Ted Sares fought as an amateur boxer in the Chicago area in the 50's. He has since become a boxing historian and member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He specializes in articles that capture the pathos of the sport. His works have been featured on a number of boxing sites and magazines including East Side Boxing, Fightkings, WAIL Magazine, IBRO Journal, Saddoboxing.com, and many others

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Underestimating can be Unhealthy


When Ray Mancini was riding high as the real-life Italian Stallion, his last moment in the sun would be when he met two-time world champion (but shop worn) Bobby Chacon, 52-6-1 at the time, and easily beat him in three rounds. He would then lose his title by upset stoppage to a then unknown Livingston Bramble, 20-1-1, in 1984 but not before giving an all out effort, the result of which was an overnight stay at a hospital and over 70 stitches to close cuts around his eye. The Mancini camp had badly underestimated the colorful Virgin Islander. Bramble's non stop offensive and sharp punches turned "Boom Boom's" face into a hideous and bloody mess.

This upset would have implications for boxing since Mancini, a real life "Italian Stallion," was a major attraction at the time. Bramble not only upset Mancini, he also upset the apple cart of many boxing people who thought they could capitalize on Ray's popularity and make serious money on his future matches. However, It was not to be.

Larry Holmes almost met the same fate when he met and defeated an underestimated and unknown Mike Weaver for the WBC Heavyweight Title in 1979. Weaver had a record of 21 wins and 8 defeats, and many, including Holmes' team, viewed him as a journeyman. "Hercules." proceeded to drop Holmes in round four, however, and gave Holmes all he could handle before being dropped in round eleven and succumbing to the world champion. Weaver would go on to win the WBA Heavyweight Title by a spectacular 15th round ko over Big John Tate.

Tommy Morrison was badly underestimated by Big George Foreman when they fought for the world championship on June 7, 1993. Morrison surprised many critics by sticking to a disciplined strategy of hit and run and clearly outpointing the surprised Foreman over 12 rounds, winning the title. Almost immediately, there was talk of a fight with WBC world champion Lennox Lewis, although it would not have been a unification bout since the WBC has always refused to recognize the WBO. However, much money was to made.

The talks ended, however, when "The Duke" was himself upset in his first defense by the virtually unknown Michael Bentt who knocked out Tommy in round one in front of a home town audience. Had Tommy's team done some due diligence, they would have leaned that Bentt had a remarkable armature career.He won four New York City Golden Gloves titles and five USA Amateur Boxing championships. Both accomplishments remain unprecedented. After having won the bronze medal at the 1986 World Amateur Boxing Championships, he was placed a controversial second in the 1988 US Olympic Trials to the eventual 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist to the eventual 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist, Ray Mercer. He won the right to fight on the Jamaican Olympic boxing team, but refused rather than give up his U. S. Citizenship. He is regarded as the most decorated boxer in the history of American amateur boxing never to have competed on a US Olympic Boxing Team. Unfortunately, someone had forgotten to tell the Duke. Bad mistake.

Of course, the great Joe Louis once underestimated someone named Jersey Joe Walcott. Walcott was considered an excellent boxer and slick defensive fighter when he challenged Louis for the title in December of 1947, but no one gave him much of a chance and it was clear that he had been underestimated. He decked Joe twice but lost a 15-round split decision to "The Brown Bomber" in a fight he had clearly won. Even Louis knew it by leaving the ring before the shocking decision was announced. The very next year, Louis defeated Walcott by knocking him out in 11 rounds.

There are many more fights in which someone was badly underestimated. Can you name some?

"Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion. The potential for greatness lives within each of us." Wilma Rudolph

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Calzaghe vs. Kessler: Someone's "O" must go!

Calzaghe, W 42 (31 ko's) - 0 vs. Kessler, 38 (29) ko's) -0 is a fight that has to be made and someone's O must go! Off their respective fights with Sakio Bika and Markus Beyer, Mikkel Kessler must be given a solid chance to slow down the Welshman's express train. Joe had to battle his way to the final bell of a very hard night’s work with the game Australian (by way of Cameroon), Bika, who came to win.On the other Hand, Kessler brutally destroyed WBC super middleweight champion Markus Beyer in three rounds and now owns both the WBA and WBC 168-pound belts.

As for fighting Calzaghe, the Dane said he has no qualms about facing the 42-0 world champion either in England or Denmark.

