20 year old Rios is considered by many as one of the hottest up and comers in southern California’s talent rich pool. His impressive amateur pedigree was on display from the very first round as he came out and boxed beautifully seeking to set the pace and tone of the fight.
Rios landed some blazing fast combinations in the second round as he repeatedly targeted Landeros’ body. Two more left hooks by Rios landed flush but the undaunted Landeros kept on coming.
There was good back and forth action in the third with Rios choosing to fight inside. It was then that Landeros found success by getting off some uppercuts.
Rios’ work output increased and Landeros’ marked up face started showing the effects.
The fifth was Landeros’ best round as he landed a nice variety of overhand rights and uppercuts. Rios rallied back with some clean combinations to regain control.
Rounds six and seven were all Rios as he easily dictated the pace by coming forward and landing fluid combinations. Landeros remained unshaken and landed his own. Yet it was Rios’s high work-rate that won him the rounds.
By the final round, Rios came out to finish Landeros as he hurled several hard combinations that ended with loud thuds to the body. Landeros kept coming forward, never giving up, landing some counter-shots. In the end it was a clear victory for Rios.
The scores were announced by Joe Martinez as 80-72 by all three judges.
“I got a lot of good work tonight. He’s a very tough guy and we knew that,” Rios said afterwards. “I’m happy with my performance. I learned a lot and I’ll make some changes and get even better.”
“I can’t believe how good he is for such a young fighter,” Landeros said afterwards. He should know. He’s fought some of the top prospects in the country like Michael Franco and Chris Martin.
Manager Frank Espinoza feels that Rios had a good outing. “I like what I saw. Overall it was a good win. I think Ronny is making good progress.” Martin gets generous nod from judges San Diego’s own Chris Martin (20-0-2, 6 KO’s) looked like he struggled at times with Colombian Yogli Herrera 22-14 (15 KO’s) but ultimately pulled of the win by turning on the afterburners in the last two rounds of a featherweight bout.
From looking at the scorecards that were handed in by two of the judges in Martins’ favor you would surmise that this was an easy night for Martin. Not so.
Herrera came to rumble and Martin looked a little surprised at the kind of fight that his opponent was putting up.
Herrera seemed to control the action in the first two rounds as he was able to outwork and outland Martin.
Martin pressed the issue a little more in the third but was met by wide swinging shots. Herrera pressed forward and Martin flicked an effective jab at his face. Herrera seemed to be out-landing Martin at this point.
Martin came to life in the fifth round as he stalked Herrera and landed some very nice body shots.
Great exchanges in the sixth as Martin increased his work rate. It was at this point that Herrera looked to be tiring out and Martin started to take control of the situation.
The hard combinations landed by Martin to the body clearly had an effect on Herrera. He teed off even more in the seventh and ended the round by throwing a hard straight right that backed up Herrera.
Martin controlled the last round with some nice boxing and solid combinations that won him the fight.
Although the scorecards read 80-72, (twice) and 78-74, it was a much closer and tougher bout for Martin than expected. Hurley and Torres rock the Sheraton Note to promoters: If you want an exciting fight call super-featherweight Ronald Hurley. Having seen him in action before, he’s usually involved in all-out wars.
His opponent for the night, Angel Torres, wasn’t one to sit back and take a beating so a furious battle broke out. From the first round he came at Hurley and some great exchanges ensued. Torres landed well to the head but ultimately it was Hurley who got the better of the situation by hurting Torres with some wicked shots at the end of the round.
The second was very competitive as Torres came forward with bad intentions. Hurley boxed and got off some good shots but didn’t make use of the jab which would’ve served him well.
More great action in the third as both men let the leather fly. It was all action in the last round as both men let everything go with Hurley stunning Torres again.
The cards were 40-36, 39-37 (twice) for Hurley who improves to 5-5-2. Torres drops to 2-4-2, 1 KO. Other action: MMA fighter Ronald Perez stopped Federico Martinez in the second round of a junior welterweight bout.
The fights were promoted by Golden boy Promotions in conjunction with Don Chargin, Jorge Marron Productions and Bobby D. Presents.
Implicit in this generous offer is that the promoter, who is plainly based on Bob Arum, can see what is obvious to everyone else, including the audience, save Irish Micky, which is that if he hopes to revive a boxing career now in tatters he needs to get himself out of Lowell, Massachusetts, and cut his ties with a family that includes a leech of a mother who functions as his “manager” and a drug-addled buffoon of an older brother who purports to be his trainer.
“But what about my brother?” frets Mark Wahlberg, who portrays Ward. “He’s taught me everything I know. I can’t do it without him.”
