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The Future of Non-Traditional Boxing Events: A New TSS Survey

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  • The Future of Non-Traditional Boxing Events: A New TSS Survey

    Click image for larger version  Name:	paul2.PNG Views:	133 Size:	454.7 KB ID:	20056

    By Ted Sares

    For our latest survey, we came up with this question: “Fights between celebrities, boxing legends, cross-overs, and YouTube influencers have become more and more commonplace. Do you think this will prove to be a passing fad or something that will endure, and why?”

    Here’s what 34 respondents had to say. They are listed alphabetically.

    Russ Anber-- elite trainer, cornerman, and owner of Rival Boxing Equipment: I am afraid I don’t know what to think anymore! I never would have thought we would have seen what we are seeing now. The reverence and respect for boxing has been lost in a way it may never recuperate from. The facility in which ANYONE can be granted a PROFESSIONAL BOXING LICENSE is beyond insane!! Sadly however, we cannot blame these people, we can’t blame the networks or streaming sites, the fact that there is an abundance of people who are paying, and gladly paying, to watch these ridiculous sideshows is truly beyond comprehension!

    David Avila-- TSS West Coast Bureau Chief: Celebrity boxing has been around forever. It ebbs and flows and will continue to do so as long as boxing exists. It just takes someone willing to step into the ring like this kid Jake Paul. Gotta have the guts to do it.

    Joe Bruno -- prolific writer; Florida Boxing Hall of Fame inductee: Celebrity fights are akin to the circus coming to town. Will it continue? Of course, if it makes money.

    Jeff Bumpus -- former fighter; writer: It’s an insult to people who have devoted a large chunk of their youth learning the intricacies of the sport, only to have a You Tube fool swoop in and act like all that blood and sweat isn’t necessary. Apparently, if you have followers, BS trumps substance. I believe it’s a passing fad to be replaced by something even more offensive to purists.

    Tracy Callis -- noted boxing historian: The fighting of celebrities is interesting now but I believe it will become less so over time. It will become more like other shows that people enjoy very much at first and then the idea will fade. But who knows?

    Steve Canton -- author; President of Florida Boxing Hall of Fame: I do not like these types of fights in our sport and have to wonder if it's because we have an unexciting era of boxing where the best avoid fighting the best. Fans are starved for good, exciting fights and promoters have tried to cash in by pitting celebrity names or YouTube fighters against each other instead. It ultimately hurts our sport because we no longer have quality fighters who are technically skilled. The more these type fights happen, the worse the situation will become. In addition, older, former top fighters are coming back, tarnishing their reputations and risking serious injury. These type bouts should be outlawed by commissions.

    Jill Diamond -- International Secretary, WBC: A new and younger audience is always welcome. The question is, does this audience remain with us or are they as fleeting as the interest of the celebrity boxer? The return of our legends is more troubling. My concern for all is safety which is threatened by commissions willing to sanction fights that should not happen.

    Rick Farris -- President and Founder of the West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame: I believe this is the worst possible situation ever for professional boxing. It is the ultimate low point in boxing history. These "clowns" being matched with ancient boxing champions in sideshow acts has taken boxing to it's lowest form since the Marquis of Queensberry laid down the ground rules in the 1800's. And I don't care what anybody thinks, boxers over 40 should not be licensed! They are too old! Boxing is a young man's game, and these circus act exhibitions are a bad joke.

    Bernard Fernandez -- lifetime Member of the BWAA; 2020 IBHOF Inductee: I guess, depending on one's point of view, I am a stodgy traditionalist, curmudgeon or anachronism. Maybe I'm all three rolled into one. But I reject the premise that the Paul brothers, and other so-called "YouTube" sensations are good for boxing because they bring new and young fans to the sport that is admittedly hewing older. Having some strange sort of appeal to skateboarders and rasslin' fans who can't tell the difference between a real Sugar Ray (either of them) and a manufactured packet of Sweet 'N' Low is demeaning to legitimately skilled boxers who must recoil in horror at having to appear on one of these clowns' undercards in order to get a half-decent payday. No disrespect to Nate Robinson, the 5''9" former NBA player who is one of Jake Paul's four "victims," but there had to be at least a half-million everyday Americans who could have starched him just as readily as Jake the Fake. Enough of this nonsense.

    Jeffrey Freeman (AKA KO Digest) -- TSS writer: It’s all a part of the professional wrestlingization of boxing into something more resembling sports entertainment but it’s not fair to lump Holyfield-Belfort into that mix because those were real fighters coming to fight and that’s better than the future of fake fights no matter what the critics say. Real boxing tells us the truth (Holyfield is utterly, completely shot and Belfort fights to win regardless of his opponent’s frailty) while “celebrity” boxing obscures the truth and traffics in lies. The Tyson-Jones “draw” was just such an example of sports entertainment.

