Category Archives: History

History for new site

January 20, 2019
January 20, 2019
Floyd Mayweather

Action Images/Reuters

Feedspot followFeedly follow

ON THIS DAY in 2001, a 23-year-old Floyd Mayweather, campaigning as a super-featherweight, met tall gunslinger Diego Corrales. What followed was, some experts say, Mayweather’s finest performance.

The anticipated thriller took place at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and “Pretty Boy,” as Mayweather Jnr was then known, defended his WBC super-featherweight title against the big-hitting warrior known as “Chico.”  The expected tough night for Floyd did not materialise. Instead, the bout turned out to be a one-sided beat-down in the favour of the unbeaten master from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Sporting a 24-0 record, Mayweather shone like never before. The tall and ultra-dangerous Corrales was coming off an impressive third-round stoppage of Angel Manfredy, and the undefeated 22-year-old  who was 33-0 had won six of his last seven by KO. The former IBF 126-pound ruler (title never lost in the ring), was widely expected to give the flashy, superbly-skilled Mayweather his toughest test yet. Some fans even went further, comparing the upcoming fight to the 1981 welterweight classic between Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns. Instead, though we saw a classic performance, no great fight was witnessed.

What we saw one man’s utter dominance over another at the highest level of the sport. Five times in all the freakishly brave Corrales hit the man – only to get up and fight back, or try to fight back, on each occasion. Corrales never won a round all night, and in the end, after the fifth knockdown, in the tenth-round, Diego’s corner threw in the towel. As was his warrior nature, Corrales went all-but berserk, chewing out his corner for coming to his rescue.

In actuality, though, Corrales was saved for another day. On this night he was never going to beat Mayweather. Of course, to this day, no man has bested Mayweather, but back when he was making a very good fighter look incredibly ordinary, Mayweather was busy meeting and defeating the best around. Today, some critics say the number-one fighter on the planet is guilty of “cherry picking” his opposition.

That accusation is another article altogether. But when Mayweather was willing to risk his perfect record against dangerous and risky punchers like Corrales, “Money” showed he is more than capable of rising to the occasion.

Since January 20th in 2001, Mayweather has boxed 24 times and he has claimed titles up at lightweight, light-welterweight, welterweight and light-middleweight compiling an overall 49-0 (26) ledger. However, some say he has never looked better than when he was chopping down Chico.

As for Corrales, he went on to engage in some fantastic wars; his 2005 epic with Jose Luis Castillo being a fight that will never be forgotten. Sadly, he left us far too young, when a motorbike accident took his life in 2007. Then aged just 29, Corrales’ final ring record reads 40-5 (33).

Read more ON THIS DAY articles here

Subscribe to BOXING NEWS, established in 1909, and the longest running publication on the market. SAVE MONEY and GET THE BEST COVERAGE EVERY WEEK.

January 19, 2019
January 19, 2019
Sugar Ray Robinson

Feedspot followFeedly follow

IT has never actually been established who was the first critic to utter those immortal words “They never come back!” But whoever it was, he certainly knew what he was talking about. The pages of fistic history are full of great names such as Jim Corbett, Jim Jeffries, Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles, all of whom were world’s champions – but none of whom could beat Old Father Time.

Now a new name has been added to the list – Sugar Ray Robinson, former world’s welter and middleweight champ, who gave an inept display before being outpointed by Ralph “Tiger” Jones in front of 7,282 punters at the Chicago Stadium in Chicago, Illinois on January 19, 1955.

Jones had lost his previous five fights, and no one gave tuppence for his chances against Robinson, who was a 3-1 on favourite.

But this was not the old Sugar Ray. It was fantastic to watch him backing away from his opponent for practically all of the 10 rounds. Jones went to work right from the opening bell and punished Robinson freely, the latter finishing the first round with a bleeding nose.

Although he improved slightly in the following session, Ray was still on the receiving end. Soon he had a gash over the right eyebrow, which gave trouble throughout the bout.

Each round was a pattern of the former, Ray striving to keep out of trouble, and Jones plodding after him relentlessly. The former champ was pitifully slow, and Jones found no difficulty in belabouring him on the ropes with two-handed attacks.

