As a UK fight fan I often glance the BBC as it tends to list upcoming UK fights ahead of the ever brilliant BLH. This week (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/wales/27778543) Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew have had their opposition announced, and looking at their records, its pretty dismal stuff. Two South American club fighters. Alright they've moved up in weight but com'on these two are beyond club level in their careers.
So my point / question is this; Why are UK promoters so completely hooked on exhibition matches against sub par opposition?
Lets look at some fighters;
David Price; hammered the domestic opposition lost his first step up. Never matched to give him 12 round experience, never learned to deal with an opponent he couldn't KO in 3.
Kell Brook; yet to fight anyone of substance, might do soon if we are lucky.
Joe Calzaghe; Got a belt of an aging Eubank, and sat on it in Wales. Took 3 really solid fights; Bika, Kessler and BHop in a 46 fight career.
James De'Gale; Whats he done since Groves? We there is Gonzales now i guess.
Martin Murray; Two world title fights, but those aside just domestic or Monte Carlo unknowns. Although he does have a criminal record problem with the US.
I could probably go on. It seems to me that the strategy for UK promoters is to do domestic then jump straight to world title shot, hope you win, then sit at home on it. There is also a strong tendency to give fighters lots of filler fights against journey men and hype them up. Unsurprisingly our fighters don't seem to develop that well with a few exceptions.
Haye and Froch seem like notable recent exceptions. Froch, by entering the super 6 with his belt, got sucked into a string of international fights and has kept it up since. Haye is a cruiser, which is a euro division and so has fought quite a few euro level opponents. You could also argue that Chisora and Groves haven't been matched too badly. Macklin, Lee, and Khan are all with US promoters and so fight on US bills regularly.
Why is this?
Is it that dealing with American promoters is really tough? Is it that UK fighters need protecting from real threats? Is it that US TV networks don't want to pay for UK fighters that are a threat to US fighters? You would think, that with the cold war and all a fighter like Brook will be and ideal opponent. He is fairly exciting and well rated and comes with no strings attached, and yet he fights domestic exhibition fights and not a lot else. I could see him easily fitting on any of the golden boy stacked cards from the past year or two.