Now, this starts off somewhat confusing as befits the way pro and amateur boxing organizes itself. The “International Boxing Association” was formerly organized as “Internationale de Boxe Amateur” before changing their name, yet still colloquially referred to as the AIBA. Such are responsible for developing and sanctioning international amateur “Olympic style” boxing that funnels like clockwork every 4 years into the Olympic games.
In an horrendously bad hair day at their office, the AIBA recently decided in their collective idiocy to allow pro boxers to compete in the Olympics with amateurs. Fortunately the decision won’t much impact the 2016 Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro this year because of the tardiness of the announcement. Boxers need to go through qualifiers, most of which have pretty much been completed by now. Of course the International community invading Rio will still have to deal with the mosquito borne Zika virus that has become the latest tabloid epidemic scare of the year, not to mention that many aquatic events are being held in natural waters that are barely fit to flush these days. Oh, and conveniently the gangs that the Brazilians displaced to scrub up the area so as to look civilized, well, they’re no dummies. The gangs have been laying low just waiting for new opportunities to pounce on the hordes of besotted and unaware travelers, so thus the murder rate has been slowly amping up in what is likely paybacks for the recent population displacements or turf wars over who gets the choicest area to terrorize and loot.
Oh the irony of the American ABC and the British BBB of C pro boxing overseers speaking out against the inherent unfairness of turning highly experienced pros lose on amateurs, many of whom are just teens. Pro boxing has it’s own poor history in providing safe, fairly officiated boxing for the combatants as we shall see later.
However, in this case they happen to be correct, but since the issue is not within their jurisdiction, perhaps they can get to work on their own horribly run messes. They talk a good game, but to often don’t deliver. If they were boxers, they’d be the proverbial “looks like Tarzan and punches like Jane” types.
Gonna say it like many of us have known for many years now, The Olympics have outlived their usefulness. Few of the athletes can be considered amateurs anyway except by a maddening maze of various technical regulations written up by lawyers for lawyers like most laws. The International Olympic Committee that founded the “modern” games in 1894 may have had all the best intentions, but these positions soon became political appointees of the rich and powerful nations with all their associated ills. It’s a huge, dirty construction industry empowered by eminent domain that creates population and infrastructural upheavals followed by a gargantuan tourist spike to further paralyze the hosting community. International Cities “compete” against each other for what boils down to promotional “Look at me” bragging rights. By modern press reports, the overseers are constantly involved in bribery and kickback schemes that sweeten whatever decision they make, which sure ain’t amateur, but rather pro crookery at it’s finest.
When the games end, the community often find themselves considerably poorer and filled with many specialized structures needing maintenance that serve few community needs, yet take up space that they used to be able to use. Terrible upheavals can follow as in Yugoslavia and Greece, countries not stable enough to withstand all the gargantuan pressure and backlash these games bring. Enough big shots make plenty of money setting up these Olympic games that keeps their operation going, so take a deep breath and hold your nose, here we go again. Too few really care to actually clean up boxing, enough that might return it to a brief golden period as the most noble sport.
We already saw what happened when legendary amateur, Vasyl Lomachenko, unranked at the time with a 1-0 pro record, fought a longtime contender and champ under pro sanctioning, Orlando Salido, 41-12-2, ranked #2 by Ring at the time. The bauble was the WBO featherweight title, and one of the sorriest referees operating today, Laurence Cole, with a dirty assist by Salido, they surely did a bangup job of turning pro boxing into a farcical disgrace. Pro boxing is utterly shameless in how it stages their little charades anytime they have a mind to. Salido kicked every thing off by not bothering to come close to the 126 lb limit weight, all the better to set him up for his massive rehydration weight gain, reportedly over 140 lbs If those weren’t enough advantages for him, he fought one of the dirtiest fights I’ve ever seen with every other punch being either a low blow, rabbit punch, hitting on the break, head butting, all allowed by Cole with scarcely a warning, and all designed not to allow this “rank amateur” to embarrass pro boxing by winning to set new boxing records for the earliest fighter to win a title. Most every pro fighter today would have either collapsed in a heap taking that kind of punishment, or responded in kind to create an anarchy in the ring that even dirty refs like Cole hate to see. Lomachenko didn’t seem to have a corner willing to object, so he quietly soaked the fouls up as he continued to blast Salido with crisp, straight shots that resembled paint strokes of a great artist they were so masterfully delivered, and guess who was holding on by the end for dear life? The cheat Orlando had finally met his match, but wait, we ain’t done tromping through the sewage of this fight yet. Incredibly Salido was given the split decision win thanks to more skulduggery by two of the three judges.
All expressly staged to protect pro boxing from being humiliated by a rank amateur, just pitiful, but oh so typical of pro boxing.
Lomachenko ended up tying the fastest record to win the WBO featherweight title in his 3rd bout with a win over Gary Russell, Jr.. He defended it thrice before moving up to challenge current WBO junior lightweight champ Román Martínez this Saturday, June 11th at Madison Square Garden on Puerto Rico Day festivities. The Puerto Rican native Martinez, 29-2-3, 17 KOs, is a very experienced and rugged type of fighter, not to mention a lot cleaner than Salido. Gonna be a tough battle to wrest the title, but if Lomachenko pulls it off, he’ll set the record for the fastest to a 2nd title, this being his 7th pro bout.
In that modern vein of a natural animosity that Amateur and Pro boxing have for each, the amateurs will surely get their revenge in the Olympics. Most of the lesser pros will be sent packing in Rio de Janeiro thanks to dirty amateur officiating, but still, what can be next, women fighting men? The transgendered fighting men and women, or worse, little kids? There is no limit in how much lower boxing could further sink until some greater moral and organizing oversight emerges from the ranks, probably an outsider because the gene pool inside the boxing community is closer to den of thieves than that of great leaders…only in boxing.