Shortchanged

By Robert Ecksel on September 10, 2012
Shortchanged
Charles Whittaker is an honorable man and he will honor his commitment to fight on NBC.


We love boxing’s millionaires. They give form to our belief that boxing is redemptive. But for every boxing millionaire there are hundreds of fighters that are struggling to survive. They are no less disciplined and ambitious than their wealthy brethren. They may simply be less fortunate.

When USBA junior middleweight champion Charles Whittaker headlines the 12-round main event on NBC on September 21, he’ll be fighting for a paltry $6,000 purse. Currently ranked #2 by the IBF, Whittaker takes on #3 Gabriel Rosado for the #1 spot and a chance to fight world champion Cornelius Bundrage.

Whittaker, 38 years old and a nearly 20-year veteran of the sport, captured the USBA title and then the #2 IBF ranking in successive fights in 2011. And admirably, he did it without a major promoter to pave his way. Teamed with long-time manager Raul Alvarez, the two men have thus far managed to stay independent in this difficult business. But their independence has come at a price.

Promoters by and large wield the power in boxing, and Main Events, Rosado’s promoter, asserted its power when it won the right to stage the IBF eliminator for a meager $10,000.

When the IBF ordered the eliminator and gave the two sides two full weeks to negotiate the fight, Main Events matchmaker Russell Peltz extended a $15,000 offer to Whittaker. Alvarez, instead of simply saying yes, did what a manager is supposed to do—he attempted to negotiate on behalf of his fighter. But Peltz refused to speak with him. Just four days after the IBF had asked the two sides to negotiate, Peltz informed the IBF that he was not willing to participate in negotiations and requested an immediate purse bid. Alvarez continued to try to speak with Peltz, but quickly came to realize that it is tough to carry on a conversation when the other side doesn’t pick up the phone and doesn’t return messages. This bully strategy served Main Events’ interests as it was the sole bidder at the IBF-ordered purse bid, which made winning easy.

Main Events knew what it was up against: an independent boxer and his manager who did not have the financial resources to compete with a big promoter. And it acted in its own best interests, winning the right to stage the fight for bottom dollar. Shortly after the purse bid, ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael wrote: “If the fighters agree to the bout, Main Events almost certainly would bump up the purses from the paltry figure they would technically be due under the terms of the purse bid, especially with the company having six-figure dates on NBC Sports Net.” Rafael was wrong about Main Events. The promoter, in spite of its “six-figure dates on NBC Sports Net” and the fact that Whittaker is headlining one of those dates, has refused to offer Whittaker a penny more than the $6,000 he is due under the purse bid.

Charles Whittaker is an honorable man and he will honor his commitment to fight. On Friday, September 21, he will step into the ring ready to fight 12 full rounds, and ready to entertain those at home watching NBC and the full house that is expected at Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. And though he won’t be sharing in the profits generated by NBC and by the ticket buyers that fill the arena, he plans to use the paltry purse that Main Events is paying him as motivation when he takes on the Main Events fighter sharing the ring with him. 

Taking something positive out of a bad situation may be an impressive trait—but it doesn’t change the injustice being perpetrated against Charles Whittaker.

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  1. Joe 09:40am, 09/12/2012

    6K purse for a fight with this much visability is pathetic.  Hope this guy gets paid somewhere down the road.  I thought the community was fortunate to have the likes of Duva and Peltz based on all the rhetoric we’ve heard over the years.  Sounds to much like boxing business as usual… I thought Don King was pretty much out of the sport.

  2. Method13 05:54pm, 09/11/2012

    Why did the manager not take the 15k or bid on the fight? He had the opportunity to lock in the 15k but opted to go to the purse bid where no one from his camp bid on the fight? Sounds like he is crying over spilled milk to me. Call the wambulance!!!

  3. barney 05:53pm, 09/10/2012

    This one is a little tough to swallow.  Kathy Duva and Russell Peltz taking advtantage of Whittaker?  Not so sure about that.  Looks to me like Whittaker had a chance to make $15,000 and blew it.  Why didn’t his agent bid for the fight like Duva did?  I do not agree with this writer.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 09:43am, 09/10/2012

    Robert Ecksel- Almost forgot….your heart is in the right place, as shown by this finely crafted, thought provoking article.

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 09:25am, 09/10/2012

    Dang! I’m high on Rosado, but this isn’t right! Memo to Whittaker: Do not allow your back to touch the ropes….period! At some point he’s going to try to bull you to the ropes so he can step to the side and throw those uppercuts…that’s when you slide right out of there! I can only imagine what your paycheck will look like after expenses, but it’s not nearly enough to be on the receiving end of those nasty uppercuts which are in fact his best power punches.

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