Nothin's tougher than this

MURRAY GREIG -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

ESPN's tale of the tape is finally official.

In a verdict that should surprise nobody, the U.S. cable network's massive survey of athletes, journalists, sports scientists and academicians who study the science of muscle movement has revealed that boxing is the toughest sport in the world. Period!

The survey broke down 60 sports into 10 categories worth 10 points each, and the sweet science trumped the field with an aggregate score of 72.375.

Hockey was No. 2 at 71.750, followed by football, 68.375.

The 10 categories were: endurance; strength; power; speed; agility; flexibility; nerve, durability; hand-eye co-ordination; and analytical aptitude.

Boxing ranked first in durability (defined as "the ability to withstand physical punishment for extended periods"), was second to weightlifting in power, and ranked third behind auto racing and ski jumping in nerve ("the ability to overcome fear.")

Basketball, wrestling, martial arts, tennis, gymnastics and baseball ranked Nos. 4-9.

Soccer, which many believe was invented by European women so that they'd have something to occupy their time while their menfolk were cooking and cleaning, inexplicably ranked No. 10.

The five easiest sports were: curling (27.50); bowling (25.37); shooting (24.87); billiards (21.50); and fishing (14.500)

More blasts from the past

The list of comebacking heavyweights from the 1990s keeps getting longer.

First it was Riddick Bowe. Then Evander Holyfield. David Tua joined the dance earlier this month. Now it's Andrew Golota's turn.

Bowe, the one-time undisputed champion who looked all but unbeatable until he got friendly with too many dessert tables, is scheduled to fight somebody named Danil Peretyatko on Sept. 15 in Karlsbad, Sweden.

The six-foot-five, 260-pound Bowe is 42-1 with 33 KOs. Peretyatko is 8-8. Do the math.

Holyfield (42-8, 27 KOs), the only man to defeat Bowe as a professional, has won four in a row since returning to the ring in 2006. He gets a shot at undefeated WBO champ Sultan Ibragimov (21-0, 17 KOs) Oct. 13 in Moscow.

Tua (48-3, 41 KOs) took just two minutes to dispose of durable Mexican champ Saul Montana (48-14) last Saturday, and is set to fight again in a couple of weeks.

Which brings us to Golota - the free-swinging Polish brawler who was disqualified twice against Bowe for low punches and then dropped a "no contest" to Mike Tyson in 2000.

On Oct. 6 at Madison Square Garden, Golota (39-6, 32 KOs) will square off with six-foot-six, 280-pound Irish champion Kevin McBride (34-5, 29 KOs).

McBride is best known as the fighter who knocked Tyson into permanent retirement by stopping the 20-1 favourite in the sixth round on June 11, 2005.

Don't bet the farm on another upset. If the 39-year-old Golota has anything left at all, he should have no trouble derailing McBride's dream.


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