Cooper and Flintoff: Boxing’s circus crumbles along

John Davidson Roar Guru

By John Davidson, John Davidson is a Roar Guru


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    Wanna fight Quade Cooper? Huh? Huh? (AFP Photo / Patrick Hamilton)

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    It is a week for the wannabe fighters; Quade Cooper announces his professional boxing debut a few days before Freddie Flintoff takes to the ring for the first time.

    For the rugby five-eighth Cooper, the motivation seems to be keep himself busy, to fill in time before Japanese or French rugby, the NRL or the ARU come to their senses and start calling. He has no amateur experience or deep connection to the sport.

    For ex-cricketer Flintoff, it seems to be for his own desires, to have a challenge, to be in the limelight and to test himself, to go back to his days as a sportsman. Also, it seems to be to put his own demons at bay.

    Flintoff is at least a lifelong boxing fan and is being guided by former world champion Barry McGuigan. Cooper is being guided by Khoder Nasser, the former manager of Anthony Mundine. He won’t have ‘The Man’ or Tony Mundine in his corner like his mate Sonny Bill Williams did in his first few fights.

    There seems to be a worrying trend of sports stars heading into boxing when their other careers nosedive – see Barry Hall, John Hopoate etc etc.

    That they can trade off their name, throw a few jabs and earn a few bucks. But this shows little respect for the sport, the difficulty involved in boxing and the thousands of pugilists battering away out there for no money or no attention for a shot.

    Boxing is not for a pursuit for the non-dedicated or the uncommitted.

    Boxing is arguably the toughest, most demanding and hardest sport to conquer. It chews and spits out many people, even its greatest exponents like Muhammad Ali. The sweet science takes no prisoners.

    Cooper and Flintoff must realise it takes years and years of hard work, soul-searching training and study to become a professional boxer.

    The amateur ranks are there to give fighters the grounding they need to go into the pros. To weed out those without the talent, the heart and the mental and physical strength to survive in the ring. Circumventing them is not the way to go.

    At times boxing as a sport does little to help itself. The myriad of world champions and fighters who duck other fighters, who pad out their records with bums and unworthy opponents, who fight for phony belts and worthless titles.

    The politics of the sport is a murky beast that often values ego and publicity over integrity and honesty. Boxing seems to be always out for the next quick fix or attention-grabbing stunt.

    Two novices, Cooper and Flintoff, are entering this world with undefined aims.
    Defenders of both will say that the two are good for boxing, that they will be bring new fans and create interest in a sport on the wane. That may have some truth to it, in part.

    But in the long run their adventures will only hurt the sport and devalue their own reputations. There is no sustainable boost or worthwhile addition. This is not boxing at its finest or its most credible, it is more circus act.

    If you want to experience the rollercoaster of boxing see the comeback of Ricky Hatton, played out in Manchester last weekend.

    Look at the tragic life of Hector Camacho who was slain in his native Puerto Rico recently.

    See the contrasting styles and ethos of Daniel Geale and Anthony Mundine clash in January, or watch the blood, sweat and tears displayed in the ring at the London Olympics.

    As light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver, a fighter who epitomises both the ecstasy and agony of boxing well, once said: “Boxing is the only sport you don’t play. You play football, basketball. You don’t play boxing … It ain’t a game.”

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • November 30th 2012 @ 3:42am
      Steve said | November 30th 2012 @ 3:42am | ! Report

      Good, timely, article.
      These jokers are trying to turn Boxing into something you do between ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ and getting arrested with your own camera crew in tow. And it’s not on. If Quade Cooper is so desperate for attention, why can’t he just start dating Paris Hilton?

    • November 30th 2012 @ 6:14am
      The Grafter said | November 30th 2012 @ 6:14am | ! Report

      It isnt a game as the 6 dead fighters on average every year can attest to.

      Personally I believe promoters are the people that are turning boxing into a circus. Here on the Gold Coast,
      a local promoter who has been doing it for years currently has former Bronco/Titan/Kangaroo Brad Myer in training
      for a ‘fight’ at Jupitrs Casino in late December, all so he can make money.

      There needs to be a governing body of sorts that oversees these novelty ‘fights’ as someone is going to get hurt one
      day in the toughest sport of all.

    • November 30th 2012 @ 11:39am
      Lats said | November 30th 2012 @ 11:39am | ! Report

      Who are these guys fighting? I believe Flintoff may be fighting a pro?? If thats the case he will get knocked out, and possibly hurt quite badly… I dont know about Quade, had he any previous experience? They mentioned an Australian runner, who is an ex South Afrian golden gloves or something? Im not sure he should be allowed in the ring if thats the case.

      In the USA every week there is some ex college linebacker in the ring, he wins 3-4 fights then gets KO’s by the first decent pro he comes up against.. I suspect both Flintoff and QC will suffer the same fate if they take this too far.

    • November 30th 2012 @ 4:47pm
      daydreamer said | November 30th 2012 @ 4:47pm | ! Report


      when these guys box, people are gonna watch. So i think its a good thing because it also lets unknown boxers get a chance to be seen on a bigger scale. Any promotion for this sport is welcome.

      Its coz of people like mundine that i became aware of other less media popular boxers like sam soliman and daniel geale.

      And also.. rugby league and union are very very tough sports in comparison to say Gridiron (the nfl). if we can get more crossovers the better. Aussies are just tougher and i think i want these crossover to start occurring more and more.

    • December 1st 2012 @ 12:57am
      The Grafter said | December 1st 2012 @ 12:57am | ! Report

      Cooper (also Williams) is a NZer Flintoff is from England.

      Hopoate is Tongan.

      Carl Webb, Barry Hall, both of whom had 6-7 novice fights, never followed hrough on their
      pro promises……

      Daydreamer, you have an appropriate non-de-plume……………….

    • December 1st 2012 @ 4:07pm
      polly said | December 1st 2012 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

      Maybe it’s just the impression I have from reading articles about boxing elsewhere in the world but I thought pro boxers had to be licensed & part of that is proving they are fit & competent to fight. Surely a guy with no boxing background is neither fit nor competent to fight professionally regardless of who the opponent is ?

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