Finding the Future

25.08.05 - By John Gaulrapp: He’s out there somewhere. Somewhere in a dank, dark basement gym he’s been spending countless hours working the speed bag and jumping rope. The very type of place Apollo brought Rocky to help him regain the eye of the tiger (that’s Rocky III, folks - remember the one with Mr. T?). He has to be out there. Boxing needs him now more then ever..

The heavyweight division needs a savior. Boxing’s flagship division is a barren wasteland of has-beens, could’ve beens and never will be’s. Blown up middleweights and carefully matched journeymen comprise the bulk of the top ten. The remainder’s made up of victim’s of now retired ex-champ Lennox Lewis. Yet, every few months these "D students" trade partners and alphabet straps in hopes of distinguishing themselves from the pack.

None possess any degree of charisma to woo the public back into caring about the sweet science. What’s worse? None possess enough talent to make the public care.

It’s been over two decades since Mike Tyson exploded onto the boxing scene and the front page of the sports section. Thunderous punches and cartoonish knockouts forced the public to sit up and take notice. So much so, that a well past his prime aging ex-champ still set record payper view numbers for a fight against Lennox Lewis in 2002. A fight that took place 16 years after Tyson won his first title.

So where’s our next Tyson? Our next Ali, Holmes or Louis? We’ve been spoon-fed David Tua, Wladimir Klitschko and Michael Grant as our sports next icon. They were boxing’s Luke Skywalker, Neo and Aragorn rolled into one. The "next generation", the one who would restore order to the division, our new king. These blockbusters, sadly, went straight to video.

Our new flavors of the month, Samuel Peter and Calvin Brock are largely untested and very raw at best. Sure, Peter can crack but he lacks the flamboyancy of Ali or killer instinct of Tyson. This month’s bout against kid brother Klitschko will also prove whether he can take a real heavyweight punch. Regardless, unless he literally decapitates someone in the ring or boxes a kangaroo in his next bout, it’s doubtful the public will care.

It seems my mother, Fr. Keenan and the clerk at the post office were all correct. Patience is a virtue. But as boxing fans, we’ve been collectively waiting patiently in line for quite some time now. Our feet hurt and we could use a chair and a cold soda. We’re tired of waiting for our next savior. But sadly, we have no other option. Until then, enjoy this weekends heavyweight explosion. Perhaps one of these young bucks named Briggs or Mercer (combined age of 77) will make us stand up and take notice. Or watch UFC and see if the future has another sport.

Article posted on 25.08.2005

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