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.
Nothing is certain in boxing as promoter Eddie Hearn is finding out with Devon Alexander initially pulling out of his defence of his IBF title against Kell Brook claiming an injured bicep. These things happen-no big deal. At least not until WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr tells his audience on Twitter that a deal is nearly completed for Mayweather to fight Alexander in a unification match. Naturally Hearn is incandescent with rage, particularly as they have a signed contract for Alexander vs. Brook. If Mayweather vs. Alexander goes ahead Hearn will not just roll over. There has to be the possibility of suing Alexander for breach of contract-and maybe even Mayweather for interference in that contract. If the IBF do not support Brook then they too could be in the firing line. In theory the IBF should strip Alexander of his title for failing to defend against his mandatory challenger, particularly as Brook won a final eliminator. There has not been any mention of stand aside money, but that is not what Hearn wants. He wants the contracted fight, Alexander vs. Brook for the IBF title. If Alexander is stripped of his IBF title will the match still appeal to Mayweather as it is not a unification match and Alexander is hardly an “A” list name? If Alexander is stripped the list of potential opponents for Brook in a fight for the vacant title also lacks any "A" list names. The IBF ratings, in order of appearance, reads Jan Zaveck, Rafal Jackiewicz (already beaten by Brook), Randall Bailey(convincingly beaten by Alexander), Naoufel Ben Rabah (stopped by Lovemore Ndou, and done nothing since), Carson Jones ( a possibility after giving Brook a fright in July) and Hector Saldavia (who Brook destroyed in October in a final eliminator). Right now I guess Hearn is not interested in a vacant title fight, and who can blame him.
Tim” Cinderella” Bradley will defend his WBO welterweight title against Ruslan Provodnikov on March 16 in Carson City. The WBO web site proudly announces this fight between Bradley and his No2 contender Provodnikov. Only one small problem. The WBO ratings, posted on 10 January, the most recent on the web site, do not list Provodnikov anywhere in the top 15 welterweights. Provodnikov is actually No 2 at light welterweight. Of course another set of ratings are imminent where Mr. Provodnikov can suddenly become No 2 welterweight. That would mean downgrading the current No 2 Manny Pacquiao. A tricky one that. I call Bradley Cinderella because he is never invited to the ball. Whilst Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr talk millions Bradley finds himself in a fight which will be a hard sell, and a million miles away from a million dollar purse. Poor Cinders needs a fairy godmother.
Vitali Klitschko’s next opponent could be a politician. Klitschko is still heavily involved in politics in the Ukraine. The position in the country is very fluid with the possibility of an early election. If that transpires then Klitschko will put his country first. If it does not happen then he will defend his WBC title before the summer. Brother Wladimir is due to defend his IBF/WBA/WBO titles on April 6 with the names of Bryant Jennings, Luis Ortiz and Odlanier Solis being tossed around.
Alex Povetkin, who holds the WBA secondary title, is protesting the April 6 defence as none of Klitschko’s last three opponents have been mandatory defences, yet the WBA are allowing him another voluntary defence. Povetkin is threatening to take the WBA to court to stop the fight. The WBA have told Povetkin that if Klitschko wins the voluntary fight then the normal champion/challenger split of 75/25 will apply. However, if Klitschko loses (i.e. breaks a leg in the fight-the only way he will lose) then Povetkin would get a 50/50 split with the new champion. Povetkin would be an idiot to accept that deal so we shall see if he goes through with his court action.
The WBA is not having a good time where court actions are concerned. The European Boxing Association (EBA) is suing the WBA for 1.5 million Euro. The EBU has never at heart really been committed to any sanctioning body except the WBC. There was no enthusiasm within the WBA to have a WBA Europe which would have cut across the powerful EBU. Instead of setting up their own organisation the WBA encouraged the EBA to set up an organisation to represent them in Europe and give them a foothold there. My feeling is that over time some within the WBA became unhappy over this. The net result seems to have been that after 14 years of this relationship in 2011 the WBA decided to no longer work EBA and instructed their European officials to not work on EBA fights. The action has been entered in the Federal Court in Spain claiming damages arising from that WBA decision. Sanctioning bodies fighting each other.
