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.
Talk is of Wlad Klitschko defending his titles against Alex Leapai on 26 April and it is not difficult to get excited about it-it’s impossible. The Samoan is 6’0” (183cm) with a 75” (190cm) reach. Wlad is 6’6” (198cm) tall with an 81” (206cm) reach. Just looking at them in their corners will be enough to rule it a mismatch. The fact that Leapai was battered to defeat in nine rounds by Kevin Johnson just makes it worse. The whole problem arises because the stupid WBO rated Denis Boystov No 1. This despite Boystov never having faced a single fighter in their top 15 at any time. Going back to 2011 he has beaten Matt Greer, Darnell Wilson, Samir Kutagic and Olek Nesterenko. Those 4 wins in two years were enough for the We’re Blinkered Organisation to rate him No 1 which would be laughable if it had not resulted in Leapai beating Boystov and Wlad facing a mandatory challenge from a guy with slim to no chance of winning. Best of luck to Leapai, he will get a career best purse and other assignments as a former world title challenger and I am sure will give his best. However, things like this hurt the credibility of the heavyweight division and the sport. No wonder the heavyweight division, once the pearl in the oyster, is now boxing's glass bead.
It will be interesting to see how the IBF will react. The WBA were quick off the mark. Even though they did not rate Boystov they have now ranked Leapai No 11 so sanction fee protection in place. The IBF also did not rate Boystov in their December ratings (posted 14 January, the Leapai vs. Boystov fight took place in November) so they can either now slip him in or refuse to recognize the fight as a title fight. Roll on the February ratings when the magic carpet will float Alex into the top 15-sanctiong fee assured.
The WBC title is vacant so they have no interest in a sanctioning fee for this fight and don’t have to “adjust” their ratings, but they have nothing to shout about as in December 2012 they somehow had Boystov at No 3. It is also interesting with the WBC to compare the fates of Boystov and Deontay Wilder. In the same December ratings Wilder was No 39 in the WBC top 40. By March 2013 Boystov had slipped to No 35 and Wilder edged up to No 31. By July 2013 Boystov was down at 28 but still above Wilder who was No 30. In April 2013 Wilder beat Audley Harrison-not in the WBC top 40, and in August beat Siarhei Liakhovich, also not in the top 40. Hey presto! In December he is No 3. Heaven knows what they would have done if he had actually beaten a rated fighter (which he never has). Probably made him super champion, silver, diamond, and platinum, emeritus for life.
It really is a merry-go-round further down with Amir Khan looking to be the next dance partner for Floyd Mayweather, Marcos Maidana wanting a return with Khan, Broner wanting, and apparently through a return bout clause (which I though were no longer valid) getting a return with Maidana, Tim Bradley ready to fight anyone, Manny Pacquiao not wanting to fight Ruslan Provodnikov or Maidana and Juan Manuel Marquez feeling the same. What we need to do is just put the names in a hat and have a draw. Yes, but will it be a Showtime hat or an HBO hat or Golden Boy hat or a Top rank hat. I have a headache.
Andre Ward is looking to get back into action but right now the action he is getting is a lawsuit as he tries to part ways with his career long promoter Dan Goossen. Let’s hope it gets sorted soon as we need Ward back in action.
What do Yoan Pablo Hernandez, Adonis Stevenson, Chad Dawson, Sergio Martinez, Erislandy Lara, Demetrius Andrade, Austin Trout, Corey Spinks, Manny Pacquiao, Robert Guerrero, Devon Alexander, Khabib Allakhverdiev, Antonio DeMarco, Takahiro Ao, Takashi Miura, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Juan Manuel Lopez, Akifumi Shimoda, Hozumi Hasegawa, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Cris Mijares, Vic Darchinyan, Hugo Cazares, Shinsuke Yamanaka, Anselmo Moreno, Koki Kameda, Omar Narvaez, Srisaket, Juan Carlos Sanchez, Oleydong, Toshiyuki Igarashi, Rodrigo Guerrero, Pongsaklek, Giovani Segura, Hernan Marquez, Nkosinathi Joyi and Raul and Ramon Garcia have in common? Well they are all either current or former world champions as recognised by the four major sanctioning bodies. The other thing these 38 have in common is that they are all southpaws. Boxing’s attitude to southpaws has changed so much that southpaw champions are not a rare species. However it was not always that way. At one time southpaws were discriminated against. One world champion opined that “all southpaws should be strangled at birth”. No one wanted to fight a southpaw and that had a knock on effect as with no one wanting to fight a southpaw there was no call for southpaw sparring partners. If a southpaw walked into a gym in the 20’s, 30’s 40’s or 50’s the first thing that they would work on was changing him to orthodox-change or starve. Between 1914, when Al McCoy won the world middleweight title by knocking out George Chip, until the end of 1959, 45 years later, there had only been 13 world champions who were southpaws. The sudden emergence from the cupboard of southpaws is relatively recent. There were only another 7 crowned in the 1960’s, 19 in the 1970’s and then an explosion to 43 in the 1980’s, 64 in the 1990’s and so far 74 in this current decade. This only counts those winning their first title as many have gone on to win multiple titles. Certain the proliferation of titles has meant more opportunities for all boxers but it is still puzzling how they have gone from pariahs to profligacy.
