After losing via knockout to Cornelius Boza Edwards in May 1981, Chacon had seemingly come to terms with his failed quest. He provided Boza with a good scrap, but ran out of gas in the late rounds - a telltale sign of an aging fighter.
"At 29, you're not 21 anymore," he was told.
But Chacon was harassed by demons. Demons of unfulfilled potential. After winning the WBC featherweight title in 1974, Chacon was on top of the world. The photos of the handsome Californian sitting proudly atop a Bentley were a snapshot of his prime. He was young, good-looking, rich, happily married - and the best 126-pound fighter in the world after knocking out Alfredo Marcano in the ninth round on Sept. 7, 1974.
Then, the story becomes a familiar fight tale: Chacon squandered everything. Fighters so young assume the fantasy will last a lifetime. But nothing lasts forever - especially in boxing, where most lighter-weight fighters who depend on speed and reflexes are done by the time they hit 30.
Two fights after beating Marcano, Chacon lost via second-round knockout to nemesis Ruben Olivares. A short prime indeed.
Chacon eventually gained revenge on Olivares in their 1977 rubber match, and earned a shot at new champion Alexis Arguello. But he was stopped in round seven by the all-time great Nicaraguan in 1979.
Even Chacon's staunchest supporters realized the end was near then.
The '81 knockout loss to Boza-Edwards was considered Chacon's swan song. He gave the Ugandan quite a fight. But youth was on Boza's side.
Now, Chacon would be forced to quit boxing. Or so Valorie thought.
But to her horror, Bobby kept fighting. Two more fights followed the Boza-Edwards loss. Chacon was working toward yet another title shot, against another young champion who was poised to knock his tired head around more.
Valorie must have thought, "When will it end?"
When she realized the answer was more or less "never", Valorie gave up on life. She put a pistol to her head and shot herself dead. Bobby fought the next night, on March 15, 1982, knocking out Salvador Ugalde in hometown Sacramento.
Afterwards, he broke down and cried in the ring. But the only reason he had to quit was gone.
And so he kept going.
Valorie probably would be shocked to find out Bobby finally won that second world championship - stunning the boxing world in the process. He decisioned another old rival, Bazooka Limon, in 1982's best fight.
He even beat Boza-Edwards in their thrilling rematch in May, 1983.
But even after absorbing a nasty beating from the younger and bigger Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini in January, 1984, Chacon pointlessly continued his career.
He won four fights in 1985, over some decent opposition like Freddie Roach, Arturo Frias and Rafael Solis.
But at what price?
Chacon fought until 1988 - 16 years after starting his pro career. Realistically, he should've stopped right when Valorie asked him to stop - back in 1981. But he kept on.
Today, he is a walking exhibit of what happens to fighters who go on too long.
Chacon suffers from pugilista dementia, a common condition among ex-fighters who take too many blows to the head. Often, he can't remember conversations that took place five minutes prior. There are times he can't recall people he's known all of his life.
A few years after his boxing career ended, Chacon was reportedly spotted at a Sacramento junkyard - collecting cans to support himself. In 2002, USA Today ran a story detailing Chacon's residence in a 200-room Los Angeles transient way station, where local non-profit groups buy rooms for the homeless. He was 47 at the time, living on a social security disability pension.
He couldn't remember his non-boxing past. Or maybe he didn't want to. Besides Valorie, one of Chacon's sons was killed in a 1991 gang-related shooting.
"I had it all, and I threw it all away," he told USA Today.
But there is a happy ending for Bobby Chacon.
The California slugger was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on Thursday. This summer, he'll stand up there with nine others, dip his arm into a vat of goo and make a cast impression of his fist. They'll hang a picture of his handsome mug on the hallowed walls of Canastota, right beside every great that ever stepped into the ring.
He'll receive the one thing for which he endured a lifetime of pain, tragedy and suffering: Boxing immortality. The smile on his face come this June will tell you that, yes, it was worth it.
And Valorie would be happy to know that the fighting, finally, is over.
The informative, fast-paced, entertaining 30-minute telecast will be co-hosted by SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING’S Steve Albert and Nick Charles of “ShoBox: The New Generation.” Joining the SHOWTIME blow-by-blow commentators will be their ringside analysts Al Bernstein and Steve Farhood.
The show focuses on the exciting events that transpired in the ring during the 12 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts and the 18 fight cards on “Shobox: The New Generation” in 2004. Classic, crowd-pleasing confrontations scheduled to be highlighted include: Kostya Tszyu vs. Sharmba Mitchell, Mike Tyson vs. Danny Williams, Syd Vanderpool vs. Jeff Lacy, Diego Corrales vs. Joel Casamayor, Diego Corrales vs. Acelino Freitas, Mike Arnaoutis vs. Juan Urango, Roberto Guerrero vs. Enrique Sanchez and Ben Dunne vs. Adrian Valdez.
Besides highlights, our talent will list the top five knockouts, recap memorable moments and discuss a myriad of subjects including the top fighters and prospects of 2004, best and worst strategies and a look back at Mike Tyson’s return to the ring.
In 2004, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING unveiled its popular schedule of televising real fights for real fight fans the first Saturday of every month. Since March 15, 1986, there have been 212 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts encompassing 450 fights. There have been 294 world title bouts and a new champion crowned on 96 occasions.
During the past 18 years, SHOWTIME has provided viewers with quality, competitive prizefights, whose surprising outcomes have unveiled new champions, affected entire careers and gained SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING the distinction of not only presenting the most important matchups, but the most unexpected results.
A total of 216 boxers have performed on the 54 “ShoBox” telecasts. The well-received “ShoBox” series, which will begin its fifth season in 2005, features up-and-coming prospects determined to make a mark and eventually fight for a chance at a world title. It is pure, basic boxing, reminiscent of the golden days of the sport.
SHOWTIME will televise the DiBella Entertainment doubleheader from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn., at 11 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on West Coast). The telecast represents the 55th in the popular “ShoBox” series, which debuted on SHOWTIME in July 2001.
Smith (19-0-1, 12 KOs), originally of Mandeville, Jamaica, received his nickname “The Mechanic” because he takes people apart in the ring. The high-energy fighter made his professional debut nine days after his 23rd birthday on Feb. 24, 1998, and scored an opening-round TKO over Leon Rouse in Ledyard, Conn. The unbeaten and well traveled boxer has fought in 10 different states in just 20 bouts.
The native Jamaican, now residing in Queens, N.Y., utilized a crushing body attack to score a ninth-round TKO over Marlon Haynes on Sept. 12, 2002, to win the interim North American Boxing Association (NABA) welterweight title.
