13.10.05 – By Scoop Malinowski / Boxinginsider.com – Boxing maven Bert Randolph Sugar was in Manhattan for the Hopkins-Taylor II press conference on Tuesday and took time out to share his thoughts on The Executioner, the current era, Floyd, the heavyweights, and of course his new book!
Read on for more with the one-and-only Bert Randolph Sugar…
Q: What’s new with Bert Sugar? Any new boxing books coming out soon?
Sugar: “I have a new book coming out in December called ‘Boxing’s Greatest Fighters (Lyons Press)’, which I rate ’em 1-100 pound-for-pound, throughout history. It will be out in December, because I finished editing it last night. I think it was type-set by some monkeys wearing boxing gloves [smiles].”
Q: Any surprises in your Top 5? I guess you’ll have Ray Robinson on top…
Sugar: “Robinson…Armstrong…Willie Pep…Harry Greb…and Benny Leonard.”
Q: How do you feel about the current state of boxing? Do you think it’s a very exciting era now?
Sugar: “No. Because I’ll tell you why. Most people identify – the peripheral fan, not the hardcore fan – with the heavyweight division. It’s always been the flagship of boxing, going all the way back to John L. Sullivan. There is no heavyweight division, literally. In fact, if you took the four champions – there are four of them – and put them in their gloves, robes and trunks, carrying their belts, in a police lineup – not only would the general public not know who they are, they would not know what they did for a living. So it’s up to the lighter weight classes to carry the ball, mixed metaphor. And we need fights like this – Hopkins-Taylor – more of ’em. Because this is what’s carrying boxing.”
Q: I know you’re a big Floyd Mayweather admirer. Do you think with his amazing talents, he is one of the greatest fighters of all-time?
Sugar: “No. He’s not built up his credentials enough. He’s on the cusp. Hopkins is, yes. Of the current or recent – the Ricardo Lopez, Julio Cesar Chavezes – yes. Floyd Mayweather – not yet.”
Q: On the way though?
Sugar: “Yes. He can flesh out his credentials to become one, yes.”
Q: This is going to be a really tough fight for Bernard. Do you think he will be able to overcome the youth and strength of Taylor?
Sugar: “And yet in the last fight it was the biggest miscalculation of a finish line since the hare and the tortoise. He started the 6th round figuring – I don’t know what – giving away five if not six – second half belonged to him. I had him winning. But then again, what is old eyesight? But when DiBella says it wasn’t controversial – it was. But Duane Ford not giving the last round to Taylor – when he was outlanded 3-1 – would have been a draw. 6-6. But still, the older man was coming on in the end. And, to me, that’s interesting. Not the younger, which is sort of reverse of all reasoning.”
Q: Any vision of how the rematch turns out?
Sugar: “I think Hopkins wins. Unless he’s gotten old overnight – at 40 that’s possible.”
Q: What about the possibility that the young fighter – like Sugar Ray Leonard in with Duran – becomes great by being in with a great fighter. Taylor might become a great fighter after his performance against Hopkins in July…
Sugar: “He needs more than that last fight. When he said after the fight, I’m still learning…I question. Strooong…that’s what he won the opening rounds on. Unlike most of Hopkins’ opponents, he bull-rushed him, that aggressiveness won him the opening rounds. Plural. I don’t know if Hopkins will let him do that now. If he’s learning…because Bernard is one of the great students.”
Q: Jones and Tarver, what do you think happened there? Was it a matter of Jones fading and getting old? Or is it that Tarver is just his kryptonite? He knows how to beat Jones?
Sugar: “Well we say styles make fights but Roy’s at the end of his career. The things he got away with as a great – he’s one of the greats in my book – were because of speed. His speed is not what it was. And that’s basically what deserted him. I don’t look at the Glen Johnson fight – he took that as a walk-through. I look at the first and second Tarver fights. Tarver can handle him. And Roy oversells his abilities and undersells Tarver’s. But whatever – he showed us flashes of Roy in the 5th round, and then packed it in. Then only showed his mettle by surviving the 11th and winning the 12th. I hope Roy goes off into the sunset knowing he’s done all he could do.”
Q: What are you looking forward to in the future in boxing? What excites you?
Sugar: “Floyd Mayweather excites me, particularly if he fights Zab Judah. Marco Antonio Barrera excites me – maybe a fourth fight with Erik Morales or a second with Pacquiao. There are some good fights out there. Unfortunately none of them in the heavyweight division. If you saw that Wladimir Klitschko and Sam Peter – that was one of the worst exhibits of boxing I have ever seen.”
Q: Not a believer in Vitali?
Sugar: “Well he’s gonna fight a non-fight because Hasim Rahman never seems to come up to snuff. He just declared bankruptcy. I think I’m starting the International Bankruptcy Association, it’s new – IBA – and we’re gonna have Tyson and Rahman fight for it’s title [smiles].”
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