Talking Boxing with Robert Brizel , Sleeping Giants in The Heavyweight Division, Steroids and More
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Correspondent
Right now, nobody is making any noise in the heavyweight division. Nobody seems to care about the Klitschkos. Are the Klitschkos the best fighters in the heavyweight division? Yes they are. Is there was an American heavyweight who can bring excitement to the heavyweight division? No, there’s not right now.
The reason I respect Dr. Vitali Klitschko is because he came back from a long layoff (Vitali was inactive 2004-2007) due to an injury, and reclaimed his WBC World Heavyweight title. At the age of 41, Vitali still gets away with a lot of things because he’s big (6’7″) and strong, and there’s really nobody in the top ten of the heavyweight division who can match his abilities besides his brother Wladimir, who at age 37 is the WBA-WBO-IBF-IBO World Heavyweight champion.
David Haye is a good fighter. He’s strong. In a ring war, David Haye has a superb overhand right and superior lateral movement. As far as foot speed goes, David Haye is the fastest in the division. I would most like to see David fight Alexander Povetkin.
Bryan Jennings reminds me of a small heavyweight like a young Evander Holyfield, a puffed up cruiserweight moving up. He’s not a sleeping giant. Bryan Jennings is a tough kid, a well conditioned, very strong fighter. For his size, Jennings is like a modern day version of Joe Louis, very talented, skills better than most of the rest, using his every asset and ability in the ring to keen advantage
Deontay Wilder is still fighting ‘C’ class fighters on his record, he has not stepped up to a ‘B’ class fighter. Deontay Wilder has not been tested yet. He’s not a sleeping giant. He’s just a young heavyweight being promoted with a good record who is being nursed and groomed. His April 27 bout against Audley Harrison at Motorpoint Arena in Yorkshire, Unite Kingdom, is a bit better than his previous bouts,. but will not prove anything to Wilder as Harrison is years beyond his prime.
Tony Thompson is a good fighter. I’ve never seen him keep his head once he gets shook. He comes into the ring 100% confident. But if you catch him with a good shot that shakes him, he’s worried and afraid and he’s not going to win. Tony Thompson is not the sort of a fighter with the sort of a heart who once he’s in a hole can crawl his way out, like occurred with him against the Klitschko brothers. Tony would be a good fight for Deontay Wilder to see if he can survive the test. If Deontay Wilder catches Tony Thompson with a good shot, he’ll win and will have made it to the next level. If David Tua could have a kept a strong mind, he could have beaten Tony Thompson.
Tomas Adamek I like. Tomas is a blown up cruiserweight. He will never be the same after losing to Vitali Klitschko. However, he is still capable of beating Kubrat Pulev and many top heavyweights out there, because Tomas is a hard working and very active fighter. Adamek versus Alexander Povetkin might be a thrilling war, it’s a matchup I want to see. It’s like rolling the dice on that fight, because Adamek’s body has a lot of wear and tear. Povetkin took a lot of wear and tear beating Marco Huck. Povetkin has a decent straight right if he can hit Adamek with it. Povetkin doesn’t slip punches. Adamek does slip punches and he would try to catch the stationary Povetkin more.
Kubrat Pulev, Magamed Abdulsalamov, and Vyacheslav Glaskov are among the hungry rising names the public is going to see well promoted in the future, but they have yet had any ‘A’ level fighters to determined whether they are ready for a world championship fight yet. They fight reach that level in 2014 and 2015, we’ll see.
Eddie Chambers I like. He’s a quick fighter. Eddie Chambers covers his face, he walks in front of you, and let’s out a combination of punches. But he doesn’t use angles. As far as hand speed goes, Eddie Chambers has the fastest hands in the heavyweight division today. As for one of his hands being injured either before or during his bout with Tomas Adamek, that’s water under the bridge. Eddie can rebound from the Adamek bout with some top ten wins and put the Adamek bout behind him.
Robert Helenius reminds me of Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb but with better boxing skills. Tex Cobb he was one tough SOB. He could take a punch, tough as hell. Helenius knocked Samuel Peter out. He 29, 6’6 1/2″. Robert Helenius is way bigger than Tex Cobb. Helenius has beaten Derek Chisora and Samuel Peter, because he was so big he outgunned them. Helenius stropped Seregei Lyackovich in the way down. Helenius went the distance with Chisora and Michael Sprott which tells me he doesn’t punch as big as he looks. He went the distance with Sherman Williams, but Sherman Williams is a tough cat to knock out. Sprott has lost 20 fights and has gotten kayoed ten times, and Helenius couldn’t knock him out.
Alexander Povetkin is a right place right time WBA world champion. I give him respect for his win over Marco Huck. That was a life and death war. Povetkin is tough.
I would like to see Dereck Chisora come back and fight cruiserweight champion Marco Huck at heavyweight. I think it would be a good fight, but I don’t know if Chisora has the stamina to beat Huck, who looks ripped.
