Monthly Archives: October 2010

Hush-Hush-It’s Haye vs Harrison@Handbags-Shhhhhhhh…

Today, Halloween has fallen on a Sunday, meaning that tomorrow is the start of another work week, the start of another November, and 13 unlucky days before the English witching hour strikes when two MONSTERS commence with their titanic engagement.

!MONSTERS!

!MONSTERS!

If the great American heavyweights have gone the way of ALL YOU CAN EAT buffet stockyards, then surely the Haye vs Harrison battle of the sweet tweets is the type of English Handbags @ strokes of midnight affair that real men dare not contemplate for fear of a real beating or worse.

Well, never fear, Mr. Haye and the WBA have no such old fashioned manly sensibilities to hinder them from putting their WBA cheese belt up for grabs in public, so here we are, David Haye vs Audley Harrison, Handbags & Hairbraids a’Flyin’ in equal measure.

Who you got?

Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s a new era of harder women and softer men where anyone can own a designer belt of their choice. Hey, I’m OK with the sociologic notion of everyone owning a piece of self esteem. I like Teddy Bears and easy work as much as the next man, woman, or other.

Regardless of the comedic value of the fight, David Haye and Audley Harrison do have some genuine talent and credentials, so it never had to come down to this level of derision. Technically and emotionally, it’s quite possible a fine fight can be waged IF they can summon up the will and courage, however, on every weekend a boxing fan can find a few really fine, heroic quality fights being waged by journeymen class fighters, prospects, and fringe contenders.

So What?

One supposes Homer Simpson could also put together a fine battle between Krusty the Klown and Ronald MacDonald, and one can only imagine the all time randy cat scratchin’s that Hugh Hefner has refereed, so really, a world title fight should represent more than just a fine battle between contestants.

Myself, well then, I’ll happily confess to having more than my fair share of sport over these gentle metromen given the amount of money being generated by this fluff, the reason being that they have both been heavily promoted in their heavyweight careers and promised much, yet have scarcely delivered more than comedy or farce.

Fairplay: Mr. Harrison promised way back that he was going to fight for a world title and fight Mr. Haye, so he’s met most of his contractual obligations with the public regardless of what happens next. Given the rollercoaster nature of his career, injuries, and advanced age, 39, that’s quite a comeback for the former 2000 Olympic superheavyweight gold medalist who first turned professional with the world as his oyster.

Boo-hoo: The 31 yr old Mr. Haye relinquished his brief cruiser championship(one defense), with the promise of bringing a top ten heavyweight contender to England to smash up in his quest to clean out the division and seize all the belts. Instead, he retired to his new estate in Cypress for 8 months, ignoring the WBA’s generous offer to give him first crack at undefeated Russian legend, Ruslan Chagaev, who had wrested the WBA crown from the undefeated giant Nickoli Valuev on the eve of his attempt to tie Rocky Marciano’s undefeated 49-0 record.

Could it get any hotter than that?

Way, way too scalding HOT for Mr. Haye to handle. Instead he served up cold chipped beef leftovers on milquetoast on a dark and dreary London night against 40ish fringe contender Monte Barrett who hasn’t won a fight since.

Oh, I guess Mr. Hayemaker promotions delivered value of sorts, pricing the tickets at 2 for one to paper out the sparse attendance. And the fight was “exciting” for those of a wickedly cruel disposition, first kicked off when Barrett fell over while attempting to leap into the ring before both commenced to winging wide clubfighter swings in a donnybrook straight out of an Irish pub where everyone hit the floor to be hit on the floor.

The only thing missing was bar stools crashing, pints a’flying, and the tough Martin Rogan who had qualified himself by winning Prizefighter, but was not invited to the festivities. Alas, a threesome would’ve been way too much fun for the Marquis of Queensbury who promptly quelled the unseemly disturbance by pulling the plug on Barrett to declare Mr. Haye the victor.

Mr. Haye then pasted together an 8th grade styled youtube video of him promoting hisself running up an escalator to the foot of the big Ukrainian champ, Wlad Klitschko, pestering him for a title fight like a dog whining for a treat. Wlad patted him on his head and then went on about his business.

