OK, I Guess I’m Over it

Since Wilder’s and Fury’s people moved to make the fight actually happen, and didn’t wrangle endlessly about the split, the ring size or whatever, and what must be in record time for a title fight, I’ll retract the “Pooper” moniker.

But damn.

When it rains it pours.

Four fights in one day.  Eight heavyweights,  three of the top guys are fighting, two of them facing each other,  (Fury vs Wilder)  we could see the coronation of a new heavyweight king on July 24.

The other is fighting a shameful sham of a farce of a travesty.   Joe Joyce is fighting George Takei.  I mean sure, I remember when he took his shirt off in Star Trek and fought with a sword – he had some pretty good moves back then.  But come on, that was 54 years ago.  The guy is ancient, and no way is he a heavyw… wait – what’s that?

It’s George Takam, not Takei.

Correction, it’s Carlos Takam.  This guy is a heavyweight boxer.  A real one.  He’s 39 – 5.  He’s been KO’d by Joshua, Chisora and Povetkin; which is not exactly an embarrassment.  He lost a decision to Joseph Parker too, and that’s not embarrassing either.  But if the pundits are right in putting Joyce in the top ten, he should beat this fellow easily.  It’s seems that Takam just can’t seem to bust into that top echelon.  When he gets a fight with an elite fighter, down he goes.  But what really makes this fight a sham of a farce of a flim-flam is this:  Takam is forty years old.  That’s four to the “O” to the “or-tee”.  Grandpa don’t stand a chance,

Joyce by KO.

Then we got Kownacki / Hellenius: the rematch.  I was surprised at the outcome the last time but I still expect Kownacki to come out firing from both barrels.  I just can’t picture him fighting defensively.  Even though he got peppered in the last fight, I think he’s going to go even harder and try to knock Hellenius out in the first round.

Hellenius knows what’s coming, he just has to keep from getting overwhelmed.  He had the right answer last time, fighting fire with fire, and while it looked to me like maybe Kownacki was ahead, Hellenius put one right on the button.  The shot that put Kownacki down the first time, (that wasn’t called a knockdown,) that was the decisive blow.  Kownacki got up, but he was not all there, and he never got his feet under him.  The end came shortly after.

I’m still going with Kownacki by KO.    

Efe Ajagba is fighting Frank Sanchez.  Both men are undefeated.  This is astonishing.  This is the second bout of its kind this year.  A few months ago, Joe Joyce fought Daniel Dubois while they were both undefeated.  It seems the lethargic pace the tapeworm  and the tall ones take is not endemic to the sport, but is perhaps limited to those who have a claim to the highest purses.  Some of those who are fighting to get to the highest purses are still willing to take a chance it seems.

Sanchez is 19-0. His opponents have a cumulative record of 207 – 164, or 55.8%.  Meanwhile, Ajagba is 15 – 0, having fought men with a combined record of 170 / 42.  That’s 80.2%.  Sanchez therefore is the untested one, in uncharted territory, is in over his head, and is going down.

Ajagba by KO.

Lastly we have the Wanker and the Whiner, and the Whiner is pissed.  Let’s see if he shows up all business, that is minus the theatrical costumes and such.  Let’s see if he’s wound tight as a clock again, or if he’s got some of his confidence back. He was outsmarted and outboxed the last time, and got beat but good.  But I guarantee you he has thought of nothing else since.  Maybe he’s got a surprise for Fury.

Or maybe the Wanker will undo and dismantle his man again.  That feels kind of likely.  I just hope it’s not like the Wilder / Stiverne rematch.  I like Wilder and I don’t want to see him retired yet.

Either outcome is okay by me.  It would be fun if Wilder won, because there would be a great exchange of hardware.  The lineal title (screw the Ring Magazine title) would change hands as well.  Our man from Alabama would get to scribe his name in the pantheon of legends, names like Mike Tyson, Muhammed Ali, Joe Louis.  No matter what happened after that the world will forever recognize that he climbed that mountain. 

Then the clamor would them be for a Joshua / Wilder fight, and I would happily spend money for that PPV.

