Snips & Snipes 4th January 2012

A happy New Year to all. I hope 2012 is good to you and to those you love.
The WBC President Jose Sulaiman has always been a controversial character and the reason was never more clearly demonstrated than in the last couple of weeks of the year.
At the WBC Convention in Las Vegas he showed his brilliant diplomatic skills during a hectic and noisy session covering the champions and their obligations. These are important matters, with a number of potential million dollar fights depending on the decisions of the WBC.
At various times a number of the promoters etc. involved were shouting, screaming, throwing tantrums and generally creating havoc. Throughout it all Sulaiman, with no real assistance from anyone else on the Board of Governors, kept his cool, and came up with decisions, which if they did not solve the problems at least put forward potential solutions which could be worked on. That was the plus side.
The other side of Sulaiman came out in his dismissing Floyd Mayweather s assaulting his wife as a very minor matter which did not deserve the 90 day jail sentence. It could even in some eyes have constituted an acceptance of male abuse of their partners. It was a stupid and crude defence of the indefensible and rightly brought a whole deluge of scorn and criticism on his head. He very quickly changed his tune ststing that he sometimes expressed himself badly, and offered a sincere apology etc. Too little, too late.
It mirrors his defence of Antonio Margarito when the Mexican was caught trying to cheat. He saw this as almost a racial attack because Margarito was a Mexican, but in a huge shoot in the foot announcement he seemed to say that Margarito s offence was similar to the situation in which Luis Resto found himself, forgetting that Resto was banned for life and sent to jail. Could be that Jose was influenced by needing to keep the WBC in the picture if there is any possibility of a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao match. The WBC tried to keep Pacquiao on board with the award of a Diamond Belt for the fight with Miguel Cotto in 2009 - a WBO title fight - but that had no effect, so Mayweather is their only way in to the big event.
There is no doubt that the preeminent position of the WBC amongst sanctioning bodies is solely due to the diplomatic skills and charisma of Don Jose, but he needs someone to steer him clear of the banana skins he strews in his own path.
However, the jailing of Mayweather almost certainly kills any talk of a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao in May. By the time Mayweather comes out there will be insufficient time for him to prepare for the fight. Bob Arum has floated a fourth Juan Manuel Marquez fight or a fight with WBO light welterweight champion Tim Bradley as other options.
At the Convention I shared a dinner table with 'Joey Giambra' who was plugging a book about his career. Joey, like many others of his era, would most certainly have been good enough to win a version of the world middleweight title today. Joey turned pro in 1949 and retired in 1963. In that time he had 77 fights, winning 65, drawing 2 and losing 10. Hailing from Buffalo, Joey won 2 out of 3 bouts against Joey Giardello, beat Bobby Dykes, Rocky Castellani twice, Chico Vejar, Ralph Jones, Gil Turner and Florentino Fernandez. He fought Rocky Calhoun three times, each winning a decision and the third being a draw, and also fought Bob Olson, Yama Bahama, and Luis Manuel Rodriguez. He lost in his last fight on a split decision to Joe DeNucci when he came in as a substitute with just 24 hours notice. The closest he got to winning a world title was a points loss to Denny Moyer for the inaugural WBA light middleweight title. In those 77 fights against many of the best fighters in the 1950 s and 60 s he never lost a fight inside the distance. His big regret was that Sugar Ray Robinson wanted no part of him. I put Joey Giambra in inverted commas as Joey is now 80 years old, and this guy did not even look to be 60?
On the same table was veteran Wayne Ferreira, a truly remarkable man who had an arm amputated after an accident, but overcame that tremendous handicap to get a licence and become a top trainer and cornerman. In contrast from an age point of view my constant companion was South Africa Colin Nathan. Colin must be one of the youngest trainers around. He has his own gym in SouthAfrica and trains many of their top boxers. He was going on from the Convention to visit with Freddie Roach as he is always seeking to improve his skills as a trainer. If his boxers have half the energy and focus that Colin has then they will be hard to beat.
