Premium Issue Opinion

Advice to young pros in this brutal business

advice to young pros
Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Get what you can out of the sport, writes manager and trainer Mark Massow in his advice to young pros

IT’S the dilemma facing all ticket-selling professionals: Do you keep on badgering friends and relatives to purchase another ticket just to buy your way onto a show against a journeyman you’ll be matched against to win (although that’s not guaranteed, despite some insisting it to be!) Or do you take the gamble and go in slightly ambitious and try to change the course of your career?

Everyone involved in the professional side of the sport seems to have an opinion on the ticket-selling structure of the game and those opinions are rarely positive from the ones taking the actual punches.

The days have gone when a promoter can put a poster in a pub/club and hope to get a group of punters walk up to the venue on the night. As the licence-holders who are putting up the financial clout needed to put the show on, they want some certainty of at least getting a chunk of that money back. Putting the onus on the home boxer to sell the tickets is now the accepted system.

There is plenty of talent going to waste through lack of ticket sales, while popular raw novices are fed a diet of ‘clean-sweep’ wins to pad an undercard, only to be found out when the time comes to be matched with a live opponent who soon brings the local hero back to reality. After some months of contemplation, the process is restarted over until they’re found wanting again.

Unfortunately, most young pros are striving to get to a place that probably doesn’t exist for them – being paid a handsome purse to headline at a prestigious venue. But they push on regardless, training, selling tickets, badgering friends and family (who often say they will “go to the next one”) in the hope of getting somewhere, anywhere, near what they dreamed of when signing pro forms. The thrill of the fight and the pull of the sport is hard to resist, despite the frustrations at every turn.

Failing that, these young pros could take a chance against a talented home boxer and hope to get recognised and moved on. Very few do, though!

The journeyman/road warrior option certainly isn’t for everyone and although the physical scars are plain to see, it’s the mental ones, of dealing with defeat after defeat, and the constant BoxRec reminder in years to come, that can be the hardest to deal with. A life of informing people that you were better than that, but the business wouldn’t allow it!

My advice is to get what you can out of the sport/business (financial success is very rare), try to enjoy the ride and be proud of what you achieve. Don’t leave too much of yourself behind when the time is right to get out.

Another imponderable – once you’ve got the boxing bug, giving up is often as hard as starting.

Either way, don’t be sat in the pub 10 years from now wishing you’d done things differently. Give it 100 per cent. The time is now.

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