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 Ecklund, 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’ Dickie is 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-mothed 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 Ecklund 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 Edklund 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 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.
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 won that fight because his scumbag brother was back in his corner? Or in spite of it?
Bob Arum told the media earlier Tuesday that Chavez had contracted the flu and will be replaced by Mexico’s Jose Pinzon (18-1-1, 12 KOs) who will meet Poland’s Pawel Wolak (27-1, 17 KOs) in the main event of the talented fight card this Saturday Dec. 4. The Top Rank fight card takes place at the Honda Center and will be televised on pay-per-view.
Arum said that Chavez tried to stay on the card but after a regular workout he had his temperature taken and it raced past the 100 mark. Anyone who bought tickets and wants their money back is free to do so.
The bout between Pinzon and Wolak is not nearly as attractive as Chavez and Alfonso Gomez but there are still many other very interesting bouts remaining.
Former flyweight world champion Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire (24-1, 16 KOs) fights former bantamweight world titleholder Volodymyr Sydorenko (22-2-2, 7 KOs) for an interim version of the WBA bantamweight title.
“Sydorenko is a very tough guy. He is very experienced and he knows how to win as well,” says Donaire.“He is there to bring his name up as well in beating me.”
Sydorenko of the Ukraine held the title for three years and made six successful title defenses. That’s no easy feat.
“He has a different style than I have seen,” says Donaire, whose style is also rather different too.
Donaire has been unable to fight a credible opponent that regular fans want to see. Money kept him from a rematch with Vic Darchinyan who wanted equal money. That was not going to happen because Donaire is guaranteed a certain amount. He wasn’t going to give up his half to Darchinyan. I don’t blame him.
Whoever wins has been promised a date with current WBC and WBO bantamweight titleholder Fernando Montiel of Mexico on Feb. 19. Montiel is fresh off his victory of Japan’s Hozumi Hasegawa who just beat Mexico’s Juan Carlos Burgos by decision. Recently, Montiel has reloaded and no longer employs a safety-first style that bored fans to tears. Donaire and Montiel would be a firecracker of a fight. If Donaire wins on Saturday.
Soto and Antillon
Mexico’s Humberto Soto (53-7-2, 32 KOs), the WBC lightweight world titleholder, defends against Maywood’s talented Urbano Antillon (28-1, 20 KOs).
Both Soto and Antillon met each other before and hit it off. That usually means it’s going to be a war in the ring.
“I tried not to like him but he’s a good guy,” said Antillon. “It’s business.”
Soto has been hanging around at the top for a number of years. His problem is he doesn’t have dynamite in his hands. But Antillon does.
Antillon is another fighter who has been hanging around for years never really getting a chance. Two years ago he was unbeatable but was never given a shot at one of the titleholders. He finally got one but it came against a southpaw with speed and power. He just can’t seem to get a break.
Soto and Antillon could be the fight of the year.
Other fights on the card include Riverside’s undefeated featherweight Miguel Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) facing Olivier Lontchi (18-1-2, 8 KOs); and Indio’s Gabino Saenz in his second pro fight.
Fights on television
Fri. Showtime, 11:00 p.m., Lateef Kayode (14-0) vs. Ed Perry (18-4-2).
Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Pablo Cano (20-0-1) vs. Noe Bolanos (21-5-1).
Sat. pay-per-view, 6 p.m., Julio Cesar Chavez (41-0-1) vs. Pawel Wolak (27-1); Nonito Donaire (24-1) vs. Volodymyr Sydorenko (22-2-2); Humberto Soto (53-7-2) vs. Urbano Antillon (28-1); Miguel Garcia (23-0) vs. Olivier Lontchi (18-1-2).
World Boxing Council No. 1-ranked heavyweight contender Ray Austin (28-4-4, 18 KOs) was dismissive of his opponent, Odlanier Solis (16-0, 12 KOs), who never lost a major tournament as an amateur, won gold at the Olympics in 2004 and who remains undefeated as a professional while currently ranked No. 2 by the WBC.
“I don’t see anything about Solis that impresses me, the towering 6-foot-6-inch Austin said while toweling off in the ring. “I’ve seen the guys he has fought, and it looks like they came to lose. It’s going to be different for him when he’s got a man in front of him that’s willing to do anything to win.
“This ain’t amateur boxing, it’s professional boxing. You score points in the amateurs with fast hands. Now Solis is in the big leagues. You’ve got to take it to a new level.
It was clear after Solis entered the ring and began throwing fast, heavy-handed punches that anyone who underestimates this heavyweight does so at their own risk. His longtime promoter, Ahmet Oner of Arenasports Promotion, added fuel to that fire.
“I honestly believe we are looking at the greatest heavyweight in the world right now, and I’ve been with him for his entire professional career, Oner said while Solis went about his ring business in the same fashion a carpenter throws his hammer.
