Moorer, taken to a hospital for a shoulder injury after the fight, floored Jirov with a left hand in the ninth round. Jirov staggered up during the count, but referee Pat Russell waved the fight off as Jirov struggled to maintain his balance.
“What now?” thought Commissioner Rose Trentman. “The show can’t proceed with only two judges.” In desperation the Commissioner came to me and asked if I felt capable of assuming the role. Having had an extensive amateur career (59 fights, 56 wins, with 2 losses and 1 NC) and over ten years experience as Chief Inspector for the NYSAC, I confidently stated “Why not!”
Together with Judges Steve Weisfeld and Bob Gilson, we proceeded to work the show without incident. Shortly after that fight card I applied and received my license as a New York State Boxing Judge. I continued in that capacity until June of 2000, when IBF President Hiawatha Knight appointed me to the position of Championship Chairman.
That appointment followed the indictment of former IBF founder Robert Lee Sr. and other Executive Officers of the International Boxing Federation for engaging in corrupt practices. In March of 2003 I was replaced - due to our opposing views on how the organization should function - by the newly elected IBF President.
Offers followed to join other sanctioning bodies. I declined their invitations and chose to return to being a judge.
Since my return I have had the opportunity to attend seminars conducted by the New York State Athletic Commission, International Professional Ring Officials (IPRO), which I now serve as its vice president, as well as The Mohegan Tribal Commission. These seminars are without a doubt the answer to achieving better decisions in boxing contests.
In addition to those organizations already mentioned, the major sanctioning bodies (WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO) each conduct training seminars at their annual conventions. These seminars help their officials by employing uniform criteria in determining the scoring of a bout. Ongoing training must be encouraged by the regulators of the sport to minimize the number of controversial decisions that have occurred in the past.
If one were to review the scorecards of most major fights, it would appear that most were close decisions. In many instances that would be a fallacy. The scoring of a 10-9 round should be used to indicate a competitive three minutes with one boxer slightly superior in that round. While 10-9 scoring is the norm, the above comparison is more of a rarity. More likely than not a boxer clearly winning a round is awarded the 10-9 score when it should be scored 10-8
Many Officials are reluctant to edge away from the 10-9 for fear of being criticized. Some feel the losing boxer then must overcome the obstacle in the upcoming round(s). So be it! If a boxer scores a knockdown in addition to controlling the action throughout the round the proper score would be 10-7. Many Officials would go with the safety of 10-8 to avoid any criticism.
With the use of the Unified Rules, in championship bouts the 3-knockdown rule is waved. Should a fighter be down four times a correct score would be 10-5. How many would stand up and be counted by scoring it that way? Interesting question!
I have always believed that in scoring a bout you give both fighters what they have earned. Anything less is wrong. The idea of “what is the press going to think?” be damned. Very few of those individuals have ever spent time in the ring to begin with. Some of these self-anointed experts are the first to cast aspersions when a decision differs from their own. Who cares? I have always found it odd that many of the people who make their living reporting on boxing rarely have a good word to say about the sport.
Another point receiving media attention of late has been the “Even Round.” While I feel for the most part that scoring a round 10-10 should be the exception, I have at times employed the even round. More often than not, when we hear the hue and cry about a bad decision, one would be safe in assuming that the critics of the decision were, for the majority of the bout, talking to the guy/gal in the next seat, out for a smoke, or getting another beer. The person they are complaining about spent the entire three minutes of each round in total concentration on what was taking place within feet of their elevated seat on the ring apron.
To the critics I say: “Walk a mile in my moccasins before you try to judge me.”
Anyone who has seen the former junior lightweight champion in action knows that what he may lack in skill, he will always make up for with will and heart. From his pro debut twelve years ago to his hard-fought points loss to all-time great Erik “El Terrible” Morales this past summer, Famoso has always left it all in the ring, ensuring that everyone who paid to see him fight always got their money’s worth.
This Saturday night in Las Vegas (HBO PPV, 9PM ET, live from Mandalay Bay), Famoso (40-4-1, 26 KO) returns for the first time since his July loss to Morales, as he faces former three time world title challenger Juan Carlos Ramirez. It will be the first time in two years that he enters the ring without a world title around his waist. No matter to Hernandez, though. After all, it’s not the belt that makes the fighter a champion. At least not at heart.
“There is nothing more satisfying to me than finishing a fight knowing that I invested every last bit of energy in winning, or at least trying to win,” says Hernandez, in looking back at his career to date. “I know that I’m not the most skilled fighter in the world, but nobody can ever claim my heart in the ring. My fans know this, and identify with me because of it.”
Carlos is quite easy to identify with. He’s not your typical athlete, who is all about the money first and respect lagging somewhere in the background. Whereas most athletes – particularly fighters – believe that smack talk is the best way to market one self to the public, Famoso simply prefers to be himself. Like it or not, he is a blue-collar worker - both in and out of the ring - and dedicated family man. What you see is what you get. To date, it got him a world title, and more importantly, the love of more than one nation.
