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Boxing Guru Don Chargin Likes Beibut Shumenov’s Future…AVILA

David A. Avila

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Chargin_and_Shumenov_by_team_kzWBA and IBA light heavyweight titleholder Beibut Shumenov may not be Latino but he’s a Renaissance man headlining the fight card on Telefutura on Friday.

Times have change in some respect but in others, not so much.

Shumenov (11-1, 7 KOs), an attorney in his native Kazakhstan, fights Daniel Santiago (31-4-1, 19 KOs) Friday, July 29 at the Southpoint Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. Promoter Don Chargin, whose roots in boxing go back to the golden era, claims there is no one like the Kazakhstani.

“With 12 fights won a world title in 10, he’s a lawyer, his brother is a lawyer, and his father is one of the wealthiest men in Kazakhstan,” says Chargin, who has been a matchmaker, manager and promoter in more than 50 years of boxing history. “I’ve watched him work out and he’s really shown improvement. In the next few fights I expect him to be a real force with all of the other champions.”

Scouting talent has always been a strongpoint for Chargin whose ability to match fights back in the glory days of the Olympic Auditorium helped raise the stock of that historic boxing venue for decades.

Chargin sees talent in Shumenov and agreed to work with the champion earlier this year.

“He was a top kick boxer over there in Europe and was on their Olympic team, so he’s one of those super athletes that tried everything but wanted to get his education and got it while he was competing,” said Chargin about Shumenov. “Some people have a little thing to fall back on, but he’s a lawyer.”

Shumenov’s opponent Santiago is not simply an appetizer for the champion.

“Santiago is considered not a good prospect, but a great prospect and has had a few ups and downs. Any time he’s at the weight limit he is dangerous,” said Chargin adding that Santiago arrived in Las Vegas weighing 179 a few days ago. “I know he’s in good shape. It’s going to take a tough guy to beat Shumenov.”

Canelo

Another champion that Chargin is associated with is WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez whose next fight will be against Alfonso Gomez.
Chargin was hand-picked by the Golden Boy himself Oscar De La Hoya to match all of Alvarez’s fights including this coming match with Gomez on Sept. 17 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“Oscar when they signed him he wanted me to sign off on every opponent. That started with their first fight with the kid from Argentina (Luciano Cuello) that he knocked out. And the last fight with the Englishman (Ryan Rhodes) and this fight with Alfonso Gomez,” said Chargin. “We go over films and this is the way Oscar wants it. And there is no telling just how good this kid Alvarez can be. He’s only 20 years old.”

Canelo’s obvious talent and popularity are not a guarantee of success. Chargin has seen many other budding super stars slip and fall from a variety of vices.

Mando Ramos and Keeny Teran

Mando Ramos was one of those that Chargin felt could have reach Oscar De La Hoya heights but failed due to partying.

“My best example is in my days of the Olympic was Mando Ramos who had Oscar De La Hoya looks and was so talented at 20. At 22 he was completely shot. Between drinking and drugs and women he never met a vice he didn’t like. Oh my gosh, he was one of the best prospects I had ever seen.

“In his sixth pro fight Jackie McCoy, who was his manager, and I told him my main event had fell out. He said he’s (Ramos) not ready for main events but we put him on anyway. His first main event was on 48 hour notice and he drew 8,000 people. The Olympic got too small, the Sports Arena got to small, next was the L.A. Coliseum.

“He was one of the most talented fighters I ever saw. The greatest fight I ever put on was Mando Ramos against Sugar Ramos after he had lost his featherweight championship at the Olympic. It held 10,400, but that night, we had 14,000 people. Any where there was eight inches of room someone was standing there. What a fight it was. I still have a picture on the wall of both Ramos hugging each other covered in blood.”

Mando Ramos died July 6, 2008.

Another legendary fighter that did not reach his potential was Keeny Teran, a kid from East Los Angeles who wowed fans during the 1950s.

Chargin managed Teran who also had the talent and looks but not the discipline.

“Keeny Teran. That was another one. He was a big drawing card that could not stay way from drugs. He was a terrible heroin addict,” Chargin recalls. “I moved him to San Jose and did everything including taking him to a psychiatrist. Nothing worked. Within 24 hours of landing in San Jose he knew where all the dope dealers were.”

Teran died on Feb. 11, 1995.

In spite of limitless talent and personality like a Shumenov or a Alvarez, there are no guarantees of success without discipline, says Chargin, who has definitely seen it all in the sport.

“That’s the problem. When they want to misbehave they are going to do it. That’s tough to stop them,” Chargin said. “So far Canelo has done everything we asked.”

