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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nakash-Del Valle Cancelled

The proposed bout between Ran Nakash and Lou Del Valle didn't take place last Saturday. This is the second time that a fight between the two has been cancelled. Last year in July, Del Valle backed out of the match. Nakash went on to face Victor Barragan, winning a ten round unanimous decision.

This time around, a fight involving Nakash, which was to take place at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills California, failed to materialize. Two boxing matches and three MMA fights did take place on the front lawn of the mansion. Playboy's website had touted Evander Holyfield's presence in the audience before the event. But Holyfield was in Germany as a guest of Sauerland Event, watching as heavyweight Alexander Povetkin defeated Ruslan Chagaev. Holyfield hopes to take on Povetkin later this year. It had been postulated that Holyfield could take on the winner of Nakash-Del Valle.

Ran Nakash has not fought since April 2, a twelve round unanimous decision loss to beltholder Marco Huck.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nakash to Face Evander Holyfield?

According to the Playboy Mansion's website, Evander Holyfield will be present at Saturday night's match between Ran Nakash (25-1, 18 KOs) and Lou Del Valle (36-6-2, 22 KOs).

The website says, "With the winner facing Evander Holyfield. Holyfield will be present at the Mansion to check out his up coming competition."

Holyfield (44-10-2) is 48 years old and a former heavyweight champion. Despite his advanced age, Holyfield has been active of late, fighting twice in 2011 thus far.

The Nakash-Del Valle fight is scheduled for 12 rounds.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nakash-Del Valle Preview

Ran Nakash is scheduled to take on Lou Del Valle in a cruiserweight affair at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California on August 27. Del Valle is a former beltholder and a seasoned veteran of the game. He was the first man to knock down Roy Jones Jr. as a pro. Yet, at 43 years old, Del Valle must be considered a heavy underdog against Nakash, a recent title challenger.

Del Valle, nicknamed Honey Boy, was 22-0 when he faced Virgil Hill for a light heavyweight belt in 1996. Del Valle lost by slim unanimous decision. The next year, Honey Boy won a vacant world title by besting Eddy Smulders. He faced Jones a year later, and legitimately knocked down the world's pound-for-pound best in the eighth round. The eighth was the only round he took, falling by UD in the title unification bout.

Del Valle's career has pretty much petered out since. He's 1-3-1 in his last five fights, a stretch that dates back to 2006. He last fought on October 31, 2009, a draw with Joe Spina. Del Valle is currently 36-6-2 with 22 KOs.

The Long Island-native is a slick southpaw and an effective defensive fighter. He has never been stopped. Del Valle will have to keep the hard-charging Nakash off balance to avoid punishment. Counter-intuitively, the 43-year old will want to take the Israeli bruiser into the late rounds as Nakash has had issues with his stamina. But can the 19-year pro maintain a pace that will wear down the 33-year old Nakash? That is Del Valle's dilemma.

Nakash (25-1, 18 KOs) challenged beltholder Marco Huck on short notice in April. Nakash seemed to control the first half of the fight. By the ninth round, he was exhausted. Yet, unable to mount an effective offensive attack and receiving wounding blows from Huck, Nakash amazingly continued to push forward, displaying a tremendous amount of will and heart. Huck was awarded the UD in his adopted home country of Germany.

Last year, Nakash went ten rounds against Victor Barragan and admitted that fighting that many stanzas "was hard." He has only seen the eighth round three times in his career (including his last two fights). With Del Valle's defensive ability and sturdy chin, Nakash will need to exhibit better stamina in the scheduled twelve-round affair.

Even if Nakash isn't able to become the first man to stop Del Valle, he will likely win by way of sheer activity and aggressiveness. Nakash is a pressure fighter, who enjoys tagging his opponent's body. Del Valle is a boxer, a cutie, who doesn't move as he used to. He possesses a good jab, but most of his damaging blows come from the left.