In the last two sessions, when it was obvious that Robinson would have to knock his man out to win, we saw flashes of his old form. But these were all too few, and Jones was in no real trouble.

The “Tiger” was a unanimous winner, and hopes to get some lucrative matches as a result of his victory. He is nearly 27, and has only lost one fight inside the distance during five years as a pro. He has met Kid Gavilan and Joey Bratton, Danny Womber, and Bobby Dykes.

Robinson strongly denied that he now intends to retire. “I never figure to win them all,” he said. “You’ve got to figure you’ll get beat somewhere along the line. I don’t want to quit. This was a test. Like my manager said – just too tough for a second fight on a comeback.

“I knew it wasn’t good, but I thought I’d have some. I don’t know what I’ll do now. But I’m not through. More training and more fights.”

Why bother, Ray? Surely you don’t need the money.

For the record the referee was Frank Sikora who scored it 99-94 in Jones’ favour. Judges Ed Hintz and Howard Walsh had Jones by scores of 100-88 and 98-89 respectively.

The gross gate was $27,419 and the net gate was $22,778.

READ Sugar Ray Robinson: There will never be another

January 18, 2019
January 18, 2019
Oscar De La Hoya

USA Today Sports

Feedspot followFeedly follow

IT is a measure of the quality of WBC light-welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya that his unanimous 12-round points win over previously undefeated challenger Miguel Angel Gonzalez at the Thomas and Mack Center was but a warm-up for big things.

For many, overcoming a man who had won 41 straight fights as a pro, including 11 for the WBC lightweight crown before weight problems forced him to vacate, would constitute the highlight of a career.

But such are the expectations now surrounding the “Golden Boy” that the win, De La Hoya’s 23rd in a row, seemed overshadowed by his next fight.

De La Hoya will now step up to challenge Pernell Whitaker for the WBC welterweight title.

Oscar’s chances against slippery southpaw Whitaker remain intriguingly uncertain after a performance which mixed some sublime skills with a caution not previously seen.

At times, 23-year-old De La Hoya could hardly miss with the left jab. He also jolted Gonzalez with some superb left hooks, which the Mexican did well to absorb without going down.

“When I move up to welterweight I will be even stronger than I am now,” he said, admitting he had sometimes had trouble preparing for Gonzalez because he was looking forward to Whitaker.

“Now I can focus on Pernell Whitaker. He is the best fighter in the world, a southpaw and very difficult.”

“Against Whitaker I will be in the best shape of my life. I’m not at all surprised that Miguel Angel Gonzalez took my punches. He is a warrior. He was unbeaten and had won a lot of fights.”

Gonzalez conceded: “I couldn’t cope with his jab. He was just too much tonight. He is a very strong fighter. Very strong, very fast and accurate.”

Confusion and controversy surrounded the other light-welterweight championship bout on the show with Kostya Tszyu’s IBF title defence against Leonardo Mas ending in a first-round technical draw (later changed to a no contest).

The brilliant Sydney-based Russian Tszyu, had already floored Mas twice when a big left hook sent the reluctant Puerto Rican to the deck just before the bell sounded to end the round.

Ref Joe Cortez sent 27-year-old Tszyu to a neutral corner and picked up the count which he completed during the interval.

It was then that things became complicated. Mas stayed sprawled out on the floor, raising himself onto one elbow to dab at his right eye with his left glove as Cortez attended to him and the crowd booed.

It soon became clear that Mas either could not or would not go on, but the way Tszyu was ordered to stay in the neutral corner by Cortez left the outcome in doubt.

At first it seemed Tszyu might be disqualified for landing the final punch after the bell – it did not seem late – but after several minutes it was announced that because Mas had been unable to continue as the result of “an unintentional illegal blow”, the result was declared a technical draw.

“The referee said that as it was an accidental foul, he would have given Mas five minutes to recover,” commented Marc Ratner, the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commision.

“But the doctor said Mas had a possible dislocated jaw. He certainly couldn’t go on. Under our rules, and the IBF rules, it was a technical draw. If the fight had gone six full rounds, it would have gone to points.”

The draw enabled Tszyu to keep his crown, but he felt he had been robbed of a conclusive victory.

“I never heard the referee say anything” he protested. “I kept hitting him. This was wrong. I deserved the win.”

