With the event of an exciting (fingers crossed) heavyweight title fight on the horizon between Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye—a fight that is actually getting my friends talking about boxing with me for once—I am wondering about your thoughts on what the best outcome for boxing would be for the short term and, more importantly, the long term. — Andrew
The most important thing for the immediate future is that Klitschko-Haye is a good fight. A great fight would be even better.
The long term is more difficult to assess. A Haye victory would obviously be huge in the UK, where he is already the country’s top boxing attraction. It would also boost his marquee value in the US, but he hasn’t fought here since 2003, so don’t expect him to turn into a massive pay-per-view attraction overnight. Moreover, I wouldn’t worry about Haye’s promise to retire by the time he’s 31. My guess is that if he’s still winning on his birthday, he’ll continue to fight.
Klitschko is already one of continental Europe’s biggest sport stars and a win over Haye would only reinforce his standing. A comprehensive win in an exciting contest would probably keep him on US television, but he’ll never be as tremendously popular here as he is in Europe.
THE RING CHAMPIONSHIP
Good day to you Nigel! Just wanted to get your thoughts on why you think The Ring belt has not been received universally by fighters, reporters, and fans alike. Thanks. – Fleetwood, St. Louis, MO.
The Ring’s championship policy is very popular with fans and fighters. The vast majority of fans like it because they know that if a fighter wears aRing belt, he is the legitimate world champion. In recent months, Nonito Donaire, Carl Froch, Andre Ward, Timothy Bradley, and Ricky Burns have all expressed publicly their desire to win The Ring championship. This makes sense because The Ring charges no sanctioning fee (which can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars) and does not attempt to dictate who they fight by forcing them to fight so-called mandatory challengers. Our philosophy is that the marketplace should make the fights, not alphabet organizations, or The Ring.
Our problems have been with promoters, managers, TV executives, and media outlets. Many (but not all) promoters and managers do not like the fact that The Ring doesn’t play the ratings game. In other words, they can’t maneuver a fighter up the rankings (by methods fair and/or foul) and be guaranteed a title shot. I recall a promoter, whose name will remain private because it was a private conversation, being very enthusiastic about The Ring’s championship policy until I explained that we do not strip champions of their titles or force mandatories. That ended the conversation and he never called me again.
While ESPN and the popular ESPN2 boxing series Friday Night Fights have been totally supportive from Day One, many media outlets have not. I believe jealousy is the number-one reason for this, although I think there is a minority that has a genuine philosophical disagreement.
P.E.D. TESTING OVERHAUL NEEDED?
In December of 2009, when Floyd Mayweather requested that Manny Pacquiao undergo USADA style random blood testing in addition to the testing procedures already in place by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, it brought an issue into the limelight that has had a lot of industry people and fans a like talking. Do you think the athletic commissions should revise their current testing procedures that are arguably dated and can no longer help effectively enforce the anti-doping rules that are already in place? – Andrew Palmer
I do not think that any fighter, including Floyd Mayweather, is bigger than boxing and should not have the power to demand that opponents take any test that is not required by the state commission. As far as revising the current testing procedures is concerned, I defer to The Ring’s health and safety expert, Dr. Margaret Goodman, who believes that the testing protocol should be updated.
IS FROCH KING OF BRITISH BOXING?
Carl Froch’s last six opponents are probably the hardest run any British fighter has faced, and with Ward still to come. They put the UK’s past and current golden boys (Calzaghe, Hatton, Haye, Khan) to shame. Win, lose, or draw the Ward fight, would you say he has already had a superior career to that of Calzaghe? – Jason Member
I agree that Froch has been facing very tough opposition and should be praised and appreciated for doing so. However, he has yet to equal Calzaghe and Hatton in one important regard: Winning the world championship. Of course, should he beat Ward in the “Super Six” final, he will have accomplished just that, as Carl is ranked number two at 168-pounds and Ward is number one.
