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"Keep Punching"..... my thoughts on boxing.

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.

Round 15......... The final round

Look what you made me do!

     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 

 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

 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.

Heavy Matters?

     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!

3rd generation "Sugar"

     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 
     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"

Klitschko: just like Pep, Liston and Cerdan?

     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 ;-) 

Boxing in 2000

     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 
 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 
 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 
 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.

The fascination with the big "0"

     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 
 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.

Marty Mulcahey

Agree or disagree? Feel free to E-mail me.