By Clive Bernath: I presume everyone is familiar with the saying 'You can wait ages for a bus then two come along at once'. Well, that term immediately came to mind when two mouth watering domestic clashes were announced to take place simultaneously on September 10.
It has been that long since British boxing fans have been treated to a genuine scrap between the two top fighters in their weight divisions that I found it difficult to remember the last time this happened. And I certainly cannot recall two such match-ups taking place on the same night and in the same city.
Undefeated cruiserweight prospect David Haye takes a step up in class when he challenges veteran Carl Thompson for the IBO cruiserweight title at the Wembley Arena while 10 miles or so away at the York Hall, Bethnal Green former British and European champion Wayne Alexander and Takaloo clash for the vacant WBU junior-middleweight crown. Forget the titles, what the four men will be fighting for is the right to be called the undisputed best in the UK.
But anyway, who's complaining? Boxing fans and the media alike have moaned for years that many domestic fights have been hyped up lately and dangled tantalisingly under our noses (Skelton vs Harrison comes to mind) only to fall through at the last minute because promoters, fighters or managers cannot agree terms. This time though the only problem the media and fans will have is to decide which fightcard they will attend.
One of the other reasons the quality of domestic bouts has dramatically declined over the last few years is mainly I assume because promoters (and on occasion boxers) are reluctant to risk their top draw names against each other for fear of one of them losing their unbeaten record and at the same time the backing of their tv paymasters. But now both promoter and tv executives have finally followed the American lead and demanded our best boxers slug it out to find Britain's best.
In any case a loss on a fighter's record does not necessarily mean the end of one's career, it just depends how you lose. Take the Haye vs Thompson pic by Mr Will
and Alexander Takaloo fights. What we have here is two great fights between four big punchers. Haye has won all 10 of his starts inside the distance and considered one of the top genuine prospects in the country. The 23 year-old starts arguably a heavy favourite against the 40 year-old former WBO cruiserweight king but the outcome is by no means a foregone conclusion which is why 5,000 fans are expected to flow through the turnstiles at the Wembley arena. Everyone knows by now that both Haye and Thompson come to fight, no messing about we know this clash is going to excite and the chances are the judges will not be needed. If Haye loses he will go out on his shield but should not lose a once of his appeal. In fact a thrilling display of excitement and bravery will only enhance his credibility because he will have lost to the best. The same will apply to both Alexander and Takaloo. Both lost their 0's a while ago and regardless of who wins, as long as the fight is exciting and both perform to their ability then we know this is going to be one hell of a fight. So regardless of who wins the other can rebuild once again.
HBO and Showtime have long adopted this winning formula and it does work.
Both Fight Academy, who promote both Haye and Thompson, and Sports Network, the promoters of Alexander and Takaloo, are to be commended for at last making the fights the public want. We must also not forget that the BBC and Sky, who televise both cards, played their part by demanding these fights take place. And of course Sky and the BBC met the financial demands.
The new season kicks off with two genuine pick-em fights, lets hope that this new policy of matching the fights that the fans want to see can continue to kick start a sport that desperately needs to be revitalised.
Which domestic fights would you like to see happen? Please email editor Clive Bernath at firstname.lastname@example.org And please supply both full name and where you come from.