Famous Boxing Rivalries: Exclusive Interview with Iceman John Scully
“He’s a true boxer. People think a boxer has to get on his toes and circle the ring laterally constantly to be called ‘a boxer’, but a boxer should be able to box in a ring the size of a phone booth and still be able to not get hit, and that’s the thing. I think Duran was a master at that.”—Iceman John Scully
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – With Manny Pacquiao slated to square off against Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time this Saturday night, I had the opportunity to speak with ‘Iceman’ John Scully to get his views on the upcoming match. From there, Scully shared his views on some other famous boxing rivalries throughout history, including Ali-Frazier, Gatti-Ward, Robinson-LaMotta, Holyfield-Bowe, and all of the fights that took place when Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, and Tommy ‘Hitman’ Hearns faced off against each other in the 1980s. This is the second installment of an ongoing series dedicated to the history of the sweet science. Below is a complete transcript of my discussion with Iceman.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Iceman, this Saturday night Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will be fighting for a fourth time, which is unusual in this day and age. In your view, what do you think the keys to victory for each fighter is?
JOHN SCULLY: I mean basically to me I think each guy needs to do, well I mean Marquez certainly just needs to do what he’s been doing the other three times, because I think like even though he hasn’t been getting the decisions, I think he’s a little bit more on track towards a definitive victory than Pacquiao actually is. So I would recommend to him to just sharpen up the best he can, but basically do the same thing. I think if it’s not broke you don’t need to fix it. I think Pacquiao probably needs to throw a few more punches, you know raise up his output, and maybe he’s got to step around. He’s got to get Marquez a little bit more off balance than he was. I think Marquez was allowed to play the matador a little too much the last three times.
CIANI: Now what did you think of their first three encounters, and in particular their last bout that seemed to bring the most controversy of the three they’ve had so far?
SCULLY: I mean I kind of saw what everybody else saw. I mean they were real tough fights, real just hard to score. A lot of those were hard to score, but I mean for the last one, you know I have to admit that I thought Marquez was going to get the decision. I thought before they announced it I figured he had it. And I think not just for them two, it didn’t just mess up them two, but I think that the decision in the last fight, or the performance of both guys in the last fight has done a great deal of damage to a potential Mayweather fight with Pacquiao. I think that people that thought Pacquiao was going to beat Mayweather, I think a lot of those people have changed their minds. And I don’t think any new people that didn’t think Pacquiao was going to win, I don’t think they changed their minds after the last fight. So I think they kind of bit themselves in the butt there because I think they did a lot of damage to the potential of a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight with his performance last time.
CIANI: Do you think this time we might actually have a decisive victor? Or do you believe the styles these two guys clash with happens in such a way that we’re always going to see a competitive close contest when these two are involved?
SCULLY: I mean based on their history it would seem that way. I think that they’re both great fighters, top of the line fighters, and they both come in with a lot of momentum, and ambition, and motivation. You know, for different reasons. So I think it’s going to be a tooth and nail fight. I expect it to be tooth and nail the whole way. I mean four times in a row to be real controversial would be kind of amazing, but it actually wouldn’t surprise me because last time. Before the third fight I thought Pacquiao was going to decisively win. I thought it was going to be too much of a jump for Marquez, but he proved it, with that style he’s right there with him.
CIANI: Now this rivalry in a lot of ways reminds me of another recent rivalry between two Mexican warriors, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, both of whom also fought Pacquiao and Barrera had fought Marquez. When you think of the epic trilogy that those two guys had, what did you think of those fights between Morales and Barrera?
