“I fought Sugar so many times, I’m surprised I’m not diabetic.”
– Jake LaMotta on Sugar Ray Robinson.
As I’m sure you’ve heard Jake LaMotta died this week. If the name doesn’t immediately ring a bell maybe you’ll know him from The Raging Bull, a classic motion picture of his story. Known as one of the toughest fighters of his era with one of boxing’s greatest chins, it’s amazing he was able to live such a long life post boxing. He was 95. RIP
Andre Ward Retires
We’ve seen a lot of retirements this year from future hall of famers and the class of current day greats. Add Andre Ward, who was a 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist the and last American to win one, to that list.
This retirement announcement might have come as a surprise to a lot of people, well it did for me. He is undefeated at 33, is a World Champion, and possesses the skills that have kept him sharp and well preserved. Then again maybe for others who had been following Ward more closely this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
He’s had some layoff history in the past but has really done the most he could with the streaks of time where he was active. As we currently stand in 2017, after recently beating Sergey Kovalez twice, although both fights had a dash of controversy associated their results (the fist fight being so close and the second fight looking like the last blow was low although Kovalev was really running on flat tires and wasn’t going to last much longer), it’s kind of true to say that there isn’t much else left for him in boxing.
Congratulations to him. He’s one of the ones who will have gotten out at the right time and I think the boxing world will remember him for the champion that he is and not by anyone else’s expectations of him. He was the one in the ring. We’ll probably see him advance his position as a manager in the boxing marketplace. I’m interested to see what he’ll bring to the sport moving forward.
There’s Boxing on FREE TV tonight!
Friday September 22
At Tucson, Ariz. (ESPN/ESPN Deportes):
- Oscar Valdez vs. Genesis Servania, 12 rounds, for Valdez’s WBO featherweight title
- Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez vs. Jessie Hart, 12 rounds, for Ramirez’s WBO super middleweight title
- Michael Conlan vs. Kenny Guzman, 6 rounds, featherweights
- Mikaela Mayer vs. Allison Martinez, 4 rounds, female lightweights
This is a great fight card to see one of Top Ranks strongest hands, featuring Oscar Valdez and Gilberto Ramirez who often fight together on the same night. Subtract Jessie Magdaleno (who’s often featured with these guys) and replace him with Mick Conlan (one of Manny Robles’ other fighters) and you’ve got a pretty stacked “Future of Top Rank” card.
Saturday September 23
At Inglewood, Calif. (HBO):
- Jorge Linares vs. Luke Campbell, 12 rounds, for Linares’ WBA lightweight title
- Antonio Orozco vs Roberto Oritz, 10 rounds, junior welterweights
- Romero Duno vs. Juan Sanchez, 8 rounds, lightweights
Whatch this if you got HBO. Jorge Linares is one of the most complete boxers in the game right now. And between you and me I think he’s the best of all the lightweight “champions” in the alphaBELT soup isle. I’d like to see him face off with Mikey Garcia (who holds the WBC) after this fight. At this point in time no unification at all in this division (WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO belts are held by 4 different guys). In my humble opinion the lightweight division should be electric at all times and well this division needs a unifier like the Irish need a passing game.