Leon Margules, President of Warriors Boxing and co-promoter of super middleweight contender Donovan “Da Bomb” George (22-1-1, 19 KO’s), says pulling George out of his fight against Librado Andrade was the hardest decision he’s had to make during his career as a promoter… but it was definitely the right one.
George was scheduled to face the tough veteran Andrade (30-4, 23 KO’s) in a 12-round International Boxing Federation super middleweight title elimination fight Saturday night at the Froilan Lopez Baseball Field in Cozumel, Mexico, but a huge discrepancy in the size of the ring forced Margules to make a very tough call.
“The contract said (event promoter) Golden Boy will use their best efforts to get a 20′x20′ ring. The ring was exactly 15′ inside. I’ve never even heard of a ring that small. So, we talked about it as a team and decided to pull the fight. The IBF stood behind us. Donovan’s father and fiancée thanked me for standing up for them. Raul Jaimes and Robert Diaz from Golden Boy were very understanding. Even Andrade’s trainer said he would have done the same thing.”
Margules says George would have fought anyway because it’s his nature, but part of his function as promoter is to care about his fighters’ well-being. “This was the kind of thing any father would do for their kid. When I’ve got a fighter who is supposed to fight in the middle of the ring and there is no middle of the ring because it’s smaller than any ring I’ve ever even seen – it’s not right to push him out there against a world-class guy who thrives on phone-booth warfare. That’s not doing my best to protect my fighter and give him an even chance at winning every fight.”
“I do not believe Golden Boy Promotions would do something like this intentionally, but relied on others to handle obtaining an adequate ring for a world-title elimination fight”, says Margules. “The fact is, Golden Boy are very competent promoters. They told me a local promoter made the mistake. I give them the benefit of the doubt. As a company with tremendous integrity, all they need to do now is figure out how to make it right for both fighters.”
While a decision like this is not made easily or often, Margules says the congratulations and recognition he has received from other boxing insiders has been reassuring. “I haven’t heard one competent boxing guy tell me I did anything but the right thing. When my fighter gets to the venue on fight night and says ‘How am I going to fight in that ring, I thought you told me the ring would be 20 feet?’ he’s already mentally handicapped. He would have fought if we asked him to, but there was no way I was going to let him. This is the biggest fight of his life and he’s worked very, very hard to get here. There’s no way I’m going to let him risk it all in a fight when the other guy has an unfair advantage based on styles. That is why I insisted on a 20 by 20 foot ring in the contract. I would protect my fighter the same way if it ever happened again.”