Boxing · Features

Muhammad Ali Death: from boxing in the Olympics to the Vietnam War and how Black Lives Matter

Ali
Muhammad Ali has lost his final fight at 74-years-old and the world remembers a man who can only be described as The Greatest.

Ali’s greatest victory was not that over Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight title as a 6/1 underdog. Nor was it regaining the belt ten years later at 32-years-old against George Foreman at the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire. It was his battle with the American government over his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War.

Whilst his in the ring exploits are known by many and his charismatic personality known by all, Ali was forced out of the ring during the very pinnacle of his career. He had forgone money and fame for his religious beliefs. Had he been able to fight for those three years, perhaps he would have had an even greater boxing legacy than he does today.

In 1964 Muhammad Ali’s draft status was 1-Y, which meant he failed the standards of service for the US military. However, in 1966 his status was changed to 1-A, which meant he was now eligible for unrestricted military service. Ali appealed as a conscientious objector but his local board rejected it, without stating its reasons. In 1967 Ali changed his legal residence to Houston and appealed to be reclassified as a Muslim minister for the Nation of Islam, and therefore could not go to war, but this was also rejected (Pusey 2015).

Marqusee (2005) described how after learning of his reclassification Ali was inundated with press queries and aired his anti-war stance to the nation via Robert Lipsyte of the New York Times with one of Ali’s most famous quotes: “Man, I aint got no quarrel with them Vietcong.”

His view may seem outlandish in today’s world, but here stood an Olympic gold medalist, who could not get served food at a restaurant in his own country because of the colour of his skin, who was now being told to fight on the other side of the world in a war for white politicians.

On April 28 1967, Ali appeared at his induction for the U.S. Armed Forces and it was reported by some sections of the media that he wouldn’t have the conviction to follow through with his previous objections. Ezra (2009) wrote: “White sportswriters, many of whom had already declared the folly of Ali’s position, predicted that he would apologize to save the fight. They assumed that boxing and the paydays that accompanied it were more important to the champion than his anti-war stand. They wrote that he would withdraw from political matters in the future and that he had learned his lesson.”

Ali passed his medical and blood tests, but when it came to taking the step-forward at the call of his name, he refused to do so. Three times. Lipsyte wrote the following day: “Lieut. Col. J. Edwin McKee, commander of the station, announced that ‘Mr. Muhammad Ali has just refused to be inducted.’”

Ali was charged with refusal to be inducted into the US military and would be due in court two months later to be convicted. Ali refused to answer any questions from the media and instead handed out a four-page statement in which he directly addressed the treatment he had received by the press. It read: “I strongly object to the fact so many newspapers have given the American public and the world the impression that I have only two alternatives in taking this stand: either I go to jail or go into the Army. There is another alternative and that alternative is justice.”

Malcolm X & Ali

Bernstein (2002) told of the immediate backlash the champion faced: “Within hours of his declaration that he would refuse to serve in the US army, citing his religious and political objections to the war, the WBC had stripped Ali of the title. The Los Angeles Times immediately proclaimed: ‘Clay is a black Benedict Arnold’; while, according to the New York Times: ‘Clay could have been the most popular of all champions but he attached himself to a hate organisation’. Congressman Frank Clark stated: ‘The heavyweight champion of the world turns my stomach. To back off from the commitment of serving his country is as unthinkable as surrendering to Adolf Hitler or Mussolini’.”

The coverage came during a time where television was increasing in popularity but newspapers where still the primary source of news. Everywhere Ali went it seemed he was followed by packs of television cameras, radio reporters and newspaper journalists all looking for a quote from one of the most recognisable and charismatic men on the planet in order for their product to appeal to more people.

Ali polarised opinion and it was his influence on civil rights issues where he had the most profound effect during a time of high racial tension in America. Epps (2012) wrote: “Ali’s example inspired Martin Luther King Jr. – who had been reluctant alienate the Johnson Administration and its support of the civil rights agenda – to voice his own opposition to the war for the first time.” This pressure would force Government to at least think about its stance towards the war.

