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.
More allegations surfaced regarding Manny Pacquiao using banned substances after his win over Shane Mosley, with Mosley quoting them on Twitter. The Nevada Commission took the unusual step of announcing that Pacquiao held been clean in the tests for the Mosley fight, and Freddie Roach has rubbished the allegations by an unnamed Filipino fighter who claims to have injected Pacquiao with banned substances as part of his duties as a sparring partner. It is a pity that Mosley should have chosen to repeat these allegations, particularly in view of his own past problems with regard to the Balco scandal, and his decision to drop a defamation suit after Victor Conte had alleged that Mosley knowingly took the Balco drugs. Seems to combine a sore loser with a dose of hypocrisy. Nothing has been proven against Pacquiao and it is still innocent until proved guilty in my world.
Still on Pacquiao, everyone one seems to want to fight him, but things have become ridiculous when former Fighter come former Playboy model Mia St John declares she wants to fight him. Don’t count it out. If Bob Arum can sell an over the hill Mosley into a major attraction he could probably sell Ms St John. I hear that Mrs. Pacquiao is a formidable lady so perhaps Bob could even have a natural eliminator there. The Pacquiao fight might just be the last one for Antonio Margarito. In addition to suffering a fractured orbital bone socket the former WBO welterweight champion is also said to have suffered a detached retina, which may end his career.
Boxing lost four very different major figures recently. We had the death of Lionel Rose, a great little fighter who by what he achieved in the ring probably did as much as any politician to advance the cause of his fellow Aborigines. It had been 14 year since Australia had last had a world champion when in February 1968 Lionel won the WBA and WBC bantamweight titles by going to Japan and beating the great Fighting Harada. He went back to Japan again to defend against unbeaten Takao Sakurai, beat Joe Medel in a non-title bout then went to California and beat Mexican Chucho Castillo. His only home defence saw him beat Alan Rudkin in Melbourne before he lost his title in August 1969 to Ruben Olivares, who was unbeaten in 52 fights at the time. Lionel was never really the same after that fight as he struggled with weight. He lost a close decision to Yoshiaki Numata for the WBC super featherweight title in 1971 and retired in 1976. It was not the familiar story of a fighter not being able to handle life outside the ring. Lionel looked after his money and made some good investments. He had success as a song writer and singer, with one of his songs almost becoming a second Australian national anthem. Lionel was the first Aborigine to be a world champion, the first to be voted “Australian of the Year” and was a recipient of the Order of the British Empire. Danny Green has dedicated his IBO cruiserweight title fight on July 20 with Antonio Tarver to Lionel.
We recently had another example of the power of TV in today’s boxing world. Yuriorkis Gamboa had relinquished his IBF version of the featherweight title. Miguel Angel Gonzalez was rated No 1 challenger with the IBF, the No 2 spot was vacant, and Australian Billy Dib was No 3. No problems then Garcia fights Dib for the vacant title. No, HBO do not like Dib, allegedly one of their people describing Dib as “The Worst TV fighter”, so now Dib is in limbo and Garcia will go off and fight Miguel Beltran in a non title fight. Interestingly Brit John Simpson is rated No 4, so I guess that might open the door for the Scot-if Australian or British TV are interested!
Japanese boxer Noburo Ishida is cashing in on his one round destruction of previously unbeaten James Kirkland. The former interim WBA champion goes up against Paul Williams in Atlantic City on July 9 in a fight made at 155lbs. Williams will be looking to bounce back from his two round crushing by Sergio Martinez and as Ishida has never been beaten inside the distance it should give the former WBO welterweight champion a good workout.
As for Martinez it looks as though the plan is to have him fight the winner of the Sebastian Zbik-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr WBC middleweight title fight in October. If that fight can’t be made then the fall back plan is a match Martinez with WBC No 1 Mexican Marco Antonio Rubio who recently beat David Lemieux There is talk of a Jorge Arce vs Nonito Donaire fight which I hope does not come off. Arce has performed miracles in the way that he has constantly bounced back from defeats, but having seen what Donaire did to Fernando Montiel makes me fear for Jorge as it might be just one war too many if this one takes place. In the days of the Iron Curtain it seemed impossible that we would ever see professional boxing in Eastern Europe, but now countries from that part of the world are as busy as Western European ones.
