Not Anymore ………………

Not Anymore

It seems strange the heavyweight scene of boxing cannot be identified with as having a champion that the fans can actually identify with . At present that niche within the sport has been carved out by the Ukrainian brothers Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko who between them hold all four of the pre-eminent titles that are duly recognized by the major governing bodies of boxing .


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Slide show for your perusal .

From my own perspective the sport and in particular the heavyweight division took a downward spiral the moment that Lennox Lewis stepped away from the ring and announced his retirement as the last undisputed champion of the world . Since then there have been a plethora of claimants to the title in one form or any other with no one champion standing out or having the ability to unite the division . What might now be even more detrimental for the sport is that neither Vitlali or Wladimir Klitschko would care to fight each other and bring about a unified champion within the division . Instead the two have refused to consider such a bout stating that this is in fact due to a promise made to their mother . That asides this only further adds evidence as to the fact that there’s little discerning interest within the division and even less so throughout the sport beyond the names of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather .

And though the fans long for a bout between the two most recognizable names within the sport that prospect now seems further off then one would have thought possible. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum has simply scuttled such an instance and Mayweather through his own sheer stupidity simply makes such a scenario seem even further unattainable either through his own outrageous demands or the very fact that he’s still embroiled with a number of legal issues that have yet to be resolved . As a fight fan who longs to see meaningful fights in all of the weight categories I now find it where that simply watching a bout in what we’re told is an title fight more often than not simply turns out to be a monotonous bore !

Here within the US many of the states are either aligned to multiple boxing authorities for their own self aggrandizement more than anything else . Furthermore domestically the rules governing the various state athletics commissions simply makes an outright mockery as to how the sport is actually regulated in North America , albeit that Las Vegas and New York city are seen as the Meccas for the sport .

Now there’s no denying that the loss of Mike Tyson from the sport in spite of his own misdeeds and the fact that Don King seemingly sucked the life blood out of the boxer like a vampire explicably led the fighter’s downfall. Those who simply state different are obviously not acutely aware as to King’s dealing with the fighters whose interests he claims to actually take care of. Simply look at the number of legal entanglements that he has had over the course of his career where he has been sued by fighters formerly associated with him ? It reads like a who’s of the sport from Muhammad Ali on down to the likes of Larry Holmes , Pernell Whitaker , George Foreman and Leon Spinks ___ all fighters who at one time or another had the rather dubious distinction of having to do business with the renowned promoter . This further emphasizes why the sport still remains corrupt and the strangle-hold that both Arum and King have on the sport as the two most dominant promoters in boxing .

I have long maintained that after Tyson’s mentor and former trainer Cus D’Amato died with King intervening seeking to lure Tyson away from his then co-managers Bill Clayton and John Jacobs simply led to the downward spiral of his professional career and private life . Given that King merely saw the young fighter as his way to numerous riches creating conflict within the Tyson camp were the means to the necessary ends for the promoter and all that he sought to achieve . And as impressive as Mike Tyson’s ascent to the top of the boxing world was said to be , his downfall if anything was all the more startling and the numerous events that led to it all. His incarceration for the rape of pageant contestant Desiree’ Washington and those three ” infamous fights” with Evander Holyfield was enough to suggest that as the biggest draw in the sport we simply yearned for more from Mike Tyson as we were all interested in seeing the train the wreck that his life had now become.

In watching fight during e early part of his career was simply to witness a ferocious animal intimidating , tormenting and then devouring its prey. What Tyson was able to achieve in becoming the youngest heavyweight champion in history by defeating Trevor Berbick for the WBC heavyweight title sent shock waves through the sport and especially within the division . Granted , the fighter had been mowing down opponents the way the machine gun had been used during the St Valentine’s Day Masscare led everyone to believe that Mike Tyson’s longevity as the world champion might well be a long one . And for all of his attributes as a fighter the one lingering issue I had with the boxer was the mere fact that biggest advantage was also to my mind his weakest attribute ! He intimidated his opponents to such an extent that he felt he was impervious , unbeatable and if anything complacent . His power lay within the fact that he could knock a fighter out with either hand but if anything his boxing skills were simply not as good as many purists believed it to be. Historians would suggest that his uppercuts and right cross were his most dangerous weapons in his arsenal but if anything what we would then find out over the course of Mike Tyson was the fact that his chin was indeed made of glass .

