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Thread: Boxing's Dying? They've Been Saying That For Over 50 Years...

  1. #1
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    Boxing's Dying? They've Been Saying That For Over 50 Years...

    You hear it all the time.

    Boxing's dead. ... MMA is taking over. ... Such and such is killing the sport. ... It was much better in the good old days.

    It's a common narrative that often finds its way into the storylines.

    The Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao was the fight to put boxing back in the mainstream. Oscar De La Hoya vs. Mayweather was the "Fight To Save Boxing."

    Of course, these sayings hold little weight; boxing didn't need saving then and it doesn't now.

    Viewed through the comforting lens of nostalgia -- and its de facto attachment to a pleasant youth long gone -- the boxing status quo historically comes under question.

    No more than from those who do not follow the sport closely.

    But popular to the (lazily) widely held belief, by every objective measure, boxing is in greater health than ever before.

    More eyeballs are drawn to the sport, corporate sponsors flock to big events while the highest paid athlete in all of sports is, you guessed it, a boxer.

    What's interesting is that this is not a new narrative. The boxing-is-dead fallacy has been a common narrative, oft-discussed by those who long for days long gone.

    Today, we talk of the glory days of Tyson. Before his arrival, boxing was pronounced dead in the aftermath of Ali's retirement.

    But what about those good ol' days?

    I found an old article that sheds some interesting light on the zeitgeist of the '60s, and the reported state of boxing.

    How Muhammad Ali "failed to save boxing" when he was the one anointed to do so, yet failed due to his choice to become more exuberant in an attempt to attract spectators to see him defeated rather than cheered.

    "If the sad state of boxing wasn't dolorous enough, this latest episode in the ill-starred serial between these two reluctant dragons has plunged it to a new low," the New York Times' Arthur Daley wrote in his May, 1965 column Sports of the Times.

    He continued, "Clay and Liston have loused up a sport that already had seemed much too pediculous for further contamination."

    Daley then alleges, "Clay could have saved it. When he was winning his Olympic championship in (sic) Rome in 1960, he was a likable young man of infinite charm and attractive personality, all the requisites for becoming as popular a heavyweight king as was Joe Louis.

    "Then it happened. He decided he'd rather switch than fight. ... It was revealed that Clay had joined the Black Muslims and this further alienated the public.

    "When Cassius fought Liston for the title in Miami a year ago last February, he should have had everyone rooting for him. Instead half wanted to see Liston jam his big glove into Clay's big mouth."


    Daley goes on to use such creative phrasings such as "malodorous," and "hanky-panky."

    Daley, a prominent commentator of the time, clearly displays the common thought of boxing at the time --longing for a time gone by-- while denouncing the era that had come in its place.

    As history would later show, not only did Clay charm the entire world with his personality, he became a symbol of world unity and peace by --ironically-- using this "pediculous" and, by nature, combative sport as his platform.

    Moreover, he enabled boxers to make greater purses than ever before, released the stranglehold of the mob by becoming affiliated with the Nation of Islam.

    Perhaps one of his greatest accomplishments came as a direct result of Clay becoming the Muslim Ali.

    In 1990, the former Clay, now the world's most famous Muslim, travelled to Iraq on a peace-seeking mission to meet with USA archenemy No. 1 Saddam Hussein.

    At the height of the US-Iraq conflict, Hussein held 15 American hostages in Iraq in the middle of a conflict.

    Dealing with Hussein directly, the guy who supposedly "failed to save boxing" still had enough clout to negotiate the release of all hostages:

    ali hussein.jpg

    While there will never be another Ali, there will always be a frontman for boxing; a figure of scrutinize firmly in place to carry its legend along while we grow old and lust for the days of yesteryear.

  2. #2
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    Re: Boxing's Dying? They've Been Saying That For Over 50 Years...

    MMA will never surpass boxing. 80,000 in Wembley is self evident.

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    Re: Boxing's Dying? They've Been Saying That For Over 50 Years...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Shadow View Post
    You hear it all the time.

    Boxing's dead. ... MMA is taking over. ... Such and such is killing the sport. ... It was much better in the good old days.