* * *
Although it was shot in what may have been a modern-day record 33 days, “The Fighter” was nearly five years in the making. Somewhere along the way Brad Pitt, who was to have portrayed Ward’s brother-cum-trainer Dickie Eklund, opted out and was replaced by Christian (Batman) Bale. As what may be a further indication of the chaos attending the metamorphosis of “The Fighter,” the credits include no fewer than 13 producers, executive producers, and co-producers, while five individuals are credited with the story and screenplay. The result of this screenplay-by-committee is a jumbled mélange of a film that can’t seem to decide whether it wants to be an updated retelling of “Rocky” or a particularly ugly episode of “Intervention.”
“The Fighter” is described as “based on a true story,” and any fears that the Hollywood treatment would sanitize or sugarcoat its subject matter are quickly disabused by a warts-and-all portrayal of a dysfunctional family with more warts than a nest full of horned toads.
Bales’ portrayal of Dickie is that of a bug-eyed nincompoop, an ex-fighter who once scored a somewhat dubious knockdown of Sugar Ray Leonard, but whose vision of reality is now so distorted that he thinks an HBO crew has come to Lowell to film a documentary about his “comeback.” (The HBO crew is actually making a series on Crack in America, with Dickie a cautionary example of what can happen when drugs have removed every trace of common sense from a deluded soul.)
Alice Ward (Melissa Leo) doesn’t come off much better. A mother no son (save perhaps Dickie) could love, Micky’s mother is presented as such a selfish, venal matriarch she could be Fagin in drag. When she’s not stage-mothering Micky and indulging Dickie, Alice presides over a flock of daughters – big-haired, gum-chewing, chain-smoking, foul-mouthed small-town bimbos. This inseparable – and indistinguishable – gaggle of slovenly crones serves the approximate function of the witches in Macbeth.
His sensitivity notwithstanding, Wahlberg’s blindly obedient Micky is somehow too confused to realize that his family has become a millstone around his neck. His girlfriend Charlene (Amy Adams) runs somewhat against type: She doesn’t want Micky to quit boxing; she just wants him to do it without Alice and Dickie.
That the only remotely sympathetic character besides Micky and Charlene is Sgt. Mickey O’Keefe, the kind-hearted Lowell policeman who trains Micky whenever Dickie’s off at the crack-house, is unsurprising, since he is played by Sgt. Mickey O’Keefe, apart from Sugar Ray Leonard (in a cameo) the only figure to portray himself in the film.
But the real problem with “The Fighter” isn’t so much that it couches itself the trappings of a reality TV series, but that, having established those parameters, it goes wildly off the rails with its willful misrepresentation of reality.
* * *
The offer from the promoter who is not Bob Arum serves as a dramatic device triggering a sequence of events in which the conflicted fraternal relationship (as well as the misunderstood Dickie’s criminal career) are conveniently distilled into a single evening consuming less than five heavy-handed on-screen minutes.
In an apparently earnest attempt to match the offer from the promoter who is not Arum, Dickie first unsuccessfully tries to assemble a consortium of investors from among the Cambodian immigrant relations of Karen, his crack-house girlfriend. Rebuffed in his efforts to raise the money honorably, Dickie resorts to a goofy shakedown scheme: Togged out as a streetwalker, Karen (portrayed by the aptly-named Chantyl Sok) gets herself picked up by a john, whom she is in the process of servicing in the front seat of his car when Dickie and another crackhead show up, lights flashing, identify themselves as policemen, and over the owner’s vague protests, announce their intention to impound his vehicle. The junkie masterminds are in the process of toting up the contents of the citizen’s wallet (which Ms. Sok has managed to filch between gulps) when, announced by more flashing lights, the real cops arrive.
Dickle takes off, leading the constabulary on a high-speed foot chase across Lowell, straight to the restaurant where Micky and Charlene are dining. When he sees the cops beating the stuffing out of Dickie, Micky attempts to intervene but is quickly overpowered. One of the policemen, recognizing him as a fighter, deliberately smashes his right hand with a nightstick. The brothers spend the night in jail. The next morning Micky is released on his own recognizance while Dickie, by virtue of his 27 previous arrests, is packed off to a prison cell. With Dickie safely on ice, Micky’s career blossoms anew.
In real life, the episode with the nightstick did happen, pretty much as described, but it took place well before the mid-90s chronological time-frame of the film. And while Eklund was a guest of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on several occasions during this period, the eight months of a 10-to-15 year stretch (for armed robbery) at the Billerica House of Correction depicted in “The Fighter” occurred in 1999.
