Jones, Hopkins, De La Hoya: Boxing Needs New Stars

By Aaron Klein: In case some of you may not have noticed, many of the so-called mega bouts that have been coming along down the pipe involve older fighters from yesterday who appear to be recycled again and again without stop despite the fact that they're no longer nearly as successful as they once were. Case in point, instead of undefeated WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik fighting a top middleweight, he's fighting an old 43 year-old Hopkins..

At the same time, Joe Calzaghe is looking out for himself by fighting a 39 year-old Roy Jones Jr, a fighter that is well past his prime and who hasn't defeated a top fighter since edging Antonio Tarver five years ago. Then there's Oscar De La Hoya, 35, who instead of picking on someone his same size and fighting a welterweight or light middleweight like Antonio Margarito or Sergio Mora, he's instead fighting Manny Pacquiao, a super featherweight.

I can put up with a lot of stuff, but I hate to be sold a bad bill of goods repeatedly, which seems to be the case in most of the big PPV fights nowadays. Instead of seeing younger successful stars, we're having to pay big money to see fighters like Hopkins, Jones, and De La Hoya face younger stars, as if they need those older fighters to make them valid. I think it's a rip -off, and it's certainly not helping boxing any.

What it's doing, though, is stunting the sport by having the older fighters shown at the expense of younger ones. What this does in effect is keep the younger, better talent from getting a chance to show themselves against the champions and make a name for themselves. It's not fair to them, it's not fair to the boxing fans that have to pay big money to see faded stars and it's putting off the urgent need to start developing new stars for the future.

I'm sure that each one of these old stars can continue making big money to fight - and likely lose - to the top fighters for a two to three more years, but what good is that? It's like watching an old lounge act in Vegas of a washed up star just looking for a paycheck. Sure, those shows sell out to older fans who long for the past but it's not the same as seeing these stars in their prime.

It's like watching a circus act where an old toothless lion is carted out on stage so that gawkers can get a look at him, just so they can say they've seen him. It's worthless, because it isn't good for the sport and it's selling a bad product and trying to push if off as a competitive fight.

Frankly, it's sickening, and the ones that are peddling this stuff have no thought to the fans, the future of boxing. Does anyone really think that Hopkins has a chance at beating Pavlik? If you do, I suggest you take a look at Hopkins's last fight against Calzaghe, in which Hopkins clinched after almost every punch, and looked like a mere shadow of his once great self. He has no chance against Pavlik and is going to take a one-sided beating.

It's not who should be fighting Pavlik, because there's a lot better options out there for him, even if they're not as popular as Hopkins. At least they're legitimately ranked in the top 10 in the middleweight division and not just being brought in so that the two fighters can both enjoy a big payday at the fan's expense.

Perhaps the worst, however, is De La Hoya taking on one of the best fighters in all of boxing Manny Pacquiao, who weighs 25 lbs less than him and is five inches shorter. Pacquiao is at the top of his game, and probably can stay there for another two to three years.

Whereas with De La Hoya, he's at the end of the line and hasn't been effective for quite some time, dating back at least four to five years. The fact that he's taking on a fighter so much smaller than him in order to get a win and fight someone marketable, if more than a little off-putting. It's strange, however, that he can be so shortsighted to not understand how he's being perceived by others.

Article posted on 13.08.2008

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