Over the years I've been noticing a pattern emerging, one that didn't seem quite as relevant years ago.
Now boxing has always had it's megastars, the Ali's, the Tyson's, the Leonard's etc
And to a certain extent, once a fighter reaches 'megastar' status, they naturally make different career decisions to what they'd make if they were still young up-and-comers or Joe Blow scrapping for a few dollars.
But, to me, the whole mindset of today's megastars has eclipsed even the Tyson era.
Tyson at least fought regularly, defending his title against all oncomers, ducking no-one (some might argue Lennox later on, but I digress) and advancing his legacy along with his bank balance.
But somewhere between Tyson and De La Hoya, it's all gone awry.
The modern pattern seems to be:
1/ Win a title belt.
2/ Defend said title belt with regularity and work your way up the P4P ladder with impressive victories. This will generally be remembered as the 'golden' era of your career (i.e. May at 130, Shane at 135, DLH at 147 etc)
3/ Achieve a career defining fight, usually at the same weight but maybe against a marquee opponent a weight or two up.
4/ As the media go ga-ga over your performance and elevate you to the top spot p4p, announce that you "no longer care about titles, and are all about making fights that make money."
5/ Seriously decrease your schedule, fight once or twice per year, and only against hand picked, high reward, low risk opponents.
6/ Repeat for half-a-decade.
7/ Retire, claiming you are the GOAT, but without any substance to your theory.
8/ Complain the media are hating/racist/biased (delete as appropriate) and say you'd wipe the floor with Robinson/Ali/Moore/all time great of your choice.
Too many of today's superstars have or are following this pattern or something mighty like it, and this, more than anything else, is killing the game IMO.
A certain few fighters, like Hopkins, cared more about their legacy and their place in boxing history than dollar signs, and managed to earn decent money whilst racking up title legacies and big victories, but the majority seem to want to follow the pattern above.
I'm worried how many fighters seem to leave their ambition behind at their original weight class and waste away years of their prime wallowing in the fleeting moments of greatness they showed as young men in their early 20's.