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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: ODDS AND ENDS

By Paul Magno | February 19, 2024
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: ODDS AND ENDS

I’ve got a bit to say about a few different things, so why not get it all out there in one soul-cleansing NSFW column this week?

– Did you hear the one about PBC going out of business?

Only in the Bizarro World of professional boxing can staging the biggest, most commercially successful events of the previous year, signing a deal with the largest multi-faceted streaming company in the world, and representing, arguably, the two biggest stars in the sport be proof positive that you must be broke and going out of business. 

As I wrote in this past Thursday’s Magno’s Bulging Mail Sack, people with a vested interested in the fall of Premier Boxing Champions are continuing to leak false and, at very best, unsubstantiated rumors on to social media about the boxing company being broke and in a state of imminent collapse, despite having recently partnered up with Amazon Prime. Then, of course, fans and pseudo media-- many, also with their own weird agendas-- have been running with the tales. 

Until proof-positive confirmation, these “PBC is broke and going out of business” stories are as true as they were back in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 when the same people were spreading the same types of rumors.

As a fan, though, why the fuck would you even care if some boxing company is struggling financially? Unless you work for the company and need the paycheck, this shouldn’t concern you in the least. If PBC folds, all their fighters will be back on the market fighting some place else. If they don’t fold, they’ll be putting on boxing shows for you to either watch or not. 

But, as I’ve said many times before, for a lot of people hyper-focused on the operations of PBC, this is NOT just about boxing. 

– Canelo Alvarez got caught up in the gangstalking of PBC last week when it was advertised that the Mexican superstar would be making a major career announcement on Tuesday. The anti-PBC lynch mob went into full shit-head mode upon the announcement of the impending announcement. Self-described “boxing insider” Rick Glaser, best known for his work in illegally rolling back odometers as a used car salesman, “broke” the story on Twitter/X that the announcement would be about Canelo leaving PBC because “PBC did not have the money to establish a guarantee of Canelo’s purse.”

As things would turn out, Canelo’s big announcement was simply that he had signed en extension with Mexico’s TV Azteca to continue broadcasting his fights free to his countrymen. Glaser would disappear from social media for a day after the wild swing and miss-- because his wife got something in her eye-- and then come back with the lame explanation that “Canelo gave PBC an extension.”

– Speaking of Canelo...There’s been much speculation about who he’ll be fighting on May 4. During his “big announcement,” he said that his opponent would be named soon, but that it would be an American. In a follow up interview, he ruled out the possibility of fighting unified welterweight champ Terence Crawford. Another rumored opponent, Jermall Charlo, said that he had not been contacted about a Canelo fight. The camp of the other rumored foe, David Benavidez, has also said that they’ve not had any contact regarding a Canelo fight.

So, then, who will it be?

Honestly, if it’s not Benavidez or Crawford (or maybe, to a much lesser extent, David Morrell, Jaime Munguia, Chris Eubank Jr., or Carlos Adames-- none of which are likely), then May 4 is a wasted date. 

At various points of my boxing writing career, I’ve been called a Canelo fanboy (in more colorful terms) and also a Canelo hater. But, for me, my relationship with covering fighters is as simple as this: When they do something shitty, you criticize them and when they do something good, you compliment them. How’s that for a novel concept? 

I’ll wait and see who Canelo chooses to fight next and THEN I’ll see whether he deserves a big thumbs up or an angry middle finger.

– The fans hyper-hating on Ryan Garcia are the same types of fans who hyper-hated on Oscar De La Hoya back in the day. "His fans are girls and casuals. He's more celebrity than fighter. He didn't come up the 'right' way, didn't pay his dues. He's too clean, too pretty."

This is not a comparison of De La Hoya and Garcia, the fighters. Obviously, Oscar was MUCH better. However, the hate and dismissal of both fighters comes from the same place and, really, for the same reasons. And, for the most part, that hate has nothing to do with boxing. De La Hoya was getting disrespected well after he had established himself as a "real" elite-level champion. Ryan will be getting that same heat from some fans even if he ever proves himself to be an elite. No matter what, though, the hate-- for Ryan as it was for Oscar-- won’t stand in the way of the money.  

– I’m fine with Devin Haney vs. Ryan Garcia, although I do feel that this fight is all wrong for Garcia at this point of his career. But can we stop with the “bad blood, Haney’s raging” stuff? Haney hasn’t knocked anyone out since 2019 and, honestly, just doesn’t seem built for that. As @RatCatcherMpls said on Twitter (credit where credit’s due, even when the person, apparently, dislikes me), after that silly Haney-Garcia dust-up video came online: “Haney was so mad. You can tell he can’t wait to get in the ring and just comfortably decision the shit out of Ryan.” 

The only way we’re going to get some blood and guts action in this fight is if Garcia manages to clip Haney and rattle that chin. And, even then, it’s unclear if Haney has that blind, spiteful pride in his soul to go to war if he has to. 

– Ryan Garcia needs to wake up and realize that, maybe, there are a lot of people in his professional life looking to cash-out on him with fights he's not ready for because they don't believe he's a long-term "for real" elite-level fighter. Or, maybe, the kid is just cashing out on himself. Fighting Tank Davis and Devin Haney in two of three consecutive fights-- at his current level of development-- is not “daring to be great.” It’s either being delusional or cash-and-grab cynical.

– Jake Paul is due to fight March 2 in Puerto Rico, against his second straight “real” boxer opponent. In this case, the “real” boxer is sub-club fighter Ryan Bourland from the boxing notbed of North Dakota. Bourland, who’s being billed as a “former Gold Gloves champion,” last fought in September of 2022 against a 4-6 opponent in the small 4 Bears Casino & Lodge in New Town, North Dakota. Prior to that, the 35-year-old Bourland’s last bout was in October of 2018.

Can we safely say now that the bloom has come off the rose for Jake Paul, boxer? 

Pissing off boxing “purists” was fun while it lasted-- and his work to help promote women’s boxing has been appreciated-- but the routine has gotten old. Beating up fall guys who can’t even be rated as club fighters is significantly less interesting than beating up old MMA guys. For an avowed provocateur, Paul has become the worst possible thing-- boring.

– Boxing Scene has been bought by ProBox TV. Before applauding or jeering the sale, just remember that nothing’s really changing. Boxing media will remain an old (mostly white) boy’s club with zero-to-no interest in stepping on the “wrong” toes. With another promoter (or boxing company) purchasing another major boxing news outlet, the “media as promotion” trend continues and actual truth becomes just a bit harder to ascertain.

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

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