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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Salita Has New Opponent

Dmitriy Salita, who is promoting and fighting a card scheduled for April 13 at the Oceana Ballroom in Brooklyn, New York, will have a new opponent. Salita is now penciled in to face Ronnie Warrior Jr.

Salita (32-1-1, 17 KOs) was originally scheduled to face Jermaine White. White's replacement, Warrior (13-4-1, 4 KOs), is cut from the same mold. Warrior is a journeyman who has built up a record against weak foes and lost when battling tougher competition. Warrior is older at 34 years old, but has fought more recently than White has. Warrior was stopped in the third round last December against Kevin Bizier.

Warrior has historically been the heavier man than Salita. The Oklahoma native is also a southpaw. Regardless, Salita is the prohibitive favorite. The bout is scheduled for eight rounds.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Huck-Nakash Preview

Ran "Sweet Dreams" Nakash takes on Marco "Capt'n" Huck on Saturday for Huck's WBO cruiserweight title. The bout will be held at Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle, Germany. It features a contest of two men who are skilled in other combat sports. Huck came up as a kickboxer. Nakash is the chief instructor for the Israeli Defense Force in Krava Maga.

The litany of advantages possessed by Huck (31-1, 23 KOs) is the story heading into this fight. Huck, who has faced the stiffer competition throughout his career, has at least a three and half inch height advantage. Huck is six years younger, yet has more experience inside the ropes, as he has participated in seven more fights than Nakash and nearly 100 more rounds. The fight is being held in Huck's adopted country. The hometown advantage is perceived to be more pronounced in Germany than in other places. And finally, Nakash took this fight on short notice.

Huck is a master of range. He stands up straight and keeps a high guard when his opponent is within striking-distance. He often uses his jab as a range-finder early in the fight. Then, when he has determined distance, he propels forth in a burst of powerful combination punches.

But Huck is a flawed fighter. He is technically poor. The champion thrives when he is on the attack. Nakash must keep the pressure on Huck. The beltholder is not an adept counterpuncher. As long as Nakash is in range and punching, Huck will keep his hands up. This serves two purposes. As long as Huck's hands are up, he can't hit Nakash with a powerful shot. And, with his high guard, Huck's body will be open.

Fortunately for Nakash, his strategy and his strengths match up nicely. Coming forward and delivering body punches are two areas where he excels. Huck's only loss was to Steve Cunningham in 2007. Cunningham is a tall fighter with a tremendous reach, whose strategy was to box. None of that applies to Nakash here. But Cunningham did work the body early and used effective head movement during Huck's bull rushes that inevitably morph into combinations. It is crucial for Nakash to avoid taking the brunt of one of Huck's wild and damaging blows.

Huck's last fight against the shorter Denis Lebedev this past December is more instructive. Lebedev, a southpaw, was able to target Huck's body often, cracking his rib in the fourth. Lebedev, who lost a contentious split-decision, forced Huck on the backfoot in the later rounds. Whichever fighter is moving forward, Huck or Nakash, will give a good indication as to the identity of the eventual victor.

But others have tried to press Huck and failed. Adam Richards did, but Huck was able to keep the Swamp Donkey on the end of his punches about a year ago. Huck faced Brian Minto two months later. Minto came forward the entire fight, but lacked the hand speed, power, and defensive ability to threaten Huck. He also didn't throw enough punches at the champion. Matt Godfrey, who fought Huck last August, gave ground to Huck, who connected in the fifth round with an unruly punch in the middle of a combination, which, of course, was preceded by a bull rush. Godfrey was stopped soon after in the same stanza.

Nakash (25-0, 18 KOs), who has massive muscular legs, will have to bully the bully. Cunningham-Huck was a rough fight. Nakash will need to make this bout rough as well. One issue for Nakash is his weight. He traditionally weighs in over the cruiserweight limit of 200 pounds. Last July, after his fight against Victor Barragan, Nakash acknowledged it was an issue, but asserted that he could make the weight, arguing that he had a contract for a higher limit for that contest. Nakash has only fought as many as ten rounds in a fight twice, including his last contest. He admitted that going ten rounds "was hard."

While this is an enormous step up against a gritty, seasoned champion, Nakash does have the game to pull off the big upset. This bout is scheduled for 12 rounds.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gunn on Huck-Nakash

Ran Nakash, who will challenge Marco Huck in Germany on Saturday for the WBO cruiserweight crown, had been pegged to face Bobby Gunn for more than a year. The two had a somewhat public back-and-forth about fighting one another. They even had a date (February 24) and a venue (Harrah's in Chester, Pennsylvania) before the fight fell through.