That promotion being unsuccessful, Mr. Haye then manufactured some tee-shirts of hisself carrying the severed heads of the Klitschko brothers who then had their first ever brotherly squabble, dickering over who had first crack at sending Mr. Haye splotto into Bolivia.

So, they pulled straws and Wlad won the contractual rights to Mr. Haye who promptly backed out of his contractual arrangements, leaving Wlad scrambling weeks before their fight to conjure up a credible challenger out of the rapidly Klitschko decimated heavyweight ranks.

The Klitschkos should’ve known better at that point.

Instead, Vitali exercised his short straw option and offered a crack at his WBC title. The terms had been slowly hammered out in principle, when, SHOCKER, Mr. Haye suddenly announced instead he would be challenging for Nickoli Valuev’s Don King controlled WBA strap that he had previously snubbed when the WBA first offered. That strap had been wrested by King from undefeated WBA champion, Ruslan Chagaev in a classic sleight of hand card trick.

Remember the blood testing shenanigans in Finland when King wouldn’t let Valuev fight Chagaev?

 Instead, it fell to Wlad who picked up yet another emergency replacement to nick Chagaev’s first loss, well pulping him into a mess before retiring him in the 8th round. The WBA refused to sanction that fight, instead, stripping Chagaev of his belt and awarding it to Valuev AFTER Chagaev was knocked out by Wlad.

Poor cheated Chagaev had to win a recent eliminator bout just for the right to challenge for his old strap that Mr. Haye holds now.

Now, I apologize for having to piece together this sordid puzzle that has become the sad tale of Mr. Haye who promised to clean out the division. Instead, Mr. Haye FAILED us for our failure to read the fine print that has to be properly told in sequential order.

Mr. Haye IS cleaning out the division in HIS fashion, sweeping out the pensioners, but STARTING IN REVERSE!

You know, everything depends on what HIS definition of IS is.

Mr. Haye scarcely raised a fisted glove against the creaking giant Valuev, preferring a reenactment of the scalded cat in track shoes act, which, surprise, surprise, was enough to squeak by big Niko who barely had a glimpse of the little critter scurrying about under his feet. Since then, each title challenge is coming against progressively weaker and older 40ish heavy contenders as could be expected from this latest WBA reincarnation of their champ holding the decade long King disgraced belt.

At this rate of deconstruction, I expect the 1988 US Olympic silver medalist, legend, and soon to be 42 yr old Roy Jones Jr. to get a crack at his old WBA heavy belt sometime next year to be followed by1984 US Olympic bronze medalist and teetering ring legend Evander Holyfield who wants a world record 7th crack at his old WBA belt, say 2013 so 50 yr old Commander Evander can simultaneously set the record as the oldest heavyweight challenger.

First things first, however, so here we are with the soft British public A-GaGa over their all English Handbags at the stroke of midnight affair supported by the all English undercard. Harder fight fans may scoff as they will, but, let’s be fair, like any cat fight, this entertainment value is top shelf!

Cat Scratch Fever

Cat Scratch Fever

I can’t help but see this as a pickem fight where either fighter is as likely to either land a bomb or flee for refuge, probably a mixture both as they tussle over who gets to take the easiest path to glory.

Mr. Haye has shown a fighters’ heart in the past, but it’s been awhile.

Mr. Harrison on the other hand seems to have discovered himself while at the lowest ebb of his career, coming back against all odds after even his fans had written him off and his health was compromised. With Mr. Harrison coming off another major injury that left him fighting with just one hand in his last fight, it’s hard to predict what he has left in his quiver when the first bell sounds though.

Did I Hear a Pipsqueak?

Did I Hear a Pipsqueak?

One thing for sure, the British public has been revitalizing Mr. Harrison’s popularity after his sudden show of pluck and heart, so it’s quite possible that the previously popular Mr. Haye may enter the ring as the panto villain to be vociferously booed to the rafters. Fragile mental make-up at the sound of the first bell is likely the decider in this fluffybrook.

For now though, Mr. Haye is the obvious betting favorite, owning a huge ranking and youth advantage.

Oberon, Titania & Puck Fancy a Dance With Faeries

Oberon, Titania & Puck Fancy a Dance With Faeries

Still, Mr. Harrison has the size and experience that has shortened the odds dramatically, all while brilliantly maneuvering Mr. Haye from afar with sweet tweets and naughties, positioning both precisely in the ring for this moment for their intertwined destinies to be played out as The Fates dicker over the outcome in the shadows of Stratford-upon-Avon.

