Straight Writes and Jabs
An Inside Look at Another Year in Boxing
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Arkansas Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Straight Writes and Jabs contains the articles about professional boxing that I authored in 2012 plus a more recent profile of Archie Moore. The articles I wrote about the sweet science prior to that date have been published in Muhammad Ali & Company; A Beautiful Sickness; A Year at the Fights; The View From Ringside; Chaos, Corruption, Courage, and Glory; The...
Fights and Fighters
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Sergio Martinez vs. Matthew Macklin: Good Fighters, Good Fight
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Sergio Martinez sat on a folding cushioned-metal chair, eating cashew nuts and sipping from a bottle of water. In two hours, he would enter a boxing ring to defend the middleweight championship of the world.Now, in a dressing room above The Theater at Madison Square Garden,...
Hopkins-Dawson II: The Champion
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Drama is keyed to the personal lives of the participants. Regardless of what the rest of the world thought, the April 28, 2012, rematch between Chad Dawson and Bernard Hopkins at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City was high drama for Dawson and everyone who cares about him. Dawson, age twenty-nine...
Pacquiao-Bradley in Perspective
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A wave of outrage has swept over the boxing community with regard to the scoring of the June 9, 2012, fight between Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley. The overwhelming majority of fans, writers, and commentators who watched the fight thought that Pacquiao was a clear winner....
Martinez-Chavez: Peaks and Valleys
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An athlete’s life is characterized by peaks and valleys. When Sergio Martinez was seventeen years old, he played forward in the #7 slot for a team called Defensoris in a junior amateur football (soccer) league in the province of Buenos Aires. Two days before his September 15, 2012, middleweight championship fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Las Vegas, Martinez...
Paulie Malignaggi Won’t Go Away
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On July 7, 2001, Paulie Malignaggi made his pro debut at Keyspan Park in Brooklyn. Even then, he had a mouth. Two days before the fight, he told Tom Gerbasi, “I’m boxing’s next superstar. Paulie Malignaggi is going to make it up the ladder quickly. I’m going to win multiple titles. I’m going to explode on the scene. I’m looking to make a big splash. And once you see me, I’m going to...
Miguel Cotto Grows Old at Thirty-Two
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Years ago, Patrick Kehoe wrote, “We must be ever vigilant to record With that in mind, let’s take a look at Miguel Cotto’s December 1, Cotto has fought with honor as a professional boxer for twelve years.At his best, he could choose between out boxing opponents and mauling Miguel followed Felix Trinidad as the standard bearer for Puerto...
The End of the Pacquiao Era
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Marvelous Marvin Hagler Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez have waged one of boxing’s great rivalries. Their first three fights, contested over the course of eight-and-a-half years, showcased two elite warriors with speed, intelligence, power, and skill. Neither man was able to dominate the other. They...
Archie Moore Revisited
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Archie Moore was a self-educated man who brought a philosophical veneer to a hard brutal sport. He’s revered today, not for a handful of signature fights but as a symbol of skill, craftsmanship, and boxing genius who persevered in the face of adversity and overwhelming odds. Moore represents the greatest of boxing’s great and also the thousands of faceless fighters who toiled...
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Lou DiBella on Epix
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The first fight televised on Epix was Vitali Klitschko vs. Odlanier Solis on March 19, 2011. The network now hosts boxing on a regular basis. Fights are shown live approximately once a month on a Saturday afternoon (usually around 4:30 PM East Coast time). That’s a throwback to the era when the sweet science...
Evander Holyfield on the Night Before Fighting MikeTyson
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It’s part of boxing lore. On November 9, 1996, Evander Holyfield shocked the world by knocking out Mike Tyson. Holyfield, it was said, went into the fight with absolute confidence and total belief in himself. “Tyson might frighten you guys,” he told the media. “But he doesn’t scare me. I’ve been everywhere he has except prison.” Except it turns out that things weren’t that simple. On June 8, 2012, I was...
My 86-Year-Old Mother Meets . . .
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In the 1980s and 1990s, my mother met Muhammad Ali several times. In 2007, I brought her to a press conference to meet Don King. Now, once a year, Anthony Catanzaro hosts a pizza party at Portobello’s (83 Murray Street in Manhattan) in her honor. Anthony is a popular figure in the Hauser family. My great-nephew (who turns four in October...
Boxing Personalities Remember “My Greatest Moment in Another Sport”
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I was at ringside for eight consecutive Manny Pacquiao fights, starting with his eight-round demolition of Oscar De La Hoya in 2008. On five of those occasions, I was privileged to be in Manny’s dressing room in the hours before and after the bout. I watched Pacquiao-Marquez IV on television and, when it was over, thought back on the time I’d spent with Manny. One moment stood out on my mind. On March 13, 2010,...
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I was at ringside for eight consecutive Manny Pacquiao fights, starting with his eight-round demolition of Oscar De La Hoya in 2008. On five of those occasions, I was privileged to be in Manny’s dressing room in the hours before and after the bout. I watched Pacquiao-Marquez IV on television and, when it was over, thought back on the time I’d spent with Manny. One moment stood out on my mind. On March 13, 2010, Pacquiao...
