Convicted Artist Magazine

Dec 03rd
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tournament-style-boxingI remember being 21 years old and watching the first Boxcino tournament.  It is now remembered as the tourney that launched Acelino Freitas.  It is also the very same tournament that ruined his younger brother Luiz.  Putting in a young fighter with other young tough guys is not done nearly enough (note: there are NO Al Haymon fighters in Boxcino).  However, it does not come without risks.
After Luiz Freitas thoroughly out-boxed Juan Gerardo Cabrera, only to have the tough Argentine walk down his tough shots, and stop him late, the young Freitas never recovered.  Cabrera would go on to be wiped out in 2 rounds by Naseem Hamed.  Just looking at the prospects in the lightweight division, no one is jumping out yet as the big name, and most have losses already.  This is where the stars of tomorrow should come from.  We want to see battle tested fighters, who are amazing, yet vulnerable.
Boxcino is not the only place this is happening.  For all of his trash talking, Hank Lundy seems to always seek out dangerous opponents, and has not been trying to pad a record.  This is why he is routinely rewarded with TV exposure.  Amir Khan may have some embarrassing losses on his record, but it was a result of his being matched tough throughout his career.  In fact, only recently has he stepped back a bit in competition, and he is no better or worse in that case.  Some guys really need the risk of losing to bring out the winner within.  My only question is why is this an ESPN tournament, and not the network TV show.
True, it's a dumb question in scope, as network TV has largely abandoned boxing altogether, and when it does include the sweet science, it is usually to expose unimpressive 'Main Events' fighters on NBC.  However, 'The Contender" nonsense was on a network, at least for a while, while the actual tournaments that yield boxing names, such as Boxcino and the Super Six, saw only cable TV.  Andre Ward saw both his Olympic gold medal, and his cleaning out of the 168lb division, largely ignored by those who were not already boxing fans.  As late great comedian Greg Giraldo once said, "we already had a show to determine the best boxers.. it was called 'boxing'"
I truly hope that more of these tournaments take place, and that the few that have access to CBS and NBC (Main Events, Golden Boy) place them on networks, so that people can get to know these fighters by them doing what they do best: fighting.  Not by inflated drama in a fake reality TV setting.  People who are not watching for the boxing, are not going to keep watching anyway.  The connections are there, the tournaments are setup.  The ducks are already in a row... let's get 'em quacking.

Chris Strait

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