The business of Boxing is bad for the sport
BOXING WAS KING!
I was once a proud boxing fan, watching all the big fights on ABC Wide World of Sports. Yes, big fights used to come on TV for free. Then some promoters got the bright idea that consumers should pay for big fights. With some fights now being on cable TV and most being on PPV, I was still a fan because the competition was still there. The top guys were fighting the top guys, champs fighting number one contenders.
The Golden Era
What happened to those days? Fighters allowed promoters to run their careers and choose their fights. I was never a Floyd Mayweather fan, but his fan base loves him. They love him because they grew up in this era where boxers dodge the next guy and choose to fight inferior opponents because their promoter feels that’s what’s best for business. Floyd is undefeated but; what big names are on his resume’ that he beat while they were in their prime? Boxing historians throw out the names Diego Corrales and José Luis Castillo. Note, those fights were early in his career when he was making his way in the world of boxing.
The Mayweather Effect
Floyd became even more powerful when he started promoting his own fights. This allowed him to once again pick and choose his opponents while making money as the promoter. This is why the Manny Pacquiao fight happened 5 to 7 years later than it should have. But let us go back a little further, Vernon Forrest versus Floyd Mayweather was the fight the boxing community was clamoring for. But we didn’t get that fight either as Floyd chose to fight more underwhelming opponents.
Enough Floyd bashing!
The sport of boxing has become all about promotions and TV deals and not about the spirit of competition. The promotion companies consist of, Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), Top Rank, Golden Boy who have TV deals with Showtime, ESPN, FOX, CBS, and DAZN. This is where it gets tricky.
Many of the top rank welterweights (Errol Spence, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman) fight for PBC with the exception of Terrence Crawford who is with Top Rank. In the golden days of boxing, this would never have been an issue as promoters would get together to work out the fight details and purse splits to give fans the fights they wanted to see.
Today’s promoters seem to push back at fights that fans want to see because they are risking their finances to put on these fights. They also give up the majority of the money to the talent just to get fights made with no guarantee that they will make that money back.
I call BS on this!
Big fights will always sell PPVs and sell out the venue that the fight is held in. Its common knowledge, boxers can make good money just fighting bums for a long time. If they fight each other, one of them will lose and MIGHT be cut off from making huge money in FUTURE fights. But this is when promoters have to show good faith negotiations. You can’t offer a marquee guy 30% of the purse, that will never work. You have to offer both guys maybe 40/40 and the promoters the split the difference.
The Business of Boxing
The business of boxing is not about competition, its all about business. If fighter 1 and 2 both fight on a network under a promoter, the money is split accordingly between all parties (network, promoter and the fighters). If they fight on 2 different networks, essentially the same money can be only guaranteed for both sides of the pie gets twice as big. Nowadays that’s not a problem since PPV buys are part of the game as well. You can charge more for the fight meaning there is more money to be accounted for.
Cross promotional fights can be made, just look at Tyson Fury versus Deontay Wilder. If promoters want a fight to happen they will find the way. Don’t let the business of boxing stop us from seeing Crawford vs. Spence, Anthony Joshua vs. the winner of Wilder/Fury 2, or Gervonta Davis vs. Vasyl Lomachenko.