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Thread: British boxing – The Decades

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    Default British boxing – The Decades

    With no boxing on the horizon I thought I'd take a look at some British boxing over the decades and pick out a few fights that were not only notable in the boxing history books, but also notable to me on a personal level. They made me a consumer of boxing on all fronts, whether that be participating, watching, buying my first now no longer in print Boxing Monthly or having a dabble at writing about it. Apologies to anyone or anything pre 1980 but I'm not one to wax lyrical about things I've never seen so the only logical starting point was the 80's, and half way through it at that..

    80's


    June the 8th, 1985. Eusebio Pedroza defends for the 20th time his WBA featherweight World title against 'Clones Cyclone' Barry McGuigan in front of 25000 people at Loftus Road (Home of Queens Park Rangers), London, England. I was nine at the time, football was my world but I loved a ruck, generally on the football pitch or shortly afterwards, we didn’t have games consoles or the internet, we had a ball and a bottle of squash, some times tempers flared, I didn’t mind, I was quite handy with feet or fists. Watching people beat one another up was a no brainer. TV consumption back then was binary. You watched what your dad was watching, or nothing, he just happened to have the BBC on. My old man was a pigeon fancier, raced them all over, never got bitten by the bug myself. He was very much a casual fan of other 'sports'. If he were alive today I'm sure he'd have no trouble finding a channel or stream dedicated to pigeon fancying, he'd be happy as a pig in shit and every bit as avid a consumer of that, as I would become of boxing.

    I'm by no means an expert, always suspicious of those who say they are, but my understanding of boxing has grown over the years through various experiences and time served if you like. At nine years of age, it was just a decent punch up between two little blokes. The black bloke making the early running before the white bloke caught up to him. I had no other method of distinguishing between the two, no idea who McGuigan was and certainly no idea who Pedroza was. My Dad was limited help. Who do we want to win Dad? "The White fella".

    Boxing hadn't sunk it's hooks in at this point. My viewing was sporadic, in todays money I'd be called a casual. A fight here or there, generally highlights if me Dad would let me stay up late to watch midweek sports special. Football highlights finished, bit of boxing. Always seemed to be Kirkland Laing on the box, it wasn't. I did watch McGuigan lose the title he won from Pedroza against Steve Cruz in the barmy outdoor heat of Caesars. It was only 12 months between the Pedroza and Cruz fights but I remember it in far more detail. My recollection of the fight was all wrong of course. In my minds eye I see McGuigan falling apart at the seams, barely able to stand, melted by the Las Vegas sun. It wasn’t quite as dramatic. The climate was a factor for sure but McGuigan got Pedroza'd. Barry made the early running, Cruz came on late with a couple of last round knockdowns which ultimately won him a very close decision.

    September 27th 1986. Lloyd Honeyghan challenges Donald Curry for the undisputed welterweight championship of the World. I was coming up ten. As with McGuigan Pedroza I had very little idea who Lloyd Honeyghan was and even less of a clue about Curry. All I knew was Curry was a bad man and Honeyghan was given very little chance. In the wise words of me Dad, E got no chance (we don’t pronounce the H in he in our part of the World). At least he's got a smarter shorts I remember thinking. Some consolation.
    The fight itself was pretty routine, "he's winning easy Dad" I'd say. "You wait" said the old man. I waited.

    Technically ruled a stoppage due to an accidental headbutt, but that headline doesn’t do Honeyghan the justice he deserved. He bossed the fight from start to finish, he beat Curry up. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and people will tell you that Curry was this and Curry was that. Those debates will linger on for far too long. What's not up for debate is that Curry was 25 years old, 25-0 with 20 KO's and the undisputed Welterweight champion of the World and pound for pound number 1. Honeyghan went to the States where the proper fighters lived at that time and ripped the title from the Lone Star Cobra, and it remains one of the greatest British performances in a boxing ring.

    Iron Mike Tyson defends the big three (WBC, WBA, IBF) heavyweight titles against Frank Bruno. 25th February 1989. Bruno has his second crack at World honours after falling short three years earlier on home soil against Terrible Tim Witherspoon. Bruno was more than a boxer, he was a national treasure. I knew about Frank Bruno, the boxer. I'd seen him flattened by Bonecrusher Smith, seen him flatten Gerrie Coetzee. Seen him defy gravity after being rendered unconscious by Jumbo Cummings but remain upright and manhandled back to his corner before going on to win the fight. But I never really followed Bruno as such. Little did I know that watching Bruno eventually win a World title at the fourth attempt would be one of the greatest pleasures as a consumer of boxing. The agony of watching him drag his exhausted fame to the finish line against Oliver McCall was pure theatre. Bruno was more than a boxer.

