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Snips and Snipes 12 March 2020


PhilBoxing.com




Finally the”Canelo” Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders fight is set for 2 May. My hope is that Gennady Golovkin’s delayed IBF title defence against Kamil Szeremeta acts as a semi-final with the winners-Alvarez and Golovkin-I hope-meeting later in the year.

Alvarez is being paid a fortune by DAZN and they are said to be pressurising Alvarez to agree to meet Golovkin as part of the deal for them accepting Saunders. It took too long to get Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao into the same ring and by the time they met both were arguably a little past their best. The concern is the same for Golovkin who will be 38 this year and is certainly not the fighter he was when he strung together 23 straight inside the distance wins. There is already talk of the Alvarez vs. Golovkin fight going ahead in Arlington Texas in September but talk is all it is at this time. For the money DAZN are paying they should be getting the biggest fights around every time Alvarez climbs in the ring but at middleweight and super middleweight there are no fights that big. Callum Smith’s name was said to be considered but Saunders was a less risky choice with the thought of a mega third fight with Golovkin the target.

Signs are that a much anticipated all-Mexican battle between WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt and former undefeated WBO featherweight champion is close to being made. Valdez is No 1 with both the WBC and WBO so if the Berchelt fight can’t be made he could go after Jamel Herring, but the Berchelt fight would be huge.

Two former champions will be returning to the ring in the next few months. Former WBA interim super welter champion Jack Culcay takes on Tanzanian Hassan Mwakinyo in Wuppertal on 31 March and former WBO lightweight champion Jose Pedraza takes on Javier Molina in Fresno on 9 May.

Good to see Phoenix staging fights again. I’m old enough to remember the days when Charlie Austin was a big draw there. If you do remember Charley then I am cancelling your invite to the next senility tea dance. Over the past few years it had been almost as barren as the desert there for boxing but there have been a number of shows recently and on 18 April David Benavidez defends his WBC super middle title against Roamer Angulo. This one caught the WBC with their ratings around their ankles but they will put that right by fitting Angulo into the top 15 in their next ratings and anyway it is a good fight.

Of course you can’t keep the heavyweights out of the news. Oleg Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora being set for 23 May will give us a chance to see how Usyk deals with the always competitive Chisora. Unbeaten Filip Hrgovic will take on Jerry Forrest on 17 April in Oxon Hill under the headline fights of Regis Prograis vs. Maurice Hooker and the fight for the vacant WBC lightweight title between Luke Campbell and Javier Fortuna. Moves are underway to get Joseph Parker and Junior Fa to face each other in New Zealand. They traded wins in the amateurs but Fa’s win ended Parker’s hopes of an Olympic place so some incentive there for Parker. Oscar Rivas will have his first fight under the Top Rank banner when he faces veteran Devin Vargas in Montreal on 28 March. They are both Olympians Vargas represented the USA at the 2004 Olympics and Rivas Colombia at the 2008 Olympics where he beat Kubrat Pulev before being eliminated by Roberto Cammarelle.

The United Kingdom may have withdrawn from the EU but as far as boxing is concerned they are still a huge force in European Boxing. It may not look it with only one British boxer, cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie, holding an EBU title but when you look ahead it really brings it home. Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois will contest the vacant heavyweight title, Callum Johnson will face Igor Mikhalkin on 22 May for the light heavyweight title, Josh Kelly challenges David Avanesyan for the welterweight title on 28 March, Alex Dilmaghani challenges super featherweight champion Samir Ziani on 25 April and if Dilmaghani is unsuccessful then Ziani’s mandatory challenger is Martin Joseph Ward, Andoni Gago puts the featherweight title on the line against Gavin McDonnell in Bilbao on 6 June, Gamal Yafai is mandatory challenger to super bantamweight champion Luigi Rigoldi, Paul Butler is waiting for the date to be set for his challenge to Karim Guerfi and Andrew Selby takes on Mohammed Obbadi for the vacant flyweight title on 18 April. That means that The UK holds one title and will be contesting seven others and when you add in guys such as Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders, Josh Taylor and Josh Warrington etc. UK boxing has never been so strong.

There will be quite a turn out for the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame on 7-8 August in Las Vegas. Those being inducted include Clarence Adams, Jose Luis Castillo, Miguel Cotto, Julian Jackson, Mark Johnson, Danny Lopez, Azuma Nelson, James Toney, Fernando Vargas, Andre Ward and also Jose Sulaiman. A great list sadly some of them no longer with us gone but never to be forgotten.

It makes me feel even older than I am when I read of the progress of fighters who are the sons of father’s I followed in the past. Two examples are Tim Tszyu and Harry Simon Jr. Tszyu, the son of Konstantin, who is 15-0, fights Jeff Horn on 22 April. He will be going into Horn territory for the fight which will be held in Townsville a beautiful coastal city in Queensland. Horn is dropping back down to welterweight for this one. The 22-year-old Simon, the son of former undefeated WBO middleweight Harry Snr, is 11-0 and he faces unbeaten South African Jabulani Makhense in Kempton Park on 21 March so he also will be going into Makhense’s territory. I will follow them both but I refuse to even consider being around to follow their children’s careers.

The way in which some other sports authorities deal with positive drug tests sometimes puts boxing to shame but on other occasions they too shirk their responsibilities. Let’s be clear about one thing the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO have no powers to prevent a boxer who tests positive from fighting. They do not licence boxers and therefore cannot suspend or withdraw the boxers licence. They can remove him from their ratings or prevent him from fighting for their title but no sanctioning body can take away a boxers licence. It is different in many other sports such as tennis or swimming where there is a body which is truly a world body and not one which puts the word “World” into their title to give an appearance of a power it does not possess. In nearly every case these bodies deal much more harshly with positive tests than boxing bodies that do licence the boxers but even they sometimes lack the courage and commitment to take the action available to them. Tony Yoka is a case in point where it was ruled that he had failed to comply with the requirements to make himself available for testing. His National Board were prepared to gave him a suspended ban but the French Anti-Doping Agency stepped in and insisted on a one year ban. It was a similar case with South African heavyweight Ruann Visser where after he tested positive for a banned substance the South African Institute for Drug Free Sports investigated the case. They gave him the benefit of the doubt and withdrew the charges. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stepped in and took the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and won their case with Visser being banned for four years. In another recent case a Chinese swimmer, a three-time Olympian, was cleared by his National body for missing tests but WADA again came in and went to the CSA and the swimmer is now banned for eight years. If a boxer felt that there was the possibility of a career ending eight year ban for cheating instead of the derisory treatment of Jarrell Miller we might have a chance of getting to grips with the problem but until the responsible bodies start to impose draconian punishment it remains a risk worth taking. In this day and age the guys at the top rarely fight more than two or three times a year so a one year ban is like an enforced holiday.

Award for inventiveness goes to the team behind Maryland cruiserweight Sam Crossed know as “The Vanilla Gorilla”. Great nickname guys!


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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