Mike Tyson: “Evander F*cked Up The Money, We Gotta Do It With Lennox [Lewis] Now”
By: Hans Themistode
Cha-Ching was all Mike Tyson could hear.
The former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world was extremely hopeful that a showdown between himself and long-time rival Evander Holyfield could come to fruition. Having shared the ring with one another on two occasions, the pair have generated an excess of 3.5 million pay-per-view buys.
Despite the truckload of money that both were expected to make for a third meeting, after witnessing Holyfield suffer a brutal first-round knockout defeat at the hands of Vitor Belfort just a few weeks ago, Tyson now believes that ship has sailed.
“Evander f*cked up the money,” said Tyson during an interview with ESNEWS.
On September 11th, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, Tyson was disappointed with what took place. On the night, 58-year-old Holyfield stepped in on just a few week’s notice to take on the former UFC star, Vitor Belfort. Originally, Oscar De La Hoya was expected to face the one-time light heavyweight champion but was forced to withdraw due to testing positive for COVID-19.
While Holyfield is considered one of the greatest fighters in boxing history, at 58, he’s now a shell of his former great self. Now, with Holyfield out of the picture, Tyson will turn to another foe he shared the ring with nearly two decades ago.
“We gotta do it with Lennox [Lewis] now.”
Much like Tyson’s two defeats to Holyfield, Tyson was also brutally knocked out during his 2002 meeting with Lewis. After a fairly even first few rounds, Lewis took over down the stretch before scoring the knockout win in the eighth round to retain his WBC, IBF, and IBO heavyweight titles.
While it’s unclear if the pair will share the ring once more, Tyson officially has the itch to continue his boxing career. At least, from an exhibition standpoint.
On November 28th, 2020, at Staples Center in Los Angeles California, Tyson took on fellow legend Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round exhibition. The two would ultimately end their showdown with a split decision draw.
With his adrenaline now pumping, Tyson simply can’t wait to swap fists with someone else in the ring sometime soon.
“I want to fight. I need another one.”
Caleb Plant As Confident As Ever Heading Into Canelo Alvarez Showdown: “I Know I’m Gonna Win This Fight”
By: Hans Themistode
Caleb Plant is sitting alone on an island. But he doesn’t mind.
With the majority of the boxing public viewing the IBF super middleweight champion as a no-hoper in his contest against Canelo Alvarez on November 6th, Plant has decided to tune out the noise.
While he acknowledges that defeating Alvarez is a monumental task, the 29-year-old belt holder is as confident as ever.
“I know I’m gonna win this fight,” said Plant during an interview with Brian Custer on The Last Stand Podcast. “I’m confident as I’ve ever been.”
Despite the fearless attitude of Plant, Alvarez is still pegged as a significant favorite. By and large, the Mexican product is considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, regardless of weight classes.
During his recent 168 pound run, Alvarez has taken care of business in dominant fashion. In December of 2020, Alvarez easily outboxed Callum Smith and ultimately stripped him of his WBA world title. In the process, Alvarez also snagged the vacant WBC and Ring Magazine belts.
After a quick pitstop against Avni Yildirim in February earlier this year, stopping the journeymen in the third round, Alvarez would take on Billy Joe Saunders. The elusive British product would find moments of success in the early goings. But eventually, Alvarez found the fight-ending blow in the eighth round, finishing off his rival and both stripping him of his WBO title and sending him into retirement.
With Plant facing the likes of Mike Lee, Vincent Feigenbutz, and most recently, Caleb Truax – the title reign of Plant has been viewed as somewhat lackluster in comparison.
Regardless of the lack of big-time opponents on his resume, Plant is still firmly backing himself in his upcoming showdown against Alvarez. Those who continue to doubt him won’t ruffle his feathers. As long the man in the mirror believes he’ll pull off the improbable victory, that’s all that matters.
“I don’t need you guys to believe. I don’t need you guys to support me or root for me. I’ve been doing it my whole life without people doing that. When the bell rings, can’t none of y’all get in their for me anyways. I don’t need y’all to believe it. The only person that needs to believe it is me.”
Gabe Rosado Vs. Jaime Munguia Set For November 13th Clash
By: Hans Themistode
Jaime Munguia had his pick of two noteworthy fighters.
