Author: Alex Pierpaoli

This week’s Blast-From-The-Past features Ike Ibeabuchi

Hey Fight fans!

This week our subject is former heavyweight contender and generally strange/dangerous guy, Ike Ibeabuchi. Born February 2, 1973, in Isuochi, Nigeria, Ike “The President” Ibeabuchi stood six foot two inches tall and weighed a solid two hundred thirty some odd pounds. After success as an amateur in his native Nigeria, Ibeabuchi came to the USA and fought out of the Dallas, Texas gym of former welterweight great turned trainer, Curtis Cokes.

Ibeabuchi was on the winning end of one of the greatest heavyweight fights of the last thirty years. Together with slugger David Tua, Ibeabuchi set a compubox record for punches thrown in a heavyweight contest (Ibeabuchi set the record for most thrown by a heavy). Ibeabuchi was an action heavyweight with lots of punches in his arsenal and the aggressiveness to land them. He went on to stop Chris Byrd at a time when Byrd was one of the best heavyweights in the division and Ibeabuchi was on course to challenge Lennox Lewis in a super-fight for the heavyweight championship.

Ibeabuchi was involved in several disturbing criminal incidents before the sexual assault to which he accepted an Alford Plea and was eventually incarcerated. Before that he kidnapped his own son from an estranged girlfriend and, with the young man in the passenger seat, Ibeabuchi drove his car at high speed into a bridge abutment. The boy was permanently disabled and Ike was sentenced to 120 days in jail for kidnapping. After the win over Byrd, Ibeabuchi was involved in another incident at the Mirage Hotel when an in-room entertainer claimed she was sexually assaulted by Ibeabuchi. He then locked himself in the hotel bathroom and when police arrived he had to be forcibly removed by being pepper-sprayed under the door.

It was a long time before Ibeabuchi was finally deemed fit to stand trial and was sentenced to prison. He was released in November of twenty-fifteen and there were rumors he was going to return to boxing and fight Andy Ruiz on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley rematch but that never panned out. And in April of twenty-sixteen he was arrested for parole violation and is currently being held pending sentence or deportation.

Professional ring record of Ike Ibeabuchi

Unrealized: The Story of Ike Ibeabuchi… podcast

Ike Ibeabuchi versus David Tua June 7, 1997

This week’s Blast-From-The-Past features Prince Naseem Hamed

Hey Fight-Fans!

Born in Sheffield, England to Yemeni parents, Prince Naseem Hamed brought bone-crunching, head-cracking, leg-wobbling power to the featherweight division in the late 90s. An elusive, free-styling, arrogant southpaw with power in either hand, the Prince called the rounds he’d scored kayos in and then boasted about it when he proved himself true. Training out of the Wincobank Hill boxing gym of Brendan Ingle, the seven year old Naseem showed an aptitude for speed, power and the drive to become a champion. After 11 years as an amateur and a record 62-5 (18), Hamed turned pro and started racking up the kayos.

In 1997 he burst upon the American boxing scene with a true tempest-in-a-teapot of a fight against the Flushing Flash Kevin Kelley. Their contest featured one of the longest ring-entrance walks ever witnessed and six knockdowns in four rounds. The Prince had arrived.

He solidified his claim to featherweight bad-assery with a frightening knockout of tough but limited Augie The Las Vegas Kid Sanchez in Connecticut in August of 2000, a fight which paved the way for a featherweight unification fight against the great Marco Antonio Barrera. Unfortunately for the Prince, he had broken his hand in the Sanchez victory and allowed himself to get too out of shape during the recovery period. Once camp began for Barrera it was focused almost entirely on weight-loss. Whatever, the Prince never really recovered professionally from the embarrassing domination he suffered at the hands of Barrera.

At his peak he posed a difficult and extremely dangerous opponent for any featherweight and he helped catapult the little men into bigger purses with his flamboyant style, arrogance and knockout power to back it up. He was inducted into the IBHOF in 2015.

Prince Naseem Hamed’s professional ring record

Naseem Hamed vs. Kevin Kelley  December 19, 1997 MSG

This week’s Blast-From-the-Past Features Rocky Graziano

Hey, Fight-Fans!

Born Thomas Rocco Barbella this all-time great middleweight champion grew up a juvenile delinquent and got pinched for stealing things that began with the letter “A” like a radio, a watch, a car, a wallet or a purse. A true anti-authoritarian, Barbella entered the armed forces to avoid jail time but was dishonorably discharged for striking an officer. Barbella started boxing under the name of his sister’s boyfriend, Rocky Graziano to avoid his own past. As Graziano would say years later “turns out he had longer rap sheet than I did!”

Graziano’s blend of powerful punches, freakish durability and raw, relentless pressure were the perfect foil to the classic boxing expertise of the Man of Steel, Tony Zale and the two middleweights fought a classic three bout series.

Graziano didn’t have much education; he left school on account of pneumonia, not because he had it, because he couldn’t spell it. But Graziano’s charisma propelled into a lucrative career in tv and commercials after he left the ring and made more there in tinsel town than he ever did in the squared circle.

Rocky Graziano died in 1990 and was inducted in to the IBHOF in 1991.

Graziano’s professional ring record.

Zale vs. Graziano 3 June 10, 1948

Graziano versus Zale The Final Chapter Documentary

This week’s Blast-from-The-Past features Nicolino Locche

Hey Fight-Fans,

This week’s Blast features Nicolino Locche “Il Intocable”-The Untouchable.

Despite a two pack-a-day smoking habit, Locche had some of the quickest ring reflexes ever displayed. Legendary trainer Ray Arcel thought Locche was even better than Willie Pep, the man most herald as the greatest-defensive-fighter-of-all-time. Locche was arguably superior. Born in Tunuyan, Mendoza in Argentina, Locche started boxing at 9 years old and amassed an amateur record of 117-5. Locche may have looked like a banger with his beefy sloping shoulders and thick torso, but Locche was all finesse and freakish reflexes. He could all but disappear while standing right in front of an opponent. His ability to make an opponent miss and to mock him while doing it was second to none. Unfortunately, he does not get the credit today, especially from American media, as he fought almost exclusively in Argentina; he had two fights abroad, one in Venezuela and one in Panama.

Although it wasn’t until later in his career that his opponent’s could touch him, cigarettes had their hooks in him. In 1994 he underwent a triple bypass and he died of heart failure at the age of 66 in twenty-oh-five. He was inducted to the IBHOF in Canastota, NY in 2003.

The professional ring record of Nicolino Locche

Check out the highlight video below

This week’s Blast-from-The-Past features Miguel Canto

Hey Fight-Fans,

This week’s Blast features Miguel Canto

Born January 30th, 1948 in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, Miguel Canto Solis was just five feet and one half inch tall and fought as a Flyweight. The Yucatan is one of Mexico’s 31 independent states and is also the home of other world champion boxers like Guty Espadas, Miguel Berchelt, Gilberto Keb Bass and others but none achieved similar glory as El Maestro Pequeno, Miguel Canto. Canto was not the typical Mexican fighter. He was not a blood-and-guts pressure fighter like we’ve come to love when we imagine a Mexican fighter. Canto was a stylist and defensive genius and is often referred to as the Mexican Willie Pep.

Canto was one of those rare-greats who actually lost his pro-debut, a three round technical knockout defeat to Raul Hernandez on February fifth, 1969. Canto was just 21 years old. Fighting predominantly in his hometown of Merida, Canto notched a record of 33-3-3 (12) in just under five years as a pro before he faced Betulio Gonzalez in Caracas Venezuela for the WBC Flyweight Championship. Canto dropped a 15 round majority decision to Gonzalez but Canto won his next six fights earning himself another shot at the title in January of `75 against southpaw, Shoji Oguma in Japan. Canto defeated Oguma by the closest of Majority Decisions but he battled Oguma twice more during his record-setting title reign, defeating him each time they met.

In May of `75, Canto avenged his loss to Venezuelan, Betulio Gonzalez winning a spilt decision in his first official defense of the WBC Flyweight Title he earned beating Oguma. Canto went on to defend the Flyweight title 14 times before facing Chan-Hee Park of South Korea who defeated him via 15 round unanimous decision.

IBRO ranks him at number 7 in the top ten of all-time Greatest Flyweights, just behind Frankie Genaro and ahead of Ricardo “Finito” Lopez.

The Professional Ring Record of Miguel Canto

Miguel Canto & Guty Espadas: What Happened to these Ex-Champions? En Espanol

Miguel Canto in a recent interview En Espanol



This week’s Blast-From-The-Past features Carlos Zarate

Hey there, Fight-fans!

Up this week is the great Mexican Bantamweight Champion Carlos Zarate.

Born May 23rd 1951 in Tepito Mexico, Carlos was the youngest of 8 children. He was five foot 8 inches tall and fought at 118 and 122. Zarate never knew his dad, who died of pneumonia when Carlos was just a toddler. He was raised by his mom, Luz Zarate, who made sure he got a good education but Carlos was trouble in school and “he liked fighting more than books.” Boxing was a natural fit and soon enough Zarate realized he was a tremendous puncher. He racked up a record of 33-0 with 30 kayos as an amateur—only one man claimed to have beaten him but records of the defeat are sketchy. Zarate was the Golden Gloves Champion of Mexico.

They called him “Classy Carlos.” He crushed stereotypes about the loud and flashy Mexican fighter. Zarate was more refined and even tried to institute a No Spitting policy in the gym where he trained. In the ring he was a methodical technician, coolly confident, an exceptional boxer with fast instinctive moves.

After 7 years as a pro and with an exceptional record of 46-0 (45), Zarate faced off against former stablemate, sparring partner and rival, Alfonso Zamora who carried an equally impressive 29-0 (29) record into their encounter. Dubbed the “Battle of the Z’s” it took place in front of a frenzied crowd at the Forum in Inglewood, California. In the first round a member of the crowd leaped into the ring because “God told him to do it” but he was quickly subdued by riot police. The fight itself was a thriller and is posted below.

Professional Ring Record of Carlos Zarate




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