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thenonpareil

  • joined Dec 20, 2009
  • last login Jul 25, 2014
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DARK SUN: Remembering Joe Frazier

In retirement, Frazier seemed like a man chased by ghosts. Overshadowed by the legend surrounding the charismatic Ali, Frazier felt that his own legacy was diminished, and he bristled at having...

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NEON NIGHTS: Leon Spinks In The 1980s (Part II)

By the late 1970s, Leon Spinks seemed to be a permanent headline, as well as rich material for late night talk shows and comedians. It was only natural, considering some of the absurd adventures...

THE BIG HURT: Jeff Fenech On The Rampage In The 1980s

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The closest thing to 1970s Roberto Duran in the 1980s, Jeff Fenech brawled his way to championships in three divisions despite having hands as fragile as Noguchi lamps. Read more from The Living Daylights

All Day Permanent Red: Frankie Duarte-Alberto Davila II

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Between them, they had more tragedy than a sporting life—or any other life, for that matter—ought to allow. Frankie Duarte, who had pulled himself from the grip of a suffocating alcohol and heroin addiction, and Alberto Davila, who once killed a man in the ring, squared off on CBS in a Saturday afternoon Grand Guignol of gore. Not your run-of-the-mill substance abuser, Duarte hollowed himself out year after year full-throttle in pre-gentrification Venice, California, with needle, bottle, pill. "Heroin was the worst," Duarte told KO in 1987. "I never really got hooked on any of them except for the heroin at the end." From The Living Daylights

Let The Good Times Roll: The Night Hilmer Kenty Won The Lightweight Title

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In order to secure Kenty a title shot, Steward had to pay tribute to the new Mafiosi in boxing: banana republic sanctioning bodies. Yes, the likes of Frankie Carbo, Blinky Palermo, and Eddie Coco had been replaced by a conjunto of prizefight grifters in Panama, Mexico, Venezuela, and the Caribbean. Pepe Cordero, outed by Bob Arum as a WBA "Bagman" in 1983 and a one-man-gang of graft, opened his sit-down with Steward in Puerto Rico by placing a gun on his desk as a preamble to negotiations. Read more from The Living Daylights.

DAMAGE, INC. : Brandon Rios TKO7 Mike Alvarado

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Neither Rios nor Alvarado has any problem causing mass hysteria. And on Saturday night they proved it to a feverish audience of over 7,000. They whipsawed punches in close, lashed out with uppercuts, scored with crosses, hooks, and haymakers, and bared the dark allure behind all legitimate blood sports: the revelation of character and style in the face of adversity. From The Cruelest Sport

WHITE KNUCKLES: Mike Alvarado-Brandon Rios Preview

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Both men put drama into what is, after all, a blood sport (ritualized violence staged for the atavist in all of us), and without that sense of stylized action, you have a Chad Dawson bout. Boxing can be compared to what director Sam Fuller once said about his own profession: "Film is like a battleground. Love. Hate. Action. Violence. Death. In one word . . . emotion." Remove "death" (except for its symbolic counterpart, the 10-count) and you have a working definition of prizefighting. From The Cruelest Sport

WHITE KNUCKLES: Mike Alvarado-Brandon Rios Preview

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Both men put drama into what is, after all, a blood sport (ritualized violence staged for the atavist in all of us), and without that sense of stylized action, you have a Chad Dawson bout. Boxing can be compared to what director Sam Fuller once said about his own profession: "Film is like a battleground. Love. Hate. Action. Violence. Death. In one word . . . emotion." Remove "death" (except for its symbolic counterpart, the 10-count) and you have a working definition of prizefighting. From The Cruelest Sport

AFTERMATH: Darchinyan-Del Valle, Rodriguez-Escalera, Decarie-Perez, Povetkin-Rahman

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Promoter Lou DiBella’s triple-header from the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort at Mashantucket, Connecticut, Saturday night put some unfamiliar names on perhaps the sport’s most recognizable platform. While the opportunity to watch three fights might seem like a windfall, a discerning viewer still had grounds for scrutinizing the competition with a "persecuting spirit." A less discerning diner might wolf down this serving of largely noncompetitive action as a testament to his "love of the sport," but one cannot help wonder whether such love should be given so freely when so little is given in return. From The Cruelest Sport

Until The Real Thing Comes Along: The Night Henry Armstrong Made History Against Lou Ambers (Part 3)

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Armstrong was incredulous at the idea of not being given a chance to finish, but Cavanaugh insistently directed his attention to the canvas, "Look at the ring, it’s full of blood!" Cavanaugh pointed out that Armstrong could fight anywhere, but he could only referee in the state of New York. He didn’t want to risk his future standing with the commission by taking any unnecessary chances, but agreed to let the fighter continue, with the warning, "If you spit anymore blood onto the floor, I’m going to stop this fight."

