WBA and IBA light heavyweight titleholder Beibut Shumenov may not be Latino but he’s a Renaissance man headlining the fight card on Telefutura on Friday.
Times have change in some respect but in others, not so much.
Shumenov (11-1, 7 KOs), an attorney in his native Kazakhstan, fights Daniel Santiago (31-4-1, 19 KOs) Friday, July 29 at the Southpoint Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. Promoter Don Chargin, whose roots in boxing go back to the golden era, claims there is no one like the Kazakhstani.
“With 12 fights won a world title in 10, he’s a lawyer, his brother is a lawyer, and his father is one of the wealthiest men in Kazakhstan,” says Chargin, who has been a matchmaker, manager and promoter in more than 50 years of boxing history. “I’ve watched him work out and he’s really shown improvement. In the next few fights I expect him to be a real force with all of the other champions.”
Scouting talent has always been a strongpoint for Chargin whose ability to match fights back in the glory days of the Olympic Auditorium helped raise the stock of that historic boxing venue for decades.
Chargin sees talent in Shumenov and agreed to work with the champion earlier this year.
“He was a top kick boxer over there in Europe and was on their Olympic team, so he’s one of those super athletes that tried everything but wanted to get his education and got it while he was competing,” said Chargin about Shumenov. “Some people have a little thing to fall back on, but he’s a lawyer.”
Shumenov’s opponent Santiago is not simply an appetizer for the champion.
“Santiago is considered not a good prospect, but a great prospect and has had a few ups and downs. Any time he’s at the weight limit he is dangerous,” said Chargin adding that Santiago arrived in Las Vegas weighing 179 a few days ago. “I know he’s in good shape. It’s going to take a tough guy to beat Shumenov.”
Another champion that Chargin is associated with is WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez whose next fight will be against Alfonso Gomez.
Chargin was hand-picked by the Golden Boy himself Oscar De La Hoya to match all of Alvarez’s fights including this coming match with Gomez on Sept. 17 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“Oscar when they signed him he wanted me to sign off on every opponent. That started with their first fight with the kid from Argentina (Luciano Cuello) that he knocked out. And the last fight with the Englishman (Ryan Rhodes) and this fight with Alfonso Gomez,” said Chargin. “We go over films and this is the way Oscar wants it. And there is no telling just how good this kid Alvarez can be. He’s only 20 years old.”
Canelo’s obvious talent and popularity are not a guarantee of success. Chargin has seen many other budding super stars slip and fall from a variety of vices.
Mando Ramos and Keeny Teran
Mando Ramos was one of those that Chargin felt could have reach Oscar De La Hoya heights but failed due to partying.
“My best example is in my days of the Olympic was Mando Ramos who had Oscar De La Hoya looks and was so talented at 20. At 22 he was completely shot. Between drinking and drugs and women he never met a vice he didn’t like. Oh my gosh, he was one of the best prospects I had ever seen.
“In his sixth pro fight Jackie McCoy, who was his manager, and I told him my main event had fell out. He said he’s (Ramos) not ready for main events but we put him on anyway. His first main event was on 48 hour notice and he drew 8,000 people. The Olympic got too small, the Sports Arena got to small, next was the L.A. Coliseum.
“He was one of the most talented fighters I ever saw. The greatest fight I ever put on was Mando Ramos against Sugar Ramos after he had lost his featherweight championship at the Olympic. It held 10,400, but that night, we had 14,000 people. Any where there was eight inches of room someone was standing there. What a fight it was. I still have a picture on the wall of both Ramos hugging each other covered in blood.”
Mando Ramos died July 6, 2008.
Another legendary fighter that did not reach his potential was Keeny Teran, a kid from East Los Angeles who wowed fans during the 1950s.
Chargin managed Teran who also had the talent and looks but not the discipline.
“Keeny Teran. That was another one. He was a big drawing card that could not stay way from drugs. He was a terrible heroin addict,” Chargin recalls. “I moved him to San Jose and did everything including taking him to a psychiatrist. Nothing worked. Within 24 hours of landing in San Jose he knew where all the dope dealers were.”
Teran died on Feb. 11, 1995.
In spite of limitless talent and personality like a Shumenov or a Alvarez, there are no guarantees of success without discipline, says Chargin, who has definitely seen it all in the sport.
“That’s the problem. When they want to misbehave they are going to do it. That’s tough to stop them,” Chargin said. “So far Canelo has done everything we asked.”