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Old 12-31-15, 12:51 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Zinger View Post
I'd rather GGG doesn't move up to 168 just yet. I don't like his chances with Ward. It all depends on what chances he gets at 160 though. Ward / Kovalev would be good.

UFC I don't watch. Lose mine on the ground so I just watch boxing.

Don't watch the ladies fight either. That's just me. Guess I'm just old fashioned.
I don't watch MMA either, but when Ronda started grabbing headlines I checked her out and became a fan of hers.
Now I'm also a fan of Holly Holm. It's not the sport so much as being a fanboy.
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Old 12-31-15, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by avidone1 View Post
I don't watch MMA either, but when Ronda started grabbing headlines I checked her out and became a fan of hers.
Now I'm also a fan of Holly Holm. It's not the sport so much as being a fanboy.
A lot of guys I used to work with watched MMA. I guess I just have been watching boxing since I was a kid so that's what I'll watch. I guess my first hero was Willie Pastrano. They didn't show boxing on TV for awhile after Benny Paret got killed so I had to read the magazines. I'll spare you Willie's whole fight with Harold Johnson though since he was a defensive fighter.


A short clip.




Old drunk commentator during Foster vs Quarry kept getting their names wrong throughout

...............................Favorite left hook.......Bob Foster.

New Mexico Boxing - Bob Foster

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Old 12-31-15, 01:28 PM
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Well here's a list of some great fights that I had posted in a boxing forum which contemporary fans might enjoy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_GPxz5D7vo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQDfNoRmd4s

Sugar Ray Robinson / Carmen Basilio 1 & 2 (highlights videos) 1957 & '58
-----------------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTtzltIK2ng

Archie Moore / Yvon Durelle 1 - 1958
----------------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9zKwGeHIgM

Julio Cesar Chavez / Meldrick Taylor 1
---------------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw4APZuTpBM

Wilfredo Gomez / Lupe Pintor
---------------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAgkzIOjr-w

Salvador Sanchez / Azumah Nelson
-------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuGZVkYuHM4

Sugar Ray Leonard / Roberto Duran 1
--------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UArIOikqodk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z94t81BkK0c

Matthew (Franklin) Saad Muhammad / Marvin Johnson 1 & 2
-----------------------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmYQJ1LvzeE

Matthew (Franklin) Saad Muhammad / Yaqui Lopez 2
---------------------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O39psaFgk_U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xxB3p8Qwwo

Aaron Pryor / Alexis Arguello 1 & 2
----------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r7CRq9q_6Y

Alexis Arguello / Alfredo Escalera 2
--------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh07kB4OTOw

Danny "Li'l Red" Lopez / Mike Ayala
-------------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uci_YSuVvL0

Marvin Hagler / John Mugabi
-------------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYt5Rz2XlAg

War......Marvin Hagler / Thomas Hearns
----------------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6g9jSZCprM

War......Rocky Graziano / Tony Zale 3 from 1948
-----------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfxGUbAMrNQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vd2_BjP-lXI

Muhammad Ali / Ken Norton 2 & 3
--------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rI6pZDJOVc

A pre-enforced 3 year layoff Muhammed Ali / Cleveland Williams. Ali at his very best.
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Old 01-08-16, 08:19 AM
  #29  
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I never was comfortable with that $20 bet that I lost on Arguello / Pryor 1. I had been a fan of Arguello's economic, patient and professional accurate punching style and demeanor ever since first seeing him years earlier in the second Escalera fight......They always had them on Wide World of Sports a week belatedly for free back then.

But my instincts told me that I had bet my heart which I usually avoid doing. One reason was that this KO of Tyson's assistant trainer Keven Rooney showed he was still bringing show stopping punching up to Pryor's belt weight. And he could do it with either hand. He was comparable in punching power and similar in build to Danny 'Lil Red' Lopez but much more polished as a stylist. Lopez pretty much brought his street game that earned his loyal fan base.

Pryor said that when Arguello hit him with about his best right in the 13th round, he leaned way back, saw the lights in the ceiling and when his butt didn't sit, said to himself "I can eat this one". Arguello must've been disheartened from that very moment on.

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Old 01-19-16, 03:38 PM
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For anyone interested in Black American or sports history, there are two biographies out now about the first African American boxing champion Joe Gans. Gans held the lightweight title from 1902 to 1908 and was regarded by many pundits in the pre-Duran era, who actually saw him fight, as the then-best lightweight of boxing history. Former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson used to say that he learned most of his style of boxing from watching the great Joe Gans.

Both books are good with the first, by Colleen Aycock and Mark Scott as the most informative, imo. Much trivia about the attitudes of the day in their book.

However the better read, imo, is the the one that followed by sports columnist William Gildea: “The Longest Fight: In the Ring with Joe Gans, Boxing’s First African American Champion”


This title defense against one of the prominent Jewish fighters of the period is the best footage of Joe Gans available anymore. (The Gans / Terry McGovern affair was widely regarded as "fixed" and boxing was outlawed in Chicago for the next 20 years because of it.)

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Old 01-23-16, 10:38 AM
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Pardon the thread bump, just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading it. Unfortunately it's unusual to find a civil discussion of boxing online, let alone knowledgeable. I visit a few boxing websites for the news updates, but never participate in discussions because the incivility is off the charts.

I'm a former amateur boxer and huge fan. Probably the only sport I follow regularly. We don't have premium cable or satellite so I usually have to wait to watch big matches until they're available online, but I watch the various Spanish language TV broadcasts many weekends. As a result my familiarity with the best fighters is limited to those before the mid-2000s.

I remember a couple of Muhammad Ali's title fights and other matches from the 1960s on TV, but the fight that hooked me and got me into amateur boxing was seeing Roberto Duran vs. Ray Lampkin. Lampkin was a very good boxer and slick mover, in the vein of Mantequilla Napoles. But what really caught my eye was Duran's unusual combination of a slugger's ferocity with outstanding footwork and head movement - he was very difficult to hit squarely. Yet he only moved just enough to make an opponent barely miss, while staying within counterpunching range. My brother and I both said "We gotta try this!" and joined local amateur boxing clubs. It was a great experience and we were fortunate to rub shoulders and even trade a little leather with some future world champs from Texas. I was knocked down by a left hook to the liver from Gene Hatcher in my second sparring session. Taught me the value of body work - after I could breathe again!

At the time my favorite fighter was, and still is, Muhammad Ali, but learning a bit of boxing from the inside gave me a greater appreciation for the diversity of styles, like light heavy champ Victor Galindez, who looked like a slugger and did pack a wallop, but was really a cautious and slick counterpuncher; and the unique Carlos Monzon, whose style still defies easy explanation - he seemed slow and awkward, more like a tennis player who stepped into the ring on a lark, yet had impeccable timing and threw punches where his opponent was going to be, rather than where he was when the punch was launched. It was eerie to watch, and I still review his fights once a year or so, trying to figure out what made him tick. It's entertaining to speculate how he'd have fared against the all time great middleweights, especially in the rematches that were so common then. I'm comfortable ranking him as a top four middleweight, alongside Sugar Ray Robinson, Marvin Hagler and Bernard Hopkins, but not willing to predict who'd beat whom in a single match - only that they'd make great matchups and rematches.

Anyway, very enjoyable conversation, good to see such an extended thread that's so well informed and convivial.
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Old 01-23-16, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Pardon the thread bump, just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading it. Unfortunately it's unusual to find a civil discussion of boxing online, let alone knowledgeable. I visit a few boxing websites for the news updates, but never participate in discussions because the incivility is off the charts.

I'm a former amateur boxer and huge fan. Probably the only sport I follow regularly. We don't have premium cable or satellite so I usually have to wait to watch big matches until they're available online, but I watch the various Spanish language TV broadcasts many weekends. As a result my familiarity with the best fighters is limited to those before the mid-2000s.

I remember a couple of Muhammad Ali's title fights and other matches from the 1960s on TV, but the fight that hooked me and got me into amateur boxing was seeing Roberto Duran vs. Ray Lampkin. Lampkin was a very good boxer and slick mover, in the vein of Mantequilla Napoles. But what really caught my eye was Duran's unusual combination of a slugger's ferocity with outstanding footwork and head movement - he was very difficult to hit squarely. Yet he only moved just enough to make an opponent barely miss, while staying within counterpunching range. My brother and I both said "We gotta try this!" and joined local amateur boxing clubs. It was a great experience and we were fortunate to rub shoulders and even trade a little leather with some future world champs from Texas. I was knocked down by a left hook to the liver from Gene Hatcher in my second sparring session. Taught me the value of body work - after I could breathe again!
The guy who was a trainer at the gym in downtown San Diego was always trying to get me over to lace 'em up there anytime we ran into each other at one of the cafes there. I would tell him that I wouldn't be comfortable with my opponent getting good advice from their corner like: "Go for his ribs. Lightheavyweight division, middleweight rib cage." He would say: "Just don't let him go back there." I think I enjoyed talking with the guys from over there more than getting inside a ring with some of them and I readily admitted it. I know who to make friends with. It's the guys who can kick my ass.

I started missing a lot of boxing during the very end of the '80s and early '90s except for mostly the heavyweight fights that people I knew bought PPVs for and would invite me over to split the cost. Evander Holyfield / Riddick Bowe trilogy, Holyfield / Tyson and a couple of Lennox Lewis's.

But the first Julio Cesar Chavez / Meldrick Taylor scrap at 140 was probably my favorite to get to watch live from those years. I was the only one in the house to stay for the whole thing because there was a big poolside party outside and everybody else thought it was pretty much over. All that blood on the ring and Chavez's shoulders was Taylor's though and he was visibly less energetic than when he was controlling it earlier. For awhile they thought I was putting them on when I told them who won it. And the Mexican American fans at work the next Monday were readily admitting to me appreciation and relief with Larry Hazzard's call on that stoppage, lol.

I used to watch Roger Mayweather on the ESPN freebies that Al Bernstein was commentator for. I liked to watch a good puncher like Roger but I also liked watching Floyd's dad with Ray Leonard. I remember thinking he was pretty solid defensively and can see a lot of that in Floyd. Watching Floyd at 130 and 135 is actually what got me back into watching everything else a little more often. I usually liked watching him better at those weights though. And the better ones at the heavier weights are when his opponents brought it.

