One on One With Randy Gordon

By Alex Stone


One on One With Randy Gordon

BT: What’s good, Randy?

Randy Gordon: “Everything is going great Alex. I’ve bee doing a lot of commentating for Cedric Kushner of Gotham Boxing, and Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing. There is also a new boxing series which I will be working on starting soon by Ron Katz. It’s a bit like ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights”, except all of the fights will pair two rising or top contenders. This will be great because it’s unlike other programs in which an undefeated star is just beating up on a tomato can.”

BT: Randy, you were the New York State Athletic Commission from 1988-1995, which was back in the Tyson era. At the time boxing was more popular than it is today. Why is that?

RG: “Well, boxing is such and exciting sport, and anyone who takes boxing seriously and has really followed it can tell you that at its best, it’s exhilarating. When I was editor of Ring Magazine, you had Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, and Tommy Hearns, each of them all time greats, in the same division. The thing was that they all fought each other, sometimes more than once. Boxing also used to be on network cable stations every week, for free. When Tuesday came around, you always knew boxing was going to be on. The announcers were also well known and respected as well as great to listen to.”

AS: What exactly do you think happened that plagued the sport, making it much less watched?

RG: “I’m not exactly sure. In the 70’s and 80’s, ABC came though with Ring Magazine and Don King to make “American Boxing Championships.” It was a great show, but they just gave it up [Editor's note: it was given up by ABC because Ring Magazine's rankings were allegedly for sale]. Dealing with managers and promoters became too hard because they were only out for themselves. Now premier networks such as HBO and Showtime have a good majority of the shows, and not everyone has access to those channels. However, the single biggest problem in boxing is the god forbidden sanctioning bodies. In the 70’s you had the emergence of the WBC and the WBA, which was it. There may have been at most two champions in each weight class, but you could still follow who the champion was, and it would inevitably lead to unification. Then came the IBF in the 80’s. Now it’s the WBO, the IBO, the IBA, the list just keeps going, and suddenly there are ten so called “champions” and fewer contenders. Over the years, with fighters being less active, in addition to having so many alphabet champions, simply weakens the base of the sport.”

BT: So you think that it’s too hard to keep up with?

RG: “Absolutely. If you were to go out today and ask someone who the heavyweight champion of the world was, I’ll bet you they would say, “Oh yeah, isn’t it that big Russian guy?” The heavyweights used to be the glamour division in the sport, and now you don’t even know who the champion is. I blame the sanctioning bodies and boxing for letting it happen. There is no central governing body that can stop it.”

BT: What do you think needs to be done to restore boxing to its former greatness, Randy?

RG: “Quite frankly Alex, if I could snap my fingers and make it happen I would eliminate all of the sanctioning bodies. I would have one set of ratings, and it doesn’t have to necessarily be the system that Ring Magazine now uses. When I had Ring Magazine with Bert Sugar from 1979 to 1984, we had a great system. The top 100 boxing writers from around the world, I’m talking writers from Australia, Japan, South America, Europe, and so on, would send in their ballots every month. We didn’t have computers then so we tallied everything by hand, coming up with an honest ratings system. It would be much easier today with technology and all.”

BT: What do you think about a points system similar to that on [or the IBO], in which fighters are given points as to the result of a fight, exactly how they win or lose, and activity of a fighter?

RG: “I love that system, as long as it’s fair and unbiased. Some may not end up agreeing with the ratings, but as long as it’s honest they can deal with it. Today’s system is ridiculous. There are fighters ranked in the top five of the WBC who aren’t even in the IBF ratings!”

BT: Randy, it is clear that when it comes to boxing, you know what you’re talking about. That being said I would like to ask your opinion on some up-coming fights, recent issues in the sport, and certain fighters.

RG: “Let’s do it!”

BT: Pacquiao – Morales III.

RG: “At this point Pacquiao is a bit too strong and a bit too fresh. Pacquiao by KO in 6 or7.”

BT: Ruiz – Chagaev.

