Posts Tagged ‘Kostya Tszyu’

Zab Judah and Kostya Tszyu met in 2001 as young champions. This month, the pair met face to face for the first time since their memorable title bout and reconciled in Tszyu’s native Moscow.

Judah arrived in Moscow earlier this month as a special guest to witness Tszyu-trained fighter Khabib Allakhverdiev challenge Kaizer Mabuza tomorrow night.

In their 2001 fight, Judah started fast in round one with blazing combinations that forced Tszyu to hold. Tszyu would rebound in the second behind his signature right hand and scored a hard knockdown late in the round. Judah rose unsteadily and stumbled back to the floor, promptly referee Jay Nady to immediately stop the bout. Judah would become irate; throwing a chair, shoving officials and briefly attempting to choke Nady. Afterward, Tszyu cited Judah’s behavior as the reason he’d never grant him a rematch. Tszyu would keep that vow, retiring in 2005.

Judah holds no grudges and called the meeting one of his signature life achievements in a statement to boxingscene.com

How can I hate a man who gave me the opportunity to take part in such a fight and earn money for my family? I did the same thing for him, so why shouldn’t he love me? We helped each other. I apologized to Kostya for how I acted after our fight. We shook hands and embraced each other as friends. We haven’t seen each other in all this time. This is an absolutely amazing story. Eleven years have passed. And now we meet in Moscow, and what a way to meet. I thought this would be impossible. It was one of the best moments in my life.

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11 years ago? The time sure does fly. And here’s Judah, still active while Tszyu’s been gone from active competition for nearly six years. Although a rematch would’ve been nice, I’m hard-pressed to think of any time before Tszyu’s retirement that I’d have favored Zab to win. The 2005 version of Zab that KO’d Spinks in St. Louis versus the Tszyu Hatton took out Manchester would have been the Brooklynite’s best chance at revenge.

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Although their respective primes were nearly a decade apart, Kostya Tszyu and Julio Cesar Chavez today find themselves being elected into the boxing Hall of Fame. Back in 2000, they shared the same ring when Tszyu, by then an experienced fighter and new champion, faced off against a diminished Chavez for the WBC junior welterweight title.

Even years beyond his heyday, Chavez’s name could still bring a crowd. Against Tszyu he was the overwhelming crowd favorite here in Phoenix, Arizona. Any grazing Chavez punch caused the Mexican faithful to burst out chants and cheers. Early on, Chavez’s strategy was to have Tszyu follow him and catch the Russia-born titlist with counter-punches. When Tszyu got too close, Chavez would clinch and try to disrupt his opponent’s concentration with fouls (face lacing, low blows, etc.).

Those tactics had no effect on Tszyu. By the third, it became readily apparent that the 38-year-old Chavez did not have the physical strength nor the punching power to compete. Tszyu worked left jabs and right hands on Chavez, who was now visibly laboring from the punishment. Where years past it was Chavez who controlled the inside, Tszyu abused him with short left hooks and uppercuts. The fifth round was Tszyu’s most dominant, and the question now became how long could Chavez last.

Sensing the end, Chavez went low at the beginning of the sixth and received a point deduction. Tszyu was not fazed and quickly dropped Chavez with a perfect straight right. Chavez careened forward on his knees for only the second knockdown of his career.

After beating the count at eight, Chavez looked to his corner as if ready for a quit. Showing his warrior’s heart, Chavez erased the idea from his mind and charged Tszyu with a flurry of hooks. The outburst momentarily surprised the champion, who looked incredulously at the ref before firing back with counter left hooks. Chavez’s stand was ended with another straight right which froze him against the ropes.. Tszyu would land two more big shots, a left hook and straight right, before Chavez’s corner threw in the towel.

The crowd threw bottles at the ring in anger and dismay at the dismantling of their hero. Tszyu would reign for five more years and solidify his credentials as a Hall of Famer before losing the title to Ricky Hatton at 35-years-old. Chavez would fight sporadically over the next five years before retiring with a record of 107-6-2 (86 KOs).

Sadly, Roy Jones Jr. is still at it. The former Pound 4 Pound #1 will face Denis Lebedev in a cruiserweight bout this Saturday (May 21). At their last media stop, Jones came out to a new rap song (“Heart of a Champion”)  which has the below lyrics.

I’m talking smack again/I’m 42/ That’s two by four/ I’m about to smash again… Call me old/ They can talk about my brain/ But I’m a be up in this piece/ Until the last bell rang!

As with any Roy Jones fight over about the last five years, my main concern is that he doesn’t get hurt in there. At the end of the third video you can check out a cameo on the mic from former world champion Kostya Tszyu.

A boxing referee’s job is highly difficult. A mere split second can mean the difference between a fighter going home to his family, or to the morgue. The latest example of that delicate balance came last Saturday (October 9), when former contender Mike Arnaoutis faced prospect Danny Garcia.