If Fury wins, then Joshua / Fury is back on, and we are looking at an undisputed champion.  And that’s pretty cool too. I think Fury wins against Joshua.  It’s the Fury / Wilder bout that intrigues me now.

(No prediction this time.)

The conventional wisdom is that both Joyce and Ajagba can put themselves in the championship mix with wins on the 24th.  If Kownacki can beat Hellenius convincingly, then I think he does too.  It’s time to get these guys some bouts with the likes of Ruiz, Usyk, and Whyte.  Are you listening, tapeworm?

Dubois v. Joyce

Two boxers in the ring

The boxing world owes both Dubois and Joyce a big old debt of gratitude.  That was refreshing.  That was bracing.  That was no fake boxing – that was a bout of real import.  I am sure those that inhabit the tapeworm (see “And the New…“) hated it because, with any luck, the fans will start to demand fights of real import and will turn their back on the foregone conclusion bout and, with a flip of a mental foot, brush the virtual kitty litter of disdain over the whole sordid thing.

Probably not. While it was fake boxing and it was frustrating to watch Tyson Fury beat up Tom Schwarz, the fact is I did watch, because there is always that chance…. Remember Andy Ruiz?

But what these guys (Joyce and Dubois) did was marvelous. They risked their undefeated records for a chance to break into the top ten, get that much closer to a title shot. And the possibilities are tantalizing.

And give the greater measure of credit to Joyce. At his age, he was taking the greater risk. The comeback trail is likely too long for one 35 years old. He has said he would do this publicly from the outset – he calls it the “fast track” to the title. He has from the beginning sought tougher competition, eschewing the normal introductory years, beating up on inferior or washed-up talent, stacking his record with ill-gotten, farcical “Ws” like everyone else.

He is 12-0, and his 12 opponents have a combined winning percentage of .866. Compare that to Fury’s first 12 opponents at .622 or Joshua’s at .677. Wilder was the most cautious of this group – his first 12 opponents won only 53% of the time. (Dubois’ first 12, by the way, a very respectable .803).

It’s amazing that the tapeworm ( ) let this happen.

“Jerry, you ignorant slut! Wilder fought Fury twice now. Those were fights of real import! When Joshua had the rematch with Ruiz, that was a fight of real import too. What are you talking about?”

True – those were real fights, not fakes. But they came at the price of seemingly endless negotiations, offers and counter offers, maneuvering, misleading, ducking, and dodging.

“He doesn’t want to fight me!”

“I made the offer!”

“I never received a contract!”

You don’t know what to believe, and you sure don’t know when to tune in to see a fight. (“Maybe in 2022.”)

And don’t forget, Ruiz / Joshua was supposed to be as fake as an eleventy-seven dollar bill. The fact that Ruiz won is what made the return bout real.

And how long have we been clamoring for a Wilder / Joshua matchup? Years. The answer is measured in years.

Prior to that, how long did it take Mayweather / Pacquiao to come together?

Look – I understand there has to be some level of ring-engineering. I defend it here (see The Rhyme and Reason of Matchmaking). but too often the over-zealousness for the bottom line () leads to the farce, fake boxing, wanking (see Hail to the Tosser King and The Tosser King Redux).

Nobody wants to see that.

Well, at least I reserve the right to complain about it.

The sad fact is that there is an audience for fake boxing. On the same day Dubois fought Joyce, Mike Tyson fought Roy Jones Junior in a spurious pay-per-view event that also featured a retired basketball player (Nate Robinson) getting knocked unconscious by some “youtuber” – whatever that is.

But there have always been bastardizations of the fight game. Manute Bol fighting Refrigerator Perry comes to mind or for that matter Mayweather v. Conor McGregor.

A more extreme example was what they once called a “battle royale” – a ring full of (black) men, blindfolded. The “winner” was the last man standing. That spectacle had nothing to do with the sweet science, it was just cruelty. That Nate Robinson fight was cruelty too. So was Fury v. Schwarz. Violence as entertainment: tough man contests, bare-knuckle boxing (there’s folks out there doing that now too), underground fight clubs….

