The sport is buzzing once again around the globe, with the heavyweight division in 2016 making a real comeback.
It was only the other day I was talking to someone who wouldn’t be a massive boxing fan but would tune in when the big fights are on. He was asking me how the sport is doing and what I thought of the competition from the UFC, a question I get asked frequently.
My response to the latter was that it could only be a positive thing, given the UFC’s success making people involved in boxing up their game, like competition in any market does.
On how the sport was doing though, it got me thinking.
On the outside, the sport is obviously performing quite well with the emergence of new heavyweight champions and indeed top level professional talent flourishing once again in every continent, with boxing perhaps getting more air time on TV in the States and UK than they have done for decades, whether it be free to air content or pay per view shows.
But the real answer to the question requires looking a little bit beyond the surface, digging a little deeper, and a quick stroll down boxing history lane to understand how the sport fundamentally operates over time.
Sure, the way how fighters promote themselves through platforms such as social media has massively changed, as has the accessibility to them from fans and how boxing is consumed is quite different with the internet.
But at it’s route as a business and sport (professionally), a lot remains the same. Tickets need to be sold, genuinely compelling fights need to be made to get fans interested.
Put on good fights and fans will watch. Simple as that.
But when you look at boxing down through the years, through all the negative naysayer’s different verbal black eyes hurled at the sport, with the old saying “boxing is dead” flung about more times than I care for to be honest, the reality is – boxing is not dead.
Far from it.
There’s a period of change going on in today’s time for boxing, no doubt about that. You only have to look at recent movements pertaining to top pro boxers in the Olympics as testament to that. But it’s a time of positive change for the sport in my opinion, overall.
Professional boxing is a talent driven sport and business and when you look back at all the different times in boxing’s history when many said it was on it’s way out, invariably, new, exciting fighters came through out of nowhere.
It’s just the nature of a sport like professional boxing, new generations of fighters that capture the public’s imagination always emerge, in the end.
Now we have new names like Gennady Golovkin, Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and many others coming through, and on the cycle goes.
Boxing is once again coming into a tremendous period for the sport, but one shrouded in more change perhaps than ever before, in my view.
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