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Boxing history articles

Mike Tyson vs. The Early Heavyweight Legends

When many consider a fighter like Mike Tyson against the early heavyweight greats they either dismiss the ability of the old-timers and consider them “too small” or go the other way and canonize them above modern fighters. The critic will weigh the likes of Jim Jeffries, Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey in their day versus Tyson under modern rules. The first misconception that the old timers couldn’t fight is simply not true and while size does matter it can be trumped by ability. The latter point of comparing fighters under different rules is just not a level playing field. Let us consider then that we had a time machine and propelled Mike Tyson back in time to fight these men during their heyday. There are two important considerations besides the ability of the fighters themselves and those are: 1) the rules of the period and how the referees handled the fights and b) the gear that the fighters used. Continue reading

Ring 8 honoring Emile Griffith Saturday morning memorial service in New York

NEW YORK (June 20, 2014) – Ring 8 will co-host a memorial service for Hall of Fame boxer Emile Griffith (85-24-2, 23 KOs) tomorrow morning (Saturday, June 21 at 10 a.m.) at St. Michael Cemetery in East Elmhurst, New York. His son, Luis Griffith, and family will also co-host the ceremony.

The cemetery is located off Astoria Avenue and Griffith’s gravesite is in Section 19, located near the administration building. His tombstone references him being a Ring 8 member as well as its board member for 20 years. Continue reading

HBO Sports Presents a Summer Festival of Acclaimed Boxing Documentaries Starting June 26

Recognized as sports television’s best storyteller and the leading TV platform for boxing, HBO Sports presents five of its acclaimed boxing documentaries on consecutive Thursday evenings this summer on HBO2. Featuring HBO Sports’ trademark blend of unseen archival footage, home movies, revealing interviews and unique storytelling, the festival launches June 26 with the powerful ALI-FRAZIER I: ONE NATION… DIVISIBLE and concludes with the celebrated 2013 presentation LEGENDARY NIGHTS: THE TALE OF GATTI-WARD. Continue reading

What If A Fight That Never Happened Actually Did Happen? Joe Frazier Vs Ken Norton

There are some fights that were possible but they never happened. In the case of Joe Frazier verses Ken Norton a little bit of alternative revisionist history is needed to set the stage for the fight to have happened. The following, of course, is fiction and it is my take on how such a fight may have transpired.

It is May 1974 and former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier is in training to fight fellow highly ranked contender Jerry Quarry who had defeated up and coming contenders Earnie Shavers and Ron Lyle the previous year. Frazier, who was fresh off a loss to fellow ex champion Muhammad Ali, knew a win over Quarry would solidify another heavyweight title shot against the man who had brutally taken his title from him, George Foreman. But as luck would have it Quarry, who was prone to cuts, was cut while training and the injury was severe enough to sideline him for the next couple of months. Frazier was told by several promoters and by representatives of the major sanctioning bodies that he had to beat a top ranked contender in order to be considered for another title shot. But the problem was that if Quarry, who fit the bill, was not available, and both Lyle and Shavers who had already been beaten by Quarry had slipped in the rankings, who was available for Frazier to fight? 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

Kings of the Ring: A Conversation with Mike Tyson and Larry Holmes at Turning Stone

VERONA, NY (June 4, 2014) — Turning Stone hosted “Kings of the Ring: A Conversation with Mike Tyson and Larry Holmes” today to promoted this week’s ESPN Friday Night Fights (see fact sheet below), promoted by Iron Mike Productions, at the resort casino in upstate New York.

Longtime sports columnist for the Syracuse Post-Standard and Syracuse.com, Bud Poliguin, served as the moderator, asking the two Hall of Famers and world heavyweight champions a series of questions, before the floor was opened for the many fans in attendance to ask Tyson and Holmes questions. Continue reading

Counterpunch: Ali, Tyson, the Brown Bomber, and Other Stories of the Boxing Ring

In feature stories and his “Sports of the Times” column for The New York Times, Ira Berkow intimately covered boxing, interviewing some of the best fighters in the sport’s history and writing about them with his signature warm and personal prose. From memories of Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and Jack Dempsey to reflections on Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather, Berkow has reported on many of the boxing greats first-hand and focused on the special significance that boxing has had on American culture. Continue reading

How would a near-prime Joe Calzaghe fare today?

With bated breath, the entire boxing world is looking forward to the eagerly anticipated rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves. The sheer energy and excitement that will undoubtedly be unleashed by 80,000 screaming British fans is so electric it can practically be felt already. Their first encounter was incredible, and there is every reason to believe that this time the action will be every bit as intense, with the possibility of even exceeding the former’s fireworks. The atmosphere being generated is so fiery and profound and explosive, that it is totally reminiscent of the mood often created during the lead-up for fights involving the soon-to-be Hall of Fame inductee, Joe Calzaghe, the greatest super middleweight boxing has ever known. Makes you kind of wonder how Joe Calzaghe would do if he was fighting today at or near his best? Continue reading

Cus D’Amato is the Force Behind the Champ – Once Again

Boston, MA (May 2014) – Legendary boxing trainer Cus D’Amato was the strategic force behind legendary heavyweights Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson, Jose Torres, and Muhammad Ali (in an advisory role). The biographical novel based on his life, Confusing the Enemy: The Cus D’Amato Story (Acanthus Publishing, 2013) has swept through the ranks and taken the 2014 Eric Hoffer Book Award. Co-authors Dr. Scott Weiss and Paige Stover, are honored with this prestigious literary achievement having already received glowing reviews from readers and the media alike. A reader on Facebook has posted, “It is impossible to have a full understanding of boxing history without this book.” The Boxing Magazine has declared it “an instant classic for the boxing bookshelf.” Continue reading

Matthew Saad Muhammad Obit – Matthew: You Gave Us Everything You Had!

Matthew Saad Muhammad, perhaps the most entertaining light-heavyweight in boxing history, passed away over the weekend at the age of 59. Promoter J Russell Peltz, International Boxing Hall of Fame class of 2004, recalls his days with Saad.

Matthew: You Gave Us Everything You Had!

I was in my car Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh with my wife, Linda, and our grand-children and we were on our way to see the Pirates play at PNC Park when the call came in over the car-phone speaker. It was Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, calling from Las Vegas, to tell us that Matthew Saad Muhammad had passed away the night before.

Eddie boxed several times for me in the 1970s and 1980s and we have a friendship based on mutual respect. Eddie has become a keeper-of-the-flame for the fighters of his era and in January, 2011, he and his wife flew from Las Vegas to Philadelphia to attend Bennie Briscoe’s funeral, something I will never forget. Continue reading