Pay Inequality In Boxing: Why Is This News Now?


    Julio Garcia

    Over the last few days, my Twitter feed has been filled to the brim on pay inequality for women’s boxers. Many in the boxing community have been speaking out about the disservice that women boxers go through and some on the opposite side offer their rebuttal on why women get paid less. It’s no secret that throughout history in many parts of the word women were treated as second or third class citizens. Hell, it is an ongoing issue in some countries today where the family dog is one step above being a housewife. Women in the workforce are known to make less money. It’s not fair but it’s the way it is in many parts of the world so to hear about the difference in pay between Male and female boxers should not come as a surprise to anyone.

    The average woman’s unadjusted annual salary has been cited as 78% to 82% of that of the average man’s. However, after adjusting for choices made by male and female workers in college major, occupation, working hours, and parental leave, multiple studies find that pay rates between males and females varied by 5–6.6% or, females earning 94 cents to every dollar earned by their male counterparts. The remaining 6% of the gap has been speculated to originate from gender discrimination and a difference in ability and/or willingness to negotiate salaries ( thanks Wikipedia for the info).

    The pay gap in boxing is probably significantly different but it is not just the women that are at a disadvantage. For years the boxing world and television networks have focused on certain divisions only. Example: the junior welterweight division was one of the hottest divisions in the last decade and those fighters made a tremendous amount of money but the guys like Roman Gonzalez and Francisco Estrada were fighting at a lower weight class and putting on better fights but networks would not broadcast them because they figured these smaller guys couldn’t put on a show or fans could not relate to them because of their size.

    After years of being ignored the smaller divisions gained recognition and their pay has gotten better. Now, it is time for the women to get the same treatment but some changes are going to have to happen. Some people suggest that the women should fight the full twelve rounds and those rounds should be three minutes. In all honesty, I think that is a great idea. During training the women train for three minute rounds so with their round time being shorter in the actual fight they get less time to execute their game plan. Hell, in MMA the women fight the same amount of rounds and with the same time per round as the men do. The second thing is marketing. Promoters need to market their female fighters as hard as they do the men or even harder. Do what the UFC did with Ronda Rousey and put them on shows where they will be seen and people will talk about them. Third, the networks have to give us more variety. Seeing the same 3-6 fighters is good for marketing them but we need to see who else is out there. If your fighters have fights that are stinkers and fans aren’t entertained then you’re losing progress that these women have been making.

    I do not understand why pay inequality is making news now. It has been there in front of us this whole time. Some choose to ignore it but it is up to others to speak out on it. There are changes that can be made in more than one area and we all know that change is never easy but most times it will pay off.