Cherry Picking Opponents Gone Wrong in 2017
Editorial By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
*Photo Credit: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos
When Iron Mike Tyson lost to Danny Williams, Tyson seemed to be about the only opponent to lose to Williams, who has lost 26 times in his career. Yet Iron Mike got knocked out in unexpected embarrassing fashion. After watching David Lemieux knock Curtis Stevens unconscious in a middleweight showdown this past weekend, this reporter’s thoughts drifted to a conversation awhile back with former New York State Boxing Commissioner Bob Duffy, who runs the Ring 8 boxing charity organization today.
According to Duffy, cherry picking last minute opponents for major fighters can sometimes lead to disastrous results. Ex-champ DeMarcus Corley is one such available last minute opponent who has at times caused heartache as a late substitute available for major bouts.
Of late, cherry picking opponents has created havoc in many boxing corners. One major former world champion, who shall remain unnamed, has a corner which has contacted long retired fighters, and fighters knocked out numerous times in the first round, in order to be sure to secure a ‘safe’ opponent who creates ‘no risk’. Two of the fighters involved told me of the fight ‘proposal’. The likelihood of a United States state commission under the auspices of ABC boxing approving a major contender versus an obvious ‘stiff’ is none.
However, exceptions have slipped through the cracks, and minor states like Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and West Virginia often look the other way when it comes to fighter records so long as the ‘opponent’ presents satisfactory comprehensive test results. North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Mississippi, Missouri and Indiana get honorable mention. Maine and Wyoming have no boxing commission. Mexico and the Dominican Republic are more accessible to do tune up bouts versus cash opponents, though good fighters have come out of these two countries.
This past weekend, British middleweight Terry Maughan was supposed to tune up on (12-135-11) Kevin McCauley. Instead, the 135 loss McCauley tuned up on him, winning the decision. British super lightweight Joe Ducker had to settle for a six round draw with (12-241-7) Kristian Laight, a 241 loss fighter. Unbeaten super lightweight prospect Jumanne Camero lost to (1-7-1) Ross Jameson. British bantamweight prospect Ben Swarbrick drew with (3-18-12)Craig Derbyshire. Unbeaten Las Vegas lightweight prospect Salvador Lopez lost to Ivan De La Madrid. Philadelphia welterweight prospect David Gonzalez lost to (6-6-1) Juan Rodriguez. Unbeaten Texas super middleweight prospect Edward Jeramie Ortiz TKOed unbeaten Gonzalo Fuenzalida in the fourth round.
Unbeaten Russian light heavyweight prospect Denis Tsaryuk got knocked out in the first round by (5-4) Cuban journeyman Julio Acosta in Spain. British cruiserweight prospect Lee Nutland retired at the end of round two after having his jaw broken by (6-12-1) Latvian journeyman Reinis Porozovs. Unbeaten Detroit bantamweight prospect James Smith got knocked out in Detroit in the sixth round by Chicago’s James Greer Jr. (16-0) California lightweight prospect Christian Gonzalez got knocked down three times and got knocked out by Filipino fighter Romero Duno. Philadelphia middleweight prospect Fred Jenkins Jr. got upset by Panamanian fighter Roque Zapata, which is Zapata’s second consecutive upset at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. Philadelphia lightweight prospect Anthony Burgin lost an eight round split decision to Avery Sparrow. Unbeaten Filipino flyweight prospect Ken Jordan got beaten by Jimboy Haya over eight rounds. So, boxing fans can see in one weekend alone, matchmaking and cherry picking is a tall order with results in many cases which promoters did not expect nor desire.