At the time my favorite fighter was, and still is, Muhammad Ali, but learning a bit of boxing from the inside gave me a greater appreciation for the diversity of styles, like light heavy champ Victor Galindez, who looked like a slugger and did pack a wallop, but was really a cautious and slick counterpuncher; and the unique Carlos Monzon, whose style still defies easy explanation - he seemed slow and awkward, more like a tennis player who stepped into the ring on a lark, yet had impeccable timing and threw punches where his opponent was going to be, rather than where he was when the punch was launched. It was eerie to watch, and I still review his fights once a year or so, trying to figure out what made him tick. It's entertaining to speculate how he'd have fared against the all time great middleweights, especially in the rematches that were so common then. I'm comfortable ranking him as a top four middleweight, alongside Sugar Ray Robinson, Marvin Hagler and Bernard Hopkins, but not willing to predict who'd beat whom in a single match - only that they'd make great matchups and rematches.

Anyway, very enjoyable conversation, good to see such an extended thread that's so well informed and convivial.
That lightheavyweight division that Galindez held the WBA belt in was one loaded division and about everyone in either sanctioning body's top 10 back then was usually rated in both and a viable threat for either champion. I think I must've caught all of those with my friend who had boxed in the Navy at 175. Just some brawls in many of those and especially for Matthew Saad Muhammad's WBC belt. Muslim names all over the top of that division and nobody thought much of it. I did get a laugh out of Michael Spinks calling Matthew "Sad" during the post fight interview after he KO'd Marvin Johnson. "C'mon Sad, he gave you some hell in there" he'd say. And that was one pretty uppercut that stopped Mr Johnson in that.

I missed seeing RJJ's better years but would have loved seeing him in with a pressuring southpaw like Marvin. The young guys think a lot of prime RJJ and I might tend to favor some of the older era lightheavyweights but I'm probably picking with my heart because that's free in dream fights that could never happen.
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Old 01-24-16, 03:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Zinger View Post
The guy who was a trainer at the gym in downtown San Diego was always trying to get me over to lace 'em up there anytime we ran into each other at one of the cafes there. I would tell him that I wouldn't be comfortable with my opponent getting good advice from their corner...
Do you remember anything else about that trainer? Back in 1976, after getting out of boot camp, I was looking for an amateur trainer but couldn't find one in San Diego. I met a pro trainer, a Hispanic fellow who was former military special forces, who let me work out in his gym, but couldn't officially represent me or work my corner for amateur bouts. Good guy and trainer. First week he had me spar one of his up and coming local pros, a good light welterweight with a style like Arguello. He and I were cut out of the same mold, tallish at 5'11" and rail-thin with long reach. He put me down with a shot to the liver that first day. But after a month of workouts the trainer wouldn't let me spar with his guy anymore - secretly he told me I was getting too good!

That was encouraging but I never really got settled in with a steady trainer in the Navy. Because of my specialty med tech training as a Navy Corpsman the Navy boxing team wouldn't take me. But I did get to spar with several of the top amateur Navy and Marine fellows and did well. And I helped train a few rookies at Camp Pendleton, mostly guys like me who were big boxing fans and wanted to get the classic amateur experience of participating in the activity we loved, but didn't plan to make it a career or serious pursuit.

My last amateur bout was in 1978 against a Marine at Quantico who outweighed me a good 20 lbs and was much taller. I was a light middleweight by then, and that fellow looked to be 6'4" and 170. Before the bout the Corpsman checking our vitals said "I'm not sure you should fight, your blood pressure is 160/100." I said, "Did you get a look at the guy I'm matched against? I'd be nuts if my blood pressure wasn't high!" I beat him but had such a ferocious migraine headache afterward I decided it was foolish to continue. I loved the sport, but have always been uncomfortable with the way some fellows end up with pugilistica dementia, like the Quarry brothers, Wilfred Benitez, and apparently Meldrick Taylor. I really admire the slick guys, the movers and defensive masters like Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Hector Camacho, Sugar Ray Leonard, and even the fellows who aren't usually regarded as defensive masters but who seldom got clocked hard or often, like Duran, Monzon, Michael Spinks, and many others who were masters at offense and defense.

I missed seeing RJJ's better years but would have loved seeing him in with a pressuring southpaw like Marvin. The young guys think a lot of prime RJJ and I might tend to favor some of the older era lightheavyweights but I'm probably picking with my heart because that's free in dream fights that could never happen.
I met Roy in Pensacola. Really nice fellow in private, nothing at all like the brash and trash talking persona he'd wear for the public. That was all to promote his image and make money. He has soft hands, a basketball player's hands, like a big pair of top grade supple leather driving gloves. You'd never think he carried so much power in those hands. A lot of that came from his blinding speed, but he also had real power too - I remember being shocked by how badly he busted up heavyweight John Ruiz.

I hope Roy will retire now. He's suffered too many really bad knockouts. I don't want to see him lose his wit and mental clarity.

Roy is difficult to place in an all time great list. He certainly had the talent. From that perspective alone he's an all time great in the middle, super middle and light heavy classes. At his pre-Ruiz peak, nobody could touch him - literally, could not touch him. But he never seemed to recover from that weight gain/loss cycle, and subsequent difficult first bout against Tarver and followup KO loss to Tarver. Because of his superhuman speed and reflexes he never learned the essentials of basic defensive skills early enough to rely on them after he'd slowed down. If Roy had the defensive skills of Mayweather, Jr., or Toney, he could have compensated for the loss of speed. But Roy's reflexes were suddenly shot after the Tarver KO loss and we never saw that RJJ again, even when he won against decent competition.

The last time I'd seen a top fighter deteriorate that badly and quickly was Benitez in his mid-20s, who looked old and gray - his skin was literally ashen - against Mustafa Hamsho. Yeah, Hamsho was a rough customer and good fighter. But something had gone very wrong with Benitez by then, and I wasn't surprised to learn he'd later shown some peculiarly eccentric behaviors in private and has spent most of his post-ring years in a nursing home with dementia. I don't think it was due to head shots alone. Benitez had good defensive skills, up until getting clocked by Bruce Curry (whom I also knew casually from high school and being on the same amateur club for a short time). But some folks just aren't gifted with the same resistance to head shots and should retire much sooner, while other fighters can go on for decades.

Based on RJJ's talent alone at his peak, I'd rank him alongside Sugar Ray Robinson, Monzon, Hagler and, obviously, Hopkins, and every great middleweight. And alongside the great light heavies too. But in terms of ring accomplishments, it's difficult to defend that opinion. There weren't many truly great opponents at middle, super-middle and light heavy while Roy was champ. His best wins were against Hopkins, Toney, McCallum, and to a lesser extent against Griffin, Hill and Tarver (the latter being another underachiever with great potential). That's about it. His resume didn't really include any other all time greats who were at their peak or in their native weight class.

Against Robinson, I think Roy would do well, mostly because Robinson was a small middleweight, really a welterweight who was so uncommonly gifted he could beat bigger guys. But Roy was a big middle and his blindingly fast lead right would cause problems for Robinson, who carried his left low.

I think Hagler could give Roy all kinds of problems, but it depends on which Marvin Hagler showed up that night. I followed Hagler from early in his career, before he won the title, and he was not always the indomitable force his reputation would have us believe. He struggled against some slick boxers. And on a few occasions Hagler seemed, if not intimidated at least uncommonly respectful of fierce brawlers like Antuofermo and Duran. Hagler also had a gift for disguising how badly he was stunned. You really had to look for the telltale signs - an incredibly brief moment where his entire body would freeze for a fraction of a second. It was most evident against Hearns, but I saw other bouts where Hagler was stunned and managed to mask it until he'd recovered. A peak RJJ could conceivably end a fight against Hagler with one lightning fast leaping left hook or lead right.

RJJ could easily outpoint Monzon. Much as I admired Monzon's unique style and indomitable tenacity, his style was tailor made for a peak era Jones. Monzon's bouts were dictated by his jab, although he wasn't a one-handed fighter - his followup right was thrown without hesitation, which made it seem quicker than it really was. Too many otherwise great fighters, like De La Hoya, had a slight hesitation between the jab and right hand, that always limited their effectiveness. But Monzon's one-two combos were unusually effective despite seeming slow. Watch how he takes apart equally skilled fighters like Benvenuti and Valdez. It all starts with the jab. After a few rounds of that damned punishing poleaxe left hand in the face, Benvenuti and Valdez stopping leading, then they stopped countering, and the fight was pretty much in Monzon's pocket. But a prime RJJ wouldn't even be touched by that jab, and his odd angles, leaping left hooks and right hands over the jab would counter Monzon's best weapons. Roy also had a tenacity and confidence equal to Monzon's, which would be essential to gutting it out over 12-15 rounds.

Jones had the opportunity to cement his reputation at his peak by fighting the other champs with alphabet soup titles, especially in the super middle division, but he wouldn't travel to Europe and they would come to America. I can understand Jones' reluctance. As Chris Byrd and others could attest, during the 1990s-early 2000s, the Europeans had a reputation for dirty tricks to give their champions every possible edge, including bribing hotel employees to slip emetics and laxatives into food, and rifling through hotel rooms to harass and disrupt the concentration of visiting fighters. So RJJ never fought guys like Sven Ottke, whom he could easily have beaten on a level playing field. Unfortunately that will always affect RJJ's reputation and record somewhat in terms of his all time great status.

And that's hard for me to admit because I really like Roy and firmly believe that in his prime he could have beaten everyone from middle to light heavy, in any generation. Beyond the top middles I've already mentioned, the only heavier fighters I can think of who might have given Roy some trouble were a few great light heavies, mostly because Roy was always a small light heavyweight and overachiever at that weight: Michael Spinks would have been dangerous against Roy, because he used his height and reach far more effectively than Foster - Bob always fought like a shorter guy, never really utilizing his tremendous advantage in height and reach; Ezzard Charles; Dwight Muhammad Qawi, a beast at light heavy. I'd pick a peak era Roy to outpoint Galindez, Patterson at light heavy, and just about every other light heavy I can think of.

