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June 20, 2014     Post-Gazette
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June 20, 2014

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Page 16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, JUNE 20, 2014 A Little This, Tony DeMarco lands on Carmen Basilio. I talked to a few people who attended the International Boxing Hall of Fame induction weekend in Canastota, NY a few weeks ago. I was told the turnout was much less than in previous years. Also, access to the boxers in attendance was restricted. That is a change as the one thing that was always great about going to this event was the abil- ity for the fans and champions to mingle. I haven't attended in a number of years and have no intention of going back anytime soon. This is not just because of the way they are treating the fans, but because they have refused to induct one of the great champions of all time into the hall. I have heard a number of stories as to why Tony DeMarco has not been accorded the honor he so richly deserves, and none of them are good. When the fictional Rocky is inducted and the very real and great Tony DeMarco is left out there is something terribly wrong. It looks like dirty politics in play. From talk- ing to respected boxing people I have been finding that the Hall in Canastota is rapidly losing any semblance of credibility. I was happy to hear attendance was down, and I hope boxing fans continue to send a mes- sage to the leadership in upstate New York that they should start showing some respect to those who have earned it. mmmmmm The other night I watched the Ruslan Provodnikov-Chris Algieri fight on HBO. Algieri billed himself as a defensive boxer who had watched fighters from the past and wanted to emulate them. In the first round he was Chris Algieri decked twice and it didn't look as if he was going to last long. He also suffered damage to his right eye in the open- ing stanza, an injury that grew worse as the fight continued. Algieri showed great heart and conditioning by not only going the dis- tance, but in also winning a split decision, a decision I agreed with. Did he impress me as a master of defensive boxing? No, not at all. He was very unschooled in any real box- ing techniques, but what did impress me was his desire to try and box smart. He held his hands poorly using the now very popu- lar method of holding his fists along the side of his head which is a method that not only blocks a fighter's vision but also does not keep his hands in a position to throw punches. He didn't know how to parry or feint very well. What he did do that impressed me was in his attempt to use the jab to set up his other punches. He tried to use footwork and throw combinations. Most of what he Bobby can be reached a Little That did was quite amateurish, but he was trying to think in there. Algieri is a perfect example of a young boxer with a lot of natural ability, great con- ditioning, tremendous heart, and a strong desire to think on his feet who just is not getting the instruction that could turn him into a very good boxer. With a little school- ing in the Manly Art of Self Defense he could have had an easy time of it in this fight against a fighter who just walked straight at him. It is sad to see such natural talent wasted for lack of a good teacher. mmmmmm Johnnie Addie introduces Rocky Graziano. Recently, ESPN Classic showed the Chuvalo Patter- son matchup from 1965 at Madison Square Garden. The bout was Ring Magazine's Fight of the Year and deservedly so as it was action packed from start to fin- ish. While I en- joyed watching the fight I was also im- pressed by being taken back to what it was like to watch a fight on TV from the old Garden. The fighters would enter the ring in plain robes, in Chuvalo's case his was 'white terry cloth. Neither fighter was wear- ing tassels or was covered in advertisement. They didn't look like they were competing in a fashion contest, but were there to fight. The man doing the introductions was Johnny Addie, a regular guy who knew boxing and substituted substance for flash. Before the fighters were introduced Mr. Addle would call current and former boxers into the ring to take a bow. That alone could be as exciting as the fight as such greats as Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Sandy Saddler, Joe Louis and many others would climb through the ropes once again to take a bow. They would wave to the crowd that was cheering them and wish each of the contestant's good luck. Johnny would then announce the names, hometowns, and weights of both fighters in the evening's match as well as the names of the referee, timekeeper, and judges. No blaring music, no crazy costumes, no mouthing off. You got to see two professionals taking their trade seriously. It was a very different atmosphere at that time, one that I much prefer but is now a thing of the past. Boxing then was a much more respected sport because there was respect within the game. The greats of the past were acknowl- edged and treated xvith dignity. The fighters behaved with a decorum now rarely seen. The blow by blow announcer, Don Dunphy, actually