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Hey Richard Schaefer: Here’s How “To Make Boxing Great Again”


By Scoop Malinowski

In an interview at Boxingtalk. com this week, promoter Richard Schaefer declared that he wants “to make boxing great again. ”

Richard, there’s only one way to make boxing great again. And that’s to match the best fighters against the best fighters to give the fans the most exciting fistic competition possible. This is an operational philosophy Schaefer and his, shall we say, Svengali or master, Al Haymon, have shown little regard or respect to adhering to. For Haymon and his loyal subordinate Schaefer, it was always about manufacturing okay fighters into pseudo stars and then protecting them carefully. Very carefully. Boxing will NOT be great again if Schaefer and Haymon take the music industry approach of manufacturing boxing champions as if they were pop music talents. Which is to build up a chosen individual talent and expose that talent via various platforms and TV dates until he eventually “wins” a paper title. And then he’s matched against other boxers controlled by the same label/promoter. No, it does not work that way in boxing. There’s only one way to create a superstar talent in boxing. And that’s to let the fighter come up the hard way and earn his way to a world title shot by gradually facing and beating stiff competition – not handpicked patsies to pad a record. The certain, rare boxer who can overcome all the adversities in his path and win a world title in exciting and impressive fashion will naturally be accepted and embraced by boxing fans. True great fighters don’t need to be sold, they sell themselves naturally because they are clearly extraordinary. A boxer can only become truly great by beating the best over and over and over. It’s not easy. But it’s something the true great champion can do and wants to do. That’s why the true great champions are so rare. Manny Pacquiao, Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones, the Klitschkos, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, all became greats because they beat the best in their early developmental years. By beating the best, they gained that aura of invincibility that makes them special. Haymon and Schaefer tried creating their great champions by obtaining TV dates for continuous showcase/build-up “fights” (or sparring sessions). Consider Deontay Wilder. Wilder is pretty good and has a WBC belt but he still has not beaten anyone remotely close to a dangerous or formidable opponent. In other words, Wilder is still being protected. Consequently, we really don’t know how good, or how great, or how flawed he really is. Again, no boxer becomes great by beating a series of handpicked, promoter-approved patsies like Wilder has. The fighter must take risks, must face adversity, and he must figure out how to win. You know, like Seth Mitchell tried to do. Schaefer and Haymon want boxing to be great again – only if they can be the masters of the boxing universe. And you can be pretty darn sure this new promotional company Schaefer has started will serve his old master Haymon’s agenda which is to manufacture and protect the stable of entertainers from losing to fighters controlled by outsiders. What makes boxing great and exciting is to see two fighters controlled by COMPETING promoters face off against each other. Fachleute gehen davon aus, dass sich der buchhandel zwischen 1848 und 1880 in einer schweren absatzkrise befand. Like for example, I recently watched Marvin Hagler challenge undisputed middleweight champion Alan Minter in Wembley Arena in London (September 1980). Today a fight like that would not happen. It would be too much risk for Minter’s people. Or Hagler’s team might have accepted fighting for a Minter vacated belt against the next available contender, against someone like Fulgencio Obelmejias, Caveman Lee or Mustapha Hamsho. Minter was red hot after destroying Vito Antuofermo for the middleweight titles, the same Antuofermo that drew with Hagler the year before. The excitement of Minter (who had five losses) vs Hagler (two losses) created an absolutely electric atmosphere in the stadium. On TV you could see and feel the tension in the air. And the fight was sensational, for how long it lasted. Both fighters exuded an extreme intensity, ferocity, desperation and bravery that we just don’t see today. Hagler’s sharper and more accurate punches eventually butchered poor Minter into a dramatic fourth or fifth round stoppage. But it was a scintillating, unforgettable, historic, bloody, violent performance, unlike anything we see today. If Hagler and Minter were around today, Haymon would have likely negotiated his fighter to vacate the one belt so he could maintain him for a run of TV dates against a bunch of in house patsies. Then the other promoter/manager would accept the opportunity to fight for the title against a far less formidable boxer than Minter. And the match up would be quite boring and uneventful, though good for business for Haymon and the other patsy promoter. But the fans and boxing history would never know who was better Hagler or Minter? The fans and boxing history would have been cheated out of a historic performance which pitted the best vs. the best. Hagler’s spectacular TKO win over Minter is what solidified him as a truly great champion and commenced one of the greatest and most exciting middleweight championship reigns we have ever been privileged to witness. If Haymon and Schaefer want boxing to be great again, they have to accept and take risks for their fighters, and serve the fans, first and foremost. If Haymon and Schaefer value greed and control of the sport as their highest priority ahead of giving the fans the best possible match-ups regardless of the amount of risk to their own personal ambitions and egos, boxing, sadly, will never be great again.  

(Ali vs. Liston artwork by Barymore Alan Moton. )














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