Tag Archives: Cory Spinks

Boxing’s Prospects Fail to Make It to the Promised Land

by Paul Magno

Something’s been happening to boxing’s young prospects.

Actually, something’s not happening to them: They’re not winning.

The latest example was in this past Saturday’s Latin Fury 10 PPV, which saw highly-regarded Lightweight prospect, acosta-antillonUrbano Antillon, taste the canvas, and defeat, for the first time against the unknown Venezuelan stylist, Miguel Acosta.

On a personal note for Antillon, he failed in his attempt to win the vacant Interim WBA Lightweight title and failed to live up to the hype that had him regarded by Larry Merchant of HBO as a “can’t miss” future superstar.

However, in the big picture, Antillon’s inability to cope with simple lateral movement spoke of a greater problem behind the scenes of the sport. It spoke of a future generation of star athletes who are simply not being taught the skills to go along with their athletic promise.

The list of failed prospects in recent weeks is almost comical:

*Well-regarded amateur stand-out, Juan Carlos Velasquez, is defeated by Mexican journeyman, Jose Beranza, on Friday Night Fights. Velasquez actually seemed to be shocked and surprised that Beranza would fight back.

*Colombian banger, and destroyer of fellow prospect, Amir Khan, Breidis Prescott is outpointed by Miguel Vazquez, basically, because he had no idea how to deal with Vazquez’s head movement.

*Golden Boy’s Victor Ortiz is battered and psychologically torn down by Marcos Maidana, the first fighter with the nerve to actually keep fighting when confronted with the force of a “future superstar.”

*Alfredo Angulo is bested by Kermit Cintron because of his utter inability to deal with lateral movement, even when that lateral movement comes from a non-speedster like Cintron.

*Deandre Latimore is out-slugged by, of all people, a flat-footed and immobile Cory Spinks. deandre_latimore

One by one, the prospects are falling from contention and they’re not being replaced by veteran stars like in the case of Bernard Hopkins’ one-sided schooling of Kelly Pavlik.

Many of these young talents are being beaten by the products of hardcore boxing gyms in Latin America. They’re being beaten by fighters who, 10 or 20 years ago, would’ve been little more than a snack for talented athletes on their way to titles.

So, what’s the problem? What’s happening to our young lions?

Part of the problem rests in the fact that “old school” boxing trainers are mostly a thing of the past in the United States. For every Freddie Roach, there are a couple dozen trainers who would be better-suited working an aerobics class.

Serious boxing gyms are disappearing and the quality trainers are literally dying off.

There simply aren’t enough of the blood-and-guts Teddy Atlas-types who will take the time to teach their kids solid fundamentals and the value of being mentally prepared as a professional.

Instead, they are fed into an amateur system which now values arm-punches and “back-foot” fighting over a professional defense and a workable inside game.

In the modern amateur game, points are valued more than power and a light jab is a bigger asset than solid body punching.

It’s no wonder young fighters seem to be lacking a certain degree of mental toughness these days.

The second reason for this apparent failure of the young prospects has to do with our culture.

We are in a culture of instant gratification where anything worth having better be had right now.

It takes a lifetime to become a fundamentally solid professional boxer. It’s something that takes blood, sweat and tears. Hour after hour is spent going over one basic move, until it’s perfected.

Unfortunately, in a prize-fighting world of flailing, crude UFC brawls and “extreme” instant gratification, many young people simply don’t have the patience or dedication to sweat for hours at a time on something as mundane as learning how to walk the ring.

The scary part is that, at some point, those boxers who have taken the time to learn their craft, will retire, leaving behind this crop of talented, but not fundamentally sound pretenders.

Then, what will boxing look like?

Discuss This Topic on the BTBC Message Board!


Madcow’s Standing 8 Count (5/17/09)

by Madcow

Hello Everyone! It’s another edition of Madcow’s Standing 8 Count featuring James Kirkland’s least favorite madcow11shooting buddy, Me! I wonder why Kirkland hasn’t been on the range lately?

