Boxing’s Divine Comedy

By Marc Livitz on June 22, 2017
Boxing’s Divine Comedy
Boxing has no offseason, so why would a hot weekend in Vegas not be on anyone's mind?

Is Canelo Alvarez any more animated than Andre Ward? Try not to laugh. Canelo is as quiet as they come, even drab by today’s standards…

The expiration date to discuss last Saturday’s light heavyweight championship clash between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev must certainly be closing in on us. Of course, the debate will likely continue due to the nature of the stoppage and if Tony Weeks did a service to Kovalev’s innards or a disservice to a sport which constantly finds itself under a high powered microscope of scrutiny. As we slowly piece a broken record back together, we can ask for a final time just why the contest got very little attention outside of the most ardent fight fans. Was it location? The NFL concluded in February and the NBA is done as well, so we’re now in the doldrums of baseball for a while. Boxing has no offseason, so why would a hot weekend in Vegas not be on anyone’s mind? Maybe it was because it always is for some, but certainly a legitimate title fight was not.

Image. Ward and Kovalev alike have neither a great nor terrible one. Worse still is the fact that they have close to none at all. The game has always been changing and the persona wave can only be surfed upon for so long. They’ve each paid, it can be argued, for the sheer fact that they don’t do much other than fight, which is perfectly fine. One shouldn’t need to be across news headlines for an infraction with the law, for example or heated comments which fly lower than Ward’s knockout punches did last Saturday. Outside of the boxing game, very few know who either man is.

The fact that Ward is the last gold medalist from the United States doesn’t translate to much, which is why he’s fared so well in front of his hometown supporters in Oakland as opposed to anywhere else. It’s smart. Prior to their initial meeting last November, Ward had not fought in Las Vegas even once in his career. Kovalev had done so, but only twice. So, when those in charge decide that the best idea is to combine one fighter who has fought almost exclusively on the west coast and one who has followed suit in the east and have them meet in Sin City, the result can be combustible. From a promotional standpoint, it may not necessarily be walking with neither sight nor cane, yet when you have to charge $69.95 for it, questions are going to be raised.

It’s always a toss-up of sorts in the show business market. Sometimes it works and sometimes it simply just doesn’t. Boxing is a rough business. Fighters have no mandate from heaven which will guarantee prosperity provided they choose the correct path. The window of opportunity is small. No fight means no money. No image to couple the efforts can be even worse at times. It’s not only a business, but it’s about dollars and sense as well. This should come as no surprise. What worked yesterday may not be advisable today, yet sometimes the simplest ideas strike gold.

Take what’s popular in movies and novels. A sullen girl falls for a hot vampire. A man kills his brother in a triangle of power and jealousy. Look at the music business. A quirky singer with a famous last name and a past in children’s television remains in basic obscurity until “twerking” becomes a household term. To some, it’s only rock and roll. To others, it’s disgusting but to all, it’s news. It might be a case of that “bad publicity” thing once again. What’s on the boxing calendar in the Fall? What’s the one bout for which we simply cannot wait?

No, not the one in August at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Rather, the one across the street at T-Mobile Arena in mid September. Tickets for the middleweight championship showdown between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin officially go on sale this Thursday and the event will undoubtedly sell out in a matter of hours? Why? Is the contest any more significant than Ward versus Kovalev II? That one was for all the marbles (save for the green belt) in the division in addition to the lineal tag of “the man.”

Is Canelo Alvarez any more animated than Andre Ward? Try not to laugh. Canelo is as quiet as they come, even drab by today’s standards if put up next to Floyd Mayweather, for example. That doesn’t matter. He was carefully groomed and the anomaly of being a light skinned, redheaded fighter doesn’t hurt, hence the singular nickname which carries with it the fervid passion of an entire country. Canelo has an interesting past which is certainly worth a look. Of course, none of this would matter if he couldn’t fight. His luck would have certainly run out by now. The man he pummeled for thirty-six minutes last month should have reached the end of the Nepotism Express long ago.

Promoters, handlers and other members of the media often work countless hours to bring the image of a fighter to the forefront. It’s not always the knockouts that sell the tickets or catch the monetary net of the major sports channels. Canelo speaks almost no English and Golovkin’s grasp of it is improving, yet it’s limited. Still, “GGG” has endeared himself to fans from all walks, even those from Mexico. Will Canelo’s fans loudly jeer and boo Golovkin in September? He’s attracted crowds everywhere he’s fought and Alvarez has been able to pack tens of thousands of fans into a football stadium. Same fighting credentials as Ward and Kovalev, yet a different animal altogether.

Strange, but it works. The iron still must be struck when hot. The fact that boxing fans didn’t have to wait half a decade or more for it doesn’t hurt matters, either. People will pay to see the two fight, as many will pay to see a boxer fight a man from a completely different discipline just a few weeks prior. Give us what we want. Sometimes it works and sometimes, it’s just not enough. The coin still has but two sides. There’s fighters who give their all and some whose endearment from the public is an instant coup de foudre.

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  1. Your Name 12:16pm, 06/23/2017


  2. Pete The Sneak 05:06am, 06/23/2017

    Koolz. Agreed! From a BOXING perspective (I put boxing in caps so no one confuses that with the upcoming circus exhibition with FMJ/McGregor) there is absolutely no bigger fight than this one…Peace.

  3. Koolz 04:10am, 06/23/2017

    in Boxing there is no fight bigger then this!

    Golovkin is finally not bored!

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