Boxing: Roche to challenge strength of canvas
Saturday 15 June 2002
Neil Sinclair knows that each time he gets in the ring there is a good chance that either he or his opponent will be on the canvas at some point in the fight.
Tonight Sinclair defends his British welterweight title against Derek Roche in front of a capacity crowd at the Leeds Town Hall and the likelihood that both boxers remain upright until the fight is over is zero. Roche was down six times in his last fight but still survived until the final bell.
Both boxers share a vulnerability to head shots which can be both frustrating and entertaining, depending on your vantage point. Tonight, Roche, who is from Leeds, will no doubt try to force the pace in the hope of catching Sinclair early, when he has been shown to be most vulnerable, but in doing so he will find himself caught and hurt.
Just because both are frequent visitors to the canvas does not make them bad fighters because they in turn have the power to stop and knock out an awful lot of men. Sinclair has 19 quick wins from 23 and Roche 14 from 26.
In December 2000, Sinclair left the domestic scene and took a huge step up in class to fight Puerto Rico's Daniel Santos for the World Boxing Organisation welterweight title and in the opening round Santos was on the canvas but in the second round Sinclair was knocked out. Tonight's fight could follow a similar type of pattern.
In January this year, Rochechallenged South Africa's Jan Bergman for the World Boxing Union welterweight title, the fight in which he hit the canvas six times.
The winner could be decided by just one punch, but it will certainly not be the only punch that influences a fight that will surely be hectic from the opening bell of what should be an amazing opening round.
* Six days after knocking out Mike Tyson, the world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis returned to Britain yesterday, but gave nothing away when asked whether he now plans to retire. "I'm trying to bask in my glory for a little bit, enjoy it for a minute. There was always something to prove. Now that you've proven everything, you can relax," he said. The Tyson-Lewis fight will be shown on BBC1 today at 10.45 and again at 23.10.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United can learn lessons from the transfer template of rivals Manchester City
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Cyprus vs Wales match report: Gareth Bale's bullet header has Welsh on brink of Euro 2016
Bayern Munich 'training camp' to supply refugees with food, footballs and German lessons
Anthony Martial: Manchester United's new signing received Patrice Evra's boots as a kid
- 1 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This bespoke furniture and inte...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you get a buzz from thinking up new ideas a...
£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This expanding, vibrant charity which su...