One last look at the state of the game for 2006

By Jeff Young


One last look at the state of the game for 2006

Thoughts about Taylor, Wright and more

I figured I would do something different to start this year. First of all, I am writing something in the first week of the year so that puts me well ahead of last year’s pace. Lately I have been doing everything I can think of to motivate myself to write more for Boxingtalk, and what better way to do so than just start fresh in a new year, but before we get to 2007 I need to wrap up 2006.

First off I would like to congratulate my fellow Arkansas resident, undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor for his accomplishments in 2006. Lets see, in 2005 he beat undefeated Daniel Edouard, and followed that with two big wins over Bernard Hopkins. Man what a year that was, but too bad that was 2005. In 2006 you got a draw against Winky Wright, normally most would say great job but in this case you got a draw because Winky did not do more than what you did, particularly in the last round. That was followed by a fantastic victory of a 154 pound tough guy in Kassim Ouma. Not a great year in my opinion, oh and lets not forget that you were highlighted at a barbershop in your expensive sports car passing out money (which is fine, but is it too much). I also know of two instances in 2006 that you used the "I have not changed" phrase and the "Why should I care, I am rich" phrase. Let me tell you what "I am rich" gets you in boxing. It gets you beat and broke. It is the nature of the beast. You start talking about your wealth, you will lose it. Let me tell you what getting beat does to your fan base in Arkansas. Everyone loves you in the state now, but lose and that goes away. Your attendance numbers in Little Rock were not that great in my opinion. I mean Cory Spinks sold 20 thousand plus in St. Louis yet you got 10 thousand in your hometown. I know that your fight set a record for a live gate, but maybe that had more to do with ticket prices than it did with your popularity. But if you like the 10 thousand number keep winning, because if you lose you will be lucky to get 5 thousand. Also congratulations on making the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. Too bad that you probably do not deserve to be there yet as you are still active in your career, but maybe you can help get others in with connections to Arkansas, like John Tate and Sonny Liston. Until one of those guys are in, that Hall of Fame means nothing. Anyway, I would like to wish you luck in 2007. 

To Winky Wright: Let me say that you are one of the top middleweights in the world and at 154 you are simply the best out there, however, you are not bigger than the sport. Just because you had a draw against Jermain Taylor and just because the reality is that if the judges had not given Jermain the last two rounds you would have won and become undisputed middleweight champ, does not give you bargaining leverage with the recognized champion. Now do I think you deserve an equal split? Yes I do, because through your career you have been honest. But the answer to that question is also no I do not, because you stormed out of the ring saying no rematch. I mean you did not even come to the post-presser to state your defense as to why you were robbed. Actually you acted a lot like Joel Casamayor when he loses. After you and Taylor argued for months after the fight about rematches, purses, he's lying, no he's lying, we get you against Ike Quartey even though you stated that was HBO's idea not yours as you wanted a bigger name. Maybe that is the case, or maybe you and Golden Boy were trying to make a deal with DiBella with a trade out. You fight DiBella-promoted Quartey, Taylor fights Golden Boy-promoted Ouma and then you and Taylor go back to the name calling and talk about purses and 50-50, 60-40, I'll beat his ass for free, yet when it comes time to announce the fight (which will be a done deal on Friday and dead deal on Saturday) you will face someone like Cory Spinks and Taylor will fight Mora. Then you will say no one wants to fight you. 

I got an idea, maybe you and Taylor should forget about each other and here is why Winky. I would say that about 85% of the boxing public thinks you won the fight to begin with, and with your career being the way it is, you do not have to prove anything to anybody. Besides you did not lose the fight, it was a tie. Also let Jermain do the talking about why he has not progressed since turning pro. He is the same fighter with the same flaws. I have not seen any improvement, as a matter of fact, Jermain use to have a great hook to the body, hook to the head combo and it has seemed to disappear so maybe he is going backwards because he is rich and he does not need to worry about anyone, but he hasn't changed. So just be the bigger man Wink, let it go and wait for the winner of De La Hoya-Mayweather and trot into the Hall of Fame.

2006: Well 2006 was somewhat memorable I guess. We got to see Jeff Lacy exposed by Joe Calzaghe. We got to see Ricky Hatton come to HBO and America to win a version of the welterweight title in a very close decision only to give the title up to move back down to 140, because well in my opinion he knew what was going to happen. In 2006 we got to see Diego Corrales fall to Casamayor one more time, after failing to make weight ala Jose Luis Castillo. We saw possibly the last stand of Erik Morales as he was stopped yet again by Manny Pacquaio. Morales and Corrales claim that they will fight on, at least one more time, but they should say goodbye. Speaking of goodbye, Arturo Gatti gave his all once again in his final fight against Carlos Baldomir, who came from nowhere to capture the welterweight title by beating Zab Judah. We also witnessed the US debut of Nikolai Valuev, the 7-foot monster that holds the WBA title. That leads me to the next point.
To Scott Hirsch, manager of Jameel McCline: It is not shocking the world if Jameel McCline beats Valuev. Not even close. Jameel is the better fighter. In my opinion, Valuev is a circus act and for Jameel to beat him is not a big accomplishment. Actually it will be a blessing, because for Jameel to be champ would be a lot better than Valuev.

 The last thing to do before leaving the year behind is to point out that 2006 ended on a Tyson note, and started on a Tyson and Jim Lampley note. First to Tyson.

Listen Mike Tyson is not a story people. The man wants to be left alone. Sure he enjoys the spotlight, but if you keep dragging him into the spotlight, you are not helping the man. Look, I see a lot of sports stars getting arrested for drugs or DUI, guess what, most do not get mentioned. At most they get a one liner on the bottom of the sports ticker. In case of Tyson, it becomes front page news. Crazy Tyson in trouble again. Look the man has addictions. He has told people this. He has told people to quit caring for him. Give him what he wants. Leave the man alone. He does not need you nor does he need a prosecuting attorney who wants to say he convicted Mike Tyson to help himself in upcoming elections. So what you think he has had enough second chances. The last time I checked, Mike has not been given many second chances. What second chances are they, you mean the prison sentence he served for rape that most feel did not happen, or was it the prison sentence for road rage/assault by another prosecuting attorney that wanted a name. 

Maybe prison is not the answer. Maybe what Mike needs is a true friend to say look you are killing yourself. Maybe he needs someone to show they actually care about him, instead of hanging around because he is Mike Tyson. What mike needs is rehab and true friends. The man is paranoid because people have taken advantage of him for a long time, or maybe he is just crazy.

Now to Lampley: I just read, on this site that Lampley one of the best if not the best announcer of his generation. You have got to be kidding. Jim thinks he is smarter than everyone around, and if you don't believe me, ask him, or better yet listen to him when he hosts the Jim Rome Show and puts down every caller. You know most announcers, when going back to a replay of a fight they announced will say something like lets go back to last Saturday night and see how Emanuel, Larry, and I announced the fight. No Lamps, Lamps say lets go back to last week and see how I announced the fight, and oh yeah these other two guys were there as well, but I am the focus. 

And so we move into 2007, but before we do, lets take a moment to reflect on those that we lost in 2006.

Yvonne Durelle, 77; Kemal Kolenovic, 28; Enrique Palau, 27; and Tally Disolane, 27

Willie Pep, 84; Alphonse Halimi, 74; Jack Palance, 87; and Lamar Clark, 72

Curtis Leach; Trevor Berbeck, 52; Hearn Marler, 36; Carlos Jacamo, 67; Don Johnson; Eddie Blay, 63; Vincent Garcia, 20; and Herman Marques, 72

Shelby Walker, 31; Jimmy Lester, 62; Dick Wagner, 79; and Steve Vincent, 24

Al Hostak, 90; Payao Poontarat, 49; and Vic Patrick, 86

Rogerio Lobo, 35; Steve Mamakos, 88; Jack Warden, 85; and Paul Kennedy, 81
Preston Hartzog, 29; Fadly Kasim, 22; Dennis Shepherd, 79; Jonatas Dos Santos, 35; Mike Quarry, 55; George Washington, 79; Angelo Rogers, 83; Kitione Lave, 72; and Gene Tortorice, 72

Bobby Dykes, 77; Tee Jay, 42; Valentin Galeano, 64; and Floyd Patterson, 71

Tommy Gomez, 86; Tue Bjorn Thomsen, 33; William Boggs, 19; Ossie Sussman, 85; Hector Leyva, 24; and Eckhard Dagge, 58

Bassam Chami, 26; Tommy Yarosz, 85; Kevin Payne, 34; Davey Pearl, 88; Nick Barone, 79; Jeff Bowman, 42; and Julio Gallucci, 81

Wayne Parker Jr, 81; Mike Hunter, 45, and Ferny Carpentier, 87

Maxell Malinga, 58; Jack Fiske, 88; Jack Quarry, 83; Morris Leviege, 75; Ken Pedlar, 85; and John Thomas, 83

May you all rest in peace.