Controversial victory for Danny Williams

On July 22, 2008 by

It was very controversial, but Danny Williams held onto his British heavyweight title after a point’s victory over John McDermott on Friday. With the fight extremely even, Williams was deducted three points and this appeared to hand victory to McDermott. However, the outcome surprised everyone – including Williams.

The 35-year-old was handed a majority decision victory, a result which outraged McDermott and surprised Williams. After a tense battle, it seemed that the Essex boxer had done enough for victory and he certainly believed he had won the fight.

It was a far from comfortable night for Williams – who once beat Mike Tyson – and it all seemed to be going horribly wrong in the fifth round. McDermott caught him with an upper cut on the chin and it was a huge struggle for Williams to make it through the remaining moments of the round.

From then on, the fight was even. In all honesty, it wasn’t exactly an enthralling contest. However, in the final two rounds Williams was deducted three points – one for a low blow, one for pushing his opponent away and one for spitting out his gum shield. At this stage, the McDermott camp thought they had done enough and so did the majority of people watching.

However, despite being close to being knocked out in the fifth round and losing vital points towards the end of the fight, Williams was handed a 114-113, 114-111, 113-113 victory. McDermott was shell shocked. Afterwards he said that ‘I thought I’d won’. Even Williams admitted that he was ‘relieved’ to be awarded the win.

Williams is targeting a World title shot soon, but as far as I am concerned – he can forget about it based on this performance. In terms of boxing betting, I wouldn’t back him to be a World Champion any time soon. I know the heavyweight division isn’t in the best of eras, but I still don’t think Williams has what it takes.

McDermott fought well, but he isn’t a world beater and he shouldn’t have tested Williams as much as he did. Is it time for Williams to give up his dream? I think so, but I wouldn’t bank on him doing so right now. He is so desperate to prove his critics wrong. It will be interesting to see what his next move is.

Written by Thomas Rooney – A Freelance Sports Journalist

Murray and Meager set to do battle

On July 10, 2008 by

This Friday night sees John Murray take on Lee Meager for the vacant British lightweight belt and it is set to be a very tense affair. Not only are both fighters desperate to get hold of the title – but they are fighting for the bragging rights in Manchester as well.

Both boxers are from Manchester, but they have differing loyalties when it comes to there football teams. Murray is a die-hard Manchester City fan and Meager is a former season-ticket holder at Manchester United. I wouldn’t say this would change the outcome of the fight a great deal, but the atmosphere inside the Robin Park Centre will be extra electric. Don’t be surprised to hear a few football songs bellowing out before and during the fight or to see both fighters in the relevant football team colours.

The relationship between the two fighters does go back some way. Murray and Meager used to be sparring partners and had some ‘right wars’ according to Murray, who hopes that the blue side of Manchester is the winner come Friday night. He also states that if the fight is anything like the Manchester derbies, it will be a very ‘feisty affair’.

Meager has also had his say on proceedings. The Salford boxer believes that the football connection adds an ‘extra edge to it’, and he appears confident that the red side of Manchester will be cheering after the fight on Friday night.

My opinion though, is that all this football talk is just normal to the pre-fight banter between two fighters. Yes, it adds an extra element of spice to the fight, but did it really need any? This is a big enough fight as it is. Both fighters are desperate to win the British title to further their careers and I’m sure that is more important than representing their football team.

As for the outcome of the fight and with reference to boxing betting, I’d say that Murray was the favourite to win. Meager has already held this British title and at 30 years of age, I’m not convinced he is as hungry to succeed as his 23-year-old opponent. Murray is confident, unbeaten and a very capable fighter. He is also in fantastic shape ahead of this bout. Probably the best he has ever been in.

Murray has eyed Amir Khan as his next opponent, but he will have to defeat the experienced Meager first – something I expect him to do within 6 rounds, to send the Manchester City fans home happy.