Tszyu rejected accusations that Mas was pretending to be hurt.

The Puerto Rican, who fights out of Miami, looked petrified from the start. It was so one-sided that it was only a question when Tszyu would nail Mas. After two knockdowns he was hanging on for dear life when Tszyu broke free long enough to bang in the big left hook which sent Mas down and began the controversy.

Atlanta Olympics bronze medallist Floyd Mayweather Jnr (19) scored his third win in as many pro fights, the second inside the distance, when he outclassed Jerry Cooper in the first of a scheduled four-rounder.

Las Vegas-based Mayweather – with uncles Jeff and Roger in his corner – calls himself “Pretty Boy” and is in no danger of having his features damaged by the likes of Cooper.

Jerry did not land a significant blow. Instead he was on the receiving end from the start, being jolted by a left jab in the opening seconds and then floored from the same blow to the body not long after.

He rose but was nailed with lefts and rights from the fast and accurate Mayweather.

Floyd banged the body to put him down again. He rose at three but referee Mitch Halpern sensibly waved it over.

“I just wanted to do something to get the crowd going and make them like me,” said Mayweather. “I went out there first to win and second to impress people.”

More starpower came in the form of the great light-flyweight champion Michael Carbajal lost his IBF title to Mauricio Pastrana via split decision on the show.

Also shining on the bill was a rising Puerto Rican welterweight prospect called Daniel Santos. He stopped fellow southpaw Reynaldo Ramirez. There were also successful outings for Stevie Johnston, Vassily Jirov and Butterbean on an unforgettable winter’s night on the Strip.

January 17, 2019
January 17, 2019
Muhammad Ali

Feedspot followFeedly follow

TUBES of flesh wrapped the old man’s stomach as he sat on his stool and waited for the bell. Dark rings gathered on his face, threatening to take the life from his eyes. Muhammad Ali’s final appearance as a prizefighter in December 1981 was a sad parody of what had come before. For the first time in his 39 years he knew he could not compete.

“I just couldn’t do what I wanted to,” he whispered when it was all over. His speech was slurred, the early effects of neurological deterioration stealing the edge from his words.

Ali’s career, the most hypnotic advertisement for the noble art, came with a price. But such astronomic levels of greatness always do.

The world will never forget what Ali achieved along the way. It wasn’t just exploits in the boxing ring that shaped his legend. He was so much more than his Olympic gold medal, his three world heavyweight championship reigns, and his outrageous feats of fistic mastery.

His courage shone brightly in the face of every boundary that life presented. Submission to those obstacles would have made his existence less complicated, and sheltered him from the harsh realities of his era. But, unlike the vast majority, Ali would never turn a blind eye to what he knew was wrong.

muhammad ali

He rejected his slave name and anchored Muhammad Ali in black history.

In the 1960s he fought for what he believed in, and against the wrath of his country, when he declared the Vietnam War a pointless conflict. He sacrificed his world title, and three of his peak years, to remain loyal to his religion, his beliefs, and his race. As a young man he stood tall as his nation labelled him a traitor. His stance would play a huge part in the conclusion of that dreadful fighting in Vietnam.

Even when he was subdued by Parkinson’s Disease, he refused to stay in the background, protesting against the Gulf War, and voicing his disgust at the 9/11 terror attacks.

But it was his absurd talent for boxing that created the pedestal for Muhammad to shape an era.

He was such an intelligent boxer, whose biggest strength was his ability to break his opponents mentally and then physically. At his balletic pomp, his reactions were as quick as his lightning fists, and his mind as sharp as a razor blade. The way he befuddled the seemingly indestructible Sonny Liston in 1964, and subsequently dominate every challenger, has the power to seduce any sports fan.

And when he returned after his hiatus in 1970, he slowly adapted his game to cope with the menace of George Foreman, forge an indelible grudge with Joe Frazier, and emerge from the most talent-laden heavyweight era in history as the undisputed best.

He was far from faultless, both inside the ring and out; his mouth at times distasteful, his style occasionally clumsy, but no man gave so much in the pursuit of victory and righteousness.

In short, Muhammad Ali was The Greatest.

Read more ON THIS DAY articles here

Subscribe to BOXING NEWS, established in 1909, and the longest running publication on the market. SAVE MONEY and GET THE BEST COVERAGE EVERY WEEK.

