Maskaev vs. Williams Should Not Happen

By Ted Sares on October 31, 2013
Maskaev vs. Williams Should Not Happen
He is shot, though as the saying goes, “power is the last thing to go for an aging fighter.”

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.

Danny Williams

“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.

Oleg Maskaev

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.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Mike Tyson vs Danny Williams FULL FIGHT

DBBH - Oleg Maskaev -vs- Oliver McCall (February 24th, 1996)

Vitali Klitschko vs Danny Williams

Oleg Maskaev - Derrick Jefferson

Danny Williams vs Kelvin Price/Кельвин Прайс -- Дэнни Уильямс

Олег Маскаев - Джейсон Гаверн 2013-05-26 Oleg Maskaev vs Jason Gavern

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  1. Dawud Bryant 12:46pm, 07/20/2016

    Thanks, got more more to do on it, Danny wanted clips from his fight vs Harry Senior in it.

  2. The Thresher 04:13pm, 07/19/2016

    Love it mate

  3. Dawud Bryant 02:57pm, 07/19/2016

    How do you like my Danny Williams career highlights video?

  4. Ted 06:06pm, 11/04/2013

    Oleg wins by UD. Both should now retire.

  5. dollarbond 08:18am, 11/01/2013

    Good one Ted

  6. Ted 07:29am, 11/01/2013

    I have now switched my thinking on this. At some point, a boxer must be saved from himself. If that concept works in the ring, it should work outside the ring. Ask yourself the question as to whether Williams is really capable of making this decision in a rationale manner.

  7. kid vegas 09:18pm, 10/31/2013

    I applaud you for doing this Ted, but the issue of a person having the right to call it quits might override that of a Licensing Board doing it. It’s a tough call.

  8. Ted 07:06pm, 10/31/2013

    “...despite Top Rank’s unwillingness to deal with a supremely vulnerable Leal, the fighter easily found work. In the first half of 2013, he would compete in four club-level fights in Mexico before moving on to Hirales. Nobody said a word. Nobody cared.”

    Its the same with Williams. He has been able find work.

    Don’t let this happen.

  9. Tex Hassler 06:30pm, 10/31/2013

    They both should retire but probably will not. Both had their day in the sun but it is over now. Let us just hope and pray they do not get hurt.

  10. Ted 03:22pm, 10/31/2013

    To have something, you have to want it.

  11. Peter Silkov 02:39pm, 10/31/2013

    I really think there should be some kind of program for fighters where they can train to be qualified boxing trainers or managers…. such as they have in Football over here.  But then again many fighters don’t want to become trainers because they cant stand to be so close to the action yet be unable to take part themselves.

  12. Jack 01:47pm, 10/31/2013

    Ted to answer your question, in the sport of boxing, evidently not a whole lot, because these total mismatches and bouts that shouldn’t take place continue to happen. Franklin D is on the right track, possibly, we as fans could have an impact, because if you can’t make money on something it goes by the wayside pretty quickly. Myself, I would not pay for, support or even talk about these types of situations ( except to criticize them ). A group or organization that could try to find these guys jobs and training ( possibly exploiting their celebrity, in a good way ) would be very welcome. I remember what Caesars and other individuals, Sinatra etc. did for Joe Louis. It takes people with money, position and leadership to get something like that off the ground. Again, we as fans can do our part!!!!

  13. Ted 01:21pm, 10/31/2013

    Great post Peter, I agree. If Danny had walked away after the Gammer win, it would have been perfect timing for him. But he has quit and come back at least 5 or 6 times so now no one believes him any longer. And by his own admission, he says he doesn’t know what he would do if he could not box. That’s the scary part. With Danny, it’s not about money as much as its a compulsion. With Toney, its about money. Same with Jones (think tax), I think some of these chaps—like Oleg—also think they can work their way into a big payday. Oleg will get KOd the first time he gets hit flush. Hell, even Danny might do it and that would be the very worse outcome that could happen, Its a catch 22 and a bad one.

  14. Ted 01:15pm, 10/31/2013

    FD, That’s the rub. I’ll never stop watching it. The best I an do is be an advocate for reform which I have always tried to be. But in boxing, you have to take the bad with the good. You can’t really compartmentalize it very easily. My next article (which I have been working on for some time) will hit on this concept.

