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Is There a “Peck’s Bad Boy” in Boxing Today?

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  • Is There a “Peck’s Bad Boy” in Boxing Today?

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    By Ted Sares

    Henry "Hennery" Peck, popularly known as Peck's Bad Boy, is a fictional character created by George Wilbur Peck (1840–1916). “Peck’s Bad Boy” has been defined as one whose bad behavior is a source of embarrassment or annoyance, but to many it refers to a mischievous prankster. The answer probably is somewhere in the middle with the label referring to anyone whose mischievous or bad behavior leads to annoyance or embarrassment.

    In boxing, no one seemed to better epitomize the expression than Muhammad Ali. When Howard Cosell asked Ali why he was being truculent during an interview. Ali fired back, “I don’t know what truculent means, but if it’s good, I’m that.”

    It was high camp and anyone who took Ali or his perceived arrogance seriously missed the tongue-in-cheek quality of what was going on. To this writer, he was 98 percent mischievous and maybe 2 percent annoying.

    “…“Floyd Patterson was dull, quiet, and sad … and Sonny Liston was twice as bad… The fight game was dying… promoters were crying…” -- Cassius Clay

    I said I was 'The Greatest,' I never said I was the smartest! -- Muhammad Ali

    Ricardo Mayorga

    Later, an especially nasty Nicaraguan provocateur came along by the name of Ricardo “The Matador” Mayorga, but the nastiness was more pre-fight hype than anything else and after his fights, he could be seen hugging his opponents. Often he was seen smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer before leaving the ring and that in itself was pretty unique. He soon established an infamous reputation and used this to sell tickets. Mayorga won world titles at welterweight and junior middleweight, playing the villain to Shane Mosley, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas, and Miguel Cotto, among others.

    Despite being savaged by Trinidad, Ricardo showed that he was not lacking in heart. Against De La Hoya, he said, “I hate *****es and I’m going to make you my little *****…” He was again savaged.

    He caused a stir when he slapped Shane Mosley’s girlfriend on the butt at a press conference, triggering turmoil. In the fight, Mosley avenged her butt by sending The Matador to Bullfighter Heaven with a beautiful left hook launched after a slight head fake to the right.

    He told Cory Spinks, “I want to sew a pair of nuts on you so you can stand and fight in front of me next time like a man.”

    As writer Jimmy Tobin put it: “Sure, he [Mayorga] was upset at the Spinks decision, but Mayorga understood public expectations of him and had to push the envelope to ensure expectations were met. However enraged he might appear, the vitriol felt fabricated, rehearsed, a gimmick. That gimmick would soon be all Mayorga had left.”

    And that really says it all about the Matador. Manufactured and well-timed outrage and faux insults. No serious fan ever really bought into it. Mischievous? Hype? Absolutely.

    Mayorga was good at running his mouth but he was no Peck’s Bad Boy.

    Today we wish him well as he struggles with substance abuse issues.

    Tyson Fury

    "I haven’t seen a fighter with that much charisma since Muhammad Ali"-- Bob Arum

    There is at least two Tyson Furys. The first one possessed a classic Irish wit and was rarely lost for words, constantly seeking attention including impromptu singing. However, keen observers sensed he was putting everybody on half the time, and it was all a joke with him.

    Heavyweight boxing hadn’t had this type in a long time—not since Ali. Heck, the Gypsy King was a showman. Many thought his temperament might be a big problem and that he should be more self-deprecating, but he couldn’t care less what others thought about him. All the rhetoric and loud mouthing was likely a load of blarney and he knew it better than anyone. While he surely could have taken himself more seriously and embraced humility, that simply wasn’t what the early Fury was all about.

    Fury was more like a Peck’s Bad Boy than anyone since Ali. But much of what he said along the way was embarrassing and vicious. He denounced homosexuals and Jews, among others. This was hardly viewed as amusing, but perhaps it was a byproduct of fighting a number of different demons including severe weight gain, substance abuse, and mental health issues.

    After reaching the heights, he stumbled badly off the stage. However, he made a remarkable comeback and this time around he was clean and sober and showed a great desire to help his fellow man.

    "I said some things which may have hurt some people, which as a Christian man is not something I would ever want to do,” Fury said in a May 2016 interview for the BBC. “Though it is not an excuse, sometimes the heightened media scrutiny has caused me to act out in public and then my words can get taken out of context. I mean no harm or disrespect to anyone and I know more is expected of me as an ambassador of British boxing and I promise in future to hold myself up to the highest possible standard.”

    The 6’9” giant is currently an ambassador for the Frank Bruno Foundation, a mental health charity.

    Interestingly, the title to Fury’s autobiography is “Behind the Mask and that suggests that the current Fury is the real Fury.

    He has been called the UK’s answer to Ricardo Mayorga. Maybe in terms of early nastiness, but the current Tyson Fury (Batman suit and all) is more Ali than Mayorga.

    Adrien Broner

    "I came into town, and I got his belt and his girl." – Adrien Broner referring to Paulie Malignaggi

    A few might argue that Adrien Broner is the quintessential Peck’s Bad Boy, but frankly, “The Problem” has never really appeared amusing or mischievous. Yes, he has some substance in the ring, but Broner has in large part been seen as a hyped gimmick projecting ignorance, a man that can’t back up his foul mouth. He has now become a curiosity as fans speculate as to who will finally knock him out and shut him up.

    Aside from a stupid hair combing routine before his fights, nothing Adrien does seems to conjure up even a shred of amusement. Au contraire, his boorish antics outside the ring, such as throwing cash down a toilet and performing a sexual act with a sweaty dancer at a strip club, not to mention his frequent brushes with the law and court appearances, suggest the possibility of a self-destructive bent

    The “Problem” will not be solved; it’s a story that likely will not have a happy ending.


    Fury fits the bill but he has become more temperate and balanced. Still, he remains a promotor’s dream. Enjoy him while you can.

    Can you think of any others in today’s scene? Yesterday’s?

  • #2
    Ryan Garcia is getting on my nerves. Wouldn't hurt to get his *** kicked....might learn him a good life lesson in humility.


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      Totally agree. And I see it coming.

    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      Hmm. Looks like he came to grips with some issues and is now seeking some help. Good for him.

  • #3
    "I was fortunate enough to see the late Vernon Forrest fight Ricardo Mayorga at Pechanga Casino some 15-years ago. Forrest was the heavy favorite, but Mayorga made quick work of him. The main event was supposed to be James Toney, but somehow that didn't work-out. Afterwards, Mayorga, along with Don King by his side, smoked a cigar in the ring to celebrate his victory. In the audience that night was Pete Rose who received a standing ovation when introduced. Thanks, once again, Ted, for bringing back some pleasant memories.

    --Johnny Tango"


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      Vernon was my true hero in boxing in the full sense of what hero means. Mayorga not so much. But Vernon had Sugar Shane's number, and Mayorga had Vernon's number and when Shane waxed Mayorga, I was a tad pleased.

  • #4
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