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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: DELUSION AND ILLUSION

By Paul Magno | January 11, 2021
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: DELUSION AND ILLUSION

When promoters can't be bothered to promote and a rancid business model forces a cap on how big the business can grow, stars don't get made. And when new stars can't break through to the next level of stardom, but consumers are still willing to consume, bullshit flotsam and jetsam fills the void.

We see all this happening right now. A fake Mike Tyson-Roy Jones fight generated more pay-per-view buys than the last four major boxing pay-per-views featuring present tense stars, combined, and the most for any boxing event since a battle of YouTubers two years ago. 

And, as the boxing world starts to get back in gear following the Covid shutdown/slowdown, we still see bullshit shining over substance. 

Oscar De La Hoya continues to peddle that nonsense about making a comeback. And the media is still buying into it because, frankly, that's what tickles their own fancies as pathological dumbass trend-riders. But, to be fair, it's also what generates clicks for articles because the public is still more sold on nostalgia than what matters in the here and now. 

"The Golden Boy" claims to be coming back to spark the competitive spirits of younger fighters nowadays, to help them put aside a business-first mentality. 

"Hopefully it can spark something with these young guys," Goldie told Fight Hub TV. "Instead of listening to the whispers in their ears instead of thinking about the business first. Think about the fight. Think about the glory. Think about the legacy. The only way to create a legacy is by fighting the very best."

Then, of course, in typical De La Hoya fashion, he pretty much goes back and cancels out all of that by saying that his comeback opponent would be carefully calculated for risk vs. reward consideration.

"I would have to look at the top guys out there that make the most sense, meaning you look at their styles, where they’re at at their careers, what weight I want to fight in..."

But the stupid stuff doesn't matter because Oscar has a name and his name-- even 14-16 years after it actually meant something, competitively-- still carries more weight than all but one person (Canelo) currently at the top of their game. 

And, speaking of "stupid stuff," Adrien Broner is making yet another comeback and once again claiming that, this time, he's taking his career seriously. 

After being jailed for contempt of court in November for an inability and/or unwillingness to pay over $800K in damages to the woman he was accused of assaulting, the 31-year-old Broner will be making his return to the ring on February 13.

"We got more millions to pick up in a couple of weeks y’all," Broner, who was forced to admit in court that he had just 13 bucks in his bank account and was living on loans from more successful friends, said via social media. "I’ll see y’all in February when I fight a dead man. This is the only time I get to talk because right now I ain’t talking to nobody. I’m losing weight. I told y’all I’ll be rich, and I did it."

Broner ain't kidding about that "fighting a dead man" part.

Broner's scheduled opponent is Mexico's Pedro Campa, a veteran fighter with a deceivingly good 31-1-1 record, but one who has yet to graduate beyond the regional Mexican club level. The Sonora native, who has balance issues, non-existent defense, slow hands, and a self-destructive penchant for leaning in, chin-first, shouldn't be a threat for even the rustiest, most complacent version of Broner.

"The Problem" hasn't fought since dropping a one-sided unanimous decision to Manny Pacquiao back in January of 2019 and hasn't beaten a world class, top 10-level opponent since 2013. He HAS, however, made absolute monkeys out of the boxing media, who bash his every movement, but have made him a shit ton of money by keeping his name in the public eye, allowing him to remain a bankable entity well after he stopped turning in bankable performances.

And, again, that's because his name still resonates in the void.

I've touched on this before in this column (and beyond). Boxing-- by incompetence, lazy thinking, and self-inflicted handcuffing-- can't produce stars anymore. And, even when a crossover-friendly star falls into their laps, they do their damndest to ruin that. 

Case in point is De La Hoya's/Golden Boy's "brilliant" move to take a burgeoning, new age grassroots star in Ryan Garcia out of the mainstream's line of sight to stick him behind DAZN's subscription-only paywall. Before the shortsighted move, the charismatic kid was garnering tens of millions of views as he fought to scores of young fans being introduced to boxing for the first time. Now, Garcia's playing to a few thousand already-sold hardcore fans. 

Mind you, Garcia WILL be a boxing star...but he would've been a mainstream SUPERstar if boxing businessmen weren't so focused on short-term return over long-term growth. 

But, hey, I'm a broken record on this. I get told to shut up enough to understand that most people do NOT want to be hearing this sermon. Unfortunately, these people telling me to shut up are usually the same ones complaining about the shitty product we've been getting for our consumer dollars. 

Got something for Magno? Send it here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com

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