SCULLY: To be honest with you, the first two, I forget for the exact reasons why but I didn’t watch them like extremely closely. I just kind of like watched them like I would watch any fight, but the third one I paid a lot more attention. Those are, guys like this—Marquez and Barrera—I mean these are the epitome of professional boxers. I mean the fact of the matter is, and I don’t mean to insult people, but there’s a lot of professional fighters out there that aren’t really professional fighters. Like they’re amateurs that just don’t wear a shirt, you know they’re not qualified to be a real true professional. And these guys are professionals in every sense of the word, I mean the subtleties of their game, and their dedication, and their counterpunching, and their strategies. So it’s terrible in a way that somebody has to lose those fights, because as time goes on people might just remember that this particular guy lost two of the three fights, not realizing or remembering how great of a fighter he was in those fights. So people really need to pay attention to these kind of fights, because like I said, these are the epitome of professional boxing.
CIANI: Even though Morales and Marquez never actually fought each other, when I think of Pacquiao, Marquez, Morales, Barrera—it almost in a certain way reminds me of a modern day scenario like we saw with the Fab Four, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, and Roberto Duran. When you think of those four magnificent fighters, and you think of all the different matchups they had between each other, how do you think something like that, that the four of them were all around at the same time, helped enhance their own legacies?
SCULLY: Oh I mean they’re the reason for each other’s legacies. Without those four, and you can include Benetiz in there. I mean without those five guys in there, in that mix at that time, I mean boxing wouldn’t have been the same overall and those guys’ careers. I mean Sugar Ray Leonard is a superstar legend because of the fact that he fought those four other guys. I mean that’s what made him. And I feel very fortunate to have come up in that era as a fan and as an amateur at that time when they were doing most of their work. I actually was in the gym, Hagler’s gym. I used to go up there at least once a week back then during those fights, when he was fighting Leonard, and Hearns, and Mugabi and those guys. So I was around a lot of that and just to be a part of it, just to be there as a fan and to be an observer was amazing for me because the current era in that general weight class—junior middleweight, middleweight, light heavyweight—it’s not the same. I mean we have some very good fighters, but we don’t have anything like that and we may never have five guys like that, the four in particular, and if you include Benetiz with that, I don’t think we’re ever going to have five like that again.
CIANI: Which fights in particular involving Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, and Duran—and if you want we can throw in Benetiz—which of their matchups against each other did you as a fan find most compelling?
SCULLY: Oh! By far, most people will say Hagler-Hearns, which was great obviously, but for me the first Leonard-Hearns fight was the epitome of professional boxing. And even their rematch, people kind of dismiss the rematch in a way because it was a controversial decision, but even that fight with those guys—I mean the back-and-forth flow, and the combination punching, and the body. I mean you just don’t see guys continuously and repeatedly go work the jab, work the technique, work the angles, work the body. Leonard-Hearns I, that’s a fight you can put in a time capsule. It’s right up there to me with the Marquez fights, and the Morales fights, and those fights. I mean probably skill and power blended with a little more flashiness, and that was Leonard-Hearns. If somebody wanted to watch a truly great fight from both guys right to the end, I would say that would be the fight to watch.
CIANI: Now you mentioned that you were in the gym around the time Hagler was fighting Leonard and Mugabi and those guys. Hagler-Leonard, to this day, is an extremely controversial bout on boxing message boards where fans argue about who won? In your view, how did you evaluate that fight, both fighters, and who did you think won?
SCULLY: Well I’ll tell you, I will say this, and it’s actually happened relatively recently. If I want to guarantee a 100 response status on my Facebook page all I have to do is put up, “Who do you think won, Leonard or Hagler?” It’s guaranteed 100 comments. It will go one for two or three days. People all these years later, twenty-five years later, they still love to debate that fight. I watched the fight on closed circuit with a few members of my amateur team. You know I was an amateur at the time, and I remember specifically, distinctly feeling that Ray won the fight clearly. I remember when the bell rang to end the last round I had no doubts that Ray won the fight. There was no question in my mind, and I really haven’t changed that. I understand that Hagler put up a great fight. He was right there and landed some great shots on Ray, but the fact of the matter is, and you hear this a lot when people say, “You know if you watch that fight a few times and you keep watching it, the more I watch it Hagler won that fight”, and the problem is that’s not how it works. You have to go by your initial thoughts the moment the fight was over. You can’t wait two weeks, or two years, or two decades and then say, “Oh, I thought Hagler edged that” or “I thought he pulled that off”. You can’t do that. You have to go by that very moment, what did you think when every three minutes was over, who did you think won? And the majority of the rounds I thought Ray won.
