We the media people often do it wrong. To our credit, we are guilty of too often giving the people what they want, but shame on us, because we know and cater to the fact that negativity sells. Beefs and bad blood draw clicks and “good news” doesn’t travel as fast or far or get presented as often as it should, if we are considering that too much of our daily diet of media is bad news.
This for sure goes in boxing; a “good guy” who is humble and doesn’t make waves, who doesn’t “stir the pot’ and talk shit about a foe, it is that much harder for that guy to get traction as an attraction.
Exhibit A: Richard Commey (age 32; 28-2). The Ghanaian boxer, who has made New York home for a spell now, is a solid citizen, one who happens to hold the IBF 135-pound crown.
Commey, managed by Michael Amoo-Bediako, promoted by Lou DiBella, and trained by Andre Rozier, was at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, and he watched some folks who he may well glove up with up close. I saw him on the street outside MSG after the post-fight presser finished, well after 1 am on Sunday morning, and he was humble and gracious and grinning. He looked and acted like someone we should celebrate, if we care about things like presenting solid role models for kids, and for all of us, frankly.
“He’s a quality professional, consummate pro, respectful, does and says all the right things — we don’t see enough of that,” his manager said of Commey, who was going to fight Vasiliy Lomachenko in Loma’s last outing, but had to let a hand injury heal up instead.
“It’s a shame, you see fighters get more word-space, it’s a shame (that bad behavior and trash talking) seems to sell. Someone like Richard, he’s quiet, a boxer who goes about his business in respectable fashion, never been in a bad fight.”
We talked about another solid citizen who could probably have more of a following which would, yes, include a solid contingent of “haters” who tune in to see him lose: Daniel Jacobs, another person trained by Rozier.
“Danny is getting his reward now, it’s taken awhile to get there,” Amoo-Bediako continued.
And, it is implied, the same measure of success could come to Commey, too, if he keeps on keeping on. So when will we see him glove up again? Against who?
The manager gave me his thoughts on the lightweight contenders who did their thing in MSG’s big room.
“Edis Tatli fought Teofimo Lopez, who I’ve followed for about three years, we tried to get him for Richard three years ago, couldn’t get him. I don’t think he’s fought once outside Finland, his level of opposition has not really been top level, but where Teofimo is, that’s the right kind of opponent for him.
“You can’t dispute it, it was a workman-like performance, he was expected to win, but Teofimo didn’t really show us anything. It wasn’t an exciting fight, the opponent didn’t offer any problems.
“We saw (Bryan) Vasquez and (Felix) Verdejo, and Verdejo getting pushed back by a super featherweight. The spark didn’t seem to me to be there. Maybe he lost a step? It’s hard for him at the moment, he’s treading water, he’s not really exciting, I don’t know what it is, maybe going up in weight. He’s not really doing it right now. Felix had the loss, then two wins, but he’s not really set the world on fire. I don’t know where he goes from there. If you’re looking at him and the champions, it’s hard to give him a nod over the champions.”
The deal-maker continued, saying that Commey was pumped to fight Loma April 12, but that hand injury changed fate. He has been treated, ordered to rest, and is now back training.
Would he be facing Loma next, then?
“Richard wanted a voluntary to test that hand, make sure it’s functioning well. He will fight a voluntary in June. Let’s see how the landscape opens up and changes. Teofimo has been screaming for a shot, does he deserve it? I don’t know.”
Folks were waiting on what Mikey Garcia would do with his WBC 135 belt. He’s now said he will fight at 140, so that belt is open. Luke Campbell is WBC No. 1, so he will get to vie for the vacated crown, against TBD. Loma has the WBA and WBO versions, Commey the IBF. No. 1 and No. 2 are open and Masayoshi Nakatani is rated No. 3 by the sanctioning body based in New Jersey.
Robert Easter Jr is fighting Saturday against Rances Barthelemy (Easter is No. 3 WBA and Barthelemy No. 2) and that is another lightweight fight of note.
“Lightweight is becoming very interesting, one of the marquee divisions. We will concentrate on this voluntary, and we don’t know who it’ll be. We will talk with Lou and Top Rank this week, see who’s in the rankings, hoping someone top 7-10.
“Richard fought on the Top Rank show (in February), there was one option (granted to Top Rank) to fight Loma. We are all a happy unit at the moment. That landscape is opening up. Loma has titles, you have Verdejo and also Ray Beltran over there, it’s interesting. Everything is amicable, we will see what Richard wants to do. We’ll have another round of talks.”
And in the meantime, Commey is digging NYC life; he’s lived in the Bronx for about 18 months.
“He loves the environment, the people, loves training with Andre. It’s going really, really well. He’s one of those guys, his main focus is training. He’s a very private guy, he loves to learn. He was talking to me this weekend about a new technique he is learning, he was so excited telling me about that. It was a massive topic of conversation, he spent half the day on it, and he was killed, so tired.
“For the next fight, we don’t really know. It’s possible June 28, I think from Top Rank, that’s all I know. Richard is excited to fight one day at Madison Square Garden, he hopes one day to top the bill there!”