The former WBO 154 pound titlist was recently ordered to engage in negotiations with Sergiy Derevyanchenko for a WBC title eliminator. Instead of taking on the former multiple-time title challenger, Munguia has opted to take on fringe contender Gabe Rosado.
The two will now officially face off on November 13th, at a yet to be determined venue. All along, both parties saw the writing on the wall.
On June 19th, at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas, Munguia headlined a card against journeymen Kamil Szeremeta. Just as many were expecting, Munguia easily ran through his man, scoring the sixth-round stoppage win.
Playing chief support in the co-main event on the night was Rosado. The Philadelphia product was pegged as a significant underdog in his matchup against the highly touted Bektemir Melikuziev. After hitting the canvas in the opening round, Rosado completely turned things around in the third, landing a picture-perfect overhand right which saw Melikuziev remain unconscious well after the formal ten count.
Following each man’s respective victories, the two were spotted chatting and appeared both ready, willing, and able to face each other next.
According to Oscar De La Hoya, Munguia’s promoter and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, a matchup between his young star and the veteran contender will be nothing short of a violent night of fights.
“This fight will be full of non-stop action,” said De La Hoya. “It will be a war that fight fans will enjoy and a new exciting chapter in the classic Mexico vs. Puerto Rico boxing rivalry. Both fighters are coming off of spectacular performances and knock-out victories that showed their power, speed, and resilience. This is truly a ‘Fight of the Year’ contender, a fight that fans will remember for years to come.”
You’re Looking At The Best Heavyweight In The World
By: Hans Themistode
Was he ever truly in the conversation? Of course not.
The best heavyweight in the world had ultimately come down to a pair of British natives and an American with a heavy right hand. Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, and Deontay Wilder all looked the part.
Joshua was a Greek God. His body was seemingly made from granite, his good looks made all of the women melt and his propensity for knockouts fit the bill perfectly. Tyson Fury didn’t have all of the hulking muscles. But he had quite possibly the best attribute on his side, reputation. Sure Fury could have an occasional lackluster showing, but with wins over Dereck Chisora, Wladimir Klitschko, and Deontay Wilder – Fury’s placement amongst the best in the world is well warranted.
Although Fury and Joshua stole most of the headlines, former heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder was never forgotten. His physique seemed punitive and his fighting style could be described as both archaic and one track-minded. That said, Wilder holds arguably the most deleterious right hand in boxing history.
It was those three, no one else, who was considered the best that the heavyweight division had to offer. But while they enjoyed the superlative words hurled in their direction and eyed matchups against one another for heavyweight supremacy, Oleksandr Usyk stood quietly in the shadows with a gap-toothed smile.
The Ukrainian has never been viewed as an afterthought. As an amateur, Usyk racked up a record of 335 wins against just 15 losses, making him one of the most accomplished in history. Along the way, Usyk defeated current unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and current heavyweight contender, Joe Joyce. During the 2012 Olympic Games, Usyk breezed through the competition and found himself posing for pictures as he bit into his gold medal.
Once there was nothing left for him to accomplish in the unpaid ranks, Usyk made a b-line for the pro game. In just his tenth pro fight, he easily outboxed Krzysztof Glowacki for his first world title. Then, he took down the likes of Mairis Briedis, Murat Gassiev and Tony Bellew to wrap up an undisputed cruiserweight title run.
Usyk didn’t immediately make his announcement but we all knew it was coming. A move to heavyweight was inevitable. But once he officially made the jump, no one noticed his entrance. The Ukrainian and pound for pound didn’t stomp into his new weight class. Nor did he grab a microphone and toss around curse-filled threats. No, he didn’t violently kick open the door, he both casually and quietly walked through.
Once inside, Usyk’s gold medal still dangled around his neck, the four major world titles that he snagged while in the cruiserweight division were also sitting across his fairly broad shoulders. Still, no one cared or acknowledged his presence.
Even with a mandated world title shot at his disposal and the opportunity to demand immediate respect, Usyk calmly allowed several to skip him in line. He gladly stood aside and allowed both Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. part two, to take place. He moved to the side again, though involuntarily, as Joshua was forced to accommodate IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.
Even as Joshua took care of business once more and despite Usyk being guaranteed the next title shot, he openly accepted a backseat again. This time, to allow Joshua to take on Fury in an undisputed showdown. In the meanwhile, Usyk would take on amateur rival Joe Joyce.
