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Offline Firmino of the 909

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Boxing Match of the Week
« on: July 12, 2017, 03:33:03 PM »
I've been thinking of starting some kind of series like this for a little while, and even though July is traditionally a weak month for boxing, I just can't help myself. Every Thursday I want to post a fight worth watching from that day in boxing history. If there's nothing from that specific day I'll post something else from one of the many days with too many things to ever completely post. Why boxing and not MMA too? One of the great things about the sport being so fractured is that rights holders have no time to scope out old fights on YouTube/or anywhere else on the internet and delete them. It would be nice if people watched these fights and talked about them, but if not that's okay too. These are just recommendations, after all. Some will of course be more important than others, like the one below.

Yaqui Lopez vs. Matthew Saad Muhammad 2, WBC Light Heavyweight Championship

1980's Fight of the Year may have been the perfect thing to start with. If there was ever a fight in the history of boxing to show a first time watcher, this could be the one. I wouldn't want to show someone the best fight, because then their opinion of the sport can only go down. Wouldn't want to show them something bad either. So, showing someone a fight where two guys head off to war is the best thing to do.

One of my favorite things about combat sports is knowing the route somebody took to get to the ring. Boxing promoters and TV networks are very good at making sure everyone knows the story of their fighters. In this case, both men took incredible and inexplicable paths to achieve greatness. Saad Muhammad was an orphan, dropped off on the side of a highway at five, no knowledge or remembrance of his name. One conversion to Islam later in life and he took the name he was known as until his death. Lopez on the other hand was born in Mexico, lived in a shack underneath a bullring, with dreams of becoming a matador. He was gored in the shin before that could really get started. From there he went to California to pick fruit, then from the farm to the ring. These were the things that led people to fighting.

Lopez and Saad Muhammad had clashed prior to Saad becoming a world champion, and it was a true classic. After 11 rounds of savage competition, Saad was the beneficiary of a (good) referee stoppage victory. The second fight was on national television, as was common in those days. Fights like these were how fans were made.



koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline snuffbox

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Re: Boxing Match of the Week
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2017, 03:05:47 AM »
Great fight!

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: Boxing Match of the Week
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2017, 08:25:32 AM »
Kirk Johnson vs. John Ruiz, WBA Heavyweight Championship

I didn't say all the fights I posted here would be great, which allows for some wiggle room with these selections.

HBO had not done business with Don King for some years, because King was great at bilking money out of them for nothing fights. After King was given the boot, he took his gigantic stable over to Showtime to build their network up. In part because of Don King's control over Felix Trinidad and Evander Holyfield, HBO was inevitably forced to work with Don King once more, as it was impossible to unify the heavyweight title without Holyfield on their air, as well as build a megafight between Oscar de la Hoya and the aforementioned Trinidad. With King's poisonous influence having gotten back into HBO, the inevitability was that fights and fighters who never should have been seen, would eventually be seen. This was never more true in the heavyweight division.

John Ruiz began his career as a somewhat exciting prospect, before encountering future fan favorite David Tua. Tua destroyed Ruiz in a matter of seconds, showing that Ruiz did not have a great chin by any stretch. Due to that, Ruiz changed his style, becoming much more of a boxer-clincher. After beating Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis decided to drop the WBA slice of the title, because it's not like he needed to have it. Don King had also wormed John Ruiz into that mandatory challenger position, and Lewis did not want to fight him. So, Holyfield fought Ruiz and won a controversial decision. Ruiz got a rematch, and he won that title. Because he had that title, he was guaranteed HBO slots, merited or not. No offense, but this man was a cancer inflicted on boxing. At the time, people were unaware of any chance that would be the truth. Ruiz is to this day the only Hispanic man to win a heavyweight world belt.

