Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Beltway Boxing --The Sad Side!

The following rememberance is a very sad one for me.

MOST TRAGIC SITUATIONS: The deaths of Rueben Bell, Jerry Ballard and Beethavean Scottland

During this 15-year period, the Beltway Boxing area lost three of its potentially brightest stars. I know there were many that even I'm not aware of, but these touched me personally because I had the opportunity to work around them.

Out of the three, Bell was the youngest and probably the one with the most potential. Bell was fighting as a junior middleweight and middleweight and he had tremendous power. Not only were he scoring one-punch knockouts, he was scoring FIRST-punch knockouts as in, the first punch he threw in a bout, he knocked a guy out.

Unfortunately, as Bell started to rise in competition, his attitude about the sport started to go sour. In the biggest match of his career – a 10-round bout against Paul Vaden in 1995 in which the winner was to get a world title shot – Bell came in unprepared. Talent alone made the 10-round decision a close one. If he had been in the best shape, Bell would have won easily. Vaden went on to get the title shot and defeat Vincent Pettway for the IBF Junior Middleweight title.

Two years later, September 12, 1997, Bell got another shot at glory. Now fighting as a middleweight, Bell took on former three-time world champion and DC resident Simon Brown in a nationally-televised bout in Pikesville, MD. Brown was on the downside of his great career and many thought Bell would take care of the veteran easily. Through the first three rounds, Bell did exactly that. But in the fourth and fifth rounds, something went wrong. Bell wasn't throwing as many punches and looked sluggish. At the end of the fifth round, Bell sat on his stool and didn't get back up. The bout was over.

What we didn't know then was that would be the last time we would see Bell in a boxing ring. After the Brown bout, Bell was informed that he had stomach cancer. Fortunately, it was in its early stages and could be treated. Bell immediately went for treatment at the Washington Hospital Center. The prognosis was becoming excellent for Bell's return to the ring. But fate played a part in this and Bell's past, which had been littered with numerous run-ins with the law, caught up to him.

Someone named Tomar Locker apparently watched the bout between Bell and Brown. According to later court records, Locker kept hearing Bell's nickname "Ratman" and thought it might have been the same person who organized the shooting and killing of he and his girlfriend in 1994. The girlfriend died. Bell was never formally charged with any involvement in the situation but Locker wanted revenge. He got his revenge on February 5, 1998 when he walked into the Washington Hospital Center lobby and saw Bell as he was waiting for his latest treatment. Locker opened fire and killed Bell. Locker was later found not guilty by reason of insanity. At just 24 years old, Reuben Bell's promising boxing career and, more importantly, his life had been snuffed out.

Promising heavyweight Jerry "The Technician" Ballard's passing hit hard for a couple of reasons. The DC native was seemingly on the way to rebuilding his career after a tough knockout loss to now-WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz in 1998.

Prior to that loss, Ballard had a solid career, holding victories over fellow DC native Corey "T-Rex" Sanders and former Cruiserweight contender Vincent Boulware. The Boulware bout was for the NABO Heavyweight title. His last two wins were against trial horses Jason Waller and Garing Lane. Ballard put Lane in the hospital with a devastating knockout on the "Triple Jeopardy" card at MCI Center on April 24, 1999.

During the press conference after the "Triple Jeopardy" card, I was getting ready to interview Ballard on tape for a local radio sports show. Just as we started, Don King decided to start the conference and I never got to do the interview. It would be the last time I would see Ballard alive. On August 24, 1999, Ballard was murdered at the age of 32. I truly regret never getting a chance to do that interview.

The death of Beethavean Scottland was the one most closely associated with the actual sport of boxing. On June 26, 2001, Scottland stepped into the ring aboard the USS Intrepid Museum in New York to face George Khalid Jones. Scottland took the bout on just five days notice.

Just a day before he accepted the bout with Jones, I saw Scottland at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie. Scottland was scheduled to fight there against Baltimore's Dana Rucker, but Rucker hurt his ankle and had to back out of the fight. Bee came to the show and we briefly talked. I remember telling him how disappointed I was that he wasn't able to fight that evening. At that time, neither one of us knew about the Jones bout.

When Scottland walked into the ring on the 26th, he looked ready but from the first bell, something seemed wrong. Jones was in control in the early going. Bee showed the heart that he was famous for and stayed in the bout, but he just couldn't get the full advantage. Despite all this, Scottland was ahead on one of the cards. All he had to do is survive the 10th and final round and he would have at least gotten a draw.

Unfortunately as we know, Scottland suffered a TKO in the final round and slipped into a coma. Five days later, Bee Scottland was gone at the age of 26. What a tragedy.

I have to mention something about Bee's funeral, because it provided me with probably the most touching moment I've ever shared in my sportswriting career. Just about everyone I've ever known in Beltway Boxing was there. George Khalid Jones was there also, along with his trainer, the legendary Lou Duva. Jones told folks afterwards that he really was afraid to come, thinking that people there would take out their sorrows on him. The exact opposite happened. There was a whole lot of support for him. Some encouraged him to win the light heavyweight title in Bee's memory. We all knew that this was a tough moment for him as well. Unfortunately, Jones' career did suffer because of this. The love shown for both Bee and Jones that day was just incredible.

Earlier this year, Jones fought for the first time in Maryland, taking on Darnell "The Ding-A-Ling Man" Wilson at Michael's Eighth Avenue. In the crowd was Bee's widow, Denise, who was rooting hard for Jones. Later, the two would meet for the first time. They would become friends. Even the most positive moments can come out of the most tragic situations.