“This is my job and I take it very seriously, Solis said. “I’m not a boxing fan. This is my work. I don’t watch tape on Ray Austin or Vitali Klitschko. I don’t watch any tape of my opponents. I just focus on doing my job to the best of my abilities.
Resolute in the task at hand, Solis added, “I want to knock out Ray Austin on Dec. 17 and then take on Vitali Klitschko on March 17. I am going to show many new things I have learned during this training camp.
Solis was rejoined last year with trainer Pedro Luis Diaz, the man that guided him during one of the more successful amateur careers in boxing history and has also coached 21 Cuban gold medalists in his career. (Diaz treated the media—and Miami Beach onlookers in shorts—to an unusual training regimen whereby both Solis and WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal, whom Diaz is training to fight Bernard Hopkins on Dec. 18, hit the training mitts in the ring at the same time.)
Solis has weighed as much as 271 pounds but has said he expects to be closer to 250 for this fight.
“My weight is not any matter, Solis said. “I am in shape. Look at me. I’m not even breathing hard. I’m comfortable at this weight. I’m not even thinking about weight, only my conditioning.
The always colorful former three-time world champion Ricardo Mayorga participated in a spirited workout before sharing some new insights that indicate he may be taking seriously what could be his last chance to get in line for another title shot.
“I learned a lot in the last two years, Mayorga said of being away from the ring. “I have found peace. On December 17, I will show you a new Mayorga. I give special thanks to Don King and his staff for staying with me.
“I don’t think I will be hurt by my recent two-year layoff. I don’t think it will be an issue. I actually think it has helped me. I’m training very hard and I feel great. We’ve done great work in the gym. I feel strong. I plan to win by knockout.
Mayorga added, “I want to fight at 154 pounds. Cotto, Pacquiao, any of them will do. I can beat the Filipino. If his preference is to fight me, I’m ready. Pacquiao gave an opportunity to Margarito, and he could do the same for me.
(Special Note: Legendary trainer Angelo Dundee, who, with his brother Chris made the 5th St. Gym in Miami Beach one of the most memorable boxing haunts in history, planned to attend these media workouts but suffered a broken hip over the Thanksgiving holiday. Subsequent surgery has him on the mend, and Don King and everyone at Don King Productions wishes to send our best to Angelo—a gem of a person—for a speedy recovery.)
Ray Austin (WBC No. 1-Ranked Heavyweight): “This ain’t amateur boxing, it’s professional boxing. You score points in the amateurs with fast hands. Now Solis is in the big leagues. You’ve got to take it to a new level.
“I don’t see anything about Solis that impresses me. I’ve seen the guys he has fought, and it looks like they came to lose. It’s going to be different for him when he’s got a man in front of him that’s willing to do anything to win.
Odlanier Solis (WBC No. 2-ranked heavyweight and 2004 Cuban Olympic heavyweight gold medalist): “My weight is not any matter. I am in shape. Look at me. I’m not even breathing hard. I’m comfortable at this weight. I’m not even thinking about weight, only my conditioning.
“This is my job and I take it very seriously. I’m not a fan. This is my work. I don’t watch tape on Ray Austin or Vitali Klitschko. I don’t watch any tape of my opponents. I just focus on doing my job to the best of my abilities.
“I want to knock out Ray Austin on Dec. 17 and then take on Vitali Klitschko on March 17. I am going to show many new things I have learned during this training camp.
Ahmet Oner (co-promoter of Odlanier Solis): “I honestly believe we are looking at the greatest heavyweight in the world right now, and I’ve been with him for his entire professional career.
Ricardo Mayorga (former three-time world champion now campaigning at middleweight): “I’m training very hard and I feel great. We’ve done great work in the gym. I feel strong. I plan to win by knockout.
“I learned a lot in the last two years. I have found peace. On December 17, I will show you a new Mayorga. I give special thanks to Don King and his staff for staying with me.
“I don’t think I will be hurt by my recent two-year layoff. I don’t think it will be an issue. I actually think it has helped me.
“I want to fight at 154 pounds. Cotto, Pacquiao, any of them will do. I can beat the Filipino. If his preference is to fight me, I’m ready. Pacquiao gave an opportunity to Margarito, and he could do the same for me.
“Everybody knows Cotto is from Puerto Rico. Cotto is nobody for me. I’m not afraid of anyone. I’ll go to Puerto Rico and fight Cotto there.
"I have no problem fighting in Canada. I am at my best when I walk into another guy's home. If he is good, I have to be super good.
"There is no magic trick to this. December 18 you are going to see me win this fight. Not just go the distance, but win by TKO or stoppage.
"I get a chance to be the oldest fighter in history to win a title. I get to continue to make history. How many times can an athlete do that?
"Winning is the most important thing. This is the playoffs. There is no tomorrow. No excuse. I am not going to embarrass myself.
"A lot of people believe that I can and will win this fight."
On Jean Pascal:
"There is added pressure for him when you fight in your home. You get nervous because you don't want to disappoint.
