Veterans Bika and Soliman return, Meehan the younger continues

Old age is no place for sissies!

Bette Davis, Actress, 1908-1989

A reader challenged my expressed frustration with the sport this week. Commenting that the incompetence and imperfection I was bemoaning at the time, in the wake of poor officiating on the Warrington v Lara card last weekend, was precisely the reason boxing draws writers to write. That its ugliness is, in truth, its beauty. The pursuit of the ‘right’ contests, of certainty, of a sense of hierarchy and regulation, seemingly abundant in all other sports, is the bittersweet joy of boxing.

There may be a seed of truth in that. Were it as simple as it really ought to be, perhaps some of the high points wouldn’t seem so high?

For now, chaos is the preeminent theme. Within that reality, peculiar storylines, far from the mountain tops of world title fights, are permissible, from the romantic to the deplorable, they add texture to the patchwork eiderdown the sport bunkers beneath. Stories like the return of two stubborn old Australian veterans who really should know better and the son of their contemporary taking another step in his boxing career in New Zealand.

Continue reading “Veterans Bika and Soliman return, Meehan the younger continues”

Steve Forbes and a tale as old as time

In 2004, in the illuminating The Seven Basic Plots, Christopher Booker proposed there were only seven scenarios on which the incalculable number of books we read are based. Most of the seven, with perhaps the exception of comedy, unless pith and sarcasm make you smile, are told and retold in the pages of boxing history.

From the bare knuckle savagery and steam boats of the 1800s, to the sepia, black and white and technicolour of the 20th century and on to to the high definition and pay per view of the modern day, those half a dozen narratives have echoed through the ages. A constant set of storylines in an endeavour dripping with the fool’s gold of nostalgia and more deeply entwined with the human stories of it’s protaganists than many contemporary pursuits. More is risked, more is lost, more is gained.

The news Steve Forbes, one of the sport’s nice guys, is making a comeback offers further evidence that fighters, no matter how well told the story of failed returns has been, always believe they will find a new ending, a plot twist, success where others perished.

Despite their will, they’re invariably wrong. Continue reading “Steve Forbes and a tale as old as time”

Boxing: Sakio Bika, a ghost from Calzaghe’s past returns to the fore

Debate about the substance of Joe Calzaghe’s career will enthrall boxing fans for decades to come, his standing will ebb and flow with the passage of time and in all likelihood forever divide opinion thus – he was an all-time great who dominated his division for 10 years or, alternatively, he was a great fighter with a weak resume who ‘cherry-picked’ his way to retirement. When I look back on his career as Donald McRae in-depth interview with Calzaghe for Boxing News encouraged me to this morning, I don’t point to the Lacy fight, the Kessler war or the Hopkins victory as the night or nights which define Joe the fighter, nor do they provide helpful synopsis of his career. I think for so many reasons his brawl with Cameroon-born Australian hard man Sakio Bika epitomised his career more than any other single fight. Continue reading “Boxing: Sakio Bika, a ghost from Calzaghe’s past returns to the fore”

Smith v Quigley as it happens: Live

Paul SmithGenuine electricity in the air as fellow Liverpudlians clash for the British Super Middleweight title, thankfully officiated by Richie Davies – the most respected referee in the country. Each time these two have met in the build up to this fight, sparks have flown. It could be about who holds their composure in the red-hot arena of the Echo arena. If it does, Smith holds the greater experience. Continue reading “Smith v Quigley as it happens: Live”

Sexton wins Prizefighter 2; is it really drawing new fans?

Always enlightening to watch an event like this with those not keenly interested in the sport. Spend too much time on Internet forums and it is entirely possible to succumb to the assumption EVERYONE is interested in boxing. Of course they are not. An evening at my old local, The Windmill in the former coal-mining town of Thorne near Doncaster, reintroduced me to this harsh reality, it left me wondering whether this supposedly fan-friendly concept really could attract new fans? Continue reading “Sexton wins Prizefighter 2; is it really drawing new fans?”

Boxing: Natural order is restored – Forrest dominates Mora

The Contender series wasn’t a reality show in the popular sense of the word. I’m always disgusted when mainstream reporters refer to its contestants, when partaking in significant out-of-show bouts, as “reality show winners”. It misleads the uninitiated, implying those who featured were not ‘real’ boxers but talented wannabees, celebrities even. Fighters like Steve Forbes, Peter Manfredo and Alfonso Gomez were professional fighters long-before their participation in the ground-breaking series.

