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.
Looks like the fight between Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz is off. Berto reportedly suffered a ruptured bicep and will require surgery. Pity as it was a good match and difficult to pick a winner. Russian cruiserweight Rakhim Chagaev is also on the injured list. He has suffered an elbow injury which will also require surgery, so he will be sidelined for a while. A third injury report has seen Robert Helenius pull out of his fight with Alex Dimitrenko. Helenius reportedly fell whilst out running and suffered a broken shoulder and some ligament damage. It seems that he will be replaced with Kubrat Pulev Helenius. A pity for Helenius, but a good test for both Dimitrenko and Pulev. The plan to have former WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios clash with Cuban Yuriorkis looks closer after they were both scheduled to appear in separate bouts in Las Vegas on April 14 at the Mandalay Bay. No opponents announced yet. It will be interesting to see what weights they come in at for this double header as Rios lost his title when he failed to make 135lbs for his defence against John Murray, and the heaviest Gamboa has weighed in the last three years is 127lbs.
The sanctioning bodies really are making the sport farcical. This ruling they seem to have adopted with regard to requiring only one of the contestants being eligible to fight for a title leads to stupidity. Tomas Kovacs beat a Ugandan to win the WBO European title, Rafael Bejeran, a Dominican is the WBO European middleweight champion.
Some news of former boxers: Former European and WBA light middleweight champion Laurent Boudouani is training a group of French. In the list of those he has worked with are Jean-Paul Mendy, Cedric Vitu, Chris Rebrasse and others. Now 45, Boudouani had two reigns as European champion. After beating Carl Daniels for the WBA title he went on to make five defences. Sammy Serrano, now 59, is working with Puerto Rican prospect super middleweight Roberto Acevedo, who claims a 50-1 record as an amateur, and is 2-0 as a pro. Serrano was WBA super featherweight champion from 1976 to 1980 when he lost the title. He regained the title in 1981 and finally lost it to Roger Mayweather in 1983. He took part in 18 WBA title fights, losing only two. The third old pro is Raul "Jibaro" Perez. The former WBC bantam and WBA super bantam champion is training his son Raul "Jibaro Junior" Ruiz Quiarte who is a welterweight with a 5-0 record. Jibaro was WBC bantam champion from 1988 to 1991 making eight defences , was briefly WBA super bantam champion, and fought a technical draw and lost against Genaro Hernandez for the WBA super feather title. Jibaro beat Wilfredo Vazquez, Miguel Lora, Gaby Canizales, Gerard Martinez, and Luis Mendoza, losing only six of his 71 fights. This is a third generation deal as Jibaro Junior also works with Raul Quirarte, his grandfather, who trained Jibaro Senior. Jibaro was very tall for his weight. I remember seeing him in Mexico City at the WBC Convention. He was standing alongside Mike Tyson-they were the same height.
Boxing lost two of its family in the space of two days. Both Don Fullmer, who died on Saturday at the age of 72, and Goody Petronelli who died Sunday at the age of 82, were very much part of the scene in their day. Don, the youngest of three Fullmer brothers, who fought as pros alongside Jay and the better known Gene, was a good class middleweight. He fought from 1958 to 1973 and met the best men around. Phil Moyer, Virgil Akins, Stefan Redl, "Bubi" Scholz, Joey Archer, Joe DeNucci, Terry Downes, Emile Griffith, Sandro Mazzinghi, Jose Torres, Dick Tiger, Jimmy Ellis, Nino Benvenuti, Stan Harrington, Bobo Olson, Tom Bogs, Billy Douglas, Bobby Cassidy, Eugene Hart, Pierre Fourie, Andy Kendall, Richie Kates and many more. It might have been easier to list who he did not fight-but at a time when the middleweights were a very strong division Don fought all comers. In 79 fights against the world's best he only lost inside the distance twice. Once on a cut and the other on a disputed stoppage. I last saw Don a couple of years back at the International Hall of Fame where he was supporting elder brother Gene who was not in good health. All three were Mormons, and Don was the epitome of a caring brother and a gentleman. Guerino "Goody", who started training boxers in 1969, was best known for training and co-managing Marvin Hagler, but he also worked with Robbie Simms, Steve Collins, Mike Culbert, Drake Thadzi and Kevin McBride. Goody also joined with his late Pat in training Pat's son Tony Petronelli who fought Wilfred Benitez for the WBA light welterweight title in 1976. The gym run by himself and his brother kept the spirit of boxing alive in Brockton after the Marciano days. RIP Don and Goody.
