Is Floyd next to suffer June’s boxing death curse?
12.06.05 - By Andy Meacock: There’s an old adage that, ‘death comes in threes’.This theory is not proven by science, in fact it’s just a theory driven by scepticism or even Sinicism. There is no basis at all to this belief but yet many sceptics believe it that it’s true. Boxing is an unpredictable sport. It’s a sport that can spring surprises and it’s a sport where the underdog can always pull off the upset.. I guess that’s why many people love boxing as nothing can be taken for granted.
Article posted on 12.06.2005
So far this month we have seen two high profile boxers suffer boxing career deaths against opponents who were considered to be heavy underdogs. Our first example occurred on June 4th in Manchester, England when the great IBF Light Welterweight champion and strong favourite Kostya Tszyu fell to the young pressure fighter and underdog Ricky Hatton.
It was an epic battle in which both men had good spells but ultimately it was the image of Tszyu slumped on his stool at the start of the 12th round that most people will remember most.
Kostya Tszyu had embodied all that was great in a champion and seeing him quit after 11 rounds was almost impossible to fathom. Boxing death No 1 is Kostya Tszyu.
On Saturday June 11th Mike Tyson made his much anticipated comeback. ‘Anticipated’ may be the wrong word to use as Tyson had been humbled unexpectedly by Britain’s Danny Williams less than a year earlier. Tall Irishman Kevin McBride had been chosen as the sacrificial lamb for ‘Iron Mike’. The plan had been for Tyson to score a quick knockout so that world would believe he was back to his best. It was also to generate hype to project Tyson into a world title fight a year down the line. When Kevin McBride was named as Tyson’s opponent I laughed. I think many others laughed also as McBride was and is considered nothing more that a journeyman fighter and not a particularly good one at that. Perhaps a better example of McBride’s limitations is that he was stopped in 3 rounds in 1998 by a fighter named Michael Murray who had a boxing record at the time of 15 wins and 16 losses.
Last night was a truly sad night for Tyson fans, especially for those who felt it couldn’t get worse than the Williams fight. Tyson wasn’t even a shadow of his former self. From the opening round he struggled against McBride and by round 6 he resorted to tactics such as head butting and trying to break McBride’s arm. He was deducted 2 points but that didn’t matter, Tyson was done. McBride pushed Tyson over and Tyson just sat there looking beaten and dispirited. The bell rang at the end of the round and the on Tyson’s career as he refused to come out for the 7th round. McBride and father-time combined had made Tyson the 2nd Hall Of Fame fighter in 2 weeks to quit on his stool. I imagine many people had sad memories of Muhammad Ali v Larry Holmes or ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard v Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho after seeing this fight.
Boxing death No 2 is Mike Tyson.
The theory of ‘death coming in threes’ can now be speculated upon the upcoming bout involving Arturo Gatti and Floyd Mayweather when they meet on the 25th June.
This fighter is a classic match up in the sense that it pits a brilliant technical fighter in Mayweather against a powerful brawler in Gatti.
Now on paper Mayweather should have no problems out-boxing Gatti. Mayweather is unbeaten and has beaten some good fighters including the likes of Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo. Mayweather has never really been in any serious trouble in a fight either. Gatti on the other hand has been beaten on a few occasions but his worst defeat came to a superior boxer in Oscar de la Hoya. Like Floyd, Oscar has quick hands and Oscar punished Gatti that night with quick combinations that had Gatti finished in round 5. Gatti lost to Angel Manfredy who Floyd destroyed in 2 rounds and Gatti’s also lost twice to Ivan Robinson who we saw get dominated by a 42 year old Julio Cesar Chavez recently.
So does Gatti have any advantages at all in this fight?
The only obvious advantages that Gatti does have are size, power and support. Gatti and Floyd meet at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City and the crowd will be very pro-Gatti, even if Floyd wins it’s unlikely that people will cheer him.
So will Mayweather be the 3rd mega star to fall to the June boxing curse ?
My prediction is that Mayweather wins by a big points margin or maybe a cuts stoppage but if you’re feeling brave I’d then throw some money on Gatti because Hatton and McBride have already shown us this month that anything’s possible…
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