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.
Nielsen Media Research reported excellent figures for the Stevenson-Bellew, Kovalev- Sillakh show at the weekend. The Stevenson-Bellew fight drew 1,305,000 buys and Kovalev-Sillakh 1,254,000. HBO must be licking its lips at the thought of Stevenson vs. Kovalev and they will make it happen. Between HBO and Showtime we are getting some great fights. Pity they can’t merge into a sanctioning body.
Naturally Manny Pacquiao’s win over Brandon Rios has reignited talk of a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Top Rank and Showtime are said to be discussing it but that is all at this time. Despite the losses to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez it is still a fight that could sell, but now Mayweather is in the driving seat and money and drugs testing could still be issues that the fight trips over.
There are some good fights out there for Manny whether he goes down the Mayweather road or not as he is still a big draw. There is plenty of speculation over who he will fight on April 14 with Tim Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Ruslan Provodnikov all being mentioned, but nothing settled yet. Mind you, with the Philippines Tax Service claiming Manny owes them ? $ Millions on back taxes from 2008 and 2009 he may need the biggest purse he can get. In the 2008 tax year he reportedly received $3 million for fighting David Diaz and $6 million for fighting Oscar De La Hoya and in 2009 $13 million against Miguel Cotto and $12 million for the Ricky Hatton fight. Bob Arum is adamant that Pacquiao paid tax on these fights in the USA and if so then copies of the tax payment certificates should make the claim go away, but that has not happened so far. There has been some heat created in the Philippines to the effect that the Government should not be hassling someone who has done so much for his country but you start down that slippery road where do you draw a line-even the President pays taxes. That’s the law.
Miguel Cotto has also been immersed in money. There has been talk of a $10 million purse to fight Saul Alvarez and $15 million to fight Sergio Martinez. Big money for a guy who lost to Austin Trout by 6, 6 and 10 points just a year ago. The Martinez fight will depend on the outcome of the doctors examination of the Argentinian’s injured knee to see when he can resume training, and Sergio has a queue waiting for him also.
Pacquiao is teaming up with Gerry Penalosa to promote shows in the Philippines. They have a show in Pasay City 12 December featuring super feather Michael Farenas (36-4-4) against Mexican Jesus Rios (26-4-1,1ND) with Farenas continuing his reestablishment after losing on points to Yuriorkis Gamboa for the inter WBA title last December. Also on the show is the latest generation of Penalosa’s as super bantam Dodie Boy Jr tries to go to 12 straight wins by KO/TKO against Mexican Alem Robles.
Two weeks ago I wrote about the fine line that a referee has to tread when deciding whether to stop a fight. Those comments were occasioned by the death of Francisco Leal and the hospitalisation of Magomed Abdusalamov in an induced coma after brain surgery following his fight with Mike Perez and then Daniel Mackinnon and Colombian Jose Carmona both being rushed to hospital requiring brain surgery. Now the concern flips to the other side of the line over the controversial ending in the Carl Froch-George Groves fight. This time the question is whether the fight was stopped too early. That shows clearly the referee’s dilemma. One punch too few and he is pilloried for stopping the fight too early, one punch too many and he is crucified for failing to protect the boxer. Referee Howard Foster had to make a split second decision and he was in the best position to take that decision but finds himself not just critiscised but being threatened with people and coming to his home to abuse him. The BBB of C supported him in his decision and whatever abuse Howard is suffering has to be miles better than if he had failed to protect Groves and seen a young fighter suffer serious injury. He did the job he was there to do and if he erred at all then it was on the right side.
The danger is still there with Japanese sources reporting that Japanese fighter Koki Eto being hospitalised after losing his interim WBA fly title and Juan Carlos Sanchez going to a hospital as a precaution after losing to Zolani Tete and looking exhausted and dehydrated after his tenth round kayo loss.
The WBC expressed their concerns over safety in boxing after this spate of incidents but their action over the fight in China where Xiong Zhao Zhong retained his strawweight title with a win over Thai Lookrak gave a lie to their concerned approach. After Omari Kimweri ran into visa problems Lookrak came in at lees than a couple of days notice. The show could have been cancelled as it was obviously too late to find a suitable opponent. However the show must go on. The sanction fee has to be preserved, and China is the big market, so they approved Lookrat as a substitute. This is a guy with a 7-4 record who did not appear in their top 40 (the IBO list 72 strawweights and 100 light flyweights and he does not make either of those lists) and went in to the ring not having fought for 23 months. In his last 5 fights he had lost 4, two on first round kayo and one on a second round kayo. Disgraceful! It is difficult to think how it could have been any worse as a match, but typical of the mental attitude that says the saving of the promotion is paramount over the safety of the boxer. Where would the WBC have been able to hide if Lookrat had been added to the list of seriously injured boxers?
Well the WBO have gone ahead and nominated Samoan-born Alex Leapai as the mandatory challenger to Wlad Klitschko. He beat No 1 Denis Boystov (Boystov’s rating was ridiculous) so it is hard to argue against, but I can’t see the 6’0” (183cm) Leapai having any chance at all. If Kevin Johnson could floor and stop him, and Johnson is not a puncher, then Wlad should have an easy night-if someone will put the fight on.
