Benn faces a nightmare in pursuit of an ill-advised dream

I wrote about Sakio Bika once. He’s the type of prize fighter you perhaps only write about once. Which is not to say he isn’t a boxer of note, or a person of depth and interest, the former Super-Middleweight belt holder has performed at world level for much of his professional career after all.

However, the challenge of defining his fighting style, to fall on the closest cliché boxing has to offer regarding awkward opponents, is hard to look good against.

The news this week that Nigel Benn had convinced himself he can recapture a significant proportion of the fighter he once was brought only one happy thought to mind. I now have a go to phrase to describe Sakio Bika that conveys some of what made him difficult for men as talented as Joe Calzaghe, Markus Beyer and Anthony Dirrell to overcome in their prime. It isn’t catchy, but it gets the job done.

If you’re 55 and planning a return to boxing having not fought in 23 years, the last person you want to fight is Sakio Bika.

Thank you Nigel. Continue reading “Benn faces a nightmare in pursuit of an ill-advised dream”

Ciao Enzo. Another boxing giant departs

Article first appeared in issue 22 of Knockout London Magazine

Biadu quie ischeddat in palas anzenas*

Sardinian Proverb

It is a sign of the passing of time that the heroes we hold most dear are leaving. The great talismanic figures we revere; totems within their chosen landscape, their accomplishments and influence reaching far beyond the lives they physically touch, are, one by one, beginning to depart. Earlier this year, boxing bade a sad farewell to the beloved Irish sage Brendan Ingle and now, with the autumn barely upon us, his death is compounded by the loss of a similarly diminutive colossus; Enzo Calzaghe. Continue reading “Ciao Enzo. Another boxing giant departs”

Going mainstream. Anthony Joshua, the rogue who charmed your Gran

There was a time when boxing in Britain on Saturday night meant Colin Dunne or Jawaid Khaliq and circuit pros like Rakhim Mingaleyev and Dariusz Snarski. The latter, solid, earnest little scrappers but unknown in their own hometowns, the former, World Champions as the term was cheaply distributed at the time. Heavyweight fights meant a butcher from Chesterfield or an ex-Rugby League player from Featherstone. ‘Event logistics’ amounted to twisting brass handles to lever basketball hoops from vertical to horizontal before Mike and his crew arrived to erect posts, canvas and ropes to the eyrie abyss. Nobody checked train schedules or whether U2 had left town. Continue reading “Going mainstream. Anthony Joshua, the rogue who charmed your Gran”

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”

Ward retires undefeated and he will beat the comeback call too

The fact Andre Ward’s retirement leaves a bittersweet taste shouldn’t surprise those of us who could appreciated his skill and yet felt infuriated by his inactivity. His scripted departure message was as deft and well crafted as some of his performances in a professional career that began in December 2004 and an unbeaten run that stretched back to his teens. Continue reading “Ward retires undefeated and he will beat the comeback call too”

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: 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”

The Entertainer – Bradley Pryce back at Welterweight against Bami

Bradley Pryce is arguably the United Kingdom’s best value for money fighter, a telling attribute in these austere times and he will next month return to something approaching his most productive weight class when it is reported he will tackle veteran former European champion Ted Bami at the classic 147 pound limit. Despite his less than pristine personal life as a young professional Pryce has always left everything in the ring come fight night from back in his days as a string-bean Lightweight, his fatigued victory over Gavin Down at 140 pounds, his compulsive dust-up with Michael Jennings  through to his victory over loud-mouth Anthony Small at Light-Middleweight. Pryce has dug deep countless times, snapped unbeaten records when ‘booked’ for defeat and at 29, still has time to do more with his talent. Continue reading “The Entertainer – Bradley Pryce back at Welterweight against Bami”

Exclusive: Tyson will not fight Holyfield says David Payne

I’ve consulted with my much ignored common sense, accessed with the help of a strong mug of Yorkshire tea and low-lighting, and I can confirm that this fight is not going to happen, I’d encourage you all to breathe, take stock and have a similar internal conversation. It will save you time and energy for other more credible activities, like washing the car or painting the back-bedroom. And please don’t read or believe anyone who tells you different because they’ve probably got an accomplice entering your home through the back door to rifle through your purse. In other news, Prince Naseem Hamed will not be returning to fight Justin Timberlake at catchweight,  Joe Calzaghe will not be fighting Robert De Niro (though he is old enough) at Light-Heavy and Ricky Hatton is as likely to share a ring with Floyd Mayweather again as he is to play wide-right for England on Friday.  I think my work here is done. Continue reading “Exclusive: Tyson will not fight Holyfield says David Payne”

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