Podcast: Big Fight Weekend – Canelo Kovalev

Always a pleasure to catch up with TJ Rives, “the somewhat capable host” of the Big Fight Weekend Podcast. Naturally, this episode is in preview mode as the boxing world turns its attention to the sport’s biggest star; Saul Alvarez and his Light Heavyweight debut against gnarly veteran Sergey Kovalev.

Conversation always wanders a little, both into the history of the noble and not so noble art and other fights forthcoming. This particular episode was further enriched by the presence of Antonio Tarver as the star attraction and the irrepressible Marquis Johns to round off proceedings.

The very special prospect of Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis in the final of the WBSS is also covered.

Continue reading “Podcast: Big Fight Weekend – Canelo Kovalev”

Boxing: Canelo seeking greatness an asterisks may deny him

I wonder whether it is harder for fighters to etch their legend into our collective psyche these days. The saturation of coverage helps build brands, invites us to know our heroes better, to co-exist beside them. An invited voyeurism that can reveal struggle and educate fans to the risk and reasons that motivate prize fighters but also homogenise those we would otherwise propose possess special powers.

The price of this exposure, if there is one, is this puncturing of a fighter’s mystique, their sense of otherworldliness. Unfettered access has removed the robe of mythology we once wrapped our kings in. I’m not sure even Marvellous Marvin Hagler’s solemnity would have outlasted the chatter of video courtiers every pug with a pair of gloves is now exposed to.

Even the words; Hagler, or Tyson or Duran, still provide a frisson of the electricity fans once felt when they caught the first glimpse of their walk to the ring. Or when their hero’s eyes locked on to his prey.

It is harder for their modern day counterparts to leverage the same awe in their less active careers and, in the case of Saul Alvarez, one of this generation’s most gifted fighters, with the burdensome asterisks of a failed drug test forever attached to his name. Continue reading “Boxing: Canelo seeking greatness an asterisks may deny him”

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”

The home of greatness; Light Heavyweight awaits Alvarez versus Kovalev rematch

Article first appeared on Freebets.net

One seven five. 12 stone 7. Light Heavy.

Words to illicit a quickening of the pulse in a boxing fan a century ago and words that still cause an extra frisson of excitement for their modern-day counterparts too.

From Fitzsimmons to Loughran, the Fighting Marine to the Ole Mongoose, Ezzard Charles to Bob Foster, through Michael Spinks and Roy Jones, Light Heavyweight has been ‘home’ to some of boxing’s greatest.

They, alongside a legion of other warriors there isn’t space to document, distinguished themselves in the division and decorated the sport’s history books with fights and rivalries still purred over today.

On Saturday night, boxing turns her gaze back to this touchstone division and two diverse characters pursuing their own legacy with the flickering embers of their youth. Sergey Kovalev, the Russian who fights out of Florida, is hoping to win this rematch and reclaim the portion of the world title Eleider Alvarez took from him in August last year. Continue reading “The home of greatness; Light Heavyweight awaits Alvarez versus Kovalev rematch”

The night the Raging Bull fell

“You can’t think about the past any more.”

Jake LaMotta, 1922-2017

No hush fell within the domed ceiling of the Miami Coliseum, the crowd’s hub-bub continued neither interrupted nor escalated by the sight of Jake LaMotta slumped to the canvas for the first time in his then 103-fight career. Referee Bill Regan, his once Welterweight frame thickened by twenty years of retirement, took up the count as LaMotta, 31 and fighting at a career high of 173 pounds, pawed for the bottom rope with his right hand.

Danny Nardico rushed to a corner, the adrenaline pumping through his body, the enormity of what he’d just done with a thunderous cross-cum-hook, the last of a flurry of clubbing shots, writ large before him. Whether he mouthed through his gum-shield; “stay-down” was never asked, all eyes were on LaMotta, the man who had once, if only once, beaten Sugar Ray Robinson but was now desperately over-reaching for the second rope, his spatial awareness scrambled by fatigue and the weight of the shot that put him there.

Regan’s fingers splayed wide in front of the bruised fudge of his face, “FIVE, SIX!”. Continue reading “The night the Raging Bull fell”

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”

You know the game is up when you’re dressed as Captain Hook

captain-hook-disney1I 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”

Tarver granted stay of execution; Dawson injured

ChadIt 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”

Weight of expectation rests with Pavlik and Dawson

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”

“Verbal contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on”

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.

Continue reading ““Verbal contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on””

A life in reverse – Chris Byrd

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.

Continue reading “A life in reverse – Chris Byrd”

Gunn Looking to Overthrow Castro

GunnDo you see what I did there? Love him or hate him, plucky pug Bobby Gunn is proving hard to ignore since his crushing defeat to Enzo Maccarinelli earlier this year. Eager publicity agent, Knockout Publicity, capitalised on the usually, fleeting profile afforded to challengers plucked from obscurity to contend WBO belts. People laughed at claims he was the most ferocious fighter since Jack Dempsey, and while I concede mentioning Gunn’s name in the same sentence as the Manassa Mauler pains me, I can’t help featuring updates for the Light-Heavyweight from Hackensack. Jorge Castro is next in his sights.

Continue reading “Gunn Looking to Overthrow Castro”

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: