In the five years I have spent covering boxing, I have had a few of what I like to call "cringe moments." I cringed when greedy promoters paraded a battered and broken
I cringed through 12 rounds of
And I cringed when, during an HBO telecast,
But never have I ever cringed as badly as I did yesterday, when the news broke that soon to be 46-year old
On Dec. 20, a decomposing Holyfield (42-9-2) will challenge seven-foot monster
It will be the first fight for Holyfield since being dismantled by former WBO champion
It probably should have.
But in their infinite wisdom, Valuev's promoter,
And just like that, boxing -- and the heavyweight division in particular -- has once again become a laughingstock.
If you're privy to the conversations that go on in boxing's inner circle, you know why this fight is being made. Sauerland Event wants Valuev, who inherited the title after
Curious to hear if others were as irate as I was, I placed a transcontinental call to
"It is completely ridiculous," said Boente. "How can [Sauerland] pick such a weak opponent? It's terrible for the sport of boxing. They picked a guy who hasn't fought in over a year and the last time he did fight, he fought like a mummy. It's a disgrace that Holyfield is getting a title fight."
Some of you may be looking at a calendar and wondering why Klitschko and Valuev, should they win their respective fights in December, couldn't meet a few months later. The answer to that is twofold: first, despite abdicating the title, Chagaev was named a "champion in recess" and is therefore guaranteed a title shot no later than June 2009. Valuev is unlikely to want to take a tune-up fight, much less a showdown with Klitschko, before then.
Second, even if Valuev wanted the fight, there is no possibility that Sauerland and Klitschko's promoter, K2, could agree to terms in time for a February or March fight. The two promoters have a volatile relationship and are unlikely to agree on a lunch order, much less the parameters for a multimillion-dollar event.
That means the dwindling number of heavyweight fans will end the year with Klitschko-Povetkin and Valuev-Holyfield and probably open the year with Klitschko-
But then, how often do good things happen for boxing?