9 Things I Want From Boxing Next Year

British boxing is in the midst of a purple patch, with some of the best talent we've seen on these shores for a generation, but there's always room for improvement.
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Fighters to actually fight each other

Should seem a shoe in this considering it's a combat sport, but over the last few years potentially great match ups have ended up being bogged down in contract issues that do nothing to promote the sport to a younger audience. Yes, we get that fighters are after the best dollar they can possibly get but for gods sake just get it on will you. That's your job.

The return of boxing to normal TV channels

The golden age of boxing didn't just coincide with great fighters, it also had a lot to do with working class audiences being able to see it. Satellite channels can rant on all they like about their fantastic promotions and how they've taken boxing into a modern age but let's face it the premise of the sport hasn't changed. It's basically two men causing interference to each other and you shouldn't have to have the bank balance of a crack dealer and the sleeping patterns of Nosferatu to enjoy it. A whole generation has basically missed out on the sport because they have limited access to it. Hence the rise of the UFC. So give a little back. At least get it back on ITV and the BBC again.

The politically correct brigade to leave our sport alone

Boxers spend more time these days having to defend their comments than their titles. Here's the ultimate truth: boxing is a sport full of men who, for the most part, have had to climb their way out of violent backgrounds and pretty bad circumstances to get where they are. They're hardly going to show temperance on a lot of subjects and they're not going to toe a PR line. Thats just how they are. Save the role model bullshit for the Premiership because you'll never get that in boxing, ever.

Floyd Mayweather to retire

No one has treated the sport of boxing with more respect than Floyd over the years. You've never seen Mayweather underprepared with less than 100% concentration in any fight. Unfortunately however he's become something of a vaudeville act this year. People just want to fight him to end his record and they're stalling on other fights just to get to him. It's making at least two weight divisions virtually inactive. He has too much power anyway. Governing bodies don't pick Floyd's fights any more - he does and his influence isn't a good example of how the business end of the sport should be run.

People in the sport to give the UFC the respect it deserves

There's still this lingering snobbery in boxing circles as to how the UFC is somehow beneath boxing and nothing more than a circus sideshow. It's utter nonsense. The UFC has been successful not because of clever marketing or blood letting but because it's a progressive sport which forces those at its top level to constantly defend their reputations and rankings in the Octagon. It's no mistake that prior to her defeat Ronda Rousey was the most successful fight star on the planet. Boxing should learn from the UFC, not attack it because it's in danger of eclipsing our sport.

Different formats of the sport at grass roots level

The recent prize fighter series may have been a limited success but it did at least open the sport up to the fact that change is an interesting idea. Much in the same way that 20/20 did for cricket in fact, perhaps boxing could do the same thing and have an all out attacking format. Five minute, one round fights for instance. It wouldn't please the purists but people want action for their money. If it pulled punters in and got those at grass roots level decent purses, then it might just work.

Give boxers decent pensions

Professional boxing is the only sport that doesn't have a pension for those retiring from the game. This is why a lot of retired boxers end up going down the bare knuckle route just to try and scrape out a living. There should be something put in place for professional fighters. In fact it's disgraceful that there isn't.

Journeymen to endure a performance suspension

Ok, this might sound overly harsh. The archetypal boxing journeyman is at the grass roots heart of boxing, but over the last ten years their standards have dropped to alarming levels. Back in the day a lesser fighter could take a contender three or four rounds at least. Nowadays some of them simply shouldn't be anywhere near a ring. Employ a panel of ex professionals to review fights and if they feel a boxers standards are too low, then they receive some sort of suspension. You could even have a journeymen ranking system which would provide better balance for potential fights. Would probably do boxing some good in the long run.

The promotion of the Lonsdale belt.

Once upon a time the ownership of a Lonsdale belt in this country had incredible kudos. The satellite age of fast tracking fighters to world title fights in various divisions has meant it has diminished beyond recognition. Whilst not advocating that fighters should be forced down a domestic championship route, surely those who are British champion could have a financial incentive to defend their title a couple of times and thus bring it back into the publics consciousness. If nothing else, it's the most stylistically beautiful belt in boxing.