This industry is in dire need of a matchmaker with balls. 2014 might have started well, but the forecast of matchups are increasingly worrying, in terms of actual challenges between any incumbent “belt-holders” or “unified champs”. The nearest fight that’s remotely interesting may be the March 8th battle between Canelo Alvarez and Alfredo Angulo, barely qualifying as a pay-per-view event. After that, the 2nd Tim Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao fight might serve interesting, given Mayweather decided to sit on whoever he wants to fight next. Sh00t, Khan is begging him.
Would like to Thank all the fans who voted for me on the @FloydMayweather poll, just waiting for him to announce the fight now
— Amir Khan (@AmirKingKhan) February 12, 2014
Translation: “Can we please??”
What I’m saying is that maybe our modern era coaches and trainers should hand over the reins to assistant trainers and conditioners a little to free themselves up to do some instigating, just like they used to back in the day. I might be a generation past the golden era of Cus D’Amato or fighters that promoted themselves like Roberto Duran and Muhammad Ali, but I think this empire-centric business mindset, from kingpins like the late Sulaiman and the living Bob Arum, is poisoning the sport. No one wants to pull the trigger and just make the fight. Today’s champs set up polls to figure out who to fight next? Boxers can only fight in Vegas, they got to be on pay-per-view, and they’ve got to have those twins standing in the background. A message to the champs: Just make the fight happen already. You call yourself the best? Cut the tape, cut the BS, take the #1 challenger!
Arguably, our present state makes it easier. With twitter, fighters can just call each other out (or beg publicly.) New promoters like 50 cent might be making a dent, probably in the way Michael Jordan brought a modest audience of basketball fans to baseball, but truly the ones to make the fights are trainers. They’re highly knowledgeable about their fighters, ever since the day their prodigies walked through the doors of their gyms. They know how to challenge them, they know their weaknesses, and especially, their strengths. They were the original matchmakers before we had these empires we see today, puppeteering big-time fights to cash in those big-time checks.
Bring back the real fights, forget the money. Just good old honor, and the belt on the line.
My last thought: Virgil Hunter and Freddie Roach are doing good work this year setting up their fighters for success. I think Robert Garcia might also have a good year, especially if Mikey gets matched up well. I guess there’s much to look forward to.
Only if those matchups actually pan out. Sigh.