The slow death of boxing


I have never paid to watch a boxing match. The usual $50-60 price to watch it has not seemed worth it, honestly.

I also have not watched a lot of boxing live. Every now and again I will catch a bout on HBO when they have one of the lesser matches for free.

In college, the university I went to held an annual “Fight Night,” which basically was fraternity and sorority members putting on boxing gloves and head gear and throwing their fists around in an attempt to land a punch. It was for charity, so the boxing technique was secondary.

That is basically my history watching boxing and it will probably stay that way or my interest could even wane more.

Why? Well, because boxing is dying a slow death since the late-90s. Despite some of the high ratings and the money behind some of the “big” fights, there has not been a marquee boxing match since 2003 when Lennox Lewis faced off against Vitali Klitschko, and even that pales in comparison to past title bouts.

Yes, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have broke the bank with some matches and are the two best fighters in the world right now of any class. However, despite having the chance to fight each other, each boxer has found a way to avoid one another. Both have their excuses and since they are not fighting each other only brings the sport down more.

If those two were to fight in the next year, or maybe even two years, it could be the biggest fight since Mike Tyson bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear in 1997.

But it will not happen. Mayweather’s camp is already saying how jail is ruining his health and he may never box again. Mayweather is serving a 90-day sentence, so I wonder how it will ruin his career since Tyson came back strong after serving almost three years in jail.

Mayweather’s jail sentence is coupled with the shocking loss Pacquiao suffered to Timothy Bradley last week. Besides two judges, there has not been one person that has said Bradley won the fight. Even Bradley was hesitant to say he won the fight.

That loss may have killed boxing and any hope of people taking it seriously again. Now Pacquiao will not even be facing Bradley in a rematch right away. He is rumored to face Juan Manuel Marquez in November for the fourth time in his career in a bout to probably determine who will face Bradley next for the WBO welterweight title.

If Pacquiao wins, he would probably have to wait another six to seven months before even facing Bradley. Which means a matchup between Mayweather and Pacquiao is a year and a half from even happening.

While a Pacquiao-Mayweather bout will probably still draw a ton of money, the fight will not even be close to what it could have been a year ago with both fighters at the top of their game.

That also means the last chance to see a fight that means something is over. The Bradley decision determined it.

There will never be a bout that is even close to Ali vs. Frazier, Holyfield vs. George Foreman or even Tyson vs. Buster Douglas just because of Tyson’s name.

The sport of boxing has one foot in the grave since it cannot find the boxers or put together the matches the fans crave.

Instead, UFC is finding a way to roundhouse kick boxing to its eventual death with the way it captures the viewers’ attention the way boxing used to.

Justin Rust is sports writer for The Commercial. Email him at jrust@pbcommercial.com.