Tag Archives: Wladimir Klitschko

Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko~A Battle of the Unknowns?

Anthony Joshua defends his IBF heavyweight belt with the chance to win the vacant WBA Super Heavyweight and IBO heavyweight belt against former forever champ, Wladimir Klitschko, Saturday, April 29th @ Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London. That’s in merry olde England for those that need to know.

Anthony Joshua vs Wlad Klitschko~It's ON!

Anthony Joshua vs Wlad Klitschko~It’s ON!

This is a huge opportunity for both with each being a magnificent scalp for the other in the legacy of great fights that this promises to be. This also represents a prime 27 year old fighter with an 18-0, 18 KO record against a past prime, 41 year old fighter with a 64-4, 53 KO record coming off a terrible loss when the plagues of his personal life heavily shackled him against his biggest ever, most fight worthy opponent in Tyson Fury. Nobody really knows just how good Joshua may or may not prove to be just as nobody really knows if Wlad is truly washed up as his critics are want to say. Prior to  his loss nobody but the loony Uncle Teddy’s of the world would be picking Josh in this fight, but now Josh is the slight favorite going into the fight. That tells me that the gaming pros who make their living having to set the best odds to rake in the greatest number of bets to turn a healthy profit on whomever wins essentially see the fight as even. That the fighter mutual unknowns seems to be lost with regrettable “Ring boxing experts” picking Josh by a 29-1 margin is one of a host of sideshow stories created in the big excitement of the biggest heavyweight fight in many years.

As a point of comparison, 19 year old Mike Tyson was also 18-0, 18 KOs early in his career, but he was still just a developing kid. Josh is much more mature 27 years old and has a rather settled, pacific way about his public profile for a young man, full of the trappings and fabulous purses of an all time great champion, yet still a gangling teen in accumulated pro rounds, only 44 compared to Tyson’s 34 rounds at that same stage. Josh has already defeated better fighters than Tyson though, so perhaps those 44 rounds represent a soon to be great all time prodigy. Thing is, Wlad is going into his 69th fight with all the twists and turns of 358 pro rounds, and in no way looked past his sell date until the Fury fight.

Folks have been asking how long will it be before we have another dominant heavy champ like Wlad. All I can say is just as Joe Louis was a record setting, once in a lifetime heavy making his debut in 1934 some 62 years prior to Wlad making his debut in 1996, so by those numbers it won’t be until 2058 until a fighter of their caliber makes his debut to fill the Wlad gaping gap. Much of Wlad and his brother Vitali’s careers have been spent getting little respect from the public fans and media save for their high Ring and Boxrec ratings, yet here now strides the affable British colossus with enough natural attributes, prime, youth, and unbeatable career momentum to knock Wlad out of boxing and upset cold statistical models.

Some 90,000+ rabid fans will be cramming Wembley Stadium to stress out their facilities to the max in anticipation of a monumental battle, so both have much to be thankful for as the heavy division becomes the most relevant division in boxing for at least this fight in this year.

However, bizarre performance reports out of the Wlad camp would seemingly indicate he is “shot.” I can guarantee he is no where near shot, but in spite of his breezy self confidence going into the fight, I could in no way guarantee the result because both have so many unknowns going into this bout. The bad rumors are likely planted by the betting agencies to spur what is near guaranteed to be monumental money being wagered. The gaming industry has a dirty business model in that regard. Wlad, although quite experienced, has an additional uphill battle with the traditionally dirty BBB of C oversight of judges, referee, and other official selections that have as much influence as the fighters have on the outcome. Such is the current shameful nature of boxing’s dubious official oversight of the sport.

The still young Tyson Fury who is turning 30 this year can be blamed for creating this perfect storm of an all time heavyweight boxing promotion when he mentally unraveled after his grand upset of Wlad in 2015. Now he weighs in as blob like 350+ lbs and has been seeking treatment for cocaine dependence and depression, so he’s out of commission until sometime next year, if ever though he has reported to have, cough-cough, entered training, perhaps for a Kebab eating championship. For now he’s pretty much confined to buckets of kebabs and idiotic twitterings.

Someone had to fill his big shoes, and as it turned the Fates have lined up young Joshua for opportunity of a lifetime. And then they lined up Wlad for the same opportunity. The only two fights that have bitter rivals Showtime and HBO working together were Lennox Lewis vs Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather Jr, and both of those fights were duds because they happened way past the fighter’s best years. Wlad may be past his best, yet still in tremendous shape, but here is Joshua at his very best and still rising, so I smell knockout by one or the other.

Wlad also has a rare opportunity to beat his 3rd Olympic heavyweight Gold Medalist in Ray MercerAlexander Povetkin, and now Josh. Wlad may be the only one to beat two heavy gold medalists as it currently is.

Josh vs Wlad~Who YOU Got?

Josh vs Wlad~Who YOU Got?