Kirk Johnson on the other hand was considered to be a future champion. He certainly looked like it when knocking out Oleg Maskaev. That being said, as a viewer at the time, I didn't really know. Maskaev was a marginal contender at best, as was Larry Donald. Ruiz had three bad fights with Holyfield, the last one ending in a draw. So, who knew? I believe that Johnson was the first Canadian to challenge for a heavyweight world title since George Chuvalo. Fortunately, if Johnson wasn't the goods, it would be difficult for him to continue to get on HBO. He wasn't with Don King.

The first thing that comes to mind when I turned this on to refresh my memory was that I can't understand how Don King got a casino to give him money for this fight. Not a lot of people in the audience. This was unquestionably one of the worst title fights in history. While the fighters were warned almost immediately to fight clean, it had no effect. They were told not to hold. It didn't matter.



Johnson had a point taken away for low blows in the first round. Ruiz headbutted Johnson on purpose two times, with no point deduction and the threat of disqualification to both boxers coming as a result of them. In the seventh, once again Johnson was deducted a point for low blows. Unfortunately, Johnson was a fighter who cracked under pressure and could not stop fouling. If he had fought clean, he could have freed us from having to watch John Ruiz for ages. Johnson was simply incapable of doing that. To continue the farce, Johnson attempted to tackle Ruiz twice in the ninth round after getting clipped, then was hit with another right hand after the bell. In the tenth and ultimately final round, the fight was stopped after yet another Johnson shot to the balls. Larry Merchant said it best when he called this a horrible fight. Ruiz appeared to be trying to get hit low.

After this fight, Johnson got fat and ruined his entire career. Ruiz got people to quit watching boxing.


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Online Zetterberg is Go

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Re: Boxing Match of the Week
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2017, 08:52:17 AM »
As a Canadian I definitely remember this one. Very disappointing outcome.

Offline snuffbox

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Re: Boxing Match of the Week
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2017, 01:23:42 AM »
I have no memory of this one. Followed Johnson's career early on and thought he was a real prospect. His two fights with Al "Ice" Cole changed my opinion before the millennium changed. Cole was probably the best cruiserweight of the 90s. Moved up to heavy to make a lot more money. He served as a gatekeeper for several years, losing to rising contenders like Michael Grant. Cole and Johnson met in the main event of a Cedric Kushner ppv in late 1998 (a really good show for $20 as it turned out). The fight was really good and ended as a draw (Cole had some points deducted). Johnson won a decision rematch a few months later. Entertaining fights but, having struggled against Cole, Johnson just didnt belong in there with the world champions of his day. Between that and Ruiz being the most boring boxer there's ever been, I guess I wasnt too interested in seeing them "fight" for a "world title."

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: Boxing Match of the Week
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2017, 04:55:42 AM »
Because of Wladimir's retirement, I changed up what I had planned.

Wladimir Klitsckho vs. Chris Byrd II, IBF Heavyweight Championship

Both heavyweights had a huge amount of questionmarks surrounding them heading into the fight. For starters, Byrd had already lost to Wladimir, who avenged a loss that Vitali Klitschko had when he quit in his corner against Byrd. Byrd was another boring heavyweight, at least from my perspective. He was far more skilled than John Ruiz, but I don't think he excited very many people. After his first loss to Klitschko, he ran off a few wins, none of them entirely impressive. He won this heavyweight belt against a faded Evander Holyfield, then decisioned Fres Oquendo, drew with Andrew Golota, and had a razor thin decision victory over Jameel McCline. Lastly, in a fight that got me to turn on Byrd completely, he had a very boring decision victory over DaVarryl Williamson. Not exactly setting the world on fire here.

Meanwhile in the space between their first and second fights, Klitschko looked even worse. He'd won some fights over journeymen, but he'd also lost some. Against Corrie Sanders he showed the world that he had no punch resistance, nor any defense to avoid getting hit. It happened again against Lamon Brewster, with the bout being stopped between rounds when Wladimir couldn't walk to his corner. A fight with Samuel Peter went slightly better, even though Peter floored Wladimir three times. He was able to get up and win the decision there.

