Monster Ball

By Ted Sares on January 15, 2013
Monster Ball
Some say the heavyweight division has lost its shine, but that’s just another tired refrain.

What about a tourney along the lines of the Super Six World Boxing Classic organized by Showtime? Imagine the possibilities…

“Meine Damen und Herren, ‘Let’s get ready to rumble…’”—Michael Buffer

This party is not about Lady Gaga’s worldwide concert tour, nor is Hale Berry involved. This one features some interesting dance partners, but they’re not doing the boogie or the light fantastic. These less nimble entertainers are too big for fast and flash dancing, though maybe not dirty dancing; and like Lady Gaga, they also work in packed arenas and stadiums throughout the world.

David Haye and Alexander Povetkin, at 6’3”and 6’2” respectively, may be the last heavyweights contenders under 6’4” with a reasonably decent chance at becoming a world champion. In short (no pun intended), they may be the last of their kind. To Hayes’s rare credit, he did KO 6’5½” Audley Harrison in 2010, and he fought a masterful and disciplined bout against 7-foot Nicolay Valuev in 2009 to win the WBA World heavyweight title, but that was then and this is now. Moreover, the feather-fisted albeit successful Valuev was a different breed of giant. Once Haye and Povetkin have been dispatched (as I suspect they will be), the heavyweight division will quickly take on a new complexion as the paradigm continues to shift dramatically.

The late Emanuel Steward once said prophetically, “I think they (the Klitschkos) are extremely talented 6-foot-6, 6-foot-7 guys, but this is the new generation. I myself never thought that much of a boxer over six-five because I know that was like a boundary and when you get to six-five that was like the end of your coordination for boxing, which was like Lewis and Bowe. The Klitschkos are the exception in that fact. That they are the new generation of big heavyweights who have coordination. “

When the Klitschkos hit the scene, fans were amazed at their size, athleticism, strength and discipline, but now the brothers are no longer the exception. Giant fighters are popping up everywhere, particularly it seems in England and Eastern Europe. Aficionados have perused the maps to check out locales represented by giant Brits, Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Slovenians, Azerbaijans, Uzbekistanis, Kazakhstanians, Belarusians, Bulgarians and other Euro monsters. Let’s see what a global list looks like based on height and with an asterisk to signify contender and/or champion:

Tyson Fury (20-0) U.K. 6’9”*
David Price (15-0) U.K. 6’8”*
Richard Towers (14-0) U.K. 6’8”
Skip Scott (16-1) American 6’8”
Alexander Ustinov (27-1) Belarusian 6′7½″
Mariusz Wach (27-1) Polish 6′7½″*
Vitali Klitschko (45-2) Ukrainian 6’7”*
Deontay Wilder (26-0) American 6’7”*
Alexander Dimitrenko (33-2) Ukrainian. 6’7”*
Robert Helenius (18-0) Finnish. 6’7”*
Michael Grant (48-4) American 6’7”
Wladimir Klitschko (59-3) Ukrainian 6’ 6”
Andrzej Wawrzyk (26-0) Polish 6’5”
Francesco Pianeta (28-0-1) Italian 6’5”
Kubrat Pulev (17-0) Bulgaria. 6’4½”*
Manuel Charr (22-1) German. 6’4”* (perhaps the new threshold)
Malik Scott (35 -0) American 6’4”
Chris Arreola (35-2) American 6’4”*
Joe Hanks (21-0) American 6’4”
Carlos Negron (14-1) Puerto Rico 6’6” (cruiserweight)
Guillermo Jones (38-3) Panamanian 6’4” (cruiserweight)
Yoan Pablo Hernandez (27-1) Cuban 6’4” (cruiserweight)

I have not included the following because they are either well past (or simply won’t reach) their best as in the case of Hoffman and Thompson or because they have fought opposition that would make Deontay Wilder blink, as is the case of Rodriguez who appears to search for opponents in morgues and cemeteries:

Timo Hoffman (40-7-2) German 6′7½″
Kelvin Price (13-1) American 6’7”
Tom Dallas (16-3) U.K. 6’6”
Tony Thompson (33-6) American 6’5”
Gregory Tony (18-3) French 6’5”
Steffen Kretschmann (16-2) German 6’5”
David Rodriguez (36-0) American 6’4”
Artur Szpilka (12-0) Polish 6’4”
Jovo Pudar (29-3) Serbian 6’4”
DaVarryl Williamson (27-7) American 6’4”
Maurice Harris (25-17-2) American 6’4”
Siarhei Liakhovich (25-5) Belarusian 6’4”

“Nino” Rodriguez has 24 first round stoppages among his 35 KOs, but a close review of his level of opposition changes the word “dreadful” to “deadfull.”

Contender Denis Boytsov (31-0) is relatively short at 6’1” and his opposition has been of the journeyman caliber, but he does have a lot of early KOs to his credit—his most recent being against none other than the “Ding-A-Ling-Man” in January 2012. Should the Russian step up (pun intended) against any of these giants, he probably will be brought back down to Earth.

