Whatever Happened To Boxing?

by Andrew Alvez

About 10 or 15 years ago professional boxing was one of the biggest sports in the world and in the last 5 years we have seen it decline more and more with each pay-per-view fight.

During the 90s and early 2000s, pro boxing was one of the marquee sports in the world, as many boxers were household names and fights were the things to watch on Saturday nights. Now fights cost more and the talent pool is much smaller. At one point you could order a fight and see an amazing edge of your seat fight at any time of the year, now we are lucky to see one good fight every couple years.

So what’s leading to the death of boxing? Floyd Mayweather, lack of real competition, and heavyweight champs that refuse to fight.

Floyd Mayweather

Now let’s be clear, Money Mayweather is probably the greatest fighter in his lifetime, but he is leading the way in the death of boxing. Mayweather’s ether effect on boxing comes from his dominance on the sport and from being able to closely pick and choose whom he fights. As the best fighter in the world, there are some luxuries that only he is able to have and when you're 43-0, you pretty much can do as you please without anyone being able to say anything.

By no means will you hear that Mayweather is afraid of any fighter or that he is necessarily ducking anyone, seeing as he has fought just about every possible, viable opponent in either junior welterweight, welterweight and super welterweight/junior middleweight weight classes. Well outside of one guy that we all know, Manny Pacquiao, who iw probably the most irrelevant boxer now after two straight losses.

But Floyd’s selectivity has been a major issue for boxing fans, along with the amount of shit that Mayweather talks, he's become unbearable to most everyone. Even with Mayweather possibly being the most talented boxer ever with a work ethic that is unmatched in the sport, people are just fed up. What’s bad about Floyd being so selective is the fact that in the weight classes he fights, he pretty much cornered the market on pay-per-view fights. If you’re a welterweight and you aren’t fighting Mayweather or on a Mayweather undercard, most people aren't watching your fights (unless your name was Pacquiao before December 2012).

Money Mayweather is actually as bad for boxing as he is good for the sport. His final retirement will definitely hurt the sport, but at the same time give the sport a jolt of life.

Lack of Competition

In the 90s and early 2000s, boxing was full of competition as the there was a huge list of boxers that could contend for a world title. Think about when Jermain Taylor defeated unstoppable Bernard Hopkins. Taylor was 23-0 and just 24 years old, Hopkins has always been known as a fighting man’s champion and gave the youngster a shot at his world title. Taylor went from being a good fighter that very few people knew or even liked to the champion of the world.

This is the world that boxing once lived in, a little bit of buzz and an unblemished record could easily translate to a big pay-per-view payday and a title shot. The Heavyweight weight class was amazing in the 90s; even fighters with a few losses could easily get a title shot with a string of scary knockouts. Boxing turned into modern day gladiator as promoters were able to put two of the most fierce fighters in they would in the ring and just let the fight it out until we a definite fighter.

Remember the Tyson – Douglas fight? The undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champ Mike Tyson was set to fight what was thought to be an underdog in Buster Douglas. Douglas knocked out Tyson in the 10th round after taking Tyson as far as he had been in a fight in that point in his career. Most people were use to watching a Tyson fight and seeing fireworks in the first few rounds, but Douglas had other plans. Douglas’s victory shocked the world and showed how competitive boxing was, as styles really make fights as much as big names do.

Boxing just isn’t as relevant anymore and a lot of it is due to the fact the level of competition is nowhere near where it used to be. It doesn’t help that MMA is so tightly contested and has so many contenders within it that make it nearly the most unpredictable sport today. MMA may have replaced boxing as the top fighting sport.

Heavyweight Champion Brothers

Wladimir Klitschko and brother Vitali Klitschko hold all the belts in the heavyweight class and without knowing anything about boxing, you might think that would make for an interesting story -- that is until you find out the catch. The Klitschko brothers refuse to fight each other even though for the past 9 years the two haven’t lost a fight and continue to dominate the fight game.

So what’s the issue some might ask, seeing that the two are brothers, so it makes sense they don’t want to fight, right? Well not really since the heavyweight world titles will never be unified until either the two fight or retire. This is one of the fights that all boxing fans would pay to see as the top two heavyweights face off with an even better plot than we have ever seen, as two brothers would fight to see who is the best. The Klitschkos fighting would legitimize the heavyweight class and we all know boxing will never survive against MMA with a strong heavyweight weight class.

As good and dominant as the Klitschkos are, things would better if they just suck it up and fight to save the future of boxing. Boxing has probably never been so boring as it is today with crazy heavyweight knockout and big prime-time fights. Right now the only thing boxing fans get to look forward to is the Klitschkos retiring and who Floyd Mayweather brings to the ring with him.

Boxing has pretty much seen its glory days, though thanks to Floyd Mayweather, there is still lots of money to be made -- but it's not clear how equally this money is being spread out amongst all the top fighters. It’s not clear what kind of future boxing has as a sport, but it would great to see it return to what it once was.

Andrew Alvez | Elite.

Photo Credit: Getty Images