January 16, 2019
January 16, 2019
Roy Jones

Action Images

Feedspot followFeedly follow

WHEN Sugar Ray Robinson landed his greatest punch, it turned the granite-tough Gene Fullmer into rubble. When Sugar Ray Leonard showboated most memorably it was against Marvin Hagler (or Roberto Duran, take your pick). When Muhammad Ali gained revenge it was over Joe Frazier. For Roy Jones Jnr, though, such moments came against the likes of Glen Kelly (knocked out by a single shot just seconds after Roy had both hands behind his back), Richard Hall (battered into submission while Jones wound up his own lightning versions of a bolo punch) and Montell Griffin (iced in a round just five months after frustrating Jnr into disqualification defeat).

At his peak, Jones was a sublime fighting machine, one who evoked memories of the greatest of all time, and one many considered could go on to surpass his idols. When Robinson, Ali and Leonard quit, each did do so knowing there was nothing left to achieve. But with Jones – arguably as naturally talented as that trio – lingering ‘what if’ questions threaten to stain his legacy forever.

Which isn’t completely fair. He blazed onto the professional scene on the back of an infamous bad decision that robbed him of gold against Park Si-Hun at the 1988 Olympics. In his third pro outing he halted future world title challenger Ron Amundsen, he went 16-0 after knocking former welterweight titlist Jorge Vaca in a round, and then found time to spank world-class Jorge Castro, Percy Harris, Glenn Thomas and Glenn Wolfe before he claimed his first major title – IBF middleweight – with a clear decision over Bernard Hopkins in 1993.

He then dominated the awkward Thulani Malinga in a tune-up, thrashed the usually durable Thomas Tate in two, before moving up in weight and challenging IBF super-middleweight champ James Toney. “Lights Out” would perennially claim he was weight-drained for the showdown but he’d shown no signs of fatigue in the fights leading up to the biggest of his life. Jones dominated his rival on points and though it lacked thrills, it oozed class. Roy the legend had arrived… READ MORE

The tough Vinny Pazineza, Tony Thornton, Merqui Sosa and Eric Lucas (whom Jones beat after spending the hours leading to the fight playing in a basketball game) were all dispensed before that controversial loss to Montell Griffin in 1997. Appearing distracted and unmotivated Jones was caught by more punches than in any of his previous encounters. But he was certainly getting on top at the bout’s conclusion when Griffin nosedived after taking a clout while kneeling down. Jones was furious to lose his unbeaten record and the rematch was set.

The opening bell sounded and Jones – a hurtful banger when in the mood – staggered Griffin with his first punch before belting him halfway across the ring with his third. It was clear that revenge would be served, and served quickly. Griffin, a solid fighter at his peak, had no answer to the contemptuous whirlwind ripping through the Mashantucket ring. An outrageous lead left hook exploded off Griffin and he collapsed, before pitching forward like a newborn duckling. Griffin’s eyes were still rolling when Jones leapt onto the ropes, pumped his muscles and bellowed a scream of retribution… READ MORE

In victory, he had claimed a third world belt in a third weight class, the WBC light-heavyweight title. Woken by his stumble in the first Griffin bout, Jones’ would wear an invincible cloak for the next five years.

Accomplished former champion, and future Hall of Famer, Virgil Hill was halted by a sickening body blow in four rounds, Lou Del Valle surrendered his WBA belt over 12, Otis Grant was halted in 10, and Jones added the IBF shade of gold with a comprehensive decision over Reggie Johnson. Roy was beating them with ease.

In 2002 he trounced Britain’s durable future world champ Clinton Woods in six before bypassing cruiserweight and challenging WBA heavyweight leader, John Ruiz, the following year [below]. Many experts predicted the 33-pound weight difference would be too great an advantage for the bigger man but Jones was masterful, using his speed and stunning accuracy to befuddle the champion and come away with a lopsided decision win. Divisional title number four was his, and he had become the first man since Bob Fitzsimmons to win titles at middleweight and heavyweight.

