Monday, March 30, 2009

British Scene Weekend Recap

Ricky Burns was in action this weekend, defending his Commonweath super-featherweight title against Michael Gomez, while Tony Quigley and Tony Dodson engaged in a classic super-middleweight encounter for the British Title.

Dave Oakes and Matt Chudley bring you all the action.

Friday March 27

Burns Retains Title

By Dave Oakes

Ricky Burns retained his Commonwealth super-featherweight title on Friday night with an impressive 7th round stoppage of Michael Gomez.

Burns started the fight quickly, keeping the aggressive Gomez off balance by working behind a solid jab. At the end of the first round you sensed that this was going to be a long hard night for Gomez. The Mancunian seemed to be taking every punch on the chin with his defence non-existent and his head offering a stationary target for the fired up Burns.

The second and third rounds were the same as the first with Gomez trying bravely to back Burns into a corner but not having the foot speed to do so. Burns was taking full advantage of the challenger’s slow march forward and was landing left hooks and straight rights at will. When Gomez did get close enough to trade punches, Burns would hit him with a quick combination before holding and smothering the challenger’s work.

The fourth round provided Gomez’s only success of the night when he landed a big uppercut that had Burns clinging on for a few seconds to clear his head. The rest of the round was scrappy as Burns seemed to abandon his jab and was content to just stifle Gomez by constantly holding him.

Burns started the fifth in the same manner as he ended the fourth with more holding than punching. The round was halfway through when the referee had seen enough and deducted a point from Burns for excessive holding. This seemed to re-ignite the fire in Burns, who finished the round strongly, crashing punch after punch against the tiring Gomez.

The sixth round was one-sided as Burns completely took control of the fight, with Gomez offering very little in response to the champion’s quick and accurate combinations.

Gomez’s corner tried to fire their fading fighter up in the corner when really they should've been thinking about pulling him out. He was allowed out for the seventh round but with less than a minute gone he was backed onto the ropes and caught with a huge right hook that shook him badly. The follow up barrage of hooks had him sinking to the canvas just as the referee jumped in to save him from further punishment.

For Gomez, the end is now in sight. After the fight he stated that he wanted to have a couple of easy four round fights to take his record to 40-10 before bowing out. He can retire knowing he’s provided the fans with some of the most entertaining domestic fights of the past decade and can look at his Lonsdale belt with pride.

The ever improving Burns will now be looking towards a fight with Kevin Mitchell, Nicky Cook or maybe even the new European champion, Sergey Gulyakevich. On this form, he'd make those three potential fights very interesting.

e-mail Dave Oakes

Saturday March 28

Quigley Stops Dodson in Thriller

By Matt Chudley

Tony Quigley may have left his stool for the 12th round behind on the cards but the final momentum swing of the back and forth tussle during the 11th round left him with every confidence that he could see off the challenge of local rival Tony Dodson. He did just that during a dramatic final stanza that saw him crowned the new British super-middleweight champion, in a fight that will undoubtedly receive strong consideration for British fight of the year, if it doesn’t at least take that honour.

Dodson, the elder Liverpudlian got out of the gate slowly, and after being cut twice, once on the bridge of the nose and once over the left eye, was put down by a by a huge right hook in the second round. Quigley poured on the pressure but the unsteady Dodson did well to keep his upper body moving and avoid more punishment.

Quigley came out for the third in measured pursuit, but the direction of the fight changed halfway through the round. Pressed up in his own corner Dodson turned his man landing a left uppercut and followed up with a left hook. The punches clearly affected Quigley and Dodson took over the role of aggressor stalking Quigley around the ring and looking to work to the body and head and out landing his opponent for the rest of the round.

Using his superior size and strength, Dodson maintained his upper hand through the next few rounds and into the second half of the fight, but his face was showing the effects of the battle. With some swelling now accompanying the two cuts, the ring doctor was forced to have a quick look during the 7th. Dodson, who had expended an enormous amount of energy in taking charge of the fight, was now slowly become less efficient in his attack, smothering much of his own work and also striking a lot of air.

With Dodson tiring, Quigley started to come alive again in the ninth, although he was shaken by a big left hook at the end of the round.

Suffering under the pace he’d set, Dodson’s work was determined but ragged in the tenth, while Quigley, who was growing in confidence landed the more eye catching stuff.

The younger fighter started the penultimate round purposely and sensing his opponent was tiring, he seized his chance in piling on the pressure. Dodson’s brave effort was now starting to unravel, and Quigley's assault, punctuated by a right hand and a a big left, forced him to hold on for the final minute of the round.

Implored by his corner to go all out for the stoppage, Quigley came out guns blazing in the twelfth. He put Dodson down early with an overhand right, and with his follow-up attack, sent his game opponent down yet again, this time with a let hook. Dodson climbed off the canvas, but quickly found himself down once more, this time from a slip. He courageously rose but was unable to intelligently defend himself, and referee Victor Loughlin compassionately called a halt to the proceedings, crowning Quigley the new champion.

On the undercard...

Debuting Heavy David Price looked a much needed addition to the division, showing a good body attack and the ability to end a fight with one punch. Having started patiently Price came to life in the 3rd. After Price's mouthpiece fell out, the referee shouted stop boxing, only to have Ingleby catch the distracted Price with a massive right hand sucker punch. Though hurt, this fired up the nice guy from Liverpool who proceeded to blast Ingleby out in that same round with a huge right hand.

All of 6’8, with a solid jab and good amateur pedigree, he will be a useful sparring partner for his promoter David Haye in preparation for the fight with Wladimir Klitschko.

Also on the show was Merseyside fighter John Watson, who survived a final round onslaught from Martin Gethin to win their exciting 10 round British lightweight eliminator.

Derry Mathews will have to think long and hard about his chosen career path. He was controversially counted out having claimed to have not heard the count, but has now lost three of his last 4 having previously been ranked by the IBF and WBO at featherweight.

e-mail Matt Chudley

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Yorgey Upsets Hearns, Dirrell Cruises

Michael Nelson recaps last night's Shobox card.

In a shocking upset, Harry Joe Yorgey rocked Ronald Hearns several times before putting him down the for 10 count in the final 10 seconds of the 9th round. The competitive undercard was the antithesis of the main event, in which Andre "The Matrix" Dirrell stopped the overmatched Derrick Findley after Findley's corner had seen enough at the end of the 6th.

Hearns controlled the first two rounds of the undercard bout with his jab, snapping it well to both the head and body of Yorgey. An indication of things to come was established in the 3rd, however, when Yorgey briefly stunned Hearns with a heavy blows to the chin.