CIANI: Now the one guy, Duran, he was naturally the smallest guy of the bunch there. But in many ways it seems to me that fans of boxing consider his victory over Ray Leonard, when he had jumped up from lightweight to welterweight pretty much—a lot of fans consider that the most significant victory of any of the clashes between those four great fighters, and I’m wondering if you see it that way and if at the time that fight happened you were surprised that Duran had beaten Leonard?
SCULLY: I was relatively young. I think I was about, man I must have been 13 I think, but I was a deep, deep boxing fan. So I was definitely surprised that Duran won because he came up in weight, and Ray was the superstar at the time. But Duran is a special fighter. He did so many things in there, and I think Duran actually doesn’t get the credit he deserves in the respect that people hear his name, and you see things like they describe him as “an animal”, as “vicious”, as “a terror”, “a mean guy”, “a hard puncher”, all those things, but if you really watch him, I mean this guy was very, very smart. He’s a true boxer. People think a boxer has to get on his toes and circle the ring laterally constantly to be called ‘a boxer’, but a boxer should be able to box in a ring the size of a phone booth and still be able to not get hit, and that’s the thing. I think Duran was a master at that. He certainly surprised Hagler when they fought, and I think he really surprised Ray the first time. I think he was a lot smarter than people give him credit for, and definitely that’s what won him the fight with Barkley, which was his boxing skills and his technique, which is underrated. That’s how he was able to beat a much bigger and a much stronger guy in Barkley.
CIANI: Now when you consider their rematch and the way their first fight went down, the rematch with the famous ‘no mas’, were you surprised at how Ray was able to reverse the outcome and do so in such decisive fashion when those two met for the second time?
SCULLY: Well you know I think to be very fair to Duran, I think that history has kind of altered the perception of the overview of that fight. People think of the ending and they think that Ray was trouncing him the whole way, but the fact of the matter is that up until that round that was a very close fight. That was no one-sided blowout by any stretch. I thought for the first five or six rounds, I thought it was a very close fight, and a good fight, and a competitive fight. Then I believe that Ray just totally frustrated Duran and confused him, and I think it was literally just a thing where it built up over the course of a round, maybe two and a half minutes, and Dura was just getting madder, and madder, and madder, and he just self-imploded. I am sure if he could, he would go back and not quit and not stop the fight. But I think Ray performed, and the funny thing is and it’s weird, because I was just thinking about this a couple of hours ago, about this moment. The thing that set the tone for me was before the fight in the ring when Ray Charles sang “American the Beautiful”, and it was almost like a choreographed music video the way they did it. It’s on YouTube; anybody could watch it, and anyone who saw it would never forget it. Ray Charles was in the foreground singing “American the Beautiful”, and in the background, bouncing up and down, was Ray Leonard. Again, it was like a music video. It was like they choreographed it to be that way, and they didn’t. It was just a spur of the moment thing. I think as spooky as it might be, like just watching that at that moment, I think a lot of people figured Ray Leonard was going to win. Just by seeing that scene, it just seemed so fitting and perfect, and it was like it set the stage for the night and that’s the way it went down.
CIANI: Now I have to touch on Hagler-Hearns and get your views on that fight. That was actually the first boxing fight I remember seeing as a kid, and I remember watching that and thinking, “Wow! Boxing is an awesome sport”, thinking that all fights were fought at that magnitude of intensity. What did you think of the whole fight between Hagler and Hearns, the build-up to it and the actual event itself?
