Category Archives: Jim Amato

Champions Wasteland; Shozo Saijo

*** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on on April 30, 2008

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

Today with so many governing bodies and organizations around it has become very hard to take someones claim of ” world champion ” seriously.  I mean there is the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, IBA and God knows how many more will pop up in the future.  Split titles are not anything new to boxing but in days gone by it was a lot less complicated.  As much as I hated it when either the WBA or the WBC ” stripped ” a champion of his crown for some bogus reason and then “made” their own champion, at least it kept the rift between just two claimants.

In some cases there were much needed unification fights like Bob Foster and Vincente Rondon or Carlos Monzon against Rodrigo Valdez.  There were also cases where a unification bout would have generated a lot of fan interest and cleared up the situation but they never came off.  Some bouts that come to mind are Salvador Sanchez vs Eusebio Pedroza, John Conteh vs Victor Galindez and Carlos Palomino vs Pipino Cuevas.  There is one bout that could have taken place in 1971 pitting two champions from Japan who each claimed a portion of the featherweight title.  They were WBC title holder Kuniaki Shibata and his WBA rival, Shozo Saijo.   Alas the fight never materialized.  It seems that today Shibata is still remembered as the man who made great Vincente Saldivar surrender.  What about poor Shozo Saijo ?  He has been long forgotten outside of Japan and somehow that just does not seem quite fair.

Saijo was born in 1947 and turned pro in 1964.  Shozo was not an instant sensation and over his first twenty fights he compiled a less then earth shaking 14-4-2 record. In 1968 he lost a decision to the highly regarded Jose Luis Pimentel.  In a rematch Saijo turned the tables and he got the verdict.  That led to a fight with the rugged Raul Rojas.  After the retirement of Saldivar, Rojas defeated Enrique Higgins to claim the vacant WBA featherweight title. Rojas was matched with Saijo in a non title battle and Saijo copped the decision.  On September 27th, 1968 in a rematch with the title on the line Saijo became the new WBA champion.

Continue reading Champions Wasteland; Shozo Saijo

Bruno Arcari – A Forgotten Champion … and Update on Jim Amato Surgery

*** FLASHBACK – This article originally appeared on on February 20, 2013

By Jim Amato  / Senior Boxing Writer  

Jim has contributed to since 2008.  He is a “class act” friend and one the most knowledgeable sports people that I have ever known.  His passion in all sports is second to none and, through social media, he kindly shares his outstanding collection of memorabilia to all.  I am asking everyone to “please” keep Jim in your sincerest prayers as he has  been very ill lately and is scheduled for surgery on Monday, September 17th … our prayers are needed to help keep him strong and healthy … thank you everybody – we love you Jimbo!

He may very well be one of the most underrated champions of the glorious seventies.  He won an astounding 70 of 73 battles.  He held the 140 pound title for nearly four years and relinquished it.  He never lost his belt in the ring.  He was a 5’5″ southpaw from Italy named Bruno  Arcari.

Amazingly he was stopped in his first professional fight in 1964.  He would then win ten straight before being halted again.  He would never lose another fight! In 1966 he proved he was a legitimate contender when he beat former lightweight king Joe Brown. In 1967 he followed that up beating the always tough Angel Robinson Garcia.  In 1968 he won the European junior welterweight title by halting the respected Johann Orsolics.

Continue reading Bruno Arcari – A Forgotten Champion … and Update on Jim Amato Surgery

Why Duran Would Have Got Past Pacman

*** FLASHBACK –  This article originally appeared on on November 4, 2009 

NOTE:  Jim Amato is a friend and has contributed to since 2008.  His opinions and input are honest to the highest of quality.  His expertise in boxing is second to none and his work is respected by all.  To view all of Jim’s article’s – go to the Categories menu section and click onto his name. 

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer 

With all due credit, Manny Pacquiao is on top of today’s boxing world. He is the “Man”. His destruction of Oscar De La Hoya drove the “Golden Boy” into retirement and put Manny as the #1 fighter pound for pound in the world today.  His hammer job on the formidable Ricky Hatton put an exclamation point on his current status.

Continue reading Why Duran Would Have Got Past Pacman

Jose Napoles — Was He Too Good For His Own Good?

*** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on on October 7, 2008 

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer 

The late 1960’s and early 1970’s produced some of the finest, most
dominant champions ever. While Ali, Frazier and Foreman were taking turns
ruling the heavyweights, other divisions found themselves under the
supreme rule of a certain superior boxer.

Continue reading Jose Napoles — Was He Too Good For His Own Good?