    It's a common narrative that often finds its way into the storylines.

    The Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao was the fight to put boxing back in the mainstream. Oscar De La Hoya vs. Mayweather was the "Fight To Save Boxing."

    Of course, these sayings hold little weight; boxing didn't need saving then and it doesn't now.

    Viewed through the comforting lens of nostalgia -- and its de facto attachment to a pleasant youth long gone -- the boxing status quo historically comes under question.

    No more than from those who do not follow the sport closely.

    But popular to the (lazily) widely held belief, by every objective measure, boxing is in greater health than ever before.

    More eyeballs are drawn to the sport, corporate sponsors flock to big events while the highest paid athlete in all of sports is, you guessed it, a boxer.

    What's interesting is that this is not a new narrative. The boxing-is-dead fallacy has been a common narrative, oft-discussed by those who long for days long gone.

    Today, we talk of the glory days of Tyson. Before his arrival, boxing was pronounced dead in the aftermath of Ali's retirement.

    But what about those good ol' days?

    I found an old article that sheds some interesting light on the zeitgeist of the '60s, and the reported state of boxing.

    How Muhammad Ali "failed to save boxing" when he was the one anointed to do so, yet failed due to his choice to become more exuberant in an attempt to attract spectators to see him defeated rather than cheered.

    "If the sad state of boxing wasn't dolorous enough, this latest episode in the ill-starred serial between these two reluctant dragons has plunged it to a new low," the New York Times' Arthur Daley wrote in his May, 1965 column Sports of the Times.

    He continued, "Clay and Liston have loused up a sport that already had seemed much too pediculous for further contamination."

    Daley then alleges, "Clay could have saved it. When he was winning his Olympic championship in (sic) Rome in 1960, he was a likable young man of infinite charm and attractive personality, all the requisites for becoming as popular a heavyweight king as was Joe Louis.

    "Then it happened. He decided he'd rather switch than fight. ... It was revealed that Clay had joined the Black Muslims and this further alienated the public.

    "When Cassius fought Liston for the title in Miami a year ago last February, he should have had everyone rooting for him. Instead half wanted to see Liston jam his big glove into Clay's big mouth."


    Daley goes on to use such creative phrasings such as "malodorous," and "hanky-panky."

    Daley, a prominent commentator of the time, clearly displays the common thought of boxing at the time --longing for a time gone by-- while denouncing the era that had come in its place.

    As history would later show, not only did Clay charm the entire world with his personality, he became a symbol of world unity and peace by --ironically-- using this "pediculous" and, by nature, combative sport as his platform.

    Moreover, he enabled boxers to make greater purses than ever before, released the stranglehold of the mob by becoming affiliated with the Nation of Islam.

    Perhaps one of his greatest accomplishments came as a direct result of Clay becoming the Muslim Ali.

    In 1990, the former Clay, now the world's most famous Muslim, travelled to Iraq on a peace-seeking mission to meet with USA archenemy No. 1 Saddam Hussein.

    At the height of the US-Iraq conflict, Hussein held 15 American hostages in Iraq in the middle of a conflict.

    Dealing with Hussein directly, the guy who supposedly "failed to save boxing" still had enough clout to negotiate the release of all hostages:

    ali hussein.jpg

    While there will never be another Ali, there will always be a frontman for boxing; a figure of scrutinize firmly in place to carry its legend along while we grow old and lust for the days of yesteryear.
    Nice arch-masterpiece weaving. Reports of boksing's death will forever be greatly exaggerated. Holla!

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    Re: Boxing's Dying? They've Been Saying That For Over 50 Years...

    Quote Originally Posted by Radam G View Post
    Nice arch-masterpiece weaving. Reports of boksing's death will forever be greatly exaggerated. Holla!
    Thanks, Radam! And yes, it will always be exaggerated. It ain't going nowhere!

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    Re: Boxing's Dying? They've Been Saying That For Over 50 Years...

