Eric Armit, who is a Director of the CBC and its former Chairman, is renowned worldwide as an authority on boxers records and also as a satirical and cynical observer.
Eric Armit writes in his capacity as a boxing journalist and not as a director of the CBC. His views and comments are his own and have not been the subject of prior discussion or consideration by his fellow directors, nor form official CBC policy.
Plans are being put into place by SHOWTIME for another Super Six tournament. This open will feature bantamweights. The names being suggested are Fernando Montiel, Vic Darchinyan, Abner Mares, Jhonny Perez, Joseph Agbeko and Chris Martin (thanks to his win over Chris Avalos). Certainly any tournament that includes such diverse talents would provide great entertainment, probably every bit as good as the super middleweights. Whilst we might look forward to it, there will a collective groan of disappointment from many rated fighter left out. Effectively it could mean a couple of years before you get a title shot as the champions will all be tied-up in the tournament.
At the same time as the tournament started taking shape boxing suffered a big blow with the passing from brain cancer of former SHOWTIME Executive Jay Larkin. It was Larkin who in 1986 really launched SHOWTIME into boxing in a big way. Almost every star name in boxing from Mike Tyson to Julio Cesar Chavez was featured and Jay played a large part in the careers of all of them. His impact and influence was great and boxing owes him a huge debt. My sympathies go to the family of a great servant of boxing.
What's in a name? Well if you are Mike Landrum a nickname is worth $115 million. Landrum fought as a pro in California in the early/mid 1980's and managed to accumulate a 6-4 record. He claims that his nickname was “Iron Mike”. Just as he was bowing out some punk kid from New York turns pro. The guy is knocking fighters over and before you know it he is nicknamed “Iron Mike”. This obviously escaped the notice of Mr Landrum at the time. Suddenly, after more than 20 years of this imposter using his nickname Mike Landrum has had enough and he has started a suit against the other “Iron Mike”, Mr Tyson, claiming that due to the nickname confusion he was unable to get big fights or sponsorship. He estimates the infringement of the use of the name he coined cost him income of $115 million in lost earnings. It is no joke, but it is a joke. He may be serious about his suit. However if you are generous and say that he was being paid $1000 each for his fights in 1985 then his claim is based on him having over 115,000 fights in 25 years, or over 4600 fights a year. Somewhat of an exaggerated claim. I also pity any promoter who could not tell which “Iron Mike” he was calling. Could you imagine a promoter offering Mike Tyson $1000 for a six round bout down the card when what he meant to do was offer Landrum $10,000,000 to fight Lennox Lewis. Easy to see how he could get those mixed up.
Could you also imagine the claim the family of Sugar Ray Robinson could file. They could probably sue about 1000 boxers. Just give them the keys to Fort Knox. My first reaction when I read that Floyd Mayweather Jr was flirting with Don King I buried my head in my hands and hoped it would have gone away by the time I re-emerged. No, it was still there. The curious thing is that most observers feel that King is one man who could smooth the way for the fight we all want to see between Floyd and Manny Pacquiao. King and Arum have done business before and money talks their language. If King can help get this fight on then the sport will be richer, and so will King, but Floyd Jr-please read the small print in the handshake.
It seems that South African Ali Funeka is still paying the price for testing positive for a banned diuretic in his losing effort against Joan Guzman in March. The Nevada Commission gave him a nine month ban and a heavy fine and the IBF threw him out of their ratings. Now after two belated attempts to win the IBF title he finds himself with his face pressed up against the window whilst Miguel Vazquez and Korean JiHoon Kim contest the vacant title. I don't really feel sorry for him, if you cheat there is always the chance you are going to get caught and the tougher the penalty the bigger the deterrent.
The IBF have been very harsh on Russian Alex Povetkin. He was their mandatory challenger to Wlad Klitschko, but failed to sign and return the contracts for his challenge to Klitschko. His punishment has been to be demoted to No 11 in their ratings. However, he is still No1 in the most recent WBO ratings I saw, so he is still the mandatory challenger to the title holder-Wlad Klitschko!
In a similar vein, Audley Harrison relinquished the European title and has been hanging around hoping David Haye will look kindly upon him. The mandatory challenger when he was champion was Alex Dimitrenko. The big Ukrainian duly won the vacant title, and his mandatory challenger is-Audley Harrison!
