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Last Updated: Monday, 20 February 2006, 16:35 GMT
Costello on boxing
By Mike Costello
BBC Five Live boxing correspondent

In his first column for the BBC Sport website, Radio Five Live commentator Mike Costello investigates the effects of the mind-scrambling punch.

He also urges caution on Amir Khan's little brother - and reminds us why the line can sometimes be so fine between champions and also-rans.

JOURNEYS TO DARK PLACES

Walking the Street of Dreams
Arturo Gatti
Mike Costello's analysis of the knock-out punch
BBC World Service, Wednesday 1030, 1530, 2030GMT

"I walked the Street of Dreams". So said the great Archie Moore half a century ago, on being divorced from his senses by a thunderous punch.

His is one of many colourful insights into the effects of taking a shot on what Damon Runyon, that legendary chronicler of boxing, used to call "the noggin".

Muhammad Ali once spoke of "a little room where alligators roam". Roberto Duran said boxers were taken to "dark places no-one else inhabits".

And in a radio documentary on the BBC World Service this week, Barry McGuigan recalls how, in 1985, a stiff right cross from the Puerto Rican Juan Laporte transported him back to his childhood days in a toy-shop run by a family friend.

Dr Peter Hamlyn, the surgeon who operated on Michael Watson, explains in the programme how McGuigan and others experienced dream-like sequences that seemed to last for long periods but were actually just fleeting moments.

From ringside, we see the blood, we see the bruises, we see the lumps. But judging by what McGuigan and the rest have to say, we see nothing.

TOO MUCH, TOO YOUNG

In Dublin for Sunday Grandstand earlier this month, I was urged to take note of a young Welsh flyweight who has been selected for the Commonwealth Games at the age of 17.

Chris Jenkins was warming up for Melbourne in the Four Nations event against England, Ireland and Scotland but was overwhelmed in three rounds by Conor Ahern, an Irishman more mature in a number of ways.

Jenkins looked like many a 17-year-old amateur, as if he ought to be in a choir, not a ring.

"His time will come" was the palliative tone afterwards.

My mind wandered back to Athens 2004, when Amir Khan captured Olympic lightweight silver at the same age. How did he do what he did, when he did?

KHAN JUNIOR'S CAUTIONARY TALE

They tell us Amir is only half the story, that there is more to come. Younger brother Haroon "Harry" Khan is even better, so they say.

Maybe. But he could do without such unnecessary baggage.

Not so long ago - and we're talking months, not years - I was assured that Vincent Mitchell was more tasty than his older brother, the super-featherweight prospect Kevin.

In this season's London ABA finals, Vincent, who is 18, was knocked out in less time than it takes to boil a very runny egg. Forgive me, "Harry", if I keep a watching brief for now.

MUTTLEY ESCAPES THE ABYSS

Young Muttley was on the right end of a tight decision against Michael Jennings last month but there was another close run thing shortly before fight night.

According to Muttley (his mum prefers Lee Woodley), he was being avoided by other welterweight prospects as they thought he hit too hard.

And in an interview for Radio Five Live's monthly boxing show, he told me how he had been on the verge of converting to what in boxing parlance is called an "opponent" - a fighter who is paid to take, rather than administer, a beating.

"It got to the point where I thought I could earn more money as an 'opponent' fighting up-and-coming prospects," he said.

Then came the British welterweight title chance against Jennings. Strange how champions and journeymen are sometimes but one fight apart.

Mike Costello will be filing reports every few weeks.




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