Is It Time To Say Goodbye To Boxing Just Yet?
Growing up, boxing was absolutely awesome. I grew up watching Heavyweights like Roy Jones Jr., Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Chris Byrd, and James Toney; along with lower division beasts like Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosely, Antonio Tarver, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Manny Pacquiao. But as I grew older boxing changed. The Heavyweight division was controlled by two huge boring uneventful Ukrainian brothers, and every other fighter equipped for Boxing stardom was going to the UFC. The only thing that really kept the sport alive was the hope for a dream match of a Filipino President fighting a convict, but of course this has yet to happen. God forbid if it does happen, the sport might die with nothing else to look forward too.
There is no question that old boxing fans have been lost to MMA because they find it more appealing, exciting, and overall just more entertaining. This makes sense, MMA has everything going for it. It’s more than just one dimension of boxing, the fights are crazy and eventful, they have a huge TV rights deal with Fox and FuelTV, they continue to increase their international presence, Dana White is a great visionary and can blow up an event, and they have at least one superstar with celebrity status in every freakin’ division! Literally, in every single weight class:
-Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz in the Bantamweight
-Jose Aldo in the Featherweight
-Ben Henderson, and Frankie Edgar in the Lightweight
-Nick Diaz and Georges St. Pierre in the Welterweight
-Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort, and Chael Sonnen in the Middleweight
-Jon Jones, Rashad Evans, and Rampage Jackson in the Light Heavyweight
- And in the most important heavyweight division they have Alistar Overeem, Cain Velasquez, and Junior Dos Santos. They just lost big-man Brock Lesnar, which would be a huge loss to a sport like Boxing, but the weight class is stacked, and has guys like Fabricio Werdum, Daniel Cormier, Frank Mir, and Lavar Johnson that can also draw crowds.
With UFC quickly gaining popularity, Boxing is in serious trouble and has been for a while. I think we all knew there was a problem when us video gamers had no heavyweights to play with in Fight Night Round 4, and had to download old boxing legends, rappers, and past presidents to play with instead. The sport has to understand what happens after Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao retire. There potentially could be zero household names, but I optimistically believe that won’t be the case. Seth Mitchell, 6ft 2in American Heavyweight, at the age of 29 is showing some serious promise with an undefeated 25-0-1 record, after a 3rd round TKO against Chazz Witherspoon this past weekend. After a rough first round, the ex-Michigan State linebacker threw vicious body shots and landed a few hard straights to the dome in the third, earning his nineteenthcareerKO and extending his knockout streak to 10 straight. The Heavyweight is repped by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, and it is rumored he might fight long-time veteran 6ft-7in 48-4 Michael Grant. Seth Mitchell could be just two fights away from proving himself as one of the elite boxers.
Don’t get me wrong, The Klitschko’s along with Alexander Povetkin and Tomasz Adamek are unbelievable boxers. But unfortunately these guys are not exciting, they are not superstars like they would have been 10 years ago, and there is simply nobody challenging them. My hope is that Seth Mitchell can work his way up the ranks, and knock one of these guys out in the first round. I understand that is highly unlikely, but Boxing needs a new face, especially in the Heavyweight division. If it’s not Seth Mitchell then it could be Britishman Tyson Fury or Eddie Chambers, who are both making strides like Mitchell to challenge the top.
Tyson Fury is a 6ft 9in Brit who has at times an Orthodox or Southpaw stance. He turns 24 this year and has yet to fight outside of the UK or Ireland (with the exception of one fight in Canada). Two weeks ago Fury won the Irish Heavyweight Title and hopefully for the sport of Boxing, the 18-0 heavyweight can prove himself in a more competitive circuit. He could be one of the most versatile and exciting fighters in the Heavyweight class.
Eddie Chambers has the next chance to make a huge impact on the sport when he faces Tomasz Adamek next month at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. Chambers is 35-2 with his only losses coming to Alexander Povetkin and Wladamir Klitschko. Chambers has already proved he is the best current American born heavyweight, but now he’ll get a chance to beat one of the top Europeans in the weight class and make some serious noise.
It’s worth mentioning David Haye and some others can also pose a threat to the top guys along with the boxers previously mentioned. BUT even if somehow the Ukranian Klitschko’s lose, along with the Polish Adamek, followed by the Russian Povetkin I think their still will be problems. The overall solution is to recruit Heavyweights who suck in UFC because they can’t fight on the ground. These beasts will be able to provide huge knockout power that boxing has been lacking for a long time now. Online sensation Kimbo Slice made the transition after he got tossed around in the UFC, and he is now 4-0 in his professional boxing career. I think over time as the UFC becomes more competitive and completely usurps Boxing if it hasn’t already, we will see multiple talented MMA fighters spill over out of the Octagon and into the ropes.