The Cyber Boxing Zone Journal
America Online Boxing Newsletter, June 1996

Part 2/3


by Jim Trunz (

No, I didn't plunk down $30.00 to watch the closed-circuit card that Bob Arum, in an impressively sanctimonious and hypocritical gesture, foisted on the boxing public. Our local newspaper (for whom I do a column) picked up the tab. Their generosity provided me with a smoke-filled evening in a sparsely populated sports bar and a front row "seat" in front of a huge 50-inch television. It also earned me two free tacos that tasted like they'd crawled through muddied waters to avoid immigration and a glass of "imported" imitation Mexican beer. Those were the highlights of the evening.

The low-lights consisted of other standard closed-circuit fare: poor reception that continually cycled through focusing phases, audio that seemed to pick up only the crowd noise, and an undercard that makes ESPN/USA broadcasts star-studded spectaculars. Of course, all of this would have been palatable had the main course been a bit more satisfying. As it was, the Julio Cesar Chavez - Oscar De La Hoya bout won't ever be compared with, say, Hagler - Hearns or even Lonnie Beasley - Lonnie Bradley! The names were magical but the bout was ordinary.

Some insights from a jaded closed-circuit viewer of the Chavez - De La Hoya bout:

The cut definitely affected Chavez who reacts badly to the sight of his own blood. However, the cut didn't affect the eventual outcome of the fight; it simply hastened it.

De La Hoya, and knowledgeable boxing fans expected this but I'm not sure to what extent, was much stronger physically than was Chavez. Watch the bout closely when it's replayed on television and you'll see that De La Hoya manhandles Julio. Most impressive is the fact that when Chavez mounted his best attack in the third round (the only round Chavez wins), De La Hoya not only weathers it but also terminates the attack by pushing Chavez away from him. I mean two steps straight back! Unless I misinterpreted what I saw or the Mexican beer started to kick in, my take was that De La Hoya basically went into a standard cover up, took a few shots out of curiosity, blocked a few, found out what he wanted to know and said "Okay, that's enough of this", and shoved the smaller Chavez away. De La Hoya extends his arms to full length and holds Chavez at bay -- for which he receives his second warning of the night.

Had there been no cut, I believe that Chavez' chin and pride would have kept him around for at least another four rounds. Nevertheless, the fight wasn't going the distance. I think De La Hoya's punch connect percentage was around 48% by the end of the fourth round, and he was landing at about a 2 to 1 rate. There is no doubt in my mind that within two rounds, Oscar would have been scoring 55% to 58% of his punches. The Golden Boy had his left jab glued to Chavez' face!

Chavez looked great physically but mentally his cockiness looked more like show than sincerity. For the first two rounds, Chavez looked sluggish and borderline disinterested. Had he been in against a lesser fighter or in a fight that didn't have the significance of this bout, I'd swear that he was just going through the motions.

De La Hoya displayed numerous skills against Chavez but the trait that impressed me most was the maturity with which De La Hoya handled the entire affair. Who could have blamed De La Hoya if he'd have exhibited some nervousness? Who would have been surprised had he been a little off the first few rounds in a fight against someone of Chavezi stature? Forget it. I think that Oscar knew in his damn dressing room that he was going to win the fight. I'm not saying that he was overconfident nor am I saying that he didn't respect Chavez. But I am saying that De La Hoya knew that he was fighting the 1996 version of Chavez not the 1986 version.

Chavez deserves entry into the Boxing Hall of Fame. He also proved once again that he deserves entry into the Cry Baby Hall of Fame. "I couldn't see" and "His hand speed didn't bother me" and "I never felt his punches". Right! Not even when he broke your nose, Julio? Chavez took some big shots and took them in fine fashion. I don't know if he was ever really "rocked" in the four rounds (he definitely was never staggered or in danger of going down). But he got tagged -- cleanly and frequently. Chavez would have kissed the canvas by the eighth round had the fight lasted and unlike Randall, De La Hoya would have finished him.

For Chavez to beat Oscar, Julio would need to be able to mount a steady body attack. With the size and strength differential, he simply couldn't and can't do it. If they fight 50 times, I'll bet on De La Hoya in every fight and expect him to win 48 of them (I'll give Chavez one win when Oscar has an "off" night which corresponds to a Chavez "on" night; I'll give Chavez a puncher's chance to land a classic shot and hurt Oscar - and I'm being charitable).

All in all, I've got to shake Julio Cesar Chavez' hand just for getting into the ring with De La Hoya. There were easier bouts to mark his 100th fight -- though none of them would have earned him 9 million dollars. With the other hand, however, I've got to pat him on the back and say goodbye. Without question, Chavez can still beat the great majority of the fighters in his division; he simply can no longer beat the really good ones. I continue to watch one Hispanic fighter do an impression of Roberto Duran and it both sickens and saddens me; I don't want to see one do a Julio Cesar Chavez impersonation.

War In Westchester II

by Alan Aron (

Although there were to be five of us going up to the Ryetown Hilton in Ryebrook NY, it ended up just being myself, my son Howard and his friend & co-worker Louie. We proceeded into Queens and stopped at the Blue Bay Diner for a bite to eat. Its a great diner and on a par with the Golden Coach.

We left there at 7:05 and proceeded to get on the Clearview to the Throggs Neck. We got to mid-span at 7:19 but due to Friday evening summer traffic we didn't clear the toll booths until 7:35. We got up to I-287 and the Hutch at 7:55 but due to the crazy intersections didn't locate the hotel until 8:20, even though the hotel is only mile north of 287.

By the time we purchased our tickets the first bout, Jr. Welterweights Sean Knight (5-2) v. Maurice Richardson (2-5) was stopped by Ref Arthur Mercante, Jr. awarding a TKO at the end of the second round to Knight. We walked in just as the fight was being waved off.

The second bout was Welterweights Ramon Cruz (pro debut) vs. Cihat Salman (1-0). In the second and third rounds, Salman put on a blistering attack, forcing Ref Sammy Viruet to stop the bout and award a third-round TKO to Salman. Salman had a section of supporters who appeared to be Pakastani. They kept chanting "Chiat" followed by a 2-Clap, 3-Clap applause.

The third bout was Lightweights Quentin "Choo-Choo" Fortune (pro debut) v. Chris Nichols (2-1). This four rounder went to the scorecards; Fortune won a majority decision. The crowd thought Nichols won because he was the busier fighter. The judges ruled otherwise.

