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.
As one door closes another door opens, or so they say. It has taken a while but in Floyd Mayweather vs. Saul Alvarez we have an attraction that is proving almost as big a seller as Mayweather vs. Pacquiao might and should have been. The tickets went in record time and huge crowds have been turning out for the drumbeating tour (do you really need a nation-wide tour to sell a fight that is already hot as this?). Financially it is a good deal for both Showtime and Mayweather. Alvarez is being well paid, but his purse will be nothing like as big as Pacquiao was demanding so both Showtime and Mayweather are getting this huge fight for a “bargain” price. Alvarez may not have the world-wide appeal that Pacquiao had, but the Mexican fan base is huge and will buy the show in greater numbers than they would have for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Lose the Filipinos-get the Mexicans-sounds like a good deal. Now don’t anyone mention drug tests please.
Mayweather is the heavy favourite, but for every fighter there is the certainty that if he keeps going eventually, on some night, some guy will just be the right man in the right place. Even the best get old.
You can be sure that Sergio Martinez will want to be at the front of the queue to fight the winner. The Argentinian will not fight again this year as he faces another knee operation and will need to give his injuries time to heal, but he will be ready in 2014. Another fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr would also be a big payday for Martinez. In the meantime he will surrender his WBC title and be declared champion in recess. The second time Martinez has lost his title that way.
I began to wonder whether Alex Povetkin was waiting until Wlad Klitschko was drawing his pension before fighting him. It will finally come about with Povetkin challenging for Wlad’s WBA title (presumably also IBF and WBO also as there will be a nice sanctioning fee to be had). The fight will be on October 5 in Moscow with Vlad agreeing to go to Moscow for the first time for the biggest share of the $23 million plus purse. Povetkin will train with Freddie Roach for the fight but unless Old Father Time catches up with Dr Steelhammer Povetkin will lose. This will be world title fight No 23 for Wlad.
In my Weekly Report I said that Frenchman Hadillah Mohoumadi had won the WBO Europe title. My mistake. It was a twelve round fight but strangely no title seems to have been attached to it.
The EBU reported that purse bidding for Sergio Rabchenko’s defence of his European light middle title against Spaniard Ricardo Veron was won by the Spanish promoter Rimer Box. The winning bid was 90,000 Euros beating Hatton’s promotions bid of 89,660 by just 340 Euros. Hopefully home advantage does not prove critical. If it does Ricky is going to wish he had raided the piggy bank.
In other news on European titles Juergen Braehmer will make a voluntary defence of his European light heavyweight title against Italian Stefano Abatangelo on August 24. Once that is out of the way he is to defend against mandatory challenger Tony Bellew. Negotiations are said to be ongoing on this one. Topsy turvey ratings have Bellew No 1 with the WBC and No 10 with the WBO and Braehmer No 1 with the WBO and No 11 with the WBC. It will be interesting to see if either is prepared to put that world rating on the line.
Still on ratings. After the war of drug test results the WBA have Felix Sturm at No 2 and Sam Soliman is nowhere to be seen. The IBF have Soliman at No 1, so they don’t appear to accept the tests carried out by the BDB, and Sturm at No 3, but the No 2 spot is vacant so effectively Sturm is second highest rated boxer behind Soliman. It is a farcical situation where the IBF had no testing done themselves but have chosen to ignore the test results done at fight time. Soliman’s team had the B sample tested and that was negative which makes the whole testing regime a waste of time.
Sturm returns to action this weekend against unbeaten Predrag Radosevic in Dortmund. A victory for Sturm would cement his place as No 2 in the IBF ratings so in theory he should fight No 1 Soliman in a final eliminator. Somehow I can’t see that working too well. Sturm is promising a better performance this time as he says he had to take off 14lbs for the Soliman fight. Radosevic has 27 wins and is IBF No 4 but his opposition has been poor.
The name Graciano Rocchigiani must still send shivers down the back of anyone associated with the WBC. The German won a huge court settlement against the WBC when they tried to screw him out of their light heavyweight title. Back in 1998 Rocchigiani had won the vacant WBC title by beating Michael Nunn. The WBC had declared the title vacant after champion Roy Jones decided to move up in weight. When Jones recanted his move the WBC then said that Rocchigiani was not the champion but only the interim champion. He sued them and won a $31million settlement. There was no way that the WBC could have paid this sum so Rocchigiani settled for a lesser sum as he would have received nothing if they had dissolved. The “Bad Boy” of German boxing is back in the sport but as a summariser as part of the DMAX team that covered the broadcast of the Gennady Golovkin vs. Matt Macklin fight.
