Boxing teases us with a fourth installment in 2022 featuring Tyson Fury vs. Anthony Joshua, Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia, and Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford.
We don’t get any of those fights. Thank you, boxing. We fell for your nonsense again.
But, anyway, the biggest fight that takes the most attention to close 2022 is Jake Paul vs. Anderson Silva (sorry Bivol-Ramirez).
What? This is not on my bingo card. Alas, here we are.
MORE: Everything you need to know about Jake Paul vs. Anderson Silva
This brings me to my next point:
Jake Paul and the YouTubers are not killing the integrity of the game. Boxing is doing so well it’s killing itself without social media influencers. And this is coming from someone who loves the sport and has defended it over the years from bullies. However, as a parent of a bad child, sometimes you can’t protect him. Instead, you have to be just as serious – if not more so – to hope to whip him.
To be clear: when boxing clicks, there’s nothing like it. When the big battles happen at the right time, everyone is in fear. It captures the world’s attention. Unfortunately, this happens less often than expected. Recent examples are the aforementioned fights that were teased but ultimately didn’t happen, written by Spence-Crawford.
Boxing pundits in the know know that big odds are preventing Fury-Joshua and Davis-Garcia from happening. But Spence-Crawford was the one who really felt like it was going to happen. ESPN’s Mike Coppinger reported in September that “all material terms” for the fight had been agreed upon. Dated November 19. The only problem is a small one with some contract language that needs to be cleaned up. Weeks passed without an update. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, Crawford signed for a PPV fight with David Avanesyan on December 10, thus putting the unusual welterweight title fight on hold for the duration ( if ever).
Spence and Crawford are in their mid-thirties. The fight is more likely to happen when they are moving out of the physical first step rather than being in the middle of it. You know, like Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao when they fought after years of negotiations.
MORE: YouTube’s pound-for-pound rankings
The difference is that Spence or Crawford are nowhere near as good as Mayweather and Pacquiao and will be lucky to get a quarter of the 4.4 million pay-per-view buys the fight generates.
Boxing fans don’t care about the full plot behind why a fight happens or doesn’t happen. All they see is something they want to go up in smoke for reasons that make no sense. And it happens a lot in boxing. The target battle got us interested and it was taken away. Imagine if the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros couldn’t come to an agreement to play in the World Series despite being two of the best teams in baseball. Funny, right?
Well, that’s boxing for you.
The hardest thing to digest is when boxers accuse Jake Paul of impact boxing and killing the sport. Is it cheating? You don’t have to like Jake Paul, but you can’t deny what he brings to boxing in terms of entertainment and finding ways to engage a younger audience with a shorter attention span. And unlike Paul he doesn’t train hard to be the best he can be. We have seen signs of improvement every time he steps into the boxing ring.
Will he be the next Canelo? Of course not. But there is no denying its influence. What is also indisputable is that he faces a real challenge on October 29 in former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Yes, Silva is 47 years old. But there is no disputing how much of his experience on the horse has translated into boxing, as evidenced by his victory over former middleweight champion Julio Cesar. Chavez Jr. last June. It’s an important step for 25-year-old Paul, who started boxing a few years ago. Most boxers spend the majority of their careers facing the best opponents before finally entering the elite competition.
Paul challenging himself in his sixth battle is not a bad thing. It should not be something that people point to and say that it damages the integrity of the sport. It’s an interesting fight that has captured the imagination of many and will do well on payday.
What are we upset about, right? Oh, the reliability of the game that always disappoints us. This is not on Jake Paul to fix.
MORE: Why it’s okay for Jake Paul to lose to Anderson Silva
The reason for the failure of boxing is the sport itself. Not just Terence Crawford and Errol Spence. There is enough blame to go around that extends to networks and advertisers. The end of the boxing career was very bad and it ended up throwing dirt on the grave of boxing. In the meantime, as the debate about the salaries of fighters in the UFC continues to rage, what cannot be debated is that, for the most part, they provide the fights that the fans want.
Oh, and then there’s bad convictions and drug test failures. But we will save that discussion for another day.
“Get this fight, stop shooting yourself in the foot and being greedy,” Paul said when asked by Sporting if he had a message for the boxing world at Thursday’s press conference. “Give people what they want, don’t look at every moment in the contract and try to change it. Just f – fight.
“You spar every day. Why not pay tens of millions of dollars to do it in front of people? They’re too afraid to risk their undefeated record but boxing needs these big fights.”
He was not wrong.
Boxing is complicated and hard to love without having some serious internal criticism to deal with. It will not be fixed overnight, and most of the time they will weigh more than the ground. But there are times like now when these shortcomings cannot be ignored. Be careful of blaming the wrong teams for ruining the game.
Jake Paul and social media influencers can be an easy target, but it is better not to share those who can help develop the sport. It is not their fault that the fight we want to see is not happening. That is on the game itself.