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What’s ‘Proper’ Boxing?

It was on the news. Not the fight so much, the participants. And that’s the point, isn’t it?

Boxing needs a bit of ordinary.

When Was Boxing Ordinary?

You may say and you’d be right. Fans like me don’t want Boxing to be ordinary, I don’t watch Boxing because it’s ordinary, I watch it because it has extraordinary appeal; Boxing is odd and visceral yes, but it’s a test you can’t escape once it begins.

What I meant was that Boxing needs to go about its business with little outrage; make matches, hopefully have good matches, have proper outcomes, move on.

Boxing hasn’t been able to do that recently and it was ever thus. The latest thing? The Conor Benn conclusive/inconclusive statement from the WBC about his positive substance test which mentions that it may have been created by a substance, banned in the UK, which could find its way into chickens and which found its way into Benn because he he ate too many eggs.

This has made people snigger a little, as you might expect, even Dominos Pizza weighed in;

Boxing doesn’t really need this, it has enough self-inflicted wounds to lick as it is. And those tend to overshadow great recent fights like Yarde v Beterbiev and Chris Eubank Jnr v Smith, fantastic fights that so many don’t know about.

The Lastest Shouting Point

Exhibition matches. People who aren’t ‘proper’ boxers fighting other people who aren’t ‘proper’ boxers. Usually YouTubers, MMA fighters or reality TV stars, people who didn’t come up through the gym, didn’t train from a young age or work their way up through many fights in small halls. The report I saw on the news tonight visited a boxing club where a trainer made a similar point, it’s a slap in the face for those are learning their craft in the gym, the implication was that there are good prospects who may be overlooked or crowded out by the influx of boxers who aren’t ‘proper’. It’s a point.

Credit; TalkSport

But is it a good point?

I ask because I just don’t know. It all depends what kind of Boxing you want. Because their are several…

Boxing Types

The Purity: Belt versus belt or a battle for undisputed championship, something on the line, the best versus the best.
The Contenders: Those who are fighting for a chance of that grail, the gold belt, who will put their all into a fight.
The Moneymaker: A fight for nothing but pride. No belts, just the culmination of a simmering enmity or a ‘never seen those two fight’ feel, a fight people really want to see and pay money for; the recent Khan v Brook fight was surely one of these.
The Tear Up; Two young tyros on the way up, or one about to stage an upset on an opponent on the way down.

To these, add the Exhibition Fight

Exhibition Fights Split Fans

There’s been consternation about this, the ‘proper boxer’ discussion, the dilution of the sweet science, making Boxing look bad.

Physician, heal thyself.

But very quickly, Exhibition Fights have split themselves, no more is it no hopers with little experience blustering thought a few rounds and gassing out after the first.

Oh no, Exhibition is going legit. Well, some of it is.

A Tale Of Two Fights

It would be wrong not to watch it, a fan on the new report said. She was referring to one fight only, Jake Paul v Tommy Fury, a fight that’s been trending for ages on Twitter and created furore as only a YouTuber versus a ‘Love Island’ contestant can.

Credit; Bad Left Hook

jest, but this brought cross cultural, non-Boxing fans to the fight. Of course, there was more at stake than that, Tommy Fury is a ‘proper’ boxer of the Fury family and Tyson has already pointed out that if he loses, it would be deleterious to his future boxing career, shall we say; there’s a lot riding on this.

Whilst Jake Paul is the social media sensation with the WWE brother Logan who came up fighting YouTubers and MMA fighters, but who seems to want a career in Boxing and has backed it up with a big time promoting gig, particularly with the Katie Taylor v Amanda Serrano fight. And now? He would receive a WBC ranking if he beat Fury – you can’t get more serious about the fistic arts than that.

He almost pulled it off. In the end Fury won, but only by split decision and he was put down in the final 8th round. And yet, Fury deserved to win. BBC Sport put it well;

‘Fury, 23, was the busier fighter, landing more accurate punches and demonstrating his boxing fundamentals.’

What showed here was the lack of Boxing acumen, I think. Jake Paul carries dynamite in his gloves and his big overhand right is a detonator; that’s why Fury boxed at distance, used the jab to keep him away and when he allowed him in, it was to make Paul surge forward so he could be countered.

Credit; MMA Fighting

And Paul didn’t seem to have an answer to it. I can’t believe his corner didn’t prep him for this, discuss it in camp or in the corner, yet Paul didn’t seem able to change it up – that comes with experience. He also didn’t seem able to put punches together when he landed, Fury came forward with combos, I don’t remember one from Paul.

And so he lost, even after putting Fury down with a jab – a jab, for goodness sake – in the final round, but the real winner was boxing; something on the line, a close fight and a bit of a chess match.

The other Exhibition type? Let’s call it Pure Exhibition, just because it was the first type. An example of that sort of Exhibition would be the recent Floyd Mayweather fight; Floyd retired at 50-0, he’s a much reverted boxer, he deserves to enjoy himself.

Credit; MMA Fighting

And yet, in this strangely subdued outing against Aaron Chalmers at the London O2 arena, during which Mayweather rested on the top turnbuckle between some rounds and was working well within his talents, few felt inclined to attend. As Sky Sports reported;

‘Fans were being offered heavily discounted tickets to Floyd Mayweather Jr’s exhibition against Aaron Chalmers just hours before the bout on Saturday night amid reports of empty seats at the O2 Arena.’

Does this mean the Pure Exhibition match, the mismatch, never get close to the ex-champ is over?

I think it does.

So Why Are We Concerned About Legitimacy?

Because it hurts ‘real’ Boxing? Well, what’s a ‘move around’ then? Young boxer, manager wants to bring them on slowly, doesn’t want to bring in opponents who could cause and upset, so this is where journeymen could come in (allegedly), who move the boxer around, make them look good and do not win. If this is the case, and some people say it is, it’s difficult to have the ‘proper’ Boxing discussion.

Isn’t it?

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