At the WBC Convention the following was the statement regarding the champion's obligations with regard to the bantamweight title "when a fighter wins a vacant WBC world title, they are committed to make two mandatory title defenses. Shinsuke Yamanaka of Japan, who won the vacant WBC world title on November 6, must make a mandatory title defense against WBC Silver champion Abner Mares of the U.S., with the winner of that fight to make a mandatory defense against the winner of the eliminator between James McDonnell of Great Britain and Hugo Cazares of Mexico. Looks ok except for one thing. Mares is IBF champion! It has long been the WBC policy to omit from their ratings the champions of other organisations. The same ratings that make Mares the mandatory challenger list as "unavailable" fighters such as WBA champion Koki Kameda, WBA interim champion Hugo Ruiz, Steve Molitor IBF champion, Ricky Burns etc. Mares is rated because he "wants to fight for the WBC title." Makes it look like one rule for Mexicans and another for everyone else. Immediately after the Convention Mares signed to defend his IBF title against Eric Morel, and if he wins that voluntary defence, then the IBF will order him to meet his mandatory challenger Vusi Malinga. So much for wanting to fight for the WBC title. Another complication is that Malinga has not had a fight for 15 months so, either he will have to take a warm-up fight, or wait until he has been inactive for almost two years before getting his title shot.
Meantime WBC champion Yamanaka is to defend his title in Tokyo on April 6 against Vic Darchinyan. Where was Darchinyan in the last WBC ratings-he was listed as "unavailable"!! In fact it is a very good fight and a dangerous one for Yamanaka. The show is a double header with Takahiro Aho defending his featherweight title against Thai southpaw Terdsak. The Thai's losses have been to Joan Guzman, Juan Manuel Marquez and Steve Luevano. The Marquez fight was for the WBO interim featherweight title and with Luevano for the full title. The two challengers have similar nicknames with Darchinyan as "Ragin Bull" and Terdsak as "Pit Bull". A third bout will see former WBC bantam and featherweight champion Hozumi Hasegawa facing unbeaten Mexican Felipe Felix as he launches his attempt to bounce back from losing his featherweight title to Jhonny Gonzalez a year ago.
Another boxer returning to the ring is the former WBO flyweight/super flyweight/ bantamweight, WBO bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel. He has a defence of his WBC super bantamweight Silver title against Indonesian Angky Angkota in Los Mochis on March 3. Fernando has said that he is looking to win another world title, perhaps at featherweight.
It is probably wrong to say that the WBC Silver titles are meaningless. They are in fact very beneficial. Before Avtandil Khurtsidze won the WBC Silver title he was rated No 19. After beating No 38 Ossie Duran he finds himself at No 5. Fight down-go up. Only boxing, and only the sanctioning bodies have that philosophy.
Another example of sanctioning madness is heavyweight Chauncy Welliver. Chauncy splits his time between his birth place in the US Pacific North West, and New Zealand. His fight at the weekend against an African, was for the interim Asia Pacific title, the interim WBO Oriental title, the WBC Asian Boxing Council title and the New Zealand title. Welliver already holds the WBC Continental Americas and the WBO China Zone titles. If anyone not involved in boxing asked a sensible question as to how an African can fight for an Asian or Oriental title, and how an American and an African can fight for the China Zone title and finally how New Zealand likes to be lumped in as a "China Zone", then all you can do is shrug your shoulders and say "that's boxing today" Once he goes away you can then spend ten minute smashing your head against a brick wall.
