Notes from the Boxing Underground (The Best of Magnos Monday Rant Book 1)
The nickname honored his home town and his uncanny defensive skills. Opponents were constantly missing him with their punches. According to Boxrec. His three official losses occurred when he was past his prime. As an amateur Augie won both National A. He turned pro in At the age of 71 Ratner was interviewed in the August issue of Boxing Illustrated magazine.
Greb was not as other men; he started his fights at a fast pace and accelerated it as the fight went on. But of all his opponents Ratner considered Mike Gibbons the best boxer he ever fought. He employed a peculiar footwork—none of the fancy-dan steps some of the moderns use, but a gliding maneuver that proved amazingly effective and energy-conserving.
He knew every defensive move in the book, but he was by no means all defense. When he went on the attack, the punches came thick and fast, hard and true. He was a marvel. Only one film of Gibbons in action is known to exist—his 10 round no-decision bout with the great Packey McFarland. Sadly the film is not available on YouTube. Maybe our indefatigable editor can come up with it.
It is quite impressive and a revelation to those who think boxing back then was crude and unsophisticated. It is a rare glimpse back in time and well worth the ten minutes it takes to view it. It was directed by Joe Cross and chronicled his journey from a lb man suffering from a rare autoimmune disease and taking a handful of medications everyday to a lb picture of health.
He did this by drinking only vegetable juice, what he calls a Reboot, while spending 60 days driving across the United States. The movie was a great hit and is still very popular. I recently caught up with him by phone while he was traveling to Albany, NY for an appearance. Speaking with Joe, you immediately feel his optimism and positive attitude. His Australian accent is infectious, and his story of how he took control of his health is truly inspiring.
He plans traveling the world in an effort to lead by example in showing people how they too can change their lives. He is quick to point out he is not a doctor or scientist, but a man who just wants people to see how he was able to improve his health by making some important lifestyle changes. He is spreading the word about how we all have the power to do the same thing. I began our conversation by telling Joe how most of the books and movies I have read and watched about changing to a healthy lifestyle when it comes to food tend to be preachy and not at all flexible.
Many interject a strong political bias as well. His approach is different. You already know fruits and vegetables are good for you, but when someone gets up and says you should do this and you should do that, the message gets lost. The preachy side is not the way we educate, not the way we inspire, and certainly not the way we entertain. Make it fun, make it interesting, and make it something that resonates within. Find the answers we all know and then present the questions in interesting, fun, and inspiring ways.
Healthier is happier. Very few people. In the movie Joe drank only fresh vegetable juices for sixty days and then the viewers assume he was able to stop taking all of his medications. At that point I was pill free. Was I in the bad luck crowd or the stupid crowd? I got my answer. Is Joe a vegetarian? No caffeine. I will eat a hamburger but only in if it is good and from a reliable source.
I do not push a plant only diet. I talk about plant based. There are three things available for us to eat: plants, processed food, and animal food. I know when I do eat plant-only I feel better, but I am not ready for that now. Joe talked about how are bodies are programmed to go into famine mode, a survival mechanism from a time when we would live through feasts and famines.
After all, fat is stored energy. I would advise before doing a Reboot checking the Internet to make sure there is not a food shortage happening in Boston anytime soon. There are many who believe government should step in and play a role in what we should be allowed to eat.
I am all about market forces, and my role is writing books, making movies, and doing TV shows. I want to educate people, entertain people, and inspire people to make healthier choices that can affect their happiness and existence. People are sick and tired of being sick and tired. The more we demand it the more the tsunami of change will happen. The tour is going global. The movie is now available in 15 languages. I have a new movie coming out in September and am working on a possible program to be aired on PBS. With a base of ten million viewers of my movie, the scientific community is now talking to me.
I take their advice and regurgitate it in simpler ways so we can all understand it. Joe Cross is leading a revolution that is gaining tremendous momentum. He has boundless energy and the power to motivate and inspire. Watch his movie, read his book, listen to him talk, and you will be inspired to make the changes that will keep you from being Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Check him out at Rebootwithjoe.
Bobby Franklin can be reached at bob [at] boxingoverbroadway [dot] com. Ellis passed after a long battle with dementia pugilistica.
Mayweather Can’t Read…And? Magno’s Monday Rant
Jimmy Ellis was a superb boxer puncher who rose through the ranks beginning his professional career as a middleweight. Jimmy Ellis fought in what was probably the most competitive era in heavyweight boxing. Ellis and Ali were both from Louisville, Kentucky and began as boxing as amateurs under the tutelage of Officer Joe Martin. They fought twice before turning pro with the young Clay winning their first encounter, and Jimmy taking the decision in the rematch. Ellis turned pro under the management of Bud Bruner with whom he compiled a record of with 6 knockouts.
All of these opponents were top rated contenders, and many of the losses were by very close decision. Jimmy left Bruner and began training with his old friend Ali under the tutelage of Angelo Dundee. He also put on weight moving up to light heavyweight and then heavyweight. Ellis scored a spectacular one round knock out of Jimmy Persol in This win catapulted him onto the world stage and earned him a berth in the WBA Heavyweight Tournament to find a successor to Ali who had been wrongfully stripped of his title for refusing to be inducted into the Army.
Ellis was considered a long shot to win the title, but he surprised everyone by stopping Leotis Martin, winning a decision over Oscar Bonavena in a fight where he dropped the tough Argentinean twice, and then defeating Jerry Quarry over fifteen rounds to win the title in Later that year he would successfully defend his crown against Floyd Patterson. It was just a matter of time before the two would meet to unify the title.
On February 2, Frazier and Ellis stepped into the ring at Madison Square Garden to decide who the better fighter was. Ellis was coming off a layoff of a year and a half, while Frazier had remained active and was at the peak of his ability. Jimmy put on a valiant effort landing a number of strong right hands on Joe, but Frazier was unstoppable that night. After decking Ellis twice in the fourth round, Angelo Dundee stopped the fight before the bell rang for round five.
Ellis would never again challenge for the title, but he did fight his old friend Muhammad Ali in a twelve round bout in , with Ali stopping him in the final round. There were many exciting bouts at that time with so many of the contestants being evenly matched. Also, the top fighters did not duck each other. When the public clamored for a unification bout between Ellis and Frazier, both men agreed to fight. What a contrast to today when fight fans have been waiting years for Mayweather and Pacquiao. In the 70s just about every top fighter met at some point. Many, if not most of the matches then were highly competitive as the fighters were evenly matched.
Before these fights, fans would argue for hours over who would win, and no one could be sure. It was a very exciting time for boxing. Jimmy Ellis was not a big heavyweight, but his years working his way up from middleweight to heavyweight were a time when he learned his craft.
Even though he had a number of losses, he was learning his trade, and he learned it well. He had a tremendous right hand, which he combined with great footwork and speed. This combination allowed him to defeat much stronger fighters such as George Chuvalo and Oscar Bonavena while also outspeeding Floyd Patterson, and outsmarting slick counter punching Jerry Quarry. The accident caused him to lose the sight in that eye. His career was now over, but unfortunately, it was too late.
The years in the ring both in matches and the thousands of rounds of sparring in the gym had already taken their toll. Ellis was also a deeply religious man who sang Gospel along with his wife Mary Etta, who passed away in Jimmy Ellis was a gentleman who never spoke a bad word about anyone. He never gave less then one hundred percent when he stepped into the ring.
He always carried himself with dignity, and was a true Champion in the ring and out. He will be missed. Rest In Peace Champ. Former light heavy weight contender and long time Ring 4 member Jordan Tinker Picot passed away recently. Tinker was one of the hardest punching fighters to come out of the New England area with a pro record of with all of his wins coming via knock out. At Ring 4 events Tinker was always one to elicit laughter and he will be missed by all of us. He also got his start here in Boston doing a weekly drawing for the Sunday Arts section of the Herald back in the 80s.