To say that this week has been a slow news week is like saying that your beloved Madcow likes his Jack and Water cold and strong…Duh! Other than Andre Ward finally acting like a real prospect and Edison Miranda quickly working his way back to eating roadkill, almost nothing of note has been happening.

So, rather than fill the rest of this column with filler about Mayweather-Marquez-Pacquiao and played-out debates on who’s better, I thought I’d take this opportunity to let everyone know what I absolutely hate about the sport of Boxing.

Here’s my list (in no particular order):

* Manny Pacquiao’s Fans (Especially the Filipino Fans)- I understand national pride- I felt the same way when the USA passed Mexico on the Swine Flu “Most Infected” list, but these Pac-fans are too much. In the past weeks I’ve read stories about Manny “easily” beating everyone from Cotto to Hopkins to Klitschko. Hell, at the Pac-land Forum, they aren’t debating about “whether” Manny can beat Mayweather, they’re debating about in which round he’ll knock Floyd out! Pacquiao is a great fighter, no doubt, but his fans need to bring things back to reality…Manny can’t beat the entire Indonesian Coast Guard and he probably would fare too well against the Nazi War Machine of World War II, either.

* Mayweather’s Mouth- If PBF could trash talk in an intelligent manner, I wouldn’t have a problem, but he sounds downright retarded sometimes and totally oblivious to the criticisms that come his way. So, Mayweather will go on and on about how a good little man will never beat a good big man despite the fact that critics are all over him for fighting Juan Manuel Marquez and, duh, Mayweather, himself, chose to fight the little man.

* Fighters from The Contender- Take a bunch of club fighters, slap them on TV and send them out into the real world with an inflated sense of self-importance and a mess of undeserved publicity. The result is crappy fighters in crappy fights wasting precious TV time that could be going to a legit class fighter.

* Catchweight fights- For crissake, fight in your own division and when you kill everyone around, then move up! If God had intended Juan Manuel Marquez to weight 147 lbs., he would’ve given the guy a shoe size larger than single-digits.

* Strawweights- Any athlete weighing less than 105 lbs should be either on top of a horse or wearing a mask in Mexican Lucha Libre.

* Overweight Heavyweights- Any 200+ lb. athlete with rolls of fat around his belly should be wearing face paint or an Indian headdress and wrestling in the WWE.

* Interim titles, “Regular” Champs, “Super” Champs- Either you’re champ or you’re not, no in-betweens. That’s why I respect the BTBC World Rankings- They don ‘t recognize any of that BS. Being an Interim or Regular Champ is like saying that you’re just “a little” gay…No, it doesn’t work like that. You’re either a champ or a challenger…

* The Mora-Spinks Syndrome- Fighters, like Sergio Mora and Cory Spinks, who talk tough and walk to the ring with a swagger, but fight like little biaaatches.

* HBO’s Influence Over Boxing- I hate the way HBO has been allowed to dictate to fighters, promoters and sanctioing bodies. Imagine FOX telling the NFL that the Cardinals aren’t allowed to be in the Super Bowl! I just don’t trust HBO…After all, this is the network that built-up the best series ever, The Sopranos, and ended its run with the lamest ending ever!

* Every Boxing Forum, except The BTBC’s (http://www.btbc.proboards.com/) and every Boxing Blog except this one and the BTBC…Boxing With a Bite! (http://www.btbc-boxing.blogspot.com/. Ok, will you get off my back now, Paul?

Well, my time is up here and I must be on my way. Cold drinks and warm ladies await.

Until next Sunday.

The Standing 8 Count (4/26/09)

by Madcow

Ahhhh….There’s nothing like a week off to really make a man feel at ease with the world. I was feeling a little guilty at madcow112first, but then I thought to myself, “Hey! You ain’t getting paid!” That made me feel a lot better.

Is there anyone who gets knocked out better than Jermain Taylor? I mean, look at his face and his body when he gets whooped! He gets this blank look in his eyes and his body crumples like one of my used kleenex. Now, there’s a man who has the decency to look whooped when he was whooped.

