Cheeseman stops Metcalf in old school war

The scrap between Ted Cheeseman and J.J. Metcalf for the British Light-Middleweight title was fought in Gibraltar. It was screened, for this writer, in high definition on a 42 inch television via the internet. It would have been equally at home had it been available on a Bakelite wireless only or fought at the Mile End Arena in the 1950s.

Two hard men, bent noses, flinty eyes sunken beneath prominent brows. One entered the ring with a ruby welt beneath his eye the other started seeping claret from his nose in the second. Cheeseman wore the white shorts, Metcalf, son of Shea Neary, a throwback fighter himself, wore the black. Just like the days of old.

A vacant British belt, the oldest in the sport, though the division is only of the modern era, the prize for the victor. The gold, the Union Jack coloured ribbon, the history, the tradition. A crown worn by Herol, Jamie Moore, Maurice Hope. It was all there.

Both had stories and both were willing to sacrifice the quality of their tomorrows for the glory of the night.

Continue reading “Cheeseman stops Metcalf in old school war”

Benn, Bruno and Nicky Booth, and the lost boys of 2001

Back in 2001, British boxing had meandered into a strange, uncharted hinterland. An odyssey of greed and short-termism in the preceding five years reducing it to a role in the margins, a sporting outcast. Neglected, eroded and far removed from the roaring crowds of the preceding decades. The resurgence of stadium fights had faded to black, dissolving in to the night like the thousands who shuffled, stumbled and strode from the crumbling castles of Wembley and Loftus Road.

Images still lingered in the collective memory. Plumes of warm breath and cigarette smoke drifting on the midnight breeze, the last slurred rendition of ‘Bruno, Bruno’ absorbed by the rattle of taxis and tube trains beneath. In the crowd’s wake, plastic glasses and torn betting slips, the debris of a night, were swept from the aisles. The headaches and penitence of a thousand tomorrows still to unfold for the departing revellers and the fighters they came to see.

Continue reading “Benn, Bruno and Nicky Booth, and the lost boys of 2001”

Sergio Martinez and the fairytales of our forties

Every Friday, however unpleasant the weather that greats me as I step through my front door, clad in an assortment of frayed and tattered kit, I head toward the lights on the hill for an hour of six-a-side football. Outdoors, albeit on artificial grass, it is, nevertheless, a sufficiently accurate facsimile of the twenty years I spent playing local league football to connect me, through the worn sensory pathways and the yearning of nostalgia, to the mediocrity of my pomp.

It is a trope echoed all too frequently in the middle age of our heroes too. Success, wealth, damage, offer little protection against the pull of those lights. Continue reading “Sergio Martinez and the fairytales of our forties”

To Kell and back, Brook stops Rabchenko in 2.

Having written much on the possibility Kell Brook would discover he had too little soul left in his old dancing shoes on his return this weekend, I was delighted to see him look both powerful and dynamic in stopping the competent Sergei Rabchenko in the second round of their Super-Welterweight clash in Sheffield tonight.

In doing so the 31-year-old won the WBC’s Silver title at the weight, a festoon for which no plausible explanation for either it’s existence or significance has ever been committed to ink.

Continue reading “To Kell and back, Brook stops Rabchenko in 2.”

Boxing sacrifices Cotto, one of Her favourite sons, to remind us She is the only God.

The days and weeks before Miguel Cotto’s final bout were a curious, wandering period. Immersed in nostalgia and solemn reverence, writers and ring side observers seemed to succumb to the narrative that Sadam Ali’s selection, and the sense of underwhelm they felt toward him and duly projected to their own parishioners, would assure Cotto’s career enjoyed a decorative final triumph. Without a perceived threat in the opposing corner, or, as they determined, even the prospect of a competitive bout, they opted to start the party early.

Such was the extent of this homage the actual fight became an inconvenience, an after thought, akin to collecting the discarded paper plates and half-empty champagne flutes when all you want is a taxi or your bed. As the great and good of the written and spoken word laid their respective garlands at Cotto’s feet and fans bowed their heads in respect, Boxing grew tired of this veneration and the disrespect to Her final commandment, that nobody leaves on their own terms, the tsunami of obituary represented. Sincerity was increasingly sacrificed in the media’s quest to draw the most emotionally laden tribute to Cotto’s career, great as it was, slipped into the apocryphal.

Continue reading “Boxing sacrifices Cotto, one of Her favourite sons, to remind us She is the only God.”

Moore and Rhodes step out of the shadows

WAROFTHEROSES-SMTwo of  British boxing’s longest serving fighters will clash tonight for the European Light-Middleweight title, a bout which doubles as an eliminator for the WBC world title belt, or at worst a qualifier to face Julio Cesar Chavez Junior in a final eliminator for a crown held by slippery Sergio Martinez. It will also offer an opportunity for both fighters to finally step out of the shadow contemporaries Ricky Hatton and Prince Naseem Hamed threw across their respective careers and prove the old boxing truism, that styles make fights. 

Continue reading “Moore and Rhodes step out of the shadows”

Jamie Moore now set for shot at vacated title

Few announcements could be met with more glee. Salford’s likable Light-Middleweight contender Jamie Moore has today learned European Champion Zaurbek Baysangurov has relinquished the crown rather than fulfil his obligation to Moore. In a brief release from the Frank Maloney camp, it would appear more likely that the new bout will land on English shores. Continue reading “Jamie Moore now set for shot at vacated title”

Jamie Moore’s big fight was an urban myth after all

Poor old Jamie Moore, one of the most likable characters and down to earth punchers on the circuit has once more been robbed of the opportunity to win the European belt following the withdrawal of champion Zaurbek Baysangurov. It is another frustrating chapter in a career blighted by injuries and one which finally appeared to be progressing when the fight was confirmed. Moore’s hope, according to today’s press release by Frank Maloney, is the EBU will act to strip the champion and nominate a new foe for the Salford favourite. Continue reading “Jamie Moore’s big fight was an urban myth after all”

Moore’s mythical shot becomes reality

Precious few fighters boast the universal respect afforded to blue-collar banger Jamie Moore. The Salford Light-Middleweight is one of British boxing’s most well-respected professionals and the news his challenge to Zaurbek Baysangurov for the European title at 154 pounds has finally been confirmed will be widely welcomed. Delayed by Moore’s career threatening shoulder injury and a late nose injury to the champion back in December, the fight began to sound like an urban legend – everyone talked about it, but nobody could prove it was real.

Continue reading “Moore’s mythical shot becomes reality”

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