While I did just explain why these heavyweights had issues, the fact remains that at the time these were probably the two best heavyweights in the world. They'd beaten the largest variety of opponents, although in some cases unconvincingly.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1lupyf

The problem for Byrd was that Wladimir's camp had developed his style into something that was ultimately near unbeatable. Emmanuel Steward recognized that his fighter had no chin, so it was time to make the man into a defensive machine. In the heavyweight division, to do that was to have him throw so many jabs he couldn't be hit. Wladimir's jab was one of the best in boxing history, it was a weapon that could win fights all by itself. He was also trained to be more effective at using the clinch. When in his opponent's punching range, they were either getting jabbed, nailed with a right hand, or clinched. For any boxer to adapt to this training makes him a special boxer, even if people didn't care for his style. I am one of those people. Byrd was completely neutered against this new style, as were Wladimir's next 18 opponents. You can't beat what you can't hit.

Wladimir's performances do deserve recognition even though they weren't against a great era of heavyweights. He was trained into a top prize fighter.


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline snuffbox

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Re: Boxing Match of the Week
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 12:42:01 PM »
Byrd's decision over Oquendo was a gift.

Offline alkeiper

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Re: Boxing Match of the Week
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2017, 06:55:42 AM »
John Ruiz is one of my least favorite fighters of all time. He loses to Holyfield and gets a second crack at him. He appears to lose a third fight with Holyfield but retains on a draw. He loses to Roy Jones Jr. and gets a shot at the vacant title when Jones abdicates. He appears to lose to Golota and gets the decision. He loses to James Toney and the decision is reversed due to PEDs. Ruiz finally loses to Nikolai Valuev. He's put into a "WBA title eliminator" in his next fight and loses that too. But two wins later he's back in for another shot at Valuev (he loses). He beats a journeyman in his next fight and gets ANOTHER shot at the WBA title (which he loses).

Point being, the guy got five separate chances to win the WBA Heavyweight Championship. He would get beat for the title and it didn't matter, he found his way back to it anyway. Almost wholly undeserving.

Offline The King of Trash

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Re: Boxing Match of the Week
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2017, 11:24:44 AM »
My cousin always used to pick Ruiz in those old Fight Night games and beat me with a bunch of low blows.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: Boxing Match of the Week
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2017, 07:57:41 AM »
Hector Camacho vs. Jose Luis Ramirez, WBC Lightweight Championship

Boxing is rife with Puerto Rico vs. Mexico battles, most of which have unfortunately disappeared as boxing in Puerto Rico may be in its worst state for generations. However, in 1985 that was not the case. Edwin Rosario, Carlos de Leon, Wilfredo Gomez, and Wilfred Benitez were all carrying the flag, showing people what Puerto Rican boxing was about. But there was another Puerto Rican out there who believed he was going to be the best of them all.

Hector Camacho wasn't a powerful fighter, but he was a top boxer, one of the best there was. He'd won this title before by vanquishing Bazooka Limon, but he'd suffered a broken ankle and had to vacate his title. Jose Luis Ramirez subsequently won that title by knocking out Edwin Rosario, who some thought was a better fighter than Camacho to begin with. Ramirez was a road warrior of sorts, he went to Puerto Rico when he won that title. Nothing was going to stand in his way. Camacho's style being what it was, he wasn't going to stand in Ramirez's way either.



As often happens when brawlers face pure boxers, brawlers have to resort to chasing the boxer around while getting hit in the face a lot. The difference in speed was immediately noticeable in the first round of this fight. Camacho was able to floor Ramirez in the third round, and easily picked up a decision victory. As this fight showed, Camacho could actually punch, he just rarely did. 

The thing about Camacho that always frustrated people was that he'd fight this way when capable of doing more, a problem that became much worse after being in a brawl with the aforementioned Rosario. His talking got him a lot of big fights, but ultimately he was one of the most hated fighters in boxing. 