“The love I get from El Salvador (where Hernandez’ family comes from) has always been out of this universe. And it’s not that I expect it, being that it’s where my roots are. But for most, your largest fan base is where you are from. But along with El Salvador, I also get endless support from the Mexican fans as well. Even going into my fight with Morales, I would hear from many fans in Mexico how they love the way I fight. It makes me feel good, and it inspires me to train hard.”
So far, it has inspired him to fight hard for twelve years and counting.
Most people in America would spend their 21st birthday celebrating the fact that they are legally old enough to drink. Carlos spent it in a boxing ring, making his pro debut in Irvine, California, less than a half hour from the Bellflower area where he was born and raised. A testament to his toughness would be served that night, as he wound up with a draw after the first four rounds of his professional career.
Never one to give up at anything in life, Hernandez went back to the drawing board, righted some wrongs, and returned back strong. So strong, that he would win his next twenty-two straight fights over the course of the next three years.
After suffering his first loss in the pro ranks – a ten round decision to Aaron Zarate – Famoso would run off another four wins in a row, one of which came against former featherweight champion Gregorio “Goyo” Vargas. In addition to facing the toughest test of his career in the ring, Famoso would also have to deal with adversity outside of it.
Earlier in the day, Famoso’s longtime trainer and manager Jackie McCoy passed away after a long battle with cancer. Rather than postpone the fight and mourn his death, Famoso elected to fight one, as he believed that’s the way Jackie would have liked it. He must have, as Hernandez fought as if someone up there liked him, scoring the biggest win of his career in decisioning Vargas.
Two wins later, Famoso would face another famous Hernandez – Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez, who earlier in the year beat the legendary Azumah Nelson to start his second reign as world champion. The world title shot was the first for Famoso, and he made the most of it. The fighting Hernandez’ went to war, delivering one of the best fights of the year, highlighted by a time capsule-worthy ninth round which many considered at the time to be a top contender for round of the year. In the end, Chicanito was still champion, but Famoso had captured the hearts of many.
Despite failing to bring home a world title, Famoso was treated like royalty in returning to El Salvador, where he had spent many of his summers as a child. The country named Famoso it’s top sportsman for the first of three times, and the city of Soyapongo named him as their greatest son.
To repay the nation, Famoso fought his next fight in Cuzcatlecas, San Salvador, defeating Roberto Avila in front of 15,000 rabid fans. Hell of a way to make a comeback, wouldn’t you say?
After putting together an eight-fight winning streak, Famoso would receive a second shot at the WBC title that he had craved his entire fighting lifetime. “Ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted the WBC title.”
Now being a 30-year old kid, Famoso’s second shot at his favorite alphabet strap would come against one of boxing’s best, undefeated Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Floyd himself was coming off of the biggest win of his career, a ten-round thrashing against undefeated murderous-punching Diego “Chico” Corrales. Carlos knew that he had a huge task at hand, especially with the fight taking place in Grand Rapids, MI, where Floyd was born and raised.
For the second time in four years, Famoso fell short of realizing his dream as he dropped a wide unanimous decision to Mayweather. He did gain a moral victory, as to date he is still the only fighter to score an official knockdown over Pretty Boy Floyd – even if Floyd never went down from a punch. Well, actually he did – he was punching Famoso and injured his hand so bad, that he was forced to take a knee and the ensuing eight count.
As with his previous world title loss, Famoso returned back to San Salvador to get back in the W column. He did just that, forcing Juan Angel Macias to quit on his stool shortly before the start of the ninth round.
After a pair of wins in 2002, the biggest break of Famoso’s career would come along. IBF junior lightweight champion Steve Forbes was forced to give up his crown when he weighed in over the limit for what was to be a title defense against David Santos in August 2002. Had Santos won the fight, he would have won the title. He didn’t, but would get a second chance when Forbes was stripped immediately after the fight.
Forbes and Hernandez met in the co-feature of promoter Bob Arum’s inaugural “Latin Fury” pay-per-view show. The series was designed to give additional exposure to the lower weight Latino fighters. Famoso took full advantage of the opportunity, outfighting Santos in a closely contested battle. A nasty gash caused by one of the bout’s many headbutts forced Santos to be at the mercy of the referee, who stopped the contest after eight rounds. To the joy of many in the crowd, particularly El Salvador President Francisco Flores, Famoso had put enough rounds in the bank to secure a unanimous decision, thus becoming the first fight of Salvadorian descent to win a world title.
They say you always remember your first, no matter what that first may be. Famoso still remembers as if it were yesterday.
“The thrill of having so many fans from my hometown was exciting enough. But to not only win your first world title, but have the President of El Salvador personally congratulate you… I mean, how do you ever top that in life?”
