As much criticism that comes out against the business that gets in the way of some of the most competitive boxing, there is a flip side. Middleweight fighter Andre Ward said it best: “If the only time I get a check is when I step in the ring, that’s not good.” The point he was trying to make was that boxing provides athletes with a much greater opportunity to support themselves & their families than just the actual fighting. Moreover, one’s health is only going to hold up for so long, so fighters ought to make the most of their field. This perspective is certainly refreshing in light of some of the biggest bouts not being made in the name of business.
Ward’s comments were made last year before his return to the ring against Delvin Rodriguez. He was interviewed and questioned about much of the criticism & mockery that Rodriguez threw his way, leading up to their fight. Ward, who fights with the brands Everlast and Jordan brands, seems to be doing sound business. Every boxer not named Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao would be well served to take a page from Ward’s book, as few purses are as big as those that the aforementioned see. Fighters risk a lot to try and outbox another man.
In the not too distant past, former heavyweight Riddick Bowe fought in a Muy Thai bout in Thailand for approximately $100,000. This is not to say that Bowe did not handle his business well, but he certainly did not handle his finances well according to himself. With a career record of 48-1, Bowe claims to have had over 15 million dollars when he, “retired,” something he has essentially had to go back on. This matter is different than boxers simply not fully utilizing what is offered to them.
One can appreciate the opportunism that Paulie Malignaggi acts with. When he is not training, he has taken on roles of broadcasting on Showtime & Fox Sports for Golden Boy Live. He has even narrated certain boxing documentaries for Showtime. With only 2 to 3 fights occurring for most professionals each year, these men must use their status in the sport as much as possible. Perhaps using business wisely would help get some of the politics resulting from overbearing business to stop hindering the competition.
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