Boxing Rematches Can Be A Funny Thing
Made for the right reasons and under the right circumstances they can create a sense of hype similar to that of your favourite Hollywood blockbuster sequels.
Made for the wrong reasons and you could risk ruining the reputation of what was a classic first encounter or spitting out a second twelve round stinker nobody or their cat has any desire to see.
Luckily, more often than not, the stars will align and the boxing gods work their magic to create second encounters based solely on the sheer entertainment and quality offered first time round.
One such example in the recent news: Carl Frampton will once again go toe-to-toe with former champ Leo Santa Cruz.
In what has to be a top contender for ‘Fight of the Year’ thus far, ‘The Jackal’ and ‘The Earthquake’ tore each other up for twelve rounds straight, throwing a ridiculous amount of punches in an attempt to out-class the other undefeated fighter.
In the end, Frampton walked away with a shiny new belt around his waist, demolishing Santa Cruz’s perfect record in the process.
Still, despite Santa Cruz’s obvious reservations about which way the fight should have gone, this has served no ill-meaning in souring negotiations for a second fight, which was officially announced by Showtime, among other great match-ups, some 48 hours ago.
After a tremendous response to the news from fans it just goes to show that the best reason to put two warriors back in the same arena is simply that – to do it for the fans.
While the rematch with Santa Cruz has been met with nothing but praise, the idea of another potential rematch for Frampton has been met with some criticism.
Bury’s Scott Quigg has been advocating for a rematch with Frampton since their first fight back in February, which Quigg lost by split decision.
What makes the idea of this rematch much less alluring than our first example was that the fight failed to follow the predicted pattern set out by the media and the fighters themselves.
We were promised World War III.
What we got was six rounds of neither man committing to the action and six rounds of Quigg trying to play catch-up (Frampton took the first half of the fight on work rate).
It was a boring affair to be quite honest, which is such a shame because in the rounds Quigg finally decided to put his foot on the gas he managed to rock Frampton.
The only way a rematch like this would work, both critically and financially, is if both men let their fists fly for twelve rounds, as Frampton and Santa Cruz did, and at least attempt to fix the damage caused by their first bout.
Unfortunately, this may not be enough to sell tickets or pay-per-view buys based on their last performances together. It’s looking dead in the water.
In this case, perhaps it’s for the best.
Speaking of ‘dead in the water’, another questionably motivated rematch is the now moot world heavyweight title fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury.
This, along with a Frampton/Quigg second outing, falls into the latter category described above. Despite the media frenzy at the upset result, nobody was kicking down doors for tickets to this sequel.
The first fight was about as boring of a heavyweight title fight we’ve ever had. Klitshcko looked hesitant and fearful, Fury over-working his long jab and too eager to tie up on the inside.
Who needs to see that again?
Granted there remains the aura of intrigue as to whether Klitschko merely had an off night, on top of contractual reasons, but if we were to get an exact replica of what we had first time round, this one could do with staying buried.
I could go on forever about the classic rivalries that have produced numerous rematches and sagas: Gatti/Ward, Pacquiao/Marquez, Ali/Norton.
These episodes of boxing history all share the same bond. They weren’t about contracts, they weren’t about money. They were about settling scores and putting on a show.
Simple as that. To me, that’s what boxing need more of nowadays.
Politics and negotiation will always try to get in the way, but in the end nobody remembers who got paid what or who got to walk to the ring first.
We remember the fight. That is the memory that will endure.