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Any boxing fans out there?

Old 11-04-19, 08:03 AM
  #551  
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I found some extended highlights of Alvarez vs Kovalev and it pretty much confirmed most pundit observations and my own hunches. Kovalev was doing pretty well for the first half of the bout. At his peak he could have outboxed Canelo pretty handily, mostly behind that long range jab. But Kovalev wasn't moving enough, pivoting and side-stepping just enough after jabs and combinations to keep Canelo's pressure off.

Kovalev is no Carlos Monzon. Monzon had that long range jab, fast right cross over the top, and remarkably quick feet and reflexes. Few boxing pundits take note of one of Monzon's key strengths -- he could skitter around quickly, even moving straight back and get away with it. He never looked like he was "running" because he'd quickly re-engage and counter, but he moved a lot more than he was given credit for. Kovalev didn't have that ability, or didn't work on it enough. And I doubt Monzon could have done so much longer. By 30 he was already slowing down (due in part to a reckless lifestyle, smoking and having been shot), pacing himself more for grueling decision wins.

And Canelo admits he couldn't get through that jab to work the body. So he had to shift tactics, keep the pressure on, hoping to wear Kovalev down enough to zing him with those blistering counters. Canelo's counter sweeping left hook over a taller, longer right hand is amazing. No matter how many times I watch him, Canelo continues to surprise me with how quick he is for a guy built like a small refrigerator.

Alvarez isn't quite on par with Muhammad Qawi/Dwight Braxton, who was the best short boxer I've ever seen. Qawi could negate the height and reach of most boxers with a nearly impenetrable defense, quick feet and head movement, and lightning counters to close distance. Canelo is a pretty good chameleon, mimicking the styles of the best boxers he's faced. He should study Qawi to up his game to the next level if he plans to continue in the light heavy division.
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Old 11-05-19, 03:59 PM
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I haven't had the spare time to watch the fight yet but frankly I'd like to see Canelo take on Demetrius Andrade and / or Jermall Charlo rather than see him roid up to fight old guys that either should retire or have retired at 175. Seems to me that 160 is where good fights would get made.
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Old 11-05-19, 04:38 PM
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Agree. I'd especially like to see a Charlo fight. Problem is often the promoters/managers want to hold on the "their champions" as long as possible to make as much $ as possible....so many of them just don't want to make the riskier fights.
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Old 11-05-19, 05:12 PM
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Yup, but as you folks said, we'll rarely if ever see matchups between the best in the division while the contenders are in their primes. Too much money in promoters and alphabet organization belts.

I suspect that's one reason why Canelo has been bad-mouthing De La Hoya. Canelo is sharp, very media savvy. If he wants to fight the best while he's in his prime, he'd need to break away from the people who own his contract. One way to do that is to stir up enough dissent to make it worthwhile for another party to offer a buy-out and enable a newly dominant champion to choose his own fights.

But that'll be tough for Canelo because DAZN overpaid. Canelo is very good, but he's not Floyd Mayweather good, he's not Manny Pacquiao good, and until he learns English well enough to appeal to a crossover audience, he's not Tyson Fury good in terms of media savvy. Smartest thing any boxer outside the US has done in the past few decades is to learn conversational idiomatic English well enough to speak for himself without translators. That's one reason why Pacquiao and Golovkin were so popular. It's just good business sense.

By the time Alvarez faces the very best, he'll be past his prime. And he seems too smart to hang around past his prime and risk getting his brains scrambled. Why bother when he has the looks and charisma for the entertainment industry for a huge and profitable Spanish speaking audience worldwide?
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Old 11-06-19, 06:24 PM
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I believe they about ready and Inoue is saying the right stuff for the head game, imo.

So that's who Inoue modeled that so very similar check left hook from . . . excellent choice most astute student of the art.

Last edited by Zinger; 11-06-19 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 11-06-19, 06:34 PM
  #556  
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Originally Posted by smoore View Post
Agree. I'd especially like to see a Charlo fight. Problem is often the promoters/managers want to hold on the "their champions" as long as possible to make as much $ as possible....so many of them just don't want to make the riskier fights.

Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Yup, but as you folks said, we'll rarely if ever see matchups between the best in the division while the contenders are in their primes. Too much money in promoters and alphabet organization belts.

Yeah nowadays I guess they thought clearing out a division meant clearing out FROM a division that's a little too hot.
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Old 11-07-19, 12:50 AM
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Yup, Inoue and Donaire are both monsters with the shovel hook. Inoue tends to throw it a bit stiffer, almost like stepping in with a bent jab. That's where a lot of Inoue's deceptive power comes from. He doesn't try to throw power shots, so much as he retains good form with speed and steps in to add the power. And his body shots are devastating, one of the best body punchers I've ever seen.

Donaire's hooks are more classical, short but sweeping from the shoulder. His hooks are flexible and come from any and every angle. Vic Darchinyan can probably still feel those.
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Old 11-07-19, 11:44 AM
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Sounds like the Inoue vs Donaire bout went pretty much as expected. Fight of the year quality, rocking each other, but the younger guy had the edge. I'm betting a prime Donaire would have beaten him pretty easily, if only because at the same age Donaire had a lot more experience.

Last night I revisited some prime Donaire fights and was surprised to see how much he's slowed down. It's a testament to his skill that he was able to regain peak form for this tournament, long past his prime. Heckuva guy too, an all time great bantamweight.
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Old 11-08-19, 12:02 AM
  #559  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Yup, Inoue and Donaire are both monsters with the shovel hook. Inoue tends to throw it a bit stiffer, almost like stepping in with a bent jab. That's where a lot of Inoue's deceptive power comes from. He doesn't try to throw power shots, so much as he retains good form with speed and steps in to add the power. And his body shots are devastating, one of the best body punchers I've ever seen.
.


Donaire improbably gets up from one of those and hurts Inoue in the last round of a FOTY contender.

This is why I'm a boxing fan.
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Old 11-08-19, 02:09 PM
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Yikes. That bootleg video made me seasick. But between it and the highlight reels, I'm comfortable saying a peak Donaire would easily have beaten Inoue at this stage. This is a much slower Donaire who's thinking for split second before throwing. Go back to his first KO of Darchinyan and see how much quicker he was at Inoue's age. *That* Donaire would have stopped *this* Inoue when he rocked him at the midway point.

To Inoue's credit, Donaire proved Inoue has whiskers. He stood up to some serious shots.

And Inoue was the better body puncher. When Donaire had him hurt he made the rookie mistake of going for a head shot KO and lost his chance. Inoue was lifting his gloves and splaying his elbows to defend the head, leaving his body open. If Inoue had been facing himself in that predicament, he'd have finished himself with his own body shots. This is a good thing. Inoue may bring back the lost art of body punching.

This also cements my impression that Donaire deserves all time great status at bantamweight. He never really got the recognition he deserved in his prime. And unlike the more popular Pacquiao, Donaire never crippled an opponent with catchweight clauses to dry out and weaken naturally bigger, aging opponents.

Can you imagine a fantasy box-off between Donaire, Inoue, Carlos Zarate, Eder Jofre, Ruben Olivares, Lupe Pintor, Wilfredo Gomez, and maybe Fighting Harada? Tough to pick but I'd still lean toward a prime Donaire, although I'd rather see Zarate win.
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Old 11-09-19, 02:25 AM
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I agree . . . a 10 years younger Donaire pulls out the win and maybe a KO.

Looks like I had some good reason to worry about my little wager upon finding this to be the final matchup.
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Old 11-09-19, 11:54 AM
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Speaking of all time great bantamweights, here's a video of Eder Jofre chatting with fans and working the heavy bag in his 70s. Copies of this video circulated, citing his age at anything from 77 to 87, but the earliest upload I can find was from 2012. Assuming it was relatively recent then, he'd have been in his 70s.

