Oscar: Don’t Stop Believing

By Robert Ecksel on May 25, 2017
Oscar: Don’t Stop Believing
“Floyd’s and Conor’s motivation is clear. It’s money. Which brings me back to the circus.”

The death knell continues to ring like clockwork. All that seems to change are the dramatis personae and century…

People have been predicting the death of boxing at least since that sunny afternoon in 1908 when Jack Johnson defeated Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia, to win the heavyweight title. The sport has had more than its share of ups and down in the intervening years and has been rocked by scandal as often as by punches. But boxing has managed to defy the odds, beat the count, and always come back swinging.

The death knell, however, continues to ring like clockwork. All that seems to change are the dramatis personae and century.

With the hype surrounding a possible fight between former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather and his presumptive MMA counterpart Conor McGregor growing by the day, many who have made their bones and/or fortunes by way of the sweet science are signaling that this might be the end of the sport as we know it.

One such person is Oscar De La Hoya. A former multi-division champion and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about the sport. Without challenging his own credibility, Oscar has decided to use his platform and come out against Mayweather-McGregor. Not that it will make much difference. Purists will always be purists, and according to P.T. Barnum “there’s a sucker born every minute,” so if there’s money to be made, “Money” is the man to make it, and preaching to the choir, as De La Hoya has done, is sort of righteous, but it will never convert the nonbelievers.

In an open letter to lovers of the fight game, De La Hoya wrote:

To my fellow boxing fans,

I write in the hopes that together we can protect the sport of boxing.

With each passing day, it looks more and more likely that the circus known as Floyd Mayweather Vs. Conor McGregor will be coming to town in the near future.

As undercard fights start to take form, athletic commissions give their blessings in exchange for millions of dollars and the fighters start counting even more cash, one group will eventually be left to make sure this farce doesn’t occur.

We, the fans, who are the lifeblood of our sport.

Boxing is starting to dig out of the hole that Floyd and Manny Pacquiao shoveled by waiting seven years to put on a fight that ended up being as dull as it was anti-climactic.

2017 has started off as a banner year for boxing. Joshua vs. Klitschko; Thurman vs. Garcia; Golovkin vs. Jacobs; Canelo vs. Chavez. All four of these fights—a and MANY more—have brought the fight game back and reinvigorated interest from the ever-elusive casual fan.

But if you thought Mayweather/Pacquiao was a black eye for our sport—a matchup between two of the best pound-for-pound fighters that simply didn’t deliver—just wait until the best boxer of a generation dismantles someone who has never boxed competitively at any level—amateur or professional.

Our sport might not ever recover.

I fully understand the initial attraction from any fan of combat sports. McGregor is almost certainly the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter. Floyd is Floyd—the most dominant boxer of his time.

But success in one sport does not guarantee success in another. Far from it. And let’s be clear, these are two different sports—from the size of the gloves fighters wear, to the size and shape of the ring, to the fact the one sport allows combatants to use their legs to strike.

Think about it, beyond Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, what other athlete has successfully competed in two sports in the modern age? And Jackson and Sanders both played both baseball and football throughout their high school and college careers before going professional.

Furthermore, it’s not like McGregor would be fighting a good fighter, let alone a mediocre one. He would be fighting the best. To use a bit of an extreme analogy, I happen to be a pretty good golfer. Could I potentially hold my own on one of the second-tier tours? Maybe. But would I be able to compete with Rory McIlroy, Jordan Speith or Sergio Garcia? Of course not. Nor would I think to try.

Now, I know critics will say that I’m only writing this letter because my company is promoting what will be the culmination of an outstanding boxing year when Canelo Alvarez takes on Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in September, and I don’t want anything to distract attention away from that fight.

But my interest is in the health of boxing as a whole. It always has been. And if Floyd were to come out of retirement to take on someone like Keith “One Time” Thurman, Errol Spence or some other top welterweight, not only would I applaud the fight, I’d be the first one on line for a ticket.

That kind of fight is what the fans—and I am a fan first—deserve.

Which brings me back to the circus.

Floyd’s and Conor’s motivation is clear. It’s money. In fact, they don’t even pretend it’s not. But it’s also a lack of consequences for when the fight ends up being the disaster that is predicted. After this fight, neither of them will need us anymore. Floyd will go back to retirement—presumably for good this time with another nine-figure paycheck—and Conor will go back to the UFC.

It’s a win-win for them. It’s a lose-lose for us. We’ll be $100 lighter and we will have squandered another opportunity to bring boxing back to its rightful place as the sport of kings.

At this point, only we can shut the circus down by making it clear that we won’t pay to see a joke of a fight and telling our casual-fan friends that they shouldn’t either.

