Putting aside all of my cynicism for boxing, or trying to at least, it was impossible not to enjoy ‘Dazzling’ Dave Allen’s win over Lucas Browne on Saturday night.
Let’s forget the hypocrisy spewed towards Jarrell Miller while Browne (who failed several tests for illegal performance enhancing substances) headlined live on Sky. Let’s ignore the relative mediocrity of the quality of Saturday’s show.
Let’s solely focus on one man: Dave Allen.
Dave has amassed a fantastic following via social media. In many ways he is the perfect prototype for the modern boxer. He is naturally charismatic, self-deprecatingly humorous and he speaks well, no matter the subject. And he can bang a bit. His boxing ability was purposely left to the end of that particular list, because it sometimes seems to be the least important. Or it has done until now. Sky and Matchroom will ardently argue that he has to take things seriously in the ring and that of course boxing ability is the fulcrum (despite the regular evidence to the contrary). The usual candidates will assure us that if he doesn’t back up his banter in the ring, then it will all come crashing down. Again, this is contrary to some of his previous non performances. How many chances must pass him by before the message gets through? Well, it would appear that it has landed as sweetly as his left hook to Browne’s liver. It finally seems as though the ‘Doncaster De La Hoya’ is on the right track. He came into this bout riding the crest of a wave. Coming off the back of his longest winning streak since he suffered his first loss, Allen appears reinvigorated under the tutelage of long-term trainer Mick Marsden and the introduction of former IBF world champ Darren Barker.
He weighed in at a relatively trim 245 lbs and spoke post-fight of his confidence at lasting 12 rounds. Now a lot has been made about this new and improved White Rhino. Why has it taken him so long to apply himself properly? Is this new found application justification for headlining a Saturday Fight Night live on Sky Sports? Is it fair on better boxers who are yet to be granted such exposure?
Honestly, probably not but having the pleasure Dave’s company on several occasions and experiencing the spine-tingling ovation he received in Newcastle, it’s hard to begrudge him his successes. It’s unlikely that Eddie Hearn plans on building Matchoom’s long-term future around the affable 27-year-old so just try to enjoy the ride while it lasts. For whatever reason, he draws eyes to the sport. That can’t be a bad thing. The self-proclaimed ‘hardcore’ boxing fraternity love to downplay the importance of undefeated records yet they dismiss Allen as having used up his lives because he’s lost fights and underperformed in the past. Double standards are as rife in boxing as PED abusers.
Allen joked that he should be next in line for the Anthony Joshua fight in New York. Yet, it is no joke that he is now firmly in the mix at British level with his latest win. Whether you agree with his lofty Boxrec position of 6th best heavyweight in Britain is irrelevant. He’s popular, he has a compelling backstory AND he’s seemingly getting it right in the ring. Enjoy the momentum of the White Rhino, wherever it may take him.