Sunday, September 4, 2011

Career accomplishments of Muhammad Ali

Ali is considered by almost everyone as the greatest heavyweight of all time, and he himself claimed it multiple times. With such a claim, many people would want to dissect Ali's record in hopes of dispelling that belief. Unfortunately, when you pick apart Ali's record, you find that despite all the outrageous claims, there is a lot of substance to his resume.

Ali first test as a professional came against Alejandro Lavorante in 1962. Lavorante was coming off a knockout win over Zora Folley the previous year, but also a loss to Archie Moore a few months prior. Ali easily outjabbed and stopped Lavorantein 5 rounds. Next up was the legendary Archie Moore, who was fresh off his win over Lavorante and was considered one of the best heavyweights in the world. Ali predicted the 4th round would be the last for the 47 year old Moore, and he was correct, dropping Moore 3 times in the 4th round for the TKO stoppage.

Looking for a title shot, Ali then faced Doug Jones, a former light heavyweight who was coming off of knockout wins over the legendary Bob Foster and Zora Folley and considered one of the top 5 heavyweights in the world. In a difficult fight for the young Ali, Jones was able to tag Ali multiple times flush, but ultimately lost the bout.

Ali's next fight was the subject of controversy, where the 21 year old was dropped and hurt by top ten rated Henry Cooper of Britain. Ali had extra time to recover because of a tear in his glove, and stopped Cooper legitimately on cuts in the following round.

Ali then got his title shot against HOF puncher Sonny Liston, who was a 7 to 1 favorite going into the bout and considered the best heavyweight in the world. Ali used his speed and agility to outpunch Liston in exchanges, forcing Liston to retire in his corner at the end of round 6, citing an injured left shoulder. Ali would then begin his first title reign.

First up was a rematch with Liston, which took place over a year after winning the title. Ali would knock Liston out in the first round with what observers called the 'Phantom Punch', which was unpronounced but flush short right hand to the head that put Liston down for over 10 seconds. The nature of the knockout was very controversial.

A few months later Ali would be pitted up against a former heavyweight champion, the HOF and top ten rated Floyd Patterson. Patterson was dropped in the 5th round and took too much punishment over 12 rounds, resulting in a TKO win for Ali. Next up was the iron jawed and highly rated George Chuvalo, who was considered a top 5 heavyweight after giving Patterson a very difficult fight the year before. Ali outpointed the tough Canadian over 15 rounds for the decision win.

After dominating Henry Cooper in a redemption rematch and winning again by cut stoppage, Ali would take on another Brit when he knocked out fringe contender Brian London in 3 rounds. Ali then went to Germany to take on the European champion Karl Mildenberger, who had not lost in over 4 years and was considered one of the top 5 heavyweights in the world. Karl gave a good account of himself, but was cut up over 12 rounds and dropped twice during the bout, forcing the stoppage.

After knocking out a comebacking Cleveland Williams in 3 rounds in what many consider to be Ali's best performance, Ali would take on the 6'6 Ernie Terrell, who was considered the best heavyweight in the world after Ali. Ali peppered the larger Terrell while mocking him over the course of the lopsided 15 rounds. In Ali's last title defense of his first title reign, he would take Zora Folley, who was considered the 3rd best heavyweight in the world. Folley could not catch up to the quick and elusive Ali, and was put down by a series of right hands that laid Folley out for the 10 count. After this bout Ali was stripped of his title and banned from boxing for refusing the draft.

Ali's first return match after a 3 year hiatus was in no way a pushover, when he faced off against the top 3 rated Jerry Quarry. Ali cut Quarry very early in the bout and was simply too slow to compete with the much quicker Ali, and was stopped in the 3rd round. Aiming again for the heavyweight title, which had been taken by Joe Frazier in Ali's absence, Ali took on Argentina's Oscar Bonavena, who was highly rated in the division after giving champion Frazier all he could handle in two bouts. After having a difficult time that drew criticism from writers, Ali nailed Bonavena with a left hook in the 15th and final round and dropped him three times, forcing the TKO stoppage. This was the only time the very durable Bonavena was stopped in his career.

Ali then attempted to regain the heavyweight title against reigning champ and HOF heavyweight "Smokin'" Joe Frazier, in what was called "Fight of the Century". In a grueling and brutal 15 round bout, Frazier emerged victorious in the most impressive performance of his career.

Looking to get back on the winning track, Ali fought Jimmy Ellis, who was a top ten fighter in the division after outboxing George Chuvalo over ten rounds. Ali succeeded and stopped Ellis in the 12th round. Ali's next notable opponent was Mac Foster, who was highly regarded after knocking out Zora Folley in the first round. Ali won a one sided 15 round decision over Foster, and then took on old foe George Chuvalo and again winning by decision.

Ali then took a rematch with Jerry Quarry, who had risen back to a top 3 position in the rankings after beating Jack Bodell and Larry Middleton. Without the cut, Quarry made it to the 7th round, but was stopped after taking too much punishment following an uppercut and left hook. Ali fought another rematch with Floyd Patterson, who also had risen back into the ranks after his decision win over Oscar Bonavena. The fight was stopped after the 7th round due to a large amount of cuts and swelling around Patterson's eyes.

Ali's next opponent was Light Heavyweight ATG Bob Foster, who gave Ali trouble but was overmatched and was dropped 6 times before finally staying down in the 8th. Getting closer and closer to a title shot, Ali fought the 6'4 Australian Joe Bugner, who was rated in the top ten at the time. Ali walked Bugner down, but had to settle for the decision win. However, Ali was set back in his title shot attempt in his next fight against Futch trained Ken Norton, who broke Ali's jaw early in the fight and was able to frustrate Ali with his difficult style, winning him the 12 round decision in a 5 to 1 upset.

In an immediate rematch, Ali took on Norton again, this time winning a 12 round decision in a very difficult and close fight. However, by this time Joe Frazier had already been steamrolled by George Foreman, and instead of going immediately for the title Ali took on the former champ in a grudge match. In a fight much less exciting than their first bout, Ali clinched and outsped Frazier over the 12 rounds, winning him a clear decision and avenging his earlier loss.

Finally Ali would get his second shot at the title, against the heavily favoured punching machine George Foreman. Foreman had become obsessed and one minded with his power, and spent himself in the early rounds while Ali took advantage with the "rope-a-dope" strategy. It paid off in the 8th round, where an exhausted Foreman took a series of sharp punches that dropped him to the canvas. Foreman was too tired to get up, and Ali had finally won back the heavyweight crown about 8 years after his last title defense.

In his first defense in his second title run, Ali took on top ten rated Chuck Wepner. Wepner shocked the crowd by dropping Ali with a right hand to the body in the 9th round in a very one sided fight, but was dropped and beaten up in the 15th and final round. Next up was the top 5 rated Ron Lyle, who was coming off wins over Jimmy Ellis and Oscar Bonavena, but had previously lost to Jimmy Young. Lyle came in with a smart gameplan, but by 11th round was exhausted and was stopped after taking an accumulation of flush punches.

Bugner then got a rematch with Ali after climbed back into the top 5 of the division with wins over Mac Foster and Jimmy Ellis. However, Bugner was again outgunned, and lost a wide 15 round round decision. Then in a rubber match, Ali would end his rivarly with Joe Frazier in what is considered by many to be their most brutal fight. After both had taken tons of punishment, Eddie Futch decided to stop the fight after the 14th round, seeing that Frazier was nearly blind in both his eyes due to the punishment, while Ali contemplated quitting in his corner. However, with Frazier's corner retirement, Ali was awarded the stoppage win.

