Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tyson Fury Shakes Up the World: Thanks So Much For Having Me

By Peter Silkov
 
The word ‘upset’ is one that is overused today, along with ‘champion’ and ‘great’, but last night Tyson Fury (25-0, 18koes) certainly performed a genuine, real deal upset, by separating Wladimir Kitsch (64-4, 53koes) from the World heavyweight crown, which he has called his own for over nine and a half years.  In doing so, Fury also snapped Dr Steelhammer’s 11 and a half year unbeaten streak.  Looked at in the cold light of day, this was a magnificent victory for Fury.  Few outside his loyal circle of family and friends gave him a chance of beating Klitschko.  After all, despite being nearly 40 years old, this wasn’t a champion who was showing signs of deterioration in his recent fights.  If anything, the super-fit Klitschko has been enjoying the best form of his career in recent years.
 
The fight itself was not a physical thriller, such as the Ali vs Frazier or Holyfield vs Bowe classic wars, it was a technical chess match, a duel of jabs and feints. The fact that Tyson won this way makes his performance even more noteworthy. Had he knocked out Klitschko, then the early defeats of Dr. Steelhammer would be pointed to, and it could be said that Klitschko was never the most durable of champions.  But, those defeats are a long way away now and with the help of his former trainer, the late Emanuel Steward, Wladimir has long since devised a style that makes him extremely hard to hit cleanly, let alone knock out.

Yet, Fury was able to beat him at his own game, he out-boxed the boxer, out-counter punched the counter puncher.  But perhaps even more importantly, Tyson seems to have won the mind games with Klitschko, both in and out of the ring.  During the fight it was Klitschko who seemed to be the overly cautious, nervy fighter, while Fury seemed to grow in confidence the further that the fight went.

It wasn’t always pleasant to the eye, but Fury’s fight strategy was picture perfect. Fury’s whole team deserves a lot of credit for how they have guided him to the world title, and how they stood up for him in the final run up to the fight. We had glove gate, when Klitschko tried to force Tyson to wear gloves that weren’t suitable for him, then we had foam gate, when the ring was found to have an extremely spongy canvas, due to 3 layers of foam, which was finally removed after protests from team Fury.  Finally, less than hours before the fight was due to start, we had the slightly more sinister hand wrap gate, when it was discovered that Klitschko’s hands had been wrapped without supervision from a member of the Fury team.  Again there were forceful protests, and Tyson’s Father, John Fury, threatened to pull his son out of the fight, until the wraps were removed, and replaced while under supervision. The job that Tyson’s team has done in making sure that he got a fair deal cannot be underestimated.

Fury remains a polarising figure. In the wake of his victory last night, there are many today with egg on their faces. The reaction of these people in the coming days will be to jump belatedly onto the Fury bandwagon, or else dismiss his victory yesterday with the kind of negative comments that have already started to appear in some areas of the social media.

The truth is, it is very hard to find negative outcomes emerging from Fury’s victory over Wladimir.  Whatever you may think of him as a person, there is no denying that he is a breath of fresh air at the top of the division that has become staid and predictable under the reign of Wlad, and his now retired brother Vitali. The division has been crying out for new blood, and a champion who has the personality to reach beyond the confines of the sport. In Tyson Fury, boxing finally has a personality that can invigorate the division, and inspire interest in the sport itself.  Tyson’s whole story is inspirational, from being born 2 months prematurely and weighing a mere one pound, to winning the Heavyweight championship of the world. 

Fury has won the world title at the perfect time, with possible fights looming with the likes of Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and the possible comeback of  David Haye. The future of heavyweight boxing is suddenly looking far from boring, especially in England.  Firstly, Tyson is likely to make his first defence against the deposed Wladimir Klitschko, in what is likely to be the biggest heavyweight fight in many years.  The rematch is also likely to be more dramatic than the first fight, now that Klitschko knows that he can be out-boxed by Fury.  Klitschko will have to change his approach in any rematch or else he will be simply out-boxed again.

The new blood has already got the heavyweight division flowing again.    

The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

James Degale Retains IBF Title With a Hard Fought Win Over Bute

Photo: BBC Sports

By Peter Silkov

James Degale (22-1, 14koes) beat Lucian Bute (32-3, 25koes) last night at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City, after a hard fought contest, which saw the British fighter stretched to his limits.  Bute had been considered by many to be a spent force since his destruction at the hands of Carl Froch a few years back, yet against Degale, he produced a performance that showed that he is far from washed up as a fighter.  After a slightly tentative start, it was Bute who forced the action for much of the contest, often driving Degale into the ropes and landing with both hands. Degale started brightly and aggressively. He and seemed to be looking for the early knockout that he had predicted. By the middle rounds, (Degale had predicted a 5th round knockout) it was Bute who was coming on strong, while Degale fell into his old habit of easing off the gas, and going on the back-foot.

The second half of the fight found Bute pressing and attacking, while Degale was looking to counter. While the quality of Degale’s boxing was world class at times, his lack of work rate and constant retreating often made him appear far too negative in comparison to Bute.  Cheered on throughout by a very vociferous Quebec crowd, it seemed in the later rounds that Bute had done enough to wrest the title from Degale.  In the end, however, Degale retained his title with scores of 116-112, 117-111, and 117-111.  If Bute had not done quite enough to regain the world title he had certainly done enough to make the fight very close, and the judges scoring certainly did not reflect the fight that this writer watched.  The Boxing Glove scored the fight 115-112 for Bute.

Degale now is looking towards a possible unification fight with WBC world super-middleweight champion Badou Jack.  There are also possible fights with Gennady Golovkin if he decides to move up and Andre Ward, should he finally decide that he is still a super-middleweight, rather than a light-heavyweight.  Add to this the rumours of a comeback by former champion Carl Froch, and Degale has some lucrative opportunities ahead of him.  Whether he would be able to emerge victorious against any of the aforementioned fighters, by boxing in the manner that he did against Bute last night,  is another thing entirely.

Watch the final post-fight press conference:


 Watch the fight:





Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tyson Fury Fulfills Father's Prophecy And Dethrones Wladimir Klitschko


By Peter Silkov

Tonight Tyson Fury has done the impossible, he has slayed the seemingly invincible Dr Steelhammer, Wladimir Klitschko, to win the World heavyweight title in what is one of the biggest upsets seen in the division’s history.  Now that he is champion, we will see many people coming out of the woodwork saying that they always thought that Fury had the makings of a world champion in him and that he always had a good chance against Klitschko. The truth, however, is that few really gave Fury much hope of ending Klitschko’s 11 year unbeaten streak.  What is perhaps even more of a surprise is the manner of Tyson’s victory.  Most people who gave Tyson a chance of victory thought that such a chance would come through Tyson landing a knockout, as Klitschko’s biggest flaw has always seemed to be his durability. Instead, Fury did what many of supporters’ felt he would never be able to do; he out-boxed Dr Steelhammer.  If that wasn’t enough, Fury out-boxed Klitschko with ease, with a mixture of speed and confidence, which lived up to his boast earlier in the week that this would be one of the easiest victories of his career.

