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Haye Haye, My My (into the Comeback)


Haye Haye, My My (into the Comeback)
By G.E. Simons

David Haye’s return to competitive boxing continues on 4th March with a ‘Heavyweight Feature Attraction’ against the WBC Cruiserweight world champion Tony Bellew, which will be broadcast live from London’s O2 Arena via SKY Box Office in the UK.

Wladimir Klitschko v David Haye - World Heavyweight Championship Fight

Haye informally retired from boxing back in November 2013 following a second withdrawal from planned fights with Tyson Fury due to a serious shoulder problem which required surgery.

In the same November, Tony Bellew suffered his second career defeat at the heavy hands of the defending Light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, before a successful and still undefeated reinvention at Cruiserweight.

Mixing in solid company at the new weight Bellew has excelled with good wins over Valery Brudov, a score settler with Nathan Cleverly and Mateusz Masternak, followed by a fairy-tale knockout victory over the feared Ilunga Makabu to claim the WBC word title.

Less than a month after Bellew’s unlikely ascension to the very top of the Cruiserweight division, David Haye announced his own return to the ring, with a new trainer in Shane McGuigan and a new opponent in the shape of Croatia-based Aussie, Mark de Mori.

A quick knockout of De Mori in January 2016 was followed by a slightly more time consuming KO of second comeback opponent and Swiss import Arnold Gjergjaj who fulfilled the roll of victim with the accuracy for which Switzerland is famed.

So, from an athletic point-of-view the coming together of Haye and Bellew in 2017 has no more credibility or relevance than Conor McGregor buying Gucci silks on Rodeo Drive.

SKY is of course doing it’s best to fan the flames of the dissent that the two protagonists seem to have manufactured from somewhere, as copywriters feverishly mine the ‘war of words’, ‘bitter battle’ and ‘fierce rivalry’ seams of content provision, but with the PPV priced at £16.95 a pop they need to.

The real problem with this fight is that it means absolutely nothing from a boxing point of view and really doesn’t move the needle of either fighter’s career no matter what the outcome.

If Haye wins by KO early, late or in the middle, so what. He’s a Heavyweight with freakish power against a Cruiserweight who was knocked out at Light-heavyweight.

Of course if Haye wins, the comeback and the paydays continue and in a still splintered division he may also reclaim a portion of the Heavyweight title spoils.
If Bellew wins via any outcome, so what. Haye hasn’t had a meaningful fight since his loss to Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg nearly six years ago, is 36 years old and has a bad shoulder.

Of course if Bellew wins, his legacy swells and he returns to Cruiserweight with a Royal Flush of options or stays amongst the big boys for the well earned payday of his life.

And there you have it, the needle that this fight does move is a fiscal one. It’s really a Catchweight, PPV opportunity for one of boxing’s recent underachievers in David Haye and one of boxing’s recent overachievers in Tony Bellew to cash in now, and for the winner especially, afterwards as well.

No one involved has shied away from the financial motivation of this scrap either and why should they.

Interestingly, at the official launch press conference back in November Haye lost his cool somewhat as he ranted in clear frustration about promotional hierarchy with Eddie Hearn who asserted, “You are working with Matchroom because you need the dough. You need the dough that’s why you’re here.”

“You’re fighting me because you’re skint.” Bellew later told Haye as the former WBA heavyweight champion continued to wind himself up and threaten his opponent with stretchers and hospital beds in-between mentions of $2m offers to Lucas Brown and Shannon Briggs copping out.

Later and looking out at them, Bellew told the Press, “This idiot has blown the lot and this is the only reason he’s fighting me. He could have fought for the Heavyweight championship of the world but he chose the money. He chose the money because he’s skint. David is broke.”

This is one Pay-per-View event that will split the fans of boxing and the fans of fighting straight down the middle, with the latter group much more likely to reach for their PIN numbers and credit cards on this occasion.

Both fighters have peaked athletically, both are British Hall of Fame worthy, both have earned the right to meet and share a PPV pot whipped up by talk of a bitter rivalry, and so it really is up to if you want to help fill the pot that these two good old warriors are going to share.

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How Will Frampton Compare to his British Counterparts on American Soil?


How Will Frampton Compare to his British Counterparts on American Soil?
By: Jordan Seward

In 17 days’ time Carl Frampton (22-0-KO14) will be facing off with Leo Santa Cruz (32-0-1-KO18) for the WBA Super world featherweight title in the Barclays Centre, New York.

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This will be ‘The Jackal’s’ first world title fight up at featherweight after he vacated the WBA and IBF world super-bantamweight titles. The highly rated 29-year-old’s prompted move up to featherweight came after he convincingly beat bitter rival; Scott Quigg (31-1-2).
The Northern Irishmen displayed superior ring intelligence and punch prowess to defeat Quigg and claim the WBA and IBF world super-bantamweight titles. His journey so far has been a fruitful one, but his only previous experience of fighting in America didn’t go according to plan.

