If a wealthy person has their house burglarized, it is likely that they will pack up their belongings and move to a new neighbourhood. However, if an individual with a lower income is robbed, they likely don’t have the luxury of moving away from the neighbourhood that has put them in danger.
Jo Jo Dan is boxing’s equivalent of the less fortunate.
The 147-pound contender was the victim of one of the most egregious heists in recent memory last June, a laughable split decision loss to RING No. 10-rated welterweight (and WBC “Silver” beltholder) Selcuk Aydin. While no foul play was ever proven to have taken place, it is widely agreed that Aydin was the beneficiary of the coldest case in the boxing file, the ‘hometown decision,’ in his native Turkey.
Unfortunately, the Canadian-based southpaw will have to head back to the scene of the crime on Nov. 26 to rematch Aydin this weekend.
“(Aydin) demanded a lot of money to come over to Canada. I did make him two offers, but he refused and was asking for double the money, which was impossible to pay for him to come here,” said Chris Ganescu, head of Gankor Promotions, which handles the career of Dan. “For us going there, it makes more sense than fighting here because if I had to pay him a lot of money to come here, Jo Jo would have made a lot less money. It wasn’t worth it.”
If Dan is the kid who doesn’t have all the neat things his friends at school have, then Ganescu is the father working wonders to make ends meet. The Quebec promoter has done a masterful job of guiding Dan (29-1, 16 knockouts) up the rankings, and handling Adrian Diaconu during his light heavyweight title reign, despite immense promotional competition within the province—let alone the boxing world at large.
But sometimes, there’s only so much Ganescu can do. He and his fighter have to put food on the table.
“We had the option of not going there…if we didn’t want the fight with Aydin,” said Ganescu. “But we took a look at economics, and it made more sense for the fight to take place where it sells better.”
Aydin (22-0, 17 KOs) is most certainly an attraction in Turkey, as evidenced by the crowd’s roars for his ineffective rushes against Dan in their first bout. The fans and judges alike seemed complacent to the dominant performance Dan put on after touching the canvas in the first round.
Even the knockdown itself was the result of what appeared to be an illegal blow behind the head, ensuring that Aydin had a 10-8 lead on the scorecards before the fight had truly begun.
Dan concedes that bizarre officiating and judging is something he’s concerned about once again.
“I’m nervous, and I’m thinking of that every day. But, life is life,” said Dan. “I will do my job better than I did the last time, and I hope everything is going to go well and the decision will be correct.”
There aren’t many outside influences working in Dan’s favor heading into Saturday’s tilt, but physically, he is more equipped to succeed than he was last year during his not-to-be success. The slick southpaw has shown a little more pop in victories over journeymen Andre Villafane, Steve Forbes and Iwan Azore since then, scoring a pair of stoppages. It is logical that Dan would be getting more powerful, as the Aydin bout came directly after a lengthy light welterweight campaign, making it his de facto welterweight debut.
The 30 year old has since added to his weight training regiment, the same way his Romanian-Canadian compatriot Lucian Bute has of late. He has also enlisted the help of the Ganescu-advised Diaconu for sparring. The light heavyweight contender is a good mimic—if you can call it that—for Aydin, also a high-guarded stalker. Of the sessions with the hard punching Diaconu, Dan jovially offered that he is “still alive.”
If he can survive toe to toe with Diaconu, Dan feels he is more than ready to reverse the roles with Aydin. Maybe coming forward will be more appealing to the judges.
“I think I respected him too much. I started to pressure him after the fifth round. Now, I’m going to be focused on putting pressure on him from the beginning to the end,” said Dan.
If he is to nab the WBC “Silver” strap this weekend, Ganescu says “the doors will open” for Dan to headline a card in his home base of Quebec in the near future.
But first, he has to make sure this door can keep the robbers out.