1 Down, 2 to go - The potential British "Hat-Trick" and what it would mean to Boxing
By Greg Double -- 3 fights, 3 weeks, 3 careers at 3 very different crossroads. November 2008 could be the most significant month ever in the history of British Boxing. 2007 saw the coming of age of a perceived golden generation - seven world champions hailing from the British Isles. Gavin Rees bravely outpointed Souleymane M'baye for the WBA light-welterweight strap, Junior Witter defended his light-welterweight title twice successfully, IBF light-heavy champ Clinton Woods comfortably completed his 4th defence and Enzo Maccarinelli defeated three opponents whilst defending his WBO version of the Cruiserweight title..
Article posted on 13.11.2008
However, 12 months on and the four boxers mentioned of the class of 2007 have had their graduation parties cut short - only an elite trio of boxers remain. Undeniably talented, but this trio all have or had something to prove. Their judgement cometh in three weeks of November.
Joe Calzaghe, so under-rated and unnoticed for so long, has had his judgement day. His dazzling display against an all-time legend (albeit a faded one) may have finally won him the respect he deserves. He has beaten everyone there is to beat and finally the Boxing community looks willing to embrace him. Only a rematch with Bernard Hopkins could cement his legacy further, but in my opinion this is unnecessary. For Joe Calzaghe November 2008 should be the end of a glittering career, for Boxing it should be the month of overdue recognition of an undefeated great.
November 8th saw the end of a masterful career, November 15th could be the date of a new beginning. David Haye has already been an undisputed, unified world champion - having not lost his titles in the ring many would still consider him a champion. It could well be argued that had his achievements been in any other division but cruiserweight we would already be celebrating a modern great. However, as it stands, we talk about Haye as a prospect and indeed in the context of the Heavyweight division this is an accurate description. The significance for Boxing in this case is immeasurable. Haye is a hot prospect in a cold division. He has dynamite in both hands, he has charm in abundance and looks like a guy who would do just as well on a catwalk as he does in the ring. On saturday night, he needs to beat the capable Monte Barrett in style to launch an attack on the dour heavyweight belt-holders and I would love to see Boxing fans put aside their differences and unite behind him. The Heavyweight crown is this sport's most cherished title and, love him or hate him, the sport needs Haye to resuscitate a division that has been in an ex-Soviet induced coma for just under a decade.
One week later and we see the next stage of Ricky Hatton's road to redemption. Arguably America's favourite Mancunian, Ricky Hatton is undoubtedly in the process of trying to entice Floyd Mayweather Jr out of retirement and into Wembley stadium for what would be a monumental Boxing occasion. Hatton has been ruthless in his approach, sacking life-long coach and drinking buddy Billy Graham and replacing him with the estranged father of his desired opponent. Perhaps what is most interesting about Hatton's next encounter is Mayweather Senior's belief that an old dog can be taught new tricks. Hatton has been introduced to a new outlook by the defensively-minded slickster and will need to learn fast to overcome the talented Malignaggi in a convincing fashion to generate enough pressure for a Mayweather rematch. For Hatton this is a personal make or break, for Boxing this is the fight that defines the light-welterweight division and that could bring the era's best boxer back into the ring. November 22nd - this fight will be explosive.
One fighter has done it all, one has it all to do and one is looking for the fight that would give him a second chance at Boxing immortality. Make no mistake, the British are coming and the opposition is American but there should be no war. I invite my Boxing fans across the pond to lay down the stars and stripes and support the completion of the hat-trick for the good of Boxing - you know it makes sense!
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