The UFC started as just another bastardization of boxing. In its infancy it was unchecked violence. Head butts, kicking a downed man, even punches to the groin were allowed at first. Sadly, there is an audience for that, and there is an audience for boxing. They are different. Tyson’s tom-foolery will not ruin boxing. Let him have his sideshow. He’s certainly earned the celebrity status that allows him to draw a crowd.

Back to Joyce / Dubois. Dubois was favored – I don’t know why. The thing turned out pretty much as I expected. Joyce beaned him throughout the bout with a potent jab, giving him a big owie early in the fight that continued to worsen and eventually ended the contest. Dubois twice had a rally that looked like big trouble for Joyce. Especially the first one (I think in round 2). I thought the big fellow was going down.

The difference (what I didn’t expect) was Joyce’s chin. He made it through the Dubois rallies unhurt, it seemed. A marvel, and I’m sure the opposite of what the odds makers expected.

So lets get this Pulev farce behind us, (yes, I predict a Joshua win), yawn through Fury’s next fight (I think it’s Woody Allen) [now postponed until 2021], and let’s get Zhang and Ajagba and Joyce in the mix.

And enough with the rematches already! If you get beat, just say, “He was the better man tonight,” or “My fight plan didn’t work,” or “I got my ass beat.” Go back to the drawing board, sure, but fight somebody else. Looking at you, Dillian.

You Say “Boring,” I Say You Weren’t Watching

Sportswriters and broadcasters are fond of saying that the heavyweight division is exciting again, has been revitalized, reborn, is on fire.

Implied in this discussion (and sometimes a plainly spoken opinion) is that Wladimir Klitschko was boring, and thank God he finally retired.


I never thought so.

Over the decades the public has had very different reactions to intelligent, thoughtful fighters with a strong defense. Gentleman Jim Corbett was revered for his “scientific” style of jabbing and then dancing out of his opponent’s reach. Later, Jack Johnson was reviled for much the same technique. Ali did it to mixed reviews. Some thought he was the most talented ever; some said that he was not a “real” champion, because he didn’t “really” fight (meaning stand toe to toe).

In our times, Floyd Mayweather is hailed as a genius, while Klitschko is panned as dull.

From 2007–2011, Mayweather fought just one fight a year. Klitschko had nine fights in that span. Mayweather had zero knockouts the last five years of his career (ignoring the farce that was the McGregor fight). Klitschko had five knockouts the last five years of his career. Who’s boring?

Have you seen the left hook that leveled Kubrat Pulev? How about Ray Austin? It’s not a myth—Klitschko KO’d him in round 2 without ever having thrown his right hand. Could have had one hand tied behind his back. How about Calvin Brock? Derrick Jefferson? Chris Byrd?

Just stop there. Go look up those five fights on Youtube (no worry, I did the work for you above), then compare them to five fights by Floyd Mayweather. No disrespect to Mayweather, but I do not see how anyone could complain of Klitschko’s being boring while simultaneously admiring Mayweather. 

These were spectacular performances. Boring? Please.

“Well yeah, Klitschko had a lot of knockouts, but his style was boring.” Yeah, and predictable. He just kept winning; I hate that.

Tyson Fury leveled this charge at him during the build-up to their fight, then he beat Klitschko by devising and executing the most boring fight plan ever. 

My dad always said you gotta beat the title out of the champ. Fighting to stay upright, or fighting to a draw, or even an arguably close point win wouldn’t cut it. You either have to knock the champ out, or win the most rounds, and win them big, obviously and convincingly. They don’t give those belts away; you gotta beat it out of them.

Fury proved that wrong. He won by running away. I mean full credit for figuring out a winning strategy; no one else could do it. And by the rules of boxing, I guess he hit Wladimir more than Wladimir hit him . . . so, yeah. I guess. I think a different ref might have given them both warnings in the early going for not fighting, and maybe DQ-ing both of them after five or six rounds.

 “He was only “great” because he had no competition. The heavyweight division had a ten-year dearth of real talent.”

