It's a way for champions who either get vacated, stripped or move up to another division to keep their titles as 'champions' without actually having their titles. Silly me, and I thought possession was actually nine-tenths of the law. It's not even that.
But I give them credit, this is not like the WBA's 'super champion' category, which is just a way for that particular organization to collect an extra sanctioning fee without having it's actual champions make defenses of their crown. In other words if guys like Tsyzu and Bernard Hopkins who are basically undisputed champions of their respective weight classes, can't satisfy their annual commitments to take on their mandatory defenses- because remember, they would still have to satisfy the WBC and IBF mandatories, the WBA would give them a pass by letting another guy basically become their 'un-super' champion and let him make consistent title defenses for them while they pick up sanctioning fee's. No, you weren't seeing things when you saw Vivian Harris and William Joppy as WBA champions, when they had never actually faced or defeated Tsyzu or Hopkins in the ring.
From what I've been told there will be no sanctioning fee's collected in all this quagmire. But the question is this, why even do this? Isn't the sport marginalized enough to have guys who are no longer in a particular weight class, be called 'champions' in divisions they no longer participate in?
Erik Morales, who made his 130-pound debut a few weeks ago when he dispatched of Guty Espadas, is now in line to face the WBC titlist Jesus Chavez, but he has asked the body to keep him as their 126-pound champion until he entered the ring against Chavez at 130. Seriously what's the difference if he got stripped of his crown now or when his left foot touched down on the ring apron before facing Chavez?
But then at the same time, Michael Brodie and In Jin Chi, the two leading contenders for the WBC at 126 pounds will be fighting for a world title at 126, rather than the dreaded 'interim' title, which is harder to sell for a promoter.
My sources tell me the reason they came up with this whole thing was to appease the Russians, who work with Tsyzu, who didn't want to see him stripped( although, that's what happened). And now Arturo Gatti and Gianluca Branco will fight for his title- although, Tszyu will still be called 'champion'.
Geez, what happened to the days when, oh, I don't know, when the 'champions' would actually still be in their particular weight division and defend that crown. I know, it sound so quaint, but is it that much to ask?
A couple of the sanctioning bodies have raised the cruiserweight limit to 200 pounds. My question is why? That's even more of a 'no-mans land' than 190 pounds in my book.
At 200 pounds, do you know what you're getting? A lot of guys that should be at 190 pounds not training as hard because they've got ten pounds to play with. I'm telling you right now, you give a fighter that has to make weight an inch, they'll take ten pounds- at least.
And you know, I've always said what this game really needs right about now is a change in weight divisions. But it really shouldn't make too much of a difference either way. The reality is that no matter what the cut off is for cruiserweights the same disparity in terms of the money that can be made between cruisers and heavys are so great, it won't make a difference. Any fighter hovering around 199 pounds, will just put on a few pounds so he won't be a cruiserweight.
Think of it like this, when it comes to history and tradition, the heavyweight class is like the New York Yankees, the cruiserweights, are like the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Speaking of the Yankees, do you know why boxing is conspicuously absent from this months viewing calender on HBO?
It's because HBO doesn't want to compete with the baseball playoffs, especially with teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs involved. And why not? The reason is simple, when the playoffs come around, although baseball is now the national 'past it's time' it will still get a large amount of coverage in your daily sports pages. Which means sports like boxing will be pushed to the back- if not all together- of the sports pages. The head honchos at HBO are concerned that their events will be overshadowed by 'the Fall Classic'
Which would seem like a good move this year, although baseball ratings have waned in the past few years, with the story lines involving the teams involved, the ratings have picked up and interest is unusually high. I guess you can say that boxing, like the BoSox, is currently suffering through the 'Curse of the Bambino'.
One of the hardest things to do in any profession is walk away. Whether at the peak of your game or at the bottom, chances are it is something you have been doing for the majority of your life and just walking away brings both fear and emptiness. The emptiness comes from no longer doing something you have done for as long as you can remember - in the brutal world of boxing that is assuming a fighter still can indeed remember things. That is accompanied by the fear of fitting back into society and doing 'normal' things in a world where all you have known is anything but "normal".
In the case of Andrew Golota, the word "normal" is one that is seldom, if ever, used. Golota is back in the boxing business after a 3-year absence that was induced by yet another weird, embarrassing moment in the ring. Last time I saw Andrew Golota, he was suffering another dilemma in his life as he realized, in the ring unfortunately, that he didn't enjoy getting hit by hard punches. The opponent on this night was Mike Tyson and, after absorbing some punishing shots from Iron Mike, Golota decided between rounds that he had simply had enough. I felt a little sorry for the big guy as he left the ring after being yelled at by trainer, Al Certo and then showered with all sorts of refreshments by "fans" as he made his way back to the shelter of his dressing room. At the time I thought - and hoped - we had seen the last of Andrew Golota, for his sake and ours.
Unfortunately the desire to come back, the boredom of retirement, or the pain of that last fight, was too much for the man they dubbed the 'Foul Pole' (I assume you know about his habit of hitting below the belt). His claim, a few years back, to an Illinois state trooper as being a "special officer" didn't go over very well and perhaps he learned that becoming a 'real' police officer was just too much work. The ring beckoned him back. The real problem for Golota is that he isn't as young as he was when he got his big opportunities - and when he did, he looked as bad as one possibly could have. Let's recap - in 1996 the big man from Poland had his first major fight when he took on Riddick Bowe and controlled the bout. Brain-cramps ensued and Golota found himself disqualified for repeated low blows.
From the category of "I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes", Golota and Bowe got together to do it again and they really did do it again. In a near exact replay of the first bout, Golota was clearly winning the fight yet looked for, and found, a way out. This time it was two rounds later and Golota left as the loser for being DQ'd for repeated low blows.
