So this week has been an interesting week to say the least for British Boxing. Last weekend saw promoters up and down the UK putting on cards, both on the small hall circuit and in major venues, which is always great to see.
Cards stretched from York Hall to Paisley with everywhere from Birmingham, Middleton and Merthyr Tydfil squeezed in between shows, British boxing is still enjoying its considerable rise with more people going along to support these cards.
But, the sport took a hit this week with the return of a drugs cheat, a no show from a superstar and a YouTube attack that has divided opinions online, as to whether the “attack” was justified or not.
I’ll start with the video first.
This all stems from a video put up by the guys at iFL TV, who do a tremendous job showcasing as many fighters in the UK, who otherwise would get no coverage whatsoever, with Barry Hearn, the supremo at Matchroom Sports.
Hearn has made no secret of the fact he is a huge fan of Sam Eggington, who, unfortunately for him, came up on the wrong end of a defeat to Bradley Skeete in Birmingham last Saturday, losing his British and Commonwealth belts in the process.
Immediately following the loss, Hearn came out with a scathing “attack” on his favourite fighter and hammered him for his performance, stating that the 22-year-old “Savage” needs to take a long look at himself.
For me, personally I have no problem with what Hearn said, as after all he is the man that pays Eggington to get in the ring and perform. If I underperformed in my job, I would expect a similar sort of treatment.
However, people are concentrating too much on that train of thought and how bad Eggington was, rather than looking at the right view which was how well Skeete performed in Birmingham.
The Londoner travelled to Eggington’s backyard, stuck to his game plan based around boxing’s number one rule, hit and don’t get hit, and conducted himself with class before, during and, in particular, after the fight with his interview and tribute to Dean Powell, who is still a sorely missed figure.
The reason Eggington was so bad was because Skeete was so good. From my view at ringside, I could only give Eggington one clear round, the third, whilst the others were all tight and as Skeete was more effective, they went in his favour because I detest scoring even rounds.
Skeete neutralised everything Eggington wanted to do, pulled off his plan to perfection and left “The Savage” bereft of ideas. I agree with Hearn, as it is back to the drawing board for him, but you can guarantee he will come again.
It’s all well and good losing in Prizefighter, but this is the real test. Let’s see how the young, former champion comes back from this setback and whether he has the heart and stomach to succeed in this sport.
As for Skeete, I’m hoping he opts to make a proper defence of his titles, preferably against Dale Evans, who dropped Eggington last October after coming in on 10 days notice. Give the Welshman a full camp and the opportunity he deserves.
Guillermo Rigondeaux: The Vanishing Man
How do you solve a problem like Rigondeaux. Fans are clamouring to see him on Saturday, whilst Jazza Dickens has been handed the chance of a lifetime, but the Cuban star has decided not to show up and let us all down again.
He turned up earlier this week and promptly returned home after his visa form wasn’t filled in properly. Gutting is not the word, as plenty were looking forward to witnessing a bona fide superstar in action on Saturday in Liverpool.
But are we surprised it isn’t happening? Well I’m not and I don’t think that I’m in the minority. More recently Rigo’s fights have been played out on Twitter, calling out Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg, but we have no idea when we’ll next see him in the ring.
American broadcasters have had enough of him and his last fight was a one-sided snooze fest, on a massive stage as part of the under card to Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto, but still he refused to break from his beliefs and entertain.
But why should he? After all isn’t boxing about winning and taking as little damage as possible? Rigondeaux doesn’t care if he entertains the fans or not and you’ve got to respect his view. He is one of the best in the world, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
He has had four fights since his real stand out win over Nonito Donaire and in the process lost the collected interest of the sport’s paymasters. Hardcore fans still love and admire him, so it’s even more frustrating to see him withdraw when for once, he was fighting in a place where plenty were looking forward to actually watching him put his unrivalled skills on display.
The question now is what does he do next, as he is fast running out of options.
The Return of Kid Galahad
Sheffield super-bantamweight Kid Galahad will return to the ring very shortly after serving his ban for taking a banned substance. Yet, fans, media, critics and other pro’s have all tossed their hat in the ring and supported him like nothing ever happened in the first place.
Rubbish. Galahad is a drug cheat in one of the most dangerous sports on the planet. Everyone was quick to vilify Erkan Teper when he failed a test after beating David Price, but as it is a Brit we’re all now jumping to his defence.
I’m from Sheffield and the local media is all over this story. There have been TV features, interviews with newspapers and radio reports heralding the return of our fallen hero.
Are we forgetting that this is a man that cheated? Well obviously we are. When some fighters are asked about drug cheats, they are quick to say they should be banned for life, but now we’re turning a blind eye.
Galahad may well become a world champion and if he does, then he deserves to be congratulated. But, as far as I’m concerned, he is a drug cheat and that will always come before his name from now on.
It’s not like he fully admitted to any wrong doing, like Maria Sharapova has done this week. He’s stuck to his appalling excuse and is hoping and praying we all forget and laud him as a potential star like before.
Well not for me. He got caught out and didn’t face up to it. So, from now on, just like Sharapova will find out, he will forever be known as Kid Galahad, the potential world champion who is also a drug cheat, regardless of whether some people try to ignore it ever happened.
Matt Bevan is freelance journalist and contributes to several other leading publications on a weekly basis. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MBevs68.