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Some 2022 New Year's Resolutions For Boxing

Around this time of year, ‍‍‍‍‍‍many take time to reflect on the year gone by, and all of it's ups and downs. With those thoughts in mind, it's customary for those looking to improve to set some new goals for the upcoming calendar year.

Seeing as how we are in the beginning of 2022 and boxing is always in a position to improve, now seems like a perfect time to come up with some boxing new year resolutions. Certainly not the most original of thoughts, I assure you.

However, I did my best to make this a relatively unique list and not just a glorified "Fights I'd Like To See in 2022" list. For the most part, I feel I accomplished such a goal.

So, without much more rambling, here are my top 5 resolutions for boxing in 2022.


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‍‍1. ‍‍TEN OR LESS PAY-PER-VIEWS
Boxing is a sport, for better or worse, stuck in its ways. At times, the tradition of it all is what appeals to many of the hardcore fans that stick with the sport. At other times, those same hardcore fans are tortured by the antiquated ways in which boxing operates.

One of the more unfortunate examples of the latter is the pay-per-view system in the United States. Recently, I dug much deeper into the topic, so I'll spare you the details. In cliff notes form: It's too expensive, they happen too often and, thus, too close together, are too easy to steal, and make it hard to grow stars into superstars when you limit the potential audience.

Now, wishing for them to be done with entirely in 2022 is naive, to say the least. What's more, some fights require an extra stream of income based on the particular combatants. Still, if boxing were to find it in its heart to limit the total number of major pay-per-views to less than ten, I could argue that it is a step in the right direction.

In 2021, boxing had over 10 such pay-per-view broadcasts (with the exact number depending on if you count exhibitions and such). Believe it or not, many of these broadcasts were not worthy of being such events in many fan's minds. Seeing as how they are the ones paying, their opinions should matter.

How do I know fans mostly felt this way, you ask? Because the buy rates speak for themselves. While you can look at Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant doing 800,000 buys as successful, don't let it distract you from the fact the nearest other PPV that didn't include a Paul brother managed 200,000 less. That bout being Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 3, which sold in the neighborhood of 600,000.

Beyond those two giant events, every other fight came in at 200,000 buys or less. This is of course looking at only American buys and American pay-pay-views. Everyone from Manny Pacquiao to Gervonta Davis struggled to make a huge splash in terms of raw buy rates.

The point being that you can draw in more fans willing to pay when they have reason to believe the pay-per-view event is special and when they've had a chance to be introduced to the athletes for free (or substantially cheaper) via non-PPV outlets.

That, of course, means less pay-per-views. While we didn't get off to the best start with the Luis Ortiz vs. Charles Martin 2022 opener, here's hopefully that is a blip and not the trend.

2. MORE CO-PROMOTIONAL FIGHTS
While I won't attempt to put a number to the amount of co-promotional bouts of note we saw in 2021, it doesn't feel as though there were enough.

So often as fans, we grow accustomed to assuming certain fights won't be possible as promoter A doesn't work with promoter B. It becomes one of the many hurdles one has to ponder when trying to conceive of match-ups.

It shouldn't always be this way.

Not a single promoter in boxing possesses all the talent, therefore promoters have to be willing to work together in order to ensure the best actually fight one another. It really is that simple.

And why wouldn't this be a good thing across the board? In 2021, as the most recent example, some of the best fights made were fights where more than one promotional outfit was involved. Whether that refers to Tyson Fury (Top Rank) vs. Deontay Wilder (TGB/PBC), or Canelo Alvarez (Canelo Promotions) vs. Caleb Plant (TGB/PBC), when promoters work together, bigger and better fights usually get made.

What's more, not only were they entertaining fights, they were the two biggest events of the year (that, again, didn't include a Paul brother).

Even looking at smaller fights, when you see Devon Haney (Matchroom USA) taking on Joseph Diaz (Golden Boy) or Teofimo Lopez (Top Rank) taking on George Kambosos (DiBella), you realize the health of the sport is reliant upon the cooperation of stables.