More to the point, beyond allowing Micky to hoist his bandaged paw and should “is this what I should thank you for?” as Dickie is led out of the courthouse in chains, the nightstick episode serves utterly no dramatic purpose in the plot. (It can’t, since the three-year hiatus from the ring it produced occurred before the events dubiously depicted in “The Fighter” even took place.
* * * In production notes distributed at a New York screening this week, one of the film’s producers, Ryan Kavanaugh, summarizes his brief to director David Russell: “We told him to keep the heart and soul, but that we needed some ‘Rocky’ out of it.”
Therein lies the rub. The legacy of the real Micky Ward is that of a blue-collar boxer who achieved enduring respect despite never having won a world title. His trilogy of bouts against Arturo Gatti may eventually put him in the Hall of Fame, even though he lost the last two of them (after winning a split decision in the first.)
In the Hollywood treatment, Ward’s stunning, come-from-behind knockout victory (with a body shot) over previously unbeaten Alfonso Sanchez in 1996 leads to an immediate title world title shot against Shea Neary in London in what the production notes describe as “the shot of a lifetime.” A decisive underdog, Micky once again gets hopelessly outboxed for seven rounds before scoring an 8th-round KO and riding off into the sunset. The Gatti fights are alluded to only in a scripted crawl just before the credits roll.
In actuality, the win over Sanchez (on the Oscar De La Hoya-Pernell Whitaker undercard) did lead to an immediate title shot for Ward, who in 1997 fought Vince Phillips for the WBA junior welterweight title in Boston, and was stopped (on cuts) inside three rounds.
Micky’s bout against Neary came three years, eight fights, and one Dick Eklund prison stretch, later, and the only “title” involved – the WBU 140 pound belt – was so lightly regarded that its legitimacy was recognized only in certain boroughs of London. (Micky himself didn’t put much stock in the WBU title, which he never bothered defending.) And while Neary was undefeated at the time, the result was not much of an upset to anyone who knew anything about boxing. For no apparent reason beyond sheer obstinacy, the film makes that 140-lb. fight a welterweight title bout and announces both fighters at 146. (Ward weighed 140, Neary 139.) Micky’s record going in is listed as 20-7. It was actually 34-9.
How much do you think the movie people had to pay Jim Lampley to say “Shay Neary is the welterweight champion of the world?”
But it is neither The Fighter’s blatant disregard of the facts nor its hokey Hollywood ending that will baffle audiences, but rather, the mixed message implicit in the denouement, a warm and fuzzy Micky-and-Dickie moment.
“I don’t get it,” the filmgoer will be scratching his head on his way out the door. “Are they saying Micky Ward win that fight because his scumbag bother was back in his corner? Or in spite of it?”
WBC World Heavyweight Final Championship Eliminator: Ray Austin vs. Odlanier Solis...Austin (28-5-4) lost by DQ, 10-2:59 over Solis (16-0)
IBF World Light Heavyweight Championship: Tavoris Cloud vs. Fulgencio Zuniga...Cloud (22-0) won a UD10 over Zuniga (24-5-1)
Plus Ricardo Mayorga (29-7-1) defeated 19-6-2 Mike Walker (TKO9) AmericanAirlines Arena - Miami, Florida Friday, December 17, 2010
Post-Fight Ring Quotes
Odlanier Solis: "I wanted to make Austin suffer for the things he said at the press conferences leading up to the fight. I didn't like it when he said that when he was done with me, they were going to send me back to Cuba. Now I sent him back to Cleveland where all they have are cows."
"I wasn't tired at all. It was my strategy to fight the way I did tonight. What's the worst thing that could have happened? I could have knocked him out or made him look ridiculous, which I did."
At the post-fight press conference: "I don't think I'm fat. What I would like to do is slap around some of the newspaper writers that say I'm fat."
Ray Austin: "Solis will beat Vitali Klitschko. He's accurate and has a good defense. He rests and recovers well, too. The only downside I see might be his chin.
"He showed a lot. I see him being the next WBC heavyweight champion. He's good."
Tavoris Cloud: "I got hit with a headbutt in the second round that caused a cut over my left eye, but Zuniga was a tough guy. I knew I had better skills but he came into this fight in good shape.
"I only give my performance a "B" tonight. I will tell you I took this man seriously because I knew he would come to fight.
"I want the winner of Pascal-Hopkins tomorrow night, or Chad Dawson if he ever decides he wants to fight me."
Fulgencio Zuniga: "Both times I went down were from headbutts. I thought I did enough to win.
