Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pacquiao-Diaz Undercard

Steven Luevano, of La Puente, California, managed to keep his title last night after fighting to a draw with Mario Santiago of Ponce, Puerto Rico in an exciting fight that surpassed all expectations. Both fighters were down in the second round, and both took turns rocking each other. It was a classic give and take fight. I understand Santiago's grief and disappointment, to fight your heart out and end up with a draw and no title, but it was a fair decision. Santiago certainly deserves a rematch and if Luevano expects to be taken seriously as a champ, he'll give him one.

Regarding the Monte Barrett and Tye Fields "fight", and I use the term "fight" subjectively, there is not much to say. Barrett stopped the giant Fields in 57 seconds of the first round.

In one of the most controversial ending to a fight that I've seen in quite a while, super featherweight contender Humberto Soto, in what has to be the hard luck story of the year, lost the fight to journeyman Francisco Lorenzo, by disqualification, in what has to be the most ludicrous call I have ever witnessed.

In round four, after battering a thoroughly beaten Lorenzo around the ring and on the verge of a knockout, Soto was inexplicably pulled off of Lorenzo by the seeming daft and incompetent Joe Cortez, without a word of explanation and without a standing eight count for Lorenzo, then allowed to continue, and again, Soto on the verge of a knockout is pulled away from certain victory by Cortez and again allowed to continue. During the final exchange as Soto was raining blows upon Lorenzo, who on his last legs threw himself to his knees. One of Soto's punches grazed his head and confusion ensued in the ring.

Seizing the opportunity that he himself had created, Lorenzo cried foul and Cortez, who seems to be deteriorating with every fight, bought into it. Not having the the confidence to make the determination himself, in what was his call to make, and after conferring with every ring official he could find, and without a warning, or at the very least, a point deduction, Cortez finally awarding the fight to Lorenzo. It was unbelievable. Soto's career shouldn't be hurt by this and he shouldn't bother with a rematch either. All things considered Soto took it pretty well. Cortez needs to be reevaluated for his competency as a referee.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Manny Pacquiao Stops David Diaz

On David Diaz:

Manny Steward called him a throwback fighter, similar to Jake LaMotta. I agree, I also saw shades of Rocky Graziano, especially during the post fight interview. There's no pound for pound rating for hearts and guts, but if there were Diaz would be at the top of the list. Diaz is my kind of fighter, always trying, always coming forward, always believing he can win this fight, always throwing his punches. As Jim Lampley so aptly put it, "It was a merciful knockout". Diaz would still be punching otherwise. There is no quit in David Diaz!

On Manny Pacquiao:

He answered all the questions and then some. Pacquiao is a human dynamo, a force of nature, he was magnificent.. It doesn't make one bit of difference if Floyd Mayweather Jr. retires or not, Pacquiao has been the pound for pound champ for quite a while. If you don't think so, then you haven't been paying attention. I'll go one step further and say that Junior better stay retired because Manny just might invade the welterweights in the near future. Wouldn't surprise me.

On the Referee:

Vic Drakulich did what he was supposed to do. He gave David Diaz every benefit of the doubt that he could have. For the most part he let them fight their fight, as a good referee should.

On The Fight:
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Las Vegas, Nevada

Diaz started off confidently enough and was relaxed and clearly he wasn't intimidated by Pacquiao. In the second round it quickly became clear that Manny's speed and boxing ability was too much for Diaz. With a cut on his nose, and later in the fight, a cut over his left eye, it soon became a desperate situation for Diaz. The fight was as much about the courage of one man as it it was about the skill and total dominance of the other. Each round became a repetition of the last, only more so. On one hand it was painful to watch a man get so thoroughly beaten, on the other hand you just couldn't help but admire his belief that he could still win the fight. The fight was stopped at 2:24 of the ninth round by a Pacquiao straight left. It ended the only way it could, the only way it should for a warrior like Diaz. Pacquiao won the fight and Diaz' WBC Lightweight title. Boxing is alive and well, and thriving. Rumors of it's demise are premature.

Charley Burley: The Life and Hard Times of an Uncrowned Champion by Allen S. Rosenfeld

This book is not so easily defined. It is a biography but it is so much more than that. It is more akin to a documentary. It covers a period of time in boxing that is almost past the memory of fans of the Sweet Science. To some degree, It is also a primer on race relations in America, in a time when racial prejudice was widely accepted as the norm, both in sports and society as a whole. This book could also be used as a textbook for a course on boxing history at any level. It not only covers the middleweight division but the welterweights and light heavyweight divisions as well, albeit to a lesser degree.

Charley Burley, The Life and Hard Times of an Uncrowned Champion, is author Allen S. Rosenfeld’s opus. That his blood, sweat and tears went into this book is obvious from the onset. What sets this book apart from most books is his inclusion of historic articles from the various sports writers and newspapers across the country, as opposed to an occasional quote. No stone was left unturned in the telling of Charley Burley’s story.

