Bunce on boxing: Lack of legit challengers is a heavyweight problem

 

More than 50,000 people turned up for Jean-Marc Mormeck's boxing wake in Stuttgart on Saturday night, when the tiny Frenchman added his name to a list of heavyweight challengers to crumple at the fists of the Klitschko brothers.

Mormeck looked scared, threw three punches in fear at Wladimir and took the full count looking the referee in the eye; he then claimed that it was stopped too early with a shameless flourish that deserves to be punished as severely as the fisticuffs that marred the last Klitschko fight in Germany. Boxing is a tricky business, half the things you hear are not true, but that level of denial is ridiculous.

The heavyweight division has run out of legitimate new challengers and it is inevitable that several old men, victims already of the Klitschkos, will get chances in the future. David Haye was confirmed as Vitali's next opponent, having lost to Wladimir last year. Trust me when I say Haye is a good challenger compared with some of the recycled relics that could feature. The problem, which is unique to heavyweight boxing, is that there are simply no proper challengers and by that I mean men with the right amount of ring experience and youth and craft to give them a realistic chance against either Klitschko.

In other divisions boxers like Paulus Moses, who challenges for the WBO lightweight title against Ricky Burns on Saturday, can be moved from good fight to good fight, winning and losing against good fighters. There is more depth in the lower divisions, but there is also less reliance on keeping a fighter unbeaten. Moses has lost just once but has been matched in several 50-50 fights; Burns had twice lost over 12 rounds in British title fights before winning the WBO belt.

Wladimir Klitschko has fought five unbeaten men and eight boxers with one loss during his 12 years at or near the top. So many fighters have simply panicked when he has started to hit them; the challengers had been protected as they moved towards a big payday in a championship fight and that is dismal preparation. At the moment a bunch of unbeaten young heavyweights are falling into position for a challenge and they are all cursed with their unbeaten records. There are exceptions to the unbeaten record dilemma; Mike Tyson was unbeaten but tested in some difficult fights before he won the title and that was probably because his backers wanted to see what would happen if an opponent didn't fall over.

In America the unbeaten pair of Deontay Wilder (21 wins, all by stoppage) and Seth Mitchell (24 wins and a draw) would become better fighters if they risked losing. The pair have become the supposed saviours of the heavyweight sport in the US but they have barely broken sweat, let alone faced a risk and survived.

In Britain, Tyson Fury (17 wins) has, often for the wrong reasons, been in a few hard fights and now, even at 23, looks the best prospect for the future. He has been hurt, been over and each time he has found a way to win, and in modern heavyweight challengers that is a rare fighting trait. It is, therefore, a real shame that Fury vacated his British heavyweight title rather than face Liverpool's unbeaten David Price in the type of fight that both winner and loser win in the long run.

Thankfully, there are fights like Burns against Moses to remind everybody what a 50-50 world title fight looks like.

News
Alex Salmond said he accepted 'the democratic verdict of the people'
newsSNP leader says Scotland must move forward as 'one nation'
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery Assistant Plymouth

£10000 - £20000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week