Saturday, April 22, 2006
I just saw the replay of Wlad klitschko vs Chris Byrd. Hats off to Wlad with the difficult last name; he knocked out Chris Byrd with a brilliant right hand after dominating the former champion for six and a half rounds. Wlad had a great fight, and showcased his talent excellently. Larry Merchant, the ringside HBO analyst, got on my nerves, though. He insulted the intelligence, and the courage of Chris Byrd. Chris Byrd decided to take on a natural superheavyweight, and one of the most powerful punchers in boxing; Byrd's olympic medal is for middleweights (160 lbs), while Wlad's is for over 220lb fighters. Larry Merchant derided Chris Byrd for this decision, saying that Byrd only took the fight for the money, showing more greed than guts. Chris Byrd could have taken lesser fighters for a few more defenses, earning more money in the process. Instead, Byrd showed the courage in his heart to fight the biggest and the best. Larry Merchant, no fighter steps in the ring against Wlad Klitschko, getting the worst beating of his life just for a bigger pay day. Chris Byrd had the guts to fight the best in a division full of otherwise questionable talent that would make for great, padded title defenses. The same cannot be said of Nikolay Valuev whose best opponent was John Ruiz, who previously lost his title in lackluster fashion against two former middleweights, Roy Jones and James Toney. Hasim Rahman's toughest fight in recent years was against the aforementioned former middleweight, James Toney. Where is Larry Merchant's venom for the other heavyweights, especially the 43-0 Valuev whose opposition is a line of stiffs and John Ruiz? Please, Chris Byrd is a brave fighter, a tough fighter, and a dedicated fighter who never shows up out of shape. He deserves our respect, not chiding derision from a self-righteous old man that likes to hear himself speak. Bring on Max Kellerman; not much could be worse than Larry Merchant.