Calling for a "Promoter's Summit", the well-respected DiBella said "boxing needs to change - for the better, for the positive. I love boxing, I want to revive the sport, I want to revive boxing!"
During this past week's press conference at New York's renowned Gallagher's Steak House DiBella proudly announced that DiBella Entertainment, in conjunction with The Mohegan Sun, Madison Square Garden Network and HDNET, will debut it's "Broadway Boxing" series on Thursday April 22nd. The Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center (311 West 34th Street) aptly has been chosen as the initial venue for this highly anticipated boxing series.
"Of course I have selfish reasons for this series" quipped the affable DiBella. "This is good for my company (DiBella Entertainment), but it's also good for boxing. We are trying to build fighters, kids who fought in the golden gloves, and it's right here in New York. As goes New York - goes boxing."
Everlast, boxing's foremost and incomparable sponsor is also involved. "Boxing is in a revival stage and we at Everlast are positive and look forward to the "Broadway Boxing" series" stated Everlast's boss, George Horowitz.
The April 22nd fightcard highlights undefeated Brooklyn native Paulie Malignaggi. Lightning quick and deadly, the exciting "Magic Man" (16-0 with 5 KO's) will take on veteran Rocky Martinez (40-9-1, 20 KO's) in the main event.
The show's co-feature will showcase the talented Sechew Powell, also undefeated with 8 knockouts in his 11 professional victories. Since his pro debut in August of 2002 (a devastating 2nd Round technical knockout victory over Aundalen Sloan) the highly regarded Jr. Middleweight prospect has been impressive and steadily improving.
Also slated to see action in this inaugural show are DiBella fighters Chris Smith, a legitimate welterweight contender with a 16-0-1 (10 KO's) record, light heavyweight Aneudi Santos, jr. welterweight Edgar Santana and tough cruiserweight Ehinomen Ehikhamenor.
As many as ten fightcards over the next 12 months are planned. Site sponsor and "Broadway Boxing" partner the beautiful Mohegan Sun Casino will host at least three of the shows, while three fightcards are also planned for Manhattan. Madison Square Garden has been tentatively mentioned as the series yearly finale venue.
"When thinking of "Broadway Boxing" I think of Madison Square Garden. The Garden is the pinnacle venue," exclaimed DiBella. "I want these guys fighting at Madison Square Garden." Madison Square Garden is the Mecca of Boxing-it's premier venue, also Governor Pataki has finally appointed a commendable and deserving person, Ron Scott Stevens, as Chairman of the State's Athletic Commission, and promoters are coming back to New York.
Everlast is New York. Lou DiBella is New York. The "Broadway Boxing" series is good for New York, it's good for the young, up-and-coming fighters and overall it's good for boxing.
Thank-you Lou DiBella, thank-you Ron Scott Stevens and thank-you Everlast.
Tickets are priced at $36, $51 and $76. There are a limited number of VIP Ringside tickets priced at $101. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster by calling (212) 307-7171, on the Internet at Ticketmaster.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets including Tower Records, Coconuts and HMV.
This past weekend Heavyweight prospect Dominick Guinn suffered the worse thing that can happen to an undefeated fighter on the way up, especially a Heavyweight, he lost. Now that he is no longer undefeated, he is not worthy of some who judge him. After all, he no longer has that glowing perfect unbeaten record behind his name. So how good can he really be? Too bad the networks have conditioned some fans and media members that only the undefeated fighters are worth caring about and watching. What will get lost in all this hysteria is that his opponent Monte Barrett, who is also a professional, fought the best fight of his life and boxed beautiful. It's without a doubt the most complete fight he's ever fought. Another thing that will also kill Guinn is the fact that Joe Mesi, who he is often compared to, beat Barrett and he didn't.
Now we'll hear that Guinn was never that good. He's too small and can't hit. His desire and toughness are not what some thought. On top of that he can't get away from a jab, and he tucks his head too much. Of course none of those things were a thought before the first round against Barrett. That's why they fight. Guinn will most likely become the victim of the same overreaction that applauded him after he beat Michael Grant and Duncan Dokiwari. After those two victories he was built up to be one of the main men in the division. Now he's just as big a question mark as Joe Mesi is thought to be in some factions. I guess the lesson is two fold. Fighters should never believe their press-clippings and look past a perceived opponent who they Should beat, and fans and media should judge a fighter from fight to fight instead of declaring him great and unbeatable solely off his last good fight.
