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”
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.
In an era before nutritionists, public relations and conditioners, during that simplistic period when heavyweights ran, hit-bag, sparred, chopped wood and often took a stiff drink or three the night before a fight it is hard to imagine how they would have viewed the flimsy media battle being contested by heavyweight trio David Haye, Klitschko and heaven help us Audley Harrison. It may be nostalgic romanticism to suggest fighters like Jack Dempsey or Jim Jeffries simply signed to fight an opponent, trained and then settled it in an often gruelling, unforgiving fight, but it is with some confidence that I propose they wouldn’t have been comfortable with the shallow misinformation all parties appear to be peddling even if avoiding opponents is an oft-overlooked aspect of boxing at the beginning of the 20th century too. Continue reading “Harrison, Haye and Klitschko. Among the madness, bluff and silence is there a fight to be found?”
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?”
There has been something of the David Icke about Audley Harrison throughout his decade as a prominent heavyweight. Fuelled and demonstrated by a paradoxical cocktail of delusion, acute self-awareness and paranoia. Qualities which ostracised him from the boxing public and allowed the media to portray him as the villain, the idiot and the clown in his own one-man pantomime. But like all cabaret shows, it aint over til the fat lady sings and maybe, just maybe, said fat lady is back stage sipping honey and lemon as talk of a Harrison v Haye contest gathers pace. Continue reading “Feted, hated, fated? Is Audley stepping closer to defining Haye fight?”
I wrote yesterday of Frankie ‘El Gato’ Figueroa’s unique ability to self-promote through the multitude of outlets the modern world of communication affords a fighter, contemporary David Haye is another advert for the power of a fresh approach to promotion. He was conspicuous in his use of the MySpace platform a year or two ago, collecting a rich bounty of busty twenty-somethings as friends on the premise of recruiting ring card girls, and blessed with good looks and an exciting, hard punching style his refreshingly candid manner in front of camera and his willingness to challenge giants on the top of elevators has rushed him into the consciousness of fight fans around the globe. But boy has he talked himself into a fight now. Continue reading “Look beyond the smiles; the Haye v Valuev build up begins”
Those 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.
Albert Sosnowski is the custodian of arguably the slowest burning career in heavyweight history, a professional for nine years and having accumulated a 39-1 record the Polish born fighter could be expected to be, at the very least, a top ten contender. No? No, not Albert. The globe trotting heavyweight is becoming a statistical curiosity but not a contender. Continue reading “Ellis Pulls Out of Snoozowski Fight”