The Only Reform Boxing Needs

By Paul Magno on July 10, 2017
The Only Reform Boxing Needs
Please spare me the bunk about poor judging always being as a result of incompetence.

Every ill plaguing the sport could be solved by ending a promoter’s ability to sign exclusive deals with specific fighters…

What if I told you that I could fix the sport of boxing from one day to the next? I’m talking about a complete reform—from being the red light district of sports to holding a place in the mainstream world right below football, basketball, and baseball. No more screw jobs, fixes, or easy-street matchmaking. The fans would get the fights they want to see and the fighters would make just as much, if not more, money.

The secret to killing any con job—and much of what goes on in boxing can be described as a con—is to take the money out of it.

In the case of boxing, the beginning and end of all grift lies with the promoter’s exclusive contract with his fighters. End the ability to sign exclusive promotional deals with fighters and there would be little money to be had in manipulating the system.

The promoter’s job, obviously, is to promote (although you wouldn’t know it from the often shoddy job boxing promoters do). When a promoter is tied to one fighter, exclusively, his focus shifts from making a quality fight to making his guy look good—two often mutually exclusive concepts.

Essentially, the current system encourages the promoter to act as a second manager, guiding his guys to bouts good enough to make them look like stars, but not so good as to actually risk a loss. When there’s enough money in a risky fight, the bout usually gets made. However, more and more, the temptation is to keep a fighter far away from the most challenging fights and grow rich off the corpses of second and third-tier fighters until he absolutely, positively has no choice but to step up (often against a promotional stablemate in a passing of the torch-type bout).

This need to protect their investment also leads to some of the shadier stuff, like poor scoring and the usual madness that comes from the sanctioning bodies. Please spare me the bunk about poor judging always being as a result of incompetence rather than corruption. When a promoter foots the bill for the officiating and basically has the power to hand-pick the judges, you’d have to be a fool to rule out corruption—especially seeing as how the “bad” scoring always seems to work to the lead promoter’s benefit.

But the spotty matchmaking, rotten scoring, and just about every other ill plaguing the sport could be solved by ending a promoter’s ability to sign exclusive deals with specific fighters.

The end of exclusive promotional deals would force promoters to bid on fights rather than fighters. Suddenly, it would be in their best financial interest to make quality fights.

With the promoters having no vested interest in the outcome of the bouts they make, there’d be no need for any shenanigans. As a matter of fact, it would actually be in the promoter’s best interest to have quality officiating and honest judging.

Obviously, some fighters would have a natural affinity for one particular promoter, but the end of the exclusive contract would allow them the freedom to explore other opportunities.

For example, Terence Crawford, not forced to live with the career decisions made for him by promoter Bob Arum, would be free to negotiate for the biggest, best fights available and not just the biggest, best fights made available to him by Arum. He could work out a deal with, literally, any fighter in the world. And Arum, in turn, would have similar freedom. The only limitations for either would revolve around whether the bout is salable to the boxing public and appealing to a TV network.

I’m not so naive as to think that this idea is workable under the current system where everything is rigged to the benefit of the promoter, but it’s certainly worth pursuing and/or investigating by voices much louder than mine. If the mainstream boxing media were not solely interested in stroking their own egos and/or loading their pockets with as much free swag as possible, this is something that could be shared with fans and debated in public. Maybe it dies a quick death as something utterly impractical or, maybe, it leads to some tweak in the current business model.

As one particularly douchey scribe once told me, though, I’m probably just shooting spitballs at a battleship with any idea that questions the status quo in boxing. Oh well…a dreamer can dream, right?

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  1. Paul Magno 01:50pm, 07/13/2017

    Exactly, Irish….Put the power in the hands of the fighter and their management to make the best possible fights….if the promoter wants a piece of them, then they first work to create appealing, marketable fights for the fighters…

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 01:39pm, 07/13/2017

    Case in point re: exclusive promotional contracts….Beterbiev…..don’t know how far he can go but the fans are getting cheated by Michel and more importantly Beterbiev’s livelihood and career is getting rerailed . I often wonder how things go when he spars with Stevenson.

