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Fade in: A Needed Return to Boxing Writing

(Graphic by Chee, MaxBoxing)
(Graphic by Chee, MaxBoxing)

By Luis A. Cortes III


For me to say it has been a long time since I last wrote for this website would be a gross understatement considering it’s been two years since I “faded to black.” To say a general malaise conquered my interest in covering the sport would be just as a gross an understatement.

 
All this aside, despite the brewing discontent that I experienced 24 months ago from a business of boxing standpoint, my passion as a fan never waivered. To be honest, at this point in time, it has never been stronger nor have I ever been so optimistic for what the future holds. With that in mind, despite what took place with my last experience covering boxing, it’s time to activate this recharged battery and fade in.

So at last, here goes. Years later, I’m back and willing to give two of my loves, writing and boxing, another chance at creating a great harmony. In all honesty, while I may have stopped covering the sport on a public platform, it didn’t stop me from paying close attention to what was taking place within the sport.
 
As I began witnessing the transition that started to evolve the sport from where it was when I covered it to where it is currently, I too evolved when hit with a sudden epiphany. I was told the following from a very wise man.
 
“You write because you love and because you love to write, although you can do anything in this life. You really can’t do anything else.”
 
You see, during the course of my time writing, the enjoyment I once received by expressing my opinions and reporting on fighters, trainers and the business suits of the sport vanished. At some point, all writers - especially those of us who got our start by being vouched for by a respectable journalist within the sport - need to come to a decision.
 
This being do you continue to write for the sheer pleasure or do you enter the realm of trying to turn this pleasure into a business opportunity? While there have been some writers who have found their niche from a journalistic and business standpoint in this realm, I, for one, just never could get accustomed to the need for the self-promotion, sometimes throat-cutting and various network or promotional camp cheerleading necessary to make this one of my financial hustles in life. All respect to those who have been able to stay away from these trappings. All fellow members of the media able to gain financial success and keep their integrity within their aforementioned niche, you know who you are.
 
Now with my soliloquy to you, my fellow fans, out of the way, back to the regularly scheduled program.
 
Since the sport has evolved since I departed, complete with a whole new set of characters at the top or thirsty to be there, some constants remain the same. The “Cold War,” which has been covered terrifically by my colleagues on this site, remains. To me, it just seems like this “Cold War” will come to an end similar to the way its namesake did when old grudges based on separate ideals that started the beef either die out or simply fade away. When the egos (Floyd Mayweather/Golden Boy Promotions and Bob Arum/Top Rank Promotions) attached to big powerful pockets no longer control the majority of the power.
 
If you remember when Mayweather “retired” in 2007, Golden Boy and Top Rank got together for some good cards, like Miguel Cotto vs. Shane Mosley.
 
See, when Mayweather fights, for much of the truth he speaks against his Golden Boy opponent and Golden Boy as a promotion, he still needs its involvement in just that: the promotion of the fight. After all, he does have a fight to prepare for. Mayweather also needs its stable of fighters to feast on, so his alliance to Golden Boy stands.
 
Showtime is now involved with its alliance to Golden Boy and Mayweather Promotions. It’s going to be interesting to see when Mayweather hangs up the gloves if Showtime will stick to the current business model in order not to piss off Mayweather, the promoter.
 
After all, who will the fighters under the Mayweather banner match up against? I doubt they will be Top Rank fighters. I got a feeling when he truly does retire, since Mayweather’s stable is young and doesn’t have a Mayweather-type golden goose (other than Mayweather Promotions’ involvement with Showtime), the best business will prevail, much in the way it did in 2001 when Showtime and HBO worked together for Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson.
 
One thing is safe to say: the youthful uprising is taking place and this new era of the sport looks promising. Face it; some characters the masses love and some they love to hate. Either way you look at it, the sport benefits. It also seems like their bosses, the promoters for the most part have finally realized that in order to intrigue live audiences and create a national buzz for their fighters, it’s best to start from the ground up in terms of local promotion. Building cards around these prospects helps nurture both their talent inside and credibility outside of the ring. As these young talents learn to fight various styles inside the ring, they also get accustomed to having an event with their names attached on the proverbial marquee.
 
Also, I get the vibe from being around some of this young talent here in Philadelphia and the rest of the Northeast that the days of fighters, especially those with decorated amateur backgrounds wanting six figures before they rise up the ranks are thankfully over. It just has the feeling that this new batch of pit bulls is anxious to prove their skills by fighting anyone, anytime, anywhere.
 
In the last year, I decided to go to local events and actually pay for my ticket, much to the surprise of fellow writers sitting ringside. It just really gave me a taste for viewing a show from the audience’s point of view and not from the lenses of a reporter. What I found were several fight cards full of young fighters marinating in their dreams, willing to let the process of time hopefully propel them to some of the special places they have dreamt about. You could see a specific few with this look as they walked to the ring, that in their minds, they knew one day, the crowd of 1,200 would be a crowd of 12,000-plus.
 
Upon speaking to some of these fighters, they also seem to have the understanding that in order to hopefully reach that goal of bigger cards and bigger arenas, they must keep their whole person on track. Let’s also be realistic; they also understood that those bigger arenas mean bigger checks.
 
Could we be seeing a rebirth of the days in which boxers fought their way to the top and built up their brands, eager to prove they were not just local or national but possibly global? Honestly speaking, anything is better than being force fed “the next Oscar De la Hoya, Felix Trinidad or Mayweather” by networks and promoters who simply enable a soft culture of fighters.
 
So, my fellow fanatics of the “Sweet Science,” it’s an exciting time in our sport any way you look at it. If you are fed up and tired of the lingering past that turns you off, based off the necessity in this business to sometimes to be hypocritical, you can always take solace in the fact that this time is closing in on the end. Hopefully, a cycle will not be created and this new rising generation continues to evolve the sport in a positive way.
 
* * *
 
These are the names of some of the local talent I feel everyone should keep an eye on. All have fantastic amateur backgrounds and can seriously fight:
 
Junior welterweight Sultahn Staton, 3-0 (2)
Junior featherweight Emmanuel Folly, 4-0 (3)
Junior welterweight Milton Santiago, 1-0 (1) (only 17 years old but was 185-15 as an amateur and is managed by Eddie Woods. He’s in good hands.)
Super middleweight fringe contender Derrick Webster, 15-0 (8)
Featherweight Antonio Dubose, 4-0 (2)
Featherweight fringe contender Eric Hunter, 17-3 (9) (two losses by questionable disqualification)
Super featherweight Jason Sosa, 11-1-3 (7)
Super featherweight Angel Ocasio, 7-0-2 (2)
(Ocasio and Sosa battled to two classic draws.)
Flyweight Miguel Cartagena, 11-0 (4)
 
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Luis at luisacortes83@gmail.com.
 
 
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