When I was growing up, I remember my dad would go on and on about boxing greats such as Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns. He didn’t immigrate to the United States from Vietnam until 1980. So all of the earlier legends like Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, and Roberto Duran were all mythological names to him because he didn’t watch TV growing up.
And I guess since I had the opportunity to watch TV as a kid, for as long as I can remember, he would make me sit down with him and watch boxing matches even though they frightened me. Plus, I would have rather had basketball or football on. But this is the reason why Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr., Felix Trinidad, and, to a lesser degree, Evander Holyfield and Prince resonate with me so much. For me, that was boxing’s “heyday” -- the good ol’ 90s.
Even after his loss to Buster Douglas in 1990 and having to serve three years in prison for rape charges, his “comeback” fights were on a whole different level in terms of anticipation and buildup.
But today? Most people can’t even name three boxers outside of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
The easy thing to do is put the blame on money -- to be honest, money can be blamed for almost anything these days. To me, however, the greatness that was boxing was the fact that if you were a champ, you were the champ of the world. Muhammad Ali, for example, was the heavyweight champion of the world. No questions asked.
Sadly, promoters and television networks have taken control of the sport and have created a new belt for every day of the week it seems. Currently, you have the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, and The Ring championships. This means you can potentially have five different middleweight champions at one time. Really? Does this make sense to anyone? The aura that surrounds the champion is no longer one with mystique and reverence.
Add to boxing’s poor management with the arrival of other contact/combat sports coming into the fray, and you ultimately have a dying sport. Dana White has undeniably taken the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) to a level of popularity it has never experienced in the past.
As a result, most of the recreational fans gravitate towards it because A) fights happen more frequently and B) there are a number of UFC shows on TV (The Ultimate Fighter on FX, UFC on FuelTV, Fox, and even Facebook). If boxing were to unify and create a league similar to the NFL, NBA, or UFC, it may have a chance to survive.
But at this rate, once Manny and Floyd retire (which is coming sooner than you think: Manny is 33 and Floyd is 35), there will be no reason for the general public to follow the sport. This, of course, is the fundamental reason why everyone wants to see that fight so badly. I personally don’t see it happening, but that topic is for another day. Therefore, I’m going to be enjoying the sport for as long as I can. I don't know about you guys -- but once boxing dies, a part of me will die as well.
This Saturday, Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Miguel Cotto will be squaring off at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The undercard also includes the exciting Saul Alvarez aka "Canelo" going against the hall of famer, “Sugar” Shane Mosley.
Why you should watch the fight:
- Mayweather is undefeated with a 42-0-0 record and Cotto is 37-2-0 (with one of the losses coming against cheater Antonio Margarito and his loaded gloves). The sheer possibility that Mayweather’s flawless record can be tainted is enough reason to tune in. This is why he is the biggest pay-per-view draw; love or hate him, he is the face of boxing because of that record.
- Floyd Mayweather is going to jail after the fight (domestic violence). In fact, just three weeks after his bout with Cotto, his place of residence for 87 days of his life will be the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas.
- This is only the second time in Mayweather’s career where he’ll be fighting at the 154-pound division. His only other fight at this particular weight came against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, who many still claim beat Mayweather that night.
Who the sportsbooks predict to win:
- Mayweather is at -800 and Cotto is at +500. The line has actually moved in Mayweather’s favor in the days leading up to the fight. If you’re like me and like taking fliers with your bets, 5:1 odds for Cotto is not bad at all.
- If the fight goes the distance, Mayweather’s technical precision and speed will be too much for Cotto to handle. Mayweather is regarded as the best ever for a reason. But, I think Cotto has the punching power to make it interesting. If he were to win, it’ll be because Mayweather gets rocked, and Cotto’s left hand is as powerful as anyone’s. We saw what Mosley did to Mayweather early in their match, and the power Cotto possesses at this point in their careers is vastly superior to Shane’s.
- Cotto has already fought Manny, so this conceivably could be his last real major payday. He needs to jump on Floyd early and often in order to give himself a chance. If I had to pick a winner, obviously it would be Mayweather in a decision because frankly, he’s never lost. But this fight definitely has much more intrigue than his last few fights (Victor Ortiz, Shane Mosley, and Juan Manuel Marquez).
Being the hater that I am, I want to see Mayweather knocked out for the simple fact that it would shock the boxing world and maybe give it what it needs.
May’s What's Poppin' topic: Video Games and Sports
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