Most writers will confess to soft spots for certain fighters. I pointed out my own affection to John Ruiz, the most unloved of heavyweights, only this week but the reasoning or events that form and fuel these affiliations are often curious and minuscule. It doesn’t stop at boxing, I always urged old Rex Williams on in the snooker championships because we share a birthday. Tenuous but a rivet-strong bond all the same. Colin Lynes is another fighter for whom I always wish good fortune.
I doubt a weight class has ever been as utterly descriptive of a fighter’s physique than Light-Heavyweight will prove for the former two-time heavyweight belt holder Chris Byrd tonight. In a bid to reinvent himself in the division, Byrd has lost in excess of 40 pounds at the age of 37. Byrd really is a Light, Heavyweight. For a decade the gutsy southpaw used his speed of foot and glove to mix it with the best the heavyweight division had to offer, and in the period in which he competed, they came pretty bloody big.
Boxing is a cruel enough sport for fighters without crass sniping from commentators like me but the news Alex Arthur has been awarded full world champion status by the WBO left a sour taste. I’m sure it did for Arthur too, a proud fighter and one who, publicly at least, yearned for a shot at the genuine big time. Not the pretend big time, but the real, genuine big time. His proposed fight with now abdicated champion Joan Guzman would have been just such an opportunity. Continue reading ““World title belts, get ya belts ‘ere, fiver a pair!””