Boxing Loses a Legend -Hall of Fame Trainer and Manager Lou Duva passes at age 94
By: Daxx Khan – March 9, 2017
It was with deep sorrow to hear another one of boxing’s greats, Hall of Famer Lou Duva passed away March 8th at age 94. Starting in 1963, after Joey Giardiello his first champion defeated Dick Tiger for the middleweight title, Duva worked almost four decades, guiding not only some of the modern eras but boxings all-time greats.
As a trainer, Lou worked with world champions and title challengers, Pernell Whitaker, Evander Holyfield, Mark Breland, Vinny Pazienza, Meldrick Taylor, Jose Luis Lopez, Michael Moorer, Alex Arthur, Tyrell Biggs and Andrew Golota. As a Manager, Duva guided Johnny Bumphus, Rocky Lockridge, Shaun George and multi-division title holder Zab Judah towards success.
He was more than one of boxing’s most successful trainers and managers, he was one of its larger than life figures. I believe Lou Duva, might be the only manager and trainer whose own memorable moments, equal that of his fighters.
Who could ever forget the time, Lou went at it with Roger Mayweather after his win over Vinny Pazienza? The referee might have turned a blind eye to Mayweather hitting Pazienza late, that didn’t mean Lou was letting it go. It might have temporarily cost him his manager’s license and $750 dollars but he put boxing on notice. “Lou Duva doesn’t take guff from anyone”.
It wasn’t just his fighter’s opponents, promoters, trainers and referees were also confronted if they crossed Duva or his fighters. When Mike Tyson stopped Lou’s fighter Tyrell Biggs, Tysons promoter Don King mocked Biggs and Duva from ringside. His comments infuriated Lou, he went after King, looking to dish out his own punishment, security guards would stop him just feet before King was in reach.
The most famous or perhaps infamous public moment, involving Duva came on July 11th 1996, that was the night Andrew Golota and Riddick Bowe met for the first time. When Golota was disqualified for low blows, a mini-riot ensued. The commotion caused his defibrillator to go off, he was taken from the ring on a stretcher, in what could be best described as a “Micky Goldmill” moment. It was a real life Rocky 3 situation.
Those were just a few of many, Lou Duva moments. Was he a bit extreme? At times, yes, no debating that fact, one thing was for certain though. If you were with Lou Duva, he had your back, even if it meant taking on all comers.
While he was a larger than life figure, he was also that guy we seen a little of ourselves in, Duva had that “Fella from the Neighborhood” persona we could relate to. The fact we seen him down, yet refuse to stay down on multiple occasions, made him all the more likable. Even during his worst moments.
In his 94 years, Lou Duva lived a long full life. During his years in the sport, we watched Lou call it as he seen it. There were many times, when Lou should have thought things through before reacting. Yet he was the type guy who, always did what he felt was right “Now” and always with the best interest of his fighters. Whatever consequences might follow, could be dealt with later. That’s what separated him from everyone else in the business. It’s what made Lou Duva one of boxings greats.
In an era, where people seem more worried about “Consequences” then what’s right, we could use a few dozen more, Lou Duva types in boxing today. If anything, just to point fingers when the “Powers that be” fail at doing their job. Let’s hope now, he can sit with other past greats of the sport, look down and say “They are doing it right”. He did his part in helping lay the foundation, it’s up to the new generation to capitalize and do him proud.
War Hollywood Style- Berchelt stops Vargas, Miura halts Roman in Indio
By: Daxx Khan – January 29, 2017
We were treated to a rare night of boxing this past Saturday, the two powerhouse networks, Showtime and HBO went head to head with quality, relevant cards. While Showtime entertained fans with their card in Las Vegas, In Indio California on HBO, Francisco Vargas, Miguel Berchelt, Takashi Miura and Miguel Roman paid tribute to Hollywood by delivering wars only seen on the big screen.
What took place on HBO, between the four fighters left some fans in awe, others wondering “Why would they subject themselves to such punishment”? They were the type bouts, we look back upon in a decade and say “How did they stay on their feet”?
