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Morning Briefing

Armstrong Still Has Hearns Beat in the Numbers Game

November 06, 1987

After disposing of Juan Roldan to win his fourth world title, Thomas Hearns said, "I am ahead of all the boxers in the game."

If you go by totals, he is. If you go by percentages, he isn't. In fact, he doesn't come close to Henry Armstrong.

When Armstrong fought, there were eight weight classes and one champion in each. He won three titles and almost won a fourth, which would have given him half the titles available.

Today, there are 16 weight classes and three different sanctioning bodies--World Boxing Assn., World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation. At the start of the year, the Ring record book listed 40 different world champions. On that basis, Hearns has won 1/10th of the titles available.

In 1937, Armstrong knocked out Petey Sarron for the featherweight title. In 1938, consecutively, he won the welterweight title from Barney Ross and the lightweight title from Lou Ambers.

In 1940, he challenged Ceferino Garcia for the middleweight title in a 10-round bout at Gilmore Stadium in Hollywood. He dominated the fight from the sixth round on, but referee George Blake, the lone official, took two rounds away from him for fouls, and called the fight a draw.

Garcia, although cut and battered, retained his title.

Trivia Time: What do Benito Santiago of the San Diego Padres, Pearl Washington of the New Jersey Nets and Bubba Paris of the San Francisco 49ers have in common? (Answer to follow.)

Would you like to see a replay of the 15-foot jump shot Keith Smart made to give Indiana the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. basketball title? Keith would be glad to show it to you.

"I was home for 20 days this summer and I watched that tape every night," he said. "I watched the whole game, until 4 in the morning sometimes. I watched it over and over. I don't know why. Something just drew me to it. I'd go to bed, go into the living room and start watching again."

And? "I haven't missed that shot yet," he said.

Now-it-can-be-told Dept.: Wallace Matthews of Newsday, on Bobby Czyz's upset loss to Charles Williams for the IBF light-heavyweight title:

"Part of Czyz's problem was that he fought harder at the blackjack table than he did in the ring. Czyz spent all his days and most of his nights--with short breaks for training--at the tables. He even stood up a Las Vegas radio show one night because he couldn't pull himself away from the cards and had to be literally dragged to a telephone in the lobby by his handlers the next night when the show was rescheduled. Betting $1,000 per hand, Czyz was down more than $60,000 at one point, then fought back to show a $22,000 profit--which he bet on himself."

Trivia Answer: Their last names are capitals of countries--Chile, the United States and France.


Iowa State football Coach Jim Walden, on Saturday's opponent, Nebraska: "I think they're a heck of a team. They're big. They're strong. They're fast. Their mothers love them. They have nice red suits. They have nice white hats with an N on them. And they kill you."

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