Category Archives: History

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December 5, 2018
December 5, 2018
Joe Louis vs Jersey Joe Walcott

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1. WHEN Jersey Joe Walcott was first mentioned as an opponent for world heavyweight champion Joe Louis a 10-round distance was scheduled, and only a knockout win for the underdog would have brought the title into play.

2. THAT plan was righty scrapped and the bout, in New York’s Madison Square Garden on December 5 1947, was scheduled for the championship distance of 15 rounds.

3. WALCOTT had earned the shot by defeating Joey Maxim and Elmer Ray in missions that revenged earlier losses. Despite his good form, Walcott was quoted by the New York Times as a 10-1 underdog, and even the champion – making his 24th defence – called Jersey Joe a “second rater”.

4. THE challenger’s chances were not rated by Boxing News, either. “As a boxer he is not rated in the same class [as Louis],” we reported, “relying solely on swings which may or may not connect. Whether he will be lucky enough to find a mark with one of them is not to be likely and those who know their men do not think the Brown Bomber will have any sleepless nights over the coming encounter or take any sleep draughts during its progress.”

5. BUT Walcott, far better than anyone realised, connected with plenty of ‘swings’. The first came in the opening round when he responded to a hard Louis right with one of his own. The shot put Louis on the canvas for a count of ‘two’.

6. THE champion scrambled to his feet but tottered straight into another booming punch. Louis staggered back to the ropes and staved off disaster with attacks of his own.

7. BUT Louis was struggling against the canny Walcott. The challenger was far from a ‘second rater’. He had a smooth and refined technique, clever yet natural, which was complimented by a hefty whack.

8. LOUIS was dropped again in the fourth. An uppercut launched beneath Louis’ left lead put the champion on the canvas and the upset beckoned. But Louis, clearly a fighter in decline, showed his grit to battle back. He staggered Walcott in the ninth but after 15 rounds it looked like a clear victory for Jersey Joe – so much so that Louis tried to storm out of the ring in disgust at his own performance.

9. BUT the split decision went to Louis. Referee Rudy Goldstein sided with Walcott – real name Arnold Cream – but he was outvoted by judges Frank Forbes and Marty Monroe. Louis, perhaps for the first time in his long reign, was booed by the crowd who believed Walcott had done enough. A ringside poll was conducted from 32 writers. 21 believed Walcott had won, 10 went with Louis, while one notched a draw.

10. THE inevitable rematch would be Louis’ 25th and final defence. But the reign ended in retirement, not defeat as Louis overcame a points deficit in round 11 thanks to a vintage thud that knocked Walcott cold.

Read this next: Jersey Joe Walcott’s reign sandwiched by two of the most savage punches in boxing history

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December 4, 2018
December 4, 2018
Manny Pacquiao

Action Images/Reuters

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THESE days, Manny Pacquiao only has to breathe to get on the front pages. Back in 1998, things were different.

The following is an image of the Boxing News report for his eighth round victory over Chatchai Sasakul that netted him the WBC flyweight belt, the first of many world titles.

Sasakul had lost only once (points to Yuri Arbachakov in 1995) going in against Pacquiao at the Tonsuk College Ground on December 4, 1998.


READ ‘We Will Rise Up’ What Pacquaio means to his people

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December 3, 2018
December 3, 2018
Miguel Cotto vs Antonio Margarito

Action Images/Reuters/Mike Segar

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LIKE a dam with three years of revenge building up behind him, a cool and calculated Miguel Cotto exacted painful retribution on Antonio Margarito before over 21,000 fans inside the cauldron of Madison Square Garden on a cold New York City night on December 3, 2011.

‘The Tijuana Tornado’ had scored a highly controversial win over the Puerto Rican idol in Las Vegas in July 2008. The irresistible Margarito astonishingly battered Cotto to a pulp inside 11 rounds. In his very next fight, however, his doctored handwraps were exposed by Shane Mosley’s trainer, Naazim Richardson, before the bout. The suspicious pads were removed, his hands re-wrapped legally and he was duly smashed up by Mosley in nine rounds.

Margarito and his trainer, Javier Capetillo, had their licenses temporarily suspended by the California State Athletic Commission leading many to suspect this wasn’t the first time Margarito’s team had tried this.

miguel cotto

It is one of the worst crimes imaginable for a boxer considering the damage one’s fists can cause.

All this proved ample motivation for Cotto, who fought arguably one of the finest fights of his glittering career, as Margarito, with his right eye swollen shut, was hauled in the 10th round.

The damage required 12 stitches and the tainted Margarito never fought again.

After the fight ended, Cotto stopped and glared at the Mexican, drinking in his sweet victory. “I wanted to taste my victory,” said Cotto, “He means nothing to me, I’m here with all my people, and he means nothing to me.”

