Maybe you’ve seen it. With both arms and one leg cut off and blood squirting everywhere, the crazy knight is still hopping around on one leg, still challenging the other knight to fight him, calling him names and making fun of him while he tries to keep his balance.
That’s Toney. Down, but not out. Injured, but not dead. Ready to fight, even if he can’t.
In the past 11 months, Toney has been healthy all of about three days, or at least that’s the way it feels. He was getting ready to fight Jameel McCline in February of this year, but he ruptured his Achilles tendon shortly before the fight.
He was healthy just long enough to beat Rydell Booker this past September, but he didn’t escape from that one-sided fight unblemished. He tore his bicep and has been put back on the shelf for another few months. It’s almost like his body is quickly outgrowing itself.
The injuries have kept him out of the ring, but they haven’t kept him out of the spotlight. And that’s the thing about Toney. He never disappears for long, never really leaves. Though banged up, he’s just on the outskirts of the heavyweight division looking in, waiting for a chance to steal the moment, grab the headlines, to question the skills and heart of every other heavyweight out there.
He‘s a little like that crazy knight. Even while he’s injured, he’s still calling guys out, throwing around insults, trying to get them lined up in a row for easy pickings for when he breaks out of this spell of hard luck injuries.
The first guy on his wish list of “bums I would love to fight” is WBC champ Vitali Klitschko, who all but ended the career of Danny Williams earlier this month.
Even after destroying Williams, Klitschko was still criticized for everything from throwing poor punches to not putting Williams away quicker to driving the wrong kind of car to the gym.
If he would have stopped Williams in the first round instead of the eighth, they would have called for an investigation. Nothing the guy does is right. Regardless of Toney’s claims, Klitschko is arguably the best heavyweight in the world right now, but no one wants to actually come out and admit it.
Toney calls him “Frankenstein,” as in “I want Frankenstein first,” which is relatively tame for Toney, who lives by the creed: “Anyone, anywhere, any time.”
As for a fight with Klitschko, who injured his hand against Williams and is tentatively set to fight Hasim Rahman next, it’s “not any time soon.” But that’s all right. There are others out there waiting to get exposed, waiting to be humbled.
At least that’s what Toney - who hopes to fight again in March or April - claims.
“None of these guys can beat me,” he says. “They‘re all a bunch of bums. They‘re all terrible.”
The highly anticipated Battle For Supremacy at 135 pounds on SHOWTIME – an early candidate for Fight of the Year -- will be co-promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, and Top Rank, Inc., in association with Banner Promotions. A site and co-featured bout will be announced in the near future.
Corrales (39-2, 32 KOs), of Sacramento, Calif., captured the WBO crown with a sensational 10th-round TKO over defending champion Acelino “Popo” Freitas on Aug. 7, 2004, on SHOWTIME. In a terrific bout that lived up to its billing as a leading candidate for Fight of the Year, Corrales spotted the previously undefeated Freitas a huge early lead before rallying dramatically to register three knockdowns en route to winning his third world title belt.
The crowd-pleasing Corrales, who entered the ring against Freitas as WBO 130-pound titleholder, scored one knockdown in the eighth, ninth and 10th rounds. After trailing by a substantial margin after seven rounds, Corrales turned an intense bout which featured many exciting exchanges around in the eighth with his first knockdown. Entering the 10th, the aggressive, offensive-minded Corrales had edged in front on two of the three scorecards, 85-83 and 85-84, but was behind, 83-85, on the other.
Perhaps the most feared pure puncher in the lighter weight classes, the lanky Corrales was making his first start since winning the then-vacant WBO 130-pound belt with an excellent 12-round split decision over Joel Casamayor on March 6, 2004, on SHOWTIME. The victory over Casamayor came in a rematch of a fight that the Cuban had won on a disputed sixth-round TKO on Oct. 4, 2003. Corrales won his first world title fight with a seventh-round TKO over defending International Boxing Federation (IBF) 130-pound champion Robert Garcia on Oct. 23, 1999, on SHOWTIME.