Arnaoutis was floored by a short left hook at the end of round three. He used his gloves to balance himself from completely falling over, and looked to be ok. However, as Arnaoutis walked back to his corner, he suddenly collapsed flat on his back, prompting referee Robert Grasso to continue the count. But Arnaoutis once again made it back to his feet to survive the round.

Early in the fourth, Arnaoutis appeared to regain some composure. He caught Gracia with a hard left hook which momentarily paused the young prospect’s aggression. But the end was inevitable. Garcia started the final sequence by hurting Arnaoutis with a looping right hook, and then dropping him again with a left hook. Arnaoutis fell to his knees, and took out his mouthpiece in submission.This prompted his corner to rush in and stop the count.

So, did Robert Grasso handle this bout appropriately? One school of thought has it that fights should be called off if a fighter makes it to his feet but collapses again. The two famous cases of this are Mike Tyson vs. Trevor Berbick in 1986, and Kostya Tszyu vs. Zab Judah in 2001. On the former, Berbick was clearly done and fell back down multiple times. But in the latter case, there’s enough room for interpretation that Judah could have continued competently if given another chance to get up.

It’s your call at the end of the third round. Did you wave it off, or give Arnaoutis another round?

For most of Floyd Mayweather Jr’s professional career, the figure who’s manned his corner has been his uncle Roger Mayweather. Since his nephew’s emergence as a PPV and crossover star over the last several years, Roger Mayweather has become a polarizing figure due to his outspoken nature and controversial comments on other fighters. Whether it’s dismissing Shane Mosley’s boxing acumen or taunting Manny Pacquiao, Roger Mayweather is never at a loss for words. Today, the man Floyd Mayweather proclaims as “the best trainer in the world” took a short break from training to discuss Floyd’s strategy and focus going into the biggest fight of the year.

AllHipHop.com: Thanks for taking a break to conduct this interview; I know time is of the essence. We’re about 2 weeks away so training in winding down at this point. What are you focusing on with your nephew Floyd to finish up camp?

Roger Mayweather: Oh no problem we’re just training in the gym. Well, it’s the same things I’ve trained my nephew on from the beginning. So it’s not broken up [in focus] between the first few weeks or the last. It’s all about giving him things that will help him win. That’s the sport of boxing; picking a fighter like Mosley apart, and that’s what a good trainer does.

AllHipHop.com: Shane has told me that he expects the fight to be technical, which leads me to believe he may not rough up Floyd on the inside as expected. If he makes it a boxing chess match, do you think that greatly diminishes Shane’s chances at a victory?

Mayweather: Now you know he ain’t going to box my nephew! He knows he isn’t going to do that. That’s bulls**t. What’s he’s going to try and do is use his physicalness to overcome my nephew’s boxing ability. That’s what his job is. You start talking about [straight] boxing; it would be a one-sided fight. He ain’t going to use his boxing skills.

AllHipHop.com: If that turns out to be true we could get a great fight since Floyd is very good on the inside like he showed in the Hatton fight.

Mayweather: Yeah, true. Mosley’s gonna fight to the best of his ability. Whatever he can do, that’s what he’s gonna do, whether that’s physical or not. But it’s going to boil down to the same thing, who can make the adaption in the ring? It’s going to be no different from any other fight. We’ve seen Shane fight a few times; he’s had some good performances. The Margarito fight was a good performance. But that ain’t Floyd Mayweather so that doesn’t make any difference.

AllHipHop.com: You predicted Mosley would win that fight by “ass-whipping,” and you were right on with that prediction. A criticism Floyd has of Mosley is that he loops his shots too wide and you can see everything coming. Do you see any improvement in that area in the Margarito fight now that he’s under Naazim Richardson?

Mayweather: He’s been like that since the beginning so he’ll be fighting the same way. A fighter just can’t say “well I’m going to stop looping my shots.” Not at this stage of the game, don’t matter who the trainer is.

AllHipHop.com: Has Floyd had any problems adjusting to the Olympic drug testing he mandated for this fight? He looked fine on HBO 24/7, but I wondering if there were any behind the scenes procedures that weren’t covered.

Mayweather: Y’know, everybody talks about the drug testing, but it wouldn’t be a problem if a motherfucker takes it now would it? If you don’t want to take it than something got to be wrong, right? If a guy don’t want to take that test that shows something is wrong with him, anyway! His job is to take a drug test and a physical. Eye test, he’s supposed to do all that! It ain’t that nobody said he has to do that, he has to do it anyway if he wants to fight. How a guy gonna fight someone and won’t take no test?

AllHipHop.com: I think everyone knows who you are referring to and since there is a defamation suit pending I’ll be careful in my questioning. Do you think Floyd was unfairly criticized by the media and fans when the Pacquiao fight couldn’t be made?

