Marc Gatford recounts Sugar Ray Robinson’s successful revenge mission over Randolph Turpin
When Luke Campbell fights pound-for-pound No 1, Vasyl Lomachenko, he’ll follow in some remarkable footsteps
The post Humiliations and upsets: British boxers who tried to beat the best in the world appeared first on Boxing News.
The August 27, 1943 battle of the legends came too late for Henry Armstrong, writes Matt Christie. Sugar Ray Robinson was in a dominant mood
The post On This Day: Sugar Ray Robinson beats a shell of the legendary Henry Armstrong appeared first on Boxing News.
Thursday, July 11: In the years since CompuBox made its debut at the Livingstone Bramble-Ray Mancini rematch in February 1985, the company, like any other business, has experienced its share of peaks and valleys in terms of workload. In the early years – especially when HBO was CompuBox’s only client – co-founders Bob Canobbio and Logan Hobson worked one show per month but the pace picked up considerably when ESPN hired the company to work its “Top Rank Boxing” series, then its weekly programs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The late, great Joe Carnicelli once worked a record 65 shows in one year and I was fortunate enough to travel to several Wednesday-Friday “doubles” during 2007-2009, my first three years as a full-time employee.
But as hectic as those days were, July 11-13, 2019 may go down as one of the busiest three days in the company’s history. That’s because its counters are set to chronicle the hits and misses for five boxing cards on Friday and Saturday as well as for tonight’s eight-fight Professional Fighters League show on ESPN+ that used the company’s CompuStrike program to track connects, ring positioning and top punch velocity. Here’s the full rundown of the boxing action:
* 7 a.m. EDT, July 12, ESPN+, from Tokyo: Ken Shiro-Jonathan Taconing for Shiro’s WBC junior flyweight title; Rob Brant-Ryota Murata II for Brant’s WBA “regular” middleweight title (a belt unrecognized by RingTV.com and The Ring magazine).
* 10 p.m. EDT, July 12, Showtime, from Tacoma, Washington: Jermaine Franklin Jr.-Jerry Forrest, heavyweights; Otto Wallin-B.J. Flores, heavyweights; Giovanni Cabrera Mioletti-Luis Porozo, featherweights.
* 7 p.m. EDT, July 12, DAZN, from Carson, California: Rey Vargas-Tomoki Kameda for Vargas’ WBC junior featherweight title; Diego De La Hoya-Ronny Rios, junior featherweights; Joet Gonzalez-Manuel Avila, featherweights; Eduardo Hernandez-Roger Gutierrez, junior lightweights.
* 8 p.m., July 13, FS1 from Minneapolis, MInnesota: Jamal James-Antonio DeMarco, welterweights; Robert Helenius-Gerald Washington, heavyweights; Karlos Balderas-Fredric Bowen, lightweights; Charles Martin-Daniel Martz, heavyweights; Bryant Perrella-Domonique Dolton, welterweights.
* 10:30 p.m., July 13, ESPN, from Newark, New Jersey: Shakur Stevenson-Albert Guevara, featherweights; Joshua Greer-Nikolai Potapov, IBF bantamweight title eliminator.
The most amazing aspect of this schedule is not only the depth and breadth of fight shows in such a short period of time but also the fact that our company provided research for every one of these fights. While Bob and I assembled content for the boxing telecasts, Nic Canobbio (the chief researcher for the company’s CompuStrike arm and the son of the CompuBox co-founder) did the same for the PFL show.
Even more incredibly, the pace will not slow by much next week as virtually all of the research has been completed for the July 18 Golden Boy/DAZN show (James Quigley-Tureano Johnson/Alberto Melian-Leonardo Baez/Marlen Esparza-Guadalupe Bautista), the July 19 ESPN+ telecast (Teofimo Lopez-Masayoshi Nakatani/Maxim Dadashev-Subriel Matias), the July 20 FOX pay-per-view pre-show (Caleb Plant-Mike Lee/Efe Ajagba-Ali Eren Demirezen) and the July 20 FOX Pay-Per-View telecast (Keith Thurman-Manny Pacquiao/Yordenis Ugas-Omar Figueroa Jr./Sergey Lipinets-John Molina Jr./Luis Nery-Juan Carlos Payano).
