After the announcement of Khan–Collazo, news quickly came out for Adrien Broner to join the Mayweather-Maidana card against Carlos Molina, who last lost to Amir Khan by TKO from an unfortunate, early cut in the 10th round. Another fight tagged on to that is the rising prospect J’Leon Love against Marco Antonio Periban.
This card is the best this generation’s fight fans could look for this year, and I started to reflect on what exactly I’m getting excited about. Was I interested in the moment that Mayweather might lose? Am I excited to see Khan get cracked on the jaw, just like Ortiz did? Am I looking forward towards Broner getting embarrassed once again? Will it be interesting to see J’Leon run over another opponent?
Those questions had something in common: the first names on the bill. Much like a broadway play, the order of the names on the fight card are just as important as the names themselves for the theater that Mayweather Productions, Leonard Ellerbe, and other invisible hands at work want to present to their willing audiences. Right from the start, the syntax of how the fights were announced had someone to celebrate and, on the other side of the arena, a villain to dispatch. A narrative was already in place, and instead of viewing these fine fighters as warriors willing to put it all on the line for their fans, promoters view them as cash cows lining up for a killing [in the box office]. You’d think we were talking about how to produce this summer’s next action movie hit, not boxing.
— bloodmoneyboxing.com (@bloodmoneyboxin) March 28, 2014
Fortunately, thanks to the internet, little glimpses of the glory of boxing live in the archives. (A little bit of a clue here, if you want to really get into interesting boxing, hit the books.) I wanted to understand what generations past would think about this May 3rd card and whether the results of these fights would be anything more than predictable
— I also like Khan. He has his flaws, and he’s not lived up to the expectations promised at the beginning of his career, but very few do. He’s fast, smart, can punch and is still working hard to make the best of his tools. I’m not making a comparison, it’s just my appreciation of a boxer who’s better than most and has put on some good fights. I think Floyd saw Khan bringing him problems, and so instead we get another in a long line of come at you Latino sluggers who will eat jabs and straight rights for twelve rounds. As long as Mayweather wins his fights, he’ll continue to write his own ticket. With the exception of Pacquiao and perhaps Bradley, the money won’t change for him no matter who he fights at this point. Floyd is having his day, and that day will end when he loses a fight, as it goes in boxing, when its least expected. And that, ironically, will end up being the most memorable fight of his career.
Another quote by the Hall of Famer, Terry Norris:
NORRIS: The key to beating Floyd is somebody that’s going to go in there and mix it up with Floyd. Not box him, but go at him, bang Floyd, push Floyd around, and hit him with uppercuts and hit him with things that he’s just not expecting to be hit with. You need somebody strong, somebody bold, and somebody that’s real aggressive and just throws a lot of punches, and goes in there in the best shape of their life and ready to go.
JENNA: Okay now Terry, you mentioned before that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Junior wouldn’t do so good in your era. I’m wondering, there were so many great fighters when you fought, was there any particular one that you wished you could have gotten in the ring with that you didn’t?
NORRIS: Not really. When I was fighting, I wanted to fight everybody but now that I’m not fighting I really don’t care. Back then I would have loved to have fought De La Hoya. I would have loved to have been able to fight Floyd. I would have loved to have been able to prove that Floyd is not the best fighter in the world, and I know I could have beaten him.
In the end, I’m not a professional boxer, and it really isn’t fair to compare generations when boxers of today are, arguably, also thinking and training for the same thing against their respective opponents, “I know I can beat him”. The thing is, the sentiment of true champions seems to have shifted from Norris’ time — “When I was fighting, I wanted to fight everybody…” We have fighters today cherry-picking their opponents, and promoters paving a path to stardom by feeding prospects pawns while riding the tails of PPV draws.
Isn’t that a trip? Fighting everyone, anyone? In that case, there’s only one fight in the May 3rd card that deserves credit, and that’s the Khan-Collazo fight. My gut was right in looking forward to that fight the most, as each fighter is hungry, and talented, and willing to go the distance, challenge each other and emerge truly victorious. May the best fighter win.