By Samuel Roy Junior: Boxing. Of all the mainstream sports in the world, it demands EVERYTHING physically and mentally from its participants. Yet in the eyes of the general sport fanatic we’ve seen boxing slip a little, and the biggest characters and fighters can’t exactly help push boxing back to the forefront of mainstream sports on their own.
This is a job that needs to include a team effort from both the fighters AND the promotional companies. A lot of casual fans and those that pretend to know what they are talking about, tend to put forward their own cases for what boxing needs, who ‘ducks’ who, and so forth, yet never really seem to produce any good hard evidence.
This is something I believe would only be possible if they were to be in the fighters training camps themselves, or maybe even part of the promotional companies. But as there will always be a healthy amount of debate in boxing, some of it within the higher echelons of the boxing community can harm potential match-ups possibly being made, and has done so in the past.
Mayweather – Pacquiao is a prime example. Hurdles included purse splits, drug testing, defamation lawsuits, to new just a few, and they were just the ones that were mentioned to the public.
I’m pretty sure there would have been a lot of squabbling behind closed doors on that one, but that match up seems even less likely now following Pacquiao’s two losses in a row, coupled with Mayweather’s ego. I am a Mayweather fan, but I cannot be biased. I believe, and this is just an opinion, that it generally was Bob Arum’s fault. The Top Rank CEO once promoted Mayweather, and once Floyd started to discover he could attempt to promote himself and ‘cut out the middle-man’ so to speak, Arum lost a lot. He lost his cash cow, his financial gain he would of stand to of had from every one of Mayweather’s fights, and a puppet.
However, Pacquiao became his new money maker, and the rest up until now is history. Mayweather promotes himself, and gets £40mill+ per fight, Pacquiao, who is under the Top Rank banner, gets around half of this, sometimes less. There’s a seemingly obvious moral to the story here, but its not that simple. Of course boxing needs promotional companies. What it needs even more is for them to get along for the good of the sport, and to help push it back up the list of most viewed sports in the world.
We need that ‘buzz’ about the sport back. That same buzz that leaves people even now talking about how amazing many of the fights were between the 1970’s and 1990’s. But it can be brought back. I can’t honestly say, and like I say I am a Mayweather fan, that say, Mayweather v Cotto or Mayweather v Moseley is going to be talked about in decades to come in the same way that Sugar Ray Leonard’s or Muhammad Ali’s have been right up to the present day. But that’s where I believe we can place a big part of the blame on the promoters (I used Mayweather as an example because he is boxing’s biggest name right now as were and still are in the latter two in their own ways).
No one boxer that is willing to step into the ring to face someone with two weapons on the ends of his arms, is ever going to want to ‘duck’ someone, it just doesn’t seem in any of their natures. It’s the aura of both brutality and technical prowess and athleticism that draws us all in to watch this fascinating sport. But too many people and too much money has dragged the sport down in appeal somewhat, and I believe that’s a huge shame, as it’s the sport itself we should all be focusing on and not all the other nonsense that has found its way through the cracks.
This all being said, I, like most boxing enthusiasts, have my own little dreamworld where the best fight the best in their primes, or two fighters coming off impressive performances face each other, with no interruptions from opposing promotional companies. It happens, but its an unfortunate rare sight. I will give a list of the possible fights I believe could have, and some that still could, start to push boxing back up the ‘sports popularity list’. Again this is just my take and I am eager to see other peoples views, so drop your comments in the box below. So without further ado, here are the fights the should’ve/still could happen, bar a few obstacles put in place by greedy promotional companies.
Mayweather – Pacquiao. A match up everyone wanted to see, two contrasting styles that would have made for an intruiging fight, would have been the most lucrative in history.
Mayweather – Margarito. Margarito was basically a ‘beefed up’ version of Jose Luis Castillo, a man that some feel gave Mayweather his first loss. At welterweight in 2006, when both were coming off superb performances, this would have been one for the books.
These both BIG bouts involving Mayweather on both occasions, but the opponents are both from the Top Rank Promotions stable, so unless they became free agents these were never going to happen.
Gatti – Naseem Hamed
Mayweather – Naseem Hamed
De La Hoya – Tszyu
Morales – Marquez
Froch – Hopkins
Martinez – Alvarez
Rigondeaux – Gamboa
Haye – V. Klitschko
Ward – Golovkin
Ward – Chavez Jr
Ward – Martinez
Now as this is just an opinion, note that some of these match ups would involve fighters maybe losing or gaining weight up to/down the next weight class, but if this is what it takes to bring boxing back to the top, we need fights like this to have happened/still happen in order for boxing to become more mainstream again. Promoters need to start coming to some sort of agreement because it’s killing the sport for it’s hardcore fans, and you need to please those first before you can spread mainstream. If there are any match ups I may have missed that anyone feels the need to make notable, please do so in the comments section below.