Boxing Legends Watch | Newsletter - Dec 3, 2019

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Boxing Legends Watch is a bi-weekly newsletter dedicated to giving fans the scoop on retired legends and former celebrities of the Sweet Science.

Surely you've wondered, " What ever happened to him/her?"

Maybe it was a once-popular fighter, trainer, referee, commentator or promoter? 

This newsletter will attempt to keep you in touch with boxing legends of the past as well as others who served as historical footnotes in the sport's treasured saga.

Week of December 3, 2019

Tim Witherspoon, former heavyweight champion
A Conversation with Tim Witherspoon: Who Named Him “Terrible”? Plus Shocking Story about a Dive He Took in a Major Fight!
Ringside Report
By Anthony “Zute” George

Tim Witherspoon is trying to create a union to help young fighters manage their and retired fighters who are struggling. “Aftercare is what is important to me now. If a fighter dies, do we have enough money to help bury them... We need to support the good promoters... We are the only sport that does not have a union.”

Tim also discussed how he was introduced to boxing, his amateur career, sparring with Muhammad Ali, the fight he threw and fighting under Don King's banner.

“I learned to work my jab by watching Ali... Just being around the ring with him. You’re in there with one of the greatest boxers who ever lived. When I first met him, he treated me like he knew me for years. It just did not sink in how great an experience it was until years later.”

Circa 1980 or 81, a well past-his-prime Ali asked Tim to be a sparring partner and help him prepare for his comeback fight against then heavyweight champion Larry Holmes. Tim, at the time, didn't realize how dimished was. “He acted kind of weak. I said 'he can’t go in there like this with Larry Holmes.'” Indeed, Ali did go in there a mere shell of himself against a prime Larry Holmes and the result was one of the ugliest events in boxing history.

In 1983, Tim faced Holmes himself and lost a very close split decision on the scorecards. Tim had Larry in tremendous trouble in the 9th round but weathered the storm. “That is where experience comes in,” Tim explained. Tim insists that if he had more fights under his belt, he would have stopped Larry, or won by a much wider margin, “I felt I won, but I felt I needed a couple of more fights to have erased any doubts.”

Holmes vs Witherspoon, Round 9

“Everyone always asks me about that, but it was like I blacked out (when he had Holmes in serious trouble). I could remember all the other rounds, but that particular round was something. I can’t remember that round. All that noise took something out of my brain. I was too excited. That is from not being experienced. That was just another lesson.”

As for Don King, Tim insisted he was responsible for a lot of heartache in his career. "We sued Don right after the second “Bonecrusher” fight. That was our plan.... I went into boxing with good intentions. But I had a bad promoter. I made money but I also got ripped off. I was deprived of making millions. I blame myself a little bit. But Don King was the main culprit...

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Mike McCallum
Mike McCallum Planning Big For Homeland

The Gleaner
By Leroy Brown
Nov 2019

Mike ‘The Bodysnatcher’ McCallum, the first Jamaican boxer to win a world boxing title, is in the island on what he told The Gleaner yesterday is “a short holiday and fact-finding mission.”

He is accompanied by Christopher Lovejoy, rated No. 10 by the World Boxing Association, one of the two world-rated boxers he is now training. The other is World Boxing Council lightweight champion Devin Haney, a 20-year-old boxing sensation. While here, he is having discussions with American boxing promoter Chris Joy, one of the principals of I-Fight Promotions.

McCallum, 63, who arrived in Jamaica on Monday, said that he was thrilled to be back home, and is hoping to work with Joy to bring boxers from the USA to Jamaica, over the next several months, to engage in a series of fights. Joy said that he is now in talks with Lovejoy, because he wants him to be the headline fighter on a card he is planning to promote here in February next year.

“Jamaica is home, and I would really like to come back to work with young boxers and produce another world champion or two,” McCallum said. “There is a lot of talent here in Jamaica, and I would love to be able to be the one to find some more of it, and unleash it to the world.”