In the main event, perhaps boxings most exciting fighter Francisco Vargas, looked to defend his WBC super featherweight title against unknown challenger Miguel Berchelt. With little being known about Berchelt, other than an opponent list based entirely in Mexico and he had some power as his 27 stoppage wins indicated. Many felt he might have early success, before the experience of Vargas, would take Berchelt deep, wear him down and move onto bigger things. The challenger had different plans for the night.
The champion started fast, using combinations to confuse Berchelt who did land some hard shots with little effect. In the second, third and fourth rounds, Vargas stunned Berchelt who in return instead of taking steps backwards, answered back, opening cuts on Vargas nose and over his left eye.
They went to war from the fifth round on, combination punches from Vargas paused Berchelt who in return, would pin Vargas on the ropes and punish him. As the second half of the fight started, Berchelt never having fought such a ferocious battle seemed to begin tiring. The champion Vargas began swelling to a grotesque degree.
The punches of Vargas to landed clean, yet lacked power to hold off a younger larger Berchelt who pushed forward and threw every punch with authority. A bloody Vargas continued his volume pace, hoping Miguel would eventually slow down.
The size, power and youth of Berchelt, would overcome Vargas experience and will. In the eleventh round, bloody abused and looking for a miracle comeback, Vargas would suffer his first career loss when Raul Caiz Jr rescued him from further punishment. At the 2:19 mark of the round, after a great performance by both men, Miguel Berchelt claimed his first world title and spot among the sports top tier improving to 31-1 (28). In his first loss Francisco Vargas now stands at 23-1-2 (17).
The co-feature between Takashi Miura and Miguel Roman, was an even more brutal battle of wills and attrition. It was pressure against accuracy, just as one fighter seemed to have the edge, his opponent would rally and take control. The cleaner shots of Miura, would be stifled by Roman who pressed his way inside and let loose combinations.
At the mid-way point, Takashi Miura swollen and battle worn, was asked by his corner “Can You win are you OK?”, undeterred Miura responded by shaking his head “Yes”. When the bell rang, he would let loose all he had in his arsenal. The barrage hurt Roman, who then unleashed a body shot, taking momentum away from Miura, knocking his mouth piece out.
A strong ninth round for Miura, ended with Roman landing five-punch unanswered punches. At the start of round ten, Miura changed his game plan. With the clean, flush head shots, landing on Roman not having their desired result, Miura turned his focused to the body with an immediate pay off.
A straight right hand in the tenth, delivered to the center of Roman’s mid-section, dropped and sent him reeling on the canvas. He amazingly made it to his feet and continued not only fighting but applied pressure to Miura. It would happen again in the eleventh round, a body shot landed flush by Takashi, dropping Roman who beat the count and went right into the danger zone.
When the final round started, both Miura and Roman looked as though they had reenacted a Hollywood movie. They circled slowly, hematomas were over both eyes of Miura, Roman tried to protect his midsection. A final flurry from Miura, caught Roman clean, sending him down a third time at the forty-three second mark. With the look in his eyes saying “Get up”, his body saying “Stay Down”, that bout would end officially at the 53 second mark.
After a jaw dropping war, one that could rival any in the last two decades, Takashi Miura with his stoppage of Miguel Roman improves to 31-3-2 (24). With nothing to hold his head down about, Miguel Roman now stands at 56-12 (43).
In Undercard action-
Super Welterweight-Sadam Ali 24-1 (14) def. Jorge Silva 22-13-2 (18) via TKO 3.
Super Featherweight- Lamont Roach 13-0 def. Alejandro Valdez 26-9-2 via KO 1.
Bantamweight- Cesar Diaz 4-0 def. Joel Castro 0-2 via KO 2.
Super Lightweight- Vicente Portillo 6-0 def. Mike Melikyan 1-2 via MD 4.
Super Lightweight-Vergil Ortiz 4-0 def. Israel Villela 5-4 via. TKO 1.
