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Boxing

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By James Oddy

Miguel Cotto is the lineal middleweight champion of the world. That alone seems vaguely ridiculous to say. The Puerto Rican is 34 and started life as a light-welter, and received some horrendous beatings from Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito. He was also out boxed by Floyd Mayweather (easily done) and the relatively unheralded Austin Trout.

Miguel-cottoYet Cotto now seems to have rediscovered his zip, after hooking up with Freddie Roach. He has looked brilliant against Delvin Rodriguez, Sergio Martinez and Daniel Geale.

Yet the most ridiculous aspect of all this is that Cotto has never once weighed in at the Middleweight limit, and in his defense of the lineal title against Geale made the challenger come in under the middle weight limit.

Cotto’s defense is that he isn’t a middleweight. He is also one of the biggest draws in boxing, almost always the ‘A’ side, and he can dictate when and how he fights largely according to his own prerogative.

This explains why he seems fairly open about the fact he doesn’t want to fight WBA champion Gennady Golovkin, the middleweight Mike Tyson who has dismantled who’s who of middleweight contenders. There also seems to be little talk of Cotto fighting WBO champion Andy Lee or David Lemieux for the IBF title. Not to mention the myriad ‘interim’ and ‘regular’ champions which litter the sport.

1G-Golovkin-Stevens-Will-Hart-HBOBut whilst this is damaging the lineal middleweight title, Cotto’s use of catch weights may ultimately end up benefiting the fans. All roads for Cotto now seem to lead to Canelo Alvarez. The Mexican is in his early twenties but already seems set to have a ‘Hall of fame’ worthy career. His fantastic fight with James Kirkland, which ended with a spectacular knockout for Alvarez, only added to the growing clamor for a new chapter added to the storied history of Puerto Rico vs Mexico feuds.

An ideal scenario would involve Golovkin cleaning p the rest of the middleweight division, then fighting the winner of Cotto vs Alvarez. And if we are talking ideal scenarios, then Golovkin, win or lose, moves up to super middle to take on Andre Ward.

But catch weights aren’t all bad. One fight that could be saved by the use of catch weights is Vasyl Lomachenko vs Nicolas Walters. Lomachenko won a world title in his third pro fight- the decorated amateur is a beautiful boxer and at 26, he has the world at his feet. Walters, the Jamaican banger, is reminiscent of a smaller Julian Jackson, his power bludgeoning Nonito Donaire. They both campaigned at featherweight, but Walters lost his WBA title on the scales before his last fight, and seems likely to move up.

Lomachenko seems to be comfortable at the weight with no urge to move up, but the two could hopefully agree on a mutually beneficial arrangement and give the fans a super fight in the lighter weights.

by James Oddy (Boxing Correspondent)

Las Vegas – Boxing is a truly unique sport. Aside from its very nature, two men or women attempting to knock each other out before they get knocked out, the way it works is baffling.

Mayweather3So when the ‘Fight of the Century’ takes place this month, Mayweather vs Pacquiao, it’s unlikely almost anyone inside the 16,000-seater stadium is an average joe. At the time of writing, tickets, allegedly starting at over $3000 for the very worst view, haven’t even been printed, let alone sold to members of the public.

Inside, ringside and elsewhere, the stadium is likely to be made up of celebrities, dignitaries, VIP’s, high rollers, and gargantuan entourages from both sides. But despite the ridiculousness of the situation, Mayweather vs Pacquiao is arguably the biggest sporting event in a generation, and should be cherished by fight fans and casuals alike.

Big fights stick in the memory like no other sporting occasion – people still talk about the likes of Louis/Schmeling, Ali/Frazier and Hagler/Hearns.

nota_3_1Whilst the occasion should be great, the fight could go either way. Pacquiao is no longer the buzz-saw of a few years ago, when he cut through the likes of Hatton, Cotto and Margerito with stunning speed, angles and power. Mayweather also isn’t the fighter who KO’d Hatton and gave Manuel Marquez the run around, although he still retains the unbelievable ring IQ that has carried him to the top of the sport.

