Peltz Blasts Boxing Business; Claims Ouma Is Shut Out

11.08.06 - Hall-of-Fame promoter J Russell Peltz says name recognition and relationships with rankings organizations and television networks is what makes the boxing business go. “Never in the history of boxing has a fighter’s ability meant less than it does today,” says Peltz, who began promoting in Philadelphia in 1969. “It does not seem to matter if fighter B is better than fighter A so long as Fighter A’s management has a better working relationship with the ratings organizations or with the television networks..

Peltz is frustrated over the inability of junior middleweight Kassim Ouma, the star of his stable, to obtain a high profile, big-money fight with the so-called “names” like Floyd Mayweather, Winky Wright, Shane Mosley, Ike Quartey or Vernon Forrest.

“Ouma may be the best junior middleweight in the world, but he is treated as an afterthought when it comes to making the big fights,” says Peltz. “Networks would rather recycle old ‘names’ like Ike Quartery, Fernando Vargas, Cory Spinks, Vernon Forrest than to breathe some fresh air into boxing.

“Boxing is a business. It ceased being a sport years ago and that is why it no longer is in the mainstream of American sports. The casual sports fan can tell you a lot about fighters like Marvin Hagler and Robert Duran, but they can’t tell Juan Diaz from Cameron Diaz.”

“If professional football were run like boxing, the New York Giants, in a mega TV market, would be in the Super Bowl every year, and while that may bode very well for the Nielson ratings, it would make a joke out of the NFL. Well, that’s what has happened to boxing.”

Ouma, 27, is considered one of the best 154-pound fighters in the business, but he lost his IBF world title last summer in a shocking upset to Roman Karmazin. Since then, however, he has rebounded with four wins in a row, while Karmazin lost his title to Spinks.

“Kassim has been in The Ring magazine junior middleweight rankings for 232 weeks, an incredible total,” says Peltz. “The closest to him is ex-IBF world champ Verno Phillips (208 weeks), whom Ouma twice beat. The next longest ‘stay’ in the rankings is less than 60 weeks.”
According to the major alphabet groups, Ouma is ranked No. 1 in the WBO, No. 2 in the WBC, No. 3 in the IBF, No. 11 in the WBA.

“Number 11 in the WBA—can you believe that?” asks Peltz. “Get real!”
Ouma fought two high-risk, low-reward fights recently. He got off the floor to beat Marco Antonio Rubio on May 6 in Las Vegas, Rubio’s virtual backyard. Then he went into unbeaten Sechew Powell’s New York neighborhood and dismantled him in a fight many boxing experts picked Powell to win.

“They wanted to use Ouma as a stepping stone for Powell,” says Peltz. “Too bad! As for Rubio, he weighed 170 pounds when that fight began. Ouma is a little guy, even for a junior middleweight. He’s not a big puncher and still we cannot lure the big names. We seem to get more offers when Kassim loses than when he wins. He’s 27 years old and he’s the future of the junior middleweight division, but no one wants to fight him and the networks let the big names call the shots.

“We’ll fight Mayweather, Spinks, Wright, Mosely, Quartey, Forrest, all of them. But there seems to be static on the phone line when Ouma is mentioned.

“Quartey just lost to Forrest, even though it could have gone the other way. He also lost to De La Hoya and Vargas. Mosley lost twice to Forrest. Forrest lost twice to Mayorga.

“Ouma ducks no one. He’s beaten Verno Phillips (twice), J.C. Candelo, Kofi Jantuah, Angel Hernandez, on and on. I think he fought more contenders on the way up than anyone else, including two IBF eliminators. Quartey got an HBO Pay-Per-View date with Carlos Bojorquez last December more than two years after Ouma knocked Bojorquez out. Before that, Quartey beat Phillips, another Ouma victim. Ouma will fight Quartey for the all-African title.

“Quartey, Forrest, Mosely are in their mid-30s. If Cory Spinks were named Cory Jones, he wouldn’t be in the mix, let’s face it.

“I’m extremely disappointed in Winky Wright. He, more than anyone, knows how long he had to struggle to get to the big money. Now he’s doing the same thing he accused everyone else of doing when he was trying to break through.

“Ouma has a great story, being kidnapped as a child and thrown into the Ugandan army, then defecting to the United States. He’s been interviewed by Bryant Gumbel on HBO’s Real Sports show. How many fighters can say that? Will he have to wait until today’s big names are 40 years old? It’s time he got his break."

Article posted on 12.08.2006

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