Those consecutive disqualifications somehow 'earned' Golota a shot at Heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis. Perhaps it was the attention he had gained through his foul-filled acts, but 'King' Lewis made sure his 'royal jewels' were well cared for and did not expose them to the same treatment that Bowe did. Lennox destroyed Golota within one round. After that, Golota worked his way back up to a shot at the 'next great thing' at the time, Michael Grant. Fighting for the NABF laurels, Golota dropped Grant twice in the first round . . . eight rounds later Golota was TKO'd with another loss. Perhaps Andrew felt Grant's pain and suffering in the first round and, knowing that it hurts being hit hard, let the wunderkind back into the fight and gave it away.
His first appearance since the Tyson meltdown was in August of this year, as Golota returned to the ring and broke-down journeyman Brian Nix in 7 rounds. Next up is an apparent date with Terrance Lewis, who is 6-9-1 in his past 16 trips into the ring. Lewis isn't a 'has been' but that is only because he 'never was'; and perhaps Golota just wants to put a win on his resume over someone, anyone, named "Lewis". With 31 wins and 21 knockouts, Team Golota may be taking on a bit too much, too soon. Heaven forbid that Terrance Lewis hits their man hard - then what will Andrew do? I guess that is why we watch.
While I am fairly sure we have seen the best that Andrew Golota has to offer, I only hope we have also seen the worst.
Another thing The Ring did was give a brief summary of each fighters strengths and weaknesses, along with providing a style match up before projecting the outcome. In my opinion, the "What IF" hypothetical is one of the most fun things about sports. Nothing sparks emotion, and sometimes anger like the "What IF" in boxing. Yes, Magic's Lakers vs. Jordan's Bulls is real intriguing, and I'm certain that a heated argument would break out in trying to convince a non believer as to why you favor one over the other. But, I have no doubt that it would pale in comparison to the explosive argument that would erupt in trying to convince a Marciano fan that he would've lost to Frazier. Marciano vs. Frazier is the hypothetical match up I'd like to see most if I had a choice, and it is among one of the 50 included in this issue.
The staff at The Ring really did their homework in coming up with some of these fascinating match ups that require some real thought before trying to project a winner. Some of the purposed match ups that I thought were terrific and hard to handicap were, Tony Zale vs. Dick Tiger, Jack Johnson vs. Gene Tunney, and Mickey Walker vs. Jake LaMotta. And that's barely scratching the surface!
Most of the time when Boxing publications do these fantasy hypothetical fights, I feel they do it without much thought and they come off very flimsy. I also usually disagree with their projected outcomes, and don't feel that their reasoning for making their choice is sound. Often, I've found it easy to shoot holes in their arguments. However, I cannot say that about many of the match ups in this edition of The Ring.
I have no affiliation with The Ring other than knowing some of their very capable writers and editors. It doesn't benefit me in any way to hawk this "Collectors Edition", but I definitely give it my endorsement. Since I agreed with many of the outcomes in the 50 match ups they selected , I'll go over two that I definitely disagree with and why. Below are two match ups of fighters who I saw live, in which I completely disagree with The Ring's version and outcome.
George Foreman vs. Lennox Lewis I know this will upset many Lewis fans, but I don't see Lewis ever beating the Foreman who fought Frazier and Ali in 1973-74. In this match up The Ring picked Lewis to stop Foreman in the 10th round. This after he was ruled down in the sixth round. Excuse me, but I can't recall the time Lewis got up to beat the count after he was dropped. Their theory is based on Lewis being able to circle and box while using his greater strength to hold Foreman off when he gets close. I think it borders on comedic to even suggest Lewis is as strong as Foreman.
Let's make one thing perfectly clear. Despite spotting Lewis some weight, Foreman was definitely stronger than Lewis. In fact, Foreman at 42 or 43 was stronger than any version of Lewis. If Lewis is so strong, how was he pushed all over the ring by Ray Mercer, and Evander Holyfield in their second fight? A prime Holyfield couldn't physically control a 42 year old Foreman. Foreman, is stronger than both Holyfield and Mercer when he's sleeping. When it comes to punching power, Foreman is superior to Lewis with either hand. And that's not up for debate. An old Foreman rocked a prime Holyfield more so than Lewis did a shot Holyfield. There is absolutely no doubt, Foreman is physically stronger, and is a better puncher than Lewis with either hand.
Is there any comparison between Foreman and Lewis when it comes to who has the better chin? This is a no brainer. Foreman was only stopped once, by Ali. And that was due to exhaustion and being hit many times over the course of eight rounds. The only time Foreman was ever hurt by a punch was in his fight with Ron Lyle, who hit harder than either McCall or Rahman, the two fighters who stopped Lewis. Foreman also walked through Joe Frazier's left hook without being shook a bit. Like with Lyle, Frazier's hook is harder than anything that McCall or Rahman posses. To deny this is ridiculous. Lewis on the other hand was not only KO'd by McCall and Rahman, but he was hurt and shook by Akinwande, Tucker, Bruno, and Briggs. Again, nothing they throw is in the same zip code as Frazier's hook or Lyle's right. And Lewis cannot be given full credit for standing up to Tyson's punch, because Tyson never really tug Lewis with his best. Foreman at age 41, even walked through Cooney's best hook's. The bottom line is Foreman has one of the greatest chins in heavyweight history, something Lewis will never be accused of.
