Late Breaking

Author Archives: Bernard Fernandez

Brock hopes to travel same road as Holyfield

Kathy Duva was recalling her frustration in the early 1990s in getting the national media to pay closer attention to Evander Holyfield, then the God-fearing, clean-living heavyweight contender who was being described, if he was being described at all, as the anti-Tyson. “I had conversations back in those days with a number of people, trying to get them to do ... Read More »

Ban on Panama Lewis meant for a lifetime

If it had involved marginal baseball or football players, the announcement probably would have only made the transactions listings of a newspaper’s agate page, and read something like this: BOXING: Panama Lewis has been relieved of his duties as the trainer of Russian heavyweights Sultan and Timor Ibragimov. As the Ibragimovs have yet to establish themselves as major contenders in ... Read More »

Brother wants no one to get a piece of The Rock

Perhaps it is selfishness, but members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only NFL team ever to win every game in a season, get together every year to toast themselves whenever the last remaining undefeated team in the league loses. Peter Marciano, younger brother of the late, great Rocky Marciano, can empathize with Larry Csonka, Jake Scott and the rest ... Read More »


“Potential means you ain’t done it yet,” former University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal said of one of his teams that was highly rated heading into the season but had yet to play a game. Or perhaps it was Duffy Daugherty, Bear Bryant or Vince Lombardi who first uttered the now-famous phrase; all of those legendary coaches at various ... Read More »

Forgotten Esneault fell through cracks of boxing history

The International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Class of 2007 won’t be announced until January or inducted until June, but, hey, it never hurts to start banging the drums early for a worthy candidate. So I’m going to make like Ringo Starr and come out riffing, as I have for the past several years, in support of one of those deserving ... Read More »

Big money to nothing common tale in boxing

They called it “conspicuous consumption” in the 1980s during the heyday of the Reagan Administration, and it was a term meant to reflect the wealth and prosperity that an increasing number of Americans enjoyed. To wit: If you’ve got it, flaunt it. And many of the nouveau riche, not to the manor born, reacted to the onset of almost unimaginable ... Read More »

This Aesop’s Fable a tale of Hill and the hare

There are valuable life lessons to be gleaned from Aesop’s Fables, cloaked though they may be in the guise of children’s stories. Take, for instance, the distance race which pitted Slow and Steady, the tortoise, against the speedy hare. The hare, of course, got off to a blazing start and, overconfident, took a nap somewhere along the course only to ... Read More »

This Byrd Happy to Fly Lower

Chris Byrd is downsizing. The two-time former heavyweight champion recently sold his 10,000-square foot house in Las Vegas, the one with the home gym and other bells and whistles befitting his station, for a somewhat smaller but equally luxurious home in nearby Henderson, Nev., that still allows him, wife Tracy and the couple’s three children ample elbow room. “I grew ... Read More »

Leavin’ on a Jet Plane

If I had only known then what I know now. It was 1965, my senior year at De La Salle High in New Orleans, and I considered myself something of a travel virgin. Oh, my parents had taken me on several vacations with an uncle and his wife, but those were when I was a small child and we made ... Read More »

Fans Have Come to Love Gatti’s Lumps and Lacerations

“They Have Kept Him in Stitches,” read the Sports Illustrated headline that accompanied a tight closeup of the sweaty, oft-sutured face of Chuck Wepner, which graced the cover the week of the journeyman heavyweight’s March 24, 1975, challenge of champion Muhammad Ali. The article on Wepner included a chart with the number of stitches sewn into his fighter’s face, and ... Read More »

Out With The Old, In With The …?

You’re not too bright, are you? I like that in a man. Kathleen Turner in “Body Heat” Just a guess, but I imagine that the manipulative Matty Walker character, in Turner’s 1981 breakthrough role, was a boxing fan. Had to be. Because Matty’s favorable impression of the simplistic male, tunnel-visioned and generally oblivious to outside influences, is a blueprint for ... Read More »

Out With The Old, In With The …?

