I try very hard to be un-biased and most importantly factual in all of my opinions. But if you do not agree or even if you agree drop me a E-mail and I will try to further express my views via E-mail. Many will think my opinions wrong but I will always try to explain them as best possible on this page. Besides the world would be a boring place if we all agreed.
O.K fight fans I try my hardest never to criticize or second-guess boxers. Boxing is the hardest of sports to compete in physically and mentally, so I give boxers the benefit of the doubt in almost every case. But once in a while a boxer goes public with statements that make me want to cry out and set the record straight. This is something that I do not jump on at every occasion, it takes years worth of public statements for me to finally say enough is enough. Not a day goes by in which a boxer or someone representing a boxers says something I totally disagree with, but I keep silent. The reason is simple, I believe with time the boxer will learn or grow out of certain phases. But when a boxer repeates a certain mantra, not for days, or months, or even a year...... but for several YEARS. And more over there is no end in sight.... then I have to take aim. This is now the case with Roy Jones Jr. after his latest press conference. Here are certain Roy Jones quotes from February 15th that I wish to disagree with and the reasons why. Roy Jones talking about Trinidad: "If you tell me you want to fight me, be prepared to fight me now. I ain't gonna sit around waiting for you." For the last 3 years I have heard Dariusz Michalczewski state "I want to fight Roy Jones NOW". Since I have not seen Jones take any kind of pro-active stance from Jones to make this fight happen I have to think he does not want this bout. But I guess Jones is correct in a way. He most certainly will not sit around and wait....... he will get up and duck. Sure he wants Trinidad now, but as the old saying goes "people who live in glass houses should not throw stones". If you are not willing to fight boxers in your own weight category do not talk about the best of other weight classes. Roy talking about fighting Lennox Lewis "Why would I put my life at risk to fight a guy who is 245 pounds?" Hey Roy, I agree with you here! But why are you then willing to move down and fight 168 pounders and challenge Felix Trinidad who has yet to fight at 160 pounds? Also the only reason this fight was EVER considered is because you mentioned the possibility of fighting the heavyweight champion at every chance given to you from 1996 to 1997. Roy Jones talks about his opponents making excuses: "Everybody makes excuses. Losers make excuses. Winners are judged on how they lose. When I went to the Olympics and got silver, when I fought Montel Griffin and got disqualified, you never saw me come up with excuses." O.K Roy so you do not make excuses? From my point of view and from what I can make out from various interviews, you refuse to fight overseas because you were robbed of a Gold Medal in Seoul Korea during the Olympics. I believe you are using that "loss" as a excuse not to fight in Germany. Come on Roy if you want to be challenged as you state in many interviews, then go to Germany and win a decision! Hell how hard can it be when Franz Botha and Virgil Hill have done so against much more popular champions then Dariusz Michalczewski. Also I seem to remember (will have to break out the old magazines later to confirm) that Jones blamed the referee in his disqualification loss to Montel Griffin? Roy Jones about meeting Bernard Hopkins for a rematch: "I beat him with one hand last time and I see nothing different in Hopkins as a fighter to make me think I wouldn't beat him again." Well Roy seems to be the only person on the planet who does not see a different Bernard Hopkins. Hopkins has gone from obscurity and fighting on the old "Tuesday Night Fights" series to a unanimous selection as a top 10 fighter. That is no improvement? Roy Jones talking about money not being an issue in fighting Hopkins. "I'm not starving and I'm not looking for the big fights. He is." How true Roy, how sadly true that statement is! If you were looking for the "big fights" and competing in big fights against the best of your division there is no man in his right mind that could not crown you the best boxer of our time. Maybe of all time! Roy Jones had a chance to become a undisputed ring legend, but his unwillingness to fight overseas or against the best has put Jones in the "maybe he was?" category. Here is a list of possible fights Roy Jones could have had, but for some reason did not make. All of which would have elevated him in the minds of any boxing historian. Also remember that Roy Jones was not tied to any promoter in these years and thus had opportunities to fight anyone. 1993: Roy Jones vs. Mike McCallum: Instead James Toney fought him in a dramatic 3 fight series, Jones instead fought a faded version of McCallum three years later. 