Emelianenko looks more like a plumber then a ferocious mixed martial artist. He’s not a physically impressive specimen like the muscle-bound American fighter Mark “The Hammer” Coleman or the gigantic Bob Sapp who caused such a stir in Japan not long ago. In fact, he looks rather soft as far as world-class, dominating athletes are concerned.
Yet Fedor, as he’s known, is the most complete fighter in the world. His submission skills are quick and deadly and his striking is fast, furious and devastating. His record which stands at 25-1 and is a clear testament to his skills. His lone loss due to a cut in his bout against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka was fluky to say the least. Kohsaka cut the Russian with an unintentional elbow and the fight was stopped. The win was awarded to the Japanese submission fighter.
Fedor’s skills and resolve were tested against Hunt on PrideFC’s: “Shockwave” Pay Per View broadcast from Tokyo, Japan.
The fight started out with both men on their feet. Hunt flicking out a fast and powerful jab. Hunt is an incredibly fast striker with a kickboxing background who’s enjoyed success in K-1. Emelianenko took Hunt down and had a full guard going. It seemed like this was the beginning of the end since this is where Fedor is known to terminate his victims. Fedor went for an armbar but Hunt, showing much agility for a large man, was able to maneuver himself from his back and ended up on top of the Russian in a perfect position for the ground and pound to begin.
Fedor escaped the ground and both men ended up on their feet. He attempted a throw on Hunt but ended up on his back again. Hunt was now working the side mount where he attempted an arm lock. He had the lock on tight and Emelianenko seemed on the verge of tapping out. Emelianenko barely escaped but was still in a precarious position flat on his back. Hunt went for the armlock again but again was stopped short for the second time. Hunt fully mounted his opponent and tried to land some shots to his face. Emelianenko escaped Hunt’s grasp and got off the canvas coming forward and throwing punches as Hunt backed up into the turnbuckles.
Emelianenko struck Hunt before taking him to the ground where he went to work on submitting his opponent. He ended up on top where he positioned himself perfectly for an armlock that Hunt couldn’t escape. Emelianenko stopped the brave and rugged Hunt at 8:16 of round one in an exciting and classic confrontation. With the win, Fedor keeps his Pride Heavyweight title belt.
“I didn't have any special strategy but I could really feel the difference in weight, especially when he was on top of me,” the champion stated after the victory.
Nogueira avenges loss against Barnett In Heavyweight action, Brazil’s Antonio Nogueira (29-4) defeated American Josh Barnett (20-5) by decision in a rematch of their first fight won by the Californian.
Barnett started off landing some nice strikes to Nogueira’s head. The fighters stayed on their feet for half of the first round as they exchanged everything from hard straights to knees. Barnett took Nogueira to the ground with a body slam and then punished him with some hard knees to his face. Nogueira reversed the position and ended up on top of Barnett dominating the rest of the round as he landed several hard punches from the guard. The first round was very tough to score but I gave Barnett the edge.
In the second round, the action started with both men on their feet, throwing punches along with occasional knees. Barnett showed some very good boxing ability as he landed some nice combinations. Nogueira took Barnett down but the American ended up on top and landed some nice shots that Nogueira absorbed well. The men went back to their feet with both trading evenly. Although Barnett had clearly won most of the round, Nogueira was trying to steal it back by increasing his punch output. The second round was clearly Barnett’s.
The third round came and Nogueira’s superior stamina was noticeable as he teed off on Barnett while both were on their feet. Nogueira landed hard straights along with some knees. Nogueira took Barnett to the ground and found himself trapped in a choke position that seemed perfectly locked in by Barnett. Nogueira’s skills paid off as he popped his head out of the hold. Nogueira worked Barnett over from the mount position as he landed several punches. Barnett escaped Nogueira and brought the action back to their feet. He was eventually brought back down for the remainder of the fight. The decision was awarded to Nogueira in a very tough and exciting fight where both men left everything on the mat.
“Shogun” Rua defeats Kazuhiro Nakamura by decision One of Pride FC’s up and coming stars is Brazil’s Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (11-1) who’s considered one of the most complete fighters in MMA. His opponent Kazuhiro Nakamura is no slouch himself as he came into the bout with an 11 and 5 record.
The fight started with both men on their feet as Rua quickly backed his opponent into the turnbuckle and proceeded to land some hard knees to Kazuhiro’s thighs in an attempt to soften him up. Both men ended up in the middle of the ring where they squared up and traded punches. Rua finally took down Kazuhiro and ended up in the side mount position. Rua controlled the action on the ground and attempted a head choke. Nakamura got out of it but ended up taking a beating in the process. Rua dominated the rest of the round and attempted several chokes that Nakamura escaped.
In the second round, Rua put Nakamura in a body lock and pushed him into the turnbuckle once again. They were in a clinch as Nakamura stepped up the action by taking Rua down and then exchanging blows in a standing position. Rua took Nakamura down again and dominated the rest of the round.
The third round was almost a repeat of the second as Rua took down Nakamura repeatedly and mauled him. Rua rained down punches from the top mount. Nakamura finally woke up during the last ten seconds of the round and tried to land some haymakers. Not one of Rua’s best performances but he takes the decision and keeps his high standing in the light heavyweight division.
Other results: Lightweight Takanori Gomi defeated Mitsuhiro Ishida by first round TKO
Gilbert Melendez gets the decision over Tatsuya Kawajiri
Shinya Aoki beats Joachim Hansen in the first round by submission with a triangle hold.
Kiyoshi Tamura defeats Ikuhisa Minowa by first round stoppage at 1:18.
“You just can’t rely on boxing because there are so many guys who come from the streets who come into boxing and do good, but they don’t make the change in their life and it catches up to them,” said Rivera. “You have to do both. You have to want to make a change in your life and the boxing does the rest.”
Rivera returns to the ring this Saturday night on the undercard of the Sam Peter/James Toney rematch at the Seminole Hard Rock Arena in Hollywood, Florida (SHOWTIME), and will defend his title against the WBA super welterweight “champion in recess” Travis Simms.
“I think Simms is coming ready to take my title and I’m coming ready to defend it so I think we’ve got a great exciting fight for Showtime,” said Rivera.
