THERE are too many voices in boxing and only a few are worth listening to.
Mark Breland, a former 1984 Olympic champion and WBA welterweight champion, is one man whose voice is worth listening to. He doesn’t say a lot but when he does, these days pertaining to Deontay Wilder, the heavyweight he coaches, you can be certain he isn’t just speaking for the sake of it.
When, for example, he says Tyson Fury isn’t going to be fit enough to fight Wilder in February, as planned, he isn’t making the statement to rile Fury or because Wilder, his man, fancies fighting someone else. He is saying it because he knows this game inside out and knows what cuts like the ones Fury suffered against Otto Wallin on September 14 mean going forward.
“He don’t want to fight Deontay no time soon,” Breland told FightHype. “He’s not going to fight nobody no time soon with that cut. He’s going to need a year off from boxing.
“If somebody hits you hard and you’ve got a headguard on, you’re still going to feel it. I’ll tell him (Wilder), ‘Go for that scar, go right for that scar and boom!’”
Fury’s cuts required 47 stitches and given the severity of the wound he would probably be best served easing his way back into action. Rather than Wilder in February, Fury would, in an ideal world, be fighting somebody like Tom Schwarz or Otto Wallin, the preference being light hitters, not the Bomb Squad. That would be sensible. That would be advised.
Unfortunately, Fury and Wilder, riding so much momentum last December, seem to have somehow got this one all back to front.
To listen to Sakio Bika talk about a November 23 fight against Nigel Benn you would think the year was 1995 and he was about to challenge the exciting Londoner for his WBC super-middleweight title.
Yet the reality is quite different. The reality is that Bika is 40 years of age and hasn’t boxed for two years, while Benn is 55 and has been out of action for a whopping 23 years.
Still, don’t let the finer details interrupt anyone’s fun.
“I’m very excited to be back, and I’m very happy to be boxing a legend of the sport,” Bika, a former WBC super-middleweight champion, said. “To become a legend, you have to beat a legend.
“I have fought the best in the world and I’m ready to do it again. I will win this fight, then I will start looking for a belt. I’m back, and I’m not going away!”
Amid the bluster one key sentence stands out – “I will win this fight, then I will start looking for a belt” – and should serve as a stark warning to Benn ahead of his return in Birmingham.
Bika, in issuing this comment, is clearly adamant he is returning not for one fight but for a title run and will no doubt prepare accordingly. Benn, on the other hand, yesterday made it clear he is one and done.
That difference in mindset might mean nothing. Then again, it might mean everything.