Though I am much more impressed with the Pride of Wales' overall level of opposition, Kessler has never suffered anything less than a UD. If you did a won-lost analysis of Joe's opponents (coming in) the result wold be astoundingly impressive. Fighters like Jeff Lacey, Mario Veit, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Evans Ashira, Byron Mitchell, Richie Woodhall, Omar Sheika, Chris Eubank, Robin Reid and Mark Delaney came in with either unblemished records or just one or two defeats. But the fact that he has fought much better opposition, combined with his age, might just have taken something out of him.

The "Viking Warrior" is 27 years old compared to Calzaghe's 34 and that disparity seemed to show a bit tonight against Bika. Kessler's ko percentage is a handsome 76%, while Calzaghe's is just as impressive at 74%. Yet I keep coming back to age vs. Youth and the fact that Kessler may be peaking while Joe has already reached and possibly passed his. If so, this could spell trouble for the "Italian Dragon."

Calzaghe won his title bout tonight in undisputed fashion and remains a great and undefeated champion. But as Promoter Mogens Palle predicted, Mikkel "looked like a million dollars" as he stole the HBO show on this night of sensational Euro boxing.

At this point in time, I see the fight pretty even (though I believe most others will make Calzaghe the clear favorite coming in). The bout's location will be a factor in my final handicapping of this one...if it comes off......and for the sake of fight fans throughout the world, it must!.

Disclaimer: This is a fan site and may not necessarily represent the views of Ted Sares and/or his management.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Disclaimer: This is a fan site and may not necessarily represent the views of Ted The Bull Sares and/or his management.

Amato Enshrined in Leather Hall of Fame

Boxing Writer Enshrined In The Legends Of Leather Hall Of Fame

13.10.06 - The Legends Of Leather Boxing Club of Trumbull County, Ohio enshrined writer Jim Amato to their Hall Of Fame on October 8th. Amato is a staff writer for Boxing World magazine. He also contributes articles to the ( Cleveland ) East Side Daily newspaper. He writes for several on line boxing sites and he created his own site in May of 2005. The link


Jim Amato is a member of the Boxing Writers Association Of America ( BWAA ) and the International Boxing Research Organization ( IBRO ).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Indelible Boxing Memories: Part Two

By Ted Sares

This series started on another site and will return there for Part Three. In the first piece, I mentioned names like Moore and Durelle, Chacon, Tyson-Douglas, Shavers-Williams, and how they contributed to memories that have been impossible to erase. The series continues below.

1) Once, while visiting the Hall of Fame, Johnny Tapia was busy signing autographs in the Museum when his publicist said, "Come on, Johhny, we'll be late for the plane." Johnny apologized to the other people who were waiting and then started to leave. All of a sudden, he spotted this young fellow in a wheel chair who wanted his photo taken with him. When Johhny went over to accommodate him, his publicist got shrill and said "dammit, we will miss our plane." Johhny's reply was "beep the plane. First things first." I'll never forget the look on that young fellow's face. For that moment in time, he was the most important person alive. Wow!

2) I remember listening to commentator Max Kellerman calling for referee Arthur Mercante Jr. to halt the fight between George Khalid Jones and Beethaven Scottland on the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York on June 26, 2001. As early as the fourth round, he said Scottland was taking "a brutal beating." During the fifth round Scottland absorbed more than twenty consecutive punches to his head while trapped in a corner. "That's it!" Kellerman shouted. "This is how guys get seriously hurt." Then, during the seventh round, Kellerman told the ESPN television audience, "I don't like the way he is getting hit.... Those are the cumulative punches that lead to things that you don't want to hear about after the fight." After that round, Kellerman said, "If you're in Scottland's corner you have to ask yourself, 'Is it worth it, for the damage he is sustaining? Is it worth it for the kid's life to stay in these final rounds?' I would say no." After Scottland finally collapsed with forty-five seconds remaining in the fight, Max Kellerman told the television audience, "I feel nauseated. I feel sick. Why does this ever have to happen?"

To watch this unravel in plain sight was nothing short of horrific. I remember at the time that I was up and screaming at the television set, "stop it, stop it for Christ Sakes!" There was nothing I could do; I was helpless. It was awful because I knew what was happening in there as much as Max did. What happened to Kid Paret happened with lightening speed and was almost mesmerizing. This was different; this was slow.
3) My wife and I were at the Hall during the weekend of one of the Gatti-Ward fights and since the Turning Stone Hotel in Verona did not have cable, we checked into another, albeit sleezy motel in Oneida so we could view the fight. Hell, I was more that willing to pay for both rooms for the same night. But what really stayed with me was how all the boxing luminaries were also scrambling to watch the fight. The hell with the banquet; this was far more compelling. On that night they were all fight junkies just like the rest of us....Michael Spinks, Camacho, Hopkins, Frazier.....they all wanted to see these two guys go to war. No egos in play here...just plain interest. Some of these guys were asking me if they could come over to the motel room to watch the fight. It was fascinating.....and unforgettable.

