When you’ve got some time, have a read of this article by former boxing manager Charles Farrell. It’s called Why I Fixed Fights, and as you’d guess from a title like that, it deals in some pretty nice detail with the whys and hows of match rigging.
Boxing managers have an obligation to minimize the amount of damage their fighters sustain. By the time any fighter gets a shot at a championship—usually his first opportunity to make real money—he will already have had very hard fights and been banged up in ways that will not yet be outwardly apparent to most people. His career is likely to be halfway over. If he becomes the champion, most of his title defenses during the next few years will be tough ones. If he fails in his title attempt, depending on the nature of his performance, he’ll either get more chances or be demoted to the rank of “name” opponent. If he’s lucky enough to get more title shots, none of them will be easy. The market demands that they not be: As a known loser, he’s no longer entitled to have the path eased for him. Once he’s slipped to the role of opponent, he’ll get beaten up repeatedly, his purses and his health diminishing with each successive loss. And at this point, the fighter will most likely be looking at a post-career future of neurological impairment. He may have four or five real earning years left to him.
These are hard facts, but they’re almost unfailingly representative of what a “successful” fighter can expect. Why should any fighter take the punishment that this profession brings, if not for money?
The most responsible way to develop a new fighter is to combine easily winnable fights—albeit ones that require some of his attention and skill—with fixed fights that will move him quickly up the ratings. The goal is to earn a fighter as much money as possible without incurring unnecessary wear and tear. He’ll have to be in enough tough fights when the time comes.
I found this aspect particularly interesting, since it flies in the face of the stereotypical heartless promoter, trotting a guy out there long after he’s got no business in the ring. It brings a touch of morality and humanity to a sport that often doesn’t do itself any favours in either department.