In his initial title defense, Smith controlled the early going before eventually tallying a 10th-round TKO over veteran Sam Garr on Feb. 14, 2003, in Louisville, Ky. After Smith rocked his opponent with a lead right hand to the jaw in the 10th, Garr retreated. Moments later, Smith nailed the veteran with a long right cross that landed square on Garr's jaw. Garr's legs wobbled as he bent forward and then slid down the ropes coming to rest on one knee.
The former New York Golden Gloves Champion has successfully defended his NABA title three additional times. Following a non-title victory over Grover Wiley in May 2003, the hard-hitting Jamaican erupted for an eighth-round TKO over Frankie Sanchez on Aug. 23, 2003, in Biloxi, Miss.
“SHOBOX: THE NEW GENERATION” JAN. 21, 2005, ON SHOWTIME
In his next title defense nine months later, Smith engaged in a wild slugfest with Luis Hernandez on June 4, 2004, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Smith floored Hernandez in the second, ninth and 12th rounds before a ringside doctor waved the fight off with 29 seconds remaining. The final knockdown sent Hernandez to the canvas, and his momentum carried him under the bottom rope and out of the ring. The exhausted fighter landed on the scorer's table and climbed back into the ring.
Most recently, Smith stopped his sixth opponent in seven outings when he recorded a 10th-round TKO over Dillon Carew on Oct. 14, 2004, in New York.
“I am an action fighter,” Smith says. “I give fans what they want to see. If that means throwing 100 punches a round, then that is what I will do.”
Estrada (17-1, 8 KOs), of Chicago, compiled a 50-10 amateur record, while winning several local Chicago-area titles and the 1998 Texas State Golden Gloves. After making his mark in the amateur ranks, Estrada made his pro debut and registered a four-round decision over Tyrone Handy on Oct. 28, 1999.
In his second SHOWTIME and “ShoBox” appearance, Estrada dealt previously undefeated Nurhan Suleymanoglu his first defeat and captured the vacant United States Boxing Association (USBA) welterweight crown with an impressive 12-round unanimous decision by the scores 120-108 and 117-111 twice July 15, 2004, in Santa Ynez, Calif.
Estrada’s, only loss came in his “ShoBox’’ debut when he dropped a 10-round decision to undefeated Ishe Smith on July 31, 2003, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Estrada is trained by the world-renowned Angelo Dundee. When he is not punching for pay, Estrada teaches individual and group boxing classes as an instructor at the South Florida Boxing Gym.
Powell (14-0, 9 KOs), of Brooklyn, N.Y., got floored and was nearly knocked out in the fifth round by Grady Brewer in his SHOWTIME and “ShoBox” debuts on June 17, 2004, in Laughlin, Nev., but managed to survive the round and record an eight-round split decision by the scores 76-75 twice and 75-76 after the eighth.
In Powell’s last outing on Sept. 30, 2004, in New York, N.Y., he scored a unanimous decision over George Armenta, outboxing his aggressive opponent. Powell fought most of the fight backing up and fighting off the ropes. He was a very effective counter puncher against the orthodox Armenta.
At Brooklyn’s Prospect High School, Powell excelled in both basketball and swimming while capturing three “Under 19’’ national titles, the Junior World Championship in Russia, the Everlast U.S. Championship, and both the New York and the National Golden Gloves. During a nine-year amateur career, Powell compiled a 147-9 record, but suffered a heartbreaking disqualification loss in the 2000 Olympic Trials.
September 21 is a significant date in boxing history. It was on September 21, 1955 that heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano stopped light heavyweight champion Archie Moore in the ninth round. A few months after fighting Moore, Marciano retired as the only undefeated heavyweight champion in boxing history with a career record of 49-0 (43 KOs).
On September 21, 1985, thirty years to the day after Marciano-Moore, light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks won a 15 round unanimous decision over heavyweight champion Larry Holmes. With his victory over Holmes, Spinks became the first light heavyweight champion to defeat the reigning heavyweight champion. He also prevented Holmes, who entered the fight 48-0, from equaling one of boxing's most notable achievements.
In the eyes of some, including Holmes, he was robbed and deserved the decision. Yes, it was a close fight, but Holmes, like any other fighter, doesn't deserve a decision he didn't rightfully earn in the ring. And in his first fight with Michael Spinks, Holmes legitimately fell a little short. It's possible this fight may have come down to whoever won the fifteenth round won the fight. Being even after fourteen rounds was the absolute best case for Holmes, even if his relatives were scoring the bout. However, in the fifteenth round Holmes was tired and always a step behind Spinks, who beat him to the punch, scoring with some accurate flurries that clearly won him the round.
If Holmes wants to blame someone, he should look in the mirror. He fought a completely different style versus Spinks than in his previous 48 fights. Holmes thought because he was fighting a smaller fighter he could fight as the aggressor and go for the knockout instead of boxing him. Spinks proved Holmes picked the wrong night and the wrong opponent to change his style. Holmes was beaten to the punch and countered by Spinks throughout the fight. Although Spinks never hurt Holmes, he made him miss many of his punches, making him appear unsure on how to attack. Something he never experienced before in his career.
The bottom line is Michael Spinks outthought and outfought Larry Holmes - who at age 35 was not at his best - in their first fight. Again, a close fight, but definitely a Spinks win. Seven months later Holmes and Spinks fought again. Spinks won a split decision that really was an outright robbery. Holmes should have made history regaining the title. In their rematch, Holmes defeated Spinks more convincingly than Spinks beat him in their first fight. Leonard W-SD Hagler: Right Decision
In one of the biggest and most anticipated non-heavyweight fights in history, Sugar Ray Leonard came out of retirement to challenge undisputed middleweight champion Marvin Hagler. Leonard had only fought once in the previous five years due to a detached retina and was a 4-1 underdog the night he fought Hagler. Hagler was the undisputed middleweight champ for the past seven years and hadn't lost a fight in the last eleven. Although Hagler was the reigning champ, Leonard being the bigger star and presence made the title secondary. Throughout most of Hagler's career he was overshadowed by Sugar Ray Leonard, and he wanted to fight Leonard before he retired.
Before consenting to the fight, Leonard made Hagler agree to a 12 round distance instead of 15 rounds, and a 20 foot ring instead of an 18 foot ring. Could there be any doubt Leonard wanted Hagler to have to cover the most distance in the shortest time allotted to catch him? There is simply no excuse for Hagler being surprised by Leonard's fighting tactics or not being fully prepared for him moving and trying to use the ring. Forget the pre-fight concessions Hagler made. Hagler must have been so confident of beating Leonard that he didn't think less rounds and a bigger ring would matter.