The following paragraph’s from page 173 of the book says a lot about Burley’s character, especially considering the times in which he lived and fought.

With all the action swirling around Pittsburgh, Burley got involved. He signed to take a turn with tough Kenny LaSalle. The Pittsburgh Press acknowledged Charley had been underrated. But it warned that if LaSalle hit Burley as often as he had Zivic he might kayo Burley. And Burley made one of his rare pronouncements:

“I beat Zivic twice-and even if he should beat Angott, I should be the one in there with Armstrong. And if Zivic is at ringside tonight, I’ll show him how to knock out the fellow who beat him here two weeks ago but failed to get the decision”. Quite a pronouncement!

The book does not sugar coat Burley’s career and gives us an honest snapshot at what some sports writers thought of him as shown by these two opposing views written by Regis M. Walsh, sports writer for The Pittsburgh Press: Following Burley’s win over the Cocoa Kid, Welsh wrote: “Move over - John Henry Lewis - move over and make room for another negro “champion” who calls the Hill District his home. Not a bona-fide, genuine titleholder like you are, but a vigorous, willing lad, today the possessor of a rather synthetic crown labeled “Colored Welterweight Champion”

A year later after his fight with Jimmy Leto, Welsh writes: “Burley’s retrogression in form is more or less pitiable. His win over Leto in ten boo-producing rounds was his third successive bad performance. He beat Fritzie Zivic in one of them, lost to Leto earlier in another-and last night’s was no better. The crowd was not bashful in venting venom in this one. Both leto and burley, 149, had better stay away from Henry Armstrong or who ever is welter champion” Pretty strong words.

In a career that spanned from 1936 to 1950, Burley’s career is marked as much by those he did not fight as much as it was by those he did. He beat Archie Moore but lost to Ezzard Charles twice. He had a fierce rivalry with Frtitzie Zivic that is well covered in the book. He never fought Rocky Graziano, Jake LaMotta , and most notably Sugar Ray Robinson. With 83 wins and 50 knockouts, 12 losses and 2 draws, Burley’s record is not perfect but it is a damned good one.

There is a section in the book entitled: Remembering a Friend by Frank E. Bolden. Bolden says this about Robinson and Burley: "Some of the local and national sportswriters said that Burley was afraid to fight Robinson. This is not true. In fact just the opposite is the case. When I was working in Detroit in 1946, Sugar Ray was there to fight Cecil Hudson. One evening at dinner Sugar Ray in answer to my question said he would never fight Charley because "I have seen him fight and I don't think I can beat him at this time". Ultimately, you will have to draw your own conclusions.

There are a few historic photos scattered throughout the book, and they are appreciated. Some are not as clear as I might have liked but it takes nothing away from the book.

I recommend Charley Burley: The Life and Hard Times of an Uncrowned Champion to anyone that loves boxing, it’s history and it’s rich collection of characters, and to any one that enjoys a good read. Rosenfeld’s heartfelt book brings them back into our consciousness.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Manny Pacquiao vs David Diaz

By Randy De La O

David Diaz and Manny Pacquiao are fighting tomorrow night, Saturday June 28,2008, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas in what appears to be, on the surface, an uphill battle for Diaz. Looking at Diaz' record, he hasn't come close to fighting any one near the quality or status of Pacquiao, who has been a force of nature. His reign reminds me of Julio Cesar Chavez in the eighties and early nineties, combined with a young, fiery Roberto Duran. Pacquiao has literally fought the best fighters in his weight class. He's ducked no one. The names include Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez and Jorge Solis to name a few. The fight will be shown on HBO PPV

Diaz on the other hand has fought in relative obscurity but he did gain some attention when he beat Erik Morales in August of 2007, winning a unanimous decision 12 round decision. He didn't beat a prime Morales but he did win.

Is Pacquiao ripe for the picking, and will Diaz be ready and able to step up? Pacquiao has been through some wars and at some point something has to give. It depends as much on what Pacquiao doesn't do, as it does on what Diaz can do. Sometimes it's the fighter that is overlooked and not expected to win, as was the case with Mike Tyson and Buster Douglas. Added to that, Pacquiao will be moving up in weight to in attempting to take Diaz' WBC Lightweight title. Will he retain his power? His speed and stamina? Is he looking past Diaz to a possible super fight with Ricky Hatton? Can he take the punch of a natural lightweight like Diaz? Diaz, though not a big knockout puncher does have 17 KO's in the book. Will Pacquiao be moving up one weight class too many as Alexis Arguello did when he attempted to wrest the WBA Junior Welterweight title from Aaron Pryor in 1982? None of those questions can be answered until tomorrow night. The way I see it, Diaz has a helluva shot.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

California Boxing Hall of Fame 2008 Inductions

Congratulations to the Teran Family and all the 2008 California Boxing Hall of Fame Inductees.

