Vasyl Lomachenko realizes what he’s up against in Nicholas Walters

Vasyl Lomachenko, left, of Ukraine, punches Roman Martinez, of Puerto Rico, during the fourth round of a WBO junior lightweight title boxing match Saturday, June 11, 2016, in New York. Lomachenko stopped Martinez in the fifth round. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Vasyl Lomachenko, left, lands a punch to the head of Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez during the fourth round of their super featherweight title fight in June at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko won via 5th-round TKO/Associated Press photo by Frank Franklin II


As good as Vasyl Lomachenko is, as much as his promoter Bob Arum touts him as the greatest he’s seen since a young Muhammad Ali, Lomachenko knows he is in for a real nasty time of it Saturday when he defends his super featherweight belt against hard-hitting Nicholas Walters. The two will square off at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (on HBO).

“This is a very important bout for me because many boxing experts and many people in boxing rank Walters as the highest-rated fighter in our division,” Lomachenko said. “He is a very hard puncher and a very good boxer and for me it’s a very important thing to me to fight the best and it’s very important for me because everyone says he is a very good fighter.”

As for the Ali comparison, here’s what Arum told reporters during a conference call: “I would like to say this; that Vasyl Lomachenko is technically the best fighter that I have seen since the early Muhammad Ali. There is nobody that I have seen, and there have been a lot of great technical fighters that I have seen – Alexis Arguello was one, Floyd Mayweather certainly, Manny Pacquiao – but there has been nobody with the skills that Vasyl Lomachenko has.”

Lomachenko, of Ukraine, is 6-1 with four knockouts. The two-time Olympic gold-medal winner has also held a major world title in the featherweight division.

Walters, of Jamaica, is 26-0-1 with 21 knockouts.

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Demetrius Andrade thought the world of the late Muhammad Ali


Demetrius Andrade/Photo courtesy of Banner Promotions


Junior middleweight Demtrius Andrade this past Saturday ran his record to 23-0 with 16 knockouts by decking Willie Nelson four times, eventually stopping Nelson in the 12th round at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, N.Y.

A few days before the fight, Andrade was asked to talk about Muhammad Ali. By the time Andrade was done, it was easy to determine what he thought of Ali, who died June 3 at age 74.

“Muhammad Ali certainly shook the world, and not only in boxing,” Andrade said. “He was colorful; nobody talked like him. He helped boxers, too. Ali is the reason Floyd (Mayweather, Jr.) is who he is because Ali set the bar high.

“As an entertaining boxer, Ali brought blacks and whites together and later he spread the word about religion, culture and his other diverse interests.”
There was one more thing.
“What young boxer didn’t do the Ali Shuffle?” Andrade said. “I know I did, and taunted my opponents like him, too.”

Andrade, 28, is from Providence, R.I. He is a former WBO champion who was stripped of his belt for inactivity.


Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

George Foreman recalls intriguing conversation with Muhammad Ali

George Foreman is on his way down in his 1974 fight with Muhammad Ali/Associated Press file photo


The subject of Tuesday night’s “The Fight Game” with Jim Lampley on HBO will center on the late Muhammad Ali, who died June 3 at age 74. George Foreman, who was knocked in the eighth round by Ali in October 1974 in Zaire, Africa, will recall a conversation he had with Ali some four years after they fought.

“It was the last of the ’70’s, I believe 1978,” said Foreman, who lost his two heavyweight championship belts to Ali. “Muhammad Ali, I do not know how he got my number because he avoided me; he didn’t want to give me a title rematch.  He called and complimented me for about 20 minutes. Then he said ‘George, would you do me a favor?’ He knew I liked him, (so) I said, ‘Certainly.’

“He said, ‘Please come back and beat Ken Norton and fight him for me. They are going to strip me of my title and I can’t beat him George; you can. He’s afraid of you.  I’ll let you use my training camp and everything, but please come back and beat him for me.’ ”

From that point on, the two were amigos.

“That day forward we became the best of friends and we starting talking on the telephone,” Foreman said. “He’d call me, I would try to run him down wherever he be. We had these religious conversations. His children became good friends with my children. That is where the love affair began – right there at the end of the ’70’s.”

Ali fought Norton three times. They tangled twice in 1973 with Norton winning the first fight by split-decision and Ali winning the second by split-decision. Ali was scored the narrow unanimous-decision winner in their rubber match in 1976, but many observers thought Norton deserved the victory in that one.

Tuesday’s telecast begins at 8 p.m. (Pacific time).



Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Heavyweight contender Dominic Breazeale inspired by Muhammad Ali

Dominic Breazeale

Dominic Breazeale/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions


Heavyweight contender Dominic Breazeale of Alhambra is only 30, so he was too young to see Muhammad Ali fight. But that didn’t stop Breazeale from knowing a lot about Ali, who died June 3 and was laid to rest Friday in his native Louisville, Ky.

Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) spoke about Ali during a workout Tuesday in Ontario.

“Muhammad Ali was a huge inspiration,” said Breazeale, who will challenge Anthony Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) of England for his world title June 25 at O2 Arena in London (on Showtime). “Heavy hearts when great ones pass away like that. He was a wonderful man. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I did meet some of his kids, Layla Ali being one of them.
“Ali was a very inspirational type of individual. You go back and watch some of his fights; I was way too young to see him fight in his prime, but I’ve seen the recordings and seen the video footage. Everyone says he did everything wrong, but everything right. It’s just phenomenal.”


Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Muhammad Ali will be subject of Tuesday’s ‘The Fight Game’ with Jim Lampley

Obit Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali stands over a fallen Sonny Liston, who was knocked out in the first round of their fight in May 1965/Associated Press file photo


A special episode of HBO’s “The Fight Game” with host Jim Lampley will air Tuesday night and the subject will be the late Muhammad Ali, who died this past Friday at age 74.

The episode will center on Ali’s impact on sports, culture and politics. Headlining the list of guests will be actor Jack Nicholson, who had a long friendship with Ali.


Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Reports vary on status of Muhammad Ali, who is hospitalized in Phoenix

Muhammad Ali stands over fallen challenger Sonny Liston, shouting and gesturing shortly after dropping Liston with a short hard right to the jaw on May 25, 1965.

Muhammad Ali stands over Sonny Liston after knocking him out in the first round of their second fight in May 1965/AP file photo by John Rooney


Boxing fans around the world are waiting to see if Muhammad Ali can win his latest fight with his deteriorating health.

Ali on Thursday was hospitalized in Phoenix with respiratory issues. By Friday, there were several reports that Ali had been placed on life support. Others speculated the seriousness of this latest hospital stay is being overblown.

Ali, 74, has been suffering for decades from Parkinson’s disease, which apparently exacerbates his breathing problems.

Ali, one of the greatest fighters in history, went 56-5 with 37 knockouts while fighting from 1960-81.

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks in Las Vegas hospital


Leon Spinks/Photo courtesy of Associated Press


Former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks is in a Las Vegas hospital after a second operation for abdominal issues, the Associated Press reported Monday morning.

According to the story, Spinks had his second surgery over the past few days after experiencing complications from a first emergency surgery.

His wife, Brenda Spinks, spoke to the Associated Press.

“It’s going to be a long road ahead,” she said, “but he’s strong and he’s starting to recover.”

Spinks, 61, is from St. Louis. He shocked the boxing world when, in February 1978, he won a split-decision over Muhammad Ali to win two of the heavyweight world titles. It was just Spinks’ eighth professional fight.

Spinks went 26-17-3 with 14 knockouts fighting from 1977-95.

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Today is 50th anniversary of Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston heavyweight title fight

Today, Feb. 25, is the 50th anniversary of the world heavyweight title fight between Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay at Convention Center in Miami.

Liston, the champion at the time, quit before the seventh round of a close fight, citing a shoulder injury. Clay was credited with a sixth-round TKO. At the time, Liston was ahead by two points on one scorecard, Clay was ahead by two on another and the third scorecard was even.

There is speculation that fight might have been rigged, according to files released by the FBI, though Clay – who afterward changed his name to Muhammad Ali – was not suspected of being part of the fix. Check out this story in today’s Washington Times detailing the events surrounding what then was considered quite an upset.

Note the story in this link mentions Liston quit before the eighth round. It was actually the seventh.

The two fought a rematch on May 25, 1965, Ali knocking out Liston in the first round with what was described as the “phantom punch.” Rumors began immediately, suggesting Liston took a dive.

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Bob Arum recalls ‘Thrilla in Manila’ ahead of Pacquiao-Rios fight Saturday

Longtime promoter Bob Arum on Saturday will promote the welterweight fight between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios in Macao, China (on HBO pay-per-view). During a conference call, he remembered vividly his favorite international promotion, and it was no surprise.

“The one that sticks out and is most comparable because it takes place in the same time zone is the ‘Thrilla in Manila’ when Muhammad Ali faced off against Joe Frazier,” Arum said. “That fight took place in the same time that the Pacquiao-Rios fight will take place – around noon Manila time. It was one of the greatest fights I have ever seen in my life.”

Ali won when Frazier did not answer the bell for the 15th round of the fight that took place Oct. 1, 1975.

“These guys went at it and (trainer) Eddie Futch wouldn’t let Joe Frazier come out for the 15th round and Muhammad won the fight,” Arum said.

Arum also remember the immediate aftermath.

“What I remember most was going outside the (Araneta) Coliseum after the fight was over – we had just seen this unbelievable fight and the sun was the brightest that I have ever seen and it was almost as if everyone was blinded by the daylight, and it was one of the most memorable experiences I ever had in my life.”



Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail

Former heavyweight champion Ken Norton has died at the age of 70

Several outlets are reporting that former heavyweight champion Ken Norton has died at the age of 70.

Norton had been in poor health since suffering a stroke in 2012. He was perhaps best known for his three fights with Muhummad Ali, of which only one was for a major championship.

Norton broke Ali’s jaw in their first fight in San Diego, won by Norton via split-decision in March 1973. Six months later, that September, Ali won a split-decision over Norton at the Forum.

Ali was scored the winner over Norton in their third fight in September 1976 at Yankee Stadium. It was a controversial unanimous decision, one that enabled Ali to retain his two major title belts.

In one newspaper account the day after that third fight, Norton was quoted as saying he told Ali to his face he thought the decision was a poor one. Norton was asked what Ali’s reply was.

“What could he say? He knew I was right,” Norton said.


Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email Snailmail