Boxing: Hide must vary enigma theme
Bob Mee says the forgotten champion should now show his true quality
Sunday 20 June 1999
He talks of knocking out Lewis, and Frank Warren, his promoter, and Frank Maloney, the manager of Lewis, are in the mood to work together, which means there is some logic to it.
However, there are those who feel that Hide does not belong in the same sentence as Lewis, let alone the same ring. His talent is not the issue. His attitude is. In April he pulled out of what should have been an easy fight with Orlin Norris, an elderly, stocky Texan, citing an injury. He also withdrew from a fight in February.
Since he outclassed the 39-year-old American Tony Tucker to begin his second reign as holder of the World Boxing Organisation belt two years ago, Hide has showed little interest in boxing the big names. The WBO, the Puerto Rican-based sanctioning body with whom Warren primarily works, holds little sway at heavyweight. (Lewis is the World Boxing Council champion and Evander Holyfield holds the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation belts.)
Hide's first challenger, an inept Kansas cruiserweight named Damon Reed, lasted 52 seconds. After Reed, Willi "The Ox" Fischer, a third-rate German, was slaughtered in two rounds. Inedifying matches both. Next Saturday at the London Arena, Hide fights again, under pain of being stripped of his championship if he doesn't.
His opponent, a 6ft 8in, 17st Ukrainian named Vitali Klits-chko, has won 24 fights, all by knockout or stoppage. He is dangerous, as he demonstrated when he destroyed the current British champion Julius Francis in two rounds last year. Hide is expected to prevail. He combines precise punching with a speed not usually found in a heavyweight. The key to the fight is relatively easy to understand: Klitschko cannot knock out what he cannot hit, and Hide plans to be too fast for him, using the kind of jolting punches that have taken care of more than half of his 32 opponents inside two rounds.
"Klitschko's not mobile enough. He's just a big plodder. I'm too fast," says Hide, who knows what boxing writers expect him to say, and says it. "I'll knock him out. Inside five."
Beyond the boasts, Hide comes across as a man who is suspicious of strangers and who is prepared to trust only those closest to him. It is possible he is an on-top fighter, comfortable dishing it out but retaining the scars of his only professional defeat, in Las Vegas in 1995 when Riddick Bowe floored him seven times in six rounds..
There is something intangible about attraction, but the British tend not to be drawn to someone who seems interested only in beating up opponents who are not in his class, when there are others out there who are. To capture the imagination, Hide needs to trounce Klitschko and two or three top-class Americans to make a Lewis fight viable.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United's best XI of the season so far: No place for Angel Di Maria or Juan Mata
Which player sells the most shirts in the Premier League?
WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
Chelsea's best XI of the season so far: Petr Cech has been better than Thibaut Courtois
Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Arsenal's Mesut Ozil and Manchester City's Jesus Navas are the three best attacking midfielders in Europe in 2015
- 1 Replica Back to the Future Hoverboard released
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 4 A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...
£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...