StangoAli

Ali’s act of defiance ignited a public debate that encompassed everything from politics, race and religion, the ramifications of which were felt nationwide. Gilmore (2011) writes: “Julian Bond, a social activist who had been elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, said: ‘When Ali refused to take that symbolic step forward, everyone knew it moments later. You could hear people talking about it on street corners. It was on everyone’s lips. People who had never thought about the war – black and white – began to think about it because of Ali. The ripples were enormous.’”

Perhaps Muhammad Ali was the most prominent figure to portray the message: “black lives matter.” Not only was this the essence of his views, but he was speaking on a global scale; brown lives matter, yellow lives matter, essentially, poor people’s lives matter.

It was not just the impact Ali had on refusing his call up to Vietnam, it is the impact he could have had, had he accepted it. Hauser (1996) wrote: “Ramsey Clark, then the attorney general of the United States, recalled ‘The government didn’t need Ali to fight the war, but they would have loved to put him in the service; get his picture in there; maybe give him a couple of stripes on his sleeve, and take him all over the world. Think of the power that would have had in Africa, Asia, and South America.’”

Had Ali accepted his call, it may have inspired others to join the army but his refusal encouraged others to do the likewise. Ezra (2009) wrote: “John Lewis, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, said: ‘I think many of the young people who came along and refused to be drafted, refused to take their stint, were deeply inspired by Muhammad Ali.’”

On the June 20, 1968, Ali was convicted for his refusal to be inducted into the army, making the front page of the New York Times. Martin Waldron’s article headlined: “Clay Guilty in Draft Case; Gets Five Years in Prison. U.S. Judge Also Fines the Boxer $10,000 for Refusing Induction”

ali 1

The article states how Muhammad Ali was sentenced to the maximum prison sentence and given the maximum fine. The event itself was tense, the story going on to state how the courtroom was frequented by FBI agents, black Muslims and how an “all-white jury” took just 20 minutes to find Ali guilty of refusing induction.

After the conviction it was not just the newspapers in which Ali was vilified. As television was in period of transition between black and white and colour, Ali appeared on a British programme aired in 1968, where David Susskind, a respected liberal, berated Ali via satellite, stating: “I find nothing amusing or interesting or tolerable about this man. He’s a disgrace to his country, his race, and what he laughingly describes as his profession. He is a convicted felon of the United States. He has been found guilty. He is out on bail. He will inevitably go to prison, as well he should. He’s a simplistic fool and a pawn.”

Ali did not go to prison. In 1970 his appeal was upheld in the Supreme Court, albeit on a technicality that the Louisville draft board should have specified its reasons for rejecting him as a conscientious objector. Therefore Ali’s conviction of draft evasion had been reversed and he had beaten the judicial system. His refusal to fight in Vietnam was finally vindicated.

Ali lost the best years of his career, which led to him fighting on far past his best and suffering severe head trauma and Parkinson’s disease. This ultimately led to his death. But Ali’s influence may have saved many more lives, even if it was at the cost of his own.

Muhammad Ali did not end the war in Vietnam, nor did he eradicate racism in America but what he did do was provide a voice, through the all elements of the media, for both the anti-war protesters and the civil rights movement. His unique position to combine both of these agendas changed America, inspiring countless people along the way.

The media worked both for and against Ali, with some publications criticising Ali, possibly to remain patriotic at time of war, whilst they also allowed him to address mass audiences in the hope that he could persuade them towards his cause.

Through his views and personal sacrifice Ali brought about a change in attitudes as to what the American people regarded as freedom. It was now more than just not being a slave, it was about true equality; for housing and jobs, freedom of expression religious or otherwise. He made people question war in general and the killing of innocent people in foreign countries, much of which still goes on today. And finally, he gave the people the belief that change could be achieved, even if it meant a fight with the American Government, who Ali took on and triumphed against.

