Boxing


Let's hold hands, unite, and UNIFY. By Force If Necessary

13.09..08 – by Amir Peay - Not too long ago Juan ‘The Baby Bull’ Diaz was the undisputed lightweight champion of the world, and in one of few times ‘The Ring’ has gotten it wrong, Joel Casamayor was (& still is) the lightweight Ring champion. Sometimes the Ring belt is limited because it adheres to the linear crown, which does not require a champion to defend his title against top contenders, and in this instance it has been clearly identifying the wrong man as lightweight champion of the world..

Juan Diaz later fought Nate Campbell and suffered a decisive decision loss. Nate Campbell then picked up where Juan Diaz left off, and was due a fight with Casamayor in order to truly, and for once and for all, determine the undisputed and Ring lightweight champion of the world. The only problem was that Nate Campbell was promoted by Don King (who was Diaz’s promoter), and Golden Boy promoted Joel Casamayor. Shortly after losing to Nate Campbell, Juan Diaz signed with Golden Boy, and the word on the street was that Diaz was to ‘finally’ get his shot at Casamayor and his Ring belt. Were that fight to take place, win, lose or draw, the Ring belt (technically owned by Golden Boy), would stay with Golden Boy.

For those fight fans such as myself who scour multiple boxing websites on a daily basis, around that time you probably read an open letter from Nate Campbell to Golden Boy CEO, Richard Schaefer. Campbell’s motivation in writing the letter was in response to Schaefer’s comments about Campbell not being willing to fight Juan Manuel Marquez, who Golden Boy was trying to arrange to fight Campbell. Campbell, called it like he saw it, and stated that all Golden Boy was trying to do was keep the Ring belt in house, and that their big plan was to build up the acceptance of the Ring belt as the one and only true title, and at the same time discredit the other belts from the ABC sanctioning bodies.

From Golden Boy’s perspective, if Campbell had fought Marquez, the worst-case scenario would’ve been that Marquez loses and Campbell keeps his belts, but the best-case scenario would’ve been that Marquez wins and brings those belts over to Golden Boy. Then, they could pitch the Golden Boy Ring champ against the Golden Boy undisputed champ, and create an uber Golden Boy champ.

Golden Boy was most likely aware that the old veteran Casamayor had not been on top of his game of late, and was lucky to have held on to the Ring title up until that point. They probably knew he could very well lose it in his next fight and wanted to make sure that it stayed in house. However, after Nate Campbell beat Juan Diaz it would have looked bad to give Diaz an immediate title shot, so enter Michael Katsidis into the picture. Golden Boy, who promotes Katsidis, gave Katsidis the title shot thinking and hoping that he would defeat Casamayor, and then he and Diaz could get it on.

As we all know, Casamayor knocked out Katsidis, and is now set to fight Juan Manuel Marquez this Saturday night. Juan Diaz, who did fight and defeat Katsidis last week, will have a very good chance of fighting the winner of Casamayor-Marquez. After all, the winner will be a Golden Boy fighter, along with Diaz, and will be the Ring champ, so they will have no mandatory title defense obligation to any sanctioning body.

Nate Campbell is set to fight Joan Guzman this same Saturday as the Casamayor-Marquez fight. Should Campbell win, and continue to show that he is at the top of the heap and has the belts to prove it, it is doubtful that Golden Boy will give him a shot at whichever one of their fighters has the Ring belt. If Guzman, who is promoted by Sycuan Ringside Promotions, wins against Campbell then the odds are that he will be co-promoted by Don King (as King would have probably wanted options on Guzman for giving him a title shot at Campbell). Once again, Golden Boy probably will not be looking to risk losing the Ring belt to Don King, and so Guzman will not get a shot at the Ring belt either.

What really bothers me is that both of these fights are taking place on the same night, on different channels. It is almost like the powers that be in boxing want to rub the face of the collective boxing fan base into the dysfunction that exists in OUR sport, and ask us how we like it? At least the Campbell-Guzman fight is free to Showtime subscribers, but I can’t believe that Golden Boy, who is largely responsible for this debacle, has the gall to put the Casamayor-Marquez fight on PPV. That fight does not deserve to be a PPV fight.

Oscar De La Hoya often refers to wanting to make big fights that are good for boxing, especially when talking about his own fights. Well if you want to help boxing, and you really mean it, then make the best fights that need to be made. At some point the promoters in boxing need to be willing to sacrifice a portion of the bottom line in order to invest in the future of boxing, instead of trying to squeeze every dollar out of a fight at the expense of fans. You alienate the fans you do have, and definitely do not create any new fans. I would think that a young promotional company like Golden Boy would see the value in investing in the future of the sport because it will come back to them down the line.

I understand that boxing is a business, and that promoters are competing with each other. Perhaps Don King is not an easy promoter to do business with, and therefore I do not want to place the burden solely on Golden Boy.

The way to make any movement or organization bigger and stronger, which is what boxing needs, is for people to unite and work together towards a common goal. When people divide and alienate, you do just the opposite. In all fairness, Golden Boy has been working together with Bob Arum as of late, and that is something to be applauded. The trouble is that there is no requirement for the fights that need to happen, to happen. Perhaps it is time for some impartial oversight that rises above sanctioning bodies, magazine titles and promoters, uses common sense, and from time to time says, ‘If you want to be in the boxing business in America, then you have to make this fight.’

Amir Peay is a freelance journalist covering the sport of boxing.

He is also the owner of a boxing inspired line of t-shirts that sponsors boxers; www.UndisputedBrand.com .

Article posted on 13.09.2008



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