Every once in while we can go to bed at night and think to ourselves, today was a great day. Saturday, June 21, 2008, was that kind of day for me, a great day. It was a chance to see old friends and make new ones. In my opinions boxers are among the best people in the world and certainly at the top of the list when it comes to athletes. It was great to see so many fighters, managers and others that have been involved in the sport, get recognition and rewarded for their contribution to the sport of boxing. It was good to hear Johnny Ortiz speak of the Main Street Gym, which as you might know, is near and dear to my heart. For those that don't know, Johnny was co-owner of the gym, along with Howie's daughter Carol, after Howie Steindler's death in 1977.

This year’s induction , at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, California, was a little more personal for me. The late Keeny Teran was being inducted and honored posthumously. Keeny is the uncle of my life long friend Mike Teran. My wife and I and friend Ed Hernandez Sr. were honored to be seated alongside the Teran Family and share in the moment. Keeny’s brother Manuel (Manny) Teran was accepting the award on behalf of the Teran family.

Keeny was known for his battles with tough Tommy Umeda and for being one half of one the greatest six round fight in boxing. Gil Cadilli was the other half. They fought to a draw at the old Hollywood Legion Stadium, that old time fight fans still recall with fondness and with awe.

Manuel Teran accepting the certificate from "Cali" Martinez for his brother the late Keeny Teran

Anita Teran Ware, Manuel Teran, Cali Martinez and Penny Teran, Keeny' daughter

Jeri and I with Manuel and Lupe Teran

It was an emotional time for Manuel Teran and the entire family as Manuel was accepting the award from “Cali“ Martinez, former fighter and friend of Keeny. Manny was overcome with the memory of his brother Keeny and was unable to say what he wanted. Let me say it for him here. Manny wants you to know that the entire Teran family is grateful to the California Boxing Hall of Fame for remembering Keeny. This induction validates Keeny’s career and life and justifies their belief that he was one of California’s great fighters, that he has a place in our memories as well as California’s rich boxing history. They thank you and want you to know that Keeny Teran would be honored.

I personally want to thank my friend, 2007 inductee Frank Baltazar Sr. and California Boxing Hall of Fame President Don Fraser for making it happen. You guys did a great thing.

Frank Baltazar Sr. and I

I don’t know what the numbers were for attendance but it was announced that this was the biggest turn out in the Hall of Fame history, so boxing is alive and well in California. It was great to be in a room filled with boxers and the people that love them. Some of the fighters in attendance were Frankie Baltazar Jr., “Cali” Martinez, Carlos Palomino, Mando Ramos, Danny “Little Red” Lopez, Alberto “Superfly” Sandoval, Randy Shields, Joey Olmos, Ruben Castillo, Andy Nance, Paul Banke and just so many more. California has produced some fine fighters.

The program began at 11:00 am with an hour to socialize and catch up. A prime rib lunch with all the fixings was served at noon. After lunch the induction ceremonies began. It was great for this fight fan to see so many boxing greats honored.

Also, thanks to Frank Baltazar Sr. for introducing me to his son, Frankie Jr., whom along with his brother Tony “the Tiger” Baltazar, were two of my favorite fighters of the seventies and eighties. It was an honor.

With Frankie Baltazar Jr. former number one contender

The Keeny Teran table

Manny Teran enjoying the day.

Scott & Anita Teran Ware

Me, Cali Martinez and Ed Hernandez Sr.

The above two photos are Frank Baltazar Sr. speaking of and introducing Ben Lira

The above two photos: Ben Lira accepting his inductions

Jackie Kallen

Joey Olmos

The above three photos: Cali Martinez speaking about Keeny Teran and introducing Manuel Teran

Anita Teran Ware, Manuel Teran and Cali Martinez

Anita Teran Ware

The above two photos: Anita Teran Ware, Manuel Teran, Cali Martinez and Penny Teran Molina

Mr and Mrs Teran receiving congratulations for Keeny Teran's induction

With Mr & Mrs Teran

Jeri and I with Mr & Mrs Teran (Manuel & Lupe).

Gabe Teran, Manny Teran, Anita Teran Ware, Penny Teran Molina

Ed Hernandez Sr., Randy Shields, and me.

Andy Nance, Me, (unknown) and Ed Hernandez Sr.

Me, and?,  and Ed Hernandez Sr.

The California Boxing Hall of Fame 2008 Inductees:

Mando Ramos, Paul Banke, Joey Olivo, Ben lira, Jackie Kallen, Laila Ali, Israel Vasquez, Johnny Ortiz, Andy Nance, Albert "SuperFly" Sandoval, Jack Mosley, Joe Valverde, Allen Syers, Pat Connolly, Steve Beljian, Ed Holmes, John Hall, Orlando De La Fuente, Steve Harpst & Michele Chong, The Docusen Brothers..Bernard & Maxie and Berry Gordy Jr.

Posthumous category:

Joe Louis, Jackie McCoy, Eddie Futch, Keeny Teran, and Larry Rozadilla

Carl Weathers 1948 2024

Very sad news. Carl Weathers has passed away. I do not yet know the circumstances.  He was, literally,  the other ha...