Friday, November 18, 2011

Is This the End For Peter Manfredo Jr.?

Ron Borges has an extended look at Peter Manfredo Jr. ahead of his fight this Saturday against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., a fight that might be the last one for Manfredo before he retires.

"Manfredo, like Khan-Clary, was once a promising amateur, but that was a dozen years ago, back before his face had taken enough shots to rearrange it and long before he understood why they call boxing the hurt business.

"Now he’s on the other end of it, a fighter with one last opportunity in a career that’s running out of them. As he ages, The Boxer becomes one of two things. He becomes deluded or a realist. Peter Manfredo Jr. is not delusional."

Aging Peter Manfredo goes after Julio Chavez Jr.’s belt / The boxer gets one last title shot (Boston Herald)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Darn-Good Dozen: Barrera, Marquez, Morales and Pacquiao

Cliff Rold looks back over the past dozen or so years at the dozen fights that have come between Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales and Manny Pacquiao.

"Twelve Years... Twelve Fights: Ranking a Boxing Rivalry" (

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pacquiao-Marquez III: Clash Creates Controversy

The third bout between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez was the kind of fight that had everyone talking beforehand and everyone talking afterward. Let us get everyone talking, then, with writers supplying a form of oral history:

Joe Maxse, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer: The judges have spoken, but not many in the crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night wanted to hear what they had to say.

Ron Borges, The Sweet Science: After Glenn Trowbridge and Dave Moretti concluded Pacquiao had defeated his arch nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Robert Hoyle saw it as no better than a second draw in three meetings between them, the sold out crowd of 16,383 began to boo lustily, reaching a crescendo that drowned out Pacquiao’s post-fight words until he finally left the ring with a sad look of embarrassment on on his face.

Kieran Mulvaney, There were times on Saturday when Pacquiao looked befuddled, as though he had forgotten everything that trainer Freddie Roach taught him. For all the talk that Pacquiao was the much-improved fighter, it looked on occasion as though Marquez was the one who had adapted better.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In Memoriam: Smokin' Joe Frazier

Where there was Smokin' Joe, there were rumbles and thrillas. There were his three Fighter of the Year awards from the Boxing Writers Association of America (1969, 1971 and 1975). There is the name of the "Fight of the Year" award that the BWAA bestows each year, an award named after his legendary heavyweight trilogy with Muhammad Ali.

Ali was the Greatest of All Time, and Frazier was there with him, two greats who made each each other greater, two men who pushed the other to the limit, then pushed themselves even further.

We lost a great one on Monday, Nov. 7. Joe Frazier had been diagnosed barely more than a month ago with liver cancer. He was 67.

His greatness had been known in these decades since, paid tribute to in articles, in books and documentaries. We want to hold onto the great ones for as long as we can. He is gone too soon.

Wally Matthews, writing for ESPN New York:

Smokin' Joe Frazier became a fighter in Philadelphia and a legend in New York.

He did it on one magical night: March 8, 1971, when Frazier turned in what was arguably the greatest athletic performance ever seen under the gaudy ceiling of Madison Square Garden 4.0, and what was among the top five performances ever by a heavyweight champion in the history of our oldest and most demanding sport.

Willis Reed's entrance in Game 6 of the 1970 NBA Finals might have rivaled it for drama, and some might say Michael Jordan's 55-point game against the Knicks in 1995 matched it for skill, but no athlete has ever owned the big room the way Frazier did the night he won that epic first battle with Muhammad Ali, the one that was so big it was billed simply as "The Fight."

He did it with a body too short and arms too stumpy for a heavyweight, with a style that demanded that he eat two shots for every one he landed, and against a man who was really not a fighter but an exquisitely proportioned and coordinated ballet dancer who happened to carry a brick in each fist.

Frazier was unforgettable that night, giving so much of himself that he spent the next month in a hospital, and for a time there were serious concerns that he might die. He was dangerously dehydrated and his kidneys were shutting down. His blood pressure soared. At the time, no one outside his circle knew that for most of his career, Frazier was an insulin-dependent diabetic.

All the world knew was that few men had ever paid a higher price in the single-minded pursuit of victory than Frazier did that night.

"Frazier, both his eyes nearly swollen shut, was not allowed to come out for the final round by trainer Eddie Futch, who told him, 'Son, no one will forget what you did here today.' And no one did - not then, not now, probably not for as long as two determined, courageous men test their wills and their skills in a roped-off swatch of canvas while wearing padded gloves." ~ Bernard Fernandez, Philadelphia Daily News

"In the ring he was the epitome of a warrior. He was simply fearless. He fought every minute of every round in his career, always coming forward, always applying pressure, his left hook ready - and able - to dispatch of anyone in his path." ~ Tom Archdeacon, Dayton Daily News

"They fought three times, twice in the heart of New York City and once in the morning in a steamy arena in the Thrilla in Manila in the Philippines. They went 41 rounds together. Neither gave an inch and both gave it their all. In their last fight in Manila in 1975, they traded punches with a fervor that seemed unimaginable among heavyweights. Frazier gave almost as good as he got for 14 rounds, then had to be held back by trainer Eddie Futch as he tried to go out for the final round, unable to see." ~ Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press

"That neighborhood is in the City of Brotherly Love, his home since he was 15, and a place that he is synonymous with. So if you’re a fighter from Philadelphia, that’s the legacy you need to live up to. You can’t quit, you can’t give an inch, and you can’t back down. You fight until you just can’t fight anymore. That’s a Philly fighter, and that’s Joe Frazier." ~ Thomas Gerbasi,