Many believe the mauling that Maidiana gave Mayweather in the open rounds of their first fight was indicative of slipping skills, but Maidiana is an awkward customer who is hard for anyone to look good against.

My prediction is a disputed Mayweather win, and a rematch later in the year. I believe Pacquiao will roll back the years and be going for a knockout, but the naturally bigger size and defensive prowess of Mayweather will prevail.

Whilst there is excitement and relief that Pacquiao and Mayweather will meet, it is undoubtedly the start of their era coming to an end. For somebody like myself, in my early 20’s, who grew up with the likes of Barerra, Morales, Hamed, Benn, Eubank, Corralles, Gatti, Ward etc, there is a sense of sadness.

Where boxing goes after these two box officer magnets is anyone’s guess. Gennady Golovkin, Deontay Wilder, Saul Alverez, Keith Thurman, perhaps even our own Amir Khan and Kell Brook, are all staking a claim to be the next big thing in the sport.

But boxing always finds a way to survive. Earlier this month, Ruslan Provodnikov and Lucas Matthysse, two of the biggest hitters at light-welterweight, met in upstate New York. There was no title on the line, just two tough, competitive fighting machines who wanted to know who was better. Provodnikov ended up cut badly on the forehead, and took some serious punishment from the ultimately classier Matthysse, yet the two embraced when the final bell sounded. With practitioners like those two, the sport will always attract spectators wanting to see bravery, aggression and above all respect between athletes.

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by James Oddy

It’s often felt that the health of boxing is measured by the health of its heavy weight division. Johnson, Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, Ali, Frazier, Tyson and Lewis were all household names during their peak. They broke box office records and transcended the sport.

The Klitchko brothers, Wladamir and Vitali, have made the division their own in recent years. Perhaps they’ve alienated American and British audiences, but they’ve become icons in Germany and the Ukraine.

However, Vitali has retired, and one quarter of the ‘richest prize in sport’ is now in the heavy hands of American Deontay Wilder, the undefeated Olympian with outrageous power.

C_71_article_1597088_image_list_image_list_item_0_imageBut the future of the division could well be in the UK. At the forefront of this is Tyson Fury.

A towering presence, both physically and psychologically, Fury has exhibited deftness both in and put of the ring. His occasionally abrasive style with the press has attracted as many as it has repulsed, but his honesty about his talents, limitations and desires is always interesting. His interactions with his opponents can be respectful, funny, foul mouthed and intimidating, and more often than not a mixture of all of the above.

In the ring, his defeat of Derek Chisora, a good quality operator, at the back end of the year was startling. He dominated the Londoner from the opening round, switching stances for long periods, looking relaxed and sharp. Many claimed following the fights conclusion that Chisora was ‘shot’, but the Londoner gave the likes of Vitali Klitchko and David Haye all sorts of problems in the past, and was in superb shape. Yet he barely troubled Fury, who punished him with his excellent jab.

His knockout of Christian Hammer was expected but Fury again showed his versatility and high ring IQ, minimizing Hammer’s limited yet still dangerous skills.

As the number one contender to a portion of Wladamir’s belt, it’s hoped Fury could earn that shot at some stage this year. In doing so, he would become the first boxer from a travelling background to win a world title.

article-2705995-1EB048C200000578-876_964x563Aside from the historical significance, Fury could ignite a domestic scene already bubbling under were he to become a world champion. Anthony Joshua, the Olympian with Sky sports hype machine behind him, is already exciting even the most casual of fans with his athleticism and knock out power. David Price and Fury have history, and the Liverpudlian regarded by some to be the biggest hitter in UK boxing. Boxing fans have already seen a fight between the mercurial David Haye and Fury fall through twice, but it still has all the elements of an explosive and lucrative occasion. Chuck in the likes of Lucas Browne, comeback kid Dillian Whyte, a still game Chisroa and Fury’s nephew, Hugie, and the possibilities are endless within the domestic heavyweight scene.

There seems to be something of a sea change in boxing match makers thinking, Heralded by the Mayweather Pacquaio announcement. Fans want to see the best fight the absolute best- and over the coming years perhaps the UK will have the best of the best when it comes to heavyweights.

