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

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Something Seems Amiss at The Hall of Fame

By Matthew Hamill

Over the years , I have greatly enjoyed going to the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The opportunity to meet and talk with the boxers and trainers is a great experience to anticipate each June. But reluctantly, 2007 may be my last venture to Canastota, not because the wrong boxers or trainers were selected. Heavens no, the three modern fighters, Duran, Lopez and Whittaker, are outstanding and worthy inductees. No, it might be for another reason.

Rightly or wrongly, I have always felt that no one should be inducted into this hallowed place unless he or she took part in an activity that impacted the outcome of a fight in a viscerally meaningful way. Refereeing and training are such activities. Promoting, writing, announcing, commentating, observing, and painting are not. Guys like Ruby Goldstein, Manny Steward, Lou Duva, and Arthur Mercante Senior belong. Their participation is co-dependently and intimately connected to the fighter. One cannot function without the other. Like analog and digital, they couldn't exist without each other.

Case in point: the late and great Al Gavin was Micky Ward's cut man. He was invaluable to Micky....... sometimes the difference between winning and losing. Steve Smoger refereed Mickey's fight with Emanuel Burton. He could have determined the outcome as well. If Ward's trainer, Dick Eklund, didn’t like what he was witnessing, he could have thrown in the towel. There was an interdependence between these men that was palpable.

Although the aforementioned Gavin was primarily known as a cut man, he trained Erik Harding (21-1-1; 7 KO's) for his challenge with light heavyweight champ Roy Jones in September of 2000. In that fight, Harding suffered a torn bicep muscle in the 2nd round, forcing Trainer Gavin to determine the outcome of the fight. He did. He stopped the bout in the 10th.
Now boxing writers and commentators can write or articulate pristine stuff about a fight, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the outcome. Hell, if the boxing writers need to honor someone, let them limit it to their own Hall or Society. In fact, The Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) has just come out with their awards and Larry Merchant, among others, received an award for log and meritorious service. Let that be the end of it.

LeRoy Neiman, who inexpicably is being inducted this year, is a great sports artist but boxing is just one of many subjects he paints. Jimmy Lennon Junior is a great announcer as is Michael Buffer but God forbid they should be inducted into the Hall. Larry Merchant does not belong, nor does any other commentator, for they in no way impact the outcome of a fight. As it stands now, such luminaries can be inducted into the Hall as "observers." But what in God's name does that have to do with who wins or loses a fight? And just what is an observer? What kind of subjectivity goes into such a selection. What are the criteria for selection?

And before someone tells me that it's all about "fame" and its association with boxing (as in Bert Sugar being famous and being associated with boxing), I say "baloney." Sitting at ringside for hundreds of fights is great for the knowledge base but it should have nothing to do with entry into the Hall, nor should being a professional sports writer. It's just too remote and subjective. Bert is a great writer and has won numerous awards; that should be enough, that's where it should end. King and Arum make millions. That should be enough. Let them have their own awards and rewards. Let's keep the Hall for the fighters and the people who have that special relationship with the fighters.

One important caveat. If some of these so-called "observers" and some of the promoters want to start doing something for the boxers in the way of reform, then maybe, just maybe, I might revise my feelings. Hell, Jerry Cooney and Alex Ramos have done more for their fellow boxers than all the "observers" combined.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Boxing Quotes from Ted The Bull

1. "If I could box like Ty Fields, I wouldn't."

2. "Guys like Danny "Little Red" Lopez make Friday go by faster knowing that you will see them fight on Saturday."

3. " What part of a white towel don't they get? "

4. "He was the type of fighter whose hand would be raised by his opponents after a fight out of respect."

5. "Boxing is one of the few places where you get a second, third and even fourth chance at the brass ring."

6. "A small investment in humility pays big dividends in respect."

7. "If Saad was 'Gatti before Gatti,' then 'Little Red' was 'Saad before Saad."

8. "Ali, the Right Person for a Bad Time."

9. When describing Minto vs. Maddlone, "someone should have told both guys that it's legal to move your head."

10. "This moment was made indelible by Arturo and Micky's complete and total disdain for defense."