That assumes that Mr. Haye doesn’t back out of yet another contract at the last hour. Recent reports have him smashing his Mercedes in a walkaway, a public cry for help?

Hmmmm, wonder what the odds are for Mr. Haye backing out of this fight would be at Ladbrokes? 

 
 

Splotto!
Splotto!

Answer:

Mr. Harrison will simply not allow Mr. Haye to back out of this fight.

It’s on!

Oh the Terror of a Beating in Love!

Oh the Terror of a Beating in Love!

The Other Juan Manuel vs The Other Marquez

The Other Juan Manuel,   Juan Manuel  Lopez will be fighting  The Other Marquez, Rafael Marquez,  the brother of Juan Manuel Marquez.

The names may be confusing with their Spanish mix and match interchangeability, but boxing fans know Juan Manuel Lopez as a fast rising p4p star with a perfect, 29-0, 26 KO record. His is probably the highest KO% of all the current title holders in boxing since Vitali Klitschko slipped below 90% when Shannon Briggs took him the distance.

Juanma

Juanma

“Juanma” presents a sunny, genial persona out of the ring, but he’s a deadly accurate hitter in the ring who seldom takes prisoners. He looks to further consolidate his place at the top when he squares against modern day ring legend, Rafael Marquez, who wants his former position as #1 in his division restored.

Both have recently moved up to the featherweight division where Juanma currently holds the WBO belt, so this bout has all the markings of a pass the torch moment, but will  Rafael Marquez give up the torch and go quietly into the night, or will he fight tooth and nail against the young pup and chew him up?

The young pup happens to be a prime 27 yrs of age to Marquez’s more stately 35 yrs, but those 35 years got a decade tacked on to them during Marquez’s famous trilogy against Israel Vasquez, one of the all time great trilogies in boxing history. Marquez and Vasquez had to take over a year off to recuperate before their 4th installment where Vasquez clearly had nothing left.

Rafael Marquez

Rafael Marquez

So, Marquez may have come out of that grinder in better shape than Vasquez, but now he’s up against a fighter at the top of his game who has had as perfect a run against his opposition has anyone in history, and a knockout specialist to boot.

The old man has his work cut out if he wants to defy Father Time to turn back the clock for one more reign over his division as he grew accustomed to in his youth.

Marquez definitely has more experience of top level fights over Juanma, but it’s the only advantage he holds. I expect a short fight as Marquez is not a runner, but a defensive counterpuncher with a good offensive attack. His reflexes may have dimmed a fraction, but he can still box, still fight, and is a good puncher in his own right, so Juanma must exercise due caution and utmost expertise if he expects to send Marquez into a deep sleep.

Lopez rightfully will be the big favorite, but the truth is, nobody but Marquez and his trainer know how much Marquez has left since he has not been really tested in over two years. This could turn into a classic if he is somewhere near his prime form.

The undercard is an interesting Super Six bout with two replacements, Allan Green and Glencoffe Johnson both looking for their first points wins in order to advance in the tourney.

The 31 yr old Green has run out of excuses  with his back now against  the proverbial wall. Modern day 41 yr old ring legend Johnson never has any excuses and is still trying to beat down the door of opportunity, so this fight has a do or die quality about it.

That’s Saturday, November 6th at MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Catch it if you can……..

A Blast For The Past

A Blast For The Past

Here's a Grandpa Soap Knot on Your Noggin

Here's a Grandpa Soap Knot on Your Noggin

 

Star Rising in Montreal: Young Canadian David Lemieux

Montreal has always had a rich tradition of boxing with card carrying toughs  like George Chuvalo and Yvon Durelle among others waging many memorable wars there. I’m not sure what’s in the waters these days, but Montreal has never been hotter with great champs Lucian Bute, Jean Pascal, Adrian Diaconu, among others based there.

The newest star rising in Montreal is 21 yr old David Lemieux, a knockout specialist in the middleweight division. 

The Newest Young Gun in Town
The Newest Young Gun in Town

 

Lemieux is a good lookin’ kid on point for his breakout bout this Friday, October 29, against American fringe contender, Hector Machito Camacho Jr. The WBC International strap will be up for grabs in a 12 rounder, traditionally a good launching pad for future champs.