Unless Del Valle's southpaw stance poses a sincere problem for Nakash or Ran runs out of gas, Nakash should add another victory to his resume. A win that will hopefully lead to another important match against a world class foe.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mercante on Fischer's List of Worst Refs for Foreman-Cotto

Doug Fischer of The Ring put together a list of the ten worst performances by a boxing referee in the past ten years. Arthur Mercante Jr. earned the seventh spot due to his actions in the bout between Yuri Foreman and Miguel Cotto, which took place on June 5, 2010 in Yankee Stadium.

The list was formed in the wake of last Saturday's contest between Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares to determine Showtime's bantamweight tournament championship. Referee Russell Mora allowed Mares to repeatedly his Agbeko low, offering numerous admonishments, but never taking a point away. In the eleventh round, Mares clearly hit Agbeko directly on the cup, a punch Mora was in position to view without obstruction. Abgeko collapsed to the canvass and Mora incredibly ruled it a knockdown.

Compounding the situation, Mora repeatedly warned Agbeko for phantom fouls. The scene caused veteran commentator Al Bernstein to remark in the heat of the moment that Mora's refereeing was the worst that he has witnessed in the past fifteen years. After several days of contemplation, Fischer rated it as the fifth worst in the last ten years.

Mercante made the list for, in the words of Fischer, "ignor[ing] Foreman’s corner and members of the New York commission by literally forcing the bout to continue, [and thus] had forgotten that his job is to protect a fighter’s health, not his honor."

Foreman tore his ACL in the seventh round. His corner threw in the towel in the eighth. Yet, Mercante would not stop the bout. He was soundly criticized afterwards for putting Foreman's health at risk. As Dr. Maragaret Goodman said, "Can a boxer compete with one hand? Yes, if he can mount an offense and/or move away from punches. A one-legged fighter is a disaster waiting to happen, a sitting duck, especially against a puncher like Cotto."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Outlook for the Rest of 2011

The years 2009 and 2010 were memorable ones in the annals of Jewish boxing history. Those two years included numerous title fights involving Jewish contestants. The prospects for more relevant bouts featuring Jewish pugilists seemed bright at the outset of 2011.

Unfortunately, this year has been a bit disappointing so far. More worrisome, the rest of 2011 looks rather bleak from the vantage point of August 16. Let's start with the positive.

Alexander Frenkel, Dmitriy Salita, and Ran Nakash could have impactful fights during the second half of the year. The other rays of light come in the form of two undefeated prospects, Cletus Seldin and Boyd Melson, who will hopefully stay busy.

Frenkel has been part of 2011's disappointment. He was injured at the start of the year. He trained to fight Silvio Branco, first in June, then in July, before Branco backed out of the bout. Frenkel had created some momentum in KOing Enzo Maccarinelli almost a year ago, winning the European cruiserweight crown and big things were expected from him in 2011. It hasn't happened. Frenkel is scheduled to face Enad Licina, a capable fringe contender, on October 22. If Frenkel can get passed Licina, big fights lay ahead for the Ukrainian-German Jew in 2012.

Salita's first round loss to Amir Khan in December of 2009 for a sanctioning body's belt has been well-documented. Since, Salita has defeated three journeymen with winning records. Now a welterweight, Salita is looking to fight in the fall.

Salita, who has been training with Emanuel Steward, is likely to step up his competition in his next fight. That could set the stage for a number of intriguing bouts featuring the Ukrainian-American Jew. Fans surely hope that he works his way up to a big bout, instead of feasting on inferior opponents and waiting for the one lucrative shot. That would not only provide his supporters with a string of important contests involving their man, but would better prepare him for his next title shot.

Salita has also been active in promoting boxing events in New York City. He has featured both Melson (junior middleweight) and Seldin (welterweight) in his shows and has served as a meaningful promotional voice for Jewish boxers.

Ran Nakash acquitted himself nicely in a title shot against Marco Huck in April. Nakash is scheduled to face a faded Lou Del Valle this month. While Del Valle is a former world title holder, he is well passed his prime and should be considered a heavy underdog against the ferocious Israeli. One hopes Nakash will have another relevant fight in 2011; the cruiserweight division is loaded and the fights are out there.

