Benny’s Punching Bag: The fans speak out on the heavyweight division!
By Benny Henderson Jr. (December 6, 2004)  
Hey loyal Doghouse Readers and all who just read for the heck of it, how it be there? Well, we got through another Don King pay-per-view heavyweight fiasco! And I mean what a fiasco, but anytime you have the 'Hugging Heavyweight' John Ruiz holding on to an oversized, pissed off Andrew Golota you're bound to have some friction, but who would have guessed it would be between the trainers? Like a nightmare that’s already a part of a bad dream, the Stone man jumped in early with his fists pumped like in a drunken rage at an all night rock-n-roll show and threatened Golota’s trainer Sam Colona for the Pole's perceived transgressions. And then Stone continued to badger the referee until Randy Neumann ejected the foul-mouthed trainer in the eighth round. But hey, the ugliness didn’t stop there with around one-hundred and ninety clinches, a lot of hugging and hitting after the break; whew, what a night for the family to get-together to pay the whopping $44.95 and settle down with a bucket of popcorn (buttered of course) to enjoy the sweet science as we know it… YEAH RIGHT! More like a barroom brawl with ring card girls and scorecards, but what else do we have, ice skating? No offense to the fans of the sport of course.

All and all the 'Battle for Supremacy' had the chiller Donald-Holyfield, the killer Rahman-Meehan, the sweet one of the night Byrd-McCline, and one ugly ass fight, Ruiz-Golota. So let's get to the picks and then we will roll on to what the fans had to say about the division.

We had a few that were close for the most part, but please, don’t ever place money on your picks. Hey, don’t feel bad though, I would have lost too. Okay, we will start off with the readers who picked all the bouts correctly… no-one. Who could have guessed them all anyway, right? Now we will get to the people who got the most right. Pat yourselves on the back B-Craft and Paul. There are no prizes giving away here; sorry fellas, low on funds. Craft and Paul both called the decisions correctly in the Byrd-McCline and Ruiz-Golota fights. Craft called the Ruiz-Golota bout an ugly decision and he was heads up on the Rahman’s 4th round kayo over Meehan, but he missed out on the perfect score calling Holyfield over Donald, while Paul called it a draw. But hey, that is close enough to get the Doghouse Boxing 'YOU’RE THE MAN' award.

Sorry guys but only one reader including myself called Donald over Holyfield and a lot were way off on the whole Golota destroying Ruiz bit. And no, the ones who wanted to see Byrd get knocked out weren't obliged either. Now onto the main event where you, gentle reader, voice your opinions on the current state of the heavyweight division. To be honest I never knew so many readers cared for the division so much until I received a massive amount of emails with their thoughts. We had some good ones as always. Okay, first off we will get to questions number one.

What does the heavyweight division need?

First off what is this whole mess about the division needing an injury free James Toney? He destroyed an old beat down Holyfield, big deal, and he had this tremendous show over the highly regarded Booker, LOL! Do you really think a trash talking over weight arrogant ass will save this division? I don’t, but hey we all could use a little bit of entertainment. I know I will get blasted by some for that comment but like you guys I have my opinion on this whole subject too. Look, the division is what it is we can’t change that, the era of boxing changes and whether we feel or think the division is weak it is all we have. The fact is that the guys who are at the top don’t seem want to fight the others on top, now it could be because of promoters and so on but let’s face it, is there a real dominant heavyweight out there when they are not allowed fight one another? The problem with the division is the rankings and too many dang belts. You get a guy like Danny Williams who beats Tyson who didn’t have the high ranking and now he himself is fighting for the WBC belt? That spells C-O-R-R-U-P-T-I-O-N in my book. Toney beats Holyfield and had an outing against Booker and now he is so great the division should be shaking in their boots and hiding their children? J-Dawg of the Jolly O says that the division needs and explosive KO artist to revive the lagging division. But I think Regan Payne makes a lot of since when he stated that the heavyweight division needs a 'Sweet Sixteen' tournament. Boxers ranked by the media, sanctioning bodies and fans from one to sixteen and face off every few months till there is one standing, if it where all that easy. But Larry just shoots form the hip, saying “Talent and most of all one champion”.

Who is the heavyweight prospect we should look out for?

As it goes out with the old in with the new and here come the prospects. It was pretty well mixed up, even a few called Riddick Bowe and James Toney top prospects. Most were leaning towards Dominick Guinn and I myself agree. Juan Carlos Gomez and Eddie Chambers where runners up. Dave O Mac and Larry both stated that they don’t see any out there as of now and it might be a long time till we do.

