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25 FEBRUARY 2018


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Thomas Hauser

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John Duddy: The Challenge Ahead
By Thomas Hauser

John Duddy sat on a chair in dressing room #5 at Madison Square Garden and bowed his head. An hour earlier, he’d been on the same chair, readying to do battle against a club fighter named Walid Smichet, who’d been chosen in the belief that his style and limited ring skills would make Duddy look good. Their fight was presumed to be the final step on the journey to a lucrative match-up between John and middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.
The Heavyweight Follies
By Thomas Hauser

“The greatest tragedy for heavyweight boxing,” James Lawton has written, “is not so much the decline so visible in the remnants of a once compelling trade, but the way what is left of the carcass is still fed upon so ravenously.”

Twenty Things You’ll Never Read on a Boxing Website

Gary Shaw agreed with that result
Gary Shaw agreed with that result

By Thomas Hauser

1. It was a hard-fought battle with lots of controversy, but promoter Gary Shaw accepted his fighter’s loss gracefully.

2. The WBA said that, in calculating the sanctioning fee, it had inadvertently overcharged the champion. But it discovered the error on its own and was voluntarily refunding the excess payment.

3. “Ross Greenburg sure knew what he was doing when he decided to replace Larry Merchant with Max Kellerman,” a source at HBO said.

4. Harold; you’ll have to speak louder. I can’t hear you.

5. Before the 220-pound mugger could say a word, Jim Gray decked him with a single punch and stomped on his head.

6. Tell the production coordinator to move Al Haymon to the side. He’s hogging the camera.

7. Officials at Canastota said there was a typographical error in the press release that stated Jose Sulaiman had been indicted into the Boxing Hall of Fame.

8. Everyone in the office is dying to know when Wladimir Klitschko will fight Ruslan Chagaev.

9. Golden Boy is growing increasingly frustrated by its inability to get dates on HBO.

10. “Just salad for me,” James Toney told the waitress.

11. “How should I know?” Dan Rafael grumbled. “I haven’t seen a tape of either guy.”

12. Vasquez and Marquez in Snoozefest.

13. We’re so pleased to have you back as a judge at the Miss Black America Pageant, Mr. Tyson.

14. Alfonso Gomez KOs Miguel Cotto in 2.

15. “Go for it,” Richard Schaefer told Oscar. “I think that a Maori tattoo on the side of your face would be great for your image.”

16. Merry Christmas from the entire Duva family.

17. First I was Cassius Clay. Then I was Muhammad Ali. Now I’m changing my name to Irving Goldberg.

18. A failed medical test KO’d this week’s title fight in Arkansas.

19. Don King and I shook hands on it, so I’m not worried.

20. This article was edited and fact-checked for accuracy by . . .

* * *

What is life like as a boxing promoter? Don Elbaum offers a clue.

Elbaum promoted a night of boxing in Sweden earlier this month and telephoned a manager to ask if one of his fighters would appear on the card. The opponent, purse, and travel expenses were discussed. Then the manager told Elbaum, “I’ll have to think about it. What country is Sweden in?”

* * *

A few thoughts on the press conference that was held last week in New York for WrestleMania XXIV.

The press conference was called for noon and began at noon, thus distinguishing itself from virtually every boxing press conference ever held. “Shock” and “dismay” best describe the reaction of the boxing writers in attendance, who learned on arrival that no food would be served.

It was confusing to figure out which titles were at stake and who would be fighting who because the number of combatants per match ranged from two to 24 and the encounters bore labels like “WWE Championship Match”, “Ladder Match”, “Career-Threatening Match”, and “BunnyMania Lumberjack Match”. Be that as it may; WrestleMania was described in glowing terms as “the event that the Super Bowl, World Series, Academy Awards, and Grammy Awards aspire to be.”

After introductory remarks by Jonathan Coachman, Vince McMahon, and Shane McMahon, three wrestlers named Triple H, Randy Orton, and John Cena explained to the audience what they were planning to do to each other in a “Triple Threat Match.”

Then two women who were said to have posed recently for Playboy spoke. One of the women had studs in her lips and looked like the sort of girl you’d bring home to your mother if you wanted your mother to have a heart attack.

The high point in the proceedings came when Floyd Mayweather Jr and Paul Wight (a/k/a Big Show) stepped onstage. The crowd took to Mayweather like boxing fans in San Juan embrace Bernard Hopkins. Floyd tried to win them over by throwing some hundred dollar bills in their direction (the resulting chaos was a negligence lawyer’s dream). That led Big Show to observe, “Only an insecure punk goes around throwing money in other people’s face.” Mr. Show also proclaimed, “It’s gonna be bad weather for Mayweather. I’m gonna cloud up and rain all over you.”

The press conference ended at 12:50. Afterward, Wight met with a small group of reporters. He’s well-spoken and articulate in one-on-one conversation with a decidedly pleasant manner.

Wight bemoaned the fact that, when he’s playing the role of the “bad guy” in WWE matches, “Little kids come up and give me the finger in front of their parents. And I’m looking at the parents, wondering, ‘What’s wrong with you. Your kid is going around giving people the finger, and you think it’s cute. Teach them some manners.’”

He also criticized United States involvement in Iraq and said that the money spent on the war could be put to better use providing education and health care for American citizens.

Elect this man to Congress.

Thomas Hauser can be reached by e-mail at

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