Heavyweight boxing is all but a relic of past glory days. The eighties and nineties saw talent by the likes of Michael Spinks, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Larry Holmes, and Buster Douglas that shook boxing arenas with roaring crowds and knockout spectacles. But the last decade and a half has seen a progressive freezing and thawing of the heavyweight division as the biggest draw in the sport of boxing.
Since the rise of a handful of welterweight stars, the popularity of the heavyweight division has waned at the expense of increased attention payed to many of the lighter weight classes. For better or for worse, the Golden Boys and the Money Mays have successfully swerved fans’ interest in favor of speedier boxing performances.
But the heavyweight division may be getting it’s second wind in the form of Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury, two dominant personalities set to clash in the ring this Saturday. In the last ten years, the Klitschko name has been synonymous with heavyweight stardom, as the careers of both Wladimir and his brother, Vitali, have made indelible marks in the sport with. The youngest, Wladimir, currently holds court as the heavyweight king with only 3 losses in a 64-fight professional career thus far. His last defeat came over a decade ago, making his current winning steak 22 fights.
Generally speaking, Englishman Fury is perceived to be Wladimir Klitschko’s toughest test to date. The reasons? Fury is undefeated, he is a towering 6’9”, and he is a vocal spokesman for the heavyweight ranks. And if there’s one thing that a division slowly fading into the background needs, it’s character. At press conferences and promotional events, Fury’s manner of speaking reaches straight for the jugular in his assessments of heavyweight boxing at large and his breakdown of his opponents, past, present or future. To have a fighter with those credentials butt heads with the heir of a heavyweight dynasty just might be the friction that is necessary to spark the public’s interest in heavyweight boxing.