Category Archives: History

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March 2, 2018
March 2, 2018
roberto duran

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1. AT 23 years of age, contesting his 50th professional bout, Roberto Duran met Ray Lampkin in his country’s capital, Panama City in 1975. The fight marked Duran’s sixth defence of his WBA lightweight title, and he entered the match-up in fine form, having demolished his previous three opponents in the first round.

2. RAY LAMPKIN was no stranger to the big occasion, nor to entering the lion’s den. Two years prior he had travelled to Puerto Rico to face the fearsome Esteban De Jesus [a man who had beaten Duran] – losing a unanimous decision. But in the time that followed, Lampkin had complied a string of impressive wins, picking up the NABF lightweight title along the way. He entered the bout with Duran a worthy opponent.

3. IT was the Oregon man who started the more promising of the two. Lampkin stayed at range, picking careful shots as he manoeuvred the canvas, but also showed that he was happy to stand and exchange with Duran. In the second stanza, ‘Lightning Lampkin’ even got the better of the champion, as he directed right hands into the Panamanian’s ribs.

4. THE outdoor arena proved the ideal climate for the home fighter – the humidity was a huge advantage – and young Duran took advantage of its effects on his opponent. His relentless work-rate wore down Lampkin, and the challenger became open to unnecessary fire.

5. AS the fight progressed into the latter rounds, it became clear that the very best of Lampkin’s punches weren’t going to cause an upset, he could only hope to make the final bell.

6. BY making it out for the twelfth round, Lampkin had overtaken De Jesus as Duran’s longest-lasting opponent. But his body language was that of a beaten man. He sported a lump under his right eye, a target Duran continued to exact damage upon.

7. BY the fourteenth round, Lampkin was fighting on heart and instinct, but it wasn’t going to be enough to see him through.

8. 39 seconds into the round, Duran caught Lampkin with a thunderous left-hook to the jaw. The impact with which he met the canvas done more damage than the punch that put him there. He was unable to rise.

9. AFTER the bout, Roberto Duran was asked about his opponent’s state. A now infamous quote was spoken: “I was not in my best condition. Today I sent him to the hospital. Next time I’ll put him in the morgue.”

10. THE incident rendered Ray Lampkin unconscious for 30 minutes. And with his leg temporarily paralyzed, he spent five days in hospital. Duran made a point of visiting his opponent in the infirmary, planting a kiss on a resting Lampkin’s cheek.

March 1, 2018
March 1, 2018
Sugar Ray Leonard

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MILLIONS expected to see the Sugar Ray Leonard of old, but Hector “Macho” Camacho battered him into a humiliating fifth-round stoppage defeat before 10, 324 shocked fans at the Atlantic City Convention Center.  The time was 1-08.

Camacho was hardly fantastic, but he stunned everyone by flooring the betting favourite earlier in the round, then jumped right on him again as the dazed legend was trying to survive along the ropes.  As lefts and rights crashed home, shaking the once-invincible Leonard like a cheap rag doll, referee Joe Cortez jumped in to protect him.

“Ray played me cheap”, said Camacho, but if Leonard did anything, it was to overestimate his once-formidable ability.

“I’m not like everyone else.  I can come back,” Leonard said beforehand. The 1991 brutal beating at the fists of Terry Norris should have told him otherwise, but Leonard, despite his exceptional intelligence, let his massive ego and desperate craving for the spotlight overrule his normally sound judgement.

Leonard’s balance was so atrocious that he looked like a six-round novice.  Camacho is hardly a puncher, but this vintage Ray couldn’t take any sort of a shot.  He was wobbling like a willow in the wind, even from glancing blows.

“I never could get into it,” Leonard admitted. “I was trying to establish my jab and just couldn’t get going.  I fought a better fight than I thought I’d fight after being absent so long from the ring, but I didn’t have the balance I once had.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Camacho (which of course, is exactly what he did), but the rumours that I was in the hospital were true. I had a calf injury. I couldn’t spin off, but my career is definitely over in the ring.”

Ray’s obvious reluctance to commit himself clearly didn’t come from any injury.  He was simply “bailing out.”  He didn’t want to get hit.  It is natural fear, once conquered, that re-emerges when you have been out of the ring.