    The fight itself was as you'd expect. A not quite peak but still rampaging Mike Tyson was far too much for Bruno and ended proceedings in five brutal rounds. A trademark Tyson hook to the body, uppercut to the head brought the curtain down on Bruno's plucky effort. Bruno landed a beautiful short left hook about two minutes into the first round that wobbled Tyson. It was a punch that punctuated Bruno's performance in the fight and birthed one of the greatest pieces of ring commentary from Bruno's long time sparring partner and broadcasting royalty Harry Carpenter, as Harry took off his professional hat, became one of 'us' and implored Bruno to "Get in there Frank!"

    Tyson would go on to lose his titles two fights later against James Buster Douglas in one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

    21st May 1989 Nigel Benn defends his British Empire Commonwealth title against fellow Englishman Michael Watson. Again, I knew nothing of Michael Watson. Benn, different story. The Dark Destroyer or Big Benn as he was then, was the next big thing and I remember watching a handful of his fights on TV. Benn was flattening everything in front of him. It's fair to say I liked the way he handled business and I fully expected him to do the same to Watson. Watson didn’t read the script. A better orthodox boxer than Benn, Watson cupped a high guard around his ears and let Benn go to work in the early rounds, occasionally poking a jab or right cross out from his shell. Benn was huffing and puffing but getting little to no reward for his efforts.

    I remember the finish like it was yesterday. Around half way though the sixth round Watson landed a straight right hand that hurt Benn, Benn turned away and dabbed at his eye with his glove. Watson had hurt Benn a couple of rounds previous and from that point on started to put a bit more on his punches. The referee stepped in and told Benn to box on. Benn did as Benn does and tried to fight fire with fire. Watson as composed as he had been all night, walked a squared up Benn onto a ramrod left lead and dumped Benn on the seat of his pants. I remember being a bit lost for words…..a jab?! This wasn't how it was supposed to go. Referee John Coyle was looking away from Benn as he completed his count which it looked like he'd beat. There was no complaint from Benn though. He'd been turned over. Out thought and then out fought by a brilliant Michael Watson.

    I'll do a 90's one at some point. Probably...
    When God said to the both of us "Which one of you wants to be Sugar Ray?" I guess I didnt raise my hand fast enough

    Charley Burley

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    Default Re: British boxing – The Decades

    I remember Watson vs Eubank, holy mackerel, what a tragedy for both fighters. After Eubank went down in the 11th, it looked all over. Then that uppercut and Watson never recovered. The funny thing I reemember Eubank supposedly told his son not to hit a guy anymore in the head but only go for the body, I think it was against Blackwell. He may have saved Blacikwell's life by telling Jr, about that.

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    Default Re: British boxing – The Decades

    Quote Originally Posted by Memphis View Post
    The fight itself was as you'd expect. A not quite peak but still rampaging Mike Tyson was far too much for Bruno and ended proceedings in five brutal rounds. A trademark Tyson hook to the body, uppercut to the head brought the curtain down on Bruno's plucky effort. Bruno landed a beautiful short left hook about two minutes into the first round that wobbled Tyson. It was a punch that punctuated Bruno's performance in the fight and birthed one of the greatest pieces of ring commentary from Bruno's long time sparring partner and broadcasting royalty Harry Carpenter, as Harry took off his professional hat, became one of 'us' and implored Bruno to "Get in there Frank!"

    ..
    I always give Bruno the credit for surviving that viscous elbow to the face right before that uppercut.
    All's lost! Everything's going to shit!

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    Default Re: British boxing – The Decades

    OK so boxing is back!! To some degree. But fuck it, lets do the 90's. I make no apologies for having Benn and Bruno in the 80's and 90's. How could I not. Here's a few important ones to me and by chance, all happened in 1995.

    September 30th 1995. Steve Robinson defends his WBO World featherweight title against a moving up in weight Naseem Hamed. Robinson was the classic boxing fairy-tale. 50 quid a week storeman jacks in job to concentrate full time on boxing. Columbian Ruben Palacio tests positive for HIV and is unable to fight John Davison for the vacant WBO featherweight title. On the back of a loss two months prior, Robinson steps in to save the show and the boxing gods shine on him. Davison was 34 years old at the time, the Palacios fight was cancelled twice meaning he was in camp for five months and it all caught up with him. Robinson walked away a World champion on a split decision.

