No ‘slave wages’ as Hekkie turns down shot at ti­tle

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

HEKKIE Budler has spurned the of­fer of a crack at the IBF ti­tle with pro­moter Rod­ney Ber­man, say­ing he wouldn’t let him fight for “slave wages”.

Budler’s man­age­ment team and Golden Gloves Pro­mo­tions (GGP) had to weigh up the op­por­tu­nity against the money on the ta­ble, terms they found un­ten­able con­sid­er­ing Budler’s sta­tus as a mul­ti­ple world cham­pion.

The IBO light-fly­weight cham­pion was of­fered $10 000 (ap­prox R134 000) to fight Mi­lan Melindo in the Philippines.

This was seen by his han­dlers as a de­risory deal given the risks at­tached, plus his re­cent purses, which were far su­pe­rior.

More­over, were he to win, he would be locked into a twofight deal with the Fli­ipino’s man­age­ment with terms that were equally or­di­nary.

In the first in­stance, he would have to grant Melindo a re­match for a $15 000 purse. In the sec­ond, he would earn $20 000 against an op­po­nent mu­tu­ally agreed by Melindo’s team and his own.

“It was a great op­por­tu­nity, but those terms were so dis­ap­point­ing,” said trainer Colin Nathan. “I can’t al­low Hekkie to en­ter into a slave con­tract.”

Ber­man was equally scorn­ful, say­ing this was what hap­pens to many fighters who aren’t prop­erly han­dled.

“I’ve gone on record many times say­ing we are chas­ing down big uni­fi­ca­tion fights, but I would be do­ing Hekkie a great dis­ser­vice if I agreed to these terms.

“He’s a high-pro­file fighter, who has earned his sta­tus the hard way. It’s hard enough go­ing to Asia to fight ... we’d only do so if the money made sense.”

Mean­while, Manny Pac­quiao has backed a call ask­ing the WBO to re­view the con­tro­ver­sial points de­ci­sion that saw Aus­tralia’s Jeff Horn cap­ture the Filipino great’s wel­ter­weight world ti­tle in Bris­bane on Sun­day.

Horn im­proved his un­beaten record to 17-0-1 af­ter the judges scored the bout 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113 in the 29-year-old’s favour but many ob­servers ques­tioned the out­come, say­ing the of­fi­cials had made a “home­town de­ci­sion”.

While Horn dis­missed crit­i­cism of his win, the reg­u­la­tory body of pro­fes­sional sport in the Philippines, the Games and Amuse­ment Board (GAB), re­quested a “thor­ough re­view” of the fight on Mon­day and the 38-year-old Pac­quiao has backed their de­mand.

“WBO should take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion on the let­ter sent by the GAB so as not to erode the peo­ple’s in­ter­est in box­ing,” eight-di­vi­sion world cham­pion Pac­quiao said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

“On my part, I had al­ready ac­cepted the de­ci­sion but as a leader and, at the same time, fighter, I have the moral obli­ga­tion to up­hold sports­man­ship, truth and fair­ness in the eyes of the public.”

“I love box­ing and I don’t wanna see it dy­ing be­cause of (an) un­fair de­ci­sion and of­fi­ci­at­ing.”

On Tues­day, the WBO said that the de­ci­sion could not be re­versed and high­lighted the re­match clause in both fighters’ con­tracts.

“The dis­cre­tion of a ref­eree or judge can­not be re­versed, ex­cept in a case of fraud or vi­o­la­tion of laws, which is not the case in Pac vs Horn,” the or­gan­i­sa­tion said on their Twit­ter ac­count.

“The con­tract for Pac vs Horn pro­vides a re­match clause, which the WBO is in ac­cor­dance if the pro­mot­ers de­cide to move for­ward.”

It was Pac­quiao’s sev­enth loss in 68 bouts. – ANA and Reuters

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