"His final record stands at 32-4-1 with 27 KOs. But wins and losses are besides the point when you ponder Frazier's legacy. His determination, his burning desire to go forward, to leave every ounce of what he had to give in the ring, placed him in the top 1 percent of any boxer, in any era." ~ Michael Woods, ESPN New York

"Some people mean more together than they do apart, whatever the stage. Churchill and Hitler. Bogart and Bacall. Ali and Frazier. And for all the deserved accolades for Muhammad Ali, I’ve always believed that each at his best, Joe Frazier, who died Monday night at age 67, was the better fighter. And the better man." ~ Dave Anderson, The New York Times

Thomas Hauser of recalls a visit Joe Frazier made to press row in 2008.

Kieran Mulvaney of looks back at the Ali-Frazier trilogy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Who to blame for Mayweather KO4 Ortiz

Joe Maxse, Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Ortiz and his camp called them 'sucker punches,' but after butting Mayweather on purpose three times, with referee Joe Cortez taking a point away after the third violation, Ortiz should not have reverted to Mr. Nice Guy against a wounded opponent."

Thomas Hauser, The Sweet Science: "Legal or illegal, it was a sucker punch. ... Also, one can argue that, when Ortiz took the fight into the gutter with a flagrant foul, he was inviting an equally unsportsmanlike response. And let’s be honest. If the reverse had happened; if Mayweather had deliberately head-butted Ortiz and Victor responded with a sucker-punch knockout, many people would be saying today that Floyd got what he deserved."

Mike Coppinger, BoxingScene (via "Victor Ortiz took the fight to the streets, and Floyd Mayweather finished it in the streets. That headbutt was one of the most egregious fouls I've seen in a long time, and Floyd's supposed to be happy about it?"

Michael Woods, The Sweet Science: "If we're parceling out blame, Cortez has to receive the lion's share, because he is there to keep order. When in the fog of war, when emotions boil over during a stressful time, the ref has to be the voice of reason, the person to keep order. Cortez didn't. He was neither firm, nor fair, he was flawed."

Ron Borges, Boston Herald: "The heavily pro-Ortiz crowd booed, but their man had gotten what he asked for and what he deserved. He tried to make it a street fight and when it turned into one it didn’t last for long."

Doug Fischer, "...both fighters behaved unprofessionally and the manner in which the fight ended was bad for the sport."

Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press: "If Mayweather deserves criticism it’s probably not for the two punches that ended the fight prematurely. He didn’t need to berate HBO’s Larry Merchant in the post-fight interview in the ring, which the 80-year-old responded to by saying he would beat up Mayweather himself if he was 50 years younger. And he didn’t need to press his claim that Pacquiao uses steroids when there is no evidence to indicate Pacquiao does anything other than train well and fight even better."

Tim Smith, New York Daily News: "But the real sucker in this was Ortiz, who should have realized you can't deliberately foul someone and a few seconds later think they're going to bring you a bouquet of roses. Not in boxing."

George Willis, New York Post: "Ortiz went overboard in seeking forgiveness. He first kissed Mayweather on the cheek and then was slow to defend himself after referee Joe Cortez let the two fighters engage after taking the point away."

David Mayo, The Grand Rapids Press: "Maybe Victor Ortiz should’ve played within the rules, because the one thing he said Floyd Mayweather was, in pre-fight build-up, was a dirty fighter. The way Mayweather dealt with Ortiz’s own dirty tactics showed, at least, that he knows how to deal with them."

Bryan Armen Graham, Sports Illustrated: "Always protect yourself. It's the first rule of boxing. And one that Victor Ortiz picked the wrong time to forget Saturday against Floyd Mayweather."

Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times: "The fight was over. What Mayweather had done was basically legal. The fight was back on and the niceties were over. Mayweather was the more experienced fighter. He has lived through the wars and knew that when there is an advantage, you take it."

Ryan Maquinana, "Well, let’s get two things straight. The two punches were legal, and Victor Ortiz has only himself to blame for being unprepared for them, regardless of Joe Cortez’s best efforts to ruin another televised fight by turning a blind eye to the action. ... But in the whole grand scheme of things, Mayweather robbed himself of a chance to really silence his detractors on Saturday. Rather than leaving no doubt by dominating Ortiz without controversy, he opened himself up for criticism and debate from the general public about whether or not what he did was ethical."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Khan-Judah: Chin It to Win It?

Will we see one of these moments unfold in Khan-Judah?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Remembering George Kimball

Image credit: Boston Herald

The most renowned fight scribes earn that status, their staying power a product of dedication to the sport and the written word and the desire and ability to reach readers over the generations.

The boxing world lost one of its more renowned scribes this week. George Kimball passed away from cancer at the age of 67, dying after a battle that dated back to 2005.

"Many people engage in a flurry of activity when they’re in their sixties to make up for time lost when they were young," writes Thomas Hauser, memorializing Kimball for The Sweet Science. "George was determined to make up for time that he knew he would lose at the end.

"Over the next six years, George was living, not dying. He was as content and productive as most people are at any time in their lives.

"He added to his legacy as a writer by authoring Four Kings (the definitive work on the round-robin fights among Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran). That was followed by Manly Art (a collection of George’s own columns about the sweet science). He also edited two anthologies with John Schulian (At the Fights: American Writers on Boxing and The Fighter Still Remains: A Celebration of Boxing in Poetry and Song)."

