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.
It was really sad to read of the death of Joe Frazier from liver cancer. With Joe what you saw was what you got. He was a true warrior who did not know how to take a step backwards. His series with Ali had everything, all the drama and excitement you could want. Their first fight really brought close circuit shows Britain. I will always remember sitting in a theatre in North London in the early hours and watching Joe hunt down Ali. "Smokin Joe" was an apt nickname as he chugged forward throwing wicked hooks and uppercuts until his opponents could take no more. Joe scored wins over Oscar Bonavena (twice), Eddie Machen, Doug Jones, George Chuvalo, Buster Mathis, Manuel Ramos, Jerry Quarry (twice), Jimmy Ellis and Bob Foster, but it will be his 1971 win over Ali, and his display of courage that went way beyond the call of duty, in the "Thrilla in Manila" which so typified a fighter who had a champion's heart that just never allowed him to duck any fighter or ever want to accept defeat. Joe was a great fighter and the epitome of what a fighter should be. RIP Joe.
Whilst I can understand Evander Holyfield going for a fight with Alex Povetkin it must be a move he is regretting. Evander had already received a down payment for his fight with Francois Botha and he was expected to attend a press conference in South Africa to promote the fight. The South Africans only learned of Evander's approach to Povetkin through the press. There is no talk of resurrecting the Botha fight, so Evander blew out a nice, and probably not too strenuous a payday, so "The Real Deal" blew the deal. Silly really because at 49-years-old there won't be too many more paydays for Evander.
Spare a thought for Ishika Lay. Back in 2002 she was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. The Doctors told her that she would never walk again. This courageous lady confounded them by not only walking again but actually taking up both boxing and soccer. In addition to the motorcycle injuries Ishika also had to battle breast cancer. She was so successful at boxing that she was favoured to win her way through to the Olympic Trials. He route was to be through the National Police Athletic League championships. She was ahead in her bout with Sherry Whetten when she suddenly collapsed in the second round and was rushed to hospital in a coma. The latest news I had on Ishika was that she was still in a coma but was able to breathe without a respirator and was making some simple movements. Such courage deserves to survive.
In a different way Cuban boxer Angelo Santana also showed courage. Back in 2007 Santana was in a group of Cubans who escaped the Island and made the three day journey to Florida on a raft made of wood and tyre inner tubes. The 23-year-old turned pro in January 2008 and has won twelve bouts, nine by KO/TKO. Another who deserves a reward for his courage.
Christian Bladt's nickname is "Smokin" . I have this vision of the Danish Boxing Board announcing that "Smokin is banned" and Bladt's quote being "That's a drag". Okay, my daughter is right, I do have a bad sense of humour.
I have said before that you can usually measure the worth of a sanction body by the quality of the fighters who contest their titles. The World Professional Boxing Organisation must be one of the worst. Early next year, in a twelve round bout, their European light welterweight title will be contest by Renato Bovi and Mladen Zivkov. Italian Bovi,31, has a 5-0 record which consists of four four round bouts and one over six rounds. The total records for his five opponents is 3-16. Serb Zivkov has a 3-7 record with four four round fights and six six round fights. The total records for his ten opponents is 10-7. This would not even make a good six round fight, but as a fight for any sort of a title is a farce.
The WBA continue to amaze when it comes to what they consider an acceptable match for their titles. They would have us believe that their interim champion is a world champion and therefore it is an important title. The acceptance of Mike Marreno as a challenger to Guillermo Jones for their cruiserweight title is just typical of their machinations. Marrone was considered a good heavyweight prospect when he turned pro in 2004 and won his first 18 fights. He then lost three of his next four fights. His weight was never less than 205lbs, but that low was back in 2004, and his most recent fights had been around the 220lbs mark. No possible reason therefore for him to be rated and especially not as a cruiserweight. Even the WBA agreed as he was nowhere in their August ratings. Lo and behold-in their September ratings he is No 14! Now to be fair he did have a fight in September when he beat James Pratt. Marrone weighed 214 ¾ lbs and Pratt, who weighed 254lbs, had a 2-8 record. The WBA have therefore agreed that a guy who has never fought at the weight and never beaten a rated contender is suitable to fight for their "world title". They are currently holding their Convention in the Ukraine. Gilbert Mendoza probably passed the hours in the air by reading the WBA rule book, if he likes fiction. On the other hand they may have lost the book.
The WBO are no better. Once again a "world" title fight shows no adherence to their rules. James Toney is allowed to fight Denis Lebedev for their interim cruiserweight title. Toney is 43, had had only one fight since December 2009, for which he weighed 257lbs (he weighed 157lbs when he first turned pro). No set of rules could or should cover such a travesty. When I see things such as the above examples of sanctioning fights that should never take place I just wonder how the body involved could possibly defend itself if a boxer was seriously injured.
