By Alan Dawson – London
Headline-grabbing heavyweight Tyson Fury, 24, can try all the tricks in the motor-mouthing book but he will not get under Steve Cunningham‘s skin. The 36-year-old American, an experienced cruiserweight seeking a title shot in boxing’s glamour division, has claimed Tyson’s trash talk efforts are all futile as they will not divert him from his original game-plan.
“He wants to get under my skin with his antics, imitating Ali, doing all these tricks,” Cunningham (25-5-0, 12ko) said during an open media workout this week. “He wants me to just come in and punch him in the mouth, but I will stick to the game plan and not get out of control. It’s all about the game plan.”
The two clash on Saturday, April 20 at the hallowed Theatre inside Madison Square Garden, New York. Whilst Fury (20-0-0, 14ko) is no stranger to taking his show on the road having fought in Quebec, Canada in 2010, his tussle versus Cunningham will be his first on American canvas. And Cunningham is aware Fury intends on using him as his ticket to trans-Atlantic stardom.
“We’re getting ready for the best Tyson Fury that the world has ever seen,” he said. “He can say what he wants to say. It’s only going to make him look bad when he gets beaten by a supposed light heavyweight. I’m going to utilise my strengths… we’ve worked on my weaknesses. So you’re going to see some different things. I feel great. I feel strong. I feel energetic. I’m excited about this fight.”
On The Beak – Admin
The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced its flags will fly at half-staff in memory of trainer Angelo Dundee. He passed away yesterday in Tampa, FL. He was 90.
Angelo Dundee was a 1992 Hall of Fame Inductee.
“The sport of boxing had no greater ambassador than Angelo Dundee. No matter where he went, he was always promoting the sport he lived and loved his entire life,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Edward Brophy. “Everyone at the Hall of Fame joins the boxing community in mourning the loss of one of the greats.”
Born in Philadelphia, Dundee moved to New York following World War II and learned from many of the great trainers at Stillman’s Gym. He eventually relocated to Miami Beach and was the chief trainer at the world-renowned 5th Street Gym; that his brother Chris Dundee opened.
Angelo went on to guide 15 world champions including Ralph Dupas, Jimmy Ellis, Michael Nunn and Hall of Famers Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Carmen Basilio, George Foreman, Sugar Ramos, Jose Napoles, Luis Rodriguez and Willie Pastrano.
Dundee served as technical advisor for the film Ali in 2001. He also prepared Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe for his role in the 2005 boxing film Cinderella Man. Dundee was named Manager of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association in 1968 and 1979 and was also the recipient of their James J. Walker Award for Long and Meritorious Service to Boxing in 1996.
All Pictures: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym
Tributes poured in from around the world as The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, a three-time heavyweight champion of the world, turned 70 this week. Present at the weekend shindig in Louisville, KY was On The Beak‘s fight photographer Stacey Verbeek, who recommended The Muhammad Ali Center to be one of the places boxing fans make a pilgrimage to…
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Famed Mexican-American trainer Robert Garcia, who owns a flourishing boxing academy in Oxnard, California, has heralded a fighter from his stable as boxing’s next superstar. Two-weight world champion Nonito Donaire can be “my next Joe Frazier, or my next Muhammad Ali,” a kindled Garcia stated this week. Donaire is on the cusp of transcending his popularity due to a highlight-reel knockout win over a previously unstoppable Fernando Montiel last year.
A ferocious puncher in the lower-weight classes, Donaire (27-1-0, 18ko) has two stoppage victories that are regarded to be the best of the years they were triumphed in. In 2007, against teak tough Armenian, Vic Darchinyan, Donaire did the unthinkable and forced a fifth round technical knockout win over a fighter who still, to this day, has gone the distance with every other fighter he has been in the ring with. Four years later, Donaire repeated the feat against Fernando Montiel, crashing the resilient Mexican onto the canvas inside two rounds.
This brace of knockout wins punctuates other solid wins over Luis Maldonando, Moruthi Mthalane, Hernan Marquez and Vladimir Sidorenko, however, Garcia believes that the 29-year-old, who has won full world championships at flyweight and bantamweight, has “unlimited potential”.
Speaking to The Ring, he continued: “Nonito is very strong and talented. He’s so fast, so powerful when he gets into the ring that he could be my next Joe Frazier, or my next Muhammad Ali but that’s only something that we’ll see in the next few years.
