The fact that he is seen and heard throughout the country talking boxing is what's so annoying. He makes so many nonsensical statements that it's frustrating knowing that some are actually giving credence to what he says. The scary part is that some fringe boxing fans accept some of his remarks as being fact. What's scary to me is having a new generation of boxing fans fostering their interest and beliefs off of what he has said over the past few years, as if it were fact. How can a guy be so sure about the outcome in a hypothetical fight, when he incorrectly interprets what happened in an actual fight, like Mayorga-Forrest. For anyone to score the Mayorga-Forrest rematch 8-4 in favor of Forrest, is undeniable proof that they're not sure of what they are watching. Max is a grown man, and know's that he will be held accountable for anything that he says. It comes with any high profile position.
Look, I don't care that he's not a good fight handicapper. That means absolutely nothing to me. Most fighters are usually not accurate at projecting the winner in upcoming fights. Are we going to say that they don't know what they're talking about because they picked a fight wrong? I think not. However, with Kellerman, it's his reasoning and his interpretation and scoring of a fight that troubles me. Although he seems to be able to justify just about anything he says.
And in regard to his knowledge of boxing history and his enthusiasm. I talk to three or four friends weekly who know every bit as much or more about boxing than he does, and it's not their occupation or profession. They also share the same passion and excitement for boxing as he does.
The one thing that has bothered me over the past few months, is his Plaster-Sainting of Roy Jones. Although I may not be quite as high on Roy Jones as others, I recognize that he is an all-time great fighter/boxer. However, to say that he is the best fighter ever under 200 pounds is a reach in my opinion. I'm not saying that when his career is over, he won't be included among the greats, but I chose to wait until his career has heard its final bell.
I know that Roy Jones is a great fighter, but I can't overlook the fact that he has dominated the worse era in light heavyweight history. And you know that if he were to get upset by Antonio Tarver, which I don't think will happen, many will say he benefited from fighting in a light heavyweight era that was in the doldrums. In my opinion, this era of 175 pound fighters is one of the thinnest in the 100 year history of the light heavyweight division. Most of the light heavyweights currently fighting will be a week old ghost seven days after they retire. And it's not just because of Jones.
If I have to hear Kellerman say that Roy Jones would have defeated Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano one more time, I'm going to sue him for the abuse of the first amendments right to free speech. Wake up Max. You would've never entertained such a thought had Jones never fought and defeated John Ruiz. Remember, it's John Ruiz, a fighter who weighed 183 pounds in his pro debut. You can't possibly be foolish enough to believe that Ruiz is anything close to Louis or Marciano. Many past light heavyweight greats would have defeated Ruiz on the night that he fought Jones.
It's been said by Mr. Kellerman that if Billy Conn could last into the 13th round with Joe Louis, than Jones, who hits harder than Conn would have been able to defeat Louis. How about David Telesco, or a 40 year old junior middleweight champ, Mike McCallum, and a former middleweight champ, Reggie Johnson, taking Jones to a decision. Is there any way that anyone of those three fighters would have made it through two rounds with either Louis or Marciano? That's how silly his example is.
The best fighters that Jones has defeated are Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, a 40 year old Mike McCallum who was fighting out of his weight class, and John Ruiz, a journeyman heavyweight at best. And all four of those fights went the distance with him scoring one knockdown, a flash knockdown over an off balance Toney. If we know nothing else, we know that Louis and Marciano would go the distance with Jones. So the question becomes, could Jones go the entire fight without being caught by either Joe or Rocky? Don't forget, Ruiz planted a good right hand on Jones that shook him. For anyone who needs to have the difference between Louis' right or Marciano's right compared to Ruiz's right explained to them, stop reading this right now and go watch the Hunting and Fishing channel!
Why is it that Louis and Marciano are cited by Kellerman as the heavyweight greats who Jones would have defeated. How come Liston, Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Holmes, Tyson, Holyfield, and Lewis are never mentioned? I know why. The reason is because Louis usually weighed in the neighborhood of 198-202, and Marciano never weighed above 188. This would make it seem that Jones wouldn't be out-sized or out-manned by Louis or Marciano. That is a false perception. Louis and Marciano were true heavyweights. For those who believe that Louis and Marciano weren't big enough to fight in today's heavyweight era, you must be totally infatuated with today's overfed ponderous and cumbersome heavyweights. I'm not saying that applies to all of them, but it does to a majority of them. If a majority of today's heavyweights were in the same shape as Louis and Marciano were, they'd be 25 pounds lighter. And they'd most likely be able to fight 12 or 15 rounds without being on the verge of suffering a stroke.
Does anyone really believe that Jones is anywhere close to the fighter that Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes were at heavyweight? I highlight Ali and Holmes because they were boxers/movers like Jones. If you believe that, than I have no doubt that you also believe that in real life Bruce Lee could've beaten up 30 Martial artist all at the same time like he did in "Enter The Dragon."
Not only were Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano two of the greatest heavyweight champions in history. They are also two of the greatest punchers of all time. I'd like to know the names of the punchers that Jones has faced in his career? Especially as a heavyweight. It's totally asinine that some fans and writers believe that Louis and Marciano were too small for the likes of Liston, Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Holmes, Tyson, Holyfield, and Lewis. The fact is that they were plenty big enough and carried more than enough power to defeat any of the above mentioned on a given night.
It's not a given that Ali or Holmes would've defeated Louis or Marciano. How is it even conceivable that Jones would've been capable of defeating them? What could Jones possibly do with them other than run. Which is exactly what he would've done! His speed wouldn't have meant squat against Louis or Marciano. They both would have tore through him like a hot knife through butter, if he chose to fight. His only other option would be to run and survive. In that case he'd lose every round and the decision if they weren't able to catch him. But, there is no way he could move and fight them at the same time. He couldn't even do that with Ruiz. He's just lucky that Ruiz is slow and has no punch. And that was much more planned than it was luck.
Why is it pushed aside that David Tua blew through Ruiz in 19 seconds. Using Kellerman's logic, I guess that means Tua also would have defeated Louis and Marciano, which is a foolish thought at best. Jones beat a decent heavyweight at best in Ruiz. Let's not forget that if Conn, Moore, and Foster fought Ruiz instead of Louis, Marciano, and Frazier, they would've been the first three light heavyweight champs to beat the heavyweight champ, instead of Michael Spinks.
I have not a morsel of a doubt that Conn, Moore, and Foster would've defeated every light heavyweight that Jones ever fought. I also have no doubt that all three of them would have beaten the Ruiz that Jones beat for the WBA title. Yet in the end, Conn and Moore were demolished by Louis and Marciano. And Jones would have been too. The fact that he won't fight any heavyweights other than hand picked ones indicates that he has doubt?
Again, I'm not taking anything away from Roy Jones. He is an all-time great fighter. However, I cannot and refuse to rank him amongst the greatest heavyweight champions in history. And yes, both Louis and Marciano are two of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time. Maybe seeing Jones beat Ruiz is good enough for Kellerman to say something so ridiculous, but not me. I need to see more from Jones at heavyweight before I even entertain such an idiotic thought?
To those who want to say I'm admonishing Mr. Kellerman because I'm envious of him and his position at ESPN. You couldn't be more wrong. Yes, it would be great to do what he does on ESPN. Any hard core boxing addict like myself would love to be on a show that is viewed nationally. It would be a dream come true! Anyone who denies this, is out right lying. However, I would never put down something he said just for that reason. And I do a radio show myself on the weekends, so I do get to vent my feelings and thoughts.
I have e-mailed Kellerman personally many times inviting him to debate me on my show on the topics on which we disagree. He has never responded. I've also had people that we both know ask him to come on, and he won't. I can't say I know him but, we had two conversations on the phone about four years ago. He should know from those conversations that other than being proven wrong, he has nothing to fear.
I will not say he is bad for boxing, because overall he is good for it. What is good about him is that he is an advocate for boxing, something the sport sorely needs. Look, I'm not saying he's wrong all the time but, when he makes outlandish statements that have no merit, he must be held accountable. I would never want to believe that he says things just to provoke a reaction. That is something I could never do. When I speak of boxing, I speak it from the heart. If I said it, I really believe it and know I can back it up with facts and sound reasoning.