Continue reading “Boxing: Natural order is restored – Forrest dominates Mora”

Archive: Is the Rocky road boxing’s only path to redemption?


Archive: 20/10/2006 

The recent renaissance of interest in boxing has been palpable. Stirred by the success of Joe Calzaghe, David Haye and the impending super fight between Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather the recently beleaguered and oft discarded sport of boxing is back on the sports pages, back on the television and back in the consciousness of the British public. Only a year ago, I contemplated whether boxing was in terminal decline and wondered who or what could provide catalyst to a revival. The greatest comeback fighter of all?

Continue reading “Archive: Is the Rocky road boxing’s only path to redemption?”

Contender, controversial and clap trap

Bullshit2I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the premise and execution of the Contender series. Pitching together undiscovered gems, gutsy veterans and nearly men tapped into a global love of the underdog and reintroduced many mainstream and casual fans to the bitter reality of boxing. It told stories, and a fighter story is as compelling a reason for following a particular fighter’s fortunes as his in the ring potential.

Continue reading “Contender, controversial and clap trap”

Ruddy cheeked and ready, boxing is back baby!

How fickle the fortunes of British boxing, and boxing in general in fact. A year or less ago, every article spoke of the terminal outlook of boxing’s various ills. Naysayers pointed to the rise of Mixed Martial Arts and its most notable body, the UFC. David Haye’s weekend capture of the World Cruiserweight title and Joe Calzaghe’s acceptance as a modern day great are the latest links in a chain of good news that has transformed the complexion of British boxing.

For now, the doom-merchants have been vanquished, the threat of UFC forgotten and boxing galvanised.

Continue reading “Ruddy cheeked and ready, boxing is back baby!”

Contender Star Paul Smith In Action Dec 8

Paul SmithUnbeaten Contender star Paul Smith Jnr., re-emerges domestically from his successful stint in the third series of the boxing reality show stateside on the December 8th card scheduled for the Bolton Arena (according to or the Reebok stadium (according to Smith’s Myspace circular). Regardless of venue, presumably, it will be a support for Amir Khan’s tangle with Graham Earl.

Continue reading “Contender Star Paul Smith In Action Dec 8”

Boxing: Who gives a Froch about experience?

On paper, Carl Froch versus former WBC World Champion Robin Reid is a terrific battle, positioning the veteran Runcorn man as the final, and arguably, superfluous gatekeeper to the British champion’s ascent to the international scene.

In reality, Froch doesn’t need the fight to further substantiate his credibility on the domestic scene, but a knee operation has encouraged caution, a pause for breath before capitalising on his high rankings with every sanctioning body.

Continue reading “Boxing: Who gives a Froch about experience?”

Pugilistic Dementia; Something old, something new?

MikeQFew writers met the news of Oscar DeLaHoya intention to continue fighting with the type of disappointment expressed by Bill Dwyre at the LA Times. Is every other writer too entrenched in the hushed, unspoken agreement to keep boxing relevant, to comment objectively? Is Bill the sole voice of reason? Recycling the last remaining superstars of the 1990’s is a tired but reliable format after all. Continue reading “Pugilistic Dementia; Something old, something new?”

Plucky Gomez Talks About Gatti Victory

gOMEZ22I’m not alone in following the career of gutsy Mexican Alfonso Gomez. His heart-warming willingness to face series favourite Peter Manfredo in the opening show of Contender 1 endeared the soft-featured Welterweight to millions around the world. It is that exposure that facilitated his own elevation to elite competition. Notoriety over achievement. Ticket sales over ability. But the difference with Gomez’s opportunity, as opposed to Manfredo’s against Calzaghe is, Gomez delivered. Those who saw him beat the bigger, more seasoned Manfredo weren’t surprised. Continue reading “Plucky Gomez Talks About Gatti Victory” Tribute Wear

Hatton THatton TBegun on an idle whim, the BoxingWriter Tribute Wear has proved tremendously popular and exceeded expectation. Sales of t-shirts featuring the likes of Marciano, Hearns and Tapia have been well received and dispatched to satisfied customers within 2-3 days of order receipt and the feedback on quality has been favourable too. Check them out… Continue reading “ Tribute Wear”

