposite New Zealand’s world-ranked Manny Santos propelling him towards the top of the lightweight ranks. 

Fighting in front of a raucous home crowd in Panama City, Duran had recorded 30 knockout victories in his 35 wins to that point and expected an easy night. 

It was anything but. 

Although Duran claimed an eighth round TKO victory, he was left with a badly swollen left eye and was reportedly taken to hospital with a broken rib. 

Thompson was back in the ring just five weeks later, defending his Commonwealth super lightweight title against Joe Tetteh, who he’d taken the belt from earlier in the year. 

After winning 16 of his next 17 fights, Thompson returned to Panama for another world title shot, this time against Colombia’s longtime super lightweight world champion Antonio Cervantes. 

It was another brutal affair, but Thompson came away empty handed again after the doctor stopped the bout ahead of the eighth round due to a cut. 

Thompson retired in 1980 with a 73-12-2 record. 

Born in Kempsey on June 24, 1949, Thompson was raised in a boys’ home after the death of his mother at a young age. 

He turned pro at the age of 19, saying boxing offered him the best chance to make a living and help his family. 

He was inducted into the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005.
 

 Hector Thompson vs. Roberto Duran

Roberto Duran “The Hands of Stone” made the second defense of his WBA and lineal lightweight championships against Australia’s Hector Thompson in his hometown of Panama City, Panama on the 2nd June, 1973. It was the first true test of Duran’s title reign and the fight with Commonwealth and Australasian champion Thompson was his first step back towards universal recognition as champion.

Duran finally defended his title for the first time, knocking out three of Jimmy Robertson’s teeth in the first round before knocking him out in the fifth in January of 1973. De Jesus won the North American Boxing Federation title in February with a decision over undefeated American Ray Lampkin while Gonzalez knocked Ruben Navarro out in March to retain his WBC title. Duran wanted a rematch with De Jesus to reverse his only professional loss and called out the Puerto Rican after knocking out Robertson. He also took two fights in California to try and build up his name on the west coast for a potential unification bout with Gonzalez. Buchanan was also in the mix and he put more pressure on Duran for a rematch with wins over Chang-Kil Lee, future champion Jim Watt and Frankie Otero. Duran, however, returned to Panama for another non-title match in April before signing to fight Commonwealth champion Hector Thompson.

Roberto Duran decks Hector Thompson in their 1973 Championship bout. (CLICK PHOTO TO SEE VIDEO OF THE FIGHT)

Born in Kempsey in the Mid North Coast of New South Wales in 1949, Hector Thompson began boxing at the age of five in the boys home he grew up in. Thompson turned professional at the age of 20, fighting occasionally as a preliminary fighter in Sydney and Melbourne but mostly on smaller shows in regional towns outside of Sydney as he was without a manager. Known for his exceptional physical strength, Thompson’s stiff jab and body punching earned him 20 wins from his first 23 bouts, fought mostly at junior welterweight, although he made the lightweight limit for the right bouts. One of Thompson’s early opponents, Roko Spanja, died from injuries sustained in a tenth round knockout loss to Thompson in 1970.

After winning the New South Wales state lightweight title, Thompson travelled to Melbourne to outpoint local Leo Young for the Australian junior welterweight title. This attracted the attention of managers Brian Ogilvie and Doug James, who relocated Thompson to Brisbane, Queensland in 1972 where he became a regular headliner at Brisbane’s Festival Hall.  A pair of wars with New Zealand’s Manny Santos, who was ranked in the top ten lightweights in the world, gave Thompson national attention as they were shown live on Australia’s TV ringside program. Thompson survived a third round knockdown and a slow start to battle back for a draw before outpointing Santos in the rematch in two thrilling bouts, earning Thompson a world ranking himself. A 15 round victory over Ghana’s Joe Tetteh for the Commonwealth junior welterweight title followed and, while training for a May 14 bout in Melbourne, Duran’s team offered Thompson a title shot.

Thompson jumped at the chance to fight for a world title at the age of just 23 and cancelled his May 14 bout to begin preparing for his chance. Despite his impressive record, the 21-year-old champion seemed vulnerable following his loss to De Jesus. There was unfortunate pre-fight hype used to sell the fight. Thompson was labelled as a “killer” and a “ring assassin” (referring to Thompson’s tragic bout with Spanja earlier in his career) in an attempt to sell the bout. The champion was expecting an early night, predicting a knockout inside of five rounds and stating that Thompson would “have to walk over my dead body to take my title.” The pre-fight antics worked and 15,000 fans filed into The Nuevo Gymnasium to see the popular champion defend against Thompson.

Thompson wasted no time at the opening bell, sinking a left hook into Duran’s body followed by a right hand over the top. Duran stayed composed, boxing cautiously behind his jab, using it to set up his own attacks to the body and he landed with a series of body shots towards the end of the first round with Thompson trapped on the ropes. Hector returned fire with an uppercut that scored but was having trouble matching the champion’s pace early on. Thompson bided his time and attempted to slow Duran down with his own attacks to the body but the feints and changes of tempo from the champion kept Thompson guessing and Duran was able to set up his attacks beautifully. The final minute of the second round saw Duran land heavy leather with both hands to the head and body, although Thompson never looked shaken and returned fire.

Thompson had more success in the third round with his jab and landed a pair of hard right hands early on but Duran continued to maneuver his way inside and score to the body as well as landing several long right hands over Thompson’s jab. Duran found himself with his back to the ropes near Thompson’s corner in the final moments of the round but nailed the Australian with a hard left hook to the jaw after Thompson threw a wild uppercut, dropping him for the first time in the fight. Thompson was up before the referee had finished sending Duran to the neutral corner but had to take the mandatory 8 count. The fourth was more of the same as Duran backed Thompson up with his jab, confused him with feints and mixed up his attacks to the head and body to keep Thompson guessing.

Despite losing the first four rounds, Thompson landed his best punch of the fight to end the fourth round, a hard right hand to the champion’s jaw. He continued in the fifth, backing the champion up and landing with a right hand to the chest and a hard left hook. Duran tried to return fire with hard combinations but Thompson was landing his best punches of the fight, in particular several left hooks to the side of the champion’s face and two hard right uppercuts to give him his best round of the fight. Duran came out for the sixth with swelling below his left eye but showed his, sometimes, underappreciated boxing skills. Using his jab to draw leads from Thompson, he effectively countered with hard two-handed assaults to the head and body to turn the tide back in his favour.

Encouraged by the swelling under Duran’s eye, Thompson came out with confidence in the seventh and backed Duran to the ropes several times, scoring with stiff left hooks to the head and digging in right uppercuts to the body, one of which reportedly broke Duran’s ribs. Duran used his jab and boxed on his toes early in the eighth round, but quickly gave into his fighting instincts and traded punches with Thompson midway through the round, which brought the Panamanian crowd to their feet. Thompson landed several hard right hands to the body and then one over the top but Duran turned the tables suddenly with a huge left hook which froze Thompson in place. A follow up left hook and a right hand sent Thompson down heavily. Thompson was out on his feet as he rose but was allowed to continue by referee Nick Drake. Duran immediately jumped on Thompson, forcing the stoppage with two hard right hands and a left hook.

Thompson was clearly out on his feet and the stoppage was justified. It wouldn’t be the last time Thompson challenged for a world title. After winning 15 of his next 16 bouts, Thompson returned to Panama to fight another longtime world champion, Colombian Antonio Cervantes, who was making the tenth defense of his world junior welterweight title. Cervantes had previously beaten De Jesus in 1975, as well as Italian-Argentinian legend Nicolino Locche and Panama’s Alfonso Frazer. Thompson fought gamely and had Cervantes hurt briefly in round three, but a cut suffered in the fourth round led to the ringside doctor to halt the bout before the start of round eight.

Two bouts later, in April of 1976, a second Thompson opponent, Chuck Wilburn, died from injuries sustained in his bout with Thompson. The two ring fatalities have stained a rather remarkable ring career as Thompson is rarely talked about among the greatest Australian and Aboriginal boxers without these two unfortunate incidents being brought up. From 1971 until 1977 Thompson didn’t lose to an Australian boxer and gave two of the greatest champions of all-time, in their respective weight divisions, competitive fights. Thompson continued to hold the Australian and Commonwealth junior welterweight title from 1972 until 1977, when he lost it, regained it, then lost it again to Perth’s Lawrence Austin. He also won the Australian welterweight title in 1977 before the second loss to Austin but lost a series of fights, many due to cuts, before retiring in 1980 with a 73-12-2 record.

BLASTS FROM THE PAST

Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton playing tag in Yankee Stadium before their third and last time on September 28, 1976, completing their trilogy. This time, 34-year-old Ali entered the ring as Heavyweight Champion. Both fighters showed their strengths, but neither established themselves as the obvious winner. Most commentators gave the fight to Norton. Ultimately, Ali won by a unanimous decision, thereby retaining his title. Ali said during an interview with Mark Cronin in October of 1976: “Kenny’s style is too difficult for me. I can’t beat him, and I sure don’t want to fight him again. I honestly thought he beat me in Yankee Stadium, but the judges gave it to me, and I’m grateful to them.” Norton was bitter, stating after the fight: “I won at least nine or ten rounds. I was robbed.”

 

Tyson Fury beating up Deontay Wilder in their second fight.

Heavyweight boxers Muhammad Ali R) and Oscar Bonavena L) fought at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 7, 1970. Ali won the bout, his first at the current Madison Square Garden, through a technical knockout in the 15th round.

Old Rivals – Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

 

Charles “Sonny” Liston

Jack Johnson

Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey

Oscar De La Hoya winning the Gold Medal in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

Thomas “Tom” Molineaux (23 March 1784 – 4 August 1818) was an African-American bare-knuckle boxer and possibly a former slave. He spent much of his career in Great Britain and Ireland, where he had some notable successes. He arrived in England in 1809 and started his fighting career there in 1810. It was his two fights against Tom Cribb, widely viewed as the Champion of England, that brought fame to Molineaux, although he lost both contests. His prizefighting career ended in 1815. After a tour that took him to Scotland and Ireland, he died in Galway, Ireland in 1818, aged 34.

Sugar Ray Robinson (L) nailing Kid Gavilan (R) with a thudding left to the jaw.

Joe Louis with singer Lena Horne

Joe Louis with singer Lena Horne

Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and Muhammad Ali.

Rocky Marciano with Burt Reynolds and Rocky's daughter  Mary Anne

Rocky Marciano with Burt Reynolds and Rocky’s daughter Mary Anne

Hall of Fame Founder of The USA Boxing News Joseph Rinaldi and twin sons John and Alex Rinaldi.

Hall of Fame Founder of The USA Boxing News Joseph Rinaldi and twin sons John and Alex Rinaldi.

Terence Crawford

Terence Crawford

Former Light Heavyweight Champion Matthew Saad Muhammad with John Rinaldi.

IBF Flyweight Champion Danny “Kid dynamite” Romero with Joseph and Ron John Rinaldi in 1996.

Micky Ward vs Arturo Gatti in their first fight on May 18, 2002.

Kid Chocolate

Cuba’s Kid Chocolate was both an undisputed Junior Lightweight (1931) and Featherweight (1932) Champion. The fact that traffic on Broadway stopped for him – like it did for Rudolph Valentino and Babe Ruth – didn’t change him; neither did being declared world’s best dressed man by a European magazine, which placed him above film star George Raft; the Prince of Wales and Mayor of New York Mickey Walker.

