Sunday, May 5, 2013

Silkov's Top Ten Most Exciting Fighters of All-Time!

 By Peter Silkov

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Boxing fans love a list. There is just something about boxing and lists that go together. Whether it is a list of top contenders, Champions, or fights we’d like to see, or even fights we don’t want to see. We’ve all either written or read a boxing list.

With this list of my ten most exciting TV fighters of all time I am attempting to give my own personal list of fighters who have played a part in having me hooked onto this crazy sport. It’s not an easy list, because there have been so many fighters and so many fights, which have imprinted themselves upon my mind over these past 30 plus years. (Gawd… am I that old!). I’ve wrestled, analyzed, and paced the room a few times, (it’s a small room) until finally, I have come up with a magic ten.

In an attempt at fairness, I have varied the weight divisions from where I have plucked my top ten, as it would be too easy for me just to pick out ten bantams or ten heavyweights in a row. The idea of this list is that it gives an overview of the whole weight divisions and the varying outstanding fighters at different weights. Although every division isn’t represented here, the weights do go up and down a bit.

What makes an exciting fighter? The obvious answer is; a fighter who isn’t afraid to mix it with his opponents, stands toe to toe, and makes every fight he is in a war from beginning to end. It’s more than that though. Some fighters create excitement due to certain abilities they may have, while others may cause drama due to shortcomings. For instance, fighters with either a good or bad chin can be involved in drama between the ropes. An iron chinned fighter will often thrill an audience with the shots he can take without flinching, a weak chinned fighter however will keep his fans on edge wondering whether the next minute will see him take a punch that will turn the lights out for him.

Perhaps one of the most sought after attributes for a fighter is the big punch. No boxing fan appreciates anything better than a fighter with the knockout punch. These fighters can often turn a fight or indeed, end a fight, when all has seemed lost.

Then there are a chosen few, a small number of boxers who can be exciting, even in a fight where nothing much dramatic is happening. Like a great actor such a Deniro or Pacino, they have something about them which makes anything they are in memorable.
One facet, which tends to run through every fighter who can be called ‘exciting’, is the ability to come back from behind, from certain defeat. These are fighters who climb off the floor, endure swellings, cuts, and broken bones, and keep going and trying to win.

My list is made up of a variety of boxers, with a variety of abilities and shortcomings in and out of the ring. At one point in their career, each one made an indelible imprint upon my mind.

1. Matthew Saad Muhammad: WBC World Light-Heavyweight Champion 1979-1981.
Matthew Saad Muhammad had a background made for a “rags to riches” movie.

Abandoned at the age of five by the roadside, Matthew’s life was one of facing adversity from an early age. Despite having good boxing skills, Saad seemed to seek out violent confrontation, often starting fights slowly, only to come back from behind to claim dramatic victories. Such was Saad’s notoriety, for snatching victory from seemingly certain defeat, that he was given the nickname ‘Miracle Matthew’ by fans and media. Saad’s world championship reign was a series of thrillingly savage fights in which he seemed to fight better the more he was hurt. Many of Saad’s fights would look far- fetched if acted out on the big screen.

2. Bobby Chacon: WBC World Featherweight Champion 1974-1975 and
WBC World Junior Lightweight Champion 1982-1983.

To say that Bobby Chacon’s life was dramatic, both inside and outside the ring, would be a huge understatement. Chacon had it all as a boxer, a brilliant boxer-puncher, who graduated from being a bad boy of the street, to being World Featherweight Champion by the age of twenty-three. ‘School Boy’ Bobby Chacon lived as fast out of the ring as he did inside it and was an ex-champion within a year. In an era where the 126 and 130 pound divisions were packed with dynamite talent, Chacon mixed it with the best. He engaged in classic confrontations with fellow 126 pounder legends Ruben Olivares and Danny ‘little Red’ Lopez before he even fought for the world title. This was a time when you had to be a little special just to get into contendership.

After losing his title Bobby’s life and career went on a roller-coaster ride for almost a decade. Along the way, he began his epic four-fight series with Rafael ‘Bazooka’ Limon and had the first of two classic bouts with Cornelius Boza Edwards. Amongst the out of the ring trauma Chacon had to endure, was the death by suicide of his wife, because Bobby wouldn’t stop fighting.

When Chacon won his second world title by beating Limon in their fourth meeting, it involved the kind of drama seldom seen in the ring. Many who have seen this fight consider it the standout, toe to toe, all out brawl of its era. Chacon then went on to defend his title against Cornelius Edwards, in a fight which almost exceeded the Limon bout for bloodletting and savage exchanges. One of the first videos I ever bought, as a young boxing collector, was a VHS video with Chacon’s fights with Bazooka Limon and Cornelius Boza Edwards. No wonder I got hooked.

3. Muhammad Ali: World Heavyweight Champion 1964-1967, 1974-1978, and 1978-1979.

Ali was one of those boxers who created excitement just by entering the ring. A showman and boxer-supreme, in the latter part of his career he was involved in some of the most exciting and savagely fought heavyweight fights ever. The secret of Ali’s greatness is that as his speed and reflexes dimmed he showed he had the heart of a true warrior and a chin of granite.

4. Roberto Duran: World Lightweight Champion 1972-1979, WBC World Welterweight Champion 1980, WBA World Light-Middleweight Champion 1983-1984, and WBC World Middleweight Champion 1989-1990.

Roberto Duran fought with intensity that few fighters before or since could match. Seldom has a mixture of such savagery and skill been endowed by one fighter. As a lightweight, Duran was fearsome to behold. His crowning achievement was to out-psyche and outfight Sugar Ray Leonard in their first fight, to win Leonard’s Welterweight title.

In the second phase of his career, Duran became a comeback king, returning several times, after he had been written off by fans and press alike. Duran’s victory over Iran Barkley to win the World Middleweight title at the age of 37 was an epic performance of infighting and guile over youth and power.
5. Salvadore Sanchez: WBC World Featherweight Champion 1980-1982.

Salvadore Sanchez seemed to have everything. He was blessed with the ability to both box and brawl. He had speed, power and an iron chin, plus a ring intelligence, which belied his years. Sanchez was thrilling to watch because of his ability and the quality of his opposition while champion. Few World Champions have packed more into just a two and a half-year reign. Sanchez made nine successful defenses, including classic confrontations with Danny Lopez, Wilfredo Gomez, and Azhumah Nelson. When Sanchez’s reign was ended by a fatal car crash, we were left wondering not whether he was a all-time great, but just how great he could have become, had fate been kinder to him.

6. Ruben Olivares: World Bantam Champion 1969-1970, 1971-1972 WBA Featherweight Champion 1974, and WBC Featherweight Champion 1975.

Ruben Olivare’s record reads like an encyclopedia of the best fighters who fought from Bantamweight and Featherweight in the golden era of the 60s and 70s. Olivares could box skillfully when he chose too, but favoured a swashbuckling style, which made every fight he was in entertaining. As a Bantamweight in his prime, Olivares was a lethal puncher and finisher, and possessed the kind of knockout punch rarely seen in the lighter weights.

7. Aaron Pryor: WBA World Light Welterweight Champion 1980-1983, IBF World-Light-Welterweight Champion 1984-1985.

Aaron Pryor was a wild two-fisted fighter, who could box or brawl and often chose to do the latter. With a style that was likened to the legendary Henry Armstrong, Pryor was a tireless whirlwind of a fighter, who often seemed to care little for defence. Pryor’s defining moment came when he defeated the legendary Alexis Arguello, in one of the greatest fights of the 80s. ‘The Hawk’ could have perhaps achieved so much more, had he not lost his talent and career to drug addiction. In the end, Pryor’s whirlwind lifestyle outside of the ring consumed him.

8. Arturo Gatti: IBF Junior Lightweight Champion 1995-1998, WBC Light and Welterweight Champion 2004-2005.

Arturo Gatti was a throwback to the days of Saad Muhammad and Bobby Chacon. He often seemed to be at his best after he was hurt. Gatti’s position as one of the most exciting fighters of his era was assured even before his now legendary trilogy with Micky Ward. The fact that ‘Thunder’ was in so many classic wars has led some to overlook the fact that Gatti was a world class fighter with underrated (and often under used) boxing skills, rather than an overrated club fighter as some now seem to see him.

9. Frank Fletcher:

Few fighters have been so well named, as Frank ‘Animal’ Fletcher. Every round of every fight was a war for Fletcher. A short, stocky Middleweight, Fletcher utilized a savage body attack and an almost indecent ability to sponge up punishment, to climb into contendership for a title shot. The ‘Animal’ won the USBA Middleweight title and became something of a cult figure amongst boxing fans, with a string of brutal brawls with Clint Jackson, William ‘Caveman’ Lee, and James Green that took him to the brink of a shot at Marvin Hagler. However Fletcher became a prime example of ‘burnout’ after too many tough fights in a row, as losses to Wilfred Scypion, Juan Roldan and John Mugubi, cost him his title shot, and then ended his career.
10. Kelvin Seabrooks: IBF World Bantamweight Champion 1987-1988.

A casual look at Kelvin Seabrook’s career tally of 27 wins against 22 defeats doesn’t begin to tell the story of his career. After starting off as a journeyman fighter, taking fights at late notice and often in his opponent’s backyard, Seabrooks landed a break and captured the IBF World Bantamweight title, traveling to Columbia to do it.

