Why Can’t the 4th of July Weekend be a Big Date on the Boxing Calendar?
By Rory Hickey: The United States just celebrated another 4th of July. The staples of hot dogs, hamburgers, alcohol, and fireworks were all present. But one thing missing was a big boxing event. (Yes, I know that Chris Colbert remained undefeated on a July 3rd Showtime card, but there weren’t exactly fireworks there.)
Boxing is a tribal sport in a lot of ways, with many fighters motivated by making their country proud or continuing the tradition of great fighters in their home nation. Cinco de Mayo weekend, the Puerto Rican Day parade, and the Hispanic Day parade are examples of national or cultural holidays that almost always have a boxing card tied to them. Why can’t Independence Day weekend be a big date on the boxing calendar? Two goals can be accomplished by putting a big fight card on Independence Day weekend. Not only would adding another notable date to the boxing calendar benefit the sport, but featuring American fighters on the 4th of July weekend would help build American fighters to a more mainstream audience.
There is currently a void in sporting events around Independence Day that is waiting to be filled. The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is fine; watching Joey Chestnut defend the mustard belt every 4th of July is nice. But for a nation that loves our sports, is that really the only major event on such an important day? As a nation that prides itself on exceptionalism, we can do better.
An Independence Day boxing event would not only benefit our nation but boxing as a whole. Couldn’t Terrence Crawford stand to benefit from headlining a card on Independence Day weekend? Wouldn’t a host of Americans jump at the chance to fight on the weekend of the 4th of July? While the card could be held in Washington, D.C. or Philadelphia, or even Las Vegas– the location is almost irrelevant. When Canelo Alvarez fights on Cinco de Mayo weekend, nobody is complaining about the fact that the card is not in Mexico City. The people of Mexico swell with delight, seeing the pride of their country on center stage on such a culturally and historically significant date for their nation.
This is not a completely new idea. At the beginning of the 1900s, there were often major heavyweight fights around the Independence Day holiday. Jack Johnson knocked out James Jeffries in “The Fight of the Century” on July 4th– but that was more than a century ago, in 1910.
There could be a large audience for an American-centric boxing card on the 4th of July weekend if it were promoted and put on well. Putting the entire card on a major network would be ideal to start this new tradition, but putting the preliminary bouts on television and having the main card on PPV or streaming service is more realistic. There are a lot of ways an Independence Day card could be laid out. Having a top American fighter, such as Terrence Crawford or Deontay Wilder, headline the card would clearly be the most important bit of the event. Ideally, the event would showcase up, and coming American prospects– Jared Ennis, Jared Anderson, Devin Haney, or Shakur Stevenson are just a few of the names who ideally could be featured.
While I am not a huge fan of the current YouTube/random retired athlete boxing matches trend, throwing a couple of those bouts on the undercard or making them preliminary bouts would undoubtedly bring more attention to this endeavor. Another avenue for this to go would be to have some Americans facing off against British fighters. This would not only inject some patriotism into the evening, but I am sure a lot of fighters from the United Kingdom would love nothing more than to beat up an American to avenge their defeat in the Revolutionary War. Plus, some viewers in the UK would like to see this too.
My fellow Americans, I am not asking for much. I’d just like to celebrate our nation’s independence by watching some boxing matches. If this also lifts the collective American spirit and injects new life into boxing, that would be great too. We invented the lightbulb; we put a man on the moon; I know we can make Independence Day boxing into a new tradition.
- Pacquiao has it tougher against Spence than Crawford facing Porter says Lou DiBella
- Crawford vs. Porter could bring in strong pay-per-view numbers says Bob Arum
- Crawford vs. Porter: Will Bud duck Shawn?
- Terence Crawford expected to ink with PBC; Shawn Porter fight to go to purse bid