MUHAMMAD ALI   1942 – 2016   THE GREATEST

 

Bernstein, Alina (2002). Sport, Media, Culture: Global and Local Dimensions. London: Routledge. 60.
Epps, Henry (2012). Great African-American Men in America history . n.p.: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 24.
Ezra, Michael (2009). Muhammad Ali: The Making of an icon. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 140.
Ezra, Michael (2009). Muhammad Ali: The Making of an icon . Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 122.
Gilmore, Mikal. (2011). How Muhammad Ali Conquered Fear and Changed the World.
Available: http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/how-muhammad-ali-conquered-fear-and-changed-the-world-20130205?page=5#ixzz3rHkbepRz . Last accessed 19/11/2015.
Hauser, Thomas (1996). Muhammad Ali in Perspective . New York: Collins Publishers. 21.
Lipsyte, Robert (1967). Clay Refuses Army Oath; Stripped of Boxing Crown, New York Times, April 29, 1967
Marqusee, Mike (2005). Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties. 2nd ed. New York: Verso Books. 162.
Pusey, Allen. (February 2015). Feb. 20, 1967: Muhammad Ali’s appeal rejected by draft board. ABA Journal. 07470088 (1), 1.
Susskind, David. (2014) ‘The Trials of Muhammad Ali’ Independent Lens, Series 15, episode 18, PBS, 14 April
Waldron, Marin (1967). Clay Guilty in Draft Case; Gets Five Years in Prison, New York Times, June 20, 1967

 

 

 

Boxing · Uncategorized

Zolani Tete has dreams of equalling Mayweather and Cotto ahead of IBF fight with Gonzalez

Tete

Former IBF Super Flyweight world champion Zolani Tete discusses vacating his belt, title ambitions and his love for English fans ahead of his fight with Jose Santos Gonzalez for the vacant IBF International bantamweight title on Saturday.

The fight will take place on the undercard of Mancunian Terry Flanagan’s WBO  world Lightweight title defence against Scouser Derry Mathews in a North-West derby match-up at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on March 12.

Fresh off the plane from the Eastern Cape of South Africa, “Last Born” walks into Everton Red Triangle Boxing Club; hood up, scarf wrapped around his face and already wearing gloves… cotton, not leather. Welcome to England.

Fans will remember his English début last year, in which he knocked out the then unbeaten Paul Butler in spectacular fashion with a crushing left uppercut.

The southpaw, 22-3, is glad to  be back on English soil and hopes he can add to his 18 knock outs, 12 of them coming in the first round. There is a burning desire to put on a show, speaking with passion about his temporary home for the next few days.

“I love English fans. They have a love for boxing and that’s one thing we as boxers need. They must watch on Saturday when I will be demolishing Gonzalez. I’m going to take him out. I’m not going in for a knockout, I am preparing for the full 12 rounds, but if a knockout opportunity comes, I will go for it. I just want to entertain the Liverpool people,” said Tete.

He sits, sipping on something quintessentially English; a cup of tea (milk, two sugars) but he made his name in South Africa and still has a responsibility to his motherland. He said: “There is crime, but there is crime everywhere. The one thing about people there is they love sport and once they see you can make a living out of it, they stick to it. It’s only those few guys that stick to crime but we are working on it.”

Tete1

“Youngsters are always looking up to me and if they have a problem they can come to me and I will help them out. I’ve made a big name for myself and I am very grateful for that. I am touching so many lives that I didn’t even realise and it’s all through boxing.”

With today being International Women’s Day, Tete’s success could perhaps be put down to the influential women in his life. He joked: “My girlfriend, every time I wake up she asks me, ‘did you go and run?’ and I say, ‘babe, I’m tired’ and she always says, ‘you need to go run.’ My mother also, she always asks, ‘are you going to gym now…?’ ‘Yes mum.’”

He rolls his eyes and laughs – South Africa or England – mums will be mums. However, there is a clear appreciation and love for the positive role models he has in his life and who have helped him to notable victories over Butler, Teiru Kinoshita and Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr.