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By James Oddy, Urban Echo boxing reporter

Boxing isn’t a straightforward sport. Myriad world champions, governing bodies and rules have led to a waning interest in the sport from the casual fan.

This week however changed all that. The announcement that Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, after five or so years of on and off negotiations, has brought the sport kicking and screaming back into the mainstream.

003-Golovkin-IMG_5093Yet, like everything in boxing, nothing is straightforward. The suggestion that the American and the Filipino are the pound for pound top two fighters in the world, for so long indisputable, is now severely under threat. Partial due to the inevitable decline of an aging sportsman (Mayweather 37 and Pacquiao 36), and the other the inevitable rise of younger, hungrier rivals.

One of the contenders for that spot is Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin, the thirty two year old Kazakhstan middleweight. He appeared on channel 5, in February, as part of the channels newfound passion for the sweet science.

Golovkin came up against the ultra tough, ultra game St Helens born and based Martin Murray. In a fair world, Murray would be a bigger star; a tearaway youth who knuckled down and became one of the top middleweights in word boxing. Unlucky in his previous world title bouts, traveling to places like Argentina and Germany in front of hostile crowds, against Golovkin he had a sizable contingent of his fan base in Monte Carlo.

ggg-murrayBut despite connecting with some solid shots, Murray simply couldn’t halt the monstrous Golovkin. ‘GGG’ combines a seemingly granite chin with devastating power in both hands. His shot selection is inventive, varied and accurate. His punches seem to have the duel effect of both immediate knock out power and also to wear his opponent down. Murray, renowned for his fitness and defensive abilities, looked tired and was bloodied around the face mid way into the fight.

Murray, despite attempts to hold the centre of the ring, found him self backed up against the ropes, walked down by the psychically smaller man from the former soviet block. Murray was down three times, twice in the fourth from body shots and once in the tenth from a chopping hook before the ref stepped in during the eleventh round.

Golovkin now has the highest knockout percentage of any middleweight in history, his humble and polite interactions with both media and fans hiding his steely determination.

Were he to secure a fight with Puerto Rican ledged Miguel Cotto, the ‘lineal’ champion at middleweight, Golovkin would be the overwhelming favourite.

Perhaps, as Mayweather Pacquiao get ready to bring down the curtain on their illustrious careers with the richest event in sports history, their heir apparent has emerged.

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‘Tyson’s Wrath’

Venue: Convention Centre, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Year: 1988

Match: World Heavyweight Title

Title: WBA, WBC and IBF Heavyweight Championships

Michael Gerard Tyson was born on June 30, 1966 in Brooklyn, New York. Raised on the rough streets of Brooklyn, the youngster lived in and around high-crime neighbourhoods imagesCE7E95OVwas repeatedly caught committing petty crimes and fighting those who ridiculed his high-pitched voice and lisp.

After winning gold medals at the 1981 and 1982 Junior Olympic Games, defeating Joe Cortez in 1981 and beating Kelton Brown in 1982, the aspiring boxer made his professional debut as an 18-year-old on March 6, 1985, in Albany, New York where he defeated Hector Mercedes via a first round knockout.

Tyson was becoming known within the boxing fraternity as a powerful puncher and he fought frequently. Labelled as ‘Kid Dynamite’ by his fans, he won 26 of his first 28 fights by KO or TKO; 16 of those came in the first round. The quality of his opponents gradually increased to journeyman fighters and borderline contenders, like James Tillis, David Jaco, Jesse Ferguson, Mitch Green and Marvis Frazier.

images3Z5K0TOUSchooled and mentored by legendary trainer Cus D’Amato, Tyson became an ardent student of the sport often studying bygone pugilists such a Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey to further enhance his abilities and temperament. Callous, steadfast and seemingly unconquerable inside the ring, Tyson overcame his first big hurdle after obliterating the WBC (World Boxing Council) Heavyweight champion Trevor Berbwick inside two rounds to become the youngest heavyweight champion in history at the tender age of 20 years and 4 months. Unfortunately for Tyson, his trainer and father-figure, Cus D’Amato, passed away before the fight and was unable to witness what they had collectively been dreaming of. Tyson dedicated the victory to his late trainer.

