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, April 25, 2007

Alfonso Gomez: Why I like him.

By Ted Sares

Alfonso Gomez, 16-3 -2 with 7 ko's, lives in Tustin, California and was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. He is articulate, intelligent and highly personable...all traits that make this 26 year old middleweight one of the more popular fighters today. His amateur record was an impressive 80-10. Like so many young fighters, he originally started boxing as self-defense from the street toughs. He went professional in 2001

Gomez fought Ishe Smith in just his second fight and Jesse Feliciano in his 4rth. In his 6th, he fought Dumont Welliver, 12-1-1 coming in, then Michael Santos, 6-0, Feliciano again (who was 8-1 at the time), and Juan Carlos Amezcua, 9-0. Finally, he got somewhat of a breather when he fought Antonio Garcia who was 14-16. After a few more fights, he ended Peter Manfredo Jr's unbeaten record of 21-0. He later beat tough Jesse Brinkley, 25-2.

On May 4, he fought long time rival Jesse Feliciano for the third time in a brutal eight round battle. Despite a strong showing, the fight was declared a draw. He then fought Carson Jones, 12-2, on August 25 and put on a clinic with his skills before knocking out Jones in the 8th canter. More recently, he won a Contenders bout in the UK with a one-sided win over mismatched Martin Conception. In short, he has split two with Peter Manfredo Jr and three (one was a draw) with Jesse Feliciano. The same Jesse who recently beat Delvin Rodriguez in a great come-from-behind thriller at Foxwoods.

When I watch him fight, I am reminded of a guy who went to battle in the 50s and 60s and that’s probably why I like him so much. He has an “old school” willingness to fight other tough fighters multiple times and I highly respect that sort of thing. There is no padding in Alfonso Gomez’s record.

Gomez is an orthodox fighter who meshes Mexican macho with American technique. While the result has not yet become a killer cocktail like that of Barrera or Marquez, the potential is definitely there. Still, his all-action style is very crowd pleasing. His head feints, leg movement, combos and other moves are old school. Though he tends to take too many shots, his chin is solid. He also has a tendency to fight at the level of his opposition. Of course, when the opposition is as good as his record reflects, that may not be a bad thing.

If I have any real criticism, it's that he sometimes throws one shot at a time and admires his work, but when he puts punches together in combos and uses his vaunted left hook, he is extremely effective. He does seem to tire a bit in the mid-rounds which sometimes allow his opponents back into the fight. He needs to become a more decisive closer and with Sugar Ray Leonard around, that should quickly become part of his tool box. All in all, his negatives lend themselves to quick correction and when resolved, he will become even more formidable.

When he called out Peter Manfredo in the first contender series, viewers were pleasantly surprised at his hubris. But when he beat him, viewers were shocked. What was lost in this was Alfonso's machismo. He could have selected someone less imposing as Peter, but he would have none of that. Only the toughest would suit him. And that's when I became an Alfonso Gomez fan.

“I’m not worried about the competition…It’s just a matter of who wants it most, and I want it more than anything in the world.” Alfonso Gomez

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Smart Money

By Ted Sares

On March 2, 2007, highly touted Samuel Miller, 16-0 with 13 ko's, met 39 year old Darrell Woods, 26-10 1with 18 ko's, in Tampa, FL in a classic young and promising fighter vs. aging quasi-journeyman. Those who are into due diligence would note that Woods was on a 3 fight win streak in which he had victories over such notables as Levan Easley and Emmett Linton, 33-3-2.

Woods has fought the much better opposition including splitting two with Kenny Ellis twice, Marlon Thomas, hot prospect Joachim Alcine (in Montreal), Kaseem Ouma, Rafael Williams, Jason Papillion, Keith Mullings, Anthony Stephens and Bronco McKart.

Miller's first 12 fights were fought in his native Columbia and were against unknown competition with awful records. He then settle in as Seminole Hard Rock Arena regular in Hollywood Florida and quickly became a fan favorite.

So the stage was set: It had all the ingredients; young vs. old, veteran vs. upstart, both fighting out of Florida, one with his career ahead of him; the other in the late stages of his respectable career. The uninformed and non-researchers liked Miller; the smart-money people liked Woods. Shades of Rossy-Chambers or Melito-Cooper. However, the one thing no one expected was the kind of fight it would turn out to be.

After absorbing a monster onslaught of almost 100 punches in the first round, Woods stormed back to send the emerging prospect to the deck with a wide right in the second canter. He then put Miller down again early in the third with another and more stylish right hand. Miller was now on queer street and Woods stepped up the attack hoping to close matters. But all of a sudden, a savage shot to Darrell's head stopped him in his tracks. Miller quickly pressed the action and pummeled Woods viciously for the final two minutes of the round. Talk about a turnabout; talk about ebb and flow. This was breathless stuff and it was only the third round. If the fight had ended there, I would have been amply satisfied, but there was much more to come.

Somehow, Woods regrouped and dictated the action by fighting tall in rounds 4 and 5, forcing the younger Columbian to hold on at times. In the sixth round, a point was deducted from the Colombian for holding...he had been warned earlier by referee Dennis DeBon. After that, and in the tradition of Maddalone and Minto, both fighters showed total disdain for defense and went headhunting with alternating shots. They took turns staggering each other in a give-and-take, ebb and flow battle down the stretch. Woods demonstrated an iron chin in the seventh as he absorbed vicious and continuous shots during the last half minuet of the round. How he weathered the storm remains a mystery to me …and I'm sure to Miller.

Samuel started out the eighth and last round of this middleweight bout as a stalker, closing off the rings and quickly getting Woods into trouble. A knock down would put the outcome up for grabs. Miller had to do it; Woods had to avoid it. Talk about last minute drama.

Then, after having lost the first half of the round, it was Wood’s turn to take over and he launched a barrage of telling shots at Miller which likely evened things up in the round. Fittingly, the two exhausted warriors (and they now have clearly gained that distinction in my mind) traded shots to the final bell as the crowd and Teddy Atlas roared its approval. “Bam,” first one landed on Woods and “pow” a counter struck Miller. These were not the “pity patter” punches of tired fighters. These were the crushing blows of combatants who wanted victory.

In retrospect, Woods undoubtedly was seen as a reasonably safe step-up fight for Miller. Bad choice on Miller’s part, as the veteran refused to be the prospect’s foil and roll over. His two early knockdowns and his stalking and pursuit of Miller in the middle rounds was enough to give him a righteous majority decision victory.....by scores of 76-73, 76-72 and 75-75, as he handed the Columbian warrior his first pro defeat in 17 pro fights. But we will hear more from Miller...at least I hope we do.

As for Woods, who knows where he goes from here? He is 39 and on a 4-fight win streak over extremely tough competition. Hey, anything can happen in boxing and I hope something good happens to this tough guy who provided thrills and chills on March 2.

At any rate, Katsidis and Earl in February was my fight of the year until this one. But will Ring Magazine give it to two guys who gave their all in an eight rounder?.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ted Sares interviews Mike Anchando

Mike Anchando, 27-1, has won two big fights since his devastating loss at the hands of Jorge "La Hiena" Barrios in April 2005, a fight in which he also relinquished his WBO Super Flyweight Belt. Since then he has won two fight and is set for another this month. I got an opportunity to catch up with the affable Mike this week and here is what he had to say.

Ted: Mike, how are you feeling these days?

Mike: I am at 110% mentally and physically. My mind set is right! I am focused and confident.

Ted: How did you feel about your comeback wins against Antonio Ramirez and then Armando Cordoba?

Mike. Oh man, these were great confidence builders for me. My next fight, which will be on ESPN2, will be against a Dominican by the name of Darling Jimenez in Washington D.C. on April 27. He fights out of the Bronx and is 22-2.

Ted: Yeah, I see where he ko'd Jose Soto.

Mike: Don't worry, I'll be more than ready. My focus is on Jimenez and no one else. Look, I am on a path of redemption and am determined to get back to where I was as a World Champion.

Ted: Would you like to fight Barrios again?

Mike: Most definitely, I'd like nothing more (Mike's voice tenses up in anger), but this time I'll come into the fight fit and ready and will not get dehydrated which, by the way, is a very scary experience. I was in the hospital 5 days after my Fight with the "Hiena." It was something I never want to repeat.

Ted: There was plenty of blame to go around on that one.

Mike: What happened happened. At the end of the day, I am accountable for myself. That's now behind me and I need to look ahead.

Ted: Not only are you a realist, Mike, but you are refreshingly honest.

