In his latest column with Metro.co.uk, the British boxing legend previews another big night for Fightzone with Jack Massey headlining and discusses some of his dream exhibition bouts.
Legend fights there to be made
I am all for these dream fights we keep hearing about. I have youngsters coming up to me, saying ‘I’ve watched your fights on video but I never got to see you live!’ And I think that is why I’m a fan of these exhibitions. You’re not going to see your heroes get seriously hurt, it is a chance to see them showcase their skills one last time and you can raise a bit of money for charity too, so I’m all for it.
There’s a couple of picks that spring to mind for me. If we are talking domestically, I would still love to see Joe Calzaghe vs Carl Froch. They very nearly came close to fighting, Joe was coming to the end, Carl was coming to the forefront. There is always those what-ifs, so if it were an exhibition between those two I think that would be quite a nice one for fight fans.
If you are looking at heavyweights, we saw the talk of Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield. Tyson blew the cobwebs off against Roy Jones Jr and Evander always looks in wonderful condition every time you see him on social media. He’s always training, he’s always on the pads. But I’m not sure if Evander has enough of his ear left to do 8 or 10 rounds!
I’ll have a move about with Oscar De La Hoya if the opportunity comes! Oscar was a hero to a lot of people in boxing so it would be interesting even if it is only an exhibition. To share the ring with him and find out first-hand how good he was and maybe still is.
It looks like he might be fighting former UFC fighter Vitor Belfort now but there is any number of boxers who would want it if Oscar keeps talking about it. Miguel Cotto would be a good one, Shane Mosley still looks after himself. The list goes on, me and Cotto, me and De La Hoya, De La Hoya vs Juan Manuel Marquez maybe! There are so many more. And I think I speak for all fight fans when I say we’d love to see a couple of these.
Great Britain’s next world champions
I think Manchester’s own Lyndon Arthur could be Great Britain’s next world champion. He proved his quality with his win over Anthony Yarde, who obviously gave a great account of himself at world level against Sergey Kovalev a few years ago. And I do rate Yarde very highly, so Lyndon has got a great chance becoming a world champion and bringing another belt back to Manchester. We have a great tradition of doing that here and hopefully he’ll be the next.
I have been fortunate to be get work in at the Collyhurst and Moston gym with my lads sparring and Lyndon has sparred several of my lads so I have seen his quality up close and first-hand. He has a wonderful chance of becoming a world champion.
Another one that has come through the rankings very quickly is Zach Parker. He is no1 contender for the WBO super-middleweight belt – unfortunately that is against Canelo. I don’t think Zach will mind me for saying that. But the fact he has a shot at Canelo is like winning a world title itself! The pound-for-pound no1 in boxing. And when you’ve made yourself the mandatory to challenge the greatest fighter in the world then obviously you have to be doing something right. Even though it is a tough ask, he deserves his shot. He’s come from local shows in the midlands area and he is going right to the very top.
Should Canelo decide to vacate his super-middleweight belts later this year, Zach will still get his chance to win that world title. And I think that might happen. This is no disrespect to Zach, but Canelo will want the big names. We are all proud of him getting there to fight for the world title, but there might not be enough money in that fight for Canelo. So he might vacate, but if Zach can fight for the vacant title, that will be a wonderful achievement and as a British fight fan, I’m very, very proud of him. Lyndon Arthur and Zach Parker, I think they are the next two in line for world title shots.
My Fightzone trip for Massey’s big night back
Another week, another great Fightzone show with Hamed Ghaz putting in a superb performance against Liam Shinkwin to extend his record to 17-0 last Friday. It was a coming of age fight for Ghaz and with that fight being an eliminator for the English lightweight belt held by Myron Mills, who fought on the first Fightzone card, it sets him up very nicely. Ghaz should now be right in the mix for that and that should be a proper tear up when it happens.
I’ll be in Sheffield this week myself to watch the action, the weather forecast looks decent so that will be a bonus too! Jack Massey headlines the card, in action against Engin Karakaplan with the IBF European cruiserweight title on the line. Jack has been in my gym sparring a few times and he is a great talent.
He came up short against Richard Riakporhe in 2019 fighting for the vacant British belt but since then he has bounced back with a win. This is his next opportunity and it will put him right back in the mix with the likes of Riakporhe, along with Chris Billam-Smith and Tommy McCarthy who fight for the European, British and Commonwealth titles later this month.
We’ve even got a world champion in Lawrence Okolie that Jack can perhaps look at later down the line. He needs a couple of good wins before that but having signed up with Dennis Hobson and Fightzone he will get that – they promised and delivered him one straight away. That’s what he needs, he needs to be active and by doing that he will only benefit. He is a great talent.
There are a few undefeated lads in Josh Holmes, Zak Miller and Dan Catlin that will also be looking to impress on the card while there is a big night ahead for Hannah Baggaley who is looking to force her way onto the women’s welterweight scene.
Hannah was set to make her professional debut tonight but her bout was cancelled last minute. Instead, she will now be in action against former IBO champion Hannah Rankin in what should be a cracking exhibition bout.
This time of the year, historically the British boxing calendar is quiet and this weekend Fightzone is the only show in town. They are delivering and it is good to see them getting behind the British kids. This is a prime example. Fightzone is banging the drum and as promised, is delivering a fight night a week and with one of Manchester’s own in Jack topping the bill, I am looking forward to it.
Loma back with a bang
Vasiliy Lomachenko delivered on his return against Masayoshi Nakatani – as predicted! With the success he’s had as an amateur and a professional, it was a big upset when he lost to Teofimo Lopez and he took his eye off the prize a bit.
But he has bounced back with a vengeance and has turned around and called him out for the rematch. He absolutely has given him something to think about for when that fight does happen. Hopefully that fight will happen soon.
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