Don’t forget Celestino Caballero, a real champion at 122 pounds

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.

The result?

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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13 thoughts on “Don’t forget Celestino Caballero, a real champion at 122 pounds

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  1. I came across this while surfing the net. As an incredibly proud Irishman i’m afraid that i agree 100%with David Payne. In fact i would have agreed with him in April 09 – i was saying this then – a few wks after the sheer delight we all had as a nation (when we won the rugby on the same day as well) had sunk in. It’s not being cynical, it’s about being authentic. Was he our 1st world champ since Steve Collins, Wayno or Barry McGuigan? Can he be mentioned in the same sentence with these greats? I questioned it’s credibility, as i do with everything in this ludicrious sport. Of course it’s not Bernard’s fault, it’s the sport’s.

    Can BD genuinely call himself a world champ? He’s entitiled to think it coz that’s what they led him to believe. It’s all the one now, he got badly hurted against Poonsawat. Can Poonsawat call himself a world champ? I’m sorry but he can’t either. Not until he fights Celestino. Not that it’ll probably ever happen.

    Oh please bring back the days of Ali when there was one world champ, not over 4 in the one weight and 2 with one of those bodies all at once. What a joke. I think the WBA should be banned as an organisation after this. Not that that’ll ever happen either coz money talks, not authenticity.

    What next for our Bernard? Personally i think he should retire even though he’s my hero. I’d say his ears are still ringing from that savage hiding, and twas around a month ago. Shame he didn’t qualify for Sydney 2000, he should have stuck around for Athens. He’s better suited to the amateur game and could have been a medalist in a genuine sport.


  2. On your last point, I would if Poonsawat related press releases landed in my inbox every other day or I came across those who promote the view that he was.

    Caballero is the WBA champion, in my opinion, as far as I can unravel the mess.

    As for Munroe, he was a current comparison.

    Equally, when Jeff Lacy fought Calzaghe he was no more than a contender, this fellow champion malarky was also ludicrous.


  3. The point is not moot, even though Dunne, as you so nicely put it, got sparked out. This still does not change the fact that Bernard Dunne beat a world class boxer to win the title, and then had to face the WBA’s mandatory challenger (who Caballero would not fight). So how does that compare with a Euro level fighter like Munroe who has yet to face even fringe world class opposition? The fact that you are even bringing Rendall Munroe into the equation proves beyond doubt that you are writing from a pro British view.
    If Munroe had the balls to fight Cordoba when he was offered the title fight (which was before Dunne by the way), and if by some miracle he actually won the fight, would I be reading, “Munroe is no more a world champion than Dunne”? I don’t think so.
    If in fact you are standing by your claim that this article is anything but a cheap dig at the former World Champion, Bernard Dunne, then I am assuming that the article on Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym having no rightful claim on the WBA title, is in the works? I’ll be on the lookout for that one.


  4. I came across this article and I find it quite funny that you would make a statement like, “But Dunne is no more world champion than Munroe is. In my opinion.” Can you please explain to me how former WBA ordinary champ Bernard Dunne is now or was then comparable to Rendall Munroe in terms of world class level? Bernard Dunne fought and beat the then WBA ordinary champ and conquerer of the IBF super champ Caballero, Ricardo Cordoba. How does this even equate with a European level fighter like Munroe who to date has not fought even 1 decent boxer. The guys Munroe has been fighting since he won the Euro title are on a par with the boxers Dunne was blowing out in a few rounds when he first started his career in the US, only the guys Dunne was fighting where actually full time boxers and not part time cab drivers or unskilled Afro bums. How in the hell can you qualify that statement? If you are going to make ridiculous statements like that at least do not try to pretend that they are anything other than a pro British view. Dunne V Munroe would not be close at all btw, Munroe has neither the skill nor the power to trouble Dunne. Dunne has a weakness against big punchers and we all know Munroe does not tick that box. Munroe and Maloney are quite aware of this fact which is why the made it impossible for the fight to come off in November 08 and only when Dunne won the title in March 09 did Maloney come crawling back looking for a big cash in payday for the binman. Try to have a little objectivity in your writing or how can anybody even read this shit with a straight face?


    1. Cian,

      You miss my point, you may still disagree with it, but you’ve missed it. I wasn’t saying Munroe was AS good or BETTER than Dunne, I just stated I didn’t believe he was any more a champion than Munroe. In the sense he is no more a world-champion than Peter Buckley or Jimmy Saville.

      It wasn’t Bernard’s fault, its the sanctioning bodies and television companies.

      And yes, anyone with an internet connection can call themselves a writer. Or a comedian. It also seems anyone who can sell 2,000 tickets can claim to be a world champion with 4 major bodies, countless others and with one body, the WBA, regularly recognising multiple champions in ONE WEIGHT CLASS.


      The point is of course moot now, as Dunne got sparked out again.

      Brave fighter though. No question.


    2. And Bernard’s nationality, colour, creed or personal proclivities have no impact on my assessment of his standing as a world champion or the likelihood of him defeating Munroe.