After winning an unnotable knockout against unrated Jean Coopman, Ali took on the clever boxing Jimmy Young, who was coming off his win over Ron Lyle and was rated in the top 3 of the division. Ali won a close and somewhat controversial decision over Young. Young would go on to beat Lyle again, as well as future and former heavyweight champ George Foreman. Ali would then knock out overmatched Richard Dunn before fighting another rubber match, this time against Ken Norton. In a very competitive fight, Ali won a 15 round decision that most feel he actually lost.

Clearly seeming to be going downhill, Ali beat unrated Alfredo Evangelista by decision before taking on Ernie Shavers, considered by many to be the hardest puncher of all time. Shavers was top ten rated at the time, and gave Ali hell with his power, but ultimately fell short of victory and lost the 15 round decision.

In a huge upset, Ali was beaten by 6-0-1 Leon Spinks, who was top ten rated but considered a non-threat to Ali. However, in 1978s fight of the year, Spinks outhustled a lethargic Ali and beat him by 15 round split decision. In an immediate rematch, Ali regained his title by beating Spinks by decision, but it was very clear his career had come to an end and retired after this fight. Ali tried to mount a comeback twice against Holmes and Berbick, but was completely unsuccessful.

Ali not only fought in a stacked era and had multiple wins over HOF and ATG heavyweights such as Liston, Foreman, Frazier, Patterson, and Norton, but also defeated a shocking number of the best in his division, surpassing even Joe Louis. It's understandable to dislike Ali, but theres no doubt the level of competition he faced and beat is unmatched in heavyweight boxing history.

Notable wins-
Alejandro Lavorante
Archie Moore
Doug Jones
Henry Cooper
Sonny Liston
Sonny Liston II
Floyd Patterson
George Chuvalo
Brian London
Karl Mildenberger
Ernie Terrell
Zora Folley
Jerry Quarry
Oscar Bonavena
Jimmy Ellis
Jerry Quarry II
Floyd Patterson II
Bob Foster
Joe Bugner
Ken Norton
Joe Frazier
George Foreman
Chuck Wepner
Ron Lyle
Joe Bugner II
Joe Frazier II
Jimmy Young
Ken Norton II(controversial)
Ernie Shavers
Leon Spinks

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Career accomplishments of Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield is best known for his fights at Heavyweight, but also holds the title of being the best Cruiserweight of all time. Despite the ups and downs in his career, Holyfield has solidified himself as one of the best fighters of the last 30 years.

After being robbed of the gold medal in the 1984 Olympics, Holyfield turned professional that same year and was rushed to a title shot after only 2 years and 11 fights. His title fight was against no powederpuff or sacrificial lamb, it was agaisnt WBA titlist and former Light Heavyweight titlist Dwight Muhammad Qawi, who was considered by many to be the best fighter at 190lbs. Despite having never gone past 8 rounds before, Holyfield went through a 15 round war with Qawi in a fight most boxing fans consider the best Cruiserweight fight of all time. After a grueling and exhausting fight, Holyfield would walk with the close but clear decision victory.

In Holyfield's first title defense he was matched against Henry Tillman, who was rated top 5 in the division. Holyfield would drop Tillman in the second round, and then finish him off with multiple knockdowns in the 7th. Next up was the top 3 rated IBF titlist Ricky Parkey, who had won the title strap from Lee Roy Murphy. Holyfield quickly caught up to Parkey and dropped him with a series of punches in the 3rd round. After three knockdowns, the fight was waved off.

Next up was former WBA champion Ossie Ocasio, who was fresh off a win over Dwight Muhammad Qawi. Ocasio made it to the 11th round, but ultimately succumbed to the relentless attack of Holyfield and was stopped after a series of punches. To close out a productive 1987, Holyfield rematched Qawi, who was still ranked very highly at Cruiserweight. This time around was no one sided war however, but a one sided knockout for the prime Holyfield, who took out a fading Qawi in the 4th after landing a clean counter right hand.

Only one more fight remained at Cruiserweight, against lineal champ and possibly the second best Cruiserweight of all time, Carlos DeLeon, who held the WBC title strap and had successfully defended it multiple times. DeLeon fought well, but Holyfield overwhelmed him with a series of right hands, which eventually forced Mills Lane to stop the fight. Despite having only spent under 2 years at the weight, Holyfield beat such a consistant amount of top competition and had such excellent wins that he is undoubtedly the greatest Cruiserweight of all time.

Holyfield then moved up to the bigger paydays at Heavyweight. After an introduction fight against James Tillis, Holyfield faced off agaisnt former WBC titlist Pinklon Thomas, who had previously just been knocked out by Mike Tyson but was still rated in the top ten of the division. After taking a beating for 7 rounds, Thomas retired in his corner, awarding Holyfield stoppage victory.

Now going after a heavyweight title shot, Holyfield took on the 37-1 Michael Dokes, who was considered a top 5 in the division. Dokes gave Holyfield trouble with his handspeed and skill, but was rocked with a left hand in the 10th round and then finished off against the ropes. Later that year Holyfield would face off against another top 5 rated fighter in Adilson Rodrigues, who had an impressive, but padded, 35-2 record. Adilson started off well, but was rocked but a right uppercut and then finished off with a big right hand in the 2nd, knocking him out.

Holyfield, still waiting for his title shot agaisnt Mike Tyson, faced off against the unranked Alex Stewart and Seamus McDonagh, beating both by stoppage. During this time Tyson was majorly upset by James 'Buster' Douglas in Japan, and Holyfield got his title shot against Douglas in October of 1990. Douglas showed up unprepared and out of shape, and Holyfield knocked Douglas out in the third round with a right hand after countering an uppercut, giving Holyfield the lineal heavyweight title and the WBA, WBC and IBF title straps.

Holyfield's first title defense came against the comebacking 41 year old George Foreman, who was barely top ten ranked but considered a very heavy underdog. Foreman proved to be much more risilient than expected, and absorbed very heavy combinations from Holyfield. In a tougher fight than expected, Holyfield walked away with the 12 round decision. Foreman would shock the world by knocking out Michael Moorer and reclaiming the heavyweight crown at 45 years old, 4 years later.

After another unexpected tough match against unranked Bert Cooper, whom Holyfield knocked out in the 7th in a firefight, Holyfield took on another old legend, former heavyweight champ and ATG Larry Holmes. Holmes was 41 years old, but had just recently been top ten ranked after a dominant victory over Ray Mercer. Holmes gave Holyfield trouble, but Holyfield walked away with the wide 12 round decision.

Holyfield then had his first professional loss when he fought the undefeated Riddick Bowe. In a very tough and painful fight, Holyfield fell short, losing a 12 round decision to Bowe. After regaining confidence against former opponent Alex Stewart, who Holyfield beat by decision, Holyfield reclaimed the heavyweight crown by outboxing and decisioning Bowe in a rematch. Unfortunately, Holyfield would again lose his title against former light heavyweight champ Michael Moorer in a close fight.

After a year layoff, Holyfield would be back in the ring against the tough Ray Mercer, who gave him a good fight but was dropped late and lost a 10 round decision. In Mercer's next fight, he would give Lennox Lewis one of the toughest bouts of his career.

Holyfield would then finish his trilogy against Bowe in 1995. Despite badly hurting and dropping Bowe in the 6th round, Holyfield could not capitalize and was knocked out in the 8th round in a war. Holyfield's career looked nearly over at this point, and he faced off against the comebacking and rising Mike Tyson in 1996. Tyson was heavily favoured to destroy Tyson, but in 1996s fight of the year Holyfield shocked boxing fans by not only beating Tyson, but knocking him out in the 11th round after accumulating damage with his uppercuts.