The 32 yr old Camacho has a huge name based upon the career of his famous father, Hector Macho Camacho Sr with the additional wealth of 14 years worth of his own accumulated boxing experience. He turned pro to much anticipation, but has stumbled, sputtered, stuttered, and stilted whatever talent and aspirations he had by backing off any significant challenges during his career.  

In his last bout, Jr improved to 52-3-1, 28 KO when he picked up the World Boxing Foundation Intercontinental middleweight title in Guyana against Danny “Deadly” Dalton, currently sporting a 292nd boxrec rating, the poster boy for the marginal opponents Camacho has cruised his career with.

Deadly Who? World Boxing What the F….?

So, yes, Virginia, the  #3 WBC and WBA ranked contender Lemieux represents a significant leap in class and a genuine threat to Camacho’s tubby physical well being in spite of being short on experience. Sure, Jr’s a got a couple of bigger notches on his resume, like former lightweight champ Phillip Holliday whom he barely edged out near a decade ago, and most recently the 40ish Yory Boy Campos who has something like 120 bouts of wear and tear on his weary war bones, both worn out names posing no threats to Jr’s health. The only prime prospect/contender type that Jr has dared to mix it up with was a Ukrainian named Andrey Tsurkan who knocked him out in ’06 for the NABF light middle title.

I gather that Camacho was offered a good purse to lure him away from his established comfort zones to face such a dangerous knockout threat, but he probably thinks his experience and reflexes will be enough to leave with the title. Lemeiux has never faced such a slick, fast, spoiler type of boxer that is Camacho’s style, and with only has 52 rounds worth of experience, Lemieux is far short of the wily 321 rounds Jr has logged.

Maybe Jr thinks he can take Lemieux into deep waters and drown him, so this should be a good technical and developmental test for Lemieux as he looks for his first world title shot. Of course, the house will erupt if Lemieux can hurt Camacho, and it can’t hurt the hometown favorite that the bout falls in the wake of the Briggs beatdown by Vitali Klitschko that saw the boxing world pretty much unified in protest over the referee’s failure to stop the brutal mismatch any time after round 8.

Winner to be poised for a real title shot in the near future, so me thinks it’s a great opportunity to look into the future of boxing, David Lemieux, who possesses some bone crunching power and puts on a good show.

And, maybe he can box some too, ya know? 

And He Fell Into a Deep Sleep....

And He Fell Into a Deep Sleep....

The HUGE Heart of Shannon Briggs

Now that Vitali Klitschko has vanquished the Shannon Briggs challenge to his WBC title, the aftermath of the fight has found Briggs reportedly in “critical” condition in a German hospital, suffering from the effects of a brain concussion and all the uncertainties that entails as well as fractured orbital sockets around both eyes and a torn bicep.

Between Rounds

Between Rounds

Modern boxing protocol sees fighters often placed under observation at hospitals as a precaution, so Briggs will be evaluated and treated, hopefully followed by a favorable release in the coming days.

Meanwhile, unceasing critics are out in force, harping about the fight needing to be stopped well before the end of the 12th round and criticizing Vitali for lacking one punch power and killer instinct to put Briggs down, all in support of the base criticism that nobody can remember a worse set of champions in a worse era than the Klitschko brothers.

Poor Briggs has doubtless never taken a worse beating at the hand of his critics before the fight and not much has changed after the fight in spite proving his critics wrong about him having no heart or stamina.

OK, it comes with the territory of being a brash personality living life in public according to your own terms instead of kowtowing to others.

Personally, I have never been a fan of Briggs, nor a critic except as it pertains to boxing. He is what he is, one of the most colorful characters of all the champs and contenders of the past two decades. He’s an essential part of the landscape who came to public attention when he got overrated on the heels of a dubious decision over Big George Foreman, and his literal last ditch, last second 12th round knockout of Siarhei Liakhovich for his 2nd title.

Those wins plus Briggs’ formidable physique, size, and first round KO record left him overrated apparently, since the ref, Ian John Lewis who was charged with the biggest assignment of his life, he has been accused of not stopping a one sided beatdown.

