Show some respect to the boxers
Why it’s time to show ghters more of it
IT’S easy to criticise the WBA belt that will allow Rocky Fielding to take on Canelo Alvarez this weekend. And that criticism is worthwhile. The belt is phoney. The WBA should never have been allowed to create such nonsense.
So lambast Fielding’s title and its creators, but do not blame Fielding for making the most of it. Boxing damages its own in different ways. Even those who legitimately rule the world rarely make it out unscathed. Should Fielding manage to take the money and run without hurting his health in the process, more power to him.
With that in mind, when looking at photos of Fielding in New York, living his dream, earning that life-changing sum, it becomes easier to forgive the WBA for facilitating the biggest opportunity of his life. But it remains the truth that Fielding is leaping up several levels because of a manufactured title. What happens when he gets there, we don’t yet know.
Heap only credit on his broad shoulders for the extent of the challenge he’s undertaking. Fielding, like so many fighters, is driven by his family. Most have children and wives and relatives whose futures they fight for. That alone is an admirable trait.
While social media should never be the barometer for taste and decency, it is still nonetheless disturbing to see how many seem to get a thrill out of insulting boxers. Boxers like Rocky Fielding who risk their lives every time they step in the ring. And that risk is no cliché, no headline-grabbing soundbite. It’s a fact.
The astonishing bravery of the boxer, those who challenge and test themselves, deserves only respect. Take the recent war between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. The punches exchanged were at times ferocious. The fall endured by Fury at the end would have resulted in an ambulance being called in almost any other walk of life. Wilder ended the fight with his left eye almost swollen shut. And though the vast majority rightfully praised the two heavyweights for their part in one of the great heavyweight fights, there were plenty who did the opposite. Plenty who belittled the efforts of Wilder, whose will to win never once wilted. Plenty who dismissed the whole spectacle as a symptom of a poor era.
Many, too, have taken pleasure in the plight of Adonis Stevenson. He lies in a hospital bed, damaged from the kind of violence Wilder and Fury would showcase just hours later. Those who champion Stevenson’s current condition due to Stevenson’s past are so off the mark it’s a wonder they have the mental capacity to articulate their bile. To applaud the coma that imprisons the prizefighter is a grotesque insult to not only the fallen, but the sport that sanctioned it. Wanting a boxer to lose is quite different to taking pleasure from a life-threatening injury.
And we should always remember what happened to Stevenson and countless others before him. Those who did not survive the kind of fight Stevenson now faces. Those who did not even make it as far as the hospital bed. AN update on what to expect from Boxing News over the Christmas period.
The next issue will be our annual 80-page special and it will be available to download on December 18 and in the shops on December 20.
The first issue of 2019 will hit the newsstands on January 3, two days after the digital issue is available.
However, due to printers closing down for the Christmas break, we have to go to press with that issue on December 21, which means reports from the Josh Warrington-carl Frampton and Dillian Whyte-dereck Chisora events will not be seen until the second issue of January (digital issue out on January 8, print copy January 10).
It also means that the Boxing News end-of-year awards (Fighter of the Year etc), must also wait until the second issue of January as a consequence of the action taking place on December 22.
Our website and social media channels will be operational throughout.
I hope that all makes sense!
FALLEN WARRIOR: Stevenson remains in a bad way after stoppage defeat
Cover photography EMILIO SANCHEZ/ GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS & MARK ROBINSON/MATCHROOM