It's time to get it on
As a tribute to the late Glyn Leach, the former Editor of Boxing Monthly, we are proud to bring his Editorial columns back for you to read again and again on our website. On this occasion we go back to June 1992 and Glyn wanted more 50-50 fights like Benn v Eubank and less one-sided matches.
In terms of results, the period between our last issue and this issue hitting the stands has been successful for British boxing, with our big names doing all that’s been asked of them, by and large, and with only one upset.
But there is no need for the behind-the-scenes prime movers to award themselves any accolades. With the notable exception of Duke McKenzie’s shocking loss of the World Boxing Organisation’s bantamweight title to late-substitute Puerto Rican Rafael Del Valle, the standard of opposition faced by British fighters has been deplorable.
Steve Cruz, who was dismissed in three by WBC featherweight champion Paul Hodkinson in Belfast, had no right to be contesting a world title due to his inactivity and “recent” losing streak; John Jarvis, the 35-year-old American who challenged WBO super middleweight champion Chris Eubank, was clearly past his sell-by-date as well; James Tapisha, blown away in the first round of a Commonwealth light-middleweight title challenge by Chris Pyatt, should not have been allowed to put himself at risk by the Commonwealth Championships Committee (Tapisha’s case is perhaps the most worrying because it was a British-based organisation that sanctioned the fight).
Jose Ribalta, the big Cuban knocked out in two by Frank Bruno, is harder to evaluate. He receives the proverbial benefit of the doubt and his name is not included in the role of dishonour.
But as far as the public are concerned (and remember that most of these fights were seen on nationwide TV), boxing must be looking no different from the Wrestlemania extravaganzas that excite today’s youngsters far more than legitimate combat: where the results in wrestling are predetermined by rehearsal, the results in boxing are now entirely predictable because 50-50 fights are woefully hard to come by on live television. Even the most casual fan knows who will win before the first punch has been thrown.
If boxing is to survive with any credibility, and gain any popularity and respect, the fighters who are regularly featured on live television will have to start facing each other. That means: Eubank-Benn; Bruno-Lewis; and Hodkinson-McMillan.
The public, and the TV companies for that matter, will not tolerate the one-sided matches for much longer, and anyone with a long-term interest in British boxing, who is not just along for the ride, should realise that the sport will die unless it becomes competitive at its highest levels.
You can fool some of the people some of the time …