By Boxing Bob Newman
The morning session of the NABF convention in Cancun, Mexico commenced this morning at 9:30 a.m. with the elections of President and Vice presidents. After two consecutive two-year terms, out going president Rex Walker stepped down and welcomed unanimously elected former V.P. Joe Dwyer of New York. Dwyer humbly accepted the responsibilities that come with the post and persevere toward the organization’s primary goal- the safety of the boxer in the ring. Dwyer said, “Normally, upon assuming a position of this magnitude, it is said that there are big shoes to fill. On this occasion, I have some big cowboy boots to fill,” a reference to Rex Walker’s self proclaimed cowboy status.
Three vice presidents were filled, with two re-elections, and Dwyer’s vacancy filled. Canadian V.P. Ed Pearson and Mexican Mauricio Sulaiman resumed their duties while WBC treasurer Juan Sanchez of Florida filled the U.S. V.P. Slot vacated by new president Dwyer.
WBC president Jose Sulaiman congratulated the elected officials and administered an oath of office. He then stressed the importance of carrying out their responsibilities of office in keeping with the goal of the boxers first. Sulaiman also charged Dwyer with the task of working to improve the organization’s relations with the U.S. Commissions.
New York Athletic Commission Chairperson Melvina Lathan was a guest speaker this morning. She talked about the importance of various aspects of officiating, both as a judge and referee. Lathan also touched on the importance of the score card in it’s own right. “The score card is something we often take for granted. It needs to be filled out completely, even if the boxer has a long, complicated name. Your score needs to be written immediately after the round has ended. If you hesitate, you’ve already screwed up!”
An auction was held to raise money for future convention needs. Various items donated and auctioned off included signed biographies of Oscar De La Hoya and Carmen Basilio, several signed boxing gloves, pennants from Ali-Coopman and Ali Foreman fights, various on sight boxing t-shirts, programs and posters as well.
Ratings chairperson Claude Jackson received an award which he was unable to accept at last year’s WBC convention in Chengdu, China for his continued hard work with the organization and NABF Promoter of the year was awarded to CES’ Jimmy Burchfield who just arrived from Rhode Island.
The most intriguing presentation of the morning session was given by Prof. Anthony M. Cucchiara, college archivist at City University of New York, Brooklyn College Library. Cucchiara and CUNY Brooklyn have both the incredible luck and enormous task of obtaining the massive life-long collection of boxing historian and Hall of Famer Hank Kaplan who passed away in 2007. The collection contains everything from photos, videos, films, programs, articles, books, to the degree that when it shipped to New York from Brooklyn, a full 18-wheeler and smaller truck was needed to achieve the task. At this moment, the college’s goal is to raise both awareness and money, to the tune of $250,000 for a full time archivist, and to produce a complete research center for the study of boxing. For more information on this endeavor, go to Http://library.brooklyn.cuny.edu/archives/hank_kaplan_boxing/
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After the busy morning session of day two of the 41st NABF convention wrapped, a lunch break was taken before the delegates broke up into separate groups for more meetings. One group however worked through lunch, watching then scoring the recent WBC Cruiserweight title fight between WBC champion Giocobbe Fragomeni of Italy and former IBF champion Krzystof Wlodarczyk of Poland. The bout was held in Italy and was somewhat controversial as it ended in a draw. There had been some criticism of both the scoring by judges, blows after the bell and while Fragomeni was down, both committed by Wlodarczyk, and the handling of the infractions by the referee. In their limited review of all twelve rounds of the fight in video, the panel unanimously though Wlodarczyk won the fight, even with points deducted from Wlodarczyk for his infractions. While this was an unofficial review and no protest will be heard, it is possible Wlodarczyk will remain ranked number one.
Other simultaneous sessions after lunch included a meeting of the ratings committee, a referees seminar and a supervisors meeting, all aimed at improving performance efficiency of each group.
Tonight at the posh RIU Palace las Americas, a banquet will be held, with the hilight expected to be the official belting of newly appointed WBC Super Welterweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez and WBC Lightweight champion Edwin Valero. Martinez was recently elevated to full WBC champ from interim status when full WBC champion Vernon Forrest suffered yet another injury, thus incapacitating him.