Posts Tagged ‘heavyweights’

sullivan

This edition of the Real Boxing Talk podcast¬†welcomes prolific author Adam J. Pollack , who discussed his latest work, In the Ring with John L. Sullivan. Pollack spoke in depth about Sullivan’s rise to one of the sport’s most recognized athletes, his dabbles with bare knuckle fighting, and how his career ushered in the gloved era.

You can listen to the entire interview below.

 

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ANDREW CORNAGA / WWW.PHOTOSPORT

MANUKAU CITY — Joseph Parker received his first taste of adversity in a unanimous decision (116-112 twice, 115-113) win over Carlos Takam this afternoon at the Vodafone Events Centre.

Parker controlled the first three rounds by keeping Takam tentative with his hard punching and high activity. Starting in the fourth, Takam turned the tide by coming forward and taking advantage of Parker’s infighting deficiencies. Parker, who was visibly fatigued, went into full retreat in the fifth and allowed Takam to carry most of the middle rounds.

In the championship rounds, the tide changed again with Parker digging deep to outpunch the more economical Takam.

The bout was an IBF eliminator, meaning Parker could conceivably face title-holder Anthony Joshua very soon. But from this performance, it’s obvious Parker needs much more seasoning before taking on that challenge.

Watch the full fight below.

 

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¬†Late last night, the Instagram¬†account of¬†Lenny S¬†snapped this surprise photo of the four music heavyweights sharing a light-hearted moment. With no details on the session currently available, we can only speculate on what is being worked. An educated¬†guess is the song will likely be for Jay-Z’s¬†next album per the #RocNation hashtag on the original image. Whoever ends up with it, let’s just hope it drops soon.

Fury_Cunningham_KO

NEW YORK CITY, NY — Tyson Fury rose from a massive second round knockdown in his American debut to overpower and knock out Steve Cunningham yesterday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

There had been a lot of jawing back and forth between these fighters and Fury continued it during the opening bell by mocking Cunningham’s jab. That disdain was quickly wiped off Fury’s face in the second when Cunningham took full advantage of a low guard and dropped Fury¬†flat on his back with an overhand right ¬†(think the first Marquez knockdown on Pacquiao in their fourth fight). Fury took time to collect himself and while he tied up Cunningham effectively, Fury remained buzzed for the rest of the round.

Realizing the peril with continuing¬†to box with a faster opponent, Fury smartly changed the contest to an inside fight. He utilized his massive 6’9 frame and 40 pound weight advantage to manhandle Cunningham in clinches. In addition, Fury landed short, hard hooks and uppercuts during these inside exchanges that began taking effect within a few rounds.

It would be a right uppercut while Cunningham was trapped on the ropes that badly stunned him in the seventh. Fury kept him on the ropes and used his left forearm to hold Cunningham’s head in place to smash home a crushing right hook. Cunningham toppled backwards onto the canvas and couldn’t beat the ten-count.

The win was an IBF eliminator, putting Fury in line to face champion Wladimir Klitschko.

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It was really cool to have this fight going on in the Garden at the same time the Knicks were beginning their playoff race in the main building. Fury brought out a good crowd and handled business. That knockdown was strictly due to his arrogance and lack of respect for Cunningham. But to Fury’s credit, he adapted and started using his physical advantages. It was a nasty KO and reminds me of what you’d see someone do in a street fight.

Cunningham was very sour after the defeat. There was disbelief in there as I’m sure he really thought it was over after that second round knockdown. If he had landed that on a cruiserweight, the answer would have been yes. Getting stretched like he was after dealing with the Adamek robbery is a tough reality¬†to swallow.

As for Fury-Klitschko, I hope we see that by the end of the year. Wlad is the massive favorite of course, but I’d like to see if Fury can get any work done inside and be the boss with the clinches. It’s his only chance and he’s sure big enough to do it.

FULL FIGHT

It’s not sparring video, but Wladimir Klitschko allowed press to record footage of his strength exercises and speed bag work. Wladimir is always in excellent shape and I expect nothing less when he faces off with David Haye on July 2.

