For years former heavyweight title holder Chris Byrd (40-4-1, 21 KOs) has sought his fame and fortune in boxing amongst the behemoths of the heavyweight division. For a man barely 6 feet tall and maybe 220 pounds soaking wet, his merits in the sports glamour division were pretty damn incredible. Twice the man named Byrd would lay claim to holding on to the sports most coveted prizes, a heavyweight title. A feat made even more that impressive when you consider who Byrd beat to lay claim to such accolades. Unlike the title holders of today’s tepid heavyweight waters Byrd won his titles over some legitimately tough competition. In fact Byrd’s resume includes battles with some of the games hardest men. I mean just look at the following names on Byrd’s resume: Ike Ibeabuchi (before he went crazy), Vitali Klitschko (whom Byrd won the WBO title), Wladimir Klitschko (sure he lost both times but there is no shame in that), David Tua (still in his prime), Evander Holyfield (whom he won his IBF crown from and before he was completely shot), Fres Oquendo (when he was still a highly touted contender), and Andrew Golota (before he was found out to be as mentally stable as a meth head). In fact you could say that Byrd’s greatest strength has always been his heart. Despite being routinely outweighed by his opponents by double digit amounts, Byrd took on all comers. Byrd in his prime was a throwback to the days when heavyweight fighters actually utilized the nuances of boxing and relied less on simply trying to land that one powerful shot. Sure his power was non-existent but his boxing skills and ring smarts have carried him to 40 victories. Not bad for a man who won an Olympic silver medal as middleweight. Of course one could say that Byrd had to fight the divisions best just to get a decent payday. I mean lets face it, Byrd’s style does not exactly put butts into the seats clamoring for his appearance. A) he is too nice of a guy outside the ring and B) he hits like a feather duster. This is why news of Bryd’s decision to boil down to the light heavyweight limit of 175 pounds has me a bit excited. Sure Byrd had no power at heavyweight but you have to wonder what his power will be like two divisions south. But at the ripe old age of 37 has time run out for Byrd to actually make any waves in a new division. When you consider that the major players in the light heavy division are no spring chickens (with the exception of Chad Dawson) Byrd’s timing may be just right. After all the recognized “man” at 175 is a 41 year old Bernard Hopkins and both Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver are hovering around their late 30’s. Time will tell if the sands of the hour glass have already spilled for Byrd but for one of the games bravest souls this is simply a new beginning.
The Return of Chris Byrd
Posted by Tim Starks on Apr 11, 2008 03:00