"We Were Young Together Once": Top 20 Favorite Fighters Of The 1980s, A Personal Reminiscence

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For a little while, say about a year, Donald Curry was considered the best fighter in the world. Unlike most contemporary P-4-P entries, however, who short-circuit keyboards for beating squeegee men and halfway house escapees, Curry actually racked up some important wins. In less than two dozen bouts on the way to a superstardom that never was, Curry defeated Marlon Starling twice, Colin Jones, Nino LaRocca, Elio Diaz, and Milton McCrory. Read more from The Living Daylights.

Only The Lonely: Tim Bradley Without Manny Pacquiao

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Merit in boxing is multifarious: there is merit in professionalism, merit in ability, in resilience, aesthetic, even in atavism. There is also financial merit, and while Bradley is an exemplary prizefighter, he sorely lacks the crucial financial element. Rather inexplicably, Bradley doesn’t resonate among the African-American community; aesthetically, his name has become almost taboo. While Marquez can sweeten the pot with money generated through Mexican television rights and a raucous caravan of traveling fans, Bradley brings little more than an honest effort and the dubious distinction of being "the man who beat the man" to the bargaining table. Read more from The Cruelest Sport.

Orcas Tossing Baby Seals: Saul Alvarez TKO5 Josesito Lopez

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The outcome of this anti-climactic bloodletting, this exposé on the rationale behind weight divisions and the troublesome geography located between rocks and hard places, was obvious before the first bell rang. Lopez, 30-5-0-1 (18KO), who had never weighed more than 146.5 pounds, tipped the scales at 153lbs on Friday, and added another 12 pounds to his already encumbered frame by fight time. The extra size was supposed to translate into greater strength and punch resistance, but resulted in making Lopez a softer, slower, and less durable target, one that Alvarez, 41-0-1 (30), would hit with impunity. Read more from The Cruelest Sport

Orcas Tossing Baby Seals: Saul Alvarez TKO5 Josesito Lopez

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The outcome of this anti-climactic bloodletting, this exposé on the rationale behind weight divisions and the troublesome geography located between rocks and hard places, was obvious before the first bell rang. Lopez, 30-5-0-1 (18KO), who had never weighed more than 146.5 pounds, tipped the scales at 153lbs on Friday, and added another 12 pounds to his already encumbered frame by fight time. The extra size was supposed to translate into greater strength and punch resistance, but resulted in making Lopez a softer, slower, and less durable target, one that Alvarez, 41-0-1 (30), would hit with impunity. Read more from The Cruelest Sport

LA MORDIDA: Sergio Martinez W12 Julio César Chávez Jr.

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Even before the opening bell rang, Chávez, 46-1-1-1 (32), looked like he was in for a long night. With a training regimen based on equal parts feng shui and pajama party etiquette, Chávez entered the ring with a "For Whom the Bells Toll" look about him. That he lasted as long as he did is testament to a perverse will that saw him play out the "No Pain, No Gain" mantra in the ring rather than in camp. It was a curious tradeoff. What Chávez calls training is merely an excuse to work up a sweat for a refreshing swim. Despite the fact that he went 12 rounds with the best middleweight in the world, scored a knockdown, and showed the mettle some suspected he lacked, one gets the feeling that his wayward attitude will never change. It was a credible performance for a fighter who was doubly cursed the moment he left his locker room: first by having to swap punches with a far superior fighter; and, second, by having a work ethic unequal to the arduous task he faced. Read more from The Cruelest Sport

LA MORDIDA: Sergio Martinez W12 Julio César Chávez Jr.