Like many in this list, Seabrooks could be hurt, but being hurt just seemed to make him fight better and harder. Seabrooks defended his title successfully 3 times, each time in spectacularly violent fashion. Against Theirry Jacobs, Kelvin was floored three times, yet fought through an almost unbelievably savage fight to finally force a stoppage. When he lost his title to Orlando Canizales, in his 4th defense, Seabrooks lost to a future all time great, and only after giving one of the bravest displays of his career. Despite all his exciting displays in the ring, Kelvin Seabrooks is not mentioned too often these days. Partly due perhaps to him being a lighter weight champion, and also because many of his title fights took place abroad. Anyone who has seen one of his title fights knows that Seabrooks was a memorable champion and one of the most exciting fighters of his day.

There are many fighters who played their parts in my fascination with this sport. They may not have made this list, but hopefully I will write about some of them in the near future.

 Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 4-2-2013
Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to and

Floyd Mayweather Jr. And All-Time Greatness

By Peter Silkov

When Floyd Mayweather Jr steps into the ring this weekend with Robert Gurrerro, he will not only be defending his WBC World Welterweight Championship, but his position within the boxing world as the number one boxer pound for pound in the world today. It is a position which ’Money’ Mayweather has coveted for almost a decade now, since the fading of Roy Jones Jr, and in recent years the only other boxer to mount a reasonable challenge to this status has been Manny Pacquiao. Indeed, there has been a lot of talk over the past three or four years about Mayweather and Pacquiao meeting in the ring, in order to settle once and for all, which one of them is truly the pound-for-pound king. Alas, for various reasons this has not happened, and now since Pacquiao’s knockout defeat by Juan Manuel Marquez, all Manny’s pretensions of being the pound for pound boxing king have been shattered, leaving Mayweather’s pound for pound dominance unchallenged.

As a result of Manny’s recent defeat, (I don’t include the Bradley result, which was a plain robbery) there is simply no other boxer on Floyd’s level at the moment, either in skills or in status. Over the course of his seventeen-year career, Floyd has built himself into the closest thing to royalty that boxing has had since the days of Sugar Ray Leonard. It says a lot for Mayweather and the often-begrudging recognition, which his skills have gained for him that he, can emerge once more from a period of inactivity, and indeed incarceration, with his reputation as the sports number one boxer, not just undiminished, but actually enhanced.

Throughout his career, Mayweather has been controversial and often unpopular in many areas, with many citing his boxing style as unexciting and his out of the ring persona as arrogant, thuggish and immature. Indeed, over the course of his career Mayweather has probably received the harshest media suffered by an elite boxer since Muhammad Ali. However, like Ali before him Mayweather has used the negativity to positive effect in his career, and over time made believers out of many previous doubters. Even Mayweather’s harshest remaining critiques, would struggle now to deny ’Moneys’ exceptional boxing skills and achievements.

The mixture of sublime boxing inside the ring, and his abrasive often-controversial personality outside of the ring, has resulted in a charismatic mix, which makes Floyd a boxer that people want to see. Mayweather was named recently as the richest athlete in the world, having earned $85 dollars last year, including his $45 million purse for the Miguel Cotto fight. Floyd’s recent deal with Showtime will make him a minimum of $200 million for six fights in 30 months, and this is before taking into account sponsorships and international broadcasting rights, which could quadruple the $200 for Mayweather. Perhaps most important, for Mayweather, is that with his Showtime contract he keeps his autonomy. Despite the huge sums of money involved, he retains control of his career and boxing destiny.

Floyd Mayweather seems on track to become the richest boxer of all time. The only other boxer to earn more so far in his career is Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd is getting closer to overtake Oscar’s earnings record. At this point in his career, few would deny Mayweather is one of the all time greats, but where does he stand exactly amongst the greats of the past? Mayweather has claimed to be the ‘greatest boxer of all time’ but, in the history of boxing, there are many legendary fighters who would have given Floyd a lot of challenges in the ring. It is very difficult and perhaps unfair to compare fighters from different eras, but if we are asking is Floyd Mayweather the greatest boxer of all time, we have to look at the entire history of boxing and all of the eras that have produced legendary boxers. If we are going to begin comparing Mayweather to the boxers of the past, we have to look at the amount and the quality of their opposition, compared to Mayweather’s, in order to gauge where certain fighters stand, in relation to Floyd.

How does Maywether rate amongst the top ten, pound-for-pound, of the ring? Does he, in fact, make the top ten? In my opinion, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. does not make the top ten list of all time, pound-for-pound fighters. It is hard to deny the fact that modern day boxing is much more shallow, with fewer boxers, and is further diluted by multiple champions at every weight. When considering Floyd’s standing, as an all time great, these factors have to be taken into consideration. Part of Mayweather’s success has been due to the scarcity of talented opposition. A look at some of the fighters from other eras will illustrate why Floyd, despite his undeniable superlative boxing skills, unfortunately can not hold the title of ‘Greatest Pound for Pound Boxer of All Time’

A look at the careers of three fighters, who could lay claim to being perhaps the best ever, reveals the disparity between their respective careers and Floyds.

Henry Armstrong was a human windmill of a fighter who achieved the astonishing feat of holding the Featherweight, Lightweight and Welterweight World titles at the same time. He should also have been given a 4th World title but was robbed of a decision against Ceferino Garcia when they fought for the Worlds Middleweight title.

In his Welterweight reign from May 1938 to Oct 1940, Armstrong made a record 19 defenses, which is still a division record. Armstrong’s title reigns came in an era when there was one World Champion per division and only eight weight divisions. During his prime of 1936 to 1940, Armstrong went 59-1-1 with 51 knockouts. ‘Homicide’ Hank’s final record was 150-21-10 with 101 knockout wins.

Willie Pep was an untouchable boxer who could have taught Floyd some things about defense. He reigned twice as World Featherweight Champion from 1940 to 1950. He won his first 62 professional fights and his final record was 229-11-1 with 65 knockouts.

Sugar Ray Robinson is considered by many as the greatest boxer ever, he had marvelous speed, skill and also power. In his 25 year career Robinson dominated the Welterweight and Middleweight divisions, winning the Middleweight World title five times on his way to compiling his 173-19-6 record with 108 koes.
Just a brief look at these boxers careers shows the difference between the modern day boxing world and the eras of the 30s and 50s, when competition was so much deeper and fighters often fought two or three times a month. This is barely scratching the surface. Joe Gans and Benny Leonard were two others who could lay claim to being the best ever boxers; just to name but two of the pre-30s era.

Looking at boxers closer to the present day era, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Wilfred Benitez of the 70s and 80s would all have given Floyd a rough time. Then, more recently Pernell Whitaker had a defense which rivaled Mayweather’s and would have given ‘Money’ all the trouble he could handle.

It is hard not to penalise Mayweather for his long periods of inactivity, even taking into account the fact that he has largely fought the best boxers available of his era, within his weight divisions, the fact that he has done so on such an infrequent basis is a sure black mark upon his resume. Also Floyd’s career lacks that defining super fight, aside from match with Oscar Delahoya. Mayweather’s super fight should have been against Manny Pacquiao and the fact that it didn’t happen is a loss to both of their careers.

In all honesty, it is impossible to really say with certainly who is the definitive ‘greatest’ boxer of all time pound-for-pound, such are the many vagaries of the boxing game. One thing for certain is that Floyd Mayweather would have had a lot of competition just to reach the top 20. So, looking at Floyds career overall, he is most definitely a great boxer and would have figured in any era as either a contender or champion, but he needs to be looked at in the context of the limited era in which he is fighting.

Perhaps Floyd’s greatest accomplishment as a boxer is his achievement of autonomy, to be able to manage and promote himself, and make tremendous amounts of money for himself, rather than for his promoter and manager. In this aspect he has shown the way for boxers of the future; to have more control over their careers and earnings. Floyd also represents a link to the greats of the past, in that he has skills which are so seldom seen in a modern boxing ring. Perhaps the best thing you could say about Floyd Mayweather as a boxer is that when he fights he is an illustration of how at its best, boxing can be called the sweet science.

Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 5-3-2013

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. 
Peter Silkov contributes to and

Ji Hoon Kim And Mauricio Herrera Set For Explosive Clash On Thursday Night Fights Special

By Peter Silkov

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Ji Hoon ‘The Volcano’ Kim 24-8 (18 KOs) meets Mauricio Herrera 18-3 (7 KOs) on Thursday in what promises to be an exciting special edition of ESPN’S Friday Night Fights. Both men are favourites with the FNF audience and have each taken part in a number of minor classics on the ESPN show. Now they are about to meet in the main event from The Omega Products International, Corona, California, in what could well be a classic confrontation.

Kim especially has become something of a cult figure with boxing fans due to his exciting appearances on ESPN. The South Korean turned professional at the age of seventeen with no amateur experience and was 8-5 after his first thirteen fights. However, Kim then won his next thirteen fights and this winning streak coincided with his move to America and breakthrough wins on ESPN, over Koba Gogoladze, Tyrone Harris and Ammeth Diaz. ’The Volcano’s meteoric rise from journeyman to contender propelled Kim into a IBF World Lightweight championship fight with Miguel Vasquez, where, although he was out-boxed and largely outclassed by the superiorly schooled Vasquez, the South Korean gave his usual full-hearted display.