In an action packed 4th round, Yorgey staggered and dropped Hearns with right hands. Hearns, inheriting his father's legendary heart, came back to rally and score a knock down of his own, although Yorgey claimed he'd gone down from a slip. Upon replay, it appeared he had a point.

Hearns continued to show heart throughout the remainder of the fight. Unfortunately for him, Yorgey continued to test his chin with left hooks and right hands. Hearns was dropped in the 5th round, wobbled in the 7th, and dropped again in the 9th after a vicious left hook was followed by a hard right cross. Hearns was able to make it to a knee, but the damage sustained was too much to rise for further punishment.

Harry Joe Yorgey undoubtedly made an ample impression by stopping the heavily favored son of an all-time great. To win a world title though, he needs to be less hesitant in letting his hands go.

Meanwhile, Ronald has some strong offensive tools, namely a sharp jab and a stinging right hand. But cumbersome footwork that allows him to get caught with looping blows, a lack of head movement, and less than sturdy whiskers will likely prevent him from reaching a world class level. Nevertheless, his willingness to exchange will make for exciting TV bouts, as long as they're against below championship caliber opponents.

I'm not sure I can say the same about Andre Dirrell. As far as television friendly fights, there appears to be a glitch in The Matrix.

Andre showed flashes of brilliance in the first round of his fight against Derrick Findley, a man he towered over, severely staggering him with a lightening quick left hook. But he didn't put together the necessary combinations to finish his wounded foe, instead choosing to potshot him with winding uppercuts and flashy rights between the guard.

The remaining five rounds saw Dirrell move, jab, and occasionally crack with a powerful blow onto an opponent who offered little resistance. At the end of the 6th, Findley's corner recognized that their man was taking unnecessary punishment and halted the bout. But a concerted body attack and string of combinations would have undoubtedly finished the placid Findley a lot sooner.

Make no mistake, Dirrell has a great deal of talent. I can't help but feel he's doing his career a grave disservice by potshotting overmatched opponents though, instead of impressively forcing a stoppage using the full array of physical tools he possesses.

Perhaps his cautious style will make for intriguing bouts against more sturdy, aggressive opposition. Regardless, I hope this is the final showcase for The Matrix. Unless he wants to continue swallowing the blue pill, he needs to step up to the big leagues.

e-mail Michael Nelson
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chambers Tops Peter

Fans who came into last night’s FNF headliner, hoping the bout between Fast Eddie Chambers and Sam Peter might breathe a little life into the heavyweight division had to be disappointed with what they saw. Chambers got the win by scores of 99-91, 96-94 and 95-95, but it was an uninspiring performance, in what really looked like the perfect situation for him to impress.

Peter, who came in at a career high 265 pounds was huffing and puffing by the mid rounds, and seemed ready for the taking, only Chambers never put his foot on the gas. Instead, the slick Philly based fighter appeared perfectly content to do just enough to get the win, and in the process very nearly gave the fight away to his laboring opponent.

After the fight, he told Teddy Atlas that he was thinking too much. That’s a reasonable explanation, but it also begs the question that if he’s thinking too much with an overweight and badly gassed Sam Peter coming at him, what does that say about his chances against better opposition?

Atlas kept pointing out during the bout how many opportunities there were for Chambers to nail home his right hand. Whether it was countering after Peter brought his left back low after throwing a jab, or following up his own jab with a right hand – the chances for Chambers to snap home rights were there all night.

Yet, rarely did Chambers do anything other than fire off his jab – and not nearly enough of them - while circling out of the way of Peter’s ponderous attack.

Finally in the ninth round, Chambers raised the level of his intensity and opened up a little with very good results. Unfortunately, he couldn’t sustain that energy until the finish, and again reverted back to doing just enough to get by in the tenth.

While Peter's weight was embarrassingly high, he really worked hard until the final bell. Breathing heavily throughout, he kept plugging away, and nearly came away with a draw in a fight that shouldn’t have been close. If he brings that kind of effort into his training camp, he can beat a lot of good heavyweights.

As for Chambers, if his desire can catch up to his talent, he could make some noise against the very best in the division. But this kind of effort won't get it done.

e-mail Andrew Fruman
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Friday, March 27, 2009

Sam Peter vs Eddie Chambers Predictions

Sam Peter, weighing in at a career high 265 pounds, returns to the ring for the first time since his one sided drubbing at the hands of Vitali Klitschko back in October. His opponent, Eddie Chambers, who's on a three fight winning streak since losing to Alexander Povetkin last year, tipped the scales at a none too lean 223 pounds.

Check out what The Boxing Bulletin writers have to say on the match-up...

I give Peter very little chance of making this competitive. I liked Chambers the whole time, even before the weigh-in. Peter can get some things done against a banger, but he isn't good at cutting off the ring and I honestly don't see him landing cleanly with anything all night. Chambers by shutout decision. - Mark Lyons

I saw little reason to believe Peter would beat Chambers before news that he weighed in 12 pounds heavier than he did in his last fight. Now I see virtually no reason. His career high weight is just indicative of the downward turn his career has taken in recent years.

Of course, Peter has a puncher's chance. But Fast Eddie is sturdy, and will dominate the fight down the stretch to win a wide decision. - Michael Nelson

The Sam Peter experiment has come to an end. Obviously he no longer has respect for himself, his opponent, his management (who never should have taken this fight anyway) or the sport, so good riddance to him.

Even if he was in shape, Chambers would have given him Hell, but since he decided that discipline isn't really necessary in professional boxing, he could get embarrassed yet again.

Chambers by wide, slow decision is my pick, but I wouldn't be surprised if Peter pulled the plug on his career. -Lee Payton

I've never rated the cumbersome Peter. I think Chambers will be too fast, strong and hungry for Peter to cope with. Chambers by wide decision. - Dave Oakes

Chambers can fight, and Peter needed to show up in shape to have a chance at winning this one. 265? Come'on Sam, what are you thinking? Unless the big guy lands something very damaging early, and I think that's far from likely, he's going to get beaten handily.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

British Scene Weekend Preview

In store for British boxing fans this weekend...

Dave Oakes previews Friday night's commonwealth super-featherweight title clash between champion Ricky Burns and challenger Michael Gomez.

Matt Chudley takes a look at the vacant British super-middleweight title bout between Tony Quigley and Tony Dodson. Matt also touches on what might be next for Ireland's Bernard Dunne.

