By Cameron Buford, Whatsgoodinsports.com
Gone are the days of legendary fighters like Sugar “Ray” Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, and Roberto Duran all fighting each other for boxing supremacy; however, what we see now in boxing are remnants of the Floyd Mayweather era. In the current state of boxing, Floyd Mayweather created the blueprint for becoming rich and famous in boxing, and many would say to the detriment of the sport. Many boxers try to emulate Mayweather’s plan, and many have become more interested in protecting their record and going undefeated rather than fighting the best fights for fans and the sport of boxing.
One cannot argue with the success of the formula Mayweather and his camp have executed in his career. He has no problem verbalizing how successful their plan has been. Yet, it has left a generation of boxing fans yearning for more.
In recent years, we have seen more fighters interested in fighting the best fights possible at the time. Not only for bragging rights but boxers today truly want to prove they are the best in their respective weight classes. Boxing fans are enjoying this renaissance, if you will, from a generation of boxers who have breathed life into a sport many said was dying.
Recently we have seen a couple of unification bouts, with a major one looming over the boxing world that has garnered the boxing world’s attention. The problem in the past was that boxers would rather keep their championship belt rather than challenge another champion for their belt. Boxing fans are now enjoying this recent show of nerve and confidence from a new generation of boxers.
Devin Haney recently beat George Kambosos to become the undisputed Lightweight Champion. This was not long after Kambosos beat Teofimo Lopez for the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and The Ring lightweight championship belts. This was after Lopez, shocked the world, by taking the belts from the long-time champion, who lorded over the division, Vasily Lomachenko.
Jermell Charlo recently beat Brian Castano to become the undisputed champion in the Light Heavyweight division. Unlike some young fighters, it just so happens that Canelo Alvarez, who has been the face of boxing since Mayweather “retired,” has elected to avoid Charlo or David Benevidez, who happens to be another former champion looming in the division.
Multiple division champion Gervonta Davis has moved through various weights classes collecting championship belts and has asserted himself as the face of boxing. He will soon have to meet up with Devin Haney for the crown of the best young fighter in the game. The young, rangy, and explosive Shakur Stevenson, who recently dominated Jermel Herring to become the WBC and WBO World Super Featherweight champion, will also be coming for the claim of the best fighter in the weight class.
Hindering the process of all these fighters fighting in a timely fashion is that many of these guys are working with different promotional companies. PBC, Top Rank, Matchroom, and Golden Boy are the major promotional companies that control the industry. Because each of these companies has plans for their particular fighters, fans don’t get to see the big fights as soon as they would like to see them.
The Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder trilogy was a recent example of competing promotional companies working together to promote a big fight. Another big fight the boxing world is anticipating is that of IBF, WBC, WBA Welterweight Champion Errol Spence Jr. versus WBO Welterweight Champion Terence Crawford. Comparable to the Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder trilogy, competing promotional companies will work in unison to pull this fight off.
Though this is not your dad’s boxing era, this next generation of boxers is learning to do much more with their careers than just fight. To Mayweather’s credit, some of these guys have followed the path he laid of financial independence through brand and promotional company ownership. These fighters’ desire for professional growth is their drive for personal growth and the part we boxing fans tune in to see.
Let your voice be heard by sharing your thoughts on the current state of boxing. Which are the fights you are looking to see, and who do you see as the face of boxing? Let us know your thoughts on the current state of boxing by reaching out to me on Twitter @_voiceofthefans, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also encourage you to forward suggestions on what sport or topics you would like to see discussed in the coming weeks.