3 September 2007
With the football season now into its fourth week, the doors of boxing gyms are just starting to open as the men who have to watch their weight in sport start returning from a summer break.
The first show and first major shock of the new season was in Dublin in front of 8,000 screaming passionate Irish fans last Saturday (August 25) for which I was in attendance as I had Tony Oakey defending his recently won British title against Brian Magee which he retained on a draw.
The two main fights in Dublin are probably what makes boxing so exciting and so unpredictable to the general public. The majority of the Irish thought Magee should have got the decision, the neutrals went either way by one round.
My take is that I agree with the neutrals – I always think that if the champion goes into someone’s back yard and forces the fight for the distance I believe he deserves to retain his belt.
In my opinion the only thing Brian Magee won on Saturday night was Strictly Come Dancing because he spent so much time dancing around the ring flicking out his southpaw jab.
The real surprise of the night came when odds on favourite and undefeated European champion Bernard Dunn entered the ring. He is to the Irish fans what Ricky Hatton is to us Brits but that’s as far as it went.
8,000 fans were on their feet screaming but a shy and scared looking Spaniard silenced them within 86 seconds by flooring Dunn twice and putting an end to the Irish dream.
Let’s hope this doesn’t happen with three of our biggest name fighters all fighting before the end of the year.
The first superfight of the three is Joe Calzaghe against Mikael Kessler on November 3 in Cardiff. This is a mouth-watering fight.
Being British I would love Calzaghe to win but opposite him is an undefeated young ambitious fighter who is looking for recognition and is also a double world champion with both the WBC and WBA belts.
Whoever wins this will surely be recognised as the supreme super-middleweight in the world. Even if Calzaghe loses, Britain will have a small claim to Kessler as his mother is British! Until this fight happens, another British prospect, Carl Froch will out on a limb for a while.
Fight number two sees south London’s favourite David Haye challenge for the WBC cruiserweight title against world recognised number one Jean-Marc Mormeck in Paris on November 10. I’m sure Haye will bring a large following of British supporters with him!
Haye will become the first recognised world champion in south London since Lennox Lewis and who knows, maybe down the road the fight that the whole of Britain would love to see – with Enzo Maccarinelli – may be made. Or will David go on to conquer the Heavyweight division and become the best pound for pound fighter Britain has ever produced? That will be some achievement.
December 8 sees the fight that is catching the world’s imagination. The self proclaimed number one superstar ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd Mayweather takes on Britain’s darling Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton in what must be one of the most eagerly awaited title fights since the peak of Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield.
This must be one of the biggest ever fights featuring a British fighter outside of the heavyweight division. Like everyone else I really want Hatton to win and take the smile off the American’s face, but to do this Hatton will have to fight out of his skin and give twice the performance he gave against Kosta Tsyzu – there’s no way he can afford a backward step against Mayweather.
I would love to see a hat trick for the British fighters but the one I am most confident of is David Haye. Calzaghe can win but I believe he will be in a war and if does come through, he deserves to be recognised as a superstar. He will not find Kessler as easy as he found Lacy.
Who knows, I may even take the Union Jack suit out of mothballs on November 10 and December 8!
Frank Maloney is south London's leading boxing promoter
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