LET ME KNOW WHEN THEY’RE IN THE RING
I began writing this column on Super Sunday, hours after the Big Game. I wouldn’t learn who won the Super Bowl until late Monday. It’s not easy avoiding news of the world’s most watched annual sporting event, but I do my best to ignore it every year.
I’ve never been much of a pro football fan, but over the past 40 years I’ve come to despise the relentless media hype, over-the-top spectacle and blatant commercialism of the Super Bowl. At some point, maybe 10 or 15 years ago, I began to take pride in not knowing which two teams were playing in the “single greatest sporting event in North America.”
(My hometown of Inglewood, California, hosted last year’s Super Bowl, so I drove the family three hours outside of Los Angeles County and nestled up in the mountain village of Julian for three days to escape the madness.)
Why am I sharing this in a Ringside column? Well, I just want to announce that the spirit of avoidance I hold for the Super Bowl is now shared with all so-called “super fights” that don’t play out in the ring.
Starting with Terence Crawford-Errol Spence, I am done! Not only do I refuse to talk about or write about what could have been the premier welterweight matchup of this generation, I refuse to take a side and place blame on either camp for the showdown not happening when it should have (late-2018 through 2022 – pick a year!).
And I will zealously avoid any podcast, YouTube show or social media post that pontificates on Crawford-Spence (especially those weirdos who get emotional about it). I’m over it, people.
In fact, I’m over ANY and all Twitter beefs between fighters, managers, promoters, network executives, media, fans or fan-boy cliques.
I’ll give the fighters a pass to snipe at each other via their social media IF they’ve actually signed a contract to face each other in the ring. Otherwise, please miss me with that bullshit. I will not “like” or “retweet,” but I will “mute” if it keeps showing up on my timeline.
Back to Crawford-Spence. They had their chance. It didn’t happen. That ship has sailed. End of story.
The big welterweight showdown for me is on April 29, when The Ring’s Nos. 5 and 6 contenders – Vergil Ortiz and Eimantas Stanionis – will share the ring at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.
By all means, @ me if you want to talk about Ortiz-Stanionis via Twitter. If you’re long-winded, shoot me an email about it at [email protected]. (I’ll bring back the mailbag for The Ring only.)
If the winner wants to take on Crawford or Spence, we can definitely move on to that subject – once the contract is signed.
The last Super Bowl I watched in its entirety was in 1989, during my first year of college. The only reason I watched was because I was one of the few students attending the tiny liberal arts college in rural southwestern Ohio who had a TV in his room. I enjoyed the competitive game, which saw the Joe Montana-led 49ers rally past the Bengals in the fourth quarter. (How many reading this recall the “Ickey Shuffle”? Well, there wasn’t much of that during this game.)
Some of the dudes who crammed into my dorm room to watch the game on my tiny TV set told me they didn’t watch boxing beyond Mike Tyson fights while marveling at some of the KO magazine posters I had on the walls. I made it a mission to convert them to hardcore boxing fans over the next three and half years, and I did so with the help of The Ring and its sister publications, which I left out on coffee tables in the common rooms of the dorm halls and on the floors of the bathroom stalls.
By my senior year, I had a room full of boxing buddies watching junior middleweight champ Terry Norris take out undefeated challenger Carl Daniels and James Toney defend (controversially) his middleweight title against scrappy Dave Tiberi.
via coachstrout’s classic fights s on YouTube:
But it was easy to introduce newbies to boxing at that time. Norris was fighting on network television and basic cable between his big fights on HBO, Showtime and Don King PPV cards. Toney fought five times the year (1992) that he struggled with Tiberi (and that was a slow year for ole “Lights Out”).
Toney and Norris were passionate, hungry and entertaining fighters. When it was time for them to face the top fighters in and around their weight classes, the fights were made, and usually showcased on premium cable or PPV.
This is not the case today. I’m not saying this generation isn’t hungry or passionate about their legacies, but the industry doesn’t seem to be structured in a way that allows them to even attempt to be active, let alone be great.
This issue’s cover story, “Boxing is Broken,” takes a look at how the relationship between the promoters and the networks have changed over the decades – obviously not for the better – and its author, veteran scribe Steve Kim, attempts to offer some solutions along with his insight. There are many other problems plaguing boxing, so this will be an ongoing feature this year.
If you would like to share your thoughts and possible solutions to any of the issues and obstacles currently holding back the sport, please email us at [email protected].