Ahmet Oner is no shrinking violet. One of the highlights of the WBC Convention in LasVegas came during the stormy session regarding champions and their obligations. when it looked as though his fighter Selcuk Aydin was going to be screwed. Ahmet lost the plot completely. He stormed up and down the aisle before stripping his jacket off and throwing it on the floor in a rage. Very theatrical and dramatic, but at least he showed that he cared about Aydin and was not about to let him get by-passed.
That act was nothing compared to the statements he subsequently gave to a newspaper on the subject of boxing in Germany. Ahmet said, I declare that professional boxing in Germany is officially dead. It is high time to close the coffin lid and bury the box . When it was pointed out that the Klitschko brothers are drawing huge crowds he said The Klitschkos are the only two world class boxers in Germany, and they are Ukrainians, whose struggles against low class opponents are so boring that no one in the world is interested - except of course the stupid German events audience.
He also went on to dismiss Felix Sturm whose recent fights have been against cheap, C class fighters! Not bad. Sturm s last two opponents have been Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray he so he managed to upset the British and the Germans in just a couple of sentences. He has done a good job in managing many of the Cuban boxers who have escaped from the Island, but a lot of his invective is tied to the way Odlanier Solis has been viewed after his severe knee injury ended the fight with Vitali Klitschko in the first round. Presumably he excludes Solis from the list of low class opponents .
Mike Tyson has also given an interesting interview to a newspaper in which he stated .. I have been for almost 20 years, a lunatic. Lawless, violent, crazy, like a psychopath. I was a disgusting and I had no respect for anyone and I thought I was the master of the world. There will never be a boxer who has swallowed more pills than I have. I never thought that I would survive beyond 30 years. I am amazed to be alive. Boxing made ​​me crazy. I have eight children with four different women, but today I want to be a good father. The important thing for me now is for my children to have a good opinion of their father, because for years I have not had any good opinion of myself. Today I am a vegan. No alcohol, no smoking, don t take drugs or eat meat . You have to wonder how the history of heavyweight boxing would have evolved if Tyson had found the way in the mid 1980 s.
If it comes off, the fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Marco Antonio Rubio in San Antonio on February will be big for Mexico, and will split the fan base, with both having big followings. It will be the tenth fight in Texas for Chavez and the second defence of his WBC title. Rubio will be making his fifth appearance in Texas, and his second shot at winning a full title, having been stopped in nine rounds by Kelly Pavlik for the WBC and WBO titles in 2009. Rubio has won ten fights since losing to Pavlik, nine of them by KO/TKO. Rubio certainly has the punch (46 of his 53 wins have been by KO/TKO) but he tends to ignore defence, so it could be an early finish-one way or another. I say if it comes off, but the WBC have stated that they have had no formal request from any promoter, so, as at the end of December, the fight was not approved. At the Convention the WBC ordered Julio Cesar Chavez Jr to fight Sergio Martinez by July.
EBU title fights continue to be of the highest quality. The next heavyweight title fight will see Robert Helenius defending against former undefeated champion Alex Dimitrenko. Purse offers are to be in by January 16. Helenius won the vacant EBU title with a controversial decision over Dereck Chisora. The same title that Dimitrenko relinquished. Now that move by Dimitrenko does not seem to be so smart, as it lead him nowhere, and now he takes the challenger s share of the purse instead of the champion s.
Another EBU title fight will see Russian Alex Alexeev and Enad Licina contesting the vacant cruiserweight title on February 4. Both fighters are trying to re-establish themselves Alexeev after a crushing kayo loss to Denis Lebedev in 2010 and Licina after a points loss to Steve Cunningham last year..
The end of the year has seen the usual lists of Best Fighter, Best Fight etc. Ring Magazine readers voted Andre Ward as Fighter of the Year and Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto as the Fight of the Year. Sports Illustrated had the first fight between Delvin Rodriguez and Pawel Wolak as Fight of the Year.