1993: Roy Jones vs. Julian Jackson: Roy gets a bit of a pass here since Julian was controlled by Don King and he did not want to have his career taken over by King if he won. 1993: Jones does beat Bernard Hopkins.... in a boring safety first fight. 1994: Roy Jones vs. Gerald McClellan: Another fight I do not blame Roy much for, I do believe this one would have happened. But Gerald looking to prove himself fought in England at super middleweight and tragically suffered brain damage he.... and Roy never recovered from. But this fight would have been huge at middleweight. 1994: Roy Jones soundly beats James Toney in his move up to the super middleweight division. 1995: Roy Jones vs. Chris Eubank: This would have been a great fight! I believe Eubank had the best chance of anyone to beat Jones..... including James Toney. But Jones refuses to fight in England where this bout would have made much more money. 1995: Roy Jones vs. Nigel Benn: Same story as above but Benn would have had much less of a chance against Jones. Benn calls out for a fight with Jones until he retires. 1996-97: Roy Jones vs. Steve Collins: Collins knocks of Chris Eubank..... in Eubanks back yard and now becomes a viable opponent. 1997: Roy Jones vs. Buster Mathis: Roy is the one who brought this fight up and wanted it.... not me. But Roy backs out, as talks break down Lou Savarese takes the fight and knocks Buster out in 1 round. 1997: Roy Jones vs. Evander Holyfield: Once again Roy talks this fight up seeing that there is finally a small heavyweight he might have a chance against. Evander says no, and that Jones needs to prove himself at heavy first. I agree, Jones does not and fights Montel Griffin twice going 1-1. 1998: Roy Jones vs. Dariusz Michalczewski: Roy now fighting at light heavy refuses to go to Germany and fight the man who had won the WBA, WBO and IBF belts. 1999: Beats everyone....... but Michalczewski. 2000: Beats everyone....... but Michalczewski. Bernard Hopkins and Joe Calzaghe begin to make noise as good opponents. 2001: Looks like more of the same.
Generally I stay away from heavyweight and discussions surrounding them since it is the heavyweights who seem do drag our sport down more so than any other weight class. But every once in a while I decide to vent and comment on the usually sad state of affairs within the division. Did the manager of Oleg Maskaev get his degree from the University of Marquee DeSade? Or perhaps he is a great admirer of General Custer's brilliant tactics at the Battle of Little Big Horn? Oleg Maskaev after defeating two legitimately good heavyweights and in the mind of most earning a title shot Is now risking everything against another good heavyweight. Worse yet he is fighting a man (Kirk Johnson) who has a style to beat him! Look I hate it when a boxer gets the number 1 position and sits on his ranking as much as the other guy, but in this case Maskaev has earned a easier fight than this or at least a fight against a opponent who more suits his style. Put him in with David Izon or Al Cole but not a cutie who can move when the mood hit's him. The risk vs. reward for Maskaev in this fight is simply not worth the payday. I commend Maskaev for taking this fight wish him the best of luck but the ultimate prize is the heavyweight title and this fight gets you no closer to it. Maskaev could even make some good money in other fights other than for the title if he takes on the winner of Tyson vs. Golota or maybe Holyfield who is seeking legitimacy. Perhaps go to Germany and get big bucks for fighting one of the Klitschko's. But why Kirk Johnson? If someone can E- mail me with a logical answer for Oleg taking this fight please do! I just heard that Don King went to Nigeria this weekend, you know what that means don't you? Get ready for Holyfield vs. Akiwande in Lagos.... Oh boy I can't wait :-) I know politicians are ignorant of boxing in most cases but I hope the President of Nigeria is not suckered into putting up the money for a bogus heavyweight championship. Akiwande deserves a second chance in my book but he should have to beat a good opponent before he gets a title shot..... Oh wait Evander is not the heavyweight champion so I guess this his second shot. Scratch what I said Mr. President and stage the fight, just make sure to hold onto Mr. King's passport until all checks clear! Actually I make Jokes at the expense of Mr. King and I do get a lot of E-mail asking me what I think of Don King. So let me state for the record that I think Don King does PERHAPS take more money from his fighters than other promoters. But I do know he gets them A LOT more money than other promoters can and also gives them more title shots and second chances at the big bucks. So in the end it all evens out. Every time I see a big PPV Bob Arum fight card Butterbean seems to make it onto the card. Is the only reason he is on these cards because he has bigger breasts than Mia St. John? Hey I like Butterbean as a person and hope he gets a shot against Mike Tyson that all the WWF fans will buy. But now I am getting concerned when a man who has 60 "pro" fights has to still be