RG: “Ruiz is a much better fighter than people give him credit for. Many people have criticized him because they did not like his trainer, Norman Stone. Now that he is done with “Stoney”, Ruiz by UD.”

BT: Taylor – Ouma.

RG: “Excellent fight. Potential fight of the year candidate. A lot of punches will be thrown in this one. Taylor wins a very close, hard fought decision.”

BT: Wright – Quartey.

RG: “Wright will pick Quartey apart for an easy UD.”

BT: De La Hoya – Mayweather.

RG: “I would love to see this fight. If it happens, I believe the hand speed and foot speed of Mayweather will simply be too much. Mayweather will out-box De La Hoya in a close UD.”

BT: Shannon Briggs.

RG: “Shannon always had a champion inside of him. It is amazing that he has accomplished so much with asthma. Usually people who have asthma, especially a bad case like that of Briggs, play golf or something. They certainly do not box. He almost KO’d Lewis and kept a grueling pace in the beginning of that fight. Briggs can hold his own with anyone in the division. I do, however, think he needs to drop about 15 pounds to make things easier on himself with the asthma. Overall though, Shannon is exceptionally fast, nobody would ever expect a man his size to be so fast. He also has brutal punching power in both hands, which makes for a murderous combo, speed and power.  If he gets himself in decent shape, he is capable of beating anyone. I would love to see him fight Klitschko. If Briggs catches big Wlad, he is going down.”

BT: Joe Calzaghe.

RG: “Calzaghe has been hidden in the shadows of Europe for his entire career. When we all finally saw him, he easily picked apart a murderous puncher in Jeff Lacy, who most though would take Calzaghe’s head off. I would like to see more of him.”

BT: Peter Manfredo Jr.

RG: “He is getting better and better every time I see him. When he was on ‘The Contender’ I felt he was a bit raw and had some trouble making weight, but he has matured a lot since then. He absolutely obliterated Joey Spina and Scott Pemberton. Manfredo was also blatantly robbed in his rematch with Sergio Mora, which he clearly won. All in all, he has proven himself. He could very well be a future world champion; it wouldn’t surprise me at all. Manfredo sets a super fast pace and throws a lot of punches. If someone is not in tip-top shape then they are in serious trouble against him.”

BT: Roy Jones Jr.

RG: “One of the all-time greats. But the longer he stays around the more he’s tarnishing that record. I’ve heard he wants to make a permanent move to heavyweight, which is just stupid. As great as he was it’s time to say goodbye for Roy.”

BT: Evander Holyfield.

RG: “He is another one who needs to hang em’ up. A lot of people are saying that he has a little something left, but that’s just the problem, he may always have ‘a little something’ left, and he may very well end up getting seriously hurt. He probably will get a title shot though, with all the bogus sanctioning bodies. If I was still the commissioner in New York I would have done the same thing that Ron Scott Stevens did, revoke Holyfield’s license, except without all the fanfare. That wasn’t right, to expose and embarrass a true champion like that to the public.”

BT: Floyd Mayweather Jr.

RG: “I don’t think he will retire anytime soon. Floyd was hurting after the Baldomir fight with his hand, and the disrespect from Larry Merchant and the rest of the critics. It’s easy to make rash decisions right then and there like that. I do think Mayweather will fight again, and I do not think his next fight will be his last. Floyd however, lacks the KO power at welterweight, but makes up for it by hitting you so many times that you have no choice but to go down. He is on the cusp of becoming an all-time great, but needs a couple of more fights, one being against De La Hoya, before he can retire an all-time great. If we are speaking realistically that Mayweather will retire around 2009 or 2010, if he puts together a string of fights similar to De La Hoya, Mosley, Margarito, Hatton, and Cotto, in that time, and wins them all, he will be set.”

BT: Randy it’s been a pleasure, is there anything you would like to say in closing?

RG: “I have always thought that boxing is the greatest sport in the world, and I still do. It has some work to do in order to regain the luster it has lost. But I think it will find a way to do just that. Soon enough, boxing will be right back up there with sports such as football and baseball.”