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Boxing Politics: How long will boxing fans tolerate this?

It is times like this that I question why I tolerate the politics of boxing. The simple answer is, I love
the sport. I love boxing. I love to see great match ups, great fights, and even better match ups down the
road as a result of the outcome of great fights. I grew up in the days of Leonard, Hearns, Duran, Hagler,
Tyson, and Holyfield. Hence, I was anticipating the upcoming showdown between Manny Pacquiao
and Floyd Mayweather Jr. It was all anyone in the boxing world was talking about. This fight couldn’t
be made due to a disagreement between the camps about drug testing prior to the fight. Ah, the politics
and business side of boxing. We as boxing fans have a front row seat to the human carnival.

After the fight didn’t get made, I was a bit deflated. In order to satisfy my thirst for great match ups
for the new year, I was anticipating the January 30th match up between Shane Mosley and Andre Berto.
Unfortunately, Berto, a Haitian-American, had to pull out due to family loss in the Haitian earthquake.
The Haitian earthquake is a terrible tragedy, and it was completely understandable that Berto pulled out
of the fight. If this fight never happens, it will be completely justified due to uncontrollable
circumstances.

What is not justified is that Pacquiao and Mayweather couldn’t come to an agreement on the drug
testing. There is just too much money to be made for this fight not to happen. Not to mention this is a
great potential fight that ALL boxing fans want to see. All of the boxing writers, pundits, reporters and
fans have been collectively in agreement that the fight has too much money on the line for it not to
happen. Nonetheless, the fight fell apart and even after concessions were made on both sides, they
couldn’t work it out. Something just doesn’t pass the smell test.

Is it all just posturing? Is Mayweather scared of Pacquiao? Is Pacquaio too much of a risk for Floyd
to jeopardize his “0”? Are Freddie Roach’s constant jabs at Mayweather and his camp part of one big
strategy?

It is really hard to say. Perhaps, they are posturing in order to give the fight momentum for a showdown
later on in 2010. I can’t imagine the fight never happening. It has to be posturing. Posturing among
respective camps and promoters is common place. Boxing is not like any other sport. One loss in a big
fight can set you back for months and/or even years as far as earning power is concerned. Posturing is
like currency in boxing circles.

From the fallout of the Pacquiao-Mayweather breakdown and the Berto-Mosley cancellation, we may
have a potential Mayweather-Mosley fight on the horizon. Mayweather has reportedly told his advisors
to make the fight happen. Until the contracts are signed, a date is set, and the promotion get under way-
I won’t get my hopes up.

We also have Pacquiao-Clottey on March 13th at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Incidentally,
this is about a fifteen minute drive from my house in Fort Worth, Texas. Nice.

The match up is interesting, and I see the size and stamina of Clottey being a problem for the Pac Man.
It should be a very competitive fight. However, the match up just doesn’t have the luster of a
Mayweather-Pac fight or even a Mayweather-Mosley fight. Perhaps Cowboy Stadium can compensate
for some of the shortcomings of the promotion.

Promoters are brilliant marketers, that is why they are promoters. It makes you wonder if there was
not some collusion going on between Arum and Golden Boy. Lets look at the logic. Both fighters,
Pacquiao and Mayweather, can have fights with other opponents early in the year. Then, build the fight
up even more for the fall or winter of 2010. The contrasting viewpoint to that argument is that both
opponents, Clottey and Mosley, are far more than just tune up opponents. They are both legitimate
threats to dethrone the reigning pound for pound fighters-which Pacquiao and Floyd have come to be
universally known.

On the other hand, it makes you speculate whether they would make the fight anyway if Mayweather
and/or Pacquiao were to lose to either Mosley or Clottey. I suppose the answer to that is ‘how they
lose‘. If one of them gets knocked out or loses a decision in convincing fashion, it could mean trouble
for the super fight to take place. If all goes as planned in the ‘master’ plan, the promoters squeeze in
one more money fight for their respective fighters, prior to making the huge fight between the two
pound for pound greats. We’ll see how it plays out.

They are some solid fights coming up for us boxing fans. I can’t lie. I am looking forward to them.
They is just no escaping the void that was left in our boxing appetites after Pacquiao-Mayweather, the
most anticipated fight of the year, fell apart.

So what do we have in the immediate future? A nice little fight between Edwin Valero versus Antonio
Demarco for the WBC lightweight title on February 6th. I have never seen Valero fight, I’ve only seen
highlights. I know he has great power, but he has had very little exposure. I’ve heard great things
about his big punch. The fight will be televised on Showtime. On the same card that night, we also
have Luis Abregu versus Richard Gutierrez. This is a good little card, but by no means does it generate
interest on a grand scale.

There is Arthur Abraham versus Andre Dirrell on March 6th in Rancho Mirage, Ca. This fight is on a
larger platform due to the Super Six Tournament. Good fight, but will how will Dirrell handle the
awkward style and turtle shell like defense Abraham brings? Not to mention Abraham’s power and
experience. Should be interesting, and I am picking Abraham. I am not even sure it will be that
competitive.

Only purists like to watch these fight cards. There is nothing wrong with that, these fighters are the
future pound for pounders for our sport- but boxing needs a shot in the arm and these fights just don’t
capture new fans. I read on the ESPN crawl two days ago that Wladimir Klitschko signed to fight
Eddie Chambers for a March 20th date in Germany. Chambers is a formidable heavyweight. Decent
fight, but it doesn’t blow my hair back.

Appallingly, promoters have scheduled a Hopkins-Jones rematch for April 17th at the Mandalay Bay in
Las Vegas. Roy Jones was just knocked out in one round in his last fight. Prior to that, he was fighting
less than stellar competition(Calzaghe notwithstanding, although he was thoroughly beaten by him).
Not to mention he is 41 and Hopkins just turned 45. Yikes. Sure, there is a story line here from their
first fight in 1993. But come on? Is this what drives butts to the seats and revenue to pay per view
events? I think this fight is an insult to boxing fans if we are asked to come out of pocket for this one.
If it was on Versus or Friday Night Fights, fine. We all know it will be on pay per view.

Then there is the Evander Holyfield-Francois Botha fight, which was just scrapped due to money
issues. Jeez, I was on the edge of my seat for that one. When I first found out it got canceled, I stayed
in the fetal position for quite a while, flickering the lamp switch on and off, on and off. I was
heartbroken. Oh, and I just heard David Haye just signed to fight John Ruiz. Is Ruiz still fighting? I
didn’t even know that. What is going on here?
Boxing needs to make the fights the public wants. Period.

On a brighter note, the HBO card last Saturday night(January 23rd) featuring Yuriorkis Gamboa and
Juan Manuel Lopez in separate fights was refreshing. Gamboa looked great against the durable but
limited Rogers Mtagwa. JuanMa looked solid against the tough and seasoned Steve Luevano. I look
forward to the potential match up between Gamboa and Lopez. These are two richly talented fighters
who have youth and drive. Ah, what a breath of fresh air.