In this article I am going to detail my own personal opinions on what needs to happen, what needs to change and what needs to be stopped for the sport of boxing to increase in popularity and to return to its former glory which was enjoyed in the past. Boxing as a whole has been under a lot of fire in the last few years over a number of topics and this article will look to explain some of the major ones. Some of these are never going to change and are just wishful thinking, others, could very well happen in the next few years.
1. Too many titles
The boxing world as a whole has generally accepted the fact that there is never again going to be one title for each weight class. There are even advantages to having different titles from several organising bodies, for example in a champion vs champion match to determine the lineal champion of a division it is particularly exciting. Despite this things are simply going to far when one organising body can regularly have three champions in one weight class. The WBA are the number one culprits in this situation as their policy is to have one WBA ‘super’ and one WBA ‘regular’ champion and often a WBA ‘interim’ belt holder to go along. The interim titles were created to be given out when the main champion could not defend for one reason or another. Now it is often the case where you have both the ‘super’ or ‘regular’ title holders fight on the same card as the interim strap holder but in separate fights. Put these mix of WBA titles in with the WBC, WBO, IBF and even others like IBO titles, silver titles, intercontinental titles and the ridiculous ‘diamond’ champions you have an effect which is difficult for hardcore fans to stay on top of and completely confusing and off-putting for the casual fan.
2. Floyd and Manny must fight in 2015
These are the fighters who capture the interest and imagination of casual fans and draw new fans to the sport. They are by and large the mot popular and generally most gifted fighters in the sport and they are currently campaigning in the same division. This year is the final opportunity for this fight to happen and if it doesn’t it is going to have an extremely negative effect on the sport. Ask any casual fan who the best boxer in the world is and you will get one of two answers Money-May or the Pacman and if the bout of the decade does not get made those same casual fans are going to view boxing as the sport of duckers, the sport where the big fights do not get made. Those fans can then turn to other avenues such as the MMA/UFC scene.
3. Judges must get their decisions right
This year like any other was marked by some horrible decisions and its having a severely bad impact on the sport. Every time a bad decision is made the sport takes another blemish which is becoming harder and harder to come back from. Worst of all it seems to be the same few fighters who are in the headlines repeatedly, guys such as Timothy Bradley and Mauricio Herrera for example. In 2014 alone I had the Provodnikov beating Algeiri, I had Miguel Vazquez beating Mickey Bey, I had Erislandy Lara beating Canelo Alvarez and I had Tim Bradley beating Diego Chavez, however I was wrong on every occasion. We need the right decisions to be made. There is nothing worse than seeing a fighter punch his heart out all night in a war to seemingly emerge victorious only to be beaten by politics outside of the ring. Often these decisions can do irrevocable damage to fighters careers.
4. the right fights need to be made
When I heard Danny Garcia vs Lamont Peterson was happening I was over the moon. 2014 brought very few good fights and far too many mismatches but it appeared that 2015 was going to be a fresh start for boxing. I was wrong however when I heard that no titles would be on the line. What? That’s right two champions fighting in the same weight class but for no titles. Pointless. Al Haymon strikes again. What makes this worse is that Peterson has already lost to 140lb slugger Lucas Matthysse so we could be seeing a situation where a fighter loses two fights to fellow 140lbers and remains champion. Bad for boxing. Elsewhere there are good fights though. John Molina Jr vs Adrien Broner is a decent matchup and Robert Guerrero vs Keith Thurman is a great one. We also have Canelo Alvarez vs James Kirkland which I am eagerly anticipating. These along with Golovkin vs Murray, Kovalev vs Pascal and Klitschko vs Jennings mark a fantastic start to the year. The promoters need to keep this momentum going throughout 2015 and continuously into the future.
5. Boxing needs more exposure
This is an interesting one because when I say exposure I mean brining good fights to the public and making them accessible to the casual fan. Al Haymon seems to be sorting this out with his new show P.B.C which is an interesting concept and has three good fights lined up already. This situation is expected to bring about 20 fights to NBC this year and has been endorsed by several boxing legends. This is very good news for boxing as a whole as new talent will be on display and will really help to build the fan-bases of some of the younger guys.
6. The right fights need to be PPV
You cannot have too many or too few pay per views each year. We need those big fights to keep fans interested but then again you cannot just put anything as a pay per view show. Fans will feel disillusioned with the pay per view model if they fork out their cash on a highly hyped show and are disappointed by what turns out to be poor match making or a boring set of fights. We need the right fights to be made as I have said earlier and we need the right set to be elevated to PPV status, this includes a strong undercard for those cards selected to be on PPV.
7. Champions need to fight
This ties in with what I have said regarding making the right fights, but it also ties in with my mentions regarding the alphabet soup of titles available today. One way to counteract is to get fighters to unify the titles but that can only happen if champions can be convinced to fight vs other champions in their division. Kovalev vs Stevenson would fully unify their division as would a bout between Klitschko and newly crowned WBC strap holder Deontay Wilder. Rigondeaux and Golovkin have also been vocal about unifying their divisions but no progress has been made thus far in securing those fights.