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NEWS FLASH: Leon Spinks Hospitalized; Reportedly Fighting for His Life

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The gossip site TMZ is reporting that Leon Spinks is hospitalized in Las Vegas and is fighting for his life. TMZ acquired this information from Spinks’ wife Brenda Glur Spinks after spying her social media post. “It’s been a tough year for us,” she wrote. “Leon has endured a lot of medical problems. I’m reaching to ask that you pray for my Beautiful Husband Leon. So that he may overcome the obstacles that crossed his path.”

Her sentiment was echoed by Leon’s son Leon Spinks III who posted this message on his facebook page: “My Dad isn’t doing so good now and his wife Brenda Glur Spinks and I ask that u pray that he weather’s this storm. My dad is all I have left and I really appreciate it if yall let God know that he is not in this battle alone.”

A gold medal winner at the 1976 Olympics, Spinks, 66, is best remembered for upsetting Muhammad Ali in 1978 to win the world heavyweight title. He lost the title back to Ali in his next fight.

This is a developing story. As new details emerge, we will share them with you.

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Crawford-Kavaliauskas is the Main Go, but ‘The Takeover’ is the Stronger Allurement

Arne K. Lang

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Crawford-Kavaliauskas is the Main Go, but ‘The Takeover’ is the Stronger Allurement

Terence Crawford puts his undefeated record and his WBO welterweight title on the line Saturday when he opposes Egidijus Kavaliauskas at Madison Square Garden on ESPN. Kavaliauskas is no slouch. The two-time Olympian for Lithuania is also undefeated (21-0-1, 17 KOs), but Crawford is so highly regarded that he is a massive favorite.

If one were arranging the bouts according to the degree of intrigue, using the odds as the barometer, Crawford vs Kavaliauskas wouldn’t sit atop the marquee. That honor would go the IBF lightweight title fight between Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez. Moreover, it’s a fair guess that if this fight were to fall out (perish the thought) it would result in more refunds than if Crawford were a late scratch.

The challenger, Lopez, is favored, currently in the vicinity of 9/4, but this is a price that usually translates into a very competitive fight and the stakes are high. The winner will almost assuredly advance to a rich engagement with Vasiliy Lomachenko who holds the other three meaningful 135-pound title belts

Commey (29-2, 26 KOs) won the IBF lightweight title – it was conveniently vacant – with a second-round stoppage of Russia’s Isa Chaniev and stopped Raymundo Beltran in eight rounds in his first title defense. Commey dominated both fights, scoring seven knockdowns in all, but the Russian was a sad excuse for a world title challenger and Beltran, although a solid pro, was past his prime at age 38.

Commey’s two losses came in back-to-back fights in 2016 and both were by split decision. He lost to Robert Easter Jr in Reading, Pennsylvania, and then, eight weeks later, was upended by Denis Shafikov before a tiny crowd at an actual boxing gym in Moscow.

There was nothing controversial about those losses, but in both instances Commey was in hostile territory. Toledo’s Easter brought a large delegation of fans to Reading and Shafikov was fighting on his home turf. The crowd on Saturday will almost assuredly be skewed against Commey again, but it won’t be as pronounced. Commey, born and raised in Ghana, has a home in the Bronx. Lopez was born in Brooklyn, a bond that his Brooklyn-born promoter Bob Arum likes to emphasize, but grew up in Davie, Florida.

Teofimo

At age 22, Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs) is almost 10 years younger than Richard Commey. A year ago, at this very venue, he scored his most memorable triumph, a highlight-reel, 44-second, one-punch knockout of Mason Menard that was named the TSS Knockout of the Year. He has won three fights in the interim, most recently a 12-round decision over Masayoshi Nakatani.

Teofimo won comfortably on the scorecards, but his performance left much to be desired. The Japanese was a tall, rangy fighter. In Richard Commey, he is meeting a man of similar height. Both are listed at five-foot-eight.

Lopez has developed a large following in a short time and his in-ring heroics are only part of the story. He’s quite the showman. After each win he adds an exclamation point with a celebratory back-flip and outside the ring his brash persona has enhanced his notoriety.

When a fighter has a common surname, it helps to have a unique first name. The reality is that Lopez would not have built his brand as fast if his first name had been, say, Miguel, or Carlos, or Juan. And he had the foresight to supplement his unique first name with a unique nickname: The Takeover.

The nickname, says Lopez, doesn’t just refer to taking over a specific weight division (he’ll move up to 140 before the year 2020 is over) but, rather, taking over the whole sport in the sense of becoming boxing’s biggest pay-per-view attraction. Early into his pro career, he began calling out Lomachenko.