Joe Louis vs. Rocky Marciano

Joe Louis vs. Rocky Marciano. The Brockton Blockbuster (R) stopped the famed Brown Bomber (L) in the eighth round of their scheduled ten rounder in New York’s Madison Square Garden on October 26, 1951, which catapulted Rocky to the top of the heavyweight challengers for the title.

Iconic trainers Freddie Brown and Ray Arcel working the corner of Roberto Duran in training.

Iconic trainers Freddie Brown (L)  and Ray Arcel (R) working the corner of Roberto Duran in training.

Ken Norton (L)  stabbing Muhammad Ali with a hard left jab in their second fight.

Ken Norton (L) stabbing Muhammad Ali (R) with a hard left jab in their second fight.

Future Heavyweight champions Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis embrace each other after Lewis won the Gold Medal and Bowe won the Silver medal in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seou, Korea.

Future Heavyweight champions Riddick Bowe (L) and Lennox Lewis (R)  embrace each other after Lewis won the Gold Medal and Bowe won the Silver Medal in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea.

Trainer Gil clancy with George Foreman

Trainer Gil clancy with George Foreman

Muhammad Ali taunting Joe frazier before their 1971 Fight of the Century.

Muhammad Ali L) taunting Joe Frazier R) before their 1971 Fight of the Century.

Joe Louis R) giving advice to a young Ezzard charles L).

Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis (R) giving advice to a young Ezzard Charles (L).

USA Boxing News Editors John Rinaldi and Alex Rinaldi with heavyweight Champion Michael Moorer in 1994.

USA Boxing News Editors John Rinaldi (L) and Alex Rinaldi (R) with heavyweight Champion Michael Moorer in 1994.

Lineup of legends - Jake LaMotta, Sugar Ray Robinson, Ike Williams and Willie Pep in the 1940s.

Lineup of legends – Ezzard Charles,Jake LaMotta, Sugar Ray Robinson, Ike Williams, Willie Pep, and Manuel Ortiz in the 1940s.

Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes with Featherweight Champion Salvador Sanchez at Madison Square Garden in 1982.

Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes with Featherweight Champion Salvador Sanchez at Madison Square Garden in 1982.

Alexis Arguello (L) with Sugar Ray Robinson (R)

Alexis Arguello (L) with Sugar Ray Robinson (R)

New York Mets legends Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry with Mike Tyson in 1986.

Portrait of Evander Holyfield

Joe Louis vs Jersey Joe Walcott

Rocky Marciano fought two celebrated boxing matches with Ezzard Charles. The first match took place on 17 June, 1954; and the second on 17 September, 1954. The first fight went the distance with Marciano winning on points through a unanimous decision. In the second bout pictured above, Marciano knocked out Charles in the eighth at New York’s famed Yankee Stadium. (CLICK PHOTO TO SEE COLORIZED VERSION OF THE FIGHT)

Muhammad Ali floors Sonny Liston in their second fight.

Welterweight Champion Carlos Palomino with comedian Don Rickles.

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Canelo Alvarez expects to return to the ring by the Spring of 2021Canelo Alvarez

By Ron John Rinaldi

With the world exploding with the COVI-19 pandemic, all sports, boxing included, have been cancelling more events than a serial runnaway bride. One such fighter is arguably one of boxing’s biggest draws – Canelo Alvarez.

Last time he entered the prize ring he was standing over the fallen body of then reigning WQBO Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kavalev, whom Alvarez KO’d at 2:15 of round eleven of their scheduled twelve-rounder.

To date Alvarez (56-1, 36 KO’s) unified middleweight champion, and four-weight world champion,  has captured the following ring titles:

Unfortunately, like most fighters, Canelo Alvarez has revealed he is looking at a September date to return to the ring.

Canelo, originally had planned to be back in action on Cinco de Mayo weekend, the famous Mexican holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s May 5, 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. although his plans to fight on May 2 were put on the proverbial shelf by the coronavirus outbreak.

Despite not having a fight officially booked, the 29-year-old Alvarez is still training hard with the anticipation of plying his boxing wares sometime in the Fall – preferably in September.

During a recent interview Alvarez said said: “In my mind, I’m fighting in September….Hopefully all of this will pass and that date will still be possible…Right now, everything is on standby…There’s nothing going on, nothing discussed — not even about when the next fight is going to be — because of the situation.  They say there won’t be any fights until after July, so we’re waiting, since everything is backtracked because of people who don’t follow or believe in rules.”

Like everyone else in the world, Canelo is unsure what the future holds for him, adding: “I don’t really know what’s next.

“Everything is shut down, so I don’t know, ” admits Canelo.  “We had a good plan for 2020, but unfortunately this happened. We had really big plans, and hopefully in July or a month afterward, we’ll see positive results with this situation. We’ll see what happens.”

Prior to the coronavirus spreading across the glove, Canelo was on course to face WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders in Las Vegas on May 2.

Interestingly enough, not long after the postponement of his bout with Saunders, it was reported that Alvarez was considering a trilogy fight with Gennady Golovkin in September.

Only time will tell at this point when Canelo will return and who his opponent will be.

 

Pay-per-view bouts featuring

Canelo Alvarez

Date

Fight

Billing

Buys

   

14 September 2013

Mayweather vs. Canelo

The One

2,200,000

$150m

 

8 March 2014

Canelo vs. Angulo

Toe to Toe

350,000

$20m

12 July 2014

Canelo vs. Lara

Honor and Glory[219]

325,000

$17m

21 November 2015

Cotto vs. Canelo

Cotto–Canelo

900,000

$58m

 

7 May 2016

Canelo vs. Khan

Power vs. Speed

600,000

$30m

17 September 2016

Canelo vs. Smith

Canelo–Smith

300,000

$20m

6 May 2017

Canelo vs. Chávez

Civil War

1,000,000

$80m

16 September 2017

Canelo vs. Golovkin

Supremacy

1,300,000

$110m

15 September 2018

Canelo vs. Golovkin II

Canelo vs. GGG 2

1,100,000[220]

$120m

Totals (approximate): 8,075,000 buys and $605,000,000 in revenue.

Subscription sports streaming service bouts featuring

Canelo Alvarez

No.

Date

Fight

Network

1

15 December 2018

Canelo vs. Fielding

DAZN

2

4 May 2019

Canelo vs. Jacobs

3

2 November 2019

Canelo vs. Kovalev

4

2 May 2020

Canelo vs. Saunders

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The Staff and Publishers of The USA Boxing News  wish everyone to be safe, healthy,  and medically well during these difficult times – Keep Punching!!

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Movie Stars, Singers, Celebrities, and Famous Boxers 

 

CLICK PHOTOS TO VIEW PAGE

 

Alex Rinaldi with legendary former light heavy king Bob Foster.

Rocky Marciano

Rocky Graziano in New York

Bobby Czyz

Jersey Joe Walcott Vs. Joe Louis I

Muhammad Ali with young fighter

Salvador Sanchez knocking out Wilfredo Gomez

Roberto Duran against Davey Moore

Muhammad Ali receiving his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Larry Holmes and Salvador Sanchez

Rocky Marciano and a young fan

Wilfredo Benitez, Don King, Roberto Duran, and Jose Torres

Ken Norton and Smokin’ Joe Frazier

Azumah Nelson vs. Salvador Sanchez in 1982

Kid Chocolate

Heavyweight champion Larry Holmes

Middleweight champion James “Lights Out” Toney

Mike Tyson and his pet Tiger

Mike Tyson and his original Team

Mickey Walker

President Bill Clinton with Muhammad Ali

Julian “The Hawk” Jackson was a formidable three-time world champion in two weight classes, having held the WBA super welterweight title from 1987 to 1990, and the WBC middleweight title twice between 1990 and 1995.

Joe Frazier Knocking down Muhammad Ali in their first fight at Madison Square Garden in 1971.

Tommy Hearns (R) vs Roberto Duran (L)

Rocky Marciano and Jerry Lewis. (Click Photo to see Jerry Lewis talk about the famous fight with him and Marciano)

 

LOS ANGELES – NOVEMBER 18: Heavyweight champion of the world Rocky Marciano defeats Jerry Lewis in a mock boxing match to aid Muscular Dystrophy on November 18, 1954 in Los Angeles, California. With Dean Martin and an unknown ring girl.                                                                           (CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW COLORIZED VERSION OF THE FIGHT)

Elvis Presley (L) with heavyweight contender Oscar “Ringo” Bonavena (R)  from Argentina whose career record was 58 wins, 9 losses and 1 draw.

 

 

Roberto Duran with Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly in 1992. Kelly is wearing the Mickey Mouse jacket Duran gave him. (PHOTO BY ALEX RINALDI – THE USA BOXING NEWS)


Gerard, John, and Alex Rinaldi with former heavyweight champion Ken Norton (PHOTO BY THE USA BOXING NEWS)

Marvis Frazier at the statue of his legendary father Smokin’ Joe frazier in Phiadelphia.

Roberto Duran (L) with The USA Boxing News publisher John Rinaldi (R) at the Press Conference for the Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. Roberto Duran  fight in 1983 for the Undisputed Middleweight Championship of the World.

 

Former Heavyweight champion Ken Norton with future Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.

Former Heavyweight champion Ken Norton with future Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.

Two sluggers - Ted Williams and Rocky Marciano.

Two sluggers – Ted Williams and Rocky Marciano.

Jake LaMotta with Willie Pep

Jake LaMotta with Willie Pep

Smokin' Joe Frazier entertaining soldiers.

Smokin’ Joe Frazier entertaining soldiers.

Future ring legend Muhammad Ali with then Heavyweight Champion Ingemar Johansson

Future ring legend Muhammad Ali with then Heavyweight Champion Ingemar Johansson

Middleweight Champion Randy Turpin

Middleweight Champion Randy Turpin

Light Heavyweight Champion Archie Moore trying to shed some pounds in training.

Light Heavyweight Champion Archie Moore trying to shed some pounds in training.

Roberto Duran in training for the defense of his Lightweight Championship.

Roberto Duran in training for the defense of his Lightweight Championship.

Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell.

Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell.


Miguel Cotto (R) landing a right against reigning WBO Super Welterweight Champion Yuri Foreman at New York's Yankee Stadium where Cotto won by KO on June 5, 2010.

Miguel Cotto (R) landing a right against reigning WBO Super Welterweight Champion Yuri Foreman (L) at New York’s Yankee Stadium where Cotto won by KO on June 5, 2010. PHOTO BY ALEX RINALDI

Felix Trinidad knocking out William Joppy on May 12, 2001 at Madison Square Garden to capture the WBA Middleweight Title. PHOTO BY ALEX RINALDI

Hard-punching Willie Pep, the curly-haired Hartford, Conn., fancy-dan, knocked out Jock Leslie of Flint in forty-five seconds of the twelfth round tonight to successfully defend his world featherweight championship before a crowd of 10,036 fans in Atwood Stadium.

Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey in training.

Evander Holyfield L) vs. Lennox Lewis R), billed as “Undisputed”, was a professional boxing match contested on March 13, 1999 for the WBA, WBC, IBF and Lineal Heavyweight Championships. The result was a draw or tie, specifically a split draw.                                                                                                         PHOTO BY ALEX RINALDI

Actor George Raft and Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in England in 1966. for the Muhammad Ali vs. Brian London fight. The match took place at Earls Court Arena, London, England on August 6, 1966. It was scheduled for fifteen rounds. The match ended in the third round with Ali defeating London by KO.

Actor George Raft and Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in England in 1966. for the Muhammad Ali vs. Brian London fight. The match took place at Earls Court Arena, London, England on August 6, 1966. It was scheduled for fifteen rounds. The match ended in the third round with Ali defeating London by KO.