Congratulations to Carl Froch who followed the perfect strategy for beating “The Head of Block from Little Rock”: Throw punches and wait until Taylor gets tired and starts running into them. But, sorry, “Cobra,” you are still not “worthy” of a fight with Joe Calzaghe. It’ll take 10 more years and a loss to Sven Ottke to qualify you for “Super” Joe.

This Just In: Juan Manuel Lopez has just broken into Gerry Penalosa‘s house and his beating the Filipino up at his dinner table… And Penalosa still won’t go down!

Gerry Penalosa is a freaking robot. I’ve never seen anyone outside of a Friday the 13th movie take so much punishment and still keep coming forward.

Penalosa’s toughness aside, Lopez is a beast and will massacre most of 122 and 126.

Speaking of massacres, Allan Green finally found his mojo and starched Carlos DeLeon Jr. on the undercard of Froch/Taylor. This is the first time I’ve seen the potential from Green that so many claimed he had. Where was this version of Green when he “pussed” his way around the ring against Edison Miranda? Maybe the section of colon he had removed? May I suggest a similar ass operation for Andre Ward and Eddie Chambers?

Speaking of ass-work, Cory Spinks is back in the mix at 154 lbs. with his solid win over DeAndre Latimore on Friday. Actually, to be fair to Spinks, this one wasn’t actually all bad. I just have to say, though: Doesn’t Cory Spinks look like the biggest idiot in the world when he does his pre-fight dance thing?

What I want to know is why anyone still sticks with Don King as a promoter? With just about one real card a year, he has at least a half dozen solid fighters just withering on the vine. A 22-year old prospect like Devon Alexander should not have ring rust against a club fighter like he did on Friday’s undercard.

James Kirkland was arrested on gun charges and could likely see prison time for a parole violation. Would it be too much to ask of Ann Wolfe to cut her hair short like Kirkland’s and assume the young phenom’s fight schedule? I mean, gee, Kirkland was doing so well…

So, next week is the big one- Manny Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton. Let me be one of the first to say that, despite the 24/7 shows on HBO and all the hype, this is a mismatch. By the 4th round, Hatton will look like he was eating tomato paste without his hands. Forget all the pro-Hatton reasoning, Ricky doesn’t have a chance in hell. Pacquiao is going to beat him like Reginald Denny got beat in the LA Riots. This one will put the quaint and likeable chap, Hatton, into a much-needed retirement. And if Pacquiao is especially blood-thirsty on the 2nd, this bout will not be suitable for younger, more squeemish viewers. Floyd Mayweather Sr.- Bring a pint of O+ with you.

Apparently, Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s retirement is only going to last about 18 months. Rumblings are strong that “Money” will be coming back on July 18th against Juan Manuel Marquez and I believe them. Now, if it were rumored that he was coming back against a prime, world-class fighter in his own weight class? Then, I wouldn’t believe a word of it.

Ok, gotta run and see if I still have some money in the bank. I have a big vacation coming up. Paul, please remove all Swine Flu patients from the Central Mexico area- especially the zonas de tolerancia.

See ya next week, ladies.

2008: Year-End Awards

by Paul Magno

2008 was a solid year for the sport, sprinkled with a handful of surprising upsets and exciting battles. We saw some of the biggest names in the sport have their flames extinguished and we saw the lighting and passing of the torch to a number of younger names. 

In retrospect, 2008 will go down as a year of transition; A year in which we saw David Haye emerge as a factor in a stagnant Heavyweight division, Antonio Margarito battle his way to the top of a stacked Welterweight division; We saw young talents like Juan Manuel Lopez, Paul Williams and Chad Dawson become world-class players and an old war horse like Bernard Hopkins fight the odds to stay a Pound for Pound legend. Established stars like Manny Pacquiao, Joe Calzaghe and Juan Manuel Marquez moved up in weight and made a mark in their new divisions and Vitali Klitschko came back strong after a 4 year retirement to embarrass the reigning WBC World Champ. 2008 will be a year to remember if ony for the fact that it sets the table nicely for a very combustible 2009!

