Tag Archives: Ruslan Chagaev

American Hero Tony Thompson vs Cubano Luis Ortiz

Tony “The Tiger” Thompson, 40-6, 27 KO, challenges WBA interim heavyweight champion Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz, 24-0, 21 KO, this March 5th at the DC Armory, in Washington D.C. Despite his age, 44, Thompson has beaten some notable names the last few years including highly touted Olympians David Price and Odlanier Solis twice each in their home environs. Such heroics elevated him into the pantheon of favorite American heavyweights after a painfully slow early career development.

The tubby, awkwardly fighting Thompson is, of course, not the usual life saving public service stereotype touted as a hero, but me thinks many boxing fans have come round to him no matter his setbacks because he gives it his all. He’s done his part to save the soul of old school boxing that made America great with his heady risk taking and confidence, something that has been missing in American boxers. That has allowed him to extend out his career that was teetering on the brink too many times in his prime due to general lack interest boxing had in him. Doubtless he’s also made considerably more money these past few years than the long years that proceeded him, so amen to that.

The Solis name is noteworthy in that he was also a heavily touted Cubano Olympic Gold medal compatriot of Ortiz for whom big things were predicted to no avail when Thompson beat him up and nailed his coffin shut for the duration. Ortiz is certainly no spring chicken himself, soon to be age 37 in a couple more weeks, with near 400 hundred of amateur bouts on his odometer, but professionally he is most certainly fresher than Thompson. Thompson claims a couple of amateur wins over him before they turned pro, but that was ages ago and little relevance to today’s cutthroat pro game when Thompson has started to wind down. In otherwords, Ortiz will be heavily favored. Also interesting is this a battle of two heavyweight southpaws for a title.

The cutthroat that the WBA recently announced that this is a nontitle fight, so if Thompson wins, he can’t take the title away from Ortiz who they are trying to prop up for their upcoming cornball heavyweight tourney. Needless to say, if the steroid cheat Ortiz already didn’t have enough suits lined up in his corner before, now he’s got the WBA suits as well. He can’t lose his title no matter what…only in boxing.

In other heavyweight action this week, WBA “Regular” champ Ruslan Chagaev does indeed defend his title against Aussie Lucas Browne in Grozny, Russia. Chagaev has the credentials, but he’s done little these past few years. Browne has been a project from the start, but from recent activity, Chagaev is overrated and Browne underrated. We’ll see how it goes.

And last but not least in Mexico City, everyone’s favorite infidel and all around dartboard, Antonio Margarito, returns from retirement to fight Jorge Paez Jr on Saturday. Interesting week for boxing, perhaps a prelude of heated bouts to come.

 

 

Time to Laugh–The Povetkin vs Rahman Comedy Hour.

Well, folks, The Povetkin vs Rahman Comedy Hour is almost upon us as Saturday winds down. The real fight action of course will be provided by the defacto main event when undefeated Kubrat Pulev, 16-0, 8KO rumbles with the former kickboxer, Alexander Ustinov, 27-0, 21 KO, a mountain of 300+ solid pounds spread out uniformly on his 6-8 Russian grizzlybear frame.  

The much awaited comedy hour endured delays from alleged injuries sustained by Hasim Rahman when he attempted to drop the blubber of some 300 lbs of inactivity. It was way back in the Pleistocene era when Rahman last beat a Ring ranked fighter though to be fair, since then all his losses were at least against contender types or champs such as Wlad Klitschko. It must also be noted that Rahman was quite literally robbed after landing a 1001 jabs along with a stiff right hand that knocked James Toney clear across the ring in the reverse ring waddle of the year. Unfortunately the routine nature of true robberies gets mixed into the howls of lesser robberies that typically accompany most every fight card in the world, so Rahman never got credit, the last fight he was in any semblance of shape.

Well, folks, the current WBA champ Alexander Povetkin is very much like all the previous WBA champs going back well over a decade now, he desperately needs a 40ish tubby former American champ or contender well past his best in order hold on to his Comedy Crown. It should be noted that Wlad Klitschko easily dismissed the last two WBA champs, Ruslan Chagaev and David Haye, but then Klitschko is so much more than a mere WBA champ that he is excluded from any comparison.

Povetkin was signed to fight Wlad a few years ago, but the fight fell out on a supposed tear of an ankle tendon, an Achilles heel as it turned out for Povetkin. He has since gone from being the touted Olympic Gold Medalist and top contender to a running joke trained by everyone’s favorite Uncle Teddy into a disaster case.