The boxing fans who dislike Leonard always talk about what he didn't do, but they never mention what Hagler did. Hagler just happened to do slightly less than Leonard. Leonard haters constantly say his punches were nothing more than pity pat slaps. I don't see it that way, but for argument sake I'll accept that as reality for the moment. Marvin Hagler took a punch as good as any fighter I have seen. In 67 fights I never saw Hagler remotely close to being hurt. Murderous punchers like Cyclone Hart, Thomas Hearns and John Mugabi were able to find his chin during their fights with him, and nothing happened. If Leonard's punches were nothing more than pity pat slaps, why didn't Hagler just walk through them in order to get to Leonard and force him to fight? The reason is Leonard's punches had enough on them to earn Hagler’s respect and to keep him from taking big risks in the most important fight of his career.
The Hagler-Leonard bout was a close fight. But a fight that ends in a close decision can still be a clean win for one fighter. I have respect for both fighters and consider them all-time greats. I was kind of pulling for Hagler because I thought a loss would hurt his career more than it would Leonard's. So I tried to con myself that Hagler won, but couldn't do it. In a simple recap of the fight, Leonard clearly and without question won no less than three of the first four rounds. And in all probability, he probably took the first four. The fact is Hagler couldn't do anything until Leonard started to slow down. Plus Hagler did a terrible job cutting off the ring. He basically followed Leonard instead of staying in front of him. After the third round Leonard was up 3-0, at the least, with nine rounds left. I don't care if you are Marvin Hagler's twin brother, there’s no way he won six of the last nine rounds. The absolute best scenario is Hagler won five of the last nine rounds, which would make the fight 7-5 or 115-113 Leonard.
The other thing generally overlooked is Leonard’s rounds were more clear-cut than Hagler's. There were only a few rounds where Hagler took it to Leonard. And there were times during the ninth, tenth and eleventh rounds that Hagler had Leonard pinned against the ropes and landed some big punches, yet Leonard was never close to being in trouble. Remember, it was Hagler who was the presumed puncher in this fight. If he didn't dominate Leonard when he was stationary and right in front of him, how did he better him when Leonard wasn't cornered or against the ropes?
I know it hurts some Leonard haters, but against Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard won the boxing match he planned and Marvin Hagler never made the bout the fight he wanted it to become. Leonard beat Hagler in a very close fight the night they fought. Did he prove he was the better fighter? Only on that night.
Trinidad W-MD De La Hoya: Wrong Decision
The welterweight unification bout between champions Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas "The Hitman" Hearns took place on September 16, 1981. The Showdown, as it was called, was the biggest and most anticipated welterweight title bout in boxing history. Today it is regarded as a classic between two all-time great fighters in their prime.
Eighteen years later, champions Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad met for the undisputed welterweight title on September 18, 1999. The De La Hoya-Trinidad unification bout is only eclipsed by Leonard-Hearns in terms of the coverage and hype surrounding a welterweight championship fight. Unlike Leonard-Hearns, which exceeded expectation as a great fight, De La Hoya-Trinidad was nothing close to a great fight and didn't live up to expectation. Another contrast between these two historic fights is De La Hoya-Trinidad ended in controversy, something that cannot be said about Leonard-Hearns.
The most memorable thing about the fight was the decision in favor of Trinidad. Like most close De La Hoya bouts that go to the judges, the media and fans are split as to who won. Those who like De La Hoya can't see how he didn't get the decision, and those who disdain him think Trinidad won going away. This was another big fight where there wasn't much speculation on what each fighter had to do to win. De La Hoya had to use the ring and box, while avoiding toe-to-toe exchanges if possible. For Trinidad it was simple - keep De La Hoya in front of him and take away his space and force him to fight.
The way the fight unfolded, it was obvious that Trinidad missed the segment authored by Joe Frazier and Roberto Duran on how to cut off the ring, in the tape they should produce titled "How To Force A Mover/Boxer To Fight." Trinidad followed De La Hoya instead of getting in front of him, which allowed Oscar the room he needed to box. During the first nine rounds De La Hoya did exactly what he wanted. He moved and kept Felix from getting set to punch, which was key. Trinidad, despite always forcing the fight and applying pressure, he has to have his feet set to punch with power. By Trinidad following instead of taking away De La Hoya's escape routes, he was vulnerable for his quick offensive scoring spurts during rounds one through nine.
I'm tired of hearing some fans/writers/commentators say Fighter X ran and only threw pity pat punches. Go back and review every fight where that was said afterwards. I'll bet anything that it was widely assumed that the fighter who is accused of running was thought to have no chance if he fought stationary and traded. And just as Hagler had to know with Leonard, Trinidad had to know De La Hoya wasn't going to make it easy for him by taking him on at center ring and trading.
After ten rounds De La Hoya had to be up 7-3 in rounds at the worst. During the last two rounds De La Hoya did all he could not have to fight Trinidad. However, while De La Hoya was running and not fighting, what did Trinidad do? He didn't stagger De La Hoya or hurt him. De La Hoya at least fought the fight he planned on fighting and Trinidad didn't make him fight his fight.
During the first nine rounds De La Hoya beat Trinidad to the punch and won many of the exchanges, sometimes making Trinidad miss badly. No, he didn't shake him or put him down, but he scored with clean punches and combinations. In Boxing 101 it says if Fighter A is scoring with clean punches and Fighter B is only moving forward but not landing, the round goes to the Fighter A. Landing punches, even if they are not damaging blows, counts more than not landing or missing. Just because a fighter is moving forward, it doesn't automatically mean he's the effective aggressor. Effective aggression is how Frazier fought Ali all three times or how Duran fought Leonard in their first fight.
Oscar De La Hoya out-boxed Felix Trinidad when they fought. He won the fight 7-5 or 115-113. The simple fact is Trinidad didn't make De La Hoya fight. Trinidad didn't become effective moving forward until De La Hoya tried to sit on what should've been a significant lead. De La Hoya looked bad fighting not to lose during the last three rounds, but he absolutely won more rounds than Trinidad.
Against Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya was able to box and keep the bout from turning into a fight. While Trinidad wanted it to be a fight, he was unable to make it one. And that's why De La Hoya won. Notice that I didn't say he proved he was the better fighter. But he was a little better the night they fought. In Trinidad's defense, I think getting down to 147 affected him and possibly prevented him from being at his best. At 147 De La Hoya had the advantage, but I doubt I’d bet on him fighting Trinidad above 147.
Lewis W-6 TKO Klitschko: Legitimate Lewis Win, No Controversy
The 2003 heavyweight title fight between champion Lennox Lewis and top challenger Vitali Klitschko is the most recent bout where fan bias has completely blinded some boxing fans. Lewis retained his title when the fight was stopped after the sixth round due to a terrible eye cut suffered by Klitschko during the fight. Countless championship fights have ended under the exact same circumstances throughout boxing history. However, because Klitschko was leading 58-56 or 4-2 on all three judges’ cards when the fight ended, many Klitschko fans assume that he was on his way to certain victory. How scary is that? I would be willing to bet many title fights were won by the fighter who was slightly behind at the halfway point in the fight.
