Ron Borges has been covering the Sweet Science for five decades, so he’s well-equipped to take a step back and assess where the sport as a whole is right now.
We asked him to do so on the “Talkbox” podcast and the Boston-area based scribe, who has won more Boxing Writers Association of America writing awards than any one being, said that much blame for the current state of boxing has to go to managers and promoters.
“They’re not the bravest guys in the world when it comes to putting their moneymakers at risk,” Borges told us.
So, yes, there is a lot of content out there, all the different platforms and such…but where is the quality?
The platforms, the networks have to be accountable as well but Borges singles out another sector, “I personally feel a lot of it is the fault of the boxers themselves. I believe many of these fighters, some of whom are potentially great fighters, really don’t want to know, completely and surely, who the best guy is. They’d rather go on social media and beat their chests or get their friends to do it, rather than do it in the only place it counts, which is in the boxing ring with another great fighter. There’s a few guys that have done it, (The Ring Magazine/WBA/WBC middleweight champion) Canelo Alvarez being one of the lead ones, at the moment. But there’s not a lot of guys lining up or when they do, they want all of the money and want to give the other guy nothing, which tells me they don’t really want the fight.”
Good point. Very good point.
Borges is talking about accountability here; the fighters have the power to demand the fights they want, if they really actually do want them. If people aren’t getting the big fights they say they want, well, they need to pipe up and ask the powers that be to make those fights.
Borges says fans can speak up but their power is limited and, furthermore, we are conditioned to not ask and demand better. The media doesn’t always help; boxing media jobs dwindle every year, so there isn’t the pressure from influential media outlets to help force the best fights to get made.
Borges said this popped up for him when former middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin fought David Lemieux. He said the Canadian was no threat to “GGG” but media pushed the illusion that Lemieux had a shot to win. Promoter Tom Loeffler, Borges told us, called him and took exception. “The media bears some responsibility. What you are telling them, in theory, we know the most of this stuff, with the exception perhaps of the trainers and fighters themselves, if we aren’t telling the truth?”
Borges said the media pulls punches and an example comes in the form of GGG, who he thinks is overrated and has struggled in step-up fights. He did laud GGG for demanding he be tested rigorously against Canelo however.
The writer touches on many more subjects in the podcast and shared an example of when a fighter demanded a super-fight that actually was made and, in fact, took less money than he likely deserved, so it coudl come to fruition. We talked about another problem, which is fighters not fighting often enough. Out of sight, out of mind. That old adage holds…
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