Unrealized Dreams and Shattered Expectations

By Niko Tricarico - What if Oscar De La Hoya had pulled out the victory against Felix Trinidad? What if Trinidad had defeated Bernard Hopkins? What if Hopkins had connected with two or three more straight rights hands a round against Joe Calzaghe? Too often the hopes and aspirations we attach to individual fighters are smashed to pieces like a glass jar launched from a sky scraper. It is the individual combined with the brutality and will testing aspects of boxing that make defeats the most devastating in all of sports..

In baseball a loss can be spread over an entire team and that team loss can be spread over an entire season. In tennis the individual aspects of the sport are similar to contemporary pugilistic endeavors, but consider the repercussions for the lackadaisical play of Andy Roddick. He loses, frowns and then goes swimming with Brooklyn Decker.

When a boxer submits a lethargic performance he will get beat up, bloodied, bruised, embarrassed, hurt and most likely hospitalized. Boxing exists as the most visceral and brutal enterprise in modern athletics and is one that does not transcend generations in terms of institutional longevity. So, to propose an allegiance to a fighter is to propose a tentative and fleeting devotion during which time your own dreams of stardom can be vicariously realized. This sentiment is also what makes boxing so frustrating in that individuals who pledge fandom towards fighters are, by the nature of the sport, being set up for great disappointment.

Disappointment in boxing, however, is not limited to simply losing. There are no fighters in the sport who are without fault and flaw, for even those with an 0 in their lose column are still subject to criticism and doubt. Floyd Mayweather is currently undefeated and at the time he knocked out Ricky Hatton in 2007 there existed a well of contenders in the Welterweight division for him to choose an opponent from.

Antonio Margarito, Paul Williams, Miguel Cotto, Luis Collazo, Carlos Quintana, Andre Berto, Kermit Cintron, Joshua Clottey, and Shane Mosely were all either up and coming or established threats in the sport and Mayweather fought none of them. In fact, for all his boasting and self proclaimed declarations of greatness, “Pretty Boy” Floyd “Money” Mayweather has done little to secure his legacy as a great Welterweight, even though it is the weight class in which he sees himself as the dominant force. In this sense Mayweather supplies his fans and more importantly, true boxing fans, with the greatest let down of all because with the exception of Paul Williams, Floyd Mayweather actually has the ability to defeat any man he faces. Why he is hesitant to prove his critics wrong remains a true mystery.

Article posted on 11.10.2009

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