Fury bamboozled Klitschko from the opening round.  Boxing on the retreat, and waiting for Klitschko to come forward. He boxed the perfect fight for a counter puncher and by doing so, refused to fight the way that Klitschko wanted him to fight.  Unable to counter himself, Klitschko was reluctant to attack either, which resulted in much of the contest being a chess match, with both fighters feinting and spearing at each other with their jabs, but landing few punches of power or consequence. The solid shots that did land were coming form the challenger.  With speed that belies his stature, Tyson was beating Klitschko to the jab, and befuddling him by switching from orthodox to southpaw and back again.  Indeed, at times Fury’s confidence bordered on pure recklessness as he stood within range with his hands at his sides, and even put his hands behind his back on several occasions.  As the rounds passed, it became clear that Fury was in control of the fight, by the middle rounds both men were throwing punches with more intent, and Wladimir, after holding his right hand back for much of the early rounds, finally began to unleash it.  When he did this, Tyson came back with big punches of his own.  The pattern of the fight was of Tyson using the ring and peppering Wladimir with the jab.  What punches were being thrown by the defending champion were often smothered or blocked by Fury.

Tyson’s advantage in the fight was written on Wladimir’s face by the 6th round, in the cut and swollen cheek below his left eye, and the visible glimmer of frustration and even panic that showed on his face.

This was Wladimir Klitschko’s 28th world heavyweight title fight, but he had never experienced anything like this before, in any of his previous fights.

At times Fury seemed to be taunting the champion, and as the fight wore on into the later rounds, Klitschko began to look old, as he struggled to keep up with a faster, and even stronger man than himself.

The 9th round was a pivotal one, with Klitschko landing his best punches of the fight, yet Fury just stood his ground, and came back with heavy punches of his own.  Suddenly it was clear that Fury could take the best punches of Wladimir, and although it was one of the few rounds that Klitschko would clearly win, it seemed to only embolden Tyson Fury.

The challenger kept to a brilliant fight plan, to rely upon his jab, while utilizing his superior height, reach, and speed.  It was a magnificent performance of concentration and dedication by a man who in the past has been known for his often-erratic performances in the ring, but not this night.

In the 11th round, Tyson unleashed some of his heaviest punches, and seemed to visibly shake Klitschko, yet referee Tony Weeks chose this moment to break up the fighters and issue an outrageous point deduction for Tyson hitting Wladimir behind the head. Despite Wlad holding, ducking his head down, and doing some rabbit punching of his own throughout the fight, Mr Weeks did not warn Wlad as much as he did Tyson. Obviously, Mr Weeks had his reasons for doing what he did, but it seemed unfair in the extreme and even the pro-Klitschko German crowd booed his action.

Klitschko won the last round as he tried a desperate final rally, perhaps realizing that his title was slipping away.  Wladimir landed some solid punches as the final minutes of the contest ebbed away, but Fury once more stood his ground and fought back, although now visibly tiring.  The contest ended with some of the best exchanges of the fight, and while both men raised their arms in victory at the final bell, there seemed to be a hollowness in the eyes of Klitschko.  Even before the verdict had been announced he knew he had been beaten.

The verdict itself was a drama all its own.  Winning a fight and actually getting awarded the decision are often two separate things when a fighter is fighting away in Germany.  But tonight, after all the controversies over the type of gloves to be used, the overly padded ring, and then the champion having his hands wrapped unsupervised, the judges delivered a just and uncontroversial verdict.  Fury won by scores of 115-112, 115-112 and 116-111.  The Boxing Glove scored the fight 116-111.

The announcement of victory gave rise to some of the most jubilant and emotional scenes witnessed in a boxing ring for sometime. In his post fight interview an emotional Tyson Fury showed just why he has the personality to liven up the heavyweight division now that he is World heavyweight champion.  

It wasn’t the greatest of heavyweight fights, but Klitschko’s style has never lended itself to excitement.  Yet, it was an enthralling tactical fight, a chess match with gloves, and in the end Dr Steelhammer, who has made a career out of clinically out-thinking and dissecting his opposition, especially over the past 11 and a half years, found himself out-thought, and out- maneuvered.

Photo: BBC Sports
Tyson Fury has been telling us for a long time that he would beat Wladimir Klitschko, that he would be too fast, and too clever.  Tonight he lived up to his word, and even the German crowd seemed to be won over by his performance.

Minutes after being declared the new Heavyweight champion of the world Tyson Fury sang a song to his wife from the middle of the crowded ring, as a bruised and beaten Wladimir Klitschko watched with a bemused expression upon his face.

This was Wladimir’s record-breaking 28th world heavyweight title fight, and it is unlikely that he will have fond memories of it.

Tonight Tyson lived up to the prophecy of his Father, John Fury, who predicted that his son would one day be the Heavyweight champion of the world. Tyson weighed only 1 pound after being born two months premature, and was still fighting for his life.  Tyson also fulfilled the sage-like prediction of Emanuel Steward, the man who resurrected Wladimir's boxing career, who predicted when Tyson was barely into his 20s, that he was a future superstar of boxing, and the next dominant World heavyweight champion. The heavyweight division suddenly became very interesting again.

Watch post fight interview and press conference:
Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com


Friday, November 27, 2015

James Degale vs. Lucian Bute: Predictions & Preview


By IDran James

Another big fight happening Saturday night in Quebec City, Canada, at the Videotron Center will be James Degale (21-1, 14KOs) defending his IBF super-middleweight title for the first time against Lucian Bute (32-2, 25KOs.) Degale is a favourite going into this bout, with many wondering if Bute still has it in him after his devastating loss to Carl Froch. After the loss to Froch, injuries, and only 3 fights since 2012, the odds are not looking good for Bute.

It seems this fight is made for Degale, but if he is too aggressive in the beginning rounds and eases off in the latter, as was the case in his match with Andre Dirrell, this could give Bute an opportunity to take advantage. Bute might work out Degale’s awkward style by the later rounds, but more than likely the points will be in favour of Degale, by the time Bute figures Degale out.

As with many fighters who are at the end of their boxing career, one never knows how hungry and strong they can be when given the opportunity to regain glory. Bute has never lost in front of his home crowd and that is one advantage for him. If Bute can wear down Degale, who has shown a tendency to run out of steam in his fights, he could definitely give Degale problems.  Bute is a very good technical boxer, and if he can find some of his old form, then Degale will have his hands full.

An interested observer of the Degale vs. Bute match will be former world champion Carl Froch, who is now working as an analyst for Sky Sports.  In recent weeks there have been persistent rumours that Froch is considering a one-fight return to take on Degale, and win back his old IBF title, and then go back into retirement.  Froch will be interested to see how Degale handles the man that he destroyed in 5 rounds, in what was possibly the best performance of his career.  If Degale wins, but struggles against Bute, then the chances of a comeback by Froch for a showdown with Degale, will increase markedly.


On Friday,  James Degale weigh in at 167.4lbs and Lucian Bute weighed in at 167.2lbs.

