FIVE THINGS REALLY HURTING BOXING!

July 21st, 2010 By Kevin Perry

KEEP ON HAMMERING AWAY AT THE OBVIOUS

Los Angeles, CA- While it gets tiring hearing negative comments about the state of boxing, in reality these negatives need to be addressed constantly so the powers that be (networks, promoters, managers) start to realize that unless you are pleasing the fans, the ones that throw down the money, the sport would fall off a cliff. Without inciting the lame cliche that boxing is dying, which only a fool would believe (this sport has thrived for over a 100 years through two world wars, untold scandal, fighter deaths and a Congressional hearing), it must be stated that boxing’s power brokers continue to shoot themselves in the foot. Unfortunately the people that suffer are the people responsible for it’s survival. Here are five things that are currently hurting boxing in no particular order.

1. Boring fights-
The fact that a fighter needs to be undefeated to headline a televised card or to make it on television (or fight for a phony regional title) is an outdated business model. The fact that some of the best bouts in the last few years have been “swing” bouts on ESPN and fights between unheralded fighters on Spanish language networks like Rogers Mtagwa’s (26-14-2, 18 KOs) war against Tomas Villa(23-7-4, 14 KOs) shows a need for more skilled matchmaking on the world class level.

TV DATES WASTED WITH RECORD PADDING FIGHTS

Watching prospects like welterweight talent Mike Jones (22-0, 18 KOs) against unexciting but capable marks like Henry Bruseles (28-4-1, 15 KOs) on Fox Sports West recently are necessary for a fighters development, however aren’t exactly TV friendly. Maybe networks need to have an increased focus on making the most competitive and exciting matches available, and not serve as a canvas for promoters to showcase their upcoming and sometimes undefeated prospects. Does Golden Boy or Al Hayman ring any bells?

2. Ridiculous purses being paid to HBO fighters- Not wanting to be redundant, but when prizefighters such as Chad Dawson (29-0, 17 KOs) or Andre Berto (26-0, 20 KOs) can’t sell out hotel ballrooms in their own hometown, and yet earn seven figure purses there is a problem. Not that either fighter doesn’t possess remarkable ability, but this is the entertainment business. In the music industry the best singer is not the highest paid music artist. That honor is usually bestowed on the best entertainer. The same philosophy should be applied to the fight game.

3. Networks levy power to the promoters- The main reason 2010 has been a dismal year for boxing is because network execs are out of tune with what their buyers want.  Why not put together a poll in the last quarter of every year and see what fights the fans want to see? Then when they decide to create next years schedule present these options to the various boxing promoters (many of these bouts will be possibly between fighters with rival promoters). If they are unwilling  to put their fighter in a proposed match, they don’t get rewarded or reap the benefits of a a million dollar purse. Fighters/promoters/managers would be forced to take tougher opponents because if they refused they would not be able to profit from the fruits of their labor. That’s how other sports and industries operate most of the time. 

A fighter should be paid for what the fight is worth, not for who he is. If this stance was taken maybe a lot of promoters would be pissed off because they couldn’t fleece HBO and other networks out of money (think  of Versus networks $250,000 guarantee to Top Rank for shows headlined by the likes of heavyweight fraud Tye Fields (43-2, 39 KOs), however HBO would have a worthy product that the fans could appreciate and subscribers might get their money’s worth.

4. Fights between pugilists that are no where near their home base-This year junior middleweights (154 lb) Kermit Cintron (32-3-1, 28 KOs) of Reading PA and Paul Williams (39-1, 27 KOs) from Savannah, GA faced each other at the Home Depot Center in Carson CA. While being a great venue, having a Puerto Rican vs. an African American fighter from the East coast at a small venue on the left coast makes little sense. If you are trying to build a fighters fbase you would think more reasoning would go into the location of a fight. I can understand putting a fight in a casino venue from a  financial standpoint, but Home Deport Center is a tennis stadium near Los Angeles.

5. The best don’t fight the best anymore-Never have I seen in my stint covering the sport more talk about fights that either haven’t materialized or are put on the backburner. I know I am being redundant as I have written many articles in regards to this, but it is probably the number one concern of boxing fans and it is a priority that should not fall on deaf ears.

