Brin-Jonathan Butler, Cuban boxing authority

August 31st, 2014

Brin-Jonathan Butler was 20 when he became enamored with Cuba and ventured over there to have a look for himself. He wandered into a boxing gym where, standing in the shadows, he found a disgraced two-time Olympic champion, Guillermo Rigondeaux, a leper on the island after a failed attempt to defect.

What sprang from that chance meeting was a documentary (directed by Butler) and a biography (written by Butler), not to mention well-earned street cred as an authority on the topic of Cuban boxing.

The New York City journalist joined us on the Aug. 31, 2014 show to paint a vivid picture of Cuban culture and a strange and remarkable boxing world.

Order the book here: V

The Brin-Jonathan Butler segment is preceded by our triple-threat of boxing expertise -- Travis Hartman, Rizwaan Zahid and John J. Raspanti -- who tell us whether any future world champs fought on the recent ShoBox/Mayweather tripleheader, whether the gloves will matter in Mayweather-Maidana II, the mouthwatering goodness of a Pacquiao-Garcia fight, and tons more.

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“Boxing in the Time of Christ:”

August 26th, 2014

Believe it or not, prizefighting was a popular sport 3,000 years ago in the Middle East, and, in fact, Jesus Christ, himself, most likely was as familiar with the name of the most-famous boxer of his era as most of us are today with names like Pacquiao, Mayweather, even Ali.

This bit of boxing history could only have been recovered by Christopher James Shelton, the world's most-eclectic boxing historian.

Chris regaled us on the Aug. 24, 2014 show with colorful and amazing tales of what "The Sweet Science" looked like, way back to the days before the birth of Christ, including the aura and mythology that often surrounded the champions of the day. (Spoiler alert: One pugilist was believed to have transformed himself into a wolf for nine years ... another fought and defeated a "ghost.")

As always, Christopher Shelton is on fire during this remarkable 30-minute conversation.

Our interview with Chris is preceded by the insight of our expert analysts, Rizwaan Zahid and John J. Raspanti, who evaluate the impact of Austin Trout's victory, Mike Jones' stunning loss, 50 Cent's relentless taunting of Floyd Mayweather, JayZ's surprising kneecapping of Golden Boy and Top Rank in a recent purse bid, and more.

In Depth: Andre Dirrell

August 17th, 2014

Andre Dirrell was clearly one of the best super middleweights in the world when he fought Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham in the Super Six Tournament.

He lost to Froch by split decision in England, and was ahead on all scorecards when Abraham got DQ'd for throwing a sucker punch while Dirrell was already down.

 That shot from Abraham rendered Dirrell unconscious and left him with neurological damage that put him on the sidelines for almost three years.

At long last, "The Matrix" is back and looking to finish what he started with the best super middleweights in the world. He says he used his time off wisely -- not only staying in shape, but learning new techniques in the gym -- and is happier today than he's ever been.

This is a terrific interview with a fighter who (like his cancer-surviving world champion brother) is very easy to root for..

The Dirrell interview is preceded by analysis by Travis Hartman and John J. Raspanti of Showtime's tripleheader, including evaluations of Omar Figueroa Jr, Anthony Dirrell, and the Brook-Porter main event.

Boxing trainer Sam Garcia also joins us during the first half of the show to discuss his middleweight, Paul Mendez.

Steve Vukosa: Bus Driver, Cinderella Man

August 10th, 2014


 Steve Vukosa was a rising heavyweight in 2002 -- 8-0, training with Freddie Roach, and just 25 years old -- when he blew out his knee so badly that he was forced to retire. A dozen years later, Vukosa is married, with two kids, and driving a bus all night for the City of Boston.

 The former Golden Gloves champ known as "The Gentle Giant" came out of retirement two weeks ago, stepping into the ring for the first time in 12 years against Jason "Big Six" Estrada, an ex-Olympian and fringe contender who was still regarded by many as the top heavyweight on the Eastern Seaboard.

 Funny ending to this story ... Vukosa won. He beat Estrada by majority decision the main event of a boxing card promoted by Big Six Promotions (essentially composed of Estrada and his dad).

 The freshly crowned heavyweight champion joined us on our Aug. 10, 2014 show to talk about his 12-year hiatus from the ring, the shocking upset, and how long he expects to sleep on the sofa at home. (His wife is still pretty mad at him for fighting Estrada in the first place.)

 The Steve Vukosa interview is preceded by Travis Hartman and John J. Raspanti, who weigh in on the Danny Garcia-Rod Salka mismatch, what a Garcia-Peterson collision might look like, Al Haymon's ever-increasing grip on the sport and more.

In Depth: Don “Da Bomb” George

August 3rd, 2014

 Chicago northsider Don "Da Bomb" George joined us 20 days before his hometown fight against Dyah Davis to talk about hard times and good times -- both right now.

His wife, Alexandra, is five months pregnant -- with twins -- and the fight with Davis will be for the IBO's version of the super middleweight crown.That's good.

The hard part is trying to live on the income of a fringe contender, and dining on bones and ice cubs some nights, and talking to life-insurance salesmen ... a necessity for a boxer with a growing family.

The Don George interview is preceded by stellar analysis by Rizwaan Zahid and John J. Raspanti of Kovalev-Caparello, Kovalev-Hopkins, Rios-Chaves, and the decisions of ref Vic Drakulich.


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