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

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Record behind the Record

The Record behind the Record

By Ted Sares

Some fighters finish their career with great records that no one ever knows about. Others, like Salvador "Chava" Sanchez's 44-1-1 record, Ricardo "Finito" Lopez's slate of 51-0-1 (38 KOs), Khaosai Galaxy's 49-1 (43 ko's) and Rocky Marciano's perfect 49-0 are well documented. The great Gene Tunney only dropped only one fight finishing with a remarkable 82-1-3-and 2 no contests. Of coures, Terry Marsh won every domestic amature boxing title and went on to retire as the undefeated British, European and World Champion

However, a few others you might not know about include:

"Dangerous" Dana Rosenblatt: 37-1-2 with (23 KOs). His slate includes wins over Vinnie Paz, Terry Norris, Glenwood "The Real Beast" Brown, Howard Davis and Brett Lally. He also beat Chad Parker and Sean Fitzgerald, both of whom retired with great records as well. Dana was a world champion who quit on his own terms.

Chad Parker, out of Biloxi, MS, never fought anyone of note until he stepped up to fight Dangerous" Dana and was knocked out in spectacular fashion in the first round. He immediately retired with a record of 31-1-1 with (25 KOs). Parker was a relative unknown who won his first fifteen all by stoppage—but his first nineteen opponents had losing records. Included among them were Jake Torrance (22-79-2) and Anthony Travis (5-50). He drew with Tim Rabon (14-12-2) and then fought Keheven Johnson (24-70-5), Anthony Ivory (33-77-5), and David McCluskey (20-72-6). A year before his Las Vegas fight with Rosenblatt, he fought Tim Dendy (17-44-2) and won by DQ in nine, which indicated at the time that Parker might be more hype than fight. All told, his opponents had an eye-popping combined won-lost record of 252-753!

Richie "The Bull" Melito, 27-1 with (25KOs), also lost when he stepped up for the first time. He was exposed and iced in 1997 by Bert Cooper in the first round.

Right out of the professional gate, he had won eighteen in a row, eleven coming by way of first-round KO. Only one of his fights went the distance, and that was a four-rounder against the immortal Edgar Turpin (0-6). In all, he had fought twenty-nine rounds in eighteen fights or 1.6 rounds per fight. But like many such records, there was a story behind the story.

None of his first eleven opponents had even won a fight. Finally, he fought unknown Chris Gingrow, who sported a 1-7 record and dispatched him in one round. He then stepped up and fought tough journeyman Mike Dixon in Memphis and did manage a TKO in four, his longest fight to date. Dixon, 16-30, had been in with may top-level fighters, so maybe the Bull had a little something after all.

When he fought John Carlo in his seventeenth fight, it marked the first time he fought an opponent with a winning record. This fight was for the vacant New York State Heavyweight Title. Carlo’s record was 14-2, with his only distinguishing accomplishment being a first-round KO over a completely shot Leon Spinks in 1994. It was one of Spink’s last fights. Other than that, he had fought no-names with losing records.

In fact, Carlo’s most recent fight leading up to July 29, 1997, had been against Eddie Curry (13-27-2) out of South Carolina, whom he beat by a TKO in the third round. Tellingly, Curry had lost seventeen fights inside of three. Completing the circle, he had even lost to Leon Spinks by DQ in 1994. Prior to” the Bull,” Carlo had been defeated by one Derek Amos (14-22) and Crawford Grimsley, both by first-round knockout. Grimsley’s claim to immortality would be a thirteen-second knockout at the hands of Jimmy “From Down Under” Thunder! At any rate, “the Bull” beat Carlo by KO in the second round and “captured” the crown.

Richie “the Bull” Melito’s 18-0 record had been overhyped by fighting seventeen opponents with losing records—and most had never even won a professional fight. Their combined won-lost record was 60-138. To Richie's credit, he finished his career with a string of wins against much better competition.

Alonzo Highsmith, 27-1-2 (23 ko's) was a running back out of Miami who was drafted in the first round, and played football for Houston, Dallas, and Tampa Bay from 1987 to 1992, but Highsmith never finished in the top ten in any major category, nor is he in the all-time top fifty in any major category. Moreover, his boxing opponents were on the dreadful side, with few wins coming against decent fighters with even halfway decent records. For example, he managed to beat the immortal Ed Strickland (0-30), legendary Jim Wisniewski (3-30) twice, and Terry Verners (8-26-2).

Highsmith is now working on getting his PGA Tour card. At thirty-six as a college scout for the Green Bay Packers, Highsmith spends a lot of time mentoring and coaching young football players. And he’s still a big name to many. Highsmith enthusiastically works football camps and assists seriously ill children at hospitals.

Leroy Jones, this 6'5 heavyweight out of Denver won the vacant NABF Heavyweight Title in 1978 before losing to Larry Holmes in his bid for the heavyweight title. Two years later, he retired with a record of 25-1-1 and likely became the subject of boxing trivia questions. Still, he had very good technical skills and an even better final record.

Henry "The Gentleman" Maske, 31-1, was a former Light Heavyweight champion who fought and won after taking a 10-year layoff. His level of opposition was impressive from the very start of his career, but the rap against Maske was that he fought too many fights in Germany.

Marshall Simpson was as Boston area light middleweight who retired with a fine 25-1 record. However, this boxer originally from Jamaica only fought three fighters with winning records. His lone loss came by TKO at the hands of Nate Woods who had lost eight in a row before dispatching Simpson.

So what's the point? Well, for one thing, when analyzing the worth of a fighter, it’s more important to do it on a qualitative basis than on a quantitative one. A guy who's undefeated at 10-0, for example, might not be that much better than a more seasoned boxer with a lousy record. For me, the quality of a fighter's opponents and his experience level are the key and should be closely analyzed to prevent dangerous mismatches. Think not? When Melito fought Cooper in 1997, the “Bull” was 18-0 and had a ko percentage of 94%. Smokin' Bert was 33-17 but his level of competition was light years better then Richie's.


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