By Eric Armit
What a week it has been for boxing. Two tragedies, a farce, yet another reported positive test for a leading heavyweight and finally a triumph.
The tragedies concerned Russian Maxim Dadashev and Argentinian Hugo Santillan. With hindsight there were danger signs in Dadashev’s case. He was very tired and had taken a great deal of punishment but had still been throwing punches up to the bell at the end of the eleventh round of his fight with Subriel Matias. He stumbled on his way back to his corner and it was not until he was on the point of collapse after leaving the ring that he was put on a stretcher so it is a case of asking whether the signs should have been spotted earlier. The ESPN team covering the fight thought everything had been done correctly although Tim Bradley felt there should have been some earlier involvement of the doctor.
There is no such grey area with regard to the death of Santillan. From before until after there was just so much wrong about this fight.
The Argentinian took the fight at very short notice but much more serious he took the fight whilst under a medical suspension. Santillan had fought Artem Harutyunyan in Germany on 15 June and lost on points. He took such a beating that the Bund Deutscher Berufsboxer slapped Santillan with a 45 day suspension for “many blows to the head” which appeared on Santillan’s record on BoxRec. Box Rec took steps to try to get this drawn to the attention of the local authorities prior to the fight. Despite this the fight went ahead and ended in a draw. Initially there were no signs of distress from Santillan as he actually climbed on the ropes in a corner to show he thought he had won. He then collapsed. The result had not been announced so Santillan's seconds half carried half dragged him to the centre of the ring and held him up. He was totally unresponsive with his head sagging on his shoulders. The result was a draw so the referee grasped Santillan’s hand and pulled it as high as he could then the referee and Santillan’s seconds dragged him back to his corner and tried to sit him on his stool;. He was unconscious and slid off the stool and onto the canvas. It was only when lying there prone did a doctor finally enter the ring. He was taken to hospital but had to be resuscitated twice and was then operated on for a serious brain injury. He never recovered consciousness and died early Thursday morning. He was just 23 and was failed by those whose duty it was to protect him.
R.I.P Maxim and Hugo.
Farce: The farce came in France-and naturally involved the WBA. Frenchman Michel Soro was to fight Russian Magomed Kurbanov for the vacant secondary WBA super welter title. There was a whole story behind that from which no one involved any credit. Kurbanov had his visa on the morning of the fight-but was in Russia. He had a private plane supplied to fly him to France but his trainer did not have his visa so Kurbanov refused to travel. Panic ensued as this was to be a world title fight and TV cameras were there to cover the event. French middleweight champion Anderson Prestot had weighed in at 161lbs for a six round fight in the show. He was told that if he could get down to 154lbs on the day of the fight he could then fight for this vacant version of the WBA title. It was stated that Prestot had got down to 154lbs by 10.30am on the day of the fight so the title fight went on. However in view of the circumstances with Prestot not being in their ratings the WBA rapidly had a contract drawn up which said that the fight would be a defence by Soro of the Gold title he already held. Soro won and the French TV and newspapers were delighted that they had another world champion- because no one had told them that the fight had been downgraded. Cue rage the next day from French TV and newspapers and Soro was not particularly happy either. The WBA have already approved a contest between Erislandy Lara and Roberto Alvarez for the vacant interim title so the mess goes on.
Naturally the report that Dillian Whyte’s A sample had tested positive for a banned substance was big news. One of the problems associated with test results from an A sample on its own is that a fighter has a right to insist his B sample is tested. Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (ADA) covers this in its Results and Management Policy as follows
“Sufficient proof of a doping violation is established by either of the following: presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in the Athlete’s A Sample where the Athlete waives analysis of the B Sample and the B Sample is not analyzed; or, where the Athlete’s B Sample is analyzed and the analysis of the Athlete’s B Sample confirms the presence of the prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers found in the athlete’s A Sample.”
