Top bosses from professional boxing met in Los Angeles several weeks ago to discuss dangerous weight loss practices. But they may have ignited something needed even more than that.
Prizefighting has always needed a central governing council or commission or advisory committee to administer the sport of pro boxing. Despite an international existence of more than 300 years, boxing has never had a centralized organization.
The meeting attended by the bosses of the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO sanctioning groups at the California State Athletic Commission on June 7, also included Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza and a top manager and matchmaker. What they all discovered to each other’s amazement: all are on board for further cooperation and for enhancing the power of the Association of Boxing Commissions.
It’s only a suggestion that begins with giving the ABC the duty of overlooking problems of severe weight cuts by boxers trying to lose weight using unhealthy methods. But by all of the sanctioning organizations agreeing that the ABC be the official organization to handle the gathering of information, it also opens the door to other matters in the future.
Can the ABC eventually be the lead organization for boxing worldwide?
Soccer, baseball, football, tennis and basketball all have a central governing organization that handles problems and settles disputes. Boxing has never had this though the need has always existed.
A boxing commissioner with full power and leading the ABC would be the answer, at least in theory. FIFA proved that sometimes that much power is not a good thing. The sport of boxing definitely needs a central figure guiding it, especially in terms of marketing. Despite the sport being larger than ever, it suffers badly from bad public relations and image.
It was similar to dropping the metal cylinder carrying an atomic bomb down a shaft in Alamogordo, New Mexico in the 1940s. Only this took place in Detroit, Michigan and occurred last week. The explosion this time was Claressa Shields and Hanna Gabriels and the bomb took 10 rounds to ignite.
Televised as the main event, Shields and Gabriels vividly proved to American audiences watching on Showtime that female prizefighting is not just worthy of watching, but must-see TV.
The companion bout that featured Germany’s Christina Hammer dominating the smaller Tori Nelson was an example of what not to put on TV. The European fighter may look good on the screen and has solid technique, but just pales in comparison to Shields whose go-for-broke style makes people want to watch her. Hammer, not so much. She has a boring boxing style preferred by the amateur world and she’s brought that to the pros. Hammer is just not TV friendly. She takes no chances and prefers to hold rather than fight inside. It’s just a recipe for killing female boxing on American TV. Maybe the Germans and European fans like it, but it’s simply boring. Now if she tried to knock people out that would work. But she’s quite content to fire at long range and smile.
Shields and Gabriels love to fight and it showed in their willingness to unloose their most potent weapons despite incoming fire. It was quite a fight and a good example of what female prizefighting can do. If you have not seen the fight, definitely get the Showtime app and watch it. Or it might be available also on YouTube.com.
It’s been almost two years since Shields turned pro and most of the top super middleweights and middleweights have refused to face the two-time Olympic gold medalist. Instead it was Costa Rica’s Gabriels who took the challenge. “Because that’s the only way you can become a legend,” said Gabriels before the fight with Shields.
She was absolutely correct and now the world knows her name.
Las Vegas Loss
A week ago the boxing world lost Chuck Giampa, a former boxing judge who passed away from a lengthy illness that was not given to the media. The gravelly voiced Giampa was widely known as being one of the better boxing officials and had supervised many top world title fights.
On a number of times I sat with Giampa and went over some scores of fights, especially some of the bigger results. He had a solid philosophy of how to judge a fight and a few times corrected me on some of my own views. His former wife Lisa Giampa is still judging in Nevada and is a solid official quickly gaining respect in the boxing world.
I’m sorry to say it’s been more than two years since I last spoke to Chuck Giampa. He was always at the major fights in Las Vegas and I did notice his absence. Speaking for myself, I will miss running into him at the MGM Grand or the Mandalay Bay when the big fights occurred. Boxing lost another good guy.
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