Super Middeweight Arthur Abraham, left, received a standing eight count after this knock down by Andre Dirrell in the seventh round of the Super Six World Boxing Classic at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday, March 27, 2010 in Detroit.

By Eric Woodyard | The Flint Journal

FLINT, Michigan — Andre Dirrell was putting on a picture-perfect boxing performance.

For 11 rounds, the Flint native’s speed and elusiveness were brilliantly displayed against Arthur Abraham in front of his hometown fans at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit last spring.

He was less than six minutes away from giving Abraham his first professional loss while also redeeming himself from a controversial split decision he took overseas at the expense of Carl Froch.

Abraham had other plans.

Brewing with frustration, Abraham clocked Dirrell with a solid right-hand hook with 1:13 remaining in the round. The problem was, Dirrell had clearly slipped and fell to his knee. The punched caught him off guard and knocked him completely out. Dirrell was awarded the win because of Abraham’s illegal punch, but it would have long-lasting effects.

“(Abraham) knew what he was doing when he hit me. He knew I totally dominated,” Dirrell said. “He knew I exposed him and I caught him for the fraud that he is. He’s a paper champion and I proved it when I put my hands on him.”

That fight took place on March 27, 2010 and Dirrell (19-1) hasn’t entered the ring since. All negotiations to fight his close friend and 2004 Olympic teammate, Andre Ward, crashed in October when Dirrell was diagnosed with neurological problems that were caused from Abraham’s illegal shot. He also dropped out of Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic with his career in jeopardy.

“It was quite a setback, but it just wasn’t a big setback because I’m just looking out for my career,” Dirrell said.

He first noticed the neurological symptoms while preparing to take on Ward. Dirrell often felt light-headed, dizzy, and complained of not being able to sleep at times. His grandfather and longtime trainer, Leon “Bumper” Lawson, who never cuts him any slack, recognized a difference, as well. Lawson observed Dirrell’s slower foot speed in workouts before deciding to direct his grandson to a neurologist.

Dirrell, 27, was ruled out of action for three months. He wouldn’t be cleared to box again unless there was no evidence of the injury throughout that time frame.

“If the doctor hadn’t said that he wasn’t able to continue boxing I wouldn’t have let him anyway,” Lawson said. “Because I would like to know where he’s at after being knocked out, and I would have him fight less competitive fighters.”

The good news is that Dirrell was cleared to return to the sport last Tuesday. The bad news is that most fans believe he ducked Ward for a bigger payday in the future. Whatever the case may be, Dirrell doesn’t let it get to him too much.

“People crack jokes about it, people say that I’m faking. Haters are gonna be haters but I’m loving it because honestly I have three to four to five times as many fans as I do haters,” Dirrell laughed. “You got to take the good with the bad, but it just really motivates me, so when I hear it, it doesn’t bother me.”

Dirrell plans to make his much-anticipated return within the next three to four months. He’s currently training in Deerfield Beach, Fla., while searching for a tune-up opponent to help shake off his ring rust. In Flint, it was hard for him to consistently find the ambition necessary to reach his peak. The cold weather and snow weren’t the preferable conditions to help him hone his craft.

He hopes to take Lucian Bute’s International Boxing Federation super middleweight title before the end of the year. Bute hails from Romania and has a perfect record in 27 bouts with 22 wins coming off of knockouts.

Dirrell’s camp feels like there shouldn’t be a controversy about whether or not he wants to battle Ward. The two have been pitted against each other since their careers first began. Their only concerns is that the conditions are ideal for both parties.

“I don’t want to add skepticism, because if this wouldn’t have happened with Abraham then I would be fighting Andre Ward. People want to see the fight, but they just won’t see it when they want to see it. But it will come,” Dirrell declared. “I cant wait, I know he can’t wait and that’s definitely going to put a stamp on who’s the best, and I’m ready to get in there and show the people what’s up.

“But they’ll just have to wait.”

Last year’s layoff has been Dirrell’s longest since he first picked up a pair of gloves nearly 17 years ago. During that break, however, he married his high school sweetheart, Alaia, and the two are expecting their third child, a boy, in June.

It’s just too bad that Alaia had to compete for her husband’s attention with his favorite pastime besides boxing: Video games.

“That’s his mistress at night time,” Alaia joked. “He’ll do his training and he’s very oriented when it comes to the kids, but on top of that he (loves) that game.”

It’s true that he may have been spending over 20 hours of his week enjoying “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” but Dirrell still insists he will be better this time around.

“You definitely can look for a more determined, more focused Andre Dirrell,” he said. “My family has been great but I just want to get back in that ring.

“I don’t like sitting out this long.”

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Super Middeweight Andre Dirrell, right, punches Arthur Abraham in the ribs during the seventh round of the Super Six World Boxing Classic at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday, March 27, 2010 in Detroit.

FLINT, Michigan — In October, top-ranked super middleweight boxing contender Andre Dirrell’s career seemed to be in jeopardy.

The Flint native was diagnosed with neurological problems and advised to take a three-month absence from the sport until his conditions improved.