4) In February 2001, I watched a televised fight from Columbus, Ohio between Julio Gonzalez and the late Julian Letterlough that featured five knockdowns and incredible be band flow. What I witnessed has stayed with me to this day. The artillery went off twenty-seconds into the first round when Gonzalez (26-0, 16 KO's) dropped Letterlough (15-1-1, 15 KO's) with two jabs and a right hand flush to the jaw. Then, at the 2:20 mark of the 3rd, Letterlough caught Gonzalez with a clean counter right hand also flush on the chin. It decked him. Both fighters continued to trade bombs in the fourth round and then at 2:48 of the 5th, Letterlough drilled Julio with a brutal left hook to the head. Gonzalez hit the canvas for the second time...this time he fell face forward. They would trade back and forth for the next several rounds taking turns rocking each other with hooks, uppercuts, straight shots and engaging in furious flurry's.. Gonzalez smothered Julian in the tenth scoring heavily to the body. However, with 57-seconds remaining in that round, he got caught with another perfect right hand flush on the jaw. He went down like he had been shot with an elephant gun. His head slammed against the floor and bounced dangerously off the canvas. With his eyes rolling back into his head, I would have bet my home that he was done. But somehow, someway, he got up himself upright using the ropes to climb back up. He barely made it, but he found the strength to survive the round. Then, incredibly, at 1:24 of the 11th, Gonzalez caught Letterlough coming in with a crisp combination. Letterlough, off balance, went down for the second time. The fans were up and roaring and in total disbelief. At the end of this savage war, Gonzalez had done just enough over the course of twelve back and forth rounds to garner one of the hardest earned victories one could imagine. Whew! My jaw aches just writing about it!

Proving he was the real McCoy, Gonzalez would go on to upset Dariusz Michalczewski in 2003 to win the WBO Light Heavyweight Title.....which he would later lose to Clinton Woods in 2005. His current record is 40-3 and he is still very much in the mix.

5) I will never, ever forget the look on Dave Tiberi's face when the decision was announced that he had lost to James Toney in their fight for the IBF Middleweight Title in Atlantic City on February 8, 1992. The scoring went like this:Judge Frank Brunette: 117-111, Judge William Lerch: 112-115, Judge Frank Garza: 112-115. A point was deducted from Tiberi for a low blow in round 6. Judge Brunette was the only one in the house not asleep that night. Tiberi smothered Toney against the ropes and kicked his butt throughout the fight. The utter disbelief which swept through the Taj Mahal that evening reverberated throughout the boxing world. The decision prompted an investigation into unjust decisions in boxing. Ultimately, this investigation, aided by Tiberi, led to the Boxing Safety Act in 1997. Because of the values, dignity and principals of Dave Tiberi, boxing is a much better sport today. Indeed, he retired after that fight in total disgust.

There is far more to this story and it warrants separate and in-depth treatment to even begin to give it its due. Suffice it to say the look of disgust and the look of astonishment on Dave and James' faces, respectively, said it all. Plain and simple, it broke the spirit of a decent man of faith who had worked hard his entire adult life to achieve the pinnacle of his profession. I'll never forget it as one one of the most shameful moments in boxing history.

As an aside, if a national boxing commission is ever established, the very articulate and intelligent Dave Tiberi deserves to be a member

Monday, October 09, 2006

Paz in the Hall?

By Ted Sares

Here we go again. First it was Camacho, then Mancini. While Vinny clearly is no slam dunk, I believe a reasonable case can be made for his induction and that's what I'll try to do below. Then you decide.

Record: W 50 (30 ko's) - 10 Vinny "Vinny Paz" or the "the Pazmanian Devil" Pazienza was a rare four-time former world champion to wit: IBF Lightweight Title, WBA Light Middleweight Title, IBO Super Middleweight Title, WBU Super Middleweight Title.

Style: Short and muscular, he could box to a degree when he needed to but preferred to mix it up. Pazienza fought in a frenetic style that, while not technically sound, won you over with its energy, hustle and moxie. Extremely speedy, particularly in the earlier part of his career, he never possessed one punch knockout power but still had plenty of pop and could wear down an opponent by applying constant, incoming pressure. He threw punches, even uppercuts, from unorthodox angles and sometimes boxed in a frenetic and whirlwind manner. It could be said that his swarming style was somewhat unique as he often threw wild lefts and rights and occasionally his wild roundhouse punches looked amateurish, but if they landed, things could change in a hurry.