Josh vs Wlad~Who YOU Got?

Josh vs Wlad~Who YOU Got?

It’s rare to have such a big fight between heavyweights with so many unknown factors going into the fight, and don’t think the fighters don’t know it as well. These are top, highly motivated pros and will be looking to exploit the least little edge, so, Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

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Skouser Tony Bellew vs Skynt David Haye~Bell & End Coming Together Again

The first little snit fit, ostensibly scheduled for Saturday, March 4, at The O2 in London, was prematurely kicked off two months early when the skynt Haye became overwhelmed by the immensity of their 1st prefight pressor and let fly ye olde sucker punch. Skouser Bellew giggled, shook it off, and lectured the skynt Haye for his lack of professionalism, so call it a No Decision, an ND in the unofficial books that won’t count on their records.

Mr. Buttinsky

Mr. Buttinsky

Another British bad boy lacking any breeding or manners, Dereck Chisora, recently tossed a table that sparked another little snit fit, but he was slapped with a 2 year suspension and 25,000 fine. Maybe the much belaboured BBB of C feels sorry for the skynt Haye and figures he doesn’t have the funds to pay such a fine, so they are letting him go. But later on skynt Haye called scrub of skousers at a press conference retards, so now it looks like the BBB of C will fine him for a word used in common jargon everyday around the world as opposed to assault and battery that he committed on the unsuspecting skouser Bellew.

Only in boxing!

This is the 3rd installment of the skynt Haye’s celebrity boxing reality show after coming back from the ignominy of a long retirement looking to make some easy money, so here we go again, this time sucking in skouser Bellew. Skynt Haye is ranked #7 heavyweight by Ring and Bellew #3 cruiserweight, so right off the bat we see Bellew more highly regarded in the profession. Boxrec ranks them #10 and #2 for another perspective, so clearly boxing values skouser Bellew over skynt Haye who Bellew calls a “broken man.”

Now skouser Bellew had a solid career in boxing going before this, finally winning a cruiserweight title in the kind of epic battle that provides the meat of substance fueling the legends of boxing, but has he thrown it all away for a much larger purse and fighter in the heavyweight division? I saw no mention of any contract weight or ring particulars, so here we go again blindly into the dark as befits the shady nature of the fight.

I am reminded of the richness of my favorite skynt Haye farce here that made him ooodles of money along with howls of derision. He seems to be one of those types who are utterly shameless about begging for more easy money.

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/hush-hush-it%e2%80%99s-haye-vs-harrisonhandbags-shhhhhhhh/

Not many give Bellew a chance, yet the bottom line is he is the true fighter here in the fashion that the skynt Haye used to be. Skynt Hay in his celebrity comeback has yet to face a Ring ranked heavyweight, a streak going back to before his comeback several years in the making. In fact, he and his celebrity buddy millionaire Joe Fournier jetted off in his private jet for a cruise on his yacht. Joe is like skynt Haye in that he only boxes for the celebrity factor and is the undefeated 276th ranked Lightheavy on boxrec. Not only, but he now fight in the Dominican Republic after testing positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs in a Belgium fight and put on a 5 year suspension by boxing commissions. He also owns a string of International  Celebrity type Night Clubs, so he’s got his little pinky well turned into the sordid side of life.

In fact, he offered to buy top ranked English fighter Callum Smith a private jet or a house if he will fight Joe, in the Dominican Republic I suppose…snicker…

Millionaire turned boxer Joe Fournier offers to buy Callum Smith a jet if he fights him

We have yet to know if skynt Hayes’ little pinky toe is up for this fight as happened to him in the Wlad fight, and sho’nuff, just like clockwork days before the fight, skynt Haye threatened to pull out because of injury. He had a little twitter fun by flying over to Germany to see his Doctor to mess with promoter Eddie Hearns and skouser Bellew’s plans, or was it to get injections for his pinkie toe and his fortitude? We shall soon see what we shall soon see.

 

Fat Boy Andy Ruiz vs Mighty Joe Parker For WBO Honors

Andy Ruiz Jr steps up for a big fight for the vacant WBO title against Joseph ParkerVector Arena, Auckland this Saturday, December 10th.

Though this pairing of a fat Mexican against a packed Kiwi down under in New Zealand seems unlikely because of ample Ruiz girth that we rather enjoy our mirth with, this fatboy knows how to fight. He’s very much like Tony Tubbs, Buster Mathis, Tony Galento and Willie Meehan before him, but can he match the girth of achievements of Big George?

We’ll find out after a really bad bummer year for boxing. Both have been very active, so this early December Christmas present for we the fans will be the 4th fight for each this year. When the fight was announced, Parker immediately went public with a painful recollection of the first sparring encounter between the two that left him with a huge cut in his mouth that kept him from eating for a few days. That, of course, was then, with this being now and both more experienced. Parker has faced better opponents the past couple of years whereas Ruiz slacked off in 2015, perhaps due to personal problems. His weight this year has been between 248-253 lbs which is a good range for him considering his past fluctuations, but supposedly he’s targeting 245 lbs for this fight.