I was sorry too read about the death at 71 of Larry Middleton. I met Larry-and his trainer/manager Mack Lewis when he came over to London to fight Jerry Quarry in a world title eliminator in 1972. Larry was a gentleman, classy stylist with a good punch and came within a whisker of getting a world title shot. After beating guys such as Joe Bugner, Tony Doyle, Danny McAlinden and Bob Stallings he was matched with Quarry in May 1972 in what was billed as an title eliminator. Quarry won by the narrowest of margins and just 7 weeks later lost to Muhammad Ali for the NABF title but never did get that title promised shot. Larry was 20-1-1 before fighting Quarry and although he went on to kayo Jack O’Halloran and draw with Jimmy Ellis they were the only bright spots in a run of 8 losses in his last 12 fights in which he faced Ron Lyle twice, Oscar Bonavena, Duane Bobick, Scott Ledoux, Ken Norton and others in a 23-10-2 record. After retiring Larrycampaigned against violence and drug activity in the Murphy Homes in his hometown of Baltimore in the late 1980s, and founded "The Middleton Program" and "Operation Champ" programs to keep youths off the streets. RIP Larry
Upcoming EBU title fights will see Lee Selby against Rendall Munroe for the vacant feather title in Cardiff on February 1, Devis Boschiero risking his super fly title and his WBC No 1 rating against unbeaten French hope Romain Jacob from the famous Calais fighting family. Romain is the grandson of bantamweight Jacques Jacob who fought guys such as Pierre Rossi, Rene Libeer, Walter McGowan, Salvatore Burruni, Ernesto Miranda, Franco Zurlo, Fritz Chervet etc. and the son of former WBC super bantamweight champion Thierry Jacob. February 15 in London sees Derek Chisora face unbeaten Andriy Rudenko, curiously despite his 24 wins Rudenko has never fought in a ten round fight. March 15 will see Grigory Drozd defending the cruiserweight title against Frenchman Jeremy Ouanna in Moscow and Nadjib Mohammedi faces challenger Igor Mikhalkin in Martigues. A good bantamweight fight will see Karim Guerfi defending his title against Ricky Hatton team’s Zhanat Zhakiyanov but no date or venue yet. The EBU title fights continue to be of the highest quality.
Bouts to look forward to: 25 January in Bethlehem heavy Travis Kauffman (27-1) takes on Vince Thompson (13-1). Kauffman has been wrapped in cotton wool since being kayoed by Tony Grano in 2009 but is somehow the WBA No 10. The switch hitting southpaw Thompson might give him some problems. On the same night Mikey Garcia defends his WBO super feather title against Juan Carlos Burgos. Juan Carlos is lucky to get the shot after only managing a split draw against Yakubu Amidu in his last fight. Bryant Jennings is own to fight Artur Szpilka on the show but the pole was turned back by Homeland Security on arrival at O’Hare airport and is back in Poland waiting for things to be sorted out. He has fought in the USA six times, twice in Chicago, so hopefully it will get resolved. Another show that night sees Derric Rossy take on Joe Dawejko in Atlantic City. Heavyweight Dawejko was looked on as a good prospect after impressing as an amateur, but has lost his way
Good Dublin show shaping up for February 15 with former WBA champion Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam and fellow Frenchman Michele Soro on the bill and French-based DCR fighter Yuri Kalenga putting his 18-1 record on the line against Argentinian Cesar David Crenz.. Four days later in Sydney Daniel Geale returns against Garth Woods. First fight for Geale since losing his IBF title to Darren Barker in August. Wood emerged in a big way when he won an Australian version of “The Contender”. The prize was a fight with Anthony Mundine and in a tremendous upset Wood kayoed Mundine. Mundine outpointed him in a return but Wood won the PABA title last year against a guy with a 12-10-1 record and that gets him a No 13 rating from the WBA.
Saul Alvarez against Alfred Angulo on March 8 in Las Vegas should be a real war. Neither fighter will want to take a backward step as there is plenty of macho man involved. Leo Santa Cruz and Cris Mijares will be on the same show.
Two good shows slated for Britain on March 1 with Ricky Burns defending his WBO title against Terrance Crawford with Steve Simmons defending his WBC International cruiser title against Walid Camacho (this one has already warmed-up with them almost coming to blows allegedly over Camacho posting obscene photos on the internet and pasting the head of Simmons girl friend onto the pictures), and with John Simpson, Jon Slowey, and former amateur stars Anthony Joshua and Joe Ward also on the show. On the same night in Aintree Kevin Satchell defends his Commonwealth title against Isaac Quartey with prospects Joe Selkirk, Paul Butler and Ronnie Heffron in bouts.`
Both Yoan Pablo Hernandez and Juergen Braehmer have voluntary defences coming up. Hernandez on March 8 with no venue yet announced and Braehmer on April 5 in Rostock. No opponents named for either yet.
March 22 in Kusadasi, Turkey Odlanier Solis faces Tony Thompson in a heavyweight fight. I stopped there on a cruise liner once and bought a top class watch from a street trader. The hands didn’t fall off for at least an hour, beating by 20 minutes the time for the same thing to happen to one I bought in Spain. Just thought I would share that with you.
I was delighted to see that Graham Houston was one of the inductees for this years Hall of Fame. That makes two former Editors of Boxing News in the Hall of Fame with Harry Mullan already there. If you add the great Reg Gutteridge, a long time contributor to the magazine, who is also in the Hall it is a tremendous achievement for the magazine. As a long time contributor it was a privilege for me to work with these talented writers. I was lucky enough to have the lovely Ron Olver as my mentor, Graham encouraged me to write my first feature and Harry gave me the opportunity to write a weekly column. When you consider that successful novelist Timothy Mo also worked there you can understand why I felt like a second rate hack. Luckily I never gave up the day job.