If two boxers fight in a ring, and nobody cares …

Just read on SI.com that Vitali Klitschko dominated Shannon Briggs to retain his WBC heavyweight title.

I was shocked by this news, in that:

A. I didn’t realize Vitali Klitschko is still heavyweight champ.

B. I couldn’t believe Briggs still commands title fights.

C. I always thought Briggs’ last name was ‘Biggs.’

In other words, wow. Not all that long ago, I was a huge boxing fan. Huge. Came up watching Marvelous and Sugar and Tommy and Duran; can vivdily recall the excitement preceeding Cooney-Holmes and Bramble-Mancini and, later on, the two Holyfield-Tyson fights. I covered a bunch of fights for SI in the early 2000s, and always dug the experience.

Now, however, the sport is dead. D. E. A. D. People have different theories—MMA taking over; city kids turning to football and basketball over boxing; the violence. My theory is simpler: At its core, boxing sucks. It’s occasionally violent and bloody, but 95 percent of fights are lame and dull. Two guys standing in the middle of a floor, throwing jabs, waiting … waiting … waiting … waiting. When hype exceeds reality—Ward-Gotti or some of the Holyfield-Bowe clashes—it’s wonderful. But hype rarely exceeds reality. And, in the end, we’re left with boring crap like Klitschko-Briggs.

5 thoughts on “If two boxers fight in a ring, and nobody cares …”

  1. Concur 100%. I used to L-O-V-E boxing. I knew every champion and all the contenders (I think I was the only kid in my lily-white middle school rooting for and betting on Holmes over Cooney).

    Now? Myriad organizations and belts have diluted an already crippled sport that is swimming in corruption. Ring the bell!

  2. I used to enjoy boxing. I go back a bit and still remember watching an amazing boxer by the name of Cassius Clay dancing all around the ring.
    I lost taste for it when I began to realize that the goal of the sport was to cause brain damage to your opponent.
    Football is violent but it isn’t the goal of football to cause harm to your opponent.
    Sometime I am still drawn to a fight, but then I need to take a shower, cause I feel dirty.

  3. I’m not sure the sport is dead, but the heavyweight division is certainly dead. If the world’s greatest large athletes still grew up to become boxers, Kobe Bryant would be fighting Ray Lewis for the heavyweight crown. Boxing will always be the sport that showcases the world’s best and toughest athletes under 170 pounds. I’m not sure that’s enough to be culturally relavant in this country.

  4. I disagree that it’s because most fights are boring. The problem with boxing is that there’s too many promoters, too many organizations, too many weight classes, and too many fighters.

    Want to burn an afternoon? Go and count the number of recognized world titles. Half the time you’ll spend trying to discern what does and doesn’t count as a recognized world title. Have fun!

    Even still, the bigger problem is promoting. While many fans and pundits hold The UFC to the fire for branding itself as MMA in North America and unfairly crushing their competition, there’s something to be said for having a central organization that has the undisputed best fighters under its payroll (Strikeforce is a joke). The fans know that if there’s a fight that they want to see or that should happen, they’ll eventually see it.

    That’s not the case with boxing. The Pacquaio/Mayweather mess of the last…God, this has been going on for at least 4 or 5 years now, exemplifies the situation boxing has. The sport is its own worst enemy, continually letting down its fans and frustrating them to the point of apathy. It’d be forgivable if one or two fights didn’t happen, but as is often the case with the sport, it’s nearly impossible to get the two best fighters in any given weight class to actually fight each other and provide a definitive answer to who’s the best.

    And in the rare cases where it does happen, so much time has passed because of promoters having p****ing matches and outrageous delays and demands that the fans don’t even care. For example, if Pacquaio/Mayweather were to happen later this year, it’ll be nowhere near as big of a fight as it would’ve been in 2008 or 2007. Their relevance is expiring, but more importantly, the patience of fans has been exhausted.

    I was never a huge boxing fan, but even I’ve been able to sit through fights that many others have labeled as snooze-fests. The thing is, snooze-fests are forgivable so long as there’s a legitimate reason for them to happen and that they happen in a timely fashion. Boxing in its current form is completely and utterly incapable of doing this.

    In closing, why the Hell is Shannon Briggs fighting for a Heavyweight Title in 2010?

    What a sad joke this sport has become.

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