Mike: My solution to my problems is "application," and that's what's you will see on April 27.

Ted: How do you now fighting as a lightweight?

Mike: I am very comfortable; it makes all the difference in the world. Making the lower weights was killing me. Fighting as a light weight, of course, opens the door to other targets down the line like Joel Cassamayor, all the Diaz's and some others as well.

Ted: Mike, how are you making out with your new team?

Mike: Just great. Ed Rosa, who also works with Luis Collazo, is my publicity and promotions manager and I hooked up with a genius trainer by the name of Leo Thelesittes in Tarpon Springs, Florida to get myself back in top condition for a couple of months. The man is seventy- nine years old and he trained right along with me. He's a living legend. That's what I really needed . . . someone like Leo to guide me. He trained Hagler and Duran among many others. I also worked with Roger Bloodworth in Tampa who, as you know, is top notch.

I've now moved my base from Florida to a gym in Vernon, CA, and have been working out under the expert and watchful eye of Joe Hernandez, a great trainer who has worked with my friends and fellow boxers, Edwin Valero and Daniel Ponce de Leon, both of whom are in fantastic shape. Andy Moses is my manager. "Team Anchando" is well in place.

Ted: Why Southern Cal?

Mike: The Southern Cal area is my roots. I have definitely regained the passion that I need as a boxer. Heck, I put on my first pair of gloves at 5 years old. Boxing has opened a lot of opportunities, a lot of doors, and this fight with Jimenez is going to be another.

Ted: It was great to speak with you, Mike. I'll be rooting for you on April 27...which by the way is the date Frietas meets Diaz at Foxwoods.

Mike: Like wise, Ted. Let's get together when you come to California. And oh yeah, I'd love to meet the winner of that fight, but first things first.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Blood Sport

By Ted Sares

24-year-old Filipino Angelito "Lito" Sisnorio was coming off a fourth-round TKO to reigning WBC flyweight champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, 63-2 coming in. Wonjongkam had won close to 60 in a row coming in! It was the Filipino’s third defeat in a row.

He then fought former WBC flyweight champion Chatchai Sasaku, 58-3, at the Wat Sing School in Thailand on March 30. Sasakul had won his last six fights, four by stoppage, while the Filipino won only five of his 11 fights. Sasakul is the fighter who battered, yes battered, Manny Pacquiao for six rounds before Manny caught him with a devastating combination to win the title by a sensational eighth-round knockout in 1998.

The vastly-experienced Sasakul predictably ended the fight via a fourth-round knockout. He had landed a series of vicious right hooks, forcing "Lito," who had absorbed tremendous punishment, to go down for the count at 2:35. Later, he fell unconscious while eating dinner and was rushed to Bangkok’s Piyamin Hospital where he underwent emergency brain surgery to remove a blood clot. Sadly, he failed to regain consciousness.

His death prompted the Philippine Games and Amusement Board to ban all fights involving Filipino boxers in Thailand starting April 2007. According to BoxRec and other sources, this fight had no approval from the Philippine boxing commission, Games and Amusement Board (GAB), and was considered to be illegal.

So much for the grim details...but let's take a closer look. Why was a 10-6 fighter (or was it 5-4) allowed to fight a 58-3 former champ? And this after having been knocked out by the great Pongsaklek Wonjongkam just two months earlier.

I recently complained about the mismatch between Amir Kahn and Stefy Bull, but this was on a much deadlier level. This was culpable and egregious. This was not boxing; this was blood sport. This terrible mismatch was not on global Television, nor was it widely publicized...maybe that's why it was allowed to happen. My God, here's a kid who finished his career with a total of 11 fights or 17 fights depending how you interpret BoxRec figures, but he's thrown in with tigers like Wonjongkam and Sasakul . That's flat out criminal.

Was an unscrupulous matchmaker in Thailand involved? Did he work with an equally unscrupulous type in the Philippines who allows fighter to go to Thailand without necessary clearance to fight? Did Sisnorio slip out of the country without permission? Has Sisnorio’s manager, Jemmel Contayoso, been questioned? Why did this fight lack approval from the Philippine boxing commission, Games and Amusement Board (GAB)? Why was Sisnorio not licensed at the time of the fight? Why was he still allowed to fight? Why, why why?

