Boxing Is Just So, Like, Unfair
By: Sean Cross
Being a newshound, I read, see and hear a lot about today’s young people. They’re pretty much looked down on the same way my generation (Generation X) was and my parent’s generation (The Baby Boomers) were. Sure enough, bashing “these kids today” seems to be a timeless global pastime. Perhaps the “Greatest Generation” got a pass, because, you know, it battled German and Japanese aggression and all (it’s hard to knock those rotten kids when they’re out there literally saving your ass), but that was clearly the exception rather than the rule. In other words, virtually all young people are sneered at and today’s young people are no exception. They’re also – like those who came before them – not nearly as bad as they’re made out to be.
Still, there’s likely truths to be found in even the most excessive of criticisms The Boomers DID tend to be self-absorbed, for instance, and a whole lot of Gen Xrs WERE a bunch of lazy slackers. And, in regards to today’s young people, there is a sense of entitlement that seems to pervade much of the collective narrative. Take this new crop of top fighters, for instance: have you ever seen people clearly thinking it’s UNFAIR for them to have to challenge themselves?
I’m not referring to all of these rising stars, mind you, or even most of them. I’m talking here of the notable minority that inevitably ends up representing the vast majority. You know: the flappers, the hippies, the slackers. These were essentially subgroups that came to represent the entirety of their peers.
The same goes for the Billy Joe Saunders’, Canelo Alvarez’ and Danny Garcia’s of this era. When people look back someday at this time and place in boxing history, they won’t think Thurman-Porter and Ward-Kovalev. They’ll think of Billy Joe Saunders pricing himself out, of Canelo Alvarez giving up his belt and of Danny Garcia appearing downright disinterested in facing legitimate competition.
They’ll also think of the prevailing attitudes some of these contemporary fighters seem to have – which appear to ask: “Why on earth would you want me to challenge myself?” even though they’re all successful athletes. It’s this suspected line of thought, this assumed, unspoken accusation of “you’re just not getting it,” that also hampers the reputations of today’s fighters as a whole.
Then there’s the complete and total lack of self-awareness to go along with the bad attitudes. Guys like Billy Joe, Canelo and Danny talk tough, but come across as anything but. This is a shame, because I personally feel each one truly is a tough guy at heart. Indeed, I think none of these men are cowards. I just don’t think they see how bad they all look at the moment.
Sure enough, I think that perhaps these guys may not be capable of even understanding how poorly they appear to those outside their inner circles. Each is of an era where there are no losers, after all, where everyone is a winner, and where you’re perfectly awesome just the way you are. Although these assertions are healthy, they can be overused and can end up dulling ambition. In my humble opinion, that clearly may be the case here.
You did good in winning a belt, Billy Joe. Don’t worry about that Golovkin unless you’re offered a whole lot of money. You don’t have anything to prove. Same goes for you, Canelo. You beat Miguel Cotto, after all, and were brave enough to step up against Erislandy Lara a few years back. People can go put a sock in it. And you, Danny, don’t you mind what people say. You fought the best there was a while back. You’ve earned the right to take it easy now.
Such thinking, which borders on infantile when viewed through the perspective of the adult world, seemingly permeates the echo chambers of many of today’s rising stars. In fact, the whole sad spectacle becomes even more cringe worthy when you throw in the accompanying sense of procrastination. Both Billy Joe and Canelo probably seem to both feel they can beat Golovkin WHEN THEY’RE READY. News flash, fellas, you’re top level fighters. Saying you need time is like telling your mom you’ll get the trash out in a minute while the garbage truck is pulling up to the house.
Boxing may be a business, but someone might have to remind these fighters that boxing is also a sport. What’s more, fighters at the level they’re at are expected to fight the best competition out there – that or step down a few rungs on the figurative ladder. Give Canelo this, at least he gave up his title without trying to hold onto it without facing GGG. Now he needs to stop playing the tough guy. The same may ring true for others, as well.