New York- Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De La Hoya, Evander Holyfield are all inductees in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Supposedly, they were content with retirement . We thought they were content taking on promoter responsibilities or analyzing a fight at the broadcast position.
But boxing has seen a nostalgic twist of sorts and the Hall of Famers are taking advantage as they plan a return to the ring in the next few months. And for a sport with rising stars we should not be talking about Cotto, Marquez, De La Hoya, and bouts that would go under the exhibition category.
Unless the legends need another payday, nostalgia and return of the once and great champions does not do much for me.
However, boxing is infiltrated with nostalgia freaks and fans are into this old timers day as are the promoters because they sell and that means revenue.
This all started in late November. Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. returned to the ring on the initial Legends Triller Fight Club pay-per-view event. Unexpectedly, the pay-per-view reportedly generated over $3 million in revenue.
So with the success of Tyson-Jones, and with it now a market, the legends are coming out of their rooms and returning to their respective corners. Except this is 2021 and nostalgia buffs look at the past as the glory days of boxing.
Boxing is in a new era with rising and young stars. De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, has promotional rights to 23-year old welterweight Vergil Ortiz and 22-year old lightweight Ryan Garcia. Both are on the verge of fighting for titles and have propelled the sport to a new era.
Instead, the 48-year old De La Hoya, with 11 world titles in six weight classes, made it official and will likely return July 3 and headline a Triller Fight Club PPV event.
Cotto, 40 years of age, and first fighter from Puerto Rico to win titles in four weight classes, retired in 2017 after losing to Sadam Ali at Madison Square Garden in New York. Then, Cotto lost his skills and said it was time to go. It was time for a new generation of fighters to gain the spotlight.
And for the most part, Miguel Cotto has been content and promoting some of those upcoming fighters with his promotional company in Puerto Rico.
But he could not sit still. Neither could the 47-year old Marquez who has not fought since defeating Mike Alvaredo in 2014. Marquez is the third Mexican boxer to become a world champion in four weight classes and held nine world championships, including four epic fights with Manny Pacquio the current WBO welterweight champion and first eight-division champion.
They are billing this tentative June 12 exhibition as Puerto Rico vs, Mexico and the fight would be televised on pay-per-view. Also, this was a fight that was supposed to happen when both were in their prime but logistics prevented that from happening.
The key word here is exhibition. De La Hoya, Cotto, Marquez, and all the others will go through the medical requirements and protocols that are standard. They will wear regulation gloves, The fights will not go on record and they can all go home.
But if the nostalgia boxing buff continues to buy into this, and there appears to be a trend with no end, this is only the beginning.
And until further notice, nostalgia and legends will be seen again in the ring. The only hope is everyone comes out of the ring and is safe. The last thing boxing needs is a legend or current fighter sustaining a serious injury that will put a blemish on the sport.
I am not a proponent of this. Many are aware, I am an advocate for boxing safety and have been calling for the establishment of a national boxing commission that would regulate the promoters and assist sanctioning organizations that are filled with alphabet soup of the WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO, and all the others.
The sport needs to place emphasis and attention on those young and upcoming starts like Garcia and Ortiz. There are so many more that have put their name on the map.
Teofimo Lopez is another one. He had that impressive TKO over Vasily Lomachenko last year. Fans gravitate to his persona and ability to stop opponents after unifying the lightweight titles. There are pay-per-view fights ahead for Lopez in a division that has some of the exciting and young stars in the sport.
Edgar Berlanga, New York based from Puerto Rico, is the 23-year old super middleweight. He excites boxing fans and looks to build a 16 fight consecutive knockout streak on a Top Rank/ESPN televised card a week from Saturday.
So , I will say this again. Leave the sport to the young and rising stars. Then again, various teams in MLB have an annual Old Timers day event that gets on the field for a few innings. They relive the nostalgia.
Boxing should do the same thing instead of legends returning to the ring and risking injury that would be detrimental to the sport.
Comment: Twitterr@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
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