Post-fight fall-out from ‘Victory At The Venetian’

Mark Butcher
19/07/2015 1:50pm

Post-fight reaction from the Victory At The Venetian card at the Cotai Arena, Macao, with the thoughts of newly-crowned IBF super-lightweight champion Cesar Cuenca, promoter Bob Arum (on the officiating and Manny Pacquiao), Ik Yang’s trainer Justin Fortune and the IBF’s No.1 135lbs contender Denis Shafikov.

New IBF super-lightweight champion Cesar Cuenca, an avid fan of the San Lorenzo football team, beaming after his unanimous decision victory: “No, I didn’t have any doubts at all that I would get the decision. I felt I won every round very decisively. It would have to be a robbery. The knockdown? My legs were bent back. I was not standing well. I felt the punch, but it wasn’t that much. Hopefully, I will go out with my title belt at a San Lorenzo football match and the crowd will be shouting, ‘Cuenca! Cuenca! Champion!’

Caretaker trainer Justin Fortune on the performance of his fighter Ik Yang: “This should be a good lesson. He should watch this tape 20,000 times. Habits are hard to break. He’s learning – this is the best guy he’s ever fought. In the sixth and seventh round, Yang was just following him and doing everything he shouldn’t do. That was just frustration which showed when he picked him and threw him to the floor. Couple of times he hurt Cuenca and he would stand back and showboat. You can’t do that. There was no combinations – that’s the frustration. He was looking for a bomb and a one-punch knockout. The experience difference was huge – the guy had 47 fights. He knows his way around the ring. Yang needs to learn from this and come back stronger, but he’s that type of guy. This will piss him off and bug him. The referee was f***ing shocking. There were no low blows. He saw his belt mark. There was no knockdown. He was off-balance and trod on his foot. The referee has a lot of experience and [Cuenca’s vocal and animated corner] shouldn’t bother him. He doesn’t have to do us any favours, but he should do us justice. That said, Yang still lost the fight. The moment you catch someone like Cuenca – you have to take advantage of it. When you fight someone of that experience, you don’t catch him that often. But when you do, and start looking at your work and try to showboat, this is not your old fights – this is a world title. These are the old habits he has to get out of. When he was in the corner, Yang was looking at the TV screen. ‘Look at me’. What the f*** are you doing? I think once you’ve trained those bad habits out of him – which is going to take some time and perseverance – he can be a genuine [contender]. He’s worth putting some time into, whether it pays off…. He trains hard and he’s a good fighter. Yang could go down to 135 and we’ll see how he does there. He can definitely make 135. It’s a little harder, but he can still make it. 140 is loaded with talent. Cuenca is in for a rough ride. Fighters like Terence Crawford will want that title and they are freaking killers.”

Bob Arum on Manny Pacquiao’s absence at a scheduled check-up on his injured shoulder: “Pacquiao was supposed to come in to see the doctor and, for some reason, he decided to cancel it. So he’s not acting very professionally. When you have an operation like that you’ve got to get into rehab and you’ve got to get the doctor to look at it and to guide you [towards] the kind of rehab that you’ve got to do. He’s a grown man and he makes his own decisions, but as far as I’m concerned he’s not an active fighter.”

Bob Arum on the performance of referee Danrex Tapdasan in Cesar Cuenca’s unanimous points win over the Top Rank promoted Ik Yang: “The knockdown against Yang wasn’t a knockdown. He was off-balance and he didn’t go down and he kept to his feet. He shouldn’t have called it a knockdown. The point deducted at the end was ludicrous - if you deduct from anybody it should have been from the other guy. Then he just interfered with the fighters giving warnings when there weren’t any infractions and he let himself be intimidated by the Argentine corner. I just have a question of appointing someone like that to referee a fight who has never refereed anything more than a six-round fighter [NB: Tapdasan has officiated 12-rounders]. With Yang, we’ve just got to go back to the drawing board. I think he’s very talented and he’ll work his way back up.”

Denis Shafikov, IBF No.1 contender, who was supposed to fight Mickey Bey on the card until the champion relinquished his belt, but instead swept aside Roy Mukhlis in three rounds: “We’re the number one mandatory. Obviously Mickey Bey gave up his belt and there’s a new challenger in the picture so it will go to negotiations. But the next step is to fight for the world title. We already had two training camps preparing for (Bey} and Mickey Bey was running round like a chicken and then he finally gave up the belt. I don’t understand all that. These games shouldn’t be tolerated. It’s unacceptable. If you sign a contract, you should step up to the plate otherwise you can put on a skirt and go dance somewhere else, not in the sport of boxing.”