That being said, I find fault with much that Mr. Kellerman has to say lately. His repeatedly saying that Roy Jones would defeat Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano is absurd. I also say he is dead wrong in his scoring. Forrest did not beat Mayorga, Mosley did not beat De La Hoya, and Byrd did not beat Oquendo. And lastly, Jones would not have beat either Joe Louis or Rocky Marciano. At least not in my opinion!
If you decide to drop by, make sure you bring some workout attire, some athletic shoes, some hand wraps and most importantly, a heart. Boxing is not for the faint of heart.
And if you have all that and you decide to drop by, you'll be met by Bud Lakin, who runs the gym and trains everyone that walks through Box A Round. When it comes to boxing, Bud is a one man operation. At this gym, this Bud's for you.
"I've been running this gym for eight years," says Lakin, a former amateur and professional fighter. "It's a full time gym. I used to go seven days a week and I cut it down a little bit."
Like most that run a gym, they aren't doing it for the money. Let's face it, go down your Fortune 500 list, you don't see a lot of gym owners in that group, do you?
"It's not the money," said Lakin, a licensed and certified trainer, manager, cornerman by the Massachusetts State Boxing Commission and the United States Amateur Boxing Association. "I enjoy teaching." Whatever money is made is spent to cover the cost of running the gym.
And teach he does, from 4 in the afternoon to eight at night, Monday through Friday, Lakin dispenses his wisdom. His training methods focus on semi-private lessons, as opposed to classes of four or more students. Private (one-on-one) training is also available.
"They want to learn how to box, not be a boxer" Lakin says of his clientele. "I teach them on a pro level, we do the same routine."
And for those who have never boxed, it's an eye-opening and lung-burning experience.
"I have people, they come in, never boxed or anything and they ask me, 'Do you think I can become a boxer?' Boxing is probably the most difficult sport of all sports, it's one-on-one, there's a lot of focus, there's concentration, there's stamina, there's cardio, there's so many mental things in boxing."
Lakin mentions that it's not uncommon for martial artists, with black belts to come into his gym and participate in his lessons, that are simply exhausted after a single workout. It takes a special type of person to box.
"We're all different individuals, 'Do you like to fight? Have you ever fought? Do you think you could fight? Can you hit another man? Get your adrenaline flowing? If you beat somebody up, would that bother you? What if you get hurt? Would you quit?' All of those things I talk to them about."
"A lot of them say, 'No, I don't want to be a fighter but I'd like to learn from you' and that's fine with me. Because not everybody can be a fighter, it depends on the individual. Not everybody can be a basketball player or a football player."
And that's the irony of it all, it's people like this, that really keeps the gym afloat these days. The bottom line is that for a lot of gyms across the country, it's not the fighters that keep the money coming into the gym but the 'Average Joe' that pays its gym dues and for its private lessons that keep gyms alive.
"It's a shaky business," Lakin admits. When asked if other gyms have gone out of business around him, he answers, "Quite a few." The reality is just keeping a gym going with fighters is a shaky proposition unless you have that cash cow.
"On a local level, if you have ten fighters and they were professionals, lets say roughly they were making $2,000 to $3,000 a fight," said Lakin, giving an example. "You have these guys fairly active, that would help. But with the trainer and manager it's a 60-40 split, if you had 40-percent with ten fighters, you could make ends meet to keep a gym going."
Boxers Lakin has trained include Tim Flamos, the current New England Cruiserweight champion, Shota Tchigladze, and Narjee Shaheed. Lakin currently trains amateur fighter Mical Weisberg, the recent Cruiserweight division champion at the Rocky Marciano Tournament of Champions.
It's not the middleweights, welterweights and flyweight that are keeping gyms open, after all, many of these guys aren't that active, and most aren't making that much anyway. But you get that plumber, mechanic, electrician, lawyer or financial adviser to take several lessons a week, and that can add up.
In fact, from a trainer's standpoint, you're almost better off training civilians than professional prizefighters. Think about it, with a fighter, you get 10-percent of the purse, for hours upon hours of work put in on a daily basis. And unless your guy is fighting on HBO, your probably making minimum wage per hour if your lucky. When you train a guy who just got off his shift, he pays you immediately, and for every hour you put in with him. It beats working with a four rounder for three months who makes $500.
Box A Round gets around 15 people per day through it's doors that learn 'the Sweet Science'. Usually about half of them have made reservations for lessons, the other half satisfy their curiosity and take a peek into the gym.
The gym is equipped with the usual apparatus, from a 20-foot ring, seven heavy bags, three speed bags and double end bags. You don't have to be a professional to train like one at Box A Round.
I guess if I were Hazzard, I'd be a little miffed too. But there were other legitimate reasons for it.
Hazzard has told me he was worried that somewhere down the line, his state, as an ABC member, may have found itself embroiled, perhaps as a co-defendant, in a legal entanglement in the event the ABC did something unwise or unfair. In light of what could eventually happen if Armando Garcia's saga ever evolved into a legal case, Hazzard might prove prophetic indeed.
With New Jersey's secession come certain complications - also of the legal variety - that would become greatly exacerbated with the passage of John McCain's Boxing Amendments Act.
By way of preface, let me quote from Section 4 of the proposed "Professional Boxing Amendments Act of 2003", as it involves a higher agency's authority to render approval on professional boxing matches:
`SEC. 4. APPROVAL OR SANCTION REQUIREMENT.
`(a) IN GENERAL- No person may arrange, promote, organize, produce, or fight in a professional boxing match within the United States unless the match--`(1) is approved by the Administration; AND `(2) is supervised by the Association of Boxing Commissions or by a boxing commission that is a member in good standing of the Association of Boxing Commissions.
`(b) APPROVAL PRESUMED- For purposes of subsection (a), the Administration shall be presumed to have approved any match other than--`(1) a match with respect to which the Administration has been informed of an alleged violation of this Act and with respect to which it has notified the supervising boxing commission that it does not approve; `(2) a match advertised to the public as a championship match; or `(3) a match scheduled for 10 rounds or more. '.
Essentially, what this means is that if there is going to be a fight anywhere in the United States scheduled for ten rounds or more (in other words, a legitimate main event), or a championship fight (which incidentally has been designated as such not by a governmental agency but by a sanctioning body), the promoter of that fight must get approval from BOTH the new United States Boxing Administration AND the Association of Boxing Commissions, or a current member commission of the ABC.
If you're like me, you can envision the scenario already.
Let's say some promoter makes a deal with an Atlantic City casino for a multiple-championship card, to be shown on HBO or pay-per-view; Hazzard assigns a group of New Jersey officials to be among those working on that fight card; everything is OK with the sanctioning bodies; and people from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and beyond have plans to come in for the weekend to see the fight.
And all of a sudden., the United States Boxing Administration steps in and says there can't be a fight card, because the ABC won't sign off on it. And why is that? Well, the technical reason is that New Jersey's ring officials (judges and referees) may not have attended any ABC-sponsored certification seminars. And if they're not "certified", they can't work.
The REAL reason is that New Jersey is not a member of the Association of Boxing Commissions, and therefore, they will be frozen out of any kind of significant fight action.
Of course, things could get complicated from there. If the USBA and the ABC were especially passionate about following the "law of the land", as they interpreted it, they could go get themselves an injunction from the United States Attorney and enforce it by bringing a bunch of federal marshals, the FBI, the Army, or whoever else they want to bring, to physically prevent the promotion from going forward. If Greg Sirb were the head of the USBA, this is the route I think he would take - kind of like Napoleon leading his troops into battle - perhaps to his waterloo, perhaps not.
At this time, naturally, the New Jersey Attorney General, which incidentally directly oversees the NJSACB, would get on his cell phone (from ringside seats which no doubt were gratuitous "gifts" from the promoter), and call out the New Jersey State Police, invoking his state's right to regulate a professional boxing event with officials it deems qualified.
You see where I'm going here, don't you?
All of this would - or could - happen simply because the ABC would not only still exist, but remain in the federal statutes, given authority and responsibility as if it were a real government agency. The reality, we stress again, is that not only is the ABC nothing more than a TRADE ASSOCIATION (which, incidentally, we have not confirmed has 501(c)6 status with the IRS), but its membership is VOLUNTARY. There is nothing in the federal law that requires state boxing commissions to join it, or remain members once they have joined. Indeed, New Jersey has chosen to pull itself away.