Prior to the domestic dust-up with Quigg, Frampton defended his IBF world super-bantamweight title against Alejandro Gonzalez Jr (25-3-2) with a unanimous decision victory, at the Don Haskins Convention Centre, El Paso, Texas.
Despite getting over the finish line, it undeniably was not the American debut Frampton would have dreamt about. He struggled to perform and was forced to climb off the canvas twice in the first round. Sometimes a champions grit, willingness and determination is called upon and Frampton duly responded, unfortunately it just wasn’t the ideal setting for that moment.

This time round, in the ‘Big Apple’, Frampton will be eager to set the record straight and show his true talents to the American boxing fans against Santa Cruz. Hitting America as a boxer is like becoming a partner at Nike, it’s like reaching the top of Machu Picchu, it’s like vacationing in Bora Bora. It’s the big time.

And for years, some of the best British boxers have crossed the Atlantic in an attempt to conquer America. Some of Frampton’s British counterparts have succeeded, some have failed. The undisputed heavyweight king, Lennox Lewis (42-2-1), initially struggled to win over the American public until he put on a dominant performance in the controversial draw with Evander Holyfield in 1999.
Out of the 44 professional fights Lewis had, 22 of them were in the United States. It was not until he became undisputed champion in Las Vegas against Holyfield that he reached superstar status alongside with the likes of Mike Tyson.

Another Brit that took America by storm was ‘Prince’ Nassem Hamed. His American debut; similarly, to Frampton but with a whole lot more drama, was a thrilling encounter that made him an instant hit. Hamed climbed off the canvas three times before stopping fan favourite Kevin Kelley in Madison Square Garden, New York.

In more recent times, Kell Brook and James DeGale have tasted success in America both winning world titles against homeland opponents. Carl Froch experienced the highs and lows of America, he was on route to a points loss to Jermaine Taylor before sensationally knocking him out in the last round, but was outclassed on American soil by Andre Ward two years later.

British hero Ricky Hatton, has hurtful memories of Las Vegas as he suffered two career-damaging losses to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. So how will Frampton compare to his British counterparts on June 30?

The Northern Irishmen made his professional debut as a featherweight and he was always a big super-bantamweight. There were strong rumours that Frampton often struggled to make the 118lb limit and there was obviously some truth in those rumours, so weight shouldn’t be an issue.

The Tiger’s Bay boxer is in with a shrewd customer in Leo Santa Cruz though, his style is bullish and aggressive and he is yet to taste defeat. It’s proven that Carl can be hurt, Gonzalez put him down twice and he isn’t renowned for being a massive puncher. ‘El Terremoto’ is the bigger fighter, standing two and a half inches taller and has an 18cm reach advantage. It’s a menacing task. Cruz’s style is problematic, Frampton will be cautious to fight on the inside, but his opponent is rangy as well.

However, Frampton has the mental attributes to stick to a game plan and possess’ the boxing tools to pick the Mexican apart. Providing the mental scars of the Gonzalez fight have healed – which they should have after the Quigg fight, he will be filled to the brim with confidence and certainly has the skills in his locker to do the job.

‘The Jackal’ prides himself on his ring intelligence and footwork and he will need to implement these skills if he is to win. His trainer Shane McGuigan is one of the hottest and most sought after trainers in boxing right now and he will be fundamental to Frampton’s chances.
Despite Britain being the desired location for the biggest fights right now, highlighted by the super-fight between Gennady Golovkin and Kell Brook, America is still the place boxers want to make a name for themselves, mainly for the financial prosperity.

In recent times, the success of British boxers in America has been auspicious, although that all goes out the window at the Barclays Centre in 19 days’ time as far as Frampton’s concerned. it’s his moment now, to put his name in the spotlight and become a two weight world champion and create more British success on American soil.

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Is Chris Eubank Jr the Answer to GGG’s Legacy Problems?


Is Chris Eubank Jr the Answer to GGG’s Legacy Problems?
By: Jordan Seward

For the best part of a year Chris Eubank Jr (23-1 -18KO) spurred on by his ever-present father, has claimed he has the beating of the IBO, WBA super, WBC and IBF middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin (35-0-32KO).

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Despite the current British Middleweight champion opting to fight at a domestic level recently with wins over Gary O’Sullivan (22-1), Nick Blackwell (19-3-1) and Tom Doran (17-0) in his last three fights, a fight against someone of Gennady Golovkin’s calibre in reality should be far off, but bearing his father’s name and not short of confidence and talent the fight is closer than some people think. Eddie Hearn revealed this week negotiations are progressing well and the deal to see Jr take on Triple G, potentially at the 02 Arena could be concluded this week.