When fighters climb through the ropes, their intent is to hit and incapacitate or injure their opponent resulting in a stoppage win. Maybe I missed it, but I don't believe Vitali Klitschko enter the ring with a cut eye when he challenged Lennox Lewis. Klitschko's cut was the result of a punch landed by Lewis. End of story. I'll bet Thomas Hearns' wishes the cut he opened over Marvin Hagler's eye in their 1985 war was a little more severe and led to the fight being stopped.
The fact that Klitschko was ahead in the fight means nothing when all is said and done. What matters is he couldn't finish the fight because of the damage done by Lewis' gloved fist. Tell me about the scoring if the fight goes to the distance. Meldrick Taylor was two seconds away from beating Chavez when he was stopped. What could have been a Hall of Fame career ended right then and there. "Big" John Tate was less than a minute away from a showdown with WBC champ Larry Holmes. In his title defense against Mike Weaver, Tate won almost every minute of the fight. Unfortunately, Weaver landed a big left hook in the last minute of the fifteenth round that won him the title and ruined Tate's career.
That's boxing too!
Sure, Klitschko won more of the six rounds he and Lewis fought. But does that prove he was the better fighter or that he wins if the fight continues? If I need to answer that, you ended up at the wrong website. This is boxing, better than Google hunting and fishing. Ask yourself two questions. (1) Who prepares for a fight with more urgency, a fighter who has yet to fight for a world title, but is on the verge of fighting for it, or a fighter who has held a piece of the title for the better part of ten years, not to mention contemplating retirement after scoring what he believes is the victory that solidifies his legacy? Google is just a click away if you're unsure. (2) Who would you as a fighter rather be? The fighter who was down two points half way through the fight, but won because a punch you landed injured your opponent and he couldn't continue, resulting in you winning the bout? Or the fighter who was leading halfway through, but lost because your opponent landed a punch that resulted in you not being able to continue? I know what line I'd be in: that long one. Wonder how many Klitschko fans would say he wasn't the champ if he won the title in the exact fashion he lost the fight.
Instead of some fans beating the “what if” to death, how about asking how Klitschko could hit Lewis with more power punches than any other fighter ever did in his career, and still couldn't drop him, let alone knock him out. It's not like Lewis has never been knocked out in his career. And this was a fight in which Lewis weighed a career high and obviously underestimated Klitschko and overestimated himself. The names McCall and Rahman indicate that Klitschko wasn't the first fighter Lewis ever played cheap.
If some fans want to say Lewis didn't prove he was the better fighter during the bout - not that Klitschko did - that's a fair point. However, don't even joke that Lewis' victory over Klitschko is the least bit tainted, because it's not. On June 21, 2003, Lewis stopped Klitschko by TKO in the sixth. Again, a punch thrown by Lewis is the reason why Klitschko couldn't continue and the fight had to be stopped. Lewis won. End of Story!
There is nothing in sports or much else better than a great fight. True boxing fans are a rare breed. Most follow it intently and are loyal almost to a fault regarding some of their favorite fighters. But I would just once love to hear an Ali fan admit that he was flawed as a pure boxer, or a Tyson fan admit that Holyfield was more eroded and washed up when they fought. How about a Roy Jones fan considering that maybe his chin is suspect, because nothing else makes sense regarding how his last two fights ended.
Does it really hurt a Hagler fan to admit that Leonard was a little sharper when they fought? Is a De La Hoya-hater so blinded by his dislike that he can't see Oscar fought the fight he wanted against Trinidad and in return Trinidad didn't? And I would just love to hear one Vitali Klitschko fan either admit Lewis won, or say if Vitali won the way Lewis did, they wouldn't consider him the champ.
Juan Diaz: Diaz (26-0, 12 KO’s) is a junior at the University of Houston Downtown where he is majoring in Political Science in preparation for law school. Last semester he received an A in American History and a B in Biology. This semester, as he enters his junior year, he is registered for two U.S. Government courses and one Geography course. “Boxing has helped me with school. The discipline needed to be a good boxer—eating properly, getting to bed early, listening to your coaches—helps you to pay attention in classes and to do the homework to pass your classes. I concentrate more when I’m in training. On days when I have school I train in the morning and go straight to school. On days I don’t have classes I train and then head home and study.”
Billy Irwin: Irwin (42-5, 30 KO’s) graduated from Niagara University with an Associates Degree in Law and Security. The 1992 Canadian Olympian currently works full-time as a security guard at the Casino Niagara in Niagara Falls, Canada. Unlike Diaz Irwin doesn’t see a correlation between his school studies and boxing: “I was always very disciplined, even before boxing. I was always a quiet kid. I guess it was the way I was raised.” Irwin also jokes, “If anything I was always thinking about boxing while I was in school.”
Calvin Brock: Brock (23-0, 19 KO’s) is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He received his four-year degree in Business Administration while majoring in Finance. “Boxing helped me a lot with school because it taught me to be focused and goal-oriented. A lot of people never finish college because they’re not goal-oriented.” Still an avid viewer of CNN, Brock tries to keep up with the state of the stock market while in training: “I like Bank of America stock—one, because I worked there, and two, because it’s been solid over the past few years.” Brock also thinks the latest merger between Nextel and Sprint will create a valuable stock . . .
Clifford Etienne: Etienne (29-2-2, 20 KO’s) attended Southern University for over two years, landing on the Dean’s List in each of his five semesters. He majored in Business Administration and plans to return to school to finish off his degree. “I love the children. I’d like to work with kids.” Unlike Diaz and Brock, Etienne does not believe his boxing background helped him with school; however, he does believe that school helped him with boxing: “The studying [for school] helped me to focus in boxing” . . .
ALL-AFRICAN WORLD TITLE SHOWDOWN ON JAN 29: It hasn’t happened often, but it will happen again on Jan 29 as two African boxers compete for a world title. IBF jr. middleweight champion Kassim Ouma (Uganda) defends his crown against Ghanan bomber Kofi Jantuah in a 12 round co-feature bout under the Arturo Gatti-Jesse James Leija WBC super lightweight world title bout. Ring magazine editor and boxing historian Nigel Collins recalls that this rarity occurred in 1957: On June 24, 1957 Hogan "Kid" Bassey (Nigeria) and Cherif Hamia (Algeria) fought for the vacant world featherweight title. Bassey won via 10th-round kayo . . . Ouma (20-1-1, 13 KO’s) has not lost a bout in five years and is ranked #1 by Ring magazine. In his last bout on October 2, 2004, Ouma captured a unanimous decision over Verno Phillips to win the IBF jr. middleweight crown (W 12) . . . Jantuah (28-1, 18 KO’s) has knocked out his last seven opponents and is ranked #8 by Ring magazine. In his last bout on September 18, 2004, as part of the televised portion of the Oscar de la Hoya-Bernard Hopkins PPV broadcast, Jantuah blitzed highly-touted prospect Marco Antonio Rubio, annihilating the undefeated Mexican in one round (KO 1) . . .