You may not know his name because he prefers to not allow it to intrude into his pieces. Ken has always loved cartoons, and has been drawing, or what he calls doodling, since he was a kid. His dream was to be an actor and he pursued that career for many years, but found he made more money drawing caricatures of his fellow actors on the side. This led to the job at the Boston Herald, followed by working for Wall Street Journal, where he still contributes work every week. The first thing you notice when speaking to Ken is that there is a calmness to his voice.
He comes across as a man who loves people and enjoys his work. I ask him about how he calls his work doodling and not his art. I loved cartoons. I loved comic strips in the newspapers. I loved watching cartoons on television, and I loved Mad Magazine. Warner Brothers made a lot cartoons with caricatures of their famous players like Humphrey Bogart, and that just blew my mind that they were taking real people and making them into cartoons.
Were you taught drawing? I was curious what it was like to sit with these famous people and sketch them. I was in for a surprise. I work from photographs. Photos are sent to me via the Internet. Sometimes I get an assignment at A. Ken has been heavily influenced by the work of Al Hirschfeld. I ask if he had ever met the great artist,. I took that as the ultimate compliment. He was a very nice man. I never got to know him really well. After he died I got to know his wife and I got to go up to his studio.
I actually got to sit in his chair. That was. Louise Hirschfeld and the people at the Al Hirschfeld Foundation have been very supportive of my work. They can see I am influenced by, but not copying him. I read a quote from Irving Penn to him. I am an old fashioned illustrator.
I use a quill pen that I have to keep dipping in ink, and scratching on illustration board. With his upbeat yet easy going manner, Ken hardly seems to be a suffering artist. I find it amazing he is able to draw such meaningful doodles without having met his subjects. It is as if Ken has a sixth sense. I guess it was subconscious, but that is such a compliment. Ken got his start with the Wall Street Journal in I did every sport. I even did the Winter Olympics that year.
And it worked cause they had me doing that for almost four years. I bring up the subject of drawing political figures without having his own views, either positive or negative, come across. They just want me to show the person. It can be frustrating, but then I think of the paycheck and I push forward. Caricature can be a bit of a minefield particularly when drawing different ethnic groups. Because so many of the early illustrators had a field day making hateful statements with their disgraceful pieces.
Ken is comfortable with any subject he doodles. It usually is from ignorance and fear of the unknown. I ask Ken how old he is, and as he tells me he is 65 he reflects a bit on his very interesting journey. I got started in my late 30s that is when I got my first big break.
Things have just gotten better. Mort knew all these cartoonists at the New Yorker, and every week he would bring one in to talk to us, and we had people like George Booth and Charles Addams, and they were wonderful. And for our assignment every week we had to send a batch of cartoons to the New Yorker, and we had to bring in our rejection slip to show proof that we did it.
Ken had spent a number of years after school as a starving actor as he kept pursuing his dream. I was drawing and acting, that was my original goal and the reason I came to New York. I got a job in working in a summer stock company in Connecticut, and I was making more money doing their posters for the shows and doing caricatures for the actors. I still thought of myself as becoming an actor but it got to the point I was making more money doing illustrations, these rinky-dink jobs, but they were coming in.
But it all worked out, I have no complaints. But then things just started happening and it was great. I think you just sort of have to be ready. He was a salesman. If I was selling drawings that would be one thing, but he finally got it. Just before he died he told me he was proud of me, and that made it all right, but for years he thought I was a bum.
I help rescue dogs out of the shelters here in New York. Our main goal is to get them out of the kill shelters cause we have very bad shelters here in New York. I like drawing dogs too. I think they are such characters. After my conversation with this very warm and talented man I feel it is never too late to pursue your dream. I hope you will now feel you know the man behind those wonderful doodles you see in so many publications. The photo of Holman Williams and Marcel Cerdan which accompanies this article, having a conversation on a Paris rooftop has always fascinated me. I first saw it in the International Boxing Research Organization Journal, and Dan Cuoco, the director of that fine organization shared it with me.
All were great fighters who never got a shot at the title partly because of race, and partly because they were just too good. Author Harry Otty has written a fine book chronicling the careers of these boxers who deserve to be recognized by all boxing fans. In this photo, we see Williams who is at this point on the downside of his career, speaking with Cerdan who would two years later win the Middleweight Title from Tony Zale.
