Why I Fixed Fights
Joyce Park stashed this in The Sporting Life
Astonishing confessional details exactly why, how, and how much it costs to fix a boxing match.
On the art of the fix:
No sport is romanticized more than boxing. Heroic writers use boxing to make moral sense of the world. Noble fighters, by their actions, stabilize chaos: Their bravery in the face of untenable circumstances and violent hostility helps to restore value and security to a now-intelligible world, one inhabited by heroic journalists and their readers. Heroic journalism attaches a sentimental narrative to the rise of a title-holder, carving out a cinematic character arc wherein horrific circumstances are overcome through moral probity, grit, hard work, and determination, and climaxing with HBO viewers themselves choking up a little as the victor tearfully accepts his championship belt after winning a brutal encounter at Caesar's Palace.
Winning a world title is definitely hard, time-consuming work, so that kind of arc expresses some truth. What it obscures is the fact that most of the fights designed to get that fighter his title shot are fixed in one way or another. Anybody who spends his own money advancing a fighter and knows what he's doing engages in some form of fight fixing. And, wittingly or not, almost every titleholder has benefited from fixes.
A former president of the Boxing Writers Association of America once said, "When it comes to sports, all a writer needs to know is how wonderful it feels to win, how miserable it feels to lose, and how hard it is to try." If you get paid to write about boxing and believe this, the kindest thing that can be said about you is that you're a sucker.