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15 NOVEMBER 2018


ATE: Pac-Fans unite, Benn v Calzaghe and Shavers weighs in

Nigel Benn: best super-middle ever?
Nigel Benn: best super-middle ever?

Complied by Ant Evans: In this week’s Ask the Editor’s there a call to arms by fans of the Pac-Man, news of a huge all-Aussie PPV, a Nigel Benn nut blasts Joe Calzaghe, we talks about the best prospects in the world and legendary puncher Earnie Shavers answers a reader’s question!

First Name : Andrew
Last Name : Skraver
Country : UK
Your Question : Just saw Ant’s article about how it is Manny v Calzaghe for the Fight of the Year on SecondsOut Reader Awards 2006!!!!!!!!!! How can ANYONE be voting or Joke Calzslappy instead of the mighty Manny Pac-Man?!?!?! Come on Pac-Fans - vote now to avoid this travesty of justice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: I’m going in a different directon Andrew. My fighter of the year is Bernard Hopkins. While Pacquaio is at the top of his game right now, I feel that Hopkins’ performance in beating Antonio Tarver, moving up two weight classes to do so at his age, was a magnificent unique performance. Pacquaio beat an Erik Morales twice this year who was past his best. I want to give Hopkins credit for his performance at the age of 41. Think about it. Will Pacman be moving up two weight classes and winning the world title at the age of 41 in 2019?

BEN COHEN ANSWERS: I personally think the Pac Man’s achievements do outweigh Calzaghe’s, but Joe’s phenomenal performance against Jeff Lacy should certainly be taken in to consideration. Even Jeff Lacy’s trainer, Dan Birmingham, said it was the best performance he had ever seen in a ring.

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Come on Andrew, give Joe some credit here. Personally Manny would be my pick, purely because he has constantly delivered this year but Joe was excellent against Jeff Lacy.

ANT EVANS ANSWERS: Whatever your views, voting has now closed, Andrew, and the SecondsOut Reader Awards results will be made public daily over the Xmas period.

First Name : James
Last Name : Strafela
Country : Australia
Your Question : To Paul Upham Paul I’m hearing a lot of things about some big Boxing card in Sydney on February 4 featuring Lovemore N’Dou vs Ben Rabah, Paul Briggs, Sakio Bika, Daniel Dawson vs Daniel Geale etc. Can u tell me if its true?? Better still is it on Main Event PPV?? From what I have heard the card looks awesome. Thanks and keep up the good work.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: The February 4 date was not possible as Main Event TV already had a UFC show locked in. They are looking at January 28, but nothing is confirmed. will keep you informed on any progress.

First Name : Lee
Last Name : McKenzie
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question : How can anybody rate Joe Calzaghe over the Dark Destroyer Nigel Benn? I mean, seriously. Barry McGuigan rates Joe as the greatest British fighter ever...... I just don’t get it. Look at Benn, he fought like four, five, 13 times a year, not once or twice a year, always wanted tough guys lined up one after another, always prepared to fly Stateside, there’s no comparison.

Benn fought a classy American in Reggie Miller (who had only been stopped by world champion Mark Breland) in his first year as a pro-he didn’t wait until his 13th year as a pro, smashed over Sanda (who looked good against Tony Sibson) then smashed over a top-10 American in Tim Williams a few weeks later and then was lined up to fight another tough american Troy Darrell a few weeks after that on the Barry McGuigan bill at Luton Town FC

If Joe was around in Benn’s era, he would hardly have time to draw a breath, DeWitt, Barkley, Watson, Eubank, McClellan, Collins-all the tough guys, after a loss, Benn fought guys like Jorge Amparo and Robbie Sims who were both given the nickname ’the policeman’ in the States because you had to get past them if you wanted a shot at the title-so Benn was putting himself back into championship contention in his first fights back. He wasn’t fighting once a year and waving his bruised hand about after a fight.

He didn’t have to fight Chris Eubank in 1990 and Gerald McClellan in 1995, guys who nobody else had wanted anything to do with. He didn’t have to go to Italy, but he did and he made sure his fists were the judges against Galvano, and ala DeWitt/Barkley fights nobody had given him a chance beforehand. He didn’t have to move up to 168 (he was still a natural middle and a small middle at that), but he wanted to avenge the Eubank loss and Eubank was avoiding him for three years.

