June 16th, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
BIRTHDAY BOY BELONGS ON BOXING’S MT. RUSHMORE
Las Vegas, NV-Having been put on the spot time and again, there is little doubt in my mind that Roberto Duran, who turned 64 today was the greatest fighter I ever saw. And looking at the history of boxing, at least in the past 50 years, there has never been a fighter that can approach the accomplishments of “Manos Di Piedra.” Turning professional at 118 lbs. in February 1968, Duran, then 16 years old, would answer the bell 119 times. He would never officially retire, instead an auto accident made his July 2001 fight with Hector Camacho his last.
MINISTER OF RING MAYHEM
When he beat Ken Buchanan for the lightweight (135) title, the end was punctuated by an obvious low blow that some say referee Tony LoBianco simply ignored. And since this is a story on the career of “Hands of Stone” that is running on his 64rd birthday, there is curiosity as to why he never afforded Ken a rematch. Mad for decades, Buchanan and Duran have made up of sorts. At least that was the PR push being made when Roberto toured Scotland a five or so years ago.
KENNY HAD LEGIT BBEF FOR REMATCH
When I last talked with Buchanan circa 2003, the fiery Scot was to put it mildly still angry when the subject of Roberto came up. We were in the lobby of the Days Inn of Cantestota, NY, literally a stones throw from the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He had voiced the opinion that his being World champion in his native land meant a whole lot more than here in the U.S. “As for Duran, I saw a picture of the low blow here today, that I never saw before. The referee knew Duran fouled me. Still, he was the greatest fighter I ever fought, and of all-time as well. They (people) don’t realize that he moved way up in weight and unlike other people, he kept winning.
TRILOGY WITH PUERTO RICAN CAPPED 35 LB. REIGN! READ MORE…
June 16th, 2014 By Brian Gorman
#1 DREAM MATCH IN FISTIC HISTORY
New York, NY- Back when the New England Patriots undefeated Super Bowl march drawing comparisons to the all-time greatest teams, my mind turned to an my all-time dream fight between the two greatest heavyweights of them all, Joe Louis (69-3, 55 KOs) and Muhammad Ali (56-5, 37 KOs). Perhaps boxing’s two most important historical figures when it comes to African-American history, the end and beginning of their careers were separated by less than a decade (you wouldn’t know it from this circa 1963 photo). Changes among heavyweight champs over time have made certain fantasy matchups impossible to even consider such as Rocky Marciano (5’10, 185 lbs., 49-0, 43 KOs) vs Lennox Lewis (6’5, 245, 41-2-1, 32 KOs). However, only about an inch and ten pounds separated Louis and Ali thus the dream showdown is a worthy discussion. BROWN BOMBER VS. THE GREATEST
Joe Frazier-Muhammad Ali I was billed as The Fight of the Century in large part because of the greatness of the combatants, but also due to the excitement and buildup as Ali had missed over three years of his prime from age 25 to 28 while “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier (32-4-1, 27 KOs) became the preeminent heavyweight. (Remember, Louis also lost an astonishing four years of his prime between ages 28 and 32 due to World War II. Note: I don’t do politics or religion, just boxing.) Imagine the pre-fight theatrics involved with Louis-Ali, with the “Louisville Lip” unsuccessfully trying to shake Louis’ quiet confidence. The self-proclaimed G.O.A.T. would undoubtedly in this fight be the, well goat.
FIGHT ALI USED TO DREAM ABOUT
I write this knowing full well that most would not agree with my winner here. The popular and easy pick would obviously be Louis, the most accomplished and record-holding champion in any division. The appropriately-named Brown Bomber’s knockout victims were KO’d so violently and quickly that it almost appeared as if his gloves were laced with ether or that they were faking. (Go ahead and watch back the knockouts of Billy Conn (64-12-1, 15 KOs) or Max Baer (68-13, 52 KOs), to name just two.) He patiently stalked his opponents, his right hand cocked as though it was holding a weapon and America waited for them to fall. READ MORE…
June 7th, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
“RING TALK BOXING” TRIBUTE SHOW
San Francisco, CA- This edition of Ring Talk Boxing” was not the easiest hour of radio I’ve done in in my almost three decades of radio. On this show, we paid tribute to important figures (and my friends) in the boxing world that have left us. With taped interviews, I take you back to former World champion Genaro Hernandez’s last interview a few days before losing a battle to Cancer in June 2011. When I first did this live, I broke up and produced tears.