The battle for the WBA super welterweight championship seems to have been recently fought more through litigation than with hooks and jabs. Simms initially won the title from Alejandro Garcia in 2003. However, his dispute with the WBA over his next mandatory opponent led him to sue the organization and be stripped of title. In the meantime, Garcia regained the interim title in 2005 and Rivera won the belt from him with a decision in May of last year. In August of 2006, the WBA reinstated Simms as the champion in recess and mandated that he be Rivera’s title defense. The whole fiasco forced Rivera to wait eight months to defend his title.
“I wish I had fought sooner but I take it when I can get it,” he said.
For Rivera, a focused, persevering attitude helped him change his life and enabled him to win two world titles in a life and career with more than its fair share of obstacles.
Rivera was born one of five children in Philadelphia in 1973, and his mother died when he was ten years old. As a child he lived in Philadelphia, Tampa, and Puerto Rico before finally settling for good in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the age of 14.
“I was a troubled kid,” said Rivera. “I had a lot of problems when I was younger and was heading in the wrong direction. Boxing was something that I always wanted to do. When I was 15 years old, a friend of mine, Felix Lopez, told me there was a gym in the neighborhood, and we went there and I’ve been there ever since. It got me off the streets. It kept me out of trouble and away from gangs and drugs.”
He turned professional in 1992 and won his first 23 fights before losing a close split decision to Willy Wise. He then reeled off three straight wins to secure a high-profile bout with Fernando Vargas. Unfortunately, Rivera injured his wrist while training and the fight was cancelled. He was inactive for all of 1998.
Rivera returned to the ring in 1999 and won four straight bouts, before dropping back-to-back decisions against Pat Coleman and Robert Frazier. He then regained his footing and won six straight fights, earning the opportunity to face Michael Trabant in Germany for the vacant WBA welterweight title in September of 2003. In that bout, Rivera won the title with a majority decision over Trabant.
As champion, it seemed that earning a title shot was less complicated than setting up a defense. He was initially supposed to face Thomas Daamgard but the Dane had to pass on the bout due to family health reasons. Then he was supposed to defend his belt against Ricardo Mayorga at Madison Square Garden on April 17, 2004, but Mayorga showed up six and a half pounds over the 147-pound limit. Instead of witnessing a title bout, the crowd at Madison Square Garden watched Mayorga win a lackluster 10-round decision over Eric Mitchell.
“That was frustrating,” said Rivera. “You train hard. You prepare your best and for that to happen was really frustrating. But, you know, what can you do about it? Life goes on.”
Rivera was then scheduled to again face Daamgard on the undercard of the Mayorga/Felix Trinidad bout in October of 2004, but Rivera injured his thumb on his right hand and the fight was postponed. The bout was then cancelled after Daamgard developed a respiratory illness.
Finally in April of 2005, Rivera truly defended his title for the first time against Luis Collazo. The bout was close and the margin was razor-thin on all judges’ scorecards, but in the end, Collazo won a split decision.
Following the loss, Rivera chose to move up in weight. In his next bout, he defeated Garcia for the WBA super welterweight championship. Now, at the age of 33, Rivera has no misconceptions about the magnitude of his meeting with Simms.
“Every fight from here on out in my career is crucial,” he said. “I’m on a one fight at a time basis at this point in my career.”
Needless to say, Rivera offers no insight on what he plans to do if he wins Saturday night. He also will not let the fact that Simms has not fought in two years affect his preparation.
“Simms is a guy that keeps himself in the gym and stays in shape,” said Rivera. “You can’t really go by that he hasn’t fought in a couple of years. I’ve got to prepare for the best.”
Win or lose, Rivera will move forward because the skills he has learned through boxing have helped him to build a solid foundation for the rest of his life. He is married with a 13-year old son and 11-month old daughter. He is also self-managed, and already has a job as a full-time court officer in the Worcester Juvenile Court. When asked if being a world champion with a “day job” is awkward, Rivera tells it like it is.
“I’m not making million dollar fights,” said Rivera. “I’m not making [Oscar] De La Hoya kind of money. I’m making enough money where I can pay some bills and enjoy my career. I’ve been working all my life since I was a kid. Plus, I have to do it. I don’t ever think this is weird or that I shouldn’t be working. It is what it is.”
In his spare time, Rivera also works with the Boys and Girls Club, telling his story and working with the kids there.
“There are a lot of kids in the Boys and Girls Club who come from single-parent homes or some of them have no parents,” said Rivera. “I like to mentor and touch those kids’ lives and let them know that, ‘I’ve come from similar odds. I was able to make it. You’re able to make it.’”
His efforts in the Worcester community have not gone unnoticed. In May of 2006, the Worcester Rotary Club named Rivera, “Citizen of the Year,” an honor that, in the end, he feels is more rewarding than being a world champion.
“They don’t have comparison,” said Rivera, “but if you were to ask me would I rather be a world champion boxer or a person who gives back to the community and helps change kids’ lives, than I would rather [be the latter] any day. It’s more fulfilling.”
