Boxing bout bid bombed

Duco Events has withdrawn their bid for Government funding for the upcoming Joseph Parker boxing bout. I can’t remember the name of his proposed opponent, and I have no idea where the bout fits into the tangled web of world boxing championships titles.

Duco co-owner David Higgins said issues around the funding bid had become “political dynamite” and there had been a lot of criticism on social media.

Perhaps they misjudged public sentiment about boxing. Two people trying to hammer shit out of each other has gone out of fashion as a sport. And public sentiment about corporate handouts is a bit shaky too..

It certainly looks like Duco either hadn’t done much homework on what sort of even qualifies for ‘Major Event’ funding, or thought that their event would be looked on differently than the type of events that usually queue up for years to get a bit of financial assistance.

I suspect that while some in Cabinet support the event that some were also quite averse to giving a handout to an event that may have lasted for half an hour, or may have lasted for half a minute, and would have had far more than half their voters giving them a major ear bashing.

Perhaps the bid was never expected to succeed in getting a handout – it has succeeded in gaining some more publicity for the bout.

Talking about the bout, can anyone explain where in the boxing ‘championship’ pecking order this bout is? I have no idea, and I must admit I’m barely interested.

Bob Jones scorns funding of fight

Bob Jones, a long time boxing fan and in the past a mentor of Joseph Parker, is scornful of attempts to secure Government funding for one planned bout.

Newshub: Backlash over Duco efforts to get Govt money for Parker clash

Duco wants funding from what’s called the “Major Events Fund”.

“Oh crap it ‘put us on the map’,” says Sir Bob. “Let me tell you, this year there’s been numerous world heavyweight title fights. Is Chechnya on the map because they conducted one?”

“The Government should have nothing to do with this whatsoever. It’s nonsense. It’s a fraud.”

In any case there may be no funds available, as the Major Events Fund is committed for the next two years.

And it’s highly questionable whether one boxing bout could be termed a major event.

If the Government manipulates funding to give Duco a handout it would be controversial, in part because Parker is related to Judith Collins.

Jones is not just scornful about this attempt to get a handout, a few months ago he heaped scorn on modern boxing.

NZ Herald: Bob Jones: Boxing world a disgraceful circus

The meaning of the word “champion” is hardly debatable, thus there can only be one. Yet at any given time today there’s as many as six supposed world champion claimants in each weight division. Here’s the background as to how this absurdity arose.

World championship boxing in the eight original weight divisions from flyweight to heavyweight, became firmly established in the early 1880s. Despite no world governing body, there was never any dispute as to who the champion was, he being the boxer who won the title by defeating the existing champion.In 1922, New York journalist and boxing historian Nat Fleischer launched Ringmagazine.

Fleischer invented ratings, a practice which extended first to other sports and subsequently spread to every conceivable activity. Ring magazine became boxing’s bible, its integrity and ratings unquestioned, and remained that way for a further decade after Fleischer’s death in 1972, despite the advent of numerous rival periodicals.

In the 1960s, it was accepted the eight weight divisions had too wide a range spanning lightweight, welterweight and middleweight and two new divisions, light-welterweight and light-middleweight were introduced.

Championship fights were always huge global events in each division and their title-holders were frequently household names. Compare that with today’s scene with nearly 100 boxers claiming to be the world champion in the now absurd 17, largely contrived, weight divisions.

This ludicrous situation arose through satellite television which turned boxing into an incredibly lucrative sport for boxers and television channels.

In response, in the 1980s opportunists formed purported world governing bodies, referred to cynically as the alphabet soup by aficionados.

The World Boxing Council (WBC), the World Boxing Association (WBA), the International Boxing Federation (IBF), the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) and many others sprouted up. By 1990 a dozen such organisations existed who claimed to be the world governing organisation for boxing.

Essentially, they were motivated by profit, charging promoters “sanctioning fees” to “recognise” their contests as either championship fights or, as with the Parker-Carlos Takam bout, mandatory challenge bouts. The financial benefits were further enhanced by insisting that their members be given judging and refereeing roles and their travel and hotel costs be met and they paid fees.

All of this was at the urging of television channels who wanted audience-pulling championship fights. To compound their earnings through more championship bouts they created an absurd seven further weight divisions, some with only a few pounds differential. Their greed did not stop there.

Next, they created dozens of different imaginary championships such as Pan Atlantic, Asian-Pacific and such-like nonsense. Thus once coveted world championship boxing events became meaningless with every contest, no matter how insignificant, being labelled as some sort of championship bout with a cheap ornate victor’s belt being brandished for the winner.

All of these outfits issued ratings for each division, often bearing little relationship to each other. It was no secret that one could buy oneself a ranking. How else do you think Joseph first cracked it?

After Lennox Lewis retired in 2003, Ukrainian, Vitali Klitschko was universally accepted as the heavyweight champion.

