Heavyweight champs fighting chumps

Vladimir Klitschko is defending his title against Frans Botha. Lennox Lewis is still angling for a shot at Mike Tyson. These heavyweight champions sure aren’t risking life and limb taking on the top contenders.

Shane Mosley took his lumps against Vernon Forrest. Bernard Hopkins knocked out Felix Trinidad. Roy Jones… well, OK, Roy is gearing up for that fight with Hopkins later in the year… right, Roy?

Meanwhile, instead of fighting each other, or Chris Byrd or Jameel McCline, Klitschko and Lewis have fights set up against “The Great White Buffalo” and boxing’s most celebrated ear-biter and Mao devotee, respectively.

Botha’s claim to fame is his bout with Tyson, when Iron Mike playfully tried to remove the Buffalo’s arm from its socket in a clinch. Botha retained his arm, but lost to Tyson by knockout.

Tyson’s claims to fame are: trying to rip Botha’s arm off, biting Evander Holyfield’s ear, hitting Orlin Norris when he was down, etc.

Oh, and I believe Tyson was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world a long time ago.

Like it or not, most casual sports fans get their initiation into boxing through the heavyweight division and its champions or characters. Which is why there is still any fascination among the general public with Mike Tyson. Honestly, if Iron Mike was a lisping, convicted rapist at 126 lbs., threatening to consume Eric Morales’ children, would anyone pay any attention?

Since this is the case, why do these ridiculous heavyweight matchups keep getting made?

At least the motivation behind a Tyson/Lewis fight is clear: it will make money. Klitschko/Botha… what’s the rationale?

Nobody will watch the fight, and how many tuneup bouts does Klitschko need?

Buy the Lewis/Tyson on bout on pay per view if you must, but the purchase of fights like this and the shunning of better fights in the lighter weight classes only encourages another Holyfield/Ruiz fight, Lewis/Rahman III, and other yawners.