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Vocapedia > Sports > Boxing




Rubin Carter of Paterson, N.J.

watches Florentino Fernandez of Cuba

fall through the ropes during their 1962 fight,

after Fernandez was knocked out in the first round

at New York's Madison square Garden.


Carter has died at age 76.


Marty Lederhandler/AP


'Hurricane' Carter Dies; Boxer Was Wrongfully Convicted Of Murder

NPR        by        April 20, 2014        11:31 AM ET


















A little boxer, seated in a boxing ring, possibly in Kay Boys’ Club.

Circa 1945.


Charles (Teenie) Harris


Teenie Harris Archive, Carnegie Museum of Art


Past and Present Collide in Pittsburgh        NYT        By Maurice Berger        Jun. 2, 2015
















boxing        USA











The Guardian > Special report > Boxing        UK






championship boxing        USA






WBC heavyweight championship > WBC world heavyweight title        UK






boxing > women            USA
















seconds out!





bout        UK








bout        USA






















fight        USA










fighter        UK






Title Fight Between Ray Mancini and Duk-koo Kim        USA        1982

















Girl Boxer: A 10-Year-Old Breaking Barriers        Op-Docs        The New York Times        3 August 2017





Girl Boxer: A 10-Year-Old Breaking Barriers | Op-Docs | The New York Times        3 August 2017


Jesselyn Silva is only 10 years old,

but she's already in the ring.


It’s no secret

that women’s boxing has nowhere near the participants

— or the money, or the audience — that men’s boxing has.


Broadcasters of the sport generally feature men;

the Amateur International Boxing Association has gone so far

as to encourage women to box in skirts.



Girl Boxer        NYT        April 2017
















boxer        UK







boxer        USA

watch?v=yn-PcRJSvmc - NYT - 3 August 2017


100000005041094/girl-boxer.html - April 2017


watch?v=4w0rXf2S65I - NYT - 10 November 2015







super-middleweight        UK






Super-middleweight unification title fight        UK


























v / versus        UK






break        USA
















punch        UK






punch        USA






punch        UK






land a punch on N        UK






exchange punches        UK






take punches





take a punch from N            USA






throw a punch against N        USA






land a left on N        USA






throw a vicious right hand        USA















Blood and Sport        Retro Report        The New York Times        10 November 2015





Blood and Sport | Retro Report | The New York Times        10 November 2015


In 1982,

fans tuned in for a fight

which left one young boxer dead.


Today, with concerns about the toll of football on the rise,

is America’s favorite game nearing its own inflection point?







U.S. & Politics - Retro Report        Blood and Sport

By RETRO REPORT    NYT    Nov. 8, 2015    13:10


In 1982,

fans tuned in for a fight

which left one young boxer dead.


Today, with concerns about the toll of football on the rise,

is America’s favorite game nearing its own inflection point?
















stunned        USA






flatten        USA






dump N to the canvas        UK






rough up        UK






knock down        UK







knockdown        UK
















 technical knockout    TKO        USA






knock out        UK











knocked out        USA






dazed        USA






confused        USA






put down





floor        UK






be floored by a left hook in the final round













fall to the canvas        USA






die        UK






rise        USA






ring post        UK






savage beating        USA






in the opening round





in the 10th round















in the ring        USA








enter the ring        USA






on the ropes





on the canvas





throw in the towel        UK






the start of the ninth round        UK





















left hook






























Ricky Hatton,

who was cut badly over his left eye

in the first round and over his right in the third,

goes after the head of his Colombian opponent Carlos Maussa

on his way to a ninth-round win


Nick Potts/PA


The Guardian        Sport        p. 15        28.11.2005


Cut-up Hatton to hit the road with Mayweather on his mind


Bloodied champion will go to the United States

for a mega-fight but faces a long lay-off after bruising battle

Sean Ingle in Sheffield        The Guardian        p. 15        Monday November 28, 2005



















Katie Dallam in the hospital

John Nowak for The New York Times        8.3.2005


Far From Hollywood, Boxer Whose Dreams Died in the Ring

By Rick Lyman        Published: March 9, 2005









































beat        UK








see off        UK








overwhelm        UK






defeat        USA






unbeaten        UK






heavyweight        UK






 heavyweight championship        USA






heavyweight boxing champion        UK






super heavy-weight champion





heavyweight champion of the world





world light welterweight title





IBF welterweight title        UK






Commonwealth lightweight title        UK






title holder /  title-holder        UK






triple world champion at different weights





World Boxing Association    WBA        UK






WBA world welterweight champion





world WBO light flyweight champion





regain the WBO welterweight title from N        UK






regain his crown        UK






straw weight champion        UK






light-heavyweight        USA






light-heavyweight world number one        UK        2008






super-middleweight title        UK


















Mayweather in the ring before the match.

“I feel like I’m more calculated,” he said before the fight.


Al Bello/Getty Images


Floyd Mayweather Jr. Defeats Manny Pacquiao in Boxing’s Big Matchup

By JOHN BRANCH        NYT        MAY 3, 2015



















Remembering Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter,

prizefighter who fought for his and others’ freedom


PBS        April 21, 2014        6:46 PM EDT
















UK > Anthony Joshua        UK








USA > Deontay Leshun Wilder        UK






Sugar Ray Leonard        USA






Terence Richard Downes        UK        1936-2017        USA


(...)  quick-witted middleweight

boxing champion from Britain,

nicknamed the Paddington Express,

who became wealthy outside the ring

by investing in legal betting shops

and later did a bit of acting






Giacobbe LaMotta        USA        1922-2017


Jake LaMotta,

boxing’s “Raging Bull,”


brawled his way

to the middleweight

boxing championship

in a life of unbridled fury

— within the ring and outside it —

that became the subject

of an acclaimed film



review?res=9C06E6D71238F937A25752C1A966948260 - Nov. 14, 1980





Bobby Chacon        USA        1951-2016


scrappy two-time

world boxing champion

who was haunted

by tragedy outside the arena

and memorialized in song

by Warren Zevon








John Harold Johnson        USA        1927-2015



whom The Ring magazine

once ranked

as the seventh greatest

light-heavyweight in boxing history,

was a sculpted athlete who was known

as a superb technical fighter

with a wide range of skills and strategies.






Ernest Terrell        USA        1939-2014


Ernie Terrell (...)

briefly shared the heavyweight championship

with the fighter then widely known as Cassius Clay

and who later, after refusing to acknowledge

that Clay had taken the Muslim name Muhammad Ali,

was battered by him in a 15-round grudge match






James Albert Ellis        1940-2014


onetime sparring partner

for Muhammad Ali

who captured the heavyweight

boxing championship

after it had been stripped from Ali

for his refusing induction

into the armed forces






Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter        1937-2014


former middleweight

world title contender

known as "the Hurricane”

whose wrongful conviction for murder

became a cause célèbre


In 1967

he was convicted, alongside Artis,

for three murders at the Lafayette Grill

in New Jersey the year before.


The murder victims were white;

the perpetrators black.


Carter and Artis

were convicted by an all-white jury,

largely on the testimony of two thieves

who later recanted their stories.


Carter was jailed until 1985,

when his convictions were set aside.


In 1975,

a year before a second trial

confirmed Carter's conviction

– after a brief period of freedom –

Bob Dylan released the song Hurricane,

detailing the allegedly racial motivations

behind the boxer's imprisonment.


In 1999,

Denzel Washington played Carter

in a film of the same name.












Kenneth Howard Norton        USA        1943-2013


Ken Norton (...)

fought three memorable fights

with Muhammad Ali,

breaking his jaw

in winning their first bout,

then losing twice,

and (...) went on to become

the World Boxing Council

heavyweight champion









Emile Alphonse Griffith        USA        1938-2013


After losing three consecutive fights,

Griffith retired in 1977

with 85 victories, 24 losses

and 2 draws.


He later worked occasionally

as a boxing trainer

and lived in Hempstead,

on Long Island.






Hector Luis Camacho        USA        1962-2012


boxer known for his lightning-quick hands

and flamboyant personality

who emerged from a delinquent childhood

in New York’s Spanish Harlem

to become a world champion

in three weight classes






John Lee Tapia        USA        1967-2012



who won world titles in three weight classes

in a chaotic life that included jail,

struggles with mental illness, suicide attempts

and five times being declared clinically dead

as a result of drug overdoses






Angelo Dundee (born Angelo Mirena)        USA        1921-2012


renowned trainer

who guided Muhammad Ali

and Sugar Ray Leonard

to boxing glory








Billy Joe Frazier        USA        1944-2011


former heavyweight champion

whose furious and intensely personal fights

with a taunting Muhammad Ali

endure as an epic rivalry in boxing history














Henry Cooper        1934-2011


popular British heavyweigh

with a murderous left hook that,

in his most famous fight,

knocked a brash, future world champion

then known as Cassius Clay on his backside






Gilbert Thomas Clancy        USA        1922-2011


Hall of Fame boxing manager and trainer

who guided Emile Griffith to the welterweight

and middleweight championships

and later worked as a boxing matchmaker

and TV analyst







Gary Mason        1962-2011






Gregory Edward Page, boxer        1958-2009


The dangers of boxing in fights

where the organisers provide

inadequate emergency medical facilities

at the ringside were made

devastatingly apparent in 2001,

when the former world heavyweight

champion Greg Page

entered the ring at the age of 42,

for a purse that amounted

to little more than loose change

compared with the pay cheques

he had earned in his prime.






