Heavyweight Division Heats Up

14.11.06 - By Ben Yap: In recent years, there's been talk about how boxing is going down for the count, and how other sports, such as MMA are taking over. But I tend to disagree. MMA is becoming more and more popular without a doubt, but boxing is entering a new phase itself. When you really look at it, boxing is finally becoming a global sport.

With the dominant heavyweights being from Russia and top prospects from Africa and with the Super Heavyweight Tournament soon to be held in Australia, boxing might be becoming less popular in the U.S, but it's starting to heat up all over the world.

Last weekend, we saw the IBF Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko defend his belt against Calvin Brock. In this fight, he showed a lot of poise and won the fight easily with his jab and movement. The younger Klitschko is definitely coming into his prime as a Champion, learning from his past experiences, and from one of the best trainers in the business in Emmanuel Steward
who has trained most of the heavyweight champs of the past decade, including Holyfield, Lewis, Mccall and Moorer.

Then we have Valuev, the 7-foot Giant from Russia. I think he's better than people give him credit for. The amazing thing about Valuev is that he does the job with alot of short punches, and he definitely makes for interesting fights because he doesn't do what a typical tall and rangey fighter would do which is to box and move. He has also proven he can take a good shot, so he is definitely another fighter to look out for.

Then we have Maskaev. What a great boxing comeback story. Whether Maskaev holds the belt for long we will just have to wait and see, but one things for certain, not many men get to hold the heavyweight championship belt, and it's a good lesson to us all that you may be down but you're never out till you give up. In his fight with Rahman he basically had Rahman's number
and he repeated his performance which proves the saying is true, styles make fights. Even though Rahman had improved over time with the experiences he had had with his fights against the best of the division, it was all about styles, and of course, as Maskaev proved, heart.

Shannon Briggs is another fighter who went against the odds. Both he and Maskaev had been top contenders in the 90's only to slip back into obscurity especially with the dominant champions like Holyfield and Lewis holding the belts holding the belts much longer than expected. David Tua is another fighter on the comeback trail, will he join Maskaev and Briggs in claiming a portion of the heavyweight crown?

Then, of course, we have James Toney. Lacking power in this division, he is still smart and skillful enough to make the other top contenders in the division look silly. And with his wit and smack-talk, he always makes for entertaining pre-fight entertainment.

Sam Peter, from Nigeria, is getting better as a fighter. With his fight against James Toney, he will have learnt a lot from it. In the past, most new champions become champs by beating former champs, and when I say champ, I mean champ, in the eyes of the public. Holmes had to beat Ali, Lewis and Holyfield had to beat Tyson. When Lewis retired, there was no one to pass the baton, no one to test the next generation of heavyweight contenders. So with Toney moving up, he is definitely giving a lot of these fighters a test and a run for their money and actually providing them with alot of experience.

So, as we can see, the heavyweight division is just heating up. With fighters from all over the world, fighters from past eras
surprising us all and claiming belts, former middleweights moving up and proving the lower divisions are actually more
skillful, the heavyweight division is just heating up

As we approach 2007, will there be a unified champion? Not in the short term. But does it matter? Not really. What makes a divsion great is competitive fights and matchups. We've all seen that even when the belts are unified within a few months the belts are split again. What will really make the division exciting is competitive matchups, the best fighting the best. The heavyweight division is just heating up.

Article posted on 15.11.2006

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