Boxing’s Big Weekend

By Tom Donelson
Updated: May 9, 2007

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Floyd Mayweather has yet another title and now lay claim to be this generation’s best fighter.

Or certainly, no one can argue with his own claim.

In a fight that was close, this was case of a more accurate puncher and better defensive fighter winning over the more aggressive fighter.

De La Hoya threw more punches but Mayweather was the more accurate punches.

And De La Hoya only connected on one out of every five punch as he often failed to slip Mayweather defenses.

This was a victory for the master boxer.

I have come to one conclusion.

There is very little pleasing many boxing pundits.

First, this was the fight that pundits billed as the fight to save boxing. This was ignorant hyperbole, but this was the buzz.

Boxing fans were treated to a master boxer at the top of his game and many critics merely responded, boring.

No drama, no great knock out but the drama was two great fighters trying to outthink each other and the real question was which fighter could impose his will upon the others.

This was not a slugfest but a boxing exhibition that showed the best of what boxing could be.W hich brings me to the nonsense, this fight was needed to save boxing.

If boxing needed this fight to save itself, then boxing is indeed in trouble.

I suspect that most sports writers were hoping that boxing simply continue its own slow suicide so it can simply ignore it. Can boxing come back? Yes. It wasn’t that long ago that boxing was still attracting front page news.

Just a decade ago, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson were setting PPV records. And boxing has something that very few sports have, a century of tradition and history. And that past gives boxing a reprieve.

I have mentioned before and it is worth reporting, cable television has changed sports coverage. The networks can no longer dictate what is or is not watched and now with variety of channels available, sports fans have more choices.

Many sports have evolved into a niche sports but cable have also provided a refuge for smaller sports.

Cable allows the hard core fans to follow their favorite sports.

Tennis, hockey, boxing and even new sports like the Mixed Martial arts and the X-games is benefitting from cable. What boxing presently have is access to cable outlets and that will keep the sport alive.

There is no doubt that boxing has seen audience decline and many of these reasons have been documented.

Many sports have seen declines and others have seen increase popularity.

NASCAR has replaced formula racing and Daytona 500 has replaced Indianapolis 500 as car racing most popular race.

Tennis has seen its own decline and Hockey may fill arenas but you find most Hockey games on Versus. Mixed Martial Arts has increased its market place versus boxing but this doesn’t mean that this trend will continue.

What boxing has is its action within the square ring.

Boxing elites are as good as any in sports and there is nothing more exciting as the knockout. This is the one sport that one punch can wipe out a 10-zip lead.

Who could forget George Foreman’s right hand wiping out a shutout at the hands of Michael Moorer?

As any martial art fan and they will tell you the same thing.

What makes that sport is the quick knock out by a punch or kick.

Boxing has drama that very few sports can match.

It doesn’t matter what point of the fight, a single punch can turn a fight around.

Think of it in this way, if the Indianapolis Colts have a 28-7 lead with two minutes left in the game, the Colts will win the game and fans begin heading for the parking lot.

In a boxing match, no fan would ever leave a Mike Tyson or George Foreman fight early since the possibility of victory was only a punch away. Shannon Briggs was 30 seconds away from losing his last fight before a right hand not only prevented a unanimous decision lost, but garnered him a championship.

Boxing is down but the quality of what happens in the ring is boxing ultimate salvation.

And the Mayweather-De La Hoya showed boxing close to its best.

Two great fighters fighting a competitive fight is what defined boxing as a sport.