Yes, you can build your fighters up or bring them back from a loss or injury against in-house threats. I understand that logic. And, sometimes, you will have the two best fighters at a certain weight in-house and it works out well.

But, more often than not, we need these guys to be at least making an effort to work together. Let's hope we see more of that in 2022.

3. MORE UNIFICATION
And this part sort of ties into my last resolution for the year. When so much talent is spread out throughout multiple promotional outfits, it makes the prospect of unification bouts all the more challenging. Still, it's a challenge worth accepting.

When the best fight the fight, and unify divisions and create some semblance of clarity in the process, you create stars and superstars. You can get a decent following gaming some fans, making them believe a fighter is better than he really is. However, to truly make a superstar, he has to be willing to take some of those real risks.

He can't just pick off titles, he has to face fellow champions and that often means unification. Why? Because you can't really pick and choose if your choice is everyone of note at your weight.

While it's virtually impossible to imagine all 17 divisions (piss off, Bridgerweight) unified, I don't think it's such an ask for a couple of weight classes to tie up all the gold. Lightweight, Jr. Middleweight, Light-Heavyweight and Heavyweight seem easy enough to make this possibility a reality.

Again, this only helps the sport and, if you're a promoter/handler that feels you have the best fighters, you have nothing to lose attempting to make these fights happen.

Really should be that simple.

4. A BONAFIDE SUPER FIGHT
While we were treated to a couple very sizeable fights, many of which I have already mentioned, we didn't really get a truly massive, original contest in 2021.

Yes, Alvarez-Plant did well and should be considered a big fight, but that was more the historical implications of the unification fight than it was Alvarez facing another massive star. Also, we got the third and likely last installment of Fury-Wilder, but, again, we had seen that fight before.

2022 needs to be a year where boxing finally gives us those larger-than-life meaningful fights the sport has been devoid of for the last couple of years.

Granted, boxing seemed to want to save those fights while the world looked to get through a modern day pandemic. Still, the time has to be now for these sort of fights to be made.

And there are plenty that can be made. The most obvious would put Terence Crawford against fellow unbeaten titlist Errol Spence at Welterweight. However, there's also a number of fun fights to be made at Heavyweight.

Obviously any major fight between Alvarez and a sizeable name on the other side of the ring will certainly spark interest. But it would definitely help if it was for total unification with someone at 175 pounds.

Again, we aren't getting greedy here by wanting to see a couple of massive fights each year.

5. CONTINUED UPSETS
One of my favorite trends of 2021 was the consistent line of underdogs upsetting the proverbial apple cart.

The entire year was littered with classic examples of why people love boxing: It's the theatre of the unexpected. At the very start of the year, the fight world began to see a series of prime examples perfectly illustrating such apoint.

In February, Featherweight titlist Josh Warrington relinquished his title and eventually faced Mexico's Mauricio Lara in what was to be a stay-busy encounter until he faced Xu Can for his portion of the gold.

And what did boxing decide to do? First, it gave Lara the green light to absolutely steamroll Warrington in dramatic fashion, until he eventually stopped the Leeds native in the ninth frame. Then, in a fun little list, Can eventually was upset himself by Leigh Wood in July, losing all hope of the Warrington clash.

Want another hint of irony? The title Warrington eventually vacated was ultimately picked up by rival Kid Galahad, who would take hold of the strap when defeating Jazza Dickens in August. And what happened in his first defense of the gold in November? He was upset at the hands of former titlist Kiko Martinez.

If that doesn't tell you how much fun upsets make boxing, I don't know what will.


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Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed the piece. Would love to hear all your thoughts and some of your own resolutions for boxing in the new year. Also, I did release a Fighter Grades piece you can check out here for last week. I will be releasing a new version on Sunday that you can check out as well.

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