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If you lose your “0” you got to go!!

By Paul Walsh: Boxing has changed, so much so that the most important thing is keeping your coveted “0” intact.   Gone are the days of the best fighting the best in their prime, it is all about keeping the undefeated record in place as that is what sells.  My fear is that unfortunately we are going to miss out on some serious talent because of it.

This past weekend’s fights at Atlantic City was a prime example of what I am talking about, two fast rising unbeaten fighters (Adrien Broner and Seth Mitchell) put their “0” on the line.  Both fights ended spectacularly but only one “0” remained.  Broner’s and with that he’s stock rose whereas Mitchell’s dropped dramatically. 

Maybe this was down to the manner of the defeat, a second round KO is pretty hard to come back from but the loss of the “0” is what Mitchell and his team would be more concerned about.  I suspect now he will be written off and forever labelled as “chinny” and with that the media hype machine will focus on fellow American prospect Deontay Wilder instead because he still has his “0”.  The fact still remains that Mitchell is a very good fighter with the potential to be great and possibly a world champion.  I just hope he is not assigned to the scrap heap as a result of this defeat.

So who is to blame for the importance of keeping your “0”?? Well that’s easy, the Money man himself Floyd Mayweather.  He has built his entire career on it and he is only too willing to remind us about it.  If another fighter is ever mentioned to him the first thing he says is “has he lost?”  So why is the “0” so important to Mayweather??  Is it because of his ego or insecurity or the loss of sponsorship deals? Would he be any less of a fighter if he did lose?  I really don’t think so but I’m sure this is the reason why the Pacquiao fight has never materialized as Pacquiao is realistically the only man who can take that away from him.  That to me is a huge loss for boxing as it is the only fight every fight fan wants to see.

Ask yourself the question, who is the best boxer of all time? Mohammed Ali, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard?  What do they all have in common?  They have all lost but does that take away anything from their legacy?  No not at all but ask yourself another question, why did they lose?  That’s easy, they fought all the best fighters of their era in their prime, something which todays “unbeaten” fighters cannot say they have done.  If you fight at the highest level for long enough, eventually you will come unstuck.  Just ask Carl Froch, Miguel Cotto or Manny Pacquiao, all warriors and future hall of famers have been beaten, it only takes one punch but you have to have the courage to step in with the best and take that chance.

So my argument is a simple one, I don’t know about you but I want to see the super fights, the elite fighting the elite in their prime.  I don’t want to see padded out records and boxers fighting big names who are “over the hill” just to make their resume look impressive.  I don’t want to watch a fight where I know the result before the first bell.  I want to see exciting competitive 50:50 fights where either man can win; this is what boxing is all about.  Bring back the days of the fab four (Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran) tearing chunks out of each other.  The talent is there, we just need the match ups to be made otherwise all we will be left with is heated discussions about who would have beaten who?  After all the sign of a true champion is not how long his “0” remains intact but how he overcomes adversity and how he gets back up after being knocked down, that is my definition of a champion.

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