It is somehow fitting that when Kim relocated to America, to further his boxing career, he ended up choosing Philadelphia as his new domain. Kim is a throwback to the legendary Philadelphia warriors of the past who may have lacked finesse, but had heart in abundance, and provided heart-stopping action in every fight they participated in, win, lose or draw. Indeed Kim is reminiscent of the tough TV fighters of the 50s, who didn’t mind taking two or three punches to land one, and were not afraid to face dangerous opposition in every fight. What Kim lacks in boxing skills he makes up for in heart and the ability to fight at a furious pace, often averaging over 100 punches thrown per round. In his 2012 point’s victory over the previously unbeaten Allisher Rahimov, ’The Volcano’ threw 1225 punches over the ten rounds, including 792 power punches. In addition to being able to throw punches seemingly non-stop all night long, Kim also has a dangerous punch power, with which he is able to turn fights around when all has seemed lost. Little wonder then that the South Korean has become such a crowd favorite.

Nevertheless, if Kim is a throwback to the TV fighters of the past, then so is his opponent on Thursday, Mauricio Herrera. Mexican-American Herrera has often averaged over 100 punches himself per round in fights and although he lacks Kim’s big punch, he has better all round boxing skills. Like ’The Volcano,’ Herrera has built up his popularity on ESPN by taking part in a series of exciting fights and picking up some good wins, including a victory over Ruslan Provodnikov, who recently took Timothy Bradley to the brink of defeat. Herrera also took part in one of 2012’s fight of the year candidates, against Mike Alvarado, in a fight that saw both men going toe to toe for most of the ten rounds, and Herrera throwing over 100 punches per round, despite eventually losing on points.

This fight is a crucial one for both men, with each man coming off defeats. Herrera has lost his last two contests, the Alvarado defeat being followed late last year by a point’s defeat to Karim Mayfield. Ji Hoon Kim meanwhile, is coming off a one-sided points defeat to Raymundo Beltran late last year, which derailed plans for him to have a second shot at one of the World Lightweight Titles. Since the loss to Beltran, Kim has decided to move up in weight to the Light-Welterweight division, so this fight in many ways represents an attempt at a fresh start for the South Korean, after spending the last few years struggling to make the Lightweight limit.

Although ‘The Volcano’ should benefit from the extra poundage on his five feet-nine inch frame, the 140-pound class is one of the toughest and most competitive in boxing at the moment,. Kim needs a win against Herrera to show that he is a viable contender at his new weight. Herrera, although not a puncher like Kim, may well benefit from being the more natural Light-Welterweight in this fight. Also Herrera’s edge in boxing skills may be a deciding factor. While Herrera does not have the best defense in the world, Kim has almost no defense at all, except his offence.

Kim has already won many fights, which his technical flaws would seem to have made impossible, and he will always have a puncher’s chance with his power and heart. This is very much a crossroads fight for both boxers, with the winner gaining the chance to re-establish himself as a contender, while the loser will find himself a little further down the rankings and looking at the prospect of being relegated to the role of an opponent. In the fickle world of boxing, both men’s careers are poised to go up or down according to the result of this fight.

With this match pitting two fighters against each other who are known to average about 100 punches each per round, it is not hard to imagine that this contest could well turn out to be a minor classic and perhaps yet another candidate for fight of the year, in what is turning out to be a good spring for exciting fights.
In such an evenly matched contest the difference could be either the extra power of Kim or the extra boxing skills of Herrera, but another factor may be which fighter is the fresher after both men’s history of tough fights throughout their careers.

In the co-feature former WBA Lightweight World Champion Miguel ’Aguacerito’ Acosta 29-6-2 (23 KOs) will be trying to get his career back on track against Miguel ’Silky Smooth’ Gonzalez 20-3 (15 KOs) in what looks like another interesting fight, although all the fireworks should come from the main event.

 Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 4-30-2013

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to and

Nathan Cleverly Looking To Conquer Krasniqi On Rule Britannia Bill

By Peter Silkov

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Nathan Cleverly 25-0 (12KOs) will be headlining a bumper Wembly bill in London this Saturday, when he defends his WBO World Light-Heavyweight Championship against mandatory challenger Robin Krasniqi 39-2 (15 KOs). Promoted by Frank Warren, the fight card has been dubbed ‘Rule Britannia’ and will also feature the return of controversial Heavyweight Dereck Chisora, and an interesting match up between Liam Walsh and Scott Harrison at Lightweight. This is a very important fight for top of the bill Cleverly, as he stands on the threshold of a possible unification fight with boxing legend Bernard Hopkins, who became boxing’s oldest ever world champion recently, by defeating Tavoris Cloud for the IBF Light-Heavyweight title at the ripe ole age of 48.

Krasniqi has been waiting for his shot at Cleverly since last year, and finally gets his chance after various delays and postponements, which gives the impression that the Welshman’s camp were none too keen for this fight to go ahead. The German Challenger has won 38 fights in a row since losing two of his first three professional contests, and looks to be a difficult opponent, with well-schooled boxing skills and fast hands, which he utilizes with a very useful jab.

Cleverly is trying to emulate the past success enjoyed by Welsh compatriot Joe Calzaghe, who retired undefeated WBO Super-Middleweight Champion, in 2008 after 46 fights and 21 world title defenses. However Cleverly (who was at one point trained by Calzaghe’s father Enzo) has recently found his career somewhat stalled, and like Calzaghe before him, faced criticism of being over protected by Promoter Warren (who also promoted Calzaghe). Warren has faced a difficult time of late with a number of high profile boxers leaving his stable, amid concerns that he is unable to secure them the fights which they need to stay active and take their careers forward. Amid the recent exodus, which included George Groves, James Degale, and Ricky Burns in recent months, Cleverly chose to declare his loyalty to Warren, partly based on his belief that the veteran promoter will be able to secure a big fight with Bernard Hopkins.
If Cleverly is able to get Bernard Hopkins into same ring, then it would be an ideal opportunity for him to enter the select membership of boxing’s elite fighters. That is if he manages to defeat Hopkins, which would be no easy thing, despite the twenty-two years difference in age between them in Cleverly’s favour.
In his most recent fight Cleverly went to America and defended his title against Shaun Hawk, at Staples Centre, Los Angeles, stopping Hawk in the 8th round after flooring him three times. The fight gave Cleverly some much-needed exposure in what had been a quiet year with just one other contest that having been in February, against lightly regarded Tommy Karpency.

Despite all the talk of fighting Hopkins, and even a possible domestic showdown with IBF World Super-middleweight champion Carl Froch, Cleverly may well have his hands full with Krasniqi, and knows that a poor performance, even a winning one, could cost him any proposed big fights. Frank Warren will certainly be hoping that Cleverly comes through this defence an impressive winner, as he is one of Warren few remaining world-class fighters.

Chief support to Cleverly vs. Krasniqi, is Heavyweight Dereck Chisora’s 15-4 (9 KOs) comeback fight against Argentine veteran Hector Alfredo Avila 20-12-1 (13 KOs). This is Chisora’s first appearance since he was stopped in the 5th round by David Haye in their now notorious clash at London’s Upton Park last July, which was preceded and largely promoted by a shambolic press conference brawl in Germany. Chisora, or ‘Del Boy’ as he likes to be called, was suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control, after his little German fracas with Haye, but like Haye, simply fought under the Luxemburg banner when the two met a few months later in Upton Park.

After regaining his license from the ever-forgiving British Boxing Board of Control in March, Chisora is looking to put the Haye fight behind him and gain another shot at the World Heavyweight title. Despite his often erratic behaviour in and out of the ring, ’Del Boy’ can fight when the mood is with him, and he is properly fit. Although he has lost four of his last five fights, he gave a good account of himself when challenging Vitali Klitschko for the WBC World Heavyweight title, going the distance and giving Vitali some uncomfortable moments. Chisora’s point’s loss to Tyson Fury, who is now highly ranked in the world’s ratings, was close, despite Chisora being about a stone overweight. When he was stopped by Haye last year, Chisora again didn’t look in top shape. Chisora seems to be a talented fighter who is prone to erratic mood swings, which can often be seen, in his fluctuating fighting weight. ’Del Boy’ certainly needs to look good against Avila, who seems to be a typically tough but limited Argentine Heavyweight. With eight of his defeats coming inside the distance and at the age of 38, it doubtful that the Argentine will last long against Chisora. The plan seems to be for ’Del Boy’ to score a early knockout win, as a warm up for a hoped for big fight in the Summer, perhaps against domestic rival David Price, who he has already started calling out.
The British Heavyweight scene is very busy and exciting at the moment, with David Haye returning in July, Tyson Fury on verge of a title shot, and David Price still a factor despite his recent defeat, there are many possible big fights out there for Chisora if he can get back on track this Saturday.

Also amongst the main attractions is an interesting clash between Liam Walsh 13-0 (10 KOs) and Scott Harrison 27-2-2 (15 KOs) for Walsh’s rather spurious WBO European Lightweight Championship. The fight itself is intriguing, as it could be described as an old-fashioned crossroads match, with Harrison the battle worn ex world champion, facing the fresh rising star in Walsh. With Harrison, the story runs much deeper though, as few world champions in recent years have fallen so far and so fast, as he has done. At one time Harrison was considered a National hero in Scotland and one of the brightest world champions in the lighter divisions. Between 2002 and 2006, Harrison had two reigns as WBO World Featherweight Champion, including ten title fights, winning nine of them, but saw his life and career go spectacularly off the rails in 2006. After successfully defending his title in late 2005, Harrison’s life descended into a mire of chaos, fuelled by alcohol, drugs and depression, culminating in him being stripped of his title in late 2006, and going on into repeated trouble with the law. Harrison was out of the ring from 2005 to 2012 as his life became a kind of dark soap opera, and he spent time in both Scottish and Spanish jails.