Heavyweight Anthony "T-Bone" Green met Alex Desir (1-1)in the fourth fight of the card. This four rounder also went to the scorecards. T-Bone got a gift of a majority decision. The crowd booed long & loud.) This is the second gift Greene has gotten in two months from the judges. I saw him get one in April at Westbury. Desir out punched him moved better and was the sharper fight despite being smaller by 6 inches or so as well as being 20-30 pounds lighter. Green is a stiff who doesn't seem to have much power behind his punches, telegraphs his punches from the outfield. If he doesn't improve in his next few fights he'll never rise up in the ranks. He barely had enough stamina to go 4. God help him if he has to go 6 or 8 in his next bout.

The co-main event has matched "Slick" Willie Clinton, er Willie Wise (19-3-4) vs. Alfredo "Scarface" Rojas (18-11-1) for the NYS Welterweight Championship. Alfredo earned the nickname "Scarface" because it is one only a dermatologist would love. Wise was a little to quick for Rojas. He did the classic, get in, throw 3-4 punches and get out. He kept this up and tired out Rojas. Rojas was given a standing 8 in one of the middle rounds which appeared to be a slip. Wise went down in one of the later rounds and was ruled a slip. The crowd didn't like either ruling. However, in the eighth Wise consistently found the range and won by TKO. It was the best fight of the night.

The sixth bout was the other co-main event heavyweights Carl "The Truth" Williams (26-9) v. Sean "Heartbreaker" Hart (12-5-3). A Classic Mis-match. Hart kept dancing around the ring in round one in a poor Muhammed Ali imitation. He looked like he had a bit of a gut and perhaps should use the AB-ROLLER. I guess he wanted Williams to chase him around the ring and get tired. It was a great gimmick for the first round since there were few punches thrown. But, Williams caught up to him in the second putting him down twice. If the round was 3 minutes it would have been 3 and out for Hart. Hart survived Round two only to be knocked down twice more in the third before the ref stopped it. Hart was overmatched and out of shape. I hope he got a decent paycheck for the beating.

The last bout of the night was a swing bout. Jr. Lightweights Richie Samms (0-1) v. Randy Kinght (0-3). Both fighter were banging away at each other, Samms seeming to be the harder and faster puncher but Knight got a left to the jaw which sent Samms down to the canvas for a ten count in the fourth round. It was a great end to the evening which concluded at 11:15.

In attendance were Carlos Ortiz,Jose Torres, Randy Gordon, Aaron Davis and Renaldo Snipes. The ballroom seemed a little smaller than the Huntington Hilton and the Windwatch Marriot [two Long Island hotels] that made the arena even more intimate.


by GorDoom (

Boxing is a sport that always skates on the perilous edge of falling into the real big empty of public opinion. . .The Bucket's personal roots in the sport go back 39 years, too when as a callow lad of 7, I used to carry the spit bucket into the ring for my fight manager dad in Mexican rings in blood 'n guts back road primitive towns in the mid-50's. My old man, a former professional fighter back in the late '30's, very early 40's, worked for the CIA after the big war & he was stationed in Mexico from '56 to '62. As an avocation, he managed & trained fighters in his spare time. Since I was the eldest son I got dragged too fights in settings that are impossible to conceive here in the States. Whenever you hear about how tough Mexican fighters are. . . Believe it!. . . Bubba. I've seen fights under conditions that Dante wouldn't have found in the Inferno. . .

Anyway, the Bucket realizes he's not exactly comin' off like the poster boy for our beloved sport. . . but the point I'm trying to make is. . . Boxing is a semi-outlaw sport & one of the only things that holds it together is it's rich tradition & history. This spirit is imbued in every fight that's ever been fought. From the bare knuckle days of Kilrain & Sullivan, to the primitive savagery of Ketchel, Dempsey, Greb & the headier stylings of Benny Leonard, Gene Tunney, Barney Ross & Billy Conn too the more modern day Sugar Ray's, Ali, Tyson & Roy Jones Jr. One thing boxing's always had was it's statistically detailed & storied history. . . In that spirit, the Bucket would like to offer these capsule biography's of a few of boxing's linear champions.

The Cyber Boxing Zone is constantly adding records & bio's of all of the true champions. It's a slow, painstaking, but ongoing process. The Zone invites everyone too peruse the list of linear champions & read their bio's. Anyone who has a favorite fighter whose bio hasn't been done is invited to write one & send it in. Any help is most appreciated. . . Here are some of the Bucket's contribution for this month. . .


Mushy Callahan (real name, Vincent Morris Scheer), had hands down one of the great nom de guerre to ever come down the fistic pike. Unfortunately, his name was better than his game. . . Mushy (It's even fun to write it!), was a Jewish kid from New York City that fought mostly out of Southern California.

Mushy first garnered notice when he kayoed Ace Hudkins twice, both times in the 10th round in 1925. He followed this up in 1926 with two 10 round decision victories over former lightweight champion Jimmy Goodrich & a loss to future long time California referee & boxing judge & a top lightweight contender in those days, Jack Silver. Oddly enough, after the loss to Silver, Callahan suffered another loss to Baby Joe Gans (L-10). This obviously encouraged the totally bogus paper champion of the Jr. Welterweight's, Pinky Mitchell (Another great name for a fighter!), who had literally been granted his title via a Milwaukee newspaper contest! I know this is strange & twisted stuff, but it's true. . . Anyhow, Mushy cleaned Pinky's clock for ten rounds & was subsequently recognized world wide as the Jr. Welterweight champion. This only goes to show that the devious machinations of modern day promoters like King, Arum or the Duva's are hardly breaking new ground when it comes to sleazy opportunism. . . Back to my man, Mushy. After pummeling Pinky, Mushy finished out the year with two non-title 2nd round KO victory's over Charley Pitts & Joe Tiplitz.

1927 wasn't very kind to old Mushy. His record for the year was three wins (1 KO), 4 losses (one by kayo). Luckily for Mushy, they were all non-title bouts. His most notable opponent that year was future world welterweight champion (1929-1930), Jackie Fields (L-10). Callahan also neglected to defend his title in either '28 or '29. Over the course of that period he engaged in 14 non-title fights winning only 9 of them. In July of 1929 he lost a 10 round decision to the "Whitechapel Whirlwind" aka the great, Jackie "Kid" Berg (How's that for another all-time boxing moniker!). He finally defended his title on February 18, 1930, against the aforementioned Berg (KO by 10), & promptly retired & joined the army at the age of 24. . . After his stint in the Army, Mushy attempted a comeback in 1932. In one of his first fights back he decisioned Todd Morgan, the former Jr. Lightweight champion. The comeback was aborted when Mushy suffered a brutal 2nd round KO administered by a prelim fighter named Baby Sal Sorio.