untitled (20)Overcoming his grief, the newly crowned champion continued his domination with convincing wins over seasoned boxers such as James Smith, Pinklon Thomas, Tony Tucker and Tyrell Biggs the following year and in 1988 he stage was set for Tyson to face a former great who came out of retirement with the hope of dismantling the latest sensation. By now Tyson was firmly under the wing of the ostentatious promoter Don King and in the process, his once disciplined nature was losing control by the influence of King and his entourage.

untitled (18)Larry Holmes dominated the heavyweight scene after defeating Ken Norton in 1978 to win the WBC World Heavyweight title. Known as the ‘Easton Assassin’ Holmes dominated the heavyweight division until 1985, defending his title 21 times along the way. After losing twice to Michael Spinks in 1985 and 1986, Holmes retired. Many boxing pundits predicted Holmes to be the first man to defeat Tyson as his experience and guile would prove to be too much for his much younger and inexperienced opponent.

The scene was set in 1988 in front of a packed Convention Centre and a record global audience. Holmes criticized the champion of ‘having no class’ leading up to the bout and this critique further infuriated Tyson who was also facing tribulations with his marriage untitled (17)to actress Robin Givens as well as grievances with his promoter Don King. Tyson was a very angry individual and needed an outlet to release the anger.

As the bell rang for the first round, Tyson was constantly on the attack as Holmes tried to fend him off with his left jab, a jab that had destroyed previous foes such as Leon Spinks, Gerry Cooney and Tim Witherspoon. But even one of the greatest ever jab’s was not enough to stop the indomitable Tyson who prowled and pursued until in the fourth round he hit Holmes with a left jab–right hand combination that sent Holmes to canvas. Holmes was able to get back up but was immediately met with a furious combination from Tyson, who knocked Holmes down for the second time with a right hook to the head. Holmes stumbled back to his feet and was able to answer the referee’s count at 8. Tyson would continue to hammer Holmes powerful combinations until finally delivering the final blow with seven seconds left in the round, a right hook that dropped Holmes for the third time in the round, after which Cortez stopped the fight and awarded Tyson the victory by technical knockout.

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has turned 73 today. The former world heavyweight champion, who suffers from Parkinson’s Syndrome, celebrated his birthday with his family at home.

image-7-for-editorial-pics-16-jan-2012-gallery-618169503Born in Louisville, Kentucky, USA on January 17, 1942, Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr was a very active child and at the age of twelve started training at the local police station under the guidance of police officer and boxing coach John E. Martin after he complained to the coach that somebody had stolen his bicycle and he wanted to “whup” the boys who had taken it. Quickly realizing the potential and determination to succeed by the youngster, Martin coached the young Clay who went on to win six Kentucky Golden Gloves titles, two National Golden Gloves titles and an Amateur Athletic Union National Title within six years.

After changing his name to Muhammad Ali in 1964, he would go on to become the greatest boxer of all time and the first boxer in history to win the World Heavyweight title on three different occasions (between 1964 – 1978) fighting some of the greatest boxers the sport has ever seen including the likes of Sonny Liston, Henry Cooper, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Larry Holmes.

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By Qadir Hussain

Urban Echo’s boxing columnist, Qadir Hussain, takes a look at the potential fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao and asks the question… Is Mayweather running business, or simply running scared?

Floyd-Mayweather-6Any mention of the name Floyd Mayweather Jr is sure to illicit a response. There are those who consider Floyd at the very top of the all-time pound for pound list giving credence to his self proclaimed TBE (the best ever) title whilst there are others who vehemently attack his boxing legacy and reduce his status to that of a showman who has cleverly maneuvered his way to multiple boxing titles without truly putting himself in any danger.

floyd-mayweather-postersThe truth is often somewhere between the two extremes and in the case of Floyd Mayweather Jr, no objective boxing fan can possibly deny his talents and downplay his exceptional achievements. However, at a time when prime time boxing is finding itself in the shadows of popular recreations, be it football on this side of the Atlantic or basketball on the other, one has to question why the most highly anticipated fight in pugilistic history has not come to fruition? Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Manny Pacquiao was expected to be an era defining battle that was certain to cement the legacy of the victor into any conversation concerning the greatest ever.