Had Mr. Lewis stopped the fight, the same critics would be all over him for not allowing Shannon a last second, last ditch Hail Mary shot that would lift him to glorious victory.

I personally thought the fight could’ve been stopped at several opportune moments in the latter half of the fight, particularly from the 10th round on, yet Briggs continued to land the odd big shot, in effect keeping himself in the fight with nothing left.

Now that we are starting understand the full extent of the punishment he took, it surely must be time to take a look at the most brutally efficient style in the history of the heavyweights that the Klitschkos tend to wage as supersized heavies administering slow, head-hunting type of methodical beatdowns. I cannot think of many fighters who could take that amount of punishment, much less at the near 39 yr  age of Briggs.

The critics are always gonna be harping, and refs are always going to make human mistakes of judgement, but it might be time to enact “The Klitschko Clause” into their title fights.

The Klitschko Clause would read that any time after 8 rounds, if the opponent has made no inroads on mounting an offensive threat, is taking a one sided beating, yet is still standing and sent out for every round by their corner, the ref should be compelled to stop the fight.

Of course, refs can stop a fight at any time, and truth be told, I’ve seen a hundred and more fights stopped with the opponent taking a tenth of the damage Briggs absorbed last night. I’m certainly no fan of premature stoppages.

More than a century’s worth of boxing lore has left us with cherished, come from behind, heroic last round KOs like Mike Weaver’s 15th round knockout of Big John Tate that made the career of Weaver and broke the career of Tate. With what we know about brain concussions these days, the risks in these cases are simply not worth it for the odd exception.

The Klitschkos have won their professional honors and respect.

The ref and ring doc already have much discretion in stoppage decisions, but don’t always excercise due judgment, stopping fights too early or too late. Given the incredible beatings the Klitschko brothers have handed out the past few years on Peter, Chambers, Chagaev, Briggs, and Arreola as examples of  precious little resistance other than chins too reliable for their own health, it may be time to force a stoppage by writing the terms into the contract.

The End

The End

But here’s to the health and wellbeing of Shannon Briggs in the here and now.

He deserves a full recovery and perhaps a few retirement fights as a gatekeeper before he hangs them up.

And, please, get a new corner. Your corner failed you miserably.

Briggs could still knock out most of the fighters ranked over him, but regardless, he’s earned my highest respect for his absolute defiance in the face of irresistible destruction, stupefying critics be damned.

Tribute video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oylTb2tlV2k

Well Done, Sir!

East Meets West in War – Nishioka vs Munroe

Englishman Rendall Munroe is making the grandest journey of his life when he flies over to Tokyo, Japan  to do battle against WBC superbanty champion Toshiaki Nishioka. Now, try repeating that name in fast sequence without becoming tongue tied.

Rendall Munroe

Rendall Munroe

Munroe is a solid, very physically strong fighter and the younger man at age 30, but he might have better luck at tongue twisties than trying to dethrone a vastly more experienced Nishioka who is additionally backed by genuine 10 count, one shot power, the likes of which Munroe has never tasted in his career. 

Munroe has never been knocked out though, so the hope is that his strength, youth, and pressuring, busy style will win the day over the older champ. He’s been quite successful at the regional level against mixed British and Europeans, 21-1, 9KO, but this is a new game for him entirely, opened up when he knocked out Victor Terrazas in a WBC title eliminator this year.

Munroe is an engaging, popular little guy, holding down a full time job as a binman, but has taken time off from his work to train properly for his biggest challenge yet. I recall reading an interview of his promoter, Frank Maloney, where they relocated to Spain to run the mountains to prepare for the thin air of Tokyo. Thing is, Tokyo is not much higher than sea level, so unless they will be fighting on Mount Fuji at 12,000’ or one of the smaller mountains, one has to wonder what the Munroe team game plan really is and is it sensible?

The 34 yr old Nishioka doesn’t sport the most impressive record at 36-4-3, 23 KO, but 2 of those losses came as a teenager coming up in a tough Japanese system, and the other 2 losses came in 4 fights against Thai legend, Veeraphol Sahaprom. Nishioka is a graduate of the school of hard knocks for sure and unbeaten in 13 fights since. That 5 of his last 6 fights were early stoppages tells me that he’s at the apex of his career.