Today also happens to be his 28th birthday and a win over Gonzalez, 22-3, would act as the perfect present.

TetecakeTeam Tete enjoying some birthday cake ©Stephen Jones

He said: “Gonzalez is a good fighter, he will put up a great fight but I will be victorious. A similar record doesn’t mean anything. It depends who you fight and who you have lost to. I believe I will beat him. As a fighter you need to be careful because you never know what may happen in the ring, so you need to go in there, be careful and not underestimate the guy. I will just use my game plan, be smart, then take the guy out.”

“I know I’m smarter than Gonzalez, but he’s a Mexican so he is going to come out fighting. I will need to use my brain and use my legs in order to get my opportunity. In life you do get learning curves. I was once unbeaten and I lost three times, but I didn’t give up on myself. I am looking forward to another fight and I believe I’m going to be a world champion once again.”

He does not hide his ambition for world honours, stating he would be happy to fight IBF Bantamweight champion Lee Haskins or WBA Bantamwight “regular” champion Jamie McDonnell, if the chance arose.

Tete has already tasted world glory, but the former IBF Super Flyweight was forced to vacate his title over an alleged purse dispute, something which still wrangles with him and now tastes slightly more bitter. He places his hand on his heart not only in an oath of honesty, but in signalling exactly where it hurts.

“It was painful, man.  I fought very hard for that title. Even before I got the opportunity, I had to struggle to get the opportunity. Then eventually, I have to vacate it. It’s painful. I’m still recovering from that. As a champion you need to adapt, you need to know what you want and you need to go for it. I don’t know which path Frank Warren will chose, but hopefully it will be for a world title. I don’t mind going any route and once I hold a belt, I definitely want a unification.”

The short term ambitions are only surpassed by the long term. He said:  “I want to see myself reaching the heights of Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto because as a fighter you must aim high. You always look up and you must always want to become one of the great fighters.”

Before any of that though, he will be sure to forget about being The Best Ever and just focus on being the best on Saturday night.

Boxing · Uncategorized

The 2016 Big Boxing Wish List

It has been a great year for British boxing, with no fewer than 12 current world champions including Tyson Fury, Anthony Crolla and Kell Brook all with fantastic stories. In this piece I look ahead to 2016 and five great fights that could be possible next year.

boxing

Whether you go by Ring Magazine, Boxrec or just your own opinion, remember: “opinions are like arseholes, everyone has got one.” (And you wouldn’t let a stranger touch yours.)

Anyway, let’s get a few things out of the way first: Quigg v Frampton is done, hopefully the winner will move up to fight Lee Selby, Khan v Brook is rumoured to be done (for a summer fight so they could fight again in winter) and Froch v Golovkin is never going to happen. I’m sorry. It’s just not. Let’s forget about George Groves v Arthur Abraham too because that would only end up like all of Groves’ other title shots, in defeat. So first up…

Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder (WBA, IBF, WBO and WBC Heavyweight)
I’m not sure if Fury could stand up to the power of Wilder but he certainly has got the skill to out box him, as he proved when he licked the Klit for 12 rounds. Should he get through the rematch, then going toe to toe with the Bronze Bomber would be a huge fight between huge men. Fury deserves all the credit in the world for his last win and he has reignited public interest in the sport so fair play to him. Who would have thought it three years ago? It would be a cracking fight just to see what tactics each trainer would implement and the build up between two big trash talkers would be quite entertaining as well.

Anthony Joshua v David Haye
AJ leg

Joshua divides opinion. He is either a world beater or a Sky Sports hype job depending on your arsehole/opinion. Until he beats Derek Chisora, who is now basically the gatekeeper of the world scene, AJ will remain a domestic level fighter. His real tests will come against the likes of Kubrat Pulev or Alexander Povetkin to prove he is world level. However, a fight with Haye would just be fun. The contrasting fight styles would be good to see, power versus speed. It would also be a real occasion and who knows Haye still might have it… “it” being an injury excuse. Haye is probably the most talented fighter in the division and still the biggest draw, he just has to prove it all again.

