Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Death of Boxing

I used to say that I was afraid to get married. But this was not for fear of a cheating or nagging wife or the thought of losing half of my money and belongings as the result of a nasty divorce. While all of these things ranked very high on my "I never want any of this crap to happen to me" list, my greater concern was that I could miss out on a huge boxing telecast.

A marquee boxing match can be put together in as little as a couple of months. Most weddings need to be planned a good year in advance, what with booking the church and reception hall and the egregious amount of time that it takes most brides-to-be to select the perfect invitations and flowers. Not to mention the most hideous bridesmaid dresses they can find. And of course weddings generally take place on Saturdays. So do boxing matches. This left open the serious possibility of my wedding causing me to miss a blockbuster fight.

But lately, I find myself reconsidering my position. And it's not because I've grown lonely or desperate. The issue is that there are almost no compelling boxers or intriguing potential match-ups left. Virtually all of the marquee fighters of recent years have either retired or are in the fading twilights of their careers. And there is a dearth of young talent entering the sport.

It has been said for many years now that the glory days of boxing are long gone. Going back as recently as five years, fighters such as Roy Jones Jr, Floyd Mayweather, Felix Trinidad, Lennox Lewis, James Toney, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Fernando Vargas, Oscar de la Hoya, Shane Mosley, Bernard Hopkins and Arturo Gatti were still lacing up the gloves, at or near the top of their respective games. If boxing's better days were behind it as of when these fighters were active and in their primes, what does that say about its present state?

The heavyweight division, long considered the cornerstone of professional boxing, is devoid of major talent. The possible exception to this is Wladimir Klitschko, who has been knocked out a few times himself. Although loaded with technical skills, he seems vulnerable to crumbling to the canvas any time his opponent even feigns throwing a punch.

Britain's Joe Calzaghe, an undefeated champion at light-heavyweight has just one fight left before retirement - against 39 year-old, badly faded Roy Jones. Kelly Pavlik, the boxing sensation de jour at middleweight, has a reasonably interesting fight scheduled with 43 year-old Bernard Hopkins in October. Hopkins, although always competitive, seems beyond the point of being able to defeat the best of the younger fighters. And Manny Pacquiao, whom many consider to be boxing's best pound for pound fighter, is a current lightweight champ who is stepping up to welterweight for a December date with Oscar de la Hoya. This is likely the 35 year-old de la Hoya's farewell fight.

Beyond this, boxing is mostly a mishmash. Almost mega-superstar Miguel Cotto was recently vanquished by Antonio Margarito who had been vanquished a year prior by Paul Williams who was then vanquished in his very next fight by Carlos Quintana and then conquered his vanquisher in the rematch. Of course this was all subsequent to Cotto vanquishing Quintana.

Yes, there are a few others out there who are good fighters. There is Ricky Hatton, Paul Malignaggi and Arthur Abraham to name a few. Andre Berto and Chad Dawson are a couple of impressive looking young fighters. But I don't see any of these guys ending up as legends of the ring. While not quite ready for life-support, professional boxing is certainly gasping for air.

What all of this ultimately means to me is that my bachelor days are probably numbered. I'm out of excuses. So unless the NFL works out a deal with a network to begin hosting Saturday Night Football, I'm probably toast. So bring on the wife and let's get ready to rumble.

2 comments:

Peter Robert Casey said...

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Please let me know if you would be interested.

Your's in Hoops,
Peter Robert Casey
http://www.peterrobertcasey.com

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