  3. Paul Magno 09:55am, 07/13/2017

    a FULL rat, indeed….Reading comprehension is not a strong suit for Kid Dufus…I WAS an official down in Mexico and I say “was” because I refused to play the game…I can do much more good from the outside (although that is, admittedly, not a whole lot) than I could from being inside a rotten system….As for my idea…well, it’s just that—an idea…someday when you get an idea, I’d love to see it…but, I get it, you’re one of those poor slobs who’s all about telling people how bright you are, but all you can do is try and shoot holes in others’ ideas…because you just have none of your own…a born loser, always peeking in on others who ARE doing the work, always with a judgmental jab to offer, but absolutely nothing else…and if you are who “Your Name” thinks you are, then you are even more of a loser…a hypocrite and wannabe cyber bully who is going to get what he has coming—that much I promise…

  4. Your Name 07:10am, 07/13/2017

    @Kid Dufus (an apt name by the way), take your sewage elsewhere We know that you are a FULL asshho—. A trouble maker. A slimy liar. And a suck-up sycophant. Mango has more integrity in one of his well formed stools than you have. In short, you are a FULL rat.

  5. kid dufus 06:41am, 07/13/2017

    the only thing limp wristed is your claim that you can reform boxing from one day to the next.
    I saw on one of the other 10 websites that this so called blacklisted writes on that you r an official with the Mexican commission.  here’s an idea—what say you implement this plan of yours down there.  fix Mexico then take on the world

  6. Paul Magno 12:09pm, 07/12/2017

    @Kid Dufus….If YOU did your homework/research, you’d know that the Muhammad Ali Act is just paper…and, because of the rotten system rigged to benefit the sport’s money men, that Ali Act is violated frequently and without fear of reprisal….I’m not proposing a return to the old days, I’m proposing a change in the system where fighters aren’t treated as chattel and fans get the fights they want to see—a sport that is run like a sport…I’m aware of the fact that bringing a fighter up is a money-losing proposition until he reaches a certain level and starts to make “real"money…If I’m not mistaken, that would be where a manager comes in…I suspect that a lot of promoters these days would become managers if my idea ever came into place…and that would be fine since, honestly, most of today’s promoters are awful at promoting (primarily because they’ve been asked to become managers under the current business structure)...I wish your comment was more of an actual constructive criticism than a limp-wristed attempt at an attack….but it’s clear that you have nothing, other than your desire to be against me, for whatever twisted reason you may have….craw back into your anonymous hole…

  7. nicolas 12:03pm, 07/11/2017

    Boxing has always been the x rated of sports. Only if you get someone as big as Muahamed Ali does it have this possibility. Because of the loss of fight clubs as was known some 60 years ago and before, boxers today are more economic commodities than ever before. The first one though that I can think of that started this trend was the career of Joe Louis. If he had to fight like some of the other boxers back then had to, especially black fighters, it is possible he may never have become heavyweight champ. He became champ in something like three years, though Willie Pen also became champ back then in some two years. though he had to have more fights.

  8. Your Name 11:29am, 07/11/2017

    Kid Dufus , stfu, We know who you are,  The Brooklyn Sewer Rat comes to mind. The worst human being in the world.

  9. Kid Dufus 11:20am, 07/11/2017

    “...the current system where everything is rigged to benefit the prmoter..”

    Oh you mean the law? As in the Ali Act, which addresses and allows exclusive contracts because too many promoters pre-1997 saw all their hard work and 6 figure investments get taken away by one of the 2 big time promoters once their fighter reached the big time.  Are you proposing a return to the days when, to get a title shot, you have to give the champ’s promoter options ?  You call a return to something that didn’t work reform?

    if you were a real insider you would know that the Ali Act addresses this and why.  Instead of taking swipes at “mainstream media” and “douchey scribes” how about you do a little homework, a little research?

  10. Lucas McCain 09:31am, 07/11/2017

    Well, it would cure some problems.  But we’d still be left with fatalities, brain damage, blindness, bad coaching, crowds that want KOs more than skill, etc, etc.  Chance for another column perhaps.

  11. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:35pm, 07/10/2017

    Talking about fights that are not being made that should be made like right now! Or how about Joshua/Wilder but instead you have Hearn talking about Joshua/Parker way the hell off in Summer 2018. GGG/Canelo is just fine but the real fight is GGG/Floyd and instead you have Floyd/McNugget because Floyd needs to pay some back taxes or more to the point because he’s Floyd and he can do it! Or how about Ward/Stevenson which is the obvious next step and you have Ward talking up Bellew again because he’s S.O.G. and he can do it too dadgummit!

  12. Your Name 12:47pm, 07/10/2017

    InSaine McCiane

  13. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:18pm, 07/10/2017

    Paul Magno-A brilliant notion but the only realistic way this would come to pass is if the Feds got involved again because the Ali Act sure isn’t getting it done. Maybe legislation dealing with specifically with exclusive promotion contracts would do the trick…...maybe not. Cleaning up the current clusterfuk that oppresses fighters instead of empowering them would take the kind of legislation and the force of law that RINO John McCain promised years ago and never delivered on.

  14. Kid Blast 12:04pm, 07/10/2017

    Nice

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