IT looks very much as though Andre Berto will be the next FMMM (Floyd Mayweather Made Millionaire). If he is the choice then it is good news that it might be available on free to view TV but how much of a concession is that? Being realistic Mayweather vs. Berto is not a very attractive fight as Berto just does not have the record or the charisma for it to be a pay-to view sellable event, so getting something for free that you would not have bought anyway is not much of an offer. The big attraction of course is Mayweather aiming to make history by equalling Rocky Marciano’s 49-0. That will be a tremendous achievement and it is inconceivable that Mayweather will settle for equalling the record when one more fight could take him past Marciano’s record (don’t give up hope Amir). If he does bow out at 49-0 then the search on for another “Mayweather” but to make the sort of money Floyd has made you also need to find another Manny Pacquiao. Suggestions please to Showtime and Top Rank. It is incidental but it shows how the sport has changed in that it took Marciano just eight years to reach fight No 49 and it has taken Floyd 19 years. No reflection on either boxer just the way that things were and are now.
Nothing is signed yet but it looks as though the Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux fight may go ahead on November 21. If it comes off it will be a clash between two of the greatest amateur boxers of all time. They never met in their vested days as Rigondeaux fought as a bantam and Lomachenko as first a featherweight and then a lightweight. Rigondeaux won Olympic gold in 2000 and 2004 and World championship gold in 2001 and 2005. Lomachenko won Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012 and World gold in 2011 and 2012. The only major championships they might have both appeared at was the 2007 World Championships but Rigondeaux attempted to defect at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil but was arrested by the Brazilian police and sent back to Cuba and Fidel Castro banned him from any further participation in the Cuban team so no world championships for Guillermo in 2007. He finally managed to defect in 2009 and turned pro.
Mayweather vs. Berto may be a hard sell but the talk of Gennady Golovkin vs. David Lemieux in New York on October 17 and of Scott Quigg getting a defining fight against Nonito Donaire with November being suggested (perhaps alongside Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux) either in Manchester or Dubai is exciting. Now they would be fights worth paying for.
Whilst Wlad Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury has hugged the heavyweight headlines there was bad news in the background for heavyweights as Wlad signed a new five fight deal with German TV Company RTL. The Fury fight is the first fight in that deal to take care of Wlad’s mandatory obligation with the WBO and the plan is then to tackle Vyacheslav Glazkov to get his IBF mandatory out of the way with probably Ruslan Chagaev or whoever holds the secondary WBA title next. Of course Fury could make that deal just a worthless bit of paper.
The WBA, WBC and IBF have been very kind and ensured that my ratings oversight of bouts now past and yet to come during the past week has been interesting but not good for my blood pressure. Now read on:
Every time I think the WBA have hit rock bottom they produce a big shovel and continue to dig. Take the fight last weekend for their vacant interim super middle weight title where German hope Vincent Feigenbutz stopped an outclassed Mauricio Reynoso to win the title. Reynoso – who is he? Well he is a Peruvian who lost on points to Jaime Barboza in December 2012 and did not fight again until winning a four round fight in March this year. But Reynoso needs to be in the top 15 to fight for the title and he was. He was No 8 in the ratings issued by the WBA on 5 June. A bit of a puzzle that as he was not in the WBA ratings for January, February, March or April but in the ratings for May published on June 6 he suddenly appears at No 8 on the basis of one four round fight in 31 months and not having fought for almost three months before his mysterious elevation. What a disgraceful manipulation of their ratings.
On August 15 Carlos Cuadras will defend his WBC super fly title against Dixon Flores. This is so bad I thought it must be another WBA title fight but no it is the WBC. Flores – who is he? Well he is a 21-year-old Nicaraguan with an 11-2-2 record and is a bantamweight/super bantam. In July last year he lost to Frederick Castro (6-3-2 Flores weighed 119lbs) and then in August drew in his only 10 round fight with Jose Rios (11-1) for the Nicaraguan bantam title (Flores weighed 118lbs). He has had four fights since then-all six round fights with his weights having been 119lbs, 122lbs, 118 ½ lbs and 120lbs. In February he was not rated in the WBC top 40 at bantam or super fly. By April he was at No 21 at super fly and in May was up to No 19 and in June up to 18 which is still a problem as he needs to be in the top 15. Surprise, surprise in the latest WBC ratings Flores is No 13 so eligible to fight for the title. Not bad progress for a guy who has not fought for the last five months and has not weighed inside the super fly limit since his first two fights in 2013! If something tragic were to happen to Flores the largest blame would lie with the WBC for doing this with their ratings and therefore making possible by sanctioning such an obvious mismatch. Of course no one will ask but it would be interesting to hear Mauricio Sulaiman’s explanation for this action.
The IBF did not want to be left out and they also played little games with their ratings over Alejandro Gonzalez eligibility to fight Carl Frampton. Although he had not fought since December Gonzalez suddenly appeared in their May ratings, published 5 May, at No 13 so that the fight could be sanctioned. I think he was meant to be slipped in a month earlier but there must have been a bad telephone line as they actually put Andres Gutierrez in at No 13 in their April ratings (understandable mistake after all they are both Mexican and their initials are both AG). Gutierrez had not fought since November, but the mistake was rectified and Senor Gutierrez did a disappearing act the next ratings and the correct AG was put in his place.
It is impossible to believe that someone at either the WBA or WBC thought the matches they were asked to sanction were so attractive that they slipped these guys into their ratings so it could/can happen. How it works so often is that the title fight promoter asks for and is fed with by an agent a suitable opponent i.e. one incapable of winning, and then the promoter asks the sanctioning body if they would kindly screw their own ratings, and their ratings committee, by slipping this guy in and not at any measly No 15. It is like having a little puppy rolling on its back and saying “scratch my tummy with a sanctioning fee and I’ll do anything you ask”. Sanctioning bodies have to work with promoter’s that’s a fact of life; it’s the way the boxing world turns. Alejandro Gonzalez was an acceptable level of opponent for Carl Frampton and the IBF did a bit of “adjustment” to their ratings to enable them to sanction it. Morally wrong? Yes but pragmatically acceptable, but there is no excuse for Mauricio Reynoso or Dixon Flores and what is the point of fighting your way into the top 15 when someone with no credentials at all can leap over you with the connivance of a sanctioning body. It stinks.
The people behind Jorge Linares have been talking about the WBC light champion having a defence at home in Venezuela and indicated that a return with Kevin Mitchell might be next after that. Linares was behind on the cards of two judges before the stoppage of the fight in the tenth round.
The hand injury suffered by Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr at the weekend is not as serious as first thought and he is now looking to return to action in late October or early November with Alfredo Angulo being named as the possible opponent. It should be interesting to listen in on the discussions of what weight they will fight as Angulo has been 162lbs in each of his last two fights and Chavez could not get under 170lbs in his fight at the weekend.
Jhonny Gonzalez returns to the ring on 1 August against Japanese fighter Kazuki Hashimoto as he moves up to super-feather. He is aiming to become a three division champion but he looked a fading fighter against Gary Russell Jnr when losing his WBC feather title in March. This fight is for the vacant WBC Continental Americas title. Hashimoto has never reached ten round class, but he is leaping up to 12 rounds for this one, he has been beaten inside the distance four times in prelim bouts and is not in the JBC top 15 so they are making things as easy as the can for Jhonny.
On Japanese fighters Olympic gold medal winner and now unbeaten pro Ryota Murata has had to pull out of scheduled fight in September due to a shoulder injury but should be okay to fight in October. Despite only having had 7 pro fights and never having fought anyone even remotely rated he is No 4 with the WBC, 8(6) with the IBF and No 9 with the WBO. A fight for any version of a world title would be a huge draw for Japanese TV so don’t rule it out for late next year.
Good show shaping up in Frederikshavn for 12 September with Patrick Nielsen and Rudy Markussen both in action against TBA’s as the build-up starts to their eventual clash. Also on the card will be Patrick’s brother Micki and featherweight Dennis Ceylan.
An all-South American clash in Montreal on 18 August will see a first loss on somebody’s record as Colombian light heavy Eleider Alvarez faces Argentinian-based Paraguayan Isidro Ranoni Prieto. Alvarez is 17-0 with 10 wins by KO/TKO and Prieto is 24-0-3 with 20 wins by KO/TKO. Typical lack of agreement between the sanctioning bodies with the WBC having Alvarez 3 and Prieto 14, the IBF having Alvarez 12 but don’t rate Prieto and the WBO have Prieto 6 and don’t rate Alvarez. The WBA? They have never heard of either of them!
Marcos Maidana is back in light training. The Argentinian had said that after getting $6 million for the match with Floyd Mayweather he had lost the incentive to fight. Now he is reconsidering which is good as he is an exciting fighter and still a player at the big table.
Boxing is still a big attraction in Germany and the Arthur Abraham vs. Robert Stieglitz fight drew 3.61 million viewers equal to a 20.3 % share of the TV audience. Abraham could decide to retire next year and Sauerland Events will need to find a replacement who can draw that well and they were encouraged that Vincent Feigenbutz drew good viewing figures for his part of the show.
Television is vital for boxing so it might have seemed a good news story when South African Boxing Corporation (SABC) the government TV covered a boxing show for the first time in five years but all it really did was to highlight the chaos that only gets worse down there. By broadcasting the show the SABC ignored a long standing court interdict as part of an as yet unresolved court case against the SABC showing boxing which covers both the SABC and Boxing South Africa (BSA) and so with the support of the Minister for Sport defied their own courts. It might have been better if this tournament had been open to the public but attendance was by invitation only with the general public excluded. At the heart of the court case is BSA’s senseless determination to take control of broadcasting rights. This from an organisation whose fiscal control has been abysmal. Despite letters to the President of South Africa the Filipino boxers Rey Loreto and Jetli Purisima from a show on March 22 have not been paid. Further the participants in a South African Boxing League have not been paid and South African fighters and officials are still waiting to be paid for shows on 29 May and 28 June-don’t hold your breath guys. As for the allocation of the broadcasting rights for the SABC covered show there is no published process giving transparency on the process for allocating broadcasting rights which leaves the door open for all sorts of nefarious activities, but that is par for the course. I am sorry Rey Loreto and Jetli Purisima the way the South Africa boxers are still being screwed puts your chances of being paid at a little below zero!