This is not a photo of two wise mouth punks talking trash to each other, but of two professionals, of two gentlemen spending some time together. Are they talking about their fight? About boxing in general and the techniques they use? Perhaps they are having a conversation about the cultural scene in Paris. What I find striking is how relaxed they are with each other. In this photo, both men convey class and dignity. The backdrop of Paris further enhances them. Both are impeccably dressed and could easily pass for a couple of writers or actors. It is a snapshot of a very different and interesting time.
Take a moment to study this picture and let your mind wander to just what their conversation was about that July afternoon on a rooftop in Paris. John L. He made a reputation for himself at an early age with his amazing strength, intimidating stare, and powerful right hand punch.
His fistic talent along with his magnetic personality and booming voice made him an instant celebrity. But, he never would have attained the prominence he did had it not been for the completion of the intercontinental railroad system. This feat of technology, comparable with the internet today, allowed Sullivan to crisscross the country putting on exhibitions and taking on all comers in four round matches. That Sullivan was a somewhat talented actor who loved performing on the stage, and that he was the first athlete to earn over a million dollars, most of which went to living the high life.
The only fault I find in this book is that often times I found myself wanting more details about some of the events, such as the time in Augusta Georgia where Sullivan, who had been drinking heavily grew so verbally abusive that a train hand knocked him out. Surely, this was a big deal, and I would love to have had more details about that incident.
I found this book a very interesting read and highly recommend it. It is the Neighborhood Youth challenge and will feature a team of young amateurs from the local gyms going up against a team of boxers from Connemara, Ireland. Outdoor boxing in Boston is a bit of a throwback to the days of the Great John L and should be a lot of fun.
I hope to see you there. Springs Toledo is well known in boxing circles as a very good writer who also knows his boxing. Whether writing about Harry Greb or one of the current champions, his style is a throwback to the days when boxing writers knew the craft of writing as well as the sport. You do not have to be a boxing fan nor do you need a knowledge of the Sweet Science to enjoy his work. However, if you do know your boxing history Springs will make you think more deeply about it.
In his book The Gods Of War, Toledo has compiled a collection of his essays in the first section and then takes us on a run through his selection of the ten best fighters of the modern era fighters who hit their prime after he calls this select group The Gods of War. Reading the essays in the first section you will hear echoes, not imitations, of A. Leibling and Raymond Chandler. Springs is not attempting to set the clock back with his style of writing, but rather he understands that boxing is the perfect subject for interesting and creative writing.
I think of the term coined by Gay Talese, creative non-fiction, when reading these pieces as they all have a certain sense of drama to them that deserves to be explored. I was pleased to see four essays on Sonny Liston, a fighter much too little has been written about. Springs absolutely nails it when he discusses the Ali Liston fight that was called off in Boston.
If that fight had taken place history may have been very different. Much of what is revealed here I know to be true. He talks about Alexis Arguello and the suffering this very decent man lived with all his life, a life that ended tragically and too soon, but one that is not uncommon in boxing. Boxing has a way of focusing our attention on the unfairness and cruelties of life, and Toledo uses his pen to paint a picture of this reality.
In the section entitled The Gods of War, Springs has developed a criteria for rating the greatest fighters. These greatest of all time lists are always controversial and guaranteed to raise the hackles of boxing fans, but in this case the author has used a very interesting and solid system for rating his picks. Will you agree with his choices? Probably not. But that is part of the fun. What will happen is you will be forced to think more deeply about your own picks. This is not just a list, but a series of short pieces that give the reader insight into each of the Gods of War.
I feel I am pretty knowledgeable about the sport having spent a lifetime around it, but I learned much by reading these essays. I would advise not jumping to the end to see the pick for the top spot, but rather read and savor each bio has you work your way to the end. There are surprises, but Springs backs up each of his choices with his terrific writing and deep insight. There are many books on boxing being published today. The Gods of War is one that deserves to be read by everyone with an interest in boxing, an appreciation of good writing, and those with an a desire to know more about the human condition.
