THE on-off-on-off-on-off story of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight has for the past few years been – as an old Glaswegian pal of mine might have said – like a tart’s knickers ( “tart” is a euphemism for a lady of loose virtue, and elastic, of which I have no personal experience). Every day seems to bring another hopeful sounding revelation that this party or these parties have agreed it is on only for a note of caution to creep in when there is no formal announcement. Time is rapidly running out for the May 2 date as each boxer will want the maximum time to prepare for the biggest fight of their lives and if it is not settled well before the end of this month that will leave insufficient time. Come on guys get it sorted. It has to happen for the sake of Mayweather’s legacy. “Mayweather? Yeah a great fighter but he dodged Pacquiao”. There are also other big fights in suspended animation awaiting this decision.
It must have come as a shock to Floyd to find that being famous and having lots of money cannot buy everything. The Australian government would not let him enter the country due to his criminal record. My recollection is that they did the same for Mike Tyson (only to let him in eventually).
Tyson Fury certainly seems to be in demand. Wlad Klitschko has said his plans consist of defences against Bryant Jennings then Fury and early in 2016 Deontay Wilder. Wilder also has Fury on his list for 2015 so the big Brit looks certain to get a fight and may even be able to chose who he fights.
Naturally you can’t keep Don King out of the picture. He reportedly offered $100 million to the Klitschko brothers to fight each other. No way is that ever going to happen but it keeps King’s name in the papers.
If Al Haymon is such a smart business man why is his fighter Peter Quillin now challenging for the title Haymon had him relinquish only in September? Quillin said he did not want to fight mandated challenger Matt Korobov and was going to chase bigger fights. Well Andy Lee is a marginally bigger draw than Korobov but then what? If he beats Lee the only feasibly fight for him is a challenge to Daniel Jacobs, another Haymon fighter, for the secondary WBA title which is exactly where he was in September. Meanwhile he is back fighting for the title he threw away and presumably getting the challenger’s end of the purse instead of the champion’s.
Haymon has been casting his net wide as he has reportedly signed up Mongolian Tugstsog Nuambayaryn, who won silver at both the World Championships and the 2012 Olympics at 52kg. It’s getting to appoint where if you read that Haymon is reaching for the stars you think he has signed a flyweight called R2D2.
There has been a lot of positive talk from the IBF/WBA/WBC about arriving at one world champion in each division. There is a long way to go on that but obviously it is not for now but at sometime in the future. Instead we have WBC/WBC light welter champion Danny Garcia fighting IBF champion Lamont Peterson with none of the three titles on the line. The WBA explained that they did not insist Garcia put his title on the line because Garcia could not make the weight. If he can’t make the weight why is he still champion? To add to it Garcia has not made a compulsory defence of his WBC title for over 16 months but no action has been taken.
Former WBA cruiser champion Guillermo Jones has asked the WBA to reduced the two-year sentence he was given for testing positive for a banned substance before his return fight with Denis Lebedev in April last year. The Panamanian won the first fight but was reported was to have given a positive test for Furosemide but somehow Don King managed to muddy the water so that Jones got a return. This time the Russian promoters insisted Jones be tested before the fight. He was and tested positive for the same banned substance. There was even talk of the fight going ahead as a non-title fight as if it okay to cheat in a non-title fight but not in a title fight. Luckily that did not happen but here we have a guy who has tested positive twice in less than a year so to cut his sentence would send out the wrong message. You also have to ask how dumb someone has to be to test positive when he knows in advance he is going to be tested and then tests positive for Furosemide again…
King was sued by the Russian promoters in a New York District Court and the judge found for the plaintiffs in most areas with King obliged to repay the $250,000 he received for his services and damages and costs which it was estimated could amount to about $1.1 million
Obviously German super middle prospect Vince Feigenbutz is a well read man. The young kayo artist said he was not worried about any lack of recognition. He quoted Mahatma Gandhi as saying: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win”. The 19-year-old has an 18-1 record with 17 wins in a row 16 of those by KO/TKO. On March 31 in Rostock under the Juergen Braehmer-Robin Krasniqi WBO light heavy title fight he faces Hungarian champion Balazs Kelemen for the Global Boxing Union title. Kelemen who is 36 has a 22-0 record but has been carefully guided to avoid any stern tests. Neither fighter makes it into the EBU ratings but it can only be a matter of time before Feigenbutz cracks the ratings.