Now there’s an idea. A Super 4 for sanctioning bodies between Jose (Suleiman), Gilberto (Mendoza), Francisco (Valcarcel) and Darly (Peoples). The winner’s organisation gets to be recognised as the only sanction body running world boxing. Dream on. Before the winner had even been presented with his trophy the other three would already be saying that it was all a misunderstanding and they were going to continue in existence-for the good of boxing!
I thought that Boxing South Africa had hit rock bottom in stupidity. Unfortunately they are still digging downwards. Their latest beauty is that the national champions will decide who promotes their title fights, and this will be done through purse bids. Note-the fighter-not his manager. That has implications on all sorts of levels. Firstly it impinges on the contractual obligations of a manager towards his fighter by taking out of his hands the decision on which promoter to work with and negotiating purses. Almost certainly the boxer will have no experience in reviewing bids and very little knowledge of the commercial realities of promoting. The act covering boxing in South Africa allows for purse bids when there is a dispute over purses. There is no call in the Act for purse offers for every title fight. It makes it impossible for TV to know who to talk to about a fight, and without TV, the purses will be abysmal. There is however a danger of TV deciding to work only with one promoter and with their backing he would win all the purse bidding and establish a monopoly. However, abysmal purse or not, if there is only one bid, even for a voluntary defence, no matter how bad that bid, the fighter will have no choice but to accept or be stripped of the title. In totally changing the whole commercial basis on which boxing has relied since its inception BSA are not just throwing the baby out with the bathwater, they are throwing the whole family out in the shape of the promoters and managers and TV. They are the commercial lifeblood of sport in every country.
There are already signs of disquiet with many promoters going into writing with their concerns. There are really only two promoters in South Africa with extensive experience of promoting at a world level, Branco Milenkovic, twice voted Promoter of the Year by the IBF, and Rodney Berman who has whole list of world title fights on his CV. Milenkovic is taking the BSA to court and Berman is putting a big, world class, show on March 30-in Monte Carlo. The shape of things to come!
Berman’s show in Monte Carlo features a tournament with Eduardo Rodriguez –WBC No 2 super middle-against Ezequiel Maderna-WBO No 5 super middleweight-Zsolt Erdei-not currently rated due to inactivity, but unbeaten in 33 fights and a former undefeated WBO light heavyweight and WBC cruiserweight champion, against Dennis Grachev-WBC No 6 light heavy who lost on points against Lucien Bute for the NABF title in November. The winners of the two fights will face each other on July 13 with the winner getting 60% and the loser 40% of a million dollar purse. Also on the March show Gennady Golovkin is to defend his WBA middle title against Nobuhiro Ishida. Naturally Ishida was dropped out of the WBA rating after two consecutive losses but as this is the WBA he naturally is back in at No 15 to safeguard a sanctioning fee.
Golovkin has made an offer to Felix Sturm to fight the former WBA champion in Germany with a 50/50 purse slip. Sturm has not responded but he will not get a much better offer than that. Particularly as Golovkin is entitled to demand a 75/25 split.
Boxing really is the antitheses of “No Place for Old Men”. Later this month in Gdansk 45-year-old Andy Golota will fight the relative youngster Przemyslaw Saleta. Saleta will not be 45 until… March! I guess this is ok as long as both hang up their gloves afterwards. On the same show heavyweight Artur Szpilka faces Krzys Zimmoch. May be interesting. Szpilka was floored twice by Mike Mollo at the weekend, and Zimmoch has won 10 of his 14 fights by KO/TKO.
So sad to read of the death of Omar Henry from cancer of the gallbladder. I had followed his progress through the amateurs. He was a four-time Texas Golden Gloves champion, but just came up short in the 2007 National Golden Gloves and US championships. As a pro he won 7 of his first 8 fights inside a round. He had moved up to ten round bouts in June, but was never to get the chance to progress further. Dead at just 25. A loss to his family and to boxing.
There were other deaths recently. Former French amateur champion Malik Cherchari died on January 26. He was French amateur champion in 1996 and runner-up in 1998. He turned pro in 2000 and retired in March 2005, losing only one of his 17 bouts, a defeat in five rounds by Brice Faradji for the French welterweight title. The other was Russian Vladimir Yengibaryan. Vlad won a gold medal at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne at 63.5kg; in addition Vlad was European amateur champion in 1957 and 1959 and USSR champion in 1955/56/58. When he stopped boxing he became head of the Armenian Boxing Academy eventually moving to the USA and becoming a member of the AIBA Judges Committee. Vlad died at the age of 81 in Los Angeles.
