I used to laugh when people said boxing is a dying sport. The idea seemed ludicrous to me, especially when you think just last year, Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao did about $500 million in revenue. However, perhaps Mayweather-Pacquiao would open a wound that boxing could slowly die from.
Now that the fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao has came and gone, it took a big chunk of enthusiasm for the sport with it. The age old question of “Who today can beat Floyd Mayweather?” had been answered simply with “No one”. Don’t get me wrong the sport still has some stars coming up like Canelo Alvarez but no one that can hold a candle to either Pacquiao or Mayweather.
Another thing that Mayweather-Pacquiao did was give boxers the belief that they could hold off on fighting each other for a long period of time to gain more money in the long run, for example Canelo Alvarez versus Gennady Golovkin. The WBC even tried to force Canelo-Golovkin by making it Canelo’s next mandatory fight and instead of fighting Golovkin, Canelo vacated his title and gave it to Golovkin. This “Mayweather” era doesn’t fight for legacy as much as they do currency. Best example being when Danny Garcia defended his world title against Rod Salka, an unranked fighter in the division, and still made close to a million dollars doing so.
If that wasn’t enough of an issue, we have had bad decisions recently like the Andre Ward’s win over Sergey Kovalev. Hell, some of the Olympic boxing judges were even suspended because of their horrific score cards. Maybe it’s time for boxing to evolve, just a little. Maybe it’s time we hold the judges more accountable. Perhaps, a quick note each round stating why you scored it the way you did. Don’t tell me there isn’t enough time, I write paragraphs between rounds and I’m a slow typer.
The popularity of the sport has definitely taken a hit inside the United States. I’m sure, for those of you in big cities, not much has changed in the way of boxing. You can still find boxing events and gyms to attend but the rest of America has seen a steep decline. Where boxing gyms used to be there is an Mixed Martial Arts gym in its place and new one appears to pop up every year. Take my home town as a prime example. From 1932 until around 1999 we hosted the state’s Golden Gloves tournament. Now, it’s hard to find a shred of the sport within city limits.
Then there is the question of the fighters themselves. Take for example the recent fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters. The boxing world was excited for this fight and instead Walters felt like he was getting outclassed and gave up on his stool before the sixth round. The fighters of today are just different. It is a smart play; live to fight another day, not risking an injury when you are clearly outclassed. However, tomorrow’s boxing will be missing its blood and guts warriors.
What I am trying to say is that I am worried about the future of our beloved sport. Don’t worry though folks, boxing isn’t dead yet. It maybe bleeding out slowly but it will fight until it’s last breath.