The Heavyweight Dilemma
By Rob Scott (December 8, 2005) 
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For anything and anybody to make an impact, it sometimes takes a process. Gone are the late eighties, when Mike Tyson tore through the heavyweight division. Gone are the eras of Jack Dempsey or Joe Louis. The seventies, when Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and a young George Foreman fought one another for heavyweight laurels are all but a memory. That was then and this is now. In order for the division to once again make people take notice like yesteryear, a rebuilding process will have to take place.

A segment of that process was to take place the weekend before last, as Vitali Klitschko was to face Hasim Rahman for the WBC heavyweight title. It would have brought a sense of clarity in the so blurred heavyweight picture, but because of a Klitschko knee injury the heavyweight window is still about as clear as a stained glass window in church.

To be the best you have to beat the best, but just who is the best? Some have asked, who is even good? I have a dear friend who likes to say that the heavyweights couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag and overall, their ‘worth’ should have a ‘less’ added to the end of it. I don’t necessarily agree with those thoughts, but we all have to admit that the aura of the heavyweight division has seen better times.  

Oh where – oh where has the heavyweight division gone? Oh where – oh where can it be?   Even back when Joe Louis was on his bum of the month tour, it still was better than today’s action, because at least there was no question as to who the real champ was. Now we have Chris Byrd (IBF), Lamon Brewster (WBO), John Ruiz (WBA) and now Hasim Rahman has been declared the undisputed champ of the WBC. Klitschko was given that distinction by HBO and Ring magazine before his surprising announcement, but there was ample room for a definite dispute.

Klitschko has always had unfinished business with Chris Byrd and Rahman has unfinished business with John Ruiz. Some may say, even with the steroid scandal, Ruiz has unfinished business with James Toney. The point being, no one really has separated himself from the pack.

Now a day the term heavyweight has become a heavy burden on the sport. Even though it shouldn’t, the overall boxing world has revolved around the heavyweights. When that division is dead, the world of boxing tends to take a direct hit.  Unfair as it may be, it is our reality. If that process for a heavyweight impact is to go into effect, I say let the games begin.

Rahman vs. Toney, Toney vs. Byrd, Vladimir Klitschko vs. Rahman, Rahman vs. Brewster, Toney vs. Peter, etc. I can go on and on, but until these fights are signed, the heavyweights will continue going on in a direction like a dog chasing its tail, round and round – never going up. The division will still have a dilemma, which means we will have a dilemma. Otis Redding sang the tune “Change gonna come”; we all just wish a heavyweight change doesn’t take that very long in coming – the change needs to take place now. Let’s hope it does.
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