Why Is Disappointment Such An Enormous Part Of Boxing?
By: Sean Crose
Seanie Monaghan wanted to fight Adonis Stevenson. He was disappointed. Adonis Stevenson wanted to fight Joe Smith. He was disappointed. Gennady Golovkin wanted to fight Billy Joe Saunders. He was disappointed. Billy Joe Saunders then wanted to fight Gennady Golovkin. He was disappointed. Welcome to boxing, where disappointment seems to sometimes reign as undisputed pound for pound king. The other night, while I was at the Mohegan Sun Casino to see Sullivan Barrera top off an entertaining card by besting the overmatched Paul Parker, I found myself less than a foot away from talented junior middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade.
I asked the skillful Rhode Islander what he had in store for the future. The answer, unfortunately, was nothing at the moment. Andrade, you see, had wanted to face Cuban slickster Erislandy Lara, but ended up being – you guessed it – disappointed. The point of this piece isn’t to point fingers at any of the fighters mentioned above (or below), but rather to illustrate what a frustrating endeavor boxing can be…especially for those who are doing the fighting. It was clear sitting near Andrade, for instance, that the man keeps himself in shape and has expert knowledge of the skills required for success in the ring. His last fight wasn’t even televised in the states, however, and his future, at least at the moment, is grey.
Again, the point here isn’t to support or condemn Andrade (though he’s certainly an engaging guy to speak with). The point here is merely to illustrate the vast, some might even argue infinite, figurative desert so many fighters tend to find themselves in. Part of this, of course, has to do with the fact that boxing has no single controlling authority. This can be frustrating, but at least there’s not one or two people who get to pick who does and doesn’t become a star.
Then again, there’s also the matter of cherrypicking, which seems to be more relevant than ever these days. Fighters, even up and comers, can act like marketing experts, even when they’re not. Instead of trying to be Floyd Mayweather, boxer, some pugilists seem to aspire to be Floyd Mayweather, millionaire. There’s a huge difference between those two entities, but it looks as if some, if not many, fighters are afraid to recognize it. Such thinking leads, of course, to disappointment among fans, possible opponents and perhaps even the fighters themselves. Fighters, after all, SHOULD care about legacies if they have the chance to create them.
Look, disappointment has been a big part of boxing since at least the time John L Sullivan made it clear he wouldn’t fight the likes of “Prince” Peter Jackson because of Jackson’s skin color. That doesn’t mean there should be as many disappointed souls in the fight game as there seems to be, however. Just because disappointment is a natural part of everyone’s life doesn’t require it to play a leading role. The question, of course, is how can anyone, much less fans, actually deal with this issue plaguing the sweet science? No one appears to have a single satisfactory answer.
Oh well, at least Barrera seemed happy in the wee hours of Saturday morning as I said hi to him walking out of the arena and into the busy casino. For the record, he was supposed to have fought Artur Beterbiev on the 21st of April, but pulled out of the match, having to settle instead for some work against Parker. I think it’s safe to say people were disappointed by that particular turn of events.
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