When he faced the best ever fighter of his career, fellow Sauerland stablemate and Cruiser champ Marco Huck, he resembled more the drunken Russian sailor on shore with his head between his knees for defense as his guts convulsed in horror. Poor Huck was reduced to bouncing Povetkin’s noggin off the canvas with rabbit shots, the only punch available to him to crack Povetkin’s illegal defense that he was never warned penalized for.

Teletubbies 256 lbs vs 229 lbs

Teletubbies 256 lbs vs 229 lbs

Never seen a fighter more punch drunk reeling about the ring on spaghetti legs than Povetkin, yet he won the decision, natch. Enter long time Don King fighter Hasim Rahman into this fetid mess with a chance to tie Muhammed Ali’s three heavyweight titles won.

Yup, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction and you laugh at the WBA matchups so hard that you cry.

Well, folks should be well set up  in a fine fettle after the colossal battle between the Bulgarian Pulev and the Russian Ustinov who may be of Belarus origin. Both are classic come forward offensive fighters swinging some serious clubs, so short of a draw, someone’s zero is got to go since the stakes are the EBU heavy title and IBF International title.

Three of these four heavyweights are Eastern Europeans of undefeated contender status as befits the current international intrusion on the former American stronghold. Hasim Rahman may no longer be in their class, but he knows that he could well deliver another peach of a right hand to make the history, so laugh at your own risk, or cry, or grin and bear it, the choice is yours. 

Russian Roulette–Povetkin vs Chagaev–Helenius vs Liakhovich

An amazing Russian heavyweight elimination tourney of sorts takes place in Messehalle, Erfurt, Germany on Saturday, August 27 when Alexander Povetkin squares off against Ruslan Chagaev for the WBA “Regular” Championship while Robert Helenius takes on Siarhei Liakhovich for the WBA/WBO Intercontinental belts.

OK, Robert Helenius and Siarhei Liakhovich are the odd men out, being only the amiable next door Finnish and Belarussian neighbors rather than pure Russian rivals, but it’s a great time to cash in on the Russian connection while they’re still around.

Ruslan Chagaev

Ruslan Chagaev

Povetkin has the most impressive amateur credentials with his Olympic Gold Medal, but Chagaev comes in with his World Gold medal. Both were heavily promoted all action style fighters at the start of their pro careers, but have petered out of late due to an overwhelming lethargy in their fights and careers.  

Perhaps there really is only a single bullet left in their collective chambers that they mean to use up in this Russian Roulette elmination bout. A few years ago and interest in the bout would have been notable, but today, who really cares that much other than their mothers?

Helenius and Liakhovich were also heralded amateurs before rising to some acclaim in the pro ranks.

Robert Helenius

Robert Helenius

Helenius, however, is the only legitimate threat to the Klitschko reign, being a supersized heavy himself with plenty of heart, chin, and punch to handle all previous challenges.

Liakhovich is no wilting flower, though. The former WBO champ had considerable talent that he never fully realized, so this looks like the last go round for him and one huge obstacle to overcome since his last big bout, a wide decision loss to big Niko Valuev some 3 yrs ago.

The White Wolf has the coolest boxing moniker by a long shot, but he’s the oldest and most inactive of this foursome, age 35 with only two fights in last 3 years, both knockouts over modest opposition. Helenius gives the impression of a young Cassius, a lean and hungry look about him at only age 27 and improving fight by fight. The White Wolf may have other plans, so they got to fight to prove who really wants it.

Could really be a corker if Liakhovich shows up in great shape ready for a fight.

White Wolf

White Wolf

Returning to the scene of “The Big Names,” Povetkin and Chagaev have spent the last few years circling the collective drain at what should have been their peak years. Chagaev at least has the excuse of a debillitating blood disease, hepititus, whereas Povetkin just up and quit on himself after a great start. His brain trust has tried to remake him in the image of Teddy Atlas, but that was like a really bad hair day everyday with a future as rosy as a Viva Las Vegas Sunday morning shotgun wedding.

Povetkin

Povetkin

I like Chagaev’s experience here, but likely this is a decision and we all know judges don’t always respect the sweet science as much as they do cushy offciating assignments. Any close decision is likely to go to Povetkin who has no such health restrictions in making fights as does Chagaev with his blood testing woes.