And they may not be alone. Several other states, disgruntled with the lack of vision, lack of competence, and geographic concentration of leadership, are currently considering a secession from the ABC.
"I really don't see any reason to stay with them (the ABC)," one commissioner told me. "When you look at the people running the thing, they're all from states that just don't have any significant boxing to speak of - Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, et cetera. In their states, their standards are lower than mine. So what is membership in that organization going to do for my commission aside from get us involved in a lot of political nonsense?"
The point is well taken. Voting in the ABC does not takes place like an electoral college. States like Vermont, Maine, Montana, and yes, Tim Lueckenhoff's Missouri, which have very little in the way of real boxing activity, have as much of a voice in decision-making as the states who have a lot invested in the sport - such as Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, or California. And since the "small" boxing states out-number the ones that have significant fights, a "small state" mentality is more often than not going to infiltrate ABC policy - something that became magnified under the regime of the megalomaniacal Sirb.
That's why this whole thing is such a concern. Does the fact that the ABC is given authority over sanctioning matches mean that commissions are forced to join, or remain members? That indeed seems the case. If so, is there an anti-trust question there? What if a group of the "big" boxing states decided to form their own trade association, based on more forward-thinking; more sanity; more competence? Would they be doing so in violation of the law? I would hope not. Would the ABC intercede in fight promotions held in those states and try to stop them from happening, not only as a show of power but in defending what it interprets to be its legal position, as it did arbitrarily in the Armando Garcia matter?
And wouldn't that draw the ABC, and the USBA, into court a lot more than was ever intended?
You bet it would.
Because the ABC, for example, would be in the precarious position where if it did indeed ignore the fact that a non-member was sanctioning and approving a fight card, in what could be interpreted as non-compliance with the law, it would perhaps obviate the need for it to exist. The organization would almost be forced to take action - capricious as it might be - lest risk itself being neutered.
Certainly these are useful propositions for legislators to consider before taking any action on this bill.
How many times in boxing history has a great fighter lost on the night he was at his best physically? I'll bet it's not often. However, below are three fights in which the loser is not only an all-time great but, they fought the greatest fights of their career and still lost. It's hard for most to fathom that a fighter fighting his best in a fight in which they lost, but that is the case with Jersey Joe Walcott, Muhammad Ali, and Evander Holyfield.
Just because a fighter lost, doesn't mean he wasn't great on that night. In my opinion, the above mentioned fighters were never more on top of their game or more formidable physically than they were in defeat. In all three fights, the loser never hit harder or sharper, and never demonstrated a better chin or more character.
September 23, 1952 Walcott vs. Marciano I
Jersey Joe Walcott was making the second defense of the heavyweight title he won from Ezzard Charles. His opponent was an up and coming undefeated knockout artist named Rocky Marciano. In his defense versus Marciano, Walcott was never more confident and focused for a fight. He was absolutely certain that he could not only defeat, but also stop Marciano. Walcott was so confident that he could stop Marciano that he jumped right on him in the first round and dropped him for the first time in his career. The left hook that Walcott planted on Marciano hurt him more than any other punch he was hit with in his career. Marciano was still a little shook when he got up and it took him a few seconds to clear his head after he was up. Had Walcott landed that same hook on any other heavyweight in the world at the time, he most likely would've scored a first round knockout. Unfortunately for Walcott, his hook crashed against one of the greatest chins in history, supported by the best conditioned body of any heavyweight history.
For 12 rounds Walcott traded bombs with Marciano, beating him to the punch in most exchanges. Throughout those 12 rounds, Marciano pressured Walcott relentlessly, and Walcott was able to answer with his own bombs. In this bout, Walcott scored with some of the hardest punches he had ever thrown in his career. On the other hand Walcott took some of the greatest punches he was ever hit with, and showed no visible signs of slowing down going into the 13th round. Going into the 13th round in his first fight with Marciano, Walcott was clearly ahead in the scoring. In fact, Marciano needed a knockout to win on two of the three official scorecards. Had Walcott chose to box Marciano in those last three rounds, instead of trying to knock him out, he probably wins a unanimous decision and retains the title.
Like Meldrick Taylor against Julio Caesar Chavez, his ego got the better of him and he would go for the knockout instead of settling for the decision win. And it cost Walcott the fight as it did Taylor 38 years later. In round 13 Marciano landed a right hand on Walcott's jaw that is considered one of the hardest punches thrown in boxing history. The punch not only knocked Walcott out, but it contorted the side of his face. Fight over!
The fight against Marciano may have been Jersey Joe's finest hour. Never in his career did he demonstrate more courage and better punching power. It's just unfortunate for Walcott that he was fighting another all-time great who caught him with one of the most devastating punches ever thrown. And yes, Marciano had dynamite in both hands, especially his right. And to those fans and writers who question Marciano's power, I guess you know more about how hard he hit than Louis, Walcott, and Moore. All three fighters said Marciano's punches were much harder than they looked, and they all said he was without a doubt the hardest puncher they ever fought. I say they know more about that than either you or me. I'll take them at their word.
March 8, 1971 Frazier vs. Ali I
Frazier vs. Ali I was the biggest and most anticipated sporting event in history. Never before have two undefeated heavyweights both in their prime had a legitimate claim to the title like Ali and Frazier did in 1971. Some insist that Ali was not at his best due to his 43 month layoff when he fought Frazier the first time, and there is much merit to that claim. Even though he stopped the top two contenders at the time in Quarry and Bonavena, before fighting Frazier. However, after seeing the fight, there is absolutely no question that Ali never threw and landed harder punches than he did on Joe Frazier in their first fight. In fact, during the first five rounds of Super-Fight one, Ali was never sharper or punched better. If you doubt that, I suggest you go back and look at the tape of rounds one through five.
Many fans and historians believe Ali's peak was his fight versus Cleveland Williams. Williams may have been Ali's peak regarding his speed and brilliance, but he had not filled out to where he was when he fought Frazier at age 29. The Ali of March 1971 was bigger, stronger, hit harder, and a more formidable fighter than the Ali of November 1966. During Ali's exile he matured and got stronger.
Going into the Frazier fight, many questioned Ali's chin, and toughness. Throughout his first fight with Frazier, Ali was hit continuously with Frazier's devastating left hook to the body and head. Never before or after had any fighter landed on Ali with the frequency and power of Frazier. Also during this fight, Ali launched and landed some of the swiftest and hardest combinations he ever hit any fighter with. Had Ali been fighting any other heavyweight except that Joe Frazier on that night, he would've most likely been a knockout winner.
The problem Ali had, was a prime 27 year old Joe Frazier in front of him. Going into his first fight with Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier was better prepared mentally and physically than any other fighter in history was for any opponent. Frazier knew he had the perfect style to fight Ali, and at that time in his career, he had it down pat. On the night of March 8th, 1971, Frazier was not to be denied. He was ready for anything Ali had to offer mentally or physically.
Going into Frazier-Ali I, Ali's plan was to beat Frazier up so badly early in the fight that he would either stop him, or have him so beaten up that he wouldn't have anything left for the last five rounds of the bout. By Frazier being so determined to beat Ali, he forced him to fight at a pace Ali wasn't accustomed to. Frazier also forced Ali to punch with authority just to try and keep him off. This resulted in Ali throwing bombs at Joe. Although Ali really rocked Joe in those first three or four rounds, he wasn't able to get him out. From rounds 6 through 15, Ali did all he could to try and impede Frazier's aggression, but Frazier was not to be denied. On this night, Ali never hit harder or demonstrated a better chin. I don't care what fight of Ali's career you think of, he was never better than he was against Joe Frazier in their first fight. He never hit harder or took it better, it's just that on March 8th 1971 Joe Frazier fought possibly the greatest fight of any heavyweight in boxing history.
November 13, 1992 Holyfield vs. Bowe I
When undefeated heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield defended the unified heavyweight title against undefeated top contender Riddick Bowe, the burden of proof was on him. Although Holyfield was the champ, his best wins as a heavyweight were over an out of shape Buster Douglas and two 42 year old ex-champs named Foreman and Holmes. Bowe, at that time was thought to be the future of the heavyweights.