"A young guy like Pascal brings confidence to the table. He is confident. He is the champion.
"Pascal challenged me. Pascal called me out. He is risking his belt, and I am going to make him wish he hadn't.
"Being young is a blessing. Having a young mind, young body, but you don't look at things the way an accomplished person does.
"Either I am in trouble or he [Pascal] is in trouble. If they have told him the truth about me and my abilities, he is in trouble.
"Pascal called my name. The pressure is more on him than on me.
"I am going to dissect this guy. I am going to take him apart. Take him out of his comfort zone.
"I have to show that this guy is talented, but show a different level of education on my part. I am going to do the opposite of everything he does."
"Training when you are older, you do get aches and pains that you didn't experience. You get up at 6am when you don't have to. That is the trickery of fighting at this age. It is a psychological thing. A mental thing that comes with experience.
"I love training in my hometown. People love you, protect you and respect you. People see me and I don't have to have body guards. I am the most approachable athlete who has ever walked this land.
"Boxing is mental. The car doesn't run the engine, the engine runs the car. The wear and tear have not taken their toll on my intellect.
"Once you get old, your worst enemy is youth. Ask some housewives that. Ask some corporate guys that, but every once in a while you get something different...and that is me. I am the most health conscious, clean-living person on earth."
NAAZIM RICHARDSON, Hopkins' Trainer
"Bernard is a historian. I see additional motivation in him. He is very interested in increasing the quality of his legacy and that is what this fight will do.
"Jean Pascal has physical ability, but you can't measure a man's ambition just by watching his past fights.
"Froch was able to meet and exceed Pascal's level of ambition, and that is what Bernard can do as well."
Broadway Boxing returns tomorrow, December 1, featuring unbeatens Gabriel Bracero and Javier Fortuna in separate bouts Don’t get shut out! Purchase your tickets now!
(November 30, 2010 – New York, NY) New York City fight fans looking for some seasons beating are in luck at Broadway Boxing returns to the BB King Blues Club tomorrow night with a action-packed eight bout card that is nearly sold out. In the main event, undefeated fan favorite Gabriel Bracero (12-0, 1 KO) will face the stiffest test of his career in 28 fight veteran Hector Alatore.
DiBella Entertainment’s Broadway Boxing is presented by AT&T: Think Possible, the Dominican Republic: It Has It All, and Latinoboxing.com: The #1 Latino Boxing Site. Tickets for Broadway Boxing are on sale now through DiBella Entertainment, and start at only $55. Tickets can be purchased by calling DiBella Entertainment at (212) 947-2577.
In a special attraction in the co-main event, unbeaten Dominican bomber Javier Fortuna (12-0, 9 KOs) faces his toughest test to date in New Jersey slickster Victor Valenzuela (8-0, 1 KO). Also on the undercard are some of the most popular pugilists from the New York region: heavyweight Tor Hamer (12-1, 9 KOs), welterweight Alex Perez (12-0, 7 KOs), heavyweight Sonya Lamonakis (2-0, 1 KO), junior middleweight Steven Martinez (6-0, 6 KOs), and junior middleweight Delen Parsley, Jr. (3-0, 2 KOs).
Bracero, 29, of Brooklyn, is coming off a win in his first ever Broadway Boxing main event, winning a clear eight round decision over Terry Buterbaugh. Bracero is known for his all action style, only matched in intensity by the spirit his rabid fans base brings to each of his fights.
Fortuna, 20, of La Romana, Dominican Republic, is making his US debut after reeling off 12 straight wins to begin his career, including six first round knockouts. Brought to America by famed advisor, promoter, and talent evaluator Sampson Lewkowicz, Fortuna is looking to win over the New York City fight crowd.
Hamer, 27, of New York, NY, is back to his winning ways after starching experienced veteran Terrell Nelson in just one round in October on Broadway Boxing. He’s looking forward to racking up another win as he awaits an opportunity to avenge his controversial split decision loss in May to Kelvin Price.
Perez, 28, of Jersey City, NJ is making his DiBella Entertainment debut. With 12 wins already under his belt, Perez is on the fast track to big opportunity in the near future.
Lamonakis, 35, of New York, NY, is a school teacher by day, and by night a fighter who uses the ring a classroom for her opponents. This will mark the third appearance on Broadway Boxing for Lamonakis this year.
Martinez, 20, of Bronx, NY, is one of the latest additions to the DiBella Entertainment stable. Managed by New York Giants running back, Brandon Jacobs, the young junior middleweight is surrounding himself with people who know what it takes to be a champion. Martinez will look to keep his perfect knockout percentage intact in his second Broadway Boxing outing.
Parsley, 22, of Brooklyn, NY, is a former amateur standout and son of famed Gleason’s trainer Delen “Blimp” Parsley, who doubles as his trainer. Parsley will be making his Broadway Boxing debut.