Amir Khan v Danny Garcia (Vacant WBC Welterweight)
Khan lost out on the Mayweather fight because of his losses to Garcia and Lamont Peterson. Garcia also beat Peterson, so until Khan rectifies these losses, just like Lennox Lewis did when he lost, there will always be question marks over Khan’s character because his skill is undeniable. Khan has matured as a fighter, packs more power now and is tighter defensively, so could get a win with the right game plan.

Kell Brook v Keith Thurman (IBF and WBA Welterweight)
Two undefeated fighters. Two knock-out artists. Two belts on the line. One good fight. There is a lot of respect between the fighters as they both shot to fame a bit to late for big money fights against Pac Man and TBE. With the power they both possess in both hands it could just be a case of who lands first.

Callum Smith v James DeGale (WBC and IBF Super Middleweight)
smithThe manner in which Smith blew away Rocky Fielding and how Badou Jack struggled in the first 6 rounds with Groves, makes me think Smith would have no problem doing do a job on Jack. He could then take the title into a big domestic match up with Chunky which would be very interesting indeed. Both Smith and DeGale have improved massively over the last few years and this bout could split the country between us Northern Monkeys and you Southern Fairies.


Honourable Mentions:
Liam Smith v Jermall Charlo (WBO and IBF Super Welterweight)
Beefy looked really good once he got going in his last fight and Charlo, despite his padded record looks a physically very strong. Smith could take him into the later rounds where I suspect Charlo would tire then do some damage. Failing that match, a defence against legend Sugar Shane Mosely would not be out of the question. 

Billy Joe Saunders v Daniel Jacobs (WBO and WBA Regular Middleweight)
I’d like to see Jacobs beat Quillin due to the later blowing his title shot with Andy Lee by not making weight. I’d also like to see Saunders win a world title just because he’s a very honest guy, which is refreshing. He says what he thinks and he backs it up in the ring. It would be good for the travelling community too and it would be a more of a distance fight for the true boxing connoisseurs.

Wildcard: Shannon Briggs v Kimbo Slice
“Let’s go champ!” Briggs was trying to talk himself into one last pay day with Dr Steel Hammer but we all know what happened there. Kimbo Slice has vanished into obscurity after defeats in the UFC but is back fighting MMA legend Kenshamrock apparently. Both Briggs and Slice are still memorable internet sensations and I know for certain casual fans would pay attention to this fight. It would also be quite funny to see Kugan Cassius interview these two mad men.

Other fights from around the world:
Golovkin v Canelo
Kovalev v Ward / Stevenson / Beterbiev
Broner v Crawford
Rigondeaux v Walters at a catchweight of 124lbs

“You see you, you plumber from Liverpool… Also they’re gonna need ten plumbers to do you when I’ve got finished with you… Also”

This is a bit of a disclaimer, I am a Scouser (although not a plumber or Tony Bellew’s gay lover) and would love to see Derry Mathews, Tony Bellew and Stephen Smith all win world titles next year, even if some people don’t think they are world level fighters. David Price has had his chance unfortunately. I’ve got nothing against Mancs wanting Crolla and Flanagan to be successful or Cockneys wanting AJ and DeGale to do well either.

So lace up the gloves, roll on next year and tell me what you think in the comments section below…

Boxing · Uncategorized

Tony Bellew drops Twitter bomb on David Haye

BY LEWIS CALVERT
@lewycalvert

Scouser Tony Bellew could be lining up a potential domestic grudge match with former world heavyweight champion David Haye.

bellew

On Saturday The Hayemaker polled his Twitter followers and asked them who he should face, if and when, he does decide to return to the boxing ring after more than three years out.

One man willing to take him up the offer was the hard hitting Evertonian.