"Cloud was a strong guy, a champion and a hard puncher. But I was still proud of my performance."
Ricardo Mayorga: "I showed tonight that I can still fight. [Michael] Walker thought he had something for me, but the outcome was never in doubt. El Matador is back."
"I'm the student," Pascal said mockingly of facing Hopkins. "I'm too green to each the teacher. I'm going there with everything to win and nothing to lose. If I lose I'm still young. I can do it again. But if he loses, that's going to be the end. This is it for him." There was some logic in what Pascal, who is more than 17 years younger than the soon to be 46-year-old Hopkins, said. But there was no real perspective.
Surely if he can make Hopkins look bad - or old and decrepit - he might well force his retirement. But Hopkins' record against bold but undereducated young pugilists like Pascal is not merely one of triumph it has been one of destruction.
Hopkins was supposedly already too old in 2001 the night he destroyed Felix Trinidad, leaving him battered on the ropes as Trinidad's father leapt into the ring to save his son from a thrashing in the final round. Trinidad was never the same after that fight. He was supposedly already too old in 2004 when he stopped Oscar De La Hoya with a body shot and certainly too old to compete with Jermain Taylor, who was handed two controversial decisions against Hopkins but came out of both fights looking like he'd been mugged. Taylor was never the same after those fights.
By 2008, Hopkins was clearly too old when he gave then middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik such a one-sided drubbing he made him look like he had no idea how to box. Pavlik was never the same after that fight either.
That is what Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KO) can do to young men like Pascal (26-1, 16 KO) if they are too much the student. If the gap in their fistic education is too wide, Bernard Hopkins pushes them into the abyss. That is what Jean Pascal and the people around him should fear most tonight - not simply losing but taking the kind of embarrassing beating that changes forever who you are inside the ring. "I think Pascal has to worry about what I'm bringing to the tableâ€¦which is a whole encyclopedia worth of stuff," Hopkins said. "I fooled a whole lot of people that didn't become champion because of Bernard Hopkins. You've seen the evidence I've left behind in the past." Certainly on the nights Hopkins dismantled Trinidad, Taylor and Pavlik he gave them nightmares from which they never fully awoke. He gave them beatings from which they never quite recovered.
Of course, it is nearly three years since the Pavlik fight and Hopkins has yet to look as dominating since. He lost a split decision to Joe Calzaghe badly, if one can say that when the decision is in dispute, and did not look particularly dominating even in one-sided wins over Pavlik in a rematch and faded Roy Jones, Jr. in his last outing eight months ago. It is natural to assume that a guy who is trying to pass George Foreman in the record books for fistic longevity by winning the WBC title 28 days before he turns 46 has lost something. There is a growing body of evidence that is the case with Hopkins and frankly how could it not be?
Even Pascal hinted at that sentiment when he said, "Bernard Hopkins says the smartest guy will win. He says he is the intelligent man and I am the idiot. After the fight everyone will know who the dummy is. I'm going out there like the lion, with no pressure. Even if I'm the champion, he's the legend. Bernard has the pressure. A lot of people think Bernard is going to defeat me. He has to back up his history." The implication of Pascal's words is that Hopkins no longer can do that. Without saying as much, Pascal believes Hopkins is a skillful old fighter, emphasis on old. He believes he is dangerous but only if Pascal himself is reckless. If those things don't derail him, Pascal believes, neither will Hopkins.
Hopkins, on the other hand, believes by the end of the fight tonight Jean Pascal will look like a dummy and move like a mummy. Nearly 18 years his senior, Hopkins looks at Pascal and sees a young Canadian who doesn't know what he doesn't know but is about to learn in the harshest lecture hall in the world - the boxing ring.
"I've seen every style," Hopkins reminded. "I've heard everything from a fighter he could possibly say to me. No one ever had to write I got my ass handed to me in any fight out of 60 (professional) fights. That's the facts. The rules are different for me.
"I have faced youth. Pascal hasn't faced someone like me. When he looks in the opposite corner he's going to see greatness." Aging greatness perhaps, but greatness all the same. More importantly Jean Pascal is going to face a guy who forgot more about boxing than he knows. If Bernard Hopkins hasn't forgotten too much, another young student is in for a harsh final exam tonight.
“The show is something kind of unique, because we come together in an informal setting to discuss various aspects of both sports,” Al Bernstein said. He added, "Both Mauro and Frank are intelligent and entertaining broadcasters who love MMA and boxing and have an eclectic view of sports and life. I have learned from them about MMA, and the Strikeforce shows on Showtime have added to my appreciation of that sport. It was a delight to co-mingle our knowledge and opinions as we looked back on the year.”
