VIDEO | A fascinating look at the boxers who are paid to lose to pad their opponent’s records

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If you’re a fan of boxing, you’ll notice that many young fighters burst into the limelight with pristine looking records of 15-0, 18-0, 20-0 and so on. While most of these boxers are undeniably talented, their flawless records are not coincidental. Most of these green fighters have built their sterling records against less than stellar opposition, and even a few opponents who were paid to lose. Yes, there are boxers out there who essentially serve the sole purpose of improving the records of up and coming fighters. The video at the top of this post, which shines a light on retired boxer Johnny Greaves, explores this strange category of boxers.

“Retired boxer Johnny Greaves fought 100 times in his career,” this fascinating video explains. “He only won four of those fights. Journeyman boxers are paid up to £1200 (approximately $1500) a bout. They rarely win, but are a crucial part of boxing. They provide a service for young prospects who need impressive win-loss records.” 

“Young boxers with these impressive records don’t appear out of nowhere,” author Mark Turley explains in the video. “They had to fight somebody. The guys that they’re fighting are the journeymen. The implicit understand is that the journeyman is not there to win.”

The video then explains that, though it may sound pretty simple to lose a fight, the journeyman faces many challenges on his weird mission.

“Journeymen know that if they beat a fighter, promoters may stop booking them,” it explains. “But if they lose four fights in a row, the British Boxing Board of Control could call a fighter in for questioning. That could mean they are stripped of their boxing license.” 

“Boxers aren’t allowed to fight for four weeks if they get knocked out, so journeymen need to learn how to lose. If they manage to do that without getting hurt, they can have a decent career in the ring.” 

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/21/2017.