The first bout of the night featured Nimrod Koren (9-1-1), aka The Jewish Kid, hailing from Tel Aviv, Israel, against Terry “2 Sweet” Johnson (5-9 1 KO), fighting out of Dayton, Ohio, in a six round welterweight contest. Johnson landed first, but he was slow. Koren, however, was even slower. He wouldn’t let his hands go, so Johnson landed a combination and trapped Koren on the ropes. The first round went to Johnson 10-9. The second round was a repeat of the first – while it lasted. Johnson continued to beat Koren to the punch, whose loping, slo-mo punches missed the mark. Johnson caught Koren with a big left hook that had him reeling. The referee Pat Sullivan stepped in and stopped it at 1:19 of the second. Terry “2 Sweet” Johnson got a TKO win against The Jewish Kid from Tel Aviv.
Bout two was a competitive four-rounder between light heavyweights. Brooklyn’s own Jason Quick (4-0-1 3 KOs), fighting out of the red corner, got it on with William Santiago (2-1-1 1 KO) from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, fighting out of the blue. Both men landed at the opening bell in a devil-may-care free-for-all. Santiago did damage first. Then it was Quick’s turn to hurt Santiago. Quick won the first round10-9, based more on style than on substance. He got off first in the second, but Santiago countered. Quick landed a right to Santiago’s face and his left eye began to swell. Another 10-9 round for Quick. Santiago controlled the action in round three. His left found a home on the mug of Quick. Santiago 10-9. Both men went for the kill in the fourth and final round and Santiago had Quick on Queer Street, but the Brooklyn Brawler made it to the end of the round and the end of the fight. All three judges scored it 38-38.
Fight three was a scheduled eight round shootout between welterweights. From Haifa, Israel, Merhav “The Sergeant” Mohar (12-1 5 KOs), wearing camouflage trunks, met Mike Dobbs (9-12 7 KOs), wearing black trimmed with red and fighting out of his hometown of Oklahoma City. Dobbs landed first with a nice straight jab, but a Mohar combination sent Dobbs into the ropes. He recovered and the men resumed boxing. The Israeli found the range and knocked the Oklahoman down, once, twice, three times in rapid succession. The 3-knockdown rule was in effect. The Sergeant from Haifa scored a technical knockout at 2:31 of the first round over the cowboy from Oklahoma.
The fourth fight was a four round clash between New York heavyweights, featuring Derric Rossy (2-0 2 KOs), wearing red trunks with white trim and hailing from Medford, versus Ruben Bracero (2-2 1 KO), wearing red trunks and visiting Brooklyn from the Bronx. Bracero was flabby, punched wide, but was in Brighton Beach looking for a fight. Rossy was in shape, punched clean, and was happy to oblige. A barrage of punches in the first round put Bracero down. He beat the count and was saved by the bell. A 10-8 round for Rossy. Bracero was holding and hitting in round two. Rossy landed everything but the kitchen sink, which Bracero absorbed like a sponge, but to his credit he fired back. Rossy caught Bracero at the end of the round and almost put him down again. A 10-9 round for Rossy. Round three was all Rossy. His lefts and rights punched the fight right out of Bracero. Rossy won the round 10-9. Rossy owned the fourth and final round. Rossy has talent, but he is a work in progress, very raw and rough around the edges. The judges scored it 40-35, 40-35 and 40-34 for Rossy.
The evening’s fifth fight was for the WBC Fecarbox Heavyweight Title. Timor Ibragimov (16-0-1 10 KOs) from Uzbekistan, battled William Douglas (10-3 8 KOs) from Columbus, Ohio, in a twelve round slugfest. Billy Douglas is the younger brother of former heavyweight champion James “Buster” Douglas, so Billy’s got a fine bloodline. He is, however, not in shape, which is a pity, because the man has potential. Ibragimov dominated Douglas in the first five rounds. Billy was in the fight, but just barely. He turned things around in round six. Douglas landed a big right which rocked Ibragimov. To the surprise of everyone, a fight broke out at the Atlantic Oceana. Douglas won the round 10-9. The Ohioan won the seventh and eighth, stalking the Uzbek, who seemed either hurt or very tired, landing combinations to the face and body when he caught him. Ibragimov turned things around when he stunned Douglas with a big right in the ninth. The tenth could have gone either way, with Douglas having the edge. Ibragimov won the eleventh and twelfth rounds and it went to the scorecards. The judges scored it 117-111, 117-111 and 119-108 for Ibragimov.