That same knee jerk reaction that applies to most other major sports often applies to Boxing, and maybe even more so. I even got caught up a little bit in the Guinn is the future bandwagon hype. And I'm someone who refuses to rank fighters in the overall picture until their best days are behind them like Evander Holyfield, or are retired like Lennox Lewis. For some reason Heavyweight's get tarnished more by a defeat on the way up than the lighter weight fighters do.
Middleweight greats Carlos Monzon and Marvin Hagler suffered decision loses on the way up before they fought for the title. Bernard Hopkins lost his pro debut and Alexis Arguello and Henry Armstrong were KO'd in their's, yet all three went on to become all-time greats. There are plenty of fighters who lost to a good opponent on the way up, but still went on to become all-time greats. Boxing is replete with them.
On the way up Larry Holmes looked like nothing close to a future great on his way to decisioning Tom Prater in the U.S. Championships. Rocky Marciano looked average at best in winning two decisions over Ted Lowry in 1949 and 1950 after turning pro in 1947. Lennox Lewis certainly didn't look like anything special in winning a decision over Levi Billups eight months before knocking out Razor Ruddock, in what may have been his most impressive knockout. Cassius Clay was dropped by Sonny Banks and Henry Cooper on the way up, yet many consider him to have one of the greatest chins ever. Joe Frazier was dropped by Oscar Bonavena in their first fight and looked average in beating trial horse George "Scrap Iron" Johnson. Yet Frazier was the first fighter to defeat Ali. I'm not saying Guinn's name will ever be mentioned in the same vein as those greats. Actually I doubt that it will be, but you never know. Maybe Guinn will fall apart after this defeat to Barrett, or maybe it will spur him onto a Hall Of Fame worthy career?
Against Grant and Dokiwari, Guinn looked terrific. In his fight this past weekend versus Barrett, he looked so so. Maybe Grant and Dokiwari matched up better for him than Barrett? He did say he prefers fighting the bigger Heavyweights. Remember how some were all over Mesi after he stopped DaVarryl Williamson in one round. I refused to get caught up in that hype, I knew Mesi wasn't as good as he looked in that fight. Here we are two fights later, and Mesi has been dropped four times by Barrett and Jirov. So I ask, who is the real Mesi? The conquer of Williamson or the one who just escaped defeat versus Barrett and Jirov. No doubt that Barrett and Jirov are better than Williamson, but no other fighter has destroyed Williamson before or since like Mesi.
It's fun to try and predict which fighters will go onto achieve greatness and who is more style and promotion than substance. However, I've found that until a fighter is deep into his career and has either challenged for a title or won one, it's pretty much fight to fight in his evaluation and progress. Mesi was thought to be the real deal by some after Williamson, and now there is a perception that he's all hype and promotion after Barrett and Jirov.
Now we have Guinn who was riding high going into the Monte Barrett fight. No doubt that his stock is still dropping at this moment since his defeat. Obviously the book on Guinn is no where close to being complete. I'm going to wait until I see him a few more times before declaring him a stiff with no future, or the best American Heavyweight since Riddick Bowe as Larry Merchant once thought. I believe now that Guinn has been defeated, we'll really find out how good he is or isn't. I'm not saying Guinn is the barometer for someone who can recover and make a significant impact on the sport. I just need to see him in a few more times with some quality opponents before I judge him as being the next ??
Unlike many of the towers in boxing's heaviest division, Guinn learned the ropes between the ropes, through a solid amateur career. A true boxer-puncher, he is economical with his punches, which makes Guinn effective when he throws 'em, but conservative enough that he knows how to play some 'd'. Without that burden of lumbering around the ring pulling 250+ pounds and trying to toss long heavy arms for 30 minutes Guinn is simply efficient.
Seasoned to the ripe fighting age of 28, Guinn looks poised to make his mark on a heavyweight division that is looking for some excitement. Besides the Klitschko brothers there really isn't much to get stirred up about in boxing's showcase division, and even they may not be all that.