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Pierre Coetzer
Big-punching heavyweight contender from the late-1980s to early-1990s and one of the best big men from South Africa of all time.
Best I Faced: Pierre Coetzer
RINGTV
By Anson Wainwright
Nov 2019

After losing to Foreman, Coetzer (39-5, 27 knockouts) decided to walk away from boxing with his faculties intact.

“I’m 100 percent; there’s nothing wrong with me,” he said profoundly. “I had a great career. I listened to my late father, who said, ‘You can have all the money in the bank but if you can’t write out the check for it, why stay in the business?'”

Coetzer worked as a bodyguard for two significant heads of state in the early-1990s.

“We were with [then President] F.W de Klerk and we went to a function,” he said. “We’re standing in the crowd waiting for F.W. to come in and Nelson Mandela came right through the crowd and walked straight to me, ’cause he was also a boxer, shook my hand and started talking to me. I knew Nelson Mandela very well. Eventually when he became President, I was his bodyguard a few times. What a great man.”

​Coetzer, now 57, has been married for 25 years and has a daughter in university. Since retiring from boxing, he has become a successful businessman running a German copper foundry.

"I think [Riddick Bowe] could have been world champion today, if he had just looked after himself. The discipline went. After me, he fought Evander Holyfield. He beat Holyfield and, after that, went one way. He was definitely the best I fought."

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Tom Kaczmarek
Boxing judge who particpated in some of the biggest fights in history
Legendary Boxing Judge Tom Kaczmarek Honored In Brick, AC
Patch - Brick, NJ
By Karen Wall
Jul 3, 2019

Legendary boxing judge Tom Kaczmarek has traveled all over the world. He's officiated some of the biggest boxing matches ever: Foreman-Holyfield. Leonard-Hearns II. He's been inducted to multiple Halls of Fame.

But one of his favorite moments? Receiving a proclamation and a key from the town he has called home for 32 years.

"People always ask me where I live," Kaczmarek said at the Brick Township Council meeting on June 25. "I live in Brick Township. Brick is a great place to raise your kids, a great place to live. Not every place is like Brick."

Kaczmarek was honored by township officials for being inducted into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. That ceremony, on June 23, celebrated Kaczmarek's many accomplishments in his career as a judge. He was inducted along with Bernard Hopkins, Iran Barkley, Roberto Duran, and Henry Hascup.

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Holyfield vs Bowe 4?
SURELY NOT? Boxing news: Evander Holyfield targets fourth fight with Riddick Bowe as heavyweight legend wants shock exhibition aged 57
talkSPORT
By Daniel Sandford

Evander Holyfield is targeting a shock return to boxing at the age of 57 for a fourth bout with former rival Riddick Bowe.

The two men fought three times in the 90’s (1992, 93 & 95), with Bowe emerging victorious twice, and Holyfield has now said he wants the pair to meet again in Japan.

Holyfield, the only four-time heavyweight champion, said he is ready to fight, but will be content if a potential clash is vetoed.

“I had something set up [an exhibition bout] in Japan that they were talking about doing, but now nobody is saying anything,” he told World Boxing News.

“Hopefully it will happen but I had nobody talk to me lately about it. If we do it then fine, if we don’t I’m good.

“I wanted to do it with Riddick Bowe. We’re friends. And the kind of money they’re talking about would be pretty good for three rounds.

“Yes, I can do that. I’m ready.”

Holyfield has not boxed since earning a TKO win over Brian Nielsen in Copenhagen in 2011, while Bowe has been out of action even longer, last competing in 2008.

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Azumah Nelson
‘Boxing can turn around Ghana’s economy if we’re serious with it’
GhanaWeb
By theghanareport.com
Aug 2019

International Boxing Hall of Famer and former World Boxing Council (WBC) Super featherweight champion, Prof. Azumah Nelson has said boxing can be used to improve the country’s economy if authorities pay attention to the sport.

According to him, the state of boxing in the country keeps dwindling, a situation he attributes to the lack of attention paid to the sport.

