ABILITY TO JUDGE “RAW” BOXING TALENT: ANDRE WARD & ROBERT GUERRERO
SEPARATING THE BOXING BULL CRAP FROM THE GOLDEN NUGGETS
San Francisco, CA-Throughout my almost 40-years of writing, I have done some good things well, some bad things bad. But at the end of day, whatever you might think of me as a person or a writer, you cannot take away my innate ability to judge “talent.” Although I had no idea he would go on and set a precedent in boxing by using Steroids and EPO to help him win a fight, I knew watching Shane Mosley, both as an amateur and as the boxing TV commentator for his fourth professional fight, that the kid then haling from Pomona did have the skills to become a world boxing champion. Simply put, Shane Mosley, although he would later become a “cheater” so skilled at lying that he “beat the box,” passed a lie detector test when in reality he was not telling the truth, there was no denying that he, as many an expert would say, “Had the goods.REMEMBERING JACK FISKE’S “GOLDEN” RULE
“Never fall in love with a fighter,” was what Hall of Fame writer Jack Fiske, this after he did so with Alexis Arguello, only to find out the late Alex wasn’t the champion in life that he was in the ring. So, when local fighter James Page made a move at welterweight in the 90s, I knew he “had the ability” and became WBA welterweight champ for a minute, until he allowed his mother to represent him with promoter Don King and co-manager Carl King. Underprepared and sans a shark proof suit, Mrs. Page turned down a $1 million purse with the IBF’s Tito Trinidad in a unification bout, this because James was only getting $500 grand out of the million. Had he beaten Tito, James would have been a bona-fide superstar, making millions upon millions of dollars! In this case, momma’ didn’t know best! As it turned out, James would never make more than $100K for any subsequent fight, and would lose to “Six Heads” Lewis in front of a few hundred people. Last I heard, James was in a southern state prison for 20 years after a number of convictions for armed robbery.
FROM NEGATIVES TO THE BOXING POSITIVES OF “THE GHOST” & ANDRE WARD
When I first saw Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, it was nothing real special. A taller than the other kids, Robert was a scrapper, one of whom I put an asterisk next to his name and included the words, “unlimited potential,” this when he was only about 14. Once beaten Guerrero, a champion at 126, 130 & 135 lbs., next battles at 140 August 27 when he faces perennial powerhouse Marcos Maidana in an HBO production emanating from San Jose, CA at 140 lbs. Expecting “The Ghost” to win here, not because I’ve watched him from the boxing crib to world champion, but because I think he’s superior boxing talent should be able to keep Maidana reaching, but not connecting for 12 rounds.
SAVING MY BEST FOR LAST
About 15 years ago, I was at an East Oakland amateur boxing card and was told the impressive fighter on the card would be the approximately 12-year old Andre Ward, born in San Francisco of a white father and black mother, who ended up moving across the bay to Oakland. In between a bunch of boring “smokers,” out came Ward, a young man who was so relaxed you could have suspected he was on Valium. As it turns out, that Valium-like demeanor of being so relaxed before a fight was an intangible that separated Ward from his fellow amateur fighters, most of whom were frenetically nervous wrecks by the time the first bell rang.WARD HAS JUST KEPT ON WINNING…….FOR YEARS
With the exception of one fight I didn’t witness, but people that did told me Andre got ripped off, he hasn’t lost a fight since. If my memory is correct, Ward brings an unbeaten record going back some-15 years when he meets the overmatched Carl Froch this Saturday in the “Super Six” super middleweight tournament finale this coming Saturday on Showtime. The young man, no longer a kid, has a solid family, two boys, a baby daughter and a supportive wife in Tiffany. After handling Froch with relative ease, there will be many besides Ring Magazine that will believe his is the best boxer ‘pound for pound’ in boxing.