Wladimir was supposed to be the better of the boxing brothers, and he has two losses on his resume, having been pummeled by South African Corrie Sanders and after punching himself out facing trial horse Ross Puritty. Vitali has received all the fanfare of late as a result of losing to Lennox Lewis - figure that one out - and after disposing of a scared Kirk Johnson who still hasn't been found since not showing up that night. Joe Mesi is undefeated but he had his hands full in each of his last two bouts - one with cruiserweight Vassiliy Jirov and the other with Monte Barrett, who Guinn faces this weekend. The Barrett-Mesi-Guinn connection is one that will be in the minds of HBO boxing executives and Guinn's camp.
By beating Barrett in convincing fashion Guinn will then have the bargaining power to get paid what he is worth, and the suits at the network will have to move Guinn up the heavyweight ladder ahead of Mesi. And then what?
Then it gets interesting. It says here that Team Mesi will not want to have anything to do with Guinn once they see him on Saturday. If they do it will be a mistake and Mesi has had too many close calls recently for them to put it all on the line against Guinn. Guinn and either of the Klitschko's could be a fight or two away, but Guinn is so technically sound that he would test either brother.
The problem for the Klitschko's is that Guinn moves well, has a solid chin and a left hook that gets there before you know it has left the runway. We have already seen that they start treading water when taken into the deep end of a boxing match, and Guinn surely would be the one breathing easier as the fight goes on. That's one of the benefits of being 'small'. In a twelve-round championship boxing match the race does not necessarily go to the biggest or strongest, but often to the one who has the most to give when the fight is on the line. The longer the race the more of a burden size becomes.
Dominick Guinn just might be the most talented boxer in the heavyweight division and he does it all in classic style. Watch him on Saturday and see a boxer-puncher who uses head movement, keeps his hands up and jabs his way into setting up bigger punches in his arsenal. If you've seen it before, it's because they used to fight like that.
In his fight with Tyson, Golota wasn't doing badly. After getting up from a big Tyson overhand right in the second round, Golota fought with his corner and quit before the start of the third. Which is really foolish in a fight with Tyson. Tyson throughout his career has always been the most dangerous in the first and second rounds. Once a fighter gets through the early rounds with Tyson, the better the chances they have of winning. Tyson actually becomes less effective the longer the fight goes, and he loses some of his power. This is the complete opposite of past swarmers like Sharkey, Marciano, and Frazier. They weren't as ferocious as Tyson in the first couple rounds, but they got stronger and better as the fight progressed.
You would think Golota being the head case that he is, making it past the first couple rounds with Tyson would boost his confidence. No doubt the plan was to try and extend Tyson into the second half of the fight. Nope, not Golota. He quits at the time when he may actually have the best chance to win? Every time I think of some four round fighter getting up again and again for a couple hundred dollars, I think of this dog quitting for his millions against Tyson, and folding against Grant.
Since losing to Tyson, Golota has fought exactly two times after not fighting for three years. In his first fight he fought 18-10 Brian Nix, who he stopped in the seventh round. After Nix he fought 31-13-1 Terrence Lewis and stopped him in the sixth round. These two fights took place in August and November of 2003. I guess being active and connected carries a lot of weight. Actually there is no guessing about it, we know it means everything. I just can't believe that Golota can get a title shot based off of beating Nix and Lewis. Maybe it's true, nobody wants to fight Chris Byrd, even if it's for a title? How about signing with Don King in mid February and fighting for a title in mid April? That sounds more like it.
The whole Golota mystique has always escaped me. I never thought that he was so terrific. For a big guy he was pretty mobile and a decent boxer. However, he wasn't that fast nor was he a great puncher, and I have always questioned his chin and endurance. Other than against Riddick Bowe, who as an empty package when he fought him, who has he beat that is so good that affords him the press and hype that has usually accompanied him? Even in his fights with Bowe, especially the second one, he hit Bowe a million times and couldn't finish an already finished Bowe. In fact in their rematch, Bowe stretched Golota with one right hand after getting pounded.
In his next fight after the Bowe rematch, he was demolished by Lennox Lewis in one round. The fight with Lewis was one that more than a few picked him to win. After winning two unanimous decisions over inexperienced Corey Sanders and a 40 year old Tim Witherspoon, he fought Michael Grant. Golota put Grant down twice in the first round and almost finished him early. However, Grant showed much heart and weathered the storm and came back to stop Golota in the 10th round. Since beating Golota, Grant has regressed and is not even part of the heavyweight picture at this time. How special does a fighter have to be to get by Golota?
