He's Not Heavy, Father, He's My Brother-in-Law and Other Irrelevancies

By Michael Katz


He's Not Heavy, Father, He's My Brother-in-Law and Other Irrelevancies

Within two weeks, each of the fighting Marquez brothers moved up a weight class and beat a dominant champion and in the rush to judgment were proclaimed the greatest brother act in history.

What nonsense. Rafael and Juan Manuel will never replace Groucho, Harpo and Chico never mind Zeppo and Gummo. Yes, they are now each in the upper echelons of my pound-for-pound ratings, but when it comes to a brothers list, how can anyone put them ahead of the Marx boys.

Or the Blues Brothers.

Or Warner Bros.

Or Cain and Abel, who provided the very Genesis for sibling rivaly. The Good Book obviously did not have too high an opinion of brotherhood, what with Jacob swindling Esau out of his inheritance and Joseph's brethren, green with envy of his coat of many colors, selling him into slavery.

The Marquezes do much better being ranked as fighters, either singularly or in tandem.

Yes, I would put them ahead of the Brothers Klitschko.

But not the Brothers Karamazov.

Or the Ringling Bros.

In ring history, the boys from Mexico City rank ahead of two pairs of Dundees (Johnny and Vince. Chris and Angelo, and certainly Donald and his half-brother Bruce Curry. I'd put them slightly behind Leon and Michael Spinks - the Marquez kids are better all-round fighters - but each Spinks winning an Olympic gold medal and the world heavyweight championship gives them the edge.

Even in my up-to-date ratings, they are not at the top. You will see. 

Some might argue that Muhammad Ali and his brother Rahman, like Henry and Tommie Aaron in baseball, should top the all-time list, but I believe one brother can not monopolize the family jewels (Joe, Dom and Vince DiMaggio, or the three Alous, could argue for quantity, but frankly, my favorite baseball brethren have something to do with names - Dizzy and Daffy Dean of the Cardinals, Big Poison and Little Poison Waner of the Pirates).

There are family lines throughout my new, revised pound-for-pound list, too. Floyd Mayweather Jr., after all, has been trained by his father, Floyd Sr., and also by Uncles Roger and Jeff (the three Mayweather brothers obviously beat out Carl and Lou Duva on any list of trainers. We are not doing all male relations, but it should be interjected that Floyd Jr. is not the top nephew. That honor belongs to another set of brothers - Huey, Dewey and Louie, the triplets of Unca Donald.

In case this is Little Floyd's final fight, I want him to exit on top so I've put him back as No. 1. Last winter, I dropped him behind Manny Pacquiao to No. 2 after watching Mayweather fail to throw combinations against Carlos Baldomir, evidently for fear of hurting his brittle hands. Nothing wrong with Pacquiao's hard hands, though. We shall see the two of them with 21 days of each other, Manny vs. Jorge Solis of Mexico on April 14 and Mayweather against Oscar de la Hoya on May 5.

Obviously, Pacquiao has the easier assignment, though Solis is undefeated and, drum roll please, has a brother, Ulises, who is a world title-holder. Mayweather is in danger not only because de la Hoya probably can still fight a bit, but a quick perusal of the Vegas scorecards last weekend at the Mandalay Bay indicate some of Pretty Boy's opposition could be sitting on the aprons.

As my New York guru, Johnny the Bos, pointed out, "It seemed that the Golden Boy fighters didn't lose a round on the official cards."

Then he told a story about a night at the Taj Mahal in Hap Hazzard's New Jersey when George Foreman was defending his so-called "linear" title against Shannon Briggs. Bos was standing in the back with Marc Roberts, then Briggs's manager. After every round, the nervous Roberts would turn to the esteemed expert and ask, "Who won that round?"

Most of the time, Bos said it was Foreman.

"Yes, but was it close?" Roberts would ask.

In other words, was it close enough for judges, if so inclined, could still give the round to Briggs? It turned out yes, because Hazzard's boys - the never-before sighted Larry Layton (by 117-113) and Calvin Claxton (116-112) had Briggs ahead in a fight most ringsiders thought Foreman had clearly won. The third judge, Steve Weisfeld, had it 114-114, which at least was in the same zip code as the ring.