The WBC also pulled an "appearing" trick. In their September ratings James Kirkland was No 24 middleweight, but in October he suddenly appeared at No 14 in the light middleweights, just in time for his eliminator with Alfred Angulo. Another problem I have with the WBA is the scheduled rounds. For a WBA world title it is twelve, but for their various other titles, particularly the Latino titles the scheduled distance varies between eight and eleven rounds, which just seems a needless confusion for fighters, referees and the crowd. What's wrong with ten rounds?
It seems that Roy Jones Jr. is not ready for retirement. Jones will fight Max Alexander in Atlanta on December 12. This is supposedly for the vacant UBO Inter-Continental cruiserweight title. Jones made a fortune as a boxer, and you wonder why a man who was great enough to win world titles at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight would want to fight a guy who has not fought since October 2009, and has failed to win any of his last six fights, for a title which would be complimented to be called meaningless. If he is not careful Roy could end up going from legend to laughing stock. In another December show, this one in Montreal, David Lemieux will return to action in a fight with former WBA light middle champion Joachim Alcine. Both are in need of a win. This will be Lemieux's first fight since his loss to Marco Antonio Rubio in April. In his last two fights Alcine has been blown away inside a round by Alfredo Angulo and held to a draw by Jose Medina. It is a make-or-break fight for 35-year-old Alcine. Lemieux is only 22, but it is important for him to get back on the winning side. Another bout on the show will feature Adonis Stevenson against Aaron Pryor Jr when again both guys are having to rebuild. The unification fight between IBF middle champion Daniel Geale and WBO champion Dimitry Pirog looks likely to happen. Pirog confirmed that negotiations were progressing well and indicated there was a verbal agreement for the fight to take place with Las Vegas as the likely location with talk of it taking place on New Year 's Eve. I guess that the loser will give us a quick snatch of should old acquaintances be forgot….
There are two things about boxing that will probably never change. One is the proliferation of title and the other is the "beauty contest" method of scoring. Another of the scoring farces saw Richard Abril beat Miguel Acosta by 117-108 and 115-111 on two cards but only by 113-112 on the other. Because Abril won it passes without notice but it makes no kind of sense for the cards to differ by eight points in a twelve round fight. There was a similar situation when Suriyan defended his WBC super fly title against Japanese fighter Nobuo Nashiro last week. The Japanese judge had Suriyan just scraping by on a score of 115-113 but the Thai judge had it 119-109. Incompetence, bias or just two guys seeing the same thing differently-you tell me. It was also curious to see that there was a Japanese, a Thai and a South Korean judge. I thought that the WBC went for neutral officials.
Former WBO super feather and IBF lightweight champion Joan Guzman is returning to the ring on November 18 in Santo Domingo. The question won't be whether he wins the fight, but whether he makes the weight, and comes up clean on the testing. At 35, and never having lost in his 32 fights, Guzman has thrown away a fortune by his poor discipline . His last fight was in December 2010, which was ruled a no contest after Guzman failed a post fight test. Before that, in March 2010, he was 9lbs over the weight limit when he was supposed to fight South African Ali Funeka for the vacant IBF lightweight title. But for this undisciplined approach he would have been in the mix for fights with both Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Instead he will fight Colombian Florencio Castellano, who has not had a fight since May 2010, for the IBF Caribbean light welterweight title. It has been a long wait for Guzman to fulfill his promise, let's hope he makes the weight.
A great show is taking shape for December 3 in Rosarito, Mexico. Local fighter Antonio Lozada Jr (24-1) faces Cesar Chavez (17-0), Arturo Badillo takes on the experienced Colombian Ronald Barrera and David De La Mora looks to bounce back from his controversial loss to Koki Kameda for the WBA bantamweight title in August by beating Eddy Julio.
Another great show is being put together for Anaheim on December 3 with Anselmo Moreno facing Vic Darchinyan, Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko meeting in a return and Erik Morel facing Nicaraguan "El Bufalo" Rosendo Alvarez. The former WBA strawweight and light flyweight champion is now 41, and has not had a fight since 2006.
I anticipated that there might be a problem with Devis Boschieri fighting in Japan. I am old enough to remember that the Beatles ran into trouble when they first went there due to their alleged use of drugs. Boschieri had much worse problems being accused of actually dealing in drugs. I believe he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, but it was still a surprise that he had no problems getting into the country.
We may have to come up with other criteria for the word "fit". David Saulsberry weighed 297lbs for his fight at the weekend. He was bloated, could only shuffle and had not the first idea about boxing-but he was "fit to fight", What worries me is that he had actually won seven fights by KO/TKO including a stoppage of former top amateur Devin Vargas, who was twice National Golden Gloves champion and also US champion. There again Vargas was giving away 70lbs to Saulsberry.