Friday March 27

Michael Gomez vs Ricky Burns (SKY)

By Dave Oakes

Michael Gomez’s demolition of Alex Arthur in 2003 remains the career highlight for the erratic, self-proclaimed madman of Manchester. On Friday night, he returns north of the border to challenge Ricky Burns for the Commonwealth super-featherweight title at the Bellahouston Sports Centre, Glasgow.

A lot has happened to Gomez since that famous night, namely a movie of his life story being made, a split from trainer Billy Graham, four knockout losses, including his strange walk-out midway through the 5th round of a fight he was winning comfortably against Peter McDonagh, and a dabble at lightweight resulting in a failed attempt to beat the then unbeaten Amir Khan. It’s safe to say Gomez doesn’t do quiet.

He had Khan down and hurt that night, but was taking too many punches and was ground down in the 5th round when he appeared to run out of energy. It’s a common trait in Gomez’s career, if he doesn’t get his opponent out of there early, he tends to fade later on.

The similarities between this fight and the Arthur fight are there to see. Burns is a long range boxer with height and reach advantages and is considered the up-and-coming fighter. Gomez is seen as past his best and is the underdog going into the champion’s backyard. Gomez knows this and will thrive off it; he’s already started the war of words and will certainly try to unsettle his younger opponent at the weigh-in with his usual antics.

This will be Burns’ second defence of his title and his biggest fight since losing to Carl Johanesson two years ago. He has improved since that fight but the fact he struggled to cope with the aggressive style of Johanesson must be a worry for his team. Burns will be looking to hit and move rather than trading with the stronger Gomez. His stiff jab and quick straight right will be of great importance in this fight and the need to keep a calm head early on could decide the way the fight goes.

Gomez will be looking to force Burns onto the ropes from the first bell and will deliver some punishing hooks to head and body. If Burns can survive the early attack and establish his jab as the fight progresses, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him wear Gomez down and stop him around the 9th round.

e-mail Dave Oakes

Saturday March 28

Tony Dodson vs Tony Quigley (Setanta)

By Matt Chudley

On Saturday at the Echo Arena in Liverpool Tony Dodson and Tony Quigley clash for the vacant British super-middleweight Title on a card that has seen more chopping and changing than the average HBO Boxing after Dark show.

Initially the main event was to involve British light-middleweight champion Ryan Rhodes defending his title against loud mouth Londoner Anthony Small with the co-feature being Belfast’s Brian Magee defending his British super-middleweight title against local boy Tony Dodson.

Rhodes, the resurgent Sheffield fighter pulled out due to a cold although the idea of facing awkward stylist and mandatory challenger Small when he had once again crept into the WBC top ten couldn't have been the most enthralling of prospects.

After suffering a back injury during training Brian Magee opted to vacate his Lonsdale belt, allowing scousers Tony Dodson and Tony Quigley to contest the vacant title.

Dodson, a big character on the British circuit held the title previously but was unable to defend it himself after suffering a string of injuries resulting from a car crash in May 2004. It is a big step up in competition for Tony Quigley, who auditioned unsuccessfully for a place on the latest series of mixed-martial-arts reality TV show “The Ultimate Fighter”. Sporting a soft 12-1 record Quigley was afforded the opportunity out of convenience as he was previously scheduled to fight for the English title on this card.

While Haymaker Promotions may have lost the three most established fighters from this bill they have been lucky enough to hold onto the services of the two biggest tickets sellers. The last of the British Olympians to turn pro and the oldest of the group, local Heavyweight Bronze medalist David Price will accompany the controversial “Dirty” Derry Mathews in filling out the undercard. Mathews, who is renowned for testing referees and socializing with football stars had built quite a following in the region until losing 2 of his last three and is looking to rebuild against South African journeyman Harry Ramogoadi over six rounds. Price is to take on short notice trail horse David Ingleby, also over six.

e-mail Matt Chudley

What next for Bernard Dunne?

Without a doubt the fight which everyone in the British Isles would like to see is Dunne vs Leicester man Rendall Munroe. However, it is reasonable to assume though that the same promotional complications that have hampered this potential fight will continue to plague it.

Dunne’s promoter Brian Peters has an ongoing deal with Irish flagship broadcaster RTE and Munroe’s promoter with the British based Sky Sports who are also present in Ireland. With an unwillingness to jump networks, an overstating of their man’s value and the public finger pointing it has become a similar situation to that of Arthur Abraham and Felix Sturm.

The real WBA champion Celestine Caballero has been amongst the many who have now called out the Irishman, guaranteeing a sell-out crowd and a big TV audience in his native land Dunne has become the meal ticket of the division. Peters had said that their dream fight would be Israel Vasquez in Las Vegas but that a voluntary defense is the likely next move.

- Matt Chudley

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Score It!... Holmes/Witherspoon (Part 2)

Yesterday, we looked at rounds 1-6 of the controversial 1983 heavyweight title fight between champion Larry Holmes and challenger Tim Witherspoon. Today, we move on to the second half of the fight.

Let's get right to it...


“Something got into Tim this round. He came rumbling forward tossing bombs, and did some bruising work early. Holmes came right back, like he always does and banged some hard shots of his own. More damage was done in this round than in the previous six combined. Tim did a little more though.” - LP

“Both men nutted up and put forth their best out put of the night. Tim's body work is thudding and he landed the harder right hands. Very close round, but I gave it to Spoon.” - ML

“I had Witherspoon well up at the half way point. He’d landed a couple nice body shots, and did some good work upstairs as well, and was really taking it to Holmes. But he did nothing for the next minute, and Larry came on very strong, and landed a number of clean hard shots. Real tough one to score, but I thought Larry actually did enough over the second half to come back and win it.” – AF


“It is jabs vs. heavy body shots to start. Which do you prefer? Larry also threw in some holding to mess with Tim. I gave him the round because over the second half, he was more effective.” – LP

“Tim landed some solid shots to the body but Holmes worked his one-two from the outside. This one could have gone either way, but I preferred Larry’s work.” - BM

“Both men take a little bit of a break after the action of the last round. Witherspoon's best punch here is another right hand to the body that made Larry wince. Larry lands a number of stiff jabs. Witherspoon did some good body work at the end. Witherspoon edged it, I think he did more damage.” - MN

“Both fighters seemed to be content with taking a rest, and neither made a real attempt to grab the round.” - AF


“One of the best rounds I have ever seen in a heavyweight championship fight. Larry is wobbling around, but he just refuses to let anyone get the best of him and out of nowhere he tags Witherspoon with a sword of a right hand out of the corner. Get's a huge reaction out of me every single time. This is caveman stuff and I love it!!” – LP