But we'll never know for sure. That's the unfortunate part of Roy's legacy because he peaked during an era of relatively weak opposition, and because neither he nor the European champs would travel.

Whew, can I ramble or what?

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Old 01-24-16, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Do you remember anything else about that trainer? Back in 1976, after getting out of boot camp, I was looking for an amateur trainer but couldn't find one in San Diego. I met a pro trainer, a Hispanic fellow who was former military special forces, who let me work out in his gym, but couldn't officially represent me or work my corner for amateur bouts. Good guy and trainer. First week he had me spar one of his up and coming local pros, a good light welterweight with a style like Arguello. He and I were cut out of the same mold, tallish at 5'11" and rail-thin with long reach. He put me down with a shot to the liver that first day. But after a month of workouts the trainer wouldn't let me spar with his guy anymore - secretly he told me I was getting too good!
It wasn't Joe Vargas.

This was a white guy older than Joe and it was about 1987 after I had already gotten some pretty good experience in a machining career. Hell I was in my 30s by then. The gym was right downtown then. The same guy was around back in the '70s though and he remembered me from when I ran a couple of hotels downtown and somehow that I'd had some fight with someone that he knew of in my '20s in kicking them off the premises. I don't know where he operated out of back then other than seeing him at a weight room in Ocean Beach working a pro featherweight on the speed bag there. Maybe Archie Moore's gym and boys club might've still been open too back then.

He also knew me from me raking in wins from several people on Foreman / Jimmy Young at three to one odds. One of them was a bodybuilder at that Ocean Beach gym and that's the first time that I had a brief conversation with him. He complimented me on my pick but he was busy with his fighter and I was on my way to work, second shift at National Steel and Shipbuilding by then.

Between those two times I was either back with an old GF in Manitou Springs Colorado or back in Texas for awhile.

I'll have to get back to you later on the rest.
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Old 01-25-16, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
My last amateur bout was in 1978 against a Marine at Quantico who outweighed me a good 20 lbs and was much taller. I was a light middleweight by then, and that fellow looked to be 6'4" and 170. Before the bout the Corpsman checking our vitals said "I'm not sure you should fight, your blood pressure is 160/100." I said, "Did you get a look at the guy I'm matched against? I'd be nuts if my blood pressure wasn't high!" I beat him but had such a ferocious migraine headache afterward I decided it was foolish to continue. I loved the sport, but have always been uncomfortable with the way some fellows end up with pugilistica dementia, like the Quarry brothers, Wilfred Benitez, and apparently Meldrick Taylor. I really admire the slick guys, the movers and defensive masters like Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Hector Camacho, Sugar Ray Leonard, and even the fellows who aren't usually regarded as defensive masters but who seldom got clocked hard or often, like Duran, Monzon, Michael Spinks, and many others who were masters at offense and defense.
Well you've gone and made me feel guilty about posting that KO of Mike Quarry by Foster so I replaced it with Foster's KO of Dick Tiger. That left hook that he caught Mike with was just perfect though and well planned. Don't know if Bob missed that right on purpose or not but it sure hid that left hook coming up while Mike's body was committed to his own left hook.

I was a fan of Mike's too and had been following his career more than I ever did with Jerry's. My friend and I watched him in a war with Andy Kendall on "Boxing at the Forum" one weekend night and made our dates (his wife and my date) wait until it was over before taking them out. I hated hearing about how he and his brother ended up but can't find anybody else to blame for their bad choices. My council to Mike would have been to quit after that KO even though the only that he suffered until the very end of his too-long career

And my council to Ali would have been to quit after the Shavers fight and I would have refused any part in being in either's corner after that. This ain't really a 'game' though I use the phrase in subtle jest. You can get hurt in there and you can die fast or slowly if you don't know when to fold them. Fighters and exotic dancers should be prepared to quit when there's nothing to gain by continuing.

Brian Kenny was asking Foster about that gangsta walkoff from his KO of Mike while shaking that left arm, to see if it was still connected, in an ESPN interview once and it went something like this:

Brian Kenny: "Bob what was that little gesture you did on the way to the neutral corner after hitting Mike with that left?"

Bob Foster: "What? What gesture?"

Brian Kenny: "You know that little twitch when you cocked your head and shook your left arm."

Bob Foster: "What?"

Brian Kenny laughs: "OK never mind."

I met Roy in Pensacola. Really nice fellow in private, nothing at all like the brash and trash talking persona he'd wear for the public. That was all to promote his image and make money. He has soft hands, a basketball player's hands, like a big pair of top grade supple leather driving gloves. You'd never think he carried so much power in those hands. A lot of that came from his blinding speed, but he also had real power too - I remember being shocked by how badly he busted up heavyweight John Ruiz.

I hope Roy will retire now. He's suffered too many really bad knockouts. I don't want to see him lose his wit and mental clarity.

Roy is difficult to place in an all time great list. He certainly had the talent. From that perspective alone he's an all time great in the middle, super middle and light heavy classes. At his pre-Ruiz peak, nobody could touch him - literally, could not touch him. But he never seemed to recover from that weight gain/loss cycle, and subsequent difficult first bout against Tarver and followup KO loss to Tarver. Because of his superhuman speed and reflexes he never learned the essentials of basic defensive skills early enough to rely on them after he'd slowed down. If Roy had the defensive skills of Mayweather, Jr., or Toney, he could have compensated for the loss of speed. But Roy's reflexes were suddenly shot after the Tarver KO loss and we never saw that RJJ again, even when he won against decent competition.

The last time I'd seen a top fighter deteriorate that badly and quickly was Benitez in his mid-20s, who looked old and gray - his skin was literally ashen - against Mustafa Hamsho. Yeah, Hamsho was a rough customer and good fighter. But something had gone very wrong with Benitez by then, and I wasn't surprised to learn he'd later shown some peculiarly eccentric behaviors in private and has spent most of his post-ring years in a nursing home with dementia. I don't think it was due to head shots alone. Benitez had good defensive skills, up until getting clocked by Bruce Curry (whom I also knew casually from high school and being on the same amateur club for a short time). But some folks just aren't gifted with the same resistance to head shots and should retire much sooner, while other fighters can go on for decades.

Based on RJJ's talent alone at his peak, I'd rank him alongside Sugar Ray Robinson, Monzon, Hagler and, obviously, Hopkins, and every great middleweight. And alongside the great light heavies too. But in terms of ring accomplishments, it's difficult to defend that opinion. There weren't many truly great opponents at middle, super-middle and light heavy while Roy was champ. His best wins were against Hopkins, Toney, McCallum, and to a lesser extent against Griffin, Hill and Tarver (the latter being another underachiever with great potential). That's about it. His resume didn't really include any other all time greats who were at their peak or in their native weight class.

Against Robinson, I think Roy would do well, mostly because Robinson was a small middleweight, really a welterweight who was so uncommonly gifted he could beat bigger guys. But Roy was a big middle and his blindingly fast lead right would cause problems for Robinson, who carried his left low.

I think Hagler could give Roy all kinds of problems, but it depends on which Marvin Hagler showed up that night. I followed Hagler from early in his career, before he won the title, and he was not always the indomitable force his reputation would have us believe. He struggled against some slick boxers. And on a few occasions Hagler seemed, if not intimidated at least uncommonly respectful of fierce brawlers like Antuofermo and Duran. Hagler also had a gift for disguising how badly he was stunned. You really had to look for the telltale signs - an incredibly brief moment where his entire body would freeze for a fraction of a second. It was most evident against Hearns, but I saw other bouts where Hagler was stunned and managed to mask it until he'd recovered. A peak RJJ could conceivably end a fight against Hagler with one lightning fast leaping left hook or lead right.

RJJ could easily outpoint Monzon. Much as I admired Monzon's unique style and indomitable tenacity, his style was tailor made for a peak era Jones. Monzon's bouts were dictated by his jab, although he wasn't a one-handed fighter - his followup right was thrown without hesitation, which made it seem quicker than it really was. Too many otherwise great fighters, like De La Hoya, had a slight hesitation between the jab and right hand, that always limited their effectiveness. But Monzon's one-two combos were unusually effective despite seeming slow. Watch how he takes apart equally skilled fighters like Benvenuti and Valdez. It all starts with the jab. After a few rounds of that damned punishing poleaxe left hand in the face, Benvenuti and Valdez stopping leading, then they stopped countering, and the fight was pretty much in Monzon's pocket. But a prime RJJ wouldn't even be touched by that jab, and his odd angles, leaping left hooks and right hands over the jab would counter Monzon's best weapons. Roy also had a tenacity and confidence equal to Monzon's, which would be essential to gutting it out over 12-15 rounds.

Jones had the opportunity to cement his reputation at his peak by fighting the other champs with alphabet soup titles, especially in the super middle division, but he wouldn't travel to Europe and they would come to America. I can understand Jones' reluctance. As Chris Byrd and others could attest, during the 1990s-early 2000s, the Europeans had a reputation for dirty tricks to give their champions every possible edge, including bribing hotel employees to slip emetics and laxatives into food, and rifling through hotel rooms to harass and disrupt the concentration of visiting fighters. So RJJ never fought guys like Sven Ottke, whom he could easily have beaten on a level playing field. Unfortunately that will always affect RJJ's reputation and record somewhat in terms of his all time great status.

And that's hard for me to admit because I really like Roy and firmly believe that in his prime he could have beaten everyone from middle to light heavy, in any generation. Beyond the top middles I've already mentioned, the only heavier fighters I can think of who might have given Roy some trouble were a few great light heavies, mostly because Roy was always a small light heavyweight and overachiever at that weight: Michael Spinks would have been dangerous against Roy, because he used his height and reach far more effectively than Foster - Bob always fought like a shorter guy, never really utilizing his tremendous advantage in height and reach; Ezzard Charles; Dwight Muhammad Qawi, a beast at light heavy. I'd pick a peak era Roy to outpoint Galindez, Patterson at light heavy, and just about every other light heavy I can think of.

But we'll never know for sure. That's the unfortunate part of Roy's legacy because he peaked during an era of relatively weak opposition, and because neither he nor the European champs would travel.

Whew, can I ramble or what?

