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.
The “Super Six “may have ended, but the melody lingers on. The Carl Froch vs. Mikkel Kessler fight is one to savor. This is a great fight for the division. It has been accepted that the winner has to fight the IBF mandatory challenger Adonis Stevenson within 90 days. The Haiti-born southpaw has looked awesome in destroying Jesus Gonzales, Noe Gonzalez Alcoba and Don George, and a fight, with either Froch or Kessler, is a mouth watering prospect. Whoever emerges from those fights will be waiting in line when Andre Ward returns, and so it goes on. At this moment the IBF are insisting the Froch vs. Kessler fight is held on April 24, but the preferred commercial option is at the O2 in London on May 25.
Pole Mariusz Wach has been handed a one year suspension after testing positive for steroids after his losing effort against Wladimir Klitschko in November. In such a clear-cut case a one year ban in a high profile fight is derisory. It shows again how soft boxing authorities really are on positive tests. Wach will have made the biggest purse of his career for fighting Klitschko, so a one year suspension is no big deal to him, and if he felt like, I am sure there would be a body somewhere would ignore the ban and let him fight.
The WBC has said that Floyd Mayweather Jr. must defend his WBC welterweight title against the interim champion Robert Guerrero to eliminate the duality in the division. However, they noted that a Mayweather vs. Saul Alvarez fight is being talked about for their light middle title. The WBC then talked about Alvarez coming down to 150lbs for the fight, and Mayweather going up to 150lbs. That does not make sense. Provided both fighters are under 154lbs what business is it of the WBC what they weigh. If there is such an agreement then that should be made between the two camps. The WBC weight limit for that division is up to 154lbs, so how can they possibly, within their rules, arbitrarily order Alvarez to come down to 150lbs? What happens if Alvarez comes in at 152lbs and wins the fight. Will they WBC strip him for not making 150lbs? The Mayweather vs. Alvarez fight will only come off if Guerrero agrees to stand aside (that means if he is offered enough money to stand aside) and is guaranteed a fight with the winner.
Out of the same meeting the WBC reportedly advised Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to seek another coach as they feel the Freddie Roach is too busy working with Manny Pacquiao to give enough attention to Chavez. It was stressed that this was only a suggestion, but this is a blatant interference in the contract and relationship between a boxer and a trainer, and again is outside the terms of reference of a sanctioning body. There was also a mealy mouthed attempt to blame one of Chavez’s assistants for stupidly administering a drug to Chavez which contained marijuana resulting in his positive test. What a load of absolute cojones. Perhaps it was the same assistant who wrapped the concrete hands of poor unsuspecting Antonio Margarito.
Jorge Arce has said that he is not retiring-yet. The great little warrior wants to go out on a win so he will have one more fight in Tijuana, and then put away his gloves. Now 32, Arce has taken part in 19 world title fights and 8 interim title fights in divisions from light flyweight to super bantamweight. A truly great warrior and a future Hall of Fame inductee.
Although Shane Mosley is the name in the frame for Paul Malignaggi’s defence of his WBA welterweight title on April 27, that is not nailed down. Malignaggi has been talking about preferring a fight with his No 2 challenger Marcos Maidana. However, Maidana says that he is looking to get a return with Amir Khan. The roundabout goes on. Can’t see why Malignaggi would not want to fight a 41-year-old Mosley who has not won a fight for four years. Take it whilst you can Paul.
The WBO are flexing their muscles. Bob Arum is talking an intriguing fight between Tim Bradley and Yuriorkis Gamboa. However, the WBO are making noises about Bradley defending his title against No 1 challenger Jan Zaveck. Bradley has not made a defence since beating Pacquiao for the WBO title in August. Three thoughts. If it came off and Bradley won-would he even then get some respect? Thought two, Gamboa’s weight when retaining his WBO super feather title in December was 130lbs, the first time he has been over 129lbs since 2009, so what would he weigh against a 147lbs Bradley. Thirdly, Zaveck is said to be fighting unbeaten Keith Thurman on 9 March, and that could be a tall order for him. If he losses it is back to the drawing board-or to Arum’s offer.
The deaths of two Mexican former world champions were reported recently. I say reported as one actually occurred at the beginning of September, but the body was not identified or claimed until this month. That unfortunate was 48-year-old Isidro “Sid” Perez, the former WBO flyweight champion. Perez was struck by a car and killed on September 1. However at the time of his death there was no one who could identify him nor did he have any papers which would reveal his name or any other details. His body remained at a mortuary unclaimed. His family reported him missing in October but was unable to find out what had happened to him. Eventually his body was traced to the mortuary and his identity established by a distinctive tattoo. Perez fought from 1979 until 1997 compiling a 57-9-3 record. He lost only one of his first 42 fights. After winning the Mexican light flyweight title in 1986 he had unsuccessful shots at the WBO light flyweight title losing to Jung-Koo Chang (now a member of the Hall of Fame) in South Korea and Jose De Jesus in Puerto Rico. He moved up to flyweight and won the WBO title in 1990 with a win over Angel Rosario in Puerto Rico. He made two defences, both against Chilean Ali Galvez, before losing the title to Scot Pat Clinton in Glasgow in 1992. He was then inactive for five years before having two more fights and retiring in 1997.
