'Local boxing is alive and well'

Top boxing promoter Rodney Berman differs completely with experts who say local boxing is depressing.

He said most people unfairly compare the current crop of local fighters to the heroes of yesteryear.

Comparatively it is like chalk and cheese but it does not warrant the state of emergency. There is no crisis, Berman said.

"The brand of sportsmen from the 1970s in different sporting codes just cannot be compared competitively to any that exists currently," he said.

"But the skill did not matter much. Crude power and endurance were the much-needed tools."

Berman said the fight game changed in the 1980s when boxing became a sport to entertain.

South Africa produced stars who could have become world champions had it not been for apartheid.

Local sports people were banned from the international world. But since South Africa's reintroduction to world sport Berman has produced about 50 world champions.

He said the class of 2007 is as good as any before. This is the man who has staged no less than 195 world title fights since 1977.

"This is my considered opinion," he said. "I challenge anyone to tell me I'm wrong."

Berman's Golden Gloves stable boasts an IBF title which is held by Malcolm Klassen, while four IBO belts are held by Cassius Baloyi, Takalani Ndlovu, Nkosinathi Joyi and Mbwana Matumla.