By Sam Geraci: Much of what has been written and said about Joe Frazier in the hours and days following his death has focused on his negative view of Muhammad Ali and his role in the greatest sports rivalry of our time: The trilogy between him and Ali. While many of those pieces accurately highlight Frazier’s importance to boxing and the trilogy’s impact on race relations in American society, what most pieces have failed to touch upon, is what Frazier symbolized for many of us.
Article posted on 09.11.2011
Everything about Frazier’s boxing career speaks to the belief in the American Spirit: The unsupportable and completely illogical belief that through self reliance and relentless effort one can rise from the farms of Beaufort, South Carolina in the 1950’s to become the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world.
Like some Steinbeckian character pulled from the Joad family, Frazier’s career was molded by a sick irony: his best punch as a fighter (the left hook) was a result of a permanently crooked left arm that was created at the age of fifteen from an accident with an ox. In addition to the crooked left arm, when compared to the other heavyweights in that era, which is considered to be the “Golden Era” of heavyweights, Frazier was a slow, undersized, and under skilled fighter who was partially blind due to a sparring accident in the mid 1960s.
Despite his physical disadvantages, Frazier fought all of the top heavyweights of his era and defeated most of them with the belief that he could take three or four of their punches to every one of his landed so long as he could make his shots count.
On March 8, 1971, in the “Fight of the Century,” Frazier made his shots count as he defeated Ali, the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time.
In that fight, Frazier became the American Spirit that we read about and hope to embody. He took on his bully, who was bigger, stronger, faster, and more eloquent, and through his self reliance and relentless effort came as close to dominating him as anyone at that time could ever have done.
Frazier’s body was never the same after that fight, and with the exception of the third fight with Ali, Frazier never looked impressive. Despite his decline, each of Frazier’s performances still inspired (especially the beating he took at the hands of George Foreman).
Although Frazier did not possess the fame or eloquence of his chief rivals, Ali and Foreman, his story should not be inaccurately reduced to that of an embittered man who served as a foil to Ali in a legendary trilogy. Instead, Frazier’s story should be celebrated for what it is: The embodiment of the American Spirit.
Smokin’ Joe Frazier, who was sharp as a razor, rose from nothing to become the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world who defeated the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time.
Veterans Chattelle, Oteri seek elusive title
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Nov. 9, 2011) – There’s a certain sense of pride that comes with fighting for a title, and, in some ways, an overwhelming adrenaline rush that heightens a fighter’s awareness and places undeniable urgency on the task at hand.
“This means the world to me,” said Pawtucket, R.I., middleweight Todd Chattelle, who’ll face Brett Oteri of Dedham, Mass., on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011 for the inaugural Classic Entertainment & Sports Mixed Martial Arts middleweight title. “It’s almost like having my first kid again. It’s crazy.”
Both Chattelle (9-6, 9 KOs) and Oteri (8-2, 1 KO) have faced every kind of obstacle imaginable in their respective mixed martial arts’ careers, and now one of them will walk away next Friday with the hardware every fighter dreams of – a championship belt validating all the hard work and dedication.
“We will not hold fights for nonsense belts,” CES president Jimmy Burchfield said. “We’re not out there to be a circus show doing 25 fights a night. This is a professional company, and we know you, the fans, want to see good fights.
“Looking at some of these events where a fighter with a 3-2 record or a fighter with eight consecutive losses is a champion, we’re not going to do that. When you win one of our titles, you’re ready to go on to the next level. That’s what we’re developing right now, and we’ve got two fighters battling for this title who will fight their hearts out.”
The Chattelle-Oteri championship bout is the headliner for what promises to be another action-packed show next Friday at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, R.I. “Undisputed,” presented by CES in association with Twin River, also features a lightweight showdown between Ocean State rivals Mike Campbell (9-4, 6 KOs) and Jeff Anderson (10-4, 2 KOs), in addition to a highly-anticipated bantamweight battle between New Jersey native Jason McLean (6-4, 2 KOs) and Rockport, Mass., veteran Pedro Gonzalez (7-4).
