Francois Botha has tried many things to stay relevant and keep earning including a hapless foray into that form of combat that needs no introduction beyond its initials. The veteran South African is in the Autumn, arguably Winter, of his fluctuating career. A career, lest we forget, which has variously included Michael Moorer, Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson and shortly, Evander Holyfield too. For some reason his proposed match with fellow heavyweight grandfather Evander Holyfield has me intrigued. Regulars will know I have some curious vices.
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.
I’m hearing, thanks to the power of Facebook – so as yet unconfirmed – that fan friendly Light-Welterweight contender Barry Morrison is out of December’s tournament with an unquantified injury. Globe trotting contender Ashley Theophane is one option it would seem.
There was a time, not so long ago, when boxing fans were entitled to wonder if a next generation of top-level fighters were ever to materialise. The class of the 90’s hung on, clung on and drove back any upstarts hoping to push them down the stairs and claim the house as their own.
Television networks stuck with the veterans, providing platform to those who reflected back the ageing demographic still pursuant of their boxing fix. Boxing, in a tale almost as old as the sport itself, is struggling for survival. Nefarious sanctioning bodies slowly dissembling its inherent hierarchy from within while the interloper from below stairs, the UFC, grew its appeal with the younger audience.
Boxing stuck with what it knew. Hopkins. Mosley. Oscar. Roy.
Maybe, almost a decade too late, the new class is here. I hope a rejuvenated Kelly Pavlik is among them.Continue reading “Holding out for a hero, is a new dawn really here?”
It will not prove as easy for newly crowned WBA Heavyweight champion David Haye to sell tickets to his mandated clash with American John Ruiz in the spring as the David v Goliath showdown proved last weekend. But for all the doubters, I’d like to encourage everyone to visit YouTube and refresh their preconceptions about the 37 year old former two-time WBA champion. In short Ruiz is a different beast to the much maligned jab and grab merchant he’s often described as. Continue reading “John Ruiz v David Haye will be a thriller”
Poor old Sam Sexton, not enough that he derailed the Cinderella Man story of Belfast hard man Martin Rogan once, controversially of course, but last weekend he returned to the white hot atmosphere of the Odyssey Arena to thoroughly dismantle the Rogan again. And within 24 hours his considerable achievement was completely outshone by some David v Goliath showdown. Continue reading “In the shadow of giants, Sexton wins”
If promoting a fight is craft, then David Haye has used every tool in the box to generate interest in this Saturday’s fight with Nicolay Valuev. He is an effervescent self-promoter who has used eye-catching gimmicks, distasteful commentary about Valuev’s personal hygiene, appeared on every talk-show, press event and personal appearance in order to force this fight to transcend the confines of the boxing audience. And, glory be, its working. Continue reading “David Haye, boxing’s new Barnum, continues to sell”
During the dim days of his post Buster Douglas career, I would maintain in the face of often fervent opposition that Mike Tyson was over-rated. That he succeeded in a weak era and through the many attempts to recycle the myth he tip toed around any of the risk-laden contenders of the 1990’s. Fighters like Ray Mercer, George Foreman, Shannon Briggs, David Tua were all punchers and held a shot** – Tyson wasn’t allowed near them. Evander Holyfield and latterly, Lennox Lewis further undermined the theory in emphatic triumphs over the ageing former champion. Continue reading “No electricity like Tyson electricity”
For those among the readership who frequent the virtual watering holes of boxrec.com, Eastsideboxing.com or the pop-up ridden DogHouseboxing.com then the name of Huddersfield trainer Chris Aston is a familiar one. Once a gutsy circuit pro, the flame-haired trainer enjoyed a golden period at the start of the decade as he provided stewardship to the notable careers of Mark Hobson, James Hare and Dale Robinson. Of late, Chris has been in the corner on the right hand side of the bill with under card tricksters like Youssef El Hamidi but I was delighted to read in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner that his newest batch of young fighters are now emerging. Continue reading “Chris Aston grooming the next generation”
He remains a media phenomenon, even now two whole decades removed from the last of his boxing peak and with a whole generation of boxing fans for whom he was never a consensus world-champion now fully grown. The time when the word Tyson was part of the language of the playground, of bars, of water-coolers (not that they were present in Blighty til after he lost) alongside Rocky Balboa is a distant memory. Tyson’s name became short-hand for power, speed, aggression, brutality and pain. Today’s vague, shallow and generally transparent suggestion that the 43 year-old may yet return to the ring only serves to prove the fascination with Iron Mike has proven timeless. Continue reading “The art of attracting web hits: Put Tyson in the title”