Following his release from a Spanish prison last year, Harrison finally made a comeback to the ring, winning two low-key fights, but such was the opposition, it was difficult to really see how much the Scot has left at 35, and after almost a decade of self-abuse. Despite his efforts to get his life back in order, Harrison has been dogged since his comeback by rumours of him falling off the wagon, and getting involved in various episodes of erratic behaviour. He is also still facing a further four year jail term in Spain, on charges dating back some years, which he is appealing.

This is certainly the last throw of the dice for Harrison and Walsh is far and away the first serious opponent that the Scot has faced in the ring for eight years. Despite his relative inexperience compared to Harrison, Walsh is a clever southpaw boxer with good speed and an entertaining fighting style. One of three fighting brothers, Walsh at 26 should be far too fresh and mobile for the much slower former Featherweight Champion. Harrisons only chance may be if Walsh gets careless, or elects to slug it out with the still strong Scot. Having said that, this looks like being a painful night for Scott Harrison, with Walsh just being too young and too fast for him.

Sadly once it’s gone it’s gone for good.

Frank Warren will be looking for his fighters to come through the ‘Rule Britannia’ bill unscathed, as they may well be headlining a big Summer promotion.

 Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 4-18-2013

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to and

Rigondeaux Masters Donaire With A Dazzling Display Of The Sweet Science

By Peter Silkov

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Guillermo Rigondeaux 12-0 (8 KOs) produced an outstanding performance of the art of boxing on Saturday night, to defeat Nonito Donaire 31-2 (20 KOs) in their Super-Bantamweight World Championship Unification clash, at the Radio City Music Hall, in New York City.
Rigondeaux added Donaire’s WBO title to his own WBA crown, and proved himself the supreme boxer at 122 pounds, in this long awaited clash, with a performance as picturesque as the Radio City Music Hall itself.

The fight started fast, with the ’Filipino Flash’ coming out aggressively and looking to set a high pace. However, Donaire was knocked back on his feet early by a sharp Rigondeaux counter that seemed to shake him slightly and make him more cautious. As the round moved on the pattern of the fight itself was set, with Donaire becoming hesitant at opening up too much because of the left-handed counters of ’The Jackal’.
It soon became apparent that Rigondeaux’s speed was going to cause Nonito lots of problems, as he seemed to be always a step ahead of the ‘Filipino Flash‘. Rigondeaux displayed some lovely footwork, and defensive moves, as the fight progressed, with Nonito stalking, but throwing mostly only single punches at a time, in order to reduce the amount of counters he was collecting in return. When Donaire did throw punches, the majority missed the always-elusive Cuban, and even those that landed, tended to be cleverly blocked or rode. Rigondeaux on the other hand, found Donaire cleanly and regularly with his southpaw jab, while pot-shotting with the left whenever Nonito left himself too open. The rounds were close but Rigondeaux edged many with his greater accuracy and defence, which allowed him to land the cleaner shots and remain the most elusive. Those who had predicted that Donaire’s greater professional experience would be the difference in this match saw Rigondeaux display a ring generalship and control, which belied his meagre eleven professional fights. By halfway Rigondeaux held clear control of the contest, as Nonito’s stalking became increasingly impotent.

Nonito’s best moment of the fight came in the 10th round, when sensing the fight slipping away, he came out of his corner at a run, and attempted to take control of proceedings, much as he had tried to do in the 1st round. The change in tactics worked for Nonito to begin with as Rigondeaux was bundled to the canvas by a push, which seemed to take him out of his stride momentarily. Donaire then scored a genuine knockdown after he struck Rigondeaux with a left-hook as the two were wrestling up close. The knockdown could be attributed partly to Rigondeaux losing balance when being caught square. Certainly after regaining his feet ‘the Jackal’ showed no ill effects from the knockdown, and countered the pressing Nonito with some good shots, so that by the end of the round he had regained control as Nonito again went into his shell and became hesitant to open up.

Rigondeaux sealed his victory with a dominant last round, which saw him hurt Nonito with a left to the eye, that had Donaire retreating and covering up in an attempt to shield the eye which swelled as the round progressed. The last minutes of the fight saw Rigondeaux at his most aggressive as he stalked the injured Nonito, and repeatedly fired his left hand in an attempt to score a stoppage. While the stoppage didn’t come for ’The Jackal’ there was little doubt at the end of who should be judged the winner. Although the fight was close, the edge, which Rigondeaux held in most rounds was clear, and in the end, his performance was a dominating one. Donaire found himself out thought as well as out-boxed in what was his first loss in twelve years and only the second defeat of his professional career.

Some of the crowd at the Radio City Music hall seemed frustrated by the fight developing into a tactical chess match, rather than a toe to toe barn burner like the recent Rios vs. Alvarado rematch, which is a shame as Rigondeaux displayed the kind of skills that sometimes justifies Boxing calling itself ’the sweet science’.
In victory Rigondeaux’s will find a justification for all the turmoil and sacrifices, he has made by defecting from Cuba and leaving his family behind. He has shown that his dreams of taking on and beating the best in the professional ring were not vain or misguided.

With this win, Rigondeaux lays genuine claim to a spot as one of the elite champions pound for pound in boxing today, and of being on a par with Floyd Mayweather for overall speed, technique and defensive ability. A rematch with Donaire would be interesting, but after the lesson he has just received, it is probable that the ’Filipino Flash’ may want to avoid any more confrontations with ’The Jackal’.
The undercard featured some explosive action previous to the main event.

Detroit Lightweight Erick Delon 3-0 (1 KO) out pointed Filipino-American Diamond Baier 2-5-1 over 4 rounds in a lively fight.

At Welterweight Mikael Zewski 18-0 (14 KOs) koed Daniel Sostre 11-9-1 (4 KOs) in the second round, flooring him twice. Dropping Sostre first with a right to the head and then finishing him with a left hook to the head.

In a little 4 round war at light-middleweight, Tyler Canning 2-1 beat Dario Soccia 2-1 on a split decision.
Light-middleweight Glen Tapia 18-0 (10 KOs) beat Joseph De Los Santos 13-12-3 (6 KOs) over 8 rounds on points.

Philadelphia Super-Middleweight Jesse Hart 7-0 ( KOs) scored a tko in the 3rd over Marlon Farr 2-3, flooring him first, then landing two big right-hands which ended it.

Felix Verdejo 5-0 (4 KOs) scored a destructive 1st round tko over Steve Gutierrez 4-4-1 (2 KOs) flooring him twice before the referee waved it off.

Light-heavyweight Seanie Monaghan 18-0 (11 KOs) koed Rex Stanley 11-4-1 (2 KOs) with a big overhand right in the first round.

Lightweight Toka Kahn Clary 5-0 (4 KOs) scored a tko over Gadiel Andaluz 4-3-1 (2 KOs) in the 1st round after the referee stopped the action following Andaluz being dropped for the third time.

 Originally published at The Boxing Tribune  4-14-2013

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to and

Brian Viloria Dethroned On Fists Of Gold Macau Card

By Peter Silkov

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Juan Francisco Estrada 23-2 (17koes) showed he has ’Fists of Gold’ of his own, by dethroning Brian ‘The Hawaiian Punch’ Viloria after a great fight on the Macau Card in China. Estrada won the WBO and WBA World Flyweight titles, with a brilliant display of box-fighting, that slowly wore down the Hawaiian and had the brave Viloria struggling to stay on his feet in the final round. The action started with the twenty-two year old Estrada throwing combinations and moving in and out of range, while the flatter footed Viloria sought to counter with his big punches. Both men exchanged good shots from early on and it became clear that while Viloria’s punches carried more weight, the challenger had the superior hand speed and work rate. Estrada also seemed to be a more mature fighter, than in his brave effort against Roman ’Chocolatito’ Gonzalez last year, showing good boxing skills, and a more measured tactical approach.

Viloria did manage to land some big punches in the early rounds, but as he showed against ’Chocolatito’ Estrada has an excellent chin. As the fight progressed, Viloria targeted the Mexicans body with some good shots, which seemed for a time to be slowing down the challenger, but Estrada regrouped and came back with a body attack of his own. By midway in the contest, the difference in work rate between the two started to have an effect, as Estrada increased the pace and Vilora began to struggle to keep up. With the fight moving into the later rounds, Estrada started to come forward more and the two exchanged some terrific body attacks, with a tiring Viloria being pushed onto the back foot. Both stood toe to toe in the last round, as Viloria made a desperate attempt to find a big shot to save his title. However, it was Viloria who came close to being koed, as the much fresher Estrada had him wobbling round the ring with a terrific assault. In the end, the bloody and battered Viloria did well to last the distance. Despite the decision being split, Estrada seemed to win this fight clearly. While it was certainly close and exciting enough to justify a rematch, Estrada could well be just too young and too fast for Viloria at this stage of their careers. Indeed, the still developing Estrada may well prove himself to be one of the better champions out there in the near future and a rematch down the line with ’Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, could prove to be a little classic.

