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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: ANOTHER WEEK IN THE MUCK

By Paul Magno | February 05, 2024
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: ANOTHER WEEK IN THE MUCK

One of the sure things in life is that boxing will never let you down-- if you’re expectations are BS, shit-head behavior, mass frustration, and cognitive dissonance passed off as insight.

This has been a hell of a boxing week.

First, there was the not very surprising news (if you read my work, anyway) that Tyson Fury had pulled out of his February 17 heavyweight unification bout with Oleksandr Usyk. 

I hate to say “I told you so” (Who am I kidding? I LOVE it), but I’ve been telling people here not to expect Fury-Usyk on its supposed due date since the bout was first rumored. 

I said it in October: “A lot can happen between now and Fury-Usyk. Personally, I still have my doubts about when/if this fight happens...If the fight does happen, I see someone getting ‘injured’ and having to put it off until next year at some point.”

I said it in November: “I don’t think that February 17 date happens. I think Fury will find a way to put it off or put it away...I guess I’d concede that Fury-Usyk might happen eventually. But less than two full months after Christmas holiday and with Fury having loads of Saudi/Ngannou ‘fuck you money’ in the bank? Nope. For me, at least, this February 17 date is highly unlikely.”

And I said it on February 1, as the rest of the media was jerking themselves raw over how cool that Fury-Usyk Ring of Fire promo video looked: “For the record, though, I’m still not entirely sold on this fight even happening this February 17. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if a Fury training camp ‘injury’ suddenly popped up.”

I was so sure of this fight not happening that I gave it no mind, paid it no attention, and only offered up a tepid prediction if directly asked about it. I not-so-humbly suggest that this fight was never really in play, at least not in the mind of Tyson Fury. I think that everyone else was rabidly on board, eager to get this unification into the ring-- just not Fury, for whatever reason that may be. 

Now, I know there was a cut. How could he fake a cut to get out of a fight? 

I’m not here to play celebrity sleuth, but there are ways to be cut without it being accidental. Am I suggesting that Fury is up to some chicanery and carny sleight of hand? Not necessarily, but you’d be an idiot to rule it out-- especially from Fury, who has proven himself to be a hustler, an inveterate liar, and a carny huckster at heart. To my jaded eye, everything just fell into place too conveniently to not raise suspicion. The “we got proof” and “we have it ready to be shared immediately after the postponement announcement" was way overkill. Sorry, it just reeks of falseness. 

Speaking of falseness...

All it took was some random post on Twitter/X to spark up the die-hard Canelo haters and their natural nemeses, the degenerate Canelo fan boys/girls. 

“By the way, it looks like it’ll be Charlo-Crawford for Canelo in 2024, in that order,” Salvador Rodriguez of ESPN Deportes tweeted in Spanish last Monday. 

In a normal world, that would be treated as a throwaway social media post. No source. No source suggested. Nothing that would lead one to believe that there was any validity behind the statement, other than it being on social media, posted by a guy with ESPN in his job title-- which, as we all know by now, is not an indication of actual validity. 

But this is boxing. And as I said in a social media comment the other day, “boxing is 99.8% cognitive dissonance.”

Fans (and media) will believe what they want to believe, based on whatever fits into the weird prejudices they have. That one particular post, which has since been shared and quoted (and stolen as “news content”) hundreds of times, is either damning evidence of Saul Alvarez’s cowardice or passed off as wild bullshit (later to be molded into justifiable matchmaking by true believers if it turns out to be correct). 

To me, it is what it is until proven otherwise-- social media masturbation meant to spark “engagement.”

Premier Boxing Champions had the first press conference for their debut Amazon Prime PPV last week and, predictably, it drove the weirdo anti-PBC culture warrior boxing fan set into a panties-wetting tizzy. 

So, apparently, everything sucked.

Keith Thurman talked too much shit...Rolly Romero talked too much shit...Isaac Cruz is not really THAT Mexico...Sebastian Fundora dressed weird...the set design looked cheap. 

Any criticism that could be hurled by the serial critics, was hurled...a little like apes hurling their shit at zookeepers who keep taking away the candies and marshmallows visitors throw inside the monkey habitat. For the die-hard haters, nothing good will ever come from PBC. Al Haymon could invent a time machine to bring back a prime Joe Louis to fight a prime Muhammad Ali with a T-Rex vs. a Stegosaurus in a domed habitat on the undercard and these people would be complaining about something. What about Rocky Marciano...and Spinosaurus! And why do the graphics look like that?!?

It’s fine to not like a given show and not support it with your consumer dollar. It’s also fine to say so publicly, but to obsess on a company so doggedly? For years? Non-stop?

When are these people just going to admit that their micro-focused hate has more to do with culture/race/boxing business interests than boxing? There’s no way, with so much bullshit and cynical matchmaking all around the boxing world, that only one company would provoke so much anger that seems so personal and has endured so damn long. I mean, when I don’t like a product, I just don’t buy it. I don’t turn my consumer choice into a moral standoff and I don’t continue to harp on that consumer choice for nine straight years (and running), hunting down and trashing any and all of that company’s future endeavors. There’s an agenda behind the serial anti-PBC crew’s kind of hate-- or just general dumbness. Likely, there’s a bit of both. 

But, all in all, even with the big headlines, this week was just boxing being boxing. Some hate, some sleight of hand, heaping doses of cognitive dissonance (I’m liking that term), and a lot of frustration from the small minority of us with common sense and emotional maturity.

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

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