Home > Boxing > The End of the Sweet Science? Boxing’s Last Great Hope

The End of the Sweet Science? Boxing’s Last Great Hope

Go ahead, name five current boxing champions…no guesses? Okay, then name three…still nothing? How about one? I bet you said Manny ‘Pac-Man’ Pacquiao.

That’s it. That’s the only champion most mainstream sports fans would think of.

Some every day people may come up with the names of past legends like Mike Tyson or Evander Holyfield (They of course would be completely wrong considering Tyson hasn’t held a belt for ten years and Holyfield, though still fighting, because he apparently has a thing for long term brain damage, is no longer a champion). If you said Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather you would be wrong also. Even America’s favorite boxer/celebrity dancer doesn’t even hold a championship belt.

How about this question: How many weight classes are there in modern professional boxing? Answer: 17. Are you freaking kidding me? I thought that soccer rules were hard to follow, but with 17 different divisions containing hundreds of fighters in each division it makes FIFA look like an intramural league.

Never mind the 17 different weight classes, there are five governing bodies of boxing that recognize a champion. It’s like when the WCW would have a TV Champion (Ric Flair…woooo!), a U.S. Champion (Scott Hall), a World Champion (Sting), a Cruiserweight Champion (Dean Malenko), and a Tag Team Champion (Hall and Nash). What the hell is a TV Champion anyways?

Let’s try some math, stay with me here. 17 x 5 = 85. There are 85 world title holders at any given moment in professional boxing. (Yay! Everyone gets a ribbon for participation!) That’s a lot for the casual fan to keep track of.

And then there is this: boxing is just not violent enough for modern America. Here is why: In the mixed martial arts world (which has overtaken boxing in popularity by far) fighters go all out. They try to rip the other fighter’s head off. I understand that strategy is a big part of MMA and fighters use take-downs, submissions and techniques from a wide variety of fighting arts, which makes it fun to watch, but all-in-all it is just way more aggressive and violent than modern day boxing. (I personally love the old UFC before the gloves and rules. Take a look at a couple of YouTube videos of Tank Abbott sometime. Dude was crazy.)

Boxers today are not as fearless as they used to be. Example: Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Hagler, Hearns, Leonard, Tyson, Holyfield, Sugar Ray Robinson, Marciano and Roy Jones Junior. Those guys were fearless.

Ali was so fearless he would tell you how he was going to beat you up, and then he would go do it. He would actually predict the round he would knock you out in for good measure.

Tyson in yet another defeat to Little Mac.

Tyson was just plain scary. The fact that his video game self was easier to beat than the actual guy is saying something. (Note: Maybe the best fighting game to ever grace a video game console is Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out for the original NES. Also, check out the new Wii version, not a bad follow up. Oh, Glass Joe.)

Roy Jones Jr. is a particularly tough fighter. He fought Bernard Hopkins in 1993 with a broken hand and defeated him to win the vacant IBF middleweight belt. Seven years later Jones Jr. fractured his wrist a week before fighting David Telesco in 2000. He still won the fight via decision.

Frazier getting his world rocked during the "Thrilla in Manila."

Joe Frazier fought partially blind after the 13th round against Ali in the ‘Thrilla in Manila’ in 1975. Ali also told reporters after the fight that it was the closest to dying that he has ever been. Once more to make sure everybody is paying attention…Frazier fought blind. You would never see allowed in modern boxing.

The majority of today’s fighters, especially the heavyweights, more concerned about getting hit than they are about destroying their opponent. This has turned into two massively large humans walking around the ring leaning in and leaning out.(It looks kind of like a junior high school dance when the boys really want to dance with the girls but they are afraid. Their so called ‘friend’ then shoves them out to the dance floor and they then hurry back to the wall from which they came.) It has just lost all entertainment value.

This leads me to my point: boxing’s last great hope is Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather v. Manny ‘Pac-Man’ Pacquioa I. (I am hoping that there will at least be three of these epic battles.)

The fight, which is close to being finalized with be scheduled to take place in March of 2010, is boxing’s last chance to win back the interest of the American sporting fan. They are two of the best and most popular fighters of our generation (Pacquioa is so popular he is actually running for a senate seat in his native Phillipines. He will train and campaign at the same time. Really? Wow. Come on, he is the man.). Pacquioa is so tough he performed a love song on Jimmy Kimmel Live last month (Find the video, it’s worth it. He took himself way too seriously, but you try telling him that he can’t sing.).

Yep. Looks like an even fight to me!

Mayweather is a very skilled fighter. He has won six different titles in five different weight classes. He went to the WWE and fought the Big Show. Now, I know what you’re saying: “Isn’t wrestling is fake?” Scripted, yes. But if the Big Show (7’0” 485 lbs.) had fallen on ‘Money May’ (5’7” 145 lbs.) he would have died on impact. Just stating a medical fact…)

This fight has to happen, the sport and it’s promoters cannot drop the ball on this one. Boxing is laying everything on the line with these two fighters. They have each had the last two largest grossing Pay-Per-View sales for individual fights. Now they will hopefully meet in a clash of personalities and styles in the ring. For the sake of boxing, I hope it happens and I hope it’s a great fight. It needs it.

  1. May 11, 2010 at 7:30 am

    I like this post. Hope you to post useful article soon

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