Ray Austin Set To Return In September And November

by James Slater - When he was last seen in a boxing ring, Ohio's Ray "The Rain Man" Austin was being handled easily by defending heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. Stopped in just two rounds by a one-handed "Dr Steel Hammer," Austin had a spectacularly bad night. Indeed, the March 2007 performance put on by Austin was so bad many fans felt they'd perhaps seen the last of him..

But now, firstly on September 27th on the Mosley-Mayorga card in LA and then on November 7th, on Don King's show in China, the 37-year-old will make his return. And while a number of fans will likely say, "So what, he was destroyed by Klitschko in two rounds," the fact is Austin, 24-4-4(16) is no bad fighter on his night. Remember his fight before the title shot against Klitschko? Austin and the then unbeaten Sultan Ibragimov went hell for leather over 12 all-action rounds. Scored a draw, the July 2006 fight saw both heavyweights hit the mat in a very exciting slugfest. So yes, Austin was blown away by Wladimir, but against the right type of opponent "The Rain Man" can hang in there and do damage.

Also, is there really that much shame in losing to an accomplished and imposing fighter such as Wladimir Klitschko? Many heavyweights have returned from 1st round KO losses in the past, never mind 2nd round ones. Even at age 37, the 6'6" Austin may still do something in today's heavyweight division.

Firstly, on the Mosley-Mayorga card this coming Saturday, Austin will face the durable and always willing Domonic Jenkins, 13-9-1(6), in a scheduled 8-rounder (according to BoxRec). Then, should he successfully shed his ring-rust without any problems against the man who has taken the likes of Chazz Witherspoon and Jason Estrada the distance recently, Austin will face Polish tough guy Andrew Golota in China.

Say what you want, but a Golota-Austin fight will get fans paying some attention. Two big, if flawed, heavyweights going at it knowing they have nowhere to go if they lose? It's fair to say the fight will be lively for however long it lasts. Fun fights often come about when guys other than the top ranked dudes get it on. This could well be the case on November 7th. And the winner, as crazy as it may sound, would actually have at least a so-so chance of landing a title fight of some kind. You can see why Ray Austin is still fighting.

Also, the Klistchko disaster aside, Austin has proven he is a capable fighter. The 2nd round TKO mauling at the hands of the IBF and WBO heavyweight king marked only the second time in his 32 fight career that Austin has been stopped. Wins over decent men like Owen Beck and Jo-El Scott aren't too shabby, while draws with Lance Whitaker, Larry Donald and Ibragimov also show he can fight some.

If he gets past Jenkins on Saturday, and is then able to send Golota into retirement in November, Ray Austin might, just might, wind up boxing for a version of the world title once again before he's through!

Article posted on 23.09.2008

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