Boxing Commentary: I want to be an alphabet bandit, too!

george foremanAugust 15, 2007 - By Jimmy Bryght: Money. How much is enough? In an interview several years ago with billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, an MSNBC analyst asked Donald the same question. Trump answered, "Just a little more." For those of us who have to add loose change to a Planter's Peanuts jar so that we can afford a few packs of cigarettes at the end of the month, 'enough' would mean that we'd be able to get out of debt and keep the bills paid up. For those who have the greenbacks to send their kids to private school, pay someone to detail their car at work and to throw away milk two days before the expiration date, 'enough' is never enough.

I'm willing to bet that the sanctioning organizations in boxing don't have a single Planter's jar anywhere in any of their offices. With the fees that they charge for title fights, I wouldn't doubt if their coffers runneth over. Take the WBC for example; they charge three percent of the total combined pay for both combatants. If it's a big money fight featuring two high-profile boxers, the WBC makes a ton of cash. Of course, if it's a title fight between two paperweights, the organization only gets what amounts to a handful of coins and an IOU. That's why the WBC loves titlists like Julio Caesar Chavez, Floyd Mayweather and Jermain Taylor - because they only fight big fights. The WBC is delighted by this because they get more cash via gate percentage and associated brand name sponsorships. And God forbid that a big-name titlist retires or gets upset by a lesser known fighter! The per-fight cash flow would drop considerably for the new champion's next fight and then the WBC officials wouldn't be able to afford baby seal meat for their secret Chihuahua dog fighting farms.

Evidently, I got into the wrong business. I should have been smart in the early 80s and started up my own sanctioning company instead of joining the Navy. Imagine all the guilt-free, cleanly laundered $100 bills in which I'd be swimming! Instead of sitting in the front seat of a 1986 El Camino writing articles on an archaeic 386 laptop on my lunchbreak, I'd be relaxing in the back of a stretch Hummer drinking cognac with hookers and dictating to an overpaid secretary. In fact, I think I WILL start my own sanctioning organization. I'll call it the JBBC and I'll just arbitrarily name champions and hand out exciting-looking belts (see above picture) which happen to coincidentally resemble the championship from the Rocky movies. Okay, it's cheesy but still better-looking than that green piece of crap the WBC manufactures. Anyway, I'll hand out these belts like Halloween candy and demand the fighters pay my sanctioning fees in order to keep them. I'll also charge undisclosed amounts for high rating placements so that even if there is a bad matchup that will affect the sanctioning percentage, I can still make money by selling mandatories.

A former IBF president had it all figured out. Preferential treatment, bribes for ratings, taking additional under-the-table sanctioning fees for poor matchups, etc. The laundry list of felonies is probably longer and no less impressive, but my point is that in the business of boxing there can be only the sanctioning orgs, the fighters, the promoters and the sponsors. When all these things are combined with the proper amount of money, a fight happens. Whether it's a contest that we care to see is altogether another story - remember the majority of Roy Jones, Jr. mandatory challengers? I think one guy was a garbage collector or something. Quality stuff.

The WBA had its issues as well. In 1981, an unnamed ring judge told Sports Illustrated that he was 'influenced' by the association to support certain champions. The very next year, a certain promoter claimed publicly that he was forced to pay off WBA officials for rankings. Another unnamed but obvious-to-everyone promoter would have never admitted to doing this since he's such a respectable member of the boxing community regardless of the many lawsuits against him and the fact that he was charged with the second-degree murder of a guy who owed him a few hundred bucks. He managed somehow to avoid prison. Only in America, I guess.

All I have to do is be careful; I won't give interviews. I'll have a negotiating area in my office that will be as secure as the White House Situation Room. I'll lease x-ray machines to detect video and recording equipment. I'll hire large men with no necks to intimidate promoters. How about sending scouts to boxing gyms all over the globe in order to find stiff, low-mobility punching bags with inflated win-loss records like Peter McNeeley and Robert Frazier in order to rank them and spoon-feed them to overrated prospects like Amir Khan? Not to mention marketing t-shirts, gym bags, shoes, etc. I'll get a million hits a month on my website. Genius.

Wow, that was easy. Now, I'm an official alphabet bandit. Of course, I'll be in competition with the twenty or so others out there, but my belt looks better regardless of abuse of the copyright. I'm going to be filthy rich, but somehow that doesn't seem like enough. I should think of another way to add to the pile of cash...

...maybe I should charge for the belts, too.

Article posted on 15.08.2007

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