As a regrettable side note, Anthony Joshua defends his IBF heavy title against journeyman Eric Molina on the same date in Manchester, but the good news seems to be that finally all the wheels got greased to put both Josh’s IBF belt and a WBA Super belt tossed in for added incentive against Wladimir Klitschko in spring of 2017 in an expected sellout of Wembley, the current capacity of 80,000+. Not to worry for fans though since there are over 2000 toilets to choose from.

Here these dynamic former spar mates are in Las Vegas after attending the Pacquiao/Vargas bout. The size differential is deceptive because Parker as the bigger is out front when in fact Ruiz will come in 10 lbs + heavier:

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilepa Alono Sailele Mallelegaol is said  to have been the primary financier for the fight so it could be held in New Zealand. To wit: “We are proud to be able to support our son Joseph Parker in his quest to become the first Samoan world heavyweight champion, and believe he possesses the qualities required to succeed, strength of body, mind and soul. In addition to this, this event will be a great opportunity for Samoa to promote our beautiful country to what will be a massive international audience.”

An additional wrinkle to this fight is Bob Arum has obtained 50% of Parker and other Duco Event fighter contracts, so will be co promoting him and them for the immediate future including this fight. Top Rank, win, lose, or draw, are back in the heavyweight champion biz again.

I really like the pace and skills of Parker, so of course I think he wins, but I also think Ruiz may possess hereto untapped potential waiting to be released, like maybe for this fight? Regardless of the results, the die is cast. Either the first ever Samoan or Mexican will become a world champ, unless……unless there is a draw or other such monkey business that boxing too often brings to fight results, yet still…only in boxing!

255 lbs vs 246 lbs

255 lbs vs 246 lbs

 

 

Tyson Fury Won Battle, But Wlad Klitschko Wins The War

Their big fight almost a year ago ended with a monumental upset as Tyson Fury took a solid unanimous decision over Wladimir Klitschko for the victory. Since then it’s been a slow spiral down the hill of ignominy for big Tyson as personal problems couched in the language as injuries and health issues have twice caused cancellation of the big rematch where he was reported to earn $10 million or more.

I’m reminded of the epic battle of undefeateds Ike Ibeabuchi vs David Tua back in 1997 that set the heavyweight record for most punches thrown, over 1700 of them in a 12 round fight. Tua was named 48th greatest all time puncher in a 2003 Ring all time top 100 list, and Ike was similarly predisposed as the proverbial bull in a china closet, so there was some long term damage. Ike complained of headaches after the bout as might be expected from eating hundreds of punches by Tua, but a hospital evaluation showed no immediate damage.

While the misanthropic anti-social media monkeys bemoaned the lack of offensive effort by Wlad, according to Fury, “You all heard about Doctor Steelhammer, about how hard he punches, how strong he is, you know…he caught me flush on the button with a straight right hand; I never felt it. He caught me in the temple, I didn’t feel it at the time, but I’ve been feeling it for two days after (smiles) I’ve been taking pain killers, my head has been going, ‘bang, bang, bang.’ “

Ike fought 3 more times, but he was a goner just 2 years later, hustled off to prison after repeated incidents such as kidnapping his girlfriend’s teen aged son and crashing his car into a highway pillar down Texas way to battering a Vegas escort he called into his room for a strip show. He blamed demons and evil spirits that were talking to him, so he was hustled off to a maximum security facility for 20 years and released right around the time of the Fury/Klitschko fight. In short, David Tua lost the battle but won the war. He ruined Ike and had a long storied career that could’ve been so much better with honest management than the crook who managed him.

The Fury/Klitschko was considerably less compelling than that fight, but no less hard hitting to Fury’s health. Tyson did well to survive, but he came to various post fight press conferences with a headache that wouldn’t go away in spite of liberal use of pain killers. And now he needs therapy.

Just like Ike who was just undefeated as well.

We can’t say if Fury can overcome these humiliating setbacks, but in the meantime a Wlad Klitschko vs Anthony Joshua fight is being mooted for both the IBF and WBA titles as Fury seems destined to be further stripped of his titles. Shame such an anticlimatic upset as this ends with a nary whimper, but many good things can still happen in boxing and there’s always next year.

As for now, Wlad vs Joshua…make it so and much outrage over boxing this year can be forgiven.

Fury vs Klitschko

Fury vs Klitschko

Mighty Joe Parker vs Alexander Dimitrenko

Heavyweight contender, Boxrec #8, Joseph Parker, 20-0, 17 KO, takes on a preparatory fight with Alexander Dimitrenko, 38-2, 24 KO, Saturday, October 1st @ Vodafone Events Centre, Manukau City, New Zealand.

