Boxing Doing Fine Because of Fighters' Currency, Relevance
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Mon, 03 May 2021
There is a saying that goes: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
But then, in contrast, there is also a saying that goes: Out of sight out of mind.
I wonder what of these two holds true especially speaking of Manny Pacquiao who in a couple of months, would be two full years out of active boxing competition.
It should be stressed here that the Covid-19 pandemic has the effect of putting pro boxing to a reboot where everybody seems to be starting all over again and trying to sort things out.
Two years back, not really, more of until a few months ago, everybody seems to want a piece of Manny-- from Terrence Crawford, Errol Spence, Mikey Garcia to get great quick wannabes as Ryan Garcia and even Josh Taylor.
It is therefore surprising that a projected Pacquiao-Crawford super fight in a Middle East country being put up by Hall of Fame promoter himself, Bob Arum, ignominiously bombed out for lack of interested and willing sponsors.
And even a fall back not so super fight involving Pacquiao and Mikey is not that certain.
Has Manny prized himself out of the market?
With him asking for a guaranteed $40 million purse and another $10 for Terrence, it may appear so. But $50 million is not much of asking considering it will be a fight pitting a certified boxing legend, a former top pound for pound fighter and the only boxer to win world titles in eight weight divisions against arguably his own heir apparent.
Manny maybe old and past his best prime but he is still very much, how do we put it, serviceable. His competitiveness was demonstrated by his decisive win over erstwhile undefeated Keith One Time Thurman, the then WBA super champion with the best resume among the welterweight titlists.
Fifty million dollars indeed is not much considering that just a few months before, sponsors were willing to come up with an amount four times that just to host and stage the triple world heavyweight title rematch between Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia.
In so many words, Arum theorized that the difficulty in securing so called "site fee" is tied to the world heavyweight unification match between WBA, WBO and IBF unified champion Anrhony Joshua and WBC and Ring Magazine lineal world titleholder Tyson Fury which sponsors are keen to also hold possibly in the United Arab Emirates.
Reputation and prominence it would appear is less important now compared to currency and relevance as far as premium value in boxing.
Manny has been out of ring action since 2019 and while Crawford fought once last year, he has made no effort to make himself relevant by taking on another has been in Kell Brook to go with Amir Khan and an obscure Edigijus Kavalaiuskas in so called defense of his WBO belt the year before. Both has signified no intention of fighting WBA and IBF unified titlist Errol Spence.
What could have also probably lessen Manny's value was WBA's defrocking him of his super title and relegating him to the nebulous designation as champion in recess.
Sponsors would not have gambled on two supposed marquee fighters with no clear plans going forward.
Just this last weekend, two welterweights, Omar Figueroa and Abel Ramos who could at best be classified as "second tier" fought in what could be a title eliminator.
It was the immediate supporting card of the main event heavyweight fight between ex world champion Andy Ruiz and many time title challenger Chris Arreola and lo and behold, it was enthusiastically cheered on by the live crowd in attendance to the delight of the organizers and the network covering the event.
Fan support even intensified in the main event as both Ruiz and Arreola tear at each other as if it was also a world title eliminator.
What can we draw from these?
Organizers will stage fights and fans will support them because they feature fighters, real fighters out to deliver real actions in determined bids and efforts to continue to prove themselves and stay current and relevant.
This next weekend, two fighters from the Pacquiao-Mayweather era, Saul Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders will again prove their currency and relevance as they clash for all the marbles, so to speak, in the super middleweight class.
Alvarez is already considered as the best pound for pound fighter in the world but he is not sitting on that glory. He will be in his third straight fight since November of 2019 when he knocked out Sergei Kovalev to win the WBO light heavyweight crown, his third straight fight since beating Gennady Golovkin for most of the middleweight belts.
That's currency and relevance for you.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone 09215309477.
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