JUST under six weeks to go to the big night.
Only six more weeks of hype, insults, scare stories, rumours predictions, band wagon jumping etc. etc. The hype has already doubled the potential worth of the Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao fight (I listed them alphabetically so don’t read anything into the order of the names) at one time it was worth $200 million now the figure of $400 million is being mentioned with the fight being shown in 170 countries so the biggest just got bigger.
After what happened five years ago it was alarming to hear the words “Dope Testing” thrown in again. This time it was Pacquiao’s team trying to muddy the water. The testing procedures were agreed up front and are already being implemented in accordance with the contract. Now Manny’s team proposed a $5 million fine if either fighter gave a positive test before or after the fight. Mayweather’s spokesmen told them to get lost and rightly so. Once you agree a contract you don’t go running back trying to add to it. I am sure we will see more attempts to muddy the water and upset the other team but they will have to be careful. Remarks and writings by Mayweather regarding Pacquiao walking away last time over the testing regime saw Pacquiao sue Mayweather and win a seven figure settlement. It would a nightmare scenario for boxing if either tested positive. It won’t happen so let’s hope the subject is dead and buried with regard to this fight.
I have seen comments about “legacy” surrounding this fight. Mayweather has most to lose as he still has his unbeaten tag but if this is about legacy then it is about adding to the already huge legacy that these fighters have accumulated and not really about losing it. They both won their first title in 1998 Mayweather at super-feather and Pacquiao incredibly down at flyweight. It will be world title fight No.24 for Mayweather and No.20 for Pacquiao. No matter what the result on May 2 these are two of the best boxers ever to put on gloves and they would be greats in any era. We are privileged to have seen them.
Pardon the pun but I see it as a very positive move that Al Haymon has insisted that any boxer appearing on his Premier Boxing Championships shows must agree to undergo blood and urine testing in compliance with World Anti-Doping Agency standards. Just one bit of evidence that Haymon is taking boxing in the right direction.
That WBA ratings elevator was working hard this month. It had to go down to the basement and carry two fighters way up in the ratings. In their ratings published January 31 the WBA ranked 14 super-featherweights (the No 1 spot was vacant). In their ratings published February 10 they still listed 14 challengers but with a big difference. Neither Emanuel Lopez nor Carlos Padilla were in the January 31 ratings but now they suddenly appeared from the basement at positions 4 and 5 respectively. Last weekend the vacant interim WBA super-featherweight title was contested by-you guessed it-Lopez and Padilla. So how did they earn these promotions? Well Lopez lost a wide unanimous decision to Marcos Gonzalez (12-1) on December 5 but on December 20 beat Alex Acosta(1-8-2) and on January 3 beat Fernando Cruz (5-3-1) and those results were “enough” to catapult him from nowhere to No 4. Padilla? He did not even have a fight between November and the publishing of the February 10 ratings so his rating was an even more blatant bit of manipulation. It makes a complete mockery of ratings if 14 guys can get overlooked and two guys with no qualifications are parachuted in. Even when they don’t parachute someone in the WBA still do some manipulation. On May 9 Jack Culcay fights fellow German Maurice Webber for the vacant interim WBA super welter title. In the 17 January ratings Webber is no 15 and in the February 10 he is No 8 not having fight since November!
The WBC have not done their bit as ratings “adjustment” yet. On 11 April Pedro Guevara will defend his WBC light-flyweight title against Filipino Richard Claveras. Some “adjustment” will be needed as on the ratings on the WBC website today Claveras is No. 26. Next ratings “adjustment” will see him at least up to No. 15 if not higher and the 15 guys current rated by the WBC in that division just get screwed as the promoter picks the challenger and the WBC anoints the selection and being rated in the top 15 is meaningless.
The three Kameda brothers will all be fighting overseas. Tomoki will defend his WBO bantam title in San Antonio on 9 May against the holder of the secondary WBA title Brit Jamie McDonnell. Koki is lined-up to challenge WBA super fly champion Kohei Kono with Chicago a possible venue. There is also talk of brother Daiki fighting soon, but again outside Japan. The three brothers cannot fight inside Japan as the Japanese Boxing Commission withdrew the licence of their gym effectively preventing them from fighting. They attempted to set up a new gym named K-3 but the JBC squashed that. The Kamedas, and particularly Daiki, have been in trouble with the JBC before. The current problem arose out of the unification match between then IBF champion Daiki and Liborio Solis in December 2013. The WBA champion Solis failed to make the weight so lost his title on the scales but won the fight. The JBC were angered by the IBF refusing to strip Kameda of his title for losing which led to a dispute between the JBC the IBF and the Kameda camp and that bad feeling continues and the Kamedas Cannot fight in Japan.
The JBC have one idea that others could usefully follow. The have an “Invited Boxer Ban List”. Any imported fighter who performs abysmally is put on the list and cannot fight again in Japan. If that list were used by authorities in Europe it would put a lot of Brazilians, Latvians, Georgians, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Slovakians, Czechs etc. out of business.
There is still no definitive information when/if Sergio Martinez will fight again. The former world champion will return to Spain at the end of the month for evaluation on his leg injury and make a decision after that. At 40 it would be good to think that Martinez is ready to walk away and concentrate of his stable of fighters and his business interests. He has nothing left to prove.
At the dinner to honour Flash Elorde both Donnie Nietes and Nonito Donaire were indicted into the Elorde Hall of Fame and Randy Petalcorin and Rey Loret were named as Boxers of the Year.
