Archive: Bernard, do not go gently into that good night

Photo credit: Jeremy Phillips

Published December 31st 2016 at british boxers.co.uk

In the breathless still before his final defeat, when the surge of the crowd left his ears and the noise of his own pulse flooded in, Bernard Hopkins must have known, as all wise men at the end know, darkness was coming and the cruel affirmation of “Special-Common” had failed to fork lightening. The two-years inactive, close to 52 years old, gnarled veteran had refused to go gently into the night. Instead, he had to be punched from it, through it and knocked into, not tomorrow, but yesterday by boxing’s truest maxim; nobody gets out on their own terms. Not even you Bernard. Continue reading “Archive: Bernard, do not go gently into that good night”

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Boxing: Cleverly pulls out but still hopeful of landing Hopkins – really?

Despite the lack of substance Robin Krasniqi had on his resume, it is regrettable that the custodian of the WBO‘s Light-heavyweight belt, Nathan Cleverly was unable to defend it against him. For all the clamour for more progressive matchmaking for the young Welshman I’m equally eager to see busy fighters. Too many modern day boxers reach title level, whether domestic or international, and adopt the status of a religious deity. Permitting themselves just one or two public appearances a year.  While fight-figures always maintain fighters are made in gyms, I’m an advocate of the alternate view that fighters develop through competition and activity. One destination you wouldn’t expect this lost fight to lead to however is, Bernard ruddy Hopkins. Continue reading “Boxing: Cleverly pulls out but still hopeful of landing Hopkins – really?”

Boxing: Frank Warren – “It would be a tough fight but even if he got beat, so what?”

I cannot think of a statement of more significance, if it is upheld, than the one Frank Warren delivered to the BBC in his attempt to substantiate the suggestion Nathan Cleverly is being primed for a ‘unification’ fight with Bernard Hopkins later this year. Followers of the noble art are well versed in the model Warren usually employs in his promotion of an unbeaten fighter like Cleverly; offer the fighter every advantage through shrewd matchmaking via the vagaries of the WBO’s ranking system and  home comforts while simultaneously tantalising the public with tales of forthcoming opponents. Continue reading “Boxing: Frank Warren – “It would be a tough fight but even if he got beat, so what?””

Boxing: Nobody gets out on their own terms, not even Hopkins

It was sad to see Bernard Hopkins, a fighter who has battled the boxing establishment, its promotional and managerial cartels and the perceived wisdom that tried to dictate to him for twenty years finished by one of the sports unshakeable truths; nobody leaves the sport on their own terms.  Bernard has spent the past decade and specifically, the last 5 years selling his resistance to the ageing process. Alas, a cruel injury may snatch the crescendo he still pursued from this curious if inexplosive tale. Continue reading “Boxing: Nobody gets out on their own terms, not even Hopkins”

Boxing: Old school, new school? Cleverly and Bellew spat

For those of a certain antiquity, the increasingly ubiquitous press conference rumpus between world-class Light-Heavyweight contender Nathan Cleverly and champion of the Commonwealth Tony Bellew will have proven distasteful. Others of more recent vintage will be torn. Nurtured as we were on the polarised demeanours of the ever urbane Lennox Lewis, the pantomime charm of Frank Bruno and the caustic atmosphere of all things Benn and Eubank, it is hard to either embrace or condemn the two ‘headline’ novices. I’m caught between the conflicting etiquettes I grew up with. Continue reading “Boxing: Old school, new school? Cleverly and Bellew spat”

Boxing: What a tangled web we weave. Tarver and Fury practice to deceive

There is a hierarchy to everything. Whether it be a pack of wolves, heavyweights or journalists. No demographic or social organism exists without either a class system or a distinct pyramid of significance or achievement. In the wild, the theory of evolution demands this hierarchy is structured upon one simple principle. ‘Survival of the fittest’. Thus, the alpha animal remains so while ever he has the strength to repel younger aspirants. Continue reading “Boxing: What a tangled web we weave. Tarver and Fury practice to deceive”

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”

Holding out for a hero, is a new dawn really here?

Pavlik Taylor BoxingThere was a time recently when boxing fans were entitled to wonder if a next generation of top-level fighters were ever going to emerge. The class of the 90’s hung on. Reflecting the ageing demographic tag which was readily hung on the sport as it struggled for relevance among the emergence of UFC and amid the strain of nefarious sanctioning bodies who tore it apart from within. 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?”

You know the game is up when you’re dressed as Captain Hook

captain-hook-disney1I don’t wish to demean Roy Jones Jnr, one of the finest fighters of his, or any, generation, but the publicity shots circulated today showing the once pound for pound king of the sport dressed as Captain Hook, the infamous pirate from the Peter Pan stories made me laugh out loud.  I have to wonder whether the Light-Heavyweight great had a moment of self-awareness either before, during or after the shots were taken. Here is a man who  whipped McCallum, Hill, Hopkins, Toney and more – who was arguably the purest athlete the sport has seen reduced to wigs, props and gimmicks, surely he caught a glance of his reflection and posed the question to himself; “what the f*** am I doing?”. Continue reading “You know the game is up when you’re dressed as Captain Hook”

Adamek to ride shot Gunn

GunnBobby Gunn is a curious phenomenon. No other fighter, whether christened Floyd, Bernard or Oscar has engendered the type of readership and commentary that articles about the Celtic Warrior have. I suppose that might say as much about the sporadic readership of this gloomy corner of the blogosphere as any significance Gunn actually holds for boxing fans at large but it forces me to ensure his doubtless plucky lunge at Tomasz Adamek, the number one Cruiserweight in the world, doesn’t pass with out some message of good luck. Continue reading “Adamek to ride shot Gunn”