Haye (26-2) is the former WBA heavyweight champion of the world and unified cruiserweight champion. He has spent the last few years making television appearances on game shows, chat shows and reality shows and is now considered more of a celebrity than a boxer by some sections of the general public. Haye though, responded in good humour, if not slightly disparagingly.

Bellew (25-2-1) will be well aware of the huge public interest should he land the fight and fueled the fire by claiming he would be nobody’s victim.

The Bomber, 32, has been very respectful about Haye in the past, claiming that the Londoner was one of the best sparring partners he has ever faced.

The boxing public is keen to see whether Haye, 35, still has the devastating speed and power that made him so dominant before he got in the ring with Wladimir Klitschko.

Bellew on the other hand, is high on confidence after seeming find his natural weight at cruiserweight and avenging the loss to bitter rival Nathan Cleverly.

Should Bellew get through Mateusz Masternak on December 12th and a world title shot doesn’t materialize, then a huge domestic payday could await.

The potential bout has divided opinions with boxing fans wanting Haye to either stay retired or shut Bellew up for good, with the general consensus being that the Liverpool born fighter doesn’t stand a chance despite his power and more recent activity.

One thing is for sure, it would be a interesting bout should it get ever made.

What do you think? Vote and comment below.

Boxing

Sugar Shane Mosley has beef with WBO champ Liam Smith

BY LEWIS CALVERT
@lewycalvert

Newly crowned WBO junior middleweight champion of the world Liam Smith (21-0-1) is being sounded out by boxing legend Shane Mosley.

Before Smith’s fight with John Thompson (17-2), he told IFL TV about his annoyance at what he sees as lesser fighters calling him out. Which seems fair, considering Beefy earned his shot the hard way and has been defending British champion for two years now. He feels other British contenders should do likewise and work their way up rather than try and rush themselves into a big money fight with him.

Tyson Fury has made no secret about how thinks American fighters “gas” after six rounds and the Smith vs. Thompson world title bout was a prime example of that theory.

The fight in question was pretty straight forward. Smith never looked troubled by the power of Thompson, the American’s pot shots and flurries were enough to win three of the first four rounds but ultimately this led to his own downfall. All the effort from Thompson was absorbed by the high guard of Smith, who seemed to be sapping energy from his opponent round by round.

As the fight progressed the Liverpudlian, with his menacing grin, stalked his prey around the ring, landing hard body shots and Thompson, 26, for all his impressive foot work and elusive circling of the ring, began to tire.

Into the sixth and Smith exploded into action with crunching blows to the head and a clearly buzzed Thompson was glad to hear the bell. Beefy roared as he went back to his corner, sensing the end was nigh.

The seventh began in the same punishing fashion as the sixth had ended, with Smith, 27, landing huge head shots on the drained Thompson, the knock-out blow coming at 1:44, flopping the Apollo Kidd face first on to the canvas.

No sooner had the words “and the new” been announced, speculation began as to who Smith should face next. (Admittedly, some of it started by me.)

shane
“I’d be a liar if I said I never looked past Thompson but the situation that it was, I just did. I seen Shane Mosley calling out Cornelius Bundrage last week and he doesn’t even have a world title. I have the world title now, so Shane Mosley should be calling me out.”

It didn’t take long for Sugar Shane Mosley (48-9-1) to fan the flames of a potential title match, with Smith proving he is more than game for the fight, but not as game for the trash talk.

twitter
Mosley may not be the best fighter in the division but he is no doubt one of the most recognisable names to the casual fans and although he has fell short against all of the elite level fighters he has faced: Cotto, Mayweather, Pacquiao and Canelo, he does boast two wins against Mexican legend Oscar De La Hoya.

Despite the losses his twitter reads: “I don’t run from fights. I run to them. Any one want these hands can get it. Sugar is bad for your teeth. Thought you knew. I’ll fight the best fighters at 147-154”.