The next bout spotlighted John Duddy (7-0 7 KOs), the kayo artist from County Derry, Ireland, wearing green trimmed with gold, versus Glenn Dunnings (3-1 2 KOs), wearing white trunks and boxing out of Cleveland, in a middleweight six-rounder. Dunnings out-slicked Duddy to win the first round 10-9. Dunnings’ speed and skills were too much for John Duddy. But that was about to change. Duddy went swinging for the fences in round two and sometimes his shots hit home. A 10-9 round for Duddy. Dunning boxed and Duddy rumbled in round three. Duddy landed body shots to try to slow his man down. Then Duddy landed hooks to try to knock him down. With Dunnings bleeding from the nose, Duddy won the third 10-9. Duddy went for broke in round four. He was less a pugilist in the squared circle than an animal in the wild. The ref deducted a point from the Irishman for hitting behind the head. A 9-9 round. John Duddy let it all hang out in the fifth. He swung and missed. He swung and landed. Dunnings hit the deck. The ref waved it off at 1:29 of the fifth round. The Derry Destroyer won by technical knockout.
The final fight of the night was for the WBO Intercontinental Heavyweight Title. Sultan Ibragimov (14-0 12 KOs) from Machachala, Russia met James “Hurricane” Walton (19-6-2 10 KOs) from Cleveland, Ohio in a scheduled twelve round fight. Ibragimov was wearing white trunks trimmed with red and fighting out of the red corner. Walton, in the blue corner, had gold trunks trimmed with black. Ibragimov, the southpaw, is built like a tank, but he has no right jab, leads with his straight left, and uses his hook to finish combinations. Ibragimov plowed through and won the first round 10-9. Round two was a mess, made even messier by an intentional Ibragimov low blow which sent Walton crashing through the ropes. The referee deducted two points for the infraction, giving Walton a 9-8 round. The Russian won the next four rounds without much resistance. Walton was bleeding from his nose. He had a cut above his left eye. He was limping. He kept getting tangled in the ropes. At the end of the sixth, the ref waved it off. An Ibragimov win via TKO over the Hurricane from Cleveland.
The crowd in the Atlantic Oceana exploded with cheers - because the Russian won, and because it was, after all, a night at the fights.
The tournament would be promoted by Don King, which quickly leads to a certain amount of skepticism and serious eye rolling. It's like Barry Bonds claiming he uses the syringe in his locker to get rid of warts. You want to believe what you hear, but your head keeps reminding you of who you're listening to.
I don't know about you, but with King behind the tournament, I'd immediately start looking for the fine print, checking out what’s behind curtain No. 2 or looking up his sleeve to see what he might be hiding. Make sure that's really a rabbit he just pulled out of his hat. Is there a secret clause in the contracts we don't know about? Are they all written in disappearing ink?
OK, Don, what's the catch? What is there about this tournament that you didn't you tell us? What are you hiding? What if Vitali Klitschko enters the tournament and wins? He's not one of your guys. Doesn’t that kind of ruin the party, kill the fun? You willing to risk losing all three of your heavyweight champs in a single tournament? A tournament you came up with?
Right now, King claims he is.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, King admitted that the only way the tournament would work was if Klitschko was one of the names tossed into the circle.
"I don't want any options (to promote Klitschko)," said King, talking about the proposed tournament shortly after Klitschko’s back-alley beating of Danny Williams on Saturday in Las Vegas. "They try to say I want options. That's an excuse they use not to deal with me. I will deal with anybody."
No surprises there.
King went on: "If Klitschko thinks he's the best fighter out there, he can show he's the best by beating all the rest of the guys without me standing in the way."
This could bring on a whole new age in the fight game. One champ in a division? What’s next, 15-round championship fights?
King hopes to get it all going this spring, with Klitschko, IBF champion Chris Byrd, WBO champ Lamon Brewster, WBA champ John Ruiz and a few of the other top heavyweight contenders filling out the dance card.
The list of honorary invitees would probably include former champ Hasim Rahman, who is suddenly on the A-list of the next possible challengers to Klitschko‘s WBC title.
"I'm willing to gamble all three of my (champions)," King said. "Let's throw Klitschko in there with them and see who comes out on top. The guy who is left standing will get the respect of the public because he did it with his talent and skill, not because of the maneuverability and machinations of the promoters."
Don King said that? Quick, somebody do a DNA test to identify this imposter.
King went on to say the only way he can get Klitschko in the ring was by a mandatory defense against Rahman, and if Klitschko wanted to be in the heavyweight tournament, he was welcome.
"But I predict he won’t get past Rahman," King said.
Three months later Rocky Marciano challenged Jersey Joe Walcott for the heavyweight title. On September 23, 1952 in Philadelphia’s Municipal Stadium a crowd of 40,379 fans witnessed Rocky Marciano stop Walcott in the thirteenth round to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. The paid attendance was $504,645.
In the first round of the fight Walcott dropped Marciano with a left hook. It was the first time Rocky was down in forty-three fights. From then on it was a bloody battle between two great heavyweights. After twelve rounds Walcott was ahead on all three scorecards. Both judges and the referee had Walcott easily winning the fight. The only way Marciano could win was with a knockout.
In the thirteenth round Marciano had Jersey Joe against the ropes when he landed a crushing right to Walcott’s jaw. The punch had Jersey Joe slumped on the canvas with one arm hanging over the bottom rope when he was counted out.
Marciano’s pet name for his piston-like right was “Susie Q.” It quickly became known as the winning punch in many of his fights.
In the rematch on May 15, 1953 in Chicago, Marciano kayoed Walcott in the first round. Once again “Susie Q” was the punch that ended the fight in less than three minutes.
At 5’10” tall and 185 pounds, Marciano was smaller than most heavyweights, but fought from a crouched position making him harder to hit. Other assets that helped “The Rock” prevail was his solid chin, a relentless desire to win and his power. Known as one of the hardest punchers in the sport, out of 49 wins Rocky only won six by decision.
That’s a record of 49 wins, no loses, no draws, with 43 knockouts.
Marciano made his first major impact in the heavyweight division in 1950 when he won a ten round decision against then undefeated heavyweight contender Roland La Starza. It was one of only six decisions Rocky won, but La Starza never let up on his relentless claim that he won the fight. He badgered Marciano with quotes to the press saying, “Marciano must be punch drunk from all the punches he’s been taking to think he won the fight.”
Rocky was furious with La Starza, saying he would make him eat his words in a rematch.
Marciano did just that on September 24, 1953. By then La Starza’s record had slipped to 54-3, while Marciano was still undefeated at 44-0.
In the rematch La Starza was able to frustrate Marciano with his clever defensive skills and well executed combinations. Finally Charley Goldman, Marciano’s trainer, told his frustrated fighter to “Bang his arms until he brings them down.” From that point on Rocky did just that, savagely beating La Starza’s arms and upper body.
By the tenth round La Starza could barley lift his gloves above his shoulders. By the eleventh round Marciano had him badly battered. After finally knocking La Starza through the ropes, the referee stopped the slaughter. La Starza had chipped bones in his elbows and ruptured blood vessels on his forearms that had to be surgically repaired.
It was July 1951 sixth round stoppage of Rex Layne and a fourth round KO over Freddie Beshore a month later that brought Rocky Marciano into the championship limelight.
In October of that year Joe Louis was on the comeback trail, racking up victories en route to a shot at regaining the heavyweight title. This was a fight Marciano really didn’t want. Rocky stated he didn’t want to fight Louis because The Brown Bomber had always been his idol.
In the dressing room before the fight Rocky was quoted as saying, “This is the last guy on earth I want to fight.”
As it turned out, neither fighter had much of a choice. Joe Louis was being hounded by the IRS for back taxes and Rocky needed the fight to avoid any delay for his chance at a title fight.
The fight did turn out to be a good bout as the aging Louis showed he was still one of the best fighters of the era. It soon became apparent that Louis’ punches weren’t hurting Rocky, but Marciano’s punches were hurting Louis.
Between rounds seven and eight Louis told his trainer, “He’s hurtin’ me, Chappie, he’s hurtin’ me.” Marciano ended the fight in the eighth with several punches that sent the ex-champ threw the ropes. It was Louis’ last fight, the end of a remarkable career.
After the fight Louis was quoted as saying, “When he beat me, I think it hurt him worse than it hurt me.”
That fight was followed by Marciano’s kayo victories over Lee Savold, Gino Buonvino, Bernie Reynolds and Harry ‘Kid’ Matthews.
Those wins cleared the way for his heavyweight championship fight with Walcott.
Winning the heavyweight title from Jersey Joe Walcott was the icing on the cake that made the Brockton Blockbuster a household name.
In 1954 Rocky Marciano defended his heavyweight title twice against former heavy-weight champ Ezzard Charles. Both fights, the first held in June ‘54 and the second in September, were brutal wars. Ezzard Charles is considered one of the greatest fighters that ever lived. Before his fight with Marciano, Charles beat Joey Maxim three times, Archie Moore three times, Joe Louis once and Walcott twice.
Both fights with Marciano were two of the most savage fights of all time.
Marciano’s last fight was against Archie Moore in New York on September 21, 1955. The fight was just one more brutal bloody war for The Rock. Moore dropped Marciano in the second round. For only the second time in his career, Rocky would touch the canvas. Moore was knocked down in the sixth and twice in the eighth. Marciano won the fight by a ninth round KO. After this fight, Marciano retired with an unblemished record of 49-0 (43 KOs).
There is nothing more irritating than a former champion trying to hold onto the last shades of a spotlight on the current champion’s coattails. The only purpose it serves is to blemish the history of the former champ. If Lewis is seriously considering making a comeback, that’s fine, then he should make one. But stop talking about it.
Fans are only frustrated by being given something to look forward to and then disappointed when nothing happens. Lewis has played this “thinking about” game way too much and frankly it is tiresome and boring.
All we need is a one word - yes or no - and let’s move on.
If Lewis is only trying to see what kind of money he could make with a rematch then he should also forget about it. Nobody’s interested in watching just another money fight like the garbage which was dished out to us in the Lewis-Tyson joke. We want serious boxers filled with passion and the desire to prove they are the best.
Don King was quoted as saying that the Klitschko-Williams fight was bad for boxing. Clearly the man’s judgment is faltering. Even though Williams was no match for Klitschko, the fight was entertaining and people want to be entertained. The three ring circus of heavyweight champions under King’s care have repeatedly failed to entertain. The campaign to get them into unifications with Klitschko is also without merit.
There are attempts to promote the idea that there is some controversy as to whether Klitschko is the real heavyweight champ, mostly emanating from King’s supporters. There is no such debate and even contemplating one is ludicrous. There is only one real heavyweight world champion and that man is Vitali Klitschko.
Let’s see Ruiz and the like in action against Danny Williams or Corrie Sanders and then we can compare. King’s champions need Klitschko to gain credibility, but the WBC champion does not need them.
Promoters need to wake up and stop insulting fight fans that are the lifeblood of the sport. If King really wants to unify the titles then he should do so starting without Klitschko. After we’ve seen his three “champs” squeak out controversial points decisions against each other, perhaps there will be room for the winner to get a crack at Klitschko’s crown.
Klitschko’s methodical, workmanlike destruction of Danny Williams was an exhibit of how superior the Ukrainian is over the rest of the big-man heap. Klitschko, regarded as mechanical and one-dimensional as recently as a year ago, has transformed into a skilled practitioner. He bombed Williams with right hands, left hooks and body work, all of which flowed from an ever-improving jab and delivered in impressive combination.
If you were wondering why Williams wasn’t throwing back, it probably had something to do with the bombs that were being hurled at him from a guy five inches taller.
Certainly, Williams wasn’t in Klitschko’s league. Before July, he was unknown outside of his native England. A knockout of over-the-hill Mike Tyson propelled the journeyman into a world title shot. But even though Williams was outclassed, his heart managed to push Klitschko. Shot after shot bounced off of Williams’ skull, testing Klitschko’s patience and stamina. But the champion refused to become discouraged – even as his chest started to heave from fatigue. And, though he weighed in at 250 pounds and stands 6-foot-7, Klitschko continued to show a solid workrate.
Williams, it should be noted, put on one of the more courageous performances in heavyweight history – one that would make gutsy 1982 title challenger Randall “Tex” Cobb proud. Through all the punches and knockdowns and cuts and bruises, Williams continued to march forward. It appeared as though he was uncertain as to how to deal with Klitschko – perhaps a result of his inexperience at the top level – but he nevertheless walked fearlessly into the line of fire. And it made what was otherwise a horrible mismatch something of an entertaining battle.
Now that Williams is out of the way, who’s next for Klitschko? James Toney would probably be his most compelling opponent, but the injury-riddled three-time champ is on the sidelines again with a torn biceps.
Next interesting would be former conqueror Chris Byrd. So look for Klitschko-Byrd 2 negotiations to start in 2005.
It may not provide Gatti-Ward-brand excitement, but Klitschko-Byrd 2 is interesting for a pair of reasons. First, Byrd is becoming more aggressive, whether that’s a conscious effort to please the fans or an inevitable sign of aging. The newfound aggressiveness would probably make for a decent scrap. Second, it would serve as a definitive gauge as to how far Klitschko has developed from the 2000 loss to Byrd. The southpaw from Michigan is still the ultimate defensive specialist, and he will test Klitschko’s peaking skills and newfound confidence.
Byrd tends to make fools of big, heavy-limbed heavyweights.
Toney and Byrd would be Klitschko’s most serious tests. After that, “The Ring” heavyweight king would be a solid favorite in every other fight.
Klitschko-Andrew Golota would be something people would watch, but the controversial Chicago-based heavyweight lost his last fight to John Ruiz (whom nobody wants to see). And though Golota is fighting better, he tends to freeze up against bigger, stronger opponents.
Hasim Rahman looked sharp in dethroning Kali Meehan, but probably needs one more legitimate win to make a Klitschko fight compelling.
Beyond that, Klitschko, 35-2 (34 knockouts), will wait for undefeated Samuel Peter to progress, or for Lennox Lewis – who was ringside Saturday for the Williams fight – to come out of retirement.
So if boxing can’t have a good heavyweight division, at least it can have a good heavyweight champion. It will be a matter of time before a suitable challenge comes along to make the big men interesting again.
Nonetheless, Senator McCain, who has always believed government is your friend; more government means more friends, looks ahead to embarking on an extremely aggressive legislative program when the 109th Congress convenes in January - enough to keep his staff and public relations consultants busy for quite some time.
The agenda includes:
* A bill requiring stricter testing of professional chess players for traces of caffeine.
* A resolution to rename the War in Iraq the "Budweiser War in Iraq".
* A Senate investigation into whether, in fact, Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson.
* A resolution to declare filmmaker Michael Moore "a really bad and fat human being".
* A bill requiring that Jackie Chan be licensed in any state in which he beats up someone in a kung fu movie.
* A congressional inquiry into whether NFL referees are really looking at replays when they stop the game for five minutes, or whether it's actually girl-on-girl action featuring Jenna Jameson.
* A resolution that the President of the United States should most certainly have more intelligence.
* A Senate investigation into what was in the cup that hit Ron Artest.
* A bill allowing the Ten Commandments to be displayed in front of any government building, provided the Eighth Commandment is changed to "Thou Shalt Not Steal, except when it comes to pain killers".
* A resolution to remove Tostitos as title sponsor of the Fiesta Bowl, hosted in his home state, because "it sounds Mexican".
* A resolution to change the name of the Fiesta Bowl itself, because “it also sounds Mexican”.
* The formation of a special commission to thoroughly study the ethnicity of Tiger Woods, "for national security purposes."
* A bill that would require him to receive 24 tickets for each World Series game from Major League Baseball, 16 tickets for every Super Bowl from the NFL, 20 pit passes for every NASCAR race, and eight front row tickets for every heavyweight title fight from Don King Productions - all situated within easy range of TV cameras.
* A resolution banning Bob Jones University from any possible future inclusion in the Bowl Championship Series.
* A resolution requiring that Arizona or Arizona State be included in next year’s Bowl Championship Series “or Congress will intervene”.
* A bi-partisan congressional investigation for the purposes of charging Muhammad Ali with violations of the Muhammad Ali Act.
* A bill that would make it illegal for any member of the press to use the name "Kemper Marley" in connection with him.
* Citing his great love for sports, and with respect for Phoenix's hockey teams of the past and present, the formation of a commission to explore the question of why the Coyote can never catch that damn Road Runner.
* A bill that would permanently add the word "gook" to Webster's Dictionary, if it isn’t there already.
* A resolution for the issuance of a presidential pardon for convicted felon Charles Keating, along with a simultaneous resolution that Keating be inducted into the Hallmark Hall of Fame.
* A bill authorizing the federal government to administer the military draft. And the NFL draft. And the NBA draft. And the NHL draft, "if those canucks ever start playing again."
* Passage of the resolution to pardon former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson for his Mann Act conviction, coupled with a resolution to exhume his body so he can testify at a future Senate boxing hearing.
* A Senate investigation into whether Elvis is really in the House, and whether that's what actually held up his boxing bill.
* A resolution that Sen. McCain be elevated from 895th to 1st in his 1958 graduating class at the Naval Academy, on the basis that the 894 people above him may very well have been on steroids.
* A constitutional amendment removing satire as a protected free speech, if the object of such satire doesn't get the joke.
* A resolution that each of the above proposals be acted upon during February Sweeps Week.
Senator McCain is still hopeful of getting his boxing bill passed in the next session, despite objections about the restrictions it might place on the ability of fighters - long considered a disadvantaged group - to declare independence from promoters by representing themselves. "These great warriors train like Spartans," he said. "They put their well-being on the line in the ring, taking punishment almost as severe as I experienced in Hanoi, often for a chunk of change that wouldn't keep one of my PR people on the payroll for two days."
"You want them to have to think for themselves too?"
Smith, the unbeaten Queens native, will square off against Estrada (17-1, 8 KO's) in a 12-round showdown, an IBF Welterweight Eliminator for the #2 ranking in the feature. Brooklyn's undefeated Powell battles the once-beaten Kodzoev in a 10-round junior middleweight contest. Airtime on Showtime is at 11:00 PM ET/PT.
The Broadway Boxing portion of the show will be the eighth installment of the growing series featuring New York area fighters. Welterweight Joshua Clottey (27-1, 19 KO's), 2004 Olympian Andre Berto (1-0, 1 KO), and middleweight Raymond Joval (32-3, 14 KO's) will be some of the competitors.
"This will be an exciting night for DiBella Entertainment and fight fans at Mohegan Sun and watching across the country," said DiBella. "We are delighted to showcase Chris Smith and Sechew Powell on Showtime in their biggest national television appearances. And Broadway Boxing fans will be treated to quality fights that they have grown accustomed to with Joshua Clottey, Raymond Joval and up-and-coming prospect Andre Berto."
Margaret Goodman was born in Toronto and raised in LA. She went to medical school in Chicago and did her internship and residency in neurology at UCLA. Goodman moved to Vegas in 1988 in a search of adventure and found it in an unlikely place. She has been a member of the Nevada State Athletic Commission since 1994.
“I have a regulatory job with the Athletic Commission. I’ve been appointed by the governor to be the Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board of the Commission,” Goodman said. She sets policy on medical testing and medical evaluation of fighters. She has a private neurology practice. She works as a ringside physician.
“I started as a consultant to the NSAC in neurology, so when they had issues about fighters that had been knocked out or whether or not fighters should continue their careers, I would be a consultant they would use,” she said. “For example, I examined George Foreman and Meldrick Taylor years ago, Tommy Hearns years ago.”
After working the amateurs for a year and a half, she became a ringside doc for the pros. Since then she has worked more than 400 fights.
“I think of myself as an advocate for the fighters,” Goodman said. “I think I’m probably the most independent advocate they can have there. In a boxing situation you have all kinds of people that are surrounding the ring that are there for various reasons. You’ve got the fighter’s trainer; the fighter’s cornermen; maybe you’ve got their manager and promoter; you’ve got the TV people; you’ve got the journalists and print people; you’ve got the photographers; you’ve got the commission; and I try to be the independent person there that tries to stay out of the fight as much as possible. I believe that the ring doctor should try to be seldom seen or heard. I’m really there if a situation arises where the referee needs assistance determining whether or not a fight should be stopped or not, or if there’s a medical situation with a fighter, an emergency situation.”
Emergency situations arise during the fights. The most obvious, because they’re the most visible, are cuts and bleeding.
“I think that there are very few instances where a cut, in and of itself, stopped the fight. Nobody’s ever really dies from a cut in the ring,” Goodman said. “It’s the head injuries you have to worry about, the concussions, anything involving the brain. In most instances, I never stop a fight based on just the cut itself. But other things come into play. How is the fighter handling the cut? Is that fighter otherwise losing the fight? Does that fighter have a corner that doesn’t know how to take care of that cut? Is the fighter no longer able to protect himself? If allowing the fight to continue, would that cut lead to a potential permanent disability or a permanent deformity? That’s kind of what you’ve got to take into play. Usually you’ve got leeway with a cut.”
Another injury that plagues fighters is damage to the hands. I asked Goodman if she thought a broken hand is a good enough reason to stop a fight.
“An orthopedic injury from a shoulder, from a hand, from a nose, from a jaw,” she explained, “none of those kinds of orthopedic or bony problems would stop a fight. I’ve seen an instance where a fighter broke his ankle or had such a bad problem with his knee and he couldn’t balance himself and could no longer protect himself that the fight had to be stopped. Hand injuries are impossible for a ring doctor to evaluate during a bout, because fighters have gloves on. There’s no way to assess that. So in most instances an orthopedic injury doesn’t stop a fight. The only time when an orthopedic injury would result in a stoppage would be if a fighter can no longer protect himself or chooses to retire. Then it becomes the fighter deciding to stop the fight and not the referee and ring physician.”
Aside from cuts and broken bones, fighters suffer internal injuries. Blows to the head will do it, as will blows to the body.
“In boxing, internal organ injuries don’t really ever become that much of an entity. I’ve heard of maybe one case where someone actually ruptured a spleen,” Goodman said, “but I think that was a very special circumstance. You do see a lot of fighters peeing blood after a fight. And definitely after a twelve-round tough fight. It’s classic. You might see a fighter and they’ll be peeing in a cup to do their drug test and it’s bright red. It’s usually from the kidney shots.”
I read of a study where autopsies were performed on college boxers, on amateurs, and all of them had brain damage. I guess it goes with the territory.
“Most people like to think that amateur boxing isn’t as tough as professional boxing, but in a lot of ways amateur boxing can be just as bad, if not worse from a neurological standpoint, because there’s that false impression of safety by wearing headgear. Headgear does not protect the brain from damage at all. Studies have shown that. Headgear can actually contribute to brain injuries, because of the weight it adds on the head. It is one of the things that can cause concussions or cause injuries to the brain and can definitely contribute to knockouts. What happens with headgear, especially in training and in the gyms, fighters start to sweat into it, it becomes heavier and actually creates kind of like a fulcrum, where blows become more easily felt.”
These are things most of us don’t think about if we don’t have to, but it’s reassuring that someone is watching the fighters’ backs.
“I know that Harvard and UC San Francisco are going to join forces to do a study on mortality in boxing and look at some of the statistics,” Goodman said. “Unfortunately, boxing is not like the NFL and NHL, where they actually do study the athletes to try to determine when someone should quit the sport or when someone should no longer be participating. But things have changed. Fighters used to fight more often. Fighters would train differently in the gym. They wouldn’t take time off between fights and fights would be endless numbers of rounds. Doctors and referees wouldn’t stop fights as readily. There’s much more acuity as to when a fight needs to stop, because it used to be that the venues didn’t want to see the doctors, they didn’t want to know where the ambulance personnel was, they didn’t want to know anything. They didn’t want anybody to get the impression that boxing was unsafe. And now that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Now everybody wants to know that things are as safe as possible.”
Safety is a good idea in all walks of life, but boxing turns that concept on its head.
“We know that boxing isn’t safe and will never be completely safe, because it’s a combat sport, but I think things are not as bad as they were. But is it good for anyone to get hit in the head?” Goodman asked. “Of course not. So that’s the other side of the coin. Whether they’re wearing headgear or not. There are better ways to prevent damage to the brain and there are a lot of things the fighter can do to prevent that and a lot of that comes from their training regimen, their strength, their nutrition, strong neck muscles, a good mouthpiece, a good chin tuck. There are a lot of things that someone can control that can help prevent head injuries. If you look at fighters, how many minutes is the fighter in his career really spend in a fight? Not that many when compared to the hours and hours, days and months and years of them training in the gym. But getting hit in the head during training doesn’t make it easier for you to get hit in the head during an actual fight.”
Even for a body shot junkie, head shots are the thing. There’s no faster way to put a man down on the canvas and out of this world. The sport of boxing would be nothing, a mere exhibition, without the knockdown, without the knockout.
“There’s a whole bunch of different ways someone can get knocked down,” Goodman said, “but technically what’s happening is there’s a transient or temporary disruption in the circulation to the brain. Your body has a protective mechanism that when something happens that possibly places your brain at risk, your brain wants you on the ground, supine, to let the blood flow go back to the brain. You know when someone faints you want to put their legs up? That’s so the blood will rush back up to the head. So it’s the same kind of thing in reverse that happens in a knockdown. A knockout can be a whole bunch of different things, depending on how the knockout is given to the fighter. It can occur from different ways. Different parts of circulation of the brain can be disrupted. Sometimes there’s an awareness center at the back of the brain that controls alertness and depending if that part of the circulation to the brain is disrupted, you’ll just lose consciousness instantly. Almost always that will return, but that again is a transient phenomenon.”
That is one transient phenomenon the fans adore.
“In the stands when they ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ when they see the head rotate, you’re actually cutting off the circulation to the brain, depending on how that head is rotating and in which direction. What happens is when the brain gets subjected to trauma, it can change not only the blood flow, but also changes how your cells are reacting in your brain, and that can make you a little dingy, you know, not kind of like all with the program.”
It can’t be easy enjoying the fights knowing what’s happening to our favorite fighters.
“As a neurologist I could tell you I have learned more neurology sitting ringside watching what happens to a fighter when they’re getting hit than I could have ever learned in any hospital.”
That seems like one helluva way to get an education, but the School of Hard Knocks has its charms.
“I think boxing is incredibly beautiful. It’s a beautiful sport to watch. It certainly is one of the purest sports,” Goodman said. “The other thing that attracts me to boxing is the drama. I love the drama. There’s nothing more dramatic than two fighters in the ring - and nothing more courageous."
These were the words of advice Danny Williams was given by his corner while taking a beating at the hands of Vitali Klitschko in his bid to claim the WBC heavyweight world title on Saturday night.
While Williams displayed tremendous heart, it was clear he had no idea of how to handle the champion and neither did his corner. Williams should make it the first order of his business to give his seconds the boot and to get somebody in his corner who can actually give him some practical advice that he can use.
What on earth was he supposed to do with the words of wisdom ushered by his corner: “It’s not over until the fat lady sings.” Williams clearly has some boxing skill and can take a good punch, what he lacks is guidance.
“Circle to Klitschko’s right,” would have been appropriate advice. “Slip his jab and throw a right uppercut.” These are things he should have been told. Merely motivating your boxer to stick around and take punches must be one of the most selfish acts of any trainer.
Seconds do play a vital role in the top echelons of boxing and it’s time those who are in those positions take responsibility for the boxers’ careers and do the research required to give their boxers an edge.
Klitschko respected Williams enough to have a strategy to beat him. Why did Williams’ corner not devise a strategy to diffuse the champion’s strong points? Was it really their plan for him just to stick around as long as possible and try to land a lucky punch?
Of course there is the argument that you can only fight as well as your opponent lets you, but if you’ve got a plan going in you could be the one determining how good he gets to look.
Williams looked like an amateur in the early rounds and it’s little wonder why when you look at the advice he was being given. Under the right tutelage Williams could still have a lucrative career ahead of him. I would give him a chance of winning against John Ruiz and Lamont Brewster, while Chris Byrd would be too ring-wise for him.
Boxers who can think in the ring always have an edge over those who can’t and when your seconds can’t think in the heat of action either, you know you’re in trouble.
SHOWTIME will televise the Gary Shaw Productions doubleheader from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif., at 11 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on west coast). The telecast represents the 54th in the popular “ShoBox” series, which debuted on SHOWTIME in July 2001. This marks the fifth time this year “ShoBox” has been to Chumash.
