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.
Pacquiao-Marquez pre-fight tour, 7 September 2011
With the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez pre-fight tour in full flow it is a time to reflection on inflation in boxing. When these two first met back in 2004 they probably shared a purse of about $2 million. A lot of money for a Filipino fighting a Mexican in those days. When they fight in November Pacquiao will take about $20 million and Marquez about $5 million. That is a measure of the “Pacquiao factor” for, whilst Marquez has a great deal of respect within the sport, he is nothing like as high profile as Pacquiao. If Pacquiao vs. Marquez is worth over $25 million it just makes me wonder what Pacquiao vs. Mayweather would add up to. They need to get together soon because is either of them slips up on the way it will be the biggest boob in the history of boxing.
You have to feel that the perfect investment would have been buying a share of Manny’s future earning after he had been kayoed in three rounds by Rustico Torrecampo in 1996, or in 1999 when he was halted in three rounds by Medgoen. You could probably have bought into Manny for a pittance, and by now would have made enough profit to almost be able to afford a full tank of petrol.
The money will probably be handy for Marquez. One of the disadvantages of all the publicity is that everyone knows when you are out of town. Marquez found this out recently as he returned to find his home had been burgled, and cash and other items to the value of approximately $250,000 had been stolen. The police had better catch up with them before Marquez does.
Renewed interest in Tyson, 7 September 2011
There seems to be a renewed interest in Mike Tyson right now. He was justifiably inducted into the International Hall of Fame this year, he has been on TV in the USA with a programme about his life long love of racing pigeons, and now renown film maker Spike Lee is planning a film for HBO covering the early years of Tyson’s life. It has certainly been a turbulent 45 years for Tyson with enough ups and downs and drama for a series of films. There was certainly disgust at some of his actions, some disappointment over how he failed to fulfill the promise of his explosive early days, but there were also some dramatic fights and great wins. Perhaps some of the disgust and disappointment is fading and a more sympathetic attitude is emerging of a man who has experienced both the heights and the depths that life can throw and is finally at peace with himself.
Rubio and Khan pick themselves up, 7 September 2011
Some fighters would have their confidence crushed if they suffered a really bad loss. Others dust themselves down and get back on the horse. Amir Khan is one example, but another is Marco Antonio Rubio, Currently the experienced Mexican is rated No 1 challenger for the middleweight title by the WBC and trying to get Julio Cesar Chavez Jr to meet his challenge. Things were not always so rosy for Rubio. Back in 2004 he was kayoed in just 33 seconds by Kofi Jantuah, but like Khan he picked himself up, dusted himself down and got on with his profession.
Sergio Martinez injustice, 7 September 2011
On the subject of the WBC middleweight division Sergio Martinez is starting to realise just what a confidence trick the WBC played on him. Although he defended the title in November with a sensational kayo of Paul Williams they stripped him of the title in January. As a sop, to cover their totally unjustified action, they allowed Martinez to fight for the vacant Diamond title-a totally meaningless “crown”. What was more important is that by creating this “opportunity” for him they effectively took him out of their ratings and stuck him out to one side. That allowed them to have Julio Cesar Chavez Jr by-pass Martinez into the mandatory challenger spot to their “new” champion Sebastian Zbik effectively leaving Martinez without a real title and without a rating. Now Rubio is the mandatory challenger, and Chavez, “the champion” will defend against Pete Manfredo Jr in November. Martinez will defend his Diamond Belt against Brit Darren Barker on 1st October, but Martinez started to talk about fighting Daniel Geale for the IBF title-although at this time, because he holds a WBC “title”, the IBF do not include him in their ratings. All of a sudden the WBC are talking an eliminator between Martinez and Rubio to decide who gets a shot at Chavez Jr. The injustice in this is that as WBC champion Martinez would have been entitled to the champions share of the purse. Now he finds himself having to fight an eliminator to get a shot at the title he legitimately won. It really is insult (taking his title away for no valid reason) and injury (the difference between the champion’s share of the purse and the challengers).