Unfortunately, a rematch against Tyson resulted in controversy, when Tyson was disqualified for infamously biting off a piece of Holyfield's ear. In another rematch, this time against Michael Moorer, Holyfield avenged his previous loss by dropping Moorer multiple times en route to a corner retirement. Moorer was a former lineal champ and rated top 5 in the division at the time.

Holyfield's career progressively went downhill from this point. After getting a gift draw against Lennox Lewis and a close but clear loss in the rematch, Holyfield went 1-1-1 against John Ruiz in controversial and ugly fights. In Holyfield's last clear victory, he decisioned Hasim Rahman after grotesque swelling occured on Rahman's head because of headbutts, halting the bout after 8 rounds. Rahman had just lost the lineal championship to Lewis in his previous fight, and was considered top 5 in the division.

After Holyfield's next three fights against Chris Byrd, James Toney and Larry Donald, it was clear his career was over, as he suffered losses in all of the bouts, including a TKO loss to former middleweight Toney. Yet 4 years later Holyfield got a shot at Nikolai Valuev, the WBA titlist and top 5 in the division. In an incredibly lackluster fight with little action, Holyfield very arguably deserved the decision over Valuev at 46 years old.

Although Holyfield is still, somehow, still fighting at 48 years old, it is heavily unlikely he will accomplish any more, and its more likely he will just end up a sad story in boxing. But his legacy is already set, and he is one of the toughest, most exciting, and most accomplished fighters in a long time, and the best Cruiserweight since the creation of the weight class.

Notable wins over-
Dwight Muhammad Qawi
Henry Tillman
Ricky Parkey
Ossie Ocasio
Dwight Muhammad Qawi
Carlos DeLeon
Pinklon Thomas
Michael Dokes
Adilson Rodriquez
James 'Buster' Douglas
George Foreman
Larry Holmes
Riddick Bowe
Ray Mercer
Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson
Michael Moorer
John Ruiz
Hasim Rahman
Nikolai Valuev, robbery/very close bout

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Career accomplishments of Sugar Ray Robinson

So often boxing fans and media claim that Robinson was the greatest boxer of all time, but don't often state why. Yet behind all the hype and legend, Robinson's record is full of numerous excellent wins that give substantiality to his 'greatest' claim, along with his outstanding ring performance.

Although most, if not all, boxing fans consider Robinson a career Welterweight or higher, he actually had over 20 wins at 135lbs or lower. His first big win at Lightweight was over Pete Lello, who was one of the best fighters at 135lbs and had unsuccessfully challenged for the Lightweight title the previous year.

The most meaningful of Robinson's wins at 135lbs however was his decision over the frustrating, clever HOF boxer Sammy Angott. Angott was considered the second best Lightweight in the world at the time, but was dropped early and lost a decision to Robinson. Yet only 5 months after losing to Robinson, Angott would win the Lightweight championship with a lopsided win over Lew Jenkins, and even go on to beat the ATG Willie Pep when Pep was 62-0.

Robinson's next big win came over Marty Servo at 140lbs. Servo was 42-0-2, and would become Welterweight champion in 1946 by knocking out Freddie Cochrane.

The win that catapulted Robinson into the top of the Welterweight rankings were his back t back decision wins over the rough and tough HOF brawler Fritzie Zivic. Zivic had just been Welterweight champion the previous year by stopping the ATG Henry Armstrong, but had dropped a close decision to Freddie Cochrane just 3 months before losing to Robinson. Zivic would go the distance in the first fight, but lose by TKO in the 10th in the rematch after being dropped.

Robinson would continue into 1942 with a stoppage win over top ten rated Norman Rubio in the 8th round, as well as decision wins over former opponents Marty Servo and Sammy Angott. After stopping top ten rated Tony Motisi in the first round, Robinson would begin his rivalry over ATG middleweight and future champion Jake LaMotta, winning a ten round decision over LaMotta despite weighing over 12lbs less than LaMotta. Robinson would finish up 1942 with two notable wins over top ten Welterweight Izzy Jannazo.

At the start of 1943 the 40-0 Robinson was handed his first loss in a rematch against LaMotta, where he lost a decision. Yet within 21 days Robinson avenged his loss with a convincing 10 round decision over LaMotta, as well as decisioning top 3 Welterweight Jackie Wilson just 7 days over his win over LaMotta. Robinson closed up 1943 with a decision win over the faded, but still capable and highly rated ATG Henry Armstrong.

Robinson had a slow 1944, where the most notable thing he did was knock out past opponent and still top ten rated Izzy Jannazzu. In 1945 Robinson would fight Jake LaMotta twice more, winning both times by decision, as well as knocking out top 5 rated Jimmy McDaniels in the 2nd round.

In 1946 Robinson finally got a shot for the vacated title against number 1 rated challenger Tommy Bell, and won a 15 round after waiting for 5 years. After winning the title Robinson had a quick victory at Middleweight over top 5 rated Georgie Abrams, while being outweighed by 12lbs. In his first title defense Robinson would knock out top ten rated Jimmy Doyle in the 8th, and followed it up with a mediocre title defense over Chuck Taylor. However, Robinson's next title defense came over Bernard Docusen, who was one of the best 3 Welterweights in the world. Robinson had a rough night, but won a 15 round decision after dropping Docusen in the 9th.

In Robinson's next fight he would face the ATG Welterweight Kid Gavilan in a non-title fight, and won a decision in a close fight. Gavilan would get a rematch in a title shot in 1949, but would again lose by decision after 15 rounds. After his bouts with Gavilan, Robinson would briefly go back up to Middleweight, where he would knock out Steve Belloise, who was considered the 3rd best Middleweight in the world, and decision Robert Villemain, who was considered the 4th best Middleweight in the world.

Robinson would continue to defend his Welterweight title with a win over top ten rated Charley Fusari while still chasing after a middleweight title shot. In 1950 he beat future Middleweight champ and HOF fighter Carl 'Bobo' Olsen by knockout, and again beat top middleweight Villemain.

In 1951 Robinson would get his middleweight title shot against old nemisis Jake LaMotta in their 6th and most brutal final fight, where LaMotta was stopped in the 13th round. LaMotta was the best middleweight in the world after beating Laurent Dauthuille and Tiberio Mitri.

However, Robinson would lose the belt in his first defense against Britain's Randy Turpin. 2 months later, Robinson had regained the title with a nasty 10th round knockout over Turpin. Robinson would defend the middleweight belt twice more, decision Bobo Olson and former faded champ Rocky Graziano before getting a shot against ATG Light Heavyweight Joey Maxim. Robinson was way ahead on the scorecards, but ultimately had to give in to the heat at the end of round 13. The fight was happening in 104 degree, where even the referee collapsed during the fight due to heat exhaustion. Robinson retired after this loss.

3 years later Robinson was back in the ring, and started off 1955 badly with a loss unranked Ralph Jones. Later that year however, Robinson earned himself a title shot in a tough fight the the second best Middleweight in the world Rocky Castellani. Robinson regained the Middleweight title after beating the champion and old foe Bobo Olson with a KO in the 2nd round. Robinson again knocked out Olson in his first title defense, but then lost his title to HOF middleweight Gene Fullmer. Again Robinson regained the title from Fullmer with a dynamite left hook in the 5th round.

Former Welterweight champ Carmen Basilio would then challenge and beat the aging Robinson in 1957s fight of the year, and in another classic Robinson would regain the Middleweight title by decisioning Basilio. However, Robinson would lose the title and finally not regain it against Paul Pender, and then go 0-1-1 in his last fights with Gene Fullmer. Past prime and old, Robinson would not have another notable victory in his career, and finally retired 4 years later after losing to Joey Archer.