 

Yesterday, I had the privlege of briefly speaking with former heavyweight champion George Foreman. Being one of few fighters to compete in three separate decades, there’s a bunch of questions I could have asked. For me, my interest rested on two fights that didn’t happen in Foreman’s career: a money rematch with Ali and a megafight with Mike Tyson in the late 80s and early 90s.

Let’s give a little background on the Ali rematch. After suffering one of the biggest upsets in boxing history to Ali in 1974, Foreman was mentally crushed. He had been an undefeated, wrecking ball champion that ran through Ali’s two toughest opponents, Joe Frazier and Ken Norton. Yet against Ali, Foreman was outfought and outsmarted.

His first “comeback” was a PR disaster. Foreman decided to prove his toughness and fight five men in one night, with champion Ali at ringside to hype a return bout. A rusty and gassed Foreman looked horrible, and Ali took the opportunity to continually clown from ringside. An embarrassed Foreman would take off the rest of the year before returning officially in 1976.

Foreman effectively fell from the rankings due to inactivity and had to rebuild his name. He started off¬†by adverting disaster¬†in coming off the deck twice in his first bout back against Ron Lyle to score a dramatic KO in Ring Magazine’s 1976 Fight of the Year. In his next effort, he¬†needed just¬†five rounds to close the book of Joe Frazier’s career as an elite fighter. Foreman¬†finished the year with two more KOs over Scott LeDoux and John Dino Denis.

On the other hand, Ali started to slip physically and in mental focus after the brutal Thrilla in Manila. In May 1976, The Greatest came in at a career high 230 pounds against Jimmy Young and looked lethargic against the younger slickster. He escaped with a highly controversial unanimous decision. Later in the year, he won a razor-thin and also highly controversial decision over Ken Norton.

By the beginning of 1977, Foreman had achieved a #1 ranking for Ali’s title. Ali stalled on making the match, prompting Foreman to face Jimmy Young. The winner would be considered a high candidate for an Ali rematch. After knocking down Young early, Foreman gassed and Young scored his own knockdown¬†in the 12th¬†to take a unanimous decision. Foreman would then¬†retire for 10 years, leaving many like myself to wonder if Foreman could have dethroned a faded, 1977 Ali like slugger Earnie Shavers almost did, and novice Leon Spinks achieved one year later. When I posed this question to Big George, below was his response.

Well I know with the Muhammad Ali fight that fighting him right after I had lost to him would probably end up with a similar result. I hadn’t matured yet. It takes time to mature into the kind of fighter that can beat a Muhammad Ali.

The second intriguing question I had for Foreman was his desire to face Mike Tyson in the early 90s. Aside from it being a big money fight, Foreman thought style-wise Tyson would be the perfect foil for him. Even at his advanced age, Foreman retained his massive power.¬†Even prime Holyfield utilized a stick and move approach against Foreman and was wary of exchanging with him. The legend for the fight not¬†coming off is Mike Tyson was allegedly afraid of Foreman due to what was instilled in him via tape sessions years earlier¬†with mentor Cus D’Amato. Tyson was¬†reportedly told that none of the swarming,¬†pressure¬†fighters (Dempsey, Frazier, Marciano etc.) could stand a chance against Foreman, who was simpy too strong physically and with punching power¬†to be bullied and overwhelmed. In a recollection credited to Hall of Fame matchmaker Bobby Goodman, Tyson allegedly screamed on Don King for continually hounding him about agreeing to the fight.

“I’m not fighting that fuckin’ animal,” Tyson is said to have snarled. “If you love that motherfucker so much, you fight him!”

Foreman himself is coy in his own recollections about why the fight never came off. He’s not a harsh critic of modern fighters; Foreman is one of the few retired greats that believes some of the better heavyweights of the last 20 years could have competed in the 70s. In particular, he cited Evander Holyfield as¬†a standout case.¬†However, he surprisingly thought Tyson would run from him¬†like many of his other¬†younger opponents despite Tyson, even in his worst defeats,¬†never using that tactic.

