Sports Outside the Beltway

Former middleweight champ Joey Giardello dead at age 78

Giardello held the title for two years in the 1960′s, including a victory over Rubin Hurricane Carter controversially depicted in a movie. The AP obituary is below the fold. RIP Champ.


South Korean boxer Choi Yoi-sam in coma after bout

The fighter had just won a WBO flyweight title bout. From AP-

SEOUL, South Korea – A South Korean boxer who lost consciousness after winning his WBO intercontinental flyweight bout was in a coma with a brain injury.

Choi Yoi-sam was rushed to a hospital shortly after Tuesday’s fight against Indonesian challenger Heri Amol. The 33-year-old South Korean was knocked down in the final round of the 12-round fight, but it was not known whether that caused him to pass out.

“Choi’s condition is very bad. He is in a coma,” Lee Mi-jong, a spokesman at Soonchunhyang University Hospital in Seoul, said Wednesday.

The boxer had surgery Tuesday to stop the swelling of his brain, he said.

“Even if he survives, it’ll be difficult for him to continue his boxing career,” Lee said.

It is just a little 25 years since the famous Ray Mancini-Duk Koo Kim title bout. Like Choi, Kim was South Korean. Duk Koo Kim died five days after his match with Mancini, from head injuries suffered during that fight. Lets pray Choi doesn’t meet a similar fate.


Japan boxing authority suspends Daiki Kameda

It was for actions the flyweight boxer took in a title fight last week.

TOKYO – Japan’s boxing commission on Monday suspended Daiki Kameda for one year after the 18-year-old breached regulations during his defeat to champion Daisuke Naito in a WBC flyweight title match.

Kameda repeatedly grabbed Naito in Thursday’s bout, lifting the champion up and throwing him to the canvas in a scene that resembled a wrestling match.

“He has lost the trust of fans,” said JBC director Shinichi Saito.

Kameda’s father and trainer Shiro, who was working the corner during the bout, was hit with an indefinite suspension from the ring, the JBC said.

Naito was in control throughout the match and successfully defended his title on a unanimous decision after Kameda had three points deducted for violations that included lifting the champion and throwing him down in the 12th round.

What Kameda did was inexcusible, and he deserved a suspension. A year may seem harsh, but I don’t know enough of the boxer’s background or seen the incident in question. The Kamedas have been involved in other incidents, there is also this video of a knockout that looks a little fishy. The fighter on the deck smiling afterwards.

Boxing has had a long history of colorful characters and alleged fight fixing. The little glimpses of boxing I’ve seen of late, make it resemble pro wrestling to me. I don’t think that’s good for the sport or that big title fights today are available mostly through pay per view.(The PPV match I recently paid for cost over $70 to watch when tax and added charges were all added up) The sheer brutality of the sport probably creates enough of a fan base to survive financially, its those with who aren’t die hard fans that will lose interest and eventually stop watching.

Hat tip- Japundit who notes that Kameda’s popularity is as strong as ever in Japan.


Manny Pacquiao retains Super Featherweight title

This was the first boxing match I watched in over ten years.

LAS VEGAS (AFP) – Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao continued his mastery over Marc Antonio Barrera Saturday with unanimous 12-round decision in their super featherweight fight.

It was a rematch of their 2003 bout which was also won by Pacquiao who dominated Barrera with superior hand speed and harder punches.

All three judges gave the decision to Pacquiao by a wide margin with Glenn Trowbridge scoring it 118-109.

The 28-year-old Pacquiao (45-3-2, 35 KOs) was the more aggressive of the two trading blows with the underdog Barrera in the centre of the ring and often beating the 33-year-old Mexican veteran to the punch at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino.

Barrera, who plans to retire after the bout, tried to engineer a tactical fight but looked slower and more awkward. But unlike 2003 when his corner threw in the towel, this time Barrera hung on to remain standing at the end of the final round.

Barrera did nothing to impress the judges. He fought a tactical fight, but appeared scared or wary of Pacquiao who battered him four years earlier.

How did I come about watching a fight for the first time in many years? It was all due to my Philippine born wife. Leonita was talking to her family last night and they told her about the fight. So we ordered Pay-per-view.

Talking about Pay-per-view and DirectTV. We get high definition as part of our satellite package. If we wanted to see the bout in HD, Directv wanted 10 daoolars more than the $49.95 regular price. In addition, Directv wanted $5 for letting us view the bout on all the televisions in our house. That was unless we ordered it off the internet.

All of this makes me pretty reluctant to order any further bouts in the future. I used to follow boxing, but as the sport concentrated more and more on first cable(Anyone besides me remember watching Muhammad Ali fight in prime-time on Network television in the 70′s?) and eventually Pay-per-view my interest in boxing waned and then disappeared entirely. Other than Pacquaio I couldn’t name one WBA, WBC or IBF title holder at the moment. While Pay-per-view may be more lucrative, I think it could in the end kill interest in the sport. That’s just my humble opinion.


Cuban boxers now regret defecting

Guillermo Rigondeaux and Erislandy Lara were in Brazil for the recent Pan American games. From the Nuevo Herald-

Guillermo Rigondeaux and Erislandy Lara, who went to Brazil for the recently completed Pan American Games, were being held by police in a hotel in Rio de Janeiro. News reports say the Brazilian government plans to return them to Cuba.

Their failure to turn up for weigh-ins during the Pan American games last month shook the amateur boxing world because of their star status. The bantan-weight Rigondeaux, 26, was Olympic champion in 2000 and 2004, and Lara, 24, was a promising welterweight.

An article in the Brazilian daily O Globo said the two boxers claimed to have been duped by German-Turkish promoter Ahmet Oner and his aides, who — the boxers said — drugged them and removed them from the Pan American Village.

But just days after the boxers disappeared, Oner stated publicly that he had signed the pair for five years and was keeping them in a protected place. Oner, who heads Arena Box Promotions, added that he had spent about $500,000 to assist in the Cubans’ escape.


Cuban boxing trainer Roberto Quesada, who coaches Gamboa, said the Cuban boxing careers of Rigondeaux and Lara are ruined.

”I very much doubt that they’ll ever climb in a ring again if they return to Cuba,” he said.


Rigondeaux and Lara were found in a hotel in a resort town close to Rio de Janeiro. According to Brazilian media reports, they had been celebrating and had run up a large bill.

The reports added that both fighters expressed remorse to the authorities at the time of their detention and said they were willing to return to Cuba, apparently hoping they could resume their sports careers.

The same article said Rigondeaux has a wife back in Cuba. Both boxers probably have left family behind who are almost certain to suffer reprisals. Rigondeaux and Lara’s return to Cuba is almost certain not to change anything if past history has taught us anything. Defectors have often been killed and or tortured if they changed their minds and came home.

Sadly a few last vestiges of the Cold War live on. Even after Fidel Castro’s death, I don’t expect any immediate change in Cuba.


Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho Sentenced For Burglary

Former boxing great Hector “Macho” Camacho has been given a suspended sentence after a burglary conviction.

Hector Macho Camacho 1997 Photo Camacho celebrates after a bout against Sugar Ray Leonard in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on March 1, 1997. Camacho won the fight with a TKO in the fifth round. Hector “Macho” Camacho was sentenced to the maximum seven years in prison Monday for burglary, but the eight-time world champion could avoid spending time in a cell.

Harrison County Circuit Judge Steve Simpson suspended six years of the sentence and said Camacho could serve one year under house arrest if authorities in Puerto Rico agree to monitor him. That would be followed by two years’ probation. The deal would allow the 44-year-old Camacho to continue working. But if he violates any of the conditions set at sentencing, he would have to serve the entire seven years.

“I am deeply sorry,” Camacho said to the judge and offered apologies to boxing fans and the people of Mississippi, according to story posted on The Sun Herald’s Web site.

Camacho was a premier fighter during the last days when boxing was a sport with mass appeal. It’s a shame he has fallen so low.


Chico Corrales Killed in Motorcycle Crash

Former lightweight boxing champ Diego “Chico” Corrales has been killed in a motorcycle accident.

Diego Chico Corrales Photo Diego Corrales celebrates winning the WBC lightweight crown by a 10th-round knockout over Jose Luis Castillo, of Mexico, in this May 7, 2005 file photo at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Corrales, who won titles in two weight classes and was involved in one of the most memorable fights in recent times, died Monday, May 7, 2007 in a motorcycle accident, his promoter said. He was 29. (AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta, File) Diego “Chico” Corrales, who won titles in two weight classes and was involved in one of the most memorable fights in recent times, died Monday in a motorcycle accident, his promoter said. He was 29.

Gary Shaw said Corrales was driving his motorcycle at a high rate of speed when he ran into the back of a car about 10 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip on Monday night. “He’s laying there as we speak with a helmet on his head under a sheet,” Shaw said. “It appears he was thrown a great distance.”

Shaw said Corrales, whose career had faltered in recent fights, had recently bought a racing motorcycle, which he was apparently riding at the time he was killed. “He fought recklessly and he lived recklessly,” Shaw said. “That was his style.”

Las Vegas police spokesman Jose Montoya said the victim in the accident was wearing a helmet, and it was not known if drugs or alcohol was involved. “No tests have been done. We’re still investigating,” Montoya said.

The lanky Corrales, who stood 5-10 1/2 but fought most of his career at 130 pounds, was a big puncher best known for getting up after two 10th-round knockdowns to stop Jose Luis Castillo in one of the most thrilling fights ever. The fight took place May 7, 2005, exactly two years from the night he died. It was named by the Boxing Writers Association of America and numerous boxing publications as the fight of the year.

Corrales, though, was knocked out by Castillo in the rematch and lost a big payday when he failed to make weight for his next fight. He lost his last three fights, including his last fight on April 7 against Joshua Clottey in Springfield, Mo. He had moved up two weight divisions to welterweight for that fight, but dropped a decision.

Sad news.


2007 Sports Predictions: Crystal Ball Time

For the last two years at my regular blog, I’ve made predictions for the coming year. I thought I would do that here but concentrating on sports only.

Here we go-

1- The Miami Dolphins have a losing season
2- The Florida Marlins have a winning season
3- Tiger Woods wins at least one major on the way to being Player of the Year again.
4- Ernie Els returns to form.
5- Se Ri Pak completes the women’s Grand Slam by taking the Kraft Nabisco
6- Bobby Bowden retires.
7- Roger Clemens retires but this time for good.
8- Charges are totally dropped in the Duke Lacrosse case.
9- Nick Saban leaves the Miami Dolphins to be the head coach at Alabama.
10- The Miami Heat and Florida Panthers both miss the 06-07 season playoffs.
11- Chicago defeats New England in the Super Bowl.
12- Michelle Wie wins an LPGA tournament.
13- Mike Tyson gets arrested.
14- 2007 is Joe Torre’s last season as manager of the Yankees.
15- Bill Cowher quits coaching the Pittsburgh Steelers
16- The Buffalo Sabres win the Stanley Cup
17- Bill Parcells, Marty Schottenheimer and Joe Gibbs all retire or are fired from their present coaching jobs.
18- Bret Favre retires.
19- The Chicago White Sox win the World Series
20- More than half the above predictions are wrong.

We’ll check back at the end of 2007 and see how I did.


Ex-Heavyweight Champ Trevor Berbick Dead at 52

Trevor Berbick was murdered Saturday.

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Former heavyweight champion Trevor Berbick was found dead in a church courtyard Saturday with chop wounds to his head in a suspected homicide.

Trevor Berbick - Mike Tyson Fight Photo Berbick, who was believed to be 52 and was beset by legal problems after his retirement from the ring, lost his heavyweight title to Mike Tyson and was the last boxer to fight Muhammad Ali.

Berbick’s body was discovered about 6:30 a.m. in his hometown parish of Portland, constable Beverly Howell said. He was pronounced dead by a local doctor in the courtyard. Police are treating Berbick’s death as a homicide, Inspector Victor Henry said. Police had no word on what kind of weapon was used or how many people were involved in Berbick’s death, Howell said.

After beating Ali in 1981 in a unanimous decision in the Bahamas, Berbick went on to win the WBC heavyweight title four years later in a decision over Pinklon Thomas. His reign was short, however, as a 20-year-old Tyson knocked Berbick out in the second round of their bout on Nov. 22, 1986, to become the youngest heavyweight champion in history.

A shame. As noted in “Pulp Fiction,” there’s no old-timers’ game in boxing. Once they’re done with you, they’re done, unless you’ve got the charisma of a Muhammad Ali or George Foreman.


Boxer goes naked to make weight for world title fight

From Reuters-

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Panamanian Celestino Caballero stripped naked on Tuesday to avoid missing out on a shot at the world title.

Caballero stunned reporters by removing his underwear at the weigh-in for his WBA super bantamweight fight with champion Somsak Sithchatchawal of Thailand.

The challenger’s bold move paid off when he safely made the weight limit of 55.3-kg (122 pounds) for Wednesday’s fight.

Thai media reports said last week that the 30-year-old Caballero was struggling to shed weight and had considered calling the fight off.

I’m sure the boxing officials could have done without Caballero’s show and tell. Still I agree with Caballero’s actions, why should a boxer’s clothing count towards his weight.

A new trend for boxing weigh-ins may have begun.


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