Sunday, January 23, 2011

Watching old people fight will not save boxing

The success of the movie The Fighter and the release of EA Sports’ next installment of Fight Night in March left me contemplating the sad state that boxing has become in the real world.

The most recent example happened just last night as former five-time Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield had his fight with Sherman Williams stopped in the third round and ruled a no contest. The way the fight ended is not the sad part of the story, but instead the fact that as a 48-year-old Holyfield is still trying to take part in a sport dominated by men in their 20s.

Holyfield has stated a variety of reasons for wanting to fight, but it seems the real reason he’s fighting is the same reason why so many boxers don’t know when to hang their gloves up….he’s broke.
Mike Tyson and Holyfield are famous for their fight in 1996 but they are also connected financially in that both men have somehow lost a combined 500 million dollars earned during their respective careers.  

While the sport is certainly not dead by any means, Holyfield’s fight shows how boxing is fading from public view and interest. Competition from MMA could be a factor, but so many of those fighters have expertise in other areas besides boxing.Manny Pacquiao and a few others are keeping the sport going but the competition that boxing once had across all weight classes has disappeared.

Boxing has always been a brutal sport filled with human drama both inside and outside of the ring. It is a sport that has been an important part of our society for decades and given us some of our most famous and culturally important athletes (see Muhammad Ali).

The sport is at a crossroads with no easy answers as to how regain the widespread public interest of past years. One thing however is certain, having its once dominant fighters get pulverized by men half their age is not the answer. 

Post by Jacob Pillis

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