The CyberBoxingZone News

State of the Game
Francis Walker

March 29, 2000

Well fight fans, the first quarter of the new millenium is just about finished. As the year 2000 rapidly approaches the halfway mark, the sport of boxing promises to get even better.

Among some of the biggest events of the year, Roy Jones, Jr. dazzled fight fans, as he became the first world championship attraction to literally stage a boxing event at Radio City Music Hall. Jones, who happens to run Square Ring, Inc., successfully retained the Undisputed World Light-Heavyweight Championship with a sound showing against David Telesco, had R&B Recording Artist, Whitney Houston and Rap Stars, The Method Man and Red Man to join him at ringside.

In January, Mike Tyson became an overseas attraction, as tickets for his "no-contest" duel with Julius Francis sold out in 48 hours, continued his quest toward securing one last world heavyweight title fight with a scheduled appearance from Milan in May.

While Floyd Mayweather, Arturo Gatti, and Prince Naseem Hamed promises to keep busy., Zab Judah and Johnny Tapia plans to "hold-it down," as they both serve as world champion. Hopefully each fighter will find themselves a "thug-of-war" where each fighter will need more than just power and skills to win.

In addition, Cedric Kushner's monthly fight cards on the final Thursday from Manhattan Center in New York City has proven to be an A+ for the sport. Fighters such as, Shannon Briggs and Monte Barrett have found a new home to display their talent.

One of the more bigger issues that has grasp fight fans attention is the fact that Lennox Lewis, the Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion, could be stripped before having made a single defense of the unified crown he won from Evander Holyfield in November.

Lewis, who agreed to fight a No. 1 contender after his April 29 meeting with Michael Grant, says he does not want to fight Henry Akinwande, the WBA mandatory challenger ever again. The first and only time they fight was in July 1997. Lewis, who was just the WBC titlist at the time, retained his title when Akinwande was disqualified in the fifth for holding.

Lewis, who has agreed to fight replacement Johnny Ruiz, must also defend against David Tua, the IBF mandatory, sometime in November.

For the next three months, the fight schedule will indeed heat-up, as Vitali Klitschko, the unrecognized WBO heavyweight champion, defends his title on April 1 against Chris Byrd, a once highly talked-about young heavyweight sensation. Byrd, who won an Olympic Gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games at 165 pounds, has fought professionally for over eight years and has not received a world title opportunity. At 6'2," 215 pounds, Byrd is going to have his hands full when he meets the 6' 7," 245-pound machine in Vitali.

Also, in one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year, Fernando Vargas, in perhaps the toughest fight his career, defends his IBF 154-pound against a former WBA welterweight king, Ike Quartey on April 15. It would be Quartey's first fight in over 15 months since losing a close unanimous decision to Oscar De La Hoya.

Speaking of De La Hoya, the newly crowned two-time, WBC welterweight champion, will defend his championship against Sugar Shane Mosley on June 17, live from the Staple Center in Los Angeles. De La Hoya, who in February stopped WBC No. 2 challenger Derrel Coley in the eighth-round, would move one step closer towards a rematch with WBA 154-pound king, Felix Trinidad should he beat Mosley.

Trinidad, thus far is my pick for the fighter of the year, if not De La Hoya. Trinidad looked so good in stopping the former champion, David Reid in his tracks through 12-rounds in early March. While Trinidad had to rise up from the floor again to beat Reid, Trinidad did just that in impressive fashion. The champion dropped Reid once I the seventh and three times in the eleventh.

De La Hoya-Trinidad II would be a much better fight than the first encounter last September. Once again, I'd have to go with De La Hoya to beat Trinidad.

That's all for now!


Upcoming Fights

Current Champions

Boxing Journal

On-line Encyclopedia


Main Page

[Return to Top]