Best Beltway Boxing Stable!

Here is another rememberance of Boxing Along The Beltway.


The HARD CORPS represented the identity of the Beltway Boxing scene during the early-to-mid nineties. Four young undefeated boxers who were managed and trained by the same people. If you're an old-school pro wrestling fan, it was reminiscent of the "Four Horsemen" in the NWA/WCW.

For a short time, Derrell "Too Sweet" Coley, Reggie "Showtime" Green, Rueben "Ratman" Bell and Gerry "Rock" Payne were ready and poised to take over the sport. Their manager was Barry Linde, a self-made millionaire who didn't seem to be afraid to spend that money. They also had three of the top trainers around in Leonard Langley, Al Scott and Vardell McCann. How could they lose?

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out exactly the way we wanted it to. The best the group could manage was three NABF titles (two for Coley and one for Green) and two IBC titles (one for Coley and one for Payne). The group broke up in the midst of inability to move successfully to the world championship level, personal problems and untimely death (the murder of Bell in February 1998). Despite this, no local boxing camp has come close to this type of organized success.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Random Beltway Boxing Notes!

The bout between Baltimore's undefeated junior middleweight Ishmail "The Arsenal" Arvin and unbeaten junior middleweight Yuri Foreman scheduled for September 2 has been cancelled. The bout was slated for the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and was going to air on ShoBox. However, Arvin sustained an injury in training.

A poster on this site mentioned that Adelphi, MD junior middleweight Teddy "Two-Gun" Reid was slated to fight former WBO Junior Middleweight champion Verno Phillips in October. I spoke to Teddy's manager, Felix Dialosio, and he said there is no bout in the works. Reid is coming off a tough split decision loss to Rodney Jones on May 24. Dialosio told me that fight may have hurt his credibility with ESPN.

Another one of Dialosio's boxers, undefeated Baltimore cruiserweight Cory "Black Ice" Cummings, is scheduled to fight his first 10-round bout on September 3 in Cleveland, OH. This will be a Don King card that, I think, features the return of former IBF Bantamweight champ Tim Austin.

Undefeated junior welterweight Lamont Peterson of DC is scheduled to appear on a September 2 bout in Little Rock, AR. Peterson faces his most notable foe to date in former number one lightweight contender Lamar "Kid Fire" Murphy in a co-feature bout that will be telecast on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights. This is a big step for the very talented Peterson because Murphy is a true veteran. If you saw the post about the Beltway Brawl, Murphy appeared on that card that was more than 10 years ago.

Both Lamont Peterson and his brother, Anthony are also scheduled to be on an October 15 card in Biloxi, MS. Unfortunately this is going to be the infamous "Ann vs. Man" card where former world champion Ann "Brown Sugar" Wolfe will box male boxer Bo Skinner.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"Battle Of Virginia" Update!

Here is an update on the "Battle of Virginia" coming to the George Mason University Patriot Center in Fairfax on Saturday, Sept. 17. This is an article I have written for

If Jeff Foxworthy and his friends ever wanted to add sports to their “Blue Collar” comedy tour, they may want to start with the boxing card slated for September 17th at George Mason University’s Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA. Some of the boxers scheduled to appear on this card also work as letter carriers, carpenters and trash collectors.

The letter carrier is former USBA and NABA Super Featherweight champion Lamont “Bay” Pearson of Capitol Heights, MD. Pearson (21-3-1, 11 KO’s) will be fighting for the vacant USBA Lightweight title against an opponent to be named later. Pearson has not fought since his eight-round unanimous decision win over Ivan Alvarez on January 27 in Glen Burnie, MD.

The carpenter is welterweight Jose Luis Almanzar of Woodbridge, VA. After Almanzar, a native of the Dominican Republic won his first four bouts and seven of his first eight, Almanzar has gone 0-4 with 1 NC. Almanzar lost his last contest by six-round unanimous decision over Jaime Palma on February 5 in Washington, DC. Almanzar will face DC’s Spencer Harsley (1-3).

The trash collector is middleweight Orazio “The Razor” Robinson of Woodbridge. Robinson gets up at 4:30 every weekday morning to collect trash for Fairfax County, VA. After losing his first bout, Robinson is 5-0-2 in his last seven bouts. Three of his last four wins have been by knockout. Robinson will take on Jesse Orta (4-5-1, three KO’s.) Orta is looking to break a five-bout losing streak.

Headlining the “Battle of Virginia” is the return of Great Falls, VA’s Jimmy Lange in his first bout since his appearance in NBC’s “The Contender.” Lange will battle Perry Ballard of Martinsburg, WVA in a 12-round match for the vacant World Boxing Empire (WBE) Junior Middleweight title.

Two highly touted Virginia amateurs will make their pro debut on this card. Junior middleweight “Money” Mike Sawyer, a George Mason University graduate from Fairfax, is waiting for an opponent to be confirmed. Sawyer is a loan officer and majored in Finance at George Mason. Also 140-pounder Kay Koroma will make his debut against Terrell Davis of DC (0-2).

The card is promoted by Keystone Boxing of Temple Hills, MD. The matchmaker is Chris Middendorf.