Tickets for Broadway Boxing are on sale now through DiBella Entertainment, and start at only $55. VIP Ringside tickets are $125, Floor Seat tickets are $75, and General Admission tickets are $55. Tables for groups of 5 are also available. Tickets can be purchased by calling DiBella Entertainment: (212) 947-2577, and more information can be obtained by visiting www.dbe1.com.
Live on SHOWTIME® at 11:05 p.m. ET from Santa Ynez, Calif. Lateef “Power” Kayode figures it’s just a matter of time before he is stopped by a stranger beyond the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Vine near where he lives and is recognized for knocking people out in the ring.
NEW YORK (Nov. 30, 2010) – Lateef “Power” Kayode figures it’s just a matter of time before he is stopped by a stranger beyond the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Vine near where he lives and is recognized for knocking people out in the ring.
The Top-10 world-ranked undefeated cruiserweight and Freddie Roach-trained Kayode (14-0, 13 KOs) is on the verge of breakout stardom and SHOWTIME® boxing fans will have another chance to catch this rising star on ShoBox: The New Generation, Friday, Dec. 3, LIVE on SHOWTIME® (11:05 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif.
“I get recognized around my neighborhood but I want the world to know me now,” said the 6-foot-2, 27-year-old Kayode from Lagos, Nigeria, who will fight savvy veteran Ed “The Georgia Thumper” Perry (17-4-2, 10 KOs) of Frankfort, Ind., in a 10-round cruiserweight main event. “The more people who know me the better. Hopefully they will stop me now and say, ‘Hey, I saw you knock that guy out on SHOWTIME.’ ”
In the co-feature former Cuban Olympian Luis “La Estrella” Franco (7-0, 5 KOs) also continues to make a name for himself when he faces Eric “Outlaw” Hunter (15-1, 8 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight bout.
Having a world-class trainer like Roach in your corner doesn’t hurt a young fighter’s budding profile. Some boxing experts have tabbed Kayode, who is managed by Hollywood writer and director Steven Feder and promoted by Gary Shaw, one of the most intriguing cruiserweight prospects the division has seen in years who only lacks a little bit of seasoning. Roach, who trains the world’s best fighter Manny Pacquiao and Kayode at the famed Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, has been working with Kayode for almost two years.
Roach will once again be in Kayode’s corner on Friday night. “Lateef has been blessed with a natural gift of power,” said Roach, who was named Trainer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2009. “He will fight for a world title someday. I’m not sure when but he will get that shot. That’s what we’re working for everyday.”
As far as adjusting to the new-found fame, Roach said some fighters handle the limelight better than others. “He seems to really embrace the notoriety and wants to be well-known. Like so many things, it just comes naturally to him.”
The WBC ranked No. 6 and WBO No. 8-ranked Kayode is coming off a sixth-round technical knockdown against Epifanio Mendoza on a ShoBox undercard fight Oct. 15 at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla. It was the 12th consecutive knockout for the fighter dubbed “Power” who has continued to step up his opposition and went the deepest (sixth round) he has ever gone in his pro career in his last fight.
“Freddie’s been with Lateef since his third fight,” said Feder. “We’re not calling Lateef a world champion yet or watching tape of the Steve Cunninghams or the other top fighters in the division. We’re just paying attention to the fight that’s in front of us.
“Activity is one thing Gary (Shaw) has brought us. We needed rounds. We needed experience. We were never telling him to get the early knockdown. We were looking for experience. We don’t walk in there telling him to knock the guy out. If he has to go the distance he has to know he’s OK there. I don’t put it in his head that he’s the knockout champion. Freddie jokes with him all the time and tells him there’s no belt for knockouts. There’s only one belt and that’s for the world title.”
Added Kayode, who fought his first 10 fights as a heavyweight, “Some people think I go into the ring to knock the guy out. I don’t. I go into box. Of course everyone wants to see the knockout but I have to be patient and know it will come when it comes.”
In Perry, Kayode will face a veteran who is days away from turning 35 and a six-year professional who is undefeated in his last nine fights (7-0-1, 1 NSF). His last loss was by a six-round split decision against former accomplished amateur Nicolai Firtha in February, 2007.
“When it comes to experience, I think I’ve got him beat hands down,” Perry said of Kayode. “Me seeing what Lateef can do and knowing what I can do, this should be a good SHOWTIME fight for everybody. That’s what we are – entertainers. It should be a good test for him. I’ve had a few tests, so I know what it takes. I know how a real test feels, too.”
Kayode learned to fight on the mean streets of the Surulere district of Lagos after being bullied. He would go on to become the top Nigerian amateur heavyweight, winning gold medals in Pan-African competitions in Ghana, Morocco and Algeria. He tried to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games but missed the competition and decided to turn pro instead.
