11 August 2017

Namibia: Indongo's Eyes Firmly Fixed On the Prize

Julius Indongo remains focused on the job at hand, despite an underwhelming week behind the scenes in his quest to own all of the four recognised world titles in the junior welterweight class at the same time.

His promoter/trainer Nestor Tobias said the IBF and WBA champion, who was stripped of his IBO title on Monday and is set to part with 12% of his purse to sanctioning fees, is single-mindedly in battle mode ahead of his historic unification showdown against WBC and WBO titles holder Terrence Crawford next week.

"We are very focused, and nothing will distract us. The training is going very well, and the morale is very high in the camp. I am just asking the nation to keep us in their prayers," Tobias told The Namibian Sport yesterday.

Whoever wins the Crawford-Indongo fight, which will be broadcast live on NBC TV, will become the first boxer in any division in 12 years to hold the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO titles at the same time.

The last boxer to own all four titles at the same time was Jermain Taylor, who won the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO middleweight titles from Bernard Hopkins in July 2005.

Indongo impressed American trainer Freddie Roach, whose Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood has been the Namibian's base since arriving in the US last week.

"The champ is feeling good, looks good and is ready for the fight. Roach is a good person, and he became a good friend of us since we were together in Russia. He allowed us to use his personal gym, and he admires Indongo's skills," Tobias said.

"All the people I spoke to here are very positive about the champ's achievements, including George Foreman Jr, the son of the legendary heavyweight fighter, who travelled all the way from New York to Los Angeles just to meet us."

Crawford and Indongo will reportedly pay more than US$100 000 (about N$1,3 million) apiece in sanctioning fees from their undisclosed seven-figure purses to fight for those four world titles on 19 August, according to BoxingScene.com.

The figures are so high because Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, and Namibia's Indongo (22-0, 11 KOs) each will submit 12% of their respective purses for the right to fight for those four championships.

Indongo was stripped of the IBO 140-pound championship on Monday. If that fifth title would have been at stake a week from Saturday night, Crawford and Indongo would have paid even more in sanctioning fees, BoxingScene.com says.

The IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO and IBO typically take 3% apiece from the purses of a champion and challenger when those organisations sanction a title fight. In cases of superstars such as Floyd Mayweather Jr, Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez, those sanctioning bodies often negotiate lower fees for title fights because those highly paid stars are not willing to pay 3% from their eight-figure purses.

When Taylor and Hopkins fought again in December 2005, only the WBA, WBC and WBO middleweight titles were at stake in their immediate rematch.

Mandatory defences and champions' unwillingness to pay four sanctioning fees have prevented such a fight from happening in the 12 years since Taylor beat Hopkins at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.


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