Boxing’s New Breed Of Fan Helps Keep Things Dysfunctional
By: Sean Crose
While watching cable news tonight I saw a well-known member of congress answer some tough questions. Only he didn’t directly answer. He meandered. He obfuscated. He acted like the smartest person in the room, the person who we should all just leave alone, since it was he, not us, who knew what to do. So help me, the guy reminded me of a lot of people in the world of boxing today. All he needed to do was say “this match needs to marinate a bit” and he’d be in line to make a series of pay per view bouts.
All of this, of course, leads to a larger issue. Boxing clearly looks like it needs a single ruling body of some sort. The United States’ Government might, in a sane era, seem like a perfect choice to act as that ruling body – at least as far as stateside activities are concerned. Sadly, however, this is not a sane era. Not to engage in hyperbole, but American elected officials from both parties are, as a whole, about as fit to run boxing as the much maligned organizational bodies have proven to be. This has nothing to do with politics, actually…or even corruption. Our contemporary leaders just aren’t competent enough to instill any sense of real trust these days.
What then, can be done? I’m not always in agreement with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, but he penned a brilliant article recently on the state of contemporary boxing. Too much time is spent in the courtroom, he argues, and not enough time is spent making matches most fans want to see. Iole is dead on here. The powers that be appear interested in everything but what the diehard fans want. Even as boxing becomes less and less popular in America these individuals still refuse to change their ways.
Sure enough, boxing’s new breed of fan, which is interested in fighter’s earnings rather than in genuine ring achievement (you can find its members in comments sections throughout the internet), might be ubiquitous enough to keep matchmaker’s bank accounts at least somewhat healthy. Why these new breed fans would rather see, say, Garcia-Salka (content, I suppose, in the knowledge that Danny will earn an easy and sizable check), than they would Canelo-GGG is beyond me. These fans are out there, though, and I suspect they’re at least part of the reason boxing continues on its less than healthy trajectory.
The irony, as Iole points out in his piece, is that boxing could be much more lucrative if the fan base at large was catered to. The UFC may, with the help of the media, hype certain white combatants to an unwarranted degree, but at least it appeals to its customers. With the new breeds willing to accept pretty much anything (except perversely, good matchmaking with reasonable pricetags), things may keep coughing along in boxing just as they are at the moment.
Too bad. There’s a lot of talent out there right now just waiting to be challenged.