No Offense Euros, But The Heavyweight Champ Should Be American

BY Rick Folstad ON July 21, 2009
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Maybe you’re like me and you think the heavyweight champion of the world should have a Brooklyn accent and drive a Ford. He should be a guy who grew up cheering for the Giants or the White Sox or even the Washington Nationals, and he should be able to tell you who won last year’s Super Bowl. And how they did it.

He should stumble when he tries to speak Spanish, and he shouldn’t have too many vowels in his name that you can’t pronounce. His last name should be something simple, like Dempsey, Foreman or Tyson. He shouldn’t need a passport just to fly into Boston or LAX. Or a ticket.

He should support our troops, know who Stephen King is, be able to spell Barack Obama  and he should be able to tell you where the Rose Bowl is and who plays there.

That’s the guy who should be heavyweight champion of the world. Not those guys from places that sound like a car engine with a bad transmission. The heavyweight champ should be from Detroit or Philly, not some place called Gladtonia or Kryzinkis.

This is nothing personal against the Klitschko brothers or Ruslan Chagaev or Nikolai Valuev. They seem like decent guys and they can even fight a little or they wouldn‘t be able to call themselves champions.

But they’re not from here and that’s not right. That special title - that “heavyweight champion of the world” tag - needs to come home. It belongs here, always has. We need that title, but even more important, boxing needs it.

Right now we’ve got at least two American heavyweights who can possibly set the cosmos back in proper order if they get the chance. Neither one actually wears an “S” on their chest, but they could probably get away with it if they wanted to.

One of the guys is “Fast” Eddie Chambers. He’s out of Philadelphia by way of Pittsburgh, which is about as all-American as you can get.

He’s not a big puncher. He doesn’t send too many guys reeling across the ring from a devastating left hook. He doesn’t work with a hammer. He uses a brush. He‘s got more sting than clobber. But like his name says, he’s got fast hands, the guy voted most likely to become a card shark or  pickpocket.

But Eddie will be the first to tell you “speed kills.“

At 6-foot-1 and maybe 210 pounds, Fast Eddie is small for a heavyweight in the same way Joe Louis and Jack Johnson were small and Evander Holyfield is small.
Chambers says it’s his speed that gets them, that warp factor. But he claims he still has some pop in his punch, that something traveling at the speed he throws it is going to leave a lump when it lands. “It’s going to hurt you,“ he says.

So far, Eddie’s fast hands have treated him well and proven him right. He’s 35-1 with 18 KOs, that one loss a disappointing decision to Alexander Povetkin in January 2008.

His big win was a recent decision over Alexander Dimitrenko, the WBO’s No. 1 contender. At 6-foot-7, 253 pounds, when Dimitrenko stood next to Chambers in the ring, he looked like something out of a fairy tale with a beanstalk.

“I worked my way in and chopped him down,” Eddie said.

While Chambers has speed, LA heavyweight Cris “The Nightmare” Arreola has knockouts. Piles of them. He likes short nights and ugly endings.

Rated right up there near the top of the list of best heavyweights in the world along with Chambers, Arreola (27-0 with 24 KOs) also wants his shot at one of those big European guys holding a tight-fisted monopoly on the greatest title in the world.

“All their recent fighting has been in Europe,” says Arreola, who stopped Jameel McCline in April. “They should be called European champions. They need to come across the pond and fight here.“

The interesting thing about Chambers and Arreola is that both fight for Goossen Tutor Promotions. That’s a pretty good deal for promoter Dan Goossen. Might not be that good for the rest of us. Talk to Goossen and you probably won’t hear both names mentioned in the same sentence.

Talk about monopolies.

But that’s one of the things about boxing and the new math. If two brothers can hold the heavyweight championship of the world at the same time, I‘m pretty sure two guys under the same promoter can do it.

I know Dan Goossen thinks they can.

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