Precious few heavyweights polarise opinion in the way Audley Harrison does. Maybe that is part of the fascination with him. Maybe that enigmatic quality is what draws observers back to the story despite a series of tame defeats to mediocre fighters. The Mona Lisa is neither the most beautiful subject nor the most technically perfect painting but it endures as the most famous artwork in history (arguably) because of the interpretation her expression is open to. It isn’t definite. It has depth beyond the brush strokes da Vinci swabbed across the canvas. Much like Harrison, who has conjured few moments of brilliance during his own career on the canvas and yet holds a depth of fascination few others can match. However, despite the critics and the years completed since his first low point of being dropped by the BBC he is on the brink of the title shot he told us all along he would get to. Continue reading “Boxing: Long and winding road. Six years since the BBC dumped Audley”
Now aged 33, the career of Joan Guzman is a curious one. An unfulfilled one. Despite being a decorated Amateur and world-championship belts in two divisions, the Dominican has failed to deliver on his unquestionable talent and has frozen himself out of the title pictures from 126 to 140 pounds. Oscar De La Hoya will need every ounce of his wealth and charisma to play Midas to ‘Lil Tyson’s’ stuttering career. Continue reading “Wrestling with fog, Golden Boy seeks to tame Guzman”
David Haye is the toast of the boxing media presently thanks to his shrewdly selected but nevertheless impressive debut at heavyweight, sinking Tomasz Bonin in a round, title triumphs at Cruiserweight and latterly his destruction of the seasoned Monte Barrett. He has subsequently emerged as a loquacious rival for Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko to embrace or avoid – depending on the prevalent press release at the time of reading.
However, there was a time when his confidence took him into territory from which his right hand couldn’t provide escape. He took on Carl ‘The Cat’ Thompson in 2004 before he was ready and came unstuck. It was one of the most enthralling, absorbing and punishing contests I’ve had the privilege to cover from ringside.
The sorry tale of Scott Harrison lurched to a new low this week when he was sentenced to a total of 8 months imprisonment for assaulting his girlfriend and a police-officer alongside being found guilty of driving whilst 4-times over the legal limit. Should Harrison remain at Her Majesty’s service for the entire sentence, he will emerge, squinting at the crumbled remnants of his life, a fast-approaching 32nd birthday and over 3 years of professional inactivity. Not to mention a destructive thirst he can never quench.
Three years on from the first publication of this article on thesweetscience.com, its hard to comprehend that the career of Evander Holyfield should still be an active topic. He had been consigned to the scrap heap innumerable times already by 2005 and yet still steadfastly refused to yield to the dieing of the light. At the time of release the first formal steps to forcible retire the proud warrior had been taken, they proved pointless and rightfully so.
TSS Archive: 18/01/2007
It is a worn analogy to compare boxers with hookers, but for those fighters who eek out a career well beneath the remuneration and spotlight of the bill toppers the cliche undoubtedly has some resonance. Former British title challenger Alan Bosworth is one such heart on his sleeve puncher who walked away from the sport he’s loved and loathed in equal measure for most of his life with precious little to show for the sacrifices he’s made to compete. Continue reading “Archive: Knowing You’re Born: A Boxer’s Tale”
I’ve read with interest the numerous articles pertaining to Scott Harrison’s impending return. Owen Slot of The Times probably summarising the topic best. The return of his withdrawn licence, in light of host of misdemeanours at home and abroad, strikes me as a routine decision for the British Boxing Board of Control and the former WBO belt holder will soon be sending shivers down the spines of Super-Featherweights at weigh-ins once more. Continue reading “Archive: Scott Harrison Looking To Crash Party”
News former Commonwealth Welterweight champion Ali Nuumbembe is to return to Namibia following a six-year adventure into professional boxing here in the UK has already been well documented. In fact, Ali’s remarkable life, from the civil war of his youth, the death and disappearance of family members to life in a caravan in Glossop, has also been recorded and retold thoroughly and comprehensively. Continue reading “Farewell Ali Nuumbembe”
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?
Chorley’s Michael Jennings, the Welterweight contender to whom the WBU pay homage as their world champion, returns to the ring on the 28th, headlining a Guild Hall, Preston card on which he stays busy versus sturdy Ukrainian Vladimir Khodovoski; a fighter durable enough to go the distance with classy campaigners like Stevie Johnston and Kendall Holt. The bout is close to two years on from Jenning’s tumultuous British title defence with Bradley Pryce, his last successful defence of the classic title before losing the belt to Young Muttley in early 2006. Continue reading “Archive: Jennings Survives British Barnburner”
First published at TheSweetScience.com
14th November 2005
If it’s true that boxing sold its soul to television networks a generation ago, eagerly snatching pay-per-view’s 30 pieces of silver and prostituting itself on the behest of an array of clandestine figures and their grubby titles. The story of Ali Nuumbembe, a Namibian welterweight, and philanthropic publican Chad Parker with whom he plots a path to boxing glory from the obscurity of a refitted caravan in Glossop, England, will help remind fans that for all its faults, boxing remains the sport “to which all other sports aspire.”