Yet, with Deontay Wilder grabbing Fury by the hand and leading him to the dance floor, Joshua was left with defending his crown against Usyk. The game plan was simple, Joshua would placate Usyk by granting him his title shot and immediately leave him comatose on the canvas after a few rounds. Not only was that Joshua’s thought process, as he guaranteed a knockout win, but most believed their showdown would shake out in that exact same manner.
Usyk, of course, paid no attention to it. The Ukrainian continued to flash that same gap-toothed smile and made both media members and fans laugh with a quirky personality and broken English. His common catchphrase was “I’m feel, I’m very feel.” That very line even brought a chuckle to Joshua at times numerous times throughout their fight build-up.
Still, despite his effervescent attitude and accomplishments, Usyk’s time as a heavyweight was on the verge of being labeled a complete failure. After struggling with journeymen Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora in his first two dips in the heavyweight pool, many believed Usyk was in for a long and painful night at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the United Kingdom this past Saturday night.
As the pound-for-pound star sauntered his way to the ring in front of a wildly pro Joshua crowd, his focus stood squarely on sending the masses home apoplectic. After 12 rounds of fairy one-sided action, Usyk did just that.
From the very beginning, Usyk dominated. He easily outboxed and outmaneuvered Joshua while consistently finding a home for his straight left hand. The middle rounds saw the former heavyweight titlist find a bit of his rhythm but it was Usyk who closed the show strong, almost stopping his man before the final bell.
Now, with three of the four major world titles tucked underneath his arm, the once incredulous looks that were glared in the direction of Usyk have turned into looks of worry. Those who doubted him are now sporting a sheepish expression on their face as this wasn’t the outcome many were anticipating.
Regardless of Usyk’s dominant victory, those in boxing circles will still point a confident finger in the direction of the winner of Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury on October 9th, as the heavyweight division’s best fighter. Those assumptions, however, are undoubtedly wrong.
Usyk has never been second best. Not as an amateur, not in the Olympic Games, not as a cruiserweight, and certainly not as a heavyweight either.
Oleksandr Usyk On Anthony Joshua Victory: “It Was The Biggest Fight But It Wasn’t The Hardest One”
By: Hans Themistode
The resume of Oleksandr Usyk can match up with just about anyone in the entire sport of boxing.
In just his 10th pro fight, Usyk lifted his first world title against Krzysztof Glowacki. He would then go on to strip every cruiserweight belt holder of their championship status. This past Saturday night, at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in the United Kingdom, Usyk added to the proliferation of world titles in his possession with a fairly one-sided victory against Anthony Joshua.
Usyk admits that defeating Joshua ranks as his most impressive victory. But in terms of the most difficult contest of his career, the Ukrainian isn’t willing to go that far.
“It was the biggest fight of my career,” said Usyk following his unanimous decision victory. “But it wasn’t the hardest one.”
Usyk, 34, ignored relentless boos as he marched through Joshua’s backyard to rip away his beloved championships. As the two stood next to each other during the ceremonial weigh-ins the day prior, Joshua towered over his man. The noticeable size difference between the pair did nothing to discourage Usyk on the night.
In the early goings, the newly crowned heavyweight titlist stepped right to Joshua and took the fight to him. Usyk landed several hard left hands and slickly avoided any oncoming traffic thrown in his direction. Although many predicted Joshua would eventually score a fight-ending knockout, it was Usyk who appeared to be on his way to picking up the stoppage win.
A visibly tired Joshua wilted against the ropes in the final seconds of the 12th round and appeared relieved once the bell rung. Usyk may have snagged Joshua’s heavyweight titles with relative ease, but the pound-for-pound star refused to downplay his opponent’s performance.
In fact, even with Usyk proving that he was the far more superior boxer, he tipped his cap in respect to Joshua for everything he’s accomplished.
“We expected all of this that happened in the ring. He was the Olympic champion, he was holding all of the belts except one. What more can I say about his performance?”
Roy Jones Jr.: “He [Anthony Joshua] Just Got To Hang Out With A Killer”
By: Hans Themistode
Roy Jones Jr. has a tremendous amount of respect for Oleksandr Usyk. The former multiple division titlist has watched closely from the sidelines as Usyk dominated the cruiserweight division. Jones Jr. has also been an interested observer as Usyk made the trek to the land of the heavyweights.
Yet, no matter how much Jones Jr. reveres the Ukrainian, even he was taken aback by what took place last night.
