Don Chargin: “I still love boxing” – Part Two
By Joseph Herron: An age old axiom in boxing states that “as the heavyweight division goes, so goes the sport of boxing.”
Article posted on 25.04.2011
It’s hard to argue with that logic when 4 out of the top 5 live gates in Nevada Boxing history are Heavyweight Main Events:
1) Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr., May 5, 2007 $19.0 million
2) Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield II, Nov. 13, 1999 $16.8 million
3) Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II, June 28, 1997 $14.2 million
4) Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson I, Nov. 9, 1996 $14.1 million
5) Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley, Aug. 19, 1995 $13.9 million
According to Don “War a Week” Chargin, it’s no coincidence that boxing enjoyed record proceeds and regular popularity among sports fans in America when an American Heavyweight ruled the boxing universe.
Chargin truly believes that the “Sweet Science” would be on the forefront of American sports if an exciting American heavyweight became the lineal Heavyweight Champion of the World.
“I’m always looking for boxing to make a big comeback,” admits the 83 year old boxing icon. “I’m praying that we’ll see another exciting and dominant American heavyweight in my lifetime that can carry the sport.”
There are quite a few boxing scribes who would debate with Don, stating that the current promotional feud between Top Rank and Golden Boy is what is really crippling the sport of boxing by keeping the best matches from being made.
Don simply chuckles.
“That has always gone on,” states Chargin. “There are a few good fights that we would see as a result and it would ultimately be better for the sport if they did have more of an amicable relationship, but this kind of thing has gone on since the beginning of time in boxing.”
“Eventually the opposing promoters will get together for maybe one or two great fights, but then they’ll quarrel again, calling each other names in the process for another year or so…then they’ll repeat the entire cycle over and over,” laughs the Hall of Fame matchmaker. “It has always been this way.”
“Even when they were making fights between Pacquiao/De La Hoya, Mosley/Margarito, and Pacquiao/Hatton…things really weren’t that good between Top Rank and Golden Boy,” explains Chargin.
“Things haven’t been right between Oscar and Bob since De La Hoya decided to leave Top Rank,” expounds Don. “But, things really got bad when Manny Pacquiao signed with both promotional parties, Top Rank and Golden Boy, simultaneously.”
“What’s ironic is that Golden Boy gets paid whenever Pacquiao fights because of the mutually agreed settlement, just like Top Rank gets paid whenever Victor Ortiz fights,” clarifies the boxing legend. “It will always be a pretty rough relationship between De La Hoya and Arum, but we’ll eventually see the fights that the public demands.”
Don claims that throughout boxing’s rich history, the big fights, regardless of how elusive they may have seemed, were always made.
“The top matches would always get made,” states Chargin. “It might take some doing and it might take longer than anticipated, but eventually the fights would be made.
“For years Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson avoided Sonny Liston until he absolutely couldn’t avoid him any longer,” recalls the legendary matchmaker. “He finally fought him…not once but twice.”
Some have labeled Don “War a Week” Chargin as the most prolific matchmaker in the history of boxing. The “Don” of boxing earned his legendary nickname for putting on a classic battle at the famed Olympic Auditorium at least four times per month. Chargin explains why it was so much easier back then.
“Matchmaking for Aileen Eaton made my job easy,” explains Chargin. “Aileen was way ahead of her time and was a pioneer of sorts. She didn’t believe in “easy” fights or promotional contracts.”
When Don would worry about possibly losing a “free agent” after all of his work developing a certain fighter, Aileen would confidently tell him: “Look Don…if they don’t want us, we don’t want them.”
“During my twenty years at the Olympic Auditorium, we signed one fighter to a promotional contract,” claims “War a Week” Chargin. “It was much easier back then because you could concentrate on making a great match-up rather than fulfilling a contractual obligation.”
“Now matchmaking is much more difficult because promoters sign too many fighters,” states Chargin. “When a promoter signs a fighter to a lucrative deal, a matchmaker has to keep these, what I like to call, “bonus babies” winning.”
“Consequently, this factor greatly affects how a matchmaker does his job,” stresses the boxing legend. “Golden Boy has two very good matchmakers in Eric Gomez and Robert Diaz, who are sometimes sharply and wrongfully criticized for making a fight simply to keep a contractually obligated fighter in his winning ways.”
The “Don” of boxing also notices a trend which greatly affects the future and health of the sport.
“Too often, fight scribes, promoters, and fans alike place way too much emphasis on a fighter’s win-loss record or a specific performance,” declares Chargin. “Sugar Ray Robinson is considered by most to be the greatest fighter in the history of the sport and he retired with almost 20 losses.”
“Look at Victor Ortiz,” states Chargin. “He was basically left for dead by his harshest critics after one failed showing, and Victor was still capable of giving the world an inspired performance in his championship win over Berto.”
“Look at how good Sergio Martinez became after his loss to Paul Williams,” explains Chargin. “He’s now one of the best fighters in the world.”
Despite being involved with boxing for almost 6 decades, Don Chargin is still a big fan of the “Sweet Science”. He loves to talk shop and has analyzed the upcoming Sugar Shane Mosely/Manny Pacquiao bout on May 7th.
“I think Sugar Shane is a professional and is one of the most proud fighters I know,” proclaims the legendary matchmaker. “He is not showing up just to lose and will never get embarrassed in the ring.”
“Although Shane is a future Hall of Famer and always makes a good showing for himself on the big stage, I just don’t think he has enough at this point in his career to defeat a fighter like Pacquiao,” admits Chargin. “But, when Pacquiao gets hit by a Sugar Shane right hand, the Pac-Man is going to feel it and will definitely know that he is in one heck of a fight.”
If a man is defined by his actions and measured by how he treats those around him, Don Chargin will continually be known as “the most successful man in boxing."
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