Needless to say, business is booming at CompuBox and that’s because boxing in general is booming. The sport is at the forefront of the streaming revolution and more than a few weight classes are deep, talented and filled with characters. The most welcome addition to this mix is the heavyweight division, which was seen as dreary during the decade-and-a-half in which the Klitschko brothers ruled with a force equal to their nicknames of “Dr. Ironfist” (Vitali) and “Dr. Steelhammer” (Wladimir). Now the division is alight with personalities such as WBC beltholder Deontay Wilder and IBF/WBA/WBO titlist Andy Ruiz, onetime titleholders Tyson Fury (the “lineal” champion), Anthony Joshua, Joseph Parker and Charles Martin and aspirants Dillian Whyte, Jarrell Miller, Luis Ortiz, Kubrat Pulev, Adam Kownacki, Dominic Breazeale and Dereck Chisora, among others. Each has his story to tell – inside the ring and out – and there is no overarching figure that overwhelms everyone else. Ruiz’s stunning stoppage of Joshua embodies the wild card persona the division now enjoys and the immediacy and impact of social media will only heighten and brighten all story lines.
A final note for America-centric fight fans. With Ruiz now holding three of the four belts and Wilder owning the other widely recognized championship, the 41 days since Ruiz’s victory marks the first time since a 38-day stretch between November 9 and December 17, 2005 in which U.S.-born fighters held all the heavyweight hardware. Back then, Hasim Rahman was the WBC titlist while John Ruiz (WBA), Chris Byrd (IBF) and Lamon Brewster (WBO) held the other championships.
Speaking of heavyweights, my contribution to this week’s hyperactive lineup is the Showtime card emanating from Tacoma, Washington, in which two of the three advertised TV fights are set to feature heavyweights (Wallin-Flores, Franklin Jr.-Forrest). That said, the real draw from a local perspective will be the opening featherweight fight between Seattle native Giovanni Mioletti (17-0, 7 knockouts) and Ecuador’s Luis Porozo (14-1, 7 KOs).
While Mioletti is now based in Chicago, he still carries the banner for Washington State, which, despite its modest profile nationally, boasts a significant boxing history. Consider:
* Hall-of-Famer Freddie Steele was known as the “Tacoma Assassin” for good reason. The former middleweight champion boasted a 123-5-11 (with 58 KOs) record and his victims included Solly Krieger, Ken Overlin, Babe Risko, Gorilla Jones, Gus Lesnevich, Vince Dundee and Ceferino Garcia – and he beat most of them multiple times.
* Tod Morgan, who registered 12 defenses of the world junior lightweight title between 1925 and 1929, was born in Dungeness and was one of boxing’s most successful “singles hitters” as he logged just 29 knockouts in his 133-42-33 record. As readers of my “How I Voted and Why” articles about my IBHOF ballot know, Morgan is my perennial choice for induction in the “Early Era” Old-Timers category that lists fighters whose careers spanned the years between 1893 and 1942.
* Spokane was the hometown of power-puncher Tiger Jack Fox, whose 89 knockouts in 139 victories landed him a spot in The Ring magazine’s “100 Greatest Punchers of All Time (as well as on the IBHOF ballot).
* Tieton in Yakima County is the birthplace of Pete Rademacher, one of boxing’s most versatile and compelling characters. Thanks to his salesmanship and business acumen, the 1956 Olympic gold medalist became the only fighter in history to challenge for the world heavyweight championship in his pro debut when he met Floyd Patterson at Seattle’s Sicks Stadium in August 1957. His brilliantly executed marketing campaign nearly achieved the ultimate payoff when he scored a shocking second-round knockdown. However Patterson arose, then proceeded to decimate Rademacher with six knockdowns on his way to a sixth round knockout. After retiring in 1962 with a 15-7-1 (with 8 KOs) record, Rademacher engineered a successful business career as president of the McNeil Corporation in Akron, Ohio, and was, at various points, a professional shooting instructor, boxing promoter, referee, inventor and prolific fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society. When I interviewed him in the late-1980s for a column in the Marietta Times as well as for an expanded story that appeared in the March 1990 issue of The Ring magazine, Rademacher said what he would have done had he beaten Patterson: “I would have never fought again. We would’ve taken this thing right up to the point where they would’ve stripped me and I would’ve retired. In the meantime, we would’ve gotten so much ink out of this thing that it would’ve gotten our youth program what it needed. When I lost, all that went down the drain.”