In front of a jam-packed crowd at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in the United Kingdom, Usyk caused a huge upset as he strolled into the backyard of Anthony Joshua and stripped him of his heavyweight titles.
Even with his astute boxing mind, Jones Jr. simply didn’t expect things to shake out the way they did. With Joshua holding a considerable height, reach, weight, and overall size advantage, Jones Jr. was fully expecting him to use all of his physical attributes on the night, especially early on.
That said, Joshua conceded much of the preceding rounds before ultimately losing a fairly wide decision. Even now, as several hours have gone by, Jones Jr. is still scratching his head as to why Joshua came out so passive.
“Joshua came out and gave Usyk respect right away,” said Jones Jr. during an interview with IFL TV. “He let Usyk basically control the center of the ring, so Usyk won the first three rounds. I was surprised.”
Usyk, a former 2012 Olympic gold medalist, broke Joshua down in the first six rounds before cruising to the finishing line. In the 12th and final round, in particular, Joshua appeared to be on his way out. The muscular former heavyweight titlist languished against the ropes as Usyk connected on several unanswered shots.
Immediately following his defeat, Joshua stepped up to the podium and announced that he would be invoking his rematch clause. Since his declaration, several boxers, including Josh Taylor, and Dillian Whyte – have admitted that they don’t like the chances of Joshua heading into part two.
For Jones Jr., he isn’t entirely ruling out a Joshua victory in the sequel. But while the all-timer could have gone into the Xs and Os and described the picture-perfect game plan for Joshua to use, he abstained from doing so. In the end, the bigger alteration that Joshua can make should come between the ears.
“There are a few adjustments he can make. A lot of it is mental, a little bit is boxing but it’s more mental than boxing. He’s just got to hang out with a killer. When I say a killer, I mean a killer in the boxing ring, not outside. He’s a very good guy and that’s fine. I was a very good guy but when I got in that boxing ring, I was a killer. He’s got to get that killer mentality.”
Oleksandr Usyk Quiets The Naysayers, Beats Anthony Joshua
By: Hans Themistode
It was inevitable.
After sharing the gold medal stage in the 2012 Olympic Games, albeit in separate weight classes, heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua knew he would eventually face Oleksandr Usyk. Nine years following their Olympic triumphs, the two met at the top of the heavyweight mountain top.
Oleksandr Usyk sauntered his way to the ring with a sly smile on his face. The British crowd who booed his entrance seemingly had no effect on the Ukrainian native. As the opening round tipped off to start their contest, the crowd roared as Joshua flicked several jabs in the direction of his man.
None, however, landed as Usyk proved to be far too elusive in the early going. The former undisputed cruiserweight bounced on his toes and began moving side to side. While he seldom threw any shots, Usyk was patiently waiting for the perfect opening. That would come just one minute into the first round.
As Joshua uncorked a strong right hand, Usyk slipped the shot and landed a straight left hand. With his first connect on the night, Usyk began putting the pressure on his man. The punches of the Ukrainian may have come few and far between but he feinted Joshua to no end and caused the former unified heavyweight titlist to come out of position on several occasions.
In the following frame, Usyk enjoyed even more success. He pushed out a strong jab and used unorthodox angles to make Joshua miss on several occasions. As Joshua’s punches failed to connect, Usyk made him pay, landing numerous jabs and straight lefts.
Those previously mentioned left hands of Usyk became a consistent theme throughout their showdown. Joshua, while game, was unable to avoid the nonstop barrage of the Ukrainian early on.
Still, although Usyk remained effective, Joshua continued to move forward. As the middle rounds came rolling by, the former heavyweight titlist began finding his range. He connected on several hard right hands that seemed to stagger Usyk into the ropes. Despite the success, Usyk flashed a bright grin. From there, he moved back to the center of the ring and easily outboxed his man again.
During the seventh round, Joshua continued to attack the head of Usyk but to no avail. Seemingly through with his one-sided tactics, Joshua went downstairs to the midsection in an attempt to slow him down.
Usyk grimaced in pain during the eighth round as the work rate and pressure of Joshua continued to increase. As the rounds continued to slowly pass by, Usyk, fighting on foreign ground, refused to sit back on his laurels. The former cruiserweight undisputed champion pushed the pace and found a home for his straight left hand.
