MUCH like an unruly baby, boxing, in terms of making fights, tends to unexpectedly complain of selective listening to. Usually, it hears solely what it needs to listen to and acts accordingly. It refuses to do because it’s advised and can as an alternative act on a whim, doing no matter it’s that makes it really feel good at any specific time. Usually this results in mismatches, in addition to rematches no person requested for.
Mismatches, it’s true, will eternally be part of the game’s cloth, not solely throughout a prospect’s journey but additionally through the journey of a so-called “world” champion whose intention is to maintain maintain of the belt moderately than danger creating some kind of legacy. Simply as irritating as a mismatch, nevertheless, are rematches no person requested for and no person, save for the defeated fighter, wanted to witness a second time – or, within the case of final yr’s shambolic heavyweight combat between Tyson Fury and Derek Chisora, a third time.
That, sadly, was maybe the mom of all pointless fights. We knew this entering into after which acquired affirmation on the night time when Chisora, for all his bravery, did not land a glove on Fury via the ten rounds they shared. Annoyingly, along with being a combat no person needed to see, it was a combat that may have benefited no person concerned, apart from perhaps financially, which, one might argue, is exactly what offers a pointless combat a degree.
Nonetheless, as regrettable because it was, it occurred and that’s all there may be to it. (Solely Chisora, the one seduced by the payday, should sooner or later decide up the tab.) We are able to most likely say the identical concerning the two fights Devin Haney and George Kambosos shared final yr as effectively. The primary of these was uninteresting and one-sided, whereas the second, contracted and due to this fact unavoidable, was pointless within the excessive, merely a replay of combat one.
Which is what a foul rematch is: repetition. It’s repeating one thing no person requested to see once more on the off likelihood that it is going to be both higher than final time or produce a special end result. The will to have one other go is smart from a fighter’s perspective, naturally, for they all the time imagine they’re higher than they’re – need to, the truth is – and can, till the day they retire, by no means hand over hope of successful. But, from the surface, when already granted proof, it’s typically exhausting to know the worth of a rematch clause past merely the necessity for management and a top-up payday.
Take, as an illustration, the proposed rematch between Chris Eubank Jnr and Liam Smith. That was nearly as good as confirmed on Valentine’s Day and can presumably materialise later this yr, simply months after Smith stopped Eubank Jnr fairly decisively inside 4 rounds in Manchester. It’ll, due to the names concerned and the dramatic nature of their earlier combat, little doubt garner loads of consideration and perhaps even do some respectable pay-per-view buys. Nevertheless, given neither Smith nor Eubank Jnr have been world champions earlier than combat one, it could possibly be argued that Smith, in beating Eubank Jnr the way in which he did, shouldn’t truly need to grant the loser a rematch.
By doing so, in any case, Smith runs the chance of not solely undoing his good work in February but additionally spending your entire yr getting ready for and combating only one opponent. That, for Smith, could be okay when taking into the account the cash concerned. But, at 34, one wonders whether or not his ambitions stretch past the world of Chris Eubank Jnr. Certainly, with the WBO just lately ordering Janibek Alimkhanuly to defend his belt towards Smith, it might be fascinating to know which of the 2 fights Smith, have been he not contracted to rematch Eubank Jnr, would moderately take: the one which constitutes going over previous floor for an honest wedge of money or the one that gives him the possibility of turning into a two-weight WBO champion.
Smith isn’t the one one caught, thoughts. This week former WBO girls’s middleweight champion Savannah Marshall gave a weird interview to Sky Sports activities throughout which she each acknowledged her intention to have a rematch with Claressa Shields and blamed a earlier loss towards Shields, final October, on the sport plan concocted by her coach, Peter Fury. Listening to her speak, it was exhausting to come back to phrases with (a) the convenience with which Marshall had handed the buck and (b) how assured she was of beating Shields, somebody who had dominated her final yr, in a rematch.
The cynic, after all, will say pre-fight confidence and the pursuit of a payday are interchangeable ideas in a sport like boxing, which is normally true. Actually, for Marshall there isn’t a larger combat than a Shields rematch and this she may have by now accepted. It’s doubtless why she has as soon as once more taken to promoting the rivalry and why, in that very same Sky Sports activities interview, she talked about eager to combat at St James Park earlier than reminding us all the truth Newcastle United, the workforce who play there, at the moment are Saudi-owned.
Anyway, if these are the rematches few of us want, consider those that might slip away. Consider the truth that Leigh Wooden and Michael Conlan could by no means combat once more, regardless of the thrilling nature of their 2022 “Struggle of the Yr”, and that Wooden could now as an alternative chase a return with Mauricio Lara, who stopped him in seven rounds on February 18. Suppose, too, how Jack Catterall should have felt when Josh Taylor withdrew from their proposed rematch in March due to damage and shortly after that turned his consideration in direction of a combat with Teofimo Lopez, leaving Catterall confused and the remainder of us fearing Taylor vs Catterall II could be destined by no means to occur.
We should always maybe count on it by now, I suppose. That is boxing, in any case; the game that on Christmas Day would retailer a Haribo ring inside a Tiffany field simply to see the look of disappointment on the recipient’s face upon opening it.