understood what he was watching and could help educate the fans. Today you can have as many as five announcers call- ing a fight at one time and not get a coher- ent thought out of any of them. What a dif- ference. Having just watched young Chris Algieri I think about how much better a fighter he would be if he could step back in time and learn the sport the way it was. at For a Stanley Cup Final that only went five games it was superb in excitement. There were three overtime games -- two of which went to double OT -- providing a memorable capstone to the 2013-1014 season. And yes, the Los Angeles Kings did emerge as the Royalty of the Realm in the world of the NHL once again (having won in 2012). They certainly deserved it, erasing several two-goal deficits over the course of the series with the New York Rangers. That ability to come from behind -- and perform well when the chips were down -- was the hallmark of the Kings during the 2014 playoffs. Consider that they were down 3-0 in games to the San Jose Sharks but came back to take that series, one that included winning the deci- sive game 7 on the road. Not good enough for you? Then how about a double encore performance -- winning two more game 7s on the road en route to the final series with the Rangers. The Kings closed out only one series -- the final one against the Rangers -- at the Staples Center in L.A. In other words, in three of the four series the Kings elimi- nated their opponents via a victory on the road. That's performance when it counts. And true to form for its iden- tity as a high hockey inter- est area, the Boston media market reportedly ranked fourth highest in TV ratings across the country for the Cup final series. TERMINATION TIME FOR THORNTON -- June 16 m will go down as a sad day in Brnins history for many fans -- the day popular B's player Shawn Thornton was in- formed by GM Peter Chiarelli that he would not be offered a new contract for the upcom- ing season. Despite the word that was continually linked to his name -- enforcer -- you couldn't find a more gentle- manly person in the locker room. He was here for seven years, coming from Anaheim where he had won a Stanley Cup in 2007. His brief time with Anaheim (a portion of the 2006-2007 season) was op- portunistic for the Oshawa, Ontario native since he had lingered in the minor leagues for most of a decade, broken up by only token appearances with the Chicago Blackhawks. It enabled him to get NHL exposure so that when he did become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2007, Chiarelli came forward with a three-year, 1.5 million con- tract. That represented a commitment by the Bruins, a faith in his ability, and per- haps most importantly to him, the stability and guar- antee of an NHL career. That would be important to a player of any age but even more so to one like Thornton who was essentially starting in the NHL at age 30 -- a full decade older than a significant num- ber of players in the league. In that sense his career reminded one of the path taken by former B's standout goalie Tim Thomas, who spent eight years in the minors before being signed to a multi-year deal by former GM Mike O'Connell. Perhaps because of their experiences before coming to the Bruins, both players were grateful, a characteristic that is not exhibited today by many in society. Thornton had -- and will continue to have -- a high standing in Boston because of the many ways he has given back to the commu- nity. The description of his work with numerous local charities that ran in the Bos- ton Herald on June 17 th -- the day after the announcement -- was most impressive. So also was the statement by Thornton that he and his wife Erin would return to the Hub every summer until his playing days are over and that they would make Boston their permanent home once his career concludes. And that career may have a bit more time to run. Thornton indicated that he would like to play a couple of more years. Yes, he'll be 37 next month but in the 30-team NHL there are prob- ably a few franchises that would consider signing him up for a year or two. Don't be surprised if he's wearing an NHL uniform when training camps open in September. And don't be sur- prised by the standing ova- tion he'll receive if he re- turns to the Garden next sea- son with another team. After all, it'll be another proud Bostonian returning home. CRONIN CONNECTS WITH ISLANDERS -- Former North- eastern University hockey coach Greg Cronin has been hired as an assistant mentor by the New York Islanders. The Arlington native is, of course, a familiar figure in Hub hockey circles, having led Northeastern for six sea- (Continued on Page 14) 971 Saratoga St., Orient Heights, East Boston Ruggiero Famil y Memorial Home "Our Family Serving Your Family lth Professionalism, Dignity &Respect " Complete Funerals Starting at $3900. (price does not include cash advances) Ample Off Street Parking * Complimentary Valet Parking * Nonsectarian 2omplimentary Transportation To & From Our Funeral Home For Family & Guests for Visiting Hours Si Parla Italiano Se Habla Espanol Please call O l ?-509-0990 any questions Visit us at our website: