We are quickly approaching the end of 2016. It has been a memorable one with some great fights, one huge loss to the boxing community with the passing of Muhammad Ali, and extreme disappointment. What’s disappointing about it? As a fan, there’s a certain expectation we have of fighters. Those expectations are never fully met, and I will be the first to admit that we fans are greedy, but when we are spoonfed subpar bouts, it is up to us to make a decision.
Cherry picking is a term that gets thrown around a lot in boxing. If you like a fighter you will more than likely flat out deny that is going on. If you don’t care much for a fighter, you will point it out with no hesitation. Sometimes, you will remain neutral whether you like or hate the fighter and call the cherry-pick from an unbias standpoint.
Earlier this year, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez elected to take on England’s Amir Khan. Since the announcement, there was a tremendous amount of backlash he received and rightfully so. His competition has always been called into question as he was seen as an untouchable fighter. Since the Khan fight, Canelo has announced another fight but this time against a lesser-known opponent which has brought about more backlash due to the fact that he relinquished his 160-pound title in order to not face Gennady Golovkin.
One of the people that criticized Canelo the most was Golovkin himself. Golovkin would refer to Canelo as a businessman in search of a higher purse instead do what he should and face his mandatory challenger and the top competition. Golovkin also called into question the fact that Canelo was fighting someone who fought at 147 pounds. It wouldn’t be much longer that we find Golovkin in the same situation.
Golovkin was slated to take on Chris Eubank Jr., but Eubank priced himself out of the fight. Shortly after, it was announced that Golovkin would instead take on Kell Brook who is the IBF champion at 147 pounds. It was a move that shocked too many including myself due to the criticism that Golovkin gave Canelo. The excuse was used that there was no one else out there willing to face Golovkin from the middleweight division so they went with someone who fought two weight classes down. I’m pretty sure there were several fighters at 160 or 154 pounds that were willing to fight him but they were not the name opponent that would produce the kind of revenue that Brook would. That my friends is a business move.
Recently news has surfaced that’s former 160-pound champion Miguel Cotto would likely be taking on Yuriorkis Gamboa who spent most of his career fighting in between 120 to 130 pounds. While Gamboa used to be one of the top names in the lower weight divisions, with his moves up and his inactivity he has failed to impress many. The fight, should it happen is slated to take place at 150 pounds. Quite the jump for Gamboa who has not been successful over 135 pounds.
There are other fighters who are often called into question for cherry picking. Danny Garcia is one of them but having only fought once this year and beating Robert Guerrero he does not qualify for this category at the moment. Roy Jones jr. Is cherry picking for the last fights of his career as he stated he wants to take flight so he knows he can win? Jones is way past his prime so he does not qualify for this category.
As boxing fans, we are left with a very difficult decision. We could allow the fighters to cherry-pick and watch their fights, which might make them think it’s okay to do what they’re doing, or we could not watch which would push people to say boxing is dead, and maybe the fighters will smarten up. After all, we are an important source of their revenue. We are stuck in a position where we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t, but we should speak out at all times, whether we are content or discontent. That being said, 2016 seems to be the year of cherry-picking for the stars.