Boxing, Not MMA, Is Why Fewer Care About Boxing

BY Frank Lotierzo ON February 08, 2011

If you can, pretend for a moment that the first MMA show that was thrown together as a whim back in 1993 never happened and MMA didn't take off years later and isn't the surging sport that it is today. That's right, imagine there's no MMA at this time and then ask yourself if you would care about professional boxing any more than you do now. I'll bet the answer is no.

If you're a real boxing fan, MMA hasn't effected your interest in boxing one iota. If you're fed up and disenchanted with boxing, it's not because you're watching MMA or watched Silva versus Belfort this past Saturday night. And it's a waste of time debating who wins between an upper-tier boxer and MMA fighter. But in case anyone wants to know where I stand - here goes....In the Octagon an MMA fighter will beat a boxer eight out of 10 times, in the ring, the boxer will win 10 out of 10 times. And please, don't wander off and think about who wins in a street fight. Both boxing and MMA are combat sports with many rules, unlike street fighting. There are a plethora of Krav Maga tactics that are forbidden in the ring and Octagon that are legal in the street.

The reason(s) for boxing's decline in popularity, especially in the United States, has been chronicled at length by others. It's grating to hear and read MMA get credited with being a big reason as to why boxing has dropped down lower on the sports food chain. Blaming MMA or anything else but boxing as to why it's in the current state it's in is short sighted, and that's being nice. If you want to blame MMA, you can blame it for perhaps being a big part of the reason why professional boxing may never rebound, but that's it.

The biggest problem with boxing is those who run it only care about making money and could care less about the sports' future once they've sucked every penny they can from it. The viewing public has been conditioned to only care about the mega fights and superstars. And sadly, that's all most fans care about. Also, the best fights are seldom made and in almost every main event fight there's an A-fighter and a B-fighter. Which usually translates into a lopsided decision with no drama or a one or two round blowout. In addition to that, Olympic boxing is a joke. Not only is it not televised, but the computerized scoring is a disaster. With no network fights, fans not only don't see the top amateurs win their medals, they don't get a chance to take an interest in them as they move up the ranks as a pro. Remember when we used to care?

Yes, the interest in boxing has declined. With the sport getting so little exposure it's hard to see where the next generation of outstanding fighters is going to come from. Even the high profile fights that everybody sees are seldom dramatic or memorable. Bad matchmaking, too many hands in the till, too many undeserving PPV fights, fighters getting ripped off, the lack of exposure having killed the interest, just about all the great trainers are dead, these bullet points only touch the surface on why boxing, not MMA or the NFL, have the sweet science on the ropes.

The talent pool for the next generation of upper-tier fighters has shrunk dramatically in the United States, as opposed to in the world of MMA, where every high school and college wrestler who is considered a tough guy by his peers is a potential MMA champ. The money in MMA at the top isn't nearly as good as it is in boxing. And strength and toughness will over-compensate for skill in the Octagon more so than in the ring. Tapping out isn't nearly as embarrassing as getting stopped. Add to that MMA is actually less dangerous and safer than boxing, something all MMA participants will admit, it's hard to see where the next Sugar Ray Leonard or Mike Tyson is going to come from.

The bottom line is, boxing has been its own worst enemy for a long time. Anyone who thinks MMA has dealt boxing a serious body blow is misinformed. It's those who control boxing who are to blame, and they'll be in power until they die. And by then it may be too late to bring it back anywhere close to where it was less than 10 or 12 years ago.

Maybe one day the money will be as good in MMA as it is/was in boxing, and if that happens, that sport will be on the same path as boxing has been on. Like all sports, boxing and MMA are businesses first in the eyes of those who wield the power and make the fights, and the fighters are just lions being led by the rats. Just ask Bernard Hopkins and Randy Couture. However, at this time boxing's decline in popularity has nothing to do with anything outside of boxing. I don't know a single person who is disenchanted with boxing who has turned to MMA, and that's not a shot at MMA, it's just the way it is.

Boxing only needs to look itself in the mirror to find the blame for its all-time low regarding the public's consciousness, or should I say those who govern it need to look in the mirror. And they know it but just don't care because they're making a fortune and getting over on the fighters and fans.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at

Comment on this article

FighterforJC says:

i didn't read the article yet but i agree. both sports are NOT mutually exclusive. i love both.

