Boxing: A golden time – it wasn’t always so good.

We have no time to stand and stare. And stare as long as sheep or cows. No time to see, when woods we pass, Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

W.H. Davies, ‘Leisure’ c1911

Parking had been difficult, as was finding the venue itself, and I was late for the show. It was long since dark and the city still intimidated me a little despite my projection of belonging. I broke into a jog between the pools of street light on my way to the Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre, London. It was late March, 2002. Continue reading “Boxing: A golden time – it wasn’t always so good.”

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VIP Boxing: Rehman impresses in stoppage win

Rochdale’s Bilal ‘Billy The Kid’ Rehman won the battle of the unbeaten 10-stone prospects on the entertaining Steve Wood card in Manchester tonight, stopping Ashley Peyton in the last of eight rounds. He is a fighter to look out for, he certainly relished the opportunity to fight an opponent with ambition and a low guard.

Continue reading “VIP Boxing: Rehman impresses in stoppage win”

Boxing: The Ali Files by Norman Giller – A review

The-Ali-Files-1

Within the pages of The Ali Files, from the pen of the prolific Norman Giller, there is a gift for boxing fans young and old. Particularly those for whom Muhammad Ali is an experience afforded by the proxy of film or television interview or those of us desensitised to his brilliance by time and the ensuing mythologising and marketing of his story.

In The Ali Files, Giller has returned Muhammad to his rightful home. The ring. The place where the story began and where his legend was hewn. It serves to refresh us all, including the great man himself.   Continue reading “Boxing: The Ali Files by Norman Giller – A review”

Audley Harrison. The importance of the man who wouldn’t be King.

Photo: Dave Shopland

Lennox Lewis strode, languidly down the aisle,. The glow of certainty and phosphorous bulbs surrounding him. Assurance screamed silently from his tall, imposing frame.  That famous stillness, the type which led him to sleep in the dressing room before a big fight,  serving to multiply the latent power beneath.

Lewis the lion, on a high rock stealing shade behind dark glasses and verifying the significance of proceedings merely by being present. Continue reading “Audley Harrison. The importance of the man who wouldn’t be King.”

Wladimir Klitschko, dominance and the burden of proof

Historically, dominance is a fleeting experience in the heavyweight division. Perhaps, thankfully fleeting. In the last century we’ve seen a number of periods in which one fighter reigned over the sports blue ribbon division. Louis, Marciano, Holmes, Tyson. An exalted list of greatness. Once in a generation fighters who destroyed their contemporaries and illuminated their respective eras. Something else unified those luminaries; the lack of a defining opponent.

Wladimir Klitschko, who turns 38 ahead of his next defence, is in the Autumn of a career even by today’s extended measure. Like those illustrious greats he finds himself searching for an opponent who will offer triumphant definition to his manicured statistics or risk being remembered for a defeat to Lamon Brewster in 2004 or a slew of moribund victories similar to the one he will accumulate in April when he tackles over-matched Alex Leapai.

Continue reading “Wladimir Klitschko, dominance and the burden of proof”

Boxing: Bobby Gunn and James Toney in a room. Never going to be tea and biscuits.

It may surprise some readers to learn Bobby Gunn causes the biggest spike in readership whenever I cobble (do you see what I did there) together a news or opinion piece on the plucky prizefighter. Avoyd Mayweather holds nothing on the scrapper once spectacularly referred to as “the most ferocious fighter since Jack Dempsey” ahead of a one round mauling at the fists of Enzo Maccarinelli. He also fought Tomasz Adamek for another portion of the Cruiserweight title so his notoriety isn’t entirely hollow. I ducked any coverage of his bare-knuckle contests on principle but I must confess to a curious interest in his next bout. A clash with James Toney. Yes, the real one. Continue reading “Boxing: Bobby Gunn and James Toney in a room. Never going to be tea and biscuits.”

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: Reassembling a defeated fighter, Kevin Mitchell begins to convince

The winning of a prizefight is decided by a complex equation. Combining as it does the unquantifiable x and y’s of the scientific and the visceral, the physical and the emotional. Each aspect of a fighter’s make-up contributes to his equilibrium and the tipping point between winning and losing. These variables are infinite and even at a fight’s conclusion, the outcome can remain subjective and the underlying building blocks for success and failure only ever partially revealed.

Continue reading “Boxing: Reassembling a defeated fighter, Kevin Mitchell begins to convince”

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 relies on Don King and Terry Dooley for sense and integrity!

donking2For a man accused of just about every sin possible within the parameters of boxing and capable of bamboozling writers with quotes and sentiments drawn from Twain to Churchill it says a lot about the sport he inhabits, that veteran promoter Don King is the sole voice of reason in the aftermath of the Khan v Barrera contest. Well, alongside Terry Dooley at BritishBoxing.net at least. Dooley is a fearless, if slightly dishevelled, writer who can always see through the mist,  and is unafraid of running against the grain. Dooley titled his review of the fight; “Say what you like but Khan should never have won”. Continue reading “Boxing relies on Don King and Terry Dooley for sense and integrity!”

Boxing: Frank Maloney’s cold-shower for Belshaw’s prospects

Every press release I’ve read about big Scott Belshaw has been doused heavily in salt. Frank Maloney is a wise old hand at generating attention for his fighters and he’s used every reference possible to project Belshaw as a raw puncher with a big future. Last week Belshaw was calling out Audley Harrison, who for all his vulnerability and idiosyncrasies, would walk through Belshaw in less than a minute. Yes, that Audley. Continue reading “Boxing: Frank Maloney’s cold-shower for Belshaw’s prospects”

Boxing: A Nightingale Sang In Iran Barkley Square

Barkley2Boxing’s lack of structure is never more apparent than in the plight of retired fighters struggling to eke out an existence. Somehow ageing and the problems of ensuing retirement, seems more acute than on any other sportsman. Proud warriors, frightening, thunderous, larger than life characters humbled and humiliated by their loss of youth. A loss they so rarely see approaching. Lifetimes spent proving their physical superiority over the man opposing and, seemingly, the world at large – if only for a moment, replaced by an inability to function, provide or find direction in their post boxing life is an acute and distressing contrast. Continue reading “Boxing: A Nightingale Sang In Iran Barkley Square”

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