Benn’s explosive prime was 88-90 at middle, but he still ranks far ahead of Calzaghe at 168, Jones Jnr and Benn are by far and away the top 2 at 168. Benn clearly robbed against Eubank in the rematch (where he was a big underdog) and reached legendary status with the G-Man fight (and no, Jeff Lacy does not even compare-watch his fight with Donnell Wiggins at the MEN arena a few yrs previous for example and he looks awful, he looked poor against Reid and even poorer against Pemberton, and Enzo and Joe knew it was a stylistic mismatch if Joe’s heart didn’t rule his head and so did everybody else).

Calzaghe would have to beat Hopkins and Taylor to compare, mandatory Wharton who was punching guys clean out of the ring, mandatory McClellan where Benn earned the respect of the world for even taking the fight-let alone bloody winning the thing. We await Calzaghe-Veit III....when his hand heals after the Manfredo fight, in 2009

ANT EVANS ANSWERS: This is my favourite ATE email! EVER! A man after my own heart - a die-hard Nigel Benn nutter. I’d take the Dark Destroyer over forty-thousands Calzaghes. Benn may have lost a few, but he was the most exciting fighter and beat better opposition than Calzaghe has. And Benn beat Eubank (that "draw" in 1993) when Chris was in his prime, wasn’t weight-drained and had more than a week’s notice (unlike Joe’s 1997 win). However, I feel that specifically in super-middleweight, Nigel is a little behind Calzaghe purely because some of Benn’s biggest wins were at middleweight and Joe’s longevity.

And - just for you, Lee - I can tell you there’s gonna be a HUGE Nigel Benn story coming up on SecondsOut in January.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: You make some good points Lee. What have been Calzaghe’s three best career wins? Lacy, no doubt. Eubank, Brewer? Or is Robin Reid in there as well? Calzaghe showed his talent against Lacy. Has he fought the best out there from 1997 to 2006. I’m not convinced.

BEN COHEN ANSWERS: Good Lord, I think that’s the longest email we’ve had on ATE ever! Well done Lee! Anyway, I see your point about Benn, but I think you are wrong. Benn was a gutsy, power punching brawler who fought the best guys in his division. He should be given enormous credit for beating up Americans in their own back yard, and fighting the best in his division, but he was just a class below Calzaghe in terms of skill. Nigel Benn could not do to Eubank what Calzaghe did, and there is no way on God’s green earth that Benn would have beaten Lacy the way Joe did. If they had fought, I have no doubt Calzaghe would have won. I’d bet my house on it, and I think most people in boxing would too. Roy Jones didn’t fight everyone he could have, and he is still regarded as the best super middleweight ever. You just had to watch him to see why. Calzaghe might not be a Roy Jones, but he is the nearest thing the Super Middleweight division has seen to him in the past decade or so. I agree that Joe NEEDS to fight a big name SOON, otherwise he will lose much of the respect he gained from dismantling Lacy.

First Name : Chris
Last Name : Sinnott
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question : Whilst looking at your nominations of ’Prospect of The Year 2006’, it got me thinking about some other past, hyped up, future champs. The likes of Joel Julio and Jeff Lacy were beaten by so-called under dogs. My question is, which of these nominations do you think will become genuine champs, and which ones will lose when faced with a proper A list fighter? For the sake of argument, when these fighters are deemed ready to take on the champs, who would win in bouts such as, Paul Williams v Miguel Cotto, Andre Berto v Floyd Mayweather, Andy Lee v Jermaine Taylor or Joe Calzaghe, Amir Kahn v Jose Luis Castillo, Chad Dawson v Bernard Hopkins or Clinton Woods. The only nominations I would give a chance to would be Kahn and Williams. Also, looking back at the past "Prospect of The Year" winners, it seems that only Cotto has really gone on to major leagues. Agree?

ANT EVANS ANSWERS: First, let me list the previous SO Prospects of the Year. 2005: Amir Khan, 2004: Daniel Ponce De Leon, 2003: Roman Greenberg, 2002: Miguel Cotto, 2001: Francisco Bojado, 2000: Julio Diaz. There’s no question that Cotto has achieved the most of all the SO Prospects of the year while Bojado is the biggest disappointment.