In his next fight after losing to Grant, he fought journeyman Marcus Rhode in China and stopped him in three rounds. After fighting Rhode, he decisions Orlin Norris. After beating Norris he fights Tyson and folds like a two dollar suit in a Hurricane. This is the body of work authored by Andrew Golota. Just how does he warrant a title shot, and why should any Boxing fans even care about him. He hasn't proven a thing since the Tyson fight. Other than having a familiar name, and a cult fan base, there is no reason for him to challenge for a title.
Again, the hype over Golota has always escaped me. If I look at him as a fighter, he's pretty good. However, he has lost miserably in every really big fight of his career. What is the dynamic about him that draws fans? Is it his skin pigmentation? I certainly hope not. Is it that he looks like Killer Ivan Drago from the Movie Rocky IV? Maybe that's it. He looks like a fictional fighter who also got taken apart when the pressure was turned up.
I just don't see it. I never thought Golota was anything special, and always felt he was very overrated by some fans and members of the press. He lost to every good fighter he ever fought, and in a terrible fashion to some. Just never saw why there was such a fuss over him.
I guess if he's in good shape his fight with Byrd could be interesting. I want to believe that he has no shot of winning, but I know better. Byrd is much smaller than him and isn't enough of a puncher to scare him. I would even be willing to bet that Golota will enter the ring versus Byrd very confident. Won't be surprised a bit if Golota doesn't embarrass himself in this fight. One thing is certain, all Golota has to do in this fight is not lose badly. A good showing, despite a loss will keep him around longer than I'd like to think.
However, it made me think back to a time in the mid to late 80's when Mike Tyson was scoring many first and second round knockout's. I specifically remember watching Tyson fight Trevor Berbick, Michael Spinks, and Carl "The Truth" Williams on HBO with about 6 or 7 friends. In those fights Tyson stopped Berbick in two rounds and Spinks and Williams in the first.
A group of my friends who I usually watched the fights with at that time had varying backgrounds in Sports and Athletics. A couple played College Football, another was an accomplished body builder, and one was a High School state champ and Division Two National champ Wrestler. The one who was the Wrestler has just started competing in MMA Tournaments and is 2-0. Four of those six guys were tough and could all handle themselves, whether it be in the Sporting sense or on the street. As soon as those fights were over, they started with the typical crap I've heard too often. Crap like, "give me two months to train, and I'll go more than one or two rounds."
I usually answered, "you couldn't go one round with me if you had two years to train everyday, let alone lasting that long with Tyson or Holyfield without dying in the Ring." Being that I fought for eight years as an amateur and pro middleweight, I've experienced this mind set only too often. The point is that it never amazes me how guys from all other Sports think they can be fighters and are good enough to take one on. They only say those things because they just don't know. No doubt the comments aren't made to be disrespectful, at least I hope not. It's just like most all things that are commented on from the easy chair or the bar stool, they are stated without any real thought or true understanding. Over the years I taught some of my friends just how delusional they were. Never the less, those idiotic comments still come up sometimes when they see a fight end in a round or two.
Why is it so that Boxers get picked on as being an easy target? I never hear anyone say they can stand behind center on an NFL team and complete passes like Dan Marino or John Elway. Or that they can stand in the batter's box and make contact against Pedro Martinez. Never hear anyone say they can bring the ball up court and play point guard in the NBA, or handle the puck from end to end like Bobby Orr did in the NHL. No, it's always I could go more than a round with Tyson, or Holyfield couldn't knock me out. The only reason I can come up with as to why some make these stupid remarks is that all guys have had fights somewhere in their life, and have thrown a couple good punches, or have taken somebody down. I guess fighting is the ultimate macho Sporting confrontation between two men?
Not only do Boxers get exploited and ripped off, they get Joe average who took a couple Karate lessons or pumped some iron thinking that he could beat them up. Again, they just don't know. In case anyone doesn't realize this, an experienced pro fighter could really hurt a guy who has never fought and has no experience or training in his background. Imagine a 25 year old man punching a 10 year old kid in the face as hard as he could, think of the damage he would do. Well that's like Evander Holyfield hitting a regular guy in the face as hard as he could, and that may even be an understatement. Another thing the Beer-Muscle guy in the bar doesn't realize is that he can't hit. He has absolutely no punch at all unless he's been taught how to and trained for YEARS.