There’s some tough guys. That Evander Holyfield, he could have existed and¬†fought in any era. He was some fantastic boxer.¬†When you look at him and some of the fights he’s had, that spells out that modern-day boxers are just as powerful and skillful and tough as any era. I’m just glad the other fights didn’t happen. It would just be about if could I continually chase them or not.

To add a final caveat to Foreman-Tyson, Big George made another statement to Sports Illustrated back in January 1990, just one month before Tyson lost to Buster Douglas.

He [Don King] gave me a contract and told me to sign on the dotted line. I was more afriad of Don King and the dotted line than I am of Tyson.

David Haye believes Wladimir Klitschko’s decision to take on Dereck Chisora proves the WBO/IBF titlist is afraid of him.

Yesterday, the potential Haye-Klitschko unification fight hit another stumbling block over Klitschko’s announcement that he will take on Dereck Chisora on April 30. That fight had been cancelled last month after Klitschko suffered a stomach injury.

Both Haye and Klitschko had agreed to face each other on July 2 in Germany, will all proceeds from Klitschko’s German TV deal with RTL, and Haye’s UK Sky Sports agreement, to be split 50-50. The talks broke down after Klitschko decided he wanted an interim bout before Haye, concerned that he would have been out of ring 10 months before the anticipated showdown.

Haye balked at Klitschko’s request to have a fight roughly eight weeks before their contest, since an errant injury would jeopardize their megafight. In addition, Haye would have to wait until May if he wanted to take¬†his¬†own¬†interim bout, which would have to be against his WBA mandatory opponent, Ruslan Chagaev.

In a prepared statement, Haye theorized that Klitschko never truly wanted the bout, and was looking for the first opportunity to bow out.

“We agreed to a date of July 2 at a venue in Germany, with both Sky Sports and RTL, and everybody appeared happy with the deal,” Haye detailed. “We made a few concessions to remove past stumbling blocks and were happy to do so, as it finally looked like the fight would get made. Even through negotiations, though, it was clear Wladimir was looking for the coward’s way out. He would often come up with new obstacles and problems to overcome, and I never once sensed he fancied it.”

According to Haye, he’s conceded to multiple Klitschko demands to make this fight happen. He did so in hopes of being able to face both brothers before his targeted retirement date, which is October of this year.

“He refused to come to England, wanted to pick his own gloves, enter the ring second, box out of the red corner and demanded a German doctor,” Haye continued. “He also wanted his name to feature first on any promotional material ahead of the event. We bowed to each and every one of his demands. I didn’t want to potentially jeopardize anything this time around.”

While neither man has publicly said the July 2 date is off the table, Haye warned that if the fight doesn’t happen on that date, he’s not optimistic about rescheduling.

“If the fight doesn’t happen now, it never will. I’m done with the Klitschkos,” Haye fumed. “I know I can retire later this year with my head held high, knowing I did everything in my power to make these fights happen.”

At press time, Wladimir Klitschko has not addressed Haye’s accusations.

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I certainly understand Haye’s stance¬†in not wanting a Klitschko tune-up bout so close to their mega-fight. Aside from the possibility of an injury, Wladimir Klitschko has been sparked out before in shocking upsets¬†to Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster. Those were years ago, but it’s still historical precedent. The convoluted issues between their two PPV networks makes it difficult to juggle dates around, and everything essentially had to be perfect to get these two in the ring. July was the earliest date available on both networks.

Facing Chisora, who fights completely different from Haye, isn’t exactly an ideal tune-up to get Wladimir ready.¬†He’s also¬†had 9-10 month¬†breaks before in his career. But something in Klitschko¬†feels strong enough that he’s not willing to bend here.

The heavyweight division has been in shambles for years. The sooner Haye and Klitschko end their Mayweather-Pacquiao imitation, the better.

What’s your take? Do you blame one fighter more than the other for this latest issue?