Toshiaki Nishioka

Toshiaki Nishioka

Nishioka is also a very engaging, happy go lucky type of guy who hardly looks the role of a championship fighter unlike the hardman that “The Battling Binman” Munroe projects in the ring, but deceptive looks out of his lefty stance only serve to mask his killer left hand, so Munroe is fixin’ to get the chin check of his young life in this one.

The undercard looks exciting with the undefeated former WBA strawweight champ, Roman Gonzalez, challenging for the WBA junior flyweight title against Francisco Rosas. Also, former two division champ, Jorge Linares is trying to line up a title shot in his 3rd division by taking on the always game, former lightweight champ, Jesus Chavez who’s also looking for another title shot.

Beware though, this card takes place on a Sunday, Japanese time, so don’t let it slip by if you truly value some quality action fights.

Here's a Poke in the Bin

Here's a Poke in the Bin

Contender Star Brinkley Gets Shot at Lucian Bute

This October 15 on a low key Friday evening in Montreal, Canada, former Contender star and current IBF mandatory Jesse Brinkley gets a shot at Lucian Bute’s IBF crown.

Bute is the top ranked Ring and Boxrec supermiddleweight, a Romanian transplant fighting almost exclusively out of Montreal. His style is of a slick, quick, savvy southpaw not likely to lose any rounds against the overachieving Brinkley who has rebuilt his career the last 4 yrs in solid fashion to get to this point.

Jesse Brinkley with hair

Jesse Brinkley with hair

I hate to see a fine, popular, salt of the earth type of fighter get blown out of the water with little effort as is likely to befall Brinkley, but sometimes in the real world, nice guys lose, and there are no better fighters than Bute for him to lose to.

Brinkley will probably be pumped to the gills for this opportunity of a lifetime and he earned every minute that it lasts. It will be quite the experience for him in Montreal, one that he can pass on to the grandkids one day.

With some good luck combined with spot on timing, maybe Brinkley will land a few stingers on Bute and create some highlight footage for himself before succumbing to the inevitable.

Lucian Bute

Lucian Bute

There are of course much bigger fights for Bute in the grand future queue of things since he recently signed a lucrative contract with HBO.

That was unprecedented for a Montreal centric fighter, but the notion is to feed off the excitement of the Montreal crowd and eventually lure Bute in to Las Vegas for a superfight against the winner of the Showtime Super Six tourney, or at least one of the drop outs.

He also has another IBF mandatory, the undefeated Frenchman Jean Paul Mendy who fights out of Paris that should be a natural fit in Montreal or even Paris.

The biggest option would be to move up a division to challenge the very popular newly crowned Ring Champ, Montreal lightheavyweight Jean Pascal. 

HBO would be all over that fight in a heartbeat, doubtless the biggest Canadian promotion ever put together and a geniune modern day superfight. First things first, however, so Bute has to take care of at least one of his current mandatories in the here and now that can be quite treacherous for a champion with stars and dollar signs clouding his focus.

Brinkley vs Bute

Brinkley vs Bute

Gonna be a fun night that also sees two more popular Romanian transplants fighting out of Montreal, Adrian Diaconu and Ionut Dan Ion back in action, so tune in if you have the chance.

A Spritzer With Your Nightcap, Sir

A Spritzer With Your Nightcap, Sir

And Then There Were Three-The Demise of The Showtime Super Six

Chop-Chop

Take out your photoshop shears and saw off the right side from the middle of the above photograph, a scarily eerie sequential grouping portending the fate of this acclaimed elimination tourney launched with much fanfare.

There was hope for all the parties involved, not withstanding expectations of boxing fans everywhere. Oddsmakers quickly put together their numbers and folks lined up on the side of their favorites. Sleeping nationalistic fervors were fired up and internet boxing forums were buzzed as the prefight debates and squabbles commenced.

Even the casual viewing general public stood up to take notice, proving that boxing is not yet dead in the hearts and minds of the larger populace just yet. This was a new world order shaping up the boxing world where 3 Americans and one Dane, Brit, and German apiece were mixed and matched in a dream come true, the best fighting the best.

The Fates Plot
The Fates Plot

Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men get dashed so easily in the grand scheme of things once The Fates of Perchance enter the picture. 

