Boxing fans continue to be treated wrong
When it is done right, boxing is a beautiful thing. The world’s best practitioners of the sweet science do combat to prove who is the better man. It truly is a beautiful thing.
But, unfortunately, boxing is hardly ever done right. We occasionally get the highly anticipated fight between two evenly matched opponents. This year we were gifted with Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz and Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter while the end of the year will find a ring shared by two of the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world when Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev battle for ring supremacy.
However, for every fight done right, we get more than a healthy helping of those done wrong. The obvious one is the Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez fight that we have had to twiddle our thumbs while they face lesser opponents in an effort to “build the fight.” We also get to watch champions like Danny Garcia who keep themselves busy with lousy opponents when they should be facing top-tier opposition.
It’s a mess and rarely do we get to see things done right. For a moment, it appeared that we’d get a fight worthy of our attention when it appeared that Daniel Jacobs and Golovkin were going to throwdown on Dec. 10. Jacobs and his trainer Andre Rozier continuously barked that they would be willing to take on boxing’s boogie monster. And although GGG would be the prohibitive favorite, it was a fight of intrigue on many levels.
Jacobs had just come off a one-sided railroading of Sergio Mora and, prior to that, decimated Peter Quillin inside of one round. His knockout streak had increased to 15 straight and it appeared that he had the tools that could put GGG to the test.
But, as it always does, boxing got in its own way with nonsensical politics and posturing.
The target date of Dec. 10, which didn’t appear to be a problem for either party beforehand, has now been scuttled in favor of a vague “1st Quarter 2017” date. The rationale makes little sense. After Team Jacobs tried and failed to secure a 60-40 purse split, the date became “too soon” and Rozier stated that his fighter no longer has enough time to prepare.
If that was the case, why even try to dictate a 60-40 purse split if Jacobs wouldn’t be ready? It’s just another pothole in the road as K2’s Tom Loeffler and PBC’s Al Haymon sit at the table to negotiate things that boxing fans don’t care about. All that matters is whether they will fight or not.
Golovkin-Jacobs is just what the boxing world needs. Instead, we are left with the prevailing thought that everyone is scared to fight GGG. Whether true or not, that’s the impression left whenever an opponent needs more time, more money, more…whatever it is to justify avoiding Golovkin.
It’s unfortunate that boxing has to deal with these bumps and bruises because the fans deserve better. In a year when the UFC is constantly outperforming boxing from a PPV standpoint, the sport needs every little bit of positive movement as possible. If you’re sour on GGG-Jacobs, you certainly have to feel a certain kind of way about Danny Garcia’s recent list of opponents.
After impressively dispatching of Lucas Matthysse three years ago, Garcia has faced the following opponents:
- Mauricio Herrera (a fight many think he lost)
- Rod Salka (completely overmatched)
- Lamont Peterson (another fight he nearly lost)
- Paulie Malignaggi (clearly past his prime)
- Robert Guerrero (shopworn)
It makes little sense why Garcia hasn’t faced better competition after scoring an upset over Matthysse. It leaves fans questioning whether he’s being protected or simply fearful of facing the best of the welterweight division. Perhaps neither are true, but he’s doing himself no favors by facing Samuel Vargas – an opponent that Errol Spence annihilated in four rounds. What sense does this make?
There is one sliver of hope in that this fight should lead to a showdown with Keith Thurman early next year. That’s what we have to hang on to. Until then, we get to watch Garcia beat up another overmatched opponent.
Hopefully the month of November will salvage a relatively ho-hum year with Kovalev-Ward and Vasyl Lomachenko-Nicholas Walters. Yes, there is a Manny Pacquiao fight but who is really tripping over themselves to see him face Jessie Vargas?
It’s like an abusive relationship that we’re in with boxing. We love it, but just not sure that it loves us back. We’ll just stay in this dysfunctional relationship and hope it pans out.