This whole fight card was built around the professional debut of Chinese Amateur star Zou Shiming 1-0, against 18 year old novice Eleazar Valenzuela 2-2-1 (1ko). To his credit, Valenzuela came to fight and gave it his all, but the smiling Shiming was far too fast and experienced for him, and won comfortably on points after 4 rounds. Shiming seemed to enjoy every moment of his professional debut, but even with two Olympic Gold’s amongst his many amateur achievements, he may struggle to cope with a ’fast track’ course to a worlds championship. Talk about Shiming being ready to win a world title within twelve months seems fanciful, unless someone knows something we don’t. His pro debut showed that Shiming’s amateur style is still firmly in place, along with many quirks and mistakes that most decent professionals would take advantage of straightaway. Perhaps most worryingly for Shiming, is that despite his undoubted speed, he also seems to have little power to speak of in his punches.

In another lively encounter, but without the exciting edge of the Viloria vs. Estrada contest, Rocky Martinez 27-1-2 (16koes) retained his WBO Super-Featherweight World Championship, on points, against challenger Diego Magdaleno 23-1 (9koes). The decision again was a split one, but the always aggressive Martinez seemed to have done enough to win with his more forceful attacks against the slicker Magdaleno. The Champion stalked Magdaleno throughout the fight and although the challenger put on a good boxing display, he seemed to lack the power to really take charge of the fight. A Martinez knockdown of the challenger in the 4th round showed the Champions superior power, and although Magdaleno came back well, it was Rocky’s extra strength and aggression which helped him keep his title.
In another upset result, Yasutaka Ishimoto 22-6 (5koes) defeated former WBO Super-Bantamweight World Champion, Wilfredo Vazquez jr 22-3-1 (19koes) on points after ten frenetic rounds. Ishimoto had Vazquez Jr. down in the 8th round, and pushed his advantage in the final rounds to seal his victory.
Rising Flyweight contender Milan Melindo 29-0 (12koes) tkoed Tommy Seran 18-2 (9koes) with a left hook in the 4th round, after having Seran down previously in the 1st and 2nd rounds.
Super-Bantamweight David Penalosa, 6-0 (4koes) koed Cheroenchai Sithsaithong 4-3 (3koes) in the 2nd round, after flooring him in the 1st round.

Unbeaten Featherweight Dodie Boy Penalosa 11-0 (9koes) recovered from a 1st round knockdown by Nimithra Sithsaithong 4-5 (3koes) to floor Nimithra in the 2nd and then ko him in the 3rd with a body shot, that left him face down on the canvas.

Unbeaten Super-Featherweight 18-0 (13koes) scored a 4th round stoppage over Ryusei Yoshida 22-6 (10koes) due to a cut over Yoshida’s left eye.

Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum, knows there is a huge amount of money to be made if he can tap into the enormous 1.4 billion Chinese population on the back of their love for Shiming. Arum will be hoping that this is the first of many such cards which he will take to China, with Zou Shiming as its flag bearer, along with Manny Pacquiao as well, the results could have a huge impact upon the boxing world as a whole. Whether this impact will be a positive one, only time will tell.

Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 4-7-2013
Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. 
Peter Silkov's contributes to and

2013-04-06 Brian Viloria vs Juan Francisco Estrada by sweetboxing10

Brian Viloria Ready To Unleash His 'Hawaiian Punch' on Juan Francisico Estrada

By Peter Silkov

Photo Source: Brian Viloria © Reuters Images
Brian Viloria will be looking to make a big impact when he defends his WBO and WBA World Flyweight titles this Saturday in China. The Hawaiian bomber will be one of the main attractions on an ambitious bill at the Venetian Casino and Resort in Macao, China. Also on the card will be Chinese amateur star Zou Shiming, the double Olympic champion, who will be making his pro debut.

Viloria will be defending his titles against tough Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada. The young Mexican challenger fought on the same card as Viloria last November, when he made a spirited challenge for Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez’s WBA Junior Flyweight Championship. While Viloria scored a spectacular 10th round TKO over Hernan ’Tyson’ Marquez in the main event, many thought that the fight of the night had been Estrada’s challenge of the unbeaten’Chocolatito’ Gonzalez.

Although Gonzalez retained his Junior Flyweight title with a clear decision, Estrada had gone toe-to-toe with the Nicaraguan Champion, in one of the fights of the year, displaying tremendous heart and durability along the way. Now Estrada challenges Viloria for the Hawaiian’s Flyweight titles and the ’Hawaiian Punch’ will try and do a better job on Estrada than Gonzalez managed to accomplish.

Viloria is eager to perform impressively in what is a showpiece event, with the card being broadcast live by HBO 2, amid hopes that it may lead to the tapping of a new audience for boxing in the highly populated country. The champion is already known for being a highly entertaining fighter with an aggressive boxing style and a big fight finishing punch.

At 32 years of age, Viloria looks to be at the peak of his career. The Hawaiian has enjoyed an impressive run of victories since moving up from Light-Flyweight to Flyweight, following an upset defeat to Carlos Tamara in early 2010, which cost him his IBF Light-Flyweight title.

Viloria rebounded from the setback by moving up a division and in 2011 picked up the WBO World Flyweight title from Julio Cesar Miranda. Following two successful defences of the WBO title, ’The Hawaiian Punch’ impressively stopped the rugged Hernan ’Tyson’ Marquez in 10 rounds, after another all action contest. The victory gave Viloria both the WBA title, plus general recognition as the best flyweight in the world at the moment. After twelve years as a professional, Viloria has become a better all-round fighter then he was in his youth, tempering his still exciting style with the experience, he has gathered over the course of his career, and it’s various ups and downs.

Viloria is now on the cusp of something much bigger if he can continue his recent run of entertaining triumphs. The fact that he is to get HBO coverage for this defence, is no small feat for the little Champion, considering his position within a division whose fighters often struggle for exposure and recognition. One possibility for Viloria if he wins against Estrada is a showdown with the unbeaten Roman Gonzalez, who is running up an imposing tally of defences as WBA Junior Flyweight Champion. ’Chocolatito’ may well be Nicaragua’s best fighter, pound-for-pound, since the great Alexis Arguello of the 70s and 80s. Due to the prejudices against fighters of the lower weights, he has received little recognition outside of the diehard boxing community, despite his obvious ability, which includes a punch that rivals Viloria’s for power. Certainly a clash between the two champions, would bring welcome attention to the lower weight divisions, where there is actually much entertainment to be had, if people only knew about them. The winner of such a fight would see themselves attain a considerably higher profile within the boxing landscape. However, the biggest winner of such a clash would be the boxing fan. The chances are that it wouldn’t fail to be a classic battle.

First, however, Viloria has to turn back the challenge of Estrada and that may not be an easy task. If Estrada at still only 23, has learnt from his previous fight with Roman Gonzalez and can improve on his performance against ’Chocolatito’ last year, then he could well prove to be a formidable challenger for the Hawaiian Champion. While Viloria must be considered the favourite, to retain his title due to his extra power and ring experience, it would be impressive if he were able to stop his Mexican challenger.

With Viloria’s track record, this doesn’t look like anything other than a very entertaining fight however long it lasts. Viloria will certainly be hoping that he can make another good impression in this defence of his titles, and open the way for bigger fights in the future.

Originally published at The Boxing Tribune on 4-4-2013

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. 
Peter Silkov contributes to and

Gennady Golovkin Aims For Another X-Rated Performance To Prove His Worth

By Peter Silkov

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 There was a time, back in the good old days, when simply winning a world championship would serve to prove a boxer’s worth. This was back in the days when there was generally only one ‘world’ champion per division and boxers often had to be something special just to secure a title shot in the first place. Today it is sadly very different, with a multitude of so called ‘World Champions’ at every weight division, and almost more champions now than contenders. The reality of boxing today is for boxers to prove themselves after winning a ‘World Championship’.

When Gennady Golovkin defends his WBA Middleweight title on Saturday, at Monte Carlo, Monaco, against Nobuhiro Ishida, he will be seeking to consolidate his position as one of the best 160 pounders in the world. Since Golovkin took hold of the WBA title in 2010, with a 3rd round knockout over Nilson Julio Tapia, the Kazakhstan fighter has been building a formidable reputation with a series of brutally efficient defences. Golovkin has a style which appeals to the fans. Once a counter puncher, who fought in 350 amateur fights and picked up a Silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, as a pro, Golovkin has adopted an aggressive stalking method which is entertaining and TV friendly.

Coming forward with a snaking, punishing jab, the ‘GGG’ man as he calls himself, unloads with both hands when he sees an opening and his relaxed, heavy-handed approach to his work has attracted more fans with every outing. His 10th round stoppage of tough former 154 Champion Kassim Ouma in 2011 was a breakthrough performance for Golovkin that made many in boxing take notice of him for the first time. Gennady’s punishing defeat, of the previously never stopped Ouma, contained the kind of X-rated action for which Golovkin has become well known and popular.

In his first appearance in an American ring last September, televised by HBO, Gennady dismantled Grzegorz Proksa in five rounds, flooring him 3 times and provoking HBO to the conclusion that they might have a new star on their hands.