Though his career ended badly just like many other ATGs, his legacy had already been established years before. Not many other fighters can claim to have accomplished as much as Sugar Ray Robinson.

Notable wins:
Sammy Angott
Marty Servo
Fritzie Zivic
Fritzie Zivic
Norman Rubio
Marty Servo
Jake LaMotta
Izzy Jannazzo
Izzy Jannazzo
Jackie Wilson
Jake LaMotta
Henry Armstrong
George Costner
Jake LaMotta
Jimmy McDaniels
Jake LaMotta
Tommy Bell
Georgie Abrams
Kid Gavilan
Kid Gavilan
Steve Belloise
Robert Villemain
Charley Fusari
Bobo Olson
Robert Villemain
Jake LaMotta
Randy Turpin
Bobo Olson
Rocky Graziano
Rocky Castellani
Bobo Olson
Bobo Olson
Gene Fullmer
Carmen Basilio

34+ Wins over top opposition.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Career accomplishments of Vicente Saldivar

When mentioning Mexican greats, most automatically think of Chavez, Sanchez, and Olivares. Yet before all of them came Vicente Saldivar, who was not only one of the greatest Mexican fighters of all time, but one of the best southpaws in the history of the sport.

The first notable win over Saldivar's career was no easy one...he was matched up against the highly regraded HOF fighter Ismael Laguna. After a close battle, Saldivar upset the 34-1 Laguna, winning a 10 round decision and earning him a title shot. Less than a year later, Laguna would become Lightweight champion by defeating the ATG Carlos Ortiz.

Saldivar's title shot would be against the HOF Cuban featherweight Sugar Ramos. After a grueling fight over 10 rounds and a furious attack in the 11th, Ramos could not come out of his corner for the 12th round, awarding Saldivar the TKO win and the undisputed featherweight championship.

In his first title defense Saldivar went up against the undefeated top ten rated featherweight, Raul Rojas. Though Rojas made it to the 15th round, he was beaten throughout, and was finished off by an accumulation of punches that forced the referee to stop the fight. Rojas would go on to win a vacant WBA title strapa few years later.

Saldivar's next fight would begin his rivalry with Britain's Howard Winstone, who was one of the top 5 fighters in the division. Going to his opponents backyard, Saldivar had trouble with the clever boxing Winstone, but was able to win a 15 round decision with a consistant attack.

Next up was Ghana's top ten rated Floyd Robertson, who had earlier given previous champ Sugar Ramos trouble, dropping him but losing a decision. Vicente had no problems with Robertson at all however, rocking him early in the 2nd with a left hand and dropping him with a right hook. After an attack to the body and head, Robertson was put away with a short right hook to the jaw, ending the bout.

Saldivar's next title defense came against the OPBF champion, top 3 rated featherweight Mitsunori Seki. Saldivar defeated him twice in a row, once by 15 round decision and then again more convincingly by 7th round TKO.

In his last title defenses, Saldivar faced off against old opponent Harold Winstone, who had risen back up in the rankings. Saldivar again went to Britain to defend his title, and again defeated Winstone by decision, almost finishing him in the 14th round when Vicente trapped Winstone on the ropes. Saldivar came back and finished the job in a rematch 4 months later, when Winstone was dropped in the 12th and was taking enough punishment for his corner to throw in the towel. A mere 3 months later after this beating, Winstone won the vacant WBC strap.

After his series with Winstone, Saldivar would retire at a very young 24 years old, after 7 years of fighting professionally. Within two years Vicente would come out of retirement to face off against the number one rated featherweight in the world, Jose Legra, who had been featherweight champ a year before. Suffering from ring rust, Saldivar was hit early and put down in the 3rd round, but came back in the 4th with a prolonged body attack. By the 9th round Saldivar was staggering Legra and almost had the knockout in the 10th, but ran out of time since the fight was only 10 rounds. With this win, Saldivar got the opportunity to regain the featherweight crown. Legra would win the WBC featherweight title a few years later.

Saldivar's title shot came against Australia's Johnny Famechon, who had won the title from Legra and was coming off of two wins over the HOF former bantamweight champion Fighting Harada. Vicente successfully regained the featherweight title with a 15 round decision over the clever boxing Famechon. However, Saldivar lost his title in his first title defense against Japan's Kuniaki Shibata, retiring again after the 11th round. He half heartedly tried a comeback 3 years later against Eder Jofre, but got nowhere, and he finally settled into retirement permanently.

Notable victories over:
Ismael Laguna
Sugar Ramos
Raul Rojas
Howard Winstone
Floyd Robertson
Mitsunori Seki
Mitsunori Seki
Howard Winstone
Howard Winstone
Jose Legra
Johnny Famechon

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Career accomplishments of Alexis Arguello

The late Alexis Arguello was one of the greatest offensive machines in the history of boxing. 'El Flaco Explosivo' had a dynamite right hand, killer body shots, and could put together combinations that could take down almost any fighter that stood in front of him. He had success over 4 weight classes, beating a host of high level competition.

Arguello's first notable victory came in 1973, when he faced off against former featherweight champ Jose Legra. Earlier that year, Legra was considered the best featherweight in the world and had controversially lost to the ATG Eder Jofre in Jofre's backyard of Brazil. Arguello had no such controversy in beating Legra, by quickly KOing him in the 1st round, earning him a title shot.

Unfortunately, Arguello's first title shot would not go his way. The talented Ernesto Marcel of Panama was able to be a terrible style matchup for the 21 year old Arguello, and was able to potshot his way to a close decision victory.

Arguello immediately jumped back into title contention with a KO over top 3 rated Art Hafey, blasting him to the body in the 5th round only 3 months after his loss to Marcel.

Arguello again got his shot at the WBA featherweight title, this time against Mexican ATG Ruben Olivares. After taking punishment from the power punching Olivares over 12 rounds, Arguello hurt Olivares with a perfect left hook and finished the job, awarding him the 13th round knockout. Olivares would gain the WBC title strap a few months later over HOF fighter Bobby Chacon.

First up for Arguello was Lionel Hernandez, consider one of the 3 best featherweights in the world. Going to Hernandez's backyard of Caracas, Arguello TKOed Hernandez in the 8th round.

Arguello would then quickly dispose of unranked Rigoberto Riasco by taking him out in the 2nd round. Riasco would go on to win the vacant WBC super bantamweight strap.

Next up was the top ten rated and undefeated featherweight Royal Kobayashi. Arguello put together combinations and a blistering body attack, finally ending the fight with a painful left hook to the body in the 5th round. Kobayashi would go on to win the WBC super bantamweight strap from former challenger Rigoberto Riasco.

After KOing Salvador Torres of Mexico, Arguello would briefly jump up to 130lbs to beat top ten rated Ezequiel Cocoa Sanchez by doctor stoppage in the 4th, and then go back to 125lbs to take on Alfredo Escalara, the WBC super featherweight champ in Puerto Rico. Escalara was considered the best super featherweight in the world, but was stopped in the 13th round on cuts after being decked early.

A surprising upset loss came to Arguello after his knockout title defenses against OPBF champ Rey Tam and Diego Alcala, when he moved up in weight to take on former Lightweight challenger Vilomar Fernandez. Fernandez was able to fight defensively and potshot Arguello, like Marcel leading to a close decision loss.

Arguello was back in the ring within 4 months against top ten rated Arturo Leon, whom he defeated by decision, and then followed up with a rematch against Escalara, who he again finished off in the 13th round.