NICK CHARLES WAS NEVER A “TALKING HEAD”
Having first met ex-CNN & Showtime announcer Nick Charles when he was with CNN in the 1980s, we would cross paths and bounce ideas off one another quite often. This interview was emotional as well, but hey this is live radio.
LORRAINE CHARGIN “LIKE THE MOB” SAID RUSSELL PELTZ
Our last guest was Don Chargin, the Hall of Fame promoter as “Ring Talk” noted it’s been two years (four now) since the “First Lady of Boxing,” the one and only Lorraine Chargin fell victim to Cancer. We ended the show with one of the funniest stories I’ve ever told in boxing. Here’s a hint, it had something to so with sex and an ex-champ! To LISTEN NOW READ MORE…
June 3rd, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
HAVE OVER 30 STAMPS IN PASSPORT(S)
PRE-9-11 SECURITY WAS NON EXISTENT
It was 1993, pre 9-11 and airline security was lax, especially on non American flights. On our first trip to China in 1993, where I aired “Ring Talk Worldwide” from Beijing and did the first ever boxing TV broadcast from China dubbed, “The Brawl At The Wall” which was topped by a WBO title fight between champion Leonzar Barber and Mike Sedillo.
ALI, LONNIE & PEDRO IN EXECUTIVE CLASS
With our seats turned into beds, Muhammad Ali, wife Lonnie, myself and others were somewhere over the Pacific ocean and the “rush” of being with Ali would not allow me to sleep. That being said, I opened up the unlocked door to the cockpit and almost s*it in my pants. Why? Because all three men who were supposed to be flying the plane were instead sound asleep!
IRATE PEDRO WOKE LONNIE ALI UP READ MORE…
April 7th, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
VIDEOS PROVE CASE BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT
San Francisco, CA- Having been around the boxing block a time or two, opinions are rarely unanimous when it comes to prizefighting. One notion that is never dismissed and discounted is that Earnie Shavers was the hardest puncher in boxing history! Now 69 years old, “The Acorn” as Muhammad Ali nicknamed him prior to their 1977 15-round war in New York’s Madison Square Garden. At one point and time, Shavers who went 74-14-1, 68 KOs, scored 44 KOs in his first 47 fights. Shavers, a gentleman the three times I met and interviewed him, signed early on with then “manager” Don King and the Donald’s connections propelled Earnie’s rise in the heavyweight ratings.
BEFORE WE CONTINUE HERE IS ROUND 15 & SHAVERS POUNDING ALI
NOW WATCH SHAVERS KNOCK OUT KEN NORTON IN ONE ROUND READ MORE…
April 7th, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
San Francisco, CA- The English language could explain this no simpler. Ether you like Don King or you don’t. Having always found a way to pierce his shield, I used to love to challenge the guy his peeps used to refer to simply as “DK.” Now in his 82 turn of the Roman Calender, I simply call him Don. The Donald has been promoting fights since 1974 and the “Rumble In The Jungle” aka Muhammad Ali-George Foreman.
King who had had a piece of Earnie Shavers after doing his first wooing of a fighter when he wooed the hardest puncher in boxing history away from fellow Cleveland native Don Elbaum. But as a promoter, that cherry was popped with Ali-Foreman in Zaire, Africa. Don had gotten a reported $10 million for a site fee from President Mabutu who had great hopes of his country becoming the next French Riviera in tourism and that this fight would bring it priceless worldwide media exposure.
ZAIRE WAS A JUNGLE FOR SURE
But it wasn’t peaches and cream in Zaire leading up to the September 1974 match for a 24-year old Foreman as George was hated by the locals. His having a number of German Shepard dogs, a trait locals could only tie to the slave owners started George down the path of being the heel (bad guy) in this promotion.
CHAMPION CUT RIGHT BEFORE FIGHT READ MORE…
March 7th, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
WHITE HOPE OR JUST WHITE HYPE?