The tickets are priced at $30, $50, $75, $150 (reserved ringside), $225 (premium ringside) and $350 (VIP ringside) and are available through all Ticketmaster outlets including the Patriot Center box office and online at Also, you can purchase tickets via Phonecharge at 703-573-SEAT, 202-397-SEAT or 410-547-SEAT. GMU students receive $10 off the $30 general admission ticket by presenting a valid student ID (up to four tickets) at the Patriot Center box office.

Best Beltway Boxing Card!

Here is the next installment of Beltway Boxing rememberances.

BEST BELTWAY BOXING CARD: The "Beltway Brawl" USAir Arena, April 29, 1995

There have been some great cards that have come through this area over the years. I think of the Triple Jeopardy card at MCI in 1999. The Leon Spinks show, as crazy as it was, it was a solid card. And for an event, the Kevin McBride-Mike Tyson card was one where the theatrics of the boxers and the fans outdid the actual boxing.

But I can't think of one card that was as solid from top to bottom as the Beltway Brawl at USAir Arena. This was the first Don King card I attended as a member of the press and it had everything you could ask for. It had a strong local contingent, it had emerging stars and most importantly, it had superb main event bouts. William Joppy and Maurice Blocker were on the UNDERCARD of this show.

The co-feature was the bout where Bernard Hopkins won his first middleweight world title, defeating Segundo Mercado. This was a bout dominated by Hopkins, coming off their controversial draw the year before.

The main event was the superb matchup between IBF Junior Middleweight champ Vincent Pettway and Simon Brown. The bout was a foul fest, but it was extremely exciting. The end of the bout is still regarded as one of the greatest knockouts in the history of the sport. In the sixth round, Brown missed with a punch. Pettway came back with one of his own and stopped Brown in his tracks. The image of Brown lying on his back throwing punches at the air is one of the most indelible images I can remember in my career.

But amazingly, that wasn't even the best bout of the night. When Darryll "Terrible T" Tyson defended his USBA Junior Welterweight championship against former world champion "Fearless" Freddie Pendleton, no one knew how great that bout would be. It was two old-school boxing guys showing old-school heart. Pendleton stopped Tyson in the 10th round after surviving a knockdown of his own. It was a remarkable fight that you only saw if you were in the arena that night.The Beltway Brawl set a new standard that all other Beltway Boxing cards are judged by.

This was the entire card that evening:

Vincent Pettway retained his IBF Junior Middleweight title with a six-round KO over Simon Brown.

Bernard Hopkins captured the vacant IBF Middleweight title with a seventh-round TKO over Segundo Mercado.

Freddie Pendleton won the USBA Junior Welterweight title with a 10th round TKO over Darryll Tyson.

Oba Carr stopped Alfredo Rojas with a fifth round KO.

Lamar Murphy knocked out DC's Lyndon Paul Walker in the first round.

William Joppy won a 10-round decision over Joaquin Velasquez.

Former IBF Welterweight champ Maurice Blocker (from DC) scored a fifth-round KO over Bobby Butters.

Former WBA Middleweight champ John David Jackson won by eight-round decision over James Green.

DC's Tim "Da Bamma" Hillie won a 10-round unanimous decision over Ernest Mateen.

DC's Antonio "Starchild" Reese scored a first round KO over Bernard "Preacherman" Grant.

"Dangerous D" Darryl Lattimore of DC won a six-round decision over David Gonzales.

Humberto Aranda won a six-round decision over Ed Griffin of Baltimore.

Round One Gymnasium Closes!

A number of posters have talked about this during another story, but it deserves to have a post of its own.

One of the more popular boxing gyms along the Beltway, Round One in Capitol Heights, MD, was forced to close recently. Sources have told me, the owner of the gym, Adrian Davis, was unable to pay back rent.

This is a sad situation that, unfortunately, Mr. Davis has had to deal with before. It is a situation that Mr. Davis, the fighter that he is, has bounced back from in the past. This time, he shouldn't have to do it without help.

One poster here has criticized the boxing community, especially those who have trained at Round One, for not stepping up to the plate and paying whatever money is owed to Mr. Davis. I truly can't comment on who owes what to whom because I truly don't know.

But it should be more than just the boxers who should be involved in this situation. This is time for some community and governmental involvement in Prince George's County.

The Davis Family has done incredible work with young people through their gym. Many young people have come out better citizens because they walked into Round One. The county needs to recognize this and give some support.

This could be very similar to what took place surrounding legendary Baltimore trainer, Mack Lewis. Mr. Mack needed money to pay for repairs for his old gym that he had for more than 50 years. The city government, merchants, journalists and former boxers got together, pooled their resources and found a site and built a brand new gym for Mr. Mack just a few years ago. I think it's time the Prince George's County Government and the community does something very similar.

Therefore, I have written the following email to PG County Executive Jack Johnson:

Dear Mr. Johnson,

My name is Gary "Digital" Williams and I write to you as a concerned citizen and a boxing fan.

Recently, the Round One Gymnasium, located in Capitol Heights, MD, was closed because the owner of the gym, Adrian Davis, was unable to raise the money necessary to pay the rent. Mr. Davis, along with his wife, Brenda, have owned Round One for a number of years. A number of professional champions who have lived in the Washington-Baltimore area have called that gym home including current interim WBC Heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman, former three-time WBA Middleweight champion William Joppy and former two-time world junior welterweight champion Sharmba Mitchell.

More importantly, however, there have been thousands of young people who have stepped through the doors of Round One and have come out as better citizens because of the discipline, love and care that the Davis family shows. Through boxing at Round One, many young people have been able to travel the country and see places and learn things they may not have been able to see or learn any other way.

