March 27th, 2011 By Pedro FernandezIS IT A MATTER OF ONE FIGHTER BEING FRIGHTENED?
San Francisco, CA- The boxing world, at least it’s knowledgeable fan base, want to see Yuri Gamboa face Juan Manuel Lopez. But will it ever happen? Boxing, both the sport and the business, do not have the balls that fighters from past eras have possessed. In his first professional run, Ray Leonard fought everybody in their prime, unlike Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao who both seem to only want to fight guys on the downside of their careers. The concept of fighting foes that don’t possess much of a threat, while this builds the pocketbooks of Floyd and Manny, it is indeed a pugilistic sin when you look at prior eras.
LENNOX & RIDICULOUS BOWE!
Lennox Lewis had beaten Riddick Bowe in the amateurs. When they were set to face off, Bowe flat out refused to fight Lewis, opting instead to face the likes of Jesse Ferguson. At one point, Lewis was the #1 WBC contender and was Riddick’s mandatory defense. Instead of manning up, Bowe, with manager Rock Newman standing next to him, threw the green WBC title belt in a garbage can. I always have had a problem wit that, partly because at the time, Bowe was the better professional while Lennox was still a little on the green side. It would have been the biggest heavyweight fight in the 1990s outside of a clash with the then incarcerated Mike Tyson.
CARLOS ZARATE FOUGHT WILFREDO GOMEZ
In 1978, bantamweight (118 lbs.) champ Carlos Zarate feared no man.
The Mexican bantamweight world champ was 52-0, 51 KOs, decided to move up and challenge 122 lb. king Wilfredo Gomez (21-0, 21 KOs). While it wasn’t the wisest move seeing he was stopped in five, you could never question the intestinal fortitude of Zarate in taking on his Puerto Rican rival. Before he got hurt, you didn’t have to force Ray Leonard’s hand to fight guys in their prime, as he went through unbeaten Wilfred Benitez, the once licked Roberto Duran, this before coming from behind to halt the undefeated Thomas Hearns in 14 rounds.
ARE TODAY’S FIGHTERS SMARTER OR JUST LESS GUTSY?
Manny Pacquiao made both Miguel Cotto and Antonio “The Cheat” Margarito fight him at unnatural weights that he and his promoter Bob Arum dictated. This sounds like the script that a faded Ray Leonard penned for guys like Donny Lalonde (1988) and the rematch with Thomas Hearns (1989, this after his retirement in 1982 due to a detached retina. Ray’s initial comeback was in 1984 when he faced Kevin Howard with “thumbless” gloves. Three years later, Leonard came back and beat up and old, slow and past his prime Marvin Hagler, a man whose age has always been of question for those of us that have been around the game a while. After the Hagler fight in 1987, Ray played it real safe
IS JUAN MA OR GAMBOA JUST SCARED TO LOSE?
That is the $64,000 question today in boxing, isn’t it? Cuba’s Yuri Gamboa is 20-0, 15 KOs, while Juan Manuel Lopez is 30-0. 27 KOs. Instead of making the fight, it appears the Puerto Rican Lopez is moving up to 130 lbs. Personally, I think this has a lot to do with the mainstream media not covering boxing. For when you had boxing writers like Jack Fiske, Dick Young or Royce Feour, to name a few, fighters could and would feel the heat from these award winning scribes. Now with the Internet being boxing’s lone voice, everybody with a computer can be a boxing writer, thus the words written today mean far less than when the writers like the aforementioned trio were on top of their game.