MORE HISTORICAL ARTICLES
I have been reading The Ring since I was 11 years old and I am 57 at the present time. I really enjoy boxing and your magazine. I have since collected almost every issue dating back to 1927. I am so impressed with the historical articles throughout the decades covered in your magazine, but recently there are very few articles dealing with the history of the sport. Most of the articles are all about current fighters. My wish is there would be more info about the greats of the past. Thanks. – M. McKee
Thank you for your patronage of the years. It’s readers like you who keep us in business. I too enjoy the old-timer articles, and you will be pleased to know that the September 2011 issue (on sale July 26) will include a feature story about Archie Moore by Don Stradley. It is not just the usual run-through of Moore’s life. Instead, it focuses on his acting career, which, for a few years, threatened to eclipse his boxing career.
NO DOUBT TROUT
How close do you think Austin Trout is in cracking The Ring’s top-10 junior middleweights? Granted, his opposition has been weak but his last two opponents, Rigoberto Alvarez and David Lopez, are a step in the right direction. Your thoughts? – Mike Dugo, Lombard, Ill.
Trout debuted at number 10 in the June 12 Ring Ratings update.
ONE WORLD GOVERNING BODY
Hello Mr. Collins,
This new feature sure is a great idea. I hope my question is compelling enough to make it to the initial print.
Every boxing fan’s wish is that there is only one legitimate and respected world sanctioning body to govern the sport. Much like a FIFA (football) or a FIBA (basketball), but with championship policies similar to how The Ring does in determining the world champions. This will produce a legitimate world recognized champion for every division sans any of the highly politicized and sanctioning fee driven organizations from Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, and Jersey. How can this be done? – Dennis C., Little Ferry, NJ
I do not think there will ever be the kind of sanctioning body you hope for due to the dishonesty and greed of the people involved in the alphabet organizations and their enablers within the boxing industry. At the risk of sounding self-serving, I believe The Ring’s championship policy is the best hope for now and the future.
Hey Mr. Collins,
I just read Boxing Babylon and loved it! What are your favorite boxing novels/books? — Kenny
Thanks for your kind words about my book. It’s satisfying to know it’s still being read, despite the fact it was published 20 years ago. I have far more favorites than space available, but here are a few that I highly recommend:
• Black Ajax by George MacDonald Fraser
An exquisitely written and meticulously researched novel about the life of Tom Mollineaux, the famous black bare-knuckle fighter who left the USA to seek his fortune in England.
• Dancing Shoes Is Deadby Gavin Evans
Regular Ring contributor Evans grew up in South Africa where he became heavily involved in boxing and anti-apartheid movement. His first-hand account of both is a joy to read.
• The Man Who Fought Roland LaStarza by Joyce Carol Oates
A short story of betrayal with a wonderful O’Henry-style ending. Oates knows her boxing but knows fine writing even better.
IS BOXING JOURNALISM DEAD?
I just graduated from SF State with a BA in journalism and I’m trying to carve out a career. Everywhere I go, people are telling me to get out of the business and that newspapers are dying (hence the switch to electronic form). But I’m curious to see how you think the dawn of the digital age (influx of internet and social media and less print coverage) has impacted objective and authentic boxing coverage. A lot of boxing writing on the web is so bad. And with newspapers hardly touching the sport anymore, that’s been the main medium (with the exception of magazines). Basically, is boxing coverage better or worse today as opposed to the past when there was only print? Best, Alexis Terrazas, Daly City, CA
Yes, the print media is dying, slowly but dying nonetheless, so a career as a journalist is clearly harder now than at any time in the past 20 years. The digital age has been a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it has helped combat the corporate media, which has turned much of mainstream journalism into cookie-cutter crap. But you’re quite correct, much website writing is horrendous. That doesn’t mean all of it is bad. You have to be just as discriminating as you are with any product.
WHAT IF… ?
If the Gerald McClellan tragedy never happened, how do you think his career would have played out? I think he should’ve been to Roy Jones what Marvin Hagler was to Ray Leonard. How do you think Gerald would have fared against Jones? – Bill P., Toronto, Canada
Even if he had not been gravely injured in his bout with Nigel Benn, I think the match showed what it took to beat McClellan: A fighter who was just as tough as Gerald, couldn’t be intimidated, and had the punch, balls, and chin to go toe-to-toe with him.
As far as Jones is concerned, I do not think the jaw that has let him down in recent years is a new phenomena. I believe he always had a weak chin, but until Antonio Tarver caught up with him, nobody had been good or fast enough to test it. If McClellan had tagged Jones, he would have beaten him, but back in the mid-1990s, that was a mighty big “if.”