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33 Boxing Notables Name Their Top ‘Must-See-TV’ Fighters: A New TSS Survey

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  • 33 Boxing Notables Name Their Top ‘Must-See-TV’ Fighters: A New TSS Survey

    Click image for larger version  Name:	bal-muhammad-ali-through-the-years-20160603-013.jpg Views:	1 Size:	48.4 KB ID:	11877

    By Ted Sares

    Welcome to the first Quarterly TSS Survey of 2019. The following questions were asked: In the past, what ONE fighter did you most look forward to watching on week-end TV? How about today? Who is that ONE fighter that makes work go by faster on Friday in anticipation? As always, the respondents are listed alphabetically.

    JIM AMATO -- author, writer, historian and collector: Whenever Roberto Duran was on TV I would try to find time to watch him. Even in the 90s when he was fighting on the USA Network. He was such a clever technician. A true master of fisticuffs. Today I enjoy watching Mikey Garcia. He’s a real throwback to yesterday's boxers. I respect the fact that he is willing to meet the talented and bigger Errol Spence Jr. A supreme challenge. Like Duran, Arguello, Basilio, Olivares, etc...Mikey is ready to take on the very best.

    RUSS ANBER -- trainer, elite cornerman, and owner of Rival Boxing Equipment: The one name that popped into my head above all others was Danny “Little Red” Lopez. I believe I watched every fight he had on mainstream television, and was thrilled every time. I also remember how heartbroken I was when he lost to the great Salvador Sanchez. I loved Little Red!

    MATT ANDRZEJEWSKI -- TSS boxing writer: In the past it was Arturo Gatti. What can I say about Gatti that has not already been said? His fights were almost always fan friendly, high contact affairs with plenty of drama. Even his tune-up fights, like the one against Calvin Grove in 1997, turned out to be wars. Today, it is Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. He sure is exciting to watch. Just comes forward, abandoning defense, and only thinking about landing his own shots. Like Gatti, even Sor Rungvisai's tune-up fights turn out to be exciting.

    DAVID AVILA -- TSS West Coast Bureau Chief: In the past Muhammad Ali was that fighter I would plan ahead to make time to watch. Even when he was suspended I read about anything he had to say. When he returned to boxing against Jerry Quarry, I celebrated. Today, I would say Canelo Alvarez. I saw his first fight in America and I’m amazed at his career.

    BOB BENOIT -- former pro fighter and current referee: Archie Moore was my favorite to look forward to in the past. Presently, I don't have one.

    JOE BRUNO -- former New York City sportswriter; prolific author: I would wait in anticipation to see any Joe Frazier fight. He gave it his all and never cheated the public. Same with Arturo Gatti. As for today, nobody comes to mind. Most of the potential great fighters are now fighting MMA which, to me, is unwatchable.

    STEVE CANTONauthor and President of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame: I don't think that I can say that there was just one fighter I looked forward to seeing on week-end TV. Growing up, I always looked forward to the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports Friday Night Fights with Don Dunphy. The fighters who appeared regularly were always a treat to watch, like Emile Griffith, Gaspar Ortega, Chico Vejar, Vince Martinez, Luis Rodriguez, Dick Tiger, Carlos Ortiz, Joe Brown, etc. etc. etc.

    CHARLIE DWYER -- former professional referee and member of U.S. Marine Corps Boxing Hall of Fame: Micky Ward. Win, lose or draw it was going to be a good one to watch. Today, Gennady Golovkin, a disciplined, consistent, no-nonsense fighter.

    STEVE FARHOOD -- Showtime announcer, former editor of The Ring magazine and 2017 IBHOF inductee: In the days of weekend network TV, the fighter I most looked forward to seeing in action was Matthew Saad Muhammad. Fortunately, he fought often in Atlantic City, so I was usually able to attend his fights. I was never surprised by the twists and turns in Saad's fights; after half a dozen times, I came to expect them. He was thrilling--and at a very high level. And I'd put Marvin Johnson up there, too, largely because he twice fought Saad. Today, that fighter would be John Molina. While Molina is, of course, defensively weak, and hasn't proven to be championship caliber, his fights have been as consistently entertaining--and as consistently unpredictable--as those of any fighter you can name. He may not lead the league in home runs, but nobody has hit more eight-run homers than Molina.