Sascha vs Mighty Joe

Sascha vs Mighty Joe

Sascha, ranked 47th by boxrec, is a mighty big load as you can see. Listed at 6-7, he easily runs into the 250s with a big bone structure, seemingly ideal for a heavyweight, yet there was always something mentally missing from him at the top levels, so he never fulfilled being the next big thing that the 8th ranked Parker is currently striving for. He took a couple years off to return last year for some low level fighters, but now here he is with a hungry young buck, so what’s next?

Odds makers to heavily favor Parker, but Dimitrenko is only 34 years old and could find himself in the mix for this fight. Regardless, he serves the purpose of preparing Parker for the big guns of the division, Wladimir Klitschko or Anthony Joshua, rushing hard for a certain collision in 2017, so he’s got his work cut out for him. Banana peels need not apply.

Oh, Brother~Deontay Wilder vs TBA Artur Szpilka

WBC chump Deontay Wilder inaugurates the new 2016 year of boxing by making another TBA defense against Polish free spirit, Artur Szpilka, Saturday, January 16, 2016, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. TBA is shorthand for “To Be Announced,” as in the opponent chosen spare weeks before the projected fight, the last refuge of a scoundrel not serious yet about being a major player at heavyweight.

Yupsir, you really need to know that Wilder, 35-0, 34 KO, and Szpilka, 20-1, 15 KO, was being touted as the first heavyweight title fight in Brooklyn since James Jeffries knocked out James Corbett in the 23rd round on May 11, 1900 on Coney Island. Zounds, never mind that Wilder has about as much credibility as champion as Lee Savold did as the White Heavy beltholder and BBBC world heavy champ when Joe Louis discombobulated him from his senses to claim both titles that were immediately stripped from Louis if you want to go way back into the dark corners of boxing history.

Bombzquad?

Bombzquad?

Fast Forward to today>>> and make sure to thank Al Haymon for this disgrace to boxing history, he being holed up in his underground bunker as the king of TBA promoters and Wilder the king of TBA Heavyweights. Not to disparage the hard fighting Szpilka who was involved in a legitimite fight of the year type brouhaha against Bryant Jennings last year, but clearly the fainting goat syndrome Wilder needs these sort of late announcements to limit opponent training as a crutch to keep him going for his eventual planned big payday, but against whom since the heavyweight division was upended by Tyson Fury who dethroned Wladimir Klitschko in the upset of the year?

The fight itself could potentially be a good one, but the officiating promises the usual favors for Wilder needed for him to successfully overcome his opposition. Naturally, we can’t blame Szpilka who simply could not turn down this opportunity at beating a very vulnerable title holder, the current TBA Champion of the World. He’s been around enough to know the suits are all stacked against him in America. His new trainer, Ronnie Shields, also has a history of pulling the plug prematurely on fighters, so good luck to Szpilka as he’ll need to watch his back since the ref will be crawling all over it as his trainer fondles his white towel, waiting, waiting, waiting for just that right moment to toss it in to kill the fight…only in boxing…

Wladimir Klitschko Psychoanalyzing Tyson’s Fury~Finally, It’s On!

Wladimir Klitschko defends his plethora of belts against Tyson Fury, Saturday, Oct. 24 in ESPRIT arena, Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Finally, the big lunk Fury gets his chance after being a mandatory for a few years to no avail. He’s in his 4th year of the rankings in Ring, yet by circumstances beyond his control, some showy, big money fights fell out on him, so he ended up shunted aside as all his preparations and financial expectations fell upon barren, rocky grounds.

Yet another one of those odd circumstances took a bite out of Fury again after an injured tendon in the tender Wlad calf muscle set the fight back a month. That recalls for me an interesting parallel to George Foreman’s sparring gash by an elbow while training for the Ali fight in Zaire that set that fight back about 5 weeks. In honor of the potential of this fight, I filed a rehash of that fight where boxing routines normally followed in America got turned on their heads in Zaire. Link:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/rumble-in-the-jungle-aliforeman-vs-tysonfurywladimir-klitschko/

There is no doubt this will be one of the biggest Wlad fights, perhaps his biggest ever if the fight really takes off in the ring. The 27 year old Fury attracts a highly virulent crowd of both his detractors, and his fans, drawn by his high action fights allayed with his big, brash, Irish Traveler braggadocio, but he’s got a huge task in dethroning a juggernaut like a Klitschko much like Ali had against Foreman. Wlad has beaten 7 undefeated heavies in title bouts and going for his Henry the 8th against the undefeated Fury, currently at 24-0, 18 KO. Additionally, if the switch hitting Fury decides to go all lefty or switch stances repeatedly as he sometimes does, Wlad could notch his 9th title fight against lefties, way more than any previous heavyweight champ and likely more than any champion in any weight class. Wlad has been literally fighting at the emergence of a new era of heavyweight boxing where lefties in all divisions have been making incredible history. The really big men of today have also been able to better leverage their size and strength advantages thanks to 12 round title limits and new scoring rules that give extra credit to knockdowns. Very few “200-215” lb heavies exist anymore at the higher end of the spectrum because so few are able to survive the career fight to fight to fight gauntlet of big men to get to the top.