You sure? Povetkin and Pulev are numbers six and seven in the IBO rankings today. Klitschko beat both of those guys. I don’t think Samuel Peter was a marshmallow either. Or Tony Thompson, for that matter.

He beat 12 undefeated fighters in his career. That’s more than anybody else ever did. He successfully defended his titles 23 times. Could it be that he was just better than the rest?

As for boring, I know you all saw the Joshua fight. Boring? You think he woke up one day as a 41 year old and decided “I’m going to completely change my fighting style for this world title fight”? Please.

He had some boring fights, sure. His win against Ibragimov was a dull affair, as was his win over Povetkin, not to mention the aforementioned Fury bout. But have you watched Mike Tyson vs. James “Bonecrusher” Smith? Zzzz . . . zzzz . . . zzzz . . . .

Bigfoot Martin went ten rounds with George Foreman (*Yawn*).

Muhammed Ali had a number of lackluster bouts. Nobody ever said he was boring.

No, I reckon people didn’t like Klitschko because he did not fit the stereotypical heavyweight champion mold. First, he was white—the first white man to hold the title since Ingmar Johansen took it from Floyd Patterson in 1959. After Johansen there is an unbroken string of sixteen black American heavyweight champs from Patterson (who took it back from Johansen) till Lennox Lewis (who is British) broke it. 

Then along comes this foreigner, a white foreigner. A college-educated white foreigner who speaks four languages. A good-looking college-educated white foreigner who speaks four languages. And he was kicking ass.

And the search began for a great black hope just as they looked for a great white hope to take out Jack Johnson a century before. Calvin Brock, Ray Austin, Tony Thompson, Hasim Rahman, Eddie Chambers, Samuel Peter, David Haye, Jean-Mark Mormeck, and Bryant Jennings were all marched out and presented as “this is the one that will give Klitschko trouble; this is the one to take his crown.” And Klitschko beat them all. Seven of those nine by KO.

And he was never apologetic about it. He never said, “Sorry, I know I don’t belong here.” He looked like he felt right at home, and was having the time of his life.

I imagine some folks threw up their hands when it was another foreign white guy that finally took his titles. 

And Wilder came this close to beating Fury. I am stoked for that rematch.

But I guess no one has said that Fury is boring. Annoying maybe, but not boring.

Alphabet Soup

It is perplexing. I tell you what.

You know that there are several “sanctioning bodies”—groups of money-grubbing individuals that figured out a way to cash in on boxing without actually, you know, boxing. They have assembled and have given themselves self-important names like the “World Boxing Council” or the “International Boxing Federation.” You’ve no doubt long ago grown weary of the oft-repeated (as if it we’re a clever and fresh insult) “alphabet soup” chide dropped and swirled ‘round the bowl by commentators, it seems, nearly every fight night.

This is the system that gives us four “champions” in most weight classes. Yes, there are five sanctioning bodies out there, but only four of them count (I haven’t figured that part out yet.) There is also The Ring magazine, which names a champion, and BoxRec, which is the official record-keeping organization of professional boxing.

These organizations all have rankings, that is, a list of who they consider the best, then next best and so forth. From this list they occasionally pick a mandatory challenger for their titleist, and such. The exception is BoxRec. They have rankings, but don’t bestow a title, or a belt.

The Soup:

The sanctioning bodies are:

WBC: The World Boxing Council: Started in 1963, this is the big one, with 161 participating countries. It also has Don King. Of course Don has been the target of multiple lawsuits from fighters who allege that he shorted them on payments for fights. Not long ago the WBC would not let their titlists fight champions from the WBO (see below). They weren’t into that whole “unification” thing. That has changed. I think probably because Don King signed a bunch of WBO fighters.

IBF: The International Boxing Federation: Founded in 1983, its founder, Robert Lee was later indicted and convicted of racketeering, money laundering and tax evasion. That was in 1999, I’m sure that’s all cleared up now.