The second time around is not always better than the first time. Both James Toney and Sam Peter have boasted of training regimens that have transformed their bodies since their first fight four months ago, but the bet here is that we will see more of the same. Toney, at 38, gets hit more than in younger days, but he has enough left to weather Peter’s powerful, but infrequent, blows. Like the first time, Toney will pick his spots and win enough rounds to beat Peter by decision. This time, I hope, the judges will judge correctly. Toney by decision David Berlin
Having still not seen the first fight, I'm probably not the best judge to be making predictions. I'll make a few pointers though – as unrefined as Peter is, Toney is an old fighter with a lot of fights on him and he's taken poundings in his last two fights; so much that he's spent time in hospital. Age can't be held off indefinitely by any man. I'd say that Toney's time among the heavyweights peaked following his fight against Holyfield. Since then, he's not been as good. Peter, on the other hand, has the power but not the skill. Interesting matchup but the subdued buildup has provided more thrills than the actual fight will. Samuel Peter to win … Rivera by decision. Too much experience, too strong a chin. Age beats youth. Peter M. Carvill
This will not look much like the first simply because James Toney is too smart to allow history to repeat itself. Sure, Sam Peter will throw hard punches and Toney will bounce off the ropes in an attempt to draw Peter. This fight will differ because Toney will do everything else he needs to in between to earn a unanimous decision. Jesse K. Cox
It's never smart to bet against Toney, so I won't. He's just too comfortable inside the ring. And if he's really lost some fat and worked on his stamina, he could be even more dangerous. I can't see him stopping Peter, but I can't see him losing, either. He wins the rematch by easy decision. Rick Folstad
Toney will conclude this bout with no questions asked this time around and emerge the champion. Entering into his second go round with Peter, Toney has added better conditioning and a boost from guru Billy Blanks to his already crafty arsenal. All of this combined adds up to a winning combination for Toney, who already knows more about boxing than Peter could ever forget. Gracing the Toney Peter undercard will be Laura "Lady Ram" Ramsey (6-2) of Winterhaven, Florida and Ijeoma "The Praise" Egbunine (12-1) of Marietta, Georgia. Ramsey is returning to the ring after a heavy-handed first round KO of Erin Toughill in August, and Egbunine last saw ring action when she scored a 2nd round TKO over Asa Sandell, which gives both fighters an opponent in common, which they both defeated. Look for "The Praise" to face her stiffest competition in "Lady Ram" who is better conditioned and tough on the inside with a devastating right hand. A close exciting battle and thanks to Don King for adding the ladies to the event. Amy Green
The first fight was defined by Sam Peter's ineffectual moments as much as by James Toney's inability to throw quality combinations off the counter, for a decade his stock and trade as a championship fighter. Toney's lack of conditioning relative to his weight and the brunt of Peter's thumping blows made Toney look far less effective, unable to make Peter pay for long stretches of mediocre boxing. Billy Blanks, it is being asserted, will have Toney fit and able to throw at a higher rate... well, then there is the fact of Toney's age and the attrition rate of having contested so many big time fights at a weight far beyond what one might surmise as a normative weight threshold for the Californian. Frankly, Toney looks and acts tired as often as he does fit and one has to wonder if at 37-plus years old is the Blanks Plan taking the juice out of Toney? It might just be so. Peter UD12 Toney. Patrick Kehoe
Peter has yet to persuade us that he is a finished product. (Although Toney could finish him.) We’re not big on this Tae Bo stuff, but if Toney is even in a semblance of condition he should be able to first outbox and eventually outslug the Nigerian Nightmare. Neither of these guys has ever been stopped, but there’s always a first: Toney in a late-round TKO … A year ago we’d have rated Rivera-Simms a virtual tossup, but the WBA junior middle champ (witness his five-knockdown performance against Terra Garcia) seems to be getting better with each fight, while Simms, the “champion in recess,” has literally been on recess. (Rivera has fought sparingly in recent years, but Simms hasn’t fought at all.) We like Rivera to retain his title by decision. George Kimball
Both fighters are likely to come into this fight in better condition than the first go-round, and the fight will likely follow a similar path as the first. I thought Toney did enough in terms of blocking Samuel Peter's looping blows and landing the cleaner punches, but the judges didn't agree with me. Still, Toney seems to be too wise a fighter to be caught often by the heavy-handed Nigerian. Toney has likely forgotten more about the sweet science than Sam Peter will ever know, and hopefully he will help me forget the losing wager I made on Lights Out to win by decision in the first bout by taking a close decision in the rematch here. Joey Knish
Toney reminds me of Bernard Hopkins at the tail end of his career. Aged but still with so much skill he’s almost boring. He fights thirty seconds of each rounds and spends the rest of the round using his defense to recharge for his next thirty second run. Eventually, James Toney’s battery will charge no more. Samuel Peter is younger, stronger and gained valuable experience in the last go-round. Peter is the fat man’s worst nightmare this time around – surprise, surprise – Peter via 7th round KO. Scott Mallon
It is hard to imagine Toney coming into the fight in better shape than last time. He hasn't been in peak shape for years, so why should things change now? The bigger, stronger and younger Peter will win a much more convincing decision this time. Peter W 12 … Both Rivera and Simms are fighting mad about the snail-like pace of their careers. However it seems that it has gotten to Simms in more negative ways than Rivera. The always hardworking Rivera, who seems to have a positive outlook during good times and bad, will win an exciting decision. Rivera W 12. Robert Mladinich
I'm prepared to believe the unbelievable, that James Toney will be toned from the gym. Peter is predictable, slow and Toney will only have gained knowledge and focus from their first meeting and the unsatisfactory result. Toney UD12. David Payne
It’ll be deja vu all over again. Forget the scales, this fight’s gonna be a replay of the first. Peter can’t do anything else and James won’t. But he’ll do more of it, thanks to Billy Blanks, and win a clear-cut decision. Joe Rein
The big discussion regarding James Toney and this bout surrounds the efforts he has taken to get himself in top physical condition. But why, after such a long, gluttonous career, is he so worried about being in shape? While the first bout was shrouded in controversy, this one will not be. Peter by decision … While Travis Simms is still undefeated, he has not fought in more than two years. The two years out of the ring will hurt him against Rivera, who is entering the ring with a sense of urgency. Rivera by decision. Aaron Tallent
From the looks of the weigh- in, each guy is prepared to pick up the action quicker than where they left off last time. The first fight was very close but Toney seemed stronger at the end. Peter worked harder but Toney worked more effectively. If Toney gets busier that should be enough to get the nod, but if he doesn't, go with Peter on effort alone. Phil Woolever
Despites the thousands of impacts and 27 bones, there are quite a few less who truly know how to protect this cherished asset. By the day, the art forging rolls gauze and surgical tape into a sturdy comfortable hand womb of sorts is dying.
And for just 75 cents a day, you can sponsor a boxer’s hand. Won’t you help?
Melodrama and faux charity aside, there are those who believe a good hand wrap is hard to find. Malcolm Garrett isn’t lamenting the increasingly lost art. It’s job security.
The 60-year-old Garrett is guaranteed at least one ticket out of this northwestern Indiana town on a plane bound for Europe, with much thanks to Wilfried Sauerland. The remaining three weekends are typically domestic bookings. It’s Moscow one week and Tampa, Fla., the next.