Teofimo’s biggest cheerleader is his Honduras-born father and trainer of the same name and the elder Lopez has even more hubris than his son. “My son is too strong for Lomachenko….he would walk through anything that Lomechenko throws at him,” Teofimo Sr. told veteran boxing writer Bill Tibbs prior to his son’s match with Mason Menard. “Liston, he has God-given gifts and he’s simply the best out there. (My son) has the best parts of Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, GGG, Floyd, Andre Ward, all the best of them in him.”

The Lopez that defeated Nakatani would not have defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko. And there are those that think he won’t beat Richard Commey unless he brings his “A’ game. It’s an interesting fight.

—–

The main fights on Saturday’s Top Rank boxing card will air on ESPN’s flagship station. The boxing card, which opens with the rematch between Michael Conlan and Vladimir Nikitin, follows the show in which the Heisman Trophy is presented to LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. The Heisman telecast will begin at 8 pm EST.

The same situation prevailed last year when Top Rank’s Madison Square Garden card was headlined by the fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jose Pedraza. To the consternation of diehard boxing fans, the Heisman presentation show ran late. Don’t be surprised if it happens again.

Photo credit: Stacy Verbeek

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

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Will U.S. Olympic Boxers Fare Better in Tokyo Thanks to Yesterday’s Ruling?

Arne K. Lang

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The road to the medal round for U.S. boxers at the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics just got easier. But maybe not.

“Russia Banned From The Tokyo Olympics” screamed yesterday’s headline, but reading between the lines there’s more to the story. A more carefully worded headline would have read “Russian Olympic Athletes in Limbo.”

We have been down this road before. WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, recommended banning Russia from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The agency accused Russian authorities of a massive cover-up that erased hundreds of positive test samples.

WADA then did something of an about-face and decided to evaluate each case individually. Ultimately, 278 Russian athletes were approved to compete in Rio; 111 were denied. All 11 Russian boxers who survived the various qualifying events made the cut.

This new ban (which will be appealed) also emanates from WADA which alleges that the Russian authorities continued the massive cover-up using the “disappearance methodology.” But, if upheld, it’s a more severe penalty in that it bans Russia from major international sporting events for the next four years. That would include the World Cup, the biggest sporting event in the world by far. The next edition of the World Cup is slated for 2022 in Qatar.

“There’s still…the possibility of clean athletes to compete in the Games,” Svetlana Romashina, a five-time Olympic gold medalist in synchronized swimming, told Moscow correspondent Andrew Roth of The Guardian. “I believe the punishment of clean athletes to be unacceptable,” continued Romashina. “We have done nothing wrong.”

The reality, as it now stands, is that Russian boxers and other Russian athletes, if deemed clean, will be able to compete in Tokyo, just not under the Russian banner. As is common in some wrestling tournaments, their affiliation will be “unattached.” And Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is a big fan of amateur boxing and other combat sports, won’t be there. The ban prohibits Russian officials from attending major international sporting events if their team has been expelled.

—–

Historically, the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team has excelled in the Summer Games. But that’s yesterday’s news. In the last three Olympics, U.S. male boxers won only three medals, one silver and two bronze. By contrast, during the same period, Russian boxers walked off with 10 medals including three gold.

The prognosis for the 2020 U.S. team looked dim once again when the U.S. contingent earned only one medal (a silver by lightweight Keyshawn Davis) at the recent AIBA men’s World Championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia. The host team garnered four medals, including three gold. If one conjoined the Russian squad with former Soviet Union satellites Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the count grows to seven gold medals (of a possible eight) and 15 medals overall.

Russia’s gold medalists at the World Championships were welterweight Andrey Zamkovoy (pictured), middleweight Gleb Bakshi, and heavyweight Muslim Gadzhimagomedov. Zamkovoy and the heavyweight (who will badly need a new name if he ever turns pro) are outstanding amateurs and may have been favored to win their divisions in Tokyo.

Zamkovoy, 32, represented Russia in the 2012 and 2016 Games and medaled in 2012 where he defeated Errol Spence Jr en route to the semi-finals. The heavyweight (a cruiserweight by pro standards) is an ever-improving, 22-year-old, six-foot-four southpaw who has already amassed an amateur record of 60-5.

The competition for the U.S. team at overseas tournaments has gotten a lot tougher in the last two decades as several Eastern European countries have become more like Cuba, investing state resources into their amateur boxing programs with an eye to building a powerhouse. Perhaps the WADA edict will aid the U.S. boxing team in shaking the doldrums in 2020, but that assumption seems premature.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

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