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.
FIRST TEACHER MACHEN FIRST BEAT QUARRY!
What I noticed most about Team Quarry was that none of them, not Jerry, nor his younger brother Mike ever wore headgear while sparring. With San Francisco heavyweight contender Eddie Machen on his last professional leg and had beaten Jerry a year prior for his lone loss, Eddie was being feted in the stands by the locals. Heavyweight contender or not, Jerry was no match for George even at 18 years old!
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…
October 21st, 2013 By Pedro Fernandez
San Francisco, CA– There are a number of people who might find this ongoing series enlightening, others not so. But it was about people in boxing, some living, some not, you may not know much about. They won’t leave a Muhammad Ali-like mark on boxing, but they did or will leave one. How about Beto Martinez, Arizona trainer, cornerman, cut-man when needed back in the day. The premier Las Vegas matchmaker for seemingly most of the 20th century, one of a kind Mel “Red” Greb.
“POTATO PIE” WAS LIKE A PHD ON BOXING AND LIFE
Texas trainer Al “Potato Pie” Bolton was a man you learned something from each time you were alone with and or around. Las Vegas gym owner Johnny Tocco ran the Main St. Gym from like 1952 to 1993. But am not done when you when you spend time with individuals, obviously you have individual stories. But I’m inclined to write something on people that get very little penned about them. Former Nevada Commission head Chuck Minker is a man I miss dearly.
DAVEY PEARL INVENTED IN DRESSING ROOM INSTRUCTIONS
Unlike Al Gore who did not invent the Internet, Davey Pearl, referee of the first Ray Leonard–Thomas Hearns fight in 1981, is said to have been the first referee to give fighters instructions in their dressing room.
ONCE SUPER POWERFUL BOXING BOSS FLIES “UNDER RADAR”
Bob Halloran ran the sports at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe for a number of years, this after a long run in Miami as a sportscaster. Most of the early career black and white tape of Muhammad Ali, back when he was Cassius Clay, it was Halloran that was cutting the most video with Ali as he was a frequent visitor to the 5th Street gym. He later went on to run things for Steve Wynn at the Mirage and Bellagio hotels.
ALIANO GREW UP ON MONSEL SOLUTION
Eddie “The Clot” Aliano, just a name that popped up in my mind, one of many I’m trying to get written down and then do mini features on these folks, some living, some not. Rich Rose, who called the shots at Caesars when Halloran was stolen away by Wynn, was real palsy with the late Showtime boxing boss Jay Larkin.
THIS REFEREE WAS “HIS OWN MAN” READ MORE…
October 5th, 2013 By Pedro Fernandez
WRITER ALMOST PUT TO SLEEP BY KLITSCHKO
Lincoln, CA- As I watched the Wladimir Klitschko-Alexander Povetkin fight, er ,mismatch, I came away with two things that I think that are quite obvious. The first being, there needs to be a “super heavyweight” division. Secondly, to say Larry Holmes, Ali or George Foreman couldn’t beat the 6’7 Ukrainian and current World heavyweight champion is farcical. The holding of the much bigger champion was so blatant and prevalent that it zapped Povetkin’s strength, making yet another Klitschko fight a “stinker.”
SIZE IS THE ONLY REASON WLAD IS CHAMP!
Pushing, leaning, holding, this guy might be the best of today, sad as it is true, but Wladimir Klitschko is just not as good as he is big! There were other big guys who were lummox types, Primo Carnera for one, that were huge. The only difference is that Wladimir does have some “fencing” skills, notice I did not say boxing or fighting.
WLAD EITHER “SCARED” OR REALLY HAS “GLASS CHIN”
After nine, I had it 90-77 Klitschko, but there was nobody in my room here in Lincoln, some 25 miles from Sacramento, the California capital, saying anything other than, “This guy’s the champ?” They were watching Povetkin struggle against a guy who merely used his size to beat him. Although I did not see this going the 12-round route, as it did, it was like watching Porno with people wearing clothes, meaning this HBO broadcast could not get any more non-interesting.
KLITSCHKO SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISQUALIFIED READ MORE…
October 1st, 2013 By Pedro Fernandez
SECOND AND FINAL INSTALLMENT
San Francisco, CA- In Part I, I took you through the maze of bull s*it that led up to the October 2, 1980 match between unbeaten heavyweight champion Larry Holmes and Muhammad Ali. The morning of the fight, the Godfather of all boxing writers, Jack Fiske is milling about the lobby of Caesars Palace. Also working the circular bar in the lobby (fight headquarters in those days) was press legend Dick Young when Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis (and two very unassuming bodyguards) approached the Big Apple columnist.
CAESARS PALACE LOBBY BAR WAS PLACE TO BE
Although the bar was open to the public, the ambiance was such that it made like a private setting. For some reason, only the most fanatical of fans would unknowingly breach the invisible circle of privacy that surrounds celebrities. Joe Frazier was there, as was Ken Norton, Joe Louis in a wheelchair, (all three have now passed) this less than six months away from the April 1981 death of the “Brown Bomber.”