The scorecards last weekend were every bit as strange. Another nephew, Demetrius Hopkins, was given a gift decision over the much more deserving Stevie Forbes as Golden Boy "partner" Bernard Hopkins squirmed at ringside. Then Gerry Penalosa won a total of two rounds on three official cards in a fight with Golden Boy's Daniel Ponce De Leon while many reporters felt the Filipino's sharp counters of the wild Mexican's misses should have been rewarded with another title, certainly not scores of 119-109 (twice) and 120-108.

Even in the main event, which Juan Manuel Marquez deserved to win, the official cards should raise more than eyebrows. Yes, Marco Antonio Barrera is a Golden Boy "partner," but he was mumbling about retiring. If he had won and, especially if a rematch with Manny Pacquiao could not be arranged because Golden Boy and Bob Arum's can't play nicely, and he retired, the WBClown title he had would have gone vacant and left Golden Boy coffers. Yes, if I were Little Floyd, I might want to go for a knockout against de la Hoya rather than leave it up to Nevada judges.

Remember, brothers don't have to be honest. That list, by the way, is led by Frank and Jesse James, though in England, I'm sure the Krays Brothers would argue that assignment by ripping off my head and nailing it the pub floor.

Anyway, we can always sic the Earp brothers on them bad guys.

Let us summarize our pound-for-pound list so far:


NO. 2: MANNY PACQUIAO, whose brother Bobby we have not mentioned, but the PacBros. do not rate as highly as our next pound-for-pounder.

NO. 3: WINKY WRIGHT, who has an important summer date with Bernard Hopkins, will not be assisted by his famous brothers, Orville and Wilbur, who have flown off to history.

NO. 4: RAFAEL MARQUEZ. He'll have to beat Israel Vazquez again and again it won't be easy, but I still rank him slightly ahead of his big brother.

NO. 5: JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ. He made Marco Antonio Barrera, one of the all-time greats, look old and slow. Of course, that could be because Barrera has perceptibly grown older and slower.

NO. 6: JOE CALZAGHE. Slipping a bit, not only because of the Marquez recent triumphs, but for putting on his dance card such as Peter Manfredo instead of the winner of this weekend's excellent 168-pound matchup between Mikkel Kessler and Librado Andrade.

NO. 7: JERMAIN TAYLOR. Ditto. He actually tried to get a match with Sergio Mora, who decided he was too big for Memphis, so Taylor instead will meet the more deserving Cory Spinks.

NO. 8: BERNARD HOPKINS. He next takes on the best boxer of the Wright Brothers, a formidable task even if he were ten years younger. Now, with his work rate only slightly greater than some senior citizens, he could easily be outhustled - unless, of course, the judges see it differently.

NO. 9: MARCO ANTONIO BARRERA. Too many great nights, too many great fights for him to drop too far.

NO. 10: RICKY HAT TON. He, too, has a fighting brother, but his perch in the top ten is very precarious unless he comes up with another Kostya Tzyu performance soon. He might need it in June against Jose Luis Castillo.

Speaking of whom, NO. 11: JOSE LUIS CASTILLO. More about him in the PENTHOUSE.

NO. 12: JOEL CASAMAYOR. Speaking of Cuba?.

Let's not forget the Kennedy brothers - John, Robert and Teddy.

Or Fidel and Raul, who rate on the political brother list ahead of the Baldwins.

Sing it, baby. Start with the Mills Brothers. Add Bing and Bob Crosby.

Of course, there are the Ames Brothers, Everly Brothers, Righteous Brothers, the Gaitlin Brothers and the Bee-Gees. Okay, after the musical interlude - wait, how about Johann Sebastian Bach's nest of boys? - back to the list.

NO. 13: SUGAR SHANE MOSLEY. This may be the highest ranking any sparring partner has ever received. Interestingly, this Golden Boy "partner" was quoted in a Manila paper saying that neither Juan Manuel Marquez or Marco Antonio Barrera were strong enough to handle Manny Pacquiao. Agreed.

NO. 14:  OSCAR DE LA HOYA. The Boss, Mr. Midas himself, is beginning to bore me with the hype.

NO. 15: JOAN GUZMAN. Now here's a worthy opponent for Juan Manuel or Marco Antonio. So is Humberto Soto.