    BERNARD FERNANDEZ -- TSS mainstay and lifetime Member of the BWAA: As a grade-school kid, I put Carmen Basilio right up there with my other sports heroes, Billy Cannon (LSU’s only Heisman Trophy winner), Bob Pettit (the NBA great and also an LSU product) and Stan Musial, who had nothing at all to do with LSU. The “Upstate Onion Farmer” was my dad’s favorite fighter, so he became mine, but I probably would have liked him anyway because he was in The Ring’s Fight of the Year five years running, from 1955-59. Later on, I was drawn to Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard, who were so alike in some ways and so different in others.

    Now? I admit to having a natural affinity for Regis Prograis, partly because he is a native New Orleanian, as I am, but also because he’s an action fighter with a big punch. Other southpaws whose bouts I never want to miss are Errol Spence Jr. and, of course, Vasiliy Lomachenko, who does stuff like nobody else can.

    JEFFREY FREEMAN (aka KO Digest) -- TSS boxing writer: Mike Tyson was my weekend warrior back in the good old days of cable television. I'd plan my busy work schedule around Tyson's fights, always requesting those Saturday nights off. These days, I'm most excited about Anthony Joshua's world heavyweight title bouts. With the DAZN app loaded onto my iPhone, I never have to miss any AJ action even if I'm at a wedding in Provincetown, Massachusetts like I was when he knocked out Alexander Povetkin. Joshua’s fights are global events and I will go out of my way not to miss the flagship fighter of boxing's resurgent flagship division.

    RANDY GORDON -- writer, editor, radio show host and former head of the New York State Athletic Commission: When I was in college, Joe Frazier was the man! Today, I can't get enough of Vasiliy Lomachenko, Regis Prograis and Deontay Wilder (I just can't pick one!).

    LEE GROVES - author, writer and Wizard of CompuBox: When I first began watching boxing, the fighter I looked most forward to seeing was Danny "Little Red" Lopez because he was an incredibly exciting fighter who often had to overcome adversity before securing victory. I also admired his humility and sportsmanship, assets that stood in contrast to the destruction he had just completed inside the ring. I soon learned that was the case for many big hitters, but he was among the first I saw that demonstrated that dynamic. As for today, I can only speak as a punch-counter, so, in that vein, I look forward to counting Leo Santa Cruz because he throws a lot of punches and those punches are easy for me to see and discern. Also, because he maintains his rhythm, it makes it easier for me to maintain my rhythm.

    HENRY HASCUP - historian; President of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame: That's a tough one. I know most people would say Tyson or Pacquiao and I would agree with them, but I also liked Matthew Saad Muhammad and Arturo Gatti. They didn't win all the time but they sure gave us our money’s worth. Regarding today, I have several but none gives me the excitement of the ones I listed above! I love watching guys like Crawford, Spence, Alvarez, Lomachenko, Triple G, and the Garcias, but I just can't pick just one!

    JACK HIRSCH-- former President and now lifetime member of the BWAA: There is no one particular fighter I can name. If absolutely forced to, I would say Ali and Frazier for the great drama they gave to the heavyweight division in the 60’s and 70’s.

    BRUCE KIELTY -- boxing matchmaker, manager, and historian: Whether you liked him or hated him, Mike Tyson had the type of menacing charisma that compelled you to watch. Apparently many people felt the same way because it was once reported that Mike was responsible for 30% of HBO subscribers. Today, Errol Spence captures my attention. He has consistent excellence and poise beyond his years. More importantly, he carries himself with class, unlike so many of boxing's ignorant buffoons.

    STUART KIRSCHENBAUM – boxing commissioner emeritus, State of Michigan: Thomas Hearns fighting on national TV would have me and all of Motown watching. Without so many networks having boxing you do not have the same fan base until they reach Pay Per View, so I haven't felt that same anticipation in years. Even a Floyd Mayweather fight you would have to mortgage your house to watch...then it would be like eating Chinese food. One hour after the fight you would feel hungry again for some action.