Those who have never been in the ring just don't have any concept of how hard a fighter can hit despite his record. They also can't possibly know how tough fighters are and how good they take a punch. Recently Joe Mesi fought and was hurt and dropped three times during the fight, and it's now becoming apparent that his chin may be a problem. Count me among them. And yes, Mesi's chin will probably be his Achilles and keep him from ever winning the title. However, there ain't no regular guy walking the street who can hurt Mesi with a punch. I don't care if he's an NFL Linebacker, an NBA power forward, a Wrestler, or a Mixed Martial Artist, he ain't hurting Mesi with a punch. Mesi's chin may be a liability at the world class level as a professional Heavyweight fighter, but not on the street or in the Ring versus a guy who has no Boxing or Striking training.
Fighters are a rare breed of men. I hear a lot of guys say that Boxing isn't street fighting, and to a large extent they're right. But what most fail to mention is that most fighters were good street fighters before they Boxed? A lot of them got into Boxing to channel their aggression and get paid for it at the same time.
Quick Story. One day when I was an amateur I was getting ready to spar a heavyweight who was in the Gym at that time. I was a Middleweight. He was a seasoned pro who had a winning record and a few years later fought for the title. He was not a big puncher and didn't boast a big knockout record. At that time I was close to getting ready to turn pro. I had recently gone to camp with Michael Spinks to help him get ready for his title unification fight with Dwight Muhammad Qawi. Before that I went away with Qawi to help him get ready for his fight versus James Scott at Rahway Prison. Both Qawi and Spinks could really punch, and Qawi sparred like he fought, all out. I figured this heavyweight who I was about to spar couldn't really hurt me. After all, he wasn't known as a puncher. Any how when we sparred we were both wearing 16 ounce training gloves, and he caught me with one straight right hand that knocked me across the ring. The punch was like getting hit by a bunch of falling cinder-blocks, and it wasn't all that he had. I thought to myself, this guy is not supposed to be able to hit.
No, he couldn't punch when measured against other seasoned World Class Heavyweights. However, he can really crack when paired with an experienced middleweight who had a rep for having a good chin. And he would be considered Earnie Shavers if he fought some big weight lifter or football player, whose only training was curling and tackling.
When Tyson blew Michael Spinks out in the first round, many arm chair fighters were yapping how they could've done better and lasted longer than Spinks did. Unfortunately some of them have no clue that they wouldn't have done squat but soil themselves just getting in the ring, and not just with Tyson. They have no concept or understanding how many bad dudes Spinks had to go through just to be qualified to fight Tyson. The next time you see a contending fighter get taken apart in a big fight in a round or two, remember 99% of those watching would've been half killed by the guys he beat to get there. And just imagine how good the fighter who just won must be.
Even guys who are World Class athlete's but never fought have no shot at doing anything with a World Class fighter. Remember when Too Tall Jones wanted to challenge Larry Holmes? There's a reason why that didn't happen. The reason is Too Tall went to a Gym and got his clock cleaned by an amateur heavyweight who hadn't even had his first amateur fight. Too Tall was an all-pro Lineman in the NFL, however he knew fighting Holmes would've been certain suicide, as he later find out! After six fights in which he made Butterbean look like a World beater, Too Tall when back to the NFL. Incidentally, Too Tall played his best ball after his brief boxing excursion. Would anyone ever, even on a goof suggest that Larry Holmes could play on the offensive line and block Too Tall or Reggie White successfully? No, but everybody thinks they can fight.
If you never fought, don't get in the Ring with a Boxer for real because you'll get more than your feelings hurt. You'll get your brain shook. Every time he touches you, you'll feel concussed. If you never Grappled, don't get caught in the guards position with a good ground fighter, because you'll get a limb broke or your air cut off. And if you are a Boxer or a Grappler, don't be delusional and think you can block a big time Lineman, because you'll get run over. Assuming you are as inexperienced at blocking as they are fighting.
By any standard, it was a highly successful team. Both father and son should one day look back on this union with good feelings. But as the father/trainer stumbled in the corner during his son's decisive 12-round loss to Winky Wright last weekend, it was clear, they had gone a long way together, but it's as far as they could go.