“I’ve been telling people that everything that you see nice, bright; we use money to do it. Last time I told somebody that if you have 10 children you have to feed all of them; somebody will eat more; some too will eat small. You have to use money to feed them all. If you feed some and leave some, the one you leave will die. And so, we have to be serious and look into it. There are a lot of sports that we can achieve a lot from it,” he remarked.

The country, he emphasized can have a lot of world champions if authorities pay special attention to it.

He is now retired and has set up the Azumah Nelson Foundation (AZNEF) which is aimed at providing social services to the poor and needy through the use of sports and education.

The Foundation will also provide vocational training to the disadvantaged in the society with periodic health and sanitation assistance to the rural poor in Ghana.

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Riddick Bowe serious about comeback
EXCLUSIVE: Riddick Bowe wants COMEBACK at 52, Eddie Hearn deal 
WBN - World Boxing News
By Phil Jay and Esther Lin
November 23, 2019

World Boxing News spoke to representatives of former world heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe recently in what turned out to be a surreal chat. Eli B. Karabell and Dale Peeples hosted a conference call with WBN to outline their plans for a full-blown Bowe comeback to action at 52 years old.

The intention is to get Bowe back in solid shape, dropping a ton of weight. Then securing a new promotional deal with the championship distance in mind. Bowe’s blueprint, backed by manager Karabell, comes on the back of ex-opponent Evander Holyfield revealing his interest in a fourth fight with ‘Big Daddy’ in an exhibition capacity.

During the meeting, Karabell opened up the conversation by revealing contact has been made to promoters with mixed interest. It’s claimed Eddie Hearn is yet to spurn their advances, whilst Al Haymon is another target for a Bowe proposal.

“We’ve been shopping out for promoters right now. We’re feeling out promoters for different things,” Karabell exclusively told World Boxing News. “We’re looking for a promoter, so he can come back, and we are looking at getting Eddie Hearn. 

... “He’s about 60-lbs overweight and then we’ll take him to Las Vegas State Athletic Commission and get him licensed. Then we’ll go from there.” 

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Roberto Duran
Film Review: There’s A Lot To Like About “I Am Duran”
Boxing Insider
By: Sean Crose
May 2019

The film focuses on one of the greatest fighters of all time, Roberto Duran, a Panamanian legend who rose from poverty to the pinnacle of the sporting world, only to crash and return. Angry, bullying, charming, impressive, and admirable all at the same time, Duran captivated the public in his homeland, and well beyond in the course of an incredible career that lasted from 1968 to 2001.

During that time, the fighter picked up major titles in the lightweight, welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight divisions – an impressive feat under any circumstances, much less in the star studded era that Duran plied his trade in. The fact Duran’s career saw him face the likes of Ken Buchanan, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Iran Barkley, Davey Moore and many other notables only serves to add a sense of wonder to the man’s achievements (as well as a sense of disappointment to the risk adverse boxers who currently dominate the sport).

Ultimately, however, I Am Duran isn’t a movie about boxing. Boxing, in a sense, only serves as its backdrop.

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Virgil Hill
Hill Brings Boxing To Four Bears
KXNET
By Jim Olson
Apr 2019

For the first time in more than 20 years, North Dakota will be home to a world boxing title fight. Virgil Hill – who was a competitor in the last title fight in the state – is the promoter for the next one that’s happening Saturday night at Four Bears Casino.

Hill, a North Dakota native who was a silver medalist at the 1984 Olympics and held the light heavyweight title for several years in the 1990s, says the main event will be supported by several matches that include boxers from North Dakota and South Dakota.

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Bonecrusher Smith
Tyson was my most difficult opponent, insists heavyweight warrior
FightSaga
By Lee Cleveland

Former WBA heavyweight belt-holder James "Bonecrusher" Smith, the first heavyweight champion with a college degree, fought a host of top fighters during his career including Larry Holmes, Frank Bruno, Razor Ruddock, Tim Witherspoon, Michael Moorer, Greg Page and Mike Weaver.