    1. Paul,

      In case you haven’t noticed, and with all due respect, I apply precious little credibility to aNy list prepared by the WBA. How can you have an Ordinary and Super World Champion, it is just an oxymoron. Either a guy is the WORLD champion or he isn’t.


  5. hello there again,thanks for the email,i should have put more effort into the way i wrote it,when caballero defeated molitor he became the superchamp,it was on THAT DATE 21ST NOVEMBER,that cordoba was promoted to fully fledged champion…..
    im no expert but id assume that winning against the full champion would make you the champion?
    go to the w.b.a list of champions,and bernard dunne is there,and id assume,that reguardless of whether you like it or not,he will continue there until he is beaten.

    why exactly did you feel the need to point out this in the first place? is it botherin you that dunnes a champ? it must be,given that the effort you ut into writing this and the above seems quite indepth….(seems)

    though i must say without the animosity i did enjoy your reply and would genuinely like to hear from you again….

    ull definately here from me again,because putting your faith in most…most not all now…ppl that are with the yoke maloney arent all that good….
    when munroe won the ebu title,dunnes ppl were going mad to fight throwin money at him/them,not a word from maloney,then when dunne wins the wba title maloneys sunddenly all over him….this tells me what we all know the DUNNE beats munroe any day of the week and that maloney wants to cash in and thats all……

    no way does munroe ever neat dunne imo,nowculd you see munroe fight with cordoba like that? im well aware the triangle theory doesnt work but do you think munroe could throw and trade like that? there a different level mate and i hope they do get to fight cuz it be handy enuff for dunne to whoop munroe? now what you think?


    1. Paul,

      It is a bit of a stretch to forget you legitimised Cordoba by stating he beat Caballero, then swiftly remember that in fact it was purely an administrative step up he took. That is hard to overlook when the thrust of your criticism was my perceived failure to grasp the WBA’s recognition of champions. However, Cordoba was a credible opponent and Dunne’s victory was very, very important but it doesn’t make him the World Champion – it makes him a belt holder. It isn’t about nationality, or a preference for Munroe, it is a simple fact.

      To answer one of your questions, yes it does bother me that Dunne is regarded as a champion. The WBA recognise TWO fighters as their ‘world champion’ in one weight class, let alone listing the fighters recognised by the WBC, IBF or WBO. It is symptomatic of the major problems within boxing, the sanctioning bodies are a disease, one the sport will never rid itself of, but I believe as fans we sustain and legitimise their crimes when we begin to refer to Dunne as World Champion, he hasn’t even beaten the WBA’s recognised WORLD champion let alone any of the other ‘champions’.

      And the article I wrote isn’t about Dunne v Munroe, though it is a fight I’d like to see, I just used Munroe as a pertinent comparison of someone who is a leading contender too. He isn’t a world-champion, and to my mind Paul, neither is Dunne.

      And to conclude, I didn’t refer to Dunne as a Bum, I think you’ll find my article began “Bernard Dunne is a good fighter, a good, good fighter in fact. His courage and ability ably demonstrated over the past year.”


  6. november 21 2008,ricardo cordoba becomes fully fledged wba superbantmweight champion after defeating caballero… dunne is the champion,although caballero is superchamp,that i dont argue,you are talkin out of your ass tho,im comin back looking for anything you post if munroe gets a shot at dunne,coz dunne will school him.your a british-hatin irish fighter for sure,and you know f*** all about who is what champ obviously….what qualifies you as an expert to write this shit?


    1. Dear Paul,

      Perhaps you would like to afford your research the same energy you’ve afforded your attack. On Novermber 21 2008, Celestino Caballero smashed Steve Molitor to pieces in 4 rounds.

      I’m not sure where Ricardo Cordoba was that night, but it wasn’t in a ring with Caballero. Cordoba beat Caballero in 2004 in a NABA title fight. Cordoba became champion by default, when the WBA promoted Caballero to the status of Super-Champion, Cordoba had won an INTERIM world championship in the meantime. So in short, Dunne beat Cordoba who had been promoted to full-fledge World Champion following an Interim title victory and Caballero’s promotion to Super-Champion status.

      I’ll repeat it, regardless of how unpopular it makes me. Bernard Dunne is not a world-champion, and I would say the same if it were Clinton Woods. There is only one world, there cannot be multiple champions of it and certainly the notion of two champions from the same body makes a mockery of the tag and a mockery of any proclaimations of World Title or World Champion made by Dunne – though it isn’t his fault, he’s done everything asked of him. It isn’t personal. If Tottenham beat Portsmouth in the Carling Cup, it doesn’t make them Champions of England.

      As for the suggestion this is an anti-Irish stance, I’d suggest you develop a better argument. It is merely a stated fact. Dunne didn’t beat the recognised champion. It doesn’t mater if he’s from Ireland, Canada or Tibet.

      If Munroe gets a shot at Dunne, it will be a good fight between two top 10-15 contenders. A close fight too.

      So Paul, I don’t need to qualify to write here, its a blog. And secondly, I never proclaimed expertise. However, the entire thrust of your argument is completely and utterly inaccurate, based on incorrect assumptions and factually all over the place, ironic given you announce I “know f*** all about who is the champ”

      Hopefully, I’ll see commentary from you again.


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