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”
Photo credit: Jeremy Phillips
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”
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”
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?””
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”
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”
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”
There 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?”
I 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”
Originally, 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”
Still too early to suggest Joe Calzaghe will stay retired but instinctively I believe he will, but contemporary Floyd Mayweather Jnr was never likely to remain retired irrespective of the wealth he has accumulated, throwing hundred dollar bills from nightclub balconies has a way of dwindling the coffers. It has to be enforced doesn’t it? After all, the mooted Oscar DeLaHoya match up of last year would have earned him another multi-million purse and a thick wedge of associated earnings. He retired not needing that pay day. Something changed. Continue reading “Inevitable Mayweather comeback growing closer; July 11th or sooner”
Firstly, it is important to point out the irrepressible Steve Bunce was fully aware his selection of the best fantasy fights sent in by viewers wouldn’t be unanimously approved and in the subjective nature of these types of theoretical debates, disagreement is inevitable but come on Steve, Ricky Hatton the bull strong 10 stoner versus Prince Naseem the short featherweight? Surely, there is a better, more realistic fight than that for either man.
It 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”
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”
There isn’t a facet of Joe Calzaghe and former promoter Frank Warren’s current activity which couldn’t be labelled, ‘old ground’. Firstly, Calzaghe next tackles faded superstar Roy Jones, 39, in a bout so out of date, so out of fashion, its almost coming back in style. Secondly, Calzaghe’s split from Warren at the peak of his earning-power and ensuing court cases and law suits has echoes of Ricky Hatton’s 2005 departure. Thirdly, the use of media columns to launch critiques of the ethics and morals of the other party is all to familiar too. None of those stir me from a long yawn, but a fourth strand to their disagreement does. Continue reading “Calzaghe and Warren doth protest too much; the Stockholm syndrome”
Bright news from the much mocked Hennessy Sport today, as the stable of Froch, Witter and Barker signs up with terrestrial broadcaster ITV. News of a television deal has been doing the rounds all summer, but many observers suspected satellite newcomer Setanta was most likely to add them to their roster following the ill-tempered departure of Frank Warren’s Sports Network stable of fighters. A move Setanta continue to contest. Today’s news means the ever loyal, ever patient Carl Froch will fight Jean Pascal for the vacant WBC Super-Middleweight title on prime-time mainstream television. As a fan of Froch, I’m thrilled to bits.
The Contender series wasn’t a reality show in the popular sense of the word. I’m always disgusted when mainstream reporters refer to its contestants, when partaking in significant out-of-show bouts, as “reality show winners”. It misleads the uninitiated, implying those who featured were not ‘real’ boxers but talented wannabees, celebrities even. Fighters like Steve Forbes, Peter Manfredo and Alfonso Gomez were professional fighters long-before their participation in the ground-breaking series.
At a time when Vitali Klitschko is trying to lash his crumbling ligaments together for one last hurrah, Jamie Moore’s is frustrated in his wait for a European shot and Nicky Cook, twice jilted by a troubled Scott Harrison, finally wins a version of the world-title Andrew Mullinder delves into topical subject of fight pull-outs. Away from the spotlight, the personal, emotional and financial costs can be far-reaching. Continue reading “Spitting blood; the forgotten victims of cancelled fights”
For those of us left jaded by the endless recycling of pensionable punchers Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jnr., Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, the new season throws up three fights which may finally expunge 75% of the ageing chorus line from the Light-Heavyweight rankings. It cannot come too soon. Continue reading “Weight of expectation rests with Pavlik and Dawson”
I’ll not be indulging SKY next month, there is no hope what so ever of the satellite broadcaster’s flashy advertising campaigns convincing me that Amir Khan is a PPV attraction. Nor will I succumb to the overt and subliminal suggestion his opponent, Colombian Breidis Prescott, is a foe of such brilliance that to miss the PPV could mean I miss Khan being beaten. Continue reading “Video of Amir Khan foe Breidis Prescott in action”
Voicing an opinion without concrete foundation on a legal case involving Frank Warren is rather like smothering your tongue in honey, sticking your head in a bees nest and trying to sing “Are you lonesome tonight”, bottom line is, you’re going to get stung. With that reality in mind, I’ll tip-toe through the news he has brought a case against departed superstar Joe Calzaghe for Breach of Contract.
A quick note to connect up the stories and theories currently swirling around the Super-Middleweight division. Interesting to record Jean Pascal has withdrawn from the purse process for his proposed fight with Karoly Balzsay for the Interim WBO title – the belt Calzaghe is porbably keenest to remain custodian of. As mentioned in conversation on Steve Bunce’s boxing hour on Setanta, Pascal is the next most likely opponent for Carl Froch if the much maligned preference of Lou DiBella and HBO to match Jermain Taylor with Jeff Lacy comes to pass. Continue reading “Hope grows for Froch v Pascal”
I doubt a weight class has ever been as utterly descriptive of a fighter’s physique than Light-Heavyweight will prove for the former two-time heavyweight belt holder Chris Byrd tonight. In a bid to reinvent himself in the division, Byrd has lost in excess of 40 pounds at the age of 37. Byrd really is a Light, Heavyweight. For a decade the gutsy southpaw used his speed of foot and glove to mix it with the best the heavyweight division had to offer, and in the period in which he competed, they came pretty bloody big.
It 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.
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?
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”
I 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”
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.
The recent press release pertaining to Peter Manfredo’s next bout caused a tremor of discomfort in my sensitive sensibilities. And this dissatisfaction centred on one key word in the brief release; controversial. In recent years the word controversial has become a broad church for a litany of different conclusions to fights. Whether points, knockout or other intervention the word controversial undermines victory, excuses defeat and adds further murk to boxing’s inherently muddy water. Continue reading “Most Over Used Words in Boxing”