Without further ado, here are the Best of the Best in 2008:

Fighter of the Year:  Manny Pacquiao  ye1

Even before his shockingly dominant win over Oscar De la Hoya, Manny was a solid candidate for this award with a disputed win over Juan Manuel Marquez and a brutal beat down of Lightweight title holder, David Diaz. The win against Oscar made him a clear and obvious choice and with an impressive list of potential opponents in ’09, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back in this category again next year.

Runners Up:  Antonio Margarito, Paul Williams




 Fight of the Year:  Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez 3

ye2With 13 rounds and 2 fights between them, there was no loss in passion when these two warriors met for the tie-breaker in their series. The fight itself was classic, Rocky-style action with both fighters changing advantages over the course of the 12 round bout. Both warriors fought deserately to prove their superiority and, quite probably, left a bit of themselves in the ring that night. Whatever they made for that war, they should’ve been paid double.

Runners Up:  Antonio Margarito vs. Miguel Cotto,  Joel Casamayor vs. Michael Katsidis, Rogers Mtagwa vs. Tomas Villa

Event of the Year:  The Dream Matchye3

No other event captured as much attention as this showdown between the sport’s biggest draw in De la Hoya and the sport’s Pound for Pound best in Pacquiao. The mainstream press covered the bout and even the hardcore Boxing press reported on every detail leading up to the fight, often reporting with the fervor of gossip columnists instead of  sports journalists. The 1.25 million buys close to Christmas and in a struggling economy proved just how much this event captured the public’s imagination.

Runner Up: The Margarito/Cotto PPV



 Knockout of the Year: Edison Miranda KO 3 David Banks

ye4With potential opponent, Jean Pascal in the crowd, Miranda cracked Banks with an overhand right that left Banks dangling on the second rope, halfway in the ring and halfway out. The actual sound of the punch was like a rifle or a small grenade going off…and it effectively stalled talks with Pascal for a future fight.

Runners Up:  Paul Williams KO 1 Andy Kolle, Breidis Prescott KO 1 Amir Khan


Round of the Year: Kandall Holt vs. Ricardo Torres (Round 1)ye5

3 total knockdowns, a controversial headbutt and a brutal KO…all in a little over than a minute! ‘Nuff said.

Runners Up: Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez 3 (Rd. 12), Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Matt Vanda 1 ( Rd. 10)


The Pernell Whitaker Virtuoso Award:  Bernard Hopkins

Pavlik Hopkins BoxingAn absolutely masterful performance by a fighter who was supposed to finally get retired by a younger, hungrier Kelly Pavlik. Hopkins proved his critics wrong and the 43 year old virtuoso went on to win almost every minute of every round, even offering helpful advice to Pavlik after the thrashing.  School was in session and B-Hop is still Boxing’s head professor.

Runners Up: Nate Campbell (vs Juan Diaz), Juan Manuel Marquez (vs. Joel Casamayor), Carlos Quintana (vs. Paul Williams 1)



The Oliver McCall Puzzling Non-Performance in a Prime Time Drama Award:  Samuel Peter BOXING/

“The Nigerian Nightmare” slept his way through 8 listless rounds before passivley quiting on his stool. This, after being mocked and belittled during the entire publicity push for his fight with Vitali Klitschko. Did I mention that Peter was the defending world champ in this one?

Runners Up:  Cory Spinks (vs. Verno Phillips), Cristian Mijares (vs. Vic Darchinyan, Nikolay Valuev (vs. Evander Holyfield)


Breakthrough Fighter of the Year:  Juan Manuel Lopez

ye8In 2008, Juanma beat a fellow prosect (Jonathan Oquendo), a reigning world champ (Daniel Ponce de Leon) and two tough fringe contenders in high-profile bouts (Cesar Figueroa, Sergio Medina)…and he did all this while fighting a total of 6 rounds. Lopez has blasted his way into the hearts of Puerto Rican fans and has made his presence known to all Boxing fans, everywhere.