After his fight with Dele (which was the stuff of Hollywood movies), Vinny's physique became more imposing reflecting heavy weight training in the gym. Unfortunately, the added bulk and muscle did not seem to add power to his punches.

The Cranston, RI native bled freely and in his later fights his face often would become a bloody mess, but that would never stop him form making an entertaining fight and giving his all. All in all, he may not have been what boxing purists wanted to see, but he was I was willing to pay to see. In a word, he was entertaining.

Quality of opposition: Outstanding. His opponents included Joseph Kiwanuka, Herol Graham, Arthur Allen Glenwood " The Real Beast" Brown, Esteban Cervantes, Eric Lucas (against whom he would make his last title try), Aaron "Superman" Davis (who carved up Vinny's face like a turkey), Dana Rosenblatt (twice), Roy Jones Jr, Roberto Duran (twice), Robbie Sims, Lloyd Honeyghan, Gilbert Dele, Rafael Williams, Dan Sherry, Greg Haugen (thrice) Loreto Garza (where I believe Vinny lost to the referee and not to Garza), Hector Camacho (36-0 coming in), Roger Mayweather, Roberto Elizondo, Harry Arroyo, Jeff Bumphus, Melvin Paul, Brett Lally, and Louis Santana among others. All tough fighters. All with very good won-lost records. Vinny fought eleven who were world champions at one time or another and did this on 16 different occasions. He feared absolutely no one.

Era: 1983-2004. Since his career covered 21 years, it spanned eras in which there were truly great fighters in his weight limits and he would never back down from any of them. He fought in 15 different title fights. His fight with Roy Jones Jr was ill-advised and he took a terrible beating, though he bounced back with an upset win over undefeated Dana Rosenblatt (Dana would avenge this loss in a rematch which he won by a razor thin margin). His trilogy with Haugen was outstanding (he showed considerable boxing acumen in the third fight). He also fought the legendary Roberto Duran twice winning two close ones. One fight that was never made was with Mancini but I suspect that would have been a war of epic proportions. Oh my!

Of course, his win over Gilbert Dele in 1991 was truly inspirational since it came almost a year after Vinny was in an almost fatal auto accident in which he suffered a broken neck. This earned him the WBA Light Middleweight Title. He made history by making the biggest jump ever from one title to another (19 pounds) when he beat champion Dele with an 11-round knockout win in Providence, RI.

He won his 50th and final professional fight in Mach 2004 by rallying to beat tough Tuker Pudwill, 38-6 coming in. Once again, and perhaps fittingly so, his face was a bloody mess from a cut below his right eye, but he still managed to deck Pudwill twice and gain the solid decision win. It is to Vinny's credit that he did not pick a soft opponent for his final bout.

Vinny's self-promotional and theatrical antics were not popular with everyone and he could frequently come off as abrasive, but many of his interviews reveal an engaging, candid and sensitive human being, one who has no illusions about what could have been. Thanks for the memories, Vinny. And best of luck when if and when your name comes up.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Case for Mancini? You Decide.

By Ted Sares:

Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini in the International Hall of Fame? Many have suggested this; others thought he was already in. Few have really dug into the facts. Let's do just that and then you weigh in.

Record: 29 (23 KO's)) - 5. He had a stellar amateur career and in 1978 turned professional.

Style: He was short and very muscular and possessed a great left hook. His whirlwind punching style, though risky, was one in which he went straight at his opponent, punching non-stop and concentrating far more on offense than defense. He was an extremely good body puncher as well, and was always in great shape. But to categorize his style succinctly, he was an incoming brawler who enjoyed furious exchanges and would sometimes suffer the consequences. Nevertheless, he was an exciting type of fighter who gave the fans their monies worth.

Quality of Opposition: During his career, Ray beat some very good boxers, including former U.S. Champ Norman Goins, highly regarded Jose Louis Ramirez (for the NABF Lightweight Title) and Ernesto Espana. But his total number of fights is only 35 so quality is more significant than number of fights.

Title defenses: His first world title attempt came against the great Alexis Arguello and was a spectacular one. Mancini gave Arguello considerable trouble, but the champion used his great experience to his advantage, took control and then took out "Boom Boom" savagely in the the 14th round. The fight was selected by many magazines as one of the more spectacular bouts of the 80's.

