By Eric Armit
When I first began to pick up whispers of Conor McGregor dabbling in boxing again I hoped it would be a case of smoke but no fire. Just McGregor keeping himself in the public eye. When McGregor then started to talk about a fight with Manny Pacquiao there was more smoke but it was coming out of my ears. Surely Pacquiao would not lower himself to participate in such a farce and an insult to boxing in the way that Floyd Mayweather had. Then McGregor started to claim that he would be fighting Pacquiao in the Middle East next year. Was there really a fire under that smoke after all? Surely Pacquiao would come out and make a statement rubbishing talk of fighting McGregor. Well Pacquiao certainly made a statement but it read more like an opening gambit in a negotiation. He was interested in sharing the ring with McGregor, but only on the condition that his own promotion company MP Promotions co-organised the event. So no denial and instead more wood on the fire. That remark regarding the co-organising says it all. If the money is right the fight will happen. At 41 Pacquiao has very few fights left in him. One, two at the most. Right now if he walks away his legacy is obviously assured with no qualification tagged on the end. Over a 22 year period from winning the WBC flyweight title in 1998 to currently holding the WBA welterweight title he has won ten version of a world title in six different divisions and earned millions of dollars yet it seems that is not enough. Yes fighting McGregor will be very richly rewarding in money terms but it will add nothing to his boxing legacy-it certainly has not done so for Mayweather-and horror of horrors what if he actually lost? Forever his legacy would have that qualification on the end “great, great fighter-but he lost to McGregor”. What a terrible way that would be to end his great career. Obviously as it will add nothing to his legacy he is doing for the money and if he was going to donate a large part of his purse to help his fellow-countrymen as he has done in the past that would temper some of my misgivings but at the same time if he does not fight again until he fights McGregor and then retires that would be a slap in the face for real professional fighters in the WBA ratings such as Yordenis Ugas, Vergil Ortiz, Mikey Garcia or others the WBA not have in their ratings such as Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. Forget Errol Spence and Terence Crawford they would be too good for a 41 year Pacquiao. I can hear the WBA rubbing their hands at the sanction fee that would come their way even if it meant approving a guy to fight for their title who had lost the only boxing match he had. I guess that would just be business as usual for them. Will a TV company take Pacquiao vs. McGregor will it sell? Of course there are still million of idiots out there who love a circus.
With Saul Alvare’s legal team resubmitting his action against DAZN and Golden Boy things are getting messy. The WBC have ordered Alvarez to fight the No 2 in their latest rankings Avni Yildirim. Alvarez is not their champion of course. He has never won their super middleweight title-he holds the secondary WBA title- but he is the WBC “Franchise champion”-what rubbish. However since Alvarez is in a legal battle with his paymasters DAZN he cannot go ahead with the Yildirim fight unless a settlement is made in his case against DAZN and Golden Boy. The WBC originally called for purse bids by 23 September. DAZN was reported to have offered Alvarez $20 million for the Yildirim fight which is a lot less than called for under their contract. The date for purse bids has now been pushed back to 6 October but it seems to me that until there is a judgement on his contract dispute Alvarez is not a free agent. That would mean him withdrawing his name from the WBC instructed fight with Yildirim and the WBC nominating someone else to fight for the vacant title. A Gordian knot that need to be cut.
It looks likely that Naoya Inoue’s title defence against Australian Jason Moloney is on for October 31 in Las Vegas. Naoya’s IBF and WBA bantamweight titles will be on the line. Moloney’s only defeat is a split decision against Emmanuel Rodriguez for the IBF title which was also part of the WBSS bantamweight tournament. The feisty little Australian comes to fight so it should provide plenty of entertainment. If Inoue comes through that then hopefully a unification fight with John Riel Casimero will follow. The fight was talked about last year but Casimero had visa problem but as he fought in Connecticut last week that should not be a barrier.
You can’t trust these little guys. Julio Cesar Chavez and Jorge Arce fought an exhibition and it seems that Arce ended up ambushing Chavez by taking it a lot more serious than Chavez thought he had agreed. No harm done. This was a good example of two veterans fighting as Chavez was donating the money he was paid to a clinic for addiction treatment and Arce towards providing low cost housing for people in his area.