“A right hand to the body dropped Holmes' guard and set him up for a clubbing right over the top that stunned him. A hard left hook to the body followed by a right hand further staggered him. About half way through the round, Larry was getting bombed in the corner and it looked for a second he was close to getting stopped. Angelo Dundee, commentating on the fight, is going wild. Witherspoon punches himself out and Holmes, showing legendary heart, nails him with several right hands in the final minute of the round, even hurting him at one point. Clearly Witherspoon's round, but a classic.” - MN

“WOW! Holmes never ceases to amaze me with his balls. People don't talk about it enough. The dude was practically out on his feet and clearly won the last minute of the round. It wasn't enough for the round, but it gave me wood. War both of these guys.” – ML


“Not flashy but the experienced Holmes shows why he kept his crown for 20 defenses in this round. He used some nice movement to blunt Witherspoon`s momentum.” – BM

“Witherspoon looked like he was resting on his laurels this round. He followed the champ around, but didn’t let his hands go. Larry didn’t do a whole lot of punching himself, but I think landed enough jabs to win it. It was close though.” - AF

“Larry comes out on his toes like nothing happened. Flicking his jab and Spoon was defending most of them. Tim flipped the script a bit at the end of the round. But he caught a couple of rights before the bell.” - ML


“Holmes did some good early work, but Witherspoon took the play away with some very heavy punches that seemed to hurt the champ. Not much happened after that so I had to give it to Spoon.” – LP

“Holmes started well, but Witherspoon came on strong in the middle of the round, and I had the challenger up with a minute to go. Larry came on towards the end and made it close, it wasn’t enough.” - AF

“Spoon got a little lazy, and Holmes took advantage. The Easton Assassin landed some good solid right hands, and takes it on my card with his activity and straight punching.” - BM

“Holmes is snapping Witherspoon's head back with his patented jab. He mixes in a clean left hook. Witherspoon lands some nice left hooks himself. The round tightens up in the final minute as Witherspoon starts landing his own jab. Holmes round based on the first half.” – MN


“Tim begins the round with two nice shots to the body that backs Holmes off. Holmes circles him and jabs. Witherspoon gets on his toes and starts throwing flashy jabs and right hands, missing most of them but slipping in a left hook to the body. Holmes lands a right to the head, Witherspoon lands another left to the body. In the last minute, Holmes snaps off a number of clean jabs, but Witherspoon lands two big left hooks. The bell rings and Witherspoon raises his arms as Holmes walks back to his corner, looking completely spent. Witherspoon edged the last round, and the fight.” - MN

“I thought that Larry worked harder, and landed more over the first two minutes. Witherspoon was doing his dancing, but other than a couple body shots, he hadn’t really done a whole lot of punching. Then, he landed a couple nice left hooks, and a short time later, a nice right hand. They were the hardest punches of the round, and were enough to sway it in his favor.” - AF

“Great final round. Both guys are spent and they throw on guts alone. This was another very close one. I shaded it to Witherspoon on the basis of the two massive left hooks he landed towards the end of the round.” - ML

“Tim has a solid beginning, but I thought Larry Holmes gutted out the final round. While he didn't land the heaviest blows, he worked harder and landed more punches.” - LP

“Spoon blew the fight in this round. His dancing did nothing and it was a premature celebration. He needed this round. Holmes worked the whole round. Tim landed one good punch but he didn’t do enough in my opinion.” - BM

The official judges scorecards favored Holmes by a split verdict.

Chuck Hassett: 118-111 Holmes
Herb Santos: 115-114 Witherspoon
Chuck Minker: 115-113 Holmes

The Boxing Bulletin's judges had Witherspoon winning 3-1-1.

Lee Payton: 115-114 Witherspoon
Brian McCarraher: 115-114 Holmes
Michael Nelson: 115-113 Witherspoon
Andrew Fruman: 115-115 Draw
Mark Lyons: 115-114 Witherspoon

Let us know how you had it.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Score it!... Holmes/Witherspoon (Part 1)

For this month's scorecard feature, The Boxing Bulletin looks back to the night Larry Holmes put his heavyweight title on the line against young Tim Witherspoon. With only fifteen fights to his name, few gave the challenger much chance, but the 6 to 1 underdog pushed the long-time champ to the brink.

Did Larry deserve to hang on to his title? Did Terrible Tim do enough to take it?

Let's go back to the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas, May 20, 1983...

The Boxing Bulletin have assembled a panel of our writers to judge the fight and explain their scores.

The Judges: Lee Payton, Brian McCarraher, Michael Nelson, Andrew Fruman and Mark Lyons.

Today, we'll break down rounds 1-6.


“This was a classic feeling out round. Tough to score, but it’s obvious at this stage that Spoon’s defensive style is going to be a problem for Holmes.” – BM

“Both fighters let their hands go, but in a cautious non-committal way and nothing of note landed.” - AF

“There's very little to separate the two fighters. Holmes is throwing far more punches, but Witherspoon blocked or slipped almost all of them. The few punches that Witherspoon threw were more accurate, albeit nothing damaging. Close round that I'd give to Witherspoon.” – MN

“Neither guy got off much, as both fighters showed excellent defense. Holmes landed a few more jabs and actually got in a hook or two.” - ML


“Larry still can't find a home for that left jab, and is having trouble landing when he lets go with power shots. Tim landed a hard right to the body and a short one in the corner, which probably won him the round, though Holmes nailed him with a beautiful shot at the bell. It was another close one.” – LP

“Witherspoon landed a crisp right inside and worked the body well. He also blocked just about all of Larry’s jabs that round, while backing him up consistently.” – BM

“Witherspoon is still doing a good job blocking Larry's shots, and now he's landing nice right hands to the body, as well as a strong counter jab. Holmes finally caught him with a flush punch at the end of the round as Witherspoon moved in, but most of the solid blows were landed by Witherspoon.” - MN

“Much the same story as we saw in the first round. Spoon got in some nice body punches, but a cross from Holmes at the bell was the best punch of the fight so far, and was enough to even the round on my card.” – ML


“Larry has started to touch Tim up with the stick in this round, but clubbing punches from the young man to end the round are enough to win it on my card. Witherspoon also landed the hardest punch of the round (and maybe the fight, so far). It was a murderous right hand to the ribs. That had to hurt a lot.” – LP

“I'm being reminded how much more fun it is to watch these guys fight than the current batch of heavyweights. Holmes is finding his range with his jab, landing a number of stiff ones. Witherspoon continues to bang Holmes' left side with his right hand. It was a close round, but it seems like Witherspoon's landing the harder shots, so I'm giving him another one.” – MN

“Witherspoon landed a couple nice right hands to the body, and punctuated the round by winning a good exchange near the end.” – AF