MORE JAN 29: The Gatti-Leija / Ouma-Jantuah doubleheader, which is within 1,500 tickets of a sellout, will take place during the week between the NFL Conference Championships and the Super Bowl . . . Legendary cutman Joe Souza was placed in a quandary once the Gatti-Leija bout was signed. Souza has worked for both boxers for years and was forced to choose between the two. When all was said and done, Souza chose to work with his San Antonio neighbor Leija, who he has worked with since the beginning of Leija’s career. Danny Milano, who was James “Buddy” McGirt’s cutman when he fought, will take his place beside McGirt in Gatti’s corner on Jan 29 . . .
JAN 29 UNDERCARD INFO:
Undefeated West New York, NJ cruiserweight Gino Ranquello (1-0, 1 KO) will battle in a four round undercard bout on Jan 29. Ranquello’s father, Ramon, was a light heavyweight boxer from Union City, NJ who fought professionally for 10 years from 1975-1985. Ranquello’s (11-11-3, 9 KO’s) biggest win as a pro came on September 18, 1979, when he knocked out former light heavyweight champion Mike Rossman in seven rounds in a Main Events-promoted bout at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ (TKO 7). In his next bout following the Rossman bout, Ranquello was stopped in six rounds by Hall of Fame light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks (TkOby 6). Al Certo, former trainer of James “Buddy” McGirt and Ramon Ranquello, now trains Gino as well . . .
Undefeated heavyweight prospect Malik Scott (20-0, 10 KO's) will take a step-up in opposition when he battles veteran David Bostice. Bostice (33-8-1, 14 KO's) has won six of his last seven bouts. The eight-year Mesa, AZ veteran has gone the distance with former world title challengers Franz Botha and Lou Savarese, and has also battled former world heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon, former cruiserweight champion Al "Ice" Cole, and heavyweight contenders Wladimir Klitschko and Jeremy Williams...
In what is described by Main Events VP Carl Moretti as a “Pier 6 Brawl on the Boardwalk”, undefeated jr. middleweight Giovanni Lorenzo (15-0, 8 KO’s) battles undefeated rugged Bayonne brawler Dennis Sharpe (17-0-3, 4 KO’s) in an eight round bout . . .
As 2004 became 2005, a global effort has jumpstarted, where many countries around the world have decided to contribute money, supplies and time toward tsunami relief. An estimated total of four billion dollars have been raised thus far, according to the United Nations. As countries offer record-breaking pledges each day, more and more individual contributions are being noted as well.
Which leads us to two amongst the boxing family who have elected to start their New Year abroad - Gary Shaw and Jim Wilkes.
Already the hardest working – and perhaps the most honest – man in the boxing industry, Shaw decided almost immediately after the disaster had occurred that he needed to be over there. Monetary contributions would not be enough, he figured. So while his promotional company, Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, was hard at work in securing big fights for its top fighters, the head man himself decided to board a plane and head to Southeast Asia for the second time in three months. The last time was to attend an annual boxing convention. A mere three months later, Shaw can hardly believe he was in the same location.
“It’s just complete devastation over here,” Shaw informed TheSweetScience.com while viewing the damage along with renowned attorney Jim Wilkes. “It’s one of those things where seeing it on TV, you change the channel in hopes that it was just a show. To come over here and just witness the destruction that has been caused by this tragedy . . . it just goes beyond words.”
Shaw and Wilkes plan on staying in Thailand for another week, though in the short amount of time they have been there, an immediate impact has already been made.
While in attendance at a local event a few days ago, an announcement was made that Wilkes and Shaw made a donation of 4 million Baht, the equivalent of roughly $100,000 in US currency. The emcee could barely finish his announcement before the crowd had erupted in cheers. The reaction and reception the two had received thus far is all the proof they needed that the decision to make the trip was a no-brainer.
“It always feels good to give back, and especially give during a time of need,” Shaw said. “But to be there in person and being able to contribute really made me feel like I was doing my part, even though I feel like I need to do so much more. When they announced Jim’s name and the donation and the crowd reacted as they did, I honestly had goose bumps. To think of the reality that the survivors over here are forced to deal with, and for them to still find time to be that joyous over a simple act – it’s just a wonderful feeling, and a wonderful experience to be a part of.”
Wilkes, who represents consensus world junior middleweight champion Ronald “Winky” Wright and super middleweight titlist Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy among others, was equally appreciative, though still overwhelmed by what he has witnessed first hand so far.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I first got off of the plane. I knew what had occurred, obviously, and I knew that we were coming here to offer our support in any way we can. But you’re still never fully prepared for something as devastating as this. It’s just a downright shame. It truly is.”
Shaw and Wilkes both plan on staying in Asia until January 11, and have offered to continue providing future first hand accounts. In the meantime, for those looking to get involved in any way possible, a great starting point would be to contact your local Red Cross chapter, or visit them online at www.redcross.org.
Maybe you know a little bit about Vitali because he‘s the WBC heavyweight champ of the world, which, by today’s standards, is like being crowned King of Wisconsin.
Still, you can count the number of heavyweight champs on one hand and still thumb a ride home, and that alone puts you in a pretty special club.
Maybe Vitali doesn’t get a lot of respect because he’s from a neighborhood most of us have never visited. He was born in Belovodsk, Kyrgystan.
Maybe if he was from Brooklyn or Philadelphia and his name was Johnson or Williams or Marciano, we‘d pay him a little more attention, give him another chance. But how do you cheer for a guy when you’re not even sure what country he’s from?
If you’re a little fuzzy on Vitali, maybe you‘ve heard of his younger brother, Wladimir. They’re pretty close, you know, two brothers chasing the same zany dream, hoping to share the same lofty title of heavyweight champion of the world.
For awhile, Wladimir was the guy everyone pointed to and talked about. He was the future of the division, the big promise. We thought he had been blessed with all the tools and most of the gifts in the family. We figured he was on a fast track to win the heavyweight title and then hold onto it for a lifetime.
But then he fooled us. He showed us he didn’t have quite the chin we thought he had, that he was missing an essential piece of the heavyweight puzzle, the ability to stand and fight in Las Vegas while your head was busy spinning in Oz. If you can’t take a punch, they’ll eat you up in this business when you get near the top.
Wladimir was good, but he wasn’t great, and there‘s a chasm separating the two. That’s where Vitali comes in. He isn‘t great yet, but he‘s more than halfway across the great divide separating him from his brother. He’s like one of those guys in the old American Express commercials who asks, “Do you know me?”