Golovkin’s management sees 2013 as a crucial year for their fighter, a year in which he will try to mark himself out as the premier champion and number one fighter at 160 pounds. Since the division is perhaps one of the deepest in boxing, this will be no simple task for Golovkin. The other title holders at 160 pounds, IBF champion Daniel Geale, WBO champion Peter Quillin and WBC champion Sergio Martinez, are all talented boxers in their own right. Sergio Martinez is generally regarded at the moment as the ‘real’ World Middleweight champion, in addition to being considered one of the best pound for pound boxers in the world also. Golovkin would like to raise his standing in boxing to the level currently enjoyed by Martinez, and a fight between both men is already one of the most talked about and anticipated in boxing. Whether it will ever happen is another thing entirely. As Golovkin’s reputation has grown over the past two years, Martinez’s people have barely acknowledged the Kazakhstan’s existence.

Golovkin is expected by most to overcome his latest challenger, Ishida, without much trouble, but the Japanese man is awkward and tough, and has never been stopped in his career. In his last two fights, Ishida has been beaten by Paul Williams and the WBO champion Dmitry Priog (prior to Priog being stripped of the title). In both fights Ishida showed a good jab and a big heart and a stubborn resistance that took him the distance. Despite only nine of his twenty-four career victories coming via knockout or stoppage, Ishida scored his breakthrough win in 2011 with a stunning 1st round stoppage of the previously unbeaten James Kirkland. Such a result against Golovkin is almost unthinkable, especially considering that the Kazakhstan champion has taken enough punches in his recent fights, to show that he has a sound chin. However, as always in boxing, nothing can be taken for granted. Although Ishida may be hanging onto the declining wave of his Kirkland victory, it is still a warning sign against any complacency for the champion. Ishida’s greatest weapon in this fight is that he has nothing to lose, while the champion has everything to lose and perhaps less to win.

It could be said that Gennady finds himself in a bit of a no-win situation, in this, the sixth defence of his title. He is expected to win and in some quarters to win easily. Many expect him to become the first man to stop Ishida. Anything less than a stoppage victory for Golovkin will be viewed by some as a disappointment and add to the small, but vocal, faction in boxing who view the champion as an over-hyped media creation. Some negative viewpoints of Golovkin are that, he is exciting because he is one-dimensional and easy to hit, and that his much vaunted punch power is overrated in the extreme.

In his last defence, just nine weeks ago, Golovkin managed to impress and disappoint at the same time. The ‘GGG’ man served up another red blooded dose of heavy hitting and toe to toe exchanges, as he battered a tough Gabriel Rosado about the ring for seven rounds, cutting and staggering him, until Rosado’s corner pulled him out. The sheer intensity of Golovin’s performance won over most fans, but there were others who questioned the champion’s failure to score a clean knockout, or even register a knockdown. Even when it emerged after the fight that Gennady had fought with a temperature, the doubts stuck. Is Gennady as good as he is being hyped up to be? This is a question that only time and bigger fights can tell.

If Gennady is to lift himself above the crowd of current ‘world champions’ and mark himself out as one of boxing’s elite, then he simply must become the first man to stop the Japanese challenger this Saturday night. If he is to gain the sort of matchups which he and his team crave, especially unification fights with the other ‘champions’, then Gennady needs to continue serving up his own brand of x-rated boxing. In other words, he needs to keep beating up and knocking out everyone put in front of him.

After its acrimonious split from Golden Boy Promotions, HBO is under pressure to find new stars who can pull in the fans and pay-per-view numbers. Despite so much having been said over the years about ‘the sweet science’, most boxing fans like nothing more than a fighter who can punch hard. With his friendly, mild mannered out of the ring persona, contrasting sharply with his all action in the ring identity, Golovkin has a head start on many of his fellow champions.

Saturday nights fight may well be another step for Golovkin to becoming one of HBO’s biggest attractions. Especially if he can stay x-rated.

 Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 3-28-2013

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to and

Redemption or Oblivion For A-Force Harrison

 By Peter Silkov

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Courage comes in many guises. In some fighters courage is obvious. They engage in confrontations, which excite and seem to relish the fights where they are hurt, cut or knocked down. These men seem to enjoy taking punches, after all its what they chose to do for a living. In other fighters, courage is a little harder to define. Indeed, some Boxers do not seem so courageous at all. Some aren’t adapt at going toe to toe in fights, they do not get off the floor to win. There are also those fighters who even seem a little afraid when they fight. The eyes tell the story. Wide and unfocused, the lips twitching and dry. To be afraid is natural in boxing, but to show that fear nakedly in the ring, is the biggest taboo. Over the course of his twelve year professional career, Audley Harrison has emerged as the latter fighter. He does not fight like a boxer who enjoys being hit. Audley doesn’t have that poker face of a warrior, when taking fistic punishment. He often visibly flinches when taking punches and he has never taken a punch that well.

It’s fair to say that Harrisons pro career, which began amid much fanfare and a bumper one million pounds ten fight contract with the BBC, has been a failure. Indeed at times it has been an embarrassment, in that it has fallen so far short of what was once promised. Once feted for his Gold medal triumph at the 2000 Olympic Games, Audley has become a largely derisory figure within boxing circles, especially in Britain, where he is arguably the most unpopular boxer of his era. One title which he certainly didn’t hope for at the beginning of his career. The old adage that the British love a good loser, has never rung true for Harrison.
When did things begin to go sour for Audley?. By his own admission turning professional with such a huge price tag upon his opening ten fights was a huge mistake, in that it placed unrealistic expectations on ’A-Force’. Part of the problem stems from the fact that Audley has always been a technical ’boxer’ rather than a rugged ’fighter’ like most fans prefer their fighters to be, especially their Heavyweights. The hit and not get hit style which won Audley Olympic honours, does not sit so well in the rough and tumble of the pro ranks.

When it became clear that Audley was not going to be the second coming of the big punching 80s and 90s fan favourite Frank Bruno, or even the technically superior, but less popular Lennox Lewis, the BBC pulled the plug on Audley.

Having remained unbeaten up until this point, all be it unimpressively to the public at large, Harrison’s career went into a tailspin after the loss of his contract with the BBC and the resulting collapse of his own promotional company. Harrison would later state this as being a point where he lost confidence in himself and certainly his ring performances at this time, bare this out.

Points losses to domestic rival Danny Williams, and American Dominick Guinn saw Harrison truly lose his way, and his career has never really regained its composure since this time. A boxing public which had been apathetic and disappointed with Harrison, became widely hostile, after he was knocked out in the 3rd round by Michael Sprott. The best known secret about Harrison was out, Audley’s reticence at taking punches had good reason. He has no chin.

Since the Sprott defeat, Audley has largely been ridiculed, and seen his once proud nick-name A-Force morphed into A-Farce and his first name rechristened Fraudly by ‘fans‘. It is difficult to think of a fighter who has endured more public abuse in recent times. There have been some brief career resurgences for Harrison, when it looked as if he might finally live up to some of his earlier promise. These include Harrison winning the popular ’Prizefighter’ competition twice, and the European Heavyweight title, against former conqueror Michael Sprott in 2010.

But the resurgences have always led to further humiliations for Audley. After winning ‘Prizefighter’ for the first time, then coming from behind to knockout Sprott for the European title, Harrison was stopped in 3 rounds by David Haye, a fight in which he landed just one punch.

Another come back win led to Audley facing David Price last year, and being stopped in the first round. Again Harrison had to face a glut of public criticism, and calls for him to retire. The calls for Audleys retirement seem to be made not so much out of public worry for his welfare, but rather generate from the genuine dislike much of the public has for Harrison. If courage is to be measured by the amount of abuse a person can endure and still stand by their belief in themselves, then Audley is indeed a courageous individual. Not to mention, also a very stubborn one. Through all the tumultuous ups and downs, and disappointments of his career, Audley has continued stating his belief that he will fulfil his dreams of one day winning the worlds heavyweight championship. Fanciful as these boasts are, they have only served to attract more virulence and ridicule for Harrison from the boxing public.

It has been both Audley’s gift and his curse, that as a professional, he has always been able to talk a far better fight out of the ring than he can deliver inside it. And yet, it is difficult not to hold some respect for the sheer stubbornness and resilience that Audley has displayed in the face of such continued negativity towards himself in recent years. Many, would have given up and gone away into obscurity long ago. After his loss to Price last October, in just a round, few believed that Audley would be seen inside a boxing ring again, at least not as a boxer. Then in February, Harrison wrong footed his critics again by winning ’Prizefighter’ for the second time. It is no coincidence that former Olympian Audley does so well in the ’Prizefighter’ format of fighting three round fights, and this very success underlines his shortcomings as a professional. However he still managed to impress to some degree in this latest comeback, if only for the sheer unexpectedness of it for most people. This interest has resulted in Audley landing his fight with Deontay Wilder, a fight which surely, is the last chance for the now forty one year old Harrison to get anywhere near to the top of the Heavyweight division.

Wilder is 6 feet 7 and at 27 years of age is 14 years Harrisons junior. With an unbeaten 27-0 record, (all by knockout), Wilder has been hailed by some as the saviour of the American heavyweights, and perhaps the future of the division itself. However his opposition has been carefully picked out for him and Audley for all his flaws, is in many ways the first real ’test’ that the ’Bronze Bomber’ has faced.
However, despite the limitations of his opposition up till now, there seems to be little doubt that Wilder can punch, and punch hard. With this in mind, this fight is a courageous match for Audley to take, especially at this point in his career when there might well have been some easier options. It is very much an all or nothing fight for Harrison, win and he will have gained probably the best victory of his career, and will go right back up into contention, lose, and it’s the end of the line.

