Bernard Dunne is a good fighter, a good, good fighter in fact. His courage and ability ably demonstrated over the past year. I’m interested in his next fight and I would love to see Rendall Munroe get a shot at the popular Irishman. However, I must open a window on the insular world we can sometimes live in here in the UK and Ireland and remind boxing fans that Dunne’s reported status as a world-champion is roughly akin to being a leading contender in days of yore. After all, the World Boxing Association from whom the world champion tag was bestowed recognise Celestino Caballero as Super-Bantamweight Super Champion because he also holds the IBF crown. I’m all for fighters earning money. But Dunne is no more world champion than Munroe is. In my opinion.
It isn’t Dunne’s fault, or his handlers or the flock of fans who follow his fighting career. Though it is the latter’s in a way, if the commercial forces didn’t recognise our needs, as fans, to see a ‘world-championship’ tag on virtually ever bill before we’d show interest, they may not feel compelled to pursue one. The WBA belt Dunne worked so hard to win perhaps assures him of a top 6 ranking in the division but to claim to be a world-champion is both spurious and entirely misleading, particularly for those outside the introverted sanctuary of the boxing family. I mean, to Joe in the pub, how the hell would he know Dunne wasn’t really a champion or was? That really he was fighting for a shot at the champion? And we wonder why Joe hasn’t shown interest in boxing beyond Ricky Hatton since Hamed retired.
I suppose its broadly akin to a team entering the UEFA Champion’s League without ever winning their own domestic league. Well, actually, that analogy or comparison doesn’t quite work but it has made me feel a little better about boxing’s convoluted methods. Even football has his organisational misdemeanours. And there is no sport more global than football.
To further confirm this, just in case anyone thinks I’ m making it up as I go along, here is a press release reminding the world of Caballero’s pedigree and announcing his intentions going forward.
In the boxing business, what’s here today may be gone tomorrow, and long term planning usually never pans out the way it’s supposed to. Such has been the case in the talent-rich super bantamweight division, and no one’s happier about recent developments than IBF / WBA champion Celestino Caballero.
“Everyone who knows me is aware that I’m a man of great faith, and I believe in destiny,” he said. “And I’ve said for a while now that my destiny is to face Juan Manuel Lopez in a fight to determine once and for all who the best 122-pound fighter in the world is. I know the answer to that question, and I’m hoping that now we’re one step closer to letting the world know it as well.”
Lopez, the unbeaten WBO super bantamweight champion from Puerto Rico, has talked about facing everyone but the man who holds two title belts in his division. Unfortunately for him, two of his targets – Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez – are in the preliminary stages of putting together a fourth bout between them, and a third, unproven Cuban prospect Yuriorkis Gamboa, was recently scrapped from a July 25th bout due to Visa issues, delaying the plans to get him more exposure in order to put together a fight between him and Lopez.
Lopez can continue to fight undersized mandatory challengers and build his record, or he can step up to the plate and face the man true fight fans want to see him in the ring with – Panama’s Caballero, unbeaten in the last five years with 13 straight wins.
“It’s just me and you now, JuanMa,” said Caballero to Lopez. “I won’t lie; I know that beating you will finally give me the recognition that I deserve, and I know you want to fight anyone but a 5 foot 11 puncher like me. But being a champion means testing yourself against the best. You know in your heart that the fighters you’re getting in the ring with aren’t as good as I am. Don’t try to fool your fans – fight me and win or lose, you will have proven yourself worthy of being called ‘champion.’”
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