Snips 'n' Snipes

About The Author

eric portraitEric 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.

22 August 2012

I despair of the WBA. They have been testing out a scoring system which allows the judges to use half points giving the judges more leeway. When a boxer losses a round clearly, but not widely enough for it to be 10-8, then they could score it 10-8 ½. They are wasting their time. If the officials are incompetent you can let them score rounds 199-0 and it still would not make them competent. The fact is that boxing is scored like a beauty contest, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is no perfect way to score a contest, which seems incredible when you consider that in theory the guy who lands most punches on the target should win the round. We have taken that simple premise and complicated it beyond recognition. Power punches! How many power punches should outweigh a good jab. Is it 6 jabs = 1 power punch. We have allowed a situation where a guy can win 2 minutes and 51 seconds of a round but lose the round by two points if the only punch his opponent lands in the round registered a knockdown. We are supposed to have experienced and well trained judges but we take that very task out of their hands when a knockdown tells them not to use their judgment of the round as a whole. I have said before that if we invented boxing today then computers would be used to do the scoring. However, computers will never be accepted in professional boxing because of tradition and the misuse of computer scoring perpetrated by the AIBA.

Some have suggested that amateur boxing should go back to paper scoring and scoring by rounds. They obviously have very short memories. At the 1988 Olympics in South Korea Roy Jones Jr. was robbed off the gold medal losing to local Park Si-Hun by 3-2. In a piece of incredible irony Jones was given the Val Barker trophy as the best fighter in the Games. Incidentally CompuBox stats had Jones outscoring Park by 86 punches to 32. It was a disgraceful episode and in order to get a “fairer” system the AIBA introduced computer scoring where a dishonest judge could not award points on his own but only if other judges also registered them. That system has also failed and even though things were marginally better in London it still threw up some travesties.

The amateurs scoring is not the only one that is haywire. When Brian Vera beat Sergio Mora earlier this month one judge had Vera winning by eight points and another had the fight a draw. Same with Jose Lopez vs. Jose Perea at the weekend with one judge giving it Lopez by eight points and another having it a draw. Earlier in the month one judge had Francisco Lorenzo beating Donis Garcia 78-73 and another had Garcia winning 78-73, Tim Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao, and Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez. Need I go on? There is no perfect way to score a boxing match, particularly when you are relying on three people who are watching the action from three different angles, all you can hope is that the judges are well trained and unbiased.

I would also like to add a complaint as one who occasionally supervises a fight. I find hard enough to total up the three judges card in the one minute interval when it is 10-9. If it is ½’s forget it-I’ll use a computer.

Boxing owes the Klitschko brothers a big thank you. Boxing benefits from the two brothers owing the four major titles between them. If each of those titles were in different hands we would be looking at three or four times as many heavyweight titles fights per year. Things are bad enough now with second string, no-hopers, past victims, and old men being trotted out as prey for the Ukrainians. Just think how much more rubbish we would have to put up with with all four sanctioning bodies putting forward their own mandatory challengers.

Still on heavyweights the war of worlds between Alex Povetkin’s team and the guys behind Hasim Rahman has been quite amusing. It is obvious that Povetkin’s team are upset with the WBA foisting upon them a 39-year-old fighter, who has not faced a rated opponent since being stopped by Wladimir Klitschko in 2008 and has not had a fight since June 2011-when he weighed 284lbs. Not an easy sell that one. One of the complaints from Rahman’s camp was that they had been disrespted by the promoter not putting Rahman’s picture on the fight promotion posters. I loved the response from Povetkin’s man who said that the only photo they had of Rahman was an old one (e.g. Rahman weighed 238lbs when beating Lennox Lewis) and if they put that photo on the poster then when the fight fans saw the Rahman of today they would sue for fraud. The other put-down by Povetkin’s team was that they thought Rahman could pass as a poster boy for a fast foods chain-ouch.

Heavyweights yet again. All of the fights under the Vitali Klitschko-Manuel Charr WBC title show in Moscow on September 8 will be title fights. There will be a WBC USNBC heavyweight title fight between Magomed Abdusalamov and Jameel McCline, and also three WBC Baltic title fights and one for the WBC Baltic Silver title. WBC Baltic Silver!! Will the proliferations never end? The WBC brought in the Silver titles to replace the interim title, now we have the interim titles back, and obscure Silver titles added daily.