During the championship rounds, a heavily breathing Joshua lumbered to the middle of the ring. Usyk, on the other hand, appeared fresh as he continually bounced up and down on his toes. While Usyk spent the majority of their contest outboxing his man, he spent the remainder of their bout bullying Joshua. In the 12th, in particular, Usyk pressed Joshua up against the ropes and unloaded several unanswered shots.
Joshua, to his credit, had on his best poker face. He smiled at Usyk and stuck out of his tongue as he egged him on. Regardless of the hubris Joshua showed, the three judges scoring the contest from ringside simply weren’t buying it as they handed Usyk the unanimous decision victory.
Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk Undercard Results: Lawrence Okolie Walks Through Dilan Prasovic
As many expected, Lawrence Okolie (17-0, 14 KOs) had little to no trouble dealing with the unheralded Dilan Prasovic (15-1, 12 KOs). In front of a ruckus crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in the United Kingdom, Lawrence registered two knockdowns on the night.
The fight ending blow came in the third round via bodyshot. Once Okolie connected with a left hook to the midsection, Prasovic crumbled to the canvas and was unable to beat the count.
Anthony Joshua Vs. Oleksandr Usyk Undercard Results: Campbell Hatton Ekes Out Controversial Decision
In what appeared to be a night in which things didn’t go his way, Campbell Hatton (4-0, 0 KOs) was fortunate enough to walk away with his undefeated record intact.
Campbell’s late replacement opponent, Sonni Martinez (2-5, 0 KOs), pushed the pace, bullied the undefeated prospect and seemed to use remarkable ring generalship to his advantage. In the end, however, the work of Martinez wasn’t rewarded as he handed a close decision defeat on the night.
Anthony Joshua Vs. Oleksandr Usyk Undercard Results: Lenin Castillo Leaves Arena On Stretcher After Showdown Against Callum Smith
By: Hans Themistode
Although Callum Smith enjoyed success in the super middleweight division, after suffering a one-sided decision defeat at the hands of Canelo Alvarez, the British native decided it was time to make changes.
In an effort to reboot his career, Smith opted to move up in weight. For his first official fight at his new weight class, Lenin Castillo welcomed the former 168-pound titlist to his new home. Needless to say, Smith’s showing couldn’t have been better.
After dominating the opening round, Smith ended the night in the second round, courtesy of a right hand. The moment the blow landed, something immediately wasn’t right. Castillo fell to the canvas and began shaking violently. The light heavyweight career journeymen was subsequently rushed from the ring on a stretcher soon after.
While the entire ordeal may have come across as frightening, promoter Eddie Hearn would later reveal that Castillo was responsive in the ambulance.
Remembering “ShelbyGirl” Walker 15 Years Later
Nobody ever handed anything to Shelby Walker.
Nothing was easy……ever.
Maybe it was her hardscrabble upbringing. Maybe it was her background in the military.
But somehow, there was nothing that was going to stop her.
Until something did.
And now, we commemorate her on the 15th anniversary of the night she was taken from us, far too soon.
But there was a lot to talk about while she was here.
This was someone who carried with her the spirit of the trailblazer.
We will see a women’s world championship fight in a prominent position on Saturday night’s UFC card. Their presence is now relatively commonplace. We have seen Ronda Rousey emerge as a worldwide superstar.
But you don’t have to go back very far to remember when those of the female gender were not necessarily welcome in MMA’s predominant organization. This happened to be the time Shelby Walker was coming of age.
“It wasn’t like it is now, when women are looked upon seriously as performers,” says Larry Goldberg, Walker’s manager and publisher of Boxing Insider. “The UFC had enough issues with the men in 2005. They didn’t think the public was ready for women in MMA yet.”
ShelbyGirl sought to break down the barrier, and she was on the verge of it.
The UFC was ready to match her with Erica Montoya at UFC 51 in Japan, in February 2005. But the show got moved out of there, and the proposed bout took a rather circuitous path before it fell through.
It took some time for women to break the door down. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until 2012 that Rousey made her debut in the UFC.
“Shelby was in on the beginning of this evolutionary process,” Goldberg says, regarding women being accepted into the UFC. “The whole thing could not have gotten to where it is now without people like her.”
Imagine if Dana White had been in attendance when she scored a five-second knockout over Angela Wilson in 2003 – a world record at the time – that evolutionary process may have sped up a bit.
