By Boxing Bob Newman
Day four of the 88th WBA annual convention in Medellin, Colombia started off with a Rules session conducted by WBA legal counsel Robert Mack. Several revisions were made regarding rules language. Areas where language changes were made included interim and provisional championships and champions in recess, definition of the fighter’s “purse,” and definition of Super champion. Also, clarification of rules regarding notification of highest available contenders fighting for interim titles, or mandatory challenger status, unauthorized drug use, and the policy when equal winning purse bids are submitted.
The officials seminar the commenced with Luis Pabon presiding. At the top, the recent WBA Super Welterweight title fight between defending champion Daniel Santos and Yuri Foreman was scrutinized for calls or non-calls on knockdowns that resulted from punches to the back of the head and head clashes and feet getting stepped on. Referee Raul Caiz Sr. cautioned that criticisms weren’t the goal but rather studying the situation was.
Caiz Sr. then conducted a judges seminar with a review of judges responsibilities as well as tips to optimize performance on fight night. Tips included proper sleep, diet, physical conditioning as well as not allowing situations where influence could be made by those who have a stake in the outcome of fight.
After lunch, Gustavo Padilla and Raul Caiz Sr. conducted a scoring session as judges watched video segments of certain fights and scored those rounds as they saw them. Complex rounds which were scored were Evander Holyfield- Riddick Bowe I (round 11), Shozo Saijo-Antonio Gomez (round 3) and Acelino Freitas-Jorge Rodrigo Barrios (round 11). In each case, either a fighter was knocked down early in the round and came back overwhelmingly in the same round, or each fighter took turns rocking each other in the same round without knockdowns. Later, scorecards of title fights which had wide variation were scrutinized. Some scorecards were unanimous, but ranging from a shutout score to a one point margin, and others were split.
Legal counsel Robert Mack returned in the afternoon to confirm amendments to the aforementioned rules concerning super champions, bid submissions, medical and drugs, sole champions and elimination bouts. All motions were passed by a show of hands. Finally, the WBA heavyweight picture was settled at least for the immediate future. Former champion John Ruiz will get the first shot at new champion David Haye, no ifs, ands, or buts. A proposed match between Kali Meehan and Ruslan Chagaev may go ahead, and be for the mandatory challenger, AFTER Ruiz gets his shot. Several meetings between Ruiz’ manager/advisor Tony Cardinale, WBA championship committee chair Gilberto Jesus Mendoza Jr., and calls from Sauerland Promotions, Golden Boy (Haye’s U.S. Promotional partner), and Oscar De La Hoya himself all came to fruition this morning, finally arriving at the above mentioned decisions.
Several proposals for the 89th WBA convention in 2010 were made. Bartolome Torralba made a spoken and video presentation in support of Bilbao, Spain. Other verbal proposals were made in support of Washington, D.C., Palermo, Sicily, San Antonio, Texas, and Torreon, Mexico. At this time, Bilbao seems to be the front runner, but the final decision will be made after all formal applications have been made.
And with that, the annual convention of the oldest governing body in boxing came to a close, with sights set on promoting improvements boxing, and most importantly in health. Until 2010!