There's Andy Kendall eating plenty of jabs of the kind you never saw coming from Diego Corrales. Now Corrales was a guy who didn't use his height but Foster knew where his advantages were and will only tie you up when you do get inside on him. He doesn't quite square up because he keeps his relatively small rib cage protected folding his left down like that and will move his body away to his right from your rights. He's quick enough to get away with it. Matthew Franklin Saad Muhammed kept his left low too but wasn't as fast nor able to avoid rights because he squared up almost constantly. If you're gonna square up you'd better keep both hands up.

Foster's weak spot is his ribs and you can see it when Andy finally lands a couple there inside. I felt that too when Foster felt that, . I'll tell you one thing I saw the first time I finally got to see Roy in his first fight with Tarver though and I fully realize that that wasn't prime RJJ. Tarver hurt Roy once and I saw a hint of reel in Roy, and it wasn't the bluffing possum kind. It was the kind you try to hide. Tarver didn't know which it was and didn't have the good instincts to spend it for a finish right there. You'll notice no such reluctance in Bob Foster when he hurts Kendall. And Foster is no one-two fighter like Tarver or Kelly Pavlik. I'd give the hit-n-run version of Michael Spinks better odds with Foster than I would a prime RJJ myself.

As far as southpaws go, Roy's speed let him get away with a lot of wrong when he had it. When you ain't quite got it anymore I'd do like cornermen say and move to my left to avoid his left every chance I got. I suppose it's easy for me to be a backseat driver but that's pretty basic. Roy just might've had a bit of a chin issue all along too. It just never was exposed until he slowed and started getting hit. RJJ wouldn't stand up under Foster's better stuff from either hand, I don't think, so he'd better have played his perfect "game".

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Old 01-25-16, 04:47 PM
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Here are some of Foster's career KOs such as were recorded on film/video. He had to fight some heavyweights when avoided by lightheavyweights but he didn't really possess the adaptable defensive tools for surviving with the top of the heavyweight division that some of history's other lightheavyweight greats employed for upsets or near upsets with the best of the biggest. Problem is that the big gates and paydays come with fighting the heavyweight stars though and Bob earns his the hard way with Smokin' Joe Frazier at 4:10. He takes it out on Venezuela's WBA lightheavyweight champion Vincente Paul Rondon in his very next fight though breaking his jaw on both sides when putting him to sleep.


And here's a 2012 ESPN interview with Bob who passed away last year. Seemed in good health until the end.

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Old 01-26-16, 10:41 PM
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Excellent analysis of Bob Foster's style. He did get terrifying leverage, unusual for a fellow with a stringbean physique. And you're right about Corrales - he had excellent power and decent recuperative ability, but didn't master the use of his reach and power like fellow stringbeans Carlos Zarate, Danny Lopez, Arguello and others.

And no need to feel bad about posting the Quarry video. Boxing is a brutal sport and everyone knows the risks. Besides, I have a theory that a one punch knockout generally does less long term damage than an accumulation of blows over time. That's one reason I'm not a fan of the standing 8-count. Either a boxer is able to recover and be effective within 10 seconds or the fight should be stopped. If a boxer doesn't have enough experience and presence of mind to take a knee for around 8 seconds and then resume fighting, he/she probably shouldn't continue anyway. The standing 8-count only serves to give a stunned fighter just enough time to accumulate more brain damage, while skewing the balance of the fight against the boxer who scored the stunning blows. If I had my druthers the standing 8-count would be restricted to the amateurs, where the referees generally use it appropriately.

Years ago I'd read a theory that what really killed Kid Paret wasn't the great Emile Griffith, but Paret's previous grueling beatdown by Gene Fullmer. It was years later before YouTube came along and I could finally watch that fight, and it convinced me. Paret should have taken at least a year off after that fight with Fullmer.

BTW, imagine if Tommy Hearns had been able to master Foster's infighting technique. Hearns had an outstanding distance game and the only way to beat him was to crowd him so he couldn't use his reach. Have you seen the video of Hearns against Aaron Pryor as amateurs? The much shorter Pryor crowded Hearns relentlessly, backing him up and never giving him a chance to use that long reach. Hearns never really did get much better at infighting even as an experienced pro. That's the secret to Hagler's hard earned win over Hearns, and Hagler got his bell rung a few times in the process. I remember being shocked that Duran failed to pressure Hearns, staying at exactly the wrong range - right at the explosive end of those Hearns punches. It's like Duran learned nothing from watching how Hearns kayoed Cuevas. Probably the worst tactical fight I ever saw from Duran, who usually fought very smart.

But a Hearns with his inherent long range power, savvy boxing chops, combined with Foster's infighting leverage? He might have been unbeatable.

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Old 01-28-16, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Excellent analysis of Bob Foster's style. He did get terrifying leverage, unusual for a fellow with a stringbean physique. And you're right about Corrales - he had excellent power and decent recuperative ability, but didn't master the use of his reach and power like fellow stringbeans Carlos Zarate, Danny Lopez, Arguello and others.
It's us tall guys who benefit the most from straight leverage punches and are disadvantaged the most from roundhousing. I knew I was going to have to do something different just from a couple of fights behind the school in the sixth grade. I could've fallen out from exhaustion before ever hurting anybody swinging roundhouses back then. So every time they showed Joe Louis on the tube I'd watch how he set himself for punching very closely because it was obvious he was getting power out of short distance straight punches. Once I began to get the distance right I could put some hurt on my hands, lol.

Louis's trainer Jack Blackburn fought Joe Gans twice. It was guys like Gans and Fitzsimmons that brought straight leverage punching into the ring.

Larry Holmes once said he learned more from taking a year off and watching than he ever did in the ring. You need both I realize though. Stocky guys can use it too just to change it up for a surprise but we pretty much have to. The tall guy who I hate watching like fingernails on a blackboard is Celestino Caballero. It's because he cocks that right hand like an amateur notifying his opponents that it's coming. Someday somebody will beat him to the punch with a straight forearm left hook and put him on his butt for that.

And I loved watching Arguello because of those perfectly timed and executed punches with both hands.

And no need to feel bad about posting the Quarry video. Boxing is a brutal sport and everyone knows the risks. Besides, I have a theory that a one punch knockout generally does less long term damage than an accumulation of blows over time. That's one reason I'm not a fan of the standing 8-count. Either a boxer is able to recover and be effective within 10 seconds or the fight should be stopped. If a boxer doesn't have enough experience and presence of mind to take a knee for around 8 seconds and then resume fighting, he/she probably shouldn't continue anyway. The standing 8-count only serves to give a stunned fighter just enough time to accumulate more brain damage, while skewing the balance of the fight against the boxer who scored the stunning blows. If I had my druthers the standing 8-count would be restricted to the amateurs, where the referees generally use it appropriately.

Years ago I'd read a theory that what really killed Kid Paret wasn't the great Emile Griffith, but Paret's previous grueling beatdown by Gene Fullmer. It was years later before YouTube came along and I could finally watch that fight, and it convinced me. Paret should have taken at least a year off after that fight with Fullmer.
Yeah I watched the documentary on Griffith and they brought that up. Max Baer probably killed Ernie Schaaf as well as Frankie Cambell and not Primo Carnera. Schaaf was saved from losing by the bell in the Baer fight despite a last seconds KO. He was ahead on the judges scorecards and won by decision although totally flat out unconscious at the bell. That looping right of Max's (At about 5:10 of this video) had plenty of body lingo on it actually. Ray Leonard liked that punch too but had a lot more tools to go with it. They both seemed to like using it on someone coming at them.

BTW, imagine if Tommy Hearns had been able to master Foster's infighting technique. Hearns had an outstanding distance game and the only way to beat him was to crowd him so he couldn't use his reach. Have you seen the video of Hearns against Aaron Pryor as amateurs? The much shorter Pryor crowded Hearns relentlessly, backing him up and never giving him a chance to use that long reach. Hearns never really did get much better at infighting even as an experienced pro. That's the secret to Hagler's hard earned win over Hearns, and Hagler got his bell rung a few times in the process. I remember being shocked that Duran failed to pressure Hearns, staying at exactly the wrong range - right at the explosive end of those Hearns punches. It's like Duran learned nothing from watching how Hearns kayoed Cuevas. Probably the worst tactical fight I ever saw from Duran, who usually fought very smart.
I always said I wish Tommy had Bob's left hook. And his "whiskers" too. Jesus, when he fought Juan Roldan he spent the whole 4 rounds either hanging on for dear life or knocking the dog**** out of him. He and Roger Mayweather have similar blessings and curses.

I used to make money betting on Tommy except for the first Leonard fight. The deal I offered with both Cuevas and Duran was that Tommy would win in 5 rounds or less. I even had two black coworkers take me up on the Cuevas bet. Too bad the other bets were with Mexican Americans because I limit those to $5. They take it too hard when their guy gets beat and some don't like paying off on $20 bets without trouble, lol. That first beautiful right that Tommy floored Duran with made a believer out of him. He never was in it after that.

But a Hearns with his inherent long range power, savvy boxing chops, combined with Foster's infighting leverage? He might have been unbeatable.
Emanuel Steward is who made Tommy the "Hit Man". He didn't know how to hit like that in the amateurs. One thing that Pryor does at his peril is hold that chin up while fighting out of a crouch. Your neck is what actually takes the shock of a punch not your "whiskers" lol. A straight right is a solid head on collision for someone that does that and Pryor was lucky to be standing straight up when Arguello hit him with his in that 13th round. Liston used to do that too.
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Old 01-30-16, 11:29 PM
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Yeah the one just after 6 minutes. I agree that Duran seemed puzzled about getting inside on Tommy in that one and posed just outside a little too long with that left just down enough to expose his cheek where it looks like Tommy landed. I'm not really sure why but he didn't seem accustomed to the reach at that speed. Looks like Duran was rocking his arms a little as he was trying to keep his head moving a bit, but too slow and rhythmic, and Tommy just timed that and stepped in closer to his left side. Righthand lead landing on someone like Duran is probably a little demoralizing in itself.

Maybe the sting of those other more reaching punches before that are what first surprised Duran.


Here's my first look at Hearns while my Navy boxing friend and I were playing risk. I had been reading about him already though.

I think they showed the draw Haggler fought with Vito Antuofermo in their first fight that day too.

Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I think Hagler could give Roy all kinds of problems, but it depends on which Marvin Hagler showed up that night. I followed Hagler from early in his career, before he won the title, and he was not always the indomitable force his reputation would have us believe. He struggled against some slick boxers. And on a few occasions Hagler seemed, if not intimidated at least uncommonly respectful of fierce brawlers like Antuofermo and Duran. Hagler also had a gift for disguising how badly he was stunned. You really had to look for the telltale signs - an incredibly brief moment where his entire body would freeze for a fraction of a second. It was most evident against Hearns, but I saw other bouts where Hagler was stunned and managed to mask it until he'd recovered. A peak RJJ could conceivably end a fight against Hagler with one lightning fast leaping left hook or lead right.

Haggler had that Joe Louis kind of success in rematches. Great middleweight Haggler whom I might just favor at top of my ATG middleweight list....And it says something that it's in spite of me not really liking the guy much.

Now if Roy had stayed at middleweight a bit longer he might have made the top of that one in my division ATG picks. I'd have to have a few more defenses there though.

B-Hop has got to be towards the top of 160 somewhere. When it comes to cagey fighters he's more subtle than flashy but he's got little things that spoil his opponents strategy and not all of it is entirely clean depending on what's needed for a particular style of opponent. When Pavlik's amateur camp took that fight all I could do was wonder if they spent any time watching his fight with Tarver. Buddy Mcgirt about had a fit over Tarver pawing with that jab but I don't think it would matter because B-Hop reads both of those fighters in advance because of their repetitive style though one orthodox and the other lefty.

I wanted to see Pavlik in with Arthur Abraham at 160. I would like his chances as a confident puncher in that matchup. I wouldn't campaign him at 168 because they're just giving up his advantages and certainly not with the tricky Philadelphian. When their first round was over I knew who was going to school in that fight. Sometimes the oddsmakers are way off. Not often but that was one time. And they almost had Kelly in with Sergio Mora who would certainly be risky enough a spoiler for me not to touch with a barge pole if I were calling the shots for Pavlik. Sometimes I've wondered if I should have laced 'em up for awhile just to get into the cornerman's side of the business. Because frankly Jack Loew needs to pick up the hotmix rake again. Looks like Pavlik has finally split with him but it's too late now. I really think I had the better assessment of Pavlik's strength and limitations, from out here in the cheap seats, than his longtime trainer has had........more of a knock on him than any prop for me.

I never even mastered the speed bag with both hands though, lol. I'm still a slow speed one hander and miss some at that. They've had one in every weight room that I've ever used but other people are always in there and I'm embarrassed to show my "grace" level with a speed bag. Maybe that's why I racked my right hand on foreheads in a couple of fights in my youth. I was very lucky in casually walking away in those before the other guys got to their feet. I managed to refrain from shaking my hand both times knowing that it would be telling of a hand injury. Now I'm fortunately too old for that sort of out of the ring foolishness.

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Old 02-04-16, 01:52 AM
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Tommy Hearns was a lot of fun to watch, with an engaging, fan-friendly style - even when it didn't necessarily suit him the best. Unlike, say, Manny Pacquiao, Hearns' long range missiles were easy to see and score for the home viewer. (Pacman has evolved into expert sneaky inside fighter with quick punches, it's easy to miss what he's really doing.) And you knew Hearns was just one misstep away from disaster because he was so willing to mix it up, even when it wasn't the wisest choice.

I'd always hoped rangy guys like Jermain Taylor, Paul Williams and Kelly Pavlik would develop the power, appeal and mutli-weight class potential of Hearns. The fact that they fell somewhat short (pardon the pun) doesn't reflect badly on their accomplishments, which were very good, but demonstrates just how impressive Hearns was despite his flaws. Even when I rooted for Sugar Ray Leonard, Duran, Benitez, Hagler and others, I couldn't root against Hearns. He was a great fighter who brought everything to the ring.

Hearns was such a fearsome fighter for the first few rounds, you'd actually cringe a bit in fear for the safety of his opponents. He was a fast starter, looking for the knockout, and you could see that look of surprise in opponents' faces when they realized just how long and effective that jab was, and how quickly that explosive overhand right could follow. No matter how much they'd train, nothing could prepare them for facing the real deal those first few minutes -- much like Pacquiao, who was always quicker than most opponents could believe.

But Tommy seemed to lose some of that ferocity as the bouts wore on and the smart boxers, like Benitez, would take him into the deep waters hoping to wear him down a bit and gain an edge in the scorecards with activity. I don't think Tommy had a stamina problem (unlike De La Hoya, who was lucky to peak in the 12-round championship era - he never would have reigned long as world champ in the 15-round era). It was more of a determination sag. As a fight wore on Hearns would shift from fierce puncher to slick boxer, moving more while still looking for the KO, but taking fewer and fewer risks. Unfortunately his defensive lapses and mediocre chin left him more vulnerable as bouts wore on. I don't think Hearns had bad whiskers, he just wasn't a great defensive fighter and tended to get tagged with shots as opponents adjusted to his reach and timing. His reach was his defense, and he could be beaten if an opponent solved the reach and timing puzzles.

And, having a true warrior's spirit, when he got tagged his first instinct was to fight back rather than clinch or move. Fun to watch, not so great for him against guys who could get in his face and pressure him. Even Benitez managed to back up Hearns at some points, and if Wilfred had carried real power at middleweight he could have won that fight. That was always the key to beating Hearns -- back him up, get him on defense, look for his inevitable defensive lapses when he'd get suckered into fighting with his back against the ropes.

Generally I'd say Hearns was fearless and couldn't be intimidated, but that's not entirely accurate. Check out his ring walk against Barkley 1. Tommy looked terrified. He hid it well, behind his usual pre-fight stone face. But if you'd seen enough of his bouts you could tell his confidence wasn't there. Something about Barkley bothered Tommy, pre-fight, in the same way Tommy had intimidated the usually indomitable Duran even before the first bell rang and punch was thrown. Duran was actually sitting down, looking like he didn't want to be there. Incredibly revealing, considering how fearless Duran seemed against Hagler, Barkley and so many others.

I can remember only once seeing Hagler behaving uncharacteristically, as if he was intimidated and psyched out of his usual mindset -- and that was against Leonard. For some odd reason, Hagler was goofing off, dancing around, grinning, trying to act carefree. But it gave exactly the opposite impression. Hagler never behaved that way before a fight. He was always stone faced, impassive, giving away absolutely nothing, seemingly so indifferent to his opponent he couldn't even be bothered to try to scare them. In that way, Hagler was a lot like Monzon (who really was indomitable, possibly because Monzon was a psychopath in real life, and simply did not give a single damn about any opponent). Except for that one bout, against Leonard.

Sometimes it's the little things, like that intangible sense of indomitability. George Foreman usually had it, especially during his comeback years when he was a Zen master of inner control. Evander Holyfield always had it. I can't recall Holyfield ever seeming intimated by any fighter, and he never suffered from post-loss or post-knockout loss of confidence. That's incredibly rare, a gift only a few champions possess. While the heavyweight Holyfield was never quite the force he'd been at cruiserweight (where I'd rank Holyfield the all time best in that weight class), I'd still rank him easily in the all time Top 10 heavyweights because of his indomitable spirit and ability to rebound from adversity.

On his best nights I'd pick Holyfield against Joe Louis, Marciano, Liston, Ali... anyone. On his worse nights, which were frequent and inexplicable, Holyfield would be lucky to scrape out a win over a guy who barely earned a title shot. I've always wondered whether his erratic performances were due to juicing. His physique seemed pretty obviously juiced up -- he was always way too muscular and well defined at heavyweight, considering he was far above his cruiserweight peak. But as with Roy Jones Jr's sudden decline, I'll always wonder whether messing around with substances to gain an edge and prolong their careers might have damaged them physically. Holyfield often seemed to rebound from those sudden sags in performance and stamina, but RJJ was never the same after losing weight to get back to light heavy after beating Ruiz.
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Old 02-05-16, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Generally I'd say Hearns was fearless and couldn't be intimidated, but that's not entirely accurate. Check out his ring walk against Barkley 1. Tommy looked terrified. He hid it well, behind his usual pre-fight stone face. But if you'd seen enough of his bouts you could tell his confidence wasn't there. Something about Barkley bothered Tommy, pre-fight, in the same way Tommy had intimidated the usually indomitable Duran even before the first bell rang and punch was thrown. Duran was actually sitting down, looking like he didn't want to be there. Incredibly revealing, considering how fearless Duran seemed against Hagler, Barkley and so many others.

I can remember only once seeing Hagler behaving uncharacteristically, as if he was intimidated and psyched out of his usual mindset -- and that was against Leonard. For some odd reason, Hagler was goofing off, dancing around, grinning, trying to act carefree. But it gave exactly the opposite impression. Hagler never behaved that way before a fight. He was always stone faced, impassive, giving away absolutely nothing, seemingly so indifferent to his opponent he couldn't even be bothered to try to scare them. In that way, Hagler was a lot like Monzon (who really was indomitable, possibly because Monzon was a psychopath in real life, and simply did not give a single damn about any opponent). Except for that one bout, against Leonard.

Sometimes it's the little things, like that intangible sense of indomitability. George Foreman usually had it, especially during his comeback years when he was a Zen master of inner control. Evander Holyfield always had it. I can't recall Holyfield ever seeming intimated by any fighter, and he never suffered from post-loss or post-knockout loss of confidence. That's incredibly rare, a gift only a few champions possess. While the heavyweight Holyfield was never quite the force he'd been at cruiserweight (where I'd rank Holyfield the all time best in that weight class), I'd still rank him easily in the all time Top 10 heavyweights because of his indomitable spirit and ability to rebound from adversity.
You are a keen observer of the pre-fight attitudes canklecat. It's the one thing that I never based my boxing bets on since I almost always made my bets before the weigh in. The exception that comes to mind was Jimmy Young vs George Foreman where I was most impressed with Young's pre-fight confidence along with his skills as a spoiler just right for spoiling Big George's fight at that time in his first career in boxing. George always had that endurance problem back then. I first noticed it when he just about fell out from exhaustion while hammering Luis Pires on the ropes during their fight. It looked to me like the ref took a look at George and stopped the fight before that happened, lol. I'm pretty sure that didn't go unnoticed by Angelo Dundee at the time.

