Wilder not taking Ortiz too lightly

The news Deontay Wilder weighed in at 214 pounds and the weight of his pants and socks for the 7th defence of his fight with Cuban Luis Ortiz drew a raised eye brow or two. In the modern era, which consensus seems to determine began when Mike Tyson knocked out Trevor Berbick in 1986, or alternatively, when Lennox Lewis overcame Tyson’s nemesis Evander in 1996, we’ve grown accustomed to heavyweights of gigantic dimension.

Beneath the greatness of Lennox and the longevity of Wladimir Klitschko, a procession of giants from the four corners of the globe have tried to impose their own dominance on the division and prove the boxing truism; ‘a good big un always beats a good little un.’

Continue reading “Wilder not taking Ortiz too lightly”

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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”

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

Lennox 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.””

Boxing: Old school, new school? Cleverly and Bellew spat

For those of a certain antiquity, the increasingly ubiquitous press conference rumpus between world-class Light-Heavyweight contender Nathan Cleverly and champion of the Commonwealth Tony Bellew will have proven distasteful. Others of more recent vintage will be torn. Nurtured as we were on the polarised demeanours of the ever urbane Lennox Lewis, the pantomime charm of Frank Bruno and the caustic atmosphere of all things Benn and Eubank, it is hard to either embrace or condemn the two ‘headline’ novices. I’m caught between the conflicting etiquettes I grew up with. Continue reading “Boxing: Old school, new school? Cleverly and Bellew spat”

Boxing: Whats wrong with boxing? Adding the letters P, P and V to Tua v Barrett.

I like David Tua. I shared the dream once. I threw him up as another fighter Tyson ducked in his shambolic 1990’s reincarnation. He shook up heavyweights; he was fast, dangerous and busy. Obviously, that was all before he got his mandatory ranking, hibernated and then froze versus Lennox Lewis – since then he’s been dormant, injured, uninterested – but is now repackaged, remotivated and back in the lucrative American market, or so he hopes we believe. But Pay-Per-View at $24.95 against Monte Barrett, the guy who lives in a tent in front of the heavyweight top 25 towers, is available on 24 hour call out and has a key emblem on his nightwear? Really? Continue reading “Boxing: Whats wrong with boxing? Adding the letters P, P and V to Tua v Barrett.”

Flying over the cuckoo’s nest for the last time? Oliver McCall defeated

Anyone with a passing interest in heavyweight boxing over the past twenty years will hold a mental image of one sort or another of heavy punching former champion Oliver McCall. Whether it be the crunching right-hand which felled Lennox Lewis, his emotional implosion in the rematch or the various drug fuelled episodes which have blighted his attempts to construct another run at the championship he lost to a grateful Frank Bruno in 1995. Last night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel he dropped a clear decision to peripheral contender Timur Ibragimov spelling the end of any residual potential the now 45-year-old could claim. Continue reading “Flying over the cuckoo’s nest for the last time? Oliver McCall defeated”

Larry Olubamiwo to face Big Dave Ferguson on June 25th

Likeable, affable heavyweight Larry Olubamiwo announced overnight that his opponent on the big Maloney bill later this month, June 25th at Brentwood, will be the North East’s Dave Ferguson in a cracking contest that serves as a title Eliminator for the British and Commonwealth titles. Great news for both fighters and a boom for Frank Maloney who now manages or promotes a crop of the division’s most viable talents. Continue reading “Larry Olubamiwo to face Big Dave Ferguson on June 25th”

Sosnowski, Subbuteo, Sanders, Snooker and me

I’ve always found an attic or loft to be a fascinating place. It probably originates from the joyous isolation it provided me as a child, resplendent with snooker table, dart board, train set and Subbuteo it was a place of dreams, solace and make-believe. On the baize I was Davis AND Higgins, on the Astropitch I was everyone from Peru to Peterborough and with darts in hand I was toothless Jocky Wilson and the Crafty Cockney.

Continue reading “Sosnowski, Subbuteo, Sanders, Snooker and me”

Boxing: Say what you like, but Holyfield v Botha caught your eye, didn’t it?

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.

Continue reading “Boxing: Say what you like, but Holyfield v Botha caught your eye, didn’t it?”