“Larry's pumping his jab energetically, and it's landing more and more. Tim's still sneaking in nice body shots and counter jabs. The first two minutes are close, but Holmes took over in the last minute.” - MN

“Spoon landed a big cross early. From there Holmes dictated the pace. He
is still having trouble getting off his vaunted jab. But he slipped several through and followed with a couple of nice crosses.” - ML

“Witherspoon’s defense is the biggest factor so far. His high guard and leaning style is a bad fit for Holmes, and he’s consistently landed his counter jab right in the center of the champ’s face.” – BM


“Spoon got lazy in the round and Holmes won it. The champ came out throwing some more combos, and managed to start getting through with some clean shots.” - BM

“I thought Holmes outworked Witherspoon this round, although the challenger came on over the last 30 seconds. It wasn’t enough to sway the round though on my card.” - AF

“Holmes finished off a four punch combo with a clean right to the head, but Tim came back with a heavy hook to the body and some nice forearm work. The challenger added some more physical stuff that earned him the round, while Holmes just couldn’t hit him like he wanted to.” – LP


“Holmes had Witherspoon handcuffed a bit, and had his own jab working well. Clear round for Larry.” - LP

“Larry controlled the 6th with his jab. Witherspoon landed a big right hand to the body with about the 30 seconds to go, but Larry came back with a couple of body shots of his own.” - MN

“Spoon's defense against the jab is masterful, but Holmes still kept him at bay
with it and got a few home. He mixed in some nice right hands as well. Spoon had a bit of a rally in the last minute. But I would say this was Holmes best round so far.” - ML

We'll be back tomorrow for Part 2.

January's edition: Hagler/Leonard

February's edition: Morales/Barrera
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Boxing Bulletin British Scene

Welcome to the first edition of the The Boxing Bulletin's new weekly column on British Boxing. Each Monday, Dave Oakes and Matt Chudley will bring you all the action involving British and Irish fighters over the previous weekend.

This week, the focus is on the memorable super-bantamweight scrap between Bernard Dunne and Ricardo Cordoba, as well as Ian Napa's European bantamweight title fight against France's Malik Bouziane

Dave and Matt will also be previewing upcoming bouts in a column that will appear later in the week.

Saturday March 21

High Drama in Dublin: Dunne Topples Cordoba

By Matt Chudley
Photo © Eoin Campbell, check out the rest of Eoin
Campbell's photos from the night's action here.

In outlasting Ricardo Cordoba through an all out war which saw both men downed on multiple occasions Bernard Dunne walked away with a portion of the *WBA super-bantamweight title, in what just may have been one of the most thrilling fights ever staged on Irish soil. The home fighter’s victory completed a great day for sports in Ireland as it came mere hours after the Irish Rugby team had captured their first grand slam since 1948.

Dunne, who entered the bout as a sizable underdog with the book-makers was also making his first return to the sold out O2 Arena in Dublin, since his lone professional defeat there in August of 2007. On that night, when the venue was known as The Point, Dunne was dropped twice by Spain’s Kiko Martinez, and failed to make it out of the first round.

Perhaps the memory of the Martinez fight still lingered in Dunne’s mind, as he came out in the first round holding his gloves uncharacteristically high. The Panamanian southpaw also began cautiously, mainly using a range finding jab to try and set up his straight left.

Dunne reverted to his natural stance in the second working behind a purposeful jab, with Cordoba still working the 1-2, jab-left attack.

In the third round, Dunne began to find a home for his left hook, and with 30 seconds remaining in the round, a perfectly placed hook sent Cordoba stumbling backwards across the ring, before landing on the canvas. The punch caught Cordoba, who was leaning in while throwing a right hand to the body, flush on the side of the jaw and lit a fire under the partisan crowd. Dunne jumped on the attack as soon as referee Hubert Earle had finished administering the count but there was not enough time left in the round to press home the advantage.

The interval gave the game Panamanian enough time to recover and showing his fighting spirit he was happy to engage his Irish opponent in the fourth round, but was still shipping left hooks. A head clash midway through the round left Dunne with a cut above his left eyebrow.

In the opening seconds of the fifth round, Cordoba touched down from what appeared at first to be a clean left hook to the head but referee Earle signaled that he believed it to have been a slip. Replays indicated, Cordoba’s lead right foot may have tripped over Dunne’s left, after the punch had landed.

Later in the round after a flush right hook staggered Dunne, Cordoba followed up with a barrage of punches along the ropes, culminating with a left-right combination that sent Dunne to the canvas. Dunne was up at the count of 3, and tried to battle his way out of trouble, but was put down again later in the round, this time from a sweetly placed right hook. He was up quickly though and after nodding that he was okay, managed to tie up Cordoba’s follow-up attack, and last out the remaining 35 seconds of the round.

During the next few rounds the action became scrappier though both boxers continued to favor the same punches which had provided them with knockdowns earlier in the fight. Perhaps showing that the pace of the contest was getting to him Cordoba stumbled when seemingly unforced a couple of times during the eighth round.

The steady pace continued into the ninth and tenth rounds, with the tiring Cordoba remaining steadfast in his determination to hang on to his WBA strap. Despite his condition appearing to waver slightly, the little Panamanian warrior used his size advantage to press Dunne up against the ropes, half catching him numerous times.

Midway through the eleventh round, with both fighters looking exhausted, but still battling hard, Dunne hurt Cordoba during an exchange in the middle of the ring. Dunne, who later learned that he was trailing on all three judge’s cards, immediately pursued Cordoba to the ropes and launched a steady flow of punches that sent Cordoba stumbling backwards along the ropes, crashing to the canvas near the corner.

Cordoba was up quickly, but looked like a beaten man. With plenty of time left in the round and realizing the end may be in sight Dunne continued his assault. Cordoba seemed too tired to keep his hands up or clinch effectively when in close, but bravely tried to fight back, before being put down again from another left hook.

At this point, it could well have been appropriate to call an end to the fight but Earle let the tough champ continue until another left hook sent him down for the final time. Without a count, the fight was waved off. The time was 2:59 of round eleven.

Cordoba stayed down for some time and was escorted from the ring on a stretcher. He was quickly taken to hospital for precautionary tests, which thankfully all turned up clear. It was a rough ending, to a brutal war of attrition that saw both men pushed to their limits. Undoubtedly we’ll be talking about this one again at the end of the year, when the FOTY debates heat up.

*The WBA’s super-bantamweight champion, Celestino Caballero was elevated to “Super” champion after his win over Steve Molitor in a title unification bout last year.