No we don’t, not really. Just give us a little more time.
The big slam against Vitali goes way back to the night he quit in his fight with Chris Byrd because of a bad shoulder. Fighters from Brooklyn and Philadelphia don’t quit. Arturo Gatti doesn‘t quit. Micky Ward doesn‘t quit. Why did he?
But then, just like his brother, Vitali fooled us. He fought Lennox Lewis and was beating him before a gash the size of a coffee mug opened over his eye. The guy who quit against Chris Byrd because of a torn rotator cuff didn’t quit against Lennox Lewis.
Maybe we’ve got something here.
Since the Lewis fight, Vitali has stopped Kirk Johnson, Corrie Sanders and most recently, Danny Williams. None of these guys will see their bust displayed in the Boxing Hall of Fame, but they are all fair fighters.
And we still shake our heads and roll our eyes when someone claims Vitali Klitschko is the best heavyweight in the world. His win against Johnson? Kirk had a bad day. His win against Sanders? Corrie didn’t have any heart. His fight against Williams? He should have stopped him earlier. If he fights Hasim Rahman later this year, he’ll be destroyed.
Sure he will. Wink, wink.
Tell us again how you pronounce your first name, Vitali.
On a personal note, 2004 concluded my 40th year as a certified boxing junkie. Ever since seeing Cassius Clay as a four year old on the evening news ranting about his fight that night with heavyweight champion Sonny Liston, I've been a boxing addict.
Over the last few years, I don't know if it's me paying more attention or if fan bias in boxing has risen to the level of Political bias - how scary is that? But I've noticed that some boxing fans and writers blatantly omit facts and reality to boost the image and perception of their favorite fighters. And sometimes overstate weaknesses to tarnish fighters they dislike. This is not a blanket statement pertaining to all, but it's more than a silent minority who are guilty of trying to rewrite boxing history. It's almost as if the manhood of some is directly linked to the wins and loses of the fighter they've adopted as their man.
The often and overused saying "opinions can't be wrong" is a complete fallacy - and that's not an opinion. An opinion can definitely be wrong. My opinion, like anyone else's, has no validity if it ignores fact and reality pertaining to the subject in question. Reality is not a gray area to any objective and knowledgeable boxing observer.
Unfortunately, when debating some of the fights and fighters of boxing’s most popular stars over the last 40 years, reality and wishful thinking sometimes run side by side. If you doubt this, try and tell an avid Ali fan that he wasn't a great boxer, or a big Tyson fan that his lack of mental toughness and character define him more than his hand speed and power. Try making the case to a Roy Jones fan that he has a suspect chin. Only a fanatical fan of Ali, Tyson or Jones would attempt to refute those statements as being unfounded. But I seriously doubt anyone who is a boxing fan first - before they're an Ali, Tyson or Jones fan - would consider them unfounded. How could they if they really knew what they were watching?
If there is a bigger fan of Muhammad Ali than I am, he lives on another planet. However, not many passionate Ali fans can bring themselves to admit that he was overrated as a pure boxer. He was absolutely a gifted athlete and an all-time great fighter. But the truth is that because he possessed physical speed and reflexes never before seen in a heavyweight fighter, he didn't think it was necessary to learn boxing basics and fundamental defense. That's why he started to get hit more frequently when he started to slow down just a bit. Defensively, Ali was often out of position, only his great speed and instincts enabled him to escape without being nailed. As he aged his speed started to erode and he was no longer un-hittable and capable of outrunning his mistakes and fundamental flaws.
Muhammad Ali was also the loser in the biggest fight of not just his career, but in the biggest fight in boxing history. The first fight between Ali and Joe Frazier, titled the "Fight of the Century", was the most anticipated and comprehensively covered sporting event in history. Frazier vs. Ali, as it was billed, was four years in the making and the hype actually began when Frazier showed up while Ali was working out for the press before defending his title against Zorn Foley. Frazier showing up unannounced triggered Ali to begin promoting Joe as a future title threat. While both fighters posed for a picture taken together, Ali remarked Frazier was too short to give him any real trouble, which prompted Frazier to say “we'll see about that” - thus starting the Ali vs. Frazier countdown.
To this day almost 34 years after their first fight, some loyal Ali fans justify him losing to Frazier simply because he only fought twice after a 43 month exile from boxing before facing Joe. With the underlying message being: Frazier would have never had a chance if Ali never left boxing. And that couldn't be more wrong. I'm not saying the layoff wasn't a factor. Only a fool would say it wasn't. What I'm saying is because Ali lost the fight, it's impossible for many observers to fathom he fought one of the best fights of his career that night against Smoking’ Joe. This is the only loss of Ali's career when he actually fought great. The problem for some Ali fans is in comprehending he could lose a fight that he fought great. But in reality, Frazier's effort in winning "The Fight Of The Century" says much more about his greatness as a fighter than it takes away from Ali's.
The first meeting between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali is the fight I have re-watched more than any other fight since I've been addicted to boxing. I'll never admit to just how many times I've watched it. Lets just say more than 100 times and less than 1000. Because of the style contrast, hype, and the fact that I couldn't picture either fighter losing to the other, it's my all-time favorite fight. And I say with complete conviction, Muhammad Ali was a great fighter during Superfight I.
In their 1971 fight, Ali threw and landed some of the hardest punches of his career in rounds one through five while trying to knock Frazier out. He did so for three reasons: (1) it was well known that Frazier wasn't a fast starter, (2) no fighter ever pressured Ali as unrelenting as Frazier did, which basically left Ali no choice, and (3) was even a bigger factor - Joe was trying to take him out with every punch he threw. The term punching with bad intentions wasn't coined for Mike Tyson. It was coined by the late Jim Jacobs for Joe Frazier when he discussed the punching contrast between Ali and Frazier before their first fight, in the documentary Jacobs produced on the bout called "The Fighters".
The reality is Joe Frazier fought the greatest fight of his life against Ali in their first bout. Frazier was better prepared mentally and physically for Ali prior to their first meeting and knew exactly what he had to do to beat him, more so than any other fighter I've ever seen for their opponent. Another factor in the Ali-Frazier equation is Frazier had the perfect style to give Ali trouble every time, regardless of when they fought. Ali didn't lose to Frazier in their first fight because he wasn't a great fighter the night they fought. Frazier won because in his mind his life and career depended on it and he refused to be denied.
Muhammad Ali was, like it or not, a flawed boxer.
Mike Tyson is the best known fighter since Muhammad Ali. However, a book could be written on the facts routinely ignored by some Tyson followers who attempt to justify him as one of the greatest of the all-time great heavyweight champions. I'll only address one of the scenarios where reality and perception are as different as night and day. And that is the circumstances surrounding the first fight between Tyson and Evander Holyfield in November 1996.
