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Changing the game? TURKI ALALSHIKH is reportedly planning to form a professional boxing league

Written by: Sean Crose

Boxing as we knew it may be making a comeback…at least in the real sense. Indeed, the best may be the best experience every time. When was the last time boxing fans saw something like this happen? Back in the 90s? The 80s? It really has been a while. Yet Saudi sporting legend Turki Alalshikh has done a lot of work, and a lot of money, to host big cards over the past few years – the latest being Oleksandr Usyk’s undisputed heavyweight victory over Tyson Fury last month. “Sports life right now has been at an all-time high,” said former All-Star Chris Algieri Deep Water a podcast. “We are healthy from top to bottom.”

Now Alakaskikh is reportedly planning to move away from doing big fights and start his own boxing league, which could change the entire boxing industry, where – gasp – fans will be able to see who the best fighters are. Alakaskikh is not only a passionate businessman, he is also a fan of the game. Just imagine the guy has a lot of money to play with and it’s fair to wonder if the dream will really come true.

Not that the plan does not raise obvious and serious questions. “Who makes the level?” asked Algieri harshly. “I don’t know what’s the best way to make standards, but I think it’s very important that this is successful.” Another commentator Paulie Malignaggi added that “he still needs an outer layer of sport.” In other words the focus cannot be on the big names. “I don’t want to see eight guys fighting each other,” he said. However, Malignaggi pointed out that the league could work very well for the boxing business.

“If you direct it in the right way,” he said, “it’s an amazing power.” Of course it is. Boxing has been weighed down for far too long by politics, network and promotional issues, inactive fighters and a general sense of fatigue. An organized and profitable league that works well for fighters will encourage those fighters to fight again and again. It may also solve the problem of organizational conflict.

Perhaps most importantly the league – once it’s done – needs to please the fans and be fair in the rankings. No one entertains fans like the mixed martial arts organization UFC does. If the boxing league treats the fans as a focus in this way, the future could promise some exciting science…if, of course, the fighters are treated right.

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