The show will air six more times in December and January on Showtime, Showtime 2 and Showtime Extreme. IN OTHER NEWS:
Boxingchannel.com continues to offer great classic matches from the Forum Boxing library. Juan Manuel Marquez just showed how great he still is as a boxer with his win over Michael Katsidis, and his first important fight against contender Julian Wheeler in 1995 can be seen at www.boxingchannel.com . Also now available for free viewing there is the 1992 battle between Jorge Paez and Rafael Ruelas, Chiquita Gonzales vs. Saman Sorjaturong in the Ring Magazine’s 1995 fight of the Year, and over 30 other great matches featuring other great champions like Oscar DeLaHoya, Daniel Zaragosa, Marco Antonio Barrera, Genaro Hernandez and Mark Johnson.
Al Bernstein, who serves as executive producer of the channel, said, “The matches that were promoted by Forum Boxing were among the most extraordinary in boxing history—and each week www.boxingchannel.com will continue to roll out more fights from that great collection—in the coming weeks we will include bouts featuring Shane Mosley, Rafael Marquez, Israel Vasquez, Barrera, Hernandez and many more.”
The boxingchannel.com features coverage of major fights, interviews with top boxing personalities and Al’s video blog, where fans can get Al Bernstein’s thoughts and insights on the sport of boxing.
Pascal has been learning from the ace trash talker. He reminded Hopkins of his lack of pop when he said, "Hopkins' last knockout was in 2004...and that was against his boss (Oscar De La Hoya)." He also said: "Pressure... My mom never taught me that word. The word she taught me was motivation. Bernard is just a man. He has two arms, two legs. He is not a martian. And even if he was, I could beat a martian because I am the best in the Universe."
BHop weighed in as well: "Football might be more dangerous than boxing. They gotta fight 10-11 guys instead of 1... But there is no time out in boxing.
And he also referenced his beef with HBO, who he thinks tried to force him from the game before he was ready, when he said: "I'm in the Showtime business today and will be in the Showtime business after Saturday night."
FLOYD ARRESTED, RELEASED Las Vegas police arrested Floyd Mayweather Jr. late Thursday, in a casino. The pop stems from misdemeanor battery warrant; Floyd got into a tussle, over parking tix, on Nov. 15, with a security guard who works in the gated community where he lives.
Mayweather was released Friday morning and looked to be in fine spirits in his mug shot. A TMZ staffer asked him, "Is it bad luck...or bad decisions?" The boxer answered, "This is life, baby, it's life," before climbing into a chauffeured Rolls.
Mayweather is awaiting a Jan. 24 court date in Clark County, Nev., for allegedly striking the mother of his three children, and threatening his kids, who were present at the time of the altercation. He faces 34 years in the pokey if convicted.
If you’re a boxing fan living in the West Coast than you should know who Johnny “Flash” Ortiz is and why he’s important in the sport of boxing.
Ortiz is best known for being the last owner of the world famous Main Street Gym in Los Angeles where hundreds of the best prizefighters to ever lace up gloves ventured into at one time or another. Think of any great Hall of Fame fighters in the last 90 years and they probably walked into the upstairs gym located on Main Street and Second Street. Fighters like Jack Johnson, Sugar Ray Robinson, Roberto Duran and Muhammad Ali were often seen hitting bags or each other in the now torn down facility.
The stories of those who boxed there would be enough, but Ortiz has plenty more to say. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ortiz is a virtual walking encyclopedia of the streets and sights of L.A. from the 1950s to the present. Throughout the book he paints a picture of what L.A. was like including its icons like gangster Mickey Cohen, actresses Dorothy Lamour and Lynda Carter and his days as a barkeep and actor. Ortiz met all of these people and has some interesting things to say.
Ortiz later worked as a boxing columnist on radio as recent as seven years ago and interviewed many of the best boxers from the 90s and early 2000s.
As an actor he appeared in the movie “Play It To the Bone” that featured Woody Harrelson and Antonio Banderas. Very few people know L.A. like Ortiz. And very few people are as well liked as Ortiz who has been a familiar face on the boxing scene for many decades.
To purchase a copy of Johnny Ortiz book My Life Among the Icons, priced at $34.95, go to www.Amazon.com Extraordinary Women of the Ring
It features loads of photos and stories compiled by Mary Ann Lurie Owen a photographer based in Las Vegas. For decades Owen has perched ringside taking photos of hundreds of big time boxing and mixed martial arts cards.
She knows the business of prizefighting.
