A little dishing on sports

Shadow Boxing

There was a huge boxing match last night between the best fighter in the world, Manny Pacquiao, and some guy who the 19 people left in the country who follow boxing wanted to convince us was going to give him a tough fight.  I’ve never actually seen Pacquiao fight because as far as I’m concerned at this point, boxing is the Loch Ness Monster of sports – the legend is scary, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t really exist.  I’ve read, though, that Pacquiao is the most exciting fighter in boxing in years.

It’s a damn shame what the greedy bastards who “run” boxing have done to the sport.  When I was a kid, I became a boxing fan in large part because I could actually see most of the great boxers of the time on TV.  Sugar Ray Leonard, Larry Holmes, Salvador Sanchez, Aaron Pryor, all fought on network television often.  When Holmes won the WBC heavyweight title in 1978, I watched the fight live on ABC.  Now, you’d be more likely to see America’s Favorite Firing Squad Screw-Ups than you would an even marginally interesting boxing match on television.  There are two things I don’t get.  First, where is all the money coming from to pay these multi-million dollar purses some of these boxers are getting?  Second, how much cash would these guys be generating if boxing actually had a coherent sound business plan for growing the sport?

It seems to be common sense from a marketing perspective that your sport should appeal to kids, since they’re at the age when the form those lifelong connections, and they usually eventually become adults, often with disposable income, which many of them are willing to spend in part on sports.  There are kids who are nine now, as I was when Holmes beat Norton, who might have watched a lot of boxing during their adolescence and early adulthood; who might’ve purchased the next Tyson-Holyfield on pay-per-view as I did.  Instead, those kids are watching MMA, or the WWE or the Real World-Road Rules challenges, and a generation of boxing fans is lost forever.

There is a lot of valid criticism of boxing.  It’s violent and inhumane – and that’s just in Don King’s office.  I believe the sport should be heavily regulated to protect participants as much as is realistic, but I’m not big on banning sports that adults willingly participate in because of the risk of injury.  Boxing got Mike Tyson out of my neighborhood.  That alone makes it worth having around.

The reality is, boxing is going to die and it will die soon.  Eventually the existing fan base will die off or, like myself, get distracted by other things like why anyone gives a crap what Howard Stern says about Gabourey Sidibe The sport will have no pool to draw upon from current and future generations, and it will be relegated to fringe status in America.  It will be the end of an era and you we won’t care.  Oh well, anyone up for nude workouts with Chuck Liddell and his wife?

For those of you who enjoy a little Sportstapas, please have some Mac ‘n Chi’s, a site I am running with my best friend.  Most of my posts will be in both places, but Chi’ will have his own posts on food, travel and assorted other things, and he will also have some sports pools housed on the site as well.  It should be fun and we’re just getting it started.


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