Where is boxing going? | Philstar.com
September 18, 2021 | 00h00
I am saddened by the direction boxing is taking. Greed and despair lowered him into the mud from which he was pulled. He’s been delayed by so many recent events, it’s depressing.
Long ago, boxing was used by the Romans to pit slaves and conquered peoples against each other. They fought with cesti, leather or metal gloves with spikes, often laced with poison. You have never survived, won or lost. Inevitably, boxing improved, but not by much. When it was organized over a century ago, there were no weight classes. You could fight someone 70 pounds heavier and a lot bigger. And there were no fixed schedules for the rounds. A round only ended when one of the protagonists was knocked down. Some early rounds of the Jack Johnson era lasted over an hour.
When I was a kid, there were still only the original seven weight divisions, which really separated fighters into groups of equal size. Few boxers like Dencio Cabanela simultaneously held titles in three oriental weight classes. Then the weight classes started to multiply. A big meal, and you could go up a division.
When Muhammad Ali dominated the sport, the main boxing organizations were only three: the WBA, the WBC and the IBF. Now there is an alphabet soup of various organizations, and the only thing they have in common is the word “boxing” in their names.
In 1982, Duk Koo Kim died after being brutally beaten at the hands of Ray Mancini. Its repercussions propelled the shortening of title fights from 15 rounds to 12. Ten years ago, catchweight bouts became a trend. Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito all lost weight to gain a megabuck against Manny Pacquiao. But more recently the rules have either been twisted beyond recognition or taken away altogether.
Floyd Mayweather fights a kickboxer who is not allowed to kick. The WBA is threatened with a ban unless it decreases the unreasonable number of champions it has. Oscar De La Hoya is quickly replaced by Evander Holyfield, 58, who is old enough to have fought 15 rounds. Worse, he was in a higher weight division. The fight was not authorized in California and had to be moved to Florida. Worst of all, the last three fights of the event were advertised by promoter Triller as sanctioned, but voila, they were actually exhibitions.
VADA finds Oscar Valdez positive for phentermine, a prohibited substance. The WBC allows him to fight, he loses, but is proclaimed the winner. And it’s a sad day when Jake Paul is offered $ 30 million in a fight we’ll hate, but millions of people will watch. Now, a large MMA organization is organizing a “mixed rule” fight, to allow fighters from different disciplines to compete against each other. Will this trigger a trend? Is boxing heading there too?