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.
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”
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”
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”
I wrote yesterday of Frankie ‘El Gato’ Figueroa’s unique ability to self-promote through the multitude of outlets the modern world of communication affords a fighter, contemporary David Haye is another advert for the power of a fresh approach to promotion. He was conspicuous in his use of the MySpace platform a year or two ago, collecting a rich bounty of busty twenty-somethings as friends on the premise of recruiting ring card girls, and blessed with good looks and an exciting, hard punching style his refreshingly candid manner in front of camera and his willingness to challenge giants on the top of elevators has rushed him into the consciousness of fight fans around the globe. But boy has he talked himself into a fight now. Continue reading “Look beyond the smiles; the Haye v Valuev build up begins”
In disturbing news, I’ve learned the WBC looks likely to withdraw sanction for the clash between Junior Witter and Devon Alexander due to a row over the assignment of officials. This weekend’s clash was to include Britain’s premier official, Richie Davies, as one of three ringside judges all assigned to the fight by the World Boxing Council. For reasons beyond the logic of any boxing observer, the Californian State Athletic Commission has rejected Davies. Presently, the fight will be officiated by a Californian and judged by officials from California, Mexico and Nevada and unless the stand-off is resolved, the WBC belt will not be on the line. Whether Witter would even go through with the fight without the prize is highly unlikely. Continue reading “Exclusive: Witter v Alexander not for the title? WBC withdraw sanction!”
For 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!”
In any consideration of those who transcended boxing over the past 30 years and found a place in the consciousness of the general public; Ali, Foreman and Tyson would surely stand head and shoulders above even Sugar Ray Leonard, Prince Naseem Hamed and Oscar DeLaHoya. Though not strictly a sporting figure, having never seen combat inside the ring, I think the man who stood between Ali and Foreman back in 1974 and who oversaw much of the money-making period of Mike Tyson’s career is arguably boxing’s fourth most recognisable face, Don King. Does this week’s signing of Barrera show an ebbing significance or the beginning of a renaissance for boxing’s most infamous promoter?