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”

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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: Tyson Fury career lightest at 245 pounds

If Tyson Fury is to be taken seriously as a heavyweight contender it is always implied that it will only happen when he adds stamina to his natural gifts of hand-speed, confidence, height and gumption. The latter he has already demonstrated in abundance. The pre-amble to his fight with Martin Rogan has centered on two things, Fury’s Irishness and his claim to the ‘crowd’ at the Belfast event and bold proclamations about previously unheralded fitness for his clash with the 40-year-old veteran. Weighing in at a lean 17 stone 7 pounds 12 ounces, or 245 pounds to our American cousins, Fury suggests he has employed some much needed discipline in preparation for this Irish Heavyweight title clash. Continue reading “Boxing: Tyson Fury career lightest at 245 pounds”

Boxing: In form and active; the path less trodden to the Klitschkos

Fifty-five thousand people gathered at the weekend to watch Wladimir Klitschko render the once proud Cruiserweight Champion of the World, Jean Marc-Mormeck, even more ineffective than those with some foresight believed he’d prove when the fight was signed. Size is not the only currency in the heavyweight division, it is important to remember Jess Willard, at 6ft 6 inches and 235 pounds, was pounded to defeat by Jack Dempsey and later Primo Carnera who weighed 270 pounds and was of comparably lofty perspective when Max Baer inflicted a similar drubbing. At nearly 40 years of age, inactive for 15 months and struggling to stretch the tape even to six feet, Mormeck was however, spectacularly unqualified for the adventure he signed up for. Continue reading “Boxing: In form and active; the path less trodden to the Klitschkos”

Boxing: Bobby Gunn and James Toney in a room. Never going to be tea and biscuits.

It may surprise some readers to learn Bobby Gunn causes the biggest spike in readership whenever I cobble (do you see what I did there) together a news or opinion piece on the plucky prizefighter. Avoyd Mayweather holds nothing on the scrapper once spectacularly referred to as “the most ferocious fighter since Jack Dempsey” ahead of a one round mauling at the fists of Enzo Maccarinelli. He also fought Tomasz Adamek for another portion of the Cruiserweight title so his notoriety isn’t entirely hollow. I ducked any coverage of his bare-knuckle contests on principle but I must confess to a curious interest in his next bout. A clash with James Toney. Yes, the real one. Continue reading “Boxing: Bobby Gunn and James Toney in a room. Never going to be tea and biscuits.”

Boxing: Nobody gets out on their own terms, not even Hopkins

It was sad to see Bernard Hopkins, a fighter who has battled the boxing establishment, its promotional and managerial cartels and the perceived wisdom that tried to dictate to him for twenty years finished by one of the sports unshakeable truths; nobody leaves the sport on their own terms.  Bernard has spent the past decade and specifically, the last 5 years selling his resistance to the ageing process. Alas, a cruel injury may snatch the crescendo he still pursued from this curious if inexplosive tale. Continue reading “Boxing: Nobody gets out on their own terms, not even Hopkins”

Boxing: Fur Coat and No Knickers? David Haye retires

Any consideration of David Haye’s career is usually accompanied by a track from my internal Jukebox. It isn’t McFadden and Whitehead’s Aint No Stopping Us Now; his entrance tune, nor is it From Russia with Love, primarily because his nemesis was Ukrainian, I tend to hear the chorus from Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn representing as is does the conflict between his achievements and failings. Continue reading “Boxing: Fur Coat and No Knickers? David Haye retires”

Boxing: Laugh or cry, matchmaking with the Klitschkos

As a boxing traditionalist, the Klitschko brothers prove something of a troublesome enigma to me. Resplendent though they are at the top of the heavyweight mountain, their individual and collective resumes feature nothing but a procession of mediocrity – some of whom the physically gifted Ukrainians have conspired to lose to. But I cannot always count defeats against them, as an advocate of risk taking, defeats are the inevitable byproduct are they not? Risk? What risk? You see, for every argument I make against them, there is objective counsel to the contrary. News Sam Peter may replace the perpetually injured Alexander Povetkin in the Wladimir Klitschko’s September 11th defence yet more evidence to pour over. Do we laugh or cry, empathise or chastise? Continue reading “Boxing: Laugh or cry, matchmaking with the Klitschkos”

Exclusive: Tyson will not fight Holyfield says David Payne

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”

Old? Check. Fat? Check. Unambitious? Check. Brian Nielsen next for Vitaly?

Did you hear the one about Vitaly Klitschko and the hungry, young contender? No, nor did I. Admittedly, Vitaly Klitschko hasn’t fought during a particularly glowing period for heavyweights. His tenure, interrupted by a now mysteriously cured knee problem, as the leading heavyweight began when Lennox Lewis retired and has continued through soporific contests with Danny Williams, Kirk Johnson, Corrie Sanders, Sam Peter, Juan Carlos Gomez, Chris Arreola and latterly Albert Sosnowski. So maybe, the revelation Danish pastry Brian Nielsen is making a comeback aged 45 will be welcome news in the Klitschko castle if nowhere else. Continue reading “Old? Check. Fat? Check. Unambitious? Check. Brian Nielsen next for Vitaly?”

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?”

Tua; beginning to sound like a contender again

TuaI’m not quite in the camp with the Tuamaniacs, a kind of derivative of the fanaticism Mike Tyson was able to evoke even after the flush of his youthful best had passed, but I must confess to more than a passing interest in the fortunes of the once destructive Samoan. Following an apparent eternity in the wilderness of legal, financial and promotional entanglements he’s back to doing what he once did better than almost anyone. Knocking out heavyweights. Continue reading “Tua; beginning to sound like a contender again”

Only in America, sorry Egypt, Williams to face Botha?

I love many things about boxing. The occasional absurdity of it is one, the ever-present BritishBoxing.net another. Kevin Taylor’s story today tickled both fancies as he reports British Heavyweight champion Danny Williams, and I think we can now officially add the prefix ‘colourful’ to his title following a meandering roller-coaster of a career, is to tackle Fran Botha in the land of the Pyramid. You can’t make it up. Although, maybe someone has. Continue reading “Only in America, sorry Egypt, Williams to face Botha?”

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?”

Archive: Holyfield ignores the lessons of King Canute

August 23rd 2005

Three years on from the first publication of this article on thesweetscience.com, its hard to comprehend that the career of Evander Holyfield should still be an active topic. He had been consigned to the scrap heap innumerable times already by 2005 and yet still steadfastly refused to yield to the dieing of the light. At the time of release the first formal steps to forcible retire the proud warrior had been taken, they proved pointless and rightfully so.

Continue reading “Archive: Holyfield ignores the lessons of King Canute”

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”

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”

Archive: The Final Curtain – Tyson, Holyfield & Jones Jnr.

Jones JnrI 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.

Continue reading “Archive: The Final Curtain – Tyson, Holyfield & Jones Jnr.”

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