2 February 2013

Zambia: Fights to Look Out for This Year

WHEN a new year begins, we often look forward to all sorts of new things, including bettering our lot in life which, for some reason, we couldn't do the previous year.

For the die-hard boxing fan, a new year always presents a chance to look back on the previous year's fights and, quite naturally, look forward to watching greater and better fights.

On the local scene, for instance, we saw one great fight this past year when rising heroine Catherine Phiri outsmarted a game Canadian Natalie Forget over 10 gruelling rounds to grab the then vacant World Professional Boxing Federation (WPBF) bantamweight title at the Government Complex in Lusaka.

And come March 23, Catherine would be making the first defence of her title against a replacement, Leslie Domingo, compatriot of Filipino Norji Guro, who was initially billed to face off against the Zambian on the same date and at the same venue.

Oriental Quarries operations director Chris Malunga told the media this past week that the reason for the change of opponent was that the Zambian stable had not received feedback from from Guro's camp on signing of the fight contract and they had written to WPBF on the matter.

Going by her record,4-0- (3Kos)-1,against her fellow Filipinos, Domingo appears to be a knockout artist with an impressive 75 per cent ratio.

On paper, she appears as good as Guro with whom she drew.

That is something team Catherine would do well to take note of.

Certainly, Catherine-Domingo has the ingredients of a potentially explosive fight fans can thirst for.

On the international scene, fans can hardly forget the great fights of yesteryear including World Boxing Council welterweight champ Floyd Mayweather Jr versus gutsy Peurto Rican Miguel Cotto whom the American outgunned, scoring a run-away unanimous points decision to grab Cotto's World Boxing Organisation title.

And then perennial rivals Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao, met for the fourth time and the Mexican got his revenge via a brutal sixth round KO of the Filipino to settle the dispute about who had won their three previous encounters, which were too close to call.

There's talk of a fifth rubber match this year, but no date has been set yet.

This could still be a fight worth watching if it happens.

One of the most scintillating bouts of 2012 was fight-of-the-year-candidate between former WBC champion Andre Berto against tough Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero won by "The Ghost" to dethrone American-Haitian Berto.

It was reported this past week that Guerrero could meet Mayweather who is planning a return to the ring almost a year since leaving prison for a domestic battery misdemeanour.

Mayweather, however, has refuted the reports about a date with Guerrero. Johny Benz, of Doghouse Boxing, says also with the reports of his return, there have been rumblings that "Money" Mayweather will face in his return is Guerrero (and then face Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in September.

Richard Schaefer (chief executive officer of Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions) has himself gone on record to say that "Ghost" was a possibility, but he has never confirmed it as fact (not yet anyway).

Although Guerrero has yet to be certified as Mayweather's next foe, pretty much everyone is either reporting or insinuating that "Ghost" is the next opponent for Mayweather.

"Not so fast... enter Mayweather into the picture who in a recent tweet clarified things a little. Just a little time ago, "Money" Mayweather Jr took to his twitter account (where he enjoys a whopping 1,145,000 twitter followers) to state that his fight against Guerrero is "just a rumour."

Mayweather tweeted to his followers: "As of right now I don't know who I'm fighting on May 4th. Me fighting Robert Guerrero is just "a rumour."

For now any talk of Mayweather-Guerrero is just a rumour, although most boxing analysts and writers already knew that because until it is confirmed, everything in boxing tends to be a rumour.

Should Mayweather-Guerrero materialise, fans can surely look forward to a super fight.

Guerrero is extremely aggressive and tough and Mayweather would try to show him what boxing is all about through his ring intelligence comprising safety-first, the shoulder roll and the speed of hand.

mwale.simon@yahoo.co.uk/ 0966 755 574

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