Pound for pound boxing? After the breakdown of yet another big fight, Crawford vs Spence, boxing fans have every right to question why the blockbuster matches can’t seem to get over the line.
Over the last few months we have been licking our lips with the prospect but the ultimate collapse of Super fights like AJ vs Fury, Tank vs Garcia, and Spence vs Crawford. Why is it so complicated to make the big fights happen? Surely if a purse split can be agreed between the fighters then contracts can be signed right? Wrong!
Unfortunately, the sport we love comes with many complications. Different networks, promotors, management companies, and sponsors all play their part in negotiations and ultimately the breakdown of them and although it seems to be a recurring theme lately, it’s nothing new.
Countless times over the years we have had the promise of a huge pound-for-pound fight which more often than not happens years too late or sometimes not at all. If you were a Ricky Hatton fan then you would know a fight with fellow British light-welterweight Junior Witter never materialized. Mayweather vs Pacquiao happened far later than it should have, De La Hoya never fought Kostya Tszyu, and let’s not even get started with how long it took to make Khan vs Brook!
So why does this keep happening? The truth is it usually comes down to money. Networks and promotors sometimes have to agree to allow their fighter to fight on another platform which they are reluctant to do, especially if it’s their pound-for-pound cash cow. An idea that has been thrown around from time to time seems to be to allow the fight to be shown on both promotional parties’ broadcasting platforms, as was discussed with AJ and Fury, but often this does not come to fruition.
Pound for pound or £ for £!
Boxers will always try to get the best deal possible for themselves, at the end of the day it’s a short and dangerous career but the people crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s have the influence and the say as to what terms the fight is made on and they can fall apart over silly and egotistical things. You hear back and forth as to the hydration clauses, who ring walks 2nd, whose name is on the banner first but the truth is the fight won’t happen until every party involved feels they have cashed in as much as they feel is possible or they simply don’t want the risk of a Pound for Pound fight for their stables Prize-fighter!
The most recent case of a fight falling apart was Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) Vs Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs). It seemed as though this fight was nearing completion with both fighters claiming to have agreed terms but again it seems the politics behind the scenes have scuppered the plans for now.
Tank is represented by promoter Al Haymon (PBC) and is contracted to fight on Showtime whereas Garcia is signed to De La Hoya’s Golden boy promotions and boxes on DAZN. President of Showtime Sports Stephen Espinoza has admitted recently that the hold up is indeed with the broadcasting rights, a situation of which Eddie Hearn slammed in an interview with Boxing Social this past week.
This is not always the case though and was proven this year. By all accounts, Conor Benn vs Chris Eubank Jr should never have been made. 2 weight divisions apart, different promotors, different stages of their careers but because the money was right and you had 2 opposing promotors in Eddie Hearn and Kalle Sauerland that have a good working relationship, the fight got made.
Now as we all know we didn’t see this fight for obvious reasons but both parties were and still are singing from the same hymn sheet so it goes to show that if everyone involved really wants a fight to get made then it WILL get made despite any obstacles in its way.
The trouble is it’s too easy to hide behind excuses. For example, in the AJ vs Fury discussions, you had Queensbury saying one thing, and Matchroom saying another and you never truly know who to believe. The truth will be that it’s a bit of both and each party will want to save face and ultimately get what they feel is their worth!
The good thing to come from this though is a semi-breakthrough in communications between Matchroom and Queensbury has led to Zach Parker fighting John Ryder for the WBO Interim Super Middleweight World Title where the latter (Ryder), a Matchroom fighter, is fighting on a Queensbury card at the top of the bill. We need to see more of this.
Who knows what the solution is but hopefully we don’t have to wait too much longer for these Pound for Pound blockbuster fights as it is of huge detriment to the sport we love, as with any sport everyone just wants to see the best against the best!
By Lee Browne