South African boxing, which is partly government-funded, is technically insolvent.
The auditor-general, in the latest annual report of Boxing South Africa (BSA), highlights that the organisation’s debts exceed their assets by nearly R6-million ($757,000 or 511,000 Euro).
Their operating loss for the year ended March 31 2009 was more than R4-million – about three times what it was for the previous 12-month period.
Brian Mitchell, arguably South Africa’s greatest boxer of all time, is tipping Manny Pacquiao to beat Miguel Cotto on November 14.
“Manny will win. He’s a bit faster and throws punches from good angles. He’ll probably win on points,” said Mitchell, the only South African fighter to have been inducted into boxing’s Hall of Fame. He also still owns the record for most defences of a world junior-lightweight title – 12.
But Mitchell warned that there could only be one winner should Pacquiao take on Floyd Mayweather. “Should that fight happen, Mayweather will win. Mayweather is too good.”
Mitchell held the WBA crown from 1986 to 1991, before relinquishing it to challenge and beat Tony Lopez for the IBF version of the belt. He retired after that victory.
He never got to fight the division’s biggest name of his era, WBC champion Azumah Nelson, because of apartheid South Africa’s sporting isolation.
Mitchell, now a keen golfer with a handicap of 10, manages fighters and commentates for TV pay channel SuperSport.
Talk about David against Goliath – in terms of size, that is.
But when it comes to attitude, English fighter David Haye is the one picking on Russian Nikolay Valuev, who stands 7’2″, for the WBA heavyweight crown in Germany on November 7 (click here to read here).
Valuev is one of three “recognised” heavyweight world champions at the moment, along with the Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir.
Valuev briefly trained with Brian Mitchell – South Africa’s former junior-lightweight star – in Johannesburg in the mid-1990s, and while there he apparently sparred with Corrie Sanders. The word is that he was taken to school by Sanders.
Corrie, of course, shot to fame when he blew Wladimir away in two rounds in 2003, although he himself was beaten by Vitali a year later.
I say this with the greatest respect to Sanders, but the fact that two-thirds of the reigning world heavyweight crown is shared by two men he previously mastered shows how the standard of that division has dropped (there can simply be no comparisons to the eras of Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson and even Evander Holyfield).
Of course this serves the smaller pugilists, like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, who are the focus of world boxing at the moment.
Where is Bongani Mwelase going?
“The Cyclone”, who turned professional after winning the welterweight gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, is scheduled to fight Attila Kovacs for the marginal WBF’s light-middleweight crown in Bloemfontein next Friday night.
Talk about a nothing opponent! Yes, you could call him Attila the Hungarian, but not Attila the Hun! Attila the Bum would probably be a better description of his boxing prowess, having lost two of his last three bouts.
Actually, Kovacs has what appears to be a decent record of 25 wins (17 KOs) and three defeats. That doesn’t make him sound like a chump, does it? But in his last victory, his opponent, Gabor Balogh, apparently came with a record of one win, 42 losses and five draws! And in his previous win, Attila stopped Anton Glofak, who had an even more illustrious record of two wins, 76 defeats and eight draws. You can’t fault Glofak for lack of perseverance – he recorded his first victory in his 44th professional bout (Brian Mitchell had 49 fights throughout his career).
Kovacs boasts a 2007 TKO win over American Robert Frazier, who in 2001 went the distance against Winky Wright while challenging for the IBF junior-middleweight crown. But Frazier never boxed again after losing to Kovacs. When evaluating boxers one must look at their opponents and see, not only what they achieved before the fight, but afterwards too! If they did nothing afterwards, then what was their real callibre when they fought the boxer in question?
Anyway, back to 26-year-old Mwelase, who truly has (or had) a promising career. The last time he fought, however, he was stripped of the WBF welterweight title because he couldn’t make the weight. The reason was evident when he entered the ring – sporting a stomach that lacked muscle definition! Perhaps his enthusiasm for the sport has been dented along the way.
In winning his Commonwealth Games gold, Mwelase beat Vijender Kumar of India in the final. While Mwelase turned professional, Kumar stayed amateur, and he went on to lift an Olympic bronze in Beijing last year, becoming the first Indian boxer to win a boxing medal. Today it was announced that Kumar will receive India’s highest sporting prize, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, late next month.
Mwelase, meanwhile, faces Attila the None.