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Is Honesty Too Much For Boxing Fans?

BY Deon Potgieter ON September 08, 2004
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Honesty is the best policy, but when it comes to sport and entertainment, it helps to shade the issue a bit.

Former WBO heavyweight world champion Corrie Sanders is back in training and is pencilled in to return to the ring in November in Germany. At this stage his proposed opponent will be one of the Klitscko brothers. While the big hitting six foot five South African is one of the more exciting heavyweights around and certainly has the ability to claim any one of the world titles out there, he has openly stated that its all about the money. Even when Sander’s held the lowly regarded WBU heavyweight crown he was steadfast in his resolve. He would be paid his price tag or forget about seeing him fighting.

Part of the reason he relinquished the WBO title rather than defend it against “Mr Excitement” Lamon Brewster (Sorry, but people want to see a fight not a love match) was that the purse on offer was inadequate. Sadly, the Brewster debacle derailed a proposed big money fight between Sanders and David Tua. Of course, Sanders isn’t the first or last guy to be straightforward about the money issue. Every time Mike Tyson has made a comeback, it’s been because he owes huge sums of cash, and that fact has been overtly pushed.

Last time out we heard Tyson will have at least 7 more fights so that he can raise the money he needs bla bla. So what’s the deal—let’s keep Tyson in debt and he’ll never retire? Boxing is a brutal sport, but squeezing it into the box of mercenary work is not appealing. We all have to make a living and if fighting’s your way great, but can’t we at least pretend that things such as honour, pride and desire to be the best are the motivators?

Remember Lewis-Tyson? The biggest hype around that bout was how expensive it was to put on. In the end the result mattered little.

That’s what’s so great about the De La Hoya-Hopkins super-fight. We all know it’s about the money, but it’s being sold as historically significant. These two warriors are fighting for honour, pride and the desire to be the best. Now that’s something a fight-fan wants to see.

The guys make big bucks, and that’s great, but let’s not erode the sport to: “wow he made a million dollars a second for that fight.” The money should be a sidebar as far as fans go, not the main event. Too much money talk cheapens the show.

I agree the Tysons, Sanders etc. have earned the right to their slice of the money pie, but as a sport-fan, one would hope the sporting element is still a factor.

“It’s not nice to be hit,” says Sanders. “It’s not something I enjoy, but there’s big bucks to be made, so I’m prepared to put my body on the line for it.”

Sanders may not enjoy fighting, not many people do, but he does enjoy winning and winning’s something he’s looking to do.

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