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.
Oscar De La Hoya seems to have had a “Saul on the road to Damascus” experience. Since entering a rehab clinic to help him overcome a substance abuse problem, he has been making peace with the world. Oscar has gone on Twitter to offer his deepest apologies to Bob Arum and others who he may have said harsh thing about in the past. He has also formally issued, along with fellow Golden Boy Promotions Executive Richard Schaefer, a clear statement of apology for every implying that Manny Pacquiao may use or have used banned stimulants. As a result Manny has withdrawn his defamation suit against both De La Hoya and Schaefer, but his suit against Floyd Mayweather Jr and others remains pending.
It has obviously been a tough time for the “Golden Boy” but it is good for boxing that he has made these apologies. His “war” with Bob Arum was not good for boxing. Competition between promoters is a good thing, but warfare is not. It gets in the way of fights that the public want to see. The public don’t care whether it is Top Rank or Golden Boy who is doing the promoting, all they want to see is top class fights, and it is often the case that it is promoters refusing to work with each other that stops these fights from happening.
The drums are beating to build-up the Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez fight in Las Vegas in November. Some question whether Marquez has a chance, as the fight will be a “welterweight” title fight at the catch weight of 144lbs. Marquez is a natural lightweight whereas Pacquiao has been fighting at 144/145lbs in his last four fights. It may be true that Marquez will be the underdog, but after losing a split decision and fighting a draw with Pacquiao, Marquez has more right than Judas Clottey, Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley to face Pacquiao, so it is nice to see justice done. The only potential fly in the ointment is Marquez decision to defend his WBA and WBO lightweight titles against former WBC champion David Diaz on July 16. He should beat Diaz, but nothing is certain in boxing, and Marquez could end up blowing the biggest fight of his great career.
They say there is nothing new in this world, and the recent fight between Tony Thompson and Maurice Harris highlighted that. The “Prizefighter” format is proving very popular in Britain right now, but back in 2002 the same formula of eight contestant and three minute rounds was used in the “Thunderbox” tournament. This featured heavyweights and included in the list of competitors were Tim Witherspoon, Ray Austin and Jeremy Williams. All three of these “name” fighters were eliminated in the first series, with Harris and Thompson eventually meeting in the final. Harris won and walked away with the $100,000 prize. A lot more than the purse they fought for at the weekend. One difference to the British approach is that the Thunderbox fights do not appear on the records of the participants.
WBA super flyweight champion Hugo Cazares is to defend his title against Arturo Badillo in Mazatlan on July 9. Badillo’s record is 20 wins in 21 fights. It will be the fourth defence of his title for the little Mexican warrior. . The 33-year-old Cazares does not get the credit he deserves. He is a two-division champion, having also been WBO champion at light flyweight, where he made six defences. At the start of his career he went 10-4-1 in his first 15 fights, but has since only lost two of his last 28, and they were a split decision and a technical points loss to Ivan Calderon. He won the WBO title from a Puerto Rican in Puerto Rico and the WBA title by beating a Japanese fighter in Japan, and of his 13 world title fights only two have been in Mexico. The record of a real professional warrior.
I like the little Mexican super featherweight Gamaliel Diaz. He is a real battler who will probably never win a world title, but is never in a bad fight. He made a bad start to his career, losing five of his first eight fights, but has lost only four of his 35 fights since then, all to fighters who have won some version of a world title. In his one of his biggest fights he was giving Jorge Linares a great battle until being nailed with a punch that would have knocked anyone out. He has won his last nine fights, but is not in any ratings. One thing you can be sure of is that when he fights, any opposition fans are very quiet and well behaved. The main part of the Diaz fan club is made up of the Netzahualcoyotl Bikers Group!
Another WBA title fight will see Hernan “Tyson” Marquez defend against Romanian Silviu Olteanu on July 2 in Hermosillo. It will be the first defence of the title that Marquez won by climbing off the floor to stop Panamanian Luis Concepcion on April 2. The 22-year-old southpaw turned pro just one month after his 17th birthday and won his first 27 fights. Olteanu is due a break. He was very unlucky to lose a split decision to Daiki Kameda in December for the same WBA title, and a majority verdict to Wilbert Uicab for the WBC Silver title in April. However, the fight could be in jeopardy, as Olteanu fought novice Xavier Urpi on May 27 and was floored and outpointed over eight rounds.
