Boxing: Heavyweights Under New Law and Order

Within less than a year, former American heavyweight titlists; Hasim Rahman, Chris Byrd, John Ruiz and Lamon Brewster have each lost their version of a title. Rahman loses his WBC title to Oleg Maskaev, Chris Byrd loses his IBF championship to Wladlimir Klitschko, John Ruiz loses his WBA heavyweight title to Nicolay Valuev and Lamon Brewster loses his WBO title to Sergei Lyakhovich.

WBC heavyweight title holder:
Name: Oleg Maskaev
Track: (33-5 26KOs)
Age: 37

On August 12th 2006, Oleg Maskaev upset the boxing world by dropping and stopping Hasim “The Rock” Rahman in the 12th round. Many spectators had Rahman ahead on points by the time of the stoppage. It was Rahman’s second defeat at the hands of Maskaev. In 1999, he was knocked out of the ring after being ahead by the 8th round. The loss sent Rahman to now (41-6-2 33KOs), and without the validation and big money fights needed at this point in his career.

Maskaev is a big heavyweight, 6 foot 3 around 238 or 240lbs and like many heavyweights can bang pretty good. No one had it for Maskaev to win this fight, many believed the lack of authentic competition within his career would do more wrong for him than right. But on August 12th, Oleg proved us all wrong by stopping Rahman inside of 12 hard rounds.

IBF heavyweight title holder:
Name: Wladlimir Klitschko
Track: (46-3 41KOs)
Age: 30

Its no question that Klitschko is probably the more talented of the four existing champions, yet possibly the most questionable as well. On April 22, 2006, Klitschko overpowered Chris Byrd and finally sent him down south in the 7th round. A bloodied Chris Byrd wasn’t too discouraged after the contest. Gracious in defeat, he assured the public it was his own fault by trying to muscle up to the larger Klitschko. Klitschko’s win so far this year was without a doubt the most spectular among the heavyweights. On November 11th 2006, he defends his IBF title against Shannon Briggs in MSG.

The questions surrounding Klitschko is just how serious and how tough he is. In his last fight with Samuel Peter, he won a decision even after kissing the canvas a total of three times. It’s not hard to discover at times that he may panic when someone gets in close or attempts a home run shot. Other than that, he’s probably the most talented heavyweight in the division. Wlad assures us his chin is granite and that “any fighter of 200lbs can knock out any fighter over 200lbs.”

WBA heavyweight title holder:
Name: Nicolay Valuev
Track: (44-0 32KOs)
Age: 32

Perhaps the most mysterious of the four titlist, Valuev is the biggest, the strongest and the only champion who hasn’t tasted defeat yet. At 7 feet and 320lbs, Valuev presented problems for Ruiz because of his height and lengthy 85″ inch reach. If this big son of a gun gets past Monte Barrett this upcoming October, he’ll be in for big paydays down the road.

Not much is known of Valuev, he hasn’t fought in the US and not many United States fans are familiar with who he is. Infact, not many are even aware that he’ll be fighting in MSG against Monte Barrett. As far as boxing is concerned, this is his United States debut and possibly the road to a remarkable career amongst the states if he can get through Barrett.

WBO heavyweight title holder:
Name: Sergei Lyakhovich
Track: (23-1 14KOs)
Age: 30

Sergei is a brilliant techincian. On April 1, 2006, he brutally dismantled a game Lamon Brewster and captured the WBO championship. His granite chin, punching power and ring smarts may keep him champion for a long while if he keeps it up. He has only one loss in his pro career and since 2002 has won 7 straight victories.

Many fans also still don’t know who Lyakhovich really is, but I’ll tell you. At the post fight conference of Rahman-Maskaev 2, Lyakhovich approached the poduim and addressed that he would like to unify the heavyweight title belts and become undisputed. No one stood up and challenged his thoughts, perhaps because they know that Sergei is capable of making that dream come true.

Thus, in boxing no man is safe. As my trainer Junious Hinton put it, “Son, boxing doesn’t discriminate against anyone.” None of the current or previous heavyweight champions are out of harms way. Infact, there are some trail chasers who are seeking heavyweight glory. Maybe after all, the four Soviet-born heavyweights should be on the lookout.

James Toney (69-4-3 43KOs)
Age: 37

Without a doubt, James is the one of the slickest, agile, courageous and most talented we have in boxing today. Despite what others may write and speak about his weight, James is the most well-developed and crafted fighter. He’s a throwback, he’s oldschool and not many fighters can find a target dealing with him. Just ask Hasim Rahman. Toney faces Sam Peter on September 2nd.

Calvin Brock (29-0 22KOs)
Age: 31

Brock is talented, big, and can give any man in the house a run for his money. He’s one hell of a puncher and doesn’t seem phased at the idea of the four existing champions born within the Soviet system. He’s very eager to fight for a title belt, and I don’t doubt that he’ll receive one. Were just not sure which.

Sam Peter (26-1 22KOs)
Age: 26

No doubt about it, Sam is the divisions biggest puncher. Although at times he seems too plodding and methodical, if Peter can catch you with one of his punches you WILL go to sleep. He’s a hell of an aggressor, and a nightmare for any fighter in the world to deal with. His chin is backed by his heart and faith in the God. His punching power is “Iron” enough and similar to a man we’ll never get enough of.

Tony Thompson (28-1 17KOs)
Age: 34

At 6 foot 5, and a weilder of a dangerous and avoided style of southpaw, Tony Thompson may be avoided more so because of his attributes. At 34 years of age, it seems unnatural that this fighter hasn’t yet been mentioned or shown on any of the major television networks like HBO or Showtime. After recently defeating Domminck Guinn, fighters and fans will soon have to take some notice as to who this guy is.

It appears that heavyweight prize-fighting is still starving for that one true charismatic champion. Soon one of these 8 men will step up to the challenge and claim that throne of supremacy.

But who?




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