I have been watching with interest to see whether the Morales (Erik, Diego, Ivan) would beat the Kameda’s (Koki, Daiki, Tomoki) to becoming the first family to have three brothers win world titles. There is another family, the Molina’s, who are very much outsiders, but also have that chance. The eldest brother, Carlos, blew his big chance to give the family a start losing on a stoppage against Amir Khan in December, giving him a 17-1-1 record. The other two brothers are the twins Javier and Oscar. Javier was a top amateur on the US scene. He lost to Bradley Saunders at the 2007 World Championships, but won a gold medal at the 2007 US Championships beating Karl Dargan, Danny O’Connor, and Brad Solomon. He went on to win the US Trials for the 2008 Olympics beating O’Connor again and Danny Garcia. He failed to win a medal in Beijing and turned pro in 2009. He has won 12 of his 13 fights, losing to Artemio Reyes. Oscar took a different route as an amateur representing Mexico in major competitions. He won the Mexican national title, took a gold medal at the World Junior Championships and a silver medal at the Pan-American Games. Oscar made it to the London Olympics but also failed to win a medal. He made his debut as a pro last month. Carlos is with Golden Boy and Javier and Oscar with Goossen Tutor. If Oscar and Javier do win world titles will that be the first twins to do so?
Yuriorkis Gamboa was allegedly seen going into an anti-aging clinic with the inference being that he was that he was looking for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s). From my perspective I would think that the most popular PED’s there would be Viagra. So it could have been innocent, perhaps he just wanted to have more than just a stiff left jab.
If you were a manager/promoter and were offered the rights to a fighter who was 6-5-1 in his first ten fights, with four of those losses coming by KO/TKO , would politely decline-and have turned away future IBF and WBO featherweight champion Orlando Salido. You just never can tell how things are going to work out.
Looking at the ratings for the sanctioning bodies is either good for a laugh or cause to hold your hands in despair. I looked at the heavyweight to start with. . One thing that bastardises the rating is this policy of giving someone a high rating for winning one of the minor titles. I looked at the heavyweights where the classic example is 41-year-old Jovo Pudar who has never beaten a rated fighter but is No 6 with the WBA because he is their PABA champion. Another WBA bit of screwed logic is to bring in Travis Kauffman at 14 when he has not had a fight for five months-and they can’t even spell his name. They have British fighter Richard Towers at No 13, but no David Price or Tyson Fury. Fres Oquendo has climbed to No 5. He got his rating initially for beating Joey Abell for the WBA Fedlatin title. The IBF have been very kind to Price as he goes from No 14 to No 8 without having a fight in that period and Alex Dimitrenko goes from 15 to 10 for beating an unrated guy with a11-4 record. According to the WBO the No 12 heavyweight is Christian Hammer, who earned his rating with a victory over Danny Williams in a fight for the WBO European title!
I looked only very briefly at a couple of items such as British light heavyweight Neil Dawson at WBO No 12 for winning the WBO International title, when the EBU don’t even rate him in the top 20. The WBC has Cuban Umberto Savigne at No 11 for beating 41-year-old Richard Hall to win the WBC Fecarbox title. Can’t understand how the ratings committee stood for that in the Convention. Dominik Britsch is No 12 middleweight with the IBF, but no sign of Roberto Santos was halted Britsch in nine rounds in September. Swede Badou Jack is WBA No 10 super middleweight, even though he has never fought a ten round fight, and only twice been in bouts scheduled for eight rounds. Irish middleweight champion Gary O’Sullivan was given a No 10 spot at middleweight for winning the WBO International title in July, and without having a fight in the last six months he is now No 4. If he can stay out of the ring for another six months he could be No 1. The worst case of all is in the WBA light heavyweights. Their No 1 is Gayrat Amedov. He was placed at No 1 in their October 2011 ratings. In the intervening 19 months he has had one fight. That was seven months ago when he beat a guy with a 5-3-1 record-and he is still No 1.
More scoring debacles. Fernando Angulo fights Juan M Bonanni in Argentina ands one judge sees it 118-108 for the visitor and a local judge sees it 113-115. A difference of twelve points in a twelve round fight. Danny O’Connor gets a majority decision over Derek Silveira and one judge sees O’Connor winning by 100-89 and another judge has it a draw at 95-95. It’s a mad, mad boxing world