    **********

    “…When the sideshow draws more than the circus, you’re in trouble” Don Majeski

    **********

    Lee Groves -- author, writer: A generation ago, there was a burst of "celebrity boxing" matches involving the likes of Tonya Harding, "Brady Bunch" star Barry Williams and Danny Bonaduce of "The Partridge Family" and so on, and those ran its course before fizzling out. The difference between then and now is money and social media, and these, more than anything, will extend their stay. Its ultimate fate will depend on the two audiences they're trying to serve; boxing people are already sick of it, but it'll be the more casual followers -- who are probably larger in number -- who will determine how long it lasts. If they tire of it in large enough numbers, which I think will happen, the trend will end.

    Henry Hascup -- historian and President of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame: I hope it's just a fad, but it will continue until someone gets seriously hurt, then it will be too late!

    Jim Lampley -- 2015 IBHOF inductee; renowned boxing broadcaster: Fights which are predicated not on proven skill but on sheer social media recognition are the product of social media’s growing influence and omnipresence in the global information pool. Are social media a passing fancy whose allure will gradually fade in the face of that which is proven, time-honored and legitimate?? Or will traditional standards of proven legitimacy in every field of endeavor be swamped by clickbait?? I don’t know the answer to that question. I only know the question itself is no compliment to our progress as a global community. Boxing is an easy target because it is entrepreneurial and only loosely organized. But at what point will the Rams’ starting quarterback be chosen on Twitter or Instagram?? At that juncture we might conclude that legitimacy has lost ALL the games, and popular chaos has won. Right now we are in the first quarter, but I would have to say chaos is leading.

    Every popular new technology changes society in ways both predictable and unpredictable. Someday we may look back and say no other technology produced more cataclysmic change than that engendered by social media. It all seemed so innocent back at Harvard when Zuckerberg envisioned a way for students to keep up with their classmates on their laptops. He didn’t know he was opening a Pandora’s Box that could engulf vulnerable institutions like boxing.

    Jimmy Lang -- former boxer and promoter: I like it. I am all for someone doing what he has to do to promote himself into position to do what these guys are doing and make the money they’re making.

    Arne Lang --TSS editor-in-chief, author, historian: The recent Triller card in Miami with Evander Holyfield was an abomination. I'm reminded of something that the late, great British sports journalist Hugh McIlvanney said to Thomas Hauser: "The whole circus approach to boxing that we see so much of these days appalls and depresses me. And the more I see of that show business rubbish, the more I feel I could turn my back on the sport."

    Ron Lipton -- active referee; inductee into the New Jersey and New York Boxing Halls of Fame: As long as these contests are sanctioned with participants who are not just physically fit or pass a cursory physical exam but prove themselves to be in condition to withstand the impact trauma of a strenuous boxing match then it can be acceptable within limits of experience attained and, of course, age constraints. I refereed Holyfield twice on HBO and PPV at his zenith. What I saw the other night left me as numb as when I watch the film of Joe Louis being knocked onto the ring apron by Marciano. Thank God Evander was not injured badly. The boxing world felt nothing but despair at the spectacle of it.

    Great warriors of the past earned a pittance compared to what is available with the right kind of hype today. If you can get the money, OK, but sanctioning a fight where someone is on the periphery of being a senior citizen is a dangerous roll of the dice.

    Paul Magno -- writer, author, ring official in Mexico: I don't think exhibitions and fluff celebrity fights have ever really gone away. They've always been a part of boxing. This current craze, however, will die down as the bankability of the celebrities getting involved diminishes and as the fan base tires of paying PPV prices for garbage programming. For me, all of this celebrity/legend boxing stuff tells me that the mainstream WANTS to buy into the boxing product, but they're simply not being sold on the actual elite-level fighters on the scene today. This is a clear indication that today's boxing promoters are just not doing their job and that the business model is not conducive to building new stars. The issue needs to be addressed. It's like a one-on-one half-court exhibition between two retired NBA legends out-drawing Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The NBA execs would freak out. Boxing's boss men should be freaking out similarly.