    Hamed was scything his way through a who's who of bantam and super bantam yard sticks and fringe contenders with notable wins over teak tough Italian Vincenzo Belcastro for the European bantamweight title, and former Robinson victim Steve Cruz. I was disappointed Hamed didn’t stick around longer at the super bantam limit. He was an absolute nightmare at the weight and a World title would surely have come his way, instead, he moved up to challenge what many believed to be a step too far at this point in time against the bigger stronger, more seasoned Robinson.

    Hamed proved to be far too good for the game but outgunned, outmanoeuvred Robinson and put on a one sided beating in front of Robinsons home fans at a packed Cardiff Arms Park. The only trouble Hamed had on the night was keeping his feet dry with plastic bags during the ring walk and his towel draping over his head after he flipped the top rope. Hamed laid Robinson bare with his speed, movement, power and usual theatrics. There was nothing Robinson could do, Hamed did as he pleased until putting an end to proceedings after eight rounds of one way traffic. Hamed went on to defend and unify World titles at featherweight against top opposition without ever having that 'great' win on his leger. Hamed's reign and career all but came to an end at the hands of Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera. It wasn’t quite the drubbing some would have you believe, but if Hamed laid Robinson bare that cold wet night in Cardiff six years prior, Barrera returned the favour in Vegas with a clear points victory. Hamed knew at that point what separated the great, from the really great and he knew he no longer had it, if ever he did. Hamed returned to the ring just once more. A low key points victory over Manuel Calvo for the IBO 'World' featherweight title. Calvo in his previous fight had beaten Steve Robinson on points.

    Hamed had a brilliant career without ever being great. Multiple World title's against World class operators, a true superstar of the sport who crossed over into the mainstream. The fucker appeared on top of the pops singing something about uppercuts for Christs sake. Whilst for me his boxing career wasn’t quite all it could and should have been. Hamed was British boxing for a while and he picked up where the soon to be retiring Benn and Bruno left off and carried the flag and inspired many (annoyed plenty too) all over the globe. The lower weight classes get ignored by the masses. Oblivious to the craft and skill level South of ten and a half stone. I guess we naturally gravitate to fighters that are our own size and salivate over the power of the heavyweight monsters. Little Arab bantamweights out of Sheffield aren’t supposed to set the boxing World alight and earn millions in the process. Naz did. Naz was special.

    February 25th 1995 The Dark Destroyer Nigel Benn defends his WBC Super Middleweight Word title against fearsome American powerhouse Gerald McClellan. Benn had seen and done it all by the time McClellan came to town. A long and illustrious career, multi weight multiple World Champion. The heart-breaking losses to Eubank and Watson, the rebuilding across the Atlantic. All this experience in Benn's favour counted for little. He was on the back nine of his career, McClellan was on the up and obliterating anything that got in his way. A murderous puncher with a bad attitude and worse intentions. He was coming over here to destroy Benn and you wouldn’t have found many to disagree with him.

    London, England, Isle of Dogs, Millwall. When I say those words I think violence, can't help it. Other than some dimly lit cobbled back alley, what better a setting for the unfiltered violence that would unfold on that tragic but brilliant night.

    McClellan did as scripted, bombs from the opening bell and almost had Benn out. A series of clubbing left hooks to the body and right hands to the head had Benn down and out of the ring in the opening session. The way Benn slumped through the ropes and on to the ring apron, he looked out, fight over. McClellan was everything we were told he was and Benn was no match for his unrelenting assault.

    But then…

    Benn got up. Some will still have you believe he was helped upright by those at ringside but that’s bollocks. A few hands went out to stop his head crashing against broadcasting tables and equipment, but help? No, Nigel Benn got Nigel Benn off the floor and back into the ring. The mad bastard.

    McClellan smelled blood and went after Benn like a mad man. Benn was given extra seconds by an overly fussy referee who insisted throughout on keeping the pair apart for far longer than was necessary and for reasons only he knows. Some might say he was helping Benn, on the payroll if you like. I think he was just a bit shit.

    People say that McClellan started to break down in the later rounds but I've always said it was almost immediate. The gumshield that would be so prominently sticking out of McClellan's mouth as the fight wore on, was starting to go as early as the first round. McClellan had his man beat, there was no way he was backing off, but all of a sudden, he had to and as the second round started he was going backwards, trying to box Benn at range. Benn was encouraged and ploughed forwards, he caught McClellan with a series of left hooks and right hands to the delight of the contorted face of Frank Bruno at ringside who was decked out in an orange suit. Naseem Hamed two to Bruno's left, silent, shocked, seated. Frank Warren, face drained of all colour shitting himself between the two of them.