Still on heavyweights. It was one out and one back in. Tye “Big Skye” Fields announced his retirement. The 6’8” southpaw had a 49-5 record with 44 wins by KO/TKO. More significantly his five losses were all by KO/TKO, some very quickly. Monte Barrett beat Fields in 57 seconds and Mike Perez in 44 seconds. The Perez loss coming in the final of Prizefighter in May 2011b but Fields beat Mike Sprott and knocked out Konstantin Airich in 74 seconds in earlier rounds. That just about sums up Tye as a guy with a big punch but a fragile chin. Coming back is Robert Helenius. The big Finn has been out with a bad shoulder injury but is back in training and looking to fight later in the year.

Last bit of heavyweight news has former IBF cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham moving up to heavyweight. Steve will have his first fight at the new weight on the September 8 show in Newark against Jason Gavern.

Without knowing all the facts it is impossible to be absolutely certain whether the IBF and the Californian Commission were right to take no action against Andre Berto and Lamont Peterson. For certain what they did not do is to follow the code which says that a boxer is responsible for whatever is in his system. Both fighters tested positive for a banned substance. If they had been track and field athletes subject to Olympic testing rules they would have had a two year ban as a minimum. It just gives proof to Victor Conte’s derisory comments about boxing’s attitude to drugs. The clearance given by the IBF and California sends out the wrong message.

Two deaths to report on. Firstly the death of former WBA heavyweight champion Mike Dokes from liver cancer at just 54. An outstanding amateur he was National AAU champion and National Golden Gloves champion (beating John Tate and Greg Page in the tournament). When he lost to Tate at the US Olympic Trials he turned pro, and was unbeaten in his first 28 fights. He won the WBA heavyweight title in 1982 stopping Mike Weaver in just 63 seconds. It was a controversial stoppage and in the rematch Dokes retained his title with a draw. In his next defence in 1983 he lost the title to Gerrie Coetzee. After running up eleven wins he lost to Evander Holyfield in 1989 and  to Razor Ruddock the following year. A run of nine wins was followed by a fight with Riddick Bowe for the IBF and WBA titles. Bowe won with a controversial first round stoppage. After that his career just petered out and he retired in 1997 with a 53-6-2 record. In 1999 Dokes was found guilty of an attack on his fiancée and sent to prison for between four to fifteen years. He was released in 2008. Whatever money he earned in boxing was gone and he spent his last days in a hospice. A tragic end.

Also passing away was Costa Rican boxer Alejandro Martinez. Martinez had fallen into a coma after a fight in Mexico in 2009. He was returned home where it was a battle for his family to try to get medical services to support him. He never came out of the coma and died last week from pneumonia. He was to all intents and purposes lost to his family a long time ago, but now they can get closure.

It has been a long time coming but through the offices of the WBC there will shortly be a statue in Brockton honouring the late heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano who died 43 on 31 August 1969. The WBC commissioned it and it was unveiled in Mexico City this week. It is an impressive piece of work and a fitting memorial for the only heavyweight champion to have retired undefeated.

There was another unveiling in Mexico City. This time it was Juan Manuel Marquez publicizing his book. I gather the title is somewhat along the lines of “How I beat Manny Pacquiao” or maybe that’s me just thinking it should be. Marquez intends to fight again later in the year and mentioned Devon Alexander, Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson as names he was looking at-and of course Pacquiao.

Right now, with Pacquiao having cancelled his proposed November fight the speculation is that he may be aiming to fight Miguel Cotto in New York on December 1. Cotto already has a TV date for that fight and despite his loss in May to Floyd Mayweather and his defeat against Pacquiao in 2009 it could still be a big fight.

I have happy memories of once attending a boxing show at the world renowned Arena Coliseo in Mexico City. In those days there were two shows a week at the Coliseo where many of the fighters who went on to become legends were hardened in the atmosphere of the little cockpit. Things have changed dramatically, and former WBC bantamweight champion Rafael Herrera, now the President of the Mexico City Boxing Commission, has gone on record saying that it is just too expensive to put on shows in the Mexican capital now. With cities in the Provinces willing to put up facilities and finance to bring big bouts to their city Mexico City has only spasmodic small shows. A big change from the old days.