However, Bonecrusher insists his 1987 scrap with fight legend Mike Tyson, then the 20-year-old newly crowned WBC heavyweight champion, was his toughest fight of them all.

"He was slipping all my punches and always coming," Smith told BoxingNewsOnline.net in Summer 2016.

"He was only 21 and at his peak"

"He was very strong and had those combinations. My plan was to take him into the later rounds and then get to him when he got tired – but he never got tired."

"I was a little intimidated in that fight but I was never really hurt too bad.”

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George Foreman
George Foreman On Being A Salesman, His Comeback, And How Much Money He Made From His Grill
Forbes
By Josh Katzowiz
Nov 2018

“It gets awfully confusing because a lot of kids walk up, and their parents say: ‘That’s George Foreman. He was the heavyweight champion of the world,’” Foreman said. “But one time, one little kid, when he was about 6 years old, saw me and said, ‘That’s the Cooking Man.’”

"Anybody who’s, say, 25 years old or younger right now knows Foreman because of the George Foreman Grill, which has sold hundreds of millions of units since it was introduced in 1994. They also might know him from the Meineke commercials. Or the Pepsi advertisements. Or the ones for Doritos and McDonald’s. Or the video games that bear his name, or the Real Time Pain Relief product he’s currently promoting.

He might have been a monster in the 1970s, but in the decades since, he’s been like your favorite grandfather who also knows exactly what you need in your kitchen (Doritos!), in your car (a Meineke muffler!) and in your closet (clothes from Casual Male Big & Tall!). But his biggest moneymaker came from the George Foreman Grill; he once said he made as much as $8 million per month from his share of the profits.

“When I came back to boxing, I had to sell a middle-aged man who could become heavyweight champion of the world,” Foreman said. “Nobody was buying it. But I kept selling it.”

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Klitschko Comeback?
GOLDEN OLDIE Wladimir Klitschko planning stunning return to boxing and wants to become oldest ever heavyweight champion
The Sun
By John Hutchinson
Oct 30, 2019

Ever since his 2017 loss to Anthony Joshua we've been hearing rumors about a Wladimir Klitschko's potential retrurn to the ring only to have the subsequently squashed by the former boxing legend.

Speaking to Business Insider, the 43 year old Klitschko said: "I still got it. Can I fight? Yes. Right now I keep my options open.

"There is going to be no comeback to come back and to break a jaw. It's a comeback to break a record.

"Is it appealing? I would say yeah, it's pretty cool.

"George Foreman did it. He was 45 I believe when he became champion, and it's a pretty cool statement."

Promoter Eddie Hearn told iFL TV: “I think he is looking at it. Nothing is happening at the moment.

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Mike Tyson / Cus D'Amato
Tyson Names Only Person Who Frightened Him
IBTimes
By John Tan
Nov 30, 2019

Mike Tyson named the only person who ever made him feel frightened and uncomftable during his prime.

Tyson was not only a legendary boxer. With his vicious KO power and intimidating physique, it was no surprise that only few brave men wanted to go toe-to-toe with him inside the ring. However, behind the menacing image, Tyson admitted that when the time the world was starting to see him as one of the most terrifying men in boxing, there was one person who made him feel frightened – his mentor Cus D’Amato.

Writing in his book “Iron Ambition: MY Life with Cus D’Amato,” Tyson stated that he didn’t feel good whenever D’Amato would ask him to come over for a talk. In fact, the young Tyson was even “petrified” when he was alone with D’Amato, Daily Star reported.

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Roy Jones, Jr
Roy Jones Jr. finalizes details of first boxing card in Russia for December 7
World Boxing News
Nov 29, 2019

History will be made on Saturday, December 7, when RJJ Boxing Russia presents its first professional boxing event streamed live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports, starting at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT from RCC Martial Arts Academy in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Living legend and RJJ Boxing Promotions co-founder, Roy Jones, Jr., is wildly popular in Russia, and RJJ Boxing Russia will officially launch Dec. 7 with the inaugural RJJ Boxing Russia on UFC FIGHT PASS.

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