By Ted Sares – Now that I have been a manager for awhile, I’ve found that the money is not the greatest compared to a real job. But it’s rewarding when one of your fighters does well. I feel this reward is priceless and I would not trade this job for anything… –Stacey Goodson
Without losers, there would be no winners. –Denise Grollmus
Some say a “tomato can” is a guy who is picked because he has no chance of winning, but he looks good doing it. Maybe so, but tomato can, paid punching bag, tanker, pasty, stiff, bum, or palooka are derogatory terms that show disrespect for those who risk their lives entertaining the fans, and I refuse to use such terms (though I do not criticize those who do).
However, some on the lower levels of the quality tier often play the role of designated loser–and ‘loser” is not meant in a pejorative sense. Perhaps opponent is a better word. Some, however, know how to mix and match their opponents so that their overall record is not all that bad. Sometimes they win as many as they lose. These are “record builders.”
Stacey “Goodnight” Goodson (1995-2007)
“Goodnight” was a different kind of 500 hitter. This Arkansas heavyweight’s chill-or-be-chilled record of 37 (KO 20)-37 (KO 26)-2 is terribly deceptive. When this barnstormer stepped up, he always got chilled; when he stepped down, he chilled– but he stepped way down (against many opponents who were 0-0 coming in). In fact, he fought 28 guys who had an “0” in their win column. Perhaps his career highlight was a MD win over Larry Sutton, 3-37 at the time. He lost a rematch with Sutton, 3-39 coming in, 4 months later. Among those who (within two rounds) said good night to “Goodnight” were Donnell Holmes, Rob Calloway, Donny LaLonde, Julian Letterlough, Kirino Garcia, James Crawford, and Glen Johnson.
However, and to his great credit, he has become an active and successful manager and puts on popular shows in Arkansas. Indeed, one of his recent charges, journeyman Marcus “Big Tuna” Rhode, also hit 500 recently with a 34 (KO 29)-34 (29)-2 slate, but, like his manager, his record is deceptive, for when he steps up, the Tuna gets canned.
Marcus Rhode, also known as “The Regulator,” now sports a mark of 34 (KO 29) – 37 (KO 32)-2, but in 75 fight, he has only boxed 173 rounds–or 2.3 rounds per fight. When he loses, he likely will be stopped before the bell rings for the third round. He initiated his career in 1995 and won thirteen in a row all by stoppage against grim opposition with a total won-lost mark of 23-70-1. The first time he fought someone with a winning record, the Tuna was stopped in 4. In fact, he has only one victory against a fighter with a winning record and that was against one Mike Rabe, 2-1. Perhaps the highlight of his career was his draw with Byron Polley at the Convention Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas in 2005.
It seems “The Tuna” is the perfect dish to serve up for a fighter badly in need of a win or badly in need of getting rid of some ring rust. He last fought Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell who was in the process of regrouping after having lost three in a row. Others who have found tuna to their liking at just the right time have been Bruce Seldon (after losing to Tye Fields), JD Chapman, Jameel McCline, Lou Savarese (after being iced by Mike Tyson), and Riddick Bowe (post prison). As well, Calvin Brock, Rob Calloway (after losing to Tue Bjorn Thomsen), Andrew Golota (post the Michael Grant disaster), Dickie Ryan, Shannon Briggs (following his loss to Lennox Lewis), Lamon Brewster, Vitali Klitschko, Lance Whitaker, Jeremy Williams, Joe Hipp, Brian Nielsen, Eddie Chambers, and even Tommy Morrison (post AIDS controversy in Japan) found comfort fighting him. If you are coming off a defeat or long layoff, Marcus might just be the perfect opponent.
It’s easy to make light of these kinds of fighters; yet, every time they enter the ring, they are by definition noble and courageous. No fighter dreams of lacing up to soak up punishment. Let there be no doubt of that. No one goes in there with the intention to lose–at least I don’t believe that. Of course, there are exceptions, but this is not about that.
Look, these are not “bums“or “tomatoes cans;” these are guys doing their best. If that means they end up building records between a win here and there, so be it.