Boxing


Flashback To The ‘90s - Ray Mercer, Tommy Morrison, Bert Cooper All Set To Fight Next Month!

By James Slater - When it comes to giving the fans nostalgia nights, there is no sport quite like boxing. “They always come back,” is the old adage used when referring to former champions, and it really is true - perhaps more so these days than ever before!

Not only is Evander Holyfield - the finest heavyweight of the 1990s - still plying his trade (in fact, “The Real Deal” never really went away), but three more big names from the same decade will be in action next month. Fightnews.com has confirmed that Ray Mercer and Tommy Morrison will indeed fight on the same card in Canada on Feb. 25th, while Boxrec have former Holyfield and Mercer rival “Smokin’” Bert Cooper down as fighting a TBA the following day in Atlanta, Georgia..

Mercer, now aged 50, last fought (in the boxing ring) in 2008 and Morrison, now well into his forties and still telling anyone who will listen he is not HIV positive, has had just two fights since 1996; the last one in 2008. With the two former WBO heavyweight champions fighting in the same ring on the same card, fans are already wondering if the promoter’s eventual plan is to have the two punchers face one another in a rematch of their 1991 battle!

Cringe at this idea if you want (and maybe you should), but such a fight would find an audience as well as a venue. And in terms of sheer curiosity, maybe you would even watch it yourself! For the time being, Mercer is scheduled to face Canadian trial horse Stephane Tessier, 3-26-1(1), while “The Duke” is set to face unbeaten Canuck, Eric Barrak, 3-0(2).

As for Cooper, now 45-years-old and still a comparatively young man next to “Merciless” (even though the one-time protégé of Joe Frazier has been through some seriously ageing activities outside of the ring), he last fought in June of last year, after an eight year absence. Will there be some promoter somewhere willing to throw Cooper back in with Mercer for a second time?

There really does seem to be no limit when it comes to former big names having the urge to either come back or just plain stick around. Guys like Oliver McCall and Hasin Rahman are still fighting (quite well, it must be said), while there was even talk a while back that Donovan “Razor” Ruddock was training for a comeback (Lennox Lewis, who halted “Razor” is two-rounds a lifetime ago, spoke of his former foe’s physical condition on a recent Sky Sports interview - Lewis said Ruddock looked in good shape).

So what is the reason for all these heavyweight returns? Is it because the fans crave the kind of action their 1990’s heroes gave them? Are today’s elite big men failing to match up to their predecessors in terms of providing excitement? Boxing has always had it’s comebacks, even as far back as the very early days of the sport, but the sight of a returning 40-something, maybe even 50-something fighter is now commonplace.

As long as these ageing but still popular fighters can pass all physicals, and as long as there is an audience willing to pay to watch them in action, we can expect to see guys like Morrison and Cooper continue to lace up the gloves for some time to come.

Article posted on 11.01.2011



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