Warning: The as yet unwritten drama for this final script is currently being conjured up by the capricious Fates just as worldwide boxing respect is being reached for Wlad. He has started breaking heavyweight records held by legendary Joe Louis, yet he has not looked so stellar his last two fights. Sure, he brutally knocked out Kubrat Pulev, but took at least a couple dozen or more rabbit shots in the clinches, a poor defensive effort that could have telling repercussions down the road, like maybe against Fury. Moreover a torn left bicep postponed that fight, so when he finally did enter the ring, his bicep looked strangely sick, twisted, and contorted compared to his previous healthy state, so maybe Father Time has started to extract his cut from the 39 year old Wlad now. It also took him a while to get untracked against the speedy defensive style that Bryant Jennings unveiled, in short, surprise, surprise, the old man bones may be taking longer to warm into a fight.

Vs Bryant Jennings

Vs Bryant Jennings

Then there is the dilemma of his wife’s postpartum depression after giving birth to their child. Married family life sometimes becomes highly distracting at critical times in life. Is this one of those times?

Though Tyson Fury is much derided by the public, perhaps justly given his brazen,  inflammatory diatribes and his physical tendency towards flabbiness, make no mistake, this is one of the purest fighters today, and he can box as good as he wants when needed. He can fight inside or outside, lefty or righty or switch as he sees fit, punch in dynamic combinations or brawl and maul. At 6-9, you can bet he has underrated power and strength that seemingly flows without any noticeable effort. Even as a youngster he had good stamina, fast hands, and quick feet for such a towering fighter, a very relaxed fighter in the ring. He’s in his element and it shows since only John McDermot when he was barely a 21 year old novice has ever been able to extend him. He’s biggest mistakes have been defensively since he loves to put on a show, so very aggressively comes forward without a care as to the consequences. Anti-social media monkeys love to ride him about his glass jaw after being knocked down a couple of times, but Joe Louis used to get dropped a fair amount also. Ali was dropped hard early in his career by 190 lb fellow prospect Sonny Banks, and then really hard by the 175 lb much beloved Brit, Henry Cooper, a fight so controversial that it’s still being contested to this very day some 52 years later, so at least Fury’s in good company in being defensively lax at times, but only for now as his prime career is starting into full swing. His critics are near in a frenzy as they pray for a major slip up for them to savage.

Dr. Steelhammer’s take on Fury: 

“I think he’s bipolar and not really knowing what he’s doing next. He doesn’t’ really have a plan. I’ve been observing him the past few weeks, and I’ve seen him with his behavior and how he acts. There are some major issues.”

“I can change him and make a better person when he faces me,” Klitschko said. “I have made David Haye a better person from fighting me and he confirmed it.”

Cassius Kugan interview with Tyson’s pop, the notorious John Fury at his caravan, a real cracker of Irish Traveler culture and promotion this one.

Big John Fury

Big John Fury

As to how this fight plays out, Fury’s trainer, his uncle Peter is very savvy and likely also noticed Wlad’s slow starts, so why not drop a blizzard on him from the opening bell and see how he handles it. Obviously Fury has to be more disciplined than in his previous fun and games outings, and if it doesn’t work, Fury can just back off the pace and box at range to keep the old man running through his paces. Pulev was too macho for his own good, and Jennings too small and too light hitting to really make any inroads on Wlad, but Fury has the natural attributes to put it to Wlad like nobody has been able to do in ages, especially after heaping plenty of Irish blarney to get under Wlad’s skin in the prefight buildup.

One exceedingly notable exception to this fight would be very exceptional indeed when Cecilia Braekhus defends her titles against Ramona Kuehne on the undercard. I won’t watch women’s boxing, never have and never will, but these two would be worth going out on a long run with for the testosterone boost alone not to mention the titillation factor…WOW!

Lady Cecilia

Lady Cecilia

Ms. Ramona

Ms. Ramona

Alas, it appears the rescheduling has knocked Ms Ramona off the card, instead being replaced by a certain Ornella Domini. Sounds like The Fates got a mite jealous over that beauty contest.

Naturally I still strongly favor Wlad since Fury’s mental discipline has yet to be tested at this, the highest level he’ll likely ever fight at. Be interesting to see how they adapt to each other as I don’t think Wlad will be able to tie up Fury so much as he does other fighters. Be cool also if this turned into fight of the year. True, boxing’s biggest fights this year have turned out to be actionless duds, but, hey, we can dream can’t we?

