WORLD BOXING REVIEW
v. 52 / e. 4
(following are selected entries from the magazine's "Notes & Quotes" section)
"We be takin' over, y'all!"
Florida cruiserweight Elmer Ray during a meeting between Roy Jones' Pensacola entourage and International Boxing League vice-president Michael Vincennes, at which each member of Jones' camp signed with the organisation.
"This is who I am, you know? I'm a ladies man. I love women and I ain't gonna apologise for that to no one. But they had me up in their sermons like I was the anti-christ or somethin', sayin' all this bull$h!t about how I was corruptin' their kids and settin' a bad example. And I was just like, who appointed me to set a good example for they kids, man? Ain't that their job? People sayin' that I ran away, but I had no peace there. So damn right, I ran away. Out here in Cali I ain't bein' treated like some freak, ain't bein' persecuted. Folks here ain't got no problem with me, you know? So, yeah, I really think I've found my new hometown."
Heavyweight Jack Johnson during an interview with a Los Angeles sports talk radio show. Johnson relocated to LA in late March to escape harassment from religious groups in his hometown of Galveston, Texas.
"My family is worth more than a championship."
Mexican featherweight Gilberto Vasquez, giving a concise answer on why he withdrew his legal action against the International Boxing Federation. He had been intent on suing the organisation over their refusal to grant him an immediate shot at their vacated title but received a number of death threats during March. Apparently one of them involved his wife and child and it led to him changing his mind. To date Mexican police have been unable to come up with any meaningful leads in relation to the threats. The IBF, it's president Michael Jacobs and his good friend and prominent promoter Robert Tattaglia have all been ruled out as suspects. Vasquez (26-2-0(19)) signed a contract with the International Boxing League on the 13th and looks likely to be one of the eight men contesting their featherweight world championship tournament.
"The IBL is going to be fantastic for our sport and we've all decided it's something we want to be a part of. We are like brothers and there was no way one of us was going to sign up without the other two. Our goal is simple: to bring a trio of world championships to Australia. We won't stop until we've achieved it."
Australian middleweight Les Darcy speaking for himself and fellow Aussie pugilists Peter Jackson (heavyweight) and Jeff Fenech (bantamweight) on their decision to sign with the IBL.
"What the hell makes you think we're in this for the money? If you'd been following what's going on you'd have to know we'll be operating at a big loss for at least the first couple of years. Don't you know who we are? Don't you know how each of us got to this point? If I based my decision to join James in this venture purely on its money-making potential I would have said no to him in five seconds flat. Facts are facts: each one of us possesses enough wealth to live comfortably two times over, so it's never been a consideration. Anyone who questions the integrity of what we're trying to achieve needs a good kick up the backside. We're trying to save this sport. Nothing more, nothing less."
IBL vice-president Michael Vincennes takes a television reporter to task over his assertion that the league's bosses have only become involved in boxing to fatten their bank accounts.
"I see it as a big challenge, you know? A big chance to test myself against the best heavyweights in the world. I enjoyed my time as the WBA Champion but it got to a stage where I was just treading water, fighting these guys who I knew in my heart weren't worthy. I really can't wait for the tournament to start."
Russia's former WBA Heavyweight Champion Sergey Anyukov explains his reasons for relinquishing his title and signing with the IBL (translated from Russian). The 31 year-old, 6'4" giant presently boasts a 35-1-1(26) record and had defended the WBA belt five times since winning it in October 2003. He'll be one of the top three seeds in the league's world championship tournament and represents Europe's greatest chance at winning the inaugural title.
"Don't get me wrong. I appreciate what Molk and his associates are aiming to do. And I admire them for it. But you'd have to be naive to think that they'll be able to turn boxing's fortunes around within the next few years. It took a long time for the sport to sink to it's current depth and it'll take a long time to push it back up to where it's on a par with baseball and football. As Vincennes said on Tuesday, they're trying to save the sport. That's great but there are plenty of others operating out there who are only interested in feeding on the carcass. They don't care about the future or the integrity of boxing. All they care about is making as much as they can from it right now. It's promoters, it's the sanctioning bodies and it's some of the fighters, also. You just look at some of the names who have turned down the IBL. Sure, they say it's just loyalty, misguided it might be. But there are others who are just on such a good, easy thing right where they are. Why would they risk that? Why would they push themselves and allow themselves to be challenged for something as intangible to them as the benefit of the sport?"
Speaking before the Norton-Franks title fight in Vegas, Showtime's Hugh Ballard expresses his opinion on the tough task the IBL faces in improving boxing's status.
"My love and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ guides every decision I make and always will. I felt it in my heart, he was telling me that this was the right path. I feel so fortunate and blessed to be part of something new, something that's just coming to life. I've got the utmost admiration and respect for Mr. Molk, Mr. Vincennes and their associates and I believe with all my being that they've got the best interests of boxing at heart."
Canada's Olympic hero Sam Langford speaking positively on the IBL. The two-time gold medallist will be competing as a cruiserweight but it's currently unconfirmed which tournament he'll be placed in out of the Americas or World Championship events.
"It's something I thought unimaginable a couple of years ago but maybe now the time has come to consider it."
World Boxing Association President Pedro Vielma raises the possibility of a merger with rival sanctioning body the World Boxing Council in order to strengthen their position against the IBL.
"What can I say? They made me feel wanted."
Heavyweight Ken Norton with a simple explanation on why, just a week after defending his WBC Championship, he followed fellow titlists Terone Haynes and Sergey Anyukov in signing with the IBL. Unconfirmed reports claim that Norton has been made both the highest-paid fighter in the league and the #1 seed in the upcoming World Heavyweight Championship tournament. Norton had previously shown little interest in joining the organisation.