Saturday, November 3, 2007

Legends of the Ring and the Octagon

Regardless of the outcome of their next fight(s), these artistic combatants will be enshrined in the pantheon of great fighters, even long after their time in the ring, or octagon, has long expired.

First up: Joe Calzaghe

Normally, an undefeated record by a fighter who exclusively fights out of his local area is not really that great. But Calzaghe is different. he has never been one to protect himself. He only attacks and defends afterwards. His ten-year run has been perfect, even if his opponents have not been. Only Roy Jones Jr. is absent from his list. but then again, RJ has been missing from many top fighters' list for years.

Calzaghe, who fights with the grace of a cruising dolphin and the ferocity of a wild boar, proved that he is the best super middleweight with yet another dominant performance against another younger,undefeated fighter with a strong resume and equally stronger will. Mikkel Kessler's resolve to continue throwing punches and doing his best is what makes Calzaghe's ascension all the more astounding.

Next up for Calzaghe? All roads have one lane that zips toward established legend, Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins. A win for Calzaghe and some may foolishly mention his name along Sugar Ray Robinson. A loss for Hopkins and well ... nothing. That's one of the perks legends will always have.

The only other question is where will the fight take place? U.S. or U.K.? Soda or tea? Either fighter may hide behind economics as a reason to remain homeward bound. But lest they be reminded that Muhammad Ali and Robinson didn't HAVE to travel to prove anything. That is why they are beyond legends. They are Icons.

Octagon Legend: Randy "The Natural" Couture

Randy's recent decision to bolt from the UFC for unfair treatment does absolutely nothing to his accomplishments inside the octagon (and the ring in other fights of his career). Couture has always been a stand up fighter who fights with the tenacity of a grizzly bear. he ducks no on and has never hid behind economics or weight to turn a fighter down.

He has beaten the best of two divisions and has galvanized the spirit of George Foreman and Archie Moore into the nucleus of MMA. He has taken losses and rebounded when most writers and fighters had counted him out. He is to MMA what all-time greats have been to boxing. Couture is the standard by which most MMA fighters will be measured against.

And as great as Fedor has been, this is something that is boldly missing from his resume. Let's see if he can correct that.

Next up: Anderson "Spider" Silva

Make no mistake about it. Silva is not on the legendary status of the aforementioned names ... yet. And therein lies the beauty. Silva, whose recent strings of stoppages against all styles of fighters have leapfrogged him over Fedor as the consensus P4P fighter in MMA, fittingly fights like a spider when taken to the ground. But when he attacks, he pounces on his opponents like a tiger does on any prey he chooses. His recent re-destruction of fringe contender and former middleweight champion Richard "Ace" Franklin, reminded everyone just how difficult this former PRIDE fighter will be to defeat.

Perhaps it will take a pure winner, and also a training partner, like Lyoto Machida to truly take Silva into the zenith of his career and lead him down the road only legends travel.

Future legends of the ring:

(for more go to

Next week two more fighters will lay their crafts on the ring canvas. Only a definitive masterpiece will be accepted. "Sugar" Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto will meet in the ring and the winner will decidedly head closer to Legends Road.

Mosley was traveling at light speed toward that most mythical of roads when a black hole by the name of Vernon Forrest completely ended his course for the time being. After Mosley beat Oscar De la Hoya,most would have thought that was it. But ask Ken Norton; just because you beat the man, the status does not necessarily go to you.

But Mosley's light is hard to trap. And he has been showing signs that his beacon may actually be a sign of a coming supernova. A win against Cotto would give Mosley one last shot at boxing immortality.

But Cotto is a force that cannot be,or more fittingly, won't be denied. His will ad temper to win has thus far guided him in the right path toward more glory than any plastic and metal belt could ever bring. He has defeated the fast boxer (see Malignaggi) and the hard puncher (see Ricardo Torres). Mosely has attributes that both possess and more; he has experience. This fight will bring one fighter closer to the Legends Road and knock the other entirely off course.


If the upcoming Ricky Hatton-Floyd Mayweather has one other thing to present other than possibly a great fight, is a chance to see who the next legendary welterweight will be.

For the past ten years, Mayweather has established his dominance in five different divisions against the best suitable competition. And he has done it with the arrogance and dominance of former kings. Only Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker could make such a boast. Hatton is the one with much to prove, but

Mayweather would be careful to make sure his crown is well placed. For surely Hatton will see if it is a perfect fit.

Mosley, Cotto, Hatton, Mayweather. Though Mayweather's legacy is mostly secure, one of the other warriors still has a chance to enter a domain few will ever tread.

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