    JIM LAMPLEY-- linchpin of the HBO announcing team; 2015 IBHOF inductee: In my youth, long before I could have envisioned working in boxing media, it was of course Muhammad Ali. Once I arrived in the sport, 1986, it was of course Mike Tyson. And regardless of recent results, among the current crop of great fighters, there are a flock of them but if you force me to choose one it is Triple G. “Big Drama Show” still applies. But as I hope my work demonstrated, for the most part I loved and appreciated them all. Collectively, they taught me about life. Their instruction in that regard is irreplaceable for me.

    ARNE LANG -- TSS editor-in-chief, author, historian: I really can't think of any fighters who were "must-see TV" for me other than those I knew personally. But I became smitten with the stumpy Avtandil Khurtsidze while watching him dismantle Antoine Douglas and was very much looking forward to seeing Khurtsidze fight Billy Joe Saunders. That would have been a great style matchup. Unfortunately, Khurtsidze got swept up by U.S. federal prosecutors in a sweep of the Russian Mafia and it's likely we will never see him again.

    RON LIPTON -- former fighter, retired police officer, pro referee: Back in the early 60's after seeing Rubin Carter knock out Florentino Fernandez and Emile Griffith in one round each, he was the one I looked forward to seeing in his next fight on the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports the most. Then it became Ali and Mike Tyson that generated the most anticipation for me. As to today, I have to pass on that one as an active referee.

    ADEYINKA MAKINDEUK barrister, author, and contributor to the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Boxing: I always looked forward to watching Hogan Jimoh, a lightweight, and Eddie Ndukwu, a featherweight, on Nigerian TV in the late 1970’s. They were the best that Nigeria could offer in the post-Dick Tiger era and attracted sizeable crowds to the National Stadium. As for today, I can't pick one fighter as it invariably depends on the quality of opposition they are facing. So it could be the exceedingly skillful Terence Crawford one week or the very resourceful Oleksandr Usyk on the other.

    JOE PASQUALE -- elite boxing judge: I can only respond to the question as it pertains to retired boxers to avoid any conflict of interest perceptions on fighters I may be judging in the future. That said, Sugar Ray Leonard in his prime probably stands out as the one fighter I looked forward to watching on TV. His boxing IQ combined with his explosive abilities, heart and charisma always made Leonard a fighter full of intrigue for me. I am still thrilled when I watch the videos of his bouts.

    J. RUSSELL PELTZ -- venerable Philadelphia boxing promoter and 2004 IBHOF inductee: As a kid, Dick Tiger because there always was a chance for a knockout. Also Sonny Liston but when I began watching late in 1959 I only saw him once with Eddie Machen. Henry Hank also was a pleasure due to his style. Emile Griffith because of his great back and shoulders. Also, Bennie Briscoe. Today, no one gets my juices going. Wilder is interesting because he can crack you at any moment in the fight.

    CLIFF ROLD -- boxing writer; founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board: Mike Tyson in the past, today Naoya Inoue.

    FRED ROMANO -- author and former ESPN researcher: There were so many great weekend warriors from the late seventies into the 90s. I particularly looked forward to the Mancini fights, such as those against Arguello, Frias and Espana. You were always guaranteed to get a good action fight. Today, I enjoy watching Lomachenko for his unique style and excellent technique and skill. If Tuesdays were included, my throwback choice would be Foreman and his comeback fights on the USA Network.

    LEE SAMUELS -- Top Rank publicist and 2019 IBHOF Inductee: Years ago seeing Muhammad Ali in action was awesome - a tremendous all-action bigger-than -life champion. As a writer with the Philadelphia Bulletin we covered two of Ali's fights – his first fight with Leon Spinks, then in his finale against Trevor Berbick. Ali was a dynamic athlete, full of life and mischief in media rooms and always had something unique to say about his opponents. As far as today's champions, Bob Arum said it best when he noted "Vasiliy Lomachenko reminds me of Muhammad Ali." Loma, the greatest amateur of our time, is an unpredictable force who attacks from a variety of angles and is unquestionably the most exciting athlete in the ring today. Which brings us to Terence Crawford who amazingly takes time, rhythm and space to figure out his challenger and - while facing hard punching - finds a route to where he can take out his opponent in spectacular fashion. He is a must-see champion in the game of boxing right now."