In Baltimore, many local businessmen and politicians helped Mr. Mack Lewis, a longtime boxing icon, find and build a new gym when costs to fix his old one proved to be too high. I would like to see the Prince George's County community do the same. I would like suggestions on how it could be done and ask for your input and your support in this matter.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

Gary "Digital" Williams

If you would like to write an email to County Executive Jack Johnson, his email address is

Let's do our part to help a needed community resource stay in operation!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Best Beltway Boxing Bout!

My next historical post deals with the best bout that I have ever seen along the Beltway. My answer may surprise some, unless you saw it too.

BEST BELTWAY BOXING BOUT: Lloyd "Jabba" Bryan vs. Bernice "The Heat" Barber, November 30, 1995

I know many of you are saying, "Where did THAT come from?" There were so many great bouts during that period, like Darryll "Terrible T" Tyson vs. Freddy Pendleton at the Beltway Brawl or Tyson-Reggie Green for both the USBA and NABF Super lightweight titles.

How about when Derrell Coley came SO close to losing to "Dangerous D" Darryl Lattimore or when Lattimore lost a close one to Antonio "Starchild" Reese?

Those were all great bouts and there were others, but the bout between Bryan and Barber was a night where everything surrounding my boxing broadcasting career came together. The bout was a 12-rounder for the vacant USBA Intercontinental Middleweight title and we were going to televise it on Boxing Spotlight from Martin's Crosswinds in Greenbelt. We had just gotten a space on what was then Home Team Sports (now Comcast Sportsnet) and the show expanded from one to two hours.

Jabba Bryan was originally from Jamaica, but lived in Capitol Heights, MD. He was a rising undefeated middleweight prospect at the time. Barber was out of Virginia Beach, VA and was a former kickboxing champ who had started to win some state boxing titles. I suggested to our crew that we build this bout up as big as we can. We went to Jabba's gym and interviewed him there. We did pre-fight interviews with both men that looked similar to the ones shown on ESPN, HBO and Showtime. The announcers studied tape on both men to see what kind of bout we might have. Now it was up to the fighters to give us the bout worthy of the buildup.

The bout exceeded the buildup, eventually, although there was a scary moment in the first round. Barber caught Bryan with a vicious right hand and dropped him. Bryan landed awkwardly on his right ankle. Bryan barely survived the round. From the second round on, the excitement kept building. However, Bryan started gaining little advantages and set a new pace for the bout. The advantages seemed to culminate in the 11th round when Bryan dropped Barber with a right hand of his own. But Barber came back later in the round, pressured Bryan and sent him to the canvas for the second time.

During the final round, it seemed like EVERYBODY was drained: the boxers, the fans and the announcers. Bryan had enough, however, to pull out the 12th round and win the title. It was the first time I had ever called a full 12-round bout and I felt like I had BOXED 12 rounds. I had never had that feeling before and haven't had it since. But it was a feeling of total accomplishment. Those two boxers gave it their best and those who saw it are STILL talking about it.

Quick postscript: The two men fought again almost four years later in Atlanta, GA. It apparently is true that the sequel is almost never as good as the original. Bryan knocked out Barber in the first round.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Wilson Loses to Undefeated Tokarev!

On August 18, Silver Spring, MD cruiserweight Darnell "The Ding-A-Ling Man" Wilson lost a 10-round unanimous decision to undefeated Vadim Tokarev in Tokarev's hometown of Kazan, Russia.

Details of the bout are sketchy, but according to the judge's scores, Tokarev dominated the bout. Two judges said Tokarev pitched a shutout, winning 100-90. One judge had it a bit closer at 97-93.

Wilson's record falls to 18-2-3, 15 KO's while Tokarev is now 20-0-1, 13 KO's.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Beltway Boxing -- A Look Back!

This is a site for boxing news and commentary along the Beltway, but it is also a site for remininiscing.

I have seen a lot over these past 17 years, some good, some bad, some downright unusual. About two years ago, when I celebrated my 15th anniversary, I wrote some of these moments down and sent them to a website I was working on. I want to rewrite these reflections down here.

Hopefully, they will be full of moments and people you remember and hopefully, you will give your comments about them. Also, if you have moments you would like to share, please do.

We start with the strangest moment I can remember in 17 years: The Night Leon Spinks Came to Town.

In a sport where strange things are more the rule than the exception, the night of October 22, 1994 set a bar for the surreal in my career. I was still doing Boxing Spotlight and we got word in August that former world heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medallist Leon Spinks was going to headline a card in DC at the Washington Convention Center.

Now we knew that Spinks was way on the downside of his career, but we knew his name would be good publicity, not only for us but also for DC boxing as a whole.

The card was loaded; Darryll Tyson and Sharmba Mitchell also fought on the card. But Spinks was the one everyone came to see. He faced a guy named John Carlo from New York who was listed as 11-1 with 10 KO's. I remember Carlo not saying a whole lot at the press conference and that should have been a tip-off that something was not quite right, but I was younger then and didn't pick up the signs.

Things really got crazy the night of the bout. Here's Spinks standing in the ring with Carlo on the other side and in the middle was former DC Mayor Marion Barry, serving as guest ring announcer. Barry's enthusiasm for the job was truly evident, even if he did call John Carlo "Juan Carlos" and pronounced Spinks as "Sphinxs."