Boxing has been described as the wild west of sport in the way that anything goes and laws are there to be broken, and if you have trouble in one State or Country or body, then you just find another State/Country/body who do not recognise or care about what another authority says. Suspensions such as the one handed out to Funeka only mean something if they can be enforced. Take the case of former WBO middleweight champion Hector Velazco. After just over two years out of the ring he turned up on July 31 in Ghana where he was stopped in ten rounds by Braimah Kamoko for the vacant World Professional Boxing Council light heavyweight title. The only problem with this is that Velazco's name appears on the FAB (Argentinian Boxing Federation) list of boxers under the heading “Cancelacion definitive”, which means that his licence was cancelled on July 3, 2010 and under the relevant article the suspension would only be lifted by appeal. No such appeal was made and instead he reportedly fought under a licence issued by the World Boxing Commission (not Council). Many years ago we had a similar case where Akio Kameda came to Britain to challenge Terry Marsh for the IBF light welterweight title. The Japanese Boxing Commission (JBC) had suspended him, but he had a licence from IBF Japan which consisted of Kameda and his manager. Admittedly the suspension was a political one and not a medical one as the JBC had decreed that none of their licensees was to have anything to do with the IBF, and so Kameda's manager set up his own body. However it shows how unregulated the regulations can be, which in a sport as dangerous as boxing is madness.
On the subject of Argentina down they have been marking the anniversaries relating to two of their greatest fighters. Carlos Monzon was born on August 7, 1942, and Luis Firpo died on August 7, 1960. If you count Sugar Ray Robinson as a welterweight, and he was unbeatable in that division, then for me Monzon has a claim to be the best middleweight of all time. He lost only three of his 100 fights and was unbeaten from 1964 until he retired in 1977 after 14 world title defences against the best fighters around. His story had a tragic end as he was imprisoned for killing his common-law wife and was actually out of prison on a temporary release when he died. Firpo became a huge , national hero after his dramatic fight with Jack Dempsey and remained so throughout his life, with only the Peron's being more popular. “The Wild Bull” was a clever and careful man with his money and he was multi-millionaire when he died. Hero's come in all shapes and forms and these two show how diverse they can be.
Still on the subject of anniversaries as I write this on August 10 in Baltimore they are marking the 100th anniversary of the death of former world lightweight champion Joe Gans. Joe holds a unique place in the history of African-American sports as the first one of his race to win a world title-in any sport. In a 16 year career he had close to 200 fights and lost only ten. He was rumoured to have been suffering from tuberculosis for the last two years of his career and eventually died of TB in 1910 at the age of 35. Some have described him as the greatest lightweight who ever lived, but it is impossible to compare fighters from different eras. The plan is to name a street after Joe.
For those interested in money my understanding is that the winning bid for the Ajose Olusegun vs Ali Chebah WBC light welterweight eliminator was $112,000. The fight is scheduled for November 1, in Algeria and it will be good to see Olusegun finally get a sniff of a world title fight. Chebah turned pro at 16, which meant that he could not fight in France, and he has been carefully guided without a single WBC rated fighter on his record so don't pay too much attention to his statistics of 33 wins in 34 fights as the man who beat him, Reyes Sanchez was kayoed in two rounds in the Azteca lightweight tournament last year.
What a tangled web they weave. The WBA have this ruling where if one of their champions wins the title of another body he is elevated to the status of Super Champion. In the featherweight division they have a Super Champion in Chris John (even though the WBA title is the only one he holds!), and they have a WBA champion in Yuriorkis Gamboa. Well on September 11 their “secondary” champion Gamboa, fights IBF champion Orlando Salido in a unification match. Three questions arise, firstly, if a secondary champion wins the title of another body, does he become a WBA Super Champion even though he is not the full WBA champion? Secondly, if Salido wins does he become WBA Super Champion as he holds two titles? A third question if either of them wins what does the WBA do with two Super Champions in the same division (John and the winner of Gamboa-Salido). Last question-are we all past caring about the WBA stupidity?
On the subject of stupid titles Evander Holyfield is scheduled to defend his WBF (can't remember if it is Federation or Foundation and don't really care, actually it is a lie that I don't know, as it is the Federation, but it is true that I don't care) against 37-year-old Sherman Williams. Sherman qualified by losing his last fight ten months ago to Manuel Charr. It was a unanimous decision with one judge having Charr ahead by eight points. And the point of this fight is?????