Smokin’ Joe Frazier: An Appreciation

Boxing History - Boxing History

Like many fans, my introduction to the sweet science came from watching the highlight reel knockouts of Mike Tyson. A casual viewer at first, I soon became enamoured with the sport after watching such greats as Pernell Whitaker, Roy Jones Jr. and Lennox Lewis. Craving more, I decided to check out some of the great fighters of old. Every now and then, ESPN Classics would spotlight fighters such as Roberto Duran, Mohammed Ali or even Sugar Ray Robinson.

Eventually, I came upon Smokin’ Joe Frazier. I had heard the name, of course, but had not seen any of his fights. They were showing his first fight with George Foreman – Kingston, Jamaica in 1973. I could still feel the electricity all these years later as the fighters entered the ring.

And that staredown.

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Qawi To Return To Canastota!

CANASTOTA, NY – FEBRUARY 13, 2014 – The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced today Hall of Famer Dwight Muhammad Qawi will return to Canastota to attend festivities planned for the 25th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Weekend June 5-8th.

Dwight Muhammad Qawi

“Dwight Muhammad Qawi was one of boxing’s most popular stars of the 1980s,” said Hall of Fame director Edward Brophy. “His relentless style made him a fan favorite and we are looking forward to welcoming him back to Canastota to participate in the 25th anniversary celebration.”

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Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Announces 2014 Inductees

The Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame has announced a stellar cast of 18 honorees, 13 living, to its second annual Class Of Inductees. The selections were made by a panel of 33 voters from Nevada-based boxing media, past inductees and NVBHOF Board members. The 18 inductees come from 10 categories, two of which were new: Adoptive Residents (for boxers who moved to and resided in Nevada after their careers), and Pioneer Class (for those who prominently contributed to Nevada Boxing prior to 1960).

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Foreman Vs. Cooney – Foreman’s attempt to “make Tyson shiver!”

Boxing History - Boxing History

Exactly 24-years ago today, an unlikely heavyweight comeback was well underway. In fact, on this day, one year shy of a quarter of a century ago, there were two unlikely heavyweight comebacks being observed – and what’s more the two come-backing heavies were about to run right into each other.

Caesars Palace in Atlantic City was the venue, and a forty-something George Foreman faced a thirty-something Gerry Cooney in a fascinating (if much maligned) clash that was dubbed “Two Geezers at Caesars.” That tagline first appeared, I believe, in the late Bert Sugar’s excellent Boxing Illustrated magazine, yet a better tagline might have been “Punchers Collide.” For whatever shortcomings the returning duo that was Foreman and Cooney might have had, hitting incredibly hard was not one of them. The match-up sure caught the interest of the fans – hence the 12, 581 paying fans in attendance and the many more hundreds of thousands who had parted with some pay-per-view dollars to watch the 50-50 affair on TV.

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Heavyweight legend George Foreman turns 65 – “Big George” now a senior citizen

Boxing History - Boxing History

George Foreman, undeniably one of the most amazing prize fighters of all-time, celebrates his 65th birthday today. Having now been retired for well over fifteen years, Foreman has probably forgotten all about the rigours of heavyweight boxing, and is thinking only about his religious and business enterprises. But on this day of his birthday, this article asks the question: where exactly does the two-time heavyweight ruler rank in the history of heavyweight greats?

Foreman, a freakishly strong (both mentally and physically) human being, proved himself against the best in both chapters of his astonishing career. In fact, George shocked us and defied all common logic many times in both of his careers. Back in the 1970s, Foreman was a terrifying brute of a fighter, a man capable of intimidating the very best. And if an opponent wasn’t scared, Foreman’s powerful fists and underrated ability at cutting off the ring got the job done.