The undercard...

Middleweight Andy Lee returned to action for the first time in 10 months in what appeared to be a measured test against his former sparring partner Alexander Sipos, although didn’t seem that way when Lee was cut above the right eye in the first.

With the exception of the first and ninth rounds Lee used his ring generalship to keep the rugged Sipos at a distance and put the German down in the sixth with a perfectly placed right hook. There where a few hairy moments for Lee throughout the fight when Sipos managed to work his way in close; Lee showing that his defense on the inside is still rather suspect.

e-mail Matt Chudley

Friday March 20

Bouziane Claims Euro Title

By Dave Oakes

Malik Bouziane became the European bantamweight champion on Friday night with an emphatic points victory over Ian Napa. Bouziane controlled the pace early on with quick jabs and straight rights before darting out of range. That was a glimpse of things to come as he dominated the fight in that fashion until the final bell. The odds-on favourite Napa was never in the fight and despite a late surge, he never made an impression on the athletic Frenchman. The judges scores were 118-110, 117-111 and a bizarre 115-113.

Bouziane moves to 11-1 and would be better served defending his title for the time being. He showed good movement and speed but seems to lack power. Despite the one-sided nature of this bout, I can’t see Bouziane being a threat at world level and think he would struggle against a more aggressive style of opponent.

Napa, meanwhile, must look at going back down to either flyweight or super-flyweight to rebuild his career. It’s become clear that his lack of size will count against up at bantamweight.

The undercard...

Featherweight prospect Akaash Bhatia kept his undefeated record with a one round knockout of Elemir Rafael on a quiet undercard. Bhatia moves to 14-0 and must be moved into British title level before his career stagnates any further than it already has done in the past 12 months. A shot against British champion Paul Appleby or Commonwealth champion John Simpson must be the target for the amiable Londoner.

e-mail Dave Oakes

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Timothy Bradley vs Kendall Holt Preview

While much of the talk in the boxing world has focused on the junior welterweight mega-fight between Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquaio, another big fight in the division is quickly approaching.

Michael Nelson analyzes the "other" upcoming junior-welterweight showdown between belt holders, Timothy Bradley and Kendall Holt.

Photo © Justin McKie

The WBC and WBO light welterweight title unification bout taking place at the Bell Centre in Montreal on April 4th should provide some clarity in a division that is quickly gaining steam.

Several players have emerged since the new year: Juan Urango stamped his foothold with a dominant victory over Herman Ngoudjo in January, Andriy Kotelnik and Marcos Maidana both made statements in their hotly contested bout the following month, and Victor Ortiz announced to the boxing world that he’s for real when he blew out the normally durable Mike Arnaoutis in early March. With former lightweight champion Nate Campbell throwing his hat in the mix, the winner on April 4 will have a full plate in front of them.

Neither man would have it any other way.

It’s evident that 23-0 California native Timothy Bradley set his eyes on ruling the division well before he traveled to Nottingham and snatched the WBC title from Junior Witter last May. An avid student of the game, Bradley said he studied Witter for years knowing that one day he would clash with him.

He passed his exam, snapping more jabs to the pit of the stomach than to the head, setting the heavily favored southpaw up for several overhand rights (pictured below, © Justin McKie), including one that deposited him on the seat of his pants at the end of the 6th round. He’d go on to win a split decision in a fight that most observers saw as wider than the judges scored it.

Four months later, he fought Edner Cherry on what was supposed to be the undercard of a match between Nate Campbell and Joan Guzman. After the main event was scrapped at the last minute due to Guzman’s struggles to make weight, the card became a showcase for Bradley, who easily outboxed Cherry en route to a lopsided decision.

The 8th round was especially instructive for future Bradley opponents; after Edner’s trainer Pete Fernandez cursed him out in the corner, Cherry came out recklessly aggressive and ran into a right hand that put him on the canvas, deterring any thoughts of a late round rally. Bradley is not a fighter you can make too many mistakes with.

But ask Ricardo Torres and he’ll tell you the same about the man Bradley’s about to face.

The former WBO titlist figured he had Kendall Holt finished in the first round of their rematch last June. He dropped Holt twice within the opening 30 seconds of the bout. Becoming a bit too overzealous, he ran into the top of Holt’s head as he rushed in to finish his stunned opponent and staggered backwards. With more power than his 25-2 with 13 KOs record would indicate, Holt took advantage by landing a right hand that rendered Torres completely unconscious, sitting awkwardly, half-Indian style against the ropes. It was one of the most devastating knockouts in years, but the head butt preceding it created a demand for a third fight.

The first bout between the two adversaries ended in controversy as well. Going into the 11th round, Holt was well on his way towards winning a comfortable decision in front of a hostile crowd in Barranquilla, Columbia, knocking Torres down in the 6th with a right hand. After referee Genaro Rodriguez ignored what was a clear knock down early in the 11th when another right hand sent Torres chest-first into the middle rope, Holt got caught with a crushing left hook late in the round and went down himself.

Photo © Ray Kasprowicz

Holt got up on shaky legs as the crowd pelted the ring canvas with ice and beer cans. He looked as if he was going to survive the round when Rodriguez suddenly stopped the bout after a few glancing blows from Torres. Furthermore, Holt claimed that someone from the Torres corner grabbed his leg as he attempted to escape Ricardo's onslaught.

The WBO denied the Holt camp's formal request for either a reversal of the decision or an immediate rematch, but kept Holt high in the rankings in order to set up the rematch that happened the following year.

A rubber match was supposed to erase the question marks on who the better man was. It was not to be, as Torres pulled out due to sickness, leaving Demetrius Hopkins to step up in his place a week before the fight. A slightly more aggressive Holt edged out a competitive decision; Hopkins was on the move, too much to land many serious punches, as Holt played the cautious stalker.

Holt will be forced to throw more punches against Timothy Bradley. Bradley’s jab is consistent and varied, pumping it to the head and chest of his opponent, snapping it from a variety of angles. Holt, an accomplished counter puncher, will be looking to time right hands over Bradley’s stick.

Easier said than done. Using constant head movement, Bradley is a difficult man to hit. It makes him slightly more responsible than Holt defensively, as Holt tends to keep his head in one place while he’s rattling off combinations, making the exchanges violent and unpredictable. Bradley almost always ducks and weaves underneath after he delivers his punches.

Nevertheless, while Witter’s speed and power is similar to Holt’s, Bradley has never faced a combination puncher as dangerous as Holt. If he has a mental lapse that allows Holt to land 2 or 3 consecutive blows on his chin, he can be in trouble for the first time in his career. In a recent media conference call, Bradley astutely pointed out that Holt fires off a string of punches whenever he gets cornered or trapped on the ropes. It’s where he’s most dangerous, and Bradley will have to stay low and keep his gloves around his jaw.