June 11 in Kiev will see Georgian Avtandil Khurtsidze make the first defence of his IBO middleweight title with Edison Miranda as the possible challenger. Although Khurtsidze turned pro in Georgia in 2002 he has never fought there since and is a big draw in Ukraine. Unusually in these days of 6’0” featherweights, Khurtsidze is only 5’4” tall. Lucien Bute's next defence of his IBF super middle title will be in Bucharest on July 9 with fellow-southpaw Frenchman Jean Paul Mendy in the other corner. It will be the Romanian’s eighth defence. Mendy will have some rust to shake off, as his only fight in the last 14 months lasted just 78 seconds, with Mendy winning on a disqualification when Sakio Bika took an extra shot at the Frenchman after flooring him. Gallo was one of the truly great cartoonists he received the National Sports Cartoonist award ten year in a row and the New York Newspaper Guild award 20 times, the James J Walker Award from the Boxing Writers Association, and countless other awards. A truly towering talent in sports journalism.
Down in Argentina they are mourning the death of manager/ promoter Miguel Herrera. For many tears “El Gordo” was boxing in Cordoba. He handled the careers of Miguel Arroyo, Hector Vilte, Victor Hugo Paz, Farid Salim and many others. In 1986 he became the first to promote a world title fight in the Provinces of Argentina when he put on the fight between WBC super flyweight champion Gilberto Roman and local favourite Ruben Condori.
In Mexico they mourned the death of Don Aurelio Sanchez Solis, the father of Jorge and Ulises Solis, both of whom have held versions of world titles.
Italian Luigi Mantegna must have set some sort of record when he challenged Devis Boschiero for the national super featherweight title. Going into the fight Mantegna had won only one of his 24 fights which makes you wonder how anyone can approve or pay to see such a “contest”. Strangely the only fight that Mantegna has won was a first round kayo of prospect Mario Pisanti-still the only loss for Pisanti. Go figure. The WBA continue to amaze. Recently Daniel Diaz from Nicaragua challenged Koki Kameda for the WBA secondary bantamweight title. Diaz lost every round before being stopped in the eleventh. However, his rating is a mystery. Not being rated at the end of 2009, he had two fights in 2010winning in a six round fight over a guy with a 1-10 record and an eight rounds fight with a guy with no rating and an 8-3-2 record. Somehow he still manages to find himself rated. That’s the WBA.
The IBF also got caught. They did not have time to put Carlos Rueda into their ratings before he challenged Cris Mijares for their super flyweight titles. These promoters should realize that manipulation is an art that can’t be rushed. Argentinian prospect Diego Chaves has some good, experienced help behind him in the shape of Eduardo Corletti. Heavyweight “El Gato” will be well known to British fans of a certain age as he drew with Billy Walker in Italy and then beat him in London, beat George Chuvalo, Joe Bygraves, Johnny Prescott and lost to Joe Bugner. Corletti is sure that the unbeaten Chaves has the talent to go all the way.
Felix Trinidad also has an interest in a young boxer. Now 38, the former IBF and WBA light welterweight champion has no plans to return to the ring, but has high hopes for Elieser Gonzalez a 24-year-old Puerto Rican light middleweight with an 11-0 record. Still on boxers of yesteryear, Italian Nino Benvenuti has a travelling exhibition dedicated to his career. I met Nino in Canastota and you would never think he had ever had a fight let alone a career encompassing 90 fights against the best middleweights of his time. The two division world champion was the epitome of well-dressed suave Italian style. The exhibition is entitled “The World in Fist” and is proving a big attraction.
Age may have something to do with it, but the contrast between the ways that heavyweights Kubrat Pulev and Deontay Wilder are being matched is huge. Pulev had a long spell as an amateur winning numerous tournaments but failing at the 2008 Olympics before winning the 2009 European championships. He turned pro at the age of 29 and in his twelve fights has already beaten Gbenga Oloukun, Zack Page, Matt Skelton, Danny Batchelder, Dominic Guinn, Polo Vidoz and Derric Rossy. Wilder had a limited amateur career, but won the National Golden Gloves and USA championships in 2007 and an Olympic bronze in 2008. He turned pro at 23, has had 16 fights, and won all 16 inside the distance, twelve in the first round. He has fought no one of note, with most of the opposition being novices or having lost more fights that they have won. So far Pulev’s reputation has been growing and Wilder’s opposition has been derisory. Time may be on Wilder’s side, but he has to find out if he can fight sometime, and the sooner the better. Many years ago in England, as an annual event, the jockeys used to have a boxing championship, which was fiercely competitive amongst these little sportsmen.
Australian pro boxer Ryan Waters is putting on a show this week which will also feature non boxers boxing. This time the show will feature bouts between local policeman and firemen. The show is to raise money for a local hospital Burns Unit. No hoses or truncheons allowed.