THREE PUNCH COMBO — Last week, it was announced that Sefer Seferi (23-1, 21 KOs) will be the opponent for Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KO’s) when Fury returns on June 9th from a nearly three year ring absence. Seferi may have a glossy record but is almost a total unknown whose resume has largely been built on extremely suspect opposition. Despite the questionable credentials, Seferi now finds himself in an historic position to challenge the lineal heavyweight champion of the world.
More than 20 years ago, we saw an eerily similar situation play itself out in heavyweight boxing. George Foreman had won the lineal heavyweight championship when he knocked out Michael Moorer in November of 1994 but found himself two years later stripped of all major sanctioning body titles. Out of the ring for more than a year following a controversial win against Axel Schulz in April of 1995, Foreman plotted a return for November of 1996 in Japan to show he was still viable in the sport and draw interest in bigger fights. The opponent chosen was Crawford Grimsley who had a glossy record of 20-0 but had built that record on highly questionable opposition.
Most in boxing ridiculed the fight and the fact that Grimsley had received the opportunity to fight for boxing’s most prestigious prize. The expectation was that this would be an easy night for Foreman. However, the fight did not end early as most anticipated.
Grimsley used his legs on the aging Foreman and managed to keep Foreman from landing anything major during the duration of the 12-round contest. However, it was mostly a defensive effort from Grimsley who offered little offense and lost a wide unanimous decision.
Sefer Seferi, handpicked for his glossy record and limited skills, finds himself in a very similar spot to that of Crawford Grimsley in 1994. He is fighting the lineal heavyweight champion who, despite that distinction, holds no major title belts. Much like Foreman, Fury needs to shake off some rust and prove he is still viable in the sport. In more ways than one, Fury-Seferi bears a striking resemblance to Foreman-Grimsley.
Improvements Needed at the International Boxing Hall of Fame
Last week, I touched upon why fans need to experience Induction Weekend at the International Boxing Hall of Fame. This week, I will offer up some areas of improvement needed for the Canastota, NY, shrine.
Fighters are the lifeblood of boxing. Without them, there is no sport for all of us to enjoy. Right now, the voting process is limited to inducting three modern category boxers into the Hall of Fame each year. There can be no more or no less per the current guidelines. In my opinion, that potential number of modern category boxers to go into the Hall each year should be expanded up to six. I would keep the minimum each year to three but allow the possibility for more deserving boxers to be enshrined.
As an example of why this change is needed, take a look at the modern category boxers who will be enshrined this year. They are Vitali Klitschko, Erik Morales and Winky Wright. All are undoubtedly deserving of the honor. This was also the first time all three appeared on the ballot. As such, any holdovers from previous years were pushed back. This is why the number of potential inductees needs to be expanded. Otherwise, deserving candidates keep getting pushed back and may never receive the honor they have earned.
The Hall of Fame does a tremendous job in gathering a list of who’s who in the sport to attend Induction Weekend each year. For example, this year Mike Tyson, Miguel Cotto, Marco Antonio Barrera, Michael Spinks and many others are slated to be in Canastota during the second weekend of June. As I wrote last week, fans will have an unprecedented opportunity to mingle with some of their favorites in the sport.
I would like to see the Hall of Fame invite some each year who may not have been stars but did give so much to help make this sport continue to be great. I am referring to the so-called second level or even journeyman type fighter of past or present in the sport. Without these boxers, there would be no sport. I know they might not be big names and by no means will they ever get into the Hall itself, but they deserve a weekend to be worshipped by adoring fans for their ring accomplishments.
Finally, the biggest complaint that I hear from folks about the International Boxing Hall of Fame is that it is too small. I hear this time and time again from fans who visit for the first time and even those that return. Plain and simple, the IBHOF needs to be expanded. It is a project that we who attend each year keep hearing about, but have not seen much progress. We need to see something being done in regards to expansion and hopefully in the not so distant future.
More on Weight Issues in Boxing
I understand this is not the first time I have touched on the issue of fighters not making weight. But it keeps happening and to this point little is being done to combat the problem. This past Saturday, David Carmona came in more than three pounds above the 115-pound limit for his title bout against Khalid Yafai. Given how much he missed weight, Carmona clearly had no intention of ever getting remotely close to the contracted limit.
Carmona bought himself an advantage. He reportedly paid a 20% penalty knowing that Yafai, the clear “A” side, would go ahead with the fight, not wanting to lose the payday or exposure. Carmona, who is not a big puncher, used his size to rock Yafai in the contest. The extra weight, in all likelihood, also helped him absorb Yafai’s punches much better than would have otherwise been the case.
In the end, Yafai won when Carmona’s corner pulled him out after seven rounds. Thus, the issue of Carmona missing weight will likely be forgotten over time. However, it shouldn’t be. It’s a problem that desperately needs to be addressed.
So how do we put an end to fighters paying a small percentage of their purse to buy a ring advantage? Well, simply by imposing stiffer financial penalties. Sanctioning bodies could impose a mandatory 75% financial penalty for offending fighters who miss weight. A massive financial penalty like this would make anyone think twice about blowing off the weight for a fight.
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