By Robert Elmore
Commentator: Ricardson connects with a right hand and Jackson is hurt. He leans on the ropes while Richardson pounds away. The referee is checking; Jackson is throwing punches and as long as he’s throwing punches, I don’t think the referee will stop it. Ohh my goodness there an upper cut, another right, a left hand and another right hand and down goes Jackson. The referee doesn’t bother to count. The fight is over and Richardson defends his belt fot he ninth time and looked great doing it.
Man on the couch: Man. You call that a fight? Of course he looked great. Look at who he was fighting. Man Richardson needs to fight Harris. Harris would pound him into hash.
Although the above is totally fictional, this is the average behavior from a fight fan. The man on the couch believes that Richardson’s competition was garbage and demanded that he fight someone tougher. We as casual fight fans take on this behavior sometimes. Do we put expectations on fighters that we don’t put on ourselves? Yes, I am guilty of doing this to Roy Jones Jr when he considered pound 4 pound best. To me these fighters do not have to live up to what I expect from them.
Ask yourself; How many of us were EXPECTED to some university because two-thirds of family went there? Our how many of where expected to choose a career because of the money or the status it might bring? Or even marry someone that somebody EXPECTED us to? Nine times out of ten, you rebelled and did things your way and it made you happy at the same time.
Everytime a fighter steps in the ring, he is putting his life on the line. They train hard, often putting their families to the side, and put their bodies through a lot by either gaining or losing weight. And what do they get for their hard work? Name calling, hate, racial slurs and total abandonment. Only the hard core fans stay aboard the wagon while those who jumped on before the fighters career defining fight jump off. And add this, they don’t have regular 401 k’s, they have to invest into things that have solid returns on them, they don’t qualify for health insurance because of the risk factor.
And if for some reason or another they can’t fight anymore because of some injury, now they have to settle into a pre mature analysis job or become a trainer. They still have to find a means to support themselves. We have to remember, fighters have feelings as well and have enough to deal with after a loss. The don’t need to be harshly bashed by writers. As for fans, we can’t come down on our fav fighters or certain fighters because certain fights don’t get made. Fighters have to do things that makes the most sense for them and their families. Here are few examples.
If you have been on a job for some years, started from the bottom, worked your way up, brought in a lot of money for the company, at some point you’re going to say “Hey I think I deserve more than what I’m making. Let me go holla at the boss”. He gives you every excuse in the book on why he can’t give you a raise. So what do you do from there? You will probably find a company willing to pay what your asking or go into business for yourselves. In your heart in mind, you’ve paid your dues at the bottom and now you’re on top. So you want top money. Some will say you don’t deserve the money because you didn’t bring in 1.2 billion dollars. But you did bring in one billion of it. The fight game is no different.
Another example in 1988, Hearns achieved the quest of winning four titles in four weight classes. In that same year, Michael Nunn was coming up through the ranks and was making noise. Arum offered Hearns two million for the fight and it was rejected.
Prentiss Byrd, vice president of the management group that handles Hearns had this to say about the situation. “It doesn’t matter. We want a fight with somebody that makes sense. A fight with Michael Nunn makes no sense. Bob Arum is playing kids’ games with the press. He’s trying to start a newspaper war for this fight with Nunn, but it’s not going to happen. We are basically looking for two guys–Sugar Ray Leonard or Marvin Hagler. Michael Nunn is a good young fighter who is going to go a long way in this business. But what good would it do for us to fight him? Where would it get us? “The fight that would make the most sense is Hearns-Leonard”.
Arum countered. “He wants to fight nobodies for big money. Or you name somebody like (Mike) McCallum (scheduled to fight World Boxing Assn. champion Sumbu Kalambay next month), he wants $10 million. Or (Frank) Tate (International Boxing Federation champ)? Five million. Hearns is wacky.”
(Source: Los Angelas Times; Feb 26, 1988; written by staff writer Steve Springer).
I can’t really blame Hearns for not wanting that money. He had made 5.7 million fighting Hagler. Mike McCallum, a fighter at Kronk once upon a time, was denied access to the big three (Hearns, Hagler and Duran) for one reason or another. Although McCallum siad that Manny Steward told Durans people that he was willing to step aside and let Tommy fight Duran. “Man…he convinced Duran to face Thomas Hearns for more money. He wanted me to step aside and allow him to do that. I told him I want my fight right here and right now!
(Source: Inavsion of the Body Snatcher: RSR sits down with Micke McCallum, the Forgotten Great. Interview done by Robert Plunkett; May 1st 2007).
McCallum never said who “he” was, but he was instrumental in organzing the Duran-Hearns fight. He also had this to say about not getting the fight with Hagler. “So later, Marvin Hagler leaned over and said he respected me when I was sitting close to him at the ceremony. But respect means to me you give me a chance to feed my family. This is boxing, we are boxers. This how we make a living. I said to him “I heard you say in an interview that you’d cut off your pinky finger for a million. Why didn’t you fight me so we could make some money to feed my family. This is a hurt business that we’re in. This how we feed our family. You didn’t fight me, Thomas Hearns didn’t fight me. Roberto Duran didn’t fight me. But all of you fought each other. But Donald Curry gave me a chance to feed my family. Donald respected me and he gave me an opportunity to make some money. That’s what I call respect!”
(Same source as above…same interview ; just part two; date May 2nd 2007)
McCallum, in my eyes, had every right to fight the big three, but he never got. He went to win win more titles and be inducted in the boxing hall of fame.
Face time: Whenever a major or minor fight happens, sports writers weigh in and give their opinions. Some are very biased some are fairly balanced. I’m learning very quickly thats its very easy to sit a computer and criticise fighters without good cause. My job as an inspiring young writer is to research the truth and get facts, and not my let emotions get in the way things. I boxed for two days and quit. So how can I, having never went past two days, who doesn’t know the ins and outs of boxing business, sit and call some one a coward? (And I used myself. Didn’t want to upset my fellow writers), or even say this fight should take place so the fighters can satisfy my needs? Now at times, the truth is going to be the truth. How many of us writers have anted-up and paid a boxers doctor bill? Or put food on their tables, clothes on thier back etc….So I’m starting with me, I will do my best to get facts and not be so harsh. Fighters have to do what’s right them. Not me. Peace to all.
*Please refrain from leaving any Racist, Profane or Derogatory comments*
Got an Opinion? Submit Your Articles and Press Releases to be posted on NowBoxing.com
JOIN the NOW BOXING FORUM to discuss this and other boxing news topics (membership is FREE)