When I first agreed to write for www.asianboxing.info I did it in the knowledge I'd eventually ruffle a few feathers. What I didn't expect was for the American boxing media to give me an easy pitch to hit out the park, unfortunately however that's what they've done by acting like cheerleaders on an almost never ending basis.
In 2012 we were hearing all about a ginger haired Mexican kid called Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. The youngster was anointed the future of boxing despite having beaten very few "relevant" opponents. In fact by the end of 2012 Canelo's best wins were over a 40 year old Shane Mosley and a massively under-sized Josesito Lopez and although he held the WBC Light Middleweight title he was very much unproven.
Another man we were hearing all about in 2012 was Adrien "The Problem" Broner. Broner, like Canelo, was dubbed the future of boxing, a star with too much talent and charisma to fail. Unfortunately for Broner he too lacked relevant wins despite winning both the WBO Super Featherweight and WBC Lightweight titles. If we considered his most important wins were over Gavin Rees and a controversial decision over Daniel Ponce De Leon he was hardly a proven quality.
Both Broner and Alvarez were viewed as superstars in the making. The next men to become pay per view stars. Both however were beaten in 2013 and say their stock dropping. For Alvarez his loss, which came to Floyd Mayweather, wasn't that damaging, he was the under-dog and lost to arguably the best pure boxer on the planet. For Broner however things were different, he out punched and out boxed by Marcos Maidana, a limited but fearless Argentinian puncher. The losses may have been hugely different but both bubbles were burst, neither man seems to have the same vigor about them or excitement surrounding their upcoming bouts that they did for recent contests.
In 2013 we saw fighters like Deontay Wilder, Mikey Garcia, Bryant Jennings and Keith Thurman all given the same hype and support that Canelo and Broner had been having the previous year. All are being spoken about as dominant stars of the future with many viewing Garcia and Thurman as future pound-for-pound champions whilst others have referred to both Wilder and Jennings as future Heavyweight champions.
From where I'm sat however I can't help but think that we are merely looking at the next Broner, Canelo and various other American hypes such as Andre Berto, Victor Ortiz and Seth Mitchell.
I'll start with Deontay Wilder, an Olympic bronze medal winner who has been a professional since 2008 and run up a perfect record of 30-0 (30). Like Broner and Alvarez, the number of worth while wins on his record are minimal, in fact for a man universally ranked in the top 15 Wilder's opponents have been awful. The WBC, WBO and WBA all have Wilder in the top 5 of their rankings yet his biggest win is over the shadow of Sultan Ibragimov, hardly a win that deserves a top 15 ranking, never mind a top 5 ranking. Wilder's power is clearly impressive, though from the level of opponents he's not proven himself any more than Ali Raymi (who is 20-0, 20) and if anything he's left a lot of fans very worries about his chin which is certain a big worry.
Whilst Wilder is completely unproven for a 30 fight "veteran" it's fair to say that Bryant Jennings, also a Heavyweight, is actually pretty proven. Jennings, who sports a perfect 18-0 (10) record has only been a professional since 2010 and to be fair to him he has been more impressive than most other Heavyweights. Unfortunately for Jennings he doesn't do a lot that stands out like a "future" world Heavyweight champion. He doesn't have concussive power, he doesn't have a real killer instinct and he doesn't have a big amateur background. He can box much better than Wilder but there is something very much "mediocre" about him and when compared to the likes of Bulgaria's Kubrat Pulev there is little that makes me think Jennings is a future champion, just the next over-hyped American Heavyweight.
For Keith Thurman things do, for the immediate future, look pretty good. The unbeaten Welterweight, who sports a solid 22-0-0-1 (20) record, is a man who is being viewed in the same as Broner was. He's more talented and much more personable than Broner though like Broner he appears to be better with his mouth than he does in the ring. Thurman's best wins, which are decent, have come against the likes of Jesus Soto Karass, Diego Gabriel Chaves and Jan Zaveck who are fringe top 10 fighters in the division. If you were to listen to the American media however you'd think you were hearing about a man who had taken out a series of world champions in their prime, something that hasn't happened and is unlikely to happen.
Personally the one I believe is the most over-hyped is WBO Super Featherweight champion Miguel Angel Garcia. Like the others mentioned Garcia is unbeaten with a record of 34-0 (28) and like Broner was at the end of 2012, he is a 2 weight world champion who seems to be thinking bigger and bigger. Garcia, prior to winning the WBO Super Featherweight title, was the WBO Featherweight champion, a title he won by dominating Orlando Salido. Garcia, like Broner, was forced to give up his first world title by being unable to make weight. It was, as we often see with American fighters, just accepted that Garcia was maturing into a man after being a boy though at the time he failed he weight he was already 25 and a man.
Following his failure to make weight Garcia made the move to Super Featherweight, a division that for me sees Takashi Miura and Takashi Uchiyama sitting clearly as the #1 and #2 fighters. Garcia didn't aim to take a title from one of those two but instead WBO champion Roman "Rocky" Martinez, a man whose nickname summed up his reign. Martinez had controversially beaten Miguel Beltran Jr for the title, some how held on to it with a very fortunate draw against Juan Carlos Burgos and was lucky again against Diego Magdaleno. Garcia picked the easiest title, as did Broner, and just like Broner Garcia is looking at moving up another weight.