The main event will be supported by a very full undercard at the  Videotron Center in Quebec City:

 Eleider Alvarez (18-0) vs. Isaac Chilemba (24-2-2) 10 rounds.
 WBC Silver light heavyweight championship.

Amir Imam (18-0) vs. Adrian Granados (16-4-2). 10 rounds, Heavyweight.
Oscar Rivas (17-0) vs. Joey Abell. 8 rounds, Light-Welterweight.
Yves Ulysse Jr (9-0) vs. Randy Lozano (10-7-2). 8 rounds, Heavyweight.
Bogdan Dinu (13-0) vs. Manuel Alberto Pucheta (38-10). 8 rounds, Light-Middlweight.
Sebastien Bouchard (10-1) vs. Giuseppe Lauri (55-17). 6 rounds, Light-Middleweight.
Custio Clayton (4-0) vs. Ivan Pereira (20-5). 6 rounds, Super-Bantamweight.
Vislan Dalkhaev (3-0) vs. Antonio Olugin (9-5-1). 4 rounds, Light-Middleweight.
David Maltias (1-0-1) vs. Lucnor Diseme (debut)

If you would like a full list of the many fights going on this weekend, visit Boxrec’s calendar with the  full listings. http://boxrec.com/calendar?v=d&d=2015-11-28

Watch the Degale/Bute weigh in: Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury: Weekend Prediction & Preview


By IDran James

Tomorrow night there will be a number of big fights taking place. The biggest of them all will be the World heavyweight title fight between Wladimir Klitschko (64-3, 54 KOs) and Tyson Fury (24-0, 18 KOs) in Germany. At one point it looked as if the match was in jeopardy due to a dispute over gloves, but now everything seems to have been sorted out and agreed, and the fight will finally go ahead. Fury will be watched by a large contingent of British fans that have made their way over to Germany to support him, but has Tyson got a chance of springing an upset?

The champion is hugely experienced (he's had more world title fights than Fury has had fights) and very sound technically and physically. If Wladimir has a weakness, it is his chin, he has been stopped 3 times during his career, but has remained unbeaten in the last 11 years. When compared statistically, the only advantages that Tyson has got is his youth, and size. Yet, these could be two aspects that can give him a crucial edge and a little more of a chance. It is also interesting to note that some years ago Tyson was chosen as the possible successor to the Klitschko brothers by, none other than Emanuel Steward, the trainer who turned Wladimir into a near invincible fighting machine.

Realistically, no fighter is truly invincible, especially when they are on the cusp of 40 years of age. Perhaps Fury's biggest motivator is the fact that most people are giving him little chance of winning, that and Fury's own confidence in himself, which despite the pressure of the big fight, seems to have survived undimmed. If Fury can survive the early rounds when Wladimir looks certain to be looking for a knockout, then there is the interesting possibility that Fury may be able to get his jab going and begin utilizing his height and size advantage, which could make things very interesting. Fury is better than he is often given credit for, and if he can produce the fight of his life tomorrow night, then the world of boxing could be in for a surprise. Logic tells us that Fury will not win, and the champion is too experienced and too good, but boxing is not logical, and sometimes a person who is inspired can overcome all logical bounds. This is the beauty of boxing.

The undercard:

Robert Tlatlik    (17-0 ) vs. Said Rahimi (9-2). Light Welterweight. 10 rounds.
Hugie Fury (17-0) vs. Adnan Radovan (16-1). Heavyweight. 10 rounds.
Jono Carrol (8-0) vs. Miguel Gonzalez (13-0). Junior Lightweight. 8 rounds.
Samy Raid Musa (8-0) vs. Jay Spencer (10-0). Super Middleweight. 6 rounds.
Patrick Korte (2-0) vs. Moises Distino (2-0). Heavyweight. 4 round.


Wladimir Klitschko weighed in at 245.8 and Tyson Fury weighed in at 246.9:


Watch



If you would like a full list of the many fights going on this weekend, visit Boxrec’s calendar with the  full listings. http://boxrec.com/calendar?v=d&d=2015-11-28


Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Erislandy Lara Defends Title Against Jan Zaveck: Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN


By Peter Silkov

Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 25, see’s Erislandy Lara (21-2-2) defending his WBA world light-middleweight championship against Jan Zaveck (35-3) at the Hialeah Park Race Track, in Hialeah, Florida.  The fight will be on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on ESPN. It will be Lara’s second defence of the title that he won on December 12, 2014, with a point’s victory over Ishe Smith.  It is ironic that Lara should be defending his title just days after Saul Alvarez beat Miguel Cotto for the WBC world Middleweight championship.  18 months ago, Lara lost a highly debatable split decision to Alvarez, after a 12 rounds non-title fight in which many believe Lara gave the Mexican a thorough boxing lesson.  However, as is the way with boxing, following a brief explosion of controversy and debate about the split decision victory for Alvarez, the storm soon died down, and has been more or less forgotten about, very conveniently for Alvarez.

Although he has since picked up his world title, Lara’s success has been bittersweet.  While Alvarez has gone on to have high profile, big money fights with James Kirkland and Miguel Cotto since his scare against Lara, Erislandy meanwhile has struggled to gain attention and big fights, despite being a ’World champion.’  The problem for Erislandy is that, like his countryman Guillermo Rigondeaux, he may be too good for his own good.  Lara is an intelligent and slick boxer, with the kind of ability that doesn’t just beat opponents, but makes them look bad.  If there’s one thing most boxers hate even more than losing, it’s looking bad, especially if they’re losing at the same time.

Lara’s only other defeat came against Paul Williams on July 9, 2011, and was another point’s loss that many disputed.  Lara’s nickname is ’The American Dream’ but like his fellow Cuban defector Rigondeaux, Lara has found success in America to be a bittersweet affair.  He has won a world title, but like Rigondeaux, is struggling to secure opponents to defend it against. 

Lara’s challenger on Wednesday is Jan Zaveck, a good solid boxer, who is the former IBF world welterweight champion.  At 39 years old, Zaveck is past his prime, and is not what could be described as an ’exciting’ challenger for Lara.  This should be a straightforward defence for Lara, providing he is not taking Zaveck too lightly.  Yet, Lara’s sights are already set higher, he has stated that he would like to move up to middleweight and fight the dynamite-punching World middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.  There could even be a rematch with Alvarez, although that looks pretty remote.  Lara will be hoping to get past Zaveck with the minimum of fuss on Wednesday, with the hope that bigger challenges and bigger paydays are just round the corner for him.

Final press conference:




 Watch the fight:




Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

Klitschko Vs. Fury: World Heavyweight Championship Boxing Preview



By IDran James

"Old guy, young guy, old champion, new champion - enough said." Tyson Fury (24-0, 18 KOs) set the mood in the final press conference on Tuesday for his showdown with Wladimir Klitschko (64-3, 54 KOs) at Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf this Saturday, November 28. The undefeated Fury is visibly hungry for Klitschko's WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO belts and made it clear that he wants to end Klitschko's monopoly of the heavyweight division.