One business that few know is the world of female professional boxing. No one else in recent times has tabulated anything similar to this book
All of the best known and best quality female prizefighters are in this book. From Laila Ali to Vaia Zaganas you’ll find photos of them in this soft cover book of 270 pages filled with large photos of various boxers.
Owen also interviewed most of the women. My favorite quote comes from Amazing Layla McCarter who said “Boxing is not just a sport…it’s a way of life.”
Nothing could be truer.
The book has a lot of great facts and anecdotes including records of the many fighters she talks about. Fighters from the 1970s to the present fill the book with a lot of unknown facts. If you think you know boxing then take a look at this book and you’ll discover a whole new world.
Women’s boxing has been virtually underground but for those who’ve actually seen several female prize fights, it’s a sport that can actually hook a fan more readily than any other female sport. One thing that separates female boxing from the other sports is the intensity they battle. Most times they fight more savagely than the guys. This is not exaggeration.
This book is not exaggeration. It’s a must buy at $34.95. To purchase a copy of this must read book go to www.kiroed.com Gentleman of the Ring: The Bert Colima Story
Unless you’re a serious boxing buff the name Bert Colima may sound familiar but would not register any bells. It’s understandable because the boxer from Whittier, California fought from 1919 to 1933 in a total of 200 professional bouts. Yes you read that correctly.
Colima, a middleweight, was one of the early Mexican-American attractions to bring fans to the arenas like Vernon Arena, Hollywood Legion Stadium and Olympic Auditorium. In those fight venues he clashed with fights like Mickey Walker, Kid Mexico, and Ace Hudkins.
The book was written by Colima’s son Bert Colima Jr. who grew up meeting many of the boxing people while tagging along with his father. The son, who is now in his 70s, performed some impressive research digging into library vaults and archives to investigate the boxing past of his father.
How popular was Colima Sr. as a fighter?
Colima sold out arenas on his name alone and not only in Los Angeles, but in Tucson, Oakland and Mexico City.
Though few people remain who actually saw Colima fight, I did track down one many who saw the Whittier boxer ply his trade.
“He was a fancy Dan,” said Leonard Castillon, 95, who saw him fight while a youngster at the Hollywood Legion. “Lots of people liked to see him fight. Lots of movie stars liked him.”
Colima drew crowds wherever he fought and not simply for is abundant skill, but also because he was one of the most beloved boxers in the Los Angeles area. Even after he fought people remembered Colima fondly.
Another fact few know about Colima was that it was not his actual name. His real name was Epifanio Romero. A relative of his is named Ralph Romero and is the founder of the very popular and important amateur tournaments called the Desert Showdown that’s held annually in Coachella.
Boxing runs deep in the Romero family.
Recently Colima Jr. was awarded Historian of the Year by the WBC Legends of Boxing Museum.
The paperback book is priced at $14.06 and can be purchased at: www.Amazon.com
Toy Tiger (DVD)
Outside of the Southwest few ever saw Art Hafey also known as “Toy Tiger.” Its not because he fought primarily in California but also because the Irish-Scottish fighter was actually Canadian.
Brad Little’s documentary was voted Best Documentary of the San Diego Indiefest and it’s one of those nuggets you don’t often find especially in sports. Once you slip the DVD in and play it you won’t want to stop it for anything.
Hafey was a pint-sized featherweight with a middleweight punch who fought in the featherweight wars of California when other pocket destroyers roamed the landscape like Ruben Olivares, Bobby Chacon and Danny “Little Red” Lopez were tearing up the less talented pugilists.
The film has wonderful clips of some of those fights and the knockouts recorded were spectacular jump out of your seat variety.
Though very, very talented, Hafey is another one of those captivating prizefighters who never got a shot at being a world champion. Footage of the fighter shows him recently as he discusses his plight as a former prizefighter and his honest approach to life.
Overall the documentary is wonderfully made and extremely accurate on the California fight scene. There are several fights recorded of the muscular Hafey who was built for power. If you like watching knockouts then you’ll love the examples of what one man’s punch can do when gifted like the Toy Tiger.
The film runs about 70 minutes and cost $19.95. To purchase a copy go to: www.toytigermovie.com
I’ve seen it three times and loved it each viewing.
The Last Boxing Fan
As you read Pedro Reyna’s book you get the idea that it began as a complaint about something that just got under his skin so he began to write a little something on it. Little by little it got longer and longer. Until the moment came when he decided to that it could be a book. And here we are.
It’s very well organized and pieces together all of his gripes about the sport and how he feels the true era of boxing happened a couple of decades ago. One thing that does come across is he has a definite love for the sport. Reyna has an obsession for pro boxing and who can blame him.
