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The Boxing World Is Upside Down

BY Frank Lotierzo ON July 18, 2009
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What the hell is going on? The boxing world seems upside down on so many fronts. Then again, it just might be business as usual. When you look at things from what would seem to be a logical perspective, you realize everybody is Herman and Lilly Munster and you're Marilyn. Some things being said and done regarding professional boxing you can't even make up.

Earlier this month two of the youngest legitimate up and coming heavyweights who will both challenge for an alphabet title belt in the near future faced each other in Germany and nobody saw it in the United States unless they knew where to go to find it on the Internet. That's right, the two biggest networks in America who regularly broadcast boxing, Showtime and HBO, didn't air it for business reasons. In other words neither fighter is under contract with either network.

Incidentally, the Chambers-Dimitrenko bout turned out to be pretty compelling from a technical/strategic vantage point. Guess it sucks to be a boxing fan if you didn't know where to look on the Internet. No doubt it will be announced that the winner of that fight, Eddie Chambers, will be offered a multi-fight contract to become a house fighter most likely for HBO in the near future. In the contract that Chambers will sign there will be two stipulations (because there practically always is): 1) HBO reserves the right to approve or reject any opponent Chambers agrees to fight and 2) HBO reserves the right to void the contract if Chambers loses to an opponent they approve.

Another indication of the upside down boxing world came to light when a judge who is known for submitting scorecards that are out of the main as to how most boxing observers saw the fight, scored it a draw 113-113. The first problem with that is we know that this particular judge will not be admonished for his blunder, although I'm not sure it was a blunder due to poor eyesight. In the weeks since the fight I have yet to speak with anyone who saw it who didn't think it was an overwhelming impressive victory for Chambers over Alexander Dimitrenko. Along with being given a pass the judge in question will most likely work another major fight in the not too distant future.

Moving along we have Floyd Mayweather Jr. taking it to Brian Kenny again, saying he's the biggest star and draw in boxing, not Manny Pacquiao. Again, I understand that Mayweather has to say that and probably has convinced himself that it's true, but the fact that there's a faction out there who actually believe it is absurd and defies reality. What makes it even more of a joke is if Floyd beats Marquez (which he will) and Pacquiao beats Cotto at 143-145 or Mosley at 140 (which he will), has he really conned himself into believing that he'll strengthen  his hold on the purse split over Pacquiao, a hold he doesn't even have?

Yeah, that makes sense, Mayweather beating a fighter who is fighting way above his natural weight who Pacquiao has already fought twice at his natural weight and is undefeated against him in their series. Not to mention Pacquiao first fought him five years earlier. In reality the only way Floyd has the advantage over Manny via a purse split between them is if he beats Marquez and Cotto/Mosley beat Pacquiao, then Mayweather would garner the bigger purse split if they fought.

If that's not enough - Wladimir Klitschko the top ranked heavyweight in the world hasn't been close to losing a fight in five years, yet he's terrible in the eyes of most who watch and cover his fights. Instead of giving him his due for beating every opponent who is qualified to fight him, he gets blamed because they look like a deer in the headlights when facing him on fight night. How about the fact that his size and strength coupled with his shut-you-down-first style, makes him real formidable for the elite heavyweights of 2009. In case it's slipped the mind of some, Klitschko has the title and he's supposed to do whatever he can to make it the most difficult he can for his opponent to beat him, not the opposite.

Some fans and writers have been saying since the Lesner-Mir UFC title match how MMA is hurting boxing and its popularity. What? MMA isn't hurting boxing, boxing is hurting boxing. The most anticipated fight in boxing between Pacquiao and Mayweather may not happen this year because Mayweather isn't realistic as to what he should net as a purse split, and Bob Arum wants to try and bury Floyd and act as if he's irrelevant, which he's not. What does MMA have to do with that?

The culprit hurting boxing is its own greed. Those who care about boxing and want to reform it for the better don't have the means or power to do it. And those with the means and power to implement real reform, don't want to. Why would they when they're raking it in from every angle?

Speaking of greed, this coming August 15th Roy Jones is fighting Jeff Lacy at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi. Jones is a shell of the fighter he once was now at age 40, and Lacy hasn't been the same since he was taken apart by Joe Calzaghe almost three and a half years ago. I have no problem with Jones-Lacy, but I do with making it a PPV fight despite the fact that Jones is defending his coveted NABO light heavyweight title.

Two weeks ago one of the classiest and most sophisticated fighters in boxing history, Alexis Arguello, committed suicide. Arguello was a legitimate three time champ and had he chosen to work the broken system that is boxing, he could've taken the easy route and fought one of the alphabet title holders instead of Aaron Pryor to capture his fourth title. When it comes to boxing resumes, take a look at the fighters Alexis Arguello confronted in championship bouts. His level of opposition matches up with the greatest fighters in history and he was without question an all-time boxing great. Arguello was loved and respected by all and now he's gone at age 57.

Last week one of the toughest and most exciting fighters ever, Arturo Gatti, was murdered. His wife is in custody and is believed to be the perpetrator. Gatti never backed up or down from any fighter and never took the easy route in or out of the ring. In his rubber match with tough Micky Ward, Gatti broke his right hand during the fight. When he got back to his corner the thought of losing on a technicality never entered his mind. Instead he said to his trainer, "Just tell me what to do." Yes, Arturo Gatti was a real fighter and now he's gone at age 37.

Yes, the boxing world is upside down!

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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