In Boxing News: Brewster Bash, Hatton Ibf, Ring Of Fire/Emile Griffith Biopic

BY Robert Ecksel ON March 30, 2006
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In Boxing News: Lamon Brewster ready to make his mark

Joe Maxse in The Plain Dealer tells us that Lamon Brewster took time from his busy schedule preparing for the defense of his WBO title against Sergei Liakhovich at Cleveland's Old School Boxing Club to fondly recall former heavyweight contender and proud son of Akron Michael Dokes. Brewster describes Dokes as a “friend when he was coming up as an amateur.� "He stayed in my house," Brewster said about Dynamite Dokes. "I was getting ready for the Western Trials, and he would cuss me out. I consider him a good guy." Good guy or not, and who would know better than Lamon Brewster, Dokes had some problems with drugs – his quote “I never knew training was so easy until I tried it without drugs� just about says it all – and is serving time in Nevada for drug-related offenses. Brewster said he has written to Dokes in prison but has not heard from his good buddy … The Akron Beacon Journal calls Lamon Brewster “a decent person. No publicized rap sheet. No late-night run-ins with Mitch ‘Blood’ Green. No weapons, guns or ammunition,� as well as a “thinking man's heavyweight� who “fancies himself somewhat of a wordsmith.� Unlike Muhammad Ali, who charmed fight fans with his doggerel posing as poetry, Brewster has a “penchant for using analogies.� He's fond of telling people that it's not how good you look in the saddle, but how well you react the first time you're thrown from the horse. He also draws comparisons between with the state of heavyweight boxing and drinking Kool-Aid: “The Kool-Aid could be perfect, but if you add too much water, it ain't no good.�

DKP has been “looking for any possible angle to hype the European challenger (Liakhovich), and its crack staff added this line to his biography: Weapons, guns and ammunition also fascinate him. Brewster must hope Charlton Heston is not a celebrity judge� … The Edmonton Sun, in an article whose opening words are “Boxing has often been described as the red-light district of sports, with the heavyweight division its priciest and most glamorous boudoir,� turns to Canada’s heavyweight hero George Chuvalo, “The man who fought them all and refused to fall in 97 bouts between 1956 and 1979,� to get his opinion of the current crop of heavyweights. "I get asked about the heavyweight division a lot,� Chuvalo said, “but to tell you the truth I don't follow it nearly as closely as I once did. The way the title has been broken up and passed around is a joke. Who the hell knows who the real champion is anymore? At least back when I was fighting, everybody knew who the top guys were. One title, one champ. And when that title was on the line, it was an event, the biggest thing in sports. When a world heavyweight title fight was coming up, you couldn't pick up a newspaper or turn on your TV without seeing something about it. But those days are long gone." Just as in politics we get the leaders we deserve, maybe in boxing, where bigger is seemingly better, we get the heavyweights we deserve. "I've heard people say that, because fighters are so much bigger now, they must be better, but that's a crock. For my money, Ali (who Chuvalo fought in 1966 and ’72) at six-three and 210 or 212 was the prototype for the ultimate heavyweight, but you need more than just size and speed. Punching ability, co-ordination, the capacity to take a punch. To a lesser degree, Foreman and Holmes had a lot of those same attributes. But I don't see that combination in anybody out there now. Today's guys are big and strong, but they're one-dimensional" … Simon Lewis reports in the Irish Examiner that John Duddy is ready for first defense of his WBC Continental Americas middleweight title on June 10 at Madison Square Garden on the undercard of Cotto-Malignaggi. According to Irish Ropes director of boxing and veteran New York matchmaker Jim Borzell, no opponent has been named. “At the moment, we’ve spoken about Willie Gibbs, about Australian, Shannan Taylor, or good solid veterans, some of whom may be on the way up, some going the other way,� Borzell said. “There are options.� Borzell hopes to keep Duddy fighting on a month-to-month basis. “It would be the hope for him to have a fight before this one but it’s getting more and more difficult to turn things around for John. We promoted this last fight ourselves, it was our first shot at that and I like to think we were fairly successful. But we’ll have to see whether we can get another promoter in or go out and do another one so quickly� … IBF junior welterweight champ Ricky Hatton has been forced by that august org to surrender his title after refusing to fulfill his mandatory defense against – drum roll please – Ben Rabbah, according to icWales. The perpetual motion machine from Manchester, who won the crown after shocking the world and beating Kostya Tszyu last summer, is stepping up a weight to take on some bigger names. Ricky feels Rabbah doesn’t quite cut it in the ‘bigger names’ department. “I have a great relationship with the IBF,� said Hitman Hatton, “and they understood why I couldn't go through with a mandatory defense against Rabbah. I step up a division to fight Luis Collazo in May for his WBA welterweight title and after that there should be a few big-name bouts for me. They would be career-defining fights for me – and with all due respect to Rabbah he cannot be counted among the big names.� We agree. “In an ideal world I'd like to keep all belts but that is not possible in this day and age." We agree again … SuperBoxing out of New Zealand gives us a boxing historical blast from the past. For those who believe boxing started with the Ali Shuffle, take a moment to check out a great piece on John C. Heenan, aka The Benecia Boy. Although he never won a fight he was given the unofficial status of a world champion and became one of the stalwarts of the American scene in the latter half of the 19th century. Heenan’s most famous fight took place on April 17, 1860, against Tom Sayers in England for the world championship. It was later called the “greatest fight that ever took place on English soil.� Blood, ruptured tendons, black eyes, bruised cheeks and swollen lips, there was something for everyone in this transcontinental fight for the ages. According to The Times, reporting on the 37th round: “Heenan got Sayers’s head under his arm, and supporting himself by the stake with his right, held his opponent bent down, as if he meant to strangle him. Sayers could no more free himself than if a mountain was on him. At last his left arm was free, and he gave Heenan two dreadful blows on the face, covering them both with blood; but Heenan, without relaxing his hold, turned his antagonist’s neck over the rope and then lent on it with all his force. Sayers rapidly turned black in his face and would have been strangled on the spot but the rules of the ring provided for what would have otherwise be fatal contingencies, and both the umpires called simultaneously to cut the ropes. This was done at once, and both men fell heavily to the ground, Sayers nearly half strangled.� After two hours and six minutes, the fight was at an end, declared a draw after 42 rounds. Heenan continued his ring career, but in 1873 he caught a bad chill and died. He was 38 … And finally, from Boxing Hollywood via Cinematical comes word that “Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story� is coming to the big screen in a blockbuster biopic. “Ring of Fire� the documentary was a smash hit at last year's Sundance Festival, and this new project, with a screenplay by playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis and directed by multiple Tony-winner George C. Wolfe, already has tongues in Tinseltown wagging. No word yet on who will portray the hall of fame fighter, but expect the gay-themed boxing flick to put some insecure hetero noses seriously out of joint.

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