Dirrell has now been cleared to fight.

He’s currently training in Florida while searching for an opponent but before he left he invited the Flint Journal into his plush home in Fenton, Mich., and offered some insight about what’s been going on since his last bout in March against Arthur Abraham. The fight ended in controversy and earned a victory by way of disqualification. Here is part two of the two-part interview.

Eric Woodyard: Do you feel like that fight against Arthur Abraham damaged your reputation at all?

Andre Dirrell: I could say so but it’s really hard to say. But in boxing you have to prove yourself.When I fought Curtis Stevens, I ran the whole fight. That was my first time fighting a short guy that was really good so I fought him the only way I knew how, and that was a setback for me and I felt like I lost more from that than I would have the Arthur Abraham fight, because like I said that was a picture perfect performance. If anything I gained fans. I’d been to California before I fought Abraham and it was just ‘there’s Andre Dirrell.’ I went to California for the Andre Ward fight when he fought Alan Green and I literally walked in that stadium and got a standing ovation so I won’t say I’ve lost anything, or I’m looked at at a lower standpoint.

I would say I’m pretty much glorified, but all I can do is push forward and keep proving myself. That’s what you have to do in boxing. If you have a setback, a true champion comes back, bounces back and makes something of it so that’s what I’m looking forward to doing, but right now who cares? I don’t care where anyone sees me because I don’t have a lot to prove in this game but I will be in the top of the crop one day.

EW: I know you were telling me about a possible fight with Lucian Bute in a few months. Are you still looking to fight him soon?

AD: Yeah! I’m really hoping that comes about. It won’t be in Canada because that’s where all his fights are held and it’s a lot of crazy stuff that goes on in foreign countries if you ask me. But he’s the new Showtime fighter now, they just signed him. He hasn’t had a fight on Showtime since they signed him. I’m on my way back, and after a warmup fight then I really really really want to get in there with Lucian Bute to definitely take his title then I go after Andre Ward. Bute is definitely in my radar, I would love to fight him and I’m sure it will soon come.

EW: What’s the timetable for that fight? How many months…

AD: Um…I’m actually looking for a warmup fight right so I would say within a seven-month timespan I’ll be chasing Bute.

EW: So your warmup fight should be within

AD: Three to four months. Yes, by late March beginning of April.

EW: Can you just talk about how it feels to be sitting out of boxing for so long? How have you been feeling about having all of that free time and not knowing if you would ever be back?  You know contemplating retirement if the injury was too severe. How was that?

AD: It’s a lot to just sit back and think. I’ve been boxing for 17 years man and that’s practically my whole life, even my childhood. I’ve been working out since I was five-years-old so you can really add another five years to that 17, but just to know that I wanna be in the game for seven more years, because I just get to sit back and look at it, it is really like this is it. It’s now or never. In that aspect it’s just me in a better mindset—  being out this long about what I have to do when I get back in the game.

My family has been great but I just want to get back in that ring, I don’t like sitting out this long. I’ve been working out on and off but the motivation is really hard in Flint, just because of the snow.  I don’t like cold weather and I plan on moving to Florida soon and when I do that I will definitely get back up on my training but this has allowed me to think a lot while I’ve been out. I’m serious to just get back in there and get back to work. People want to see me and I just don’t want to let none of my fans down, and I believe I’m doing that just by sitting out the game this long but I’m gonna get back in there and show them what I can do.

EW: What Andre Dirrell are we gonna see this time around? Will there be any changes? Are you a little more angry? Are you gonna be more aggressive? What kind of Andre will step in the ring in 2011…

AD: Just a more focused one man. A boxer has to control what he has to do —  that’s it because I believe my game is perfected. In my last performance, it was an A plus performance. I believe my game was perfected. I’m going to just be more focused and hold down what I have to do, so that’s just my main thing. Getting back, not being a crowd pleaser, working to the best of my abilites and practicing my craft, and just being the champion that I know I can be and everybody wants me to be. I’m a focused, more determined Andre Dirrell.

EW: Anything else you would like to add that I didn’t ask you?

AD: Basically you definitely can look for a more determined, more focused Andre Dirrell but I really above all want to bring Flint back and put Flint on the map. I plan on doing a lot of work with Flint. I plan on bringing a lot of summer and winter activities back to Flint as well as working with the kids, but my main focus is getting back on my game and bringing Flint and putting it back on the map, so when I go down to Florida to work I want Flint to know above all that I’m bringing that championship back for them as well as myself.

*Click here to check out Part 1 of the interview!

 

By Eric Woodyard | The Flint Journal

FLINT, Michigan — In March, it will be a full year since top-ranked super middleweight contender, Andre Dirrell has entered the boxing ring.

In his last bout he was nailed with a cheap shot by Arthur Abraham after he slipped in a corner and rested on one leg. The punch knocked Dirrell completely out but he still went on to win the fight by disqualification.

After that contest, Dirrell was scheduled to face his close friend and fellow 2004 U.S. Olympic teammate, Andre Ward. That fight would never happen as Dirrell was diagnosed with neurological problems following the effects of Abraham’s devastating blow. The doctors advised Dirrell to remain absent from the sport for three months until he was symptom free.

