Boxing


Too Brave For Their Own Good!

04.02.06 - By Neil Goodman: From the title it would be easy to assume I talking about boxers, the fighters who risk everything between the ropes. But no, in this instance it is the promoters and match makers I am referring to.

How brave they are as they line up their charge to take on insurmountable odds. How daring and courageous they are, putting their arses in the firing line against the bigger and better man.

Of course this is not the case; managers and promoters, it would be fair to say, in general do not act on their altruistic instincts. Instead they look to fill the small hall events or the big arena nights with bums on seat and generate as much revenue as is wholly possible.

It is the means by which they go about achieving their aims of selling tickets and generating TV interest that can often be called into question. I do not mean this to be taken as a sweeping generalisation, but I will sight a few examples shortly and these will illustrate the point.

All to often both the fighters manager and promoter spend a great deal of time, energy and expense building a fighter up. The fighter becomes schooled and gains valuable experience, whilst the occasional record padding fight is slipped in along the way. Then with their man in prime position to make the BIG break through, or simply in a good position to make a health living, the manager and/or promoter gets suddenly very brave.

There are other instances of when fighters have clearly stepped over the other side of the hill and all of sudden the door to the last chance saloon opens. Why did it take so long for the door to open? For years the fighter is looking for a gunfight and suddenly they are up against Billy The Kid, armed with only water pistol.

You can tell me the managers and promoters are only doing their job; but as true as this maybe they know only too well that very few fighters turn down any opportunity however big or small. As soon any fighter is given a fight date, they will tell you they are good to go and regardless of the opponent they WILL come out the winner (all this and they do not even know the opponent yet). This trait is by no means meant as a slight on the fighters of this world, this is simply their natural outlook. If they do not think they can win every time they step into the ring, then why bother?

So, now to a few examples:

Michael Moorer versus David Tua; what did they expect to happen?

Michael Brodie versus Scott Harrison; is not enough to fight In Jin Chi? Twice!

Mike Tyson versus Lennox Lewis; what can I say?

Arturo Gatti versus Floyd Mayweather; no crystal ball needed for this one!

Billy Hardy versus Prince Naseem Hamed; going back a bit, but I think you are starting to get the point.

None of the bouts sited, above, were ever going to be anything approaching competitive and almost without exception these fights all but finished off the losing combatant. Whilst Gatti has returned to arms recently, the loss to the Pretty Boy must have drained the Thunder from Arturo, both physically and psychologically.

On personal note, when Brodie was pitted against Harrison I was appalled. If ever a fighter deserved a easy assignment, a confidence builder, it was Michael. But ‘No’ that would have be to easy, why not throw the blown up super bantam in with a big, big featherweight and see what happens!

The question still stands; why do promoters and managers make decisions, which can and will put their man in unnecessary harms way? Why do they feel it is necessary to negotiate such hard fights, at the wrong time in the career of their fighters?

I am not sure there are easy answers to these questions. Is it simply the fact they are having one last roll of the dice? Do they think they are doing their man a favour, by getting one last meaningful payday? Too many questions and not enough answers I know, but rest assured, before to long another mis-match involving a named fighter will be coming to an arena (or TV screen) near you shortly.

Finally, on a completely related note; good luck to Joe Calzaghe for his forthcoming bout against Jeff Lacy. Maybe, just maybe, after Joe has repelled the challenge of the Left Hook, he will receive the recognition and plaudits he deserves.

Article posted on 05.02.2006



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