Garcia hasn't just been speaking about moving up to Lightweight, for a mooted bout with Yuriorkis Gamboa, but of moving all the way up to Light Welterweight if not Welterweight to fight Manny Pacquiao. Garcia, whose best wins have come against the likes of Salido and Burgos, is being viewed as potentially a future pound-for-pound #1 but after 34 fights, spread over 7 and a half years he's not shown anything that makes me think he'll ever be a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter, merely a well managed one. He's skillful and powerful but there is a lot of issues with him and even more if he insists on climbing through the weights as quickly as he seems to be wanting to do.
The American media may, right now, considering Wilder, Jennings, Thurman and Garcia as their darlings, though trust me they will ditch them as quickly as the dumped Broner when they lose. Whilst they could be well managed for the next few years they were become the fighters that Ring, HBO, Showtime and ESPN want them to become. They will never be the next great star of boxing and they will never become the next Mayweather or the next Pacquiao.
Personally I have Wilder down as the next Seth Mitchell, a chinny but powerful and raw Heavyweight, Jennings is the next Malik Scott, a talented but unspectacular fighter, Thurman is the next Andre Berto, an explosive and fun to watch but criminally over-rated Welterweight and Garcia really is the next Broner though much more humble than "The Problem".
I may be wrong, but the evidence is that the US media are so desperate to find their next superstar that they are trying to create a star rather than letting one emerge. In boxing, stars create themselves and aren't created just by the media.
Having been given my own column to vent my feelings on the world of boxing I felt there was no better place to start than this weekend, or rather the past 7 days.
In late December Filipino promoter Aljoe Jaro sent the GAB (Games and Amusements Board) a list of matches he wanted to have on his recent show (January 11th). Last week however Jaro was told that 2 of the bouts, which included former WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro, pictured, and former IBF Minimumweight champion Florante Condes, would not be sanctioned.
The GAB had had 3 weeks to act on the situation but they had left it until an article entitled "Two ex-world champions battle patsies" on Sun Star by Edri K. Anzar to act, giving Jaro less than a week to find replacement opponents.
Anzar, who has written about boxing for years, was describing both Pit Anacaya (8-22-2, 1) and Rey Morano (8-38-1, 1) as the patsies. Yes both men had losing records and both men were certainly limited but both were experienced and both had been training for their bouts. They were unlikely to win but they had been preparing, they had been focused on their more established opponents and they had been hoping to score career defining victories.
It's easy to forget however that a losing record can mean little. Sonny Boy Jaro himself had gone 0-3 in his last 3 contests including a loss to Gerpaul Valero, who started his career with a measly 1 win in his first 17 contests (1-13-3) whilst Condes, who had also lost his last 3 contests, was last beaten by Donny Mabao who was 20-20-1 entering that bout. Interestingly Valero, like many others, managed to turn his career around whilst Mabao returns to action in March to fight Ryuji Hara for the OPBF Minimumwight title.
I wonder what the GAB would have made of the Hara (16-0, 10) against Mabao (21-20-1, 4) bout. In fact I wonder what Edri Anzar would make of that bout, is Mabao a patsy? Less than 3 years ago Mabao was 17-20-1, surely he could never earn a chance at fighting for the OPBF title, right?...
Anyway, the GAB had forced Aljoe Jaro to replace both Anacaya and Morano with opponents who hadn't been training to fight the former champions, who hadn't been preparing to fight top tier fighters and in fact were just as bad, if not worse than Morano and Anacaya. Rather than the experienced losers that were scheduled to be in action we instead saw Condes taking out Marzon Cabilla (9-11-1, 4) and Sonny Boy Jaro taking out Charlie Cabilla (13-13-4, 2), both inside a round.
If Anacaya and Morano were "unacceptable" and "patsies"it's hard to explain what Marzon and Charlie Cabilla were.
Marzon had been stopped in 6 of his 10 prior losses, he had failed to win any of his last 6 bouts and had been stopped in 3 of those. In his only non-loss from his last 6 bouts he had had a technical draw with Jerson Luzarito, who went on to beat him in a rematch. Certainly that should have seen the GAB refuse this bout especially given the fact Marzon hadn't been preparing or training for a fight with such an accomplished fighter as Condes.
If Marzon's sanctioning for the fight was questionable than Charlie Cabilla's is even more questionable. He had been stopped in 9 of his 12 previous losses, including his last 4 bouts with an 86 second blow out loss to Pongsaklek Wonjongkam coming in his most recent contest. Given that Sonny Boy Jaro's last win came, via stoppage, over Wonjongkam one must ask why Cabilla was given the opportunity to fight Jaro.
Yes, Charlie Cabilla had won one of his last 6 bouts, beating Renante Rondina (3-12, 1) by decision, but he wasn't fit to get in with Jaro. Pit Anacaya might be a "professional loser" but he's one who knows how to look after himself having only been stopped 5 times in his 32 bout career.
What the GAB were doing beggars belief. Where they saying that the Cabilla's were, with out training for their famous opponents, more capable than Anacaya and Morano? Were they saying that Charlie and Marzon Cabilla were more suitable for Sony Boy Jaro and Florante Condes?
With the Cabilla's lasting a combined 275 seconds I need to call on the GAB not to answer questions but instead, sort their damned house out! It shouldn't have taken so long for them to have looked over the original matches, and they sure as hell shouldn't have sanctioned these bouts. It's a disgrace that the organisation made two giant mistakes here and lets be honest, they dropped the ball. They owe apologies to the promoter, the fans and the 6 fighters mentioned an they also need to change how they work.
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.