After his final retirement, Mushy operated a haberdashery shop in Hollywood. Since he was in Hollywood & had acquired a certain celebrity as a former world champion; Mushy was able to schmooze his way into a film studio gig as a technical director in boxing films. His job was to teach movie stars to act & look like real boxers on film & Mushy worked as a technical adviser on films for almost 40 years! Some of the bigger stars he coached were Wayne Morris in Kid Galahad & Elvis Presley in the remake of the film two decades later. Erroll Flynn in Gentleman Jim & Montgomery Clift in From Here To Eternity, which won an Academy Award. The last actor he worked with was James Earl Jones in The Great White Hope.

Mushy also ran a fitness & conditioning program at the Warner Bros. gym for almost 15 years. Among the dozen's of celebrity's he trained was Jane Wyman, President Ronald Reagan's first wife.

Ol' Mushy sure had a full & varied life. . . for instance, while he was doing all this movie related stuff, he still found the time to referee many world championship fights in California. Among them were Floyd Patterson vs. Roy "Cut 'N Shoot" Harris, Archie Moore vs. Tony Anthony, Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Bobo Olson & Sammy Angott vs. Juan Zurita.

Vincent Morris Scheer, better known as Mushy Callahan, The Fighting Newsboy, was 81 years old when he finally met his maker on June 14 1986.

Rest in peace Mushy, it was a life well lived. . .

Career Record: W-43;L-12; D-4; ND-1; KO - 18


For most of it's truncated existence, the Jr. welterweight division has been one of the most maligned in boxing. At the same time, in it's ranks of champions there are some of the most storied names in boxing's history: Canzoneri, Ross, Ortiz, Loi, Loche, Cervantes, Benitez, Pryor & Chavez. All of them are current hall of famer's; or will be.

There is one more storied name to place on that list: The one. The only. . . "Whitechapel Whirlwind", boxing immortal, Jackie "Kid" Berg. Berg was a Cockney Jew from East London who exploded upon the American boxing scene against the very tough top ten contender, Pedro Amador (W-10), in Chicago, on May 12th 1928. This was considered a real upset as British fighters (as they are to this day), were considered little more than cannon fodder for their much tougher Yankee foes. The Chicago fight fans had expected your typical British fighter: stand up classic stance, no upper body movement & a chin made out of the tenderest of porcelains. . . Instead they saw a whirling dervish who threw punches from every conceivable angle at a work rate which legendary trainer, Ray Arcel said exceeded even Greb's & Armstrong's.

Jackie followed this bout with two more before the month was out. Mike Gamiere KO 6, on May 28th & amazingly two days later against Freddie Meuller (W-10). Berg won his next four fights in rapid succession & was then matched with "The Fargo Express", fellow future hall of famer, Billy Petrolle. Petrolle is pretty much forgotten today, but along with Charley Burley he has to be ranked as one of the two greatest fighters to have never won a title. Jackie firmly established his bona fides by fighting to a furious draw with the great "Fargo Express", on July 26th, who at that time was at the peak of his outstanding career. In a rematch with Billy (August 24th), he didn't fare very well. Petrolle caught him on a bad night & brutalized him with eleven knockdowns before he finally starched him in the 5th round. This was the "Kid's" first KO loss in 70 fights. Twelve days after the KO, Berg hopped into the ring against Spug Myers & was the victim of a horrendous low blow & won on a foul (W-F6).

Depressed & very sore in his nether regions, Berg returned to London to lick his wounds. By December 6th he had recovered enough to win the British Lightweight title from one Alf Mancini (W-15).

Berg started off 1929 with wins over Lucien Vinez (January 12-W-15) & a rematch with Mancini on February 12 (W-15). Jackie actually took a three month break from fighting before he returned to the States & beat top ten ranked lightweight contender Bruce Flowers twice, both by ten round decision on May 10th & 23rd.

Berg fought the rest of the year in New York City with one excursion to Chicago. Out of his 17 fights that year, all against top of the line fighters he won all of them with the exception of one draw against the rugged Stanislaus Loaysa.

1930 was the high water mark of the Whitechapel Whirlwind's career. He began the year with a bang, out pointing the immortal Tony Canzenori on January 16 (W-10), in which he dealt Tony one of his most ferocious beatings. He followed that up with a rematch against Mushy Callahan who he had decisioned the year before in a non-title match (W-10), with a KO in the 10th, for the Jr. Welter title in London on February 18th.

Jackie's goal had always been the lightweight championship & he devoted the rest of 1930 to cleaning out the lightweight division in hopes of a shot at the (then) more legitimate lightweight crown. In the nine non-title bouts he engaged in the rest of the year, all against top 5 lightweight contenders he won them all. . . The highlight victory's were against nemesis Billy Petrolle (W-10) & the ending of another all-time great's winning streak, Kid Chocolate at 66 bouts (W-10). Chocolate was one of the greatest fighters to ever lace up the gloves-as amazing a phenom as the modern day Roy Jones Jr. & Berg's defeat of the "Kid" sent shock waves thru boxing's cogneseti .

At that point Berg was considered among the five best pound for pound fighters in the world & on April 24th 1931 he was granted a shot at Tony Canzenori's lightweight title. Unfortunately. . . This is were the worm turned for Jackie. . . & Canzenori beat the crap outta Berg & flattened him in 3. He was given a rematch & five months later in front of a packed house at Madison Square Garden. In a foul infested bout in which Berg suffered at least three severe low blows, two knockdowns & a terrible gash below the eye, Canzenori battered him enough too retain his titles by unanimous decision (W-15).

Even though Berg fought on for another 10 years that was the end of his career as a prime time performer. Jackie, like fellow Jr. Welter champ Aaron Pryor; was one of those gifted athletes that is destined to blaze hotly like a comet streaking across the fistic sky's only to burn out suddenly, without warning. . . & leave nothing but the memories of their too brief past glory's.