His Northern California family all has a great love for boxing and Reyna is not ashamed to talk about it. Like many boxing fans sometimes spouses wonder who comes first? The sport and the wife? Or maybe the husband in the case of women?
It’s a good read and boxing fans will find they agree with most everything. They should. It’s written by a real boxing fan.
The price is $14.95 for the paperback and it’s available by going to: www.amazon.com
FEBRUARY 19 at MANDALAY BAY in LAS VEGAS LIVE on HBO BOXING AFTER DARK
Tickets Go On Sale Next Thursday! December 23 at Noon PT
LAS VEGAS, NEV (December 17, 2010) – Las Vegas hosts its first world title fight of 2011 when World Bantamweight Champion FERNANDO “Cochulito” MONTIEL defends his title against two-division world champion NONITO “The Filipino Flash” DONAIRE, in the latest chapter of the storied México-Philippines rivalry, Saturday, February 19, at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zanfer Promotions, the Montiel-Donaire world title tilt will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark, beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast.) The broadcast will open with undefeated NABO/NABA/WBC Continental Americas welterweight champion MIKE JONES defending his titles against Top-10 contender JESUS SOTO-KARASS in a rematch of their exciting battle which took place on November 13 under the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito pay-per-view extravaganza.
Looking for a great last-minute Christmas gift? Yule love this!Tickets to Montiel vs. Donaire, priced at $250, $125, $50 and $25, not including applicable service charges, go on-sale Next Thursday! December 23, at Noon PT. They can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Mandalay Bay at (877) 632-7400 or Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.mandalaybay.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
Montiel (43-2-2, 33 KOs), of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, México, is only the fourth Méxican fighter to win world titles in three different weight divisions, joining Hall of Famer-elect Julio César Chávez and future Hall of Fame inductees Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera. Undefeated since 2006, eight of Montiel’s last ten victories (eight were world title fights) have been by stoppage.
Donaire (25-1, 17 KOs), a native of General Santos City, Philippines, now living in the Bay Area of San Leandro, Calif., is a consensus top-10 pound for pound fighter. He enters this fight riding a nine-year, 24-bout winning streak, which includes an IBF/IBO flyweight title knockout victory of defending champion Vic Darchinyan, and a fourth-round blasting of former WBA bantamweight champion Wladimir Sidorenko in his last fight on December 4.Nine of Donaire’s last 10 victories have come by way of knockout.
Co-promoted by Peltz Boxing, Jones and Soto-Karass return for an immediate rematch of their November 13 brawl. After Jones decked Soto-Karass in the second round, Soto-Karass came back to almost pull out the victory in a fight most ringside fans and media thought could have gone either way. In fact, Jones’ second-round knockdown of Soto-Karass provided Jones the one-point margin for a razor-thin majority decision victory instead of a Draw. The judges’ scores were 95-94, 97-93 and 94-94.
Jones (23-0, 18 KOs), of Philadelphia, PA., has been attracting rabid fans to his fights in the friendly confines of Atlantic City and Philadelphia. He took on his biggest challenge on the biggest stage he has ever fought on when he tangled with Soto-Karass, successfully defending his titles and adding the vacant WBC Continental Americas welterweight title. Considered one of the hottest prospects in boxing, six of his last nine victories have come by knockout. Victories over Brazilian strongman Juliano Ramos, Henry Bruseles, ending his five-year winning streak, Hector Muñoz and Irving Garcia, have catapulted Jones to the top of the WBA welterweight ratings. He’s also rated No. 2 by the WBO, No. 3 by the IBF and No. 4 by the WBC.
Soto-Karass (24-5-3, 16 KOs), of Los Mochis, México, boasts an impressive 13-2-2 (one No Contest) record, over his past 18 fights, dating back to 2005. The only other blemish was a sixth-round technical loss to Alfonso Gomez last year. Highlights of that period include knockout victories of former world champion Vince Phillips and undefeated contender Michael Rosales in WBC Continental Americas welterweight title fights in 2006 and contender David Estrada for the vacant NABF welterweight championship in 2008. He is currently world-rated No. 8 by the WBC.
Doors will open at 4:00 p.m. PT with the first bell at 4:30 p.m. PT. The HBO-televised fights will begin at 6:45 p.m. PT.
A pair of Ivy League graduates, Nate Houghteling and Kai Hasson, aim to prove that point and more when they meet on Friday in Berkeley at Westwind Boxing Gym and show off the skills they’ve accumulated along the way by some notable professional trainers, boxers and conditioning coaches.