This one didn’t come out of the ordinary circumstance surrounding boxing where the referees and ring side physicians are competent and the fighter are evenly matched, but still, a fatality tragically occurs. Oh no, this one involved a flashpoint of culpability that occurred in plain sight. We all know why this one occurred and that’s what makes it so reprehensible and unacceptable.

Hopefully, the right questions were (and are) being framed by Thai officials after Lito had been taken to the hospital. But it’s too late for the 24 year old. His brain quickly filled with destroyed blood vessels. He quickly shut down. And that’s where it all ended for him. In a place where no bell tolls with the final ten count for fallen warriors. It ended in a place where there was no more hope, no more triumphs.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Handicapping De La Hoya vs Mayweather

By Ted Sares

Let’s break this super fight down and come up with the odds.

Record: During his amateur career, Oscar De La Hoya's record was 223-5 with 163 knockouts and he was a Gold Medal Winner at the Barcelona Olympic Games.Floyd Mayweather also had a successful amateur career with a record of 84-6. He won national Golden Gloves championships in 1993 (at 106 lb), 1994 (at 112 lb), and 1996 (at 125 lb). He represented the U.S. in the 1996 Olympics and was on his way to a gold medal before a controversial loss forced him to accept the bronze medal. As a pro, Oscar is 38 -4 with 30 ko's. He has a ko percentage of 71%. Pretty Boy is 37-0 with 24 ko’s and a ko perectage of 65%.

Pretty Boy has won four world boxing championships in four different weight classes, from Super Featherweight to Welterweight, and is a six-time world champion. To most observers, two of his defeats should have gone the other way.

I see this as a wash.

Level of Opposition: Oscar has fought a better level including the likes of Trinidad, Mosley, Vargas, Mayorga, Chavez, Quartey, Camacho, Jesse James Leja, Genaro Hernandez, Rafael Ruelas, Troy Dorsey, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Pernell Whitaker and many other tough fighters. A won lost analysis of his opponents would be astounding as many of them came in with undefeated records.

Floyd, on the other hand, has not fought anywhere near that level. Aside from two with Jose Louis Castillo, his toughest were with Diego Corrales, Baldimir and Judah. He did fight Vargas and Chavez, but they were Gregorio Vargas and Jesus Chavez.Common Opponents: Arturo Gatti and Genaro Hernandez, who were dominated by both.

Big edge to Oscar here.

Age and Dimensions: Floyd is 30. Oscar is 34. Floyd is 5’8 and has a 72’ reach. He is a Welterweight.. Oscar is 5’10 & ½ and has a 73’ reach. He is a light middleweight.Edge to the bigger Oscar.

Style: Oscar is an orthodox fighter who looks to land a devastating left hook following stiff jabs. He also has developed a solid right cross. He can brawl or box depending on what’s required and has solid late round power. He is capable of backpedaling if the going gets rough and this can cost him, as it did against Trinidad in a fight that he should have won. I doubt, however, that Floyd can back him up.

Floyd is the complete package. He is one of the most talented fighters to come along in some time. He blessed with speed, stamina, power, sharp punching, a solid chin and great defense. His old school moves are so subtle, most observers miss them. Whether he can engage in a brawl still remains to be seen, but that’s not his fault. I also see him as a better defensive fighter slipping punches with deft shoulder rolls and head movement. Floyd’s superior speed and great counter punching ability should give him the advantage in any furious exchanges, but he needs to be careful of THAT left hook.

Edge to Floyd Mayweather.

Corner: Roach vs. Mayweather. Slight edge to Floyd as Oscar has had too many different trainers, but you can’t argue with success.

Intangibles: Floyd has a boxer’s pedigree. Moreover, his father may offer sharp insights into Oscar’s weaknesses. Oscar has been taken out (by Hopkins), while Floyd has been seldom even wobbled.

Oscar has been in many mega fights and has great focus. As well, he can cement his legacy as one of the truly great fighters of our time with an impressive win.

As for conditioning and stamina, both fighters will be fit and ready.

Wash here as well.

The Fight: The fight could very well end up being overly tactical and, as such, not particularly compelling. However, if Oscar can use his size to back Floyd up, it could get interesting. But If Floyd begins to punish Oscar with quick in- and-out shots, it could get interesting from another perspective. Still, styles can make fights, and the two styles here suggest a less than exciting fight. I hope I am wrong.

Odds: Even money at fight time with an almost imperceptible lean toward Mayweather.