Feder says Kayode has what it takes to make it all the way and he couldn’t be happier leading the young man’s career. He predicts it won’t be long now before he is known the world over and not just in Hollywood. “Even the cops in town know who he is,” Feder said. “He could talk his way out of a ticket around there now. He’s a real likable kid. Inside the ring I wouldn’t want to be in there with him but outside he’s just a really great kid.”
Franco, currently ranked No. 13 in the IBF, is hoping his career can go the same way as it has for his former Cuban Olympic teammate and countryman Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who recently won the WBA junior featherweight title on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito undercard in just his seventh professional fight.
Franco had more than 400 amateur fights and was 2-2 in the amateur ranks against former teammate Yuriorkis Gamboa. He also has a winning record against another former teammate Erislandy Lara, a fast-rising junior middleweight.
Franco defected in 2009 and currently lives in Miami. He is coming off his best win as a pro in his last fight on Sept. 17 on ShoBox -- an eight-round decision win against Wilton Hilario.
He is managed by Henry Foster, who also manages SHOWTIME Super Six World Boxing Classic semifinalist Glen Johnson. “This will be his first 10-round fight, but we’ve always trained as if we’re fighting 10 rounds,” Foster said. “His conditioning won’t be a problem.”
Foster said he planned to retire from the sport when Johnson quit fighting, but Franco has given him a new lease on his career calling him “the best boxing talent I have ever encountered at this early of a stage.”
“The chance to manage Franco kept me in the game,” Foster added. “Luis has great ring generalship acquired through over 400 fights. He has hand speed equal to or better than anyone else in his weight class. He is extremely elusive and hits without getting hit in return. He has no fear and will fight any opponent. All together, he’s just the whole package. I feel Luis Franco will challenge for a world title in 2011, possibly by his 10th or 11th fight.”
Hunter, 24, is a Philadelphia fighter who has won 10 fights in a row since his only loss in January, 2007. In that fight he lost a six-round split decision against Carlos Vinan but said after the fight that he broke his hand in the first round.
The event is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions.
Curt Menefee will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver serving as expert analysts. Gordon Hall is the executive producer of ShoBox with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Except for a few dozen well lubricated UK blokes, therewas basically no applause from most of the crowd at the final bell.
Hartwall Arena, built into parts of a small mountain with some of the stone remaining as a frame, emptied immediately. The fight didnt start until almost 1am, so there was relatively little time for the still party hungry crowd to get back to the central metro area for 4am last call.
4am in much smaller Helsinki appears to be much more of a party scene than Times Square after midnight. There was talk around the frosty pre-dawn grills and kiosks aboutboxing, but it concerned undercard fighter Robert Helenius.
The postfight press conference took place in an actual cave. A primal sport indeed.
It wasnt a good fight for the crowd or the TV, but it was right for me.I did what I had to do to win, mused Frochafterward with slight swelling around his left eye. We came here today and executed the game plan we worked on for so long. We just sat back behind the tactics tonight, the jab then the straight right hand. Welet him come to me. There were a couple of times theold Carl Froch wanted to steam in and start whaling away with combinations, (but) in my corner Robert McCracken was screaming to back off which is dead right, because thats when you get hit, you walk into a shot.
One of the most acclaimed, glamorous pastimes in this popular destination isan opera company literally and figuratively near the top of the globe. A mainverse his weekendtranslated to something like Stop chiming you merciless bells, before you drive me mad. Round after round, Abraham had the same blank, desperatelook as the previous nights tenor, except for Abraham it wasnt acting. Abraham was a maestro who lost his voice, a slugger without a punch.
I dont understand what went wrong, said Abraham in a way that suggested frustration over ineffectivenessbothered him more than Froch had. Then again, it was Froch who caused the frustration.
Abrahamlooked almost completely lost in the ringfrom the third frame on. A couple rounds were even, but it mightas well have been a unanimous shutout. Talk about a reality check.
My German is far from evenpassable vocabularycomprehension, but the way Abrahams trainer Ulli Wegner growled, it seems quite possible therewill be a shake up in that camp, which would be unusual for the standard promotional/team based coaching model here.
Showtime Boxing came to this icy panorama of colorful customized snow suits and funky facial hair and established a major presence. There was extensive multi-media coverage, with prominent listing in the many international tourist guidebooks and plenty of Scandinavian TV coverage.
It isntofficially an international bout involving an Englishman unless you get some drunken fool wrapped in the Union Jack disrupting the other National Anthems. This was official. Of course, when the flags are paradedby babes in florescent hot pink mini-shorts and fishnet stockings, what do you expect?
There were enough locals wearing paper crowns in honor of Arthur that it looked like Burger King had franchised thearea and added herring and reindeer to the menu.
It really all came down to Abraham failing to even make it look like he was trying forhis promisedfaster start than usual. This was a slower start than usual.
There was not much to choose from in the early going.Froch shuffled his hands as a prelude to right leads, Abraham followed the hand movement, then ate the follow ups. When Abrahamtried to double up and initiate exchanges, Froch beat him to the punch and Abraham backed off, or lunged with hooks that missed by two feet.
