By Micah Yonkoski
In recent years, being called the king of the cruiserweight division meant one of two things, either you were about to increase your weight and move towards the money in the heavyweight division, or you simply weren’t good enough or big enough to make that move. In other words, a cruiserweight title and a token could do little more that get you on a bus.
On Saturday night two champions are looking to change that image when unbeaten Wayne Braithwaite of Guyana squares off with Jean-Marc Mormeck of France in the first unification fight to hit the cruiserweight division since 1987, when a fighter by name of Evander Holyfield took his WBA title into the ring and steamrolled the extremely limited IBF champion Rickey Parkey.
The bout, which will take place at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass will be televised on Showtime and to quote a friend “we may have a cruiserweight version of Hagler-Hearns on our hands.” While that is a bold statement and hard to envision, we could have a Toney-Jirov type battle and there is nothing wrong with that.
Braithwaite, (21-0 17 KOs) brings an unbeaten record and the confidence that comes along with it. “I do not know how to lose. He does.” said Braithwaite during a recent press conference. The fighter known as “Big Truck” whose heavy hands and southpaw stance are the key ingredients for the crowd-pleasing style that is riding a string of knocking out 15 of his last 16 opponents.
Mormeck, (30-2 21 KOs) does have two losses and Braithwaite tends to look into those more than most. Truth is both of his losses were by decision in his third and fourth fight and he hasn’t looked back since. “ Those two losses at the beginning of my career were not really losses; they were close fights that took place outside the country. Now, I am stronger and more confident because I learned from these losses, “ said Mormeck.
The old adage that styles make fights is the main reason why fight fans have looked forward to this fight since it was originally set to take place in October. However, an unfortunate illness suffered by Mormeck caused the bout to be postponed until Saturday night. Basically it’s a search and destroy mission for both of these guys when they step through the ropes and usually the result of that is a plus for the sport of boxing. Certainly it will be a huge boost for the cruiserweight division
Now, will the winner of Braithwaite-Mormeck go on to become the undisputed cruiserweight champion and turn their career into a Holyfield-like story? Well, that may be a bit of a reach, but without question this is a very exciting fight and whether or not the winner of this fight goes on to become the next “Real Deal” or not is one thing, but certainly the division should have something to be proud of on Saturday night. And better yet, unlike with Evander Holyfield and both James Toney and Vassili Jirov, neither Mormeck nor Braithwaite have plans on leaving the division win or lose.
So, for once I guess I can say it’s good to be a cruiserweight.
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