If people want to know why many boxing fights nowadays (fights on HBO in particular) are fought in front of uninspired meager crowds is because THESE AREN’T THE FIGHTS FANS ARE INTERESTED IN! If a fight is compelling and you put it in the right locale it will sell tickets and get at least decent ratings. We’re not talking about showcases fights against stiffs. If there is anything the boxing world can learn from Showtime’s SUPER SIX WORLD BOXING CLASSIC (super middleweight tournament) is that if the best fight the best often, even if they lose at least they deserve to earn the money they are being paid. Even though German Armenian super middleweight (168 lb) star Arthur Abraham (31-1, 25 KOs) can sell tickets in Germany against nondescript foes doesn’t mean spectators won’t enjoy a pitched battle against opponents that fans know might have a shot at beating him. Get this…if he gets beat and looks good in defeat people will still respect him.

Kevin Perry

COMMENTS

  1. The no.1 thing that is hurting boxing now is Floyd Mayweather Jr. This pretender makes a lot of noise that he is the greatest ever. Better than Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard..etc. But his reluctance to figh Pacquiao says otherwise. Ultimately a fighter will be judge by his body of work not by his empty boasts.

    benny on July 22nd, 2010 at 1:49 AM
  2. 6. Fights where one opponent has no chacne of winning and he’s just there to make the other guy look good (and a Check).

    La Migra on July 22nd, 2010 at 2:54 AM
  3. KP I agree with most of this article. But I don’t think that fighters should be paid less in a general sense. I hate to see people say things like that because it’s like they don’t understand economics. A person is going to be paid by the amount of interest ($) he generates (or has the potential to) in his industry. If a fighter can be showcased on HBO then he has generated enough interest to be paid accordingly. If not he will lose his contract. It’s that simple because believe me HBO has the money to probably pay these fighters plenty more. I will agree that the argument can be made that fighters aren’t as hungry as they were in the past but this only opens the argument that many men were also exploited and underpaid for their talents. At the end of the day it will always boil down to the talent pool available at the time.

    JW on July 22nd, 2010 at 5:21 AM
  4. I hardly stick with watching most TV boxing cards anymore. I’ll start watching and after a few minutes, start channel surfing. These boring mismatches are chasing old boxing fans away and not getting new ones on board.

    Mickey on July 22nd, 2010 at 5:27 AM
  5. WHO’S GOT # 7?
    Let’s keep this thread going!!!

    La Migra on July 22nd, 2010 at 5:58 AM
  6. 7. Al Haymon

    La Migra on July 22nd, 2010 at 6:03 AM
  7. 8. Promoters having their fighters only fight within their fighters

    La Migra on July 22nd, 2010 at 6:05 AM
  8. 9. Bad undercards on PPV events!!!

    La Migra on July 22nd, 2010 at 6:06 AM
  9. 10. Not showing the Ring Card Girls in between rounds!!!

    La Migra on July 22nd, 2010 at 6:07 AM
  10. 11. Not having a National Commission?

    La Migra on July 22nd, 2010 at 6:09 AM
  11. 12. Boxing not on regular TV!!!

    La Migra on July 22nd, 2010 at 6:14 AM
  12. 13. Jack Johnson not being pardoned!!!
    It’s been 97 years

    La Migra on July 22nd, 2010 at 6:20 AM
  13. How much did Mayweather Jr. pay you to write this ?????

    Kurt on July 22nd, 2010 at 7:02 AM
  14. This is why the Ufc is exciting the top guys in each division are fighting each other you can actually say I cant wait for these guys to fight down the line and it generally happens,regardless of the outcome of the fight the excitement is knowing two of the top guys in that weight division will be getting it on.When it comes to Pac and May (well with Mayweather we really cant speak on because he is RETIRED right!!!)Pac I feel should go down to 140 and clean house.I am not a financial wizard on these purses but it seems to me Cotto(who I feel will face the same result if they fight again)and Margacheato are the two fighters who can earn him some big money and be decent competition.I personally wouldnt mind seeing if Pacman can destroy Margarito in a more brutal fashion than Sugar shane could!

