What can go wrong in organising boxing bouts? And what does it mean to the sport?
It’s often said that it’s harder for a boxing bout to go ahead than it is to not happen at all because of the carousel of the often ludicrous details that don’t quite suit either fighter. So what can go wrong and how is it impacting the sport?
When Floyd Mayweather returned to the US to announce his fight with Japanese kickboxer, Tenshin Nasukawa was already off, having only arranged it 48 hours prior, fans were at once disappointed, eager to find out why or just plain confused. That fight eventually went ahead, but not all do.
The reality of why boxing bouts are cancelled is complex, ranging from personal to financial to political issues, or simply bad luck. So what is it that’s cancelling the fights? And how is it impacting the boxing community?
Before a fight can get underway, there is a barrage of people who’ve already stepped in to check things over. Coaches, trainers, managers, promoters, sanctioning bodies and TV companies all stand in the way of a bout going ahead. Of course, if the boxers themselves don’t feel like they have the best chance of success, they too are just as likely to attempt to edit the location, date, referee or something else.
Tiffs and spats
Legendary promoter, Bob Arum, has been involved in many feuds, scandals and controversies, whether it be with boxers, rival promoters or even TV networks. His 40-year-long feud with fellow promoter, Don King, is well documented.
Over the years, Arum and his company, Top Rank, has been sued by boxers such as Oscar de la Hoya, and has been accused or found guilty of extortion, bribery and match-fixing. Yet he also sued HBO, the TV network, for intentionally trying to rule him out as a promoter, too.
Where to show it?
Whilst HBO and rival US network, Showtime, may well have been turning into promoters over the years, it’s when they look horns with one another do fights seem even more unlikely. This was seen in the Lewis vs. Tyson, where both networks were vying for exclusivity rights over the bout. In the end, the fight was broadcast in a rare joint-pay-per-view. Since, there have been many complaints that, due to exclusivity rights and certain fighters choosing to sign with certain TV networks, some fights that should’ve happened simply never did, never have or never will.
What about the boxers?
Mostly, it’s the boxers themselves which govern who they fight and when. Controversy remains—and probably always will—over the fights ‘Money’ Mayweather didn’t have, and whether he carefully chose when to fight opponents to retain his undefeated status.
A major criticism of today’s Heavyweight division, for instance, is the incessant planning that goes into deciding who to fight, with sceptical fans suggesting promoters, managers and the boxers consider: what has the most reward for the least risk?
How does it affect boxing?
Well, the grandeur of this generation of boxing might not be comparable to, say, that of the 80s with Tommy Hearns, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. Undoubtedly, boxing is more than ever about money. Fighters and everyone surrounding and supporting them take special care of the organisation of a bout because there is so much money at stake. If something out of their remit happens, it could impact that person or network drastically.
If you work in boxing in any capacity, our team at Full Time Cover can work to support your work, protecting you from any and every eventuality should a bout fall through your fingers or something unavoidable occurs.
To find out more about the type of cover we offer, contact our team today.