I doubt any promotional move employing themes and connections from the Rocky series is likely to surprise anyone in 2007 given the success of the latest installment and the fact it offers leverage with editors and casual fans for bored publicists and promoters. Announcing Shannon Briggs will defend his title in Moscow against Sultan Ibragimov didn’t surprise me, and though the Russian’s presumably worked hard to secure home advantage Briggs is brash and confident enough to see the upside of travelling.
Fresh off his seventh consecutive victory, four of which have come in world title fights, WBA Super Bantamweight Champion, Celestino Caballero is hunting for some bigger game at 122 pounds as he looks to unify the World Title. Continue reading “PR: Caballero Looks To Unification”
British Lightweight champion Jon Thaxton is looking forward to bigger things after making the first defence of his domestic title and signing a long-term deal with promoter Mick Hennessy. Continue reading “PR: Thaxton Signs Long-Term Deal with Hennessey”
A cash and sporting asset rich American consortium is part of the driving force behind the refit of the Millennium Dome this summer that will see the much maligned big tent re-emerge as a indoor arena capable of seating 23,000 spectators. The owners have stakes in a raft of major American sports teams and it strikes me as a glorious venue for elite boxing in the UK, rivalling the MEN arena in Manchester which, by coincidence is owned by the same company. Hatton v Witter at the Millennium Dome? Go on Ricky you know you want to.
Instances of boxing commentators making you laugh, and I mean full on guffaw, are few and far between. There was the time Glen McCrory, in a statement borne out of an affinity with his old sparring partner and instruction from the paymaster for whom he was speaking, believed Mike Tyson could “turn back the clock for one night only” before being pummelled from pillar to post by Lennox Lewis and there was also the time Adam Smith showed a video of Jawaid Khaliq to Vernon Forrest who opted to fight Shane Mosley rather than the Nottingham taxi driver. Last night, in the deeper shadows of Eurosport, Steve Holdsworth and Bob Mee had me spitting out my late night cornflakes.
I was taken to task overnight by Jodi Grimsley, the wife of returning heavyweight Crawford Grimsley, with regard to my flippant remarks about Crawford’s condition and repute as a heavyweight following his withdrawal from the Michael Moorer contest.
Quite rightly, Mrs Grimsley questioned my intent, research and experience on the subject of diverticulitis, the affliction that prevented her husband fighting, and boxing in general. The whole episode was a dose of reality as to the surprising reach of this blog and the random thoughts it covers.Continue reading “An Apology To Crawford Grimsley”
Many articles have been written on whether veteran heavyweight Evander Holyfield should still be fighting, I know because I’ve penned one or two of them. One article for thesweetscience.com concluded that although Holyfield was very obviously a life-time removed from his prime, nor ever likely to secure the fifth heavyweight title he proclaims to need to retire content he had every right to continue punching in. Of course, the small caveat to this thesis was I had no intention of watching him try. Continue reading “Bah-Bah. Following The Flock”
I thoroughly enjoyed the laughter that surrounded my Ray Austin to win prediction last week, I countered those who berated me for the ridiculousness of the claim that it was merely a slow news day and I enjoy being contrary. However, I think I might make it a weekly feature. So this week I’ve scanned through the upcoming fixtures and found my long-shot, I’ll make a vague and shaky case for the prediction and then enjoy the sycophantic praise if it comes off and laugh off the derision if it doesn’t.
The after dinner speaking circuit for boxing’s present and former champions is currently enjoying a roaring trade. Most notably, the charity event arranged by Nigel Benn’s agent Kevin Leushing – himself no mug between the ropes – for Gerald McClellan the most conspicuous example of the demand for these evenings. Regulars on the circuit include Ricky Hatton, Joe Frazier and Roberto Duran who have all had big evenings advertised. And all are worthy attractions. But to me, next months’ tour by former middleweight champion Jake LaMotta is a particularly special occasion. Continue reading “A Real Champion; Jake LaMotta to Speak in Wiltshire”
Just in case anyone is curious, the websites featured as links on the right handside are placed in alphabetical order and do not reflect the personal preferences of the author. This blog cannot be held responsible for the content of those sites, or for that matter the people you may encounter upon them. You have been warned.
