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.
There is a suggestion that if Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. comes back down to middleweight to fight Gennady Golovkin at the Los Angeles Forum-or some other venue-on July 12 there should be a $1 million fine if he fails to make the contract weight. I have argued for some time that the penalty for not making weight for a fight is not tough enough, but $1 million is a bit steep. I can hear him now saying pass me the saw this legs coming of I can buy three new ones for a $1 million. It should be written into a contract that if a fighter fails to make the weight then he should forfeit something like 50% of his purse or a minimum amount if the purse is not high enough to make 50% a deterrent. The problem is intensified when it only becomes apparent at the actual weigh-in that he is too far over the contract weight to make it feasible or safe for the boxer to try to take off the excess or for the fight or to go ahead with the weight difference almost certainly being much wider by fight time. That puts a promoter over a barrel as it gives him no time to find a replacement. Trial weight checks at specified periods before a fight help but are no guarantee that a fighter will find out a week or so before the fight he can’t make the weight and decide his best option is to conceal it and be willing to pay the fine as he will still come out ahead. I still feel that a severely punishing fine is the only deterrent although I would like to see the TV, or the promoter, sue the fighter for damages for breach of contract-because that is what it amounts to.
On the subject of Chavez, if he goes ahead with the proposed fight with Golovkin then I believe the WBC should take him out of the mandatory spot at super middle. If he does not want to fight Sakio Bika then you can be sure that James DeGale and Anthony Dirrell do and it is unfair to make Bika sit around and wait for Chavez to move him to the front of his queue.
Sergio Martinez has hinted that his fight with Miguel Cotto in June may be his last. You have to wonder why it took such a hugely talented boxer almost 13 years before his talent was recognised. He turned pro in December 1997 and was still relatively unknown until he beat Kelly Pavlik for the WBC/WBO titles in April 2010. British fans got their first hint of his abilities when he came in as an unsung challenger and defeated Richard Williams for the IBO light middle title in 2003 but it still took him another seven years after that to emerge. There are a lot of very smart people in boxing so how come none of them spotted this diamond.
Another curiosity is results that in retrospect are so difficult to explain. Right now Sergey Kovalev is cutting a wide swathe through the light heavyweight ranks and looks an animal. However, back in 2010 he was one round away from losing to Darnell Boone. Kovalev got the split decision with the scores being 76-75 twice for Kovalev and 76-75 for Boone. It only needed one of those two who voted for Kovalev to have scored one round differently for Boone to have been the winner. Boone was 1-5-1 in his last seven going into the Kovalev fight-and the win-a two round stoppage of a guy by the name of Adonis Stevenson!
Don’t look now but the WBC have decided that what boxing needs is-yet another set of titles. They have accepted as an affiliate the newly named Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council (EPBC) “to develop regional championships” In other words here come a whole load more of titles, i.e. the title, the interim title, the silver title, the international title, the silver international title, the 50% bronze/25% lead/25% tin title etc. etc. The description of Eurasia and Pacific covers a host of countries/ regions which already have titles. In some ways the sanctioning bodies are giving themselves a problem. In order to encourage fighters to go for these minor titles they offer the reward of a place in the top 10/15 in their ratings. However, they have now created so many titles that there are not enough places in their ratings to accommodate all of the “champions”. The good thing is that if you are a smart manager you can spot the guys that are not rated on ability but on holding some minor title and get in through the soft underbelly of the ratings. Don’t worry if the guy is the Latino champion. If your guy was born in London but attends salsa dancing lessons he qualifies as a Latino.
There was talk of Juan Francisco Estrada defending his flyweight title against Filipino Joebert Alvarez. The WBA obviously believe because they parachuted Alvarez into No 10 position at flyweight even though he has not fought since October. They did have him at No 12 strawweight in November but then he disappeared only to reemerge two divisions up. The fight does not seem set so he could find himself chucked out next month-without a parachute.
The IBF policy of leaving certain challenger spots open has a history. Back when Booby Lee was caught selling spots in the ratings the US Government put people in to the IBF to stop the shenanigans. One of the tricks had been to stick people in the No 1 spot who had never fought anyone in the ratings. That was stopped so the mandatory spot can only go to someone who has such a win. If there is no deserving case then the spot is left vacant until someone meets the criteria. It causes confusion when they apply the same principle to other spots in the top three, but at least it forces some form of competition between rated fighters to get the top spot.