Runners Up: Alfredo Angulo, Carl Froch



Upset of the Year: Manny Pacquiao RTD 8 Oscar De la Hoya ye91

Few gave the much smaller Pacquiao a chance against the naturally larger De la Hoya. Those who tuned in, saw a masterful performance by Manny against an Oscar who may or may not have been weight-drained. Whatever the case, the end result was shocking and the biggest upset of the year.

Runners Up: Vic Darchinyan KO 9 Cristian Mijares, Breidis Prescott KO 1 Amir Khan


Robbery of the Year: Nikolay Valuev MD Evander Holyfield

APTOPIX Switzerland Boxing Valuev HolyfieldThis could go both ways, a robbery on two fronts. The judges’ decision was horrible and they literally stole the fight from Holyfield and The fight itself was so dreadful and dreary that the PPV asking price of 25 bucks and the price of the arena seat could be considered theft in and of itself…

Runner Up: The Dream Match PPV, Boxing Fans Losing ESPN Wednesday Night Fights and Solo Boxeo


The George A. Romero Gore Award:  Jorge Barrios ye11

Barrios’ lips was literally shredded by Rocky Juarez in their bout. The end result looked like something from the Director’s Cut of Night of the Living Dead. Truly Gruesome.

Runner Up: Miguel Cotto’s Battered Face After the Margarito Fight.


Much Ado About Nothing: Andy Lee

ye121After much hype, Emanuel Steward’s kid was outfought by journeyman Brian Vera on national TV. Not good.

Runners Up: John Duddy, Yan Barthelemy, Rey Bautista


Moment of the Year: A Victorious Hopkins Staring Down the Press ye13

2008’s moment of the year came when Hopkins went over to the side of the ring after his win against Pavlik and stared down his critics and doubters. Poignant, defiant, angered…whatever you want to call it, it was B-Hop taking something back from his critics and summing up an entire career with one emotional glare.

Runners Up: Oscar De la Hoya Slumped in his Corner, Miguel Cotto Taking a Knee vs. Margarito

The Instant Karma Award: Oscar De la Hoya

De La Hoya Pacquiao BoxingIn what was a cynical attempt at closing out his career with an “easy” win against a respected and combustible, but smaller Pacquiao, Oscar was surprised and soon found himself over his head. He was battered and embarrassed by his hand-picked foe and forced to humbly retire.

Runners Up: Cristian Mijares Taking Vic Darchinyan as a Joke, The Calzaghe/Jones PPV Buy Rate.





 The Piss or Get Off The Pot Award:  The Heavyweight Division ye15

Quite literally, the once-proud Heavyweight Division now consists of a bunch of big guys just waiting around for their money fights to materialize. The contenders aren’t fighting each other and the champions are hand-picking their foes..or simply not fighting at all.

Runners Up: Ronald Hearns, Allan Green 


Trainer of  The Year: Freddie Roach

ye16For his work with Pacquiao as well as a handful of other solid fighters, Freddie deserves this honor. Kudos to a class guy who understands that its his job to enhance a fighter’s natural abilities and not implant his own ideas and aesthetic into their head.

Runner Up: Floyd Mayweather Sr.


The George W. Bush “What Were They Thinking” Award: Paulie Malignaggi and his Dreadlocks ye17

Ugly, stupid and In the Way…Otherwise, a brilliant hairstyle idea for Malignaggi’s UK debut in the build up to his fight with Ricky Hatton.

Runners Up: Kelly Pavlik deciding to Fight Bernard Hopkins, Steve Molitor Signing to Fight Celestino Caballero


King Trash Talk: Vic Darchinyan

ye18“I can’t get enough of Mexican fighters. They bounce real good off the canvas when I hit them…Defeating Arce won’t take much training. It won’t even be a fight for me –more like pest control. I’m going to swat that Spanish Fly. How do you take a guy like Arce seriously? He sucks on lollipops and wears a cowboy hat from a toy store. I can picture him running around his house on a broom pretending he’s riding a horse. He’s a regular Schlepalong Cassidy. Arce is going to be my human piñata. Our fight will be like a Chihuahua against a bull…a raging bull!”

