Another Heavyweight Viewpoint: Chris Byrd And The Contenders

By Tom Donelson
Updated: December 27, 2004

Chris Byrd
Chris Byrd

MARION, Ia. — Here is a fight that might actually happen. John Ruiz versus Chris Byrd. Since both are control by Don King and if one wins, Don King still wins. In this match up, I like Byrd but this would be a tough match for Byrd. If Byrd moves as he did against Tua and Holyfield, then he can easily win.

Ruiz love fighters to stay in front of him so he can wrestle with his opponents to wear them out. Lately, Byrd has been satisfied to lay on the rope and fight more flatfooted than in previous fights. If Byrd does that, then this becomes a wrestling match. If he moves like Roy Jones did in his fight with Ruiz, then this is a easy decision.

The advantage of Ruiz enjoys is that Byrd does not have a powerful punch. He is not going to hurt Ruiz and Ruiz can move forward with no real fear. Ruiz can hurt Byrd with an occasion right hand and left hook that is when he decides to throw them. And if he gets Byrd in a wrestling match, then who knows what the judges will decide.

Byrd does have excellent endurance and throws a lot of punches for a Heavyweight. In his last fight with McCline, he threw 170 plus punches in the last two rounds and he averaged over 60 punches per round in defeating Holyfield. Byrd has excellent boxing skills and while his punches will not knock opponents out, they do land with accuracy.

Byrd would be favored but Ruiz skills lies in getting the other guy to fight ugly and Ruiz usually wins ugly fights.

Rahman and Byrd?

They have one common opponent, Holyfield. Byrd easily beat Holyfield as the older Holyfield was made to order for Byrd. Rahman lost when he could not continued and this fight showed one weakness of Rahman- Rahman inability to impose his will on other fighters.

If Rahman had chosen to box, he could have beaten Holyfield. Instead, he fought an inside fight to Holyfield’s advantage and this gave Holyfield all the advantage. He did the exact same thing with Ruiz as he fail to use his boxing ability and settled for an inside brawl. He allowed Ruiz to dictate the pace and Byrd boxing skills could allow him to set the pace of the fight as well.

Byrd is quicker but Rahman has the power. Rahman would not have to fear Byrd power but he would have to deal with Byrd speed. Rahman has a excellent left jab and does have the power to end the fight with one blow. What Rahman would have to do is to resist the temptation to depend upon one punch and allow Byrd to move.

In his two fights with Tua, Rahman showed surprising endurance. In their first fight, he averaged over 70 punches per round and if he was not nailed with a left hook after the ninth round, who knows what would have happened? In their second fight, Rahman output went down but he still out punch Tua nearly two to one. (He averaged nearly 80 punches per round for the first four rounds and finished throwing an average of 50 punches per round- not bad for a Heavyweight.)

For Rahman to beat Byrd, he would have to be active as he was with Tua. Byrd is not an easy fighter to hit but if you aren’t active yourself, then Byrd will peck you to death. I would favor Byrd in this contest but Rahman has the skills to win.