  15. Peter Silkov 01:13pm, 10/31/2013

    Great article Ted.  I’ve been wanting Williams to quit for years now, I wish he had quit after the Gammer fight, which was his original plan at the time.  But he went on and on, and its worrying when you wonder where it will end and what it will actually take for him to finally walk away.  I just hope he does walk away in the end and is not carried away.  They say the last thing you lose is your punch and from what I’ve seen of Williams in his recent fights he has lost even that now, because his legs and balance is so shot.  People say that boxers are grown ups and can make their own decisions about taking the risk of fighting or not, but it is like saying an alcoholic is a grown up and can judge whether he or she can handle their drinks or not.  I think in many ways boxing is a addiction for many fighters which they only realise they have when they first try to walk away from it… its is an all consuming lifestyle and state of ind and many fighters aside from having to carry on for financial reasons, just cannot face a life away from something which has formed their identity probably since childhood.  That’s why there needs to be so much more help and support for boxers like these….

  16. FrankinDallas 01:09pm, 10/31/2013

    I’m not a neurologist, or whatever a head doctor is called, nor
    am I a lawyer, but isn’t someone who is suffering neurological
    issues not competent to make a rational decision? I mean certainly
    Bradley’s self admitted month or two when he wasn’t thinking
    straight would fit this position. But after that….I’m sorry to say that
    the man is making a rational, if poor, decision, and the only way to
    stop this sort of thing is for us to STOP WATCHING THESE KINDS
    OF MATCHUPS! The best way to get a promotors’ attention is an empty
    cash box.

  17. Ted 01:04pm, 10/31/2013

    John you will remember this one when Tony Veranis lost to Barry Allison back in 1958 in a close one. Tony took some monster shots in that one and then fought the late Ring 4 Brother Joe Devlin just 16 days later at the Boston Garden. Joe counter punched his way to a kayo victory. and Tony was down in every round. After the fight, Veranis passed out and was taken to Boston City Hospital where he remained in a coma until June 1958. This was his last professional fight. He was never the same upstairs and eventually was murdered because of his hot temper. Just one of 7 million stories in the Naked City.

  18. Ted 12:56pm, 10/31/2013

    Prego, John

  19. john coiley 12:36pm, 10/31/2013

    I have not said it previously, but this venue is more than about the sport. It is a means to realize the why of what is or was, and how one doth fare as a graduate…thank you, Ted…

  20. Ted 12:09pm, 10/31/2013

    Don, I can’t say Oleg should not be fighting but I can say it’s big mistake. He is very concussible.

    Kirk Johnson almost killed him back in the day.

  21. Ted 12:07pm, 10/31/2013

    Jack, sine there is no pension plan, etc., the profits disproportionate to the risks incurred. How much is a human being’s life worth?

  22. Don from Prov 10:43am, 10/31/2013

    Neither of these guys should be fighting, IMO

  23. Jack 10:32am, 10/31/2013

    Good article Ted, just reinforces my opinion ( which has been stated here many times ) that this is the best boxing website on the net!!! I am not normally in favor of more regulation but in these types of situations, I feel it is required. I would think, that there is some type of neurological test that would detect already existing damage,  that would disqualify a fighter from continuing to fight. Simply, you don’t pass the test, you can not be licensed to fight, period. I realize that this adds to the cost of doing “business” and requires more infrastructure and regulation. The big questions are: 1- Who pays for this? 2- Who regulates this? Unfortunately this would require a universal global commission to regulate and enforce, which probably won’t happen in any of our lifetimes!!!! Just another sad situation in boxing. As concerned individuals, we can offer viable solutions, that in reality, will never happen. The NFL, with all their money and resources are in a much better position to address head trauma, but are struggling to find a solution that will guarantee their continued success in the future. Not far removed from the Roman gladiator times are we???? Individuals are just a “piece of meat”, unfortunately.

  24. Ted 09:16am, 10/31/2013

    That Prize Fighter event coming up in the UK is another that could yield a bad ending. Toney should not be in there. If he takes one flush from Joshua, it could be ugly.