Runner Up: Nate Campbell

The Dr. Evil Laughable Villain Award: Referee Marlon B. Wright

Not only was the Canadian Wright trying his best to handcuff Librado Andrade all night in his bout with Canada’s Andrade Bute Boxingown Lucian Bute, he tried to seal the deal with an inept attempt to save the out-on-his feet Bute’s behind by spending nearly 30 seconds chasing Andrade back to his corner following a knockdown. The pisser? It was unnecessary since Bute was already up and saved by the bell in the last and final round. Wright just looked like an idiot, too slow to even cheat properly.

Runner Up: The WBO for instantly rating Marco Antonio Barrera #1 contender when he signed with Don King.



Mismatch of the Year: Miguel Cotto vs. Alfonso Gomez

yex1This was a mismatch from the time it was signed and it culminated with a dominant performance from Cotto which saw him sigh, roll his eyes and practically yawn his way through 5 one-sided rounds. If he had been wearing a watch, he would’ve been checking the time while beating on the hapless Gomez. Proving that the fans aren’t stupid, this HBO show became the lowest rated Boxing event in the network’s history.

Runner Up: Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Cesar Fuguroa


The Judge Judy Inept Judge Award: Doug Tucker (120-108 Jose Navarro over Cristian Mijares)

In a bout that the other two judges (and the rest of the world) saw Mijares winning solidly, Tucker found a way to give ye23every round to Jose Navarro. Maybe he was facing the wrong direction?

Runner Up: All 3 Judges in the Holyfield/Valuev Fight


ye24The “Hey, That Guy Drives My Bus!” Award: Chad  Van Sickle (vs. Odlanier Solis)

Boxing’s own Ralph Kramden briefly saw the spotlight before being beaten to a pulp by Solis.


The Big Bully Award: Pongsaklek Wonjongkam  ye25

This former WBC Flyweight Champ decided to take the path of least resistance after losing his title and then drawing with the new champ in a rematch. This 70 fight veteran fought 0-2 Akbar Mohammadpour in his next fight. He then fought back to back bouts against Danny Sutton and Amir Jordan, two fighters making their ring debut against the former world champ. Needless to say, Wonjongkam is 3-0 in his comeback campaign.

Will Shine in ’09: Chad Dawson, Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Lopez, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Jorge Linares, Alfredo Angulo, James Kirkland, Mike Alvarado, Victor Ortiz, Urbano Antillon, Abner Mares, Odlanier Solis, Cris Arreola

Stick a Fork in ’em, They’re Done: Roy Jones, Oscar De la Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Chris Byrd, Evander Holyfield, Marco Antonio Barrera, Yori Boy Campas, Kevin Kelley, Stevie Jonhston

Future Champ, 2031: Julian “Lights Out” Escobedo: julian21

Ok, indulge me…This is my nephew, Julian, in his Halloween costume…But he does indeed throw a wicked left hook and he’s been known to do his share of biting in clinches.All he needs is to perfect his Uncle Paul’s Shoulder Roll and he’ll be defeating all comers…Watch out world… The New “Lights Out” is on his way!!!






To all the Friends and Fans of The Blue Corner (The BTBC): 2008 has been a blast and we can’t wait to see what happens in ’09…Take Care and have a Happy New Year!

For Video of some of our Award Winners, check out our YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/BTBlueCorner

To Debate or Discuss anything written here, feel free to drop by Boxing’s Pound 4 Pound Best Boxing Forum, The BTBC: http://www.btbc.proboards.com/index.cgi

The Standing 8 Count (10/19/08)

by Madcow

Well, what can this crazed farmyard animal say about what Bernard Hopkins did to Kelly Pavlik last night? This was was such a complete and total boxing clinic that even I find myself unable to find the words. This fight brings up the question of whether Hopkins will ever retire. Think about it- in 55 pro fights over more than 2 decades have you ever even seen B-Hop with as much as a welt under his eye?  I’d hate to come across the man bad enough to retire The Executioner.