SCULLY: I thought that that era, and I always instinctively I’ll say: Leonard-Duran, Leonard-Hearns, Holmes-Cooney, Arguello-Pryor, and then you have Hagler-Hearns—that level of fights, those particular fights, that’s the way fights are supposed to be built up. I mean everyday in the newspaper for months beforehand. Every couple of days, once a week at least, there were major articles in all the New York papers. Everybody knew about that fight. Everyone! And it lived up to the hype and then some.
And I thought for me, the greatest moment of that fight came when Hagler was cut, and I’ll tell you a funny story after. But the greatest moment for me was Hagler was cut. He had a lot of blood coming out. You couldn’t really tell because like the blood kind of mixed in with his skin, and you couldn’t really see it good unless you were close up. But he was bleeding a lot. His face was literally covered in blood, and they went to the corner, and Goody Petronelli actually told me this himself. You could hear what he said.
The referee said, “Marvin, can you see?” They were thinking about stopping the fight. He said, “Marvin can you see?”
And Marvin said, “I ain’t missing him, am I?”
And the doctor looks at the ref and says, “Let him go”.
And the fight was over I think 10 or 15 seconds later. So for Hagler to be like that was the answer, I always look for it as a trainer now when I see guys are hurt and you ask them. Whether it’s in sparring or in a fight, I want them to have that Marvin Hagler attitude. Like just what he said, “I ain’t missing him, am I?”, and he said it with such disdain that the doctor had no choice but to let him fight. So that for me defines Marvin Hagler, not only in that fight but in his whole career. That’s the definition of the guy.
And the other thing that I remember about the fight that I really liked was the fact that Marvin came in, and his entire entourage basically was his brother Robbie, and Goody, and Pat. And then they had their cutman and maybe one other guy that was in the background. Whereas with Hearns, they had the whole Kronk, and they had all the fighters, and they had his brother, and they had all these different guys. It was just like all these guys from Detroit against the three guys from Massachusetts, and Hagler just took everything so businesslike and he was so serious. He just went in there and he had the “WAR” on his hat, and he really meant it. He didn’t just do it to hype the fight, like I think he was just doing that from himself.
That’s what I always took from that fight, so as an amateur later on I actually use to use it. I even had the hat. If you remember Hagler had the hat. I think you call it a foreign legion hat. You know what I’m talking about? The hats with like the flaps in the back, remember that?
SCULLY: Hagler wore one of those. Well I actually had one of those after that. I used to wear it when I was training sometimes, and I would think of Hagler, and I would put myself in that Marvin Hagler mindset of “I can’t be hurt! Nothing can hurt me!” And that’s actually part of the reason why now as a trainer, I tell my fighters that taking a punch, at least partially, is mental. It’s not just one guy can take a better punch than another guy. Part of it is mentally you make up your mind you’re going to take punches better, and I’ve done it in my career in certain fights and sparring. And I believe Hagler knew he was going in with a wicked brutal puncher, Tommy Hearns, and I think he made up his mind, “I’m not getting hurt tonight! I’m going to walk through everything!” And he put himself in that mentality and that’s what happened when the doctor came and asked him if he could still see. That’s where that came from. He wasn’t going to be denied, and I love that about that fight and about his whole personality.
CIANI: It’s impossible to discuss famous boxing rivalries without mentioning, of course, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Ultimately Ali won two out of the three fights, but Frazier arguably won the most important fight when both men were undefeated and both men had legitimate claims to the world heavyweight title. What do you think of their first fight in particular, ‘The Fight of the Century’?