One of the greatest examples of passionate fans avoiding reality is the faction of Tyson supporters who try and justify him losing and being stopped by Evander Holyfield. What they would like history to show is that Holyfield won because Tyson wasn't at his best. That statement is beyond misleading. It's an outright lie. Only one fighter was coming off the two worst fights of his career to date when they fought, and it wasn't Tyson. The fact is Holyfield was twice as washed-up as Tyson before their first fight. He was only thought to be on his game after beating Tyson, but definitely not before.
Only one fighter was perceived to be so physically finished that the Nevada State Athletic Commission demanded he get physical clearance by the Mayo Clinic before they would approve and sanction the fight. That's a fact. And the fighter wasn't Mike Tyson. Add to that the fact that Holyfield is four years older than Tyson, and he wasn't nearly as protected during his career. Holyfield went out of his way to fight the best fighters of his era, and that's a fact. Tyson went out of his way to avoid them and pay step aside money. But there is a faction that denies this to be the case, but it is a fact. And prior to his first bout against Tyson in November of 1996, the last fighter Holyfield stopped was Bert Cooper in November of 1991.
In the five years that passed between fighting Cooper and Tyson, Riddick Bowe won two out of three fights against Holyfield. Bowe won a unanimous decision in their first meeting and stopped him in their third. Holyfield regained the title from Bowe in their second fight and lost it to Michael Moorer in his first defense. During the years 1991-1996, Holyfield won decisions over 42 year old former champs George Foreman and Larry Holmes, Riddick Bowe, Alex Stewart and Ray Mercer. The only fight Holyfield won that didn't go the distance was against former middleweight contender and light heavyweight champ, Bobby Czyz. Czyz didn't come out for the sixth round due to an eye rash that flared up during the bout.
Tyson, who was two days shy of turning 30, only managed to win one round, two at the most, and was knocked down and stopped by a 34 year old Holyfield. And Holyfield never looked worse as a fighter than he did in his previous two fights before fighting Tyson. The biggest lie ever told in boxing history is that Holyfield beat Tyson because Tyson was washed up. When in reality the complete opposite is true. There is no doubt that it was Evander Holyfield who was further removed from his best than Mike Tyson. Only rumor and wishful thinking by some Tyson fanatics suggests otherwise. Historically and factually, Evander Holyfield was a greater fighter than Mike Tyson. Regardless of how you try and spin it, he accomplished more and beat Mike twice in two fights in head to head confrontations when he was the more eroded fighter.
Roy Jones is a lightning rod in much the same way as Mike Tyson. There's simply no middle ground. Similar to Tyson, there was a belief that Jones couldn't lose. And if he did, it was because of what he didn't do more so then what his opponent did. Only he had control, in others words, of the outcome. There just had to be some complex reason lurking somewhere for it to be accepted. But this isn't about Roy Jones' greatness as a fighter, because he was a great fighter and without question one of the best of his era. This is strictly an assessment of the facts pertaining to his chin. And the reality is Roy Jones at best has a suspect chin.
Since being knocked out by one punch in his last two fights, Roy Jones chin and ability to take a punch has been a topic of much intense debate. Many of Jones' loyal followers want to believe that moving up to heavyweight and back down to light heavyweight made him more vulnerable. Although a review of his career indicates it's much more realistic that he has a questionable chin.
Roy was weakened the most in his first fight against Antonio Tarver after winning the WBA heavyweight title in his previous fight. While he fought in the fight which he appeared the most weakened, he was never was down and barely hurt. And that's because Tarver never caught him with a memorable punch to the head or jaw. For the rematch with Tarver, Jones hired conditioning guru Mackie Shilstone as his conditioning trainer. And prior to the Tarver rematch both men repeatedly said Jones couldn't be stronger or in better shape.
The second fight with Tarver was the first time that Jones went into a fight and had something to prove, since his victory in their first fight was seen as being controversial to half of those who saw it. In the rematch Tarver knocked Jones out with a hybrid left hand in the second round. The knockout punch landed by Tarver was the only meaningful punch he landed in less than two rounds. In his next fight against Glen Johnson, Jones fought as if either Tarver took his heart or he had no confidence in his chin. One thing Glen Johnson will never be called is a devastating puncher. Despite Jones fighting tentative and glove shy during the fight, he was close to going down and maybe out in the fifth round from a single punch. In the eighth round Johnson caught Jones with a solid right hand and knocked him out. Not only was Jones counted out, he was down for over eight minutes. How many great fighters has that happened to who had anything close to an outstanding chin? Let alone a great chin?
Fighters who really had outstanding chins were able to take a beating even at the end of their careers when they had nothing left without being stopped, especially by one punch. Actually, the chin is one of the last things to go on a fighter as he ages. As far as Jones' legs being shot and the reason why he was knocked out twice, there wasn't a whisper his legs were close to being gone before fighting Tarver. And it's an undeniable fact that Roy Jones most likely took less punishment than any other great champion by age 35, and wasn't hit anywhere near enough to account for his chin to be considered softened up.
The two fighters who stopped Jones both did it with a single punch. Neither Tarver nor Johnson is known to be a light heavyweight knockout artist. On top of that, how many fighters did either of them take out in the fashion they did Jones prior to fighting him? It's unrealistic to try and believe Jones went from being like Ali to being John Tate in regards to taking a punch overnight. The Jones-Tarver-Johnson triangle provided a rare opportunity in boxing, being that all three faced each other in the same calendar year.
After Tarver and Johnson knocked out Jones in each of their last fights as big underdogs, they fought for what was recognized as the undisputed light heavyweight championship. In a fight that went 12 rounds they both nailed each other with several big shots, similar to what they hit Jones with, and not once did either of them seem hurt or close to going down or out. So Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson either have a Tex Cobb like chin, or Jones has had a suspect chin that he was able to hide because of his blinding speed of hand and foot.
The reality is Jones was knocked out with two of three biggest punches he was ever hit with. The right that Lou Del Valle knocked him down with wasn't nearly in the league with the shot that Tarver and Johnson caught him with. And when he went down against Del Valle, the replay clearly showed that he was off balance when he got hit. Only a right landed by John Ruiz in the first round of their fight may have been in the same league as the two shots that stopped him. Without a doubt, facts and reality make a much better case that Roy Jones has a questionable chin, than indicating he doesn't. Again, I didn't say he had a glass jaw, but his chin is suspect at the least.
Read PART 2 of this 2 Part Series as Frank Lotierzo analyses those who analyse the fighers.
Spinks (34-2, 11 KOs), a St. Louis native, frustrated Judah with his slick, stick-and-move style while making his first defense of his unified International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council titles in Las Vegas on April 10. Spinks landed a short left in the eleventh round that sent Judah to the mat, punctuating what appeared would be a clear-cut victory.