Next up was the tough top 3 rated Rafael 'Bazooka' Limon, who would go 11 rounds before being stopped on cuts. Limon would twice win the WBC super featherweight belt in the future and have a classic fight against Bobby Chacon.

Arguello would close up the year by facing off against top 5 rated Bobby Chacon, who was stopped on cuts after being barraged by punches. Chacon would go on to become WBC super featherweight champ. After having a tough time with the 46-0 Mexican Ruben Castillo, who was rated highly at featherweight, Arguello would TKO him in the 11th round. Castillo would multiple times challenge for a title, but fall short against fighters like Julio Cesar Chavez, Salvador Sanchez, and Juan LaPorte. In his final title defense at 130lbs, Arguello would TKO Rolando Navarette in the 5th, who would become WBC super featherweight champ a year later.

Arguello then moved up to lightweight and first faced off against Cornelius Boza Edwards, who was well ranked at 130lbs. Edwards would become WBC super featherweight in the future. Arguello would then very controversially beat Jose Luis Ramirez over 10 rounds, with Arguello getting of the canvas in the 6th.

Arguello then challenged the highly rated Jim Watt for his WBC lightweight title in the UK, and was successful in a 15 round decision, with Watt being decked in the midrounds and taking a beating in the last rounds of the fight. Arguello would follow this victory with a 14th round TKO win over the 20-0 Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini, who would quickly become lightweight champ shortly after his loss to Arguello.

After knocking out Roberto Elizondo and James Busceme, Arguello would make his last title defense against top 3 rated Andrew Ganigan, who was fresh off his early round knockout over Sean O'Grady. Arguello was dropped in the first round, but came back to knock out Ganigan in a firefight. This was evidence that Arguello might have started slowing down.

Then came Arguello's most famous war against 140lb champion, Aaron Pryor. Over 13 brutal rounds Arguello fought evenly with Pryor, but after a late round surge Pryor came back from a slight point deficet to knock out Arguello in the 14th, in a battle that is considered one of the best of all time. Arguello would unsuccessfully try to win again in a rematch, but had faded too much due to the punishment of their last fight.

Most people assume Arguello's career was over, since Arguello was out of the ring for over 2 years. But Arguello attempted a brief comeback in 1985, and after an average win over Pat Jefferson was faced off against top 3 rated and former junior welterweight champ Billy Costello. Arguello was a punching bag for 3 rounds, but after trapping Costello on the ropes in the 4th dropped him with a perfect right hand. After rising unsteadily, Arguello would finish Costello off with an offensive assault. However, Arguello recongnised that he he didn't have much left, and retired again afte the victory.

Arguello didn't have a perfect record, but he faced a huge amount of high level competition and his power and offensive capabilities finish off almost any fighter. He was always in an entertaining fight, and his host of excellent wins puts him up there amongst many ATGs.

Notable wins:
Jose Legra
Art Hafey
Ruben Olivares
Leonel Hernandez
Rigoberto Riasco
Royal Kobayashi
Ezequiel Cocoa Sanchez
Alfredo Escalara
Arturo Leon
Alfredo Escalara
Rafael Limon
Bobby Chacon
Ruben Castillo
Rolando Navarette
Cornelius Boza Edwards
Jim Watt
Ray Mancini
Andrew Ganigan
Billy Costello

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Career accomplishments of Carlos Ortiz

When mentioning great Puerto Rican boxers, almost immediately most boxing fans will go to Wilfredo Gomez, Felix Trinidad, and Wilfred Benitez. However, before all of them came Carlos Ortiz, who didn't have the dynamite punches of Gomez or Trinidad nor the record setting early age success of Benitez, but instead more than made up for those setbacks with solid boxing ability and a host of wins over high level competition.

After compiling an undefeated streak of 24 wins, Ortiz burst onto the boxing scene in 1958 with his first big wins. In this year he defeated top lightweight Joey Lopes, and after a controversial loss with top ten rated Johnny Busso defeated him more decisively in an immediate rematch. Ortiz would then face off against highly rated Dave Charnley, who would go on to have the Fight of the Year with Lightweight champ Joe Brown. In his final fight of 1958 Ortiz would drop a close decision against future chellenger Kenny Lane.

After a quick match against Len Matthews, Ortiz would face off against Lane again, but this time to decide who the best 140lb fighter was in the world. Now with a vacant title on the line, Ortiz surged early, dropping Lane in the 2nd and forcing the cut stoppage.

In his first and one of his only defenses of his Junior Welterweight belt, Ortiz would face off against Mexico's 31-0 Battling Torres, who was one of the 5 best Lightweights in the world. Despite being shocked by a clean left hook mid way through the fight, Ortiz fought back and got knockout in round 10.

His 2nd and last defense came against the talented HOF Italian Duilio Loi, who came into the fight with a shocking 102-1 record. In a very difficult fight, Ortiz was able to get away with a close but fair 15 round decision. However, Ortiz would lose to Loi in an immediate rematch in Italy, and after a decision win over top ten rated Cisco Andrade would again unsuccessfully win back the Junior Welterweight crown. Loi would go on to retire as Junior Welterweight champ after beating HOF fighter Eddie Perkins.

Instead Ortiz set his sights on Joe Brown, the lightweight champion. After two solid decision wins over top lightweights Douglas Vaillant and Paolo Rosi, Ortiz would get his first Lightweight title shot. Ortiz swarmed the HOF lightweight from the opening bell, cutting Brown early and sweeping a clear decision win.

After decisioning top ten rated Arthur Persley in his spare time, Ortiz's first title defense would come in Japan against another top ten rated lightweight, Teruo Kosaka, who he knocked out in 5 rounds.

Ortiz would next defend his title with a rematch against Douglas Vaillant, who had risen in the ranks with a win over Douglas Charnley and a controversial fight against highly rated Bunny Grant. Ortiz would bounce Vaillant off the ground 5 times in route to a 13th round TKO.

The next challenger for Ortiz's title was the HOF Filipino Super Featherweight champ, Flash Elorde. Ortiz would go to the Phillipines and get a hard earned 14th round stoppage against Elorde, who was against the ropes eating combinations.

In a rubber match, Ortiz defended against old enemy Kenny Lane, who had quickly risen to the 2nd best lightweight in the world with a winning streak including a win over future light welterweight puncher Carlos Hernandez. Ortiz would settle the score with a decisive 15 round decision, dropping Lane in the 14th round.

Up next was the tough Panamanian HOF fighter Ismael Laguna, and after 15 rounds of high level fighting Ortiz would lose a close decision against Laguna in Panama. Ortiz would immediately win back his lightweight title in an immediate rematch against Laguna, this time winning a decision in Puerto Rico.

No stranger to traveling to his opponent's hometown, Ortiz briefly moved back up to 140lbs to take on the HOF defensive expert Nicolino Locche in Argentina. After a short 10 rounds, Ortiz was only rewarded a draw, despite Locche's swollen face and boos from the crowd.

In his next fight Ortiz would face off against Johnny Bizzaro, who had been the #1 contender at 130lbs but was unable to get a rematch with Elorde. Leading on all cards, Ortiz would drop Bizzaro in the 12th and force the stoppage.

Ortiz would then travel on to Mexico, where he would face off against Cuban HOF boxer and former featherweight champ Sugar Ramos, where after a controversial long count in the 2nd Ortiz would get back up to stop Ramos on cuts in the 5th round, again drawing controversy regarding the referee, causing the WBC title to not sanction Ortiz's rematch against Elorde in his next fight. Ortiz would again stop Elorde in the 14th round in the rematch, this time by KO.

