18.06.04 – By Frank Lotierzo – GlovedFist@Juno.com – The Big-Fight, is there anything like it in Boxing. If you’re anything like me, your step has an extra bounce to it during that week leading up to the Saturday night of the Big-Fight. I remember in the 70’s through the early 80’s, all the Super Fights (Frazier-Ali, Foreman-Ali, Leonard-Hearns, Hagler-Leonard) were usually scheduled for a Monday or Tuesday night. When using the term Big-Fight, it shouldn’t be confused with the best fight. The best fight is one where the two combatants would provide the most explosive toe-to-toe action, for example Tyson-Tua, or the upcoming Trinidad-Mayorga clash.
A Big-Fight is one where you can’t wait to see it because of who the fighters are and what they’ve both accomplished during their career. If their styles clash of course that’s a plus, but it’s not required in order for it to be a Super Fight. It’s also a fight that regardless of what can come up in your life, you know you’ll be watching it. No plans that your wife, girlfriend, or family member may surprise you with will alter your plans, you’re watching the fight and the World will have to either wait or stop.
Super Fights are what Big-Fights are often referred to as today. The Joe Frazier-Muhammad Ali fight of 1971 is without question the Super Fight that all Super Fights are measured against. For me, nothing comes close to the anticipation I felt before Frazier-Ali in 1971. The closest match up to Frazier-Ali for me was Hagler-Leonard in 1987. I’m sure depending on how old you are, my Frazier-Ali is probably your Tyson-Holyfield, Lewis-Tyson, or maybe even De La Hoya-Trinidad.
For a fight to truly be a Super Fight, one of the fighters has to be a Mega Super star. Today, boxing boast exactly two authentic Super stars that draw more than just Boxing fans, Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya. When Tyson and De La Hoya are on the Marquee, the opponent doesn’t matter because everybody wants to see them. However, when you pair them with another great fighter, even if they’re not on par with Tyson or De La Hoya as far as Star power, you have a Super Fight.
What are the biggest fights that could be made today regarding anticipation and media hype, excluding Mike Tyson being one of the fighters? At this time no one really knows what the future holds for Tyson regarding who or how long he’ll fight. It’s safe to say that his name matched with any number of today’s top fighters 200 pounds and above would constitute a huge fight that would generate massive fan interest. The names Klitschko, Lewis, Toney, Jones, Tua, and Tarver come to mind, along with many others. Below I’ve listed some of the potential fights that I think would be huge as far as media coverage and fan anticipation. I’m sure there are some others that me be as anticipated, but these were the first that came to mind.
Yes, this fight would be a monster. Although I hope Lewis stays retired, I cannot deny that the thought of seeing these two trading punches again would get my blood pumping. In my opinion, Lewis won their fight back in June of 2003. It was his fist that caused the cut over Vitali’s eye, that’s part of Boxing. Although I believe that Lewis is or was the better fighter, that is based on his total career. Based solely on their fight last June, Lewis didn’t prove he was better. When the fight ended between the sixth and seventh rounds, it was still up for grabs and a case could be made for either fighter as to who would’ve won had it continued. Lewis retired eight months later, since then I think it’s pretty safe to say that Vitali is viewed as the top active Heavyweight in the World. Excluding any Heavyweight fight involving Tyson, Lewis-Klitschko II is the biggest Heavyweight fight that can be made. Lewis is the only fighter who would be favored over Vitali, and Vitali is the only fighter who would be viewed as having a legitimate chance to defeat Lewis.
Jones-Tarver III is a Super Fight, and lets be honest, it has to be made. Look at the two outcomes, a controversial decision in the first fight and a one punch knockout in the second fight. Jones got the decision the first time, but many weren’t convinced and thought he lost. In the second fight, Jones was winning the short time that it lasted, but for one punch. Tarver represents the first real challenge of Jones’ career. Is it that Jones isn’t what he once was, is Tarver really that good, or is it that he just has Roy’s number. Regardless what side you come down on, Tarver is the only fighter Jones has yet to prove he is better than. Sadly for Roy Jones, if he doesn’t fight Tarver again and beat him, he’ll most likely be remembered for his ineptness versus him than for all that he’s accomplished since turning pro in 1988. Tarver III will be the biggest and most important fight in the career of Roy Jones. It’s most likely what he’ll be remembered for.
Hopkins-De La Hoya
As of this writing, this fight is scheduled for September 18th. This fight is big for two reasons, Hopkins is undefeated since May of 1993, and De La Hoya is boxings biggest Star and Marquee name below Heavyweight. Although he is a great fighter, Hopkins has only been involved in one Super-Fight, Felix Trinidad in September of 2001. When Hopkins fought Roy Jones back in 1993, neither fighter had really made their mark and their legacy was still in it’s infancy. As far as De La Hoya, any fight he’s part of is huge if it’s against a dominant Champion or a great fighter.. The other hook in this fight is that Hopkins represents De La Hoya’s biggest challenge of his career. If you evaluate this objectively, it shouldn’t really be all that huge. De La Hoya hasn’t really defeated the best of the best that he has fought. He is 0-2 versus Mosley, and lost to Trinidad, not to mention some of the other close calls. Forget if you think he won or lost in any of his three career defeats, the fact is he didn’t prove he was the better fighter. Why would he be able to hang with Hopkins, who is no doubt better and more formidable than any fighter De La Hoya has ever shared a ring with. That being said, if De La Hoya were to somehow beat Hopkins, it’s what he’d probably be most remembered for. Hopkins-De La Hoya is a Super-Fight because Hopkins is the biggest challenge of De La Hoya’s career, and many want to see how he’ll fair.
One For Fight Fans Klitschko-Golota
I think Vitali versus Golota is a fight that many fight fans would get excited about. It’s not on the scale of a Super-Fight because I don’t think Klitschko has captured the publics imagination. And Golota has ruined his perception among the quasi boxing fans, despite how well he fought in his last fight versus Chris Byrd. However, boxing fans could find a lot about this potential fight to sink their teeth in. Both guys are 6’4″ or bigger and weigh between 238-250 pounds, and both guys have some boxing skill. On top of that, they can both punch pretty good and have almost a cult like fan base and following. Klitschko, I’m sure would love to make the first defense of his title against a big name opponent that would get at least the mainstream fight fans talking and excited. For Golota, this would be his third and most likely last shot at the title, so you know he’d be at his best.
In an ironic way, Vitali Klitschko has fulfilled the expectation that many thought Golota would realize back in 1996-97. In his last three fights versus Lewis, Johnson, and Sanders, Vitali has been very solid and hasn’t been outfought. Golota is coming off what may be the overall best performance of his career versus Chris Byrd. The fight was close and could’ve gone either way, it was scored a draw, which in my opinion was a fair call. Based off of his demeanor prior to and during the fight with Byrd, Golota’s head and emotions never seemed to be more ground. On top of that, Golota’s body was never more fit and cut than it was versus Byrd. Klitschko-Golota would be a huge fight for the hard core fight fans. Two big Heavyweights that wouldn’t have any trouble finding and hitting each other, and both appear to be on a roll at this time.