CANASTOTA, NY – SEPTEMBER 3, 2013 – The International Boxing Hall of Fame joins the worldwide boxing community in mourning the loss of former WBO heavyweight champion Tommy “The Duke” Morrison, who passed away Sunday (Sept. 1st) in Omaha, Nebraska at age 44.
Tommy “The Duke” Morrison
“Tommy Morrison brought so much excitement and energy to the heavyweight division in the 1990s,” said Hall director Ed Brophy. “We were saddened to learn the news of his passing and we offer our condolences to the entire Morrison family.”
How fit and healthy is today’s heavyweight division? Did we fight fans have a better time of it in previous decades, or are today’s big men holding up the “glamour division” in good stead?
Picking up an old issue of Ring Magazine recently, the August 1992 issue, I scanned the top-10 heavyweight rankings. A great bunch of fighters are listed on the page of that 21-year-old issue, that’s for sure – but would the likes of Holyfield, Lewis and Mercer have beaten the cream of today’s crop?
Read on and see what I think!
The heavyweight top-10: Ring Magazine, August issue 1992 VS. Today’s heavyweight top-10: Ring Magazine
Just over 25-years ago, Iran “The Blade” Barkley, he of the mean streets of The Bronx, met Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, he of the equally tough neighbourhoods of Detroit – and a sensational middleweight title fight was witnessed.
Hearns, by 1988 already a living legend, has just made history by becoming the first ever four-time “world” champion in boxing (welterweight, light-middle, light-heavy and then middleweight). Barkley, who had been handily out-pointed by the talented Sumbu Kalambay in his only other world title challenge, was a pretty big underdog entering the ring at The Las Vegas Hilton that summer’s evening. Still, sage boxing people knew Barkley was as tough as he was dangerous. To the shock of millions, Barkley showed just how tough and dangerous he was, after taking a most ferocious beating at the hands of the champion.
Review by James Slater: New York Post writer George Willis has delivered a fine read regarding the true story regarding one of the blackest days in boxing history. Willis, having done impeccable research, has produced the definitive read on the infamous second meeting between heavyweight legends Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson.
Known universally as “The Bite Fight,” the spectacle that unfolded in Las Vegas in June of 1997 shocked everyone; fans, experts and casual viwers alike. Willis, in his addictive book, explains why.
More than just a book to cash in on the shocking behaviour of the then hugely unhinged Tyson, “Twice Bitten” also serves as a comprehensive biography of both heavyweight greats. With good coverage devoted to the formative years of both men, including when Tyson and Holyfield met for the first time, and the time the “obsession” Holyfield had of fighting Tyson first reared its head, Willis gives readers plenty of new information: such as, how a member of Team Tyson took to dying his white shorts black when no black ones were at hand, and what Holyfield trainer Don Turner feels about religion and boxing, and his take on God “picking the other guy to win.”
By Matthew Mellan: Chris Eubank Sr, from the fighting Eubank family – that includes elder twin brothers Peter and Simon, cousins Bobbie Joe Edwards and Frank, and sons Chris Jr and Sebastian – was one of the most successful non-U.S. fighters in the history of the sport of boxing.
The first time I remember watching Eubank fight was as a teenaged, Bronx-based Englishman taking on teak-tough Eric Holland on SportsChannel America in what was the pro debut for ‘The Rock’ Holland and also the first and last time he would ever go down – in the gym, amateurs or 59 pro outings; Eubank knocked him down in the 4th round of a four-round boxing masterclass in which he jabbed his opponents face off (not literally), moved nicely and flurried nicely.
Miami, Fl – On any given night the streets of South Beach offer every form of entertainment from sky lounges for swingers to jazz clubs with humdingers! In a city where everything under the sun has taken place in the darkness of the moonlight, recently, locals had a chance to witness one of the few things that no one there had ever quite seen. A typical South Beach night starts to buzz at about 1am. But on this particular evening, only moments after 8pm, a very festive audience fell into a deep silence.