One star female boxer and one newcomer fought at the weekend. Tony Yoka is always under pressure to win as his wife Estelle Mossely is the IBO world female lightweight champion and she outpointed Aurelie Froment on the undercard to Yoka’s win over Johann Duhaupas last Friday. Mossley also won a gold medal at the Rio Games so there was even pressure there on Tony. The other female boxer was a total newcomer. Young Jaromira Konecny won her first amateur fight last Friday. She is the 14-year-old daughter of Lukas the former interim WBO and European super welterweight champion who also promoted the show. Jaromira your dad is a former World and European champion and competed at the Olympics and your late granddad Milan was Czech light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion-no pressure there Jaromira honest.
I saw where Floyd Mayweather Jr has offered to help train Deontay Wilder for his third fight with Tyson Fury. I find it difficult to envisage what a fleet and fast Mayweather could teach a 6’ 7” Wilder. A bit like an antelope teaching a rhino to dance. I suppose he could insert some rhythm into Wilder’s work. Along the lines of –you put left jab in, your left jab out, your left jab in and you shake it all about. No stop it Eric you’re just being silly.
Good card building for the Leo Santa Cruz vs. Gervonta Davis WBA title fight (s) which will see typical WBA confusion. The fight will be for the secondary WBA lightweight title held by Davis (the real champion is Vasyl Lomachenko) and the WBA super featherweight title held by Santa Cruz-who also holds their featherweight title. Davis will have to make 130lbs for the fight so that both titles can be on the line for both fighters. The show will be before a live audience for the first time since the pandemic struck. Mario Barrios will defend the WBA secondary super lightweight title against Ryan Karl and Regis Prograis and Diego Maldonado will also appear in fights on the show.
Only 16 days until Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Teo Lopez. The IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight titles (that’s the real titles)will be on the line in what promises to be a great clash of experience against youth and power. In one of the supporting fights super middle Edgar Berlanga will be going for first round KO/TKO win No 15 in a row. The record is held by Tyrone Brunson with 19. Brunson went downhill after his 19 wins and is 9-8-2 since then but with Top Rank guiding him I can’t see that happening to Berlanga but I feel he might settle for a second round win to get that pressure of the record off his back.
I really do despair of the WBA no matter how low they go they can still go lower. They must give their Board of Governors limbo dancing lessons in fact they must be aces at it. The most recent disgrace is their No 8 cruiserweight Rafael Murphy. He is rated above former world champion Krzys Wlodarczyk. His “achievements” his last four fights sre that in his only fight in 2017 he was stopped in five rounds by Hugo Trujillo. Trujillo’s record was 2-0-1. In his only fight in 2018 he beat Juan Reyna who was 6-9-1 and had won only one of his last 9 fights. In May 2019 he beat Oswaldo Ortega who was 3-11 and in August he outpointed 11-20 Larry Pryor over four rounds. Going into the Murphy fight Pryor was 1-6 in his last 7 fights with the win being a four round points victory over someone with a 3-18-1 record. The win over Pryor suddenly saw Murphy enter the WBA ratings at No 8. I don’t want to be unfair to the WBA so please WBA work with me here advise of one honest reason for Murphy to be rated at all let alone No 8 in the world. Box Rec rates him No 175 and that seems generous.
Undefeated World Boxing Council (WBC) straw world champion Wanheng Menayothin will be making the thirteenth defence of his title, against his compatriot, Petchmanee CP Freshmart, on November 27, in a city to be announced. At 34 he could have a few more fights in him. He is 54-0 and if he finally retires undefeated he will be No 1 in the all-time list of world champion who have retired after winning all of their fights and second in the all-time list of world champions to retire undefeated behind Jimmy Barry who was undefeated in 68 (including ten draws) but I can’t see him hanging around to beat Barry’s record. Floyd Mayweather with 51-0 is second in the list of world champions to have won all their fights and Rocky Marciano is third on 49-0.
Boxing continues to ease its way back from the pandemic. Boxing returns to Namibia on 7 November but with no fans in attendance, There will be two separate shows one starting at 15.00 hours featuring world rated Namibians Jeremiah Nakathila the WBO No 3 super featherweight and WBO No 6 welterweight Mikka Shonena with Harry Simon Jr also on the 15.00 show. The second show will start at 21.00 and topping the card will be former WBO middleweight title challenger Walter Kautondokwa. The show will have TV coverage which makes it viable-just.
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