Monday, June 05, 2006

That doughnut's gonna cost you 

For want of 4.5 pounds, the fight was lost, and there are plenty of losers:

After failing to qualify for Saturday's scheduled lightweight title fight when he came in overweight Friday, Jose Luis Castillo now faces the scales of justice.Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, was expected to issue a complaint today or Tuesday against the former two-time World Boxing Council lightweight champion.

Castillo, who weighed in at 139 1/2 pounds for the 135-pound fight against Diego Corrales, causing the cancellation of the match, will have 20 days to respond.

..."The facts about what happened are certainly not in dispute," said Kizer, referring to Castillo. "We had a conversation with him May 8 in which we warned him about coming in over the weight limit and he assured us there was no problem, that he was on target. He said there would be no weight issue come June.

"I was shocked by his weight. You would figure he would have told someone in advance."

Castillo's promoter, Bob Arum, has accused Castillo's handlers of lying to him about the fighter's weight in the days leading up to the weigh-in.

Ultimately, it was Gary Shaw, Corrales' promoter, with the approval of Corrales' manager, James Prince, and his trainer, Joe Goossen, who called off the fight.

They could have gone ahead with the match, as they did in October when Castillo came in at 138 1/2 pounds. That match was staged as a nontitle fight and Corrales was knocked out in the fourth round.

Shaw and Arum are responsible for splitting the $135,000 rental fee for the Thomas & Mack Center, site of the fight. With an estimated crowd of 2,000 to 2,500 on hand for Saturday's show minus Castillo-Corrales and a 75% discount on most tickets, Shaw figures the live gate at $30,000. Adding in expenses, Shaw estimated he lost about $250,000. Corrales lost his $1.2-million purse and Goossen wound up training Corrales for nearly two months without receiving any money."

Nobody believed me when I said we would pull the plug on the fight," Shaw said. "Now maybe next time, fighters will know we are serious about their obligation to make weight. Maybe they'll realize they can't always negotiate their way out of this kind of situation with money. Maybe they will think twice before doing this."

It seems rather clear that if both sides could agree to some damages paid for not making weight -- and thus making it a nontitle fight -- the fight would have proceeded and there likely would have been no complaints filed to the state boxing commission. But it would have made a farce of the boxing world, whereby you don't know when you buy fight tickets whether or not it is a title fight. How do you sell tickets to this event with that uncertainty?

Corrales was placed in the position of fighting up in weight or cancelling the fight. Citing safety concerns, he chose the latter. Good choice, and someone should cover his costs. Someone also owes ShowTime $175,000 for the cancellation of their Saturday broadcast as well.