Berg's totals -- TB 192; W - 157; L - 26; D - 9; KO - 62


Tony Canzoneri, along with fellow lightweight & Jr. welterweight

champion, Barney Ross; remains one of the most enduring & beloved fighters in the history of the sport. When you consider that he fought in an era of only 10 weight divisions with one champion each, it makes his career even more remarkable. Tony won 5 world titles in 3 different divisions! Featherweight, lightweight (twice), & Jr. Welterweight (twice).

In 1927, at the callow age of 18, Canzoneri fought to a draw in his first title fight as a bantamweight against the great "Terre Haute Terror", Bud Taylor. In 1928 he won the featherweight title from Benny Bass (W-15), only to lose it later the same year to France's Andre Routis (L-15). Two years later he won his first lightweight crown with a sensational one round KO of Al Singer. The following year (1931), Tony annexed the Jr. welter title by knocking out the legendary Jackie "Kid" Berg in 3. In '31 he defended his titles against the tough Cecil Payne (W-10), Berg (W-15), Phillie Griffin (W-10) & the also legendary, Kid Chocolate (W-15).

In 1932, Canzoneri lost the Jr. Welterweight championship to Johnny Jadick (L-10) & also lost a rematch (L-10). Tony capped off the disappointing year by successfully defending the Lightweight title against another all-time great, Billy "The Fargo Express" Petrolle (W-15).

Tony regained the Jr. Welter title from Battling Shaw in May of 1933 (W-10). Shaw had only held the crown since February when he beat Jadick by 15 round decision. Canzenori went on to lose both of his titles later in '33 when Barney Ross decisioned him twice (L-10, L-15). He closed out the year by beating Jr Lightweight champion, Frankie Klick (W-10), Kid Chocolate (KO-2), & Cecil Payne (KO-5).

In 1935, Canzoneri won his last title beating the great Lew Ambers (W-15), for the vacant Lightweight championship. The title had been vacated by Ross when he won the Welterweight title from Jimmy McLarnin. Tony defended the title once in '35 beating Al Roth by 15 round decision

Canzoneri began 1936 with a series of non-title fights. The most notable opponents being his old nemesis, Johnny Jadick (W-10) & yet another all-time great, welterweight champion Jimmy McLarnin (W-10). In September he lost the title in a rematch with Ambers (L-15).

Tony's last title fight was in 1937, when he again lost a 15 round decision to Ambers. Canzoneri fought on for two more years. He finally retired in '39 after suffering the first KO loss of his career to the star crossed Al "Bummy" Davis in 3.

Following his retirement, Tony became an actor & restauranteur & was a well loved boxing figure in New York City; where he died after a heart attack on December 9 1959.

Career Record: Total bouts: 175; W 137; L 24; Draw 10; Ko's 44


May 11 was a grand night of boxing in the old New York City tradition; the likes that haven't been seen since Duran massacred Moore back in '83. . . the Garden, HBO & of course, the old Big Apple herself were done proud last night. . . When y'r in the spot light in New Yawk City you've got the worlds attention. Last night in the Big Apple, the hardest ticket in town was the fights at The Garden. . . it's been a long time since you could say that. The spirit's of the old cigar & a scam gents from Jacob's Beach must have been smiling. . . Big Time Boxing in the Big Apple. . . Sounds good. Don't it.

Now the Ol' Spit Bucket aint goin' C-nile on you folks; but every once in a while a walk down memory lane is good for the soul. Even from my TV screen the energy was palpable. . . In my personal experience as a fan; the SuperBowl, great Rock & Roll, the World Series, the first & every time I've gotten laid & a Big Time Fight, have given me the biggest rushes of pure visceral adrenalin & pleasure. . . Yeah. . . well, I digress. For the Bucket, Madison Square Garden isn't necessarily a physical entity; it's a state of mind. . . It encompasses' more than just the four physical locations it has resided in. Madison Square Garden, for more than 70 years has symbolized "The Big Event". The Garden is part of the history of America in the 20th Century. From Tex Rickard to Mike Jacobs to Mike Norris to Harry Markson to Don King & Bob Arum the old dame has been visited by some of the most outrageous promoters & promotions of the century. a list of the great events that have taken place in the Garden, whether they be for entertainment, sports or politics would be almost endless. . . suffice it to say that modern pop culture tends too see only the moment, not the history. . . & it's night's like last night, that give hope for a tradition to continue.

Back in the bloody mitts of time New York was the capitol of Boxing & it's Mecca was Madison Square Garden. The Big Apple was so influential that it even had it's own Alphabet Soup organization; The New York State Athletic Commission. It still exists today, but only as a withered phantom of the clout it once carried. Up until the early 60's the NYAC actually mandated world champions. It's only rival's for authority were the American, National Boxing Association & the European Boxing Union. The NBA splintered off in 1962 & morphed into the WBA & moved to Caracas which later begat the WBC. . . but that's a futile road the Bucket doesn't want to go down. . . The road I'm going down is filled with the raucous echoes of events gone past. . . For the Bucket, there's Robinson, Gavilan, Chuck Davey, Fullmer, Basilio, Kenny Lane & an uncountable horde of gutsy ball bustin' warriors in the 50's as a kid. . . in later years, numerous fights & fighters, like Emile Griffith, Luis Rodriguez, Gene Fullmer, Dick Tiger, Doug Jones, Henry Hank, Hurricane Carter & that young upstart, Cassius Clay. . . The 70's are personally highlighted by the Concert For Bangla Desh, Duran vs Buchanan & of course the biggest event in the Garden's & Boxing's history, Ali-Frazier l. For Boxing, the road basically ended with Duran vs Moore in '83. There's been brief flare ups Camacho-Rosario in '86 & even De La Hoya-Leija last December, for which a lot of credit has to be given to HBO for it's money, time, effort & vision in bringing boxing back to the Garden & New York City. Since the De La Hoya-Leija bout HBO has brought us a steady stream of attractions from the Garden. Jones vs Sosa, Gatti vs. Rivera, & last nights major event. Of course, HBO isn't doing this out of the goodness of it's corporate heart. . . but the network is hip enough to value the always fleeting traditions of modern day sports.

Larry Merchant was right when he editorialized last night's card as being greater than the sum of any individual fight. It was the event itself, 3 Heavyweight fights featuring at least 4 viable contenders, in the Big Apple C/O Madison Square Garden. Yup. It don't get no better than that.