    It was early in the fight. I was once again watching with the old man. He was no more of an expert than he was in the 80's, still fucking about with pigeons watching a bit of sport here and there. I turned to my Dad and said he's going to do this, Benn's going to win. E got no chance. Man of few words was my Dad. It was nothing to do with boxing knowledge, I had none. I, like everyone else had no idea what was unfolding with McClellan at the time. It was just a gut thing. He'd come through the opening explosion and I fancied Benn to get the job done.
    I've never really been one for scoring fights, especially ones like that but the general feeling was that Benn was slowly but surely clawing his way back into it with work rate and aggression. McClellan was by no means done. A series of right hands in the eighth round and a wild swing from Benn saw McClellan score a second knockdown of the fight but it didn’t seem to matter. At this point I was convinced Benn was going to win.

    Benn was good in the tenth and ultimately final round. He hunted McClellan down and forced two knockdowns. McClellan was taking heavy shots and twice took a knee. The quit talk started. "He's quit Reg!!! He's quit!!" He had indeed quit. The monster from America who left fighters in ruins, had bottled it when the going got tough. How little we knew.
    I was hooked on boxing from that point on. Went to the newsagents and ordered a boxing monthly just so I could absorb more information about that particular fight and somehow stay in the moment.
    News started to circulate about McClellan's condition and what he was battling, besides Nigel Benn and it wasn’t a pretty picture. All of a sudden those quit remarks, Benn up on turnbuckles pointing at a stricken McClellan all seemed a bit dirty.

    As time has moved on, we never forget what happened to McClellan and the battles he must go through on a day to day basis since. But it also has afforded us the opportunity to in a way separate the fight, from the aftermath and allowed us to celebrate what was one of the most brutally barbaric yet beautiful things I've ever seen in a boxing ring and in sport. It had the Marquess of Queensbury wrapper around it, but it wasn't a boxing match, it was war.
    Last edited by Memphis; 09-06-2020 at 11:34 PM.
    When God said to the both of us "Which one of you wants to be Sugar Ray?" I guess I didnt raise my hand fast enough

    Charley Burley

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    Default Re: British boxing – The Decades

    September 2nd 1995 At the fourth time of asking, Frank Bruno becomes WBC heavyweight champion of the World, beating champion Oliver McCall over twelve painful, brilliant, ordinary rounds. Sparking scenes I've never seen in boxing. It was like the last night of the proms. Fan fair, ticker tape, music, Benn and Hamed jumping around like lunatics. It was brilliant.

    I watched a documentary on the fight some time later and it played 'Don't Give up' by Peter Gabriel over a montage of the fight and post fight celebrations and it was just brilliantly fitting. The song gets a bit dark towards the end but the overarching message of don't give up, that was Bruno. I think over time that carefully crafted montage complete with Gabriel has replaced what actually happened on the night, making it all the more poignant. I cant seem to picture an exhausted Bruno raising his arms in victory without singing "No fight left or so it seems, I am a man who's dreams have all deserted" in my head. They go hand in hand.

    McCall was making the second defence of his title he'd won by knocking out Lennox Lewis the previous year in a massive upset. McCall was an opponent.

    Frank Bruno was a good fighter. He was World class. People define World class in different ways but for me it's very simple. No matter how good the current crop of fighters are, if you're one of the best ten to fifteen of them then you, are World class. It doesn’t make you Ali or whichever Sugar Ray you care to mention, but amongst his contemporaries Bruno was up there. It did look after three failed attempts that the World title Bruno coveted so much might elude him. He needed a bit of help and if we're honest, he got it in the shape of McCall.

    McCall spent the best part of the fight on the end of Bruno's jab and right cross. Not seeming to care much if it all. McCall had been a drug addict for longer than he'd been a boxer and the effects manifested itself inside the boxing ring on more than one occasion. The non effort in defending his title against Bruno, and more shockingly in a return with Lennox Lewis where McCall once again showed no willingness to fight until he broke down in tears and the fight was called off.

    McCall only put his foot down in the last two or three rounds and it was almost enough to get the exhausted Bruno out of there. Bruno was hanging on by the skin of his teeth as were the watching audience at ringside and on TV. It was painful stuff. I've never wanted to hear a final bell more. Bruno grabbing and mauling at McCall who now seemed to care if he kept hold of his World title.
    When the decision came in it was greeted by Land of Hope and Glory. Bruno had done it. I along with 60 million people (probably) breathed a collective sigh of relief.