Hauser's memorial includes an article he wrote about Kimball in 2004. It can be found here.

Kimball's longtime newspaper, Boston Herald, ran this memorial. Here's an excerpt:

"The Herald meant more to him than he ever let on, especially to his employers and superiors. George was a columnist here from 1980 to 2005, a quarter of a century. Here is where he made the transition from Angry Young to Grand Old. Here is where he got to have the most fun there is, being a big-city tabloid sports columnist. Here is where he found professional true love No. 2: boxing writing.

"He expressed his gratitude by trying to make reading as enjoyable as he found writing. A series of shared misadventures — too long for newspaper space allows me to state — illustrates that one of George’s dominant personality traits was a love of mischief. That’s a very good attribute for sportswriters, and a better one for their readers."

At the Boston Globe, columnist Bob Ryan penned this tribute to Kimball. Among the highlights:

"Long before he began treating Boston readers to his musings, he was a published novelist and contributor to many diverse "literary" publications having nothing to do with sports.

"You can look all this stuff up.

"But the reason why so many of us will miss George Kimball is, shall we say, his off-the-field self. If one were to conduct a poll of local writers, broadcasters, team officials and even players who have worked in Boston during the last 35 years or so, the question being, "Who is the most absolutely memorable personality you have encountered in the writing business?" the runaway winner --- perhaps even the unanimous choice --- would have to be George Kimball.

"That is, unless you know of some other bearded, one-eyed, chain-smoking, beer drinking, pot-bellied (I say this lovingly) vegetarian writer friend of Hunter S. Thompson who never saw a party he didn't like."

Rest in peace, George.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

In the Arena

Maybe you never watched Eliot Spitzer's news/talk show on CNN. Maybe that's one reason why it's just been canceled. But Spitzer did leave with a farewell quote from Teddy Roosevelt that I think all of us boxing writers would be smart to keep in mind. Here's a snippet of the sign-off:

SPITZER: That's it for tonight. This is my last program. And I thought the best way to sign off is with a quotation from Theodore Roosevelt. It is, in fact, the passage from which we took the title of the program "IN THE ARENA."

Here it is: It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood which strives valiantly, who errs, who comes up short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Thanks for watching. Good night from New York.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Klitschko-Haye: The Buzz Before The Big One

Image from

This is the big one. This is not just a fight between two of the three best heavyweights in the world. This is not just a fight that has been talked about for years.

This is the big one, the biggest fight that can be made that doesn't involve taking some guy named Manny Pacquiao and getting him in the ring with some guy named Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Wladimir Klitschko's fight with David Haye is Saturday afternoon (evening in Germany, where the fight is being held). This is the big one. And with the big-fight feel comes that big-fight buzz. We want to see what's going to happen. We don't know what's going to happen. We say we know what the result will be, and we argue why that will be the case. But we don't know, and that is why we tune in. And we will definitely tune in.

This, after all, is the big one.

This is a fight between a Ukrainian and a Brit, taking place in Germany. This is a Klitschko fight being shown on HBO, once commonplace, now a rarity.

Tim Smith of the New York Daily News looks at the situation:

"He [Klitschko] is already a megastar in Germany and Eastern Europe. His last five fights have been in Germany before sellout crowds and massive TV audiences (13 million people tuned in to see him beat Sam Peter in his last fight). He has endorsement deals with Hugo Boss and Mercedes. His face graces the covers of national magazines. His fight with Haye has been front-page news here for the past week.

"But Klitschko is an invisible man in America. He hasn't fought in the U.S. since a lackluster performance against Sultan Ibragimov at Madison Square Garden in 2008. He wants to return to the U.S. to wipe out the stench of that fight and could do it with a match against Chris Arreola if he can get past Haye Saturday."

Those are the larger stakes for Klitschko. The fight itself is much more immediate. Gabriel Montoya of sets the table, giving the storyline on David Haye's end:

"For two years, David Haye has been talking about taking out a Klitschko, telling everyone and anyone that he can beat both brothers, even signing to fight them before pulling out of the fight (at the time, Haye cited an injury) because his promoter at Setanta Sports was having financial issues. For two years, after printing T-shirts of the brothers – both decapitated - and saying he would rid the boxing world of the boredom that is a Klitschko fight, the moment has finally arrived. Though many will take the 'I’ll believe it when the bell rings' approach, on July 2, David Haye finally will attempt in the ring what he has been trying to do in the press when he squares off against Wladimir Klitschko in the Imtech-Arena, Altona, Hamburg, Germany."

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated believes a Haye win, which would end Klitschko's long reign, would be a good thing for boxing.

"The Klitschko Era has been impressive, but not always entertaining. Wladimir has tried to endear himself to America. He splits time between Miami and Los Angeles, has dated an American actress (Hayden Panetierre) and isn't averse to enjoying the night life. But his stoic demeanor and consonant-heavy name haven't sold many tickets and don't have casual fans looking for HBO.

"Haye could. He claims he will retire at the end of this year, but the potential embarrassment of riches that await him in the U.S. could change that. Haye could reboot the division and storm through the contenders in the States. Haye-[Chris] Arreola is a good fight. Haye-Tomasz Adamek, the Polish-born ex-cruiserweight champion who fights out of New Jersey, is another. Haye would have the full-throated support of HBO, which would jump at the chance to give another [Floyd] Mayweather-like personality a platform, and of a public starved to anoint someone as [Lennox] Lewis' heir."

