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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: WHAT REALLY MATTERS

By Paul Magno | March 20, 2023
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: WHAT REALLY MATTERS

Indulge me for some introspection this Monday, a day after my 53rd birthday.

Who I really am is no secret to those who know me and know my work. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I speak my mind to a degree that is almost fanatically self-destructive (especially in a boxing media world where conformity and shilling are considered positive traits). I abhor convention and weak-kneed compliance. For what I do to have any purpose whatsoever, the truth must be the only goal. 

Fuck press passes, fuck membership in fraternal media organizations, fuck social media grandstanding, fuck ego. The truth is all that matters. Speaking truth to power. Speaking truth when the truth is absolutely the last thing people want to hear. 

The truth, however, is very often an elusive entity in this boxing world where, almost literally, everything we see and hear is spoon fed to media from promoters/managers/publicists with a vested interested in spinning reality to better fit their own business interests. But the truth is important nonetheless. I know I try to make sure that everything I put out there is the truth, at least to the very best of my knowledge. And when I give my opinion on something, I self-check myself, repetitively, to make sure I’m speaking with as little bias and prejudice as possible. I try and, unlike others in my profession, I do double back to kick myself in the ass when/if I mess things up. I hold myself accountable for bullshit to the same degree I hold others accountable.

But I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am very, very much alone in this mindset. I’ve also come to terms with the reality that I will never truly accomplish what I set out to do in this business so many years ago. There will be no fully independent boxing media outlet working within true journalistic standards. The industry, to a great extent, has shut me out. I still earn a living as a writer and I don’t need a day job to stay afloat, but my input when it comes to the general discourse and the sport’s overall narrative has been isolated and silenced.

Honestly, this doesn’t even bother me anymore. I certainly have an ego, but not THAT much of an ego. My media “colleagues” shutting me out says a shitload more about them than it does me. Instead of “unplugging” from boxing, like some media nitwits have done in recent weeks, I’ll keep plugging away on sites, like this one, that actually support free speech and don’t have an issue with those who flip the bird to the status quo...or I’ll open my own sites (again). Whatever. Because, really, this was never about me. This was about my love for the sport of boxing, my respect for the fighters, and my hope to help the fans. And if the fans choose to support and respect media voices who act more like publicists and errand boys than journalists or free-thinkers, then so be it. They’ll continue to be misfed, misled, and hustled into chasing their own tails. No skin off my nose. I still have my love for the sport-- and the attention of those who have similar standards (as well as those who love that I “speak the truth” but absolutely hate me for “speaking the truth” about “their” guys). 

I don’t need to be a big shot or a mover and shaker in the industry. I’m happy just watching the fights and speaking my mind to anyone who’ll listen. And we’re about to enter into a brilliant eight-week run of fights, starting with the Plant-Benavidez card this coming Saturday, that will keep me happily busy with the stuff I love about the sport (the boxing) and far away from the shit I hate (everything in boxing other than the actual boxing). 

Thanks for indulging this week’s inward glance (for those who are still reading). It won’t happen again anytime soon. Enjoy the fights. Enjoy life.

Got something for Magno? Send it here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com

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