fed boxers who have 9 or 10 pro rounds much less fights. How can the State boxing commissions Allow this? Now it is about safety matters more so than the funny event he used to be. I finally found out why the call John Ruiz "The Quiet Man". I had my TV set on the highest volume possible and still could not hear his punches land! I like John and think he won a close fight against Holyfiled but the fans crave power and if they think Lewis is boring to watch what would happen if Ruiz did become even a fraction of a champ? Lennox Lewis, David Tua, Oleg Maskaev, Wladimir & Vitaly Klitschko, Ike Ibeabuchi, and Andrew Golota. Could the heavyweight division of the future not have any American boxers ranked in the Top 10? The current crop of American heavyweights is aging, and frankly I do not see any dominant or overly talented American heavyweights on the horizon. Maybe 10 years without a American heavyweight champion is the kick in the ass America needs to produce the next Louis, Ali, Frazier or Holmes? Warm up your VCR's fellow fight fans because Larry Holmes and Mike Weaver are going to fight on PPV!!! Now tell me if Lupe Pintor and Jeff Chandler where to fight On the same date would it even be allowed by a boxing commission? I Guess that is because those two men could actually hurt each other with their punches which Holmes and Weaver have no chance of accomplishing!
Well fans letís just say that in boxing you have to earn the nickname of Sugar. Last night Shane Mosley earned the nickname of "Sugar"! With a masterful display of boxing for 12 rounds Shane Mosley overcame the first big hurdle in his way towards joining Ray Leonard and Ray Robinson. Coming into this bout many thought we would see a replay of the first Roberto Duran vs. Sugar Ray Leonard fight. The comparisons were easy to make, Mosley like Duran was coming up from the lightweight division to take on a proven welterweight. Delahoya much like Leonard of the 80ís was the divisions star attraction and played by his own rules. After the fight the only real comparison you can draw between Mosley vs. Delahoya and Duran vs. Leonard I fight is that both of the men moving up from lightweights wonÖÖ. and proved their greatness. The fight we witnessed on Saturday night turned out to be a second version of Ray Leonard vs. Wilfredo Benitez instead. Both fighters looked for cracks in the opponents defense to slip through instead of blasting through defenses with straight power shots. At times both also thwarted the others offense with good movement or blocking of punches, it was a chess match with flurries of activity instead of a pitched battle. Shane did the better job of boxing and opening up with combinations at the correct. He also landed the more obvious blows, Shaneís overhand right hit itís target with accuracy and regularity. In my preview of this fight I picked Oscar Delahoya to win a 12 round decision, thinking he could pick Shaneís punches off with his gloves and gradually wear down Shane. But I made sure to point out that if Oscar "The slugger" showed up in this fight that he would loose. With Oscar you never know what to think so I left myself some room for excuses ha ha. Once again Oscar and more importantly his cornerman Roberto Alcazar let him down by choosing the wrong tactic for the wrong fighter. I should have known it was not going to be a good night for Oscar when Alcazar in a pre-fight interview on the PPV telecast sounded confused when asked about strategy for this fight if Shane were to be stronger than expected. It was a omen of things to come for Oscar in the actual fight. In the corner of Oscar I never heard sound advice being given. Where was the "Oscar throw your jab so Shane canít see the next punch and avoid it" or "Oscar stop chasing him and move Shane into your left hook by sliding to the right". Hell I would have even settled for ""youíre blowing it son" in the 9th round. If Oscar were to have stuck with Emanuel Steward two years ago (who adjusts to his fighters as can be seen in his handling of Hamed and Lewis, two totally different boxers) I believe Oscar would still be unbeaten and the shining star of boxing. Oscar is a boxer, not a slugger? What made Alcazar and Oscar think they could track down a speed demon like Shane with a one punch at a time strategy? I did not see too much body work and Oscar at no time of the fight (other than the 12th round) let his hands go in combinations? Oscar was in search of the perfect punch all night, and it never materialized. Boxers have to play to their strengths and for Oscar it is boxing, against Trinidad he boxed beautifully for 9 rounds, yet tonight he tried to satisfy his fans and critics by slugging when he should have boxed. It seems to me that Oscar is ruled by his public relations people and not a qualified strategist like Emanuel Steward or Eddie Futch. His public relations people probably told him to become a slugger because he was loosing Hispanic fans and they could not have that with Oscarís Spanish music album coming out. This is what happens when