- Kevin Iole at Boxing22 hrs ago
No athlete knew how to work a crowd better than Muhammad Ali, the legendary former heavyweight champion who on Oct. 30, 1974, stopped George Foreman in perhaps the most surprising win of his career.
Ali had an innate sense of how to marshal support from the crowd and how to anatognize an opponent, and never was that more obvious than during the build-up to his fight with Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire.
Josh Peter of USA Today, a former Yahoo Sports writer, wrote a fabulous piece on the 40th anniversary of the Ali-Foreman match that is well worth reading.
Among the priceless anecdotes in Peter's compelling story is how Ali manipulated the people in the country then known as Zaire to support him and oppose Foreman.
Peter spoke with Gene Kilroy, a Las Vegas legend himself who served as Ali's business manager and remains close with the former champion to this day. Kilroy told a wonderful story of how Ali greeted the fans when he stepped off the plane in Africa.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing1 day ago
A little more than two months before he turns 50 years old, Bernard Hopkins will slip through the ropes at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., on Nov. 8 to face Sergey Kovalev in a bout for three of the four major light heavyweight titles.
Making it to the fight with his senses and wits intact, perhaps sharper than ever, is perhaps the wily Hopkins' greatest accomplishment. There are few more amazing stories in sports than a 50-year-old man competing, and winning, against the best boxers in the world.
Hopkins was born in 1965, the same birth year as an astounding number of the greatest athletes of our generation. Among those, NFL wide receiver Cris Carter retired in 2002. Ex-heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, NFL cornerback Rod Woodson and NBA center David Robinson all retired in 2003. Hockey legend Mario Lemieux hung up the skates for good in 2006. In 2007, Craig Biggio, a member of MLB's 3,000-hit club, retired. And in 2008, Michael Jordan sidekick Scott Pippen ended his marvelous career.
Still, Hopkins endures, competing at the highest level at his sport, weeks before he's eligible for membership in the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
- Elias Cepeda at Boxing9 days ago
Notorious high-stakes gambler and boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. has finally lost.
The embattled pound-for-pound champion and Las Vegas resident regularly shows off big winnings on sports bets, but this week he also owned up to losing $20,000 on an NFL wager – worth noting because he has rarely done so in the past.
Given the fighter’s chart-topping fight purses, the loss probably won't make a dent in his bankroll.
Especially when he's making and winning bets like this the day before:
Although, with disturbing legal battles (plural) mounting that range from alleged domestic violence tofalse imprisonment and much more, Mayweather may want to put some of his cash away for a rainy day.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing10 days ago
A study published in 2010 conducted over a 17-year period discovered that the most common injury to afflict an NBA player is a lateral ankle sprain. More than 13 percent of all injuries studied in those 17 years were sprained ankles.
A sprained ankle is exactly the kind of injury that Manny Pacquiao risked when he played seven minutes as a player-coach for the Kia Sorento in the Philippine Basketball Association. Pacquiao had two turnovers in a game his team won 80-66 over the Blackwater Elite.
Pacquiao is supposed to defend the WBO welterweight title against Chris Algieri on Nov. 22 at Cotai Arena in Macau, China, in a bout on HBO Pay-Per-View. He has two main jobs now: Train for the fight and help to sell the pay-per-view.
He went on a 27,000-mile tour with Algieri and promoter Bob Arum in August, making stops in Macau, Shanghai, Singapore, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York. All of that money is down the drain if Pacquiao were to get injured.
It would have also cost Algieri the fight of his life and all of the fighters on the undercard a significant payday.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing10 days ago
Promoter Oscar De La Hoya is going to be a busy man on Dec. 13. The Golden Boy told Yahoo Sports on Monday that he's finalizing details for a show at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas that night that will be headlined by a welterweight match between Amir Khan and Devon Alexander and broadcast on Showtime.
Top Rank and HBO have a show that night a block away at The Cosmopolitan, featuring Timothy Bradley against Diego Chaves in the main event. The Top Rank show will include Golden Boy's Mauricio Herrera facing Top Rank's Jose Benavidez in another televised fight.
