Patience— a virtue that can lift or sink fighters
By Ciarán Gallagher
PATIENCE is one of the least appreciated factors in the fight game — it can be the making or breaking of some careers. We’ve recently seen some get rewarded for theirs, while others have been, and will soon be, greatly tested.
On Saturday night at London’s Royal Albert Hall, six months of frustration will come to an end for Dubliner Dean Byrne as he enters the ring to take on undefeated English prospect Terry Holmes.
Byrne suffered his first loss in October of last year when he stepped in at just 24 hours’ notice to fight a tough ex-French champion in Frank Haroche Horta. The 27-year-old has had his resolve tested since then as a planned March fight fell by the wayside, but now Byrne has the chance to get back on track.
Meanwhile, the Irish fighter who defines ‘patience’, Andy Lee, had a scare this week as there was concern that his upcoming world-title fight with Julio Caesar Chavez Jr would be scuppered.
Having put pen to paper on a deal to fight the WBC middleweight champ, Lee was treated to a shock announcement that the scheduled venue had refused to stage the fight.
Security concerns were cited by the University of Texas over not allowing their El Paso Sun Bowl to host what is expected to be a large travelling support from Mexico for Chavez.
However, Lee maintains that he is unconcerned about where the June 16 bout will be held.
‘There was some security issues because El Paso is right on the border with Mexico,’ said the Limerick man, who came face to face with Chavez for the first time this week. ‘It’s sad for the people of El Paso. But for me it doesn’t make a difference.’
Houston’s Toyota Centre and San Antonio’s Alamodome are possible venues.
Another fighter to have recently been rewarded for his patience is veteran Ciarán Healy — this week confirmed as the beneficiary of an injury to Oldham-based Mark Heffron as he will be his replacement for next week’s All-Ireland Prizefighter tournament, live on Sky Sports.
On the other side of the coin, we have Willie Casey who last week travelled to Denmark for a featherweight bout having been left waiting around in the super-bantamweight mix.
The Limerick man put in a good performance but failed to turn the judges’ heads against the Denmark-based fighter, Andreas Evensen, losing out on points. Hopefully Casey will not be left waiting around for a decent bout if he returns to his regular weight.
And finally, we have Joe Ward.
As an 18-year-old amateur with a future of endless possibilities, Ward should not really be mentioned in a piece comparing the patience and resolve of fighters — but the young Moate man will have to show a great deal of both over the next while.
He has been linked to a default spot at London 2012 through the convoluted‘wildcard’ system, but it appears that his fate will not be revealed until late May.
Sources have suggested that the chances of getting that place are growing slimmer as there are worries that Ireland is unlikely to be handed the spot based purely on Ward’s high world ranking.
And it is now expected that the placing will not be revealed until the structured qualifying process is finished, with the African, American and women’s qualifiers yet to be wrapped up.
*Tune in to Irish Boxing Radio, via www.irish-boxing.com, for more from Mail Box on the Joe Ward saga.
**Ciarán Gallagher’s Mail Box column appears every Friday in the Irish Daily Mail. Twitter: @gallagherbox