For Wladimir Klitschko, a win over David Haye would be the crowning jewel in his heavyweight rain, the pinnacle of his resurrection from ruin.

For David Haye, a win over Klitschko would make all the trash talk and all the waiting worthwhile, all from one stunning win. Any other talk – about whether Haye should retire next or blaze through the heavyweight division instead – is premature.

We have Klitschko-Haye to talk about first. This is the big one.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Profile of BWAA Member Lem Satterfield

I hadn't known when I'd moved back to my hometown that there was another BWAA member there: Lem Satterfield, a longtime reporter for The Baltimore Sun who'd moved on to become the boxing editor and writer for AOL Fanhouse and is now one of my colleagues at

I took a job last year running a local news website. Lem's story is one worth telling. It is a story that Thomas Hauser put on paper many years ago. And his is a personality that area residents should know about.

Mike Coppinger, a member of the BWAA who is based out of New Jersey, wrote a profile for the Columbia Patch website.

Here's the first paragraph:

In many ways, Lem Satterfield is a fighting man, but not in the manner those words initially suggest. He is a boxing writer who covers the best and biggest prizefighters in the world. He is a longtime journalist who is trying to succeed in the transition from writing for newspapers to writing online. And he does all of this while recovering from cancer.

And here's the link to the rest:

Friday, June 10, 2011

International Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend

Image credit:

They are three more big names whose careers will be enshrined within the confines of a small-town museum. This weekend, Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez and Kostya Tszyu will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, located in Upstate New York in Carmen Basilio's hometown of Canastota.

Here's a sampling of what writers are saying of their accomplishments. And for a full list of this year's inductees, please click here.

Let's start with Bernard Fernandez of the Philadelphia Daily News, introducing the legend of Chavez:

R.I.P. Genaro Hernandez

It is an unfortunate truth that, for as much as we appreciate our prizefighters while they are in the ring, such appreciation tends to fade in the years that follow, returning only once they are truly and permanently gone.

Genaro Hernandez passed away this week at 45 after an extended battle with cancer, a battle which he fought as valiantly as he did while between those ropes. So many have noted their affection toward him and their appreciation of him—Hernandez the fighter, the commentator, the man—during that battle. And it is in tribute to who and what he was that their affection and appreciation has been written so that those who did not know Genaro Hernandez can, at the very least, know why he was appreciated.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Remembering Bill Gallo

Photo credit: Enid Alvarez for the New York Daily News

The passing of Bill Gallo is not just the loss of one of the boxing journalist fraternity, but also the loss of one of the forefathers to this modern era of boxing coverage, a writer and artist and International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee whose work dates back decades, transitioning from before and during the times of Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell to the days when the Internet allowed any number of us loudmouths to attempt to have a voice in boxing.

Through all this, Gallo's voice was a distinguished and recognizable one, not just in boxing and not just in New York City, but encompassing a number of sports and beyond the five boroughs.

Gallo died May 10 at the age of 88. Here's just a sampling of what people are saying about him. Please feel free to add your own memories below.

Omar Minaya, former general manager of the New York Mets (via ESPN New York): "If you grew up in New York over the past 40 years or so, he was just a part of New York life. You woke up in the morning, opened the Daily News sports page, and at some point in time you would go to Bill Gallo."

Michael Woods, The Sweet Science: "Though his ardor for the sport dimmed somewhat as sanctioning body silliness and promoter's tomfoolery increased in recent decades, Gallo communicated his love of the game and the special athletes who make boxing the sport to which all others aspire to."

William Grimes, The New York Times: "Unlike many cartoonists, he resisted formulas. To recreate the 1971 title match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, he gave readers at least half a dozen key moments in the fight, all within a single cartoon panel. When Thurman Munson, the catcher for the Yankees, died in an airplane crash in 1979, he gave full rein to sentiment, showing two boys despondently leaving a sandlot as the head of Mr. Munson looked down from above."

Yes you were, Bill. Yes you were.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Klitschko vs. Cowboys and Aliens

Maybe the Summer film you're waiting for is Cowboys and Aliens, or the 55th Harry Potter one. I'm hoping to see Klitschko. It's at the Tribeca Film Festival this week.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Frazier Beats Ali -- March 8, 1971

"In a classic 15-round battle, Joe Frazier broke the wings of the butterfly and smashed the stinger of the bee tonight in winning a unanimous decision over Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden," Dave Anderson wrote in the New York Times.

It was March 8, 1971, 40 years ago today.

"Frazier, with an unrelenting pursuit and a brutal body attack, wore down the dancing, jabbing Ali through 14 rounds, then sent him crashing to the canvas and pounded him at will in the final round to retain his championship with a unanimous decision," the UPI wire story reported. Ali's jaw was hurt and he was taken to a hospital. "I don't think he wants a rematch -- not right away," Frazier said, in the AP story.

Frazier won the Fight of The Century that night -- but it's mostly Ali people are remembering today. GQ put him on the cover in February, for the second time in three years, this time as one of the "25 Coolest Athletes of All Time" (in 2007 it was for being one of the "50 Most Stylish Men of the Past 50 Years.") Whatever. Inside, GQ runs three quotes about Ali, from Don King, Norman Mailer, and...Garry Shandling.

At The Sweet Science, Bernard Fernandez has a new piece looking at the syndicate of Philly guys who bankrolled Frazier (and later banked profits) as he turned pro and started winning big purses.