    ICEMAN JOHN SCULLY -- former boxer; manager, trainer, TV commentator, writer, historian: When I was coming up as a kid watching weekend TV fights I never missed an Aaron Pryor fight. I remember him getting knocked down once and before the referee could even start an eight count he had done sort of a somersault while on the canvas and lifted himself off the canvas and started punching at his opponent before the guy could even get his hands back up. Never missed his fights after that.

    Today I’m not as drawn to as many guys because they aren't as visible as they were back when the three major networks along with USA and ESPN were showing fights on a weekly basis but I’d say in terms of action and watching someone who you know is going to produce or at least try as hard as he can to produce some fireworks every time he steps in there, Id' say that Deontay Wilder is a must-watch type of guy.

    TED SARES -- TSS writer: In the past it was Bobby Chacon. I watched him fight Olivares, Little Red, then two with Boza Edwards and three with Limon. It was scotch and cigar time each time. Today, it’s a tie between Loma simply because he does things I have never seen before, and Wilder because the concussive end can come at any time in the fight.

    PETER SILKOV -- boxing writer: In the past, (80s/90s) there was a whole host of fighters who would make me look forward to Friday and Saturdays, unfortunately, that isn't the case now. If I had to pick one fighter from recent years who I have followed avidly it would be Roman Gonzalez, closely followed by GGG and Kovalev. Unfortunately, all three now seem to be at the end of their careers. If I had to pick a fighter for right now it would be Usyk, followed by Tyson Fury.

    ALAN SWYER -- filmmaker, writer, and producer of the acclaimed El Boxeo: As a very young kid, I couldn't wait to see Sugar Ray Robinson, especially when he was scheduled to fight Basilio. Today, the guy I most look forward to seeing is Terence Crawford.

    GARY “DIGITAL” WILLIAMS --the voice of “Boxing on the Beltway”: For me in the 80's, it was Hector "Macho" Camacho. It was a lot of fun watching him during that time. He seemed to be a very cool character and someone fresh for that time.

    BEAU WILLIFORD – former trainer and manager and Mr. Boxing in Louisiana’s Cajun Country: When I was a very young boy, my father took me to Lee Field House at Fort Bragg to see Rocky Marciano vs. Archie Moore. I became a huge fan of both. My favorite weekend boxer was Gaspar Ortega. Today I get excited when “Canelo” Alvarez is boxing.

    PETER WOOD -- former boxer and author of several books including The Boy Who Hit Back -- There was once a wild heavyweight--a large human-shaped piece of muscle. He was dripping in id and marinated in pure ego. He was the only fighter who bested Muhammad Ali in a pre-fight press conference, calling Ali a "chicken...cheep! cheep! cheep!" and "a black kangaroo". He was the only fighter who was ever able to knock Joe Frazier down twice in one round. He was the only fighter to be disqualified in the Pan-American Games for biting Lee Carr's shoulder, and the only fighter to be shot dead at the Mustang whorehouse in Nevada--Oscar Bonavena. RIP ... Today? Tyson Fury is an interesting character. He is cut out of the same maniacal cloth--id and ego.

    Observations:

    A very wide range of answers with Ali, Frazier, and Tyson being mentioned the most. As for today, Lomachenko, Spence, Crawford and Wilder get the nod but not by much.

    Peter Wood’s contribution was especially enjoyable because it reflected his special way of writing. And Jim Lampley’s was as poignant as they get.

    Many thanks to all the contributors.

    P.S. How about you? Is there one particular fighter -- past or present – who has you waiting for Saturday with bated breath?

    Ted Sares is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and Strongman competitors. He is a lifetime member of Ring 10, and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame. He also is an Auxiliary Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA).

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Tyson!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by JohnnyTango View Post
      Tyson!
      You got plenty of agreement on that one

      Comment


      • #4
        I forgot about Wilder. Yeah, he's the one guy I look forward to seeing today; especially after the way he almost KO'd Fury in his last fight. Wilder was out of the fight. Then all of a sudden...BOOM!! It reminded me of Mike Weaver knocking out John Tate with one punch (left hook) in the 15th and final round in 1980, when title fights went 15 rounds. I wish they still did.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Joebruno999 View Post
          I forgot about Wilder. Yeah, he's the one guy I look forward to seeing today; especially after the way he almost KO'd Fury in his last fight. Wilder was out of the fight. Then all of a sudden...BOOM!! It reminded me of Mike Weaver knocking out John Tate with one punch (left hook) in the 15th and final round in 1980, when title fights went 15 rounds. I wish they still did.
          I'll never forget the Tate fight as long as I live. He had him but he gassed and BOOM, that was it.