When Mike Tyson lost his title having made nine successful defense and the fact his demise came at the hands of what many believed was a journeyman in James ‘Buster’ Douglas at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo , Japan , was all the more unbelievable . Douglas to my mind brought with him solid credentials in terms of his fight resume’ ! But it would appear that odds-makers simply viewed Tyson as the prohibitive favorite and the Douglas as simply another stat to pad the fighter’s already impressive record . What would follow then and all of the controversy that surrounds the fight to this day simply attests to the fact that no matter what you came to expect from a Mike Tyson fight there was always a chance that you get to see the unexpected . Tyson crawling around all on fours unable to beat the count of a rather surprised Octavio Meyran , the referee who presided over the bout left over 70,000 fans and a global audience of millions absolutely shell-shocked . The bewildered Tyson who had earlier knocked down the challenger in an earlier round (eighth) would lose in by a knockout in the tenth round . In the aftermath of that fight Tyson’s claim as the ‘baddest man on the planet’ clearly was now a thing of the past .

Don King as the promoter sought have the fight verdict overturned but that simply didn’t happen and Douglas’ own reign as the champion itself was somewhat short-lived as he would lose the title in his very first defense in a lackluster performance in a third round loss to Evander Holyfield at the MGM Mirage & Casino Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada in October of 1990 .

As I survey the boxing scene especially within the heavyweight division I simply no credibility within the division . It has become so asinine in seeing the ridicule being heaped upon the whole landscape of the category . What might be even more incredible this is the very same division that has given us great champions such as Joe Louis , Rocky Marciano , Muhammad Ali , Floyd Patterson , Larry Holmes and Lennox Lewis who have all distinguished themselves as former heavyweight champions of the world. The division no longer has any real legitimacy or credibility to it at all and while this all happens the category has simply become the laughing stock of the sports’ world and boxing in particular . One simply can no longer count on any of the major governing bodies to do what is morally right in bringing about a unified division as they simply have too much vested in their own well being from a financial standpoint rather than seeing the integrity of the sport rise to where it should be . But in reality I now believe that the hierarchies in question have now lost the opportunity to bring their sport back amongst the masses along the lines where the fans feel that they can once again take an interest in boxing .

The sport of boxing is now losing out to the upstart genre of MMA and the fact that the premiere governing body UFC stages bouts around the globe that has fans attending in droves , gives credence as to one of the main reasons why boxing has been steadily on the decline for almost a decade . Boxing for its part simply markets the brand to a select demographic base , those willing to spend $49-95 for PPV and major title bouts . And it now has becomes a rarity to find a major network broadcast of a bout much less a fight that is actually worth watching . Not so in the case of the UFC and the events that they stage for mass consumption and that of their major title bouts.

As to what the future holds for the heavyweight division doesn’t bode well without there being an undisputed champion . If anything it leaves the whole division with a void and a vacuum , moreover , the fans yearn for something far more exciting and meaningful. Mike Tyson may well have had his flaws but you simply knew that while he was in the ring he brought about a great deal of excitement lured us all to watch his fights . Now you’d be hard pressed to show any interest to watch either of the Klitschko brothers fight much realize that they’re said to be heavyweight champions of the world .



Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

In your honest opinion do you feel that the sport of boxing actually is of any importance on the sports panacea ? Also what thoughts if any do you have on the career of Mike Tyson and the reasons behind his abrupt fall from grace ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the points raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ……..

Picture and slide show details below.


(1) Vitali Klitschko, left, from Ukraine and his brother Vladimir pose with their world champion belts after Vitali defeated Samuel Peter from Nigeria during a WBC heavyweight boxing world championship fight in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008. Klitschko defeated Peter by technical knock out in round nine. The Ukrainian now hold all four of the internationally recognized organizationally belts within the heavyweight division. AP Photo/Herbert Knosowski ….

(2) Bruce Seldon (left) seen here facing Mike Tyson at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas , Nevada for Seldon’s WBA heavyweight title in September 1996 . The challenger , Tyson would end up defeating Seldon with a 12th round TKO. courtesy of @ copyrighted material all rights reserved …..

(3) Don King (left) of Don King (Promotions) Inc and Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc are the two most dominant promoters within the sport of boxing . The duo have promoted in excess of 500 world title fights in their cumulative careers spanning in excess of four decades. courtesy of AFP / Ronald Canter ……

(4) Lennox Lewis (left) is seen here defending his world heavyweight title against Mike Tyson at The Pyramid in Memphis , Tennessee. The champion would go on to defeat the challenger with an eighth round knockout to retain the undisputed heavyweight title . REUTERS/ Phillippe Gaston …….