Clearly Mosley has a vast amount of experience at the top level and this could prove invaluable if he were to fight Smith. As it happens, the Scouser would surely have to be the favourite with his relative youth and power too much for the slow, aging star.

“These are massive fights and massive names. People chase world titles and I have one so they’ve got to chase me now. I’m excited to see what names I get offered now.”

All the fans can hope is that Beefy gets offered some Sugar.

Boxing

Once Bitten, Price Shy

BY LEWIS CALVERT
@lewycalvert

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

David Price’s third professional loss has seen him lose whatever reputation he had left in the sport of boxing.

In a disappointing night for British fans, the man tipped for greatness on the back of his Bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics failed to fulfil his potential, and was knocked out in the second round by Erkan Teper last night.

The frustration for Price’s fans come out of the comparison with fellow heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko, with their tall frames and athletic builds. But that is where the comparisons end.

Comparing their records makes for grim reading; Price was knocked out by Tony Thompson, not once, but twice. Klitschko knocked out Tony Thompson, not once, but twice. Make of that what you will.

Before his first fight with Thompson back in 2013, Price looked invincible both in appearance and boxing style. He had the attitude of a champion because at 15-0 he was still undefeated.

Boxers with unblemished records like Mayweather, Thurman, Garcia, Brook, Golovkin, Ward and even Tyson Fury, have an unwavering confidence in themselves. They don’t believe they can be beaten simply because they haven’t been beaten. Confidence breeds confidence. And they have no doubts in their mind about their own ability.

Once a boxer picks up a loss there is a change in their attitude, and with it, their fighting style. They become more cautious, they pick softer fights, hide behind their guard and hold whenever the heat is on and punches are thrown.

This is never more apparent than in David Price. He hasn’t looked the same fighter since being beaten by Tony Thompson and then losing the rematch.

Wlad learnt from the pasting he received at the hands of Corrie Sanders over a decade ago, and has since laid the blueprint for tall heavyweights to win: use your reach and stay behind your jab, wearing your opponent down and the victory will come.

Had Price done that last night we would be talking about him in future world title fights but because he didn’t, his stock has plummeted to somewhere between Dereck Chisora’s and Audley Harrison’s. Which doesn’t say much.

The Scouser looked visibly nervous in his four subsequent wins since Thompson, and looked scared whilst in the ring with the bruising Teper. Price’s cagey approach possible  evidence that he has concerns over his own ability to take a punch.

Even the punching he was dishing out left nothing to be desired. Price looks like he is about to touch a scalding hot iron the way he tentatively waves his jab back and forth, it is as though he has a fear of being burnt, or in his case, knocked out.

But it is a little unfair to say “David Price has a glass chin” because, unlike the smaller weight classes, in heavyweight boxing it only takes one punch to win a fight. Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis were on the end of unlikely knock outs in the not too distant past. That is boxing for you.

Price can now only hope Eddie Hearn throws him a bone and puts him in the ring with Anthony Joshua for a decent pay day. Which, as favours go, isn’t one many people would take up in a hurry. Or he can hope Tyson Fury loses to Klitschko in October and wants to bounce back with a domestic grudge match. Beyond that, Price could become a gatekeeper for the division, cannon fodder for future heavyweight contenders, his body passed around the big boys like a new arrival in prison. Although at 32, there are calls for him to retire.

As unlikely as it may seem, last nights second round loss might have awakened the beast, Price might now take on all comers, he might finally start letting his hands go early on in a fight, he might be used as a tune up fight by Deontay Wilder before Wilder’s inevitable clash with Klitschko and Price might even win. For as James Arthur Baldwin once said: “the most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”

Boxing

Callum Smith vs. Rocky Fielding in Matchroom Boxing Scouse Showdown

BY LEWIS CALVERT
@lewycalvert
27.6.2015

Both men are on their own path to different world titles but, in the land where boxing dreams are made, they will one day meet, in a Scouse super-middleweight unification match at either Anfield or Goodison Park.