For his title fight versus Holyfield, Bowe weighed in at a very firm 235 pounds. Most point to this as Bowe's signature fight. On the other hand, the 30 year old Holyfield was never better. In his first fight with Bowe, Holyfield was at his brilliant best. Never was he sharper or did he punch faster and harder. He also absorbed some monster hooks and uppercuts from Bowe. In losing to Bowe, Holyfield gained acceptance as being for real and a true heavyweight, despite the fact that he had been the undisputed champ for slightly over two years.
During his first fight with Bowe, Holyfield was never more formidable physically. He hit Bowe with some of the best punches he ever threw and landed on any other fighter he's faced. At the same time Bowe hit him harder and more solidly than any other fighter he ever fought. Had Holyfield been fighting any other top heavyweight of his era the night he fought Bowe the first time, he would have won in a convincing fashion. The Holyfield of November 1992, would certainly have beat any version of Lennox Lewis or Mike Tyson. The Holyfield who fought Tyson in 1996 and 1997, and Lewis in 1999 wasn't anywhere near close to the same fighter that fought Bowe in their first fight.
During the first Bowe fight, Holyfield was capable of fighting the entire round for the entire fight. This was Holyfield at his finest hour, never was he better or did he fight with more purpose. Unfortunately for Holyfield on this night, Bowe was too big and skilled and up to the task as well.
Walcott, Ali, and Holyfield fought possibly the best fight of their lives in a losing effort. Had Walcott not been the recipient of one of the hardest right hands in history, he may have remained champ a couple more years? For Ali, had he been fighting any other heavyweight in history other than Joe Frazier on March 8th, 1971, he would've been victorious. It's just that Frazier was not to be denied, and took out 4 years of pent up hate and anger on the source that ridiculed and demeaned his career and title tenure. As for Holyfield, he just had the misfortune of fighting the most skilled heavyweight over 6'4" on his best night.
In this writers opinion, Walcott, Ali, and Holyfield share something else besides being great fighters. What they share is the fact that they were soundly defeated on one of the best nights of their career! On the three nights in question, all three fighters fought at a level where they were most likely the hardest to get a win over on any night of their career. It just so happens that on their best night, Walcott, Ali, and Holyfield were in with another fighter who was fighting at such a high level, they had no choice but to give their best effort. For at least one night, their best wasn't quite good enough.
Still, you could say Jones doesn’t brag as much as he states the obvious, tells you he’s the greatest fighter walking the planet, while reminding you that the sun will rise in the east and eventually set in the west.
You don’t argue with the guy because you can’t. You know who Roy Jones is and you know which direction the sun will come up.
Jones hasn’t cornered the market in conceit, but he has one of the bigger shares. In the fight game, the title of "World’s Biggest Ego," doesn’t fall on the shoulders of one fighter. It‘s split into a thousand pieces spread out over every division, though the three fighters with the most commanding shares and the biggest names are probably Jones, James "Lights Out" Toney and Bernard Hopkins.
The "I am the greatest," act was kind of fun when Muhammad Ali first brought it out of the closet and dusted it off. Now, 40 years later, we realize it was part of the sales pitch, part of the Muhammad Ali character. You can almost picture him grinning and rolling his eyes when he started his ranting and raving about how great he was, loving the way everyone took him seriously but himself.
Funny thing. He really was the greatest, and few argued with him. So if you were wondering who the greatest fighter in the world is today, ask Roy Jones Jr. Or give Toney a call. Maybe you can get in touch with Hopkins. They are all great fighters and have strong opinions about themselves, but their loud, egotistical act has finally grown a little stale.
Maybe that’s why a part of me is pulling for Antonio Tarver on Nov. 8 when he defends his IBF and WBC light-heavyweight titles against Jones at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, the only way Tarver wins that fight is if Jones agrees to use pillows in place of gloves. Still, Jones is too smart to take Tarver for granted. Not only is he the fight game’s best fighter, he’s also one of its smartest.
At a recent Roy Jones media day BBQ at his ranch north of Pensacola, the WBA heavyweight champ of the world talked about his upcoming fight with Tarver, who is training with Buddy McGirt, fast becoming a legend in the fight game.
Asked how big a difference McGirt will make in Tarver, Jones paid tribute to McGirt.
"Buddy will add to any fighter," Jones said. "He was a great fighter in his own day. He can look at any fighter, assess the situation and instantly know what that fighter needs to improve on. He’s good at that."
Then Jones gave us a Royism. "But he can’t put a heart in (Tarver’s) chest."
Drum roll. The fight itself is being billed as, "It’s Personal," though you get the feeling it’s more personal for Tarver than Jones. For Jones, it’s just another busy Saturday night in Las Vegas, another fighter put in front of him to be knocked down.
"If I stun (Tarver) early, he’ll never see round two," Jones said. "At first, I’ll be Roy Jones Jr., chilling until I get caught with a good shot. Then it’s over. RJ (known as Jones’ mean-spirited alter-ego) is coming out and he’s gonna be in (Tarver’s) face. I‘m not interested in teaching him a lesson. He will be getting the lesson as I win. Trust me when I tell you the first time he hits me, it‘s over. We‘re friends, we cool, but I‘m still gonna knock him out when I see him."
On his way to his first meeting with Duran, Esteban had lost just once and that was to W.B.A. featherweight champion Antonio Gomez in a non-title fight. He defeated Josque Marquez twice, Victor Ortiz, Lionel Hernandez, Percy Hayles, Angel Robinson, and Cleveland's Chuck Wilburn. After his victory over Duran, Estsban defeated the classy Johnny Gant and former junior welterweight titleholder, Alfonso Frazier. These victories finally set up a title shot against Duran. On March 16, 1974 in Panama City, Esteban again decked Duran in the first round. this time though Roberto was in much better condition and he gradually wore down his formidable foe stopping Esteban in round eleven.
One year later De Jesus moved up in weight and challenged Antonio Cervantes for the junior welterweight championship. Once again Esteban faded down the stretch as he dropped a fifteen round decision. Again one year later De Jesus received yet another title opportunity. He was matched with W.B.C. lightweight champion "Gutsa Suzuki. Showing his true class Esteban Dominated Suzuki to win an easy decision and the crown. De Jesus would defend his title successfully three times thus setting up the rubber match with Duran for the undisputed title.
Duran-De Jesus III was held in Las Vegas and this much anticipated Superfight would determine once and for all who was the world's best lightweight. In possibly the best performance of his career Duran proved his superiority halting Estsban in round twelve. De Jesus would come back and put together another win streak that included a victory over Edwin Viruet. Once more De Jesus was granted a title shot. This time he would meet W.B.C. junior welterweight champion Saoul Mamby. The bout took place on July 7, 1980 and the signs of Esteban's obviously eroding skills were there for all to see. Mamby finally halted an exhausted and outclassed De Jesus in round thirteen. The final chapter in this fine, but yet tragic career. Esteban would never gain full acceptance as lightweight champion although only the great Duran could master him. Estebanan's final ledger is as follows; 62 bouts, 57 victories, and only 5 defeats. He scored 32 knockouts and he was stopped 3 times. All of his setbacks were to world champions, Gomez, Duran twice, Cervantes, and Mamby.
The bad luck that dogged Estebanan's career was only an omen of things to come. Not long after his retirement Esteban was involved in a traffic dispute during which he shot and killed a seventeen year old youth. For this crime De Jesus was sentenced to life in prison. While in prison De Jesus was infected with AIDS. Bedridden and dying Esteban received a surprise visit from none other then his old adversary, Roberto Duran. In a moment of compassion completely out of character for the mean and macho Duran, he had come to pay his respects. He had come to show his admiration for his toughest foe. He also knew in his heart that Esteban was a true champion.
"What made Lueckenhoff, Sirb, King, or Spizler think they had the right to threaten an American citizen with prosecution, based on an interpretation of the law they had no legal authority to pursue, and which, as it turns out, they had every reason to believe was not valid?"
Toward the eventual objective of answering that question, it bears mentioning that the ABC may have a very strong ulterior motive here. The sanctioning organizations, whether they be the WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO, NABF, or USBA, or private groups like the International Professional Ring Officials (IPRO), have conventions at which officials attend seminars in the hope of getting "certified". The seminars are, for the most part, fee-based. As far as the sanctioning bodies are concerned, they are not mandatory, but it is the politically prudent thing to attend some of them.
