Santa Cruz And Frampton Would Rather Punch Each Other’s Lights Out Than Face Rigo
By: Sean Crose
Sure, Saturday’s bout between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz will probably be exciting. These are two fighters who can excite, after all. They’re both also quite popular and lucrative properties, to put it bluntly. Yet therein lies the problem to me. These guys are bringing in bucks and eyeballs while avoiding the biggest threat out there that either of them could face – Guillermo Rigondeaux. Sure, they could say that they’re in a different division than Rigo now, but everyone knows that’s crap. These two have been avoiding the slick Cuban for ages – so much so they’d rather punch each other’s lights out than be made to look foolish for twelve rounds.
Look, I understand that boxing is “prize fighting,” and that it may well have been first designed to be a part of the entertainment business as opposed to the sport’s world. That doesn’t mean it should stay that way, though. The truth is, boxing isn’t pro wrestling, it’s ultimately a sport (whether it was originally designed to be one or not), and competition should be first and foremost on everyone’s mind. Indeed, the reality is that the New York Yankees might bring a lot more eyeballs to the World Series than, say, the Tampa Bay Rays…but baseball fans would be outraged if the top division teams didn’t get to play in the big one at the end of the season. Where is that sense of fairness among those of us who love the sweet science?
Well, it’s there when we want it to be, it seems, but only when we want it to be. We call bullshit when Canelo calls GGG into the ring, then gives up his title rather than face the man. We make Stevenson a virtual nonentity for not getting it on with Kovalev. We do not, however, charge Santa Cruz and Frampton of ducking Rigo. We simply nod our heads, laugh, and say Rigo is too boring to watch anyway. Fair enough, but we then need to remember that boxing is the entity we ourselves allow it to be. We either wish it to be about who is the best or we don’t.
What we need to remember, however, is that there’s consequences to our choices. When we pick an entertainment business over true competition, we avoid having to watch Rigo potentially bore the hell out of us in a twelve round snoozer. Yet we also get the Canelo-GGG scenario, and Danny Garcia facing less than challenging opposition. It’s a tradeoff, plain and simple.
And, for all our griping, it appears to be one we fight fans are willing to accept.