The keepers of Life magazine are releasing a gallery of photos from the 1971 fight and its build-up -- photos that, they say, are previously unpublished, though I know I've seen this one (top right) before. The whole pictorial is worth checking out -- it's right here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Little But Big, B.A.D. But Good (Part Two)

Image credit: Chris Cozzone

Let us postscript this past Saturday's fight between Nonito Donaire and Fernando Montiel, with our writers' words providing a form of oral history:

Jake Donovan, The talent long ago suggested that Nonito Donaire was destined for greatness. All that he needed was the big wins to match the potential.

Saturday night provided that part of the formula, in a very big way.

Kevin Iole, Yahoo Sports!: Montiel looked stiff when the fight began and paid a price early when Donaire raked him with a straight right in the opening moments. About a minute or so later, Donaire ripped him with a left hook that seemed to bother the champion.

Donaire, who was poised and calm throughout, knew long ago that it would be an early night. He said he told trainer Robert Garcia right before Christmas he would knock Montiel out in the second.

He was true to his word, knocking Montiel down with a vicious left hook and then a right uppercut that was totally unnecessary. Montiel was laying on the mat, with his legs twitching.

“I hit him with a left hook, I looked down and he started twitching,” Donaire said. “I knew the fight was over.”

It should have been, but, incredulously, referee Russell Mora let it continue. Montiel fell on his first attempt to get up and didn’t respond to Mora’s command to walk toward him when he did arise. However, Mora walked to Montiel, wiped his gloves and somehow saw fit to allow the bout to move on. Donaire landed two punches before Mora then jumped in.

Bart Barry, Even serious boxing fans were forgiven their disbelief at Saturday’s spectacle. For most of us, after all, Nonito Donaire was the guy who stretched Vic Darchinyan on Showtime 40 months ago, left promoter Gary Shaw and disappeared into promoter Top Rank’s farm system, making reportedly excellent if alliterative progress on Pinoy Power pay-per-view programs.

By 2010 Donaire was lost to the public. While specialists knew of his technical acumen, most everyone else assumed Top Rank already had its Filipino superstar in Manny Pacquiao – and one was enough. Rabid as boxing’s supporters in the Philippines were, there was only so much money to be squeezed from the world’s number 46 economy.

How well Top Rank has handled Donaire’s career is debatable. How well Top Rank has developed Donaire as a prizefighter, though, is not.

Dan Rafael, A star is born. Donaire, with a massive knockout against a top-notch opponent in a much-anticipated fight, took his career to a new level and stamped himself among the handful of the best fighters in the world. Montiel, 31, of Mexico, a three-division titleholder, had not lost since 2006 and had established himself as the No. 1 bantamweight in the world by virtue of his impressive knockout of Hozumi Hasegawa last year to unify a pair of alphabet belts. Yet Donaire -- "The Filipino Flash" -- erased him in violent fashion to claim his 118-pound belts.

Little guys usually don't score such huge knockouts. Donaire, 28, a longtime flyweight titlist who also briefly held an interim belt at junior bantamweight before moving up in weight again in December, is not just any little guy. He's special.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Little But Big, B.A.D. But Good (Part One)

Let us preview tonight's fight between Nonito Donaire and Fernando Montiel, with our writers' words providing a form of oral history:

Robert Morales, Long Beach Press-Telegram: Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire are both promoted by Bob Arum, which made it easy for them to become fairly good friends.

But they say that won't matter tonight when they square off for Montiel's two bantamweight world titles at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (on HBO).

Thomas Gerbasi, The anticipation leading up to this bout is reminiscent of the lead-up to the bouts between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, and stylistically, it wouldn’t be too far a stretch to suggest that Montiel and Donaire can deliver the same kind of intense action. Of course, given the disappointment of last month’s highly-anticipated Superfight between Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander, containing your excitement level has become a necessary requirement of being a boxing fan these days. Montiel says not to worry, because he’s bringing it, and he’s willing to take all the risks necessary to beat his foe.

Jake Donovan, HBO takes a rare peek into the bantamweight division.

Even if it’s not the norm, a matchup pitting a pair of bona fide pound-for-pound entrants is way too tempting for anyone to pass up.

“The Montiel-Donaire showdown features two of the most accomplished little men in the sport,” states Kery Davis, Senior Vice President of Programming for HBO Sports. “It’s as good as any match-up you will see in the smaller weight classes.”

It’s also as good as any Boxing After Dark fight that has been shown in recent – and perhaps even distant – memory, as none of the B.A.D. entrants from 2010 certainly measured up.

Michael Rosenthal, Ask an expert who he believes will win the Fernando Montiel-Nonito Donaire fight on Saturday and he or she will probably sigh before serving up an answer with minimal conviction. Donaire is a 3-1 betting favorite but most believe it’s a pick-‘em fight.

We'll return after the fight for part two.

Monday, February 14, 2011


This TMZ/Entertainment Tonight/Us Weekly 24-hour-news-cycle generation has served to make cult figures of celebrities. Manny Pacquiao was already a national hero in the Philippines and a superstar in the boxing world.


Now you half expect there to be people on street corners handing out pamphlets letting you know all there is to know about Pacquiao.

Did you know that Manny Pacquiao's haircut is not modeled after Justin Bieber but rather is in tribute to Bruce Lee?

Did you know that Manny Pacquiao has a sizable lump near his right wrist that comes from something called Gideon's Disease?