Mexican Alfredo Angulo has finally been released from the Immigration detention centre. He had been incarcerated there for seventh months due to an out of date Visa. This problem has now been cleared and he is hoping to fight again before the end of the year. Angulo had won five fights in a row, including a WBC eliminator, before losing to James Kirkland in November.

Danish promoter Mogens Palle offered Mikkel Kessler $1 million to fight Brian Magee in Denmark in October or November. Sauerland Events responded on behalf of Kessler saying that it was just a publicity stunt by Palle, and that anyway due to contracts they have in place they would not be able to fight under Palle’s promotion in Denmark.

Some fights coming up: September 1 sees Puerto Rican prospect Jonathan “Mantequilla” Gonzalez take on former WBO light middle champion Serhiy Dzinziruk. The WBO have Gonzalez at No 5 and Dzinziruk at No 8 and it is a good test for the 23-year-old Gonzalez. Frans Botha just never seems to go away. The 43-year-old South African has lost 3 of his last 4 fights inside the distance, but he is back on September 7 against Italian Francesco Pianeta in Germany. Cuban heavyweight Odlanier Solis continues his comeback with what should be an undemanding fight with Willie Herring in Newark on September 8. In his first fight since injury ended his challenge to Vitali Klitschko in March 2011 Solis made a successful return in May when he outpointed Konstantin Airich. Herring, with just three wins in his last twelve fights, is a step backwards. Also on September 8 Randall Bailey defends his IBF welterweight title against Devon Alexander. September 15 sees Jhonny Gonzalez put his WBC featherweight title on the line against Daniel Ponce De Leon in Las Vegas. Gonzalez has a 76% average of wins inside the distance and De Leon 75%, so I can’t see it going the distance. November 11 will see a WBC semi-final eliminator at light middleweight between Vanes Martirosyan and Erislandy Lara. Back in the amateurs Martirosyan lost to Lorenzo Aragon at the 2004 Olympics. Lara had beaten Aragon in the Cuban Olympic Trials, but Aragon got the Olympic berth or these two could have clashed eight years ago.  It is a good match-up. However, what stupid logic says that Martirosyan WBC No 4 and Lara WBC No 3 have to fight semi-final and final eliminators to get a fight with Alvarez whilst Josesito Lopez gets a straight shot for beating the WBC No 4 welterweight Victor Ortiz!

With his legal problems ironed out Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa is now free to challenge Juan Carlos Salgado for the IBF super feather title. This promotion will be put on by The Money Team. Gamboa has been inactive since beating Daniel Ponce De Leon in September 2011. One Cuban who may not be fighting is Guillermo Rigondeaux. He was lined up to defend his WBA secondary super bantamweight title against Robert Marroquin. However, a judge ruled that Rigondeaux was still under contract to Gary Hide, so that fight may end in the bin unless a deal can be done. On September 19 under the Saul Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez title fight Leo Santa Cruz defends his IBF bantamweight title against Eric Morel. No date yet but in October or November Koki Kameda defends his secondary WBA bantamweight title against No 1 contender Mexican Hugo Ruiz. November 10 will see Wlad Klitschko defend his titles against big Pole Mariusz Wach. For once Wlad will be facing someone taller than himself in the 6’7 ½ “ Wach, but I still think Wlad has the tools to do the job.

I am still monitoring the race to see which family of brothers can produce a third world champion first. Last weekend super bantamweight Tomoki Kameda made it 24 wins and he is No 4 with both the WBA and WBC (the IBF and WBO don’t rate Japanese fighters as Japanese fighters do not fight for their titles). Brothers Koki and Daiki have already won titles for the family. The others in contention are the Morales clan. Brothers Diego and Erik have done their part, now it is up to young Ivan. The 21-year-old super flyweight has 17 wins and moves up in class on September 8 when he faces former IBF flyweight and WBO super flyweight title challenger Luis Maldonado. Ivan is not yet rated by any of the sanctioning bodies so has some catching up to do. It is amazing to see that eldest brother Diego won the WBO super flyweight title back in 1999 that’s 13 years ago.

What is unbeaten prospect Shawn Estrada doing with his weight. Shawn, who lost to James DeGale at the 2008 Olympics, is usually described as a super middle weight. However his last three registered weight for bouts have been 167lbs, 192lbs and this month 185lbs. The young man needs to make his mind up.