Yet, what has ensued is a finger pointing drama that we tend not to associate with fighting men who we consider to be the modern equivalents of brave ancient warriors.

untitled (7)If historical interpretation of a ‘boxing great’ is to be assessed then one has to agree that any of the discussed consistently participated in the most dangerous fights in the most difficult of circumstances. Consider Ali vs Foreman, Ali achieved the seemingly impossible by defeating a man who at the time was considered unbeatable or the fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvellous Marvin Hagler where the odds were steeply stacked against Leonard but some immeasurable quality, something beyond technical boxing ability allowed him to overcome a man who had not suffered a defeat in the previous ten years.

I think it would be fair to say that it’s this immeasurable and indefinable quality that would some would call courage and others call belief that allows fighters to transcend beyond the realms of their perceivable limitations and achieve ‘greatness’.

untitled (8)Much of the boxing world is now pointing the finger at Floyd Mayweather Jr. He is accused of ‘ducking’ the fight and as one fan stylistically put it “Floyd is too scared to let go of his 0”. The boxing world beyond his own circles cannot and should not consider Floyd to be an all time great until he has competed with his era defining counterparts and Manny Pacquiao is the very of best them.

imagesKV3P25I2Based on recent history, some would say that Floyd is intelligently picking his opponents only considering those younger, stronger and more predictable come-forward fighters whom he exposes using his superior technical ability and cunningly avoiding the quicker speedy counterpunchers such as Amir Khan or Keith Thurman. However, justifiably, Floyd can put forward a cogent argument and reel off a string of names from his resume which are not limited to; Oscar De La Hoya, Diego Coralles and Ricky Hatton all of whom he defeated at the prime of their careers.

Floyd maintains that he is boxing’s biggest draw, he maintains that it’s he who keeps Vegas alive and its equally true that no fight week in boxing even closely compares to a Floyd fight week. Undoubtedly, Floyd is the first fighter in history who dictates the terms of engagement and is not dictated to.

untitled (9)Whilst this is true and I have much admiration for his savvy and skillful mastery of the political complexities concerning the fight game, the title of TBE or an ‘all time great’ is not determined by politics or finances, in the end the purists will only base his legacy on his pugilistic prowess and history will only remember how he fared against the very best amongst his peers. He has to be mindful of the fact that the ‘greats’ before did not fear ‘letting go of their 0’, rather, they consistently put themselves in the most difficult of challenges and win, lose or draw they always came out fighting.

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They say that the boxers curse is an inevitable ailment eventually endured by all great pugilists who continue their profession beyond a time that they should. In each generation of boxing greats, we have continued to witness athletes, who in self-denial, continued to pursue a dream without a true end in mind. One of the most chilling reminders of this curse is watching Muhammed Ali’s final heavyweight contest against the young and promising hall of fame fighter, Larry Holmes. More recently, listening to the punch drunk pugilists such as Riddick Bowe and James ‘Lights Out’ Toney articulate themselves, is a chilling reminder of the brutality of boxing and the physical limitations that every human is bound by.

When Bernard Hopkins entered into the ring on 9th November 2014 at the Broadwalk Centre in Atlantic City, no such claims of a punch drunk, delusional fighter were being made against the IBF and WBA light heavyweight champion of the world. Many at ringside favoured the savy and smart Hopkins to confuse and outskill the young and formidable Russian WBO title holder, Sergey Kovalev. Yet what transpired over the next 36 minutes made every boxing fan question the sanity and need for a 49 year old future hall of fame fighter to continue his career that already spans three decades. Hopkins was comprehensively beaten by a younger, stronger and more athletic fighter who outpointed him in every single round to earn a well deserved unanimous points victory. The ‘Alien’ came back to earth with a bump.