With the exception of the Holyfield vs. Czyz bout; I looked forward to the card with a lot of anticipation. Witherspoon vs. Gonzales was a bout that would answer questions about both fighters. The Bucket already knew Gonzales was a mutt before the Bowe fight last year. Witherspoon however, has been an enigma for well over a dozen years. Terrible Tim has either got really big huevos or is the dumbest sonuvabitch to ever come down the fistic pike. Now the Ol' Spit Bucket has always liked 'Spoon, not so much as a fighter (sporadic at best), but for his laid back, good natured personality. It takes stones the size of the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza to take on Don King in court to the detriment of your career as a boxer. The Spoon not only took the truly Teflon Don to court, he won a 7 figure judgment against him! As far as I know, it's the only court case brought against King (except for that pesky manslaughter conviction in the 60's), were somebody actually won a judgment & walked away with some geets. . .

As for the Witherspoon vs. Gonzales match, it went exactly as expected. Witherspoon used his ring smarts to methodically chop down Gonzales like Paul Bunyan decimating a forest. In the 4 decades the Bucket has followed the sport, there have been very few fighters I've actively disliked. Gonzales is damn near at the top o' my list. It pisses me off when a gifted athlete like a Gonzales, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Hollywood Henderson or an Aaron Pryor throw their god given gifts away for hubris. . . So it gladdened the Ol' Spit Bucket's crusty heart to see the Spoon literally drive Gonzales like a spike into the canvass.

The Lennox Lewis vs. Ray Mercer bout was a war of attrition & endurance. Mercer, even though he lost, comes out of the fight with his tarnished reputation polished up considerably after his last two fights with Holyfield & Lewis. The Bucket thought the bout was close enough to merit a draw, but I definitely can live with the decision for Lennox, but I wouldn't have been displeased if Mercer had drawn the nod either.

Even though he won, Lewis doesn't come off this bout as well as Mercer. He struggled & looked awkward thru out the fight. He still is basically an undisciplined fighter who is too amateurish in his execution. He should have been able to control Mercer like he did Morrison; but he simply wasn't up to the task against a more limited but much more aggressive Mercer. The one positive (besides the win), that Lewis carry's away from the bout, is that he stood in the trenches, sucked it up & gutted it out against a very tough heavyweight. He didn't get cold cocked & fold like he did against McCall. He stood in there against the sternest test he's ever faced & got thru it.

Holyfield vs Czyz is a bout that shouldn't have happened in the first place. Czyz, simply put, doesn't have the physical tools to compete at heavyweight. Add on his serious back problems & the fact that he's way past his prime as a fighter & you've got a recipe for the fiasco we were served. Holyfield, on the other hand, probably shouldn't even be fighting anymore. Off his showings against Moorer & Bowe it's obvious that there is something seriously wrong. Evander seems incapable of physically fighting for more than three rounds before he starts to lose it & becomes an overly fatigued fighter. By all rights Holyfield should have walked thru Czyz & dismantled him. Any other top heavyweight you can name would have. This is not to denigrate Bobby. He's always proven himself to be a smart, tough, technician in the ring. a good all around fighter that probably would have been a contender in any era. . . As a middleweight, or even possibly as a light heavy; but Bobby Czyz fighting at heavyweight is ridiculous.

As far as the bizzaro ending of the fight. . . Who knows? I do know that Holyfield should have by all rights should have dismantled Czyz & put him away early. That he didn't doesn't bode well for Evander's fistic future. . . The unsatisfactory ending of the fight & the rumbles of discontent in the media in the days following were inconclusive at best. I don't for one moment believe Holyfield's corner deliberately laced Evander's gloves with some nefarious substance. At the same time I clearly heard Czyz complain to his corner about his eyes burning badly as early as the end of the third round. Chalk it up to strange & twisted ju-ju. . .

Even the controversial ending to Holyfield vs. Czyz couldn't derail what was a magnificent evening that brought back some of the feel of Boxing, Madison Square Garden & the Big Apple in it's old glory days. . .


Kudo City to HBO for it's magnificent effort in presenting boxing at it's finest so far this annum. . . This is a network that has been in a slump (the last couple three years, in regard to boxing). . . Shame, shame, shame. . .to the IBF for it's incredibly inept handling of the Botha-Schultz-Moorer sitch. . . & somebody wonders why the general sporting public has no faith in our beloved sport. . . Speaking of the IBF; can anybody tell me why Saman Sorjaturong, who KO'd Chiquita Gonzales for the WBC & IBF Light Flyweight' titles in one of the fights of the year in '95; is no longer the IBF champion??? He certainly didn't lose it in the ring. . .

Can you believe the machinations between the Lennox Lewis camp & Don King? Lewis take 4 million dead presidents to let Tyson fight Seldon for the WBA title; but still has no guarantee of a shot at Tyson! If Tyson relinquishes the WBC crown, Sulamein can automatically rate him at #1 forcing an elimination bout for the title between Tyson & #2 rated (& coincidentally a Don King fighter), Oliver McCall. At that point, Lewis would have no leverage because of his 2nd round KO defeat at the hands of McCall. Now there's no arguing with 4 million semolians for doing absolutely nothing. . . but jeez, it reeks. . .

With his sensational come from behind KO victory over WBA featherweight champion Eloy Rojas; Wilfredo Vasquez, at the advanced age (for a lighter weight fighter), of 33 has vaulted himself into serious consideration for possible future Hall Of Fame status. His winning of his 3rd WBA world title was a great capstone to an already outstanding career. The Rojas fight, much like his title winning effort against Raul Perez for the WBA junior featherweight bauble was accomplished against all odds. In both cases he was facing a much bigger, younger & highly regarded champion. In both cases he surged to inspiring knockout victory's. a tip of the Fedora to a gallant warrior. . . speaking of the Vasquez match: Somebody must have slipped some mellow mushrooms into my marinara sauce that night because the usually grindingly irritating dysfunctional duo of Ferdie Pacheco & Steve Albert were actually entertaining & informative. Albert's intro didn't feature his usual orotund bombast & was quite effective. His questioning of Bobby Czyz regarding his controversial fight with Holyfield was incisive & right on the money. . . He asked the hard questions all of us have regarding the situation & Czyz answered with his usual forthrightness. He explained the controversy as he sees it. As I wrote earlier, it was just one of those night's. . . The twisted mojo was comin' down. . .

