Boxing’s absurd celebrity culture continues to damage

Charles Paisley Roar Rookie

By Charles Paisley, Charles Paisley is a Roar Rookie

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    It has been a big week in the boxing world. However, one story close to home hasn’t received any airtime and I am not sure why.

    With Lamont Peterson failing a drug test which led to the postponement of his rematch with Amir Khan, Floyd Mayweather winning a portion of the junior middleweight title from Miguel Cotto in a surprisingly competitive fight and the announcement of the July 14 rematch fight between David Haye and Dereck Chisora (this time they will fight in the ring and not at the press conference, hopefully), perhaps it isn’t totally surprising that this story hasn’t gotten any airtime.

    But the fact remains, we live in Australia. No one here cares if Lamont Peterson called for a random Olympic style drug test only to fail and have his December win over Khan reversed.

    What I am surprised about is that I haven’t read more about the announcement that part time boxer Lauryn Eagle was gifted a bogus shot at a vacant, meaningless world title. This should be the boxing headline for the day.

    Eagle took to boxing in 2010, winning her first two fights before luckily escaping with a draw in her third and then losing in her last two outings. Yes that’s right, Eagle hasn’t won a fight in her last three dating back to 2010, yet she is apparently fighting to become world champion?

    This is one of the reasons boxing isn’t the sport it was 60-70 years ago, because boxing no longer builds its stars. It pre-selects them and then feeds them wins and titles so those stars can be used to make pay per view money.

    In Australia this system has been perfected, where the likes of Anthony Mundine and Sonny Bill Williams, two former rugby league players, are two of our biggest pay per view stars. Mundine has three world titles manufactured onto his record without ever having beaten a reigning world champion, let alone someone in the top five.

    Sonny Bill Williams recently won the New Zealand heavyweight title (it was vacant) and has headlined three pay per view shows on Main Event.

    It seems like a victimless crime, right? The only ones who lose out are the people who are stupid enough to pay the $40 to watch Sonny Bill Williams fight someone with a losing record. Williams gets paid, the promoter gets paid and the viewer gets what he wanted, so who gets hurt?

    The people who get hurt are the boxers trying to make a living who can’t get their fights on television because there are no free to air shows for them to showcase their skills.

    People don’t care about boxing because they think it’s a sport filled with mismatches, controversy and made up titles. And who could blame them? That’s all that gets showcased.

    Yet every weekend you get fight cards put on around the country with evenly matched fighters, most participants are often working a full time job as well. They fight in hard contests, but these guys are maybe taking home a four digit purse for their efforts.

    Sonny Bill Williams and Lauryn Eagle, two television stars who have not proved their worth in the boxing ring are likely making at least ten times that amount for each fight.

    Eagle hasn’t won a fight since late 2010, hasn’t fought more than six rounds in her career, is yet to even fight a three minute round but apparently she is going to fight for the right to call herself the best in the world. That’s what being a world champion is meant to mean isn’t it?

    Eagle’s opponent is yet to be named, which in essence means they decided they wanted Eagle to be the world champion, so they’ve announced that she has a shot at the title.

    Now, they’ve just got to find a suitable opponent so she can win and then be billed as a world champion in two different sports, which will lead to another pay per view star with crossover appeal who can make the corrupt promoters more money while they refuse to put anything back into the sport that can develop legitimate stars like Daniel Geale.

    Not only does it damage the sport’s credibility but it’s dangerous putting a fighter who hasn’t fought a fight scheduled for more than 12 minutes into a 12 round fight. Even if they find a suitable opponent who can match her in skill level, the ability to fight 12 rounds isn’t something that any athlete can do.

    One of the more dangerous parts of boxing is putting fighters who are only experienced in fighting four or six round fights into a 12 round fight when their bodies aren’t conditioned to take that sort of punishment.

    This isn’t an attack on Eagle as a person or as an athlete. I’m fully aware that she is a world class athlete in other sports. I’m no expert on water skiing or being a reality TV star, but I hear she’s very good at both.

    But she isn’t a world class boxer, and putting fights like this on only brings the sport I love into disrepute.

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • May 15th 2012 @ 8:01am
      Lucan said | May 15th 2012 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      There’s passionate and informed boxing coverage on C31 in Melbourne. The production quality could be better, but it isn’t the worst.