SCULLY: I think that it was by far the biggest fight in history. The only one maybe close is the rematch between Louis and Schmeling for obvious reasons at the time they fought. But overall I think with Vietnam, and coming back from exile, and everything combined with the politics of the time, and segregation still being in effect, and all of these different things. I think the first Ali-Frazier fight is the biggest fight ever. It’s very unlikely any fight will ever, ever match that intensity. I think that Joe Frazier, I kind of put him in a class with Marvin Hagler against Hearns where I think he trained so intensely and he came in with such a mindset where it was something Ali wasn’t truly physically 100% ready to deal with, and I think Joe fought above and beyond even his own capabilities. I think he responded to the moment and to the situation, and he fought a fight that was probably one of the top ten overall boxing performances ever. I think right up there, I mean I would put Douglas and Tyson up there in the top ten, and a few other obvious ones, and I think Joe Frazier against Ali is right there. As much as I love Muhammad Ali, I mean he’s my idol, he’s been my idol since I was a kid and he’s the reason that I really started in the boxing game, but I would say that it’s accurate that Joe won the most important fight of the three.
CIANI: Now do you think it hurts Joe Frazier’s legacy, that despite winning what was arguably the most important of the three, that he lost the rematch and he lost the rubber match in ‘The Thrilla in Manila’, does that hurt Joe in your view?
SCULLY: No I don’t think so. In fights like that there is no winner and loser, especially ‘The Thrilla in Manila’. I mean you can’t. I don’t even think of it as wow, one guy lost and the other guy won. I just think of it as the fight. It’s like they both won or they both lost, but I don’t think anyone would hold that against Joe, that fight, not at all. That was incredible just with the heat, and the display of just punching, and heart, and fighting in that heat, and coming back from being so tired, and being hurt. Both guys I think got hurt much more than they did in the first fight, especially Joe. I mean Joe took some real, real abuse. I haven’t seen a heavyweight fight like that. I mean there’s been some great fights in recent years in the heavyweights, but not for fourteen rounds. I mean you’ve seen guys maybe for a couple of rounds where it’s like, “Wow! The fourth and the fifth rounds of that fight was incredible” or “The eighth round of that fight was incredible”, but these guys were just battering and bombing each other for fourteen rounds of brutality, and I have not seen any heavyweight fights like that.
CIANI: Now the most famous heavyweight trilogy since Ali-Frazier was Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield. When you think of their rivalry and the three matches that they had, what is your overview when assessing that?
SCULLY: I would say it’s very Ali-Frazier-ish, all three of the fights. They’re almost in a sense copies of each other. I think it was in some ways probably all three fights were just about as good, the only difference is you didn’t have that aura of the times. You didn’t have Vietnam, you didn’t have other things, and the guys especially before the first fight they weren’t really at odds with each other. So I think based on just what happened in the ring, all three of those fights they might have actually been as good overall. Like I said, they just didn’t have the sociological factors factored in.
CIANI: Now another famous rivalry, John, that became almost immortalized through the motion picture Raging Bull, which of course featured Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta. These two guys, which is unimaginable in this day and age, but they battled each other six times and at one point they fought each other twice within a matter of mere weeks. When you consider this older more historic rivalry and you compare it to some of the more modern rivalries we’ve been discussing? How do you view something like that where it seems amazing to me that two guys would even fight six times?
SCULLY: Right. Well there are a few different aspects of that era that people either don’t think of or just don’t know about, and I’d love to point them out so people can understand what they’re actually dealing with here. Those two guys when they fought the first time, they didn’t know that it was going to be a great fight and that they were going to fight again a few weeks later. So that means when the fight was over they in the span of, I don’t know what it was, three weeks or four weeks. They not only decided to fight again, but they got the contracts signed, they trained for the fight, and they built it up and built up the gates, and they fought! By comparison today you’ve got guys that say no. We can’t fight unless we build it up for six months, and we do a tune-up fight, and we have it on pay-per-view, and we do all these interviews, and all these crazy things. These two guys, two of the greatest of all time, they fought each other and they said, “Oh great fight. Let’s just do it again in a few weeks”. And they put it together like nothing, and that’s the way boxing was meant to be and that’s the way it should be. Guys want to fight, so they go hey let’s fight! But now it’s a different era, and people back then had it the best.
