THREE PUNCH COMBO — This week, two former world champions battle with their respective careers on the line when Anthony Crolla (31-6-3, 13 KO’s) takes on Ricky Burns (41-6-1, 14 KO’s). Such high stakes fights with so much on the line usually bring out the best in both fighters and make for memorable fights. With Crolla-Burns in mind, here are two more makeable high stakes crossroads fights that I’d love to see.
Lucas Matthysse (38-4, 35 KO’s) vs. Adrien Broner (33-3, 24 KO’s)
This is the definition of a high risk and high reward fight for both men. It is a fight that makes a ton of sense for both and so much sense that the political divide that could restrict this fight could be lifted.
Matthysse is 35 and needs a big fight now. He would see Broner as a big money bout and stepping stone to other big fights. Matthysse also probably feels Broner couldn’t take his power. As for Broner, after his disappointing performance against Mikey Garcia he needs a big win against a name opponent to get back in the picture. Broner would probably feel that Matthysse, the older man and maybe a bit shop-worn, could not handle his speed.
The contrast in styles as well as questions surrounding both makes this a very intriguing contest, one that would be an easy fight to sell. This fight almost happened three years ago when it didn’t make as much sense. It is now time and is a fight that makes so much sense that it can overcome some politics that may otherwise prevent it from happening.
Mike Alvarado (38-4, 26 KO’s) vs. Leonardo Zappavigna (36-3, 26 KO’s)
Top Rank has a new series on ESPN and is looking to make competitive, fan friendly bouts. While there will be some big shows, there will also have to be some budget friendly events. Those events still need to be significant but can’t break the bank either. One way to get fans to tune in to these contests is to put two names in the ring in a stylistic matchup that can’t be anything but a war. A fight between Alvarado and Zappavigna would meet all these criteria.
Right now, it would be tough to sell Alvarado or Zappavigna against anyone in the top ten at 140 or 147. But if they face each other, the winner would presumably be in line for a much bigger fight and bigger payday whereas the loser’s career would probably come to an end. It would be high stakes and for these two brawlers with so much on the line there would no doubt be fireworks. This is a fight that Top Rank needs to make and could very well turn into a poor man’s Gatti-Ward that would get some positive buzz for the new series.
How Sanctioning Bodies Can Unite To Rid PED Usage in Boxing
As much as any boxing fan out there, I dislike the sanctioning bodies in our sport. They have watered down the sport by doling out way too many championship belts and the ratings they put out are often head-scratching. But it’s not all bad as evidenced by one sanctioning body, the WBC, stepping up efforts to eliminate the usage of performance enhancing drugs in the sport by way of its “Clean Boxing Program.” If all the sanctioning bodies unite by taking some simple measures in regards to drug testing they could actually strongly discourage boxers from using performance enhancing drugs.
There are a couple of important premises to keep in mind when analyzing how these sanctioning bodies can make boxing a clean sport. Though many of us as fans may not like it, the championship belts of these sanctioning bodies do matter. They matter to the fighters, they matter to promoters, and they matter to television networks. As such, the ratings of these sanctioning bodies also do matter. A fighter cannot fight for a belt of a particular sanctioning body unless he is rated appropriately by that body. In addition, a fighter can maneuver his way to the top of the rankings to force an opportunity to fight for a belt.
Since belts matter and the subsequent ratings to qualify to fight for those belts also matter, the sanctioning bodies have power. This power can be used to effectively rid the sport of the performance enhancing drugs.
The proposal I have is very simple. It would require the sanctioning bodies to work together. This is something we have in fact seen them do more of in recent years. Since there is common ground that PED usage in boxing is bad, this could be something realistically they would be willing to work together on to rid from the sport. This proposal does not suggest that all sanctioning bodies require testing like that of the WBC but instead that they are recognizing when a fighter fails a drug test.
The first time a fighter fails a test from a reputable source, he would be removed from all rankings from these organizations for a year. Of course if the fighter held a belt he would also be stripped of the belt. Further, after a year the fighter would have to earn their way back into the rankings by defeating a top ten rated fighter in one of the organizations to be eligible to be rated again. So no more testing positive but yet still keeping a high ranking to ensure future opportunities. If a fighter tests positive, he has to earn his way back into the rankings.
The second time a fighter fails a test, it would be two years of being removed from all rankings. Again, to get eligible to be ranked again by all the sanctioning bodies the fighter would have to defeat a top ten rated opponent in one of the organizations. Finally, a third positive test would mean permanent expulsion from being ranked or fighting for a belt.
If enacted, this proposal would go a long way in helping to clean up boxing.
More on PED’s and Boxing
Deontay Wilder was set to defend his version of the heavyweight title against top contender Luis Ortiz on November 4th in what would have been a very highly anticipated contest. That fight appears to be off in wake of the news that Ortiz failed a pre-fight drug test. However, Wilder did take to social media during the weekend to express a desire to go forward with the contest in spite of the positive test.
There is no question in my mind that Wilder is sincere about moving forward with the Ortiz fight. Wilder is frustrated that big fights keep falling part and wants badly to prove himself as the best heavyweight in the world. His opportunity will come to prove himself, but it should not be against Ortiz.
One recent trend in boxing is fighters intentionally missing weight and then essentially buying a weight advantage knowing their opponent will not pull out of a fight. This is not only unprofessional but often puts the fighter who made weight at a serious disadvantage. Networks and promoters often pressure the fighter who made weight to take the payoff and go forward with the fight or face consequences down the road. This has been an ongoing trend in the sport and one that will continue for the foreseeable future.
The above can be tied into fighters who test positive for performance enhancing drugs. Let’s say the powers that be allow Wilder to fight Ortiz with Ortiz giving a little back on his earnings to Wilder. If this happens, a new trend similar to the one with fighters missing weight could start gaining momentum. Fighters will now be less fearful of getting caught taking performance enhancing drugs knowing there would still be a good chance the fight takes place. Networks and promoters will begin to pressure the clean fighters to go forward, not wanting to lose out on an event much like they do when fighters miss weight. Basically, dirty fighters can buy an advantage but a much more dangerous one than buying a weight advantage.
Deontay Wilder is to be admired for still wanting to face Luis Ortiz but for the good of the sport he should not be allowed to go through with this fight.
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