Ortiz finished the job in the rematch against Ramos, dropping him in the 4th round and finishing the job, gaining back the WBC belt and erasing any doubt regarding their first fight.

In his last successful title defense at Lightweight, Ortiz would finish off his trilogy against Ismael Laguna, decisioning him over 15 rounds and keeping his title. Laguna would go on to beat Mando Ramos and Guts Ishimatsu when he regained the lightweight title in 1970.

Ortiz would go to Dominican Republic to again fight in his opponents backyard against Carlos Cruz, where he dropped a controversial 15 round split decision after being dropped in the first round. Cruz would die in a plane crash later, and Ortiz would not get another title shot again. After some time off and a short comeback in 1972, Carlos would retire after being beaten by HOF boxer Ken Buchanan.

Ortiz continually went to his opponents backyard to fight, and in a few cases it might have cost him a meaningful victory, as against Nicolino Locche. But his bravery, overall skill and amazing level of competition puts him highly amongst ATG lightweights and makes him possibly the greatest Puerto Rican fighter of all time.

Notable wins:
Joey Lopes
Johnny Busso
Dave Charnley
Kenny Lane
Battling Torres
Duilio Loi
Cisco Andrade
Douglas Vaillant
Paolo Rosi
Joe Brown
Arthur Persley
Teruo Kosaka
Douglas Vaillant
Flash Elorde
Kenny Lane
Ismael Laguna
Nicolino Locche(robbery)
Johnny Bizzaro
Sugar Ramos
Flash Elorde
Sugar Ramos
Ismael Laguna

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Career accomplishments of Pernell Whitaker

Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker is arguably the greatest southpaw in the history of boxing. His combination of amazing defense, a nearly unparalleled jab, and an overall very complete and faultless style made him nearly impossible to beat during his prime.

Whitaker's first notable win was no walk in the park, as he went against former super featherweight champ Roger Mayweather. Whitaker went into this fight looking for the kill from the get go, which was unusual to his style, and almost finished the fight in the 1st round after knocking Mayweather down. However, the talented Mayweather survived and was able to drop and hurt a reckless Whitaker in the 9th round with his deadly right hand. Despite this setback, Whitaker continued to punish Mayweather and won a clear decision over 12 rounds. Roger would go on to become champ at 140lbs that same year.

After stopping Miguel Santana, Whitaker got his first title shot against WBC lightweight champ Jose Luis Ramirez. Whitaker would also suffer the first robbery of his career, as he clearly outboxed Ramirez despite being pressured.

After this unjustice, Whitaker quickly sought a fight with the IBF lightweight champ, Greg Haugen, who was coming off of wins over Gert Jacobson and Vinny Pazienza. Whitaker dominated the tough but outmatched Haugen and dropped him with a counter left hand mid way through the fight, but settled for the decision win after a flawless showing. Haugen would go on to win the WBO strap at 140lbs.

Whitaker's first title defense came against top ten Louie Lomeli. Whitaker scored a perfect left hand counter shot with his back against the ropes, flattening Lomeli and leading to the stoppage.

Before closing up 1989, Whitaker sought a rematch against Jose Luis Ramirez. Whitaker avenged his earlier 'loss' by a lopsided 12 round decision, in one of his finest defensive displays of his career.

Next up was Freddie Pendleton, who was rated as one of the top 5 lightweights in the world. Despite Pendleton's deceiving record, he gave Whitaker more trouble than previous opponents Haugen and Ramirez, but Whitaker still decisioned him without much trouble. Pendleton would go on to win the IBF lightweight strap with a decision win over the highly regarded Tracy Spann.

In his next title defense Whitaker was matched against The Great Professor, ATG Azumah Nelson. Nelson was incredibly tenacious and constantly pressured Whitaker, but Whitaker was able to get off his punches too quickly and subdue Nelson with combinations and body shots. Whitaker didn't have any easy night, but he walked away with the clear and impressive win.

Whitaker then unified with WBA lightweight champ Juan Nazario, who was fresh off the fading but still very capable HOF puncher Edwin Rosario. Showing his underrated power, Whitaker took out Nazario with a perfect straight left in the very 1st round.

Whitaker then finished cleaning out the division by beating European champ Policarpo Diaz with a painful body attack, and then lopsidedly outlanding Kronk Gym's Anthony Jones in route to a 12 round decision.

In Whitaker's final title defense at Lightweight, Whitaker took "El Maromero", the erratic and difficult former featherweight champ Jorge Paez. Paez had emerged onto the Lightweight scene with a decision win over Tracy Spann, who was considered by many to be the second best lightweight in the world behind Whitaker. Paez's herky jerky style threw Whitaker off his game for a bit, but without too much trouble Whitaker succeed again with a 12 round decision.

Whitaker then had wins over almost every top fighter at Lightweight, and decided to move up in weight. After easily beating IBF Light Welterweight champ Rafael Pineda, Whitaker went up against the highly regarded James 'Buddy' McGirt, who was fresh off a string of impressive performances against Genaro Leon, Patrizio Oliva and most importantly Simon Brown. McGirt gave Whitaker a difficult night, but ultimately Whitaker's versatility paid off and he was awarded the close but clear decision.

Then Whitaker faced off against the pound for pound best fighter in the world, the legendary 87-0 Julio Cesar Chavez. Unfortunately, Whitaker was robbed of his greatest victory when the judges announced that the fight was a draw. Chavez had fought well, but there was no doubt that Whitaker should have that won. Realistically, this was Whitaker's best win, and possibly the best single win since the 80s.

After a paintjob against Santos Cardona, Whitaker then rematched McGirt and won again more decisively by decision. Having twice beaten the best Welterweight in the world and the pound for pound best, Whitaker decided to briefly move up in weight again to take on WBA light middleweight champ Julio Cesar Vasquez, who was the best 154lb fighter in the world and had only lost once by disqualification. Whitaker won by decision, and moved back down to continue defending his Welterweight belt. Vasquez would win back the WBA strap later that year, and going into the Whitaker match had defended the belt 10 times, including a win over future light middleweight king Ronald 'Winky' Wright.

After an unremarkable title defense against Gary Jacobs, Whitaker would KO southpaw Jake Rodriquez, a top fighter at 140lbs. At this point in his career Whitaker started to slow down and wasn't in his prime condition, as evidence in his next controversial fight against top ten rated Wilfredo Rivera. Whitaker would immediately rematch and beat Rivera more decisively, but it was clear that Whitaker wasn't the same fighter that he was a few years back.

Another scare came in Whitaker's next fight against the rangy Cuban Diosbelys Hurtado. Whitaker would fall behind on the scorecards after being dropped mostly unhurt in the 1st and 6th rounds, but would show his hidden punching power by brutally KOing Hurtado in the 11th round, with Hurtado draped over the ropes.

3 months later Whitaker was back in the ring against the rising, prime and undefeated Oscar De La Hoya, who already had success at 130, 135, and 140lbs. In a controversial and close fight, Whitaker lost his welterweight crown. Many people have either man winning, so I like to look it as a draw, which is how I personally scored it anyways, which is almost like a win considering Whitaker's condition.

This was the last true meaningful fight of Whitaker's very successful career. In his next fight he tested positive for cocaine and ruled a NC, and then he dropped a decision to welterweight destroyer Felix Trinidad, despite hurting Trinidad briefly during the fight. In his final fight against Carlos Bojorquez, Whitaker broke his left clavicle and retired from boxing.

Whitaker's overall prowess in any fighting situation and his oustanding defense helped give him some of the most impressive wins of the last 30 years. At his best there were very few fighters that stood a chance of beating him, and the quality of his wins make him one of the greatest fighters of all time.

