The week in boxing, August 27 | Bernie's rant

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Remember Ali vs Jones - A forgotten fight
It has been 55 and a half years since a young man on his his ascent to the Heavyweight Crown fought one of his most poignant fights - one that is relatively unheralded and seldom discussed.

On a cold night in March of 1963, Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) then 17-0 (13) and top heavyweight contender, fought another contender, Doug Jones then 16-3 (13), to determine who would face heavyweight champion Sonny Liston.

It was one of the most distinctive matches of Ali's career and it the questionable outcome and decision of that fight could have changed the course of Boxing history.

Doug Jones was a solid Heavyweight with no special abilities and skills. He stood 6'1 and weighed 188 lbs while Ali was 6'3 202 lbs and was destined for glory with his 1960 Olympic Gold Medal in tow.

The level of quality in the match was indicative of the times. Ali was the busier man and more accurate in his punches, especially with his formidable "stick and move jab". But Jones was a game adversary, standing his ground in a non-stop nip and tuck battle.

During two different instances, Jones hurt Ali, nearly sending the future champion to the canvas.

Although Jones was outworked in the match, he landed the more cleaner and heavier punches for the duration of the contest. In the tenth and final round, Ali turned up the heat and connected on a barrage of combinations that left his opponent without an answer.

The fight went to the scorecards and two judges narrowly scored the contest 5-4-1 for the future champ en route to a unanimous decision. The bout was controversial and some experts insist Ali should have lost that fight that night at Madison Square Garden.

Ali passed away in June 2016 and, unfortunately, Doug Jones is no longer with us as well. He passed away at the ripe old age of 80 this past November.

Salmon Swin Boycott
The Boycott is officially on at the Barclay Center in New York, September 8th with the headlining fight of Sean porter and Danny Garcia. The President of (Salmon Swim) has officially called the ban on scheduled matches upon obtaining the news that there will be a female fight on the card.

According to organization head Lewis Bonamo, a practicing attorney, all fight cards that contain a female entrant will be targeted and responded by the hardcore protest organization. The boycotts have been implemented since January of this past year in all major arenas in New York. Fight cards at the Barclays Center, Madison Square Garden and The Veteran's Nassau Coliseum have notably been affected dating back to the Wilder-Ortiz fight where the venue was filled to 75% capacity as well as Lomachenko-Linares which only saw 60% capacity.

The general disapproval of female fighting is based on the following:

1. Little competition with poor quality opponents
2. Lack of focus on the international mens scene with directed attention to the "side show'
3. No profitable demand or desire for it by the fight fans
4. A political Agenda directed by Investors and Promoters
5. No natural physical peck order in the female gender

Furthermore, they feel that women don't take the sport seriously enough and that their true aspirations lie in modeling or acting, and they're using boxing as a springboard to achieve those means.

Did he pioneer boxing?
The Marques the Queensberry title was awarded to Scotsman and Nobleman John Shelto Douglass, 1844-1900, through his ancestral lineage close to two centuries ago.

A sports enthusiast, he founded The Amatuer Athletic Club in London in 1862. It was one of the first groups that didn't require amateur athletes to belong to an upper class to compete. He is responsible for instituting rules for hand to hand combat in the sweet science as a sport, some of which were the use of boxing gloves, a 24 foot ring, no wrestling, a 3 minute round with a 1 minute rest in between, rising unassisted after a knockdown and barring trainers or anyone else frm the ring.

Remember 15 round fights?
Why did boxing go from a 15 round fight to a 12 round affair? According to renowned boxing writer Frank Lotierzo, it has made it more convenient for television networks to accommodate a time slot.

"The 47 minutes that take a twelve rounder to go the distance can fit in well in a one hour slot," he stated.

Until 1987, the 15 rounder was a staple of championship fights but was virtually phased out by all sanctioning bodies with the tragic death of Korean Lightweight Duk Koo Kim following his epic, nationwide televised battle with Ray Mancini in 1982. Kim was brutally knocked out in the 14th round and died days later. Thus, fighter safety and fear of dehydration was the second reason 15 round championship fights were eliminated.

According to Lotierzo. "In many cases, fighters under 150lbs dehydrate themselves shedding those last few pounds to make weight. This activity leaves them vulnerable to brain injuries with a lack of fluid around the skull that protects the brain from crashing against it when they are hit, causing great injury."

I invite readers to comment on whether they think there have been more knockouts with the advent of a twelve round fight. Logic dictates that its 15, but I couldn't find any statistics or conclusive study on this subject. Naturally, the whole strategy changes of a fight when there is an 11 minute furlough granted at the end of a match requirement.

The Contender

On Saturday night Epix presented the premiere of the remake of the Contender Boxing series and my comment is to save your 15 dollars not to spend it on this waiste of time per month. Andre Ward as host is low key and appropriate and some other participant celebrities such as former contender and Jr Middleweight Champion Sergio Mora and referee Jack Reis. But it is an over-dramatized attempt as a Reality TV-based showcase out of the mold of Anna Nicole or The Kardashyans with violin music to boot that gives this poorly directed epic a schmaltzy tinge.

The story lines were over hyped, the dialogue was obviously contrived and trainers Nazeem Richardson and Freddie Roach looked like they were auditioning in the casting of the next production of "Othello".

The finale of episode one culminated in a sloppy three round brawl with absolutely no skill set displayed by participants John Thompson 16-3 (6) and Lamar Russ 17-2 (8). I don't recommend the series, the premium payment and the exercise in futility.

Wanheng Menayothin will take his 50-0 (180 record into his home country of Thailand Tuesday night to defend his WBC Straweight title against up-and-comer Pedro Taduran 12-1 (9) from the Philippines. The undefeated record stands at 50-0 held by Menayothin and Floyd Mayweather.

Publicity Stunt?
In what appeared to be a publicity stunt, Heavyweight journeyman Curtis Harper13-6(9) walked out of the ring 1 second of the opening round of his scheduled contest with Nigerian Olympian and hopeful prospect Efe Ajagba 6-0 (5) at the Armory in Minnieapolis Friday night. The former was disqualified.

Harper, 30, and ranked 77 among American Heavyweights has experience with formidible oponents such as Zhilei Zhang, Chris Arreola, and Gerald Washington to name a few. He stands 6'1 and this would have been a competitive match with the Nigerian, Ajagba, who stands at 6'5 and was a soccer player prior to becoming a boxer in 2011.

The fight was a preliminary televised nationally by PBC. Promoter of Ajagba, Richard Schaeffer, said afterwards: "The Heavyweight Division has a new star, no doubt he is the biggest puncher in the sport."  Schaeffer, of course, concluded Harper was scared to get in the ring with the African Heavyweight.

Harper's response to his exodus was that he wasnt getting paid enough from the promoter.I wonder how much money he took to make the Nigerian look good by walking out?  Ajagba lost all three rounds in the quarter finals in London in 2012 to Ivan Dychko and lost to him in the 2016 Olympics as well.


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