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Page 16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, AUGUST 29, 2014 Curtis Cokes, Curtis Cokes in his prime. My good friend and highly- respected boxing historian Mike Silver has recently published an interview with former World Welterweight Champion Curtis Cokes. Those of us who were follow- ing boxing in the 1960s re- member Cokes as the smooth boxing and hard punching champion who held the title from 1966 to 1969. You will be happy to hear that Curtis is alive and Now to the other side of the boxing (if you can call it that) spectrum. On August 16 th Gabriel Rosado stopped Bryan Vera in the 64 round" of what was billed as the BKB Middle- weight Championship. This contest showed just how ridiculous what is left .of the sport of boxing has become. In BKB the fighters enter a round pit with no ropes that is much smaller than a box- ing ring'. The bouts are scheduled for either five or seven two minute rounds. The point, and the way it has been billed, is to force the Ken Fallin's doodle of Max Schmeling. Artist Ken Fallin, with whom I did an interview on these pages a few months ago, sent me a drawing (he prefers to call them doodles) he did of Max Schmeling a few years ago for a story about the former champ in the Wall Street Journal. It is a wonderful sketch of the aging champion who still JABS AND CROSSES Big Knockout Boxing, Max Schmeling Silver on Cokes well and still living in his hometown of Dallas, Texas where he operates a boxing gym. He is also the author of an excellent boxing in- struction book titled "The Complete Book of Boxing for Fighters and Fight Fans". Mike's interview with the former champion is pure gold to read. Curtis Cokes is as sharp as his right cross used to be,' and he gives insight into what the sport of,boxing once was about. Mike's ex- cellent questions bring out the best in the great cham- pion in much the same way a good opponent can bring out the best in a boxer. Cokes discusses his "si- lent right hand," the lost art of footwork, balance, his bouts against Luis Rodriguez (whom he beat twice, once via knock out) and Jose Napoles. His thoughts on the use of weight lifting which has become such a big part of today's boxing training is very interesting as well. He also is not shy when giving his opinion of today's boxers and how he and his Curtis Cokes today. contemporaries would fare against them. I highly recommend read- ing this piece more than once. When you are through, you will have learned a lot about the true meaning of the term The Manly Art of Self Defense. The link to the online in- terview is: http:// www. doghouseboxing, com/ DHB / Mike-Silver-082214. htm It also can be easily found by typing into Google: "Mike Silver Interviews Curtis Cokes." You won't be disap- pointed. Big Knockout Boxing fighters to throw more headshots and use less foot- work; In other words, to take the defense out of boxing in an attempt to make every bout a toe-to-toe slugfest. Of course, with the skill level of today's boxers, they don't have far to go. Incredibly, the Las Vegas Athletic Commis- sion sanctioned this match, and it has been reported that the result will go on each boxer's regular boxing record. I assume that in the future boxing will continue in this direction. The press leading up to the fight spoke of the lack of interest among fans for seeing fighters who display defensive skills. You will see continuing effort made towards making box- ing more brutal. It is devolv- ing into nothing more than human dog fighting. Con- trast what is happening here with what Curtis Cokes has to say in his interview with Mike Silver. You will clearly see that the sport of Louis, Robinson, Moore, Ar- cher, and Tunney 'no longer exists. It is a shame to know what has been lost, but sadly, it is a reflection of our society. Fallin Doodles Schmeling looked full of life and energy. Max lived to be a healthy 99 years old. He was quite successful after his boxing career and the war ended having been employed in a top executive position for Coca Cola in Germany. His two fights with Joe Louis are part of not only boxing history, but of world histoxy as well. They were fought while the world was on the brink of war, and the lines between good and evil were becoming well defined. Max kayoed Joe in their first bout. A rematch was inevitable, but much occurred before that bout took place. Jim Braddock won the title from Max Baer, and Schmeling was signed to fight the Cinderella Man. Politics came into play and Braddock decided he would mueh rather fight Louis for a huge purse and a percent- age of Louis's future earn- ings. Max pursued the issue in court and it wasn't until days before his bout with Jim was scheduled that it was called off. Tickets had even been printed. We can only speculate on what would have happened if Schmeling had fought and defeated Braddock. Would he have brought the title to Germany for Hitler to use as a propaganda tool to support his belief in the Master Race? Would Louis have had to, go to Germany to defend it? As big as the second Louis Schmeling fight was, what would it have been like if Max was champion at the time? The best book on this sub- ject is Beyond G/ory by David Margolick. Interestingly, Max and Joe became life long friends after all the madness ended with Max donating a large sum of money to a fund to help out