Now, the bad news for fans of Jewish boxing. We've already discussed Frenkel's setbacks and Salita's and Nakash's substandard opposition coming off of title shots. Yuri Foreman won't decide his boxing future until some point in 2012 after suffering his second straight loss this past March. Max Heyman was given an opportunity to resurrect his boxing career last month against the undefeated Gayrat Ahmedov, but injured his hand in training and had to bow out. Hopefully, Heyman will get another shot against a good opponent. And former heavyweight prospect Roman Greenberg remains inactive. It has been three years since he last fought, when he endured his only career loss.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Nakash-Del Valle?

Ran Nakash and Lou Del Valle have been scheduled to face each other a few times dating back to last year, but the fight has never materialized. At this point, the two cruiserweights are penciled in to battle at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California on August 27.

Nakash (25-1, 18 KOs) last fought in a valiant decision loss to beltholder Marco Huck this past April. Del Valle (36-6-2, 22 KOs) was last in the ring in the Fall of 2009, a majority draw against Joe Spina. Del Valle is 1-3-1 in his last five fights, a span that includes a loss to a journeyman in 2006.

If the fight happens, it's scheduled for 12 rounds.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Frenkel-Licina Date Set

Cruiserweight Alexander Frenkel is scheduled to face Enad Licina on October 22 in Halle, Germany. Frenkel (23-0, 18 KOs) last fought in September, when he KOed Enzo Maccarinelli, meaning he'll face Licina after a thirteen-month layoff. Licina (20-3, 11 KOs) stopped Michele De Meo inside one round in May to get back on track after losing to beltholder Steve Cunningham in February.

Frenkel's EBU European belt will be on the line in this scheduled twelve round bout. The winner could be in line for a title shot.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Look Back: Dutch Sam

In an effort to link the past with the present, The Jewish Boxing Blog will present monthly a short biography of notable former Jewish boxers.

Dutch Sam was a prominent lightweight in the bare-knuckle days of the early nineteenth century who had no fear in facing men taller and heavier than he. He possessed a rare combination of guile and power and- perhaps- invented the uppercut, thus changing the sport of boxing forever.

Sam Elias was born on April 4, 1775 in London, England. He grew up in the Jewish neighborhood of Whitechapel. His parents were immigrants from Holland. He learned to box at former heavyweight champion Daniel Mendoza's academy. Sam's first recorded boxing match took place in 1801.

Standing 5'6" and weighing 130 pounds, Dutch Sam had no trouble defeating larger men. In 1803, he beat a man who weighed nearly 200 lbs. On August 7, 1804, Sam utilized the uppercut in dismantling the celebrated Caleb Baldwin.

Along with the moniker Dutch Sam, the tough fighter was also known as the Terrible Jew, a politically incorrect nod to his ferocity. Sam proudly trained on three glasses of gin a day, and was known to enter the ring drunk, a habit that would eventually catch up to him.

Dutch Sam fought Tom Belcher, the brother of former heavyweight champion Jem, three times. The first one, held in 1806, ended in a 57th round KO win for Sam. The second match, which took place the following year, ended in a draw and the third was a 36th round stoppage win for Sam. Mendoza was the second in Sam's corner for all three bouts.

Pierce Egan wrote, "Terrific is the only word that adequately describes his manner of fighting." After defeating Ben Medley in 1810 in round number 49, Dutch Sam retired remarkably undefeated in over a hundred contests.

Four years later, Sam decided to make a comeback. Throughout his layoff, he continued "training," or at least the part of training that involved ingesting copious amounts of alcohol. He returned after hearing anti-Semitic remarks made by William Nosworthy, who, in addition to being a boxer, was also a baker. Sam was a shell of his former self and Nosworthy KOed him in the fiftieth round.

After a life of hard fighting and drinking, Dutch Sam died on July 3, 1816 in London. He was buried in a Jewish cemetery in Whitechapel.

Blady, Ken. The Jewish Boxers Hall of Fame. 1988.
Century, Douglas. Barney Ross. 2006.