In a Foreman vs. Lewis fight, I see Lewis having one shot. Get Foreman deep into the fight. If Lewis could make it to the 10th round versus Foreman, he may be able to out box him and win a decision. However, I don't see Lewis making it that far against a prime Foreman. Lewis has nothing in his arsenal to keep a raging Foreman of the 70's from tearing through him. No doubt Foreman only needs one good one to knock Lewis out. In a match up with Foreman, Lewis' better boxing ability would be a non factor, he'd never last long enough to box him. In a fight matching the best Foreman vs. the best Lewis, Foreman walks through Lewis and stops him within three or four rounds. I don't even think this is an intriguing fight, it's too one sided in favor of Foreman. Lastly, don't believe the crap that Foreman thinks Lewis is the greatest heavyweight champ of all time. I know his brother and some others who know him personally, believe me he doesn't think as highly of Lewis as he says he does on HBO. Get him off camera and off the record and his evaluation of Lewis is dramatically different.
Roberto Duran vs. Pernell Whitaker Duran-Whitaker is one of the hypothetical fights that has often been debated over the last few years. In this match up they picked Whitaker to win a split decision over Duran. I don't see it that way. Below is the outcome projected by The Ring: " After tasting Duran's hooks and thumbs, Whitaker reverts to the long range style he used to beat Nelson. His movement frustrates the Panamanian, who loses a point for low blows. Whitaker is landing more punches, but Duran's are much harder. In round 13, Duran slips a right lead and cracks home a knockdown inducing right cross, Whitaker gets up, dances out of trouble, and goes on to win via split decision."
First off, I must concede that I think both Duran and Whitaker are two of the greatest lightweight champs in boxing history. But, in my opinion, Duran is the greatest lightweight ever. Duran was a very fast fighter. He had great hand and foot speed, and was hard to hit due to his constant feinting and movement. Duran was also a master at cutting off the ring and forcing boxers to fight him instead of boxing him. Duran at lightweight had a concrete chin and endless stamina. Another thing Duran had an abundance of was power. He literally had dynamite in both hands.
Granted, Whitaker was also a great boxer. The problem for Whitaker against Duran is that as elusive as he was, he wasn't a great mover with his feet. Whitaker had good foot speed and movement, but not enough to trouble Duran. He had great movement from the waist up, but that's the kind of movement Duran usually broke down with his pressure and body punching. Duran forced many good boxers like Buchanan, DeJesus, and Leonard to fight instead of allowing them to move and box. I see him doing the same with Whitaker. I just can't see Whitaker holding Duran off and being able to box. If a close to prime Duran was able to handle Sugar Ray Leonard's speed and boxing ability, I don't see him being stumped by Whitaker.
Since Whitaker doesn't have the power it would take to slow Duran, Roberto would control the pace and flow of the fight. I see Duran working Whitaker's body early in the fight forcing him into a flat-footed stance later in the fight. Once Whitaker is slowed, Duran would overwhelm him with his superior strength and quicker hands. Duran just has too much for Whitaker at lightweight. Whitaker would be surprised by Duran's overall speed and power. After not being able to keep Duran off of him, Whitaker would fight to survive in the last third of the fight and lose a unanimous decision. Duran beat too many great fighters his weight or bigger for me to envision him losing to Whitaker.
Again, I love Whitaker and consider him an all-time great at lightweight. It's just my opinion, but I believe Duran is the greatest lightweight of all time. In fact I'll go one better. I think Duran at lightweight was the second most unbeatable fighter ever at any weight. The only fighter I place above him is Sugar Ray Robinson at welterweight.
The Ring's edition of "The 50 Greatest Fights You Never Saw" is certainly a keeper. It's very informative and easy to read, and it's just enough to keep the reader interested. It gives you a nice tight synopsis on the fighters and a reasonable evaluation as to why they chose the outcome they did. Although I don't agree with some of the capsules they have on the fighters, I totally enjoyed reading the entire edition.
Or how about Rocky Balboa? Naw. He‘s too old, too tired, too fictional. Rocky Marciano? Too dead.
Too bad. Toney is ready for any of them: dead or alive, make believe or as genuine as grandma’s smile.
Roy Jones Jr. would be a good choice for Toney if he didn’t have that prior engagement scheduled for Nov. 8. He’s meeting a guy named Antonio Tarver for the world light-heavyweight title. It’s why he’s not answering the phone when Toney gives him a call.
Maybe you’ve heard of Tarver if you hang around old gyms and watch fight reruns and you know who Amy Hayes is. That’s the kind of people who know Antonio Tarver. The rest of the world just knows Roy Jones Jr.
Paul Bunyan? King Kong? Hulk Hogan? They haven’t been named yet by Toney, but it’s still early. The list is growing, and you can‘t blame Toney for tossing out names. The only person he ever ducked was an IRS agent.
Since he stopped Evander Holyfield on Oct. 4, Toney has been calling out every heavyweight in the universe who still has a name, if not a fairly recent driver's license. His top three picks appear to be Jones, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, three guys who are as tough to nail down as a slab of warped iron.
Tyson is a good choice. Like Holyfield, he was a great heavyweight back in the eighties, back before cell phones, Nintendo and Play Station 2.
Moody and dangerous with a poor sense of fashion, he used to show up for fights without socks or a robe. He’d end it quick and we’d all turn the channel or go home early, shaking our heads, wondering what would happen if the crazy beast was ever turned loose.
Tyson is still one of the biggest draws in boxing, though that says a lot about the mental state of the fight crowd. Fight fans are still more fascinated with car wrecks than great works of art. And Tyson is like a speeding 1986 Cadillac with 220,000 miles on it and no brakes. You know it’s going to crash, you’re just wondering where and when.
Toney and Lennox Lewis? Right. Lewis is just a bad afternoon and a mood swing away from retirement. Sure, he‘s going to want to end his career with that one defining fight, taking a chance against James Toney, a former middleweight champ turned over-blown heavyweight who has the nerve to call Lewis out and mean it.