Exactly two years to the day since this article was first published on thesweetscience.com, Bernard Hopkins continues to deny the obituary, professional at least, I recorded following his defeat to Jermaine Taylor in 2005. The fact, aged 42, he can still compete at elite level – he faces pound for pound great Winky Wright at 170 pounds – is astonishing. Continue reading “Archive: “Tonight I’m Gonna Party Like It’s 1999!””
It’s hard to believe three years have already elapsed since I interviewed Bobby Vanzie for the second time – the first being shortly before his destruction of Anthony Maynard. Occasionally, the language may seem more contrived than you would anticipate but Bobby preferred to consider some of his responses and respond via email as opposed to in person. In the time that has passed, I’ve grown to regard the retired former British and Commonwealth champion as a friend. But interviewing him back in 2004 remains a great thrill.
The on-going ‘will they, wont they’ soap opera between the camps of Mikkel Kessler and Joe Calzaghe is not a new phenomenon. Debate on the relative merit of Calzaghe’s career and whether the veteran Welshman will ever have opportunity to deliver on his immense ability in signature bouts has been running ever since he floored Chris Eubank in 1997. It certainly feels that way anyway. Nobody could doubt the courage of Calzaghe the fighter but finding him the type of illustrious opponents his talent needs has become a weapon for the doubters. Did Calzaghe really want the big fights enough? Continue reading “Archive: The Dragon That Cried Wolf”
Close to two years have passed since the first widely whispered rumours of a split between Ricky Hatton and Frank Warren were heard, on the cusp of signing a new ITV contract the timing couldn’t have been worse for Warren who must have relied heavily on Hatton’s star to entice the terrestrial broadcaster. I wrote a piece at the time reflecting on this emerging news and Warren’s ability to survive. Considering he has lost Hatton, Scott Harrison and Johnny Nelson during that period Warren has juggled well to still have a chance of contract renewal. But then he always survives. Continue reading “Archive: Frank Warren, A Boxing Survivor”
As the first contract between British broadcaster ITV and promoter Frank Warren draws to a close and negotiations begin on a new contract, it seemed relevant to pause and remember how the news ITV were to return to professional boxing was greeted. In an article for thesweetscience.com, I took an optimistic view of the partnership’s potential and revelled in the nostalgia of hearing that famous theme tune one more time. As Nigel Benn once famously said “I preferred boxing when it was on ITV”. Continue reading “Archive: Big Fight Live – Boxing returns to ITV”
I penned this article toward the end of 2004 for thesweetscience.com, intended to be the first to provide obituary on the careers of three of the modern era’s finest fighters it now seems premature as only Iron Mike has listened to his body and given up trying to fool opponents and fans that he can still reclaim his unfulfilled youth and potential.
With further clouds brewing over Scott Harrison, it felt pertinent to recall the capable fighter Harrison once was. Next week two years will have elapsed since his clash with Manchester’s Michael Brodie – one of boxing’s most genuine nearly men. It was an engaging contest and, in retrospect, a great shame it didn’t prove the final step before richly rewarding clashes with the Featherweight elite. Now sadly synonymous with drink rather than boxing, once a upon a time Scott Harrison was a bloody good fighter.
The news Joan Guzman is to step up to 135 pounds to challenge WBO Lightweight belt holder Michael Katsidas will further endear the enigmatic puncher to boxing fans. Once known as a ‘Lil Tyson’, the proud native of the Dominican Republic prefers to compare himself to Marvin Hagler stylistically and aspires to become a hero to his countrymen in the way Julio Cesar Chavez was to Mexicans. Continue reading “Archive: King to a Republic”
An article plucked from back in the summer of 2004, in the days preceding Danny Williams’ challenge to Mike Tyson. With a perspective on the significance of the bout for British boxing as a whole and specifically its hope of sustaining significance and resonance with the next generation of sports fans. Continue reading “Archive: British Boxing’s Road to Redemption”
Acquaintances of mine often mock my willingness to name-check thesweetscience.com, a website set up to promote the best of boxing writing and featuring a premier roster of contributors. You see, there I go again. However, whatever the critics and cynics may suggest I’m proud of a number of the articles I submitted. In a quest to preserve them beyond any further collapse of their site. I intend to feature one of my submissions from time to time. The Solitary Life of a Boxing fan is a melancholic assessment of the life of a niche sports fan. Continue reading “Archive: The Solitary Life of a Boxing Fan”