We see Claressa Shields celebrate herself for being a simultaneous competitor in both boxing and MMA. Well, whether she is switching back and forth on a moment’s notice is a matter of debate, but ShelbyGirl did that seamlessly – one of the very first to do it, in fact.
She was proud of her blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, awarded to her by Royce Gracie himself; nonetheless, the lack of opportunities sent her looking for another outlet, and she found it in the boxing ring.
She was game. And she was determined. At America’s Top Team training center in Florida, she drew the attention of Howard Davis Jr., the former Olympic gold medalist boxer and world lightweight contender who had transformed himself into a successful trainer.
Davis did not sweat fools or slackers. ShelbyGirl was neither. Together they embarked on a journey that saw Walker fight for a world championship twice – against Emiko Raika for the WIBA featherweight title, and Jamie Clampitt for the IWBF lightweight crown.
She didn’t win those fights. But that’s not what’s important.
What IS important is the way the people felt about her.
And they knew her, alright. ShelbyGirl was an early participant on the social media outlets of the day, interacting with fans on a regular basis in many MMA forums, including “The Underground,” where she became something of a celebrity.
She built a sizable following, and, after Dana White flew in on his private UFC jet to see her box against Mia St. John (this being a year after the UFC 51 fallout), she actually shot a reality show pilot.
“Shelby had a YouTube page before I even knew what a YouTube page was,” says Goldberg.” She was ahead of her time in that way. She would have been really big on a platform like Instagram. She was part of the BoxingInsider website giving fight predictions. We broke all the unspoken media rules, trading coverage to get her featured in numerous MMA and boxing publications and radio shows.”
Even as we poignantly come across the anniversary of her passing, and regardless of her near two-decade absence from the ring, Walker is still discussed on the internet today. An inescapable part of that involves the circumstances of her departure from this earth.
Shelby Walker should be remembered as a one of a kind person. Someone with charisma, heart, and flair – who would fight all comers and who made a significant contribution to Women Combat sports.
Power Shots: Evaluating The Heavyweight Division
By: John “Gutterdandy” Walker
The lack of buzz for the upcoming clash later on tonight between unified heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua of the UK and Oleksander Usyk of Ukraine has been a bit puzzling.
After all, “AJ” is the holder of a number of HW straps, and Usyk was once the totally unified champ of the cruiserweight division, the still unbeaten conqueror of the formidable and now fellow heavyweight Murat Gassiev. One would think that boxing fans would be looking forward to this clash of the titans with rabid expectation.
But in actuality, the event has been very under the radar. UK sportswriters have largely written off Usyk as being “too small” to beat their muscled Adonis. There has been a certain degree of ennui in the press reporting in general, with no small amount of resentment that Usyk has gotten in the way of the fight that “everyone” (everyone in the UK at least) wanted to see: AJ vs Tyson Fury. You’d think the name Andy Ruiz Junior just might have occurred to some of the boxing “experts” claiming that great size and sculpted muscles always determine a heavyweight fight, but alas, how soon they forget.
The final presser for Joshua vs Usyk yesterday was very civil and did little to create the kind of freak show atmosphere that people who follow was is loosely called “boxing” have gotten used to over the last couple of years, thanks to Zoomer “influencers” (one of the more annoying terms I’ve ever heard) like the notorious Paul brothers.
People argue over whether the “YouTuber,” celebrity boxing scene is good or bad for the sport, but one thing that seems sure is that a segment of people now expect a boxing match to provide a carnivalesque, freak show atmosphere that the Usyk vs Joshua title bout is sorely lacking (though Usyk did at least wear a colorful outfit to the presser that was apparently a partial tribute to The Joker).
Everything Old Is Old Again
So, is a mere high level boxing match just not good enough anymore? Would people rather shell out $70 or more to see 58-year-old Evander Holyfield look like a pitiful shell of his former self? Holyfield apparently was not deterred by his recent disastrous return to the ring against one Vitor Belfort, and still wants to face old ear-biting nemesis Mike Tyson — who is partly to blame for this trend of old fighters getting back on the boards, after cleaning up financially with his glorified sparring session against an out of shape Roy Jones Jr. — for a third time.
Fortunately, the spectacle of the always fit-looking Holyfield nevertheless looking every bit his age in the ring was so shocking that the people looking to put Riddick Bowe back in the ring have now decided against it. Anyone with a brain in their heads who has listened to Bowe talk in the last decade should have known better than to ever entertain the idea of a ring “comeback” for the man, but it took Holyfield’s ring misadventures to finally convince Bowe’s backers to back off.
