Punches After the Bell

Ortiz Knocks Himself Out of First Round Knock Out Win: Undefeated heavyweight contender Luis (King Kong) Ortiz appeared to have served notice of his arrival on the world stage back on September 11, 2014 with a first-round knockout of Lateef Kayode.  The win earned him the WBC’s Interim Heavyweight Championship.   In December, however, the Nevada State Athletic Commission sustained Ortiz for 8 months from the date of fight, changed the win to a “no contest,” fined him 10 percent of his purse, and compelled him to reimburse the Commission for the cost of lab testing following a positive test for Nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, after the fight.  The WBC weighed in on the positive drug test as well and stripped him of the interim title.  Ortiz provided no explanation for the positive test, and advised the Commission that he did not even know what the substance was.  Even if Ortiz was sincere, there is nonetheless little room for inadvertent or unknowing ingestion of banned substances in professional sports, and the boxing world will now have to wait several more months to see the big punching Cuban defector prove that his acing of Kayode was no fluke and that he is ready for the division’s elite.

Rubio’s Failure at the Scales Raises the Issue of Buying Weight in Boxing: Although it happened back in October, middleweight title challenger Marco Antonio Rubio’s failure to make weight in advance of his failed October 18, 2014 title challenge against champion Gennady (GGG) Golovkin, nonetheless remains noteworthy because of the issues the failure raised.  After the weigh-in, where Rubio came in 1.8 lbs. over the limit, Rubio’s purse was reduced by $100,000, Rubio was stripped of interim championship, and a new contract was drawn up which increased the weight limit in the bout from 160 lbs. to 162 lbs., two pounds over the traditional middleweight limit.  While the suggestion at the time is that Rubio diligently tried to make weight and simply could not, there have been other occasions in recent boxing history where boxers appear to intentionally not make weight so that they would have a perceived physical advantage over their opponent.  Indeed, if the failure would just cost a boxer part of his purse, result in the stripping of a paper championship, and/or compel him to sign an agreement to fight at a new weight, there are few real deterrents to a boxer doing so if neither possibility, or combination of possibilities, of punishment bother him and his team.  The question of what to do about this issue of buying weight, however, is not easily answered, especially in high profile bouts such as Golovkin-Rubio, which was a HBO main event.  Golovkin provided his opinion on this issue as emphatically as he could, scoring a second round knockout.

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