That fight will happen right after world peace. Which brings us back to Jones and Toney, the one fight we’d all like to see.
With due respect to Tarver, once Jones is done toying with him, Roy should go home, answer his phone and say "hi" to Toney and his promoter, Dan Goossen.
He should make a deal as quick as possible for this fight. Set the date, book the casino, agree to terms and call the press. He should take a couple weeks off, spend a lot of money and go to the beach. Fish.
Then get back to work, start training for a rematch with Toney, who seems to have found something he didn’t have when he lost to Jones in their first fight almost 10 years ago when both were super-middleweights.
Toney knows what it is and he’d like to share it with Jones.
Over the course of the next several chapters, and at the risk of repeating myself just a tad, I'm going to break it down thoroughly for you, and perhaps at the end, you'll come to the same conclusion I have adopted - the by-product of a sort of "evolutionary" process that can only result from an intense study of these issues for the past two years - that the "efforts" of Senator John McCain & Co. to "reform" boxing present the very real possibility of doing more harm than good.
According to a cost estimate furnished by the Congressional Budget Office, the United States Boxing Administration would require funding to the tune of $34 million over a five-year period, from 2004 through 2008 - an average of $6.8 million per year.
In terms of fiscal responsibility, it represents a move in the direction of increasing the size of federal government without providing more in the way of the basic quality of "service", so to speak. That is to say, it doesn't demonstrate that it will expedite the efficient administration of boxing, either on the national level or the state level. In fact, there is reason to believe that it will in fact complicate the process - to the extent that its duties, in many respects, will be redundant.
Under this bill, there is still no provision for federal funding of the mandate, and no guarantee that any U.S. Attorney would be more vigilant in pursuing violations of the law; in point of fact, there is a imposition of the obligations of enforcement, almost without exception, onto the individual states. And, in addition to the logistical problem of having to prosecute federal law at the state level, the states must bear the brunt of all costs associated with it. In other words, the message John McCain is sending to the states with this legislation is, "Within the parameters of having to surrender your state's rights, you get to pay for it to boot." Essentially, the violations of federal law will go unchecked, because the U.S. Department of Justice seems to be avoiding any involvement if possible. And we haven't even begun to talk about the administrative costs that will be borne by the states if they have to take on the added burden of forwarding licensing fees and records on to this new USBA.
If violations are going to be enforced only by state entities, why aren't we moving more in the direction of proposing and adopting model legislation that can exist as state law, rather than enacting yet another federal law that creates a new bureaucracy - at atmosphere that encourages minimal prosecution, and consequently has the effect of presenting just as incomplete a package as the Professional Boxer Safety Act and the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act before it? Is this whole thing about creating higher-paying federal jobs for people who have already demonstrated their incompetence at the state level?
It would appear so.
Once again, as I have in previous chapters of "Operation Cleanup 2", I emphasize that there is no mechanism in place to require, or even suggest, that this new federal agency, which would be headed up by a presidential appointee, be self-supporting, i.e., that it will ultimately generate enough revenue, through reasonable means, to pay for itself, or surrender its existence altogether. That's what is being done in some states, with a certain degree of success. And as far as I'm concerned, that is a critical component of passing any legislation that deals with a constituency that is more or less "self-contained", as boxing is.
What I'm saying is this: while I might care about boxing, my mother doesn't care about it. Many of my friends don't care about it. My sister-in-law could care less about it. In fact, no one who doesn't work in boxing or watch it on at least semi-regular basis has the slightest concern about regulating the sport. It is not an issue of wide public interest. What compelling argument can be presented to support the proposition that the general populace should have to pay for it?
There really is no good answer to that question.
And speaking of the delineation between states rights and responsibilities and those of the federal government, what happens in the event you have some renegade commissioner or executive director who decides that the law doesn't apply to him, or that in a conflict between his own state's law and the federal law, the state law takes precedence? Or decides to simply ignore the law? Or is much too incompetent to understand it? Or misinterprets it? In other words, do we have a "Jack Kerns Clause"?
Absolutely not. But I can tell you, if you're going to dump responsibility onto the states, absent any responsibility that the U.S. Attorney would assume, what you're going to have in cases like that is an atmosphere of non-enforcement. After all, is a state going to enforce the federal law against itself? You bet your ass it isn't. And nowhere in McCain's bill do I see anything empowering the United States Boxing Administration to initiate an investigation, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, for the purposes of facilitating a federal civil action to sue a state for the deprivation of constitutional rights, in situations where it absolutely would apply. For example, the state of Kentucky may yet find itself subject to such an action for the rights to safety, under federal law, that it denied to Greg Page in March of 2001.
You don't think that's much of a worry? Well, I'm considered by some to be pretty good in terms of documenting myself, and I can guarantee you one thing that has been learned, both by my readers and I, throughout the duration of both "Operation Cleanup" books - that is, there are some state commissions in this country that would break the law just as soon, if not sooner, than any promoter, matchmaker, manager, or fighter.
Who's going to police THEM?
No one. And part of the reason is that some of those people happen to be involved in the leadership of the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), which will no doubt have a tremendous amount of influence over any policies that are affected by the new bureaucracy.
And for the uninitiated, that's terrible and dangerous news.
If you don't mind, I'll keep you in suspense on that one.
At 6 feet tall and 130-pounds, Corrales carries freakish power in both hands, but the physical drain of making the Super Featherweight limit continues to get the best of him. Men 6 feet tall just aren't supposed to weigh 130 pounds; and the truest test comes in the ring where Corrales is zapped of the physical strength and stamina to carry on in a fight that lasts more than 5 rounds.
