Boxing: Corruption in the Sweet Science?Written by Mark Havey
Of course, there have always been rumours of boxers taking dives, promoters paying officials and doctors making steroid use undetectable -
But how much of it is really true?
I spend a lot of time around people involved in boxing and ask alot of questions.
My questions were asked in an interview setting. People are relaxed and open up more in general conversation and, as a result, are more likely to give more honest, straightforward answers.
I won't name names but will share what I have heard on the matter of corruptions.
It's easy to look at a fight like Pacquiao vs Bradley and say those judges must have been paid off. I'm not saying they did or didn't. I simply don't know for sure.
But I don't think they were.
Judges are not blessed with the perfect angel we enjoy as viewers. They don't have access to replays like us or commentary. They call the fight as they see it and sometimes they get it grossly wrong.
Pacquiao vs Bradley was seriously poor judging but I don't believe anything sinister was involved. From what I have heard, this type of corruption never happens in championship fights.
Some judges are looked after my promoters in ways that can be as simple as offering a drink or paying for a meal. It's a way of getting the judges to have more positive thoughts towards one side. This can be helpful in close or even rounds.
Doctors' ability to hide performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in someone's system and stay a step or two ahead of testing proceedures has always been put forward.
Personally, I believe this is possible and does happen. People in gyms share these thoughts but either won't talk about it or have no evidence to give details.
We know that the mafia once had a strong influence in boxing and all sorts of shady deals were, to a degree, done on every level.
Boxers that were heavy favourites with the bookmakers were told to take a dive in the first round and their reward would be a title shot within a year. The Mafia would then bet heavily on the underdog.
This is a fact and we know it happened.
But has this all changed?
Apparently, not as much as you would hope. I am told this never happens at world level or even domestic level but one promoter I know from a gym I spend time in told me:
"At the small hall shows this happens. It's not hugely common but it isn't rare either."
"When theses fighters are getting paid 500 and fighting weekly, they aren't millionaires. They get offered a extra few hundred to go easy or go down. They are happy to do it".
To be honest, it surprised me.
The world is full of conspiracy theorist and negative thinkers. They will tell anyone that will listen that the end is near, governments secretly control us and aliens walk among us.
Some of those people seem to spend time on boxing forums. They say boxing is dead but its actually thriving.
They also say it is corrupt.
From what I have heard, the sport doesn't have completely clean hands but show me a sport that does.