The death of boxing
I used to say that I was afraid to get married. But this was not out of fear of a cheating or nagging wife or the thought of losing half of my money and belongings as a result of a nasty divorce. While all of these things were high on my “I never want any of this shit to happen to me” list, my biggest concern was that I might miss a big boxing broadcast.
A marquee boxing match can be put together in just a couple of months. Most weddings need to be planned a good year in advance, with the church and reception hall booked and the enormous amount of time it takes for most future brides to select the perfect invitations and flowers. Not to mention the most horrible bridesmaid dresses you can find. And, of course, weddings generally take place on Saturdays. So do boxing matches. This left open the serious possibility that my wedding would cause me to lose a very successful fight.
But lately, I find myself reconsidering my position. And it’s not because I felt lonely or desperate. The problem is, there are hardly any compelling fighters left and no intriguing potential matchups left. Virtually all the star fighters of recent years have either retired or are in the last twilights of their careers. And there is a shortage of young talent entering the sport.
It has been said for many years that the glory days of boxing are behind us. Five years ago, fighters like 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 tying the gloves. , at or near the top of their respective games. If the best days of boxing are behind them when these fighters were active and in their prime, what does that say about their current state?
The heavyweight division, long considered the cornerstone of professional boxing, lacks great talent. The possible exception to this is Wladimir Klitschko, who has also been knocked out multiple times. Although loaded with technical skills, he seems vulnerable to collapsing on the mat every time his opponent pretends to throw a punch.
Britain’s Joe Calzaghe, an undefeated light heavyweight champion, has only one fight left before retiring – against 39-year-old Roy Jones, very faded. Kelly Pavlik, the trendy boxing sensation at middleweight, is scheduled to have a reasonably interesting fight with Bernard Hopkins, 43, in October. Hopkins, while always competitive, seems beyond the point of being able to defeat the best of the youngest fighters. And Manny Pacquiao, who is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing, is a current lightweight champion approaching welterweight for a December date with Oscar de la Hoya. This is probably the 35-year-old De La Hoya’s farewell fight.
Beyond this, boxing is primarily a hodgepodge. Nearly mega-superstar Miguel Cotto was recently defeated by Antonio Margarito, who had been beaten a year earlier by Paul Williams, who was later beaten in his next fight by Carlos Quintana and later conquered his victor in the rematch. Of course, all of this was after Cotto beat Quintana.
Yes, there are some others who are good fighters. There’s Ricky Hatton, Paul Malignaggi, and Arthur Abraham, to name a few. Andre Berto and Chad Dawson are a pair of impressive-looking young fighters. But I don’t see any of these guys end up as ring legends. 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 single days are probably numbered. I have no excuses. So unless the NFL makes a deal with a network to start hosting Saturday Night Football, I’m probably toasting. So bring the wife and prepare for the fight.