Man, the old guy was beating up on that kid so bad, I was tempted to call Child Protective Services…

But Hooray for us old guys! Maybe now this middle-aged columnist will get the respect he deserves when he walks into his neighborhood gym with his massive beer gut and Cheetoh-stained fingers. Don’t mess with us old-timers!

Inspired by Hopkins’ masterful performance, I put together a list of active geezers who are still kicking ass and taking names. So, without further delay, here’s Madcow’s Top 10 Geezers:

1. Bernard Hopkins (43): It goes without saying. The guy may have losses on his record, but he has never been dominated and, last night, he beat a 26 year old Pound 4 Pound guy. Think about it- Hopkins has beaten Howard Eastman, Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright and, now, Kelly Pavlik- all after his 40th birthday. Look up the word “bad-ass” in Webster’s and you’ll find a picture of B-Hop.

2. Nate Campbell (36): The guy beat  Juan Diaz, the great Mexican-American Lightweight wunderkind- in Mexico! And not only did he beat him, but he beat him up. Campbell was brought in as a faded ex-champ to be fed to Diaz, the ferocious Lion, but “The Galaxy Warrior” manned-up and showed the difference between a powerful kid and a strong man. Here’s hoping Campbell can get some money fights soon.

3. Vernon Forrest (37): The Viper’s still got some moves and is still the class at 154 until someone proves otherwise…and how can you not love a guy who beat the snot out of Sergio Mora?

4. Glen Johnson (39): Before showing this guy the door, remember that he holds victories over Roy Jones, Antonio Tarver and Clinton Woods…and he nearly upset Chad Dawson. What’s more scary is the fact that he’s shown no signs of slowing down.

5. James Toney (40): While “Lights Out” would be a long-shot to beat any of the reigning Heavyweight champs, there is nobody in the division who knows more about Boxing than him and he’d be a tough fight for anyone in the top 20. The guy’s fighting 10 years and 4 weight classes past his prime- and still a threat!

6. Joel Casamayor (37): Before writing this old geezer off, remember this is the same guy who slapped around the much younger and stronger Michael Katsidis in the fight prior to the Marquez fight. Also, you need to remember that his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez was as tight as could be right up until the very end. This Cuban’s not going to just fade away.

7. Antonio Tarver (39): He put in a respectable performance against a prime, energized Chad Dawson and is about as fresh as a 39 year old can be. He’ll be back at, or near, the top soon.

8. Verno Phillips (38): You can’t get more blue-collar than Phillips. He’s toiled in obscurity for so long, but has always been a smart, exciting fighter on the cusp of world-class. Now, he’s champ again and will hopefully make some money in his next fight against Paul Williams on HBO. The Williams fight looks like the end of the line for Phillips, but I’ll never forget the guy who made Cory Spinks disappear.

9. Gerry Penalosa (36) : 36 years old is ancient in “Little Man Years.” Heck, that’s like 92 in normal human years! But you gotta love the guy for calling out the next big thing, Juan Manuel Lopez. I hope he gets that one last big payday before one of the young bucks take him out.

10. Oscar De la Hoya (35): I struggled with the last spot, but eventually gave it to Oscar. To give the credit he’s due- When he’s not fighting Dorf on Boxing or recording ear-splitting Latin Pop albums, the guy can still box and could still be the best Jr. Middleweight in the world.

So, there’s my list of Boxing’s Top 10 Geezers. I need to take a nap now…

See ya when I sees ya!

MIA: 10 Fighters Who Are Missing In Action

by Paul Magno

One of the most basic keys to being a successful pro boxer is to make yourself a known commodity among fans. Here is a list of 10 current fighters who were either there on on their way to Boxing stardom, but allowed inactivity to get in the way of their trajectory.

