A Heavy Burden To Carry

28.03.04 – By Chris Acosta – Looking for the next great heavyweight is kind of like looking for love: you’re better off faking an orgasm. Neither one of those will ever happen until you truly don’t care. It’s not a nice fact of life but it’s reality and once you accept it and move on, you’ll better appreciate the experience when you do get there.

Dominick Guinn seemed to have all the tools to seduce us into believing he was “the one.” He had an impressive amateur background, a solid team behind him and possessed many small nuances in his game that so many of today’s big men lack. What he lacks however, is consistency and isn’t that the ingredient that truly marks a champion? How could he look so good in his first two HBO outings and then struggle in the next two bouts against opponents that seemed so much less threatening?

If you are like me, then you no doubt feel that the spark is gone. I can’t blame a guy for having a bad night, if that was indeed the case, but in all fairness that would discredit the effort put forth by Monte Barrett.

With last nights upset, the division that carries the sport -whether we like that fact or not- was thrown back into a limbo from which it can’t seem to shake off. Many of us went searching for Mr. Right ( no gay undertones here folks, I am just trying to keep the theme of my introduction going) and found ourselves dissapointed again. But how many times will this happen before we learn? What are the warning signs? Should we stop reading press articles and broadcasting commentary? Might it be better to just sit there with the volume off and draw our own conclusions?

I was the biggest supporter of Wladimir Klitschko and couldn’t sing his praises enough, which is also why I almost threw up when he lost to Corrie Sanders. Jameel McCline was on a good roll for a while until turning into frozen dinner for Wlad. As far as American heavies go, it’s a dry spell of epic proportions. Guinn isn’t necessarily gone but it’s going to take some time before we decide to give him another chance. Barrett has got more guts than the Dawn Of The Dead movie but his style will get him into trouble with a taller fighter just like it did against Wladimir. Hasim Rahman is finished. Chris Byrd has that tremendous defense but when is he going to make his “move” on us? He’s already lost to Wladimir (are you noticing a theme here?) and wouldn’t beat Vitaly Klitschko. James Toney? He was my favorite fighter years ago and I love the guy but he’s a counterpuncher and not all heavies that go 6′ 6″ are going to bend down so he can hit them.

If there is one fight that now stands out as more important than ever, it’s Vitaly vs. Corrie Sanders. Scratch important, it’s vital. It’s about the linear championship and it will establish whether we have a fresh new face as champion (Vitaly) or a guy who has maybe one more fight in him should he win. And that’s a distinct possibility, and a scary one at that.

Sanders is the only heavyweight in the world who gets you out of there with the 3rd and 4th punches in a combination. He’s as fast as any one in the division, he’s southpaw, he doesn’t need to set to punch and he’s aggressive. Part of me wishes the dude just stayed retired because he is the wrong kind of spoiler we need right now. If he swarms Vitaly and gets him to exchange, anything can happen. I believe that Vitaly has a great chin but strange things tend to happen when the punches are coming from the opposite side and don’t stop coming.

Vitaly is a popular boxer in the states right now and whether you are a fan or not, you have to admit that his winning will put a face with the title. Brother Wladimir is the most physically gifted boxer in the division, hands down, but he still has composure issues in the face of pressure.

Just think of what will happen if Vitaly loses: Sanders might fight Wladimir again and we’re back to square one, John Ruiz will probably face Maurice Harris for his title, and Chris Byrd will go up against Michael Dokes, lose, and Dokes will get starched by a comebacking Bonecrusher Smith. I know, that’s an exaggeration but if Don King has control, you never really know, do you?
I look forward to these next few weeks almost as much as I dread them.