WBO: The World Boxing Organization: This one started in 1988 and had trouble achieving credibility. For instance this, from Wikipedia:

The WBO twice moved Darrin Morris up in its super-middleweight rankings in 2001, despite the fact that he was dead. In addition, Morris had only fought once in the three years before his death, beating a fighter with only 17 wins out of 81 fights. Morris was Number 7 at the time of his death and Number 5 when the WBO discovered the error. Valcarcel said, “We obviously missed the fact that Darrin was dead. It is regrettable.”

WBA:  The World Boxing Association:  This is the oldest one, starting in 1921.  They have also been known to rank a dead fighter (albeit a different dead fighter) and at times insist on bribes in exchange for favorable rankings.  But that was way back in 2015.  I’m sure they’ve grown past that now.

Anyhow those are the four titles that a boxer needs to get in order to have “undisputed” status, like Iron Mike had.

Confusing the issue is:

IBO:  The International Boxing Organization. Started in 1988 this one is considered a “minor” belt, apparently, because it is not recognized by the other four. The IBO also started using a computerized system to rank boxers, taking away the subjective (*coff* *coff* *bribes* *coff*) angle, in an effort to bring more credibility to the sport.  I wonder if there’s any connection between . . . .


Then there is The Ring. They bestow a title too, but you don’t get it by fighting for it necessarily; you get it as a gift, when the wizards at The Ring have decided you have fought well enough. For instance, in 2006 Wladimir Klitschko knocked out Chris Byrd for the IBF and IBO titles, then picked up the WBO belt in 2008 form Sultan Ibragimov. Then in 2009, after his seventh defense of the IBF title, (against Ruslan Chagaev) he is given the vacant Ring title.

It was not that Chagaev had the Ring title and Klitschko took it from him, it just appeared, irrelevant and unbidden, like the fan man flopping into the Hollyfield / Bowe fight.

I mean, I don’t disagree, the guy was the friggin’ champ, so let’s call him the champ. But I fail to see the importance of some pointy-headed magazine editor telling me he was the champ.

Another example: Last week Andy Ruiz knocked out Anthony Joshua, who, even though had the WBA, the WBO, the IBF and the IBO belts, was not the Ring champion. He had their number one ranking, but their championship was “vacant.” So Ruiz knocks him out, and vaults to . . . wait for it . . . a number three ranking! Now Joshua slipped to number four, but Fury and Wilder moved up because . . . ???

I don’t get the new math.

Frankly I think someone needs to talk to Ring and explain to them that fights are won and lost in the ring. That titles are won and lost – In. The. Ring. That beating the champ makes you the Champ. And being some weasel-y academic with a word processor and superiority complex makes you a Ring magazine editor. I nominate Teddy Atlas.

Yes it seems that everyone is tired of the “alphabet soup,” but not tired enough to do anything about it. I suppose that would require a general boycott of the sport, and I am not that strong. Bob Arum and Don King are still alive (and both 87) and are still calling a lot of the shots, I reckon. They will soon be gone and others will fill their shoes. There’s just too much money involved. It attracts men like King like bugs to a porch light.

I’ve heard that among boxers a prospective Mexican heavyweight champ is called a “unicorn” – because none were known to exist. Now that one has triumphed, (and I truly hope he starts to use that nickname) it tempts me to hope that maybe better heads will prevail – that the magic will spread – that after Arum and King and Lord Voldemort and whoever else is really pulling the levers dies, that better folk will take over . . . .


So boxing purists long ago, disgusted with the soup and the four-champion phenomena, started tracking the “lineal” champion in each weight class. (For a most excellent record of this, see cyberboxingzone.com, past lineal champions. But don’t use their search box. It doesn’t work.)

The theory here is that the real champion is the “man who beat the man.” There is no belt involved with this title, just the knowledge that men who care regard you as the champ.

For instance, Lennox Lewis beat Shannon Briggs to become the lineal champ. Briggs took that title from George Foreman, who took it from Michael Moorer, who took it from Evander Holyfield and so on. The problem is, Lennox Lewis retired before anyone took it from him, so like the Ring title, it was vacant for a time. And, like the Ring title, it was magically bestowed on Klitschko after he beat Chagaev.