Lucian Bute is clearly no fool. Having accepted Matthew Barney as an opponent for a tune up ahead of his world-title eliminator it looks like the Romanian born puncher then followed the discipline of researching Barney’s career to date. Videotapes of Barney’s style will not have made pleasant viewing. Awkward, slippery, resilient and accustomed to fighting as the opponent and on occasion at 175lbs. Barney was not a fan fight, he isn’t an easy fight and in the end he was a fight Bute didn’t need. Continue reading “Barney Out; Bika In”
Just to conclude the updates on fallen former champion Johnny Tapia, he was released from hospital yesterday 3 days after his cocaine overdose. The 40 year old is yet to be informed of the deaths of his brother-in-law and 23 year old nephew who died while driving to the hospital to see him. Police report they’re are investigating the possibility that the two men had been drinking as empty bottles were found at the crash scene. For a person who wrestles daily with the demons of guilt and insecurity, the news will surely be difficult to absorb. Continue reading “There is unlucky, and then there is Johnny Tapia”
News Crawford Grimsley, the flamboyantly named but workman heavyweight, has been forced to pull out of his clash with former champion Michael Moorer was met with sobs from the three ticket holders eager to see the monumental encounter. They were all soon placated when Sedrick Fields was named as the replacement to ensure the mediocrity and flab promised would be delivered. I’ve decided I’m no good at satire, I know you’d reached that conclusion weeks ago.
According to the always swift SecondsOut, and it’s a great site when the topic isn’t Roman Greenberg, Sergio Mora has pulled out of the forthcoming clash with undisputed Middleweight Champion Jermaine Taylor because of fears the proximity of Memphis to Taylor’s home town could affect his chances of winning. Personally, I would think the fact Mora is about two leagues below Taylor in terms of class, power, ability and experience would provide all the problems Mora needs. The fight could be in Mora’s living room for all the difference it would make to the outcome. Continue reading “What do jer maine Mora’s out?”
For those boxing fans so blinkered to the failings of the sport,those mystified as to why more sports fans don’t gravitate toward boxing and those unable to understand why the mainstream media isno longer fascinated by the noble art, a quick review of today’s Chorley Guardian will provide all the explanation needed. According to the chirpy local correspondent, Michael Jennings a fighter beaten by Young Muttley for the British title, and swatted around the ring by Bradley Pryce before that, is fighting for a ‘World-Title’ in April. Nobody told me?
I have to confess, I didn’t follow the second Contender series at all nor did I see the first series through to conclusion. The television schedule was continually changed and I missed key episodes and the fighters’ stories passed me by. However, one fight I did see – and it’s preceding story – was the opener between series favourite Peter Manfredo and baby-faced Mexican Welterweight Alfonso Gomez. It may have been the slow-motion replays or the editing but I fell in love with the game Gomez. Love in the affectionate, platonic sense, but in love all the same. Continue reading “Alfonso Gomez: Contender Star”
Surrounded by misfortune and dogged by tragedy, Johnny Tapia will hopefully soon awaken from his latest drug overdose and subsequent hospitalisation. However, his long-term prognosis for contentment will not improved by the news his brother-in-law Robert Gutierrez died in a road-traffic accident whilst en route to the hospital. Continue reading “Tapia Brother-in-Law Killed on Route to Hospital”
It seems a long time ago that Danny Williams was being clubbed to the canvas by Sinam Samil Sam, five years in fact. Since when he’s enjoyed fluctuating fortunes, weight and interest in a boxing career that may yet feature a peak many thought the oft-distracted Londoner would never reach. Victory over Scott Gammar, which like it’s preceding performance versus Audley Harrison, shouldn’t be over-valued given Gammar’s limitations, has certainly injected some belated fuel into a spluttering career. A shot at European champion Vladimar Virchis beckons.
Reports of Johnny Tapia’s deteriorating condition continue to circulate. One conflicting news item suggested he was improving – Sporting Life – but a host of contradictory reports are growing and concern for the fallen fighter is shared by fans across the world. Overnight the story may update but British media outlet Sky Sports, one of the leading news providers, strongly proposes the 40 year old is in a critical condition. Continue reading “Tapia Condition Critical?”
My thanks to Oliver Fennell for drawing attention to my idle suggestion that mediocre American Ray Austin could unseat Wladimir Klitschko last weekend, a prediction roughly in line, in terms of stunning stupidity, with my suggestion Clifford Etienne could outwork and and outlast Mike Tyson a year or two ago. Oliver, who now writes for Ben Carey’s website ukboxingpress.co.uk is a long-standing contact from our dual residency at audleyharrison.com. Proof if proof were needed that association with failed heavyweights needn’t preclude success as a writer. Continue reading “Crystal Ball: Ray Austin Falls”
Following weeks of public deliberation as to the name of Clinton Woods’ next opponent today’s announcement that the Sheffield fighter will tackle former foe Julio Gonzales in a mandatory defence was met with varying degrees of apathy. What happened to Roy Jones Jnr, Antonio Tarver, Bernard Hopkins or even long-shots Darius Michelczewski and Joe Calzaghe? True Woods has been side-lined longer than expected by an arm injury but still, Gonzales again? Hardly quickens the pulse does it? Continue reading “See the Woods for the Trees”
In most other sports, participants over the age of 35 are eligible for the Senior Tour. A parallel competition established to provide escape for the tired former champions to continue to earn a crust away from the intensity of their youthful counterparts. Tennis is a prime example, few top line players can sustain themselves beyond the age of 28 or 29, and though each generation throws up an exception from Conners to Ivanisevic, the rule of thumb applies – by 30 your done. Sadly for boxing, and particularly in the heavyweight division – though the trend is extended throughout the weight classes – 30 is simply the beginning. And it isn’t a good thing. Continue reading “The Heavyweight Malaise, Moorer Looks to Bygone Days”
As one of the finest prizefighters of his generation Johnny Tapia’s life has always been a back-page story, and more frequently than he’d prefer, a front page one too. News that the recently retired former champion has once again been found close to death following an apparent cocaine overdose will chill but not surprise those of us for whom Tapia has always been a hero. His biography, My Vida Loca – [My Crazy Life] contains more drama and turmoil than most people could pack into five lives – and within it – Tapia’s claim he’d been pronounced clinically dead six times following a drug and drink related episodes provides Freudian support for that conclusion.