Body shots to the right seemed to hurt Abraham more than anything. By the 8th it was clear he needed a knockout. It was also clear he wouldnt get it.
In the 10th, Abraham connected with a few inconsequential gloves, but far too little too late.
Abraham looked extremely vulnerable in the 11th and let Froch push him around. Abraham went back to his corner a completely beaten fighter.
People were leaving before the final round. Prior to theverdict there was more interest and suspense about whether Frochs girlfriendmight pop out of her painted on dress as she held on to his arm and filmed the scene. Half the photographers wholeaned across the strands snapping awaywouldnt have noticed Froch if his head caught fire.
The Sweet Science saw the fight 120-110, scoring the first and third rounds even.
When security delayed Frochs uncredentialed Mum and entourage, you got insight as to where he inherited his grit. The verbal spat between Frochs relatives and the German guard was almost as entertaining as the fight.
A subdued Abraham appeared puffy around both eyes and seemedto grow more dejected as the press conference continuedwhile members of the Sauerlandgroup addressed the sad reality of their stars poor showing. At one point sonKalle Sauerland patted him affectionately and huggedAbrahams shoulders as if he were an emotionalyoungster needing to be consoled.
He deserved to win, hefought well tonight and I did not, offered Abraham, who seemed to already be soul searching for the answer to what transpiredhimself. I could not hit him or get control. Nothing I tried worked.There is really nothing else to say,
I will have to really think hard as to when was the last time that weve had such a one-sided defeat, even in the amateurs, reflected Wegner. I musttake my hat off to Froch, and congratulations to him and his trainer. Actually, he fought the way I wanted Arthur to fight. Froch was aggressive and threw punches so he obviously listened to his coach. We must accept the defeat and learn from it. I will evaluate what happened, but of course there will be a lot of thingsArthur and Ihave to speak about for the future.
While both sides showed class and abandoned their feud for good sportsmanship, the look on Abrahams slightly lumpedprofile indicated he probably got stung more at the podium than in the ring.
Despite our public disagreements maybe on a personal level, Ive always respected him as a fighterthought it was a superb display of boxing skills by Froch, said Sauerland. No excuses. Tonight was Carls night. Its a tournament, so it goes on for us.
This was not the same Arthurashe showedso farhis career, said promotional patriarch Wilfred Sauerland, I expected him to go all out more. He had a couple of delays, so maybe he was too long in training. He wasnt fit (to peak) when he should have been.
At the opening bell, outside temperatureread -13, or approximately 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Weather or not, Abraham froze.
Without beingdisrespectful to Abraham, because hes a very good fighter, very strong,I didnt even get out of second gear tonight, said Froch.
Before the obvious scoresgot announced folks in the seemingly pro-Abraham VIP area already cleared out. An hour earlier happy revelers in extravagant fursclutched Abraham souvenirs including signed miniature gloves, expensively bound glossed upbiography books, and DVD collections.
As the contest dragged along, the floor became symbolically littered with programs, lanyard badges and other trinkets.
Not much earliersuch keepsakes wereconsidered must-have accessories. They joined the paper crowns ona wine spilled floor, discarded trash from a disappointing fight, relative to the plunge in Abrahams stock.
I have no problem fighting in Canada. I am at my best when I walk into another guys home. If he is good, I have to be super good.
There is no magic trick to this. December 18 you are going to see me win this fight. Not just go the distance, but win by TKO or stoppage.
I get a chance to be the oldest fighter in history to win a title. I get to continue to make history. How many times can an athlete do that?
Winning is the most important thing. This is the playoffs. There is no tomorrow. No excuse. I am not going to embarrass myself.
A lot of people believe that I can and will win this fight.
On Jean Pascal:
There is added pressure for him when you fight in your home. You get nervous because you dont want to disappoint.
A young guy like Pascal brings confidence to the table. He is confident. He is the champion.
Pascal challenged me. Pascal called me out. He is risking his belt, and I am going to make him wish he hadnt.
Being young is a blessing. Having a young mind, young body, but you dont look at things the way an accomplished person does.
Either I am in trouble or he [Pascal] is in trouble. If they have told him the truth about me and my abilities, he is in trouble.
Pascal called my name. The pressure is more on him than on me.
I am going to dissect this guy. I am going to take him apart. Take him out of his comfort zone.
I have to show that this guy is talented, but show a different level of education on my part. I am going to do the opposite of everything he does.
Training when you are older, you do get aches and pains that you didnt experience. You get up at 6am when you dont have to. That is the trickery of fighting at this age. It is a psychological thing. A mental thing that comes with experience.
I love training in my hometown. People love you, protect you and respect you. People see me and I dont have to have body guards. I am the most approachable athlete who has ever walked this land.
Boxing is mental. The car doesnt run the engine, the engine runs the car. The wear and tear have not taken their toll on my intellect.