At the top is an intriguing contrast of styles between Chattelle, the knockout artist, and Oteri, a submission specialist who has gone the distance in three of his last four fights. The difference this time is next week’s championship showdown is a five-round fight, which means endurance training and conditioning will play an even bigger role in each fighter’s preparation.
“I don’t worry too much about the pacing on my end,” Oteri said. “I know Todd is a fast starter, and we’re definitely training for that. I’m aware of the pace he’ll set from the get-go. I’ve been going 12 rounds in practice with fresh guys each time, so I could probably go 10 [rounds] next Friday if I had to.”
“I’m comfortable with that,” added Chattelle. “My coaches and trainers don’t let me slack one bit. Five rounds will be good. I feel as though I’m in good enough shape where I can fight the way I normally fight. I’m not worried about that because I know I’ve trained hard enough. I’m ready to go to war.”
Perhaps the most interesting story behind this fight is the path each fighter has taken to get to this point. Entering 2011, Chattelle was a pedestrian 6-6 and had lost his last fight to Derek Brunson in Providence. Since then, he’s won three consecutive bouts – all on CES shows – including wins over Woody Weatherby and Jeff Nader. A win next Friday over Oteri would be his fourth consecutive victory and the biggest of his career.
“My life has really fallen into place,” Chattelle said. “I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, but I’m finally getting on track and now I’m able to stay focused. It has a lot to do with my coaching staff, training partners, and the friends and family who really care about me and believed in me when even I didn’t believe in myself.
“The turning point for me was the Weatherby fight,” he continued. “I said to myself, ‘Who cares?’ He was supposed to win. I was supposed to lose. I was supposed to lose to Nader, and I’m probably supposed to lose to Brett, too, but I don’t care anymore. I’ll give it my all and see what happens.”
A former bodybuilder and amateur triathlete, Oteri reeled off three consecutive victories from August of 2010 to February of 2011 before running into the dangerous Ryan Quinn at the Bellator Fighting Championships in August. In what is typically viewed as a measuring stick for most up-and-coming fighters, Oteri suffered a first-round loss via a rear-naked choke – only the second loss of his career, but an important step in helping him reach this point.
“That loss sucked for me. It was horrible,” Oteri said. “I underestimated the guy I was going against. I just relaxed. Not to take anything away from him, but I underestimated him. That was the biggest lesson I think I learned – not to underestimate anyone.
“You have to give everyone the respect they deserve. I’ve been watching Todd for a couple of years now and I like his style. I’ve always been a fan of his. I think this is going to be an exciting fight. We’re very different in the way we approach fighting. I won’t say it’ll come down to who gets lucky, but it could go either way, and that’s what will make it exciting for the fans.”
“Undisputed” also features a middleweight showdown between Keith Jeffrey (5-2-1) of Pawtucket, R.I., and New York native Kevin Horowitz (3-3). Saul “The Spider” Almeida (10-1) of Framingham, Mass., will face featherweight Kevin Roddy (11-13) of New Jersey; lightweight Dinis Paiva Jr. (1-1, 1 KO) of East Providence, R.I., will battle newcomer Cliff Moulton of New York; featherweight Shaun Marmus (3-2-1, 1 KO) of Coventry, R.I.; will take on Robbie Leroux (3-1, 1 KO) of Bridgewater, Mass.; Keith Ferreira (1-1, 1 KO) of Fall River, Mass., will face newcomer Vincent Ramirez of Springfield, Mass., in a middleweight bout; and Gilvan Santos (1-0) of Framingham will face bantamweight Rob Costa (1-1) of Fall River. Providence heavyweight Eric Bedard (2-0, 1 KO) will also be featured on the undercard.
Tickets for “Undisputed” are $35.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, at the Players Club booth at Twin River, or through any TicketMaster location. Doors open 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.
(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “Undisputed.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must enter through the West entrance.)