Ferdie Pacheco was also impressive during the broadcast as befits a man with 40 years of experience in the sport; including almost two decades as doctor & corner man for Muhammad Ali. Pacheco seemed to slow his frantic verbal pace & for once he didn't babble incoherently & kept his facts & the names of the fighters straight. Even his technical comments on the fight were informative & measured. All in all an excellent job by the Showtime crew. Keep it up fellas. . .

As of this post (June 11), the Ol' Spit Bucket is still shaking his head in disbelief over Bob Arum's bone headed decision to only have Chavez vs. De La Hoya on closed circuit theater broadcast. . . The Bucket has received dozens of e-mail postings from all around the country asking were the hell you can see this lash-up. This tells me that Arum's promotional people are not getting the word out to the boxing masses. I for one, refuse to pay 50 bucks to go to a theater to see this or any fight. Arum's

reasoning is twofold: 1-PPV gets too many signals pirated & he's not in the business of getting ripped off. The Bucket suspects that while video pirating of signals is a problem. . . I think Arum resents a bunch of guys getting together, kicking in ten bucks or so apiece & enjoying the fights in the comfort of someone's home. No, he want the 50 bucks from each of them. Arum's suffering from raw delusional greed. . . & this is the strongest drug know to mankind-other than deep rutting lust. You can see the viscous drool dripping from his eyeteeth as he smarms his way thru endless press conferences. I think there are a lot of people like me; they wanna see the fight, but no way are they going to a closed circuit broadcast. 2-Arum feels that many of the millions of Hispanic fans don't have cable or access to PPV & that this is a way to give them that access. Bullshit! He could have just as easily offered the fight on PPV & closed circuit broadcast. Arum's rampant greed is obvious & his arguments are specious. . . & the Bucket's way digressin' & sloppin' over the sides. . .

It's come too the Bucket's attention that some of my dear readers have misunderstood my position on the seemingly incomparable Roy Jones Jr.. . . to set the record straight, I'm gonna include a portion of some of the correspondence I shared recently with a knowledgeable Roy Jones aficionado:

"Now, as to Roy Jones Jr.. I'm sorry if you've misunderstood my position on a fighter who I consider potentially not only one of the all-time great middleweights, but a fighter who has a shot at being perhaps the greatest fighter pound for pound of all time. . . The only boxer I've ever seen with the physical gifts that Roy possesses is the young Cassius Clay. I think Roy is absolutely phenomenal with one caveat. . . His lack of quality opposition. . . This is not his fault. He simply is at a level so far above his competition it's ridiculous & this applies to the two weight divisions above & below him.

The only fighter with the physical gifts to challenge Roy is Oscar De La Hoya. . . & that's a fight that will never happen due to physical size limitations. Roy is in the unfortunate position of having no one to really test him-too prove his greatness. a fight with Virgil Hill would be a joke, Roy would blow him away. . . The thought of Roy artificially making himself into a heavyweight is not a good idea. My position is that there is a valid reason for weight divisions. . . it evens the playing field & Roy as a heavyweight would be a dangerous proposition. The artificial gain in weight alone would diminish his awesome physical talents. . . The fact that people are speculating on stuff like this only emphasizes the dearth of talent surrounding Jones. Maybe it's not a dearth of talent, maybe Roy is like a Babe Ruth, Jim Brown, Jerry Rice, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretsky. An athlete so far ahead of his contemporary's that there is no comparison . . . Which in Roy's case is particularly unfortunate. In boxing, fighters prove their mettle & greatness not by blowing everybody away, but by their overcoming arduous adversity. All the all-time greats have done this. Roy (& Pernell Whitaker), are two fighters who simply are so gifted they've never faced any adversity. This makes them hard to measure. . . Who knows what kind of chin either one of them has? No one has ever truly tested them. It's kinda like Shannon Briggs (In no way does the Bucket put that herring on the same level as the aforementioned), he blew his opposition away until he got cut & just fell apart in his last fight. a fighters intestinal fortitude is a huge measuring stick for evaluation. With Roy, we probably will never get to use that measuring stick . . . & good for him. If he can do it, god bless him. Pleasing kvetcher's like us ain't his gig. . . "

Yeah, well. . . The results are in -- De La Hoya TKO 4 Chavez. Frankly I'm surprised Chavez lasted that long. Months ago the Bucket wrote that De La Hoya was too young, too big & that Chavez was the perfect stylistic foil for him. If the fight was anti-climactic it was only because of Oscar's clear cut physical & psychological advantages. . . I'll leave it at that because Jim Trunzo who actually saw the fight (The Ol' Spit Bucket wasn't gonna shell out 50 bucks to line Bob Arum's coffers & Trunz conned the newspaper he writes for to cough up the dough), has written an excellent report on the fight.

Which leaves us with: What's the next big fight us insatiable fans can look forward to? It certainly isn't Roy Jones against the nonentity he's fighting next week, or Tyson against Seldon, or Bowe against Golota, or Oscar's next defense against the lackluster Miguel Angel Gonzales. There are no great match ups to look forward too. Tyson vs. Bowe or Lewis, or Bowe against Lewis isn't gonna happen for at least another year. Moorer vs. Schultz might drive me to massive doses of pain killers. . . There's nobody for Jones to fight & the Whitaker vs. Trinidad match has lost a lot of it's luster after Sweet Pea's miserable showing against Rivera.

Us 'Mericans don't dig loud mouth Brit fighters. . . They have a history of being Phaintin' Phils. . . Starting with Lloyd Honeyghan in the mid-80's those wimpy Brits have started to sound off. . . With the exception of both Barry McGuigan & Wayne McCullough (Two 100% Irish, not British fighters), the Brits haven't delivered shit since Ted "Kid" Lewis & The Whitechapel Whirlwind, Jackie "Kid" Berg ( Oy, by the way, they were both Jewish ... ). But this kid, Naseem Haamed, is a real piece of work. . .