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Hopkins, maintains that he would like to have one further fight against a current champion. As a well articulated and outspoken boxer and business man, Hopkins, maintains that he will not let this sport take away his dignity and he will not continue longer than he should. He maintains that he will retire from boxing and boxing will not retire him. What drives this man to continue fighting at an elite level beyond an age which should be humanly possible? What is it in his DNA or in the depths of his mind that continues to motivitate him to obsessively pursue a dream that he has already achieved on multiple occassions?

Early career

To understand the drive and determination of the 49-year-old boxer, the oldest champion (now former) the sport has ever witnessed, one has to trace his earlier career. After losing his professional debut in a four-round bout, the then 23-year-old would go undefeated for the next five years overcoming mostly mediocre fighters. His first real test came in 1993 when he faced pound-for-pound king Roy Jones Jr. for the vacant IBF World middleweight title. Losing a unanimous decision to the more talented and naturally gifted Jones, this particular defeat hurt Hopkins to the core and the loss left him questioning his desire to train and his ability to compete with the elite. A change of lifestyle followed by eliminating the regular late nights and parties and replaced by a strict training regime and a total reconstruction of his life.

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In 1993, Hopkins had decided that he would now dedicate all his time to boxing and started studying past champions such as Jack Johnson, Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali to further enhance his knowledge of the fight game. He realised that boxing was not only about brawn, as the past champions had shown, it was also about mental strength and strategic planning. This change in his training and general outlook on life would see a dramatic transformation in Hopkins as he returned to the ring a year later to defeat the journeyman, Roy Ritchie in seven rounds.

Undefeated

For the next twelve years, Bernard Hopkins would miraculously go undefeated much to the amazement of the boxing world. A man who had previously lost on his professional debut and totally outclassed by Roy Jones Jr. was now being referred to as a potential future ‘hall of famer’. During his twelve year undefeated streak, Hopkins would overcome stern tests against future greats such as Felix Trinidad (unanimous decision), William Joppy (unanimous decision) and Oscar De La Hoya (round 9 KO). His winning stretch came to an abrupt end in 2005 when he lost a split decision to the flashy and cocky Jermaine Taylor. The split decision merited Hopkins with a rematch and the return was no different as Taylor yet again got the decision, though this time it was unanimous.

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The critics and many boxing fans thought this was the end of the road to a great career of a brilliant boxer but Hopkins had other plans. He returned to the ring eight months later and took on the tough light-heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver. By stepping up in weight, many thought it was suicide for Hopkins but yet again he shocked the world by defeating Tarver on points to become the new IBO (International Boxing Organisation) World Light-Heavyweight champion at the age of 41.

Roy Jones Jr.

After overcoming Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright the following year, Hopkins then lost to the Welsh dragon, Joe Calzaghe, who was approaching the prime of his boxing skills. Undeterred by the critics, Hopkins wanted to avenge a defeat that occurred earlier in his career. A defeat that he never overcame and haunted him throughout his career. His driving force was Roy Jones Jr. who was also approaching the end of his magnificent career. The long overdue rematch took place in 2010 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. All his ghosts were put to rest as Hopkins outclassed Jones Jr. in a one sided affair resulting in a unanimous decision.

The right time to quit?

In 2011 at the age of 46 Hopkins became the oldest boxer to gain a legitimate title by comprehensively beating a young Canadian, Jean Pascal in his home town of Montreal. Hopkins lost this title the following year against Chad Dawson and then achieved the unimaginable by winning the IBF and WBA light heavyweight titles to break his record and once again become the oldest man to win a legitimate title. On 9th November, 2014, he defended his unified world light-heavyweight titles against the rugged and undefeated Russian, Sergey Kovalev. The Russian, who had previously dismantled Nathan Cleverly in devastating fashion with a fourth round knockout the year before, was always going to put up a tough test for the ageing champion.

