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Pac-Man's Sugar snorefest shows what's wrong with boxing still

It’s been another busy week between the ropes. Gavin Grace reflects on Manny’s latest victory, the goings-on in Hamburg and Amir Khan’s next move.

LAST WEEK’S NON-EVENT between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley has highlighted some of the great sport of boxing’s many ills .

The fight was more passive than aggressive, and while my prediction of imminent danger for Mosley was thankfully off the mark, that was merely because he chose to survive, rather than fight, which robbed fans of a genuine contest.

The mere fact that it was Mosley in the ring, and not Floyd Mayweather who the whole world it seems wants to see take on Pacquaio, is also just as much of a shame.

Last Saturday’s fight, more than most others, needed to be a success and a spectacle.  Shown on US Network Showtime, rather than the more established HBO, it had been promoted on one of America’s biggest networks with a documentary series which would have drawn in many fans.

Boxing, as a general rule, is not shown on mainstream TV in the States so for this to happen was a genuine step forward, and, it was hoped, a potential springboard for the sport to gain a foothold in general sports discussion.

The sport needed a brawl, and a classic, and instead two star names, and two great fighters, produced a session which would not pass for a decent spar.

In one way, this shows the need for a strong governing body for the sport, one which would have not allowed for such a mismatch to be made in the first place, one which would ensure that the best fight the best and that the sport returns to its heyday.  However, virtually unique to major sports worldwide, boxing is without this and tonight’s main attraction illustrates why that is.

Primetime

Andre Ward is a heavy favourite ahead of his battle against Arthur Abraham.  The fight is the first semi-final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic, organised by the afore-mentioned Showtime, which brought together the world’s best Super Middleweights to decide the best among them.

However, it has been beset by problems, virtually from the very beginning.  Six boxers initially entered, all of whom were due to fight in three group stage bouts – only two, Abraham and Englishman Carl Froch, managed to do this while three of the original participants withdrew.

Glen Johnson fought only once, yet will still be in action in the second semi-final against Froch in three weeks time.  The tournament’s other major weakness is that Montreal-based Canadian Lucian Bute, who beat Brian Magee last time out, certainly merits a place in the tournament, but was left out due to promotional differences.

It is these difficulties that make boxing a much more difficult sport to regulate than any other, and the money involved has led to the proliferation of governing bodies and ‘world titles’.  Boxing won’t overcome this, and as the Super Six shows efforts to do cobble together an effective solution are generally futile.  It is a business, one in which negotiations outside of the ring can be as important as the battles within.  Unfortunately, it is also a sport which shoots itself in the foot at almost every available opportunity, like last Saturday, so while change is needed, a solution does not exist.

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Amir Khan is still looking for an opponent for his next outing, provisionally slated for July.  Khan was due to take on Timothy Bradley in a light-welterweight unification bout, but Bradley has rejected an offer of $1.3m for the fight

Khan is now expected to look elsewhere for an opponent, with Juan Manuel Marquez his first choice.  However the Mexican has his eyes on a November bout with Manny Pacquaio, against whom he has already waged two wars.

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Pre-fight press conferences have been held this week for the clash of Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye, with the Briton coming under fire for refusing to shake his opponent’s hand at a gathering in Hamburg .

The gesture (or lack thereof) certainly lacked class but will make little difference when the men meet in July.  They have signed deals to fight before, only for Haye to pull out through injury, so perhaps it was Wladimir’s comments that were most potent this week.
“[Haye] signed the contract — again. I will not believe the fight will happen until I see David Haye in the corner across from me. Thank God he’s coming into the ring first.”

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This Week In Boxing History

As the country revels in Jedmania, it’s only right that this week we honour an Irish boxer who proved his mettle against Europe’s best, and came away with the top prize.

On 12 May, 1991, Dubliner Paul  Griffin beat Faat Gatin to pick up the featherweight title at the European Championships in Gothenburg.  The Drimnagh man had beaten opponents from Portugal, Italy and the UK on his way to the final, where his 23-15 win would give Ireland a first European gold since 1949.  Griffin’s achievement was not repeated until last year, when Paddy Barnes captured the light flyweight title in Moscow.

You can read more on Griffin’s achievement over on Green Jab

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Gavin Grace

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