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Boxing: When logistics have the final say

Lee Daley

Lee has been a fan of the sport of boxing for around twenty five years.

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Timothy Bradley, the WBO’s welterweight champion, is working on shifting mandatory challenger Sadam Ali to one side.

The unbeaten Ali has a record of 22-0 but may indirectly be facing Brandon Rios as an opponent to get the right to fight Bradley. Promoter Bob Arum stated that he is already working on a deal to have Bradley face Rios before the WBO announced Ali as Bradley’s next physical interrogator.

Boxing is a hard and complex sport and isn’t one to necessarily grant opportunities even if a fighter deserves their shot. And that is the type of situation that Sadam Ali seems to find himself in right now. But any commercial sport is a business! Timothy is understandably looking for the biggest fights at this point of his career. Ali is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. Last year Oscar De La Hoya said that he wanted to end the “cold war” between him and Arum, but could predicaments like this scupper that? Time will tell.

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Brandon Rios has not been seen in a boxing ring since January when he easily knocked out Mike Alvarado in three rounds. Before then, he won against Diego Chaves in a foul filled contest in nine rounds after the referee declared Rios the winner by disqualification. English promoter Eddie Hearn also wanted Rios to fight his man Kell Brook but the Sheffield star, himself, now looks to be facing Chaves.

Boxing has always been about showing off the bigger and biggest names even if it has to “pay off” some of the more rightul ones. Mike Tyson was given a title shot in only his third bout since being released from prison back in 1995. John Ruiz was paid to step aside so Britain’s David Haye could have his opportunity to wrest the championship from Nikolai Valuev. More recently, Al Haymon offered Viktor Postol money, another unbeaten contender, to step aside from fighting Danny Garcia so the champion could fight Lamont Peterson, who is a more marketable name.

Although understandably not officially confirmed, it has been suggested that many decisions go against the valid fighter for the sake of having to market them to the public ahead of time. “Paying off” a boxer is a choice that most combatants do accept, however. But they are knowingly sacrificing their opportunity to make themselves more financially stable should they leave the ring a winner. Whether their choices are down to naivety is anybody’s guess, especially those that are not in the loop.

As followers of boxing, we enjoy the excitement of the unfolding violence in front of us, whether we are there watching in person or from our television screens. But rarely do many understand the financial logistics that keep the sport operational.

And maybe that is something that cannot ever be fathomed.

 

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