British terrestrial network ITV returned to professional boxing two years ago with the happy mantra of focusing on meaningful fights. Research had told them of the frustration and misconception the plethora of meaningless belts had caused. SKY TV, no longer committed to Frank Warren’s Sports Network group, also publicly announced that the previous acceptable notion of WBU, WBF, IBO (and others) title belts being required to make fights worthwhile was now extinguished and only ‘proper’ English, British, Commonwealth, European and World Title contests would be considered for broadcast. Hallelujah. Continue reading “Double You B Who?”
French WBA LightWelterweight title holder Souleymane M’Baye survived an absorbing contest last night, emerging from his bout with Andreas Kotelnik with a contentious draw that preserved his status as the champion. The fight, broadly defined by Kotelnik’s superior aggression and volume of punches and M’Baye back-foot counter-punching and thudding right hand, was an enjoyable spectacle. As result, few ripples will be felt in the 140 pound division; M’Baye remains a mile away from a shot at Ricky Hatton while ever Frank Warren remains in control of his career.
I can’t really summon rational reason for what I’m about to write but I feel compelled to suggest Ray Austin is going to upset the heavyweight applecart tonight and dethrone Wladimir Klitschko. Austin is a mediocre puncher, has a mediocre resume and is of mediocre renown, but I just feel Klitschko re-emergence as the golden boy of the beleaguered weight class is overdue another punctuation mark. Too many people have been eager to forget his pummelling at the hands of Corrie Sanders, his collapse versus Lamont Brewster and most recently the fact pedestrian powerhouse Sam Peter decked him three times.
Just to cover all those boxing fans that proclaimed their love and concern for Victor Burgos, who suffered bleeding on the brain and a clot following his defeat to Vic Darchinyan, but then immediately forgot and neglected the fallen Mexican once they clicked on, I’ve dug around on one or two sites, but not in a Ron Borges way – can you believe that story? – to find out what happened next. In truth, I’d forgotten for a day or two too. Making others feel bad eased my guilt.
However, back to Burgos.
Few fighters unify boxing fans like Matthew Barney. Before I explain why, it’s firstly important to point out that I instinctively recoil from sharing the thinking of the masses. I like holding a contrary view. Sometimes it sets you aside as a voice of wisdom other times it is a compulsion that leads you to suggest Clifford Etienne could stop Mike Tyson late. So as a state of mind or ethos, it is a flawed position. The majority cannot always be wrong is the lesson these experiences teach me. However, on the subject of Matthew Barney I think they are. Because, you see, boxing fans simply don’t like Matthew Barney.
Diminutive scrapper Ian Napa has battled against his physical limitations of height and a lack of natural pop his entire career. Relying on his rolling style to avert the heavier punches of his opponents and allow him to land his classy combinations. If only he had a little snap in those shots he could be a genuine contender. Ifs, buts and maybes don’t win belts and against Italian Simone Maludrottu he faces a European champion of substance and with a nice line in fortunate decisions. A gift Napa has never enjoyed. Continue reading “Higher Napa, Higher Napa”
Don’t leave me hanging on, hanging on. As the song goes.
On Saturday night Runcorn veteran Robin Reid returns to competitive action against Jesse Brinkley, the former Contender contestant, on the Newcastle bill that pits British fighters against Contender series fighters later this month. It hurts me to describe the former WBC World Champion as a veteran, mainly because it reminds me that the first generation of fighters to whom I gravitated as a younger fan are all but retired – Lewis, Benn, Prince Naseem, Watson, my beloved Herol, ‘Sweet C’ McMillan they’re all gone.
This fight now represents the last hurrah for the 36-year-old as he seeks to squeeze either paydays or meaning from the last embers of his career.Continue reading “Come Back and Finish What You Started”