November 30th draws closer for Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff loved cricketer, T.V personality and come the inevitable cold November’s night at the MEN Arena BOXER.
Since Freddie’s announcement that he was to team up with “The clone’s cyclone” Barry McGuigan (and son Shane) he has shed a colossal three stone and obtained a British Boxing Board of Control licence despite moans and groans from leading figures in the sport, including promoter Frank Maloney.
His opponent for his pro boxing debut is unbeaten American Richard Dawson a novice himself in many ways with minimal Armature background and a pro record of 2-0-0 with a total of just five rounds to his name. Which,, to be fair is a world of experience compared to Freddie as he has NO amateur background and will enter the ring a complete green horn.
Fans of boxing (not all) have voiced their concerns that all of this is a circus act and that Freddie is reaching too far to redeem his former sporting glory’s since his premature retirement from cricket aged just 31.
But how can so many be judge mental of his new venture?
I can understand the stance of the fans that are not purely dismissing the bout, but are concerned for Flintoff physically, as they hold him in such high regard and would hate to see him come to any harm or heavily knocked out on the 30th.The other side to that coin is the nationwide embarrassment that would undoubtedly be bombarded at him and would see his former achievements’ tarnished if he was beaten badly or failed to perform to a good standered.
You only have to look at Mickey Rourke. A successful actor, turned boxer, in his eight bouts Rourke was trained by none other than Freddie Roach, with a record of 6-0-2 his promoter said that he was too long in the tooth to mix it at any real level and himself saying he “just wanted to give it a go”. Mickey later went on to preclaim, that when he realised he couldn’t win a world title so decided to quit. I think, with the advantage of hindsight, that Mickey Rourke should have left boxing well alone. His temporary change of profession is the butt of many jokes with the lads down the local and in the eight bouts; he had no achievements apart from four knockouts to boast of.
So what do we want to see from Freddie as he takes his new path into boxing?
Is it over the top to hope that the Ashes champion might follow Curtis Woodhouse career and have a good level of success in the game. The former blades central midfielder won the English light-welterweight title from Dave Ryan at the end of September and has fought high calibre opponents one being now British champion Frankie Gavin. I don’t think that we will see Freddie fight for an English title but a Masters?
How about the great boxing format of the Queensbury League, Where the boxers fight at a level, based on their skill, from novice to (which Freddie, you are) all the way through to British Queensbury League Champion, at their individual weights.
The main thing that we, the eager on lookers have to remember come November 30th , is that it takes balls of steel to get in that ring and put it all on the line for the glory of the man in white to lift your arm aloft as the victor, in front of thousands of onlookers and for that at the very least we must give Andrew Flintoff our respect.