Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Three names that might come to mind when boxing is mentioned. They revolutionized the sport in ways never imagined.
Boxing is a sport that has been around since Ancient Greece. It was one of the sports in the ancient Olympics, but that love for the sport has been dying the last two decades. This is due to variety of different reasons.
What does boxing need to change right now?
No more circus fights
I am looking at you, Roy Jones Jr. versus Tyson. Most of the card that took place at the Staples Center Saturday showed a side of boxing many die-hard fans did not want to see.
There is zero doubt that people would have loved to see this fight 10 or more years ago when both were not above 50-years-old. The California State Athletic Commission should be ashamed to allow this fight to take place.
The fight was a joke from the beginning. It was a way to feast on people’s money with a big name like Tyson. What makes it worse is what Tyson said after the fight.
He said that it is true he smoked marijuana before and after the fight against Jones Jr. Of course, if it was not an exhibition fight, that would be illegal.
“Listen, I can’t stop smoking,” Tyson said. “I smoked during fights. I just have to smoke, I’m sorry. I’m a smoker.”
That was not the only fight that gave boxing a bad name. Look no further than YouTube star Jake Paul and former NBA player Nate Robinson.
This was a mismatch from the start with a 13-year age gap between the two. The measurables where heavily favoring Paul.
Boxing is not a sport that someone could step into the ring, win, and you are the best. Paul beat a former NBA player who is four inches shorter. If this were Paul facing any professional boxer in the cruiserweight, the weight class the fight was in, he wouldn’t last one round.
This is not the first time in recent years we have seen fights that are uncalled for, but hopefully it is the last. Thriller, I hope you are happy about your payday. Thank you for making boxing a joke. Never do it again.
Less weight classes
Who knew there could be so many weight classes? Currently, there are 18 in men’s boxing alone. These range from atomweight to heavyweight.
Just for perspective, The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has 12 weight classes between men and women combined. There is no reason why there should be two weight classes that are separated by three pounds like from atomweight at 102 pounds to minimumweight at 105 pounds.
The UFC works in increments of 10 to 20 pounds for a given class. For example, from featherweight division is 135 to 145 pounds, but the light heavyweight division is 185 to 205 pounds.
Once again, not to pick on the lower weight classes in boxing, but does there need to be seven weight classes between 102 and 122 pounds? I would say no, and that half of those could be taken away.
Not having as many classes helps the fans have a connection with more boxers. It also does not cause this problem that even Mayweather says is an issue haunting the sport.
"This is not good for the sport of boxing," Mayweather said. "Now when a fighter fights, every fighter is a champion."
There are not many issues that are ahead of this one for fans. You know how I said there were 18 weight classes in men’s boxing?
Well, factor in that there are four governing bodies, each with a belt. So, get the handy dandy calculator, and you will soon realize there are 72 belts in boxing. The worst part is that they are only the world titles, and each area of the world has their own belts as well.
Again, there needs to be less weight classes. A belt does not mean anything these days, and it hurts the sport.
Imagine if the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl for being the best team that season. Then, say the Los Angeles Rams won a Super Bowl for being the best team in second place. After, say the New York Jets won a Super Bowl for being the worst team in football.
Does not make sense, right? So why would it make sense in boxing?
The sport could kill two birds with one stone by saying they are combining some weight classes, and those titles are going away. It is instead all about the money.
More mega fights
Cannot talk about mega fights without money, the ultimate evil in the sport. Promotions do not like working together to schedule the fights fans need. The statement is, “in order to be the best, you have to beat the best.”
Mega fights help the sport grow. Take for example the Tyson Fury versus Deontay Wilder fight in February. It got a lot of media attention, and sadly still does as Wilder continues to come up with excuses on the loss.
That is what the sport needs, though. They need people like Fury to stand up and fight the big fights. Let us schedule the Fury versus Anthony Joshua fight for all the heavyweight belts.
I have a shortlist of fights that could change the sport for the better, including a rematch between Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko, Terence “Bud” Crawford, and Errol Spence Jr., and a conclusion to the Canelo Alvarez and Gennasiy Golovkin “GGG” trilogy.
The sport does not have to keep dying slowly. It is time for change, and that need to happen now. There are exciting young fighters that the sport needs to showcase so the new generation is inspired. Two 50-year-old fighters is not inspiring, but embarrassing.