With Amir Khan now fighting Zab Judah in Las Vegas on July 23, two of the rejected suitors to Khan-Marcos Maidana and Robert Guerrero are likely to meet in a very intriguing contest which would see the winner in prime spot to face either the winner of the Khan-Judah fight, or Tim Bradley.
Celestino Caballero will soon hold another “world” title-or be an ex-boxer. The 34-year-old former WBA and IBF super bantamweight champion challenges Argentinian Jonathan Barros for the WBA secondary featherweight title in Mendoza on June 18, and has announced that if he loses he will retire. Maybe!
In another WBA title fight Anselmo Moreno will make the eighth defence of his bantamweight title against Venezuelan Lorenzo Parra in Panama City on June 17. It has been almost nine years since “Chemito” last lost a fight ,and he should beat the 32-year-old former WBA flyweight champion. Parra earned the right to the challenge with a draw against Jorge Arce in September, when only a points deduction cost him a decision win. On the same show Gennady Golovkin will defend his WBA secondary middleweight title against Ugandan Kassim Ouma. The Kazak fighter will be making the first defence of the title he was awarded when Felix Sturm was made super champion. Ouma does not deserve the shot having lost five out of six fights before beating unrated Joey Gilbert in September, but that is the WBA for you.
A much better match will see the WBA secondary lightweight champion Brandon Rios defend against Urbano Antillon in Carson, California on July 9. First defence for Rios who looked impressive in winning the title against Miguel Acosta. Although Antillon is coming off a loss, it was to WBC champion Humberto Soto, and again, as with Parra, only a points deduction cost him a draw. On the same show former IBF champion Kermit Cintron meets Carlos Molina at welterweight. Although Cintron will be the favourite, Molina has beaten Alexis Camacho, Danny Perez and Ed Paredes and drawn with Erislandy Lara in a current unbeaten run of eleven fights.
Some bad news recently for fighters and trainers. Unbeaten Ghanaian middleweight Bastie Samir tested positive for furosemide, a diuretic, after his fight with Lester Gonzalez and has been handed an eight months ban and fined 30% of his purse. Samir, former captain of the Black Bombers, the Ghana National squad, represented Ghana at the 2008 Olympics and has won all ten of his fights by KO/TKO.
Down in Australia, former trainer David Curran is finally about to stand trial accused of killing former boxer Vince Cervi in 2009. Curry allegedly shot Cervi dead after an argument over his tenancy of a place belonging to Cervi. Vince was a former Australian and OPBF heavyweight champion. He lost his Australian title to Joe Bugner back in 1995.
Evangelista Cotto, the uncle of Miguel Cotto, is another trainer having a bad time. His house in Caguas, Puerto Rico burned down, and the police suspect arson. It continues a bad run for Evangelista. In 2009 he came to blows with Miguel and reportedly retaliated by throwing a concrete block through the passenger window of Miguel’s car. Neither man lodged any complaint about the incidents, but Miguel sacked Evangelista as his trainer.
On the subject of Miguel Cotto, here’s one for the books. Miguel was playing golf with a friend, Jose Figueroa. The game ended as a tie and as a decider Figueroa proposed a sparring match of six rounds, but Miguel would have to wear a tutu. Miguel accepted and they had the sparring session, and there are picture of very un-macho looking WBA champion replete with ballerina tutu-and very nice he looks too. Might catch on-if we are unlucky.
I keep coming across incidents of unbelievable scoring, which no other sport suffers from to the degree that boxing does. On Saturday in Kankaanpaa, Finland the local Janne Katajisto fought a draw with Latvian Pavel Dolgovs for the Baltic Boxing Union heavyweight title. The scores were 79-74, 73-80 and 78-78! The promoters official handout described the draw as a fair result! You have to wonder how three judges can see a fight so differently. It is punches landing on the target area-this is not advanced physics. Incidentally Katajitso, who is unbeaten in nine fights, is nicknamed “Finnish Butterbean”. He is 5’11” and weighed 275lbs for this fight. This time the nickname is understandable. It has been good to see results for shows in Ghana finally getting put out. In the past accurate records from there have been hard to find. The down side is that the results also shows some very poor matchmaking. Of the ten losers on the show last Friday seven had never won a fight and their total traceable records added up to 6-57-2. It really makes the wins meaningless.
