Boxing: Where business and competition don’t meet.
Recently, we’ve seen more fighters choosing to make fights that do very little to advance the sport. There seems to be more emphasis on the business side than enhancing legacy.
While this issue has gotten more attention in this era, it’s always been a feature of the sport throughout history.
The one thing that makes boxing different than any other sport is the realness of it. The ring is the ultimate truth serum.
Once that bell rings the reality of every word that was spoken, every grueling day of training, the consistency of the fighter, and the preparation of the fighters’ teams comes to light. Boxing has an element that fans relate to. Even the smallest boxing event is critically important the moment the bell rings.
There are a handful of things that sell the public on a fighter. Sometimes it’s the journey a fighter has taken, race, “the look” of a fighter and/or sublime talent. But, the archetype that captivates the public most is the blue collar underdog. It’s what movies are even made of.
From Bull Durham, Rocky, and now Creed it’s the underdog who crashes the party, and makes a name for himself. Which brings me to my point.
The Problem Within the Business.
For the sport to remain viable there have to be safeguards that mandate that fighters who’ve earned their positions are rewarded with opportunities versus champions and cash cows. Now the sport has reached a point where this has become a rarity. It’s one of the reasons news media gives for the decline of the sport.
Right now fans are waiting on several really high profile fights that have been a year or longer in the making. Examples are Joshua/Wilder, Thurman/Spence, Leo Santa Cruz/Gary Russell Jr, Stevenson/Kovalev, and Lomachenko/Garcia.
This has always happened throughout history. However, with fighters fighting considerably less this causes huge delays or sometimes makes the fights impossible to schedule.
Most recently the event that sparked this article was James Degale vacating his title rather than fight Jose Uzcategui. Degale openly acknowledged that he avoided the fight to hopefully schedule fights against Chris Eubank Jr and Billy Joe Saunders. While those fights are lucrative for Degale it leaves Uzcategui to fight fellow up and comer Caleb Plant.
As fans what are your thoughts on these recent events? What would you do to change it? Would you change it?
By: Corey Cunningham