Gunn said of Nakash accepting the fight with Huck instead of himself, "This is a business and he made a smart decision." Gunn graciously added, "I don’t think Nakash ran away from our fight because he is going to make a lot of money and has an opportunity to fight for a world title against Huck."

But then Gunn took a shot at Nakash. "Either way, he was going to take his first loss the next time he fought, so you can’t blame him." Perhaps, it's just sour grapes from Gunn, who was stopped in the fourth round of his last fight against Tomasz Adamek for The Ring cruiserweight title.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Look Back: Morris Reif

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.

Morris Reif, who turned 88 years old last month, was recently honored by the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame. Reif was a well-regarded boxer in his day, known for his left hook and his knockout power.

Isidore Reif was born on February 16, 1923. Known as Izzy, Reif grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York, which was then a tough Jewish neighborhood. Reif began boxing as an amateur at a young age. In those days, the winner of an amateur match would receive a watch and then pawn it for money. This was a practice Reif was able to repeat often.

Reif turned pro at the age of 17 though the legal minimum age to become a professional boxer was 18. In order to get around the law, Reif borrowed the birth certificate of his older brother, Morris, and assumed his name. The new Morris Reif scored a second round knockout in his debut on June 7, 1940.

Reif's career began with a bang. He won his first 18 fights, eleven by knockout. He even had the unique pleasure of knocking out Snow White, or, at least, a boxer by that name. Reif, a southpaw, developed his deadly left hook after breaking his right hand during a fight. That win streak came to an end against Mickey Farber, a quality local Jewish fighter, in 1941. The 5'7" welterweight seemed to have trouble when he faced tougher competition. All of Reif's losses were to fighters with winning records, including Danny Bartfield twice.

By 1945, Reif, nicknamed "The Blonde Bomber," was being touted as the next Bummy Davis. In fact, according to Ron Ross, the two men, who had sparred together, were apparently training for one another when Davis was tragically shot and killed during a robbery. The following year, Reif fought Beau Jack, one of the greatest fighters of all time. Jack had passed the lightweight title back and forth with Bob Montgomery during their series of bouts, the last being in March of 1944, a fight which Jack lost. Five months later, he beat Montgomery in a higher weight class. Two fights later, Jack faced Reif.

Reif was knocked out in the fourth round against the legendary foe. The Brooklynite came back to win his next seven contests, six by knockout. Reif next lost three in a row and his career was soon over, his last fight taking place on January 6, 1950. With the help of legendary trainer Charley Goldman, Reif amassed a career record of 51-12-1 with 34 KOs. Reif became friends with Rocky Marciano, who was also trained by Goldman.

Reif and his wife Beverly had three children. After he retired from the ring, Morris trained youngsters in boxing in addition to working in a variety of fields. He now resides in Florida.

Lilly, Christina. "Former boxer, 88, honored by Hall of Fame." Sun Sentinal. February 24, 2011.
Ross, Ron. Bummy David vs. Murder, Inc.: The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Mafia and an Ill-fated Prizefighter. 2003.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nakash to Fight for World Title

The Ring is reporting that Ran Nakash is a late replacement to take on WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck at Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle, Germany on April 2. This marks the fifth time since November 2009 that a Jewish fighter has participated in a world title bout.

Yuri Foreman won the WBA junior middleweight crown by defeating Daniel Santos on November 14, 2009. Less than a month later, on December 5, Dmitriy Salita was knocked out within one round against WBA junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan. On April 24, 2010, Mariano Plotinsky came up short against the WBO light heavyweight beltholder, Jürgen Brähmer. On June 5, Foreman lost his strap to Miguel Cotto.

While Nakash's title opportunity fosters dreams of what could be, the concern is that Huck signifies an enormous step up for the Israeli boxer. Huck (31-1, 23 KOs) will be making his sixth title defense. The Ring ranks the Serbian-born champion as the second best cruiserweight in the world. Huck's sole loss was to the only man rated above him, Steve Cunningham. That loss took place in 2007. Huck has won twelve straight contests since, mostly against world class competition.

Nakash (25-0, 18 KOs) hasn't fought anyone nearly as good as Huck during his pro career. He also will suffer from a significant height disadvantage and is six years older than the 26 year old champion. But Nakash is a hellacious body puncher. Being the shorter man, he will have to get inside to do damage.

