By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing. -
The fight game can be as close to
prostitution as one can get! Fighters get screwed, as well as
trainers and cut-men. Managers and even promoters get screwed. As
Francis Walker, then executive secretary of the Pennsylvania Boxing
Commission once told me “it’s the type of business everyone wants
to see the other guy fail!”
When this writer read of the signing of
Pawel Wolak by Cameron Dunkin I was not surprised. I was told by
someone who is close to the situation that Wolak was in Las Vegas
seeking a manager. Dunkin’s name was the first one to pop up into
my mind. When Wolak’s manager Ivan Edwards signed Wolak with Top
Rank the handwriting was on the wall. When the manager’s contract
was up he was gone! Granted if it wasn’t Dunkin it would be
“I put my heart and soul into this
fighter from his first fight 7 years ago. I pushed for this ESPN
fight. I hand-picked Delvin Rodriguez, 25-5-2, and went to his
matchmaker Ron Katz and his promoter Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing. I
knew they had a fight scheduled on ESPN and he had Rodriguez and it
would be a good fight for both. Wolak was very happy with my choice
and about being on the network. He was smiling ear to ear. He used
the exposure to screw me. I was given no indication he was
dissatisfied. He gave me a verbal agreement he would re-sign with
me,” said Edwards. Wolak had put him off several times with
This writer first saw Wolak in his
seventeenth fight defeating Jonathan Reid, 34-7, at Wildwood, NJ.
Reid was on the decline having lost 6 of his last 7 fights starting
with a loss to Jesse Brinkley in 2004 on “The Contender”. To me
Wolak was nothing special at the time except a hard working club
fighter. In 2 of his next 3 fights he was put in with fighters with
built-up records. First, 39 year-old Dupre Strickland, 18-2-1, who
had just been shut-out by John Duddy. Wolak took him out in 2 rounds
and Strickland retired from boxing. The other was Troy Browning,
20-1-1, who lost his previous fight to one Delvin Rodriguez losing
all 10 rounds on 2 score cards.
This set the stage to fight yet another
“Contender” participant in Ishe Smith, 19-3, who had lost 2 of
his last 3 fights. Wolak would lose for the first and only time so
far in his career. Edwards had him right back the following month
with a club fighter and then 2 more “Contender” boxers in
Norberto Bravo, 27-16-3 and Vinroy Barrett, 22-7. Then his “second”
test against Brazil’s Carlos Nascimento, 24-1, whose only loss was
a world title challenge. This was another fighter with a built-up
record. This win was followed by Ishmail Arvin, 15-1-4, James Moore,
17-2 and Jose Pinzon19-1-1. All fighters with good records whose
competition was not shall we say against the best.
In March of this year Wolak defeated
former WBA champion Yuri Foreman, 28-1, who was coming off a
devastating loss to Miguel Cotto. This win put Wolak high into the
world ratings at No. 3 in the WBA/WBO, No. 8 in the IBF and No. 12 in
the WBC. There still was no title fight. They needed some TV
exposure. That is when Edwards sealed the deal with DeGuardia for
the ESPN2 show. Rodriguez was stepping up in weight after being off
a year and losing 3 of his last 4 fights.
With a damaged right eye Wolak showed
the heart of a lion battling it out with Rodriguez whose accuracy
paid off with one of the judges while the other 2 called it a draw.
Fight of the year? Both fighters stock shot sky high. Who wouldn’t
want to see a re-match? Talk was Top Rank would have them under
Cotto-Margarito with the winners facing each other next. In talking
with Rodriguez recently that is what he was expecting next in his
“Wolak had no interest in fighting
Rodriguez again prior to our separation when we discussed a rematch.
He expressed that he was annoyed that I would bring up a re-match.
He felt that Rodriguez exposed him and why would I do that to him
again? I was puzzled and in disbelief. I said to myself this is a
fighter that claims to be such a warrior? He just fought the fight
of the year and is refusing a rematch”, said Edwards.
Seems Wolak may be looking at a
Cornelius “K9” Bundrage IBF title bout. The champion won his
title in August of 2010 and defended it against top contender Sechew
Powell June 25th. “He is desperate to fight Bundrage. He spoke of
that fight in detail. I guess because the champ is older (38) and
has been in some tough fights he is viewed as vulnerable,” said
Wolak is 29-1-1, and will be 30 next
month. He’s a Polish immigrant who could be on the threshold of a
world title fight and the biggest purse of his career. He has stated
publicly he had intentions prior to his last fight of re-signing with
Edwards. What happened? All but 3 of his fights were either in New
Jersey or New York providing a hometown crowd advantage. Everyone
knew Edwards was an aggressive hard working manager that pushed for
Wolak and had him in the right fights and with the biggest promoter
in the business now. Did the lights of Las Vegas blind him or was it
a suit case full of bonus money?
This writer tries to make it a policy
if I don’t get a return call from someone I hope to write on, there
won’t be a return call. Wolak never returned my call last year
when I planned a story on him at Edward’s request. He’s gotten
enough exposure with his feelings and to me it’s the same old
story. Once the “little guy” get’s you to the top he just
doesn’t fit in with the “big guys” anymore. Will the people
still be interested in seeing Wolak if he doesn’t fight Rodriguez
next? Only time will tell but in this business usually what comes
around goes around!
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