After being knocked down in the first round, Hopkins managed to survive the entirety of the match with his ingenious skills but it was not enough to keep the determined Kovalev from pounding him convincingly for the twelve rounds. The fact that Hopkins lost the fight was not a surprise considering his age, it was more surprising as to how convincingly he had lost. He simply had no answers to counter Kovalev’s aggression and tormenting left hooks. By the end of the fight, Hopkins looked tired and every day of the forty-nine years he has lived. If he continues to fight, his next fight will take place when he has turned 50.

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Bernard Hopkins has achieved immense wealth as well as universal respect and admiration from the sport of boxing and has inspired millions around the world. He will be forever remembered as and referred to as a boxing great under the same breath as the likes of Louis, Ali, Marciano, Leonard, Hagler, Hearns and Mayweather.

What Hopkins has achieved in professional sports defies all logic. At the age of 49, his fitness levels are no different to a fully-fit professional athlete in his mid-twenties. He has shown the world that the human body can be trained to its peak regardless of age.

Hopkins insists that he has one more fight left in his long and illustrious career. Only time will tell if he walks away at the top of his game or if indeed he is another victim of the boxers curse. Will history remember him as a great boxer who retired from the sport on his terms or as a familiar tragic story of a fighter who simply could not walk away, i guess only time will tell.

JOSHUA – “THE NEXT MIKE TYSON”

Britain’s heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua has been compared to Mike Tyson by Sky Sports pundit Glen McCrory. The 25-year-old undefeated former Olympic gold medallist, last month demolished the experienced the much older 34-year-old journeyman Denis Bakhtov (38-10, 25 KOs) by a 2nd round knockout at the O2 Arena in London, to win the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) International heavyweight title.

Though many critics were predicting this fight to be Joshua’s toughest test to date, the fight ended up being a mismatch and excited many onlookers sitting at ringside.

Former world champion and now Sky Sports commentator, Geln McCrory was full of praise for Joshua after witnessing a polished and destructive performance. He said, “Mike Tyson was pretty much going through the heavyweight division and creating a storm and everybody loved it. And there is nothing the public love more than a heavyweight who knocks people out. They don’t want to see long 10-round fights, they want to see people getting knocked out – exactly what Anthony Joshua did.”

Bakhtov was by far the most experienced opponent Joshua had faced since turning professional last summer. But he became the eighth of nine opponents who didn’t make it past two rounds.

McCrory admitted that the challenger was too small to cause real problems, but was quick to point out that Joshua wanted to make a statement and show a new side to his game.

“The great thing he’s got is so far he’s not had any opponents who are as big as him, so he has had a massive size advantage – and it showed straight away,” he said. “He’s also got the speed and the power. Bakhtov couldn’t get near him and got peppered with big, solid jabs then the big right came in. I think very early on that Anthony thought ‘this isn’t a challenge, I can mix it up, he can’t hit hard enough for me so I can get in there and rough him right up,  and show something I haven’t shown so far. You can’t take anything away from the performance, it was superb and he is just going onwards and upwards.”

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Mayweather3Floyd Mayweather has confessed that his father is desperate for him to fight Bolton’s Amir Khan. Fresh after his convincing win over Marcos Maidana, the pound-for-pound king recently told reporters that he is tired of Khan trash talking all the time.

‘My Dad doesn’t like fighters trash talking his son – but he knows as well as I do that if the fight happens – then I am going to punish him. If he thinks he can trash talk me and get away with it he needs to think again.

‘He (Khan) is a good fighter – he has quick hands – but I am a far more intelligent fighter than him – and I could already tell you how I would beat him.’

He added: ‘My Dad wants the fight, I want to put him on his backside, so hopefully we can make it happen.

‘I have always said that nobody has any right just to get a fight with me. I am nobody’s pay day, I am nobody’s meal ticket. I take fights that I believe will test me, and will put on a good show for the fans.

‘I ain’t ever taken a fight just because somebody has been running off their mouth. If Khan gets his fight – it will be because I think he deserves a shot.’

If the fight is to happen, expect plenty of fireworks as Mayweather continues in his pursuit to reach the magical 50 – 0 record that would see him surpass the legendary record set my Rocky Marciano of 49 – 0.

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