Suddenly, though, something went wrong inside Roy Jones. His freakishly affective machine began to malfunction; his 34 years were conspiring against him. The boxing world refused to believe it when, after rejecting offers to remain at heavyweight, he dropped down to 175lbs and struggled past Antonio Tarver over 12. Looking back, the fact he beat his gifted opponent should be recorded as one of his best victories – it is the only time in his career he faced adversity and won.

roy jones jnr

But in the 2004 rematch he was blown away in two rounds, and then his fall from grace was complete five months later when Glen Johnson brutally stopped him in nine. For those who had seen Jones at his best only a year before, the descent was shocking. Suddenly, those tassled feet were out of time, his lead left hook an erratic missile, and his reflexes an unreliable.

But Jones carried on, and more aware of his legacy than ever before, he desperately tried to roll back the years. Occasionally, against an old Felix Trinidad and a ringworn Jeff Lacy, the public were reminded of his beauty but ugly losses to Joe Calzaghe, Danny Green, Hopkins in a rematch, and Denis Lebedev, shaped Roy’s new image as he chugged into a new decade.

Like Robinson, Ali and Leonard, the Floridian didn’t know when to say goodbye and although he didn’t match his predecessor’s achievements, he too should be remembered for being the best of his era.

Happy Birthday, Roy.

Read more ON THIS DAY articles here

Subscribe to BOXING NEWS, established in 1909, and the longest running publication on the market. SAVE MONEY and GET THE BEST COVERAGE EVERY WEEK.

January 15, 2019
January 15, 2019
George Foreman

Action Images

Feedspot followFeedly follow

EXACTLY 29-years ago today, an unlikely heavyweight comeback was well underway. In fact, on this day, a quarter of a century ago, there were two unlikely heavyweight comebacks being observed – and what’s more the two come-backing heavies were about to run right into each other.

Caesars Palace in Atlantic City was the venue, and a forty-something George Foreman faced a thirty-something Gerry Cooney in a fascinating (if much maligned) clash that was dubbed “Two Geezers at Caesars.” That tagline first appeared, I believe, in the late Bert Sugar’s excellent Boxing Illustrated magazine, yet a better tagline might have been “Punchers Collide.” For whatever shortcomings the returning duo that was Foreman and Cooney might have had, hitting incredibly hard was not one of them. The match-up sure caught the interest of the fans – hence the 12, 581 paying fans in attendance and the many more hundreds of thousands who had parted with some pay-per-view dollars to watch the 50-50 affair on TV.

Foreman, the former heavyweight king who was 19-0(18) on his ridiculed comeback, wanted a shot at the current champ, an invincible-looking Mike Tyson – a heavyweight who was currently enjoying the kind of reputation Foreman himself had experienced almost two full decades ago, when nobody thought he would ever lose – and he thought that a win over the big and dangerous Cooney would help persuade the fans he was worthy of a crack at regaining the title he’d originally won by annihilating Joe Frazier. “It’s time to make Tyson shiver,” George said when asked why he’d departed from his safer than safe diet of feasting on cruiserweights, this mode of fighting having served Foreman well when it came to ridding himself of rust from 1987 through 1989.

I don’t know if anything in late 1989/early 1990 (this side of Ruth Roper and her daughter) made Tyson shiver, but the neat and tidy combination punching Foreman was to show against Cooney might have made “The baddest man on the planet” wonder if a fight with the ageing former ruler was such a great idea. As for Cooney, he too was interested, at least partly, in a go at Tyson; yet his main motive for coming back was to get himself clean and sober and, as he put it, “see what I could do.” Not having ridded himself of the rust a two-and-a-half-year layoff (kid’s stuff compared to Foreman’s ten-year absence) had inflicted on his fighter’s mind and body, Gerry was soon to be ruthlessly KO’d.

Cooney had a good opening round, even staggering Foreman with his lethal left hook. Guided by the knowledgeable and hugely respected Gil Clancy (who had once trained Foreman), Cooney nevertheless deviated from his game-plan.

“I really did [wobble him]. But [Gil] Clancy wanted me to move around for six, seven rounds and then go in,” Cooney told this writer many years after the Foreman fight. “But a puncher, when he hurts someone, he goes for it. But my timing was off and I  got caught myself.”

