Boxing: “Just wave Joe, you’re beautiful baby. God bless ya champ.”

ImageLennox Lewis simply isn’t celebrated enough. Now before you depart, mistaking this statement as a prelude to a tired hit-chasing argument about Lennox always beating Tyson – even in 1993 – or whooping Vitali in the never seen rematch, it points instead to his well timed retirement; faculties in tact, money safe and talent fulfilled.

Too few have the wisdom and foresight to resist the public or personal clamour to continue or, worst still, return. Great, good and those no more than game very rarely depart from boxing on their own terms, and if they do, they are frequently drawn back. Invited or not.

Joe Louis, for some the greatest heavyweight of all, was reduced to welcoming tourists to Caeser’s Palace before an equally humble turn as a wrestler and wrestling referee following his second retirement. For fifty years it remained the most visible and documented example of a fall from greatness. Until now.

Continue reading “Boxing: “Just wave Joe, you’re beautiful baby. God bless ya champ.””

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Boxing: David Haye in Orwellian about turn; Audley not Vitali or Wladimir next?

It was meant to be different. That was the tag-line. The sedentary waters of the heavyweight division were to be purified. David Haye wanted to fight the best heavyweights straight away, he didn’t want to procrastinate, to manoeuvre. He just wanted to know if he was the best, prove it or fail. Money was secondary. Challenge was everything. Boxing’s downtrodden masses craved the Utopia Haye was selling. He evangelised about bypassing promoters, side-stepping sanctioning bodies and the established order. Boxing is about the fighters not men in suits he might have said. He founded this alternate reality. Hayemaker. Fighters flocked to his rallying cry. Pretty girls flushed, forums hummed, fans cheered. Now, with a portion of the establishment in his possession – the WBA belt – and an unexpected level of renown that now enables him to accumulate £1-3 million pay-days for the type of rudimentary defence he once denounced, the urge to corner a Klitschko in a ring, or even at the top of an elevator has evidently subsided.

Continue reading “Boxing: David Haye in Orwellian about turn; Audley not Vitali or Wladimir next?”

Resizing the big men; Jack Johnson the 240lb killer?

Now the spectre of a new debate about the potential outcome of clashes between the modern day heavyweight and his predecessors will fail to entice those for whom the discussion is a tired exchange of old arguments. However, Andrew Mullinder has found a new mathematical angle which proves far more thought provoking than you might presume. Using the standard physiological growth of the human populous Mullinder extrapolates the weights of the bygone legends to create, among others, a 240lb Jack Johnson, now that is a formidable thought.

Continue reading “Resizing the big men; Jack Johnson the 240lb killer?”

“Ali wouldn’t have hit Joe Louis on the bum with a handful of rice!”

Tommy Farr said that and who am I to argue. Tomorrow will mark the 71st anniversary of his courageous but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to dethrone the newly crowned heavyweight champion Joe Louis. The humble ‘Tonypandy Terror’ is long remembered for giving the legendary Brown Bomber an arduous first defence and for the unflinching resolve he demonstrated. His effort was so herculean and unexpected that some ringside observers and those hunched around the wireless back in Britain felt he’d toppled the great champion. Continue reading ““Ali wouldn’t have hit Joe Louis on the bum with a handful of rice!””

Boxing: Usain Bolt, Muhammad Ali and the impossible comparison

The astonishing performances of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt broke the consciousness of almost the entire population of the world this week. Only the Olympics and perhaps the football World Cup offer such global exposure [alas the heavyweight championship has long lost this broad appeal], and though I doubt he could run backwards as fast as his contemporaries in the Olympic boxing ring, the question of his place amongst the greats of the track is unquestionable. The clock doesn’t lie. Bolt is faster than anyone who ever lived. Such cross generation comparison in boxing, provides no such clarity.

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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?”

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