More Thoughts From the Weekend

Tim did an excellent job in summarizing the major fights taking place this weekend but I figured I would inject my two cents as well. Haye – Maccarinelli I have to admit that I was very high on Haye prior to breakout performance against Jean-Marc Mormek.  For all the talk of his lack of focus and dedication to the sport I saw a very talented fighter with God given athleticism and that certain je ne sais pasthat elicits widespread attention and adulation.  It could be the brash bravado or model looks but Haye has all the makings of becoming a major star especially with his  future endeavor into the heavyweight waters.  The only drawback – at least here in America -is that he’s, well, not American.  History has shown us on numerous occasions that we American’s don’t give a damn about fighters from European countries.  See the fight fan mandated battle between Joe Calzaghe and Mikkel Kessler which drew ratings so low it was comical.  Even the great heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis failed to enthrall the American audience until his destruction Mike Tyson.   Still there are the occasional exceptions to this rule.  Naseem Hamed captured American fight fans with his power punching and over the top cockiness.  Ricky Hatton has enjoyed success here in American with his everyman persona and witty charm.  As you can see those who have gained acceptance west of the Atlantic reside on a very short list.  Haye could very well be the newest edition to this small fraternity given the afore mentioned merits I discussed but such thoughts remain to be seen.  As for his success in the heavyweight division, as long as he does not make the ill advised move of bulking up to a weight that negates his edge in speed he should do just fine.  I actually favor him over most top tier opponents with the exceptions of Wladimir Klitschko and perhaps Sam Peter.  Campbell – Diaz Wow.  Credit must be given to Nate Campbell who fought the fight of his career in upsetting the best lightweight out there Juan Diaz.  The two fought as if enclosed in a coffin and produced some very good examples of how to properly in-fight.  Much was said about the advanced age of Campbell but like the HBO analysts pointed out, The Galaxxy Warrior did not start boxing until the ripe old age of 28.  Needless to say there are no a lot of miles on his odometer.  I don’t want to speculate and attribute the ongoing war of words between Daiz’s manager Willie Savannah and his now former promoter Don King for The Baby Bull’s loss but it was clear that Diaz was having an off night.  Now that is not to discount the heart and skill of Campbell but it was clear that Diaz did not have his best stuff.  Of course it was clear he was bothered by the cut over his eyelid as well as the swarming pressure of Campbell but it also looked as if Diaz was a bit intimidated by his opponent.  While the true test of a champion is how he responds in defeat we should not worry about Diaz.  He’s 24 and still in his prime and his all action style makes him a shoe-in to climb back up the rankings.  Though he would be advised to begin coming into fights with a Plan B.  The arm-chair Eddie Futch in me says that Diaz should have boxed more from the outside when Campbell proved to be too strong on the inside.  Perhaps youth would have been served if Campbell did not have the luxury of fighting on a dime.  Peter – Maskaev Well Sam Peter finally dropped his “interim” title in becoming the WBC heavyweight champion with his stoppage of Oleg Maskaev.  While Peter may have looked less than stellar in this outing, I still believe he is light years ahead of the Sam Peter who bullishly clubbed his way to victories.  While his wide looping punches still resemble a crude bar room brawler the fact is that there are some new-found technical aspects to Peter’s game.  His salvo to end the night was conducted with straight, well placed punches and not the sudden bursts of uncontrolled furry that used to be his calling card.  While he has yet to recapture the impressive form he displayed against James Toney in their second fight, I don’t see his as easy pickings for the current title holders as many in the media have stated.  Now don’t get me wrong, Peter is far from the saviour of the division but he does offer a glimmer of exciting hope and really isn’t that what we all really want?  As for Maskaev, it is time to hang up the gloves comrade.  Your days are numbered and best to get out while you can still enjoy your senses.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.