Notable wins:
Roger Mayweather
Jose Luis Ramirez(robbery)
Greg Haugen
Louie Lomeli
Jose Luis Ramirez
Freddie Pendleton
Azumah Nelson
Juan Nazario
Policarpo Diaz
Anthony Jones
Jorge Paez
Rafael Pineda
James McGirt
Julio Cesar Chavez(robbery)
James McGirt
Julio Cesar Vasquez
Jake Rodriquez
Wilfredo Rivera
Draw vs Oscar De La Hoya

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Career accomplishments of Julio Cesar Chavez

When most people think of the Mexican legend, their mind automatically goes to his amazing unbeaten streak. However, Chavez's greatness is not made because of a meaningless statistic, but because of his dominance over a large amount of high level competition over a long and exhausting career.

Chavez's first big victory came 1984 when he won the vacant WBC super featherweight title. Though many vacant title's happen against mediocre opponents, Chavez was faced up against underrated Mexican Mario 'Azabache' Martinez. Despite Chavez's already impressive 43-0 record, Martinez was a strong favorite coming into this fight and considered the third best 130lb fighter in the world after his impressive stoppage wins over Roberto Castanon and highly rated Rolando Navarette. Chavez overwhelmed him and stopped him in the 8th, which began championship career. Martinez would go on to have a close fight against Roger Mayweather and arguably beat ATG Azumah Nelson in their 1988 fight.

Next up would be former multiple time title challenger Ruben Castillo, who had in the past given Alexis Arguello and Salvador Sanchez tough fights. Castillo was one of the best featherweights in the world, but Chavez TKOed him in the 6th in a close range battle.

Chavez then fought against Roger Mayweather, who had been lineal champ after beating Samuel Serrano about 2 years previously. Mayweather was considered the 2nd best super featherweight in the world, but Chavez chin checked him early and only needed 2 rounds to put him away.

After a string of unremarkable title defenses against Dwight Pratchett, Faustino Barrios and Refugio Rojas, Chavez took on former lineal champ Rocky Lockridge, who in his last title fight had deserved a decision win over the ATG Wilfredo 'Bazooka' Gomez, and was considered by many to still be the best fighter in the division. Though Lockridge put on immense pressure, Chavez was able to outbox him and won a decision over 12 rounds. Lockridge would shortly afterward become the IBF super featherweight champ by stopping Barry Michael, the second best fighter in the division.

In one of his toughest fights, Chavez next decisioned the tough and durable Juan LaPorte over 12 rounds. LaPorte had gone the distance with fighters such as Wilfredo Gomez and Salvador Sanchez, and again gave a very good showing against Chavez, but fell up short. LaPorte would go on to trouble Azumah Nelson in their title fight.

After 2 more title defenses against Francisco Tomas Da Cruz and former title challenger Danilo Cabrera, Chavez would take on the HOF huge puncher, Edwin Rosario, in his first fight at 135lbs. Despite Rosario's huge punching power, Chavez became the best fighter at Lightweight in his first fight by crowding Rosario and stopping him in the 11th round, beaten and bleeding.

Chavez's next title defense came against Rudolfo Aguilar, a future top 140lber, by TKO in 6, in his first professional fight against a southpaw.

Chavez took on former sparring partner and WBC Lightweight champ Jose Luis Ramirez next, and while letting up on him a little cruised without problem to a 12 round decision. Ramirez arguably should have a win over the legendary Alexis Arguello earlier in his career, and was considered one of the best lightweights in the world when Chavez beat him.

Chavez then moved up to 140lbs to challenge former opponent Roger Mayweather for the WBC light Welterweight title. Prior to this fight Roger had been undefeated at 140lbs with wins over future and former champs Rene Arrendondo and Vinny Pazienza, and nicknamed 'The Mexican Assassin" for his ability to beat high level Mexican opponents. After giving Chavez problems early and fighting well, he ultimately caved in to Chavez's attack, forfitting at the end of the 10th round.

After winning a tournament to compete for the championship, top ten rated Sammy Fuentes gave Chavez more trouble than expected with his volume punching, but ultimately followed in Mayweather's footsteps, and quit at the end of the 10th round due to Chavez's combination punching.

With a unification fight between very highly rated Meldrick Taylor on the horizon, Chavez defended his title once more with a 3rd round stoppage against Alberto De Las Mercedes Cortez, who would in a later fight drop Felix Trinidad and be the last man to defeat future lineal champ Carlos Baldomir before Baldomir lost to Floyd Mayweather.

Next up was the incredibly fast Meldrick Taylor in a much anticipated fight, dubbed 'Thunder and Lightning'. Through most of the early and middle parts of the fight, Taylor built up points with his volume punching and speed and was widely ahead leading into the 9th. However, Taylor had received a large amount of unnoticed punishment while landing more punches, and by the end of the 11th round he was badly beaten up and had been bleeding from the mouth from early in the 2nd round. With almost no time left on the clock in the 12th round, Chavez landed a thudding right hand which stumbled Taylor, and Chavez controversially stopped him with only seconds to spare.

After beating Kyung-Duk Ahn in a title defense, Chavez faced off against top ten rated John Duplessis, who tried running from the start, but was quickly cut down and sent through the ropes from Chavez's body punching.

His following challenger 'Lightning' Lonnie Smith, former best at 140lbs, tried similiar tactics alongside dirty fighting including a knee to the groin, but Chavez shut him out in 12 round decision. The tall and rangy top light welterweight Angel Hernandez was next up, but was stopped in the 5th round after doubling over from a straight right hand to the body.

After disposing of Frankie Mitchell in 4 rounds, Chavez took on former lightweight and superfeatherweight champ Hector Camacho, who was one of the best 140lb fighters in the world and who was well known for his hand speed and boxing ability. Chavez casually walked him down and punished him over 12 rounds, giving him a worse beating than prime Felix Trinidad or Oscar De La Hoya could, despite Camacho being substantially older and at a higher weight.

In front of a record breaking 132,247 fans, Chavez dismantled the trash talking and game former lightweight and light welterweight champ Greg Haugen over 5 brutal rounds. After doing a similiar paint job against the highly rated Terrance Ali, Chavez moved up in weight again to face the toughest challenge of his career, Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker.

After receiving a robbery draw against Whitaker, Chavez's dominant days started to end. After putting away undefeated British challenger Andy Holligan in 5 rounds, Chavez got his first official loss when he faced a possessed Frankie Randall, who was able to drop Chavez for the first time in his career with a thundering right hand. Chavez beat Randall again by techincal decision and regained the title, but it was clear that is best days were behind him.

In 1994 Chavez had a long overdue rematch with the faded but still game Meldrick Taylor, who had won and lost a Welterweight title since their first fight. After giving Chavez a surprising amount of trouble, Chavez dropped and finished Taylor with a check left hook.

Next up Chavez stopped Tony 'The Tiger' Lopez on cuts, who had previously won title straps at lightweight and light welterweight and was coming off a surprising KO win over Greg Haugen.

In 1995 Chavez faced and beat two top 140lb fighters Giovanni Parisi and David Kamau by decision. Parisi would win the WBO light welterweight title less than a year later by beating former Chavez opponent Sammy Fuentes.

After suffering a cut in sparring, Chavez had little hope against the rising boxing superstar Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya reopened Chavez's cut early in the first round, which bled badly and caused the stoppage in the 4th round.

In Chavez's last meaningful win of his career, he stopped former lightweight titlist Joey Gamache in the 8th round on cuts. After three more unsuccessful title runs in against Miguel Angel Gonzalez(a draw), Kostya Tszyu and a rematch with DLH at Welterweight, Chavez's legendary run was about over.

