Gessuri Brito—Episode 4—Why Boxing?
By Richard E. Baker on August 15, 2021
Brito assumed command and stopped Tan Nguyen in the 3rd. (Photo: Richard E. Baker)
One might ask why anyone would attempt to earn a living in boxing. Boxing may be the most difficult sport in which to make any money. A new boxer trains day and night for 6 to 12 weeks for fights, fights that earns little, if any income. They have often been in training for many years before they become professionals. If they do well in their first fights the income increases; So do the expenses. In rounded numbers the manager takes 30%. The government takes 30%. The trainer takes 10%. In the best case scenario that leaves the boxer 30%. Often gym and training expenses are owed. One or two additional corner men must be paid. Don King was ruthless in marking down everything a fighter used. If, after a workout, a boxer asked for a piece of gum, the request went into a book and the boxer found he owed King $30 a stick, or more. If a manager attends a convention, he often takes all expenses from the fighter’s purse. If the manager brings along additional people, the fighter pays for it. In no other sport can a manager take more than 10% from an athlete. In boxing a manager can rob a fighter blind.
Many managers, on the other hand, take a real beating in attempting to find a prospect. They are buying an untested commodity. Most managers support the fighters by paying their gym and training expenses, paying the purses of opponents, paying a fighter’s way onto a card, and even paying his own fighter’s purses. They often pay a fighter’s living expenses and a weekly allowance. Only in rare cases will a manager earn back his money. Managers often keep a record of all the expenses, including their 30%. If a fighter gets a big money fight, the manager recoups his/her investment. This bill comes as a shock to many boxers and hard feelings often develop between the two participants. If a boxer is lucky he may eventually get a fight for $250,000 only to discover he owes the manager $150,000 leaving him with $100,000, much of which he owes the government.
Once the money is paid back and if he continues to do well, the boxer can then start to earn a decent living. The best boxers are the highest paid athletes in sports. Canelo Alvarez earns a minimum of 30 million a fight, even for bad fights. With a decent pay-per-view fight there is almost no limit to the money to be made. Then there are the endorsements and appearances and any number of ways to earn additional income. Compare a fight of 50 years ago between Joe Frazer and Muhammad Ali. They split 5 million dollars. The top quarterback at the time, Joe Namath, was paid $250,000 a year. Going way back, Jack Dempsey was getting a million bucks for some fights. The monetary rewards can be great for a very few boxers and few world champions will leave the ring with less than having earned several million dollars. Thousands of others will spend a life in poverty, physically and mentally damaged. Others will have had their time under the spotlight, earned a few bucks, and continue to lead a fairly normal life.
“A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heave for?” said Robert Browning in his poem “Andrea del Sarto.” Reach as high as you can to go as high as you can. Dreaming of being a world champion is not the same as working to be a world champion. Boxers who do the work are boxers who often succeed. Almost anyone can learn to box. Work is the difference between success and mediocrity; work and luck and things inside a person that cannot be taught: heart and guts. A person is either born with those or not. One might still be a success at boxing, but being a success without being born with heart is more difficult. Likewise having only heart only succeeds partially. The combination of heart, skill, and luck always works.
Gessuri Brito, the Jalapeño Popper, is taking the risk. In his second pro bout against Tan Nguyen he took another step up the ladder. Nguyen is a tough and durable boxer who held his own in the first round. Brito assumed command in the second and stopped him by TKO in the 3rd. It’s a decent start, but a long way to becoming a prospect, a contender, then a champion.
Episode 1: The Jalapeño Popper Ready for Pro Debut
Episode 2: One Chocolate Malt, Please
Episode 3: Jalapeño Popper—Episode 3—Debut
Episode 4: Gessuri Brito—Episode 4—Why Boxing?