Donald Trump and Mike Tyson in 1986

Donald Trump and Mike Tyson in 1986

Muhammad Ali and Pele

Muhammad Ali and Pele

Bob Hope with Joe Frazier

Justin Bieber with Floyd Mayweather

Muhammad Ali and Sylvester Stallone

Muhammad Ali and Sylvester Stallone

Roberto Duran and Pipino Cuevas before their 1983 bout.

Gerry Cooney, Joe Frazier, and Jake LaMotta playing poker.

Gerry Cooney, Joe Frazier, and Jake LaMotta playing poker.

Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, and Muhammad Ali.

Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, and Muhammad Ali.

Iran “The Blade” Barkley with Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns.

Former Heavyweight Champion Max Schmeling delivering Coca-Cola in the late 1940s.

Former Heavyweight Champion Max Schmeling delivering Coca-Cola in the late 1940s.

Muhammad Ali and Wilfred Benítez in the late 1970s.

Muhammad Ali and Wilfred Benítez in the late 1970s.

Michael Spinks, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Larry Holmes, and Evanader Holyfield.

Michael Spinks, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Larry Holmes, and Evander Holyfield.

Mike Tyson with trainer Kevin Rooney in 1986.

Mike Tyson with trainer Kevin Rooney in 1986.

Sylvester Stallone and Roberto Duran during filming of ROCKY II where Duran played the part of a sparring partner.

Sylvester Stallone and Roberto Duran during filming of ROCKY II where Duran played the part of a sparring partner.

Former Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano with Muhammad Ali.

Former Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano with Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali with George Burns, Milton Berle, and Phil Silvers

Muhammad Ali with George Burns, Milton Berle, and Phil Silvers

Muhammad Ali with Frank Sinatra

Muhammad Ali with Frank Sinatra

John Rinaldi with Evander Holyfield in 1989.

The USA Boxing News publisher John Rinaldi (L) with Evander Holyfield in 1989.

The Krays with George Raft and Rocky Marciano in 1965.

Rocky Marcian with Zsa Zsa Gabor

Rocky Marciano with Zsa Zsa Gabor

Rocky Marciano with Jackie Gleason

Rocky Marciano with Jackie Gleason

____________

 

 Angela Rinaldi, mother of the editors and publishers of The USA Boxing News, passed away. She was a one-of-a-kind type of person that will rarely come this way again. She was smart, funny, and the best mother in the world. She will be greatly missed.

 

Founder of The USA Boxing News – Joseph Rinaldi and his new bride Angela on their wedding day in 1958.

Joseph and Angela Rinaldi

Joseph and Angela Rinaldi on June 26, 1959 on their way to Yankee Stadium for the Floyd Patterson-Ingemar Johansson first fight which Johansson won by KO to capture the World Heavyweight Championship.

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Jersey Joe Walcott

A memorable heavyweight king

Story by Joseph Rinaldi and Alexander Rinaldi

To Read the story and view  videos of Walcott’s biggest fights and the erection of a statue in his honor – CLICK THE PHOTO

___________

 

 

FIGHTERS TRAINING AND FIGHT GALLERY

Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali weighing in before their first fight in March 1971

Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard after their first fight in June 1980

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comic 31BOXING COMICS AND DRAWINGS

 

 

 

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The SUN reports that WBC heavyweight king Tyson Fury and WBA/WBO/IBF/IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will meet this year

By John and Alex Rinaldi

The UK Sun newspaper reports that Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO’s) versus Anthony Joshua (AJ), 23-1 (21 KO’s) “has to happen” according to AJ’s coach Rob McCracken.

And an undisputed clash between the two heavyweights will be getting sorted “without doubt”.

For now, Tyson Fury is back on top of the world after his stunning TKO win against Deontay Wilder.

Anthony Joshua, 30, meanwhile, won in his own rematch last December against Andy Ruiz Jr to win back all his lost world titles.

After Fury, 31, battered Deontay Wilder to win the WBC belt and hand the American his first ever defeat, the prospect of a battle of Britain has sent boxing fans into high overdrive. But Wilder, who has blamed his 40-lbs. ring costume for his defeat, has 30 days to accept a rematch against the Gypsy King in what would complete the trilogy, which appears that he is opting to do.

While McCracken is confident “The Bronze Bomber” will want the chance to win back the strap, he thinks AJ vs Fury is inevitable. Speaking to Sky Sports, GB amateur boxing chief McCracken, 51, said: “Two British heavyweight champions ruling the world in heavyweight boxing, when can you ever say that in my lifetime you never could. Big Josh and Tyson Fury have done fantastically well, tremendous fighters. What they have achieved is remarkable both in their lives and sporting careers. It’s fantastic for Britain and fantastic when they box each other. And they will do down the line. Without a doubt, it has to happen. I presume Wilder will trigger the rematch, I would be amazed if he didn’t. The best fighting the best is what the world wants to see in any sport, and certainly they are the two best heavyweights in the sport in my opinion right now.”

“The Wilder-Fury third fight rematch clause must be honored  unless they can reach some accommodation for him to step aside,” said Frank Warren on Fury vs Wilder rematch.

Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn is desperate to see his man Joshua meet Fury in the ultimate heavyweight clash. And Fury’s promoter Frank Warren has revealed that the new champ could attempt to pay off Wilder to ensure he fight Joshua this year.

He told Radio 5 Live: “I prefer to go straight to Joshua, but that is the contract.  It has to be honored unless we can reach some accommodation for him to step aside.”

The Gypsy King, 31, put in the performance of a lifetime as he dethroned the WBC champion in Las Vegas last weekend.

Fury is set for the biggest payday of his career, but he still decided to spend his winnings in Home Bargains this week.

Around 850,000 fans in America alone forked out $80 (£61) to watch the fight on TV – which adds up to a huge £53 million ($68.18 million).

This is more than double the 325,000 PPV sales that were recorded for their controversial draw in December of 2018.

And reports claim the rematch in Sin City raked in $17 million (£13.16 million) in the live-site ticket sales alone. This means that it has surpassed the previous record of $16.86 million (£13.05million) set by Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield in 1999. In total, fans in America forked out a total of £66 million ($84.91 million) to watch the heavyweight giants in action.

Fury, who lives in a modest £550,000 Morecambe home, is said to be worth around £70million ($90.05 million).

Fury’s purse from the rematch was £3.86million – but both fighters will reportedly receive $25 million (£19.3 million) each plus a cut of the PPV and ticket sales.

As he is such a huge hit in the United States, Fury wants his next fight to take place at the under-construction 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, which will be the home of the Las Vegas Raiders NFL Football team.

“If Deontay Wilder wants a rematch, it’s a big, big fight,” Fury’s promoter Bob Arum said. “We would look at the new Raiders Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas to host its first boxing match ever. It’s all good. But everybody, all the promoters, whether it’s Al Haymon or myself, we’re hopefully going to be cooperative here and not blow the moment that boxing has clawed its way back to the mainstream.”

Anthony Joshua is so far obligated to fight mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KO’s) in a fight that Top Rank will co-promote, in June, although Arum has stated that he would like to put together a Fury-Joshua superfight first.

“If Wilder decides to delay the fight, I know we can talk to Pulev, 38, to step aside — he’s the mandatory for Joshua — and have Joshua fight Fury, which is the fight that is first place of what you want to see in the heavyweight division.”

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Former WBC Champion Deontay Wilder looks to be opting for a third fight with Tyson Fury to complete their trilogy

By Alex and John Rinaldi

After Tyson Fury’s amazing knockout win over Deontay Wilder, the thought on everyone’s mind is whether Wilder will execute his mandatory rematch clause, the one in which the loser of the fight reserved the right to initiate a third fight, should he desire.

Well, less than four days later after picking himself off the canvas twice, only to be stopped in round seven, Wilder has said that he is opting to exercise the rematch clause and fight Fury for the third time.

Wilder and Fury slugging each other in the early going.

According to news reports, it appears that Wilder wants to attempt to regain back the WBC Championship Belt that he lost so painfully to Fury. 

The third fight between the two heavyweights is now expected to take place sometime this upcoming summer, probably in July.

Not surprisingly, although Wilder initially remarked after the fight that he was making no excuses for his loss, apparently times have changed, and excuses are beginning to mount. Wilder is now blaming anything and everything for his loss, including the fact that he voluntarily entered the ring wearing a 45-pound armor-like costume that weighed him down like a ball and chain.

“I had a lot of things going on coming into the fight,” Wilder said after the fight. “My leg was already wrecked coming in due to other things.” Apparently, one of the “other things” is the aforementioned heavy suit of armor, which Deontay single-handedy decided to dress up in on his march to the ring.

Besides his wardrobe, Wilder also blamed referee Kenny Bayless for allowing Fury to use illegal tactics like punching him behind the head and placing him in several choke holds. This, unlike the costume, is actually a legitimate argument.

Wilder pointed out that the first knockdown scored by Fury appeared to come after a punch landed to the back of the head, which according to boxing rules, is technically an illegal blow. Considering that Bayless gave the fighters pre-fight instructions warning that if he saw any such infractions he would penalize the fouling fighter with point deductions and possibly a disqualification, only once did Bayless actually assess a point deduction against the big Gypsy King.

Wilder also blamed assistant trainer Mark Breland, for throwing in the towel although most who viewed the fight felt that Breland’s actions were justified. At the time of the stoppage, Wilder looked to have as much chance to survive as a mouse in a lion’s den.

Deontay also felt that Fury did not hurt him despite scoring two knockdowns ahead of the stoppage.

“He didn’t hurt me at all, but the simple fact is my uniform was way too heavy for me,” Wilder said. “I didn’t have no legs from the beginning of the fight. In the third round, my legs were just shot all the way through. But I’m a warrior and people know that I’m a warrior. It could easily be told that I didn’t have legs or anything. A lot of people were telling me, ‘It looked like something was wrong with you.’ Something was, but when you’re in the ring, you have to bluff a lot of things.” 

If one of his bluffs were that Fury didn’t hurt him, then Wilder  surely fooled us all, because he sure looked hurt to everyone who saw him staggering around the ring on legs that appeared as steady as a drunken sailor on the deck of a ship caught in a tempest. If his legs did not give him away, maybe it was his eyes that rolled around inside his head like marbles caught in a blender. 

In truth, Fury’s punches rained on Wilder like a gypsy curse, eventually destroying him and in a haze of blood and pain.

Still, in the third fight, Wilder has more than a small shot  to win, he has a puncher’s chance, which based on his high knockout percentage, may be a big chance indeed.

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Mike Tyson was thrilled that his namesake Tyson Fury Wrested the Heavyweight Championship from WBC Champion Deontay Wilder
 

By John J. Rinaldi

It was only fitting that former heavyweight champion and sports icon Mike Tyson was in attendance to watch a man who was named after him capture WBC heavyweight title.

Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, and Evander Holyfield receiving WBC awards before the fight.

When the fight ended so dramatically for Fury, cameras managed to catch Mike Tyson’s thrilling reaction to the result.

Mike Tyson after Fury won.

For many years Tyson Fury made known to all that Mike Tyson has meant the world to him. So much so that he even appeared on the boxing legend’s podcast late last year.

Before the fight, Tyson  unabashedly admitted he was a fan of Fury and for obvious reasons. “I always root for him because he was named after me,” the great former heavyweight champion said. “That’s the natural thing to do, right? I’m biased towards him.”