“Nonito has had a great year this past year, but it’s only the beginning. No one knows what he can bring yet. Nonito’s got dreams. So there is nothing that can stop him. Nonito has all of the talent and the potential to be among the greatest. That would be something great for my career as a trainer. There is no telling what honour he can bring to himself and to me, as well.”
Donaire, though, fought just twice in 2011 and his most recent performance, a decision win over Omar Narvaez, was underwhelming, largely because of the stringent door-bolt defence employed by the Argentinean. The Filipino Flash wants to box at least four times in 2012 and already has his next bout booked, against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, a Puerto Rican prizefighter who formerly championed the WBO super bantamweight title.
The WBO belt at 122lbs is now vacant and will be awarded to the winner of February 4 fight, staged at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Garcia believes fans will be able to see the Donaire of old – the switch-hitting, made-for-TV, headhunter – rather than the one who was unable to score a knockout over Narvaez in October, 2011. Whilst admitting Vazquez would represent a “tough” challenge, Garcia said: “This will be a fight where I think that you will see the best out of Nonito, and that he will succeed in. He’ll come out with a win.”
JM Siasat - Metro Manila
In the world of boxing, the Philippines is widely known for hosting the event some regard to be the most brutal fight in pugilistic history; the ‘Thrilla in Manila’, a global event where two American fighters: Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, gave it all they had inside the squared circle. It was a non-stop bout full of action where Ali triumphed as the late Smokin Joe retired in his corner at round 14 leaving Filipinos and boxing fans all over the world with an unforgettable fight…
Fast forward to April 19, 2009 and another historic day in Philippine boxing was marked as it held its first ever double world championship card with Nonito Donaire fighting Raul Martinez as a main event with Brian Viloria’s fight with Ulises Solis the co-main event.
The fight gathered mass media attention, the fans were all over the event and gathered in the same arena where Ali and Frazier met. The Araneta Coliseum was packed with thousands of supporting fans who Donaire and Viloria showed their token of appreciation for as they both won their respective matches by stoppage.
The next day, the fight results were on the front page of almost every local newspaper in the Philippines.
This coming December 11, 2011 will mark yet another historic day in Philippine boxing as Brian Viloria (29-3-0, 16ko) defends his WBO flyweight world title for the first time against the hard hitting Mexican southpaw, Giovanni Segura (28-1-1, 24ko).
Viloria, coming of a hard-fought unanimous decision win in Hawaii against Julio Cesar Miranda, will be in no doubt the crowd favourite as they fight in the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, Philippines.
Viloria will need all the cheer and support he can get from his Filipino fans as he is to face the biggest challenge in his boxing career – fighting the former WBO light flyweight world champion and number nine ranked (The Ring) pound-for-pound fighter in Giovani Segura.
It’s not often the Filipino fans will get to see a pound-for-pound fighter set foot on Philippine soil and fight for a world title against a home fighter. To add more reason to come, boxing legends: Marco Antonio Barrera and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr will be at ringside to commentate for the Mexican TV broadcast.
This is an event Filipino boxing fans can’t afford to miss. From VIP tickets being sold at 530php ($13), to ringside: 427php ($10), courtside: 267php ($6) and bleachers: 107php ($3) there is no reason for a boxing fan to not come and watch.
I invite all the Filipino fight fans to bring live support for our fighter and take this opportunity to grace a pound-for-pound boxer fighting in our homeland.
They rarely bring this good of an event in the Philippines, after this we don’t know if there will be another one.
For comments, suggestions and feedbacks you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or join our boxing community here.
Iceman John Scully – Hartford
“With the recent passing of [Joe] Frazier and [Ron] Lyle I thought this photo was right on time. Thanksgiving, 2011 (from Hana Ali’s collection),” wrote friend of On The Beak, Iceman John Scully in an email to editor Alan Dawson. Pictured below are Muhammad Ali (left), who endured one of boxing’s most famous fistic trilogies with Frazier as well as an 11th round teekayo win over Lyle, and Ken Norton (right), who went 1-2, 0ko with Ali in three bruising bouts.
