Current generation of boxers an unappreciated gift

Harking back to former greats robs us of the present

Anthony Joshua punches Andy Ruiz Jr during the IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight title fight between Andy Ruiz on December 07, 2019 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Anthony Joshua punches Andy Ruiz Jr during the IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight title fight between Andy Ruiz on December 07, 2019 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Image: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Let us, the boxing family, nurture the quality talent SA possesses now and stop comparing them to the dogs of war of yesteryear as if we, as individuals, still perform in our different fields the way we did 20, 15, 10 or even five years ago.

We still spend 55 minutes of every hour talking about the past and only five minutes on the present, with nothing left for tomorrow. Once we accept that the time we live in now and its challenges require us to put our heads together irrespective of our social standing, we will begin to appreciate the mould of boxers the universe has presented to us now. It is criminal to compare them to what the world boasted back then.

Can we please stop and accept that human beings are born and not manufactured like furniture that one can design the way one wants it to look.

Let us appreciate Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk, Ilunga Makabu, Kevin Lerena, Canelo Alvarez, Jermall Charlo, Errol Spence jnr, Terence Crawford, Josh Taylor, Gervonta Davis, Naoya Inoue, Suny Edwards, Thammanoon Niyomtrong and Ludumo Lamati among the many pugilists who keep us glued to our television screens when they fight.

Oops! I must quickly indicate that this is my perspective before I get attacked again by that same nincompoop who, in a quest to look for relevance in the boxing sector,  made the silly accusation that myself and Sowetan newspaper misinformed the entire fight public through a story the Peoples' Paper printed recently.

The story was about Panamanian legend and boxing icon Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran having fought here at the Carousel on November 15 1997. That is the fact. I interviewed the man and I covered his fight, which he won on points after eight rounds against David Radford.

To justify his stupidity that individual wrote on the Save Our Boxing Forum: “I read with disgust the Sowetan edition on 02.06.2021 that Roberto Duran fought here. Roberto Duran never fought here.  The journo must start consulting some of the work he does, we need to save boxing at all angles.”

Well-informed boxing personalities quickly educated the idiot.

Fast forward and  Oscar De La Hoya is making a comeback on September 11, nearly 13 years after his retirement. He won 11 world titles in six weight divisions before quitting to establish himself as a top promoter under the banner of Golden Boy Promotions. He made it clear during a media briefing that it will be a professional boxing match that will reflect on his fight record, even though he will face mixed martial arts champ Vitor Belfort.

He said the fight was sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission. De La Hoya may win his upcoming fight but it must be said, loudly, that he is dicing with death. Hopefully, his actions will encourage legends like James Toney, Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones jnr, Azumah Nelson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Duran, Thomas Hearns, Lennox Lewis, Brian Mitchell and Vuyani Bungu to make comebacks.

These old-time greats gave the sport and fans many memorable boxing matches that we still talk about, and it must stay like that. Roger “Black Mamba” Mayweather summed it nicely during one of his interviews. “Most writers  don’t know s**t about boxing.”

I am out.

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