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New Book on Howard Cosell; Other Fight Chatter...AVILA

BY David A. Avila ON December 23, 2011
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imageA few generations have passed with scant knowledge about Howard Cosell who was one of the most eclectic if not magnetic personalities of the sports world in the past 100 years.

“Howard Cosell: The Man, The Myth and the Transformation of American Sports” was written by Mark Ribowsky and gives an accurate look at the impact the late sportscaster had on not just boxing, baseball, football, basketball, the Olympics, but the world of sports and how journalists cover them.

Ribowsky used various sources including prior publications regarding Cosell to convey the life of America’s broadcasting icon and what he meant to not just sports audiences, but the entire television audience.

Need convincing?

Cosell was one of the very first to transform sports reporting from an adulating one-sided style that kept sports figures on a pedestal to a news-breaking politicizing impact first seen with Muhammad Ali.

During the fiery decade of the 1960s it was Cosell who along with a few others including writers like Jerry Izenberg who paved the way for the style of reporting now prevalent in sports. Whereas in the past politics and sports seldom if ever crossed, today there exists no boundaries to skirt around.

The author Ribowsky editorializes freely regarding Cosell’s nuances and sentiments. At first it seems there’s an over abundant dose of the writer’s viewpoints. But as the biography moves forward the editorials fill in the blanks nicely and help the movement of the tale of one of America’s most important figures.

Cosell’s involvement with the U.S. military during World War II, his lukewarm love for the legal world, and his craving for spot reporting and the limelight all contributed to his success.

It’s an insightful take of Cosell’s inner fires that drove him toward stardom during a time when journalists did not have a face. He changed that with firm stance against racial bigotry that began with Jackie Robinson fighting the system at the end of his career to Ali’s war against the government during the 1960s.

Few people under the age of 25 heard Cosell’s rants on Monday Night Football or his I-told-you-so rants during the World Series. More people disdained his style than professed to love him, especially his knack for saying one thing then claiming he said another thing all along. It was pure Cosell.

Whether Ali made Cosell or vice versa, both contributed heavily and importantly to the world of sports as we know it today. This book emphasizes that point with verve and conviction. It’s a must buy for anyone who loves sports or journalism.

Other Fight Chatter

Riverside’s Albert Herrera (9-3-1, 5 KOs) defeated Northern California’s Alan Sanchez (8-3-1) by unanimous decision after eight rounds of a welterweight fight on Friday in Woodland, California. Herrera is trained by Willy Silva out of the Jurupa Boxing Gym and is the younger brother of junior welterweight contender Mauricio Herrera.

Former middleweight world champion Jermain Taylor (28-4-1, 17 KOs) returns to boxing and fights Jessie Nicklow (22-2-3, 8 KOs) on Friday Dec. 30, at Morongo Casino. Tickets are available for the fight card that also includes Andre Dirrell fighting Darryl Cunningham in a super middleweight match. Lou DiBella and Gary Shaw Productions are promoting the fight card. For more information (800) 252-4499.

Lightweight contenders Luis Ramos (20-0, 9 KOs) and Raymundo Beltran (25-5, 17 KOs) headline the Jan. 6 fight card at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio. Orange County’s undefeated southpaw Ramos will be tested against Beltran, who trains with Freddie Roach. Both know that a victory means a possible world title fight. “I know I have to knock out Ramos to win,” said Beltran. “That’s what I’ve got to win.” For ticket information call (800) 827-2946.

Undefeated Lorenz “Monsoon” Larkin (12-0) of Riverside is set to meet King Mo Lawal (8-1) in a light heavyweight mixed martial arts match on Saturday Jan. 7, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Strikeforce is promoting the MMA event. Also, Showtime agreed to continue televising Strikeforce shows this past week beginning with the Jan. 7 show.  

