Boxers like McIntyre can save noble art

Joel McIntyre. Picture: Mick Young (13294-12)
Joel McIntyre. Picture: Mick Young (13294-12)
Dave Birmingham. Picture: Neil Marshall

Birmingham wins Irish friends as he eyes future title

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One of the great frustrations of modern boxing is the best not meeting the best.

The failure of the greatest of our time, Floyd Mayweather, to meet his fiercest rival in his prime will forever taint his legacy.

The clash with Manny Pacquiao has never taken place, and, with the Pacman’s sharpest days behind him, the moment for the fight to arrive now lies in the sands of time.

But in a historic, little corner of east London on Saturday night, two fighters moving towards the peak of their powers will face off.

A combined 19 unbeaten contests will be on the line, as the pair meet at the British boxing Mecca which is the York Hall in Bethnal Green.

The Southern Area light-heavyweight belt will be up for grabs for the winner of an intriguing match-up.

But, more importantly for them and the noble art, they will be doing something much more precious for the sport.

Fighters building manufactured records and refusing to take on the challenges which define them is a modern stain on the game.

Leigh Park’s Joel McIntyre will cleanse himself of any future suggestions on that front, as he clashes with Hertfordshire’s Miles Shinkwin.

Two, young, hungry talents will be putting their hearts and souls into fistic battle when the bell sounds.

Their chances of future progress will hang in the balance, too.

But McIntyre is hungry to see what fortune awaits in his trade, and is prepared to take on the tests which will allow him to stare down his fate.

Too often in the world of boxing that, quite simply, doesn’t happen.

Sadly, there are many boxers only too happy to build manufactured records.

That is achieved on the back of contests against journeyman and foreign imports motivated by paydays rather than the prospect of victory.

Those have-gloves-will-travel-hard men are the backbone of the sport, and provide tests and educate young, emerging prospects.

But others choose never to go beyond meaningless bouts which do nothing other than inflate egos.

Eventually, a meaningless title may be collected and faux glory celebrated in front of a duped public.

At a time when professional boxing faces it’s greatest threats from mixed martial arts and the unlicensed ranks, it’s a blight on the sport.

Whatever views on the vulgarities of MMA are, the best fight the best. Likewise, the thriving white collar ranks.

The belt McIntyre is boxing for is regarded as the first significant step on the title ladder.

It offers a route which many have taken through to Commonwealth, British and even world honours.

More importantly for boxing, though, it’s those being brave enough to meet their most challenging peers, like McIntyre, who can be their sport’s saviours.

Locally, Fareham entertainer Floyd Moore is in that category.

And there’s the likes of Titchfield scrapper Sam Couzens, who will face allcomers.

There are plenty of others, however, who cannot claim to the same lofty status, and it’s a scenario which sadly echoes throughout the sweet science.

The boxing world have got McIntyre’s clash with Shinkwin pegged as a genuine 50-50 battle.

It’s the uncertainty of such clashes which generates excitement for the public.

Any person who steps between the ropes and shows the depths of fitness and resolve needed in boxing should have our respect.

But we will find extra gusto to applaud the two protagonists this weekend.

These men aren’t frauds but Spartans.

And it is these warriors who can be boxing’s redemption.