January 19, 2015

KO's Ringside Boxing Notes & Quotes IV

Sugar Ray teaches Haymon a lesson
By Jeffrey Freeman, KO Digest

In his tenth professional fight way back in 1978, Sugar Ray Leonard knocked out Al Haymon's brother Bobby Haymon with a punch that was said to have landed at or after the bell to end the third round. Brutalized, Bobby never fought again. The AP in Maryland called it a "tainted victory" at the Capital Center. Haymon's people protested up a storm but to no avail. Sugar Ray always got all the breaks and the big paydays. Today, Al is on the verge of taking over boxing and Leonard is acting as a mouthpiece for him on NBC. 

Can you believe that? You sure can. It's true.

Here is what KO believes:

Haymon's fighters sign with him because unlike anyone else in the sport, Haymon can provide them with that sweet Sugar Ray Leonard "star treatment" that they all want but find so elusive today. Big money, big fights, TV appearances, the close decisions, all the breaks. I believe Haymon was affected by what happened to his brother versus Leonard and has been trying to duplicate that benefit for those signed with him ever since.

Who is the real Black Balboa - Pascal or Cunningham?
Haitian Canadian light heavyweight Jean Pascal changes channel to HBO — "I don't have Showtime no more. They show boring fights. Sergey Kovalev is a solid, great champion. He can punch, he has good speed, he is good with his distance, he does everything well, and he has good technique. I love to be the underdog. I loved watching when Balboa fought the crushing Russian in Rocky IV. This is real life and I am going to be the black Rocky Balboa. Titles and money come and go but history doesn't. We want to make history. HBO wants to make the best fight possible, that's why they made this fight."

Mexican American Heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr headlines the January edition of "KO Digest Interview"“I can be the Mexican Mike Tyson”  

ESPN Friday Night Fights is back at the FOX Theater at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT on January 30 with a Kathy Duva Main Event featuring lightweight Karl Dargan against Tony Luis.

More interesting on the local New England level however is an 8-round middleweight undercard fight between Maine's Russell "The Haitian Sensation" Lamour and Rhode Island's Thomas "The Souljah" Falowo. The KO Digest will be ringside to cover the fight live. Lamour (11-0, 5 KO's) has distinguished himself as the best active boxer from a resurgent Maine boxing scene while Falowo (12-3, 8 KO's) has parlayed his CES Twin River success into back to back television appearances on Showtime and now ESPN.

Both fighters have fan-friendly styles and this particular bout has the region buzzing with anticipation—and choosing sides.

Happy Birthday Ali
The Genuine Article — Muhammad Ali was the first boxer I ever fell in love with. It was 1977 and I was just 7 years old when I first discovered boxing—and Ali in particular. He was fighting Earnie Shavers on NBC and I was utterly transfixed. The more I learned, the more I loved about him. I read whatever I could get my hands on that had anything to do with Ali. Boxing magazines, books, and newspapers filled my room. I could not get enough.

What exactly was so attractive to me about Ali as a young fan discovering the sport in its City of Champions, Brockton, Massachusetts? His skill in the ring, the bravery he demonstrated outside of it, his incredible gift of gab, and the remarkable courage of his convictions; all of these were factors for sure.But what I loved the most about Muhammad Ali was how good of a human being I could tell he really was, even at that tender age. There was no phony persona, no made for TV fakery. Ali was the greatest at boxing but he was also the greatest at humanity. Happy 73rd Birthday Champ and may you have many more until you and only you "call the round" then float home like a butterfly. Until that day comes, it remains a pleasure and an absolute honor to share the planet Earth with you.

Dehydration Nation
KO's Monday Rant — Congratulations are in order to new WBC heavyweight champion Deontay "The Bronze Bomber" Wilder. For what it is and what it's worth, it's good to have a de facto North American heavyweight champ in our midst again after many moons without anyone so much as resembling one. Between Wilder's title triumph and the Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko coming back to town in 2015 in search of worthy challengers, the American heavyweight boxing scene is back on the upswing, a good thing. 

But was it just a coincidence that the first time Wilder stepped up in competition after 32 straight wins by KO, there were no knockdowns and there was no knockout? Wouldn't it be ironic if we came to find out in time that Wilder was really more of a boxer than a power puncher anyway? If the truth was revealed to them, would American boxing fans and media be willing to accept it in any case? They don't seem to know the difference between the reigning World Champion and a new belt holder - or maybe they just don't care anymore. 

Team USA's long drought is technically over but I for one still thirst for more.