2014 Disappointment of the Year:
New Year is often a time for reflection. In that vein, it is appropriate at this moment to critique 2014 in boxing. What went wrong for the sport? What can it do to improve next year? With no mercy spared, here is our 2014 Disappointment of the Year.
Crappy Pay Per Views
Boxing fans pay to watch their beloved sport, one way or another. If not watching live, we will sit down at home, cosy up to the television, and enjoy the aesthetic violence of it all. The hardcore fan is unlikely to be turned away regardless of how bad the fight is or how much it cost to watch, and that leads on to an issue which has become more pressing this year – pay per view.
Promoters are well aware of exactly how loyal the niche boxing fanbase is. It is devout, and tends to stick with the sport through generations, times happy and sad. The boxing death-knell has been sounded time and time again, often by the same culprits, but those that truly love the sport and it’s courageous participants stick along for the ride.
The prevalence of pay per view threatens, however, to make that niche fanbase that little bit nicher. Stateside this year, the fans have paid through the nose for; Mayweather vs. Maidana 2, Manny Pacquiao vs. Chris Algieri and Saul Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo. Did any of these fights (or their mediocre-to-derisory undercards) warrant paying extra for? I think not.
In England, the same outcry was had when Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew’s rematch was stuck on pay per view. Although the pair had put up an absorbing battle initially, both had lost since, moved up in weight and had yet to fight anyone of real note in fights leading up to the second bout. In fairness, the undercard to this particular show was good, but the main event was not a significant attraction, and to pretend it belonged to the same platform as Froch vs. Groves 2 in terms of demand was ludicrous.
Ultimately, fight fans want fights, not events. Promoters however, want events. It brings in the casual fan and adds luster which, lets face it, means more money. On the back of a year of some appalling pay per views, however, those that promote the sport must make sure that they do not alienate the very fanbase that makes it tick.
Adonis Stevenson vs. Sergey Kovalev no-show
It was a fight everyone was hoping for, and it didn’t come off. Here’s hoping 2015 brings us this clash of heavy-hitting 175 lb behemoths.
The inactivity of Andre Ward and Mikey Garcia
Andre Ward didn’t fight in 2014, while Mikey Garcia fought just once. These are two of the sport’s finest purveyors, and it’s a crying shame we didn’t see more of them this year.