ARROGANCE is only justified if the person boasting does not just talk the talk but also walks the talk. At the weekend having done a lot of talking Adrien Broner could not ever raise a limp. If it had not been for Shawn Porter there would not have been a fight. Broner spent more than 50% of every round running or holding and he was lucky not to get disqualified inside the first six rounds. He was paid $1.3 million for the Porter fight. If he had been paid by performance on a sliding scale he would owe the promoter money. We have a saying in Britain that someone is “all mouth and trousers” which means they boast a lot but there’s no substance. That applied to Broner at the weekend. What’s my problem with “The Problem”? The guy has talent. I want back the Broner who tore a path through the super feather and lightweight ranks that Broner had a right to arrogance but the one we saw at the weekend was well- all mouth and trousers.
Just how toothless boxing suspensions can be is illustrated by Cuban Luis Ortiz who returned to the ring last weekend. The Cuban heavyweight tested positive for use of anabolic steroid after his win over Lateef Kayode in September last year and he was fined $8,000 (10% of his purse) and suspended for eight months. No more than a slap on the wrist. Only two things deter drug cheats the certainty of being caught and the level of punishment. In the case of Ortiz he walked away with 90% of his purse and eight months without a fight is no big deal as he has gone eight months without fighting in the past. As previously reported the Nevada State Athletic Commission who handled Ortiz’s case have greatly hardened their stance. The punishments are different depending on the category of drug used. Under the new rules Ortiz could have been fined 50-70% of his purse and banned for three years. Now if only all other bodies would both increases their testing regime and take the same stance as the Nevada Athletic Commission we might finally be getting somewhere in the battle.
One boxer who performed as expected at the weekend was Errol Spence. The young Texan had to adjust at the last moment from fighting Roberto Garcia to facing late substitute Phi Lo Greco. The Italian/Canadian was at an obvious disadvantage but he gave Spence a rough ride in the first round only for Spence to adjust to Lo Greco’s style and win inside three rounds. As an amateur the 25-year-old southpaw dominated his weight division in the USA but failed to medal at the Olympics or World Championships. As a pro he has won his 17 fights and is already making waves and looks the best bet from the 2012 US team to win a world title.
The whole team is doing well as pros. It was recently pointed out that they are collectively 124-0 so far. Rau’shee Warren is 13-0, Joseph Diaz is 16-0, Jose Ramirez is 14-0, Jamel Herring is 11-0, Spence is 17-0, Terrell Gausha is 15-0, Marcus Browne is 15-0, Mike Hunter is 8-0 and Dominic Breazeale is 15-0. From the 2008 team Gary Russell, Demetrius Andrade and Deontay Wilder have won world titles. It took Russell six years to win his title, Andrade just over five years and Wilder just over six years so there is time yet to find out who from the 2012 has it to make it to the top.
Mentioning Demetrius Andrade-what has happened to him? He has not defended his WBO super welter title for over a year and there’s no sign of anything scheduled.
So David Lemieux will not be able to go straight into a fight with Gennady Golovkin even if he wanted to as the IBF says as he must first face his mandatory challenger. That should be interesting. The IBF rules now state that “The Championships Chairman and the President, consistent with the monthly ratings, will notify the two highest ranked available contenders of the obligation to meet in a twelve (12) round elimination bout for the #1 or #2 positions toward mandatorily boxing the Champion, giving them a date by which the negotiations must commence and be concluded. For the purpose of determining the contenders eligible to participate in an eliminator under this rule, the Championships Chairman may, in his discretion, exclude a boxer coming off of a KO or TKO loss.” Well prior to the Lemieux vs. N’Dam the Frenchman was No 1 and Lemieux No 4. With Lemieux now going up to champion and N’Dam having been well beaten the IBF now have a problem. Their No 3 Billy Joe Saunders is going to fight Andy Lee for the WBO title so he is out of consideration and will probably disappear from their ratings. They are now down to No 5 Sam Soliman who lost to Jermain Taylor by big margins in his last fight and fights this Friday against unbeaten Dominic Wade so I guess the winner of that fight might have the inside track, No 6 Sergio Mora fights Daniel Jacobs for the WBA secondary title in August so is out, No 7 Eamonn O’Kane or Tureano Johnson No 8 would be interested. However,under the rule quoted above neither O’Kane nor Johnson would qualify as a mandatory challenger without first fighting an eliminator as neither has beaten an IBF rated fighter. But perhaps it won’t be a problem as the IBF seems able to totally ignore their own rules. N’Dam was rated No 7 in the IBF ratings issued on 13 August last year but in the ratings issued on 5 September he was suddenly elevated all the way up to No 1 without fighting. Yes he did beat Curtis Stevens in an IBF eliminator but that was on 1 October four weeks after they had already made him No 1!! Rule book- ah could you spell that for me.
We have had some sense and some nonsense this week. We had Antonio DeMarco recognising that he is sliding, not precipitously but edging that way, and the former WBC light champion has taken the right decision to retire. On the other hand we had Oscar De La Hoya talking about a comeback. Don’t be dumb Oscar you are a 42-year-old former six division champion who has not fought for almost seven years and has a successful business as a leading promoter. Forget it, you have nothing to prove to anyone stay retired and don’t become another Roy Jones fighting in backwoods towns for nothing titles against guys you could have beaten with one hand tied behind your back ten years ago.
Rumours are floating around in the Far East to the effect that a return fight between Jamie McDonnell and Tomoki Kameda is being lined-up for the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s 12 September fight. If that comes off there will be one British fighter on the show even if it is not Amir Khan but it is just a rumour at this time.
