Sound Off With Lou Dibella: “Occupy Boxing, Chavez-Martinez Testing, Alexander-Bailey Fight”


    Lou Dibella is a polarizing figure in the boxing world. With over 23 years of experience in the sport, Dibella has always been candid, and has never shied away from speaking his mind, especially when it comes to the state of the sport. Just weeks removed from the controversial decision between Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley, and the backlash boxing received because of the decision, Lou Dibella has a simple solution. “Occupy Boxing,” Dibella told last week. When asked to explain the meaning of the slogan, Dibella responded, “It’s a dirty, rotten, filthy, corrupt business.  When Manny Pacquiao gets robbed in a bout where 5th graders could score, we need to occupy boxing and believe with your own eyes.  As a fan, if you see a champion lose, don’t call him a champion. Put pressure on the networks with your subscritions to make the best fights. Fans don’t drink the god damn kool-aid. Do you really want to see Bradley fight Pacquiao again? Not me, and the fans shouldn’t either.”

    However, fans can only do so much. According to Dibella, “We promoters, managers, and boxers have to take back our sport because the sport is sick. Until you admit the sport is sick, it’s not going to get better.” One of those ills is the questionable decisions that have occurred that bring a negative eye to the sport. Dibella went in deeper into how a judging panel works and what should be done to alleviate the problems. “When judges stink and get put back on fights, its wrong. The system is wrong. The way the system works is these judges get put in a hotels and the promoters take care of their accomidations. It’s the only sport where things like this happen. You think a ref blows a call in the Super Bowl and gets appointed to the next Super Bowl. You think Jerry Jones pays for the accomidations for the refs that referee the Super Bowl?” stated Dibella.

    Dibella is correct. There needs to be more checks and balances on the judges. However could the system be so foregone that it’s too late to do so? Dibella doesn’t think so and says, “We can’t give up on boxing but it’s a joke with the world sanctioning bodies, and the relationships they have with certain commissions and judges. You think if there’s a fight with a WBO rated fighter and a WBC rated fighter with a WBC judge on the panel, you don’t think the WBC judge is going to favor the WBC fighter? It stinks.”

    Regulation of the sport was a heavy topic in the media and has even gotten the attention of the government with Senators Harry Reid and John McCain trying to push a bill on the senate floor to regulate boxing.  Federal Regulation to Dibella is not the key. “There needs to be some sort of boxing commission but I don’t think it should be the federal government but boxing itself. Boxing needs to police itself and until that happens, we’re going to be in a world of trouble,” explained Dibella.

    The other news making headlines has been the positive tests results from boxers for banned substances, either before a bout cancelling the bout, or after the bout, brining suspicions left and right. One fighter whose name has been in the mix regarding his tests has been Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. While Chavez has never tested positive for any substance deemed banned by a state commission, he has been in the news for his fight in February when it was reported that he did not take a post fight test, and in his last fight in June against Andy Lee, when there were conflicting reports of when he actually a pre or post fight drug test. Chavez did take a test and it did come back negative according to Carl Moretti of Top Rank.

    Chavez is set to take on Lou Dibella’s fighter Sergio Martinez, on September 15th  in Las Vegas on HBO Pay-per-view. Martinez has said he wanted random drug testing outside of the state commissions. However, Dibella said, “If it was up to me, I’d like to have VADA drug testing or Olympic style drug testing but the truth is Chavez isn’t going to do that and just wants to use Nevada testing.  But Sergio wants the fight badly enough that he’ll take it.” Dibella is not the lead promoter in the promotion, so he feels handcuffed with certain components like the drug testing or a rehydration limit for Chavez on fight night because Chavez is a very big middleweight. “My obligation is to get my fighter the fight he wants and to get him the most money. The fact of the matter is certain things like the testing or weight restriction would kill the fight. We’re not exactly in a situation to set the rules, Sergio wants the fight but we can’t dictate the rules.”

    The date of the fight will conflict with another show on Mexican Independence day involving another Mexican star, Saul Alvarez.  Whether or not Alvarez will fight on a Showtime Pay-per-view, regular Showtime telecast, or even CBS is up in the air. But one way or another it will conflict with the Chavez-Martinez fight if the schedule remains the same. Dibella didn’t want to say much on the matter but he did state, “In a perfect world there shouldn’t be conflicting major fights, in a perfect world there shouldn’t be head to head fights on HBO and Showtime, but we don’t live in a perfect world.”

    In a perfect world there wouldn’t be any upsets either and Dibella has had some of his fighters do just that and win from the blue corner;  most notably Randall Bailey, who won the IBF welterweight title on the Pacquiao-Bradley undercard.  Now that Bailey has that world title, he has options. One of those options could be a major a welterweight showdown with Devon Alexander in St. Louis. The fight is on the table and Dibella is trying to close a deal to make that happen. Dibella has no issues as to where the fight takes place either. “At Randall’s age, he’s not going to be getting decisions but if Randall touches you, you’re going to sleep. It’s all about the Benjamin’s so the fight with Devon could take place in Nairobi, St. Louis, Egypt, or wherever, I don’t care. Once Randall touches you, you could be Devon Alexander or King Kong; you’re going to sleep,” Dibella stated vehemently.

    After Top Rank and Golden Boy, you’d be hard pressed to find a bigger stable with more talent than Dibella’s. Dibella is not shy about putting his fighters in with other promoter’s fighters, and credits his recent run of success to his fighters like the before mentioned Randall Bailey, Carlos Quintana, Demarcus Corley, and even Tor Hamer, who have won as underdogs.  Dibella states, “It’s all a tribute to my fighters. The opportunities aren’t there every day, Sometimes it means going into hostile environment and winning in the blue corner, I have fighters that have balls. You can’t win if you don’t play, and you’re not going to win a fight if you don’t take that chance.”