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 ‘em up and I knock ‘em out.
Except it’s 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 band’s list of contract riders.
I want everything but a six-pack of water, chilled, and a bowl of nothing but green M&M’s.
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 won’t 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 it’s in my home country. Or at least a part of my opponent’s country that is easier to travel to should my fans want to come see the fight.
I won’t 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, it’s 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 I’d be okay with having one judge from my country, one judge from my opponent’s 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 don’t want to ruin yet another prospect.
I will not fight certain fighters because they don’t deserve to fight me. I’m undefeated, and they have losses on their record. So instead I’ll fight other fighters who also have losses on their records.
I will not fight certain fighters because they haven’t beaten anyone as good as me. I will not fight them until they beat the guys I’ve 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 I’ve abruptly decided to retire. I actually won’t fight him because my promoter didn’t offer me enough money. I’ll come out of my so-called retirement less than a week later.
But even then, I might not fight because I’m being set up to be the opponent to Amir Khan.
Or maybe I won’t fight because I’m waiting for a shot at the title or a big payday. I won’t fight because I recognize that this sport often rewards those who don’t stay active and don’t have another fight on the horizon.
I won’t fight because I have a back injury, except in reality I’m in the middle of a dispute with my manager. When that’s over, I won’t 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 can’t earn anywhere near as much money without me.
I won’t fight unless my opponent takes part in random drug testing to answer suspicions that started with my baseless accusations. I won’t fight him without this drug testing because I want to clean up the sport, even though I haven’t called for similar drug testing to be done on the undercard fighters participating in my pay-per-views, and even though I’ve been on sabbatical for more than a year and haven’t exactly been spending that time getting my blood drawn at random times.
I won’t 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 I’ve 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 doesn’t matter if I actually bring less money to the table. It doesn’t matter if I’m coming off a loss. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been inactive. It doesn’t matter if I’ve not been on television in a while. It doesn’t matter that my saying no to this fight means I’ll be sitting on the sidelines even longer.
These complaints and demands don’t matter to the fans. All that matters to them is the fights.
That doesn’t 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, “Fighting Words,” appears every Monday on BoxingScene.com.
Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to email@example.com
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