For whatever reason the Kazakhstani knockout specialist has failed to secure a big name fight. The potent pugilist is undoubtedly one of, if not the, best pound-for-pound fighters out there and is well known as the “most dangerous fighter on the planet” perhaps it’s the latter that’s played a part in Golovkin’s struggle to land the super-fight his career so desperately needs.

However, because of this salient point GGG’s reputation has suffered. There were hopes the Kazakh would demonstrate his superiority and class if Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (47-1-1) didn’t, in loose terms ‘bottle it’. Despite all Golovkin’s achieved in his glittering career it accounts for nothing if the competition isn’t competitive enough to satisfy the paying customers and critical onlookers.

It’s fair to say everyone wants to see how good Golovkin really is and whether Eubank Jr is the man to put that to the test, only time will tell. The former WBO middleweight world champion, Chris Eubank Sr or ‘simply the best’ – in his prime, would certainly have provided stiff competition for GGG and a win over him would have been seen as a huge accomplishment. Even the great Nigel Benn couldn’t manage it and with two attempts at that.

Golovkin was last in action back in April when he faced the then unbeaten Dominic Wade. It was routine stuff and he made light work of his opponent, knocking him out in two rounds. The problem is, the Kazakh is now 34 and is running out of time to secure a legacy that is in need of that super fight. To make matters worse, no superstars operating consistently in the middleweight division spring to mind as a potential opponent, which makes the Eubank fight a firm favourite.

Jr is rated highly, he has an array of shots and the uppercut in particular is steadily becoming his trademark, but the one time he shared a ring with a solid, strong operator in Billy Joe Saunders, Eubank came up short. He didn’t perform on the night and looked nervous but now two years on and with that little bit more knowledge, knowhow, experience and arrogance, he poses a completely different opponent, one that is more dangerous, cold-hearted and the capability of winning at world level.

For British fans this fight would certainly be a huge one, especially if it was to take place in London. Whether or not Chris Eubank Jr is the kind of fighter Golovkin’s fans had in mind, it certainly is an interesting one and the Brit is realistically, the biggest name in the division right now who is openly calling the feared middleweight out.

With the kind of personality and energy that pours out of Eubank the fight would have no trouble in selling. The British fighter places an unholy amount of confidence in himself, if you don’t know, watch one of his ring walks on YouTube. The Canelo – GGG fight was the one everyone wanted but as alternatives go, a young, talented and fearless fighter who bears the name of a former boxing great isn’t a bad option to take.

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Truth Or Slander? The Tyson Fury Drug Test Scandal


Truth Or Slander? The Tyson Fury Drug Test Scandal
By: Sean Crose

“The world heavyweight champ is being probed by officials after traces of a banned anabolic steroid were allegedly discovered in a sample taken last year.”

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These words appeared in Britain’s “Mirror” on Sunday. Since then, a scandal has erupted surrounding heavyweight champ Tyson Fury. In brief, it’s been claimed that Fury tested positive for having forbidden levels of a banned substance called nandrolone in his system during the winter of 2015. Nandrolone, for those who don’t know (and why would most people?) is a steroid which can enlarge muscle. Therefore, it’s easy to see why having significant amounts of the drug in one’s system would be deemed unsportsmanlike.

Yet it’s only fair to point out that rumors do not automatically equal truth and that Fury had adamantly denied being a doper. Sure enough, he’s come across as being a bit confused by this whole matter. Indeed, the thought of Fury as juicer comes across as somewhat absurd on the surface of things. For even at his most fit, the guy certainly doesn’t possess an Adonis-like physique. Regardless, appearances can be as deceiving as false rumors and no one, save perhaps a few, know what the truth really is at the moment.

For its own part, the team of one Wladimir Klitschko, who Fury won the heavyweight crown from after the reported test was taken, is being proactive, demanding the United Kingdom Anti Doping agency – otherwise known as UKAD – get to the bottom of things. Sure enough, Klitschko’s manager has already taken a shot at the agency, claiming it’s failed in its duties before. With that in mind, UKAD has refused to comment on the matter, as it claims is part of its policy as regards to privacy.

There is some urgency to the whole situation, of course, as Fury will most likely rematch Klitschko in the fall. Indeed, the two men were supposed to fight this summer, but the Englishman harmed his ankle while in training and the fight had to be postponed. Not only is the rematch anticipated because it will solidify the heavyweight pecking order, it’s being looked forward to because Fury and Klitschko are such polar opposites.

Klitschko, the former long reigning champion from the Ukraine, has always been known as something of a gentleman warrior. Fury, on the other hand, luxuriates, it seems, in being openly controversial. He’s received a lot of heat back home in England for his comments, and has even been reported for a hate crime due to his language (England just isn’t into the whole free speech thing – then again, it still has a queen). He’s also a world class bully when it comes to Klitschko, egging him on as if he were tormenting an underclassman in a school cafeteria.

Whether or not the man juiced, however, remains to be seen.

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