His right hands aren't as fluid as they used to be, but that left hook still looks brutal. He was a swarmer like Dempsey and Golovkin. He also had a successful late career comeback, long past the age when most boxers were considered past their prime.

As best I can decipher from Portuguese language news reports, he's still a fitness buff and reportedly produced an exercise video for seniors, mostly using traditional calisthenics and bodyweight exercises. Pretty much what I've always done since no special equipment is needed. The biggest challenge is finding a pullup bar.


And here's one, probably from the late 1980s, with Jofre in an exhibition with Alexis Arguello. Note Angelo Dundee in Arguello's corner between rounds. Two grand old warriors -- and a couple of the most handsome and charming fellows in boxing -- hugging and mugging for the camera. Arguello can't stop grinning. Hard to believe he took his own life. I always envisioned him as a Nicaraguan elder statesman, like Nelson Mandela, pulling his country back from chaos. Apparently he tried for awhile but found it dispiriting.

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Old 11-09-19, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Speaking of all time great bantamweights, here's a video of Eder Jofre chatting with fans and working the heavy bag in his 70s. Copies of this video circulated, citing his age at anything from 77 to 87, but the earliest upload I can find was from 2012. Assuming it was relatively recent then, he'd have been in his 70s.

His right hands aren't as fluid as they used to be, but that left hook still looks brutal. He was a swarmer like Dempsey and Golovkin. He also had a successful late career comeback, long past the age when most boxers were considered past their prime.

As best I can decipher from Portuguese language news reports, he's still a fitness buff and reportedly produced an exercise video for seniors, mostly using traditional calisthenics and bodyweight exercises. Pretty much what I've always done since no special equipment is needed. The biggest challenge is finding a pullup bar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tInlLn_M_ic

And here's one, probably from the late 1980s, with Jofre in an exhibition with Alexis Arguello. Note Angelo Dundee in Arguello's corner between rounds. Two grand old warriors -- and a couple of the most handsome and charming fellows in boxing -- hugging and mugging for the camera. Arguello can't stop grinning. Hard to believe he took his own life. I always envisioned him as a Nicaraguan elder statesman, like Nelson Mandela, pulling his country back from chaos. Apparently he tried for awhile but found it dispiriting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuLIfVJDCDw
I immediately liked Arguello upon first seeing him in the second Escalera fight and felt that picking him as my favorite active fighter (replacing Danny Lopez who had retired) was a safe bet. That catalogue of perfectly executed punches was what impressed me most. Geopolitics is a filthy business and as a Contra, there's no telling what he might've or might not've taken to the grave with him if it wasn't just a drug dependency problem.


And he just might've taken Donaire out in the 5th round had he focused on the body. He did get a little anxious but he showed the complete package of a great fighter.
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Old 11-09-19, 06:43 PM
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Ditto, Arguello. Back in 1976 I was stationed in San Diego for several months for training after boot camp. I found a trainer, ex-Army special forces, who worked with pros but let me use the gym and spar with one of his guys who was my size -- we were both tall stringbeans. I chattered about boxers I admired and tried to emulate -- Ali, Monzon, Duran, Leonard. The trainer shook his head, tapped a finger on a poster on the wall -- it was Arguello, a promo for his upcoming featherweight title defense. "This guy," he said.

I never developed Arguello's technically brilliant combos or exceptionally good inside game for a tall skinny guy. But my jab-right-left cross improved. First time I sparred the only guy my size -- the young pro who was my size and height -- he put me down with a hook to the liver. Always my weakness because I didn't do enough body work. After a couple of weeks I was outboxing the guy. The trainer pulled me aside and said he couldn't let me spar his guy any more. But he was kinda grinning at the same time and told me to look him up if I ever decided to go pro.

