In this corner with Russ Anber: Redkach punishment breaks my heart...
Boxing's master of all trades Russ Anber is back with his first column of 2020 in which he gives his take on his boxing year so far, including the Ivan Redkach controversy and a spectacular KO win for Eleider Alvarez…
It’s been a quiet start to the boxing year – everything looks like it's really going to kick off in February and March - but the fight I’ve worked so far this year that has been most dominant in my mind has been the Ivan Redkach vs Danny Garcia fight.
What happened that night has really been bothering me. Not so much the fight – which Garcia dominated, although all credit to Redkach for lasting the full 12 rounds and hanging in there - but what transpired after the fight.
To my mind this is an example of how sometimes in boxing things get blown out of all proportion.
After the fight Danny was on camera and spoke about Ivan biting him during the fight. It was a nibble, a joke on Redkach’s part - he didn’t spit his mouth-guard out, he didn’t take a chunk out of Danny or anything. In the post-fight TV Interview with Jim Gray of Showtime, Danny was even laughing and joking about it and told Gray that Ivan had said: “Mike Tyson’ to Danny as he did it.
So let’s be clear, there was no intention to injure or hurt Danny on Ivan’s part. Of course, he didn't show the best judgement in doing something like that, but Garcia laughed it off. It seemed like no big deal.
If Ivan had intended to hurt Danny or had really hurt Danny then Danny would have been really pissed off and mad as hell. And he wasn’t. He was laughing and joking about it. In fact if Danny hadn't joked about it I don't think anyone would have even known it had happened.
However, since then the New York State Athletic Commission have suspended Ivan for a year, fined him $10,000 and also announced he was forfeiting his whole purse – and all for something that went unnoticed by the referee; something it seemed no one really cared about. and certainly something that didn’t affect the outcome of the fight.
Suspending a fighter for a year is massive. At that level you may only fight twice a year and have those two chances to earn a decent payday and now Ivan is potentially out of work for a year for what I see as a minor infraction.
I understand there have to be punishments, but the punishments have to fit the crime and I don't think this one did. It’s a bigger punishment than has been levelled against drug offenders.
It breaks my heart. Ivan is an immigrant kid who has come to America to make his way in the sport. He’s been living on macaroni and cheese and this was his first real justifiable pay day.
He’s never caused anyone any problems, no one has a bad word to say about him. He goes and spars wherever anyone asks him to go, he’s got a kid, he’s raising a family. He’s always been a good guy and it’s a kid like that is made an example of, who has the book thrown at him. I don't get it.
Ivan was proud of the fact he went the 12 rounds but he has been hurt by this emotionally.
My other major engagement this year has been with Eleider Alvarez, when I was the fourth man in the corner, which isn’t my usual role.
It’s amazing how it turns out in boxing sometimes. At one point Alvarez’s fight with Michael Seals was looking like a candidate for stinker of the year – which I think should be a real award by the way! – but then it turned out to give us a candidate for KO of the year.
It was nice to see Alvarez, another of the good guys of boxing, put himself back in the mix in the light-heavyweight division. The kid deserves it. He was on the cusp of really big things if he had beaten Sergey Kovalev in their rematch, but he didn’t do it. Mentally he’s had to come to terms with the fact that slipped through his fingers, but now he’s back to winning ways.
It’s been a bad start to the year in terms of my air miles status, I’ve only had short flights so far and in February I’ve been grounded! But the year will pick up with a fight in March that I’m very excited about when I’ll be with Mick Conlan on St Patrick’s Day in New York at MSG.
Russ Anber is on Twitter and Instagram @russanber.
Russ was speaking to Luke G. Williams