As for his prediction before the fight, Tyson revealed, “I don’t care how hard you punch, it’s hard to beat somebody who doesn’t wanna quit. It’s gonna be a really, really interesting fight and both guys have something to prove. I just wish the best for Tyson Fury, I’m always a Tyson fan.”

The future is the door and magic entrance to King Solomon’s gold mines for Furry. He holds all the cards and they are all aces.

As for his next opponent, Fury said after the fight that he expects Wilder to invoke the rematch clause in their contract to set up their trilogy.

However, promoter Eddie Hearn has already stated that he wants to make an undisputed fight with fellow world champion Anthony Joshua this year. All eyes are on the Gypsy King.

“If there is no rematch,” Hearn said, “we want to do everything we can to make Anthon Joshua (AJ) vs. Fury next.”

The promoter, meanwhile,  does think Wilder will certainly exercise his right and that Joshua will end up fighting  against the mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev on June 20.

“I hope he doesn’t,” Hearn said concerning Wilder invoking the rematch clause. “But I’m confident he will. I mean, what else is he gonna do? If he walks away from the rematch, he has to fight, what, a tuneup bout? That basically says I’m a beaten individual.

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TYSON FURY STOPS DEONTAY WILDER IN ROUND SEVEN TO CAPTURE WBC HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE IN HISTORIC MEGA PPV EVENT SATURDAY NIGHT FROM THE MGM GRAND GARDEN ARENA IN LAS VEGAS 
Former Heavyweight Champion Charles Martin Scores TKO Win; Emanuel Navarrete Defends 122-Pound Title with Stoppage Victor and Sebastian Fundora Remains Unbeaten in PPV Opener

Story Alexander and John Rinaldi

LAS VEGAS (February 22, 2020) – Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury defeated Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder by seventh-round stoppage to capture the WBC Heavyweight Championship Saturday night headlining a historic mega PPV event from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Before the fighters mad their way to the ring, the WBC awarded three former heavyweight champions with lifetime medals.  They were Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, and Mike Tyson. This was a touching moment and one that got the fans riled up for a big night.
 
Fury entered the ring dressed like a ruling  monarch  and  perched  on a King’s  thrown carried by disciples of his Gypsy King province. The audience was mesmerized by his entrance, which turned out to be one of the best in heavyweight history, second only to Apollo Creed being carried on a makeshift boat dressed as George Washington crossing  the Delaware on his way to the ring to meet the fictionalized film hero Rocky Balboa in the movie Rocky.
 
For some unknown reason the champion Deontay Wilder entered the Arena followed behind the rantings of some annoying  rapper sporting dime store lyrics about themes just a notch below the worse and most amateur written nursery rhymes of all time.
 
Why Wilder permitted this no-talent to take center stage from him and ambush the ears of  just about everybody who was victim to his incoherent dribble, simply made no sense at all. In truth, this performance by this alleged rap poet unnecessarily stole the spotlight from the great champion and essentially relegated Wilder into the role of a bit player in the biggest fight of his career.

Fury dropping Wilder for the second time.

Then came the fight.
 
In a bout that lived up to its pre-fight hype, boxing emerged back into the Center ring of professional sports. You can talk about all these other sports, but there is historically nothing bigger or more exciting than a great heavyweight championship clash.
 
The big boys bring out the fans and at this juncture have re-birthed the excitement and longing in the heavyweight division – the Crown Jewel of sports.
 
“A big shout out to Deontay Wilder,” said Fury. “He came here tonight and he manned up and he really did show the heart of a champion. I hit him with a clean right that dropped him and he got back up. He is a warrior. He will be back. He will be champion again. But I will say, the king has returned to the top of the throne!”
 
“Things like this happen,” said Wilder. “The best man won tonight, but my corner threw in the towel and I was ready to go out on my shield. I had a lot of things going on heading into this fight. It is what it is, but I make no excuses tonight. I just wish my corner would have let me go out on my shield. I’m a warrior. He had a great performance and we will be back stronger.”
 
The highly anticipated rematch was the most eagerly awaited heavyweight fight in decades after their controversial split draw in 2018. After an unprecedented promotion, the two heavyweight giants traded leather in the middle of the ring in front of 15,816 fans.While both men landed good shots in the first two rounds, Fury broke through in round three with a right hook that put Wilder down late in the round. While Wilder was able to make it through the round and continue fighting, his legs appeared weakened and in round five Fury scored another knockdown, this time with a body shot.
 
By then it seemed that Wilder was walking on circus stilts, barely able to keep his footing on the ring canvas. He was also wobbling around the ring like a buoy caught in the ocean during a bad storm.
 
Referee Kenny Bayless deducted a point from Fury late in round five, but it didn’t stop Fury from coming forward and continuing to use his height and weight advantage to push Wilder around the ring. In round seven, Fury had Wilder cornered and unloaded with a series of power punches that prompted Wilder’s corner to stop the bout, which the referee officially did at 1:39 of the round.According to CompuBox, Fury was the busier and more effective puncher, out throwing Wilder 267 to 141 and out landing him 82 to 34, including big fifth and sixth rounds where he landed 16 and 14 power punches respectively.
 
 
According to the contracts signed by the fighters, Wilder has thirty (30) days to request a rematch with Fury.
 
As for now, all the laurels go to Tyson Fury –  the new Heavyweight Champion – and still the Gypsy King. 

The co-main event saw former heavyweight champion Charles Martin (28-2-1, 25 KOs) score a one-punch knockout over Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington (20-4-1, 13 KOs) in the sixth-round of their showdown. 
 
“I knew that I had him hurt a few times in the fight,” said Martin. “Every round I think I hurt him, but I just couldn’t finish him. I knew that I had to take my time in there. It took me some rounds to catch up with him, because he’s very quick on the retreat.”
 
Martin landed a powerful left cross late in the round to send Washington to the mat, eventually forcing referee Tony Weeks to wave off the bout 1:57 into the round. The victory is Martin’s third-straight since the beginning of 2019. 
 
“The referee did what he thought was right,” said Washington. “He’s a top notch ref so I won’t complain about the stoppage. He put me down and I got up, so I definitely wanted to get back to it.”
 
“This win means a lot,” said Martin. “It shows that I’ve been working hard. The people can see it. I was never hurt at any point. This has just given me more confidence in myself. I can take the punches and give the punches.”

Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete (31-1, 27 KOs) made the fifth successful defense of his WBO junior featherweight world title in less than a year, knocking out Filipino challenger Jeo Santisima (19-3, 16 KOs) in the 11th round. Navarrete, from San Juan Zitlaltepec, Mexico, is boxing’s most active world champion, as he has won five in a row by stoppage since winning the world title via decision over Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe in December 2018.

In the PPV opener, Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora (14-0-1, 9 KOs) won via unanimous decision over Australia’s Daniel Lewis (6-1, 4 KOs) in their 10-round battle of super welterweight unbeatens.
 
“I think it was a fair decision and a good fight,” said Fundora. “There were a lot of hard punches. I knew he would be tough. When they told me I was fighting an Olympian, I knew it would be a tough fight. He probably had more experience than me, but we prepared the right way and got the win.”
 
The nearly 6’7” Fundora used his extraordinary reach to land big straight left hands and uppercuts against his smaller opponent, as Lewis tried to navigate the distance and land power shots on the inside. Both men had their noses bloodied in a fight that featured 272 power punches landed combined.
 
After 10 rounds, Fundora’s activity and power punching accuracy proved to be the difference as he threw over 200 punches more than Lewis and connected on 43% of power punches compared to 29% from Lewis. The judges all saw the bout in favor of Fundora, by scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93. 
 
“Whether we’re fighting on the inside or the outside, I always want to be the busier fighter,” said Fundora. “The more punches you throw, the more you’re going to land. It’s the way I like to fight.”
 
Wilder vs. Fury II Prelims action saw a crossroads super lightweight battle as 2008 U.S. Olympian Javier “El Intocable” Molina (22-2, 9 KOs) moved closer to a world title shot with a convincing eight-round victory over former world title challenger Amir Imam (22-3, 19 KOs), winning by scores of 78-74 twice and 79-73. Molina, from Norwalk, Calif., has now won five in a row.
 
The opening Prelims bout featured Petros Ananyan (15-2-2, 7 KOs) winning a narrow unanimous decision over previously unbeatenSubriel Matias (15-1, 15 KOs) after a 10-round super lightweight battle.
 
The action packed fight was contested primarily on the inside, with Ananyan taking control in round seven when he landed a series of right hands, punctuated by a left hook that sent Matias into the ropes to score a knockdown. While Matias was able to make it through the fight and go the distance, Ananyan finished strong and won the decision by scores of 96-93 and 95-94 twice.
 
Live streaming action prior to Prelims saw Gabriel Flores Jr. (17-0, 6 KOs), the 19-year-old lightweight sensation from Stockton, Calif., secure an eight-round unanimous decision over Matt Conway (17-2, 7 KOs) by scores of 80-71 twice and 79-72. Flores knocked Conway down in the opening round.
 
Sensational 17-year-old prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. (5-0, 3 KOs) dropped Corey Champion (1-3, 1 KO) in round one on his way to a unanimous decision in their four-round welterweight fight, winning by scores of 40-34 and 40-35 twice on the judges’ cards.  
 
Tyson Fury stablemate Isaac “The Westgate Warrior” Lowe (20-0-3, 6 KOs) remained unbeaten, defending his WBC International featherweight belt via 10-round unanimous decision over former two-time world title challenger Alberto Guevara (27-6, 12 KOs). Lowe knocked down Guevara in the eighth round and pulled away to win by scores of 96-87 twice and 95-88. Both fighters had three points deducted for assorted fouls.
 
The opening bout saw unbeaten prospect Rolando Romero (11-0, 10 KOs) score a second round TKO over previously undefeated Arturs Ahmetovs (5-1, 2 KOs) after referee Robert Hoyle halted the action 1:22 into the round.
Press Release info from Top Rank
Photos from Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
 

Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury II Purses

According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder had base purses of $5 million, though both had more than $25 million in guaranteed earnings, plus percentages of pay-per-view profits at a 50-50 split.

In their first meeting, Deontay Wilder had a guaranteed $4 million purse, while Tyson Fury was guaranteed #$3 million.  

If Wilder decides to take the rematch clause option for a third battle, with the immediate guaranteed rematch clause within 30 days, that would have a 60-40 purse split in favor of Fury.

Guaranteed base purses:

Deontay Wilder ($5 million) vs. Tyson Fury ($5 million)

Charles Martin ($250,000) vs. Gerald Washington ($275,000)

Emanuel Navarrete ($300,000) vs. Jeo Tupas Santisima ($25,000)

Sebastian Fundora ($40,000) vs. Daniel Lewis ($35,000)

Subriel Matias ($50,000) vs. Petros Ananyan ($30,000)

Amir Imam ($30,000) vs. Javier Molina ($35,000)

Rolando Romero ($8,000) vs. Arturs Ahmetovs ($7,000)

Gabriel Flores Jr. ($15,000) vs. Matt Conway ($20,000)

Vito Mielnicki Jr. ($4,000) vs. Corey Champion ($5,000)

Isaac Lowe ($30,000) vs. Alberto Guevara ($6,000)

Click Photo to read updates of the upcoming fight and press conference Quotes

 

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Heavyweight Champ Cards. Click Picture to see video footage of heavyweight fights from 1889-1929.

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Thomas Hearns, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, and Sugar Ray :Leonard on Boxing’s Mount Rushmore.