Guess what? It’s been three months and Dirrell was cleared to return back into boxing on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

Last week, Dirrell invited the Flint Journal out to his plush home in Fenton to give fans an insight on his boxing plans, address the “haters,” and to set the record straight about his injury in part one of the two-part interview.

Dirrell.JPG

Eric Woodyard: Can you explain the neurological problems that you were dealing with for those that may not understand?

Andre Dirrell: I lose around 15 or 16 pounds for every training camp so it’s natural for me to feel dizzy after a fight and to feel light-headed when I start turning back into my old self after I leave camp. But after the fight, after I saw the doctors, they told me I had a slight concussion, and I came home not thinking of it, just working out and I started getting light-headed, I started getting dizzy. There were times I couldn’t sleep, I would be in the gym working out and my grandfather would see a difference just from my training alone.

So when he told me to go visit the neurologist that scared me because my grandfather doesn’t care if you’re sick, hopping on one foot all that stuff during training should be gone. So, I went to the Neurologist and told him I had dizzines that wouldn’t go away, I couldn’t sleep. I told him pretty much the same thing and they put me off for three months. They put me off until I was three months symptom-free, but I feel pretty good now.

As far as other boxers having it I know (others) have slight concussions and after fights like this from being knocked out (and)  it’s unchangeable for them. They get back in the ring and they can make nothing of it, they’re whole game is changed and it affects not only their career but their lives, so me taking this time off is pretty smart for me and I’m just hoping for the best when I get back in that ring.

EW: I know it had to be a setback for you being right on the brink of fighting Andre Ward in the middle of training. Just how much of a setback was this injury for you?

AD: It was quite of a setback — it just wasn’t a big setback because again I’m just looking out for my career. That’s pretty much the only setback. When I fought Carl Froch everybody thought I won the fight. The world saw that. The world knows that I won the fight and it was a good fight for me. Moving on to Arthur Abraham I totally dominated him. It was a picture perfect perfomance until the late hit. Like one reporter said, ‘he tarnished a Picasso.’

I am on the brink of exploding. I’m right there on the verge of becoming a big-time fighter and for this to happen it is quite of a setback. It can do something to you mentally. It bothers me a little bit, but I know once I get back in that ring I’m gonna be my old self again. In March it will be a year and I’m looking forward to fighting Andre Ward sometime in the near future. So when that comes about I will be willing and ready, so it’s part of a setback because I want to be fighting. I’m a boxer that’s what I do. I really can’t wait to get back in there.

EW: We have to address the people all over the internet who think you’re dodging Andre Ward. What do you have to say to those people?

AD: I just heard it again today. Last night I saw a video on there that was quite funny and I commented back to him on Twitter like ‘that was a good one.’ People crack jokes about it, people say that ‘I’m faking.’ Haters gonna be haters but I’m loving it because. honestly, I have three to four to five times as many fans as I do haters and you got to take the good with the bad … but it just really motivates me so when I hear it, it doesn’t bother me.

Half of it makes me laugh, half of it makes me wonder but it doesn’t bother me at all. I just want to get in there and fight. One thing about boxing is that you will be criticized until you retire so I’m actually looking forward to that. Floyd Mayweather’s being critcized to this day and he’s one of the best out there period! So I’m looking forward to getting more haters like Katt Williamssays, but I can’t do nothing but feed off of it. It’s nothing but energy for me.

EW: At what point do you feel like will be the right time to take the fight with Andre Ward? Do you think it was too early?

AD: I don’t want to put any skepticism to saying that the fight was too early because people already believe that I was dodging him, but — come on man — we’re two young fighters. We’re both at the top of our career and people look to see us fight and they know ever since we’ve turned professional that people have been wanting to see us fight. They wanted to know if we can live up to the standards of bringing in a big crowd and they said that we can do that now.

The Super Six was a beautiful opportunity for me but I don’t believe that it was the right time. Unfortunately this did happen, and we would’ve had our time to shine and we would have had a great crowd but I know it could be better with both of us carrying a championship, both of us at the high rise of our career, (and) at the peak of our performance. People are going to pay to see us. It’s definitely a potential big fight and I don’t want to sell it short. Like I said I don’t want to add skepticism because if this wouldn’t have happened with Abraham then I would be fighting Andre Ward. People want to see the fight but they just won’t see it when they want to see it, but it will come. I can’t wait, I know he can’t wait and that’s definitely gonna put a stamp on who’s the best and I’m ready to get in there and show the people what’s up, but they’ll just have to wait.

britain-boxing-froch-dirrelljpgjpeg-b4c3761937d6f35d_large.JPG

EW: Do you regret joining the Super Six at all? If not, what do you feel like you gained from joining the tournament?

