Heavyweight great Lennox Lewis always did say boxing is “like a drug,” with fighters always wanting “just one more” – Lewis himself was able to walk away on top, his health and his cash safe and sound, yet others, too many to mention, are not so lucky. Case, or cases, in point: Oliver McCall (who of course twice fought Lewis, the first time 25 long years ago) and Siarhei Liakhovich.
Both former champs are to fight later this month: former WBO heavyweight champion Liakhovich on the 14th, against a 15-12-1 Mike Bissett in Scottsdale, Arizona, and former WBC boss McCall on the 28th, against a 13-27-3 Grover Young in New Mexico. Liakhovich, 27-7(17) last boxed in 2017, when he actually picked up a win, and he is 43 years old. McCall, 59-14(38) actually fought in May of this year, picking up a win that went almost totally under the radar. McCall is 54 years old.
So why are these two men, two men who have basically zero chance of ever reaching the top again, still risking their health by fighting? McCall may do better than Liakhovich, despite being the older man by a significant margin, due to his legendary rock for a chin. At least McCall should be able to beat Young. Liakhovich may well win his comeback fight against Bissett, but fans cannot forget the nasty, scary KO “The White Wolf” was the victim of back in August of 2013 when Deontay Wilder left him twitching and convulsing on the canvas.
Fans everywhere were sure they had seen the last of Liakhovich, but no, here he is again, set to have his fourth fight since the Wilder horror show. McCall had seemingly boxed his last after suffering that infamous mental breakdown in his return fight with Lewis – way back in 1997. Yet here is “The Atomic Bull,” set for, incredibly, his 41st fight post the Lewis disaster.
With British legend Nigell Benn reportedly set to return before the end of the year, at age 55 and having been out of the ring since 1996, it’s clear boxing is a unique sport. Certainly the most addictive and dominating sport on the planet.
Let’s all wish McCall, Liakhovich and Benn the best of luck. They will need it.