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Robert Conrad, the athletic, boxing lover, two-fisted actor who starred as Secret Service agent James West and did his own spectacular stunts on the 1960s futuristic CBS Western

 The Wild Wild West  passed at 84

By Henry Hascup

Conrad died Saturday of heart failure in Malibu, family spokesman Jeff Ballard told the Associated Press. “He lived a wonderfully long life, and while the family is saddened by his passing, he will live forever in their hearts,” he said.

Conrad, among the actors employed by Warner Bros. Television to appear on the studio’s stable of shows starting in the 1950s, first gained attention for playing Tom Lopaka, a partner in a detective agency, on ABC’s Hawaiian Eye.

Robert Conrad

The Chicago native also was known for starring as real-life World War II pilot Maj. Greg “Pappy” Boyington on NBC’s 1976-78 period drama Baa Baa Black Sheep (later known in syndication as Black Sheep Squadron), one of the first series created by Stephen J. Cannell.

Conrad, though, always said that the performance he was most proud of was his turn as the French-Canadian trapper Pasquinel in James Michener’s Centennial, the 16 1/2-hour, 12-episode miniseries about the evolution of the American West that aired on NBC in 1978-79. 

He said Michener was on the set during production and told him that he “played the character better than he had written it,” Conrad noted during a 2006 chat for the website The Interviews: An Oral History of Television.

James West (Robert Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin)

James West (Robert Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin)

On The Wild Wild West, the lithe, blue-eyed Conrad starred as a government agent, working for President Ulysses S. Grant, who employed modern technology to combat villains in the 19th century. Jim West, who wore his spiffy clothes a bit too tight, rode a champion horse and had an eye for the ladies, was paired with Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin), a master of disguise.

The show was “James Bond as a cowboy,” and indeed, series creator Michael Garrison had once owned the movie rights to Ian Fleming’s first 007 novel, Casino RoyaleWild Wild West lasted four seasons, on the air from September 1965 through April 1969, and attracted another legion of fans in reruns.

Conrad and stuntman Whitey Hughes usually choreographed the show’s acrobatic fights (the scripts gave them an amount of time to do them, and they figured things out). Near the end of one season, Conrad said he almost was killed when he fell 14 feet onto a cement floor; he suffered what he described as a “six-inch linear fracture with a high temporal concussion.”

Concerned that they would lose the star of their show, CBS executives insisted a stunt double step in for Conrad, but that practice lasted only a couple of episodes, and, after a summer of healing, he was soon back “breaking things,” just as he always did.

He was one of the few actors to have been inducted into the Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame.

“Ross Martin once said in an interview on the Johnny Carson show, ‘Robert does his own stunts, and I do my own acting,'” he said. Asked if he took offense to that, Conrad replied: “I applauded it, it was the truth. I did my acting tongue in cheek. I didn’t take any of it seriously. The last year, I didn’t even read the scripts, I just read my part. And it worked.”

Conrad’s ego and toughness also were on display during the Battle of the Network Stars specials, where he more often than not captained the NBC squad to victory. (He did lose one memorable race to Welcome Back Kotter‘s Gabe Kaplan, getting caught down in the stretch.) 

And in three years as a popular Eveready pitchman, Conrad stared into the camera and challenged anyone to knock a battery off his shoulder.

“Come on, I dare you,” he said.

Conrad Robert Falk was born on March 1, 1935 on the South Side of Chicago. His father, Leonard, worked in construction and became vice president of the National Sugar Co., and his mother, Jacqueline, did PR and had clients including Patti Page and Vic Damone.

He played running back in high school, thought about a career as a boxer and, when he wasn’t loading or driving a truck, sang in a trio that performed in Chicago hotels.

After standing outside theaters to drum up publicity for 1956’s Giant (his mother had been dating a Warner Bros. executive, and Conrad bore a resemblance to the recently deceased James Dean), he thought he might try acting.

He attended Northwestern University, majoring in theater arts, and became friends with Rebel Without a Cause actor Nick Adams, who got him a part in Juvenile Jungle (1958).

For a TV show, Conrad landed a gig as a Native American who gets shot and falls off his horse. He fell backward, risking great injury. “That established me as having the talent to do stunts,” he said. “So when there was a speaking role associated with a stunt, they’d hire me. You got two for the price of one.” 

During rehearsals for a fight sequence on the Warner Bros./ABC series Maverick, Conrad told his actor he was about to tussle with, “‘You’re getting too close, you’re getting too close,'” he recalled. “I said to the director, ‘Why don’t you double him?’ He said, ‘We don’t have a double for him, he’s going to have to smack you.’ I said, ‘If he does, he’s going to regret it.’

“So we rolled cameras, and sure enough, he hit me, and I hit him back. That went out to one of the executives, and one of them said, ‘I like that kid.’ And then they put me under contract.” 

Conrad played Lopaka, who was half-Caucasian and half-native Hawaiian, for four seasons on Hawaiian Eye, which also starred Anthony Eisley and Connie Stevens. (Lopaka also appeared on crossover episodes of another exotic WBTV show, 77 Sunset Strip.)

After starring with Marisol in the 1964 Spanish movie La nueva Cenicienta (The New Cinderella), Conrad was playing ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd opposite Adams in Young Dillinger (1965) when he headed over to CBS after lunch to test for a new show, The Wild Wild West

Very quickly, Conrad got a phone call saying he had been hired and was to start work the following Monday in Sonora, California. (He also said he turned down a chance to play Larry Hagman’s part on I Dream of Jeannie.)

Conrad said he trained in karate during the first season of Wild Wild West, and as the series went on, he wore blue underwear so that when his tight pants ripped during fights, the audience couldn’t tell.

During the show, Conrad often times employed the services  of former boxers such as former heavyweight challenger Roland LaStarza as extras and stunt men on the The Wild Wild West.

With television violence coming under fire from politicians in the wake of the 1968 assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., Wild West West was canceled despite drawing a 33 share of the audience in its 1968-69 season.

Conrad said Baa Baa Black Sheep was axed because it was deemed too violent as well. “I got a double hit,” he said.

Wild Wild West, of course, was refashioned as a 1999 movie, with Will Smith passing up a chance to star in The Matrix to portray Jim West. Conrad called the remake “horrible” and “pathetic” and gladly accepted the Razzie Award for the film.

Conrad also starred on other short-lived series including The D.A.Assignment: Vienna, The DukeA Man Called SloaneHigh Mountain Rangers and High Sierra Search and Rescue; hosted Saturday Night Live (musical guest: The Allman Brothers) in 1982; and played John Dillinger in The Lady in Red (1979) and a Richard Nixon confidant in the 1982 NBC telefilm Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy.

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Click Photo to see vintage photos of legendary fighters in training, in fights, and in real life on the FIGHTERS TRAINING AND FIGHT GALLERY PAGE!

Gunboat Smith (February 17, 1887 – August 6, 1974) was an Irish American boxer, film actor and later a boxing referee. Smith’s career record reads like a veritable Who’s Who of the early 20th century boxing scene, facing 12 different Hall of Famers a combined total of 23 times. Among the all-time greats he faced were the legendary Jack Dempsey, Harry Greb, Sam Langford, and Georges Carpentier.

Heavyweight contender Edward “Gunboat” Smith 52 Wins (38 Knockouts), 28 Defeats (12 Knockouts), 10 Draws, 1 No Contest[.

Joe Frazier L) defeats Muhammad Ali R) in their first fight in 1971.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler L) has his hands full with the power and punching of Roberto Duran in their 1983 fight for the undisputed middleweight championship of the world that Hagler won on a disputed decision.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler L) has his hands full with the power and punching of Roberto Duran in their 1983 fight for the undisputed middleweight championship of the world that Hagler won on a disputed decision.

 

Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins

Muhammad Ali at the Army draft office.

Muhammad Ali at the Army draft office.

 

Former Champ Joe Louis with Muhammad Ali

A young Mike Tyson

Deontay Wilder

Tyson Fury after winning the WBC Championship Belt

WBO, WBA, and IBF Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua

Joe Louis in his fighting prime

Muhammad Ali wearing the robe that Elvis Presley gave him


A crowd of 18,000 gathered at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco to watch Rocky Marciano make his sixth defense of the World Heavyweight Championship against Don Cockell.

Manny Pacquiao

Roberto Duran with his pet lion.

Champions Danny Romero (L) and Iran “The Blade” Barkley (R) at the Boxing Ha;ll of Fame.  (Photo by Alex Rinaldi)

 

Julian “The Hawk” Jackson in his prime.

Jack Dempsey at a New York Yankee baseball game in the 1920s.

Roberto Duran (L) and Marvelous Marvin Hagler (R)

Floyd “Money” Mayweather

Bobby Chacon (R) being coached by Sugar Ray Robinson (L)

Lennox Lewis

Sonny Liston

Tommy Hearns and James “Lights Out” Toney

Roberto Duran and George Foreman

Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali

Former heavyweight king Max Baer, wife Mary Ellen Sullivan and baby son Max Baer Jr. in 1937

Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali.

Sergeant Joe Louis signing autographs for his fellow soldiers during World War II.

Heavyweight Champion Smokin’ Joe Frazier in the streets of Philadelphia.

Michael Spinks, Jersey Joe Walcott, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard among others at Joe Louis’ gravestone.

Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson with movie icon James Cagney.

Junior Welterweight Champion Arturo Gatti getting his hands wrapped.

Rocky Marciano with Sonny Liston.

Former Heavyweight Champions Tommy Burns, James J. Corbett, James J. Jeffries and John L. Sullivan

  Former Heavyweight champion Max Baer (L) with actor John Wayne (C) and his son Max Baer Jr. (R)

Former Heavyweight champ Max Baer (L) with actor John Wayne (C) and his son Max Baer Jr. (R)

Trainer Yank Durham with Heavyweight Champion Joe Frazier

Jack Dempsey (R) training after his career ended.

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The USA Boxing News Covers Over The Years

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Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson with the USA Boxing News

Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson with the USA Boxing News

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Elvis Presley’s Graceland Home Museum celebrates Elvis’ boxing movie Kid Galahad on display

 

Elvis as the boxer Kid Galahad

Elvis as the boxer Kid Galahad

The trunks and robe from Elvis as Kid Galahad on display in Graceland.

The USA Boxing News publisher John Rinaldi at the Elvis Kid Galahad exhibit.

 

“I enjoy rugged sports. I’m not knocking people who like golf and tennis and other things. But I like rugged sports such as boxing, football, karate and things like that.”  –  Elvis Presley

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A Holiday Memory


Roberto Duran and our Father

By John and Alex Rinaldi

Going into Christmas, we cannot thank our readers enough for their continued support of our website and our boxing publication for over 37 years.

Robert Duran (R) vs. Davey Moore (L) (Photo by Alex Rinaldi)

In an almost magical and mythical way, the sport of boxing and its fans have, since the days of the bare knucklers, established a special, lasting bond that somehow connects the viewer to the participants in the ring. It is also the type of sport that can lift one’s spirits, especially when life’s misfortunes and personal tragedies can tend to swirl around like a deadly tempest raining down on everything and everyone until all that’s left is despair and sadness.

No one is ever spared from this, and even the warmest of holidays often play a part in the the overall melancholy of the time.  We  are  certainly  not  immune  to  this  feeling  and  loss. Roberto Duran (L) slugging Pipino Cuevas (R) in 1983

Christmas was such a time 37 years ago, and it remains to this day a bittersweet holiday for us.