Canada’s Robert Cleroux Beat Chuvalo Twice

*** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on on September 26, 2014
Bob Cleroux 1969


By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

No doubt the most well known heavyweight to come out of Canada is George Chuvalo. For a while Lennox Lewis called it his home and Trevor Berbick made his mark but George is still #1 in Canada. Nevertheless there is a very overlooked heavyweight contender from the 1960’s who at one time was closing in on a world title shot. His name was Robert Cleroux. The fact is that “Big Bob” had a trilogy of bouts with Chuvalo for the Canadian heavyweight title. Cleroux won two of those contests.
Cleroux was born on February 23,1938. He joined the punch for pay ranks in 1957 after winning the Montreal Golden Gloves title in 1956. At 6’1” and weighing over 200 pounds, he was a fairly big heavyweight in his era. He won twelve of his first thirteen contests. Only a draw with Eddie Vick stained his record. He beat Eddie in a return go. Vick would go on to fight the likes of Tommy “Hurricane” Jackson. Chuck Wepner, Jeff Merritt and Bob Foster twice during his career. Bob invaded New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1959 and suffered his first loss. An eight round decision to veteran Buddy Turman.
Cleroux would regroup to win nine in a row including a decision over Willie Besmanoff and a five round kayo against Roy “Cut-N-Shoot” Harris. In 1960 he won a close and hard fought split decision over Chuvalo to capture the Canadian crown. Later in the year he would drop a twelve round verdict to George losing the title. In between those two battles, Bob halted Turman in two rounds to gain a measure of revenge.

Continue reading Canada’s Robert Cleroux Beat Chuvalo Twice

Let’s Get a Boxing Movie

*** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on on December 12, 2012

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer 

Since this is the holiday season you may have some time off of work to relax and watch a few movies. There are several classic boxing movies that are available at your local video store to fill a void left by a lack of live boxing action. I’m going to list some of my favorites that you may find entertaining. “Gentleman Jim”, the story of James J. Corbett is my personal favorite. Errol Flynn is great as Corbett and Ward Bond is even better as John L. Sullivan. Next up would be Paul Newman as Rocky Graziano in “Somebody Up There Likes Me”. Then Robert DeNiro in the story of Jake LaMotta titled “Raging Bull”.

Robert Ryan is a hard luck, aging but proud fighter in “The Set Up”. Charles Bronson plays a bare knuckle battler and James Coburn is his fast talking manager in “Hard Times”.  More than a boxing movie, with a great cast like Marlon Brando, Rod Stieger and Lee J. Cobb, is “On The Waterfront”. It gave us Brando’s character, Tommy Malloy’s unforgetable line,”I coulda’ been a contender”.

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Book Review

*** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on on February 10, 2011

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

What a way to start out the year 2011.  I just finished reading an excellent book by an author I have great respect for. Steve Maguire is a top shelf boxing historian. In his recent book “Boxing’s Top Tens”, Steve gives his opinions and insights on some of the greatest boxers and historical boxing events of all time. He does this in a style which really opens up room for agreement or debate by the reader. Agree or disagree, Steve makes a solid case for his choices. This author did his homework!

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The Preception

*** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on on September 20, 2014

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer / contributed to since 2008

It is not fun growing old. I am a product of my past.  A victim of my era so to speak. I constantly bump heads with the young fans of today. They glorify Hopkins, Manny, Mayweather and the Klitschko brothers. Even from a decade or so before it’s all about Holyfield, Whitaker and a guy named Mike Tyson. They are all great fighters in their own right. Then you can go back a little farther. Now we’re talking Holmes, Duran, Hagler, Leonard, Hearns, Pryor, Michael Spinks and Benitez. How about Julio Cesar Chavez, Edwin Rosario and the great Salvador Sanchez ? Some great names and outstanding fighters.

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What if ? … Joe Frazier vs. Ron Lyle

(Joe Frazier and legendary trainer Eddie Futch … photo courtesy Eva Futch)

***  FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on on January 14, 2011

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

NOTE: Jim Amato has contributed to since 2008. His opinions and input to this website are honest and at the highest quality. His expertise in boxing is respected and appreciated by all. To view all of Jim’s articles – go to Categories section and click onto his name.

What happens when the unstoppable force meets the unmovable object? Let me rephrase that. What would have happened if Joe Frazier and Ron Lyle would have hooked up in the mid-1970’s?

It is too bad this fight was never made. It was discussed on occasion, but to the best of my knowledge no serious talks ever took place. What a shame. This would have been a thrill-a-minute battle for the fans. Each boxer had the tools and the style to offset the other’s skills.

Let’s start with Ron Lyle. George Foreman showed everyone that a big, strong heavyweight with a decent jab and a solid uppercut could keep Joe from getting inside, while also punishing him at long range. Frazier was game to the core, but Big George showed that Joe could be hurt. Lyle was no Willie Pep on his feet, but he had decent mobility for a man his size. He had a fairly quick jab with some pop to it. He threw a strong right hand but he needed room for it to gather steam. His best weapons on the inside if Frazier did get past his jab were a short left hook and a scorching uppercut. Also Ron was more then willing to stand in the trenches and swap body shots. He would have been quite a handful for Joe.

Continue reading What if ? … Joe Frazier vs. Ron Lyle