Related article: My personal memories of the late, great Smokin’ Joe Frazier
Related article: International Boxing Hall of Fame remembers Ron Lyle
Tommy Barber – London
Top Rank Boxing CEO Bob Arum has a stable filled with quality prizefighters yet one stands out ahead of the lot: Manny Pacquiao. Not only is the 32-year-old a champion of eight weight classes… he is also a singer, movie star in his native Philippines and a congressman for the Sarangani province. In a revealing interview with Gareth A. Davies in British broadsheet The Telegraph, Arum explored the similarities with former heavyweight king; Muhammad Ali.
“The political thing is different,” said Arum. “The political thing for Manny is more a social welfare liberalism than Ali, who made political statements.”
Arum continued by remarking on Pacquiao’s personal political outlook, stating that the Filipino’s ideology is a hybrid of left and right wing ideals. He said: “If you dig into Manny’s political philosophy, it is very revealing because when you talk to him about welfare and poverty, he sounds like a very liberal democrat.
“But then when you talk to him about having to control the population and birth control he’s violently against it. There, he’s a staunch catholic. He sounds like a right wing religious conservative.”
With Ali, a three-time heavyweight world champion, was dubbed the Louisville Lip for his sharp wit within the sport of boxing but he transcended into the political realm in order to raise awareness to issues of injustice.
“Ali was never concerned with poverty or welfare, he was concerned with discrimination and having a fair chance,” commented Arum. “He never really spoke out on economic issues or the inequality of classes.”
He continued: “People said to me after Ali, there won’t be another superstar like [him]. Will there be another Manny Pacquiao? No, there won’t. Will there be another marketable superstar? Yeah, definitely. But it won’t be a Manny Pacquiao. Just like Mike Tyson wasn’t another Ali.
“I think I’m closer to Pacquiao than I was to Ali, probably because of my age. When you’re younger everything is the business. I was so concentrated on the business but when you get older you’re much cooler about it so you can become emotionally invested.”
Despite Pacquiao’s entourage exceeding numbers of 50, Arum finds it easier to communicate directly with the fighter on a one-on-one basis. Something, he says, he never had with Ali because a: he did not promote the heavyweight alone and b: because of Ali’s manager Jabir Herbert Muhammad.
He said: “With Ali, I always had Herbert pushing me for more and more money, there were other promoters involved because I never had Ali exclusively; it was different. With Pacquiao, those issues aren’t there.”
Arum has represented Pacquiao’s ascent to the pinnacle of the pound-for-pound ranks. On Saturday, November 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Manny defends that status – as well as his WBO welterweight world title – against challenger and fierce rival Juan Manuel Marquez at a 144lb catchweight.
Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
On The Beak is saddened to learn that former heavyweight world champion Joe Frazier, who was king of boxing’s premier weight class from 1970-1973, is seriously ill with advanced liver cancer and is receiving hospice care. The news has traveled swiftly throughout the fistic community and a number of the sport’s leading figures have issued their support for the 67-year-old.
A source close to Frazier (32-4-1, 27ko), who enjoyed a trilogy of fights with Muhammad Ali (56-5-0, 37ko) and a brace of bouts with George Foreman (76-5-0, 68ko), explained to the New York Post: “He’s in serious shape, we’re looking for a miracle. We need to have as many people as possible praying for Joe right now.”
Ali was one of the first to declare his prayers. The renowned former heavyweight said on CBS News: “The news about Joe is hard to believe and even harder to accept. Joe is a fighter and a champion and I am praying he is fighting now. My family and I are keeping Joe and his family in our daily prayers. Joe has a lot of friends pulling for him, and I’m one of them.”
Don King, the prominent promoter who set-up the Thrilla in Manila – the concluding bout between Frazier and Ali, said: “He was a great gladiator and a great fighter. When Smokin’ Joe came to the ring you knew you had someone who was coming to fight. He edified himself and qualified himself as a champion among champions in his fights with Ali. My prayers are with him.”
Floyd Mayweather Jr (42-0-0, 26ko), currently one of modern boxing’s pound-for-pound greatest prizefighters and the champion of the WBC welterweight title, added: “May God Bless an all time great – Joe Frazier and his family. The Money Team loves you. Hang in there Smokin Joe.”
One of the finest super lightweight campaigners of all time, Aaron Pryor (39-1-0, 35ko), pleaded: “Please pray for my friend and hero Smokin’ Joe Frazier. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and is in hospice.”
Lennox Lewis (41-2-1, 32ko), a three-time heavyweight champion and undisputed ruler of boxing’s big men in the late 1990s and early 00s, commented: “My prayers are with Joe Frazier and his family as he fights the toughest battle of his life. God Bless a warrior.”