Leonard, 36-3-1 (25), looked in superb condition at 11st 5lbs.  His stomach was rippled.  His biceps were huge.  But none of that helps if you are not in “boxing shape”. You can hire all the “strength coaches” and “nutritionists” in the world, but there is no way to tell until you get tagged in the ring.

Camacho, a podgy 11st 4 3/4lbs from Orlando, Florida, had won his previous 19 in a row, including a controversial points decision over Roberto Duran last June.

Garbed in a cheap Roman Gadiator outfit that looked pinched off the set of a B-movie, the round-faced Puerto Rican was hoisted aloft on a hand-held platform and carried through the crowd.  Boos broke forth, but as Camacho peered out, in his mind he was Julius Caesar (not Chavez) arrogantly looking down on the clamouring minions of ancient Rome.

Camacho, who revels in these theatrics, still couldn’t unnerve Leonard, from Washington D.C., who waited a good 15 minutes before Camacho finally climbed through the ropes.

Leonard, the darling of the 1976 Olympics, brought boxing into the colour TV age, but only seconds after the first bell it was obvious he was finished.  Leonard zipped out one beautiful jab, but Camacho sent him clambering from a light left. Sugar Ray stumbled all over himself, then dangled his left and tried to find his old self, but it was sad to watch him sling a slow, sloppy lead right.

Ray’s rhythm was horrible, but he did score with a nice lead right and for the briefest of seconds there was hope. A quick follow-up right, again very amateurish, dashed it.

Beforehand, Camacho promised: “I’m going to be on his ass.  I ain’t gonna run from him. He won’t be no better than the Norris fight. This is his last ‘comeback’, I guarantee it”.

As Hector advanced, Leonard grew warier. Suddenly their feet got tangled and Camacho, 34, proving far stronger, pushed Ray down where he landed heavily on the deck. It was a strong psychological message.

Leonard, once so silky smooth and quick, was sputtering like an ancient Model T in the second. Leonard handled Marvin Hagler brilliantly, but 10 years later  he looked befuddled by his southpaw opponent. Ray jiggled his left at his side or pawed.

As Leonard back-pedalled and circled, he was trying to buy time, which was running out fast. Leonard’s body and face still looked much the same, but he was present in name only. Camacho was warned for pulling down Leonard’s head as it became sloppier.

Camacho went right after Leonard in the third. Ray tried to throw long rights, but he still wasn’t bending into his punches. He was pulling back before he got hit. Leonard looked bad, but Camacho, in “walking-around shape,” was beginning to jar him.  The once-flashy Puerto Rican may be a blown-up light-welter – he won his first ‘world’ title at a super-feather – but speed is power and Camacho’s hands were still quick.

As Leonard floundered, having little control over his legs, it was hard to believe he had gone back this far. Leave us with our memories, ringsiders seem to say, but Sugar Ray kept lunging as he tried to catch Camacho with his right.

The punches had no power. Finally, a sharp Leonard right penetrated, but Camacho shook it off easily and a left to the body knocked Leonard off balance at the end of the round. Ray hadn’t won 20 seconds of the match. The only question was when the roof would fall in.

Leonard dipped and stabbed some jabs, but the old maestro couldn’t get going, let alone explode. Ray’s instincts were so badly corroded that all he could do was emit a sad smile when Camacho started scoring repeatedly.

Late in the round there was a hard clash of heads that opened a bad gash under Leonard’s left eye. He began to bleed. Who would have thought that Camacho would make Leonard run?

By the fifth, the “Macho Man” looked cocky. He started to rough Ray up in close.  Leonard tried to cuff, hold and skitter away, but Camacho, 64-3-1 (32), is much better than he is given credit for. In close, the brawny 5ft 6in underdog shook Leonard along the ropes. Suddenly, the old man was lurching.

Camacho shouldered him in tight and came up with a hard left uppercut to the chin. A second left uppercut caught Leonard flush as he tried to slide away and the former five-time ‘world’ champ ended up flat on his back.
Leonard, who has been dropped repeatedly since his prime, stumbled up, but it was painfully obvious Camacho had plenty of time to wreak more havoc.

