Box­ing has got to change, and it starts with us

Boxing News - - Contents - Chris Hobbs Ex-south­ern Area champ

Chris Hobbs on box­ing’s in­tegrity

HOW many real fight­ers are out there? How many box­ers want to fight real fights, and how many want to just be known as a ‘pro boxer’ and take as few gen­uine chal­lenges as they can, when surely box­ing should be the ul­ti­mate per­sonal chal­lenge?

In to­day’s sport, I be­lieve we are suf­fer­ing from too many fake box­ers who want to be­come pro fight­ers but don’t want to fight real fights. Who is to blame for this cul­ture of tak­ing easy fights by avoid­ing chal­lenges and fur­ther­more, can we re­ally ex­pect the fans to put up with this in­def­i­nitely in the fu­ture? In my mind, the very in­tegrity of box­ing is be­ing un­der­mined.

Could it be the pro­mot­ers who are pre­vent­ing fans get­ting value for their hard-earned money? With some ex­cep­tions I would say yes. On the small hall side and also for a large num­ber of the more prom­i­nent bills that at­tract the gen­eral public, I can see why pro­mot­ers do it as they want their home fighter – the guy sell­ing the tick­ets and putting money in their pock­ets – to win. But what’s wrong with these fight­ers? Why do they not want to fight real op­po­nents? As an am­a­teur you were al­ways put in with peo­ple around the same stan­dard, so you worked harder in train­ing and the wins meant more as a re­sult.

Is the white col­lar/un­li­censed scene to blame? A lot of fight­ers now take the jump from white col­lar to pro­fes­sional with­out know­ing the ba­sics, but be­cause they can sell 200 tick­ets they’re given a pro li­cence and spend the next 10-15 fights fight­ing the paid losers. Re­ally they are just con­ning the public and them­selves.

At the top level, by choos­ing dif­fer­ent routes and dif­fer­ent belts it’s easy to avoid real chal­lenges. The Floyd May­weather-manny Paquiao fight took years to hap­pen and when it fi­nally did oc­cur, it was a vague shadow of the fight it could have been. Who truly lost? The public and the pay­ing fans.

Per­son­ally I would hate to feel I was con­ning the fans. I would rather fight the An­thony Yardes of the world than fight journeymen. In the first four to five fights of a boxer’s ca­reer, I un­der­stand there is learn­ing to be done, but why not more 4-0 vs 4-0? Go back to be­fore the ’90s and the ma­jor­ity of those fight­ers didn’t fight 15 journeymen. You had to work hard for your op­por­tu­ni­ties, but now you can get a shot at a ti­tle with­out re­ally fight­ing any live op­po­nents be­fore­hand. It de­val­ues the ti­tles and the sport and that’s why I won’t do it. I would rather lose in a gen­uine fight than just add mean­ing­less wins to my record.

Imag­ine you get a boxer who sells tick­ets and you build him up to 15-0, but he has fought no one with a win­ning record. The Board will see two un­beaten guys with sim­i­lar records, match them for a ti­tle and the ticket-seller who has never been tested gets ru­ined and prob­a­bly never re­cov­ers.

Think of the great fights we could watch if there were more gen­uine prospect vs prospect matches. When this hap­pens ev­ery­one is a win­ner. The fans get in­trigu­ing, evenly matched fights, and the fight­ers get real ex­pe­ri­ence. I think more box­ers have got to stand up and de­mand tougher fights, and man­agers need to take more risks.

For me, some­thing needs to change. Too many un­beaten fight­ers step up too late when they should learn more on the job. If this change hap­pens, the UK will pro­duce greater num­bers of gen­uinely sea­soned fight­ers. The fans get bet­ter value for money and box­ing is the win­ner. Can we make it hap­pen? It’s up to us.



WRONG TIME: May­weather

[left] and Pac­quiao met too late in their ca­reers

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