John Ruiz v David Haye will be a thriller

johnruizIt 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”

David Haye, boxing’s new Barnum, continues to sell

valuev9If 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”

No electricity like Tyson electricity

miketysonblackandwhite2During 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”

The brainwash is almost complete, I’m hooked on Tyson Fury

ARC_0229064.jpgYou have to concede it has worked. Firstly, the day in June 1988 when former heavyweight battler John Fury decided his son would be called Tyson, a reflection of Fury senior’s love of the then unbeaten Heavyweight champion Iron Mike, and secondly the day now 6ft 9inch Tyson Fury became Hennessy Sports’ most promising signing. Those two events have led the 6-0 (6ko) heavyweight prospect to become one of the most talked about fighters in the modern game. Continue reading “The brainwash is almost complete, I’m hooked on Tyson Fury”

The view from portside; will Klitschko really pick a southpaw?

lefthandedSince the disappointment of David Haye’s withdrawal from this year’s biggest heavyweight title fight and a potential record breaking event to boot it has been widely assumed Ruslan Chagaev would prove to be the natural replacement for the former Cruiserweight king. Similarly shorter than Wladimir, with a reliance on speed and movement the WBA champion is a far more obvious replacement, physically at least, than Nikolay Valuev, the near 7ft Russian who offers a polar opposite opponent than the one the younger Klitschko has spent many weeks preparing for. Bu this thesis overlooks one obvious factor, the 6ft Uzbekistan fighter is a left-hander. Continue reading “The view from portside; will Klitschko really pick a southpaw?”

Can the heavyweight contender list be clarified this month?

povetkin2Those desperate to rekindle interest in the talent bereaved heavyweight division will hope the next three weekends herald the emergence of a new consensus contender for the division’s sibling kings. Since the departure of Lennox Lewis, and the three year retirement of the more rugged Klitschko, the division has waited for either a charismatic young puncher to appear or for the more fluid, but less stout Klitschko to stamp his authority on the troubled weight class. Fans gravitated toward Samuel Peter for a while, then had their heads turned by Alexander Povetkin swift ascension, fell in line behind David Haye’s march from Cruiserweight or, for the visually impaired who fail to see the molasses around his waist, fell in love with Cristobal Arreola in their quest to find an antidote to the soporific Ukrainians.

Continue reading “Can the heavyweight contender list be clarified this month?”

Haye, Apollo Creed, Lennox, Rocky and Audley; the truth

AudleyIt is hard to evaluate Audley Harrison either as a fighter or an individual. I don’t know the man, I shook hands with him once and I worked for his website for a while but I don’t really know him. As a fighter he has failed to live up to his claims or supposed potential. Not even the most vehement Audley supporter – and there are precious few of those remaining – could claim otherwise.  Now, at the grand old age of 37, with a humiliating loss to Martin Rogan in his last appearance in front of a booing crowd, Harrison has sunk to digging up camp stories from 2006 in a bid to tempt David Haye into a marking-time fight. Aside from saying “Big Issue” on a street corner or entering the Big Brother house I don’t believe the once favourite son of British Boxing can fall further. Continue reading “Haye, Apollo Creed, Lennox, Rocky and Audley; the truth”

Some other mountain; Oscar continues his PPV voyage

Amidst a global credit crunch it could prove harder than ever to defend the choices of a multi-millionaire like Oscar DeLaHoya and harder still if he is to assume the role of the big guy in his David and Goliath showdown with Manny Pacquiao. However, for all the criticism his selection of the Filipino piranha, instead of the entirely more imposing challenges of Paul Williams and Antonio Margarito, drew, I for one believe it is a sensible match-up for a fighter who operates outside boxing’s accepted parameters. Continue reading “Some other mountain; Oscar continues his PPV voyage”

Sexton wins Prizefighter 2; is it really drawing new fans?

Always enlightening to watch an event like this with those not keenly interested in the sport. Spend too much time on Internet forums and it is entirely possible to succumb to the assumption EVERYONE is interested in boxing. Of course they are not. An evening at my old local, The Windmill in the former coal-mining town of Thorne near Doncaster, reintroduced me to this harsh reality, it left me wondering whether this supposedly fan-friendly concept really could attract new fans? Continue reading “Sexton wins Prizefighter 2; is it really drawing new fans?”

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?”