Radam G says:

Boxing is very humanistic and metaphoric. Every human eventually finds his bigest enemy when he take a peep at a mirror. Dat darn archenemy is eyeballin' him like a muthasucka. The super boxing matches, and the super boxing movies have, are, and will continue to kick MMA's arse. I know boxing people, who if they were still alive like my old my old uncle they would be well over a 100 years old. Many up to 130, if not more. I clearly recall these cats laughing about the predictions of the demise of boxing. Danggit every living soul and dirt-napping corpse who I've ever spoke to have heard some new jive-turkey sport which is always ending boxing.

Wow! Why don't somebody go pick on baseball. That sports doesn't get the type of fans and crowds that it use to. As far back as I can remember -- at two and three years old -- while still gettin' on my pee pee on myself, on GOAT Ali, the late, great Archie Moore, the late, great boxing spiritual trainer Drew Bundini, the late, great cutman Chuck Bodak and some other famous cats, BOXING was supposed to be getting destroyed by roller derby and martial arts. Now it is mixed martial arts that my three-year-old son is hearing. C'mon! When professional Queensberry's Rule pugilism is SLOW, it finds everybody and dey mommas B-slappin' it to get a BUZZ. Holla!

admin says:

Boxing will never die. Can't take your eyes off two men fighting. May be fewer eyes, but will...never...die.

Isaiah says:

The title to this article should be "The Faces Of Steroid Abuse And The Jokes They Are." After his short lived success in the WWE, Brock Lesnar sucked down some more steroid pills faster than you can say, "Mark McGuire" and then joined the other joke of the sports world, the UFC. What was Lesnar's "fantastic" pro record upon winning the heavyweight title in that sport, something like 3-1? LOL! Of course, like all so called champions in the Mixed Martial Arts world, roid rage BUM supreme Lesnar lost his title faster than you can say, "more steroid milkshakes Mr. LEECH, Dana White, please!" Yes, TRUE boxing fans know, that the joke of the UFC and all groping and holding male ground shows similar to it can't compete with boxing on it's worst night because these so called "ultimate fighters" have more glass in them than a china shop and more bums in the sport then a homeless shelter. Now, as for the boxer on this article, his boxing skills can't be rivaled, but that really means nothing because, let's put it like this..... Do you bring a souped up Dodge Charger and race it only on a go kart track and even then, only very rarely? If you're a man, no! You take those skills and pay the bills against REAL competition on a regular basis. Manny Pacquiao>>>>>>>>>>>Floyd Mayweather. Oh yeah, symptoms of roid rage include the following.... baldness, aggressive behaviour, shrunken "parts" and acne. I'm betting Mayweather's doctor could confirm the last 2 and with the first 2, you look at Manny and Floyd and see which one these symptoms relate to. Time for Floyd to lay off the Estrogen pills and step back in the ring. Yeah, that's right. He's taking everything! LOL! Well, with all those Estrogen pills, not sure if Floyd is a he or she at this point. No wonder Floyd thought it was a fair fight against Josie Harris. Don't worry Floydina. Manny doesn't hit women, he just hits on them. (::drum roll: Take the "gender" test Fraud! Since 2003, no one has been able to tell if you're still a man or not! No wonder you're daddy and uncle are protecting you like it was from an abusive man. To paraphrase from John Lennon, "you can't buy my love" (sorry Floyd, already got a woman, LOL!) but I'll kick your @$$ for free! Oh no! You better stay retired! I hear Manny Pacquiao (P4P King) and Sergio Martinez (the TRUE #2 P4P guy) are waiting for you FINALLY step up and recieve that beatdown your COWARDICE has been BEGGING for! Let's see how "undefeated" you are in the streets with no gloves and no roided up guards to help you Floydina. CHUMP! Better keep on shoulder rolling. @donputo69. Man, I've seen you've been posting lately. How long do you think GIRLweather would last against the Pacman or Martinez? I'd say if either fight happened to not get up to get a beer because Fraud would be kissing the canvass so bad, it'd make Ricky Hatton jealous. LOL! Also, how long do you think until roid rage Brock Lesnar goes bald like Floyd? At least his opponents don't chicken out on some OSDT crap. "Oh, I'm scared! He's on roids. Somehow, I just know it! CLUCK, CLUCK, CLUCK!"

brownsugar says:

