The Florida Boxing Scene
By Steven J. Canton
Congratulations are in order for former top notch referee Max Parker Jr. for recently becoming the Florida Boxing Commission’s Assistant Executive Director. It is always good when a boxing person with experience is appointed to a position with a state commission. Many of the problems with boxing today are a direct result of boxing commissions being run by politically appointed people without boxing knowledge and experience. While speaking of commissions, it is hoped that two recent decisions in Florida can be re-visited.
In addition to water, Gatorade was recently approved by the Florida Commission to be used in corners. While on the surface, this may appear to be a good move (replacing electrolytes, helping in dehydration, etc), it also has the potential of becoming a serious problem. If Gatorade is spilled in the corner and ends up on the soles of the fighter’s shoes, they will become very sticky. If a boxer’s foot sticks while he is moving around the ring or pivoting, he, or she, could obtain a serious injury.
Who would be liable? The promoter? The State? Why create additional liabilities of any kind? "They" are always talking safety for boxers. Why put boxers on an unsafe playing field? We already have slippery logos, we don’t need sticky shoes. Club shows are critical to the success of boxing. Our future stars come from small club shows. It has become difficult to continue to promote club shows around the state (and country), because of rising costs. When costs are added to a small show, ticket sales do not magically increase to offset these costs. They result in greater losses for the promoter.
A small promoter is told, "If you cannot afford to promote a show, then you should not promote." When enough small promoters stop promoting, a serious problem develops. Fighters have no shows to fight on, the fans are deprived of shows, and the sport dies. We need the small promoters, we need the activity for the fighters, and we need the understanding and help of the commissions. Case in point, another recent ruling states that the Florida Commission will now appoint two doctors to work each show. The promoter will now pay each doctor $600 for a total of $1200. This expense is added to a show cost that is already too high and will result in increased losses for the promoter. Additional tickets will not be sold because of this. What happens if a doctor who is appointed by the commission does not show up and a show is cancelled? Is the commission now liable to the promoter and the fighters for their losses?
As stated previously, why take on additional liabilities? In the past, promoters worked out their own deals with doctors, instead of paying a fee to them. Everyone was happy, and it helped make the shows workable. Sometimes change is good, most of the time it is not. Warrior’s Boxing Promotions, Inc. and Golden Boy Promotions put on an exciting HBO Latino show on October 28, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, in Hollywood. Kingsley Ikeke, an excellent middleweight, defeated hard punching Rene Arostegui, by TKO 5, in the main event, and Kendrick Releford derailed Eliecer Castillo with an upset twelve round decision, winning the vacant WBO Latino heavyweight title in the process. Heavyweight Sherman "The Tank" Williams traveled to San Jose, California to do battle with Gilbert Martinez, over ten rounds, on November 18. When the smoke had cleared, a draw was announced, with Williams claiming "robbery."
An excellent show was presented by Terry Trekas’ One Punch Productions, on November 19, at the Doubletree Westshore in Tampa. Carlos "Bam Bam" Diaz was impressive stopping Mario Lacey in an exciting three rounds. Diaz, a jr. featherweight, advanced to 9-4-3, with 7 K.O.’s. The co-featured bout saw Andre Eason climb back into the win column after a loss in his previous fight to Francisco Bojado. Eason out-pointed William Rojas over eight rounds. SJC Boxing had two winners on the evening as cruiserweight Jason Gant, a Riverdale High School teacher in Ft. Myers, remained undefeated at 3-0, with a four round decision over Rob Ochoa, who dropped to 1-1. Herling Lopez, a jr. welter, advanced to 3-1-1, with an exciting come from behind win over Jimmy Maloney. Lopez was down and almost out in the first, and Maloney was down twice and out in the second. A bit of boxing trivia occurred, as it was the first time all of the direct licensed participants, other than the fighter’s themselves, were married couples.
Christy Martin and her husband, Jim, worked the corner of Jimmy Maloney. Across the ring, Mary Lynn Canton and her husband, yours truly, worked the corner of Herling Lopez, while Phyllis Garry was the timekeeper and her husband, Brian, was the referee. Ronald "Winky" Wright defeated Shane Mosley in their rematch on November 20. It was just a case of a "good big fighter" beating a "good little fighter." Wright has several big money options available to him now. Mosley, although he stated he will remain at 154 lbs., would do well if he moved back down to 147 lbs., if he wants to continue his career. Super featherweight champ Joel Casamayor will step up in weight and challenge two-time WBC lightweight champ Jose Luis Castillo, for his title, on December 4, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, in Las Vegas, on Showtime. On the undercard IBF super middle champ Jeff Lacy will defend against Omar Sheika. The following week, December 11, former champ Randall Bailey will attempt to become a two-time champ against Miguel Cotto. This will be on the Vitali Klitschko vs. Danny Williams pay-per-view event. Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson gave up their respective belts so they could face each other, rather than defend against mandatories for less money. This bout takes place on December 18, on HBO, and should set each fighter up financially for life.
Retired former champ Tyrone Booze was released from the hospital after spending six weeks recovering from a job-related accident. A garbage truck had backed over him, as he slipped under the tires. The National Boxing Association will be donating money to Tyrone to aid with his medical bills and will be accepting donations from anyone who wants to help. They can be contacted at www.NBABoxing.com. The SJC Boxing Gym has to be one of the most diversified in the world, as fighters from at least 30 different countries (many of them world-class), have trained there. The SJC Boxing Gym in Ft. Myers, where many world champions and top contenders have trained, is available for training.
Anyone who wishes to come to sunny, warm and tranquil Southwest Florida, should contact yours truly either by e-mail at [email protected] or telephone (239) 275-5275. Visit our web site at www.sjcboxing.com.