    RIO001 on July 22nd, 2010 at 7:17 AM
  15. Damn,something must be wrong with me because I still look forward to watching boxing and I don’t see things as being so bad. I have no interest in ufc etc., just doesn’t appeal to my sensibilities. While I will agree that there are quite a few boring bouts and fighters getting protected etc. is rubbish, I think that there’s a material difference between a boring bout and one that is fought strategically. Also I think that the boxing writers (some of them are journalists but most of them are just writers) have tunnel vision and act as if the only two boxers on the planet are Mayweather and Pacquaio.

    Cheesey1 on July 22nd, 2010 at 8:17 AM
  16. #4 is huge. TV and especially HBO have insisted on taking fighters away from their fan bases and putting them in that most sterile of all venues – Vegas, which is a fake and a joke from top to bottom. My favorite example of this travesty is Morales v. Barrera, but there are hundreds of examples. You couldn’t have built a stadium big enough to accommodate the crowd that would have come together for Morales and Barrera in Mexico City.

    whiner on July 22nd, 2010 at 8:52 AM
  17. Remember Tuesday Night Fights? On USA Network. I would watch them religiously, good fights, great hype, and good commentators.

    Ride on July 22nd, 2010 at 9:27 AM
  18. JW, if a guy can’t sell tickets and he isn’t willing to fight the best fighters on the top network(HBO) why does he deserve the lions share of money? Just because HBO has a decent budget doesn’t mean they should shove it down the pockets of unworthy fighters. If a fighter is being paid a million and in engaging in a fight where he’s a 5 or 6-1 favorite why is HBo paying money for these mismatches. It’s not like its what the fans are clamoring for. No one is saying boxers don’t deserve to get paid 7 figures. However if they are they need to be facing either the highest available contender or a worthy opponent. If not save that date for a fighter who is willing to take a risk. At the end of the day sports is entertainment. I know the sport is dangerous, but this is their chosen profession. If they are afraid of fighting the best they should have decided to take up tennis and not boxing. As far as as economics goes you aren’t selling me there. Antonio Tarver vs Chad Dawson did some of the worst rating ever on HBO. The arena was empty, yet both guys received over a million bucks. To make it worse, it was a rematch of a fight where Tarver got spanked the first time. HBo is doing a disservice to their customers and serving the agendas of promoters managers and advisors point blank! What is so hard about that to understand?

    KP on July 22nd, 2010 at 10:30 AM
  19. 14. Making too much of an effort to appeal to ethnic groups. Latin Fury? There’s already a loyal Latino fan base, thank goodness. Pinoy Power? The Philipinos are more MP fans than boxing fans

    James on July 22nd, 2010 at 10:31 AM
  20. 15. No more DKP promotions with fantastic undercards. Anyone remember Nelson-Fenech 1? It was on the undercard of TysonRuddock 1!!!

    Also my 14 post may have seemed a bit offensive, I just meant that reaching out to the greater public might be a better plan to market the sport.

    James on July 22nd, 2010 at 10:34 AM
  21. Im a Brit, but I do think the lack of success by US boxers at the Olympics definitely hurts the sport’s appeal to one of its largest markets.

    James on July 22nd, 2010 at 10:36 AM
  22. Instead of having Pinoy Power how about a Black Power card? J/K

    KP on July 22nd, 2010 at 12:10 PM
  23. Truth be told KP, it wouldn’t sell period! If you notice the demographics, Blacks, don’t get mad, but they are not the ticket buyers to boxing events sans Floyd Mayweather. When I promoted club shows, there was one in SF where we drew 1,500, and there was only about 15 Black fans who bought tix. So there in lies the problem. You don’t think Don King would have went down that road, seeing he has nothing but black fighters for the most part, if there was any kind of market?

    Pedro Fernandez on July 22nd, 2010 at 12:40 PM
  24. KP a fighter deserves whatever he can negotiate. Prizefighting is not a moral dilemma. Again, its economic. If HBO pays a guy who hasn’t packed the arena good money…so be it. That’s on HBO to conduct their business properly. Believe me HBO is a business and they will see profit. If not a fighter will have to sign with another network. And it’s really the promoters job to help pack the house and put his fighter in matches people can get excited about. So if anyone is to blame it’s the networks and promoters. The money will work itself out if we leave it to the accountants. Fighters are the ones putting it on the line…if the network doesn’t put it’s foot down on bad match ups and the promoters don’t work hard to build their fighters, why should the fighters take a pay cut? The fighter will need to put it all on the line regardless how the pie cut.

