May 23, 2016
May 23, 2016
Gennady Golovkin

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports

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IT still looks as though we will get a Gennady Golovkin vs Canelo Alvarez fight but we don’t know where or when. It brings back memories of Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao which seemed so close and then disappeared not to return until it was too late for it to deliver the quality fight we had hoped for earlier. Saul Alvarez has stated clearly that he wants to fight Golovkin. He has relinquished his WBC title to avoid the match going to purse offers. The WBC had given the parties a deadline to complete negotiations or the fight would go to purse offers with the champion Alvarez getting 55% and challenger Golovkin (he was only WBC Interim champion) getting 45%. Neither party wanted those terms to be dictated to them so Alvarez relinquished the title. Now we have to wait and hope a deal can be done. At the time when the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight was close to being signed it was every bit as big as this fight but it still did not happen so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

I have always trusted the CompuBox statistics and felt that they often gave a better picture of what had happened in a fight than the judge’s scores. My faith was shaken as I watched Saul Alvarez vs. Amir Khan. They had Alvarez throwing more punches and landing more punches than Khan in the five completed rounds. No way!

What a mess our sport is in over banned substances. The lack of an overreaching world body means that every sanctioning body has its own approach and own standards. We have had a German body covering up for failed tests, we have had the IBF ignoring a positive test from Lamont Peterson, we have had leading heavyweights Lucas Browne and Alex Povetkin testing positive, we have had WBA super super-middle champion Felix Sturm testing positive we have a WBA secondary heavyweight champion Luis Ortiz who has twice tested positive, we have had both Francisco Vargas and his challenger Orlando Salido (10 years ago) give positive tests with Vargas somehow being allowed to keep his title, we have had the WBC refusing to accept positive tests for Mariusz Wach and Olanrewaju Durodola and it just goes on and on. These are all very high profile fighters and no one has any idea how many fighters in non-title or main event or preliminary fights are cheating. Almost all of the testing is carried out shortly before or shortly after a fight but a fighter can take a banned substance for weeks to enable him to train longer and harder and then stop taking the substance a couple of weeks before the fight or at whatever time interval is recommended for the all traces of the substance to disappear from the system. I would hazard a guess that less than 1% of active boxers are tested during any year and there is no big fund sitting around to pay for the testing regime that would be needed for us to believe our sport is “clean” We are not alone even the powerful International Association of Athletics (IAAF) is struggling to tackle the problem and international tennis is now beginning to realise it has a problem. It is a problem without a practical solution and as long as the rewards are high and the risks are low it will continue to be a problem for boxing.

It is not surprising there has been a storm raging around Tyson Fury. He has publicly made homophobic, sexist and anti-Semitic remarks which have upset a great many people. He has issued apologies but you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Once you have made hurtful and insulting remarks an apology cures nothing. For some of the groups he has insulted their long battle their freedom from persecution and stigma can still seem fragile so their strong reaction to Fury is understandable. He needs someone advising him that even if these really are his views then he would be smart to keep them to himself because he not only hurts those who are offended but he also hurt his own image and being practical it can greatly damage him financially. If on the other hand he doesn’t really hold to the views he has been spouting than he is an even bigger idiot for self harming. Away from the cameras Fury is a genuinely nice person but he needs to realise that some of those who want to interview him are not interested a “nice” Fury but looking to draw out some unguarded inflammatory remark. I remember back in the old days that Terry Lawless paid as much attention to schooling his fighters over what they said and did outside of the ring as they did inside and Fury needs someone like that or if he already has one he needs to listen and take their advice. His win over Wladimir Klitschko was a marvellous achievement but almost everything he has done or said since has soiled that achievement.

Same old, same old WBA. They took Guillermo Rigondeaux’s super bantam title away for not defending in a timely manner as he had gone 11 months without making a title defence. They declared him to be Champion in Recess. The real reason they took his title away was so that the Carl Frampton vs. Scott Quigg fight could be a genuine unification match. It could not be that as long as Rigondeaux was super champion and Quigg was only the holder of their secondary title. With the unification sanction fee in their pocket they have now taken Rigondeaux out the little recess they hid him in and he is super champion again. They stripped him in November 2015 for not defending his title and six months later they reinstate him. He has still not defended the title but now it has been 17 months since his last defence. What cynical manipulation.

To yet again illustrate that sanctioning fees come before commonsense instead of ordering Rigondeaux to defend against interim champion Moises Flores, resulting in only one sanctioning fee, they are going to allow Rigondeaux to defend against either James Dickens or Jamie McDonnell. Flores will defend the interim title against IBO champion Paulus Ambunda with the winner fighting the winner of the Rigondeaux vs. Dickens/ McDonnell match and it is sanctioning fees galore and they are actually trumpeting about what a marvellous thing they are doing.

Just to make the whole thing more ridiculous and to show the WBA don’t have a patent on cynicism only a few days after they declared Rigondeaux “Champion in Recess” he fought for and won the WBC International Silver title. Now according to an interview Mauricio Sulaiman gave to Boxing News the Silver title are for those not yet ready to challenge for the full title. Rigondeaux not yet ready to fight for the WBC International title or even the full world title? What rubbish they pour out- and then hope you will forget they said it just like Jose Sulaiman saying no more interim titles. How the web becomes tangled.

