Boxing has always been a business from the days of bare knuckle fighting to the current point where we stand today, boxing has always been controlled by outside entities who have looked to maximize the profitability of their involvement in the sport of kings. This has never been more true than it is today with boxing's landscape fragmented more than it ever has and while political power has always had its place within the combat sport for the first time ever it is actually starting to cripple it beyond recognition. Many legends have been born between the posts of a ring and many legends have fallen between them, mythical status has been achieved and has also been taken within those same parameters. The sport which slowly is evolving into more of a choreographed placement of chess pieces by men in suits with talking and selling points, while the actual talent becomes less important in this most crucial of times.
Boxers have never been great businessmen but have always been warriors willing to go endless number of rounds in the gym in preparation and assuming risks that can not only alter their earning power but also their standing among what the public considers the elite class of the sport. Today's fan of the sport doesn't know it's ass from its face and sinks its chompers into every narrative presented to them because of course they fall for the sale pitches offered up to them like the finest choice cut of meats. Considering themselves elitists because they support this boxer or that boxer and standing behind that fighters record as if it's a shield that makes them any more knowledgeable than the other fan. Floyd Mayweather's Jodanesque dominance of the sport has fanboys alike in a fog of misconception and lack of understanding as to what this sport really is, any real fan of Mayweather's would remember his own rise and challenging of notable names when he had easier options, yet Floyd's power moves put him in a very unique position to dictate terms unlike the sport had ever seen. This is not something 99% of the boxers to lace them up will ever accomplish. Casting aside Floyd's dominance over the sport he recently retired from we have a new generation of up and coming fighters that embraces that position and are attempting to manipulate their way into a similar situation without having earned the right to or having paid the cost associated in order to reach that point. Many of these same fighters are backed by investor power which cares more about reward than risk and while I support smart moves in life I do believe there is work to be done before even the best investor can actually expect little risk to their dollar.
How many of these suit wearing faceless backers of any promotional company actually care about the fighter? None, its no different than a team that drafts a talent places them under contract they value until that athlete can no longer produce. Then it's on to the next one and this is where both fans and pro boxers miss tamehe reality. A million dollar purse for a tune up is great, I love to see boxers make their money but when does the tuning up come to an end? Why would a fighter demand to fight the best when he can make the same amount of money fighting lets say a wasguy like Rod Salka? Therein lays the problem as it stands. Boxing has now become a game of purses and positioning and not about the fan, earning the fan base by showing your mettle. Some champions literally climb divisions and face off for titles usurping the other nine candidates who have been busting their behind trying to get that same shot. Money rules boxing and its really destroying the sport. Multi divisional champions such as Adrien Broner have taken shortcuts supplied to them by promoters to literally bypass other contenders simply because they are a marquee name. The best example of this was Miguel Cotto's sneak steal of Martinez's WBC belt although he had never set foot in a ring to face off versus another fighter in that division. A check book, ludicrous weight demands on an aging fighter coming off a 14 month layoff and two surgeries within two years and a few months later Cotto is the lineal champion at 160lbs. What followed what a similar move, another check book opened, another fighter who was not even ranked at the weight and we have a new champion. Boxing is becoming a game of musical chairs where the path of least resistance now makes legends in the sport. While I criticize Cotto for his shrewd business maneuvering I do not take away from his earlier accomplishments, yet I today see him as another case of working the politics of the sport to benefit himself.
Fighters without promotional power backing seem to be lost in the fray, when they finally do end up with a shot at a strap they usually end up on the wrong end of a decision, poor Mauricio Herrera fights that one twice over. The worst of his robberies coming at the end of a one sided beating of Danny Garcia, a fighter who has fought 30 plus times but managed to log a total of 5 resume enhancing names in total. Garcia is another classic example similar to Adrien Broner, Garcia has managed to position himself for high tier purses against more than his share of no hopers, and yet this Saturday after beating the likes of Paulie Malignaggi somehow gets the possibility of becoming WBC world champion simply for fighting two fighter who are beyond shot as athletes. I can't just blame the athletes they would be stupid to pass up these options if they are there, the trouble isn't just their management either, people that run these commissions who are more than just happy to hop into bed with promotional companies regularly are allowing this to happen. Amir Khan a while back moved to 147 and was ranked within the top ten before actually even taking a challenge. He is now the mandatory challenger to the winner on Saturday between Garcia and Guerrero. While idiots love to toss fighters like Golovkin under the bus because they can't actually convince fighters to get in the ring against them, these guys get a pass, so do the commissions, and so do the promoters. Instead of tuning out on such farces as Saturday's fight for a vacant championship belt neither fighter has earned a shot at they'll tune in and support it. Yet a year from now they'll complain about the lack of heart in boxing. Tune out...watch something else, let those ratings hit record lows and you will see how fast that same low risk promoter gets his shit together and starts looking for a good match up worthy of your viewership.
The case of Golovkin who I just mentioned is a classic example of the political game, since the fighter was first mentioned as a potential opponent for the WBC crown three different fighters have held that title, all three have seemingly elected to completely avoid him in favor of "money fights" two of these fighters have had him listed as the clear cut mandatory and yet neither one has developed the will power to face him and yet the WBC keeps making exceptions. I confronted Mauricio Sulaiman about this recently and simply got a smile in response to my question. This situation smells of horseshit just like it did with Sergio Martinez a few years back during his Chavez Jr drama, different man, different belt holder same pile of shit. Yet it seems that Mr. Sulaiman can change his word at the drop of a dime but continually keep presenting other undeserving fighters the opportunities he absolutely refuses to enforce for others. Why haven't guys like Bradley been named a mandatory for the WBC title? Why does K2's Loeffler need to grovel at the feet of Oscar De La Hoya for a fight they earned with their nearly record breaking ko and defenses streak? Why are guys like Guillermo Rigondeaux and Lara not afforded these same opportunities others seem to just fall into? Because they are high risk fighters that would certainly upset the investment of those same people in suits who could care less about the sport or the athlete themselves.
The upcoming fight between Porter and Thurman is only happening because Porter's dad trashed his sons opponent so hard it forced them to make the fight or risk losing stock on Thurman. Thurman who with his sick punching power has made quite a few sound choices in his career has seemingly been happy to play the game of feed me and pay me which again is fine until you hear his sylvester the cat mush mouth answer to the question "who do you want to fight next?". His next opponent typically does not fight the words "I want to fight the best." While the argument of "politics" not permitting some fights being made, there are many in-house fights that can be made. You don't see these happen until its a necessity to hoist one man above the rest of the stock and usually by then I have personally given up on said fighter. Guys like Ward still hold ground because of their past, yet a man who has not faced a top ten challenger in the past 3 plus years is somehow still ranked top ten.
I will end this for now and finish my argument on what's wrong with this sport in part 2 soon enough...Sport journalists you are next on my shit list.