Criticising boxing promoters is a popular business. Both historically and in matters topical. A fighter’s promoter, who can be his manager too, despite the conflict of interest inherent in that scenario, is often lumbered with blame for all manner of peaks and troughs in a fighter’s career. As uninformed bystanders, it is easy to point the finger of blame at those who determine the trajectory and strategy of a fighter’s career. Beyond the knowledge of the ‘man in street’ are the unknown variables; from a fighter’s form and focus to the sensibilities, pliable and otherwise, of the regulatory bodies and television networks who fund and benchmark the process. To date, Matchroom Sports has proved a reinvigorating presence in the stagnant waters of British Boxing and thus far remain untouched by criticism. DeMarcus Corley as an opponent for Paul McCloskey on May 5th, even as a late replacement, should provide dénouement to that honeymoon period.
I read today Light Welterweight contender Zab Judah is promoting his next fight on the notion it represents his debut in his native Brooklyn and is therefore, publicity implies, likely to evoke a return to the glories of his past. Like many 34-year-old pugilists before him, Judah is attempting to invert the natural course all fight-careers take; decline, by reaching for the placebo effect fleetingly afforded by trainer change, managerial move or in this case a fight in his home town. Continue reading
Presently, there is no hotter commodity in boxing than Floyd Mayweather. Fresh off a crushing victory over Shane Mosley I can no longer summon an obstacle which bears scrutiny to the now overwhelming argument that Floyd Mayweather deserves to take a place among the sport’s all time greats. Mayweather’s name can sit snugly among the Ali, Armstrong and Leonard’s as one of the finest prizefighters ever seen. In fact, the only thing which could be more commercially desirable than the Pretty Boy right now…is a retired Pretty Boy. Continue reading
Contrasting stories surround two of British boxing’s favourite sons this week. Firstly, and most satisfactorily, is Ian McNeily’s piece at BoxRec News dutifully reporting Ricky Hatton difficulty in summoning the will to commence training while the same site also records a summer fixture for Danny Williams on the other side of the world. News of this proposed clash comes just days after the genial Londoner promised retirement in the aftermath of his capitulation to Derek Chisora. Continue reading
So the scene is set. Boxing has risen from the canvas to offer the viewing public a fight of such dramatic potential it already draws comparison with the magnetic contests boxing was once able to supply from a position of long forgotten significance on an annual basis.
Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino with the smile and an entire people in his corner, neutralised Miguel Cotto with such aplomb last weekend he is now widely projected as the sport’s pound for pound number one. That most unhelpful of yardsticks. And in Floyd Mayweather, he has an opponent of equal brilliance and renown against whom to push his abilities to their limit and in doing so, just maybe, entice and ignite a whole new generation of prize fight followers.
Now aged 33, the career of Joan Guzman is a curious one. An unfulfilled one. Despite being a decorated Amateur and world-championship belts in two divisions, the Dominican has failed to deliver on his unquestionable talent and has frozen himself out of the title pictures from 126 to 140 pounds. Oscar De La Hoya will need every ounce of his wealth and charisma to play Midas to ‘Lil Tyson’s’ stuttering career. Continue reading
Nostalgia is a big seller. And its vendors seem to know just when to pique our interest in some bygone phenomenon. Whether it be the Mamma Mia film reaching out to women over 35 to relive their days as Dancing Queens – and some men come to think of it – or other film franchises like Charlie’s Angels or boxing’s own Rocky series. Today’s wander down memory lane was the tabloid suggestion David Hasslehoff is bidding to relaunch Baywatch, with media-shy, wholesome mother of three Katie Price (aka Jordan) donning the red bikini made famous by Pamela Anderson – though it was always Yasmine Bleeth for me. Continue reading
Thousands of words have already been written about the demise of Arturo Gatti and still more about the life in boxing that preceded it. News of his death, aged just 37, has shocked a legion of fans for whom Gatti is synonymous with courage, exhilaration and entertainment. Recently betrothed, Arturo Gatti leaves behind a young son and wife, Amanda Rodrigues Gatti – to whom responsibility for Gatti’s death is expected to be attributed following her arrest today. Continue reading
The forthcoming middleweight clash between veteran southpaw Winky Wright and Paul Williams, the former Welterweight champion stirred me to contemplate which fighter of the past decade had been the most avoided. Winky Wright makes a strong claim for this unwanted acknowledgement, particularly given his recent enforced inactivity, but ultimately he has secured bouts with Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins to name but two. His advocates would remind me he had to chase Hopkins all the way up to Light-Heavyweight when they spent years side by side in the Middleweight division, both in desperate need of a big payday. Williams too, wouldn’t be without his supporters, but now he has Wright, following victory over Margarito, himself a contender for the tag. Continue reading
