This week I had a flash back on two articles I wrote on IBF Jr. Middleweight champion Kassim ‘The Dream’ Ouma, 21-1-1 (13). They were entitled “Introducing Kassim Ouma” and “Now you know Kassim Ouma”. At this point boxing fans have had their introduction and fighters have a definite awareness of the champion from Uganda. Just like any champion, Ouma wants to go to the next level; that level will take him straight to the very top.
On the surface, a certain sense of unbiased reporting is supposed to be present in journalism; but for any sports writer, announcer, etc. to say that the fan in them doesn’t surface at times is telling you a bold faced lie. The trials and tribulations, as well as progressions that have taken place with Ouma have admittedly turned me into a definite fan. Letting this be known can sometimes diminish the opinion of certain journalists, because there is that sense of perceived favoritism when one speaks or writes about someone. In the case of Ouma and myself, I think it’s just a case of telling a story; one that is based on fact - not fiction.
Boxing has had many champions in the true sense of the word. These champions have had a willingness to face any and all to prove that they are the best. Ouma now finds himself on the same road that many fighters have traveled; it’s a journey to face the best, but the best are hesitant to accept the challenge. What’s a fighter to do?
Ouma has publicly made his aspirations known and has called out the best by name. With his native Ugandan accent, names like Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright, 48-3 (25), Bernard ‘The Executioner’ Hopkins, 46-2-1 (32), Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad, 42-1 (35) and whoever is the perceived best have rolled off the tongue of Ouma; no one has answered his call. But my being a fan doesn’t overshadow reality, as I have to acknowledge that boxing is not only a sport, but a business. The aforementioned fighters have earned their respect and they are at a level at which acknowledgment comes not only from the level of their competition, but also the level of their pay.
Fights like the up-coming May 14th bout between Felix Trinidad vs. ‘Winky’ Wright, is one that can stand on its own merit. The proposed Hopkins vs. Jermain Taylor bout is another thing in itself as the label of ‘heir apparent’ is one that gives off a sense of being media made when it is attached to Taylor. It’s the media mind trick in which, if you say something enough times, people begin to believe. If this is the case, then let me say that Kassim Ouma deserves a shot Kassim Ouma deserves a shot Kassim Ouma deserves a shot.
Realistically, the fan/writer combination in me can’t help but surfaces when a fighter like Jermain Taylor is courted with an opportunity to fight for the Undisputed Middleweight title and Ouma is left in the cold. Ouma, like he has done with Wright, practically begged Hopkins last week for the opportunity that Taylor and his handlers are balking at. He is ready to follow in the foot steps of Zab Judah and is willing to take what’s monetarily thrown at him, in essence seeing the bigger picture. The money will come after he beats that signature name.
Wright and Hopkins themselves have traveled this road from which they have knocked on virtual doors, with fighters looking through the peep holes, but were hesitant to answer. Trinidad and Shane Mosley did open their doors, enabling Hopkins and Wright to bust the doors down and take up residence. Fans, you know Kassim Ouma continue to spread the word. Fighters, Ouma is knocking at your doors - which means there goes your neighborhoods..
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