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Boxing New Year’s Resolutions

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By Rory Hickey: Somehow, 2022 is almost over. It has been a fascinating year globally and in the boxing world. But rather than reflect on the year that was, I want to look forward. What better way to touch on some changes I would like to see in the sport of boxing than by making some resolutions for the new year?

Fewer cupcakes – Look, cupcakes are great. Unfortunately, scientists have not cracked the code of how humans can exist on a cupcake-only diet. You cannot consistently consume cupcakes if you want to be healthy. Similarly, boxing could benefit long term if promising young fighters, to borrow a phrase from college sports, have fewer cupcake opponents scheduled.

I understand that promoters want to build up young fighters, giving them confidence and padding their win-loss records. But all those empty calories always leave you wanting more! Time after time, when good young boxers face adversity for the first time as a professional and get into trouble, they have no experience of being in danger to draw off. This lack of knowledge can lead to diminishing returns later in a once-promising career. Similarly, eating a cupcake always seems like a great idea and is enjoyable at the moment, but later on, you come to regret it.

See the world – The boxing world should broaden its horizons. Nothing against Las Vegas, but it is almost 2023, and every big fight does not need to be in Las Vegas. Yes, there are occasional fights in New York City, London, or the United Arab Emirates, but we can do better. There are nearly 200 countries in the world! Mexico City, Germany, and Helsinki are just three examples of places that could become destinations for big fights. It would be great for boxing to broaden its potential fan base by going to less traditional markets to stage fights.

Less Social Media: The promise of social media was great: it could bring people together and help bring awareness to lesser-known societal issues; what could go wrong? A lot, it turned out!

As it relates to boxing, I could do with less of one fighter calling out another on social media without anything happening in a boxing ring. To paraphrase Drake, trigger fingers have collectively turned to Twitter fingers. Terence Crawford and Errol Spence are currently in round 127 in their fight on the Internet, yet the two cannot sign the same contract. Don’t tell me you want to fight on social media; show me you want to fight in a boxing ring.

Improve Relationships: This resolution is for major promotional companies. We have reached a point where two fighters with different promoters agreeing to fight each other is a remarkable achievement. Things have gotten better in recent years, but not by much. It is a continual disappointment how often fight promoters will take away the potential enjoyment of boxing fans for a higher number on their bank deposit slip.

I am not arguing that money is not good. But most boxing promoters seem to be focused more on the promoter part of their job title than the boxing part, which is a shame.

Reduce Your Waste: This resolution is for streaming services and promotional companies that put on fight cards. Some of these cards that get made into pay-per-views should have no business being so. With the number of weight divisions and quality fighters in those divisions, it should not be as tough to put together a quality fight card as it is in reality.

This resolution ties into promoters needing to improve their relationships with each other, so a greater variety of fights are available to be made.

Learn a new skill: Wouldn’t it be great for some fighters to develop a new punch they currently lack in their arsenal? What if boxers who look like they have never executed a clinch before learned how to do it? Deontay Wilder should spend 2023 learning to throw a consistent jab. Jake Paul should learn how to fight against a real boxer.

No Do-Overs: Rematch clauses should only get inserted into contracts in rare circumstances. This resolution is not saying we should ban the rematch clause- some fights warrant a rematch and are better the second time. It’s just that rematch clauses are becoming overdone, leading to fights we don’t need, for example, Devin Haney vs. George Kambosos II, or weeks of negotiating required to get out of a contracted rematch.

Hopefully, some of these resolutions end up happening, or at least a few are still possible after the second week of January. Either way, I hope you have a happy and healthy new year!

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