2017 Contender: Champs or Chumps?
Jamaica Boxing Board of Control general secretary Leroy Brown has defended the decision to invite Canadian boxers in to this year's Wray and Nephew Contender Light-Middleweight Boxing Series, saying these fighters' were chosen because of good records on the amateur circuit.
The competition has been criticised over the past two seasons for featuring opponents which many say are not on the same level as local professionals, either because they do not have enough experience in the ring or because many of them have spent long periods inactive.
This criticism may seem fair as only four of the eight Canadians have six or more wins to their names, while four have only competed in four or less professional bouts.
However, Brown, refutes this saying that although these boxers' professional records may suggest they do not have enough experience, they have proven themselves on the
"Well we can only go on records, I don't see anybody on their list who is like (DeMarcus) Chop Chop Corley (last year's winner, who is a former World Boxing Organisation, light welterweight champion) but I see four or five boxers there with good enough records to show that they are competitive and I expect a very keen competition.
"We took a look at their amateur records because what their promoter said is that they have a couple of promising youngsters who have good amateur records and they are now coming into the pro field and we think they can hold their own. I had reservations about the boxers but on the Jamaican side, we're also looking at a couple of boxers who also don't have many fights."
During the 2015 season of the series, Kemahl "The Hitman" Russell, who went on to win the competition, said that he believed himself to be better than the opponents he faced and was just using the tournament to prepare for future bouts overseas and to potentially challenge for world titles.
His manager Leiza-Mae Keane, who is also the director of K'NRG Manage-ment, says that The Contender should be seen first of all as a television show for entertainment, then as an athletic competition.
"I'm not bashing The Contender because it is a platform, somewhat," Keane said.
"But for it to be a legitimate platform, the boxers have to have proper management. "You can put guys with talent in it. Look at Russell, he went in with three fights. They didn't think he was gonna do well but it gave him that platform.
"The Contender over the years is catering to the old boxers that carry the crowd. The Tsetsi Davis, the Richard Holmes the Devon Moncriffe - if none of those boxers make it to the final, The Contender is gonna have a problem."