|04-21-2009, 11:22 PM||#1|
Here's a Article/Interview wrtten on former World Champion and Pound 4 Pound figher Michael Nunn. In his prime Nunn was a hell of a talent. And a fighter who I don't think reached his full potential, do his career was a brillant one and he did accomplish a fair bit. It is sad how it all ended up for Nunn. I will post numerous artciles and interviews up of Nunn
Exclusive interview by Ray Kilgore: Michael Nunn travelled the world going to places such as: Paris, Berlin, Miami, and Las Vegas. He had a bodyguard named Mr. T from the movie Rocky III, he had a friendship with famed actor Gene Hackman, HBO boxing did profiles on him, superstar running back of the 49ers Roger Craig was his brother-in law, he was on most boxing writers' "pound for pound" list, and he was so skilled in the ring, his talents were being compared to Sugar Ray Leonard; although he never earned the money Leonard did, Nunn's total of $6million earnings and world titles didn't cause him to complaint.
But today, Nunn has no famous friends, doesn't travel the world, and the money he earns will take two life times to reach what he made in the ring. But more depressing is Nunn lives a life where he's told: when to sleep, when to wake up, when phone calls will be, and when he can visit family members. Michael Nunn sits in the United States Penitentiary Leavenworth, Kansas, but the former champ appears in good sprits, and is hopeful about his future as he talked with SecondsOut in his first prison interview since being sentenced to more than 24 years in January 2004.
The day of this interview the mood was rushed and controlled. Although the interview had been planed for months, it was clear the staff who "supervised" the interview viewed it as an inconvenience since a meeting later day was top priority. In fact, Nunn reiterated the staff's feelings by saying, "Let's go - we don't got a lot of time. This guy has a meeting to go to."
Several months ago, Nunn and the other inmates where on "lockdown" for two weeks, and for a fighter who like most boxers, want and need control, the internal stress of being in prison is a slow death.
"I didn't come to prison to get into any problems" says the 41 year old former fighter, who gets a dozen or so letter and autograph requests daily. "I mind my own business and keep to myself."
Nunn the father of four his oldest Michael Jr. 22, was advised not to answer certain questions about his troubled youth and recent problems that landed him in prison. Nunn grew up in Davenport Iowa with his brother Willie and sister Joanna, and in a 1989 HBO interview, Nunn admitted to being "bull headed" and the mixture of his defiant nature and the rough streets didn't fit well.
"Davenport is a place where many kids got into trouble," says Nunn's long time friend Josh Morgan. "It [Davenport] was a place where kids didn't need to look for trouble it was around the corner."
And Nunn walked around that corner many times. Nunn's behavioural problems spilled over into the school setting; he became such a problem student, school officials transferred him to a vocational school for troubled youth; but that didn't solve Nunn's behaviours, and eventually he left high school before earning a diploma.
As with the theme of many fighters, at age 13 Nunn found that boxing give him purpose and a sense of satisfaction in his life. Nunn joined Pena's boxing gym in Davenport because "all the kids were doing it [boxing] so I thought I would to." Nunn didn't make the 1984 Olympic team, but he'd soon meet Dan and Joe Goossen and the team would help take each other to the top of the boxing world.
"They [Joe and Dan] really believed in me" contends Nunn. "Dan was a great manager and Joe was a motivating trainer." Nunn, who went by the boxing alias "Second to Nunn," won his first major world title with the Goossens in 1988 after he stopped Frank Tate in the 9th round.
Although Nunn has praise for the Goossens today, Morgan says their relationship was difficult at times. "It was Mike who really put the Goossens on the map and like any relationship; it was a love hate one." Nunn split from the brother team in 1991.
Although Nunn fought in the era of: Hagler, Hearns, Leonard, and Duran, he never got an opportunity to showcase his skills against them. "I put the money on the table but they never chose to fight me" maintains the fighter whose ring record was 54-4 (35 KOs). He further adds promoter Bob Arum, whom Nunn had a seesaw relationship with, did what he could to try and make the fights with the "legends."
"I give Bob a lot of credit. He seen the dollars in these fights [with the "legends"] but they never accepted the challenge" he says with a mixture of emotions in his voice.
In a similar situation as with the "legends," a fight with Roy Jones Jr. never came to be. Jones won the Super Middleweight title in 1994 when Nunn lost his Super Middleweight title that same year.
"They offered us $125,000 and he [Roy Jones] was going to get 3 million" says Morgan with laugher in his voice. "There was no way Mike was going to take that kind of money when he was just as good or better than Jones."
