December 16, 2019
THE BEGINNING OF THE END: Ghana’s Richard Commey’s reign as King of IBF lightweights was brought to its knees by the USA’s Teofimo Lopez, last Saturday.
December is often a month to remember, around the world, particularly for Christians, for all kinds of occasions, parties, travel, family reunions, enactments, and more importantly, devotions.
Yet, Ghana Boxing has had a disastrous history with December, the hallowed month turning out to be an impostor to it.
It has turned out to be a bootleg, a forgery, big on pretence, a traitor to the cause of Ghana Boxing which churns out history, jubilation and celebration, only for December to upend all that into annihilation, capitulation, even humiliation, lately.
H. O. F. Azumah Nelson set it off with jubilation and celebration, giving Ghanaians a sweet Christmas experience, on December 8, 1984, when he stormed San Juan, Puerto Rico, to conquer the heroic Wilfredo Gomez in the 11th of their scheduled 12-round WBC featherweight title showdown.
Yet, the Sunyani-Prodigy, Nana Yaw Konadu suffered the loss of his WBA bantamweight crown he won from Veeraphol Sahaprom (on Jan. 28, 1996) to Johnny Tapia on Dec. 5, 1998, spoiling the atmosphere for Ghanaians, turning it into a spoiler for that year’s Christmas.
Ike Quartey also lost his final fight to Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright on Dec. 2, 2006 but he had already lost the heartbreaker to Oscar de La Hoya (Feb. 13, 1999), then lost to Fernando Vargas (April 15, 2000), and Vernon Forest (August 5, 2006). So, the Winky Wright loss carried no sting.
Dec. 7, 2013, Joseph Agbeko lost the chance to reclaim world prominence, missing out on the double titles at stake, the WBA Super world super bantam and the WBO world super bantam titles at the hands of Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Dec. 2, 2006, Joshua Clottey missed out on chance to become the WBO welterweight king, thanks to an unanimous decisioning at the hands of the cheat, Antonio Margarito. Yet, Clottey made amends when he snatched the vacant IBF title on Aug. 2, 2008, at the expense of Zab Judah, only to lose in the very next fight to Miguel Cotto in a split decision on June 13, 2009, with the WBO welterweight title at stake, too, at the Madison Square Gardens.
Incidentally, Cotto had also infamously lost to a common conqueror, Antonio Margarito – thanks to illegal plaster hand-wrap transgressions – on July 26, 2008.
Dec. 2, 2016, Emmanuel Tagoe dominated Mzonke Fana at the Bukom Boxing Arena, the hallowed ground of Ghana Boxing, to capture the vacant IBO lightweight title, which he later relinquished.
Yet, Dec. 8, 2018 wiped out Ghanaian joy when Isaac Dogboe got a comprehensive beatdown by Emanuel Navarrete, losing his WBO super bantamweight title, for which he gamely fought a rematch, to even worse battery in May, 2019.
Richard Commey restored the nation’s joy on Feb. 2, this year, when he kayoed Isa Chaniev in two explosive rounds to ascend the throne as king of IBF lightweights.
Yet, December turned kryptonite, again, to Ghana Boxing, dishing out the most stinging defeat to her cause, when the superstitious, yet super-accurate aggressor, Teofimo Lopez, TKOd the defenceless Commey in R2 of their scheduled showdown, at the Madison Square Gardens, last Saturday.
It is a loss even atypical boxing fans can’t yet figure out, seeking answers to many questions on their minds, some so shocked, it seems as though it were a mirage.
At the very least, it has robbed Ghana of the only world champion she had, and left Ghana Boxing bereft of a global symbol of excellence, to maintain Ghana’s status as a destination of world champions.
Once again, December has managed to dismember the mood gradually sparking joy in some Ghanaians for a festive Christmas, and turned it into an haunting memory of another disaster whose lessons Ghana Boxing cannot dis-remember!!!
PICTURE: courtesy ringtv.com