By DANA REYNOLDS – STAFF WRITER
At one time, boxing was considered to be one of America’s most exciting sports, but since then it has experienced a rapid decline. Ten to fifteen years after being one of the world’s most popular sports, boxing is now quickly losing media attention.
Floyd Mayweather may be one of the very few current boxers that the average American can name.
Although Mayweather is considered to be one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport, he is also still leading the way in the degeneracy of boxing. In the 90’s and early 2000’s there were many boxers that could compete for the World Title in each weight class, but now the competition is simply not there.
In many ways Mayweather is as good for the sport as he is bad for it. His obsession with money to the point of changing his name to “Money Mayweather” has turned some people completely away from the sport.
The popularity of boxing will probably never be as it once was. There are only two major promotion companies in the world of boxing, leading to a gradual demise of the heavy weight division.
Only the smaller weight divisions have been able to keep the sport alive. Superstars of the same caliber as Ali, Foreman, Frazier, and Sugar Ray are just not prevalent in the boxing arena anymore.
At its core, boxing is two people fighting to see who is best. It was considered to be simple and entertaining. Conflict between boxers was prevalent and Americans enjoyed placing bets on the fighter that they felt was superior.
But now, American’s turned to watch sports such as baseball and football which are more involved than two men sparring in a ring. People have trended to want to watch sports that have more behind them.
If boxing is falling from American priorities, should boxing still be included in the Olympics? It is not displayed on mainstream television during the Olympics like other sports such as basketball, beach volleyball, and swimming, so does it still need to be included in the games? What are the benefits of boxing now, since that they have shifted away from popular on-screen entertainment?
Junior Alyssa Brown has always loved boxing and grew up watching the sport. “I love watching boxing. My dad always watched it on Saturday nights when I was growing up. My dad boxed during his twenties, and he used to tell me stories,” Brown said.
Brown started boxing on her own to help her stay in shape.
“My senior year of high school, a boxing gym opened up called 9 Round. The location was really convenient, and I was always looking for new and more interesting ways to incorporate cardio into my workouts,” Brown said. “I like how it keeps me on my toes during the workout, and the workout changed daily. It was always something different. It was a challenge, which for someone who is really competitive is a great thing!”
Boxing may have fallen from entertainment popularity but it may have found an important place for people alongside UFC and mixed martial arts as forms of exercise and discipline.
The UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championship, is the largest mixed martial arts company in the world. It is based in the United States and has eight weight divisions. Since its first fight in 1993, the UFC has largely expanded and has captured the attention of many once boxing fans.
The UFC goes beyond just boxing and captures the disciplines of many areas of fighting including tae kwon doe, freestyle wrestling, judo, and muay thai.
First-year Dustin Wahl said that he originally became interested in martial arts after watching The Karate Kid. “I think marital arts takes more skill then boxing,” Wahl said. “In boxing you just watch two buff guys beat each other. In martial arts you watch a performance. It is much more settling to watch.”
Though boxing may never capture the attention of sports fans on television or at live matches as it once did, boxing may retain value in becoming a part of people’s workouts. UFC, mixing martial arts, and boxing add to the variety of exercise Americans can choose from in finding healthy exercise routines which best fit them. The sport may have lost its entertainment value, but it will continue to hold value in its practice during the workouts of active citizens.