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Ruslan Chagaev wins “Regular” WBA heavyweight title with majority decision win over Fres Oquendo

Tonight in Grozny, Russia, former WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev became a two-time champ, as he won a 12-round majority verdict over Fres Oquendo to pick up the “regular” WBA strap. The scores were 115-113 twice and 114-114. 35-year-old Chagaev is now 33-2-1(20). 41-year-old Oquendo, who felt he had won, fell to 37-8(24).

It was a bizarre night in many ways. The setting for the fight was quite impressive, as was the ring set-up and the pre-fight entertainment. The presence, too, of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov was quite unique. As for the fight itself, the action was intriguing enough in the early rounds, with southpaw Chagaev pressing the action in his usual bull-like fashion. Fast-handed, Chagaev out-jabbed the taller Oquendo, winning the early to middle rounds. Neither man was noticeably hurt, until Chagaev picked up a nasty cut above the left eye in the 7th. Continue reading

Remembering the great Arturo Gatti five years on from his untimely death

Sadly, as we all know, Arturo “Thunder” Gatti passed away five years ago next week (July 11th). This special – very special – fighter gave his all in the ring too many time to remember. Yet no-one will ever forget Gatti; least of all his millions of fans and those men who had the honor of meeting him in the ring.

Gatti, who retired with a 40-9(31) ledger, was recently – and deservedly – inducted into The Hall of Fame. These highlights and more from the incredible career of “The Human Highlight Reel” go to show why:

WU12 Tracy Harris Patterson, Dec. 1995 – Gatti’s first world title winning fight and one of his first classics.

WU12 Patterson, Feb. 1997 – the rematch.

WTKO5 Gabriel Ruelas, Oct. 1997 – an awesome slugfest with a stunning ending.

LS10 Ivan Robinson, Aug. 1998 – Gatti lost this one, and the return, but he sure gave his all in providing some of his most mesmerising action.

LU10 Robinson, Dec. 1998 Continue reading

Terence Crawford takes a big step towards superstardom with sizzling stoppage win over Yuriorkis Gamboa

WBO lightweight king Terence Crawford looked superb last night in handing former amateur superstar Yuriorkis Gamboa his first pro defeat. Too big, tall and rangy he may have been for former featherweight Gamboa, but nothing should be taken from Crawford’s win. Looking for all the world like a Thomas Hearns clone, Crawford displayed power, accuracy, speed and, most of the time – barring the occasion in the 9th-round when he was hurt before turning things back around in his favour – patience.

Gamboa, at a major disadvantage in terms of reach, had to, as commentator Larry Merchant said, “try and make things happen,” and in doing so, by coming in and trying to land dome hurt on his taller opponent, the Cuban talent put himself at serious risk. Crawford of course took advantage of this and buzzed his challenger a number of times. Only Gamboa’s ridiculous heart and courage kept him in the fight, and Gamboa even stated post-fight that, after the second hurtful knockdown of the 9th and final round, he’d wanted to continue. Continue reading

Evander Holyfield retires at age 51 – “The Real Deal” goes down in history as a true great

Living legend and huge overachiever Evander Holyfield has officially retired from boxing at the age of 51. “The Real Deal” said that he has been unable to get fights and that he “don’t want to get hit.” The announcement will no doubt come as a relief to Holyfield’s fans and friends, as it looked until quite recently that the former four-time heavyweight ruler would stick around for what he hoped would be one last big fight.

Now that he has realised he has done more than enough in boxing, Evander can sit back and let the historians decide where they will rank him amongst the other boxing greats that lit up the sport. It’s almost a gimme that Holyfield – who retires with an overall record of 44-10-2 – 1 no-contest (29 KO’s) but a spotless 18-0 (14) as a cruiserweight – will go down as THE greatest cruiserweight of all-time. As to where he will be placed amongst the heavyweight immortals, the 1984 Olympic bronze medallist will probably be placed somewhere in the top-10, or at the very least just below the top-10. Continue reading

Yuriorkis Gamboa: time to deliver

Go back a few years, to 2008 or 2009, and an unbeaten Cuban talent by the name of Yuriorkis Gamboa was on the lips of many a fight expert as a can’t-miss prospect of the hottest variety. The Olympic gold medallist and sensational all-round amateur standout who had defected from his homeland and set up base in Miami appeared to have it all: speed, power, balance, elegance and a killer instinct to match a peak Mike Tyson.