Floyd Patterson, boxer        1935-2006


Floyd Patterson (...)

not only became the youngest

world heavyweight champion at 21;

he also became the first fighter

to regain the title by knocking out

Sweden's Ingemar Johansson

in the second of their three fights in 1960.


He was also the first Olympic champion

to go on and win boxing's richest prize.






Eddie Futch, boxer and trainer        1911-2001


Boxing is a sport

not renowned for its compassion.


But by retiring a battered

and virtually blind Joe Frazier

in the closing stages

of his third titanic showdown

with Muhammad Ali on October 1st, 1975,

Eddie Futch, the legendary fight trainer

who has died aged 90,

set an unforgettable

and moving example of a cornerman

unafraid to put the well-being

of his fighter first.


















Johnson (right) defeated Jim Jeffries

at Reno, Nev., a victory that caused race riots.


CreditPA Images, via Getty Images


A Relative Wages Jack Johnson’s Biggest Fight: To Clear His Name

NYT        May 8, 2018
















John Arthur Johnson / Jack Johnson / The Galveston giant    1878-1946        USA



the first black heavyweight champion,

was convicted in 1913 under the Mann Act,

federal legislation that made it illegal

to cross state lines with a woman

“for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery,

or for any other immoral purpose.”


Jim Crow era prosecutors

often used the legislation

as a type of anti-miscegenation law.


Johnson was widely despised

for flaunting his title, his wealth

and his affection for white women.


He was convicted

by an all-white jury.


Johnson spent seven years

abroad as a fugitive

before returning to the United States

and turning himself in.


He served

about a year in federal prison.




Yet it was that very symbolism,

the public face that Johnson,

the son of former slaves,

turned with such taunting glee

against white supremacists of his day,

that not only resulted

in the lynching of at least 20 black people

in riots that swept the country

in the wake of his win over

the very white and bloodied James J Jeffries in 1910,

but eventually opened the way for black fighters

to be afforded their equal standing,

and for African Americans to proclaim

their champions with pride.



























Carl Froch        UK








Ron Stander, known as the Butcher        USA






Liam Walsh        UK







James DeGale        UK






Evander Holyfield        UK






Ricky “the Hitman” Hatton        UK
















Audley Harrison        UK






David Haye        UK








Trevor Berbick        UK






Mike Tyson        UK











boxing trainer > Freddie Roach        UK
















Amir Khan        UK








Conor McGregor        YSA






USA > Floyd Mayweather Jr.        UK / USA





















































George Foreman






















Herbert Randolph Sugar        USA        1936-2012


boxing’s human encyclopedia,

a prolific writer and editor

and a flamboyant

and ubiquitous presence

in the world of the ring






Harry Carpenter        UK

sports commentator / BBC boxing commentator        1925-2010
















wrestling        UK








wrestler        USA








Randy Mario Poffo        USA        1952-2011


with his trademark sunglasses,

bandannas and raspy voice,

Randy Mario Poffo was one

of the most recognizable

professional wrestlers

of the 1980s and ’90s

as the character Macho Man











Pacquiao Stunned in Sixth Round


December 9, 2012

The New York Times



LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao never saw it coming. He never saw the punch that snapped his head back Saturday and dropped him to the canvas and left him sprawled there momentarily, face down, while his wife sobbed uncontrollably and the packed crowd at MGM’s Grand Garden Arena rose to its feet in shock.

With that, a rivalry known for its lack of a definitive triumph suddenly had the most definitive ending of them all.

Juan Manuel Marquez threw both arms skyward, as blood dripped from his nose. Bedlam ensued all around him, but Marquez said little. His face said it all.

His face summarized four fights between two men, two scored in favor of Pacquiao, another one a draw. His face summarized the release of nearly a decade of frustration. For the moment that Marquez waited for and obsessed over, for the moment he set the record straight.

“I threw the perfect punch,” he said.

It happened in the sixth round, after Pacquiao mounted the most furious of comebacks, after he overcame an early knockdown with a reciprocal knockdown, after he stung Marquez with a series of left hands. As Round 6 neared its conclusion, Marquez (55-6-1, 40 knockouts) crept in close to Pacquiao, and he came over the top from a short distance with that right.

The shot crumpled Pacquiao (54-5-2) to the canvas, right in front of Bob Arum, his promoter, who held his hands out as if he wanted to catch his prized fighter in his arms. Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee, held her face in both hands and cried. It took her husband several minutes to rise, and when he did, his face was bruised under both eyes, which were vacant. He looked lost.

“We knew it would be a tough fight,” Marquez said. “But not an impossible fight.”

Pacquiao was later sent to the hospital for a CAT scan; Marquez had a broken nose and a suspected concussion.

Before the fight, Pacquiao strode deep inside Grand Garden Arena, through a maze of tunnels. He entered Dressing Room 2 at 5:40 p.m. This was about an hour earlier than for his previous foray against Marquez. Pacquiao was so early that he caught the drug testers off guard. One ran off to fetch a test kit. Pacquiao just smiled, his face filled with confidence, so sure.

The boxer embraced his trainer, Freddie Roach.

“How are you?” Roach asked him. “You good?”

Pacquiao simply nodded.

He wore a blue T-shirt imprinted with his likeness; T-shirt Manny held a microphone, wore boxing shoes and spun a basketball on an index finger. Real-life Manny sat in a chair below where highlights of his previous Marquez fights played on a flat-screen television.

As if to underscore his mood, Pacquiao did not wait for the HBO boxing analyst Larry Merchant to interview him. He grabbed the microphone and interviewed Merchant instead. Merchant ably played along. To one query, he said he wanted to confirm HE won the previous three fights against Marquez.

Pacquiao looked up, incredulous. “Wait,” he said, “that’s my line.”

Then it got surreal. In came Mitt Romney. Yes, that Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and the presidential runner-up, every hair on his head in place. Romney, in fact, came in twice. His introduction was at once awkward and hilarious.

“Hi, Manny,” he said. “I’m Mitt Romney. I ran for president. I lost.”

All that really happened, truth stranger than fiction. Or just another Pacquiao fight.

The fighter himself stood coiled in his corner before the opening bell ring, his fists already raised. Then he charged at Marquez like a bull at a matador. Pacquiao fought the smarter fight early, as he tagged Marquez with lefts and avoided the right hand.

That all changed in the third round, all changed with one punch. It came from Marquez, who sent his right arm wide, over Pacquiao’s left glove, flush into Pacquiao’s face. The punch sent Pacquiao flying backward, on his backside. He climbed to his feet quickly, his face twisted into a sneer.

It marked the first time in 39 rounds between the fighters that Marquez had knocked Pacquiao down. If anything, it seemed to galvanize Pacquiao. Well, at least until the sixth.

Through three previous fights, through 36 razor-thin rounds, Pacquiao and Marquez had already staged a trilogy that lacked but one significant element: a clear outcome. In those bouts, Pacquiao did not lose. But he did not exactly win, either. His Marquez tally consisted of two victories and one draw and enough doubt to make a rare fourth fight compelling enough to stage.

Boxing history is much like blockbuster movies in that regard. They are plenty of trilogies, three meetings between two fighters that defined careers. A fourth fight is more uncommon. It happened with Sugar Ray Robinson and Gene Fullmer, with Jersey Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles, with Bobby Chacon and Rafael Limon and in a handful of other instances.

Pacquiao did not want a fourth bout, not initially. Nor did Roach. Marquez, among the best counterpunches of his era, often befuddled Pacquiao with stylistic kryptonite. He waited until Pacquiao came to him. And when Pacquiao, against Roach’s instructions, shifted left and led with jabs, Marquez countered over the top with stinging straight right hands.

Marquez arrived here like some boxing Popeye, his body bigger, his muscles carved from long hours in the gym. The questionable past of his trainer, Angel Guillermo Heredia, an admitted steroids dealer who testified for the government in the Balco scandal, only added to rampant speculation, which Marquez and his camp vehemently denied.

Still, Roach maintained that speed, not bulk, won fights. “I don’t think muscle men have a better chin,” he said.

The last time these boxers met, Pacquiao entered the ring with his personal life in shambles. He arrived late to the arena, and in an argument with his wife. Throughout that camp, his confidants described Pacquiao as a changed man who replaced his numerous vices with religion. Now, they say that Pacquiao, obsessive in all endeavors, had binged too much on Bible study.

Only in boxing could someone cite too much Bible study as a distraction for a fight.

For this bout, Pacquiao cut out plyometrics from his training, exercises that he said led to cramping in his calves. His promoter, Arum of Top Rank Boxing, said the last time he saw Team Pacquiao this peaceful was before Pacquiao fought Oscar De La Hoya, before he became famous and his life personal life imploded, before he won a Congressional election in the Philippines.

Whether such tranquillity could translate into the aggression Roach desired remained to be seen. They had a game plan for the third fight, after all, until Pacquiao discarded it.

This time, Pacquiao appeared to follow the plan. He remained aggressive, even as he lunged forward, at times off balance, susceptible to the right. Asked afterward if he would entertain a fifth fight, Pacquiao said, “Why not?”

Perhaps he will want to watch the punch on replay. It happens to most every fighter, one of boxing’s starkest and saddest truths. They all get hit, all get knocked down. Some champions, even Pacquiao, get knocked out.