outside of the ring interests come before being a great boxer. Oscar had the talent to become one of the great boxers of our time but through the years has become confused by the constant changes in trainers. Too many cooks spoiled the Golden Goose. Boxing should also be proud and feel a sense of relief that the men assigned to score this fight did so properly and intelligently. This fight and itís scoring shows how a state like California which has a lot of good boxing, but no big megafights, will produce unbiased judges. The judges were not swayed by politics and did not hesitate to vote against the "house or money producing fighter" as is often the case in Las Vegas. The judges knew that they would not be blackballed or never assigned to other major fights if they voted for the guy not promoted by the sports powerbrokers like Top Rank and Don King. I do have to take issue with the California commission for sanctioning a fight between Butterban who has 58 pro fights against a boxer with only 3 fights! It was no wonder when the man who only had 3 fights took a dive and just collected his money. Also the fight card on the whole was not worth $49.95. Sure the main event and the Corrales vs. Juuko fight were good, but I would have much rather got to see Shanan Taylor fight for the first time in the USA than the Mia St. John or Butterbean farces. If only we could combine Don Kingís undercard fights with Bob Arumís main event fights........ it would be boxing heaven! Looking back on the June 17th "Destiny" card, people should remember it for the day Shane earned the nickname of "Sugar" by beating Oscar....... the man "who could have been"
O.K boxing fans time for a little lesson in objectivity. I have been flooded with E-mails stating how overrated and heartless Vitali Klitschko is after he decided to not come out for round 11 of his fight with Chris Byrd. I have also read the same things in many boxing message boards, chat rooms and other forums where boxing fans meet on-line. The bottom line is if Vitali Klitschko is a "quitter" than so is the legendary Willie Pep. Hall of Fame boxers Sonny Liston and Marcel Cerdan also "have no heart" and are "gutless" if you paint Klitschko in that fashion. Pep, Cerdan and Liston all chose not to fight on after sustaining shoulder injuries during a fight. Willie Pep in his third fight with Sandy Saddler did not come out of his corner to start round 8 because of a bad shoulder. We all know Liston chose not to come out of his corner for round 8 of his fight with Muhammad Ali and forfeited his title much like Klitschko did. Marcel Cerdan gave up his title when he could not continue in his fight with Jake Lamotta after 10 rounds because of a shoulder injury. The one thing Vitali can say that these Hall of Fame boxers can not is that he chose to retire while ahead on the scorecards. Pep, Cerdan and Liston "quit" (you're words if you want to classify Vitali as a quitter) when they were losing their fights. Ask yourself if it takes more courage to stop a fight you are winning or losing? These examples show that it does not madder what race, part of the world or boxing era we talk about, fighters choose not to fight on when faced with an injury that could end their career. Quite frankly this ego trip a lot of American fans are going on is absurd. I am a proud American by the way, but think American fans are the most record conscious boxing fans in the world. If the average American fan sees a fighter has 6 or 7 losses he will not pay half as much attention (and learn from a veteran boxer's tactics) to him than he will when watching a young unseasoned prospect with a 15-0 record. Ray Oliveira vs. Vivian Harris comes to mind. Did you pay more attention to Harris or Oliveira when they fought different opponents? Of course we now know Harris lost to Oliveira, most fans were paying attention the wrong guy. If American fight fans of today were around back in the 1930's Joe Louis would have never gotten a rematch with Max Schmeling. Anyhow back to the subject at hand. Klitschko was winning the fight, let's not forget that. He was beating one of the toughest men in the heavyweight division to look good against on 10 days notice, I gave the game Byrd (who deserves credit for wanting to fight everyone) two rounds. Unlike other Byrd foes Vitali was not loading up trying to knock his head off, but taking some steam of his punches and going for accuracy. He landed some solid shots to the elusive Byrd and was in control of the bout, but never had Byrd in any trouble. Sure it was not fun to watch, but Klitschko was winning handily. Now Klitschko has a loss, let's see how many contenders or champions' line up to fight him? I have a feeling it will not be too many. The injury Vitali suffered was confirmed (No German doctor was forced to fake medical documents so wipe those conspiracy theories out of your head ha ha) as a muscle tear around the rotator cuff of Klitschko. Hopefully the future will be kinder to Vitali than the fans and he will recover fully from the injury. If he