NO. 16: DIEGO CORRALES. Oh, Chico, moving up two weight classes and taking on Joshua Clottey in your welterweight debut - what a man. But reach an agreement with Joe Goossen, please.

NO. 17: CHRIS JOHN. People I don't trust said Juan Manuel Marquez won eight of the 12 rounds when the Indonesian got the hometown decision. Even if he won only four rounds, that should be enough to warrant inclusion here. Plus, doesn't he have a brother Elton?

NO. 18: ISRAEL VAZQUEZ. Exactly the same spot he was in before losing to Rafael Marquez.

By the way, 18 is a lucky number in Israel (in Hebrew, the letters spell chai, or life, as in l'chaim, to life), though I do not think Vazquez would be a true believer after that nasty cut robbed him of the opportunity of rallying.

Apropos of nothing in particular, Romulus and Remus were brothers with whom a Wolfman could empathize.

No, I have not forgotten the City of Brotherly Love. Or the Twin Cities.

NO. 19: MIGUEL COTTO. With Zab Judah on the schedule, he'll have a chance to rise.

NO. 20: NOBUO NASHIRO. Okay, after knocking out Martin Castillo he goes after Alexander Munoz for his tenth pro bout.

NO. 21: JORGE ARCE. Loved Bob Arum's line to the Lollipop Kid at San Antonio press conference, "Please don't ride in on an elephant."

NO. 22. MARTIN CASTILLO. Losing to guys in the top twenty should not send you to ESPN2.

Still have some brother acts to mention.

All those guys on "Bonanza," Hoss and Little Joe and whatever.

The Brady Bunch?

The Seven Santini Brothers, a moving experience in New York and never mind Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Brother Rat.

The Smith Bros. I've got a confession. I was 24 years old before I realized that the names on the cough drop boxes of those bearded gents were not "Trade" and "Mark."

The little Christian Brothers, who made the little brandy I'd drink at Gough's across the street from the New York Times.


Dr. Joyce Brothers.

No, I'm not going to start with the Andrew Sisters.

PENTHOUSE: As promised, Jose Luis Castillo, who while working the corner of his brother Ricardo, who was being beaten up by Celistino Caballero in a title fight, did what too many corners don't do - he stopped the slaughter. Ditto for Al Certo, who quickly halted bloody Vinnie Maddalone from taking more of a beating from Evander Holyfield. Let the fighters bitch and moan. That's good. It lets the audience know they're not quitters; but bravery is no asset on the apron.

OUTHOUSE: Nevada officials, starting with Keith Kizer, the new executive director of the State Athletic Commission. I find it disconcerting when the camera happens to catch him during a bout. He's almost never looking at the ring. Maybe he should get in a whole new set of officials after last week. Not only the judges had a terrible night, but Referee Jay Nady lived up to all of Zab Judah's bad reviews by blowing the Barrera knockdown of Juan Manuel, then with Marquez on all fours, was slow to step between the fighters. You could almost see Barrera's confusion. If Nady had acted properly, there would have been no foul. Which reminds me of the inconsistencies in Hap Hazzard's state. When Riddick Bowe, an obvious favorite of the Jersey commission, hit Buster Mathis Jr. deliberately when Young Bus was down, Hap overruled Referee Arthur Mercante's decision to disqualify Bowe. Later on, though, Hap overruled Referee Tony Perez's decision NOT to disqualify Roy Jones Jr. for hitting Montell Griffith when down.

DIS AND THAT: Correction: Carl King did not get a third of Ray Austin's undeserved purse, his original managers did, I am told. Nonetheless, when Don King gets $2.1 million to supply Austin for Wladimir Klitschko and gives the fighter only $1 million, I'm not sure that should add up to a Papal audience. Moreover, when King and Austin have the motor running on the getaway car after Austin tanks his effort, I'm sure Benedict XVI must have had a few questions for King Con?.Talk about gall, King asked the Pope to pray for George Bush. Oh, Satan where is thy sting?.The comebacking Vitali Klitschko was sitting around the hotel in Heidelberg with none other than Lennox Lewis, who was at Wladimir's workout for HBO. Vitali pleaded again for Lewis to come back and give him a rematch. Lewis, 41, told him,  "Since we fought, I got fatter and you got skinnier - besides, it would take me a year to get in shape to get in shape."


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