- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Olympians Turn Pro
Six members of the U.S. Olympic boxing team that competed in Sydney will make their pro debuts on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. The class of 2000 is a promising one, but the valedictorian at the Garden graduation is clearly junior welterweight Ricardo Williams Jr.
After taking the silver medal in the 140-pound class on a disputed decision, Williams signed with promoter Lou DiBella for a $1.4 million bonus, the richest in the sport's history. He may well be worth it. The Cincinnati native is a polished lefty (he had 283 amateur bouts), and he's only 19. His hand speed makes him a lethal inside fighter, but he also can dance out of trouble and is a capable counterpuncher.
"Williams is Pernell Whitaker with a punch," says DiBella, who has four other Olympians—heavyweight Michael Bennett, 156-pound bronze medalist Jermain Taylor, 119-pound bronze medalist Clarence Vinson and flyweight José Navarro—debuting on Saturday. (Also turning pro on the card will be welterweight Dante Craig, who signed with Duva Boxing.) Teddy Atlas, who cohosted NBC's boxing coverage in Sydney, likes what he sees in Williams but warns, "He needs to be careful not to get too full of himself."
Williams promises to keep his cool, adding that the prospect of graduating to the pros doesn't faze him. "I started boxing when I was eight," he says. "If you flip hamburgers for that long, they're going to eventually make you the manager."—Luis Fernando Llosa
Like Father, Like Son
Hector (Macho) Camacho—he of the 38 years, seven world titles and one-too-many leopard loincloths—will, uncharacteristically, share the spotlight on a Feb. 3 fight card at a Miami nightclub. The costar? The Macho Man's 22-year-old son, junior lightweight contender Hector Jr.
Camacho pére, whose record is 73-4-2, will face unknown Troy Lowry in a middleweight bout; fils, 30-0 and in the midst of hammering out a multifight contract with HBO, will take on journeyman Rocky Martinez.
Hector Sr., who says he'll "pass the Camacho torch" to his son when he retires, has obviously already passed on some of the Camacho flamboyance. Hector Jr. plans to enter the club, Level, on a motorcycle. "I'm going to jump three boxing rings, like Evel Knievel," he says. Maybe for his next stunt he can jump something really big: his father's ego.