Kevin McBride: The Pride Hits His Stride

07.06.06 - By Dan Scog: Maybe it was because I was always picked last for kickball in grade school. Or maybe it’s because I’m slowly becoming a masochist. Maybe…aw, hell. Whatever the reason, there’s got to be an article written about Kevin “The Pride” McBride (photo by Tom Casino / Showtime) and somebody’s got to write it. Yes, I am THAT guy.

For everyone who is still reading, I can probably guess some of the free associations happening in your minds right now. “Journeyman”, “Brought in to do what Danny Williams didn’t – lay down”, and “Tyson conqueror”…It’s hard to read anything about Kevin McBride without hearing these sorts of things. Come to think of it, it’s hard to read anything about Kevin McBride period. Most net searches on his name will pull up interviews and articles focusing on pre-fight information for Tyson-McBride. And before I forget, yes, I’m sure many of you are just letting the word “bum” echo repeatedly in your heads.

So let’s be honest. Tyson didn’t deserve a shot at a world title after being knocked out by Danny Williams. McBride didn’t even deserve a shot at the aged Tyson. Tyson gave McBride the chance because he needed another “W” on his record. Any “W”.

Let’s not stop there. Even granting the condition of Mike Tyson’s career almost NOBODY or their mothers had McBride picked to win at the time. Take a little trip down memory lane no further than into the ESB archives, if you don’t believe me. But really…who could blame them? McBride was a 10:1 shot by most Vegas odds makers. 10:1. Think about that for a second, this is boxing, not horseracing for Pete’s sake. McBride’s skin has practically evolved to the point of white, green, and orange and he got 6:1 odds in bloody IRELAND. This fight was considered a joke because McBride was a sure-fire tomato can. Not because Tyson wasn’t in his prime. After McBride’s KO win, he was still a joke. It’s just that people extended the joke to include Tyson. Doesn’t really seem fair to me.

Yep. It’s time for more honesty: had Tyson dispatched McBride the way he was supposed to you can be sure it would have been used as some sort of nonsensical springboard to a title fight or title fight eliminator. So it only makes sense that after McBride sent Tyson packing for retirement he entered into negotiations with Don King for a fight with then champion John Ruiz. Ruiz-McBride was going to be a big regional moneymaker – it was likely to take place in Boston where the race cards of Irish and Latino would turn into ticket sales. Unfortunately, this fight was supposed to take place after Valuev-Ruiz. As everyone knows, there was no belt in Ruiz’s suitcase when he packed for his return to the states.

So McBride fought another fighter ranked hundreds of places below him: Byron Polley. Byron Who? Exactly. It’s a valid to question the quality of most of McBride’s opponents from his last nine fights. But at least give credit where it’s due: he’s been knocking them all through the ropes. Only two of his last nine have gone past the fifth round. And one of those was the sixth round TKO on Tyson.

I don’t think Kevin McBride is what the heavyweight division needs right now. I don’t think he’s what boxing needs right now. But he never got his shot. And now all sources are pointing to notion that he will – on August 5th against WBO title holder Sergei Liakhovich. And I say let him have it. Because after all…that’s one of the sweetest things about the sweet science. That someone like McBride can get a Rocky-style shot at the top of the world.

People (and I don’t exempt myself) complain all the time about the random, hand-picked, and screened opponents for match-ups in boxing, but really it’s something that makes the sport exciting. Boxing is like no other sport in this respect. Can you imagine the Detroit Tigers being selected to play against the New York Yankees in the World Series? Sure they’d be picked as a soft target and didn’t deserve it, but you can be sure as hell I’d be rooting for the Tigers…especially after I went to see my bookie. Didn’t your mom ever teach you to put your money on the long shots? Due to his many public floggings in the boxing community and a general total lack of respect, I’m sure McBride will get exaggerated odds. Even against Liakhovich, who is champ only because of an upset-win of his own over Brewster. They say that lightning doesn’t strike twice, but I’m hoping the luck of the Irish will…and end up bringing me a pot o’ gold come August 5th.

Article posted on 08.06.2006

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