One thing Tim Lueckenhoff (President of the ABC) indicated to me in a phone conversation last July, prior the ABC convention, and in the aftermath of an Indiana judging controversy, was that since there was money being taken in by the sanctioning bodies for these seminars (the fees varied, but they represented a tidy sum), why shouldn't the ABC get some of that pie? In fact, why couldn't it get ALL the pie? There seemed to be no reason in his mind why the ABC shouldn't drive the other seminars into obsolescence.
He was going to do that by establishing a series of ABC-sponsored officials seminars at which attendance would eventually be mandatory for anyone who wanted to work a fight for an ABC-member boxing commission. Simply put, that means just about everyone. Off the top of my head, if, let's say, there are about 500 licensed officials in the country, and eventually the fee for the full seminar, whether it be done at the convention itself or at a "satellite" location, is $100, that means no less than $50,000 in the ABC's bank account. And that amount could go up, because in a mandatory situation the demand would obviously be inelastic. The ABC's rationale was simple - that it could resolve to require that its own seminar is the only one that matters, to the exception of any conducted by other entities, because that power has been granted it by federal law.
Indeed, just take a look at it - from Section 16 of the Ali Act:
"No person may arrange, promote, organize, produce, or fight in a professional boxing match unless all referees and judges participating in the match have been certified and approved by the boxing commission responsible for regulating the match in the State where the match is held."
So it's easy - if you're not "certified" by any of our members, you can't work. And if you don't attend (and pay for) our seminar, we're not going to certify you.
It's roughly equivalent to a situation where you're legislating your competitors out of business, which may or may not have anti-trust implications. At the very least, the ABC has got itself the makings of a pretty good little scam going.
In point of fact, it's a scam with an "iron hand". And it's all underway as we speak. The ABC has scheduled a series of seminars in each of its "regions" - all officials must attend one of these seminars to be certified. Armando Garcia is in fact slated to handle the seminar next month in Raleigh, NC, which is in one of the regions. Jeanette King, who is listed as "deputy director" of the North Carolina Boxing Commission (I didn't even know they had one) has been nice enough to inform various commissions that if they use an official within their jurisdiction who has NOT attended an ABC-sanctioned seminar, in which fees are paid to the ABC, that particular commission will actually be referred to something called the ABC "Disciplinary Committee".
The committee consists of Don Hazelton of the Miccosukee Tribal Commission, Steve Bayshore of Oklahoma, Wally Jernigan of Nebraska, Chris Meffert of Florida, and Spizler and Joanna Aguilar, who both serve as "advisory legal counsel".
If this committee, under the direction and with the cooperation of the ABC executive board, finds a commission has used an official who didn't attend the seminar, it will - get this - write a letter to the Attorney General and Governor's office of that state, asking that the commission personnel be, well, disciplined.
Not that it would carry all that much weight with many AG's or governors.
In Kentucky, where the governor eventually removed Jack Kerns, it may have. But the Disciplinary Committee, which was established at this year's ABC convention in St. Louis, comes about a year or so late for Kerns.
What's kind of ironic, but not necessarily coincidental, is that Garcia, who contributed to the program by which the ABC officials would be certified, also did the same thing for the WBA during his short tenure as the head of officials, meaning that the WBA would have a program that was just as good, if not better, than the ABC had.
Naturally, that's something very threatening to the ABC.
But just to show you how much importance the ABC ascribes to its procedure for certifying officials; just to show you how critical it is that THEY be the ultimate authority in determining the worthiness of judges, referees, and others, each and every person I have talked to who took the written officials' test at the 2002 ABC convention in Miami has confirmed that nearly everyone in the room at the time was "talking to each other" during the test. And not about the weather, either. Even a couple of the people I interviewed for deep background admitted they discussed answers with others in the room.
It's bizarre, isn't it, when you think about it - public officials and public appointees, taking a test that would provide certification, pursuant to something that the sponsoring organization felt was a requirement under regulation or law - and cheating on it.
Oh, and for good measure, our information is that Lawrence Cole, among others, actually failed the test the first time around, then got to take it all over again.
The point is - these are the people minding the store; the people who, at the very least, are going to have some kind of responsibility or recognition via the federal laws, and who could very well be providing the personnel to staff a national boxing commission.
Do you see something in there that doesn't quite fit? Why would an organization like the ABC be given any statutory authority whatsoever, especially considering that, once again, it is not a governmental agency, nor is it an inter-governmental agency, but rather a TRADE ASSOCIATION?
The only reason we're even having discussions about national bodies to regulate boxing is that the ABC has failed at its core mission - to bring about multiple standards that are fair and uniform in all states - most notably in the area of fighter safety - and to educate its members.
In fact, it's arguable that the people in charge of the ABC are responsible for more transgressions than advancements in the way of reasonable safety standards. For reference, pick up "Operation Cleanup: A Blueprint for Boxing Reform" and go to Chapter 56 - "ABC Execs Share Common Thread with Kerns".
And if the ABC was a failure in that endeavor, why in the world would anyone want to give them expanded responsibility and power? That would be like throwing good money after bad.
The truth of the matter is, whether this bill passes or not, the ABC should be disbanded, and if a plan to organize another association of boxing commissions surfaces, it should be executed with more of a basis in reality and sanity, and WITHOUT the involvement of the stiffs that are there now.
Among the estimated 30 people to be employed by a United States Boxing Administration - including "three senior executives, about 20 people at the GS-12 or GS-13 level, and less than 10 support staff", according to the Congressional Budget Office, you can bet that many of them will be ambitious ABC operatives who want to hop onto a gravy train of sorts - perhaps people like Tim Lueckenhoff, Greg Sirb, Jeannette King, or their disciples/underlings. Maybe even Bruce Spizler, an attorney from Maryland who provides legal services to the ABC, into that mix as well.
Let's consider some more -- the ABC still remains in place in the new bill. It is represented in provisions that deal with ratings criteria, fighter complaints about ratings, medical standards, as well as operation of the medical database, and curiously, its approval is required for every fight in this country that is scheduled for ten rounds or more.
But the ABC has proven to be an organization that exercises a tremendous amount of flexibility, for the sake of its own convenience, and not necessarily consistency in terms of principle, or law. OPERATION CLEANUP readers are very familiar with the fact that after demonstrating, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that he had acted negligently in ignoring federal law on the fight card that saw Greg Page lapse into a coma, Kentucky Athletic Commission chairman Jack Kerns was actually voted onto the ABC's executive board, then kept on the board at the end of one year, after more incriminating evidence was uncovered. His answers to Page's attorney in subsequent depositions pursuant to the lawsuit are a matter of public record, and are documented in great detail on the pages of Operation Cleanup 2.
It has been documented on numerous occasions that Greg Sirb, the former president of the ABC and now listed as "past president" on the board while waiting for an appointment as federal boxing "czar", does not know how to interpret the federal laws that have been in place for years, and has acted contrary to his own state law (Pennsylvania) in letting 16-year-old fighters into state rings.
The latest folly - the ABC's treatment of referee Armando Garcia - has been particularly shameful. The organization, in a letter issued by its president, Tim Lueckenhoff, and which may have been written by Spizler, not only threatened, in effect, to ban Garcia from being able to officiate in any state if he maintained his position on the World Boxing Association's Officials Committee, but also threatened to prosecute him in accordance with the "Conflict of Interest" provision in the Professional Boxer Safety Act.
Not only is that threat arbitrary and capricious, it is also highly unusual in light of the fact that it would be, to my knowledge, the first action ever taken by the ABC, in conjunction with a United States Attorney, against any individual for "violating" the federal laws concerning boxing.
And why? Well, what it came down to was that Lueckenhoff, Greg Sirb, and the rest of the ABC leadership sought to make an example out of Garcia - to force him to make a decision between his membership in a sanctioning body and his association with a pair of ABC-member boxing commissions (in this case, Florida and the Miccosukee Tribal Commission), as a show of strength. And for good measure, they dangled an assignment in conducting an ABC-sponsored referee's seminar in North Carolina, which no doubt would be pulled from him if he retained his allegiance to the WBA.