In many ways it is a brave fight for both men to take. For Wilder, a defeat against Harrison would be a calamitous set back from which his career might never recover.

Despite all his flaws, Audley can punch. As he has shown on occasion when the mood takes him, such as in what was probably his best performance to date, when with an injured shoulder, and behind on points, he knocked out Michael Sprott with one punch from his good arm, to win the European title in 2010. It was a performance that showed Audley in a new light. Yet in his next outing he was humiliated by David Haye.
If anything, Audley seems to be playing down his chances of causing any kind of upset in this fight, admitting to having had the worse of it when he sparred with Wilder shortly before his debacle against David Price. Indeed there has been discussion over whether Audleys hard sparring with Wilder served to soften him up for Price.

Even with all his undoubted technical ability and experience, it is unlikely that Audley will be able to avoid Wilders bombs for the full distance of their fight. Harrisons only hope of victory looks to be to try and expose a flaw in Wilders own chin, and try and end the fight early. Whether the usually counterpunching and ultra cautious Harrison can bring himself to fight in such a way remains to be seen, and holds the key to perhaps what is left of his career.

How this fight goes depends a lot on how much Audley really believes inside that he can win. Perhaps the best he is hoping for is to go down fighting, in this, his last chance at glory, and to silence the critics with a brave final stand.

Sometimes the most courageous thing a person can do is walk towards certain defeat with hands raised and head unbowed.

Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 4-8-2013

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. 
Peter Silkov contributes to and

The Sound and the Fury...Tyson Fury Comes To America

By Peter Silkov

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When Tyson Fury faces Steve Cunningham on April 20, at New York’s legendary Madison Square Garden, he will be facing the most important test of his career. The stakes could hardly be any higher for the 6′ 9″ giant from Manchester.
Not only is the fight an IBF eliminator towards a future shot at the World Heavyweight title holder, Wladimir Klitschko, it also gives

Fury the chance to firmly establish himself as Britain’s number one Heavyweight contender. Britain currently has a refreshingly lively heavyweight scene, which might even make an American sigh with envy at the moment. On one hand, there is both David Haye and Derek Chisora, both recent points victims to the Klitschko brothers ( Haye losing to Wladimir and Chisora losing to Vitali.) But, each still potentially in the title picture. Then there is Tyson Fury, who actually holds a points victory over Chisora and David Price, who are each vying for a shot at one of the Klitschko champions. David Price, the British and Commonwealth champion, is Fury’s arch rival, with both boxers being at about the same stage of their careers, as well as being close in age and physique. Price is six feet eight to Fury’s six feet nine. Until recently, David Price had been considered the premier heavyweight of the two fighters. Much of this opinion being built upon the fact that in 2012 Fury vacated the British and Commonwealth titles rather than defend them against Price. Since then, the feud between the two fighters has built up to a simmering intensity that has at times overflowed with public taunts from both sides. Talk of the two finally facing each other in the ring has become a constant, will-they-wont-they cliché.
However, this rivalry and the heavyweight scene as a whole, was turned onto its head recently, when Price was shockingly KO’d in the second round by veteran Tony Thompson. Price’s loss delivered a severe dent to his reputation and career momentum and has given Fury the chance to place himself above his rival in the pecking order for a world title shot. Providing that Fury can get past Cunningham. This is no easy task.
Steve Cunningham is a clever and tough Philadelphia veteran, who has held the cruiserweight world title and is coming off a very controversial points defeat to fellow top contender Thomas Adamek. If this match were to be measured on pure ring technique and experience, then Cunningham would be a clear favourite over the far greener and less skilled Manchester fighter. Cunningham’s main problem and Fury’s main advantage, going into this clash, is the huge size difference between the pair, with the Philadelphian giving away six inches in height and an expected three stones in weight. Added to that, Fury at twenty-four years old, is twelve years the junior; the sort of age difference that may work in the favour of the younger fresher man in what could be a long and grueling fight.
Fury is one of the new breed of six-feet-seven-plus heavyweights who seem to be sprouting up in all sorts of odd places in Europe and Eastern Europe at the moment. It is this size that he will have to capitalize upon against the cagey Cunningham, if he is to overcome his opponent’s superior experience and all-round ability.
In the lively pre-fight build up Fury has promised to be the first man to stop Cunningham, a result which certainly would make his American audience look up and take notice of the Manchester man. One surprise that could be in store for Cunningham, is that Fury, despite his size, when in top shape, is surprisingly mobile and fluid. Fury has a relaxed style and a decent jab that makes good use of his height and reach. In his last bout, Fury beat American Kevin Johnson by employing his jab and movement, and duly out-boxed the placid Johnson over 12 rounds. It was a victory that, while not Earth-shattering, built Fury up to this title eliminator. Now at the legendary home of boxing, Madison Square Garden, New York, Tyson Fury has a tremendous chance to make a real name for himself in the U.S.A. and place himself within touching distance of a world title shot.
The Klitschko brothers dominate the Heavyweight championship at the moment. Despite their undoubted ability, they fail to excite the public at large, certainly outside of Germany where they reside and fight.
Over the past decade, the heavyweight division, as a whole, has fallen into the doldrums. America, the former home of the heavyweights, seems unable to find a real bonafide threat to the Klitschko’s monopoly. The result has been stagnation and growing disinterest for the division, especially in America. Ironically, it seems that Britain is one of the few places outside of Eastern Europe, where heavyweights are flourishing. A defeat for Fury, against Cunningham, however, would be a severe blow to Britain’s heavyweight resurgence. In the wake of David Price’s recent loss, Fury finds himself with much to win, but also a lot to lose on April 20th.
The heavyweight division needs a new star who can capture the imagination both in and out of the ring. Is Tyson Fury that man? Certainly the man himself has been boasting that he is that man in recent months. Out of the ring, Fury is a bit of a split personality. He can be quiet, almost shy, and surprisingly charming in interviews at times. Yet, he can also be outspoken and loud, and has been prone to take to Twitter with derogatory comments regarding his fistic rivals; behaviour which recently landed him with a £3000.00 fine from the British Boxing Board of Control.
Fury has had to deal with turmoil in his private life. Most notably, when his father, who guided his early pro career, was jailed in 2011 for blinding a man in a street fight. The incident left the fighter in a tailspin for a time and may have been one of the reasons for his avoidance of a Price showdown in 2012. If Fury has a suspect temperament, then this fight, on the biggest of stages, will certainly test that temperament. Tyson has been talking a good fight, in fact at a recent press conference he hardly allowed the much quieter Cunningham to get a word in edgewise. But this is the fight where Fury really has to walk the walk that he’s been talking.
Fury has already stated that after he beats Cunningham he would like to take on Price’s conqueror Tony Thompson, and show Price ‘how to deal with granddads.’ Victory over Cunningham would put Fury just one or two fights away from a shot at the IBF World Heavyweight title. An impressive performance would see Tyson make a real name for himself in America. Defeat though, would drop Fury back down to where David Price is now, derailed from world title contention, and back to fighting within the domestic scene. With his Irish heritage, Fury has the chance to go down well in the States. It is no coincidence that his U.S. debut is being staged at the historic Madison Square Garden, where so many ring legends of Irish heritage have fought before him. Fury has shown America so far that he has the gift of the gab, even if he sometimes stumbles a little over his own pre-fight trash talk. He is certainly entertaining, sometimes in a manner in which he seems unaware of (look out for him with one of his baseball caps hanging from the side of his head). If Tyson Fury can show on April 20 that he can fight, as well as talk, then he could become a far more frequent flyer to the American shores and this date at Madison Square Garden may perhaps be the first of many such visits.