Fury taunted the quite silent and very serious Klitschko, but at the same time, he made it
clear that he was nervous, and the reality that he is actually about to face one of boxing‘s most outstanding champions, for what is still the biggest prize in sport, has fully dawned on Fury, since his arrival in Germany.

He told Sky Sports News:

"It all crashes down to me as soon as I land into the town and I see the big posters
everywhere and I actually feel like I'm involved in a fight now and I'm really nervous.
I never felt this way before - ever.

I feel really anxious and really nervous for this fight and all these people and cameras are
actually making me shy and I'm forgetting what to say.

I'm actually shaking right now and I hope this is giving Wlad some confidence - not really, there we have it."

Judging from the final presser, Tyson did not seem shy at all, and had plenty to say to
Klitschko, who ignored most of Tyson's juvenile-like behaviour. Fury is notorious for his brash comments to his opponents when sizing them up, he once said to Derek Chisora before a fight "Have you brushed your teeth this morning because your breath stinks... You're ugly and I'm not."

Such behaviour seems to be lost on the World heavyweight champion though, who has seen it all before from previous challengers. The statue-like Klitschko just stared ahead, while Fury sniffed him, and joked. Klitschko is all business and that is what this final presser was about, he is ready to take care of business. 

Tyson Fury has had many disappointments and setbacks caused by the politics of boxing. His scheduled fights with David Haye were cancelled, and re-scheduled several times, before finally being called off for good. Also, he had been plagued by injuries when he previously trained for fights. Originally, this fight was set for October 24, but leading up to the match, Fury was very vocal and some of his antics caused quite a stir. When Fury arrived at a press conference in late September dressed as Batman, even the normally unflappable Klitschko seemed visibly disturbed. Ironically, just days later, it was announced that the fight had been postponed due to Klitschko suffering a tendon injury in his left calf. Coincidence? Or evidence of mind games being played by the world champion in an effort to re-establish control over his challenger.  Fury had no doubt about the reasons behind the postponement, declaring that his performance in the Batman suit had scared Klitschko out of fighting.  For months he had predicted the fight would never happen and for a while, both the fans and Fury feared that the fight would be called off completely.  However, Fury is the official number one contender to Klitschko’s belts, and so the reality is that he either has to fight Fury or else be stripped of his world title. 

Sure enough, after a few weeks the fight was rescheduled for November 28. Perhaps one of the most important questions surrounding this fight is the impact of the delay upon the challenger, will it be positive or negative.

The waiting game has only improved Fury's fitness level, but has it helped his mental state? At times, it seemed he has been on the fringe of madness, voicing his opinions of religion, politics in boxing, and his future after this heavyweight championship match. He has in one interview talked about giving up boxing after this fight, win or lose, and going into politics, and then in another interview he has said he will continue fighting until he is too old to fight anymore, regardless of Saturday’s result.

Even at this point it is evident that Fury is in fear of this fight being called off again.  Cancelled fights are something that has dogged Fury’s career. Many of his opponents find themselves intimidated by Fury’s antics at press conferences.  Especially by his confidence in his own ability to beat them.

On Tuesday Fury said, "As we know, if I say a lot of stuff in the press conferences then we usually don't have any fights. So I'm going to wind it back in and just wait for the fight night.

"I didn't believe this fight was going to happen for a long, long time. And he's proved me wrong. This fight is actually going to happen."

The stoic Klitschko has many times appeared amused by Fury’s showmanship at press conferences, he has said that he believes Fury has psychological issues. The veteran boxer also knows that Fury is trying to unhinge him, but Klitschko has been here before. He has been spat upon, smacked by opponents, and subjected to lurid threats of decapitation yet, has still remained calm and focused upon his job, both in and out of the ring.  David Haye provoked Klitschko beyond all decency some years ago, but he kept his cool, and gave Haye an embarrassingly one-sided boxing lesson when they both got into the ring.  Compared to the antics of David Haye, Tyson Fury has behaved like a consummate professional and a gentleman.  The one thing that might shake the Champion the most about his challenger, as Saturday’s fight draws ever closer, is that for all his antics, Tyson Fury seems to genuinely believe that Tyson Fury can win.

At 6’ feet 9" inches, Fury will be, at least physically, the biggest challenge that Klitschko has faced for a long time. 

Klitschko told Sky Sports, “The world hasn’t seen what I am capable of doing, maybe I have not been challenged.”

Come Saturday night, Tyson Fury will be aiming to be that one challenger, too many, for the long reigning World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.  

Watch the final press conference before the fight: 


Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

Sunday, November 22, 2015

When Greatness Collides: Ruben Olivares vs. Alexis Arguello


By Peter Silkov

“I was caught cold with that first shot. No, I have no excuses. I thought I was winning the fight, but things are never over until the final bell. I don’t know what else I can say.” Ruben Olivares.

“I was fighting for my life. Olivares hurt me in the 8th, 9th and 10th rounds. I felt like I might go down in the 10th. This is a very happy and proud day for my country and myself.” Alexis Arguello.

When Alexis Arguello 35-4-0 challenged Ruben Olivares 78-4-1 for his WBA world featherweight championship on November 23, 1974, it was a clash of two boxing greats at opposite ends of their careers. Mexican Olivares at age 27 was already a legendary figure, having been an outstanding World bantamweight champion before moving up to capture the featherweight crown. The colourful Olivares lived fast, both in and outside the ring, with a rock and roll all-action fighting style, which at his best, had made him seemingly invincible for a time. Although he was the reigning WBA world featherweight champion, it was generally considered that Olivares was already a little past his best, the aura of invincibility that he had carried early on in his title reign at bantamweight, had been punctured by defeats to Chucho Castillo, Rafael Herrera and Art Hafey. The invincibility that had taken Olivares to a record of 61-0-1 before his first career defeat had become coloured by an unpredictability, which ironically, had only added to his popularity with the fans.

Despite Olivares’ vulnerability, he was still an extremely formidable fighter and his opponent, Arguello, entered the ring at the Inglewood Forum, a clear underdog. Arguello was 22 years old, and had battled his way into title contention since turning professional at the age of 16 in 1968. Arguello had the reputation of being a rangy box-puncher, and had lost a previous bid for the WBA world title when he had been out-pointed by Ernesto Marcel nine months previously. No one knew that Alexis Arguello was destined for a greatness of his own. This fight with Olivares would prove to be Arguello’s first step to ring immortality.

The match was given an extra intrigue as both men had previously sparred together in 1971. Olivares must have remembered those sparring sessions as he entered this fight in good shape and taking his young challenger very seriously.

