YEARN­ING FOR YES­TER­YEAR

Boxing News - - Letters -

AS a box­ing fan for nearly 30 years, I of­ten re­flect nos­tal­gi­cally on the late ‘80s and ‘90s and won­der why the sport in this era isn’t as good. Maybe the busi­ness side of box­ing has taken over the com­pet­i­tive side, ren­der­ing a lot of very ex­cit­ing matchups im­pos­si­ble, due to pro­mot­ers and man­agers be­ing risk-averse to a ca­reer­dam­ag­ing loss.

I long for the type of at­mos­phere that the likes of Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank brought to the masses, not to men­tion the in­cred­i­bly tal­ented Naseem Hamed, who prob­a­bly was a bea­con for many as­pir­ing am­a­teur box­ers be­gin­ning their ca­reers. It seems these days are long gone – the likes of Thomas Hearns, Marvin Ha­gler, Roberto Duran and Su­gar Ray Leonard all fac­ing off against each other is now a dis­tant mem­ory. I fear to­day that these type of elite matches just won’t hap­pen.

I have no­ticed a sub­tle dif­fer­ence in press con­fer­ences as well. The box­ers of­ten sit in the back­ground while the pro­mot­ers and train­ers put on a cir­cus, pre­sum­ably to sell tick­ets. For me, it has be­come too much like a pan­tomime with­out a con­clu­sive end­ing. I love the sport and al­ways will, but I can’t help think­ing that it used to be bet­ter in yes­ter­year when fight­ers fought each other for the chal­lenge, and a loss, if it hap­pened, was just an oc­cu­pa­tional hazard.

Rather sur­pris­ingly, the Cin­derella Man of mod­ern times is Dil­lian Whyte, who ap­pears to be afraid of no one and is open to any chal­lenge. His out­look is re­fresh­ing, to say the least. You would be fool­ish to rule him out of be­com­ing a world cham­pion.

Per­haps in the golden era of the ‘80s and ‘90s we were just spoiled by box­ing con­tests that lit­er­ally had fans glued to the TV. I can count on my fin­gers over the last five years how many fights have given me that ex­hil­a­ra­tion.

We need a new Leonard or a mod­ern equiv­a­lent of Hamed to burst onto the scene and cre­ate the razzmatazz that box­ing needs to reach the heights once more. Ricky Wright-colquhoun

DAN­GER SIGNS FOR WILDER

ON the day of the An­thony Joshuaalexan­der Povetkin fight, I watched a re-run of the Deon­tay Wilder-luis Or­tiz bout from March. I later watched Joshua vs Povetkin with my lads and we all said that Joshua didn’t look him­self. We were wor­ried be­cause he looked poorly, but more so be­cause Povetkin was a se­ri­ous con­tender and dan­ger­ous puncher. How Joshua stood up to flu, what looked like a bro­ken nose and Povetkin’s hooks was some state­ment.

To take out Povetkin in a man­ner that no other fighter has been ca­pa­ble of do­ing be­fore shows a cer­tain truth about Joshua – he may have his flaws, but once he sees a way to fin­ish an op­po­nent, his in­stincts are of a top-class cham­pion. Do we re­ally think if Joshua stunned Wilder like Or­tiz did he would get away with it? I don’t think so. I don’t think Wilder would’ve taken Povetkin’s early punches like Joshua did, ei­ther. Be care­ful what you wish for, Mr Wilder. You have enough on your plate with Tyson Fury! Ray Fox

A STORY TO TELL

AF­TER fight­ing Carl Froch while liv­ing out of my car, spend­ing eight years of my ca­reer box­ing in the UK, and giv­ing au­di­ences many great nights, I’d like to let the fans know about my new book – Bro­ken Dreams: The Un­told Truth. Ruben Groe­newald

Photo: AC­TION IM­AGES/NICK POTTS

GLORY DAYS: Hamed at his peak re­mains a trea­sured mem­ory for so many

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