Knockout Nation: Holyfield Robbed? Pac-Hatton for May09? Haye-V. Klitschko, Ken Norton

Holyfield Loses Bid for Fifth World Title

Lumbering

behemoth Nikolai Valuev earned a controversial, unpopular majority

decision against a game Evander Holyfield this past Saturday to retain

his WBA title.

The

listless fight saw Holyfield take command in the early rounds by the

use of his overhand left. Valuev remained tentative, simply throwing

feeler jabs that mostly failed to connect. Because of his immense size,

Valuev kept himself firmly planted in ring center in hopes of goading

Holyfield to come straight at him. The wily veteran didn’t oblige and

constantly gave his slower foe angles to prevent a clean counterattack.

By

the middle rounds Valuev still was not landing more than 3-5 punches

per round. Meanwhile, the 46 year old Holyfield keep up steady movement

to keep his larger foe off-balance. Although the action was sparse,

Holyfield’s sheer activity of roughly 15-20 punches per round appeared

to give him a clear advantage going into round 7.

As

the fight reached the later rounds, Holyfield’s legs began to catch up

to the aged warrior. Now forced to fight, Holyfield now began to get

tagged with slow but thudding overhand shots from the champion. The

Real Deal was not seriously hurt, but Valuev’s clean punches were

enough for him to definitively carry rounds 7 and 8.

In

the championship rounds, Valuev’s cutman urged the champion to go for

the knockout or risk losing his title. Valuev responded by attempting

to stalk Holyfield, but this unfamiliar role and the champ’s slowness

prevented him from landing any significant punches. Holyfield was not

much better, still showing signs of fatigue and looking content to run

out the clock due to his apparent lead.

At the bell, the crowd booed Valuev heavily as the Russian raised his hands in celebration.

Shockingly,

the scorecards for the bout read 114-114, 116-112, and 115-114 to give

Valuev the victory. In the pos-fight interview, Holyfield was convinced

he had won the fight.

“I

don’t think anything was lacking. I hit him more times than he hit me,”

Holyfield stated. “I moved a lot and made him miss punches. And I

fought the fight that I felt was good for me to win.”

Sadly,

because the fight was controversial and possibly a robbery, expect

Evander Holyfield continue with his delusional goal of once again being

the heavyweight champion. Let’s at least be happy it wasn’t a Klitschko

in there this past weekend.

And more words from the man himself.

“My

goal is to be the heavyweight champion of the world,” Holyfield added

after the fight. “I am not interested in fighting for the sake of

fighting, I want to be a champion again and that hasn’t changed.”

Per Holyfield’s trainer Thomas Brooks, the Real Deal’s camp is already seeking a rematch for early next year.

Pacquiao-Hatton Targeted for May 2009

Golden

Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer revealed late last week that Manny

Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton are very close to finalizing terms for a 140

pound title fight in on May 2, 2009.

As of now, both sides are negotiating the potential fight to take place in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao is coming off his most high-profile win to date, an easy 8th

round stoppage over superstar Oscar De La Hoya on December 6. Hatton is

coming off a similar one-sided stoppage of Paulie Malignaggi on

November 22.

According to Schaefer, the fight offers another blockbuster between two of boxing’s premier lighter weight stars.

“I’m

encouraged by the way it’s going, and I’m talking to the Hattons again.

You really have two of the most popular fighters of their generation

fighting each other, and that’s the kind of fight we want to make.”

Although

Floyd Mayweather was spoken of as a potential opponent, Hatton’s

current promotional deal with Golden Boy made the British brawler a

more appealing option to Top Rank and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum. In

addition, Arum and Mayweather still have simmering animosity from their

very public 2006 split.

Although

many will be disappointed in Mayweather not getting the call, this

promises to be another exciting fight for Pacquiao and a true test of

his abilities with the elite fighters above lightweight. De La Hoya was

a weight-drained shell on December 6 and in Hatton Pacquiao will face a

physically strong, roughhouse fighter. And Hatton is there to be hit.

This one is not to be missed. Early prediction is Manny Pacquiao by late stoppage.

