Boxing’s absurd celebrity culture continues to damage
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.