There is a rumbling of distant thunder in the east. A dark cloud roiling and billowing, cracking with lightning here and there like a Tyson hook. No, it’s not because I had the rueben sandwich and a cup of white chili, it’s because Zhang Zhilei is coming.
Six foot six, 250 pounds of left-handed destroyer, 21-0 with 16 knockouts. He’s coming, folks, and he wants to break into the elite circle and crack one of the champs on the chin.
I say let’s get him a fight with the likes of Joe Joyce, or Junior Fa. Let’s see what he can do with some top 20 competition. (Zhang is currently number 33 in the IBO.)
And wouldn’t it be fun if he got past that level and beat maybe Ortiz or Breazeale and mixed up the top echelon even more than it already is?
He’s a big boy with a big punch (I saw him knock one fellow out with a left to the bread-basket.) And they call him “Big Bang”.
You just know that they were thinking that the Americans will switch the order of his names to a westernized “Zhilei Zhang” and mispronounce “Zhang” (rhymes with “dong”) so he’s “Big Bang Zang” because that sounds pretty cool. They tried that with Otto Wallin, calling him “All In” figuring the drooling seat-warmers that do the broadcast talking would call him “wall-in” and not “valleen” which is how his name really goes. As you heard, that didn’t work out.
So, lets think of some better names for the lad:
- The Beast from the East (of course)
- The Emperor
- Tiger Fist
- The Black Dragon
- Number 2 with Eggroll (OK, not really)
Unfortunately, Zhang was scheduled to fly to the United States to make his international splash, was actually on his way to the airport, as I understand it, when the Chinese government put the kibosh on international travel because of the coronavirus.
Now he’s waiting, along with the rest of us, for the world to right itself. Let’s hope the world is in as much a hurry as the rest of us, because Zhang is 36 years old. There may not be too many more fights in the boy. True, he has not taken a lot of punishment, but 36 is still 36.
Buy the way, if you were wondering, his 21-0 record was accomplished against opposition that has a combined record of 197 – 171. Kind of like Tom Schwartz numbers. Not especially inspiring.
But there is more: and I’m not making this up, there is a Zhang Junlong.
This Zhang is only six foot four, but is also a left hander, and also fights around 250 or so. He is, like the other Zhang also undefeated at 19-0 with 19 knockouts. In his 19 fights he has fought a total of 40 rounds. Let that sink in. Who does that sound like? Yep, them are Iron Mike numbers.
His opponents have a combined record of 321 – 148.
Why is this fellow not making headlines, you ask?
Because he retired. He only started fighting when he was 31, and he quit when he was 36, and now he’s 38.
But holy crap, people – he’s only fought 40 rounds. Mike Tyson took 37 rounds to knock out his first 19 opponents. (Who were a respectable 180 – 105).
Of course there was some issue with the WBA, and how Zhang refused to pay their “ranking fee” and how they tried to get his boxing record expunged (is that cold or what? “Pay up, or we’re gonna make it like you never even existed.”) So, I’m sure his attitude has soured – but that could be fixed with a seven-figure contract, couldn’t it?
C’mon you geniuses, you men-behind-the-curtain, let’s get this fellow over here, have him take care of Hellenius, then maybe Pulev, then let’s see him fight Ruiz, or Wilder or Fury.
Oh, his nick name is “Dragon King” and on his shorts it says “Dargon King” which is both charming and funny. Let’s get him a better name too. My vote is for “rueben sandwich with a cup of chili.”