I get the feeling that the WBC are building a fighting fund against ever getting themselves in this position again through sanctioning fees for interim titles, interim interim titles, Silver titles, International Silver titles, Baltic, Lake Eire, the Caspian Sea, Loch Ness (Monster for heavyweights only), Black Sea (but whites can also fight for it), Youth (but over 35’s can fight for it) titles etc. etc. etc.
Going back to Golovkin and Macklin they reportedly received purses of $350,000 for Golovkin and $300,000 for Macklin which if correct would have given Macklin a bigger cut than the challenger normally gets. Good money, but chump change to Mayweather. He can burn more that that in ten minutes in a nightclub.
It is also being said that the great Ukrainian amateur Vasyl Lomachenko has been offered $2 million to turn pro. There are no certainties in this sport but if he does turn pro (fully as opposed to the AIBA’s pro proposal) he must be the nearest thing to a sure bet for a world title.
The AIBA’s proposal to “professionalise” the Olympic boxing has been slammed from all sides. If all Olympians were true amateurs in the original spirit of the Games it would make for a much more level playing field, but even now it is not a level playing field with better facilities and opportunities being available to athletes from countries which can afford to provide them. I am against the AIBA’s plans but let us not be hypocrites. The Olympics are filled with professional sportsmen be it soccer, tennis, basketball etc. so why should boxing be any different. Most elite class boxers are provided with full funding to allow them to train all year round and that is a form of “professionalism”. It is also funny to hear the WBC scream so loudly. They have on a number of occasions stated that they want to institute their own amateur programme in competition to the AIBA, so can they really complain if the AIBA decides to go into professional boxing.
Filipino Denver Cuello seems to have received a bad deal all round from his challenge in Dubai for the WBC strawweight title. Not only did he lose mainly due to a severe arm injury but he is still fighting to get his full purse. The whole financial picture appears to be farcical with champion Xiong Zhao Zhong not receiving his purse and the ring officials were also stiffed. The promoting group are now saying they will pay Cuello’s $24,000 in installments (Zhong was reportedly to receive $60,000). It is a disgrace and the WBC are determined to take serious action over it. When Cuello was unfairly pushed aside so that Zhong could fight for the vacant title I said then that it meant that instead of the 50-50 split he would have received when fighting for the vacant title ,when he did get his shot he would be landed with the challengers end of the purse, so it has been a double financial blow for Cuello.
Whilst the little guys are talking $60,000 Pole Tomasz Adamek is in a different world. Adamek has a fight coming up on August 3 against Tony Grano. In the meantime he has dismissed a challenge from fellow-Pole Krzys Wlodarcek. Adamek has said he would be looking for a $1 million purse which would put him out of Wlodarcek’s league. A pity as it would be a big fight for Poland.
There is talk of Wlodarcek defending his WBC cruiserweight title in Ghana against Brahim Kamoko. It’s the old ratings game again. Having not even been in the top 40 at the turn of the year Kamoko now finds himself at No 13 in the WBC cruiser ratings. He has “earned” this immense improvement going from outside the top 40 to No 13 by beating Pascal Ndomba (12-4-2 for the WBO Africa title!), David Okai (10-6) and George Tevdorashvili (13-7-3). I hope the WBC know what they are doing. I have chronicled before that a doctor in Ghana alleged there were serious defects in Kamoko’s eyesight at time when Kamoko was still being passed as fit to fight. Despite threats from the Ghana Board, as far as I am aware, neither the doctor, nor the newspaper which carried his allegations have ever been sued. I was also made aware that at the same time as the then Ghana Board was denying there was a problem Kamoko’s management was advising that they were prepared to bring a doctor from Germany to Ghana to correct (the non-existent) eye defects. It may be that promise has now been kept or that the allegations were untrue and Kamoko can pass all medical requirements, but I feel the WBC should take steps to reassure themselves on this.
Still on Ghana, the recently elected Board are taking steps to rejuvenate the sport there. They intend to restart the Maltine Boxing League and work with the Street Academy to provide opportunities for young boxers and institute an outreach programme to help boxers in other parts of Ghana to develop their skills. Ghana has produced some great boxers but the next generation need the chance to learn and develop.
One of the countries top prospects is on his way to the United States. Emmanuel “Game Boy” Tagoe has finally obtained a visa and will have his first fight in Cabazon, California on August 9. Tagoe has a 21-1 record. He lost his first pro fight but has won his subsequent 20.