    Here we go again. Look at this buffoon talking about how Mayweather and Pacquiao will "save boxing" because MMA and other sports are taking over...

    http://www.boxingscene.com/aussie-pr...cquiao---80657

    This dumb a$$ Aussie doesn't even know that they don't even really share the same demos. Goof.

    UFC primarily competes with WWE for PPV money and ad revenue in male 18-35 demo.

    Boxing stands alone.

    If anything, MMA should be worried about boxing eating their food, like Shannon Briggs did to Wladimir Klitschko!
    Last edited by The Shadow; 08-04-2014 at 09:18 AM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Boxing's Dying? They've Been Saying That For Over 50 Years...

    Yeah every few months or so a pundit will come out with this remark and it grabs some attention. But if you notice those who generally make such comments don't know much about the sport. If these people watched a Floyd Mayweather fight or any fight for that matter they would not now one bit about what they were watching except for maybe having heard in passing one or both of the names involved in the fight.

    Boxing is a very popular sport today and will remain so long when all of us are gone. Those who think the sport is dying probably did not see the crowd at Madison Square Garden for Cotto-Martinez. They did not pay attention to when 80,000 people flooded Wembley for Froch-Groves II. They have not attended a weigh in when thousands of fans attend just to get a glimpse of their favorite fighters. They were not aware that over 2 million people gladly plucked over $70 to watch a fight on television last year. This sport is not dying but instead gaining momentum. And regardless of whether Mayweather-Pacquaio happens or not (it won't), the sport will charge forward.

  7. #7

    Re: Boxing's Dying? They've Been Saying That For Over 50 Years...

    I think the whole "boxing is dying" thing evolves from the fact that the general sports fan, not boxing fan, doesn't see the sport as much as they use to, nor do they see the big stars as much as they use to. Up until the early 80's, big time boxing matches were on regular free TV for everyone to see. Now not so much.

    In addition, boxing was a sport that the newspapers loved. Most boxing match results were at minimum front page of the sports section if not the entire paper. As we have all seen, boxing has since aligned itself alot more with cable networks and the net as a chosen medium (as has every sport except baseball), rather than stick with the dying newspaper industry.

    Lastly, people think boxing is dead because the big stars do not fight as often. As recently as the late 70's, early 80's big time guys were fighting 5 times a year. I can remember a stretch where Ali fought 11 times in about 32 months. However, with the increase in promotion and purses, guys can make more money fighting less and who can blame them.

    I often find this argument hilarious though when Floyd is constantly on the Forbes list, Manny Pacquiao is one of the world's most popular athletes, when Miguel Cotto, Andre Ward, Juan Manuel Marquez, and a host of other fighters have major endorsement deals domestically and internationally. I guess it just kind of shows how so many people in the world will believe almost anything anyone says, simply because they say it with fervor on TV.

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    Re: Boxing's Dying? They've Been Saying That For Over 50 Years...

    In college, those of us in a "Sports Journalism" class had to interview a journalist and write a paper on that person. Our subject could have been an author, magazine editor or writer, news writer, columnist or sportswriter. I chose Arthur Daley.

    It was 1972, and he was a columnist for the New York Times. He was in his late 60's, as I recall. Daley wrote "Sports of the Times," a widely-read and popular column. In it, he wrote about most sports and the stars of each sport. Baseball was his favorite sport, bar none. He also rattled off other sports which he favored and enjoyed. Boxing was not on his list.

    When I asked, "What about boxing?" he asked me, "Is that one of your favorites?"

    I said "It's not one of my favorites, Mr. Daley. It IS my favorite."

    He patted my shoulder.

    "Find another favorite sport," son, he said. "Boxing is on the decline. My guess is, by the end of this decade, boxing will be dead and gone. It may not even take that long. It may be gone by the middle of this decade."

    By the middle of the decade, it was Arthur Daley who was gone, the victim of a massive heart attack while on his way to work. At that time, much of the talk in the sports universe was of the rematch between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, just a few weeks away.

    That was over 40 years ago. In those years, have heard about boxing's imminent death more times than there are posts here on TheSweetScience.com. Yet, the sport lives. And thrives.

    One of my wife's best frienda is married to a guy named Bruce who cannot stand boxing.