USA Boxing to Host Second Women’s International Dual Series in Oxnard, Calif., November 15-18
(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – The historic Olympic debut of women’s boxing is less than a year away, and many of the boxers who will vie for gold in London will convene in Oxnard, Calif., November 15-18 for the second Women’s International Dual Series. Athletes from six different nations will compete in the event, which was created to provide female boxers with valuable international experience in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games. Athletes in the three Olympic weight divisions, flyweight (112 lbs), lightweight (132 lbs), and middleweight (165 lbs) will compete in the Dual Series.
The event took place for the first time in 2010, and is making a return to Oxnard following a successful inaugural event. Four squads from the United States will join delegations from Mexico, Canada, Germany, Russia and two teams from Poland in the four-day event at the Oxnard PAL Gym.
All 12 boxers representing Team USA are qualified for the first-ever U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s boxing, which is tentatively schedule to take place in February. Flyweights Tyrieshia Douglas (Baltimore, Md.), Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), Poula Estrada (Palmdale, Calif.) and Cynthia Moreno (Phoenix, Ariz.) will represent Team USA in Oxnard. At lightweight, Tiara Brown (Lehigh Acres, Fla.), N’yteeyah Sherman (Barberton, Ohio), Lisa Porter (Valley Village, Calif.), and Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.), will compete in the event. The four middleweights competing for the United States will be Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.), Alyssa DeFazio (Wittman, Ariz.), Tika Hemingway (Pittsburgh, Pa.), and Tiffanie Ward (Hacienda Heights, Calif.).
Coaches Bruce Kawano (Pearl City, Hawaii), Anthony Huizar (Whittier, Calif.), Gloria Peek (Norfolk, Va.), Jose Banales (Las Vegas, Nev.), Rocky Garza (Oxnard, Calif.), Vernon Lee (San Diego, Calif.), Christy Halbert (Nashville, Tenn.), and Fausto de la Torre (Pasadena, Calif.) will lead the four U.S. squads into action in Oxnard with Delilah Rico (Los Angeles, Calif.) serving as the Team Manager for the U.S. team.
The Women’s International Dual Series will be a round robin tournament with each boxer facing a different opponent on each day of the competition. Boxing will begin on Tuesday, November 15 and run through Friday, November 18 with action beginning at 6 p.m. nightly.
Tickets are available at the door and are $10 per day for adults and $5 for kids, 6-17. Ringside seats can purchased for $20 and children under five will be admitted free. For more information, go to www.oxnardpalboxing.com.
Red Team One
112 lbs: Poula Estrada, Palmdale, Calif.
132 lbs: N’yteeyah Sherman, Barberton, Ohio
165 lbs: Alyssa Defazio, Wittman, Ariz.
Coach: Bruce Kawano, Pearl City, Hawaii
Coach: Anthony Huizar, Whittier, Calif.
Red Team Two
112 lbs: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y.
132 lbs: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif.
165 lbs: Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Coach: Gloria Peek, Norfolk, Va.
Coach: Jose Banales, Las Vegas, Nev.
Blue Team One
112 lbs: Cynthia Moreno, Phoenix, Ariz.
132 lbs: Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla.
165 lbs: Tiffanie Ward, Hacienda Heights, Calif.
Coach: Rocky Garza, Oxnard, Calif.
Coach: Vernon Lee, San Diego, Calif.
Blue Team Two
112 lbs: Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md.
132 lbs: Lisa Porter, Valley Village, Calif.
165 lbs: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md.
Coach: Christy Halbert, Nashville, Tenn.
Coach: Fausto de la Torre, Pasadena, Calif.
112 lbs: Silvia Torres
132 lbs: Cinthya Robles
165 lbs: Alma Ibarra
112 lbs: Elena Savelyeva
132 lbs: Sofya Ochigava
165 lbs: Nadezhda Torlopova
112 lbs: Azize Nimani
132 lbs: Julia Irmen
USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States’ member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).