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The Boxing Tribune

The Best and Latest Boxing News and Opinion

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights (Boxing’s Dead Fourth Quarter); Magno’s Monday Rant

By Paul Magno

It’s a sad state of affairs when it’s September 26 and there’ll only be one fight worth seeing between today and the end of the year.

This past Saturday’s day of boxing, beginning with the solid Jorge Linares-Anthony Crolla scrap and ending with a courteous Donnie Nietes carrying badly faded Edgar Sosa through twelve lukewarm rounds, represented the last “big” day in boxing until Ward-Kovalev on November 19.

There are fights on the schedule, of course. Some with recognizable names. But, except for that one big, bright shining star on November 19, there’s nothing to get excited about and certainly nothing that will give fans a payoff for what has been a truly forgettable year in the sport.

Manny Pacquiao, who could still draw an audience if he cared to try anymore, is booked into a PPV bout with Jessie Vargas on November 5—his most cynical cash grab since his team actually had the nerve to try and sell Chris Algieri as a PPV foe. Miguel Cotto, after exploring a handful of undersized soft touches for a late fall return, has apparently decided to just sit out the rest of the year. A lot has been made of the PBC fighters’ lack of fight dates—Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Adonis Stevenson, Adrien Broner, even rising star Errol Spence look to all be sitting out the rest of the year—but PBC doom-wishers fail to acknowledge the lack of dates featuring guys like Timothy Bradley, Terence Crawford, and, for that matter, just about everyone associated with the HBO brand. And while everyone is sitting 2016 out, presumably looking to invest their money in some other possible non-boxing business venture, boxing’s de facto leader—the heavyweight champion of the world-- has taken himself out of the picture as well. Tyson Fury, according to his trainer and uncle Peter Fury, fell into a funk over internet criticism and just can’t get up for a fight anytime soon.

Where does all this leave us as fans?

Fucked.

Imagine an NFL season starting and then just fizzling out because, well, nobody was much interested in playing the game anymore.

There will always be a huge subsection of boxing fans who refuse to accept the truth. Boxing, more so than any other sport, is characterized by a fan population hell bent on self-defeat. They’ll laugh off the idea of boxing dying—even when slapped in the face with year after year of declining business and dwindling fan base.

To say that the American boxing scene is dying is not paranoia or Chicken Little “The Sky is Falling” rhetoric. It’s also not paranoia to say that foreign markets, which are booming now, will eventually dry up when their fans become more sophisticated and realize that what they’re seeing is not worthwhile matchmaking as much as it is pandering to eager, gullible consumers.

In the U.S., fighters and their people sense distress and are sitting things out, seeing where the business is headed. Nobody wants to risk a loss of earning potential by doing something crazy like taking a tough fight. Fans have shown them, in no small way, that challenging oneself is no longer a gateway to stardom and riches. Whether you’re fighting a killer or a Footlocker assistant manager, the paydays don’t vary all that much anymore.

Fans seem eager enough to support the shit fights and, because the sport has shrunken to such a great degree, the money available for the high end fights just isn’t there. So, as a result, a fighter like Leo Santa Cruz can make $750K fighting his sparring partner, but only $1 million fighting Carl Frampton. There’s not much of an added incentive to move from soft touches to legacy fights. Big credit goes to Santa Cruz for stepping up to take the challenge anyway, but you have to know that most fighters simply would not see the logic in taking a risky fight when there’s not that much more of a monetary gain in doing so.

For instance, if Timothy Bradley can make $1.5 million for fighting Jessie Vargas, why would he bother entertaining an offer to fight Terence Crawford for a purse not likely to exceed $2 million? That would be a horrible business decision. And even if promoter Bob Arum took a loss, dishing out more money to Bradley to secure a legacy fight for Crawford, what would be the point? Who can Crawford fight for a big enough payday to justify Arum’s investment? (Manny Pacquiao, yeah, but Manny’s in the same boat—he wouldn’t make all that much more money fighting Crawford than he would for fighting safer opponents like Vargas or Algieri).