Garcia gave them their victory, at least for the time being. He quit his position as Chairman of the WBA Officials Committee. That's not necessarily an aesthetic victory for boxing, since Garcia could have improved the sport by helping to make the WBA a better-run organization.
So the ABC won the battle, but may have set itself up to lose the war. I'll be honest - if I were Armando Garcia, right now I'd be making plans to sue the hell out of the ABC, and I'd probably win. Not only is a trade group - which has no standing as a government agency - threatening to take away his right to earn a living (or at least part of a living) by officiating matches, it is denying him a certain freedom of association. It could very well be unconstitutional. If it indeed is, it should lead to the immediate dissolution of the organization. And to bolster Garcia's case, add to it the draft of a letter, sent to Anthony Fois, an Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice's Office of Legislative Affairs, by Senators McCain, Brian, Oxley, and Dingell (who helped draft the Professional Boxer Safety Act) on March 11, 1997.
Here is that draft, in pertinent part:
"Section 9 of the Act provides that:
'No member or employee of a boxing commission, no person who administers or enforces State boxing laws, and no member of the Association of Boxing Commissions may belong to, contract with, or receive any compensation from, any person who sanctions, arranges, or promotes professional boxing matches......'
However, Commissioners from many states are concerned that this language may be interpreted to cover professional boxing REFEREES AND JUDGES. As the primary authors of the Act, we unhesitatingly stipulate that Section 9 was meant to prohibit only State officials, Commissioners, and their direct employees (Executive Directors, Inspectors, and support personnel) from belonging to or receiving compensation from sanctioning bodies. This language was DEFINITELY NOT INTENDED to include temporary hirees such as boxing referees and judges. They are akin to independent contractors, and might work for a State commission only one night a year. Professional referees and judges should not be considered as an 'employee of a boxing commission' for the purposes of this limited conflict of interest provision.
This matter is of tremendous concern to Commissioners. Most referees and judges ARE AFFILIATED with sanctioning bodies, and interpreting Section 9 to cover them would effectively shut down a majority of professional boxing events in the U.S. No experienced referees or judges could be hired by State Commissions to participate in a boxing event. Such an overly broad interpretation of Section 9's language would be completely devoid of Congressional intent, and disastrous for the professional boxing industry in America."
Now, obviously this contradicts my own interpretation of the "Conflict of Interest" provision in the Professional Boxer Safety Act, but hey, when it comes to what the intent of the framers of this law had in mind, and seeing as it is not an "after-the-fact" situation (that is, after Lueckenhoff's letter), I am strongly inclined to defer to the legislators on that aspect of it. So I would stand corrected.
Apparently, the ABC doesn't feel the same way. And as such, they don't mind fostering something that is "disastrous for the professional boxing industry in America". We have reason to believe that Lueckenhoff has had the aforementioned draft in his possession since 2001, when the ABC had its convention in New Orleans. Whether he ever bothered to consult with McCain, one of the "drafters", prior to sending the letter of threat to Garcia is not known. But there seems to be substantial grounds, based on that letter, that the law probably does not apply to a ring official (i.e., Garcia).
Yet I have seen not seen a reversal of that position on the part of the ABC.
Maybe it's because there has been no clarification of that "Conflict of Interest" clause in subsequent amendments to the federal law, through the Ali Act and even now, as far as I can tell, with the Professional Boxing Amendments Act of 2003. That might be sufficient reason, in and of itself, to vote this bill down. And there are other nebulous aspects just like it.
But my question is this - what made Lueckenhoff, Sirb, King, or Spizler think they had the right to threaten an American citizen with prosecution, based on an interpretation of the law they had no legal authority to pursue, and which, as it turns out, they had every reason to believe was not valid?
Over the years from about 1968 until he died in 1997, we would go back and forth arguing, not debating over who would've won between Marciano and Ali. No doubt that objectivity was thrown out the window by both of us. He couldn't see past Marciano being an undefeated knockout artist, and that he was Italian. I couldn't see past Ali's flash and brilliance.
When we used to have those debates/arguments, I was sure Ali would've beat Marciano if they fought at their peak. At that time I believed all the crap that Marciano was slow, easy to hit, and was undefeated because he fought a bunch of old greats who were past their prime. Over the years I've changed my outlook on Marciano, I've begun to look at Marciano's career more thoroughly and objectively.
Over the last few weeks, I couldn't help but notice the bias by both fans of Marciano and Ali on some of the message boards on the Net regarding a Marciano vs. Ali hypothetical fight. Ali fans remarked that Ali would handle Marciano with the same ease in which he handled George Chuvalo and Henry Cooper. Marciano fans commented that Rocky would beat up Ali like he did Roland LaStarrza. I think both sides are way off.
First off, lets make it clear that we are comparing them when they were at their best. To suggest because Sonny Banks and Henry Cooper dropped a young and inexperienced Clay who hadn't fully matured and filled out is crazy. No doubt that the Marciano who beat Walcott would've stopped the Clay who fought Banks and Cooper. However, that wasn't nearly the best Ali.
On the other hand Marciano beat two great fighters in Jersey Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles. Some mention Walcott was old when Marciano stopped him. What's never mentioned is that Walcott fought the best fight of his life for 12 rounds in his first fight with Marciano, and was ahead in the scoring before being stopped in the 13th round. Regarding his age, Walcott became a better fighter in his mid to late thirties. Don't believe me, I'm just going by what Nat Fleischer and Joe Louis said. Louis should know, Walcott was his sparring partner at one time, and they fought twice. Why is it so easy to believe Lennox Lewis improved with age, but not Jersey Joe? I guess it depends on what fits your argument the best.
Walcott's confidence was at its peak before facing Marciano. Early in his career he was mismanaged and lost some bad decisions. Plus, Walcott came down with typhoid early in his career and spent a year recovering. Walcott's confidence was shot after being stopped by Joe Louis in their rematch and losing two title fights with Ezzard Charles. Finally, after getting past Charles twice en-route to winning and retaining the title, his confidence soared and he was close to being at his best going into his title defense versus Marciano. Don't be fooled by his Won-Loss record. When great fighters fight the best available, they don't win every time.
Ezzard Charles was only two years older than Marciano. In the first Marciano-Charles fight, Charles was said to have been in the best shape of his career, and fought possibly the best fight of his life. Nat Fleischer who sat ringside during the fight, said afterwards "that no fighter in the world could've lasted those 15 rounds against Charles, much less beat him." For ten rounds Charles fought Marciano on more than even terms. However, because Marciano was the best conditioned heavyweight ever, he didn't tire and surged ahead in the last five rounds to win the decision. This was a fight that was so fiercely contested that there was only one clinch in 15 rounds.
How many of Ali's opponents could have fought Marciano as competitive as Walcott and Charles? How about three, Liston, Frazier, and Foreman. I don't include Holmes because Ali was a shot fighter when he fought Holmes. When evaluating Ali's career, most regard him as being great because he defeated three all-time greats in Liston, Frazier, and Foreman. And he beat Frazier and Foreman after he was 32. Outside of those three greats, who did Ali fight that Marciano would've been an underdog against?
Realistically, when you breakdown the careers of Marciano and Ali, it's Ali's defeats of Liston, Frazier, and Foreman which tilt the balance heavily in his favor. However, if you compare Walcott and Charles to Liston and Frazier, and exclude Foreman, there's not such a huge disparity in favor of Ali. If you match Walcott and Charles with Liston, it's not a reach to say either one of them may have been capable of getting by him. They both hung with Marciano for 13 and 15 rounds, and Marciano threw more punches, had better stamina, and applied more pressure than Liston.
How about matching Walcott and Charles with Frazier? Again, if they were capable of staying with Marciano for 13 and 15 rounds, I don't think it's out of the question that they possibly could have upset Frazier. Remember, Walcott was ahead of Marciano after 12 rounds. And Charles was even with him after 10 rounds, and didn't fall behind until the last five rounds, but he still went the 15 round limit with him.
The one fighter who Ali fought and defeated that I can't envision either Walcott or Charles beating is George Foreman of 1973-74. In my opinion, I don't think that there are more than a couple heavyweights in history who could have beat the Foreman who fought Frazier and Ali in the early seventies! Foreman is just two big and powerful for any version of Walcott or Charles.
