Boxing

Boxing: A Dead Sport in the USA?

by Joseph Herron - Since the beginning of the modern era of boxing in the late 19th century, the sweet science has endured it’s share of controversies and “black eyes”. It is the opinion of most sports journalists that boxing is currently “dead” in America, and the next great American Heavyweight Champ decided to play linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens rather than hold the most prestigious title in all of sports, according to most American fight scribes. “MMA has captured the imagination of the audience boxing could count on to purchase the big pay per view events every year,“ some have said. Is the die-hard boxing fan the most endangered species in Sports America?

Not according to this boxing die-hard. It is hardly a well known fact that pugilism is alive and well in living rooms across this great nation though.. Without the help of mainstream sports media, boxing has become a very unrecognized sport among most fans and radio personalities of the “Big Three: Football, Baseball, and Basketball.” Why, you ask? Boxing desperately needs what the NFL, NBA, and MLB have: a sanctioning league which schedules games every year and a commissioner who oversees how it is run.

Boxing promoters have been doing a much better job over the last several years making better quality fights and much more fan-friendly match-ups, but this isn’t creating the kind of enthusiasm promoters had hoped. One luxury the boxing fan doesn’t have is the “inevitable big match-up” other sports fans enjoy. Dallas Cowboy fans can always count on two big games against the Philadelphia Eagles every year. San Antonio Spurs fans can always count on cheering for their team against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers several times within the NBA season. Yankee fans can always count on their heated rivalry with the Boston Red-Sox year after year.

Unfortunately, the most endangered species in Sports America can’t count on that inevitable match-up year after year. We are at the mercy of the fighters, the managers, and the promoters. Boxing was on the verge of mainstream publicity when negotiations began between Manny Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum and Floyd Mayweather’s promoter Golden Boy Promotions to make, potentially, the biggest fight of the decade.

A fight of this magnitude has to be made, right? Wrong. The ego of two fighters and two promoters kept this mega fight from being made. Who suffers? The sport of boxing and it’s fans. Most casual observers believe that boxing can’t overcome this latest catastrophe. Are they right? Nope.

Any true fan of the sport will tell you that several reasons to love boxing are the constant fights throughout the entire year. Boxing doesn’t have an off-season like the Big Three. So what if we have to wait a little longer for Mayweather versus Pacquiao? The great sport of boxing doesn’t depend on two fighters. There are so many other exciting fights
already scheduled for 2010.

On March 6th, HBO brings us its Boxing After Dark series with a very entertaining unification bout between IBF title holder Juan Urango and newly crowned American WBC title holder Devon Alexander. This fight should produce fireworks. A classic bullfight with the role of matador played by the young American Devon Alexander facing the strong punching Columbian bull in Juan Urango. This is a very tough test for both fighters who have a lot to prove in the junior welterweight division.

The following week in Dallas, TX, Manny Pacquiao faces a very avoided and underrated fighter in Josh Clottey in the new Cowboy Stadium. This fight is being offered on HBO pay per view on March 13th and should be a very exciting and action filled fight. This is more than just a tune-up fight for the Filippino phenom. He will have to work hard and bring his A-game to get past the rugged counterpunching Ghanaian fighter.

On March 20th, in Germany, Wladimir Klitschko is back in action defending his status as the Kingpin of the Heavyweight division against slick counter puncher, Fast Eddie Chambers. The Philadelphia native is the most proficient young Heavyweight America has to offer and should give Dr. Steel hammer a very tough test.

March 27th marks the beginning of stage two of Showtime’s “Big Six” super middleweight tournament. Undefeated and former middleweight Champion King Arthur Abraham takes on American hopeful Andre Dirrell in a 12 round showcase. King Arthur is coming off of his most impressive performance to date with a stunning knockout victory in the 12th round over former middleweight champ Jermain Taylor. If you haven’t seen the King at work, buckle up. He is one of many “must see” fighters in boxing today.

On the same night, HBO is offering a very exciting fight card featuring the tough WBA junior welterweight title holder Marcos Maidana who defends his belt against undefeated and dangerous Victor Cayo of the Dominican Republic. Maidana has one of the best knockout ratios in boxing stopping 26 of his 28 opponents with vicious KO power. The WBA welterweight champion has a very fan pleasing style and is never in a boring fight. Keep an eye on the tough Argentinean knockout artist.

There are a great number of exciting fights on the horizon which deserve mention, and should make for a great year in boxing. Prize fighting today is filled with a large amount of unrecognized young talent which deserves more attention in the mainstream sports media. Hopefully, sports journalists will start to notice the sweet science once again in 2010 and boxing will return to prominence in America.

Article posted on 26.02.2010



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