Evander Holyfield's resume includes a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics and victories over all-time greats like Mike Tyson (twice), Riddick Bowe, George Foreman and Larry Holmes. He is the only four-time heavyweight champion in history. A little more than a decade ago, he was one of the 10 most famous athletes on the planet.
A high school gym erupts with cheers as the announcer introduces the women fighting to be the nation's top amateur boxers. Names like Esparza, Cruz and Estrada sound out over the PA system, as young Latinas with impressively defined arms take to the ring.
Same as he ever was, Bernard Hopkins. Same crafty defensive style that gobbles up punches like a vacuum and makes him tougher to hit than a butterfly in the wind. Same underhanded tactics, from head butts to rabbit punches, from punching on the break to punching below the belt. Same sneaky power (and sometimes maddening unwillingness to follow up on it) that comes in sporadic bursts and leaves opponents as surprised as they are hurt.
In an interview with SI.com a few days before his heavyweight title fight with Nikolai Valuev, David Haye had many words for his opponent. With a rapid-fire delivery and a thick British accent, Haye spoke of sending "shockwaves around the world" when he would send the 7-foot Valuev "sprawling on the floor." He claimed that he was "as freakishly fast as Valuev is freakishly big" and promised that the punishment he'd deliver to Valuev in the ring would be "more one-sided than the Rodney King beating."
The discussion of late has revolved around mixed martial arts' rise has hurt boxing. But let's be clear: boxing has done a heck of a job hurting itself with corrupt rankings, meaningless titles and a noticeable lack of quality fights.
What a muddled mess the heavyweight division has become. Four recognized titles. Five, if you count Ring Magazine. Champions. Champions in Recess. Champions Emeritus. Sanctioning bodies manipulating their rankings (have you seen WBA No. 1 contender John Ruiz recently?) just to squeeze out a few extra dollars. And the only cost is the integrity of the sport.
For better or for worse, when you get married, you sign on for a life of sharing --bedsheets, bathroom space, cold germs. Moods, too, as it turns out. And it's becoming increasingly clear that "emotional contagion," the unconscious tendency to mimic the emotions of others, affects spousal health.
You are Juan Manuel Marquez. You just turned in arguably the finest performance of your professional career when you systematically destroyed lightweight champion Joel Casamayor last Saturday night. You have catapulted yourself to the top of every pound-for-pound rankings and have the boxing world buzzing about a potential third fight with your nemesis, Manny Pacquiao, once Pacquiao finishes his business with Oscar De La Hoya.
In a sport where sanctioning bodies routinely manipulate the rankings to serve their interests, where networks permit promotional companies to dictate scheduling and where promoters allow a general distaste for one another to get in the way of making the best fights, is it possible that judging is the most corrupted part of boxing?
Nikolai Valuev's disputed decision win over John Ruiz on Saturday (his second disputed decision win over Ruiz, for those who are counting) reportedly drew boos from the crowd in Berlin's Max Schmeling Stadium. It drew basically no response at all from American sports fans, of course, since the bout wasn't actually televised in the U.S. Even had it been, though, it's hard to imagine that the rematch between the 35-year-old Valuev, whose 7-foot height is barely enough to compensate for his rudimentary skills, and the 36-year-old Ruiz, who though adept, always seems to do just enough to underwhelm the judges, would have generated much interest on the first weekend of the college football season. Or on any other weekend, for that matter.
NEW YORK -- Patience is a virtue that Samuel Peter is fresh out of. It has been nine long months since the 27-year-old Peter last competed, nine months since the man known as the Nigerian Nightmare beat James Toney for the second time to earn (for the second time) the title of the WBC's number one contender.
Boxing has long been regarded as, in the words of Jimmy Cannon, the red-light district of sports. In the popular imagination, the Sweet Science is anything but: it is widely viewed as a shady game run by mobsters and sharps, corrupt officials and snakelike managers, a morass of mismatches and fixed fights, in which the principles take more dives than Greg Louganis. Such Hollywood-fueled melodrama aside, however, boxing is a remarkably straightforward and transparent sport.
James Toney's planned December bout against fellow American heavyweight Rob Calloway has been called off because Toney's connections hope that he might now face new World Boxing Council champion Hasim Rahman.