Will Heavyweights Ever Reclaim Greatness?

By Joseph Herron: When Boxing ruled the world, the undisputed Heavyweight Championship was the most important and coveted title in the entire sports universe. Just ask former heavyweight champions in their heyday when the general public treated them like Kings. Fast forward to 2010, and US fight fans can’t even see the universally recognized Heavyweight Champ on television. What is wrong with this scenario?

On March 20th, US hopeful Fast Eddie Chambers will challenge the universally recognized Champ Wladimir Klitschko for his IBO, IBF, WBO, and Ring titles. Will the world be watching? Absolutely, unless you live in the United States of America. Most fight fans in America depend on HBO, Showtime, ESPN, or Fox Sports Net to deliver the best and most competitive fights available. So I am posing the question that seems to be looming in most fight fans’ brains: Why aren’t any of the major networks in America fighting for the opportunity to show this potentially great fight?

Wladimir Klitschko has one of the best knock out ratios in boxing and is facing his toughest opponent in recent memory. Eddie Chambers, a very skilled fighter who hails from the city of brotherly love, is not receiving much love from odds-makers and sports writers around the globe. Most boxing scribes see this title fight playing out like most of the younger Klitschko’s more recent fights: a methodical beat down and an eventual one sided stoppage for the Heavyweight Champion. Will the fight actually play out that way? Most US fight fans won’t know until they read about it on the front page of their favorite boxing website.

Most networks and US fight fans claim that the more exciting and action filled bouts are currently held within the lower weight classes. Are they? Is this a matter of perception or reality? Several boxing fans and writers have likened watching a heavyweight fight to “watching paint dry”. Is this a just description or herd mentality? Styles make fights.

On April 24th of this year, fight fans will get the opportunity to see what boxing writers are labeling as “a potential fight of the year candidate”. California native Cristobal Arreola is taking on, the always tough Polish fighter, Tomasz Adamek. By the way, this fight is a heavyweight fight which will be shown on HBO. This is considered to be a “throwback” fight reminiscent of the glory years of boxing’s glamour division. Will this fight more than likely be more action filled than the highly publicized Mayweather vs. Mosley? Absolutely.

The Heavyweight division is currently being unfairly recognized as the “most boring division on all of boxing.” One of the many criticisms of the “sweet science” is that too often, fights are decided by a controversial and sometimes unjust verdict from the judges scorecards. This has been rampant as of late in almost every weight class even when the elite are showcased. This simply does not happen as frequently in the heavyweight division. Heavyweight fighters like to determine the outcome of their fights the old-fashioned way: by decisive knock-out!! There is nothing more breathtaking than seeing a dramatic heavyweight knockout live and in living color. This is what originally made the heavyweight division the most glamorous in all of boxing. Do devastating knockouts consistently take place in the current version of the heavyweight division? Absolutely. The only variable that has changed is the public perception. It’s time that networks and fight fans alike re-evaluate their opinions of boxing’s most important weight class.

The fact that HBO is denying their American viewers the opportunity to see one of the more talented and dominant Champions boxing currently has to offer is utterly disgraceful. The “aura” of greatness will never return to boxing if we continue to regurgitate this ignorant and predetermined mentality.

Article posted on 12.03.2010

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