I often state that boxing can no longer surprise me. As a keen observer of the sport for a number of years its hard to believe boxing could throw up an event or news story that could shock me. The sanctioning bodies and promoters have exhausted every plausible manoeuvre to further their own bank accounts, every unexpected fight outcome has been seen before and no judge or referee’s decision could sink lower than those already catalogued in my time following the sweet science.
However, yesterday’s weigh-in for the crossroads Heavyweight bout between champion Scot Gammer and challenger Danny Williams did just that. Since his career best win over Mike Tyson in the summer of 2004, Danny Williams has progressively gained weight. Not, by definition, a major problem in the heavyweight division but Williams is ‘only’ 6ft 1 and some of his weigh-in statistics have bordered on the ludicrous despite accepting the affect of advancing years and his large framework.
His weight since Tyson, when he weighed a bulky 265, reflects a fighter struggling for motivation, subsequently tipping in at 270, 266*, 272, 267, 263, 288 and 267. Not that much of a fluctuation, but some of those were major title fights and dually represented stepping stones to major pay-days. Or they did if Frank Warren’s quarterly claim that “the winner gets a world-title shot” is to be believed. Evidence is not overwhelming it has to be said. His condition for the Skelton rematch was diabolical, 288, more than 20stone represented a fighting weight at least 28 pounds above his optimum. And arguably, 45.
So, with retirement looking a solid bet following his knockout defeat to Audley Harrison and with ‘just’ the British title at stake against Welshman Scot Gammer, even trained observers didn’t expect Danny to be trying too hard in training. Weight? Expected to be 270 plus? After all he hadn’t weighed less than 260 since 2003.
The news broke yesterday that Danny Williams had weighed in at, wait for it, 228 pounds. Causing a gasp around boxing circles. And proving once again, that just when you think you’ve seen it all this sport catches you out.
Derided as Danny Kipling on message boards because of his increasing girth, the former world-title challenger stunned the gathered officials and more than likely sprang a surprise on Scot Gammer who weighed in at a career high on the assumption he need the bulk to combat Williams’ weight.
Almost, all bets are off.
It will be fascinating to see how the dramatic change in Williams’ physiology effect his performance, will he be quicker – he has to be and how will his stamina, strength and punch resistance hold up at the lighter weight?
Some suggest the first punch Gammer lands will flatten Williams, but I’m not so sure. It certainly adds intrigue and interest to a fight of other wise tepid interest.