    Don Majeski -- matchmaker, historian; affiliated with RING 8 and the NYSBHOF: I would hope it is a passing aberration brought on by the forced isolation of the Covid virus and the cancellation of so many cards that has turned the fans into voyeurs of the aberrant and senescent boxers to break out into some weird St. Vitus’ dance .If there is no market, there would none of these perverse exhibitions that lure faded names back into the ring for the benefit of no one in long run but the titillation of some in the short. It should run its course -- particularly after the Holyfield fiasco. When the sideshow draws more than the circus, you’re in trouble

    Gordon Marino – philosophy professor, Wall Street Journal boxing writer, trainer: I am pretty much out of the boxing writing business but for what it is worth... I think boxing has always had its carnival acts -- e.g. Wepner vs Andre the Giant. There are more of them now with the Paul bros circus. But I am hopeful that the steam will run out of these spectacles soon. Spectacles are a disgrace to boxing, make boxing look even more like WWE, and alas take the attention away from a multitude of good competitive fights that should be in the offing.

    Given all that we know about CTE, I do, however, find the likes of the Holyfield "fight" and the upcoming Toney fight.. absolutely deplorable.. or maybe criminal would be a better word.

    Layla McCarter- multi-divisional world champion. I really don't like the trend, i.e. crossover fights, celebrity boxing. I don't think it's safe or meaningful to the sport of boxing. However, I believe this trend will endure because it sells and that's what entertainment is about. They don't care about the "integrity" of boxing or integrity period. It's all about the $$.

    **********

    “Enough of this nonsense.” Bernard Fernandez

    Bob Mladinich -- actor, former fighter, writer, author: You don’t have to look past the Holyfield-Belfort debacle to realize this will pass quickly and end badly. Old fans will be disgusted and potential new fans will be dismayed.

    Harry Otty -- historian, author: It seems this area of 'boxing' can grow legs and the sport itself may be partially to blame. Too many governing bodies, multiple belts per body, and sub-standard cards and PPV events. With live-stream technology (helped somewhat by COVID-19 lock-downs) Youtubers/influencers have an 'easy in' to multi-million-dollar sales - though they still have to train hard to get in shape at least - and sometimes it's easy for the average fan to get carried away along with it all.

    With the same live-stream technology, Holyfield, Tyson et al, have a bigger platform today than they had in their day so it is hard to blame them for getting involved. I know some who have said it is great because they never got to see (for example) Mike Tyson fight live, well - I never got to see the likes of Ken Buchanan fight live either, and I wouldn't want to see him do it now - for his sake.

    The bottom line is the almighty dollar. I don't care for media 'celebs' getting involved, but good luck to them while they play boxing. But there should be some kind of regulation against veterans getting into the ring

    Joe Pasquale -- elite boxing judge: I have worked a few fight cards that featured a celebrity gloved-up. One show included Tanya Harding as the main event. She showed some skills and won her fight. The rest of that show was Pro Boxing but her fight was considered an exhibition. The show was a success. I think that you can look at these fights as Amateur Boxing events, which is almost always the case. If part of a pro Boxing card, the celeb participant helps boost the ticket sales, and now even PPV. Support Amateur Boxing! The sport begins there.

    John Raspanti -- author, editor, writer, historian: Money drives everything. YouTube guy "Jake Paul" is cashing in. His marketing talent is pretty extraordinary. He'll be around until he loses. Soon, I hope.

    Legendary fighters doing a cash dive is understandable but, in many ways, pathetic. I hate it. The recent Evander Holyfield freak show is a perfect example of how LOW some will go for the almighty dollar. I hope that the result and negative publicity will make "them" think twice. My thinking is that this "fad" is fading - but then I remind myself that Riddick Bowe will be fighting soon. It can't be gone soon enough.

    Dana Rosenblatt -- former world middleweight champion; inspirational speaker-- I do not like it at all. Makes the sport look like a side show. Not good

    Ted Sares --TSS writer: It’s simple economics. The frequency and “popularity” of this new wrinkle will endure as long as “fans” will pay for it. But fans are fickle and Bowe vs. Odom could reverse the current trend.

    Iceman John Scully-- manager, trainer, commentator, writer, historian, former world title challenger: I have no interests in this and I've never watched it. I have never seen Mayweather versus McGregor or Mayweather against that Japanese kickboxer and I've never seen Jake Paul fight. It is not real.

    Peter Silkov—writer at ‘The Boxing Glove’: I think these Triller promotions and the Paul 'fights' are the last nail in the coffin of sanity for the game. The new eyes are not boxing fans but You Tubers with little appreciation or understanding of the sport and with their main aim being to be entertained by some outrageous trash talk and then a farcical spectacle in the ring. This is the reason why a week before AJ vs Usyk many people don’t even know or have forgotten it is even taking place.