The changing face of boxing was shown clearly in France where the French Boxing Federation GG Jean Claude Bouttier award as Fighter of the Year went to welterweight Anne-Sophie Mathis who won the WBO European, WBFederation female title, Women s International Boxing Association, World Boxing and the International Boxing Association titles in the space of six months.
Although it was not in any awards list the return between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito in New York garnered 600,000 PPV buys. Only Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr have outdrawn that in 2011.
Suddenly Freddie Roach thinks that Lamont Peterson would be a worthy opponent for Pacquiao. In May or June. If there is any possibility of that coming off then Amir Khan can forget his return with Peterson. A fight with Pacquiao, or a return with Khan-a no brainer.
Khan may or may not have legitimate grounds for feeling he got a bad deal against Peterson, but the real question is what was he doing fighting Peterson in the guy's backyard? Khan was the champion; Khan was the TV draw, so what idiot decided that it was a good idea to take the fight to Washington? A multi-million dollar mistake that makes no sense.
Looks as though Acelino Freitas is making a form of comeback. He was challenged last year by unbeaten prospect Mike Oliveira, and has accepted the challenge. The fight date is May 19 at the Arena Copacabana Beach in Rio and will be at light middleweight. The 36-year-old Frietas is a former WBA and WBO super featherweight and WBO lightweight champion, taking part in 15 world title fights, but has been inactive since 2007. Oliveira The Brazilian Rocky , is 21 and unbeaten in 16 fights. The highest Freitas ever weighed was 139lbs whereas Oliveira has been as high as 170lbs. It is said to be costing $7.4 million to put the fight on, and there is big interest in it down Rio way.
Boxing looks to be making a strong comeback on US TV. ESPN have confirmed they intend to do 30 Friday night shows, kicking off with Dyah Davis, the son of Olympic gold medallist and WBC lightweight title challenger Howard Davis, against Alfonso Lopez. NBC are looking to put on 20-30 shows with their first effort being Eddie Chambers against Sergei Liakhovich on January 21 in Philadelphia. The bout will be in the Asylum Arena , which almost matches the Ghana boxing hall named the Prisoner s Canteen .
Sturm Boxing Promotions won the bidding for the European middleweight title fight between champion Grzegor Proksa and Sebastian Zbik. Their bid was EURO 176,100 against the 153,079 bid from Sauerland promotions and 100,001 from Matchroom. There is some doubt over whether the fight will come off due to the conflicting promoters involved.
Sturm himself looks to be lining up a unification match. The favoured opponent is Russian WBO champion Dmitry Pirog. But if that falls through then Tasmanian Daniel Geale, the IBF champion is next in line.
Floyd Mayweather Jr is not the only fighter to have his finger on the self destruct button. Former middleweight king Kelly Pavlik has jeopardised his chance to get back on track after being arrested just before Christmas. The car he was in collided with a lamppost and a phone booth. His friend in the car claimed to be driving, but it was Pavlik's car. Both participants refused to be breathalysed and were then arrested. Pavlik was set for another chance to fight his way to the top, but he has blown that.
Weare certainly getting some fights where both opponents are willing to put their reputations on the line. On February 4 in San Antonio Nonito Donaire will fight Wilfredo Vasquez for the vacant WBO super bantamweight title. Vazquez lost the title to Jorge Arce in May last year, but then moved down to bantamweight where he won the WBO title by decisioning Angky Angkota in November. It is a game of musical chairs with Arce giving up the super bantamweight title to move down to bantamweight and Donaire giving up the bantamweight title to move up to super bantamweight, and Vazquez gets a shot at winning back the title he lost to Arce. Donaire is looking to win a full world title in a third division. Flyweight, bantamweight and now super bantamweight. The super flyweight title held by The Filipino Flash was an interim title, which I don t count.
