What Has Happened To Our Heavyweights?
12.10.08 - by Bill Calogero, TheDailySports.com - Photo by Sumio Yamada -- After retiring as a Champion, a four year layoff and a plethora of injuries, Vitali Klitschko became the new WBC Heavyweight Champion last night from Berlin Germany after the former champ, you know, the guy who came into the fight AS the Champion, refused to get off his stool prior to the start of the ninth round of the scheduled twelve-round contest. Vitali joins his brother as the owners of four of the five major belts that define the World Heavyweight Champion(s). This is the first time in history that two brothers own pieces of the title at the same time. Together, they now currently hold the IBF, WBC, WBO and IBO Heavyweight Titles. The only one they do not have is the WBA, which is currently held by Valuev and Chagaev, but that’s another story. I say great, for “them”. As for the state of the Heavyweight Division, all I can say is “What has happened to our Heavyweights?.”
Article posted on 12.10.2008
Being the Heavyweight Champion Of The World used to represent being the top fighter in the world. The baddest man on the planet. The number one guy. I’m afraid that we can’t say that anymore. What’s worse is that our current crop of Heavyweights doesn’t seem to put value on the title; at least the way I feel they should. It’s all about the money, which I can understand, but somewhere along the line when you decide to become a professional fighter, the Title Itself has to have value. The Title Itself has to drive you to win and be the best you can be.
For instance, how could Sam Peter travel all the way to Germany, go through everything he has in terms of being side-stepped, coming off the canvas to win against a journeyman fighter and then ultimately wining the belt from an aging fighter, and then seem like he was not prepared to fight? How can this happen? How does a fighter, who is known for his power quit on his stool because he feels he can’t win? Does this sound like a World Champion? What about his “team”? Did they help prepare him for this fight? They all knew that he would be fighting a bigger guy. They all knew he had to get in there and bang the body and try to land his powerful right hand. Ultimately, don’t you think they all knew that at some point, Peter would have to fight with urgency? Am I Right? Am I missing something? Does this sound like a World Champion fighter?
No it doesn’t. It sounds like a pretender. I have lost all respect for Sam Peter. He is nothing but a built up fighter that we as boxing fans hoped would “do us right” by being the Champion the division truly needs. Instead, we got a guy that took a trip to Germany and the paycheck and decided to pack it in after the eighth round. I can’t describe it in any other way except that it was total bullshit. What a disgrace to the Heavyweight Division and all of the great Champions of the past that the title represents. What a slap in the face for the greats like Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Marciano, Charles and Joe Lewis. All of these and many more fought at their best. They refused to lose and fought like they cared for what was at stake. Sam Peter is a bum. The worst part; He is not alone.
A lot of our young Heavyweights that are in the rankings today are not promising either. They don’t seem to take their position as a World Ranked Heavyweight the way at least I feel they should. Take Chris Arreola. In his last fight, he was almost thirty pounds overweight. This is a guy who many regard as a future world Champion. Really? When I think of a young guy on his way up, I have to think that discipline HAS to be part of his regiment. Arreola clearly does not think that way. NO ONE in the Heavyweight division should be taken lightly; therefore, Arreola is not the guy either.
Look at the rankings. How can Brian Minto be in the mix? Who has he fought lately? At least he IS busy. Rahman? Why is he even still fighting? Golota? He is over 40 and won’t last with either of the Klitschko brothers. Haye? All he has proven to me so far is that he has a big mouth. At least we will see how he will fair soon enough with the Heavyweights when he finally steps in with one in Monte Barrett. The only young Heavyweight out there that seems to be disciplined enough and has the size and speed you need to be successful in the division today is Kevin Johnson. But the problem there will be the simple fact that no one will fight the guy. Like I always say, “Everyone wants to fight, but no one wants to fight anybody.” How true.
I am not taking a thing away from Vitali Klitschko. I give him all the credit in the world, but to be totally honest, if the Klitschko brothers are truly the BEST Heavyweights in the world, then we might as well start choosing another weight class to represent the baddest man on the planet because although they may own most of the belts, neither is an example, at least in my opinion, of being great fighters. To be honest, they are boring. But, like Al Davis of the Raiders always says, “ Just Win Baby” and that, the Klitschko brothers do. Add all the belts, less the WBA’s version, and people like me can only complain and hope that someone will come along SOON to bring back excitement combined with talent to the Heavyweight Division. And the most important trait, heart.
Maybe I am totally wrong. Maybe the Klitschko’s ARE the best and we (I) will look back at them years from now and wish they were around. I hope not.
All I can say is this: Is it too much to ask that our World Heavyweight Champion(s) be exciting and talented at the same time. Is it too much to ask that they have heart and want to be the Champion ahead of all else? Is it too much to ask that they fight whoever is put in front of them and that he stays active? Is any of this too much to ask from our Heavyweight Champions? Or are we going to be forced to accept over protected bums who soak us for our money, talk smack and quit on their stools?
I love the sport of boxing. I have been involved in the business for over twenty-five years. I love the history of the sport and I love talking about it. It saddens me and makes me sick to see what we as boxing fans are expected to accept.
To hear more on this and or to comment please feel free to email Bill at Billy@TalkinBoxing.com or tune in to the “Talkin Boxing With Billy C” or the “Billy C Morning Show” radio programs. For all information, go to www.TalkinBoxing.com.
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