What match-ups would help the division?

This is where we get down to business and cut into what the fans really want. Like I stated earlier the top guys don’t seem to or aren't getting the chance to fight the top guys so let the fans speak! It was just about clear-cut that most of you want James Toney versus any titleholder or top fighter in the division but for different reasons. Some say for entertainment, some say so he can prove he is the man or just to get his mouth shut once and for all. Vitali Klitschko-Chris Byrd II 'Unfinished Business', Mike Tyson-David Tua 'The Crowd Pleaser', but what the heck is this all about Vitali Klitschko-John Ruiz? Man, there is a hex on any fighter that steps in the ring against the hugging machine so if I was Vitali, I would stay away! And one wanted Riddick Bowe-Lennox Lewis (hey, isn’t Lewis retired?). So these are the fights that would save the division? Okay, here are a few of my picks; laugh if you want. Vitali Klitschko-Chris Byrd II. Like I said, 'Unfinished Business'. James Toney-Chris Byrd or Vitali; let’s see what Toney really has. Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield III; it is a shame that people including myself would pay for this one. Lamon Brewster-Hasim Rahman or Wladimir Klitschko, so Lamon can either get out or win and finally get respect. And don’t forget Andrew Golota-Riddick Bowe IIII; you just know something would go wrong. I know these wouldn’t save the division but at the very least I think they would be interesting.

Who is the most overrated and underrated fighter in the division now?

Let's break it down like this: is there really any fighter in the division right now that is underrated? People say the division is watered down and in dire need of a legit heavyweight, so can there really be an underrated fighter? But believe it or not a lot said that (oh please don’t take this one out on me, I didn’t say it!) John Ruiz in the most underrated fighter. Yep, that was a lot of the feedback, like him or not he keeps smothering his victims until they give in to his constricting style as he renders his prey defenseless. Now, what about the overrated? Who in the division isn’t who they seem to be? Well you guys said it so I will print it and it went like this. Some believe Vitali Klitschko is the most overrated even though he is the WBC champion. William says about Vitali “Who has he beat? He wasn’t going to beat Lewis if the fight continued, and no way would he have lasted eight rounds in a rematch.” And Martin approached this a little differently in saying, “Don’t get me wrong the guy is good but what has he really done? He beat a fat out of shape Corrie Sanders (who looked like a big tub of poo). And before that he lasted five rounds with an uninterested Lennox Lewis, we just need to see more of him.” The runners up where Lamon Brewster (which I disagree with), Joe Mesi and Chris Byrd. Hey, believe it or not one guy said James Toney was a slight overrated. Agree or not, these where your choices.

Who should hang it up and who should step up?

It seems that if Holyfield likes it or not the fans along with the New York State Athletic Commission want him out. He has proved what he needed to prove and now needs to get out while he still has somewhat of his senses left. Nominees were Oliver McCall, Wladimir Klitschko, Mike Tyson, John Ruiz and Hasim Rahman. The fighters that should step it up where as follows: Antonio Tarver, Dominick Guinn, Danny Williams (uh, he is fighting Vitali), Joe Mesi (if he is healthy enough to do so) and Audley Harrison. Pretty much the whole shebang! Oh, and one reader called out Don King and said that he should allow his fighters to fight others that aren't in his stable. Agreed!

Who will make the biggest splash of 2005?

Tod says 2005 will be a dud and wait for ’06. Mark said Danny Williams, Larry said Samuel Peter and the rest said JAMES TONEY! We will just have to see won’t we?

As far as the King fight card it was a mixture of feelings, it was what it was and that was all we could expect it to be. But hey, we have to have this one. The quote of the day goes to Martin in Florida: “I don’t know why I am looking forward to this match so much, it will go just like this: Ruiz head butts and hugs, Golota says three Russian cuss words and throws a hard one two combo to the gonads. Repeat, repeat, repeat.”

Hey guys I thank you once again for all your feedback, it is greatly appreciated. Just keep up the great work and if I didn’t get you in this article keep writing and you will get in. Whether we agree or disagree it is great to have a voice! Stay tuned for another installment of Benny’s Punching Bag when we check out the fights of 2004.

God bless, be safe, keep reading and keep being the over opinionated readers that you are, IT ROCKS!
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