Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye Draws Near

Photo: AP

That familiar anticipatory rousing we get during the build up of a potentially exciting heavyweight championship fight has become not-so-familiar in recent years. 

Routine, however, has become the stream of mundane updates and recycled trash talk from heavyweight titlists Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye in recent weeks. 

Though for all the dismissals and cursing of the heavyweight division over the last umpteen years, fans seem relieved to feel as though blood just may yet flow through the veins of the sport's go-to division, even if only for one fight. Both Klitschko and Haye - but Haye in particular - have slung some memorable hyperbole and entertaining quotes about in the press recently, vigorously selling a fight that until last March, after tireless wrangling, appeared impossible to deliver. 

Skeptics will remain skeptical until that first bell rings in Hamburg this coming Saturday, and rightfully so after the inane drama of year-long-plus negotiations. But maybe the prospect of an exciting unification in boxing's glamour division has brightened the overall spirit of fight fans enough to let them drop their guard and attempt to enjoy. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Random Classics - Kennedy McKinney vs. Welcome Ncita I

When most boxing fans hear the name "Kennedy McKinney," they think of the classic brawl between he and a 22-year old Marco Antonio Barrera in February 1996.

Often forgotten is the Mississippi native's tumultuous rise to the top long before the Barrera fight, which featured about as many well-documented hurdles as is it did highlights.

A ranked player in the amateurs since the mid-80's, McKinney became well-known for his work ethic, and steadily placing in the US Amateur Championships a few years in a row. McKinney then earned the right to represent the US at bantamweight in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, beating future champion Junior Jones in the Olympic box-offs, and avenging previous losses in the qualifiers.

Despite Kennedy winning gold at 119 lbs., much of the talk following the Seoul games centered around Roy Jones Jr.'s highly controversial decision loss to Korean fighter Park Si-Hun. Regardless, McKinney still experienced a period of celebrity status upon arriving home.

According to McKinney, this was precisely when he began abusing alcohol and cocaine.