What most fans tend to do when comparing Marciano and Ali is, they compare how Ali would've cleaned up on every opponent that Marciano fought. No doubt Ali would have had his way with all of Marciano's opponents except Walcott and Charles. Yes, Ali would've beat both of them, most likely by decision. What is not widely known is that Ali said many times during the mid to late 70's, that Walcott and Charles would have been very difficult fights for him because of their style.
How about looking at it the other way? Lets look at how Marciano would've fared had he fought the fighters Ali did, excluding Liston, Frazier, and Foreman, for the moment. Looking at Ali's career, who would've had a chance of beating Marciano outside of the big three. In reviewing Ali's opponents of the 60's, is there anybody other than Liston who would've been favored over Marciano?
Not Patterson or Chuvalo. Patterson doesn't have the size or strength, and Chuvalo doesn't have the skill or the punch. How about Cooper, London, and Mildenberger? Only if there was a sniper in the rafters who was gonna shoot Marciano during the fight. That leaves Williams, Terrell, and Folley. I guess maybe Williams at his peak, because of his punching power could get lucky and catch Rocky early, but I'd bet on Marciano.
Terrell? I don't see it. Ernie doesn't have the punch or strength to keep Rocky off him, Marciano would beat Terrell down and stop him. Zora Folley? Only if you think a poor mans Ezzard Charles could do what the original couldn't. Can there be any doubt that other than Sonny Liston, Marciano would've gone through every opponent Ali fought in the 60's? Not in my mind.
Lets look at the 70's, excluding Frazier and Foreman, starting with Bonavena and Quarry? Bonavena was to crude, and Quarry's willingness to trade with Marciano would cost him the fight. No way either Ellis or the Foster's, Bob and Mac could last with Marciano. Ellis and Bob Foster just don't have the strength to stand up to Marciano's assault, they would both be knocked out by him. I know Mac Foster could punch, but he was knocked dead by Quarry in six rounds. I see Marciano having no problem with Mac Foster.
That leaves Norton, Young, Lyle and Shavers. Norton doesn't have the toughness or the psyche to survive a puncher like Marciano. Young doesn't have the punch to keep Marciano off him, Rocky would beat Young down and stop him. Lyle doesn't have the skill or the stamina, although he could probably drop Marciano, but I doubt he could keep him down. Shavers? Like Lyle, Shavers could probably put Rocky down but couldn't keep him there. I don't think Shavers has the stamina or the chin to beat Marciano.
Excluding Liston, Frazier, and Foreman, there is not one opponent who Ali beat who Marciano also wouldn't have beat. If we include the big three of Liston, Frazier, and Foreman, how would Marciano fare? I would make Liston a slight favorite over Rocky. Sonny had the jab and power to fight Rocky. However, Marciano's crouching style would make it difficult for Liston to nail him cleanly. Mostly all fighters are bothered by fighters who fight out of a crouch. The best shot Marciano would have to beat Liston is if he could extend the fight to about the sixth or seventh round. If Marciano could get that far, his toughness and great stamina may be the difference. Liston like Tyson, wasn't the most stable fighter when the pressure was turned up. That being said, Liston is slightly favored over Marciano in my opinion, but a Marciano win is definitely no upset.
For my money, Marciano-Frazier is the fight I would most want to see if I could match any two fighters from different era's at their best. Although Marciano and Frazier are both swarming type pressure fighters, there is a difference in their aggression. Frazier applies more pressure and comes in faster bobbing and weaving. Marciano crouches lower, which enables him to keep his opponents from reaching him. Frazier cut off the ring better and had faster hands. Marciano was a better two-handed puncher and probably had a slightly better chin. Stamina is close, but if I had to give an edge to one, I'd lean towards Marciano.
As far as weight goes, Marciano fought his best between 185 and 187. Frazier's best fights were fought between 205 and 209. However, what most fans don't know is that Marciano's weight was low because he wanted it to be. He could have easily fought at the same weight as Frazier. Before Marciano started fighting, he weighed between 210 to 215 while playing baseball. I don't really think Frazier had a size advantage other than an inch in height, and a longer reach. Frazier had a 73 inch reach compared to Marciano's 67. In a Marciano-Frazier fight, I doubt reach would have been a factor. If there ever was a pick-em fight, it's Marciano vs. Frazier!
The fighter who Ali defeated who I have a hard time seeing Marciano beating is George Foreman circa 1973-74. Foreman is most likely too big and strong for Marciano. How would Rocky be able to get inside to put any kind of hurt on Foreman? No doubt Marciano's crouching style might slow Foreman down some, but probably not enough to change the outcome. Marciano couldn't beat Foreman by moving away, and it would play into Foreman's style if he tried to pressure him like Frazier. Again, the only shot Rocky would have in my opinion is if he could survive the first five or so rounds. If Rocky could get to the seventh round and beyond, maybe Foreman would tire and Marciano could get to him. However, it's hard envisioning him making it that far against a raging Foreman of the early seventies?
When thoroughly and objectively reviewing the entire careers of Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali. It's obvious that Marciano faced only two opponents that would've troubled Ali, Walcott and Charles. Yes Ali would've beat both of them, but it's not the cakewalk some believe it would be. On the other hand, Ali only defeated three fighters who probably would have been favored over Marciano, Liston, Frazier, and Foreman. And it's not entirely out of the question that Marciano could've beaten Liston and Frazier.
The big difference in the resumes of Marciano and Ali, is in the quality of the second tier fighters that Ali fought and defeated. However, Marciano would've definitely defeated every second tier level fighter on Ali's resume. I don't even think that it can be debated?
How do Marciano and Ali compare as fighters? Their styles couldn't be more different. Like Frazier, Marciano wanted to cut the distance between himself and his opponents. Where Ali preferred to keep his opponents outside at a distance. Also like Frazier, Marciano's weakness were Ali's strengths, and vice versa. And both Marciano and Ali had an undeniable will to win, and both could take a tremendous punch.
Some of the differences were Ali often looked past some of his opponents, opposed to Marciano who never did. Marciano trained for every fight as if his life depended on it, and in his mind it did. Ali didn't always enter the ring in top shape during the 70's, unless he was facing a fighter who was a threat to beat him. Marciano soaked up everything that his trainer Charlie Goldman passed along to him between rounds during the fight. Ali sometimes didn't always follow the instruction of Angelo Dundee. Marciano's assets were power and determination, Ali's were speed and movement, along with being able to adapt and improvise during the fight. It must also be noted that Marciano is the one heavyweight who Ali doesn't hold an advantage over when it comes to endurance, and the ability to take a punch.
Over the years there have been two misconceptions about Marciano and Ali. Marciano was not the walk in punching bag that some have tried to pass him off as. Any close review of his fights clearly bares this out. He made many fighters miss him, and when they did connect it was usually with just one solid shot, not blistering combinations. On the other hand Ali could punch better than he's given credit for. When he chose to sit down on his punches and not get out of them quickly, he hit very hard. This was also because he lured his opponent to come into him.
Had Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali fought on their best night, I have no doubt that it would have been a very fiercely contested fight. Marciano was definitely on par with the greatest opponents Ali ever faced. So to think that Ali wins easily is totally asinine. Ask yourself what Marciano would have done to the best fighters Ali fought excluding the big three. If you conclude that he would've lost to anyone of them, you're wrong. The only fighters Ali defeated who may have beaten Marciano are, Liston, Frazier, and Foreman.
In a Marciano vs. Ali fight, if both were at their best, I would pick Ali to come out the winner. He probably had too many ways to adapt and adjust to somewhat neutralize Rocky. In some ways I think Marciano would not have been as tough for Ali as Frazier was. Frazier's more relentless pressure I think would be a little tougher on Ali than Marciano's crouching aggression. On the other hand, Ali would not have hit Marciano as cleanly and with as many combinations as he did Frazier.
All I know is that both Marciano and Ali are all-time greats. Marciano may be the most least understood and under-rated heavyweight champion in history. He would not have been a sure win for any all-time great heavyweight champ. His toughness, power, and determination cannot be overlooked. And he was a smarter fighter and better boxer than he's given credit for by both fans and writers.
