Neutral Corner

13 October 2008 – by Cormac Campbell

The Irish title has seen an increase in activity recently with a number of our big names fighting for it but there seems to be little impetus to build upon this. Dont get me wrong, Im not for one second trying to argue that the Irish title is the limit of Andy Lee or Matthew Macklins abilities.

But a little further down the ranks there are a host of great fights that can be made domestically that could give the game a huge boost yet they are not happening. In boxing there has always been a tendency to put off until later fights that are attractive now. It is often said that there will be more money on the table a year or two down the line when one or both of the fighters has a major title. Cue much padding of records against unknown imported opposition.

The desire for the boxing fraternity to attempt to preserve the unbeaten records of prospects is a false economy. After all, how can we expect a fighter to win a major title if he hasnt picked up the appropriate experience on the way up? It is not as if there isnt a constant stream of new talent being developed in the amateurs that will someday fill the ranks of the professionals so why dont we take the bull by the horns and sort the wheat from the chaff at an earlier stage? In my opinion it is a great way for boxers to gain experience and exposure, yet such fights are rarely made.

Martin Lindsays clash with Englishman Derry Matthews really broke the mould in this regard. Both boxers could have secured British or Commonwealth shots had they avoided each other and just sat it out. Lindsay won by KO9 and now with two stoppage losses in three fights it appears that the much vaunted Matthews has some soul searching to do. Some people have harped on that such risky fights should be avoided but that is exactly the reason so many view the fight game as damaged goods. If the real fights were being made the fans wouldnt feel short changed as often as they do.

At present there are countless domestic match-ups which could be made that would point the winner in the direction of bigger and better things and still leave the loser with somewhere to go.

Fights such as Rogan v Belshaw, Moore v Coyle and Murray v Fagan are begging to be made. I would have no doubt that they would be well received by the general public and they would represent both a step forward for the Irish title and indeed the boxers in question. Lets demand it.

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