The other aspect of it that people don’t realize probably, they were boxing in from what I understand eight ounce gloves. It may have been six ounce gloves, but I’m sure it was eight. It wasn’t ten ounce gloves, and they were horse hair gloves. Back then they didn’t have the fancy foam padding now, and the fancy designs, and the thick gloves. I mean back then they fought with flimsy, probably poorly made, we’re talking seventy years ago, and they were six ounce gloves. Now you’re talking Ray Robinson, one of the fiercest punchers and combination punchers ever, smashing Jake LaMotta with three and four punch combinations with six ounce gloves. That’s insanity! You would be very hard-pressed to find any top guy today in the world of boxing that would agree to fight against a guy with six ounce gloves, that just didn’t happen, or even eight ounce gloves. At that weight they wear ten.
So those guys fought on relative short notice, they weren’t making huge money, and they’re fighting elite level guys, guys that are on par today with Mayweather and guys like that. And they fought with these tiny little gloves, fierce gloves, and they put on spectacular fights. You know Ray was knocked down. Even though he won five of the six, Ray was dropped probably three times that I know of in the six fights, but it may have even been one or two more times. So Ray had to really push himself. Even though he won five of the six, he didn’t come out like fresh money after all six of them.
CIANI: A lot of boxing rivalries, they tend to involve all time great fighters. But one of the greatest and most entertaining rivalries, especially in recent years, took place between two fighters that are not really viewed as being elite, without disrespecting the fighters, and that was Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward. And I’m just curious John, not only what you thought of that trilogy, but what do you think it was about these two fighters that weren’t on that top level that fans found so compelling?
SCULLY: I mean one thing I’ll say, especially about their first fight. That ninth round in that first fight, I’ll say two things about it. One, that may have been the greatest round ever. People talk about Hagler-Hearns the first round, but I don’t think that round competed with Ward-Gatti round nine. That was an incredible unbelievable round, and me as a professional boxer, a former pro who’s been in there, and I know what it’s like. To see that, I watch that, and every time I watch that I say to myself, “I don’t know how these guys did it. I don’t know how these guys came back repeatedly”. The round was literally like three rounds in one. One guy had the other guy knocked out, and he came back and had the other guy knocked out, and before the bell he flipped it on him again and had him on the way out. Both guys came close to being stopped twice each in the round. You’re not going to find that.
Another thing that I’d like to point out without even naming names, but you see these fights on HBO and big networks, and they’re names. They’re big names, and that fight was an indication that you don’t necessarily need the big names to make great fights. There are big fights out there. I think the networks should be looking for the best fights to make. Not necessarily the biggest names, but people want to see the actual fights. I mean I’d rather see two guys like Gatti and Ward in a great tremendous fight, than a guy that makes $10 million a fight, or $12 million or $8 million a fight, and it’s not that good of a fight. Like it just doesn’t make sense to me, I mean the bottom line is you still want to see the great fights that are back-and-forth. I think it’s almost with as much credit as they’ve gotten for it, and they both made I believe $1 million each for the third fight, that fight was guaranteed. Going in you knew what you had.
The fact that they only made a million when other guys make $5 or $6 million to fight fights that you already know ahead of time aren’t going to be 10% as competitive and as exciting as Gatti-Ward was, so I think in that respect the boxing business is a little twisted up and doesn’t really make that much sense sometimes. It’s amazing that those two guys had to fight each other three times before they got a million dollars out of it when they gave you everything you wanted in a fight! And everybody saw it, and everybody loved it, and everybody was looking forward to the rematches, and they still had to fight three times before they got a million each, which I think is kind of twisted and kind of indicative of a little bit of the warped sense of reality that our game is kind of stuck in.
CIANI: With the fourth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez coming up this weekend, it’s interesting to note that Marquez’s younger brother Rafael was involved in a tremendous rivalry when he fought Israel Vázquez in a four fight series where the two split the series two apiece. I’m curious what you thought of their four matches, and the interesting angle that two of the Marquez brothers were involved in modern day four fight series, which are just unusual period these days?