Over the years when Ali spoke of Marciano, he always showered him with high praise. He said he developed one of the closest relationships with Marciano, more so than he had with any other fighter. Ali was often quoted as saying that he couldn't believe how strong, and how hard Rocky could hit. He said he could feel how great Marciano must have been just from being in the ring with him when he was 45 while filming the computer fight. Ali said that he couldn't even imagine what Rocky must have been like in his prime. Marciano also spoke highly of Ali as well. It's just a shame that Marciano didn't live to see some of Ali's greatest triumphs. No doubt had he lived a little longer he would've gained even more respect for Ali.
Yes, in my opinion the best Ali beats the best Marciano. However it's not the easy walk over that some try to push it off as being. Ali definitely would've had his hands more than full with Marciano, but in my opinion he would have most likely had his arms raised if they fought on their best night. Ali's size, speed, adaptability, and toughness, make him the favorite over any past or present heavyweight champ in my book.
Forget the computer fight. It was just a novelty. Marciano and Ali were both paid $10,000. Ali needed the money because he hadn't fought in two years and had no income along with piling legal debt. Marciano was in good shape financially, but he did have some investments that lost money. Marciano took it seriously and trained for it like it was a fight. He wanted to be ready in case Ali tried to make him look bad. Ali was in horrible shape and didn't take it seriously.
As far as Marciano dropping Ali with a body shot? Who knows for sure. There is a part of me that finds it hard to believe because Ali took it to the body better than any heavyweight ever. However, I don't believe that it's a total fabrication either. Lets just say that it's very likely that Marciano got Ali's attention somewhere during the filming with a body shot. Body shots were allowed during the 70 one minute rounds they were in the ring, so I could see Marciano sneaking in a big one to get Ali's respect. The bottom line is that it doesn't matter, it wasn't a fight.
Here's all you need to know about computer fights. In September of 1970, they used the same computer that produced the Marciano-Ali fight to pick the winner of the Joe Frazier vs. Bob Foster heavyweight title fight in November of 1970. The computer picked Foster to stop Frazier in the sixth round. Since Frazier knocked Foster out in the second round, the computer could not have been more wrong. In fact, Frazier hit Foster so hard that he injured his ankle while he was going down.
Without a doubt the biggest fight in boxing that could be made today is Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones. Since the heyday of Sugar Ray Leonard, Tyson has to be regarded as the biggest draw and most well known and recognized fighter in boxing. On the other hand, Roy Jones is probably the most talented and skilled fighter since Ray Leonard. There cannot be any dispute, Tyson vs. Jones would garner attention throughout the world. From an interest standpoint, this is definitely a Super-Fight.
From the time he turned pro, through his incarceration, I've always said that Mike Tyson was the most brilliantly managed fighter in gloved-history? His perception among his legion of fans is undeniable. They simply believe that it's his birth right to be considered one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. In my opinion, Tyson was a great talent. However, a flawed fighter when it comes to character and toughness when measured against the greatest heavyweights in history.
The fact that he hasn't won a signature fight since beating Michael Spinks back in June of 1988, 15 years ago, doesn't matter in the least. The bottom line is, the name Tyson needs to be one half of the billboard to make one of the two or three biggest fights in boxing at this time. That's right, Tyson's name matched with another perceived top fighter of today is the biggest fight that can be made.
Tyson versus Toney, Jones, Byrd, either Klitschko, or Lewis, is bigger than any other two fighters that can be paired. If Tyson fought James Toney the same night Lennox Lewis fought Roy Jones, Tyson-Toney would outdraw Lewis-Jones by a 3-1 margin.
Enter Roy Jones. At this time I think it's pretty much accepted that Jones is the most skilled fighter in boxing. Yea, maybe two or three other fighters can make a good claim, but I'd bet in a poll of boxing writers and fans worldwide, Jones would receive the most votes for the top spot. The talent of Roy Jones cannot be questioned. His skill level and talent, matched with Tyson's power and fan appeal make Tyson-Jones the most anticipated fight in boxing.
Throughout his career, Roy Jones has been a master outside of the ring almost as good as he's been one in it. Jones has orchestrated his career in such a manner that he keeps most of us guessing about what he'll do next. His ring credentials are hard to deny. He has clearly beaten the two great fighters he has faced in his career, Hopkins and Toney. At the same time it can be argued that Hopkins was still very green, and wasn't ready for a fighter with the overall experience of Jones when they fought. Against Toney, most everyone knows the poor shape Toney was in, and the problems that were surrounding him outside of boxing at the time. Even though his fights with Hopkins and Toney went to the scorecards, there is no disputing that Jones clearly bettered both of them.
To his credit, Jones won a portion of the heavyweight title when he decisioned John Ruiz in his last fight. Although he must be given all due praise for this accomplishment, let's not forget that it was against Ruiz. Yes, on the outside Jones' mastery of Ruiz looks impressive, but it doesn't come close to matching Michael Spinks feat of winning the legitimate title from Larry Holmes. I don't care that Holmes was 35, he was still undefeated and recognized as the top heavyweight in the world in September of 1985. If you want to argue something, argue that Spinks got a gift decision in their rematch.
In defeating Ruiz, Jones joined Michael Spinks as the only reigning light heavyweight champs to capture the heavyweight title. However, what did Jones beating Ruiz really say about him? That he could beat a fighter who outweighed him by 27 pounds? I don't think anyone questioned that before he fought Ruiz. What if Billy Conn had to beat John Ruiz instead of Joe Louis to win the heavyweight title? I think it's safe to say that the odds would have been in his favor. Same as if Archie Moore had to beat Ruiz instead of Marciano, or if Bob Foster had to beat Ruiz instead of Frazier. And please, don't even think it! No way Jones would have beat the once beaten Louis of 1941, the undefeated Marciano of 1955, or the undefeated Frazier of 1970!
Again, I'm not taking anything from Jones. The point is that we really don't know how to evaluate him when matched with a top tier heavyweight. Obviously, he has totally cleaned out the light heavyweight division and it's almost pointless for him to continue in it. That's why Tyson-Jones makes so much sense, and it would give both fighters what they need at this time.
For Tyson, a fight with Jones would really do wonders for him and his career. The money he would make would clear up whatever financial problems that he has. And a win over Jones would skyrocket his standing and perception to a place it hasn't been since right before he fought Holyfield the first time. For Jones, there are a million reasons why this fight makes sense for him as well.
First of all, he would be facing a severely eroded and stagnant Tyson. So a win is not inconceivable. Also, if Jones were to pull a win out over Tyson, his place in history could never be denied. Some may say that it was over a faded Tyson, but no one would ever again be able to question his heart and chin without coming off as a total idiot. Another thing in Jones' favor is that Tyson is not a big heavyweight. This fight should definitely be made, it's the perfect fight for both of them.
Unfortunately It Will Never Happen
For the reasons I stated earlier about the brilliance in which both the careers of Mike Tyson and Roy Jones have been handled, is why I believe this fight won't happen. Tyson is smart enough to see that unless he's as shot as Holyfield, Jones has nothing for him. For the reasons that Tyson knew that Foreman was wrong for him, the opposite applies with Jones. From a style standpoint, he knows Jones is made for him.
On the other hand, I believe that Jones is too smart to let this fight be made. Unless Jones' is convinced Tyson is as bad as Holyfield right now, I think he goes in another direction. Jones must certainly know that he doesn't have the punch to hurt or put any fear in Tyson. He must know that when Tyson sees him, he views him as a piece of fresh meat that he can tear through. Without Jones being able to hurt or rock Tyson, how could he possibly keep him off in order to try and move and box? Tyson would be all over him like a wet T-shirt throwing bombs. If Jones knows anything, it's that he could lose to Tyson in a very convincing fashion.......like a one-punch knockout. The last thing Jones wants is to go out like Michael Spinks.
Tyson may not be the fighter he once was, but it still takes an exceptional fighter to beat him. The fighter who can beat Tyson must be as strong as him or stronger. He must have an outstanding chin because he's going to get nailed. The fighter must have some power to slow him down and make him hesitate and doubt himself. He also must have no fear of him. I don't think Jones has enough of those traits to beat Tyson. Even though he has the speed advantage, I think Tyson's strength and power totally offset it. Jones would be so worried about Tyson catching him, I think he'd be more concerned with surviving than winning? I say Tyson is too much for Jones and knocks him out if they meet within the next year! But I doubt we'll see it?