"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."
~Mike Tyson

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Boxing Rant: Boxing Fandom's Underbelly

The Boxing Fan

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In the traditional sense, a boxing "fan" is an informed person who follows the sport closely and does so with a great deal of zeal. These persons will know who's fighting and when, they will spend a great deal of time on social media engaging other fans as well as members of the media, and their breadth of knowledge far exceeds that which is reported on by the large sports networks and publications. More to the point, boxing fanatics tend to watch fighters of all levels engage in combat rather than tuning in just two or three times a year for special events involving high profile fighters.

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Trying to determine exactly what makes one a boxing fan is virtually impossible as there are many different levels and types of fandom throughout the sport. Moreover the definition of a fan is going to vary from person to person as well. It's intellectually dishonest for any one person to claim that someone isn't a "true boxing fan" simply because their definition differs from that of the person with whom they are embroiled. The definition yours truly gave at the beginning of this article is meant to serve as a general definition and it does not take into account the many different types of fans that exist within the boxing universe.

Like all sports, boxing has its fair share of super fanatics as well as fans that exist somewhere in the space between the hardcore connoisseurs of the sport and its casual viewers. There is then the type of fan whom:

  • lacks knowledge
  • is fairly new to the sport
  • is willfully ignorant
  • is seemingly incapable of researching the subject matter they're arguing for/against
  • is woefully and needlessly opinionated
  • engages in self reinforcing delusions
  • interjects his/her political and racial agenda into the sport
While boxing fandom spans a very nuanced and wide spectrum, these psychologically vapid parasites are bottom feeders pandering to the lowest common denominator and to those poor souls whom are interested in boxing but don't yet know enough to know better. Furthermore, these hypocritical dullards not only infest social media spaces with their diseased and ill informed takes on the sport but many of them seek to needlessly politicize the sport and will play the race or gender card when they are cornered and have nothing to substantiate their bullshit.

The New Boxing Media

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Let me preface this next bit by making it clear that I am of the opinion that the internet is a wonderful tool for communication and interaction. Additionally, social media websites like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook allow fans, members of the boxing media, networks, and fighters to interact and engage with one another around the clock. There's never been a better time to be a boxing fan, at least as it pertains to accessing people of importance in the business and interaction with fans all over the planet.

That said, the internet gives idiocy, ignorance, hate, and old fashioned stupidity the tools it needs to not only be pervasive but to thrive and generate revenue as well. Make no mistake about it, there are a great number of superior boxing networks and personalities on the internet but for every Steve Kim, The Boxing Rant, or Michael Montero out there, there's a "Dontae's Boxing Nation", "Thaboxingvoice", or some other misleading and biased media outlet lurking just around the digital corner. Channels such as these not only seem to pop up with an alarming regularity but their incredulous fans help to legitimize them as part of boxing's media.

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There's nothing inherently wrong with fan networks mind you, this scribe sees great value in them and they can be a boon the sport. When a fan network masquerades as a media outlet however and is more interested in pushing agendas or participating in "The Oppression Olympics" rather than promoting journalism, honest writing, and interesting ideas that's where the problems begin. Anybody remember the Ward-Kovalev 2 post presser and what happened there? There were seemingly more fans at that media event than there were actual boxing reporters, writers, and journalists. Rather than behaving professionally many in attendance vocalized their fandom and opinions when they heckled Main Events' Kathy Duva. These vocal and crude dolts are the very people running the types of networks mentioned previously. In this writers opinion, if one can not conduct themselves professionally, one does not belong at an event for professionals.

These types of outlets are the progenitors of dishonesty and give some of the sports biggest cretins a voice. Like it or not these types of channels are here to stay though their fallacies, agendas, and misinformation can be routed with some simple and quick research. Computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc. all make fact checking a very a simple task, at least for those with a mind for such things. Those who desperately want to be a part of boxing's media have no excuse for behaving the way they do and should be held to higher standards. What's that old adage say? "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have?"

The "Adopt A Fighter" Program

Photo: boxrec.com
In keeping with the theme of this piece, we're going to take a look at a phenomenon that's prevalent among boxing's worst fans, aka "The Dummygraph". I call this phenomenon the "Adopt A Fighter" program. The vast majority of participants in this program almost always favor fighters whose skin is some shade of brown and tend to discredit any fighter who might be in line to face one of these fighters, especially if the opposition is fair skinned. They will erroneously and for no good reason assert that the opposition:

  • is devoid of skill
  • is no more than a crude puncher
  • hasn't faced anyone
  • avoids tough or dangerous fights
  • is receiving special treatment
  • only fights bums
Making matters worse for themselves, these racially charged simpletons will often assert these things ad nauseam despite these often being the very traits of the pugilists they favor or admire. Could this not be considered the epitome of verbal diarrhea?

Now that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is, for the most part, retired and Andre Ward fights once a year if these fans are lucky, they have for whatever reason, begun gravitating to other fighters, regardless of their skin color. To digress for a moment, wouldn't it be nice if racists were at least consistent in their hate and bias? At any rate, in lieu of Floyd or Andre, these fans have recently adopted Canelo Alvarez as their new go-to-guy. The moment that Alvarez vs Golovkin was announced my Twitter timeline became littered with absurd and agenda driven comments. After his adoption by this group of fans, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Saul Alvarez isn't the beneficiary of very careful match making, a couple of gift decisions, and being a ginger Mexican. Look, Canelo is a fine fighter and he won't be an easy out for the Middleweight Champion but Canelo isn't on the level that this group of people have temporarily put him on. Conversely Golovkin isn't the simple puncher these people so desperately want and need him to be either.

All things considered, the question of why they adopted Alvarez in this instance isn't clear. Did they adopt him simply because he's not Caucasian and they erroneously believe Golovkin is? Are their identities and ego's so wrapped up in and defined by the color of their skin that they are unable to recognize fighters for what they really are or root for a fighter whose skin color differs from their own? Regardless it's a shameful level of ignorance these people put on display.

In case you're wondering what inspired me to write this article take a look at this piece titled THE UNPOPULAR OPINION: "ADRIEN BRONER IS ALREADY A FIRST BALLOT HALL OF FAMER". After reading this Pulitzer Prize worthy article during breakfast...how could I not get right to work on a piece of my own?

Until next time....

Scott Jarvis is a boxing writer for Split D Boxing. He can be reached on TwitterFacebook, or by email at splitdecisionbox@gmail.com.

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