It has been mentioned that a return could be mandated by the WBC over the failure to deduct a point from Srisaket for the first clash of heads and for there being no open scoring as called for by the WBC. It is interesting that Gonzalez’s team missed two chances to get a different result. If they had claimed their man was unable to continue after being badly cut in the clash of heads in the third it would have been a no decision and Gonzalez would have still been champion. They could also have pulled their man out at the end of the eighth round when he was fighting with his face a mask of blood. At that point one judge had Gonzalez in front 76-74 and two had it at 75-75 so it would have been a majority draw and again Gonzalez would have retained his title. In the incredulity of Gonzalez losing let’s not ignore the fact that Srisaket fought a great fight and what he lacked in technique he more than made up for in power and guts.
One reaction to Gonzalez losing came from Japanese “Monster” Naoya Inoue, the WBO super fly champion. There had been talk of a unification fight between Gonzalez and Inoue but the Japanese fighter has said he has seen that fade and may now move up to bantam. A pity as Gonzalez vs. Inoue would have been a great fight.
For a while there Gennady Golovkin could not find anyone to fight him but that has changed. Since he showed himself to be less of a monster against Daniel Jacobs suddenly a queue has formed. Billy Joe Saunders has thrown out his challenge and Andy Lee said it was the fight he was looking for and there are and will be others. Certainly Golovkin did not show the 100% hunting down aggressive we have come to expect but perhaps that had more to do with respect for the power of Jacobs than any blunting of Golovkin’s ruthlessness. Let’s see what happens in his next fight but I can’t see him metamorphosing into a pussy cat.
It is disappointing that Daniel Jacobs chose to skip the day of the fight weight check. It not only meant that he could not win the IBF version of the title but almost certainly indicated that he had bulked up after the official weigh-in and so would have failed the IBF required second test weight. It meant that Golovkin stuck to the rules and Jacobs did not and gave Jacobs an edge and effectively he was cheating. It might be a harsh penalty if a fighter exceeds the weight increase permitted but in this case the WBC, WBA and IBO titles were still there for Jacobs when he skipped the IBF requirement. I think it is a good idea to limit the amount a fighter can bulk up between the day before and fight time and if it is a good safety measure then all of the sanctioning bodies should adopt it.
Talking about adopting good ideas it was a pleasant surprise to see the WBA adopting a WBC-like approach to testing for banned substances. It is encouraging but it will really only apply to world title level boxers. Some Commissions/Boards are very proactive on testing but it is patchy and it is only the certainty of getting caught that will deter the cheats.
With the Marco Huck vs. Mairis Breidis fight on 1 April only being for the WBC interim cruiser title the winner will be hoping that if Tony Bellew decides against returning to cruiser he will be up rated to full champion. Huck’s IBO title is also on the line and it is an even money match. Breidis is in a different league to the usual Baltic lose anywhere bunch that turn up in European rings.
There are suggestions that on 27 May in Helsinki Robert Helenius and Dereck Chisora will face each other. They fought back in 2011 and although Chisora lost a split decision the feeling was that he had been robbed and that performance was a major factor in Chisora going on to fight Vitali Klitschko for the WBC title just three months later.
Filipino Donnie Nietes will try to join the exclusive three division world champion’s club when he faces Thai Komgrich for the vacant IBF flyweight title in Cebu City on 29 April. In the past Nietes has fought exclusively for WBO titles at minimum and light fly. This will be his sixteenth world title fight and he is 15-0-1 in those title fights. He was held to a draw by Moises Fuentes but knocked Fuentes out in nine rounds in a return contest. He is unbeaten in his last 31 fights but just does not have that career defining fight in the way that both Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire have.
Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev would be a good test for any of the current bunch of challengers and he returns to action with a fight against Kevin Johnson in Sofia on 28 April. Pulev’s only loss is a kayo by Wlad Klitschko for the IBF title in 2014 and he took a split decision over Dereck Chisora in May last year. He is No 2 with the IBF with the No 1 spot vacant so he is very much in the mix.
Having dodged a fight with Artur Beterbiev Sullivan Barrera will now face Dominican Felix Valera a former WBA interim champion in Uncasville on April 15.
Another important fight that has fallen through was the IBF bantam eliminator between Omar Narvaez and Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez in Fajardo Puerto Rico. The fight was to take this weekend but Narvaez reportedly had visa problems and Rodriguez will fight Chilean Robinson Lavinaza. On that basis, and the fact that the fight has now been postponed four times, Narvaez is trying to insist he should get a straight shot at champion Lee Haskins.