11. "Micky Ward is like Sara Lee, nobody doesn’t like him."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ted The Bull's Boxing Awards for 2006

1) Fighter of the year: Emmanuel Dapigran "Manny" Pacquiao continues his winning ways by stopping Erik Morales twice and beating tough Ocsar Larrios in between for good measure.

2) Fight of the year: Jose Armando Santa Cruz vs. David Diaz for the WBC Lightweight Title. Diaz, behind on the scorecards 88-83, 88-83, 87-84 going into the 10th, scores a stunning ko to snatch victory from the jaws of certain defeat. Diaz landed a monster left uppercut that removed all the resistance out of his younger opponent, Santa Cruz. He then went on a savage attack sending Santa Cruz down two more times before being referee Richard Steele mercifully rescued him as he stood against the ropes, absorbing brutal and unanswered punches.

Equally shocking, and arguably more gratifying, was that the sudden Chicagoan's stoppage was able to silence the mouthy HBO Team of Merchant, Lampley and Steward (who had been hyping Santa Cruz all night). This welcomed silence was icing on the cake.

Other fights high on this list were Adamek vs. Briggs and Vasquez vs. Gonzalez

3) KO of the year: Tie between Calvin Brock's KO of Zuri Lawrence and Ponce De Leon's icing of Sod Looknongyangtoy. Both scary and chilling. Sod was administered oxygen while Merchant made his usual insensitive observations. Lawrence was almost decapitated and remained unconscious for several minutes.

4) Upset of the year: Carlos Baldomir over Zab Judah. In Judah's back yard no less and in convincing fashion. The judges get special kudos for doing the right thing and scoring the fight right.

5) Round of the year: Round five of Somsak Sithchatchawal vs Mahya “Little Tyson” Monshipour. No clinches, just pure brutality. Back and forth, give and take, body and head, ebb and flow action. Savage and punishing.

6) Comeback of the year: Golden Johnson comes back to stop Oscar Diaz in Diaz's hometown. Magnificent performance by someone everyone had pretty much given up upon except Jesse James Leja, his trainer. Fight should have been stopped sooner giving strength to one of Sonny Liston's many quotes. When asked about Chuck Wepner's courage after dicing, slashing, and rendering his face a hideous mess, Sonny said 'Chuck's trainers and corner men were the bravest guys in the house." ' Same holds true for Diaz's corner. What were they thinking?

7) Most exciting fighter of the year: Manny Pacquiao.

8) Trainer of the Year: Freddie Roach for his handling and symbiosis with Manny Pacquiao. Reportedly (from Wikipedia), Freddie has developed Parkinson's Disease as a result of his lengthy boxing career, but I have not determined this conclusively. If true, however, all the more reason to salute Freddie for his remarkable and ongoing accomplishments

9) Trainers to keep an eye on: John "The Iceman" Scully and Jesse James Leja. Scully is a very savvy and level headed guy and knows his boxing. He is handling some top fighters out of New England like Jose Antonio Rivera and will break into the big time soon. Jesse James showed something in his handling of Golden Johnson.

10) Worse Referee of the year: Laurence Cole - "you're ahead on the cards, Juan [Manuel Marquez]..." Enough said. Cole has made my list before and bears watching for a possible three-peat in 2007.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Bull's Ten Favorite Fights and Five Favorite Rounds

Ten Favorite Fights

Over the years, I have seen literally thousands of fights and to name my top ten will do injustice to many others and I apologize for that up front. Still, I’ll give it a go and list them in order of preference. Rightly or wrongly, I used the following criteria: I had to see them live or when they were first televised (no tapes, YOUTUBES, and/or videos), ebb and flow, sudden change in flow, controlled violence, courage, imposition of will, superiority of technical skills, pure savagery and personal satisfaction. Here they are.

1. Bobby Chacon vs. Rafael “Bazooka “ Limon: On December 11, 1982, Chacon was dropped in the 4th and 10th, Limon in the 15th round (1982 Fight of the Year - Ring Magazine). It contained all of the criteria listed above and then some. Bobby came back from the brink to win in dramatic fashion. Had to see it to believe it.