Growing up we had wonderful Christmas days and we still do to this day. There was, however, a Christmas where our world simply fell apart.  Robert Duran (L) looking for an opening against Davey Moore (R) (Photo by Alex Rinaldi)

On Christmas Eve in 1982, in our house in Stuart, Florida, our Father, and the founder of this publication, Joseph Rinaldi, was diagnosed with terminal liver and colon cancer and was given only three months to live. For a few months before the diagnosis, he was suffering from intestinal pains and was losing weight. He actually thought at the worse that he had an ulcer. Sadly, he found out that at the age of 46, his days, like a prisoner on death row, were mortally numbered.

Roberto Duran (L) going in for the kill against former welterweight champion Pipino Cuevas (R) in 1983

Roberto Duran (L) going in for the kill against former welterweight champion Pipino Cuevas (R) in 1983

For a man who had achieved such phenomenal success in his life, it was hard to fathom that this great man’s final days were to be spent battling for his life.

There is a famous quote by the legendary Confederate General Robert E. Lee where he says, “I would rather die a thousand deaths than surrender.” Our Father had what can only be termed as “true grit” as he fought bravely on, challenging the cancer along with the naysayers and charlatans so prevalent in the medical community. Though death greeted him at his doorstop every day for nine long months, he still kept punching back until he eventually succumbed to the deadly cancer on September 23, 1983.

John and Alex Rinaldi with Roberto Duran in 1982

When you watch a person that you admire suffer so badly, who is not just a father, but a mentor and a hero, it is hard to bear and for those like us going through it, the world tends to lose all its color and replaces it with the funereal pallor of black.

But sometimes were there is nothing but black and bleakness, miracles and heroes seem to emerge through the darkness, and for a brief time a short reprieve is granted to the forlorn.

Robert Duran (L) pounding Davey Moore (R) (Photo by Alex Rinaldi) Robert Duran (L) pounding Davey Moore (R) (Photo by Alex Rinaldi)

This is what happened to us. A savior arrived in the form of Roberto Duran and boxing gave us the only streaks of light, as the sun slowly shone through the cracks caused by the mighty fists of the man with the Hands of Stone.


Roberto Duran (r) attacking Davey Moore (L) in June of 1983

Roberto Duran was always our family’s favorite fighter. From the time he became a world champion, we marveled at his skill, charisma and punching power. Because of this, he was, and remained our true boyhood hero.

Though he reached the highest heights and peaks of boxing, by 1983, the once great pugilist was considered washed up. In 1982, he went 1-2 when he lost  a title bid against WBC super welterweight king Wilfred Benitez on a close decision on January 20, 1982, and then was robbed in a split-decision loss to Kirland Laing on September 4, 1982. After two decision losses, Top Rank picked up Duran and set him back on his winning ways. It began on the Aaron Pryor-Alexis Arguello undercard on November 12, 1982. Duran was the after-fight walk-out bout where he earned $25,000 in beating Jimmy Batten on a ten-round decision.

It was during his training for Laing at Larry Holmes’ training quarters in Easton, Pennsylvania, where the Rinaldi Brothers and our dad would go to visit. Before long we became very friendly with the fistic legend, and he never failed us nor ever disappointed us. 

After the Laing fight, and nearing the end of 1982, it appeared that there was little hope in the future of the career of Roberto Duran. Nevertheless, while others urged Duran to retire, we and The USA Boxing News felt that he was far from washed up. As luck would have it, so did promoter Bob Arum.

Arum’s Top Rank, Inc. smartly took on Duran and matched him against the power punching former WBA welterweight king Pipino Cuevas on January 29, 1983 at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, CA. While the Super Bowl was playing nearby the same week, the hottest ticket in town was for the Duran-Cuevas fight. So much so that a capacity crowd of 16,824 turned out for the fight and produced a live gate of $408,000. Both fighters were each guaranteed $50,000, plus a share of the closed circuit revenue.

In one of the most thrilling slugfests in boxing history, Duran, 152, brutally stopped Cuevas, 149, at 2:26 of fourth round of the scheduled 12-rounder. Duran was back and his heroics were just about to begin.

With the illness of our Father, we were unable to go to the fight live, but instead viewed the fight on closed-circuit at the Felt Forum in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Duran’s performance was so exhilarating that on this night our Father was able to forget about his pain and his dreaded outlook and immersed himself in the exciting ring action.

While our Father courageously battled on, Duran was set to give our Dad one more respite from his impending doom.

With the win over Cuevas, Arum decided that Duran would make a good opponent for the undefeated WBA junior middleweight king Davey Moore. The match was then set for June 16, 1983 at Madison Square Garden.

Roberto Duran (L) knocking Davey Moore (R) to the canvas in front of a packed house in Madison Square Garden.

Roberto Duran (L) knocking Davey Moore (R) to the canvas in front of a packed house in Madison Square Garden.

Going into the battle, this publication was the only one who gave Duran a chance to win. With a sell-out crowd of 20,191 on hand, producing an incredible live gate of $964,305 (this was at a time when the ringside seats were only $100) Duran entered the ring a 5-2 underdog.

On this night, our Father was too ill to attend and was slipping away at a rapid pace. We went in his place and were at ringside to see Duran, 152 ½, give the performance of a lifetime as he tore into Moore, 154, and ferociously pummeled him from pillar to post.

As the crowd cheered, Duran scored an incredible knockdown in the seventh round and in the next round, finished off Moore at 2:02 of Round 8.

The fight was rebroadcast on CBS on June 19, 1983 and although he was racked with pain that no medicine could subside, our Father was laying down on our living room couch and once again, his thoughts were detoured from death to watching Roberto Duran pull off the upset win. That was the last time that the pain would ever temporarily leave our Father again.

Things would go downhill from there. Our Father was such gallant battler, that we never thought he would die. It was as if Rocky Marciano could ever lose a fight. We thought our Dad would make a comeback. He did outlast all of his physicians’ predictions and held out for nine months, while the prognostications said he would be dead in 90 days.

Roberto Duran (L) pounds Davey Moore (R) with a jarring left to the body.

He did it all virtually by himself. The fraudulent medical community, more interested in taking patients’ monies  for treatments just a step above the potions of snake Oil Salesmen, were both useless and greedy.  They showed the care of a rattlesnake and offered the hope of a hangman. My father had a better chance of climbing Mount Everest, than receiving any curing treatment from American physicians.

Roberto Duran training for his fight with Davey Moore in 1983 (Photo by Alex Rinaldi)

The comeback never came and three months after Duran defeated Moore, the ten-count was tolled for our father. Thankfully, because of the many who read this worldwide publication and website, his memory still lives on.

Because this publication soldiers on and thrives to this day, our Father and Roberto Duran are both almost like the Jimmy Stewart character in It’s a Wonderful Life, where Stewart realizes what an impact he had on so many people just by living his life and doing good deeds to others.

Joseph Rinaldi in December 1982

This may be an odd Christmas story because it ends in the death of an extraordinary man. But it shows that boxing and a great fighter like Roberto Duran can take away the pain of a dying man and give him a few happy moments in such bleak times, as well as offer a brief intermission from despair to his loved ones and, provide in its place, thrills and happiness during a family’s darkest hours. 


Gerard and Joseph Rinaldi in 1982

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” ― Bob Hope.

We think of our father every Christmas Eve. Although he is gone, he is never forgotten by us and is always in our thoughts, and it is every time we think of Roberto Duran, we think about the smiles he gave to a man whose life, like a broken clock,  was running out of time.

That is what makes boxing the special sport it is.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the both of us to all of our readers.

Keep Punching!

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Roberto Duran in 2000 with a young Ron John Rinaldi (L) and Joseph Rinaldi (R)

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Manny Pacquiao Wins a split decision over Keith Thurman for WBA Welterweight title

By Ron John Rinaldi

July 21 – Las Vegas, Nevada. Boxing has a strange and twisted history when an old legendary fighter comes up against some young gunslinger. First, the younger fighter wants to knock the older fighter’s block off so he can carry the torch and force the older fighter into the bastions of yesterday and retirement. Second, the younger one feels that “today” is his time and that the older champion is a mere member of the old guard soon to be replaced by the new guard, namely himself.

Great fighters like Davey Moore, and later Iran Barkley, once shared the identical thought about Roberto Duran in the 1980’s, and Duran proved them both sadly wrong.

In this fight, the undefeated 30 year old champion Keith Thurman had the same thought in mind. This was made apparent in the pre-fight press conferences leading up to the fight where Thurman kept declaring that he, and not Pacquiao, was the best welterweight out there, and that the 40 year old ring great no longer deserved to be at the top of the welterweights. “I want to show the world that I deserve to be at the top,” exclaimed Thurman. So much so that Thurman made three bets to not only win, but to knock out Pacquiao in rounds 1, 2, or 7.

The famed gunfighter Wyatt Earp once famously said, “When you have to choose between fact and legend print the legend.”  But that underlies the fact that their legend actually derives from iconic morsels of pure and real fact. The same goes for the legendary fighter and modern day gunslinger Manny Pacquiao. 

Like Davey Moore and Iran Barkley before him, Thurman painfully learned that sometimes it is easier to can a live alligator, than it is to beat a legend. This is especially true for that young great fighter when he squares off against a legend who happens to strike lightning one more time again, and returns to his once lethal greatness.

Well, that happened here before a sellout crowd of over 14,000 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, 146 1/2,  beat previously  undefeated WBA Welterweight Champion Keith “One-Time” Thurman via split decision to capture his title.

Pacquiao (L) dropping Thurman in round one.

Going into the bout, Manny was the favorite at -150, while Thurman was the underdog at +125. Meanwhile unlike Thurman, Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach wisely bet $5,000 on his man.

In an exciting give and take affair, that saw action throughout its twelve full rounds, both fighters firmly acquitted themselves well and gave the fans their money’s worth.

At the start of the fight Thurman, 146 1/2,  came out fast in round one scoring with straight rights to Pacquiao’s head and lefts to the body. Then with a 28 seconds remaining in the round, Manny raced after a retreating Thurman and landed a quick three punch combinations of right-left-right to the jaw that dropped Keith swiftly to the ring floor. Though it was a flash knockdown, it soon set the tone off the fight, which was that the 8 division world champion Pacquiao at age 40, was still a dreaded adversary to face within the ring ropes. It also gave the Filipino a 10-8 round, which would be a telling factor later when the time came for the tallying up of the scores.

Pacquiao (R) and Thurman (L) squaring off with the other.

Pacquiao still had the speed, both hand and foot, that he had since his younger days and even carried the punch with him as well.  Like the song he came into the ring with, Survivor’s  Eye of The Tiger, Manny never stopped punching during the bout, eventually bloodying Thurman’s nose and causing a swelling under his eyes.

To his credit, Thurman fought like the champion he is and scored well and often with straight rights, right uppercuts and lefts hooks that landed with power on his aggressive foe. For instance he stunned Manny several times in round 7, catching the Filipino legend with jarring blows to the chin and ribs, a couple of which actually stunned him.

It was just that Pacquiao threw the greater number of blows 696 to Thurman’s 571, though Thurman landed 210 to Manny’s 195. Regardless, Thurman could never catch up, though he gave it his all throughout. But his “all” on this night did not add up to be enough.

The judges scored it a close split decision with Manny winning by two judges’ scores of 115-112, while one judge gave it to Thurman by a score of 114-113. The USA Boxing News also scored it for Pacquiao by a score of 115-112.

Thurman (L) lands a hard left hook to the ribs of Pacquiao.

Manny whose record upped to 62-7-2 (39 KO’s) pocketed a guaranteed $10 million plus a percentage of sales, which should bring his take up to around $20 million, said after the bout, “He [Keith Thurman] did his best, and I did my best, and i think the two of us gave the fans their money’s worth.”