* It can be argued that the state’s most productive era in terms of producing world-class fighters occurred during the 1970s and 1980s. Two members of the 1972 U.S. Olympic team were from Washington State – junior flyweight Davey Armstrong from Puyallup (10 miles southeast of Tacoma) and junior welterweight gold medalist Sugar Ray Seales (who was born at a U.S. Army base in St. Croix before his family moved to Tacoma when Seales was three). The Tacoma Boys Club that developed those two did the same a few years later for future titlists Rocky Lockridge and Johnny Bumphus, the latter denied potential Olympic glory thanks to the 1980 U.S. boycott. Leo Randolph, though born in Mississippi, had deep Washington State roots and he earned gold at age 17 at the Montreal Olympics. In May 1980, before a boisterous crowd inside the Seattle Center Coliseum, Randolph scored a stunning 15th round TKO over the heavily favored Ricardo Cardona to wrest the WBA junior featherweight title and affix his name to Pacific Northwest boxing lore. Randolph lost the belt in his first defense to Sergio Palma via brutal fifth round TKO, announced his retirement at age 22 – and never came back.
* Another Olympic link for Washington State was Seattle’s Robert Shannon, who, like Bumphus, made the 1980 team but who, unlike “Bump City,” stayed in the amateurs and made the 1984 team – arguably the greatest U.S. Olympic squad of all time with its nine gold medals and controversially-rendered bronze for Evander Holyfield. Unfortunately Shannon was the only member of the team who didn’t win a medal because, while he won his first-round match, the draw had him face South Korean star (and future two-division titlist in the pros) Sung Kil Moon, who stopped Shannon in round three.
* Returning to the pros, Pasco’s S.T. Gordon shook up the cruiserweight world by blasting out WBC champ Carlos De Leon in two rounds in June 1982. Gordon, though blessed with a magnificent physique, was unable to stay at the top for very long. He successfully defended his belt against Jesse Burnett and scored a decision win at heavyweight over Trevor Berbick but he ended up losing his title to DeLeon in their rematch.
* Like Randolph, Joe Hipp was born elsewhere (Browning, Montana) but is most strongly associated with Yakima. “The Boss,” a member of the Blackfoot tribe, was a stocky southpaw who assembled a 43-7 (with 29 KOs) record during a career that spanned from 1987 to 2005 and beat two-time cruiserweight titlist Marvin Camel (KO 6), David Bey (KO 7) and Jose Ribalta (KO 2). Hipp often had to fight through cuts – win or lose – and his losses include a fifth round TKO to Bert Cooper, a 10th round TKO (on cuts) to then-WBA titlist Bruce Seldon in his only world title opportunity and, most famously, a ninth round stoppage defeat to Tommy Morrison, who overcame a broken jaw, a fractured hand and a shattered cheekbone. Entering the final round, Hipp was ahead 76-75 on two cards while Morrison led 76-75 on the third.
* One of the most notable figures from this part of the U.S. was Auburn’s Greg Haugen, who scored a stunning majority decision victory over Jimmy Paul in December 1986 to win the IBF lightweight title and begin a nice run near the top of the sport. Affectionally called “Mutt” – a name I’m told he hates now – Haugen’s trilogy with Vinny Pazienza was among the more entertaining of the era thanks to its robust action inside the ropes and the acidic trash-talk outside them, while his April 1988 IBF title defense against Miguel Santana at the Tacoma Dome ranks as one of the most bizarre. A headbutt opened a two-inch gash over Haugen’s right eye that forced the fight to be stopped in round 11 and, because the cut was believed to have been produced by a punch, Santana was announced as the winner. Officials reversed the result a half-hour later when they ruled Haugen’s cut was caused by an accidental butt and, since Haugen was ahead 106-102 and 106-101 on two scorecards (Santana was leading on the third, 106-103), the championship belt was returned to him. Haugen’s tenacity and trickery helped him become the first man to defeat Hector Camacho Sr., who was undefeated in 38 fights at the time. Haugen’s refusal to touch gloves with the “Macho Man” before the final round of their first fight induced Camacho to start throwing punches, a move referee Joe Cortez interpreted as an unsportsmanlike act worthy of a point penalty. That deduction turned a potential draw into a split decision victory for Haugen. After Camacho turned the tables on Haugen by winning a split decision in the rematch, Haugen ended Ray Mancini’s career with a savage one-punch knockout in round seven. Yes, Haugen decisively lost to the best of the best in Pernell Whitaker (L UD 12) and Julio Cesar Chavez (TKO by 5) but, then again, just about everyone fell to those two during their respective primes. Haugen’s tough-guy reputation was well-earned but those who dared to overlook his underrated boxing skill did so at their peril. Haugen fought on until age 39 and closed his 17-year career with a 40-10-1 (with 19 KOs) record with one no-decision and one no-contest.