You go ahead and defend your title, which is exactly what Famoso did eight months later. His first defense was against Forbes, who still believed that he was the rightful owner of the title since he never lost it in the ring. Hernandez took care of that, overcoming a rocky start to dominate from the middle rounds on, behind the strength of a relentless body attack. For the second straight title fight, a cut would bring a premature halt to the bout. Well, that and a little bit of drama from renowned cutman Miguel Diaz, who could be overheard at the end of the tenth round yelling, “Oh I can’t fix this.” It was enough to draw the attention of referee Pat Russell, who shortly thereafter decided that the fight should be stopped.
Once the scorecards were read, Hernandez was the rightful owner of the IBF crown, whether Forbes liked it or not – and he didn’t, as he filed a protest days later. As suspected, the bid was unsuccessful.
While waiting out the winner of the scheduled February 2004 fight between WBC titlist Jesus Chavez and Erik Morales, Hernandez would find new cause to celebrate. In December 2003, Carlos and his wife Veronica – who also serves as Famoso’s manager – gave birth to a baby boy, Christian.
That moment – more so than any fight – remains the defining moment in Hernandez’ life.
“I don’t care what I will go on to achieve in the ring, in life, anywhere – there is no greater joy in my life than being a proud husband and father.”
Unfortunately, he could not provide a win in the biggest fight of his career, a unification showdown against Morales this past July. Despite an incredible display of courage and determination throughout, Hernandez rarely had answers for Morales, as he lost a wide unanimous decision and his IBF crown. Not to mention losing a fight with the WBC title on the line for the third time in his career. For the first time in his career, losing was a bitter pill to swallow.
“About two months” is the amount of time Hernandez says was needed to emotionally recover. “Obviously, I was feeling pretty sad – not just for me, but for my countrymen. But afterward, I was inspired to come back by my many fans.”
It was that love that brings him back this Saturday night, where he prepares for Ramirez (33-6, 13KO) in his first fight since July. It’s not the dream fight he clamored for, at least not a month before his 34th birthday. But it’s still another day where he gets to practice his trade, which is always a good thing.
“More than anything else, I’m happy to be on this show and this pay-per-view card. It’s a pleasure to be on a great card like this (with WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko facing Danny Williams in the main event), especially after my gereat pay-per-view battle with Erik Morales. I am coming back to do battle against Juan Carlos Ramirez and I plan to do best – win.”
At least do what he does best in the ring. As he has already proven that as good of a fighter he is, Carlos is even better at being a family man.
“People got on my case for having my wife and son in training camp for the Morales fight. But I still wouldn’t change a thing even if I had the chance. My choice to have my family there allowed me to train and still see my son in the beginning stages of his life. That is so important to me. Had I left them behind, it may have made me a better fighter. But it wouldn’t be worth it – I would rather be known as a better father and husband.”
And for that, he is still known as a hero to everyone else.
Vitali Klitschko should retain the heavyweight championship of the world against Danny Williams -- if he can exploit his massive height and reach and keep him outside with his incredibly long jab. But if the free-swinging Williams can rumble his way close, he could flatten the Ukrainian giant. Nobody gave Williams any chance against Mike Tyson, but the former British and British Commonwealth king displayed great courage as he survived some lusty shots and never stopped fighting. Maybe Williams lost to Julius Francis and Sinan Samil Sam earlier in his career, and it's hard to see him climbing atop sport's highest pedestal, but Klitschko bailed out against Chris Byrd on April 1, 1990, claiming he injured his shoulder. When the leather starts coming, how mentally tough is he? Klitschko has also been worried about the political strife in his country,and that's undoubtedly affected his preparation. Williams should be brimming with confidence after flattening Tyson, but he's erratic too. Experts invariably try to judge the mind of the fighter, but all that goes out the window once the bell rings. Styles make fights and this is combat, where you perform according to your well-honed instincts. Klitschko has a tendency to bring his right back -- and hold it -- before throwing it. He also poses at times, with his chin high. If Williams can get lucky with a left hook or a big right, with 270 pounds behind it, we could have a shocking upset. If Klitschko boxes, then starts drilling him with his right, Williams should go in about six. Ironically, I can't remember when a former European heavyweight champion (Klitschko) has ever met a former European heavyweight title challenger (Williams) for the heavyweight championship of the world.
Beating Mike Tyson is not what it used to be. It may take a few rounds, but Williams will feel Klitschko's power. Klitschko TKO 6 Williams.
