BOXING

Undefeated: How the business of boxing revolves around zeros

Floyd Mayweather changed boxing completely by acting as his own promoter.

When he established his own boxing management company The Money Team, Mayweather became his own boss and built himself into the biggest draw in the sport’s history.

A big part of that promotion was keeping his undefeated record in-tact. This made each one of his fights a must-watch event to see if he would finally suffer a defeat.

This has negatively impacted boxing in a big way. Money talks in boxing, and when having an undefeated record is the best way to promote a fighter, it stops fights that the fans want to see from happening.

The biggest fights in recent years have all happened when promoters take a risk. This doesn’t happen too much because the risk/reward doesn’t pay off in the long run financially for most promoters. By protecting their fighters they can keep building them up and raising their profiles.

The huge fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder was a rare example of two undefeated fighters putting it all on the line in a fight that all the fans wanted to see. Both fights were huge because of how built-up both men were going in. However, with so much emphasis being put on both men’s undefeated records, upon Wilder losing the second fight, he has come under a lot of criticism and his stock has fallen dramatically.

Even though Wilder has only ever lost to Tyson Fury, and knocked out every other opponent, by losing his undefeated record, his stock in boxing has dropped massively due to how much importance is put on being unbeaten. Though both fights made Wilder a much more popular figure in sport, by losing his world title and unbeaten streak, he loses a lot of momentum.

This shows how for boxing promoters, the risk and reward balance does not always justify taking the biggest fights if they’re to make the most money possible.

This has also been the case with Canelo Alvarez. With the huge money that he brings in for all parties involved with him, he has been allowed to pick who he fights and when. Two Brits in Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders have been the front runners for some time to be Canelo’s next opponent however the negotiations have been going on for some time but it now appears that Canelo has decided to fight Saunders in Las Vegas in May.

Canelo makes more money than any other boxer and this leads to parties associated with him, pushing him in directions where they benefit most. By choosing Billy Joe Saunders, he is avoiding facing Callum Smith who is the higher ranked of the two. This ruins the credibility of the sport as fights are carefully picked to maximize profit, taking away from the competitive aspect of the sport.

This results in backwards steps for the sport as it can make it harder for fans to engage regularly if it’s not the best fights that are being put together. It’s one of several key issues that stops boxing from staying in the mainstream instead of dipping in and out.

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