    December 9th 1995 Bristol Boy Ross Hale defends his British and Commonwealth light welterweight titles against Paul 'Scrap Iron' Ryan. There was also an International WBO title of sorts up for grabs.

    The Bristol Boys were flying high at the time with Hale, Catley, Dorrington all seeming to be on Sky Sports every other weekend. We'd also adopted the brilliant Dean Francis as one of our own. I was boxing again, no bouts but training and sparring weekly. I was as immersed in boxing as I've ever been and the Bristol Boys were on their way. Catley of course going on to become WBC Super Middleweight champion. Hale was considered to be the best of the bunch, he was going places and in decent domestic company with Ryan, Holligan, Rowland, Thaxton etc..

    Hale was on the march for a World title shot, then in swaggers Scrap Iron.

    I knew nothing of Paul Ryan other than a crazy third round highlight of his fight with Spaniard Oscar Palomino. Ryan was a puncher, unbeaten, but a dodgy chin and an accident waiting to happen. He had the look of someone that boxed, but would be more than comfortable rolling about in a car park after closing.

    Hale couldn’t lose this one. He was too good, too tough and Ryan, whilst he could whack a bit, was out of his depth. It was all over inside a round. Hale came out firing, Ryan fired back and knocked Hale down with a right hand. Hale beat the count but was immediately caught by a looping right hand that put him down for the second time and he failed to beat the count. I was devastated.

    I can only remember at that point being genuinely upset over boxing once before when Bruno Got clubbed to defeat by Tim Witherspoon in the 11th round of Bruno's first World title shot. I was upset he lost, but more so because I was watching it on tape at me nans house the following day and one of me twat uncles let slip what had happened.

    This one was different. This was a local lad that was going places and he'd come an almighty cropper in a fight few thought he could lose. He lost badly.

    Ryan would go on to suffer two back to back first round stoppages. Firstly to Jon Thaxton in a non-title fight, before losing his titles he won from Hale against Andy Holligan. The man Hale beat for the titles.

    Hale came back, losing his next fight by TKO due to a ridiculous cut on the forehead. He put together a handful of wins before getting stopped challenging Geoff McCreash for the British Welterweight title. Hale was outgunned by McCreash and the fight was called off after three knockdowns.

    McCreash also ended Ryan's career with a second round stoppage the previous year.
    When God said to the both of us "Which one of you wants to be Sugar Ray?" I guess I didnt raise my hand fast enough

    Charley Burley

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    Default Re: British boxing – The Decades

    Great stuff Memphis.

    Really nice to read another Brits memories of those years. I am about 5 years older than you but those fights are among my earliest boxing memories too. Fighters like Terry Marsh, Charlie Magri and John Conteh are there too for me. I don't think British sports fans had taken anyone into their hearts like they did Bruno since the days of 'Enry Cooper.

    Met Bruno at one of Hattons Post boxing shows and he didn't dissapoint, was a real Gent, called me' Guv' had that same deep laugh and talked to me and the Mrs for a long time.
    Hidden Content

    "I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it."

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    Default Re: British boxing – The Decades

    Terrific writing, Memphis. Really engaging and entertaining.

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    Default Re: British boxing – The Decades

    The 00's. Calzaghe, Hatton, Brodie and The Cat

    November 3rd 2007 Joe Calzaghe and Mikkel Kessler meet for the WBO, WBC and WBA (Super) Super Middleweight titles.

    I got no problem admitting it. I was one of the overwhelming majority that thought Jeff Lacy was going to run over Calzaghe. Calzaghe was a long reigning respected champion, but his career was average. He'd not fought the big names, nothing or no one punctuated his resume. Everyone he'd fought you'd expect him to beat. Lacy was something else. He was coming to the UK with the same kind of reputation that Gerald McClellan came with when he fought Nigel Benn. A wrecking ball.

    As it turned out, the overwhelming majority of us were oh so wrong. Calzaghe humiliated Lacy. Tortured him round after round to the point that members of both camps were pleading with the Lacy corner to call a halt to the carnage. They didn’t. Calzaghe hit Lacy with the kitchen sink for every minute of every round in one of the most one sided fights I've ever seen.
    As impressive as it was, the gloss came off pretty quickly with a laboured, ugly points win over Sakio Bika and a farce against Contender (the TV programme) Peter Manafredo. Manfredo had no business being in the ring with Calzaghe and the stoppage was one of the worst I've ever seen.