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Even before the opening bell rang, Chávez, 46-1-1-1 (32), looked like he was in for a long night. With a training regimen based on equal parts feng shui and pajama party etiquette, Chávez entered the ring with a "For Whom the Bells Toll" look about him. That he lasted as long as he did is testament to a perverse will that saw him play out the "No Pain, No Gain" mantra in the ring rather than in camp. It was a curious tradeoff. What Chávez calls training is merely an excuse to work up a sweat for a refreshing swim. Despite the fact that he went 12 rounds with the best middleweight in the world, scored a knockdown, and showed the mettle some suspected he lacked, one gets the feeling that his wayward attitude will never change. It was a credible performance for a fighter who was doubly cursed the moment he left his locker room: first by having to swap punches with a far superior fighter; and, second, by having a work ethic unequal to the arduous task he faced. Read more from The Cruelest Sport

Hell By Baby Steps: Sergio Martinez-Julio César Chávez Jr. Preview

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Closed or secret training sessions—which marked his initial camp—are often the byproduct of injuries, and Chávez reportedly suffers from fallen arches, which may or may not have forced him to miss workout sessions early. Chávez, who had been moving from one place to another like a government witness going from safe house to safe house, has been at loose ends in Mexico and ensconced in a mansion in Hollywood Hills—like a Barrymore on a bender. He finally wound up in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, where he sometimes popped in for a workout at the Top Rank gym, and where he sometimes hit the mitts in swank digs completely at odds with the atmosphere of a professional prizefighter. Indeed, perhaps no boxer in history has moved so much furniture around in preparation for a big fight. Read more from The Cruelest Sport

Hell By Baby Steps: Sergio Martinez-Julio César Chávez Jr. Preview

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Closed or secret training sessions—which marked his initial camp—are often the byproduct of injuries, and Chávez reportedly suffers from fallen arches, which may or may not have forced him to miss workout sessions early. Chávez, who had been moving from one place to another like a government witness going from safe house to safe house, has been at loose ends in Mexico and ensconced in a mansion in Hollywood Hills—like a Barrymore on a bender. He finally wound up in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, where he sometimes popped in for a workout at the Top Rank gym, and where he sometimes hit the mitts in swank digs completely at odds with the atmosphere of a professional prizefighter. Indeed, perhaps no boxer in history has moved so much furniture around in preparation for a big fight. Read more from The Cruelest Sport

Hell By Baby Steps: Sergio Martinez-Julio César Chávez Jr. Preview

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Closed or secret training sessions—which marked his initial camp—are often the byproduct of injuries, and Chávez reportedly suffers from fallen arches, which may or may not have forced him to miss workout sessions early. Chávez, who had been moving from one place to another like a government witness going from safe house to safe house, has been at loose ends in Mexico and ensconced in a mansion in Hollywood Hills—like a Barrymore on a bender. He finally wound up in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, where he sometimes popped in for a workout at the Top Rank gym, and where he sometimes hit the mitts in swank digs completely at odds with the atmosphere of a professional prizefighter. Indeed, perhaps no boxer in history has moved so much furniture around in preparation for a big fight. Read more from The Cruelest Sport

The Ugly American: Tomorrow Is Never Enough, Or, On Josesito Lopez-Saul Alvarez

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Never underestimate hunger. In boxing, where a strange American Pyramid Scheme is at work to concentrate paydays among a few managers, fighters, and promoters, some have to scramble, on empty stomachs, up a ladder with slippery rungs. It takes the right connections in American boxing to guarantee a living wage. For the rest of the hoi polloi, making ends meet is a constant struggle. After a decade as a prizefighter, Josesito Lopez finally hit The Big Time when he scored a 9th-round TKO over Victor Ortiz at the Staples Center in June. And what, exactly, does The Big Time amount to for Lopez? Read more from Esquina Boxeo.

The Year Of Living Dangerously: Alan Minter In 1980 Part II

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"From the start, Antuofermo—heavily mustached, unshaven for days, barrel-chested, a smaller Rocky Marciano—threw wild punches and charged in low. Which was absolutely no surprise. And Minter did not retreat. He stood up, crashing rights into a face that Antuofermo seemed uninterested in protecting. Then Minter would follow the jabs with left crosses. Authoritative and aggressive, Minter guided those jabs with cold eyes. In 51 fights Antuofermo had been stopped only twice, but just before the end of Round 1 one of Minter’s combinations cut him over the nose, a little toward the right eyebrow. Already Antuofermo was in trouble." – Clive Gammon, Sports Illustrated Read more from The Living Daylights

Easy Living: Andre Ward TKO10 Chad Dawson

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Ward sprinkled in punishing body shots in the sixth round, finding his physically depleted and technically outgunned foe easy to tag. Rather than clinch in close, Ward turned his torso to establish space and ripped off vicious punches, sparing the audience while showing Dawson no quarter. It would be disingenuous to say that the fight was exciting thus far, but it was a lack of competition, not an excess of holding and dirty tactics, that hindered excitement. Ward was simply beating the stuffing out of Dawson, who was unable to adapt or adjust and wore a mask of helpless resignation. Read more from The Cruelest Sport.

