Boxing’s slow, sad slip into obscurity

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    I’m going through a messy divorce. We loved each other dearly; perhaps I was blind to any faults. Yet now I find myself cheating with my love’s worst enemy, that bubbly young one that all the boys like. I am of course talking about boxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

    Where has boxing gone wrong?

    I am only in my mid-twenties, but I somehow feel that I was growing up in a time when boxing was teetering on the edge of the abyss. The last death throes of an incredibly popular and exciting sport.

    I was raised in the pugilistic arts in the heavyweight division by guys like Tyson, Holyfield, Lewis and to a lesser extent, David ‘Tuaman’ Tua.

    Their physical form, power, fitness and sheer hatred for each other made it entertaining and unpredictable.

    The first thing that began killing my attraction to boxing was the insane number of ‘world champion’ available. I don’t want to see someone with three world titles. This is not the WWE.

    I want to see them hold the World Title. The only one in existence, that states here is the world’s finest fighter in this weight division.

    Currently you can be champion in the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO or The Ring. I have no issue with fighters choosing to fight in either or all of these organisations, but there should only be one belt, held by one guy.

    It is a serious case of flooding the market. How am I, the casual observer, supposed to know which belts are legitimate and which ones are for pretenders?

    The second death stroke is the reluctance of well known champions to fight anyone of significance. Australian boxing provides a perfect example of this.

    Danny Green was afraid to lose his belt, and his pay days, so he fought an old man, a man with a serious neurological disorder and someone just out of retirement.

    When he finally showed some balls to fight a boxer who had some skills but had fallen into American boxing obscurity, Danny was soundly beaten.

    Boxing needs another Thrilla in Manila or Rumble in the Jungle. Sure, these fights contained one of the greatest entertainers of all time, but what made these fights was that the boxers had guts. They fought the best regularly. In the case of the Thrilla in Manilla they just plain hated each other.

    They were willing to risk their belt, record, and even their lives just to settle a score.

    It makes the current Mayweather v Pacquiao shambles incredibly painful. There is no doubt that these are the best pound-for-pound fighters of my generation. But Mayweather does not want to lose his undefeated record.

    He isn’t willing to risk it all and I have stopped caring whether or not it happens, which is heartbreaking.

    This is where MMA caught my eye, the beginning of the affair. The most attractive aspect of the MMA was the fact that the organisation pitted the best fighters against each other regularly.

    It was constantly one versus two, not champion versus some guy who learnt to box three weeks ago.

    This created a level of intensity and legitimacy to the wins and showed how freakishly skilful Chuck Lidell and Randy Couture were. Chuck Lidell has a career record of 21-8. These are figures that would kill a boxer’s career.

    Randy was only slightly better at 30-11, however he ended as the champion a total of five times in two weight divisions. They had a lot of losses in their career because they were continually fighting the best contenders.

    The second is the pre-fight. All too often in boxing these days the fighters act like inarticulate Muhammad Alis. They try to hype the fight by bitch-slapping each other at the weigh in and making derogatory comments about the other’s mother.

    MMA fighters often make semi-intelligent remarks about the other’s technique and style, and states how he is going to beat him up. It is a scene safe for mothers and shows a level of intelligence.

    MMA offers a level of variety that boxing can not achieve. While boxing is the sweet science it revolves mainly around head and abdomen.

    There are so many ways that a MMA fighter can end a fight, through knockouts, grappling, submission, ground and pounds, kicking, and the list goes on.

    It is this variety and spontaneity of attack which keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting to see when that pivotal moment will come.

    Lastly, attention span. In the modern era when everything is high paced and a million miles an hour, our attention spans appear to have been whittled down. A twelve round fight will take a minimum of 36 minutes, MMA just 15.

    This all means more fighters, more often, over a shorter period of time. It appeals to the younger generation.

    It is a shame, I loved boxing. I did not want it to end this way; but sadly, boxing it’s not me. It’s you.

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    The Crowd Says (27)

    • Roar Guru

      March 31st 2012 @ 9:16am
      The Cattery said | March 31st 2012 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      The multiple titles has confused the hell out of everyone and we seem to have lost that clear pathway from amateur through to being a contender, it’s all over the shop, and this constant peddling of “events”, it’s just got out of hand.

