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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: THOUGHTS FROM A PENTHOUSE SUITE

By Paul Magno | October 23, 2023
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: THOUGHTS FROM A PENTHOUSE SUITE

Bust out the hard medicines and the ladies of ill repute, I’m on vacation.

For one glorious week, I stop reading the boxing media’s press releases, er, journalism and unplug from the tedium of watching dimwits and racists on social media talk about things they, literally, don’t know anything about. 

But boxing never, ever really leaves my mind. So, as I’m waiting for this latest batch of medicine to kick in, here are some random thoughts regarding the rest of this boxing year.

Hey, did you happen to hear that Showtime Boxing is being killed off after the end of this year? You might have heard a few brief mentions of this here and there on social media over the last several days. 

For us fans and consumers, the news should impact us very little. The next thought after “Showtime Boxing is finished” should be “Okay, which channel will we have to turn to in 2024?”

For a select few sad sacks, though, the demise of Showtime Boxing brought on a wave of orgasmic joy. The losers with their burning case of AHDS (Al Haymon Derangement Syndrome), engaging in a race/culture war against all things PBC, led by race-antagonizing boxing media slugs who’ve been on more promoter payrolls than the Tecate girls, felt vindicated by the news. “Hurray for things we really don’t know about, happening for reasons we don’t really know!”

The Haymon-in-boxing/PBC years have been a trip, though. Really, it’s been like one gigantic sociological experiment. Take a black businessman who brings freeman business philosophy to a sport built on indentured servitude, which also just happens to be one of the last bastions of overtly racist/classist thought in the sporting world, and let’s see what happens! 

Some of the serial PBC/Haymon critics have been disturbingly obsessed with the demise of the evilness they imagined. I’m almost happy the PBC-aligned Showtime Boxing DID get axed. That mild victory in their minds may have kept them from snapping and mutilating a neighbor’s pet or beating up their mom (who most of them still live with). 

I don’t even try to engage with these people anymore. Dumb + Crazy + Hateful makes for skulls too thick to penetrate. 

Speaking of penetration, kudos to Victor Conte newsletter writer Steve Kim for kind of spearheading this sociological turn in boxing, injecting race and culture warfare, along with weirdo right wing politics, into the sport and forever muddying the waters of public discourse. Now, thanks in great part to his landmark innovation in girlish hating and his ability to trick hateful dimwits into riding along on the hate wagon, we got human skid marks from both sides of the fence going at it– in an equal and opposite stupid reaction dynamic– with actual boxing talk taking a back seat to us vs. them bickering. What a legacy!

– I don’t care how many “real” boxing fans and “purists” get mad at me for saying this, but I hope Francis Ngannou manages to land something big and out of the blue on October 28 to drop and stop Tyson Fury. I don’t wish Fury any lasting physical harm, I just want him to lose. Because, only through a mega-humbling loss, will the Tyson Fury Show end and we can all regain some sanity when it comes to the natural flow of the heavyweight division. I know we’re SUPPOSED to be getting the Fury-Usyk unification after this coming sideshow with Ngannou, but I’ll believe that when I see it. Fury needs to get back down to earth and back to actual boxing. The only way for that to happen, IMO, is via excruciating embarrassment.

– Shakur Stevenson has not been shy about saying that he’ll explore free agency to the fullest extent when his contract is up with Top Rank next year. He’d be crazy not to. I’m just wondering if all these people parroting Top Rank “most feared man” and “best of the best” talking points will still be doing that when he’s on the open market, exploring deals with Top Rank business rivals. I’m guessing not. 

– Top Rank bossman Bob Arum is an absolute genius when it comes to appealing to the hearts and minds of boxing media and fuddy-duddy fight fans. The man has been pulling the same hustles and cons for fifty years and these people fall for them over and over again. The most feared man…The “the NEXT fight is going to be the one you’ve been clamoring for” bait and switch…The “the other guy is the one avoiding the fight with my guy” redirection…The “trample on my fighter’s reputation and maybe get him beat as his contract expires because it doesn’t appear that he will re-sign” exit plan. Arum’s Greatest Hits never get old to certain people who, by the way, often like to boast about how great they are at being “on to” the hustles and cons of other boxing people. 

I’m not “taking sides” when saying this, by the way. All boxing bossmen have their hustles and cons when it comes to doing business and hyping fights. It’s just that only some of these people get called out for them, while others get the free pass.

– Are the David Benavidez-Demetrius Andrade, Devin Haney-Regis Prograis, Keith Thurman-Eimantas Stanionis/Erislandy Lara-Danny Garcia pay-per-view shows worth their pay-per-view price? My answer is always the same with “is this show worth it” questions– they’re worth the price if you want to pay the price. 

There are points to be made when people say that erecting paywalls around fights caps the sport’s growth potential. But, realistically, when it comes to boxing’s growth potential, that ship sailed a long time ago, probably from the first moment guys like Arum took easy money to put all their shows behind premium cable paywalls. 

I do remember, though, the same fans and media who now bemoan “everything being on pay-per-view” also mocking a certain boxing company when they tried putting fights on free TV..

Well, that’s it for now. Gotta get back to the debauchery. See y’all next week…if I survive.

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

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