HARTFORD, Conn. -- Let me preface this by saying I like Saturday night's Alfredo Angulo-Harry Joe Yorgey junior middleweight fight. I think it'll be a good scrap and a great way to open the HBO show headlined by the compelling Chad Dawson-Glen Johnson rematch.
Angulo is one of the most exciting fighters around, a guy who never takes a backward step. Yorgey is a good boxer now being trained by Kelly Pavlik trainer Jack Loew. Yorgey seemed very confident and excited for the fight when I chatted with him Friday night in the hotel lobby.
However -- and it's a big however -- I find it quite disgusting that the WBO sanctioned the fight for its interim 154-pound title. That's just wrong on so many levels.
Keep in mind that this is nothing against Angulo or Yorgey whatsoever. They're honest fighters who put on a good show and fight as hard as they can.
Forget about the fact that neither has truly earned a title opportunity at this point, although the winner of the fight will certainly be on the right track. This is more about the typical sanctioning-organization nonsense in which the WBO and its president, Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel, simply make up the rules as they go along.
There are two main issues here.
One, the WBO sanctioned it for an interim title (with the winner ostensibly mandated to eventually face the real titleholder, Sergei Dzindziruk) when it already had an interim titlist!
Paul Williams claimed the interim title last year when he stopped Verno Phillips. It was bad enough that the WBO sanctioned that bout for the interim belt when Dzindziruk was uninjured and up-to-date on his mandatory obligations. There was simply no reason to sanction it. But now, a year later, Williams was stripped without the WBO even having the decency to notify him or his team of the move.
Granted, Williams has never defended it and is scheduled for his second consecutive middleweight fight when he faces Sergio Martinez on Dec. 5. However, the WBO certainly should have given Williams a heads-up that if he didn't defend by a certain time, he'd be stripped. The WBO never even ordered the mandatory fight with Dzindziruk. According to Williams' promoter, Dan Goossen, their team was never notified that Williams was being stripped.
Instead, Goossen found out when a reporter asked him about it after Artie Pelullo (Yorgey's promoter) and Gary Shaw (Angulo's promoter) sent out press releases announcing the sanction and thanking the WBO. (I hope Pelullo/Yorgey and Shaw/Angulo understand they're now on the clock when it comes to being screwed next.)
As bad as it was for the WBO to not even have the common decency to formally notify Williams, the bigger issue was its horrific treatment of Kermit Cintron, whom the WBO ranks No. 1 at 154 pounds.
As the No. 1 contender, Cintron has certain rights, which were totally ignored by the WBO. It didn't order Dzindziruk to defend against Cintron and it didn't offer Cintron the ability to be involved in a fight sanctioned for an interim title. Just completely ignored him.
Instead it sanctioned the fight between No. 4 Angulo and No. 5 Yorgey. The sick part is that in May, Cintron straight-up beat Angulo via clear decision. So how is it that Angulo, with a loss to the No. 1 contender and ranked below him, gets to fight for the interim title?
Because the WBO is as crooked as a question mark.
The Cintron camp is rightly ticked off.
"Why were we overlooked? Make Cintron fight a rematch with Angulo for the interim title, if that's what they want, but not this," said an incredulous Lou DiBella, Cintron's promoter. "To not even offer us the opportunity is simply unfair and goes against their rules. I don't begrudge the two kids [Angulo and Yorgey]. Let them fight for the piece of jewelry. But they better order Kermit against the winner at a [purse] split that is appropriate.
"Listen, I expect to get f----- and on occasion I expect to be the f-----, so I can't say I'm totally surprised by this. Sometimes you can use the politics to your advantage. But when you look at some of this s--- you shake your head because it's so f------ ridiculous.
"Paco owed Williams notification. That being said, why wasn't I notified the interim title would be available? Cintron would have jumped at an interim title fight against a guy he already beat and another guy he thinks he can beat. I don't have an issue with Artie or Gary. They did the best they could for their fighters. But there was reckless disregard for Kermit by the WBO and I hope that's rectified in the future."
Cintron obviously is upset.
"What sense does it make that I beat Angulo and now he gets to fight for the interim title, when I am the top contender?" he asked. "I have done nothing but bide my time waiting for Dzindziruk, and now I'm on the outside looking in."
Cintron's attorney and adviser, Josh Dubin, was understandably talking about it with his lawyer's hat on.
"I am advising the WBO that we will take any appropriate action to ensure that Kermit Cintron is treated in accordance with his ranking," Dubin said. "Two fighters below Kermit in the ratings have been elevated into greater financial opportunities and a better standing with the WBO. We will not tolerate Kermit being financially damaged by arbitrary and capricious decision making."
Go get 'em.
WBC is also a joke
The hypocrisy of the WBC is just sick. Here's an organization that does as it pleases with no regard for common sense or fairness trying to punish a fighter for nothing more than dropping a couple of four-letter words.
After Cristobal Arreola was stopped in the 10th round by Vitali Klitschko on Sept. 26, he was upset and disappointed with his performance. Still, Arreola was man enough to do a postfight interview on HBO in the ring in the immediate aftermath of very tough loss. During that interview, Arreola dropped a few F-bombs. Mind you, he wasn't aiming them at anyone, and was certainly not doing it in a threatening manner.
Still, the WBC and its sanctimonious president for life, Jose Sulaiman, saw fit to ridiculously "suspend" Arreola for six months during its annual convention this week in South Korea.
According to the WBC news release, Sulaiman said there was no way he could allow a boxer associated with his organization "to express himself in such a vulgar way without getting a penalty."
I almost passed out when I read that garbage. Sulaiman should be suspended for life for all the detriment he has caused boxing.
The suspension can't prevent Arreola from fighting. He'll be back on HBO on Dec. 5. What it means is that the WBC will keep him out of its rankings for six months. But it was still a moronic move by the WBC, which regularly has ranked convicted felons and had fighters facing serious criminal charges fight for its titles.
I don't recall the WBC doing anything when in a television interview after a fight Mike Tyson threatened to rip out Lennox Lewis' heart and eat his children. Instead, the WBC made Tyson the mandatory challenger for Lewis.
And at this week's convention, the WBC announced that it made a deal with Tyson -- a convicted rapist -- to use a reproduction of his fist and forearm on the trophies given to recipients of the WBC's annual awards.
But Arreola swears and is punished? What a joke. This is boxing, not a convent.
Here are a couple of things I heard in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel:
• As an update to my Friday notebook, HBO closed its deal with the Klitschko camp for U.S. TV rights to Klitschko's Dec. 12 heavyweight title defense against Kevin Johnson in Switzerland. It will air on same-day tape delay along with the live card from Chicago featuring the Juan Diaz-Paulie Malignaggi rematch and Victor Ortiz-Antonio Diaz. That's a helluva show. Props to HBO for picking up the heavyweight fight.
• A press conference is being organized for next Saturday morning in Las Vegas to formally announce the welterweight title fight between Shane Mosley and Andre Berto. The bout will be Jan. 30 at Mandalay Bay on HBO. It makes sense for the press conference to be next Saturday, as the world boxing media will be in Las Vegas covering Miguel Cotto-Manny Pacquiao.