I'm at ringside getting ready to call the bout. The bell rings and I glance down to read some information about the fighters to the audience. That turned out to be a mistake because as I raise my head to look at the action, I see Spinks heading down to the canvas, knocked down from the first punch Carlo threw, a punch I never saw. Spinks is trying to get up; he rolls around on the canvas as referee Sylvester Stevens begins the count. He's up at the eight-count and Carlo moves in. He starts hammering Spinks again and sends him tumbling to the canvas. Remember, we're only about a minute into the bout and by this time there is screaming for the bout to be stopped. A towel flies in from the Spinks corner but Stevens doesn't see it. Carlo gets Spinks into a neutral corner and pummels him again until Stevens finally stops it.

As my broadcast partner, Charles James, and I are trying to recap what we've seen, cups start to fly, including one right near our broadcast location. While I wasn't totally embarrassed by what I just saw, I was afraid for my safety for a little bit.

The strange aspects of this bout continued weeks later when I saw the tape of the interview conducted by our Boxing Spotlight reporter, the "Fight Doctor" Jerome Spears, with Spinks. I would quote things that Spinks said, but after more than 10 years, I still can't understand a word he said to Spears.

Remember, I said that Carlo was LISTED at 11-1 with 10 KO's? Well, this was before the rule that stated that all boxers should have a federal ID number and card and before the Internet that now has sites where a person's boxing record can be authenticated.

Years later, we found out that the bout was Carlo's professional debut! Again, there were signs that pointed to that, like how Carlo didn't go to a neutral corner after knockdowns, but again, I didn't pick up those signs. We also found out that Carlo was named in a bout-fixing scheme when he was accused of laying down for Richie Melito in 2000. It was just a crazy night that gets crazier as the years go on.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

"Too Sharp" Bout Off!

I spoke to former three-time world champion Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson tonight at the Mayor's Cup Amateur Boxing Tournament. Johnson told me that his September 1 bout mentioned here in an earlier post is off. Johnson tore a muscle in his arm and that has postponed the bout.

Other notes from the Mayor's Cup: Featherweight Eric "Mighty Mouse" Aiken of Forestville, MD will be fighting for the NABA Featherweight title on October 1 in Columbus, OH. No word yet on his opponent.

I met the newest commissioner on the DC Boxing and Wrestling Commission. His name is Steve Bullock. At this time, that's all I know about him. I hope to talk to him in depth at a future date. Bullock joins the Chair, Dr. Arnold McKnight and the other commissioner Mable Boatwright.

I made my ring announcing debut tonight at the Mayor's Cup. I'm no Discombobulating Jones, but I think I did a pretty decent job.

The Mayor's Cup, by the way, continues tomorrow at the Kennedy Recreation Center, 7th and P Streets, NW. It's free, so if you're in the neighborhood, please stop by and if you do, please say hello to me.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Joppy Returns on September 17!

Former three-time WBA Middleweight champion William Joppy returns to the ring on Saturday, Sept. 17 when he takes on former super middleweight contender Will "Kid Fire" McIntyre at the Pavilion at Coushatta Casino and Resort in Kinder Louisiana.

The 34-year-old Joppy is originally from DC but now makes his home in Winslow Township, NJ. This will be Joppy's second ring appearance in three months. Joppy (35-4-1, 26 KO's) is coming off a third-round technical knockout over Rashaan Blackburn on July 29 in North Charleston, SC.

But Joppy will be traveling to McIntyre's home area. McIntyre, a native of Bogalusa, LA, now lives in Covington, LA. McIntyre (36-4-1, 14 KO's) is coming off a six-round split decision loss to Joseph Aiken on May 14 in Kinder, LA. McIntyre once challenged Joe Calzaghe for the WBO Super Middleweight title but suffered a fourth-round TKO.

UPDATE: Klitschko-Rahman Headed to Vegas!

The Associated Press is reporting that the WBC Heavyweight title fight between champion Vitali Klitschko and interim champ Hasim Rahman will take place in Las Vegas, possibly on November 12.

As mentioned in an earlier post, Top Rank Promotions won the purse bid for the bout. This will be the first heavyweight bout Top Rank has promoted since the George Foreman-Axel Schulz bout in 1995.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New York Boxer Suspended After Glen Burnie Bout!

This story doesn't involve a Beltway boxer but the situation took place after a Beltway card.

The Buffalo News is reporting that undefeated junior welterweight Nick "Hands Of Gold" Casal of Niagra Falls, NY tested positive for cocaine after a June 16 Ballroom Boxing card in Glen Burnie, MD.

Casal looked awesome in the bout, scoring a first-round knockout over Martinus Clay. After the card, everyone was talking about the 19-year-old's performance. He showed fast hands and devastating power.

According to the Buffalo News article written by noted boxing scribe Tim Graham, people around boxing, including the major rating organizations were starting to take notice. There is a Ring Magazine article on him scheduled to come out next month.

That may all change now. The Maryland State Athletic Commission has placed Casal on a six-month suspension, is forcing him to return his purse from the bout and changed his victory to a no-contest.

According to the article, those around Casal, including his parents and his manager, Shelly Finkel, say the positive test is an isolated incident and not indicative of addiction or even casual use. Casal's father Ray, who serves as his trainer, said the incident comes from hanging out with the wrong crowd.

Ironically, Casal's mother Lesli is a drug counselor and she has ordered her son to take four drug tests since his suspension. Each test has come back clean, she said.