“I got hit by a punch I didn’t see,” he said.

Pacquiao Stunned in Sixth Round,






Hector Camacho, 50,

Boxer Who Lived Dangerously,



November 24, 2012

The New York Times



Hector Camacho, a boxer known for his lightning-quick hands and flamboyant personality who emerged from a delinquent childhood in New York’s Spanish Harlem to become a world champion in three weight classes, died Saturday in San Juan, P.R., four days after after being shot while sitting in a parked car. He was 50.

His death was reported by Dr. Ernesto Torres, the director of the Centro Médico trauma center in Puerto Rico, who said Camacho had a heart attack and died a short time later after being taken off life support. He was declared brain dead on Thursday.

The police said that Camacho was shot in the left side of the face on Tuesday night as he sat in a black Ford Mustang with a friend, The Associated Press reported. The bullet fractured his vertebrae and was lodged in his shoulder when he was taken to the Puerto Rico Medical Center. The friend, Adrian Mojica Moreno, was also killed.

The police said that two men fled the scene in a sport utility vehicle but that no arrests had been made. They said that nine bags of cocaine were found in Moreno’s pockets and that a 10th was found open in the car.

Fighting in bouts sanctioned by professional boxing’s myriad organizing bodies, Camacho, who was widely known as Macho Camacho, won titles as a super featherweight (maximum 130 pounds), a lightweight (135 pounds) and a junior welterweight (140 pounds). In his last title bout, at age 35 in 1997, he fought at 147 pounds and lost to the welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya.

Terrifically agile and fast afoot, Camacho had a sackful of canny tricks gleaned from his teenage years as a street fighter; he was known occasionally to spin his opponents 180 degrees and reach around to punch them from behind. Rather than a slugger, he was a precise, impossibly rapid-fire puncher and deft counterpuncher who early on drew the admiration of the boxer who was then the avatar of hand speed, Sugar Ray Leonard.

“Not only quick, but accurate,” Leonard said in 1982 after watching Camacho, then a super featherweight, dispatch Johnny Sato in four rounds. He added: “I told him that people are always asking who’s going to take my place. I told him he could.”

Fifteen years later, Camacho, who was six years younger than Leonard, ended Leonard’s comeback attempt at 40, knocking him out in the fifth round.

In the 1980s and ’90s, few boxers were more attention-grabbing than Camacho. He was known for his hairdo, which featured a spit curl over his forehead; his clownish antics at news conferences; his brashness and wit, especially whenever a reporter with a pad or a microphone was around; and his dazzling outfits. He variously entered the ring in a diaper, a Roman gladiator’s outfit, a dress, an American Indian costume complete with headdress, a loincloth and a black fox fur robe with his nickname, Macho, stitched across the back in white mink.

“From now on I’m going to dominate this game,” he said in an interview with The New York Times in 1985, after he defeated José Luís Ramirez to win the World Boxing Council lightweight crown, his second title.

Three years earlier, he had earned $50,000 for whipping Sato. Camacho, who was then 20, acknowledged that this was a lot of money, but he told Sports Illustrated, “A few years ago, if I had met Sato on 115th Street, I would’ve done the same thing for nothing.”

As a teenager Camacho was a brawler, a serial shoplifter, an admitted drug user and a car thief, and he never put that part of his nature behind him. He was arrested numerous times on charges including domestic abuse, possession of a controlled substance, burglary and trying to take an M-16 rifle through customs. This year he turned himself in after a warrant charged him with beating one of his sons. A trial was pending at his death.

Hector Luis Camacho was born in Bayamon, P.R., near San Juan, on May 24, 1962. After his mother, Maria, separated from his father when Hector was 3 years old, they moved to Spanish Harlem. He started boxing at 11 and eventually won three New York City Golden Gloves titles, though after the first one he found himself in a cell at Rikers Island, serving three months for car theft.

At 15, after being thrown out of a number of schools, he entered a Manhattan high school for troubled youths, where he came under the influence of a language teacher, Pat Flannery, who taught him to read and became a father figure, guiding him to the Golden Gloves. Flannery is credited with giving Camacho his nickname.

Camacho won his first professional fight in 1980, and he earned his first title, the World Boxing Council super featherweight crown, by knocking out Rafael Limón in August 1983. His last fight, at 161 pounds, was in 2010 in Kissimmee, Fla.; he won. His professional record was 79-6-3, with 38 knockouts.

Camacho was married once and divorced. His survivors include his mother; his father, Hector; three sisters, Estrella, Esther and Raquel; a brother, Félix; four sons, Hector Jr., Taylor, Christian and Justin; and two grandsons. Hector Jr. is also a professional boxer.


Omaya Sosa Pascual

contributed reporting from San Juan, P.R.



This article has been revised

to reflect the following correction:

Correction: November 24, 2012

A previous version of this article misstated

the number of Camacho’s surviving siblings.

He has four, not five.

    Hector Camacho, 50, Boxer Who Lived Dangerously, Dies, NYT, 24.11.2012,






Bert Sugar,

Boxing Writer and Commentator,

Is Dead at 75


March 26, 2012
The New York Times


Bert Sugar, boxing’s human encyclopedia, a prolific writer and editor and a flamboyant and ubiquitous presence in the world of the ring, died on Sunday in Mount Kisco, N.Y. He was 75.

He had lung cancer and died of cardiac arrest at Northern Westchester Hospital, his daughter, Jennifer Frawley, said.

The author or editor of dozens of books; the editor, at various times, of The Ring magazine and Boxing Illustrated; and a television and radio commentator who rarely turned away from a microphone, Mr. Sugar was as voluminous a speaker as he was a writer.

Garrulous, opinionated, an eager conversationalist who was known to talk with just about anybody, he was an accomplished raconteur with a bottomless sack of anecdotes and an incorrigible penchant for wisecracks and bad jokes. You could pick him out in a crowded room by his voice — a distinctively upbeat growl — or by the omnipresent wide-brimmed fedora on his head and the fat cigar in his mouth.

Mr. Sugar, who was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005, was not simply a character, however. He wrote about the sport with swagger and panache, a prose style that carried the weight of expertise and that simply assumed the authority to bellow and bleat:

“In the world of the early 1900s, still awash with Victorian gentility and doily-type embroidery on everything from manners and modes to conversation and conventional heroes,” he wrote to introduce an essay on the great black champion Jack Johnson, “the name of the heavyweight champion stood out in stark relief, a man of swaggering virility who epitomized the turbulent yet proud surety of the populace of a nation destined for greatness.”

In the 1980s, he dared to choose and rank the 100 greatest boxers of all time, and 20 years later he revised the list (and the book explaining it). In “Boxing’s Greatest Fighters” (2006), he ranked Sugar Ray Robinson No. 1, Joe Louis at 4 (after Henry Armstrong and Willie Pep) and Muhammad Ali at 7 (after Harry Greb and Benny Leonard). At 100, he listed Mike Tyson, whose chapter he began this way:

“To perplexing questions like ‘Why does Hawaii have interstate highways?’ and ‘Why did kamikaze pilots wear helmets?’ can be added another: What the hell happened to boxing’s kamikaze pilot, Mike Tyson?”

Herbert Randolph Sugar was born in Washington on June 7, 1936, and, according to family lore, legally changed his name to Bert as a child because he was tired of classmates taunting him with, “Herbert, please pass the sherbet.”

He attended public schools, graduated from the University of Maryland and earned business and law degrees at the University of Michigan, where he wrote for The Michigan Daily and played rugby. He passed the Washington bar in 1961 — “the only bar I ever passed,” he was wont to remark — but instead of going into the law, he moved to New York City and worked for a time in advertising.

An obsessive sports fan and an inveterate memorabilia collector who had a 700-pound chunk of stone from the original Yankee Stadium planted in his rock garden, he leapt into sports journalism by the beginning of the 1970s, purchasing Boxing Illustrated — which he edited well but ran as a business badly — and a handful of lesser-known, short-lived sports publications. For a while in the mid-’70s, he edited the men’s magazine Argosy.

In 1979, he and several others, including Dave DeBusschere, the former basketball star, and Bill Veeck, the former maverick baseball club owner, purchased The Ring; Mr. Sugar was its editor through troubled financial times until 1983. Mr. Sugar’s book about Muhammad Ali, “Sting Like a Bee,” written with the boxer Jose Torres, was published in 1971, and Mr. Sugar was the co-writer, with Angelo Dundee, Ali’s longtime cornerman, of Dundee’s autobiography, “My View From the Corner: A Life in Boxing.” (Dundee died on Feb. 1.)

With the former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, he wrote “Inside Boxing” (1974), an examination of boxing technique. And he wrote on other subjects as well: a history of ABC Sports, a biography of the escape artist Harry Houdini, a primer on horse racing. Nearly as immersed in baseball arcana as in boxing arcana, he edited several volumes of statistics and trivia.

Mr. Sugar lived in Chappaqua, N.Y. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife, the former Suzanne Davis, whom he married in 1960; a son, JB; a brother, Steven; and four grandchildren.

    Bert Sugar, Boxing Writer and Commentator, Is Dead at 75, NYT, 26.3.2012,






Angelo Dundee,

Trainer of Ali and Leonard,

Dies at 90


February 1, 2012
The New York Times


Angelo Dundee, the renowned trainer who guided Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard to boxing glory, died Wednesday in Tampa, Fla. He was 90.