This charming lifestyle of exotic locations and comfortable paychecks – at least I’m assuming since he won’t fess up – wasn’t handed to Garrett. He’s been paying his own way for almost 30 years in this business. Of course, that doesn’t set him apart from any other second in the corner. Everybody pays their dues in blood or wiping it up in this business.
Reaching the point of contracts with major promoters required more than paying dues. It took Garrett’s powers of observation, too.
“I used to watch everybody,” he said. “Some guys wrap a lot better than others. You develop a technique of your own.”
If Garrett’s insight seems rather vanilla, it’s for a purpose. Much like the great Japanese samurai sword makers, he picks and chooses with whom he shares information. He’s always been a tremendous help in sharing knowledge and industry tidbits with me, but it was different when I first probed him about writing on this subject.
“Oh, I can’t tell you that,” he said. “I don’t want to give away my secrets.”
The art is shared within a fraternity of the corner quid pro quo. Joe Souza, Ace Marotta and Eddie Aliano all traded ideas and techniques with Garrett.
Fortunately, I can’t identify the difference between the proper technique and a broken hand in waiting, and Garrett invited me to his rural home gym to chat and get a demonstration.
His backyard facility isn’t just a ring and a variety of bags set into motion by a bell. Adjacent to the ring is a hydraulic lift his nephew and friends use for various automotive projects.
The top floor is an apartment for fighters in camp. The day I arrived it housed young heavyweight Cerrone Fox, a 240-pounder out of Benton Harbor, Mich., who will be fighting on the Nikolay Valuev-Jameel McCline undercard late this month. He was sharing the place with featherweight Ricky Benevides, a contrary form when standing next to Fox.
Fox and Benevides both know Garrett’s wrap, even if they haven’t had 20 professional fights between them. They’re just two in a long line stretched back to contenders such as Dwight Pratchett, who had Garrett’s gauze and tape cradling his paws when he fought Julio Cesar Chavez for the WBC super featherweight title at the Riviera in Las Vegas in 1985.
Pratchett lost the bout by unanimous decision. Gauze and tape only get you so far in that brand of trading leather.
Mark that as the first of the 160-plus title fights of which Garrett watched from bloody – borderline macabre – corners of the ring. If he isn’t wrapping hands, he’s stopping cuts, such as the nasty gash that opened over Vitali Tsypko’s eye early against Jeff Lacy; it took two rounds to take hold, but Garrett’s work dammed the blood flow.
The business of stopping fights for a simple cut strikes Garrett as rather unnecessary anyway.
“Nobody’s ever lost that much blood,” he said. “The ringside doctors think the public doesn’t want to see the blood. The truth is the public does want to see the blood.”
WBA champion Valuev should be thankful Garrett had the foresight to catch the undersized stool the arena provided for his American debut in October against Monte Barrett in Chicago. The laughable seating peaked halfway up 7-foot Valuev’s shin, leaving Garrett to modify a full-sized barstool from Bed Bath & Beyond.
These are the many talents of Malcolm Garrett. He had yet to give me any physical evidence for his boast of every fighter who wears one of his wraps is “hooked.”
“It’s got to feel right,” he said. “Just like the trunks and the shoes, it all has to feel right.”
Facing backward in the metal chair with my with my left hand – since I’m a southpaw – resting on the back and anticipating my first professional wrap, I caught a glimpse of Garrett’s bag. Nothing special: A few rolls of gauze and tape, a couple sandwich bags, latex gloves, cotton swabs – and a trinket from the previous weekend in Russia.
As expected, the wrap was methodical, but much different than any I’d applied myself with reusable hook and loop wraps in the gym. There was a lot of squeezing and releasing the fist, but it wasn’t until the final pass with tape that I didn’t require prompting from Garrett.
And the wrap? It felt good. Not too tight, but certainly sturdy. I wanted to try it out, but Fox wasn’t up for a few rounds unless I had a gratuity to go with it.
Possibly sensing my obscene impulse to grab my wallet from the car, Garrett seized my well-wrapped hand and snipped my hand free of its binding, saving me from walking into a severe beating.
It seems Garrett knows how to protect against broken hands and, given the chance, prevent bad decisions.
Tyson was snagged by Johnny Law last week in Scottsdale, Arizona for DUI and possession of a powdered substance. The Brooklyn-born boxer, who’d been back in the news as he embarked on an exhibition tour of the world, was taken in to police custody by Buckeye police. Officer JR McKnight sat down with Tyson and quizzed him about his behavior, and got all Enquirer reporter on him, delving into his habits and tastes, according to the incident report obtained by The Smoking Gun (TheSmokingGun.com).
Some highlights (no pun intended) of the Q and A, which was held in the Mesa Police Department’s DUI Mobile Command Unit:
***Tyson got the interview off to a curious start when he flashed the peace sign at those present, and then informed them that if you turn the peace sign around, in Ireland, you are giving the “eff you” sign. McKnight didn’t say in the report how he and others reacted to this little factoid. My guess is there was a chorus of, “Oh, very interesting.” And all the cops reached, very subtly, for their pepper spray, just in case the fighter was set to snap…
***McKnight asked Tyson prepared questions from the department’s Influence Evaluation Supplement, so he wasn’t just riffing away, freelancing. He asked Tyson what meds he used, and Tyson answered “Zoloft, marijuana and cocaine.” Chatty Mike told the cops that he took his antidepressant earlier in the day, and also sparked up two joints earlier as well. He certainly scored points for forthcomingness, and perhaps set himself up for an endorsement deal down the line with Pfizer when/if he cleans his act up.