Back then, the only negative aimed at Gamboa was his somewhat leaky defence and his tendency to go down as a result. This only made the featherweight all the more exciting, however, and Gamboa always got back up and upon doing so took care of business. World titles and superstardom looked inevitable but – though the man dubbed “El Ciclon de Guantanamo” picked up a not so shabby three “world” titles at different weights (the WBA and IBF belts at feather, the interim WBA strap at super-feather-weight and interim WBA belt at lightweight) – somewhere along the way Gamboa all but fell off the radar. Continue reading

James Toney: 100 fights and out

Whatever you think of him and his decision to be still fighting when in his mid-40s and way past his best, it has to be agreed how future Hall of Famer James Toney has given his whole life to the sport that made him famous, respected and successful. An old-school warrior and fiercly proud of it, Toney, who has already achieved more than enough to have walked away satisfied, has two more goals to reach before he’s done: to have fought a total of 100 pro bouts and to retire as the undisputed heavyweight champion. One of these targets may well be reached, while the other will not. Toney is next scheduled to box in Latvia on July 26th against the huge Evgeny Orlov. Even at this stage in his career, Toney should have enough left to out-score the man-mountain who is colorfully known as “The Molecule From Hell.” Continue reading

Roach convinced Cotto beats Mayweather in return; isnt sure Floyd will take one

Fresh off his dominating stoppage win over middleweight ruler Sergio Martinez, history maker Miguel Cotto has plenty of options. One fight his new trainer Freddie Roach is both interested in and is sure his warrior would win, is a return with Floyd Mayweather; who decisioned Cotto in a competitive fight two years ago. Roach thinks Floyd is, as he put it to the post-fight media in New York yesterday, a shot fighter. Roach says Mayweather’s legs have gone and that any talk the 37-year old comes out with regarding how he purposely stood and fought with Marcos Maidana is “bull s ***.”

Freddie has made outlandish statements in the past but who knows, maybe Floyd is slowing down a little if not actually anywhere close to being shot.

Could Cotto, in, say, a rematch at middleweight (a return with Mayweather could also happen at 154 or even at a catch-weight) pull off the upset and take away Floyd’s unbeaten record? A return would sure be interesting, maybe the best fight out there for Floyd barring a Pacquiao clash or a return with Maidana. A rematch would really be intriguing if it took place at middleweight.

But Roach says he’s doubtful Mayweather will take such a risky fight. Cotto, we know, would love a chance to gain revenge and win the ultimate in the process.

Erik Morales: an appreciation

A report from ESPN Deportes says that Mexican fighting legend and former four-weight champion Erik Morales has decided to call it quits on his fantastic career, dispensing with a planned farewell fight in his homeland. Morales, aged 37, walks away with an incredibly hard-fought 52-9(36) record – and “El Terrible’s” induction into The Hall of Fame is an absolute certainty when the appropriate five years have passed.

Turning pro in his native Tijuana in March of 19993 when he was just 16-years-old, Morales KO’d a guy named Jose Orejel inside a couple of rounds and reportedly spent his meagre payday on chewing gum. It wasn’t long at all before the tall and skinny, long-armed super-bantamweight was fighting for titles; first Hispano and Mexican belts and then NABF and world titles. Continue reading

Ten years ago today: Oscar De La Hoya scrapes past Felix Sturm in Las Vegas

A decade ago today, Oscar De La Hoya, the number-one star and Box Office draw of the sport, fought a then largely unknown Felix Sturm in what was “The Golden Boy’s” first fight up at middleweight.

For De La Hoya, the fight, held at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas, was supposed to be a high-level “warm up” for an assault on world middleweight king Bernard Hopkins’ belts (B-Hop defeated Robert Allen on the same card that June night in 2004), but the fight turned out to be much more than that.

Challenging the 20-0 German for the WBO belt, De La Hoya came in looking overweight and sluggish and he came within a whisker of paying the price and blowing the Hopkins mega-match. Sturm may have been unknown, but he had behind him a superb amateur career and he unveiled his skills against the 36-3 superstar who, at age 31 was six years his senior. Sturm boxed behind his superb left jab, out-punched De La Hoya, marked him up around the eye and generally appeared to boss the fight. Continue reading

Floyd Mayweather Junior’s planned June trip to U.K shelved due to visa issues

Those U.K fans who were excited about meeting superstar Floyd Mayweather Junior during his planned speaking engagements this week will be disappointed, Jeff Powell of The Mail has reported, as the series of dates, planned for this month, have had to be scrapped due to unspecified visa complications encountered by Mayweather.

Fans, who had parted with as much as £200 to meet and greet the undefeated great, were to have met Floyd in Bolton (Amir Khan’s home town), Leeds, London and a number of other locations throughout the U.K. But it’s been reported that Mayweather’s attempted flight to London has been met with the visa problems. Continue reading