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: Boxing Match of the Week
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2017, 12:53:13 PM »
David Tua vs. Michael Moorer

At this stage of the sport, HBO and Showtime were pretty set on televising everything. With other networks getting into the mix now we're headed back to that, but these were great days for the sport. You'd get to watch anyone of value get in the ring and fight. Sometimes you didn't know if they were still of any value at all. David Tua was of value, and in our current era I think he'd have been even more popular around the world. New Zealand is gaining notoriety in boxing these days with Joseph Parker holding a slice of the heavyweight belt, and it's so much easier to view these events in 2017.

Michael Moorer disappeared from the sport after losing his second fight against Evander Holyfield, but he was on the comeback trail here in 2002. Moorer looked entirely unimpressive against nobodies, so I don't know why his management decided to stick him in with David Tua of all people. I suppose they figured Moorer had the skill to outbox him.

Speaking of David Tua, we're talking about an ace knockout puncher here, one of the hardest hitters in history. Tua was no stranger to the comeback himself, and nobody wanted to fight him anyway. Tua had gotten himself a fight with heavyweight kingpin Lennox Lewis, but he subsequently lost it. Lewis outboxed him in the process, as did Chris Byrd in an elimination bout. That Byrd fight was a hell of a lot closer than the Lewis one, so it seems clear to me in hindsight that only someone with top skill could beat Tua, and Moorer no longer had that.



Anyone can watch this video, considering how quickly it ends. Moorer had no interest in getting hit and possibly none in fighting at all. Tua hit him with two clean punches, then a few to the top of the head, and down he goes. I feel bad for anyone who paid for a ticket to be in the arena for that.

Moorer and Tua both fought on to varying degrees. Moorer only stepped up in class again to fight a bloated Vassily Jirov, a fight he won via TKO. Tua stayed in the higher echelon, but could only manage a draw against Hasim Rahman, after which he took a long hiatus only to return and fight bums. Too bad.


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: Boxing Match of the Week
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2017, 07:49:04 AM »
Mike Tyson vs. Bruce Seldon, WBA Heavyweight Championship

I forgot to do this for a few weeks, so it turns out that I return with another farcical fight. The WBA over the last few decades has a history of crowning a fraud as heavyweight champion. Their title history is far more disturbing than that of the other sanctioning bodies, and without question Bruce Seldon is among the worst heavyweight champions to carry a title. Seldon had last defended that piece of the heavyweight title on the undercard of Tyson/McNeeley, over a year prior to this bout with Mike Tyson.

Mike Tyson had a few fights after getting out of prison, and it's fair to say that Mike Tyson was not somebody you'd want to be fighting after a year long layoff. The thing Tyson was best at was can crushing. If anyone in the ring with him didn't belong in there, he knew how to get rid of them.



Of course, Tyson knew how to get rid of this guy too. Seldon was scared, to put it nicely. Once Tyson lost Kevin Rooney as his trainer, all pretense to his attack was gone. It was for the worst. While he's bombing tactics worked against subpar opponents, top quality fighters knew exactly how to deal with Tyson. There were accusations that this fight was a fix, and I don't automatically dismiss them. Seldon didn't get hit that hard, but who knows. The fear of Tyson was in him, and he was asked if he took a dive, but he vehemently denied it. Who knows.