But one fight Nunn took was against James "Lights Out" Toney. Nunn was 36-0 and had been leading on all judges' cards when in the 11th round; Toney not only knocked Nunn out, but added further humiliation by stopping him in his hometown of Davenport. Nunn's only response of the Toney fight today is, "One slip-up that's all it takes in boxing."
But Morgan offers a different viewpoint. "If you look at the tape you'll notice he [Nunn] made a jester to his mother that things were OK, and Toney hit him with the punch." Nunn says he and Toney never re-matched because: "He didn't want the fight."
After the loss to Tony in 1991, Nunn would win the W.B.A. title in 1992 at Super Middle Weight and held it until 1994, but by this point, his personal life was getting out of control. In February 1993, he was arrested in Orion, Ill after police found two containers of beer and a 9-millimeter handgun in his car. He was involved in drugs, and things seemly got worse when Omaha police issued a warrant after he allegedly harassed a woman by phone. When police came to his sister's Joanna's, home, they found the 6' 2" fighter hiding in her clothes dryer.
But it was in August of 2002 that marked the end of Nunn's boxing career and freedom. According to court records, Nunn was accused of buying one kilogram of cocaine from an undercover FBI agent at a Davenport hotel. Authorities said the amount of cocaine Nunn brought had a street value of $24,000.
"Most people who grew up in Davenport didn't return" notes Morgan. "If you look at all of the people who made it, they never came back. But Mike, being the person he is with a big heart, loved Davenport and kept coming back when it wasn't good for him."
Nunn pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and was given a higher sentence because of his past history. "Mike takes responsibility for what he did," says Morgan who speaks to Nunn almost daily, "however he doesn't agree with the length of the sentence."
If Nunn is released early, he plans to reside in Las Vegas and says he wants to start his life over. "I want to get out and do something positive and not let this situation make me bitter" says the fighter who won the Ring Magazine's "Knockout of the Year" for his first round KO of Sumbu Kalambay in 1989. Nunn says if he were released today, making a boxing comeback "would be a strong possibility," but if cannot box, he plans to be involved in the sport in some fashion.
Nunn once spent an afternoon at his oldest son's elementary class for a "show and tell" session; he then went to his former high school to give a talk about the importance of staying in school and making wise decisions. Nunn followed the visit at his old high school by stopping at a local hospital in Davenport to talk with patients and sign autographs, and ended his day by jumping rope with young girls in the community.
The Michael Nunn who granted this interview seemed to be the person who gave of himself freely when he visited all those places, and took time to be a real champion. The Nunn who sits in a prison today is a man who lost focus, direction, goals, and purpose in life.
Nunn's the only one who knows if he's a changed person or not, and although he'll never win titles or earn millions again, his main objective isn't to get accolades, it's to get released and show doubters, like he did as a fighter, that he's indeed second to none in the area of redemption.
(More Articles on the way)
Last edited by Southpaw16bf; 04-23-2009 at 09:06 AM.
|04-21-2009, 11:22 PM||#2|
Michael "Second To" Nunn: What Happened?
17.10.06 - By John Howard: He's inmate number 11772-030. His address has changed from the San Fernando Valley in Southern California to the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. His release date is scheduled for June 16, 2024. This wasn't the way Michael Nunn dreamed it would be after capturing the middleweight title on July 28, 1988 by totally outclassing former Olympic gold medalist Frank Tate with a shocking TKO in the ninth round at Caesar's Palace Pavilion in Las Vegas. I can still remember the buzz from the boxing fans in attendance that night. I was sitting in an elevated section of seats a few rows behind ringside.
At that point in his life, Michael was a good looking, articulate athlete who was on top of his game, and it appeared, the world. "Michael Nunn's a class act." I remember that quote from Sugar Ray Leonard when asked about Nunn during an interview.
After his win over Tate, Michael went on to defend his title against Juan Roldan, Sumbu Kalambay (Michael's first million dollar payday and 88 second first round KO! It was Ring Magazine's Knockout of the Year for 1989), Iran Barkley, Marlon Starling, and Donald Curry, all former world champions.
Then, on that fateful night of May 10, 1991, in his hometown of Davenport, Iowa, in front of 10,000 fans, he was caught with a left hook by James Toney and TKO'd in the eleventh round. Up until that round, Michael was dominating the fight and giving Toney a boxing lesson. It appeared he was going to cruise to an easy victory and retain his title. Toney put an end to that plan quickly with one of the biggest left hooks you'll ever see in boxing (see You Tube - Toney vs. Nunn Round 11). It's ranked right up there with Joe Frazier's classic left hook that caught Muhammad Ali in the fifteenth round of their epic battle "The Fight of the Century."
