“If you build it, he will come,” a confused Kevin Costner was once told by a mysterious voice in an Iowa cornfield.
What needed to be built, Costner discovered, was a baseball field. It was there he would eventually meet ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson, a deceased baseball legend, who turned up and asked to play catch, as well as his own father, who asked to do the same and whose pain Costner had to ease. It was there, also, on this cornfield-turned-baseball field, intrigued tourists would later gather to share the experience, happy to pay for the privilege.
For a while, it seemed British boxing was adopting this Field of Dreams approach. Soundtracked by Neil Diamond singing ‘Sweet Caroline’, there were world champions in multiple weight divisions, there were sold-out arenas and stadiums, and there were promoters with fresh ideas and television networks eager to monetise the sport’s popularity in the form of pay-per-view blockbusters.