I somehow feel that the promoters behind WBA welterweight champion Vyacheslav Senchenko got their sums wrong. Senchenko was to have defended his title against his mandatory challenger Ismael El Massoudi, but the Frenchman was said to have problems-probably money. The WBA replaced El Massoudi with Paul Malignaggi. Not a bad fight, but not so good that you would want to bid $1,000,010 to get the right to promote it. The only other bid was from Golden Boy for $250,000. It is not unusual for the champion's promoter to win a bidding process. For instance, if the purse split is 75-25, then the only fixed amount the champion's promoter is committed to is the 25% for the challenger. He can negotiate with the champion to take a much smaller purse than the 75% whilst the challenger's promoter is tied to paying the champion 75% of his bid and only has 25% to play with. If you get your sums right you get to promote the fight. Under those splits the Ukrainians could find themselves having to pay $250,000 to the challenger when they could have got the fight with a bid for $300,000 and only had to pay the challenger $75,000. A big difference.
They just can't stay away. James Toney is threatening a comeback. He is training with a view to a return in March or April. When he turned pro Toney was 159lbs. Somehow he managed to hit 257lbs in his career. In his last fight he lost every round against Denis Lebedev. At 43 he really should stay away as people have already forgotten the talented Toney of the early/mid 1990's, and he is tarnishing his legend.
Toney is not the only one. Now we have Riddick Bowe looking to make a comeback. The 43-year-old former world heavyweight champion is after a fourth fight with Evander Holyfield. Bowe is 2-1 up in their series, but their last meeting was in 1995, when Bowe stopped Holyfield in eight rounds. Bowe has had only one fight in almost seven years and should stay retired for his own good.
It may be that Juan Manuel Marquez struck himself a good deal with the WBO. In return for relinquishing his lightweight title he insisted he be rated No 1 at welterweight, jumping over two unbeaten fighters, Mike Jones and Kell Brook, and the WBO have complied. Of course Marquez could be thinking that as the WBO welterweight champion is Manny Pacquiao he will be guaranteed a fourth fight with the Filipino. Dream on Juan Manuel-it is Bob Arum and Pacquiao's management who will decide who Pacquiao fights, and they will tell the WBO when they are good and ready.
You sometimes wonder whether boxing is the worst supervised sport of all sports. Take the match between cruiserweight BJ Flores and Hugo Pineda. Flores is 33, he has a 27-1-1 record and is rated in the top ten by three of the leading sanctioning bodies. Pineda is 40-years-old, and started his career weighting 125lbs. When he fought Flores last Saturday he weighed 197 ½"lbs, and had been inactive for 3 ½ years. If Missouri has a Commission you have to wonder what sort of a match they would turn down. Just be thankful nothing bad happened to Pineda.
Not sure if my rant two weeks back had anything to do with it, but the WBO have dropped the plan to have Jorge Arce defend his super bantamweight title against Brazilian Giovanni Andrade. Instead he will meet the original opponent Lorenzo Parra, but in a non-title fight. Unbeaten Zambian boxer Kennedy Kanyanta has announced his retirement. Kennedy represented Zambia at the 2000 Olympics and won a gold medal at flyweight at the Commonwealth Games in 2002. Kennedy came to Britain to try his luck as a professional, but returned to Zambia saying that his brain scan had shown a tumor. He later passed some tests in Zambia and turned pro in 2007. In an unbeaten 11 fight career he won the Zambian super bantamweight, IBO Inter-Continental super flyweight and ABU bantamweight titles. However, at the age of 32, he has been diagnosed as having problems with his nervous system and has taken the advice of the Doctors to retire.
In Mexico they were talking about retiring the old Arena Coliseo. The plan was to tear it down and replace it with some commercial properties. Sacrilege!! Luckily the plans have been shelved, and the Arena Coliseo is safe for the moment. This little cockpit of an arena was the most famous little arena in Latin America. A lot of the future greats appeared there such as Ruben Olivares, Carlos Zarate, Lupe Pintor and Alfonso Zamora. I was lucky enough to attend a show and the atmosphere was unbelievable. On the night I went some new kid from Acapulco who was cutting his way through the local featherweights was topping the show. His name was Marcos Villasana. I was there with Mickey Duff and Harold Lederman. I can still remember Mickey saying that Jimmy Flint would beat Villasana easily. That was December 1980. In June 1990 Villasana stopped Paul Hodkinson in eight rounds in Manchester to win the WBC featherweight title. Jimmy had his one title shot in 1980. He lost to Pat Cowdell in eleven rounds for the British title and retired in 1981. Luckily for Mickey, Jimmy and Marcos never met to test his theory.