His simply loses his legs as the rounds go by. There is no doubting his ability as a boxer but when Floyd Mayweather knocked Corrales down not once, not twice, not even thrice, but five times during their WBC Super Featherweight title clash back in January of 2001, it was definitely a sign for Chico to make like The Jeffersons and 'move on up'. The sad part is that he did in fact learn from the Mayweather mistake, yet he came back down in weight to 130 in order to fight for a title again when he took on Casamayor. In his four bouts since getting out of jail and before taking on Casamayor, Corrales tipped the scales at 136-pounds, 133, 131 and 131.5. He won each of those bouts by knockout and all ended within 5 rounds. By Friday he had managed to starve himself and dehydrate his body enough to weigh-in bang-on 130 pounds for the IBF title eliminator (you can't fault us for forgetting that the IBA Super Featherweight title was also on the line). Good for him in terms of the fight going ahead, bad for him in terms of his opportunity to win.
The fight was stopped by the ring-side physician at the end of the sixth round. This was due to cuts Corrales had received from an unintentional head butt in the first round and, primarily, cuts to his lip and mouth in subsequent rounds. Many observers feel that Corrales had been gradually breaking down Casamayor and that one more round was all that was needed for Chico to close the show. He begged for three more minutes but never got the medical green light.
Regardless, hopefully the lesson has been learned. He is such a skilled fighter that the opportunities abound at the higher weight limits. Going all the way up to 140 and taking on the best fighter that division has to offer - Kostya Tszyu - you would be hard pressed to convince me that Corrales wouldn't have a shot. Corrales would have five inches on Tszyu, a serious reach advantage, and be much stronger at a more comfortable weight class. Tszyu has been dropped in the past and would certainly have a difficult time reaching Corrales and avoiding the heavy rights and decapitating left hooks Diego throws. Something worth pondering.
Some fighters ignore all the obvious signs that it is time to hang up the gloves - are you listening Evander "I just had (another) off-night" Holyfield? - while others sabotage their opportunity to be their best by squeezing into a weight class that just doesn't fit them anymore. In Spanish the word "chico" means "boy" and Diego Corrales is clearly a 6 foot tall, 26-year old man. It is time for his team to accept that and allow him to start being one.
I remember after Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson, and was getting ready to fight Evander Holyfield, I had a conversation with famed boxing historian Bert Sugar, who I love to argue with. We were talking about the upcoming heavyweight title fight between Douglas and Holyfield. I remember I asked him who he liked in the fight and he said, Douglas. I said no way, Holyfield will take Douglas apart.
I then said to him, Bert, if Douglas never fought Tyson, who would you pick? He said Holyfield. I said you mean to tell me that you're basing everything off of Douglas beating Tyson, and he said yep. I said there is no way I can give Douglas the benefit over Holyfield based on one fight. I continued saying that Douglas doesn't match up with Holyfield like he did Tyson. History went on to prove that everything that worked against Tyson, didn't work against Holyfield. Granted, Douglas wasn't in the same shape for Holyfield that he was for Tyson, but Holyfield would have beat any version of Douglas.
I know Toney has had a long career with a proven record against quality opposition. However, I need to see him in with a live heavyweight, opposed to beating a heavy bag with muscles, which is all that Holyfield is right now. Last week it was Mesi, this week it's Toney.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I think James Toney is a great fighter. So don't say I'm not giving him his due praise for fighting a good fight versus Holyfield. Secondly, Toney is a legitimate heavyweight of 217 pounds, who hasn't fought at 160 for close to 10 years. I've read where some have said that Holyfield was beaten by a middleweight. That is totally asinine for anyone to try and infer that Holyfield was beaten by a middleweight. Toney is a more legitimate heavyweight than either Chris Byrd or Roy Jones.
No doubt, Toney's skills, chin, and boxing ability are unquestioned. His performance versus Holyfield was absolutely brilliant, and he should receive all due praise for it. However, let's not forget the version of Holyfield that it came against. The Evander Holyfield who Toney fought wasn't even 80% of the fighter that Chris Byrd beat 10 months ago. Holyfield had literally nothing against Toney. Again, Toney helped him look shot, but there were other factors at play besides Toney.
Evander Holyfield in his prime, 1990-1993, was an all-time great in my opinion. That being said, he hasn't been anything close to resembling a great fighter since he stopped Michael Moorer in November of 1997, six years and nine fights ago, excluding his bout versus Toney. Since beating Moorer, Holyfield has looked lethargic and washed up in everyone of his fights except for his fight against Rahman. Anyone who would try and dispute this hasn't been watching with their eyes open!
Holyfield displayed so many characteristics of a shot fighter against Toney, it's not even funny. First off, he had no bounce or spring in his legs. He had no reflexes or reaction. He was wild at times, and couldn't even take advantage of a stationary Toney when he wasn't punching. Does Toney deserve credit for Holyfield not being able to get off while he's doing nothing to prevent him from doing so? I don't think so. Not being able to get off is one of the most common liabilities that a shot fighter exhibits. It was obvious that Holyfield had to think about everything he wanted to do, nothing was instinctive. Another sure sign of a shot fighter. Toney simply pot-shoted Holyfield with nothing more than a basic one-two, and landed every time.
Holyfield exhibited the speed of a Sun-Dial. He had no stamina and winced when he got hit, something Lewis and Tyson never made him do. If that isn't undeniable proof of him being an empty package, I don't know what is? Against Toney, Holyfield looked like Joe Louis versus Ezzard Charles, or Muhammad Ali against Larry Holmes. He would've been whacked around by any top heavyweight in the world the night he fought Toney. He was that bad. In fact he looked awful warming up in his dressing room prior to the fight, ,just as 41 year old Sugar Ray Leonard did before fighting Hector Camacho!