    Around 20 years ago, he told me boxing wouldn't survive beyond the year 2000. He said that, not from any facts, but from a dislike of the sport. The world is loaded with guys like Bruce, guys who attack the sport just because they don't like it and don't understand it. For him, there's golf. And tennis. And perhaps even polo.

    Ten years ago, MMA was supposed to be the new sport which would kill boxing. A few of my colleagues at SiriusXM even made it a point to tell me "You'd be doing yourself a favor by learning as much as you can about MMA, because boxing is dead."

    Can't happen. Didn't happen. Won't happen. I'm a boxing lifer. Never getting out. Can't be released. Won't walk out. Destined to die in here, probably while holding pads for some young prospect who will go on to greatness but has yet to even spar a single round.

    Boxing has survived wars, depressions, recessions and scandals. It has survived the evil MMA assault, which was to be boxing's Kryptonite, boxing's Ebola Virus. It has survived the mob, fixed fights, rigged decisions and officials on the take. Boxing has survived Don King. Boxing has survived the ABC-King-Ring scandal. Boxing has survived closed-circuit. Boxing has survived over-saturation on free TV and wallet-draining attacks by PPV. Boxing has survived hoping for big fights that never get made.

    Boxing has survived it all.

    It continues to survive, and even flourish.

    Boxing is the greatest fighter of all. It gets knocked down over and over. It keeps getting back up and coming back stronger and stronger.

    To Arthur Daley, to Bruce and all you anti-boxing guys: Boxing ain't going away.

    Boxing is here and it's here to stay. In fact, I have heard that, long after the nuclear wars have melted our planet, only roaches will be left.

    Make that roaches and boxing...and all of us who love it!

    -Randy G.

  9. #9
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    Re: Boxing's Dying? They've Been Saying That For Over 50 Years...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Good Doctor View Post
    I think the whole "boxing is dying" thing evolves from the fact that the general sports fan, not boxing fan, doesn't see the sport as much as they use to, nor do they see the big stars as much as they use to. Up until the early 80's, big time boxing matches were on regular free TV for everyone to see. Now not so much.

    In addition, boxing was a sport that the newspapers loved. Most boxing match results were at minimum front page of the sports section if not the entire paper. As we have all seen, boxing has since aligned itself alot more with cable networks and the net as a chosen medium (as has every sport except baseball), rather than stick with the dying newspaper industry.

    Lastly, people think boxing is dead because the big stars do not fight as often. As recently as the late 70's, early 80's big time guys were fighting 5 times a year. I can remember a stretch where Ali fought 11 times in about 32 months. However, with the increase in promotion and purses, guys can make more money fighting less and who can blame them.

    I often find this argument hilarious though when Floyd is constantly on the Forbes list, Manny Pacquiao is one of the world's most popular athletes, when Miguel Cotto, Andre Ward, Juan Manuel Marquez, and a host of other fighters have major endorsement deals domestically and internationally. I guess it just kind of shows how so many people in the world will believe almost anything anyone says, simply because they say it with fervor on TV.
    Doc, that whole "fighting often" thing is actually another distortion.

    Sure, the smaller guys fought frequently but that was because they made no money to speak of. Boxing was mainly about the heavyweights.

    The smaller weight classes in those days were kinda like offensive linemen in the NFL -- underpaid and under appreciated.

    Ali was the exception and it was a big deal at the time. "I'm not like these former champions," Ali told Howard Cossell one time on World Wide Sports (or whatever the name of the show was). "I'm giving these guys a chance to make money by being active."

    From 1959 to 1966, the heavyweight championship of the world had been contested -- held hostage, if you will -- by only FOUR men!

    That's FOUR guys in seven years!!!!

    In fact, the world heavyweight championship was like the main event, the Super Bowl. It came once a year, maybe twice if they were lucky.

    Just look at Rocky Marciano's record. Floyd Patterson's record. Sonny Liston's record. Joe Frazier's record, once he captured the lineal championship.

    It's just that the heavyweights don't have the same allure (let's face it, there's a mythical aura about the HW champ -- less so with a guy standing 5-6, weighing less than the average person's teenage children) while the lower classes dominate the big fight landscape.

