The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the government of Ethiopia has made the move to finance the bout between Evander Holyfield and Sammy Retta for publicity – an event that will cost millions with all the extravaganza that goes along with it. All this while 12,000,000 people require humanitarian food assistance as reported by the World Food Program. All this while 90% of the country’s budget comes from foreign aid as reported by Canada’s CBC. Zenawi’s regime has, in recent years, engaged in marketing blitz focused on covering up the real issues of the country with such wasteful events. In a country that lacks basic democracy and the rule of law and in a country plagued with corruption, a boxing match beamed at starving audience will not bring any change. Here’s the report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Sanders said the local promoter’s sponsor dropped out and now the Ethiopian government has stepped in as a potential financial backer because officials there still desire for the event come off. The tentative rescheduled date is Sept. 11. Holyfield likely will make less than the originally discussed $1 million, and he plans to donate a portion of those earnings to the AIDS cause. The fight against Retta also will be an official bout, sanctioned by the WBC, and not an exhibition.
“It’s a legitimate fight now — but not a hard fight,” said Sanders.
No kidding. While Holyfield is 46 and far removed from the fighter who won championships, Retta is an afterthought: He’s 35, has had only 21 bouts (18-3), never fought anybody of consequence and hasn’t been in the ring in over two years.
Updated: Ethiopia’s State Ministry for Culture and Tourism Defrauds Beauty Pageants
Here’s a report from March 2009 that alleged that the Ethiopian government failed to pay foreign beauty pageants who were hired for one of the early Millennium “image building” campaigns undertaken by the regime in Ethiopia to cover up real problems with superficial beauty contest and other such shows. For all practical purposes, these events are politically-motivated occasions meant to hide real problems that need more than beauty contests or bouts to solve.
Given this track record of the Ethiopian government, there’s ample reason to doubt Mr. Evander Holyfield will be paid for his genuine endeavor to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS disease and fund-raise for other charities. The Ethiopian government has just turned the event into a political propaganda without the knowledge of all involved parties. September 11 (the tentative Holyfield-Retta bout date) is the traditional New Year’s Day in Ethiopia – and also a time when the less than 1% “haves” of the society and ruling party officials lavishly party as if their partying is what is needed to change the “image” of the country.
The winning Beauty queens were never paid or given any of their prizes, and many are still even to this day still owed money for their Air tickets to Ethiopia, they were told to buy their tickets and promised by State Minister for Culture and Tourism: Mohamuda Ahmed Gass that they would be fully reimbursed once they got to Ethiopia, but on arrival in Ethiopia apparently Mohamuda Gass and the local partner: Aklilu Telwelde of Ezana Entertainment deliberately delayed paying them in hard currency until the very last minute, and instead would try to give them about 9000 birr instead of US$950, just a few hours before they were due to leave Ethiopia, knowing fully well they could not take Ethiopian currency out of the country.
Several of the girls were thus forced to go to the local black market to change their Ethiopian money into hard currency, a very dangerous practice for them until the main organiser insisted that all the girls must be paid in hard currency and not exposed to danger by going to Illegal black markets.