For all the high hopes generated by talk of a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight things are quickly heading south for the sweet science. The sport of boxing, with all of its tradition, pomp and circumstance, appears to be on the ropes with greed to blame. The long-awaited and highly anticipated fight between Pac and Money May appears to be going nowhere fast. Not only this but a highly anticipated and excitement-generating fight between Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto failed to come off. All of the respective fighters plan fights in either late spring or summer but it looks like none of the principles will be fighting each other leaving die-hard boxing fans, the ones who pay the bills, feeling a bit bruised and cheated. Boxing belongs to the fans, not the fighters, managers, trainers or promoters.
What the boxing establishment and the principles need to understand is that this game of exploitation is getting a bit old. While there are many who are pushing for a so-called Floydcott, where would-be paying fans simply boycott any fight Mayweather engages in sans Pacquiao, now Stephen A. Smith of ESPN is implying a Pac-cott as, in his view, fans do not want to see him fight anyone but Mayweather in May.
In the case of Pacquiao one would assume that he is on the up-and-up in pushing for a fight with Mayweather. He has been perhaps, along with Alvarez, honest in his approach. Mayweather on the other hand, for all the public claims to the contrary, appears to be dragging his feet. He has always claimed to be his own man, in charge of his destiny. If this is in fact true then it is clear that he is obstructing the fight. If he is at the mercy of Showtime and other forces then it is clear that he is not the most powerful man in boxing as he has always claimed to be. Any way one cuts it Mayweather has damaged the Money May or Best-Ever brand.
For all the high hopes fans have of a boxing renaissance they are left with only desperation. It would appear that somewhere along the way boxing found itself on the ropes with greed and perhaps fear to blame in the ongoing obstruction of quality fights. While Golden Boy has dedicated itself to providing those quality fights it would appear that the factionalism indicative and normative to capitalist enterprise as entrepreneurs move out on their own in pursuit of riches is dooming boxing.
While Dana White and the owner’s of UFC are clearly making money on the backs of their fighters UFC is on the rise because there is a central authority dictating fights. Dana White, for all his bombast and seeming arrogance, at least gives his fans what they want, very good and regularly competitive fights. Boxing simply does not. One can argue the why’s and why not’s but the great fights are not happening in boxing like they are in UFC. When for example was the last time boxing offered up a fight like the latest UFC light heavyweight championship between Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier? White pitted the two best light heavyweights together and produced a compelling event. He could have strung them both out but he appears to actually care for his paying customers. This simple business 101 lesson is something boxing people do not appear to understand. When one serves others they tend to serve you. Everything about White’s administration and business plan should teach boxing how to do business.
Miguel Cotto, for all of his bravado, appears to be a little anxious himself. Alvarez put a beating on a man, Austin Trout, who put a beating on him and, on paper at least, Cotto may not actually belong in the same ring with Alvarez. But then, many were arguing the same thing about Cotto’s prospects when he was originally pitted against pound-for-pound great Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez. But Cotto knew Martinez was damaged goods and easy pickings. Alvarez is a different animal and Cotto must know that he cannot possibly beat him. That is why the fight is not taking place, fear of loss and then the loss of potential revenue. There is no manliness or courage in that equation but, alas, there is no Dana White there to make the fight happen.
Cotto and Mayweather might do well by themselves to take a trip to West Jordan, Utah and talk to someone like Gene Fullmer about manliness and courage. Fullmer is not rich but he was the baddest most courageous person around and would eat up the likes of Cotto and Mayweather. Fullmer is boxing, this latest iteration of fighters is not. It may even be argued that the Gene Fullmers of the world are not in boxing anymore, they are in MMA, period.
At the end of the day until there is a unified body controlling who fights whom and when, boxing will continue to fail the fans. The sweet-science, or better put, dead-man walking, appears to be well into its green mile and despite the money that top fighters still make, fans are growing tired of the manipulation and exploitation. Boxing is clearly on the ropes with only itself and greed to blame. Fans work hard for their money and feel that it is not asking too much for their fighters to respond in kind.
Opinion By Matthew R. Fellows
Photo By: liz west Flickr License
Featured Image by Kristin Wall – Flickr License