On Saturday, December 10th, boxing returns to Washington, DC when IBF and WBA Lightwelterweight Champion Amir Khan puts his belts on the line against American Lamont Peterson. It’s not the match that most fans of boxing wanted to see, and the match isn’t receiving the usual attention associated with an Amir Khan fight. This, along with the recent fights of Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr illustrate one of the things that is wrong with boxing today.
Khan, Alvarez and Chavez Jr are three young guns that are entering the prime of their careers. All have very strong support from a growing legion of fans that have made them very hot commodities in the world of boxing.
Khan won an Olympic Silver Medal for England, and is of Pakistani descent and a Muslim. He has already reached iconic status in the UK, and if he could capture the imagination of the Muslim world, Khan might be marketable to more people than Manny Pacquiao.
There has been a lot of talk, mainly from Khan about big fights and becoming the best in the world. He called out Timothy Bradley, the top light welterweight out there, but Bradley was in the midst of issues with his promoter and an agreement couldn’t be reached. Khan immediately switched the rhetoric to be about fighting Floyd Mayweather. After all was said and done, the fight with Peterson is the one that was made, which is not going to silence the critics that think Khan benefits from very favorable matchmaking.
Mexican star and WBC Light Middleweight Champion Saul Alvarez is a similar story. His handlers are bringing him out in carefully planned matches, and they have done a good job because he is arguably the most popular fighter in boxing hungry Mexico. His most recent fight was this past weekend, where he KO’d Kermit Cintron in 5 rounds.
This is all after talking about fights with Miguel Cotto, Sergio Martinez, or even an all Mexican superfight with Chavez Jr. His last three opponents are the waning Cintron, the smaller, outclassed Alfonso Gomez and lightly regarded Ryan Rhodes, which is not going to silence the critics that think Alvarez benefits from very favorable matchmaking.
Chavez Jr clearly has the pressure of continuing the legacy of his father, who is widely considered Mexico’s greatest boxer. When he won the WBC Middleweight Title, Chavez talked about big fights. Sergio Martinez, one of the top 3 lb for lb fighter sin the world, was even there to issue a challenge.
Instead he signs to fight Peter Manfredo Jr, who though game, did not prove to be too stern a test as Chavez dispatched him in the 5th round. The match is not going to silence the critics that think Chavez benefits from very favorable matchmaking.
See my theme here? These young guys need to step up and do some of the fights they talk about so easily. And the promoters and the interested parties that influence these young men have got to stop putting up roadblocks that prevent fights the public wants to see. I think that if and when any of these three fighters actually does a serious fight, that more money than ever would be made.