The boxing business model is broken-- and at the heart of the mess is the dysfunctional relationship between promoters who prefer to scam rather than promote and fans who can’t stop being dumb with their consumer dollars. The solution is for everyone to step up and start working towards a common good. How we do that, however, is a Rant for another day.

Until things get done, all we can do is sit and watch this sport dig its own grave. This year we begin to hear the start of a death rattle. Next year, maybe home hospice. Boxing will never truly die, but when a shrinking fan base meets an industry that has lost its ability to make a profit, bad stuff happens. Purses go down, the available talent pool shrinks even further, and the product suffers more. Then, more fans walk away and the downward spiral continues.

Sad days, indeed.

Sadder is the fact that there’s probably nobody in the business today capable and/or willing to work towards helping the long term health of the sport.

For now, all we can do is hold our breath and hope that Ward-Kovalev doesn’t get scrapped.

You can email Paul at paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com or listen to his weekly Boxing News/Zombie Preparedness podcast, “Left Hook to the Brain.” Oh yeah, and buy his book: Notes from the Boxing Underground! Paul is a full member of the Burger King Kids’ Club, a born iconoclast, and an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church.

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© 2016 SportsBlog.com. All rights reserved. Interactive One Millennial
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Jhonny Gonzalez Does his Thing in Cancun

By Ted Sares

With the WBC International Silver Super Featherweight Title at stake, current title holder Jhonny Gonzalez upped his record to an old school 62-10 by icing Hirotsugu Yamamoto (19-13-2) in Cancun, Mexico.

In a career of ups and downs (but mostly ups), the resident of Mexico City has now won 4 straight since being shocked by Johnathan Oquendo a year ago. At 35, the ultra-exciting two-time former WBC featherweight champion and former WBO bantamweight champion is making another run at a world title and though he is somewhat chinny and can be taken out, he also can be extremely dangerous until the last second of the last round. His KO percentage is an impressive 72%.

If Juan Manuel Lopez (aka “Juanma”) should somehow, someway get by Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in his ill-advised comeback, look for the distinct possibility of Juanma calling out Jhonny in a fight that would accentuate the rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico, but also end Lopez’s career once and for all.

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Jorge Linares Outlasts Anthony Crolla in High Octane Clash

By Danny Howard

The roller coaster resurrections of both Jorge Linares and Anthony Crolla came together in a vicious clash between the two of the best Lightweights in the division. In a battle of attrition from round one to twelve, both men put together a sensational contest matching Crolla’s grit against Linares’ wit, but it was Linares who walked away with the win and the WBA Lightweight title.

From the very beginning, Linares flashed brilliant hand speed and high/low attack that rocked Crolla early and often. Though Crolla would open up a cut over the eye of Linares in the fifth round, it wasn’t until later in the fight where the former champion was able to mount some serious offense as Linares predictably began to tire.

It seemed that Linares was going to have an early night as he strafed Crolla with combination punches and stunned him with several shots to the body. In the sixth, Linares wobbled Crolla at the end of the round that caused Crolla to stumble into his corner only for Crolla to turn in a much more spirited effort in the rounds that followed.

When the fight turned to the championship rounds, Linares had gained a second wind and regained control of the fight as Crolla’s shots began to lose steam. After 12 tough rounds, it was Linares who ultimately was crowned champion by scores of 115-114, 115-113 and a way too wide 117-111. The Boxing Tribune scored the fight 116-112 for Linares.

With the win, Linares moves to 41-3 and captures the WBA Lightweight title after vacating the WBC belt to take the big fight with Crolla. Though Crolla walked away without his title, he put together a performance that should shed the perception of him being an overachiever, but falls to 31-5-3 nonetheless.

Danny Howard has been all over the place, writing for FightHype, the Yahoo Contributor Network and the Examiner. He also became a legend in his own mind by writing “And Stay Down! Boxing's Worst Comebacks”. Howard doesn't have time to drown in the nega-verse that is social media, but you can find him on Facebook or breathe life into his long dead Twitter @dbbox625 or let him have it directly at Daniel.Howard6@att.net

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