The other fatality was Jesus “Chucho” Castillo who died on January 15 at the age of 68 from a heart attack. Chucho’s career defining moment came in 1970 when he halted Ruben Olivares on a cut in fourteen rounds to win the WBA and WBC bantamweight titles. At the time of the stoppage one judge had Castillo one round ahead (scoring was by rounds not by points) and two had it even. That win for Castillo snapped the unbeaten run of Olivares at 61 wins and one draw. It took me a long time to forgive Castillo for beating my all-time hero. This was the middle fight of a three bout series between these two great Mexican bantams. Olivares won the first and the last, regaining his titles with that victory. Castillo was Mexican bantam champion from 1967 until that world title winning fight against Olivares in 1970. Back in 1968 he had lost a very close and controversial decision over Lionel Rose for the same WBA/WBC titles. The fight was in the old Inglewood Forum and the decision sparked a major riot. Debris was thrown in to the ring, fires were started and cars overturned in the parking lot. After losing the title to Olivares in their return match Chucho still won a couple of fights, but a run of 6 losses in 8 fights saw him retire. His record was 47-18-2 and he had wins over Joe Medal, Bernard Caraballo, Yoshio Nakane, Memo Tellez, Jesus Pimentel, Evan Armstrong, Rafael Herrera, Rogelio Lara and Earl Large. He was a shadow of himself when losing to Enrique Pinder, Bobby Chacon and Danny Lopez at the end of his career.
RIP Sid and Chucho.
News from Australia has Mike Katsidis ready to return. He will fight young Filipino Weng Haya in Melbourne on February 21. The 23-year-old “Captain Barbel” has a 16-5 record. He did not look hot when being floored three times and halted in the fourth round by Jose Ocampo in March last year, but is saleable on the basis of a December 2011 fight in which he had Orlando Salido down twice before himself being stopped. First fight for Katsidis since loss to Albert Mensah in April. The Australian was a light welterweight in that fight whereas Weng is rated No 5 super feather by the GAB.
Still on Australian boxers. Outstanding young amateur Damien Hooper is turning pro. The 20-year-old Indigenous Australian (Aboriginal. Hooper got into trouble at the London Olympics for wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the Aboriginal flag) was a World Youth silver medalist, won a gold medal at the World Youth Olympics, and won the Australian and Oceania titles. His weight was 75/81kgs as an amateur. He got some bad publicity recently after being arrested and charged with obstructing and assaulting police outside a nightclub. Let’s hope he keeps his future fights inside the ring as he looks a real prospect,
Aboriginal rights are still a major subject in Australia. Anthony Mundine only relented today (24th) on a threat he had made to stage a sit-down or turn his back when the Australian national anthem, Advance Australia Fair, was being played at the beginning of his January 30 fight in Sydney with Tasmanian Daniel Geale for the IBF middleweight title. Geale is also Aboriginal, but plans no protest, feeling that Mundine’s proposed demonstration would not help the cause. Mundine had brought the Aboriginal subject to the table by questioning Geale’s Aboriginality.
It is all change in the administration of boxing in Ghana. Following the dissolving of the previous executive board of the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) the National Sports Authority there has now appointed a five-member committee to run the affairs of professional boxing in Ghana. Their brief will be to supervise the election of another GBA and review the constitution. Ghana is an important player in African boxing and has produced a steady stream of world class fighters going all the way back to former Commonwealth champion Floyd Robertson who lost to Sugar Ramos on a split decision for the WBA/WBC world featherweight titles in 1964. Let’s hope the new GBA gets things back on track.
Still on Ghana. Emmanuel Tagoe’s victory over George Ashie not only brought him the WBA International title but also some short term and long term gains. He has signed with Baby-Jets promotion. The outfit is owned by former Sunderland footballer Asamoah Gyan who played for Ghana in the 2010 World Cup, and was also BBC African Player of the Year in 2010. Asamoah also had success as a musician under the name of Baby-Jet. Now he is into promoting boxing and awarded his new signing Tagoe a $45,000 car. It will be good for Ghana if Asamoah runs regular promotions to find new talent.
It is a different boxing world in Africa. I mentioned in a previous Snips piece that Namibia had won the right to promote the March title fight between local fighter Paulus Ambunda and champion Pungluang. It’s been a case of first win the rights and then find the money, so the promoter has launched a fund raising effort with such methods as “win a car” etc. I wish them luck as Pungluang will want to be sure he is going to get paid before putting his title on the line.
