Ismayl Sillakh’s Manager Ivaylo Gotzev Says, “Jean Pascal Should Not Get Rewarded For Hand-Picking Opponents”
By William Trillo
Photo: Bret “The Threat” Newton
Ivaylo Gotzev, manager of undefeated light heavyweight sensation Ismayl Sillakh has never been one to mince his words and when I asked him about Jean Pascal deciding to fight Zsolt Erdei instead of facing his WBC mandated fight with Sillakh, Gotzev exclaimed, “Pascal has given us every bitch excuse he could find, he led us along and strung us along. The WBC gave the go ahead to fight for the number one mandatory position and basically what Pascal did was pooped his pants because he realized he was going to have to face Ismayl Sillakh. He didn’t want to fight us, which meant he went for his other option, a 37 year old Zsolt Erdei. It’s not that he (Erdei) is a bad fighter, but he ain’t great. Furthermore he is no Ismayl Sillakh, he is not even in the same league. None of these guys want to give Sillakh a shot, they are all worried about him.”
I reminded Gotzev that the last time any of us heard about Zsolt Erdei is when he backed out of his title fight with Tavoris Cloud at the end of last year.
“That’s exactly what he did. So I guess we are going to be having a chicken fight. These two chickens, Pascal and Erdei, will fight but one of them has to win, and then the winner can face Sillakh,” said Gotzev.
Sooner or later these guys are going to have to fight Sillakh, but in the meantime, this running away from him is very frustrating for both Gotzev and Sillakh.
“Yes, it is frustrating but I have been in this business for 20 years, I know what’s happening. Managers and promoters are protecting their guys from fighters like Sillakh because they know they are going to lose. In the meantime Ismyal had a fight sanctioned by the WBC to take on Pascal for the mandatory, but now Pascal will fight Erdei. I think any court of law would see fit to put Sillakh as the mandatory challenger since Pascal doesn’t want to fight him. In my mind Ismyal should get the winner of the Chad Dawson vs. Bernard Hopkins WBC title fight.”
Looking over the light heavyweight landscape I wondered aloud if maybe Gotzev might target another one of the champs now that Pascal threw a monkey wrench into their plans.
“We want what is right,” said Gotzev, “and that’s our shot at the WBC belt. One way or another that has got to happen. Then once we win that belt we will look at unifying the belts with all the other light heavyweight champions. We want the best fights and the best opposition. There is no doubt in my mind Ismayl is the best light heavy in the world and it is just a matter of time before he gets on top.”
Considering how Sillakh climbed up in the rankings without a blemish and the announcement that the Pascal mandatory fight was imminent, I wanted to know how the entire team took the news when Pascal backed out.
“This situation left a very bitter taste in our mouths because we were mislead. We believed GYM’s Yvon Michel was going to come through and keep his promises…he didn’t. Of course that is not a first in boxing but it was a difficult pill to swallow. What I am suggesting is someone take a look at this very closely. I do not think Pascal should be rewarded for handpicking opponents. There are a lot of good tough fights out there and that’s what boxing desperately needs, the best fighting the best. But you know what, it’s still the same B.S. game and that’s why we are losing out to sports like MMA because they do have the best fighting the best.”
In closing Gotzev may have very well spoke for every lover of the sweet science when he said, “There is no reason boxing can’t do the same, (fight the best with the best). We have some great and exciting fighters right now and we need to put them in the ring together to make boxing the great sport it once was.”
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