Written by Thomas Rooney – A Freelance Sports Journalist

It’s On – Joe and Roy from the Garden

On July 9, 2008 by

For months we’ve been hearing and Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Jnr. but now we can conform that…

It’s On

The fight will take place on September 20th at Madison Square Garden. The date was made available when Floyd Mayweather Jnr. retired and thus cancelled his proposed bout and rematch with Oscar De La Hoya.

HBO – the American cable network said it would only back the back as a PPV event if the fight was held Stateside, torpedoing his hope of fighting once more in front of his home fans at the Millenium Stadium. With Calzaghe having already of fought in Las Vegas, the only other place to fight was in The Garden and the undefeated two weight linear Champion is delighted that he’ll bow out in the home of Boxing on that side of the Atlantic.

Ricky Hatton had also wanted to fight in New York but chose to make his fight with Paulie Malignaggi in Las Vegas. He did this because he wanted to make it for the fans as it was cheaper to travel to Nevada than it was to The Big Apple.

So it will be Calzaghe that tops a bill at The Garden and not Hatton like everyone expected. It will be a cracking fight and one that should cement Calzaghe’s place amongst the greats should he win and it be his last fight. Jones Jnr. has had a great career and has been a great Champion. If Joe can beat him at Madison Square Garden and walk away from the sport then he’ll be able to look back and rightly say he is a true Champion and a true boxing great.

Hatton to fight twice more before retirement

On July 7, 2008 by

After his defeat to Floyd Mayweather, there has been much debate surrounding the future of Ricky Hatton. Since the only defeat of his career to date, he retained his IBO light-welterweight title against Juan Lazcano in front of 55,000 fans at the City of Manchester stadium.

Now, it seems that he has two more fights on his mind as he comes towards the end of his boxing career. The first of which has already been scheduled – Hatton will fight Paulie Malignaggi later this year in Las Vegas for the IBO and IBF light-welterweight title.

A quick on this bout would lead me to suggest that although I would bet on Ricky Hatton to win, it won’t be easy for the Manchester boxer. Malignaggi was unconvincing in defeating Lovemore N’Dou back in May on the Hatton v Lazcano undercard, with his absurd hair extensions producing more headlines than his boxing talent. However, he is a strong character and will want to prove to the world what he can do. Home advantage will play its part as well and Malignaggi will definitely test Hatton.

I would back Hatton to emerge victorious though. Presuming he does, he will only have one fight left if recent comments from the Hitman are to be believed. This fight is likely to be against either Manny Pacquiao or Oscar de la Hoya and will take place at Wembley in front of 100,000 fans. An occasion which Hatton believes would be fitting to end his career.

When this is given some thought, it does all make sense. Hatton will aim to prove his American doubters wrong by defeating Malignaggi in Las Vegas, the venue of his only career defeat. Then to finish off his boxing career, he wants to fight a big name in front of his adoring British fans to give them all a good send off as he bows out of the sport.

For me, it is just a shame that the Hatton – Mayweather rematch has never materialised. The American boxer has retired from boxing meaning this is almost certain not to happen. It would have been quite a spectacle.

It has to be said that with Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton eyeing retirement, British boxing is on the verge of entering a new era. With Calzaghe and Hatton supposedly having just three fights left between them, it will be left to Amir Khan, David Haye and Carl Froch to fly the flag for British boxing in the years to come.

Written by Thomas Rooney – A Freelance Sports Journalist

Carl Froch after title fight

On July 2, 2008 by

This year could be huge for Nottingham-born boxer, Carl Froch. It is being suggested that he could be in line to fight Jermaine Taylor at some point in the coming months for the WBC super-middleweight title.

Froch is a man who believes he is ready for a World Title fight and considering he has a record of 23-0, I would be inclined to go along with this. He particularly impressed me during his last fight back in May when he stopped Albert Rybacki – who was previously unbeaten – in the fourth round. It was the type of performance that a World Champion would be putting in – he showed sublime timing, lots of power and a huge variety of shots. It was a very impressive display.