But have no fear, lovers of car-crash style, old-guy boxing. Holyfield may be down, Bowe may be out, but never a guy to be outdone, James Toney is gearing up for his comeback! The only question left is: where the heck is Shannon Briggs?
Hrgovic and Makhmudov: Young Guns With No Targets
All the attention on boxing’s old-timers lately has left true up and coming possible heavyweight superstars – Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic and Montreal’s Arslanbek Makhmudov – out in the cold, begging for table scraps. The sport’s lack of structure means that truly fearsome talents like these are ignored for as long as possible by the guys at the top of the division.
Makhmudov (13-0, 13 KOs) fought last evening in Quebec against the “best” name he could convince to share a ring with him, Germany’s Erkan Teper (21-4, 13 KOs), and what some anticipated as being a “test” of the hulking Russian-born fighter’s abilities quickly developed into a farce, as the pudgy Teper, who looked like he had literally just gotten off his couch and strolled into the ring, tasted the power of the “Lion” and quickly looked for the exits.
One round was enough, as Teper stumbled around, fell down, tried to hold on, and finally got knocked down by Big Mak. Teper had no intention of coming out for round two.
Makhmudov, a truly genial fellow, sheepishly addressed the Montreal crowd following the win: “He’s a good boxer, but not in the best shape,” he said charitably of his fallen German foe.
Anglo-America’s Ukrainian Nightmares
It pays to remember the reaction of the boxing world in Anglo-America when the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, essentially took over the heavyweight division for a decade and moved it to Germany. American and British boxing scribes who should have known better engaged in all sorts of xenophobic ranting about the dominant brothers, often cynically attributing their dominance to mere “size.”
Yet when the Klitschkos finally retired, and huge men like Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, all as big or bigger than the Klitschkos, came along, that “size” argument disappeared literally overnight.
No, the real problem was that the Klitschkos had snubbed America, and England, and absconded to continental Europe with the heavyweight belts. Given the hysteria and nastiness that followed, one can only imagine that the idea of a Croatian heavyweight champion or a Russian-born, Quebec-based heavyweight champion doesn’t fill someone like Eddie Hearn with glee. Britain is now the center of heavyweight boxing, and therefore Hearn and others who run the sport are in no hurry to risk a Hrgovic or Makhmudov again taking the “glamor division” away again.
So there they sit, these young guns like Hrgovic and Makhmudov getting older by the minute, forced to sit for long periods of time and then only fight guys who can’t even begin to test them. They remain unknown by all but the most ardent followers of the sport, while the Paul Brothers and other social media celebs get all the attention, and make millions of dollars to boot.
The biggest threat to the current order for the moment, however, is posed by Oleksander Usyk, who seeks to follow in the footsteps of his countrymen the Klitschkos and take the heavyweight belts home to Ukraine. Perhaps there’s been so little buzz about this fight in boxing circles, and such casual dismissal of a great fighter like Usyk, because the latter man is the biggest threat to the new order since the brothers from Ukraine first spoiled things for the Anglo-Americans.
The powers that be simply can’t allow themselves to imagine a Usyk victory over Joshua. And no doubt should Usyk prevail, the first words out of Eddie Hearn’s mouth will be:
Tyson Fury: “When I Put That Final Nail In His Coffin, It’s Retirement – Bye Bye B*tch Wilder”
By: Hans Themistode
Tyson Fury is thoroughly enjoying the position he’s currently in. But more than anything, he believes Deontay Wilder is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
With the two currently set to face off in just a few short weeks on October 9th, the British native is exuding an extreme amount of confidence. In February of 2020, Fury proved to be a fortune teller of sorts. Heading into his showdown against Wilder at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Fury told all who would listen that he would do a number on the hard-hitting Alabama product.
Even as Fury began beating his chest and shouting that he would score the knockout victory, he was essentially alone on an island. If the undefeated gargantuan heavyweight planned on defeating Wilder, it seemed as though it would come via the scorecards. That said, as Fury raised his arms in the air following his seventh-round knockout victory, he bragged about his handiwork.
Now, with their immediate rematch inching closer and closer, Fury fully intends on leaving Wilder motionless on the canvas. If Fury’s words ring true once more, he believes it’ll be the last time Wilder is seen in the ring.
