So! What’s wrong with Boxing?

09.11.06 - By Coach Tim Walker – I love the sport of boxing! I like football, especially the cowboys and hurricanes, basketball, golf and hockey. But I absolutely LOVE boxing! My home DVR records every program that has the word “box” in it. I watch the classic bouts as well as all of the ESPN, Showbox, HBO and virtually every pay per view card. Hell I even watch the Contender series. However, when I ponder boxing schedules and see fights pitting the likes of Oleg Maskaev vs. Peter Okhello I cringe. We are a sport of fans who denounce Floyd Mayweather for taking on Carlos Baldomir though Baldimor is a good fighter and the linear champion of the division. To refresh your memory, Mayweather beat Baldimor, who beat Judah, who beat Spinks, who beat Mayorga, who beat Forrest, who beat Mosely, who beat De La Hoya, who beat Sweet Pea himself. Get the picture?

Therefore, allow me to paint you a pugilistic picture of a boxing ignominy if you would. For several years boxing annalists have reminded us how bad the heavyweight division is minus the personalities and talents of years past. They have boldly told us that Russian heavyweight domination is afoot and they were correct. On August 12, 2006 Russian potency became official when Oleg Maskaev thoroughly defeated Hasim Rahman to take hold of the WBC title and complete cycle of all the major belts being owned by Russian heavyweights. Rahman was viewed by many as the only real American threat to Russian boxing prowess (ignore that line Briggs and if you’re serious B-Hop you ignore it too).

So as I read and committed upcoming fights to memory, I wanted to believe that the Maskaev/Okhello was a typo. I quickly ran to my internet sources to see if maybe my schedule was mistaken and to my dismay it wasn’t. Right there in bold print and mailed out to me monthly was a championship bout featuring Oleg Maskaev vs. Peter Okhello. I must admit, I didn’t know who Okhello was. Just from viewing his record and reading three or four articles on him it seems that he is game, raw and padded. His 22 fight record over TEN years reads like a who is NOT HOT in boxing.

So why this bout, with this opponent in this location? Then it dawned on me. This bout isn’t about the title, this bout is about the title being in Russia and a Russian defending in Russia, which is something that none of the other Russian heavyweights have done. Great idea and it should bring more fans to the sport. But let’s be realistic. This fight is more of a showcase than a serious title fight. I don’t question Okhello’s heart just his experience and ability to be able to deal with Maskaev. To the promoters’ credit he did attempt to make a fight with Oliver McCall and Matt Skelton but apparently they declined. But to hell with that! Where is the public outcry?

Aren’t we the same fight fans that bashed Roy Jones for not being willing to travel over to Germany to fight Darius Michalczewski for the WBO title though Jones owned every other belt in his division? Aren’t we the same fight fans who denigrate James Toney for his weight issues when he is adding weight just to get big enough to fight these massive heavyweights? Aren’t we the same fight fans that embrace Jermain Taylor for taking on smaller competitors while criticizing Floyd Mayweather for taking on larger competitors? Where is your pugilistic outcry now?

Are there none willing to stand up and say, “This bout is not worthy of the world title accolade which has been bestowed upon it?” NO? Then I guess that leaves the first stone in my internet hand. Though I fully understand why this bout is happening, and I commend Maskaev for committing to the fight with Okhello early enough to afford him at least time to train, I am forced to view the fight for what it really is…one sided. Okhello has never been in line to take on a contender let alone a world champion. Maskaev is the real deal and I watched as he pulled it together to take out Hasim Rahman. I only wish that he ceremonial boxing bow to the Russian people would come against a better fighter. In my opinion, Okhello may have his moments but he eventually will succumb to the power of Maskaev.

Though I may not fully appreciate this match up I will fervently watch it, if I can find it on satellite, with a cold drink in one hand, enthusiasm in my heart, and a brain befuddled for why no one thinks this isn’t a great match up except me.

Article posted on 09.11.2006

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