Boxing – Top heavy

news: Boxing - Top heavy

Las Vegas played host to yet another heavyweight mismatch last weekend, underlining the Division’s desperate need for some fresh talent to emerge. Lennox Lewis’ undisputed reign, prior to his retirement, marked the swan song of great times past, the London-born Jamaican’s lofty position having only become achievable in the absence of such men as Ali, Frasier, Foreman, Holmes or Holyfield. At least one of Saturday night’s protagonists, the giant Ukrainian, Vitali Klitschko, had successfully mixed it with Lewis last year before a bad cut stopped him. But size, reach and punching-power apart, this robotic ‘Ubermensch’, who seems to have stepped straight out of the last Rocky film, is no world-beater. Static and cumbersome, Klitschko would have rated cannon-fodder in former times. Today, he is the WBC World Champion.

His opponent was Britain’s likeable but hitherto spectacularly mediocre, Danny Williams who owed his place in the ring to a fourth-round knock-out victory over Mike Tyson earlier this year. Not the monstrous young Tyson who had flattened everyone in his way that fateful night in Tokyo, but a troubled shadow of the former fighting machine desperately clinging onto the last fragments of a glorious but distant memory. Williams is big but would not even have troubled the limited Frank Bruno in his day, yet he found himself propelled into the limelight for lack of alternatives if anything and, dangerously, starting to believe his own camp’s hype.

Klitschko’s German trainer, Fritz Sdunek, warned: “Tell him Christmas Man is coming” on Friday night. Comical or not, in a way Father Christmas did arrive for Danny Williams in the form of the one million dollar pay cheque he could not have dreamt of six months ago. With the money in the bank, it was time for a rude awakening as soon as the bell sounded the start of the first round in the Mandalay Bay Arena. Williams acquainted himself with the canvas straight away, something he was forced to repeat again in the third and seventh rounds, before the referee mercifully stopped the contest in the eighth. For Williams, the fight-game is surely over. Klitschko will remain until the next half-decent boxer comes along. One record was achieved. The fight goes down as the heaviest ever, the two men combining to tip the scales at 520lbs.