Boxing


Heavyweight Mess: It ain’t just Klitschko’s fault!

22.06.05 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: While the fight between Oleg Maskaev and Vitali Klitschko is yet to happen but seems like it is definite possibility, I feel fans are rushing to crucify Vitali as the sole fighter responsible for this debacle. This is perhaps even more ridiculous because he really hasn’t done anything bad, at least not yet..

If you want to find a culprit, ask yourselves a few simple questions. First of all, how many years have Chris Byrd and John Ruiz held title belts? Its safe to say they didn’t just win them yesterday right? Then ask yourself why these two profoundly great champions haven’t fought each other yet? In retrospect isn’t it easier for two guys who are under the same damn promoter to fight it out? I mean what I am saying here is nothing new, its just while thinking about Don King talking about how its necessary to have these guys fight each other, I seem to distinctly remember two of the supposed top heavyweights are his fighters. Do I want to see that fight?

Not as much as I would like to see Rahman-Klitschko, because honestly neither Ruiz nor Byrd represent anything remotely special. First of all each has a style that will put even the most rabidly infected insomniac to sleep. These guys are better then nighttime Nyquil in most of their fights, so I guess it makes sense to put off this colossal meeting of the greats for years to come if your goal is to make money(Don King; All boxers) not see a single heavyweight champ (All fans).

Second of all I always hear how Byrd and Ruiz have the much better record then Vitali Klitschko, and I have to smile because frankly that is only a half truth. Both Ruiz and Byrd made their names as “legit” champs on the same exact three opponents in Holyfield, Golota, and Oquendo.

All three are extremely overated opponents, who don’t fall far from Johnson, Sanders and Williams. You have Holyfield, who simply cannot punch worth a dam anymore, and even so still managed to beat Ruiz the first time. I remember watching that fight and thinking to myself when Holyfield did hurt Ruiz, why Evander doesn’t attack? Well now it makes perfect sense, he couldn’t because the guy was deader then disco at that point. Does it really reflect that well on Ruiz that he persevered against Holyfield in three fights by the slightest of margins?

Byrd’s IBF triumph over the same Holyfield really means the same as Ruiz beating Holyfield, and it is almost the same as Klitschko beating Sanders. All three beat old shot fighters, who couldn’t offer up a decent challenge after a few rounds. The difference between the two instances however was the following:

Sanders had just beaten a top contender impressively. Vitali actually knocked Sanders out, and Holyfield fought his last few bouts on TV, and continued to fight all his fights on TV, thereafter, keeping himself in the public eye, and keeping fans thinking beating him actually means something. All three champs are even there.

Then you have Fres Oquendo who’s superb loss to David Tua and victory over 19-12 Maurice Harris (talented guy but not somebody you beat to get a title shot), got him a shot at Byrd. Most felt he beat Byrd but that don’t matter because Byrd still won according to the judges. Then he fought Ruiz in arguably the worst fight I have ever seen on television and got put to sleep clinching, before being put to sleep for real in the 11th.

Was there anything remotely special about Fres Oquendo? Yea the guy has potential, like a truck load of other heavies, but did he beat anybody before he become the great contender for not one but two belts. The only thing I can think of was his fights were shown on TV, and people thought he was a great fighter.

Lets move on to Golota, who is probably the biggest embarrassment of all as a title challenge. The guy beat 2 complete nobodies, and signed with Don King and got a title shot. I won’t lie I was curious to see what Golota could do in there, but I also won’t lie and say he deserved his title shot.

The fact that he drew with Byrd made fans think he was actually as good as the elite, while in retrospect I think Byrd was simply just as bad as Golota. The fact that Golota just got knocked out to hell in one by a guy who went life and death with Kali Meehan, doesn’t speak highly of Byrd’s big draw against the big Pole. Nor does it speak highly of Ruiz getting knocked down twice, and in my eyes losing to Golota only to win by a slight points margin again according to the judges.
There you have it the three guys that the two “real” champions made their names on (I conveniently left out the fact that Ruiz was embarrassed by both Toney and Jones who were smaller then him because I think he has suffered enough).

Those two aren’t the best that the Don King stable has to offer by the way because we have the great Lamon Brewster, Kali Meehan, Owen Beck, Hasim Rahman, and a few others.

Brewster, the newest heavyweight sensation, survived long enough to watch Wladimir Klitschko knock himself out, and picked up the WBO belt. Then Don King brought in former corpse Kali Meehan, to give Brewster all he could handle, and then fed Meehan to one of the few guys in the King stable, that I actually think has potential (remember the first Lewis fight?) in Rahman.

Does anybody see where I am going with this?

These are fighters who are being paraded around as the best in the division when in reality they have not done more then Klitschko the one guy who is sure to catch hell (deservedly, but not so much that he is the only one responsible) for his next fight I fear.

Then fans claim that Klitschko’s opponents were always sub-par compared to Byrd and Ruiz. People the whole friggin division is sub-par with the only difference being , that you see Ruiz and Byrd against their sub-par partners on TV, while before the Johnson fight, Klitschko’s “sub-par” troop was only being shown in Europe.

I am not stupid enough to think that Don King has to act in the interest of the public and honestly go out and say, that his fighters are garbage and so was their competition. He is a businessman, and money is the name of the game. I fully understand that as one of our forum members said, “if Vitali signs with King, Don will be hyping him up calling him the “Brain from Ukraine,” and the “Crusher from Russia,” instead of simply “the guy with the belt.” However, seeing as I am not on the Don King's payroll, and don’t plan to be, I don’t have to use that sort of logic, in not pointing out, that almost anyone in the heavyweight division, save some isolated half-instances, is worthless, and has pretty much zero accomplishments.

The only way to crawl out of this situation, is to get the fighters to fight, and not look at who beat who and who is worse or who embarrassed themselves less (unfortunately that is the #1 criteria for being an elite heavyweight). The easiest way to do this is to have, John Ruiz (who is looking at Kevin Mcbride for god’s sake), and Chris Byrd (who is desperately avoiding getting knocked into next week by the younger Klitschko) fight each other August 13th. This is the simplest first step and the one that is easiest to realize because, again, Ruiz and Byrd are both King fighters. After that, we should just wait and see, and pray that fight doesn’t end in another ridiculously shallow decision.

Until then bring on Roman Karmazin vs. Kassim Ouma, Bernard Hopkins vs Jermain Taylor, Floyd vs Arturo, and also make sure that every heavyweight the world over, shuts up and actually fights somebody before claiming to be the best.

Article posted on 22.06.2005



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