By modern day standards he's already a superstar even though he's never beaten anyone you could recognize. . . Unless you consider Steve Robinson one of America's best exports. . . It's kinda like Rock & Roll. These days you have one hit record & you're immediately branded a Superstar. . . Remember back in '91 'n 92 & Hammer was the biggest thang in the history of the world. . . remember Huey Lewis? Back in '84 he sold 10 million records. . . Today, your dry cleaner is more recognizable. . . I suspect the "Prince" is headed for that kind of ignoble ending. . . but then, he really did whack out that guy, didn't he. . . That's the beauty of boxing, you're only one punch from oblivion. . . & if there is some substance to this flash dash fighter we all could be in for a hell of a ride. . . The performance he put on was truly amazing. The Ol' Spit Bucket has never seen anything quite like this kid. Awkward, he does everything wrong by technical boxing standards; but his saving graces are sheer blazing speed & apparently, awesome one punch KO power. When Naseem hit that kid he hit the canvass with a thud like you hear when a heavyweight is downed. Anyhow, the jury is way out on this kid; but he is exciting as hell & boxing needs personalities, even obnoxious ones. . .


The middleweight division (as I assume the welter & lightweight divisions to be, when I re-examine them), has had so many great champions that it is going to have to be divided into pre & post WW ll segments. There is such a plethora of outstanding fighters in the middleweight division-that perhaps inspired by Jim Trunzo's intriguing article on Sugar Ray Robinson-the Bucket will just take on the post-war (& if you have to ask which one you shouldn't be reading this article), segment of the middleweight division this month. . .

1- Sugar Ray Robinson -- Despite Trunzo's erudite critical examination of Mr. Pound For Pound's career I gotta go with my heart here. . . Yeah, you don't become 4 time middleweight champ without losing a lot. . . & he did lose to journeymen like Ralph Tiger Jones when he was still in his heyday as a middleweight. . . but he was one day older than Methuselah (as a fighter), when he KO'd Gene Fullmer with that picture perfect left hook to regain the crown in '57 & a year older when he regained the crown from the ever determined "Canastota Onion Farmer ", Carmen Basilio. Besides, He's Sugar Ray Robinson. . . Enough said.

2- Tie -- Carlos Monzon & Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Both of these champions were so outstanding not even a hair separates them in the all-time standings. Monzon had 14 successful defenses, Hagler had 13. They both faced the absolute best of their respective eras & they both carried themselves like true warrior-champions during their career's & as Trunzo aptly pointed out with his intriguing stats; a good argument could be made for any of these 3 all-time greats. . .

3- Dick Tiger -- (another one of the all-time monikers in boxing!) is one of the great forgotten champions of the last half of the 20th Century. With no apologies to the outstanding champion that Azumah Nelson is. . . Dick Tiger was the greatest fighter to ever emerge from Africa.

4 - Nino Benvenuti -- Another great champion who hasn't fared well down boxing history's revisionism twisted street. An Olympic champion & the first great jr. middleweight. Good enough too beat all-time great Emile Griffith 2 out of 3 & pull out a miracle 11th round, one punch KO of the storied Luis Manuel Rodriguez. Would have gone down as one of the best middleweights ever if he hadn't run into Monzon.

5- Jake LaMotta. It's all been written, said & shown on film already.

6- Gene Fullmer -- We live in age where white men can't jump. . . but if Hollywood is ever looking for the perfect visage of a tough white guy. . . Gene Fullmer's your man. Fullmer by no means was a gifted fighter in the sense of a Robinson, Leonard or Jones Jr. He couldn't box, he couldn't really punch & he looked awkward as hell. . . But this is a guy who beat Sugar Ray, Paul Pender, Carmen Basilio & Benny "Kid" Paret. Not to mention, that he faced every tough middleweight there was from '54 to '63; an era with an abundance of tough sum' bitches.

7- Rodrigo Valdez -- Put the great Monzon thru two life & death matches & stopped the quintessential Philadelphia fighter, "Bad" Benny Briscoe in 7 for the middleweight title. 'Nuff said.

8- Emile Griffith -- Admittedly his best work was done as a welterweight. . . but no apologies are given for victory's over Dick Tiger & Nino Benvenuti & two absolutely gallant losses to Monzon when he was way past his prime.

9- James Toney -- Yeah, I know, we all have the image of his pathetic showing against Roy Jones Jr. & the results of his miserable efforts since. . . But up until the Jones Jr. fight, Toney had dominated the middleweight divisions. Ducked no one, (Tiberi never wanted a rematch & hasn't fought since. . . ) & kept a fighting schedule that rivaled & bested the great majority of fighters on this list. His 11th round KO of Michael Nunn & his two dramatic bouts against Mike McCallum (D-12, W-12), seal the deal.

10- Sugar Ray Leonard -- I can hear the screams & curses from cyber-space already. . . All I can say is, He beat Marvin Hagler. . . You try it. . . After a 3 year layoff. Not to mention that he was jumping two divisions up from his natural weight.

So anyhow, if any of you readers would like to add anything to these debates I would be more than happy to respond to any e-mail anyone wishes to send along. . . I can be reached at . Back at you next month's issue!

========= Gloves Off! ===========

by David Farrell (

Lennox Lewis is good for the sport of boxing.

That's right, you heard it here. Lennox Lewis is good for our beloved sport, and we need more guys like him. I know that he's drawn the ire of fans from coast to coast, at least on these shores, but I'm here to tell you that it's misguided (particularly when Riddick Bowe is considered the best fighter in the division).

For one thing, Lennox has class, which is sorely lacking in our sport as you all know. He speaks well, doesn't talk trash, and how 'bout that nice touch of wishing a happy Mother's Day to the mothers of the world, right after getting done pummeling a guy (and getting pummeled himself). Would that all our champions were like that, instead of convicted rapists, and our sport would instantly be in better shape in the public eye. It would of course also be nice if they could throw a jab properly, but more on that to follow.

The main reason we need more guys like Lewis, however, is this: he's not afraid of anybody. Lennox has never ducked a fight in the four years he's been in contention, and has repeatedly sought after the toughest fights available. a few examples: he fought Razor Ruddock, who many considered the toughest fighter in the non-incarcerated world in a nontitle bout on Halloween '92, even though he would've been up for a title shot within a year anyway. After being awarded the WBC belt when Bowe refused to fight him, he was mandated to fight Tony Tucker, 48-1 at the time with only a close loss to Mike Tyson marring his record (Tucker, who was in good shape for that 5/93 bout, faded badly afterward). Lewis bided his time against Frank Bruno and Phil Jackson while waiting to get Riddick Bowe into the ring, and finally had a shot lined up after Bowe lost his titles to Evander Holyfield, when the WBC again mandated him to fight a Don King fighter, journeyman Oliver McCall. Lewis flatly stated he wasn't concerned about Oliver McCall and was looking past him. Of course, he walked out, loaded up his biggest right hand, and stepped right into a counter right. Since then he has fought battles against Lionel Butler (a man with 17 straight KOs), Tommy Morrison, and Ray Mercer, all dangerous and without a title at stake. He has tried on numerous occasions in the meantime to get Bowe and Tyson into the ring, and they still avoid him like the plague.