I was transferred to Pendleton right after that and didn't find another trainer as good until I was stationed in Bethesda in 1978 and trained with a guy who had worked with Sugar Ray Leonard, Johnny Gant and a few other popular DC area boxers. He was the first trainer to notice my lack of body work and toughened us up with medicine ball work and basically having us whale away on each other's torsos at moderate power. Huge difference in resistance to body punches. You can't get there with just situps and core work. You gotta get slammed in the body to toughen up resistance to body punches.
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Old 11-13-19, 01:54 PM
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I been knocked to my knees once from a sucker punch behind the ear when I was about 19 or 20 and before I worked out. The puncher was a thirty something bar owner. I won that and it damned near cost me a probation violation ( but didn't somehow).

Man I been hit perfect on my jaw with big punches and three times hard on the head with 14" channel locks (my own, lol . . . not my streetwise moment) and stood. But you tickle my floater rib and I'm pretty much taking a count on the sidewalk I imagine. It was my fortune that street guys, mostly encountered in hotels I ran, are head hunters.
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Old 11-29-19, 03:23 PM
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WBA Lightweight title fight on Dec 28 between Baltimore's Gervonta "Tank'' Davis (Showtime's TV fighter they've been boosting on FB) and Cuban American Yuriorkis Gamboa.

They just made this and there weren't odds up on it yesterday.That's four weeks to get ready if either of those guys aren't.
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Old 11-29-19, 05:04 PM
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Gamboa doesn't have a reasonable chance against Davis. He already looked washed up against Bud Crawford a few years ago. I'd have to go watch some of his wins since losing to Crawford to see if anything has changed.

Back then I noticed Gamboa seemed to be musclebound, lacking the kind of flexibility needed for boxing. He was implicated in a doping scandal and sure looked like he was trying to be more of a bodybuilder than a boxer.

He looked okay for a few rounds against Crawford but got picked apart. And that was when Crawford was near the end of his lightweight reign and was looking drained to make weight. Bud has actually looked better as he's gone up in weight -- more stamina and snap, punching more effectively. That's rare. Gamboa hasn't gotten better at weights above his featherweight title days.
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Old 12-06-19, 03:19 PM
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Looks like Andy Ruiz is about to get Buster Douglased in his rematch with Anthony Joshua. Ruiz is even fatter than he usually is and behind the scenes reports leading up to the rematch indicate Ruiz has poor discipline and has been enjoying his brief flirtation with fame.

I suspect Ruiz could beat Joshua again if he was mentally prepared. But his biggest opponent will be his own body image and self esteem. From talking with family and friends who struggle with obesity, they all have one thing in common: No matter how much weight they lose to change their appearance, inside they always see themselves as the fat kid who gets ridiculed. Even if they break away from everyone who knew them as the fat kid, inside they still assume that even new acquaintances see through their slimmed down facade and see them as a fat kid posing as a fit adult. They feel like frauds. It's unfortunate but that's the same crippling mentality that plagues many folks who struggle to break away from addiction, abusive relationships and self defeating psychology.

But Ruiz still has a puncher's chance if Joshua hasn't mentally rebounded from the stoppage loss. That's always the sign of a great champion -- the ability to shrug off a KO loss and carry on as if nothing had gone wrong. That's what made Evander Holyfield an improbably great heavyweight champion. Ditto Lennox Lewis, who was much tougher mentally than he got credit for and rebounded for easy wins against Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman. It took George Foreman many years to recover mentally from his loss to Muhammad Ali, and when Big George came back he had that same mental toughness that he admired so much in Ali.

Joshua has always been a skilled and dangerous boxer with poor adaptability. Good chin. He's gotten up from knockdowns and famously won against Klitschko the hard way. But like too many modern era boxers he never learned defensive fundamentals needed to fall back on when stunned and relying on instinct and muscle memory defensive skills.

But I'm gonna say Joshua will stop Ruiz midway through the rematch.
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Old 12-06-19, 04:04 PM
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I'm debating whether to buy the fight. I think it's fairly inexpensive but you are buying a monthly long membership which they'll continue to bill you for if you don't cancel.

It would be fairytale if Ruiz stops him again, but I ageee...his lack of personal discipline may derail him. I read he bought four or five cars...Lambos, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and who knows what else. Sigh, not a good sign for this weekend or his future I'm afraid.
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Old 12-06-19, 08:04 PM
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I wouldn't spend money on the Ruiz vs Joshua fight. I'll watch it afterward.