Sizing Each Other Up

Sizing Each Other Up

 

 

Rumble In The Jungle: Ali/Foreman vs TysonFury/Wladimir Klitschko

In honor of the impending heavyweight fight of the millennium between Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury, or at least what we the people do hope to see out of this injury delayed fall dustup, let us recall the memories of one of the most poorly organized, yet all time heroic heavyweight fall classics of the modern era that had a similar injury delay. That would be The Rumble In The Jungle, George Foreman vs Muhammad Ali back in 1974, 41 amazing years ago.

What a horrible place to hold a fight, a 3rd world, backwater African state, Zaire, run by a brutally unrepentant kleptocrat, Mobutu. Out of the billions he stole from his impoverished, terrorized people, his $5 million guaranteed purse each for George and Ali was but mere miscellaneous loose change rattling round his pockets, yet the publicity turned out to be priceless for Mobutu.

We know now that the conditions were even worse than we suspected back then. To put it bluntly in modern hindsight, Big George was never going to beat Ali in Zaire. All the cards were stacked against him from the gitgo when all The Fates and half the Zaire locals conspired to shove pins into his voodoo mockup doll likenesses to weaken his spirit. As soon as he arrives, the locals were already riled up against him after having Ali whip up their animosity over the many weeks before. “Ali boma ye,” screamed out at him, translated as “Ali kill him,” and those shouts tormented the Big Guy wherever he went from his first to last day in Zaire. During the wrap up of the acclimation and training process, a light sparring session typically consisting of generally going through the moves with the fight so close, he was suddently caught a strategically placed elbow speared across his brow, a really nasty gash that delayed the fight some 5 weeks. He’s now stuck in a country ruled by the brutal Motubu who has invited the challenger, Ali, to live and be feted in the presidential palace while George, the champ, is put up in a local army barrack so as to properly know his place in this fight.

A Good Buddy

A Good Buddy

Thousands of AK47 packing soldiers are milling about everywhere, feasting their eyes on him, waiting for any untoward move that their president might not like. He’s not allowed to leave the country to seek treatment in France, in effect being held a hostage in a dangerous, hostile environment. Obviously he cannot spar and risk reopening the cut, so his training is reduced to the heavy bag and runs. At least he eventually managed to upgrade his living quarters to the local hotel, a big step forward for civilization in this backwater.

Then Angelo Dundee loosens the ropes before the fight as he tried to do against Frazier in the Fight of the Century three years earlier. The ring is built over the prison and his dressing room is in a dungeon where untold thousands were tortured to death. How many echos of the dead and dying rang out for the sensitive Big Man, billed by era tabloid boxing media as some kind of monstrous, primeval beast in spite of having a philosophical, religious sort of  fun loving sensitivity that he was never credited with until he later returned from his self imposed decade of exile. The bout is held in the dead of the early morning hours, 4 AM local time so as to be broadcast primetime hours on closed circuit TV in America. Some 60,000 screaming African meemmies in the stands add to his uneasiness.

Jeez, he’s been held hostage in Africa for ages now and the fight has yet to start.

Now George is desperate to fight so he can vacate this hellhole. His trainer, Dick Saddler, had been using a neat trick guaranteed to make Foreman especially brutal in quicktime when the bell rang by dehydrating and starving him before the weighin, rendering him crazy mad before launching him on hapless opponents. Only this time just before fight time, Saddler gives him a small bottle of water that George greedily inhales before spitting the remnants out it was so foul tasting.

When I saw the opening minutes of the fight, George looked like some kind of dead zombie, so much so that my first thoughts were screaming out inside of me that he was drugged. George Plimpton had a similar reaction as noted by his friend Norman Mailer when he screamed out at ringside that the fight was fixed after seeing George lurch around like a clumsy mummy, ironically Ali’s nickname for him, as Ali peppered him with rapidfire nothing shots that scored points. After a few rounds, George seemed to shake off his stupor and get into the fight to really lay it on Ali, some really vicious body shots that Ali later admitted to his biographer had him out on his feet a couple times, yet a few rounds later Big George tired almost to a standstill. Just as announcers were certain that George had punched himself out and was done, he got his second wind and returned to pound on Ali in the 8th. As Foreman trapped Ali on the ropes, he threw a left hand that Ali slipped. The missed momentum of the punch left George awkwardly facing down over the ring apron with his neck stretched over the rope, about the most vulnerable position a tired fighter could ever wish to never be in.

Now, Ali had been looking really hard at this shot the whole fight every time George missed, yet always held back, holding back, and keep on holding back until now, the perfect moment in time during a really brutal fight. Ali jumped on it. He delivered a beautifully timed right handed rabbit punch to the back of George’s noggin that violently compressed his throat, neck arteries, and veins against the top rope resulting in a momentary loss of blood flow to the brain with a localized spike of blood pressure as George rebounded off the ropes in a crazy, hazy, daze of confusion. Quick as a flash Ali finished with a highlight combination for the ages that has been shown a billion times no doubt, culminating in a perfect right hand to George’s temple as he did a lurching pirouette on the way to the canvas.