As for who is the best out of the 2006 nominees, I think Dawson won’t have enough to win his February fight with Tomasz Adamek, but is a future title-holder nevertheless. Khan is impressive but needs 2-3 years of work yet. Berto looks to be a world class fighter in the making and I am impressed by Andy Lee, too.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Hindsight is a wonderful thing and the prospects selected were only selected on the information available at the time. We really shouldn’t be evaluating boxers careers until after they have had their last fight. But part of the fun of following the sport of boxing is speculating what a boxer may or may not do in the future. Bojado was a major disappointment. Cotto was the standout. I think De Leon continues to improve and he gets an extra ’star’ from me due to his exciting style. Of the fights you suggested, the key is when the fight is held. Are the big names still at their best, or past it? Every fight is different and we can only really analyse them more accurately once the fights are locked in.

BEN COHEN ANSWERS: Great email I would also give Williams and Kahn the greatest chances of success. I think both have tremendous will to win, and enormous physical skills. I haven’t actually seen Andy Lee fight, but I hear from virtually everyone that he is the real deal. Of all SO previous prospects of the year, it is true, Cotto seems to be the only one actually doing anything worthwhile (its still a little early for Kahn). Lets hope our readers do a better job this time around!

First Name : Patrick
Last Name : Muscia
Country : USA
Your Question : Was Earnie Shavers best known for his right or his left?

EARNIE SHAVERS ANSWERS: Hi Patrick, thanks for your interest in my boxing career. If you get tapes of my fights, you will see I was always a right-hand guy. Right from the start, from my first day in the gym, I could punch very hard with my right hand and I loved to throw it in my career. The right uppercut was probably my most dangerous punch, probably the hardest, but my favourite punch to land was my cross. Throwing that cross after a quick jab was my honey punch. The Larry Holmes (Shavers had Holmes down and almost out in their first fight) punch was probably my best. He went down like a ton of bricks. Unfortunately, he got back up (laughs).

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: I’m thinking of a right hand right under the chin that Shavers rocked Muhammad Ali with in 1977 at MSG. Ali once said that Shavers hit harder than George Foreman or Sonny Liston. That’s a big enough right hand for me.

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: If you ask any of his opponents I think they
will tell you both. Earnie was a very heavy handed so and so

BEN COHEN ANSWERS: His right, Patrick. The hardest damn thing I have ever seen. If I had to choose between a Shavers right hand, or a sledge hammer, I’d choose the sledge hammer with no hesitation whatsoever.

First Name : Lawrence
Last Name : Mills
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question : Hi Guys, long time reader first time letter writer. Being British and being a boxing fan has not always been the easiest things, like cricket, (i know Paul will have a point or two to make here) we have struggled a bit on the world scene in the past. However at the moment I have to say I am a very happy and optimistic man, we have a growing band of world champions and some great up and coming prospects, my question guys. Which British fighters do you see looking to either break into the top ten rankings, or push for a title shot in 2007? I’m thinking Alex Arthur, Nicky Cook, who I feel really sorry for at the moment after losing his shot at the WBO strap especially after giving up the WBC ranking, and David Haye. Just wondered what you think of my picks, if you have any inside info on mooted fights for any of them, or if you can think of someone I have missed out? To close I would just like to say I love the site, keep up the good work! with out you I might actually have to do some work during the day!

ANT EVANS ANSWERS: Thanks for the props. I think Haye, Arthur and Cook are world class fighters but I am not sure they can be the best in their divisions. I’d also put Jamie Moore up there, he can win a world title in 2007 for sure. Any of them (esp Haye, who has that power to win a bout at any time) can lift a title but I can’t see either having a long reign or becoming the MAN in their divisions in the way Woods, Calzaghe and Hatton have done. However, there’s no doubt the UK has a lot to shout about with as good a group of boxers as there’s been on these islands for a while.

By the way, cricket isn’t a sport. It is a pass-time for aged, arthritic old farts and un-athletic sissies who weren’t fit or cool enough a school to play a proper sport. And I’d take a team of British fighters against the Aussie any day of the week! Taking out Tszyu - who’s Russian - and Fenech and the best jabber in Aussie boxing history is Skippy the Bush Kangaroo!!!!!

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Lawrence, while I am pleased to have cricket’s Ashes back after our 3-0 sweep to date, I do question why we ever lost them in the first place? Ponting’s decision to send England in only minutes after losing McGrath to injury in 2005 was hard to understand. Though, the age of the two teams now suggests to me that England will be in a good position to win the Ashes back in 2009. I look forward uneasly towards the next series. As for the best of British to come, I wil defer to my UK based colleagues. I’m happy to see as much of Ricky Hatton as I can for the time being.