    Michael Silver -- historian, author, writer: Hard to say. The internet has changed everything. I don’t know if these sideshow fights would take off like they have without the internet audience and the army of clueless fight fans (not to be confused with boxing fans) who shell out sucker money for the pay-per-view circus. Legitimate professional boxing has been in the toilet for so long and is such a confused mess thanks to the thieves and scumbags who control it. As long as the sideshow bouts can draw they will continue.

    Alan Swyer -- filmmaker, writer, and producer of the acclaimed El Boxeo: Nonsensical match-ups have long been a part of sports. Think of Jesse Owens racing a horse. In contemporary boxing, however, the combination of over-the-hill fighters in search of one last paycheck, ridiculous crossover mismatches, plus bogus exhibitions featuring pseudo-celebrities has overshadowed the actual sport of boxing. What a world when a bout featuring Jake Paul garners more attention than a Terence Crawford championship fight, and where the Trumps pay homage to 9/11 with gibberish that makes me long for the likes of Merchant, Bernstein, Foreman, Pacheco, or even Howard Cosell. I'm with Jim Lampley, who wisely chose not to sully his Hall of Fame status by participating in the Holyfield/Belfort debacle.

    Bob Trieger – fight publicist; President, Full Court Press agency: I hope it’s a passing fad because it’s disrespectful to real boxers I see today who work so hard for relatively chump change. Old timers should stay retired. Do signings and appearances to make money. And internet “fighters” should just stay online and never lace up a pair of gloves. Boxing is poetic when done properly. This stuff is nothing but a sad joke.

    Harold Weston -- former two-time world title challenger: Everybody wants to know how to fight. It is something in life that people want to say, that "I can fight, I was a ‘fighter.’ It’s "The World We Live In.”

    Gary “Digital” Williams--The voice of boxing on the Beltway: Unfortunately, I think this will be something we will have to endure until the real sport of boxing rights its own ship. We can't keep having bad judging and mismatches that hurt the real sport.

    Peter Wood -- former fighter, author: These mixed-matches aren’t new. In 1940 -- 81 years ago -- a 45-year-old Jack Dempsey knocked out an arrogant wrestler named Cowboy Luttrell. (A brutal fight horribly refereed by Nat Fleischer.) The problem is boxing itself. It is no longer a major sport as it was in 1940. Mixed-matches starring “media sensations” are simply filling the void and people’s vapid heads.

    Observations: The respondents were almost unanimous in their strong dislike (disgust) for what’s going on in boxing. After all the dust has been cleared, Layla McCarter’s comment, namely “It's all about the $$”, pretty much reflects the consensus.

    Ted Sares is a member of Ring 8, a lifetime member of Ring 10, and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame. He is an active power lifter in the Master Class. He enjoys writing about boxing and can be reached at tedsares@roadrunner.com

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    As long as guys fighting are in shape, I think it's ok. We're mostly old guys and don't understand the power of social media...these Paul guys are making millions of it so what the hell just go for it.
    I am NOT interested in in seeing the Holyfields, the Riddick Bowes etc fight; they should NOT be getting a license.

    Comment


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      Hmmm. You are an outliar. The Paul's are a ripoff IMO and are taking money away from those who are professionals.

  • #3
    Bob Mladinich added that the proposed Bowe vs. Odom fight is a disgrazia. I might add that is an infamatia. And very dangerous.

    Comment


    • #4
      Johnny Tango chips in with: " I had the pleasure to watch in person Holyfield / Parkey back in '87. At that time, Holyfield was a cruiserweight. I had absolutely no guilt in watching two men in the prime of their respective careers. However, I don't want to watch Holyfield some 34-years later. Hell, I'm 66-year-old and Holyfield will be 59 on October 19th. We share the same birth date. I have no business in the ring and neither does he! This could have resulted in a tragedy. If Holyfield participated in a celebrity golf or tennis tournament, I'd have no problem with it. But boxing is a blood sport and, in my humble opinion, he has no business in the ring. FYI: I didn't watch the fight.

      "Thanks for the article, Ted. I enjoyed the opinions of the experts in the sport. It must have been one hell of a challenge to get all the responses you did.

      ~Johnny Tango (from Oxnard aka Kronk Gym West)"

      Comment


      • Kid Blast
        Kid Blast commented
        Editing a comment
        Wasn't so difficult this time as I only made one second request and that helped. Surveys require a certain approach.

    • #5
      Lee Groves makes good points. 👍

      At least boxing ain’t dealing with Danny Bonaduce in 2021! 🤪

      Comment


      • Kid Blast
        Kid Blast commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes he does.

