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.
Well this time Floyd Mayweather Jr. had to earn his $23 million by fighting hard in every round. Marcos Maidana contributed more than $1.5 million worth of effort and will get his reward with a higher purse for a projected return match in September. No one goes on forever and the days of Money may be drawing to a close. Two fighters who have lost out due to the great effort put in by Maidana are Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan. The chances of a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight have never been strong since the question over drug testing proved a stumbling block and they are no closer now. Apart from the seemingly insurmountable promotional and TV conflicts I get a feeling that Mayweather is just not interested in a Pacquiao fight and dragging poor Muhammad Ali out to try to ramp up pressure for it is a very cheap trick. The truth is that Mayweather does not need Pacquiao to make money. With a return with Maidana looking likely for September and promotion and management ties working against Pacquiao that makes Khan look a more likely opponent for early 2015. If not for the excellent effort put up by Maidana Khan would have hoped to get the September date but now he has to manage to stay both active and unbeaten even to get a fight in 2015.
Once again the crazy way we score boxing matches raised it’s head with one judge having Mayweather six points in front, one having Mayweather four points in front and the third having it a draw. Criticism rained down on judge Burt Clements for giving Maidana only three rounds, but judge Dave Moretti only gave Maidana four rounds. Over the twelve rounds Clements was only odd man out only three times. The only times he scored a round totally different to his two companions were the eighth and twelfth which he gave to Mayweather and the eleventh which he actually gave to Maidana whereas the other two judges gave it to Mayweather! The perception was that because Maidana was giving Mayweather a much harder time than expected and throwing twice as many punches that he must be at least level on the scores, but the statistics actually show that Mayweather had the edge on punches actually landed and unless I have been asleep for the last 100 years that’s how fights are supposed to be decided. However we don’t score fights on dry statistics but on perception Heaven forbid we should actually want to know who landed the most punches. That smells too much of science.
John Molina showed incredible bravery against Lucas Matthysse but that’s what some fighters do. For my money either his corner or the referee should have stopped that fight much earlier. Each time the referee looked like stepping in Molina managed to throw a couple of punches but he was taking a savage beating with no chance of winning and was too brave for his own good.
Another excellent display of skills by Bernard Hopkins but at the risk of bringing heaps of muck down on my head he is not the most entertaining boxer around. Incredible fighter for his age-for any age- but he specializes in taking the other guys fight away from him and if there is excitement then it is the other guy that brings it. Beibut Shumenov fought such a dumb fight. He just plodded forward at one pace-and then slowed. He had no idea of how to cut the ring off and no Plan A let alone a Plan B.
ESPN caught a cold on the Wlad Klitschko vs. Alex Leapai fight as the ratings for the venture into “big time” boxing drew dismal figures. No surprise there. Anyone with half a brain knew that it was a forgone conclusion that Klitschko could end it whenever he liked. Leapai is a typical Pacific Island heavyweight. Solid, game and slow but you could not fault him for taking his chance to earn more money than he could have dreamed of after being stopped in nine rounds by Kevin Johnson in 2012. Nor could you blame Klitschko for snatching the chance of an easy pay day. The fault lies with the WBO. In their convoluted logic they somehow made Denis Boystov their No 1 heavyweight. This without Boystov ever fighting or beating a single fighter in their ratings. In 2011 he beat Matt Greer, in 2012 he beat Darnell Wilson and Dominic Guinn, in 2013 he beat Samir Kurtagic and Olek Nesterenko and somehow those wins were enough for the idiots at the WBO to rate him No 1. This put him above guys such as Bermane Stiverne, Tyson Fury, Kubrat Pulev, Chris Arreola and others. It was that action by the WBO that allowed one of the most one-sided world heavyweight title fights to become a possibility.
The IBF are going down the same road. They have told Bernard Hopkins that he must defend against the winner of a fight between Anatoliy Dudchenko and Nadjib Mohammedi. There is consistency here. Dudchenko has never faced a fighter in the IBF ratings. He was not even recognized by the IBF as late as mid 2013 but is now their No 4. He had only two fights in 2013 beating Sabou Ballogou (8-6) and unrated Robert Woge (12-0) and somehow those two fight justify the IBF taking him from nowhere to No 4. Mohammedi is about the same. He entered the ratings about the same time as Dudchenko at No 12 and since then has beaten Patrick Bois (10-1-1) and Olek Cherviak (13-2-1) which nets him the No 5 spot in the IBF ratings and these two guys are considered to have done enough to qualify for a final eliminator. I hope Hopkins tells the IBF to stick their title where the sun doesn’t shine rather than step down from $ million unification matches.
