Who is the Future of Heavyweight Boxing?
By Shaun Murphy: The heavyweight division has undergone a demographic shift! In the not-to-distant past, American heavyweights dominated boxingís golden division and, frankly, the rest of Planet Earthís inhabitants couldnít compete. Nowadays, Europeans hold the power, but can Americans return to their previous thrones?
Article posted on 19.08.2011
Why America Dominated?
A core prerequisite for a nation to produce elite-level heavyweight fighters is a reservoir of big men who are willing to take the risks, a market to promote them and great trainers to hone their skills. Of course, when legalized fist fighting was first introduced into America those three elements existed in such abundance that in the 1920s there was an estimated 20,000 heavyweight boxers.
But times have changed. The days of Rocky Maricano learning his craft while punching his way through club fighters in Boston, Massachusetts and Mike Tyson working himself into a prism of organized rage in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York are over. I believe the reason for this is a mixture of improved educational opportunities and sports such American football, basketball and mixed martial arts becoming the first choice for big American athletes.
This has resulted in a shallow pool of talent and Las Vegasí Caesarís Palace and New York Cityís Madison Square Garden being replaced by the Imtech Arena in Hamburg, Germany as heavyweights with names as hard to pronounce as their punches are to take hold centre stage.
Why Europeans are on Top?
I donít believe Europeans are supermen. In fact, many are awkward and crude and seem to lack the finesse that turns brawling into art. Nevertheless, the aforementioned sociological prerequisite for elite-level fighters exists in Europe to such a degree that sheer numbers are invading the heavyweight ranks in a wave of violence that American fighters canít cope with. If you call it war, manpower is overwhelming a weakened enemy.
Wladimir Klitschko, on the British boxing programme Ringside, said the European amateur system is the cause of their dominance. I agree. Although American gyms have the big-time trainers and the money to create great fighters, European nations such as Russia, the Ukraine and even Britain have a grass roots amateur system that skims its fighting cream into structures that result in fighters such as the Klitschkos, Thomas Ademek, Robert Helunius and Tyson Fury. And, in Europe, there arenít the same opportunities to enter other sports: combined with the decline in American numbers, thatís why the division has changed.
Who Will be Next?
I believe the golden age of the American heavyweight is over and the effects of the effeminate elements of the culture Ė such as rabid consumerism (please donít take offence) Ė have entered the collective subconscious and created men who see heavyweight boxing as too hard a way to earn their money, and who can blame them?
This may be a bitter pill for many Americans to swallow, but there is a chance of redemption. Destroy the NFL, the NBA, your educational system, Hollywood, the UFC, the free market, equal opportunities, the music industry and any other auspicious opportunity that that your biggest, toughest are offered. If not, buy a ticket to Germany and just accept whatís happened. Hell, in 40 yearsí time, the epicentre of heavyweight boxing just might be India?
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