So it kind of puts the stank on their ‘purist’ stance when they do this. I don’t know how they decide this and frankly, I don’t know who the hell “they” are. But all in all, there is a logic to what they say, and I support their purpose. If I find out how this is decided, be sure that I will pass that knowledge on to you.

So right now the lineal champion is Tyson Fury, as he beat Klitschko, and has yet to be beaten in the ring. True, he wiggled out of a rematch, then went coo-coo bananas and lost all his belts and even lost his license to box. It took him a couple years, but he got healthier and is back. He had a great fight against Wilder, came away with a draw, and somehow earned the Ring number one ranking.


Anyway, he’s up this week. His bout has been arranged by the ghostly hand of the powers that be (pay no attention to the tapeworm behind the curtain) but I’m going to watch. No boycott by this boy. I am not a man of action; I am merely a man of acrimony.

And the New…

You felt it, didn’t you? Sunday morning when you woke up? The world was somehow . . . righter. It was as if the whole planet was spinning on its axis tilted one click closer to good and justice. The sun shone a little brighter, the birds sang a little merrier. Even my old frame seemed a little lighter.

Andy Ruiz was the heavyweight champ.



He did it by beating the “invincible” Anthony Joshua, and not by a controversial decision, bestowed by rogue, glue-sniffing judges, but by knockout, and not once, but twice.

That’s right. He knocked Joshua out the first time in the third round. He floored Joshua toward the end of the round, and while he got to his feet, he was not steady. The ref asked him to walk forward and he didn’t. It looked like didn’t understand the ref’s instructions.

The ref cut him some slack, you know, because he was the champ. He let him continue, having heard the ten-second knock, and the round ended without Joshua absorbing any more blows. If the positions were reversed, and it was Ruiz hanging onto the ropes with noodle-knees, the fight would have been halted, no doubt.

But that was okay. I understand. You don’t want to turn over the title in a potentially controversial manner. The commentators said that the ref “gave him a mulligan” in that round. Seems fair.

Then in the seventh round, Ruiz floored Joshua two more times, and this time the ref had no choice but to wave it off. The talking heads tried to stir up trouble, saying that Joshua was ready and willing to continue, that the ref stopped the fight too soon, but that was malarkey. After the count (and true, Joshua was standing), he asked “Are you okay?” but Joshua had spit out his mouthpiece and turned his back on Ruiz, walking to his corner. There, he leaned on the ropes, as if taking a break (not allowed in this sport). The ref asked him again if he wanted to box, to which he said “yes” while still leaning on the ropes.

Let’s be clear. Joshua was not cheating or expecting preferential treatment. He was addled, after the noggin knockin’ he got from Ruiz. The ref then gave him a couple more mulligans, letting him turn his back, ignoring the mouthpiece, etc., and Joshua didn’t even recognize it. He didn’t know where he was, or thought the round had ended. Like I said, the ref had no choice but to end it there.

So Andy Ruiz, who by fight time was an 11-1 underdog, won the title. Not as surprising perhaps as Tyson / Douglas, but still one for the ages. I’ll never forget it. Those of you who opted to go to Aunty Petunia’s quilting bee missed out. Big time. The bee will be there next week. These fights only happen once.

“So why is the sun shining brighter?” you ask. “I mean, Joshua’s a good guy, why celebrate his defeat?”

You misunderstand. There were no villains in the ring. But what Andy Ruiz did was to upset the whole corrupted apple cart. He was supposed to be the opponent, the lamb. He was supposed to get knocked out like Breazeale, to raise Joshua’s stock among American fans. That was the plan. I wrote about this recently, bemoaning the lack of a real title fight, like Wilder / Joshua or Fury / Joshua, and how Fury and Joshua were taking time off it seemed, fighting lesser men to boost their record and fatten their wallets.

But that’s not on the fighters. I believe if left to their own devices the top fighters would readily face each other. But there is this cadre of promoters and sanctioning bodies and venues and TV networks, etc. steering the whole thing. They’ve got a big pie to slice up, and they aim to make it bigger, not necessarily better. They rule without scrutiny, turning screws and pushing buttons, moving men like game tokens, running a lucrative business in the name of sport. And their shadowy presence in the world of boxing is as parasitic and intractable as a tapeworm.