Meanwhile Thurman whose record fell to a still impressive 29-1 (23 KO’s) also brought home a large guaranteed purse of $2.5 million plus a percentage of receipts, which should bring his final tally to about $8 million, was gratuitous in defeat, and said, “This was a beautiful night of boxing. Manny got the victory over me. I wish I had more output. I would love a rematch.”

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-FLASHBACK-

THE AFTERMATH

Andy Ruiz changes heavyweight history after his stunning knockout of Anthony Joshua to win the heavyweight championship

By Alex and John Rinaldi

With British flags flying throughout Madison Square Garden draping the Mecca of Boxing in the symbols and colors of the Union Jack, it appeared as if the British monarchy was staging a Royal reception on American soil.

Considering that fifty-five years ago the Beatles were barnstorming America in the second British invasion since the Revolutionary War, it now seemed again that the English were staging another form of a British Boxing invasion. This time, its king Anthony Joshua was charging into battle against the colonists, being led on this particular Saturday by a relatively unknown Andy Ruiz.

Anthony Joshua (L) bangs Andy Ruiz(R) to the body.

If the British thought they could have easily outgunned the Americans in 1775 to defeat; with Joshua as the helm, the thousands of  his countryman who trekked in from the United Kingdom, now ashore in New York City,  thought that their man’s win was a foregone conclusion and his success as secured as a Royal seal.

Joshua (R) nails Ruiz (L) witha thudding left hook.

Well, the night’s fight did actually come to resemble a royal event. In fact,  it turned out to be a coronation of a new King when Andy Ruiz shockingly knocked out Joshua in seven rounds to capture three of the top four heavyweight championship belts and with it the specter as the King of the Heavyweights.

More interestingly, for the first time in years all heavyweight title belts now rest around the waists of two Americans.

Ruiz (R) stabs Joshua with a terrific left.

Before a sellout crowd of 20,201, Anthony Joshua (22-1, 22 KO’s) and Andy Ruiz (22-0, 21 KOs) stunned the crowd and certainly gave them their money’s worth for the course of seven near electrifying rounds.

Announcer Michael Buffer who, in his trademark bellow declaration, always beckons the audience and the fighters to “Let’s get ready to rumble,” could not have been any closer to the truth, as he came off like a gypsy oracle when his hope for a big, mean, street fight came off as a reality.

Ruiz (L) and Joshua (R) trade blows.

Unfortunately for the three belt unified heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua, Buffer’s comments may have affected him more like a gypsy curse, for he ended up touching the canvas more times than Michelangelo, the last one, actually the fourth one, eventually prompting  the referee to stop the fight and end the reign of the British heavyweight sensation.

Though Andy Ruiz, with his underdog win, has become the 21st century’s version of Rocky Balboa, albeit a Mexican one, he is far from a fluke fighter. While he may be built like someone who just rolled out from under a food truck, he has had over 100 amateur wins and his only professional loss was to the eventual WBO heavyweight title holder Joseph Parker on December 10, 2016, in the Parker’s home country of New Zealand. That fight came about by Ruiz being one of the two top ranked contenders willing to fight for the vacant WBO title. After twelve close rounds, Ruiz lost on a majority decision by scores of 114-114 and 115-113 (twice). Many thought that Ruiz won the fight or at least should have been awarded a draw.  “I think I got the win or at least a draw,” said Ruiz. “I think I set the pace with my jab.” Ruiz also stated he wanted to have a rematch with Parker in the future.

Ruiz drops Joshua to the canvas

Two and half years later, Joshua was standing across the ring from him, holding what was once Parker’s belt, and Ruiz was there again hoping to capture a world heavyweight title. This time the venue was not in some god forsaken part of New Zealand. This time the fight was taking place in the most famous boxing arena of them all – New York’s Madison Square Garden – the Pinnacle Palace of boxing.

Going into the bout, Sportsbooks listed Joshua as a -2500 favorite (risk $2,500 to win $100), with Ruiz getting +1100 (risk $100 to win $1100) as the underdog.

Regardless of the odds, Ruiz undeniably battered and beat Joshua and deserved the biggest win of his career along with a solid place on the Mount Rushmore of underdogs. By shockingly defeating British boxing sensation Anthony Joshua via a seventh-round TKO to become the IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight champion of the world, his countenance should now stand right alongside the likes of Buster Douglas, Hasim Rahman, and James J. Braddock.

After two slow opening rounds that saw Joshua smartly jab his way around the ring moving to his left, while Ruiz countered with right-left combinations, few, if any would have contemplated that in the very next round – round three – all hell would break loose and the dominance of the heavyweight division would dangle on the balance.

Joshua (R0 and Ruiz (L) square of in ring center.

Early in the third round, Joshua landed a hard right to Ruiz’s jaw that jarred him for a moment. Still confident, the challenger tried to mix things up with a couple of quick flurries. Then, with only 40 seconds ticked off in the round, Joshua exploded with a right cross followed by a left hook to the jaw that dropped Ruiz swiftly to the canvas. Up at “five” with the New York crowd on their feet, Ruiz absorbed a few more thudding shots from the champion. Those who came to see Joshua, which was about 20,000 out of the 20,201 in attendance, were already moving ahead to Joshua’s next bout for the undisputed heavyweight championship against Deontay Wilder.

Ruiz (L) pounds Joshua (R) to the head.

Unfortunately, by looking ahead they forgot to look to what was left in the round, which was over two minutes. As Joshua appeared to be going in for the kill with harsh combinations, Ruiz bravely fought back. First it appeared to be strictly to defend himself, and then it switched to him getting on the offensive. Within seconds, swinging madly, but quickly with punches, Ruiz caught Joshua with a short left hook to the chin and a right hand chop to the top of the champion’s head that dropped the Brit like a bale of English tea.

Joshua down on the canvas in round seven.

The crowd was mortified and hoped it was nothing more than a flash knockdown. When Joshua rose at “seven” on unsteady legs, their cheers turned to fear and they hoped that the seconds would sprint through the time dial like a tornado through the heartland. To his credit, Joshua tried valiantly to hang in there and it almost worked until a few seconds left in the round, when Ruiz cornered the champ against the ropes and hammered away at him with a barrel full of leather that dropped Joshua again for the second time in the round. Luckily for him he rose at the count of  “seven” and the round mercifully ended.

The fight now took on the bright light of excitement, though the Joshua contingency prayed that their man would come back as he did against Wladimir Klitschko, and score another big knockout after reaching the lower depths of adversity.

The new heavyweight Champ – Andy Ruiz

It looked to be that way at first as Joshua fought back in rounds four, five, and six, to almost change the momentum of the fight in his favor.

Then came round seven.

The round started off well for Joshua, whose jab became more spear-like and his head seemed as clear as a crystal decanter. Within seconds into the round Joshua stunned Ruiz with a powerful right to the head that stunned him and stopped him in his tracks. Somehow, instead of covering up or retreating to safety, Ruiz stormed into Joshua like a madman intent on destruction. Throwing punches in bunches, Ruiz, in apparent desperation, and with the intent of a human buzz saw, threw all he had at Joshua who was not expecting this type of aggression. Eleven unanswered punches later,  that culminated with another clubbing right to the top of the head, Joshua landed on the canvas for the third time in the bout. Up at “four” and bleeding from the nose, Joshua tried valiantly to defend himself and save his laurels. Seeing blood, actually real blood, Ruiz, like a man on a mission, was not about to let Joshua off the hook and slammed him with a short left hook to the jaw that dropped the champion down for the second time in the round. Once again Joshua rose, but this time he appeared dazed and confused prompting the referee to call a halt to the fight.

Ruiz jumps for joy after stopping Joshua in the seventh round.

The crowd murmured in shock as if they witnessed the death of a loved one.

The loss damaged the immediate future of the heavyweight division, which expected the popular Joshua to leap his way to a big money match with either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder.

Because of this upset, boxing fans will now have to wait before seeing the long-awaited heavyweight bouts with Joshua against Wilder or Fury because of a rematch clause which will usher in a Joshua-Ruiz II bout in the fall in England.

Joshua (R scores with a right in the early going.

For now all the praise goes to Ruiz. Unlike so many men who fought for the heavyweight tile and never make a challenge of it, Ruiz went for the gold ring and let it all hang out. He cared little for his safety and showed virtually no fear at all for Joshua. Instead, he came forward like a fearless warrior and deservedly scored the biggest knockout win of his life. A life that would never be the same again.

If Joshua made $25 million of this bout, Ruiz is sure to make eight figures for himself in the rematch.

“Mom, I love you,” the new champ Ruiz said at his news conference. “Our lives are going to change; we don’t have to struggle no more.”

On the win, Ruiz remarked, “We’ve been working really hard, man, really hard. I wanted to prove everybody wrong, all the doubters thinking I was going to lose in the third round, first round. I was looking at comments, as well. But what do you know, man? I’m the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world. It’s a blessing. … I’m still pinching myself to see if this is real, man! Wow. It’s amazing.”

On being knocked down in the third round, the new champ admitted, “That was crazy that that happened, right? That was my first time on the canvas. When I was on the canvas I was, like, ‘Whoa, what the hell just happened?’ But I had to get him back. I had to get him back. I think that’s when the Mexican blood in me, the Mexican warrior that I have, I had to return the favor…When I was on the canvas I was, like, ‘Whoa, what the hell just happened?’ But I had to get him back. I think that’s the Mexican blood in me, the Mexican warrior that I have, I had to return the favor.”

Ruiz also agreed with the stoppage, “That’s the referee’s job. The referee knows what he’s doing. If he would’ve just let it go, I think I would’ve stopped the fight in more dramatic fashion, but he did what he had to do. The job was for him…I was waiting for him [Joshua] to open up. I wanted to break him down a little bit more, work the body. He hits really hard, man. He hits pretty hard. I just needed to be smart in there. I thought he opened up too much to where I could counter him. The speed, I think, got to him, and we got this victory.”

As for Joshua, he said truthfully, “I took my first (professional) loss. How to explain that feeling? It has happened to me before but I feel like those times I lost years back have made me a stronger person, It hasn’t really changed me, my work ethic, my mindset, what I stand for, the people I’m still loyal to – my trainer Rob McCracken, my amateur coach at Finchley ABC. I’m still going to work with these guys; they’ll teach me everything I need to know. They’ve done a great job for me not only inside the boxing ring but mainly as a human. They’ve really developed me as a person which is really important. These guys have been with me for years.”

Joshua knocks down Ruiz in round three.

Joshua also refused to make any excuses for his defeat and has vowed to win back the IBO, IBF, WBO and WBA (super) heavyweight titles he lost to the American in New York. “There was no contaminated food. I know there are a lot of accusations or worries about what was wrong with me,” Joshua added. “But I want to tell you this – I’m a soldier and I have to take my ups and my downs. And on Saturday I took a loss and I have to take it like a man. I have to take my loss like a man, no blaming anyone or anything.  I’m the one who went in there to perform and my performance didn’t go to plan. I’m the one who has to adjust, analyze and do my best to correct it and get the job done in the rematch.”

As for his future, Joshua advised, “Boxing is a part of my life and I’m a champion at heart. Congratulations to Andy Ruiz, he has six months or so to be champion because the belts go in the air and he has to defend them against myself.”

In its opening line for the potential rematch, BetOnline made Joshua a -350 favorite, meaning you’d have to bet $350 to win $100. Ruiz, meanwhile, is a +275 underdog. That means you’d win $275 for a $100 wager. It’s not nearly as wide as Ruiz being a +1400 underdog, but it’s an interesting look at how the sports book thinks the public will bet on the rematch.

