This won’t be an extremely long piece as its just something I wanted to get down in writing after I saw a fighter in the schedule on boxrec. The fighter I saw was Leonardo Baez a relatively unknown Mexican fighter that you’d expect to be a B side for a rising prospect. That’s actually what he was in his first big opportunity, he was brought in to fight Alberto Melian a 2016 Olympian from Argentina where no one expected him to win however he shocked the odds and now Golden Boy are backing him and giving him opportunities. If he’d played it safe and not accepted being the B side he would still be fighting unknown people off television in Mexico but because he took his opportunity and won hes now got the backing of one of the biggest promotional companies in the world. On Thursday he fights Moises Flores a former title challenger and interim world champ as the A side. This will be the biggest name on his resume yet and hes only got this opportunity because he grasped his last one with both hands. A shout out has to be given to Golden Boy who took him on after beating their prospect instead of ignoring him or trying to feed him to another prospect. If Baez keeps winning he can fight for a world title and at only 24 hes got a bright future ahead of him.
Another easier example of taking an opportunity as a B side is Andy Ruiz Jr when he fought Anthony Joshua. Ruiz wasn’t going anywhere in his career and wasn’t likely to get a title shot for years but he took his opportunity on four weeks notice and achieved his dream of becoming world champ. It also earned him another massive fight with Joshua and set him up for life, not just the money but his name now has value and buzz around it when before there was none. Many other fighters didn’t take the opportunity that Ruiz took and I imagine that they now regret it.
The third and final example of a fighter taking a B side opportunity in recent memory is Scott Fitzgerald who took on domestic rival Anthony Fowler as the B side. Fowler was being pushed very hard as he was an Olympian while Fitzgerald didn’t get any press or even much backing. When the opportunity came up to fight Fowler in Fowlers home city he took it with both hands and pulled off the shock upset with a split decision victory. He became a big name in the UK among boxing fans and got an opportunity to fight for the British title which he went and won as well. There’s now talk of him rematching Fowler in a big event in his home town where he’ll be the A side. From taking that B side opportunity hes got lots of new opportunity’s and built himself a fan base and will have a much better career for it.
These are just a few recent examples of why taking a B side opportunity can be a good thing and can change a fighters life as it has for these three. Before they won as the B side all of their careers looked stale and that they’d have to put together a lot of wins to get good opportunity’s. After those B side wins however they have seen their careers grow with good fights put in front of them and for a lot of fighters this is the only way they can make it to the top.