Boxing

Who Will Emerge As The Top Heavyweight in 2006?

18.01.06 - By James Perks: Lets face it, the Heavyweight division is in a bit of a mess at the moment. We don't have a globally recognized champion and the division is hardly heaving with up and coming talent. Up until late last year, most would have given that title to Dr. Vitali Klitschko. However, persistent injuries put his somewhat lackluster and short lived title reign to bed late last year. So, as 2006 begins, who are the guys that can realistically look at becoming the man in this division over the next 12 months?

James Toney - Whether you love him or you hate him, (and I know, there’s a lot of both on ESB) this guy is a real character and he adds much needed color to this otherwise dull division. He may be foul mouthed, and look like he spends far too much in Burger King and not enough time in the gym, but Toney gets it done in the ring. His displays at heavyweight have varied from a wonderful systematic breakdown of an aging warrior Evander Holyfield, to a less convincing 10 round decision over little known Rydell Booker. There’s no question that Toney has the ability to rule this division. His talent is unmatched, needless to say. However, he is 37 years old and can't have too much gas left in the tank. I think he can beat most of the heavyweights in the division, if not all, and I expect him to score a lopsided victory over Hasim Rahman in March. Is he the savior of the Heavyweight boxing in the long term? No. Could he become a World champion unify a couple of major titles and have a reign as the top guy in the division? Most certainly.

Will 2006 be Toney’s year? Yes. Is he possibly the savior of the division? No.

Hasim Rahman - If he overcomes Toney then things open up for Hasim if he loses i see his time as a HW contender all but over. A victory over Toney would open up some mouth watering fights for 'The Rock' a clash against Lamon Brewster is something I would pay to see as is a clash with Wladimir Klitschko. Rahman is another colorful and to be honest quite likeable character, however he has struggled to make an impression at HW ever since Lennox Lewis nearly knocked his head into row z in their 2001 rematch. Following that, a dismal UD loss to John Ruiz was arguably his lowest point. But to Rahman's credit he has worked his way back up the ladder and amazingly if not very fortunately finds himself as the WBC champion, if Rahman can beat Toney, he will have an oppurtunity to stake his claim as top dog in this division. However, after March 18th, I think we mave have seen the last of 'The Rock'.

Is 2006 Rahmans Year? No. Is he possibly the saviour of the division? No.

Lamon Brewster - This guy is on a hot streak at the moment and without doubt in my eyes the most in form guy in the division. His 90 second demolition Andrew Golota was a real eye opener to what Brewster was capable of, he then followed that up with a thrilling KO of German prospect Luan Krasniqi in his backyard. Brewster knew the deal with going to Germany that he was almost certainly going to have to leave Krasniqi flat on his back to leave with his title belt, and that’s exactly what he did showing trademarks of a true champion. Brewster could be around for a while yet and 2006 could well be his defining year.

Is 2006 Brewsters year? Maybe. Is Brewster possibly the savior of the division? Yes.

Wladimir Klitschko - He has the size, skill and power to rule this division with more dominance than his older brother could ever dream of. Out of all the names in this list, Klitschko has all the tools in place to reign supreme in this division in 2006 and beyond. But the big question is, will he? Only time will tell, for 75% of his fight with Sam Peter, he looked like gold. However, for the other 25%, he looked like a scared girl. Wladimir is infuriatingly inconsistent. I think he lacks the mental toughness of his brother and in a sport like boxing, that is a big problem. He hasn't been the same guy since Corrie Sanders blew him away. However, he impressed me on the whole with his victory over Peter and I think he may be turning a corner. Confidence certainly seems to be an issue with him. When he is confident and fighting his fight, he is awesome when things are not going his way and the pressure is piled on he seems to crumble. A fight with Lamon Brewster seems likely and that is a huge fight for both the winner of that could go on to rule the division the loser will have a long road back.

Is 2006 Wlad's Year? Maybe. Is he possibly the savior of the division? Yes.

Sam Peter - He hits like a freakin train and displayed a granite chin against Wlad. So what does the future hold for Peter? Well, I see this guy hanging around the world title scene for a while. Yes, he is limited, but he has enough about him to win take out anyone in the top 10. I just think smarter boxers, such as Wladimir Klitschko and possibly Toney, could beat him 9 times out of 10. Saying that, if he could sharpen up his skills a little, this guy could make a huge impression on the division in years to come. Everyone likes a no nonsense banger and that,s exactly what the 'Nigerian Nightmare' is.

Is 2006 Sam Peters Year? Probably not. Is he possibly the savior of the Heavyweight division? Yes.

Nicolay Valuev - He is limited, he doesn't punch his weight, he is slow, awkward and down right hideous to watch, yet he is 7 feet tall! No, in all honestly, I see all the other names in this list beating him. He didn't impress me against Larry Donald or John Ruiz and I fancy the winner of Williams or Skelton to take his WBA title. Nothing against the guy, I hope he does well, but im not buying into it size, since size alone isn't enough to rule this division.

Is 2006 Valuev’s year? No. Is he possibly the savior of the division? No.

So for me Toney, Brewster and Klitschko are the most likely to be known as king of this division by the end of this year, but names like Williams, Skelton, Maskaev, Sultan Ibragimov and Shannon Briggs are all capable of making there mark in 2006. I for one, can't wait to see how it all unfolds.

Article posted on 19.01.2006



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