“I’d hate to be Deontay Wilder right now,” said Fury during an interview with The Volume Sports. “When I put that final nail in his coffin, it’s retirement – bye-bye b*tch Wilder.”
While Fury continues to be loquacious, Wilder has been mostly mum on their upcoming showdown. The former WBC heavyweight titlist has placed all of his efforts and energy into working with new head trainer, Malik Scott. The two have been inseparable since partnering late last year. With their newfound relationship, both men are now predicting a quick and easy knockout come fight night.
Wilder’s threats though, have fallen on deaf ears. Having bullied the hard-hitting former belt holder in their previous showdown, Fury isn’t fazed one bit by Wilder’s warnings.
“He used to be a gladiator. He met the old, fat Gypsy King. Knocked him spark out in seven rounds.”
Ryan Garcia: “Andre Ward Can’t Fight For [Caleb] Plant”
By: Hans Themistode
Caleb Plant is leaving no stone unturned.
The IBF super-middleweight belt holder has recently revealed that he’s taking pointers from newly inducted Hall of Famer, Andre Ward. With Plant scheduled to take on Canelo Alvarez on November 6th, with all of the marbles on the line, the 29-year-old belt holder is attempting to peel away knowledge from the mind of Ward.
As an active fighter, Ward was once considered one of the pound-for-pound best in the world. But while he’s highly respected and viewed as an all-time great, Ryan Garcia believes that his help will ultimately be inconsequential.
“Andre Ward can’t fight for Plant,” said Garcia during an interview with FightHype.com. “It doesn’t matter, you can give all the advice that you want, it’s not going to change anything.”
Regardless of Ward’s help, oddsmakers have seemingly taken the side of Garcia. Currently, Alvarez is pegged as an overwhelming favorite to not only win his unification clash against Plant but to do so before the sound of the final.
In the eyes of the betting public, Plant’s minuscule chances stem from his lack of fights against top-tier competition. The 29-year-old Nashville, Tennessee native may have defended his world title on three separate occasions, but each opponent, by and large, has been viewed as a no-hoper.
Plant easily dispatched of both Mike Lee and Vincent Feigenbutz before sequentially cruising to a unanimous decision victory against Caleb Truax in January earlier this year.
Considering that Alvarez has built his name on the back of former world champions he’s defeated, the Mexican star is firmly entrenched as one of the best fighters in the entire sport.
As Garcia carefully observes the resume of Plant, he can’t help but raise an incredulous eyebrow at his chances. Unless Ward, a former two-division titlist who retired with an undefeated record after 32 pro fights, enters the ring in place of Plant, Garcia simply has a difficult time seeing how their pairing will benefit the IBF titlist in the slightest.
“I don’t even know how Ward would help. You’re still your fighter, you’re still going to be you. I don’t think it’s going to do anything.”
Book Review: Championess by Taryn Shanker, Kelly Zekas, and Amanda Perez Puentes
By: Stephanie Kent
On a shelf of books about boxing, you’ll find no shortage of fighter memoirs, compilations of short stories, and fitness guides. Taryn Shanker, Kelly Zekas, and Amanda Perez Puentes’ graphic novel Championess is a unique addition to the boxing canon.
Based loosely on the true story of female prizefighter Elizabeth “Lizzie” Wilkinson, the book follows her journey to win bare-knuckle fighting matches that bring in enough money to get her sister out of debt. Little is known about the history of the real Wilkinson, but in Championess, we find the fictional athlete has no shortage of things to fight for. The fictionalized version of this figure is the heart of the story. Her witty internal monologue and lack of filter pull us through the story and it’s fun to read her internal monologue while she fights, trains, and reflects on her dark familial past.
Flashbacks to a family torn apart by poverty play out to raise the stakes of Wilkinson’s fights, but the sections about the sport are far and away the most exhilarating. Lizzie’s relationship with her trainer is one any young, scrappy newcomer to a gym will see themselves in, and the book even features a training montage complete with chicken chasing. The timelessness of boxing conveyed in this book is delightful to read.
The book is exciting; artfully drawn fights take place against an ambitious story about racism, classism, and gender equality. The narrative is full of pressure for the female fighter to be more British, more maidenly, more manly, even. These parts of the story cut to the heart of the feeling we all have about not being enough, and in the end, the book, like every fight, is about far more than winning a boxing match.