September 10th 2004 was a seminal night in British Boxing. For the curious, this was the day David Haye learned the priceless lessons only defeat can impart in his stoppage loss to the venerable Carl Thompson. Without a loss at that juncture, one wonders if Haye would have rallied to hit the heights he did. Had the loss come later, it may have been too late for the rededication he employed post-Thompson. It was a memorable event for those in attendance too. My own enjoyment of proceedings was enhanced by a chance introduction to a stalwart observer of the fight game, and now regular on Steve Bunce’s BBC London show, Ron Boddy. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘Olympic Boxing’ Category
I met British Super-Middleweight champion Paul Smith at the weekend, Paul and I have exchanged opinions, messages via various internet methods for a year or two but there is no facsimile for meeting someone in person. True, Paul proved as generous and humble with his time as the virtual discourse had suggested he would but putting the flesh to the on-screen skeleton of that connection reminded me of two things. Read the rest of this entry »
Despite David Haye’s protestations to the contrary the prospect of this unlikely heavyweight prizefight remains the talking point of the day in the dungeons of the internet’s boxing forums. Audley Harrison has, afterall, already sacrificed the European title in the belief that he will secure the all-British world heavyweight title fight he and television network Sky Sports appear to crave. Debuting his guest column, John Cascells reflects on the fight; why it may prove to be more challenging than the cynics presume and why he is sure it will make for must-see television. Read the rest of this entry »
Precious few heavyweights polarise opinion in the way Audley Harrison does. Maybe that is part of the fascination with him. Maybe that enigmatic quality is what draws observers back to the story despite a series of tame defeats to mediocre fighters. The Mona Lisa is neither the most beautiful subject nor the most technically perfect painting but it endures as the most famous artwork in history (arguably) because of the interpretation her expression is open to. It isn’t definite. It has depth beyond the brush strokes da Vinci swabbed across the canvas. Much like Harrison, who has conjured few moments of brilliance during his own career on the canvas and yet holds a depth of fascination few others can match. However, despite the critics and the years completed since his first low point of being dropped by the BBC he is on the brink of the title shot he told us all along he would get to. Read the rest of this entry »
In an era before nutritionists, public relations and conditioners, during that simplistic period when heavyweights ran, hit-bag, sparred, chopped wood and often took a stiff drink or three the night before a fight it is hard to imagine how they would have viewed the flimsy media battle being contested by heavyweight trio David Haye, Klitschko and heaven help us Audley Harrison. It may be nostalgic romanticism to suggest fighters like Jack Dempsey or Jim Jeffries simply signed to fight an opponent, trained and then settled it in an often gruelling, unforgiving fight, but it is with some confidence that I propose they wouldn’t have been comfortable with the shallow misinformation all parties appear to be peddling even if avoiding opponents is an oft-overlooked aspect of boxing at the beginning of the 20th century too. Read the rest of this entry »
There has been something of the David Icke about Audley Harrison throughout his decade as a prominent heavyweight. Fuelled and demonstrated by a paradoxical cocktail of delusion, acute self-awareness and paranoia. Qualities which ostracised him from the boxing public and allowed the media to portray him as the villain, the idiot and the clown in his own one-man pantomime. But like all cabaret shows, it aint over til the fat lady sings and maybe, just maybe, said fat lady is back stage sipping honey and lemon as talk of a Harrison v Haye contest gathers pace. Read the rest of this entry »
Unbeaten novice Ally Morrison, with old favourite Chris Aston in the corner, took on James DeGale tonight – the 2008 Olympic Gold medalist to whom the British public is slowly warming to. Very slowly. Read the rest of this entry »
Precious few combatants evoke the same swell of good will that will greet Wayne McCullough when he strides to the ring for the 35th time in a fortnight’s time. The former Super-Bantamweight world title-holder has had a frustrating Autumn to his career, with the shadow of an overturned suspension for irregular brain scans thwarting his attempts to regain momentum in his ebbing trajectory. A retirement six rounds in to a fight he appeared to be winning last June, on the back of a doctor’s intervention during the rematch with Oscar Larios, remain his only meaningful action of the past 40 months.
To many, this fight is of little less than passing interest. Miguel Cotto predictably rebuilding from his shattering loss to Antonio Margarito with a regulation comeback fight against Michael Jennings – a fighter with a pretty record and precious little experience at elite level. Its an industry standard tactic for the Puerto Rican Welterweight. However, to me the fight holds far more appeal.
Guest writer Andrew Mullinder gets hot under the collar about the peculiarities and weaknesses of scoring in Amateur boxing, suggesting the quest to eradicate the blatant favouritism displayed in Seoul 88 has actually diluted the sport to such an extent it has become little more than a be-gloved version of fencing. As always, Andrew thinks its time somebody did something about it.