Boxing


Valuev, Klitschko, Liakhovich, Maskaev – The Heavyweight Committee

01.11.06 - By Adrian Saba: Today the point won’t be discussing who was the last Heavyweight Champion. Some would say that there is no Champion since Lennox Lewis retired in Febraury 2004, others will try to explain that the belt has no guardian since Vitali Klitschko left boxing one year ago. During this year, the Eastern European fighters became the elite of the division; that is the summary of all. Valuev defeated Ruiz and that included him in the Top10, Wladimir Klitschko regained the #1 contender place by beating Chris Byrd, Liakhovich pulled an upset in his amazing fight against Lamon Brewster and Maskaev ended the comeback story of Hasim Rahman.

Currently, Ruiz trying to start his own comeback by fighting a hungry wolf like Ruslan Chagaev. Byrd is going to figh in the ‘Superfighter’ tournament and there were also some rumours of a fight against Eliseo Castillo. He must find one last impulse in his career to increase his legassy. Rahman is going to continue fighting -despite saying that he wanted to retire in 2007- and there are no news on Brewster. Meanwhile, the panorama of the Heavyweight division is not so unorganized as you may think.

The Title was vacant before in 1905, 1928, 1949, 1956, 1979 and 2004. You can add to that list 1895, when Corbett retired for the first time, and 2005, year in which the elder Klitschko retired. During all of those times in which there was no Champ, the division was very confusing and disorganized. It is not a secret that the aficionados that lived in the late 1920s called “Dark Age” to the period between 1928-1930, you could say that a division enters into an state of anarchy when there isn’t a Champion out there. In that way, boxing is similiar to politics. When there is no ruler, there is chaos. By the way, we can also say that the fighters that always want to please the crowd are, in some kind of way, submerged into the boxing populism. They want to be loved by the fans, no matter what.

Let me return to the previous point: When there is no Heavyweight Champion, there is no order in the division. That statement can be easily dispatched by analying what is happening now. There are four titlists (Valuev, Klitschko, Liakhovich and Maskaev) and non of them are going to fight each other, however, they are a homogenous group ruling the division. For me, they are linked together by a tacit alliance. Take a look at the late 1920s, when the division had boxers like Johnny Risko, Jack Sharkey, Max Schmeling, Mickey Walker, Young Stribling, etc. Today, one can feel that the division is ruled by a group: a committee, a politburo, a junta. I don’t see each beltholder as an individual, I see the four of them as a group that dominates. Another point is that this group has one fighter that distinguishes himself from the rest, he is like the general secretary, Wladimir Klitschko.

Finally, remember that all could be over in a few days if Liakhovich loses against Shannon Briggs, or if Klitschko is defeated by Calvin Brock. It does not matter if this quadrumvirate lasts only a few months, it will be a memorable anecdote to remember in the future.

Article posted on 01.11.2006



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