(5) The challenger James ‘Buster’ Douglas is seen here on the canvas in the 8th round as referee Octavio Meyran carries on the count . Tyson also in picture is seen in a neutral corner watching the count . Douglas was able to continue and went on to defeat the champion, Mike Tyson with a 12th round knockout that shocked the world of boxing and ended the champion’s claim of being “the baddest man on the planet” . courtesy of BBC Sports / Cameron Gyles …….

(6) The left hook that led to the now memorable “long count” and Tyson’s demise at the hands of challenger James ‘Buster’ Douglas in their undisputed heavyweight title fight held at the Tokyo Dome , Tokyo , Japan in 1990. BBC Sports / Boxing ….

(7) Referee Octavio Meyran looks to escort Buster Douglas to a neutral corner before commencing the count over the prostrate Mike Tyson during the twelfth round of the duo’s world title bout . BBC Sports/ Boxing …

(8) Evander Holyfield (right) grimaces in pain having just been bitten on his right ear by Mike Tyson during their bout . Referee Mills Lane seen here looks to separate the two fighters after the incident for which Tyson would later be disqualified . Getty Images / archives …..

(9) Both fighters look to connect with solid shots aimed at each other during their now infamous bout staged at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas , Nevada on the 28th June 1997 . Mike Tyson would be disqualified at the end of round three with the verdict being awarded to Evander Holyfield . Getty Images / archives ……

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The Fight To Remember Or Perhaps Not …………….

One of the great tragedies of the modern sporting arena, was to witness the downward spiral of the boxing career of Muhammad Ali . We all knew that he fought way past his prime and if anything had four or five fights too many. Call it the ‘Pride And The Passion ,The Agony Of Shame And Defeat’ . But nothing to my mind epitomized that more than when Ali fought Larry Holmes (69-6-1, 44KO’s) for the WBC heavyweight title in October of 1980 .

Here, Ali (56-5, 37 KO’s) is seen challenging Holmes for the heavyweight title in a bout that took place at Caesars Palace , in Las Vegas, Nevada , on the 2nd October , 1980 .

What cannot be disputed is that, whilst being courageous , Ali was also being foolhardy in thinking that he would be able to defeat at Holmes at this stage of his career. Larry Holmes at the time, was the pre-eminent heavyweight boxer in the world and his record suggested as much. And though the relationship between the two wasn’t all strained. Holmes as a former sparring partner of Ali, was at first reluctant to accept his challenge. With that in mind , the fight still went ahead with the usual ballyhoo accorded with such a spectacle. We had a former champion looking to regain the title for an unprecedented fourth time. Holmes if anything , wanted to keep some semblance of respect that he had for his former mentor. But it was hard to do so when Ali , himself, wanted to sell the fight with his usual aplomb. A task made certainly all the much easier as it was being promoted by none other than Don King. Perhaps no else within the sport of boxing as a promoter, would be able to put on such a spectacle and at the same time have the public lapping it all up like voracious beasts ?

Ali (left)  seen  here  in the  ring  with   Holmes (right)   in their   match up  for  the  WBC  heavyweight title  bout held  at  Caesar's  Palace  in  Las Vegas , Nevada  .  The   fight  took   place    2nd  October   1980   .  It  was  Ali's  penultimate   fight   , which  he  lost  in  an  11th  round  TKO  decision to the  champion ,  Larry  Holmes.  In  his  last fight   Ali   would   also   lose  a  unanimous   verdict  to   Trevor  Berbick  of Canada.    picture  appears  courtesy of   John  Iacona  ..........   copyrighted  material      @  All  rights  reserved ...........

Ali (left), seen here with Holmes (right), in their WBC heavyweight title clash . Ali would lose the bout to Holmes in an 11th round TKO. The fight would be Ali’s penultimate fight but he would go on to have one last fight against , Canadian , Trevor Berbick . A fight which he also lost in a unanimous decision. picture appears courtesy of John Iacona – copyrighted material . @ All rights reserved …………..

Now, not wanting to sound outlandish or come off as being trite. I do believe that those within the sport and many who governed the sport of boxing at the time. I feel , full well that they were quite aware as to the acute problems that Ali was facing at the time. Primarily , with his health and the fact that he was lured into taking on fights that in no way shape or form , should be have done so, to begin with. And even prior to the Holmes’ bout , it was quite evident that his skills had already began to erode as a boxer and were in fact on the decline. Unfortunately however, he was being enabled by his handlers and many in and outside of his entourage. They impressed upon that he was still ‘The Champ’ , even if it was in name only. And by all accounts , that was how Ali still wanted to be referred to -as ” The Champ” . Sadly, but surely this was one of those episodes where valor may well have not counted for a great deal on Muhammad Ali’s part.