The most unusual pre-fight that I ever saw was when Mitchell Julien kissed Roger Mayweather on the cheek during their pre-fight instructions by referee Richard Steele. Al Bernstein and Ray Mancini were doing the commentary and their reactions alone were quite a laugh. I used to have that fight up on YouTube before my site got closed for copyright violations. Someone commented that the "strangest things happen when Richard Steele referees." For the record Roger handed him a very hard KO, then followed him to his corner as he was being helped by his handlers and kissed him back. I'd like to hope that sort of thing doesn't become a habit in boxing.

My favorite reaction to a fighter's stare down during the pre fight instructions was Donny Lalonde's laugh back at them. That seemed pretty intimidating just in itself. I don't find any examples on YouTube but that lightheavyweight fight he had with Ray Leonard was a fun watch.


I didn't want to give Ray his due at first because of him taking up Robinson's Ring name. And I still burn over that present of a "draw" that he got in the second fight with Hearns......I should have won money on that, lol. But it became obvious to me pretty early on that he had all the stuff that ATGs are made of.

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Old 02-06-16, 02:29 AM
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I probably became interested in the psychological aspect of fighting due to Ali's Cassius Clay era adoption of pro wrasslin' shenanigans to boost his celebrity status, sell tickets and psych out Liston. He elevated it into an entertaining art form. Few are any good at it, though, mostly coming across as clods rather than clever or entertaining. But that's true of pro wrasslers too.

It's interesting to look back on some of those uncharacteristic face-offs, such as Wilfred Benitez getting into Tommy Hearns' face -- Benitez practically had to stand on tiptoe to do it! But he actually seemed to bother the usually unflappable Hearns a bit. Overall, though, the most effective champions consistently appeared stone-faced, impassive, disdainful or amused by any attempts to psych them out.

Some of the better trash talkers and entertaining chatterers have been James Toney, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, and Bernard Hopkins. I don't usually consider Floyd Mayweather's trash talking to be as entertaining, but I admired him for his verbal takedown of the insufferable Larry Merchant. I came to despise Merchant, not for his gaseous pomposity, trying to talk like he wrote in his stilted magazine prose, but for his arrogant condescending attitude toward boxers in post-fight interviews. Merchant seemed to delight in talking above men he considered beneath his intelligence, taking advantage of their state of being dazed after knockouts, or distracted by the commotion, or not speaking English as their first language. Only a few would effectively trade oral volleys with Merchant, notably Hopkins, Toney, De La Hoya (who flat out chided Merchant for his arrogant game playing in post-fight interviews), and Mayweather.

And I lost all respect for the HBO boxing commentators after they dumped George Foreman, who was the best boxing commentator they'd ever had. Foreman was the John Madden of boxing commentators, combining a delightful mix of bluster, malapropisms and incisive insights into how athletes think. For example, Foreman was the first to note that De La Hoya's attempts to compensate for his poor stamina weren't effective. Foreman described De La Hoya's peak era side to side and in-out footwork as a "crow hop", that added power to his stiff jabs and made it difficult for opponents to counter. Foreman was openly critical of DLH's attempt to adopt the Mayweather-influenced shoulder roll stationary defense. I suspect this made Foreman unpopular with HBO, for whom DLH was the Golden Boy and golden egg layer. But Foreman was correct. DLH lacked the inherent stamina needed to continue his busy "crow hop" footwork into his late 20s and early 30s, and the relative lack of movement and mediocre implementation of the shoulder roll left him vulnerable to being broken down by Pacquiao. A younger De La Hoya would have dismantled Pacquiao, probably stopping him within 7 rounds, even more effectively than Marquez did. But a dried out, catchweight and stationary DLH was just a shell of his former self. Not to take anything away from Pacman, who's an exciting if limited boxer who built too much of his reputation above the featherweight category on catch weights and careful selection of opponents with good marquee value he could beat.

To some extent that was true of the Ray Leonard fight against LaLonde. It's possible SRL could have beaten LaLonde anyway, but the catch weight probably hurt LaLonde's stamina and he seemed to lose his legs and snap in his punches toward the end.

To me, a real championship match is at the heavier champ's weight limit, not catch weights. Some great examples include Emile Griffith, a natural welterweight who seemed to effortlessly move between welter, light middle and middleweight, doing remarkably well at middle despite being much smaller than most of his opponents. And while Jose Napoles looked downright tiny against Monzon, he did as well as possible, boxing enough to keep Monzon off balance for a few rounds. And Napoles stood up to fearsome punches that had flattened bigger, stronger guys like Benvenuti and Tony Licata.

BTW, watch the Monzon vs Licata video if you haven't seen it before. That was the first Monzon fight I saw on closed circuit TV at a nearby arena, on the same card as Victor Galindez vs Jorge Ahumada in their third or so rematch, both from Madison Square Garden, on the undercard of the Ali vs. Bugner bout. It's the clearest of the available Monzon videos, even clearer than his defenses against Valdez, and really show how dominant Monzon could be. Licata put up one of the toughest fights against Monzon, repeatedly rallying after seeming to be on the verge of being kayoed. But it also shows how indomitable Monzon was mentally, alongside the Benvenuti fights where Monzon shoved, mauled, clobbered, cuffed and thoroughly dominated one of the few middleweights who was nearly identical to Monzon in stature, physique and style (it's hard to tell them apart in the murky video of their first bout). When you realize how Benvenuti had physically dominated Griffith, it's more clear how much better Monzon was than everyone else in his peak era. He was built like a tennis player, looked like a handsome jet set playboy, and fought like a schoolyard bully in an ungainly, awkward and infuriating style. Howard Cosell seemed to despise Monzon, talking dismissively about his style, which is one reason Monzon wasn't more popular and better known to Americans. Unlike his predecessors in boxing commentators, Cosell preferred to butter up the celebrity fighters, and anyone with the "Sugar" nickname.


I don't begrudge Ray Leonard the "Sugar" moniker. Just about every decent boxer named Ray has had that attached to his name, whether he wanted it or not. Before Leonard there was Sugar Ray Seales, an excellent amateur and the US's only gold medal winner at the 1972 Olympics, and a pretty good pro, a slick boxer who was unfortunate enough to peak between the Monzon and Hagler eras. Seales' first pro loss was a decision to Hagler, followed by a draw in a rematch and finally a KO loss. Reportedly Seales is doing well in retirement, coaching boxing and by all accounts a really decent fellow. Good to know.


Here in Texas during the early-mid 1970s we had a good amateur light middleweight named Sugar Ray Phillips who did well in the Golden Gloves but didn't quite crack the pros. He was a good looking amateur, muscular and lithe, slick and with good power. At the time I remember being glad I was a lightweight, and didn't reach the light middle class until years later when I was in the Navy. Ray Phillips was among the few amateurs whose style made me nervous - he had remarkably long reach for a shortish fellow, only around 5' 7" or so but with arms like a 6' 2" man, and a devastating whiplike left hook he threw from floor level. Caught a lot of opponents cold with some spectacular knockouts seldom seen among amateurs. I'm not sure why he didn't do better as a pro, although he got started late. I think he was in his mid-20s when he last fought as an amateur, and perhaps didn't have the backing support he needed to concentrate on the pro game. I've seen that happen to several good Texas amateur boxers who didn't quite dominate the pros as well as expected.

I suppose the reality for most boxers is that having to work for a living, support families, and deal with the disorganized and often corrupt infrastructure of pro boxing is just as much a distraction as the relatively few successful champs who succumb to partying, diffusing their focus in music, acting, TV appearances, etc., rather than concentrating solely on the one thing that made them champs.

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Old 02-09-16, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Not to take anything away from Pacman, who's an exciting if limited boxer who built too much of his reputation above the featherweight category on catch weights and careful selection of opponents with good marquee value he could beat.
I could see Oscar Dela Hoya had overtrained just watching the 24/7 episode. Yeah I hate the catchweights and I'm with you on that.

When the great Joe Gans won the title in 1902 the lightweight limit was set at 133 and knowing that Gans had to struggle to make that weight, Tex Rickard made a point of specifying three different weigh ins for Gans alone for his first fight with Battling Nelson, the last just hours before the fight. Gans had to go without socks and handwraps in the fight to make the weight as specified in the contract. As a result Gans broke his hand in the 26th round but won the first fight when the referee disqualified Nelson in the 42nd round.

Gans was probably already suffering from tuberculosis at the time of that fight and his health deteriorated rapidly thereafter. That was certainly more grueling than any 12 round catchweight and just another reason that I also consider catchweights a somewhat similar gimmick to benefit the well connected fighter.

To some extent that was true of the Ray Leonard fight against LaLonde. It's possible SRL could have beaten LaLonde anyway, but the catch weight probably hurt LaLonde's stamina and he seemed to lose his legs and snap in his punches toward the end.

To me, a real championship match is at the heavier champ's weight limit, not catch weights. Some great examples include Emile Griffith, a natural welterweight who seemed to effortlessly move between welter, light middle and middleweight, doing remarkably well at middle despite being much smaller than most of his opponents. And while Jose Napoles looked downright tiny against Monzon, he did as well as possible, boxing enough to keep Monzon off balance for a few rounds. And Napoles stood up to fearsome punches that had flattened bigger, stronger guys like Benvenuti and Tony Licata.
If you're from Texas maybe you remember Curtis Cokes who fought out of Dallas in the sixties. Cokes was who the great Napoles took the title from. I used to read about him but never saw him fight while living in Dallas briefly towards the end of his career.


Here in Texas during the early-mid 1970s we had a good amateur light middleweight named Sugar Ray Phillips who did well in the Golden Gloves but didn't quite crack the pros. He was a good looking amateur, muscular and lithe, slick and with good power. At the time I remember being glad I was a lightweight, and didn't reach the light middle class until years later when I was in the Navy. Ray Phillips was among the few amateurs whose style made me nervous - he had remarkably long reach for a shortish fellow, only around 5' 7" or so but with arms like a 6' 2" man, and a devastating whiplike left hook he threw from floor level. Caught a lot of opponents cold with some spectacular knockouts seldom seen among amateurs. I'm not sure why he didn't do better as a pro, although he got started late. I think he was in his mid-20s when he last fought as an amateur, and perhaps didn't have the backing support he needed to concentrate on the pro game. I've seen that happen to several good Texas amateur boxers who didn't quite dominate the pros as well as expected.

I suppose the reality for most boxers is that having to work for a living, support families, and deal with the disorganized and often corrupt infrastructure of pro boxing is just as much a distraction as the relatively few successful champs who succumb to partying, diffusing their focus in music, acting, TV appearances, etc., rather than concentrating solely on the one thing that made them champs.
I can even remember Sugar Ramos who fought Carlos Ortiz twice towards the end of his career. If you polled Puerto Ricans as to what their favorite countrymen fighters were, btw, many probably wouldn't know who Ortiz was. Just as many blacks have probably never heard of Joe Gans.

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Old 02-09-16, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Some of the better trash talkers and entertaining chatterers have been James Toney, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, and Bernard Hopkins. I don't usually consider Floyd Mayweather's trash talking to be as entertaining, but I admired him for his verbal takedown of the insufferable Larry Merchant. I came to despise Merchant, not for his gaseous pomposity, trying to talk like he wrote in his stilted magazine prose, but for his arrogant condescending attitude toward boxers in post-fight interviews. Merchant seemed to delight in talking above men he considered beneath his intelligence, taking advantage of their state of being dazed after knockouts, or distracted by the commotion, or not speaking English as their first language. Only a few would effectively trade oral volleys with Merchant, notably Hopkins, Toney, De La Hoya (who flat out chided Merchant for his arrogant game playing in post-fight interviews), and Mayweather.

And I lost all respect for the HBO boxing commentators after they dumped George Foreman, who was the best boxing commentator they'd ever had. Foreman was the John Madden of boxing commentators, combining a delightful mix of bluster, malapropisms and incisive insights into how athletes think. For example, Foreman was the first to note that De La Hoya's attempts to compensate for his poor stamina weren't effective. Foreman described De La Hoya's peak era side to side and in-out footwork as a "crow hop", that added power to his stiff jabs and made it difficult for opponents to counter. Foreman was openly critical of DLH's attempt to adopt the Mayweather-influenced shoulder roll stationary defense. I suspect this made Foreman unpopular with HBO, for whom DLH was the Golden Boy and golden egg layer. But Foreman was correct. DLH lacked the inherent stamina needed to continue his busy "crow hop" footwork into his late 20s and early 30s, and the relative lack of movement and mediocre implementation of the shoulder roll left him vulnerable to being broken down by Pacquiao. A younger De La Hoya would have dismantled Pacquiao, probably stopping him within 7 rounds, even more effectively than Marquez did. But a dried out, catchweight and stationary DLH was just a shell of his former self. Not to take anything away from Pacman, who's an exciting if limited boxer who built too much of his reputation above the featherweight category on catch weights and careful selection of opponents with good marquee value he could beat.
You know, I first got into the internet boxing forum thing by logging onto HBO's forum to give Merchant some flack over his disdain of the defensive fighter. Well of course Lampley will point out, when provocative things are said by their pundits that their forum lights up with new contributors. And Merchant seemed to take the criticisms seriously enough to articulate a pretty fair defense of his HBO company outlook (as regards defensive oriented fighters) in an age where boxing competes with MMA. The larger boxing audience is more impatient for action than it was in the day when fighters like Willie Pep, Willie Pastrano and even as recently as Jimmy Young had supportive fan bases. It really has changed some and it seems reflected even in the amateur and pro boxers that were in my now-defunct private boxing forum when it was going. The fighters that we appreciate don't get the love from the fans generally speaking. The old saying that "everyone loves a slugger" takes on a greater significance in today's market and big bucks boxing is going to reflect that reality. Just look at the KO percentage differences of fighters before the television era and compare them to today's fighters.

We might not be alone but there are fewer of us. And I still think it's a damned shame what's being done to shut out talented Cuban expatriot Guillermo Rigondeaux in the American market because of his defensive orientation. Problem is that we don't have enough of us to pursuade Bob Arum to chance an investment in fighters like Rigo anymore. I just hope that Rigo's new focus on a European audience pays off for him like it did for Ronald "Winky" Wright. Because I still like watching that level of pure skill.

At any rate Merchant has retired.....or possibly has been retired. Always taking Arum's side apparently didn't impress as probably intended.

Al Bernstein has been my favorite commentator for some time now.



I sure enjoyed hearing about Sean O'Grady getting TKO'd by my hero Danny "Little Red" Lopez (after reportedly having Lopez on the canvas himself more than once) but I appreciated him greatly as a boxing commentator.

Always like hearing Teddy Atlas's insight.

Don Dunphy got it wrong sometimes but I liked his measured commentary. Actually he was most impressive in the radio era and his fast paced delivery differed considerably back then.

I actually liked Howard Cosell despite his faults.....and he had some. I might be alone in that one, lol.

Max Kellerman is fine by me and I wish that Roy Jones Junior would focus on a commentator's career instead of boxing. I liked Foreman fine as a commentator as I do Tarver and Paulie Malignaggi.

Jim Lampley doesn't bother me even when he's probably had one drink too many at the bar pre-fight. Steve Farhood seems OK to me but has gotten it wrong sometimes (who hasn't?).

The only guy that bothers me sometimes into turning the sound off when he's on is Ferdie Pacheco, the "fight doctor". I should appreciate his knowledge of boxing history but he just offsets that with annoying me by talking too much. It's like the guy can't shut up to draw a breath.

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Old 02-10-16, 11:21 PM
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Yup, Curtis Cokes was one of many good Texas boxers in the welter and lighter divisions. No shame in losing to Napoles, who was an all time great welterweight and little known outside of hardcore fans. He had the slick moves of Benitez, but with more consistent offense and defense, a much better chin and a decent if not outstanding punch. Napoles was the sort of well rounded and patient boxer not seen often enough nowadays. He was deceptive, appearing so relaxed, like Mike McCallum, patiently breaking down an opponent.

Rigondeaux is too good for this era, and not active enough. Like Camacho, Mayweather, Howard Davis and other defensive masters, Rigo appeals mostly to true fans of boxing, not casual audiences who prefer slugfests and would be happier with mixed martial arts. Mostly, I don't understand why Rigo isn't more active, with or without network promotion. He got a late start in the US and didn't have a lot of time to spare.

Makes me wistful for the good ol' days. You mentioned Sugar Ramos, who was incredibly active during his last ditch comeback year or two in the early 1970s. Makes me tired just thinking about his activity level. By the early 1970s I was just beginning to consider then-contemporary boxers other than the usual heavyweights -- Ali, Frazier, etc. -- and remember poring over The Ring and other magazines, reading about Sugar Ramos, Mando Ramos and the incredibly competitive lightweight division that was up for grabs until Duran owned that division.
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Old 02-10-16, 11:40 PM
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Regarding boxing commentators, we're probably 95% in agreement. I can't say enough bad about Merchant, and am no fan of the entire old crew HBO cabal with Lampley and Lederman. Since Merchant is gone I should just let it go. But he aggravated the hell out of me with his condescending attitude toward boxers with his gaseous blathering.

Al Bernstein was pretty good too. And I really enjoyed the spirited sparring between Max Kellerman and Teddy Atlas. Atlas may not be the best trainer around and occasionally seems borderline unhinged, but I admired his outraged indignation at obviously corrupt judging and incompetent referees. (My favorite Teddy Atlas impression -- which my mom, also a boxing fan, shares -- goes something like "Hey, 75% of boxing is 90% mental." With "mental" pronounced "MEnT-ull.")

Roy Jones Jr. has the potential to be a good analyst, but he needs to get his own ego out of the commentary. That's what made George Foreman's analysis so good -- he had no ego, never humble-bragged about "Well, this is how I'd do it if I were in the ring." Quite the opposite, George was self-effacing, candid about his shortcomings, and would almost gleefully admit to the strengths of his opponents. In particular I remember him talking about how Ali's jab broke him down, little by little weakening his neck muscles, aided by Ali's clever tactic of leaning on his taller opponent's back, further weakening Foreman's back, eventually leaving him vulnerable to the knockout. And Foreman never complained about "dirty" tactics; instead, if anything, he'd observe, with an admiring tone, how naive he'd been not to recognize the complete arsenal of clever boxers like Ali, Hopkins, etc. Of course, the comeback era George was far more clever and resourceful, but he'd rarely pat himself on the back. Unfortunately most of the time I'd hear RJJ in the HBO analyst role, too often he'd speak as if he were sizing up a potential opponent, rather than taking the more objective (and often amusing) stance of Foreman.

And of course to the bitter end Michael Moorer would never admit to being outsmarted by the older, slower and much smarter Foreman. But as good as Moorer was on offense (and he was incredible at his peak), he was that bad in the whiskers. It's hard to think of a comparably talented boxer who possessed such a potent punch and the inability to take a punch. Unfortunately Moorer lacked Lennox Lewis' admirable resilience and ability to rebound from knockout defeats. Like Holyfield, that was Lewis' real strength. Few champions, especially heavyweights, have the mental resilience to rebound from those kinds of knockout defeats.

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Old 03-30-16, 11:51 PM
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Well avidone1 said that Donaire is washed up but I don't think that is quite accurate so much is that his strengths and weaknesses were relatively unknown in the states as he was coming up and now they have pretty much been exposed. He's not quite at his prime any more though so I hope he's saving his earnings for that timely retirement which I like to counsel for all fighters and exotic dancers.


I understand fighters like Donaire whose tall lanky physiques can carry some deceptive punching power once they learn to plant their feet on the canvas (or the sidewalk) and use much leverage in their punches. That also works well when the inertia of their opponent is coming towards them when they "pull the trigger" on them. It's why I've usually made pocket money betting on those kinds of fighters in with the more stocky pressure fighting kind of swarming brawlers. And Donaire often gets his KOs when his opponent hurts him a little and so becomes careless in trying to take advantage of it and takes it to him to try and get him out of there:


But once they get in there with the more cagey defensive fighter of quick reactions whose reading of opponents body language in setting themselves for punching position becomes instinctive, then they sometimes can have problems depending on how reliant they have become on what's been working at making them seem so invincible up until then. Now he finds himself moving in unfamiliar ways around the ring to try and cut off the ring on a hit-n-run artist or just plain missing their punches and getting counterpunched by fighters reading them like a book and just one step ahead of their moves.