Unfortunately Boxing South Africa (BSA) is determined to go down the road of taking it upon themselves to get involved in broadcasting rights for fights. They have said that they will negotiate with the broadcaster for dates and allocate such dates to promoters. This applies to BSA development tournaments which seem to be provincial and National title fights. It seems to allow promoters to deal direct with the broadcaster on what are termed “Top Level” fights as recognized by the BSA which they list in alphabetical order as ABU, Commonwealth, IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC, WBF and WBO only. This is more sensible than the BSA trying to control all broadcasting rights but still could be confusing if a show featuring a title of one of the alphabetically listed bodies also has a National title fight on the card. The BSA is insisting in all deals signed between promoters and broadcaster being transparent and on seeing all signed contracts. Could be a problem there as purses etc. can be sensitive commercial information. On the Development tournaments the BSA says it will ensure the spreading of the dates between the development groups, rural and urban areas as well as gender equality-now that’s a first-political correctness in boxing!
There are some high class EBU title fights coming up or up for grabs. At heavyweight Derek Chisora defends against Tyson Fury in Manchester on July 26. Chisora has more to lose than Fury. Apart from his European title he is also WBO No 2 and with Wlad Klitschko defending against the No 1 Alex Leapai he is assured of moving into the No 1 spot-unless he loses to No 5 Fury. Russian Igor Mikhalkin meets Frenchman Mohamed Belkacem for the vacant light heavy title, a weak EBU title fight with neither really doing much to get the shot but in fairness Belkacem a substitute. There is a top class fight at middle in Liverpool on May 17 where Brit Billy Joe Saunders (19-0) faces Italian Emanuele Blandamura (22-0). WBC No 1 Sergey Rabchenko (25-0) defends his light middle title against Italian Emanuele Della Rosa (33-1) in Rome on May 17. Purse offers are due by 8 May for Leonardo Bundu (30-0-2) the Sierra Leone-born Italian to defend the welter title against Britain’s former World Amateur champion Frankie Gavin (19-0). At light welter Italian Michele Di Rocco (36-1-1) makes a voluntary defence against Frenchman Alex Lepelley (17-1-1) on May 17 somewhere in Italy. At lightweight Emiliano Marsili (28-0-1) defends against Anthony Mezaache (24-7-3) with site and date to be agreed. Mezaache is lucky to be getting the shot as he has done nothing of note since losing in seven rounds to Gavin rees for this title in 2012. Super feather sees new champion Romain Jacob (21-0) defend against former champion Ermanno Fegatilli (28-5) with purse offers due 10 April. At feather Brit Lee Selby (18-1) is to defend against Davide Dieli (13-3) with negotiations ongoing. A great match at bantam sees Frenchman Karim Guerfi (20-2) defending his title in Sheffield on 26 April against Ricky Hatton charge Zhanat Zhakiyanov (21-1). Some top drawer fights in there, better and more competitive than many of the sanctioning bodies’ world title fights. After a long lean spell Italy is returning as a power with Blandamura, Dieli, Della Rosa, Bundu, Di Rocco, Marsili and with veteran Andrea Sarritzu to fight for the flyweight title, giving them an involvement in seven EBU title fights in the next 2-3 months. All this and Domenico Spada fighting Marco Rubio for the interim WBC middle title this weekend.
New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker has been mentioned as a fighter who might be on the Klitschko vs. Leapai undercard. The 22-year-old has 7 wins but has not fight since suffering a horrendous cut when winning his last fight. There is talk of Sherman Williams as an opponent. Parker is young, can box and punch, and at 230lbs is not fat –unusual for heavyweight these days
Negotiations for the WBA ordered defence by Anselmo Moreno and Juan Carlos Payano were said to not be going too well. It is no surprise. Moreno’s financial matters are handled by his wife.
How about “Lazarus” Vivian Harris. In a five year spell from 2007 to 2012 the former WBA light welterweight champion had ten fights and went 1-7-1,1ND with 6 of the 7 losses coming by KO/TKO. Dead and buried as a fighter at 34. Well he has certainly risen again. Brought in to lose in the other guy’s backyard he has taken a split decision over Danny O’Connor (23-1) and now Jorge Paez Jr. For his next assignment overseas he is going to save the airfare and walk on water.