Jayson Mama arrived in South Africa last Wednesday to challenge IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane only to be told the fight, scheduled today, was cancelled. Mama’s manager J. C. Manangquil said the consolation was 10 percent of his $20,000 purse was paid before he left for home last Friday. Another Filipino boxer Jonas Sultan, who went through the same experience last March, wasn’t as lucky as he still hasn’t been paid the cancellation fee of at least 10 percent of his $8,000 purse to this day.
Sultan and trainer Edmund Villamor landed in South Africa last March 14. Upon arriving, they were advised that Sultan’s 10-round fight against Ricardo Malajika on March 21 was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. Sultan and Villamor took off for home the day after arriving with Golden Gloves Promotions head Rodney Berman promising to remit $2,000 – $1,000 for Sultan and $1,000 for Filipino matchmaker Bebot Elorde – with no specified deadline. Sultan was supposed to receive only $800 but Berman agreed to pay a little more. The problem is nobody knows when it will be paid.
When Sultan came home empty-handed, GAB chairman Baham Mitra shot an email to Berman. “We recognize that both your promotion as well as Mr. Sultan’s team are right now in the midst of this global pandemic,” wrote Mitra, “but we are hoping that Mr. Sultan, who other than pouring out money to train for the postponed fight, has also suffered financial setback as a result of this world crisis, will be paid his due entitlement.”
Berman replied curtly to Mitra, saying, “We respectfully fail to understand your communication … as we had already come to an agreement with our agent (Bebot) Elorde and between the fighter and the agent, $2,000 would be paid in compensation.” Despite the assurance, no money has been paid by Berman. Sultan, now in the US serving as IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas’ sparmate, confirmed the other day he has not received a single penny.
Elorde described Berman as “an honest man” and said he has no doubt the debt will be paid. “I trust he will pay $2,000,” he said. “But with this pandemic, baka medyo gipit pa rin siya. Susulatan ko si Rodney next month at baka lumuwag na sila. Rodney promised to pay Jonas $1,000 and for my services, $1,000 so total of $2,000. But unfortunately, he has not paid yet.” Elorde advanced the payment of South African visa fees and Philippine government travel tax for Sultan and Villamor so those expenses will be reimbursed by the $1,000 that Berman promised to him.
Mitra told Berman that “our mandate at GAB is to look after the welfare of our boxers and we hope you understand that we are just doing our job after we found out that Mr. Sultan went home empty-handed.” It has been nine months since Sultan arrived from South Africa. Mitra said he will follow up with Berman and ask what’s holding up the remittance.
The South African boxing federation said it did everything possible to save the Mthalane-Mama fight but “the promoter (Tono Promotions) has failed to meet basic requirements to enable sanction and give credibility to the event.” Unlike Berman, Tono Promotions paid Mama before he left for Manila. Mama, 23, prepared three months for the fight and said he knew exactly what to do to dethrone the 38-year-old Mthalane. His chance to battle Mthalane will come sooner or later. When it happens, the unbeaten General Santos City contender said there will be no Mama’s love for the South African.
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