Boxing


View From a Pint Glass: The next half of 2005 for the heavyweights

07.08.05 - By Tony Fondacaro: Vitali Klitschko, Mike Tyson, and John Ruiz. All these guys made headlines in the boxing world in first half of 2005 for not winning. Vitali Klitschko made headlines for having surgery and not fighting. Mike Tyson made news for losing to a guy who, in all honesty, is a boxing black hole. The loss to McBride seems to have been the final nail in the coffin for Tysonís career, and now Tyson is making headlines for being the next guy in line to get after Jenna Jameson on camera. I guess you do what makes you happy? Then thereís Ruiz, who is the alternate universe on the other side of the boxing black hole. This guy won the belt back without doing a damn thing for it. No, I take it back, he retired. He retired, then he got the belt back. How does that work, you ask? Because sometimes, my life sucks. Thatís how.

In all seriousness though, the fact that we had to talk about boxers who werenít boxing gives you some clue as to the dark picture being cast in the early part of 2005. We made it through James Toneyís steroid scandal without much of a scandal, mostly because no one thinks Toney needed steroids to beat Ruiz.

We should thank our lucky stars that the story didnít put such a dark cloud over boxing like it has over baseball, but itís not like boxing is popular now, even after ďThe ContenderĒ which did so well Iíd like to puke. We watched Tyson lose in the way in which heís accustomed. Lamon Brewster gave Andrew Golota three minutes of hell, which seems to be the high point of heavyweight action in 2005 at this point. Sam Peter keeps getting hyped as the next big thing, and now weíre hearing that heís ready for a title shot. So, they gave him the next best thing, a fight with the champís brother. Plenty going on, but not much to jump up and cheer for.

Any hopes of unification matches were dashed when Vitali kept having problems, Toney got caught using steroids, and Ruiz kept being Ruiz. As with everything else, I blame Don King. But hell, I blame Don King for my health insurance going up ten bucks this year, for high gas prices, and the war in Iraq. Here are some not-so-thoughtful previews:

Samuel Peter vs. Wladimir Klitschko Ė Anyone hoping that Wladimir has it left in him to make a run at the title should pray to God that all goes well in this fight. If Sam Peter walks in the ring and acts like himself, then kiss Wladimir goodbye. I should imagine that Peter could win this fight if he got Wladimir on the run, which is something Peter does well. Sorry Wladimir fans, but your boy still seems stuck in limbo, trying to pick up the pieces after losing to two fighters he should not have lost to in the first place. Dare I mention Corrie Sanders? Look, you donít lose to someone that bad and not get over it. Golota will never live down Lamon Brewster, and Ruiz will never live down Tua. Wladimir is not so special that he wonít erase that embarrassment, not matter how many time Vitali avenges his little brother. His career lately has been all about fighting lower-level contenders and getting up to speed, but someone like Sam Peter could turn that around in a big way. On the other hand, if Wladimir pulls it off, it should be just the thing to slingshot him into contention for Byrd, or a rematch with Lamon Brewster (which to me would be the preferable match). A long-shot, however, because Peter seems to be set on cruise-control, and if what he says is true, then weíve only seen the tip of the iceberg, which Iím desperate enough to believe. Iím going to call this fight for Peter, and say that a seventh or eighth round TKO should do it. The toughest match for Peter so far, but heíll pull it out with style.

Vitali Klitschko vs. winner of Rahman-Barrett Ė This fight should have taken place back in April, but consistent injuries to Vitali pushed the date of this back again and again, which boxing fans love. The consensus seems to be that Rahman will beat Barrett and then go on to lose to Vitali. Takes care of that one thenÖ

James Toney vs. Dominick Guinn Ė Not exactly a good move for Guinn if heís looking to make a career out of boxing in the future. Case in point: his last fight was a draw against a guy named Friday, and that was back in April. But, some people might say he did better in his last fight than Toney.

The simple analysis of this fight is that Toney is going to walk all over Guinn; the interest will be in what shape we will find James Toney. For the Ruiz match, he was soggy, heavy-footed, and not as aggressive as he usually like to be. James Toney, when fighting, is constantly on the gas a little bit, pushing forward, getting in your face, pushing to the inside and throwing uppercuts. He did this somewhat against Ruiz, but not to the degree he did against Holyfield or Rydell Booker. Those fights were more the kind of James Toney weíre used to, and should he return to that form against Guinn, then the future looks bright indeed for Toney. Everyone questioned his preparations for Ruiz, and his excuse was that he took the fight on short notice. I think weíll be willing to grant him that when he shows up in October against Guinn looking trim and quick. Look for Toney to counterpunch, slip, uppercut and jab his way to victory, probably around round ten or 11.

Lamon Brewster vs. Luan Krasniqi Ė Krasniqi is not the most well-known fighter in the division at the moment, but he certainly has been on a good run lately. His last opponent was Lance Whitaker, who he KOíd in round six. Heís been consistent in his last two years, save for a draw against Timo Hoffmann.

I see this fight in the same way I see the Toney vs. Guinn fight; what will the main fighter be like? For Toney, itís his conditioning Iím concerned with. With Lamon, I have to ask; will he bring the same kind of fire and intensity that he brought to Andrew Golotaís face? Most people would place Golota above Krasniqi, and no one imagined Golota going out in the first round, so perhaps this is Lamonís time to shine? If so, Krasniqi will be the proof that handling Golota the way he did wasnít a fluke for this renewed Lamon Brewster. Predicting this fight is tough, because I see Lamon winning, but I donít know what round. Perhaps round two or three if he does what I think heíll do.

John Ruiz vs. Kevin McBride Ė Not officially made yet, so thereís still time to hope it never happens. One good thing coming out of Tyson retiring will be that we wonít see this happen anymore. Bottom-feeding contenders should never get a title match, and I donít care that itís John Ruiz. Ruiz should be retired. McBride should be in Ireland boiling cabbage and drinking Guinness. But here we are. Iím not going to predict this one because I truly donít care. Itís pathetic that weíve reached this point, and the only good that can come from this would be if 1. McBride won and 2. set up a unifying match against Vitali.

Chris Byrd vs. ??? Ė Someone tell Chris Byrd to get his ass in the ring. Here we are in August and the bum hasnít even named an opponent. Chris Byrd is shot, and he knows heís shot, which is why heís not making any fights. He had James Toney in his face back when Toney beat Rydell Booker, and Byrd blinked. He had a date for Lyakhovich, and that got scrapped. Nevermind that Lyakhovich is a nobody, who the hell is Chris Byrd these days? Iím tired of hearing people say that heís the most talented fighter among the four beltholders, especially those know-nothings over at ESPN. Not fighting doesnít make you the best, it makes you a chump. Go away Chris Byrd.

Article posted on 07.08.2005



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