Overall Chavez had about 22 wins over notable competition, and had success over 3 different weight classes, making him the greatest boxer to come out of Mexico.

Notable wins:
Mario Martinez
Ruben Castillo
Roger Mayweather
Rocky Lockridge
Juan LaPorte
Edwin Rosario
Rudolfo Aguilar
Jose Luis Ramirez
Roger Mayweather
Sammy Fuentes
Meldrick Taylor
John Duplessis
Lonnie Smith
Hector Camacho
Greg Haugen
Terrance Ali
Frankie Randall
Tony Lopez
Giovanni Parisi
David Kamau
Joey Gamache

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Career accomplishments of Roberto Duran

Roberto 'Hands of Stone' Duran fought professionally from 1968 all the way to 2001...38 years long and during 5 different decades. During this period he piled up wins that have made him one of the greatest fighters of all time.

His first significant victory was over future featherweight champion Ernesto Marcel at 130lbs, when he was only 18 years old. Marcel would get a questionable draw against WBC featherweight champ Kuniaki Shibata the following year, and would officially become WBA featherweight champ by beating Antonio Gomez in 1972. Marcel would further go on to beat the legendary Alexis Arguello before retiring.

Before winning the lightweight crown in 1972, Duran would also knockout Hiroshi Kobayashi in 7 rounds. Kobayashi was considered the best fighter at 130lbs(and lineal champ) less than 3 months before Duran wiped him out at 135lbs.

The 28-0 Duran would get his title shot not against just another lightweight champion, but against Ken Buchanan...arguably the greatest fighter to come out of Scotland, and one of the top 20 lightweights of all time. Though the TKO in the 13th round was contoversial because of a punch landed below the belt, Duran had knocked down Buchanan early in the fight and was clearly ahead on the scorecards. Though Buchanan went on to have notable victories over Carlos Ortiz, Jim Watt and Frankie Otero, he would never win back the Lightweight crown, despite a very close fight for the WBC Lightweight title agaisnt Guts Ishimatsu.

Duran didnt start his title run perfectly, and lost for the first time to Esteban DeJesus in a non-title bout. After an unremarkable first title defense over former 140lb ranked Jimmy Robertson, Duran would score a 8th round TKO over Australian challenger Hector Thompson, who would move up in weight and rank in the top 5 at 140lbs for the next 4 years.

Duran's next title defense would come against Ishimatsu Suzuki(aka Guts Ishimatsu), who would win the WBC lightweight title less than 5 months after being knocked out by Duran, and go on to have victories over Ken Buchanan, Rodolfo Gonzalez, and Arturo Pineda.

His first 1974 title defense was against Esteban DeJesus, where he avenged his only loss with an 11th round KO despite being briefly floored in the 1st round. At this time DeJesus was considered the #1 challenger for Duran's title, and after a brief unsuccessful title run against the ATG 140lb champ Antonio Cervantes, DeJesus would beat Guts Ishimatsu to become WBC lightweight champ in 1976.

Duran's next title defense against Masataka Takayama was unsignificant, but in his next defense in 1975 he beat the 2nd best lightweight in the world(behind Duran), Ray Lampkin. Although he gave Duran some brief trouble early, Lampkin was eventually worn down and crushed by a left hook in the 14th round, causing him to be hospitalized for four days after their bout.

In his next defense Duran would face his only southpaw title challenger, Leonicio Ortiz, who was at top 10 fighter at 140lbs. After a brave showing, Ortiz finally had to give in and couldn't make it to the final bell, falling in the 15th and final round.

After a quick decision win against future Light Welterweight champ Saoul Mamby at 140lbs, Duran would rush back into the ring only 19 days afterward to defend his lightweight title against one of the top 5 fighters at 140lbs, Lou Bizzaro. Bizzaro would try running for the duration of the fight, but would be brutally knocked down multiple times late in the fight, causing the stoppage.

After a very quick 1st round destruction against former title challenger Alvaro Rojas, Duran would score a 13th round KO over top 5 rated Vilomar Fernandez, who would go on to surprisingly decision the ATG Alexis Arguello, who hadn't lost since becoming champion.

Nearing the end of his title reign at lightweight, Duran would go 15 rounds with the clever Edwin Viruet, who was considered the 3rd best lightweight in the world, and finish off his lightweight dominance by finishing off his old nemisis Esteban DeJesus, who was considered the 2nd best lightweight in the world and held the WBC lightweight title.

Now out of lightweight, Duran made his first move into Welterweight by beating former ranked 140lb fighters Adolfo Viruet and Monroe Brooks. In his first major win at Welterweight, Duran would dominantly beat former lineal welterweight champ and HOFer Carlos Palomino over 10 rounds, dropping the iron jawed Palomino in the 6th round. Palomino was considered the best welterweight in the world only about 5 months before, when he lost to the great Wilfredo Benitez.

After a quick wipeout of top ten welterweight Joseph Nsubugu, Duran would have his career defining fight against Sugar Ray Leonard, one of the greatest fighters of all time and undoubtedly the best welterweight in the world. After 15 furious high skill rounds, Duran pulled in the much deserved win. Duran's win over Leonard is undoubtedly one of the greatest single wins in the history of boxing, considered how great Leonard was at Welterweight and the fact that Duran actually had to move up in weight to fight him at his best weight class.

After this period the dominance of Duran started to end. He didn't take training nearly as seriously and wasn't as active. After ballooning up in weight, he rematched Leonard in his embaressing 'No Mas' performance. After this Duran's career was very patchy and his performance depended largely on how well he trained.

After some setback losses, Duran would KO the fading former Welterweight destroyer Pipino Cuevas, earning him the right to face 154lb champion Davey Moore. Moore was heavily favoured going into the bout as an 8-1 favorite, but Duran shocked the world by demolishing Moore over 8 brutal rounds, when the ref finally saved the bloody, exhausted Moore from further punishment.

Duran seized this opportunity to face off against middleweight king Marvin Hagler. Despite having moments of success and cutting Hagler late in the fight, he clearly lost over 15 rounds. Duran was the only man to go 15 rounds with Hagler during his championship reign, all of his previous title challengers had been stopped before the 11th.

Duran fell off the map with bad performances against Robbie Sims and Thomas Hearns, but regained life in his career when he got the chance to face WBC middleweight champ Iran Barkley, who was fresh off his KO victory over the legendary Thomas Hearns. Duran came into this fight in shape, and after rallying late in the fight and scoring an 11th round knockdown, Duran walked away with the shocking decision victory.

For the most part Duran's career was over at that point, as he was unpredictable as ever when it came to conditioning. His last hurrah was against top 5 rated and former middleweight champ Jorge Fernando Castro, when Duran was nearly 46 years old. Duran would fight on and even get a last futile effort for a middleweight belt against William Joppy, but his career ended in 2001 against Hector Camacho, going 12 rounds despite being 50 years old.

He ended his career with about 18 or more wins over significant opponents, one of the greatest ever lightweights and one of the best fighters in the history of boxing.

Notable wins:
Ernesto Marcel
Hiroshi Kobayashi
Ken Buchanan
Hector Thompson
Guts Ishimatsu
Esteban DeJesus
Ray Lampkin
Leonicio Ortiz
Saoul Mamby
Lou Bizzaro
Vilomar Fernandez
Edwin Viruet
Esteban DeJesus
Monroe Brooks
Carlos Palomino
Joseph Nsubugu
Sugar Ray Leonard
Pipino Cuevas
Davey Moore
Iran Barkley
Jorge Fernando Castro