Joe in his later years. The world has always been a crazy and dangerous place, and at that time, for a brief moment, boxing was center stage in the madness. Thanks to Ken Fallin for allowing me to use his "doodle" for this article. BIDDING FAREWELL TO baseball and hockey. BAVETTA -- It was back in December of 1975 and two of the NBA's original franchises -- the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks -- were going at each other in another one of their classic showdowns. This one took place in Madi- son Square Garden, one of the league's best known arenas. What a place to debut. And that is what Dick Bavetta did back on Decem- ber 3, 1975 night when he officiated his first NBA game. For the record Dave Cowens scored 25 to lead the C's to a 103-100 victory over their rivals. But for the man with the whistle it would be the first step towards setting a record of his own. When all was said and done Bavetta would own perhaps the most impressive mark in the league: a career record of 2,635 consecutive games worked, including 270 playoff games and 27 NBA Finals contests, all without missing an assignment. That's right: no games missed ever in a career that has spanned 39 seasons. That's none missed because of illness, flight delays, bad weather or any other reason one can think of. And now, at age 74, he is retiring to his Florida ranch. "I'm healthy," Bavetta told the Associated Press recently as he reflected on his deci- sion to step aside before training camps open. And wouldn't you know his career might never have hap- pened -- except for a missed assignment. Back in i966 Bavetta was playing in an adult amateur league in New York City. There was a doubleheader that night. He played in the first contest but a problem arose shortly before tipoff for the second. One of the offi- cials had failed to show-so Bavetta agreed to help out his brother who was assigned to work the second game and now was looking for a partner. That began a 48-year jour- ney that eventually would take him throughout Amer- ica and to many international destinations. Among his other accomplishments, Bav, etta was the first NBA ref to offici- ate contests in the Olympics -- the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain. So now it's time to step to the sidelines of the game he loves. There won'.t be any more holidays and other family gatherings missed at home. That, of course, is the downside of being an NBA official. Instead, it will be time to reflect on a life well lived and. a career much enjoyed. AS ONE'S PATH DIVERGES, ANOTHER'S IS OPENED -- Back a few weeks ago Biller- ica native Tom Glavine was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. As part of the leadup to the induction, Boston Herald writer John Tomase wrote a long back- ground piece on Glavine, noting his all-star high- lights in both high school While stellar on the mound (9-I with 118 strikeouts as a senior) and at bat (hitting over .400 in both his junior and senior seasons), he was equally adept on the ice, scor- ing 75 points as a junior and then leading the state with 94 in his senior year, a sea- son in which he scored 47 goals. With those kinds of perfor- mances it's no wonder that scouts from both Major League Baseball and the NHL came calling. The Los Ange- les Kings drafted him in the fourth round while the Atlanta Braves selected him in the second in their respec- tive 1984 drafts. However, Glavine had an- other option. He had wanted to go to college and play hockey before taking up a career in baseball. He had earned a hockey scholarship to UMass-Lowell but, as Tomase noted, was denied admission to the school he really wanted to attend -- Harvard. Why? Because his com- bined SAT scores of 1,150 supposedly were not quite high enough for the Ivy League institution. That, plus a belief that he would have a longer career in baseball, gradually led him to embrace the diamond sport as the way togo. Signed by the Braves, he earned a spot in Atlanta's rotation within three years. In all, he would go on to spend 17 seasons in the majors. But what of that decision by Harvard years ago, Spurned by the Crimson admissions office, Glavine simply went down another path in life. However, there was a more immediate situation to deal with in the Harvard hockey office. Now, with the roster spot that would have went to Glavine suddenly left open, another player would have to be selected. Tomase, citing John Fein- stein's 2008 book Living the Black, indicates that the va- cant roster spot went to none other than Don Sweeney, a defenseman who played four years for Harvard and went on to play 1,051 games for the Bruins over the course of 15 seasons. He is currently the assistant general manager of the B's. As the late radio newsman Paul Harvey used to say: "And now you know the rest of the story." THE ICE MEN COMETH: Bruins Rookie Camp opens on September 11 th with 22 players reporting to Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. The next day they travel to Nash- ville for three games at the Predators' practice facility. There they'll play their counterparts from the Florida Panthers, the Predators and the Tampa Bay Lightning. By the time they .return the vet- erans will be reporting on September 18 th. The annual Black and Gold Game is set for Providence on September 21 st with the first exhibition game to follow in Montreal on September 23 rd.