The last few paragraphs illustrate just how much Mioletti will have to achieve if he is to be remembered as one of the best his state has ever produced. Step one of that process will be defeating Porozo in his national TV debut tomorrow night.
I expected my trek to Tacoma to be a long one and a long one it turned out to be. Starting at 7:17 a.m. EDT and ending at 6:46 p.m. PDT, I drove from Friendly to Pittsburgh International Airport, flew from Pittsburgh to Dallas-Fort Worth and from DFW to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, then met up with audio man Tim Arden, who drove us from the airport to our crew hotel, the La Quinta Inn located across the street from the fight venue, the Emerald Queen Casino.
Today’s timing was particularly fortunate; less than 10 minutes after finding a parking spot in Pittsburgh and entering the terminal building, the stormy sky cut loose with a downpour so intense that the airport was shut down for nearly a half-hour. The torrential rain didn’t adversely affect my departure time, which was a good thing because after landing in Dallas, I arrived at my connecting gate with just 15 minutes to spare.
Every so often, I am blessed with interesting seatmates. This time, the person occupying the middle seat in row 10 of the DFW to SEA leg was a 62-year-old native of Vietnam who was one of the “boat people” who came to the U.S. following the war. He now works in technical support for a computer company and was flying back to his adopted hometown after completing some out-of-town business for his firm. After chatting for a few minutes before the pre-flight instructions, he opted to rest for most of the flight, leaving me to read one of the two books I brought with me – “The Golden Age of Boxing on Radio and Television: A Blow-by-Blow History from 1921 to 1964” by Frederick V. Romano. I picked up my autographed copy a few weeks ago at the IBHOF’s card and memorabilia show and I found it to be extremely enjoyable and informative, especially the portions that profiled the early announcers as well as the challenges associated with perfecting the technologies.
We take instant worldwide communication for granted but I’m old enough to remember when crystal-clear TV pictures from faraway places were far from the norm. During my very early years, our family pulled in TV signals from an outdoor antenna that required a rotor to point it in the right direction and, more often than not, the picture we received was hazy or dotted with occasional interference from nearby electric fences.
Our area eventually secured cable service but the antenna was still pressed into service from time to time. One of those times occurred the night of November 6, 1981, when Larry Holmes successfully defended his WBC heavyweight championship against Renaldo Snipes on ABC. Our area’s ABC affiliate – WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh – was made unavailable to us, probably because the fight was staged in “The Steel City” and blackout rules were applied. Therefore we hooked up the antenna and hoped we could get a more distant ABC station.
While we couldn’t pull in a station with a good picture, I was able to hear sportscaster Myron Cope’s Cosellian performance as a ring announcer as well as the commentary of Howard Cosell himself, especially when he exclaimed, “Oh! A right hand floors Larry Holmes! Look at him! Now Holmes (is) trying to collect himself. What a startling turn of events as Snipes lifts up his arms. And Holmes is wobbly and he took a right from Snipes and Snipes is all over him! This could be one of the greatest upsets in current-day boxing!” I squinted my eyes in a futile effort to see through the snow and make out the potentially historic upset that was unfolding. Holmes, however, collected himself, landed a series of right-hand bombs to get through the seventh round and won the fight by 11th round TKO. It wasn’t until the next day when I saw highlights of what I missed and it was years before I was able to watch the entire fight without atmospheric interference.
Thankfully the plane landed in Seattle-Tacoma without interference and I met Tim at the AVIS rental car facility. While Tim drove, I gave him turn-by-turn directions provided by Google Maps on my phone. At one point, we were commanded to wedge into a left-hand lane that was stuffed with rush-hour traffic. Tim rolled down the window and asked the gentleman in the lane next to us if he would allow us to cut in front of him when the light turned green. With some hesitation, he said he would. And because he did, we were able to arrive at the hotel safe and sound.
I settled into my fourth-floor room, returned downstairs to order dinner from the hotel’s Port of Call Restaurant and Lounge and turned out the light shortly after 11 p.m., bringing down the curtain on a long but enjoyable travel day.
Friday, July 12: Remaining on East Coast time, I awakened at 4:30 a.m. and spent most of the next seven hours tending to my writing responsibilities. I stepped away for a few minutes to print out my boarding pass at the hotel’s business center as well as to watch the final couple of games of Roger Federer’s four-set victory over Rafael Nadal to reach the Wimbledon final against another longtime rival in Novak Djokovic, who defeated surprising semi-finalist Roberto Baustista Agut of Spain in four sets. I am very much looking forward to the final, and, while I am a great admirer of Djokovic – a bright, personable, charitable and funny man – I will be pulling for the 37-year-old legend to win his ninth Wimbledon championship.
To me, Federer is the Sugar Ray Robinson of tennis in this respect: If One were asked to create the perfect boxer and the perfect tennis player, that One would produce Robinson and Federer. Every punch and every stroke was a joy to watch, so much so that my eyes focused mostly on what they were doing. Not only that, they possessed every possible intangible, including off-the-charts intelligence in knowing what to do and when to do it and the resourcefulness to dig deep to extricate themselves out of difficult situations.
For these reasons, boxing historians have deemed Robinson the greatest pound-for-pound fighter ever to pull on gloves and Federer the best to ever swing a racket. If physical and mental weaponry were the only factors to be considered in the “greatest of all-time argument,” then I would heartily agree. However all GOAT arguments have a third component – success against their best peers. In this respect, their cases, in my eyes, become suspect. Here’s why:
While Robinson is universally considered the greatest welterweight to live, his record as a middleweight – which must be included when assessing his candidacy – is not one that projects GOAT-worthy supremacy. His mark between February 1951 (when the 29-year-old TKO’d Jake LaMotta to win the middleweight championship for the first time) and March 1961 (when the 39-year-old lost a unanimous decision to Gene Fullmer in their fourth and final meeting) was 23-8-1 (with 14 KOs) with one no-contest, which translates to a .697 winning percentage. Robinson deserves kudos for winning the middleweight title five times – including three times after returning from a nearly three-year retirement – but to be a five-time champion, one has to lose the belt four times. Three of those losses to Randy Turpin, Gene Fullmer and Paul Pender were considered upsets (Robinson was a 4-to-1 favorite against Turpin, a 6-to-5 choice against Fullmer and a 5-to-1 favorite against Pender) and, when they were matched again, Robinson, no doubt motivated by professional pride and a desire for vengeance, performed like the favorite he was entering those first fights and emerged victorious.
Coming into his first fight with Carmen Basilio, Robinson was a surprising 6-to-5 underdog to the reigning welterweight champion and, to Basilio’s credit, he fought like the narrow betting choice he was and defied the “little man vs. big man” dogma with the performance of his ring life. In their rematch nearly six months later, Robinson fought off illness to capture a rugged split decision victory. As great as Robinson was – and he was great in so many respects – one has to be far pickier before definitively crowning him as the best of the best of his sport. And to me, others have assembled strong enough resumes to be considered the greatest of all. One of them is Willie Pep, the only fighter in history to assemble two winning streaks of 60 fights or longer (62 and 73) and a winner of 37 decisions against hometown or regional favorites, which requires skills so superior that even local judges could not deny Pep those victories.
Would Robinson’s case for being boxing’s GOAT, to me, be stronger had he not been victimized by the 104-degree heat when he challenged light heavyweight champion Joey Maxim (a fight he was winning easily and the only inside-the-distance loss of his 201-fight career) or if he had been given the deserved victory in fight three against Fullmer instead of a draw? Unquestionably yes but because neither scenario happened, there is no rational alternative but to judge his case based on what is, not what could have been.
As for Federer, he does hold the all-time record for major championships won with 20 as of this writing – the best argument for the Swiss master – but when his record against his stiffest competition is examined, he falls far short of the mark. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are the other members of tennis’ “Big Three” and both have better overall head-to-head records against Federer (24-15 in favor of Nadal, 25-22 in favor of Djokovic entering Sunday’s final after a 0-4 start) and a superior head-to-head mark in major finals (8-5 Djokovic as of today, 10-3 Nadal). Also Nadal has defeated Federer on his best surfaces on the biggest stages (he beat Federer twice in Australian Open finals on hard courts and was the victor once on grass in the 2008 Wimbledon final, considered by many as the greatest match in tennis history) while Federer is 0-6 against “The King of Clay” at the French Open, including 0-4 in the final. Djokovic – a master of all surfaces – is, to date, 3-1 against Federer in Grand Slam finals (2-0 at Wimbledon, 1-0 at the Australian Open and 0-1 in the 2007 U.S. Open final when Federer was at his peak and Djokovic was years from his). Djokovic, for his part, is 28-26 against Nadal and while the Spaniard leads 5-4 in Grand Slam finals, the Serbian is one of only two men to have defeated Nadal in 95 matches at the French Open – a 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 shocker in the 2015 quarterfinal. Robin Soderling – who Federer defeated to win his only French Open championship in 2009 – was Nadal’s only other conqueror. In the end, I believe Djokovic will go down as the king of tennis kings. The majority of others, of course, will disagree. That’s fine – but, as you have just read, I do have a case with which I can argue.
