With the end of the Olympics, I’m left wondering how I can cure my sports hangover, as I don’t quite know what to do with myself. There has been a pagoda-like scheduling of sports entertainment for the past few months, from Euro 2012 to Wimbledon, London 2012 and a boxing calendar which has occasionally delivered some big-name fights.
Let’s face facts; the other sports I mention have either a tournament format or a competitive structure that allows us to definitively identify the top dogs within each discipline. It’s not news, of course, that boxing suffers as a result of this deficit.
However, on this side of the pond at least, the interest in the Olympics has served its purpose to try and bring boxing back into the mainstream consciousness in the UK, thanks in no small part to the 5 medals for Team GB, including 3 golds.
Stateside though, the ugliness surrounding the controversial Pacquiao vs. Bradley decision has led to renewed talks of creating a federal commission which would oversee the sport and have the power to enforce rules above those of the individual state commissions. This would be known as the United States Boxing Commission (USBC) and will administer Federal boxing law.
“The USBC will work with the boxing Industry and local commissions to improve the safety, integrity and professionalism of professional boxing in the United States,” said Senator John McCain, who along with Senator Harry Reid is working towards this new legislation.
There are lessons to be learned from other sports such as the UFC who have rapidly grown largely by following one important principle: giving fans what they want. Dana White recently declared to the fighters of a light heavyweight doubleheader, that the fighter who finishes their respective fight in the most impressive fashion gets the title shot.
This was a direct response to the fans who felt that just the one main event wasn’t sufficient enough to decide on a title challenger. The incentive is placed not only on winning, but winning while entertaining and looking for a stoppage, and in turn, giving the fans exciting and meaningful contests at the same time.
Muhammad Ali once said that boxing is the sport that all other sports aspire to be like. Well that may have been true in his day when the best always fought the best. These days, we are settling for fighters meeting long after their primes, or not at all.
The fight that everyone wants to see, Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, still seems beyond our grasp. Pacquiao has one foot in a political career and Mayweather until recently had both feet in jail. With both fighters almost coming to an end of their stellar careers, the fight of the century seems further away than ever.
There are have been encouraging signs such as the Super Six tournament, and two fights which stemmed from that, Carl Froch’s upset KO win over Lucian Bute, and the upcoming Andre Ward vs. Chad Dawson contest. However, we the fans expect more. We demand more.
Let’s hope the sport can build some momentum and continue to deliver the fights that its devoted followers want to see the most.