Froch rolling with the big guns

frochOriginally, the news Carl Froch was to feature in a six man round robin over two years on American network Showtime was met with little more than pithy sarcasm at BoxingWriter towers but now, two days later, it seems the proposed Froch, Taylor, Kessler, Abraham, Dirrell and Ward tournament is genuine and will begin with Froch v Dirrell in October – a twin venue double bill with Abraham v Taylor live from Germany. Continue reading “Froch rolling with the big guns”

“Deep water and hope he can swim”. Yada, yada, yada; Jermain Taylor leans on cliche

drowningI’m excited about the WBC Super-Middleweight contest between Nottingham’s Carl Froch and Arkansas’ Jermain Taylor,  it pitches two fighters together who are in their respective primes. It doesn’t rely on nostalgia, nor does it feature a network favourite and a cherry picked opponent. It isn’t quite the choice Froch has framed it to be, pursuing Taylor is noble given the posturing of preceding champions in the selection of foes, but Taylor, lest we forget, is Froch’s mandatory as he won a vacant title and Taylor beat Lacy in a final eliminator. However, for all the glass half full gloss it still beats Taylor’s reliance on an age old cliche to promote the fight. Continue reading ““Deep water and hope he can swim”. Yada, yada, yada; Jermain Taylor leans on cliche”

Tarver granted stay of execution; Dawson injured

ChadIt would be remiss of me to overlook the timeless performances of Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley in recent months before deploring the matchmakers and executives who compiled and approved the Chad Dawson v Antonio Tarver sequel. Perhaps Tarver’s sojourn to the Rocky Balboa film set has infected the romantics among the powerbrokers, who refuse to give up on Tarver despite Dawson’s complete domination of the ageing former champion last year. A Dawson hand injury postpones Tarver’s second portrayal of a man with a white chalk line around his youth. Continue reading “Tarver granted stay of execution; Dawson injured”

A Muscovite’s view of the Executioner’s song

It doesn’t matter where you sit. It doesn’t matter from where you viewed Saturday’s spectacle, Bernard Hopkins victory over Kelly Pavlik is arguably one of the most complete boxing clinics since, Barrera schooled Naseem Hamed perhaps? Andrew Mullinder captures the major emerging points from the fight in his regular summary from the chilly confines of his Russian residency.
Continue reading “A Muscovite’s view of the Executioner’s song”

Venerable Manuel Medina fights on

For all the criticism I aim at the likes of Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones and Evander Holyfield for their unwillingness to accept the passing of time and talent and for all the disappointment I feel hearing Marco Antonio Barrera and Chris Byrd are set to return to action it conversely provides great comfort to learn plucky veteran Manuel Medina is still performing close to his best well into his thirties. James Toney and Vitali Klitschko may garner more attention but neither has contested the number of world-titles the 37 year old Mexican has.

Continue reading “Venerable Manuel Medina fights on”

Mayweather, Lennox, Hamed, Hopkins; you can never win.

A few disparate references got me thinking this week. First it was the retirement of Floyd Mayweather, brought into sharper focus by this weekend’s Welterweight face off between Cotto and Margarito, then it was a YouTube compilation of Prince Naseem getting battered from pillar to post with super slow-mo’s to make the former Featherweight king look like a clown. And finally, it was the news Bernard Hopkins, the veteran determined not to fight beyond 40 to keep a promise to his mother, apparently signing to fight Kelly Pavlik just shy of his 45th birthday. Too early, too late, boxing fans will crucify you either way.

Continue reading “Mayweather, Lennox, Hamed, Hopkins; you can never win.”

Calzaghe gets his trophy opponent

LongevityIt has been a long time coming. Years in the wilderness of WBO mandatories, late replacements and injury induced postponements left Joe Calzaghe close to “pound for pound” obscurity. Despite an unbeaten record, a dazzling fighting style and acceptance as the premier fighter at 168 pounds it required victories over Jeff Lacy, when decapitation was widely predicted by the American press, and rock hard Dane Mikkel Kessler in an unification bout to introduce Calzaghe to the major leagues. There remained a caveat to his new found status;  his record lacks an opponent of historic significance. By April 20th, that will all change.

Continue reading “Calzaghe gets his trophy opponent”

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

Rocky

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?”

Standing room only; the Calzaghe bandwagon

GlovesThe only thing quicker than Joe Calzaghe’s fists on Saturday night, aside from how quickly one could predict the outcome of the entire under card, was the alacrity post-fight pundits demonstrated hoisting the Welshmen from ‘over-protected’, ‘unfulfilled veteran’ to ‘all-time great’. I cannot extract myself entirely from the criticism of such unsavoury haste having maligned Calzaghe more than once for the injuries and timid matchmaking that wasted much of his youth. I was never guilty of saying he couldn’t fight though. Continue reading “Standing room only; the Calzaghe bandwagon”

Boxing: Mikkel Kessler is Taylor made for Calzaghe

KesslerI fear this story line could become a theme of the next few weeks as experienced promoters Mogens Palle (Kessler) and Frank Warren (Calzaghe) carefully manoeuvre their ‘pieces’ in a bid to gain the upper hand in negotiations, both privately and in the public’s perception,  for the proposed clash between the two belt holders. Joe Calzaghe has changed his tune on his most desirable opponent once more following Jermaine Taylor’s soporific defence versus Cory Spinks last month, suddenly Mikkel Kessler is “the man”. Continue reading “Boxing: Mikkel Kessler is Taylor made for Calzaghe”

Archive: The Final Curtain – Tyson, Holyfield & Jones Jnr.

Jones JnrI 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.

Continue reading “Archive: The Final Curtain – Tyson, Holyfield & Jones Jnr.”

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