SQUARES AFFECTED THE BETTING LINE BIG! READ MORE…
September 23rd, 2013 By Pedro Fernandez
LARRY HOLMES ON KEN NORTON Y MAS!
San Francisco, CA- Former linear World heavyweight champion Larry Holmes was our featured guest in the “boxing hour” on the live Sunday at 11 AM PT show. This is the delayed version you can listen to by hitting the black arrow in the silver box above or hitting the Sunday, September 22, 2013 Podcast links above.
19 DEFENSES OF LINEAR TITLE
Larry, well he Is Larry Holmes, honest and as one can be and yet dropping hints here and there that the astute listener might be able to pick up on. We spent time on the recently passed Ken Norton, with whom Holmes engaged in a heavyweight fight for the ages, winning the WBC title from Norton in 15 rounds, some hellish, and beginning a title run that would last until 1985. Unlike other guests with whom you have to tip toe around, Holmes applauds Ali and Norton, not sugar coated either, but honest.
“RING TALK” & 29 YEARS OF RADIO PRESENCE
We air live Saturday and Sunday’s at 11 AM PT on the Sports Byline Broadcast Network, American Forces Network & the I Heart Radio Network. The “Kig Of Boxing “ Floyd Mayweather’s future was brought up, as well, Manny Pacquiao, Tyson Fury and David Haye were also subject matter in the “Ring Talk” boxing hour with Larry Holmes.
“RIBG TALK” MMA HOUR IS DIFFERENT ANIMAL
UFC 165, Jon Jones, were some of the subjects we covered in the “MMA Hour” which follows the boxing hour at Noon PT Sunday. This marks the 20th year that “Ring Talk” has covered MMA, UFC, Pride, etc., but the first UFC show was in 1993. As for the MMA hour, we brought you back with a Fedor Emelianenko fight, quick as a lot of them were, reached back to the call of ex-UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar’s professional debut. The guests were writer Zak Young and UFC fighter Kyle Kingsbury. That Podcast is available in the left margin as well. The “Ring Talk” MMA Hour, can be reached by clickig here. “Ring Talk” MMA Hour
September 19th, 2013 By Pedro Fernandez
KEN NORTON GOT BADLY NEEDED ASSURANCE
San Francisco, CA- Having just learned of the passing of Ken Norton, or as Howard Cosell referred to him, “Kenny Norton,“ I remember both the “bitter” and the “sweet” about Norton, who was anointed WBC champ in 1978, then lost in his first defense to Larry Holmes. For some of you, this story is part of a prior story I did about Norton, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Larry Holmes and promoter Ross Fields Sr. (Harold Smith).
STIRRING THE POT & GETTING A REACTION!
After a catered meal, it got so quiet with Ali, Larry, George, Ken, me, Harold, that you could have heard a mouse pee on a wad of cotton in the furthest corner of the room. It was then Muhammad says in not of his most powerful oratories, but one of the most significant, while looking Norton in the eye he said. ”That last fight champ, I think you got the better of it.”
ALI CONFESSION WAS HEART-WRENCHING TO KENNY
A tough guy on the exterior, I always thought Ken Norton was a blockhead ex-Marine when he turned out to be a man who because of the aura of Ali never got his propers, Ken’s eyes watered up as he and Ali hugged. This is what Ken Norton had lived for, it was better to him than winning the lottery. He had heard it directly from Ali himself! This remains one of my most poignant boxing memories.
PEDRO & KENNY DO NEW YEARS ON SOUTH BEACH READ MORE…
September 3rd, 2013 By Pedro Fernandez
LOSER MUST LEAVE TOWN!
San Francisco, CA- There is nothing quite like a heavyweight fight involving intrigue. That being said, this Saturday Showtime Boxing emanating from Indio, CA and the Fantasy Springs Casino, will air heavyweights Chris Arreola and Seth Mitchell in a “loser leaves town” (and world nrankings) match.
MEXICAN-AMERICAN HAS BAD EATING HABITS
Arreola, who jokingly claimed on the “Ring Talk Boxing Hour” two years ago that he trains on beer and visits his dietician at the taco truck, has discipline issues. Fat one fight, sort of fat the next, slimmed down for a couple of scraps, and then back to being a fat boy.
AL HAYMON PRODUCT A FRAUD OR LATE BLOOMER?
Mitchell on the other hand is an Al Haymon sponsored heavyweight who in the minds of most knowledgeable pundits is a fraud! Mitchell, who turned pro at 25, is “learning on the job” and all you can take from his last three outings is that he isn’t a quick learner!
SETH MITCHELL: MAN WITH A GLASS JAW? READ MORE…