Holt, for his part, has a solid jab that he only uses sparingly. Edner Cherry had his best moments against Bradley when he made a concerted effort to jab with him. Holt will have to step out of character and use his stick energetically to give himself the best chance at keeping his shorter opponent at bay.

The stakes are high, so expect high drama out of a highly volatile mesh of styles. When the dust settles, the man with his hand raised will have two belts in a hot division and enough competition around him to make a run towards the top of the pound for pound list in the upcoming years. If Ricky Hatton remains king, there will be a power hungry prince at his doorstep. If Pacquiao knocks Hatton off his throne and steps back up to the welterweight division, Hatton will be compelled to reestablish his reign through a fight with the WBO and WBA unified champ.

The hush of the new era is quickly becoming a roar. The boxing world will be listening on April 4th.

e-mail Michael Nelson
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Klitschko Stops Gomez in 9

Andrew Fruman recaps last night's heavyweight bout between Vitali Klitschko and Juan Carlos Gomez.

Too big and too strong. That was the story in Stuttgart, Saturday night, as Vitali Klitschko made it a perfect two for two on the comeback trail with a 9th round TKO victory over southpaw Juan Carlos Gomez. It was an awkward messy encounter, featuring plenty of clinches, a few head clashes, a point deduction and and a bit of blood spilled on both sides.

Making the most of his size edge, Klitsckho had things his own way for most of the contest. Gomez was always looking to land his left hand, but the bigger man did a good job of moving to his left and controlling the distance with his jab. He consistently kept Gomez on the outside, and the former cruiser-weight star, never looked comfortable trying to force his way in.

Gradually, Klitschko's steady stream of heavy jabs, along with the occasional stinging right hand took their toll, and by the 5th round, Gomez was looking tired and discouraged. His face puffy, with blood dripping from a cut around his right eye, Gomez battled on, but was largely ineffective even when he did manage to get close.

A hard right hand dropped Gomez in the 7th, and towards the end of the 8th, the badly fading fighter appeared to almost turn his back to avoid more punishment. He seemed to think better of it at the last second, and the bout continued, although referee Daniel Van de Wiele would have been well within his rights to stop it.

Nobody could have blamed Gomez if he had decided to remain on his stool for the 9th, but he chose to keep fighting. After another knockdown, and with Gomez on the verge of being sent to the canvas yet again, the bout was halted at 1:48 of the round.

e-mail Andrew Fruman
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Photo Gallery: Wayne Elcock vs Matthew Macklin

Last Saturday at the Aston Events Center in Birmingham, Wayne Elcock put his British middleweight crown on the line against challenger Matthew Macklin in a battle of local fighters.

Photographer Justin McKie was ringside to capture the action in the short, but action packed "Battle of Brum".

Photos © Justin McKie

Click on the photos to enlarge.

This is challenger Matthew Macklin's second attempt at a British Title. In September of 2006, he was stopped by Jamie Moore in a bid to win the junior middleweight belt. Since then he's racked off 6 straight victories and comes into the bout with a record of 24 wins against 2 defeats.

Champion, Wayne Elcock, at age 35, almost nine years older than his rival, claimed the title with a unanimous decision over Howard Eastman in September of 2007.

He comes into the bout with a record of 19 wins and 3 defeats, and has defended the crown once with a win over Darren McDermott. That bout ended prematurely after a clash of heads in the second round prevented the challenger from continuing.

In between those outings, Elcock was stopped in the fifth round by Germany's Arthur Abraham in a bid for the IBF title.

The opening two rounds were fought at a quick pace, and featured numerous solid exchanges as neither fighter was afraid to mix it up.

Early in the third round, Macklin landed a crunching right hand, that badly shook Elcock. The aggressive challenger was quick to follow up his advantage with a two handed blitz that sent the champion staggering into the corner.

After being sent crashing to the canvas, a dazed Elcock got to his feet and indicated he was okay to continue, but a follow up barrage left referee Victor Loughlin with no choice but to call an end to the contest.

The newly crowned British Middleweight champion, Matthew Macklin celebrates his emphatic victory.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Vitali Klitschko vs Juan Carlos Gomez Predictions

Tomorrow night in Stuttgart, Germany, Vitali Klitscko (249) will be making his second appearance in the ring since his return from an almost four year lay-off. Southpaw Juan Carlos Gomez (230 1/2) should provide the big man with a stiffer test than Samuel Peter did back in October, but can the former Cuban amateur star pull the upset?

Here's what The Boxing Bulletin writers have to say...

Gomez has the skills to be competitive with Vitali, I just question his conditioning at this stage. How long has it been since a fighter moved to heavyweight without overdoing it? Holyfield?

There are other stylistic issues that make this a tough task for the former cruiserweight champ. One is the height of Klitschko. It's hard to find the range against someone who really knows how to fight tall, and I just think Gomez prefers to fight guys his size, who will come to him.

The one thing I think he has going for him is the way he controls the pace of fights. In Big Brother he has an opponent who also likes to work rather slowly, so it's possible that he steals a few rounds, or more.

I see a very slow fight where Vitali's heavier blows decide it, either by late TKO or decision. I do think he'll be the stronger fighter if it goes late. - Lee Payton

Gomez will cause some trouble early. It's just difficult for me to see him outboxing Vitali with that long jab. Klitschko is 37 years old and Peter was what amounted to be a tune up, so you can't rule anything out. But I'm going to take Vitali by mid round stoppage. - Mark Lyons

Had Gomez weighed in around 210-215, I just might have believed he was capable of pulling off the upset. But at 230 1/2, it sounds like we'll be seeing the same overweight, uninspired looking fighter from his most recent outings, and nothing I saw in those performances made me think he's capable of beating Vitali.

I'm going with the big guy by 9-3 type scores. - Andrew Fruman

Gomez' southpaw stance, size, and quickness will give Vitali Klitschko some trouble. I expect an even fight through 8, but Gomez' stamina will start to falter and Vitali should win the fight down the stretch, probably by knockout within the last two rounds. Vitali will have to be more responsible defensively than he was against Sam Peter, who didn't have the speed to touch him.

I'll say Klitschko by TKO 12. - Michael Nelson

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mark's Top 40 at 40: (25-21)

It's time for another installment of the Mark Lyons Top 40. If you've been following along, you know that Mark was born 40 years ago, and in honor of reaching the big Four-O, he's counting down the 40 favorite fighters of his lifetime.