After the Toney defeat, the Cinderella story of Michael's life began to unravel. Although he did capture a super-middleweight title against Victor Cordoba in 1992, all was not right with Nunn. He was involved with drugs and charged with various offenses dating back to 1983. These included drug possession, traffic violations, unlawful use of weapons, driving with a suspended license, assaulting a police officer and interfering with official acts (see ESB's "Michael Nunn Given 24 year Prison Sentence," 1-31-04).
But the offense that landed Michael in the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary was the conviction of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He was convicted of buying one kilogram of cocaine from an undercover FBI agent, at a Davenport hotel, that had an estimated street value of $24,000. He was given the 24 year sentence because of his past history.
I have no hidden agenda regarding Michael Nunn. I've seen several of his fights, met him briefly at the weigh-in prior to the Tate fight, and whatever happens to him has no bearing on my life whatsoever. Having said that, I do feel a need to share an observation I have on Michael's sentence. It's mind-boggling to see a fighter currently out of prison that committed rape and served, what, three years? Another, along with his crew, took a nine-iron to an unlucky soul and got 100 hours of community service and three years probation.
There's no way I'm condoning the past behavior of Michael Nunn. Drugs have destroyed the lives of the addicted and their families, and have created a major problem in the U.S.
However, if you compare a sentence of 24 years for $24,000 worth of perceived drugs, verses the violence committed and the light sentences received with the two prior cases I've mentioned above, in my opinion, the sentencing doesn't add up.
One last comment. I've followed Michael's career since he turned pro and fought at the Reseda Country Club in the San Fernando Valley. I've heard comments from boxing fans throughout his career. "He has a pity-pat, tap-tap, move, unexciting style of boxing." I've also heard "He can't punch." They're mistaken. The name of the game is boxing and Michael did it well.
For those of you who never saw him fight, he was a tall, rangy left handed boxer who was both quick and slick. His style reminded me of a cross between current fighters Winky Wright and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. As far as the knock on his punching power, let's compare Michael's power stats with some other great fighters of his era. Michael's career KO percentage ranks above that of a couple of the greats.
Before you jump on the comments section about what I've just said, let me share something with you. Michael Nunn's career KO percentage of 60% is greater than the career 56% for James Toney, and also tops Roberto Duran's career 58%, respectively. Both Toney and Duran's stats are beyond reproach, and both fighters are thought of as being godlike by many boxing fans on this site!
I don't know what happened to send Michael down the wrong path, but for his sake, I hope he gets paroled one day so he can salvage what's left of his life and put this behind him. I found him to be one of the good guys in the sport.
|04-21-2009, 11:25 PM||#3|
Nunn's Complete Record
Amateur record of 168-8
Lost a 4-1 decision to Virgil Hill at the 1984 Olympic Trials in Fort Worth, Texas. Nunn then defeated Hill by a 5-0 decision in the first Box-Off in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the third and deciding bout, Hill scored a first-round knockdown on his way to a 5-0 decision win. Hill went on to win the Olympic Silver Medal at 165 lbs.
California State Middleweight Champion
NABF Middleweight Champion
IBF Middleweight Champion
NABF Super Middleweight Champion
WBA Super Middleweight Champion
WBO NABO Super Middleweight Champion
NABF Light Heavyweight Champion
Recipient of The Ring Progress of the Year Award for 1988.
KO Magazine Fighter of the Year for 1988.
|04-22-2009, 04:20 PM||#6|
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Nunn was hands down my fav. 'young' fighter back when he was MW champ. A great style, arrogance and nifty moves to go with moviestar looks and a pleasant approachable attitude.
When Ray Leonard decided to continue his career by fighting Hearns everybody (well at least I did) expected that the winner of that fight would face Nunn. Unfortunately that never happened. Leonard then chose a rubber match with Duran which was a bad fight and most boxingpeople knew that before the bell rang. A fight with Nunn would have been much better for the sport.
One thing that puzzles me to this day is that Nunn got a longass sentence for drugs while Tyson the rapist was out in a couple of years. Something about this just seems so wrong to me.
|04-22-2009, 05:33 PM||#7|
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My all-time favourite fighter but such a wasted talent. He made it look so easy and was so naturally gifted. Fighters like that come round once in a lifetime.
|04-24-2009, 08:35 AM||#8|
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Paul Williams reminds me of Michael Nunn in many ways, and can possiby emulate his achievements..
Nunn in his prime, produced one of the best 1 punch KO's I've ever seen, in the 1st rnd against Sambu Kalamby, who incidently, had a very good chin..
|04-24-2009, 08:37 AM||#9|
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|04-25-2009, 11:06 AM||#10|
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