Over the subsequent decade he successfully defended the title against allcomers, retiring in 2012 to run for the Ukrainian presidency albeit, to avoid vote-splitting with the other major pro-West liberal candidate, eventually withdrawing and instead becoming mayor of Kiev.

Following his retirement his young brother, Wladimir (known as Dr Steelhammer – he has a PhD, as has his brother), was widely and rightly accepted as the world champion as he also had also beaten all major contenders.

Last year, Vladimir, now 40, lost the title in a shock upset to England’s unbeaten Tyson Fury.

Then on flimflam grounds the IBF declared the title vacant and nominated two relative novices to fight for the vacant championship. The winner, American Charles Martin (by an injured knee, which says it all) was then lured to Britain to defend his bogus championship against Anthony Joshua.

Joshua, the London Olympics gold medallist, is a much-loved British sporting figure who is undefeated, although like Joseph, mostly against poor opposition. But the fans happily bought into it and filled the 02 Arena to watch him easily dispose of the hapless Martin in just over a round. In doing so they deserted their own true world champion, Tyson Fury, never popular for being from the despised traveller group.

Joseph Parker is highly talented. I discerned that in his amateur days and put him on the payroll, thus enabling him to fight all over the world before eventually turning pro. But he and his team should be patient. He is not a huge puncher and constantly fails to use his best weapon, namely his jab. His No1 IBF ranking is farcical.

He would at best rate 15th in the world. At 24 he has time on his side and should be taking learning fights against better quality opponents and not the Solomon Haumonas of this world.

At the moment, he could not foot it with the real top level heavyweights and should steer clear of them for a couple of years, when he doubtless will be able to. Sadly, it appears this won’t happen.

I don’t follow boxing but one thing has seemed quite odd about the title conjecture surrounding Parker – there is usually an absence of American fighters mentioned. They used to dominate world boxing championships. Perhaps they still do – different ‘championships’ to those that Parker is being positioned for.

It seems farcical that the Cabinet would even consider a Parker fight as a ‘Major Event’.

Investment criteria

Event organisers seeking investment will be required to show evidence that the event will significantly and measurably impact on the following areas in the immediate and long-term:

  • Tourism revenue e.g. will attract international visitors and expenditure to New Zealand.
  • New Zealand brand promotion e.g. opportunity to showcase New Zealand through international media.
  • Business and trade opportunities e.g. investment and export opportunities created.
  • Increased participation in sports, arts or culture e.g. growth in participation and high achievement in event field.
  • Increased employment opportunities e.g. short and long-term employment created by the event.
  • National identity and pride e.g. opportunities to celebrate New Zealand culture and heritage and include local communities in event delivery.
  • Event sector capability e.g. building additional event governance, management and delivery skills.

An event is unlikely to receive support if it:

  • Requires an investment in offshore international rights fees, which is disproportionate to the economic returns to New Zealand from hosting the event;
  • Generates benefits primarily to the region in which it is hosted i.e. does not generate national benefits;
  • Does not allow for sufficient time (ideally two years from the application date) for the event to develop and deliver a significant leverage and legacy plan and/or enable the government to leverage the event for wider government objectives

Two months would appear to be far from insufficient time.

Beehive insiders are saying there are concerns about the perception of putting up taxpayer money for a fight Duco would make money off and Sky would charge for.

They should have concerns about more than that.

State shouldn’t fund boxing bout

Newshub reports: Revealed: Top-level Cabinet talks over funding Parker fightRevealed: Top-level Cabinet talks over funding Parker fight

The Government have held discussions at the top level about putting up taxpayer cash to keep Joseph Parker’s world heavyweight title fight in New Zealand, Newshub has learned.

A request from event promoters Duco for a cash subsidy was discussed by ministers at their weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce put it on the agenda, after talking through the application under the ‘Major Events Fund’ – with officials from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment in the morning.
Steven Joyce outlined one potential condition: that if Duco, a private company, makes a profit, it would have to pay the taxpayer back.
“It depends on the agreement that we sign,” he said.<
“That is something that we could consider in this instance – for example, in the Under-20 World Cup they made some money and some of it was returned to taxpayers [and] some of it was returned to promotion of the football code in New Zealand.
“We’re just literally not interested in funding somebody just because they turn up and ask for it – it’s got to be about something that otherwise wouldn’t happen. We’re not interested in just paying somebody for an event that they’re already going to run.”

I don’t think taxpayer money should go towards a fight like this, or towards any fight. A ‘sport’ based on trying to bash someone senseless and virtually guaranteed to inflict brain damage shouldn’t be encouraged, and certainly not with public money.

And boxing championships have become a confusing farce haven’t they? Who is the current world heavyweight champion? I have no idea and don’t care. It’s a mug’s game.

Parker seems a decent sort of guy, but taxpayers shouldn’t finance and attempt for him to make money out of bashing someone. His sport is well past it’s use-by date.