Mayweather: Floyd ain’t got shit to hide and don’t have a problem taking a damn test. Listen, that’s why he’s the one who said take the test! Shit, he ain’t doing nothing! Only person worried about it is the motherfucker who won’t take it, and you know who that is. I ain’t even got to tell you who it is. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be talking about no f**king test. The only person talking about no is doing illegal shit anyway.

So it ain’t about so much the test. If someone is doing illegal shit and winning on it, that’s a foul on boxing. This is supposed to be a clean sport. In track Ben Johnson took steroids, what did they do to Ben Johnson after he had won the gold medal? They took that motherfucker because he didn’t really win it! Alright then, ain’t no different in boxing. If a guy got something is his system, how did he really win?

It’s like a guy fighting you and you beating him, and the guy knocks you out. And then they unwrap the guy’s hand and he has a motherfucking cast on it. And you look up and say “Whoa! The guy hit me with a fucking cast!”

AllHipHop.com: [Laughs]. Ok.

Mayweather: That’s the reason why he knocked your ass out! So you disqualify his ass and that’s all there is to it. It should be no different than any other sport.

AllHipHop.com: So from your example it would seem you feel steroids or performance enhancing drugs are a big problem in boxing.

Mayweather: The big thing about boxing now is steroids! Motherfuckers be illegal wrapping and shit, but steroids is the main thing. I’m not saying all boxers, but most of them do. They use steroids and some other s**t. They may not call it steroids but it’s just like steroids and gives the same results.

AllHipHop.com: How much of the media do you hold responsible for addressing this issue?

Mayweather: Yeah the media is to blame! How you gonna talk about how good a fighter is and that fighter is using steroids? A guy uses illegal substances, and he’s fighting, and they’re pushing him in the sport of boxing, hell yeah that’s a problem. This kind of stuff isn’t supposed to happen, but obviously it is. It wasn’t no big thing when Ben Johnson won the 100 yards, but then he tested positive [for steroids]. It’s ok to win as long as you ain’t got illegal stuff in your system.

If you get caught you should be barred from boxing. If I walk to the ring with brass knuckles on my hand and fight a guy, knock him out, and destroy his career, what is supposed to happen to me?  

AllHipHop.com: You should be banned from boxing and face criminal charges.

Mayweather: Ok, you a motherfucker taking steroids or any other substance that shouldn’t be in his system; he should be banned from the sport. That’s all there is to it. If you got to win with drugs you shouldn’t be in boxing anyway. Drugs are for people not in boxing. Drugs are for drug addicts! You know a few drug addicts, don’t you?

AllHipHop.com: I’ve run across a few in my time.

Mayweather: And they asses don’t need to be in the ring!

AllHipHop.com: Let’s switch to your own career, as a lot of younger readers may not be familiar with what you did in the 80’s and early 90’s as the Black Mamba.

Mayweather: Oh yeah, that’s true.

AllHipHop.com: You won titles at junior welterweight (140 pounds). When you look at that division now with guys like Timothy Bradley and Amir Khan, do you think these young fighters could have given you a good scrap on your heyday?

Mayweather: Shit, my nephew was at 140 too! You got some good fighters there; you had [Miguel] Cotto there for awhile. I think De La Hoya fought there, too. Shane Mosley would’ve been a good fighter at ’40. You got some good guys today. But I mean I don’t think they could compete in the era that I was in, because at 140 pounds you had Aaron Pryor, Pernell Whitaker, Raphael Pineda, Howard Davis, Julio Cesar Chavez, Vinny Pazienza, there was a lot of guys. With me it would have been a hell of a contest today with any guy, you can believe that! 

I still believe the 2000’s don’t compare to the 80’s. You had too many great fighters in the 80’s. You had Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard at 147. Iran Barkley fought in the 80’s. You had so many guys that were good I don’t believe this generation right now could compete. There were too many good fighters.

AllHipHop.com: You mentioned a lot of guys just now that were successful at junior welterweight. Which fight would you consider your best performance?

Mayweather: People always say when you win the title that is your best performance, but I don’t really say that. My better performances is when I came back at 140 and I was fighting bigger guys and not really known there. That is always difficult, but when I won the world championship I won it in somebody else’s backyard. That solidified my place as a fighter. [Writer’s Note: Mayweather won the WBC junior welterweight title with a 6th round TKO over Rene Arredondo on November 12, 1987] It didn’t matter if I was on their home turf or not, I fought them. I always believed I could win.

AllHipHop.com: You fought a few Hall of Famers. Who would you consider the best fighter you fought out of Kostya Tszyu…?

Mayweather: Oh I already know who the best fighters I fought were. I fought 2 of the best ever; 1 was Pernell Whitaker, and number 2 was Julio Cesar Chavez. I fought them all, but when I look back and think about how good they were, it goes down to Julio and Pernell. They’re both Hall of Famers because of the kind of careers they had. I’m glad I had the chance to compete with them.

AllHipHop.com: Thanks for your time today Roger and good luck on May 1.

Mayweather: Alright man, thank you.