Is boxing dead is a question that’s been floated around for a long time from the sport’s detractors. While it’s accuracy is way off the pace in reality, there is no denying that as a sport, we must implement change.
After reading an article on Boxing News and Views by Bo Bland, “Yes boxing is a business, but the brand of the sport is boxing as a whole” it got me thinking.
Is this really enough when the brand has been itself diluted, can we as fans quietly sit back and say nothing in the hope that boxing corrects itself? Can boxing as a sport continue to use the “good ol days” argument to ring the cash register at every opportunity, while holding up the promise of a better tomorrow, but without tangible results?
“If you love something set it free.”
That’s what they say isn’t it. That’s the leap of faith. If not, it was never meant to be then and that’s the nightmare scenario isn’t it, that you lose something you can never hope to get back?
As boxing fans the sport was always meant to be a part of our lives. We just never thought we would have to question it and it’s harder still to set it free in the hope it would return to the fold with an arm outstretched and a reassuring smile that tells you:
“Come on everything is going to be okay.”
Like every sport the sweet science has it’s faults and failings but as of late, boxing has done little to address some of the issues that are relevant and the root cause behind the disenchantment now evident with many grass root boxing fans.
It’s hard to point to a genesis moment because there probably isn’t one, but there is definitely a culmination of choices by the great and good in boxing that flies in the face of the majority of fans.
One problem is the fragmented nature of the sanctioned bodies, “the four horsemen of the boxing apocalypse”, as some like to refer to the fragmentation of world titles nowadays.
Governing bodies are continually at loggerheads with one other, making the possibility of one unified champion in each weight class as rare as hen’s teeth.
Add to this, the inability in boxing to have a central ranking system with any cohesion that further isolates each individual organisation from each other, and renders the possibility of the sport witnessing the best fights possible highly unlikely.
Furthermore, add into this mix an already convoluted, complicated labyrinthine with promoters, management and fighters, who all it would appear can pick and choose opportunities as long as the price is right.
But maybe there is hope in the future for change in boxing, after all, rules are made to be broken right? That is the space where change can occur.
This is only the tip of the business boxing iceberg, where brand boxing (as a sport) is a distinct second at present. Blasphemy I hear you cry, but just remember the old saying:
“Nero fiddled while Rome burned.”
Is boxing dead? No. Not in the slightest, as only last weekend’s superb TV ratings in the US from Errol Spence Jr clearly show, coupled with the big success of British boxing over the past year or so.
But as a sport, boxing must change to keep up with the relentlessly changing times we now live in.
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