November 27, 2015
November 27, 2015
Rigondeaux pops Francisco

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FOR those interested in money the purses from the Las Vegas show were Miguel Cotto $15 million, Saul Alvarez $5 million, Takashi Miura $400,000, Francisco Vargas $200,000, Guillermo Rigondeaux $350,000 and Drian Francisco $125,000. The earnings of both Cotto and Alvarez will have been boosted by associated income but in some ways the luckiest guy was Francisco instead of appearing on a low earnings show in the Philippines he instead received the biggest purse of his career as a late substitute against Rigondeaux.

With regard to the WBC stripping Cotto of their title just four days before the fight I can see both points of view. When he agreed to the fight Cotto knew what the sanctioning fee was and he had made money out of being the WBC title fight against Sergio Martinez and Daniel Geale so he had at least a moral obligation to pay it. It is the same with the stand-aside money of $800,000 to Gennady Golovkin so that the Alvarez fight could go ahead for the WBC title. Again a moral obligation to pay. From his point of view he could either fulfil those obligations and pay out $1.1 million or save himself a whole lot of cash by throwing away the WBC title and $1.1 million is a big incentive to walk away from your obligations. The question now is who is he going to fight for big money. If Alvarez is going to fight Golovkin whoever wins the WBC will somehow make sure they can’t defend their title against Cotto. There is talk of a return match with Alvarez but he would have to take to thin end of the purse and you can be sure that would not be for the WBC title. There is talk of Tim Bradley, or Terrence Crawford or Keith Thurman but no one is going to pay him $15 million for any of those fights. He should have just paid up the $1.1 million and walked away with “just” $13.9 million-I would have. Cotto has said he will fight again in mid-2016 and who knows what the fight scene will be like then.

Alvarez has said he will fight Golovkin but only at 154lbs which makes nonsense of the weight categories. He is WBC middleweight champion and unless he has forgotten the poundage for the division is 160lbs. Big sanctioning fee involved so if necessary the rules can be ignored and Golovkin will have to be inside the limit for the super welter division in order to fight for the middleweight title. Unless of course Alvarez decides to go back down to super welter.

The picture only gets more complicated and not less. The WBC have said that they would have no objection to a Cinco De Mayo show featuring both Alvarez and Golovkin against separate opponents with the pair then meeting in September. That ignores the fact that Golovkin is only the WBC interim champion and as he also holds the WBA and IBF titles those two bodies may want him to make defences which might not fit in with those plans. I’m getting a headache!!!

I can’t believe that Randy Caballero was stupid enough to be 5 ½ lbs overweight for his fight with Lee Haskins. It may only have become public when he stepped on the scales but it must have been evident well before that. ‘Oh dear look I am 5 ½ lbs overweight’ – no way. It is totally unprofessional and his whole team are to blame not just the fighter. It seems to happen almost every other week and it is dishonest as his fans will have paid for their tickets. Perhaps that’s one remedy if a fighter fails to make the weight he should forced to offer refunds to the crowd.

It looks as though the return fight between Fedor Chudinov and Felix Sturm for the secondary WBA middleweight title could be on again. The two had broken off negotiations in October but are talking again. Chudinov won the vacant title with a split decision over Sturm in Germany in May.

Talk of retirement from Brandon Rios has had a short shelf life. The former undefeated WBA lightweight champion is already back in the gym less than three weeks after his loss to Tim Bradley.

What a very mixed week for boxing. We had the Alvarez vs. Cotto fight, not a classic but a very good fight, we had the drama of Vargas and Miura and the emotional victory for Anthony Crolla and Arthur Abraham defying father Time. However there were three deaths in different circumstances. We lost former world champion Bob Foster to illness, former world champion O’Neil Bell was murdered and at the other end of the fame scale, but every bit as tragic, young Nicaraguan David Acevedo died after never recovering from a knockout he suffered in a fight on 14 November. I was privileged to be at ringside when Bob knocked out Chris Finnegan in the fourteenth round of their exciting fight for the WBA and WBC light heavyweight titles in London in 1972. He was one of the greatest light heavyweights of all time. Jamaican Bell was IBF, WBA and WBC cruiser champion at a time when the WBO was not really considered a major body so effectively he was “undisputed” champion. Acevedo was a four/six/eight round fighter with a modest record. He was fighting an opponent with a similar although local sources say that Acevedo shed 10lbs in the 24 hours before the fight to make the weight. Foster was 77, Bell 40 and Acevedo 23. Tragedies all. RIP Bob, O’Neil and David.

We nearly had another tragedy with Dawid “Gypsy” Kostecki being rushed to hospital and in intensive care after reportedly taking a concoction of alcohol and drugs in a suicide attempt. The 34-year-old Pole had reportedly been depressed. He had effectively retired with just one bout in November 2014 being his only fight in over three years.

WBO cruiser champion Krzys Glowacki has recovered from injury and it seems he will make the first defence of his title against Steve Cunningham in January or February next year.

Currently Cunningham is not in the WBO top 15 but you can be sure that the elevator button will be pushed and will stop for Cunningham somewhere above the 16th floor of the WBO ratings.