AD: Like I said it’s just been nothing but high hopes from the beginning. It’s lived up to my expectations from the beginning. When I first walked into the studio in New York, when I ran into all the Super Six fighter, I was sitting there and I did ask myself ‘Do I really belong in this tournament?’ because when you get under the lights and in that ring you feel it. You know when you’re put on that pedestial and I felt it there and after that first fight with Froch, I knew I belonged there. And fighting on with Abraham and gaining the exposure I got nothing but good out of it. It’s been an excellent tournament. Showtime has showed me nothing but love and if I can rewind it and do it all over again, I would definitely do it all over again minus what Abraham has done to me. So it was great exposure, this was a great tournament, the first time it’s ever been done and it’s definitely going down in history. Hopefully there can be more like it. I just love to know that we set the standards for boxing to be on a higher pedestal than what it is now.

EW: I know you have to feel like beating up Abraham. (laughs) I know you’re bitter at him man especially after all the junk he’s been talking since the fight…

AD: (laughs) Yeah. I was watching something with Abraham last night as well and he said I was a actor and stuff like that but he was definitely gearing away from the a— whooping I gave him. (laughs) You know what I’m saying? But listening to interviews after that fight, people don’t bring up the a— whooping. They don’t bring it up. It’s like it never happened because all they want to see is me and Ward’s fight. But like I said, an announcer said ‘he tarnished a Picasso.’ He knew what he was doing when he hit me. He knew I totally dominated. He knew I exposed him and I caught him for the fraud that he is. He’s a paper champion and I proved it when I put my hands on him.

The favorite in the tournament at the time was for Arthur Abraham, the point leader was Arthur Abraham. I came in and dominated him…period! He did what he had to do to get out. To cause controversy and he did just that. Froch put on a picture perfect performance against him as well, thanks to me but I am bitter. I am slightly bitter but no I’m not because he he isn’t the one to walk around and blabber and talk a lot of trash but he does have his point about me. If we ever meet again if he ever holds the belt, and if he’s worth my time, I will fight him again but he doesn’t get under my skin.

*Part two of this interview will be posted on the web tomorrow afternoon. A full-length feature story on Andre Dirrell will also headline Sunday’s Flint Journal.

 

By Eric Woodyard | The Flint Journal

FLINT, Michigan — At the beginning of his boxing career, Dion Savage was labeled as a “raw talent” with several kinks in the armor.

Although Savage initially lacked several fundamental boxing skills, it was never a question of whether or not he had the determination to become a champion.

The Flint native took several chances and pushed himself to the limit to be in the position he’s in now: A signed fighter for Mayweather Promotions. In October of 2009, boxing legend Floyd Mayweather inked Savage exclusively to his company. Savage now lives and trains full-time in Las Vegas.

Growing up and having to struggle for just about everything, Savage fully grasped the vastness of this support.

“(Mayweather) didn’t have to do that because I’m a nobody compared to him, but he took me in and helped me so I can get where I’m trying to go,” Savage said. “That really goes far because if (he’s) a multi-millionaire, he doesn’t need me.”

Savage, 23, let it be known early that he wanted to become a title-holder someday. So far he hasn’t let the Mayweather family down. His professional record is unblemished in 10 professional fights with six of those victories coming by way of knockout.

On Feb. 25, Savage will put his perfect record on the line as he continues to try to advance in the super middleweight division by challenging Marco Antonio Periban. Periban’s record is spotless as well (10-0, seven knockouts) and may be Savage’s toughest challenge yet. The two will fight eight rounds at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in San Diego, Calif. The fight will be televised on the United States TeleFutura channel.

Savage’s trainer Roger Mayweather, who also coaches his legendary nephew Floyd, has no doubt that Savage will be at his best against Periban. He thinks his protégé has what it takes to become one of the sport’s true contenders.

“Dion’s gonna be world champion. I don’t say that because I train him, I say that because he has the ability to be world champion,” Mayweather stated. “One thing he’s got that separates most guys is that he’s got good hand speed and he’s willing to learn and he’s had good performances, and that’s why my nephew signed him.”

Roger is no stranger to recognizing great up and coming talent. His strategies have helped push Floyd into becoming one of the greatest boxers of all-time by winning nine world titles in five different weight classes. Roger was also a two-time champion in his boxing career.

“(Dion’s) got the heart to be a fighter and he’s willing to work and that’s the key to boxing,” Roger Mayweather said. “If I tell him something, he can do it in that ring.”

Savage learned how to adapt by maturing in some of the worst neighborhoods in Flint. He lived in several poverty-stricken areas in his youth after his father was incarcerated before he hit high school. These places equipped him with the instinctive survival tools which have been beneficial to his success in boxing. He also credits his religious faith for his good fortunes.

“It’s an old saying that goes, ‘When you take one step towards God, he takes two towards you,’” Savage said. “So I took a step towards God when I came out here to Las Vegas ,and I came out here on faith.”

Now that Savage is thrusting towards superstardom, he wants to let it be known that people can make a choice on whether or not to become a result of their surroundings.

“Don’t let the ghetto shape you, you shape the ghetto,” Savage insisted. “Don’t become a product of your environment because a lot of us become a product of our environment, and we let the environment shape us when we got the power to shape the ghetto through our mind.”

It looks like Savage made the right selection.