The match started off with both men boxing cautiously, each aware of the ability of the other. Arguello shaded the first two rounds with his long left, but Olivares was boxing well himself, and showing his often underrated boxing skills as he looked for openings. In the third round, the action heated up as the champion began going for Arguello’s thin body, and the two started to engage in some thrilling punch for punch exchanges. By the middle rounds, Olivares had gained the upper hand and seemed to be in control of the action, as he used some good movement to move in and out of range, and launched two-fisted attacks at the challenger’s head and body. However, Arguello was still in the match and made every round close as he sought to counter Olivares attacks, but the Mexican’s punches seemed to be too many and too varied for the Nicaraguan challenger to overcome. Ruben had especially good rounds in the 8th to 10th rounds, as he seemed on the verge of overpowering his young challenger. Yet, in a preview of the ability that would make him a triple weight world champion over the next 6 years, Arguello kept his boxing together under Olivares’ attacks, and continued to counter with well-timed punches of his own.

By the 11th round, Olivares was displaying some signs of slowing down, wearying from his own frenetic pace and the youth and pinpoint counters of his challenger.

In the 12th round, a right hand from Olivares seemed to stagger Arguello and drive him into the ropes. The champion responded by launching a furious two-fisted assault upon Arguello, designed to end the contest then and there. Instead of finally folding up, Arguello lashed back with punches of his own, so that by the end of the round it seemed to be Olivares who was in trouble rather than Arguello.

This became clear in the 13th round. As the boxers resumed the action, Arguello dropped the champion with a left uppercut, which only traveled a short way, but had a big impact. Olivares dropped heavily to the canvas, but managed to beat the count, and after a slight delay to have his gum-shield replaced, was ready to continue. Some fighters might have sought to hold for dear life at this point, and ride out the storm until their head had cleared, and some fighters may have choose to retreat until the rescuing chimes of the bell ending the round. Not Ruben Olivares, he just headed straight back into battle with Arguello, and an explosive combination from “El Flaco Explosivo” (The Explosive Thin Man) dropped Olivares once more. This time his eyes were bleary, and he shook his head repeatedly as he got himself up to his knees, and then staggered to his feet, just after the referee had counted to ten.

It was a dramatic conclusion to what had been a tense and stirring battle from start to finish. As great fights go, this tends to be one of the more overlooked classic fights.

There were still some more nights of greatness to come for Olivares, just seven months later he would win the WBC world featherweight championship by beating Bobby Chacon in 2 rounds. For Arguello, it was the start of a long period of success that would see him reign unbeaten in three divisions, until finally Arron Pryor would beat him in 1982 when trying for a record 4th world’s championship. By then Arguello’s own greatness was already well and truly sealed.

Ruben Olivares and Alexis Arguello’s 1974 clash is a fascinating example of two great fighters meeting each other at opposing periods of their careers, and putting together a fight to remember.

Watch the fight:


Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com
 

Bob Foster: Former Light Heavyweight Champ Dies at Age 77



By Peter Silkov


The word legend is one that is parried around far too much these days, along with great, and champion.  There are too many fighters today who would like to be given these accolades, but are unwilling to pay the price needed to truly earn them.  Bob Foster, who passed away yesterday at the age of 77, was truly a ring legend. He was a great world champion, at a time when being champion of the world really meant something. Foster reigned supreme at light-heavyweight from 1968 to 1974. In that time, he defended the World light heavyweight championship a record 14 times, before retiring as undefeated champion.  Amongst all the carnage he left behind in the 175-pound division, he also found time to stand up to the world boxing bodies when they tried to tell him what to do.

Standing 6’ foot 3“, Foster was almost freakishly tall for light-heavyweight.  He was the perfect boxer-puncher, lean and mean, with a dynamite punch to go with his slick boxing skills. These skills included a rapier like jab, which was a dangerous weapon in its own right.  Foster had the kind of power that didn’t just stop fighters, but hurt them. The kind of punch that had many of his opponents out to the world before they had even hit the deck.

Foster was born Robert Lloyd Foster on April 27, 1938, in Borger, Texas.  As a youngster, he found himself fighting regularly on the streets, and discovered early on that he could lay an opponent out with rare ease. Foster was also a talented football player, but gravitated more to boxing as he grew older. However, it was not until Foster joined the U.S. Air force in 1957, that he became fully focused on following a path in boxing.  Foster joined the USAF boxing team, and would win the All Service Championships 3 times, and won the Middleweight silver medal at the 1959 Pan American Games.  He would go on to lose just 3 of 100 fights as an amateur.

When  he was due to be discharged from the Air Force, Foster found himself in demand for his boxing ability, and was given offers to join the Marines, Navy, and the Army. He eventually chose the Army, where he was stationed at  Fort Cameron in Kentucky.  But, with a young family to support, Foster felt that he could make a better future for himself as a professional boxer, and so after a few months at Fort Cameron, he had himself discharged, and turned professional, fighting his first contest on March 27, 1961, where he scored a 2nd round knockout over Duke Williams.  Foster’s decision to turn professional turned out to be one that would not only change his life, but save it.  Eventually, according to Foster, every member of the Fort Cameron boxing team would lose their lives in Viet Nam.

Despite starting his career on an impressive note, Foster soon learned the harsh reality of professional boxing.  With his impressive amateur record, and obvious punching power, opponents were soon unwilling to face him.  When fights against men of his own weight were hard to come by, Foster was forced to take on heavyweights.  In just his 10th contest on October 20, 1962, Foster was put in with top ranked heavyweight contender Doug Jones, and was stopped in the 8th round, by the heavier, and more experienced Jones. Over the next 3 years, Foster took fights where he could get them, winning with ease when fighting fellow light-heavies, but also having to give away weight regularly against heavyweights.  During this time, Foster won 12 fights and lost 3, with all his defeats coming against ranked heavyweights.  Foster was out-pointed by Mauro Mina (whose 45-2-2 record dwarfed Fosters 11-1 record) and Zora Folley, and stopped in 7 rounds by Ernie Terrell.  After his 10 rounds points loss to Zora Folley on December 6 1965, (to whom Foster gave away over 30 pounds in weight) a disgusted and disenchanted Foster walked away from boxing.  Yet, the feeling of unfinished business and unrealized ambition was too strong to ignore, and after a year out of the ring, Foster returned in late 1966, determined to secure a shot at the world light-heavyweight title. Over the next year, Foster won 8 fights in a row, and consolidated himself as the number 1 contender for the 175-pound.

The world title shot finally came on May 24, 1968, with Foster having to guarantee the champion Dick Tiger $100,000 dollars, while collecting $10,000 for himself.   Foster didn’t mind the uneven distribution of the purse, as he was confident that his pay days would come once he had won the World Light-Heavyweight championship, which he duly achieved by knocking Tiger out in the 4th round.  This was the only time that Dick Tiger was ever knocked out during his career.

It was the beginning of Bob Foster’s rule of terror over the light-heavyweight division, and of his 14 defences, only 3 would last the distance, and those were the last 3 defences when Foster was clearly on the slide.  Much like a gunslinger, from a classic western, Foster had a way of eyeing his beaten challengers after he had sent them down to the canvas for the final time. Some of Fosters victories were truly chilling.  In 1972, he defended his title against Mike Quarry, who was undefeated in 35 contests.  Foster dropped Quarry with a right hand and a left hook, which left the challenger unconscious on the canvas for a worryingly long time. 