MMA is ok .....but even Anderson Silva couldn't beat a 2 year amateur in the ring with just gloves on. When MMA evolves to the point where fighters can actually use their hands instead of flailing away like school girls,.. then I'll become a more dedicated viewer of their products

Joe says:

The MMA events are simply not that appealing to me. Perhaps I've been raised on boxing and can't understand the nuances of MMA. To me, grappling and ground and pounding guys, the kicking is just not as intriguing to me. I've tried to watch but I've decided that since (except for Laila and Christy and Freda George) I don't like girl boxing I just watch the girl MMA fights - Gina Carano was super fine until she got a good whuppin"

FighterforJC says:

MMA is ok .....but even Anderson Silva couldn't beat a 2 year amateur in the ring with just gloves on. When MMA evolves to the point where fighters can actually use their hands instead of flailing away like school girls,.. then I'll become a more dedicated viewer of their products

You're in denial, simple as that, "willfully ignorant." MMA has long evolved past this flailing you're talking about. Get over your insecurities. Just because any MMA fighter can make a chump out of most pro boxers in a streetfight it doesn't mean that MMA is the better sport.

FighterforJC says:

Boxing will never die. Can't take your eyes off two men fighting. May be fewer eyes, but will...never...die.

Neither wil MMA. Boxing is like jazz music, appealing to a handful that think they're more sophisticated than everyone else for listening to jazz, but MMA is more like rock/pop.

FighterforJC says:

Finally responding to the article, but a couple of things. MMA IS a good reason why fewer NEW boxing fans are made. If nothing else, it's boxing's lack of exposure and disregard for the times. MMA in general but specifically the UFC has gone to great lengths to make itself accessible. They deliver the goods both inside and outside the Octagon. Fans get the fights they want. UFC has tons of merchandise that appeal to the younger generation. They also release tons of DVD's for fans to collect or to give people a chance to see the PPV's they missed. You can purchase individual fights over Xbox Live. MMA reaches out to its fans, and they're supposed to be faulted for that? You mention that in the octagon 8 out of 10 times the MMA fighter will beat the boxer and in the ring, the pro boxer will beat the MMA fighter 10 out of 10 times. Figures are probably not that far off, but what defines an MMA fighter as an MMA fighter, and the boxer as a boxer? Doesn't a boxer stepping in the Octagon essentially qualify him as an MMA fighter, and doesn't an MMA fighter qualify as a boxer if he steps into the ring to fight under pro boxing rules? My point is you can only hypothesize about specific matchups rather than throwing the proverbial "typical" boxer vs the "typical" MMA fighter. And as you say, there are many more techniques in the streets that are not legal in MMA or boxing, but that does NOT level the playing field. MMA fighters can use these unconventional techniques on top of the other techniques they already have, which the boxer does not. Furthermore, while there are no rules in the street, most streetfights are fought under unwritten codes. Most people will not resort to maiming their opponents for obvious reasons such as going to jail or in fear of the fight escalating into something much worse, like the other guy's friends jumping in or using a weapon. People in streetfights want to keep it fair for their own sake.

ultimoshogun says:

Frank is spot on about boxing being it's own worst enemy...unfortunately, somehow this article was twisted into another MMA vs boxing debate with derogatory remarks aimed at MMA...I agree 100% with FighterforJC's satements regarding both sports...The people behind the scenes marketing the UFC are pretty damn good at their job. Boxing could be more popular if it was marketed like the UFC...whenever they have a PPV you see their promos everywhere on TV...the same can't be said for boxing, not even when it's Pacquiao PPV...but at the end of the day, both sports are here to stay...both have very loyal cult followings and there's always gonna be room for both in my heart.

Radam G says:

Some people just cannot come out of their self-denial. The BIG PPV bouts of boxing continue to kick the holy spit outta of the UFC/MMA ones. Boxing is a word-of-mouth sport. For a good, good bout, It doesn't need a lot of billboards, publicity, photo adds and all dat silly jive. If Da Manny and Money May decide to dance tomorrow, you want need any advertising. [Before most of us were born, GOAT Ali went to Smokin' Joe Frazier's gym callin' out the Smoke to get down with him at the local park in Philly. The Smoke didn't show, but something like 30,000 curious fans and fanfaronades did. Da Manny can go to Mall in the world and fans would rush there by word of mouth. Money May was hanging out at a Vegas Mall a couple of months ago and thousands of fans started calling up others on their cellphones. The Mall was loaded with thousands in a New York second. Not a single star in the UFC/MMA can do this.

