Boxing


Necessity For a Heavyweight

09.01.06 - By Justin Hackman: When a weight class stumbles over its own two feet and fails to rise once again, boxing fans scratch their heads and reminisce about the “glory days” of Tyson, Holyfield, Holmes, Frazier, and Ali. However, what fans must realize is that we are on the cusp of breathing new life into the heavyweight division. The big men are unique in the way that all it takes is one guy to get a heavyweight fire going--one guy worthy enough to be recognized by fans as the best out there. This fighter will be one of two who need to meet in the ring once more:

Wladimir Klitschko and Lamon Brewster.

Klitschko and Brewster remain the two fighters in the division young and talented enough to be crowned king.

Now before you raise your eyebrows and yell at me through your computer, allow me to explain. The heavyweight division needs one fighter good enough to be recognized by the fans as champ…or at least good enough to be on top for nay-sayers to cheer against him. This way, love him or hate him, BINGO the glamour division has clout again.

The problem is, currently the fans are simply indifferent to the big-man “contenders” out there now. Indifference is the weakest emotion possible. Many people thought it was good for boxing when Wladimir’s older brother, Vitali retired. “Vitali has now gotten out of the way to allow a healthy fighter to step forward.” I agree in theory, but who? Chris Byrd? Old, washed up, and active once a year? No thanks. James Toney? Well it seems arguably the most skilled heavyweight should be champ, but how long could the 37-year-old reign? Did I say reign? I meant stay afloat. No, Toney should have stayed at 175 or at least dominated the cruiserweights for the end of his career. And after he beats Rahman in a 12 round UD, Rahman won’t even be worthy of champion mention. That leaves us with Klitschko and Brewster.

Klitschko, since disappointingly (to say the least) failed the Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster tests, has made a nice little comeback for himself. His discipline under Manny Steward is good enough to jab his opponent all night while picking and choosing his sledgehammer right crosses thus maintaining his energy. While many criticized him in his victory over Sam Peter for hugging (which he did a fair share of), I saw a fighter skillfully dodging the range in which Peter has been known to put fighters to sleep. In the twelve round UD, Klitschko portrayed expertise and patience. While no one should have been surprised to see him fall to the canvas over seemingly nothing in the middle of the fight (though there was some contact to the back of the head), Klitschko managed to stay calm and get himself back under control: not easy to do against arguably the hardest hitter in the division. Klitschko will only improve not only physically from his most previous bout, but emotionally as well knowing he can go twelve, rise from a brief stamina problem, and avoid serious opponent-power.

Lamon Brewster has knockout power, a colorful personality, and a ton of heart. These are the traits which should be embodied by a heavyweight champ. When Brewster won the most important fight of his career by knocking out Klitschko, he did it by rising from the canvas after taking a serious beating. As much credit as I give Brewster for getting up off his behind to tame the lion, how much of his victory was a result of Klitschko inexplicably gasping for air as though he had a punctured lung? Taking nothing away from the impressive performance, Brewster’s last two fights have ended in impressive knockout fashion.

My first instinct is to ask, “ Should the heavyweight champ be a guy who beat Klitschko (though most impressive) almost by default, and who barely beat a rugby player turned boxer in Meehan, who was humiliated by Hasim Rahman?” Well, after Brewster’s recent display of knockout power and heart, yes he deserves the possibility of being the recognized heavyweight champ.

But in the same way, there’s Klitschko: do I want a guy who is reputable of being blown over by the fifth round? Just as Brewster, Klitschko since their fight, has proved worthy of possibly being the champ. These are the only two in the division right now that have that honor. It is only fitting then that these two meet once more to decide who has the rights to be crowned king. However, for this fight to have optimal impact, each fighter must have one more match before facing off. Klitschko must face and defeat Chris Byrd as he did easily back in 2000, while Brewster must face and defeat Nikolay Valuev in order to simply get the idea out of some fans’ minds that this beast can somehow defeat skilled fighters in the top five. They will then face each other and the one who is victorious should be recognized as the best in the division. What’s that you say? The one who holds the WBC belt is recognized as the champ? Don’t insult me. Allow me to draw a comparison to a laugh track on a television show: don’t manipulate me by telling me what is funny. And alphabet soup organizations? Don’t tell us who is the best fighter, we are intelligent enough to know who deserves that honor.

The heavyweight division desperately needs Klitschko and Brewster to meet again, but only after these other jokers have been eliminated from possible contention.

This will be the start of the heavyweight division’s resurrection.

Article posted on 09.01.2006



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