Danny Green Tackles Reality Star Griffin

GriffinForgotten in the wake of The Contender’s global success as a boxing reality show, Next Great Champ – the show fronted by Oscar DeLaHoya – produced its own victor a year or two back when Otis Griffin secured the $500,000 prize. It seems the kudos associated with that triumph is now set to start delivering for him. He’s been selected as Aussie hard-man Danny Green’s next opponent. It represents a significant step up for the 29 year old who goes by the curious alias of Triple OG. Continue reading “Danny Green Tackles Reality Star Griffin”

Hasim Rahman Back For More

RahmanFormer World-Champion Hasim Rahman returns on Thursday against peripheral American contender Taurus Sykes in a minor title bout. Rahman is confident victory over Sykes will pave the way for what feels like his 17th shot at the title. Obviously, that isn’t the case but he has undoubtedly failed to live up to the potential he showed beating Lennox Lewis in his key bouts since.

Continue reading “Hasim Rahman Back For More”

Rhodes Flattens Buchanan in One

RyanIt’s been a while since Ryan Rhodes demonstrated the type of form he did yesterday in knocking out game Paul Buchanan in the opener. Traditionally, known for his speed of hand and elusive style – at least those were his trademarks in a youth that saw him capture the British title in record time – the knockout power displayed has been an absent friend in recent years. Continue reading “Rhodes Flattens Buchanan in One”

Most Over Used Words in Boxing

Manfredo2The recent press release pertaining to Peter Manfredo’s next bout caused a tremor of discomfort in my sensitive sensibilities. And this dissatisfaction centred on one key word in the brief release; controversial. In recent years the word controversial has become a broad church for a litany of different conclusions to fights. Whether points, knockout or other intervention the word controversial undermines victory, excuses defeat and adds further murk to boxing’s inherently muddy water. Continue reading “Most Over Used Words in Boxing”

Gatti to Tackle Gomez in July.

AlfonsoFew fighters demonstrate the resolve and determination regularly delivered by Arturo Gatti during his long and eventful career and precious few are held in such affection by boxing fans around the globe. A reputation for effort, entertainment and sheer bloody mindedness has earned Arturo Gatti a very special place in boxing folklore, his name etched alongside more gifted fighters because of the ‘Human Highlight Reel’ his career has become. Continue reading “Gatti to Tackle Gomez in July.”

The Weekend Long-Shot

CuckooI 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.

Continue reading “The Weekend Long-Shot”

What do jer maine Mora’s out?

MoraAccording 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?”

Alfonso Gomez: Contender Star

AlfonsoI 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”

Come Back and Finish What You Started

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”

Sugar Ray Too Sweet About Amir Khan

LeonardThere is little doubt Sugar Ray Leonard is one of the finest atheletes to ever grace the sport. Victories over Hearns, Duran and Hagler alone earn him a place in any debate on the greatest fighter of all time. It isn’t a crown he could claim but he isn’t out of place in the discussion.

However, following a brief spell as a promoter after his final retirement he has returned to the consciousness of boxing fans as the face of The Contender series – a show pitting peripheral contenders against one another in a last man standing format. The series has proved popular enough in America, where both series winners and many of the supporting fighters have gained acclaim and recognition beyond their ability and potential. Continue reading “Sugar Ray Too Sweet About Amir Khan”

The Contender Arrives in the UK

RossFollowing success Stateside, the Contender concept will take its bow in the UK later this year and will feature a host of Welterweight/Light Middleweights with much to prove.

Provocatively pitched against American counterparts including Cornelius Brundage and Grady Brewer, the likes of Ross Minter, Wayne Alexander and Nigel Wright will seek to grasp the undoubted noteriety and attention the series generates. Continue reading “The Contender Arrives in the UK”

Ossie Duran v Contender Reid

OssieRugged former Commonwealth champion, Ossie Duran continues his Stateside career next week when he faces veteran of Contender Series 1, Jonathan Reid. From memory Reid was the first to depart the show, despite entering as arguably the most decorated of the group.

To British fans, Duran is well known from his time based here. Tough, good reach and decent ability he has a victory over Jamie Moore, though Moore retired injured in truth Duran was on top when the fight was stopped, and his recent defeat to Bradley Pryce a surprise given their respective form a the time. Continue reading “Ossie Duran v Contender Reid”

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