***McKnight, in what I have to suspect is a departure from the Supplement, asked Tyson if he rolled his own. No, Tyson said, he can’t roll his own, so he has a flunky do it for him. This tidbit makes you want more details—is Tyson too uncoordinated to roll his own, or does he find the act beneath him? I recall back in the day when I used to roll my own “tobacco products” that I practiced the art endlessly, until I got the process down pat. Does this indicate that Tyson doesn’t have the old work ethic any more, that he no longer strives to be the best he can be? Oh wait, we already knew that to be the case. Hey, I guess if you got a posse, you may as well put them to use…
***Tyson told McKnight he had used blow the day before and admitted he’s a fiend for the stuff, that he uses it “whenever I get my hands on it.” Tyson then admitted that he’d used “Go Dust” that very day, at “8 or 9 AM.” This sequence certainly qualifies as a blatant cry for help, doesn’t it? There was no BSing by Tyson, no rationalization, or denying frequent usage. He’s telling the cop that he’s a hunter/collector of the powder, in no uncertain terms. For Tyson fans, those who hold out hope that he’s still a candidate for redemption, this is good news. Seems like he’s tired of the substance abuse process, and may be willing to clean up his act. Or has he heard that Britney is in rehab, and he just wants to make her acquaintance?
***Tyson admitted he sometimes goes overboard on the Zoloft, that without the antidepressant he tends to go off. Without the Big Z, he said, “I am [effed] up,” he said. McKnight tells him he doesn’t look screwed up and Tyson says, trust me, I’m a mess. I’m thinking that the two were on different pages of the same chapter here. I think Tyson was talking “[effed] up” in mental terms, while McKnight was thinking in physical terms. On a bright note, you’ll be happy to know, Tyson says he’s not into meth. Thank God for small miracles…
***Is McKnight freelancing again when he asks Tyson what brand of smokes he uses? Would there be any viable reason for the law to know if he prefers Winstons or Camels? Any cop/fans on TSS who can clue us in? Anyway, Tyson fans, you should know Mike smokes Marlboros. Then Tyson volunteered that he likes to put a little coke bump into his smoke and blaze it. McKnight asks for a visual and Tyson complies. Again, curious. Is McKnight looking for party tips for himself? Why does it matter how Tyson does it?
***We then learn then Mike was a patron at the Pussycat Lounge in Scottsdale. Off topic, is there a Pussycat Lounge in every red light district in the nation? Tyson didn’t booze at the club but did say he did the same morning at his residence. That’s not a good sign, Tyson fans. If you are starting the day with not Wheaties, but an alcohol-based product, I think it’s fair to say some 12-Step time has to be on your list of New Year resolutions. NOT the breakfast of champions.
***Tyson then told the cops, when asked if all the self medicating affected his driving, that “I cannot drive.” He does own a license, he said. Not sure about this item. Tyson was stopped after he ran a stop sign and his car almost hit a sheriff’s vehicle. Did he mean that he doesn’t drive well, that he needs some remedial adult driver’s ed class-time?
***Tyson told cops that he wasn’t feeling “good” when he was driving, that he used stuff earlier in the day, but not near the time when he was pulled over. That statement may be looked at with skepticism by the powers that will determine his fight, as the police stated that Tyson was seen trying to wipe some powdered substance off his console when stopped. Maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he was merely embarrassed that he’d dripped some ketchup on the console while scarfing a burger earlier? No? Not plausible? Maybe the powder was from a powdered donut he was eating a few days ago for breakfast, on a day he wasn’t drinking booze for breakfast? No? Not plausible? Lord, I couldn’t be a defense attorney for a living…
****McKnight then thanked Tyson for not going ballistic and biting his ear off, and told him he was a pretty good guy. He then got all goopy on Tyson, and shared that in his town, people sometimes gave him crap. Tyson and McKnight bonded, with Tyson complaining that people busted his chops all the time when he was out and about. This part gave me a stomachache. McKnight says he then stopped the tape and Tyson completed the booking process. Do you think perhaps McKnight asked for an autograph and asked a buddy to take a camera phone pic so he could show his buddies that he met a famous dude.
Word is that local prosecutors want to toss Tyson in jail for a spell, as they think he’s received enough second chances, and deserves to serve time as a repeat offender. May I suggest that Officer McKnight might like to serve as his cellmate if and when that time comes, as he seems to have a bit of a crush on Tyson.
Seriously, we’re all in resolution mode this week. More gym memberships are being sold this week than the rest of the year combined. Everyone’s ordering turkey on wheat, mustard, hold the mayo for lunch. Perhaps this bust is just what Tyson needed to have a happier, more productive life than he’s lead while trying to figure out what the hell he’ll do with the rest of his life. Maybe Mike and Britney can hook up (not like that) and be 12-Step meeting buddies, acting as each others’ spine as they work on tossing the 900 Pound Gorilla of substance abuse off their backs. We’ll know that’s the case if Evander comes out and say that Tyson paid him a visit, wanting to make amends for the ear chomp in 1997.
That’s Toney. He’ll tell you he won even when the record book flat out tells you he lost.
At least in my official record book there’s a bold “L” next to his Sept. 2, 2006 heavyweight fight against Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter.
Still, if you listen to Toney rant and rave long enough—buy into his spiel—pretty soon you’ll start to doubt the accuracy of the record book.
Maybe they did make a mistake. Maybe he didn’t lose a split decision to Peter.
“For everybody out there, I do not have a loss,” Toney claimed on a conference call last month, enlightening all of us to the truth as Toney sees it while pointing out the obvious typo on his record. “I have not lost in 10 years and that loss (to Peter) did not even count.”
Well James, we’re pretty sure it did.
Too bad you can’t wish a bad decision away or ignore it. We’d all be undefeated.
But that’s all right. It’s just Toney being Toney, a guy who is almost as slick outside the ring as he is inside it.
So how do you bet against a guy like that?
Maybe you don’t. Maybe you either put your money on Toney or put it safely away in your pocket. I know I’ll never bet against him.
When Toney (69-5-3, 43 KOs) fights Peter (27-1, 22 KOs) on Saturday night in their WBC title eliminator at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Fla., (SHOWTIME), we’ll probably already have a pretty good idea how he’ll do. If he quivers like Jell-o at the weigh-in, it could be another close fight. If he stands on the scale with just a hint of new muscle tone, hock your watch, empty your savings account and bet everything you’ve got on Toney to win big.
Just don’t expect good odds.
Why should we see a slimmer, trimmer James Toney this time around? Because of fitness guru Billy Blanks, who was hired by Toney to, among other things, get rid of the flab. And there’s been slabs of it surrounding Toney for years, protecting him from the harsh cold of the Southern California winters.
So, James, can we expect a different kind of performance from you this second time around?