Some things never change. Roy Jones Jr. scheduled a breakfast press conference with the media this past Saturday morning in Memphis, and he showed up 40 minutes late. By Jones’ skewed sense of punctuality, his degree of tardiness seemed almost inconsequential. The self-absorbed Mr. Jones also flouted personal convention by being semi-courteous to those reporters in attendance. What was different ... Read More »

Great Beginning, Better Ending

And when I die, And when I’m dead and gone, There’ll be one child born, And the world to carry on, carry on … _ “And When I Die,” Blood, Sweat and Tears Read More »

Castillo-Corrlaes 3 ; Food For Thought

So now we know: Jose Luis Castillo’s secret role models are Roberto Duran, George Foreman and James Toney. All right, so that’s a semi-cheap shot at Castillo after the Mexican failed to make weight for the second straight time in his now-infamous series with Diego Corrales. What had started out 13 months earlier, as a rivalry which could have and ... Read More »

Carbajal Was a Good Thing In a Small Package

When you are Michael Carbajal’s size, which approximates the dimensions of one of Wladimir Klitschko’s legs, your athletic options are by necessity limited. You can become a jockey and hope to get the mount on the Kentucky Derby winner, or you can take up boxing and try to punch your way into the public consciousness against similarly pugnacious Lilliputians. Michael ... Read More »

Jackson: No Stone Left Unturned

The popular consensus is that Oscar De La Hoya is boxing’s Latin lover, the most handsome man to grace the ring, and it’s hard to argue otherwise. In a sport populated primarily by guys with ski-run noses, cauliflower ears and unsightly masses of scar tissue around the eyes, designation as boxing’s No. 1 heartthrob falls to the Golden Boy almost ... Read More »

Rocky Could Have Been Ricky

It could have happened this way. The year is 1976. A down-on-his-luck Irish-American heavyweight named Ricky Sullivan, played by Ryan O’Neal, lives in a cheap apartment in Boston, taking fights for short money when he’s not strong-arming delinquent debtors for the local loan shark. Ricky has a slob of a friend, named Seamus, and a crush on Seamus’ dowdy sister, ... Read More »

A Real Sweet Scientist

NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry is said to have such a keen shooting eye that he could detect even the slightest variance to the target. Once, upon entering a visiting arena with his San Francisco Warriors, Barry took a look at the basket and said, “It looks a little low.” A tape measure was produced and, sure enough, the ... Read More »


A cynic might take it as another indictment of boxing that the James S. Farley Award, presented by the Boxing Writers Association of American for “honest and integrity,” hasn’t been presented to anyone since 1996, when the late, great Eddie Futch was honored, and that only six such awards have been distributed since Harry Markson became the inaugural recipient in ... Read More »

Looking for a Lion in the Land of the Hyenas

Once, at the final press conference before the Oscar De La Hoya-Shane Mosley rematch in September 2003, promoter Bob Arum tried to convey the global significance of the confrontation which would take place three days later. “This fight shouldn’t only be the lead story in the sports section of your newspapers,” Arum lectured reporters. “It should be the lead story ... Read More »

It Wasn’t Yalta, But …

The press release blared “Sworn Enemies!,” and advised media members that megapromoters Bob Arum and Don King, who have spent the better part of four decades engaged in boxing’s equivalent of the Cold War, would hold a “once-in-a-lifetime” joint forum Saturday afternoon at Bally’s Atlantic City. Given the contentious history of the 74-year-old archrivals, many reporters, in town to cover ... Read More »


I’ve always suspected that, deep down inside, Don King aspired to become Carl Denham. Now that his new protégé, hirsute giant Nicolay Valuev, has wrapped his massive paws around the WBA heavyweight championship, His Hairness appears to finally have succeeded: He’s now Don King Kong, promoter of the biggest thing to come along since the most famous ape in cinematic ... Read More »

No stop to the glop

Controversy in boxing is sort of like the congealed glop that passes for melted cheese when you go to a movie and order those overpriced concession-stand nachos. Said glop is not good for your health (neither are the nachos) and you’re virtually certain to spill some on your shirt, but, hey, you already know that for health’s sake you should ... Read More »