Castillo (51-6-1, 45 KOs), of Sonora, Mexico, will be making the second defense in his second stint as WBC lightweight champion. In his last start, Castillo came from behind to retain his belt with a hard-fought 12-round split decision over Casamayor on Dec. 4, 2004, on SHOWTIME. In a classic puncher versus boxer matchup that had the fans on their feet cheering wildly during the final nine minutes, the late surging Castillo took the last three rounds on all three judges’ scorecards to triumph by the scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 113-115.
Castillo, who won the WBC 135-pound belt the first time with a 12-round majority decision over Steve Johnston on June 17, 2000, regained it with a unanimous 12-round unanimous decision over Juan Lazcano on June 5, 2004.
Following three successful defenses in his initial tenure as world champion, Castillo lost the title and a subsequent rematch to unbeaten Floyd Mayweather in April and December of 2002. Many felt he got jobbed and that Mayweather was fortunate to get the nod in their first match.
After turning pro at age 16 in May 1990, Castillo knocked out his initial 14 opponents and won three titles before earning the WBC world crown. The 15 year veteran won the Mexican state featherweight (Oct. 2, 1992), Pacific 130-pound (Aug. 15, 1996) and Mexican featherweight (July 4, 1997) championships during the early part of his career.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING’s Steve Albert and Al Bernstein will call the action from ringside with Jim Gray serving as roving reporter. The executive producer of the SHOWTIME telecast will be Jay Larkin, with David Dinkins Jr. producing and Bob Dunphy directing.
For information on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and “ShoBox: The New Generation” telecasts, including complete fighter bios and records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing.
Brewster (31-2, 27 KOs) knocked out the highly regarded Wladimir Klitschko in September, of this year, to obtain his world heavyweight belt and successfully defended his first title fight against Kali Meehan.
Brewster has made a full recovery from the cheek injury he sustained in the bought with Meehan.
As one of the most gifted athletes in the heavyweight division, Brewster promises an exciting battle in the boxing ring. According to manager, Sam Simon, Brewster will start training in January, and has picked up the services of the well-respected Jesse Reid as trainer.
How could we dismiss his heart and determination? How could we disregard his durability and persistence? And how could we overlook a ton of experience and above-average skills?
But we ignored Johnson’s strengths, and stubbornly pointed out his weaknesses. And after winning a split decision, the native of Jamaica could have stared into the HBO cameras with a look of defiance and said, “I told you so.”
Instead, the newly-recognized light heavyweight king took the high rode – which isn’t surprising considering the class with which he has conducted his pro career. And, rather than gloat, he showed the boxing world how a gentleman wins.
“I hope I’m appreciated,” he said simply.
Regardless of whether you thought Johnson won or lost Saturday, the boxing world can no longer deny him. In three months, the “Road Warrior” has gone from tough contender to pound-for-pound entrant with victories over two of the best fighters of the era.
Before Sept. 25, Johnson was known more for a funny first name and a knockout loss to middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins than any victory.
Saturday, though, Johnson seemed to use that lack of recognition as motivation.
It appeared even Tarver fell victim to Johnson’s journeyman reputation early, looking to land another bomb that would send everyone home early. It took him four rounds to realize he wouldn’t be knocking Johnson out.
By that time, he was already at a disadvantage on the scorecards of Melvina Lathan and Chuck Giampa.
But this was a fight that Johnson won – not that Tarver lost. Though he was exhausted by the late rounds, Tarver fought with all his heart. And, in the end, both fighters left everything they had in the Staples Center.
Both fighters should be praised for giving up their bogus alphabet belts to fight each other. Hopefully the rest of the sport will take note.
And both fighters should also be commended for the dignity they displayed after it was all over.
But, most of all, Johnson should be recognized as a fighter to be reckoned with.