Another story from Ghana has that dream quality. Last month Patrick Allotey retained his WBC International Silver title with a stoppage over Patrick Bogere. That win took Allotey to 28 wins, 22 inside the distance. However, to put that into perspective, only five of his opponents had won more fights that they had lost and 15 had never won a fight. Patrick, buoyed by his success, then said that he wanted to fight Floyd Mayweather. Last week 40-year-old Chad Bennett retained his WBO Asia Pacific and WBA Pan Pacific light welterweight titles and wanted Danny Garcia next. When I was young I wanted Maureen O’Hara and Kim Novak and now it will never happen, but dream on Patrick and Chad, no one can stop you dreaming. I never have. Is it Maureen or Kim tonight?
Upcoming fights will see unbeaten Ukrainian Heavyweight Vyacheslav fighting at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville on August 3 but no opponent named yet. Also on the show will be unbeaten prospects Karl Dargan and Tony Harrison. American heavy hope (their only one!) Deontay Wilder takes on former WBO champion Siarhei Liakhovich on August 9. Let’s see, Liakhovich is 37-years-old, has not fought for 15 months, had only two fights in three years and lost his last two inside the distance. Yep. Ticks all the boxes. Jonathan Romero defends his IBF super bantamweight title against Kiko Martinez on the undercard to the Daniel Geale vs. Darren Barker IBF middleweight title fight in Atlantic City on August 17. That should just about give the IBF enough time to slip Martinez into their next set of ratings-oops! Also on August 18 in Cancun WBC No 1 super feather Sergio Thompson takes on unrated Takashi Miura and in Isla Verde Puerto Rico unbeaten Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez takes a big step up as he faces former WBO/WBA light fly champion Giovani Segura. In September WBA super fly champion Liborio Solis will fight a return with former champion Kohei Kono in Japan. Solis won the title with a majority decision in Tokyo in May. Samoan David Tua gets one more chance at redemption as he tackles Russian giant Alex Ustinov in Hamilton, New Zealand on August 31. The 40-year-old Tua lost on points to Monte Barrett in his last fight in August 2011 but is still an attraction in New Zealand. Ustinov , 36, and 6’7 ½” (202cm) lost his unbeaten record when he was kayoed in eleven rounds by Kubrat Pulev in September. Tua is only 5’10” (178cm). He is used to fighting bigger men, but not this much bigger. September 1 in Verona, New York State, will see Anthony Mundine face unbeaten Puerto Rican Jonathan Gonzalez at middleweight. Second fight in the USA for Mundine, he beat Bronco McKart in Las Vegas last year, and only his fourth fight outside Australia. Strange as I though he had travelled more than that. Gonzalez, 23, has 16 wins and a draw with former WBO light middle champ Serhiy Dzinziruk.
It was Daddy’s day out at the show in Essington, Pennsylvania at the weekend. Former WBA heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon’s son Isiah lost, Tim Witherspoon Jr the son of former WBA and WBC heavyweight champion “Terrible” Tim, won and Tyrone Crawley , the son of former WBA lightweight title challenger Tyrone “Butterfly” Crawley also registered a win.
Boxing South Africa is getting tough. The controlling body down there has declared three national titles vacant stripping Miniyakhe Sityatha of his super fly title, Tshepang Mohale of his light heavyweight title and Wiseman Dlomo of his heavyweight title. All three were said not to have renewed the license which was the reason for the action. Hopefully it will stimulate activity in these divisions.
At the weekend Argentinian Mateo Veron beat Jorge Heiland and was awarded the Eduardo Lausse Trophy. That name will not mean much to today’s fans but Lausse was idolised in Argentina. The now deceased southpaw was suitably nicknamed “KO” and he scored 62 of his 75 wins by KO/TKO. In all he had 87 fights and lost just ten. He fought from 1947 until 1960 and in those days they fought often. He had 18 fights in his eight months as a pro and went on to fight world champions/ world rated guys such as Kid Gavilan (L & W) Ralph Tiger Jones (W), Gene Fullmer (W), Milo Savage (D), Bobby Boyd (L), fellow Argentinian hero Andres Selpa (L & W), Francisco Ubaldo Sacco ((W), Wilf Greaves (W) and Miguel Pigou (L). A national hero. These guys deserve to be remembered so I will try to feature one in each column.
We do have fighters who fight a lot even now. Take the 28-year-old Slovakian Elemir Rafael. In seven years as a pro he has had 96 fights. He had 17 last year and has already had six this year so he is keeping up his frenetic pace. However, he is no Lausse, as his record stands at 25-70-1. I came. I saw, I lost again and again and again…………….