Nick Casal (11-0, 1 NC, 10 KO's) has apologized for the situation, saying he has "disappointed so many people and I regret this more than words can say."

"I can only promise that I will rise above this with a greater understanding of what is really important to me, and I will never again let down the people who have loved and supported me through this time in my life. I truly am sorry for any hurt this has caused, and I will do my best to make this up," Casal told the Buffalo News.

The article says the Maryland suspension was handed down August 5, one day before Casal defeated Jose Roman on the undercard of the Jeff Lacy-Robin Reid championship bout in Tampa, FL. Technically, Casal fought while suspended which means the Florida State Athletic Commission could rule that bout a no contest, but probably won't because Casal's camp didn't learn of the suspension until after the bout.

As it stands, Casal was going to be on the shelf for awhile anyway. Casal caught an elbow during the Roman fight that opened a 13-stitch gash in his brow. As a result, Florida suspended him for two months.

Top Rank Outbids King for Klitschko-Rahman!'s Robert Hoffman is reporting that Bob Arum's Top Rank, Inc. has won the purse bid for the WBC heavyweight title fight between champion Vitali Klitschko and interim WBC champ Hasim Rahman.

Top Rank submitted a bid of $12.1 million dollars, outbidding Don King Productions who submitted a bid of $11 million.

There will be a 65/35 split with Klitschko making $7.5 million and Rahman $4.6 million. The bout must take place by December 31. The United States and Germany are possible sites.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

'The Arsenal' Takes Step Up In Class!

Undefeated Baltimore middleweight Ishmail "The Arsenal" Arvin takes a step up in class of opponent when he faces undefeated Yuri Foreman of Brooklyn, NY on Friday, September 2 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. The bout will be the main event on the next ShoBox telecast on Showtime at 11 PM ET.

This should be a very good matchup. Foreman (18-0, 7 KO's) made two appearances at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie early in his career and he looked impressive. He's faced other local competitors such as George Armenta, Charles Clark and Jose Luis Almanzar. Foreman, who is originally from Belarus, won a six-round majority decision over Armenta (his first fight at Michael's), he stopped Charles Clark in the second round and won a four-round unanimous decision over Almanzar.

None of those boxers will pose the problems that Arvin should give Foreman. Arvin (13-0-1, six knockouts) has good speed and his power is improving. Arvin probably will have to rely on speed more than power because I remember Foreman having a decent chin but he was knocked down by Armenta early in their bout.

But this is a good matchup at the right time for Arvin. We need to see if he can step up to the next level. I wish him well.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

'Ding-a-Ling Man' Faces Tough Opponent in Russia!

Silver Spring, MD cruiserweight contender Darnell "The Ding-A-Ling Man" Wilson faces his toughest opponent to date when he takes on undefeated Vadim Tokarev on August 18 in Tokarev's hometown of Kazan, Russia.

Tokarev (19-0-1, 13 KO's) is ranked ninth in the world by the IBF and 14th by the WBA. Tokarev has held the IBF Inter-Continental title recently, but his last bout, a 10-round unanimous decision over Michael Simms back in May, was not for the title. Wilson (18-1-3, 15 KO's) is currently unranked by the major governing bodies but is ranked fifth at light heavyweight by the USBA.

Prior to receiving information about this bout (thank you, Skinnyscott), Wilson told me about a possibility of fighting a title match against IBF champion O'Neil Bell. Maybe a win against Tokarev would move him closer to that goal. I wish him well.

Did Rahman Make a Statement?

Congratulations to Hasim "The Rock" Rahman, the Interim WBC Heavyweight champion! Rahman won a unanimous decision over Monte Barrett in Chicago on August 13. Rahman has earned the opportunity to fight Vitali Klitschko for the WBC title before the end of the year.

The question now is: did Rahman make a statement with his performance? Maybe the question should be did Rahman make enough of a statement?

The answer to the second question is probably no. Here's why:

Rahman faced a guy who could do nothing but make Rahman looked bad. For the majority of the bout, Barrett made Rahman chase him. He moved all over the place. That made it difficult for Rahman to land telling blows. I thought Rahman handled the movement better than he usually does. The jab worked well in spots for the champ. It was those spots that led him to victory.

Unfortunately, the average boxing fan (as evidenced by the reaction to the bout from the United Center crowd) did not appreciate Rahman's ability to adapt to what Barrett was doing. The problem was Rahman did not show the finishing ability that he has in the past and he did get hit and rocked by a number of Barrett shots simply by walking into them.

So on the surface, it seemed that Rahman didn't do enough to convince fans he is a legitimate champion. But I think there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Vitali Klitschko doesn't move nearly as much or as well as Monte Barrett. He will stand in front of Rahman and trade. If that holds true, than Rahman should use what got him to the dance.

If he jabs, he wins. Period. (How's that for a recurring theme?)

Other side items about the card: Showtime PPV only served as a distributor to the card. The telecast actually was a KingVision production.

Overall, the telecast was pretty decent. I love Barry Tompkins and Rich Marotta. They are REAL boxing announcers who put the fighters ahead as the show, not themselves. George Foreman added some things but he was mostly the same ol' George. Jim Hill was stiff yet solid as host and I was actually impressed by JT The Brick from Fox Sports Radio. He sounded more like a pro wrestling announcer than a boxing interviewer, but he did seem like he knew his information, asked good questions and didn't embarrass himself.