Because, after Saturday, he is certainly appreciated.
“I’ll fight Byrd any time, any place, and he can bring the ref,” Ruiz offered. “Let him bring two referees if he wants. This fight can easily be made because we have the same promoter (Don King). All it takes is a phone call by Byrd. I’ll sign a contract tomorrow. I just don't want it to be a cat fight because I don't slap like him."
Team Ruiz learned that Byrd said, according to an Internet boxing writer, everyone in the heavyweight division is afraid to fight Ruiz because he cheats, fights illegally, and uses different rules.
“This must be Chris’ way of telling Don that he won’t fight Johnny,” Ruiz’ manager/head trainer Norman ‘Stoney’ Stone said. “Our last three fights we’ve asked to fight Byrd. Two weeks ago we told Don to get us any of the other champions, including Byrd, in or out of a tournament. Johnny wants to settle things in the ring, his belt against any of the other world champions. We’ve never said anything bad about Chris; he’s never said anything bad about John up until now. Why is he trash talking now? He’s just afraid to fight Johnny, not because Johnny cheats, but because Byrd knows he can’t beat him
“We’re tired of cleaning up the messes Byrd’s left behind. He can bring all of the refs he wants, but not the judges because his last three fights all have been questionable decisions. If heavyweights should be afraid of fighting anybody, it should be Byrd because of those bad decisions. In his last three fights Chris has struggled: (Fres) Oquendo gave him hell for 12 rounds, Johnny knocked out Oquendo in 11; he fought (Andrew) Golota to a draw, Johnny got up off the mat against Golota to win 9 of 12 rounds on two cards, 8 of 12 on the other; Byrd was lucky in his last fight to get out of there with a split decision against (Jameel) McCline. Fighting isn’t about style points, it’s all about winning and losing, and Johnny Ruiz keeps winning.”
The informative, fast-paced, entertaining 30-minute telecast will be co-hosted by SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING’S Steve Albert and Nick Charles of “ShoBox: The New Generation.” Joining the SHOWTIME blow-by-blow commentators will be their ringside analysts Al Bernstein and Steve Farhood.
The show focuses on the exciting events that transpired in the ring during the 12 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts and the 18 fight cards on “Shobox: The New Generation” in 2004. Classic, crowd-pleasing confrontations scheduled to be highlighted include: Kostya Tszyu vs. Sharmba Mitchell, Mike Tyson vs. Danny Williams, Syd Vanderpool vs. Jeff Lacy, Diego Corrales vs. Joel Casamayor, Diego Corrales vs. Acelino Freitas, Mike Arnaoutis vs. Juan Urango, Roberto Guerrero vs. Enrique Sanchez and Ben Dunne vs. Adrian Valdez.
Besides highlights, our talent will list the top five knockouts, recap memorable moments and discuss a myriad of subjects including the top fighters and prospects of 2004, best and worst strategies and a look back at Mike Tyson’s return to the ring.
In 2004, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING unveiled its popular schedule of televising real fights for real fight fans the first Saturday of every month. Since March 15, 1986, there have been 212 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts encompassing 450 fights. There have been 294 world title bouts and a new champion crowned on 96 occasions.
During the past 18 years, SHOWTIME has provided viewers with quality, competitive prizefights, whose surprising outcomes have unveiled new champions, affected entire careers and gained SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING the distinction of not only presenting the most important matchups, but the most unexpected results.
A total of 216 boxers have performed on the 54 “ShoBox” telecasts. The well-received “ShoBox” series, which will begin its fifth season in 2005, features up-and-coming prospects determined to make a mark and eventually fight for a chance at a world title. It is pure, basic boxing, reminiscent of the golden days of the sport.
The Senior Creative Director of “The Best Of Show’’ is Earl Fash. Jody Heaps is the Executive Producer and Jim Twohie is the Sr. Writer/producer. For information on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and “ShoBox: The New Generation” telecasts, including fighter bios and records, related stories and more, please go to the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing.