I don't believe that Vitali has the one‑punch power to put Danny away early, which may result in a nice little shootout in the first third of the fight. But I believe that Klitschko will gain control somewhere around the fifth round, and never look back. Williams will be looking for lightning to strike twice, but much like Buster, I believe his win over Mike is a one‑shot deal for the Brit. For the sake of picking an exact round . . . call it Klit in 10. Williams forced to retire while on his stool in between rounds. Klitschko by late KO
Someone is going to derail the Klitschko Express. It’s inevitable. It’s just a matter of time. Vitali is mucho distracted by the chaos in Kiev. His fists and chin will be in Vegas, but his heart is in the Ukraine. I think Danny parlays his high from the Tyson bout and takes the fight to Dr. K, starting with the body and working his way upstairs. Williams reopens Vitali’s eyelid in the middle rounds. Going with my heart and not my head, I predict a Williams victory by TKO.
Who did Williams beat besides an old, tired, lame Mike Tyson? Klitschko is too big and too strong. Barring some kind of strange, Klitschko breakdown, Vitali by KO in the fifth.
Vitali Klitschko probably deserves to be considered the best heavyweight in the world at this moment. But he can be had. Revisonist history suggests Klitschko had Lennox Lewis beat, but for the cuts. He didn’t, and that’s why it’s “revisionist” to suggest otherwise. Klitschko then beat Kirk Johnson, who embarrassed both himself and the sport of boxing by showing up completely unprepared. Following Johnson, Klitschko went on to stop Corrie Sanders in a Pier Sixer. Thing is, the big Ukrainian was buzzed early in that fight, but then Sanders immediately ran out of gas due to his woeful conditioning. No fault of Klitschko, but it left questions unanswered, I thought. Williams truly had a reputation as a serial underachiever in the past, and it is not simply marketing spin to suggest as much. An upset is a realistic possibility in this fight. Of course, the sharp guys are all picking Klitschko, and perhaps they should. Williams could go early, no doubt. But if the Englishman can stay on Klitschko’s chest early and often enough to take the fight to the champion, nullifying his height advantage, it is game on. If Williams sees round 6, this fight takes on a different complexion. I do believe Klitschko’s stamina is open to question. He was blowing awfully hard against Lewis, and again against Sanders, as those fights neared their conclusion. If Williams ends up in the deep water with Klitschko be prepared to be surprised. I think he will. And I think you will. Williams by TKO. Chris Gielty
This one has to be bombs away almost from the opening bell. I still am not sold on Williams as a world-class heavyweight contender, as he beat a one-legged Mike Tyson. However, he does take a world-class punch. I think he'll take a number or world-class punches from Vitali (and give a few of his own), but will be outgunnned and history by the seventh round.
I think the Williams who beat Tyson compares favorably to the out‑of‑shape Lennox Lewis Klitschko nearly surprised, but without the reach. Williams will give the gangly Ukrainian trouble at times, but Klitschko's power and drive won't fade like Tyson's did. Klitschko KO.
In this fight I'm going with the much bigger Ukrainian Klitschko. Even though he didn't win the Lennox Lewis fight he showed he was able to use his size and strength to his advantage. I don't see a knockout here but Klitschko will prevail.
Not that I think Klitschko is great, but he is better than Danny Williams, and there is no way this fight goes the distance. (I hope!) Williams is enjoying his 15-minutes in the sun due to his beating of the once feared, once indestructible ‑but now finished ‑ former undisputed champion Mike Tyson. It shouldn't take Klitschko that long (5‑6 rounds) to bring Williams back to reality.
Despite all the new found mental motivation Mr. Williams is fond of telling everyone about since his demolition of Mike Tyson, the fight against Klitschko will be furious and brief. Look for Williams to take all the significant punches and be retired early. Bet the house that Williams doesn't see the fourth round. Klitschko KO3 Williams.
Klitschko is so big and so strong you'd have to say Williams has even less of a chance than he did against Tyson! That having been said, if Danny can get it to the late, or even middle, rounds, and perhaps nick Klitschko in the process, another upset isn't inconceivable. (Vitali appears to be unsettled by the sight of blood, particularly if it's his own.) The logical pick, alas, is Klitschko TKO 2.
Vitali Klitschko is one smart fighter and his options are many in terms of how to stop Williams. He can work behind the heavy jab and break Williams down, or come at him early and put the pressure on Williams, who has crumbled in the past when the heat is on. Somewhere around the middle of the fight I think Klitschko will have Williams down and seriously hurt to the point the bout is stopped. Other than beating an aged Mike Tyson, Williams has lost to some very average heavyweights like Sprott, Francis and Sam. Vitali Klitscko is not your average heavyweight. V Klitschko TKO D Williams
Everything on paper says Klitschko should have an easy night. He's much bigger, stronger, and more experienced in big fights. And of course, Danny Williams has lost to far inferior boxers than Klitschko. The wildcard is if Williams truly is transformed as a fighter after the Tyson victory, as he and his supporters claim. Even Sinan Samil Sam, who beat Williams last year, was recently quoted as stating, "that's not the same Danny Williams who I defeated." Williams has proven he has tremendous heart. He was rocked repeatedly in the opening rounds of the Tyson fight. In 2000, after dislocating his right shoulder, Williams continued to fight and eventually stopped Mark Potter in the sixth round. We all remember what Vitali Klitschko did when he injured his shoulder against Chris Byrd. So my official prediction is Klitschko gives Williams the beating that most people expect. TKO 6. But I won't be surprised if Williams pulls off some magic and finds a way to shock Klitschko and the rest of the boxing world with an upset.