Still too early to suggest Joe Calzaghe will stay retired but instinctively I believe he will, but contemporary Floyd Mayweather Jnr was never likely to remain retired irrespective of the wealth he has accumulated, throwing hundred dollar bills from nightclub balconies has a way of dwindling the coffers. It has to be enforced doesn’t it? After all, the mooted Oscar DeLaHoya match up of last year would have earned him another multi-million purse and a thick wedge of associated earnings. He retired not needing that pay day. Something changed. Continue reading
It is a while since I’ve perched on the end of the sofa to watch a fight, a while since I’ve felt the rush of a heart-felt connection to a fighter but on Saturday night, as 31-year-old Michael Jennings strode to the ring, that familiar surge of anxiety raced through me. I recall this was a feeling I had when Frank Bruno retreated toward the ring for his rematch with Tyson and I felt it when Dennis Andries kept rising from the canvas against Thomas Hearns. When Brian Hughes asked between the 4th and 5th rounds if the twice floored Jennings was okay, Mick’s response of “Sound, yeh” it just warmed this fan’s heart a little more. Continue reading
Amidst a global credit crunch it could prove harder than ever to defend the choices of a multi-millionaire like Oscar DeLaHoya and harder still if he is to assume the role of the big guy in his David and Goliath showdown with Manny Pacquiao. However, for all the criticism his selection of the Filipino piranha, instead of the entirely more imposing challenges of Paul Williams and Antonio Margarito, drew, I for one believe it is a sensible match-up for a fighter who operates outside boxing’s accepted parameters. Continue reading
More astute judges than I have pointed to Ricky Hatton’s ebbing level of performance, greater students of fighters and their techniques have dissected his growing faults and weaknesses and plenty of wiser minds than mine claim his out of “monastery” habits will shorten his elite career drastically. I couldn’t agree more but most of that is tired ground. Continue reading
Regular contributor Andrew Mullinder, from the sanctuary of the Russian front, cast his eye across the tabloid reports of Floyd Mayweather’s fiscal misfortunes. From stolen jewels to counterfeit Lincoln’s the retired superstar could be finding the chill wind of recession blows a little colder without twice-yearly deposits from HBO. Mullinder wonders whether his retirement may yet prove short-lived, a concept sure to be well received by mess’s Hatton, Pacquiao and DeLaHoya. Continue reading
“Starvin’ Marvin”, as one or two insensitive souls have dubbed Paul “The Punisher” Williams, today featured in a new press release from Aceves PR, one of the busiest promotional houses around in the boxing business. For those who love stats, this was the 62nd I’ve received since October. So if you’re an aspiring promoter or fighter, consider Aceves, they’re busy on your behalf. Someone once asked me, where I was when JFK was shot, I said I wasn’t sure but I bet I was reading a release by Aceves.
I doubt I’m alone in being mystified by the appointment of Floyd Mayweather Snr. to training duties for Ricky Hatton’s Light-Welterweight outing against feather-fisted Paulie Malignaggi in November. He is far removed stylistically and geographically from the Mancunian ticket-seller and quite how his bombastic personality will fit with Hatton’s fiercely preserved ‘man of the people’ demeanour is equally hard to contemplate.
Guest writer Andrew Mullinder muses on Floyd Mayweather’s potentially misleading pristine professional record and the less public statistics that strongly suggest he truly is, the once in a lifetime fighter he proclaims to be. Either way, Andrew suggests, his recent retirement is both frustrating and deserved.
Avert your gaze from boxing for too long and the constants, the equilibrium on which your perspective of the sport was founded can quickly be disconnected and deconstructed. The notion that the gnarled, sinewy frame of gravel-voiced trainer Billy Graham will no longer be strapped into the renown body belt (pictured left) for 15 rounds of torment from Ricky Hatton is hard to believe. OK, Graham and Hatton were never Morecombe and Wise, but together they’ve moulded and tuned Hatton’s natural physical prowess and thirst for combat to make both wealthy and respected. Curious timing? Perhaps. Continue reading
A few disparate references got me thinking this week. First it was the retirement of Floyd Mayweather, brought into sharper focus by this weekend’s Welterweight face off between Cotto and Margarito, then it was a YouTube compilation of Prince Naseem getting battered from pillar to post with super slow-mo’s to make the former Featherweight king look like a clown. And finally, it was the news Bernard Hopkins, the veteran determined not to fight beyond 40 to keep a promise to his mother, apparently signing to fight Kelly Pavlik just shy of his 45th birthday. Too early, too late, boxing fans will crucify you either way.
As fan and as a writer, purchasing pay-per-view boxing is a prerequisite these days. I’ve done them all, from Bruno v Tyson, Hamed, Lewis through to Hatton v Tszyu and everything in between. So strong is my thirst to see the stars of the fistic world that I even succumbed to the very shallow temptation of Eastman v Hopkins. A fight never likely to distract the annual visitors to the Dulux sponsored, Watch Paint Dry Championships. Continue reading