Power shifting away from America

By Tom Donelson
Updated: March 14, 2009

Boxing GlovesIOWA CITY — This past Saturday, Lucian Bute won his version of the Super Middleweight championship when he whacked Zulgencio Zuniga in four rounds.

In the process brought attention to American boxing fans that indeed, there are some excellent fighters outside the states.

In the case of the Super Middleweights, the championship belts are held by Lucian Bute, Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler; not one American even thought Jermain Taylor is hoping to change that when he faces the undefeated Froch.

For the past year, I have made the point that boxing power is shifting overseas and the Super Middleweights is one example. Kessler may be the best of the Super Middleweight with his only lost being to a Hall of Fame fighter, Joe Calzaghe.

Kessler is an excellent boxer-puncher and Bute showed against Zuniga, he is an also excellent boxing puncher as he ended the fight with a perfectly laid punch into Zuniga’s gut.

In reviewing Ring Magazine top rankings from the upper weight division from Middleweight to the Heavyweight divisions; the top fighters reside outside of the United States.

The Heavyweight top ten is devoid of American fighters and the Cruiserweights have only two Americans among its top ten. In those divisions above the light heavyweight, the best fighters live outside the United States.

This also means that many of these fights are held outside the United States. This has hurt the popularity of the Heavyweight division stateside and kept the Cruiserweight division as one of boxing’s best kept secret.

Many American promoters are hoping for a Jermain Taylor victory over Froch, if for no other reason; it mean that promoters will at least have one America with a belt among 168 pounders.

In the Middleweight division, Kelly Pavlik is the Ring Magazine champ but underneath him is the tough German based fighter, Arthur Abraham. He’s a tough brawler with skills and certainly a Pavlik-Abraham fight would be one for the ages and not one that Pavlik would automatically the favored.

The only division where Americans are among the best is the light heavyweight division. Chad Dawson may be the best light heavyweight but the other champions live overseas and the biggest problem in setting up future fights is many of the European fighters don’t have the financial interest in fighting in the states.

European fighters toil in front of sellout crowds and make good money staying on their side of the Atlantic.

In the lower division, Indonesia Chris John took a pay cut to fight Rocky Juarez in Houston to defend his title and many of the European fighters would have take similar cuts.

Why give up home court advantage for possibly less money?

In the Middleweight division, the big debate is where a Arthur Abraham-Kelly Pavlik fight be held? When Abraham fought Edison Miranda for a second time, he did so stateside; leaving the impression that Abraham may be willing to fight Pavlik stateside and he may still be willing if the money is right.

A switch of boxing power means a switch in revenues moving overseas as overseas promoters become richer and more powerful at the expense of their American counterparts.

American promoters have the advantage of working with Hispanic fighters and American promoters like Don King have impact with European fighters but as time wears on; it will be the overseas promoters who may be new king makers.

In boxing, it is the promoters with the fighters who end up with the money.

And in boxing, money rules.