Thursday, August 24, 2017

Mayweather/MacGregor: Requiem for a Sport.

It's important to get this out of the way early....

The fight between Floyd Mayweather and Connor MacGregor this coming Saturday is not a boxing match, it's a spectacle.

It's, unfortunately, the most important spectacle for the sport of boxing since Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.

Throughout his 49-0 run Floyd Mayweather has done more to damage the sport of boxing than any other fighter. If he loses, or looks horrible, on Saturday it will be the final nail in the long-built coffin for one of the more elegant combat sports on the world.

And that's a problem for boxing fans. Floyd Mayweather is a punk, he's a convicted abuser of women, and he's a general all around bad guy.  All that being said he's going to be viewed as the standard bearer of boxing by the casual fan when he stands off against MacGregor in Las Vegas.

IF, and I think this is possible, MacGregor looks very good or wins on Saturday boxing as a credible combat sport it done. It's done because an MMA fighter, not even the best pound for pound MMA fighter mind you, will have beaten the boxer who has dominated the headlines in boxing, for better or worse, for the last 20 years.

This would be a knockout blow for an upstart MMA industry who has been trying for years to convince the public of it's supremacy over boxing as a combat sport.  Successfully convincing the casual fight fan FWIW. Whether it's Joe Rogan running around spewing the lie that MMA is a "total combat sport" while boxing is not or Dana White acting as if his sport doesn't have controversy (when, instead, they're just as bad, if not worse than the sweet science in that area) to ESPN acting as if the UFC is the greatest thing ever, the public has bought-in to the "MMA is better than boxing" lie hook line and sinker.

Disclaimer: I've always been a boxing fan.  My earliest memories of combat sports are Sugar Ray Leonard beating Marvin Hagler, then losing to Roberto Duran before making the latter say "No Mas". Like every fighter my age, Mohammed Ali was, and still is "the Greatest" and the best fight I ever saw was Hagler/Hearns. (Look it up on YouTube). I was a fan of Vinnie Pazienza, cheered for Rockin' Robin Blake and named my first Rottweiler after Roy Jones Jr. I remember Clooney getting a heavyweight title shot for the sole reason that his skin was light. (and, I remember him getting knocked out brutally as well). I remember the rise of Mike Tyson, before his unfortunately business with the Givens family when he was a young heavyweight that came into the ring in all-black and knocked unconscious pretty much anyone who got in his way.

But I also remember Buster Douglas, and a host of fighters on ESPN's Friday Night Fights, and the Fight Doctor Freddie Pacheco and Howard Cosell.  I loved boxing in the 80's and 90's. It was frequently on broadcast TV and the fighters were both colorful and entertaining.

Then the PPV era hit, and boxing lost some luster. Suddenly the biggest fights were hidden behind a pay-wall, and boxing suffered.  Suddenly the casual fan had to dole out big money to see Tyson, Holyfield, et. al, and popularity waned. It's no surprise then, near the end of this era, MMA's big "break out" moment was on a Non-PPV event, the Ultimate Fighter.

Floyd Mayweather is the last bastion of the old PPV model in my opinion. He's the last fighter who can draw sufficient numbers to justify a PPV program. If that is the case, then this fight against Connor MacGregor is the swan-song of an era.  And thank goodness.  Because the rising stars of the next iteration of boxing are going to be much more entertaining than Floyd ever was. Thurman, Crawford, Ward, Spence Jr., Wilder, Mikey Garcia and several others are leading the charge in one of the most balanced era's boxing has seen in quite some time. There are fights on broadcast TV once again with real meaning. Not only are their good American fighters, but top Europeans such as Golovkin and Lomenchenko, and powerful Mexican fighters such as Canelo Alvarez.  Boxing is in a good place right now.

So of course Floyd Mayweather comes along to potentially screw everything up.  The man is a cancer on boxing.  God I hope he wins Saturday night.

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't call boxing a combat sport. It's more finesse than the MMA, tough man contests and the like. Boxing has been steadily losing popularity, from the early 1900s when it was probably the top sport in the country. So, Mayweather managed to win because he had a better plan and was able to dominate later in the match. I'm not too concerned with his personal life--athletes, rock bands, and actors aren't supposed to be role models, and I don't look to them to establish my morals, values, and lifestyle choices.

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