Philippines, 27 Sep 2020
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Snips and Snipes 5 August 2020: Back to the Future with Tyson, Jones, De La Hoya, Martinez, Etc.

One day this week I climbed into my car started it, sat there whilst banging my head on the steering wheel (I do that a lot usually after reading the latest pronouncements from the WBA). It also help wake me up so that I don’t go down to the local shops in my pajamas-again. I then turned off the ignition and stepped out.

I went indoors and checked my calendar and saw that it was really was still 2020. I was relieved. When I read about proposed fights for Roy Jones, Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jorge Arce, Oscar De La Hoya and Sergio Martinez, I thought my car might have been secretly replaced by the car from Back to the Future and had actually transported me back to the past!

Most of these are being projected as exhibitions and as long as adequate safety provisions are in place I guess that is OK but I would pay to avoid seeing Mike Tyson and Roy Jones huffing and puffing and would rather remember them as they were. Both De La Hoya and Martinez are adamant that their returns will be genuine contests and not exhibitions with Martinez targeting a comeback fight on 21 August.

The Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Teo Lopez fight is still up in the air with reports that Lopez is holding out for more money. Reportedly Lopez was offered $1.25 million for the fight. The question is who needs who the most. With Lomachenko holding three of the four versions of the lightweight title, Lopez, the IBF champion, won’t get that money against anyone else at the weight. The first two spots in the IBF ratings are vacant (no rated fighter has been another rated fighter so they can’t move into those spots) and with all due respects to them Nos 3, 4 and 5 - George Kambosos, Lee Selby and Gustavo Lemos are not big PPV names. Lopez might be able to squeeze a little more out of Bob Arum but he should take this fight. A win would make him a super star and if he loses he is only 23 so it might only prove to be a bump in a long lucrative career.

Lopez (L) and Lomachenko.

The WBC lightweight rankings are in for a shake up. No 1 Javier Fortuna fights No 4 Jorge Linares on 28 August and if they can ever come to terms hopefully No 2 Luke Campbell and No 3 Ryan Garcia will fight each other. Campbell vs. Garcia should not be that hard to make. I am wondering if Saul Alvarez is handling the negotiations.

Errol Spence is a heavy favourite when he puts his IBF and WBC titles on the line against Danny Garcia on 21 November. One of the questions that will be answered in this fight is whether the serious injuries Spence received in October have had any lasting effect. Spence’s car crossed the meridian in Dallas and rolled over a number of times and ejected him. Lucky to be alive.

Spence’s last opponent before the accident was Shawn Porter. He returns to the ring on 22 August against unbeaten German Sebastian Formella for the vacant WBC Silver welterweight title. This constitutes a big hike in the standard of opposition for Formella.

French heavyweight hope Tony Yoka will face his biggest test to date when he tackles former WBC title challenger Johann Duhaupas in Paris on 25 September. Duhaupas is well into the veteran stage at 39 but only Deontay Wilder and Alex Povetkin have beaten him inside the distance and he has wins over Robert Helenius and Manuel Charr. Yoka’s wife Estelle Yoka-Mossely the IBO female lightweight champion and unbeaten Souleymane Cissokho will also fight on the card-not against each other I hasten to add.

There will be a real clash of styles when Emanuel Navarrete and Jessie Magdaleno fight for the vacant WBO featherweight title. The date will be either 19 or 26 September. Navarrete was a beast at super bantam winning his last 15 fights inside the distance including seven world championship fights. Magdaleno is slick but Navarrete could be too strong.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is scheduled to fight in Monterrey on 12 September. No opponent named yet but one fighter in the frame is Mari Cazares. His claim to fame is a win over Saul Alvarez in the amateurs but he did not turn pro until 2015 instead concentrating on obtaining an economics degree.

Former undefeated IBF cruiser champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez returns to the ring in Magdeburg on 22 August. It will be the 35-year-old Cuban’s first fight since 2014. He will face Kevin Johnson. That’s a fight to be missed if you can- I hate Johnson fights. The only good thing about them is that you can pop down to the shops and back without missing anything remotely exciting. Also on the card are 19-1-1 light heavyweight Adam Deines and 14-0 Tom Dzemski. The show will be staged beside Magdeburg Lake so you might even get a chance to do some fishing whilst the Hernandez vs. Johnson fight is on.

Coming back to my head-banging over the WBA I could not believe when I read that President Gilberto Jesus Gonzalez had whined that it was so difficult to reduce the number of titles. How would he know-the WBA has never ever made any move to reduce the number of their titles they just keep adding more and more. If you include their Gold title they now have four heavyweight champions-just more hypocrisy. I now term them World Bulls—ting Association! This weekend they have sanctioned two interim title fights including one for the super middleweight title where they already have a champion in Callum Smith a secondary champion in Saul Alvarez and a Gold champion in Fedor Chudinov. The super middleweight title fight will be between Lennox Allen, who has had just one fight in the last two years, and a young Cuban David Morrell a former top amateur who has had just two professional fights-one six round and one eight round.