WBC encouraging charity giving, 7 September 2011
The good side to the WBC is the way that they encourage boxers to involve themselves in charity work. Last week WBC feather champion Jhonny Gonzalez spent time at the Chavos Don Bosco Foundation which helps children who are victims of drug addiction. At the same time the participants in a WBC sponsored “Champion Challenge” tournament visited Friendship House, which cares for children with cancer. The WBA and WBO all run anti-drug campaigns and other such initiatives. Together with the medical research grants such as those made by the WBC this separates the big four from the minor bodies, who are just there to sanction fights, and put nothing back into the sport or the community Going back to Rubio, there was another fighter in action last who proved that a heavy defeat is not the end of the world. Nigerian Ermosele Albert was stopped in just 66 seconds by James Kirkland in 2008, but took Daniel Geale the distance for the IBF middles title last Wednesday. Neither Marco Antonio Rubio or Albert could be considered to have china chins, but any fighter, on any given day can be tumbled. It’s how they pick themselves up that is important. The opposite has happened to Rubin “Mr Hollywood” Williams. In the late 1990’s he was a top rated amateur. After turning pro in 2001 he was 27-1 in his first 28 fights. In 2005 he was stopped in seven rounds by Jeff Lacy in a challenge for the IBF super middle title (one judge had only one point separating them at the finish). He won three and drew one (with Antwon Echols for the IBA title) of his next four fights giving him a record at that time of 30-2-1. Since then he has suffered 14 consecutive losses, eight of those by KO/TKO, and his weight has gone from 167lbs to 212lbs-a man who truly lost his way. The WBA have also jumped on the “Champion In Recess” bandwagon. They have declared both their bantamweight champion Anselmo Moreno and interim flyweight champion Juan Carlos Reveco “Champions In Recess” due to the boxers being involved in ongoing contract disputes. That means that, whilst both of these guys can fight, neither can defend his WBA title. That makes Japan’s Koki Kameda, the WBA secondary bantam champion, the bantam champion-until Moreno returns. The action against Reveco opens the ridiculous situation where the WBA can have a super champion, a secondary champion, an interim champion for each those titles, a super champion in recess and a secondary champion in recess and so on. What a farce.
Other news, 7 September 2011
I can’t help but feel sorry for Hugo Cazares. He has never received any gift decisions, and if it is close-it goes against him. He did not get a good start, drawing and losing in his first two pro fights, and stumbled in 1999, winning only two of his five fights. He did not lose again until 2007 when a split decision verdict against Ivan Calderon cost him his WBO light flyweight title. In a return bout in 2008 he lost on a technical decision to Calderon in 2008. In 2009 he failed to win the WBA super fly title when he looked to have beaten Nobuo Nashiro in Japan, but had to settle for a draw, and at the weekend lost that title in Japan on a split decision. He has only failed to win four fights since 1999, two split decision losses, a technical decision and a draw, and they have cost him a title each time. His nickname is “El Incredible” and perhaps that refers to his bad luck.
In the old days fighters used to want to get into the films and be on the silver screen. Things have changed a great deal. The former WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev is following the footsteps of the Vitali Klitschko and aiming to enter politics. The Russian Giant is to run for the post of Deputy Governor of Kemerovo in Siberia. It gives you a sense of the size of Russia to realize that the city is over 2,000 miles from Moscow (I throw in the geography lessons for free). Boxing took Nikolai to London, Sydney, Berlin, Tokyo, Atlantic City and Zurich-politics will take him to Siberia-stick to Hollywood guys. With the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand starting let’s hope it stops the silly season for rugby players in New Zealand. A couple of weeks back Jonah Lomu, former All Blacks (that’s the New Zealand national rugby team- more gratuitous education for those not in the know) was challenging current All Blacks player Sonny Bill Williams to fight him for charity. Williams has dipped his toe in and out of pro boxing with four wins spread over two years. Lomu was probably the first “super star” of world rugby and a massively intimidating figure. He argued that he would give Williams a better fight than his last opponent, but then Williams’s last opponent was 43-year-old and claiming incapacity benefits. Rugby players should stick to rugby.
Unbeaten Italian heavyweight Francesco Pianeta has been allowed to terminate his contract with Sauerland Events. The 26-year-old southpaw was out of action for almost all of 2010 whilst fighting cancer. His promoter helped him over this difficult period which included an operation to remove a tumor. Pianeta returned to the ring in December 2010 and has won three fights since then. Wins over unbeaten fighters such as Mike Marrone and Johann Duhaupas, a draw with Albert Sosnowski, and a stoppage of Mike Skelton, had put Pianeta into the heavyweight ratings, but he slipped back during that year of inactivity. Now he wants to go his own way. Sauerland have agreed to release him, but there is talk of repayment of advances given to Pianeta, which still have to be cleared up.
I sometimes wonder if boxers come complete with a detachable leg for use at weigh-ins. Take for example former top amateur, but now a journeyman pro, DeAndre Abron. In his last five fights his weights have been 174 ½ lbs, 212lbs, 199 ¾ lbs, 185 ¾ lbs and 175 ½ lbs. Up and down like a yoyo and I guess it is not surprising that he has lost all five of the fights.