The villainous Margarito was defiant to the core: “I keep saying it: He hits like a girl. I never felt the punches. I never pulled back. He was the one pulling back.”

But it was Cotto who had the last word.

Video: HBO Boxing

December 2, 2018
December 2, 2018
Miguel Cotto

Action Images/Reuters/Jeff Zelevansky

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ON December 2, 2006, in an all-Puerto Rican clash at the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, Miguel Cotto dispatched Carlos Quintana in brutal fashion to win the WBA welterweight title vacated by Ricky Hatton.

The fight pitted two unbeaten fighters against one another and would answer questions about both men, with Cotto setting out to prove that he could mix it at welterweight with the same type of power and vicious body punching that he had demonstrated in the weight class below and Quintana yet to prove that he could handle the power and pressure of a fighter of Cotto’s calibre. In the end, the answers to these questions would be conclusive.

The opening three sessions saw Quintana keeping the fight long, boxing at range and popping out southpaw jabs and straight lefts. The fight had been entertaining and close in the early goings, but, by the end of the fourth stanza Quintana was visibly blowing and Cotto was beginning to close the range.

Storming out for the fifth round, Cotto could sense the end may be nearing. After frequently being tagged with left and rights to the head and body, Quintana was no longer able to keep Cotto at bay. It was an admirable display of guts and resilience which saw ‘‘El Indio’’ reach the bell at the end of the fifth, with two trademark Cotto left hooks to the body having floored, and badly hurt, Quintana. However, the damage inflicted by Cotto’s body punching ensured that referee Steve Smoger was forced to step in and stop the fight on the advice of the ringside doctor at the end of a one-sided fifth.

In his post-fight interview Cotto – who weighed in at 146lbs – declared that he ‘‘felt very strong at the weight”, suggesting that he was ready to begin a new reign of terror – this time in the 147 pound division.

His tenure atop the welters ended with that tainted and controversial loss to arch-nemesis Antonio Margarito in 2008.

Where does this rank among Cotto’s finest stoppage wins?

December 2, 2018
December 2, 2018
Felix Trinidad vs Fernando Vargas

Action Images/Reuters/Steve Marcus

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1. THE light-middleweight showdown between IBF champion  Fernando Vargas and WBA boss  Felix Trinidad was loaded with expectation. It took place on December 2, 2000 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and, while previewing the bout, Boxing News editor Claude Abrams compared its importance to the first  Sugar Ray LeonardThomas Hearns collision.

2. VARGAS was eager to triumph and trained vigorously. There were reports of beaten up sparring partners leaving the 22-year-old’s Big Bear training camp in California because they could not cope with the ferocity. According to reports, future world light-heavyweight champion Glen Johnson was Vargas’ eighth sparring partner.

3. “I HAVE that anger inside because they are saying I’m a kid and this and that,” Vargas, 20-0 (18) explained. “I guess I am a kid but I’ve been whipping these old guys for a long time.”

4. TRINIDAD, 27, came into the bout with more big fight experience and as a narrow favourite. “Vargas is a baby,” the Puerto Rican said. “He can’t beat me. What has he done that makes you think he can beat me? I’ll knock him out and can promise you that.”

5. SUCH chatter was guaranteed to get up the nose of Vargas, whose temper was generally hovering just below boiling point. “How’s he going to knock me out?” he snorted. “What are they going to do – take him into surgery and get him a new jaw? He’s been knocked down six or seven times by fighters not half as good as me.”

6. IN fact, Trinidad – unbeaten in 38 fights – had been forced to get off the floor five times. Each time, of course, he came back to win and each time, the knockdowns occurred in the opening three rounds.

7. VARGAS pre-fight boasts came back to haunt him when he was dropped twice in the opening round. He managed to survive and staged a rally. By the fourth he was back in the contest and sent Trinidad to the mat with a counter left hook. It was a perfect shot, and upon rising at ‘four’ some ringsiders – including Emanuel Steward – thought that Vargas had the power to put Felix away. But the former welterweight champion slammed in a shot south of the border, bought some time, and lost a point.

8. THE American, of Mexican descent, retained control through rounds five and six before Trinidad recovered in the seventh, and stung Vargas with a series of blasts before hammering in another low blow that cost him another point, and granted his rival 30 seconds respite.

9. THE tide, swirling violently in ring centre, turned one way and then the other during the final third. Vargas lost a point for straying below the belt-line himself in the 10th and it seemed Trinidad was the stronger. Vargas gamely repelled defeat for as long as he could – landing a big right at the end of round 11 – but he did not hear the final bell. The Californian was dropped three times in the 12th session, the last time by a chilling right, and it was all over.

