With all the events that took place in 2015, the one take away that this year will leave on the sport is its legacy as the beginning of the era of the A-side. This term was first thrown out by one Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather was describing his status in the sport and pumping up his negotiating prowess against his opponents. No longer is the sport of boxing, one that focuses on sport. Boxing is now a business where a fighter is looking for the biggest advantage. Whether this be a way to gain advantages in purses or fight stipulations, the goal is no longer to prove who the best fighter is. Today’s fighters are more managers and advisers than actual fighters who have a desire to compete.
Danny Garcia and Andre Ward are good examples of this in today as both men earlier in their career did take on challenges such as Garcia facing Amir Khan & Lucas Matthysse and Ward facing the best super middleweights in Showtime’s Super Six tournament. Now these two have an agenda that they have already accomplished enough in their careers and no longer want to seek to challenge themselves. Hopefully with both men moving up a division in 2015 this will change. These two fighters are in their prime and feel like they have paid their dues and no longer need to prove anything as far as their competition. In their view they should be able to take on any opponent without criticism due to their past opponents and fans shouldn’t complain in paying to watch them fight in these mismatches. The precedent set by those before them has brought this line of thinking to the new generation.
Fighters like Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have long paid their dues and have proved themselves as box office draws in attendance and Pay-Per-View. These fighters may be able to pick & choose their opponents and in the case of Mayweather and Pacquiao, who were both Hall of Famers before 2010, it’s sad to see that the fighters of today are turning into spoiled brats.
Now fighters who have not pulled numbers or views at even half of Pacquiao – Mayweather want and feel that they deserve to be paid an enormous amount of money for facing any kind of competition. At this point, Al Haymon may be paying his fighters more, but fans should demand that if these fighters are being paid more they should be fighting more than twice a year. If they fight twice a year, shouldn’t they only be facing top competition? Why are there such an enormous amount of mismatches? The world of boxing is a small world and those in the media are at risk of being blacklisted if they ask the hard questions to fighters and promoters. At this point it’s up to the fans to demand that fighters face top competition and earn their payday. Boxing has a long tradition of seeing its greatest fighters end up broke after making millions of dollars and that is something that does need to change. What also needs to change is the idea of the A-side, a fighter who gets paid more for doing less, we don’t want any more stories like that of former light heavyweight champion Matthew Saad Muhummad, but fans shouldn’t have to watch overpaid champions like Andre Berto get paid millions to face subpar competition.