The White Collar Brawler fight will be streamed live on the Internet at twenty dollars a pop. It begins at 7 p.m.
Just recently one of the 26-year-old combatants added brunette bombshell Ana Julaton to his corner and that might be the edge Houghteling needs to beat his foe and friend Hasson.
If you don’t know Julaton she is more than a pretty face. She has two world title belts tucked away as proof of her expertise in the art of boxing. The Daly City prizefighter is a force in the world of female boxing and now she’s sharing her secrets.
“Nate is the fighter I will be working with on Friday. So far he’s been doing very well. He’s a great students and open to try new things,” said Julaton by telephone. “I feel lucky he has that desire to learn. It’s been a blast.”
It’s all fun and games for the Ivy Leaguers but one thing they both have learned quickly is that absorbing punches is part of the sport and to survive taking more blows than necessary you better learn more than the other guy.
“I didn’t know how I was going to respond to getting punched in the face. Taking the first few punches I realized it wasn’t the end of the world,” said Houghteling, who graduated from Harvard University. “If you kept on attacking you get even stronger.”
Hasson is a graduate of Yale. Even their universities are rivals. But both friendly foes emanate from a world of creating web shows. Just recently Houghteling left Angelo Moreno’s gym to train with Team Julaton. Moreno, though merely training Hasson, takes the challenge seriously now and wants a win for his gym.
It’s kind of like one of those old kung fu movies where one dojo challenges another for respect. Houghteling trains at Julaton’s gym.
Working a daily grind even if it’s a cushy white collar job can be an arduous and uninspiring task. These guys developed the idea of White Collar Brawler that has sprung into a video cast that draws millions of viewers including mixed martial arts giant BJ Penn.
“It doesn’t matter who wins or loses,” says Penn, whose MMA battles in Ultimate Fighting Championship are legendary.
Both rivals have trained for weeks perfecting their boxing skills from the basic stance to the combinations and foot movements.
“If anyone wants to become a boxer it’s being able to control themselves. In boxing you can make only so many mistakes,” said Julaton who had Houghteling doing double sessions. “I want Nate to be comfortable with the jab he has and the footwork he has. He can’t get there unless he’s able to relax his mind.”
Angelo Reyes, who is part of Team Julaton, predicts an easy victory for Houghteling. His remarks on video have pumped up rival Hasson and his supporters. The war of words has begun with each predicting mass destruction.
Still, the final test will be when they actually step in the ring and trade punches with each other. Who will get the “A” and who will get the lesser grade?
As Churchill might’ve said, it was Ward’s finest hour; though boxing purists feel it heresy that his epic wars with Arturo Gatti are overlooked in THE FIGHTER; director David O. Russell’s tight lens on Ward’s scabrous relationship with his glass-on-a-blackboard family ‘n brutal slog to be champion.
To satisfy gym rats, there’s not enough money in the treasury to cover parking for a movie that long, ‘n a History Channel documentary doesn’t sell tickets.
THE FIGHTER is no more a niche picture for boxing fans than RAGING BULL. It’s a fiercely compelling 115-minute labor of love, with a brilliant ensemble cast etching indelible characters striking sparks. Capra characters they’re not, ‘n Lowell’s not Bedford Falls.
Mark Wahlberg, at the heart, as Micky Ward -- sans goatee -- has the mien, the muscles and Micky’s trademark fight-ending left hooks to the head and liver.
When ya wanna shout, “COME ON, MICKY! PUNCH BACK! DON’T LET’EM HITYA LIKE THAT,” it’s because Wahlberg’s agonized everyman makes ya wanna root for him.
Christian Bale’s mercurial turn as Dickie Eklund, Micky’s delusional older step brother/come trainer, is an operatic tour de force. Melissa Leo doesn’t shy from playing Micky’s mother like the allies storming Normandy and Amy Adams, very much against type, is her match, as Charlene, Micky’s feisty girlfriend, ‘n rock, who’s quick to say the king’s naked ‘n never shrinks from a fight.
Even the smallest bit parts are scrupulously cast; the topography of their faces saving pages of back-story. Stuntman Anthony Molanari looks the real deal as Shea Neary, making the crucial bout so exciting.
Russell’s no paint-by-the-numbers storyboard director. Always with a firm grip on story, he’s in the moment, tryin’ to catch lightening in a bottle. His scenes crackle with life. Not hyperbolic Hollywood.
So, if you’re looking for a riveting gristle-n-bone, raucous, entertaining movie-movie with heart, THE FIGHTER delivers.