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Remembering thrilling warrior Ezra Sellers – the former IBO cruiserweight champ passes away at age 45

EZRAIn sad news, it has been reported (though not widely) how always-exciting cruiserweight warrior Ezra Sellers passed away earlier today due to heart problems that only recently surfaced. The 45-year-old who lived in Pensacola, Florida was a humble fighter who let his fists do the talking and fellow fighters such as Roy Jones Junior and Al “Ice” Cole have expressed their sadness at Ezra’s unexpected passing.

Turning pro as a heavyweight after a brief amateur career, Sellers was matched with a 5-0 Bruce Seldon in August of 1989. The future WBA heavyweight champ was a little too much for the green Sellers, stopping him inside two-rounds in Atlantic City. After taking some time to take stock, Ezra, as determined as ever, return to the ring in 1992, winning three fights by quick KO before being TKO’d in the 4th-round by a little-known fighter named Ed Thompson in ‘93.

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De La Hoya, Trinidad and Calzaghe all headed into The Hall of Fame – all three greats fully deserving of the honour

de la hoya464588The list of the next great fighters (and writers, promoters, photographers, etc) set to enter The Hall of Fame has been announced. To the dismay of absolutely nobody, ring greats Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad and Joe Calzaghe head the newest inductees.

The special Hall of Fame weekend will take place next June and all three retired greats are sure to be there to make speeches and meet and greet the fans. Also to be inducted are: Barry Hearn, promoter, Richard Steele, referee, Graham Houston, writer, and Neil Leifer, photographer. Also to be inducted are: George Chaney, Charles Ledoux and Mike O’Dowd in the old-timers category, and Tom Allen in the pioneers category.

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Boxing Hall Of Fame: Class of 2014 Announced in Canastota!

jpeg The International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum announced today the newest class of inductees to enter the Hall. Living inductees include two division champion “The Pride of Wales” Joe Calzaghe, six division world champion “The Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya and three division champion Felix “Tito” Trinidad in the Modern category; promoter Barry Hearn, referee Richard Steele, journalist Graham Houston and photographer Neil Leifer. 

          “We’re extremely excited about the Class of 2014 and are very much looking forward to honoring the 25th class of inductees,” said Executive Director Edward Brophy.
 
            The 25th Annual Hall of Fame Weekend is scheduled for June 5-8th in Canastota, NY. Over 20 events, including a golf tournament, banquet, parade and autograph card show, are planned. An impressive celebrity lineup of boxing greats of yesterday and today will attend this year’s Induction Weekend.

The highlight of the weekend will be the Official Enshrinement Ceremony on the Hall of Fame Museum Grounds in Canastota, New York on Sunday, June 8th to welcome the newest members. 

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Boxing: Five Memorable “Psych Jobs”

leonard4637Boxing is an inherently psychological undertaking. It is an activity that exposes the contestants to far more than the simple prospect of defeat: the potential combination of public humiliation and genuine physical harm percolate in a fighter’s mind to a degree that few who have not lived the experience can reasonably quantify. Far from being a mere test of physical skills then, boxing is perhaps one of the purest tests of human will power. Some of the biggest contests in boxing history have therefore been won or lost through cunning, bravery and fortitude as much as they have speed, strength and stamina.

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November 7th 1988 – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs. Donny Lalonde: “For All The Gold” – 25-years on

It was one of the biggest and most controversial catch-weight world title fights in boxing history, and almost as soon as Sugar Ray Leonard-Donny Lalonde was announced fans wrote into top magazines such as KO and The Ring, complaining how Leonard had massively stacked the deck in his favour.

To refresh the memory of fight fans:

Leonard, at the time of November of 1988 already a three-weight world champion (welterweight, light-middleweight, middleweight), wanted more gold and to get it he persuaded Lalonde to defend his WBC light-heavyweight title against him at Caesars Palace. But there was a catch (pardon the pun!). Lalonde, a natural 175-pounder, had to drop down to the newly-created super-middleweight weight limit of 168-pounds because – in either a stroke of contractual genius or a stark example of gaining an unfair advantage – Leonard had seen to it that the newly-gilded WBC 168-pound strap would also be on the line.

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