His death was announced by his son, Jimmy, The Associated Press said.

In more than 60 years in professional boxing, Dundee gained acclaim as a brilliant cornerman, whether healing cuts, inspiring his fighters to battle on when they seemed to be reeling or adjusting strategy between rounds to counter an opponent’s style.

“In that one minute, Angelo is Godzilla and Superman rolled into one,” Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, who often worked with Dundee and then became a TV boxing analyst, once remarked.

“You come back to the corner and he’ll say, ‘The guy’s open for a hook,’ or this or that,” Ali told The New York Times in 1981. “If he tells you something during a fight, you can believe it. As a cornerman, Angelo is the best in the world.”

Dundee’s first champion was Carmen Basilio, the welterweight and middleweight titleholder of the 1950s from upstate New York. Although best remembered for Ali and Leonard, Dundee also trained the light-heavyweight champion Willie Pastrano, the heavyweight titleholder Jimmy Ellis and the welterweight champion Luis Rodriguez. Dundee advised George Foreman when he regained the heavyweight title at age 45. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994.

Born Angelo Mirena, a Philadelphia native and the son of a railroad worker, he became Angelo Dundee after his brother, Joe, fought professionally under the name Johnny Dundee, in tribute to a former featherweight champion, and another brother, Chris, also adopted the Dundee name.

After working as a cornerman at military boxing tournaments in England while in the Army Air Forces during World War II, Dundee served an apprenticeship at Stillman’s Gym near the old Madison Square Garden, learning his craft from veteran trainers like Ray Arcel, Charley Goldman and Chickie Ferrara. In the early 1950s, he teamed with his brother Chris to open the Fifth Street gym in Miami Beach. It became their longtime base, Angelo as a trainer and Chris as a promoter.

In the late 1950s, Dundee gave some tips to a promising amateur named Cassius Clay, and in December 1960, after Clay’s first pro bout, Dundee became his trainer, working with him in Miami Beach. He guided him to the heavyweight title with a knockout of Sonny Liston in February 1964.

Dundee avoided the temptation to tamper with the brilliance of his young and charismatic fighter, and he used a bit of psychology in honing his talents.

“I never touched that natural stuff with him,” Dundee recalled in his memoir, “My View From the Corner,” written with Bert Randolph Sugar. “However, training Cassius was not quite the same as training another fighter. Some guys take direction and some don’t, and this kid had to be handled with kid gloves. So every now and then I’d subtly suggest some move or other to him, couching it as if it were something he was already doing. I’d say something like: ‘You’re getting that jab down real good. You’re bending your knees now and you’re putting a lot of snap into it.’ Now, he had never thrown a jab, but it was a way of letting him think it was his idea, his innovation.”

When Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali soon after winning the heavyweight title, his boxing management and financial affairs were handled by the Nation of Islam. Dundee was the only white man in his camp, and he grew disturbed over references to that fact.

In his memoir, Dundee said that he and Ali “had this special thing, a unique blend, a chemistry.”

“I never heard anything resembling a racist comment leave his mouth,” he said. “There was never a black-white divide.”

Dundee knew all the tricks in the boxing trade, and then some.

When Ali — or Clay, as was still known at the time — sought to regain his senses after being knocked down by Henry Cooper in the fourth round of their June 1963 bout, Dundee stuck his finger in a small slit that had opened in one of Ali’s gloves, making the damage worse. Then he brought the badly damaged glove to the referee’s attention. Dundee was told that a substitute glove wasn’t available, and the few seconds of delay helped Clay recover. He knocked Cooper out in the fifth round.

In the hours before Ali fought Foreman in Zaire in 1974 — the Rumble in the Jungle — Dundee noticed that the ring ropes were sagging in the high humidity. He used a razor blade to cut and refit them so they were tight, enabling Ali to bounce off them when Foreman unleashed his “anywhere” punches from all angles. Ali wore Foreman out, hanging back with the “rope-a-dope” strategy Ali undertook on his own, and he went on to win the bout.

Dundee became Leonard’s manager and cornerman when he turned pro in 1977. He taught Leonard to snap his left jab rather than paw with it and guided him to the welterweight championship with a knockout of Wilfred Benitez in 1979.

Roberto Duran captured Leonard’s title on a decision in June 1980, but Leonard won the rematch in November when Dundee persuaded him to avoid a slugfest and instead keep Duran turning while slipping his jabs. A thoroughly beaten Duran quit in the eighth round, uttering his inglorious “no mas.”

Dundee enjoyed chatting with reporters — he called himself a “mixologist” — and he tried to “blend” with his fighters, creating a rapport rather than imposing himself on them.

In talking about his boxing savvy, he liked to say, “When I see things through my eyes, I see things.”

“When Dundee speaks, traditional English usage is, to say the least, stretched and malapropisms abound,” Ronald K. Fried wrote in “Cornermen: Great Boxing Trainers.”

“Yet the language is utterly original and Dundee’s own — and it conveys exactly what Dundee knows in his heart.”

After retiring from full-time training, Dundee had stints in boxing broadcasting. He taught boxing technique to Russell Crowe for his role as the 1930s heavyweight champion Jimmy Braddock in the 2005 Hollywood movie “Cinderella Man.”

A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.

Dundee once remarked: “I’m not star quality. The fighter is the star.”

But he took pride in his craft. As he put it: “You’ve got to combine certain qualities belonging to a doctor, an engineer, a psychologist and sometimes an actor, in addition to knowing your specific art well. There are more sides to being a trainer than those found on a Rubik’s Cube.”

    Angelo Dundee, Trainer of Ali and Leonard, Dies at 90, NYT, 1.10.2012,






He Was a Contender


December 2, 2011
The New York Times


EDWIN VIRUET does not have to talk about what he accomplished in the ring. His career lies laminated on a small ringside table that stakes out the spot where he trains fighters at John’s Boxing Gym in the South Bronx.

Clippings and grainy photographs and promotion posters attesting to Mr. Viruet’s 31 victories during his professional lightweight career are protected by clear tape from the blood and sweat and spit. One shot shows his fist smashing the face of the great champion Roberto Durán, whom he fought twice. There he is carried on shoulders after winning a lightweight title in Puerto Rico.

“That’s a beautiful record right there,” he said Wednesday in the gym packed with fighters sparring, skipping rope, shadow-boxing and pounding the bags.

As for his six supposed losses and two draws, the real explanation cannot be seen on the table. It falls to Mr. Viruet himself to offer an explanation. They were not really losses, but rather fights he says were fixed against him — especially his two close fights against Mr. Durán in the 1970s, the second for the world lightweight title. The judges’ decisions for Mr. Durán in both fights were disputed by people other than just Mr. Viruet.

Back then, Mr. Viruet fought at 135 pounds. Now he weighs in at 210. He subsists on food stamps and Social Security benefits, and rents a $400-a-month room in an apartment near the gym. He lives on the fumes of his beautiful record.

There was the victory over Alfredo Escalera, a featherweight champion, and the one over Vilomar Fernandez, who had beaten the great Alexis Arguello. But now we arrive at the 1971 draw with Saoul Mamby — which Mr. Viruet says should have been a win. Once again he was robbed, he said, and other fighters and promoters avoided setting up fights with him. It all got so frustrating that he decided to end his career with a statement: He took $5,000 to step into the ring with a lesser fighter named Alvin Hayes in Detroit in 1983 and, he says, he took a first-round dive.

“That was it,” he said, miming a wiping clean of his hands. “My message was, ‘What do I need to win? Shoot the other guy with a gun?’ ”

On it goes — Mr. Viruet can pummel you with this stuff for 15 rounds.

The Puerto Rican-born Mr. Viruet grew up in New York City, one of four boxing brothers, including Adolfo, also an illustrious pro who fought Mr. Durán as well as Sugar Ray Leonard. Growing up on the Lower East Side, Edwin and Adolfo would spar at a boys’ club and fight each other on the sidewalk for money.

Edwin was undefeated as an amateur, with 18 wins and Golden Gloves titles in 1968 and 1969 — when he and Adolfo met in the finals and were declared co-champions. While Adolfo was more of a slugger, Edwin was a dancing stylist who patterned himself after Muhammad Ali.

As a teenager, Edwin began training at Gleason’s Gym, which at the time was in the Bronx, next to where John’s is now.

Like many former fighters, Mr. Viruet only feels right in a busy gym. So he shows up every day, though he lacks the large following of the dozen other trainers at this first-floor space in a graffiti-strewn building on Westchester Avenue.

The place calls itself home to current champions like Joseph Agbeko and Joshua Clottey, and colorful trainers like Understanding Allah. Mr. Viruet knocks around, waiting for his next budding champ, or next payday, to walk in.

He trained Alex Stewart during the heavyweight’s ascent, before he fell to the likes of Holyfield, Tyson and Foreman. He prepared Wesley Snipes for fight scenes in the 1986 film “Streets of Gold,” and even snagged a cameo. When the mobster Salvatore Gravano, widely known as Sammy the Bull, wanted to take up boxing, he paid Mr. Viruet good money to play patty-cake in the sparring ring with him. “He was a cupcake,” laughed Mr. Viruet, who bides his time by training amateur fighters, many of whom lack the money to pay him.

Last week, Mr. Viruet agreed to watch a YouTube replay of his second Durán fight, the 15-rounder in 1977, on a laptop propped up on a car hood outside the gym. Suddenly, there was Howard Cosell, in his yellow blazer, declaring that “each man genuinely hates the other,” and noting that their 10-rounder in 1975 ended in a decision for Mr. Durán that was booed.