Vitali Klitschko Signs On to Defend WBC Title Against David Haye

Newly crowned WBC champ Vitali Klitschko has agreed to defend his title in June against cruiserweight champ David Haye.

The

deal was finalized not long after younger brother Wladimir Klitschko

easily knocked out Hasim Rahman on December 13. Haye, in his usual

colorful manner, addressed that fight and his promise to become

heavyweight champion of the world.

“I

was in Germany to watch Wladimir Klitschko bore everybody to sleep with

his jab,” Haye quipped to the BBC. “It’s all done and dusted [the

contract]; just need to dot the I’s and cross the t’s. We sat down and

talked numbers and that made sense for both sides and it’s done. There

is no boxing politics involved. Plain and simple, this is how boxing

should be.”

Vitali

has promised to punish Haye in the ring for what he feels was the

immense disrespect Haye showed at a recent press conference.  Haye

displayed a Reservoir Dogs styled picture that featured him holding the

decapitated head of Wladimir Klitschko. Vitali became so enraged that

both men had to be separated.

Vitali

Klitschko returned after a four year layoff in October to stop Sam

Peter in 9 rounds to win the WBC belt. In June, with Vitali at

ringside, David Haye knocked down Monte Barrett five times in route to

a 5th round TKO.

Wladimir Works Over Rahman

Perennial contender had no answer for the younger Klitschko’s ramrod jab. Check out the highlights.

Adamek-Cunningham Fight of the Year?

This

IBF cruiserweight title match featured wild back and forth action. In

the end, Tomasz Adamek picked up the win by virtue of securing 3

knockdowns over a determined Steve Cunningham. Both men hurt each other

numerous times throughout the 12 round slugfest. A rematch is

definitely in order.

Throwback Fighter of the Week: Ken Norton

Chiseled contender Ken Norton was one of a handful of fighters the produced the revered 70s golden age of heavyweight boxing.

A

sparring partner to Joe Frazier, Norton was a virtual unknown until he

got the call to face Muhammad Ali in 1973. Ali did not train well, and

Norton shocked the boxing world by scoring the upset and breaking Ali’s

jaw in the process. In the rematch six months later, an in shape Ali

carried the early and mid rounds through sharp counters and fluid

movement. However, Norton took over by round 7 and looked to be on

track to once again defeat The Greatest. It was only a late rally in

the deciding 12th round that earned Ali the split decision in a fight some feel Norton won.

The next year Norton challenged George Foreman for the heavyweight title, but was blitzed in two rounds.

He went undefeated for the next two years, winning all his fights by KO including a brutal beating of the tough Jerry Quarry.

That

earned Ken another shot at the title in 1976, this time in a

rubbermatch with rival Muhammad Ali. The bout featured many close and

difficult rounds to score although Norton had an early lead. Ali

chipped away and the barely scrapped by with a controversial unanimous

decision of 8-7 in rounds on all scorecards. To this day many feel

Norton was robbed of the title.

Norton

posted wins against Jimmy Young and Duane Bobick before facing a young

Larry Holmes in 1978. In what is considered one of the greatest bouts

in heavyweight history, Norton lost a razor-thin split decision.

By

the beginning on 1979, Norton was beginning to slip from the wear and

tear of boxing. He was KO’d in one round by Earnie Shavers in 1979, and

drew with the ordinary Scott LeDoux that same year. After a dismal

split decision win against Tex Cobb in 1980, Norton retired in 1981

after suffering a scary KO in one round to Gerry Cooney.

Ken

Norton was inducted into the Boxing International Hall of Fame in 1992

and received Fighter of the Year Honors in 1977. The RING Magazine

ranks him #22 on their list of the 50 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time.

Norton

is well known for his “crab defense,” where he would have his elbows

out to his sides and one hand above the other to pick off shots. This

style proved difficult for Ali, who struggled to land clean punches,

especially his famed jab, on Norton.

Ken Norton’s final record stands at 42-7-1, 33 KOs.

Norton vs. Bobick

Norton vs. Quarry

Norton-Ali I

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