This series of shows has at least increased the activity out there. They have been held at the Prison’s Canteen in Accra. A French prison in also in the news. The prison at La Farlede Var has had a vibrant boxing programme for 2 ½ years. There are 18 inmates in the programme and another hundred are on the waiting list for places. Strikes me that what they need is a mass breakout of the 18 on the programme to make room for the others. Boxers and former boxers such as Alain Ruocco, Frederic Sellier and Jeremy Parodi are all supporting the scheme.
The Morales name will live on even when Erik eventually hangs up his gloves. The Mexican Boxing Commission recently nominated Erik’s younger brother Ivan Morales as the Most Promising Young Boxer. The young bantamweight calls himself “Terrible II” and has won all of his nine fights. He is a tall, skinny, southpaw unlike Erik and still looks raw. Another brother, Diego, was WBO super fly champ back in the late 1990’s. They are all managed by their father Jose.
Other fight coming up will see Nigerian cruiser Lateef Kayode in his first real test as he faces Matt Godfrey on June 10 in Santa Ynez.
Mikkel Kessler makes his return to the ring on June 4 against useful Frenchman Mehdi Bouadla. It will be the first fight for the Dane since beating Carl Froch in April last year. Bouadla had the disappointment of seeing a scheduled fight for the WBC middle title fall through earlier this year.
British fans can hardly believe their luck. After getting the great scrap between George Groves and James DeGale, on July 9 in London they get John Murray against Kevin Mitchell.
Cebu City in the Philippines on June 11 sees the rematch between Rey Bautista and Heriberto Ruiz. Bautista is looking for revenge after losing a wide unanimous verdict to Ruiz in November 2008. Both fighters are confident and in good form. The winner could be in line for a shot at the IBF featherweight title.
WBC featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez will defend against Panamanian Roinet Caballero on July 9, venue to be decided.
Humberto Soto will defend his WBC light title against Motoki Sasaki in Cozumel on June 25, and on the same show two Mexican prospects will clash as Antonio Lozada Jr (23-0) fights Roberto Maas (19-0-1) for the vacant WBC Silver light welterweight title. Omar Narvaez will defend his WBO super fly title against Colombian William Urina on June 11 in the Luna Park. Narvaez was to have defended against Juan Carlos Sanchez an unrated Mexican novice but he has been replaced by Colombian Urina-also unrated who qualified by losing his last fight. This is in keeping with the way that the WBO have adjusted their ratings to fit in Ran Nakash and Koren Gevor.
It is always nice to be able to report something good about boxing, and there are many charitable acts which go unreported. One such example was provided by former WBC featherweight and WBA super featherweight champion Jorge Linares. The talented Venezuelan “Golden Boy” has put up for sale the shorts and boots he wore when beating Jesus Chavez. The funds raised will go to help little Victoria Helena Cabrera who at the age of twelve is facing her second open heart operation. An excellent gesture from Linares.
Casino boxing held on Tribal Commission land has grown over the years, but it has occasionally caused problems. More often than not there is no formal Commission to oversee the boxing there and that can lead to a dispute with the State Commission within whose borders Tribal land sits. The most recent example in the proposed bout between Hector “The Hurricane” Munoz and Jorge Reyes. This will be staged at the Hard Rock Casino in New Mexico this weekend . The New Mexico Commission has criticized the bout as 38-year-old Reyes has a 0-17-1 record in his last 18 fights and 13 of those losses have come inside the distance. Munoz has actually himself lost his last three, but they were to Antonin Decarie, Mike Jones and Shawn Porter, and he has an overall record of 18-4-1. It is a poor match, but the New Mexico Commission has no jurisdiction and it highlights the fact that there can sometimes be a real threat when no experienced body polices the quality or safety of these fights.
Munoz has a nickname (The Hurricane) and most fighters seem to also need one. It is almost a requirement, and it more prevalent in boxing than any other sport. They are not always appropriate or accurate, and some are quite funny. Take Robert DaLuz. The Rhode Island fighter’s nickname is “Don’t Lose” yet he has lost 19 of his last 21 fights! One I liked was that of the Guyanan bantamweight Elton Dharry who has the nickname of “The Real Coolie Bully”. Great.