Team Canada unhappy with handling of Contender weight problems
PATRICE TRUDEAU, trainer of Team Canada’s Dave ‘Fast and Furious’ Leblond, says he, and his fighter, find it “disrespectful” that Michael ‘Wasp’ Gardener did not make weight at yesterday’s weigh-in for their second-round Wray and Nephew Contender bout which was scheduled to take place at the Chinese Benevolent Association Auditorium tonight.
Leblond pulled out of the fight after Gardener registered 151lbs on the scale at the weigh-in, four pounds more than the welterweight class for this season’s competition. This was after he and other Canadian fighters had threatened not to compete should their opponents continue showing up overweight for fights, as had happened three times in the previous round.
“Team Leblond always makes all efforts in training and dieting to make sure that we meet, always, our opponents at the determined weight class,” Trudeau told The Gleaner. This is a part of pro boxing – honouring the nature of the sport. It is to meet on common ground. This is so disrespectful, for somebody to not make the weight, especially when he was pre-weighed even yesterday. This is total disrespect for the sport, total disrespect for his opponent and we’re not gonna fight him. This is a clear statement by the Canadian team that we will fight according to terms of the contracts and that respecting the contract is a display of sportsmanship and we call it the honourable art. It should be a nobrainer – you make the weight.”
Team Canada promoter Tyler Buxton also described the situation as “disrespectful.”
“It’s unbelievable, the lack of professionalism that they’re showing this year,” Buxton said. “It’s Wasp, it’s Nico Yeyo, it’s Fabian Tucker and the list goes on. Why are these fighters allowed to continue in the tournament when they don’t make weight? The tournament’s at 147lbs. You don’t make weight, you should not be in the tournament. Tsetsi Davis had the advantage all last year over his opponents and he was able to continue on. He was bigger than Leblond (in their bout last year), and he was able to continue on. Why?!”
Buxton was not impressed by Gardener’s demeanour at the weigh-in.
“Wasp had two hours to make weight and he was done after 15 minutes. After 15 minutes he said he could not make weight,” Buxton explained.
He also criticised Jamaica Boxing Board of Control general secretary, Leroy Brown, who declined to comment, for his handling of the matter.
“I spoke to Leroy and I said this is the exact reason why the board should not be interfering with a boxing promotion,” Buxton said. “There’s a contract. The contract is between the promoter and the fighter and they shouldn’t interfere. Last year, enough issues, but not as many as this year. Mainly it was just Tsetsi Davis, last year. But this year it seems to be everybody, not making weight.”
Brown, however, said that talks were under way to determine an alternate course of action, to ensure some activity takes place tonight.
Jamaica’s Michael Gardener watches Team Canada’s Jason Kelly fall to the canvas for the second time in round one during their Wray and Nephew contender fight at the Chinese Benevolent Association Auditorium in Kingston on May 2.