The longstanding feud between Golden Boy and Top Rank is ending, and De La Hoya went to great pains to insist that adding the Dec. 13 show at Mandalay Bay wasn't an attempt to create an issue by counter-programming it.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing10 days ago
It's difficult to place a significance on Gennady Golovkin's two-round decimation of a disinterested Marco Antonio Rubio on Saturdayin Golovkin's West Coast debut.
It was a rousing success in all regards. Golovkin attracted an overflow crowd of 9,323 to the StubHub Center, the largest attendance in the venue's history. He scored his 18th consecutive knockout and added the interim WBC middleweight title to the WBA belt he already owned.
With all due respect to the rest of the division, there is no question that Golovkin is, by far, the finest 160-pound fighter in the world.
The question is how good Golovkin is in terms of the overall sport.
He's 31-0 with 28 knockouts and one of the sport's fastest rising stars. He hasn't gone to a decision since winning an eight-rounder over Amar Amari on June 21, 2008.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing12 days ago
CARSON, Calif. -- Nicholas Walters gave his father, Job, the best possible birthday present he could on Saturday, stopping Nonito Donaire with one second left in the sixth round of their WBA featherweight title fight before 9,323 energized fans at the StubHub Center.
Walters knocked Donaire down with a short right uppercut in the third, putting the one-time Fighter of the Year down for the first time in his career. In the sixth, Walters cracked Donaire with an overhand right that landed just above Donaire's ear.
Donaire beat the count, but he was on unsteady legs and referee Raul Caiz Jr. wisely stopped it.
"He's an amazing fighter; an amazing champion," Donaire said of Walters. "I was at my best for this. I never trained this hard. I never ever trained this hard for a fight."
It didn't matter, though, because Walters was too big and too strong. Donaire hit Walters with a powerful left, one of his best shots, near the end of the fifth, but Walters took it and kept coming.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing15 days ago
It's a travesty that Naseem Hamed was not long ago inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
The statistics would seem to speak for themselves. He was 36-1 with 31 knockouts. In 2003, he was voted one of the 100 hardest punchers of all-time by Ring Magazine. He was 10-1 with eight knockouts in title fights. He was the linear champion, meaning he beat the man who beat the man.
He was a charismatic, flamboyant character who attracted a lot of attention and brought huge crowds with him. Hamed was so big in his day that he appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Manny Pacquiao makes semi-regular appearances on ABC's "The Jimmy Kimmel Show," but it's not like the late night hosts are eager to book boxers as guests.
Hamed, though, gets a lot of opposition, not only from media but also from the fan base.
Most often mentioned is his loss to Marco Antonio Barrera in 2001 and the fact that he unquestioned ducked Juan Manuel Marquez. When adding up whether to vote for him, those are factors against his election, but they're far outweighed by all of his positives.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing16 days ago
Emanuel Augustus, a quality fighter despite being known by many as the clown prince of boxing, is in critical condition in a Louisiana hospital after being shot in the head on Monday.
Augustus, who formerly fought as Emanuel Burton, was 38-34-6 with 20 knockouts in a fight career that stretched from 1994 through 2011. Police have no suspects or motives.
Floyd Mayweather, the top pound-for-pound boxer in the world, has consistently said that Augustus gave him the toughest fight of his career. Mayweather stopped Augustus in the ninth round of an Oct. 21, 2000, bout at Cobo Hall in Detroit.
Prior to his bout against Miguel Cotto in 2012, Mayweather spoke to FightHubTV and lavished praise on Augustus.
Emanuel Augustus was my toughest opponent thus far. His record didn't show his skillset, but the guy was unbelievable.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing18 days ago
Floyd Mayweather is an immense talent, but boxing not only survived, it thrived, long before he ever pulled on a pair of gloves. And, as much as it might jolt his ego, it will survive just fine once he decides he to retire from the ring for good.
Boxing survived the retirements of Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard and it will survive without Mayweather, as well.
For all the good Mayweather thinks he's doing for the sport, the reality is he's doing it far, far, far more harm. Forget the lunacy of not making the fight with Manny Pacquiao, a bout the fans of the sport that he professes to want to please, have been desperate to see. The problem here is that Mayweather's success has led him to believe that it's a sport of one and that he's the only fighter who matters.