had fought on against Byrd he could very well have risked his future. Klitschko suffered the injury in the 3rd round from most reports. Yet I do not hear anyone applauding Vitali for fighting through the increasing pain as the fight wore on? I guess that would detract from their argument, so why mention it. Recent history shows us how bad a shoulder injury can effect a boxer. Buddy McGirt suffered a shoulder injury and was never the same again. His punches lacked the snap they had prior to the injury, at least McGirt had his excellent boxing skills to fall back on. Klitschko on the other hand depends on power and a shoulder injury would rob him of his most valuable asset. Why take a chance of permanently ruining youre career? Is that what boxing fans want? Win the battle but loose the war? I am a fan of boxers. I do not expect more of them than I would be willing to put myself through. Would any one of us risk our future in a chosen profession to satisfy someone else's ego? I have no hidden agenda here. I am not on the Klitschko payroll. I am not even a fan of the big man, or heavyweights in general. I much prefer the smaller weight classes. I am an objective fan who spoke well of other boxers like Kostya Tszyu, Stevie Johnston, Genaro Hernandez and Marco Antonio Barrera when they lost. Why? Because I knew they were good, talented men with the will power to battle back when others doubted them. I think Vitali Klitschko falls into the same category as those champions. I believe he has the same self-esteem and confidence to build his career back up and become a force among the elite heavyweights again. If you are a top 10 heavyweight who doubts him I am sure a fight can be arranged in 4 to 6 months when he is back in form. If a boxing fan thinks Vitali is a "quitter", I am sure the same can be arranged ;-)
How many times have we heard it? Boxing is a dying sport, boxing can not survive in its current form, etc. etc. With those phrases in mind I did some research to see what the real state of boxing around the world is. After looking around I have come to the conclusion that boxing actually has a pretty promising future in most places. Africa - South Africa will always produce great boxers and the rest of the continent will forever lag behind. The reason is its great promotional companies like Cedric Kushner, Mike Segal and Golden Gloves that find and back the most talented boxers. At the local level however the scene is in chaos with infighting among various commissions and almost no government support. Still South Africa produces boxers like Vuyani Bungu, Mbulelo Botile and Jake Matlala in spite of these conditions for the big players to snap up. A good crop of new boxers like Cassius Baloyi, Lawrence Ngobeni and Masibulele Makepula will once again bolster the reputation of South African boxing. In Namibia Harry Simon has bought boxing to unprecedented popularity and neighboring Kenya seems to have a burgeoning young scene with regular events held within it's borders. Nigeria produces very good boxers at the higher weights such as Ike Ibeabuchi, Henry Akiwande, David Izon and prospect Duncan Dokiwari. It also has a good history with fighters like Hogan Bassey and Dick Tiger to draw inspiration from. Nigeria does seem to have reached it peak however and unless it produces a champion soon I can see it going into a recession for the next 5 years. Ghana has a proud history of boxing with champions like Azumah Nelson and David Kotey, today it features stars like Ike Quartey and Nana Konadu. Ghana has good young boxers but the problem is that all of the talent has left the country to fight abroad for better money. This has left the national scene devastated. Young contenders like Kofi Jantuah, Ali Baba, Daniel Attah and the Clotey brothers are top-notch fighters. All could win titles soon but unless they return to Ghana with an infusion of equipment and hope for others I can see the end of the line for world class fighters coming out of Ghana. Argentina - What happened to the glory days of Carlos Monzon, Pascual Perez and Victor Galindez? At this stage Argentina would be glad to have the Julio Cesar Vasquez and Juan Coggi years when confronted with their current crop of boxers. While the amount of boxers seems to be the same, the talent level has had a decided drop. I can not see much help in the future either. Marcelo Dominguez at crusierweight is a good fighter who just ran into an excellent boxer in Juan Carlos Gomez so he can come back. Other than him Jorge Barrios, Juan Corodoba and Hugo Soto are the best Argentina has to offer. Walter Crucce and Juan Cabrera are at best interesting stepping stones for the current patch of Argentine prospects. If the prospects can not beat those two then the future of Argentine boxing is very bleak. Julio Chacon at featherweight seems to be good but his record is deceiving considering the opposition he has faced. Australia - From my perspective the Aussie scene is lively but lacking an Aussie born star who wins consistently at the championship level. Shanan