As with Gabriel “Flash” Elorde it is good to realise how much fighters meant to their communities. Another example is the late (Juan) Carlos Duran. The Argentinian-born Italian hero is remembering by an annual tribute night in Ferrara with this year’s being the 14th. He turned pro in Argentina in 1958 and moved his base to Italy in 1960. He was Italian and European middleweight champion and later European super welterweight champion. He fought most of the top names in the 1960’s including Nino Benvenuti, Emile Griffith (not a good night as the fans rioted due to lack of action!), Ted Wright, Charlie Austin, Jupp Elze, Harry Scott, Luis Folledo, Wally Swift, Johnny Pritchett, Tom Bogs, Jean-Claude Bouttier and Jacques Kechichian and many more. He died in in 1991 at the age of just 54 and is still a hero to the citizens of Ferrara.
The South African fighters are still waiting to see a single rand from the Premier Boxing League in which they competed. There seems on the surface to be nothing being done to right the wrong. The Boxing South Africa (BSA) rules are quite explicit. They state:
A promoter must not later than 30 days prior to the date of a tournament or by any other date specified by Boxing SA, deposit with Boxing SA in cash or by bank guaranteed cheque an amount equal to the total of – (a) the purses to be paid to the boxers engaged for the tournament or where one or more boxers are to be paid a percentage, the estimated amount thereof as determined by Boxing SA;
If this was not done then BSA should not have let the tournament proceed but it seems they did nothing to enforce their own rules and therefore bear a heavy responsibility for the boxer not getting paid.
The biggest loser was the competition winner Xolisani Ndongeni who stood to get a prize of over $80,000. At least some good has come out of it for Ndongeni as he has now joined Colin Nathan’s Hotbox gym. He will be stablemate of Hekkie Budler and through the working relationship between Nathan and Rodney Berman Ndongeni will get some high level exposure. The 25-year-old Ndongeni, the South African lightweight champion and former super feather champion is 17-0 and one of the best and most exciting fighters down in South Africa right now. As for the BSA these are the guys that say they should have control of broadcasting rights but this farce undermines what little case they had for that.
As I write this Shannon Briggs is in action again on Friday in Panama. He again proves what a fraud he is. He screams about wanting to fight Wlad Klitschko and thinks he proves his point by fighting guys like 48-year-old Zoltan Petranyi. The Hungarian veteran has a 51-21 record with 14 of those 21 losses by KO/TKO. He announced his retirement in June but returned to the ring in December to be knocked out in three rounds by 5 fight novice Zoltan Csala. Briggs has no intention of taking any fight which contains even the remotest hint of risk and the thought that he might get a world title shot by this path is depressing but in this sport of ours is not impossible.
It seems that the boxing revival in Spain is not as strong as I hoped. A show this month featuring Gabriel Campillo and Juli Giner had to be cancelled for “financial” reasons i.e. not enough tickets sold. Pity as they have some good young fighters coming through and they need plenty of home activity to avoid being used to pad out someone’s record on the road. Former WBO super feather and lightweight champion Acelino “Popo” Frietas is returning to the ring and will fight in Sao Paulo on 6 June. No opponent named yet. Acelino, 39, retired in 2007 but returned for one fight in 2012 when he kayoed young upstart Michael Oliveira. As far as I know he has no money worries so not sure of his motivation.
The excellent ESPN Boxcino super welter (154lbs) tournament will continue on 10 April with the semi-finals. I guess it should be called the super welterweight or as near as you can get. For the 1st round both Brandon Adams and Vito Gasparyan were 155lbs, Michael Moore was 154.75, and John Thompson and Simeon Hardy were both 154.25. So it looks like close enough is good enough.
Matches made or being made include Sadam Ali vs. Francisco Santana under the Klitschko vs. Jennings fight on 25 April in New York, Mickey Bey defending his IBF lightweight title against Russian Denis Shafikov in Las Vegas on 30 April, Mercito Gesta vs. Carlos Molina in Indio on 30 April, on 1 May Ray Beltran fights Takahiro Ao for the vacant WBO light title, Tony Mundine vs. Austin Trout for the WBC Silver title is in San Antonio on 9 May, London on May 30 sees Kevin Mitchell challenge WBC light champion Jorge Linares, Marco Huck defends his WBO cruiser title against his mandatory challenger Krzys Glowacki on 12 June in Chicago, unbeaten German hope Tyrone Zeuge has recovered from flu and returns to action on 25 April with Enrico Koelling also on the show and looking to rebound from a loss to Italian Mirco Ricci last month
A couple of fights not taking place: Zaurbek Baysangurov’s return on the Klitschko-Jennings show is off due to injury and the big show in Ghana with Emmanuel Tagoe against Filipino Joebert Delos Reyes has been postponed to 24 April to allow Tagoe to recover from a bout of Malaria. This one is planned to go Africa-wide by a telecast.
It was sad to read that fellow-Scot Ricky Burns has declared himself bankrupt. The former two-division WBO champion successfully fought off a claim for £1.8 million in lost profits from Frank Warren for ending his promotional agreement with Warren’s company and joining rivals Matchroom but it was a pyrrhic victory as the court ruled that Burns was not entitled to end the promotion with Warren and was ordered to pay Warren £170,000 commission and his £200,000 costs. Those awards left Burns with debts of £400,000 and negligible assets. He fights former undefeated WBC light champion Omar Figueroa in San Antonio on 9 May but the purse from that will not put him back on his feet. You know where you are in the ring but in a court of law that’s a different arena altogether.