The names I'm hearing that are being considered to take over the training duties are Joe Goossen, Freddie Roach and John David Jackson. The first two, are highly respected veterans of the trade, Jackson, is a rising up-and-comer, who's work with Mosley in 2000, was instrumental in his first( and much more definitive) win over Oscar De La Hoya at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
All three would be good choices, the question would be though, is it too late? Mosley is already 42 fights into his professional career and is 32 years old. Maybe, he is, what he's destined to be. On top of that were the hundreds of amateur fights that have added mileage to his odometer and the thousands of rounds of sparring that he has engaged in over the years. Physically, he looks fine- with or without the help of BALCO- but maybe he's like that car who's paint job still looks new but the engine still has over 500,000 miles on it.
But regardless, the time is right for a change. The reality is, Jack, like most fathers who train their sons, are limited, for several reasons.
One of them in my opinion is that most fathers, outside of training their own sons, really don't have that much experience training fighters as a whole. Think about it, of all the fathers that have trained their sons, how many of them outside of Tony Ayala Sr. and Felix Trinidad Sr. have really had any success outside their own gene pool?
Mosley, in the past had the opportunity to work with other fighters, most notably, heavyweight Clifford Etienne, with very limited success. Fathers, it seems, are only as good as their sons. If their sons are blue-chippers, they'll look very good for a period of time.
But here's the flipside, if their sons are premium fighters, the fathers are unaccustomed to dealing with adversity like other trainers who have fighters that don't always win or have it their way all the time. This was shown during Mosley's first loss to Vernon Forrest in January of 2002, when the elder Mosley seemed to freeze at the sight of his son really being in trouble for the first time in his career. Other trainers, have been there and done that.
When the tide turned quickly for Wright, the scene was repeated again. Mosley, didn't seem to offer much in terms of constructive instructions and even worse, seemed to have a poor grasp of even the most elementary of tasks like knowing what round it was.
Hey, anyone can look like Angelo Dundee if they have Muhammad Ali or Sugar Ray Leonard in the corner. Give me the experienced, steady hand that knows how to right the ship in rough waters. And speaking of the great Dundee, remember his words to Leonard in the late rounds against Hearns in 1981?
" You're blowing it kid, you're blowing it," he would tell a struggling Leonard in the late rounds."
Now, was that the only reason why Leonard was able to turn the tide against 'the Hit Man' on that warm September night? Of course not, Leonard was special, he did those types of things often. But it was Dundee's ability to see things the way they were and have the fortitude to tell his fighter something he may not have wanted to hear, that was invaluable.
Leonard was a Secretariat, but even a great thoroughbred needs an able jockey.
But perhaps Mosley, like most fathers that work their sons corner, didn't have the ability to tell his son the truth or perhaps even worse, have such a warped and prejudiced view to even know that they were in peril. The same love that drives them, is the same emotion that can keep someone from seeing things the way they really are.
Now, Mosley comes into the twilight of his career with another set of eyes overseeing things. For his sake, you hope that this change didn't come too late.
If Angel "Got Jesus" Manfredy could still comprehend the voices in his head, they'd be telling him not to do it again. Yet, despite what everyone around him suggests, another trip between the ropes is in his future. And his wife is his manager.
Angel Manfredy has been a true fighter in that he has gone to war with the best of his division at the time, and lost, but he did beat every one below him on the way to getting those deserving title shots. The veteran will see his 30th birthday this year, but to hear his slurred speech and watch him in the ring, any observer can see he has lost a step, or two, and is much older in ring years than his birth certificate indicates.
In his most recent loss to Courtney Burton, Manfredy was literally beaten at the hands of a younger, faster, stronger opponent. The will was there but the body and mind clearly could not execute as before. As Manfredy lay on the ring mat, entwined with the ropes and fumbling to take out his mouthpiece it looked like he finally realized that time had run out. It is an internal battle coming to grips with the fact that something you have done so well for so long just can't be done any more.
I get out of bed each morning and stretch out before I truly wake up. I can't bend over and touch my toes like I used to, but my memory is so bad I convince myself that I never could. I'm not getting older and slower, just wiser (or so I think). The hyper-religious Angel Manfredy likely gets on his knees and prays to his God each night. I'm sure the knees ache a bit more these days as he takes his position as he asks for the strength to carry on.