Fun fact of the night: How many of you knew that IBF Heavyweight Champ Chris Byrd and WBO Heavyweight titleholder Lamon Brewster were cousins? I didn't either.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Gary Russell Jr. Update!

You know what they say about how time flies. Well, time flew with me when it comes to Gary Russell, Jr. I mention this because in a previous post I mentioned his name about how great a boxer he is. Unfortunately, that was the only thing about Gary I got correct.

Turns out Gary is now 17 years old and he is wowing folks nationwide in the amateur ranks. Gary is the number one rated boxer in the bantamweight (119 pounds) class in the country. Gary has won the 2005 National Golden Gloves, the 2005 US Championships and is the 2004 Junior Olympic Champion. Gary is also the youngest member of the USA's Elite Boxing team.

Gary recently won his first senior international bout as he defeated an opponent in Moscow, Russia as part of the USA Elite Boxing team. According to, Gary overcame a large deficit to win his contest 21-20 over a boxer from Belarus.

Another thing I did get right. Gary Russell Jr. is definitely someone to keep an eye on.

Here's an update on the Mayor's Cup. No, Gary won't be participating, but the event itself is completely free to the public. See previous post on the boxing schedule for information.

Rahman Says He's Ready!

Tonight in Chicago, Illinois, former world heavyweight champion and Baltimore native Hasim "The Rock" Rahman will battle Monte "Two Gunz" Barrett for the Interim WBC Heavyweight title. Couple of points about this contest.

1.This is an easy fight for me to handicap. If Rahman jabs, he wins. Period. Rahman (40-5-1, 33 KO's) has lost the majority of his bouts because he didn't use the jab effectively. Both fights with David Tua, the Evander Holyfield bout and the Ruiz contest are all prime examples of that. Rahman told's David Hudson that he won't even get into a clinch tonight and he's looking to put on his best performance ever.

2. Fights between guys that are friends tend to be VERY boring. I offer a bout between Kevin Kelley and Clarence "Bones" Adams as evidence of that. The guys didn't even want to touch each other, much less throw punches. There are exceptions, however, like the bout between Simon Brown and Maurice Blocker. Let's hope Rahman and Barrett are the exception, not the rule.

I have one question: How many people did Don King befuddle at Showtime to make this fight a PAY-PER-VIEW? Rahman-Barrett is not exactly a thrilling matchup. The undercard isn't even that good. You have Ricardo Mayorga against an over-the-hill Michele Piccirillo, Oliver McCall against a polish boxer who's first name I can't even spell, and Miguel Angel Gonzalez who's at least five years past his prime. They're charging people to pay for this foolishness?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Why No Discombobulating Jones?

Those of you who are familiar with Boxing Along The Beltway know the name Henry "Discombobulating" Jones. For those who aren't, Jones is the first African-American continually working boxing ring announcer. While it is not a full-time job like it is for Michael Buffer (not yet, anyway), Jones is the first of a handful of African-Americans who do the job on a regular basis.

Jones started ring announcing a few months before I started covering the sport. In those 18 years, I have seen him rise from a local announcer on my TV series Boxing Spotlight to someone who is in demand across the country and someone who has appeared on USA Network, ESPN, The Sunshine Network and who was a regular on HBO's KO Nation and worked the Cedric Kushner-promoted "Fistful of Dollars" heavyweight tournament that was on Pay-Per-View a few years ago.

I have also seen the prejudice that Jones has had to battle and also have witnessed some African-American promoters buy into that garbage, making them afraid to use Jones for the bigger shows along the Beltway.

An example of this took place during the week of the Kevin McBride-Mike Tyson bout in DC this past June. At the Tyson-McBride weigh-in, I witnessed a verbal confrontation between Jones and Rock Newman, who was assisting the promotion of the bout. The confrontation stemmed from an interview Jones gave to a boxing website (not Fightnews) in which Jones said Newman promised Jones an opportunity to work one of Newman's bouts someday. Newman claimed he never said that because Jones has "never been qualified" to work on a card. This is what Newman told Jones during the shouting match.

I just shook my head when Newman said that. Apparently the previously mentioned networks believed otherwise.

Everyone knew that since this was a Showtime PPV that legendary ring announcer Jimmy Lennon, Jr. would do the televised portion of the card. But Jones definitely should have been allowed to work the undercard.

Instead, Newman used his old buddy Ron Harris who tried hard, but was woefully unprepared and sounded like Paul Shaffer doing his Don Kirshner impression on Saturday Night Live.

Unfortunately, this has been typical of what Jones has faced throughout his career here along the Beltway. The card in Virginia on Sept. 17 should have Jones. But promoters would rather use a radio DJ who probably has never been to a live boxing card, much less worked one.

I've never been a boxing ring announcer but I have been a public address announcer at sporting events for almost 20 years and I know how important it is to have a voice that will make your event sound professional. If you have someone who doesn't know how to do the job, it reflects on the people in charge.

Fortunately, though, Jones remains undaunted and employed. He will be traveling soon to his hometown of Rochester, NY to work his first card ever. The mayor will give him a proclamation and he has organized some programs to help stem a rising tide of violence in the city. Jones will also be working regularly in Columbus, OH with boxing cards.

I just wish "Discombobulating" Jones would get the respect he deserves here along the Beltway.

Why No Boxing Cards in PG County?

