Boxing Snippets

Angry Berman threatens Budler pullout

Hekkie Budler marching down yet another opponent. Pic: Yolanda van der Stoep

Rodney Berman has been in the boxing business long enough to learn one of the most important maxims – never sell your fighter down the river.

They are valuable commodities, more so boxers who are loyal and compete at the highest level.

This explains why he is on the verge of pulling Hekkie Budler out of his IBF light-flyweight title shot against Milan Melindo in the Philippines on September 16.

Not only is Budler being accommodated in an obscure hotel, there is no gym in close proximity and he and his team will have to navigate Cebu by taxi. What’s more, the local promoter is paying only for two rooms. The IBO champion must shack up with trainer Colin Nathan while cornermen Vusi Mtolo and Bernie Peilman would have to double up.

Given the status of the fight and what’s at stake, Berman has understandably baulked at the arrangements, making the point that visiting fighters hosted by Golden Gloves receive top-level treatment at Emperors Palace.

“I’ve sent a letter of protest,” he explained. “I can’t sell a fighter down the river. It’s hard enough to win on the road, more so when the cards are stacked against you. Frankly, if the Filipinos don’t make a plan, we’ll be staying home.”

Anticipating resistance to his complaints, Berman has already pencilled Budler in for the October 21 tournament at Emperors.

He concedes that this might be wasting a fantastic title opportunity, but with every effort being made to kibosh Budler’s chances, the argument might as well be moot.



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