At least someone out there is concerned about the dearth of American heavyweights. American promoter Don Elbaum is launching a “Great American Heavyweight Box-Off” tournament which will be spread over three shows. It is still in the planning stage. The fighters so far mentioned as participants are Jason Estrada, Joey Abell, Alonzo Butler, Devin Vargas, Emmanuel Nwodo and Dan Martz. Two other names are to be added to the list but are not yet identified. I can’t see the Klitschko’s losing any sleep over this. Since I am feeling in a nasty mood I would qualify the fighters as follows: Estrada-great amateur, but loses every time he tries to step up as a pro, and at 32 is not going to get any better-Abell is entertaining, but limited, and again, at 31 is not going anywhere-Butler has a good paper record, but only fought two real opponents, and lost to both of them, has not had a fight for 20 months and at 33… (see each of the above)-Vargas, another outstanding former amateur, last fight September 2011 when he was stopped by Andrzej Wawrzyk and at 31…..(see above).-Nwodo a fattened-up cruiserweight with only one fight in the last three years and at 38….(see above)- Martz is the unknown in the group a 6’7 ½” 22-year-old with seven wins, six by KO/TKO. He has had six four round fights and one six round, so, with the inside the distance wins, he has fought less than 17 rounds, all against novices. Not an inspiring bunch. Some of them are so old/ordinary that even Deontay Wilder might fight them. I can’t help but feel that Elbaum will have difficulty getting sponsors and TV money, but you can never count Don out. He was once tackled by newsman after they learned that Don had offered a rated boxer, imported to fight one of the Bizzarro clan, one purse if he won but a much bigger purse if he lost. Some unkind people actually thought that Don was bribing the guy to lose. Don denied it saying the he was sure that his guy was going to win and the other guy would then lose his place in the world rating so his value would go down and all Don was doing was offering to compensate him in advance. On another occasion when he was promoting Sugar Ray Robinson late in the great man’s career Don announced at a press conference that after a great deal of searching he had located the gloves that the great man wore for his first ever professional fight, and then presented the gloves to Ray. It made great press but the fact that Ray found he had been given two left hand gloves took some of the sheen off it. They don’t make them like Don these days and the sport is that much poorer because of it.
Did you notice I had another pop at Deontay Wilder’s “opposition”? From what I have seen Wilder is a real prospect but that felling is built on very tenuous evidence.
Let me lay it out for you by looking at his last six opponents
Mike Greer 35yo one fight in the previous 13 months
Kelvin Price 37yo one fight in the previous 14 months
Damon McCreary 39yo one fight in previous 22 months
Kertson Manswell 36yo lost his three previous fights
Owen Beck 36yo lost his previous eight fights
Jesse Oltmans 37yo one fight in the previous seven years
It does not get much better after that with Marvin Hayes 41, David Long 39, Damon Reeds 39 etc. Okay! I think I have made my point. I hope Wilder actually faces a real opponent so we can all find out just what a talent he is, but judge him by the strength of his opposition and ignore the meaningless 27 consecutive wins inside the distance.
My scoring beef again. What a ridiculous system we have. On Friday in Argentina one judge had Ecuadorian Fernando Angulo the winner by 118-110 and another had local fighter Juan Manuel Bonanni winning 115-113. The weekend before one judge gave the fight to Ronny Rios by 100-90 and another saw Rico Ramos the winner 96-94. A twelve point difference in a ten round fight! Do I have an answer to this madness-no! But it makes a mockery of the way we score fights.
Someone needs to tell Michigan cruiserweight Caleb Grummet to pick on guys his own size. In each of his last two fights he has weighed 210 ½ lbs. His last two opponents have weighed 298lbs and 258 lbs. Luckily Grummet beat the 298lbs guy on points. They would have needed a crane if he knocked the guy out cold.
Top Filipino journalist Joaquin Henson recently did a piece on former WBA bantam and WBC feather champion Luisito “Golden Boy” Espinosa. Whilst Gabriel Elorde and Manny Pacquiao are generally recognized as the great heroes of Filipino boxing Luisito is not too far behind. In a 60 fight career, from 1984 to 2005, Luisito had plenty of big paydays. After winning the WBA bantam title in 1990 he made three defences. He won the WBC feather title in 1995, and made eight defences, before losing the title in 1999. He challenged unsuccessfully for the same WBC title in 2000. In all he took part in 14 world title fights and many other major non-title fights. Luisito must have made a lot of money in his career. Now Henson reports that Luisito’s job is cleaning carpets in a Casino in California and the money is all gone. That is so sad, but there is a part of this story that shows the good side of the boxing community. When Manny Pacquiao is in the USA for a fight he welcomes Luisito into his entourage and helps him with money. Espinosa will need an operation to correct a problem with his left ear and Pacquiao will help with the costs of that operation.