Clearly he has fought the best available and tried to get fights with the best unavailable. As I said we need more guys like this. Contrast Lennox's fights with those of Riddick Bowe: Bowe has of course been running for his life from Lennox for going on four years. After Bowe wins the title, he fights invalids Michael Dokes and Jesse Ferguson, and a (then considered easy) second fight with Evander Holyfield. After losing to Holyfield, he fights Mathis, Donald, Hide, and Gonzalez, all undefeated but of no real possible threat to him. In fact, let me bring something unbelievable to your attention that you may not have considered: scanning up and down Riddick Bowe's record, in almost 40 fights he has fought NOT a SINGLE POWERPUNCHER. There is not one guy on there who is legitimately recognized as a dangerous puncher, in total contrast with the guys on Lewis' dossier. Further, when asked in late '91 or early '92 why he wasn't fighting Razor Ruddock, he said, "because I don't want to die" (paraphrasing). Of course, after Lewis starched the Razor Bowe made all sorts of comments that Ruddock is a total chump, etc. In summary, Lewis --brave with guts of a champion (if not all the skills), Bowe -- yellow chicken out to maximize money for minimum risk (and also lacking key skills). Anyway, enough of that & on to the 5/10 fight card.

Lately I'm a big believer in the old adage that you're only as good as your last fight. Which means that, after demolishing Tommy Morrison, Lewis was great, and now he's only so-so. His jab was pathetic, and his defense pretty much was too. He did however show a lot of guts/heart and a damn good chin. I didn't know if he could hold up in a fight like that, based on toughness and the will to win more than skill. For the fan it was an awesome fight overall, as close as could be and a total war. For the record, I did score the last round for Lewis and the fight overall a draw. As regards the tenth round, Mercer was more active the last minute of the round but less active the first two minutes, and neither man really landed much in the way of telling blows. The whole fight was difficult to score and probably should've been a draw.

As regards the fight's significance in Lennox's standing as a contender, it was overall a negative with a few positives. The fight has absolutely no effect on his legitimacy as mandatory challenger to Mike Tyson. That was mandated by the WBC originally and the courts since; public opinion has nothing to do with it. Whether it's still a good idea to take on Tyson is another story. If Tyson fights like he did against Bruno (in shape and moving his head on the way inside), he'll demolish Lewis, but he would demolish anyone else anyway. To me right now the only one that can beat Mike Tyson is himself, and its mainly predicated on whether he bobs and weaves or wades in straight up throwing one bomb at a time. Anyway, might as well fight Tyson now, since ya gotta face him sometime if ya want to be the best. There's hardly any shame in getting knocked out by Mike Tyson, and if he does he can still return to fight the grudge match with Bowe (if he can ever get Bowe into the ring, questionable at this point).

To me Lewis' status among the best of the rest was not tarnished by this fight. The fight was a negative, but no more negative than Bowe's extreme difficulties against a very weakened Evander Holyfield, Holyfield's awful and mysterious stamina problems, and Moorer's inactivity of over one year. Remember, Lewis fights Mercer on even terms, Mercer fights Holyfield on even terms, Holyfield fights Bowe on even terms... I know this isn't really a valid argument but my claim is that a lot of this fight was good Mercer, not just bad Lewis. Although I have been known in the past to be a Lennox Lewis fan, never did I claim that he was Muhammed Ali in dreadlocks. Only that he is just as good as Riddick Bowe and the other top contenders (pretenders?) of the Tyson-less era.

How about Witherspoon vs. Mercer?


This is a fight that HBO can and should make, and there are several reasons why. The first is that both of these guys, while tough fighters, are advanced in years and absolutely no one of the top contenders or champions is going to give them a fight. The second reason is that both of these guys could use and would take the six figure paychecks. Finally, it would be a damn good fight that the fans could appreciate. Any takers?

My beef on Bowe


I guess I'd better explain myself after dissin' Bowe so bad above. My contention that he is a yellow chicken needs no explanation, but about the man as a fighter. . . I don't really believe that the guy totally sucks or anything; he represents a formidable opponent for anybody but perhaps Mike Tyson, against whom I don't think he'd fare much better than Bruno did. But Bowe is not without serious flaws. They aren't in the area of skills per se as I said above, but rather in athletic ability and conditioning. Regarding conditioning, people who long to see an "in shape, motivated" Bowe vs. Tyson might as well be saying they'd like to see Foreman in his prime vs. Tyson. It ain't gonna happen. The guy will never lose his baby fat and balloons up to 280 after EVERY fight. In shape, without the baby fat, he'd be 230 lbs. Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno, at 245-odd lbs., are solid muscle (which has problems all its own). Even in never-to-be-seen condition, such as when he weighed 225 years ago, Bowe's hand speed is average at best, and his foot speed/ mobility nonexistent. And the biggest problem is defense. I read once recently where somebody said Bowe is a good defensive fighter. Flat-out dead wrong!!! The guy simply cannot avoid the punches. Look at his fights with Holyfield, Donald, Hide. BAP! Every time they threw a stiff punch, it connected. Those guys just didn't have the sock to take him out, courtesy of Rock Newman's careful opponent selections. His offense is really his only defense. Put Lewis (or perhaps Moorer, Mercer. . . ) behind those punches and it's lights out. Unless of course he got them first; I'm not claiming that can't happen. Just that Riddick Bowe is generally grossly overrated compared to the rest of the non-Tyson pack.

[NOTE: The above column was written before the events of 5/21, when Lewis accepted $4 million of step-aside money to allow Tyson to fight Bruce "The Goose" Seldon. Some people may think this compromises the principles I touted above, but it's awful difficult to turn down 4 million bucks to do absolutely nothing! Further, Lewis' promotional team was to enter negotiations for a fall fight with Riddick Bowe. As regards this development, I stand by my comments above. If Bowe didn't want any part of Lewis this Spring (and the three preceding years), I won't believe this match up will come off until it actually does.]

© 1996 The Cyber Boxing Zone
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