IB Opinion: It May Be Time For Rogan To Call It A Day
By Paddy Appleton
Saturday night’s Irish Heavyweight Title clash between Tyson Fury and Martin Rogan was billed to the public as ‘the greatest heavyweight fight to come to Ireland since Muhammad Ali graced Croke Park in 1972.’
Now it has to be said that Mick Hennessey should be taken with a pinch of salt, but Saturday night’s mismatch never got close to being anything like The Greatest’s fights, even at Ali’s lowest ebb.
Hennessey is a boxing promoter, and has a way with words if you will. This is the same man who told us Tyson Fury’s three round slog with Neven Pakjic was the heavyweight division’s very own Hagler/Hearns.
People don’t like having their intelligence insulted and we could view Saturday’s main event as just that; a fight that had promised us everything, but delivered nothing.
Tyson Fury cruised into the ring with the Odyssey Arena bouncing from end to end; the anticipation of the fight had been Ireland’s very own Mayweather/Pacquaio wrangle, but it didn’t live up to any of the expectations that that fight surely will.
Rogan enjoyed some explosive spurts in the first two rounds, and it had the Belfast crowd sensing what would undoubtedly have been an upset. However, the crowd made the punches look better than they were.
It was aggressive stuff from the Antrim man and likeable all the same; ‘The Giant is on the ropes!’ they thought. But far from it; Fury soaked the punches up with ease, his 6’9” frame taking the leather and letting Rogan have his moment before a third round wake-up call.
The fight was over there and then when Rogan hit the canvas during the third round, the result never in doubt and Fury had now found his rhythm.
The Entertainer was in trouble and in the fifth round, even with Fury’s growing dominance, the fight still managed to come to an acrimonious end as Fury had Rogan down once before another searching body shot took the wind out of the former taxi-man.
On his way down Rogan looked to his corner in what seemed a normal glance for guidance, but following Dereck Chisora’s claims on Twitter that “Rogan put money down to loose(sic) in round 5 that was a set up,” it makes the glance all the more interesting.
It is a very serious allegation from Chisora and it remains to be seen if he will be in any further trouble because of it, although having had his licence rescinded his comments probably do not come under much attention to the boxing suits.
Rogan and Fury signed up to the fight almost 2 months ago, and fans were happy that they would finally get to see what many believed would be an epic clash between two good fighters.
However the truth that looked to have come out of the fight on Saturday night was that it was a mismatch; a fighter pursuing bigger and better things toying with a journeyman who had hit the limelight late in his career and had now passed that fleeting peak.
Journeyman may be harsh on Rogan, but what a journeyman he was. He gave Irish boxing some fantastic nights with his wins over Audley Harrison and Matt Skelton in typical bruising fashion.
The latter was one of the best heavyweight fights in Britain in a long time and it was a great night for Irish boxing in general, but when all is said and done we will think of Martin Rogan as the man that could have been.
What might Irish heavyweight boxing have been like if we had had Martin Rogan on our scene when he was in his 20s? He could surely have been whatever he wanted to be and it is that overriding thought that is a little sad to think about.
For Martin Rogan his time in the ring is surely over, he’s given us some great nights before as we’ve mentioned, but these days his career is blighted by outside influences, things that have nothing to do with the art of boxing.
Getting sucked into post fight press conference arguments, falling out with journalists, numerous unfortunate injuries and being involved with the infamous WBF have all taken their toll on the West Belfast man.
Rogan should now sit back and reflect on an ultimately late-coming but moderately successful career, whilst letting Tyson Fury get on with improving Irish boxing for the better by bringing more shows here and giving our young talents a chance to perform on a big stage regularly.