Tarver vs. Jones Jr 2: Goodnight Sweet Roy

Goodnight Sweet Roy: Deconstructing Boxing’s Prince

By Alex Pierpaoli 

Originally published in shorter version on DoghouseBoxing.com May 20, 2004


For most of this past week Antonio Tarver told everyone willing to listen all about how he was going to finish his rematch with Roy Jones long before any judges could decide on the winner. On Saturday night, everyone who laughed off Tarver’s banter as typical pre-fight braggadocio were forced to hear the Magic Man’s left fist crack a sonic boom through the boxing world when it crunched against the jaw of Roy Jones Jr., putting him to sleep in round two of their Light Heavyweight Championship bout at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Antonio Tarver does well when given a second chance. His rematch with Eric Harding, which he won by 5th round knockout, went considerably better than their first meeting during which Harding broke Tarver’s jaw and went on to win by unanimous decision. After his first encounter with Roy Jones last November, Tarver knew it wasn’t a wise move on Roy’s part to grant his longtime Florida rival a rematch. But Tarver also knew that Roy’s ego couldn’t rest easy knowing there was someone, especially someone with as big a mouth as Tarver’s, walking around claiming he should have gotten the decision.

Until his first fight with Tarver, Roy Jones Jr. and his rabid fans, liked to brag about the fact that not many of Jones’ previous opponents could claim to have won individual rounds against His Royness, let alone have the gall to claim they were robbed by the judges. For the first time in his career Jones had a score to settle and Tarver knew that should be motivation enough to get a second chance at the pound-for-pound prince.

But Roy Jones has always found motivation in odd places. Roy is the sensitive man’s pugilist, Hamlet in a pair of Everlasts. In college, a professor of mine used to liken the inaction and careful contemplation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet to that of a philosophy grad student dropped in the center of a Norse saga. Roy Jones Jr. is boxing’s Hamlet; the thinking man in a hurt business, except Jones prefers rap and rhyme about his own greatness to iambic pentameter.

Like Shakespeare’s troubled protagonist, Jones often weighs all the potential outcomes and considers the motivations of his opponents—how they get themselves up psychologically to face Roy Jones—as if he is not made of similar stuff. It seems Roy Jones’ motivation is born out of some more dramatic well of inspiration that only he knows. Fighters don’t often think of such things, they don’t weigh every option so carefully. Fighters leap into the breach, first through the door and into action despite the potential consequences and certain harm to life and limb. Roy has always considered his actions carefully before committing to any of them, whether it was in choosing opponents or even in his cautious counter-punching style of combat.   Continue reading

Corrales vs. Castillo 2 & the Anti-Climax

Corrales-Castillo 2 and the Anti-Climax

                 By Alex Pierpaoli

originally published 10/8/05 on KOFantasyBoxing.com

The arena was freakishly empty for their first fight on May seventh of this year, and how magnificent the spectacle was for those privileged few who witnessed it live.  This time it’s a near sell-out crowd that will watch these two lightweight warriors pick up where they left off after that amazing round ten in bout one when Diego Corrales surged back from two knockdowns to stop Jose Luis Castillo with a series of left-hook cannon-blasts to the head.


Tonight the Thomas & MackCenter on the UNLV Campus in Las Vegas, is expecting a crowd of nearly 18,000 drooling fight fans to pile in for more of Corrales’ and Castillo’s unique blend of one-on-one sado-masochism.

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Heavies end up with a Draw

Heavies Clay-Bey and Bryant Draw at Foxwoods

By Alex Pierpaoli

originally published 8/8/05 on KOFantasyBoxing.com



New England’s heat wave came indoors at Foxwoods Resort & Casino on Friday night when heavyweights Lawrence Clay-Bey and Derek Bryant rumbled at close quarters for ten grueling rounds and ended up with a majority draw in the Main Event of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights.  Wednesday’s press conference proclaimed the heavyweight match-up was “a crossroads bout” for both fighters, but the result was the boxing equivalent of two beefy muscle cars that scorch through a drag race only to end in a dead heat.  Though both heavyweights were coming back from defeats, neither Clay-Bey, of Hartford, CT, or Bryant, of Philadelphia, were able to leave Uncasville with bragging rights.


After a largely uneventful first round, things heated up in the second when both men hurt each other along the ropes.  At first the two-hundred fifty-eight pound Clay-Bey drove Bryant into the ropes only to have Bryant turn the tables and get Clay-Bey on the defensive moments later.  But by the end of the second it was Clay-Bey doing more damage when the fighters connected at close range.

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2005 IBHOF Induction Weekend

Canastota and the IBHOF Induction Weekend

By Alex Pierpaoli

originally published 6/10/05 on KOFantasyBoxing.com


Follow the New York State thruway up through rural landscapes, past grazing dairy cows and numerous towns with Native American names, and you’ll reach Canastota, New York, the hometown  of boxing’s Onion Farmer the great Carmen Basilio and the International Boxing Hall of fame.  Each year hundreds of fight fans make the pilgrimage from all over the world to the small upstate New York town to rub elbows with their heroes, snap photos and get lots and lots of autographs.  The Boxing Hall of fame induction weekend never disappoints as even a veteran of many weekends past who thinks they’ve seen it all before will bump into that old friend they hadn’t seen in years or hear a tale of a ring classic that makes them fall in love with the sport all over again.

