See You At The Crossroads , We’re Already There
At a time when both sports are in need of some rejuvenation , both Boxing and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) , find themselves at a crossroads. Oscar De La Hoya and his Golden Boy Promotion , in spite of their stable of boxers , are vesting more into the world of Mixed Martial Arts, though not aligning themselves with either the UFC or Bellator , who just happen to the UFC’s biggest rival competitor. De La Hoya of late , is doing his best to promote his visible fighter , Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez , after the fighter’s lopsided unanimous verdict over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr . Now with a proposed mega-fight due to take place in mid-September, with Saul Alvarez facing Gennady Golovkin for the middleweight title . This should prove to be the “biggest fight” of 2017 on the boxing calendar , unless the much-anticipated fight takes place with Floyd Mayweather Jr comes out of retirement to face UFC fighter Conor McGregor . UFC President Dana White now seems to be on-board with latest piece of buffoonery. Bearing in mind the recent mismatches seen in some of the most recent bouts in the UFC , which have been title and non-title fights, I am not so sure fans will be prepared to meet the likely $59.95 PPV price for this particular freak-show .
In recent months UFC has seen the decline of its biggest star with consecutive losses suffered by Ronda Rousey , whose career slide has been as fast as her supposedly being the next big female action star in Hollywood. It is unlikely Rousey will return to the octagon , where her career ascent was fast , but clearly because the opposition faced in the early stages of her career was simply mediocre at best. Hype in MMA is just about everything and it can also mean absolutely nothing. Beyond the proposed fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor , for which contracts have yet to be signed or a proposed date being set, other the continued emphasis of hyperbole that it will take place, the UFC can only promise that some of its biggest stars will be seen inside the octagon within the coming months . Proposed bouts within the Light Heavyweight Division will see Daniel Cormier defend his title against the division’s former champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones , in a bout which will bring about even more tension , given the apparent dislike each fighter has for the other.
The long-awaited return of another former champion can’ t come around fast enough as the former Welterweight Title holder Georges St Pierre makes a comeback. St Pierre was due to face Michael Bisping the UFC Middleweight champion , but with Bisping having suffered a knee injury , Dana White is now proposing “Rush” as he is more commonly known, face the division’s champion Tyrone Woodley . Georges St Pierre was adamant upon his return to the octagon , he had no wish to fight once again within the division . The fighter is considered greatest welterweight in UFC history and his record number of defenses remains a benchmark not only within the division , but among all of the weight categories within the UFC , with only Demetrious Johnson having made more double-digit defenses of a UFC title.
Among the Women’s ranks of the UFC , Amanda Nunes has now become the “Face of the Sport” , having toppled the division’s best among the Bantamweights . With their being only three weight categories within the UFC for women to fight at the professional level , it remains to be seen what other challenges lie ahead for this highly skilled fighter. I certainly believe she is capable enough of surpassing Ronda Rousey’s record in terms of the number of title defenses . Nunes’ rematch with Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 213 should prove to be a thrilling fight, with Shevchenko looking to make amends for her loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 196 .
I read a recent article, which tried to concoct a debate as to who has been the greatest Heavyweight Champion in UFC history . Consider the fact, no claimant to the title , has ever been able to make more than three successful defenses, speaks volumes as to how mediocre the division has been throughout its history. Randy Couture might well have won the title on more than one occasion , while also being the only UFC fighter to have held both the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight titles simultaneously. Brief spells alone , Couture remains perhaps the division’s most well-known champion. The current champion , American -born Stipe Miocic , who is of Croatian ancestry , has already joined a select group of UFC heavyweights who have made two defenses of UFC Heavyweight Title. The division might just be the weakest in all of the weight categories within the Men’s Division of the UFC and at a time when boxing longs for an undisputed champion among the Heavyweight Division , it easy to understand the reason why there is no real interest in either category of the respective sports.
Stipe Miocic doesn’t fight for the glory , but he does seek make the sport and in particular his division a more respectable one . His greatest reward comes from the fact he is a fireman in his native state of Ohio. Miocic’s next bout is likely to be against a top-five contender within the division , with Dana White having the last say as to the challenger is likely to be. Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velazquez are the two leading contenders within division and it will be down to Dana White to make the pick, as to whom he believes would provide the most appealing and lucrative fight for the champion as well as the UFC.