2 Bobby Chacon vs. Cornelius Boza-Edwards on May 15, 1983: Same as number one. Ebb and flow, savagery, courage, violence, technical skills…everything was included. 1983 Ring Magazine Fight of the Year. Chacon rose from a knockdown in round one and recovered from a dangerous cut to drop Boza Edwards in round twelve and avenge an earlier defeat. Reemption at a high cost.

3.Yvon "The Fighting Fisherman" Durelle vs. Archie Moore: on December 10, 1958 in Montreal. On the canvas 3 times in round one and once more later in the mid rounds, Moore somehow regrouped and slowly came back. He knew every trick in the boxing book and used every one of them to come back and batter the game Durelle for an 11th-round stoppage. The fight defined courage and will. Only Robinson vs. Basilio kept this from being Ring Magazine Fight of the Year…but that was just plain wrong. Hell, this should have been fight of the Decade.
4. Monroe Brooks vs. Bruce Curry: on April 7, 1978. Old school battle featuring controlled violence until both threw simultaneous hooks in the ninth round with Curry's landing first. This was Gatti-Ward before Gatti-Ward. Violence with a purpose. The exchange of punishing shots was incredible.

5. Alvaro "Yaqui" Lopez vs. Matthew Saad Mohammed: on July 13, 1980 in New Jersey. The first half was dominated by Lopez and in round eight (named "Round of the Year"), he pinned Saad in a corner landing 20 wicked consecutive blows. Muhammad somehow got out of that round and stopped the arm weary Lopez in the 14th round. (1980 Fight of the Year - Ring Magazine)

6. Jaime Garza vs. Juan “Kid” Meza: on November 13, 1983. Sudden fury in Kingston, NY. First Meza down, then Garza down and out. The ko was named 1984’s Knockout of the Year by KO Magazine. The old adage "never hook with a hooker" did not apply, for both fighters were deadly with this punch.

7. Elvir "The Kosovo Kid" Muriqi vs. "Slamming" Sam Ahmad: On July 23, 2002 in New Rochelle, NY. A pier six, ebb and flow brawl. A total of 6 knockdowns called and 2 not called but should have been.

8. Tommy Hearns Vs. Iran Barkley: on June 6, 1988 a winging right hand from Hell suddenly ended what had been a bloody one-sided beat down of "The Blade." The second punch that accelerated Tommy's descent was malefic.

9. Micky Ward vs. Reggie Green: this cult classic was fought on October 1, 1999 and was arguably better than the first Gatti-Ward. I was there and can vouch for the ebb and flow action and dramatic ending in the 10th when Ward finally caught up with the courageous Green. Two lions in the ring. Breakthrough fight for Ward that segued him to glory.

10. Three-way tie between:

Thomas Hearns- Marvin Hagler: On April 15, 1985, these two engaged in unmitigated and non-stop warfare for three rounds before Hagler ended matters with a brutal right. The 1985 Ring Magazine Fight of the Year.

Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo: With his left eye almost totally closed and already down twice in the 10th, Corrales miraculously climbed off the deck and battered Jose Luis Castillo into submission along the ropes to score one of the most dramatic TKO's in boxing history on May, 2005. Ring Magazine Fight of the Year.

"Kid" Akeem Anifowoshe vs. Robert "Pikin" Quiroga: on June 15, 1991, they battled for 12 ferocious rounds for the IBF Super Flyweight Title in an ebb and flow savagery that not only was named the “Ring Magazine” Fight of the Year for 1991 but was one of the best fights ever in the super flyweight division. The 12 brutal rounds landed both fighters in the hospital, and was as close to the edge as two fighters can get. May have contributed to the “Kid’s” death years later.