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          • #6
            This was fun to read.

            When we interviewed Hercules Mike Weaver for KO Digest in 2013, he was asked about the Big John Tate fight: "I told everybody I would knock him out, but I didn’t know it would be in the last round. I was behind, and my manager said I needed to knock him out to win the fight. I said “that’s OK, I can knock him out,” and that’s what I did. I knew Tate was tired, more so than I was. All I needed was one shot. I still thought I was going to do that, and in the 14th round he was hurt. I never gave up. I knew I'd have a chance to knock him out sooner or later. Winning the title was very emotional for me because I wasn’t supposed to beat Tate. Tate had signed a fight with Muhammad Ali for five million dollars—it was already signed. They overlooked me. I was then in a position to fight Ali. He told me he would fight me, then he fought Larry Holmes instead."

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            • #7
              Originally posted by KO Digest View Post
              This was fun to read.

              When we interviewed Hercules Mike Weaver for KO Digest in 2013, he was asked about the Big John Tate fight: "I told everybody I would knock him out, but I didn’t know it would be in the last round. I was behind, and my manager said I needed to knock him out to win the fight. I said “that’s OK, I can knock him out,” and that’s what I did. I knew Tate was tired, more so than I was. All I needed was one shot. I still thought I was going to do that, and in the 14th round he was hurt. I never gave up. I knew I'd have a chance to knock him out sooner or later. Winning the title was very emotional for me because I wasn’t supposed to beat Tate. Tate had signed a fight with Muhammad Ali for five million dollars—it was already signed. They overlooked me. I was then in a position to fight Ali. He told me he would fight me, then he fought Larry Holmes instead."
              Great stuff. KO. Mike is a Facebook friend and is very religious and humble. Wonderful person and can play the piano damm good. Complex guy.

              Comment


              • Kid Blast
                Kid Blast commented
                Editing a comment
                From Peter Wood: Ted! Another excellent TSS article! I look forward to reading them. And thank you, heartily, for the mention of The Boy Who Hit Back—as well as your kind comment at the end. Happy New Year

            • #8
              Imagine Ali-Weaver!

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              • Kid Blast
                Kid Blast commented
                Editing a comment
                Problem with Weaver was that he was inconsistent. When he was on, he was a load, but when he was off, he was very beatable.

            • #9
              Another great TSS survey article, very interesting answers and a job well done.

              Comment


              • Kid Blast
                Kid Blast commented
                Editing a comment
                Thank you kindly, sir

            • #10
              Could the old diminished Ali have beaten Weaver OR Tate?

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              • #11
                "Could the old diminished Ali have beaten Weaver OR Tate?"

                Not the one who fought Larry Holmes or Trevor Berbick.

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                • #12
                  That's the Ali he was taking about when referencing Ali-Tate.

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                  • #13
                    Good read, lots of variation here and can't disagree with any of the choices.

                    Gatti's fights almost always turned into something memorable. He was must watch tv even when involved in a fight that he was heavily favored to win.

                    SSR is in a way similar to Gatti. Just hope we see him back in the US soon.

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                    • Kid Blast
                      Kid Blast commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks Cat

                  • #14
                    Originally posted by Joebruno999 View Post
                    "Could the old diminished Ali have beaten Weaver OR Tate?"

                    Not the one who fought Larry Holmes or Trevor Berbick.
                    agreed

                    Comment


                    • #15
                      Nice article. So many names from so many eras. Personally. It was Chris Eubank. Just wanting him to get beat as my fav was Nigel benn. Eubank has a 10 fight regular tv deal. Regularly pulling in 15 million plus views. None of this current PPV crap. Nice trip Ted.

                      Comment


                      • Kid Blast
                        Kid Blast commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Thanks matey. I loved Benn. No one was more ferocious, but Eubank was also very, very tough. Both belong in the HALL
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