 Originally published at The Boxing Tribune  3-19-2013

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to and

Return of the Hayemaker

By Peter Silkov

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News of David Haye’s return to the ring this summerwill have the boxing fan in two states of mind. The Bermondsey man splits opinion, between those who like his glitzy, arrogant persona and those who find his methods of self-publicity, boorish in the extreme. In many ways, Haye is an example of all that is wrong with modern boxing. After ten years as a professional, Haye has fought just twenty-eight bouts. When he steps into the ring again in early July it will only be the second time in two years. There is no doubt that Haye is a talented fighter, with speed, good technique and a dangerous punch. This only serves to heighten the disappointment that so much of his career has turned out to be style over substance.
The Hayemaker has delivered some genuinely exciting performances, such as his wins over Jean Marc Mormeck for the Cruiserweight World title and his World Heavyweight title wins over Nikolay Valuev, and John Ruiz, interspersed with unsatisfying mismatches and prolonged bouts of inactivity.
Since he moved up to heavyweight, Haye has relied more and more on outrageous publicity, rather than punching in the ring, to keep his name in the headlines. Such a strategy worked for a while and saw him propelled quickly into a big money showdown with Wladimir Klitschko for the Ukraininan’s Heavyweight titles. However, Haye’s behaviour began to backfire upon him in the wake of his poor performance against Klitschko (which the Hayemaker blamed upon a broken toe.) After this fight he found himself criticized for both his performance in the ring and his distasteful behaviour in the fight’s build up. Haye has fought just once since the Klitschko debacle. His controversial showdown last summer with fellow Brit, Dereck Chisora, which began in a post-fight press conference brawl and ended in an open air money spinner in London’s Upton Park stadium. In a fight disowned by the British Boxing Board of Control. Haye won the contest, but his reputation again took a battering, as he was blamed by many for bringing boxing into disrepute.
After dispatching Chisora, the Haymaker has tried desperately to entice Wladimir’s brother, Vitali, into a showdown for Vitali’s WBC World title, with a mixture of taunts, threats to retire and appearances on reality TV. Just as Haye’s publicity machine had opened doors for him earlier in his career, now it seems to work against him as much as anything. Certainly the Klitschko’s seem to have had their fill of dealing with David Haye. After seeing all his efforts to talk his way into a big money fight with Vitali being increasingly ignored, plus his attempts to forge a music and film career come to nothing, Haye has been forced to go back to what he once did best, fighting in the ring. With July 6 the preferred date, Haye is looking for a open air fight against a big name which will promote him up the rankings and either force a fight with Vitali or gain him a shot at the vacant title should Vitali decide to retire.
High on Haye’s hit list of possible opponents is Tyson Fury, who is preparing for an eliminator fight with Steve Cunningham on April 20th in New York. Should Fury win against Cunningham, he would have both the public recognition and the high contender ranking, to make him a profitable opponent for Haye. Indeed a Haye vs. Fury match has the potential to be as divisive and explosive as his fight with Chisora, as Fury is himself a loud and often controversial figure. Another possible opponent for Haye could be Tony Thompson, who recently KO’d the previously unbeaten British champion David Price. A win over Thompson would certainly help Haye re-establish himself on the world scene, however such a fight would not generate as much interest and money as a clash with a fellow British contender.
The options for Tyson Fury will be many, if he is able to overcome Steve Cunningham on April 20th. It could be said that Haye needs Fury, more than Fury needs Haye, and Tyson may decide to take on either Tony Thompson, or the unbeaten Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, as preferred options towards a title shot, rather than David Haye. It is certainly an interesting time in the heavyweight division at the moment, with the Klitschkos both getting older and Vitali verging on retirement in order to focus on politics. Change is in the air and the chances are that there will be at least one British heavyweight involved in the mix as these changes slowly come to pass.

Originally published at The Boxing Tribune  3-22-2013

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. 
Peter Silkov contributes to and

The Golden Age of Bernard Hopkins

By Peter Silkov

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Last Saturday in New York justice prevailed as Bernard Hopkins rose up to claim a victory in a history-making fight that will always be considered a triumphant moment in which Hopkins cemented his place in boxing history.

When Hopkins beat Tavoris Cloud at The Barclays Center, his victory was a culmination of 26 years of professional fighting and a long road to greatness. In becoming world Light Heavyweight champion, yet again, at the ripe age of 48 years old, the Philadelphian veteran broke his own previous record, of being boxing’s oldest ever world champ. The Executioner has finally gained the acknowledgment and acclaim that he has been striving for since he won the World Middleweight championship, way back in 1995. After almost two decades of being overlooked and under-appreciated, Hopkins is finally receiving some of the plaudits that are his due and has seen his status become that of a legend.

When he won the middle weight title at the age of 30, who would have predicted that Hopkins would still be winning world titles eighteen years later? Along the way he has had to toil against an often hostile and indifferent public and media. Following so many years on the edge of greatness, The Executioner is punching his way into his golden age.

After beginning his career as a heavy-handed boxer-puncher, Hopkins developed a style, which is certainly not to every fan’s liking. He went from a boxer-puncher to an ultra crafty counter-puncher. Hopkin’s style has been built not so much to excite, but to win fights. As a middleweight champion Hopkins reigned from 1995 to 2005, a record that makes him the longest reigning 160-pounder in boxing history. During this time he also successfully defended the title, a record of twenty times.

While he was Middleweight Champion, despite gaining respect for his craftsmanship, Hopkins found it difficult to gain the true recognition that he felt his skills and achievements merited. His counter punching style in the ring, and a prickly and outspoken character outside the ropes made it hard for many fans to identify with him. It has been said about the Philadelphian, that he is truly perfectly balanced, with a chip upon both shoulders.  Furthermore, his own promoters and management, who seemed unable and even unwilling to push him forward and heighten his profile, did not help Hopkins.  At times, his attempts to gain star exposure had to seem like a Herculean task and in the meantime created an animosity towards his promoter of the time Don King, who he directly blamed for his slow and arduous fight for acceptance. Hopkins found himself struggling to be noticed while other far less skilled fighters gained marketability, often even before they had won a meaningful title.  The toxic relationship with King could not have been more obvious and revenge so sweet when the world witnessed Hopkins’ defeat of King’s last hope, Tavoris Cloud. Even sweeter were the cheers of over 12, 000 fans that were also in Hopkins’ corner Saturday night. So, it is rightfully fitting that when Hopkins became a junior partner in Golden Boy Promotions a decade ago, it would begin a reign of success that clearly would build a kingdom, ruled by Bernard Hopkins and it would also watch a kingdom fall, that of Don King Promotions. How ironic that it should be Bernard Hopkins, of all Don Kings fighters, that would outlast Don King in boxing.

In many ways Hopkins is a throwback to the fighters of the past. They developed their skills in the gyms and built upon them fight by fight as their careers progressed, often overlooked and under-appreciated. However, there were breakthroughs along the way, when Hopkins gained brief tastes of the appreciation which he so craved. Victories over fan favorite and Don King star fighter, Felix Trinidad in 2001 and Oscar De La Hoya in 2004 had finally gained Hopkins bona fide star status. Yet, even at this point, the recognition was almost grudging. Many fans and members of the media continued to label Hopkin’s as unexciting. Then as Hopkins seemed to be gaining the recognition he felt that his skills and achievements deserved, he lost his middleweight crown to Jermain Taylor in 2005 on a close and controversial decision. He then went on to lose an equally contentious re-match to Taylor in the same year. Hopkins was finally bowing to age it seemed. At this point, it was expected the Philadelphia veteran would dully fade into the background like so many ex-champions before him. However, instead of walking away quietly into the past, Bernard Hopkins reinvented himself as a light heavyweight.

In his new weight division he started to build up an impressive resume. Wins over the likes of Antonio Tarver, Kelly Pavlik (who had captured the middleweight crown from Hopkins conqueror, Taylor), and even his former conqueror, Roy Jones, JR, showed that Hopkins was far from finished. Far from sinking into an inexorable decline, The Executioner was still developing and honing his skills to form a style to compliment his advancing years.

As his light heavyweight career has progressed, an extraordinary thing has happened to Bernard Hopkins.  He has suddenly captured the imagination of the wider boxing public, in a way in which he had strived to do for most of his previous career.  When Hopkins defeated Jean Pascal and became boxing’s oldest ever world champion at 46, people started to realise that here was a man doing something truly extraordinary.  The sleight of hand and foot which has befuddled so many of his opponents over the years, now seems to be making a fool of Father time himself.  At an age when most boxers are long gone into retirement, Bernard Hopkins is still able to perform at a level comparable to the physical prime of his mid 30s.  This is not an old fighter fighting from memory, with a paunch and handlebars and flat feet.  Hopkins’ Spartan lifestyle, and almost monk-like dedication to his craft has seen him retain his fitness to such a degree that his stamina would put many of his far younger fellow fighters to shame.  In addition to this, The Executioner has the speed and reflexes of a man in his 20s rather than his late 40s.  All this, along with a technique and guile, which has evolved over the best part of three decades, makes the Philadelphian a very tough opponent for anyone.

Hopkins’ win over Cloud last week only served to underline his extraordinary, age-defying run at Light Heavyweight.  Against Cloud, it was Hopkins who was the more active boxer, as he seemed at times to literally be toying with his much younger adversary.  The Executioner seemed to always be several steps ahead of Cloud, both mentally and physically.  He used his jab and sharp counters to keep Cloud at bay, cutting him over both eyes in the process.  Hopkins also showed spry legs, and a tight defense, as he gave his young rival a thorough schooling.

Hopkins’ achievements have led to both the man and the fighter being reassessed.  The boxer, who was for so long labeled a spoiler and boring, has now gained acknowledgement as a boxing professor.  Hopkins is also now being listened to outside the ring.  His outspokenness being seen as the wise words of a man who has spent a generation within the hardest game and has prevailed to come out on top. This is a fighter at his prime, a feat that has the boxing world looking on, and the public finally giving the champion the accolades that can only be truly appreciated from the roar of the crowd watching him.

Hopkins has managed to almost transcend boxing with his age-defying achievements. When he fights now it has become an occasion. He is at a point in his career where he is more than just a boxer, but a symbol of hope, a hope that, with dedication, the impossible can be achieved. Whatever he does from here on in his career, Hopkins’ legacy is assured and may even grow if he can extend his capabilities into his fifties. It is the golden age of Bernard Hopkins. From here on out, Hopkins does not have to prove he is a great fighter. He does not have to prove he deserves recognition, all he has to do is remain true to the sport of boxing and drink from cup that is filled with dedication, hard work, and perseverance.  Then prosperity will come to Bernard Hopkins.

 Originally published at The Boxing Tribune  3-15-2013

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to and