San Francisco, CA-When I was a wee lad, my old man used to read the twice-weekly San Francisco Chronicle column of the departed Hall of Fame writer Jack Fiske. One Tuesday column stated that heavyweight prospect Jerry Quarry would be sparring at the world renowned Herman-Newman’s Gym at 312 Leavenworth St. When we arrived a little after 4:30 PM, there was a guy at the front door, collecting 50 cents for adults, and a quarter for kids. This preceded a walk down a 40-foot darkened hallway, five steps into which you are instantly hit by the aroma of Newman’s Gym.
LIKE THOSE OLD FIGHT SCENES!
With old guys still smoking cigars, people had filled the bleachers, and the best description I can give you is that the smell of the gym was a putrid combination of body odor, liniments, and oh yeah, those cheap stinky cigars of taxi baron and fight manager Phil Rancatorre and a few others. From the first time I ever set foot in the joint, until it closed some 20 years later, that stale smell never changed.
GEORGE FOREMAN KO’D THREE GUYS IN THREE ROUNDS!
After watching George Foreman all but behead a trio of sparring partners in the smaller 15-square foot ring, one of three at Newman’s, my father had to explain to me that at the time George was an amateur and that Jerry was a contender. Circa 1967, Foreman, even though he was just a teenager, I came to the conclusion after watching them both spar, that George might kill Quarry were they to ever fight. George murdered his smaller than he spar mates because he didn’t like Quarry getting the attention. Heavyweight contender or not, Jerry was no match for George even at 18 years old!
FIRST TEACHER MACHEN FIRST BEAT QUARRY!
What I noticed most about Team Quarry was that none of them, not Jerry or his younger brother Mike ever wore headgear while sparring. With San Francisco heavyweight contender Eddie Machen on his last professional leg and having beaten Jerry a year prior for his lone loss, Eddie was being feted in the stands by the locals.
BIG GEORGE WAS A TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW! READ MORE…
March 7th, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
San Francisco- The first time I saw Joe Frazier was when he replaced Buster Mathis, Sr., on the 1964 Olympic team and won the Gold medal in Tokyo, Japan. Already living in the shadow of then heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, it was a position Joe was in for life. Having watched Joe Frazier fight for the first time against Oscar Bonavena, Joe got dropped and was hurt badly by the late Argentine known as “Ringo.”
BEAT ON “OVER THE HILL” MACHEN
Joe’s next fight was with my initial boxing mentor Eddie Machen in 1966. Bonavena probably beat him, but Eddie was beaten on by Joe before being stopped in ten. This was a fight that promoter Don Chargin looks back on and regrets for he had Machen and made the fight with the then “green” Frazier due to Joe looking so bad against Bonavena.
BEING CHAMP AFTER ALI BOTHERED JOE
After winning the vacant New York heavyweight title, stripped from Muhammad Ali, Joe stopped the original 1964 Olympic heavyweight boxer Buster Mathis Sr. inside of 11 fistic frames. Two fights later, Frazier would lick “Ringo” Bonavena in a rematch. Joe went on and defended a portion of, and then the undisputed world heavyweight championship a total of nine times. Having been around Frazier on numerous occasions, you never knew just what Joe Frazier was going to show up. Would he be contrite or polite? That was always the question regarding Joe.
WORLD STOOD STILL FOR “THE FIGHT”
The first fight with Muhammad Ali on March 8, 1971, “The Fight of The Century” was the biggest sporting event in history to this day. The world came to a halt on March 8, 1971, when Joe Frazier was awarded a unanimous decision over the man born Cassius Clay. Both men got a record $2.5 million for the fight. With the win over Ali taking a lot out of both men, Joe stopped non-entities Ron Stander and Terry Daniels, this before turning down a reported $5 million for an Ali rematch.
JOE’S ATTITUDE DANCE TRIPPED HIM UP BIG TIME! READ MORE…
February 24th, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
MEXICAN MONEY MACHINE ON HBO SATURDAY
San Francisco, CA- Word is “World Class” professional boxing returns to HBO Saturday night with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. facing Brian Vera in a rematch of a 2013 scrap in which Chavez got a much undeserved unanimous decision win.