    In steps Mikkel Kessler. Technically excellent orthodox boxer with good power. WBC and WBA (Super) world champion with a 39-0 record. He was the one. He was the one who was going to succeed where Lacy failed. Like a lot of people, I fancied him to beat Joe. As brilliant as Calzaghe was against Lacy, he didn’t look great against Bika, with the benefit of hindsight, who does? The farce against Manfredo didn’t exactly do anything to bolster his standing in a super fight for the Undisputed Supermiddleweight title. All things pointed to Kessler.

    We should have known better.

    Calzaghe turned in another masterclass. He switched effortlessly between boxer and fighter, between bull and matador. He changed tack on Kessler several times and the Dane just couldn’t compute. Whilst he never stopped trying, Kessler was mentally broken around about the 8th round of the fight, you could see him visibly wilt before you as Calzaghe took over with first technically superior boxing, then volume. Calzaghe had been spearing Kessler from the opening bell with straight left hands to the body. In the 8th round he turned the screw and attacked the midriff with hooks from either hand and had Kessler hurt. Mid salvo the referee warned Calzaghe for hitting the back of Kessler's head. I don't think Kessler was going to 'go' at that point, but the referee made sure we never found out. It was immaterial, the damage was done.

    Kessler was too good for it to be Lacy all over again and remained competitive throughout. Competitive but second best in all departments. Calzaghe ran out a comfortable points winner and permanently laid to rest any lingering doubts about his credentials as a great fighter.

    Kessler went on to regain the WBC and WBA portions of the Super Middleweight World title. He lost twice more before calling time on his career. Once to the brilliant Andre Ward, before losing his final fight to Carl Froch.

    Calzaghe would go on to wrap up his career with victories over Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jnr in the US. He would finish with a perfect record of 46-0 and claim the Undisputed Super middleweight Championship of the World and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Championship.

    June 4th 2005 Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton challenges formidable Aussie Kostya Tszyu for the IBF light welterweight championship of the World.

    Hatton was already a long standing 'World' champion if we count the lightly regarded WBU championship with a string of defences against decent fighters. He had a massive feverish following from the boxing and football World and regularly packed the M.E.N Arena in Manchester with fight fans and the blue half of the footballing City. Such was Hatton's appeal as 'one of us' that he could regularly travel with thousands of fans to Las Vegas to challenge boxing royalty Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao.

    Hatton had proved he belonged in the top tier, or rather proved he was too good for the second with his reign as WBU champion and Tszyu was his acid test, his graduation. Some would have you believe that Tszyu was past it, ripe for the taking when Hatton got to him. True, Tszyu was 35 years old at the time. But he didn’t look past it six months previous when he was beating the ever loving piss out of Sharmba Mitchell. Tszyu was still class and Hatton was going to have to produce something special to beat him.

    Hatton launched himself across the ring at Tszyu from the opening bell and pretty much stayed on his chest the whole fight, battering Tszyu's body and head with hooks and uppercuts. Jabs were not required.

    The fight was tight, unrelenting. There was never a dull moment in the ring or crowd. The better more skilful work of Tszyu saw him open up an early lead which Hatton started to erode with will and attrition as the fight reached the championship rounds. Round eleven was especially brutal with Tszyu on the receiving end of a sustained beating from the rampant Hatton. It would ultimately decide the fight as a bruised and batter Tszyu failed to start the final round and Hatton declared the victor by TKO. Tszyu whilst still in the ring offered to assist Hatton with anything he needed in his career. I think he knew he was done right there and then. Tszyu would never fight again.

    Hatton would go on the unify the IBF and WBA Light welterweight titles in the same year. He followed that up by winning the WBA welterweight World title. Hatton would lose his unbeaten record at the hands of all time great Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2007. A couple of wins followed the Mayweather loss before Hatton was destroyed by a peak Manny Pacquiao in two brutal rounds. Hatton would retire from boxing in 2009 before making a comeback in 2012. Hatton would lose his comeback fight by stoppage.
    When God said to the both of us "Which one of you wants to be Sugar Ray?" I guess I didnt raise my hand fast enough

    Charley Burley

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    Default Re: British boxing – The Decades

    October 18th 2003 Michael Brodie takes on South Korean In Jin Chi for the WBC featherweight World championship at he M.E.N Arena Manchester.

    Chi had challenged Mexican great Erik Morales for the same title two years prior. Chi gave it his all but was ultimately outclassed by the brilliant Morales over twelve rounds. In 2000, Brodie had suffered his own World title setback and first defeat as a pro, losing a majority decision to American Willie Jorrin for the vacant WBC Super bantamweight World title. A fight many thought brodie had won.