Eyes wary, as the crowd screamed, Leonard backed to the ropes. A hard left to the jaw hurt him as Hector exploded in close. As Leonard tried to fire back, Camacho rocked him with another left. A third left to the temple forced the Hall of Famer to falter as he slumped forward. A powerful right to the body made Leonard grab Camacho’s head with both hands. Camacho broke loose with a right hook to the jaw, a cracking left to the chin and another right to the jaw.

Still on the ropes, badly disorientated and trying to cover, Leonard took a slamming right uppercut to the chin. Camacho pawed briefly and faked, then staggered the tarnished legend with a left uppercut, wobbling Leonard badly.

Leonard sat on the second rope to prevent himself going down again. It all happened quickly but Cortez jumped in to protect him as he was so close to being floored again.

“I enjoy performing. I enjoy defying the odds,” Ray had said beforehand, but even then his voice sounded ominously weak and hoarse, like an old man’s.

With seven fights in the last 15 years, it was painfully obvious that the once-great fighter should no longer have been in the ring. Incredibly, talks had reportedly started on a rematch with Norris. Then Ray was going to bridge the generation gap by facing Pernell Whitaker or, more likely, Oscar De La Hoya.

The whole scheme was far-fetched.

READ Sugar Ray Leonard: ‘If I saw blood, I went at you like Dracula’

March 1, 2018
March 1, 2018
roy jones jnr

Action Images/Reuters/Steve Marcus

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1. HAVING collected a haul of world titles at middleweight, super-middleweight and light-heavyweight, Roy Jones Jnr dared to go one further, as he took on WBA world heavyweight champion, John Ruiz in 2003.

2. A LOT had been made of the pre-fight antics demonstrated by Roy Jones, who was blamed for making no attempt to sell the fight. Jones had been guaranteed $10 million compared to Ruiz’s cut of pay-per-view sales. Ruiz claimed: “Roy hasn’t done his job. I guess he has his money and couldn’t care less about my end of it.”

3. 15,300 fans packed in to the Thomas & Mack Center, in Las Vegas, to see Jones attempt to make history as the first former middleweight champion since Bob Fitzsimmons – in 1897 – to clinch a heavyweight crown.

4. HEADING in to the bout, Roy Jones Jnr had only registered one professional loss [courtesy of Montell Griffin] in an otherwise perfect 48-fight career. And despite conceding age, reach, height and weight [33lbs] to John Ruiz, he was a 9-5 favourite to win.

5. HAND speed proved to be one of Jones’ most reliable weapons, and he utilised it to great effect in the opening stanza, catching the Puerto Rican unaware on numerous exchanges. Determined not to be outdone however, Ruiz came back with a hard right hand of his own – reminding all in attendance of his power.

6. ALTHOUGH clever footwork enabled Jones to navigate the ring and stay away from his opponent, at times, he was happy to stand in the centre and trade with the champion. In the fourth round, a straight-right from the Florida native rocked Ruiz, causing his nose to bleed. Sensing his opponent was hurt, Jones followed up with a clubbing right to Ruiz’s temple, prompting his manager, Norman Stone, to ask “are you alright?” between rounds.

7. IRRESPECTIVE of being the bigger man, Ruiz refused to be the aggressor. Instead, he waited for Jones to come in, and mounted largely unsuccessful counter attacks. By the mid-rounds, the variance of Roy Jones was on full show, as he demonstrated superior boxing ability and ring-nous to take rounds comfortably.

8. AFTER establishing a comprehensive lead, Jones was happy to adopt a hit-and-run style for much of the remainder of the bout. Firing sharp jabs and uppercuts, scoring well with the judges.

9. JONES landed 32% of his punches on route to gaining a unanimous decision over Ruiz. As the judges at ringside scored the contest 116-112, 118-110 and 117-111.

roy jones jnr

10. WITH the win, Roy Jones became the seventh boxer in history to hold world titles in four different weight divisions. He relinquished the WBA strap immediately, and moved back down to light-heavyweight.

February 28, 2018
February 28, 2018
peter kane

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PETER KANE reigned as global flyweight champion for nearly five years, yet he had only three world title fights – and won only one of them. That he is so well regarded is testament to the impact he made by becoming champ at just 20 and also how he packed a big punch, which no doubt came from his job as a blacksmith, which he combined with his boxing career.

