Thoughts from ‘The Brain’ - Magnificent 7 aftermath: The Winners & Losers
By Martin ‘The Brain’ Potter of the Boxing Clever Podcast:
As the dust settles on the bill dubbed ‘Magnificent 7’, but which probably should have been called ‘Good 3, Mediocre 4’ (not as catchy admittedly), I have taken a look at three fighters from the bill who I believe to be the key winners and three whose careers may well have been shot to pieces;
Nathan Cleverly: Cleverly’s rise up boxing’s rankings continued at pace as he took care of Karo Murat in impressive, if somewhat reckless, fashion. I have placed Cleverly at the head of the winners list because, in my opinion, he looks like the fighter most likely to land a world title soonest out of all those involved in Saturday’s big show. He was also involved in the fight of the night. I felt that Cleverly could have made his job easier against Murat had he chosen to box more at range and be a bit smarter, but it seemed that Cleverly had his mind set on blowing Murat out of the ring. It can’t be denied that Nathan’s approach worked on this occasion and Murat was eventually worn down. Cleverly showed many champion like qualities, displaying hunger, heart and desire in abundance against a fellow young unbeaten fighter..
Confidence is key in boxing and by fighting the way he did Cleverly clearly showed that he believed he was better than Murat in every aspect of the game. Nathan will carry this self-belief into a world title challenge, which could well be forthcoming by the end of the year (December if reports are to be believed). I don’t think he is seasoned enough to go after the divisions’ big hitters just yet (Dawson, Cloud, Pascal or Hopkins) but if he can get the WBO belt and make a few defences then he could be ready to step up and rule the division a year or two down the line.
James DeGale: The fighter known as ‘Chunky’ and often referred to as flash or arrogant is one of my favourite British prospects around at the moment. Olympic Gold Medals have hung heavy around the necks of many recent fighters after they have turned pro (Audley being the prime example), yet DeGale has so far made light work of being an Olympic Champion turned hot pro prospect and it continued in the Magnificent 7. Carl Dilks was a step up in opposition quality for Chunky, but as Dilks found to his cost DeGale was a whole staircase up in quality for him.
The big issue now is what route does James take to the top? George Groves is the name on everyone’s lips following Frank Warren’s offer (and the subsequent counter offer) of a fight in December but I don’t think it will happen (at least not then) and would have to question Frank’s motives (but that’s a whole different article). Whether he fights Groves next or not, and even were he to lose to him (which is a possibility), I still believe that James DeGale will turn Olympic Gold into World Title glory in a few years’ time. With DeGale, Groves and Cleverly (at the weight above) could we see a return to the halcyon days of Benn, Eubank and Watson?
Derek Chisora: I have chosen Chisora as my number three because, unlike Kell Brook – the more talented fighter - he was involved in an exciting competitive fight against Sam Sexton on Saturday, as opposed to a one sided bore-a-thon (I thought Brook’s inspiration was Prince Naseem, not Johnny Nelson?!). Derek Chisora is unlikely to win a world title, but he is a top domestic level operator who could well pick up the European belt and is always entertaining both in and out of the ring (kissin’, bitin’ n’ fightin’). Del boy has reasonable speed, hits hard enough and has balls to go with his charisma. Although he lacks elite level finesse, people still love a heavyweight and I can see a possible Chisora Vs. Harrison bout down the line being an attraction (assuming A-Farce doesn’t retire after his inevitable beating against David Haye).
It won’t be dull whilst Chisora is on the British heavyweight scene that’s for sure.
Enzo Maccarinelli: I wrote Enzo off earlier this year on the podcast and he came back with three first round KO victories and won the European belt which forced me to backtrack slightly. However I have no hesitation in saying again what I said months ago, Enzo should call it a day and retire.
The knockout suffered by Maccarinelli on Saturday was brutal and devastating and was his fourth heavy knockout loss in under three years. Enzo is now 30, has been a world champion, fought on some big British bills and made some money, so I say; Enzo do yourself a favour, retire now and stay healthy.
Matthew Hall: Another fighter who falls into the retirement bracket but for different reasons to Maccarinelli. Hall is not a shot fighter and has never been that brutally knocked out but he has chosen to retire due to his realisation that, following Saturdays bout, he is simply not as good as he believed himself to be. Having been pitched in as a late replacement for Ryan Rhodes, Hall felt he was up to the job of fighting a good European fighter. He wasn’t. Six painful rounds later he knew that his dream of becoming European champion, let alone world champion, was never going to be realised.
I believe that Hall couldn’t accept fighting at domestic level or being a stepping stone for fighters who haven’t yet been hit by the cruel reality regarding the limits of their ability. I don’t blame Hall for quitting but feel at a lower level he would still have something to offer if his pride would allow it.
Michael Jennings: Michael Jennings, like Matthew Hall, has a choice to make; accept his limitations and continue fighting at domestic / European level, never again facing the likes of Cotto and being a barometer for others like Kell Brook or; retire from the sport.
It was frustrating watching Jennings against Brook because the young Sheffield fighter was clearly not on his game and if Jennings had of gone at him from the first bell then who knows what might have happened. As it was the likeable scouser never gave it a go, was far too cautious and may well look back and regret his tactics.
Jennings has not been in wars as such and has plenty left physically but mentally, after this fight, I am not sure. I would like to see him come back and at least go out with a victory.
Overall the future looks bright for British boxing, but James DeGale will be hoping the future is not orange (or ginger).
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