In Boxing News: Boxing’s Maddening Fascination/Weekend Fights

Jose Luis Castillo defeated Roland Reyes Saturday night on Showtime Boxing in an uninspiring bout that went the distance. Watching Jose Luis Castillo smile his way through a lacklustre snooze fest, writes our own Benn Schulberg, makes it that much harder to compare him to his legendary countryman, Julio Cesar Chavez. After waking at the end of the 12th round just in time to catch both the decision and the raining of boos that followed as the fans expressed their displeasure, Schulberg realized why the sport of boxing can be such a maddening fascination. Instead of getting a competitive fight, boxing fans were bludgeoned with boredom.

Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian argues that Thomas Hearns is blind to the sands of time. Thomas Hearns shouldn’t have been anywhere near a fight on Saturday night. He’s old. He’s done his bit, writes Mitchell. His sole involvement should have been watching his son, Ronald, who was also on the bill. Mitchell’s thoughts on Hearns – well worth reading in themselves – lead to a more philosophical muse on the fight game itself: In one fighter we have all that is good and bad about boxing. Hearns got rich because he was so good. He got sad because he wasn’t so good any more. Then he got beaten up by guys who were never even half as good as he once was … There’s a lot to love about boxing. It teaches kids discipline and respect. It can be spellbinding and heroic. But there’s a lot to loathe – like the romanticism often attached to what is a deadly enterprise, the wallowing in other people’s bravery and wholly misguided optimism, the exploitation of notoriety … The question isn’t whether Hearns should be allowed to continue. That’s an argument that’s been played out before on this website and many others. The question is what does it say about the sport that he chooses to continue and is enabled to do so? Since being involved with The Sweet Science, I’ve noted a pattern of defensiveness among some (not all) of those involved in the fight game: dare criticise professional boxing and they’re down your throat. I’d suggest the main job of those who have the power to shape the future of the sport is to ensure the spellbinding flourishes and the loathesome (and it certainly exists) withers … Because boxing deserves to be more than it is today – a curiosity within the larger world of professional sports.

Freddie Roach – writes Kevin Iole – has punch-induced Parkinson’s Disease, and it’s why, Roach said, he is no longer training Irishman Wayne McCullough. Roach stopped McCullough’s July 15 fight against Oscar Larios after the 10th round: Honestly, I don’t think he should fight anymore. After his last fight, when I stopped it, he was upset. But I had to do it because it was in his best interests. He’s a great guy and he’s had a great career, but it’s time to call it quits … The round before I stopped it, I told him in the corner, ‘Wayne, if you don’t go out there and show me you can win, I’m going to stop this.’ And he went out and took a lot of punches and didn’t land any. I know Margaret (Goodman, the ringside physician) was going to stop the fight, anyway… This story will continue to prove interesting as McCullough wants to fight in Nevada and has vowed to sue if he is denied a license.

Allegations have threatened to damage heavyweight giant Nicolay Valuev‘s carefully-crafted image. Recently we read about Valuev reading Tolstoy and writing poetry for his wife. The 32-year-old heavyweight has now been accused of beating up a 61-year-old parking attendant, and reports have started to emerge of Valuev moving in criminal circles during the 1990’s. While admitting he grabbed Mr Sergeev by the collar, Valuev denies beating up an older man nearly half his size: There was a lot of black ice in that parking lot. What can I say? He slipped and fell. If I were to have hit him, the consequences for this man would have been far more serious. The Russian media have also started to expose details about his allegedly shady past in St Petersburg during the 1990s.

David Tua has pulled out of his April 1 heavyweight showdown with Shannon Briggs, leaving Briggs frustrated and disappointed. Briggs, however, has been trying to talk himself into other fights, including one with Samuel Peter. Briggs claims he was offered $600, 000 to fight Samuel Peter in the past, and is ready to take the fight, as long as he gets the same money. This hasn’t gone down well with Peter’s promoter, Dino Duva: I normally don’t like responding to con artists or getting involved in a circus act, but Shannon Briggs and his manager Scott Hirsch’s statements last night were so full of lies that I must respond to them this one time. I’ve always liked Shannon and Scott personally, but I think Shannon’s dreadlocks may be turning his brains to mush. It’s also disappointing to me that Scott may be falling for his lies. Briggs was never offered, says Duva, a fight with Samuel Peter.

(As always … more Boxing News Links at