Already confirmed for the undercard of the 12 September show Cornelius Bundrage will defend his IBF super welter title against Jermall Charlo. This fight was to have been on the Carl Frampton vs. Alejandro Gonzalez show on July 18 in El Paso but a cut suffered by Bundrage has forced a postponement. The 18 July show still looks strong with McJoe Arroyo fighting Arthur Villanueva for the vacant IBF super fly title and Chris Arreola returning to the ring. Nice fight on the undercard will see unbeaten Hugo Centeno (22-0,1ND) facing Polish hope Lukasz Maciec (22-2-1) at welter.
July 18 will be a busy night (for me anyway) as Arthur Abraham and Robert Stieglitz clash yet again, Victor Feigenbutz goes against Mauricio Reynoso for the interim WBA super middle title (and let’s not forget they are also fighting for the Global Boxing Union title – on second thoughts let’s do forget about it). There is a big show in Manchester where Scott Quigg puts his WBA secondary title on the line against Kiko Martinez and Anthony Crolla gets a shot at Darley’s Perez WBA secondary light title. In Las Vegas Juan Carlos Payano defends his WBA bantam title against Rau’shee Warren and of course there is Bob Arum’s show in Macao where Mickey Bey defends his IBF light title against Denis Shafikov, Ik Yang fights Cesar Cuenca for the vacant IBF super light title and Nonito Donaire returns against Frenchman Anthony Settoul.
I had better not forget to mention that Australian prospect Zac Dunn (17-0) faces his biggest test so far in the shape of former undefeated European champion Max Bursak (31-3-1) in Melbourne on Friday for the vacant IBO super middle title. I have to remember because Barry Michael kicked my backside for not mentioning it before and being a coward by choice and religion I try to never upset former world champions.
Russian heavyweight Denis Boystov has been brought out of his artificially enforced coma. He was found in a subway tunnel in Berlin in early May suffering from serious head injuries. Boystov can breathe independently but hardly moves. His weight is down to around 154lbs and he can only respond to stimulus by very slight movements so the prognosis is still not good.
Boxing can make you cynical. After a former Governor of North Cotabato in the Philippines took the step of writing an open letter to South African President Jacob Zuma requesting that he get involved in the non-payment of the purses to Rey Loreto and Jetly Purisima for a show in South Africa it was said that Zuma was going to instigate an investigation. Being a cynic (another religion to me) at the time I pointed out that this remark came from a journalist and not Zuma’s office, making it worthless. A month later nothing has happened or will happen. In April the promoter of the show said he had been let down by delays from his local East Cape Provincial Government and was taking the matter up with the National Government which is just rubbish. The IBO have taken the step of suspending the promoter which whilst correct will have no impact at all on the situation. I fear that Loreto will never get paid, but then there are whole slew of South African boxers who are still waiting for the money they were promised from a tournament at the start of the year and that promoter is a different one and no action has been taken against him. This is where having a multitude of sanctioning bodies lets the sport down. If there was just one body and they said pay up or no more title fights in South Africa something would get done but that not the case so South African citizens and foreign visitors get screwed which I guess is some sort of democracy at work South African style.
Those French tails are way up just now. Firstly Nadjib Mohammedi gets a shot at Sergey Kovalev next month, European super light champion Romain Jacob is rated in the top 3 by the IBF/WBA and WBC so could get a world title shot later this year, in May Hadillah Mohoumadi won the European super middle title and this month Cedric Vitu and Michel Soro won the European middle and super welter titles with victories over very tough Italian opposition. They have two EU champions and French fighters are mandatory challengers for EU titles in seven other divisions. I pray I don’t bump into any Frenchmen right now as they will be insufferable!
Nice to see the head of the WBC Mauricio Sulaiman receiving the Keys of the City of Miami. His father Don Jose was a previous recipient and in both cases it was for the work they have done for boxing. Don Jose had limitless charm Mauricio also seems to have his share of charm plus boundless energy judging by his weekly reports. The WBC does a great deal of work for various charities as do some of the other sanctioning bodies. Like many I tend to focus on what the sanctioning bodies do that I don’t like or agree with and overlook the good work. That’s life.
The fighter with the longest current unbeaten run is not one of the pound-for-pound stars but Thai Noknoi. He turned pro in 2003 at the age of 16 and was 1-4 in his first five fights. He is now 28 and has won 53 fights in a row. The only titles he has fought for are the WBC Youth light flyweight title which he defended 18 times and the WBC International Silver flyweight title. He is currently rated WBC 6/WBA 9/IBF 13(12) at flyweight. So unbeaten for 10 years and 53 wins in a row and no world title fight that has to be some kind of record unfortunately for Noknoi.
The murder in Tijuana on Sunday of former WBA super bantam champion Juan Jose Estrada at the age of 51 was a tragic end for an outstanding fighter who fought all of the top guys around back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Naturally we all feel for his family and as a former world champion it was widely reported. Almost unnoticed was the death in a hospital in Chetumal Mexico of young Jesus Vicente Camara Ku. He had been in a coma for seven months before passing away. He took part in a bout when he was below the permitted age and fought without the required written permission of his parents. A much lower profile tragedy but one that stresses that boxing is a dangerous sport and any reduction in safety measures can have terrible consequences.
It seems like a morbid read this week but I also learned of the death of Alvin Anderson over the weekend at the age of 45. I met Alvin and his great manager/ trainer Mack Lewis when he came over to London to fight Kevin Finnegan in 1973. Finnegan won on points but I had time to spend with both Alvin and Mack and continued to follow his career. He met a lot of the best guys around in the 1970’s such as Dick Diveronica, Miguel Barreto, Angel Espada, Maxwell Malinga, local rival Mike Baker, Ayub Kalule, Rocky Mosley, Kenny Bristol and many more. He retired in 1980 and never came close to landing a world title fight but like all of Mack’s fighters he was a good professional craftsman. RIP Alvin.