“One of the classiest boxers you’d want to see,” Mr. Cosell said of Mr. Viruet as the lithe fighter danced around his plodding opponent and taunted him.

The money Mr. Viruet earned is gone now, he said, but not the pleasure of watching himself punch Mr. Durán’s face open in the 12th round. “I’m the only fighter who cut him,” he crowed into the Bronx night, with the No. 5 train clattering by.

    He Was a Contender, NYT, 2.11.2011,






After Frazier Kept the Belt,

a Long Shot Withstood the Blows


November 14, 2011
The New York Times



The ex-fighter known around here as the Butcher, affectionately, has a signed photograph of Joe Frazier that he keeps like a laminated Mass card in his wallet. He has other personalized mementos, too, including a couple of scars on his fist-dented face, the handiwork of Smokin’ Joe.

The Butcher knew Frazier as well as anyone can in the public intimacy of a boxing match, where exhausted men hold each other in sweaty, slow-dance clinches. But he did not go to Frazier’s funeral in Philadelphia on Monday, attended by boxing’s elite. Among other reasons, the Butcher drives a school bus now; he had to make his rounds.

Besides, Frazier is forever with the Butcher. It has been this way for nearly 40 years, since May 25, 1972, when Frazier, the heavyweight champion of the world — the world — came to Omaha to fight an obscure long shot from the neighboring Iowa city of Council Bluffs: a challenger with a steel-driving punch and a penchant for bleeding by the name of Ron Stander, also called “The Bluffs Butcher.” Or, simply, the Butcher.

“If,” the Butcher says, past bridgework that he often pops out with his tongue as a joking but startling reminder of his brutal past life. His hair is gray, his gut is pronounced, and his mind is sharp enough to know the toll that the Butcher has taken.

“If,” he says. “The biggest word in the dictionary.”

The Butcher’s “if” moment — if he wins, he becomes world champion — took place on national television and before nearly 10,000 fans in the Omaha Civic Auditorium. Nearly all of them were chanting, “Go, Big Ron,” for the boxy man in red trunks, with a mop of dark hair and sideburns that didn’t know where to stop.

The Butcher, a beefy 27, was 23-1-1, with a wow knockout against the powerful Earnie Shavers, an uh-oh loss against a forgotten nobody, and a reputation for patiently taking beatings until he could unload his knockout punch. He lacked discipline, liked his beer, and had virtually no chance of winning.

Not even his wife at the time gave him a shot; she famously said: You don’t take a Volkswagen into the Indy 500, unless you know of a hell of a shortcut.

“And in this corner, the world heavyweight champion,” trumpeted the ring announcer. “Weighing in at 217 and one-half pounds. Unbeaten in 28 fights, 25 by knockouts, World Champion Joe Frazier.”

Out jogged Frazier, a rock-solid 28, his face a mask of all business. He had beaten Muhammad Ali a year earlier, and was looking forward to the big payday chance to do it again. For him, the Bluffs Butcher was merely a human tuning fork.

Imagine sitting on that stool a few feet away, in front of everyone you’ve ever known in your life, about to challenge a world heavyweight champion known for a left hook that could knock you into tomorrow. And just to make it fun, a pug named Mighty Joe Young had recently broken your nose while sparring.

“It was bothersome,” the Butcher says of his sore nose.

The two men tapped their gloves in center ring. “You ready?” Frazier asked, as the Butcher recalls. He says he winked, went back to his corner, and said a quick prayer.


If only the Butcher had capitalized on his first-round punch that buckled Frazier’s knees — a blow that had the television announcer shouting that “Stander is carrying the fight to Frazier.” If only he had connected with that uppercut that just missed Frazier’s jaw, just. If only his own jaw had not met a Frazier uppercut that Jell-O-jiggled his brains.

“I was out on my feet,” the Butcher recalls. “But I wasn’t going down.”

In Omaha, at least, that is what is most remembered: the Butcher never went down. But the blood seeping from cuts to the bridge of his nose and his right eye could not be stemmed by his corner men. “I couldn’t look up,” the Butcher says. “I tried to follow him around by his feet.”

By the fourth round, the television announcer was shouting a sad ballad for the Butcher: “Stander with the crowd behind him, but Frazier doing the dynamite. ... Stander going for broke. ... And a cut over the eyebrow, but look at this kid battle. ... And the claret continues to flow ...”


In the auditorium, Toddy Ann Leytham, who had gone to high school with Ronnie, as she called him, became so upset by the bloodbath she was watching through binoculars that she tumbled onto the concrete floor. She spent the next several hours in the hospital with a concussion.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jack Lewis, the attending physician, was telling the Butcher he was done. “Hell, he couldn’t see me!” Dr. Lewis recalls. “He didn’t know where Joe was. He was just swinging.”

Soon the announcer was again at center ring, his Kleenex-white tuxedo in sharp contrast to the blood just shed. “The winner, by a technical knockout after the fourth round, and still heavyweight champion of the world, Joe Frazier! Frazier!”

The greatest opportunity of the Butcher’s life lasted 12 minutes — or a split second, if you just count that missed uppercut. The crowd cheered their gladiator, while commentators made his gruesome loss sound epic. He received 17 stitches to his puffy face, and then he went off somewhere and broke down.

Joe Frazier continued on. He lost his championship; lost two rematches to his tormenter, Ali; made and lost millions; and died of liver cancer last week at the age of 67. He ranks among the very best fighters of all time: a lunch-pail warrior who never gave up. All business.

As for the Butcher?

He kept on fighting for another decade, barreling away in boxing rings from Hawaii to South Africa, but his career effectively ended that night in Omaha. You might say he left more than his blood on the mat.

Divorced, remarried, divorced, with four children all told. Bought a bar called the Sportsman Inn (“Come See the Butcher and Friends”), drank too much, and had a few run-ins with the law. Drove a cement truck. Worked as a bodyguard for celebrities; you can find his name among the credits on the Eagles album “Hotel California.”

Worked as a machine operator for 13 years, but lost that job when the plant closed. Worked now and then as a boxing referee. Received a perfect-attendance certificate at a heating and air-conditioning school, only to find no work. Quit a lousy maintenance job at an apartment complex. Did odd jobs around town. Collected cans. Gave up drinking, but still drinks a little.

A scramble of a life, it turned out, always looking for that one clear shot at security. But as the Butcher says, more than once: “You can’t change destiny.”

Three years ago, the Butcher attended his 45th high school reunion in Council Bluffs. Who was there but Toddy Ann Leytham, the only one to be carried out after the Frazier-Stander fight, widowed and still harboring a crush for Ronnie. They married a year later.

Destiny for the Butcher at 67 means driving a school bus, helping out disadvantaged kids and living in a cozy house with Toddy, his biggest fan. She wears a T-shirt that bears his younger image and the words “My Hero.” She makes reprints of boxing posters to have him sign and sell. She hangs photographs from his boxing years, including a particularly gory one from the fight with Frazier, always with him.

People in Omaha have not forgotten that fight. And when they see Frazier’s bloodied victim around town, they call out his name. Hey, Butcher, they say. Hey, Champ.

    After Frazier Kept the Belt, a Long Shot Withstood the Blows, NYT, 14.11.2011,






Joe Frazier,

Ex-Heavyweight Champ,

Dies at 67


November 7, 2011
The New York Times


Joe Frazier, the former heavyweight champion whose furious and intensely personal fights with a taunting Muhammad Ali endure as an epic rivalry in boxing history, died Monday night. He was 67.

His business representative, Leslie Wolff, told The Associated Press on Saturday that Frazier had liver cancer and that he had entered hospice care.

Known as Smokin’ Joe, Frazier stalked his opponents around the ring with a crouching, relentless attack — his head low and bobbing, his broad, powerful shoulders hunched — as he bore down on them with an onslaught of withering jabs and crushing body blows, setting them up for his devastating left hook.

It was an overpowering modus operandi that led to versions of the heavyweight crown from 1968 to 1973. Frazier won 32 fights in all, 27 by knockouts, losing four times — twice to Ali in furious bouts and twice to George Foreman. He also recorded one draw.

A slugger who weathered repeated blows to the head while he delivered punishment, Frazier proved a formidable figure. But his career was defined by his rivalry with Ali, who ridiculed him as a black man in the guise of a Great White Hope. Frazier detested him.

Ali vs. Frazier was a study in contrasts. Ali: tall and handsome, a wit given to spouting poetry, a magnetic figure who drew adulation and denigration alike, the one for his prowess and outsize personality, the other for his antiwar views and Black Power embrace of Islam. Frazier: a bull-like man of few words with a blue-collar image and a glowering visage who in so many ways could be on an equal footing with his rival only in the ring.

Frazier won the undisputed heavyweight title with a 15-round decision over Ali at Madison Square Garden in March 1971, in an extravaganza known as the Fight of the Century. Ali scored a 12-round decision over Frazier at the Garden in a nontitle bout in January 1974. Then came the Thrilla in Manila championship bout, in October 1975, regarded as one of the greatest fights in boxing history. It ended when a battered Frazier, one eye swollen shut, did not come out to face Ali for the 15th round.

