Boxing

Brock and Peter leaving Superfighter is typical of what is wrong with boxing!

19.10.06 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: If somebody wants to know what part of the problem with boxing is, they need look no further then the newly announced SuperFighter tournament. The 8 man, 1 night, 4 round elimination tourney with a clear prize and tremendous prestige with no risk of a loss on the record, had gotten fans very excited, especially considering the names involved. As of today, while the prospect of the tourney is still exciting, the two best reasons why that was so have exited and as far as I am concerned chickened out.

Now, when I say chickened out, I don’t mean in the sense that they are scared of any one of the other single competitors. I have long come to realize that whenever a boxer chooses to fight or not fight another boxer it has little to do with fear. In the worst case they can always take a dive or claim an injured shoulder, or jaw, or leg. It's not so much fear but rather the protection of their personal investment. Boxing has become a business which is why fighters are seeking to defend that “aura” of invincibility that they have built up, usually by way of less then stellar opposition.

The two, youngest and hottest fighters, in the Superfighter list, in Samuel Peter and Calvin Brock, have recently announced they won’t participate in the tournament. From their perspective, yes the reasoning is understandable. The men have fights coming up and the excuse is they have to focus on that competition, however, at the same time they are also going to be the ones claiming they are the best and willing to fight the best. The time of one big win recognition, has long been the dominant norm in boxing, and that is in part why none of the current fighters will ever come close to surpassing the greats of the boxing past.

Guys like Robinson, Armstrong, Ali, Foreman fought often and even if they came in on a bad day, the fact is they never let it get them down. They didn’t let a fan sit and criticize their loss because they usually came back with a few wins right afterwards. You can be sure that if they were fighting, they would probably be there looking to show their skills off and collect that money.

That also goes for all the other fighters in the heavyweight division, so I don’t want you guys thinking I am singling Brock and Peter more so then to make a point. In today’s boxing even if a fighter wants to fight often its difficult to do and especially against the best opponents, this is absolutely a given, so in that sense there is a leniency here. However, both Brock and Peter already had their births confirmed, so they had no real excuse, even if they came up with ones they thought we would buy.

The plain truth is Peter would have probably lost in Superfighter, based on the format of the event and the caliber of fighters. He is not built for Superfighter, style wise, so he would unlikely come out on top. Of course the Peter team would disagree, but since they are not fighting, this is academic at this point. What really mattered was not whether he would win or lose, because as I said the losses here don’t count on his record, but that he took the challenge on, regardless of when or where he fought Toney. As I say and will keep saying, a fighter with losses, even unofficial ones, deserves more then a guy not willing to take risks, when the opportunities present themselves, all so he or his team could protect their investment.

Brock for his part has more of an excuse, but truthfully its still a weak one, because even if he fights Klitschko and win or lose, he will still most likely be in great shape. If he were to suffer an injury or cut that is different, but he does not know this yet so for him to say no at this point seems just as sad. I don’t feel he would win the tournament either, but I would have loved for him to show some real character and 1 month after a title challenge, win or lose, go his all against the top heavies in the world. THAT would have been true championship character, which 1 win recognition just can’t buy even if he beats Klitschko.

Brock is a smart guy, he is a boxing businessman, which his bachelor’s degree will attest too, so in a sense if he wins the IBF title and losses the tourney it would be hard for him to make a “I am the best in the world claim.” In that sense it would be bad for marketing, but on the other hand it would also create some added excitement were he to then take on his potential Superfighter conqueror in a real fight for the title. It would be a four round prelim for a real championship fight, and thereby even in that sense risk beats reward. Again though its all academic because ultimately it comes down to which fighters have the balls take the opportunities presented to them.

All the other guys while admirably stepping up, in Byrd, Mccline, Bell, Fields, Gomez, and Mccall, have or had stagnating careers to that point. They have less to risk and thereby, the loss of Peter and Brock, to “business” decisions is much more tragic about this tremendous idea, which will probably get its dues even without them.

Based on the currently field of competitors, I feel that unless there is a drastically talented late entrant replacing the two “businessmen,” Juan Carlos Gomez will win it. In a four round Olympic style event, talented Cuban boxers are the smart money, and IMHO he has the better boxing skills save for possibly Byrd, but Byrd is a good boxer against brawlers, not guys looking to hit and run as Gomez will likely due. Over four rounds I don’t see any of the other guys being able to get to Gomez, if, he is more then ready to win as I would hope all of them will be. This is by no means a given because Gomez has had issues of slacking off being complacent which cost him against the strange guy who gave him his only loss, and why he suffered a knockdown against Sinan Samil Sam who will probably take Brock’s place.

If not however, Gomez already holds points wins against McCall(even with the cocaine NC) and Sam, and I think Bell will be too small for all the men involved. Mccline will have a decent shot, because even though Byrd beat him it was late when Mccline got tired which is not a risk here. McCall will probably be too slow and old for the boxers in the group, but should not be taken lightly because as is obvious he can crack. Fields for his part is a mystery because he has not been involved in enough meaningful fights to be favored. Even if he wins this thing there is just no reason to pick him, other then intuition or clairvoyance.

Other then that, this is a great idea and I think it will be very accepted by fans all over the world.

Article posted on 20.10.2006



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