Maskaev vs. Williams Should Not Happen
This is a fight that should not be happening in the first place. Danny Williams should not be in there with Oleg Maskaev or anyone else…
“Fighters should have the right to determine their fate. I’m just saying this death was predictable and avoidable.”—Bruce Trampler about Frankie Leal
In an article on The Boxing Tribune website about the recent ring death of Frankie Leal, writer Paul Magno states, in part:
“…Blood is on the hands of the fans who support the sport blindly; the writers who feign outrage after the fact, but will never push for true regulation and accountability; the promoters and managers and trainers who still allow fighters to march to their death for the sake of just one more pay day. The entire system—a dealing in flesh and cultivating a complete lack of transparency on all levels—is drenched with the blood of fallen warriors.
“In a sport where Born Again Christians and self-righteous moralists co-exist with murderous scoundrels and soulless con men, it’s easy to lose your moral compass…”
Magno is correct, it’s easy to lose your moral compass, but I have tried my utmost to stay grounded. Every time Antwun Echols is booked to fight, I criticize it. Mexican featherweight Eduardo “Laio” Gutierrez has a 3-65-1 record but the dangerous part of that record is the 48 KO losses. Trinidad “Trini” Mendoza beat Laio but Trini has been KO’d 22 times. Marteze”Too Sweet” Logan has not been a winner since 2008 and is 26-54-2, but what’s worse, Too Sweet has boxed 505 hard rounds against tough opposition. James Toney took an incredible beating at the hands of Denis Lebedev, yet he fights on. These examples need to be called out before the fact.
“Courage is the discovery that you may not win and trying when you know you can lose.”—Mark Krause
“It’s just a fact I enjoy fighting and since the age of eight it has been a part of me. I don’t know anything else.”—Danny Williams
“Danny wouldn’t be granted a license by the British Board. He retired and when he wanted to come back he was advised that he should retire…”—Robert Smith of the British Boxing Board
I have written more articles about the “Brixton Bomber” than just about any other fighter.
It started with his courageous one-armed win over Mark Potter in which Danny dislocated his right shoulder early in the fight but came back to stop Potter with only his left hand. This was back in October 2000 when Danny captured both the Commonwealth and BBBofC British heavyweight titles. That’s my enduring memory of Danny. He followed this with an impressive 32-second stoppage of Kali Meehan (23-0). Then, after winning some and losing some, he achieved his career pinnacle when he KO’d Iron Mike Tyson with a volley of malicious punches that left Iron Mike in a heap. However, five months later he took a vicious beating from Vitali Klitschko in a bid for the WBC heavyweight title.
After beating Audley Harrison (19-0) and Matt Skelton (18-0), things began to go south, though he was able to bookend a TKO loss to Albert Sosnowski with two close wins over “Big John” McDermott. The second win over Big John would have been the perfect time for Danny to retire, but by his own admission, boxing is all he knows. An earlier opportunity for a dignified exit (and Danny has had many) came when the Bomber beat Scott Gammer (17-0-1) in 2007 and then stopped Konstantin Airich in 2008 in one of the most poorly refereed fights in boxing history.
Danny lost badly and surprisingly to Carl Baker in 2009 and then not surprisingly to Dereck Chisora in 2010. The end was ugly as Williams came in for the Del Boy encounter at 273 pounds, and this prompted British boxing officials to eventually take away his license to fight in the UK. However, and to their discredit, Danny has been able to fight in Latvia, Romania, Spain, Finland, Germany and Sweden.
Williams then won two meaningless fights by quick KOs in Germany, but got chewed up by Manuel Charr (17-0). After somehow squeaking by ancient Alfred “Ice” Cole in Sweden in 2011, Danny was slaughtered by former footballer Leif Larsen (14-0) in Spain and that started an eight-fight losing streak. His last official fight was a TKO loss to Polish KO artist Marcin Rekowski in Romania in August 2103.
The 40-year-old Brixton Bomber’s record has gone from a pre-Tyson 31-3 to a 44-18 with 10 losses by KO. What’s most alarming is that he now is often dropped by the first moderately hard punch he receives. The fact is, this once much adored fighter, who has experienced more ups and downs (and more retirements) than a roller coaster, is totally shot.
The affable Big O, a former WBC heavyweight champion from Kazakhstan, retired in 2009 after being upset and shockingly KO’d in the first round by so-so Nagy Aguilera in California in what was supposed to be a tune-up fight leading to a big payday. Three years later, the 44-year-old came back to stop the once promising Owen Beck (29-11) in Moscow. Beck, like Danny Williams, is a shot fighter who has dropped nine in a row (eight by KO). The heavy-handed but chinny and ponderous Oleg then beat journeyman and global road warrior Jason Gavern (21-14-4) by close UD in May 2013 in Russia but was dropped hard in the eighth round indicating that his jaw is still made of glass. Prior to the Maskaev bout, Gavern was dropped four times by prospect Amir “Hardcore” Mansour in a blowout first round loss, and had dropped his last six (five by way of stoppage). Oleg barley survived this battle.
Maskaev (38-7) was—but no longer is—an exciting chill-or-be-chilled type of guy. In this connection he was chilled by Samuel Peter, Oliver McCall, David Tua, Kirk Johnson, Lance Whitaker, Corey Sanders and Aguilera. Conversely, he sedated Derrick Jefferson, Alex Stewart, Courage Tshabalala, and, of course, Hasim Rahman twice and if he connects flush, he can stop anyone. But he remains a very “to-be-chilled” type of guy as the Gavern fight demonstrated.
Maskaev vs. Williams
This fight is set for November 4, 2013, in Krasnodar, Russia. One is heavy-handed with a weak jaw. The other is totally shot, though as the saying goes, “power is the last thing to go for an aging fighter.” Unfortunately for Danny, that also holds true for Maskaev, who should win this one early and then himself be KO’d the first time he fights someone who fights back. Hopefully, he will not do serious harm to Williams. But that’s not the point. This is a fight that should not be happening in the first place. In fact, neither one should continue their improbable turnaround. Neither have any positive career options. Danny Williams in particular should not be in there with Oleg Maskaev or anyone else. The risk is too great.
For any number of reasons, Frankie Leal should not have been in there with his longtime friend Raul Hirales. It cost Frankie his life.
My moral compass is in the right direction on this one.