Yvon Mendy was instructed by the WBC to give up either his EBU title or his WBC International title as by holding the EBU title he holds the title of another organisation so he cannot keep both. Mendy has relinquished the WBC International title. In the same breath the WBC upgrades interim champion Gennady Golovkin to full champion. That’s the Gennady Golovkin who holds both the WBA and IBF titles who to the best of my knowledge are “other organisations” so they have different sets of rules for different titles and they wonder why people become cynical when they start telling us what highly principled people they are. Ok I am a bit jealous as I envy Mauricio’s Sulaiman’s accumulated air miles.

The IBF can always be relied on to do a bit of rating jiggling. Most viewers were disappointed at the performance put up by Ivan Morales who hardly won a round when challenging Lee Haskins for the IBF bantam title at the weekend. The simple truth is he did not deserve to be challenging for the title. Last August he lost to Edgar Jimenez, a modest fighter with a 19-11-2 record. He came back with an inside the distance win in December over Manuel Jimenez. That was the fifth loss in a row by KO/TKO for Jimenez and Morales weighed 129 ½ lbs. Of course this poor form meant he was not rated by the IBF-well not until March when without fighting he was treated to a ride in the IBF ratings elevator and suddenly he is up at No 13 bantam.

Former Italian light heavy champion Mirko Ricci has a very chequered past and his latest escapade beats them all. According to the Italian police Ricci went to a woman’s house to settle a matter relating to 5000Euros of money from stolen drugs. When the matter was not resolved Ricci punched the woman and kidnapped her nine-year-old son threatening to kill him if he did get the money. The police carried out some raids and arrests and released the child. The Italian Boxing Federation issued a statement condemning Ricci’s actions and the police are drawing up charges. Ricci has a history of trouble having been involved in quite a bit of out of the ring violence. He was shot in the leg after winning the Italian title and he was involved in a riot following his loss to Serhiy Demchenko. A lot of talent going to waste.

Yet another crazy return seems to be on the cards. Former WBC and European light heavy champion Graciano Rocchigiani has said he is going through various medical tests to get a licence to box. Rocchigiani is 52-years-old and has not fought since 2003. He famously brought the WBC to their knees and almost put them out of business. In 1998 Roy Jones stated that he had given up the WBC title so the WBC sanctioned Rocchigiani to fight Michael Nunn for the vacant title in Berlin. Suddenly Jones changed his minds and said he now decided he wanted to keep the title. However the fight for the vacant title had been sanctioned, the fee paid and it was on the day of the fight that Jose Sulaiman tried to back out and say the Rocchigiani-Nunn fight was not for the vacant title. Rocchigiani won the fight but the WBC took the belt from him and re-instated Jones as champion. Rocchigiani sued the WBC, won his case and was awarded damages of $31 million. A full settlement would have forced the WBC into bankruptcy and Rocchigiani would not have received any damages so he cut a deal for a much smaller figure to be paid over an extended period. The court also forced the WBC to backdate recognition of Rocchigiani as champion to when he beat Nunn. Rocchigiani’s aim in returning? A fight with Roy Jones naturally!

Namibia has produced many good fighters but only two of their boxers have so far qualified for Rio. The remainder of those hoping to qualify did not manage to win through the African qualifier. There is a last chance qualifier in Baku next month but no Namibian boxers will go because their Boxing Federation can’t afford to send them. The two who have qualified will get the princely sum of $6,000 to help them prepare for Rio. What AIBA is proposing both for Rio and for the future won’t just result in these guys having no chance of winning a medal, it will result in them not even having a chance to qualify. The Olympic dream will die in the dust.

The WBC has said it will disqualify from their ratings anyone who agrees to compete at the Olympics. The AIBA seems ready to go ahead with their plans for Rio with the Board expected to approve the resolution at a meeting on June 1.

Former WBC cruiser champion Krzys Wlodarczyk is looking to get back into the picture. He faces Kai Kurzawa in Szczecin, Poland on 28 May and his aim is a shot at the winner of the Denis Lebedev vs. Victor Ramirez fight on Saturday.

The WBA super bantam title recently stolen from-sorry I mean stripped from Carl Frampton will be contested by Venezuelan Nehomar Cermeno and Xiao Jun in Beijing on 24 June. Cermeno is the interim champion and Jun is a very useful fighter. On the same show Javier Fortuna defends his secondary WBA super feather title against Jason Sosa.   title

Some people just do not seem to get the hang of a ring nickname. It is supposed to reflect power, speed, and agility. It should be thunder or dynamite or speedy etc. but “Chocolate Hills!! Come on Ricky Sismundo you put Dierry Jean down twice. You can’t carry around a nickname like that. Look at Carlos Cuenca, he had the sense to change his name from “Fred Astaire” to “El Distinto”. Now I don’t quite know what “El Distinto” translates to but it has to be better for a boxer than Fred Astaire. Just had a thought if Cuenca fights “Canelo” it could be billed as Fred Astaire vs. Ginger….no it doesn’t quite work.

Finally congratulations to senator Pacquiao who has just been voted into a seat in the Philippines senate. Another win on a great record.