Chris Arreola can fight. Chris reminds me of an old school brawler from the 1950’s and 1960’s, like a Roland LaStarza, Jerry Quarry, Pat McMurtry and George Chuvalo all rolled into one. But Chris is not a technical fighter. Joe Frazier would have beaten him. Arreola versus Ken Norton in his prime would have been a hell of a fight. Muhammad Ali would have made a fool out of Arreola with jabs while sticking and moving. Larry Holmes would have picked Arreola apart and knocked him out. Lennox Lewis would have stopped Arreola late in the same style and game plan as Vitali did when he beat Chris in 2009. A stronger Alexander Povetkin would outmuscle Arreola over 12 rounds, in a possible future fight which could happen.
I really respect ‘The Black Uhlan’, former World Heavyweight champion Max Schmeling, because in his first fight with Joe Louis, he beat Louis as a natural fighter without supplements, the consummate counterpuncher. Schmeling beat Louis on ability alone.
I really like Rocky Marciano. He was a tough son of a gun. Nobody respected him at first, because he was such a small heavyweight. Back in the day, big heavyweights were 205 to 210 pounds. Marciano fought his best at 185 to 190. If Rocky were alive today, Rocky would be a cruiserweight. I don’t think Rocky would have survived today against big and tall 250 pound heavyweights like the Klitschkos. Against a 6’3″ Larry Holmes or a 6’3″ David Haye or a 6’3″ Muhammad Ali fighting at 210 to 217 pounds, Rocky would have had a much better chance. Mike Tyson and Rocky were both pure power hitters. Tyson showed the game plan for knocking out Holmes, and Rocky would have probably approached Holmes the same way. Rocky could have finished Holmes with accuracy after knocking him down, which Earnie Shavers and Renaldo Snipes could not do after putting Holmes on the canvas. Nicolai Valuev was outboxed by 5’11” Ruslan Chagaev, who is the same height as Rocky.
I also like the southpaw Ruslan Chagaev, who held the WBA World Heavyweight title, and at age 34, is still a marvelous technical fighter. He did not beat Povetkin and Wladimir Klitschko, but has beaten everybody else.
Magomed Abdusalamov and Vyacheslav Glaskov are two still relatively unknown unbeaten heavyweights on the rise. I like both of them, because they know how to knock out and finish their opponents, and this is something the general public likes and want to see, and both should have a very fine future. We’ll see.
We say ‘the sleeping giants’ because ever since I was young, the heavyweight division was the boxing division to watch. People love to see big men knock each other out when I was young. Back in the day, even if went back to the mike Tyson era, or the Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes era, the giants of the division. If those heavyweights were considered giants back then, they would be considered small heavyweights today. Muhammad Ali fought his best around 210 pounds. When Muhammad Ali retired, he weighed around 225 pounds. If you are a heavyweight even coming into camp at 225 pounds, they are going to feed you to bring you up in weight. Cruiserweights come to camp at 225 pounds. We see sleeping giants because the heavyweight division today is asleep. There are no heavyweights making noise. There are none.
If Steve Cunningham comes in at 215 to 220 pounds for Tyson Fury, people will like Steve Cunningham because they will feel he has the body of what a heavyweight contender should look like, not because of his boxing ability. Steve is a great fighter and a world champion, which isn’t easy. Steve did not become the king of the cruiserweight castle easily. I respect Steve Cunningham because he went to Germany and he fought Marco Huck, outworked him and stopped him. He outworked Huck so bad Huck couldn’t even breathe.
Steve Cunningham can outbox Tyson Fury. Can he take a punch from the big man? That’s a big bet, a big question mark? Because Marco Huck can punch, and he fought Marco Huck. It happened because Marco Huck took beating Steve Cunningham for granted. I’m not taking anything away from Steve. Steve can knock out Tyson Fury. anybody can knock anybody out if you catch them with the right punch. The thing is can Tyson Fury catch them? Style make fights. Think about it.
The majority of your heavyweights out there is the world are using performance enhancing drugs, which takes place outside the United States. Like Floyd Mayweather says “You don’t have a lot of fighters fighting on natural ability.” You don’t have fighters who eat three meals a day, work out and train like the old days. Fighters are eating three meals a day while taking steroids and HGH in Europe, and it’s not a fair game for American fighters. I don’t care what drugs you take. It isn’t going to teach you how to box. It will give you some advantage, stronger with more stamina, like a human robot. The better fighter will still win. Steroids are not going to teach you how to throw a right hand. Steroids won’t teach you how to hit a ball, but it gave them the power and the weight they needed to knock the ball forward.
Taking steroids will not make you a great Major League Baseball player. Can you imagine what Mike Tyson would have been like on steroids in his prime? Oh my God. He would have destroyed the heavyweight division.
In my head, all fighters are clean. But I would be stupid to believe that. A lot of overseas fighters are juiced up on steroids.
American television does not care about European fighters. This is because European fighters are boring, and nobody knows who they are. European fighters don’t mind coming over to the United States to fight, but they don’t want to take the drug tests. I give fighters like Tyson Fury, Amir Khan and Gavin Rees credit for at least coming to the United States to fight and showing they are clean.
Some old warhorse heavyweight fighters like Monte Barrett, Rob Calloway, Andrew Golota, and Sherman Williams are fighting outside the United States past age 40, in such strange, uncommon and out of the way locations as Australia, Chile, China, Finland, Germany, Japan, Macao, New Zealand, Poland and Russia. While they are clean, their foreign excursions have yielded a payday but for the most part their recent outcomes were by unsuccessful.