    Still, your point is very well taken and highly intelligent, as usual. It's boxing's broadcast transformation that gives the illusion to those casual followers that it is struggling when in reality, the so-called struggle couldn't be further from the truth.

    Thanks for your input, I put a bit of research effort into to the post so I appreciate you reading and commenting. Thanks!

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    Re: Boxing's Dying? They've Been Saying That For Over 50 Years...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Commish View Post
    In college, those of us in a "Sports Journalism" class had to interview a journalist and write a paper on that person. Our subject could have been an author, magazine editor or writer, news writer, columnist or sportswriter. I chose Arthur Daley.

    It was 1972, and he was a columnist for the New York Times. He was in his late 60's, as I recall. Daley wrote "Sports of the Times," a widely-read and popular column. In it, he wrote about most sports and the stars of each sport. Baseball was his favorite sport, bar none. He also rattled off other sports which he favored and enjoyed. Boxing was not on his list.

    When I asked, "What about boxing?" he asked me, "Is that one of your favorites?"

    I said "It's not one of my favorites, Mr. Daley. It IS my favorite."

    He patted my shoulder.

    "Find another favorite sport," son, he said. "Boxing is on the decline. My guess is, by the end of this decade, boxing will be dead and gone. It may not even take that long. It may be gone by the middle of this decade."

    By the middle of the decade, it was Arthur Daley who was gone, the victim of a massive heart attack while on his way to work. At that time, much of the talk in the sports universe was of the rematch between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, just a few weeks away.

    That was over 40 years ago. In those years, have heard about boxing's imminent death more times than there are posts here on TheSweetScience.com. Yet, the sport lives. And thrives.

    One of my wife's best frienda is married to a guy named Bruce who cannot stand boxing.

    Around 20 years ago, he told me boxing wouldn't survive beyond the year 2000. He said that, not from any facts, but from a dislike of the sport. The world is loaded with guys like Bruce, guys who attack the sport just because they don't like it and don't understand it. For him, there's golf. And tennis. And perhaps even polo.

    Ten years ago, MMA was supposed to be the new sport which would kill boxing. A few of my colleagues at SiriusXM even made it a point to tell me "You'd be doing yourself a favor by learning as much as you can about MMA, because boxing is dead."

    Can't happen. Didn't happen. Won't happen. I'm a boxing lifer. Never getting out. Can't be released. Won't walk out. Destined to die in here, probably while holding pads for some young prospect who will go on to greatness but has yet to even spar a single round.

    Boxing has survived wars, depressions, recessions and scandals. It has survived the evil MMA assault, which was to be boxing's Kryptonite, boxing's Ebola Virus. It has survived the mob, fixed fights, rigged decisions and officials on the take. Boxing has survived Don King. Boxing has survived the ABC-King-Ring scandal. Boxing has survived closed-circuit. Boxing has survived over-saturation on free TV and wallet-draining attacks by PPV. Boxing has survived hoping for big fights that never get made.

    Boxing has survived it all.

    It continues to survive, and even flourish.

    Boxing is the greatest fighter of all. It gets knocked down over and over. It keeps getting back up and coming back stronger and stronger.

    To Arthur Daley, to Bruce and all you anti-boxing guys: Boxing ain't going away.

    Boxing is here and it's here to stay. In fact, I have heard that, long after the nuclear wars have melted our planet, only roaches will be left.

    Make that roaches and boxing...and all of us who love it!

    -Randy G.
    Awesome comment!!!! Thank you very much! Hope you liked my post/mini-feature. And thanks for bringing in that thing about Daley! That just goes to show what those that claim to know think they know but don't.

    We have our Daleys de jour in the form of Wilbon, I think the brother's name is, and other ignorant commentators who create that lazy narrative.

    In fact, considering all the elements -- different audiences, boxing's PPV dominance, compensation comparison, compensation surge etc. -- whenever someone says MMA is taking over boxing that just shows me that they have no idea what they're talking about.

    Thanks again, Commish!

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