Heck, I'll be pleasantly surprised if Ruiz wins. I'm hoping the guy will turn out okay, not just as a boxer but overall and after he retires. Same reason I'm hoping Tyson Fury will turn out okay. Some folks have bigger struggles outside the ring than inside. I wish them well.

But the odds are against them. The irony of boxing is that it offers opportunity and fortune with one hand, and with the other threatens to rob fighters of everything they have through corruption, mismanagement, poor choices and, too often, brain damage that causes behavioral problems. Sadly, most brain damage from punches and concussions from football and other high impact sports affects the frontal lobe. This nibbles away at the athlete's impulse and emotional control. As we've seen too often it appears that many athletes who've suffered too many head knocks exhibit dramatically worsened behavior over the years. They can become their own worst enemies.

Ideally I'd like to see more emphasis on defensive skills. Personally I always admired pure boxers like Floyd Mayweather Jr, Hector Camacho and others who were slick, hard to hit and put on a good show for fans of defensive skills.

But other than avoiding getting hit too often, or having an exceptionally hard noggin and ability to recover like George Foreman, I'm wondering whether John McCain had the right idea about reforming pro boxing and perhaps establishing some sort of retirement financial stability and health care for pro athletes at risk from brain damage.

Heck, even Eddy Merckx, now in his 70s, may finally be confronting that demon. Recent news updates indicate Merckx may have suffered worse brain injury than initially reported. I know from watching my mom over the decades how insidious incremental brain damage can be from concussions, even when there's no loss of consciousness. We'll never know how much of my mom's dementia was due to organic disease, mini-strokes, concussions from repeated falls, or ... something else. Her doctor finally wrote "Alzheimer's" on her death certificate but I think they were just guessing. There was no autopsy or brain study that I know of (we donated her body to the local medical university, per mom's request, but they don't disclose specifics about how the body was used). Her symptoms didn't neatly match the usual diagnosis for Alzheimer's, Lewy Body dementia, fronto-temporal dementia, Parkinson's or anything else. And her death was actually due to pneumonia. a common cause of death for many elderly and disabled folks who lose physical mobility for any reason.

Anyway, pardon the digression. Whatever the outcome of Ruiz vs Joshua, it *won't* be boring. I doubt it'll be like Wilder vs Ortiz, a dull jab-fest leading to a sudden KO.
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Old 12-09-19, 06:59 PM
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Well, the Ruiz vs Joshua rematch didn't go quite as I'd expected. Joshua was much more cautious and went for the decision, a smart move.

What also surprised me was how quick Ruiz is at counterpunching. If he'd get serious about conditioning he could be a tough contender for anyone. His punching style is awkward and kinda amateurish -- he's no Joe Frazier, Muhammad Qawi or David Tua. But he's so quick that even when he telegraphs his counters it's still hard to avoid him.

I'd be very surprised if Joshua is willing to face Deontay Wilder anytime soon. Wilder isn't nearly as good as he thinks he is, but he's probably the best heavyweight out there right now, maybe a tiny bit ahead of Tyson Fury who also has self discipline problems.
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Old 03-18-20, 09:18 PM
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RIP Roger Mayweather
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Old 03-18-20, 10:36 PM
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Al Bernstein kept commenting on Roger Mayweather's tendency to fade late in fights. I think it was trainer Jesse Reid who said Mayweather didn't like road work and it hindered his stamina in some fights. Too bad. Roger lacked Floyd's stamina, snap and defensive wizardry, but was still an exciting fighter. Reminded me a bit of Mike McCallum, minus the ring generalship -- McCallum didn't look fast but his timing was excellent, he saw things well both offensively and defensively, and had good stamina.

But Roger made up for it as a trainer.

And that Mayweather vs Bramble bout is a good reminder of what a terrible referee Joe Cortez was. Cortez kept interfering with the infighting when both fighters were busy and there were no fouls. He seemed to think he was a fight choreographer and director instead of a referee. He's firm but he's fairly bad at his job.

