Who or What is Killing Boxing?
By Christopher Young: I had a lot of time to think about this and was wondering what happened to the sweet science? I mean lately we had some good fights but when you ask an average citizen who is the world heavyweight champion the normal answer I get is, “I don’t know?” When Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and Mike Tyson were champions the average citizen who did not follow boxing knew the answer to this. Why can’t we go back to those days? What happened?
The first thought that came to mind was Dana White and MMA. To be honest, neither Dana nor the sport of MMA is at fault here. Dana White who is a true fan of the pugilistic sport took the same concept of boxing from the past and uses it for his events. He would have a card stack with notable names and will match them in competition according to their record. That way you will always have a competitive fight and an event card that the fans will walk away feeling that they got their money’s worth. Even if the main event ends quickly the lead up to the main event you saw some great exciting fights. That’s why the average boxing fans jumps ship to MMA. Listen I am a big fan of mixed martial arts, ever since 96’, but boxing is my first love.
So who is really at fault here? Is it the politics of boxing? Is it the greedy and sleazy promoters? How about the many boxing organizations with meaningless titles? Or is it the fighters who refuse to fight the best? The answer is all the above. I mean how can these judges justify these horrid decisions? This is what turns fans away from the sport. Like the fights of Lewis/Holyfield I, Louis/Walcott I, and De la Hoya/ Trinidad & Strum. Decisions like these kill the sport of boxing. You end up screwing the fighter out of a decision so you can make a big money fight with the other fighter. At the same time you end up cheating the fans that paid big money to see a good fight and justice. The promoters of the game are also at fault. Why are promoters getting paid more than the fighters? It’s the fighters who are risking their lives not the promoters. Don’t get me wrong they are great at selling the fights to the public. (Just remember that their first agenda is to make money by somebody else’s expense by any means necessary.) They’re that good they can even sell a fight between an ant and a spider. This is my opinion, but I believe they have their place but not to the point that they can influence, dictate, or change the game of boxing. For example, there was once a promoter who controlled the top 8 heavyweight contenders and the heavyweight champion. Now if that’s not tampering I don’t know what is. These promoters do not let other fighters mature or grow. They even protect certain fighters from dangerous opponents. In other words we let them dictate to us who is a great fighter or champ and not us.
Why do we have to have all these boxing organizations? The WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, IBO, XYZ, etc? How do we know who is the real world champion. The reason we have all these unnecessary titles is because of two things….Money and control. The sanctioning fees and fighting for a title is not cheap for a fighter. So if they can control the fighter, the organization can dictate on who you fight next. This is ridiculous. So basically we have right now five credible organizations and 18 weight classes. So that give us a total of 90 world champions and the average fan can probably only name 3 out of the 90 champions that are out there now.
What about the fighters that refuse to fight the best or shy away from certain fighters. They claim they are the best, but use certain excuses like not enough money to back out or refuse to fight. How about these so called champs who would rather give up or throw their belt away than face a real challenge?
I have a possible remedy to fix all this and breathe life back into the sport. This maybe a little farfetched but it’s feasible. First thing we need to get rid of these alphabet organizations and create one boxing union/organization. That’s right; we need to have one champion per weight class. I think all championship fights should be 15 rounds. For fighters pricing themselves out would be thrown away. I think the winner should get 60% percent of the purse. If it’s by knockout, the winner should get 70% and of course if it’s a draw both parties will receive 50%. That way the fighters are somewhat controlled and you will get more of quality fights and the more fans will flock and spend more money on entertainment. You see each boxing match should be competitive. A fighter who has 30 fights under his belt should not fight a fighter with only 15 fights. We can expect a particular fighter to win but not automatically know the outcome of a fight before it happens.
Think about the times you have went to a fight or ordered a pay per view and you felt ripped off afterwards. With one organization this will eliminate the ducking and increase quality fights. The promoters will have their place but just like referees and judges they will get assigned certain assignments and events. I believe we should go back to the days of ABC World Wide of Sports and USA Tuesday night fights. You had great fights and young talent being seen on prime time. Yes we do have ESPN Friday Night Fights but it’s not enough. HBO and Showtime are great but we consider them the major leagues.
Boxing has tons of talent all over the world, but nobody is pushing them or they haven’t gotten their break from them yet. I just feel that boxing is killing itself slowly and we are heading in the wrong direction. It seems like they are putting all their eggs into one basket (one fight). So once that fight happens, then what? Let’s demand from these networks and the powers to be more quality fights with integrity. The fights that we want to see that is good for boxing, not what’s good for their (promoters, networks, and organization) wallets. Maybe I’m just dreaming.
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