  25. Ted 09:11am, 10/31/2013


    But first I have to go to the gym and hit the iron.

  26. Clarence George 09:10am, 10/31/2013

    I think you’re right, Matt—it should ideally be the fighter’s decision.  But what’s a rule without exceptions?  And this coming from someone who’s extremely wary of attempts to soften the sport.

  27. Matt McGrain 08:54am, 10/31/2013

    Yeah, I think information is key.  I once had a conversation with a guy who seriously labelled neurological testing for fighters “elitist”.  He was wrong, but he made interesting points.  Who pays for the exams, by law?  Is it the fighter?  Do we accept, then, that we are driving out preliminary fighters with no promotional backing?  We might say that the promoter should cover it, but let’s not kid ourselves, that’s the same as taking it away from the fighter.  The licencing board could do it, but then the price of boxing licences will increase.  These are the realworld problems that need to be overcome to deal with the issue and i’m afraid the will just isn’t there.
    Two other things: first up, I doubt the moral compass would have spared Jimmy Braddock’s knock with Corn Griffin - and I, personally, have a problem with telling another man how he can make his nut without seeing the scan of a brain pre-disposed to injury.

  28. Clarence George 08:40am, 10/31/2013

    Boxers are paid to take risks, but not all risks are created equal.  Gordon’s “when things are getting dangerous” hits it on the head (no, that pun wasn’t intended).

    Financial hardship is a consideration, of course, but it pales to insignificance if and when a young man risks not even being able to dress himself anymore, as happened to Jerry Quarry.  Hell, let him tend bar.  I knew a former pug who was a bartender at the Plaza for more than 30 years after he left he ring.  He couldn’t have been happier.

    I’d much prefer for the boxer to make the decision on his own, but that doesn’t mean the powers-that-be don’t bear the responsibility or have the authority to bring a fighter’s career to a close if necessary.  That Muhammad Ali was allowed to continue was an absolute disgrace, regardless of what he wanted.

  29. Matt McGrain 08:17am, 10/31/2013

    Hard.  On the one hand I believe in adults making adult decisions about their own future.  On the other, licencing of boxing has to be controlled.  Maybe a moral compass really IS the best way to decide when someone has crossed that white line and is driving into oncoming traffic but individual calls are always hard to make. Williams isn’t in it to win, I don’t think, and that makes me uncomfortable.

  30. Gordon Marino 07:53am, 10/31/2013

    Money is almost always the reason that guys fight on when they have nothing left. Hard to think of anyone who was getting knocked around who just kept campaigning for the fun or the challenge. And man when they start getting rocked by almost anything you know they are in the neurological danger zone. The Professional Fighters Brain Health Study has already been able to find some earmarks for when things are getting dangerous. I wish that we could get more boxers enrolled in it. Free exams and treatment and they help with transportation for return visits.

  31. Ted 07:46am, 10/31/2013

    Yes John. That is often the case. But money is also the reason in many instances.

    Your name. thank you for you kind post.

  32. Gordon Marino 07:40am, 10/31/2013

    Thanks for writing this Ted. If only they would listen and by they I mean the fighters—there the ones who are ultimately going to have to say enough - and many of them are on hard economic times—and w/out the kind of pension you have in other sports. But Clarence hit it on the button “business is just about everything but not everything.” Again thanks Ted.

  33. john coiley 07:31am, 10/31/2013

    isn’t the jock, in this case, the pugilist, the last to truly know when to say ENOUGH ALREADY?

  34. Ted 06:59am, 10/31/2013

    Great post Clarence. I shall use it in the future with proper attribution—of course.

  35. Clarence George 06:38am, 10/31/2013

    Well said, and I’m in complete agreement.  I deplore the sissification of the sport, but that doesn’t mean I want to see guys who should have retired years ago climbing into the ring to risk dementia pugilistica or death.  I’m not the kind of “fan” highlighted in “The Set-Up.”

    In fact, I disagree with those who call for a Bradley-Provodnikov rematch.  Bradley was badly hurt the first time, and a few more blows from the hard-hitting Mansi could put him on the dead-end road to neurological horror.  The same can perhaps also be said of Pacquiao.

    Boxing is a business, and in business profit should trump just about everything…but not everything.

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