A Letter from Emanuel Steward
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Dear Tom, I never got to say goodbye the way I wanted to. So I thought I’d say hello from here and bring you up to date on what’s been happening lately. I was in the hospital, not feeling good. Then I fell asleep. And the next thing I knew, I was in a car going through some pearly gates. I asked the driver where we were, and he said, “You’ll see.” That night, there was a big welcome dinner for me. I couldn’t believe all the people who were...
Issues and Answers
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The PED Mess
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On December 30, 2009, Manny Pacquiao sued Floyd Mayweather Jr, Floyd Sr (Mayweather’s father), Roger Mayweather (Floyd’s uncle and trainer), Mayweather Promotions, Richard Schaefer, and Oscar De La Hoya for defamation. Pacquiao’s complaint, filed in the United States District Court of Nevada, alleged that each of the defendants had falsely accused him of using, and...
It’s Sixty Seconds Between Rounds, Not Sixty-Seven
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At times, there seems to be a maxim in boxing: “If it ain’t broke, fix it until it is.” One of the few things in boxing that ain’t broke is the time-honored rhythm of the sport; three minutes a round with sixty seconds between rounds. Much of the integrity that has existed in professional boxing since the 1800s comes from that rhythm and the conduct of the fights themselves. NBC Sports Network is airing a series of fights that run occasionally on Saturday night. Earlier...
Bad Judging: A Case Study
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I don’t know Ruben Garcia. He might be a very nice man. I do know that Garcia was in the wrong place at the wrong time last Saturday night (February 4, 2012). More specifically, Garcia was sitting in a judge’s chair scoring the fight between Nonito Donaire and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. It wasn’t a hard fight to score. Donaire outlanded Vazquez in eleven of twelve rounds en route to a 231-to-163 show of superiority. Donaire also landed more power...
Klitschko-Chisora: Sucker Slap
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In the past, I’ve referred to the fighter staredowns at weigh-ins as “a publicity-seeking ritual that has become an idiotic incendiary part of boxing.” The truth of that critique was on display yet again at the February 17, 2012, weigh-in for Vitali Klitschko vs. Dereck Chisora. Chisora had been chosen as the challenger for Klitschko’s WBC heavyweight crown on the basis of his coming out on the short end of an atrocious decision against Robert Helenius...
Chad Dawson’s KO by
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The Greek dramatist Aeschylus (525–456 BC) wrote, “The first casualty of war is truth.” Boxing is war. And while the essence of ring combat is truth, a lot of what goes on behind the scenes is neither honorable nor honest. With that in mind, there’s an issue relating to the September 8, 2012, fight in Oakland between Andre Ward and Chad Dawson that should be explored. Ward entered the fight with an unblemished 25-and-0 record. By virtue of his “Super Six” tournament...
Ray Mancini for Real
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I started reading The Good Son: The Life of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini by Mark Kriegel with a jaundiced eye. There are a lot of mediocre books about fighters who were embraced by the media and whose fame outweighed their ring accomplishments. But from the prologue on, it’s clear that The Good Son is far more than a “golly gee” biography. Ray Mancini was marketed to the American public as the All- American boy. Or as Top...
Joe Gans Comes to Life
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Joe Gans was relegated long ago to a seldom-visited corner of boxing history. Knowledgeable fight fans know that Gans was the first American born black champion and perhaps the most technically advanced fighter of his time. Between October 23, 1893, and March 12, 1909, he had 191 professional bouts, scored an even 100 knockouts, and (including newspaper decisions) lost only...
Ray Arcel: Behind the Façade
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The image of Ray Arcel that exists today is that of a sage old trainer who knew the science of boxing and was a gentleman. He preached patience as the foundation of training and never made himself the center of attention. Ray Arcel: A Boxing Biography by Donald Dewey (McFarland and Company) explores Arcel’s life in detail. The author has an appreciation of boxing and boxing history. His writing is a bit ponderous at times, but the book is intelligent and insightful. Arcel was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1899. His family moved to New York when he was young...
The Rise and Fall of Alexis Arguello
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I met Alexis Arguello in 1986, six months after The Black Lights (my initial foray into boxing writing) was published. The book tracked the career of WBC 140-pound champion Billy Costello and culminated in his successful title defense against Saoul Mamby. In his next bout, Billy suffered the first loss of his career at the hands of Lonnie Smith. Meanwhile, Arguello...
The End of College Boxing
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Boxing took hold on a handful of college campuses in the 1870s as an intramural sport. Theodore Roosevelt boxed as a student at Harvard and later wrote, “I like to see a bout between two evenly-matched men. There can be no harm in such an exhibition. In my opinion, it is much better for a man to know how to...
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Today ( January 17, 2012) is Muhammad Ali’s seventieth birthday. But a poignant note accompanies the tributes that he’s receiving. Wali Muhammad died this morning at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx where he was in hospice care after a long battle with cancer. Wali (formerly known...
Remembering Joe Frazier
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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Joe Frazier, who died one year ago, on November 7, 2011. I met Joe at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas on December 1, 1988. I’d just signed a contract to become Muhammad Ali’s official biographer. Two days of taping were underway for a documentary entitled Champions Forever that featured...
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Page Count: 250
Publication Year: 2013