Even in 2015, the back and forth posturing is still frustratingly prevalent in the industry.
Boxing is one of the oldest sports there is and as such carries a lot of history, baggage and in some senses, old school ways.
There are many unfair and unwanted stereotypes associated with the sport regarding things like corruption and fixing, which in my view are totally inaccurate, uneducated and prejudice slurs pointed at the sport in today’s time of 2015.
I can’t comment on how things were in the past but what I can comment on is today’s time and since I got started out in boxing journalism over the last few years.
The sport is now run essentially by global TV networks, sports management companies and sports promotional companies. In 2015, you just would not get away with mass corruption in any sport anymore – you’d be found out.
I’m not saying that nothing untoward never happens in the sport, that would be naive. But in my opinion the same can be said about any professional sport or any professional business for that matter.
When money comes into the equation, there is always going to be unscrupulous individuals looking to make a quick buck or take short cuts.
One thing that I do not still exists in the game today is boxing politics. In this article I will not name any names for the purpose of fairness, balance and objectivity.
In a time where the sport is really flourishing again and on is well on its way back to mainstream media for a variety of reasons, including major TV broadcasters investing in the sport again and the Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao super fight been made, we are still continuing to see a lot of big fights not getting made – which is highly frustrating.
A well known observer within the game recently defined the modern day boxing landscape quite well I thought, “It is annoying that the big fights we want are the ones we are least likely to see. Welcome to modern world of do what you like boxing”. How right he was.
In today’s time you still have promoters quarreling, that hasn’t change. What they quarrel over has though. Back in the day boxers were almost slaves to promoters’ less than fair contracts. That’s all changed now.
The promoters work for the fighters today and are more motivated by money than ever, due to arguably there being less money in the business for them compared to what they used to be able to exploit out of boxers years ago.
Today’s boxing politics are dominated by terms and arguments like “A side vs B side”, “we bring more money to the table then you do”, “Your fighter doesn’t do the numbers on pay per view that ours does”, etc.
Professional boxing has always been a money business, but now more so than ever in my opinion. You are seeing new age promoters and managers coming through at the moment, in the time of social media and almost public negotiation.
This has been meshed in with a lot of the old school key players’ less than willing nature to accept modern day technologies like social media and the internet.
Alas, they’ve had no choice at this stage but often times their egos do not allow them to engage with promoters and power players in the game who come from this newer, fresher, more transparent, technology drive generation – where the customer (the fight fan) expects a better product than ever before (the best boxers fighting the best boxers).
The sport of boxing is going through a lot of changes globally at the moment. Politics will always be there unfortunately, that’s just human nature in any business.
But with the way technology and the internet continues to influence the sport and indeed all sport, I believe the transparency of these politics will only continue to be brought to the surface more and more in the coming years.
Boxing has no choice but to change due to the many other combat sports products out there embracing new technologies and more importantly – putting on the best fights.
It will though. Boxing has been around for a long time and in my opinion, will return to it’s glory days before this decade is out.
by Niall Doran