June 20, 2008

What Happened to Boxing?

The other night, on ESPN2, I caught the last few rounds of the 1990 Heavyweight Championship Boxing match in which Buster Douglas upset Mike Tyson with a mouthguard-launching knockout (pictured here). The fight is considered one of the greatest upsets in sports history. As soon as it was over, I tried to remember who the current heavyweight boxing champ is, or when was the last time there was even a heavyweight fight. I couldn't.

What on earth happened to professional boxing? Heavyweight boxing matches used to be global events, featuring larger-than-life megastars and exotic locales. Mohammed Ali. Joe Frazier. George Foreman. Mike Tyson (back when he was known for his uppercut rather than his overbite). Howard Cosell. Don King. The Thrilla in Manilla. The Rumble in the Jungle.

Does professional heavyweight boxing even exist anymore?

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At 5:41 PM, Blogger Momma said...

Good question! I think they lost me when everything started moving to Pay-per-view. The last bout I paid for was the one that Tyson threw! I was so disgusted I never paid for another one.

With so much reality television, American Gladiator, Ultimate Fighting, and so on, I don't know if boxing ever properly wooed Gen-X and Gen-Y.

Peace - D

At 5:53 PM, Blogger media concepts said...

Thanks momma. I have migrated to Ultimate Fighting, but it's just not the same. Those last Tyson bites, er, fights, must have had something to do with it, but that was years ago. Someone is leaving tens, maybe hundreds, of millions of dollars on the table, and maybe a billion viewers in the lurch.

At 8:52 AM, Blogger Myopa said...

I was wondering the same thing when I came across this blog. However, I think I know what happened to boxing....UFC!

Boxing used to be my favorite sport to watch, but now after a year or so of watching the UFC I cant even get into boxing.

I also cant believe you ranked Tyson in with those other great champs- because I also blame Tyson for the fall of boxing. Not so much Mike himself, but the promoters that made such a farce of boxing.

If you were really a boxing fan, and old enough to remember when Tyson was billed as such a great boxer- you would remember that Tyson never fought anyone worth mentioning, until Holyfield whom he ducked for years. When Tyson was "huge" he never fought the other good fighters like Holyfield or Riddick Bowe, just to name a couple- in fact, George Foreman would have probably put a hurtin on Tyson had they ever stepped into the ring together. Buster Douglas was a nobody until he BEAT Tyson! There is more to boxing than a great uppercut- especially when a REAL boxer is in front of you that dont just LET you hit him!

I also agree with "Momma" who said Pay-per-view played a big part in the fall of boxing. The generation that loved boxing wasnt accustom to paying so much to watch an over-publicized fight. If they wanted to spend 50 bucks to watch a fight, they would have gone to see it live! (I dont agree with the belief that Tyson "threw" any fight. - As a professional, he shouldnt have let Robin Givens issues interfere- and you would have thought he would have fought better, being such a kettle of rage that he is. - as I said before, Tyson was a paper champion who never fought a real boxer and he got beat by a nobody before the public started demanding to see a real boxer in the ring with him - he ducked Holyfield, who people had been begging for him to fight for at least 2 years. - instead he fought Tommy "Hurricane" McNealy! WTF was that all about?)

At 8:45 PM, Blogger media concepts said...

Myopa, I agree that UFC has taken the place of heavyweight boxing, and I have caught some great UFC matches (such as Stephan Bonnar vs. Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, etc.). I'm not sure whether UFC would be so popular if heavyweight pro boxing were still relevant. Perhaps.

As for Mike Tyson, note that I did not equate him in talent to those you mentioned (although his uppercut was pretty brutal), but I did equate him in fame, which I think was the case in his heydey.


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