10. KEVIN LUESHING, a British fighter who was one of the men to have floored Trinidad, phoned up the Boxing News offices to discuss the savage win. “When Trinidad went to work in the last, it brought back a horrible memory of how he finished me,” said Lueshing. “I was right there in with him again, and it wasn’t nice – brought a shiver down my spine.”

The top 10 fights from the fierce Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry

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December 1, 2018
December 1, 2018
Miguel Cotto

Naoki Fukuda

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‘Austin powers to victory’ wrote Jack Hirsch, in this, our original fight report from Miguel Cotto’s December 1, 2012 battle in New York City.

THE crowd of 13,096 at Madison Square Garden booed lustily every time Canelo Alvarez’s face was shown on the big overhead screen. The Mexican was in attendance for the expected announcement that he would be squaring off against Puerto Rico’s favourite son Miguel Cotto in a light-middleweight unification fight at the MGM in Las Vegas next May.

All Cotto had to do to make this a reality was to dethrone WBA champion Austin Trout. It never happened as Trout retained by unanimous 12-round decision.

The result in itself was not shocking, as some insiders had tipped Trout, 26-0 (14), to upset Cotto. What surprised many was the wide disparity in the scoring for what was a close fight. Judges John Poturaj and Steve Weisfeld had it 117-111, while Adalaide Byrd turned in an inexplicable 119-109 card, not giving Cotto a round until the 11th. I had Trout ahead 115-113.

A pattern has developed in Cotto’s career whenever he faces an elite fighter – he tends to fade down the stretch. It happened again on this evening. Outside the round Byrd had given him, the man from Caguas captured no other on the official scorecards after the sixth.

Trout understood that because of Cotto’s past success at MSG, and the level of crowd support he enjoyed, the burden was on him to do perhaps a little more than he would normally have to. However, it was not working out that way in the first half of the fight.

Cotto (10st 13 1/2lbs), now 37-4 (30), applied effective pressure. Trout (11st), a quick, slick southpaw who moves well on his feet, was frequently forced to hold. He did briefly stagger the challenger with a left hook in the opening round, but not until Cotto started to tire was the champion able to land cleanly with any type of regularity.

Trout, 27, was busy. He kept pumping the jab and throwing straight lefts to the head and body, but few landed cleanly over the first seven rounds. One that did was a low left in the fifth; time was called to give Cotto a short reprieve.

On numerous occasions the tape would come loose from Trout’s gloves, necessitating referee Charlie Fitch to call time. The pro-Cotto crowd booed, but the relatively fresh Trout gained no advantage from these temporary delays.

Cotto’s best round was the sixth when he reversed roles with Trout and boxed beautifully. Twice Cotto sent the sweat flying off the New Mexican’s head, first from a left hook and later a straight right.

There was a clear role reversal by the seventh: it was Trout moving forward and Cotto in retreat. Austin landed a sweeping left hook but Cotto hit the taller man with two flush rights.

Cotto, 32, faded badly over the last five. He would have periodic moments of success, such as in the closing stages of the 10th, when he drove Trout to the ropes and landed a flurry of blows. But for the most part was getting outmuscled.  Trout’s right uppercuts, which missed or were blocked earlier, now found a home.

Miguel Cotto

The crowd tried to lift Cotto. The former champion would temporarily respond, but could not match Trout’s workrate. It was as simple as that. Cotto tried to rally in the final stages, but Trout would not let him get back on top.

Trout, dressed immaculately in a grey shirt and suit, paid tribute to Cotto at the post-fight press conference: “Cotto is a great champion. Just to be able to fight him was an honour. Because it was in Madison Square Garden and there were a lot of close rounds, I had doubts whether I pulled it out. I thought it was closer than the official scorecards. When I heard it was unanimous, I was a little nervous.”

Unlike the unmarked Trout, Cotto’s face was a mass of lumps and bruises. “I am a little disappointed with the decision of the judges,” he said. “They can give the fight to whoever they want, but 119-109 and 117-111 is too wide for what I brought to the ring.

“I am not finished yet. I still have boxing on my mind, but now want to enjoy the holidays with my family.”

Golden Boy Promotions’ Richard Schaefer left the door slightly open to the Alvarez fight still happening. “We will sit down with Cotto and his team to see if it is still a possibility. James Kirkland and Alfredo Angulo are possibilities as well.”

The eight fights on the undercard featured strong talent, but unfortunately for the most part were mismatches.

Jayson Velez (9st), from Puerto Rico and 20-0 (15), looked sensational stopping Salvador Sanchez (8st 13lbs) at 39 seconds of the third round in a scheduled 10 for the vacant WBC Silver featherweight title.

Sanchez, 30-5-3 (18), was never in the fight. The nephew of the late, great former featherweight champion bearing the same name was hit with alarming frequency. Sanchez was game and durable, which if anything worked to his detriment.

Sanchez was dropped right before the bell rang ending round two. Then he was floored twice in the third before referee Harvey Dock stepped in. Velez has the look of a special fighter.

