Sports Features of 2014-06-04

Banku - Powers rematch in Kumasi will be a fiasco

If there was any single sporting event in Ghana that succeeded in luring many sports personalities into the Accra Sports Stadium in recent times, then it was the Bukom Banku-Ayittey Powers catch-weight showdown on May 15, 2014.
As a result of the euphoria generated by both boxers even before they signed the fight contract, interest in hardcore boxing fans, including passive followers of the pugilistic sports, was ignited.
Their war of words at numerous media appearances, as they threatened to slaughter each other in the ring, as well as the spiritual warfare started by Powers, who forced a rescheduling of the original April 18 clash, citing advice from his spiritual father, followed by Bukom Banku’s surprise trip to Kumasi to confer with his spiritual father, succeeded in creating a lot of hype around the fight, making it one of the most anticipated events of the year.
Tension created in the run up to the big fight, especially at the mandatory weigh-in ceremony, where supporters of both combatants heckled one another, and the confidence exuded by the boxers provided a lot of talking points, which eventually kept the fight on the frontburner of discussionss in Ghana.
Whether by design or accident, all the various scenarios that engulfed the fight did not only create the needed suspense and buzz that reached fever pitch just before the first round begun, but also created the wrong impression that the non-title bout would be one of the toughest ever witnessed in the nation’s capital since the famous David Kotei Poison-Danny ‘Little Red’ Lopez World Featherweight Boxing title bout staged at the Accra Sports Stadium in 1976.
War of words
The fight records of the two boxers were also a good pointer to the direction of the fight, and so did it turn out as a one-way traffic. For the records, Powers had won only 18 (14 knockouts) of his 43 fights, and lost as many as 24, while his rival, Bukom Banku, went into the fight with an unblemished record of winning all 26 fights, including 18 knockouts.
On face value therefore, one wondered why a promoter would invest in, and hype up a fight in which one of the boxers had lost more fight than he had won, while the other fighter had a frightening record, and was still on top of his game. Ironically, within the boxing community, such a fight was important because it was not only long overdue, but also likely to be a potential jackpot to rake in the cash for a smart promoter.
Ayittey Powers had no power
Apart from the first three rounds where the Powerlesss Ayittey Powers created the impression of carrying some arsenals that could be unleashed during infighting to end the career of Bukom Banku, he never showed that he belonged to the class of boxers Ghana had produced in the persons of D.K Poison, Shulley Shittu, Barimah Professor Azuma Nelson, Kofi Jantua, Ike Quartey, Joshua Clottey among others.
As if the fight had been pre-arranged to travel the full distance, Braima Kamoko who before the fight vowed to slaughter his opponent in the sixth round, also failed miserably to take out his opponent when the opportunity presented itself on several occasion.
Pre-arranged fight?
The fight could have ended by the sixth round as predicted to save boxing fans the agony of watching that one-way traffic context, but even at the time Ayittey Powers could hardly protect his face due to fatigue, Bukom Banku merely brushed his opponent’s face with his gloves.
That is why one fails to understand why Ayittey Powers is calling for a rematch with the flimsy excuse that his opponents was heavier than him.As a boxer, he should go into history lines to know that on September 21, 1985, Michael Spinks became the first reigning light-heavyweight boxer to win a heavyweight title by decisioning the then reigning champion, Larry Holmes, in a 15-round context.
Holmes was heavier with longer reach than his light-heavyweight opponent, but eventually he lost his title, as well as a rematch fight to the same man. There are other light weight boxers who have defeated their opponents who were much more heat
Rematch at Garden City?
If the fight had been a little closer, where Ayittey Powers had offered just a little opposition in the 12-round context, boxing fans would have agitated for a rematch, but for this particular fight, where both boxers behaved as if they were more interested in the purse rather than exhibiting their boxing prowess, how many fans will avail themselves to witness such a fight.
News going round indicates that both boxers had agreed for the rematch with one of them proposing that he would only fight if the context was staged in the Garden City.
I am wondering how that boxer got the impression that Kumasi fans will pay to watch such a fight. If nothing will induce boxing fans in Accra to pay to watch such a rematch, why should those in Kumasi who watched the fight on TV and realised that Ayittey Powers was only thriving on his past glory be keen on watching it. Any rematch fight between Ayittey Powers and Bukom Banku staged in Kumasi will be a fiasco and the promoter will lose miserably, mark my words.