Boxers and jails is not an unfamiliar story, but sometimes they have a happy ending. Panamanian Vicente “El Loco” Mosquera lost his WBA super featherweight title to Edwin Valero in 2006 in a war. The Panamanian climbed off the floor twice in the first round and floored Valero in the third. Neither fighter took a step back as they exchanged punch after punch until finally in the tenth the strength of Valero prevailed and Mosquera lost the fight and his title on a stoppage. Soon after the fight Mosquera was arrested and charged with homicide. He protested his innocence but was jailed whilst awaiting trial. It was almost four years before he finally got his day in court, and a week later he was a free man having proved his innocence. Vicente went into prison as a super feather and came out as a middleweight, but finally made his return to the ring in February this year weighing 152lbs. By his third fight in June he was down to 147lbs. Now he has almost caught up with lost time as there is talk of him challenging Vyacheslav Senchenko for the WBA welterweight title. Of course he is not in the WBA ratings, as he has only met very poor opposition on his return-but the WBA are most accommodating, so it could happen.
The Universal Boxing Council is one of the more obscure sanctioning bodies-and rightly so. The proposed bout for their welterweight title sees Colombian Newton Villareal (record 24-3, but with only one fight since 2004) against Peruvian Fidel Bennett (record 4-4-1, and three losses in his last four fights). Can’t see much for Manny or Floyd Junior to worry about there.
There is an argument that judges should always try to find a winner in a round. It is not always easy, or even possible in a close, hard fought bout. However, I feel that the judges of the middleweight bout in Tanzania between Francis Cheka and Mada Maugo must have had very sore posteriors from sitting on the fence. Two of the judges scored eight rounds even, and the third one had seven rounds even. It’s and old tactic which leaves some leeway, so that if the home crowd is getting restless it allows you to swing the result for the home fighter just by giving him the last couple of rounds.
Bad news as James Toney does not look like retiring. On November 5 in Russia he will fight WBO No 1 cruiserweight Denis Lebedev. It is said to be at the catch weight of 88kilos which according to my maths is around 194/195 lbs. When “Lights Out” fought Damon Read in February he weighed 257lbs or around 115kilos so all he has to do is take off just over 60lbs-detachable leg territory again.
Shorts: December 17 is the date for the WBA heavyweight secondary title defence by Alex Povetkin against Evander Holyfield. It will be in Zurich and let’s just hope that it is a final fling for Holyfield and he comes out unhurt. Danny Green is adamant that he wants a return with Antonio Tarver. It appears that the contract for the original fight had a return clause in it, but who gets to pick the venue is disputed. Being talked about is the usual high quality European title match which will see Eduard Gutknetch defend his light heavy title against former WBA title contender Vyacheslav Uzelkov. Nat Cleverly’s mandatory challenger Russian Dmitry Sukhotsky will put his WBO No 1 rating on the line against Frenchman Nadjib Mohammedi who gave Cleverly a tough fight in December. Promoter Gary Shaw is talking about putting on title fights for both IBF middle champion Daniel Geale and IBO bantam champ Vic Darchinyan. The proposal is that they appear on the same bill on a show in Sydney. Former undefeated WBC featherweight champion Elio Rojas tackles Mexican Arturo Gomez in the Dominican Republic this weekend. First fight in19 months for Rojas due to a problem with his right hand. The WBC featherweight “Champion In Recess” hopes to get a fight with current champion Jhonny Gonzalez in November or December, and so he should if being Champion In Recess” is anything other than an excuse for not stripping an injured fighter. I wonder if the WBC should introduce a “Challenger In Recess”. The first inductee could be Texan light heavyweight Chris Henry. He has not had a fight for over 17 months, but is still rated No 4 by the WBC. He seems to be in recess anyway.
Two deaths to report. Brett Lally died after suffering a seizure whilst swimming in his pool. He was only 48. A former National Golden Gloves champion, Brett turned pro in 1981. His all-action style made him a favourite with TV audiences. Before he really started to make his name he came to London in 1984, losing on points to Clinton McKenzie. Brett had one shot at a world title, but was stopped inside a round by Terry Norris for the WBC light middle title in 1991. Probably his best result was a four round win over world rated Robert Hines for the NABF title in 1990. He scored wins over Charles Oosthuizen in South Africa, John Scully, Art Serwano, Willie Montana, Rafael Williams and Tyrone Trice, but lost to Alvin Hayes, Gary Hinton, Don Curry, Otis Grant and Vinny Pazienza. He retired in 2003 after losing to Chad Dawson and ended with a 32-12 record.
The other boxer to die was South African Bongani Dlamini, who was killed in a car accident in Johannesburg. Bongani had a 9-2 record and was in line for his big chance as he was to have fought for the national lightweight title next month. Boxers and cars make a bad mix in South African with other boxers such as Arnold Taylor, Pierre Fourie and Mike Buttle having died in similar circumstances. RIP Brett and Bongani.