Are Fighters Genuinely Scared to Take Certain Challenges?
This is the question many die hard boxing fans ask and demand an answer to. Some will say no fighter is scared to fight another fighter citing factors such as “boxing politics” as the primary culprit to why an anticipated fight is being held off or never gets made.
However when the boxing public becomes privy to other reasons sourced from the very entity who could be seen as the culprit, it becomes a grueling effort to think fighters do not conscientiously make the choice to avoid certain challenges.
Possible Fear Factor Examples
In 2015 Leo Santa Cruz told the media that his “father” instructed him not to fight Guillermo Rigondeaux. He also stated a minimum of $3 million is his price for him to take that fight at a time when that was considered “over-pricing” himself.
In 2016 Kubrat Pulev claimed he needed more time to prepare for Anthony Joshua. A few weeks later he suddenly pulls out of the fight with a “mysterious” injury and hasn't expressed wanting another shot at Joshua since.
Also in the same year Terry Flanagan claimed a “mysterious” injury while pulling out of a unification bout against Jorge Linares only to move up to Junior Welterwieght and fight for the same title he vacated at Lightweight against a less skilled opponent in Maurice Hooker.
In December of 2017 Keith Thurman aggressively said that fighting IBF Welterweight Champion Errol Spence wasn't on his “to do list.” Moreover he claimed he isn't considering him until sometime in 2019 despite having the opportunity to receive multiple tune-ups to shake off an elbow injury sustained after the Danny Garcia fight with time to spare to prepare for a possible December 2018 fight with Spence.
More recently Danny Garcia stated that he is not ducking Spence but failed to take the December challenge offered in response. He cites it is his manger Al Haymon's job to make the fight instead of publicly accepting the challenge and offering to negotiate.
Lastly we have Shawn Porter outright denying a possible fight with Errol Spence stating,
"Three years ago it wasn't my goal, one year ago it wasn't my goal to fight Errol Spence and so I'm not fighting Errol Spence." - Courtesy of Fight Hub TV
There is no question boxing politics as well as other factors including the networks working together to determine contractual rights are legitimate reasons that determine how a particular matchup is made. However fighters can present information to the media in a way that can directly lead one to believe he/she is deliberately avoiding a challenge which can potentially remove them from a commanding position in the sport or stagnate their rise to greatness.
By: Garrisson "Bo" Bland & EJ "2K" Williams