By Jake Donovan
The WBC’s 50th Anniversary Boxing Tournament now has an entry for its welterweight division. Unbeaten prospect Simeon Hardy will face former two-division champ Joan Guzman on November 15, as confirmed by both camps.
A location for the bout has yet to be determined, though Miami has been mentioned as a tentative frontrunner to land the event.
The fight is an interesting pairing, and one that will most likely cause fans to further point all that is wrong with sanctioning bodies and their influence on the sport. Neither fighter has participated in a fight in 2013, with both watching scheduled bouts fall through for different reasons.
Hardy (10-0, 7KO), a rangy knockout artist from Guyana, hasn’t fought since last October, outpointing countryman and former middleweight contender Howard Eastman for the second time in as many fights in their homeland.
The 26-year old, previously co-managed by Cameron Dunkin and current welterweight titlist Tim Bradley, was scheduled to fight this past July, a bout that prompted him to initially decline an offer to participate in the WBC’s planned tourmanet. The bout ultimately fell through and Hardy has since cleaned house. He is now managed by Tim Gibson, a Tennessee-based manager and promoter who signed the welterweight last month.
The move also allowed Hardy to gain re-entry into the tournament after his replacement, Jamaica’s Sakima Mullings, was unable to secure a travel visa.
Guzman’s troubled past is a far more familiar tale to all in the boxing world. The Dominican boxer has historically struggled mightily at the scales, the most recent instance resulting in the 11th hour cancellation of his scheduled June bout with Vicente Mosquera. The bout would have put the winner in the mix to fight for a major title at 140, such an opportunity serving as one more shot at redemption for Guzman (33-1-1, 17KO), whose last fight was a technical decision loss to Khabib Allakhverdiev– his first defeat on any level since the 1996 Summer Olympics–in their vacant title fight last November.
Instead, the 37-year old arrived at the scales more than a full division over the limit for the bout with Mosquera. Not only did he massively miss weight, but he also failed to make a modified weight the morning of the fight, leaving Mosquera to instead face late replacement Cosme Rivera in a non-title fight.
The tactic left even his remaining supporters to once and for all write him off, with the event mirroring that of his canceled lightweight title fight with Nate Campbell in 2008 and showing up nine pounds heavy for his rematch with Ali Funeka in 2010.
No major title is at stake for this bout, though the winner will most likely secure a spot in the Top 10 of the WBC’s welterweight rankings.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America.