Did you know that Manny Pacquiao's name is ubiquitous?

Bob Arum and Floyd Mayweather Jr. were seen sitting together at the Super Bowl. What does this mean for a possible fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather?

Who in history would Saul Alvarez most want to fight? Manny Pacquiao.

"[T]here are web sites where writers go out of their way to force a certain popular Filipino fighter’s name into every single article to drive search-engine traffic their way," writes Eric Raskin in a guest post on the stellar Queensberry Rules blog. "How pathetic. I would never do something like that."

Raskin's sums up the madness with his next thought in the piece:

"Manny Pacquiao is good at boxing."

Heck. Manny Pacquiao is great at boxing. And he's great for boxing. Can we start talking about Manny Pacquiao AND boxing again?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thank You(Tube)

It was hidden away on the non-televised portion of the undercard to Timothy Bradley vs. Devon Alexander, but that doesn't mean it was hidden away to all. There's such a thing as the international feed, and there's such a thing as YouTube.

Some are touting Kendall Holt's first-round knockout of Lenin Arroyo as an early candidate for knockout of the year (praise not just the person who loaded this video, but also from Steve Kim of

I'm not as high on it. I don't think the camera angle helped, and I don't believe the blow was "stand up from your seats" good. Still, here it is:

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bradley-Alexander: Coming Up Short

Photo credit: Carlos Baeza/Thompson Boxing Promotions

Writers don't have venom tongues so much as they venomous ink – if they are disappointed or angry or unhappy, they will let you know by letting the venom ink flow.

So when Timothy Bradley vs. Devon Alexander – a fight with great expectations – turned out to be a woeful clash of styles, writers dug into it with pleasure. Or with displeasure.

Dan Rafael of

"Talk about a disappointment. Bradley-Alexander, the first unification fight between two undefeated American titleholders in 24 years and only the third ever, was supposed to launch the winner, and maybe even the loser, to stardom, if it had been a great fight. Instead, it was a giant dud.

"The fight, fought before a crowd of 6,247 at the Silverdome, was competitive all the way with several very close, hard-to-score rounds. But the fight was not pleasing to watch. It was messy and never found a flow, and it ended in ugly fashion after yet another head-butt badly rattled Alexander."

Jake Donovan of led off with this in his post-fight recap:

"Dead atmosphere. Disappointing action. A major fight that ends on a butt and not a punch.

"Not exactly the ideal return to the big time for a sport desperately in need of a shot in the arm."

Bart Barry of framed part of his story around his encounter with Bradley at the airport:

"Bradley was exhausted, busted up and bandaged, his left eye swelled shut from accidental collisions with Devon Alexander’s head. He was also the world’s best 140-pound prizefighter – if anyone cared.

"It appeared no one did. And that was fitting a footnote as any to the weekend’s depressed and depressing event, a spectacle billed as “The Super Fight” that filled little more than five percent of Silverdome’s available seats in Pontiac, Mich."


All of these words sting nearly as bad as Alexander's eye must've after that final head butt.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Big Stage, The Big Screen, The Big Challenge, Two Big Guys

The Big Stage

Inside a large domed football arena this Saturday will be Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley. So many other writers have weighed in on the economic side of things. But here's a Michigan man, David Mayo of The Grand Rapids Press, discussing what this fight could mean to the state.

Lem Satterfield of AOL Fanhouse, while not from Michigan, says Detroit needs this fight.

The Big Screen

Kieran Mulvaney of looks at a fascinating documentary on modern bare-knuckle boxing.

Murray Greig of the Edmonton Sun has his top 10 boxing movies.

The Big Challenge

Mixed martial artist Nick Diaz wants to try out boxing, says Franklin McNeil of

Two Big Guys

George Kimball of The Sweet Science kept a secret for a long time – Why did Butterbean get knocked out by Mitchell Rose way back in 1995? Here's the answer...

And Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated takes a look at Chris Arreola and his new, supposed dedication to training.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's The World Coming To?

Don't call us nattering nabobs of negativism. There's plenty of good news out there – for just one example, there's Thomas Gerbasi's feature on Kevin Cunningham, trainer to Devon Alexander, on

But blog posts are better made when they're not just roundups, but when there's an overriding theme. And so there's these:

Thomas Hauser of has the behind-the-scenes stuff on how the flagship boxing network, HBO, lost the top boxing star, Manny Pacquiao, to Showtime.

John Whisler of the San Antonio Express-News has the story of drama involving a South Texas amateur boxing organization.

Tom Archdeacon of the Dayton Daily News looks into the dangers of Toughman contests, which returned to his city last week.

And Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times says the newly launched World Series of Boxing is already in major financial trouble.

No need to pile on with the poor ticket sales for this Saturday's fight between Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander...

Friday, January 21, 2011

That's What Sheed Said

There was a report on NPR this week saying that writer Wilfrid Sheed has died, and it took me a second to connect the name to the first boxing book I ever bought. I got Muhammad Ali: A Portrait in Words and Photographs probably a year or so after it came out in 1975, because I remember I used to stretch my teenage budget by shopping for big, glossy books about movies and sports at the discount table, where a lot of good ones eventually landed.

