Mr Smith to Bring Justice to Ginger

Saturday 19 December 2020

I believe Callum Smith will beat Canelo tonight. I've only seen seen the Brit fight once, against George Groves, but that was more than enough for me. Groves was a high-class performer with great movement and decent power, but a suspect chin. Not only did Smith get a TKO against him, he thoroughly outmaneuvered and outclassed him. That was a hell of a statement.

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez is a drugs cheat who has no business still being in the ring. If boxing were a clean sport, where the welfare of fighters was taken seriously, Canelo would never fight again, and would have faced charges of reckless endangerment or assault for taking a muscle-building substance in the build-up to his 2018 clash with Genady Golovkin. Instead he got six months off from the ring, which is less than nothing. I think every article that covers Canelo should call this offense out loud and clear. He's a cheat, who takes illegal substances that supercharge his ability to inflict damage. It's no different to putting a horseshoe in his gloves.

I believe Callum Smith is a class above him, as a fighter and as a man. Where Canelo got exposed against Mayweather, he was able to claw back some credit against Genady Golovkin, though Golovkin was fading as a force at that point in his career, and gave away too much size to the drugs cheat who goes by the nick-name 'Canelo' (meaning "Ginger"). Callum Smith is a different prospect entirely - a skilled, dominant, confident fighter in his prime, who has a size advantage.

My prediction is that Callum Smith will out-class Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez completely, much in the mode of Calzaghe vs Lacy.

It is a stain on the sport of boxing that a man could cheat, get his best result as a fighter by cheating, and yet retain the credit for that result without ever paying any price, despite being found-out. Alvarez has been rewarded over and over for cheating with huge pay-days and top ranking. 

It is my hope that Smith serves him some justice tonight. 


Daniel DuBois vs Joe Joyce - Friends Make Bad Enemies

Sunday 28 April 2019

Daniel DuBois fought the tough and cagey Richard Lartey last night, earning a KO in the fourth round of an entertaining encounter. Ghanaian Lartey had only lost one fight in fifteen, and came in to the ring with a strategy - play possum, cover-up, and let Commonwealth Champion 'Dynamite' Daniel DuBois get within striking distance, then... strike!

It worked, inasmuch as, after the very orthodox British fighter got within striking distance, Lartey caught him powerfully enough to make him take a step back. The well-drilled Brit stepped back out of range, with his guard up, took a breath, before continuing to snap his impressive jab right onto his opponents face.

The fight briefly exploded in round 3, with both men throwing wildly, and Lartey finding DuBois' chin twice. Again, Dubois stepped back, took a breath, and continued. Things settled down until the finish, which came a round later, when a right-left combination sent the challenger to the canvas. He rose at 9, but referee Robert Williams saw a dazed, beaten fighter, with glazed eyes and blood seeping from the nose, and decided it was best if he didn't keep getting hit in the head by an adonis fighting machine.

Well done, Mr Referee.

Richard Lartey is a typical heavyweight, insofar as heavyweights are a bizarre and mysterious breed: He claims to be 27 years old, but looked at least a decade older than that; his trunks inexplicably bore the name "Richard Harrison", as if even his own shorts weren't sure who he was; at the conclusion of the fight, he took the stoppage meekly, but a few minutes later wouldn't let the referee hold his hand for the announcement of the result.

It was a regulation win for an up-and-coming heavyweight, a decent fighter dispatched, and a challenge overcome. The talk now is of an all-British contest between DuBois and Joe Joyce, who was watching on. The two got together for a ringside interview afterwards.

DuBois smiled at Joyce with something like boyish admiration. Joyce gave DuBois lots of room and spoke softly and respectfully. It was quite a touching scene, all told.

There is an effort to build a fight between them, and to fake an animosity - but it just isn't there. They obviously got on well in Team GB and respect each other - there's no beef, just two young heavyweights making their way.

If they do decide to fight next year, I hope that the build is about two friends fighting for a title, because that's a fight I'll buy. Neither of these guys is a convincing actor, but they are both promoted by Frank Warren, who goes in for the tried-and-tested tropes of grudge and rivalry.

Unfortunately, I can already hear the hollow sound of the enormous-but-puppyish Daniel DuBois reading something like "It's payback time" off a card for a promo package. Then the sleepy and likable Joe Joyce replying "I'm gonna' show him!" and literally no-one buying a ticket to see what should be one of the most anticipated British fights of the decade. As things are, though, I expect them both to build their records up till they are approaching the world stage and fighting for world titles, or facing each other in a no. 1 contenders match.

Plans like that don't always work out - just look at Tyson Fury vs David Price, and the world-level fight that was supposed to be, before Price got exposed as being the 'big, stiff idiot' that Fury said he was.