Bryant “Bye-Bye “Jennings is only 6’2” but he has a freakish reach of 84” and good skills. Tyson Fury’s reach is 85” but he is seven inches taller.

Vyacheslav Glazkov (14-0) is 6’3” but is a celebrated amateur and is very skilled. Having made Tor Hamer forgettable in his last fight, “The Czar”’s bout with Malik Scott in February will reveal much about both men.

Looking up down under, Colin “Kid Coalminer” Wilson (35-30-1) is a 6’5” Aussie who has been taken out an alarming 17 times. Lucas “Big Daddy” Brown (14-0), who stands 6’4’, did just that a year ago. Aussie Kali Meehan (38-5) is 6’5” and is a fan-friendly chill-or-be-chilled type, but was derailed by 6’4½”Travis “Freight Train” Walker (39-8-1) in March.

Jameel McCline almost made it back to the big time when he had Russian KO artist Mago Abdusalamov on the throes of a KO, but the 6’6” McCline, the worse closer in recent heavyweight history, let Mago off the hook.

Tye “Big Sky” Fields is 6’8” and has an eye-catching record at 49-5 with 44 KOs, but he tallied it against challenged opponents including the likes of 7-foot Julius Long,  6’7” Raymond “Mount Kilimanjaro” Olubowale, 6’6” Ed White, 6’6” Nicolai Firtha, 6’5” Domenic Jenkins, and 6’4” Andy Sample. One thing about Tye, at least he tries to duke with guys his own size. 

Speaking of limited opposition, that brings us back to Deontay Wilder. He clearly holds great promise, but needs to stop searching for opposition in morgues, cemeteries, and Palookaville; he needs to fight someone who can fight back. As for his noxious “I’m the greatest” routine, the Bronze Bomber needs to tone it down; he will get gravitas when he stops fighting the gravest and blubbery foes like 350-pound Richard Green Jr., 420-pound Dustin Nichols, 300-pound Alvaro Morales, and serial waxee Owen “What the Heck” Beck.

Julius “The Towering Inferno” Long who stands over 7 feet has been fighting since 2001; however, he has been losing since 2007. The fire was extinguished long ago.

Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell (28-6 and 6’4”) is rapidly melting though he iced 6’5” Emerson Chasing Bear last January in the unlikely boxing locale of Williston, North Dakota.

In the 2012 London Olympics, the home country’s 6’6” Anthony Joshua beat, in the following order, Cuban Erislandy Savon, 6’6” Chinese super heavyweight Zhilel Zhang, Kazakhstan’s giant 6’9” Ivan Dychko, and then went on to whip Italy’s favored Roberto Cammarelle to win the Gold Medal. Joshua’s moniker should be “Giant Killer.” While he plans to go pro at some point, he first wants to fight at the 2016 Rio Olympics. “I want to do it my way,” said the likable and refreshingly different Anthony. “I want to be a world champion, but I don’t want to be like them [other champions]. I want to go on my course, down my path.”

The New Threshold

In the heavyweight division, 6’4” may become the new threshold or, as some have called it, the new norm. The fighters will continue to get taller with attendant heavier bodies and more athleticism and this can only bode ill for shorter fighters like 6’1”Tomasz Adamek, Chris Arreola, and others who seem willing to take their chances against much bigger men.

Going Forward

Talk of establishing a new Super Heavyweight Division is another concept that has been bandied about, but this time the discussions might get more traction.

Some say the heavyweight division has lost its shine, but that’s another tired refrain. Nevertheless, one way to turbo-charge interest would be to have a tourney along the lines of the Super Six World Boxing Classic organized by Showtime (in cooperation with Sauerland) between 2009 through 2011. Imagine the possibilities…

Heck, it could even be called The Monster Ball.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

2012-07-07 Tyson Fury vs Vinny Maddalone

David Price vs Audley Harrison 1st Round K.O & FULL FIGHT 13.10.2012

Richard Towers vs Ladislav Kovarik

Alexander Ustinov vs Jason Gavern.avi

Kubrat Pulev vs Alexander Ustinov KO Knock Out 11 Round 29-09-2012


Eddie Fast Chambers vs Alexander Dimitrenko, 2009-07-04, Round 10

Robert Helenius vs Siarhei Liakhovich - Part 1 of 3

Vitali Klitschko vs Chris Arreola

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  1. the thresher 10:09am, 01/19/2013

    “My opinion—the heavyweights today are powder puffs. Jack Dempsey could beat them all in his prime.”

    Back in the day, there were no Eastern Euro heavyweights of note. Today, they are in control—along with the Brits. The Eastern Euros fight differently, they are trained differently, and they are disciplined differently.

    Guys like Baer were heavy handed brawlers. Guys like Holmes were excellent boxer/punchers. Guys like Lewis were big and athletic and began to set the stage for a different kind of heavyweight.

    To classify as a powder puff a guy who was off for 4 years and then came back with no rust or stamina issues to handily beat a prime Sam Peter defies logic. IMO that was one of the greatest athletic feats I have ever witnessed. I really truly believe that everything looks better through the prism of nostalgia but make a strong effort, not always with success, to not look through that prism.