CHAVEZ JR. NEED DISPLAY CHAVEZ SR. “EARLY” DISCIPLINE
Most pundits say that Jr. lost to Vera because of a lack of proper conditioning. They changed the weight, the date, HBO did everything they could to make the first fight happen when it should have been scrapped because Jr. failed to even make the “adjusted” weight. Having watched the kid fight, it’s not like he doesn’t have skills, it’s that he bangs girlfriends before fights, got caught with the benign drug Marijuana in his system, in addition to being suspended after a Diuretic that could have been used a “masking agent” for steroids was detected.
SAID TO BE IN BETTER SHAPE….BUT?
People feel that JC Jr. will come into this fight with a good camp behind him, and that will get him a deserved win over the pesky and smaller Vera. You cannot instill greatness, he or she has to do it for themselves. The bottom line here is that Chavez lacks the motivation and desire to be an upper echelon fighter.
AMATEUR ICON FACES WBO CHAMP IN FIGHT #2!
The semi-main event is the fight to watch! Only 1-0 as a professional, Vasyl Lomachenko, the two-time Olympic champ who went 396-1 fighting for trophies, takes on WBO 126 lb. tough guy Orlando Salido. Having stopped Juan Manuel Lopez twice, he was thrashed by Mikey Garcia, this before lumping up the openly Gay Orlando Cruz last time out.
NEAR PUGILISTIC PERFECTION ON TV SATURDAY
While some say Vasyl is lanky, an attribute in the amateurs, he doesn’t have a stickman like frame and I feel his body is well suited for the professional game. Why am I saying Vasyl rolls over the Mexican veteran with relative ease? Because guys that win go 396-1, three World titles, two Olympic Gold medals, folks guys this good don’t come along very often, thus I think we might be looking at an already great fighter.
ALI GLOVES SOLD FOR $836,000 US DOLLARS READ MORE…
January 22nd, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
San Francisco, CA- A multitude of promotional entities lay claim to have been the first to bring boxing to the Peoples Republic of China. While I’ve heard an Asian-American promoter of no consequence conjure up this falsehood and others. Truth be told in 1993 promoter Harold Smith made me a part of a three-man TV team with Hugh Malay and Arnie Rosenthal that televised the Leonzer Barber-Mike Sedillo WBO 168 lb. title bout in Beijing. Dubbed the “The Brawl At The Wall,” this was the first boxing event since the takeover Mao Tse Tung and the Communists in 1949 and Muhammad Ali was in the arena. So was Bob Arum with whom Smith was tight.
THREE TRIPS TO CHINA READ MORE…
January 21st, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
San Francisco, CA- Anytime you think of some of the so called “special” fights that occurred in the 20th century, Roberto Duran-Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier, Ali-Foreman, Joe Louis-Max Schmeling, these were all fights by desired by the public. Archie Moore, “The Old Mongoose” did not get a light heavyweight (175 lb.) title shot until he wrote and lobbied every major sports writer in the country and they could deny him no more.
WRITERS/FANS NEED STAND UP TO FLOYD
With the Internet having taken over the role of the primary providers of News in the United and the world as well, it’s not like the days when Dick Young was the Big Apple scribe, Nat Fleisher of Ring, Jack Fiske on the west coast, Larry Merchant in Philadelphia, these and tens of others got personal hand written pleas from Archie Moore. The “heat” applied by Hall of Fame writer Fiske and company pushed the National Boxing Assn. to bill Archie Moore-Yvon Durelle for the vacant title in 1958 with Moore now 42 years old with a record of 173-21-9, . He retired at 185-24-10 131 KOs in 1963.
FLOYD DOESN’T CARE ABOUT PRESS OR FANS!
Floyd Mayweather is a talented boxer, some think he’s the best of all time. I’m not of that ilk. While I admire his abilities as a boxer, the money he has made is even more impressive considering he has yet to beat a Roberto Duran, Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali or Joe Louis level of fighter. Facing Miguel Cotto and going 12 with the Puerto Rican after he was “lit up” like the White House Christmas Tree by Manny Pacquiao, this is the causation for Mayweather and \his 101 excuses NOT to fight Manny Pacquiao.