Britain’s top promoter Frank Warren, added in The Sun: “I was very sad to hear the news, it’s a tragedy. He’s one of the greatest fighters of his generation and one of the best heavyweights in history. It’s a sad thing and I know everyone in boxing will be wishing him well. He beat Ali once and was part of a great era, probably the best heavyweight era.”
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Former heavyweight champion of the world and Islam convert, Muhammad Ali, 69, has issued an open letter to the families of those killed in the July attacks in Norway by a 32-year-old extremist. A bombing and open-fire massacre caused the deaths of at least 77 people and the man charged – Anders Behring Breivik – said his motive was to save Norway and western Europe from a Muslim takeover.
Ali, a three-time heavyweight champion with a 56-5-0, 37ko record, reached out to those affected by the terror attacks by stating: “[My] heart goes out to each of you as you deal with the unimaginable grief of your loss.”
The open letter, believed to have been written by his wife – Yolanda – after taking dictation from Ali, has been released just days after the first funerals of the victims began. On July 29, Bano Rashid, an 18-year-old, was remembered. Ali continued: “I see the same wishes for our children to have happy, healthy lives; I see the same concerns for others less fortunate than ourselves; I see the same desire for peace and dignity.”
Those who commit such atrocious acts: “Fail to understand that we share far more with our fellow beings than those aspects that set us apart,” according to Ali who, following his boxing career has undertaken roles as an activist, a “Messenger of Peace” for the United Nations, a humanitarian and social commentator on global issues such as hunger, poverty and the promotion of adoption.
Ali pressed the need for unity, to embrace our fellow man and woman and to celebrate human values.
“The collective power of such individual proactive acts can have a tremendous aggregate impact and provide a lasting honor to those who are no longer able to take such action themselves.”
Breivik is currently awaiting trial.
Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
IBF and WBO World Heavyweight belt holder Wladimir Klitschko has reiterated his desire to teach WBA World Heavyweight titlist David Haye a physical lesson when the two finally fight on July 2 at Hamburg’s Imtech Arena in Germany. Wlad also said that Haye’s past attempts at trash-talking and taking part in publicity stunts pale in comparison to one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time – Muhammad Ali.
Haye (25-1-0, 23ko) and Klitschko’s rivalry has long been simmering. Even when the two were not slated to fight each other they couldn’t help talk about a potential fight. Haye has labeled Wladimir (55-3-0, 49ko) and his brother Vitali an ‘embarrassment’ to the sport and believes that, between them, they have effectively killed a once-thriving heavyweight division.
Trash-talking is nothing new to boxing, however, perhaps what left the greatest distaste in Wladimir’s mouth was a tee-shirt Haye donned during a press conference in 2009, that depicted Haye holding up the decapitated heads of the Klitschko brothers.
Klitschko, in retaliation, said Haye had taken his actions too far. Haye’s shenanigans have drawn comparison to heavyweight icons from yesteryear but Wladimir rejects any notion that Haye has similarities to the publicity stunts of Ali.
Wladimir told British broadsheet The Telegraph: “Muhammad Ali… he supported the black movement in the United States. He denied to go to the war in Vietnam. He made free [the] hostages in Iraq. He was big outside of the ring and he was big inside of the ring. He was funny the way he promoted, I can laugh about Muhammad Ali’s ways… I cannot laugh about tee-shirts with people’s heads off.
“I didn’t see people laughing about it, saying to each other ‘how funny is that?!’ He’s [Haye] trying to be funny, he’s trying to do this and that. My mission in this fight is to show David Haye that you can not be cocky in the way he is. This young man needs to get his lesson. There are certain things you cannot do and the best way to teach the person is physical contact in the boxing ring!”
Haye, meanwhile, has said he will dedicate the fight to the memory of the Englishman who famously toppled Muhammad Ali (when he was Cassius Clay) at Wembley in their first bout in 1964.
“Like everyone else, I’ve watched the film of ‘Enery knocking down the greatest fighter the world has seen with that perfectly timed, wrist turning left hook at Wembley.
“He almost achieved the impossible – knocking out Cassius Clay, the legend after whom I christened my son, Cassius. My Hayemaker is my right and I don’t really have a huge left. But, if I could take one punch with me into the ring against Klitschko, it would be Henry’s left hook.”