PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                          March 18, 2010


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Disappointing news came yesterday (03/17/10) that Steve Cunningham's long awaited and much deserved shot at his old IBF cruiserweight championship has been indefinitely postponed.

Originally slated to go down in Sunrise, FL and be televised by ESPN2 on March 19th, Cunningham versus Matt Godfrey received a site upgrade and a seven-day pushback a few weeks ago. Cory Spinks was added to the card and it was announced that the spruced-up show would move to Treasure Island in Las Vegas one week later, March 26th. The TV broadcast stayed put.

But now the fight appears off completely, thanks to a contract dispute between promoter Don King and ESPN2. No future date was mentioned.

This is extremely bad news for Cunningham and his fans, who have waited patiently for the former champ to get another crack at the belt he lost to Tomasz Adamek, who refused to grant him a rematch. After much delay and quiet in the usually noisy world of boxing, Cunningham not only landed a mandatory shot at the vacant IBF crown, he finally secured a live TV date, which for some reason is confounding rarity. Things were looking up. But now Cunningham must go back to his waiting game. This guy cannot catch a break!

However in the wake of this news, Cunningham has kept it together and retained his always-positive attitude. From training camp at Big Bear, Steve said via his Facebook page, that he'd wait for his opportunity, whenever it comes. He then did his usual roadwork and hit the gym, regardless of the fact that he knows not when he'll next fight.

This was to be Cunningham's last fight under promotional contract with Don King. So the freedom represented by the end of that relationship still eludes the West Philly boxer. Most fighters dream of being signed by Don King. For Cunningham it has been pretty much a nightmare. King has held him back in so many ways over the course of their alliance.

How is it that one of the most powerful promoters in the world can't get this all-American boy and Navy Vet a TV fight? Even in the ultra-flag-waving days in which we currently live? It is true that King's promotional power has been slipping in recent years, but not so much that he can't get that done. No, King has held Cunningham back. Who knows why?

When Cunningham does wriggle free from DKP, there is not a promoter out there who couldn't do a better job with him. Eventually hi freedom will come. Let's hope that USS Cunningham isn't on the senior circuit by then.

The one bright side to this whole mess is that perhaps the fight with Rhode Island's Matt Godfrey will bounce over to the East Coast where it belongs.

The optimist in me who looks for good omens in everything that happens has found the ultimate silver lining to all of this. Perhaps FATE is a Philly boxing fan. And any Philly boxing fan would not want Cunningham's regaining of the title to be overshadowed by Eddie Chambers landing the heavyweight title. So perhaps that's it. Maybe Chambers really will pull the upset this Saturday. Perhaps both of our guys are destined to bring the championship back to Philadelphia. And if the timing of their victories is spread out a little bit more, both boxers can enjoy their time in the sun and the fans can show them both the proper amount of appreciation. There can be too much of a good thing.

If both Cunningham and Chambers were to win their respective big fights less than one week apart, they'd have to compete for attention, compete for interviews talk radio, compete for newspaper covers, and compete for coverage on the local newscasts. Now if they both win, say a few months apart,  the only thing they'll have to compete for is the 2010 Briscoe Award.

Eddie - Good luck on Saturday!  This is your moment.
Steve - good luck whenever it happens. You will be champion again.




John DiSanto - News & Notes - March 18, 2010