Missing everything about the Old School Days of Boxing • Latino Sports


Missing everything about the Old School Days of Boxing


New York –Understand that old school boxing types will never change. And for every reason the room is open to complaint, understanding of course, that the sport of boxing has changed as society has progressed with this technological wave of internet journalism.


But it isn’t the media aspect of reporting that bothers an old school type. It goes beyond the television coverage, the people behind the scenes, the managers and trainers. Oh, it is 2011 and not the 1970’s or 1980’s era of boxing. The change rapidly came in the 90’s and the past 10-years are enough to wish the old school days will return.

Classic example number one:  Tuesday, it took another Tweet, from Floyd Mayweather Jr. and the boxing community is buzzing. Floyd is back in the ring opposing WBC middleweight champion Victor Ortiz. The doubt remained. Meaning in the old days, the fight was official when Don King or Bob Arum, the two major promoters scheduled an old fashioned press conference at one of the fashioned New York City hotels. There the fights were made.

And on the heels of another Boxing Hall of Fame induction weekend up in Canastota New York, we need to reflect on what was then, and what we have now. It is nice to honor the people who have contributed to the sport. Mike Tyson, as much as he was trained by old school philosophy became new school. The media gave him that pleasure and he deserves enshrinement.

Julio Cesar Chavez deserves the platitudes of contributing so much to the sport and proper recognition as he awaits enshrinement along with Kostya Tszyu and referee Joe Cortez. Why screenwriter and actor, Sylvester Stallone joins the class of 2011 is a question. With old school thinking again, the Hall of Fame was intended for the fighters and trainers. Not for the celebrity types, or the promoters.

You don’t see the Baseball Writers of America, with their old school philosophy also out the window, inducting celebrities or team owners to their shrine an hour or so away up in Cooperstown. Yes, bring back the old school terminology of doing what is right for the sport.

All we talk about is Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather, and those few that generate interest so that promoters can make their money off pay-per-view income. Years ago the newspaper headline was the only way to get your fight news. Now we rely on the internet, good and bad in a way. But that is not the issue. News and where you get it should not be the issue because any bit of news for the boxing business is good for the sport.

You miss the days when Madison Square Garden in New York City had a bi weekly boxing show. You miss the days when the same could be said for regular boxing cards at the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia and the ballroom cards at an Atlantic City New Jersey Casino/Hotel. Those were the days.

The days when there were regular boxing writers who would eat, drink, and sleep the sport. We miss Mike Katz, Ed Schyler, the late Pat Putman and Barney Nagler, old school guys, originals who made the Boxing Writers of America an organization of integrity. Smile when Bert Sugar appears at ringside with fedora and cigar, because he is what is left of the old days.

How there was team work at ringside and use of the old typewriter to bang out copy on deadline. Nowadays it is one huge social gathering at ringside, so-called media cheering at ringside. You still can’t get away with that cheering for your favorite team in a Major League Baseball press box. A credential would be revoked.

And arena crews breaking up tables the moment the last fight is over, with little or no regard to legitimate ringside media attempting to make deadline on their laptops, because they may not be getting paid overtime to work an extra hour. A post fight press conference was held the next day. Today after a fight, the post- fight press conference is another social gathering, and if proper security is not in place the door is open to the public making working conditions more miserable for old school journalism.

A press kit is computer generated, and there are more publicity people handling the fights that make more cooks making the soup look good. The old days, one publicist employed by the respective promoters as we miss the late Murray Goodman with Don King, Irving Rudd with Bob Arum. The one guy who remains, Lee Samuels, old school mentality dealing with the new, who is respected, professional, and a gentleman at ringside for Top Rank.

The publicists who knew the legitimate media, worked around the clock to make sure proper ringside access was granted. They handled the press conferences, distributed the press kits, made sure professional media personnel were informed and received the post-fight media quotes to make deadline for the wire services and newspapers.

There were no promoters at ringside with a drink in their hand. Except for Don King who would come around to ringside and greet the media with a handshake, and knock King over the years but he was old school until things changed.  Which leads to one final thought, and with nostalgia and memories all being heard the next few days, as Hall of Fame weekend approaches, it is asking much to be around this new school of boxing, bringing back some of the old school way of thought?

The fighters have no choice. They don’t know better in a society that is all new school. The promoters and managers need to study the history and observe what the old days were like and bring that observation to the fighters. But it will never happen in this age of television ratings, pay-per-view and the internet.

It has become a business of do what you want, as like society, there is little regard to respect and history of the good old days. It is so good to see Bert Sugar at ringside. He is old school. 

As for the rest, you go with the flow. But for the health and prosperity of the sport some old school thoughts won’t hurt.  

 e-mail Rich Mancuso: [email protected]





About William Gerena-Rochet

William Gerena Rochet, is the former Latino Sports baseball editor. He is a retired NYC teacher who divides his time living between New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico. He started writing for Latino Sports during the inaugural World Baseball Classic when a series was played in Puerto Rico in 2006. On of his favorite moments was covering the 2006 MLB All-Star Game in Pittsburgh. During his time with Latino Sports, he covered several divisional and League championship series games and the 2009 World Series. He also covered the last game at the old Yankee stadium and the first game of the current one. In closing, William has covered multiples Latino Sports MVP Awards ceremonies and Spanish Language Press Conferences including the Jorge Posada retirement one. Now a contributor, Willie will occasionally cover the Yankees.