I know it will remain in my library for many years to come. This used to be common practice as fighters warmed up for their bouts, loosening up and getting ready to do battle. Today, they are usually spending their time warming up while robotically playing patty cake on the mitts with a trainer or having batons swung at them. Golovkin actually moves around the room getting loose and is practicing the movements he will be using in the ring.
His mind is engaged. He is not just going through drills and repeating the same moves over and over again. He is visualizing his opponent in front of him, imagining what he will be facing in the ring. He is getting his body ready while engaging his mind. Golovkin is a very good fighter. He showed that when he rolled with a right hand while delivering his own knockout punch in the Geale fight. He has power, is in great shape all the time, and knows how to think in there.
He knows how to slip punches and create angles. He has been well taught and is learning his craft. He is also a class act, behaving as a gentleman before and after a bout. He carries himself well and sets a very good example. I do see problems for him though.
I think he can dominate the division, but I doubt we will ever see him reach his full potential. We may even see him regress a bit. This is because he does not have the level of competition to force him to improve. At this stage in his career he should still be forced to learn in each fight he has. He is a very focused and intellectual boxer, but he does not have the peers to pressure him to go beyond where he is now.
I saw some signs that he was getting just a bit sloppy in the Geale match. This is not to take anything away from him, it just shows that he is so good he does not have to pay for his mistakes. I doubt his camp is even able to find good sparring for him. In an earlier age they would have had solid journeyman sparring partners for a fighter like Gennady. Guys that would make him work in there, forcing him to hone his skills and continue to learn new moves.
He is very smart. He is very talented. I want him to prove me wrong. Bobby can be reached at bob2boxer [at] yahoo [dot] com. Curtis Cokes held the welterweight title from to He was born and raised in Dallas,Texas, where he still resides. Curtis was a gifted all-around athlete in high school, excelling in baseball and basketball.
He earned all-state honors in both sports and briefly played basketball for the Harlem Stars, a professional touring team. Curtis first laced on the gloves at a local YMCA and was undefeated in 22 amateur bouts before turning pro in This was at a time when there were eight weight divisions and eight undisputed champions. How quaint! By the mids Curtis had become a top rated welterweight contender.
Like all of his contemporaries he acquired contender status the old fashioned way—he earned it. The boxing world first took notice of Curtis Cokes when he upset future welterweight champion Luis Rodriguez in Rodriguez outpointed Curtis in their rematch four months later. The rubber match took place on July 6, in New Orleans.
The bout was the semi-final of a tournament to determine a new welterweight champion. Curtis stopped Rodriguez in the 15 th round, thus becoming the only fighter to stop the great Cuban welterweight in his prime. Less than two months later, in the final bout of the tournament, Curtis outpointed Manny Gonzales to win the crown vacated by Emile Griffith. Curtis Cokes had an elegant and refined boxing style of a type that is all but extinct today.
He was adept at both offense and defense but was primarily a counter-puncher— skills that were admired and appreciated by knowledgeable boxing fans. Films of several of his fights are available on YouTube. The rematch, two months later, ended similarly with Cokes unable to continue beyond the 10 th round. Curtis fought for three more years before hanging up his gloves.
He compiled a record, including 30 knockouts. Napoles and Hayward were the only fighters to stop him. After he retired from boxing Curtis was involved in various business ventures but he always remained close to the sport he loved.
I consider it the best boxing instruction book of the past 70 years. The book has reportedly sold more than 77, copies. Today, at the age of 76, Curtis Cokes is healthy and mentally sharp, with an amazing memory for the details of his career. Fortunately, he exhibits no ill effects from his 80 professional bouts—a testament to his superb defensive skills, physical conditioning and knowing when to hang up his gloves.
Aside from being an old school fighter Curtis is also an old school gentleman. He is gracious, engaging and warm. Interviewing this Hall of Fame boxer was a delightful experience. Mike Silver: Champ, the purists loved your smooth delivery and emphasis on basic fundamentals such as the left jab, footwork, counter punching and defense.