“My strategy is whatever he wants to do, we have got to take care of him,” Toney said. “I can fight against the ropes, in the middle of the ring. So whatever he wants to do, we will do, just like I said before the first time I beat him. This time, however, I am going to do it more soundly. It is going to be terrible what is going to happen to him.”
As for Peter, a hard hitter from Africa, this whole Toney thing must seem like a crazy joke, a kind of “Welcome to America” bad dream. He beat the guy once and now he‘s got to beat him again.
A fistic double jeopardy.
“James Toney will not change at all,” Peter said when asked if he thought he would be facing a different James Toney in the second fight. “He will never change.”
The good news is, Peter should be confident. Going into the rematch, he has the reassuring thought that at least a couple guys outside his own camp thought he beat Toney that first time out.
A few weeks ago sportsbooks started posting the opening lines for the May 5th event that has landed at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The consensus was that Mayweather would be a favorite to win the fight, but the debate as to what line was right for the fight was a heated one. Remember that the main function of the betting line is not so much to predict the winner of the event, but its purpose is also to evenly divide betting action on a bout with as little line movement as possible.
The early number clearly didn't do that.
Offshore sportsbooks opened the 29-year-old Mayweather as a -170 favorite which required bettors to risk $170 to profit $100. If one was to bet on De La Hoya at the opening number they would have been getting +150, or a profit of $150 for each $100 risked. The difference between the -170 risked on the favorite (Mayweather) and the +150 paid back on the dog (De La Hoya) is the commission bookmakers use to show a profit regardless of who wins (at least that is the idea). The total rounds heavily favored the Over as the bet to go Over 11.5 rounds was priced -255 with Under backers being able to get back +215. The 11.5 rounds represent eleven completed rounds of fighting plus one minute and thirty seconds into the twelfth round. Most people seem to agree that the fight will go the scheduled twelve rounds.
While the betting line on the Total Rounds has remained rather static, the price on Mayweather has been hammered up and up.
In a matter of weeks, backers of the Grand Rapids, Michigan fighter have driven the price all the way up to -225 on the speedy boxer. That now means that where a bettor once could have risked just $170 to profit $100 betting on Mayweather, that same bet would now require a risk amount of $225 to profit that same $100, and increased risk of $55 to win the same $100. It is a general rule in sports betting, and one that holds true over the long term, that it is best to bet the favorite early and the underdog late – regardless of the sport in question. More times than not the price on the favorite climbs upwards and it becomes more and more expensive to "buy" a ticket on the favored fighter as the bout comes closer. When looking to the back the dog, one generally gets a better price by waiting closer to fight night because, as the price on the favorite increases, the pay back on the dog also goes up.
That certainly seems to be the case for this superfight taking place on Cinco de Mayo weekend in Sin City. Anyone getting in early on WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather got a very good line laying -170. The moneyline is now up to a point where those who are looking to get a fair price on WBC Junior Middleweight champion Oscar De La Hoya may look to strike back, or they may be sitting and waiting for the line to climb even higher on the favorite, thus providing a better come back price for Oscar bettors.
One thing that is very likely to happen is that those looking to bet on De La Hoya will start to do so if the price gets much higher, and almost as certain is that the general public that comes to Las Vegas the weekend of the fight will be betting the underdog. The "Golden Boy" still packs in a ton of fans and that, coupled with the big Latino Cinco de Mayo weekend and those fans flowing in from Los Angeles, will bring bets in on Oscar. If one was looking to place a wager on “Pretty Boy” Floyd, they may be better off waiting until Oscar’s fans bring the price back down.
It is interesting to me that Mayweather has not stopped anyone at welterweight aside from Sharmba Mitchell, although Mitchell was much more a junior welterweight and had only one prior bout at 147-pounds. Floyd has taken two lopsided decision wins, over speedy Zab Judah and sturdy Carlos Baldomir, since his welterweight debut against Mitchell. Against Oscar De La Hoya he will fighting an even bigger opponent, and one who has been stopped just once in his four losses, that to middleweight king Bernard Hopkins. The chance of a knockout by either fighter seems remote and the Over looks like a solid play.
Still, I’d love to be sitting on a Floyd Mayweather ticket at -170.
Travis Simms Jr. and his identical twin brother Tarvis were born in Norwalk, Conn. on May 1, 1971, to a boxing family. “My father fought, my grandfather, my great grandfather, my great great grandfather—they all boxed,” Simms told TSS. “It’s always been part of my life.”
Travis and Tarvis Simms were first taught how to fight by their father.
“My dad showed us how to fight, how to stand, from day one,” said Simms. “He showed us how to hit the speed bags, etcetera. So I had a great, great experience in boxing and a great teacher to start me off, which was my father.”
When father Simms finally brought the twins, who were five at the time, to the gym to continue their education, he introduced them to the trainer John Harris, who is Travis Simms’ mentor to this day.
“We were very excited,” recalled Simms about that first day in the gym. “We were very eager to get into the ring and start fighting right away. But my trainer was very disciplined and he wanted to make sure we knew exactly what we were doing before we got into the ring. Once he seen that we knew what we were doing he didn’t hesitate to put us in there,” Simms said. “So I’ve been in the ring ever since.”
Although Simms played baseball, basketball, football and golf while growing up, boxing was in his blood. He had a sterling amateur career, hundreds of fights, and won a slew of tournaments and titles.
Travis Simms turned pro on Feb. 10, 1998, with a third round TKO over Michael Brown in Baton Rouge. Simms reeled off 22 straight wins before claiming the vacant NABA 154-pound title on Nov. 1, 2002, in Louisville, Ky. with a victory over Anton Robinson. Simms signed with Don King and got his first shot at a world title on Dec. 13, 2003, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, where Simms scored a TKO5 over then-undefeated WBA super welterweight champion, Alejandro “Terra” Garcia.
“I’ve got to thank Don King for giving me the opportunity. I not only won, I looked very impressive,” Simms said after the bout. “I served notice on the super welterweight division.”
In Simms’ next fight he was granted a voluntary successful defense against former WBO super welterweight champ Bronco McKart at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 2, 2004.
“I think I boxed brilliantly against McKart,” said Simms. “I was on top of the boxing world and looked forward to some exciting matches.”
