In Boxing News: Unwind with the new heavyweight champ
Hot on the heels of his one-sided destruction of Chris Byrd last Saturday in Mannheim, Germany, IBF heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko has let down his guard, something he wasn’t willing to do against Byrd, and spoke to the press about how he relaxes, how he kicks back, how the new champ chills.
According to Reuters, Wlad’s favorite way to relax is by pressing his shirts and he regularly borrows an ironing board at hotels when traveling to unwind with an iron. For those for whom wrinkles are not a pressing matter, it must come off as mad, or at the least a little dainty, that one of the baddest men on the planet finds solace from the daily grind in what is unaffectionately known as women’s work.’ Klitschko told Bild on Wednesday, four days after he won the title, “I’ve never revealed this before, but the ironing board is the place I relax. I love to iron. The first thing I do whenever I get to a hotel is borrow an iron. No one else ever touches my shirts.” Before jumping to conclusions about Wlad the K, like he’s not all man, or vanity thy name is Klitschko, the new champ said men should not worry about their looks. “My grandmother always told me: ‘If you’re a man, it’s enough if you look a little bit better than an ape. Sounds like one tough grandma. Welsh boxing star Joe Calzaghe, who recently unified super middleweight belts by dominating American Jeff Lacy, is poised to become Great Britain’s second major boxing star to jump from Showtime to rival network HBO in less than a month, according to ESPN.com. Calzaghe is due back in the ring July 8 against an opponent to be determined, but rather than the fight being televised on Showtime as per usual, HBO is close to luring Joe away from the boys down the street in the ongoing boxing cable wars. HBO spokesperson Kevin Flaherty said, “There is no way we comment on something that’s not a done deal.” The deal might not be done, but the money is on the table. HBO is offering $1.5 million for the rights to the Calzaghe fight, which would air on a same-day tape delay from either Cardiff, Wales or Manchester, England, sources said. This is not unlike what recently happened with Ricky Hatton. After he stopped Kostya Tszyu to win the junior welterweight title in a star-making performance on Showtime last summer, HBO went after him. If HBO lands Calzaghe, it would like to match him against light heavyweight champ Antonio Tarver if he gets by Bernard Hopkins. Stay tuned. There’s no quit in long-time boxing promoter Cedric Kushner. Tim Smith writes in the NY Daily News that Cedric the Entertainer knows a thing or two about comebacks. Second chances are a staple of what Kushner does. But Kushner, apparently, never thought making a comeback was in the cards, at least not for him. A year after his company hit the skids and Kushner was relegated the sidelines in New York City, he is coming back, this time under the banner of Gotham Boxing, and his first show will feature heavyweight Shannon Briggs, also on the comeback trail, who will meet Chris Koval at the Hammerstein Ballroom on May 24. “I promised the most important man in my life, my bank manager, that I’ll be the Comeback Promoter of the Year,” Kushner joked at a noon press conference at The Palm in midtown Manhattan yesterday. “For those of you who have counted me out, some with great pleasure, I’m pleased to announce, he said, borrowing one of the governor of California’s best lines, I’m back.” Kushner has a regular monthly show planned for the Hammerstein Ballroom that will compete with his good friend Lou DiBella‘s Broadway Boxing” series in the same venue, and hopefully Briggs will start the show off with a bang. Briggs was once one of boxing’s top heavyweight contenders, but has recently fallen from grace; he has, however, been busy the past year, fighting, and winning, five times in small venues. “A couple of years ago when I wasn’t taking it (boxing) seriously, I had everybody and their grandmother calling me at my house wanting to fight me,” Briggs said. “But now that I’m serious and I’m staying in the gym, I can’t get anybody to fight me. I was supposed to fight David Tua on April 1. I waited by the fax machine waiting for the contract that never came. David said he wasn’t ready for the fight and he had to talk to his witch doctor and he needed six tune-ups.” It’s the same old story. If we’ve heard that witch doctor excuse once of we’ve heard it a thousand times. When Chris Eubank fought Michael Watson in 1991 a tragedy ensued which left Watson in a coma for 40 days and partially paralyzed. The tape of that bout was buried in the hope that time heals most wounds, but has recently resurfaced on a new pay website for all to see. Pay and see Watson end up in a coma, writes The Times of London. This isn’t cricket. More like a snuff movie in silk shorts. Call it macabre or voyeuristic if you want, but that bout 15 years ago was also the apotheosis of the careers of two great British sportsmen and deserves to be available. Eubank agrees: It was the performance of my life and I know it was the performance of his. Eubank is splitting the proceeds 50-50 with Watson. I went to see him at his mother’s home three weeks ago, Eubank said, and he is extremely happy that people will at last be able to see this fight. Watson has become an inspirational figure since the unfortunate fight. He recently completed the London Marathon despite being told that he would never walk again. He even thinks the accident, as he calls it, did him some good. “I wasn’t a committed Christian then,” he said. “I was too concerned with flash cars, expensive clothes and girls.” The frivolous is always desirable until the real thing comes along, but as The Times writes, I hope Eubank and Watson make a packet.