No dramatist could ever dream up such a scenario as the great monster lay wounded, the first time he had ever touched the canvas as amateur or pro. George was cognizant though, watching his corner for instructions as he was trained to do, so when they signaled to rise, he rose after 9 secs on the clock had lapsed, however the ref,  Zach Clayton, waved him off, leaving him in effect as it turned out, permanently frozen out of the title picture by Ali. It was never supposed to end like that for such powerful 25 year old fighter, and it shouldn’t have ended like that, but it did.

As an unrated 19 year old 1968 Mexico Olympic hopeful, Big George competed at the grueling altitude of some 7200 foot altitude tainted with some really bad smog with no problems, winning the gold medal in spectacular knockout style, the ultimate natural fighting man. After this fight, his critics forever stereotyped him as the big slugger with stamina problems who couldn’t go the distance and quit boxing.

The newly reincarnated Ali had defied all the odds for the 2nd time in his career, but almost immediately collapsed in the aftermath for a 30 count that gave great cause for concern by his team. Ali’s personal physician, Ferdie Pacheco, flatly stated that Ali took far too much punishment in that bout, that it was too risky for him to fight George ever again.

Ali in his Playboy interview after the fight says he was offered $7.5 million for the Foreman rematch in Djakarta, Indonesia, by a black oilman who wanted to promote his country, yet five months later for $1.6 million he’s going against a liquor salesman, Chuck Wepner, in Richfield, Ohio of all places, pretty much proving Ferdie’s point. George was out of the picture and Ali was willing to fight much easier fights in Podunkville, except that he never made them look easy because he could no longer train so exquisitely as he had been able in his prime, generally a tubby shadow of his best.

On ABC Duty in Yeller Suit...

On ABC Duty in Yeller Suit…

After moping around in a depressive funk over being unable to secure the Ali rematch, something George had already stated he wanted the immediate rematch in the post fight interview, Ali remained as uncommitted as he was in his post fight interview when he put the questioner off. So finally George starts to regroup from scratch. On April, 26th, 1975, he waged a remarkable exhibition against Alonzo JohnsonJerry JudgeTerry Daniels, Charley Polite, and Boone Kirkman at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Canada, broadcast on ABC Wide World of Sports. Foreman knocked out Johnson, Judge, and Daniels, but Polite and Kirkman were able to survive all three rounds. Ringside commentator Howard Cosell, repeatedly deplored the event as an embarrassment, a circus sideshow act, yet there he was in Toronto in his official capacity complete with yeller ABC sport jacket droning endlessly in melodramatic maliciousness as George took on the five.  Muhammad Ali, who was working the ringside next to Cosell, repeatedly heckled Foreman as the crowd of about 5,500 alternately booed and cheered Foreman throughout. Occasionally they even stirred up for some chants that Ali led. At least they had a wonderful time, but not Big George with Ali and the press demeaning him.

Ali finally got so worked up as he often did during the “theatrical” portions of his career, that he turned outright nasty, jumping up to call George horribly vile things, screaming over and over that he was never going to get a rematch as security restrained him from entering the ring. Thought Howie was sure to lose his toupee in the ruckus. Would’ve been hilarious and offset Howie’s suffocatingly, overbearing officiousness as well as add contrast to Ali’s vicious outbursts.

So he publicly refused to rematch Big George, yet there he was in Tokyo at the start of the very next year in the most pitiful boxing “exhibition” by a world champ ever seen against renown Japanese martial artist, Antonio Inoki, who had to be repeatedly pulled off Ali all night in this 15 rounder by American judo legend Gene Labelle. Because of the stifling rules limitations on him, Inoki was mostly reduced to a crab like scurrying around the ring on his back as he repeatedly kicked out Ali’s left leg, taking him down twice and hurting him so badly that he ended up in the hospital on a death watch. Ali never landed the few punches he attempted, his best offensive effort being an extension of his Toronto screaming mimmies, ie, “Inoki girl, Inoki girl” epitaphs. Docs ended up debating on whether to amputate his legs to prevent leg clots from breaking loose that could hurtle fatally into his brain. Ali managed to dodge the biggest bullet of his career in the end to return somewhat shakily to boxing. That fight did him no favors at all as far as his overall health and declining abilities in the ring showed.

Tyson Fury of course has a long ways to go to match up to the legends of Ali and Big George, but folks have an unfortunate way of forgetting that they also started off without legendary status in the beginning. Wlad has certainly earned legendary status as he enters the Joe Louis legendary heavyweight title record domain. His longstanding problem in the US/UK market was of being the wrong color, the wrong nationality, the wrong intelligence, and beating up Americans so badly in his reign they finally relinquished over 100 years of heavyweight superiority for something akin to Grade C inferior status.