The greatness of Nadal and Djokovic – who have, at this writing, 18 and 15 Grand Slam titles respectively – was, in great part, achieved at Federer’s expense, just like the greatness of Turpin, Fullmer and Basilio – all of whom are enshrined in Canastota – was most strongly achieved at Robinson’s expense. Robinson will still be considered the greatest of the great by most historians, as will Federer when he finally decides to put away his racquet, but as the previous paragraphs explain, there are strong reasons to believe otherwise. And I choose to believe otherwise.
I met CompuBox colleague Dennis Allen and stage manager Bob Spurck in the lobby at noon and after Dennis found a parking spot that was just steps away from the production truck, we were greeted by technical manager Paul Tarter, who told us our work station was fully assembled and ready for testing. Once we got the green lights we needed, Dennis and I prepared for what turned out to be a truncated night of action.
That’s because the word around ringside was that the Wallin-Flores fight was going to be canceled because Flores was not medically cleared to fight, a fact that was confirmed later when I went backstage. There I spotted chief second Joey Gamache, who, after a few moments of catching up, introduced me to Wallin, who was wearing street clothes. Despite his bad run of luck on “ShoBox” – a one-round no-contest against Nick Kisner on the Claressa Shields-Christina Hammer undercard in April and now a canceled fight against Flores – Wallin hid his disappointment well as we chatted about his career, both in the ring and statistically. At 6-feet-5 ½ inches, Wallin, based on my brief interaction with him, qualifies as a gentle giant thanks to his quick smile and amiability but I was also impressed by his thirst for knowledge. As I walked back toward ringside, I hoped that his next chance on ShoBox will the first in which we’ll get an extended look at him.
Not only was the telecast reduced to two fights, the entire card numbered four and both non-TV fights were saved by a pair of late subs in heavyweight Jose Corral and junior lightweight German Meraz, who fought Constantin Bejenaru and Eric Hunter respectively.
Dennis and I used Bejenaru-Corral as our warm-up fight and while the former kept me very busy as he averaged 80.3 punches per round, Corral didn’t provide Dennis nearly as much work by averaging 35.2. Bejanaru’s steady southpaw pressure produced blood from Corral’s left nostril in round three, a cut on the right side of the Mexican’s scalp in round four and a stoppage in round six after an inspector in Corral’s corner stepped onto the ring apron and signaled surrender. The inspector’s action closed out a fight in which Bejenaru prevailed 140-33 overall and 126-17 power to offset Corral’s narrow 16-14 lead in landed jabs and led 31%-17% overall and 39%-19% power to counter Corral’s 14%-11% edge in jab accuracy. The most lopsided statistical aspect in this lopsided fight was Bejenaru’s 59-0 lead in landed body shots.
Unlike most arenas, which are kept so cool that I always bring my IBHOF wind breaker even during the summer months, the Emerald Queen’s arena was on the warm side. Thankfully the heat never became oppressive and the local timekeeper brightened the spirit around ringside by bringing a large plastic bag of M&Ms and inviting us to indulge whenever the mood struck us. While Dennis refrained, I had only a few because my palate is more attracted to salts than sweets.
The length of the Bejanaru-Corral fight caused Hunter-Meraz to be pushed back to the end of the show. When I asked Dennis how many of the 20 scheduled rounds we would count, he said 12. At first, I said 20 but changed it to 16. With that, we were ready to get to work.
Lee Groves is a boxing writer and historian based in Friendly, West Virginia. He is a full member of the BWAA, from which he has won 16 writing awards, including two first-place awards, since 2011. He has been an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame since 2001 and is also a writer, researcher and punch-counter for CompuBox, Inc. He is the author of “Tales from the Vault: A Celebration of 100 Boxing Closet Classics” (available on Amazon) and the co-author of the newly released book “Muhammad Ali: By the Numbers” (also available on Amazon). To contact Groves about a personalized autographed copy, use the email email@example.com or send him a message via Facebook.
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