    • #6
      Johnny Tango chips in with: " I had the pleasure to watch in person Holyfield / Parkey back in '87. At that time, Holyfield was a cruiserweight. I had absolutely no guilt in watching two men in the prime of their respective careers. However, I don't want to watch Holyfield some 34-years later. Hell, I'm 66-year-old and Holyfield will be 59 on October 19th. We share the same birth date. I have no business in the ring and neither does he! This could have resulted in a tragedy. If Holyfield participated in a celebrity golf or tennis tournament, I'd have no problem with it. But boxing is a blood sport and, in my humble opinion, he has no business in the ring. FYI: I didn't watch the fight.

      "Thanks for the article, Ted. I enjoyed the opinions of the experts in the sport. It must have been one hell of a challenge to get all the responses you did.

      ~Johnny Tango (from Oxnard aka Kronk Gym West)"

      Comment


      • #7
        Fred Romano says: "There has always been an element of carnival in boxing. Celebrity boxing has been around for decades. Today, however, new dimensions have been added with MMA, and Youtube. The lure of financial gain and the need to satisfy ego has also brought aged boxing legends back to the ring. Collectively, this carnival is here to stay. However, there are only so many boxing legends people will pay to see, and when the You-tubers get exposed, that phenomenon will diminish. This current frenzy will die down eventually, but as long as there is a way to make a buck expect the boxing landscape to be speckled with these events."

        Nice. Thanks Fred.

        Comment


        • #8
          Click image for larger version  Name:	094E2FBC-8A43-4BD1-ABEF-AC8A58215124.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	94.6 KB ID:	20072

          I know it’s easily overlooked given all the other very exciting things going on in boxing but even us boxing writers are getting in on the action. I fought 92 year old Ted “The Bullshitter” Sares last year at a Trump Rally in New Hampshire and while he didn’t die, I lived free. Anyone else in the mealy mouthed boxing media who wants a piece of me can step right on up and get some.

          Comment


          • Kid Blast
            Kid Blast commented
            Editing a comment
            Geezuz.................

        • #9
          Saying its all about the money is an easy exit on the subject and it dont give the subject its due respect as to what these shows are doing to and in boxing. It reminds me of the reply to a real boxing question > " It is what it is " when you reply like that you are saying I do not have enough depth or knowledge to talk about what you just asked me. I understand it is not easy to get past the smell of what this stuff is in the ring lately but it might be needed. There is a reason why TSS asked a number of boxing writers and the such...........bc they are people who know boxing, are familar with the history of the fight game and most important they have a voice in the ring due to those and other reasons. So maybe if everyone stopped talking about it might help put it away ? That might be a start. It at least would be a start to keep giving it free advertisement and ligitimitacy. But I am just a guy who likes to see fights good fights and fighters and that is not happening in a real way lately. Lot of talk about what is wrong with boxing, and why fights are being cancelled you know the topics, fight cards or PEDs but after a while that just makes you numb......... Sorta like the number of shootings in any big City after a while you just glaze over. You care but you move on...... I am at that point and know boxing could care less.

          Comment


          • Kid Blast
            Kid Blast commented
            Editing a comment
            Very good points Blues

        • #10
          Ya but ya’ll saw the Canelo-Plant slap fight right?!?

          Alvarez slipped a slap, slapped the dude’s shades off lol 😎

          Comment


          • #11
            Copied from another site "Ho, hum, more crazy talk about another crazy fight. What are we to do but just run with it! Oscar De La Hoya (who may or may not go ahead with his fight with Vitor Belfort, now in the works for November 27), has offered Floyd Mayweather the staggering sum of $100 million to fight him in a return meeting of their 2007 “The World Awaits” showdown."

            This is simply a naked request to rip off the fans and/or seek attention (on the part of Oscar). No serious fan should pay any attention to this. These rip offs are now becoming the norm.

            Comment


            • #12
              I mispelled Harry Otty's name. Inexcusable

              Comment


              • #13
                What’s inexcusable is Plant crying about his mommy.

                Beta male! 😂

                Dios mio!

                Comment


                • #14
                  CLARESSA SHIELDS TAKES SHOTS AT JAKE PAUL "ILL NEVER FIGHT ON HIS UNDERCARD! DONT DISRESPECT ME!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6fcOX3UVvg

                  Bile inducing

                  Comment


                  • Kid Blast
                    Kid Blast commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Justin Thornton, a combat sports fighter from Natchez, Mississippi, died yesterday, Oct. 4, from injuries suffered in a match six weeks ago on a bare-knuckle boxing card in Biloxi, Mississippi. Thornton was 38 years old.

                    Sickeneing
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