By Jeffrey Freeman, KO Digest
|Gold Medal Pugilists Loma and Rigo|
The decision of the AIBA to allow professional
fighters to compete against amateur boxers in the Olympics raised
many eyebrows yesterday. The most common response I observed online was one
of disapproval. Why the revulsion with increased competition?
A reactionary imagination immediately envisions
undisputed world middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin pummeling some
skinny Golden Glover into submission to win a Gold Medal in Rio. The
reality of "pros versus ammys"
should prove to be very different.
Firstly, most top notch prizefighters don't wish to go backward,
compete for free, or risk any number of the undesirable outcomes which
might arise from such an unusual undertaking. They have everything to lose, and little to gain. Secondly, the line is already very blurred.
recently unpaid pugilists, Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux
could've easily handled themselves against an invasion of semi-skilled
pros introduced into their ranks to compete under their rules. My educated
guess is that there are other Lomas and Rigos out there waiting to
turn this debate on its ear with surprising, medal-winning victories
over unsuspecting, under-skilled pros.
Don't Be EC —
|Money May and Mister Trump |
In America, the 2016 Presidential Election is nearly all about
"political correctness" and whether or not "PC" will be rejected or
continued here in the land of the free. Boxing now faces a similar
decision. Unless it's cast off in favor of maintaining what makes boxing
so great to begin with, a strange new phenomenon I call "economic
correctness" will continue to take hold of how bouts get negotiated and
ultimately made. It already affects how fans relate to boxing and
boxers. You can see "EC" influence today when they argue A vs B side
dynamics, or against a particular match-up because it doesn't make
"dollars & sense" to the more moneyed pugilist. If we're
all not careful, "talkin' boxing" will soon be like studying undergrad
economics at the local community college.
Pugilism, Politics, Pressure & Presidents — On a lively May 11 international
boxing media conference call with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay
Wilder, the 2008 American bronze medalist claimed that opponent
Alexander Povetkin would be under "a lot of pressure" fighting in front
of Russian President Putin when the pair collide May 21. Wilder talked
about unifying the title and bringing clarity to the division. I asked
him who he'd like to someday defend his championship in front of as new
American President: Trump, Clinton, or Sanders? Wilder burst into
laughter at the question. "I can't get into the politics man," he said
good naturedly. "You're sneaky," he told me before continuing
diplomatically, ever the uniter. "All of them are more than welcome to
come to a Deontay Wilder fight," he chuckled. [Editor's Note: Wilder-Povetkin was cancelled when challenger Povetkin supposedly failed a PED drug test.]
|2008 Olympic Bronze
The Man Who Didn't Beat The Man Yet — The WBC heavyweight champion talks to KO Digest about his claim to THE
world heavyweight championship — "I already feel like I am the man. I've got
the most prestigious belt. I got the WBC belt that people want their
name on. I want more though. I'm hungry. I'm greedy. All these
heavyweights know who the real threat in this division is."
Middleweight Champions — The real reason Canelo Alvarez versus Gennady Golovkin is (was) such a high
demand title bout is because the undefeated "challenger" GGG has been
made to wait a VERY LONG time for a shot at the linear title. Triple G
is the most deserving fighter of this kind in all of boxing, with the
possible exception of Sergey Kovalev at light heavyweight where Adonis
Stevenson still holds an iron clad claim to the linear championship.
|Wilder defends a valuable green belt|
Ironic is Golden Boy Ring Magazine denial
of this inconvenient fact. Golovkin's credentials as undisputed #1
middleweight contender for years now (think Clubber Lang) have led some
to label Golovkin uncrowned champion. Catchweight manipulations have
stoked the fires of Canelo-GGG because fans feel the recent linear champions are not playing fair
while they duck Golovkin for bigger money fights. Golovkin could lure
neither Sergio Martinez, Miguel Cotto, nor Canelo Alvarez into the ring
with him for a shot at the championship. He shouldn't have to "lure" the champion.