Honorable Mention:

2002: Ward vs. Gatti

2002: Gonzalez vs. Letterlough

1983: Duran vs. Moore

1981: LoCicero vs. Lee

1976: Foreman vs. Lyle

1976: Williams vs. Shavers

1947: Graziano vs. Zale

Ted The Bull's Five Favorite Rounds

1. Round 10 of the Diego Corrales- Jose Luis Castillo battle in 2005: With his left eye almost totally closed and already down twice in the 10th, Corrales miraculously climbed off the deck and battered Jose Luis Castillo into submission along the ropes to score one of the most dramatic TKO's in boxing history. Ring Magazine Fight of the Year and Round of the Year. “All the nobility, all the savagery, and all the brutality of boxing was captured in one three-minute round Saturday night.” – Ron Borges/Boston Globe

2. The 15th round of the 1950 Jake LaMotta-Laurent Dauthuille championship fight was unparralelled for its ending when LaMotta,. playing possum, suddenly erupts and takes out Dauthuille with only 13 seconds left. He was trailing on the scorecards at the time he staged this miraculous 15th-round knockout to retain his Middelweight belt. Scoring at time of knockout: 72-68, 74-66, 71-69 Dauthuille. It was named the 1950 Fight of the Year and Round of the Year.

3. The ninth round of the Roy "Tiger" Williams- Earnie Shavers fight on December 11, 1976 saw a big change both ways (but it was the 10th that was memorable). The Tiger started strong in the ninth and landed a number of solid shots He seemed in charge but then tired midway though the round and Ernie came on, bombing away and Roy had to hold on and regroup. With about a minute to go, it happened. Roy snapped off one of the hardest left hooks I have ever seen and staggered Earnie who was now in big trouble. Ernie had no answer and likely was saved by the bell. He staggered back to his corner a very tired boxer.

The 10th and last round began and Shavers came out visibly exhausted while Williams appeared confident and ready to end matters and finally emerge as a serious heavyweight contender. He quickly moved Earnie into a corner and applied brutal, non- stop punishment until the Referee called a standing 8 count. Roy thought the fight had been stopped, turned around and raised his hands in victory but when he turned back to see a determined Shavers still standing. The Tiger's spirit visibly sagged. Still, he came on and hit Shavers with blows that would surely have knocked out anybody else. Then, all of a sudden, Shavers started to connect with some medium hard blows to Roy's body which slowed him down. Suddendly he connected with one of his deadly uppercuts with Tiger on the ropes and it straightened him up. He was now hurt and Ernie sensed it. He moved the Tiger into a corner and began throwing his own bombs. Roy could not withstand the ferocious onslaught and the Referee now gave him a standing eight, incredibly the second in the round! Ernie stood poised, albeit exhausted, and ready to go. As the referee ordered Roy to begin fighting, he took a step forward, hesitated, and then collapsed in the corner a beaten man. Ernie sagged over the ropes too tired to celebrate. The fight was over. That was some 10th round!

4. Ninth round of the first Ward-Gatti fight in 2002. Ring Magazine Round and Fight of the Year. Incredible ebb and flow blended with uncommon violence and sagave head shots. First Gatti unloads, then it's Ward turn. It's the kind of exchange that has everyone up screaming until they are hoarse.

5. In Ring Magazine and KO Magazine's 1980 Fight of the Year, Matthew Saad Muhammad met "Yaqui" Lopez in an incredible war. On the brink of a stoppage loss several times during the fight, Saad rallied to take Lopez out in the fourteenth round. The first half of the fight was dominated by Yaqui and in Round Eight (named Round of the Year) he pinned Saad in a corner and landed 20 consecutive blows. Somehow Saad got through it and dictaed control the rest of the way until he scored the 14th-round knockout. However it was the eighth round in which he lived up to his moniker "Matthew Miracle."

Honerable Mention:

Tommy Hearns Vs. Iran Barkley: on June 6, 1988 a winging right hand from Hell suddenly ended what had been a bloody one-sided beat down of "The Blade." The second punch that accelerated Tommy's descent was malefic. The suddendenees with which this ocurred in round three stunned the crowd into silene.

The fifth and last round of the 1981 Bill “Caveman” Lee - John LoCicero fight in the suffocating heat at the Twenty Grand Showroom in Detroit would give this short battle cult-like status. LoCicero got decked early in the round, got up and pummeled “The Caveman” with between 20 and 25 unanswered and savage shots until he got arm weary. Lee then regrouped and took over pummeling LoCicero until he was knocked out in the same round. First LoCicero almost out, then Lee almost out, then LoCicero down and out! Like Meza-Garza but longer and both warriors arm weary..