Jackson L. (Atlanta, GA): I hear that Shane Mosley has jumped ship for Goldenboy promotions and Hopkins had been considering it. In your opinion, why has there been such an issue with African American fighters under the GoldenBoy Promotions banner?
Vivek W. (ESB): I can understand how this may be the underlying consensus, but before digging too deep into that sentiment, I think you have to sort a few things out, first. For starters, there is no problem with GBP’s ability to promote or maintain good relations with African American fighters. Daniel Jacobs, James Kirkland, and others on the roster would co-sign this statement with little to no hesitation.
The issue that comes into play when you look at the recent riff between both Hopkins and Mosley and their current/one-time promoter, Goldenboy, is much deeper than some seem to know.. Few take into consideration that both Hopkins and Mosley are facing the proverbial ‘westside’ (or sunset) of their career. These are two men who arguably never made the kind of money they should have earlier in their career, (for various reasons), so now that the clock is winding down, they want the biggest of the biggest promotions, the biggest of the biggest fights, and the biggest of the biggest checks attached to those promotions and fights. Anything less won’t do. Where this becomes a challenge for not only GBP, but many other promoters, is that unlike Latino fighters, or those who hail from other countries, African American fighters simply don’t carry the same level of support.
When you look at Latino’s of the sport, the Filipino’s, the British, or whomever, each of those demographics carry a country (or island) of supporters to add to the mass support here in the U.S. In the case of the African American fighter of today, the sad reality is that the support system is moderate at best, and often the quickest to lose interest, as shown in comparison between someone like Paul Williams or Nate Campbell, as opposed to Miguel Cotto whose level of support remains practically unfazed amongst his people despite coming up short in the past.
Roy Jones jr. was the most physically gifted African American fighter of this era, and was damn entertaining too, but to date, his PPV#’s bear no reflection. Same with Hopkins, same with Mosley. So, the bigger issue is one that I’m afraid the various promoters (Don King aside) have no control over. It should also be noted, however, that in the case of Mosley bolting the company, it has a bit more to do with something many find to be at the center of the Mayweather/Pacquiao scenario. It’s no secret that Oscar and Arum don’t do business too well. Shane has made it clear that he can get more done with Arum alone than he could with Oscar by his side. Apparently he was right! How that plays into his overall happiness with GBP is easy. It’s all about the Benjamin’s, and this time around he nor Arum cared to share them. Who would have ever guessed! (pun intended).
David C. (Manchester, England): Do you think that the ppv option is killing boxing? Or is it essential for the survival of the sport that this money is generated so there is enough funding available to get the top fighters to fight each other?
Vivek W. (ESB): I don’t think pay-per-view fight cards hurt the sport in general. I do, however, think the way certain promoters use the ppv option doesn’t exactly benefit the sport. Pay-per-view is obviously designed to drum up the monetary gains for the promoters, fighters, etc, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Where the problem comes in is two fold. For starters, when you think of recent block-buster cards, (in example, the Pacquiao/Margarito), few fight fans could actually name more than one pair of fighters on the undercard. That in effect hurts the sport. Rather than using this grand stage (which comes at a grand price) to showcase the best talent in the sport, more often than not, the undercards are filled with decent prospects who rarely find themselves in against someone threatening enough to truly showcase how good they really are.
It’s justifiable to showcase rising prospects, but I’ve always been a firm believer that the televised portion of the card, the portion which people are shelling out their hard earned dollars for, should be top tier talent against top tier talent. Maybe even all title fights, if possible. There was a point earlier this year where it was strongly believed that Hopkins/Jones II could have fallen on the undercard of a potential Mayweather/Pacquaio showdown, which would have worked economically for the promoters, and would have been an absolute smash at the gates and in the ppv circuit. As we know, Jones ended up getting flattened by Green and the eventual Hopkins fight would go on to be horrendous, so perhaps it’s good that it never happened, but those four names on one card (Mayweather/Pacquiao & Jones/Hopkins) would have been grand enough to solidify something as astronomical as even a $65 PPV and WE ALL would have paid to see it.
