Tonight at 9:00 p.m. on MSG Network’s “Friday Night Fights,” hosted by John Duddy and Mark Breland: Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Tommy Hearns (9/16/81).
The Ring magazine’s “Fight of the Year,” this 1981 battle pinned Sugar Ray Leonard against Tommy Hearns for the World Welterweight Championship. Behind for most of the fight, Leonard put Hearns on the mat in the 13th Round and followed it up in the 14th Round with a staggering right overhand. The blow put Hearns to the ropes and following a combination by Leonard, the referee called the fight – a controversial call considering Hearns was ahead on all three cards. Continue reading
“A lot of guys try to emulate him, but there will never be another Pernell Whitaker”—Emanuel Steward
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – With his vast wealth of knowledge, experience, and an amazing track record of success, Emanuel Steward is undoubtedly one of the greatest trainers the sport of boxing has ever seen. In fact Steward has trained and/or managed 41 World Champions, including the reigning heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko. This is Part Four of an ongoing series with Emanuel that will explore past champions, historical fights, mythical match-ups, great rivalries, memorable fighters, and Steward’s own personal experiences as a world class trainer. This edition focuses on theme of amateur boxing. Steward (*pictured to the right, standing over Eddie Gonzalez during the semi-finals for the National Golden Gloves Championship, in Chicago, on March 6, 1963) spoke about his own experiences as an amateur National Champion. He also provided opinions on the American amateur boxing scene, the Cuban program, and various amateur boxers he has both seen and worked with over the years, including: Sugar Ray Leonard, Mark Breland, Floyd Mayweather Junior, Tommy Hearns, George Foreman, Pernell Whitaker, Howard Davis, Ronnie Shields, Roy Jones Junior, and more! Here is what the Hall of Fame trainer had to say:
The Stages of an Amateur Boxer:
Well the stages of a person’s amateur career I think are very important, and it’s something that I refer to in life often now. When you first go into the gym as a kid you start learning how to hold your feet and hands properly, or at least you did then. They don’t even do that nowadays, hardly. Everybody wants to just jump right on the pads now and go pop-pop-pop-pop-pop! But at the time when I came up, you learned how to do everything basically and fundamentally sound. Then you get to where you feel very comfortable doing that. It’s like a game where you can hit a bag or do whatever you’re supposed to do, and block a punch, and punch back. Then when you’re comfortable doing that, all of a sudden the actual boxing starts. Continue reading
“In every Tyson fight you could feel the electricity in the air” – Tom Casino
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – I recently had the opportunity to have a very nice discussion with one of the best boxing photographers in the business, Tom Casino (pictured alongside Mike Tyson circa 1985). A master of his craft, Casino has captured the imagination of boxing fans for almost thirty years, bringing the action up close and personal while freezing single moments that shall forever live on in the annals of boxing history. Casino spoke about his experiences as a photographer and also shared some of his views as a fan. At the conclusion of the transcript, Tom has provided readers with an inside look of some of his work over the years, including images of Mike Tyson, Arturo Gatti, Sugar Ray Leonard, George Foreman, Carl Froch, James Toney, and more! Here is a complete transcript from the interview.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hello everyone. This is Geoffrey Ciani from East Side Boxing, and I am joined here today by one of the elite photographers in all of professional boxing, Tom Casino. How’s everything going today, Tom?
TOM CASINO: Very nice Geoff, thank you, and I appreciate that introduction. It was very nice of you.
by Geoffrey Ciani – Over the course of a sixteen month period beginning in June 2009, I conducted a series of surveys that all began with a very simple question: Who are the ten best heavyweights of all time? While contemplating my own list of top heavyweight pugilists, I decided gathering the input of others might help display a more accurate portrayal of what a ‘true’ top 10 list should look like. Now of course this is not an exact science by any means. In fact, quite the opposite, it is an extremely subjective topic that is often skewed by personal bias, differences of opinion, individual tastes and preferences, and most importantly the absence of a universally agreed upon criteria with which to judge past fighters. Even with these inherent obstacles playing their natural role, however, we can still establish some degree of consensus.
The guidelines were simple. I had every person who voluntarily participated in each survey provide me with a chronological list of who they considered to be the ten best (heavyweights, middleweights, etc) in boxing history. Ties were not permitted, just a straight-forward list from one to ten. I then used a weighted-points system to assign values to fighters based on where they appeared on each individual’s list. First place votes received 25 points. Second place votes were worth 15 points, third place votes were 12, and fourth and fifth place votes were worth 10 and 8 points respectively. After that, the point differential was constant, with sixth place votes getting 5 points, seventh place votes getting 4, eighth getting 3, ninth place 2, and tenth place 1. Continue reading