by David P. Greisman
I want to be world champion. I want to be seen as the best in boxing. And I want fortune to go with my fame.
I am the fighter. I leave the rest to my team, to my manager and promoter and trainer. You hear me say this after every victory. They line Ďem up and I knock Ďem out.
Except itís never truly that simple.
I want everything to be perfect. I want everything to go my way, for every promotion to cater to me. I have a list of demands longer than a rock bandís list of contract riders.
I want everything but a six-pack of water, chilled, and a bowl of nothing but green M&Mís.
I want the ring to be small when I face someone with much less power than me.
I want the ring to be large when I face someone with far more power than me.
I want 12 rounds for a non-title fight, not 10 rounds, and I want 10-ounce gloves, not eight ounces, and I want the gloves for both me and my opponent to be Winning Gloves, not Reyes.
I wonít take a fight with George Foreman III unless I can get a free George Foreman Grill. Oh, and also an autographed picture of the man himself.
I will not fight without a rematch clause. Or maybe I will not fight unless there is a rematch clause.
I will not fight if there are contractual options. Or maybe I will not fight unless my opponent gives up contractual options.
I want to walk to the ring second.
I want the weigh-in to be even earlier than usual so I have more time to rehydrate. And I want a limit on the number of pounds my opponent can gain after making weight.
I will not fight unless it is in my hometown. Or, barring that, I will not fight unless itís in my home country. Or at least a part of my opponentís country that is easier to travel to should my fans want to come see the fight.
I wonít fight because I refuse to be tested for HIV. In fact, I believe that the burden of proof is not on me to take the blood test every other fighter takes. No, itís the commission that needs to prove that I have the virus.
I want to be able to drink Gatorade in my corner between rounds.
I will not fight unless I have neutral judges. Or maybe Iíd be okay with having one judge from my country, one judge from my opponentís country and one judge from somewhere else.
Oh, and I will not fight if a certain referee is assigned to be the third man in the ring.
I will not fight Chad Dawson because I donít want to ruin yet another prospect.
I will not fight certain fighters because they donít deserve to fight me. Iím undefeated, and they have losses on their record. So instead Iíll fight other fighters who also have losses on their records.
I will not fight certain fighters because they havenít beaten anyone as good as me. I will not fight them until they beat the guys Iíve beaten. And then, after that, I will not fight them because all they will have beaten are my leftovers.
I will not fight unless my fans have more tickets made available to them.
I will not fight Jermain Taylor because Iíve abruptly decided to retire. I actually wonít fight him because my promoter didnít offer me enough money. Iíll come out of my so-called retirement less than a week later.
But even then, I might not fight because Iím being set up to be the opponent to Amir Khan.
Or maybe I wonít fight because Iím waiting for a shot at the title or a big payday. I wonít fight because I recognize that this sport often rewards those who donít stay active and donít have another fight on the horizon.
I wonít fight because I have a back injury, except in reality Iím in the middle of a dispute with my manager. When thatís over, I wonít fight because my promoter owes me money.
I want a catch-weight, a contractual limit that will disadvantage my opponent, a demand he will acquiesce to because I have the drawing power and he canít earn anywhere near as much money without me.
I wonít fight unless my opponent takes part in random drug testing to answer suspicions that started with my baseless accusations. I wonít fight him without this drug testing because I want to clean up the sport, even though I havenít called for similar drug testing to be done on the undercard fighters participating in my pay-per-views, and even though Iíve been on sabbatical for more than a year and havenít exactly been spending that time getting my blood drawn at random times.
I wonít fight because demands that I take a drug test have offended me and are intended to be a mind game and a negotiating ploy. No amount of money, no matter how many millions are on the line, will be worth compromising my principles, even if doing so could mean shutting my accusers up.
Most importantly, I will not fight unless I get more money.
I will not fight without more percentage points in relation to what my opponent is getting. I will not fight if I feel Iíve been low-balled. I will not fight without a bigger cut. I will not fight unless I get what someone else who turned down the fight was offered. I will not fight unless we also have an even split of the television license fees.
It doesnít matter if I actually bring less money to the table. It doesnít matter if Iím coming off a loss. It doesnít matter if Iíve been inactive. It doesnít matter if Iíve not been on television in a while. It doesnít matter that my saying no to this fight means Iíll be sitting on the sidelines even longer.
These complaints and demands donít matter to the fans. All that matters to them is the fights.
That doesnít matter to me. I will not fight.
The 10 Count will return next week.
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. His weekly column, ďFighting Words,Ē appears every Monday on BoxingScene.com.
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