Just as I didn't rate Buster Douglas off of beating Mike Tyson, I won't gauge Danny Williams based solely on him stopping a rusty 38 year old Tyson. After Douglas beat Tyson, everyone started raving about his size and reach and what a good boxer he was. Now the talk is Williams doesn't harbor self-doubt like he used to, and he's really a Holyfield type warrior. I'll use the same formula I used to pick Douglas-Holyfield. Had Douglas fought Holyfield the night he fought Tyson, who would I pick? Obviously Holyfield. So am I now going to pick Douglas because he beat Tyson? No! Same thing here. If Williams was fighting Klitschko the night he fought Tyson, who would I pick? Without reservation Klitschko. Am I going to now pick Williams because he beat a washed up Tyson? No. I'll take my chances with Klitschko.
The only thing harder than catching lightning in a bottle is keeping it there without getting zapped. Klitsch KO 3.
Williams has more boxing ability than the champion, but the only way I see him winning is if he can land a big one flush on Klitschko’s jaw. I see him trying to swim, but being out of his depth and on the canvas within 3 rounds. Having said that, I have got a funny feeling about this one, almost as funny as when I picked Hasim Rahman to KO Lewis in their first fight … almost.
I do not mind William Joppy holding a retirement party in the ring, but did he have to do it in the fourth round of his "fight" with Jermain Taylor? On my dime? I should have known I was being put out to dry when instead of the pre‑fight national anthem, they played Won't You Come Home Again, Bill Joffy? Oh, well, people, I am paid to write, not to be right. Having said that: Dr. Vitali Klitschko, the least worst of a bad crop of heavyweights - thus making him a tall midget - by decision.
This is a difficult fight because no‑one knows how good either man really is. Klitschko tested Lewis but, not for the first time, Lewis was not in optimum shape. Williams has lost to some mediocre fighters. Also Tyson was clearly a broken man. At the same time Williams's confidence will be high and he and his trainer have good discipline. So does Klitschko and his camp, however. On form and pedigree you have to go with Klitschko, probably on points.
Initially, I was leaning towards Williams possibly catching lightning in a bottle twice and scoring an upset over Klitschko. However, after hearing of some of the Brit's babbling over the last couple of days I am convinced he is becoming mentally unglued. This will not be helpful to him in facing a guy who should be at, or near, his peak physical and fighting form. Klitschko scores a 3rd round TKO in what should be a stinker, thanks to an
> "We want to bring big-time boxing back to New Jersey," echoed the Darwishes during Tuesday's press conference at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, the venue for this Thursday's fight card and the contracted site for ten of the Knockout Promotions seventeen scheduled shows in 2005.
"Our goal is to bring boxing back like the Duvas did back in the ‘80s - big shows," stated older brother Walid. "We have a commitment and we want to bring quality events to New Jersey," added Hani Darwish.
With the legendary Lou Duva on hand giving his sign of approval, Knockout Promotions appears to be headed in the right direction with their second installment of "The North Jersey Boxing Series."
Paterson's own Kendall Holt, one of boxing's brightest and most talented young stars, will be highlighted in the co-feature. With a nationally televised ShoBox fight against undefeated former Olympian David Diaz (25-0) on the horizon (pending Holt is victorious - and in dramatic fashion), Kendall has no plans of letting down. "After I whip Escobar, I'll kick Diaz's @*#!," exclaimed the ever confident Holt.
Also slated to see action Thursday are Eric Graham, Alex Perez, Devon Holder, George Perez and Mike Torres, all local New Jersey fighters.
The night's main event alone should be worth the price of admission. With the vacant World Boxing Council Continental Americas Light Heavyweight Championship there for the taking, Camden's Prince Badi Ajamu (22-2-1, 12 KOs) will battle Detroit’s Greg Wright, a former NABF Champion (21-11-1, 8 KOs). Fighting out of the Kronk Gym will reveal the fortitude and toughness of Wright - who has never been stopped in his career - while Ajamu - ranked 22nd in the world as a light heavyweight - appears on the brink of stardom. Proud to call himself a Philly fighter, Ajamu is a relentless, hungry, never-take-a-step-back type of fighter.
"We both are hungry," said Ajamu. "I gotta have that belt. No two ways about it. I'm going to be the Champion!"
An action-packed seven bout fight card, including a couple of rising stars and a twelve round main event - which should be a battle from beginning to end - will be featured this Thursday, December 9, at the Robert Treat Hotel in downtown Newark.