“Considering Ruiz was a 14/1 underdog this past weekend, it would be hard to justify him being another huge underdog,” Dave Mason, the sports book brand manager for BetOnline, told Forbes. “However, we expect the smart money to come in on Joshua closer to the fight while the public will probably back Ruiz again.”

As for the British, they have always showed guts and tenacity, Dunkirk and the famous brave air fight in the Battle of Britain, proved that; and it cemented their do or die attitude.  Joshua can certainly come back. He has showed that type of mettle. The only thing left is whether he has that true grit to make the comeback and restore his place on the cliff of the heavyweight hierarchy.

As for Ruiz, he has the skills to remain the champion. Still whatever lies in his future, for one monumental, historic evening in the ring of rings in Madison Square Garden, Ruiz fought like a warrior and emerged the victor in one of boxing’s greatest ring battles. He came, he fought hard, and he conquered. It is the story line of myths and one of the backdrops of glory. Ruiz succeeded in both. For now there is a new King, for whatever will be his reign, he has achieved immortality and riches well beyond his wildest dreams. Cheers go out to him.

Heavyweight boxing is back big. Long live the heavyweight division.

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Terence Crawford successfully defends WBO welterweight title after Amur Khan surrenders after low blow
STORY BY JOHN RINALDI
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALEXANDER RINALDI

Crawford (R) and  Khan (L) squaring off against each other.

Crawford (R) and Khan (L) squaring off against each other.

April 20 – New York City, NY. Top Rank, Inc. led by Bob Arum, demonstrated once more that after over half a century of promoting, they are still a dominating force in pugilism. On Easter Weekend in New York City, an impressive crowd of 14,091 fans turned out to see a Nebraska fighter take on an English adversary.


WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, of Omaha, Nebraska, appears to be heading up the steps of super stardom. He first arrived on the big stage when he outpointed the popular Ricky Burns on March 1, 2014 for the WBO World Lightweight Championship. After two successful title defenses, Crawford bludgeoned Thomas Dulcimer on April 18, 2015 to win the vacant WBO World Super Lightweight crown. Terence then defended his laurels six more times, also scooping up the WBC Super Lightweight title belt in the process, before he moved up to TKO the conqueror of Manny Pacquiao, Jeff Horn, on June 9, 2018 to capture the WBO World Welterweight Championship.
Crawford is a busy fighter and four months later he stopped Jose Bedridden Jr. in a barn burner on October 13 to retain his 147-pound belt for the first time.

Crawford (R) knocking Khan (L) down in round one.

The problem Crawford has faced, however, is that he had not beaten many household names to enhance his reputation. He needed a known opponent to take him up another rung of the ladder. That unlikely foe turned out to be Amur “King Khan” Khan, the former super lightweight king.

At one time, Khan, of Bolton, Lancashire, UK, was a hero in Great Britain. He defeated the great Marco Antonio Barrera on a technical decision (due to a clash of heads) on March 14, 2009, and four months later outpointed Andriy Kotelnik to win the WBA Super Lightweight Championship. Over the next three years he defended his belt five times against tough characters as Dmitiy Salita (TKO-1), Paulie Malignaggi (TKO-11), Marco Maidana (W-12), Paul McCloskey (TD-6) and Zab Judah (KO-5 and also capturing the IBF World Super Lightweight Crown) before being dethroned by Lamont Peterson on a 12-round split decision on December 10, 2011.

Khan (R) jabbing Crawford in the early going.

The loss to Peterson was a disputed one, but when he was destroyed in four rounds by Danny Garcia in his next outing on July 14, 2012, it appeared to be the end of Khan’s rising boxing star.


After two points wins over Luis Collazo (wining the WBA Int’l Welterweight Title and vacant WBC Silver Welterweight Belt) and Devon Alexander in 2014, Khan inexplicably moved all the way up to the middleweight division to take on the power punching WBC World Middleweight king Saul Alvarez, where he was punished and KO’d in the sixth round.

Crawford (R) and Khan (L) looking for an opening.

Once more Khan tried to rise from the ashes and captured a pair of wins over Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas in 2018 to place himself in the #2 position in the WBO World Welterweight Rankings.

Although most believed that Khan was in way over his head against the likes of Crawford, there were still some believers out there (mostly in Great Britain) that Khan’s once vaulted punching power could pull off a miracle. Sadly miracles are in short supply in New York City boxing rings.

Crawford (L) and Khan (R) tryong to make something happen.

The two fighters entered the ring in Madison Square Garden in top shape, but right from the outset, the difference in the two fighters’ power was obvious. Crawford, 146.4, appeared to hurt the challenger with every punch he landed. Khan fought cautiously, while Crawford pounded away with both fists. Suddenly in the opening frame, the champion smashed a mighty right to the head of Khan that froze him for a brief millisecond before a left hook to the face send him toppling to the canvas.

Crawford (L) attacking Khan (R) .

Bravely rising, Khan appeared okay as he moved away from the walloping shots of Crawford. Amir tried to land a few lefts and rights to hold off the champion, but was tagged at the end of the frame with a crunching right hand that staggered him.

Khan (L) pummeling Crawford (R) in round three.

After the beating in the opening round, Khan appeared to have removed the cobwebs from his rattled brain and attacked with jolting combinations. Crawford, however, would then retaliate with a barrage of leather with punches coming from all angles possible, battering away at the Brit’s arms, body and head. Khan, 146.6, kept his composure and managed to score with some telling shots. Near the end of the session, Amir rocked Crawford with a vicious right hand that knocked the champion into the ropes. The right hand wallop was the best punch of Round 2 and won the round for the Brit on one of the judges’ scorecards.


The third round was another close frame as it appeared the champion was biding his time and content to counter off the Brit’s crackling combinations. Khan was still quite cautious, but scored well with some solid blows. This was another frame where one judge awarded the stanza to the challenger.

Crawford (L) staggering Khan (R).

Rounds four and five saw Crawford land effectively with his southpaw right jab and hammered away at the challenger’s ribs and head. Khan would lunge in with a three-punch combination, but then the champion would open with both fist flailing and drive Khan across the ring.

Crawford (R) nailing Khan (L) with a volley of blows.

Going into the sixth round the scorecards had Crawford ahead by tallies of 49-45 (twice) and 50-44. Early in Round 6, Crawford swung for the fences with a mighty left hook. Unfortunately his blow landed too far south and crashed into the groin of Khan, which sent the Englishman collapsing to the canvas. Amir then managed to make it to his feet, wearing of mask of pain on his face.


As referee David Fields questioned Khan and offered to give him time to recover, the challenger first adjusted his protective cup, and then made a comment that he was unable to fight. Because Khan refused a respite to recover, and instead decided he could not longer continue, Fields had no choice but to declare Crawford the winner by a 6th-round TKO at the 0:47 mark.

Khan (L) countering Crawford (L) with a left hook.


The Garden erupted in boos with the apparent surrender by Khan. Up until the low blow, Crawford may have been in control, but it was a rather enjoyable scrap.

Khan (L) is hurt after suffering a low blow.

“I feel like I was touching him [Khan] more and I was picking up the intensity,” said Crawford (35-0, 26 KO’s). He was looking for a way out. I hit him on top of the leg and he got his way out and his coach stopped the fight.”

Both fighters in action.

Khan (33-5, 20 KO’s) remarked, “I want to apologize to all of the fans. The fight was just getting interesting. I could feel the pain in my stomach and legs, and said, ‘I can’t move’ to the referee and my corner. There was no point taking five minutes out, I could not continue. I am not one to give up. I was hit by a hard shot below the belt. I couldn’t continue as the pain was too much.”

Khan (R) trying to bob and weave from Crawford’s punches.

At the press conference, Crawford clearly thought that Khan had quit. When the following exchange took place:
Crawford – “You didn’t quit? Tell everything – the truth!”

Khan – “No, I didn’t.”
Crawford – “Then what happened?”
Khan – “I was hit with a low blow.”
Crawford – “Your leg?”
Khan – “In the leg? It was in the balls! I’ve not seen the video of it, but it was a low blow.”
Crawford – “It was low.”
Khan – “If you guys think I quit, no problem. I never quit from a fight. It was a great fight and Crawford beat me.”

Crawford (L) and Khan (R) going head to head.


The challenger’s trainer Virgil Hunter explained, “The crowd will always be bloodthirsty and want to see a dramatic ending, but you have to look out for the safety of the fighter. He’s not the kind of fighter to make things up. I believe he was incapacitated.”

The problem is that Hunter was not one of those fans in attendance who paid from $56 to $606 to view the fight. Khan refused to take advantage of a five-minute rest in an effort to recover from the low punch. Instead, he waved the white flag and that was it for the evening.

Crawford (R) trying to fight back the aggression of Khan (L) .

Regardless, the crowd witnessed an impressive performance from Crawford who thrilled the fans with a great first-round knockdown, along with incredible power shots throughout the battle. Khan, 32, may be through with his time in the big-time spotlight, while Crawford, 31, has many exciting challenges ahead.


Crawford expressed a desire to take on IBF World Welterweight King Errol Spence Jr. in the near future.
The undercard featured the following:
Bantamweight Lawrence Newton (12-0, 7 KO’s), of Deerfield, FL, oupointed Jonathan Garza (7-3, 2 KO’s), of Eagle Pass, TX, over six rounds.
Super Welterweight Vikas Krishan (2-0, 1 KO), of Haryana, IND, won a unanimous 6-round decision over Noah Kidd (3-2-1, 2 KO’s), of Jefferson City, MO.
Super Lightweight Larry Fryers (10-1, 3 KO’s), of Clones, IRL, decisioned Dakota Polley (5-3, 2 KO’s), of St. Joseph, MO.


Power punching, undefeated middleweight Edgar Berlanga (10-0, 10 KO’s), of New York City, NY, made short work of veteran Samir Barbosa (37-16-3, 26 KO’s), of Rio Grande, BRA, with a first-round TKO at the 0:46 mark.


In a battle for the vacant NABF/NABO Super Welterweight Title, Carlos Adames (17-0, 14 KO’s) bludgeoned Frank Galarza (20-3-2, 12 KO’s), of Brooklyn, NY, in four rounds after dropping Galarza with a whipping left hook.


Lightweight Felix Verdejo (25-1, 16 KO’s), of San Juan, PR, defeated Bryan Vasquez (37-4, 20 KO’s) over ten rounds.

Shakur Stevenson (l) jabbing easily Christoper Diaz (R)

Former Olympic Silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (11-0, 6 KO’s), of Newark, NJ, easily outboxed Christoper Diaz (24-2, 16 KO’s), of Barranquitas, PR, to win the IBF Intercontinental and NABO Featherweight Title Belts by scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92. The southpaw Stevenson a a crafty, cocky and slick fighter that surely has a bright future. “I want to fight all the champions,” said Stevenson. “I’m the smartest boxer in boxing today.”

Teofimo Lopez R) nails Edis Tatli (L) with a hard right.

The popular NABF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11 KO’s), of Brooklyn, NY, KO’d former two-time EBU European Union Lightweight king Edis Tatli (31-3, 10 KO’s), of Helsinki, FIN, with a wicked left hook to the ribs that sent the challenger down and out in the fifth round.


All in all, Top Rank put on a fun night of boxing by having girls shoot t-shirts to the fans with air guns, provide games where audience members adorned with boxing gloves had to put on a Top Rank shirt the fastest to win, and also trivia contests given to some fans with Top Rank t-shirt prizes.

 

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