“The Standing Eight Count”-
Hapless In Hamburg
By Dave Wilcox -
The Heavyweight Championship of the world used to be the
biggest prize in not only our beloved sport of Boxing, but
in professional sports, period. The Heavyweight division has
had a long line of historical big men throughout the sport’s
Jack Dempsey fought in front of 120,000 people at outdoor
venues. Joe Louis had his bum of the month club and Rocky
Marciano retired undefeated. Muhammad Ali proved he was
indeed “The Greatest” as he fought legendary battles with
Norton, Frazier and Foreman. “The Easton Assassin”, Larry
Holmes got us through the post 70’s let down and led us
straight to the Tyson dominance of the mid to late 80’s.
From there, Evander Holyfield would treat us to many
memorable Heavyweight wars, including his trilogy with
Riddick Bowe. Their first encounter was by far the best of
the three bouts as Bowe emerged from the initial meeting as
the next Heavyweight superstar and Holyfield showed a
courage in one of the greatest rounds in heavyweight history
when he turned the tables on “Big Daddy” Bowe in the tenth
Holyfield would continue thrilling the Boxing world even
when he appeared to be a shot fighter after his loss in the
third Bowe fight. A huge underdog going into a fight with
the rejuvenated Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield shocked the
world by knocking out “The baddest man on the planet” and
followed it up with a victory in the rematch as Tyson
mistook Holyfield for a buffet line and was disqualified for
biting the ears of Holyfield, not once, but twice.
Lennox Lewis would eventually grab a belt or two and the
linear title. Lennox Lewis was regarded as the real
Heavyweight Champion and would retire as such after his
close call victory over the then untested Vitali Klitschko.
At the time of Lewis’ retirement, who would have known the
excitement and historical value of the division would go
Fast forward to July 2nd, 2011 in Hamburg, Germany.
After nearly ten years of being lulled to sleep by the two
Klitschko brothers, it seemed that finally we had an
exciting and capable opponent in former undisputed
cruiserweight champion, David “Hayemaker” Haye. David Haye
is not like all the previous challengers to the throne that
we had seen on tape delay on a Sunday afternoon on ESPN3 in
previous Klitschko title defenses. The Englishman has speed,
power and most importantly, he had personality and when he
spoke, people wanted to watch.
It was Friday July 1st, the eve of the Wladimir
Klitschko-David Haye fight and I couldn’t sleep. I was so
excited for this bout and told anyone that would listen that
this is the one. “Ding dong the Klits is dead!” became my
battle cry. David Haye will be the man to finally bring us
to the Promised Land and the Klitschkos will no longer have
a stake on this land.
I finally did fall asleep, but not before I warned Mrs.
Wilcox and the kids that their father would be unavailable
on Saturday the 2nd and if they tried to speak to me, ask me
any questions or have a request of any kind I assured them
they would be ignored.
The wife knew what this meant. She had seen this look on my
face and witnessed this erratic behavior from her dim-witted
husband before. She hadn’t experienced this Dave in a while
however, because it was stored away waiting for a reason.
The reason was Klitschko vs. Haye.
As 1:45 PM PST approached on Saturday afternoon, I set up
camp in the man-cave and proceeded to get everything ready.
The lights were off the TV was on and got my scorecard ready
,even though I knew I wouldn’t be needing a scorecard for
this historical Heavyweight clash. There was no doubt that
somebody was going down and they were going down hard. As
the fighters started their ring walks, I started getting
butterflies in my stomach. Haye hit the ring first and I
proceeded to pace the man-cave floor relentlessly. Next in
the ring was Wladimir Klitschko and I got the chills.
As the referee gave the instructions, I began yelling at the
TV and barking instructions to my new heavyweight hero,
David Haye. The men received their instructions and headed
back to their corners. It was on! Heavyweight history was
about to be made and I was like a kid in a candy store.
And then the bell rang for round one………………………..
Never in my 35 plus years of watching Boxing have I been
this disappointed with a single bout as I was on Saturday
afternoon. David Haye followed The Klitschko brothers around
trying to get the bout for over three years and I followed
David Haye like a rock star groupie. I fell for his act,
hook, line and sinker. I should have known better but in
this case, I think my hope and desperate need to have the
Heavyweight division mean something again outweighed my
David Haye has made me feel dirty. His pathetic excuse for a
performance was embarrassing for the sport. I’ve seen guys
fight worse, but not from a guy who did so much talking
during the promotion of the fight.
The worst part is that he actually did do what nobody else
has been able to do post Lennox Lewis. He brought excitement
back to the Heavyweight division. Mainstream fans were
talking about the fight, Jim Rome was talking about the
fight on his nationally syndicated radio show and newspapers
were actually giving it ink. It seemed that Boxing might be
able to win back some of the many fans lost with this
compelling battle of big men.
And then the bell rang for round one……………………………
Shame on me for falling prey to the hype of David Haye and
shame on the man himself for his embarrassing effort on
Saturday in Hamburg.
For every one step forward boxing takes, they seem to follow
that up with two steps backwards.
Your welcome MMA.