Tickets are priced at $100.00 VIP ringside, $50.00 reserved and $35.00 general admission and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.Ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (201) 507-8900. For more information you may call Knockout Promotions at (973) 237-9898.
Aside from a hard fought battle with Champion Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko has dominated every heavyweight he has faced since turning professional and Williams doesn’t seem to merit more than a puncher’s chance.
The Klitschko career started with a bang as the heavy-handed native of Kyrgyzstan knocked out each one of his first 27 opponents, and only three of those made it past the third round. That bang went bust in 2000 when a shoulder injury forced Klitschko to quit at the end of the ninth round against Chris Byrd. Calls rang out and many – myself included – berated Klitschko for quitting in a fight he merely needed to remain upright in order to win. Other fighters have overcome injuries and fought through them. Why not Vitali? Regardless, only the man in the ring knows how badly he is hurt and if he is better off today for having opted to surrender his belt then he made the right choice.
Against Lewis all those who questioned Klitschko’s will to win were silenced as he put up a great fight against King Lennox and only a grotesque cut in a dangerous location stopped him after six exciting rounds. Other than the misstep against Byrd and being cut up by Lewis, Vitali has been unstoppable. Can Danny Williams stop him?
Danny Williams was handpicked to lose to the one-time baddest man on the planet, Mike Tyson. The Tyson that Williams faced in July of this year was shadow of the man who destroyed the heavyweight division many moons ago. Beating an older, slower Tyson was not the grand achievement some may think, and let’s not forget that Williams was in a heap of trouble early in that fight. Only leaning on Tyson helped keep his legs from betraying him in the first round but, to his credit, he recovered and stopped “Iron Mike” in the fourth round.
Williams was selected to face Tyson because of whom Danny and his team now refer to as “the old Danny Williams.” That Danny Williams is the one who lost a decision to the average Michael Sprott. It’s the same Williams who lost to British journeyman Julius Francis over 12 rounds and was TKO’d in 6 rounds by plodding Sinan Samil Sam after being knocked down three times. As his team will lead us to believe, “that” Danny Williams is not “this” Danny Williams.
“This” Danny Williams knocked out Mike Tyson. And that’s all he’s done so far to distinguish himself from the Williams of old.
Prior to beating Tyson the knock on Williams was nothing physical, but rather mental. He had been known to freeze when the opportunity was greatest and had never been able to put all of his physical tools together in one box. The bigger the fight, the less was to be expected of Williams.
Gifted with fast hands and power in each mitt, Williams will be looking to knock out a man who has never been down. He will give up 6 inches in height and, if history is any indication, will likely carry 15-20 extra pounds around the ring over his opponent. Not exactly the attributes required to win a boxing match, but which might work in a brawl.
It is a kill or be killed mentality that “this” Williams and his team are trying to convince us they have as they prep for the biggest fight of their career. In their corner is an underachieving boxer with a history of fighting a losing battle with mental demons as he faces off against the best active heavyweight of the day.
With Vitali Klitschko anything is possible. He won’t fade late (or early) like his brother, works methodically behind a heavy jab and can throw punches in bunches when the time comes. He may come out fast and furious and put Williams’ shaky starts to the test, or may break him down piece by piece. For Williams the options are not so varied, he seemingly has none. To brawl with a fighter who has knocked his opponent out 33 of 34 victories and has never been down doesn’t look to be the way to victory. However, being the heavier and far shorter man isn’t the recipe in order to bob-and-weave his way inside of Klitschko.
Vitali has been on the world stage before and shone under the bright lights. There is no chance that he will take Danny Williams lightly on Saturday, unlike Mike Tyson, and let’s not forget that Tyson reportedly injured his knee in that bout.
Under a steady dose of heavy jabs and thundering right hands Britain’s dream of being home to the heavyweight champion of the world will crumble.
Castillo-Casamayor was disappointing overall, but the last few rounds showed that both fighters are warriors. Extra kudos to Casamayor, who went toe-to-toe in the late rounds with a bigger man - a man with 45 knockouts in 50 wins, no less.
Castillo should be commended for taking on such a dangerous opponent in his first title defense. But he didn't help himself by neglecting Casamayor's body for the first seven rounds. He was lucky to have escaped with his title.
Castillo wants Diego Corrales next, which could end up being the fight of the year. The Casamayor fight was a stinker for the most part because their styles failed to mesh. That won't happen with Castillo-Corrales, two home run hitters who have an inherent itch to brawl.
After Corrales, Castillo wants Kostya Tszyu. Also an interesting matchup because of both men's determination, punching power and durability. Tszyu may be have too much of everything, however.
With decision losses to Acelino Freitas, Corrales and now Castillo, Casamayor is the Buffalo Bills of the boxing world. The slick southpaw should get the winner of whatever combination fights next.
Judge Dave Moretti's card of 117-111 for Castillo was ridiculous. Enough said.
