Gerula beating Jelena creates buzz

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:10 AM ET

It didn't take long for the shock waves to travel from Edmonton to Las Vegas.

Ever since Jelena Mrdjenovich was relieved of her WBC super featherweight title by Winnipeg's Olivia Gerula on Apr. 9 at the Shaw Conference Centre, we've been inundated with e-mails from managers, trainers and fight fans in Sin City, where female boxing is always a hot topic.

"After reading Sun Media's coverage of the fight on the Internet, we are hereby issuing a challenge to fight Gerula anywhere, any time," wrote Luis Tapia, the trainer/manager of Vegas-based Layla McCarter, whose 31-13 record includes decisions over Mrdjenovich in 2008 and 2005. "If Gerula really wants to face the best pound-for-pound female fighter in the world, Layla will come down to 130 pounds to take the title from her."

Butch Gottlieb, Gerula's manager, also weighed in from the Nevada city, where he helms Infinity Boxing. "It was refreshing to read in your coverage that this is the first time (trainer) Milan Lubovac has actually acknowledged that Jelena did in fact lose," wrote Gottlieb. "I just wish she would have given credit to Olivia instead of blaming the judges for her loss - the same as she had done in all her previous losses.

"Jelena is a great fighter and a very nice young lady. It will be interesting to see where she goes from here, because there was no rematch clause in the contract and Olivia's next two fights are already set."

Another note came from a fan of WBC lightweight champ Ann Marie Saccurato, who defeated Mrdjenovich here in 2006. "According to your story, Gerula took the title by taking the fight right to Jelena - which is exactly what Saccurato did," wrote Mark Sempel. "My guess is that Jelena is finished. It sounds like her heart isn't in it anymore."

Mrdjenovich's promoter, KO Boxing's Glen Carriere, said this week that the former champ is "weighing her options", but wouldn't elaborate.

Immediately after losing her crown, the 26-year-old said she had no thoughts of retiring, but with Gerula now replacing her in a lucrative June title bout in Paris, it will likely be at least three months before we see Mrdjenovich back in the ring.

Dana's dilemma

"I can honestly tell you that I've never put on an event that I was embarrassed to be at until tonight. I want to publicly apologize to all the fans. We've got to do something. Watching that was tough to take. It was embarrassing, honestly. It was really and truly embarrassing."

Those were just some of the comments Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White made to Yahoo.com columnist Kevin Iole in the aftermath of the UFC 97 debacle in Montreal on April 18.

The object of White's vitriol was Anderson Silva, the "superstar" that White had previously hailed as the best fighter - and biggest draw - on the planet.

Yeah, right.

Silva managed to win an ugly decision over Thales Leites in the headliner at the Bell Centre, but the non-action left the 21,000 fans booing in disgust as Leites flopped to the deck like a frightened trout every time Silva threatened to throw a punch.

Coming on the heels of another stinker - the first-round, career-ending KO of "legendary" Chuck Liddell by Mauricio Rua - the double whammy only underlined what we've been saying here all along: the UFC in these cartoon match-ups really stands for Utterly Farcical Crap.

Britain's best?

As part of the buildup to junior welterweight champ Ricky Hatton's May 2 title defence against Manny Pacquiao, BBC Sport this week unveiled its list of Britain's Top 10 post-war fighters. Former world lightweight champ Ken Buchanan of Scotland, who narrowly defeated Edmonton's Al Ford in 1972, is ranked No. 1, followed by heavyweight Lennox Lewis and featherweight Barry McGuigan.

Rounding out the Top 10 are: featherweight Naseem Hamed; featherweight Howard Winstone; welterweight Lloyd Honeyghan; light heavyweight Freddie Mills; light heavyweight John Conteh; middleweight Nigel Benn; and middleweight Randy Turpin.

If nothing else, the BBC guys get top marks for credibility by not including 'Hemoglobin' Henry Cooper, the sanguinary '60s heavyweight who repeatedly refused to risk his Commonwealth title against Canada's George Chuvalo, whom Cooper called "too rough."


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