If you aren't up to speed, make sure to check out Mark's previous countdown entries: Intro, 40-36, 35-31, 30-26.

This week, we're down to numbers 25 through 21.

25. Marvin Johnson

Career Record: 43-6 (35)

Three favorite fights: Matthew Saad Muhammad KO by 8 & TKO by 12, Victor Galindez KO11

Marvin took on all comers and took part in some of the more memorable fights of my lifetime. The two wars with Saad were as barbaric as Boxing gets. Among the best fights I have ever witnessed. His left cross that separated Galindez from his senses and his title was among the most brutal one punch knock outs I have ever seen. The beating to the body he took from Eddie Mustapha Muhammad was possibly the most vicious body beating I have ever seen.

What I am getting at, is the man was memorable.

He had hand grenades in his gloves and grape fruits in his trunks. The man won a piece of the Light Heavyweight Title three times during a Golden age for the division. Quite an accomplishment. The main chink in his armor was stamina. And while Marvin may not go down as one of histories greatest fighters, on Saturday and Sunday afternoons it was always must see TV when he was in the ring.

24. Chad Dawson

Career Record: 27-0 (17)

Three Favorite far (you know Chad's going to give us a lot more): Tomasz Adamek UD12, Glen Johnson UD12, Antonio Tarver UD12

My story on Chad from January: The Future P4P King

Photo © Ray Kasprowicz

23. Azumah Nelson

Career Record: 39-6-2 (28)

Three Favorite Fights: Salvador Sanchez TKO by 15, Wilfredo Gomez TKO11, Jeff Fenech TKO8

Ah, The Professor, this guy could do it all. He is acknowledged as a great, but I still find him to be underrated.

Pushing Sanchez to the brink after a handful of fights was an amazing sight to behold. I can’t help but like his chances if a rematch ever would have happened. Then we got to watch the transformation from crude brawler to brilliant tactician. Using whatever style suited him best for that evenings work.

The rematch against Jeff Fenech was one of the most violent displays of revenge I can recall. After the dubious draw it was a pretty consensus opinion that the Aussie bad ass was going to take his title. Nothing could have been further from reality however as Jeff found himself in the lions den from the opening bell. Very reminiscent of Mosley/Margarito for the shocking way he completely destroyed a high caliber opponent.

A glossed over win is Pat Cowdell. The Englishmen had pushed Sanchez the distance in split verdict that wasn’t quite that close, but still highly competitive. 'Zumah turned out his lights inside of a round.

From fighting Leija four times to taking on Fenech, Gabriel Ruelas, Mario Martinez & Marcos Villasana twice each. You never had to look long to secure a fight with the Professor and if it was close he was more than willing to do it again and do his best to leave no doubt. Honestly, that’s as high a compliment as can be given to a fighter from where I sit. This man would have fit right in at any era in history.

22. Michael Moorer

Career Record: 52-4-1 (40)

Three favorite Fights: Bert Cooper TKO5, Alex Stewart TKO4, George Foreman KO by 10

Double M was a baaad man.

His place in history is a strange one. I find his work at Light Heavyweight to be overrated and I think he is severely underrated as a Heavyweight. He was a staple on Tuesday Night Fights early on and early was the operative term for the latest Kronk knockout artist. He could never have stayed at the weight long enough to do much more than he accomplished there.

HBO was the stage for his first big Heavyweight fight and he and Alex Stewart exchanged bombs like Roman gladiators. Moorer nearly closed the show in the first before a spirited rally from Alex. In the fourth a series of uppercuts nearly landed Stewart’s head in the fifth row and a new player was born.

The war with Bert Cooper can best described as epic. If Heavyweight scrapped like that now, I wouldn’t have to drink a pot of coffee to endure one of their tickle fests that is passed off as Boxing.

Michael’s critics point to his chin and desire as weak points. This is Heavyweight Boxing - guys that come to fight will get rocked from time to time. One thing you can never say is that Moorer didn’t go out on his shield. Many fighters would have paid the same price for standing in front of Big George. I was cheering for Moorer the whole fight. But when he hit the canvas a room of about twenty of us erupted in unison. Since George isn’t on my list. I wanted to give him some love.

The sport could never have enough Michael Moorer’s. The next time you’re watching Wladimir Klitschko make love to a man, flip in a tape of Moorer/Cooper.

21. Larry Holmes

Career Record: 69-6 (44)

Three favorite Fights: Ken Norton SD15, Gerry Cooney KO13, Ray Mercer UD12

After reading about Ali’s former sparring partner for quite some time my first viewing was an eliminator against Earnie Shavers. Holmes put on a beautiful exhibition over twelve rds. Shavers couldn’t land a glove on and though he labored to get out of Ali’s shadow. He found a 10 year old fan right then and there, and his title winning effort over Norton a few months later is still one of the greatest Heavyweight fights I have ever seen and I think it always will be.

Holmes had the best jab in heavyweight history, sorry Muhammad, it carried the power of a cross and was deadly accurate. The most overlooked quality of the Easton assassin was his balls. Go back and watch the shot he took from Shavers in their rematch. That would be among the greatest one shot KO. punches in history, if not for one small fact; Larry got up and won.

The Cooney fight was HUGE. Those were different times, grade school and high school kids talked about Boxing then. Big fights were truly big sport, they were covered on the local news. I had several $5 bets with other kids in my eighth grade class on Larry Legend. My pop and I went to the Baltimore Arena and watched it on closed circuit TV. Cooney was good that night, but not nearly good enough.

My best friend and I used to get a case of beer and watch the comebacking Holmes on TNF with regularity. Sue me, I’m a sucker for watching old greats apply their craft. The ray Mercer fight was poetry in motion. I had bragged for weeks that Holmes was going to win and seconds into the fight he was almost floored. Then he put ray through a crash course in Boxing genius. That was larry’s last great moment, but well into his 40’s he still had enough to give Holyfield & McCall tough fights.

When you rank the top Heavyweights, I can’t see a Top 5 without Holmes in it. The man had it all and was quite a character outside of the ring. People just didn’t want to give him a chance and many still don’t want to give him his due. From “ I aint no Tommy Morrison”, to the glorious leaping kung fu kick off of the car hood at Trevor Berbick, Holmes never failed to entertain me.

In closing, Larry probably could have chosen a more tactful phrase to proclaim his superiority over Marciano, but I believe he was right. Rocky Marciano was no Larry Holmes. Few fighters were.

Check out the previous installment of Mark's Top 40 at 40: 30-26

e-mail Mark Lyons
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