    Brodie had proved his credentials. British, Commonwealth, European champion. A near miss at World level. He was ready. Chi on the other hand was something of an unknown quantity. The Morales fight aside, he was game, tough, but limited. Brodie should win this.

    The fight started and the two of them cracked heads almost immediately. Chi looked on the verge of jacking the fight in, hands over his face, slumped over the top rope. Brodie was the one who sustained any visible damage, a cut almost on the back of the head.

    An inauspicious start to what would become a seriously great tear up.

    They soon forgot about the head clash and set to work, whacking one another to the head and body for the remainder of the opening round. In round two, Chi hurt Brodie badly with a left hook upstairs and a series or right handers saw the Brit on the deck. Chi was all over him like a rash until Brodie landed a series of body shots that stopped Chi in his tracks and Brodie finished the round the stronger. I remember thinking at the time the that more cultured work of Brodie, especially to the body might break Chi.

    Brodie continued to invest in the body attack which looked like it was taking a toll on Chi who bent over routinely up against the ropes. Brodie, bleeding throughout dominated the third and forth rounds. The second round knockdown behind him and now level on the cards if not one ahead, the first was a toss up. Brodie was in the driving seat.

    The fifth round was all Chi. He came out of his corner like a man possessed and whacked Brodie with a series of right handers that had Brodie back peddling, looking for the ropes. All of a sudden, Brodie went from being in control, to possibly behind on the cards and more worryingly bashed up around the eyes and nose. He of course continued to bleed from his head wound.

    Chi found himself once again slumped in the ropes as Brodie went back to the body to regain control of the contest. Every shot to Chi's body seemed to have an effect. Half way through the sixth Brodie backed off and Chi was able to spear him with long range punches, both men's shorts now covered in Brodies blood, Chi's face now showing the signs of battle.

    The ninth round was a big round for Chi. Brodie was looking more and more beat up and gulping in air as he tried to evade Chi who just wouldn’t let up. Chi had looked all in after the seventh. Brodie did well in winning his rounds quite clearly and in clusters, he won the third and fourth decisively following the second round knockdown, he won the seventh and eighth clearly too but just as he appeared to be putting a bit of daylight between them, back wound come Chi with sheer will. It was still very even as the tenth started.

    Brodie tried to box and move in the tenth. When he did get Chi against the ropes, he was unable to sustain the attack with anything like the venom he had done so in previous rounds. Chi as always piled forward, working hard. Brodie's right eye now looking completely closed.

    Chi took the eleventh and twelfth rounds on work rate alone and watching live, I thought he deserved the nod. So did the judges. Chi was the winner by majority decision. The scorecards took and age to be announced and had to be recalculated at ringside. WBC president Jose Sulaiman then decided that there was an error in adding up the scores and the correct result was now a draw.

    Brodie and Chi would do this all over again.

    I remember writing at the time that there was only one winner of the rematch. Brodie had literally left it all in the ring that night. The well was well and truly dry. Chi on the other hand looked like he could do a few more rounds and would have no problem going at it again. That proved to be the case. Chi took Brodie out in seven rounds in the return.

    Chi would go on to defend, lose and regain the WBC featherweight title before retiring in 2006 as Champion.

    Brodie went immediately into another World title fight following the loss to Chi. A challenge to then WBO featherweight World champion Scott Harrison. Brodie went down in four rounds. After a four year lay off, Brodie returned to the ring with a six round fight before calling time on his career after being stopped in three rounds by Anthony Crolla.
    Brodie Chi remains one of the best fights I've ever had the privilege to watch.

    February 6th 2004 Carl 'The Cat' Thompson produces one of the best come from behind victories you'll every see. Right up there with Jorge Castro poleaxing a ridiculously in charge and on the brink of victory John David Jackson.

    Thompson is one of my favourite fighters. Unfashionable, susceptible, big hitter. He had all the ingredients to make one of the best bang for your buck fighters I can't help but love. He proved it time and time again with his demolition job on the bright (literally) young thing Nicky Piper. His ridiculous up and downer with Ezra Sellers, and outlasting of soon to be unified World cruiserweight and WBA heavyweight Champion of the World David Haye.

    Sandwiched somewhere between the bonkers Sellers brawl and the humbling of Haye, Thompson would go up against South African Sebastiaan Rothmann for the IBO World Cruiserweight title.

