Is Boxing Really Dying? I say NO
By Vitali Shaposhnikov: Yes, it is true that both Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao have been involved in a very irritating and hope-slaughtering drama with each other. It is also clear that both fighters have enormous egos, which in turn created a ripple effect affecting the potential of making the fight come to fruition.
Article posted on 09.02.2012
Things like the lack of agreeing to mutual financial benefits, and finger pointing without factual evidence, are making the two superstars look like kids fighting over a fire-truck toy in a public sandbox.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that most of us have let our negative thought reach our friends, family, and the general public, we all want to see the fight. Assuming the fight ever happens, some have threatened to protest the fight and create a movement that would prevent others from paying the PPV price and tuning in, but unfortunately for them, this they will not succeed in.
Recently, Tim Keown of ESPN posted an interesting piece on the topic of boxing and its lack of ability to stimulate the fans, as well as the entire Mayweather Jr. vs. Pacquiao situation. It is a very well written piece, and many points I would have to undeniably agree with. On the other hand, some things that Mr. Keown had written I would like to take this time and opportunity to argue with, as they involuntarily and unfairly bring boxing, as well as the fighters to an assumed yet not true negative light.
“Both fighters are already past their prime, which raises another question: A year from now, how much is going to be proven anyway?”
While this is technically a good point, the answer is pretty simple: if the theory of both fighters being equally past their prime stands true, the significance of the fight will always remain the same. One of the main excuses fighters and their fans lean back on, is that one fighter is or was way past their prime. If people agree that physically both men are in an equivalent position, then the point of finding out who is a better boxer stays relevant. In any case, declaring a fighter past their prime is sometimes no easy task. Have we clearly seen Mayweather Jr. lose so much of his abilities in the recent past? No, I don’t think so. Has Pacquiao all of the sudden started looking much worse in the ring? No, he remained the same Manny, aggressive and lightning fast. Sure he looked worse against Marquez, but at the same time the fight looked pretty similar to the other two, thus, within a scope of abilities and his ring generalship, Pacquiao remained the same.
“The excuses are legion. It's about money. It's about dates. It's about drug-testing. It's about jail sentences and arena configurations and who's dodging whom. In other words, it's long past time for normal folks to stop paying attention.”
This is boxing, and boxing happens to be a business as well as a sport. Why wouldn’t it be about money? Pacquiao is nearly broke despite the fact that he has endorsements all over the place, and Mayweather Jr. has always stated that he doesn’t care about the belts of legacy all he wants is more money. Let’s not even get into Bob Arum and his antics.
Drug testing has also always been on the minds of various sportsmen. Drug accusations have been a part of boxing for a while now, and you know what the funny thing is? It was true more often than not! Taking the test is exceedingly easy, and there should be absolutely no excuses, reasons, and motives to avoid or refuse it, if the fighter is indeed clean and has nothing to hide. Why even mention jail? It’s not like anyone out there makes their future plans with a possibility of serving jail in mind. It happened out of nowhere, as most would agree that people did not expect the judge to rule the way she did with Mayweather’s case.
“Mayweather is so transparent it's laughable. He has exhausted his arsenal of excuses for not fighting Pacquiao, so he's decided to twist the argument to blame Manny. There are enough people confused -- and, frankly, disinterested -- by this point that the tactic actually might prove to be effective. Floyd's move is a classic pre-emptive strike.”
Wait a second? There is clear evidence that Manny has agreed to take the money Mayweather Jr. offered him a little while back, and now, once the talk have escalated to a new high, that was no longer the case. Now, Pacquiao and Arum have changed their minds, and want 50/50? Ha! No don’t get me wrong, I understand why, but it is still a very tricky and sleazy way to do things. Of all the media appearances by both fighters, how often have you heard Pacquiao clearly calling out Mayweather Jr.? The only words that came out of Pacquiao’s mouth were ‘Bob Arum’ and ‘my manager.’ Mayweather has made numerous public attempts to call out Pacquiao, yet no one seems to either remember those or give them any value. I am not sure who to blame and who is really trying to prevent the fight, but what I do know is that blaming Mayweather Jr. over Pacquiao is not logical at all.
“Is boxing killing itself off, or is it happening organically?”
Mr. Keown, thank you for writing your article, which I have wholeheartedly enjoyed, and also thank you for asking the above quoted question. Boxing is not on a steep rise, but is far from being killed off as well. While exciting fights rarely make their way to our TV screens, they still do. Many folks make the argument that there are no good fighters out there, fighters like Ali, Frazier, Leonard, and all the other greats. Me, I say there are plenty, and some are so much more talented than the ‘oldies’ of boxing. Even look at the ‘old and boring’ Vitali Klitschko, a man who is physically and mentally eagerly dominant at the age of 40. If we can compare Tyson and Marciano, why can’t we compare Ali and Klitschko?
Boxing is alive and well, all you have to do is tune in and see, as just looking is not enough. There is a real abundance of excellent champions and even more prospects active in boxing.
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