BOXING PREVIEW (for 11/11)


                                  (WBO SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE)
                                  NYNEX ARENA, MANCHESTER
                                  9 NOVEMBER, 1996

Following Nigel Benn's last fight in July I wrote that he should 
have retired permenantly. Next Saturday - November 9th - he fights 
Steve Collins again in Manchester.

My reason for willing him to retire was not because I felt he would 
be beaten in a rematch with Collins or because I believe him to be a 
spent force (we can't assess whether he is a spent force yet). Benn 
had retired and come out of retirement following the loss of his long 
- held WBC title in March. He repeated this u - turn having lost his 
challenge to Collins in July - only this time he announced his 
comeback 15 minutes after his retirement.

Although Benn lost to Collins in inconclusive fashion - Benn was 
forced to pull out due to a twisted ankle - it pained me to see him 
damaging his legacy by being so publicly indecisive. He also afforded 
the tabloid newspapers an opportunity to deride him for this 
second turnabout. Headlines like "Benn Behaving Sadly" (a play on the 
sitcom title "Men Behaving Badly") just don't do 'The Dark Destroyer' 

So why does my mouth water at this rematch caused by the u - turn I 
condemned? Simple - Nigel Benn is a raw, gritty, pure value - for - 
money warrior and he is up against a man who is no mean slugger 
himself as Collins proved by beating Chris Eubank twice. As Collins 
said in the build - up to this match, "I have to beat them twice to 
prove I'm better than them."

The difference however between this bout and his rematch with Eubank 
is that he beat Eubank clearly the first time. He beat Benn by 
default. Critics desperately tried to analyse the four rounds of 
their last fight - some saying Benn "bottled out", some saying Benn 
was winning the psycological battle and some saying Collins was on 
his way to victory and would have won anyway. All of this is 
irrelevant and would have been even without this rematch.

The fact is that nobody will know who is the better man until both 
battle to a natural conclusion - which they should do on Saturday. 
Benn would have been easy to match against (then) WBC title holder 
Vincenzo Nardiello or WBA Champ Frankie Liles had he wished to take 
an easier route to a belt. The fact that he chose Collins again 
suggests that he noticed a chink in the Celtic armour in July.

Benn will enter this fight exactly where he likes to be - with his 
back against the wall. He will receive by far the smaller purse, but 
has reportedly moved to compensate for this with a substantial wager 
on himself to win. Should he lose, it will be his third successive 
defeat, and the proud man will not be planning on this eventuallity. 
The build - up to this fight for Benn is similar in many respects to 
his run - up to the Mc Clellan war in February 1995, and this is why 
I pick him against the odds to fight out of his skin and to be WBO 
Champion by the time Tyson steps into the ring to meet Holyfield (on 
Sunday morning here).

                                   (WBO FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE)
                                   NYNEX ARENA, MANCHESTER
                                   9 NOVEMBER, 1996

The fighter still known as Prince has had a lot of questions asked of 
him following his last two fights, and this is his chance to answer 
them. Although Molina has never mixed in World class before, he is 
unbeaten and all eyes will be on 'Naz' to see how he handles his 
latest challenger.

Hamed rose to World Champion status sensationally, reminiscent of a 
certain Mike Tyson. He appeared to be unstoppable, bowling over 
opponents at a furious rate. This aura was damaged however when 
Daniel Alicea knocked him to the canvas in June. It was further 
sullied in August by Manuel Medina who gave the Prince all the 
trouble he could handle for eleven rounds.

Critics are now saying that the Median fight was Hamed's real acid 
test at World class and that it exposed the Prince as a pretender to 
the crown. He has been said to have a weak chin and an inability to 
adjust his style when faced with awkward opponents.

As he was suffering from a cold in the Medina encounter, Naz will 
need to be on top form on Saturday to re - establish his reputation. 
Argentinian Molina carries the reputation of being a tough, durable 
fighter but as he doesn't possess a solid punch he is unlikely to 
ruffle Naz's feathers. Expect his challenge to have failed before the 
bell tolls for round five.

                                   (WBO LIGHT MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE)
                                   NYNEX ARENA, MANCHESTER
                                   9 NOVEMBER, 1996

Ensley Bingham won't be short of support as he challenges for a World 
title in his hometown of Manchester. This chance has come late for 31 
- year old Bingham, but many believe he can cause an upset.

He has earned this title shot the hard way, beating Gilbert Jackson 
in January for the British Title following years of low - key bouts 
around the country. Last time out Bingham stopped Anthony Ivory - and 
in stopping him achieved what Simon Brown, Julio Cesar Vasquez,
Carl Daniels and, most significantly, Ronald Wright had all failed to 

Wright is a slick boxer and his superior experience will make him 
favourite to retain his crown. I can't see him avoiding Bingham's 
damaging shots for 12 rounds however, and I expect Ensley to win by 
stoppage - probably in the second half of the fight.


CHRIS EUBANK ended his year - long retirement successfully on October 
19 by stopping Argentinian LUIS BARERRA in five rounds of a light 
heavyweight contest. One cannot genuinely praise Eubank for beating
a man suffering his fifth successive loss, but he does deserve credit
for bravely promoting his own comeback show - in Cairo!

WAYNE MC CULLOUGH will challenge Mexican DANIEL ZARAGOSA for the WBC 
super bantamweight title on January 11, 1997. He has yet to receive a 
TV date for his warm - up against DUKE MC KENZIE which was scheduled 
to happen last month. Mc Cullough's mooted clash with NASEEM HAMED 
looks less likey to happen as time goes on - Hamed refuses to box 
below 9st and Mc Cullough above 8st12lbs - even though the contract 
for the Mc Cullough - Mc Kenzie match stipulates 8st 12lbs "give or 
take a pound or two."

HEROL GRAHAM who failed in World title attempts against MIKE MC 
CALLUM and JULIAN JACKSON in his prime, is making a comeback this 
month at the age of 37. This announcement was greeted with much 
scepticism in Britain, considering the Sheffield man's skill lay in 
his reflexes which are bound to have depleted with age.

Liverpool's SHEA NEARY broke into World class on October 26 by 
beating DARRYL TYSON for the WBU light welterweight title. Although 
life is too complicated already to start recognising 'paper' 
organisations like the World Boxing Underminers, one can take nothing 
away from Neary who looked very impressive in soundly outpointing the 
vastly experienced Tyson.

KEITH HOLMES proved me wrong (any surprised readers please refer to 
the above predictions for Nov.9th after the event) on October 19 by 
stopping England's RICHIE WOODHALL in the final round of their WBC 
middleweight title contest. Although all of the judges had Holmes 
well in front, none of the US commentators did. More significant 
however was the fact that Woodhall needed keyhole surgery on his 
right elbow twelve days before the fight. Having waited 18 months for 
this mandatory challenge, he refused to pull out and suffered his 
first loss.

Ireland's heavyweight hope KEVIN MC BRIDE returns to the ring on 
Wednesday 6 November following 15 months of inactivity. He will fight 
Shane Woolas in Hull over six rounds. A dispute between Mc Bride, his 
trainer and his manager led to his inactivity, but the 23 - year old 
Clones man has stayed in shape. Mc Bride is undefeated in seventeen 
contests and is now trained by RICHIE GIACHETTI, who also trained 
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