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I count myself lucky to have seen you fight on television. That is how you are remembered—that and your tremendous victories over the great Luis Rodriguez. How do you go about conveying your storehouse of knowledge to the young students at your gym? Curtis Cokes: Before we start teaching fundamentals that involve throwing and blocking punches, or how to get away from punches, I get their legs in shape. We work on walking and running forward and backward.
Footwork is such an important part of the sport.
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When I played baseball and basketball I knew I had to get my legs in shape because the legs are what carry the body. I worked every day on my footwork, turning left and right, backing up, going forward. Learning how to box is a slow process but you try to learn something every day. MS: Speaking of footwork, in my book, The Arc of Boxing , I asked the great ballet dancer Edwin Villella, who was a champion amateur boxer before he became a ballet star, to explain the similarities between the two disciplines. You cover the same topic in The Complete Book of Boxing.
An almost ballet type of body coordination gives a fighter a distinct edge. CC: The balance of a dancer is tremendous, and like a dancer a boxer has to be able to move and dance while maintaining his balance. You have to be able to have good balance to throw your punches.
When I played with the Harlem Stars basketball team I used to watch Goose Tatum, how he would get in position and block people out. It was amazing to see him do that so smoothly. You have to learn the smart part of boxing, because you want to come out of it the same as you went in. If you just go toe to toe it becomes a toughman contest and the toughman wins.
There are not too many people that know how to train fighters. My manager was Doug Lord. Doug was a good manager and he took care of me. He was not only my manager, he was my friend. I knew the boxing game and Doug, who owned an insurance company, knew about business. MS: You became welterweight champion in your 53 rd professional fight.
Two months ago a fighter with only 19 pro fights won a welterweight title belt. The fighter he dethroned had all of 24 pro bouts. Most become champions before they are ready to be champions. You can learn from the experience.
You have to take it step by step. You go from first grade to the tenth grade and then you graduate. Instead of learning the game they want to fight for a title too early even before they learn to tie their gloves on.source site
Mayweather Can’t Read…And? Magno’s Monday Rant | The Boxing Tribune
Back in the day you had to have at least 30 or 40 fights to get the experience before you challenged for a title. I watched those guys when they were fighting. I tried to copy their style. I trained with him when I was a kid and he was lightweight champion of the world. I went to Houston and sparred with him and he told me that I was going to be a champion. Brown would show me how he would throw punches and miss them on purpose to make a guy move his head in the range of his right hand.
And I started doing it—I would purposely miss a jab on the outside so my opponent would move his head to the inside where he was in my right hand range. I was a good right hand puncher. So did Luis Rodriguez.
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND
Emile Griffith did some of that. Those fighters, they were smarter than these guys today who just go out there and hit. They all told me I was going to be champion of the world one day and they helped me quite a bit. Saul Alvarez hops and skips over pressure to fight Golovkin-- pressure surely engineered on some level by HBO to get their pet fighter some actual bankable star power—to fight a go-nowhere PPV bout against a go-nowhere Liam Smith. You can email Paul at paulmagno theboxingtribune. Enter your email address to sign in or create an account on SportsBlog.
Your email address. Email me a link to sign in Or sign in with Facebook, Twitter, or Google. We sent you a link to sign in. Please check your inbox! Articles Blogs Authors Results. For the first and possibly last time in our lives, reform is something real and something that we can reach out to and almost grab. Instead of preaching to the choir and limiting all promotional efforts to within the boxing niche, Haymon is actually reaching out to the mainstream sports fan and curious onlooker.
For the first time in well over forty years, someone with real power in the industry is actively seeking out new fans. Instead of limiting promotional efforts to the same million die-hards who watch boxing no matter what, Haymon and Co. If Premier Boxing Champions succeeds, boxing suddenly becomes a viable economic investment for big businesses and sports-minded corporations. With the influx of real money and real business people comes the forced exodus of the con man hustler skimming off the top, cheating fighters, rigging outcomes, and having a good laugh about all of it with the media members who feed off the lint in his pocket.
Real business involvement means that fans will get honest, fair fights with reasonable outcomes. Or have those entrusted with the well-being of the sport actually conspired to keep things just big enough to amass their fortunes, but not so big that it escapes their full control?