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: thanks for the kind words Lawrence. I’d like to think all three of your picks will fight for a version of the world title in 2007. However, I feel all three will be in big fights but may just come up short on the night. Of course it depends who they fight but all three may just come up a tad short at the highest level.

BEN COHEN ANSWERS: Thanks for the kind words Lawrence! Amir Kahn will break the top ten in all rankings fairly soon I would think, and I give David Haye a very good chance of winning a title next year. Also, given Audley Harrisons recent performance, he might get up there too. I can’t say I keep that good track of what is happening in the UK since I am based in Los Angeles, but I did quite like the look of Anthony Small last time I saw him fight.
First Name : Luca
Last Name : Biason
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question : I don’t know about you, but I found last Saturday’s fight-night quite disappointing. The bout between Williams and Harrison - a very brief exchange aside - was a match between a "could-have-been" (Harrison) and a "I-have-already-retired" (Williams). I know it’s nothing new, but the average level of the current heavyweights is at an all-time low. Those two are no exceptions, moreover you don’t reach your peak at 35 or thereabout.

As for Khan, I found it a rather shabby and soulless performance. Fair enough that the guy has to build up experience and ring generalship, however he faced someone who - for the best part of the match - didn’t seem bothered to win and didn’t throw punches. Khan was probably told to hold his best and go for the 10 rounds, still all we saw were very sporadic bursts of energy followed by long pauses full of...well, nothing. I wonder whether they are being a bit over-protective with him. I still think that, in spite of the claims, he is far from ready for a shot a top level. In the current maze of belts there is probably one waiting to be picked up by him, but in overall terms - personal opinion - he is still far below many other young and promising fighters I have seen in the past. I might be proven completely wrong, of course, however this chap has never fought someone who challenged him (or willing to do so). The way things are at this point, if he finds a hungry, committed and skilful opponent (and am not talking about a World Champ) with a good left hook, he’s likely to hit the floor one time too many.

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Hi Luca. As far as Audley is concerned I completely agree. I have always defended Audley in the past and was in the minority of writers that gave him the benefit of the doubt. But after the first Williams fight and then losing to Dominick Guinn, I felt let down by him.

I say let down because Audley has been paid well over the years, talked a good fight but never delivered. Last week he beat a very poorly
prepared Danny Williams. Danny’s timing was off, he lunged in and seemed to have no real game plan. What I can’t understand about Audley is that he distanced himself from boxing fans in the first place because of all nonsense he talks at press and post fights interviews. And just as he gets a second chance to eat a bit of humble pie and redeem himself in the eyes of the public he starts all over again talking about fighting for a world title in 2007, etc etc. The win over Danny means very little to major promoters and broadcasters so I fail to see where Audley goes from here.

ANT EVANS ANSWERS: Hi Luca. I know Williams gave the best he had, but, it seems obvious now, Danny was never the same after the beatings he took in 2004 from Tyson and Klitschko. He still had enough to beat Harrison and Skelton, but he’s not the fighter he used to be and on one weeks’ notice Harrison had his way with him.

I held out for Audley to come good longer than most (as did Clive) but gave up on him last year. I’ve yet to be convinced to jump on the bandwagon and a win over Scott Gammer won’t change my mind either. He’s 35 now. Harrison doesn’t have time to fight for the British Title, make a defense or two, then go for the European then maybe a defense then a world title fight. He needs two more fights against ex-champs or ex-challengers and then get him his title shot. Otherwise, his "peak" years would be the eight minutes v Danny the other week. And - as Clive pointed out - he’s got a lot to learn about presenting himself as a likeable persona.

And Khan needs to tighten his defense up ASAP if he’s serious about winning the British Title in 2007. Right now, Jon Thaxton would mug him. No way was that a knockdown last weekend but there is no head movement from Amir when he throws punches. And - yes - I couldn’t agree more about the left hook. Khan is a real sucker for it.

EN COHEN ANSWERS: I thought Danny looked terrible when he fought Harrison. His punch resistance is nowhere near what it used to be, and I think all the beatings he has gone through has taken something out of him. As for Harrison, he looked great, but he only really has 3 years left to do something. Whether he can or not remains to be seen. I didn’t see the Kahn fight, so it would be unfair of me to judge him. I would say though, that he is still very young and still maturing. Pros can take a long time to become the full package, and off performances might not be an indication of lack of skill, more them working on certains things they are learning in the gym.

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