Howdy and welcome to another edition of Magno’s Monday Rant, the weekly boxing column that longs for the day when sports writers could openly talk about their drinking and womanizing…
It takes a special breed of human being to write, full-time, about boxing.
I hate to burst any bubbles, but there’s virtually no money to be made as a boxing scribe. Even at the major boxing sites, the vast majority are either working for free or making just enough to cover expenses. Literally, there are probably just four or five writers in the entire industry making a real, full-time living from their endeavors.
Those at the major sites can cruise control on the ego boost alone and hope against hope that paid gigs with the promoters, networks, or publicists come along to help pay the bills. Really, could there be any greater magnet for conflict of interest? No wonder most boxing scribes sound more like publicists than journalists these days.
But what about those who stay away from the major sites and choose to do their own thing?
No money, marginal recognition, and just as much, if not more, work than those at the major sites. Toss in a sport that has been marginalized to the point of being on par with high school softball scores in most newspapers, and you get a motley crew of sadists, masochists, and rabble-rousers populating the lunatic fringe of boxing journalism.
And I’m proud to say that I include myself among that lunatic fringe.
Those of us in the independent media do what we do out of a love for the sport, period. Some of us work to improve the quality of the coverage currently provided. Some of us exist to add something missing from the mainstream boxing media. But we’re all working for the betterment of the sport and, for the most part, those who survive are those who are indeed sincere.
The guys at Bad Left Hook, Tim Starks and crew at The Queensberry Rules, Carlos Acevedo at The Cruelest Sport…and, of course, The Boxing Tribune…we are those on the outside looking in. You’ll find quality work, every bit as good as what you’ll find at the major sites, and often better. The difference being that we, alone, are paying our bills and are not being subsidized by promoters and other conflicts of interest.
A guy like Carlos Suarez of Boricua Boxing, who is more mainstream by design and one of the hardest working members of the independent media, as well as the guys at Da Truth Boxing, are also examples of those working outside of the box and fueled by a passion for the sport.
Competition among the sites exists and it’s only natural to want a bigger piece of the virtual pie when it comes to audience, but what we need to realize as voices outside of the mainstream, is that our only chance of surviving and thriving is in cooperation with one another. Just look at the graveyard of ambitious boxing websites behind us that made the mistake of taking on the big guys alone in an effort to be Boxingscene Jr. or Fightnews Light.
The suggestion I offer to my brothers and sisters outside of the mainstream is to be more cooperative with one another and foster an attitude of comradery rather than rivalry. Back when The Boxing Tribune was first starting out, I extended my hand to a couple of sites in an effort to form an Independent Network of boxing news and views. Nobody I contacted would go for it. All of those sites are now out of business.
None of us are likely to get rich from the efforts on our sites alone. Sorry, that’s the truth. Even a working, part-time income would be very optimistic. But we can help the sport and add something real and positive to the dialogue.
And my suggestion for those fight fans looking to be truly informed is to bookmark those sites previously mentioned and cross reference everything you read at the major sites with what’s being said by the Independent Media.
Smart fans are the key to boxing’s survival and you just can’t count on being properly informed by sites who make their money from those they are often asked to cover.
In boxing, as in just about any other business, it always pays to listen to those with nothing to lose from telling the truth and no conflicts of interest mucking up their decisions.
And now a new feature to Magno’s Monday Rant, Insert Whimsical Boxing Reference Here: a weekly look at the sublime, subliminal, and downright ridiculous:
— How bad is a fight when even the WBF refuses to sanction it? The World Boxing Federation has refused to sanction the proposed Evander Holyfield-Brian Nielsen title farce in May. The reason for the dis? Nielsen hasn’t fought in about nine years. Who woulda thunk that the WBF would have more scruples than the WBA, who just sanctioned an interim title fight with an fighter whose opponents’ collective record was 4-15-3 and the California State Athletic Commission, who just gave the green light for an undefeated prospect to meet a guy who hasn’t scored a “W” in about seven years?
— WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcárcel took a swipe at Jose Sulaiman and the WBC earlier this week, pointing to a potential falsehood in the way the WBC represented themselves when formally stripping Manny Pacquiao of the WBC jr. middleweight title. Valcarcel even managed to toss around the term “credibility” when criticizing the rival organization and their actions.
— Tomasz Adamek’s battering of Kevin McBride has been moved from its original date of April 23rd to April 9th out of respect for Adamek’s Catholic fan base and their possible objection to a prize fight scheduled for Easter weekend. I guess one crucifixion per weekend is enough.
— Former heavyweight champion, Siarhei Liakhovich (spelling, please), has just inked a deal with Main Events. Liakhovich, who was once considered a fairly serviceable top 10 heavyweight, fell apart following his 2006 TKO 12 loss to Shannon Briggs and hit the wall faster than Jennifer Love Hewitt. “The White Wolf” from Belarus has only fought three times since the Briggs loss.
— Good News/Bad News from the retired boxer front: Winky Wright is continuing on with his comeback, fighting Corey Cummings on March 12th…but…Fernando Vargas has had to postpone his own April return due to a case of pneumonia and bronchitis. I’ll let you decide which is the good news and which is the bad news.
— Finally, a bit of shameless self-promotion, but give my feature: Montiel-Donaire and the 5 Biggest Little Fights Ever a read. It’s about some of the great action that has taken place at 118 and below. The little guys never get the attention they deserve and I’m hoping for a war this Saturday so we can get back in the business of hyping some of these lower-weight talents.
That’s all this week, see ya next Monday…
Paul Magno can be heard as the automated voice of Provo, Utah’s Health and Racquetball Club as well as the voice of “Timmy the Tick” in “The New Adventures of Davey and Goliath.” Paul is a full member of The Burger King Kid’s Club.