Nicolay Valuev: Is His Boxing Career Finished?

17.04.07 - By Paul McCreath: Until this past weekend, Nicolay Valuev (46-1, 34 KO's) was recognized as the WBA title holder at heavyweight and was subject to much debate as to his relative abilities. Most fans accepted the fact that his boxing skills were somewhat ordinary, but some felt that his gigantic size advantage over all opponents made him virtually unbeatable by an ordinary sized heavyweight. On the other hand, many felt he would be chopped down by the first top rated contender he faced. The issue of beating Rocky Marciano's record of 49 consecutive wins was a hot topic as well. Would it count if Valuev passed the 50 mark in wins considering that one no decision? ..

Now the debates are over, however, thanks to Ruslan Chagaev's 12-round decision victory over Valuev on Saturday we now know that an ordinary sized heavyweight can indeed defeat Big Valuev and Rocky's record is safe for a few more years. So what happens now? Is Valuev finished? I don't think so.

First of all, Nicolay may have been defeated by Chagaev but he was certainly not badly beaten. Physically speaking, Valuev should be the same fighter today. He is still about 7 feet tall, still weighs the same 325 or so pounds, and is still as strong as an ox. He still has a good jab and a very good chin as well and pretty good stamina to go with it. These are the same attributes that took him to the WBA title in the first place. The only things he has lost are his reputation of being perhaps unbeatable by mid sized heavyweights and maybe some of his confidence.

Valuev will turn 34 this summer, which nowadays, isn't that old. Since he has only had a proper trainer since moving to Germany three years ago, we might expect that he could still conceivably improve his boxing skills, with the heavyweight division wide open and rather weak, there is no reason why Valuev cannot be a factor. Will he regain a title? Probably not but I would not rule it out. What then are the possibilities for the big guy?

The first thing he needs to do get a couple of decent wins to re-establish his credibility. They don't have to be top 10 rivals, top 20 would do. After that, there are many possibilities. A match with Wladimir Klitschko, while not as attractive as before, would still go over big in Moscow. Wladimir might fancy that some time in the fall as a last voluntary defense before his mandatory is due again, despite his recent comments of not wanting to fight Valuev now that he no longer has a title. A rematch with Chagaev would be possible but maybe not likely. Why not a bout with Vitali Klitschko, again in either Moscow or Germany? Sergei Liahovich is looking for a bout to re-establish himself as a contender; That would be big in Europe, as well and there are probably still other heavyweights that could be possibilities.

All in all, I don't think we have seen the last of Nicolay Valuev just yet.

Article posted on 18.04.2007

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