Taylor could be that man but refusing to travel overseas to challenge the best has hurt his marketability and ultimately his progress as a boxer. It is a shame that such a talented fighter as Taylor is seems to have a stagnated career. Look how one fight in the USA has elevated Kevin Kelley's reputation, Taylor should take note of this. Speaking of the Kelley brothers, they should be able to win some version of a world title but I doubt they will be able to hold on to the belt for a long period. Russian import Kostya Tszyu is as exciting as they come and brings a lot of recognition to Australian boxing, Lovemore Ndou seems to be following the same career path. The future seems bright with Nader Hamdan and Robbie Peden making good progress as pros. The upcoming Olympics will breathe new life into the amateur level before and after the event has taken place to further enrich Aussie boxing. Canada - The Canadians are starting to produce solid fighters. Add this along with Interbox, a quality new promotional outfit which draws huge crowds to fight nights and you have the start of something special. Kirk Johnson, Otis Grant, David Hilton and Billy Irwin are the cream of the crop to this point. The future should match them in talent and do better than them when it comes to collecting world titles of some sort. Hercules Kyvelos, Shazzon Bradley and Leonard Dorin are all top level prospects and a very good nucleus to build on. Syd Vanderpool is ready to challenge any champion in his division and is a good bet to win! Denmark - It must be frustrating to be a Danish boxing fan. There is talent there but promoter Mogens Palle seems content to let them beat up at best on second rate challengers for insignificant titles. Good boxers like Mads Larsen, Johnny Bredhal and Jesper Jensen all put on indifferent or sub par performances at times because of this. If they were put in with top level fighters their talents should push them to wins. Thomas Damgaard is the exception having knocked out Khalid Rhailou, he is a workmanlike warrior who works hard for every win. The future looks good with Mikkel Kessler a Danish version of DeLahoya with what I am told is talent to match. England - While the level of boxing on the national scene has been described as mediocre by local media I think it is not as bad as they present it. The highest level boxers produced by England is as good as they come. Lennox Lewis, Naseem Hamed and Joe Calzaghe are the best of their divisions. Paul Ingle, Johnny Nelson, Michael Brodie and Shea Neary are a notch below but all are championship caliber. Experienced boxers Robert McCracken, Carl Thompson and Steve Robinson can rise to compete with anyone on the world stage. Domestic level fighters Eamonn Magee, Colin Dunne, Charles Shepherd and Ensley Bingham all put on great fights even if they never rise to championship level as well as being stern tests for young talent. The future is promising with Howard Eastman, Michael Gomez, Richard Hatton, Anthony Farnell and talented but cut prone Damaen Kelly having all posted good results. France - The French have taken big hits at the championship level with Boudouani, Lorcy, Cherifi and Mendy all losing titles this year. All however should be able to re-establish themselves and challenge for title shots again along with Mamadou Thiam a fighter on the way up. Title holder Fabrice Tiozzo should be a champion until he moves up to heavyweight. David Guerault is still the best fighter in France but no one has heard of him because he fights infrequently at the flyweight level. Former East Block countries - The first wave of Eastern block fighters met little success but showed flashes of talent. They included Sergei Artimiev, Alexander Zolkin, and Sergei Kobozev. The second wave left a impact that is still felt today. Fighters like Kostya Tszyu, Yuri Arbachakov, Dariusz Michalczewski and Orzubek Nazarov all won titles and were thought of as the best in their division. The current crop is not yet done with Oleg Maskaev and Andrew Golota showing they can hang with any heavyweight. Vasily Jirov, Artur Grigorian and Ahmed Kotiev are all good champs. Lighter weight fighters Sergei Devakov (Ukraine), Tony Badea (Romania), and Vladislav Antonov (Russia) are ready for title shots. The future while lacking power punchers is full of smarts. Istvan Kovacs of Hungary now fighting out of Germany is one the new wave, Tonto Tontchev of Bulgaria fighting out of England looks similarly skilled. Add to those two others who stream out of former Russian countries that I have only heard rumors about like heavyweight 7 foot giant Nikolay Valouev who last I heard was 14-0 (14 K.O's) and you have a intriguing next three years. The Klitschko brothers if they win on the world stage against the will drive thousands of new boxers to the gyms of Eastern European countries. The future if they do not is cloudy however, will new boxers who do not have the amateur training (which is now virtualy gone) and money provided by the former communist countries be as skilled? Germany - Boxing has never been more popular in Germany. Champions "Tiger" Dariusz Michalczewski, Sven Ottke, Juan Carlos Gomez, Ahmed Kotiev and Artur Grigorian call Germany home. While lacking international attention they are huge draws in Germany that have created a whole new fan base for boxing. Add to this the Klitschko brothers and you have a nation electrified by boxing. Germany also has Universum promotions who seem to have the Midas touch of late, everything they touch turns to gold. Fighters like Armand Kranjc who wins a world title on two weeks notice also Sven Ottke who no one thought would win a title, has done so! A featherweight named Istvan Kovacs whose boxing is beautiful to watch could be their next star if he does what is expected of him...... defeat Naseem Hamed. The amateur level seems to have been equally revived with the current state of pro boxing, look for boxing to boom for decades in Germany because of its current renaissance. Japan - Along with the USA it seems Japan is the only other nation to have boxing go down in popularity. If only Japan could produce a boxer who can not only win a title but hang on to it for more than 2 or 3 defenses. Japan has seen plenty of title holders but none has been able to sustain positive results on the champion- ship level. The last decade has been forgettable for Japan but young contenders Koji Arisawa and Akhiro Nago have shown very good skills. Mexico - This is a country where we will never have to worry about boxings future. Mexico produces a limitless amount of boxers from the great to the mediocre to fill arenas with action around the world. The Morales vs. Barrera fight will breathe life into the domestic game which has lacked a grudge match for ages and should send Mexico into a fistic frenzy. While I have not yet seen the "next Chavez" I am sure he is out there. Hell I never thought Morales was going to be as good as he is so maybe he is the "next Chavez". Until another Chavez emerges we can enjoy his equal in talent with Ricardo Lopez. A couple notches below Nestor Garza, Goyo Vargas, Juan Marquez, Jorge Acre and Ramon Campas entertain with their offensive styles. Adan Vargas and Jesus Chavez are ready to make the jump to championship level. Perhaps the next great Mexican fighter is exciting a young prospect named Mauro Lucero out of New York City who aggressive style would make a Kamikazee pilot nervous. Puerto Rico - You can sum up Puerto Rican boxing in two words. Felix Trinidad. I hope his win over DeLaHoya will create a flow of young talent to local gyms. Boxing has leveled of in Puerto Rico with high level performers like John John Molina, Angel Chacon, Carlos Cerena, David Santos and Nene Sanchez all falling short in title fights against good champions. Puerto Rico as small as it is seems to be a breeding ground for champions and will re-emerge with two Puerto Rican heritaged boxers Eric Morel and Hector Camacho jr. The long term future holds some possibilities with Luis Perez and Henry Bruceles looking like they are for real, also Shamir Reyes a young kid in the Don King stable has superstar written all over him. South America - Not since Eder Jofre has there been a quality fighter like Acelino Freitas in Brazil. Freitas and his brother Luis will invigorate the whole country and I look for championship results out Sao Paulo and Rio DiJeanero in 10 years from Brazilian boxers because of the ground work laid by Freitas. Panama City is hosting some local shows again with poor talent, but it is a start. Venezuela and Colombia will always produce champions because of the solid teaching given in their gyms for their talented kids. Thailand - Thailand's favorite sport Muay-thai boxing will always provide a good talent pool to draw boxers from. The economic down turn in that country has undoubtedly hurt boxing. No longer can the Thai promoters pay champions to come to Thailand to defend their titles against their tough challengers. Even with this temporary handicap we can assume Thailand will continue to produce many champions and challengers from the bantamweight level down. USA - Boxing is definitely in decline with the general sports fan although America still produces first rate boxers and has a very good core of loyal fans. America is the home to most big event fights so it will never suffer from a lack of fights to draw new fans. Boxing will make a resurgence in the USA with the big increase of the Latin population, casinos and future big event fights at the mid level weight classes featuring exciting young champions. Fan interest is down for now but the future does hold promise with the likes of Zab Judah, Floyd Mayweather, Vernon Forrest, Fernando Vargas and David Reid. Not to mention established stars like Roy Jones, Oscar Delahoya and Shane Mosley. America needs to have a intimidating force in the heavyweight division before the sport will once again rise in popularity..... sadly I do not see that. Grant is our best contender but he does not possess the aura of destruction needed to drive new fans to our sport.
Everyone looks at a young fighters record and when they see he has lost a fight seem to loose interest in watching him fight or following his career. Recently when Kostya Tszyu lost to Vince Phillips all I heard was how overrated he was and how this would be the end for Tszyu. I spent lots of time defending him and others who loose in the ring but that I feel still have the skill to win titles . Well I looked into the record books too find a factual basis to back up my point that a loss even at the early stage of a career is not the end of the world! So take a look at some of these fighters and see how they started their careers with LOSSES and later developed into hall of fame material. I get pretty tired of people looking at a fighter with a loss on his record as damaged goods and this little exercise in history should prove my point. I would like to add that this seems to be a American fascination since the British and European fight fans who I have talked with seem to take a loss by their fighters with much more reason and less judgemental talk. If you ever have to defend your favorite fighter for losing a fight send your opponent to this page. Lets start with some Hall of Fame fighters: Archie Moore - Lost 3 of his first 12 fights. Harry Greb - Was knocked out in his 13th fight. Billy Conn - Lost 6 of his first 14 fights. Carmen Basillio - Lost his 10th fight. Henry Armstrong - Lost 3 of his first 4 and was knocked out in the 3rd round of his 1st fight. Alexis Arguello - Lost 2 of his first 4 and started his career by getting knocked out in the first round. There are a lot more fighters that could make this list, but these great fighters stand out. I know what you are thinking "these were boxers from the OLD DAYS, when boxing was different sport and a loss didn't mean as much". Well you might be able to make a case for that but then how do you account for these past and future champions in TODAYS game. Angel Manfredy - Started his carrer 2-2-1 was knocked out in the second round of his 1st fight. Now they are talking about him as a future star. Arturo Gatti - Well since Angel beat Gatti lets take a look at Gatti, who lost to Angel and sported a record of 6-1 early in his career. Vinny Pazienza - Was knocked out in his 15th fight. Saman Sorjataroung - Who many think is the best Asian fighter today had a rather bland record of 14-1-1 to start his career. Mark "too sharp" Johnson - Who IS in most pound for pound ratings lost his second fight and had a 1-1 record. Johnny Tapia - Started his career at 1-0-1 I wonder how many people just never paid attention to him on the undercards. Hector Lizzaraga - Who was very impressive in winning the IBF featherweight title sported a record of 3-4-1 after 8 fights and was K.O'd in his 4th fight. Luistito Espinoza - Another featherweight champion had a rather ordinary record of 8-3 after 11 fights. Wilfredo Vasquez - Lets stick with the featherweights and see how Vasquez started his career at 2-1-1 and lost his first fight. Khalid Rahilou - Was knocked out in the first fight he fought as a pro but is now the Jr. Welterweight champion. Bernard Hopkins - He is thought be a pound for pound entrant and is looked at as the "throwback fighter" to the old days....is that because he started his career at 1-1? So all those club fighters who you dont pay attention too on the undercard of fights after the ring announcer states that he lost a fight might someday become champions. I am sure you will then say "I saw the kid when he was fighting 4 rounders and I knew he was going to be a champion" Hindsight is always perfect but the next time you see some fighter on tuesday night fights with a 8-2 record dont dismiss him as a bum and pay attention to what he is doing in the ring. In fact I would tell most people not to watch the introduction and try and tell the better fighter by what happens in the ring and not what was said of them before the fight. I am full of opinons so there is more to come........check back often.
Agree or disagree? Feel free to E-mail me.