The Cycle Continues: Blatant Corruption In Boxing Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone

Once again, the alleged corruption in boxing has shamelessly managed to overshadow it’s deserved glory, but is this what we’ve now come to expect?

Under a beaming spotlight since the Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Conor McGregor spectacle, Adelaide Byrd’s deplorable 118-110 scorecard of Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin regrettably eclipsed their iconic middleweight clash. A week later, a further furor as Hughie Fury’s team castrated the supposed dark forces responsible for the controversial scorecards, in favour of Kiwi champion, Joseph Parker, on their home soil of Manchester.

However, while many have lept to the sport’s defence, the odious truth is that corruption continuously besieges boxing, from its deepest roots to its most gangling branches, it has ingrained into its very core.

Despite being a sport which boasts an undeniably short-term memory, it doesn’t take an easter egg hunt to stumble upon the endless controversies. Fighters continuously being robbed of deserved victories, judges providing unexplainably errant scorecards, and its own governing bodies being inexplicably entwined in ceaseless controversies. It’s a problem sewn into the sport’s heart.

Lucrative boxers receiving glaring favouritism is widely accepted as a commonplace phenomena rather than an unethical manipulation needing questioning and scrutiny. Home scorecards dilute the sport nearly every week, whether it be the greatest attraction in Canelo Alvarez, or the decidedly less glamorous, Jamie McDonnell. The defining and deafening result is that the wrong men are repeatedly accredited and other than a clamour of discontent in the following days, all is quickly forgotten and the cycle repeated.

Boxing’s dubious internal workings are uniquely ambiguous, frequently contested and commonly concealed; so when the IBF’s president, Robert Lee, was caught brazenly accepting bribes in 2000, fans didn’t know whether to be left aghast or amused. Convicted on 38 counts of racketeering, Lee admitted to taking bribes to fix their rankings system and sanctioning particular bouts.

Two years later, the WBC were nearly obliterated by a similarly oblique lawsuit. Graciano Rocchigiani’s light heavyweight title was inexplicably stripped and returned to Roy Jones Jr, with the governing body declaring it a typographical error. However, while allegations of title fights being bought, rankings being manipulated, and judges providing dodgy cards are rife, the usually undetectable perpetrators are very rarely admonished and it’s hardly excessive to the professional ranks.

The AIBA came under intensive scrutiny, after allegations of taking multimillion-dollar bribes and fixing the draw and judging of numerous bouts, prior to Rio 2016. Judges, who claimed to have been involved or witnessed corruption, were suppressed and sidelined, while the governing body vehemently denied any wrongdoing. Yet from Roy Jones Jr, at the 1998 Seoul Olympics, to Michael Conlan, at Rio 2016, such blatantly manipulated results are incessant and seemingly unstoppable. The underhanded cabal credited with responsibility are practically invisible but to deny their presence is quite frankly naive.

Perhaps it’s all a part of what makes the fight game so lusted; corruption, conspiracies, convolution, but that these apparently undetectable perpetrators continue to ceaselessly succeed, constantly restrains boxing to a hollow glory and seedy glamour. It’s an abhorrent feature of the sport that is unlikely to ever be entirely divulged but until such a mythical day comes, the public should never be anything more than expectant of corruption in boxing.