 

Flooding the walls of the Joe Byrd Boxing Academy across from Beecher High School are an assortment of fight posters, boxing articles and photos.

With most of the paraphernalia showcasing the many accomplishments of the legendary trainer’s youngest sons, Chris and Pat, one of his son’s awards are frequently overlooked.

The only memorabilia reflecting Ronnie Byrd’s past success in the sweet science is a scrapbook smaller than the size of the standard poster. Filled with old laminated newspaper clippings and pictures of him in the ring plus on the basketball court, the average onlooker wouldn’t believe that he was once the cornerstone of his father’s sensational training career.

“Coming up through the late 70s and early 80s, everything was based on Ronnie Byrd, ” Joe Byrd said. “He was a little guy (at) 106 pounds, and he dominated that for years so he opened the doors for my whole boxing club. Everything (came) around Ronnie.”

In the amateur ranks, Ronnie Byrd was one of Flint’s most talked about fighters. He won three National Boxing Tournaments, the State Golden Glove Championship as well as a Gold Medal in the National Sports Festival. It was believed by many that it would only be a matter of time before he would become a professional champion in the flyweight division.

“In my amateur career until I made it to the Olympics, I didn’t feel like I could live up to what he did, ” former WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd said. “Just reading articles from Ronnie boxing É he was a stud. In the professionals I think he really would have excelled well and I think he would have won a world title. He was that good.”

Ten fights into his professional career, Ronnie had never lost a bout. Things were going as planned as he possessed an undefeated record in the midst of working towards his ultimate goal of becoming champion. At 27 years old, those plans quickly changed. Instead of fighting to win, Ronnie would have to fight to stay alive.

As Ronnie Byrd tells it, he was passing the Meijer on Pierson Road when he stopped behind a truck at a light. Looking into his rearview mirror he spotted a Comcast truck as well as another vehicle trailing him. As he began to accelerate, the truck in front of him came to a sudden stop which forced him to rapidly hit the brakes on his car. Although the Comcast truck was able to adapt and promptly stop as well, the other automobile wasn’t as lucky. Suddenly the car rammed into the back of the Comcast truck, which slammed into Ronnie’s car, leaving it totaled in the process.

“I walked away from the scene. I had a brand new car and I was proud of myself and I walked for a half mile just down Pierson walking upset, ” Ronnie Byrd said. “I came back and I was all right and the ambulance came and the police came and talked to me. I thought I was all right and I didn’t go to no hospital or nothing.”

The effects of the crash didn’t hit him until the next morning when his mother informed him that he was talking funny. He also complained that he felt funny. These symptoms forced him to check into the doctor’s office where he was given a prescription, brain check-ups and follow up appointments. He still doesn’t know the official diagnosis.

“They didn’t tell me and if they did, I didn’t pay attention. I was like ‘I’m all right’, but I wasn’t!” Ronnie Byrd said. “My balance was off when I walked, and my talking was a lot worse.”

Joe Byrd says that the doctor informed the family that the crash “messed up his neck, his head, and everything, ” but was never given an official word on the exact name of his son’s condition.

It’s been 18 years since his accident and he hasn’t fought since. Ronnie still speaks very slowly and has a tough time staying balanced and pronouncing his words but he still remains determined. At 45 years old, he continues to run four, sometimes five, miles a day all through the city. He is frequently spotted on Saginaw Street or Welch Boulevard putting as much effort into his running today as he did nearly 20 years ago. Although he looks as though he is going to fall at any moment, he pushes through all of his ailments and doesn’t complain.

Due to the lack of knowledge on his accident, many in the Flint boxing community have speculated another cause affected his health. It has been said for years that Ronnie suffered from dementia pugilistica also known as becoming “punch drunk.” This condition is caused by repeated blows to the head and affects a fighter’s memory as well as his coordination. Some of boxing’s most heralded fighters have suffered from this disease including Sugar Ray Robinson, Freddie Roach, Emile Griffith and Willie Pep.

“If you know a punch drunk person, when they get up with you, they’re always up in people’s face talking boxing, ” Joe Byrd said. “Now Ronnie probably won’t ever mention boxing so he’s not punch drunk, but he had that accident so he’s lucky to even be living.”

Initially it was tough for Ronnie to accept the fact that his boxing dreams had ended. It would get to him that his younger siblings, notably Chris, would later receive so much prestige in his favorite sport when he was the boxer that they looked up to when they were younger. After being out of the spotlight for a while, he began to overlook his resentment and push his brothers to become the best. Instead of dwelling on what could have been, Ronnie Byrd fully appreciates what he has going in his favor.

“That’s nothing, I’m alive and healthy so I praise that every day and I’m so glad that my family was there and I can’t mention that enough, ” Ronnie said.

When most amateur boxers walk into the huge black building located on 6020 North Saginaw St., they’re customarily enamored with the huge fight posters that read: “Byrd vs. Holyfield, ” or “Byrd vs. Klitschko.”

But if they take the time to look onto the wall located on the right side of the front door, they may be shocked to find out that the fighter with the fewest clippings in the gym had the largest impact on the family’s triumphs.