Guest: In Thailand, there is no PPV

There is no such thing as bad publicity, except your own obituary.”  Irish author Brendan Behan once wrote and despite his celtic roots suggesting a pre-disposition to the noble art, I’ve no idea where he stood on the great PPV debate. However, the announcement Amir Khan is to feature on the premium format has so enraged boxing’s keenest observers one wonders whether their collective outbursts has served only to further promote the show?. In the meantime, guest writer Oliver Fennell provides a stiff retort to Andrew Mullinder’s prose of yesterday from his new home in a far more humble Thailand.

Continue reading “Guest: In Thailand, there is no PPV”

Boxing: Acquiring a taste for Rocky Marciano

Rewind five years; amid the period of heavyweight history dominated by Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko, with towering contenders like Jameel McCline, Wladimir Klitschko, Michael Grant, Henry Akinwande, Hasim Rahman, Nicolay Valuev and Andrew Golota and it was increasingly easy to dismiss the chances of bygone greats like Rocky Marciano and Gene Tunney, or even through to Joe Frazier, emerging victorious in any fantasy match-up. Continue reading “Boxing: Acquiring a taste for Rocky Marciano”

Klitschko persistence; Peter in October

Vitali Klitschko, 37, was never a great fighter. He certainly wasn’t a great heavyweight champion. In fact, I’d go further I’d say he was a poor heavyweight champion and little more than a mediocre fighter. Like many in the curious, contrary world of boxing his repute grew more in gritty defeat to an ageing Lennox Lewis than in any of his victories, of which I would struggle to summon a single performance of historic significance.

Continue reading “Klitschko persistence; Peter in October”

Mayweather, Lennox, Hamed, Hopkins; you can never win.

A few disparate references got me thinking this week. First it was the retirement of Floyd Mayweather, brought into sharper focus by this weekend’s Welterweight face off between Cotto and Margarito, then it was a YouTube compilation of Prince Naseem getting battered from pillar to post with super slow-mo’s to make the former Featherweight king look like a clown. And finally, it was the news Bernard Hopkins, the veteran determined not to fight beyond 40 to keep a promise to his mother, apparently signing to fight Kelly Pavlik just shy of his 45th birthday. Too early, too late, boxing fans will crucify you either way.

Continue reading “Mayweather, Lennox, Hamed, Hopkins; you can never win.”

Boxing: Achieving the Unachievable? Holyfield Gets The Shot

Evander3In truth Evander Holyfield’s status as a boxing legend is already assured. Any fighter who has clashed with Holmes, Bowe, Foreman, Lewis and Tyson, irrespective of their age and form at the time, is clearly a world-class operator and the manner of Holyfield’s performances during his pomp endeared him to a generation, or two, of boxing fans. His latest run at the title, as a forty something has on occasion looked capable of undermining all of his preceding achievements, but Evander, the most irrepressible of men, may yet have the last laugh. Thanks to the withdrawal of Ruslan Chagaev, he has his shot. Continue reading “Boxing: Achieving the Unachievable? Holyfield Gets The Shot”

Tommy Morrison To Fight in MMA

TommyM“I’m just going to walk in and hit him on the chin.”

Seriously, stop it. So far this week I’ve read reports about Evander Holyfield, Henry Akinwande, Andrew Golota and Oliver McCall, today’s ‘vintage’ heavyweight – and I don’t mean that in a fine wine type way – is Tommy Morrison. I’m beginning to wonder whether I’ve had a “Life on Mars” type experience and been transported back to 1994. Clinton in the White House and Billy tearing the labels from his bottles of bud. Continue reading “Tommy Morrison To Fight in MMA”

Boxing: A Tsyzu Return is Gonna Kostya

Kostya2Former Light-Welterweight king, should that be tsar, is certainly not a fighter to be rushed into a comeback despite his 37 years and long sabbatical from action following the seminal defeat to Ricky Hatton in 2005. Of course, he may not come back at all – rather like Lennox Lewis does from time to time – Kostya seems willing to tease and tantalise, perhaps in a bid to promote other business pursuits or, alternatively, to pacify the element of his personality that craves the combat. Convincing himself he could comeback at anytime to paradoxically ensure he never actually does it. Continue reading “Boxing: A Tsyzu Return is Gonna Kostya”

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