The most important thing about the fight that night wasn't the fight itself, it was what happened after. For that, I give you this.

https://theundefeated.com/features/murder-of-tupac-shakur-not-a-complete-mystery/


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline snuffbox

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Re: Boxing Match of the Week
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2017, 09:15:01 AM »
That McNeeley undercard fight was probably Seldon's best. He beat Joe Hipp to a pulp that night.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: Boxing Match of the Week
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2017, 09:25:56 AM »
Michael Spinks vs. Larry Holmes, IBF Heavyweight Championship

Larry Holmes is the most underrated fighter in the history of combat sports, hands down. It is not something I am capable of understanding because I am not from Holmes generation. My assumption is that Holmes didn't get respect because of how he acquired his title and who he beat up in the process of cementing his legacy. Holmes vs. Ken Norton was a hellacious war, one of the great heavyweight bouts in history. That Holmes would dispatch a fan favorite like Earnie Shavers would certainly rub people the wrong way as well. The capper was that he beat a washed up Muhammad Ali and made him quit. Obviously nothing could ever surpass that, but for some, beating an overrated Gerry Cooney finished the job for them. We should have gotten to see Larry Holmes face George Foreman in the late 70's, but that didn't happen. Surely there is no other missed fight that would have been more interesting than that one.

Holmes took a long road to the top, and ran up a 48-0 record to hold that spot. He didn't deserve to be 48-0, which is something I want to circle back to when I discuss Tim Witherspoon, but he had that record. He also rubbed people the wrong way with the things he said about legends of the sport. For Michael Spinks, one thing would certainly stick with him more than anything else. How about the part where Larry Holmes destroyed his brother? There is no doubt whatsoever that this event stuck with Michael Spinks. Michael was his own man, though. Leon Spinks failed because he let alcohol and drugs ruin his career. Michael was arrested for possession of marijuana, but we all know that's just a plant. Michael did not allow drugs to ruin his career. He was also a much more skilled boxer.

Moving up from other weight classes to win the heavyweight title is borderline impossible, but Spinks was never tested by light heavyweights. On his way to the Hall of Fame, the closest margin of any of his fights at 175 pounds was a three point victory over Dwight Muhammad Qawi. Beating Qawi at all was a significant accomplishment, one that actually has a history of showing somebody can compete at heavyweight. Evander Holyfield later did so as well. Much like Holmes, Spinks was a skilled boxer, and it was impossible to knock out a prime Larry Holmes anyway. Renaldo Snipes came close and Earnie Shavers put him on his ass once, but the hardest puncher in the history of boxing couldn't finish him. Tex Cobb, Muhammad Ali, and Larry Holmes all said that Shavers was the hardest puncher in history. Cobb's quote in particular says it all. "Nobody hit harder than Earnie Shavers, if anybody hit harder than Earnie Shavers I would shoot him." Ron Lyle said something similar. So Larry Holmes was NEVER going to lose to anyone who wasn't a very skilled boxer. That's the way a light heavyweight can win the heavyweight championship. Spinks very smartly added weight to get up to nearly 200 pounds, including undergoing a weightlifting regiment. In boxing it is completely against all training recommendations to start lifting weights. It worked here.



Holmes was attempting to reach the mythical 49-0 mark, equaling Rocky Marciano's record on the road to his retirement. Would Holmes have retired had he won this fight? We'll never know. He had 20 pounds on Spinks, but that didn't mean anything at all. A Larry Holmes blood and guts war this was not. The way I see this fight is a lot different than the judges. While they had the scoring quite close, I thought Spinks put it on a lethargic Holmes and won a clear decision. Some media members were vehement that Holmes won, but that just shows the volatility of scoring fights. We already know that though. The extra weight seemed to make Spinks tired, and with this fight being 15 rounds, that was an even more difficult problem for him to manage. Now why was Holmes lethargic? Age probably had a hell of a lot to do with that, but he claimed he had a slipped disc in his back.

To some extent Holmes let himself become the first heavyweight champion to lose to the light heavyweight champion. That's on him. Of course, with the disputed result, it certainly wasn't over between these two. They did fight again, and I'll be writing about that when I get to it. It is unfortunate that a great boxer like Michael Spinks is remembered for getting destroyed by Mike Tyson. I suppose Larry Holmes is in the same boat in the eyes of many people. At least Spinks knew when it was his time to go. Holmes on the other hand did not. He would return many times, but the only man to knock him out was still Mike Tyson.


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest