Give Emanuel Augustus the shot at Vivian Harris and another HBO fight!

17.07.06 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: A few days ago, we learned that Mike Arnaoutis has pulled out of his July 29th bout with Vivian Harris, saying that he had sustained an eye injury. In the past, despite numerous protests by us the fans, both Showtime and HBO have rarely used other supporting bouts, no matter how good or bad, as substitutes for TV fights. Both channels have yet to learn, that no matter how bad the boxing, or how good the commentary, one is simply no generic replacement for the other. Enter, as always, Emanuel Augustus, and, as always, willing to step in on short notice to not only save the show, but give the fans an opportunity to get their money’s worth.

Some naïve “critics” have yet to realize that it is not about how many losses the guy has, or what kind of chances he has of winning, but rather what he brings to the table as a fighter and an entertainer. In my mind, there seems to be no greater ambassador for the sport of boxing than Augustus. One need only remind people of the tremendous effort he put in NOT to hurt Ray Olivera, despite the fact that he had every opportunity to do so, as Olivera was dangerously close to getting hurt permanently. While I have always respected the notion of winning at all costs, that kind of character, for a true fighter, is something, even the greatest of trainers can’t beat into a guy. A fighter has to be all heart to be that much of a warrior.

When I say warrior, I mean precisely that. This guy has fought on short notice simply because that is what he loves to do, and in a day and age where the best guys take year long hiatuses to promote this, or sing that, this is not only admirable, but a throwback to the peak of boxing prominence in this country. The problem is, of course, the amount of losses this sort of bravery brings with it. However, win, lose or draw, to the fans who have seen him Augustus is more then just the numbers, and he has more substance behind them than simply a perfect 'O' in the loss column.

Consider Arturo Gatti, the so-called human highlight reel. Entertaining fighter, nice record, huge heart, and twenty HBO fights under his belt. Deserved, I will grant you that, considering he is a huge draw and fights great opponents and shows real guts every time out. Yet, when he fought Floyd Mayweather, he was busted up and stopped in six brutal rounds, with little effort by the best pound for pound fighter today. However, when Augustus fought Mayweather, not only did Mayweather admit it was his toughest fight, (and for those who saw it, you know why) but it was one damn entertaining bout.

I'm not a betting person but I can pretty much guarantee with confidence that were Augustus to fight Vivian Harris on the 29th, there would be very few disappointed fans. Augustus does not know how to be boring, even when he is losing and that is what sells tickets. John Ruiz and fighters like him can keep winning but the problem is a certain percentage of people don't care about that type of victory. Almost any Augustus loss is more enjoyable than Ruiz’s best win, at least to me. You can’t buy that sort of popularity but as I always say, “you can sure as hell sell it.”

The problem is, of course, the perception the numbers bring but perception is not reality. Vivian Harris does not have to excuse himself, even if he blows Augustus out, because the guy came in on short notice and fighting somebody is better than not fighting at all. Furthermore, I am sure Augustus is not looking to make a killing on his purse, which would allow the show to go on, somebody to save some money, Harris to get his TV date exposure, and if he wins impressively get a great comeback performance in front of TV crowd under his belt. Plus, he could become a fan favorite by fighting and beating one.

Best of all, it allows HBO to say, “See we are reading, Eastsideboxing, Fightnews and the other sites. We are paying attention to what you guys want to see, and we are accommodating you.” In my opinion this is the best way for HBO to show that they are fans of great boxing too, and that they are listening to what the fans want. Plus, I don’t know about you but if Augustus fights on the card, there is a good chance he will get to conduct an interview with Larry Merchant, and that alone is worth the price of admission.

Throw your support for Emanuel Augustus he is a true ambassador for boxing.

Article posted on 17.07.2006

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