Ball of confusion

Glyn Leach
19/09/2016 11:34am

As a tribute to the late Glyn Leach, the former Editor of Boxing Monthly, we are proud to bring his Editorial columns back for you to read again and again on our website. On this occasion we go back to February 1999, when Glyn was pondering Prince Naseem Hamed's new team...

Talk about new brooms sweeping clean. Since Naseem Hamed's brothers took control of his career, (outlined in the December issue), links with the Prince's past have been eradicated, one by one, in a manner that would have made Stalin proud.

First to go was Brendan Ingle, long-time trainer and manager of the Prince; next up was Frank Warren, the promoter who put Hamed on the map, making him a multi-millionaire superstar in the process; and next to go might be HBO, the American TV giant that signed Hamed to a six-fight, $12 million deal in late 1997.

At a point in time when most of the world's fighters would jump through hoops to break into HBO's cash-to-burn set up, Hamed had expressed unhappiness with his cut after just three fights.

The rumour mill has it that Hamed will now be bankrolled by a Kuwaiti multi-billionaire. If that's true, our man had better have some pretty sharp lawyers; Lou Di Bella and the boys are less than pleased - apparently, the network's high-powered attorneys are on the case already. Expect a protracted legal battle. I certainly wouldn't bet the house on Hamed returning to the ring any time in the near future, let alone 17 April, as has been suggested.

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I was saddened to learn that Dennis Finfrock, former head of special events at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and part of the brains trust that brought about Mike Tyson's troubled association with the world's biggest hotel, has been diagnosed as suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Actually, Finfrock's condition was discovered three years ago, after his stint with the MGM came to an end, but only recently did I get wind of it.

When boxing people think of Parkinson's, Muhammad Ali automatically comes to mind; those who refuse to accept that the ex-champ's current, sorry state of health can be attributed to his former job quickly point their finger at this horrible illness.

But Finfrock, the most classy guy I have encountered during my years in the sport, is demonstrating that with modern treatments, Parkinson's need not be what we might think it has to be.

"I wouldn't say it's the most fun I've ever had in my life, but you look at the things you like most, and then you make sure you enjoy them in your free time," said he of the hardcore handlebar moustache in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun. And for Finfrock, that means fishing, hunting and archery.

But the thing that demonstrates most acutely the difference between Ali and Finfrock's conditions is the pastime that Finfrock hopes to take up next - team calf-roping. That, to me, spells one thing - Dennis Finfrock will always be a winner in life. I know I speak for all who have met Finfrock when I wish him all the best for the future.

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Last but not least, a note of personal sadness for myself: The man who first introduced me to boxing, my father, John Leach, passed away, aged 68, in January. I clearly recall him sitting me down in front of the TV, aged 10, to watch my first fight - Ali's return from licence suspension in October 1970, against Jerry Quarry, who also passed away recently. (A tribute to Quarry appears on pages 22-23 of this issue). My father was a decent, hard-working man without an ounce of malice in him - but if you messed with him or his family, you had a problem. I miss him already, as will all those who knew and loved him. Rest in peace, mate.