By Ted Sares
I hate the word "closure." It's politically correct and I despise political correctness more than I hate spinach. But I guess I need some of 'it" (closure, that is) regarding a few fights I witnessed over the years in which, as James Brown would say, I need some "payback," some redemption, if you will. So call me jaded, even semi-sadistic or whatever, but the following are five rematch fights I'd pay to see. I am sure you could you could add some so have a go at it.
1) Tyson vs Holyfield: I believe Tyson can sustain enough explosive power to take out a shot Evander quickly. But if Holly can hold him at bay for 3 or 4 rounds and begins backing him up, it's curtains again for Iron Mike. When bullies retreat, they typically lose. This fight would be reminiscent of the Saad Muhammad-Frankie Swindell fight when Frankie's overwhelming power savaged a hapless, confused and shot Saad in one brutal round. It's all about a tired but still mean enough bully vs a worn out old man and to me, it's arguably compelling. And for Tyson, it most certainly would be a last chance for redemption. I see Tyson winning in the first round.
2) Tua vs Ruiz: In their first fight, Tua caught the Silent Man cold and sent him into unconsciousness with as brutal a left hook as you will ever see. That was along time ago. Interestingly, Ruiz has a great chin. This was the only stoppage in his career. Since that fight, he managed to win a world championship and fight at the top level of his division, albeit in an ugly and non-crowd pleasing manner. However, I believe he possesses a strong, quick and sneaky right that could floor any opponent. Tua, on the other hand, never managed to win a belt and as Ruiz's career moved up, the Samoan's stagnated with inactivity, poor management and an occasional flash of the old David in wins against Moorer and Fres Oquendo. He is now on a 7 fight unbeaten streak and may be ready for a prime time fight. I'd like to see it be against Ruiz. Too close to call at this point in their respective careers but if forced to commit, I'd go with Ruiz in an extremely ugly and dirty fight between two guys with iron chins. Of course, if Tua fights like he did against "The President," Ike Ibeabuchi, then it's "oh oh" for Ruiz. But then again, redemption can be a strong motivator.
3) Wlad Klitchko vs Corrie Sanders: Wlad keeps an explosive Sanders at bay with his stiff and destructive jabs until the third round when he takes out a discouraged Sanders with a powerful and extended right. Wlad is a far different and improved fighter under Manny Steward and has far more self-confidence. His overall arsenal would overwhelm the game but outclassed South African in short order. Not much redemption here since Wlad would be 15-1. But in a perverse way, maybe it would be Corrie who has something to prove.
4) Jorge Barrios vs Acelino Freitas: Wow, maybe the best rematch of the five and with a different outcome this time. I see Barrios knocking out Popo around the 8th or 9th round. He is simply too tenacious for the flashy Brazilian. Barrios is a hungry monster who never stops coming. Exchanging with him can prove fatal. Acelino quit in the ring against Correleas and that tells me some thing about his will. His fight with Zahir Raheem did nothing to enhance his reputation in my mind. On the other hand, the Argentinean's blow out of Nagy was awesome. In their first fight , Barrios was coming on after getting beat early and it looked like he would finish off Freitas until he got caught late in dramatic fashion (Freitas down in rounds 8 and 11. Barrios down in rounds 11 and 12). That will not happen this time. Argentina vs Brazil gives this rematch a shot at national redemption as well.
5) Ronald "Winky" Wright vs, Fernando Vargas: I thought Winky won their first fight, but the judges disagreed. Since then, Winky Wright has become one of the premier fighters in boxing with a defensive style that is almost impenetrable. His fight with Taylor did nothing to negate his reputation except that he could have been more aggressive in the last round. Vargas, on the other hand, has not been a compelling fighter since his brutal loss to the "Golden Boy," though he certainly showed signs of the old Vargas in his courageous loss to Sugar Shane Mosley. Again, this would be a tough fight but this time, Vargas gets even more frustrated by Winky's stiff jabs and great defense and losses a unanimous decision. Though not the most crowd pleasing bout, this would be sweet redemption for Winky who arguably got "stiffed" in their first go-around.,
Well, there you have it. Of course, a great case could be made for a Trinidad-De La Hoya rematch, but that one has already received enough attention. Suffice to say, I would pay double to see it and triple to see Oscar win it.....as I believe he would.....and early.
Ted Sares is a syndicated writer who can be reached at [email protected]