Six weeks after making his emotional return to the ring, cancer survivor Danny Jacobs was back in action again in a scheduled eight. In the opposite corner was Chris Fitzpatrick (11st 9lbs) from Cleveland.

Paying tribute to the recently deceased Hector Camacho, Jacobs (11st 7lbs) dressed in stylish trunks. He also boxed left-handed for the first minute of the bout. The Brooklyn man looked sharp and started to score heavily in the third.  Fitzpatrick was durable, but could not mount any sort of offence.

A left hook hurt Fitzpatrick in the fifth and Jacobs, 24-1 (21), started to pour it on. Fitzpatrick stayed on his feet but it was stopped when he got back to his corner at the end of the round. Fitzpatrick fell to 15-3 (6).

Puerto Rico’s Jorge Melendez, 25-2-1 (24), knocked down North Carolina’s James Winchester, 15-7 (5), in both ➥ ➥ the second and third rounds of their scheduled eight. When he continued to hammer Winchester in the fourth it was stopped at 54 seconds of that session. Both scaled 11st 1lb.

Jeffrey Fontanez (9st 8 1/2lbs), 9-0 (7), outclassed Tijuana’s Pedro Arcos (9st 9lbs), 12-3-1 (9), in their scheduled six. Arcos was down in the first and when he went down again heavily in the second it was halted, the time 1-23.

Michael Perez (9st 9 1/2lbs), 18-1-1 (10) and from Newark, won a unanimous eight-round decision over Mexico’s Fernando Carcamo (9st 10lbs), 10-5 (7). All three scores favoured Perez by 79-71. Carcamo was down in the first and last rounds but made Perez work hard.

Jorge Diaz (8st 10 1/2lbs), 17-1 (10), dropped Houston’s Victor Sanchez (9st), 3-5-1, in the first round of a six and after that the New Jersey fighter outboxed his opponent in a slow-paced bout. All scores favoured Diaz by 60-53.

Eddie Gomez (10st 10lbs), 12-0 (8) and from the Bronx, outscored Puerto Rico’s Luis Hernandez (10st 12lbs), 9-1 (5), over six rounds. Gomez had a point deducted in the final round for hitting low, but won unanimously at 58-55, 59-54 twice.

In the opening fight of the evening, Newark’s John Thompson (11st 2 1/2lbs), 10-0 (3), won a unanimous six-rounder over Port Au Prince’s Elie Augustama (11st 4lbs), 6-6 (3). Scores were 60-54, 59-55 twice.

‘How we beat Miguel Cotto’ by Trout’s trainer Louie Burke.

November 30, 2018
November 30, 2018
sugar ray leonard

Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports

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1. ON November 30, 1979, Wilfred Benitez – the youngest world champion in the history of boxing – entered the Caesars Palace ring in Las Vegas as WBC welterweight king but could not leave with the title, as the brilliance of young “Sugar” Ray Leonard triumphed in the 15th and final round.

2. THE bout was broadcast by ABC in the USA and also featured Vito Antuofermo controversially retaining his world middleweight title against Marvin Hagler via a draw, and Marvin Johnson stopping Victor Galindez to claim the WBA light-heavyweight belt.

3. LEONARD, unbeaten in 25 outings, entered as a 3-1 favourite against Benitez, who was making his second defence, and was three-and-a-half years removed from claiming the light-welterweight title at the age of just 17.

4. BENITEZ, a glorious technician and defensive wizard, earned $1.2 million compared to the 1976 Olympic champion’s $1 million, making it the then-richest non-heavyweight contest in history.

5. THE champion was floored in round three from a timely jab, and was left nursing a gash in his forehead following a head clash in the sixth.

6. RAY decked Benitez again in the final round with a left hook but many felt the stoppage – made with just six seconds remaining – was premature. Some suggested referee Carlos Padilla’s decision may have been influenced by the death of Willie Classen, who died two days earlier as a result of injuries sustained in his fight with Wilford Scypion.

7. THE contest was not a thriller but was nonetheless crammed with quality. “From a technical standpoint, there was more done in this fight than I’ve seen done for a long time,” said Leonard’s trainer, Angelo Dundee. “You saw two smart, scientific fighters—two champions in the ring at the same time. They brought the best out of each other.”

sugar ray leonard

8. “NO one, I mean no one, can make me miss punches like that,” Leonard said about Benitez afterwards.

9. “SUGAR RAY is the best in the world now,” commented Benitez. “I was happy to get a fight with him. He was a great challenger and will prove to be a good champion.”

10. LEONARD was vain about his looks and the first thing he would do after a fight was examine his face for damage. After the Benitez fight, he did not like what he saw. “I looked in the mirror and turned off the light,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. ‘Is that me’?”

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