In 1970, Foster had a dispute with the WBA and was stripped of recognition as world champion,  with  Vincente Rondon winning the ‘vacant’ title on February 27, 1971, by knocking out Jimmy Dupree in 6 rounds. Yet, Rondon would never gain acceptance as champion from the general public, and Foster’s dominance of the division was underlined when he regained the WBA title on April 7, 1972, destroying Rondon in 2 rounds.

Foster’s only defeats during this time were to Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali.  On November 18, 1970, Foster challenged Frazier for the World heavyweight championship, but Frazier, at 209 pounds to Foster’s 188 pounds, was far too strong, and knocked Foster out in the 2nd round.  Two years later, on November 21. 1972, Foster took on Muhammad Ali for the NABF Heavyweight title, giving away 41 pounds to ’The Greatest.’  Although Foster put up a brave stand, including cutting Ali over the left eye, he was floored 6 times, and eventually counted out in the 8th round.

On September 26, 1972, Foster defended his title against England’s Chris Finnegan, scoring a 14th round knockout, after an epic battle, which was later that year voted by The Ring magazine as the ‘fight of 1972.’ 

Foster was taken the distance twice in 1973 by wily South African, Pierre Fourie.  Then on June 17, 1974, Foster was held to a 15-round draw by the teak-tough Jorge Ahumada.  With the signs of decline visible, Foster announced his retirement 3 months later.

Like many before, and after him, Foster found it hard to say goodbye to the ring, and returned in 1976, for what was a strange, almost part-time comeback.  Fighting infrequently, against mostly mediocre heavyweights, Foster had 7 more fights, winning 5, and losing the final 2.  After being stopped in 2 rounds by Bob Hazelton, on June 2, 1978, Foster hung his gloves up for the final time.

After his retirement, Foster would become a detective at the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department. He was well known in the Albuquerque area for his service. He would also train boxers part time. In 1990, he was inducted into the newly established International Boxing Hall of Fame, along with other boxers such as Dick Tiger, Joe Frazier, and Muhammad Ali.

Bob Foster’s final record was 56(46koes)-8-1.  He is generally regarded as one of the greatest light-heavyweights of all time, and as one of boxing’s greatest punchers, pound-for-pound.  At a time when the best fought the best, and there were not more world champions than genuine contenders, Bob Foster was one of the best, and most feared champions of his time. 

Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Miguel Cotto vs. Saul Canelo Superfight Or Super Farce?



By Peter Silkov


It’s been billed as one of the year’s most anticipated showdowns, a real genuine ‘superfight’ from which it is hard top pick a clear winner.  Despite the initial good vibes that this clash seemed to provoke, the shine soon began to fade from it. First there was the long protracted negotiations between the two fighters, which at one point began to resemble the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao debacle.  Eventually, both men agreed to the terms enough so that the fight could go ahead, but only after there was a ‘catch-weight’ clause pinned onto the fight that gave it a 155- pound weight limit.  With the fight supposedly being for Miguel Cotto’s 40(33koes)-4, WBC world middleweight championship, which has a 160-pound weight limit, the catch-weight clause was a contentious issue, how can both fighters contest the 160 title when the fight is made at 155 pounds. Sadly, it seems that the last vestige of integrity in boxing’s weight divisions is slipping away, if they are a big enough name, fighters can now change the weight limits of their division’s when it suits them.

It’s an irony that Saul Alvarez 45(32koes)-2-1, protests that he is not large enough to be considered a true middleweight, yet it is well known that by fight time he re-hydrates to well over 170 pounds. This is actually heavier than what Gennady Golovkin re-hydrates to in the last hours before fight time.

At least we know that, for his part, Cotto is indeed a small middleweight, although such things were simply shrugged off by boxers of previous eras.  The truth is that the real reason behind the 155-pound limit for this contest is that both men’s disinclination to get into the ring with WBO and WBA world middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin. The 155 ‘catchweight’ limit for Saturday’s fight is a convenient excuse for both men to use as to why they will not fight Golovkin.  'We are too small!' they are both trying to say, but the truth is that there is very little size difference between Cotto and GGG and in the case of Alvarez, if anything the Mexican is in truth the bigger man.  Alvarez certainly weighs as much, if not more, than Golovkin, when he enters the ring for his fights.  But it is precisely this size advantage that Alvarez has over most of his opponents, that makes him unwilling to face Golovkin.

With GGG the interim WBC champion, and the number one challenger for the WBC title, it is perhaps not surprising that the general boxing public is inclined to be more interested in either Canelo or Cotto taking on the unbeaten Golovkin, than they are watching both men fighting each other.  It is interesting to note that, while Cotto vs. Canelo has generated interest, it has by no means proved to be the blockbusting sell out that some might have believed it would be. The reason for this could be that the fans are somewhat jaded and disenchanted by both men’s avoidance of Golovkin.    

The fight suffered another blow to its credibility on Tuesday, when just 4 days before fight night, the WBC announced that they had withdrawn recognition from Miguel Cotto as being their champion. The reason for this seems to be quite simply that Cotto has refused to pay the sanctioning fees demanded by the WBC, which amounted to 300,000 dollars.  This is in addition to a hefty 800,000 dollars that Cotto was asked to pay Golovkin in step aside money. The amount itself seems to be vast, even taking into account the fact that Cotto with be picking up around about 30 million collars for this contest.  From the WBC’s point of view, Cotto is refusing to comply with the very rules that he has always played along by when it has suited him. 

The WBC has been especially indulgent of Cotto since he won this title from a stricken Sergio Martinez 18 months ago.  Cotto has defended the title just once so far, (a one-sided blowout of Daniel Geale) and was allowed to impose his own weight limit onto the fight.  Now, when the rules are not so advantageous to him, Cotto seems to bypass them.  It is worth remembering that the sanctioning fees are something that every champion has to abide by and indeed this is how Cotto came by the WBC title in first place.  It is a distasteful development, which leaves the WBC title vacant, with only Canelo able to claim the title should be beat Cotto.  If Cotto wins the match, the WBC title will still be registered as vacant.  Also up for grabs will be The Ring magazine belt, a prestigious belt in its time, as it signifies the acceptance of boxing's most famous magazine.  However today that prestige is muddied, as The Ring is owned by Oscar De la Hoya, Saul Alvarez's promoter and mentor, hardly a recipe for unbiased fairness and integrity.  Will Cotto keep hold of The Ring belt if he wins the fight?.  It seems doubtful, yet it would also seem somewhat perverse if Cotto were to be stripped of The Ring belt, which should be independent coming under any influence from any of boxing's world bodies.  But again, The Ring is now owned by De La Hoya.

With hindsight, this is probably not such a blow for Cotto, who seems to have no intention of fighting Golovkin should he beat Alvarez on Saturday. Indeed it would be no surprise to see Cotto announce his retirement on after the fight, no matter what the result.

The fight between Cotto and Canelo has definitely suffered as a result of the political and financial wrangling. Most tellingly is the feeling that whoever wins, it will not decide who is the best 160-pounder upon the planet, until Gennedy Golovkin is involved in a showdown with Saturday’s winner.