Of course I was drawn to the book by the awesome Neil Leifer photos. Ali looked great. He was cool. So were Frazier and Foreman and Liston. I tore out some of the 9-by-11 photo pages for my wall. I can't say I read the book cover-to-cover. I always figured Sheed was a grizzled sportswriter along with all the other guys I was reading then -- Dick Schaap, Stan Fischler, Ray Fitzgerald at the Boston Globe, Pat Putnam in Sports Ilustrated. The obits say Sheed was a satirical British essayist and novelist. His two biography subjects were Ali and Claire Boothe Luce. But looking back -- I still have my tattered copy of the book -- this is good stuff:
The face has been flattened ever so slightly by the hammers of Mars, and there is some reluctant scar tissue around the eyes. Yet he looks the better for it. Narcissus probably had a dull face without all those ripples on it -- a few rounds with Frazier would have helped him too. Ali's eyes themselves are deadly weapons, black as carbon and jabbing in every direction, from impassive surroundings.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh, Holy... Field.

Evander Holyfield loves boxing. And boxing fans loved Evander Holyfield. But there's a reason why the 48-year-old heavyweight – who will enter the Hall of Fame five years after he finally retires, if and when he finally retires – is fighting in a lesser venue against a lesser opponent and would be getting less attention of his fight wasn't coming on an otherwise empty weekend.

Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press:

The problem is Holyfield hasn't had a good fight in years, unless you count his win over equally ancient Francois Botha last April a good fight. It wasn't, and there's no body of evidence in boxing that the older fighters get, the better they get.

It's the exact opposite, of course, as it is in all sports. But other sports don't involve getting hit repeatedly in the head.

The fighter who helped make the '90s a good time for the heavyweight division might be emboldened in his quest by the knowledge that the cupboard is painfully bare among boxing's big guys. Take away the Klitschko brothers and Britain's David Haye, and there's not a whole lot left in the division.

But Holyfield is never going to get a fight with the Klitschkos or Haye, much less beat them. He's stuck fighting guys like Williams and Brian Nielsen, who is coming out of a nine-year retirement to fight Holyfield in Denmark in March.

Still, he soldiers on, fighting for paydays a fraction of the $35 million he made to fight Tyson the second time around. He's had recent money issues and a payday is a payday, but listen to Holyfield talk and you get the feeling he really does think he can be heavyweight champion again.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Talk

Not everything is flowery prose and dramatic storytelling and witty turns of phrases. Sometimes the best thing to do is just to get out of the way of the subjects and let them speak. And sometimes writers don't need to write at all, but rather will report, ask questions and let the answers speak for themselves. The above segment with Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander carried much more power to it than any other minute-long production HBO could've put together.

The beauty of the Internet is that should a writer choose to publish an interview on its own, rather than turning it into an article, it is welcomed because doing so is suited to the short attention span that often comes with reading online. And much like Muhammad Ali saw that television would give him a channel to use his mouth to amplify his stardom, boxers have taken to the Internet to sell their fights.

Writers, of course, are willing to oblige.

Friday, January 7, 2011

In With The New...

It's easy to get caught in nostalgia, to look back at the great fighters and the great fights of decades past. Nostalgia means name value, which is why we still see Hector Camacho and Evander Holyfield and an assortment of long past-their-prime fighters still step in the ring (or why we see Buster Douglas in what might be the worst amateur commercial contest entry ever).

That, and they need money.

We will never be completely out with the old. But we are in with the new.

Thomas Gerbasi of talks to prospect Demetrius Andrade and the disappointing 2010 he had just two years after turning pro out of the Olympics:

Still unbeaten as a pro, still on most pundits’ Top Prospects lists, Andrade nonetheless only fought three times last year against pedestrian opposition and ate some backlash from fans and those in the media, including ESPN commentator Teddy Atlas.

Yet the 22-year old from Providence, Rhode Island took everything in stride.

“I just basically keep it moving, keep focused, and I try not to pay too much attention to it,” said Andrade, who chuckled when asked if this is what he signed up for when he became a professional boxer.

“Not at all. I didn’t expect a lot of things outside of boxing to happen. It’s crazy.”

For a taste, just look at Andrade’s social media output. Usually used just as a marketing tool, his webpage and Twitter account provided a glimpse into what he was going through.

Twitter - May 24 - My fight was cancelled last week due to my opponents arrest. My next fight is scheduled for June 18 at Northern Quest Casino in Spokane, WA.

Twitter - June 21 - My June 18 fight at Northern Quest Casino was cancelled, due to my opponents medical condition. Check my tweets for info on my next fight!

Webpage – September 23 - “I want to say to my family, friends, and fans that I've been reading things online regarding my father and myself. I'd like to set the record straight by saying, he's still my dad and he will always be in my corner. It is to my father’s credit that I am, where I am, today. My father is still a key person in my life and will always be.”

Add in a new baby, and it’s kind of amazing that Andrade was able to fight at all, but he did, he kept his “0” and now it’s on to what he hopes will be a better 2011.

There is a new television series centered around boxing called "Lights Out." Michael Woods, writing for, sets the premise of the show:

Friday, December 31, 2010

Some Goodbyes... – Image Credit

The end of the year is meant to be cathartic, a symbolic purging of the negatives of the last 12 months, a filing away of everything positive as we look toward what is to come and what must be done.

That requires saying some goodbyes. This last week brought the death of respected Philadelphia middleweight Bennie Briscoe. How respected was he? Let us turn to the Philadelphia Daily News, which this week re-ran an article by Elmer Smith from 1983 following a tribute that year to the retired fighter.

They rang the final bell on Bennie Briscoe's career last night in one of Philadelphia boxing's most decent and dignified hours.