Holmes   the   aggressor  takes  the   fight  to  Ali   and  backs  him   up  into  a  corner   for  a  vicious  onslaught  in the  sixth   round.   picture  appears  courtesy of boxing/archives    ......................

Holmes the aggressor takes the fight to Ali and backs him up into a corner where unleashes a vicious onslaught with a barrage of punches in the sixth round. picture appears courtesy of …….

From the moment that the bell first rang and until the referee stopped the fight in the eleventh round. One knew that this was going to be a night when we all saw a once great champion be brought humbly to his knees . Ali had his moments in the fight, where he brought back memories past , with moments of impish speed and flashes of brilliance. But on the side of the equation, there stood Holmes , a masterful technician, with an all too wicked right jab , powerful upper cuts and tremendous body punching. Who completely at will , literally went about destroying the legacy and myth that was once Muhammad Ali. He was brutally efficient in exposing Ali to his barrage of attacks and more than once he called on the referee to stop the fight , in order to save Ali from further punishment and embarrassment. Alas, much of that fell on deaf ears as the referee proceeded to let the fight continue to its bitter conclusion.

Don King , boxing promoter and infamous showman. Here he talks about his influences , the sport of boxing ,how he feels that he’s influenced and enhanced the sport . Little does he speak of the subpoenas that he’s received over the years from boxers who he’d represented over that time. You can see also, that King has a way with words, as he waxes on so lyrically on a number of subjects. I do believe that he’s swallowed a dictionary !

Now we come full circle where both of these tremendous gladiators of the ring have moved in differing directions as far their lives have gone. Both having been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. However, one of these two fighters is in conscious state of clear health. Aging , but still active in the community , Holmes resides in Scranton , Pennsylvania, with his wife and family close at his side. Ali , as we all know suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, plus various other ailments that have ravaged his body over the course of time. Much of it coming from his many fights within the ring.
Cognitive of those around him , Ali now mumbles as he’s unable to speak , nor can he facilitate any prolonged movement because of the degenerative disease. Furthermore , with him being cloaked in silence , it seems all the more bewildering for us all who’ve witnessed him speak with rapid fire aplomb about he would indeed defeat an opponent. Medication alone won’t bring him back to us in some shape or form that we can all recognize from days of old. Sadly in part, this has been due to the negligence of others. But perhaps , even more so, the negligence shown by Al, in not heeding the advice of others who only wanted the best for him and not the worst.

Ali in a scene from a ESPN commissioned documentary entitled ’30 For 30′ . The titles denotes the sports programming network’s thirty years as a cable broadcast outlet. And it has commissioned a wide variety of documentary films covering sport’s topics of the past thirty years. One of the films in question , is a piece on the Ali – Holmes’ title fight , entitled ‘ Muhammad And Larry’ . Which goes into great detail, as to the lead-up to the fight and what ensued after-wards.

Ali  seen  here  at  a    black  tie  affair   ,  though  cheerful  and   irreverent   . He's   nowhere   near  the person  we  once   idolized  as  a  fan  .        picture appears   courtesy of celebtrities/sports-icons/   Brett  Stephenson  ......................

Ali seen here at a black tie formal affair, though cheerful and irreverent . He’s nowhere near the person we all once idolized as fans. picture appears courtesy of …..

There are very few sporting icons alive today whose names are immediately recognized no matter where you are on the face of the planet. Muhammad Ali is one of those icons whose light still shines brightly in terms of that said recognition. But now, it merely in his own mind , it is but a fading ember as his memory . And for we , his fans all we now have to live with are those memories that are on film. Never again will hear his voice speaking passionately on a wide range of subjects. As his voice has now been silenced in the most cruel of ways. I can only but imagine how different his life might have been ,had he not been struck down by such a debilitating disease.

Ali’s career fight record 56 (37 KO’s)-5

Date of Birth 01/17/1942
Name; Born Cassius Marcellus Clay changed name to Muhammas Ali after change in religious status- becoming a Muslim- Nation of Islam
Place of Birth; Louisville, Kentucky,.
Notable achievements; Olympic Gold Medalist at the 1960 Rome Olympics Lt Heavyweight champion
First Professional fight ; 10/29/1960 Opponent ; Tunney Hunsaker W UD 6 rounds
Final Professional fight ; 12/11/1981 Opponent ; Trevor Berbick L
UD 10 rounds

First man to win the heavyweight title three times

* UD Denotes- Unanimous Decision

Nation of Islam