Lomachenko the betting favourite for New York clash with Linares

By Hector T. Morgan

When he takes a break from walking on his hands or boxing tennis balls, Vasyl Lomachenko will turn his attention towards Venezuelan Jorge Linares as the Ukraine boxing superstar aims to move his professional CV to 11-1-0. The talented pair will meet over 12 rounds for the WBA lightweight world title on May 12 at Madison Square Garden, New York and the betting has ‘Hi-Tech’ hot favourite for victory.

The 30-year-old has been fast-tracked towards the top of the paid ranks following a glittering amateur career and has taken the challenge in his stride to date, losing only to Orlando Salido on a 12-round points split decision in March 2014, and that was just his second professional contest. Continue reading “Lomachenko the betting favourite for New York clash with Linares”

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Joshua learns a jab is no inoculation to criticism

Like Joshua, I spent Saturday playing a role distinct from my usual casting; Joshua won largely favourable reviews for his portrayal of a cautious, pedestrian boxer loathed to engage whilst I stood against a post in the pub, nursing an almost empty pint glass, nervous at the prospect of committing to the queue between rounds. Neither of us, I suspect, gleaned the same satisfaction or contentment we would have from playing to type. He as the emotional, knockout artist and me as the thoughtful wannabe.

Though both proved prudent, these temporary alter-egos, it will be a temporary diversion for me at least, though the experience did provide several valuable and salutary lessons. I learnt much about Joshua and the perspective of those who do not need to contemplate the impact of sharing their opinions too. Certainly not in the way I do when committing them to the world beyond the pub door, however small the readership.

Joshua undoubtedly learned much from his 21st professional success too; notably the power of patience, discipline and employing a degree of pragmatism. Coincidently, a stark juxtaposition of my experience with the impatience, ill-discipline and blood lust of an evening as a ‘casual’.

Continue reading “Joshua learns a jab is no inoculation to criticism”

Magee and Confusion Reign; the WBA and the quest for ever more titles

Only those entirely immersed in the sport are able to negotiate the labyrinthine collection of weight classes, governing bodies and titles the sport has adopted to provide measure of its participants’ success or failure. But as it adds ever more tiers and layers, so the benchmarks become ever more meaningless. Even the seemingly impeachable concept of a fighter’s record is blighted by context and controversy.

There is no longer an available method for recognising a fight’s or a fighter’s place in the sport’s hierarchy. And there is the rub. The simplest, purest sport is now engulfed in unnecessary complication. Complication that serves to ostracise the general public and push boxing to the margins of the sporting landscape. Continue reading “Magee and Confusion Reign; the WBA and the quest for ever more titles”

Boxing: Harrison v Haye – why it should happen

Despite David Haye’s protestations to the contrary the prospect of this unlikely heavyweight prizefight remains the talking point of the day in the dungeons of the internet’s boxing forums. Audley Harrison has, afterall, already sacrificed the European title in the belief that he will secure the all-British world heavyweight title fight he and television network Sky Sports appear to crave. Debuting his guest column, John Cascells reflects on the fight; why it may prove to be more challenging than the cynics presume and why he is sure it will make for must-see television. Continue reading “Boxing: Harrison v Haye – why it should happen”

Boxing: David Haye in Orwellian about turn; Audley not Vitali or Wladimir next?

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.

Continue reading “Boxing: David Haye in Orwellian about turn; Audley not Vitali or Wladimir next?”

Harrison, Haye and Klitschko. Among the madness, bluff and silence is there a fight to be found?

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?”

Gavin Rees added to McCloskey v Lauri card

I was interested to read that pocket battleship Gavin Rees has been added to the under card of Paul McCloskey’s encounter with veteran Italian Giuseppe Lauri this weekend. Rees has fought once since winning the Prizefighter 140 pound tournament, defeating three former European Champions in the process, and appears to be a promotional free agent in the absence of Calzaghe Promotions and his departure from the Sports Network stable. His last tune up being deep on the Harrison v Sprott under-card put together by Matchroom Sport. Continue reading “Gavin Rees added to McCloskey v Lauri card”

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”

BoxingWriter.co.uk readers go for Kessler

MikkelKesslerIn the immediate aftermath of Showtime’s exciting announcement of the Super Six tournament to be held at 168 pounds over the next two years, I asked readers to predict who they felt would emerge from the groundbreaking series as champion. As you might anticipate the outsiders, Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell only landed 2% of the votes cast but it was Danish hard-man Mikkel Kessler who fans felt most likely to prevail. 60% of the votes went to Kessler with Froch (21%), Abraham (9%) and Taylor (8%) trailing someway behind. Continue reading “BoxingWriter.co.uk readers go for Kessler”

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?”