Less then two months later he pounded out a ten round verdict over future title challenger Manuel Ramos. The following year he whipped tough trialhorse George "Scrapiron" Johnson. In 1966 he fought a No Decision bout with Amos "Big Train" Lincoln and he lost a decision to highly regarded Zora Folley.The year 1967 saw Henry establish himself as a force in the heavyweight division by winning on points over Bill McMurray, Steve Grant on two occasions, Fred Lewis, Eddie Machen and Roger Rischer.
Henry opened 1968 by defeating the clever Leotis Martin. This led Henry into a major bout against comebacking ex-heavyweight king Sonny Liston. This was Sonny's first major step on his comeback trail and he passed with flying colors. Sonny pummelled a game but overmatched Clark in scoring a seventh round stoppage.
The year 1969 had mixed results. Henry drew with Brian London and kayoed Bob Stallings. He then lost on points to "Florida" Al Jones and Jeff "Candy Slim" Merritt. In 1970 his best win was a points call over Jimmy "The King" Fletcher. In 1972 Henry won and lost to Jack "The Giant" O'Halloran. He was then stopped in nine rounds by an up and coming Ken Norton on the Muhammad Ali-Bob Foster undercard.
Henry came back to win three bouts in 1973 and then on March 4th 1974 in a rematch, Henry blew out the now ranked Jeff Merritt in one round. Henry quickly followed with a decision win over faded ex-contender Mac Foster. Henry remained unbeaten through four more fights and was then matched with the dangerous Earnie Shavers in Paris, France.
Try as he might for the KO, Shavers was unable to stop the wily Clark and had to settle for a hard earned points win over Henry. They met again six months later on the undercard of Ali-Norton III. This time Henry was overwhelmed by the murderous punching Shavers in two rounds.
Henry attempted to bounce back four months later but was defeated over ten by Howard "Kayo" Smith. Henry did not fight again for over two and a half years. When he did return he was defeated in ten rounds by fringe contender Bernardo Mercado.
Henry's final tally was 32 wins, 12 losses and four draws. He scored seven knockouts but he was only stopped on three occasions. That was by Liston, Norton and Shavers. Surely no shame there.
Sometimes changing a name seems the most natural thing on earth. Consider, for example, that champion of champions, Cassius Clay, first known as the Louisville Lip, who changed his name to Cassius X, then to Muhammad Ali, before finally settling on The Greatest.
A prefix to a real name sometimes says it all. Savor this quintet of sweetheart pugilists: Sugar Ray (Robinson), Sugar Ray (Leonard), Sugar Shane (Mosley), Sugar Ramos and Sucra Ray (Olivera). My mouth waters at the thought of all that talent.
The epithets used by boxers in Regency and Victorian England set a high historical tone for nicknames with punch. A Young Ruffian fought. So did an Old Ruffian. For fans that hungered for action, Beef a la Mode was a contender, as were Cabbage, Giblet Pie, Young Rump Steak and Catsmeat. Alongside these gents scuffled such well-named notables as No Neck (Duggan), Gallows Dick, Yokel Brute, The Chelsea Snob, Holy Land Pink, Cripplegate and Death.
And let’s not forget the anomalous Fighting Quaker.
Some of the animals who fought in the ring and whose bite was worse than their bark were the Pit Bull, El Terrier, Mad Dog, The Animal, The Cobra, The Old Mongoose (Archie Moore), Bobcat (Bob Foster) and Big Cat (Cleveland Williams). The Wild Bull of the Pampas (Luis Angel Firpo) gave Jack Dempsey all he could handle in 1923. There were those highflying champs The Hawk (Aaron Pryor) and Game Chicken (Hen Pearce). There was Tiger Flowers.
Now and again noms-de-guerre were an astute summing up of a fighter’s essence. Consider the Napoleon of the Ring (Jem Belcher), Old Master (Joe Gans), Toy Bulldog (Mickey Walker), Mighty Atom (Jimmy Wilde), Homicide Hank (Henry Armstrong) and Human Windmill (Harry Greb). There are Gentleman Jim (Corbett), Gorgeous George (Carpentier), Terrible Terry (McGovern) and Two Ton Tony (Galento). There’s the rags-to-riches Cinderella Man (James Braddock). There’s the Clown Prince of Boxing (Max Baer). There’s the canvas-loving Fainting Phil (Scott).
Our black brothers, especially in the past, were assigned politically incorrect honorifics. There’s no forgetting the phenomenal Brown Bomber (Joe Louis). One of Joe’s contemporaries was Gorilla Jones. The Black Terror (Bill Richmond) fought in Merry Old England. The Black Panther (Harry Wills) fought in the U.S. and Panama. There was a Young Massa. There was a Kid Chocolate, Little Chocolate, Old Chocolate and Chocolito. The Boston Tar Baby (Sam Langford) was an all-time great, as was The Moor (boxing pioneer Tom Molyneaux), also known as Snowball.
Boxing wouldn’t be boxing without the surname Kid. In addition to the aforementioned Kid Chocolate, aka the Cuban Bonbon, there is Kid Gavilan, Kid Broad, Kid Dixie, Kid Francis, Kid Graves, Kid Goodman, Kid Herman, Kid Kaplan, Kid McCoy, Kid McPartland, Kid Murphy and Kid Williams. There’s also George Kid Lavigne, “Billy the Kid” O’Shea, Hogan Kid Bassey, Jack Kid Berg, Ted Kid Lewis, Benny Kid Paret, The Stringbean Kid and Young Zulu Kid.
Where the fighter was born and raised looms large in the history of the fight game. Some hall of fame fighters who put boxing on the map were the Manassa Mauler (Jack Dempsey), Brockton Blockbuster (Rocky Marciano), Bronx Bull (Jake LaMotta), Boston Strong Boy (John L. Sullivan), Galveston Giant (Jack Johnson) and Michigan Assassin (Stanley Ketchel).
As we bob and weave our way across America we come across a Nebraska Wildcat, St. Paul Phantom, Livermore Larruper, Herkeimer Hurricane, Milwaukee Marvel, Kentucky Rosebud, Kansas Rube and Pottawatomie Giant. There was a Brooklyn Bomber and Brooklyn Billygoat, Harlem Spider and Harlem Harlequin, Astoria Assassin, Bronx Beauty and Brownsville Bum. Jersey Joe (Walcott) and Philadelphia Jack (O’Brien) were terrific champs, as were the Pittsburgh Kid (Billy Conn) and Boston Gob (Jack Sharkey).
Fighters representing foreign lands fought here and overseas. There’s the Light of Israel (English champion Daniel Mendoza) and Croat Comet (low blow artist Fritzie Zivic), as well as the Tipton Slasher, Bristol Unknown, Belfast Spider, Durable Dane, Barbados Demon, Singular Senegalese, Basque Woodchopper, Scotch Wop, Australian Hard Rock and Elongated Panamanian.
Taking a swing at the former jobs of professional pugilists in Regency England, there were pugs who once were The Gasman, The Coachman, The Bargeman, The Waterman, The Collier, The Nailer and The Tinman. There was also a Master of Rolls and Sailor Boy, a Knight of the Cleaver and Bath Butcher.
Closer to home we had ragamuffins on street corners hawking the daily news: Newsboy Brown, The Fighting Newsboy (Mushy Callahan) and Abe the Newsboy (Hollandersky). There was a Georgia Shoeshine Boy (Beau Jack), Boilermaker and Fighting Marine (heavyweight champs Jim Jeffries and Gene Tunney). Men with nerves of steel were the Man of Steel (Tony Zale from Gary, Indiana), the macho Upstate Onion Farmer (Carmen Basilio from Canastota) and The Fighting Dentist (Leech Cross from the Lower East Side), who knocked out teeth at night and replaced them the next day.
