by Tim Harrison
There has been a lot of news swirling around the drain this week. Billy Dib and Evgeny Gradovich headline Friday Night Fights tonight, while Paul Magno previews Showtime’s headliner featuring Richard Abril and Sharif Bogere. And in the breaking news category, Canelo Alvarez and Austin Trout will tangle on April 20, and Amir Khan makes his (grand?) return to the UK on April 27. The rest that we couldn’t get to as it broke, is here for you now: The rest of your relevant boxing news for the week. Some of it is old, some of it is new, but all of it is broken.
Berto Dumps Trainer
Andre Berto has parted ways with long-time trainer Tony Morgan, ending a professional relationship dating back twenty years. Morgan guided Berto to two world titles and a spot on the 2004 Haitian Olympic Boxing Team.
This is one change that is long overdue. As someone who’s watched Berto from his days as a prospect in Tribal casinos all the way to his championship reign, which also curiously took place in casinos, Is aw Berto as a fighter stuck in the mud of his infancy as a boxer. Berto fell in love with his power early on, and he relied too heavily on it once he advanced past the hobo and window washer opponent phase of his career. Berto has many glaring technical flaws – such as his wide stance and tendency to cross his feet up when he moves back – that Morgan wasn’t able to iron out.
Andre Berto has a lot of the tools needed to be a dominant force in the sport. Up until this point in his career he’s been a pony of very few tricks; he has fast hands and hits hard. Did he waste the precious years of his youth running in place? Or will a change be the catalyst that propels him to the next level? Unfortunately I’m not picking the winner of a fight here, so I can’t pretend to know. Andre Berto has been living in Los Angeles for a while now, and it would be an interesting experiment to see how he does under a certain owner/proprietor of the Wild Card Boxing club.
Julio Cesar Cheech and Chong Suspended 9 Months
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. suffered the first knockout loss of his career on Thursday when the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) handed down a 9-month suspension and $900,000 fine for his positive test for marijuana in the aftermath of his twelve round decision loss to Sergio Martinez last September. In his loss to Martinez, Chavez fought like a man who’d just smoked a big fat bowl of the hippie lettuce for eleven rounds, but woke up in time to make things exciting in the twelfth round.
At first glance this seems like a big overreaction to a drug that most U.S. Presidents would admit to smoking. And in a state where a testosterone level of 6-to-1 is allowed, talk about picking your battles better. Testosterone enhances one’s athletic performance, while Marijuana hinders it. You can have six times the normal amount of testosterone of a normal man (if you apply for an exemption), but a small trace of THC gets you shelved for nine months. But keep in mind this is Chavez’s second positive drug test in the state of Nevada, and he’s being made an example of.
On the positive side, Chavez’s suspension is retroactive to September, and will end sometime in June. Unfortunately, this will open up a whole new can of worms when discussing what should and shouldn’t be on an athletic commission’s banned substance list, and that means more hot air from Victor Conte and his magical, metro sexual ReTweet fairy.
IBF is Still Corrupt…Allegedly
Tuesday’s news of a lawsuit involving the former Ratings Chairman of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) suing the IBF alleging it received payments to illegally rank Cuban prospect Luis Franco is yet another example of “same shit, different suit” in boxing. In this latest bombshell to drop on the New Jersey-based IBF, William James named names and gave details, and claims he was fired for pointing out Franco’s illegal (by their own by laws) ranking.
If you feel like you’ve heard this one before, it’s because you have. The IBF’s founder, Robert Lee, was forced to step down when faced with racketeering allegations dating back to the IBF’s third year of operations.
Occasionally my opinions draw the ire of readers, managers, or publicists, who take offense when I label someone ranked by any of the four alphabet soup organizations a “journeyman”, or “club fighter”. In one particular exchange, I was called a “Fucking idiot” for my belief that one ranking by the IBF did not make a fighter more than a journeyman. I attempted to point out the IBF’s screwy rankings continued to this day despite having cleaned house when Lee resigned.
These allegations may end up being trumped up rantings of a disgruntled former employee, or they may end up being another genital wart on the growler of one of the four big prostitutes (WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO) on the corner. More often times than not, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.