Heavyweight Boxing: Will it ever rise again?
By Tom Drury: The Heavyweight division sadly has been on the decline for many years now. Since the times of Rocky Marciano, Jack Dempsey, Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazer, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson just to name a few. Today the Heavyweight division is dominated by two brothers based in Germany born in the Ukraine namely Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko. The Klitschko brothers are two of the most underrated heavyweights in the history of boxing in my opinion, victims of circumstance and the level of fellow heavyweights in the division.
Many fans have the opinion that the Klitschko brothers are boring and have a robotic fighting style this is not true. I will concentrate on Wladimir as he is the better fighter of the two brothers in my opinion. I will say Wladimir’s personality is far from endearing he is what many fans including myself consider “too nice” for a heavyweight fighter. That said when he steps in the ring he knocks his opponents out. After all that’s what heavyweight boxing is all about.
Boxing without doubt is the hardest sport in the world. It is the opinion of many boxing experts, trainers and analysts that the big men of today especially from the U.S.A are opting for other mainstream sports namely NFL, baseball and the NBA many think this is due to the tough nature of boxing and the immediate financial gains of other sports. The heavyweight division is in dire need of some personality and fighters driven by achieving the huge feat of winning the heavyweight championship of the world. After all to wear the heavyweight championship belt round your waste is the pinnacle of sport (all sport). By Mike Tyson’s own admission when he first won that belt fighting Trevor Berbick in 1986 and becoming the youngest heavyweight champion in history in the process. He didn’t take it off his waist for a week whether it was at home or walking down the street.
Tyson was a fighter driven by the thought of taking that belt home. The pay check was a afterthought. Tyson didn’t step into the ring thinking of the money; His only thought was of decimating his opponent. No matter how big, powerful or skilled his opponent was Tyson would not let any fighter take his dream away. Today’s fighters in the heavyweight division just don’t seem to have the desire of the past heavyweight champions. They are just chasing the one big paycheck that fighting the Klitschko brothers offers up to them or content in fighting other contenders for moderate sums of money. Heavyweight contenders of today just have too much respect for the Klitschkos.
Don’t get me wrong they are good fighters and there is nothing wrong with respecting there fight game but whenever I see a challenger stepping into the ring with a Klitschko they seem in awe and admiration.
Fighters seem to tighten up, don’t let their hands go and seem content to lay down and take the beating or get knocked out. This is the hurt business fighters are not there to respect there opponent as a man they are there to inflict damage on there opponent and reap the rewards for doing so. Win or lose (I say that because I do not compare fighters ability in different eras) one thing I do know is Tyson would have gave the Klitschko brothers hell as would Holyfield, Ali, Dempsey, Holmes, Liston, Frazer as would many more as they all come to fight.
Heavyweight boxing does have prospects (if you can call them that) Deontay Wilder U.S.A, David Price UK, Tyson Fury UK. These three fighters one time or another have all been used as sparring partners for the Klitschkos. After these sessions or training camps all we here is unwarranted praise for the Klitschkos it is almost as if they are star struck. The heavyweight division on the whole is the pinnacle of boxing and the main advert of the sport. The atmosphere, spark and imaginations it has captured over the years is immense. Unfortunately these days have gone and we are left concentrating on the stars from the lower weight divisions, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Paquiao, Andre Ward, Adrien Broner. Is there hope for the heavyweight division?