    It was as one sided as you'd care to see. Rothmann from the opening bell sneering and smiling at an always game but easily out boxed Thompson. The cheeky cunt was throwing bolo punches in the opening three minutes. I hated him immediately. Rothmann continued to boss the fight throughout, Thompson plodded forward huffing and puffing but going nowhere. Dropped in the 4th…..on his way down in the 5th…….and then…..Just as Rothmann looks to be putting the finishing touches on a comprehensive victory, Thompson does what Thompson does and pings a beautiful right uppercut off of Rothmann's chin as the bell goes. Rothmann's legs go limp and he falls into the ropes. But the round is over. Rothmann staggers back to his corner where his second are already in the ring. Referee Ritchie Davies manhandles them back out of the ring. There's a count to be administered here boys.

    Rothmann recovers well, gets back behind his jab and normal service is resumed. Thompson goes down again in the 6th. Rothmann starts with the bolo punch shit again in the 8th and 9th. I really fucking hate him. I think I start singing the Spitting Image song at this point. With a minute to go Rothmann arcs a right hand over the Thompson guard and The Cat is hurt, he backs off and cops several more right handers, the fights over now!! And it was. Thompson takes a step back and cracks Rothmann with one the cleanest right handers you'll ever see and Rothmann collapses in a heap face first. Rothmann somehow beats the count but he's on rubber legs and the fight is called off.

    Rothmann would go on to challenge O'Neil Bell for the IBF Cruiserweight title in a losing effort before retiring two fights later.

    Thompson would fight twice more. The humbling of Haye and a points victory over Frenchman Frederic Serrat. He won the British and European cruiserweight titles as well as the WBO and IBO World Cruiserweight titles, upsetting the apple cart all the way.
    When God said to the both of us "Which one of you wants to be Sugar Ray?" I guess I didnt raise my hand fast enough

    Charley Burley

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    Default Re: British boxing – The Decades

    My firs boxing memory would be Ali v Holmes, not seeing the fight but hearing of it in the news. As a result I think I have always subliminally favoured the older sportsman against the youngster coming up from Ray Reardon v Steve Davis to Bjorn Borg v McEnroe.

    Watching boxing on BBC at that time meant I followed Frank Bruno, Barry McGuigan, Herol Graham and Lloyd Honeyghan. So watching Barry winning the title against Pedroza brings back good memories as he united the (Irish) nation and gave us some good memories.

    Never liked the fact Frank Bruno v Tim Witherspoon was never televised in Britain live. They did the pre-fight build up on national TV and then left it at that.

    It was around this time that I started following boxing and Mike Tyson was shown as an up and coming fighter who blasted Frazier out in 30 seconds. I was hooked on him and started a scrap book and collected posters of him. Stayed up until 4am to watch him beat Berbick but was worried for him because Trevor just went at him like a man possessed and who believed he could not be hurt. Tyson annihilated him and went on to make a number of defences.

    Nigel Benn was coming up and destroying everyone in round 2. I know that because I recorded his fights on VHS and if the tape was near the end I hoped Benn would smash his opponent before the tape finished. I lived on the edge in those days. Benn improved after every loss which is a testament to his character and nature.

    I wanted the British middleweights Benn, Watson and Eubank to fight Herol Graham but they avoided him. Instead Graham had to take on dangerous and real world class fighters in Kalambay, McCallum and Julian Jackson. Graham would have toyed with the Brits as he did with Rod Douglas who had beaten Benn in the amateurs and was like Mr T, vicious southpaw with a Mohawk.
    Do not let success go to your head and do not let failure get to your heart.

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    Default Re: British boxing – The Decades

    Nice Writing @Memphis son 😎
    It's the Missus Bday so struggling to see straight at present 😂 but will properly read it all soon 👍🏻😎

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    Default Re: British boxing – The Decades

    Quote Originally Posted by smashup View Post
    Nice Writing @Memphis son 😎
    It's the Missus Bday so struggling to see straight at present 😂 but will properly read it all soon 👍🏻😎
    Her cunt isn't worth fucking, you slime bag.

    Wait, let me say it to your face, cunt.

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    Default Re: British boxing – The Decades

    I can remember where I was for everyone of these fights apart from the Ragamuffin man (well I was certainly sleeping but don't recall the build up or anything). Ironically, Honeyghan was from the exact same area as me in South London and treated like a hero after, that's what I remember, seeing him with all the bling fancy clobber. Good stuff, Memphis.
    3-Time SADDO PREDICTION COMP CHAMPION.

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