Now that Toney has beat Holyfield, there seems to be a ground swell favoring him over many of the upper-tier heavyweights in the world. I look at it another way. As good as Toney was against Holyfield, think how bad Holyfield would have been beaten by Lewis, either Klitschko, Tua, Sanders, Jones, Byrd, and even Tyson.
I repeat, I think James Toney is a great fighter. He may even go on to win a piece of the heavyweight title. However, at this time I'm not ready to start praising him endlessly declaring he is the new force in the heavyweight division. I need to see him beat more than a former great who looked out of sync shadow boxing.
After a relatively slow start, Toney would start to pot-shot Holyfield with quick right hands and begin to bury hard left hooks to the chiseled mid-section of 'the Real Deal'.
By the middle rounds, Toney was easily having his way with the aged legend. In the ninth stanza, Toney would send Holyfield to the canvas after a barrage of punches that he was powerless to stop or to even see coming. Mercifully, Don Turner, the long-time trainer of Holyfield, would do the humane thing by calling off the fight.
And before writing off this performance as Holyfield serving as a sacrificial lamb for the younger lion that is Toney; remember, it was Holyfield who was the betting favorite coming in. Holyfield was still considered a top ten heavyweight by most neutral polls; Ring Magazine had him rated number five prior to his bout with Toney.
So the question is now this, how would Toney fare against other world-class big men?
Toney's trainer Freddie Roach gives his thoughts and opinions on how his man might fare against the divisions best.
LENNOX LEWIS: " Emanuel Steward knows James Toney can beat Lennox Lewis and he'll never take the fight. At this point of his career, he's a big guy and all that… but James is way too slick for him. I don't see Lewis doing too much with James. I like that fight for James."
Wow, that's a bold comment by Roach. But perhaps he believes that Lewis has slipped to a point where his guy, giving up at least five inches and at least 30 pounds, has a shot against Lewis. On a pound-for-pound perspective, Toney has much more skill and craftiness than Lewis; but remember, this is heavyweight boxing.
ROY JONES: " A great fight, I would actually like to see them fight for both titles at 190. I say James is better at 190 but after his performance the other night, maybe he's not."
The last time they fought at 168 pounds, Toney was about as diligent in his training as a DMV worker, but you wonder if Jones' eclectic mix of speed and athletic ability would always be a problem for Toney. Would a heavier Toney be able to have any more success than he had in 1994?
Beyond that, you have to wonder if that fight can actually be made. Neither guy is about to give an inch at the negotiating table.
MIKE TYSON: " Dangerous early, once James gets by the third round with Tyson, I think he has him."
Roach has a special insight into Tyson, seeing as he trained him for his last bout. And Roach may be right on, the bottom line is that Tyson hasn't gone quality rounds since acid-washed jeans were still being worn in public. Yeah, it's been THAT long. Also, Toney showed a heavyweight's chin against Holyfield. If Tyson can't hurt you or intimidate you (and I'm not sure anyone can do that to Toney)…Tyson's just a shell of himself.
CHRIS BYRD: " James told me he has Chris' number. He says he used to beat him up every day in sparring and he'll fight him anytime, anywhere. The thing is Chris is kinda of a bad style, even when you beat him, it's possibly a boring fight and I don't think it's what the fans really want to see."
Roach is absolutely correct in his assessment of the aesthetic value of a Byrd-Toney fight. But he could also be a bit concerned that Byrd's movement and guile could give Toney fits, much the same way that Montell Griffin did - who beat Toney twice.
If they fought at 190 pounds, both Toney's cruiserweight belt and Byrd's heavyweight title could possibly be on the line, adding some intrigue. But the question is, do you really want to see two counter-punchers in the same ring together? I'd want to see that as much as I want to see another sequel to 'Police Academy'.
CORRIE SANDERS: " A good fight for James, Corrie Sanders is dangerous for about three rounds but I don't think he'll be able to hit James I like that fight for James."
Sanders, the current WBO titlist, is coming off a second round knockout of Wladimir Klitschko. Sanders' height, reach and power might give Toney fits, but you wonder if he has the boxing acumen of Toney. Remember, Sanders has shown in the past to have a shaky chin and if Toney can put enough punches together, that could become a factor.
DAVID TUA: "That's an interesting fight, he's got a good chin, he can punch, but he can be out-boxed easily, he's proved that in the past. James would have to fight a smart fight, but definitely a good fight for James."
This is an intriguing match-up because of Tua's power, but the reality is that Tua is as one-dimensional as the wishbone offense is in football and his over-reliance on one punch - his vaunted left hook- would most likely be an easy puzzle for a defensive master like Toney to solve.
Don Turner made quite a chilling comment when he said that he threw in the towel for his man because he had already seen four men die in the ring during his years in boxing and that he didn't want to see a fifth.
I'm not sure that Holyfield was that close to the brink of death, but it was evident that Holyfield's days as an elite fighter are clearly over. His punches came slower and slower, his reflexes no longer sharp, unable to take advantage of openings he once capitalized on with ease and unsuccessful in getting out of harms way to oncoming punches.
He said later that he would be 'going back to the drawing board' but it's clear that the only plans he should be making are for a retirement.
But you get the sense that he wo'nt. After all, this is boxing and it never ends that way. In more ways than one, Holyfield can be put in the same category as a Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali.
A source within the Nevada State Athletic Commission has told me that if Holyfield were to fight again, there would be heavy opposition to that and he could be refused a boxing license.