      Are Main Event really selling a Lauryn Eagle title fight? How many subscribers would they genuinely expect to buy such a rubbish PPV?

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2012 @ 8:08am
        The Cattery said | May 15th 2012 @ 8:08am | ! Report

        SEN radio has pretty good boxing coverage as well.

    • May 15th 2012 @ 8:07am
      Australian Rules said | May 15th 2012 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      “boxing no longer builds its stars. It pre-selects them and then feeds them wins and titles so those stars can be used to make pay per view money.”

      That is today’s boxing in a nutshell.

      Who on earth would pay to see Lauren Eagle fight for a meaningless “title”.

      • May 15th 2012 @ 8:40am
        Lucan said | May 15th 2012 @ 8:40am | ! Report

        It would cost Main Event more to produce than what they’d recoup. Just couldn’t happen.

        Perhaps they could stick her on a SBW or Mundine undercard, but 12 rounds for an undercard match is again a big commitment from the broadcaster.

    • May 15th 2012 @ 11:43am
      The Grafter said | May 15th 2012 @ 11:43am | ! Report

      Unfortunately gents, the promoters have alot to answer for.

      The majority of promoters in Australia are there purely to line their own pockets, by hook or by crook. They do boxing a disservice. Throw in a cheerleading and tame media, and you have a once major sport (the world heavyweight champion has always been looked at as an icon) that is struggling in this country.

      There are some terrific fighters in Australasia who deserve better treatment from the media and promoters alike. Who knows that Sydney journeyman Nader Hamdan went 12 rounds in Germany ten days ago for the WBO world Super middleweight title (dont knock WBO, Pacquiao holds the WBO welterweight)? Probably only the boxing fraternity. However on Fox news yesterday they were plastering it around that Anthony Mundine had been stripped of his interim ‘belt’ , and that he wasnt worried as the only boxer at ‘his level’ is Mayweather (what about garth old son).

      This Friday on Fox in Melbourne are several very good Australian boxers including unbeaten super featherweight Will Tomlinson (18-0-1), unbeaten cruserweight Brad Pitt (12-0-0), Australian lightweight champion Brett W Smith and Australian light heavyweight champion Blake Capello. Some of these boys are progressing onto the world stage. Were is the media spotlight for them?

    • May 15th 2012 @ 5:20pm
      Barry Michael said | May 15th 2012 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

      Charles Paisley who wrote this article would not know a left hook from a fish hook. Promoters of boxing in this country do not line their pockets promoting fights. As promoters my partner and I have struggled to get main stream media for World class events including legitimate eliminators. Charles has no idea the pittance that fighters receive and Lauren Eagle who is trying to have a serious crack is no exception. For a start women fight 2 minute rounds and not 3 and they fight 10 rounds not 12. Susie Ramadan who is No 1 in the WBC Rankings and is the real deal is fighting for a prestigous title on the card that Lauren fights for the lightly regarded WBF Belt. Before having a crack at Lauren have a look at some of the females that have contested World WBC,IBF and Wba titles worldwide and you will see many have less experience than Lauren Eagle. Womens professional boxing and amateur boxing is still in its infancy and competitors are not that easily found. As for pay per view there are only a couple of boxers (not female) that people pay to watch. Last year Susie Ramadan and Alesia Graf put on one of the best bouts of the year including your Greens/ Mundines/ Geales etc . Our problem is trying to make people know about he quality events with class boxing that receive no publicity.
      Lauren Eagle who I actually thought did not have much ability but was obviously very fit surprised me when I had her do some work in the gym. I can assure you that when Lauren steps into the squared circle again she will be a different boxer than previously seen and regardless if she wins a minor WBF Title it is at least a stepping stone for a very fit girl who is willing to at least have a go and could go on to bigger things. In the mean time she will bring publicity to our great sport and as far as I am concerned can hold her head high and would probably punch the soulcase out of Charles Paisley.

      • May 16th 2012 @ 12:38pm
        Australian Rules said | May 16th 2012 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

        Barry, good to have your input on this site, as someone that has been at the coalface of the sport in Australia for many years. Your words will be respected more than anyone else’s.

        However, there is undoubtedly a perception out there that boxing is sick.

