Anyone tired of the “Boxing Is Dead” piece?
The concept feels a little 2006, but Esquire writer Chris Jones takes a stab at the subject in this month's issue, in a piece titled “The Last Boxer.”
TSS readers won't find a parcel of fresh theories to chew on why the savage science has diminished in popularity since its heydays, the 50s, 70s and some of the 90s, but it's always interesting to read a MSM (mainstream media) treatment of our shared addiction, if only for fact-checking purposes.
Jones, a Canadian sportswriter, took in the De La Hoya/Mayweather May 5th spectacle, both the lead in and the underwhelming in-ring action. He came away feeling like boxing is pretty damned DOA.
Newsflash, I know, it's nothing that hasn't been blathered about in countless publications, on paper and onscreen, and judging by our comments section, many of you are tired of hearing about the “death” of boxing and bored of reading postmortems.
So some of you may not be tracking down the issue for that reason. Also, if you're the type who gets defensive about the sport when outsiders come in and take stock of the health and well-being of the fight game…well, you might get a bit miffed at Jones.
The writer shows the courage of communication that comes with knowing you will never see your subjects again when he describes Freddie Roach as “Parkinson's addled.”
And describes Frans Botha as a “fat hobo.”
And dismisses Wladimir Klitschko as a “chinless, spineless wonder as fraudalent as his PHd.”
Freddie is pretty sharp, in my mind, and I wouldn't dismiss him as addled. The “addled” trainer could still whup me and the Esquire writer in a tag team brawl so I'm not in agreement with that word choice.
And Botha is no Hall of Fame lock, but he had far more technical chops than any hobo I ever met travelin' the rails.
And Klitschko is the best of the heavyweight brigade, a long tall man with ample coordination and ring savvy. He's no fraud, not after rebuilding his chin and his career the way he has.
Jones does make the going more interesting when he drops in a contention that the game is suffering, and has dropped to the gutter, because the chance that someone might get killed in the ring has been removed. He argues that we should tack on those extra three rounds.
Jones also says UFC has choked out boxing because the fighters are white, and so the Caucasians are following the fighters from discipline to discipline, that MMA is marketed well and there aren't so many sanctioning bodies reaching their fingers in to grab a piece of money pie and confusing watchers as to who the champs are. And most of all, he says, UFC is now king of the fight-sport hill, because most of the fights end in a KO.
In summation, not much new ground in the piece. I found myself, as you can read, defending the game from this outsider and his sarcastic slings. And good luck to the writer if the addled trainer, the hobo or the fraudulent heavyweight champ ever get their hands on him…