He's already been placed on a 90 day suspension - which is toothless in the case of Holyfield who fights only once a year or two anyway - but the commission is praying that Holyfield will come to the realization that his fighting days are over by himself. They simply don't want the headaches and publicity they would receive for this kind of case.
Now, some may disagree with a commission denying any man a right to earn a living, but then, if the commission doesn't have that power to pull boxing licenses from those who are no longer fit to box, what are the commissions there for?
In what surely has to be his last fight as a major player in the heavyweight division, Evander Holyfield was stopped by James Toney in the 9th round of their 12 round fight at the Mirage in Las Vegas. It was obvious that Holyfield was just an empty package against Toney right from the start. He had absolutely nothing. Holyfield exhibited everything that a shot fighter exhibits at the end of their career. He had no defense, no reflexes or reaction. His speed was gone, he had no punch, and no stamina.
The fight with Toney cannot be brushed aside by Holyfield as being against an opponent who refused to fight with him, or who had a tough style to fight. Holyfield was not injured prior to or during the fight. He was in the best possible shape he could've been in. The fact of the matter is Evander Holyfield is a shot fighter. At this stage of his career, being two weeks shy of turning 41, I doubt he could defeat any legitimate top ten heavyweight in the world.
In reality, Evander Holyfield hasn't been close to being a great fighter since November of 1997, six long years ago, when he stopped Michael Moorer in defense of his heavyweight title. Since stopping Moorer, Holyfield hasn't been anything special, let alone great. In his rematch with Lennox Lewis in late 1999, he had flashes of brilliance, but that's about it.
This fight with Toney was different. He was really beaten up and had nothing to answer Toney with. I don't even think it was because Toney was so great in the fight, it was more Holyfield not having anything left. Look, Toney fought a good fight, and he showed that he may be a player at heavyweight, but it was more Holyfield having nothing left, than it was Toney being so terrific.
The reason I believe this is because Toney stood basically right there in front of Holyfield. By the time it took Holyfield to get set and let is his hands go, Toney unloaded two and three punch combinations to disrupt him. Toney was the perfect opponent for Holyfield to get back on the winning track against, the problem was Holyfield is completely eroded as a fighter. There were many times during the fight that Toney stood flat-footed right in front of Holyfield without even punching, and Holyfield still couldn't get set, let alone get his punches off.
After the first round, it was painfully clear that Holyfield had to think of what he wanted to do, or should be doing. Nothing Holyfield did or tried against Toney was instinctive like it used to be. Evander resorted to everything against Toney. He tried crowding him and using his strength and that had no effect. Because of his shot reflexes he missed a stationary Toney. He tried backing away and drawing Toney to him. This didn't work because Toney beat him to the punch. If this doesn't convey to Holyfield that it's over, then somebody better save him from himself!
Watching this fight I was torn, I love and respect Holyfield, but I know that there is absolutely no chance of him ever winning the heavyweight title again, it's over. What really hurt me was seeing Toney mock him during the fight. Who would've ever thought that Toney would be able to control Holyfield so easily in a fight, that he could mock him and jaw with the judges at the same time? That's how far Holyfield has slipped.
Hopefully Holyfield will never fight again. There is absolutely no reason for him to. He has had a brilliant Hall-Of-Fame career, and he will certainly go down as an all-time great. In my book he's one of the ten best heavyweight champions in history, regardless of whatever criteria that you chose to rank them.
The fight with Toney will forever be remembered to Holyfield's career as Marciano is to Louis' and Holmes is to Ali's. And that is it was the night that convinced all without any shadow of doubt that they are retired as fighters. Regardless if he ever steps in the ring again with gloves on. As great a champion as Holyfield was, he to has to succumb to the two opponents who whip all athletes and fighters. Mother nature, and Father time. Thanks for the fun and memories Evander. It will be sometime before the boxing world is blessed with another fighter like you!
It borders on moronic to think that featherweight champ Marco Antonio Barrera 57-3, could've beaten former featherweight champ Sandy Saddler who retired with a career record of 144-15-2. Or, that lightweight champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. 30-0, may haven been able to get by former lightweight champ Ike Williams who retired with a final career record of 125-24-5. Fans, and many boxing writers get too hung up on Won-Loss records. All anyone has to do is look at the fighters of today who have the reputations for fighting the best available. How many of them are undefeated, or only have one loss?
Some of today's fighters who fight the best available are, Holyfield, Barrera, Tapia, Mosley, Tua, De La Hoya, Lewis, and Byrd. I know I left some out, but the point is that any fighter who fights the best of the best on a regular basis is going to lose sometimes. This doesn't mean they aren't outstanding/great fighters! In most cases these fighters have fought rematches with the other top fighters in their division. Imagine if they fought the same caliber fighters throughout a career that lasted 80 or 90 fights. Suddenly having more than a handful of loses isn't such a mortal sin! Many of the greats who fought through the late 70's, had to fight longer because they needed the money more often than not. This is where a majority of them accumulated the greatest percentage of their defeats!
The thought that fighters are only special if they're undefeated, or only suffered a couple of loses is an awful perception. Whitey Bimstein, who worked the corners of such greats as Harry Greb, Gene Tunney, Sixto Escobar, Benny Leonard, and Jack Dempsey, was once quoted as saying, "show me a fighter who consistently fights the best fighters, and I'll show you a fighter who ain't undefeated!" It's impossible for any fighter to remain unbeaten if he consistently fights the world's best fighters! Only Rocky Marciano was able to go undefeated during an eight year career. Which is three years less than Oscar De La Hoya's been a pro.