It was this body that made Pacquiao / Mayweather five years late, when it was no longer relevant or even very credible. It was this same body that decided that Fury would fight Tom Schwarz and Joshua Jarell Miller. When Miller crapped out, they picked Ruiz.

Remember when Don King tried to get the result of Tyson / Douglas reversed?

No, sportsmanship and fairness are merely sizzle to these guys. They sell the sizzle and keep the steak.

Well, Ruiz didn’t read the script they gave him, and substituted his own. He turned the boxing world on its head like others have done before him. Men like Braddock, Clay, and Douglas. Rarefied air, and the fact that he is breathing it makes me smile.

And I readily admit that I had little hope for him. I too made jokes about his paunch, his “dad-bod.” But there have always been heavyweights that were overweight. Buster Mathis fought both Frazier and Ali with boobs. Buster Mathis, Jr., and the aptly named Tony Tubbs fought Mike Tyson. Hell, Eric “Butterbean” Esch fought and won weighing as much as 400 lbs. You saw the layer of insulation on Dominic Breazeale two weeks ago. George Foreman in his comeback had a spare tire. Even Buster Douglas had a little upholstery on him. But not like Ruiz. They talk about him being the first Mexican heavyweight titleist; well he’s also the first fat one.

Ruiz has a ritual – he eats a Snickers bar right before he enters the ring. “It gives me energy,” he says. He’s not trying to lose weight and failing, he’s just trying to knock your head off and have fun while he’s doing it. If you watch the slow-motion replays of the highlights from Saturday, you’ll see a real athlete working. Between those rapid-fire punches, he’s shifting and stepping and leaning and all to make each blow land as hard as possible. You can miss it in real time because it’s so fast.

The beast, meanwhile, is squirming and turning and will (of course) make for itself a bigger payday, whether that means making a rematch, or having Ruiz fight a succession of dead men. Time will tell.

In two weeks is the Fury / Schwarz fight, which I’ve already referred to as a “debacle.”

Now I wonder . . . .

Do you smell that?

ESPN+ stinks, that’s for sure. I ended up watching the fight in my study, on this very same computer upon which now I record my thoughts. I signed up for ESPN+ on my TV, clicked my way through the process, logged in, but nothing. I called a friend (it doesn’t matter which one, they’re all smarter than me) and he tried to find a way out, or rather into the live broadcast, but no. Like Sisyphus we just went back and forth from the ESPN front page and back to the sign up / log in page. Two of my buddies that were there to watch the fight got up and left after a half hour of this.

We called in the big gun. One of our group is a Ph.D.-Level programmer dude. Good mind. Very logical, this one. A half hour later, while we had managed to see a couple different screens, we still saw no action. It was he who suggested that I try to access the broadcast on my computer (in the next room). So I did, and it worked, and we three that remained watched the fight in my study.

ESPN stinks for another reason too. The entire night (we were able to see the undercard on regular ESPN), once we got the thing working, they were building up Tyson Fury‘s claim to the lineal championship with an almost religious fervor. They called him the “one true champion,” and said “there is only one champion.” They explained over and over what the lineal title meant, explaining the “man who beat the man” thing again and again, “starting with John L. Sullivan,” leaving out the gaps or making it sound like there were no gaps.

They also mentioned Fury’s “miraculous comeback” from a three-year hiatus, but failed to mention that during that time, he reneged on contracts to re-fight Klitschko twice. They failed to mention that in so doing, he allowed all his titles to be taken away, one by one. Basically, he quit. He gave up boxing. He relinquished his titles.

They glossed over the fact that his greatest fight in his comeback to date ended up a draw. They played a clip of Fury saying he believed he won that fight as if that settled the question.

Hey, ESPN: I thought you guys were into sports – you know, paid attention and stuff. You don’t obtain a #1 status by fighting to a draw. And you can say the judges ripped him off, but I saw that fight, and in the 12th round, he was lying on his back, unconscious. He should kiss that ref’s rosy-cheeked arse for letting him continue.