But exciting matches were down the road a bit, like two years down the road a bit, a long time to be on the shelf for any athlete, but especially for a boxer in his prime, so I asked Simms what happened and why the long delay.
“It’s a strange scenario,” he said from his training camp in Georgia. “I’m the original WBA champion to begin with. I never lost my title in the ring. But what happened was when I won the world title (from Garcia on Dec. 2, 2003), I was mandatory to fight the winner of Shane Mosley and Winky Wright for the super championship in the super welterweight division.
“However, the WBA decided not to enforce my mandatory and the contract I had with them to fight the winner, and after a year of begging and pleading for them to enforce my mandatory, my contract, I filed a lawsuit against them in federal court in New York. So they tried to legally strip me of my world title because of my prior litigation against them.”
Simms filed his lawsuit in 2004 and was stripped of his title the following year. The suit was settled out of court and the WBA reinstated Simms as champion “in recess” in August 2006.
“They let Garcia fight an elimination bout to be my mandatory a year after defeating him,” continued Simms. “So instead of them enforcing my mandatory with Winky Wright, they tried to enforce a mandate with Garcia, a guy I just knocked out and won a title from. So why would you try to enforce me to fight him when I have a mandatory from you to fight Winky Wright, which is a much bigger fight, a much bigger payday?
“With that said, they upgraded Garcia to the position of champion the week of his fight with Rivera and that’s how this whole dilemma came along, with Jose Rivera being now the current champion, while I’m the champion in recess.”
It sounds pretty confusing, to say the least, but since confusion is the coin of the realm, buddy, can you spare a dime?
“It’s a very fishy situation right now with Rivera being considered the champion to begin with,” said Simms, “because he lost his 147-pound world title to my stablemate Luis Collazo. He loses his title and doesn’t fight for nine months, but then he comes back to boxing and says ‘I’m gonna come back, but I’m gonna fight at 154’—against Alejandro Garcia for my world title.
“So the way I look at it is we’re both looking for a crack at my world title. If the WBA wants to come along and give me a mandatory to fight for my title, so be it. I welcome that challenge.”
Kolenovic, a native of Montenegro in the former Yugoslavia who lived and fought out of New York, had trained alongside Sanchez at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn for quite some time. Most boxing insiders agree that Sanchez was on the cusp of great things when he was gunned down.
Kolenovic had a lot to feel both nostalgic and hopeful about that night. Besides improving his record to 10-6-2 (5 KOS), he broke a three fight losing streak and established what he hoped would be a good future working relationship with local promoter Sal Musumeci.
Back in June 2003, the always busy Kolenovic had won the New York State welterweight title at Jimmy’s Bronx Café on a card promoted by Musumeci.
Since then, Kolenovic had lost more than he won. One defeat, by eighth round TKO, was to Walter Wright in Tacoma, Washington. Wright recently achieved a degree of prominence as one of the participants in season two of “The Contender” reality television series.
Kolenovic had also lost an eight-round decision to knockout artist Carlos Quintana, then 17-0, in Poughkeepsie, New York, in August 2004. Quintana later upset undefeated, red-hot sensation Joel Julio and most recently incurred his first loss, against Miguel Cotto.
“Kemal was a very exciting, in-your-face fighter who bounced around quite a bit fighting for different promoters,” said Musumeci. “He wasn’t a very trusting guy, but I think he realized that both times he fought for me he got wins. He asked me for a promotional contract and I was happy to be associated with him.”
Kolenovic and Musumeci had planned on formulating a game plan this week. Instead, the only plans that were being made by those closest to the fighter were for his funeral.
In the early morning hours of December 31, he was brutally murdered by a hit-and-run driver after an altercation outside of a Bronx nightspot called the Moonlight Restaurant and Bar. The establishment is frequented by Yugoslavian and Albanian immigrants.
He tried to break up a fight between several men. While facing a large crowd of onlookers, one of the men slipped away, entered a sport utility vehicle, and drove down the sidewalk at a high rate of speed.
Numerous onlookers were able to jump to safety, but Kolenovic, who was not facing the vehicle, incurred massive head injuries when he was struck and propelled head-first into a tree.
He was dead on arrival at the nearby St. Barnabas Hospital. Police sources have stated unequivocally that the case is being handled as a homicide, not a hit-and-run accident.
Several of Kolenovic’s acquaintances have said they know people who know the driver of the vehicle. Some even suggested that he’d be better off surrendering to the police than getting caught by the friends that the fighter left behind.
Tony Kalaj, the publicist for Bronx promoter Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, knew Kolenovic well. As a youngster, Kalaj, who was born and raised in the United States, would visit his grandparents in Montenegro every summer.
His family knew Kolenovic’s family, so when the fighter relocated to the Bronx in the early nineties, he and Kalaj became fast friends.
“He didn’t have a bad bone in his body,” said Kalaj. “He’d never say anything bad about anybody. He either knew, or knew of, both parties involved in the argument. That’s why this is so senseless. He was trying to be a peacemaker.”
What makes the death even more heart-wrenching is the fact that after some difficult years, Kolenovic was finally getting his life in order.
His father had died violently back home and, besides a sister and an uncle in America, he had no family here. Although he trained hard, he never had the support of a regular promoter and wound up taking whatever fights came his way, often on short notice for nominal purses.
“He was a tough kid who was always on edge, and he didn’t seem to trust a lot of people,” said Bruce Silverglade, the owner of Gleason’s Gym where Kolenovic sparred with, among others, Vivian Harris, Paulie Malignaggi, and Yuri Foreman.
“He trained hard and would take whatever fights were offered him. He had the potential to be a John Duddy type fighter. He was a real gutsy guy. If you growled at him, he’d growl back. If you fought him, you knew you were in a fight.”
“He was a rough-tough fighter with an action style, and he was always moving forward,” added DeGuardia, who used him on several shows since Kolenovic turned pro back in August 1999. “I didn’t spend a lot of time with him, but always found him to be a gentleman. What happened to him should not happen to anyone.”