SCULLY: Right. I mean I didn’t see all four of the fights, but I remember. You know I read everything, and I read about it. The reason I watched one of them was because I had read about the previous one where the writer was just going on and on about how it defied common sense how these guys were brutalizing each other and what an amazing situation they found themselves in. Again, they’re two other guys. I mean even though they were good enough, the fights were considered good enough that somebody wanted to see it four times, and they still didn’t make the $10 million that other guys make to fight somebody once in a fight that they already know isn’t going to be 50% as exciting as all four of those four fights. So again, it comes back to what I’m saying. There’s a twisted sense of something here. You know those guys, I mean the fact is if a movie is really good to watch then people watch it. They pay to watch it. Now I don’t go watch an actor because he’s a great actor if I know he’s in a terrible movie. Him being a great actor is not changing the fact that if it’s a terrible movie he isn’t going to get me to go and watch it. So in that respect I think some fighters in boxing are grossly overpaid and some are grossly underpaid, and that’s something that I think needs to be looked at in how they dole out the money for these particular fights.
CIANI: Going back to Pacquiao-Marquez, what do you think fans can expect when these two square off for the fourth time and do you have an official prediction for this one?
SCULLY: You know what? As a fan and as a guy who’s watching these boxers, I just feel like my gut feeling is that it’s going to be very similar to the first three fights. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was another controversial decision. These guys may never be able to have a definitive winner just because of their everything combined, their competitiveness, and especially their styles and just the way they mesh together. I mean it’s been what, 36 rounds, and there’s no clear winner after 36 rounds of fierce, fierce boxing. I can’t really see one or the other dominating the other in the fourth fight all of a sudden, unless one guy just grows old overnight. But barring that, I think it’s going to be yet another close, close fight.
CIANI: When you think about the Pacquiao-Marquez rivalry as a whole, how do you compare it to some of the other famous boxing rivalries we’ve discussed today?
SCULLY: I think you know again, like when you take Ali-Frazier. Ali-Frazier was big on its own, but when you add everything combined sociologically and emotionally throughout the world and the ramifications that it had, they’ll never overcome that because they will never be able to match what that fight means. There’s a story behind it, and unfortunately in a way, and maybe fortunately in a way, 30 years from now if they do an HBO special recapping this four fight series, it’s going to be just about the boxing. Basically there is no real story behind it that’s going to appeal to anyone other than probably hardcore boxing fans. So in a way that’s a great thing for the sport, and in a way it’s not a good thing because the people that know about the fight already know about it. Nobody’s grandmother, like I believe people that didn’t care anything about boxing watched Ali-Frazier, especially the first one. I think only the real boxing fans are going to watch this particular fight, which maybe that’s the way it should be. But I think in terms of in the ring action and the competitiveness of these two guys, it’s right up there with all of the rivalries ever. It’s just that in the entertainment world, and boxing is entertainment, you need that extra—that extra outside of the ring story to tell. And with this one it’s just kind of the boxing that’s carrying those two guys, and some people might think that’s a good thing, and some people might say it’s a bad thing. But I think it’s a good thing.
CIANI: Do you have any final thoughts that you’d like to share?
SCULLY: Only this, that like I say, I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out and I hope they don’t have to fight again because I’d like to see them get a definitive winner in the fourth fight and let them both move on, especially Pacquiao. I mean I would say it’s borderline too late for the Mayweather fight as it is, but before it’s definitively too late I’d like to see them get this over with, and hopefully for boxing’s sake he wins and goes on to Mayweather and makes everybody talk about boxing again.
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- 2014/2015 – Reviews & Previews: Mayweather, Pacquiao, Cotto, Canelo, Bradley, Golovkin, & Khan!
- Mayweather an option for Cotto if he doesn’t face Canelo
- De La Hoya sees Canelo replacing Mayweather and Pacquiao as boxing’s top PPV star
- Quillin sees Golovkin fight as not worth the risk
- David Haye promises to return in top form in 2015