And that was a brilliant fight; exciting. Everyone wanted to see a rematch. I thought it was an obvious no-brainer. Tons of money could have been made. But ESPN got to Fury, spun some story about how he could make more money by going a different path, by fighting an undeserving opponent. I imagine some ESPN weasel sidling up to Fury on his way out of the arena, like Slugworth in the Willy Wonka movie. (“Psst spss spss spss spss….”)

It’s farcical. It’s cynical. It’s cruel. It’s the opposite of sporting. What they are trying to do is build a bigger fan base for Fury here in the US, by having us watch him dismantle some poor chap, just like they were trying to do with Andy Ruiz two weeks ago. So that when they do decide to put their man in the ring with a true champion, the cash will spill forth like words from Malignaggi. But this is not making me fonder of the big lad, rather the opposite. I wanted to see a sporting event. What I got was a public execution. Not to mention the headache I got trying to hook my TV into ESPN+.

“But Jerry,” you say, “he was struggling with mental health issues.”

“He couldn’t help failing to make those fights.”

“His struggle against depression and substance abuse is a portrait of bravery.”

I don’t mean to sound cold, but that’s irrelevant.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m glad he took the time off to tend to his health, and I’m glad he’s back and fighting again. He’s very talented and he’s damned fun to watch.

But you can’t make the case that your man is the champ because he’s never lost in the ring, when he twice declined to even get in the ring. If you look at cyberboxing.com, they record the status of the lineal championship as last belonging to Tyson Fury, who vacated / retired. He vacated the title. Cyberboxing still says the title is vacant. If you ask me, it belongs to Ruiz. But that’s me and my silly belief that you become champion by beating a champion, you know, in the ring.

All Fury has done since his three-year layoff is beat up three tomato cans and fight Deontay Wilder to a draw. To call him the “one true champion” . . . well, it stinks.

Sorry to be all pissy on a Monday, but P.U.

Wilder v Breazeale

If you are one of those people that enjoys watching a thunderstorm . . . you’re weird.  I mean seriously.  All I can think about is, “I hope the sump pump is keeping up with this.”  And God forbid the wind shear off a limb from that big oak out back. Not to mention that for the next 48 hours I’ll have to bend over and wipe the dogs’ feet every time they come back in from their constitutionals. 


My mom used to enjoy watching a thunderstorm, and I loved her, so you’re in pretty good company, but weird.


I, on the other hand enjoy the sight of two men trying cave each other’s faces in with their fists. Especially the big men; two towering behemoths, so muscular they look like comic book superheroes

Circling and jabbing, feinting and ducking and BOOM! Down he goes!  There is nothing better, unless you count adding, like, wings and beer. That’s better. Don’t have to worry about whether you got your gutters cleaned or not.

Anyhow, if it ain’t raining, and even if it is, Dominic Breazeale is challenging Deontay Wilder for the WBC Heavyweight title—the big one, the one that matters most. I know, there’s some foppish Brit over there in limey-land waving his little IBO belt and hollering, “Yoo-hoo, boys! Come and get it!” but he’s just a wannabe till he beats Fury or Wilder.  He did beat Klitschko, and full credit for that, even though he had to reach deep into his panties to take out the 41 year old.

Wilder and Breazeale are big men, no mistake. They are both 6’7”.  Breazeale fights at around 250 and Wilder around 220, but 150 of that is all upper body. 

Take a look:


He don’t look skinny to me.

Here’s Breazeale:


So if you wanna see tree limbs whipping around, let me tell you, when these boys get going they look like the Whomping Willow from Harry Potter

Wilder’s knockout percentage is 95%. Breazeale’s is 90%.  So there is guaranteed to be some thunder and lightning. Somebody is going down.

So this takes place on May 18th, and you are invited to come watch a real spectacle, a battle for the ages, an irresistible force meeting an immovable object—you know, all that crap—at my house. There will be food and booze.

Sometime around 8:00.