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Chris Byrd To Move Down To Light Heavyweight?

By David Lar: According to boxingtalk website, former IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Chris Byrd (40-4-1, 21 KOs) is reportedly moving down to the light heavyweight division, skipping the cruiserweight division altogether, in hopes of winning another title at the lower weight class. Byrd, 37, told boxingtalk that he plans on bringing excitement to the light heavyweight division. The move by the southpaw Byrd is somewhat surprising, because many people had previously expected Byrd to move down to the cruiserweight division to compete against the top fighters, like O’Neil Bell, Enzo Maccarinelli, David Haye and Steve Cunningham.

Even there, however, many boxing fans saw it as a uphill climb for Byrd, for his defensive skills have eroded considerably in the past seven years, and offensive skills, never really good to begin, have also dropped off steadily. Byrd said to boxing talk that he walks around at 180 lbs, which will make it quite easy for him to make the 175 lb weight limit for the light heavyweight division. if Byrd is at all serious about giving it a go as a light heavyweight, he’d be an instant threat to any of the top fighters.

While he may not have to offensive firepower to compete against huge heavyweights like Wladimir Klitschko or powerful cruiserweights like Haye and Maccarinelli, Byrd clearly has more than enough offensive sills left in the tank to match up with light heavyweights like Bernard Hopkins, Antonio Tarver, Clinton Woods, Danny Green, Chad Dawson and Zsolt Erdei. Normally, I’d say that Byrd would have no chance whatsoever if it meant that he had to strip off 20+ pounds to get down to the light heavyweight limit, but being that he’s only five pounds off the limit already, he’s likely to still possess much of the same power that he did as a heavyweight.

That may not be much, but it almost enough for him to defeat the IBF #1 heavyweight challenger Alexander Povetkin, whom he fought very tough before fading in the 11th and being stopped by TKO. Obviously, the move comes a little late for Byrd, as he should have done this at least two years ago after losing his IBF heavyweight title to Wladimir Klitschko by a 7th round TKO in April 2006.

Regardless, however, Byrd may still have enough left to win a title in the light heavyweight division, which is arguably one of the weakest divisions in boxing at this time. If Byrd is even half as good as he was in his prime, that would perhaps be more than enough for him to win a title or two in the talent-weak light heavyweight division.

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