The Ali-Frazier battles played out at a time when the heavyweight boxing champion was far more celebrated than he is today, a figure who could stand alone in the spotlight a decade before an alphabet soup of boxing sanctioning bodies arose, making it difficult for the average fan to figure out just who held what title.

The rivalry was also given a political and social cast. Many viewed the Ali-Frazier matches as a snapshot of the struggles of the 1960s. Ali, an adherent of the Nation of Islam who had changed his name from Cassius Clay, came to represent rising black anger in America and opposition to the Vietnam War. Frazier voiced no political views, but he was nonetheless depicted, to his consternation, as the favorite of the establishment. Ali called him ignorant, likened him to a gorilla and said his black supporters were Uncle Toms.

“Frazier had become the white man’s fighter, Mr. Charley was rooting for Frazier, and that meant blacks were boycotting him in their heart,” Norman Mailer wrote in Life magazine after the first Ali-Frazier bout.

Frazier, wrote Mailer, was “twice as black as Clay and half as handsome,” with “the rugged decent life-worked face of a man who had labored in the pits all his life.”

Frazier could never match Ali’s charisma or his gift for the provocative quote. He was essentially a man devoted to a brutal craft, willing to give countless hours to his spartan training-camp routine and unsparing of his body inside the ring.

“The way I fight, it’s not me beatin’ the man: I make the man whip himself,” Frazier told Playboy in 1973. “Because I stay close to him. He can’t get out the way.” He added: “Before he knows it — whew! — he’s tired. And he can’t pick up his second wind because I’m right back on him again.”

In his autobiography, “Smokin’ Joe,” written with Phil Berger, Frazier said his first trainer, Yank Durham, had given him his nickname. It was, he said, “a name that had come from what Yank used to say in the dressing room before sending me out to fight: ‘Go out there, goddammit, and make smoke come from those gloves.’ ”

Foreman knocked out Frazier twice but said he had never lost his respect for him. “Joe Frazier would come out smoking,” Foreman told ESPN. “If you hit him, he liked it. If you knocked him down, you only made him mad.”

Durham said he saw a fire always smoldering in Frazier. “I’ve had plenty of other boxers with more raw talent,” he told The New York Times Magazine in 1970, “but none with more dedication and strength.”

Billy Joe Frazier was born on Jan. 12, 1944, in Laurel Bay, S.C., the youngest of 12 children. His father, Rubin, and his mother, Dolly, worked in the fields, and the youngster known as Billy Boy dropped out of school at 13. He dreamed of becoming a boxing champion, throwing his first punches at burlap sacks he stuffed with moss and leaves, pretending to be Joe Louis or Ezzard Charles or Archie Moore.

At 15, Frazier went to New York to live with a brother. A year later he moved to Philadelphia, taking a job in a slaughterhouse. Durham discovered Frazier boxing to lose weight at a Police Athletic League gym in Philadelphia. Under Durham’s guidance, Frazier captured a Golden Gloves championship and won the heavyweight gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

He turned pro in August 1965, with financial backing from businessmen calling themselves the Cloverlay Group (from cloverleaf, for good luck, and overlay, a betting term signifying good odds). He won his first 11 bouts by knockouts. By winter 1968, his record was 21-0.

A year before Frazier’s pro debut, Cassius Clay won the heavyweight championship in a huge upset of Sonny Liston. Soon afterward, affirming his rumored membership in the Nation of Islam, he became Muhammad Ali. In April 1967, having proclaimed, “I ain’t got nothing against them Vietcong,” Ali refused to be drafted, claiming conscientious objector status. Boxing commissions stripped him of his title, and he was convicted of evading the draft.

An eight-man elimination tournament was held to determine a World Boxing Association champion to replace Ali. Frazier refused to participate when his financial backers objected to the contract terms for the tournament, and Jimmy Ellis took the crown.

But in March 1968, Frazier won the version of the heavyweight title recognized by New York and a few other states, defeating Buster Mathis with an 11th-round technical knockout. He took the W.B.A. title in February 1970, stopping Ellis, who did not come out for the fifth round.

In the summer of 1970, Ali won a court battle to regain his boxing license, then knocked out the contenders Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena. The stage was set for an Ali-Frazier showdown, a matchup of unbeaten fighters, on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden.

Each man was guaranteed $2.5 million, the biggest boxing payday ever. Frank Sinatra was at ringside taking photos for Life magazine. The former heavyweight champion Joe Louis received a huge ovation. Hubert H. Humphrey, back in the Senate after serving as vice president, sat two rows in front of the Irish political activist Bernadette Devlin, who shouted, “Ali, Ali,” her left fist held high. An estimated 300 million watched on television worldwide, and the gate of $1.35 million set a record for an indoor bout.

Frazier, at 5 feet 11 1/2 inches and 205 pounds, gave up three inches in height and nearly seven inches in reach to Ali, but he was a 6-to-5 betting favorite. Just before the fighters received their instructions from the referee, Ali, displaying his arrogance of old, twice touched Frazier’s shoulders as he whirled around the ring. Frazier just glared at him.

Frazier wore Ali down with blows to the body while moving underneath Ali’s jabs. In the 15th round, Frazier unleashed his famed left hook, catching Ali on the jaw and flooring him for a count of 4, only the third time Ali had been knocked down. Ali held on, but Frazier won a unanimous decision.

Frazier declared, “I always knew who the champ was.”

Frazier continued to bristle over Ali’s taunting. “I’ve seen pictures of him in cars with white guys, huggin’ ’em and havin’ fun,” Frazier told Sport magazine two months after the fight. “Then he go call me an Uncle Tom. Don’t say, ‘I hate the white man,’ then go to the white man for help.”

For Frazier, 1971 was truly triumphant. He bought a 368-acre estate called Brewton Plantation near his boyhood home and became the first black man since Reconstruction to address the South Carolina Legislature. Ali gained vindication in June 1971 when the United States Supreme Court overturned his conviction for draft evasion.

Frazier defended his title against two journeymen, Terry Daniels and Ron Stander, but Foreman took his championship away on Jan. 22, 1973, knocking him down six times in their bout in Kingston, Jamaica, before the referee stopped the fight in the second round.

Frazier met Ali again in a nontitle bout at the Garden on Jan. 28, 1974. Frazier kept boring in and complained that Ali was holding in the clinches, but Ali scored with flurries of punches and won a unanimous 12-round decision.

Ali won back the heavyweight title in October 1974, knocking out Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire — the celebrated Rumble in the Jungle. Frazier went on to knock out Quarry and Ellis, setting up his third match, and second title fight, with Ali: the Thrilla in Manila, on Oct. 1, 1975.

In what became the most brutal Ali-Frazier battle, the fight was held at the Philippine Coliseum at Quezon City, outside the country’s capital, Manila. The conditions were sweltering, with hot lights overpowering the air-conditioning.

Ali, almost a 2-to-1 betting favorite in the United States, won the early rounds, largely remaining flat-footed in place of his familiar dancing style. Before Round 3 he blew kisses to President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, in the crowd of about 25,000.

But in the fourth round, Ali’s pace slowed while Frazier began to gain momentum. Chants of “Frazier, Frazier” filled the arena by the fifth round, and the crowd seemed to favor him as the fight moved along, a contrast to Ali’s usually enjoying the fans’ plaudits.

Frazier took command in the middle rounds. Then Ali came back on weary legs, unleashing a flurry of punches to Frazier’s face in the 12th round. He knocked out Frazier’s mouthpiece in the 13th round, then sent him stumbling backward with a straight right hand.

Ali jolted Frazier with left-right combinations late in the 14th round. Frazier had already lost most of the vision in his left eye from a cataract, and his right eye was puffed and shut from Ali’s blows.

Eddie Futch, a renowned trainer working Frazier’s corner, asked the referee to end the bout. When it was stopped, Ali was ahead on the scorecards of the referee and two judges. “It’s the closest I’ve come to death,” Ali said.

Frazier returned to the ring nine months later, in June 1976, to face Foreman at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. Foreman stopped him on a technical knockout in the fifth round. Frazier then announced his retirement. He was 32.

He later managed his eldest son, Marvis, a heavyweight. In December 1981 he returned to the ring to fight a journeyman named Jumbo Cummings, fought to a draw, then retired for good, tending to investments from his home in Philadelphia.

Both Frazier and Ali had daughters who took up boxing, and in June 2001 it was Ali-Frazier IV when Frazier’s daughter Jacqui Frazier-Lyde fought Ali’s daughter Laila Ali at a casino in Vernon, N.Y. Like their fathers in their first fight, both were unbeaten. Laila Ali won on a decision. Joe Frazier was in the crowd of 6,500, but Muhammad Ali, impaired by Parkinson’s syndrome, was not.

Long after his fighting days were over, Frazier retained his enmity for Ali. But in March 2001, the 30th anniversary of the first Ali-Frazier bout, Ali told The New York Times: “I said a lot of things in the heat of the moment that I shouldn’t have said. Called him names I shouldn’t have called him. I apologize for that. I’m sorry. It was all meant to promote the fight.”

Asked for a response, Frazier said: “We have to embrace each other. It’s time to talk and get together. Life’s too short.”

When Frazier’s battle with liver cancer became publicly known, Ali was conciliatory. “My family and I are keeping Joe and his family in our daily prayers,” Ali said in his statement. “Joe has a lot of friends pulling for him, and I’m one of them.”

Fascination with the Ali-Frazier saga has endured.