Featherweight- Luis Coria 3-0 def. Gerardo Molina 1-4 via TKO 1.
James DeGale and Badou Jack deliver in Brooklyn
By: Daxx Khan – January 15, 2017
Saturday night in Brooklyn, the first major card of 2017 took place on Showtime, with three action packed world title bouts, headlined by a 168lb unification bout between, IBF title holder James DeGale and WBC champion Badou Jack.
With four common opponents, winning their titles, a month apart in 2015, each against a Dirrell brother, Jack and DeGale were on an unavoidable collision course. When they met Saturday, fans hoped, this bout would decide “Who is the best Super Middleweight in Boxing”. The champions, did their best to provide that answer, neither gave into the moment and put on their best career performance to date.
They would trade knockdowns, Jack went down in the first and DeGale the twelfth. The footwork of DeGale, kept Jack at a distance, using crisp clean left hands to snap Jack’s head back. When he closed the distance, Jack and his trademark body work punished DeGale, draining his energy. Even referee Arthur Mercante Jr, took punishment when an accidental hook from Jack, rocked him at the closing of round five.
With a steady eleven rounds behind them, both men exhausted looking to edge out the win, they closed the twelfth with non-stop action, bringing those in attendance at the Barclay’s center on their feet. It was a rare fight, where you wanted neither man to lose, because neither deserved a loss after their efforts.
When the scores were read, two of the three judges agree with that opinion. Judges Julie Lederman and Steve Weisfeld scored it 113-113, Glenn Feldman scored it 114-112, in favor of James DeGale making it a Majority Draw. With each man retaining his title, Badou Jack now stands at 20-1-3 (12), James DeGale 23-1-1 (14).
In the co-feature, IBF World super featherweight title holder Jose Pedraza, took on unbeaten Gervonta Davis. It was a dominating performance for the 22yr old challenger, while Pedraza managed to put Davis out of his comfort zone, he was never able to sustain momentum. The power and speed of Davis, caught up with Pedraza in the seventh round, when he was dropped in the corner. After barely beating the count, Pedraza would be pinned on the ropes and needed saving by referee Ricky Gonzalez moments later.
In his first loss Jose Pedraza now stands at 22-1 (12), Gervonta Davis along with his first world title improves to 17-0 (16).
When undefeated middleweights, Levgen Khytrov and Immanuwel Aleem stepped between the ropes, fans were treated to another war. It started and ended in dramatic fashion, Aleem almost closed the show in round one, battering Khytrov all over the ring. He would be on the receiving end in round two, after punching himself out, Khytrov would batter him non-stop. The momentum swayed back and forth for the duration, Aleem hurting Khytrov, punching himself out then absorbing every bit of what he dished out.
The affair would end in round six, after Aleem landed a huge blow that Khytrov was unable to recover from. Immanuwel Aleem improved to 17-0-1 (10) and claimed the vacant WBC Silver middleweight title, Khytrov in his first loss stands at 14-1 (12).
In her first WBO female super bantamweight title defense, Amanda Serrano took on former two division title holder Yazmin Rivas. It was an all action bout, with neither lady taking a moments rest. While Rivas was game, she could not overcome the size and power advantage of Amanda. After nine rounds of non-stop action, they finished by trading for two entire minutes, proving once again the females can deliver in terms of action.
The final scores read 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 all in favor of Serrano who improves to 31-1-1 (23), Yazmin Rivas now stands at 35-10-1 (10).
Make sure to listen to our Post-Fight show by visiting our YouTube Channel, hear what everyone from the TalkinBoxing with Billy C show and fans had to say. https://www.youtube.com/user/talkinboxing
In Undercard action-
Heavyweight- Adam Kownacki 15-0 (12) def. Joshua Tufte 19-2 (9) via TKO2.
Welterweight- Thomas Dulorme 24-2 (16) def. Brian Jones 13-7 (7) TKO6.
Welterweight- Noel Murphy 8-0 (2) def. Maxito Sainvil 4-1-1 (2) via UD.