*This post can also be viewed on mlive.com!

On a sunny day in Los Angeles on March 4th, fans fill up the streets to witness two of boxing’s most popular athletes attempt to market the most hyped fight of the year.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather and “Sugar” Shane Mosley hold a press conference. After the former 10-time champion, Oscar De La Hoya and Mosley’s trainer, Naazim Richardson offer their respective takes on the upcoming bout at the podium, Mosley was next up.

“This fights gonna be on May first. But you know May first is gonna be May’s first! I’ll make sure of that,” Mosley declared boldly as he wrapped up his speech.

“How corny?” I thought as I laughed while listening to this press conference on a YouTube video.

Mosley should be whooped for corniness alone. He doesn’t have the charisma, swag, or the boxing skills to take over Mayweather’s throne.

He’s admitted to steroid use.

“Unknowingly, yes, some of the substances they are talking about were being used as part of the workouts. I didn’t know what the hell it was,” Mosley said in an interview with ESPN.com in 2007.

He’s been beaten…badly!

“Vernon did a number on me, didn’t he?” Mosley told Sports Illustrated after a brutal loss to Vernon Forrest in 2002. “He stuck to his plan; he did his thing.”

Mosley’s trying to do the unthinkable by defeating the undefeated.

“Somebody’s gonna have to dethrone me, I proved that I’m the best,” Mayweather told Mosley in an HBO interview with Max Kellerman. “No disrespect but that’s what you’re here to TRY to do. Forty have tried and all forty had a game plan.”

Obviously none of those forty opponents were successful since Mayweather still boasts an undefeated record with 40 wins and 0 losses (25 Knockouts).

After years of wear and tear on his 38 year-old body, what’s gives Mosley fans any hope that this fight against Mayweather will work in his favor? Just a year ago, Mosley was viewed as an over-the-hill fighter before challenging the WBA welterweight champion, Antonio Margarito to his title. Now all of a sudden after one victory, which he did look convincing in his ninth round TKO over the Margarito, he is the third-ranked pound-for-pound fighter? Give me a break. Mosley will be nothing more than give Mayweather his 41st professional victory and further cement his greatness in the sport of boxing. After this fight, Mosley should retire.     

The Grand Rapids, Mich. native also known as “Money Mayweather,” has been the king of the sport, in my opinion, since 2005 when he defeated Arturo Gatti by a sixth round technical knockout (T.K.O). While he wasn’t officially acknowledged until 2007, when he was named as the Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year, he has deserved it every year if it was up to me. His last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez on September 20, 2009 didn’t do anything but to further prove his greatness. After a 21 month layoff, Marquez was supposed to be his toughest fight. In the end it turned out to be one of his easiest as he dominated the smaller opponent en route to a unanimous decision.

This is why May 1st will symbolize something and I don’t mean Mayweather’s first loss. This date will symbolize that Mayweather is still the number one fighter in the sport of boxing. Maybe even of all-time!

 “Yep, I’m better than Muhammad Ali! Sugar Ray Robinson? Yep, I’m better than Sugar Ray Robinson! I would never say it’s another fighter better than me. Absolutely none,” Mayweather confidently stated on a recent episode of HBO’s 24/7 Mayweather/Mosley. “I truly believe I’m the best. I know I’m the best. I gotta be a damn fool to give this sport 33 years of my life to say there’s another fight better than me.”

The funny thing is that I believe him.

*This post can also be viewed on the Western Herald’s website!

When Manny Pacquiao picked up the pen to sign his name on the dotted line to face Joshua Clottey on March 13, I’m sure he felt better about himself.

No worries. No blood testing. No REAL challenge!

It seems as though that’s the way that Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum likes it. On the other hand, Floyd Mayweather is begging for the fight to prove that he is still the greatest in the sport and arguably the best to ever do it. He even recently released a statement to fans saying that “First and foremost, not only do I want to fight Manny Pacquiao, I want to whip his punk ass.”

 At 40-0 (25 Knockouts) and coming from one of his best performances against one of Pacquiao’s toughest in Juan Manuel Marquez, could you blame Pacquiao?

I wouldn’t put myself in that danger of stepping into the ring with the Grand Rapids, Michigan native either. It’s seems as though Pacquiao is shaking like booty meat everytime he hears the name Floyd Mayweather! It’s obvious that he doesn’t really want the fight even in his earlier post-fight interview after his showdown with Miguel Cotto when he stated that: “My job is to fight in the ring and it depends on my promoter Arum to negotiate that fight and I’m just gonna take a vacation first and spend time with my family and have fun.”

When asked did he have any preference on who he would like to fight, he stated: “For now I don’t know, like I said for now I’m gonna take a vacation and spend time with my family because this was not an easy fight.” This doesn’t sound like the words of a man who would like to take part in what could be the biggest grossing fight of all time to me.

What Pacquiao has done by taking the fight against Clottey is play with history. The sport of boxing hasn’t saw two superstar boxers collide in their primes since earlier in the last decade. People may want to argue Floyd Mayweather/Oscar De La Hoya or Lennox Lewis/Mike Tyson but the truth is that one fighter was always on the decline of his career. This fight could break records and bring a buzz around the sport bigger than Dr. Dre’s Detox album (which has been pushed back another year by the way).