Yet another top amateur is turning pro. Armenian-born Russian Mikhail “Misha” Aloyan will have his first pro fight on 22 April in Yaroslavi. The 28-year-old Aloyan was Russian champion in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014, won gold medals at the 2011 and 2013 World Championships and at the European Championships and was a bronze medallist in the 2012 London Olympics. He scored wins over Rau’shee Warren, Khalid Yafai, Andrew Selby and many others. Whether he should be welcomed into the pro ranks or not depends on your view of his losing his 2016 Olympic silver medal when the Court of Arbitration for Sport found him guilty of using a banned substance at Rio and disqualified him taking away the silver medal
Not sure if they jumped or were pushed but the Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council is no longer an affiliate of the WBC and is now with the WBA. The WBC must feel a bit like someone who has been cured of the plague and has infected one of their rivals.
Russian Dmitry Bivol will defend his interim WBA light heavy title against Samuel Clarkson in National Harbour, Maryland on 14 April. Typical WBA in that Clarkson is not in their top 15. You can fight for the interim title without being rated so even they don’t treat their interim titles as valid. Clarkson has never fought in any fight scheduled for more than eight rounds. Their habit of rewarding someone for fighting for one of their spurious titles really distorts WBA ratings (even further). The No 11 light heavy is Serbian Shefat Isufi. No I had never heard of him either. He won their PABA title by beating a Georgian travelling loser with a 25-10-2 record and cemented his position by beating in his first title defence another Georgian have trunks will lose fighters who was 48-21-6 and had lost his last three fights. There is no reason to have respect for their ratings as they obviously do not.
Unbeaten heavyweight Sergey Kuzmin is also scheduled to fight on the 14 April show.
The Shannon Briggs vs. Fres Oquendo fight for the secondary WBA heavyweight title is set for 3 June. Don’t forget to miss it.
Looking forward to Alvarez vs. Chavez? No not that one. This one is on 29 April in Rosario Baja California when Ramon Alvarez, the brother of Saul faces Omar Chavez the brother of Julio Cesar Jr. OK it is not as big but it is a good match.
Russian cruiser puncher Dmitry Kudryashov has won 20 of his 21 fights by KO/TKO. The other fight was a shock kayo loss to Nigerian Olanrewaju Durodola. Kudryashov will get his chance for revenge when he defends his WBC Silver title against Durodola in Rostov on 20 May. The last one went less than two rounds and with Durodola having won 23 of his 28 fights by KO/TKO this one could be over just as quick. It all comes down to who lands first.
Argentinian Brian Castano has said that he will return to the ring late April or early May to defend his interim WBA super welter title. Castano has won 10 of his 13 fights by KO/TKO but for me he is too easy to hit to go much farther.
The upcoming “fight” between Juan Manuel Lopez and trainer Albert Rivera arose from an altercation between the two after Lopez had beaten Rivera’s fighter Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. What looked likely to be a disgraceful match has changed for the better. The two contestants have come together to bring some good out of the bad. They have been going together to schools in Puerto Rico preaching the mantra of “gloves not guns” and obviously the heat that their spat generated has cooled so it will end up as a gently exhibition-I hope.
So sad to read of the death of Rodrigo “Rocky” Valdez earlier this month from a heart attack at the age of 70. Rocky fought many of the best on his way up and did not get his title shot until fight No 57. He won the vacant WBC title in 1974 by stopping Benny Briscoe. He lost his title in1976 in his fifth defence in a unification fight with WBA champion Carlos Monzon with two judges only having them two points apart. He challenged Monzon for the titles in 1977. He had Monzon on the floor but again the result was a very close decision for Monzon. After Monzon retired in 1977 Rocky scored his third win over Briscoe to collect the vacant WBA and WBC titles. He then lost twice to Hugo Corro which saw him an ex-champion and he finally retired in 1980 with a record of 63-8-2. He had the misfortune to hit his peak at the same time as Carlos Monzon but the great Argentinian was the only fighter to beat him at that time.
Boxing is often a family business and it certainly is where the Cabral family from Argentina is concerned. At the weekend Horacio Alfredo Cabral beat Logan McGuinness in Canada to win the vacant WBC International title. McGuinness was unbeaten with 25 wins and a draw and was fighting in front of his home fans so it was a good win for Cabral. Horacio is 18-1 and this was his first fight outside of Argentina. The most successful member of the family was his uncle Alfredo Horacio who had a 35-2-4 record and after wins over former WBA super welter champion Miguel Angel Castellini and South African Elijah Makhathini was on the verge of a world title shot. Tragically Alfredo died in a car crash at the age of 23 just one week after beating Makhathini. His uncle Ruben Dario Cabral had 69 fights and was Argentinian, South American and WBC International champion. Father Osvaldo and Uncles Jose Mario, Juan Carlos and Raul fought as pros and brother Omar is unbeaten after eight pro fights. Some family business.
Some strange goings on in amateur boxing in Poland. At a recent tournament apart from a fight outside the ring by a couple of their high level female competitors some media attendants were puzzled to find official losing results for boxers who were not even at the tournament. It appears that the falsification was tied to the money clubs received for the number of boxers they sent to the tournament. Clever as they even saved on travel costs for those ghost competitors