The Dream Becomes The World: Vitali Klitschko-Manuel Charr Preview

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Having hocked everything to train in a bare storefront in Cologne, Charr is thinking about things like destiny, glory, a bank account. Give him all the credit in the world for dreaming big. In the end, how he got here—and whether he belongs here or not—is irrelevant when you realize how much these nights mean to fighters outside of the prizefight power circles, the ones who claw, scratch, and pawn their way into opportunities. Read more from The Cruelest Sport

The Dream Becomes The World: Vitali Klitschko-Manuel Charr Preview

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Having hocked everything to train in a bare storefront in Cologne, Charr is thinking about things like destiny, glory, a bank account. Give him all the credit in the world for dreaming big. In the end, how he got here—and whether he belongs here or not—is irrelevant when you realize how much these nights mean to fighters outside of the prizefight power circles, the ones who claw, scratch, and pawn their way into opportunities. Read more from The Cruelest Sport

BAD MEDICINE: An Interview With Tony Baltazar

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Destructive West Coast bomber Tony "The Tiger" Baltazar was a fixture on network television during the early 1980s. Best known for his 1983 Pier Sixer against streaking lightweight Robin Blake, Baltazar, who first donned gloves as a small child, also made the ring uncomfortable for Howard Davis, Jr., Miguel Angel Dominguez, and Pedro Laza. Armed with a short left hook as hard as a swinging derrick, Baltazar was a feared contender for years. Not long after scoring the biggest win of his career, however—a decision over Roger Mayweather—Baltazar was convicted of vehicular manslaughter. Read more From The Living Daylights

Lowering The Boom: Gennady Golovkin TKO5 Grzegorz Proksa

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In the aftermath, a lustful Max Kellerman turned the hyperbole to eleven, applauding Golovkin for obliterating a destroyer of world-class fighters. Proksa has a few recognizable names on his ledger, with the rest just as likely to appear on Chichikov’s list of dead souls. But he was game and skillful, if woefully outgunned by the superior fighter. Why not just say that? Read more from The Cruelest Sport

Until The Real Thing Comes Along: The Night Henry Armstrong Made History Against Lou Ambers

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As the challenger changed back into his street clothes, he told reporters that he had been ready to go and felt great. This had been at odds however with the reports coming from his camp at Pompton Lakes indicating that he wasn’t looking his indomitable self. Armstrong’s manager Eddie Mead had scoffed at such news, blaming the mid-summer heat on the sluggishness his fighter had shown. While the hot weather might have been an issue, Armstrong was likely showing the mental and physical effects of an impossibly rigorous schedule. Unbeknownst to the press, Armstrong had suffered a breakdown in January on the drive back to Los Angeles after fighting back to back nights in Phoenix and Tuscon. Having fought twenty-seven times in a dozen different cities during the year 1937, it was understandable the fighter was starting to have trouble coping with the demands of such a grind. Read more from The Cruelest Sport

Until The Real Thing Comes Along: The Night Henry Armstrong Made History Against Lou Ambers

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As the challenger changed back into his street clothes, he told reporters that he had been ready to go and felt great. This had been at odds however with the reports coming from his camp at Pompton Lakes indicating that he wasn’t looking his indomitable self. Armstrong’s manager Eddie Mead had scoffed at such news, blaming the mid-summer heat on the sluggishness his fighter had shown. While the hot weather might have been an issue, Armstrong was likely showing the mental and physical effects of an impossibly rigorous schedule. Unbeknownst to the press, Armstrong had suffered a breakdown in January on the drive back to Los Angeles after fighting back to back nights in Phoenix and Tuscon. Having fought twenty-seven times in a dozen different cities during the year 1937, it was understandable the fighter was starting to have trouble coping with the demands of such a grind. Read more from The Cruelest Sport
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