RSR: Age Old Boxing Query, When’s Right Time To Hang ‘Em Up?



RSR: Age Old Boxing Query, When’s Right Time To Hang ‘Em Up?

The age old question in boxing. No, not which UK fighter has failed a drugs test this week; rather, when is the right time for a fighter to call time on their own career?

The thought occurred to me as I was reading about the heavyweight encounter between Derek Chisora and Gerald Washington last night in London.

Brothers in arms: Derek Chisora embraces Gerald Washington at the conclusion of their fight. Photo: Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing Joshua over Helenius

Derek Chisora embraces Gerald Washington at the conclusion of their fight. Photo: Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing

Chisora vs. Washington served as chief support to the Joshua Vs Helenius fight card main event which topped the O2 Arena card.

Reports and remarks on Twitter were not complimentary about the fare that was served up by Messrs Chisora and Washington.

At 39 and 41-years-old respectively, both pugilists have seen better days.

But, if they both still feel the pull of the ring and believe they can be competitive against carefully selected opponents, is it right for writers and fans to request they stop competing and move on to the next chapter in their lives?

Looking At Derek Chisora

Derek Chisora has been a pro since 2007 and has faced just about all of the big names at heavyweight during his career.

A trilogy with Tyson Fury was fought between 2011 and 2022 while Chisora has also shared a ring with Vitali Klitschko, David Haye, Dillian Whyte (twice), Oleksandr Usyk, Kubrat Pulev (twice) and Joseph Parker (twice).

In compiling a 34-13 record, Chisora, generally a large underdog, especially against the names mentioned above, has always shown full commitment and given value for money to the paying public.

But the “highlights” of his bout with Washington suggest his tank is running on fumes.

For a respected gatekeeper in the division who never managed to taste world title glory, it would be sad if Chisora was remembered for lumbering around the ring, throwing clumsy looking shots and gassing out very quickly, as he did last night against Gerald Washington.

Derek Chisora was bloodied and bushed, but got his win over Gerald Washington. Photo: Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing

Derek Chisora bloodied, got win over Gerald Washington, will likely fight on. Photo: Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing

That is what might happen if the man known as “War” hangs around as a boxer for too much longer.

Chisora clearly loves the sport and has a bit of personality about him so he could remain in boxing in another capacity when he does decide to hang up his gloves.

Perhaps some kind of promotional role would suit his humorous, brash persona.

Chisora entered the ring last night in a pink robe adorned with the slogan “Girl Dad” on it.

Derek Chisora with Barbie nod

It’s up to him, but I hope he gets out of the taking punches side of the sport before it is too late for him to fully embrace and enjoy the role of being a dad.

He has also earned the right to enjoy the fruits of his hard earned labour.

And Gerald Washington….

Although older than Chisora, Washington has had a less punishing run in compiling his 20-6-1 record.

A former American Football player, Washington was 30-years-old when he gloved up as a pro for the first time in 2012.

After going unbeaten in his first 19 outings in his new sport, Washington earned a shot at then WBC title holder Deontay Wilder.

That bout took place in 2017.

Gerald Washington was the busier fighter but could not sustain an attack against Derek Chisora. Photo: Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing

Gerald Washington against Derek Chisora, the younger man won. Photo: Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing

Wilder defeated the California born two sport athlete via TKO.

Wilder is, by far, the biggest name Washington has faced.

After losing for the first time, Washington was also beaten by Jarrell Miller, Adam Kownacki and Charles Martin. All of those defeats were by stoppage.

In fact Washington hasn’t won a bout since 2019 when he KO’d last night’s main event late replacement Robert Helenius.

By absorbing another defeat last night – Chisora was awarded a unanimous decision but it was debatable – it might be time for Washington to consider doing something else.

Still in shape and looking athletic, Washington could maybe impart some knowledge he has gained in boxing or the style of football played between two end zones, onto the next generation of athletes coming through in either sport.

Like Chisora though, that decision is up to him.

A Potential Swan Song For Two Boxing Good Guys

On Friday September 1, two great servants to Scottish and UK boxing will meet at Braehead Arena, just outside Glasgow, in what looks like being the final fight for both.

Ricky Burns and Willie Limond will boast a combined age of 84 as they go head-to-head at the beginning of next month.

It feels like an appropriate way for the two Scottish veterans to say goodbye to their home fans.

It feels like the right way for both men to hear the cheers and applause from an appreciative home crowd one final time.

Overview Of Ricky Burns’ Career

The meeting with Limond next month will be Ricky Burns’ 54th professional outing.

Now aged 40, Burns holds the distinction of becoming the first Scottish boxer to win world titles in three separate weight classes.

The former super featherweight, lightweight and light welterweight world title winner squeezed the absolute maximum out of his career.

An early defeat to compatriot Alex Arthur didn’t derail the campaign of the man who turned pro in 2001.

Burns went on to defeat highly respected opposition like Michael Gomez, Roman Martinez, Nicky Cook, Michael Katsidis and Kevin Mitchell along the way.

Burns also went the distance against Terence Crawford in March 2014.

Although he lost that bout on the cards, the fact he heard the final bell gains more and more meaning every time Crawford ruthlessly dispatches another foe inside the distance.

Burns is training fighters now and hasn’t boxed since December 2021.

On September 1 he will be boxing on Scottish soil for the first time since a disappointing 2017 defeat to Julius Indongo at The Hydro in Glasgow.

Willie Limond’s Ring Campaign

A pro since 1999, Limond’s professional campaign didn’t quite hit the same heights as that of Ricky Burns.

Now 44, the Glasgow born boxer won the British light welterweight title in 2014.

Limond was also Commonwealth champion at lightweight and light welterweight in 2006 and 2013 respectively.

Perhaps Limond’s career is most well known among casual fans for him coming close to upsetting a young Amir Khan.

The date was July 2007.

Khan was 12-0 and Limond was seen as the next step along the development pathway for the 2004 Olympic silver medalist.

The upset looked on when Limond dropped Khan in the sixth round of their contest.

From memory, Khan certainly looked to benefit from a long count. That enabled the A-side fighter to recover and then turn things around to secure victory.

Limond had given a great account of himself and three years later he would find himself mixing it up with another modern great.

Mexican legend Erik Morales was on the comeback trail and on the lookout for an opponent to test the waters just north of the light welterweight limit.

Limond answered the call and took on “El Terrible” in Mexico.

The body work of Morales that night was too much for the Scotsman and he succumbed in the sixth round, but he was far from disgraced.

Since then Limond has fought sparingly – the Burns fight will be his twelfth in the 13 years that followed Morales.

Also coaching fighters for Boxing Scotland, Limond is likely to hang his gloves up after the Braehead encounter with Burns.

Wrapping It Up

It looks like Ricky Burns and Willie Limond will get to walk away from their in-ring careers on their own terms after enjoying a fitting curtain call.

I'm pleased that two of my countrymen are bowing out in this manner.

Not many boxers get to experience an almost festive ending to their fistic careers.

With last night's action still very much in mind, I am wondering how things will end in the ring for Derek Chisora and Gerald Washington when they decide to call it a day.

Ideally both would do so today and move on to other things which don't involve being punched in the head.

But as stated earlier that's only for them to decide.

A boxing fan since his teenage years, Morrison began writing about the sport in July 2016. He appreciates all styles of boxing and has nothing but respect for those who get in the ring for our entertainment. Morrison is from Scotland and can be found on Twitter @Morrie1981.