Fighters are unique individuals, both simplistic and complex in nature.
On the one hand, they are simplistic in that nearly everything in most fighter's lives will be regimented. Scheduling and upholding that schedule is king.
Athletes in general are habit-forming, but none more than fighters. With everything from preparation to the ring walk right before battle, fighters are particular to a fault. Still, considering the risks, it makes sense that a fighter wants things to be just so, to be a very specific and consistent way.
Where the complexity comes into the fold is that, for all this scheduling and planning, for every second spent going over the details, they are still risk-takers. They are modern-day gladiators that willingly step into a ring and, at times, wage war. They fight and, in many instances, run head first into the fight -- an activity the average human looks to avoid at all costs.
And trying to understand that sense of risk can be hard. That is, until you look a bit deeper into the mind of a fighter.
If you've ever gone to a public gym without much knowledge of exercise and gyms in general, you know the act can feel daunting. You're nervous, you don't want to exude the inexperience that handicaps you.
Now imagine you're going to that gym to get punched in the face.
You're willing to risk being humiliated, you're willing to risk being hurt or beat up. You might get a busted lip, a black eye, a broken nose -- or worse.
Promoters, too, are risk-takers. They spend time and money trying to sell fights in which they hope fans will be willing to invest.
And with the demands of fighters and their purses, promoters can take major losses more often than fans might think. Especially during the building portion of a young fighter's career.
Still, the risks must be taken. The business is effectively one big risk after another. Even sure-things come with embedded chances.
Names as bankable as Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya have all had shows that didn't quite hit their financial goals.
Still, for all the risk a promoter must take, underneath it all, promoters are safety-first specialists. While nothing is certain in the sport of boxing, they want as close to that as they can get. In that sense, they are very simple in nature.
It makes sense. At the highest level of the sport, you have millions of dollars on the line, not to mention your reputation with current and future fighters and broadcasters alike. And at the lowest level, while the raw, numeric loss may be smaller, the impact it has on minor promotional outfits can be catastrophic.
To be fair, that balance of both risk-taker and calculated mover in both fighters and promoters is needed. However, that isn't to say it's always beneficial to the boxing public.
In boxing, at times, risks need to be taken to satisfy the fans, even though business would otherwise suggest you don't have to take that risk.
While you might be able to move fighter A into lucrative fights and big business without fighting fighter B, if the fans are calling for A and B to collide, theoretically, those fights should be taking place. This is a spectator sport and said spectators should have their demands satisfied.
Yet, far too often, those fights aren't made. And what follows is a rush to judgment by fans that one fighter has to be ducking the other.
However, again, look at the make-up of fighters and promoters, the two parties mostly responsible for making or dismissing fights. Again, while both have a bit of safety first within them, it's the fighter that seems most willing to take the risks. When the chips are down, the fighter is the one that is doing all the fighting to begin with.
What's more, athletes in general are typically hyper competitive, none more than boxers. The idea that a fighter would openly avoid a challenge, with the egos that fighters have, is much more far-fetched than the idea that a promoter is simply protecting his or her commodity.
The truth of the matter is that promoters are looking to book as big of a star as they have up against someone they can sell (whether or not he actually has a shot against their superstar fighter) with as thin of an under card as possible. Every so often, you'll get a decent card or a mega fight, but that's the exception, not the rule.
And while it's significantly more entertaining to blast a fighter as a duck artist or as someone avoiding the challenge, the truth is it's far more likely to be the promoter, looking to protect their vested interest.
It gets to the point where promoters are definitely lying to their own fighters to justify not delivering the big fights, claiming the other guys "don't want to make a deal" or "rejected an offer" that was never made. It's obvious when both fighters seem clueless as to what the other side is even referencing, but has no doubt they themselves showed interest.
Why would so many fighters be willing to tell that lie? Especially when, if the other side did make an offer or counter offer or if their own side made such offers, the paper trail could easily be traced. Yet, so very rarely does either side pull out the paper work that would settle this issue.
And fans, rightfully so, are then split as to which fighter to believe. And it will be down to which fighter they end up believing, because, unless it's time to promote a fight, promoters are rarely seen. Fighters are left to tell half stories and fill in details that sometimes make little sense.
The truth is that, as the title implies, the fighters shouldn't be blamed for these fights not getting made. Not most of the time. Most of the time, it's promoters and broadcasters, tying up their investments in deals that make them the safest money while simultaneously serving as a blockade for other prominent fights that might require working with outside sources.
Fighters really are unique, but their approach is usually simple: I'm the best, I want to prove it. Not always, but usually. It's promoters that won't often give them that chance.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed. Love to hear any responses, whether you agree or disagree. Also, if you're interested, you can check out my Fighter Grades for last weekend by clicking here. You can also check out my prediction for Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol by clicking here.