At the end of 1997 and start of 1998 Manfredy was in his prime beating the likes of Arturo Gatti, Jorge Paez and John Brown in exciting fights as his "El Diablo" and "Angel" personas gave him marketability. At the end of 1998 Manfredy wore the WBU Super Featherweight belt and became the litmus test that 18-0 Floyd Mayweather passed with flying colors in proving too strong and too fast for Manfredy. The bout was stopped in the second round with Manfredy protesting, but the ending was inevitable and the perhaps early stoppage only saved him from a beating.
After losing in his WBC Lightweight title shot to Stevie Johnston in 1999, he fought his way back to an IBF/IBA Super Featherweight shot against the undefeated Diego Corrales. At 6' tall and freakish power in both hands, the 32-0 Corrales was more than Manfredy could handle and he paid a dear price. Giving up 6 inches he simply could not touch Corrales without getting pummeled, and so he was. Three knockdowns later the punishment was over after less than 3 rounds. Manfredy being Manfredy meant that he would work his tail off to gain another shot, this time the IBF Lightweight title held by Pittsburgh's Paul Spadafora was at stake. Again Manfredy left the ring without his arm being raised. The road back was one that Manfredy chose once more and that lead to the disaster created by Courtney Burton. Sure he won his last fight but at what cost does he ask whether he still has it?
A manager is supposed to look out for the best interests of his/her fighter and a little coffee talk with Angel Manfredy is all you need to know the fighter is better off walking away. Sometimes a fighter refuses to listen and the manager has to make the decision to walk in order to have a clear conscious. If that same manager is the wife of the boxer, boxing becomes secondary.
Now at a point where Angel Manfredy can longer look out for himself, by himself, someone needs to provide him with the gospel before it is too late. When Manfredy prays to his God each night I can only pray that he listens to the message.
Entering the bout with Cole, Rahman had gone four fights without a win - 3 losses to go with a draw - and one would have expected the former heavyweight champion to be more prepared for the slippery veteran "Ice" Cole. As it stands now, the words "heavyweight champion" and "Hasim Rahman" fit worse than his ample waist into the trunks he wore for the Holyfield fight.
Somewhere after fighting Holyfield Hasim must have given up. The next time we saw Rahman in the ring he was 35 pounds heavier than he was against the "Real Deal," and he hasn't pushed away a plate at the table since. Sure, he was a one-hit wonder, rocking champion Lennox Lewis in Carnival City, but his skills rightly gave the impression that he could stay near the top of the charts for a while. Not so.
Now Rahman changes trainers with more frequency than J Lo changes husbands, and he finds himself at the wrong end of the rankings and fading fast. In the fight with Cole he abandoned his power jab, which arguably is one of the best in the division when he uses it. When he did throw the jab against Cole he rocked him across the ring like a bully picking on a weakling at recess.
Instead of pummeling Cole with the jab, he wouldn't or, because of the weight, couldn't throw it more than an average of 11 times per round. Typically Rahman would punish opponents with the jab as he did in his first and second fights with David Tua and against Oleg Maskaev. Perhaps the fact that Hasim lost all three of those fights referenced above is why he doesn't use it like he could, like he should.
For seven rounds against Maskaev he was able to control the fight with the power jab, but in the eighth he got caught by a right hand and ended up through the ropes, over the announcers table and eventually came to rest on the arena floor. The trouble with doing the right thing in boxing is that you have to do it for every round - a shaky chin is an unforgiving liability that never improves no matter how many trainers you bring in.
In the first fight against David Tua, Rahman dominated the shorter one-shot wonder at a time when Tua actually let his hands go and threw punches. Despite nine rounds of Rahman rocking Tua, he was clocked as Tua landed the debilitating left hook after the bell sounded to end the ninth. Coming out on wobbly wheels Rahman was quickly disposed of in the tenth, having never regained his wits. He did everything right in that fight, but lost.
The 2003 rematch with Tua saw some of the same as Rahman worked the jab as an offensive weapon and forced Tua to keep his hands in his pockets unable to land a meaningful punch. When scoring was read 116-112 for Rahman it seemed that justice had been served. Unfortunately for the Baltimore native there was another 116-112 card - but this time for Tua - and a third card stuck at 114-114. He fought the good fight and came up empty.