There is an attempt to paint this as similar to Vasyl Lomachenko who won the WBO featherweight inn his third fight. There was some justification for Lomachenko jumping past all of the rated fighters as he came out of the amateurs with two Olympic gold medals and three World championships. Morrell has one World Youth gold and was twice Cuban champion. He will probably beat Allen but to be rated No 3 in the world after winning just two preliminary fights is an insult to good quality fighters such as Daniel Jacobs, David Lemieux Anthony Dirrell and others the WBA bumped him past.

The WBA heavyweight division is still in a mess with four champions in real champion Anthony Joshua, secondary title holder Mahmoud Charr, and Gold champion Robert Helenius and interim champion Trevor Bryan. Ominously they have now slipped Christopher Lovejoy in at No 14. He is 19-0 with his 19 opponents have just 51 wins between them. To me it looks as though the plan will be for Truelove to challenge Trevor Bryan. I could rave on about Truelove (yes I know I am) so all I will say is that Box Rec have him at No 424 in the world and I would recommend having a look at his record. His Box Rec identity is #746640 and make up your own mind.

Charr has not fought since winning the secondary WBA heavyweight title in 2017. After using Manuel as his name for quite a while he has reverted to his birth name of Mahmoud. During his inactivity he has been working with refugee groups in Germany. He did claim he had German citizenship to help his career but he only had refugee status having arrived from Lebanon as a five-year-old lad and he still has no German passport. He is hoping his management can get him a fight with Andy Ruiz.

Whilst British fighters can no longer hold or compete for the European Union titles they are still a major force in European boxing. Andrew Selby, Gamal Yafai, Gavin Mc Donnell, Alex Dilmaghani, Josh Kelly and Callum Johnson are all awaiting dates for their European Boxing Union title fights and of course Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois are lined up to clash for the vacant heavyweight title. For some reason British promoters never seemed to have a great deal of interest in the EBU-EU titles (these are for fighters from countries in the European Union) and now British fighters can no longer challenge for them it has opened up huge opportunities for boxers from other European Union countries who have slotted into the gaps in the ratings caused by Britain’s withdrawal. Instead the British fighters are now in the EBU-EE ratings alongside fighters from non-European Union countries such as Russian, Ukraine, Belarus, Norway etc. British fighters hold the No 1 spots in eleven division of the EBU-EE ratings but if the EU titles did not attract them I can’t see there being a sudden flood of EBU-EE title fights in Britain.

Miguel Cotto is aiming to return boxing to Puerto Rico on 22 August but whether that happens or not depends on what relaxations on sporting events the Puerto Rican government announces on 15 August. If it is not possible to stage the show then Cotto has said he will consider switching the show to a venue in the USA.

Both WBC super flyweight Juan Francisco Estrada and his wife were infected with the COVID-19 virus but luckily have both recovered. There is talk of Estrada defending his title against Carlos Cuadras on 17 October. These two clashed in a non-title fight in 2018 with a late knockdown costing Cuadras victory.
Japanese boxing suffered a minor set-back as a young male professional boxer tested positive for COVID-19 which has resulted in the closure of the gym he attended in Nagoya which will the delay the return to boxing in that city.

There is no hope of boxing returning in South Africa in the near future. A source there indicated that it had been hoped it might return in October but it could now be December instead. Boxing there is currently leaderless as Tsholof Lejaka; the CEO of Boxing South Africa (BSA) has resigned. He had another year to run on his term in office but decided to take his career along a different path. He took the post at time when BSA was in a state of chaos and conflict and has proven a steadying hand. A level of the problems the BSA faced is illustrated by the fact that none of Lejaka’s predecessors served their full five year term mostly jumping before they were pushed.

About the Author

Born in Scotland, Eric Armit started working with Boxing News magazine in the UK in the late 1960’s initially doing records for their Boxing News Annual and compiling World, European and Commonwealth ratings for the magazine. He wrote his first feature article for Boxing News in 1973 and wrote a “World Scene” weekly column for the magazine from the late 1970’s until 2004. Armit wrote a monthly column for Boxing Digest in the USA and contributed pieces to magazines in Mexico, Italy, Australia, Spain, Argentina and other countries. Armit now writes a Weekly Report covering every major fight around the world and a bi-weekly Snips & Snipes column plus occasional general interest articles with these being taken up by boxing sites around the world. He was a member of the inaugural WBC Ratings Committee and a technical advisor to the EBU Ratings Committee and was consulted by John McCain’s research team when they were drafting the Ali Act. He is a Director and former Chairman of the Commonwealth Boxing Council. Last year (2019), Armit has been nominated to the International Boxing Hall of Fame to which he said, “Being on the list is an unbelievably huge honour.”

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eric Armit.

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