When the clock strikes midnight on Friday, we will be introduced to yet another year on the calendar. Boxing isn’t hesitating and will bring you an event on the first day of the year. This article isn’t about that but what Boxing’s New Year’s Resolution should be.
When thinking about that question, I also have to consider what is realistic and not something that cannot be done due to the politics in the sport. For me, Boxing’s New Year’s Resolution should be the fight between Errol Spence Jr (27-0) and Terence Crawford (38-0). This has passed the expiration date, but like buying stolen milk from the factory in the Bronx back in the day, it’s still good for a few more days after it expires.
Those “few days” are the end of this year, 2022. If it doesn’t happen this year, it will never happen. I think Spence v Crawford gets made and before we pop the bottle of champagne to celebrate 2023, we will all be discussing how intense Crawford v Spence was.
I reached out to the NYF crew and asked them straight up, what should Boxing’s New Year’s Resolution be?
I’m not a resolution kinda guy, but since I was asked, and I’m not a rule follower, I’m gonna hit you with three.
1) An end to exhibition fights.
Really, this one is in our power. If we can simply stop taking interest in the bearded lady at the carny, the dancing bear at the circus, and the guy who can fit his torso through the head of a tennis racket, this bullshit will all go away. No more Jake Paul, no more grey-bearded has beens, no more humiliations of legends (fucking hell, Evander). It’s our responsibility to end this farce by no longer providing it with audience. Shame on us if we don’t.
2) Let women boxers fight three-minute rounds.
The ladies version of the sport is absolutely ready for more. It’s high time the governing bodies release themselves from the Stone Age and let the fighters decide. They have, ya know. Most female boxers (Claressa Shields, Mikaela Mayer just to name two) want to be treated the same as men. As long as their fights are treated like the candy at the supermarket (the thing you go home with but didn’t come to the grocery store to get) they will continue to be marginalized and underpaid. (Click HERE for the full article by the Cap’n on the topic.)
3) Crawford vs. Spence would be nice too.
I was thinking recently about the year that was in boxing in 1997. It's been 25 years since that memorable year for the sport. For my New Year's Resolution for the sport in 2022, I want to go back in time to take something from 1997.
My first thought was having a superstar fight five times in a year like Oscar De La Hoya did in 1997. Honestly, that is probably extremely unrealistic at this point in time.
But what I really loved about boxing in 1997 was the consistency of good television-quality fights that were produced in that year. It all started and ended with the greatest series in the sport's history, HBO's Boxing After Dark.
For 2022, I would like to see someone in the sport replicate the Boxing After Dark concept. Let's start with a monthly series (looking at you, DAZN) of simply quality competitive fights. This does not require big names to be successful, but fighters from this series could certainly spring into being a star someday. This would also need a good, proven matchmaker, like Roberto Diaz who is at Golden Boy.
This concept works. Fans will tune in if done correctly.
We are seeing way too many cards stuffed with mismatches from top to bottom. I understand building a fighter, but in order for the sport to grow, the consistency of quality televised fights is needed to get the fans to watch. Bringing back the Boxing After Dark concept in 2022 would go a long way to helping the sport grow.
While 2021 was a great year for boxing, there is always room for improvement. This year, boxing's number one resolution should be to impose stiffer penalties for boxers who fail drug tests. One of the most talked-about stories in 2021 was Oscar Valdez's failed drug test.
Valdez was riding the “superstar” train after a stunning victory over Miguel Berchelt earlier that year.
Valdez tested positive for the banned substance phentermine in the weeks leading up to his next fight. Unfortunately, Valdez wasn't penalized for this infraction. The WBC didn't strip him of his title, didn't fine him, and he was allowed to defend his title against Robinson Conceicao.
Boxing failed on so many levels by not punishing Valdez. Boxing's negligence essentially said, “it's ok to cheat,” without actually saying it. At least that's what fighters who use PEDs heard. Boxing has to do better in 2022, and they need to start imposing consequential punishments on fighters who fail drug tests. Especially in a sport that is inherently dangerous to its athletes.
For me, I have a hard time un-linking “the boxing world” with “the real world,” so the inquiry about Boxing New Years Resolution, ok, that is a harder ask today than in years past.
I think keeping it simple is wise course for me right now, because there's plenty enough complexity and uncertainty in the air.
So, that means resolving to try and do the right thing, always, as much as possible. That means employing the common sense golden rule of existence: Do unto others. That can be more of a challenge when you are operating in this space.
The boxing biz is an “every man and woman for themself” construct, and that sure does include the realm of covering boxing. So, in 2022, I resolve to continue to concentrate on not being a dick. I've been improving in that regard, arguably, by limiting time spent arguing with strangers on the internets. Resolutions most often consist of things we wish to see change, right? Changing our BMI is an all time greatest hit…But I think MAYBE a better choice is bigger picture goals:
Be decent, choose kindness when you have the chance to go Napalmic or not. Keep hope alive and don't cave in to negativity and moping encouraged by doom scrolling. Perhaps see the calendar shift as a propulsion mechanism: let's work together on things, in boxing and outside of this curious milieu, to lift each other up.
My Three Cents
As we close out the year, I want to personally thank everyone for reading and sharing the articles posted on the site. The NYF crew works hard to consistently put together their best work for you, the reader, without being behind a paywall. We will continue this trend into 2022 and look forward to engaging with you on social media or seeing you at the fights.
I hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!