Show some re­spect to the box­ers

Why it’s time to show ghters more of it

Boxing News - - Contents - Matt Christie @Mattcbox­ingnews Edi­tor Fol­low us and keep up to date @Box­ingnewsed Boxingnewsonline

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


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