By Jake Donovan
With the news on Monday that the IBF rejected a request from Gabriel Campillo’s camp for an immediate rematch with Tavoris Cloud, both camps now have a clearer view of the future.
Well, at least one camp.
It remains to be seen where the hard-luck Campillo goes from here. The Spaniard has developed a knack for landing on the wrong end of controversially scored bouts, the latest example coming in his title challenge against the unbeaten Cloud on February 18 in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Many in the industry believed Campillo to have won the bout, only for Cloud to escape their Showtime-televised co-feature battle with a split decision. Those who believed Campillo was jobbed – including his handlers, who filed an official protest on the outcome – pointed to two of the three judges lacking big fight experience.
Campillo’s handlers believed to have a strong case to force a rematch and possibly have the fight ruled a no-contest. Instead, his team was given a harsh reminder that scoring is subjective and that judgment calls – while always open to debate – are not sufficient grounds to file such a protest.
Meanwhile, life goes on for Cloud. His team was already planning for the future but all the while with one eye glaring in the direction of the IBF in waiting out this matter.
“Personally, I have never filed a protest against the referee or judges for any fight I’ve ever been involved with,” said veteran trainer Al Bonanni, who guides Cloud’s career. “Campillo’s team has the right to complain to whomever they want and did what they felt was right. As far as we’re concerned, it was a close fight that we survived and it’s time to move on to new business.”
First on the list is a nearly-overdue mandatory defense against Karo Murat of Germany. Cloud’s side has already begun negotiations with Murat, who himself has been involved in a pair of controversial decisions with Campillo – fighting to a draw last October and eking out a majority decision in 2008.
“The IBF gave us permission to fight Campillo with the understanding that our next fight would be the mandatory defense against Murat,” Bonanni reveals. “That’s our next fight. This will be Tavoris’ 5th defense of his title (won in August 2009) and we will obey the rules of the IBF.”
“After that fight – and we’re confident we’ll win whether it’s in Germany or if Don (King, Cloud’s promoter) can win the purse bid and bring to the U.S. – we’ll entertain other fights strictly based on economics. It could be a rematch with the kid (Campillo), or a unification match with the other champions. As long as it’s monetarily feasible, it doesn’t matter who it’s against.”
Had the IBF ordered the rematch, Cloud would’ve willingly obliged. It’s even possible that a phone call and side negotiations initiated by Campillo’s team could have done the trick.
Instead, everyone was forced to sweat out the legal system before making the next move.
“That’s the thing, they never even bothered to ask us about a rematch, they just went and filed a complaint,” Bonanni points out. “Look, I got nothing bad to say about Campillo. The kid came in tremendous shape and fought his heart out. His trainer did a terrific job in his corner and there were a lot of close rounds. But I truly believe we won by two points, in a terrific fight that saved the show.
“If a TV network is willing to buy the fight again, we’ll gladly do it again. The thing is - my kid has to start getting paid. This mandatory will be his 5th defense and at this point he hasn’t had a big payday. If a Campillo rematch brings that, we’ll gladly look into it after we get the mandatory out of the way.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com