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Low blow!

Mike King

Low blow!

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It is?scandalous for professional boxers to beg the Government and the public for funds.
Tyrone Downes, arguably the best and most accomplished pro fighter this country has produced, has given the thumbs down to professional boxers Shawn Terry Cox and Miguel “Hands of Stone” Antoine, for continuing to ask for money to prepare for fights.
“It’s wrong. Professional boxers don’t go around begging for sponsorship,” said Downes.
“It happened last December and just over a week ago, and I was disappointed. It’s unheard of in the sport.
“The promoter seeks the sponsorship but the boxers are not involved. But what is happening in Barbados is wrong. It does not reflect well when you hear a boxing promoter time and again on the radio crying out for help. That’s not the way to go,” he said.
Just last week, Cox and Antoine, along with Layne, their manager and promoter, threatened to quit the sport. Layne said the fighters had made their decisions based on the fact that their efforts were going unheralded.
The decisions came on the heels of the camp’s struggle to raise $40 000 required for participation in a lucrative World Boxing Council (WBC) qualifying tournament, slated for Guyana this weekend.
Speaking on telephone link-up from Georgetown yesterday, Layne said he had acquired three loans and though they were still “a little short”, all systems were go for the tournament.
Downes, who went toe-to-toe with Australia’s Jeff Fench for the WBC featherweight crown in 1988, said that any sponsors who wish to make a contribution to a professional fight card should go through the Boxing Board of Control.
“Any funds should go through the boxing board. In that way, you know that things got to happen. There are a lot of things that happen and sometimes the fights don’t even come off.
“There is a right way and a wrong way and the right way is to have funds deposited through the boxing board,” said Downes, who turned 55 yesterday.
Layne has said that he has approached both the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Sport for assistance, but to no avail.
Downes made it clear that Government has no obligation to provide monies to professionals, but could assist amateurs.
“Amateurs don’t get paid and it is within reason for the amateur association to seek help from the public or the Government. It is unbecoming for professionals to do so.
“That talk about retiring was merely a bluff,” he charged.
“If they retire, who is going to feed them? They have to get their act together.”
Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley has said the Government cannot be held responsible for the tardiness of individuals in seeking the ministry’s assistance for funding. In stressing his ministry’s commitment to the development of sports, Lashley maintained that a certain level of cooperation was expected from those involved.
Downes told the SATURDAY?SUN that professional boxing was down and almost out.
“As far as I see it, professional boxing here is going nowhere. We have about two or three decent fighters here, but that is about it.”
He said that Cox, was a good fighter but may have started his pro career too late.
“Cox is a good boy, but he was about 32 when he turned pro and that is late. It is going to be tough for him to get a crack at a world title. Boxing is something that just doesn’t happen overnight,”?Downes added.