Away from all the boxing politics, Saturday’s match is an intriguing contest. It is difficult to pick a sure winner.  While Cotto has the advantage in experience when it comes to fighting against big name opposition, Canelo has the advantage of youth and size against Cotto.

Canelo seems to have just too much size and youth for Cotto, but this fight should be entertaining while it lasts. Look for a Canelo victory via a late round stoppage, somewhere after the 9th or 10 rounds.


Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Please Help the Henry Armstrong Foundation Fight Hunger

 

 

 

HENRY ARMSTRONG FOUNDATION,INC.

"Join The Fight  For Those Who Are Less Fortunate"

For more information on the Henry Armstrong Foundation please visit www.henryarmstrongfoundation.org.


Henry Armstrong Foundation Holiday Community Food Program!!! 

Donations Needed To Provide Food For Those In Need This  Thanksgiving Holiday Season.

#fighthunger

Monday, November 16, 2015

Panama Joe Gans: A Champion Denied a Crown





By Peter Silkov

Panama Joe Gans was one of the most talented fighters of the 1920s, but through a mixture of bad luck and the colour bar, which existed during this time, Gans was denied the chance of fighting for a world title.  Panama Joe was born Cyril Quinton Jr., on November 14, 1896, in Barbados.  When he was a young child his family relocated to Colon, Panama, but life was to be far from easy, especially after Quinton’s father died when Quinton was just 10 years old.  Quinton was soon getting into trouble on the streets as he tried to find money to help his mother feed the family, and things grew worse when Quinton’s mother met a new man, a stepfather whom Quinton despised.  Soon Quinton was living more on the streets than at home and mixing with a gang of petty thieves. 

When he was 12 years old, Quinton was caught by police stealing fish from a local market, and was placed into a detention centre where he would remain for the next 4 years.   

However, far from being the ruin of him, the detention center would turn out to be a positive influence upon Quinton.  The centre was run by the church, and while he was there, Quinton learned to read, write and most important of all, to box. This was the first place where he found that he was naturally gifted with his fists, and started to dream of making his fame and fortune as a world champion boxer.

Upon his release, at the age of 16, Quinton was soon participating in ’smokers’ unofficial fights, which usually took place in the back rooms of saloons.  It was while fighting in these ’smokers’ that Quiton first took on the name of Panama Joe Gans, after the late legendary World lightweight champion, Joe Gans. 

Quinton soon outgrew the ’smokers’ and in 1914 began his official boxing career.  He quickly became a big attraction amongst the Panama fans, and within a year was fighting main events scheduled for 15 and 20 rounds.  Quinton developed into a boxer worthy of carrying the name of Joe Gans. He was a brilliant all-round boxer with skill, speed, and a knockout punch.  But, as his boxing career developed, he would find that his ability, along with his colour, would prove to be his biggest obstacle to reaching the very top, and gaining the world title in which he dreamed.

Starting his career as a lightweight, Quinton soon developed into a welterweight.  His success soon found him forced to take on middleweights, and even light heavyweights, and for much of his career he would often give away weight to his opponents.  It was often the only way that he could secure a fight. 

After winning the Lightweight and Middleweight titles of Panama, Quinton had exhausted his competition in Panama and in 1917 moved to America, basing himself in New York’s Harlem.  In 1918, Quinton was conscripted for a time in the United States Army, reporting to Camp Upton, in Yaphank, NY.  When his boxing background was discovered, Quinton was put to work training the coloured recruit’s in the finer points of boxing.  During his time at Camp Upton, Quinton came to know the camp’s main boxing instructor, Benny Leonard, who had just recently won the World lightweight championship.  The two men would often spar, to keep Leonard trim. Leonard took Quinton under his wing, and taught him some invaluable tricks of the trade that he began to put to good use when he was discharged from the Army at the end of 1918.    

Part of Quinton’s reputation was made in 1919 when he drew praise for his work as a sparring partner for World heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, when Dempsey was getting ready for his title defence against Billy Miske.  Quinton gave Dempsey some of his hardest workouts, despite giving away 40 pounds to the heavyweight champion.

From early 1919 until October 1922, Quinton went 47-2-4 in 53 recorded bouts against an impressive array of top middleweights, and light-heavyweights.  His victories during this time included wins over top fighters such as Jeff Smith, Jamaica Kid, Frank Carbone, Allentown Joe Gans, Jackie Clarke, George Robinson, Tiger Flowers, Nero Chink, and Jack Blackburn. Quinton’s only defeats during this time were disputed newspaper decisions to Jock Malone and Mike Mctigue.   

Despite his success and popularity with the American fans, Quinton could not secure a world title shot, and found himself avoided by top white middleweights such as George Chip, Mike O’Dowd and even Harry Greb, all of whom would not meet him in the ring.  Many boxing people at this time viewed Quinton as being the uncrowned Middleweight champion of the world.  The fact that he never got a chance to challenge for the world’s title, is an indictment of the racist atmosphere of those times.  Ironically one of Quinton’s victims, Tiger Flowers, would himself gain a shot at the World middleweight title in 1926, and beat Harry Greb for the title.  Unfortunately, Flowers was an exception to the general rule of the time. Indeed, he was the first coloured world champion since Jack Johnson lost the World heavyweight title in 1915.

Instead, Quinton had to be content with winning the ironic ‘coloured’ Middleweight championship, which he won from George Robinson on October 8, 1920, after he out- pointed Robinson over 12 rounds.  Quinton would defend this title a number of times over the nest few years, often against other coloured contenders who, like him, were avoided by the top white fighters.

In 1923, Quinton went from being seemingly unbeatable, then his form noticeably dropped after he had suffered a bout of pneumonia, and went a moderate 9-5 in 1923.  Quinton suffered a second, near fatal, attack of pneumonia in late 1923. Although he recovered, defying doctors who had told him he would never box again, and returned to the ring in 1924, the illness left a permanent mark upon Quinton. He was never the same fighter he had been previously.

Quinton lost his Coloured Middleweight championship to Larry Estridge, on June 26, 1924. He then lost a rematch against Estridge two months later, with only his courage taking him the distance in both fights.  It was downhill for Quinton from there on, he went 4-8-2 in his remaining 14 contests, before finally hanging up his gloves in 1928.  He retired with a final record of 72(43koes)-20-7.  One of the most talented fighters of boxing’s golden era, yet, a victim of the times in which he lived. That and his misfortune to lose his athletic ability to illness while still his prime. 

Cyril Quinton died on June 28, 1968, at the age of 72.  He had long since been forgotten by most boxing fans, except for those who had seen or read about him during his heyday. Many considered Panama Joe Gans to be one of the finest fighters of his time.  A true champion who was denied a crown.

Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Guillermo Rigondeaux Returns to the Ring Saturday November 21






Guillermo Rigondeaux, (15-0, 10koes) generally acknowledged as one of the best boxers, pound-for-pound, in the world, returns to the ring this Saturday, November 21st on the Miguel Cotto vs. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez under-card, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Rigondeaux, who has been unable to find any high ranking opponents willing to meet him, will face fringe contender Drian Francisco (28-3-1, 22koes) who hails from Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, Philippines. It is not clear if any titles will be on the line when Rigondeaux faces Francisco, since recently he has been unceremoniously stripped of his WBO and WBA world Super-Bantamweight titles, but is still the holder of The Ring magazine super-Bantamweight belt.  Ironically, Rigondeaux, who was stripped on the basis of his ‘inactivity’, will now be fighting before the matches take place to decide his successors to the WBO and WBA belts.

This will be the brilliant Cuban’s first fight since his clinical destruction of Hisashi Amagasa in Osaka, Japan, last New Years Eve.  Since then, managerial and promotional problems, and his inability to find suitable opposition willing to fight him, have beset Rigondeaux.  Over two and a half years since he dismantled Nonito Donaire, with a masterful exhibition of counterpunching, Guillermo Rigondeaux struggles to find work in the ring.  He is an artist who has been blacklisted.

While his return on Saturday is obviously good news, it is still far from an ideal situation.  The opponent has been found at late notice, and the fight has received almost no publicity.  As with his last fight, Rigondeaux will be appearing with little fanfare or acclaim.  Depending on the schedule of his fight, there is a good possibility that this match will be in front of a sparse crowd. All of this must be a bitter irony for a man who already held the WBA belt, then went on to beat Donaire in 2013 for the WBO World super bantamweight title. After this victory, he must have felt like he proved himself to be an elite star, and with that stardom, doors should have opened to the big time and big fights. But, it hasn’t turned out that way.  Rigondeaux is still waiting for his big fight and big pay day.

For Drian Francisco, this is a fight of a lifetime.  Francisco is 33 years old and has been boxing professionally since 2005, and in that time, he has won several titles, including the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title, and the Interim WBA World Super-Flyweight titles.  Two fights ago, on May 30, 2015, Francisco was stopped in the 1st round by Jason Canoy, a defeat that he puts down to going into the fight sick.  It is the only stoppage defeat so far of his career.  This fight could transform Francisco’s life and career if he is able to produce a huge upset and defeat Rigondeaux. On the other hand, this match is very much one of the ‘no-win’ variety for Rigondeaux. If he beats Francisco with ease, he will be doing nothing more than what is expected of him. However, if he struggles, after being out of the ring for almost a year, then the chances are that a lackadaisical performance will be used as yet another excuse by the top fighters not to face him. Indeed, a defeat at this point for Rigondeaux could be an almost terminal blow to his career.

The best hope for Rigondeaux is that he can make short work of Francisco and that this contest may lead to other more challenging and meaningful fights under the Golden Boy banner.  Rigondeaux will be hoping that sooner, rather than later, he will be headlining a big show himself, rather than fighting on its undercard.  Yet, he does not want to overlook Francisco, who is a good solid boxer, with a good punch, just the kind of fighter who can be dangerous if he is underrated or overlooked.  There are those who have been looking to knock Rigondeaux off his perch, and an upset win over Guillermo would make Francisco an overnight star, at a time when Asian fighters are a sought after commodity with the emergence of China as the new, largely untapped, audience.  An on-form Rigondeaux should not have much trouble with Francisco, but the hope is that his recent inactivity, and various promotional and managerial distractions will not have taken too much of a toll on ‘The Jackal.’


   
Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sugar Ray Robinson's Final Fight: The True Pound-4-Pound King



Fifty years ago today, Sugar Ray Robinson, considered by many as being the greatest fighter, pound-for-pound, to ever enter the ring, had his final fight. Boxing in the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Robinson was beaten on points over 10 rounds by the clever and tough Joey Archer.  But, Robinson’s real opponent that night was father time, and at the age of 44, having what was his 201st professional contest, father time won.

It was to be the final fight of a professional career that had begun a quarter of a century before, in 1940.  Robinson had reigned at welterweight and middleweight, and dominated the sport.  In his prime and even past it, Robinson epitomized just why boxing was sometimes known as the ‘Sweet Science.’  Sugar Ray Robinson had been the sweetest ever, sweet and deadly.  When Robinson lost to Archer, grown men shed tears at ringside, as they watched greatness turn into mortality.  It wasn’t that Archer was a bad fighter, he was a very good boxer, and rated number one middleweight contender in the world at that time, but he wasn’t Sugar Ray Robinson.  No one would ever be Sugar Ray Robinson again.  

In his autobiography "Sugar Ray" written with Dave Anderson, Robinson describes his final match:

"At the final bell, I just wanted to get out of that ring. Disappear.Vanish. But, that was impossible.I knew I had to stay there and wait for the announcement and I always had stayed there when I knew the announcer was going to tell me that I had won. While I was standing in my corner, several dozen people gathered in the aisle below me and stood there applauding and looking up at me. Man, that gave me a feeling. 
After the decision was announced, I was turning to climb through the ropes when I saw Millie. "That's alright Honey," looking up at me with tears in her eyes, "You didn't get hurt!"

She meant physically, inside, I was in agony. I wished I could disappear, but when I got to my dressing room, a strange thing happened. All the sports writers were around me, instead of over in
Archer's dressing room. Television cameras were there too. 
After a few minutes, Archer came over to go on TV with me, imagine the winner coming to the loser. He told me, "Ray you were the greatest Middleweight I ever saw."
He made me feel better. Everybody was trying to cheer me up, but some of them tried too hard. The Ray Robinson of old, I remember somebody said to me. You looked like the Ray Robinson of old.
Man, be serious, I thought. I hadn't been the Ray Robinson
of old. I had been an old Ray Robinson" 


Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Tony Zale & Carmen Basilio Belts Stolen from IBHF in Canastota

Photo Source: Haley Zale
On Thursday, November 5th,  the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota in New York was burglarized and two championship belts of Tony Zale and four championship belts of Carmen Basilio were stolen.

Haley Zale, the niece of Tony Zale listed the belts and details of each belt on Monday afternoon:

"MISSING BOXING BELTS! Do not purchase! These were stolen from the International Boxing Hall of Fame on 11-5-15.

Tony Zale vs Georgie Abrams
NYSAC World Middleweight Title and National Boxing Association World Middleweight Title unified belt
Madison Square Garden, 1941

Tony Zale vs Rocky Graziano
National Boxing Association World Middleweight Title
Ruppert Stadium, Newark, NJ, 1948

Carmen Basilio vs Billy Graham
USA NY State Welterweight Title
Memorial Stadium, Syracuse, NY, 1953

Carmen Basilio vs Tony DeMarco
World Welterweight Title
War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse, NY 1955

Carmen Basilio vs Johnny Saxton
World Welterweight Title
War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse, NY 1956

Carmen Basilio vs Sugar Ray Robinson
World Middleweight Title
Yankee Stadium, 1957
— at International Boxing Hall of Fame.

We need a miracle! Tony Zale's championship belts have been stolen! MISSING!!!!"

If anyone has information, please contact Chief James Zophy at 315-697-2240 at the Canastota Police department.


Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com
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