Elder (21-1, 13 KOs), of Newnan, Ga., captured the vacant NABO lightweight title on Oct. 9, 2004, by scoring a sixth-round technical knockout over Ricardo Fuentes in Gainesville, Ga. The referee halted the contest following the fifth round due to facial injuries. In addition to suffering several cuts on both eyelids, Fuentes’ right eye turned purple and was nearly swollen shut at the time of the stoppage.
After opening his career with 16 consecutive victories, 10 knockouts and two pro titles, Elder traded in his pugilistic skills to become the drummer of a rock band and construction worker. The career change was spurred on by a devastating opening-round TKO loss to Ubaldo Hernandez in a bout for the North American Boxing Association (NABA) 140-pound belt on Nov. 10, 2001.
Due to burnout caused by fighting 17 times in 17 months, and having undergone intense internal conflict with his father/manager/trainer, Greg, Elder would not enter the ring for more than two years.
Following a 26-month layoff, Elder returned with a renewed commitment to boxing and an improved relationship with his father.
“Everything is completely different and I have the confidence to know that it is going to stay that way,” Elder told Fightnews.com in July 2004. “This is how things should have been all of those other years before. The only thing that can stop us now is if God says, ‘that’s enough.’”
Since his return in January 2004, Elder has gone 5-0 with three knockouts and appeared twice before a national television audience on ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights.” The Georgia native currently is the World Boxing Council (WBC) No. 6/WBO No. 13/International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association (WBA) No. 14 lightweight contender.
Prior to the layoff, Elder captured the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Continental 140-pound crown by registering a 12-round unanimous decision over Jaime Morales on July 28, 2001, in Savannah, Ga. Two months later on “ShoBox,” Elder added the vacant WBO Intercontinental super lightweight title to his resume with a sixth-round technical win over Dagoberto Najera on Sept. 29, 2001.
Burton (21-2, 11 KOs), of Benton Harbor, Mich., secured the NABO lightweight championship with a 12-round split decision over Francisco Lorenzo on Dec. 5, 2003, from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Two judges had Burton winning 115-114 and 116-113, while the third judge gave the nod to Lorenzo, 115-113.
After turning pro at age 18 in July 1996, the three-time Silver Gloves United States champion and a two-time Junior Olympic U.S. National champion defeated his initial 16 opponents. In his 17th outing and pro title debut, Burton lost for the first time when Eleazar Contreras scored a fifth-round knockout and won the WBC Continental Americas lightweight title on Nov. 7, 2002, in New Orleans.
An unfazed Burton rebounded in 2003 to defeat former world champions Gabriel Ruelas and Angel Manfredy, as well as Lorenzo en route to compiling a 4-0 record with three KOs. Following a hard-fought 11th-round TKO loss to Julio Diaz in an IBF 135-pound elimination bout on March 19, 2004, Burton tallied a 10-round split decision over Emanuel Augustus on July 6, 2004. The Michigan native currently is the World Boxing Association (WBA) No. 5 and IBF No. 6 lightweight contender.
Arnaoutis (11-0-1, 5 KOs), of Athens, Greece, floored Jesse Feliciano three times in the initial three minutes to nab the vacant NABO junior welterweight title with an opening-round knockout Oct. 22, 2004, on “ShoBox” from Chumash Casino Resort.
The unbeaten champion sent Feliciano to the canvas for the first time midway through the first round by landing a punishing uppercut to the chin. Less than one minute later, Feliciano hit the turf once again after absorbing brutal body shots to the midsection. After Feliciano stumbled while regaining his feet, Arnaoutis ended matters when a crushing left to the head sent the beaten fighter down for a third time. Referee Dr. James Jen Kin stopped the carnage at 2:49 of the opening stanza.
In his “ShoBox” and SHOWTIME debuts, Arnaoutis fought to an electrifying 12-round majority draw against Juan Urango for the vacant NABO junior welterweight crown on Aug. 5, 2004, from Hollywood, Fla. Arnaoutis, 25, went 103-7 with 68 knockouts in the amateurs and won numerous Greek titles. He turned pro at age 21 on April 30, 2001, with a four-round decision over Sergiy Dolmatov.
Gallardo (16-2-1, 5 KOs), of San Diego, Calif., native compiled a 173-11 amateur record and captured numerous titles, including the National Silver Gloves title from 1989-93. A National P.A.L. champion, Gallardo also won the National Junior Olympic silver medal in ’92, the National Junior Olympic gold in ’93 and the U.S. Olympic Festival gold in ‘94. Gallardo began his professional boxing career at age 20 on Sept. 19, 1997, with a four-round victory over Alphonso Meza in Tacoma, Wash.
“Killer” has won his last two bouts entering his “ShoBox” debut: a brilliant eighth-round knockout over Sergio de la Torre in San Francisco Dec. 13, 2003 and a 10-round decision over Arturo Morua in Temecula, Calif. April 17, 2004.
Nick Charles will call the action from ringside, with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of the telecast is Gordon Hall, with Richard Gaughan producing.