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Siarhei Liakhovich is the Latest 40-something Heavyweight to Give it Another Whirl

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  • Siarhei Liakhovich is the Latest 40-something Heavyweight to Give it Another Whirl

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    By Arne K. Lang

    On Nov. 4, 2006, at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Siarhei Liakhovich literally came within one measly second of successfully defending the WBO world heavyweight title he had taken from Lamon Brewster.

    What had been an uneventful fight was 40 seconds from the finish line when Shannon Briggs found his range and put Liakhovich on Queer Street. In those final seconds, Liakhovich was on the deck twice. After the second knockdown, Liakhovich was so woozy that he tumbled through the ropes without being hit and the referee waived it off. The official time was 2:59 of Round 12.

    Had another second elapsed, Shannon Briggs would have presumably won the round by a 10-7 score on all three cards. But Liakhovich was ahead by three points on two of the cards through the 11 completed rounds and thus would have kept his belt on a majority draw.

    Born in what is now Belarus, Siarhei Liakhovich had in first three pro fights in the former Soviet Union before migrating to the U.S., settling in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale where he still resides. Prior to defeating Brewster, who was making the fourth defense of the title he won from Wladimir Klitschko, Siarhei’s best wins came at the expense of Friday Ahunanya (UD 12) and Dominic Guinn (UD 10). Both faded fast and devolved into journeymen, but Ahunanya (16-0 going in) and Guinn (25-1) were both thought to have bright futures at the time that he fought them.

    The loss to Briggs sent Liakhovich on a downward spiral. In 2011 he was knocked out savagely by Robert Helenius who stopped him in the ninth round and two years later he suffered a more brutal knockout at the hands of Deontay Wilder who felled him with a punch in the opening stanza that left him writhing on the canvas with an apparent seizure.

    It appeared that we had seen the last of the Belarusian but he has had three fights since that frightful incident, defeating two hapless opponents sandwiched around a loss on points in a 10-round contest with Andy Ruiz. And he’ll be back in action a week from Saturday (Sept. 14), opposing Mike Bissett (15-12-1) at an events center down the road from his home in Scottsdale.

    A 34-year-old Mississippian, Bissett has defeated only five fighters with winning records and has been stopped eight times. Barring a medical episode in the heat of battle, perish the thought, Liakhovich will win this fight lopsidedly, but where does he go from here?

    If history is any guide, Liakhovich, now 43 years old, will go off to Europe, or perhaps Australia, to serve as a building block for an up-and-comer. But, of course, he has higher aspirations. “I am very serious about my comeback,” he told Scottsdale Independent correspondent Josh Martinez. “I’m looking forward to get what I got before: a title.”

    Siarhei Liakhovich has a lot of company in the over-40 heavyweight crowd. A list of heavyweights active in just the last few months alone would include Dominic Guinn (44), Ray Austin (47), Sherman “Tank” Williams (47) and, egads, Oliver McCall (54).

    One fighter whose name is not on this list is Shannon Briggs, but it’s not for lack of trying. The flamboyant Briggs, 47, keeps knocking on doors only to find that no one is home.

    Here’s what Briggs said back in the 2006 after wresting the WBO belt from Liakhovich: “I want to make some money in a couple more fights, then raise my kids and be with my girl while I can still talk good.”

    Briggs can still talk good, but those couple more fights became 15 and he hopes to have a few more. We’ll let you supply the punchline.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Another bad mistake. Maybe one in twenty of these work out. Don't do it. Last time I saw the "Wolf." his body was twitching.from a Wilder paralyzer in the first round.

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    • #3
      Oliver McCall is also "coming back." At 53. Dear God.

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