You can measure the buzz of boxing by if the Pope, U.S. President, Queen of The United Kingdom, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the presidents of China, India and Russia know the name of the more popular boxer. All of the above knows Da Manny. Matter of fact, Da Manny is meeting with the U.S. Prez next week. And China and Russia have invited him to fight there. The boxing STAR just keep on bringing those fans droppin' their bucks. Along with UFC/MMA great propaganda and public relations, it is a master at giving comp tickets and cooking the books.

With all that say, somebody name the top dawg in the UFC/MMA. Only its hardcore fans can name you that. Eighty percent of every dang kid above 12 years old in eighty percent of every dang country of the world can name Da Manny. The UFC/MMA hardcore fan base is arrogrant as a mutha. Excuse me for pullin' a Lou DeBella, but UFC/MMA is like porno. Only the hardcore fans can name the stars. Otherwise, people are trying getting their peep on every once and a while. And they couldn't tell you who are ___ ____ ____ ____ _____ ____ ___! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! Holla!

FighterforJC says:

Riiiiiiight. Which is why Nonito Donaire, Tim Bradley and Amir Khan are household names but not Anderson Silva, GSP or Randy Couture. LOL.

Radam G says:

Those guys are straight-up mudhole, pond and/or fishbowl names. Outside of boxing, nobody knows them. Inside of MMA/UFC, not too many folks know Anderson Silva, GSP or ancient Randy Couture, less alone Donaire, Bradley or Khan. Dana White is a master at localizing, staging, creating optical illusions, working and cooking books and slinging dat good old propaganda. His poison will go the way of the 1980s' television martial arts fighting and roller derby did. No HATE or LUV from yours truly. Just expressing my HO. Holla!

FighterforJC says:

So enlighten all of us then. What's that "good ol propaganda?" Give us some examples of those "optical illusions" that Dana White is so good at.

brownsugar says:

FighterforJC,.. you are either a very creative fellow, or your having problems with reading comprehension..... MMA could never by a source of insecurity for me BECAUSE I AM MMA... I wrestled for 4 years placing either #1, #2, or #3 in most tournaments, I boxed a couple years,. and my Pinoy Brothers in the military taught me how to use my feet.... even though I was never a thug or a tough guy,..usually every street fight I've had in my glorious days of youth ended with me concluding the altercation with the "Ground and Pound" game... I don't care who would win a street fight between the 2 disciplines because I already know... I think that in 5-15 years well see MMA contests with sharp fluid execution in both the standup and ground game that will rival popular video games like Virtual Fighter and Dead or Alive... but for now (IMHO) the MMA striking game is weak weak weak....It's not esthetically pleasing to eye at all when fighters like Brock Lesnar go into tramatic shock when Ever fists travel toward their faces and they compelled to put on ear muffs, screw their eyes shut and tuck their heads between their legs while curling themselves in a fetal position until the ref stops the fight or they miraculously make it to the end of the round... As good as Anderson Silva and GPS look,.. their boxing skill is on par with an amatuer who's only had 20 fights, and 99% of the rest of the MMA combatants look embarassingly worse. Even majority of the leg strikes remind me of someone hitting a tree trunk with a dead fish... I don't hate MMA... just don't particularly like to watch it. There have been some noteworthy exceptions, but for the most part MMA matches remind me of some of the fledgling ESPN boxing shows they put on 30 years ago where they literally picked guys off street corners to flesh out a card. Boxing is an Institution that will never be extinguished. MMA is still in its embryotic stage...which means that it's still growing strong.... baby's are cute,.. embryos are gross(unless it belongs to you).

FighterforJC says:

@brownsugar: OFF TOPIC here, saw your comment on my FNC demo impressions blog. But have you downloaded the demo? You can go head to head online with the demo but only until 2/17. It's like some sort of beta almost. You should check it out.

brownsugar says:

Nope..... wish I could but I gave my X360 to my grandsons...... I'm getting an elite with a kinect hopefully by the end of March so I can play some kinect games, Fear 3, and FN. ****The method of defense looks interesting and less like guesswork,.. can't wait to combine that with the weave, side step, and counter... but yeah I'll just be patient and wait another month or so.

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