Six months later, he challenged the new world champion, Arturo Frias (24-1 coming in), for the world lightweight title. Frias stunned Mancini early in round one and had him momentarily wobbly and bleeding from his eyebrow, but Mancini stormed back with a fury and dropped the champion with a wild combination. Mancini the proceeded to capture the title by trapping Frias against the ropes and after many unanswered blows, forced the referee to halt the fight. Ray was recorded as having thrown 33 punches in 22 seconds during a battle that could only be compared to a cock fight.

He defended the title four times, including a brutal 14th round knockout over South Korean warrior Duk-Koo Kim (17-1-1 at the time) after which Kim went into a coma and tragically died of brain injuries five days later. Much has been written about this fight, but insofar as it relates to Mancini's Hall of Fame prospects, its relevance here is not in point. Still, the fight led to studies that showed boxers take the most damage after the 12th round. Thus, the WBA shortened its championship matches from 15 to 12 rounds. As a tragic aside, Richard Green, the referee of that fight blamed himself for allowing the fight to go on and for Kim's death. He took his own life a few month's later as did Kim's mother.

After working his way though the emotional guilt and depression that followed this tragedy, he came back to beat British champion George Feeney (16-7 coming in), Orlando Romero, Johnny Torres (11-11 coming in) and then defended against two-time world champion (but shop worn) Bobby Chacon, 52-6-1 at the time, and easily beat him in three rounds. This would prove to be his last moment in the sun.

He would then lose the title by upset stoppage to a then unknown Livingston Bramble, 20-1-1, in 1984 but not before giving an all out effort, the result of which was an overnight stay at a hospital and over 70 stitches to close cuts around his eye. The Mancini camp had badly underestimated the colorful Virgin Islander. Bramble's non stop offensive and sharp punches turned "Boom Boom's" face into a hideous and bloody mess. This upset would have implications for boxing since Mancini, a real life "Italian Stallion," was a major attraction at the time. Bramble not only upset Mancini, he also upset the apple cart of many boxing people who thought they could capitalize on Ray's popularity and make serious money on his future matches. However, It was not to be.In 1985, Mancini lost a rematch to Bramble, then 22-1-1, via a close decision (one in which I actually thought he may have won).

This tough loss, coupled with his constant struggle to make weight, caused him to retire. However, like many others who can't stay away, he returned twice more first losing a close but unanimous decision to Hector Camacho in 1989 and then losing to Greg Haugen in 1992 by a decisive, head snapping KO in 7. This ill advised fight was not unlike Sugar Ray Leonard's fight with Hector Camacho. After this beating, Ray Mancini retired for good.

On a happier note, in 2005, The World Boxing Hall Of Fame in Los Angeles, CA, enshrined Youngstown, Ohio's own Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini along with bantamweight titleholders Jeff Chandler and Alfonso Zamora. Also, inducted was 60's middleweight contender Joey Archer. Teddy Atlas and Gwen Adair were enshrined in the expanded category. The affable Mancini is now working and living happily on the West Coast with his family, ring earnings and health intact. One of those happy endings if you will.

But wait. This article is about "Boom Boom's" prospects for induction into the International Hall of Fame in Cannastota, NY. And in that connection, let's pose some questions:

Was a total of 34 fights enough, particularly when 20 arguably were against poor to fair opposition?

Was the overall caliber of opposition good enough? Bramble twice, Haugen (29-4 at the time), Camacho (33-0 at the time), Arguello (72-5 coming in), Ramirez (71-3 at the time), Ernesto Espana (35-4 coming in), Orlando Romero (30-0-1 coming in), Feeney, Chacon, Frias and then it goes downhill.

Was his championship win over Frias that compelling when you consider that Bobby Chacon beat Frias by TKO in 1985 even after Mancini had stopped a worn Chacon a year earlier?

Were his title defenses against top caliber people....Feeney, Romero,Torres, Chacon?Should the fact that he lost his last four fights weigh significantly?

Could it be argued that Ray suffered only three legitimate losses: The Arguello fight, his first fight with Bramble and the sound beating he took from Haugen?

Should he have fought Harry Arroyo, the IBF Title holder and another tough fighter out of Youngstown, Ohio? Some have gone so far as to say Mancini was not even the best fighter in Youngstown.

Could it be argued that his career defining fight was actually a defeat to Alexis Arguello rather than his one round war with mediocre Arturo Frias?

There has always been a lot of melodrama associated with Mancini's career. The Kim tragedy, the thing about his winning the title for his dad, Lennie "Boom Boom" Mancini, who laid the ground work for young Ray's career, his struggles to make weight, his gameness, and so on. But this article is not about that; it's about Mancini's prospects for getting into the IHOF

What do you think?