Boxing: Athletes Working for the People They Pay

04.02.05 - By Coach Tim Walker - - I love watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. Bugs whether dressed in drag or tuxedo usually came out the victor no matter the circumstances. One of the show’s best subplots was to show my beloved Bugs tricking that week’s jovial nemesis into thinking that the gun wasn’t loaded. The unknowing butt of this cruel yet entertaining prank would then go on to shot himself in the proverbial foot. Sometimes the joke would stray a bit higher and to the rear, which made the joke even funnier. That seems to be what some laughable sanctioning bodies and some gluttonous promoters are doing, shooting themselves in the proverbial foot.. I intentionally put the word some in that last sentence to assure myself that I wouldn’t be served with a notice of suit, the sport’s food of choice.

It is difficult to tell who the good guys and bad guys are in boxing. Sure we know that Green Bay fans don’t like Randy Moss. I don’t expect Ron Artest to get a warm welcome when he next plays in Detroit. And yes Barry Bonds will most certainly get his share of boo-birds when he runs out on the baseball diamond. The greatest benefit that football, basketball and baseball have over boxing is that they are structured. As a boxing fan I am fed up but I have no choice but to endure the imprudence of these pitted wars between sanctioning bodies and promoters. Once a promoter told me “Coach, sometimes you can’t give em’ what they want, sometimes you gotta give em’ what you can.” Well of course as a fan I bellyached about that statement for days on end but it seems more and more the trend now.

How did we get here? Blame it on the promoters, or sanctioning bodies, or ranking systems, or networks, or sponsorship, or whatever fits your particular argument at the time. The fact is we are here and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Shout it with me…the system, needs, a makeover! You don’t have to go back 5 or 10 years or even to the Tarver/Johnson fight where both fighters relinquished their belts to face each other. Just look at today’s boxing stories: Gianluca Branco ducks Junior Witter, or Julio Diaz Vacates Title to face Jose Luis Castillo. Why does this happen? The answer my friend is structure.

Boxing’s structure is more individualized than departmentalized. It is more departmentalized than organized. It is particularized for what is best for the one as opposed to what is best for the sport. In this sport the needs of the sport are seldom placed over the needs of the individual. Again, why does this happen? It happens because boxing is in the hands of those who have singular minds of doing only what is best for them. Fighters who do it on their own terms are anomalies. Typically they use the company line, “I can only fight who they put in front of me to fight.” A true company line if there ever was one. A sports agent doesn’t have the last say in his client’s future. Why are boxing’s agents (promoters, manager, trainers, etc.) so overwhelmingly empowered? Only in boxing is the power of the boxer given away. Only in boxing is the boxer working for the people who he pays. The boxer is the owner of his franchise but acts more like an employee rather than the CEO.

Will boxing stop shooting itself in the foot and learn to promote itself in the sports’ best interest? Well it definitely won’t happen today but maybe there is hope for the near future. Seemingly the biggest proponent of boxing in government is Senator John McCain. Drop by his website and let him know what you think of the current path of professional boxing. I would encourage you to use this as an opportunity to inform not bash. You can visit Senator McCain at his website:

The time for selfishness in professional boxing has passed. It is time to make boxing the force out of the ring that it has proven to be inside of the ring. Maybe it is time for some new blood…J

Coach Tim Walker

Article posted on 04.02.2005

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