Or failing that, just a good old fashioned domestic grudge match at the Echo Arena, where they were on Friday night.

Callum Smith is a fighter plagued by comparison. If it is not his brother Paul, it is the likes of George Groves or James Degale who are all, at the minute, far more advanced with their careers.

Expectation for the tall Scouser is his only problem. Eddie Hearn doesn’t want Smith to try and run before he can walk, yet his fans are calling for a race.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JUNE 26: Callum Smith and Christopher Rebrasse during their WBC Silver Super Middleweight Championship contest at the Echo Arena on June 26, 2015 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

Those that rate him claim he could be a world champion now, those that don’t, claim he will never be and his critics denounce his lethal fighting style despite it often working.

Many claim he shouldn’t go to the body as often, yet he dropped Christopher Rebrasse with a chopping body shot in the 10th round in their last fight and that still was not enough to silence the doubters.

Not every boxer is a head hunting knock-out merchant like Gennady Golovkin or Deontay Wilder. Smith plays the long game. His viscous body blows slow opponents down, take the wind out of them and create a fear that they will receive yet more crippling shots to the midsection. This forces them to lower their guard and creates the opportunities to go to the head.

People who claim this style is out-dated are forgetting that Smith is only 25-years-old and has plenty of time to learn new methods and techniques of fighting.

Rebrasse was a tough, cagey fight anyway and Smith wasn’t here to entertain. He was here to win. Although restricted to fighting on the back foot, the Liverpool lad never looked worried, even if he did take a couple of needless hits to the head.

After edging most of the earlier rounds, and getting the knock-down, a unanimous points decision for Smith was never in doubt.

At 6’3″ he should use his range more effectively, but he is still winning nonetheless.

Then you have the explosive Rocky Fielding.

It is a testament to his character that he has repeatedly refused to be drawn into making statements about Paul Smith’s failing to make weight against Andre Ward, despite Smith criticising Fielding for coming in over weight in the past.

Rocky from Stocky does his talking in the ring.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JUNE 26: Rocky Fielding and Bryan Vera during their WBC International Super Middleweight Championship contest at the Echo Arena on June 26, 2015 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

He is an aggressive fighter, throwing a lot of three and four punch combinations. This culminated in a fantastic first round uppercut that sent the off balance Brian Vera to the canvass.

A controversial second round saw the pair grapple and in the chaotic three seconds that ensued: Vera fell to the mat, flashed to his feet trying to fight on, didn’t protect himself and whilst the referee dilly-dallied over a ten count, Vera was clocked with a left hook from Fielding and was folded to the floor.

It’s a fight. These things happen.

In getting up, once again, Vera showed he had the heart to win, but Fielding, 27, showed killer instinct as his power punches rained down and the match was drawn to a halt.

“Styles make fights” as the saying goes and for too long have we seen the same old styles pitted against each other: the power puncher who wins by knock-out vs the slick outside boxer who wins on points.

But these two are both good all-round fighters and with every fight their defence improves and the variety in the punches increases.

It is a shame some boxing fans are reluctant to respect good fighters, just because they may not be seen as the best in the division. It is as though if they are not Ring Magazine champion, they are a bum.

Which couldn’t be further from the case. It is fights like these that keep the sport alive. Not two elderly millionaires getting yet another payday in a tame hype job that leaves you completely dissatisfied.

Two young, hungry fighters, vying to be the best or even worse, risking their ever so marketable undefeated record.

Two lads who enter the ring knowing that winner is on the verge of stardom, whilst the loser faces an uncertain future of domestic matches and possibly years of rebuilding their career.

Truly an all or nothing fight.

Whilst both are so raw in their talent, if the bout were to take place next week, you have to feel Fielding’s power and improved footwork might just edge it.

However, if over the next year or two, Smith uses the experience he has gained wisely and uses his speed and accuracy to his advantage, he could take a decision.

And whilst some of use sit in our room dreaming of this match, Matchroom could make this dream a reality. We just want to know if and when…