Thursday, 26 February 2009

H is for...Heavyweight Boxing

Back in the 80s and 90s i would set my alarm clock for 3am to get up and watch the boxing. In those days Mike Tyson was ruling the heavyweight roost and fighting regularly so ITV would beam the fight live to our homes from Madison Square Garden or wherever the fight was taking place. Before he lost the plot completely, Tyson seemed unbeatable and was exciting to watch as he took apart whoever got off the stool in the opposite corner.
At the same time we also had the Eubanks, Benn and Watson middleweight scraps to make it the golden age of boxing.
After Tyson went to prison for rape, heavyweight boxing seemed to lose its sparkle. Lennox Lewis became the champion and although he fought under the banner of being British, he wasn't and was never really accepted as such. He was a good fighter but not spectacular and his fights were always quite boring to watch. He went and now the Klitchkow brothers are the top dogs and they are quite mechanical and stiff.
With Calzaghe retired, there just isn't any fighter at any weight that i would set my alarm to trudge downstairs at 3am to watch anymore and that is really disappointing because boxing is one of the greatest sports we have dreamt up. Heavyweight boxing especially because these guys were so big and powerful that one haymaker could change everything and that kept it exciting. Shamefully, i just don't seem to care anymore.
Possibly it has something to do with the East Europeans now dominating things and the nature of the Ukrainians and Russians who hold the belts is to have less of the showmanship and excitement of the American fighters but god they are boring and boxing needs another Tyson to come through because this has to be the worst time for boxing that i have ever known.


Cody Bones said...

Hear Hear. I have not enjoyed boxing since the golden age of Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, and the wee Barry Mcguigian.

Cheezy said...

I get nostalgic about heavyweight boxing too, but for me, it's the era a decade or two before that... Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Norton, Holmes... That's where the quality and the great fights were.

While I admit the circus around him was entertaining, I think Mike Tyson is one of the most over-rated heavyweight boxers in history. People refer to his 'prime era', but the truth is, when he was the best in the division (1987-90) there was no one else around. His most significant victories during this time were against people like Michael Spinks (not a true heavyweight) and Larry Holmes (fat and about a decade past his best).

He had a spectacular bullying technique, and he had the ability to throw hard punches from all angles in very quick succession... however once he got into the ring with another bully (or just a big unit who wasn't afraid to throw punches with bad intentions) he'd get scared and start biting people. No (legal) plan B in the ring. Never avenged a loss. Not a true great.

The division is pants now though, I'll give you that. Have you seen that hairy-backed Siberian monster, Nikolai Valuev? Hardly any skills at all - he got outboxed by a geriatric Evander Holyfield a couple of months ago - but he's the reigning WBA champ. Sad.

Anyway, to cheer us up a bit, here's a great moment from recent heavyweight boxing history :)

Falling on a bruise said...

I blame the East Europeans Cody, they just don't have the entertainment value of the old guys. It does have a strange feeling of Rocky 4(?) when he fought the big Soviet. Now the champs are all big thugs from that end of the world.

I have never been so disapointed as when i first saw Nikolai Valuev and thought wow, he looks awesome to the first time i saw him fight and thought, wow, that guy is Gary Mason with a Russian accent.
I saw that fight when Barrett tried to jump the ropes and went arse over elbow. As for Haye, what i have seen of him, he wont be giving either of the Klitscho's any sleepless nights.