Once you get old, your worst enemy is youth. Ask some housewives that. Ask some corporate guys that, but every once in a while you get something different...and that is me. I am the most health conscious, clean-living person on earth.
NAAZIM RICHARDSON, Hopkins Trainer
Bernard is a historian. I see additional motivation in him. He is very interested in increasing the quality of his legacy and that is what this fight will do.
Jean Pascal has physical ability, but you cant measure a mans ambition just by watching his past fights.
Froch was able to meet and exceed Pascals level of ambition, and that is what Bernard can do as well.
The premium cablers offered up dueling cards, with HBO getting the nod, with their presentation of the masterful Mexican, Juan Manuel Marquez, who had to work his tail off to shoot down the challenge of the inspired Aussie, Michael Katsidis. They got an extra couple of points for showing Jason Litzaus shocker UD over Celestino Caballero, while fans of the brutal KO had their mouths watering at Andre Bertos perfect putdown of overmatched Freddy Hernandez.
No offense to Showtime...its not like they served up a bone dry turkey, lumpy gravy and burned crescent rolls. You had to admire Carl Frochs precise work against Arthur Abraham, who looked like he was in a tryptophan coma in the Super Six showdown. Andre Ward didnt leap up the P4P ladder with his win over mauling brawler Sakio Bika, but the revelation that his left index finger was busted going in to the bout helps us understand why he didnt use his jab to keep the Cameroonian from mugging him, round after round.
TSS Universe weighed in, with their typical salient points, offering the take of the average ultra informed Joe, and shared their thoughts on JMMs outing, the prospects for a third tangle with Pacquiao and much, much more. With a month to go in the year 2010, its looking like reader Brownsugar is out in front of the pack for TSS Reader of the Year, by the way. This is the top 12, in honor of the number of pieces of pecan and apple pie Ive eaten since Thursday.
12) Isaiah: I know one thing. Just because Andre Berto destroys a bum with a pretty record does not mean he beats Manny Pacquiao, but I still want to see that fight. Bertos youth, speed and slick style just may give Manny enough problems to wake him up out of this trance of beating on slow moving, coming forward giants. To be noted though, Miguel Cotto was and still is a good win no matter how you slice it and the size difference between Manny and Clottey or Margarito was unreal, but now its time for a whole new set of problems that Mannys not used to from Berto. Of course, only an idiot would say Juan Manuel Marquez isnt worthy for a 3rd fight, especially after that throwdown with Katsidis, but if that happens, it better be at 140 pounds and not a pound higher or Manny would be a COWARD for doing that to Juan. Dont listen to Freddie Roach, Manny! Dont pull a Floyd Mayweather! If you fight Marquez again, you fight him like a man at junior welterweight where there wouldnt be a big advantage for either one of you! Manhoods on the line! Shut Juan up in a FAIR fight, Juan more time! LOL!
11) Leo: Seriously, I dont want to see Marquez fighting Pacquiao at this stage. Pacquiao will seriously hurt JMM and force him into retirement just like ODLH and Hatton. And may even cause irreparable damage to JMM because Im pretty sure the fight will end in a brutal KO. So for the love of God, If you are a true fan of JMM, who really cares about his future and well being, stop this murder-to-be.
10) Brownsugar: So Freddy Hernandez was 29-1?? Against who???. Something is very suspect but it was still a beautiful knock out....if Hernandez had a bigger name I would even call it the KO of the Year. The announcer painted Berto into a corner, making him half-heartedly call out Pacman. But you can tell that Berto really wants Cotto or Mosley first. I dont think Berto is afraid of Pac, but he clearly knows his limitations and wants time to develop and raise his level of confidence. However, Bertos time to step up is overdue. He needs to beat a Mike Jones, or at least a Shane Mosley before he even thinks about Pacman. I think Berto would make an interesting fight against Pac but if they rush it too soon based on the results of the Hernandez fight, then his braintrust is just compromising Bertos best career options for an opportunity to cash out.
9) Oraclem: I think the only reason most people want the third fight is for Pacquiao to put an exclamation point to their rivalry. Marquez is a warrior and skilled gladiator, no doubt about it, but the probability of pulling out a convincing win is on Pacquiao. He has better legs. He has better footwork now as evinced from fighting larger and stronger opponents. Marquez seems flat-footed in his recent fights. I will bet on Pacquiao to seal it off. Yet if the victory happens people will say Marquez is old and it would be different if they are in their primes. Jesus! Pacquiao fought Barrera, Marquez, Morales, twice and thrice, Hatton, Cotto and Margarito in near succession. Compare that to Marquez opponents. In the last analysis, Manny could sleep soundly without thinking about Juan while Marquez can never sleep soundly if Pacquiao is still alive. Nonetheless, I want the fight to happen for lack of better options and drama.
