First of all, I didn’t watch last nights card. The reasons were simple; the main event was a farce, there were numerous mismatches on the undercard and even in the better bouts of the undercard, the winners were all obvious before the bouts even took place. There was nothing I was going to miss by staying up to watch that card last night except for sleep.
The reason boxing will not grow out of being a niche sport in Australia is because it is marketed for the lowest common denominator rather than showcasing what’s good about our sport. By that I mean we don’t get to see the good, even match-ups on television that you can see on non-televised cards in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney throughout the year. That’s because everyone is so afraid to take a loss on their record that the TV slots on the big shows like this are wasted with safe matches. This leaves the casual fan bored because they aren’t getting what they came to see; a fight!
The promoters and matchmakers make up for this by appealing to something these casual fans know; footy players. Instead of seeing a great domestic matchup like George Kambosos vs Brandon Ogilvie, Zac Dunn vs Les Sherrington, Wes Capper vs Wade Ryan or Dennis Hogan vs Samuel Colomban (all fights that headlined shows that were not shown live on nationwide TV in the last 12 months), we get safe match-ups with only one possible outcome (and no punter enjoys watching a contest they already know the outcome of) or we get the worst our country has to offer in the pro ranks, lower level professionals who box for some extra money as well as working full-time and they’re matched up against an in shape, athletic man who has the financial backing to hire the best coaches and the luxury of training full time. These men don’t stay in our sport, they just take the TV slots (and the money that could go to one of our prospects) and go back to playing footy, where they make more money than nearly all boxers in Australia do.
Another issue is that young professional fighters don’t get the chance to learn their trade because there’s a drought of smaller professional shows around Australia. There used to be fight clubs where guys could get even matchups anywhere throughout the country on a weekly basis and some of the profits would be split among the fighters for their purses. The boxers wouldn’t make much but they would stay active, they would learn their trade and work towards big money fights. But now every promoter needs to make thousands of dollars on every show and a fighter can’t get matched unless they sell five times their pay worth of tickets. If they can sell that much, they get matched against opponents who won’t beat them so they end up building a career out of not fighting anyone tough and again, don’t learn their trade and eventually they get exposed. The Catch 22 for the less popular fighters is that a fighter can’t sell that many tickets every time they fight if they can’t get the experience to become good at their craft. There are exceptions to this rule but it seems that the nice looking record and the potential for a huge fight down the track are more important than putting on good fights NOW.
The other problem is the boxing media won’t tell it like it is and call a spade a spade. Tonight’s card was shit. It’s good that the Moloney brothers and Trent Broadhurst got some TV time but not many are going to remember them or want to see them again because they weren’t tested in 50-50 match-ups. If this sort of thing was going on in the NRL, AFL or A-League there would be a riot but it’s boxing and no one cares about boxing.
If you’re disappointed with last nights fights then go to bed early tonight and wake up early tomorrow morning to catch Renold Quinlan’s IBO title fight with Chris Eubank jnr. Quinlan has been fighting the best guys throughout his 12 fight career (11-1, 7 KOs) and has appeared on a couple of Mundine’s undercards. He knocked Daniel Geale out in his last fight and isn’t the 12-1 underdog that he is being made out to be. Renold Quinlan won’t disappoint.
If you’re a casual fan and you were let down by tonight’s show, get to one of your local professional shows (there’s usually at least one a month in every major city) and check out some real boxing. The fights are much more evenly matched which makes for better boxing. It’s not as convenient as watching it on TV or at the local pub but watching a fight live in person beats watching it on TV. If you consider yourself more than a casual fan then get out and support your local shows and even bring some mates along. The more shows on out there the better our product will be when it’s on the big stage and the more likely it will be when it’s on the big stage.
Our sport is better than this.