By Paul Magno | January 04, 2024

Welcome to the first Magno’s Bulging Mail Sack of the new year! In 2024, I promise to return this column to the nasty, mean-spirited, not-dealing-with-the-BS mailbag it used to be, before I talked myself into reeling myself back. This Thursday, we start things off with comments/questions regarding my predictions for 2024 and advice to an aspiring boxing journalist.

Predictions for 2024

Hey Magno.

I noticed that you didn’t put up your annual predictions for the coming year, like you used to do every year. I used to look forward to them, not just for the predictions (which were very interesting and often on the money), but also for the humor. Did Steve Kim and Doug Fischer ever actually get married in a private beach ceremony, per your prediction from a couple years back? Do you think we could get a few predictions for 2024 (funny or not)?

-- Gonzo

Hey Gonzo. 

Thanks for caring about those off-the-cuff predictions. I didn’t do them this year for a few reasons. I was dealing with some illness and some other work distractions. But, to be honest, it was mostly because I lost interest and really didn’t feel like doing them. All the silly/stupid shit beyond the actual fighting had just kind of sapped my energy. But I’m gonna muster up the energy in this week’s Sack to toss off a few nuggets of prognostication:

* Terence Crawford will NOT fight Errol Spence in the awaited rematch of their July, 2023 one-sided smash. Instead, Crawford will face Keith Thurman in a successful June Amazon Prime pay-per-view event where he will stop “One Time” in the ninth round. In November, Crawford will be back in the ring, moving up to 154 to decision Tim Tszyu for the WBO junior middleweight title in a Fight of the Year battle, also on Amazon Prime PPV.

* Errol Spence will not fight in 2024.

* The Oleksandr Usyk-Tyson Fury heavyweight title unification clash, set for February, will NOT happen. Following the first postponement, the fight will be pushed off until April and then later in the year, before being abandoned entirely. Amid the “will-they, won’t they” confusion, Usyk will fight and beat Joseph Parker via decision and Fury will beat Efe Ajagba, also by decision, in their only bouts of the year, both in Saudi Arabia.

* Tank Davis will stop Frank Martin in the debut PBC pay-per-view event on Amazon Prime. A few weeks later, it will be announced that Tank vs. Devin Haney for Haney’s WBC junior welterweight title was signed for the fall.

* Tank vs. Haney will fall short of Tank vs. Ryan Garcia numbers, but will still be the highest-selling event of 2024. In the fight, itself, Davis will come from behind to take a 12-round decision off the weight of two late-fight knockdowns of Haney.

* Saul Alvarez’s two fights for the year will be against Chris Eubank Jr. and Vladimir Shishkin, but not necessarily in that order.

* In response, David Benavidez will officially move up to 175, calling out the winner of the Artur Beterbiev-Dmitry Bivol title unification clash, which will continue to be pushed back and delayed.

* I will be hired in the rumored Saudi sweep of boxing journalists/writers, making in one month what I’ve made, total, over the last two years. Then, I’ll go and do something stupid, like stand on principle over some dumb editorial detail, and get fired on day 31 of my deal. I will totally not show up to the meeting at the Saudi consulate in Turkey to discuss the firing. 

* Victor Conte newsletter writer, Steve Kim, will announce that he’s having gender reassignment surgery-- pending a genetic test to determine his actual current gender. 

Tips for Beginning Boxing Journalists

Hi Paul. 

I’m a big fan of your writing, even though I’m 15 and you constantly warn us that it’s not always safe for work or age appropriate for younger readers, lol. I really admire your no-nonsense style and how you’re willing to go places other writers won’t. I can only hope you were joking about selling out to the Saudis. Anyway, I’m an aspiring sports journalist and a big boxing fan. Do you have any advice for a beginner in the business and someone still writing for a high school paper? I’ve attached some of my work and I’d also appreciate if you could give me your opinion, if you have the time, of course.


-- Antonio Borrego

Hey Antonio. 

My advice? Run the opposite direction, away from boxing! Just kidding (kind of). The one thing you have to really, really determine is that your love for the sport is unbreakable. If your goal is to tell the truth and serve a purpose as an honest voice in the sport, you will be in for endless disappointment and frustration (and also attacks...plenty of attacks and/or blackballing). Your love for the sport and your dedication to your role in it has to be so great that it can withstand all the bullshit that will be heaped on you. Almost everyone who starts in the business with high-minded aspirations, intent on serving a purpose as a real journalist and/or honest pundit, eventually gets burnt out and pulls himself/herself from the sport (those who aren’t eventually corrupted and/or strategically lobotomized). If you’re going to be “real,” you’re making a rough road for yourself. The love for the sport has to be there and it has to be beyond strong. 

If your ultimate goal is to just be a run-of-the-mill word monkey with one eye on attaining access and the other on building your personal portfolio with bartered-for scoops and pre-approved, strategically “leaked” info, life will be easier and you’ll probably make more money, too. But there’d be no purpose to your existence. Some people are fine with that and are only in this for whatever fame and money comes their way. You’ll have to stare down that dilemma, too, as lesser writers and lesser thinkers pass you up on the ladder of success. 

Again, you’ll just have to be really, really firm in your mission if you want to stay the course and have a career. It’s tough, but it’s also worth it when it pans out and people “get” what you’re trying to accomplish.

In terms of the writing, itself? Inform yourself. Don’t rely on media reports to inform you. Also, find your voice and use it. That’s actually the hardest part of writing. Learning to be yourself and take off the phony filters you’ve adopted over the years is tough. Be true to who you really are and move away from what you’ve learned is “acceptable.” Say what you want and what you feel to be correct, no matter how it may rub certain people. All of this hassle is only worthwhile if it means something. There’s no point to any of this if you find yourself aiming to be exactly like everyone else.

I will look at your writing and comment privately. 

Got a question (or hate mail) for Magno’s Bulging Mail Sack? The best of the best gets included in the weekly mailbag segment right here at FightHype. Send your stuff here:

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