8) #1 PacFan: What amazes me is that many experts can scrutinize Mannys victories by saying he has faced nothing but hard charging guys who lack skills. But when a guy like Marquez faces the same kind of fighter he gets the full praise. Lets be clear here folks, an aggressor is more tailor made for a counter puncher. Aggression vs aggression, one must have to get away from his gameplan and box the aggressor if the other man is stronger. Counterpuncher vs aggression, moreso than often the counterpuncher wins, especially when he is very skilled. Counterpuncher vs counterpuncher, one has to get away from his gameplan as one has to engage. For example, Marquez was force to be the aggressor against Mayweather. The point Im trying to make is that Marquez also has been carefully matched against guys who lack skills boxing wise who just come forward. Has he been scrutinized for it? Absolutely not. Why was he not matched with Soto or Guzman who are the legit #1 contenders in the division?
7) El Maromero@ #1 Pacfan: Im going to disagree with you on this one (partially). I do not feel like Marquez has been carefully matched because he is pretty old now and he is still taking on young strong fighters. Manny is a different story cause he still in his prime and no one could really give him a decent scrap except for Mayweather. The catchweights just give us something to talk about cause he doesnt seem to need it but its like a insurance plan. One thing you must agree on is that JMM has been in better fights since 08.
6) Isaiah: I cant deny that Marquez has earned a 3rd fight with Manny Pacquiao, but if Andre Berto wants to finally step his game up and get whooped, I wont argue with that. Anyway, great performance by the future Hall of Famer, urine gulping, counter punching supreme, light weight champion of the world, Juan Manuel Marquez! If Pacman fights him again, it better be at 140 or bust! Otherwise, I heard a prediction from Nostradumba$$ that Manny would be a cowardly chump to fight Juan at welterweight. You heard it here first!
5) Radam G - HUM! : Who will it be for da Manny sweepstakes? Marquez or Berto - neither! Martinez is FINE for NINE. Let Marquez continue to canvas kiss and whine. Berto is talking about fighting Sugar Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto first, Obviously for a Pac-thrashing, Berto has no thirst. Holla!
4) The Roast: How am I supposed to sleep at night in a world where not only does Christy Martin get shot and stabbed by her husband, she then has her house broken into while she is in the hospital recovering from said injuries? I have to breathe into a paper bag right now or I will fall on my face like LTP. Get well soon CMD.
3) Mortcola: First, no one is ducking anyone here. A third Pac-JMM fight wasnt gonna fit anyones schedule in the last few years. Sorry you havent gotten the rubber match when you wanted it. Second, Pacs defense has improved dramatically. All aspects of his game have improved. Whatever happens in a rematch, fact is that Pac is a much evolved fighter compared to their first two, not to mention physically at a peak. JMM is a brilliant technician, but he managed to fight on an even level, with moments of domination, against a Pac who is half the fighter, and smaller, compared to what he is now. I wouldnt mind the rematch, but I see it as being a bad whupping for JMM, which the great warrior doesnt need.
2) Brownsugar: MMA, STRIKEFORCE, and OCTAGON fans.... rejoice... you have a reason to come back to boxing, and his name is Andre Ward. Ward channelled the spirit of heavyweight John Ruiz with his jab and grab style of fighting. He also possesses one of the sneakiest elbows in the sport. Ward is widely known for his SOG monicker. But he fought more like an SOB last night in one of the roughest, dirtiest, and grimiest fights Ive ever witnessed on Showtime. It was rougher than a shank fight in Folsom prison. My son and his fiancee literally got up and went into another room to watch Marquez vs Katsidis. But I like the hard ugly fights; they tend to tell you more about a boxers character. Ward demonstrated amazing reflexes and athleticism, while Bika made the most of his title shot opportunity. Theres no doubt that Bika left it all in the ring and his phone will continue to ring when promoters need a solid opponent to flesh out a card. I thought Ward was too tentative in the early going. It seemed like he could have let his hands go a bit more and fought Bika from a distance (like he did with Kessler). But this was excellent preparation for the always dangerous Arthur Abraham. Abraham may have been exposed(again), but all he needs is one clean shot to end a fight. Ward vs AA and Froch vs Johnson... wouldnt miss either for the world.
1) Brownsugar:What an incredible conclusion to a full night of boxing. The best fight was saved for last. From an entertainment standpoint Marquez /Katsidis is contender for FOTY. Both men left a piece of themselves in the ring last night. Katsidis went down like a true Spartan, no complaints, no excuses. I think Larry Merchants unnecessarily invasive question about what Katsidiss recently deceased brother hurt Michael more than all the punches he absorbed from Marquez. Marquez is boxings most accomplished counterpuncher, going after him is like diving into a wood chipper. Not many boxers can thrive under aggression and pressure the way that he does. Marquez should give some thought about his exit plan from boxing, these type of fights do tend to catch up to a fighter in their later years. Pacman has outgrown Marquez and has declared that if the two were to meet, it would have to be at 147. That would be an unnecessary and unfortunate fight for a proud warrior like Marquez.