Peter Kane

Turning pro at 16, Kane was 42-0 when outstanding Benny Lynch proved too experienced for him, knocking him out in 13 rounds of a world title fight in 1937. Lynch was overweight for a drawn rematch and relinquished the crown, which Kane duly won by outpointing top American Jackie Jurich in August 1938.

The growing Lancastrian himself moved up to bantam just a few months later but in 1943 somehow managed to make 112lbs again for a defence against Scotland’s Jackie Paterson, which ended disastrously with Kane ko’d in just 61 seconds. He boxed on at 118lbs and was good enough to win the European crown from quality Frenchman Theo Medina in 1947, losing it five months later. After boxing, Kane continued to live and work as a blacksmith in Lancashire.

Did you know?

Kane specialised in boxing at football grounds: Anfield (Liverpool), Molineux (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Hampden Park (Scotland), Ninian Park (Cardiff City) and Stade Louis II (Monaco).

Vital stats

Name: Peter Kane Record: 89-8-2 (54) Date of Birth: February 28, 1918 Date of Death: July 23, 1991 From: Golborne, Lancashire Titles: World flyweight and European bantamweight Best Performance: Jackie Jurich w pts 15 Worst Performance: Teddy O’Neill l ko 2

February 26, 2018
February 26, 2018
rocky lockridge roger mayweather

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ROCKY LOCKRIDGE landed a big right hand to flatten Roger Mayweather in the first round and won the WBA junior-lightweight crown in a stunning upset in Beaumont, Texas on February 26 in 1984.

The end came after one minute 31 seconds of the first in a scheduled 15-rounder. Lockridge fired a hook and then came over the top with a blasting right-hander that snapped the unbeaten Mayweather’s head sideways and sent the champion slumping to the canvas.

The fight looked to be developing into a tough battle as both punched hard from the first bell.

The 24-year-old Lockridge landed the right and it was all over for the 22-year-old Mayweather, of Las Vegas. Mayweather was making the third defense of the title he won by knocking out Sammy Serano of Puerto Rico.

Lockridge became the champion at the third attempt. He twice lost narrowly to the great Panamanian Eusebio Pedroza for the WBA featherweight in 1980 and 1983.

Tacoma’s Lockridge enthused: “I never thought I’d win this so quickly, but I’m really amazed by how much strength I have in this weight division.”

Rocky would lose his crown to the simply brilliant Puerto Rican Wilfredo Gomez in 1985 and would go down on points to the great Julio Cesar Chavez in 1986.

Mayweather (Floyd’s uncle, of course) would also come up short against the Mexican idol Chavez: in two rounds in 1985 and again in 1989.

Enjoy the fight.


February 25, 2018
February 25, 2018
Nigel Benn

Action Images/Nick Potts

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IT is the fight every fan of the sport must confront. Nigel Benn vs Gerald McClellan was hugely anticipated, it generated an electric atmosphere, the action was undoubtedly thrilling. But it ended in tragedy. McClellan collapsed in the ring, he could have died there. An operation removed a blood clot from his brain. After coming out of a coma he was disabled permanently, blind, almost deaf, scarcely able to walk.

As a boxer McCellan had been a force of nature. A merciless puncher, he’d ended 29 of his 31 victories inside the distance, 20 of them within the first round. He had moved up from middleweight to challenge for Benn’s title but came in a strong favourite. Benn, the “Dark Destroyer”, brought a ferocity to the ring that inspired his followers with visceral excitement. A heavy, heavy puncher who liked to fight.

McClellan however opened their first round in the expected form. Benn leant forward and the American caught him hard. He sagged on the ropes and McClellan hammered him down, hammered him clear through the strands. But Benn would not be put out of the fight. He clambered up, re-entered the ring and survived the round.

The bravery of the two men could not be denied. Benn came back, the crowd roaring wildly. McClellan began to take punishment. He tried to punch his way out of trouble, even dropping Benn in the eighth round. The challenger however was exhibiting worrying signs, blinking, his mouthpiece hanging out of his mouth at an early stage.