        This isn’t just on our own soil but the world over.
        Mayweather carries on like a complete muppet and the fight that fans want to see against PacMan is unlikely to eventuate (people continue to think Mayweather is ducking him). Floyd heads to jail on 1 June anyway.
        The Haye v Chisora fight is just a bad look for the sport…2 nuffies carrying on like thugs, not athletes.
        Mundine seems to embarrass himself weekly and pays no repsect to fighters who are clearly superior on record.

        The reality is, these are the only people who are in the public eye…and others such as SBW, Hopoate and other celebrity fighters (see Barry Hall). To be honest, as an observer of the sport, I’m not sure where Lauren Eagles sits…but I take your comments on face value. That said, I stand by my comment that she wouldn’t command an audience. That’s just the reality.

        The likes of people like Sammy Soliman, who is loved as a journeyman but not classy enough to have title shots, cannot carry the image of the sport. In terms the big names, only the Klitschko brothers seem to act with any sort of class and have a sense that they are custodians not just of their titles but of the sport itself.

        At a time where MMA is increasingly taking a chunk out of boxing, the sport needs something better than reality stars and loud mouths.

      • June 8th 2012 @ 7:52am
        Mr Boxing said | June 8th 2012 @ 7:52am | ! Report

        Cmon Barry you can do better than that mate , Who the hell is Lauryn Eagles? , never heard of her . I know for a fact she has’nt tasted victory since October 31 , 2010 beating regular loser Christina Tai (4-11-0 1 KO) of NZ , her last 3x fights were a draw & 2x back to back loses to Morgan & Whylie & that she has’nt fought since copping a hding from Morgan in April , 2011 . With a record of 2-2-1 1 KO , she’s not even worthy of fighting for the ANBF title , let alone a “World title” , maybe a NSW State title , Yes ! .

        I guess if your young , pretty model looks and a shit-record than you get a shot at a mickey-mouse “World title” , WBF (Worst Boxing Foundation) are a farce for sanctioning such a fight & the greedy Promoters lining-up the pockets with our $$$$$ , with there B/S fight-cards / Match-ups with ” Ping-Pongs” from Thailand , “Has-beens”/Oldfarts” from NZ , Taxi-Drivers from Argentina/Fiji etc etc . Mate you can fool the un-suspecting public who know nothing about boxing , But you cant fool us Genuine Boxing fans who do know “a left-hook from a fish hook” . ….. Eagles should be fighting for a State title ( Vacant VPBF Vic State title) She sure not worthy to challenge of any title PERIOD ! .

        funny how Barry & Armatruda who try to justify Eagles right to fight for this meaninless “World title” , 10 bucks they will get a “Ping Pong” from Thailand , a human Punch-Bag for Miss Eagles , Im not surprised ! .

    • Roar Guru

      May 15th 2012 @ 9:04pm
      Sam Brown said | May 15th 2012 @ 9:04pm | ! Report

      Unfortunately boxing’s problem is because a while ago (don’t ask me to put a date on it but I imagine it has something to do with Don King) boxing promoters and managers forgot boxing is actually a sport.

      TBH boxing has a fair bit in common with pro wrestling (WWE) in terms of the way titles are created and stars are pushed.

      I’m not saying boxing is devoid of talent, in fact we may be currently witnessing two of the greatest light/welterweight boxers in the sports history in Mayweather and Pacquio and those two meeting up could actually re-kindle a lot of interest in boxing as a sporting competition. However the fact they can’t seem to match up only seems to confirm my opening point more and more, boxing is no longer about a sporting contest.

    • May 24th 2012 @ 11:09pm
      JCR said | May 24th 2012 @ 11:09pm | ! Report

      I am a female amateur boxer and I can tell you its hard work!. This hype around Lauren is ridiculous and I believe that if it wasn’t for her already sort fame and heavy publicity we really wouldn’t know who she was or what she has achieved. If anything this hype is favoritism. I mean would you know who she was if she wasn’t on the Footy Show, The apprentice and blah blah blah There are so many fantastic female fighters in both Australia and OS, yet they receive hardly any publicity and they have been in the game for years. If you are going to hype up one then hype up the rest. They deserve to be recognised for their talents too not for being on channel nine!

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