By Reni M. Valenzuela
Top Rank and HBO are closely knitted now than ever. And they are “potent” allies determined to take boxing for a ride.
By aggravating the situation and deepening the rift between two warring factions in the sport, how superficial of anybody to think that the fans and boxing community would be held back from rejecting Top Rank “in-house fights.”
Believing that dumping a competitor outfit would relieve them of the people’s compelling reason to protest any in-house matchup coming from a promotional company that prides itself to be “the king” of world boxing, how odd, ominous and unfortunate it is that the newly formed HBO-Top Rank exclusive partnership are day-dreaming to fall to self-defeat by their own folly.
Boxing is becoming less and less a sport these days.
The joke that is boxing is at the crucial crossroad of its struggling life wherein the fans and every Tom and Jerry in the circus except the “saboteurs” have to make a choice between healing and disease, between liberty and fleeting moments of pleasure, between legitimate fight events and carnival shows.
The Bradley-Provodnikov last week, though promoted by Top Rank, was not an “in-house” Bob Arum show, and it was classic despite some blatant lapses by fight officials. The bout was one legitimate, excellent and entertaining matchup on account of the sport standing pat on principle and in view of Ruslan Provodnikov being a strong contender under Banner Promotions. However, the announced HBO PPV computation of “significant numbers” result for the said event has to be taken with a grain of salt.
It is sad and foreboding that Arum fighters have to bear the brunt of their promoter’s blunder and indiscretion. How despicable the situation can be for Top Rank stars Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley, Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado, Nonito Donaire, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Brian Viloria. But they have to let go and challenge boxers with equal caliber from Golden Boy and other promotional outfits given the present circumstances in order for boxing to be set free and for the fans to be truly served and made happy while maintaining good health and good sense watching their fights.
Until boxing is cured of one of its lingering ailments by way of reconciliation among its major players, with Bob Arum, Oscar Dela Hoya, HBO and Showtime becoming a united dominant league to command boxing as they are free to make big money out of pitting the bests with the bests, we let the principle stand firm and unyielding to uphold the sport. Otherwise the principle falls together with the sport, pulling everyone else to the pit. Things are turning from bad to worse for boxing. Alas, this is unprecedented.
Only when boxing wakes up to a sunny day with enlightened Arum greeting Oscar De La Hoya and the world “good morning” that we say yes to Top Rank “in-house fights.” But until then, we do just what is right.
There are fights worth watching and discussing. But there are fights worth dumping too. Your pick will define what you are.
And what defines you defines boxing today.
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