I was watching television today and I came across a commercial for a new movie called Hands of Stone. It’s supposed to be about the epic battles between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. I was too little to see those fights live but I have seen them replayed over time. After the commercial was over I thought to myself is boxing dead?
Before I was born and before most adults I know, boxing use to be the premier sport for a while.During the 40’s up until the 60’s here were epic fighters like Joe Louis, Sonny Liston, Sugar Ray Robinson, Floyd Patterson, Rocky Marciano, and Jack Dempsey. Those were pure fighters who laid it all on the line , and put their blood, sweat, and tears into it. They would sell out arenas and go to town on each other. I would have loved to have seen it. It was the golden era of boxing.
Fighters like Joe Louis made boxing a classic.
The sport seemed to get bigger in the 60’s and 70’s when you had George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Ken Norton SR, and of course Muhammad Ali. They seemed to take boxing into a different direction. It was more showmanship than anyone had seen. I am only 36 and have never seen most of these men fight live, but I have seen most of the fights over the years on tv or video. Those Ali/Frazier fights were classics. Ali was the best tactician I have seen in the ring. He really could” float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.”
I would have loved to have seen Ali fight in person. What a sight that must have been. Joe Frazier hit as hard as anyone I have ever seen box. He could last with Ali like no one could.
Ali vs Frazier were epic battles.
During the 80’s I was able to see what I thought were great boxers. There were definitely not heavyweights but a different type of boxer. Some of them were middle to light weights, but they packed a punch harder than their size. I was able to see Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Michael Spinks, Ray ‘Boom Boom ”Mancini, and Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns.
Leonard and Duran were the two I saw the most growing up. I thought they were going to bring boxing back to the upper echelon of sports, but Duran couldn’t maintain it. Leonard still had some decent fights with Hearns and Hagler, but it seemed to not have the luster.
Duran vs Leonard was a sight to see.
When the 90’s came around I saw a young boxer named Mike Tyson. At the time I thought he could have been the greatest. He was magnificent to watch. I have never seen anyone hit anyone with reckless abandon like Tyson. I know when he started boxing there really wasn’t a lot of competition , but he still was dynamite. When Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis started to come, you thought there would really be a boxing resurrection. Holyfield lasted for a while, and Lennox won a few bouts and faded fast. We all know what happened to Tyson.
I never saw anyone hit harder than Mike Tyson.
What a complete waste. I still to this day have no idea how he lost to Buster Douglas. Part of me says it was a fluke, and part of me says Tyson didn’t give his best. Too late to ponder that now.
When I became older I was able to see the smaller weight classes fight like Roy Jones JR, Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya, and Floyd Mayweather. It just wasn’t the same to me. Jones JR , Pacquiao, and De La Hoya were good fighters, but it seemed something was missing. Mayweather is only in it for the money as far as I am concerned.
Manny was great, but couldn’t help save boxing.
I feel there are 3 reasons why boxing is dead or dying.
MMA has practically killed boxing. People seem to like this better and get into it more. It seems to take more skill, and there are better athletes involved in this. They don’t use gloves, and they manhandle each other til someone gets knocked out or submits.
People in general seem to have attention spans of gnats and can’t tune in or sit through a boxing match. They need a quicker fix and a faster result. It also seems generational lacking. Boxing quieted down over the years and drew less fans and fewer people would tell about epic matches they had seen. Now no one goes and the legend dies.
3. NO STARS
If I asked you who was the heavyweight champ you would say? Exactly. There are no fighters to come around and have the talent and charisma and star power that old school boxers used to have. Even the showmanship is gone. No talent, no competition plain and simple.
I for one will always like boxing more than MMA. MMA doesn’t have the in ring match I wanna see. I want to see the purest form of fighting and see two combatants give it their all. Let’s hope boxing won’t be down for the count forever.