BRADLEY FIGHT COULD BE SHAKY FOR PACQUIAO READ MORE…
January 15th, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
San Francisco, CA- In an appearance on “Ring Talk Worldwide,” “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier, World heavyweight champion from 1968 to 1973, defeated Muhammad Ali in 1971 at Madison Square Garden in what was simply the greatest boxing match in the annals of sports history. Turning professional after winning the Gold Medal in the 1964 Olympics, Frazier went 32-4-1, 27 KOs with nine title defenses. In this conversation, the now 67-year old champion covered topics from Muhammad Ali to Mike Tyson and more.
Ring Talk- I remember reading one time that you ran over your foot with a powered lawnmower. How’s your foot?
Joe Frazier- Well, I pulled the lawnmower back too far and it cut the whole toe off. It was just one of those things. But I’m able to still move well. My wheels are turning all right today.
RT- Years ago Joe, you trained a heavyweight named Vaughn Bean, a guy perceived by many as lazy and lacking motivation. Did Bean’s work ethic, or the minds of some, lack there of, did it get “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier stamp of approval?
JF-You know I’m a hard working guy Pedro. If “Shake & Bake” Bean wasn’t giving me his all, I wouldn’t have been there. Working with Bean was not nearly as hard as working with his promoter and my partner Butch Lewis.
RT-One of the best Joe Frazier stories I ever heard was from featherweight champ Calvin “Silky” Grove who said you lost your temper one day and cleared the gym out. Some guys ran out clad only in towels and their trunks and didn’t come back until the next day.
JF- (Laughing) For what? That must have been the day the fire alarm went off. I know those guys in the gym, you know I’ve been there for about 30 years or more.
RT- Is there still, and will there always be bad blood between you and Muhammad Ali?
JF- I would say over the years he has said some different things, I have said some things. But now READ MORE…
January 4th, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
January 1st, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez
PRIDE GETS PEOPLE “HURT” ALL THE TIME!
San Francisco, CA- “Sometimes pride is all you have left…” I’ll be saying that repeatedly in this article. Muhammad Ali was lucky Leon Spinks trained for their rematch in brothels and the like. Then he comes back two years later, gets a quack named Dr. Williams and takes a drug called “Thyrolar” (for weight loss) to face then heavyweight champion Larry Holmes in 1980, and he looks like he turned back time, when in actuality he lost it. Ali fought once more and lost to Trevor Berbick a year later. What am I trying to say? After the third Joe Frazier fight, if Ali were a steak, he’d have been burned too badly to eat!…“Sometimes pride is all you have left.”
WHEN A FIGHTER LOSES HIS SKILLS!
When Joe Frazier was done after the third fight with Ali, Joe was done! Still, he went on to get hammered by George Foreman and had a career ending draw with “Jumbo Cummings…“Sometimes pride is all you have left.”
Alexis Arquello was beaten severely, especially the first time, not so much in the rematch to Aaron Pryor. But he went on to lose to Scott Walker while prepping for a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez in the mid 1990s…“Sometimes pride is all you have left.”
Joe Louis got old circa 34-35, lost to the likes of Ezzard Charles officially and “Jersey Joe” Walcott. Joe would come back and get throttled at 38 by Rocky Marciano…“Sometimes pride is all you have left.” READ MORE…
December 8th, 2013 By Pedro Fernandez
LOOKING AT THE “BIG PICTURE” FOLKS
FLOYD “CAN’T BUY ME LOVE”
Granted, Floyd may have a zillion times the amount of money Manny Pacquiao possesses, but it hasn’t bought or garnered Mayweather the international respect that has been bestowed on Pacquiao as both a boxer and a man.
LET ME BLOW FLOYD’S HORN PLEASE
People don’t know that Floyd does a lot of charitable work that he doesn’t seek credit for. But being an elected Philippine Congressman, that’s hard to top for anybody, let alone the Grand Rapids, MI native Mayweather.
MORE “WATER COOLER” TALK ON PACMAN
That and Manny had a string of fights, win, lose, or draw, that in the eyes of a good number of fans, Pac’s wins were more entertaining and in two cases more damaging than Mayweather’s wins over notably Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley.
PACQUIAO HAS/HAD ALL THE DEMOS READ MORE…