Unfortunately, you just don’t see any PPV cards with more than one true watchable fight now days, and more often than not, the main event even appears to boast little talent, so that hurts the sport, no question. Secondly, You have regional PPV cards that I think hurt the fighter, as well as the sport, too. Take a look at the “Latin Fury” and “Pinoy Power” cards offered from Top Rank. Chavez Jr. has been in a great number of those type PPV cards and now, suddenly, Top Rank wants the world to see him as a legitimate threat, when only the Mexican hardcore fans have truly seen enough of him to validate his supposed greatness.
When you have PPV cards like the aforementioned, they help the promoter and to a lesser degree the fighters (financially), but they do nothing for the true marketing value of the competitors involved, and in essence, it leads those around the world who are not closely associated to those demographics (Latin/ Pinoy) to believe there’s a shortage in talent in the sport when in actuality, there’s credible competitors, we just have to pay to see them before we truly find them valuable enough to pay to see them. So, there’s a few things that can be changed to help the sport from that angle, but hey, you know the old saying…..”If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense”. And as long as men run the sport who see that principle to be the gospel, there will continue to be a PPV impact on the sport, as well as the men who entertain us in it.
Kevin T. (Manchester, England): What are your thoughts on Amir Khan in a possible showdown with Floyd Mayweather jr. late next year?
Vivek W. (ESB): With Marcos Maidana waiting in the wings, I think it’s not only a bit disrespectful to speak on a possible Mayweather/Khan showdown, but very much out of the realm of possibility. Khan is a great rising talent, but he has so much to prove at this point, that’s a possibility I really don’t believe is worth addressing at this time. Based on talent, I’d love to see Mayweather against someone with speed and a good jab, but the end analysis is that Khan can be hit a little more than Floyd has shown the propensity to. No matter what the evolution of his talent brings, I think this will ensure – at the very least – a points victory for Mayweather. Now, that’s as of today. See me a year from now and we’ll see where both men are at that time in their respective evolutions.
Marwa G. (Brooklyn, NYC): Who wins a fight between Saul Alvarez and Joshua Clottey?
Vivek W. (ESB): It depends on what Clottey has to eat before the fight! (had to go there, pun intended). Providing Clottey doesn’t eat anything that gives him diarrhea again, I think he makes it a tough fight and answers all the questions relative to Alvarez’s evolution in the sport. Alvarez seems to be progressing quite well, but he hasn’t had that defining victory over truly elite fighter that most need to put that stamp of approval on him, just yet! I think it’ll be a good scrap. A few years ago, I’d say Clottey. Now, Alvarez has the momentum, as I’m not quite sure what we’d get from Clottey. Hopefully we can soon find out.
Tavis H. (Miami Lakes, FL): I’m beginning to think Bob Arum and Team Pacquiao don’t want the Mayweather fight. I can’t believe that Arum has already setup a Fall showdown between Pacquiao and the winner of the tentative Spring showdown between Margarito/Cotto. What do you think?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think this realization does make it very easy to jump on Bob Arum and Team Pacquiao for even openly admitting the consideration of such a plan. To Arum’s benefit, he did state that “Mayweather has first option”, meaning he can immediately jump in the mix if and when he’s ready to come back to the negotiations table. That being said, my biggest issue with this statement has less to do with them “not wanting to face Mayweather”, and more to do with the fact that Arum has basically admitted that he will shortchange fight fans again by continuing to give us fights that ONLY include his men, while other good competitors wait in the wing for a highly coveted opportunity they worked hard to earn, yet will never get.
If this isn’t a confirmation that Arum has scripted a plan and has followed it carefully, (to keep the business in house), I don’t know what is. Marquez deserves a shot, yet he’s been demanded to enter the ring at a weight critics and supporters have agreed is well beyond his point of effectiveness. Mosley is now the plan, but when Mayweather shut him out just a few months ago we were told that he was “old and past his prime”; now we’re supposed to believe this is the most intriguing fight against the most threatening opponent? I’m sorry, but I’m not buyin’ whatever they’re selling. It’s wrong. It’s totally wrong. I was once a bigger fan of Mosley/Pacquiao than Mayweather/Pacquiao, but wow, how things can change with time! Anyone who considers themselves a “fan” and agrees with this move need to declare what exactly they’re a fan of? The sport, or “the man”? Call me crazy, but I’d rather support the integrity of the sport, rather than to be party to such an act guided solely at building two men within it.
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