In perfect sequential order as per the photo, Jermain Taylor, Mikkel Kessler, and Andre Dirrell have dropped out of the tourney citing the bane of boxers everywhere, neurological problems.

Blame meisters are of course in overdrive trying to assign the blame for the collapse of the tourney, but technically, the tourney is still on with replacement fighters Allan Green and Glen Johnson selected to replace Jermain Taylor and Mikkel Kessler respectively.

 Showtime should instead be applauded for aspiring to such a grand idea that elevated the worldwide profile of boxing. So what if they fell short because of inherent structural problems involved in organizing a promoter controlled sport of brutal consequences? It was a wonderful learning experience that they can utilize as they launch their new Super Six Bantamweight Tourney.

Nobody is claiming that Super Six tourneys are the solution to boxing’s woes, but it is a nice piece of creative organizing that with a little luck, will open up promoters, broadcasters and boxers to better work with each other for better fights.

There are legitimate criticisms of course, the overriding one being the blatant home favoritism that has seen every visiting fighter losing with the taint of incompetent officials too often spoiling the show. Perhaps, tellingly, the venues have too often turned out to be small potato type hometown low attendance type locales for such a high profile global tourney.

Why are they fighting in Nottingham, England, Oakland, California, and Detroit, Michigan for example? Froch, Ward, and Dirrell have little local following and would be best served up in Las Vegas or London where their names and publicity would resonate more.

And what of the fates of the fighters you might ask?

Jermaine Taylor at age 32 was the first to drop out, but he has had a fine career with great earnings if he chooses to retire. Twelve of his last 13 fateful fights have been against past, present, or future champions. All four of his losses have come in his last 5 fights against prime, very strong, murderous punching undefeated fighters. If not the end of the road for him, the end surely must be near.

Mikkel Kessler followed Taylor, yet started the tourney as the favorite, and at age 31, he’s has had the longest professional career with a record of 43-2. As a 3x champion with great earnings, the end of his prime may be near with him still relatively intact. No sob stories yet, but that’s assuming his eyesight will return to normal.

Andre Dirrell is the latest dropout, a relative novice at age 27 with a 19-1 record. This was supposed to be where his career flowered, but his sole win in the tourney also saw him splattered incomprehensible on the canvas after Arthur Abraham was finished with him. It would be a shame for him, his family, and his team if this was the end of the road. His style is not to take punishment, so it could be that once his chin was finally cracked, the problems will only start to cascade. Every fighter has a limited time, so I leave those decisions to him and his advisors.

Arthur Abraham is still a strong favorite to win the tourney, and at age 30 with a 31-1 record, he’s had a fine career and earnings and seems well poised with the fearsome reputation of having knocked his first two opponents out of the tourney. One could easily imagine him doing the same to Carl Froch in his next bout.

Carl Froch at age 33 started as the elder statesman who has had a fine warrior type of career thus far, but not the big earnings and acclaim he might have hoped for as a British champion. He seems to have been shaken up by his loss to Kessler and perhaps sees the end of his own prime slipping away in the undertow of the tsunami of formidable talent washing over this tourney. We shall see.

Andre Ward at age 26 is the baby of the tourney with a perfect record of 22-0 still intact as Dirrell, Abraham, and Froch have seen the first nicks on their records. Ward has been the biggest winner of the tourney as far in jumping the ratings, but has shown some serious cracks in the façade that still sees him as a regional California fighter with a small following in spite of being the last US Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist. Probably the oddsmakers have him down as the favorite now, but that may change if he is ever pried out of his hometown and forced into a fight under neutral conditions.

Allen Green at age 31 is still waiting for his career to take off. The public was last seen waiting for him to throw a meaningful punch at Andre Ward, and may still be waiting after Glen Johnson finishes with him.

Glen Johnson at age 41 and record of 50-14-1, gives some serious gravitus to the tourney IF he can reduce down to the 168 lb weight limit. He has to be The People’s Choice of the tourney now and truly the pre-eminent road warrior of his era…..Have Gloves-Will Travel.

Insert the next replacement to fight Andre Ward here___________. Showtime is scrambling to find a suitable replacement to carry on. Good luck.

So, perhaps the rumors of the death of the Showtime Super Six are premature, but it’s been a grand experiment, so surely boxing enthusiasts can better appreciate the logistics of making credible fights when so much is at stake.