Maloney starts the Dunne-Munroe bidding at £150,000

frankmaloneyI’ve written some pieces for Frank Maloney’s website in the past, and hope to again in the not to distant future, so I have a small history with the wily promoter. But I defy anyone to not to appreciate his tone and attitude in conversation with Steve Bunce on Steve’s weekly show on Setanta. The exchanges between Maloney and Brian Peters, the Irish promoter of Bernard Dunne the new WBA Super-Bantamweight champion and direct rival to Maloney’s European Champion, Rendall Munroe, in the run up to Dunne’s punishing victory over Ricardo Cordoba at the weekend certainly developed some sharp edges. Despite that, Maloney proved pragmatic and gracious in his praise for Dunne’s achievement on the popular show. Continue reading “Maloney starts the Dunne-Munroe bidding at £150,000”

Guest: Wladimir doth protest too much; Dr Steel Hammer indeed

andrew-mullinderRegular visitors will be accustomed to the acerbic analysis of Andrew Mullinder, our resident correspondent in Moscow. I’m sure Andrew has all the usual creature comforts we enjoy in the West but I prefer to adapt the usual visual triggers employed by third rate cold war thrillers to conjure an image of Andrew huddled over an ageing type writer, all fingerless gloves, one bar fires  and cheap vodka, manically venting on the issues of the day from his down trodden apartment block in some mafia run ghetto. Why? Well it just makes sense of his withering contributions, and the latest, a deconstruction of the most artificially created ring moniker in boxing must have come after a slurp or two of the strong stuff. Continue reading “Guest: Wladimir doth protest too much; Dr Steel Hammer indeed”

Brian Peters cools talk of McCullough; but I don’t believe him

dunneI know precious little of Brian Peters, he is a new name on the promotional front, so commentating too much on his latest release is not grounded in much experience of the man or his methods. However, despite that lack of history, I still think the prospect of Bernard Dunne accepting either a non-title fight or voluntary defence against Wayne McCullough (if the WBA can be coerced into ranking McCullough) is just as likely as the unification bouts Peters is professing to prefer. It simply makes too much financial sense to miss out on, particularly given the presumed lack of risk a 38 year old McCullough would present. Judge for yourselves. Continue reading “Brian Peters cools talk of McCullough; but I don’t believe him”

Wayne McCullough far from Dunne

WayneIt is beyond the remit of any writer, no matter how well intentioned to implore a man to retire. A fighter, regardless of the date on his birth certificate, should not be prevented from earning a living if they are physically able to do so. Wayne McCullough, that most dedicated of professionals is one such example. Despite the evidence of a waning ability the Pocket Rocket refuses to relinquish his dream of once again being crowned World Champion. As a heavyweight, his 38 years wouldn’t be the millstone they are at Super-Bantamweight where speed, stamina and volume punching are more prevalent than amongst the heavyweight molasses. Continue reading “Wayne McCullough far from Dunne”

The Great Guzman and the WBA’s weight of responsibility

It might be the stiff wind from the Urals which makes guest writer Andrew Mullinder such a cantankerous observer of the noble art. Mullinder is not implored to write by the science or the beauty of boxing, only the muck, the politics and the fractious infrastructure of the sport evoke his withering invective. His latest target is the WBA, for whom the dietary plans of Joan Guzman appear to have been but a distant theme from a distant land. Mullinder thinks its time governing bodies started, well, governing. Continue reading “The Great Guzman and the WBA’s weight of responsibility”

By ‘eck those Mexicans can fight; Margarito prevails

I’ve little new to add to the thousands of column inches already afforded to the outstanding contest between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito last Saturday night. A tumultuous encounter that achieved that rarest of triumphs, it lived up to its promise. Both fighters were exceptional and though Margarito emerges with maximum credit for unseating the WBA Welterweight champion I believe now is the most opportune moment to applaud the performance and courage of his vanquished opponent. Continue reading “By ‘eck those Mexicans can fight; Margarito prevails”

Boxing: John Ruiz and loving the wrong man

When consigned to history John Ruiz’ career will be much maligned, it is already. His success and resolve will be overshadowed by the snipers who point to his suffocating, ugly style, a crushing defeat to the then Zeus like David Tua in 17 seconds and a ponderous pursuit of Light-heavyweight Roy Jones Jnr. in 2003. Despite these facts, and they are all facts, his rough-edges and lack of beauty, I just can’t help liking him. It’s a strange thing, attraction.

Continue reading “Boxing: John Ruiz and loving the wrong man”

Ruiz, the uncherished heavyweight

RuizRuizRugged former belt holder John Ruiz is arguably the most criticised heavyweight of his generation despite twice being the possessor of a world championship belt and holding victories over Evander Holyfield, Hasim Rahman and Andrew Golota. True his victory over the giant Pole was widely considered contentious but I think a little respect for Ruiz’s willingness to engage with tough opponents and overcome the humiliation of his defeats to Roy Jones and David Tua to compile a mixed but worthy record is overdue. Continue reading “Ruiz, the uncherished heavyweight”

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