Muriqi still remembers the first time he met Kolenovic. It was in 1997, while Muriqi was training for the Golden Gloves at the Morris Park Gym. He saw Kolenovic, who was wearing a bandanna, slamming the heavy bag and was impressed. In the dressing room, they started talking and had been friends ever since.
“Back then he didn’t take his career very seriously,” said a shaken Muriqi. “He would smoke (cigarettes) while training. But he got better and better as the years went by. He was a tough person with a big heart. He had a tough life, but all that he had been through gave him a lot of character and self-respect.”
At about two o’clock in the afternoon of December 30, Muriqi made plans to see Kolenovic that night. Instead he got tied up with a date, so he called some mutual friends who said they would meet up with the fighter. Muriqi’s voice drifts off as he wonders what would have happened if they got there just five minutes earlier.
Kolenovic had planned on 2007 being a very good year for him. There was talk of him fighting on DeGuardia’s January 25 show at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx. If all went well, he was eager to see what the next chapter of his life would bring.
Instead, Kolenovic was waked on New Year’s Day at the Islamic Unity and Culture Center of Plav-Gusinje, a Muslim mosque that serves the city’s Montenegrin community. His mother had been hurriedly flown in from her home in Germany.
On January 2, Kolenovic’s body was buried at a Balkan cemetery in upstate Monticello.
New York City has been touting its reduction in murders for quite some time. Back in the early nineties, when Kolenovic first set foot in the Land of Opportunity, the homicide rate was hovering at nearly 2,000 victims a year.
Crime reduction initiatives have reduced the once phenomenal rate to around 500. While statistically speaking that is a very good number, it provided no solace for Kalaj’s mother, who clutched her son’s face in her hand as she wailed uncontrollably.
Nor did it provide solace to Kalaj, who says Kolenovic was loved by a lot more people than he could have ever imagined.
“When you pulled up to the mosque, you would have thought a president or a rock star was on display,” said Kalaj. “There were people on line, all the way around the corner. He was very well liked. This is a tragedy, an absolute tragedy.”
Since childhood McCarter has battled through drugs, physical abuse, and uncontrollable anger. Now she finds herself battling many of the best female prizefighters in the world and she loves it.
“There’s nothing better,” says McCarter (21-12-5) with a hint of an eastern seaboard accent. “Boxing is like a sedative for me.”
McCarter has used the sedative of boxing to climb to the top of the GBU lightweight division championship. She wants to add the WBA version in her bout against Donna Biggers (18-3-1) at the Orleans Hotel and Casino on Friday Jan. 5.
Biggers, a prizefighter out of South Carolina, has exhibited a willingness to fight the best lightweights out there including Jelena Mrdjenovich and Mia St. John. At 33, she has to do it quickly so she is fighting McCarter, one of the best boxers in the world.
More is at stake. It’s also going to be the first 12-round world title bout for women in Nevada. Last November, McCarter became the first woman in years to fight in a world title fight that included three-minute rounds instead of two-minute rounds.
The Las Vegas boxer loves to crusade for female equality.
“It gets me mad that we’re treated differently,” McCarter, 27, says. “We train the same as men.”
Not only do women train as much as their gender counterpart, they often spar often with men. This one particular day, McCarter battled round after round with her trainer Luis Tapia. No punches were pulled.
“We went 12 hard rounds. We were killing each other in there. I loved it,” McCarter says.
Tapia, 53, who formerly fought professionally, has trained McCarter for several years at the famous Johnny Tocco Boxing Club. Whenever he cannot find sparring partners for McCarter he jumps in the ring himself.
“It’s all in your mind,” Tapia says about tiring in the ring. “You have to convince yourself you are not tired.”
It’s this kind of advice that McCarter treasures.
During her youth, McCarter found herself unable to trust anyone and unwilling to heed advice.
“I was self-destructive,” she says. “My temper was real bad.”
Though many of her former traits have been erased, a few remain. One is a refusal to be intimidated.
A few years back, while she was walking at night to a destination in a dangerous section of Venice Beach, California, a carload of men stopped aside of her. One man jumped out and demanded she give up her wallet or he would beat her.
“I kept telling them I’m a girl,” said McCarter, adding that her hair was cut very short at the time. “He pushed me so I punched him back on the jaw. It surprised him.”
The man, in his 20s, kept firing punches at McCarter who refused to give up her money. They repeatedly threatened to shoot her. She refused to capitulate. During the struggle she lost her watch and the men jumped back in the SUV and drove off.
“The guy hit like a girl,” said McCarter who only suffered a slight bruise to her cheek despite sustaining two dozen punches from the robber. “I didn’t want to fight him. I wasn’t sure if he had a gun or not. But I didn’t want to give up my money. I needed it.”
McCarter has cooled the inner demons but hasn’t cooled the drive for knowledge inside the ring and in other exploits. She currently attends the Community College of Southern Nevada.
Despite working on final examinations that take her deep into the night studying, McCarter won’t postpone her attempt to win another world title.
“I just went 15 rounds today,” said McCarter on Sunday. “I feel great.”
Former IBF cruiserweight titleholder Kelvin “Concrete” Davis (23-4-2, 17 KOs) meets veteran spoiler Willie “Wreckless” Chapman (20-27-3, 6 KOs) in a bout scheduled for eight rounds at the Orleans Hotel and Casino on Friday.
Davis, a knockout puncher out of Natchez, Miss., seeks to make a move up the heavyweight ladder. He’s fought and beat Louis Azille, Arthur Williams and Ezra Sellers. His losses have come against the elite cruiserweights such as Guillermo Jones, O’Neil Bell and Steve Cunningham.
Chapman has beaten some pretty good heavyweights including Malcolm Tann, Davarryl Williamson and Cliff Couser. He’s also battled with some of the best in the game such as Lamon Brewster, Lance Whitaker and Fres Oquendo.
Tickets are still available. For more information call (800) 675-3267.
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Anthony Peterson (21-0) vs. Juan Garza (28-2).
Fri. Telefutura, 8 p.m., Jose Santa Cruz (23-2) vs. Luis Arceo (19-4-2).
Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m., Anthony Hanshaw (21-0) vs. Jean Paul Mendy (23-0).
Sat. Showtime, 10 p.m., James Toney (69-5-3) vs. Samuel Peter (27-1).