Winky Wright- After a two-year period which saw him beat Shane Mosley twice, dominate Felix Trinidad, score a solid win over Ike Quartey and fight to controversial draw against Jermain Taylor, It seemed obvious that Winky was finally on the verge of getting the mainstream success his skills deserved. Then, he got a PPV beat-down by Bernard Hopkins in July of ’07 and hasn’t been heard from since. Nothing’s on the horizon for Wright and if he ever fights again, it’ll be late ’09 at the earliest.

Joan Guzman- Graced with HOF skills, but doomed with the work ethic of a rich kid working in Daddy’s company, Guzman has only fought twice since December of 2006. Most recently, he ate himself out of the biggest fight of his career-  a shot at reigning World Lightweight champ, Nate Campbell. At 31, Guzman’s days as a Wonder Boy are gone and we have yet to see what Guzman is truly capable of…If he doesn’t get his act straight, we may never have the priveledge of saying that we saw a prime Guzman compete against the very best.

Luis Collazo- After his embarrassing loss to Shane Mosley in February of ’07, Collazo has only been in the ring once, against a very pedestrian 9-4-1 opponent. With only a tentative bout against TBA on the horizon and little in the immediate past, Collazo needs to take a serious look at how his career is being managed. Finding a way to KO his contract with Don King will be his biggest win.

Demetrius Hopkins- After being one of the most active world-class fighters in the sport, with 12 fights taking place between 2005 and 2007, Hopkin’s promotional deal with Golden Boy hit the skids and he’s been warming the bench ever since November of ’07. Instead of taking advantage of his biggest win to date, a UD win over Steve Forbes, his career has stalled. A change of promoters has yielded just one fight which he had to cancel due to not making weight. Nothing of note awaits Hopkins in the immediate future.

Verno Phillips- Veteran fighters need more time between fights to recover, but one fight per year for the last 3 years is a bit much. The 38 year old Phillips scored a big win over Cory Spinks in March of this year to once again become a world champ, but any career momentum he had attained is long gone now. Another King fighter, Verno may consider the benefits of ditching Mr. “Only in America.”

Shannon Briggs- This one-time lineal World Heavyweight champ was never a gifted fighter and he never was one to boast a world-class work-ethic. However, he does talk a good game and he has a very recognizable image. Since his tame-as-a-lamb performance against Sultan Ibragimov, Briggs has gone MIA from active participation as a fighter…and from the shape he looks to be in, booking another bout is not a priority.

Reggie Johnson– After being inactive from 2002 to 2008, with just one fight in all that time, Johnson claimed to be making a comeback and won the marginal IBA Lightheavyweight title title against Julio Cesar Gonzalez. With a division full of solid fights, it looks as though the 42 year old is once again content to run out the clock on his career.

Vassiliy Jirov- Since losing twice in a row, to Joe Mesi and Michael Moorer, in his experiment with fighting at Heavyweight, Jirov had seemed on a mission to get back down to Cruiserweight where he belongs. His weight gradually diminished and he was starting to look sharper. However, the path back to world-class status stalled in July of ´07 and nothing’s been heard from him since- Hardly the ideal way to go about making a comeback.

Elvir Muriqi- Make no mistake, “The Kosovo Kid” is little more than a very solid club fighter. However, in June of ’07, he fought the fight of his life, against a world-class Antonio Tarver, and very nearly pulled off the upset. Muriqi ended up losing a narrow Majority Decision, something he could’ve easily parlayed into a handfull of nicely-paying TV fights. Instead, he’s only fought one time since then- a meaningless, low-paying bout in  a smokey club.

Vivian Harris- Inactivity has plagued Harris for the last 5 years of his career, possibly robbing the Boxing world of being able to see what he could really do at his best. Harris is famous for his lack of focus during fights, but its hard to tell if that lack of focus has caused his inactivity or if his inactivity has caused his lack of focus. In any case, he’s scheduled to fight the dreaded TBA in late October and it’ll be his first fight since losing to Junior Witter in September of ’07.