The system is broken. The lineage is compromised. Fans have grown
apathetic but at least they still understand the value of a good fight. When that's gone, will there be anything left for boxing to hang its hat
|Canelo dropped his WBC to duck GGG|
Ultimate Fighting Crap — What a shame boxing can't take itself seriously enough to summarily
reject a staged Floyd Mayweather "comeback" against some 3X tapped out
cage fighter. With today's internet fight fans more focused on business
and economics than tactics and strategy, a "Boxing vs MMA" exhibition
bout will be very easy for the lowest common denominator fan to
understand. Mister Money May will get a 99-1 split of many million
ignorantly spent PPV dollars while his "ultimate opponent"
gets a slightly larger pile of peanuts than he's used to getting for
kicking and choking other men. Floyd will use the example of such "easy
work" as explanation for why he should never risk his undefeated record
for a similar payday against a real risk like undisputed world
middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. In their lust to be EC
(economically correct), fans will vote against their own interests by
supporting and buying Floyd's trash.
|All about the Money|
Mob Rule — The constant complaining from uneducated boxing fans about Al Haymon,
his PBC, and the Watson Brothers gets on my nerves. Ours is a sport
governed by no one single person, open to almost anybody with enough
economic endurance to grab the narrative and run with it. Not happy with
Haymon? Now seeing Don King's rape of the 80s through the rose-colored
20/20 vision of nostalgic hindsight? Or maybe you'd like to go even
further back to the "good old days" of boxing when it was run by violent
mob crime families. Perhaps you'd prefer real gangsters like Blinky
Palermo and Frankie "The Czar of Boxing" Carbo be back in charge of
promoting bouts and "setting up" fights? Like most things with a long
history, it's easy to bitch and moan without having to know any of it.
|The Good Old Days?|
Bombs Away — Congratulations to Tony "Bomber" Bellew on achieving his goal of
becoming a world champion. Bellew won the vacant WBC cruiserweight
championship last weekend at home in Liverpool with a smashing TKO of
Ilunga Makabu. Back in June of 2013, KO Digest spotlighted a then 175
pound Bellew as an 'up and comer' to keep an eye on. "I just want to be a world champion," Bellew told KO. Since that time, Bellew fell to
champion Adonis Stevenson in a shot at the world light heavyweight
title, gained a revenge win over hated rival Nathan Cleverly, co-starred
as Pretty Ricky Conlan in CREED, then moved to cruiser to win the WBC
belt. Bellew's championship outlook? "You have got be able to adapt.
That's one of my strong points. I can deal with any style put in front
of me and that is what I plan on doing."
|Bellew is now WBC cruiserweight world champion|
Dream Big — If Erislandy Lara (or any other top rated junior middleweight for that
matter) wants to challenge Gennady Golovkin for the undisputed world
middleweight championship, all he has to do is stop talking, move up to
middleweight (160 pounds, 6 more than 154), win a fight, and get a title
shot. Lara currently holds a WBA world title. I'm sure he'd have NO
PROBLEM arranging a shot at another WBA champion at middleweight. Truth is,
these junior middles today want nothing to do with GGG at 160. Better
for their health to wait for Triple G to get old or move up in weight. You all heard Jermall
Charlo's response when asked on SHO about moving up. Charlo suddenly
changed his mind and has decided to stay in a safe division where he will
never fight two of the other world titlists, his twin brother Jermell, or his
Boxing writer Jeffrey Freeman grew up in the City of Champions, Brockton, Massachusetts during the marvelous career of middleweight champion Marvin Hagler. Freeman then lived in Lowell, Massachusetts during the best years of Micky Ward's illustrious career. A member of the RingTV expert writer prediction panel for 4 years, Freeman is also editor-in-chief of KO Digest, a social media outlet for the sweet science. Known affectionately as "KO" by friends and readers, Freeman covers boxing for The Sweet Science in New England.
|Lara claims he wants to fight GGG|