I hate to say but I’m never enamored to see one of my countrymen fight inside a boxing ring, here in the United States. The one true champion the country has produced of any merit over the last decade has been undisputed super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe.
OK , I know that some of you will allude to the fact the former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis was good for the sport. As he basically came in and cleaned up the division by taking on and beating allcomers. That’s akin to saying that were the Detroit Lions to play the New England Patriots ten times over the course of eight weeks and beat them all ten times. Then it’d put some credence as to the merits of Lewis’ tenure as champion.
First that scenario would be a joke to begin with. And secondly are the Lions actually playing anything that borders on being a game being played in the NFL to begin with. ? It does take a lot of gusto to play an entire NFL schedule and lose all sixteen games. Lewis for his part while capable was viewed as nothing more than a guy who happened to be in the right place at the right time. Nothing more , nothing less. It’s not as if you’ll hear his name ever being mentioned amongst the greatest heavyweight champions of all time. Much being considered to be one of the top 20 heavyweights ever in the sport.
Which brings me to the point and premise behind this piece. On Saturday 2nd May former welterweight champion Ricky Hatton of Great Britain will be facing Manny Pacquiao in a light welterweight title bout. And for those of you who may have witnessed Pacquiao’s last fight against Oscar De La Hoya. You’ll no doubt have seen that Pacquiao dispatched De La Hoya with the ease for which it would take an adult to take candy from a baby. De La Hoya was a spent force and offered nothing of consequence when he faced his opponent.
As much as I value the aspirations of Hatton at this juncture. I feel that ever since his surprising victory over Kostya Tzyu where he became the undisputed welterweight champion.. Hatton has never reached those lofty heights again. Albeit that his credentials would suggest otherwise. He came up short when he fought a vastly far superior Floyd Mayweather Jr. And were it not for the fact that Mayweather in large part started to showboat for much of the fight. The result would have been far more conclusive had he chosen to end the fight earlier.
Which brings me to the point that whilst over the years boxing has been one the wane. It can be said that one of the main reasons behind it is the very fact that there isn’t that many talented fighters out there at all. And what fighters there are , who are viewed as champions. They don’t seem to possess the character , talent or persona to deliver to the fans the entertainment and excitement that they seek.
Pacquiao having defeated De La Hoya may well now be seen as the sole proprietor of being called the best pound for pound boxer on the planet. Most certainly there aren’t aspiring challengers who one would state dethrone from that particular mantel . Divisional category champions of late aren’t challenging each other looking to unify their divisions. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the once most prestigious division of them all ……the heavyweight division is now considered the laughing stock of the sport of boxing altogether.
That particular division the heavyweight division lacks a credible champion. And it would appear that none of the title aspirants or holders are at willing to face each other. Furthermore it has not helped one iota that two of the main antagonists within the division are unwilling to face each other . Even though they hold respective versions of the heavyweight title. Vitali(WBC) and Wladimir (IBF) Klitschko , two brothers formerly from the Ukraine but now based in Germany. The two have let it be known that they’re unwilling to fight each other either . This came about as a promise to their mother as youngsters once they came professionals. To my mind that whole scenario adds to the idiocy of why the sport is no longer taken seriously amongst a number of fans.
Fans are now leaving the sport in droves as they look for their excitement elsewhere when it comes to a combative between two erstwhile opponents prepared to lay it all on the line. Hence the reason behind the genre of mixed martial arts across the globe. So much so that the sport has outstripped boxing in terms of viewership not only with a live audience. But also via viewers hip on television and also through the PPV revenue streams.
A fight such as this upcoming bout between Hatton and Pacquiao may well elicit some excitement amongst the fans. But I doubt that it’ll raise seismic shift amongst the most ardent of boxing’s fans . Both sets of fighters have their own legions of fans . And when they face each other at the MGM Grand Garden Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. One would hope that both fighters are prepared to entertain the fans none stop once that first bell is rang. It would provide some excitement for the fans there in attendance , as well as those watching by another medium.