In a battle between sons of famous Mexican fighters Jorge Paez Jr. (30-4-1, 18 KOs) defeated Riverside’s Omar Chavez (27-1-1, 20 KOs) by majority decision after 10 rounds in Chiapas, Mexico on Saturday. Paez is the son of “Maromero” Paez and Chavez is the son of Julio Cesar Chavez.

Ultimate Fighting Championship announced that welterweight contenders Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit will fight an elimination bout on Feb. 4 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The winner meets UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. Both Diaz and Condit had been scheduled to fight St. Pierre but Diaz was pulled out by Dana White and Condit replaced him. Then, St. Pierre pulled out due to injury. Tickets are on sale (800) 745-3000.

Junior middleweight prospect Arman Ovsepyan (12-2, 9 KOs) knocked out Jorge Pimentel (24-15, 18 KOs) 59 seconds into round two on Friday in Los Angeles. Ovsepyan is originally from Armenia and now fights out of Los Angeles.

Strikeforce mixed martial arts champion Gilbert Melendez dominated in winning by decision over Florida’s Jorge Masvidal after three rounds on Saturday. Lightweight titleholder Melendez fights out of Northern California but is originally from Santa Ana. The title defense took place in San Diego.

WBO featherweight titleholder Orlando Salido (37-11-2, 25 KOs) survived two knockdowns to stop challenger Weng Ha (14-5) in the eight round of a non-title fight in Sonora, Mexico. Salido defeated Puerto Rico’s Juan Manuel Lopez earlier in the year to claim the belt.

Middleweight contender Marco Antonio Rubio (53-5-1, 46 KOs) stopped Matt Vanda (44-14, 24 KOs) at end of round five to win by technical knockout on Friday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rubio is being considered for a match against WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Carson Jones (33-8-2, 23 KOs) stopped former U.S. Olympian Ricardo Williams (19-3) at the end of four rounds on Thursday to retain the USBA welterweight belt. The fight took place in Oklahoma City. Williams was floored three times.

Comment on this article

Radam G says:

NICE! NICE!! NICE!!! I gotta read that book on Unc Howee. He was just WONDERFUL! Not one iota of race or age bigotry in him. He INDEED told it like it was. And I bet that the new book on him doesn't reports how he was so super kind and caring to pissy little brag like myself. Hehehehehe! [I just had to get that in.]

By nature, Unc Howee was a brat, himself. I luv da MAN. He was no optical illusion, no myth, just pure actuality and reality. During his time on this planet, with his elegant "TEELLLL-it-like-it-IIISSSS rhetoric, he shamed hatred, racism and bigotry to take their sorry a$$es underground and/or into shuttin' da double fudge up.

From the time that I was in diapers, until the time that I was a teenager, I was an eyewitness and earwitness to the mouth of this man, who stood up for the mistreated, cheated and discriminated against in the games of all sports, not just boksing. But in his own words about himself: "I never played da game!" Okay he never played the game, but most games now have more of an even playing field because of his golden mouth.

People nowadays sometimes forget about the positive CHANGES and tolerance toward people of color that the Brooklyn Big Mouth -- Howard Cosell and the Louisville Lips -- Muhammad Ali brought to this topsy-turvy world. Holla!

Robert Curtis says:

I got to say that I love the way Howard brought the drama, and also brought the comedy. He was a helluva entertainer! Him an Ali were a funnier comic duo than Abbott and Costello, Fred and Aunt Esther, Belushi and Ackroyd, or anyone you can think of. That being said, sometimes I felt that Howard really didn't know jack about boxing. When I hear Howard's commentary on old fights (especially when Ali is carrying some foreign bum for a paycheck) I can cringe. But the man had so much style, it didn't even matter! Style makes all the difference. And Radam is 100% right that Cosell did not have one bigoted bone in his body. He cared deeply about civil rights and was completely unafraid to take a public stand against racism when it counted most. I think Howard Cosell's best quote was his one word definition of the character of Jackie Robinson: "Unconquerable."

FighterforJC says:

Read Pacquiao's book. It's today, not 87 years ago.

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