Plenty of good matches scheduled for August in Mexico. On August 8 in the famous Arena Coliseo in Mexico City lightweights Dante “Crazy” Jardon and Jairo “Doberman” Lopez clash in a real 50/50 fight of big punchers and Adrian “Confessor” Hernandez meets Saul “Baby” Juarez with former WBC light fly champion Hernandez looking to get revenge for a loss due to a cut in May. A third fight on the card sees Reyes Sanchez and Diego “Buster” Cruz clash in one that is unlikely to go the distance. On August 15 in Guamuchil Carlos Cuadras defends the WBC super fly title against Nicaraguan Dixon Flores (you already know my opinion on this farce) and in a support Ramon Garcia and Juan Hernandez meet at light flyweight. On 22 August in Ciudad Juarez the colourful Nery Saguilan takes on DeMarcus Corley and on the same night in Monterrey Adrian Estrella starts his rebuilding against Colombian Alex Monterrosa with busy busy Miguel Roman also on the card. Finishing the month on August 29 not in Mexico but very much of Mexico in Los Angeles we have Abner Mares vs. Leo Santa Cruz and Hugo Ruiz vs. Julio Ceja.
Manuel Charr returns to the ring on August 22 against Mairis Briedis in Grozny, Chechen. It will be his second fight since suffering an upset loss against Johann Duhaupas in April. He kept his career alive with a win over Alex Leapai in May but he can’t afford another loss. Briedis is unbeaten in 16 fights and unlike most Latvian fighters is not a travelling loser having won bouts in Germany, Poland and the USA. The problem for Briedis is that he is a cruiserweight and weighed 201 ¾ lbs in his last fight whilst Charr weighed 252lbs in his last one.
Deirdre Gogarty was one of the pioneers of woman’s boxing and blazed a trail for others such as Katie Taylor to follow so it was good to read that Deirdre has been inducted into the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame. Deirdre turned pro in 1991 and apart from her first fight in Ireland and a couple in Britain she then fought exclusively in the USA. She fought in nine different States before winning the International Boxing Federation featherweight title in Louisiana in 1997 but lost her title in 1998 and was forced to retire due to a shoulder injury. After retiring she became the first women to serve on the Louisiana Boxing Commission and trained young aspiring boxers in conjunction with Beau Williford’s well respected and very successful Ragin’ Cajun gym. A real credit to women’s boxing still.
In my report on the Cesar Cuenca vs. Ik Yang fight I mentioned the Cuenca was probably the best defensive fighter Argentina had produced since Nicolino Locche. I can imagine some younger readers (to me that is anyone under 60) saying to themselves Nicolino who? Well Locche was a legend in Argentinian boxing and was known as “El Intocable “- the untouchable and arguably the most brilliant defensive boxer of all time. He could duck, bob, weave and as a last resort block punches and leave his opponents swishing empty air and looking desperate and foolish. He had an incredible 136 fights with a 117-4-14,1ND record. He turned pro in December 1958 and in his tenth fight in December 1959 he lost on points to fellow-countryman Vicente Derado. Between that loss in December 1959 and March 1972 he had 113 fights and lost only once to Abel Laudonio and he reversed that loss. He won the WBA light welter title in 1968 beating “Paul” Takeshi Fuji in Japan and lost the title in his sixth defence to Alfonso Frazer. He beat all of the top fighters in Argentina including Derado, Jamie Gine, who was unbeaten in 76 fights at the time, Hugo Rambaldi, Manuel Alvarez, Raul Villalba and other world class fighters such as Joe Brown, Carlos Hernandez, Adolph Pruitt, Eddie Perkins, Sandro Lopopolo and Antonio Cervantes and drew with Ismael Laguna and Carlos Ortiz. His only loss inside the distance came against Cervantes in a return when Locche was the challenger for his old title and that was due to a bad cut and huge swelling over his left eye. He retired in August 1976 by which time he had fought 1349 rounds of boxing. He was never the most diligent trainer and habitual smoker and it was not unusual to see his seconds shielding him from view and helping whilst he had a few puffs of a cigarette between rounds. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003. A remarkable man who passed away in 2005.
Boxing has always been a big supporter of charities and there are a couple of good works planned. Polish boxers have been involved in supporting an amputee football match organised by the Foundation Amp Active and some Polish footballers will also be there for the game.
In Ghana at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Accra a boxing show is goiung to be put on by Alex Ntiamoah’s Box Office and Millionaires casino. The show Boxing 4 Charity will feature Issah Samir against Philip Kotey for the Ghanaian and West African titles at middleweight and Prince “Octopus” Dzanie against Emmanuel Quartey for the same title at welterweight. Proceeds will go to Autism Awareness Care and Training Centre, a Primary School and a Children’s Orphanage.
Still on Ghana Azumah Nelson received a Sporting Legends Award which recognises outstanding achievements by Ghanaians in different spheres of life. Azumah was a great fighter; perhaps the best fighter ever produced in Africa and is a great ambassador for boxing.