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Dec 14th
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Home Boxing OK, NOW WHAT??
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OK, NOW WHAT??

 

hopkins-ward-rigondeauxThere are great victories in boxing which open the door to wealth, fame, and adulation.  There are also great victories in boxing that lead to layoffs, lack of opposition, promoter/manager issues, etc.  Not to be negative, but I think some plan of action needs to be taken prior to a big win.  It is not in the nature of a fighter to look past an opponent.  Well, it may be in their nature, but they are encouraged not to do so, or at least pretend they are not doing so.  Many a fighter are also not known for thinking through to end game anyway.  Warriors must live in the moment.  Managers should prepare for the best and worst case scenarios, so that fighters are not forced to be punished for that which they should be rewarded.  Here are a few examples of an "ok, now what?" situation.  Forget the Fabrice Tiozzos and Guillermo Jones' of the world.  The were mis-promoted after winning belts, but they are Don King fighters, and had to know that inactivity is part of the game in the situation.  Here are three fighters who have had recent great performances, and really nowhere to go from there for the foreseeable future.

Andre Ward - Yes, there is money in a Froch rematch, but nothing to prove, and a big risk of being robbed.  It almost happened when they fought in the US... imagine the guaranteed screwing he'd get in the UK.  He's bested all challengers at 168 and toppled the man at 175.  He can't make any other weights, and while his injuries are buying him time, they have cost him two big money fights.  Pavlik and Bute likely would have succumbed to Ward to the tune of nice dollars, yet when injuries sidelined Ward... Bute took the path of least resistance (or so he thought), while Pavlik outright retired.  It doesn't help that the developing talent in both divisions are moving at an even slower pace.  Rodriguez, Dirrell, even Taylor's comeback.  Nobody seems that anxious to do anything real at 168.  At 175lbs, Shumenov and Pascal don't fight anymore.  Cloud has been exposed in his last 2 fights.  Cleverly is active,  but actively avoiding any real opposition.  His Dawson victory was grand, but where does he go from here?

Guillermo Rigondeaux - His win over Donaire turned the upper 5 pound for pound rankings on it's ear almost as suddenly as Marquez's right hand, but Marquez has many lucrative options awaiting him.  Rigo may have to settle for a year or two of a victory dance.  He has only had 12 fights, but it is in his early 30's, so he may already be a few fights away from retirement.  His win over Donaire may be enough to ensure the hall of fame if he follows it up with dominance, but I don't see what other choice he would have.  Abner Mares is the only name there, but he is Golden Boy, and running up to divisions higher and opponents easier.  Darchinyan might make him some money, but not really be a challenge.  Maybe the long amateur career doesn't need to be followed up by a long pro career.  Have 15 fights, win belts in a couple divisions, and retire.  Looks like the plan for Zou Shiming.  Maybe Rigo can test it out.

Bernard Hopkins - B-Hop is doing what he has done for the last several years... following up a historic performance with a 'so-what' fight.  Nobody needed to see him against Carl Daniels after Trinidad, Dawson after Pascal, or now Murat after Cloud.  His career keeps going for one simple reason.  He doesn't want to end if he's still winning, but he doesn't want to finish on a loss either.  This makes for an awkward situation.  He wants no part of Dawson again, Kovalev, or Ward.  Beating Cleverly, Murat, or Shumenov would prove nothing, except he can collect and keep shiny new hardware.  Besides, Cleverly and Shumenov are just Tavoris Cloud with less pop.  You can always come back at 50 and win a cruiserweight belt, Bernard, but trying to stay active is making us yawn.

Chris Strait
www.convictedartist.com

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