Boxing: Fall Season Brings Disappointment for Heavyweight Fans

By Paul McCreath: Back this past summer all of us heavyweight fans were looking forward to the fall season with great anticipation. For the first time in years we were promised a long list of meaningful bouts among the big boys that would perhaps sort things out a bit. All four of the alphabet belt holders seemed ready for action. Wladimir Klitschko, the International Boxing Federation champion, was negotiating for a voluntary defense. Different names were bandied about, among them Corrie Sanders, Evander Holyfield, Nicolay Valuev, and Sergei Liakhovich. In the end, Wladimir chose, much to the disappointment of his fans, not to fight at all until after the new year.

World Boxing Association champ Ruslan Chagaev and World Boxing Organization belt holder Sultan Ibragimov had everyone excited over their signing for a unification bout on October 13. Eventually Chagaev had to pull out with an at first undisclosed illness and Ibragimov instead fought a voluntary against the 43 year-old Holyfield. This may have satisfied nostalgia fans but it hardly was what most other followers preferred to see.

The World Boxing Council title mess was finally scheduled to be sorted out with Oleg Maskaev defending against Sam Peter in early October. That one fell apart when Oleg hurt his back. The winner was supposed to meet Vitali Klitschko after his September bout with Jameel McCline. That fight was cancelled too when Vitali went down again with physical problems. Instead we got Sam Peter against McCline for the WBC interim title. Sam won the fight but looked very ordinary. Some thought McCline had done enough with his three knockdowns to deserve the upset decision but Don King fighters rarely lose the close ones so Peter got a belt of sorts.

Now the Maskaev-Peter match is being touted for February with the winner to meet Vitali but with various protests and challenges in court and the possibility of more injuries, who knows if these bouts will ever happen.

We had rumors for a while that the WBA would hold an elimination tournament but it failed to arouse much approval and the matter was dropped. Maybe it was just as well. The names suggested were hardly earth shaking.

We did get one eliminator for the WBC number two spot, whatever that means, when Juan Carlos Gomez outpointed Oliver McCall again but all that accomplished was to eliminate a popular veteran, McCall and replace him with an unpopular one, Gomez. Now we are left with the only promised matches that are really happening, the IBF tournament. What looked like an idea with only luke warm interest is looking pretty appealing now. Alex Povetkin started things off this past weekend by stopping the veteran former champ Chris Byrd in 11 rounds. Povetkin looked very good to most fans. Next weekend the other half of the semi-finals takes place with Calvin Brock meeting young American hope Eddie Chambers. The winner will meet Povetkin in the new year and then that winner gets Wlad in a mandatory later on, perhaps in the summer of '08. Let us hope the new year brings more excitement in the ring than the fall season did.

Article posted on 28.10.2007

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