What has this world come to when golf, tennis, "extreme" sports and even play-acting - otherwise known as pro wrestling - outdraw boxing by the thousands? Showtime could do little to hide the embarrassing crowd that turned up to see Castillo-Casamayor in Las Vegas - a fight that pitted two of the best fighters on the planet. Something should be done soon to make this game a power again - whether that be creating a federal commission or some sort of boxing league to give it higher visibility and viability - or it risks being run off the sporting map for good.
Sam Peter is as intriguing a prospect as the heavyweight division has seen in some time. Yeah, it was Jeremy Williams he knocked out. But he did it spectacularly. It had a Tyson-esque quality to it.
Then again, Henry Akinwande did that to Williams eight years ago.
Omar Sheika showed some kind of grit in lasting the distance with bigger, stronger Jeff Lacy. He may have lost, but who wouldn't mind seeing him in another title fight?
And while we're saluting guys, let's give it up for William Joppy. He may not be the most talented guy in the world, but he has given this sport everything he can give. He took his beating like a man against Hopkins last year, and did his best against Taylor on Saturday - though he was miserably overmatched in both. And let's not forget all those Felix Trinidad knockdowns he got up from in 2001. Jop, when you retire, you will exit the sport with an abundance of dignity.
It's official: Jermain Taylor is the goods. He left little doubt that he can give Hopkins the fight of his life, maybe as early as next year. How will a 40-year-old Hopkins deal with the speed and reflexes of the amazingly gifted Taylor - a fighter 14 years his junior? Hopkins-Taylor is perhaps the best fight of 2005.
Stan turned pro in 1974 and quickly established himself as a heavyweight with promise. In 1975 he fought draws with Johnny Boudreaux and Pat Duncan. In 1976 Stan entered the world ratings with a decision over Mac Foster and a stunning knock out over Jeff Merritt.
On September 14, 1977, Stan met rugged Ron Lyle in Las Vegas. After ten grueling rounds, Lyle was awarded the decision. After Stan's game showing against Lyle, he returned to California and outscored future champion Mike Weaver. In his next fight, clever Randy Stephens upset Stan. As Stan entered 1979 his record stood at 10-2-2 and it looked as if he was going to be a mainstay in the talent rich ratings. All that came crashing down in his next bout: a rematch with Mike Weaver. The murderous punching Weaver halted Stan in the ninth round and sent Ward's career reeling.
It would be over a year before Stan got back into the ring, but he quickly added three bouts to his win column. On February 7, 1981, Stan met Greg Page in Atlantic City. Page's current dilemma has been well documented. Most remember Greg as an out of shape ex-champion. At one time, though, Greg was a very good boxer. If you ever get the chance, watch a tape of Greg's bouts with Scott Ledoux and Marty Monroe. At that time Page was awesome! He would also prove to be too much for Stan halting him in the seventh round.
The loss to Page was really the beginning of the end for Stan. He would get his share of wins, but in the important matches his chin would betray him. In 1982 Gerrie Coetzee stopped him in two rounds. In 1983 Mike Weaver again halted him in nine rounds. Stan had one bout in 1984 and was inactive in 1985. In 1986 he was stopped again, this time by Larry Alexander in two rounds. Stan would take off over three years and when he returned he scored a couple of insignificant wins and faded from the scene.
The legendary Blue Horizon is located at Broad and Girard in the heart of scenic North Philadelphia. Surrounded by gas stations, fast food joints and abandoned buildings, the Blue Horizon has had more ups and downs than a palooka fighting four-rounders. But the Blue Horizon has been a fight game mainstay for many years, and it’s still standing and looks better than ever.
The structure that houses the Blue Horizon was originally three row houses built at the close of the Civil War. It was designed as public accommodation for married couples, something genteel for Philly’s petit bourgeoisie. Times change and the building became a lodge for the Fraternal Order of Moose. A small ballroom was added. It had a stage. It had a balcony. It could seat fourteen hundred.
After a century of tea dances and secret handshakes and revival meetings, the sweet science kicked open the doors of the Blue Horizon in 1961. Over the years local fighters named Bernard Hopkins, Bennie Briscoe, Willie Monroe, Jeff Chandler, Matthew Saad Muhammad, George Benton, Charles Brewer and Cyclone Hart, the cream of a very rich crop of Philly fighters, squared off against pugs at The Blue like Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Antonio Tarver.
These days Don Elbaum is putting on shows at the Blue Horizon and it’s a good thing that he is.
The first match was a welterweight four-rounder featuring Philadelphia’s own Gary Drayton (4-10-1 4 KOs), wearing red trunks with white trim and fighting out of the red corner, versus Orlando Lewis (2-0 2 KOs), from Vineland, NJ, fighting out of the blue corner and wearing black trimmed with green camouflage. At the opening bell the men came out cautiously. They circled each other, felt each other out, traded jabs and kept moving. Lewis landed a solid body shot. Drayton landed a combination and danced away. Lewis caught Drayton with a blow to the head and Drayton hit the deck. He got to his feet, but Lewis landed and Drayton went down again. The ref waved it off at 2:11. A first round TKO for Lewis.