The reason these two are so low is that neither has met top quality opposition. That is not a criteria that worries the four big sanctioning bodies. Last week Filipino Jeffrey Galero challenged Wanheng for the WBC minimumweight title. He lasted the distance, showed lots of guts and won only one round on one card. Not a surprise when you consider that he was in only his twelfth fight. He certainly benefited from the WBC ratings special elevator. In September he was not in the Top.40. Just after those ratings were published he beat No.34 Donny Mabao which got him a first entry at No 17 in October and then without having a fight he was up in No 12 position which allowed the WBC to sanction his title shot. The guys I feel sorry for are the ones who were rated in the first 15 before Galero’s rapid promotion and never even got considered for a title shot. It makes you wonder why they even have ratings.
The IBF have their own ratings elevator. Between their December ratings and their January ratings Sergio Mora went from No.14 to No.7 in preparation for a title fight with Jermain Taylor which never took place. A bit of a waste of time and effort for you guys in Springfield NJ.
On the subject of ratings I often see comments about the IBF leaving spots in their ratings “Vacant”. This is usually the No.1 or 2 slots. Eventually the WBA followed suit and briefly after Deontay Wilder won the WBC title the No 1 spot at heavyweight carried the words “Not Rated”. This is a case of copying what someone else was doing without knowing why they are doing it. It goes back to the bad old days for the IBF when Ratings Chairman Doug Beavers cooperated with an FIB investigation by recording numerous conversations with then President Booby Lee Snr. discussing soliciting bribes and manipulating the IBF ratings. Beavers testified that he and Lee had regularly solicited bribes from managers and promoters, starting in 1985, in essence selling rankings to the highest bidder. They also accepted payments to order rematches. Lee walked away from most of the charges but was fined $22,000 and sentenced to 22 months in jail for money laundering. As a result the US Government put agents into the IBF to oversee them for a period and clean up their act. One change was that no fighter could be rated No 1 unless he had a win over another rated fighter. That led to the No.1 spot often being vacant a practice they still have to follow now. Eventually the WBA also started leaving vacant spots but they are doing it even when a fighter does have a win over another rated fighter. The WBO have never used that process and by the next ratings the WBC had dispensed with the “Not Rated” tag on their No.1 spot at heavyweight. A brief period of sense.
Carlos Cuadras will defend his WBC super fly title against No.2 rated Silver Champion Luis Concepcion in Mexico on either March 28 or a date in early April. Obviously Concepcion’s management have every confidence in their fighter’s discipline as they said he would be allowed to attend an upcoming carnival but will at all times be accompanied by one of his team to make sure he stays away from the fast food and alcohol.
Former IBO and IBF bantamweight champion Joseph Agbeko is scheduled to return to action on a card in Accra on March 6, Ghana’s Independence Day. He will be fighting for the vacant IBF International title against Filipino Carlos Magali. It will be Agbeko’s first contest since losing on points to Guillermo Rigondeaux in December 2013. Magali, the GAB No 8 feather is 18-7-3 and is coming off a creditable draw with Denis Tubieron for the vacant WBC International feather title. Agbeko has signed a three year deal with Roy Jones Promotions.
The undercard to the Amnat Ruenroeng vs. Zou Shiming IBF flyweight title fight will see South Korean Ik Yang face Thai Patomsuk in an IBF eliminator at light welter. Yang is No 9(8) with the IBF and Patomsuk is No 6 (5) so it is an eliminator but not a final eliminator so no title shot guaranteed for the winner. Also on the card Glen Tapia takes on Australian Dennis Dawson for the WBO NABO super welter title and Hong Kong starlet Rex Tso faces Filipino Mike Enriquez.