When people say “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never harm me,” they could not be more wrong.
Speedy southpaw Arnaoutis set the pace from the opening bell, probing Gallardo's defense with snapping jabs and long, laser-straight left hands. Having seen enough of his adversary to determine a weakness and act accordingly, "Mighty" Mike delivered a stunning combination in round 2 of the action, culminating in a left to the body and a right hook to the head that put the "Killer" down hard. To his credit, Gallardo rose to his feet and survived the round, withstanding in the process the brutal and dangerously accurate body attack of a determined "Mighty" Mike. Gallardo returned to his corner with blood flowing from his mouth and eye. Arnaoutis returned to his corner with the blood of his opponent coloring his formerly white trunks. In the 3rd, two clashes of the fighters' heads caused a deep cut to open on Gallardo's scalp, further bloodying both pugilists. As the final 30 seconds of the round set in, Arnaoutis struck again, flooring Gallardo with a powerful straight left hand and causing Referee Raul Caiz to immediately stop the action.
Says the triumphant Arnaoutis, "Gallardo is a brave fighter. I put him down, and he got up and kept going. He is a good, strong fighter, but it wasn't his night, it was our night. My night and a night for my Cestus team. No matter who I get in the ring with, it's always our night. Steve Farhood said on TV that I show something new and impressive every time I fight. This time it was the right hook, which is a punch that I've been working on in training with team Cestus. I want everyone who watches to see something different every fight, so that they know that I'm getting better every time. This was a great year for us, but it's only the beginning. I have faith in my team, and I know Cestus Management will get me to the top of the boxing world."
It was indeed a great year for the "Pride of Greece," and one that concluded with 3 consecutive action-packed appearances on the Showtime Network's ShoBox: The New Generation series, considered the premier showcase for up-and-coming pugilistic talent in the world.
Says Advisor Mike Michael, "I couldn't be more pleased, I really couldn't. This is a kid with only 14 professional fights, and look at the progress he's making every single time. They said 'Mighty' Mike couldn't beat Urango because Urango was such a big puncher. Well, my kid got in there and he showed everyone how schooled and technically sound of a boxer he is. They said he couldn't beat Feliciano because Feliciano was too tough and too durable, and he had so much experience against top guys. Freddie Cadena couldn't beat him. Arturo Morales couldn't beat him. Jermaine Marks, Speedy Gonzales, they couldn't beat him. Well, 'Mighty' Mike stepped up and knocked Feliciano out in one single round. And Gallardo, they said Mike couldn't beat Gallardo because Gallardo was a kid with the same amateur experience as him. They said Gallardo had seen it all. They said that Gallardo had been in with better fighters than my kid and given them the toughest fights of their careers. Well, 'Mighty' Mike stood in there with Gallardo and showed everyone exactly what he's made of. And my kid handed Gallardo the first knockout loss of his entire career.
"I want to thank some people for all their help, specifically Gary Shaw and Gary Shaw Productions, for putting together these fine shows and keeping the fight fans entertained. Also, George Horowitz, Adam Geisler and my good friend Fritz Zivic at Everlast, who allow us to use their quality products. And last but certainly not least, another great friend of mine, legendary cutman Jacob "Stitch" Duran, who did our handwraps and cuts for this fight. His help is very, very much appreciated, as is the help of everyone I mentioned. We hope these people continue to be a part of our Cestus Management family over the coming year."
Boxing fans are advised to keep their eyes on young "Mighty" Mike Arnaoutis, as the exciting Greek pugilist plans to fight at least 5 times over the coming year, defending his undefeated 12-0-2 record, his WBO-NABO junior welterweight Championship title and, most importantly, his standing as one of the hottest prospects in the fight game.