They Said It…Dewdrops From 35 Years on the Boxing Beat, Part II

When I went through my voluminous files for a compilation of some of the better quotes collected from my many years on the boxing beat, I figured it might be the start of a possible series of such odds ’n’ ends. The first installment was posted on TSS on Nov. 21 of last year. The timing seems about right for Part II. The veracity of any of the following comments is, of course, often a matter of personal interpretation.

At his peak, Riddick would have destroyed Lennox Lewis. His right uppercut, for a man 6-foot-5, was a thing of beauty. For the second Golota fight, he took off a lot of weight in a hurry and he had nothing. Nothing. To see him take a beating like that … it just about broke my heart. – Riddick Bowe’s former trainer, Eddie Futch, saddened by what he had seen in Bowe’s second straight disqualification “victory” against low-blow-prone Andrew Golota.

A strategy ain’t a strategy if you reveal it. Hannibal didn’t tell the Italian people he was coming through the ocean on his elephant. – Bernard Hopkins when asked about his fight plan for the rematch against the man who had lifted his middleweight titles, Jermain Taylor, on Dec. 3, 2005. B-Hop lost again, on a narrow unanimous decision.

Vitali doesn’t get many style points, but he’s heavy-handed. It looks like he can’t get out of the way of his own feet sometimes, and it looks like he’s throwing mostly arm punches, but then you notice the other guy’s face keeps getting busted up and he’s going down a lot. – HBO Sports senior vice president Kery Davis after Vitali Klitschko defended his WBC heavyweight title on an eighth-round TKO of Danny Williams on Dec. 11, 2004.

If someone had told me I’d sell out a boxing venue faster than Mike Tyson, who is one of my all-time heroes, I’d have told him he was crazy. – Ricky Hatton, who needed only 2½ hours to sell out the 22,000-seat MEN Arena in Manchester, England, for his June 4, 2005, bout with Kostya Tszyu. The sellout for Tyson’s 2000 bout with Julius Francis in the same venue took 48 hours.

It is a bond. There are 24 rounds between us that I can never forget. From the first round of the first fight, when that bell rang, we gave 100 percent of ourselves. – Alexis Arguello, appearing along with Aaron Pryor, when both Hall of Famers appeared as special guests at the International Boxing Hall of Fame induction weekend in 2008.

I don’t work at a restaurant. I don’t get paid to wait. I get paid to fight. – Top-ranked middleweight contender Winky Wright on why he agreed to an IBF elimination bout with Sam Soliman on Dec. 10, 2005, instead of biding his time in expectation of fighting the winner of the rematch of WBC/WBA champion Jermain Taylor and former titlist Bernard Hopkins.

Lennox Lewis is a defeated foe. He knows that. Everybody should know that. I know I’m going to blow him out in the third round because God told me. – Evander Holyfield in the lead-up to his March 13, 1999, heavyweight unification bout with Lennox Lewis in Madison Square Garden. The fight ended in a draw, although most observers believed that Lewis deserved the victory.

Predicting a knockout and things like that, that’s not the Evander Holyfield I know. It sounds to me like whistling past the graveyard. `I ain’t scared of no ghosts, I ain’t scared of no ghosts.’ When a guy starts talking like that, it’s usually because he’s afraid.– George Foreman on the normally gracious Holyfield’s uncharacteristic bombast as he readied for his first go at Lennox Lewis.

If Golota doesn’t get starched (in the first three rounds), he’s a winner, a guaranteed winner. Mike Tyson is going to make him win because Tyson is going to make him fight. That’s when the best comes out of Golota, when he’s under pressure. Once Tyson feels Andrew’s strength, he’s going to go, `Uh-oh, what have I let myself in for? – Al Certo, Golota’s trainer, two days before Golota’s Oct. 21, 2000, pay-per-view bout with Tyson in Auburn Hills, Mich.

I’m sorry for all my fans who count on me. It was not my day. But he head-butt me, you know? And nobody took care of this, you know? Nobody gave (Tyson) a warning. – Golota, on the verge of tears, on his refusal to come out for the third round despite Certo’s frantic efforts to convince him to fight on.

It ain’t no Mr. Universe contest. I will definitely knock out Holyfield. I will hit him on that big chin of his. You should have seen me (in sparring) the other day. It was a massacre, `The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.’ I carved up those guys like they were turkeys. – Plumped-up former middleweight titlist James Toney (who weighed in at 217 pounds) before he did, in fact, stop the magnificently muscled Evander Holyfield in nine rounds on Oct. 4, 2003.

I want your heart. I want to eat your children. I am the most brutal champion ever.– Two-time former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson, minutes after bombing out Lou Savarese in 38 seconds in a June 24, 2000, fight in Glasgow, Scotland, in issuing an in-ring challenge to WBC/IBF heavyweight king Lennox Lewis.

Getting hit by George is like getting hit by a Cadillac at 60 miles per hour. Getting hit by Riddick Bowe or Lennox Lewis is like getting hit by a Volkswagen going 150 miles per hour. There’s a difference. – Tommy Morrison after his unanimous decision over powerful but ponderous George Foreman on June 5, 1993.

Saad never trash-talked anybody. He didn’t have to. He backed it up in the ring. He performed. Saad would never quit. He had the fortitude and tenacity to keep coming back. The tighter the spot he found himself in, he just sucked it up and fought harder. Saad had the biggest heart in the world. – Former light heavyweight champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad in praise of a man who had taken him to hell and back, fellow 175-pound champ Matthew Saad Muhammad.

Muhammad Ali says he’s the greatest. That’s his opinion. But there’s nothing wrong with my opinion. I feel I’m the greatest. – Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes upon being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on June 8, 2008.

I tell everybody that if Muhammad Ali came around today, he would be a tight end on the Louisville High School football team and he wouldn’t be in a sweaty gym looking to win an Olympic medal. – Promoter Bob Arum in August 2006, lamenting the dearth of elite American heavyweights.

People do not go to see anyone else if Tyson is in the main event. Fighting underneath Tyson is not what I want to do. Bernard Hopkins does not have to ride on anyone’s coattails at this stage of his career. – Hopkins, then under contract to America Presents, expressing concern about his status with the promotional company after American Presents signed Mike Tyson in 1998.

I believe that boxers are the most exploited of all professional athletes. They come from the lowest economic rung, and generally are the least educated. They’re in the only major sport that is not unionized. I can’t force boxers to invest their money, but I sure think I can prevent them from being exploited by unscrupulous outsiders. – Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), pushing hard in 2000 for the passage of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, which he co-authored with Sen. Richard Bryan (D-NV) in 1997.

I’m a vicious puncher. He’s a bum. I’m going to decapitate this little kid. – Shannon Briggs, a few days before the WBO heavyweight champion was dethroned on a one-sided unanimous decision by the “little kid,” Russian southpaw Sultan Ibragimov, on June 2, 2007.

Talk about your `High Noon’ situations. These two guys were eyeball to eyeball. For a second, I thought they were going to go at it right then and there. That’s as close as they ever came to having the greatest fight of all time. – Lou Duva, Tony Ayala Jr.’s trainer, of a chance meeting of Ayala and Roberto Duran in New York City in 1983, before Ayala was convicted of sexual assault and served 16-plus years in prison.

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