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.
Horror, shock! The Tim Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Marquez fight ended on a split decision. I held my head in my hands and thought “not another 5 bout series”. I couldn’t take any more. I really do feel for Bradley. Few fighters can have beaten such an impressive list of opponent and garnered so little praise for doing so. He got more good publicity out of the life or death struggle against Ruslan Provodnikov than he has out of beating Manny Pacquiao, Lamont Peterson or Devon Alexander and that’s because against Provodnikov fought like a no-brained slugger instead of boxing intelligently to a game plan. It is almost a case of him getting an A+ for tactics against Marquez and a C for entertainment and a C for tactics against Provodnikov and an A+ for entertainment. Tactics win fights but entertainment pays better, just look at the figures below.
Nevada Commission released the purses for the Bradley vs. Marquez show which were as follows: Marquez $6 million, Bradley $4.1 million, Salido $100,000, Cruz $65,000, Lomachenko $100, 000, Ramirez $25,000, Monaghan $60,000 and Caputo-Smith $20,000
Wladimir Klitschko should be a former heavyweight champion and he would have been if British referee Mark Green had been officiating. Klitschko’s tactic over the closing rounds against Alex Povetkin of leaning on top of Povetkin and forcing him downwards should have gotten him disqualified. Instead a weak referee took away a point in the eleventh and then for three minutes in the twelfth allowed Klitschko to carry out the same illegal tactics time and again without taking any action. Povetkin was not going to win. He was too far behind and lacked the power, but when he did land some punches in the last round Klitschko looked confused and startled so who can be 100% sure. Back in September Green applied the rules and in the ninth round deducted a point from Kid Galahad for pulling James Dickens’s head down and made it clear that it was a last warning. You were left with no doubt that Green would have disqualified Galahad if he had persisted. Klitschko committed that same foul more in any 30 seconds of that last round than Galahad had in the nine rounds of his fight. A point deduction is supposed to be the final sanction prior to disqualification, but Luis Pabon chickened out and let Klitschko foul away for another three minutes.
A different set of rules do seem to apply to the two big Ukrainians. Brother Vitali has not defended his WBC title for 13 months. Bermane Stiverne won an eliminator in June 2011and beat No 1 Chris Arreola in April but is just being given the run around by the WBC. Vitali is not injured so there are no grounds for the WBC sitting on their hands and giving Vitali “hands off” treatment when they are quick enough to warn other champions who do not defend.
Talk of Vasyl Lomachenko facing Memo Rigondeaux throws up the possibility of two of the greatest amateurs of all time coming together. Cuban Rigondeaux was Olympic champion in 2000 and 2004 and world champion in 2001 and 2005 and was Panamanian champion in 2003. Lomachenko was Olympic champion in 2008 and 2012 and world champion in 2009 and 2011 and European champion in 2008. To think, if they had met as amateurs we could have seen the fight for nothing and they would have been paid that-nothing. I guess the name of Russia’s Albert Selimov will be hidden away as a question for some boxing trivia quiz. Lomachenko had a 396-1 record as an amateur-who beat him? It was Selimov at the 2007 World Championships, but Lomachenko got his revenge at the 2008 Olympics and in the World Series of Boxing.
If Lomachenko does not win a world title in his second fight then the best he can do is to equal the current record. Thai Saensak Muangsurin won the WBC light welterweight title in 1975 by stopping Pedro Fernandez. It was Muangsurin’s third fight. He was a top class Muay Thai fighter who ran out of opposition. He was used to huge paydays in Muay Thai so had no interest in a long learning process at boxing and went straight to the top.
Of course the Olympics and amateurism remain a hot topic with the AIBA running their own professional team. As I have said before the Olympics are no longer an amateur event. Almost every Olympic sport is either contested between professionals-tennis, football-basketball etc are all competed for by competitors who are not just amateurs, but in many case sports millionaires. Even most of the boxers are “paid” as part of an elite athlete team so let’s not pretend that the Olympics are for amateurs. What I do object to about the AIBA scheme is that fighters who sign up with their professional contracts will still be able to compete at the Olympics but guys such as Lomachenko who sign with other promoters will not be. That is hypocritical!
Sergio Martinez has an important date on October 16. The WBC middleweight champion will meet the Pope in the Vatican City. He will be the first active fighter to be so honoured since Muhammad Ali.
Junior Moar won the vacant Canadian light heavyweight title in Winnipeg at the weekend. It was his first fight in his birth city. Moar was well received, and well supported. His history there was pretty bad. He ran with a wild crowd, got involved ina gun spree and ended up in solitary confinement at Stony Mountain Institution for 27 months. Strangely it was advice from some Hell’s Angels in a halfway house that put him right and he left Winnipeg for points east. He now travels giving speeches to youngsters trying to help them avoid the mistakes he made.
I see that those nasty Argentinian promoters caught the WBA out again. In July Ricardo Nunez was not rated by the WBA then a promoter makes a fight between flyweight champion Juan Carlos Reveco and Nunez and they have to go to all of the trouble of suddenly deciding he deserves to be their No 11. Can you imagine how much of an inconvenience this would cause if the WBA had principles? Thankfully those are not a job requirement.
