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April 23, 2010

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Page16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, APRIL 23, 2010 by Reinaldo Oliveira, Jr. There's a Rating System in Boxing for a Reason/ There's a rating system in boxing for a reason. We are not all alike. Boxing is one of the truest forms in determining "YOUR- OWN" climb in life to the "Top!" Equality and inequality are keys in determining your own accomplishments. Your persistence, motivation, ability, or lack of ability, and inner drive. All key factors, in determining direction in life. Many a left hook or right hand have shifted an individuals directions to changing professions. In boxing you get to really "Fight your way to the topl" (If you're good) In boxing you prove who you are and who your not. We are not all alike. We all have individual skill. Some become World Champions, local champions, contenders, pretenders, and others opponents. Some have extended careers in boxing. Some get discouraged and choose another profession. Some don't have the desire to continue on in boxing and choose to enter a more desir- ous profession. They still love boxing and long to box/fight (compete) again. Great fans of boxing are true fans and are competitors. They never lose their desire to win, lose or draw in boxing. Desiring to compete at the ultimate level. Boxing is an ultimate chal- lenge in life. Having the desire to demon- strate your talent. Some have good right hands, great left hooks, others a great jab, some have great boxing skill, others a tol- erance for taking a beating. Others just are tough, some have a great jaw, others are wild and some cute in the ring. Then there's the extremely cool and calm. Some become world, national or local champions. Others accomplish as amateurs and others as pro- fessionals. A saying in boxing is: "You can never tell a great fighter till he/she has got knocked down." Getting knocked down, that's discouragement. "Getting back up" after a knockdown is encouragement. Both essential keys to perseverance in 1 fie. Boxing is as rough and tough a sport as is. No time outs. No substitutes. Using only hands. Boxing can be discouraging. I admire boxers. They're accomplished and admired. I admire all that have attempted boxing. Many discouragements in boxing. They're just as important as encourage- ments. In boxing there are many non- encouraging factors. I admire those that have done well. Making an attempt to the top and doing okay. "Bravo!" The tough pathway to the top. It's tough and hard. Just because an individual steps into a boxing gym ring and throws a few punches does not put them in equivalence to world champi- ons or an individual who has achieved suc- cess in boxing. We are not all alike. There's a rating system in boxing for a reason. Climbing up the stairs to a boxing ring does not make you a champion. The attempt is admirable. What you do in the ring makes you a champion or not. You fight to the top of the ratings. You earn a shot at the title. You defeat the champion. You become a world champion. That's what climbing the ladder of success is all about. What would Joey Archibald, Sal Bartolo, Tony DeMarco, Paddy Duffy, Harold Gomes, Marvin Hagler, Rocky Marciano, Honey Melody, Kid Murphy, Paul Pender, Vinny Paz, John Ruiz, Sandy Saddler, John L. Sullivan, Mike Sullivan, Jack Sharkey, and Jimmy Walsh say ... They earned accomplishments in boxing. These great champions climbed the ladder to success. They became champions of the world. Just as other champions and world title contenders Tommy Collins, Joe DeNucci, Tony Petronelli, Jackie Smith, Vinnie Curto, Tom McNeeley, Skeeter McClure, Sammy Fuller, Micky Ward, Paul Cardoza, Tommy Martini, Iron Mike Pusateri would say. They did not earn their accom- plishments by simply walking into a gym and throwing a few punches. Champion- ships earned military, amateur, profes- sional, local', world title ratings, and con- tender ship status, or opponent status. They all proudly achieved a status of achieve- ment. They all did the best they could. All named, proudly became a pinnacle of suc- cess, in their chosen profession. I am glad for a rating system. In order to be included in a rating system, or win a title. You've got RIP, Referee Arthur Mercante Sr. He motions Joe Frazier to a neutral corner after knocking down Muhammad Ali. March 8, 1971, in New York. to, fight. "DING!" Statistics, documented for eternity. Accomplishments in boxing are sacred. Here at the Comfort Inn, I spoke on box- ing. Who was the opponent of Rocky Marciano after the Roland LaStarza fight? I got the answer now. Ezzard Charles on June 17, 1954. I'm gathered here with a great group of gentlemen: Howard Noah, Dennis Blale, Ed Curelop, Mflty Siegal, Irwin Golden, Mort Landy, Paul Kaplan, Nick Shabanoff, Mel Gondelman, Lenny Blau, Sonny Blau, Dennis Blau, Sonny Paige, Charliy Keoale, Lou Rosen, Stan Rosenfield, Morty Matt, Chief, Jeff Korey, Lou Korey, Milt Kriger, Jerry Goodman. They know "How to play ball!" All are skilled in the "art of ball play- ing!" These gentlemen have played ball together for many years. Displaying their talent proudly. I spoke at this gathering of distinguished gentlemen. We spoke on box- ing. I was honored to speak with these ballplayers on boxing. Thank you. As distin- guished a group of gentlemen I've seen. Great American ball players. They have the best interest for America. TRIVIA Henry Armstrong and Ralph Zannelli met three times. They fought on May 24, 1940, March 24, 1944 and on May 16, 1944. Where? The last bare knuckle championship fight was between John L. Sullivan and Jake Kilrain on July 8, 1889. Sullivan won in the seventy-fifth round. UPCOMING FIGHTS April 24 *h m IIBO from California Tomasz Adamek versus Cristobal Arreola. Heavy- .weight. April 24 th m Showtime, Carl Froch ver- sus Mikkel Kessler WBC Super middle- weight. April 30 th -- Showtime Illinois Edwin Rodriquez versus Kevin Engel Super middleweight. May 14 -- H]BO PPV Shane Mosley battles Floyd Mayweather Jr. WBA Welterweight title fight. May 7 th -- ESPN2 Antonio Escalante versus TBA. May 8 th -- HBO Paul Williams versus Kermit Cintron Junior Middleweights. RIP to ARTHUR MERCANTE SR. He was born in Brockton, Massachusetts on Janu- ary 27, 1920. He passed into that golden ring in Heaven refereed by God on April 10, 2010. The first title bout he refereed was the sec- ond Floyd Paterson versus Ingemar Johanson fight. Paterson regained the title. He was a childhood friend of Rocky Marciano. Arthur served in World War II in the U.S. Navy, under the command of Heavyweight Champion Gene Tunney. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame Canastota New York in 1995. He refereed the first Muhammad All versus Joe Frazier bout, the first George Foreman versus Joe Frazier bout amongst many others. Rest in Peace. Our Prayers, are with you. If you have any information on fighters you would like to see included in a column contact me at boxer2reinaldo@ It is the second season for the Bruins and for the first time in quite a while the TD Garden has become alive. Alive with boisterous fans, loud music, energetic play- ers and coaches fully pre- pared for the playoffs. Alive. Game three of the Stanley Cup playoffs was such a moment. Tied in games 1-1 with the Buffalo Sabres, the B's needed a victory to vault ahead of their competition from Western New York. And they got it. The fans got into the act early by passing a large Bru- ins-logoed banner through the stands just prior to the start of the game -- a ban- ner created for such events by the front office. In addi- tion, thousands upon thou- sands of gold colored towels were waved in a frenzy as the players took the ice for what was the first game of the 2010 Stanley Cup play- offs in Boston. One had the feeling that if the atmosphere in the build- ing had been that energetic throughout the regular sea- son the Bruins would not have been a bubble team that went to the next-to-last day of the campaign before securing a playoff berth. Sitting in my assigned seat on the ninth floor with members of the Buffalo me- dia on either side of me, it was interesting when one turned and asked "Is it al- ways this loud in here?" In truth, the answer was no. The fans hadn't been that loud during the regular sea- son and neither had the music that was played over the loud speakers. And even though the atten- dance was announced as a sellout at 17,565 -- a figure also frequently announced during regular season games -- there did, indeed, appear to to be more mem- bers of Bruins Nation in at- tendance than during a regular evening. True to their nature, though, this 2009-2010 squad of Bruins then pro- ceeded to take on the Sabres in another tight, low scoring duel that mirrored so many games of the regular season. It was 1-1 most of the way. A late third period goal by Patrice Bergeron -- aided in a supreme way by Mark Recchi who got possession of the puck away from the Sa- bres and then fed Bergeron -- put the B's up 2-1 for what proved to be the winning score. Later, in the postgame press conference -- held in a much larger setting than the ones convened after regular season contests, B's coach Claude Julien -- em- phasized that it was the Bruins experience in close games this season that en- abled them to keep their cool and work for opportunities. "Overall, the game was very good. I felt good about it, he remarked. "We've played in tight games all year, as you know, so it was nothing new for us to go out there in the third with a 1-1 tie. But we've been sticking to the game plan, we haven't been getting frustrated and we stayed focused when they (the Sabres) scored the first goal. I didn't feel any panic on the bench. It was just one of those things where we've been resilient on the bench because we've been through it." Julien also stated how he felt about Recchi, the "elder statesman" of the B's: "Without a doubt that was a huge play. He outmuscled his way in there and made that great pass to Bergeron. I thought our team played hard and it was fitting that something like that would happen." He added: "You can never say enough about a guy who has been around for so long and the way he plays. He just brings energy to our hockey club. When you see a 42-year-old man play as hard as he does and when you are in your twenties, it's pretty hard not to follow suit. He's shown no signs of slowing down. He leads by example." The victory had extra meaning because none of the prognosticators picked the Bruins to win this se- ries. Many said the Sabres would win in five, others said it might go six games before Buffalo dispatched the B's. At press time there was still a lot left to be played in this series. Yes, indeed, it did look as if it might go six games. But you know what? That sixth game is scheduled for the Garden where legions of fans and cranked up loud speakers await. Towels will be waved -- but not in surrender. Could it happen that the Bruins -- a team that faced uncertainty about their postseason plans right up until their next to last regu- lar season game -- might defy the so-caUed experts and topple the Sabres to move on to the Eastern Conference semifinals? What once would have dis- missed as fictional had, in reality, become possible. It still might not happen but now there was a distinct pos- sibility that it could. There seemed to be a new spirit, a new energy, in these Bru- ins. And, of course, the longer they continue to play, the stronger the possibility that Marc Savard will be able to rejoin the team. Herb Brooks, the man who coached the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team, would have been proud of this bunch of Bruins on Patriots Day night. They had just won their second straight game against Buffalo to take the lead in the series. The frus- tration so evident during the regular season had been banished, replaced by a new positive attitude. Where that might lead was still to be determined in a series where all one could see were possibilities.