Repeat winners Springs Toledo, of thesweetscience.com, and Chris Mannix, of Sports Illustrated, head the list of honorees in the 13th annual Boxing Writers Association of America writing contest. Joining them with multiple placing entries is a newcomer to the competition, Carlos Acevedo, who writes for Esquina Boxeo and The Cruelest Sport, as well as the competition’s all-time winningest writer, Ron Borges, of Boxing Monthly and The Ring, and Lee Groves, of RingTV.com. The contest period covered the 2013 calendar year.
They and others who found favor with the five-person panel of judges will be recognized at the 89th annual BWAA Awards Dinner, to be held May 1 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Toledo, the Massachusetts-based author/historian, has a new book, The Gods of War: Boxing Essays, that has a publication date of April 24. Among the included pieces is his second-place-winning BWAA story in the Feature Under 1,750 Words category about the eerie parallels between the original “Kid Chocolate,” a nearly penniless Cuban named Eligio Sardinas Montalvo who arrived in New York City in 1928, and an updated fighter who appropriated the nickname, Peter Quillin, who came to Manhattan under similar circumstances in 2001.
Other placing entries for Toledo are the first he will receive in the Feature Over 1,750 Words category, a touching tribute to his friend and role model, Joe Rein, and a second, in News Story, about the boxing background of U.S. Olympic hopeful-turned-terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two brothers responsible for the finish-line bombing at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, that left three people dead and an estimated 264 injured. Toledo also took an honorable mention in Event Coverage, giving him 16 BWAA awards just since 2010.
Mannix, who took two first-place awards in the 2012 BWAA contest (for Feature Under 1,750 Words and Feature Over 1,750 Words), nearly matched that feat a year later. He had a first place (tying Groves, of RingTV.com) in Feature Under 1,750 Words on the talented but erratic Adrien Broner, and a second in Feature Over 1,750 Words, about the bond between junior welterweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia and his controversial father-trainer, Angel Garcia.
Acevedo didn’t avoid a hot-button topic in his first-place Column, which deals with boxers who give so much of themselves in the ring and sometimes come away with dementia pugilistica and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. His third-place piece in Feature Under 1,750 Words also examines the same harrowing theme.
Borges has never failed to place in the BWAA contest, and he scored again with a first in News Story, in Boxing Monthly, on promoter Bob Arum’s promotion of two-time Olympic champion Zou Shiming, of China, and the necessity of doing so in a manner that meets with the approval of the Chinese government. The veteran Boston writer also scored a third in Feature Over 1,750 Words for a story that appeared in The Ring that dealt with boxer Edwin Rodriguez Jr.’s two children, who had long odds to overcome as “micropreemies,” weighing only 19 ounces at birth. Borges also had honorable mentions in Event Coverage and Column.
Groves, who took a first in News Story in the 2011 contest, returns to the winner’s circle with his tied-for-first entry in Feature Under 1,750 Words on his personal crisis of conscience as a boxing fan wrought by the death of Francisco Leal and the serious brain injury suffered by Magomed Abdusalamov. He added tied-for-third story in News Story, for a tribute to the late Ken Norton.
Other first places went to David Weinberg, of the Press of Atlantic City, for his account of Darren Barker’s wresting of the IBF middleweight title from Daniel Geale, and Thomas Hauser, of BoxingScene.com, in Investigative Reporting, for his account of the tragedy of Abdusalamov’s brutal loss to Mike Perez.
The panel of judges consisted of Lee Barfknecht, of the Omaha World-Herald; Tommy Deas, executive sports editor of the Tuscaloosa News and the third vice president of the Associated Press Sports Editors; Steve Gorten, of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel; Jim McNally, boxing coach at the United States Naval Academy; and Ray Murray, an assistant professor in Oklahoma State University’s School of Media and Strategic Communications.