    JW on July 22nd, 2010 at 12:43 PM
  25. This may seem like a silly idea but what about professional boxing like professional tennis.

    Allow me to elaborate. X # of fighters qualify for boxing’s “Wimbleton” or French Open, etc. The winner get’s the championship and the lions share of the purse $.

    The others get prize $ according to how far they advance, just like pro tennis.

    Sure the tournament will take a season to complete but just like other sports, there is a season for it. For the fans who want more boxing of course there will be individual fights and smaller tournaments in the off season

    StickItIn on July 22nd, 2010 at 5:13 PM
  26. Top Rank sucks.

    Cheesey1 on July 23rd, 2010 at 10:02 AM
  27. Good interview with Richard Schaefer of GBP, where he refutes the attempt by some people to lump GBP in the same camp as Top Skank.
    http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=29454

    Cheesey1 on July 23rd, 2010 at 12:54 PM
  28. Good article.Good matchmaking is a big key to exciting fights.
    This giving the favorite undefeated fights marks is causing
    boring fights

    jamie on July 24th, 2010 at 10:08 AM
  29. Good article Kevin.Matchmaking is key to exciting fights.
    When a undefeated fighter is fighting a mark,I don’t even
    tune in.HBO is hurting boxing,it is if they are only promoting
    there boxers and groming them for there own PPV’s.One thing
    Don King did well was producing a great undercards for PPV.
    People want to see 3 exciting fights not 3 shit fights.Thats
    why I DON’T BUY ANY ANYMORE.

    jamie on July 24th, 2010 at 10:22 AM
  30. You know shit is bad when the middleweight champion of the world has to chase down and call out guys. Too many divas and too much promoter power. Power is the viewers that generate money. When u stop watching shit they’ll start listling. I’m not watching mannys or pbf next fights. Fcem both

    Roberto rios on July 24th, 2010 at 12:34 PM
  31. Starting tournaments would solve all the ducking and we would see the best fighting the best. Its really that simple or just have one belt per weight class and have the Champion fight the number 1 contender not the number 2,3,4,5 the #1guy but we have to make sure they have a system in place where they do the ranking right because right now it ain’t good at all.

    ali on July 25th, 2010 at 1:15 PM
  32. When it becomes more business than sport hat hurts boxing. i think once fighters get to a certain level financially I think they feel entitled to make a certain amount. If they can’t get that amount or significantly more they don’t feel inclined to take any risks in their selection of opponents. Its a shame because some lose the sight of why people liked to watch them in the first place. Many become become complacent fearing if they lose just one time, they will not be able to make near the amount they did in their previous bouts. Thus they cherry-pick their opponnents until they are forced to take on a top opponnent. Too much posturing not enough of the best fighting the best.

    KP on July 25th, 2010 at 1:29 PM
  33. could not agree more with #5. tired of hearing about negotiations, who deserves the bigger share, etc. just get the fights made. there should be a tournament like the super 6 in every division. i see that has been mentioned in the comments. and i agree. if a guy doesn’t want to fight the guy he is matched up with, then drop out and make way for a guy who is willing.

    ironfist on July 27th, 2010 at 3:10 PM
  34. good points all around. there does need to be more leverage to make fights. i am tired of the best fights NOT being made. Instead we get rematches of last year’s FOTY, which don’t get me wrong, will be entertaining, but I see it very likely being the same fight. Y’know? if it was closer, the ending less emphatic, sure, let ‘em throw down again, but that’s not really the case here…and it will be one of the better fights this year outside of the Super Six.

    Seriously.

    Cotto vs Foreman? Pacman vs the ghost of Clottey? that venue with that crowd should have been the biggest/baddest pairing of the decade, like Hagler Hearns or Duran vs Leonard…instead we got Pacman vs the ghost of Clottey on the world stage like that with a ton of casual viewers watching…and it was atrocious.

    That is what’s wrong with boxing.

    TAllagash on July 28th, 2010 at 11:49 AM
  35. good idea!

    Learn hindi on August 19th, 2010 at 12:46 AM

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