Nakash will be replacing veteran Giacobbe Fragomeni, Huck's originally scheduled opponent, who was cut during training. The match is scheduled for 12 rounds.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Salita Prepares for April 13

Dmitriy Salita (32-1-1, 17 KOs) is getting ready for his fight against Jermaine White (17-4, 9 KOs), which will take place at the Oceana Ballroom in Brooklyn, New York. The welterweight bout is scheduled for ten rounds.

Salita, who has again worked out with Emanuel Steward for this fight, will be stepping into the ring for the third time in eight months. However, his opponent has been overmatched on paper in each contest. Salita's sustained activity will surely keep his skills sharp. But, especially since Salita has greater designs than merely being a regional attraction, ideally he would've stepped up his competition with each bout. That hasn't been the case.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Foreman on the Future

Yuri Foreman suffered his second career loss, and second in a row, eight days ago. Foreman appeared flat as his opponent, Pawel Wolak, outhustled the former beltholder at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. After the fight, Foreman claimed he wasn't himself and, as for the future of his career, he would have to think things over.

But Foreman recently told Michael Woods of The Sweet Science, "After a break, to recharge my batteries, I will be hungry again. I love sports, I love boxing a lot. But I have been doing it for 18 years. As I get ready for fights, my preparation is good, I train so hard. But this one, I was doing on habit. I was not as driven."

So it seems that Foreman (28-2, 8 KOs) will be back in the ring. For the past two years, he has only faced world class opposition. But, coming off of two losses, perhaps his next fight should be against a capable journeyman before he steps up the competition once again.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Salita to Fight White

Dmitriy Salita's opponent for his April 13 date at the Oceana Ballroom in Brooklyn, New York will be Jermaine "Too Sweet" White. White, from Indiana, has a record of 17-4 with 9 KOs. Defeating this opponent will not go a long way towards answering Salita's critics, who cite that he has not faced many tough foes.

White fits the profile of capable journeymen that Salita has fought since his first career loss against Amir Khan back on December 5, 2009. White has feasted on lesser competition and has been blown out when stepping up to anywhere near Salita's skill level.

White was knocked out by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Anthony Peterson in 2006. He was at his heaviest against Chavez, weighing in at 145. This bout against Salita is a welterweight contest. White's last fight was against Paul Spadofora back in September of 2009. White lost by unanimous decision.

Salita (32-1-1, 17 KOs) has the height and reach advantage. He is more skilled and has been far more active. The fight will be in Salita's hometown. In addition, Salita beat their common opponent, Derrick Campos, in November of 2008 by unanimous decision. Campos knocked out White inside of one round.

SecondsOut.com claims that Salita was hoping to fight Mike Anchondo. A Salita-Anchondo fight scheduled for late last year fell apart. Anchondo backed out again, leaving Salita, who is also the promoter, frustrated and searching for an opponent.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Foreman Falls Out of the Ring's Ratings

Thanks to his loss last Saturday, Yuri Foreman (28-2, 8 KOs) is no longer a member of The Ring's junior middleweight top ten. Foreman graced the list for 75 weeks after his title-winning victory over Daniel Santos back on November 14, 2009. The aspiring-rabbi grabbed the WBA strap in that bout.

Foreman rose as high as sixth in a division in which The Ring does not currently recognize a champion. Foreman's departure from the list following the loss was expected. He has lost twice since being considered one of the best ten in the division by the publication, including against Miguel Cotto last June.

Pawel Wolak, the man who defeated Foreman last Saturday by way of sixth round TKO, entered the junior middleweight rankings at number seven.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yuri Foreman vs. Pawel Wolak

March 12, 2011
Las Vegas, Nevada
MGM Grand

part 1

part 2

part 3

Foreman: black and yellow trunks
Wolak: camouflage trunks

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wolak Stops Foreman

Yuri Foreman's corner had the fight stopped after the sixth round last night against Pawel Wolak. Wolak, whose eye was swollen and closing, won every round of the bout before the TKO. Foreman habitually kept his left hand low, which allowed Wolak to counter with overhand rights throughout the contest.

After the fight, Foreman said, "I didn't feel like myself tonight." He clearly wasn't sharp from the get-go. Foreman added, "I should've boxed."