In a suddenly dim theater, the only thing visible to the naked eye was a white silhouette gracefully crossing the stage in a somewhat poetic cadence to the crisp vocals of the legendary Nat King Cole’s intimate piano driven “Nature Boy”. Seconds later, those in attendance heard a familiar voice, yet a very unfamiliar tone. Under the spotlight at center stage like he did at age 20 when he became the youngest champion in Heavyweight history, was none other than “Iron” Mike Tyson.
By James Slater: In sad news, it has been reported that former top class heavyweight contender and former two-time world title challenger Carl “The Truth” Williams has passed away. Williams, just 53, lost a long battle with oesophageal cancer, passing away on April 7th.
Best known for his losing challenge of a peak Mike Tyson – when Williams was somewhat controversially stopped via TKO, when up and on his feet, in the opening round – Williams fought a number of other notable bouts.
His best performance was undoubtedly his close 15-round decision loss to an unbeaten Larry Holmes for the IBF title back in May of 1985. The long-armed Williams used his superb jab to great effect especially, with a good number of people feeling the challenger had done enough to have upset “The Easton Assassin.” Carl also fought notables such as Jesse Ferguson (WTKO10), Mike Weaver (LTKOby2), Bert Cooper (WRTD8), Trevor Berbick (WU12), Tim Witherspoon (LS12), Tommy Morrison (LTKO8) and Frank Bruno (LTKO10).
Former IBF and WBO super-bantamweight ruler “King” Kennedy McKinney feels he is more than deserving of being enshrined in The Boxing Hall of Fame. An Olympic gold medallist, McKinney made a name for himself by showing he was a warrior willing to go anywhere to fight anyone at pro level.
With a number of highlight reel moments to choose from in his thrilling, up and down career, it’s a tough job picking where to start when speaking with the 47-year-old who walked away with a 36-6-1(19) ledger in the spring of 2003.
A good enough place to start is Kennedy’s 1992 IBF title win over Welcome Ncita: a fight that saw awesome two-way action, an incredible turnaround and a truly epic one-punch KO.
By Brian D’Ambrosio – Marvin Camel started off the bout on 3/31/1980 for the WBC Cruiserweight title picking up where he left off in their first encounter – a brutally unfair draw on his opponent’s home territory of Yugoslavia. He flicked out a stiff right jab and scored hard body shots. Mate Parlov retreated and lost the first pair of rounds. After a sluggish, indecisive third round, Parlov stepped up the aggression in the next three, countering effectively.
In the sixth, Parlov cut Camel’s left cheek near the sideburn. Despite the chants and flag-waving of a small contingent of his countrymen, Parlov could not sustain his advantage. After an even seventh, the rest was controlled by Camel except for the fifteenth when an ugly gash below Camel’s eyebrow caused him to lose that round.
Pleasing to the Las Vegas crowd crammed with many of his home state Montana fans, Camel re-established his right jab in the eighth round and dictated the rest of the fight with his most dependable asset. As the fight progressed, Camel discovered that he could deliver this punch to its target from a crouch, and that Parlov could not counter effectively when Camel was in this stance.
by Seamus Hanratty: “The Celtic warrior” Steve Collins has announced a comeback fight at the age of 48, against former Boxing great Roy Jones Junior. In a comeback that amounts to a cross between a Walt Disney fairytale and a drug induced nightmare, the legendary Irish scrapper who in his hay day managed to win world titles against both Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn, and later defended his belts some eight times, announced to the world that he intends to fight American Jones in the near future.
Collins, who also enjoyed some titanic struggles with middleweight champions Mike McCallum and Sumbu Kalambay in the early part of his career, stated that “It’s a fight Roy Jones needs. He claims to be one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters around but he refused to fight me.” Quite what planet Collins was on when he made the quote above remains to be seen, but it does seem far removed from the one we currently inhabit. It’s clear that both fighters need this fight as much as the average man needs to impregnate his boss’s daughter with triplets.