So Rahman sits, waits, eats and probably changes another trainer before the year-end after being disappointed in not knocking out the durable veteran Cole. The trainer is the easiest person to blame, but Rahman need only to look down at his waist and see if he can still see his toes in order to find blame.
Post-fight he was asked about his weight being high and replied that he "could've, would've and should've" come in lighter. He didn't and it didn't seem to bother him. Barring another 'Hail Mary' finding it's mark in a big fight we have likely seen the last of what Rahman's talent promised but failed to deliver. At 31 years of age, and fading fast, it is time to close the book on how good a fighter he "could've, would've and should've" been.
That's what happens when you have a big slice of the pie and some guys don't think you deserve it.
Now, according to Boxingtalk, even Queens heavyweight Vinny "Big Madd" Maddalone wants a piece.
This could be a good thing for the heavyweight division, at least in New York state. A couple of up-and-coming Italian-American guys duking it out in, say, the Garden, one from Queens and the other from Buffalo. That's entertainment. There won't be an empty seat or a dry eye in the house.
Everyone's heard of Baby Joe. He's fought twice on TV recently and though he's 2-0 in those fights, they haven't been what you would call impressive wins. Rocky Marciano's place in heavyweight history is secure.
So far, Baby Joe has shown us he has a lot of heart. He just hasn't shown us much of a chin. In his last two fights, he's spent more time on his knees than the scrubbing lady at Penn Station.
But he keeps getting up off the canvas and somehow winning close fights against tough guys, and that's what they'll remember when the boys from the old neighborhood sit down with a few cold ones and talk fighting.
Saturday night against former cruiserweight champ Vassiliy Jirov at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Mesi made it an adventure again. He looked like a seasoned pro for eight rounds, and a stumbling drunk for the last two.
That's because, late in the fight, Jirov suddenly found his elusive game plan and began rocking Mesi with everything he threw. He couldn't miss. And though Mesi looked like a guy being mugged in a back alley, he did show enough ring smarts to take a knee and an eight-count when he needed it most. It kept Jirov from scoring a knockout. Taking that knee might have been the most impressive thing Mesi did all night. He's learning.
Baby Joe won the fight by one point on everyone's scorecard, and he somehow has remained undefeated at 29-0 with 25 KOs, though his knockout percentage has taken a beating of its own his last couple times out.
And now everyone wants a shot at him. Beat the third franchise from Buffalo.
Maddalone? He's been watching the Baby Joe parade march by and he wants to join the band. He's 21-1, most of his fights taking place in Yonkers. His only loss came at the hands of former cruiserweight champ Al Cole, who just got beat by Hasim Rahman.
A loss to Cole - who has only four wins in his last 16 fights, including the win over Mesi - doesn't help the resume.
But that Italian-American theme holds a lot of promise.
For on this day that 10 year old kid sat on the Kitchen floor at 108 Ardmore Ave in Haddonfield New Jersey, reading the Courier Post about tonight's big fight between Muhammad Ali and "Smokin" Joe Frazier. This kid counted down the months, days, hours and minutes to Monday Night March 8th. He kept asking his father that day who he thought would win tonight. This would eventually go onto become Christmas Eve, Easter Sunday, and New Years Eve for this 10 year old.
This was the night that Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier were scheduled to finally come to blows. On March 8th 1971, Ali and Frazier put on a fight for all time between two of the greatest Heavyweight Champion's who have yet lived. So don't call me tonight after 11:03 PM, because I'll be watching a tape of the fight at the exact time that it started. For one hour tonight I'll be reminiscing about that night up in the rafters (The Twenty dollar seats) at Madison Square Garden watching the fight with my father and cousin.
Sometime between 11:00 and midnight my cousin will most likely call me up and say do you know what today's date is. I'll say yes, why are you calling me now, you know I'm watching the tape. Maybe just one of these years, he'll call 24 seconds into the 15th round, then I won't be annoyed? Can't believe it's been 33 years. If you were a boxing fan then, I have no doubt you remember exactly where you were that night. There was never anything like it before, and I have no doubt that I'll never see anything like it again in my lifetime. Thank you Joe and Muhammad for providing boxing with it's most celebrated night and event!