The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire

Who's Hot, Who's Not in the Fight Game by Francis Walker
Ladies and gentlemen, fight fans the world over, I am once again back on line with more news, previews, and reviews than ever before. A lot to catch up on, so lets waste no more time...

Firstly, I would like to address the following situations involving young heavyweight contender, Ike Ibeabuchi, and current IBF world 154-pound champ, Fernando Vargas.

The alleged four counts of sexual assault filed by a Las Vegas showgirl (or hooker) against Ibeabuchi are ridiculous, but believable to a certain degree. The attempted burglary and assault charges on Vargas are just as senseless, but very surprising.

The sex charges against Ibeabuchi, who was accused of rape on one account, is very similar to that of Mike Tyson when he was accused of raping a former beauty contestant. The only difference is that the Ibeabuchi incident occurred at 5, not 2 a.m.

Ibeabuchi is currently held on $5 million-dollar bail. He is facing possible imprisonment and deportation back to his native Nigeria.

Ibeabuchi, while training for his fight with Chris Byrd last March, lost his cool and challenged one of his sparring partners to a bare-fisted brawl in training camp. Two years ago, following his decision win over David Tua, Ibeabuchi rammed his car into a tree. Ibeabuchi has developed a reputation for going bonkers over each and every little thing. On the flip side, once fans meet him in person at boxing events, he is warm to all around him --
even the press.

As for Vargas, who at 21 years old is an undefeated young star after only 15 pro-fights, made a stupid move. With HBO looking to set up a blockbuster unification war between him and his WBA counterpart, David Reid, next Spring, Vargas was getting the proper marketing and promotion that would increase public interest. Just after Vargas successfully defended his crown on HBO on July 17, less than two weeks afterward, Vargas is accused of a crime only fools would make.

However, unlike Ibeabuchi, Vargas can and will beat the allegations brought upon him and resume the rest of what looks to be an exciting career.

Moving ahead: I felt Frans Botha edged Shannon Briggs by a razor thin margin. Nonetheless, a draw was convincing, as Briggs showed tremendous heart. Had Botha not been knocked down in round eight, Botha would have unanimously won on two of the three judges scorecards by one point.

Aside from the gift decision against George Foreman (W 12) two years ago, Briggs remains winless against marquee opposition: Darroll Wilson (TKO by 3), the draw to Botha (D 12), and a one-sided bashing at the hands of WBC World Heavyweight Champion, Lennox Lewis (TKO by 5). Briggs remains in the spotlight for now. His head, however, is barely above water.

Botha-Briggs was entertaining, but is was not worth $29.95 on Pay-Per-View. Nice try Showtime.

On a happier note: Arturo Gatti and WBC world lightweight king, Stevie Johnston showed very well on HBO's recent "Boxing After Dark" show in Foxwoods last Saturday on August 14. Gatti, again moving up in weight from 135 to 140 pounds as a junior welterweight, was at 160 pound when he knocked out Rey Munoz with a solid right-hook to his temple. While Johnston easily out-pointed Angel Manfredy (W 12) in a pick 'em fight.

Gatti, who earned his first victory in 22 months; losing three consecutive wars to Ivan Robinson (L 10, L 10) and Manfredy (TKO by 7), is on the verge of challenging the winner of this Saturday's battle between Kostya Tszyu and Migel Angel Gonzalez for the WBC 140-pound crown. I like Tszyu! There is also talk of Gatti meeting the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez in the Spring.

Johnston's win over Manfredy, who beat both Gatti and Robinson (W 10); losing to WBC 130-pound king, Floyd Mayweather last year (KO 2) moves the champion into the number one spot at 135 since "Sugar" Shane Mosley is in search of a crack at WBC welterweight champ, Oscar De La Hoya.

Johnston bobbed, weaved, slipped and slid underneath Manfredy's attack real well. Countering with southpaw, right-jabs and sharp left-hooks. However, it was Johnston's busy punching style that made it difficult for Manfredy, a right-handed puncher, to overwhelm Johnston.

Lastly, according to Time Warner's, Senior Vice-president of HBO Sports, Lou DiBella, Lewis-Evander Holyfield II is gonna happen on November 6, in Las Vegas. Apparently, everything has been agreed-up: the site, promotion, sales, purses, and other complications that make fights difficult to make. But nothing has been signed yet.

If Lewis-Holyfield II does not realize, there is the possibility of Lewis taking on WBC mandatory John Ruiz. While Holyfield defends against WBA no. 1 body, Henry Akinwande.


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