Why we love the Heavyweights
They don’t have to make weight, they’re almost always slow and ponderous, they shout the odds about being the greatest when only one man can rightly claim that, they avoid each other like the plague, they earn the most money for least amount of work and; in a nutshell frustrate us endlessly. But boy when they land that shot they encapsulate the beauty and finality of this sport. In no other is the action terminated in an instant. This is what has captivated observers for nearly 200 years.
At sometime after 5:30am Sunday (UK time) in the Nevada desert WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder 42-0-1 (41 KO’s) detonated a big overhand right on Cuban Luis Ortiz 31-2-0 (26 KO’s) to perfectly illustrate the power and fascination with the big men.
It was a fight in which Ortiz had arguably won all six completed rounds, showing the superior boxing technique honed from close to 500 fights (400+ as an amateur), and was seemingly cruising to an unlikely victory, then BOOM, down he went and almost lights out.
Think Rocky Marciano v Jersey Joe Walcott in the 50’s, Tyson v Spinks in the 80’s and Lewis v McCall 1 in the 90’s. The single punch knockouts of the heavyweights and the devastation caused. This followed by the years of wrangling, in the latter case, to get the rematch to hopefully put things right.
Then throw in the bouncing up and down of ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier in Kingston, Jamaica by George Foreman and US commentator Howard Cosell screaming “Down goes Frazier…down goes Frazier !” For those of a younger vintage watch the YouTube highlights to see the sheer brutality of the finish. This is why heavyweight boxing pays the money and draws fans to the sport. As they say in the game “As the heavyweights go, so goes boxing”. If that’s healthy, so is boxing.
At 2:59 of that 7th round Wilder made his tenth defence of the WBC title and now looks ahead to the much anticipated rematch with Brit and lineal champion Tyson Fury. The only man he has failed to stop. Fury rising like Lazurus in the 12th round of their title fight last December. The rematch is currently slated for 22nd February. More fireworks await !
Smith toughs it out
Liverpool’s Callum Smith 27-0-0 (19 KO’s) prevailed in a highly competitive fight with Londoner John Ryder 28-5-0 (16 KO’s) to retain his WBA super-middleweight title and gain the WBC Diamond title. Coming into the fight there were many who predicted an overwhelming victory for Smith, but Ryder caused him considerable problems throughout.
Ryder, the significantly shorter of the two adopted a come forward, compact approach working to the champion’s body throughout. Smith compromising his stature and skillset got drawn into a dogfight at times and with a series of lacerations over his right eye struggled to dominate.
Smith endured some difficult rounds, failing to impress to hopefully secure further marquee fights against ‘Canelo’ Alavarez and others, and was largely disappointed with his own performance in front of his home fans. The official scores were 117-111, 116-112, 116-112 in favour of the champion. These were wider than the mark on The Undisputed’s card which had it even going into the last two rounds. Smith pulling through with the victory.
The Liverpudlian now goes onto trying to secure a big fight at his beloved Anfield stadium, home of Liverpool Football Club next summer. On this evidence the marquee names will be more inclined to come over the pond to wrestle his titles from him. An all domestic clash with fellow world champion Billy Joe Saunders looks the more likely immediate option.
Other notable victories over the weekend included Mexican-American Leo Santa Cruz winning the WBA super-featherweight title, his fourth divisional title, and domestically Chris Billam-Smith winning the vacant Commonwealth cruiserweight title.