  2. the thresher 06:50am, 01/18/2013

    Darrell, pro-Klits comments are more than welcomed here. I am an unabashed Klit fan.

  3. Darrell 01:52am, 01/18/2013

    Here’s a possible heavyweight six:

    Wlad, Vitali, Haye, Povetkin, Fury & Pulev.  The latter two would push out Helenius, Price & Arreola (to interest American fans somewhat).  Personally, I believe Price is a better talent than Fury will ever be but possibly needs a few more fights against higher ranked contenders.

    Tex Hassler, we know you hate today’s dominant champions…..we know.  Give it a rest.

  4. Darrell 01:37am, 01/18/2013

    It’s a good idea for any division to be frank.  Did wonders for the Super Middleweights, no doubts about that.

    On another tack, do the pro-Klitschko replies get moderated now?  Reference the article titled “Chill: Lessons from the Brown Bomber”.

  5. the thrsher 05:48pm, 01/16/2013

    Right idea—wrong participants:

    “Veteran promoter/matchmaker Don Elbaum and financial backer Greg Sorrentino, today during a press conference held at historic Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, officially announced the creation of The $500,000 Great America Heavyweight Box-Off (TGAHBO). The tournament, planned as an annual event, is scheduled to launch in April at a site to soon be determined.

    “Introduced as participants were 2004 U.S. Olympians Jason “Big Six” Estrada (20-4, 6 KOs), of Providence (RI), and Devan Vargas (18-2, 7 KOs), of Toledo (OH), Tennessee (Chattanooga) knockout-artist Alonzo “Big Zo” Butler (28-2-1, 21 KOs), Minnesota (Coon Rapids) heavy-hitter Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell (28-6, 27 KOs), former USBA cruiserweight champion Emmanuel Nwodo (24-5, 20 KOs), fighting out of Baltimore (Maryland), and a 22-year-old sleeper from West Virginia (Clarksburg), “The Mountain” Daniel Martz (7-0, 6 KOs). Talks are ongoing to finalize the remaining two challengers, plus one reserve, in case of injuries”

    It’s a start!!!

  6. Tex Hassler 06:42pm, 01/15/2013

    If a Joe Louis or Sonny Liston were in their prime today they would KO all that beef. These guys today look good because they are not fighting Earnie Shavers, Ken Norton or any one who can really fight. Harry Greb the great middleweight did not have any trouble at 5ft 8 and one half inches tall beating some of the best heavyweights of his day.

  7. raxman 04:44pm, 01/15/2013

    We really need to ditch cruiser weight and call it heavyweight with a top limit of 210. fighters above would be super heavy. the casual fan couldn’t care less about the cruiserweight class, most wouldnt know what it was. these same casual fans won’t watch the heavyweights coz the matches made - should that be mismatches made - are one sided and boring. instead they say goodbye to boxing and hello to mma - in particualar ufc which can claim 1 champion (although as bellator fc grows MMA is about to run into the same “who’s the champ?” issues as boxing - only with their organizations owning the contracts of fighters not separate promoters like boxing, the 2 champs will never fight - but that is for another gleeful thread - back to business here)

    perhaps i’m being hysterical - heavy weights today are bigger becasue people are bigger.

    were the 6"4 “big” george foreman born in 1989 instead of 1949 he’d be a 6"6’ 24year old knocking out vlad klit in 2 rounds like he did smoking joe. were the 6"3’ ali born in 1991 instead of 1942 he’d be a 6"5’ maestro, dancing rings around vitali until that shoulder of his went again and he quit, like liston, in the 7th.

    see its not just the height and weight that has changed; more importantly its the quality of fighter. between the drug corner wars, the drugs themselves and that 3 strike and mandatory sentencing your country seems so found of, the best of young black alpha males are lost to the world long before they have a chance, or even the fantasy of going to a monsters ball.

  8. the thresher 03:23pm, 01/15/2013

    Aptly named

  9. The Tache 01:12pm, 01/15/2013

    Richard Towers (14-0) U.K. 6’8”
    He certainly does.

  10. the thresher 09:03am, 01/15/2013

    Thanks, Mike, That was mighty kind of you.

  11. Mike Casey 08:49am, 01/15/2013

    Folks, I hope you’ll forgive this quick bit of ‘admiration society’, but Ted Sares puts in one heck of a shift in researching these articles. Treat yourself to one of his boxing books and you will see what I mean. Too many ‘writers’, alas, fall woefully short of the mark on their homework.

  12. Mike Casey 07:50am, 01/15/2013

    If there’s ever a beef shortage, these guys could be in great danger. Povetkin Pie, anyone? I’ll take a playful punt right now and say that - of all the names here - only the Klits will be remembered in 20 years’ time. I’m just off for a Pianeta Bolognese….

  13. the thresher 07:00am, 01/15/2013

    Ha. Just for you buddy.

  14. dollarbond 06:57am, 01/15/2013

    I like the humor in this one, Ted. “Serial waxee”?” He will get gravitas when he stops fighting the gravest” made me laugh out loud.

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