Guest: Wladimir doth protest too much; Dr Steel Hammer indeed

andrew-mullinderRegular visitors will be accustomed to the acerbic analysis of Andrew Mullinder, our resident correspondent in Moscow. I’m sure Andrew has all the usual creature comforts we enjoy in the West but I prefer to adapt the usual visual triggers employed by third rate cold war thrillers to conjure an image of Andrew huddled over an ageing type writer, all fingerless gloves, one bar fires  and cheap vodka, manically venting on the issues of the day from his down trodden apartment block in some mafia run ghetto. Why? Well it just makes sense of his withering contributions, and the latest, a deconstruction of the most artificially created ring moniker in boxing must have come after a slurp or two of the strong stuff.

Andrew takes up David Haye’s announcement Wladimir Klitschko is finally going to sign on the dotted line but then heads distinctly left, first posted in forum style on – I felt the eccentricity of his post merited a broader audience.

“What Haye is doing here, I suspect, is the old Sir Humphrey trick: “It’s true because I saw it on the telly”.

I’ll believe it’s on when I see a press conference announcing the event with Wlad sitting inanely, not knowing quite how to respond to the more loquacious Haye’s ranting, so instead settling for a vapid nervous smile.

Meantime, there’s something that’s always bothered me about Wlad’s nickname. Dr Steel Hammer. Dr Steel Hammer. It’s so clumsy. It can only be made to sound even close to being ‘right’ when pronounced with an outrageous, deep voiced Teutonic accent. Try it.

But there’s more. Really, steel, in this sense, seems like a redundant adjective. Steel is hard, so is good for boxing, and what’s more it’s used in -ly adjective form to mean piercing, tough, determined and unwavering. Men with steely glares are to be admired and feared, I think we can all agree. All good; but then, do you really need to add that to ‘hammer’, which is already a hard thing used for striking a heaver blow than the normal fist could manage? Does steel in this context do any of the things an adjective is meant to do? Does it describe, qualify, or clarify the noun? Do I need to be told it’s steel? “Like, steel as opposed to what normal hammers are made of?”, I might ask. Errrr… Sponge? Flesh? It’s just redundant sitting there, steel. Like “watery river” or “wooden cricket bat”.

I suppose they perhaps do need to add something to hammer, because after all, plain old Dr Hammer sounds like MC Hammer’s more educated brother. That said, I can imagine the 90s, just post-communist Wlad, with his mullet, Irkutsk-made marble wash Amerikanskiy Dzhinsy, white socks and Byelorussian patent leather penny loafers, being enough of a fan of MC Hammer to call himself Dr Hammer. “Khemmer Tayme!” he would shout on entering the gym.

But they could have gone for something beyond the equivalent of saying “I’d like a plastic toothbrush” or “a metal car”. Something that actually adds to hammer, something that indicated that hammer doesn’t justify the power in those fists, something like Dr Tungsten Hammer (for t’Yorkshire Klitschkur); Dr Diamond Hammer (For the Klitschko who used that fine, ‘roided physique for adult entertainment).

But Dr Steel Hammer is just clumsy and makes him sound like one of Aethelred the Unready’s sons. You know: believed to have led a Viking expedition from the Faroes to Nova Scotia in 956; renowned for his fighting hammer made of unusually tough metal thought by modern historians to be naturally occurring steel; physician.

Really, though, I guess the moniker matches the man: clumsy, gracelessly effective, partially redundant.

Which is why I hope this fight comes off, because the Klitschkos are without doubt the worst recognized heavyweight champions ever in the history of the whole wide universe. Of course, there have been heavyweight belt holders who stank like a vomit stained carpet, but Vitaliy and Wlad are between them recognized by most as The Man. Some recognize one; some the other, but the fact remains that one Klitschko has been seen as number one in the division really since Lennox retired.

And that sucks.

Lovely guys – perhaps the nicest in boxing – but just being nice doesn’t stop me from wanting to see their robotic, one dimensional white asses swept off the map like the Werhmacht before Zhukov’s onslaught.

Really, they need to go, and I think Haye can do it.

OK, that’s my bizarro mood worked out. Bedtime.”



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