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Threats and Punishments…

By Donald “Braveheart” Stewart

An opinion piece from the only Donald worth listening to…

Full Stop – In British English grammar a full stop is a lengthy pause, in the US, you call it a period. In the UK that tends to suggest feminine products. Here it means a period of time where
I look at something in boxing in a little more depth. I am typing from my perspective of a fan who watches the sport closely. It’s an opinion. It is my opinion. Don’t like it? There are other opinions out there but if you don’t like it then good, debate and democracy are a good thing. If you do like it, feel free to spread the word.

Threats and Punishments…

Never again!

Oh, how many times do you hear someone wanting to be heard, starting a sentence with it – or ending one…

It’s a bold threat and I am not sure it is ever really followed through. People funnel their outrage and anger into big statements and tell us all just why they should be listened to; because their anger is genuine, real and everlasting. So, when you are in your 90’s, have promoted countless massive fights, clamber into the ring after spending a week touring the world with the sprightly enthusiasm of someone a fraction of your age, your sage thinking gets attention.

Bob Arum made boxing headlines after the Josh Taylor, his fighter, rematch with Jack Catterall, not his fighter, to claim that Taylor, his fighter, was robbed. He went further than that. He said that he would never bring an American fighter to the shores of the UK again, to compete under the jurisdiction of the British Boxing Board of Control, (BBB of C), such was his anger at the total injustice of it.

Oh, the irony.

In Josh Taylor/ Jack Catterall I, in Glasgow, Scotland, for all 4 belts at super lightweight, Taylor, a proud Scot won. THAT was a robbery. Taylor contends that he won the fight, has watched it back several times and is unshakeable in his belief that he beat Catterall the first-time round. As a proud Scot, myself, I watched it live and believe, as most do, that Taylor did not win that fight and that Catterall beat him. A win for Catterall would have made him the undisputed champion at super lightweight. A dream come true. That win would have served Catterall well by making bigger and better, ergo richer, fights in his career, but he was denied.

By dodgy judging. Under the BBB of C.

Following that fight, questions were raised in parliament, the police got involved and one of the judges was punished for the card he delivered. It led to him leaving the BBB of C. So, Arum jumping into the ring and describing the scorecards as a “disgrace” was quite the thing to behold. His anger, down to the scoring being 116-113 and 117-111 twice, could be claimed to be justified. Taylor thought he had nicked it, the vast majority thought he had lost, perhaps by a couple of rounds. It was a tight fight that most of us would like to see again. Arum managed to take away the attention from his fighter, perhaps opening up that trilogy. What a wily old man, because whilst Catterall is more concerned with making world title fights than revisiting Josh Taylor, the third fight makes money. Taylor has it one apiece, but Catterall has it resolved and filed under “done”. He is keen to move on.

Why? Because this time round there was no title on the line. By the time of the rematch, between relinquishing elements of his 4 belt status and losing his last belt to Teofimo Lopez, Taylor had nothing to bring to the ring as a prize. And so, Catterall now needs to go hunting himself for the belts. He already has made it plain and clear he wants Lopez next and will start there to work towards unifying them all once again. It’s a lofty and a laudable ambition, but boxing fans quite fancy the trilogy.

But it’s not the first time that Arum has played a controversial role. In 1962, he was assigned to confiscate proceeds from the Sonny Liston/ Floyd Patterson fight by the Department of Justice. You have to wonder if he had fancier footwork then or when he jumped in the ring after the final bell for Taylor/ Catterall. Arum has had a long association with the sport. It has included fights, spats and rivalries with Dana White and Don King, as well as, in 2000, admitting to part paying a bribe to IBF President Robert “Bobby” Lee, who ended up incarcerated for money laundering and tax evasion. Arum also was investigated by the FBI, fell out and back in with Oscar De La Hoya and has had several disputes with fighters including Terence Crawford and Floyd Mayweather.

It’s been a colorful career, and he is not afraid of going toe to toe with anyone. He has also been involved in the sport during many of its dark days so it should come as little or no surprise that he has been involved in or associated with some of the dodgy dealings of the past. Just how his latest escapade – not bringing US fighters to the UK – unlikely to happen – or criticizing disgraceful cards – unlikely to lead to the trilogy, unless Catterall cannot find a world title fight – will play out. With Arum involved, it is going to be a fascinating journey.

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