All the Mayweather camp is asking for is an agreement from the Pacquiao camp to Olympic style drug testing, which includes random urine and blood testing. Mayweather has even decided to give him a 14-day blood testing window but Pacquiao still couldn’t reach an agreement.

Honestly, I am beginning to think that Pacquiao is using steroids because this sounds very fishy. Why would a man run away from $40 million just because of a blood test? The only counter he could come up with was a lawsuit for defamation against Mayweather which is more than lame!

I continue to stand by Floyd Mayweather 100% on this issue and the fight against Pacquio honestly will not make or break his career. To Pacquiao, grow some cajones and give Money Mayweather the fight. If not, do us all the pleasure of retiring from the sport because no other fighter matters at this point of your career.

*this post can also be viewed on mlive.com on my “Swag” column!

 floyd-mayweather

The quickness is still there. The timing is still on point. The skills are still mastered to perfection!

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is back and he’s still ready to run the boxing world just like he’s done his whole career. After demonstrating yet another extraordinary display of boxing excellence in last night’s bout against Juan Manuel Marquez, there should be no question in anyone’s mind that he is the best in the game. Manny Pacquiao who?

With his chin tucked tight, a series of left jabs, and devastating right hand leads, Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs) looked as crisp and as sharp as ever in his 12-round victory. He even dropped Marquez (50-5-1) with a left hook in the second round, bullying the smaller guy. 

There were speculations surrounding the “Pretty Boy” prior to the bout:

“This will be Floyd’s toughest challenge.”

“He’s been out of boxing for 21 months, will he be the same?”

“How could he possibly beat a man who drinks his own urine?”

Rick Ross is going at him!”

Hkg2766454All of this chatter was temporarily silenced after “Money” Mayweather accurately punched the lights out of his opponent, winning every round.  Connecting on 290 of his 493 blows, he was able to land 59 percent of his punches (…yes 59%) and dish out a lot of leather in the process.  

Marquez’s face clearly beat up Mayweather’s gloves.

Immediately following the bout, HBO’s Max Kellerman conducted one of the most unprofessional post-fight interviews of recent years. Kellerman’s questions pushed Mayweather to become defensive, forcing him to want to explain himself with “Let me talk—you do too much taking!” Shane Mosley was also called into the interview in a disrespectful attempt to get a payday from fighting Floyd, “Kanye-ing” his shine. Mayweather had to tell him to “Respect me as a man.”

Kellerman tried to clean up his antics when talking to HBO’s other co-host Jim Lampley afterwards. He stated that “It seems to me that in certain ways he can’t get out of his own way. I’m friendlier in my disposition to Floyd than most in the media because I enjoy pure boxers and he’s an all-time great pure boxer. And yet he seems to feel persecuted by even me, who really enjoys his craft.”

Can you blame him? It seems as if Mayweather can never do anything to permanently cement himself as the clear cut best in the sport. It’s always that someone else is better at the time. With a perfect record, it should be no doubt that he is the best not only now but possibly of all-time!

How can you argue that he isn’t? He’s handily defeated any possible threat that has stepped in the ring against him including:

These are just to name a few.

I understand that Muhammad Ali ruled the Heavyweight division with class and execution of the sport as well as the people’s hearts all over the nation. That Mike Tyson forcibly annihilated his competition in the 80s with power and speed. That Roy Jones entertained us all with style and charisma, putting fans in the stands and giving them a show. That “Sugar” Ray Leonard faced stiff competition in Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler and came out on top.

But understand this, all of these greats have met their match and tasted defeat at some point in their career while Floyd Mayweather Jr. has never crossed this bridge.  So he should get the proper respect that he deserves as arguably the “Greatest of All-Time!”

dion

Give Flint native Dion Savage a call on his cell phone and you will hear him claim to be the “Future Champ” on his voicemail. Get a text message from him and he will remind you that he’s going to be the “Future Champ.” This is because he truly believes that he will rise up in the boxing ranks and become the Super Middleweight Champ.

In the midst of his training, Savage let us in on his preparation for his upcoming fight tomorrow on the underdcard of Mayweather-Marquez. Savage will put his undefeated record (5-0, 3 knockouts) on the line against Loren Myers (7-6, 2 KOs ).

Although his six-round fight is unlikely to be nationally televised on HBO PPV, he still is training just as if this is his biggest opportunity to date. Here is what he had to say:

Well right now, I’m going six rounds through the bag non-stop, no break. To build my stamina and my conditioning up because I’m fighting six rounds. I’m just jump roping and maintaining my weight right now and eating good and running around at like 11 o’clock at night. I will do like 6 miles and then hit some hard wind sprints after that because I want to be properly prepared. Proper preparation prevents poor performance, so when you properly prepared then you will have a good performance. This is a big undercard for me so I gotta go out here and give it all I got!