2013 BERNIE WINNERS
BOXING EVENT COVERAGE
DAVID WEINBERG, “Barker’s Stirring Comeback Thrills Revel Crowd,” Press of Atlantic City, August 19, 2013
PABLO S. TORRE, “A Night of ‘Fiesta’ Turns into Tears,” ESPN.com, September 15, 2013
NORM FRAUENHEIM, “Mayweather Wins Big According to Everyone But One Judge,” 15Rounds.com, September 14, 2013
Honorable Mention: Ron Borges, Boston Herald; Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press; David P. Greisman, BoxingScene.com; Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times; Michael Rosenthal, RingTV.com; Joseph Santoliquito, Philadelphia Daily News; Springs Toledo, thesweetscience.com
CARLOS ACEVEDO, “A Darkness Made to Order,” Esquina Boxeo, October 9, 2013
MICHAEL WOODS, “He’s Still the Most Handsome Man, and Everything to Me,” thesweetscience.com, December 24, 2013
JERRY IZENBERG, “Meeting Mandela: A Heavyweight Memory to Last a Lifetime,” The Star-Ledger, December 15, 2013
Honorable Mention: Adam Berlin, Boxing.com; Ron Borges, Boston Herald; Thomas Gerbasi, BoxingScene.com; David P. Greisman, BoxingScene.com; Gordon Marino, The Ring
BOXING NEWS STORY
RON BORGES, “Fists of Gold,” Boxing Monthly, August 2013
SPRINGS TOLEDO, “Boston Beats the Count,” thesweetscience.com, April 21, 2013
Third Place (Tie)
BART BARRY, “Un-Cancelled: Garcia Misses Weight, Lopez Does Not,” 15Rounds.com, June 14, 2013
LEE GROVES, “A Tribute to Ken Norton,” RingTV.com, September 20, 2013
Honorable Mention: Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press; Bernard Fernandez, thesweetscience.com; Thomas Hauser, MaxBoxing.com; Ron Ross, Boxing News Magazine; George Willis, New York Post
BOXING FEATURE (Under 1,750 words)
First Place (Tie)
LEE GROVES, “Commentary: One Boxing Fan’s Crisis of Confidence,” RingTV.com, November 9, 2013
CHRIS MANNIX, “Problem Child,” Sports Illustrated, December 16, 2013
SPRINGS TOLEDO, “Kid Chocolate,” thesweetscience.com, February 5, 2013
Third Place: (Tie)
CARLOS ACEVEDO, “Leftover Life to Kill: Blood, Death, Remembrance, Alphabet City,” The Cruelest Sport, July 31, 2013
JEFF MacGREGOR, “Cloud Notebook,” ESPN.com, March 13, 2013
Honorable Mention: Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press; Bernard Fernandez, Philadelphia Daily News; Joseph Santoliquito, The Ring; David Weinberg, The Press of Atlantic City
BOXING FEATURE (Over 1,750 words)
SPRINGS TOLEDO, “Joe,” thesweetscience.com, November 12, 2013
CHRIS MANNIX, “A Father’s Faith,” Sports Illustrated, September 9, 2013
RON BORGES, “Little Warriors,” The Ring, April 2013
Honorable Mention: Carlos Acevedo, The Cruelest Sport; Norm Frauenheim, The Ring; Jack Hirsch, boxingnewsonline.net; Gordon Marino, The Ring; Pablo S. Torre, ESPN The Magazine
BOXING INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING
THOMAS HAUSER, “Magomed Abdusalamov and the Dark Side of Boxing,” BoxingScene.com, November 22, 2013
BRIN-JONATHAN BUTLER, “Requiem for a Welterweight,” SBnation, November 20, 2013
BART BARRY, “Frankie Deal: Death and a Haunting Question.” The Ring, December 20, 2013
Honorable Mention: Bernard Fernandez, thesweetscience.com; David P. Greisman, BoxingScene.com
2013 BERNIES JUDGES:
LEE BARFKNECHT Omaha World-Herald
TOMMY DEAS Executive Sports Editor, Tuscaloosa News;
3rd Vice President, Associated Press Sports Editors
STEVE GORTEN South Florida Sun-Sentinel
JIM McNALLY Boxing Coach, United States Naval Academy
RAY MURRAY Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University,
School of Media and Strategic Communications
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