Be nice for the division and future development of boxing in Russia if these guys put forth a dynamic bout, but their current realty is more like a sedentary effort suffices.

It’s gonna be up to Helenius and Liakhovich to salvage the card, but regardless, Helenius looks to be a headliner for the next few years, so there you have it, new talent rising and old talent falling off as it should be.

Wlad Klitschko’s 50th KO Celebration, aka Mr. David Haye

Flash back 8 years ago and few of Boxing‘s cognescenti and broadcasting wunderkinds would have been predicting the dominant title reign of Wlad Klitschko, but my how the landscape has changed. He’s even been mooted for IBHOF entry by some, but of course a few certain others who need no identification have been publicly picking against him for the duration.

Well, there’s no accounting for their public affinity for self flagellation, but the masochists have a new white knight in shining armour to make their wildest dreams come true when, or rather IF Mr. David Haye takes the long walk to the ring to toe it up against the Ring/IBF/WBO/IBO champ who already beat up the geniune undefeated WBA champ, Ruslan Chagaev some two years ago.

I say IF only because Mr. Haye has delivered a series of soft level WBA fights after announcing he would move to the heavy division and clean it up in between walking out on several Klitschko fights. The beleaguered British public failed to read the fine print that it was actually the WBA heavyweight division where he would be taking out the rubbish, so they made Mr. Haye something of a reality media star. By natural progression of their modern reality world, they figure this fracas is to be Mr. Haye’s coronation into King David, so they will be flocking to tune in come what may of the result.

Hayemaker Time

Hayemaker Time

At one time Mr. Haye was actually a blood and guts action warrior who briefly held the cruiserweight titles, but that seems ages ago. As a heavyweight contender, he has followed the three ring circus approach much in the way of Odlanier Solis who was demolished in the first round by brother Vitali last March.

I imagine Mr. Haye’s brain trust looked at that fight and plan to break out his fleet footed strategy that takes him into later rounds where presumably he will have a better feel for having his face jabbed into mincemeat.

I will be more than happy to give Mr. Haye due credit if he upsets the big favorite, but given the farcical nature of his heavyweight career with his general disrespect of fans and boxing, Mr. Haye has earned a level of disrespect that cannot easily be dismissed.

WBA Beatdown #1

WBA Beatdown #1

The easy prediction is Wlad notches his 50th knockout in a walkover . His trainer, Manny Steward has been predicting all these great things Wlad is going to do, but he’s a very cautious technician who prefers to set his own tempo, so I look for a late KO as he carefully walks down Mr. Haye much like he did Eddie Chambers.

If Mr. Haye wants to come straight at Wlad early, that would be thrilling for fans, but Wlad made easy work of the previous WBA champ, Ruslan Chagaev, and similar results are expected against their newest WBA hopeful, Mr. Haye.

Objectivity deserves a better place in boxing though, so Mr. Haye either has to produce a dynamic performance well above his previous efforts, not likely at this stage of his career, or Wlad has to revert back to the form of one of his 3 losses.

Could Mr. Haye leverage one of those off performances?

The best and most comprehensive win over Wlad was when the tricky fast handed South African southpaw Corrie Sanders put him down 5x for the TKO stoppage, but what is forgotten in that fight was the unintentional headbutt to Wlad before the first punch landed.

The strangest loss was to Lamon Brewster who absorbed a ferocious beat down and survived two knockdowns when Wlad mysteriously ran out of steam and collapsed after the bell ended the 5th round. Oddsmakers suspended betting on that fight days before because of a mysterious surge for Brewster who scarcely landed a punch on Wlad.

Wlad’s first ever loss was to big journeyman, Ross Puritty, who also absorbed a beatdown for the ages through 11 rds, a fight he could’ve been stopped for being noncompetitive. He surprised the tiring 22 year old Wlad with a sudden attack good enough that Wlad’s trainers threw in the towel.

This is Wlad’s 59th pro fight and a fighter only has so many bullets to fire, so even Clint Eastwood had to ask the punk, “Are you feeling lucky today?

“Well, do you Mr. Haye?”

Alternately entitled Dirty Wlad’s WBA Beatdown #2, coming soon enough(we hope and pray with fingers crossed xx), Saturday, July 2nd at Imtech-Arena, Hamburg, Germany.