Still not the worst refereeing I've seen in a particular fight. That distinction goes to Robert Gonzalez for repeatedly hindering Zahir Raheem against Rocky Juarez in 2004. Gonzalez was disruptive and prevented Raheem from fighting his fight. Most of the fouls he called were B.S. Seemed rigged to favor Juarez, who had potential but faltered in every big fight.
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Old 05-21-20, 02:50 AM
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With most boxing postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, I've been spending a little more time on local boxing trivia. That includes a few discussions on a Facebook local history group.

A couple of things turned up that seemed to reveal the rumors were true about crossovers between amateur and professional boxers back in the day.

We already knew some of the history of the naming conventions for boxer pseudonyms and aliases. From the 19th century, bans or restrictions on boxing and licensing led to many boxers using false names, often adopting names commonly used by other boxers: Dempsey, Walcott, Flynn and other names were commonly recycled with variations. Pretty similar to radio station DJ names. My brother was a DJ and occasionally used the alias "TJ Hammer," which was also used by two or three other DJs. There have also been a lot of Murphys in radio personalities, rarely their real names.

I was curious about what had happened to a few amateur boxers I remembered from the 1970s and dug around. One, whose name I still can't pin down, was a welterweight who won the city or regional Golden Gloves in 1973 or '74, every bout by knockout. I remember thinking he was much too good to be an amateur. Sure enough, it appeared he had fought as a pro -- with a mediocre verifiable record -- and for some reason entered the Golden Gloves under another name. If I'm recalling correctly, he was beaten in the state Golden Gloves finals by Robert Escalante, who was a two-time state welter champ between 1973-'75.

That memory set me off down another rabbit hole. I remembered Robert Escalante well. Officially he was from Seguin, Texas, which many local newspaper reports from that era confirm, along with his photos -- Escalante somewhat resembled a bigger Salvador Sanchez, with the same fluffy '70s sorta-Afro do, and the same nose shaped like an arrowhead. Escalante was a little older than I, and I was a lightweight, so we never sparred. But I watched him work out often and saw as many of his bouts as I could. I remember him losing only one bout, a smoker, one of those weekly fight nights starting in autumn leading up to the Golden Gloves. Robert was overweight, around 155, and was matched against a slick boxer name McKinney (first or last name, I don't remember) who just plain outslicked the out-of-shape Escalante.

Robert was a swarmer and power puncher, around 5'10", with an aggressive, forward moving style. Instead of using his reach to box safely, he used it like George Foreman, to corral opponents into range, bull them into the ropes and pound away.

I learned the classic 1-2-1 combo from Escalante, which used to be popular but fell out of favor until Manny Paquiao brought it back into the arsenal. Unlike most Hispanic fighters, Robert didn't really have a deadly left hook. Instead he throw a conventional left jab, right cross... and then followed up with an unexpected punch -- a straight left cross. He already had an opponent at the end of his punch, but instead of stepping in with a short left hook, he'd return to neutral stance by throwing a left cross. This wasn't the Dempsey Shift adopted by Golovkin. With the 1-2-1 the boxer retains the classic left foot forward stance. But with his body turned from the torso, cocking the left, he'd fire a long left cross.

That was also classic Danny Little Red Lopez, who switched equally from finishing a three punch combo with either a short left hook if the opponent was within range, or a long left cross to keep a retreating opponent off balance.

I copied the heck out of that trick and it worked well against most opponents. The problem is it leaves the puncher open to counters from a clever opponent. But that was rarely a factor in the amateurs. Lopez was often caught by counters from opponents who caught onto his long left cross. Salvador Sanchez whittled away at Lopez, between the ducking overhand right, and countering that third punch in the 1-2-1.

It worked well enough for Escalante that he lost only to the very best in the country, or world. In three or four national finals he lost only to Carlos Palomino, Ray Leonard and Clint Jackson, all world class fighters (although Jackson fizzled after winning a medal in the 1976 Olympics and ended up in prison).

