Griffin and Michel Debate Reason for Failed Negotiations
By Ryan Maquiñana
Light heavyweight Otis Griffin (23-9-2, 9 KOs) was supposed to meet Canadian-based Colombian Eleider Alvarez (7-0, 5 KOs) two Saturdays ago in Montreal's Bell Center on the undercard of Adonis Stevenson vs. Jesus Gonzales, but the bout was scrapped when the Sacramento, Calif.-based fighter felt like his opponent's promoter, Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM), was not dealing in good faith.
"GYM Promotion tried to change the contract on me at the scale," Griffin alleged. "They flew us out, talked to us for the whole month prior. Then boom, Friday night comes and there's no WBC Continental Americas Title as agreed upon, 10 not 12 rounds, less money. Oh, and no title means no neutral officials. The Montreal commission told me they knew this for weeks."
Griffin, a native of Sacramento, Calif., then discussed why he deemed it necessary to have a level playing field.
"If [Alvarez] makes it to the bell, he wins and a star is born," Griffin added. "The 7-0 kid beats the former champ by split decision. You know the script. No, we ain't going for the banana in the tail pipe. At this point, [Michel] knows he is wrong and God as well as the ABC will deal with him. As for the Alvarez fight, I dare them to reschedule it under the original contract."
Michel contacted BoxingScene.com and gave his side of the story, noting that he had not spoken to Griffin until the day of the weigh-in since matchmaker Marc Ramsay had handled negotiations for GYM.
"The contract was signed by my matchmaker Marc Ramsay. It was 12 rounds for the WBC Latino light heavyweight title," he said. "Originally it was a 12-round fight for the title, but two weeks before the fight, I told Marc Ramsay that there were too many rounds on the show, so I requested that it be changed to 10."
The Canadian promoter also addressed Griffin's allegations that the purse had decreased.
"We didn't change the purse at all," he said. "His purse was $11,500, which was more than Alvarez' share of $10,000, and even though we were changing the rounds, we weren't changing the money. We even offered to use the two American judges from the main event to have neutral officials to accommodate him. But Griffin said it wasn't good or correct because he said the judges were my friends, even though this was my first time meeting these judges."
While Michel would regrettably acknowledge that Team Griffin was not made aware of the change in rounds until they arrived in Montreal, he argued that it did not take away from his efforts to make the bout happen, pinning the blame on the American 175-pounder for being unreasonable.
"Look, there was a miscommunication between my matchmaker Marc Ramsay and him in that he should have told him that it was 10 rounds before they arrived at the weigh-in," Michel added. "But after all that, we tried to make accommodations, and all he wanted was to re-negotiate his purse, which I felt at that point he was trying to do all along. That's when I stepped away from the table with the commission, because I didn't want to deal with him after that."
Boxing correspondent Ryan Maquiñana is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.