Even the above is better than the news that Roy Jones Jr will fight in Moscow 21 December against Frenchman Eddine Benmakhlouf for the vacant WBU cruiserweight title. At 43, 44 in January, and after 18 months of inactivity why does he do it. Winning a joke title will do nothing for his image or his ego and he can’t be getting a fortune for the fight. I though he hung up his gloves but it turns out he hung up his brains.
Just how seriously does boxing take drugs? Antonio Tarver returned to action last week for the first time since testing positive for use of a banned anabolic steroid in his fight against Lateef Kayode in June 21012. If he was an athlete he would be looking at a 4 year ban if he was lucky. In May J’Leon Love tests positive for a banned diuretic and yet he fights this week in a main event against returning LaJuan Simon on a Mayweather Promotions show. I guess Floyd Jr is not that worried about testing when it does not concern Manny Pacquiao. Boxing is the only sport where they would get off this lightly and even worse there is no noticeable stigma attached to their cheating Don’t get me started on Lamont Peterson and I wonder where Shane Mosley’s reputation would stand if he had gone through with his threat to sue Victor Conte which might have seen the evidence he gave to the grand jury and his You Tube admission that he “must’ve have known I was taking EPO” getting the public exposure it deserved.
Poor Moruti Mthalane must wonder if it’s worth being IBF flyweight champion. The South African last defended his title in September 2012. He was to defend against Silvio Olteanu with the purse “offers” becoming a purse offer with the only bid coming from a German company with the ongoing problems with Boxing South Africa preventing his promoter from bidding. It was a fight the German’s could not find a home for so it is now ended up with Olteanu out of the picture and a new purse offers process again saw a single bid from a Thai promoter which finds Mthalane facing Amnat Ruenroeng in Thailand. In the past he has been paid as much as $70,000 for a defence, this time he will get about $12,000.
Spain lost one of their stars of boxing in the 1960’s and 70’s with the death of Antonio “Tony” Ortiz at the age of 69. Tony was Spanish champion at light welter and welter and won the European light welter title, but lost to Bruno Arcari for the WBC title at a time when Arcari had a 59-2 record. Tony fought all of the big names in European at the time including Juan Albornoz, Valerio Nunez, Antonio Torres, Angel Robinson Garcia (5 times), Johnny Cooke, Eddie Blay, Cemal Kamaci, Roger Zami, Perico Fernandez, and many more in a 54-17-9 record .RIP Tony.
Upcoming fights: Josesito Lopez faces Mike Arnaoutis in Indio on December 13. December 14 sees Juergen Braehmer facing Native American Marcus Olivera for the vacant WBA title. The title is vacant through the WBA elevating champion Beibut Shumenov to Super Champion. Shumenov earned this promotion in August by being inactive for 14 months. What a farce so typical of the WBAbsurd. That date also sees an excellent show in London with Kevin Mitchell taking on experienced Cuban-born Italian Brunet Zamora for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental light title, Lee Purdy challenging Sierra-Leone-born Italian Leon Bundu for the European welterweight title, Martin Murray in a non-title fight with Sergey Khomitsky and unbeaten prospects Anthony Ogogo and Khalid Yafai also on the show. On a busy December 14 unbeaten Polish cruiser Krysz Glowacki puts his WBO No 4 rating on the line against German Serdar Sahin and David Price, who has relinquished his British and Commonwealth titles, picks on someone his own size when he faces 6’9 ½” (207cm) Russian Evgeny Orlov in Germany. Also on December 14 prospect Frankie Gomez returns to action in Mexico. The 21-year-old (15-0) has been out for 10 months but hopefully will be more active. He faces Ghana’s Prince Doku Jr. who is 18-3. Sounds good but 14 of his opponents never won a fight and only two of his opponents have positive records, and he lost to both of them. Looking into next year we have the Jean Pascal vs. Lucien Bute match in Montreal on 18 January, Curtis Stevens returns to the ring against a TBA on 24 January, Lamont Peterson defending his IBF title against unbeaten Canadian Dierry Jean in Washington on 25 January and on the same night in Stuttgart Marco Huck gives Firat Arslan another shot at his WBO cruiser title to try to erase the memory of his very fortunate win over Arslan in November last year.
You can sometimes judge the quality of a sanctioning body by the title fights it approves. Reportedly this weekend in Germany Brit Steve Bendall will contest the vacant WBU middle title against John Akulugu. Bendall, 40, has not had a fight in two years and lost the last three he did have. Ghanaian Akulugu has a 9-3 record and has won his last nine fights. Don’t look too closely. The combined records of his 9 victims is 1-50!
Now here’s a novel idea. They recently had chess-boxing tournament in Moscow. The sequence was one round of boxing, one round of chess, one round of boxing etc. Not exactly sports you would naturally twin. I can remember when I used to play chess. Losing was so frustrating that I often wanted to slap my opponent. Why do they always come up with these ideas too late to be of use?