ALAN HUBBARD’S PUNCHLINES – 31.1.16
Last week one of the modern greats, Gennady Golovkin was in town, promoting himself and seeking out a future opponent.
In March it will be the turn of one of the all-time greats, if not the Greatest, for the news is that if he is well enough Muhammad Ali will be coming to London for an exclusive exhibition showcasing his life and career, at the O2 Arena.
The I Am The Greatest exhibition will open on March 4 and run until August 31, celebrating the world’s most famous figthter from his humble beginnings in Kentucky to becoming the most recognisable sporting figure of the last century. Indeed, any century.
It will feature more than 100 artefacts, including unseen footage, photos and personal memorabilia including:
- Ali’s ‘two time world champion’ ring from 1974 and his ‘three times world champion’ ring from 1978.
- His headgear from 1980 inscribed to Sylvester Stallone
- Torches and participation medals from the 1960 Rome Olympics, where Ali won gold.
- Signed gold boxing gloves gifted to Elvis Presley
Muhammad’s wife, Lonnie Ali says: “Muhammad and I are very excited to be part of a project that will connect him with a whole new generation of fans.
“The family is anticipating that we will attend this tremendous celebration of the core principles that shaped his life.”
That’s good to hear, for as Lonnie says there is a whole new generation of young fans out there who know of 74-year-old Ali only by reputation. This exhibition will demonstrate just how fabulous a fighting machine – and a man – he was, and why those of us fortunate enough to cover his career from close quarters, from Atlanta to Zaire via Manila, Las Vegas and London, still revel in his magic.
Good news, too, for BoxNation fans who can get 20 per cent off tickets for an exhibition which traces Ali’s incredible journey.
A full size boxing ring, positioned at the front of the exhibition, will provide an interactive experience through which visitors will get an up close and personal look at Ali’s incomparable work ethic and revolutionary boxing techniques.
It’s one not to be missed. Go to www.boxnation.com
Not beyond his Ken
Talking of great fighters, a campaign has been launched to immortalise one of Britain’s best-ever champions.
Calls for a permanent tribute former world lightweight champion Ken Buchanan are gaining momentum following a civic reception held for him in home-town Edinburgh last week.
Ideas include naming the new Meadowbank Sports Centre after him or erecting a statue to the retired legend, who once topped the bill ahead of Muhammad Ali, and shared a dressing room with him at Madison Square Garden.
The long overdue recognition comes almost 50 years after he won the world lightweight title.
And the public appetite for bestowing yet greater honours upon him is growing after well-wishers gathered last week to celebrate the 70-year-old’s outstanding career.
One of his closest friends, former professional boxer Owen Smith, wants to put up a statue on McDonald Road close to Sparta Boxing Club where the world champion trained, and also suggested that the soon-to-be revamped Meadowbank Stadium could be re-named the “Ken Buchanan Sports Centre”.
Why not? Buchanan, who has battled alcoholism, depression and penury was as good a boxer as anyone Scotland –indeed Britain- has ever produced.
One Khan wants to forget
While Amir Khan is still currently looking for a fight no doubt he will be reflecting on the one which took place in Washington five years ago when he was ‘turned over’ by Lamont Peterson, losing a decision, and his titles a result he still bitterly contests to this day.
It was one of the most bizarre and controversial happenings fight game has known, with a highly dodgy split decision, the two US judges both scoring it identically for Peterson, a changed scorecard, Khan being deducted points for ‘pushing’ by a home-town ref and the curious ringside presence of The Man In The Hat who seemed to ‘supervising’ the WBA supervisor.
Khan lost his light-welter titles and on top of all this just before they were due to meet in a return six months later, Peterson failed a random drugs test.
He also admitted he had injected ’synthetic testosterone’ before their first fight, allegedly to help repair a hip injury.
While the IBF sat on their hands, the WBA, who had conducted the test, refused to re-instate Khan as champion or even declare it a no-contest; because, they claimed, synthetic testosterone was not a performance enhancing substance.
Oh yeah? Tell that to those Russian athletes!
All this is recalled, with clips of the bout itself, in which Khan fought some of the best and most brutal, rounds of his career in A Fight To Remember on BoxNation at 7pm tomorrow night (Monday).
Yours truly, in the company of presenter Alex Steedman and the Daily Mail’s Jeff Powell, debate and dissect what is truly one to remember, but one which Khan, who is his next contest was clobbered by Danny Garcia, might prefer to forget.
I’m still compos mentis. I can still make a cup of tea. I can still string a sentence together. I suppose if I was dribbling while watching television my family might tell me to retire. I’m alright. I’m applying to get back to university.
Britain’s busiest boxer, super-welterweight Kevin McCauley, 36, who had 29 bouts last year and has his 130th next month (he’s lost 110) on the joys of being a journeyman.
Everybody is targeting Joshua because he’s the money man of the division. It’s great news. They’ll all get their chance. They’ll all get their shot. It’s just that we can’t fight nine people on the same night.”
Eddie Hearn bigging up his big man.
If they truly want the fight like they say publicly – instead of using my name to promote (Kell) Brook’s bum fights –then it can easily made.
An angry Amir Khan insists he is not playing hard to get.
I’m shocked that the British Boxing Board of Control have decided they can’t act because no criminal offence was committed. The issue is whether the sport was brought into disrepute and it clearly was. For a sport that is promoting women’s boxing, his comments about women were completely unacceptable. His views on homosexuality are just out of the dark ages and boxing’s inaction on this does it no credit.
Shadow sports minister Clive Efford come out fighting against the Board’s mere slap on the wrist for Tyson Fury.
I think Donald Trump is a very clever man and a very successful person.“Anyone with that amount of success and money deserves ultimate respect for what he does. He should be president of the United States.
Mike Tyson is playing the Trump card.
Tomorrow: The Big Interview with Zelfa Barrett