When McClellan sank to a knee for a second time in the 10th round he was counted out. After initial confusion the severity of his predicament became apparent. He lay stricken in the ring as cheers boomed round the London Arena, an image that remains profoundly unsettling.

He was given oxygen there and the measures brought in after Michael Watson’s experience saved his life. (Promoter Frank Warren had actually provided extra medical personnel).

Should his corner have recognised his trouble? Should the referee have spotted it sooner? The questions of how this disaster could have been averted remain. And boxing must justify itself when one of its competitors can so nearly die in the ring and be left grievously disabled and in desperate need of support. The sport will always need to heed whatever lessons it can learn from this fight.


RESULT Nigel Benn (UK) w ko 10 Gerald McClellan (USA) DATE February 25, 1995 VENUE New London Arena, Millwall, London AT STAKE Benn’s WBC super-middleweight title AGES Benn 31, McClellan 27 WEIGHTS Benn 12st, McClellan 11st 11lbs RECORDS Benn 39-2-1, McClellan 31-2 REFEREE Alfred Asaro SCORES at time of stoppage Franz Marti 84-84, Jose Juan Guerra 87-84, Anek Hongtongkam 85-84 (both for McClellan) FINAL CAREER STATS Benn 42-5-1 (35), McClellan 31-3 (29).

February 25, 2018
February 25, 2018
mike tyson

Action Images/Sporting Pictures/Simon Miles

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AFTER a 16-month hiatus from the sport, Frank Bruno chose to jump in at the deep end when he returned on February 25, 1989 by challenging a then-undefeated and imperious Mike Tyson for his WBC, WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles at The Hilton in Las Vegas. A purse of £3.75m may have had something to do with that decision.

HIS last fight had come in 1987, an eighth-round stoppage of an ageing Joe Bugner, and while his supporters felt his 32-2 (31) record proved he was capable of upsetting the odds, his standing as mandatory challenger became questionable under closer inspection.

AS Harry Mullan put it in his preview of the fight for Boxing News, “He [Bruno] has been one of the most protected contenders in history, and at least 20 of his victims could not have shifted the odds in their favour had they entered the ring in a Sherman tank.”

TYSON, on the other hand, had beaten seven former or current world champions, including the likes of Larry Holmes, Tony Tucker and Michael Spinks, whose undefeated record Tyson shattered in one round.

IT should be noted that Bruno’s lay-off was partly down to Tyson, whose troubles out of the ring, from injuries to a defamation lawsuit from his estranged wife, meant the original date for the fight of October 8 1988 was pushed back several times.

DESPITE his daunting physical presence, Bruno’s limited stamina had let him down in the past, most notably in his 10th round stoppage loss to James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith in 1984. His best chance of beating Tyson appeared to be in hurting the champion, who had been rocked in previous fights by the aforementioned Smith and Tucker, early in the contest.

IN the late stages of an electrifying first round, which had already seen Bruno hit the canvas, a monumental upset looked gut-wrenchingly close as the Brit stunned the champion with a left hook. “It was harder than the punch (a right uppercut) that (Tony) Tucker got me with,” he said, referring to a punch Tucker landed in 1987, when Tyson unified the heavyweight championship

THOSE fleeting seconds were to be Bruno’s only moment of success in the fight, as Tyson found his composure after momentarily losing control of his legs, before swarming Bruno with another assault, which even included an elbow to the face before the bell ended the round.

HAVING spent eight months out of the ring himself, Tyson showed signs of rust as he needed three rounds to hone his timing and begin to put together more clinical combinations on the overmatched Bruno. Early in the fourth, a huge right hand had Bruno teetering, prompting an almost sickening display of punching power and variety from Tyson during the rest of the round, which Bruno somehow survived.

THE fifth continued in the same vein, with Bruno pulling Tyson into clinches at every opportunity. A left hook to the body spelled the beginning of the end, as it sent Bruno back on to the ropes while his manager, Terry Lawless, climbed on to the ring apron to pull his fighter out. Tyson was able to land several full-blooded uppercuts and hooks before referee Richard Steele stepped in and waved the finish, granting Tyson his 36th victory and 32nd stoppage.

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