After a 2008 presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, the Republican media consultant Stuart Stevens said that McCain should concentrate on selling himself to America rather than criticizing Obama. Stevens’s prescription: “More Ali and less Joe Frazier.”

Frazier’s true feelings toward Ali in his final years seemed murky.

The 2009 British documentary “Thrilla in Manila,” shown in the United States on HBO, depicted Frazier watching a film of the fight from his apartment above the gym he ran in Philadelphia.

“He’s a good-time guy,” John Dower, the director of “Thrilla in Manila,” told The Times. “But he’s angry about Ali.”

In March 2011, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the first Ali-Frazier fight, Frazier attended a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden and told reporters that he had not seen Ali in person for more than 10 years.

“I forgave him for all the accusations he made over the years,“ The Daily News quoted Frazier as saying. “I hope he’s doing fine. I’d love to see him.”

But as Frazier once told The Times: “Ali always said I would be nothing without him. But who would he have been without me?”

    Joe Frazier, Ex-Heavyweight Champ, Dies at 67, NYT, 7.11.2011,






Mayweather Takes a Head Butt,

Then Takes Out Ortiz

in the Fourth Round


September 18, 2011

Guardian Unlimited



LAS VEGAS — The final sequence came quickly, brutally, not even four rounds into Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s latest boxing triumph Saturday night.

One minute, his overwhelmed opponent, Victor Ortiz, was being deducted a point for a clear and illegal head butt. The next minute, Mayweather feigned as if to hug Ortiz, stepped back, and hit him hard, twice — first with a quick left hook and then with a devastating right hand. Ortiz fell to the canvas, knocked out, dazed, confused. He would not rise for several minutes.

After the fight, Ortiz summed up its end this way: “And then, boom, he blindsided me.”

The crowd, which never seemed behind Mayweather, did not cheer the new World Boxing Council welterweight champion. In fact, it booed, loudly, lustily, as Mayweather assumed the role of villain once again.

It is a role that Mayweather seems to relish more with each passing fight, that of heel, a champion perhaps respected, but hated nonetheless. In fact, Mayweather swore at the HBO analyst Larry Merchant during an in-ring interview immediately after the bout.

“In the ring you have to protect yourself at all times,” Mayweather said. “We touched back after the break.”

He added: “He did something dirty.”

That was true, and the consensus ringside afterward seemed to be that Mayweather, the victim of the purposeful head butt, had not done anything illegal, even if he would not win any awards for sportsmanship. That is not his style, anyway.

The question now, as always, is whether Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will ever cease with substandard opposition and actually fight each other. But that is for another night.

The fight took place under a surreal backdrop, even by boxing’s circus-like standards, a confluence of crazy strange to anyone not named Mayweather, but normal, too, given the Mayweather clan’s involvement.

The fighter, a world champion in five weight classes, returned to the ring for the first time in 16 months. In recent weeks, he feuded with his father on HBO, contested numerous lawsuits and defended his legacy so loudly, so often, he seemed a bit jumpy, if not genuinely concerned. At the weigh-in Friday, he put his right hand on Ortiz’s neck, strange behavior for a 5:1 favorite.

Ortiz, 10 years younger, visibly bigger, entered the ring with muscles carved like some sort of Greek boxing god. He came here with a back story worthy of the big screen: abandoned by his parents, guardian to his younger brother, a fighter who sang in the school choir and played piano; whose leisure pursuits include skydiving and surfing and triathlons.

If Ortiz had pursued another vocation, he said he would have become an architect. Indeed, he constructed an unusual team. His trainers work day jobs, one a truck driver, one a landscaper, and his brother, when not in camp, drives a semi truck.

Ortiz’s career path seemed equally unorthodox. In 33 career fights, he lost twice and earned two draws, yet he knocked every single opponent down. The power in both his hands was evident, but his mental state begged questions, especially after he quit two years ago in a fight against Marcos Maidana. Ortiz said he went into that contest with a broken wrist and had shot himself with cortisone, without telling his trainers.

Still, doubt lingered, and even though Ortiz came into this fight as the W.B.C. titleholder, he said, “I don’t see myself as the champion.” And neither did anybody else.

That status went to Mayweather, boxing’s most divisive figure, loved and hated, sometimes all at once. Ortiz referenced often Mayweather’s “beautiful mouth,” and it worked overtime all month. In one odd twist, Mayweather took several shots at Oscar De La Hoya, the namesake of the company Mayweather hired to promote the fight, a boxing legend who recently left rehab.

For his part, De La Hoya said Mayweather picked opponents too old, too green, or too damaged. The undefeated Mayweather bristled at that suggestion, although the last time he faced a fighter age 25 or younger was in January 2001.

“I’ve been dominating the fight game since Victor Ortiz was 9 years old,” said Mayweather who called this training camp his longest ever and most grueling. “And I’m still sharp.”

So it went.

Mayweather Takes a Head Butt, Then Takes Out Ortiz in the Fourth Round,






Boxing: world welterweight title fight

Classy Mayweather floors Hatton


Sunday December 9, 2007

Guardian Unlimited

Gregg Roughley and agencies


Ricky Hatton's extraordinarily brave bid to wrest the WBC welterweight title from Floyd Mayweather ended when he was dramatically knocked out in the 10th round in Las Vegas.

In the early hours of Sunday morning Mayweather clattered Hatton to the canvas via the ring post with a left hook and after the Briton clambered gamely to his feet, the champion finished the job with another huge left which sent Hatton stumbling backwards and then flat onto his back.

Hatton had attempted to outhustle Mayweather from the start but his tactics seldom worked and the American held a huge points advantage by the time the fight was stopped.

"I felt alright tonight, really big and strong but I left myself open. He's better inside than I thought, with all the elbows and shoulders and forearms he used," said Hatton after the fight. "I didn't quite stick to my game-plan. He's not the biggest welterweight I've fought but he was very strong. I don't think he was the hardest puncher tonight but he was a lot more clever than I expected. I'll be back, don't worry."

Hatton's fans continued roaring their hero's name as he was counted out on his back on the canvas before he was helped back to his corner on unsteady legs. And Mayweather paid a rich tribute to his vanquished foe. "He was definitely the toughest competitor I've ever faced. I was throwing body shots and he kept coming. I see now why they call him the 'Hitman', he said. "I feel like one of my last fights I gave the fans a dud so I wanted to give back and give the fans a great fight."

Mayweather had landed the first meaningful punch with a swinging left hook in the opening seconds, but Hatton raised the roof when he landed a left hand which caused the champion to momentarily loose balance.

Another clean left from Mayweather cracked home before the bell ended an action-packed first round, which Hatton perhaps shaded, and Mayweather headed back to his corner in some discomfort.

Hatton continued to stalk his opponent in the second round, taking the champion further out of his comfort zone, but increasingly leaving himself open to the champion's tremendously accurate left hands.

The furious exchanges continued into round three, when Hatton barged his opponent to the ropes and dug in under the watchful eye of referee Joe Cortez, who was perhaps being a little too pernickety in regulating Hatton's inside work.

Hatton fired a superb jolting jab in response to another Mayweather swing but the American responded with a cracking right hand and Hatton went back to his corner with blood seeping out from a cut above his right eye.

Hatton landed a fine body shot but Mayweather began picking up the pace in the fourth round, jolting home a left hand and two rights over the top which forced Hatton to take his first backward steps. Things looked grim for Hatton but to his enormous credit he stuck resolutely to his painful strategy in the fifth, and was at least continuing to succeed in dragging the champion into a tear-up.

Hatton's aggression alone probably shaded the scrappy fifth, and landed a good right in the sixth before a shot to the back of the head knocked Mayweather half through the ropes and brought Hatton a one-point sanction from referee Cortez.

Hatton responded by briefly showing his backside to Mayweather before setting about the champion with renewed vigour, wrestling him into the ropes but still being picked off by Mayweather's cleaner shots.

Hatton had promised to rough up Mayweather as much as possible - and he was clearly walking a fine line with Cortez through a number of infringements. Meanwhile he continued to drop further behind on the scorecards.

Mayweather ended round seven with a flourish, jolting Hatton's head with two booming right hands, and stepped things up further in the eighth, slamming home a right from which it was a minor miracle that Hatton was able to stay upright. There was worse to come for Hatton. Mayweather crashed in a left hand and jerked Hatton's head as he had him in all sorts of trouble in the corner. Amazingly, Hatton looked unfazed and fired back with a right of his own.

Cortez paid Hatton close attention at the end of the round but Hatton insisted: "I'm OK", and strode out to continue his seemingly fruitless quest, but lacked the clean work required to bring him back into the fight.

Early in the 10th, Mayweather finally dropped Hatton with a sweeping left hook which sent the challenger clattering head-first into the ring post then down for a count of eight.

Hatton gamely got back to his feet but Mayweather responded by smashing him back to the canvas with another left hook, and referee Cortez wisely called time on the Brit's extraordinarily brave bid one minute and 35 seconds into the round.

As if to underline the futility of Hatton's quest at that point, two officials were scoring the fight 89-81 in the champion's favour, and the other had him leading 88-82.

Classy Mayweather floors Hatton,






De La Hoya-Mayweather

richest PPV fight



USA Today

The Associated Press


LAS VEGAS— Turns out the obituaries written for boxing were a bit premature.

Oscar De La Hoya's fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. set a record for most televised buys for a fight, according to figures released Wednesday, surpassing Mike Tyson's second fight with Evander Holyfield and making it boxing's richest event.

