By CARLOS GALLEGO
AAP staff writer
MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 3, 2014) — Former Heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson arrived in Minnesota last week to promote his Friday Night Fights card with ESPN. Once considered among the most reviled men in boxing, his image has changed since his Broadway hit show and with the vision he has for his sport.
Tyson says he became a boxing promoter because as he stated in his one on one interview with me, he had been taken advantage of by promoters and he wished to demonstrate to fighters that it did not have to be this way. By becoming a promoter he would be able to do business with the fighters without leaving a bad taste in their mouths which is many times the case with boxers.
Tyson said he felt he could set the example and that the fighters would not have to worry if the check would come because it would come directly from him. He went on to state that he was not the type of person that would exploit or take advantage of others.
There were so many questions asked of Mike Tyson who at the press conference as well as at the fights seemed friendly and jovial. A reporter noted that he very much enjoyed the HBO special on his life and thought that he should consider becoming a stand-up comedian as he thought he was funny. Iron Mike disagreed stating that he did not consider himself funny and that he was merely trying to tell his story. The reporter pressed him and asked him if his children thought that he was funny and to this he also replied no.
Another reporter stated that before most people did not like Mike Tyson and that during these past few years he felt that people sensed that he had changed and was really a good and positive person. The reporter felt perhaps many had forgiven Mike for the way he was in the past.
Tyson commented that it did not matter if everyone in the world thought if he was a wonderful guy, because if he could not love himself, it did not matter. The reporter followed-up by asking him how he felt he was doing in that area?
“I am still working on it,” Tyson replied.
This was a very good fight card comprised of local and regional fighters as well as a title fight. Many of the fans were here to support the local fighter. Many in the audience came particularly to see Caleb Truax, a Minnesota fighter who has had some national television exposure and is nearly on the world stage. On this day, although he fought a spirited fight, it seems he is not yet ready for the world stage.
Truax (23-1-2) faced a cagey veteran fighter Ossie Duran(28-11-3) from Ghana.
The Ghanaian Gladiator did not disappoint as he came to fight and win. It was a close fight throughout with Truax throwing nearly twice as many blows as Duran, but Duran seemed to throw the stronger and more effective punch as was evidenced by Truax’s bloodied nose and bruised face.
Below is a summary of my score card as I sat ringside next to the Truax corner
Truax Round 1: More active although the Ghanaian threw a few good punches
Duran Round 2: Duran through less jabs but he was significant more effective the bulk of Truax jabs hit the arms or missed, yet they seemed to land nearly the number of punches
Duran Round 3 Truax seemed not to be as busy this round, Duran doubled up on some jabs and let his hands go, this round Truax had his nose bloodied.
Duran Round 4 Started the round exchanging jabs, sitting next to the Caleb corner; I could hear them advising him to get around the guard. Meaning to hit on the side of the head. Duran this round was shooting more jabs as well as some double jabs and a right hand. Although in this round as well as throughout the fight Truax steadily connected with more blows than Duran, Duran punches were much harder as evidenced by Truax ‘s bloody nose and bruised face
Truax Round 5: Ossie Duran was warned for hitting behind the head during this round. Also Truax’s persistent barrage of punches seemed to slightly hurt Duran.
Duran Round 6 was a fairly even round however toward the end 20 seconds Duran began effectively connecting with some lefts and rights, that were hard and effective again. The difference in continues to be that while Truax throws punches at a higher rate, Duran’s punches tend to be much hard and more effective. This round closed with Duran doing enough to win the round.
Truax Round 7 – Both fighters were spirited however Truax seemed much busier, giving him the round
Truax Round 8 This round again was spirited with Truax landing a very strong uppercut that got Duran’s attention. This round both fighters scored effective punches Truax with jabs and uppercuts and Duran with jabs uppercuts and as strong overhand right round goes to Truax.
Truax Round 9 was an even round with Truax doing enough to perhaps pull it out? There was a bit a showboating by Ghanaian Gladiator, perhaps he would have been better served to focus on the opponent. Truax seemed to be effectively connecting with enough uppercuts to gain him the round.
Truax Round 10 This round finished with Truax’s his corner urging him to drive forward, “you are not taking a backward step, drive forward… finish your shots around the gloves.” Both fighters gave it all they had swinging strong punches
I had it 6 rounds to 4 for Truax. To the credit of the local judges all three had identical cards each scoring the fight a draw with 5 rounds for each fighter.
Unfortunately the title fight between Challenger Rances Barthelemy 19-0 (12 kos) against Champ Argenis Mendez 21-2-1 (11 kos) did not end as well. Although the challenger seemed to be stronger and dominated the fight, taking the first round and again was easily carrying the 2nd round, scoring a solid knock down. But what happened at the end of the round was controversial, after the round ended the challenger clearly landed two huge bombs putting the champion down for good.
It is common knowledge that as a round is in its weaning moments the referee is to get nearer the fighters to split them at the end of the round.
Given the tide of the fight and the fact that the champion seemed weak and not quite right that the fight was likely to go to the challenger. But the reason the fight ended was due to sub-par officiating on the part of the local referee Podgorski. It is common knowledge that as a round is in its weaning moments the ref is to get near the fighter to split the fighters at the end of the round. Yet, Podgorski was nowhere near the fighter and allowed the telling punches to land. It is essential that referees receive adequate training and be competent to ref a world title match. World title bouts should not be left up to local unproven referees. The champion’s camp has filed an appeal on the decision and is hoping to either have the fight declared a No Contest or to have a rematch in the near future.