As former world champions announce their intentions to come out of retirement following years of inactivity, you have to wonder why there is no platform for the past legends to show they can still entertain a crowd in their twilight years.
The likes of Oscar De La Hoya (42), Nigel Benn (41) and Mike Tyson (48) have all been rumoured to be making a comeback to the ring over the past few weeks – something which has been met with considerable excitement by the fans.
All three still have the pulling power to sell plenty of tickets, although a competitive twelve rounder against some of the prime fighters in their division is obviously well behind most former fighters – no matter how good they were.
So why not give them a platform that they can perform on?
The Prizefighter or Super 8 format is already in place for some time and seems ideal to be tweaked into a new competition in order for some of boxing’s greatest ever performers to once again feel the adulation and adrenalin rush of lacing up the gloves for a meaningful fight.
Maybe 3×2 minute rounds would be more suited to the elder statesmen, along with a stipulation of age ranges and having to have been retired for three years or more before being able to enter any tournament. A 35-45 category, along with a Masters event for those between 45 and 55 (at 3×1.5 minute per round) would be something to consider and both events could conceivably be held on the same night.
Fourteen five-to-ten minute fights in one night featuring the cream of eras gone by would surely have the supporters scrambling for tickets, and if including the right names, may even be able go out live on a pay-per-view basis to give the participants a decent paycheck into the bargain.
Ten, two category events per year could be staged, a couple for each of the main weight divisions of lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight, with the winner of each tournament being invited back to defend his crown.
Imagine Oscar De La Hoya v Ricky Hatton over three two-minute rounds at middleweight or a Masters fight featuring Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko? There are endless possibilities and would mean any fighter’s career wouldn’t be over for good when his professional days have ended.
Head-guard use and safety procedures would obviously be paramount to anything like this getting off the ground, but it would give old grudge matches like Benn v Eubank III, Calzaghe v Froch and Tyson v Holyfield III a place in the sport instead of ex-boxers pining for an opportunity once they’re past their best.
Hopefully one of the big promoters sees the incentive of giving those legends who keep themselves sharp and in shape the chance once again be in the spotlight, whilst also giving the money-paying public some of the dream match-ups they missed out on previously.