When most writers and fans look at the Won-Loss record of some past greats, they automatically dismiss them when they see more than just a few loses. What is usually not taken into account is that these fighters consistently fought the best fighters around during their time, and in most cases more than once! One of the best things a fan can say about a past or present fighter is, he fought everybody and ducked no one! This is assuming he won more than he lost.
How about if I said who is the better fighter, and who would win? Fighter A is a former welterweight, junior middleweight, and middleweight champion with a career record of 41-1. Fighter B is a former welterweight and middleweight champion, with a career record of 85-24. Some of Fighter A's best opponents and wins are versus Yory"Boy"Campas, Oba Carr, Hector Camacho, Pernell Whitaker, David Reid, Fernando Vargas, Oscar De La Hoya, William Joppy, and Bernard Hopkins. Fighter B's best opponents and wins are versus Denny Moyer 3x's, Benny "Kid" Paret 3x's, Ralph Dupas 2x's, Luis Rodriguez 4x's, Holly Mims, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Dick Tiger 2x's, Nino Benvenuti 3x's, Jose Naploes, Rafael Gutierrez, Carlos Monzon 2x's, Armando Muniz, "Indian Red" Lopez, Bennie Briscoe 2x's, Vito Antuofermo, and Alan Minter. If you guessed fighter A as being Felix Trinidad, you are correct, and if you guessed fighter B as being Emile Griffith, you are correct again.
When comparing Trinidad's record to Griffith's, it's obvious that Trinidad's is more eye-catching, being that he only has one loss. However, the fighters listed behind both fighters names are either former world champions, or fought for the title along with facing many world champs during their careers. Seeing who both fighters shared a ring with, it's absurd to make a case for Trinidad over Griffith. What could Trinidad possibly show or do to Griffith that he hasn't seen or been up against before? I'll answer that, Nothing! Griffith has fought better punchers than Trinidad, and better boxers than Trinidad. Griffith saw it all!
Here's another match up and you make the call. Fighter A is a former welterweight champion who fought many middleweight champions and a future light heavyweight champ. He has a career record of 107-13. Fighter B is a five division champion who made his biggest mark as a welterweight and junior middleweight champion with a career record of 36-3. Some of fighter A's best opponents and wins are against Benny "Kid" Paret 2x's, Virgil Akins, Emile Griffith 4x's, Curtis Cokes 3x's, Denny Moyer, Holly Mims, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter 2x's, Benny Briscoe 2x's, Vincente Rondon 2x's, Nino Benvenuti, and Tony Mundine. Fighter B's best opponents and wins have come against Julio Caesar Chavez, Oba Carr, Arturo Gatti, Hector Camacho, Pernell Whitaker, Ike Quartey, Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosley, and Fernando Vargas. If You guessed Luis Rodriguez as fighter A, you would be correct. If you guessed Oscar De La Hoya as fighter B, that would also be correct.
Again, De La Hoya's record of 36-3 is more glowing than Rodriguez's 107-13. In a fight between Rodriguez and De La Hoya at welterweight or junior middleweight, how could anyone realistically pick De La Hoya to win? There is absolutely no comparison between the level of competition that De La Hoya faced compared to the fighters Rodriguez fought many times over! And like Trinidad, De La Hoya is one of the rare fighters of today who has fought the best opposition available. Like with Griffith, Rodriguez fought better punchers than De La Hoya and better boxers than De La Hoya.
Regardless of what anyone says, a fighter only becomes better by fighting. It doesn't matter how much time he spends in the gym on the bag and the pads. He'll only get better by fighting, and not just set-ups. When writers and fans compare fighters of today to those of the past, all they do is look at how many times they lost. It's easy to look at Trinidad's record and see that he was only beaten once, compared to Griffith who lost 24 times. But, when you look at the opponents who Griffith fought, and how many times he fought them, Trinidad's record pales in comparison. Also, Griffith fought into his late 30's where he accumulated many of his defeats. A case can easily be made that Griffith fought as many top fighters in two years of his career, as Trinidad did his entire career!
Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield's career is a perfect illustration of this. Holyfield is probably the most respected heavyweight champ since Muhammad Ali when it comes to receiving accolades for fighting the absolute best fighters of his era, and more than once. If there has been a fighter in recent times whose career most resembles that of some of the past all-time greats, it's Holyfield!
Holyfield has fought the best fighters of his era throughout his whole career. Never ducking a fighter or a perceived tough match up. Also, like many of the past greats, he's fought well into his late thirties and early forties, suffering most of his defeats at the tail end of his career. Going into his fight with James Toney, Holyfield has a career record of 38-6-2 after fighting 46 professional fights as a cruiserweight and heavyweight. Although he has been defeated 6 times, I seriously doubt that I could find one respected boxing historian in the world who would not include him among one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time.
Despite losing 6 times, Holyfield fought 18 different title-holders and champions. How could any fighter go through a career fighting the caliber fighters that Holyfield has and not suffer more than a few defeats? They couldn't!
Imagine if Holyfield fought 92 times instead of 46 against the same caliber fighters. His record would probably be something like 76-12-4 or worse. Would having 12 defeats diminish his standing as an all-time great? No way!
The point is that when one is looking at the Won-Loss record of past greats or current champions and top contenders, the number of defeats doesn't provide the entire picture. When a fighter fights the best fighters consistently throughout his career, there is no way that they are only going to suffer a few defeats. It doesn't matter who they are, Armstrong, Robinson, Pep, Louis, Charles, Moore, B. Leonard, or Ali. Even the greatest of the greats are not infallible when facing the best of the best!
"Show me a fighter who consistently fights the best fighters, and I'll show you a fighter who ain't undefeated!" Whitey Bimstein
"Show me a fighter who's undefeated deep into his career, and I'll show you a fighter who ain't fought nobody!" Frank Lotierzo