The fight against Taylor is not confirmed yet though. The pair are apparently in talks over sorting out a fight, but it is a case of wait and see for now. Froch is obviously keen for Taylor to go through with this fight. He has even labeled a potential contest between Taylor and Jeff Lacy a ‘mismatch’ in a bid to convince Taylor to step up and take him on.

Froch, of course, is actually the mandatory challenger for Joe Calzaghe’s WBC belt and after his most recent fight Froch was quoted as saying that ‘Britain wants to see Froch v Calzaghe’. He has a point there – I would love to see it. At a time when British boxing is better than ever, it would be a fantastic spectacle.

Unfortunately though, there will be long boxing odds on this happening because Calzaghe is set for one last fight in his career against Roy Jones Jr – meaning he avoids the threat of Froch.

The most likely scenario no though is that Calzaghe will give up his WBC super-middleweight title, meaning that Froch and Taylor will go head to head for the vacant belt.

Written by Thomas Rooney – A Freelance Sports Journalist

Duke McKenzie has his say on Amir Khan

On June 27, 2008 by

Duke McKenzie – who is a former world champion at three weights – believes that Amir Khan should have another five fights before he considers a world-title shot.

McKenzie watched on from ringside as Khan defeated Michael Gomez in five rounds on Saturday night and he thinks that the Bolton boxer needs to work on his defence before biting off more than he can chew. He said that despite being impressed with Khan’s character, he was ‘too easy to hit’.

I have to agree with Mr McKenzie. You would bet on Amir Khan having a long and successful career – so what is the rush? Impatience is something that occurs too often in boxing and Khan should only make the step up when he is 100% ready. If that means he needs a few more fights to touch up his defence, then so be it.

Khan himself is keen on winning a world title at the age of 21. However, his 22nd birthday is in December and this ‘target’ should be sacrificed for making sure that he wins the world title in the first place. After all, to be a World Champion at the age of 22 is something to be extremely proud of.

With consideration to possible opponents for Khan, McKenzie mentioned Jon Thaxton and John Murray. I’d say the latter is more likely. Thaxton was battered in going for the European title against Yuri Romanov and I remember thinking at the time – why would Khan fight this guy?

There has been much talk between the Thaxton and Khan camps over the last few months and I just get the feeling that if it was going to happen – it would have happened by now.

John Murray on the other hand, is unbeaten after 24 professional fights and will test Khan’s defences. Something that Duke McKenzie feels that he needs to majorly work on if he is to become a World Champion.

Written by Thomas Rooney – A Freelance Sports Journalist

Khan survives knockdown to defend title

On June 23, 2008 by

Wow. That was explosive stuff. The fight between Amir Khan and Michael Gomez had everything. Both fighters were knocked down, there were heavy blows, aggressive body shots and fast combinations. Considering it was ended in the fifth round, it isn’t hard to show why it was such an entertaining bout. Khan eventually managed to retain his Commonwealth lightweight title, but it didn’t come easily.

Khan was expected to win big in this fight and everything was going to plan in the first round. The Bolton boxer started excellently with several effective combinations and an eventual right hand which saw Gomez hit the floor. Any boxing bets that were placed on Khan were looking safe at this stage. Only a matter of time surely?

That was far from the case though. Gomez came out fighting in the second round, determined not to be dominated by Khan. Then came the moment that shocked everyone – Gomez produced a thundering left hook to send the unbeaten Khan to the floor. There was a gasp from everyone in the crowd.

Khan got up quickly, showing no sign of pain and straight away he went on the attack. He cut Gomez above the left eye and was back on top – the crowd, at this stage, were going mental. The third round saw more aggressive blows from both fighters and it was clear at this point that this fight wasn’t going the distance.

In what was clearly Khan’s biggest test of his professional career, Gomez hurt him badly in the fourth round. The ‘Predator’ hit his body with a ferocious left hook and the anguish on Khan’s face told its own story. This is when Gomez looked most likely to produce a shock win. He targeted the body of Khan with a succession of blows.

Everyone knows by now though that Khan is a tough nut to crack. Moving into the fifth and final round, he used his speed to hit Gomez with a series of lighting quick combinations. It was actually a blow to the body that saw Gomez go down. Capitalising on his new found dominance, Khan produced some quick fire left and right hands before the referee stopped the fight. Khan had won.

Gomez wasn’t happy with the decision, but I think that was testament to his determination to succeed more than anything else. Khan had come through the biggest scare of his professional career to win.

When he does become World Champion, he will look back on this fight as beneficial. It was the first time his skills had been properly tested and this will do him no harm. Credit goes to Gomez who played his part in a very entertaining fight.

Even though it only lasted just over five rounds, I was shattered at the end of it and I was only watching! Great stuff Amir and Michael – thoroughly enjoyed it. It was boxing at its best.

Written by Thomas Rooney – A Freelance Sports Journalist

No show from Amir Khan’s opponent

On June 18, 2008 by

In the build up to a fight, there is often nothing better than the pre-match press conference. The boxers have a slanging match, the promoters build up the the contest and everyone starts getting even more excited about the fight that is going to be taking place.

Such a press conference was due to take place for the Amir Khan v Michael Gomez fight, but the latter failed to turn up leaving Khan to conclude that the Manchester boxer is ‘running scared’.

The fight itself, presuming everyone turns up, will take place in Birmingham this Saturday. The golden boy of British boxing, Amir Khan, will be defending his Commonwealth lightweight title against Irish born Gomez who is also known as the ‘Irish Mexican’.

Khan has vowed to let his fists do the talking and in all honesty, you would bet on Amir Khan to do exactly that. After 17 professional fights he is still unbeaten and has every right to be confident of another victory. Gomez put up a fight though – he is an experienced campaigner with 35 wins to his name after all.

Gomez has also claimed that Khan isn’t ready to face him and that he has trained harder than ever. Without being too harsh on Gomez, he does have to train harder than ever if he is to have a chance against Khan. Gomez has lost three of his last six fights – all of which have come by the way of knockout. Hardly the sort of recent form you want to take with you before facing the unbeaten Amir Khan is it? He can train as hard as he likes – I don’t think it’s going to be enough.

With reference to boxing betting, it comes as no surprise that Khan is the favourite for this one. He is a fighter that progresses with every fight and this shouldn’t be any different. Many have criticised his opponent selection, stating that it is a backward step to be fighting someone at the back end of his career like Gomez and Khan won’t want this one to go the distance. If it does, expect some criticism to fly towards the Bolton boxer. I expect an explosive start and finish to the fight, resulting in another knock out blow for Gomez as Amir Khan marches on.

Prediction: Khan to knock Gomez out a minute into the fourth round.

Written by Thomas Rooney – A Freelance Sports Journalist

Pacman calls out the Hitman

On June 9, 2008 by

The Pacman wants a showdown with the Hitman in what would be another huge fight.

The Pacman is taking on David Diaz on June 28 and thinks that Hatton would be a terrific match – and he’s not wrong. Hatton is a top fighter and Pacquiao is up there at the top of most people’s p4p rankings alongside Joe Calzaghe. The problem is finding a time to fight.

Hatton has a deal to fight Paulie Malignaggi later in the year, a fight that would once again cement his place as the undisputed Junior Welterweight Champion. Also out there is Oscar De La Hoya who is now looking for a huge name to fight following the shock retirement of Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the weekend.

Whilst I would love to see Hatton and the Pacman go at it at 140lbs, I’m not holding my breath that it’ll happen before the turn of the year. However if they are serious then this fight is something that could happen in 2009 and boy that would be some scrap.

Mora in search of respect against Forrest

On June 4, 2008 by

‘The Man they call the Latin Snake’ may of won the $1million Contender final but he has yet to impress on the world scene. He wants some respect but he needs to take on well known fighters and beat them, and beat them good. Vernon Forrest is not a bum so Saturday’s fight is a big one for Mora. He needs a stand-up performance but I doubt we’ll see one.