But he didn't. His jab only made a brief appearance and he didn't move nearly as much as he needed to. Instead, Wolak was able to just cruise to the inside and wail away at Foreman. Early in the third and fourth rounds, Foreman successfully instituted his stick-and-move strategy, but Wolak finished both rounds strong.

Late in the fourth, Wolak landed a devastating combination to Foreman's head, which was followed by a hurtful body shot. Foreman clearly winced.

Wolak's relentless pressure was too much for Foreman. Wolak landed more punches than Foreman even threw. Foreman’s defense was lackluster. After the sixth round, the corner advised referee Kenny Bayless to stop the fight as Foreman had received far too many blows to the head.

Afterwards, Foreman mentioned that he needed to "relax" and "take time off" after his second straight loss. He also added that he was planning on thinking things over. Foreman's comments lead one to believe that this could have been his last fight. But perhaps he was just consumed by the moment.

Wolak improves to 29-1 and gained his 19th knockout. He is looking for a fight with a beltholder in the junior middleweight division after obtaining the best victory of his career. Foreman falls to 28-2.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Foreman, Wolak Weigh In

Yuri Foreman (28-1, 8 KOs) weighed in at 155 pounds for his contest against Pawel Wolak (28-1, 18 KOs), which is one pound over the junior middleweight limit. Wolak came in at the 154-pound limit.

The fight, which will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, is scheduled for ten rounds. It will be broadcast on Showtime pay-per-view on the Cotto-Mayorga undercard.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Yuri Foreman Workout Video

Former WBA super welterweight champion Yuri Foreman (28-1, 8 KOs) is set to return from a knee injury against Pawel Wolak (28-1, 18 KOs) this Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada in a ten round bout.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Foreman-Wolak Preview

Both Yuri Foreman and Pawel Wolak are 28-1. Both trained in Gleason's Gym. Both began their lives in Eastern Europe before eventually immigrating to the Tri-State area. The two men are friends. Now, they're scheduled to meet in the ring on March 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Foreman, the man with eight knockouts, is coming off his first career loss last June against Miguel Cotto. In that fight, part of the first event in the new Yankee Stadium, Foreman lost his WBA junior middleweight title and severely injured his right knee. Since that night, he has welcomed to the world his first son and mourned the loss of his manager. For this fight, Foreman will also welcome a new trainer, the octogenarian, Al Certo.

Wolak, the man with eighteen knockouts, has won seven contests in a row. Wolak is a pressure fighter, who thrives on the inside and can be counted on to deliver a high volume of punches. The Raging Bull, as the Polish native is known, always comes forward and has superb stamina. He has a good chin, but his defense is suspect and he has a propensity to cut easily. Wolak will be trained by Tommy Brooks.

Foreman relies on movement and will look to take advantage of his three-inch height and four-inch reach advantages. In the face of Wolak's relentless pressure, Foreman will have to utilize constant movement, sure to test his surgically repaired right knee. But Wolak's only loss, a ten-round unanimous decision to Ishe Smith in 2008, should be instructive to the aspiring rabbi.

In that bout, Smith used movement and combinations to confuse Wolak. Smith showed excellent defense and was able to smother Wolak's punches on the inside. He also held a lot. Foreman is athletic and skilled and one can envision a scenario where Wolak is constantly chasing, receiving potshots for his trouble. The counterview would be that Wolak's pressure wears Foreman down, especially if Yuri is tentative because of his knee.

While Wolak's one loss was to a capable fighter with the perfect style to beat him, Foreman's was to a superstar in Cotto. Cotto looked crisp last June in the Bronx and exhibited impressive footwork, a surprise to many observers. He won’t have to worry about being out-boxed against Wolak.

The common opponent for Foreman and Wolak comes in the person of James Moore, an Irish immigrant who resides in New York. Both men imposed their styles on Moore to earn a unanimous ten round victory. Foreman stuck and moved back in 2008, while Wolak wouldn't let Moore breathe last June in Yankee Stadium. Foreman won by wider scores.

As for this upcoming fight, it's unlikely either will score a KO. Foreman only has eight in 30 fights (one NC). Wolak doesn't have one-punch power, instead sapping his opponent's will with his determined attack. Foreman showed in his last fight that he is a strong-willed man. One possibility, guaranteed to disappoint, is a clash of heads causing a fight-stopping cut. Wolak always comes forward and Foreman tends to dart in and out. Let's hope that's not the case.

This match is schedule for ten rounds and is for the NABF light middleweight title. It will be on the televised portion of Showtime's Cotto-Mayorga pay-per-view event.