When I first started covering Boxing Along The Beltway almost 18 years ago, one of the great areas to see live pro boxing was in Prince George's County. For those unfamiliar with the Washington, DC area, PG County is a relatively affluent, mostly African-American populated Maryland suburb of our Nation's Capital.

During the late 80's through the late 90's, places such as La Fontaine Bleu in New Carrollton, Martin's Crosswinds in Greenbelt and the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro were hotbeds of action.

That has all but stopped in the new millenium. Since 2000, there have been a grand total of FIVE boxing cards in the county; two in 2000, two in 2003 and one in 2004.

And it is the one card in 2004 that has become the latest controversy. That card also answers the major reason there has been limited action in the county.

The card in 2004 was the one featuring Laila Ali, held at Prince George's Stadium on July 17. The card was an outdoor event that drew close to 9,000 fans in the rain. The card was promoted by Raging Promotions, a firm headed by businessman Marty Wynn and his wife, former multi-time world boxing champion Isra "Raging Beauty" Girgrah. The card was a successful one, bringing many people who have never been to a live boxing card into the mix.

But here is the main reason why we have had limited action in Prince George's County: Most of the promoters don't pay their debts!

Whether those bills are from the management of the buildings where the bouts are being held, or they are bills directly to the Maryland State Athletic Commission, many bills are left unpaid. The popular venues in the county have since closed their doors to boxing because of this situation.

In the case of Raging Promotions, they currently owe the Commission close to $28,000 for the Ali card. The state recently revoked their license, something commission officials told me they haven't had to do in more than 20 years!

I have heard some rumors that promoters are going to try again in the county and I have heard locations such as Bowie State University and Suitland High School as possibilities to house pro boxing. We just have to wait and see. But for now, if you want to see pro boxing in Maryland, Glen Burnie and Woodlawn (near Baltimore) are the places you have to go.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Upcoming Beltway Boxing Cards!

Here is what's coming up in Boxing Along The Beltway:

August 19 and 20: The Mayor's Cup Amateur Boxing Tournament -- Kennedy Recreation Center, 7th & P Streets, NW

Normally, I don't talk about a lot of amateur cards (primarily because I don't have time to go to a lot of them, unfortunately), but this is a very special card. Next to the Golden Gloves, the Mayor's Cup is the most important amateur card in DC. Boxers from up and down the East Coast as well along the Beltway participate in this event. It is a lot of fun.

Hopefully, one of the participants this year will be a young man named Gary Russell, Jr. I recently talked about who are the best prospects along the Beltway. I would have put Gary on that list except for two things:

1. Gary's not a pro.

2. Gary's only 13 years old.

But anyone who has seen him will tell you that Gary has skills far beyond his years. I first saw him at an event called the Platinum Gloves. Gary was nine years old and his performance was so spectacular that he was named the best boxer of the tournament. Since that time, he has won two national Golden Gloves in his age group. If he can stay focused and not let outside distractions get to him, he could go a long way in the sport.

What will help him is the fact that he comes from a boxing family. Gary's older brother is a pro named Gary "Fast Hands" Jones (20-2, eight knockouts, but has been inactive since 2003) His younger brother is another talented kid named Gary A. Russell (why they are all named Gary is beyond me, although it is a nice name. I should know.) Also he has a great trainer in Barry Hunter of the Headbangers boxing club. Hunter also trains Anthony and Lamont Peterson who are true prospects to watch (see earlier post).

September 17 -- "The Battle of Virginia" -- The Patriot Center, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

That is the card referenced in an earlier post ("Can Virginia Make It Happen?" July 30). I will post the entire card when I get more information.

September 29 -- Ballroom Boxing -- Michael's Eighth Avenue, Glen Burnie, MD

Promoter Scott Wagner starts his 12th season of great boxing action. Right now, it is still the best place to see a live boxing card along the Beltway.

There will be more coming up in the fall. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Luther Smith Knocked Out on ESPN2!

Washington, DC junior middleweight Luther "Sugarman" Smith was knocked out during a nationally televised bout on ESPN2 last night. Smith was making a comeback after a more than three-year absence but he was floored in the first round by Delvin Rodriguez on a card at the Foxwoods in Connecticut.

Smith left the ring on a stretcher and was taken to a nearby hospital, but is reporting that Smith IS conscious and responsive.

Smith was a promising boxer but has fallen on hard times lately. Smith's record now is 22-4-2 with 12 KO's.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Too Sharp Back In Action!

Former three-time world champion Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson of DC will be back in action on September 1 as he faces Jhonny Gonzalez in a bantamweight matchup in Tucson, Arizona.

Gonzalez is ranked number two in the world by the WBO and has a record of 29-4, 25 knockouts. Johnson has not performed well in his previous bouts at bantamweight. He usually does not carry the power well nor does he take punches well. Johnson is 44-4 with 28 KO's and has won world titles at flyweight and junior bantamweight.

I've talked to Johnson over the past few weeks because he was training for another bout and was asked by both Sharmba Mitchell and Zab Judah to be in their camps to spar as those two prepared for a bout originally scheduled for Sept. 5. By the way, the Judah-Mitchell fight, which was for Judah's Undisputed World Welterweight crown, has been postponed.

This Johnson bout worries me because I'm not sure Johnson has the chin nor power to beat a top-flight bantamweight. I hope I'm wrong because I would like to see "Too Sharp" make one more title run before he hangs it up. I think we are looking at a future hall of famer in Mark Johnson.