Another example of rating madness was Mauricio Fuentes from Colombia who challenged John Riel Casimero for the IBF light fly title at the weekend. Rated No 12 but effectively No 10 as the first two spots in the IBF ratings were vacant. He failed to last a round against Casimero. This is a guy who had never fought a ten round fight, never beaten a rated opponent and made his first appearance in the IBF ratings in May 2012 after winning a four round fight against a guy with a 4-8-3 record. Aghhh
Last one I promise. Dmitry Chudinov will defend his WBA interim title against Patrick Nielsen in Russia on June 1. More madness. Chudinov entered the WBA ratings for the first time in July 2013 -after drawing an eight round fight with Patrick Mendy. He advanced to No 11 with a win over a guy with a 12-1 record. He was up to No 6 for beating Max Maxwell who had lost his last 14 fights. He beat No 7 Juan Camilo Novoa for the interim interim title. Martin Murray was shown on their ratings as the interim champion at the time. Now he is No 1 and a win over No 4 Nielsen (who has never beaten a WBA rated fighter) means he is in line to fight Gennady Golovkin. Klitschko gets Leapai so it is only fair that Golovkin should get Chudinov or Nielsen. I give up. Well for this week anyway.
Heavyweights Alex Povetkin and Manuel Charr are putting their respective ratings on the line in Moscow on May 30. Povetkin has most to lose as he is WBA No 3. The top spot is vacant and No 2 is Luis Ortiz (who has never faced a WBA rated fighter-stop it Eric!). Charr is WBC No 7. They are both trying to position themselves for Wlad Klitschko’s retirement.
Seats for this show will be cheap. This is an outcome of the cancelled WBA cruiser title fight between Guillermo Jones and Denis Lebedev. The fight was cancelled when Jones showed a positive result for a banned substance in the pre fight tests. The promoters had insisted on pre-fight testing due to the debacle over the positive test for Jones last time. Don King signed up for this. The promoter suggested that King had not expected the test results to become available until after the fight. King and Jones left Moscow with the promoted saying they had slipped out not using the tickets purchased for them by the promoter but using their own money (Don King using his own money-perhaps King should be tested). The promoted said that in view of what had happened with Jones previously he saw no alternative but the cancel the fight and would be suing for damages. He then announced the reduced ticket pricing for Povetkin vs. Charr.
Shannon Briggs is shouting loud and doing nothing to back up his mouth. His next opponent will be 37-year-old Matt Greer with a 16-12 record who is 2-6 in his last 8 fights with all of the losses being by KO/TKO. Hey this plan worked for Deontay Wilder (who has never fought a rated opponent……) so why not for Briggs.
Boxing will return to Omaha, Nebraska on June 28 when Terence Crawford defends his WBO light title against Yuriorkis Gamboa. A great match up. This will bring big time boxing back to the Omaha for the first time since the days of Ron “Butcher” Stander who lost in five rounds to Joe Frazier for the WBA/WBC titles in 1972. Five Fortune 500 companies are based there so should have no trouble getting sponsors.
Julio Diaz has announced his retirement. Julio has called it a day after consecutive losses to Amir Khan, Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman. His brothers Joel and Antonio also had successful careers but Julio’s two reigns as IBF light champion are the only world titles the Coachella family collected. Joel lost on points to Phil Holiday for the IBF light title in 1996 before retiring with a 17-3 record and becoming a top trainer. Antonio lost to Shane Mosley for the WBC welter title and Antonio Margarito for the vacant WBO tile. He did win the IBA version of the world title and made eleven defences. He had built a run of 25 consecutive wins before losing to Mosley beating Hector Quiroz, Cory Spinks, Mauro Lucero, Marlon Thomas, Emanuel Augustus, Terrell Finger, Ivan Robinson and Micky Ward in that sequence. He ended with a 46-7-1 record.
A good Canadian welterweight match will see Antonin Decarie and Steve Claggett face each other in Montreal on 13 June. Decarie will be looking to continue his rebuilding after losing to Luis Abregu in April last year. Same for Canadian champion Claggett who lost to Frenchman Alex Lepelley in February last year.
Polish heavyweight Andrzej Wawrzyk is lined up to fight former European champion and WBC title challenger Albert Sosnowski in Lublin on 31 May. Wawrzyk, 26, lost to Alex Povetkin for the secondary WBA title last May and has rebuilt with two wins. The 35-year-old Sosnowski has slipped badly over the past three years and needs to win this one. There has been talk in Poland of a fight between Andrew Golota and Evander Holyfield but talk is all it is at this time.
Good to see Argentinian boxing on the up again. Sergio Martinez, Marcos Maidana, Omar Narvaez, Juan Carlos Reveco and Lucas Matthysse are right up there and last week, Jesus Cuellar retained his interim WBA feather title, Cesar Cuenca closed in on a shot at the IBF light welter title by beating Albert Mensah in an eliminator and Luis Abregu is No 1 in the WBC welterweight ratings. They produced such great fighters in the past but too often all we have seen of them in Europe is mediocre fighters with padded records imported to lose. Guys such as Nicolino Locche and Carlos Monzon gave me a passion for Argentinian boxing which is still strong today.