      Someone, somehow, has to take control – the problem is that these “events” still generate enormous interest and money – makes it very hard breaking away from the razzle dazzle and getting back to basics.

      The thing is: it’s hard to mandate a single governing body and pathway, when a promoter is able to come out of the backblocks and generate huge money out of novelty fights. I just don’t get why a large chunk of the public keeps getting sucked into paying good money for rubbish fights.

    • March 31st 2012 @ 9:57am
      turbodewd said | March 31st 2012 @ 9:57am | ! Report

      Good post.

      I grew up watching Fenech fight various people and everyone knew about Tyson. A generation before me knew about Ali. But these days boxing has become a farce. High farce. Except in 2005 when Green fought Mundine…back then every local club was packed and it was a good fight. But that’s one highlight in 20 years of rubbish worldwide.

      Then in 2010 someone showed me the UFC, I saw Brock Lesnar charge across the Octagon at Heath Herring like a bull, ever since Ive been hooked. Now everyone I bump into knows about the UFC. In December last year I was in Melbourne and found a city pub showing Lesnar vs Overeem – it was packed!

      Now every month or 2 I get together with 1-3 mates and we watch the UFC. Its always great entertainment, good close bouts with some crazy comebacks and jaw-dropping moments.

      I cant wait for May’s all heavyweight card topped off with THE heavyweight championship fight – JDS vs Overeem. Its going to be nuts!

    • March 31st 2012 @ 10:20am
      Hanzo said | March 31st 2012 @ 10:20am | ! Report

      I have been a combat sport fan for a long time. With boxing a I grew up in the Tyson era and being a kiwi was in a huge fan Of David Tua. I remember when the country stood still as he fought against Lewis. I have also watched UFC for a long time. I watched scratchy VHS bootleg copies of early UFC when it really was human-cockfighting. Its amazing how far the 2 sports have travelled. One onwards and upwards and the other slowly into the mire.

    • March 31st 2012 @ 4:14pm
      Wylie said | March 31st 2012 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

      I grew up watching amateur and professional boxing, but lost interest around about the time Tszyu retired. As others have said, too many meaningless titles and champions avoiding any real competition. I hated UFC in the early days (before the rule changes) it actually made me feel sick watching it. Then, a few years ago I saw an Anderson Silva fight and I was hooked. There are consistantly good fights and the undercards are often more exciting than the main events. I still don’t like seeing an unconscious guy get repeatedly punched in the face though. The refereeing has been horrendous at times.

    • April 1st 2012 @ 6:27am
      steve b said | April 1st 2012 @ 6:27am | ! Report

      your talking about two totely different styles of fighting you cannot compare a refereed street fight to boxing .As for all the different orginisations can you imagine how long it would take a boxer to get a shot at the title if their was only one . Thats why they have unifacation of titles so if a boxer thinks he is good enough he can try and win the lot . Also it gives an up and comer a taste of what might be ahead of him if he continues to win , bigger and better titles. However i do agree the Mundines and Greens oof the world who say they want to fight the best in the world and never do , does get a bit tiresome listening to their blustering only to see them fight someone who should have retired years ago or someone who is way under their skill level just to drag another payday out of austar foxtel and the like. And yes we the boxing fan give up our hard earned to watch the b.s. on pay tv because their are a lot ot boxing fans out their , and the smart tv execs know that we are starved of good quality bouts and we will pay to watch just about anything that resembles a good show . I blame the promoters for some of the poor quality undercards, And as for that thing you call cage fighting i cant stand it . nothing but a street brawl and should never be called a sport its a dog act to smash your elbow into someones face when their on the ground and call it sporting what a load of crap nothing sporting about that. LONG LIVE BOXING . .

    • April 1st 2012 @ 1:09pm
      Simo said | April 1st 2012 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

      Spot on Steve B! MMA is influencing our increasingly violent society to strike another man’s head while he’s on the ground!
      Though in a streetfight theres no padded ground and no referee! Wish there was some statistic to show how much MMA had influenced serious head injuries in street fights! Boxing is a true sport and will always have a large following though unfortunately one that attracts many sharks and crooks

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