Sincerely,

Oscar

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  1. Alt Knight 11:32am, 05/26/2017

    Irish…STEVE PERRY!!! haha. No question. My friend went to rehab in California and met Perry. Said he was a cool guy. Journey was one of my groups back in the day. Perry and The Doobie Brothers, Michael McDonald, were two of my favorite male vocalists. Perry was giving a speech or something of that nature. Steve Perry wasn’t in rehab. haha.

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:37am, 05/26/2017

    Alt Knight—Steve Perry vs. Arnel Pineda….who do you pick?

  3. Alt Knight 09:07am, 05/26/2017

    Irish… No doubt. The guy never boxed until he was in his 20’s, I believe. Guys like Quarry and Tony Ayala Jr.,  began wearing boxing gloves before they attended grade school. I read that Jerry Quarry wasn’t a bad baseball player. Remember growing up as a kid, you played whatever sport was in-season. In a day of specialization, not even sure that many kids try different sports. I’m positive if Milligan had invested all his time boxing starting at 12-13 years age like Tyson, he would have had a helluva shot. Milligan beats Tyson in any other sport. Tyson could box, but he damn sure couldn’t shoot hoops. haha. Quarry had no choice but to box, probably the same thing with Bubblegum Sean, daddy was going to make sure of that. Sad really.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:59am, 05/26/2017

    Alt Knight-If Milligan had the boxing background of say O’Grady or Quarry who knows…..

  5. Alt Knight 07:30am, 05/26/2017

    Irish…I remember first reading about Milligan in a Sports Illustrated article back in the day. His amateur fight with Tyson is on Youtube.

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:21am, 05/26/2017

    Alt Knight-Great post! Milligan’s story is nothing short of amazing….clearly a case of being born too soon. Looks like he would have been a fit for the UFC with his boxing and wrestling skills!

  7. Alt Knight 06:40am, 05/26/2017

    Winfield definitely is in an elite class. How many guys out there ever can say all 3 major sports leagues, the MLB, NBA, and NFL were interested in them? Remember a high school athlete named, Bruce Hardy, made the cover of Sports Illustrated back in the mid-70’s. Hardy was proclaimed the best high school athlete in the country, he was talented on the field, the court and the diamond. Hardy would go on to play tight end for the Miami Dolphins. Boxer, Henry Milligan, was another all around athlete of note. Milligan was a standout at Princeton so you might have to put an asterisk by his accomplishments. haha. The guy was actually favored to go to the Olympics in the heavyweight division over guys like Tyson and Henry Tillman, at all of 5’11” and 185lbs. The New York Mets were interested in drafting him at one time. He wasn’t that bad of a pro boxer if I recall. Another Bobby Czyz type, part of the Mensa crowd. All around athlete and an IQ in the top 2% range? Damn, some guys have all the luck. I always wonder what kind of boxer, Jim Thorpe, would have made. Wrestler, Danny Hodge, might have made a decent boxer had they not rushed the guy. He was boxing Nino Valdez after only a handful of pro fights.

  8. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:12am, 05/26/2017

    Pretty Boy is the first affirmative action world class scammer! No way he could pull this shit if he was white…..no Goddamned way!

  9. Pete The Sneak 04:01am, 05/26/2017

    “2017 has started off as a banner year for boxing. Joshua vs. Klitschko; Thurman vs. Garcia; Golovkin vs. Jacobs; Canelo vs. Chavez. All four of these fights—a and MANY more—have brought the fight game back and reinvigorated interest from the ever-elusive casual fan.”.......I would agree with the first 3, but Oscar didn’t mind ripping off fans that plunked down $70.00 (or whatever it was) for that Canelo/Chavez farce, did he….This Money/Conor thing will happen cause there is just to much mooola involved. Like anything else, if you are into circuses, you will buy it. Simple as that….Alt Knight, how you been my friend. It’s been a minute. Yes, you are correct, Elway had a gun for an arm. Also, Imagine having had Dave Winfield as a wide receiver in the NFL.The man (at that time) was a specimen…Peace.

  10. Alt Knight 04:53pm, 05/25/2017

    Bo Jackson was a pretty good baseball player, however, I wouldn’t call him an exceptional player, hell of an arm though. Deion Sanders? Nah. Danny Ainge played for the Blue Jays for a short period before playing hoops for Boston, nothing noteworthy, but still something to be said for playing to different sports at that high of a level. I guess if boxing survived Ali-Inoki, it can survive this, I still say it ain’t happening though. Oscar mentions Thurman vs. Garcia and Canelo vs Chavez Jr. as a plus for boxing? I think a lot of guys could have made it in two different pro sports, John Elway certainly could have, he had a better arm than even Bo Jackson. Dave Winffield had offers to play in the NBA, MLB, and the NFL.  Conor is no boxer. His sparring sessions on YT are pathetic. The event could even be “rehearsed.” I can’t understand why anyone would pay money to see this, but who knows?

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