That means that where the athlete insists the B sample is tested he is not technically guilty until the results of the B Sample test is known. On that basis there were no grounds for suspending Whyte prior to the Oscar Rivas fight and there would have been some very costly legal actions flying around if Whyte had been prevented from fighting only for his B sample to be clean. Already Rivas and his team are calling for the result of the fight to be changed and Andy Ruiz is citing this case as a reason for not fighting Anthony Joshua in the UK but until the results of the B sample are known it is all just speculation.
Triumph: There is no other word than triumph to describe the victory for Manny Pacquiao over Keith Thurman and over Old Father Time. It was good to see Pacquiao still had much of his old hand speed and he fought a brilliant tactical battle. His eight-division champion feat consist of being recognised as champion in six divisions by one or other of the sanctioning bodies and in two other divisions by Ring Magazine. Truly amazing achievements. The only down side is that before he has even had his gloves removed he is exchanging jibes with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Please no Manny. You have introduced a bill in the Philippines to set up a Philippines Boxing Commission-currently control of boxing falls under the Philippines Games and Amusements Board-focus on the day job. It would be great for you to get a big win next year but please not Mayweather again.
The purses for the Pacquiao show were Manny $10 million, Thurman $2.5 million, Caleb Plant $750k, Mike Lee $250k,Yordenis Ugas $300k, Omar Figueroa $300k, Sergey Lipinets $250k, Jayar Inson $10k, Luis Nery $150k, Juan Carlos Payano $25k,Efe Ajagba $15k, Ali Eren Demirezen $10k so Manny took home more than the rest of the bill put together and there will have been other ancillary money for Manny.
One source has stated that Thurman suffered a rib injury prior to the fight with Pacquiao. If so I am surprised it wasn’t until the tenth round before a punch from Pacquiao to the body visibly hurt Thurman.
I can remember in the days under Chairman Mao when any sniff of capitalism would lead to banishment- if you were lucky. How the old man must be twitching in his mausoleum. The Chinese Boxing Federation has engaged the services of Mayweather Jr to help them improve on the three medals they won in the Rio Olympics. It is difficult to think of anyone who so personifies everything Chairmen Mao was against than Mr Money. How the world has changed!
Great to see Joe Frazier being honoured again in Philadelphia. The Mural Arts Philadelphia has completed an impressive mural which is sited near the Boxer’s Trail gym in Fairmont Park where Frazier trained. I am sure it is partially nostalgia but it seems to me that the best did fight the best in those days and Frazier’s use of positive substance refereed to his left hook.
The WBO have ordered purse bids for Oscar Valdez’s defence of his featherweight title against Shakur Stevenson. The closing date for bids is August 2 with the minimal acceptable bid at $150,000. Both fighters are promoted by Top Rank but are under different management.
Still on purse offers the EBU have set a deadline of September 3 for bids for Agit Kabayel’s defence of the heavyweight title against Joe Joyce and July 31 for bids for Yves Ngabu’s defence of the cruiser title against Lawrence Okolie. Other European title fights lined up include Stefan Haertel defending the super middleweight title against Juergen Brahmer in October, Dominic Boesel putting his light heavy title on the line against Igor Mikhalkin with this one under negotiation and a tasty defence by Sergio Garcia against Cedric Vitu at super welter.
Amir Khan has another fight lined up in Saudi Arabia for November. No opponent named yet but it won’t be Manny Pacquiao that’s for sure.
Farce time again with Anthony Mundine un-retiring to fight 43-year-oldMuay Thai exponent John Wayne Park in November.
Mexican-based American Dewayne Beamon is getting an undeserved shot at Juan Francisco Estrada’s WBC super fly title on August 24. Losing and winning last year against Martin Tecuapetla and not fighting for eight month hardly constitutes grounds for elevating him from 27 to 15.
Discussing his options WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz has said he is looking for a unification fights against Josh Warrington or Gary Russell and if that does not happen then perhaps a third fight with Carl Frampton. Hey Leo why don’t you unify the WBA title by facing Can Xu-sorry now I am just being silly.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features