Steve Bunce on Boxing: Klitschko is the new Ali – in taking the show out on the road
Tuesday 13 September 2011
Vitali Klitschko went on the road, won again in 10 predictable rounds and is officially the most mobile champion in history. Well, actually, he moves like concrete, but I'm talking about taking his title to boxing's outposts and facing men with no chance of beating him.
On Saturday he took about three punches, needed 10 rounds to turn Tomasz Adamek's face into a blurred cartoon and left the ring to cheers from 40,000 at a football stadium in Wroclaw, Poland. Most praise, however, was saved for the referee for putting an end to the slaughter. Adamek's corner failed in my opinion to look after their fighter. The crowd chanted "Dziekujemy!" as the ref climbed from the scene of the ugly massacre. I'm told that it translates as "We thank you".
In the last six years Klitschko has fought in world title fights in the US, Germany and Switzerland against fighters from Britain, Poland, Cuba, Nigeria, South Africa and the US. Big Vitali has not lost a round, trust me. Only Muhammad Ali compares to Klitschko on the global front. In world title fights Ali bashed up a Spaniard and a Belgian, classic Klitschko fodder, and had championship fights in Zaire, Philippines, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Germany and Britain. Ali also collected bags packed with cash in non-title fights in Ireland, Bahamas, Indonesia, Switzerland and Japan. We often forget Ali had some stinkers. Now Klitschko fights David Haye and the modern heavyweight carnival will continue in Montenegro or Hong Kong or Beijing.
Journeyman Greaves gets in training for shot at small time
There are terrific title fights this week – Tyson Fury in Belfast, Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas and little Stephen Smith in Liverpool – but Thursday night at the Irish Centre in Leeds is special. I know the venue; I had 37 avid fans in there when I took my one-man boxing show on the road in 2009.
Dewsbury's Youssef Al Hamidi fights East Ham's Johnny Greaves (above) for the unofficial Journeyman Championship of Great Britain. Hamidi has won eight of 45 fights and Greaves has lost 66 of his 69. Greaves is the best loser or journeyman in Britain and is back in Leeds by popular demand. Boxers like Greaves take fights at a few hours' notice, get in with unbeaten prospects and provide an essential service by losing with a degree of dignity in fights they have little chance of winning. Thursday is different, very different. "This is the Journeyman showdown I've been waiting for. I've trained three weeks, stopped going to the pub and cut down to 10 fags a day," claimed Greaves.
Murder or suicide? Mystery of Gatti's death rumbles on in US
Arturo "Thunder" Gatti was described as the "ultimate blood and guts warrior" whenever he fought on HBO and he was the main attraction on the channel 20 times. In July 2009 he was found dead at a holiday apartment in Brazil. He had a gash on the back of his head and had been strangled; a flimsy handbag strap was presented as Gatti's hanging tool for suicide.
It was tough to swallow at the time. He had recently changed his will, leaving his estate of $6m to his wife, Amanda Carina Barbosa Rodrigues, a retired lap dancer who Gatti met at a New York club. They had a young son and a fiery life. He would appear with a black eye, they would scream at each other and there are claims that she hit him with whatever was handy – a broom, a pan, a vase. His family have disputed the will since his death. They also claim he was killed and now a 10-month investigation by experts in the US agrees. The authorities in Brazil will examine the new evidence.
The following is, according to one of Gatti's childhood friends, from a conversation he claims to have witnessed between the couple: "You're a loser, the only thing that you're good at is bleeding. Your mother's a whore, your sisters are prostitutes." Thanks for that, Amanda...
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