Right now what’s going through my mind is just being the best super middleweight out there and just doing it for all of the people that have been suffering and trying to get up outta the ghetto. I’m just trying to do it all for them and we gon do this together and get my father out of prison that’s been incarcerated for something that he didn’t do. So that’s what’s really on my mind and that’s what’s been pushing me and driving me.

The fight is at the MGM Grand so I’m fenna go out here and do it and perform and go all out! I aint gon hold back so I’m gon go all out.

I believe in my heart that the fight is not gonna go the distance because … shoot, I’m ready to die in there. I came too far to lose so I’m ready to go all out and if he aint ready to go all out then he gon lose and he gon get knocked out and that’s gon be the results.

His record is seven wins and six losses so he got 13 fights but even though he got them losses, that still don’t matter because you still don’t underestimate no fighter because that’s still a name.Well right now, Im going six rounds through the bag non-stop, no break. To build my stamina and my conditioning up because I’m fighting six rounds. I’m just jump roping and maintaining my weight right now and eating good and running around at like 11 o’clock at night. I will do like 6 miles and then hit some hard wind sprints after that because I want to be properly prepared. Proper preparation prevents poor performance so when you properly prepared then you will have a good performance. This is a big undercard for me so I gotta go out here and give it all I got!

Right now what’s going through my mind is just being the best super middleweight out there and just doing it for all of the people that have been suffering and trying to get up outta the ghetto. Im just trying to do it all for them and we gon do this together and get my father out of prison that’s been incarcerated for something that he didn’t do. So that’s what’s really on my mind and that’s what’s been pushing me and driving me.

The fight is at the MGM Grand so Im fenna go out here and do it and perform and go all out! I aint gon hold back so I’m gon go all out.

I believe in my heart that the fight is not gonna go the distance because…shoot, I’m ready to die in there. I came too far to lose so I’m ready to go all out and if he aint ready to go all out then he gon lose and he gon get knocked out and that’s gon be the results.

His record is seven wins and six losses so he got 13 fights but even though he got them losses, that still don’t matter because you still don’t underestimate no fighter because that’s still a name. So he got seven wins and six losses and his name is Loren Myers.

*Click on the pic to view this post at It’s Just Sports!

photo from minnesotaboxing.com

photo from minnesotaboxing.com

Former six-time world boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s latest injury wasn’t an accident — his ribs were bruised at the hands of Flint native Dion Savage, who’s yet to lose since he turned pro in boxing.

With a 5-0 record (three knockouts), Savage is slowly storming the super-middleweight division. His quest for the crown has driven him to make some moves that were even questioned by some of his family members.

“When I got fired from Wal-Mart, I saved up my unemployment checks and one night at like three or four in the morning I just got up like ‘I’m getting tired of this condition, man, I’m about to go to (Las) Vegas,’ and I got my plane ticket and flew down there,” Savage said. “I flew there with only like $200 in my pocket and my momma was like ‘You crazy!’ but I didn’t care what nobody said because I was just focused.”

Savage’s focus started at 12-years-old when he took up the sport after his father, who owned a string of local party stores, was incarcerated. He was forced to step up and become the man of the house, so he began boxing at Berston Fieldhouse with the intent to make enough money to provide for his close relatives.

After learning the gist of the sport, he took his skills to the Flint PAL where he trained with Leon “Bumper” Lawson and later in Joe Byrd’s gym, where he qualified for the U.S. Nationals before turning pro.

Initially, he was nothing but target practice for Lawson’s grandsons, Andre and Anthony Dirrell.

“They was whupping on me with one hand but I used to go home and do extra stuff,” Savage said. “I used to work double harder than them to try to catch up with them because they was so ahead of me and had so much more experience than me. I used to beat my body up (by) getting up at like 3 in the morning and just running or doing pushups in the house.”

He now trains with the legendary Roger Mayweather in Las Vegas as he prepares for his next bout. Savage said he will fight on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez fight Sept. 19 on HBO, although he doesn’t have an opponent yet.
Savage’s accomplishments early in his career have impressed his former tutors.

“He did this by himself on his own dedication and I just really praise him for that because a lot of guys that have big dreams just sit on them and let them go to waste and get older,” top-ranked super-middleweight contender Andre Dirrell said. “With Dion, that’s not what he’s about. He gets out and he chases his dreams and I kind of, in a way, look up to him for that.”

“I’m very proud of him,” said legendary Flint-area trainer Joe Byrd. “There’s nothing in Michigan for a young man and he’s down there with the Mayweather family who have proved that they can make champions. He has all the tools to be champion, so as long as he listens to them he can be champ. I’m just looking forward to him remembering Flint and coming back to Flint to put on a show for us once he gets into the main event fights and I think he will do that.”

Although it may seem as though Savage is making all of the right moves, he still feels the need to prove to the world that he can shine in the national spotlight.

“My talent has been in the dark, don’t nobody know about it but the people that have seen me work, so that’s why Floyd took me in,” Savage said. “I’m about to be the world champ, I ain’t come here to be like ‘I tried.'”

*click on the pic to view this post on Mlive.com for the Flint Journal!