I will continue to maintain until there is an undisputed champion in any weight division of boxing , the sport will continue to be an after-thought to even their most ardent fans. There has not been an undisputed champion in any weight category in over a decade and it has been fifteen years since the Heavyweight Division had a lone champion , with the division’s last undisputed champion being Lennox Lewis . Nowadays , it comes down to be anointed a lineal champion announced by Ring Magazine . Not unlike the winner of a beauty pageant being given a tiara made of cubic zirconium rather than real diamonds .
At present there are only two legitimately recognized claimants to the Heavyweight Title , with both boxers having unbeaten records . Deontay Wilder is the current holder of the WBC crown , while Anthony Joshua claims the IBF , WBA and IBO belts . I am not about to suggest , this decade of heavyweights have been among the best seen over the past twelve years , but it certainly does make a difference to know , we no longer have to put up with the idiotic claims that Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir Klitschko were the best things to have happened within the sport of boxing. The skills of both siblings were always questionable and the fact that in his latter years , Wladimir’s jaw was like a glass slipper along with his declining skills was proof of the fact he was an overrated champion. His fight record was littered with meaningless bouts , which padded his successful championship defenses .
Wladimir Klitschko’s last two professional fights ended in defeat, losses , one a unanimous loss, suffered at the hands of Tyson Fury and he then followed that up with a TKO (technical knockout) loss to Anthony Joshua. Now with his demands of a rematch against Joshua falling on deaf ears , there is no real reason why Klitschko should be rewarded with a second fight against his conqueror. Waiting in the wings as possible opponents for Joshua are , Joseph Parker , WBO title holder from New Zealand or a far more lucrative unification bout against Deontay Wilder. With so many international governing bodies presiding over boxing , a sport which remains in constant disarray , it should come as no big surprise , fans are leaving in droves. Boxing no longer has any real charismatic fighters or truly “ big draws” likely to lure in the crowds. Once prominent promoters, such as Don King and Bob Arum , have become aging dinosaurs , while the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and the somewhat retired Floyd Mayweather are now said to be breathing new life into the sport as promoters. One of the real issues for this sport , is the fact , it cannot escape its seedy past or an unclear future, where there does seem to be some lackluster talent laying claims to greatness.
The sport of boxing needs to be more streamlined , , properly regulated not just domestically but also on the international front. Corruption remains ever-present and while know some of the biggest names within the sport can earn millions annually and it should be noted there is little done to protect the well-being of the fighters should they fall upon hard times or suffer from a mishap inside the ring . These are some of the horror stories which often go unreported by the media or the governing bodies themselves.
When the UFC was purchased by the William Morris Agency for the unprecedented sum of $4.6 billion , it set about a great deal of intrigue for the once upstart organization. Dana White was still retained as President but , Frank Fertitta and his brother, Lorenzo Fertitta were able to walk away with over $2 billion apiece , while still retaining a small minority stake in the company. Self-made billionaires in their own right , they can now sit back and watch as the UFC enter its third decade of existence , while being one of the few professional sports’ entities in North America with over a $1 billion in revenues. The humble beginnings of the UFC and what it has been able to achieve since 1993 has been truly staggering. However, the question still remain , under a new ownership structure, will Dana White still be given so much power to hire and fire fighters as he sees fit, while signing them to contracts which in many circles might be seen as indentured slavery with their having few rights if any ? In recent months there has been dissension within the ranks of the UFC , with fighters such as Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz , leading the fray , questioning White’s authority , with UFC’s new owners offering little by way of any serious changes which would be of benefit to their biggest assets, the fighters .
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What do you believe is the biggest hindrance to the sport of boxing ? Also , can the UFC become an even bigger sport than its pugilistic counterpart while also creating household names ? If Conor McGregor can become the only UFC fighter among the highest paid athletes in the world , while the sport of boxing only has three boxers among the top one hundred , then surely MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) has to be doing something right.