MANILA, Philippines – Veteran boxing trainer Emanuel Steward said today’s fight fans are transfixed on seeing only one major fight: the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. mega-bout.
Steward said this is bad for the sport of boxing.
"Boxing's not in good shape. It's more of a business now and it's hurting boxing. We need to return to an era when the best fight the best and it wasn't all about money and egos,” Steward told BBC.
"There's only one major fight the public is interested in - two little fellas, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, who most likely will never fight.”
Steward believes the Pacquiao-Mayweather saga keeps the fans’ attention away from potential boxing superstars.
Clamors for a super fight between the two pound-for-pound champions have been going on for more than three years.
Still, the camps of Pacquiao and Mayweather fail to reach an agreement due to drug testing and purse split issues.
"Unless some drastic changes come about, I don't like the way things are looking for boxing. There's not one dream heavyweight fight - you've got Wladimir Klitschko and Vitali Klitschko and nobody else. That's not good,” said Steward.
The boxing trainer, who mentored fight legend Tommy Hearns, said that back in the 1980s, it was easier to negotiate a fight.
He said the Hearns-Ray Leonard bout in 1981 took less than a day to negotiate.
"The money is there [for Mayweather-Pacquiao], the two guys would make a minimum of $50 million apiece, and it still can't be made because of egos. Times have changed and it really frustrates me because I remember how easy it was for me to make the fight with Ray."