Max Kellerman, whether he knows it or not, could become one of the most influential voices in boxing.
Witness, if you have a Tivo and have it taped, his pre-signoff message after the HBO Tim Bradley-Luis Carlos Abregu fight finished on Saturday night.
Certain promoters, like Top Rank and Golden Boy, Max said, are forming their own sort of quasi leagues. This is why, he said, when Manny-Money negotiations break down, you get Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey, who are both under the Golden Boy umbrella, which turned out to be less than scintillating, as Clottey proved himself not to be up to the challenge.
Kellerman also mentioned the case of Amir Khan, who fights for Golden Boy. He said that weve heard Tim Bradley and Devon Alexander issue challenges to Khan, but Golden Boy seems mostly interested in putting Amir in with other Golden Boy fighters, at the moment. So as a result we dont get the tournament wed like to see at 140 pounds.
First, a hearty TSS bravo to Max. We always always always love to hear truth being told here. We like to see BS being challenged, and as you all know, that BS gets challenged here more on this site than on any other. But of course, one must balance the muckraking and the callouts with discretion. Sometimes, even with the truth on hand, candor can come back to bite you. Frinstance, maybe sources who told you something, not for attribution, backtrack on their story, when the mercury skyrockets. They cant stand the heat, the ramifications, so they back off. Its easier to be a truth-teller in theory than in practice. For Max, and I am speculating here, I have no knowledge of this personally, he has to dance the fine line between servicing his employer, HBO, and being a source of reason, and honesty, in this wilderness of lies, spinning, fear of retribution etc. He cant always go out on a limb, and put the bad actors on blast, because some of the bad actors are doing business with the guy who signs his paycheck. This is boxing; the number of guys who wear a solid white hat, who arent tainted in some way by the game, are outnumbered by those of us who are.
You notice I say us. NONE of us are angelic. NONE of us have fully pure hearts and consciences. People, ALL people, play favorites. For whatever reason. Maybe this guy returns our call, and treats us with respect, and that guy doesnt. Maybe this guy lives near us, and its a question of geographic preference, pulling for the hometowner. Maybe we do the bidding of the folks who sign our check, and put food on our table, because we know biting the hand that feeds would be financial suicide. But the bottom line is, THERE ARE NO ANGELS in this sport. So anyone purporting to be one you can dismiss as a fantasist, a naive ninny, or a liar. But I digress..
Max finished up by mentioning Bradley and Devon Alexander, who fights on HBO against Andriy Kotelnik on Aug. 7. These are the two fighters if they cant secure a big money fight, they should be fighting each other. I think its one of the best three fights you can make at any weight class in boxing.
Again, bravo. Anytime anyone of import tries to break thru the walls of BS, of the promoters who try to tell you that liquid running down your leg is rain water, when it looks suspiciously too yellow to have come from the sky, I applaud. These quasi-leagues, this intrafraternity matchmaking, is in fact not good for the sport. Too the bottom line of the businessmen who run the leagues, its beneficial. But it is up to the fans who seek the best matches, and the media who have some degree of standards, to call this out. Promoters used to think that they were shooting themselves in the foot if they matched two of their guys together. They were insuring that one of their guys would exit the night with a blemish. But now they realize that they dont have to split rights fees up as much when they handle both fighters on a card. Its all a bit too cozy, and in fact, somewhat mirrors the economic and corporate landscape in the US. A handful of tycoons have gobbled up the valuable properties. Theyve acquired, and consolidated, and essentially cornered the marketplace. Theyve bought out competitors, and taken advantage of de-regulation, and lax rules on anti-monopolistic practices. So Rupert Murdoch has a media empire, and is always looking to add to it. You have a reduction in voices, and choices, and that is never good.
So, for Max to point this out, and vocalize it, bravo.
Yes, indeed, lets break down this wall of intrapromotional activity, concentrate on making the best matches possible, and put the best interests of the sport, and its longterm health, at the fore.