Out of the two, I reckon Joe Joyce is the better prospect, with superior technical skills, and deceptive movement, but much can change. DuBois obviously has a decent chin, and a big right hand, which is as much as it takes to win any fight, as he showed gain last night.


RIP Sid Waddell

Tuesday 14 August 2012

The geordie classicist who made the darts about more than drunk men with bellies throwing things; he mystified it and made them conquerors and gladiators and sorcerers. Surely Sid Waddell is example enough that a professional level of skill at a game is no qualification to commentate on it. Commentary is an art all of its own - in the right hands any game can be a transcendent experience, made of more than the mechanics of technique and application. Sid Waddell's bravery in using such high-minded analogies and metaphors in a definitively working-class sport paid off to make him utterly untouchable as the voice of that sport for decades. He was an original. He'll be missed.


Vitali Klitschko: Victim of Circumstance

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Saturday the 19th of March, 2011 saw a defining chapter in the sad career of Vitali Klitschko. His victory over Odlanier Solis was one of the most disappointing displays of the sweet science ever to take place. Vitali and his brother, Wladimir, have had to contend with a depressing number of such disappointments, but I will forever argue that they are not to blame.

Even before the fight started there was a frisson of anticipation, as anyone who has seen Solis fight knows that he is a serious puncher, a surprisingly fast mover and an excellent technician. With only 17 fights to his name, it was perhaps too early to put him in with a Klitschko, but he could present genuine competition.

The fight itself started promisingly, with both men stepping in and landing blows with accuracy and power. Vitali looked like he was gearing up for a more open fight, like the classic he had with Lewis eight years earlier; he was headhunting and had clearly decided to take a punch or two so he could land his own. Solis was moving well, though too often backwards. Perhaps he wanted to bring Vitali forward and overbalance the giant Ukrainian, or perhaps it was dawning on him what a massive man he had in front of him.

Then, after an apparently innocuous exchange with seconds left in the first round, Solis fell on his backside clutching his knee. The referee counted; the fight was over. Vitali was incensed; the crowd booed; Solis was sat on his stool while the doctor checked him over. Later, the reports came in that Solis had ruptured a cruciate ligament in his knee.

So: it was nobody's fault. But these champions fight twice a year; the next time we shall see Vitali it will be autumn, against another challenger with dubious credentials.

David Haye, a blown-up Cruiserweight, will most likely lose on points to the cagey Wladimir and Vitali will have to face someone like Alexander Povetkin. What would you ask of Wladimir? That he lose? He will keep the fight at long range, Haye's face will become well acquainted with his jab and the fight will drag to the inevitable conclusion.

But Wladimir will win, and Vitali will beat whoever else they put in front of him and the world will yawn at two of the greatest fighters to ever step in the ring.


Sunday 23 May 2010

Alex James reveals that Beetroots, to a man in his forties, are indeed more exciting than girls ever were.


Klitschko: The Inevitable Happens

Saturday 20 March 2010

I came home from spending a couple of hours at the pub, playing pool and slowly nursing my pint. You'll be pleased to know that when I finally got onto the table after about an hour's wait I destroyed all comers and retired undefeated. I also had people desperate for me to teach them to play like I do - something I perhaps should consider as a serious way of making mickey-mouse cash.

Having completely slipped my mind, I was surprised to find that the Klit v nobody bout had taken place, with the inevitable having inevitably happened. Of course, I found this out on the BBC website, on which Boxing is very much a minority sport. The report, however, reflected my previous comments worse than I could have imagined: "Klitschko jabbed his way through a largely dull fight, with Chambers mainly trying to limit the damage." it said. The knock-out may have been exciting, but coming five seconds from the end of a fight Wlad had long since won, I might quibble that the viewers were not spared this less than edifying spectacle by its ultimately brutal conclusion.

Still, good for Wlad, good for David Haye and good for 'Pay day' Eddie Chambers, who got his check (I presume, nay, hope). For the love of god: it's the heavyweight championship of the world. That used to mean something more than the next fight and a fat check - or am I being baselessly nostalgic?


Bernard Hopkins vs Roy Jones jr. II: Confused Geriatric Squabble

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Oh no. Jones, at 41, having been knocked about like a pinata in his last few bouts, most recently eviscerated in one round by the thoroughly average Danny Green, is set to make money against Hopkins (45) in Vegas on the third of April. I find it interesting that the weight has not as yet been set. That's usually one of the first things you know about a fight. That the announcement of the fight came without this detail (presumably to be agreed on later when both men can find the scales they think they might have put in the loft, or maybe the shed - don't bother them about it now, they're having a nap) underscores how unimportant and meaningless this money-making venture is to both men, to the boxing commission sanctioning it and to their public. Hell, maybe they'll set it at heavyweight so they don't have to worry about any middle-age spread they might be lugging around. I'm joking, of course, I know they're both in great shape. I am shocked at RJJ's lack of self-respect. Mate; it's over.


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