Chris Byrd Looking To Restart His Career As A Cruiserweight
In a recent interview, two-time former heavyweight champion Chris Byrd (40-4-1, 21 KOs) stated that he has had had last fight as a heavyweight – his 11th round TKO loss to Alexander Povetkin on October 27, 2008 – and will not campaign as a cruiserweight for the remainder of his career. The 37 year-old Byrd hopes to make his first fight as a cruiserweight in March against an still un-named opponent, and following that he hope to challenge for one of the cruiserweight titles later in the year. How realistic is that, remains to be seen.
I personally think that Byrd should have moved down to cruiserweight two years ago, shortly after losing his International Boxing Federation heavyweight title to Wladimir Klitschko on April 22nd, 2006. Instead, however, Byrd sad idle for a year, not fighting at all, and wasted time that he could have used working his way up the cruiserweight latter. At this stage in his career, I now think it’s a mistake for him to move down to cruiserweight, because Byrd seems to have slowed down in the ring, and I think it would show against the younger, faster cruiserweights.
If Byrd thinks he can move down and immediately compete with best of them, I think he’s in for a big surprise. Today’s top cruiserweights, Enzo Macarrinelli and David Haye, hit about as hard as the top heavyweights. Even the prospects, like Eric Fields, would likely be far too quick and powerful for the 37 year-old Byrd. I do feel that Byrd could be a top 10 fighter in the division, but that would be pretty much a waste of time for Byrd. He’s clearly making the move in hopes of winning a title, and possibly making a little money.
Unfortunately, the cruiserweight division has few stars, and many of the bouts are much lower paying in comparison to the heavyweight. Hopefully this will change as more talented boxers, like Fields, move into the division and get more media exposure. As of now, however, David Haye, Macarrinelli, and to the lesser extent, O’Neil Bell, are the top names in the division. I really wouldn’t like to see Byrd go up against any of those fighters, because they would probably badly beat Byrd, and send him to retirement once and for all.
Byrd seems to be unaware of how fast and powerful the fighters are in this division, at least the top fighters. I think Byrd could beat some of the old war horses, like Virgil Hill, but he’s over 40, and it wouldn’t be such a big deal for Byrd to beat him. I see Byrd taking a fight or two in the division, and once he takes a beating from one of them, he’ll call it a day.
However, what he really needs to is to stay in the heavyweight division and try to focus on fighting one of the slower heavyweight champions, like Samuel Peter or Oleg Maskaev. Even now, I think Byrd could possibly beat either one of those heavyweights, and make them look. I’m hoping Byrd changes his mind about moving down in weight, because he still appears to have one more run left in his as a heavyweight.
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