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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: ODDS AND ENDS

By Paul Magno | August 07, 2023
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: ODDS AND ENDS

I’ve got a bit to say about a few different things, so why not get it all out there in one soul-cleansing NSFW column this week. 

– Well, it didn’t take long for boxing fandom to turn Terence Crawford’s thing-of-beauty virtuoso performance into bad feelings, bad vibes, and all the fun of a messy shart on your way to work. 

Apparently, the Crawford-Spence fight wasn’t actually about Crawford vs. Spence, it was a culture/race war and also a shadow war between business entities battling for the soul of boxing. 

Those realities, however, were lost on the actual combatants, who handled things before and after the fight with class and dignity or, as one would be wise to point out, as competitors competing in a sporting event where only they actually had anything at stake.

Lots of fans, though, were having prodigious meltdowns over the outcome of this fight and, true to form, those meltdowns happened right along boxing party lines. Some Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) supporters seemed to be in life crisis mode over Errol Spence losing. Meanwhile, the anti-PBC set was celebrating the fall of Spence way too much, like, “something really dubious is behind this reaction” too much. They delighted in the post-fight meltdowns of their online culture war rivals and laughed at their mental instability, all the while lacking the self-awareness to realize that they’re in the midst of their own meltdown-- an eight-year psycho conniption-- just because PBC came into existence. 

The nonsense from boxing fandom this past week or so was pointless, useless, and long-term detrimental to the sport they claim to love. 

And all of this BS became prominent, in a sport that once used to bring diverse cultures, races, and classes together, because some media dipshits intentionally poisoned the wells in support of the old school promoters who subsidized their professional existence. When Al Haymon/PBC came on to the scene, the old guard felt threatened by the business model/power dynamic tweaks the newcomers brought to the sport and they got their media lapdogs to pump hate sewage into the media stream. And now, here we are, still wading through the resulting muck and sludge and floating turds all these years later.

Seriously, people, why would you even care which business entity is bringing you boxing?

Particularly vexing are the nitwits claiming Crawford over Spence as a loss for PBC-- in an event that TOOK PLACE as a PBC event. Really. This is about as ridiculous as riotously celebrating the Quarter Pounder outselling the Big Mac as some sort of anti-McDonald’s statement, when both are sold under the same golden arches. 

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, but if your favorite fighter winning or losing has THAT much of an affect on you, you're a fucking mental patient. And if you’ve been talked into believing that the boxing company bringing you fights is THAT important to the cultural fabric, you’re not only a mental patient, but a sucker as well. 

– Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz was a thing on Saturday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas and I’m not even going to try to talk boxing “purists” into the idea that a sold out arena and mainstream exposure can’t be bad things for the sport.

Honestly, I get a sick kick out of the predictable, canned outrage over Jake Paul invading “their” sport. Hell, the only thing I really enjoy about a Jake Paul fight week at this point is the quick-twitch pearl clutching from the humorless “real” fans who are chronically aghast at someone defiling their pure, precious sport. 

But I’ll put this out there, anyway.

I know us boxing people are supposed to hate this celebrity boxing stuff, but Paul’s unanimous decision over Diaz was entertaining and competitive. It wasn’t high-level boxing (I believe I referred to Paul’s abilities as “club fighter-level” and Diaz’s style as “dogshit”). So what? We’ve all seen fights on undercards and at clubs that were much worse than Paul-Diaz. The reality is that the 19-year-old Ashton Sylve on the undercard drew my 13 and 12-year-old nieces, who follow him on social media, to watch the card (which they never do). Jake Paul got my 16-year-old nephew's interest piqued enough to watch the card. And all three were chatting it up with buddies on social media, who were also watching the fights. There’s nothing bad about that from an “I want boxing to thrive” standpoint. I tried to bribe my nephew to sit through Crawford-Spence a week prior and not even pizza and snacks could get him in front of the big screen. 

Now, I know fans will point to the handful of “Boxing is stronger than ever” and “More popular than ever with young people” surveys that have popped up over the last few years. What they won’t point out, however, are the parts of those surveys that show that those who identify as boxing fans, and young people especially, couldn’t even name one “real” active fighter. Actually, like three-quarters couldn’t name an active boxer, outside of the influenecers/YouTubers trying their hand at boxing. 

So, with boxing trending high in popularity, but its athletes trending low in recognition, the uncomfortable truth is that this celebrity boxing stuff is, at the very least, helping the sport stay in young America’s line of sight. 

– Give no credit to Paul-Diaz broadcast outlet and serial fail machine DAZN for any of the above mentioned positivity. 

In about a year's time, DAZN went from No PPV, to Some PPV, to Mostly PPV, to PPV through as many secondary providers as possible. 

With content at an all-time low and subscription fees at an all-time high, you have to wonder who the hell is still paying for their shit. 

If you're still subscribing to DAZN, you are: 1) Someone who keeps forgetting to cancel, 2) A fan of Misfit Boxing, 3) Someone who likes to have access to being able to buy inferior PPVs, or 4) A subscriber who is dead with a still-active debit card.

– I was late getting to the Oscar De La Hoya documentary on HBO Max, so a full review wouldn’t make much sense anymore. Instead, I’ll just give you my quick take.

Imagine being a rapper and taking the truest, meanest, most personal diss track about you and not only endorsing it, but putting it on your album, even making it your first single. That’s what The Golden Boy two-part documentary essentially was. It showed De La Hoya as a victimized, confused, entitled, childish, irresponsible dick of a dad, whose mom dressed him up like a girl and who, by the end of the documentary, his own friend and business partner essentially admits is irredeemable. 

I saw some people applauding Oscar’s bravery in letting his “real self” be shown to the world. But that kind of self-flagellation is not bravery, that's craziness, like proudly cooperating in your own snuff film.  Whoever talked him into doing this definitely did not have his best interests in mind. 

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

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