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Monday August 21st 2017
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Boxing…. Who Really Cares? Part I

If I asked you, “Do you know who Manny Pacquiao is?” would you be able to answer? What about Miguel Cotta, or Antonio Tarver? No, they’re not soccer players, basketball players or baseball players. In reality, these men are elite professional boxers, considered “Pound-for-Pound” the greatest in the world. Why is it, that while people seem to know so much about the worlds of professional basketball, baseball, and soccer, they tend to know very little or nothing at all when it comes to boxing?

If I asked you, “Do you know who Manny Pacquiao is?” would you be able to answer? What about Miguel Cotta, or Antonio Tarver? No, they’re not soccer players, basketball players or baseball players. In reality, these men are elite professional boxers, considered “Pound-for-Pound” the greatest in the world. Why is it, that while people seem to know so much about the worlds of professional basketball, baseball, and soccer, they tend to know very little or nothing at all when it comes to boxing?

I wanted to find out for myself how much the average person knows about boxing. I figured the best place to go and ask questions was at the gym. I figured I’d start easy; ask questions about who I considered the most popular boxers for the past 15 years. “Oh, Mike Tyson, the guy who bit someone’s ear off during a fight.” Well, that’s a start I suppose, they know he’s a boxer. I was hoping that at least one person could remind me that at age 20, Iron Mike became the youngest heavyweight champion of all time, a feat that seems never to be broken. Sadly, I was reminded not of Mike’s accomplishments as a fighter, but only of his problems outside the ring: a criminal, bankrupt, and some might argue, crazy.

I realized that the real Mike Tyson hasn’t been in the ring since 1997 and was to many a ‘black eye’ to the sport. My next boxing figure was someone I knew everyone not only knew, but loved: Big George, George Foreman. Foreman is popular in the boxing world for becoming the oldest heavyweight champion of all time at the age of 45 with a victory over Michael Moorer in 1994. Big George is know more as Mr. Lean Mean Fat Burning Machine than for his professional accomplishments in the ring. In fact, they couldn’t think of one boxer Foreman had ever fought against. All they could tell me was how great his grill was, which forced me to go buy one for myself.

I realized whether it was great boxers of the past or present day champions’, sport fans do not have interest in following boxing and its athletes like they do other sports. Why is it that the boxers like Manny Pacquiao, Eric Morales and Felix Trinidad are looked at as heroes in their respective countries; warriors fighting for the pride of their country, who leave it all on the line in the ring, but are relative nobody’s in America? Highlights of their fights only fill up the last 30 seconds of ESPN and are usually found in the 7th page of the sports section of the newspaper next to ads for a pill that’s suppose to help with erectile dysfunctions? Are promoters to blame? Do they really do their jobs and promote their fighters? Is the media to blame? Does it take another “black eye” type incident to have radio and TV talk about boxing? Or is it just too hard for boxing to stand strong in a country where football, basketball, baseball, and Terrell Owens take up 99% of the sports news?

To be continued…

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