Bout number two was a four-round clash between heavyweights. Mike Dietrich (2-0 2 KOs) from Baltimore met Jermaine Livingston (1-1 1 KO) from nearby Trenton, NJ. Dietrich, in the red corner, is a southpaw in tiptop shape. Livingston, in the blue corner, is a flabby righty. The bell sounded and both men came out swinging. Livingston landed first, but Dietrich landed solid, so Livingston beat a retreat. A straight Dietrich left caught Livingston on the ropes and down he went. The referee called it at 2:43 of round one.
Two Philadelphia fighters got it on in the third fight. Welterweight prospect Steve Chambers Upshur (8-1-1 1 KO), in black trunks, met Darrell Crenshaw (1-1), wearing blue trimmed with black, in a four-round war. Crenshaw peppered Upshur’s face with combinations in the first, but when Upshur landed he landed solid. A close 10-9 round for Upshur. Crenshaw took over the second, landing more punches and the cleaner shots. Upshur played possum on the ropes. Crenshaw went possum hunting and won the round 10-9. Both men slowed in round three, but Upshur was the busier of the two. The fourth and final round was all Upshur. The scores were 40-36, 40-36 and 39-37. Steve Chambers Upshur by unanimous decision.
Fight four was between junior middleweights. Darren “Quiet Storm” Fallen (7-2-1 4 KOs), the hometown lefty from Philly, met Larry “The Gladiator” Brothers (5-3-2 4 KOs), from the nation’s capital, in a six-round contest. Fallen’s punches had plenty of snap in the first. Brothers could not get past his jab. Round to Fallen. Fallen landed an accidental low blow in round two, but controlled the action. By virtue of his ring generalship and effective aggression, he owned the rest of the fight. The Quiet Storm by unanimous decision.
The next fight was a eight-round cruiserweight bout spotlighting Emanuel Nwodo (14-3 11 KOs), aka Charm City Assassin, in blue trunks and fighting out of the blue corner, from Baltimore by way of Nigeria. His opponent was Imamu Mayfield (24-6-2 18 KOs), in the red corner and wearing black trunks, from New Brunswick, NJ. Nwodo has a punch which is a gift of the Gods and he landed hard and he landed early. Mayfield went down seconds into the fight. He struggled to his feet and beat the count, giving Nwodo another opportunity to put him down again. That was it. The ref called a halt to the action at 1:24 of the first round. The Charm City Assassin by technical knockout.
The final fight of the night was a ten-round slugfest between heavyweights Fast Eddie Chambers (21-0 12 KOs), wearing black trunks and representing the City of Brotherly Love, versus Louis Monaco (13-29-4 6 KOs), wearing black trimmed with gold and hailing all the way from Denver, Colorado. Chambers can box and punch. Fast Eddie has fast hands. But he is not in shape and has stamina problems. Monaco has fought everyone during his decade-long career - Vitali Klitschko, Lamon Brewster, Jeremy Williams, Monte Barrett, Fres Oquendo, Kirk Johnson, Michael Dokes, Trevor Berbick and Buster Douglas - and went on the attack at the opening bell. Monaco hits hard, but he punches wide, has balance problems, and looks like a shot fighter.
Chambers busted up Monaco over ten lopsided rounds. Monaco is tough, tougher than tough, tougher than any man needs or ought to be. He is all heart, all nerve, all raw bleeding courage, a man whose lot in life is pain, followed by pain, followed by more pain. Two of the judges scored the fight 100-90. The third judge saw it 98-92. Fast Eddie Chambers moves onto bigger and better things. Louis Monaco moves onto his next fight.
Last week’s fight card at The Blue had a little something for everyone. There were first round kayos. There were boxing clinics. There were sweet scientists and pugs. Before leaving the coolest building in America hosting the fights, I asked Don Elbaum how it feels putting on shows at the Blue Horizon.
“Every single seat is a ringside seat. That’s the feel you get here. You’re on top of everything. And I cannot believe the calls I get about coming and fighting at the Blue Horizon. I’ve gotten calls from managers and promoters in Europe - ‘We’d like our kid to come fight at The Blue. We’ll work out the deal with the money’ - just to say they fought at the Blue Horizon. It’s the most legendary fight arena in the world today. What’s it feel like putting on shows here? Hey, it’s a thrill. It’s an honor. It’s fantastic. It’s like unreal,” Elbaum said. “When Louis Monaco came in and I met him in the hotel, he says, ‘You know something? I fought all over. Boy,’ he says, ‘I never thought I’d get a shot to fight here.’”