Now Wlad may have an opportunity of an exciting career signature fight against Fury, who despite his woeful critics, is one of the most genuine “true fighters” in this dying era filled with posers and other pussyfooted, featherdusters. Fury is equipped with plenty of physical attributes, swag, size, and reach, that of being 6-9 in height with a 85″ reach backed a general weight range of 245-260 lbs.

Fury laying on a touch of Irish blarney

Fury laying on a touch of Irish blarney

He’s not limited to size either in that his stamina has never failed him, nor his chin, nor his punches. He has a high work rate for big men, and thus far, his ring IQ has pulled him out of the few mistakes he has made that give rabid succor to his sworn critics. He’s young, he’s cocksure, he’s breezy about the chance. Plenty of fans are sleeping on this fight, convinced he’ll be easy work for Wlad. Possibly, but if he steps out of his own considerable shadow with his personal best ever fight, could be a long era of history ended and a new history begun. It’s a long stretch to think this fight could ever match the Rumble in the Jungle, but boxing has a strange history of the biggest upsets that nobody expects.

Lookee here, Ma, it's Batman Fury to the rescue!

Lookee here, Ma, it’s Batman Fury to the rescue!

 

 

 

 

Wladimir Klitschko Down For The Long Count

A torn tendon is being blamed as the culprit behind the postponement of the Wlad/Fury fight scheduled in Germany this October 24th. This will be his 2nd postponement out of his last three fights, so it looks to be the predictable slow motion physical breakup being played out as he nears 40 years of age. 

Klitschko training camps tend to be so much harder than his fights due to his heavy sparring schedules, so he might consider lighter sparring and alternative conditioning routines as he closes out his career after an incredible record setting and tying run. Not my place to tell such a champ supported by a doctorate in physical education, but nobody can put off Father Time forever.

Good Luck with the rehabilitation.

Poor Fury is getting quite the reputation for knocking out big name opponents trying to train to fight him. Not the most lucrative setup, but becoming legendary in his own right. Nice Batman stunt too, and how on earth does 6-9 ever fit into a yellow Lamborghini without the use of Houdini spirits?

Maybe he can borrow Ricky Hatton’s fatman suit for the rematch presser, ya think? Link here:

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/more-details-on-klitschko-injury-306488

Lookee Ma, It's Batman!

Lookee Ma, It’s Batman!

 

WBC Emeritus Vitali Klitschko Returns For Historic Scrum of 20 Heavyweight Champs

WBC Emeritus Champion Vitali Klitschko is supposed to be on his way to a historic scrum of near two dozen former heavyweight champions Saturday, September 5th. Former Vitali victim, the permanently topless Shannon Briggs, 58-6-1, 51 KO, goes against Michael Marrone, 21-4, 15 KO, in the main event of this heavyweight brouhaha at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

The Mayor of Kiev has had his hands full since elections with the ongoing Russian military conflicts over Ukrainian sovereignty. He was seen last week in Kiev watching Ukrainian compatriot and fellow boxer Oleksandr Usyk demolish South African Johnny Muller, so I assume K2 Promotions he runs with his brother Wlad are doing well these days.

Projected  former world heavyweight champions slated to attend include reigning champ Wladimir Klitschko, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Michael Spinks, Tony Tucker, Roy Jones Jr., Michael Moorer, Ray Mercer, Hasim Rahman, Tony Tubbs, James “Bonecrusher” Smith, Chris Byrd, John Ruiz, Mike Weaver, Evander Holyfield, Tim Witherspoon, Larry Holmes, Riddick Bowe, Pinklon Thomas, Michael Bentt, Lamon Brewster, Leon Spinks and Bruce Seldon.

Neon Leon Spinks will be the most senior of the champs dating back to his shock of Muhammad Ali in 1978  who is likely unable to attend due to his poor health. Other projected absences would be Herbie Hide(jail sentence,) James Toney(stripped by IBF after positive steroid test,) and David Haye(recovering pinky toe.)

In particular the new owner of “regular” WBC heavy strap, Deontay Wilder may also be missing in action even though he’s only a hop and skip away in Alabama(Sugardaddy Al Haymon, his overseer, passed on a $2 million dollar Shannon Briggs offer to challenge Wilder for considerably less against a Frenchman in Alabama. I don’t make this stuff up folks, only in boxing)

Can’t say I know many of the details, but presumably there will be a meet and greet type banquet with requisite speeches prior to the boxing matches. Probably some autograph and picture sessions, the usual splashy stuff that would befit this historic occasion. It’s telling how many “champs” have been packed in this 37 year span, yet less than a handful could be said to have been dominant, and only Wlad can be said to have cleaned out the division, a couple of three times now as he is tying and breaking Joe Louis heavyweight records.