Not a good start to the New Year. The WBFederation are inaugurating their newly created Gaelic/Celtic championships. This is for boxers from the original Celtic nations Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall (a nation!), Brittany (a nation!) and that hot bed of a boxing nations he Isle of Man. Also eligible are American boxers of Celtic heritage. Now don t be confused that the first title fight will be in Savannah,Georgia,as the St Patrick's Day celebrations there draw large crowds and they proudly announce that their float will be right behind the Budweiser Clydesdales horses. |We used to say in London that after the Lord Mayor s coach came the dust cart. They talk about these fights as supporting their European title, and then talk about it being a prestigious world title. No matter how you sell it the title will still be way down the ladder of sanctioning body titles. It is just another load of titles we do not need. Just another title for those not good enough to fight for an established title.
I can t see Tasmania ever become a hot bed of boxing, but they have their second big show there in seven months when former WBO heavyweight title challenger Kali Meehan faces Kertson Manswell of Bahamas. The 41-year-old is putting his WBFoundation title into to context as this fight will be a defence of his IBF Pan Pacific title - against a fighter from Trinidad. It is just as well that Columbus did not have Sanctioning body maps to guide him; he would have been looking for the Caribbean somewhere close to Hawaii. The 35-year-old Manswell is trying to save his career. Since losses to Bermane Stiverne, Cedric Boswell and to Mike Perez in the Prizefighter he has only knocked over two poor opponents, and a loss to Meehan will put him way down the pecking order.
French Olympian Jaoid Chiguer is turning professional this month. Having been eliminated from the Olympic qualifiers, losing the place to long time rival Alexis Vastine, Chiguer had been contracted to compete for Paris United in the World Series of Boxing. Instead he is looking at offers from a couple of promoters and is targeting January 21 as a date for his first fight. Chiguer, who will box as a light middleweight, represented France at the 2006 European championships, won a bronze medal in Liverpool in the 2008 Europeans, losing to Jack Culcay, and fought at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He lost to Billy Joe Saunders in the 2007 Tammer Tournament.
Also on the French scene the former WBA champion Mehdi Sahnoune will return to the ring in May. In 2008 Sahnoune was sentenced to three years for an incident that happened back in 2002, but two of those years are suspended, so he is returning to the ring. Sahnoune, 35, won the WBA light heavyweight title in 2003 by beating Bruno Girard, but lost it in his first defence to Silvio Branco in the same year.
Mayweather and Pavlik are not the only ones in trouble with the law. A famous name was dragged through the courts in the USA as a court sentenced Zindzi Mandela, daughter of former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, to pay compensation of 5.8 million Euros to a boxing agency which offered to host a match in Johannesburg. The match never took place. The judge ruled that Zindzi Mandela and others should compensate the agency Duane Moody in LosAngeles with 62.1 million rand ($5.8 billion) for breaking a contract by which he agreed to arrange a bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, as part of the 93rd of Nelson Mendela. According to the South African Star newspaper, the event was to take place at the Orlando stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg, but the efforts were suspended when Mandela's daughter was unable to raise the necessary funds.
Some boxers make great copy. Take the case of Peter McIntosh. The Nigerian light welterweight fought on the Landmark Promotions show in Accra on December 26. McIntosh, real name Anazor Obele, told the press that 'The Lion of Africa' is back . He considered that the young boxers were letting Africa down and that he wanted to create boxing history by becoming the oldest boxer to win a world title. He wanted to beat Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan, but he considered Mayweather to be an African Brother so he would not fight Mayweather (I am sure I heard a sigh of relief from a cell somewhere). We know that Bernard Hopkins is 46, but we are not so sure about McIntosh. BoxRec has him born in 1964 and gives his age as 48, but McIntosh claims to be 51. He has always been a character I remember pictures of him entering the ring in a dress and on another occasion wearing a pair of high heeled ladies shoes. As for winning a world title-on December 26 Isaac Ayree knocked him out in just under two minutes. Traceable record for McIntosh is 3 wins and 18 losses. Amount of self delusion - priceless.