You will note I have and usually do use only the first name for Thai boxers. This is because their fighting name often reflects the name of their sponsors or their gym such CP Freshmarket, Kokietgym, Torpan 49 and Onesongchaigym but they rarely change their first names. If the sponsor changes or they switch gyms then they will change their last name can be hard to trace. BoxRec’s representative in the Philippines recently turned down a request from a Thai sponsoring Filipino boxers to have the family name of his boxers dropped and replaced on BoxRec by his name of Singwancha. I do have to adopt the second name sometimes as when it does not seem right to refer to just their first names such as Pigmy (Kokietgym) or Sod (Kokietgym).
British heavyweight Dillian Whyte got past his biggest test so far as he beat experienced Marcelo Luiz Nascimento in two rounds last weekend. Brazilian Nascimento had lost on points over eight rounds to Eddie Chambers in his last fight in November but was floored three times and knocked out in round 2 by Whyte. After winning his first 9 fights the 26-year-old from Brixton was a given a two year ban after testing positive for a banned substance which was in a supplement he bought over the counter. He ended his ban and returned to action in November last year and has been a busy man with four wins in 12 weeks. His record now stands at 13-0 with 10 wins by KO/TKO. There is heightened interest in his career since as an amateur he reportedly scored a win over Anthony Joshua back in 2009.
No opponent named yet but Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago will return to action on 26 February in Carazo. Buitrago has been unlucky in two title shots, both staged in the other man’s territory. He drew with Merlito Sabillo for the WBO minimumweight title in Quezon City in November 2013 and lost a unanimous decision to Knockout CP Freshmart (can’t just call him Knockout so full ring name) for the interim WBA title in Thailand with all three judges giving it the Thai 115-113.
Unbeaten German hope Enrico Koelling returns to action on the undercard to the Arthur Abraham vs. Paul Smith WBO super middle title fight in Berlin in ten days time. Koelling is 16-0. He has been laid up for a while with a knee injury but should be able to get past Italian Mirco Ricci. If the talk is anything to go by the Abraham vs. Smith is a genuine grudge match with Smith feeling he was robbed in their first fight and Abraham angry at having to go over the same ground again. Of course if the WBO had not ordered the rematch then Abraham could have done something new such as fighting Robert Stieglitz for the fourth time.
There are all sorts of reasons for hoping a fighter succeeds. You might have a family, a local or a national connection or just like his style. But there are some you hope succeed because of what it means to them and their family. Once such case is the Belgian lightweight Jean Pierre “Junior” Bauwens. The 26-year-old lightweight has a 36-1-1 record and will be making the first defence of his EU title in Ghent on 28 February against Frenchman Yoann Portailler. Bauwens is the sole earner in his family and is supporting his four autistic siblings from his ring earnings. His local community has a project going to raise funds at the 28 February show to but a new house for the family with boxing figures such as Delfine Persoon the WBC female lightweight champion giving their support. I’m rooting for Junior.
Another case is that of South African Zolani Tete who defends his IBF super fly title against brilliant young Brit Paul Butler on 6 March in Liverpool. Tete is in his training quarters at a high altitude camp near Johannesburg. Whilst the training camp may be fine the IBF champion’s living conditions are not. Tete is sharing one small room with his three sparring partners Thabo Sonjica, Mfusi Maxhayi and Bongani Silila. They sleep on mattresses on the floor but were hoping their management would sort things out soon. Again it shows it is a different world in Africa and what their fighters achieve under the handicaps they suffer is amazing. Back to Zolani. He aims to retain his title against Butler but just as important he hopes to be able to use his purse money to buy his mother a prosthetic leg as she had a leg amputated due to complications with diabetes. Difficult not to root for someone with that as his aim.
Lastly on South Africa. Three men have this week have each been sentenced to 18 year in prison for the murder of former WBO heavyweight champion Corrie Sanders. The three Zimbabweans shot and killed Sanders in the course of a robbery in December 2012. Sanders died whilst bravely shielding his daughter from the murderers. Sanders sprang a huge shock when he halted Wlad Klitschko in two rounds to win the title in 2003 but lost in his first defence to Vitali. The three murderers also face other charges relating to the robbery. Corrie’s family got justice but nothing can fill the void of a brave father.