The WBC rating of Panamanian Manuel Vides is not quite in the same class. More puzzling than dishonest. In April this year Vides was No 11 super flyweight. He had a fight in May beating Carlos Osorio (10-2). In July he is No 6, August No 4 and September No 3. It might look better if he had actually fought between May and September, but not fighting seems to be the key to promotion.
Back to the WBA. Paul Spadafora must consider himself lucky to be fighting for the interim WBA light welter title against Johann Perez at the end of next month. Back in 2004 his career came to a grinding halt when he shot his girlfriend in the stomach. He served his time. He tried to resurrect his career but spasmodically with one fight each in 2006, 2007 and 2008, two in 2009 and two in 2010. He was then inactive for 21 months. Since his return in August 2012 he has beaten Humberto Toledo, Solomon Egberime and Robert Frankel and yet he now sits at No 6 in the WBA ratings. What a farce.
I am sad to see Frank Maloney bowing out of boxing. He did a great deal to establish and progress the career of so many top boxers. Lennox Lewis is the obvious but he got just as much pleasure out of working with other heavyweights such as Julius Francis and James Oyebola. He added colour to the scene and worked hard and passionately for his boxers. He was someone I did not have a great deal of direct contact with, but someone I instinctively liked and trusted-even if he did get me the sack from the WBC, but that’s another story. Sorry to see you go Frank.
One British promoter very much still active is Chris Sanigar. Chris never stops working and it is nice to see that he has a show with two British title fights. On 8 November in Bristol Dean Francis and Bob Ajisafe will contest the vacant British light heavyweight title and Lee Haskins defends his British bantamweight title against Jason Booth. Chris builds and uses local fighters and goes with no TV. A hero.
Boxing South Africa (BSA)just seems to skid from banana skin to banana skin. There was supposed to be a benevolent fund to aid boxers with hospital expenses suffered in a fight. It appears that this fund was closed down when the BSA was put in place in 2001. Since then BSA have had an insurance policy in place to cover death, disability or hospitalization up to about $1000. It seems that many boxers did know the funds was no longer in existence particularly as they were still having 1.5% deducted from their purses to pay for the fund. Now the BSA are saying they are considering backing out of any insurance for boxers and will be telling boxers to make their own arrangements. They still have their knickers in a twist over the broadcasting rights. At the recent indaba ( a conference of principle men) had various BSA officials denying that they were going to address the matter of broadcasting rights and then making a presentation saying that the BSA intended to take the broadcasting rights to themselves.
BSA are also being threatened with legal challenge by oldie Dingaan Thobela. The former WBO and WBA lightweight title was planning a return back in 2011and had a fight set up but claims he was refused a license with BSA quoting their Rule 3 which says “a boxer who is over 35 years of age must have fought within 12 months [of the application] in order to be relicensed, otherwise the license will not be renewed," Sounds a good, safety rule. Only problem is that on October 5 Anton Nel won the vacant South African heavyweight title by beating Hein van Bosch. Nel is 45 and had not fought for 30 months and van Bosch, 43, had not fought for 15 months. Seems like Thobela has a case.
Still on South Africa Jeffrey Mathebula will get first shot at Kiko Martinez as he challenges Martinez for the IBF super bantam title in Alicante on 21 December. Not so good for South Africa was the short notice pull-out of Spanish-based Romanian Silvio Olteanu who was to have challenged Moruti Mthalane for the IBF flyweight title on the Leipzig show this weekend. This is the second postponement and the South African’s are very suspicious but can do nothing. Mthalane has not fought since September 2012 and is back in limbo.
The scoring in the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs. Brain Vera fight proved very controversial. Two of the judges scored for Chavez, one by 6 points and one by 4. Both judges were experienced judges of good repute but who seem to have seen a different fight from the press and even to an extent from each other. The problem is that how a round is scored is in the eye of the beholder. One viewer can see it one way and someone else see it totally differently. You can say to a judge you got it totally wrong-but that is opinion-it is not fact. If a judge says in honesty he scored it the way he saw it and has a record of being an honest experienced man then perhaps you blame the process and not the man. It is not a new problem, it has existed since scoring boxing came in and will continue to be a problem which sacking or pillorying one judge will not solve. The Chavez vs. Vera scoring was just one example. At the weekend Rod Salka beat Ryan Belasco. One judge seeing Salka the winner by 99-91 and another having it 96-94 to Salka. In Harris vs. O’Connor we had one judge seeing Vivian Harris winning by 99-91 and another seeing Danny O’Connor winning 100-90 and the third judge seeing it 96-94 to Harris. You can’t make sense of it because there is no sense in the way we judge fights. Incidentally CompuBox had Vera scoring 176 punches to 125 by Chavez but heaven help anyone who tries to suggest we should score fights on a more sensible basis.
The Briscoe Awards were handed out in Philadelphia on Sunday. They acknowledge the best of the Philadelphia Fight Scene for 2012. Danny Garcia took Fighter of the Year for the second year in a row and Bryant Jennings vs., Maurice Byram was Fight of the Year. Jennings also landed the Prospect of the Year for his achievements in 2012. Jesse Hart was Rookie of the Year, Rasheem Brown was Amateur of the Year, Garrett Wilson got “KO of the Year” and the Everett Brother’s Award went to amateur Stephen Fulton. The Briscoe medal went to Steve Cunningham for the Performance of the Year in his losing fight against Tomasz Adamek. Philly is not the fight city it once was, but there is still some quality there.
Upcoming fights: 23 October Shane Mosley vs. Anthony Mundine Jr, 28 October Tijuana Miguel Vasquez defends his IBF title against Ammeth Diaz with Daniel Rosas against Juan Alberto Rosas at bantam. When Vazquez defended the same title against Diaz in January 2012 he won by 13, 13 and 11 on the three cards! 9 November Tommy Oosthuizen defends his IBO title against Ezequiel Maderna. 16 November Verona Tomasz Adamek vs. Vyacheslav Glazkov, 16 November James De Gale vs. Dyah Davis, 23 November Bamburg Germany Yoan Pablo Hernandez defends his IBF cruiser title against Alex Alekseev. 16 November Antonio Tarver returns vs. Mike Sheppherd. 30 November Devon Alexander defends his IBF welter title against Shawn Porter, November 30 Derrick Chisora defends his European title vs. Arnold Gjergjal. 7 December Atlantic City Zab Judah vs. Paul Malignaggi, Erislandy Lara vs. Austin Trout, Sakio Bika vs. Anthony Dirrell a great show.7 December, Atlantic City Memo Rigondeaux vs. Joseph Agbeko for the Cuban’s WBA and WBO titles, also on the show James Kirkland returns against unbeaten Glenn Tapia and also the first pro fight for 2012 Olympic 81kg champion Egon Mekhontsev from Russia and unbeaten Jesses Hart also on the show. 14 December Adrien Broner vs. Marcos Maidana, Carlos Molina vs. Victor Ortiz, Keith Thurman vs. Jesus Soto Karass and Alfredo Angulo vs. Jorge Melendez.
It has been good to see some recent recognition given to the “Journeyman’s Club of Great Britain”. Carl Froch singled out theses guys for special praise and Johnny Greaves received plenty of press space as he marked fight No 100 , and his last, with a win. Johnny had a 4-96 record which looks awful on paper but he only lost 12 of those fights inside the distance. Britain is lucky to have a good number of journeyman who will step in at short notice against anyone. Froch stressed how important these guys were both to promoters scrambling to stop a show falling apart and young fighters learning their trade. Those in the Club have very poor records on paper but the secret to their popularity with promoters, managers and punters is that they go the distance giving value to the public and useful experience to young fighters. They don’t get paid a lot, they don’t get to travel 1st class or stay at the best hotels. They stuff their gear in a bag and just get there. Lasting the distance is key. If you get stopped then you get a suspension and are not available and lose out on some paydays. I have seen many of them in action and I can’t count the times I have seen one put down. I usually mumble to myself “don’t get up, you’ve earned your pay and getting up will only mean more pain” and yet they do get up. Pride and pay may be the impetus but it also takes guts to walk into more punishment. I won’t name them all but here is just a representative sample: Carl Allen 19-109-7 18 losses by KO/TKO, Dan Carr 2-43-2 1 loss by KO/TKO, Ryan Clark 5-54-4 3 losses by KO/TKO, Kristian Laight 7-160-7 4 losses by KO/TKO, Kevin McCauley 11-60-3 9 losses by KO/TKO, Jason Nesbitt 9-168-4 (14 losses by KO/TKO), Ibrar Riyaz 4-47-1 2 losses by KO/TKO, Delroy Spencer 14-155-3 16 losses by KO/TKO, William Warburton 10-52-3 2 losses by KO/TKO, and so many more. Thanks guys the sport could not exist without you.
I am starting to feel that nicknames should be licensed. There are a lot of guys nicknamed “Sugar” who are bringing the nickname into disrepute. There are 30-year-old plus guys walking around with “Baby” or “Kid” as their nickname of choice and some “KO”, “Thunder”, “Killer” , guys who could not break an egg and some “Lightning” who are slower than I am when getting my wallet out. Nicknames should be subject to annual review and withdrawn if the fighter fails to live up to it. Not sure what to do about Juan Jose “Goofy” Montes, perhaps an intelligence test or get the Disney organisation on to him. Two that I would go after straight away are Alberto “Baby Dynamite” Herrera a 32-year-old with 5 wins by KO/TKO in his 20 fights and Octavio “Pacquiao” Abrego-come on guys!
I get confused very easily-it is an age thing-so I keep asking myself when is a knockout not a knockout? To me a kayo was when a fighter had the full ten counted over him, but it is also being listed as a kayo when the referee waives or halts the count. Any thoughts?