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Banks beats Ayala again

Ayala falls flat against Banks in rematch

By Alex Pierpaoli

originally published 2/26/07 on KOFantasyBoxing.com


Fighting closer to home certainly didn’t help matters for New Haven middleweight Elvin Ayala on Friday night when he met David Banks in the ten round Main Event at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun.  Banks had emerged victorious from their first meeting at Boston’s The Roxy back in November where a split decision resulted in the first professional loss for Elvin Ayala.  Banks left little doubt who the better fighter was on Friday when he defeated Ayala again, this time by unanimous decision.  The card was televised on Telefutura’s Solo Boxeo, the weekly Spanish language boxing broadcast that features talent from around the world with an emphasis on Latino pugilists.

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Wright vs. Soliman ringside report

Winky’s Wright on, but Sam Soliman wins the night

By Alex Pierpaoli

originally published 12/13/05 on KOFantasyBoxing.com


If December third’s less than thrilling Jermain Taylor-Bernard Hopkins rematch was for the Undisputed Middleweight Championship, then one week later Mohegan Sun held the All-Action version of that same 160 pound division when Winky Wright bested Sam Soliman over twelve rounds.  Billed as a title eliminator to determine the undisputed middleweight challenger, Sam Soliman was only the second 160 pounder that Ronald “Winky” Wright had ever faced in a career most consider qualifies him for the number two spot pound-for-pound in the sport; second only to Pretty Boy Floyd Mayweather.  Wright, coming off his dominating victory over Felix Trinidad in May, looked to show his stuff and stay active versus the born and bred Australian, Sam Soliman.  Though battling a chest cold, Winky Wright used crafty boxing and superb defensive skills to turn back the spectacular effort put forth by the unheralded dynamo, Soliman.  The result was pure adrenaline for nearly five thousand fans at Uncasville, CT’s Mohegan Sun Arena on a week when the state was just feeling the icy grip of winter.

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Brewster-Golota preview

Undiscovered Country in Chicago: Lamon Brewster vs. Andrew Golota

By Alex Pierpaoli

originally published 5/20/05 on KOFantasyBoxing.com


Tomorrow night HBO showcases the most lightly regarded of the heavyweight title belts in a bout that could end up being one of the more interesting match-ups in boxing’s unlimited weight class.  Boxing’s perennial bad guy, the Foul Pole, Andrew Golota challenges Lamon Brewster for the WBO version of the heavyweight championship at Chicago’s United Center in the live portion of a boxing doubleheader Saturday night on HBO.  A taped replay of the Trinidad-Wright pay-per-view of last week is up first on the telecast with the Brewster-Golota main event as the feature.

This third title shot in as many fights for Andrew Golota is likely to be the Polish heavyweight’s last chance at winning a piece of the most coveted prize in sport.  And yes, he gets this fight because he’s white and because he’s weird but he also deserves this fight Continue reading

Interview with Lee Groves

KOFantasyBoxing speaks with Tales from the Vault author Lee Groves

By Alex Pierpaoli

originally published 6/20/11 on KOFantasyBoxing.com


When attending the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Induction Weekend one of the friendly-faces I look forward to seeing there is boxing writer Lee Groves.  Groves is a fight collector and boxing historian/writer who’s worked for KO Magazine, MaxBoxing.com and currently writes for The Ring and he is also a punch-counter for CompuBox.  Last year Groves self-published his first book, a mighty paperback of 722 pages (or 3.2 pounds!), featuring 100 closet classics which Groves describes in detail and includes never-before-seen punch-stat totals for remarkable, if not always that memorable, bouts, like one of my all-time favorites, Iran Barkley versus Michael Olajide. The bouts are broken up into ten chapters including Great Grudge Fights, Little Big Men, Sudden and Violent Endings, Undercard Treasures, and Wars of Attrition. If you’ve been a long time fan of the Sweet Science I’d be willing to bet you find a bout in Groves’ book that you thought you’d forgotten and will relish remembering through Groves’ descriptive and energetic prose.


Lee Groves can always be found on IBHOF grounds rather easily because of his red hair and the fact that he is usually carrying The Illustrated History of Boxing by Harry Mullan which he uses to house the numerous autographs he’s acquired from so many past Continue reading

Tarver, Forrest & Donaire deliver kayos

Showtime Tripleheader Delivers in Knockout Fashion: Tarver, Forrest and Donaire Advance

By Alex Pierpaoli

originally published 12/5/07 on KOFantasyBoxing.com


Fighting for the second time since his June 2006 loss to Bernard Hopkins, Antonio Tarver of Tampa, FL, did what he was supposed to do versus Danny Santiago, of Ocala, FL, in what could best be described as a glorified sparring session.

Tarver controlled the fight from the start although at times he seemed to be pushing his punches and looked like a man fighting underwater.  Santiago used some upper body movement and combination punching in round three and it worked, sort of, but by round’s end Tarver was warming up and landed with power punches to take back the round.

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Sam Peter kayos Julius Long

Samuel Peter Chops Down Seven Foot Julius Long at Mohegan Sun

By Alex Pierpaoli

originally published 5/3/06 on KOFantasyBoxing.com


If deforestation was a problem in the Connecticut woods no one bothered to tell Samuel Peter about it before he felled the tree-like 7 footer Julius Long in two minutes thirty-five seconds of round number one on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.  Fighting in the Main Event of an ESPN2 card, Peter, known as The Nigerian Nightmare, displayed aggression and punching power in making very short work of Julius Long in front of a crowd of 3226.

Despite a height differential of almost a foot, Samuel Peter, 256 1/2 lbs., charged out of his corner at the opening bell winging punches at the taller and clearly intimidated Julius Long.  Nicknamed The Towering Inferno, Julius Long, 251, was quickly slated Continue reading