Boxing promoter politics continue to frustrate, as hopes of classic bouts such as Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua are thwarted by governing bodies.
2022 has graced us with a number of phenomenal fights, including Katie Taylor versus Amanda Serrano and Dmitry Bivol versus Canelo Alvarez.
However, there is still a risk today that boxing fans will miss out on the biggest and best bouts they are demanding.
A fight that has been discussed for many years is that of Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. – a contest which would see two of the most skilled boxers on the planet put their welterweight titles on the line for pound-for-pound greatness.
Both men have been champions for over four years, so why has the contest not taken place already?
Crawford, until recently, was promoted by Bob Arum and Top Rank and fought on ESPN, while Errol Spence is contracted to Premier Boxing Champions (PBC)
The biggest cross-promotional fights in boxing rarely happen and this is the biggest case in point.
Boxing promoters compete against one another and if they manage spark a deal with another promoter for a fight, it will reduce both parties split considerably.
Boxing, after all, is a business.
The WBO champion is now a free agent, giving boxing fans fresh hope that an undisputed clash with Spence can now finally happen.
In the UK, fans have been starved of matchups such as Joshua Buatsi versus Anthony Yarde, Mairis Briedis versus Lawrence Okolie and most famously, Anthony Joshua versus Tyson Fury.
It seems ludicrous that fights like Joshua versus Fury may not ever happen – the event would be one for the ages.
Deals between Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren are a rarity. It was reported that Warren turned down a career high purse for his fighter Chris Jenkins to fight Connor Benn, illustrating the reluctance of some promoters have towards working together with another promotional outlet.
In 2007, boxing increased the number of World Championship belts to four (WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF), putting more roadblocks in the way of having one face and one champion at each weight.
Becoming an undisputed champion is hard enough, but to hold on to all the belts is even harder when you have to contend with each governing body ordering mandatory challengers.
To keep hold of a belt, a fighter must contest with their mandatory challengers who work assiduously to move up the governing bodies ranking system and earn a shot at the belt. These mandatories can delay or even prevent the big fights from happening.
Former undisputed light-welterweight champion Josh Taylor recently relinquished the WBA belt just as a mandatory challenge was announced. A fight with mandated Alberto Puello would have seemed like a step backwards for the Scot, who is on an impressive run of victories.
With one less governing body to deal with, Josh Taylor can now look to try and make the biggest fights for the 140-pound division.
Similarly, Josh Warrington vacated his world title last year to try and secure a fight against one of the other champions instead of fighting his mandatory challenger. While this did not go to plan for the Leeds fighter, it emphasizes fighters hesitancy to be controlled by the governing bodies.
Boxing fans must command the biggest fights and continue to try and force cross-promotional fights to happen while fighters are at the peak of their powers.
Let us hope promoters listen to the boxing world and we finally see highly sought-after fights like Dmitry Bivol versus Artur Beterbiev and Anthony Joshua versus Tyson Fury.