Indeed he did get caught himself, with Foreman landing some eye-catching combos in the 2nd, decking Cooney for the first time. Gerry got up on unsteady legs and Foreman walked to him and calmly pealed off a vicious left uppercut to the chin, followed by an unneeded right hand to the head. Cooney crashed hard and Foreman winked at ringside commentators Alex Wallau and Dan Dierdorf.

The large crowd, which had been somewhat lukewarm when hearing the intros of both fighters, now cheered Foreman and the buzz of the demand for a Tyson fight could almost be heard inside The Convention Centre. Unfortunately – or the opposite, depending on your view of what would have happened – Foreman never got his shot at Tyson. Less than a month after he’d disposed of Cooney, “Big George” watched as huge underdog James Douglas wrecked Tyson in Tokyo, shocking the world as he did so. Would Foreman have been the first man to KO Tyson had he beaten Buster to the fight? Or would the speed and power of Tyson have been too much for the old man? To this day, fight fans continue to wonder. And at one point in time, it looked as though the “geezer” who emerged victorious on January 15th 1990 would indeed be next in line for Tyson.

Read more ON THIS DAY articles here

GET THIS WEEK’S BOXING NEWS, established in 1909 and the longest running publication on the market. SAVE MONEY and GET THE BEST COVERAGE EVERY WEEK.

January 11, 2019
January 11, 2019
Ray Mercer

Action Images

Feedspot followFeedly follow

ON this day in 1991, Ray Mercer, a 1988 Olympic gold medallist, scored a sizzling one-punch KO victory that not only featured on the year’s highlight reel of knockouts, but also saved “Merciless,” as Mercer was known, from certain defeat.

Facing skilled Italian Francesco Damiani, also a former Olympian (winning silver in 1984), 29-year-old Mercer was challenging for the WBO heavyweight belt Damiani was defending for the third time. Both men were unbeaten – Mercer sporting a 16-0 record, Damiani’s record reading 27-0 – and the battle that took place at The Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City unfolded in a manner that surprised many.

32-year-old Damiani, not too well known in the US at the time, was, to the shock of Mercer and his fans, outboxing the former army sergeant. With his fast hands and his accuracy, Damiani, a Gerry Cooney look-alike (but not possessing the lethal power of Cooney), was putting round after round in the bank. Mercer grew frustrated, and his performance later drew much criticism from the experts, but he refused to be totally demoralised and his heart and power eventually got him out of jail.

In the ninth round, when trailing 79-73, 79-74 and 78-74 on the three score-cards, Mercer unleashed a punch he had been working on in the gym. A slicing left uppercut-cum-hook landed right on the tip of Damiani’s nose and down the Italian went. Initially, it was hard to see the punch that had done the damage; some fans even thinking Damiani had for some reason opted to quit. The replay showed anything but: Damiani was in extreme pain, the punch having clearly damaged his nose, blood soon pouring down the face of the fighter who was counted out. Later, it was revealed how Mercer’s venomous punch had shattered Damiani’s nose.

Mercer had a bad day at the office and he both knew and admitted as much. He had also scored a one-punch KO that fans would talk about for some time.

This writer had the opportunity to speak with Mercer recently, and he recalled the win that is 25-years old today:

“Looking at him, he didn’t look like he could box or that he was fast, but Damiani could really move,” Mercer says when looking back. “He never hurt me. They say speed generates power, and he had speed, but he never hurt me. I was losing that fight from every which way though. But I knew I’d get him. I knew I’d catch him. It was a great punch [I caught him with], and as I saw him down, with blood all over, I knew he wasn’t getting up!”

Mercer went on to score an even more devastating KO win in his next fight, when he absolutely destroyed the heavily hyped Tommy Morrison. Soon after this, arguably Mercer’s most famous win, he was outboxed by Larry Holmes and Mercer’s career saw him settle into a highly dangerous contender, who was ever so slightly short of world championship material. Mercer would give greats Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield all they could handle in close decision non-title losses, but he would never again reign as a champion; having to make do with the nine months he spent as WBO ruler.

As for Damiani, he fought just four more times after losing to Mercer; winning three before being stopped by Oliver McCall in a non-title fight in 1993.

Mercer, a fighter who boasted one of the sturdiest chins in heavyweight history, finished with a 36-7-1 (26) record. Damiani walked away with a final ledger of 30-2 (24).