Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mark's Top 40 at 40: (30-26)

It's time for another installment of the Mark Lyons Top 40.

This week Mark counts down and shares his memories of numbers 30 through 26 of his top 40 all-time favorite fighters.

30. Eusebio Pedroza

Career record: 41-6-1 (25)

Three Favorite Fights: Ruben Olivares TKO12, Rocky Lockridge UD15 & Juan Laporte UD15

Viva Panama! Eusebio was a man who lived for the 15 round distance. Six rounds of boxing followed by bruising in-fighting. He had a style that would have given Salvador Sanchez pure hell, and in a world full of talkers, Eusebio was a doer.

A complete fighter that some may call "dirty". I would counter with "crafty". The list of defenses isn't a who's who, but guys like Royal Kobayashi, Patrick Ford & Juan Malverez were solid challengers.

He was just one of those tough skilled fighters that I always cheered on and it killed me that he never clashed with Sal, because he would have won.

29. Bobby Chacon

Career Record: 59-7-1 (47)

Three favorite fights: Bazooka Limon UD15, Danny Lopez KO9, Cornelius Boza Edwards UD12

Anybody that didn't love this guy should be jailed. He made Rocky Balboa look like Fredo Corleone. I'm fairly certain that most of today's fans know the name, but not enough of them have seen the fights.

Though his featherweight wars with Olivares, Limon & Lopez were fights I had to catch on tape, I saw all of his jr.lightweight renaissance live. The fourth fight with Limon was maybe the greatest fight I've ever seen. I certainly haven't seen one that was anymore barbaric, and I'll never forget Chacon managing to summon the strength to close the show with a last second knockdown to pull out the win. He even showed some rare restraint in out-boxing Alexis Arguello for six rounds with his underrated skills, before a vicious left uppercut along with a hideous gash ended that one.

Let me put it this way. If you're familiar with Bobby Chacon's work then Arturo Gatti becomes an occasionally exciting club fighter. Bobby yearned for war, be it with his inner demons or his opponent in the ring. His fights always had amazing momentum swings. You never really knew who would come out on top, no matter how grim it looked for Schoolboy.

28. Cornelius Boza-Edwards

Career Record: 45-7-1 (34)

Three Favorite Fights: Bazooka Limon UD15, Bobby Chacon TKO14 & LUD12

Talk about a fight that brings wood? These last two maniacs, Edwards and Chacon, went at it in a pair of epic confrontations. The only reason Boza is ahead is because I rooted for him to pound on Bobby. And let's be real, can you come up with a better name than Boza-Edwards?

Cornelius fell short in his attempts at beating upper echelon guys like Arguello & Camacho. But fighting at the next tier down, and it was a good one, he brought excitement every night. His tussle with Limon was another classic between those three. Boza out gutted Bazooka down the stretch and kept his crown on pure will.

He also had some excellent fights with Robert Elizondo, John Montes, Rolondo Navarette and Rocky Lockridge. The beating against Alexis was getting frightful, but Boza never stopped trying and had his moments in an amazing display of a true fighting man's heart.

Boza = you better beat my ass before I beat yours. You had to bring your lunch pail if you were dancing with the Ugandan bad ass. Nobody had an easy night with this man and he took part in several unforgettable moments.

27. Donovan "Razor" Ruddock

Career Record: 37-5-1 (28)

Three Favorite Fights: Mike Tyson TKO by 7, Bonecrusher Smith KO7, Tommy Morrison TKO by 6

The first time I saw this Canadian was against another favorite of mine, Mike Weaver. Ruddock was a speedy looking guy who controlled the fight with his jab. I know how crazy that sounds, but it's God's honest truth. He looked like a slick boxer in the making.

You can call me many things, but I'm not a liar or an apologist. I thought Razor was the second coming of the wrath of God. After his comeback destruction of Bonecrusher, I was convinced he was man enough to handle Tyson.

Those two fights are really the basis of what Tyson's "mystique" should be based on. The combination in round 6 of their first fight gave ample warning of what Ruddock was capable of. One of my favourite moments came in the rematch, when after taking countless low blows, Razor responded with a herculean hookercut to the crotch. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

But lets not pull punches, my favorite moment was this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkpaKxO5rjA

26. Shane Mosley

Career Record: 46-5 (39)

Three favorite Fights: Oscar DelaHoya I SD12, Antonio Margarito TKO9, Wilfredo Rivera KO10

You know me. I always go for the knock out. That's "Sugar" Shane.

There are few certainties in life. Fat people order a diet soda. Your local news is filled with depression. Blondes never have more fun with you, and Shane Mosley is tougher than you are. Antonio Margarito was the latest to find that out and he wont be the last.

Heading into their clash, the "experts" said it wasn't a question of who would win, but if it was possible for Mosley to last the distance. I will not claim that I knew he would he would win. I predicted Marg by close decision, but I knew Shane Mosley would never be knocked out.

Leave it to Sugar Shane to shock even his fans when it comes to a test of manhood. After a matter of seconds it was quite apparent that Margarito was Mosley's rage toy. Was it the first time? To quote "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, "Oh Hell No."

Wilfredo Rivera was an underrated performer. Shane's first fight at welterweight looked to be a decision win, until he decimated Rivera in the final round to close the show with a bang. Next came the first time Shane Mosley beat Oscar De La Hoya. Shane shrugged off losing four of the first six rounds, before proceeding to show his future boss who the real boss was in a classic.

Shane is everything that makes this sport great. Toughness, skills and the willingness to take on anyone at anytime.

Has Shane been outboxed? Yes. But Mosley 3:16 says you can't whip my ass. Am I a fan of "Sugar" Shane Mosley? "Oh hell yeah!"

Check out the previous installment of Mark's Top 40 at 40: 35-31

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