What is the Matter with Boxing?
By Andrew Schweitzer
OK, that part is a lie and we all know it. There's a lot of things wrong with the sport, some of it is easy to fix and a lot of it isn't. What I'm going to do is go through a list of the top five things I think are not doing the sport any favours.
1) Pay-per-view: I like watching Shane Mosley fight but can someone explain to me why I should have to shill out money to watch him fight Sergio Mora? Sorry, but when your opponent has as many knockouts as you do losses, I shouldn't have to pay to see it. I think anyone who watched Mosley/Mora would agree with that.
It's weird that Mosley/Mora (A fight that I had little interest in) gets the PPV treatment while the rematch that everyone wanted to see, Williams/Martinez II, gets stuck on World Championship Boxing. Not that I'm complaining...
Plus, unlike the Mosley/Mora fight, which had a better undercard than main event, most undercards suck. The upcoming undercard for the Manny Pacquiao/Antonio Margarito bout however seems to be a step in the right direction.
2) The Best Don't Fight the Best: At this point I'm certain that we won't see Pacquiao/Mayweather unless it's in an X-Box game. As mentioned above, Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez are going to go at it once again which is great but I only wish that other fighters had the same desire that those two have. Fighters who just want to face the next big challenge like Williams and Timothy Bradley are more of what boxing needs.
3) When Egos Attack: Sometimes the fights we want to see happen look like they are...until it comes down to who will be paid how much more than the other fighter. It's rumoured to be one of the reasons Andre Ward vs Andre Dirrell is being held up; it was one of the reasons we never got to see Paul Williams fight Kelly Pavlik and if Pacquiao and Mayweather can ever get past the drug testing issue, I'm sure there will be a delay because Floyd will walk away saying he should be paid more than Pacquiao (I'm of the opinion that they should share the same amount).
But this isn't just limited to fighters; promoters can often share more heated rivalries than fighters. Look at Bob Arum and Don King who wouldn't co-promote a fight with one another for seven years. Arum also refuses to deal with Al Haymon, advisor to many boxers.
And what a lot of promoters are doing lately is just having a Top Rank opponent fight another Top Rank opponent, Golden Boy fighter vs Golden Boy fighter. It really has to stop.
And like many of you, I recently read the article where Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar de la Hoya flat out stated that he plans to use his promotional company to take over the sport of boxing much like Dana White's UFC has a firm grip on MMA. I'm not too sure yet how I feel about it but at the same time, I'm starting to lose respect for Oscar.
4) Nobody Knows Who You Are: Love him or hate him, Floyd Mayweather has a way of capturing people's attention. His fast mouth and equally fast hands make him a lightening rod for flashing cameras and make great TV. You want to tune into his fights just to see what happens.
The same can't be said for a lot of other fighters today. Could Nonito Donaire (Ranked fourth, pound-for-pound by Ring Magazine) walk down the street of Las Vegas and be stopped by people asking him for an autograph? Outside of Oakland, do you think people recognize Andre Ward?
A lot of fighters, for all their talent and accomplishments can't put asses in seats. They need to expose themselves, be bold, be loud even. Grab the attention of someone who would like to see a good fight and do whatever you can to make them want to say, "I can't wait to see him fight!"
This blame can also fall on promoters who simply think that if their man keeps winning that eventually people will start to notice them. But it almost never works out that way.
5) Sportswriters Suck: Was anyone else pissed off when Kimbo Slice's mug grazed the cover of ESPN magazine? How many times has Manny Pacquiao's face been on the cover of Sports Illustrated? The last time I can remember any boxer being on the cover of SI was back in 2007 for the De la Hoya/Mayweather clash and the magazine calling it the "Fight to Save Boxing".
Psst, Sports Illustrated, maybe if you actually put pictures of exciting fights on the cover, you wouldn't have to make up lame-ass phrases like "The fight to save boxing" hoping to sell issues and then later say, "Duh, boxing is dead". We want action, not talk about possible action.
Sorry if I seem like I'm ranting against SI but recently I was trying to find out some info about Frankie Randall, the first man to beat Julio Cesar Chavez and all I could find from Sports Illustrated was a letter from Ferdie Pacheco lambasting the magazine for not having a picture of the downed Chavez on the cover or even writing a single article about it. Yeah...and then they wonder why boxing isn't as popular as it was 30 years ago.
Andrew Schweitzer is a contributing writer for boxing4free.com. When not writing or discussing the sweet science, Andrew is either at the gym or work. Currently he is doing his best to explain to the owner of this website why he has sullied said website with mentioning of Mixed Martial Arts and is hoping he will live to blog another day.