Where next for the sweet science?
By Brian Slater: It’s been well documented that boxing has become an overly-intricate farce when it comes to sanctioning bodies, silver/diamond belts and paper champions. This is not something I want to talk about. I do, however want to take a closer at the players in the game, the fighters/ promoters.
Given the situation we are in with boxing now WBC, WBA, IBF etc etc, there are very few, if any globally recognized champions. A fighter has to become undisputed champ to get that accolade, or be one of the few fighters who are household names for their previous exploits. It is normal for promoters and fighters alike to plot the safest and most profitable course in terms of successful careers. All this does is create frustration for the boxing fans. Mayweather/ Pacquiao is the clearest example of this, and something needs to be done to stop boxing becoming even more convoluted, before boxing’s decline becomes terminal.
Hats off to fighters such as Tyson Fury (say what you like about him, he will fight anyone), Andre Ward, Carl Froch, Amir Khan (despite his delusions of grandeur, he fights anyone home or away), and seemingly Canelo now that he is fighting Trout and pulled out of the Mayweather card on the basis that Mayweather won’t face him. These fighters are the guys that make boxing worthwhile. They will step into the ring with the best, and they will not hide from the biggest challenges.
Conversely, I condemn individuals like Mayweather, Dirrel, Bute and Wilder, and to be honest, the list could go on and on and on…. These boxers will only step into the ring on their terms (or more importantly the promotion companies who represent them). The desire to compete against the best of the best is completely absent in these types of fighter, and they bastardize the sport, holding it to ransom. I am not saying these types of competitor are unskilled, or cannot box, but I am saying that they are eroding the very fabric of boxing by padding records, fighting bums, avoiding the most dangerous competitors and trying to control the sport from within. Who can blame them? Anyone in their right mind would want a safe career, a successful career and to be well paid, right? Sure they would, but boxing is kept alive by the fans, and the fans don’t want to see manufactured champions, spoon feeding us 3rd and 4th choice match-ups.
Before I begin ranting, let’s just say that something needs to be done, for the good of the game. There are many things that could be done, for instance: Fans voting for their fighters next opponent, sanctioning bodies creating mandatory inter-sanctioning body match ups once per year, for example, WBC champ vs WBA and so on… I am not here to propose an answer, but to pose the question. What can we do to make boxing great again, because it is heading for disaster.
Let me finish by saying that I do not condemn young up and coming fighters for learning their trade. The first 10 to 15 fights of a boxer’s a career are vital to their development. The same can be said for ex-Olympians or experienced amateurs who switch to the professional ranks, perhaps they still need 10 fights to get used to the pro game. But when I see boxers like Deontay Wilder who is fighting guys who are barely classed as boxers, nearly 30 fights into his career and getting adoration from some uneducated corners, it shows the warped landscape that now occupies the boxing world.
One more thing, if Wilder ever does become a World Champion (which I sincerely doubt because his team obviously have huge concerns about his capability illustrated by keeping him at the subterranean level of boxing for so long), and protecting a fighter for so long becomes a blue-print for success, then what a boring, tepid affair boxing would become. You may as well tune into WWF wrestling, or whatever it is called these days.
Sort it out people, before it’s too late.