Is Nikolai Valuev Our Era's Primo Carnera?
By Jason Petock, DoghouseBoxing (Nov 11, 2009)  
David “Haymaker” Haye's, 23-1 (21), recent MD in 12 rounds over Nikolai “The Russian Giant” Valuev, 50-2 (34), this past Saturday has definitely opened up the Heavyweight Division in terms of not only establishing a new WBA World Heavyweight Champion into the scheme of things, but also quite possibly allowing future opportunities for one of the many sanctioning bodies numerous belts to make it's way back to the states once again. This would be contingent of course on how, when and who Haye is willing to defend the title against of course. While the Haye vs. Valuev bout could easily have been deemed marginal in spots, Haye certainly did what he had to do and would be expected to do against a fighter that has been aptly dubbed “The Giant”. David Haye gave up about 100 pounds and a good 7 inches in height to the colossal Russian, not to mention another 7 inches in reach overall. Congratulations are in order for England's David Haye and he should be lauded for his performance and not ridiculed, as it would be interesting to see how any of the rest of us would have stacked up against such a wall of a man.

With well deserved acknowledgment and accolades out of the way for Haye, an interesting observation could be made of Valuev and his stature and place in the Heavyweight ranks and historical significance of this era. There are uncanny similarities between Nikolai Valuev and Primo “The Ambling Alp” Carnera, 88-14 (72). If you look closely at both fighters and their careers these similarities come to the surface that much more. Both fighters average an almost 70% KO ratio, with Valuev at around 64% and Carnera at 69%. These figures can be quite deceiving however, as the public becomes jaded in regard to these men's physical size. It is often not taken into account that if you truly buy into the hype behind these fighters as being knockout punchers (which neither man actually is/or was known for), or that their size posed a considerable threat to several of their opponents (both being fairly plodding and one dimensional), you would be missing the mark as far as regarding both of these pugilists and what they represent. Bear in mind that this analysis is not meant to remove the value or significance of David Haye's recent victory, it is simply an observation in retrospect and reflection, nothing more.

Seeing as physical stature was aforementioned, it is only natural to compare Valuev and Carnera in this aspect of their respective makeups as well. Valuev stands at 7' 0” tall and weighing roughly around 317 pounds with an 85” reach is the bigger man of the two, while Carnera stood at around 6' 5” tall and weighed 284 pounds with an equal 85” reach. Valuev is obviously the bigger men of the two, but Carnera's size was considerably impressive for the era in which he fought, as most human beings were not so massive back in the 1930's and 40's. Carnera of course did a wresting tour for about 15 years and maybe Valuev would be wise to follow in Carnera's footsteps, seeing as a man with the physicality of Valuev would fare well in wrestling, in both performance and ticket revenue. One difference between the two is that Carnera's career was often shadowed by scandal in that it was presumed that several of his bout were mob fixes, whereas Valuev has never had such controversy surrounding his career. Another similarity though is that both men established a plodding, slow style with not much steam behind their punches, regardless of what their knockout ratios or a sensationalist media had to say about either man.

A case could very well be made that Nikolay Valuev is this era's Primo Carnera, at least in terms of physical size and side show appeal. Both men are/were built like they could either fight in the ring as a Super Heavyweight, or moonlight on weekends as the local carnival main attraction. And while Carnera went the route of a wrestler, much like Harlan 'Mountain' McClintock did in 1956's 'Requiem for a Heavyweight', long after his fighting career was over and those around him wanted to continue to make money off of him at the expense of his dignity, Valuev hasn't made that crossover yet. Someone might want to make the suggestion that he do so at this point. Maybe Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr., 40-0 (25), could be his promoter even, signing him to several wrestling bouts and appearances, all the while counting that paper in the process like we all know he loves to do so much. Stranger things have happened.

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