From Great White Hope to just Hope

By Eric Roman: Jim Jeffries was the first pugilist to accept the moniker of being known as the “Great White Hope”, although unsuccessful at his attempt to dethrone Jack Johnson the search for this savior went on until Jess Willard controversially defeated the once invincible champion. From Jerry Quarry to Gerry Cooney to Tommy Morrison, the phrase has grabbed the attention of Boxing fan’s all across the country.

Since the retirement of Lennox Lewis, there have been nine boxer’s who have held a portion of the Heavyweight Championship who happen to be white. The problem with that is, none of them happen to be from the United States. Like many aspects of American society, we got greedy. In the last two decades we had exceptionally talented fighters like Holyfield, Tyson, and Bowe. Before them we had the all time greats, Ali, Foreman and Frazier, it’s no wonder how we allowed ourselves to expect this type of mastery to flow for decades to come. Now we’ve reached a breaking point, with the Klitschko Brothers at the helm, the US needs a guy like Jack Johnson to come back from the dead and take the division by storm.

Whether it was the NFL’s surge to the top of the sports world, or the fact that Boxing has been restricted on free network television, the talent pool of young, big, American athletes has not reached this side of the world in some time. Whatever it is, something landed a 40 year old Tony Thompson back in the ring with Wladimir Klitschko as our best bet to capture the title. Not that I want to discredit Thompson for getting to where he is today, but the truth is compared to what we’ve been witnessed to over the years, he stinks.

Much like the outlook of the United States economy, the Heavyweight division is a long way from getting back into the grasp of the American people, but that doesn’t mean he’s not out there. He could be your son, or maybe your next door neighbor. He could be the star athlete in your local high school, or the homeless kid you see on the street corner. The bottom line is that he’s out there somewhere, and wherever he is, I hope he gets here soon.

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