No rest for Arthur Abraham after his victory over Martin Murray. The WBO have notified their respective teams that Abraham and No 1 Gilberto Ramirez have 30 days of free negotiation and if they fail to agree then the WBA will call for purse offers with a minimum set at $300,000. Top Rank are determined to get the fight in the USA but Abraham will not want to fight in the USA as his last two visits resulted in losses to Andre Dirrell and Andre Ward.

Similarly the IBF have given super fly champion McJoe Arroyo and his highest listed challenger Jerwin Ancajas until 18 December to come to an agreement for their fight and if they fail then the IBF will seek purse offers. “Pretty Bo” Ancajas is one Manny Pacquiao’s boxers.

Boxing is booming in Britain right now and it is difficult to tell which division is the most exciting. There is the fight in Manchester on 27 February where Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg clash in a huge fight for Britain. Now the lightweights are staking their claim with WBO champion Terry Flanagan clashing with former interim WBA champion Derry Mathews on 13 February and talk of new WBA champion Anthony Crolla facing Kevin Mitchell. I have never known a period when there are so many exciting domestic matches with such world-wide impact-and it is only going to get better as guys such as Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell etc. move up.

Guillermo Jones, the former WBA cruiser champion returned to action at the weekend. When he turned pro in 1993 he weighed 148lbs. On Friday he was 225 ¾ lbs! A 77lb weight gain. It is almost to the point where they could take a chunk out of him and make a minimum weight fighter and get two for the price of one. Only in boxing could someone such as Jones test positive twice once in 2013 and once in 2014 and be back in competition in 2015. What sort of message is that supposed to send to those thinking of cheating. The two factors that deters cheats in the certainty of being caught and the severity of the punishment. What a farce.

As far as banned substances are concerned it was disappointing to hear that Antonio Tarver had reportedly tested positive after his fight with Steve Cunningham in August which if confirmed will be the second time in his career. He had tested positive after his fight with Lateef Kayode in 2012 for what was described as synthetic testosterone. This time it was reported to be for (and don’t ask me what the difference is) exogenous Testosterone and anabolic steroid metabolites 5-a-Androstan eidola. Tarver denies taking any banned substances saying “Either the sample was contaminated or mixed up with another sample”.

The WBC has approved the fight between Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero on January 23 as part of their elimination tournament to find a new welterweight champion. They have also agreed that the winner of a fight between Cesar Barrionuevo and Azael Cosio will also take part in the tournament. Garcia is their No 2 and Guerrero their No 6 which makes some kind of sense-but Barrionuevo and Cosio? Barrionuevo is No 19 in their ratings and Cosio No 29. How can people not in the top 15, with one of them only creeping into the top 30, be eligible to be in a tournament to find a new champion? Might just as well throw away all the good work done by the rating committee and just stick a load of names in a hat.

Former three-time world champion Jhonny Gonzalez tries to get his career back on track with a fight in Los Mochis on 5 December. In September he lost a majority verdict to Jonathan Oquendo. This time he faces “Hurricane” Futa Nakagishi which should not be too tough as Futa is 2-2 in four six round fights this year and not in the JBC top 15,

Some anger in South Africa over Hekkie Budler not figuring in the national sporting awards. As the WBA minimum champion he is the only South African holding a title of one of the four major sanctioning bodies (he is also IBO champion) and he has defended his title twice this year but was completely overlooked.

Sometimes talent runs in a family but it is not always the same talent. Right now a young High School running back is making people sit up and take notice. Several colleges have noticed his ability and if he continues to develop he could have a future in the NFL. A couple of Universities and others also have him on their radar. One of them is Louisville. That should be a clue. The teenager is Biaggio Ali Walsh the grandson of the great Muhammad Ali.

There has been some good news for boxing. In Los Angeles Abner Mares was honoured with a proclamation and the keys to the city of local spots Bell Gardens and Irwindale in southeast Los Angeles and was given the “Inspirational Award”. The three-division champion had been handing out turkeys for over 500 families.

Promoter Joe DeGuardia was voted “Promoter of the Year” by Ring 8. A law graduate and former New York Golden Gloves champion DeGuardia’s Star Boxing promotions have played a big part in the development of a number of fighters working with Chris Algieri, Demetrius Andrade and others and are highly respected for the quality of their shows and their honest approach to boxing. Congratulations Joe.

On the other side of the world the AIBA are helping boxing in Zambia. They have just finalised a new partnership with the National Olympic Committee of Zambia to promote their Heads Up programme with the aim that the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka will become a centre of excellence for East Africa. The aim is to inspire youths in the region to take up boxing and whilst this is aimed at amateur boxing that’s where the next generation of professionals will come from.

Similarly in Guyana the Demerara Distillers Limited have provided financial backing for the development of Caribbean boxing with particular regard to a an Under-16 tournament to be held in Georgetown and that type of long term planning can only be good for the future of both the amateur and profession coxing in Guyana. Demerara-looking for a new Sugar I guess. Better finish on that note.