I lost track of Escalante after I went into the Navy in 1976. Apparently he also went into service, the Army, and continued amateur boxing. But it's tough to sustain an amateur boxing career in the military. I never could get on with a military team. The closest I got was a sort of audition, sparring the then-Marine Corps welterweight champ. I thought I did okay and outboxed the guy, but he was holding back, not really putting much effort into it. Apparently I didn't do enough to impress the coach and didn't get picked up by the team. My last bout was in 1978, supposedly an exhibition against a much larger Marine. I weighed 150, he was closer to 6'6" and 175. After he connected with a few punches I realized he didn't get the message that this was an exhibition because there was no opponent in my weight class. Kinda annoyed me so I beat the crap out of the guy, but left with a ferocious headache. Decided it was stupid to risk brain damage for low level amateur bouts that wouldn't get me a spot on the team, so I quit while I was ahead.

I couldn't find much about Escalante after a 1978 or '79 hometown news story saying he was an Army corporal and boxing for the Army team. The next story jumped ahead to 1981. Apparently there was some conflict during a traffic stop back home in Texas and some law enforcement officers beat Escalante so badly he suffered permanent brain damage. I was sorry to hear that.

It's difficult to second guess how things escalated. We've all seen videos of violent incidents between cops and citizens, in which both sides said or did things that may have escalated the conflict.

I do remember one incident in the Golden Gloves gym in Fort Worth, back around 1973 or '74. I think Robert was recently married, had put on some weight and wasn't his usual sharp, aggressive self in sparring. A kid on my team, a bantamweight, made some wisecrack about Robert being "pu$$y-whipped." Judging from the fire and sparks coming out of Robert's eyes, the kid was lucky he was so much smaller. If they'd been the same size I'm pretty sure we'd have needed a shovel to scrape the kid off the gym floor.

But that doesn't prove Robert did anything to escalate the conflict with cops a few years later. He was a military veteran and NCO, accustomed to authority. Seems unlikely he'd have instigated any trouble. But he may have been unwilling to back down either. Who knows. I do know some rural Texas cops were pretty brutal and corrupt back then. We had more than our share of abuse of authority before the feds investigated rampant corruption, extortion and murder committed by a rural sheriff's department during the 1990s.

I noticed from the Box Rec site a couple of interesting entries for a Robert Escalante and a Robert Lee Escalante. The entries indicated the two had been confused with each other. One was the well known nationally ranked amateur. The other had a few undistinguished pro fights. One was from Seguin. The other supposedly was from Fort Worth.

But here's the tricky bit... I met Escalante in Fort Worth in the early to mid-1970s. He stayed in town when training for the state Golden Gloves because we had the best gym in the state. He didn't commute between Seguin and Fort Worth every day. He may not have been considered a resident of Fort Worth, but he often stayed here.

And the Escalante who was reportedly from Fort Worth and fought a few pro bouts was the same guy depicted in the Seguin newspapers who was well known as a nationally ranked amateur and two-time state welterweight champ.

My best guess was he may have needed some cash, took a few pro fights, realized there was no real money in it, returned to amateur boxing, then joined the military to pay the bills.

I came close to that in 1976 when I worked out at a gym in San Diego. I couldn't find a good amateur trainer but a local pro trainer was willing to take me on for awhile. I trained with one of his pro prospects who was my size and did well. The coach told me to look him up if I ever decided to turn pro. But I was transferred a few weeks later and could barely keep up training for a few amateur smokers on base.

But only Robert Escalante would have known whether he was among the folks who moved between amateur and pro ranks. And he's gone now. It would have been an interesting story. I'm sure plenty of boxers would have some great insider stories of a gritty profession, if they didn't worry about any legal consequences. It's sure not like the rather pampered basketball players who can turn pro and still compete in the Olympics, then go back to playing pro again.
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Old 05-22-20, 12:41 PM
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james pipps ? bubba busceme ? johnny tapia ? >>> i used to hang with guys that moved in these circles
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