And there might be a limit to what Donaire can make himself learn to do instinctively at this late stage when he's in a challenging fight. You can do the new drill in a gym 1000 times but might well revert to old instinctive things that had worked in other circumstances while you're too busy getting your ass kicked to think very clearly. Even a seemingly Neanderthal like Vic Darchinyan can be embarrassed enough by his easy KO loss in his first fight with Donaire to apply himself towards making up for that in a much smarter rematch and was able to salvage some of a reputation obviously still important to him.

But bottom line, if your not in this game to prove something about yourself and win in so doing as much as to make money at it then you should probably no longer be in it for the sake of your better health. And there's a point in everyone's life when they no longer need to validate themselves by proving.

His fight last year with Cesar Juarez was the kind that the fans love. It was also very hard work. I love to watch a perfect left hook happen and would recommend Nonito Donaire's as one of them to watch for anyone wanting to use his left for something besides just setting up his right hand punch.

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Old 04-02-16, 02:01 AM
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Yup, Donaire was a heckuva great boxer at his peak, a smart technician with a devastating punch and a good finisher. Like many lighter weight class boxers he seemed to have faded after age 30. The slightest loss of quickness and reflexes seem more costly at the lighter weights.

And like Erik Morales he seems less effective at the heavier weight classes. Donaire seems more ordinary at super bantam, not the same force he was at bantam and flyweight. It's hard to say why some boxers continue to perform well at heavier weights, perhaps even better (Juan Manuel Marquez is a notable example), while others who were devastating punchers at lighter weights can't carry it to another weight class. (Although I suspect performance enhancing substances help a bit, although as with professional bicycling nobody really wants to rock that particular boat too much in boxing since it's likely almost all champions and top level contenders are using some form of PEDs.)

I still haven't watched his loss against Walters, but was a bit surprised to see Donaire fared better against Rigondeaux than the critics claimed. Rigondeaux presents an almost impossible challenge but I'm betting a slightly younger Donaire could have beaten him. His timing seemed just a bit off, and he wasn't connecting solidly with shots that could have finished Rigo. Not to take anything away from Rigondeaux, who's incredibly quick and even a bit older than Donaire.

I'm not sure whether Donaire will be recognized as an all time great flyweight or bantamweight, but he should be. Unfortunately he came along during an era with fewer recognizable names, and after the golden era of free boxing broadcasts on the big three major networks. In some ways the 1970s and early 1980s were better for lighter weight boxers.
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Old 04-03-16, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Yup, Donaire was a heckuva great boxer at his peak, a smart technician with a devastating punch and a good finisher. Like many lighter weight class boxers he seemed to have faded after age 30. The slightest loss of quickness and reflexes seem more costly at the lighter weights.

And like Erik Morales he seems less effective at the heavier weight classes. Donaire seems more ordinary at super bantam, not the same force he was at bantam and flyweight. It's hard to say why some boxers continue to perform well at heavier weights, perhaps even better (Juan Manuel Marquez is a notable example), while others who were devastating punchers at lighter weights can't carry it to another weight class. (Although I suspect performance enhancing substances help a bit, although as with professional bicycling nobody really wants to rock that particular boat too much in boxing since it's likely almost all champions and top level contenders are using some form of PEDs.)

I still haven't watched his loss against Walters, but was a bit surprised to see Donaire fared better against Rigondeaux than the critics claimed. Rigondeaux presents an almost impossible challenge but I'm betting a slightly younger Donaire could have beaten him. His timing seemed just a bit off, and he wasn't connecting solidly with shots that could have finished Rigo. Not to take anything away from Rigondeaux, who's incredibly quick and even a bit older than Donaire.

I'm not sure whether Donaire will be recognized as an all time great flyweight or bantamweight, but he should be. Unfortunately he came along during an era with fewer recognizable names, and after the golden era of free boxing broadcasts on the big three major networks. In some ways the 1970s and early 1980s were better for lighter weight boxers.
I saw the Walters fight and he was just too big and strong. And that's kind of the problem with the tall lanky fighters, imo. When they move up in weight they lose some of their advantage in both reach and power. If you can hit somebody in closer to a bench press posture you've got a little advantage. But as your opponents get closer to your height your head punching posture more resembles incline presses. That's one of the little reasons why the short stocky pressure fighters don't have me betting on them more often in those particular kinds of matchups....with some exceptions of course.

Donaire moved around better than say Danny "Little Red" Lopez, who just kind of hopped along dragging his right foot behind him to stay positioned to punch. But I wouldn't call him the ring general that say Alexis Arguello was. Nonito liked better to often stop and place himself to catch opponents coming into that check hook. He must've had some left hand problems for awhile because Bernstein said he had been favoring it up until the first Darchinyan fight (My first look at Donaire) until he knocked Darchinyan out with it......He actually shook Vic with it before that which should have been notice for Vic to stop moving in repeatedly on his left side like that.

And I would have still wagered on Rigo if he had fought Nonito at his peak. It's not Donaire's favorable matchup and I think that Nonito always knew it at some level of consciousness.

And I haven't kept up with whether Marquez's latest fight contracts have called for doping controls but think he said he was testing now. The last fight he had with Pacquiao didn't at Freddie Roach's insistence. And that being the case, Marquez's camp would have to assume the worst and insure that their fighter would be on an even playing field. And he put on muscle that he didn't have for the fight with Floyd alright....."Nutrition and altitude training" as they used to say in the EPO era of cycling. Sometimes Roach fools himself. It's big bucks boxing not tiddlywinks.

I still have to call Marquez one of the ATG Mexican fighters and with a good head for boxing to go with the brawn.


One of my favorites to have watched as it happened. What's always impressed me about Marquez is his ability to make adjustments during the fight and to pull fights out from behind like that. Even the finish was shrewdly technical starting with those hooks to the body to bring Diaz's guard down. Smart fighter just like Steward said. A few rounds earlier I thought he was on his way to a loss.

Kellerman: "What you've just seen is a really good young fighter knocked out by a great old fighter".

Last edited by Zinger; 09-30-17 at 04:32 AM.
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Old 04-03-16, 11:36 PM
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Excellent analysis of the quirk that made Little Red so vulnerable to getting hit and finally overwhelmed by the amazing Salvador Sanchez. Much as I enjoyed Lopez' bouts I remembered there was something odd in his stance that I couldn't quite identify.

You're probably right that Rigo would beat even a prime Donaire. It's a shame that Rigo was forced to delay his pro career so long. And as good as he is, he still seems to lack the marketing savvy and direction that should help capitalize on his remaining prime years. He's not active enough and not fighting big enough names to grab the attention he deserves. But he's peaked in an era where too few fans appreciate pure boxing talent. Too many people seem to conflate master boxing with "fighting" and MMA style brawls. Boxing is an art, or at least a craft, a sport, not a slugfest. In my ideal world, boxers would never end up with dementia because the craft would emphasize defensive skills, the sort of thing epitomized by Mayweather, Hector Camacho and similar master boxers.

Regarding doping and the last Marquez vs Pacquiao bout, I suppose we'll eventually be forced to contend with the reality that, like professional bicycling, doping has become a necessity to merely remain competitive. I've accepted for years that Pacman has been juicing -- before his trainer refined the techniques, Manny used to develop the telltale moonface during training. At some point Roach must have realized he couldn't keep lying to the press about not knowing, so I'm guessing the camp chemist switched juice and tactics.

It's a shame because in a fair world Manny wouldn't need to dope. Before hooking up with Roach, Pacman was a one-trick pony: jab-jab-straight left -- but so quick most opponents couldn't survive and adapt, until Manny met JMM. But Roach helped Manny evolve into a well rounded fighter and tactician, which helped him tackle much bigger fighters -- with a little chemical help.

As you've noted, Marquez has something Pacman lacks -- the ring smarts to recognize challenges and adapt. In my book that qualifies Marquez for all time great status, easily among the Top Ten Mexican boxers, and even among the all time greats at any weight. If I had to choose between Julio Caesar Chavez and Juan Manuel Marquez (a terrible choice that nobody should be forced to make) for a place among the all time greats, I'd have to go with Marquez. His performance past age 30 is phenomenal, even without the juicing. His attitude seems indomitable, a factor that cannot be taught or learned, and shared only among a handful of elite fighters like Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, and a few others who suffered devastating losses yet rebounded even stronger as if nothing had happened. In a lesser fighter, losing to someone like Chris John (a very good boxer in his own right) might have been a serious mental setback. But Marquez seems to have retained his fallback profession -- as an accountant -- as a fundamental part of his mentality. He seems to be able to dispassionately and logically analyze every situation and adapt.

And it's pretty damned clear, when you compared the first meeting between JMM and Pacman with their fourth meeting, that both fighters were au naturale for their first fight and juiced to the gills for their fourth meeting.

IOW, evenly matched. So the doping can be disregarded as a factor.

What JMM did in their fourth match was to recognize Manny's ingrained tendencies that persist despite Roach's best efforts. No matter how well prepared Pacman is, it doesn't come naturally. When pressured Manny always falls back to the same pattern: pump fake jab, jab, straight left. JMM recognized that pattern in their first bout, adapted, survived, and learned. Manny *could* have won their fourth meeting, but after getting stunned a couple of times by Marquez he reverted to habit. You could see JMM watching carefully for Pacman to revert to habit and instinct. And, sure enough, the moment Manny reverted to his old pump-fake/jab/straight left setup, Marquez was loaded, cocked and ready to fire. It was a thing of brutal beauty. But Manny could have avoided that disaster if only he was inherently as adaptable as Marquez. Which he ain't and never will be.

Long story short, it's not the juicing but the inherent abilities, enhanced by PEDs. On any level playing field, whether completely natural or enhanced by PEDs, Marquez and Pacquiao will always be arch enemies, just like Ali vs Frazier or Ali vs Norton. It always boils down to the old dictum: Styles make fights.
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