Undisputed world middleweight champion Marvin Hagler, boxing Hall of Fame inductee and five-time world champion Emile Griffith, former light-heavyweight champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and a dozen other local and nationally known figures took turns at Palumbo's microphone to recall the wars they fought with Bad Bennie and to wish him the best.

They talked about how hard they had to train to get ready for a night with Bennie during the years when Philadelphia was still a "must" stop on the route to the top of the middleweight rankings and how they tried to build their reputations on Bennie's bald head.

And they told about how a fight with Bennie Briscoe told them more about themselves than it did about him.

The article includes several quotes from Briscoe's opponents. It's worth reading, even 27 years later.

Meanwhile, Murray Greig of the Edmonton Sun takes a look back at someone lost long, long ago: former heavyweight champion Tommy Burns, the man whom Jack Johnson would defeat to gain that crown. Greig's timing is apt, for it was 102 years ago that Greig faced Johnson:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Boxing: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

There are down times in boxing, periods when there are no big fights for several week, periods such as the time between Dec. 18 (when Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins fought to a draw) and Jan. 29 (when Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley meet in a battle for junior-welterweight supremacy).

There is no offseason, however, no need to force the news with talk of hot stove leagues or draft picks or scouting combines. There is always a recent run of fights to review. There is always an upcoming fight to preview. There are fighters to feature, issues to discuss.

Tim Smith of the New York Daily News was one of many taking aim at the May 2011 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley:

[T]he news of Mosley being the next Pacquiao opponent isn't surprising or disappointing. Actually it makes perfect business sense - low risk, big reward.

It is merely par for the course with how Arum promotes Pacquiao, but if you want to blame someone for Pacquiao fighting Mosley, blame Pacquiao because ultimately he's the one who decides who he wants to fight. All Arum does is outline the financial particulars and negotiates the contracts with the various parties involved with staging the fight.

Thomas Gerbasi of had a feature on Wladimir Klitschko's rise to heavyweight prominence and his continued heavyweight dominance:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sometimes Truth is Stronger Than Fiction: Micky Ward and "The Fighter"

Sylvester Stallone has fame and fortune. He has an Oscar, millions upon millions of dollars, and even a plaque in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, which has inducted him as an observer, and deservingly so, for his role as the writer and star of the "Rocky" movies.

Micky Ward toiled for 18 years and 51 fights, respected by those that knew of him, revered for what they saw of him. Rare was he in the headlines or under the spotlights, and even when he was, the amount of attention he received (and the amount of fame and fortune that comes from that) was less than what his real-life story deserved.

Ward's been retired for more than seven years now. He went out on top – even with two straight losses – with his trilogy of wars with the late Arturo Gatti. At last, Ward is receiving attention beyond the niche audience of boxing fans. He will never have the fame or fortune of a Sylvester Stallone – and he will never have a plaque in the International Hall of Fame (though when I visited he was referenced within the museum in Canastota).

But people will know who he was.

Sometimes truth is stronger than fiction. And while movie makers must take some liberties with his biography, there is "The Fighter."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bernard Hopkins Does Everything But Make History

Photo credit: Tom Casino, Showtime.

He rose from two knockdowns. He won more rounds. He turned back time and the tide and the fight put forth by a champion nearly 18 years his junior.

He did everything but make history.

Bernard Hopkins' draw amazed in what the nearly 46-year-old was able to do, and so many of the writers who watched the fight gave him recognition that the judges didn't. Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins fought to a draw, a result that this scribe felt was fair but an ending that others felt robbed Hopkins – not just of what they saw as a rightful victory, but of a record as the oldest man to win a lineal championship.

Dan Rafael of

"Hopkins turns 46 on Jan. 15 and deserved the decision, but didn't get it. Was it highway robbery? No. But he did more than enough to overcome flash knockdowns in the first and third rounds to dominate virtually the entire rest of the fight, a stunning performance against a [28-year-old] champion in his prime."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Don't Call Him Old News: Bernard Hopkins Takes on Jean Pascal

Photo credit: Luc Grenier

Let us let Bernard Fernandez of the Philadelphia Daily News set not only the scene for Saturday's fight between Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins, but also the theme for today's post.

The boxing ring, like the jungle, can be a savage place. Old fighters are like old lions; at some point a younger, stronger lion is certain to challenge the aging king for leadership of the pride. More often than not, youth must be served. It is called survival of the fittest, and it is nature's way.

Hopkins, of course, is the old lion in Saturday's fight. But he is a cagey and capable one, which gives him a shot at breaking the record set 16 years ago, when George Foreman, 45, knocked out Michael Moorer to become the oldest-ever world champion. On fight night, Hopkins will be 38 days older than Foreman was then.

Here's Don Steinberg, writing for The Wall Street Journal:

Other fortysomethings have tried unsuccessfully to win crowns. Roberto Duran was 47 when he lost a bid to regain a middleweight belt in 1998. Evander Holyfield came up short in a challenge for the heavyweight title at age 46—and he's still active at 48. Saoul Mamby, a former junior welterweight champ, pulled a Minnie Minoso and came back for one fight at age 60—the oldest in a modern, sanctioned fight, though it wasn't a title bout.

These thoughts are not to give short shrift to the man facing Hopkins, the legitimate light heavyweight champion, Pascal. But Hopkins' quest for the championship is also a quest for history. Here's Jake Donovan of taking a look at the other side: