Two Insanely Injured/Sick Heavyweights Try To Do Really, Really Hard Things, Plus Other Quick Jabs

A sneak peak of what awaits below: The Rashomon effect on the Oscar De La Hoya-Steve Forbes fight; some schadenfreude for Mikkel Kessler and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; and hey, at least there’s something interesting happening with the heavyweights, even if it isn’t in the ring. The Blind Men, The Elephant And De La Hoya-Forbes It’s pretty peculiar the way people of assorted expert/writer varieties assessed De La Hoya-Forbes in completely different ways, in particular with how De La Hoya did. A sampling: From the general… Dan Rafael,, with a headline noting how “impressive” his win was: “In what was billed as ‘Homecoming,’ De La Hoya’s first fight in his native Southern California since 2000 — and probably his last — couldn’t have gone any better, with the exception of him not scoring a knockout. Although De La Hoya, the bigger, stronger, faster man, couldn’t get the knockout he wanted, he thoroughly dominated Forbes en route to a lopsided, unanimous decision in their junior middleweight fight at the catch weight of 150 pounds.” Steve Kim, “De La Hoya not only didn’t look as good as he has in the past, he looked as though he has even regressed physically from last May, when he was first defeated by Mayweather. His reflexes didn’t look quite as sharp, he only showed brief moments of the explosion and acceleration that marked his prime, and while he was able to shake Forbes late in the fight, he never really came close to stopping a guy who was about 10 pounds past his optimum weight class.” …To the specific, in this case, De La Hoya’s defense… Dave Larzelere, The Sporting Blog: “Forbes didn’t look particularly quick, yet he scored heavily on Oscar and at times got the better of exchanges that a younger De La Hoya would have dominated.” Doug Fischer, also ” I don‚Äôt think De La Hoya‚Äôs sharpness and points dominance was a mirage. Even at age 35, when he trains his ass off and faces a solid but non-elite fighter, he can handily beat them. He got hit a lot for three reasons: one, he‚Äôs never been a defensive wizard; two, he was very active against Forbes and Stevie is a good counter-puncher; and three, he made a mistake by trying to nail Forbes with right hands all night; Stevie is very good and slipping rights and countering.” So, you know, either he was “impressive” and demonstrated improvement, or he was bad and worse than ever; and either he looked terrible on defense, or there is a perfectly good reason or three he got hit as much as he did, none of which refute his overall sharpness. I jump on the judges as much as any boxing fan, but it’s times like these when I respect the difficulty of their jobs, where reasonable people can look at the exact same match and come to thoroughly opposite conclusions. About the only thing anyone agrees on here is that De La Hoya still ain’t gonna beat Mayweather in their rematch. Schadenfreude, The Trendy Word That Was Overused In The 90s But That Is Apt For These Two Items Mikkel Kessler, the 168-pounder who appeared headed for worldwide stardom, even after he got beat by Joe Calzaghe, went all primadonna on us and now karma has taken its toll. Kessler first avoided a big, fan-friendly fight with Edison Miranda; then he made a ton of contract demands, got them met and had essentially agreed to the bout; and then he pulled out, saying he wanted to tackle Anthony Mundine, a boxer he’d already beaten. As it happens, Mundine won’t be fighting him, and everyone else out there has moved on with their lives while Kessler did his “Hamlet” routine. That leaves Kessler fighting a far lower-profile opponent in what amounts to a persistent downgrade in the quality of the bout he will be in next. Now, it’s for a vacant title belt, so I’m sure someone will see that as a good thing. Maybe even him. Not me. Kessler, I think, just got stage fright. He lost on the biggest stage of his career, and didn’t want to risk doing that again. I guess this means instead of going for the big-time, he’s content with the less risky route of becoming the latest sheltered European niche star. Maybe he rebounds and gets some ambition again sometime, but for now he basically looks like he’s on the course to becoming the Danish Zsolt Erdei. Meanwhile, Mayweather’s foray into professional wrestling was, it’s good to hear, disappointing business. Also, as many believed, he was lying about getting $20 million to do it, according to the WWE. Two Insanely Injured, Sick Heavyweights Try To Do Really, Really Hard Things One of the heavyweight belt-holders, Ruslan Chagaev, has pulled out of yet another fight with yet another mysterious ailment. I’m telling you, this guy’s more afflicted than a Civil War veteran. It’s almost like he’s trying to go down a checklist of physical maladies he can attain. The ostensible reason for him pulling out of his rematch with Nikolay Valuev is a viral infection, but his ex-manager says it’s because he’s blind in his right eye. When he pulled out of his fight with Sultan Ibragimov last year, the official reason was “an acute inflammation of the body.” Other sources blamed hepatitis B. Others believe there was some kind of conspiracy, since after that fight was canceled Chagaev was back in the gym pretty quickly. They’ve rescheduled the Chagaev-Valuev fight for July. If I were a hepatitis-inflicted half-blind man with a viral infection and an “acute inflammation of the body,” I wouldn’t be rescheduling, I’d just go ahead and check into a nursing home. Meanwhile, former heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko, mounting a comeback bid in a career that has been marked by shoulder, knee, back and eyelash injuries, is simultaneously preparing to fight Sam Peter and run for mayor of Kiev, Ukraine again. Neither job is easy under the circumstances by itself. Together? Quite difficult. Guess who’s helping him in the mayoral bid, by the way? Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, ex- of running for president this year (hat tip to friend-of-the-site Indiebass):

After failing in his bid to get elected president of the U.S., Rudy Giuliani is now trying to get his newest client, a heavyweight boxing champion, elected mayor of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine… …the former New York mayor will announce a contract for strategies to root out corruption with Vitali Klitschko, the retired boxer known as “Dr. Iron Fist” because of his doctorate in sports science from Kiev University.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Boxers are some tough, tough sumbitches.

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.