The always-dangerous, lightning-quick Judah (32-2-1 NC, 23 KOs), from Brooklyn, N.Y., was making his first appearance at 147 pounds and not only recovered from the knockdown but shocked Spinks by flooring him with a left hand of his own with less than 30 seconds to go in the twelfth and final round. Spinks survived the round and won on all scorecards.
“If the fight had lasted one more minute, I would be the undisputed world welterweight champion,” a defiant Judah said. “I have some unfinished business with Spinks that I will take care of on Feb. 5.”
Spinks said “I got a little relaxed and careless” in explaining the knockdown while giving Judah credit for hitting him with a good shot. Spinks added, “I won’t make that mistake again during the rematch.”
Promoter Don King thinks the fireworks that exploded at the end of their first fight will carry on into Spinks vs. Judah II, a fight he has dubbed Arch Rivals… Meet Me in St. Louis.
“These two fighters represent the epitome in the sport of boxing today with their chiseled physiques, conditioning and finely tuned boxing skills,” King said. “This is a match where you don’t want to look away for even a second because you don’t know when lightening will strike.”
Spinks was the IBF welterweight champion when he faced a stiff challenge against then WBC and WBA champion Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga in Atlantic City, N.J., on Dec. 13, 2003, winning a majority decision that left him the undisputed champion.
Judah has long been considered to be one of the most physically gifted boxers in the sport whose only losses came against Spinks and light welterweight kingpin Kostya Tszyu.
Savvis Center is a 21,000-seat arena in downtown St. Louis. Opened in 1994, the arena is home to St. Louis Blues hockey (NHL), Saint Louis University Billikens basketball (NCAA Division I) and St. Louis Steamers soccer (MISL), and also plays host to a wide variety of other sporting events, concerts and family shows. Nearly 2 million people enjoy 170 events each year at Savvis Center, and the facility is consistently ranked annually among the top 10 arenas in North America in tickets sold.
Tickets priced at $25, $50, $100, $250 and $500 are on sale now at the Savvis Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers including Famous-Barr, Schnucks Video Clubs, Streetside Records, the BlueNote Sports Shops and the IceZone at St. Louis Mills or by speaking to a sales representative by phone at (314) 421-4400 or (618) 222-2900. Tickets can also be purchased on the automated phone line at (314) 241-1888 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
For disabled access seating and information, call 314-622-5420. For further information, please call the Savvis Center Event Hotline at 314-531-SVVS or visit www.savviscenter.net. A $2 per-ticket facility fee will be added to all tickets purchased at all locations, including the Savvis Center Box Office. Additional Ticketmaster service charges apply to all tickets purchased at Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by phone or online.
"We’re extremely excited about the Class of 2005. The new inductees highlight the international aspect of the sport of boxing and of the Hall of Fame," said Executive Director Edward Brophy. "All living inductees are anticipated to attend and participate in 2005 Hall of Fame Weekend festivities."
Joining McGuigan and Chacon are junior welterweight champion Duilio Loi and junior middleweight champion Terry Norris from the modern era. Writer Bert Randolph Sugar and matchmaker Don Fraser were also voted into boxing’s hallowed halls.
Inducted posthumously will be featherweight champion Eugene Criqui, bantamweightweight champions Joe Lynch and Charles "Bud" Taylor and middleweight champion Marcel Thil in the Old-Timer Category; manager / film historian Bill Cayton and manager / promoter Lope Sarreal in the Non-Participant Category; writer Jersey Jones and Boxing News editor Harry Mullan in the Observer Category; and Jack Randall in the Pioneer Category.
"Of all the great fighters in the world, I’m now one of them," said Chacon. "It’s amazing. I can’t believe it. I feel great. This is one of the greatest thrills in my entire boxing career and my life."
Chacon turned pro in 1972 and was a boxing staple on the Los Angeles circuit. He engaged in thrilling shootouts with Ruben Olivares (going 1-2 in three fights), Danny "Little Red" Lopez, Alexis Arguello and Rafael "Bazooka" Limon (going 2-1-1 in four fights).
Chacon, 59-7-1 (47) over the course of his career, captured the WBC featherweight title in 1974 by stopping Alfredo Marcano in nine rounds. He would relinquish the crown to Olivares, another Hall of Famer, two fights later. Chacon won the WBC super featherweight title with a unanimous decision over Limon in 1982. That fight and his decision over Corneilous Boza Edwards in 1983 were named "Fight of the Year" by Ring magazine.
"Bobby Chacon is what I call a promoter’s insurance policy," said Hall of Fame trainer Angelo Dundee. "Every time he was on the bill you knew you had a great fight and the fans got their money’s worth win, lose or draw. And most of them were wins."
McGuigan, 32-3 (28), turned pro in 1981 after representing Ireland at the 1980 Olympics. He won the WBA featherweight title in 1985 by decisioning fellow Hall of Famer, Eusebio Pedroza. He made two title defenses before losing the crown via decision to Stevie Cruz in 1986, which was voted the Ring’s "Fight of the Year."
His title reign may have been brief, but McGuigan’s impact on Northern Ireland and "the troubles" that have plagued the region for a century, was enormous. When he was in the ring, Protestants and Catholics were united for a common cause – to root for McGuigan. During that time, the peace slogan was, "Let Barry do the fighting."
Although McGuigan, a Catholic, upset political hardliners by marrying a Protestant, his popularity never waned. On the night he won the title, he did not fly the flag of Ireland or Britain. Instead, he raised a blue flag with a white dove, symbolizing peace.
"This honor makes all the hard hours of training, all the work and commitment that one puts into boxing worthwhile and makes me very proud," said McGuigan. "I’m over the moon. I’m overwhelmed and delighted to be in Canastota with such exalted company. What a great way to start 2005. "
Norris was the dominant junior middleweight champion of his era. He was quick and powerful, but most of his biggest victories came against welterweights such as Meldrick Taylor, Donald Curry and Sugar Ray Leaonard.
"This is a great honor," said Norris. "This was a dream of my Dad’s. If not for him, I would not have been a true champion. I thank my Dad and I feel truly great about this accomplishment. This is better than winning the world championship."
Inductees are voted in by members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.
The 16th Annual Hall of Fame Weekend is scheduled for June 9-12th in Canastota, NY. Over 20 events, including a golf tournament, banquet, professional boxing show, parade and autograph card show, are planned. A celebrity lineup of over 50 boxing greats of yesterday and today will attend this year’s Induction Weekend. The highlight of the weekend will be the Official Enshrinement Ceremony on the Hall of Fame Museum Grounds in Canastota, New York on Sunday, June 12th to welcome the newest members.