A total of 2.15 million households paid $54.95 for the fight, generating revenue of $120 million. The previous record set by Tyson-Holyfield was 1.99 million buys.

"This puts to bed this theory of boxing being in trouble, or being dead or dying," said Ross Greenburg, head of HBO Sports. "This fight would have never materialized if boxing was dying."

A person close to the promotion said De La Hoya would end up making about $45 million for the fight and Mayweather just over $20 million. That person requested anonymity because the promoters did not want official figures released.

The $45 million would be the biggest purse paid to a fighter, higher than the $35 million purses Tyson and Holyfield reportedly were paid for the infamous "Bite Fight."

Mayweather beat De La Hoya on a split decision Saturday night in an entertaining fight that drew a record live gate of $19 million at the MGM Grand Garden arena. Mayweather won on two of the three ringside scorecards to win the WBC 154-pound title.

The fight will be replayed Saturday at 10 p.m. ET.

Greenburg credited the success of the network's "24/7" reality show that ran in a coveted Sunday night slot behind the "Sopranos" and "Entourage" for three weeks leading up to the fight with helping sell both the public and the media on its worth.

Mayweather and his dysfunctional family, including his estranged father, Floyd Sr., and his trainer and uncle, Roger, became the stars of the show, allowing non-boxing fans a glimpse into the life of the fighter.

"The series was not only well received by the American public, who were suddenly attracted in a very human way to these two fighters, but it allowed the media to cover the fight in more depth," Greenburg said. "They were able to dive deeper into the backgrounds of both fighters."

The reality show concept never had been done among top fighters in boxing, but a similar series on the Spike network was credited with making Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed-martial arts fighters popular.

Greenburg said the 2.15 million buys have to be multiplied because most people who bought the fight invited others over to watch. Multiplied by five fans or more a household, the fight likely was seen live by well over 10 million people, he said.

"I'm not going to say that boxing was thriving, but it was thriving on our network," Greenburg said. "I think we were losing the average sports fans, but this proves if you do the right names and the right matches you can win the average fan back."

The huge success and competitive nature of the fight also brings up the possibility of a rematch.

"You can't generate this kind of revenue and think the two fighters wouldn't want to do it again," Greenburg said. "I haven't heard from Oscar, so I don't know. You never know in boxing."

De La Hoya-Mayweather richest PPV fight,






Fire Still Burns

Inside Smokin’ Joe Frazier


October 18, 2006

The New York Times



PHILADELPHIA — In a cluttered gymnasium on North Broad Street, the stench of a lifetime of hard work hung over the tools of a trade that once made Joe Frazier a heavyweight champion and a wealthy celebrity.

On a quiet, sunny Sunday afternoon in this city he adopted, Frazier stayed well beyond the reach of the natural spotlight that beamed through the front window of Joe Frazier’s Gym and swept across an old boxing ring and rows of rusty lockers. Caught in the glow were tables covered with boxing gloves and head gear, and not nearly enough trainer’s tape to hide an old warrior’s wounds.

In a back room beneath a dim bulb, Frazier sat on a sofa and taped his 62-year-old hands for a light workout.

“A sound body keeps a sound mind,” he said.

Then the man known as Smokin’ Joe Frazier, who once formed half of one of the greatest rivalries in sports, rose slowly to his feet. Slightly stooped but still feeling unstoppable, he began to shadow box.

“Don’t seem like I’m getting any older,” he said on this day in early October. “I weigh about 212 pounds, only 10 pounds heavier than I was in my prime.”

Ten pounds heavier, but millions of dollars lighter, according to Frazier and the marketing people who work with him. Over the years, Frazier has lost a fortune through a combination of his own generosity and naïveté, his carousing, failed business opportunities and a deep hatred for his former chief boxing rival, Muhammad Ali. The other headliners from his fighting days — Ali, George Foreman and Larry Holmes — are millionaires.

But while Ali has benefited from lucrative licensing agreements and remains one the world’s most recognized and celebrated athletes, Frazier lives alone in an apartment one staircase above the gym where he and others train young fighters in a run-down part of town.

“This is my primary residence,” he said. “Don’t matter much. I’m on the road most of the time, anyway.”

Asked about his situation, Frazier became playfully defensive, but would not reveal his financial status.

“Are you asking me how much money I have?” he said. “I got plenty of money. I got a stack of $100 bills rolled up over there in the back of the room.”

Frazier blamed himself, partly, for not effectively promoting his own image.

“I don’t think I handled it right, because I certainly could have gone out more and done better for myself over the years,” he said. “I could have left the gym a little more to be on the road.”

He added: “But I guess, in a way, I’m rich, too. I have my family and I have a sound mind and a sound body, and after all of those brutal fights, I’m lucky to still have my eyesight.”

Frazier was born in 1944 in South Carolina, the youngest of 12 children. His parents worked in the fields, and he dropped out of school at 13.

He made Philadelphia his boxing home, turned professional in August 1965 and won his first 11 bouts by knockouts. He was generously listed at 5 feet 11½ inches when he retained his heavyweight title by defeating Ali in a 15-round decision at Madison Square Garden in March 1971. He compiled a career record of 32-4-1.

These days, Frazier is not completely healthy. While driving on the busy street in front of his gym three years ago, he said, his car experienced a mechanical problem and collided with another car. The Philadelphia police said it had no record of the accident. But Frazier has since had four operations on his back and neck, the most recent three months ago at Pennsylvania Hospital.

A person who was briefed on the accident and said he would speak only on the condition of anonymity to avoid jeopardizing his relationship with Frazier said that Larry Holmes helped pay for the operations. Holmes, now a businessman in his hometown of Easton, Pa., answered cautiously when asked if he had done so.

“Joe Frazier is my friend, and what I choose to do for my friends is my own business,” he said. “If I do anything for a friend, it is not done for the purpose of making myself look good and getting my name in the paper. But know this about my friendship with Joe: If I had $4 left in my wallet, two of those would go to Joe.”

Corporate sponsors have not always felt the same way about Frazier.

Darren Prince, Frazier’s marketing manager since 1995, said Frazier remained beloved by fans. But he also said that Frazier’s longstanding animosity toward Ali had hurt him financially.

“They were bitter rivals, and Muhammad always made jokes about Joe, calling him things like an Uncle Tom and a gorilla, and Joe was hurt so he fired back, but sometimes he went too far,” said Prince, who recalled that when Ali lighted the Olympic flame in Atlanta in 1996, Frazier told a reporter that he would like to throw Ali into the fire.

Frazier’s frequent insistence that he won all three of his fights against Ali also did not endear him to potential sponsors, Prince said.

When told of Prince’s remarks, Frazier said, “I am who I am, and yes, I whipped Ali all three times.”

In fact, Frazier lost two of the three fights, including the Thrilla in Manila bout in 1975. Frazier exposed an emotional scar as he recalled those days.

“Ali kept calling me ugly, but I never thought of myself as being any uglier than him,” he said. “I have 11 babies — somebody thought I was cute.”

Frazier’s 11 children are scattered. He once managed the boxing career of his eldest son, Marvis, a heavyweight. In June 2001, his daughter Jacquelyn Frazier-Lyde fought Ali’s daughter Laila and lost on a decision.

Frazier-Lyde is a lawyer and has worked on her father’s behalf in pursuit of money they claim he was owed in a Pennsylvania land deal. In 1973, Frazier purchased 140 acres in Bucks County, Pa., for $843,000. Five years later, a developer agreed to buy the farmland for $1.8 million. Frazier received annual payments from a trust that bought the land with money he had earned in the ring. When the trust went out of business, the payments stopped.

Frazier sued his business partners, claiming that his signature was forged on documents and that he had no knowledge of the sale. In the ensuing years, the land was subdivided and turned into a residential community. The property is now worth an estimated $100 million.

Frazier-Lyde said her father’s former partners took advantage of him.

“They used my father’s money — money he earned through blood, sweat and tears — to build that land,” she said.

She helped her father sue the homeowners, but the case was dismissed in 2003.

Frazier said the matter came down to honor.

“I had a job to do in the ring, and the businessmen around me had a job to do outside the ring,” he said. “I did my job by beating up most of the guys they put in front of me and staying in shape, but the people I trusted didn’t do their jobs.”

Les Wolff, who has served as Frazier’s business and personal manager for the past three years, said he was working to help Frazier recover. He said he talked with a Hollywood director about putting together a movie on Frazier’s life.

“Can you think of two boxers in the world who share the same stature as Ali and Frazier?” Wolff said. “The biggest problem that Joe has had over the years is that he has not been marketed properly.”

On Nov. 30, Frazier will box Willie W. Herenton, the 66-year-old mayor of Memphis, in a three-round charity bout at the Peabody Memphis Hotel. Herenton is a former amateur boxing champion.

“He must have a death wish,” Frazier said.

So Frazier headed toward the ring to resume training. But before leaving the dimly lit room, he stopped to glance at a giant poster that was made from a 1971 cover of Life magazine. It showed him and Ali, side by side and clad in tuxedos, beneath the words “Fight of the Century,” a reference to the first of their three clashes, the one that Frazier won at the Garden. Each fighter made $2.5 million that night.

“Ali always said I would be nothing without him,” Frazier said. “But who would he have been without me?”

Fire Still Burns Inside Smokin’ Joe Frazier,










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