Welterweight- Kenny Robles 1-0 def. Latorie Woodberry 1-3-1 via UD
Boxing at the Barclay’s- Will the Standard for 2017 be Set?
By: Daxx Khan – January 9, 2017
At the end of 2016, NYSAC with their newly implemented insurance requirements, had boxing in New York at a standstill. That didn’t stop the UFC, boxing’s biggest competitor in terms of popularity. The organization, not only met NYSAC’s insurance requirements, they sold out Madison Square Garden, in record time. On January 14th at the Barclays Center, Mayweather promotions and DiBella Entertainment, join forces for the first major card of 2017. If all goes well, the event could not only reboot boxing in New York, it will set the bar, in terms of standards for 2017.
The main event between, WBC title holder Badou Jack and IBF champion James DeGale, could be the divisions most significant showdown, since boxing’s “Super Six” tournament. They are similar in age, Jack at thirty-three years and DeGale thirty, each has a slight physical advantage over the other, yet neither is enough to tip the scales in either fighter’s favor. DeGale an inch in reach and Jack an inch in height. As both seek their third world title defense, the path that brought them here is similar.
They possess four common opponents, George Groves, Lucian Bute, Marco Antonio Periban and Rogelio Medina with mixed results. The duo even won their titles, a month apart, in the same year and against a Dirrell brother. In May of 2015 James DeGale defeated Andre for the vacant IBF title, in April 2015 Badou Jack defeated Anthony for the WBC belt.
Having two world class champions, taking part in a fight of this caliber, minus an extended build-up, delays due to contract negotiations, tune ups and postponements, speaks volumes on the efforts of both promoters. The other two world title fights scheduled, hold just as much and possibly even more fan appeal.
The nights co-feature, an IBF super featherweight title showdown, between undefeated champion Jose Pedraza and undefeated challenger Gervonta Davis, is the type of bout that’s virtually unheard of these days. While the title at stake obviously holds value, what follows for both fighters win or lose, so long as they produce a quality bout, will be the real reward. As of right now, despite one holding a title belt and both being undefeated, neither fighter is a mainstream attraction. There are two other men at the weight, Vasyl Lomachenko and Francisco Vargas, who are not only mainstream names, they will be seeking opponents sooner than later. One is arguably boxing’s best fighter pound for pound, the other its most exciting. Should either Pedraza or Davis, be mentioned as possible opponents either, their careers will automatically reach new heights. Even if a fight against Lomachenko or Vargas never takes place.
Last summer at the Barclays center, Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent, gave fans a new appreciation for female boxing. On Saturday two other ladies will step into the ring, looking to duplicate or surpass of Hardy and Vincent’s performance. In a female “Puerto Rico vs Mexico” rivalry, Amanda Serrano defends her WBO female super bantamweight title against, multi-division world champion Yazmin Rivas. These two fighters are examples, of the best in female boxing, neither have delivered a disappointing performance before and I highly doubt this weekend will be any different.
In the spring, Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs will meet in a middleweight unification bout, Saturdays showdown between, Levgen Khytrov and Immanuwel Aleem, should interest them both. They are two hard hitting undefeated middleweights, looking to claim the vacant WBC Silver middleweight title. Whoever wins between these two, is in position to face whoever comes out on top between Jacobs and Golovkin. While they might not be well known, I can assure you neither should be taken lightly.
Throw in the return, of a very popular Thomas Dulorme, a heavyweight showdown and three undefeated upstarts, next Saturday is a stacked card from top to bottom. Exactly how much quality is involved? The best way to determine, is going behind the numbers and looking a bit deeper at the eighteen fighters. In total, there are five, current or former world champions, one former world title challenger and eight of the eighteen fighters are undefeated. Their combined resumes, total 264-23-8, with 149 of those wins coming by knockout.
In 2016 boxing took a beating, with Pay-Per-View sales to enforce the opinion, next week’s card in Brooklyn could be the beginning of a bounce back year. It might even happen without Pay-Per-View.