Friday, February 9, 2007


If you were looking for the next big thing in an American heavyweight contender, you're still looking. Sometime tap dancer Calvin Brock, amidst much hype and fanfare, was to be anointed as the American heavyweight most likely to succeed where all of the others have failed when he faced fellow undefeated heavyweight Timor Ibragimov from Uzbekistan on Saturday night at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Brock turned in a performance flatter than day old beer while stumbling to a unanimous twelve round decision over Ibragimov. With the "victory" Brock actually took a step backwards in his career and the fight really did him more harm than good in the opinion of many. Brock's previous fight came to a scintillating, one-punch knockout end against Zuri Lawrence that had a lot of people talking. But this fight was boring, the crowd booed and the bout was enough to put anybody into a coma.

The next morning on "The Strip" all anybody was talking about is how pathetic the heavyweight division is and how Calvin Brock should take up tap dancing as his profession because watching him tap dance on HBO during the "get to know him segment" was a helluva lot more interesting than watching him box.

Granted, it was over 100 degrees in the outdoor ring at Caesars Palace, but that didn't stop Larry Holmes and Gerry Cooney from giving us a great heavyweight fight under similar environmental conditions back in 1982.

Brock upped his record to 29-0 with the win, but nobody who watched this wrestling match can seriously see Brock as the heavyweight contender to upset all of the rest. Brock fought a lazy fight, appeared a little soft and he fought to survive, not to win. He showed defensive flaws on the inside and there was no fire, no drive and no punches thrown with some real menace behind them.

One would think that being showcased on HBO in the ring at Caesars where all of the greats have fought and with former heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson looking on would be enough to inspire Brock to new heights, but he fought a hideous fight.

When Brock was asked to comment on his performance he said he didn't hear the crowd booing and it was more of the same laziness when he said, "The guy was undefeated and if the knockout comes it comes."

Well, the knockout didn't come and because of this uninspired performance, hopefully a title shot doesn't come either - until Brock shows us something against somebody that means something.

In the Corners

* The Joel Julio diamond has lost its clarity . After shining to a gaudy record of 27-0 (24)KO he came up zirconium against Puerto Rico's Carlos Quintana with a now equally gaudy ledger of 23-0(18)KO. Julio was named prospect of the year a while back and he was seen as the young crown jewel by his Main Events Promotional team. But again, an undefeated contender showed up with no luster and couldn't seem to make himself shine when he was placed in the spotlight. Julio dropped a unanimous twelve round decision and now it's Quintana that everyone is talking about. Julio can punch like a mule kicks, now he just has to learn to box.

* All of a sudden, the IBF heavyweight belt wearing Wladimir Klitschko looks like the most solid of all the alphabet soup heavyweight title holders. Klitschko's win over Samuel Peter and his violent kayo over Chris Byrd have him head and shoulders above Hasim Rahman (WBC), Nicolay Valuev (WBA) and Sergei Liakovich (WBA). Maybe there is light at the end of this heavyweight morass.

* Has the romance that everybody had with trainer Buddy McGirt ended? McGirt is one of the most successful trainers in boxing, but over the past few months many of his high-profile proteges have gone down in flames and Buddy has seemed clueless in the corner. Lamon Brewster, Antonio Tarver and most recently Joel Julio have all crashed and burned and McGirt has been more like a spectator in the corner as the carnage has unfolded. Next on deck for McGirt is Arturo Gatti who is in tough against Carlos Baldomir in Atlantic City on July 22nd.

* Lennox Lewis appears about as comfortable in front of the camera as Linda Tripp. Stiff, sweaty and with a deer in the headlights gaze, Lewis tries to add some color to HBO's Boxing After Dark broadcasts but he spends more time fumbling over words and saying stupid stuff that makes absolutely no sense. Max Kellerman and Fran Charles are finding their sea legs together but Lewis is still drifting around somewhere in the Atlantic between Jamaica and England. This was the best HBO could do? Bernard Hopkins or Antonio Tarver would have been much better choices.

June 2006

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